November 1-7, 2020
SUNDAY 1 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 2 The failure to implement a remote-learning plan will soon bring another headache for the government.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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 vindalooWee 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 3 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 4 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.
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.
THURSDAY 5 Someone on Quora asks what rights a UK citizen has if pulled over in a vehicle by police and questioned. The answer is surprisingly few.
# Twitter is putting public warnings on Donald Trump’s messages to the world.
# My carer went into a rant about the Lockdown 2.0 and the lack of social distancing.
# Weird dream last night in which I drove to Wallingford for a lunch with relatives, deposited my wife at the restaurant, went to park the car, but then totally forgot the name of the restaurant. This was before everyone had mobile phones, so I was forced to hand myself in to the police, stating pathetically that I was lost.
# There’s a brilliant line in one of Zoe’s confessionals: “I’ve always been on an interesting divide when it comes to cops.” This is after driving through a red light.
# At the Headway Art Cafe today I finished the doggy stitchwork tote bag and started on Italy. Got an email later from Sam asking for an Australia.
# Our date-night tapas supper will be nice. The red-onion and goat’s cheese tortilla went a bit flat, but the garlic mushrooms look good.
# Can someone please press STOP on the coverage of this sodding US election.
# Numbers in headlines don’t always work, but this one is a success.
FRIDAY 6 The council want to glam up Petticoat Lane market to make it a ‘destination’. They held a Zoom meeting with City residents to introduce a community banner-making project to focus on Petticoat Lane’s historical role in the textiles and clothing industries. The sounds, the smells and the pure theatre of the market and its characters was the dominant memory recalled by those at the meeting, so you end up asking yourself, apropos banner-making, what fabric might best call to mind the smell of a freshly made bagel, or the fleshy whiff coming from the open door of a kosher butcher’s shop?
# Trump won’t go easily. It’s too late to start a war with China, but a new US Civil War could be his dubious legacy.
# My junk-food taste buds stood to attention by the idea of a whole Christmas Dinner in one tin.
But a second course of two mince pies after a first course of scrambled egg and bacon just seemed a bit too weird.
# Football fans will be familiar with the person who becomes an arsehole when their team wins, but when their team loses normally has the sense to keep their arseholesomeness to themselves. #uselections
SATURDAY 7 7am. It’s still not finished! Biden has been “inching closer” for three bloody days!
# Two very nice short pieces this morning: the Dutch blogger Zoë on her demons, of which we’re led to believe she has a healthy collection. And Shawn doing a funny interview with a vampire, who admits that the night life has lost its charm: “Give me a quiet night with wine and a veggie Pad Thai and I’m all set.”
# There was an epidemiologist on the radio saying the government should incentivise Lockdown 2.0 by giving those tested positive a month’s free subscription to Netflix and an account at the local takeaway.
# Boris is reported to be having a chat with that dignified woman from the EU this afternoon. It’s fascinating to imagine what tone he will adopt.
# The printer wouldn’t work. I changed the ink cartridges and it still didn’t work. Then my wife pointed out subtly that I’d failed to close the lid to the ink compartment. Then the printer worked.
# A recipe I looked at recently required “pork floss”. Seems it is pork that has been stewed in soy sauce until it disintegrates, then dried, then pulverised until it looks like fluff, then sprinkled, or put in sandwiches.
# And finally, they finished counting in Pennsylvania.
# Someone in Philadelphia told Donald Trump to put his “big-boy pants on”.
# I’m not a numbers person, but the adult population of the USA is roughly 220 million. Biden and Trump both scored around 70m votes each. Which suggests the country is split 3 ways and not 2. One third of the adult population, for whatever reason, is not covered by the voting system.
# I think the Spanish cowboy looks quite good with a black background.
See all of my Diaries. A new one, Week 46, will be published on 15 November.