Camden Garden Centre’s nifty safe-distancing etiquette is little consolation
Digest: June 7-13
Sunday, London It was disappointing to find that my tomato seedlings have not, as anticipated, burst out of their cardboard pots and proliferated all over my planter in the allotments.
📌 I did a Local Legend interview on Culture Mile radio with Hunt & Darton. My wife says I spent too much time interviewing them rather than them interviewing me.
📌 At a Baggers Committee Zoom I learned about London’s compost shortage and that Camden Garden Centre has a nifty one-way safe-distancing etiquette. We agreed that this is an exceptional year and that poorly performing Baggers need not be reprimanded. Jacqueline said we should get stuck into making our own compost.
📌 My wife’s new jigsaw puzzle is a very unconventional version of a Diego Rivera painting. The difficulty isn’t in the picture but in the weird shape of the pieces. It’s made by a firm is called Eurographics.
📌 People dying alone and left to rot is a shameful reflection on the type of society we’ve built.
Monday, London There was a story on the radio about extreme DIY dentistry during the Lockdown. One of the methods for dealing with a painful cavity was to strip the red plastic from a Babybel cheese, dissolve it in spit to form a paste, and to plug the hole with that. Another told of people replacing crowns with superglue.
📌 The top question on my Quora feed is from someone asking, “What is a cockwomble?” The top answer: “It’s an annoying twat who is patently wrong but will not shut up, even when you prove how wrong he is (it’s always a he).”
📌 Historic England has published a fab online photo exhibition of life during Lockdown which captures beautifully the dislocation. Some were touching…
And some funny…
📌 Back in the 1980s when I worked on the music press, one of the hot grebo bands was Pop Will Eat Itself, fronted by a character called Clint Mansell, who now writes exquisite film music.
📌 This time last year I was working on the Etienne memory painting.
📌 Stuart thinks I should write a biography of Felix Pappalardi, a US muso who played with both Mountain and Cream.
📌 In ‘Schitt’s’, Moira wore a ridiculous Barbra Streisand wig to Ronnie’s “girls” party in the belief that they were all lesbians. And in ‘Spooks’, Zoe got convicted of manslaughter but was then able to do a runner to Chile. Danny cried.
Tuesday, London I wanted to know what the weather was like on the day I was born, and this is what I found…
📌 The cocktail bar looks good cleaned up. We’re not sure we want to sell it now.
📌 On the ‘TED Radio Hour’ there was a feature on alternative narratives of death. One of them was the “positive” return of the body to the environment. We heard from a woman who’d invented a mushroom burial suit because mushrooms are the magical thing that will cleanse the human body of its many toxins, decompose it quickly and “transform” it into a mulch that will feed and fertilise future life forms. The heaven-on-earth scenario is to see a tree or a rose bush growing out of your grave. The woman had therefore devised a netted burial shroud impregnated with mushroom spores. She hoped to progress to some more stylish designs in the near future.
📌 At the Guardian Google coffee Meet, Angela said she liked Rishi Sunak, Philippa had been doing night shifts making up food parcels and Margaret showed us a ‘Cut-price Portrait‘ she did. Emma made an appearance, even though she will give birth any minute (or more likely Thursday). I secretly hoped it would happen right then, like a live-streaming event.
📌 The serial killing in ‘Cardinal’ is really quite gruesome. My wife thinks the grisliness of TV killings are diluted when viewed with subtitles. Some of the Scandi-noir murders are just as haunting, but slightly less so when the death rattle is in Swedish, Danish or Norwegian, written across the bottom of your TV screen.
📌 I think I might make Everton my second team.
📌 Michelle asked those of us who appeared in Posy’s film, ‘Chaos/Quest’, to write some feedback. I thought it was a special film that captured the remote, lonely experience of brain injury.
📌 Stuart wondered why Nik Kershaw chose to reference Arran in his song ‘The Riddle’ when other two-syllable locations (“Bootle or Scunthorpe”) would have done the job. I told him he was wrong.
📌 The word throuple (three in a coupling) was used in ‘Schitt’s’.
Thursday, London Stitchwork can be frustrating on many levels, and one of them is trying to estimate whether you have enough thread to cover a given area. You end up devising possible solutions to running out.
📌 I think my wife secretly enjoys me stealing her quotes for my artwork.
📌 The Open Studio session included a visit from illustrator Katie Scott, who majors in subjects botanical, fantastical and zoological. She gave us a picture of a leopard and a lion to work from. I ignored the leopard and cut off the lion’s head.
📌 We finished ‘Killing Eve’ and both declared it a disappointment. We lost enthusiasm when they gave a whole episode to probing Villanelle’s embarrassing family in Russia.
📌 The virus is said to disproportionately affect BAMEs, but explanation and context are not given.
Friday, London Stuart sent a message about The Venerable Bede, implying he wasn’t such a good guy.
📌 Michelle’s Creative Challenge was all about The Thinker, so I took a picture of Errol’s ceramic.
📌 I also sent Michelle an idea for a mappy colouring book, ‘Around The World With Billy’, which plays to the ‘…With Billy’ branding the Barbican used for the monoprint video.
📌 I hadn’t heard from Stuart in six hours, so I sent him an email:
Dear Rev Donaldson
Can I ask for your reminiscences of ice-cream? I was just chatting on Zoom with my sister and cousins, and we chanced upon our different strategies for finishing off an ice-cream cone. My wife contributed by saying she used to push the flake deep into the cone’s cavity, which I took to be a nod to the work of professor Freud. I would bite off the tip of the cone and suck out the ice-cream. I suspect that to be something deeply psychoanalytical, too. Have you any input on ice-cream (psychoanalysis not necessary)? FYI: We grew up with Mr Whippy (Freud again?)
Saturday, London We had a brief conversation about who is the funniest. I don’t think either of us is in any doubt.
📌 At the Breakfast Club Zoom, we all played one minute of a favourite piece of music and said why it was important to us. I chose Scott McKenzie’s ‘San Francisco’ and my wife picked ‘Tiny Dancer’.
📌 I got distracted from the main task and made this to the sound of Ennio Morricone’s ‘Chi Mai’
The main task was to post this illustration on Twitter and Instagram.
📌 I’ve looked at it from both sides now, and the ‘Tres Amigas’ stitchwork project is growing on me. I might even get to like it soon.
📌 I’m always pleased to read updates of Michael Rosen’s health progress.