One year ago: Week 16, 2020

April 13-19

MONDAY There’s a story in the Hackney Citizen saying that Hackney is blessed with a vast number of different tree species. A writer, aptly named Paul Wood, has dubbed the borough “London’s Urban Arboretum”.

πŸ“Œ Our friend Gill wanders around London taking fab pictures and posting them on Instagram (@gillmee). One recent set was all to do with numbers, and this is the one I liked most.

 πŸ“Œ Just read an article in Guardian Weekly called ‘What Comes Next’. I like the non-inclusion of a question mark, which makes it a headline with a difference. It talks about how crises shape history and some of the bizarre things that end up passing for normal. It contains the passage: “In such moments, whatever is broken in society gets revealed for just how broken it is, often in the form of haunting little images or stories. In recent weeks, the news has furnished us with countless examples… Prisoners in New York state are getting paid less than a dollar per hour to bottle hand sanitiser that they themselves are not allowed to use (because it contains alcohol), in a prison where they are not given free soap, but must buy it in an on-site shop.”

πŸ“Œ Bev is organising a banner protest to coincide with the return to work on the building site tomorrow. Sue is putting pressure on the council to back down and stop it. I objected to building workers feeling they must return to non-essential work by pressure from the contractor ISG.

Bev’s banner under construction…

πŸ“Œ Someone on Quora asks How will life change in Britain after the coronavirus pandemic? The top answer states 12 ways.

“In no particular order:

  • Grandparents will be treasured more.
  • Divorce rate will rocket.
  • Nine months on we will see a baby boom.
  • People will keep larger stocks of essentials.
  • Larger reserve capacity for ICU beds and ventilators.
  • More funding for the NHS.
  • Far tighter pandemic rules.
  • Greater uptake of flu vaccines and vaccines in general.
  • Less strain on NHS as many health-compromised patients will have died.
  • Tax increases, maybe even ring-fenced for the NHS.
  • Fewer foreign holidays, especially cruises.
  • Endless crappy books, films and documentaries about the virus and its effects.”

TUESDAY The Morning Star is apopleptic because a report has been uncovered that details Labour Party staff casually saying horrible things about Jeremy Corbyn behind his back – some of it jesty, some of it in bad taste.

πŸ“Œ There’s a rumour on Twitter that new Labour leader Keir Starmer is The Secret Barrister.

πŸ“Œ Shaznay Lewis appeared on the Zoe Ball radio show and said she wrote the words to ‘Pure Shores’ while on a plane travelling to America to work with producer William Orbit. But she left the lyrics in the plane, so was forced to “remember” them during the recording.

WEDNESDAY One of the weirdest things about this lockdown is that I have started to think of my brain injury as a child… my child. The child is now more than 7 years old and is starting to find its personality. I am looking forward to watching this child grow.

πŸ“Œ There’s a story in the Guardian about how the emergency/recovery of Coronavirus could dovetail into a global emergency mindset around climate change. The article states that since the lockdown in China, air pollution has tanked and the result is that an extra 1,400 children under 5 are still alive, children who would have died had the polluting continued unchecked. The number for adults over 70 is more than 50,000. Later in the piece a writer, Rebecca Solnit, is quoted as stating, about the precariousness of crises such as Covid and Climate, “We don’t even have a language for this emotion [of the newfound solidarity among citizens] in which the wonderful comes wrapped in the terrible”.

πŸ“Œ My breadmaking was a bit more successful today after Paula sent me her Irish auntie Tricia’s secret recipe for soda bread. Gorgeous.

Auntie Tricia’s soda bread…

THURSDAY Did an interview with James Drury at the Barbican about the monoprint video tutorial, its purpose and background. No hard questions. I’m still flabbergasted that they are still interested in the project.

πŸ“Œ Got a message saying Guardian Education Centre and Archive staff are to be furloughed from tomorrow until May 31. It wasn’t a huge surprise and possibly a knock-on from the announcement that the UK lockdown has been extended by 3 weeks. 

πŸ“Œ Effected a temporary repair of the Danish chair… with string. I am using it as my office chair at the moment, with the video camera standing at the  ready.


πŸ“Œ Michelle phoned and asked me to make more videos for Instagram. She especially wanted me to talk over the action. I like the idea and might rearrange the workspace to accommodate casual shooting.

πŸ“Œ Sue did a Zoom quiz with us and the Brighton mob. We came second, pipped by one point in the final round by Carol and Scott, aka the North Laine Massive.

FRIDAY I reworked the workspace to accommodate Michelle’s request for short, Instagram-friendly clips of me doing my art with voiceover.

πŸ“Œ We did a video chat with Graham, Dominique, Liz and Bill for Dom’s birthday. It is already a given that if you are Zooming or whatever with anyone over 50, the first 15 minutes will just be a lot of geriatric stuttered discovery as to how to get the sound to work and the picture the right way up.

πŸ“Œ The burn I got from the oven while baking Tricia’s “secret soda bread” two days ago has started to hurt and blister.

πŸ“Œ The Hilda Ogden monostitch is progressing. I agonised over the pattern of her housecoat, but finally settled on stripes. I’ve got a bad feeling about this already. It’s starting to look a bit too Bertie Wooster.

Hilda Ogden in stitches…

πŸ“Œ Tried to make a video of the brain wax monoprint to test the new workstation arrangement. Too many colours, I think. My wife and I did some banter during the filming. She cracked a joke about Sarah Bellum. Some stupid TV show is playing in the background featuring Arthur Smith and an over-jolly woman in a refuse dump.

Still from home video…

πŸ“Œ Did a Family Zoom and all the others were quite mizz and desperate about the Lockdown, especially as it has now officially been extended for at least 3 more weeks. I felt a bit guilty. I think I went through that doom stuff right at the beginning. I’ve sort of arrived at an accommodation and worked out how to soldier on with hope in my heart, etc.

πŸ“Œ There have been incriminating videos of a crowded Westminster Bridge in which distancing guidelines are being flouted willy-nilly.

SATURDAY Even though I get a notification every Friday when Marina Hyde’s column appears, I always wait until Saturday to read it. Today it includes the passage: “Supply prime minister Dominic Raab gives the 5pm press conference with the air of a man who strongly suspects there’s a chalk penis drawn on his back, but is just going to butch it out by facing forward till the bell goes.”

πŸ“Œ There was someone on the radio talking about Gramsci. They said he wasn’t surprised, as others were, when Italy embraced Fascism. Gramsci, they said, believed that Russia was “not ready” for a revolution and so ended up with Totalitarianism. He thought Italy was the country that was ready, and it ended up instead with Fascism.

πŸ“Œ My bread-making burn wound felt uncomfortable last night, so we took the dressing off to have a look.

Weeping wound…

πŸ“Œ We did a Zoom with the friends and I unveiled my latest stab at surrealism.

Psycho killer?

I think this could be better, but it is so bad it’s good, in a way. I look like a psycho killer from one of those edgy dystopian American films.

πŸ“Œ Our neighbour Anne, a tennis fanatic, laid out her tribute on the lawn outside our flats.

Anne’s tribute…

πŸ“Œ In ‘Twin’, the Norwegian TV drama, Erik has discovered his ‘dead’ brother Adam’s gay past. Erik is desperate to rekindle his long-buried romance with Adam’s ‘struggling’ wife Ingrid. And Ingrid and Adam’s wayward daughter Karin is beginning to comprehend the real roots of her waywardness.

SUNDAY I’ve just discovered a meme app called ‘Break Your Own News’, in which you can make this kind of thing…

I haven’t tried it yet, but I spotted it on The Poke and it looked like fun for Tweets and Instagram postings.

πŸ“Œ In the Guardian, Andy Beckett explains how the Tories have got and have held on to power for 10 years. He speculates on whether this “one-party democracy” they have cornered is actually a natural state of affairs. It is an intriguing idea. If that IS the case, Effective Opposition becomes even more important. Corbyn, I believe, was a very effective antagonist; can Starmer The Charmer pick up the gauntlet and do likewise?

πŸ“Œ The bread-making burn wound is healing, so I decided to get right back in the saddle and knock off another one of Auntie Tricia’s soda-bread loaves.

πŸ“Œ It didn’t take long for the Zoom jokes to appear…

πŸ“Œ There is a lot of discussion in the media on what the government failed to do early in the Coronavirus crisis. And mutterings on Twitter that a legal outfall is inevitable. The European Convention on Human Rights seemingly insists that “avoidable deaths” should be investigated fully. One Tweet  says this will lead to “the Mother of All Inquiries into UK policy failure… Like Hillsborough multiplied by Chilcot” and beyond.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

3 thoughts on “One year ago: Week 16, 2020

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