Diary: Week 50


December 6-12

SUNDAY The idea that the EU should separate its Economic function from its Socio-cultural function (its “Values”) is a tantalising one. Brexit highlights the difficulty in pulling it off, even if the inclination to make it happen ever existed. Instead, it will probably stutter along as it is, pretending to be a genuine union of nations.

πŸ“Œ The gender fluidity arguments were always headed to the courts. Twitter doesn’t seem like the right place to deal with it.

Read the full story here

πŸ“Œ Finally completed Friday’s Home Studio project, which was a study of the ’12 Dozen’ ceramic eggcups Alex and Dave made a few years ago. One was a cup that held 7 eggs.

My version of the Brady-Briggs 7-Up egg cup

πŸ“Œ Chopping onions: the volume of blood was quite impressive.

MONDAY The Conversation has a big new series about the world’s oceans (now commonly referred to as a singular global Ocean), our relationship with and our understanding of them.

The world’s oceans take up more than 90% of the excess heat that comes from burning fossil fuels and a third of the additional COβ‚‚ they create. They produce most of our oxygen, help shape the winds that influence our weather, and provide food and income for millions 

Read the full story

πŸ“Œ The old Bennite ultra-left preference for a divorce from the EU has resurfaced with a call from union boss Len McCluskey for Labour to back any deal Boris puts in front of them.

πŸ“Œ It’s Youth Climate Action Day.

πŸ“Œ I only learned last night what an upside-down smiley emoji meant, thanks to a website specialising in Emojiology. I think I shall be making good use of this new discovery, along with this useful story in It’s Nice That.

πŸ“Œ Once you’re on London’s extensive civic consultation merry-go-round it’s hard to get off. Focus groups, round tables, online surveys and talking shops proliferate. In healthier times you’d get a free lunch if you bothered to turn up. Today we had a Zoom group chat with Travelwatch London, a statutary consumer group that attempts to join up the thinking between user and service provider. Healthwatch London runs in the same way. We talked about our Covid public transport experiences and made a wishlist for the future. The top two desirables were for cyclists to stop using the pavements and for bus drivers to better manage the health guidelines regarding face coverings and passenger numbers.

TUESDAY Stuart pointed to a macho Trump-like character called Brian Rose, who will stand in the London Mayoral elections next year. A fishing expedition on Instagram uncovers some family shots from a holiday in Turkey. In one his wife Mariana is pictured on a sunbed reading a real book called Approaches To Psychology.

πŸ“Œ As my head hit the pillow last night I could sense this story’s appearance this morning.

πŸ“Œ It’s still a very weird experience to hear the Morning Star talk like a member of the Conservative Party.

πŸ“Œ Prepping the new year wax monoprinting workshop gave me the opportunity to study the masterpiece (again).

Can you tell what it is yet?

WEDNESDAY A journalist in Brussels described Boris as “noisy”, but added that he was an “interesting personage”.

πŸ“Œ I’m doing five minutes on Friday for a Zoom class with the Guardian Education Centre. I need to think of five dos and don’ts in writing headlines. I might slim it to three.

πŸ“Œ The picture caption on this story was “Is this a needle which I see before me?”

From the Morning Star

πŸ“Œ Joined a Headway Zoom meeting with the Barbican about our potential upcoming collaboration around the Jean Dubuffet/Art Brut exhibition they are readying to open in February. There was a lot of sometimes fevered talk about Dubuffet’s collaboration with the Nazis during the second world war (he sold them wine). One member of the group believed the Barbican have glossed over this. I suggested that our studio’s involvement should be a pop-up art movement called The Collaborators, in which we question, through art and conversation, what it means to be “a collaborator”. This should, I added, involve taking over the bar.

πŸ“Œ Just as Boris was out looking for some nice flowers to give to Ursula this evening, something happened to make him squirm.

Full story here

πŸ“Œ Boris and Ursula dined on scallops and turbot while discussing fishing rights.

THURSDAY My wife is mildly amused that I looked up Tina Daheley on the the internet not to see what she looked like but to check how to spell her surname.

πŸ“Œ Michelle videoed me and Chris deep in discussion about what Outsider Art is and the Barbican’s Dubuffet show.

πŸ“Œ The first Christmas dinner of 2020.

The gravy was curry sauce. The pudding was peach trifle.

FRIDAY There’s a whacky theatre company that is taking over empty offices and staging a murder mystery, which they Zoom to the office’s staff at home in their slippers.

πŸ“Œ Did an online tutorial with a group of Y9 pupils in Cornwall on headline writing. Make the verb work was my message. It was hard to tell if they were listening.

πŸ“Œ Babs Windsor has died and the tributes are flooding in, so we gave Paul’s portrait some display space in her honour.

Barbara Windsor by Paul Wright

πŸ“Œ At the Headway Home Studio we were tasked with finishing an unfinished portrait by Gustav Klimt. I got quite carried away in a memory of Auntie Gertie, who was all fur coat and lipstick.

Auntie Gertie

πŸ“Œ Some GP surgeries are opting out of the Covid vaccination programme because they don’t have the staff to do it.

πŸ“Œ The Coronavirus crisis has become all consuming. It even seems to exist in stories that have nothing to do with it. Nothing can be seen or recalled outside of its prism.

Tap image for the full story

SATURDAY It’s hard not to conclude that new TV subscription streaming channels will “splurge” into view next year. I hope The BBC and Channel 4 can maintain the high quality of their work in the face of this competition.

From The Economist

πŸ“Œ The team always outperforms the individual is one of those sayings that cries out to be challenged. Probably because it sounds so glib more than it being false. A HuffPost story about the teamwork behind the Oxford vaccine illustrates the truth of it.

πŸ“Œ Andy Beckett nails an ironic point about Brexit: that the power to make your own rules will take over after December 31, but the governing party will then also be forced to start doing it, and that is not in the ‘freedom’ DNA of the British Conservative Party.

πŸ“Œ British politicians could never succeed in the EU because they believe that politics is exciting and you need to have a talent for the extraordinary. They could never hack it in the dull EU world of negotiating policy sentence by sentence because it is not glamorous enough. They see themselves as stars and stars don’t do boring stuff.

πŸ“Œ In moment of schadenfreude, the prospect of watching MPs on the government side dealing with the post-Brexit shitstorm sounds quite amusing.

Read all of my Diaries.

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