28 March-3 April
SUNDAY Belarus has been banned from the Eurovision Song Contest for being too political.
📌 The Guardian’s Imaging Department is well stocked with graphic design talent. But too often these days their work goes uncredited. It’s as if simple, effective editorial design is not rated very highly next to the organisation’s more artistic illustrators.
📌 My wife is fed up with 5 Live presenters talking about Line of Duty having briefly muttered “spoiler alert”. Now she insists we watch it ‘live’. Tonight “The OCG” made a nostalgic return. Or was that in Keeping Faith?
📌 Sam’s Arc de Triomphe is a return to the black-and-white micro detail in which she thrives.
📌 A splash-the-cash culture at the heart of government could normally be explained by desperation or incompetence. But this HuffPost UK story tells another story.
MONDAY Today’s the day The Population has their picnic. Fingers crossed they steer clear of the New Obedience, which is sitting dangerously close to the edge of the cliff.
📌 Jennifer has spoken. She was on the sofa with Boris while Marina was elsewhere.
📌 My sister, who lives in Paris, has just been vaccinated. The pharmacist said to her, “I must warn you, it’s Astra Zeneca.”
📌 It looks like Alex Salmond is trying to game the system but has failed to spot that his own unpopularity is the real decider.
TUESDAY One blogger I follow, Stacey, reports her children inventing a game to play at home in which they staff a virus vaccination centre. One controls the queue and registration, the other delivers the jab and warns of possible side effects, etc.
📌 A mistrust in public officials and their message is stopping some people from getting the jab. The actor Lenny Henry has written an open letter urging black Britons to get vaccinated. Then this arrived…
📌 There are a lot of Barnard Castle jokes flying around. One woman on the radio says there’s a sign as you enter the town saying “Welcome to Barnard Castle, the best place in Britain to test your eyesight”.
📌 Had an idea to adapt the wax monoprint workshop into a selfie version using a bluetooth receipt printer to create the master. I might recast it as a cloning exercise – Clone Printing, or something. It allows a conversation to happen about ego and the self, narcissism, etc. Could be fun.
📌 I should be surprised by this story, but I’m not. Maybe my trust in public officials has finally caught up with everyone else’s.
WEDNESDAY I’m testing the idea of writing each chapter of my current book as a plain 5ws paragraph. Chapter 1 of Long Time No See, by Ed McBain, is… War veteran turned blind beggar Jimmy Harris, 30, was last night found dead with a slit throat. He was two blocks from the home in Diamondback he shares with his blind wife Isabel. In his pocket was 12 dollars and 4 cents in quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Alongside him lay his seeing-eye dog Stanley, unconscious and smelling of chloroform.
📌 G Gordon Liddy, RIP, will forever rest in our minds with the Grassy Knoll, the Book Depository and Deep Throat.
📌 There seems to be some confusion over when exactly Harry & Meghan got married. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been forced to intervene.
📌 The Bag Of Chips Murder could have been a scene from a Coen Brothers movie.
📌 Jab2 done. No side effects so far.
THURSDAY We are both suffering from Jab2 side effects. Cold symptoms and an aching arm. And today’s the day the new kitchen units arrive.
📌 One of the most revealing aspects of the government’s controversial Racial Disparity Review goes back to a quote from Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he said he wanted to “change the narrative” of race relations in Britain. Changing the facts might have been a better idea, but Boris has always been a great believer in the power of a good story.
📌 The new Phomemo bluetooth sticker printer will be great for making combines and text work. But it is probably too small (W: 57mm) for monoprinting miniatures.
📌 The weekly instalments from the New Statesman Archive are proving worthwhile. Today’s email points us to a 1969 review of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint with the revelation that the book had arrived “flaunting its reputation ahead of it like the bloated phallus of a Greek comedian”. Another article focuses on Lloyd George’s wartime attempt at a low-octane form of nationalisation.
📌 The new custom-made headboard in our bedroom looks like it was stolen from an overpriced European boutique hotel.
📌 Another London Boroughs stitchwork tote bag is underway. They make such good gifts.
📌 Ed McBain’s Long Time No See, Chapter 2 (see Wednesday, above)… The victim’s wife told the detective firmly that she had no idea who might want to kill Jimmy. She was lying. Later at home she was physically threatened by an unknown somebody presumed to be a criminal accomplice of her dead husband.
FRIDAY Make Votes Matter offered an April Fool from the Danish Parliament, in which an earnest plea to adopt the UK’s voting system descended into mass giggling.
📌 My monoprinting workshop seems to have worked wonders on Harshita. Her use of colour is impressive.
📌 For reasons I am at a loss to explain, reading about Joe Biden’s big infrastructure plans for the US made me want to spurn the curated music playlists I normally listen to (Spotify, Amazon Music) and opt instead for Jackson Browne’s ‘Lives In The Balance’ album. It reminded me why I used to admire the USA, and I recalled that time I met Browne at a hotel in St James, London, to discuss the album. He enjoyed the conversation so much he took me up to his room and played me a cassette tape of the new, as yet unreleased Warren Zevon album.
📌 Since my cousin Kate and her husband moved to Scotland, my interest in our northern neighbour country has grown. The 2016 fight over EU membership and the perennial battle for independence have somehow become less of a fringe issue. And now I learn Scotland is (perhaps not so surprisingly) a hotbed of peasant rebellion. I exaggerate, but it was fascinating to read about the can-do group of environmentalists who clubbed together to buy 5,200 acres of land off the Duke of Buccleuch in order to create a nature reserve.
📌 One B&B owner on A New Life In The Sun called her B&B co-owner a “daft moo”. And Yorkshireman Steve has decided to “take his bouncy-castle business to the next level” by including a rodeo bull.
SATURDAY Ed McBain’s Long Time No See, Chapter 3 in precis… When detectives arrived to accompany the victim’s wife to identify her husband’s body, they found her at home, similarly dead, throat slit. The apartment had been thoroughly searched and trashed. There was obviously a connection between the two killings.
📌 As if the EU hadn’t screwed up enough, first in its handling of mass migration, then with Covid, the Morning Star reminds us of the itchy problem of nationalism and fascism that has been at its door for some time.
📌 The monoprint miniature etchings work better than I thought they would. An A4 page made into a mini zine could hold a 7/14 collection.
📌 As a teenager the wall beside my bed was covered in bad poetry that “came to me” in the middle of the night. I doubt it still exists, but this story in the Mirror suggests my embarrassment might one day be exposed.
📌 Huffpost UK obviously has the nation’s best interest at heart…