Diary: July 9-11

Thursday, London Government opponents are struggling to poke holes in chancellor Rishi Sunak’s mini-budget. The offer of Β£10 vouchers to eat out rather than at home, and scrapping the furlough scheme but bribing employers to keep jobs, are just two of Rishi’s stunts that have come in for a kicking. Part of the difficulty for his opponents is that in the same circumstances they probably would have done something very similar.

πŸ“Œ A teenager on the lawn was doing keepie-uppies. First he used a full-size ball, then switched to a tennis ball. He kicks equally well with both feet.

πŸ“Œ Staff from the Barbican came to the Open Studio Zoom session today, plus the curator of the next Curve exhibition, of Toyin Ojih Odutola’s images.

We all worked from one of Toyin’s story drawings, of a woman at a table in a cafΓ©. As I did it I imagined a scene in which the woman was receiving bad news from her daughter.

πŸ“Œ We won the Brighton Zoom quiz by half a point. A group of giraffes is called a Tower.

πŸ“Œ Chris K has a Facebook friend with the surname Fulleylove.

Friday, London Richard Herring has broken out into a light sweat on Twitter with some dope claiming that stand-up comedy will bounce back stronger than ever once the Pandemic has passed.

πŸ“Œ An article in the Guardian depicts a government determined to suck all the power of local democracy from areas and regions. The piece argues that the Tory party has bizarrely become the party of the uber-centralised state. In my mind I went further and started to picture life in a society run by a pseudo dictator in a shaggy blonde wig.

πŸ“Œ Black Lives Matter is doing a great job at flushing out racism. This obviously isn’t much fun for those such as the Brent MP who has been forced to close her constituency office after violent attacks and death threats, but it does expose racism in all its naked ugliness and leaves it with fewer places to hide.

πŸ“Œ On a walk around old Hoxton, Shoreditch and the Regent’s Canal it is hard not to notice the vast amount of land and property once in public ownership now exclusively private, with little or no public access.

πŸ“Œ Sam’s versions of botanical drawings are fabulous. This is from one of Katie’s.

πŸ“Œ Stuart has reconnected (he tripped over and broke a hip) with a helpful dictionary definition of a Scally, which unusually referenced a head girl from a school in Birkenhead.

Saturday, London The conclusion of Schitt’s Creek left a hole in our lives. It was our evening mealtime companion. We groped around for a replacement using the obvious search term “if you liked Schitt’s Creek…” and one of the possibilities was Arrested Development. We’d tried it before, on the recommendation of Sue, but gave up. So we’ve started again, and the spark has become a flame.

πŸ“Œ Marina Hyde has nailed it again with a piece about Chris Grayling and his ability to “fail upwards”. She concocts a scene in which Grayling walks unscathed from a Chernobyl-type disaster of his own creation, “a sort of Terminator of shitness”, only to get another job to fuck up.

πŸ“Œ Memory. Cashing something called a Giro cheque at the Post Office. This was an unemployment benefit. You signed the cheque, handed it across the counter and got your money. I remember it stating on the cheque “sign on receipt of payment”. When I pointed this out to the cashier, and demanded the money BEFORE signing, they told me to fuck off.

πŸ“Œ I’ve never really noticed a nice bit of the Thames Path on the north side of the river at Millennium Bridge. There are lots of seats and it’s a good spot for afternoon sun.

πŸ“Œ Some shops, bars and restaurants are obviously opening just to show they are open.

πŸ“Œ The overlaid soundtrack on Cardinal is so loud you don’t hear all of the dialogue. Is this a new technique?

Read my July 5-8 Diary.

Read my June Diary (warning: 8,000 words).

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