Diary: 22-25 July


Wednesday, London The wi-fi boosters arrived from Lithuania. This is great news. We’d almost given up on them ever appearing.

πŸ“Œ Then came the TV adapter to use our old DVD player, and the discovery in the back of the cupboard of an old Sony Discman, which still works perfectly.

πŸ“Œ My wife seems to have enrolled us into a makeshift self-sufficiency programme among friends and neighbours. A Bangladeshi friend delivered a chickpea and tomato curry with onion rice, crafted by her mum. And a neighbour is paying us with fresh ground coffee for some old potting compost we have left over.

πŸ“Œ The release of the report into how the Russian spies did some cyber-fiddling with the Brexit and Scottish Independence elections sounds like the episode from Series 7 of Spooks we watched last night. It finished with Harry putting a bullet into the Russian baddy.

πŸ“Œ Kate posted Jordan Henderson’s full speech on the family WhatsApp group.

πŸ“Œ Baggies promoted. Pete relieved.

πŸ“Œ Judy Murray got kicked off Celebrity Masterchef. Her rice was undercooked and my wife said her sauce looked horrible.

Thursday, London When the Moon app accidentally popped open on my phone, I noticed that Apollo 11 appears to have landed in the Sea of Tranquility. Then I discovered that the Moon’s seas are not seas at all, they are basaltic plains.

πŸ“Œ I missed the Open Studio session today with the intention of taking a longish walk. But I lay in the bath too long, an activity prolonged further by a speaker-phone call with someone called Jack about knocking Β£10 a month off our broadband bill. So the walk was replaced with some reading for an Artwork Archive blog post I have in the pipeline. More of Mrs Islam’s curry for lunch weighed me further to the spot.

πŸ“Œ The Prime Minister is in Scotland trying to convince the Scots that they should trust him and stay part of the union. This is because opinion polls show a big drift towards a support for independence. Needless to say, the Wee Ginger Dug has an opinion on the visit: “He’s like one of those lecherous auld drunks at a party who thinks that the reason you are not succumbing to his dubious charms is because he’s not pawing at you enough.”

πŸ“Œ Then someone on Quora added to the debate: “I don’t understand the fervour with which nationalists deny reality. I’m amazed they manage to get out of bed in the morning without convincing themselves the floor doesn’t exist and is an illusion created by Evil English people.”

πŸ“Œ Lockdown Catchup. Series 7 of Spooks has become predictably predictable. Every episode ends with a chase and/or an attempt to defuse a terrorist bomb. Some of these dramatic devices are laughable. In Episode 5, the spooks stopped the bomb from exploding by zapping it in a microwave oven for 30 seconds on full power. You wanted it to go PING! at the end, but it didn’t.

Friday 24, London I’m starting a new strand called ‘Only in the Barbican’, satirically noting the ridiculous and pretentious behaviour of the peoole who live there. Most of the entries will come from a local online noticeboard.

πŸ“Œ Face coverings are mandatory in shops from today. This is a good move, but it’s still hard not to think we are in the Summer school holidays of this crisis and soon the weather will change.

πŸ“Œ The Daily Mirror has been told off by Full Fact for overestimating the number of unpaid hours health service workers do.

πŸ“Œ My wife returned from Marks & Spencer to say that 80% of customers not wearing face coverings were men. Most of the shoppers had complied with the new rule.

πŸ“Œ I did an online photography workshop with the Barbican based on the Masculinities exhibition. We had to picture something that signified masculinity to us. I chose some tools from the bottom drawer in our kitchen. Read the full story here.

Saturday 25, London Marina Hyde in the Guardian has got another column out of Brexit. “If we press ahead with no deal on the back of a pandemic, viewers all over the world will be tuning in to our national soap opera every week, just to see what crazy shit we’ll do to ourselves next.”

πŸ“Œ That phrase “upstairs stuff” sounds like a euphemism.

πŸ“Œ I’ve started following the blog of a young Polish woman as she sets off on a round-the-world trip on a motorbike, starting in Glasgow. She’s got as far south as Peterborough and there’s smoke coming out from under the seat of the bike.

πŸ“Œ I read a blog post from a photographer who was going through some dusty old boxes and found a collection of Graham Greene novels, which were, he says… “just for amusement, escapism, beautifully written and laced with humour and pathos, they were never read to inspire, at no point did I put one down and think I really must dash off to the Colonies.”Β  He then goes on to tell a story from the past about “being followed” in Damascus and how it has left him with a lifelong paranoia.

πŸ“Œ At the Breakfast Club Zoom, we each told 3 tales about ourselves, one of which was a lie. No one guessed that I once went camping with 9 lesbians.

πŸ“Œ Only in the Barbican… or in this case the Golden Lane Estate.

See the video: Drunken Duck Staggers Hone.

πŸ“Œ One of my Diary entries from this day last year.

It was meant to capture some kind of hazy gloom, a blue funk that lurks undetected in the mists of your mind. I sent it to Michelle and she posted some studio pictures of Quentin on Instagram.

More Diaries here.

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