Diary: 8-14 September

TUESDAY 8 A piece in The Conversation tells of the EU’s dubious role in Bolivia’s drug-control efforts.

# I got told off again, this time for leaving the teabag in the tea cup. The story gets funnier, though, because my wife then put the empty tea cup with bag into the dishwasher. An hour later she opened up to find the bag still intact.

# I love getting pictures from Sam. Her personality is in all of them and I can always imagine her on the other side of the studio, deep in concentration. You don’t know what you miss until it’s not there anymore. This one is from a recent Open Studio session on Zoom.

And for comparison, here is what I managed from the same session.

# Stuart got Elmore James and Elmore Leonard mixed up.

# Stuart also took a brief step into Pseud’s Corner when referring to the Young Marble Giants album Colossal Youth as having “all the freshness and insouciance of a Picasso sketch as opposed to a heavy Rembrandt oil”.

WEDNESDAY 9 You never know what’s in your Inbox until you look. Or in Stuart’s case until you find the thing you can’t even remember losing, whereupon you ping it over to Billy for a laugh.

# String tells us of his nocturnal spelunking activities. Spelunking wasn’t a word I was familiar with, but it all made sense when I looked it up and could see clearly its root in speleology.

# Government goons have announced another new set of Covid rules that no one understands and the PM announced in parliament that it’s important not the break the law. His statement is aimed at young people who have ditched all Covid caution, the outcome being a spike in infections among them. The PM gave his stern warning on the same day he announced that Britain would break its legal agreement with the EU, making a no-deal exit from Europe inevitable.

# In Spooks (Series 10), we weren’t certain Tariq was dead, but he is.

THURSDAY 10 The other day I sleep-walked into hosting a community art workshop on Zoom. The council organisers have unintentionally started to get bossy, which doesn’t put me in a good frame of mind.

# I’m in trouble if I spill any more coffee in bed. It costs a fortune to get a duvet cleaned!

# We had a post-Lockdown pilot day at Headway with 10 members to see if the new measures were fit for purpose.

It was great to seen people again and Chris and I got straight back into our Waldorf-Statler routine.

We nailed a few problems such as poor signage and whizzy digital thermometers that proved to be duds. And I walked back from Haggerston to Angel along the canal in half an hour.

# I reckon the building-site workers have been tampering with the birch tree because there is a flurry of activity on WhatsApp.

# Oddbox, our new veg supplier, is certainly living up to its name.

# Small mercies! We got to the end of Spooks. Final episode, Series 10. Ruth comes a cropper and Harry looks sad. Not surprising since he just discovered the long-lost love of his life was an evil Russian quadruple agent.

FRIDAY 11 Deliveroo couriers in York and Sheffield fight with he fight others fought all through the last century.

# We did a Zoom chat to pimp the City’s People Where I Live art project, discussing people and places and trying to encourage a few more contributions. I mentioned our postie, Eric, who has short, fat hairy legs decorated with tattoos. I know this because he always wears shorts, whatever the weather. I think I will make my own subject Ted Bolt, a character who moans a lot on the Barbican Talk message board.

# Found an illustration in an app I no longer use. It was marked simply “creepy”.

# Got a thankyou message from Steph for a very quick sketch I did of her in the Headway day room yesterday.

# I was interrogated during the family Zoom as to how I got to own Willie’s stamp album. And my sister never knew my mum had her picture taken with Kevin Keegan, which then appeared in the newspaper. She is now determined to find it. Or at least she said she was.

# Now we’re done with Spooks, Line of Duty is back in the frame. The Caddy is dead.

SATURDAY 12 on Dermot O’Leary’s Mystery Voice, someone guessed Kathy Bates. My wife is positive it is Sandra Oh.

# I’ve decided to try another type of graphic, the News Wall. It means I can go round photographing walls onto which I will paste headlines of all styles.

# It would certainly be a weird one if all the novichok in Russia had somehow fallen into the hands of a disgruntled sect of former KGB agents. Putin would love us to believe that. Or would he? I think I might have overdosed on Spooks.

# It’s really odd to see Michael Gove sucking up to the PM in such an enthusiastic way. You gotta wonder what he’s playing at.

# To see Tenet, a doomsday movie in which the world is about to end in a plot unleashed by sadistic baddy Kenneth Branagh. But it didn’t, and everything went backwards, occasionally. Useful, that. The too-fast dialogue carried too much of the over-complex plot (about time reversal and sequence). This irritation was compounded by a very noisy soundtrack. During drinks afterwards, a friend told us how one cowboy builder holds a monopoly at the Barbican and ritually rips out heritage interiors and refits apartments in a kind of bad-taste disco-pad design, at sky-high prices.

SUNDAY 13 We went a bit mad chopping back the tomatoes, but they look tidy, and good weather is forecast for next week, so those that haven’t fully ripened yet can get their skates on.

# A kitchen accident last night saw a loose cupboard door, which I had perched above the new fridge, fall on my wife’s head. She went to bed with a cut on her forehead and the jolting after-effects of shock. Today she feels a bit spaced out, but found the lost tube of Savlon and is now keen to resume her battle with the council over our flood damage.

# I did another News Wall from a story in The Conversation.

# Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer observes that Chancer-liar Boris Johnson’s political methods have drifted so far from right-wing orthodoxy and into kitchen-sink anarchy that the Conservative Party is no longer worthy of the name.

MONDAY 14 They’re all lining up to steer Boris down the road of proper politics. Keir Starmer is far more deliberate in his methods. Corbyn was tenacious in opposition, and that approach was so effective it saw the Conservatives steal several Labour policies. But Boris now faces his own party as his chief opponent. Even David Cameron has jumped into the ring. Will Boris change course? I’m not putting my pension pot on it, fascinating though it is to watch.

# Another stooge came round to inspect the dodgy tiling that caused the flood damage. Getting the council to see it that way will be a piece of work, but my wife is ready for it.

# David Tennant’s portrayal of serial killer Dennis Nilsen in Des was disturbingly psychological.

# Stuart made the preposterous claim that The Real Thing weren’t the real thing. He went on to claim that The Real Real Thing in fact came from Colwyn Bay. I think he says these things to be provocative, because he’s from Birkenhead.

Read last week’s Diary.

5 thoughts on “Diary: 8-14 September

  1. Oddbox looks to be a good source of stories along the lines of Terry Pratchett’s ‘The Truth’, where there is a regular feature in the newly invented newspaper for ‘humorously shaped vegetables’.
    Love the News Wall pics and yes, Spooks was ludicrous from the start, but fun.


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