January 31-February 6
SUNDAY 31 Amazon has given itself a logo makeover, dropping the word Amazon and the shopping trolley, leaving a smiley cardboard box secured by some blue tape. It is said to be the online retail giant’s attempt to do a Nike swoosh.
📌 The vaccination project appears to be going so well that there’s speculation that the the government’s popularity will soar.
📌 I’ve never considered myself remotely paternal or nurturing, but when our nephew showed us his wife’s babyscan photo as part of a family Zoom quiz (in a ‘What is this?’ type question), I was deleriously happy.
📌 The characters in Succession are of a breed so separate from the existence of most people that they resemble wild animals in a human zoo all of their own.
📌 News of Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat of West Ham was overshadowed by Captain Tom, who has been taken to hospital.
MONDAY 1 The policing of space could soon become a hot potato. With the launch of 10 new pocket satellites, the space space immediately surrounding Earth is a teeming electronic rave of around 1,500 of these 1kg devices. The latest batch were catapulted into the heavens from the wing of an old Boeing 474 called Cosmic Girl.
📌 Something called Gamestop is in the news and the BBC has a useful explainer for dummies like me.
📌 Trying to learn the piano on a iPad with a free app is quite a humiliating experience. The simplified version of the Blue Danube is especially shaming.
📌 Twitter is not all about trolling and shameless self-promotion.
TUESDAY 2 The Morning Star has a fascinating essay by the Marx Memorial Library on what Imperialism looks like in the 21st Century.
📌 The Law of Diminishing Virulence tells us that over time the SARS-COV-2 virus will fizzle out to something resembling the common cold. New variants such as the B117 strain currently visiting Britain with deadly effect appear to turn the theory on its head, so don’t expect life “as normal” to return anytime soon.
📌 At the Guardian coffee/chat we got to see a new archive resource Ellie has been working on. I miss my days at the Archive, scrutinising and cataloguing ancient photos, so this was a nice reminder of better times.
📌 Michelle wants a rethink on the ethos of the studio and its “message”. It doesn’t easily fit into the Outsider Art/Naive Art category. We need to take ownership of the studio’s identity and find a way to describe it. “Discovery Through Art” (the current motto) works for me, but maybe not for others.
📌 The success of the vaccine rollout has been one of only a few positives in an ocean of negatives for the government. But unless the PM learns from the successes and failures, argues the Guardian, the future can in no way be viewed as a sunny place.
📌 In Succession, I think Shiv is about to be shivved by her dad. And Roman is developing a weird sexual thing with Gerri.
📌 A last-minute change of eye colour from blue to brown will haunt this project until it falls apart under the weight of potatoes.
WEDNESDAY 3 The Wellcome Collection has some good-looking online resources I’m keen to check out.
📌 The efficacy of the various vaccines have become a national conversation. It won’t be long before some nerd invents Vaccine Envy as a psychological condition.
📌 At our 10.30 Zoom Chris went into a bit of a rant about co-production. He sounded like a raving Trot.
📌 The pizza-style flatbread from yesterday’s dough came out well, a bit like a fougasse.
📌 The planning of our new kitchen is progressing stressfully, with my wife reporting some difficulty communicating in “bloke language”.
📌 My wife got fire hydrants in her I’m Not A Robot picture. I always get traffic lights.
📌 One blogger I follow, Zoë, is always happy to say how much she hates beards. And I don’t imagine the invention of the “Monkey Tail” will change her mind.
THURSDAY 4 The theory of marginal gains is starting to look more and more credible with Liverpool’s home defeat to Brighton. The home advantage of the “12th man” (noisy fans) has maybe been more important than anyone ever imagined.
📌 There are people I haven’t seen for so long I might have started to forget they exist. I can only presume there were once people in my life who were “just there”. They will have had a “soft” influence on me and a weird form of grief might strike if I ever see them again.
📌 The simple truth is that quarantine costs.
📌 Social media has democratised trading and investment, claims an article in The Conversation, which goes some way to painting a more sober picture of the GameStop sensation.
📌 At today’s Headway Art Café I tested the Valentine’s Rose simplified monoprint I will do for Shirley’s workshop on 14 February. It took 45 minutes.
We’ve still yet the crack the echo noise problems that kick in when two Zoomers attempt to join the same meeting in the same room.
FRIDAY 5 The Morning Star is digging into Keir Starmer’s dark past as an agent of the deep state. He was Director of Public Prosecutions in Tony Blair’s New Labour government and made a few moves that make Priti Patel look like Bambi.
📌 At the Headway Home Studio we tackled the Madonna & Child image that has prevailed throughout history. I found the homunculus versions hilarious and had to put my Zoom setting on mute because I was laughing so hard. Then I got a bit over-fascinated by Madonna’s left hand, which I inverted for some reason, so rather than cradling the baby Jesus (who looked like an ageing pub darts player) she was patting his imaginary head in a creepy horror movie.
Emily painted her entire composition in coffee.
SATURDAY 6 On the ’47 Synonyms for Odour’ website I found MEPHITIC.
📌 From Hero to Zero. Chancellor Rishi Sunak was not long ago seen as the government’s safest pair of hands. Now he’s being dubbed the Most Dangerous man in Britain.
📌 Luke reports his third case of lithium-ion battery bulge. I’d like to think I know what he’s talking about, but I don’t.