Diary: 1-4 November

SUNDAY In Canada there’s been a new twist on Halloween as an occasion not to remember the dead but to build on the body count.

# It would be nice to think the new Lockdown announced by the PM last night a had some kind of strategy behind it.

If he’d said, “Heads up. The old economy is dead, we need to build a new one for the Virus Age” he might have got more sympathy. Instead he persists with his very own brand of cluelessness, which is now wearing very thin.

# The people who contribute to Quora deserve some kind of blessing. “It’s just a jail thing” is like a line from a movie.

# Will Hutton always makes a good case for the death of democracy being greatly exaggerated.

The postwar settlement our predecessors devised – national and international and with fairness at its heart – created 30 years of prosperity and embedded the legitimacy of democracy; its subsequent unwinding by the Anglo-Saxon right and indifference to the growth of inequality have led to today’s debacle.

The Observer

# We found another hidden stash of rubber walking-stick ferrules. I now have a collection of 16 in various styles and sizes.

MONDAY The failure to implement a remote-learning plan will soon bring another headache for the government.

From the Morning Star

# An article in the Guardian argues for the imposition of the east-Asian model of virus suppression.

…stronger border measures to prevent reimportation of the virus, good guidance to the public about how to avoid crowded settings and, most importantly, a robust system of testing, tracing and isolating…

The Guardian

# Sam sent her picture of Connie in Halloween make-up. There is so much thought in Sam’s pictures of people. Everything we know about Connie is in that face.

Connie, by Sam Jevon.

# It was good to discover that Poundland now stocks oil pastels in packs of 5. If the Poundland Portraits workshop ever becomes a reality again, these will be in the user kit.

Now available in Poundland

# Got quite angry reading an article in the LRB about the vast amount of “emergency” pandemic cash that has been handed to crony clients of the Conservative Party.

# The Dug reckons the PM’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, is not as good at predictions as he thinks he is…

He’d struggle to forecast a nippy arse after eating a red hot chicken vindaloo

Wee Ginger Dug

# My wife is upstairs at her online choir practice. I’ve never heard any singing from these sessions, so I suspect “choir practice” is code for money counterfeiting.

TUESDAY Marge says she heard something about the PM and a Russian violinist.

# The US Presidential Election results will hinge on the dodgy system of electoral college voting. Strange that so-called democracies in both Britain and the US are run on discredited and wholly unfair voting systems. Make Votes Matter reports that in 2016, Donald Trump “won” with 46% of the popular vote, and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives with 44% in the UK elections of 2019.

# Looks like Liverpool is once again to become the lab-rat in a grand Tory experiment. In 1984, the then Environment Minister Michael Heseltine made Liverpool the site of an International Garden Festival. This was designed to attract tourists to the city in the wake of the poverty it had suffered under an austerity plan inflicted by Heseltine’s own government. Flower Power. Today it’s announced that Liverpool will become the site of a pilot scheme for mass-testing for the Coronavirus.

# There’s a playlist on Amazon Music called Dad Rock. I spent far too long on it.

WEDNESDAY Determined not to slavishly follow news of the US elections, but forced myself to check out Marina Hyde’s early analysis.

# Protestors in Leyton laid the ghosts of hedgehogs on the site of a proposed new ice rink.

# Visited the Wellcome Collection to remind myself how brilliant the Gallery and Reading Room are. They still have a copy of Matter on their magazines table.

Matter, the magazine made by members of Headway East London

The standout piece today was a short film, T3511, by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, which “explores a semi-fictional relationship between a biohacker and their subject”. The drama of a voiced email thread shows powerfully how “close” we all are to one another, genetically and otherwise. Another film shows a McDonald’s restaurant underwater as a comment on Climate Change, floating french fries all over the place.

McDonald’s under water

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