Diary… Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ is not so wide of the mark today


Wednesday 25, London The thing is, everyone you know is going through their own iteration of a private hell. The realisation that everything you thought you knew and took for granted must be re-conceived is not an idea the public wants to grapple with right now. Will water continue to come out of the tap? Will electricity still come out of the socket? Gas? Will the washing machine break down? The sink might get blocked.

There is a new deal waiting to be made with the world, but I’m not sure everyone will surrender to the inevitable and stop acting out of self interest. For too long we have been programmed to expect the world to bend to our desires. Embracing a new relationship with both the physical world and society will not happen quickly.

Question everything, and question it twice. Take nothing for granted. Trust nothing. The world is now just the place where we survive/subsist. Anything else is a bonus. This is the land of Kafka we’re in, so to comfort myself, this morning I woke up, decided to wash some of my clothes by hand and hang them outside to dry.

πŸ“Œ Two mounted police officers came onto the estate and chatted from a distance, asking if we needed any help.

πŸ“Œ I tested a monoprint workshop idea for a brain picture.

πŸ“Œ It was nice to see Tom and his daughter Melody out playing football. Tom was in goal and Melody kicks with her right foot.

πŸ“Œ Shirley did a WhatsApp group chat with me, Jane and Marta. It was such a good laugh we called Graham and Dominique in the same way.

πŸ“Œ It seems a shame not to make use of the beautiful sunshine, so I planted some tomato and rocket seeds. No excuse to neglect them. Probably need to get some compost when we can get out of the flat.

πŸ“Œ We finally watched the Channel 4 documentary about Putin. Whenever we tried previously, the All-4 app crashed every time an ad break finished. But today it was OK. The best bit of the documentary was a scene in which Boris Yeltsin phones Putin after his presidential election victory in 2000. Putin doesn’t take the call and doesn’t ring back. Putin was Yeltsin’s chosen successor. An hour and a half later, Yeltsin and family are still waiting for the call. Earlier in the scene, Yeltsin had claimed Putin’s victory as his own. Now he embarrassingly acknowledged to the assembled onlookers that they should all go home.

πŸ“Œ Michael Portillo is gushing over one of Britain’s last remaining theatre organists and his splendid instrument.

Thursday 26, London Despite its strong factual drive, the underlying tone of this George Monbiot essay in the Guardian is quite pessimistic. Hope exists only as a beaten, cowering animal, cornered and bracing itself for the final moment.

Already we see national governments across the developed world moving rapidly to keep things just as they were, as far as is possible. Business as usual. The article uses the idea of the burst bubble to illustrate the situation, but inflating a new identical bubble would be to continue the arrogance of human supremacy over a contingent world. The planet will bite back.

πŸ“Œ Cristina at Headway sent me the video Dave made of the print workshop for Barbican Creative Learning based on the ‘Masculinities’ exhibition. Now they want an intro and to set up a web tutorial, which sounds fun but quite stressful.

πŸ“Œ Fiona at Bridges also got in touch about making a tip-sheet for stroke survivors who’ve been discharged early from hospital to make way for Covid patients. Their rehab has been cut off, so Fiona wanted some input on how remote rehab can be offered over the phone or web. What are the very early goals I set myself when I got home after my stroke and how did I go about it?

πŸ“Œ The mounted police officers are still doing the rounds of the estate. One of the Golden Baggers posted this photo on WhatsApp.

πŸ“Œ My temperature is 36.34.

πŸ“Œ This evening there is a public show of support planned, “Clap for Carers”, in which everyone who can goes outside or hangs out of a window to register appreciation for the selfless workers who are tending to others in these desperate times. Maybe in a year’s time they could do one urging better pay and conditions for those who care for others. Our friend, who is a nurse, says we should shout for more protective gear, PPE (personal protective equipment). Then this appeared on Facebook.

πŸ“Œ I went outside at 8pm to take a photograph of a tall building nearby (Tower 42) that nightly displays a light display with a big blue heart holding the letters nhs. The clapping and whooping had already started, so we joined in and my wife shouted “more PPE”. It was a real national moment, and quite touching. It reminded me of the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.

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