February 28-March 6
SUNDAY One blogger I follow, who is always good for a droll remark, reported that: “On the poetry front, things are going pretty much as you would expect.” He then referenced a poetry magazine called Obsessed With Pipework.
📌 In a column about the Salmond-Sturgeon war of words, Andrew Rawnsley wonders whether their public spitting match will convert into lost votes for the SNP, but ultimately concludes: “Even a badly damaged SNP will be a great deal more popular in Scotland than he [Boris] can ever hope to be.”
📌 The last of the three Zoom monoprinting workshops became what I always wanted it to be, which is a shared storytelling exercise hung on a creative activity. One of the group was married to a world famous physicist. Another had a brush with death in a whitewater rafting mishap.
📌 Very excited to find Sam’s Madonna & Child in my inbox.
📌 Mike Baldwin RIP.
📌 A class apartheid is growing around vaccination, says Nick Cohen. And it could get very ugly indeed.
📌 Stuart felt the need to tell me about Uncle Jack and Auntie Peggy’s stupid Labrador Spats, whose ability to defecate in hidden locations around the home was “awesome”.
MONDAY Here follows a short pompous essay…
When news that the actor Johnny Briggs had died, age 85, I penned a short piece of verse to commemorate his departure and worked it up into a scrapbook illustration.
In the process I stumbled on a word thing I have grandly titled the half alliteration. Or more pretentiously the demilliteration, which is best said with a French accent.
This word combo takes the hard sound at the centre of the two-syllable word KNICKER and pairs it with the hard sounding first letter of the one-syllable word KING.
The added beauty in the case of Johnny Briggs/Mike Baldwin is that the word KNICKER begins with a K that sounds like an N. The gratification of the K sound does not arrive until you have travelled half the length of the word. Neat, eh?
📌 The arrival of new variants of the coronavirus was always likely to be the biggest challenge going forward. So it is likely that the Pandemic will in future be managed by each nation at a local level but what form that takes and its severity will be factored by what is happening globally. We must learn to become both inward and outward looking. Nations will be forced to co-operate with other nations.
📌 Attempted the first of what will hopefully be a montage series in which a single newspaper or magazine is cut up and remade as a single page. I ruined this one by trying to finish it with PVA, which dries clear.
📌 It’s nice to learn that an afternoon nap is good for you. Nice also to learn my snoozing habit was shared by Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci.
📌 It’s official, then… Labour is no longer the party of the workers.
TUESDAY The food website Recipeasly has taken a kicking for cutting the biographical and anecdotal text bloggers include in their recipes. This type of editing was once routine in newspaper and magazine offices. Physical space on a printed page restricted the number of words that could appear. Brutal decisions, often made very quickly, determined what readers saw and what they didn’t. But publishing on the web removes that restriction, and editing online text is a different skill entirely.
📌 Boris wants to set up a fundraising charity to cover the cost of redecorating his flat.
📌 Scientists have spotted glow-in-the-dark sharks in New Zealand. They “backlight” themselves to illuminate the ocean floor as they search for food.
📌 CNN reports on whole towns in Mexico refusing to be vaccinated. The implications are complex and far-reaching, mainly for the world outside of such settlements.
📌 It is being reported that Trump got vaccinated in secret while he was still stoking the anti-vaccination argument.
📌 Some of the people who live nearby are quite embarrassing when they open the minds on the local online noticeboard.
📌 The India stitchwork tote bag is finished. Lakshmi said it is out of proportion. I wasn’t surprised given my poor drawing skills, but it was a very enjoyable “trip” to a fascinating country.
WEDNESDAY Our TV diet is now quite balanced. A year after the advent of Pandemia, we have binged and sampled everything we missed and all the those progammes that simply passed us by for reasons unknown.
We have just caught up with the detective series Unforgotten, starring Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar. The stories all have a similar shape (murder + fixed number of suspects + deep human interest) and Walker’s descent into breathy overemotion is as irritating as ever. But Sanjeev Bhaskar is solid and very convincing as a mildly troubled 40something family man.
We also finished Series 2 of Big Little Lies, the Netflix Original featuring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon as two out of 5 “wealthy” Californian mothers who “accidentally” conspire to kill an abusive husband.
The series is based on a book by Liane Moriarty. The end of Series 1 is where the book ends, my wife tells me. Series 2 was a confected continuation between Moriarty and screenwriter David E Kelley and heralds the arrival of Meryl Streep as the dead man’s mother who is bent on proving Kidman’s character Celeste (the corpse’s wife) to be lush, slut and all-round Bad Mom. And maybe even the killer of her precious son/sadist.
Now, like the rest of the world we await Series 3. A new series of Unforgotten has just started and the psychological thriller Man in Room 301 is ready to be viewed on BBC4. We still haven’t seen any episodes of the hit US series The Sopranos, or The Wire. And Buffy The Vampire Slayer is still pending. But for now we feel the past year has been used imaginatively to equip us with all the necessary TV smalltalk you need in modern times.
📌 Dolly Parton invented some new words for her hit song Jolene while she waited for her Moderna vaccine.
📌 While western countries have been bitching over who gets what vaccine and which one is better than the other, China, India Russia and others have been using their stocks of vaccine to gain power and soft influence around the world in what’s being called Vaccine Diplomacy..
📌 Rishi Sunak has been so busy polishing his public image and modelling the middle-class male look that he forgot to put something in today’s Budget.
📌 I’m starting to believe that even hardened Conservatives have failed to notice that their Party has been taken over by Labour.
THURSDAY Sam sent her drawing of the giraffe we studied at last week’s Home Studio session on points of view. I was pleased to notice she made something of its massive ballooned belly.
📌 At a Zoom meeting yesterday, when someone temporarily switched off their video feed, someone else swiftly wrote in the Chat, “She’s gone for a dump”.
📌 Franklin, a very grumpy cuttlefish, delights in squirting sea water at passing academics.
📌 Our postman Eric tells me that his hone town Bishop Auckland has the most successful amateur football team in the world, known locally as the Two Blues. He also told me to call my wife a Smoggy, in reference to her family’s home town Middlesbrough.
📌 My favourite ever shop, Wyvern Bindery, makes books for the Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts films.
📌 This could be the start of something big…
📌 The Pandemic has triggered a UK online gambling orgy. The bookies are laughing all the way to the bank.
FRIDAY It turns out that even frogs have learned how to zone out.
📌 The Women’s Equality Party is cranking up the volume of its campaign supporting unpaid carers.
📌 The bicycle basket that’s been turned into a bin in Pitfield Street still hasn’t been emptied. It probably doesn’t qualify as a council regulation collection point.
📌 A very sweet film on Netflix, The Dig, starring Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes and the archaeology of Sutton Hoo, surprisingly brought forth the controversial subject of historic acts of class discrimination.
📌 My cousin tells me that my love of stitchwork is shared by the actor George Clooneyi and that he is the leader of a new tribe of reconstructed men known as The Sew Bros.
SATURDAY The Conversation has a movie-waiting-to-happen story about a rumpled Victorian bomb-disposal expert who’d stroll up, casually defuse the deadly device then have a nice cup of tea while he picked his horses for the 2.30 at Towcester.
📌 The very definition of nepotism… The head of a big Irish hospital decided it was a good idea to vaccinate his kids before the 40 ward students in the queue.
📌 I’m getting quite good at repurposing last night’s chip-shop chips. Add chopped bacon and curry sauce for a delicious baked omelette-type thing.
📌 Gory stories are always that much better when they sound implausible.