Diary: Week 6

February 7-13

SUNDAY 7 The Folk Show did its level best to address the gender imbalance in the current sea shanty craze by playing salty old sailing songs sung by women. But the fact is that in shanty culture all women are mermaids.

πŸ“Œ The drawing function in the PicsArt app is a lot more versatile than I first thought.  

Twig & Leaf

πŸ“Œ At the allotments AGM a group of bossy seniors got hooked on a flaky biodiversity theme and wouldn’t stop. Others argued that to demarcate an area of the allotments as wilderness was a nice idea, but that in pandemic times children need safe places to play, and that an integrated space in the allotments would be ideal. To be continued

πŸ“Œ In the JΓΌrgen Klopp biography I’m reading, the author Anthony Quinn references a BBC documentary, Morning in the Streets as depicting the Liverpool he grew up in. It was almost identical to mine. The war rubble was our playground. One of the children playing at scrubbing a doorstep looked like my cousin Kate.

πŸ“Œ Once again it’s the sniffer dogs that are the heroes of a crime drama. The imported Swedish cadaver dogs in The Investigation (Danish noir) were able to locate the missing head of a murdered journalist. Dogs, their handler informed us, have 200 million scent receptors compared with a meagre 5-6m owned by humans.

MONDAY 8 Killing Eve actor Jody Comer has confessed to using mint sauce on her roast chicken. And Twitter has been over-run with users claiming that actor Sheridan Smith is NOT the character Sausage from TV’s Masked Singer.

πŸ“Œ There’s still a Limbo vibe out there. Until now I haven’t even bothered to learn what all the buttons do on Zoom because I always ran with the idea that it was temporary. Now I’d quite like to become competent. Yesterday, using an old smartphone as one camera and an iPad as a main camera, I joined a Zoom Room twice. Today, during two meetings, one with a new Australian online art platform called Art et al. and the other with Chris to chat over co-production strategies, I started to embrace Zoom as a real tool. I think I might even have started “performing” to the Zoom camera. I’m going for a carefree look at the moment, with minimal movement but a few props.

πŸ“Œ The last mappy stitchwork project, which featured the original supercontinent Pangaea, was unsatisfying.


The City of London, depicting the Square Mile’s 25 wards, is far more enjoyable.

City of London

TUESDAY 9 The Economist reckons Trump will wriggle off the hook. Proving conclusively that he kicked off the insurrectionary attack on the Capitol is too tough a task, they say.

πŸ“Œ Hearing Coldplay’s Paradise still reminds me of the 2012 London Olympics. The chorus was played loudly during the medal awards in the Paralympic Games.

πŸ“Œ The Conversation says Sweden’s mask policy is even more shambolic than Britain’s. “You have to wear a mask while on public transport… Unless you have a reserved seat. Or you were born after 2004. Or if it’s between 9am and 4pm, or 6pm and 7am.”

πŸ“Œ The Morning Star reports complaints from Corbynists that Keir Starmer is acting like Gagger-in-Chief.

πŸ“Œ Children exposed to excessive air pollution grow up with poor thinking skills, new research says.

πŸ“Œ As I got to the front door I caught a whiff identical to the smell of the hospital day room I lived in for 4 months after my stroke in 2012.

WEDNESDAY 10 It is starting to look like a quirk of history that each century puts out cover versions of the previous one.

From the Morning Star

πŸ“Œ The Arcola theatre in Hackney is talking to scientists about how it can organise its spaces to reduce Covid transmission.

πŸ“Œ The UK government’s post-Brexit policy of enemy-building is crawling into action.

πŸ“Œ We can’t say we weren’t warned. Zoom is fast becoming part of the entertainment industry. Recently we saw a sickeningly misogynist attack on Jackie Weaver, a hapless official put in charge of a rural council meeting. And today comes a Texas lawyer whose Zoom filter got stuck and he appeared before a judge as a wide-eyed white cat.

THURSDAY 11 At Headway’s Zoom Art CafΓ© I tried to devise an etching style of printing using old shoe polish and a rolling pin. Not surprisingly, it failed miserably, the worst being this attempt at a Picasso.

Picasso in shoe polish

πŸ“Œ Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to seize control of the NHS. It wasn’t long ago that state ownership was seen by Conservatives to be a dangerous slide towards socialism. Nowadays, every twist and turn of government policy looks more and more like it came straight from the playbook of Tony Blair’s New Labour.

πŸ“Œ Holidays have become a human-rights issue.

πŸ“Œ Sam sent a self-portrait. I’m wondering if she will ever return to her trademark black-and white ink creations.

Self Portrait, by Sam Jevon
David Bowie, by Sam Jevon

πŸ“Œ The Mirror used to do a lot of these types of stories.

Read the full story…

FRIDAY 12 The Harry Styles song about treating people with kindness is an improbable cramming of childlike utterings into an equally improbable but very catchy word jumble.

πŸ“Œ It’s an open secret that locally, medics are using common sense and vaccinating whenever the opportunity arises.

From the Guardian…

πŸ“Œ It took about 30 seconds to pick these teams.

πŸ“Œ The Ecologist is often bang on the button these days, and today they’ve even got a decent free book download on offer.

πŸ“Œ This week’s Headway Home Studio was all about selfies. I wasn’t originally intending to join in, but a late spirit of caricature and absurdity swept in so I attempted a cartoon.

I Am Not A Cat, by Billy Mann

πŸ“Œ One of the idioms in the ‘How To Speak Emoji’ book I got for Christmas is: πŸš«πŸ‘™πŸ”€. It means “Don’t get your knickers in a twist”.

SATURDAY 13 It seems that at this time of year restaurant waiting staff like nothing more than to exchange stories of romantic meals gone wrong. They all have their own version of the man who arrived at the restaurant fully expecting soon to become a would-be groom only to end up having to down a nearly-full bottle of champagne all on his own. Google is a helpful source of these stories, too.

πŸ“Œ Tim Dowling’s adventures as a DIY bodger bear a striking resemblance to my own.

From the Guardian

πŸ“Œ One of our neighbours just told us they were a Thermomix Advisor. I had to Google that.

πŸ“Œ This is the type of discrimination we thought we’d never see in our lifetimes.

Read the full story…

Liverpool’s chronic decline in form was not made less depressing with the sight of Dawn at our front door with a belated bottle of MoΓ«t for my birthday.

πŸ“Œ Did I just hear someone say the English stole Stonehenge off the Welsh?

πŸ“Œ Gill sent us some photos of icicles on Blackfriars Bridge and on the Barbican waterfall. Cazz-Ann posted some from a frozen Vicky Park and Connie of some ducks pond-skating in Ruskin Park.

πŸ“Œ Lockdown has turned into the media Silly Season we only used to get during the Summer months.

πŸ“Œ Stuart just worked out that Jello Biafra’s real name is Eric Boucher.

Read last week’s Diary.

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