SUNDAY The media has been picking over the Prime Minister’s character. Not all of the analysis is positive.
# Donald Trump has finally admitted he lost to Biden.
# My wife has set up a Twitter account for her singing project, but no one can see it.
# The Italy stitchwork project is moving slowly but enjoyably. The aim was always to make Italy look like a colourfully decorative thigh-length boot in a comedic Anne Summers style. There’s still some work to do, but it’s already looking quite pervy.
# Just in case you wanted to know what people round here are worried about.
# I’m a Celebrity… is from Wales. Alfie Moon and some fella who was sick before the show started got picked to do the first trial Welsh Food trial. My wife’s surprised the show isn’t an animal-rights target.
# Queen’s Gambit is our new go-to serial drama, with Stath Lets Flats as the short comedy interlude, even though the title is a bit of a tongue-twister.
MONDAY Does anyone really care who killed Lula Landry?
# Prince Charles went to Germany and said “no country is an island”.
# Lockdown casualties will one day be mourned in the way war veterans are today. A friend of a friend had for months been suffering a persistent cough. The doctor thought little of it and consistently failed to make the correct diagnosis. The patient is now riddled with cancer and will soon die, alone.
# My wife recalled the school dinners that included a brown burnt custard for which the convent school pupils wrote a silly chant. It went:
Would you like to try some?
Mmm, yes please!
There was an alternative last line for those not in the mood, which went, “No, not me!” The childhood revelation was prompted because I made a savoury porridge for lunch and flavoured the water with Marmite, which made the ensemble look like Guinness sick.
# Boris has been forced to self-isolate because he stood too close to one of his mates who had The Covids. He phoned the radio to tell them he was fine working at home, that wiping the baby’s arse is a breeze and that he is “fit as a butcher’s dog”. One of those three descriptions is a lie.
# The Guardian’s Country Diary was always likely to be a hard sell to a seasoned city boy like me. But the writing is so good it would be insane not to stop by occasionally. A recent one from Yorkshire started, “Winds have stolen much of the autumn colour”.
# Now that Trump has grudgingly conceded defeat, attention is turning to America’s place in the world.
# The Eclectic Light Company tells us about Pan, the Greek god of nature who the Romans knew as Faunus and who was a goat from the waist down. Images of Pan are strewn across the history of art, normally in scenes involving full nudity. So no one could ever say Pan wasn’t a faun guy.
# The doctor called with the results of my wife’s recent blood test and it came back positive for Covid anti-bodies.
# Endurance is still the keyword.
# There are Covid patients in the US whose dying words are to deny the existence of the virus and to complain about Biden’s election victory.
# After the departure of the two enfants terrible Boris counted as best mates, he went in search of attention and found it in Scotland. Devolution was the worst thing that ever happened to it, he said, which prompted Marina Hyde to describe this kind of Boris behaviour as his attempt “to play Falstaff to his own Prince Hal”.
# Ever the glutton for a cheap pun…
# Sam sent her portrait of Grayson Perry, which makes mine look feeble.
# “Don’t spew!” Vernon screamed at Todd. He didn’t, but Vernon did when he tried to eat a deer’s testicle.
WEDNESDAY One of the bloggers I follow writes an occasional series in which she relates the ups a downs of online dating. In a recent posting she used one of her native Dutch expressions to describe how some of her potential suitors might see her…
# The vaccine producers are all rushing to the starting line. Meanwhile, vaccines might not be the best answer. If the future is about dodging viruses, early detection could become key. And news that The Covids can be detected in sewage means it won’t be long before our toilets start telling us to go and get tested.
# An “audacious middle-aged couple” have been roaming Norfolk in search of gullible pub landlords who will let them eat steak, guzzle whisky and sleep it off in one of his rooms. Then they will scarper without paying, leaving behind a dubious yarn about a redundancy cheque they’ll get “in a few days”.
# Putting headlines on T-shirts is an old trick, but still lots of fun, especially when you doctor them in Procreate.
# Discovery of the day is that Nils Lofgren played piano on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush album.
# Bad day for Jeremy Corbyn. And Boris has just nicked his “Green Revolution” policy.
THURSDAY This Corbyn business is turning into one of those dodgy 19th Century circus acts involving dwarfs and amputees.
# I wonder how many students are secretly hoping the lockdown rules DO NOT get relaxed at Christmas so that families can be reunited.
# At the Headway Art Café Tirzah and Trevor did some fabulous bickering, and Jason joined in.
# The PM’s newly announced Green Industrial Revolution is aspiration camouflaged as commitment, says the Guardian. Like everything Borissian, what is said and what gets done are often very different things.
# On hearing that my wife tested positive for the Covid anti-bodies, one of our friends asked to sleep with her. I’m told anti-bodies cannot be shared in this way.
FRIDAY Stuart is starting to sound like a Bruce Springsteen convert. The other day we exchanged messages about Nils Lofgren, including his role in the E-Street Band.
And yesterday Stuart messaged about Blinded By The Light, whereupon I launched into a pompous sermon about the Springsteen original being vastly superior to the Manfred Mann cover version.
I included in my delivery from the pulpit a host of lyrical detail pointing to Springsteen’s great songwriting talent, and was convinced Stuart had turned a significant corner when a message arrived late last night saying he was listening to The Rising and “feeling quite emotional”.
# Hackney is having a public vote to name its nine cycleways. Understandably wary of asking for suggestions (the last time that happened, the public named an Antarctic explorer ship “Boaty McBoatface”), the question is multiple choice. A) “Tao’s Route”, after Giro d’Italia cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart, who lived locally. B) “Starley Freeway”, in honour of locally-born J. K. Starley, who is widely credited as the inventor of the modern bicycle. C) “Bernie Grant Cycleway”, after the Tottenham MP.
# The PM can’t afford to lose any more of the nasty people he likes to keep close to him.
# At the Headway Home Studio we did a picture of Alex in Bauhaus-inspired costume.
# Full Fact reports: “At Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour MP Ruth Jones claimed that the English contact tracing programme system cost £1,700 per person.” The report goes on to say that this figure is not for England alone but for the whole of the UK.
# Heard that Ben is leaving Headway to return to the parental home in Somerset. More and more people are doing this now. I’ve been asked to do a farewell video message, which I’m dreading.
# Hey, Boz, sometimes the attempt to appear visionary is simply not enough.
# I don’t know why I’m surprised, but Neil has lived in Norway for what seems like forever, yet his sense of humour hasn’t budged an inch.
SATURDAY Looks like “investment in defence” is code for buttering up the arms dealers.
# Tim Dowling finishes his column with a quote that can be stretched way out of its own context.
# The Conversation also has an animal story to get us standing to attention.
# A line in one of Lucy’s poems jumped out: “the vagrancy of a dream”.
# Can you have “lopsided playing field” that needs levelling?
# Boris is “sticking with Prit”.
# Tabloid headlines are still among the best. Even the long ones…