Diary… Lockdown awaits London as the walls close in…


Wake up and smell the fear


Wednesday 18 March, London

πŸ“Œ Over the past few days, we’ve woken up each morning to say, “Hey, guess what, we’re still alive!”

I’ve been here before. When I was in hospital after my stroke, I’d start each day by giving thanks that I wasn’t dead. That was weird.

Once awake, at least back then I then had something to look forward to, something to aim for. It was survival, but not just for survival’s sake. It was survival with some kind of hope attached.

Before the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, I would mentally sketch out my plans for the day. Teaching at the Guardian, a charity committee meeting, preparation for a public event or exhibition with Headway.

But the feeling now is that not only are all those things gone, replacements that avoid human contact are nonexistent. There are no goals.

Maybe I should pull myself together and enrol on an education course or something. Finally learn how to use that Canon camera my wife bought me for my birthday.


A project waiting to happen…

But a depression has set in and when “doing something” seems pointless, the will is sapped. The future cannot even be imagined.

This must be what it’s like for the long-term unemployed. A dead feeling of “Why bother” takes over. It is truly miserable, but at least my wife and I have each other, so we can attempt a joint plan to muddle through.

Muddling through is very likely to become the new way of living.

πŸ“Œ Ideas for what we can do to fill the 12 weeks we are supposed to be incarcerated are annoyingly elusive. A universal lockdown is now predicted for London, so it’s really not worth the effort.

I went in search of stimuli and came up with this 1000-word jigsaw.


Paris jigsaw awaits…

This will keep us going for a while. Chin up, start with the corner pieces. At least we can rely on the finished item being a rectangle. That much we can be sure of.

πŸ“Œ In an attempt to defy all this negativity, the ‘World of Interiors’ daft photography project today is my sock drawer.

Sock drawer…

πŸ“Œ Catalan Cris at Headway asked if I could do my monoprint workshop for the Barbican as a video.

I tried it and it was hopeless, so I tried to back out of it. She was persistent and persuaded me to break it down into 1-minute snippets, which I will attempt tomorrow.

πŸ“Œ My wife and I spent part of the afternoon grappling with video messaging via Duo and Skype. We want to make sure we can have meaningful contact with our friends and relatives while consigned to Purgatory.

We did it while sat next to one another on the sofa, but this triggered a vile screeching noise from my wife’s phone. The problem disappeared when she moved into the kitchen. So I guess if you’re sitting next to one another, Skype or Duo are not the best forms of communication.

πŸ“Œ Ordinarily, I might include in this diary brief impressions of a visit to a museum or art gallery. But since I’m confined to quarters for the duration, that’s not possible.

There is, however, the blogosphere to sate my appetite, and into my inbox right on cue is a new ‘Artist Showcase’ from Kate Davey.

Kate is an academic who works at Outside In, the pioneering outsider art outfit based at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. 

I met Kate a few years ago when I co-presented a brief talk at the European Outsider Art Conference on the work of Headway East London’s art studio, Submit to Love.


Outsider art: Spot the spelling mistake…

It was an enjoyable event and I got to meet a fab group of Finnish artists who shared my bleak humour.

The latest posting from Kate features Drew Davies, who in the interview champions the process of making art.

This is something I’ve long been fascinated by. It is rarely mentioned as a creative driver and artists prefer to see their work as the product of their genius. But just as often it is about doing it, and the absorption in the act can be as equally powerful.

πŸ“Œ Michael Portillo is clothed in yellow and blue today.


Dressed for a visit to Croydon…

Pop Quiz… Name that Tune…
β€œThe world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do”

TITLE …………………………..

ARTIST …………………………

πŸ“ Read yesterday’s diary.

🎧 Pop Quiz answer here.

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