MONDAY, 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 ‘animal’ monologues, 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 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 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 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.
FRIDAY An email from James at Full Fact would have been hilarious if it wasn’t so serious. It reports Andrew Marr telling Michael Gove on TV that an “Australian-style” post-Brexit deal could just as easily be called a “Mongolian or Afghan” style deal. Full-Fact James then points out that Mongolia and Afghanistan have better trading terms with the EU than Australia.
# The Headway Home Studio Zoom session today was themed on Halloween. Alex showed up some creepy pictures of ancient Celts in rag masks celebrating the end of the growing season. The masks looked like something from the wardrobe department of a zombie movie. Then Alex talked about Halloween in a modern context and its association with the horror genre and mass marketing (Trick or Treat?). Then we all did a picture of Connie in scary make-up.
# The possibility of U-Turn 2.0 on free school meals is hanging in the air. Will Marcus Rashford slip in a scissor kick before the weekend?
# At the Family Zoom I learned that all my immediate relatives have high blood pressure and one just suffered a TIA. No wonder I had a stroke. It’s in the family. Previous generations I had presumed simply died of old age actually had strokes and heart attacks. I really don’t know why I was surprised by this. Maybe I just feel foolish not joining up the dots of death.
# My wife made the most amazing soup with some old carrots and other stuff. Problem is: she can’t remember what she did.
# Rupert’s local chippy is offering free meals to hungry kids.
# In Better Things, Duke’s friend got the tip of her finger chopped off in a car door, and the dog ate it.
# The Line of Duty trio (Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure, Martin Compston) were on Gogglebox. Dunbar (Guv) sat there, the right arm of his glasses missing, like a moody Victorian Dad while McClure (Kate) and Compston (Steve) rolled around giggling at the ridiculous horror movie they’d been asked to watch.
SATURDAY A politician has publicly implied that free school meal payments go straight to brothels and crack dens.
# The Wee Ginger Dug is irritated by a column in the Telegraph in which the writer urges the British public to man up to the virus, just like they did to Hitler in WW2. The Dug points out that the writer was two years old at the time of The Blitz, adding also that “the threat represented by coronavirus is not the same as that represented by the pissing LuftWaffe”.
# Another powerful statement by Simon Jenkins about Britain’s willingness to sell itself to the highest bidder.
# Kate & Pete are in Dundee today. It sounds really exciting.
# Our neighbour Yvonne knitted my wife a pair of socks. Socks must be difficult to knit because Yvonne swears they are the last pair she will ever knit.
# Surprise of the week comes from Annie, an artist who works at Barbican Archive. Each week she draws a comic strip based the Barbican and its history. Her characters always have a telling look and the ‘story’ is always fascinating. This week it reveals that the Barbican’s lake is dyed green.
SUNDAY In his consideration of what will happen in Britain if Joe Biden wins the US Presidency in November, Andrew Rawnsley wittily describes Boris Johnson as being seen internationaly as the “Trump Whisperer”.
# We had a conversation about what liberties we might be entitled to at Christmas if we are still festering in Boris’s Tier 2. There are nice log cabins in the Lea Valley, but they are in Tier 1. Could we, I asked, invite Marge and Derek round for a business lunch? My wife thought not, but I protested that since our homes are now our workplaces, it should be possible to hold a lunchtime brainstorming session with colleagues, tax deductable. That way we could bypass Boris and his nasty stormtroopers and simply get permission from that nice Scottish woman at the Tax Office.
# The latest stitchwork (a dog on a cotton Tote bag) project is stuttering along.
# Stuart has been sending his ruminations on Elvis Costello lyrics. I told him I wished that I could push a button and talk in the past and not the present tense [Brilliant Mistake, King of America].