Diary… The Black Lives Matter movement is moving opinion


‘Floyd died gasping for breath as the nation was in the grip of a pandemic that restricts respiration’


Digest: May 31-June 6


Sunday, London The actor Ralf Little has told of his decision not to clap for the nhs every Thursday. On Twitter, he wrote: “I’ll continue to march for it, protest for it, advocate for it, stay at home for it, and most importantly, vote for those who actually support it.” 

๐Ÿ“Œ My cousin Kate had said during our Zooms how miserable she was without the football. Today I got a whiff of that when I heard the footie talk on 5Live. I must have been secretly pining likewise. The Premier League is due to restart on 17 June.

๐Ÿ“Œ Will the outfall from the pandemic be a cohort of Covid Veterans, just like war veterans who are permanently scarred and get very little support from the state?

๐Ÿ“Œ The UK response to the George Floyd killing in Minnesota is awesome. The Black Lives Matter movement is moving.

๐Ÿ“Œ The new stitchwork project is giving me grief already. Fleshtones on a white T-shirt are clearly not my thing.

Monday, London Today is the start of the new Cummings-Johnson anarchy, in which the aim of getting the pandemic done swings into operation.

๐Ÿ“Œ Stuart has moved his attention from the Lotus Eaters to Nik Kershaw. Here are two rounds he’s reworded of the chorus to Kershaw’s hit single, ‘The Riddle’.

Just beyond Dalston Junction near Arran there sits
An old vagrant woman who dribbles and knits
1980s-style trousers for short blokes like me.
Theyโ€™re pleated and shapeless but brand logo free.
Theyโ€™re tight on the ankles and wide on the hips
And covered in ash from the fag ‘tween her lips.
I offered her cash, she shook her head with a grin,
โ€˜Theyโ€™re a labour of love but Iโ€™ll settle for gin.โ€™

Tuesday, London 5Live reports that property lettings have gone through the roof due to relationship break-ups.

๐Ÿ“Œ President Trump has all but declared Martial Law in the US in the wake of the George Floyd killing. He says if people don’t stop protesting, he’ll send in the Army.

๐Ÿ“Œ One commentator drew a symbolic parallel in the Floyd killing. He said Floyd died gasping for breath as the nation was in the grip of a pandemic that restricts respiration.

๐Ÿ“Œ Another bad choice of thread on this latest stitchwork project. I know that arse was big to begin with, but I think I’ve done the poor woman an injustice.

๐Ÿ“Œ The Royal Academy has an online life-drawing class I might do. These are the first two poses to work on.

๐Ÿ“Œ Carol-Ann got in touch. I knew she was OK because I’d seen her doing a silly dance on an Instagram video, the whole purpose of which was clearly to show off her massive bosom.

๐Ÿ“Œ In ‘Schitt’s Creek’ David and Stevie got into their first snog.

Wednesday, London Last night my wife tittered childishly when a man called Robert Fuchs appeared on the evening news. The titter turned to a scoff when he was followed by a union rep called Wayne King. “What kind of parents with the surname King call their son Wayne!?” she blurted. She said this knowing that my parents wanted to name me Andrew, but didnโ€™t because I would have been called “Andy Mann”. She knows also that among my childhood playmates was Carol Ness, who had two older brothers, Peter and Phillip.

๐Ÿ“Œ Homerton Hospital midwife Rachel Millar, 24, has appeared on the cover of glossy fashion magazine Vogue alongside train driver Narguis Horsford and Waitrose worker Anisa Omar as part of a story about Britain’s “New Frontline”.

๐Ÿ“Œ The Black Lives Matter movement is getting stronger and stronger worldwide. The Liverpool team publicly did a “take the knee” salute in support, and this tweet appeared alongside footage of a march in New Zealand.

๐Ÿ“Œ Some monocled tosser in the government scrapped the online remote voting system our MPs were happily using and ordered them back to the House. So the ones shielding or quarantined from Covid were stripped of their right to vote.

๐Ÿ“Œ The Conservatives are behaving like they know they will lose at the next election, so they are wrecking as much of society as possible in the hope that it can never be restored to a non-conservative condition.

๐Ÿ“Œ We get a new delivery of food from Tesco tomorrow, so for lunch I made a mini-casserole from stuff we need to use up: cabbage, green leaves, spring onions, pesto, chorizo, meatballs.

๐Ÿ“Œ A contestant on ‘Tenable’ named Andover as one of France’s top ten cities.

๐Ÿ“Œ Things you never expected to learn on a grey Wednesday in Lockdown Britainโ€ฆ

๐Ÿ“Œ Walking to the post box counts as an event these days.

Thursday, London Hackney Council has run out of the paper it uses to issue fines to people who urinate and defecate in public places such as parks. London Fields is the main recipient of this disgusting behaviour, but one Hackney resident responds with a comment claiming the problem is more widespread and includes “lots of drunk mens’ penises as they walk about weeing everywhere”.

๐Ÿ“Œ The protests for George Floyd and Black Lives Matter are getting a lot of attention.

๐Ÿ“Œ The building site outside our front door is back in full swing. The north side of the flat is unuseable. I accidentally walked into the spare bedroom room naked. 

๐Ÿ“Œ The Headway Open Studio art session was all about Vincent van Gogh.

While we all had a go at drawing irises, it was nice to listen to conversations about nature and everyone joined in with their plant and pond stories. Alex’s sister pushed her in their pond when she was 9 and she felt the frog spawn squelching between her toes.

๐Ÿ“Œ We came second in the Brighton Zoom quiz. Jaq and Lynne beat us by half a point.

Friday, London My wife said she had “something controversial to say about the telly”. What she said was that before we buy the new (very big) telly, she’d like to replace our blonde-wood Habitat sideboard (where telly is sited) with a Mid-Century classic. I said I didn’t think that was in any way controversial.

๐Ÿ“Œ Zoom Fatigue is in the air. Iโ€™ve swerved a few meetings already, but Iโ€™m running out of plausible excuses.

๐Ÿ“Œ Iโ€™m not sure the Cummings-Johnson Death Plan to kill off the elderly is working. Iโ€™ve seen plenty of our wrinkly neighbours strolling around in face masks clutching their two-year-old Waitrose plastic bags.

๐Ÿ“Œ The warbling boy blackbird stood outside our bathroom window singing his lonesome songs. It made the other call of nature seem a little less private.

Saturday, London On the radio were two women (one black, one white), on a bench in a park, 2m apart, talking about the George Floyd killing and the protests. The white one said that what the Floyd case has taught her is that it is not good enough to practise non-racist behaviour and to abhor racism. She said her duty was to be actively anti-racist. It reminded me of the Rock Against Racism movement here in the UK and the gigs we went to in 1978. Will Black Lives Matter be America’s equivalent moment? If, as an article in The Conversation implies, the issue is tied deeply to America’s position in the world order under Trump, we are indeed at a tipping point.

๐Ÿ“Œ At the Saturday coffee-shop Zoom we all brought some of our โ€œfavouriteโ€ things. Jane brought a silver bracelet that belonged to her mother. Sandraโ€™s favourite thing was to dress up to go out. So sheโ€™d done the whole โ€œexperienceโ€ of having a relaxing bath, slipping on an elegant dress, jewellery, make-up, etc. Mine was the Timex watch Jane bought me for my 30th birthday. Gill told a lovely story about her favourite jacket and how she never really โ€œbelongedโ€ until she got it. She wore it to a Jam gig in 1982 at the Deeside Leisure Centre and afterwards got to spend 2 hours with the band.

๐Ÿ“Œ This is unusually poetic and reflective from Mark Steel.

๐Ÿ“Œ I learned a new word: “stushy”. I heard it on the radio and it means classy or stylish, and is possibly derived from the word ostentatious.

๐Ÿ“Œ Stuart has got into the groove of inventing band names from medical conditions and body parts, preferably using alliteration. He says it was inspired by Gerry & The Pacemakers, but I think it’s just him being silly. He’s already invented the musical careers of Calvin And His Coronary Bypass, Ian And The Implants and Lionelโ€™s Liver Salts. He briefly mentioned Gary And The Gall Stones and Peteโ€™s Prosthetic Leg before I was moved to mention Ingrid & The Ingrowing Toenails. He tells me that Ingrid “went out on a limb” and joined Sole To Sole before getting a good job in Boots.

๐Ÿ“Œ ‘Cardinal’ is our new TV fix.


Read my May 2020 Diary (8,000 words).


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