It was just like another night in the Artillery Arms
1 April 2020, London We did a pub quiz on Zoom last night, then the first thing I spot in my newsfeed (other than a story about Alex Jones breaking down in tears) is one about the sloppy privacy protocols of Zoom.
The list of Zoom’s alleged crimes include sneakily sending data to Facebook, tracking those who attend “meetings” once they have left the “room” and something called Zoombombing, where trolls parachute into unprotected meetings and take over, showing porn and “other explicit material”. The FBI are said to be looking into it.
Nevertheless, the quiz we did had many of the characteristics of the one we would do on a Sunday evening in the Artillery Arms in Bunhill Row.
Quizmaster Pete was our host and our “team” was the usual suspects from the neighbourhood. The theme was “isolation”.
I got quite bored when the old pub-table dynamics kicked in and to compete to be heard was more effort than it was worth. I turned especially sulky during a question about Eleanor Rigby. Pete asked us to name three things she did. Straight away I rattled off…
- Picked up rice.
- Lived in a dream.
- Waited at the window.
- Wore a face which she kept in a jar by the door.
But I was roundly ignored by my fellow “team” mates. And that is how I came to be transfixed by the distant, silent vision on the TV of ‘Celebrity GBBO’.
PS Alex Jones might have been in tears because she was accused of crafting a fondant vulva in her appearance on GBBO. Or it could have been some other reason.
✒️ Mark Steel is giving good twitter during this pandemic…
I think this changed dramatically with the mass marketing of the mobile phone. Parlaying the “missed call” has become an art form, whereas before it was a casual dodge.
✒️ I spoke to Keith today, who lives with his wife Kath and dog Blaise in the wilds of the Llyn Peninsula in Wales. The location of their farmhouse is quite remote, so Covid risks for them are minimal. Business for the barn, which has been converted into a holiday rental property called The Granary, has dried up, but they have a lot of land that needs tending, so filling their time is not an issue. The thing that made me smile, though, is that Keith is a scientistic type of guy and revels in analysis. He reckons they have enough food, wine and entertainment to last them 3 months. The funniest bit was when he told me about the lamb he bought before the pandemic hit Britain. It is in the freezer, a maxi-freezer that needed to be bought specially prior to the lamb finding its chilly repose there.
✒️ Waterford Whispers is always good for a laugh…
✒️ I spoke to Michelle and forgot to ask how she was. I’m not sure what her fella does exactly, but I think it is something technological, so maybe he can work from home ok. Michelle told me that she is having proper quality conversations with Headway members, in a way she has never spoken with them before. It was the cliché that being apart brings people closer, but clichés are clichés because they always somehow hit on the truth.
✒️ Paul posted this on Facebook from Brighton. Hinted at lots, but rarely spoken out loud.
Thursday 2 April 2020 I dug out one of my old pictures and posted it, plus a video close-up, to the myscrapbook.blog and to Instagram.
I included this text: “An early attempt at collaborative art. It’s called ‘All The Boys I Ever Kissed’. I randomly asked women to write the names of boys they remember kissing onto a pair of red clipart lips. Each name tells a story that is totally owned by the woman who wrote it.”
✒️ There is a big worry in the White House that a loss of taste could signal infection by Covid-19. The stories always include a picture of President Trump.
✒️ I wrote a long, depressing email to Michelle the other day on the theme of fear during the pandemic. We did a Zoom with Chris, Sam, Sandra and Cristina this afternoon, and later Michelle wrote an equally long reply to my email urging positivity through creativity, but concluded with a gem. She recommended a game drive in the Kruger Park in South Africa. Michelle is South African and, when troubled in the middle of the night, visits her native country on YouTube.
✒️ Someone on Quora is asking what’s the point of he little hole in aircraft windows.
It’s there, apparently, to stop the window steaming up and passengers drawing obscene body parts in the mist. It also seems there are three panes: an inner, a middle and an outer, and the hole does not go through all three. It is confined to the inner pane.