MONDAY 19, WINCHESTER & LONDON If there’s anything that can stop Biden winning the US Presidential election – other than Trump refusing to accept defeat – it is an international conflict that Trump engineers and uses to make himself look like the good guy.
# A fantastic BBC radio programme from 2016 is being repeated. In Rumblings in the Rafters actors perform monologues as animals and creatures, as written by Lynne Truss. Last night Lee Mack was a fly and Pam Ferris a pipistrelle bat.
# Lakshmi says that toothbrush in Kannada is koorcha.
# Because I’ve never worked with her, I’d never noticed that my wife talks to herself. Suddenly she will say, “Oh no, I’m not agreeing to that!” and she is talking not to me but to an email on her screen.
# It was very sad to see that Wyvern Bindery on Clerkenwell Road has closed down. Then my heart jumped when I learned it had merely moved to Hoxton Street. It is a very special shop and now it is in the same street as another special shop, the Monster Supplies Shop.
# The Conversation has a piece saying Hamlet was a baddy. It lists his crimes against others and depicts him as Ophelia’s evil gaslighter. I always thought he was OK.
TUESDAY 20 As if there aren’t enough tales of woe in the world at the moment, Luke writes another blogpost about the big old RV he bought some time ago with the intention of exploring America in it. This vehicle has been dismantled and reassembled at least twice by an expert called Jim and it still conks out every time its rubber reaches the open road.
# The midday deadline came and went with no news of Manchester being sectioned by Boris. Then at 14.30…
# Angela knows a fella who has fraudulently downloaded a mask-exemption certificate.
# Some writer on a magazine in America thought he’d switched off the video during a Zoom meeting for work…
# There’s a scene in the first episode of Ozark in which the body of the protagonist’s unfaithful wife’s lover is thrown by gangsters from a tall building, landing with a characteristic splat in the street below. So there must be an expert job title to go with staging that shot and making a sack of potatoes sound convincingly human-on-concrete.
WEDNESDAY 21 After yesterday’s revelation about the New Yorker guy caught self-pleasuring on Zoom, Zoe writes from Holland to confess her Zoom sins, which include wearing a penguin onesie as standard home-office attire. She also has her Christmas tree up already.
# My Perpetual Disappointments Diary tells me that Jack Kerouac died on this day in 1969. It also offers a stupid motto for the week: “You can lead a horse to water, but that’s not really a LinkedIn skill.”
# It looks like the much-trumpeted contact- tracing apps have not delivered on their promise of a quick end to a life of hell without toilet paper. Download rates are too low for them to be effective. Not surprisingly, France is the most stubborn country in refusing to join the party.
# Another gem arrived from Sam, from last week’s Zoom Studio when we tucked into Alex’s chicken/hen specimens.
# In the next five years, the first human settlement on the Moon could be up and running. But some (Russia and China among them) see what looks like a great leap forward as a sneaky land grab by the US.
THURSDAY 22 It sounds like a comedy. A politician in Hackney has been found guilty of pretending to be from another party to fiddle votes. What’s funnier is that the criminal act was then described as “blatant skullduggery”, which makes it sound like it deserves heritage protection.
# The new Gmail logo sucks.
# I spent about two hours writing a piece I then discovered I had already written 3 months ago. Strangely, I wasn’t that bothered until I realised that the original was far superior to the rewrite.
# A mission to “improve” the organisation of the basement storage room was always likely to turn up some unhappy reminders.
I was surprisingly fascinated by the mouse skeleton, but later felt it was a bit creepy, the kind of thing you find out later about serial killers.
# The lead character (an actor) in Better Things bought a midlife-crisis car and was replaced in her job by a dead person.
# Pamela Adlon treasures relationships.
# In Ozark, the corrupt are becoming legitimate and the legitimate are becoming corrupt. The morality of individual behaviour is the star.