Diary… Toilet rolls are not the only scarcity UK citizens face…


The crisis is now more about crowd control than about health and wellbeing


Monday 16 March, London

📌 Uncertainty is everywhere and the main theme from my news media sources is that the government’s easygoing, let-the-people-make-up-their-own-minds ethos doesn’t work in a time of crisis, when leadership and surefooted guidance are what citizens need most.

When you bump into people in the neighbourhood, they tell you their news from the recommended 1.5m distance. Soon everyone will be carrying yardsticks+.

The crisis is now more about crowd control than about health and wellbeing. That may change. 

I joked last week about the London situation resembling scenes from Daniel Defoe’s account of the 1665 Plague, but it’s not hard to imagine the same thing happening if things stay as they are. Communication is so poor that people have become hostage to their nightmares and act accordingly.

My wife believes the panic buying will end soon, but I’m not so sure. I intend to buy food whenever I see it. My good fortune is that I have the means to do that. Others don’t.

I also have relatively good health, despite my brain injury. Others don’t. Anyone with a pre-existing condition or in a treatment plan, is in the shit, and there aren’t even any toilet rolls in the shops.

📌Down in the Golden Baggers allotments, Jacqueline was introducing a new member to the project. She lives in Crescent House.

I think Tom may have tightened the nut on the new wheelbarrow wheel too tightly.

I had intended to label and index some new tools. They are mainly loppers and secateurs, which seem to go missing quite a lot. I’m not sure there is any real theft problem, more one of carelessness and forgetfulness. But with all tools labelled and indexed as the property of the Baggers, there can be little doubt about ownership.

I opened the shed up, but no new tools were waiting for me, so that job lives to see another day. I took the opportunity, however, to take some pictures of the insides of something. This is now ‘World of Interiors: Golden Baggers Potting Shed’.

Inside story: the Golden Baggers shed

📌 Later a friend, a nurse at Brighton General hospital, posted on Facebook: “Since our ward became the frontline for caring for Coronavirus patients, it has proved increasingly difficult to fill staff shortages with bank and agency staff. Yesterday, one agency nurse refused to work and walked out. Thankfully, the more senior nurses are now putting down their clipboards and putting on their scrubs. 

“To those nurses currently refusing to care for patients with COVID-19, I say this: You will soon be unable to work anywhere. It will be on every ward in every hospital and every nursing home and every GP practice. At least on our ward you will have the maximum protection possible. Oh, and if you came to work on the bus you could have been sitting close to someone infected but not symptomatic and still capable of transmitting the virus…”

📌 Shirley sent out a message asking if anyone has spare toilet rolls. I suggested she check the toilets of the Barbican Centre and she was flabbergasted that I was suggesting toilet-roll theft. How charmingly naive I thought, then bet her £1 that the posh residents at the Barbican will already have raided that supply.

📌 My monoprinting workshop for Headway at the Autograph gallery in Shoreditch has been cancelled, but the whole project has been a joy to prepare for. I am even keen to continue some of the stitch-work I tried.

From the Autograph archive…

I see it as sketching with thread, so I have given it the grand title of Monostitch. It has the same characteristics of the monoprint in that each is a one-off piece. It is a repeated process with a different outcome every time. And the repetition of the hand process alters the image every time it is performed, making each one unique. I am testing with the Mona Lisa on an old t-shirt.

Da Vinci in cotton…

📌Just as we started to worry that Corovavirus had put a block on the courting rituals of young Millennials, the #boomerremover trend has hit social media. This is the work of Millennials who like to blame the Boomers for all their ills. Boomers created the climate crisis. Boomers waged war on Islam. And now Boomers have unleashed a deadly virus on the planet’s population. Oh, and they stash all their money in tax efficient legal savings instruments.

So, with this mindset underpinning their judgement, it’s not surprising that Millennials (especially in the US) are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of Covid-19 knocking off their sworn enemies.

Some of them, however, have started to distance themselves from the lunatic fringe of the BoomerRemover movement…

📌 From the BBC Radio 4 nature programme presented by Sue Perkins, we learned that up to one third of female albatrosses — a species long thought to be heterosexual monogamous — are lesbians.

Same-sex birds have been discovered raising chicks in tandem cooperation. Then they slip away for a couple of hours, find a spare male and create a few more chicks.

📌 All medium-term plans have evaporated. No monoprint workshop, no trip to Liverpool, no Archive presentation in April, or a trip to see Dominique and Graham in Spain. No workshops at the Barbican in May. It’s hard to see when anything will look like normal again. Or if.

I suggested an Oxford University online course in Art History to my wife. We might both need to plan for a future that doesn’t involve talking face-to-face with other people.

Pop Quiz… Name that Tune
“Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I’d stare too long
I’d probably break down and cry”

TITLE …………………………..

ARTIST …………………………

📝 Read yesterday’s diary.

🎧 Pop Quiz answer here.

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