SUNDAY Chapter 7 of Ed McBain’s Long Time No See in one short paragraph is… At the funeral, detective Carella learned that a) Jimmy was having nightmares, and b) He had a dodgy get-rich-quick scheme on the go with an old Army pal.
📌 The Observer observes in its otherwise flattering summary of Prince Philip’s life that he… “was not afraid to cause controversy through his occasional public use of racist and sexist language long considered unacceptable.” Arrogant hereditary privilege was always the vibe he gave off, and the death of that isn’t something to be mourned.
📌 The government’s soaring popularity makes the Labour Party’s role as political pest all the more important. Very few people can imagine them as a governing entity, but they can easily be seen as a modifying force.
📌 Sam sent her drawings from the Home Studio session last week in which we all pictured Headway Chair Glen Hodgson re-living his punk past.
MONDAY A sinister power grab has slipped in over the past year.
📌 We’d never seen Meet The Richardsons, presuming it to be a tortured spin on the idea that bickering couples are somehow funny. We were wrong. It is hilarious, a self-referential mockumentary in the class of W1A.
📌 Covid Veterans are likely to become a fixture of future society. Those with Long Covid medical needs will be the most prominent, but other, more invisible sufferers of many and varied residual conditions will come to form a significant rump of the population. There’s already a blank look in some of those faces. Of joy empied out.
📌 There’s still no clear sign as to when the sun will come out for any length of time.
📌 We’re still washing our dishes in a bucket, in the bath, and the boy blackbird outside is desperate for a girlfriend (again).
📌 No new acronyms this week…
…But we were in stitches watching one of TV’s Gogglebox stars taking meticulous notes while watching the drama unfold.
📌 The David Cameron Covid Cash scandal is starting to snowball.
📌 My wife’s irritation at the media takeover by HRH Phil, etc, was shared by others.
📌 A fascinating article in Prospect magazine putting out a less-than flattering portrait of saintly scientist Stephen Hawking describes his habit of betting on physics debates. “When, in 2012, he bet against the discovery of the Higgs particle at the LHC, it wasn’t because of any strong theoretical argument but because it inserted him into a story in which he’d played no part. Sure enough, the Daily Telegraph ran the headline: “Higgs Boson: Prof Stephen Hawking Loses $100 Bet.”
📌 Looks like Boris is chasing Dave.
📌 Wake me up when the Primark stampede is over.
TUESDAY Someone on Quora wants to know how to spot an imposter pretending to be from the UK. The top answer says the giveaway is the non-use of the definite article. So, if I say something like, “In UK we love to drink warm beer” rather than “In the UK…” I am quite obviously a fake Brit.
📌 I punted to ceramicist Natalie an old idea of Cubic Earth, spinning on a tilted axis with the ancient supercontinent Pangea supine across its surface like Dalí’s melting clock. Years ago I imagined it as an installation at Stonehenge.
📌 Fascinating times lie ahead. Everyone will emerge from the pandemic restrictions at different speeds. There is no singular experience, which begs the idea that new interest groups will form around a given experience. Those forced back to the slavery of the workplace could become a major voice. Parents forced to deal with home schooling might now become more active in education, etc.
📌 The condensation of Ed McBain’s Long Time No See into one paragraph per chapter continues with Chapter 8… At the military hospital, detective Carella discovered that Jimmy’s nightmares were psychotic recollections of a gang rape he witnessed as a teenager. And back in the city, another blind beggar got their throat slit.
📌 The African Rivers stitchwork T-shirt has turned into the African Rivers Plus Climatic Zones T-shirt.
📌 It didn’t take long for the slimy profiteers to crawl out into the sunshine. One firm, Randox, is offering discount PCR test to returning travellers with “partner airlines”.
📌 Being old and disabled, Lockdown hasn’t been such a dramatic restriction for me as it has for others. But strolling is definitely more exciting today.
WEDNESDAY Another Zoom meeting at Barcelona Time made me want to be there. We talked about the positives of lockdown and what the winning keywords were. There’s a danger that some of the good will be forgotten, so identifying single word prompts such as tolerance, acceptance, compassion and friendship is the mission. The message will come from their description.
📌 The “Get Cameron” snowball is starting to pick up speed.
📌 The Chumocracy and the sleaze is viral, says Sir Starmer.
📌 Dead roses do have a certain beauty.
📌 The art et al. website is launched today. It is jam packed and not very pretentious at all, which is what I was hoping. The front page is very raw, which I think is good for a launch. I toyed with other ideas for a while but gave it up as pointless. The nitpicker in me was mildly irritated that the site seems unable to decide whether it is art et al. or Art et al.(.). The difference is immensely philosophical.
📌 Super-rich people who want to pay more tax? Just so their governments can then hand it to their super-rich friends who think paying tax is for losers, I suppose.
THURSDAY Starmer might just be on to something with his Sleaze rant.
📌 Obligatory food photo (lunch).
📌 In the studio, messing around with the Bluetooth receipt printer and some portraits of Michelle Carlile.
📌 Obligatory food photo (supper).
FRIDAY Mark Zuckerberg loves to remind me of key moments from my past.
📌 At Headway Home Studio we explored working on unusual surfaces from a set of Brain’s plastercast self-portrait sculptures.
I chose to work on scrunched-up tinfoil, which I then opened out and flattened. It was a challenge. Eventually I managed to scratch out something using Posca pens and ink. The tiny ridges of the foil obstructed every stroke of the paint and forced me to “surrender” to its physical barrier. I also added nipples and gold underpants to the figure.
📌 The Tory Sleaze story brings to mind the words dog and bone, and not in the context of Cockney rhyming slang.
📌 The next stitchwork project, a tote bag featuring Pablo Picasso as drawn by Chris Miller (titled ‘Pablo’s Sack’). I turned an affectionate portrait of a great artist into the stiff image of a psychopathic criminal.
SATURDAY The controversy of who wears what at Phil’s funeral has spiralled into absurdity. The latest is that Prince Andrew was insistent on wearing his military uniform (Vice-Admiral), which was vetoed by the Royal Navy, presumably not wishing to have a disreputable member of the royal family tarnishing its public image.
📌 Scottish independence has been a blue-sky talking point for much of my adult life. But only now does the fuzzy glimpse suddenly come into focus. The prospect of an independent Scotland becoming part of a Nordic alliance is really tantalising, even if you only consider the potential for a new genre of TV crime drama.
📌 The Morning Star senses an open goal…
📌 Sam sent her picture of Lisa Slominski, who she’s been working with recently.
📌 We both think the TV show This is My House is a job-creation scheme for pandemic poverty-stricken actors.
📌 Our spare bedroom is still a makeshift dining lounge for the duration of the building work downstairs. Each night we sit in the same places on a sofabed eating food cooked by friends and watching TV on an iPad. Our current favourite mealtime viewing is either Death in Paradise or Taskmaster. Each has 10 series available on catchup.