Diary: Week 11

March 14-20

SUNDAY Ridley Scott’s Arctic exploration drama The Terror starts off dark, bleak and very slowly, but by Episode 3 the ice is melting and the fires are blazing, so to speak. There is a gay romance going bad, a nasty rivalry between two pigheaded ship’s captains, rats hanging on a clothes line, a tribal hex floating in the air and a hungry giant bear on the loose.

πŸ“Œ Glad to see the vast amounts of taxpayers’ money wasted exposed at last. Not sure the taxpayers will be able to drag themselves from the euphoria of the vaccine and the prospect of the pubs opening to notice.

πŸ“Œ My wife is very dedicated to finding new ways of doing things.

πŸ“Œ The promise I made myself NEVER to do anything techno/computer related with my wife has slipped into redundancy. Today I relented once again and agreed to help her make an iMovie of the communal singing project she masterminded over Christmas. It turned into a barking match from which I was forced to escape to the kitchen to β€œmake a beetroot salad” and pacify with Radio 2.

MONDAY Firoza did a brilliant interview on Radio Headway East London with Natasha about being a new mum with a brain injury. No great revelations, but a very warm feeling.

πŸ“Œ The new stitchwork tote bag project is a chance to revisit my hometown Liverpool. This one has gone ‘wrong’ already, but I keep telling myself that only I can see the wrong, so it doesn’t count.

πŸ“Œ Sharing a musical taste with the BBC Radio 2 presenter Steve Wright would once have been considered embarrassing. But now I am that shameful person. We both like the theme music to the Netflix series Big Little Lies.

πŸ“Œ New jobs are opening up in the police force for people who have a talent for face and voice recognition. Some of them can do both, and these specialists are awarded the title “Super-Recogniser”.

πŸ“Œ The funny thing is that even though I have my e-reader app of choice on all my electronic devices, when I want to read a book I reach for a really ancient companion.

Old friend, Amazon Kindle (2007)...

πŸ“Œ Stephen Bush in the New Statesman points out that the successful policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard took place in Nottingham, and that in Scotland, Rangers supporters were not pinned to the ground and kicked for celebrating their team’s triumph in the Premiership.

πŸ“Œ Liverpool had the rare experience of winning a game.

TUESDAY You can always rely on the Morning Star to say the unsayable

Read the full story here…

πŸ“Œ The attempt to restore the cute retro mini tripod goes on. New part arriving from the internet tomorrow.

Retro cool…

πŸ“Œ A lengthy Zoom meeting with Chris, Cristina and Laura about co-production had its lighter moments, the best being when Chris suggested we never use the word “co-production”. I felt like I was in a Harry Potter book.

WEDNESDAY The government has decided to invent a new game for young people. It’s called Spot The Cop, and it would make a superb reality TV freak show.

πŸ“Œ We are staggering with the shipmates of The Terror towards a suitably gothic end.

πŸ“Œ Checking for nose hair before a Zoom seems reasonable, the compulsion to brush your teeth seems weird.

πŸ“Œ In my video interview about writing headlines I used the “underpants” metaphor: write one that might be plain and dull but is NOT wrong. If time permits, tart it up later with some alliteration, rhyme, pun, etc.

πŸ“Œ It will be interesting to see if the government now opens fire on its former commander.

Full story here…

THURSDAY The Mirror is reporting a “vaccine chaos”, but on another page tells me my second Pfizer dose is safe as houses. The government looks to be grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory as negative vaccine stories pile higher and higher

πŸ“Œ At Headway we trialled a “Portrait Pinch Pot” workshop with clay for the Barbican.

Two versions of me…

… and trialled also an idea for a collaboration with a studio in Cuba around illustrating commemorative stamps.

The large central image is upside down. Apologies to Chris Miller…

πŸ“Œ We watched, riveted, as Michelle stopped talking about the discomfort of the brace she’s had fitted to correct a twisted tooth, to turn Steph into a skullcap model in preparation for a hat-making workshop with the Whitechapel Gallery.

Steph’s skullcap hat template in progress…

πŸ“Œ If Catherine Street is anything to go by, the role of webinar coordinator must be one of the dullest jobs ever invented.

FRIDAY I was reminding myself how powerful Adrian Mole’s diary was in places when the radio programme ended and the announcer told me I’d been listening to Chris Packham reading from his memoir, Fingers In The Sparkle Jar.

πŸ“Œ If Theresa May ever gets a mention in future books of quotations it could be for her withering statement to a nurse that “there is no magic money tree”.

The rest of the current UK parliament (until 2024) is likely to have that sign hanging round its neck, according to Larry Elliott in the Guardian. Deep austerity lies in wait for Post-Pandenic Britain, he says, as shown in the fine print of Rishi Sunak’s latest budget.

πŸ“Œ Looks like Priti Patel is determined to make our voting system even more rigged than it already is.

πŸ“Œ Monoprinting old Cuban commemorative postage stamps using wood-restorer’s wax really is a lot of fun.

πŸ“Œ Totally envious of the seaweed-print note-card collection my wife got as a belated birthday surprise.

Seaweed note-cards…

πŸ“Œ Headway Home Studio was a bit weird because the still-life image we tackled was a picture of my desk.

New, improved work space…

SATURDAY Peter James’s crime writing always scored very low in my ranking, and the TV incarnation of his Brighton-located detective Roy Grace is little better, despite the expertise of John Simm in the lead role. The twin crime-story crimes of a duff idea (stag party in Brighton, yawn) plus the archetypal (cue cliche) “troubled” male detective struggling to pose as “complex” are its first-hurdle failures.

πŸ“Œ Patrick Kielty did a good stand-up show on the radio about Ireland after Brexit. The best joke was the one about Boris building a tunnel to connect an independent Scotland with a united Ireland.

πŸ“Œ Meanwhile back in England, Home Secretary Priti Patel (aka, “The Pritster”) wants to turn both Gibraltar and the Isle of Man into Rikers-Island-style processing centres for asylum seekers.

πŸ“Œ Marina Hyde sometimes nails it in just one line.

πŸ“Œ The Mirror’s one-year-on look back on the first days of the pandemic makes for a grim reminder.

πŸ“Œ If only you could see yourself as others do…

πŸ“Œ The New Statesman has a long thoughtful piece on how post-Brexit Britain can preserve the union and thrive by creating a new “socially inclusive innovation economy” in which all citizens ultimately end up becoming “technologically equipped artisans” of one sort or another.

πŸ“Œ Sam sent a picture of what she describes as a “steamrollered rhino”.

Rhino, by Sam Jevon

Read all of my Diaries.

5 thoughts on “Diary: Week 11

  1. I can imagine Chris Packham’s diary resembling Adrian Mole’s. I love Packham because he’s such an enthusiast, but if I was stuck in Arctic ice with him for months, he’d be the first one in the pot.

    Love the quote “assemblage of dead information”. I once asked a class of kids why Henry VIII didn’t eat chips and was shouted down by the teachers because “they don’t do Tudors until next year”.

    I didn’t realise that knowledge was so stratified that not one of them had discussed Henry VIII with their parents or watched him on Horrible Histories.


    1. I was actually staggered as to how good the writing was. I love Packham’s enthusiasm, too, and only a crack actor could have read the book better than he does. That New Statesman essay goes into some detail about parroting facts rather than really learning, which is a subject you would die hearing about if we were stuck in Arctic ice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gave up on ‘The Terror’ after episode two. It seemed to posses the quality of each episode lasting for hours so I decided it was as stuck and not moving as they apparently were meant to be.
    Currently reading Chris Packhams biography, the scenes he describes of him as a youngster, often in third person,do have this Adrian Mole element. It seems to be fictionalised at first, but knowing his Aspergers it may well be as accurately remembered in minute detail as it appears.

    Liked by 1 person

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