SUNDAY My wife has resumed her rage at the blanket media coverage of the Royal funeral…
📌 A Dutch blogger I follow has parlayed her enthusiasm for gaming into a life skill. She says gaming teaches you to go off the beaten track and to learn the thinness of the line between right and wrong. But the main thing gaming teaches her, she says, is to find pleasure in boring repetition: “You don’t always need talent to be successful at something. Hard work and a LOT of hours will get you to the top in the end.”
📌 The sleaze story was never likely to stop at David Cameron. Even if that once looked likely, Cameron would never take a bullet for the team, so to speak. The snowball is getting bigger by the day.
📌 Just realised that the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight was 12 April. This is the memory montage I did a few years ago…
📌 The new stitchwork tote bag is a district map of Hampshire.
📌 Ed McBain’s Long Time No See, Chapter 9 summary… The new victim, Hester, was 63 and obviously not killed for the $22 in her bag. She had a niece, Stephanie, who was thought to have moved to Chicago until detective Carella discovers she in fact still lives locally, in a rough part of town and works in a “health club”.
📌 An unexploded bomb has been found on Brighton beach.
MONDAY European Football just mutated into the ugliest of capitalist monsters. Gary Lineker predicts that the project “will die on its preposterous and avaricious arse.”
It looks like football just went the way of wrestling and became less a sport and more a part of the TV entertainment industry.
It’s a power grab, and those who have lost it (ie, Euefa, Fifa) are not happy, and various national leaders are bleating on their behalf.
Football sold its soul to big business some time ago. Hearing Boris Johnson calling big business the baddies makes you wonder which party he leads.
📌 My condensed precis of Ed McBain’s Long Time No See (each chapter a short paragraph) faces the hurdle of what to do when a writer treads water. Chapter 10 is full of scenery, context and the inner thoughts of detective Steve Carella, so the story development is short… Stephanie the “health-club” hooker offered nothing to Carella’s investigation other than confirmation that it was a baffling triangle of deceit – three “nice” dead blind people, all with slit throats and secrets of some kind.
📌 Jurassic Park and other film escapades have shaped our view of what dinosaurs looked like. They are based on genuine 19th Century paleontologists’ bone collections, but it turns out that many of them are probably wrong, and all the spikes and scales that give dinosaurs their rough prehistoric appearance could have been brightly coloured feathers instead. In fact, our understanding of what dinosaurs looked like is in perpetual evolution.
TUESDAY The Mirror has decided whose side it’s on in the Super League soccer argument.
It’s headline is made more interesting by the recollection of another headline.
In 2018 former Liverpool player turned TV pundit Jamie Carragher – himself a keen antagonist of the Super League breakaway group of clubs – was caught on camera spitting at a 14-year-old girl who had obviously told him something he didn’t want to hear.
📌 Matt Hancock selling GP surgeries to a US health insurance outfit. Why am I not surprised?
📌 Found a nice sun trap by the lake in the Barbican.
📌 Keir Starmer got kicked out of a pub in Bath for not being Labour enough.
📌 Zoe Williams in the Guardian sees the government’s Pandemic state capitalism (and its recent descent into corruption with the Covid Contracts scandal) as similar to that of China, where backhanders and financial favours among self-appointed elites are the norm.
📌 In the New Statesman, Ailbhe Rea makes a good point about Boris’s pledge to shut down the ESL (European Super League)… It would set “a politically tricky precedent for the Conservatives to intervene in one high-profile and unpopular case of attempted monopoly with no plans to continue that approach consistently.”
📌 Chapter 11 of Ed McBain’s Long Time No See in precis… In Jimmy’s old neighbourhood detective Carella tracked down former Hawks gang leader Lloyd and Lloyd’s former girlfriend Roxanne. It was seeing Roxanne gang raped 12 years ago that is said by doctors to have been the source of Jimmy’s nightmares. Both Lloyd and Roxanne say no such rape ever happened, but Roxanne does confess to secretly being unfaithful to Lloyd with Jimmy. On one lustful occasion.
📌 Prince Philip was a relic in more ways than one…
📌 Stuart has been reminiscing about the sandwiches and doughnuts he used to buy from Cousins, the famed Liverpool confectionery cafe. I told him I preferred Reece’s, mainly for their superior sausage rolls.
📌 That European Super League thing caved in quickly.
WEDNESDAY It was that moment when naked capitalism stood there with all its embarrassing body parts hanging out. You sensed the game was up when Cold War Steve put out one of his mash-ups featuring the Group of Six, plus Boris in his vest.
📌 A man on the radio said he got a call from a man claiming to have found his missing dog. Phew, the man thought. The caller then told him that unless he paid him £1,000 he would kill the dog.
📌 There’s no stopping Marcus Rashford in his quest to do the right thing.
📌 Lovely meal out with Family. If I ever write an autobiography, the best title would be Opinion Pending. Must remember to check out Bunny Hill in Stoke.
📌 The Guardian is to repay a chunk of furlough money back to the government. Is this the real face of corporate responsibility in the future?
THURSDAY The word on the street is that the NHS is prepping up for big volumes of Covid patients in August.
📌 And the local pharmacy is prepping up for the determination of the British public to claim its right to overseas travel.
📌 Sam sent me a picture of an exotic-looking shoe.
📌 Looking forward to May, when outdoors at the Barbican will be a whole lot more exciting.
📌 There’s a lot of rampant speculation that Anna Maxwell Martin is H.
📌 Once again, Larry nails it. Let’s hope this really is the last word on the European Super League.
📌 Another marvellous piece by John Lanchester in the London Review of Books (LRB).
It starts with the story of the Ever Given, the giant container ship that got stuck recently in the Suez Canal.
Then it sprawls out into history of the Suez Canal and a neat bit of memoir on when it was closed down by the Six Day War in 1967 and stayed shut for 8 years.
The piece then explains and dissects the intricacies and mystery of the global shipping business. It is a surprisingly compelling essay given the subject.
FRIDAY : “If you join the dots it looks like it’s coming from Dom.” That’s a killer quote on the source of Boris’s leaky text messages.
📌 The kitchen is finally starting to look like a kitchen.
📌 Today’s Headway Home Studio was a mark-making workshop by Sam, in partnership with Jennifer Gilbert. The task was to build on Sam’s famous Legs ink drawing…
My effort attempted to stick a catalogue model’s body onto Sam’s Legs, but I’m not sure I was intended to use colour since the workshop was meant to be about monochrome mark-making.
Sam herself stuck to the spirit of the project…
📌 Sam is also famous for her painted fingernails, which came to mind coincidentally as I returned from the blood clinic and looked down.
📌 A Great White shark has taken a wrong turn in the Atlantic and could be at a beach near you soon.
📌 Vaccine nationalism must be defeated urgently if the world is ever to properly emerge from the Covid crisis.
SATURDAY Though far from finished, the kitchen is at least once again that magic magnet of a place where you potter and prepare. We have running water, a washing machine, a dishwasher, a kettle and a toaster. There’s an oven and a hob, but some kind of technical swotting is required before they can be used. Several of the cupboards are still without doors and the floor is covered in stiff plastic sheeting. The quartz worktop is frighteningly pristine.
📌 A message from my union tells me that Wednesday next week is International Workers’ Memorial Day, a remembrance of all those who lost their lives at work. The message states…
“Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic ‘accidents’. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority.”
As someone on who almost died at work, but was then supported wholeheartedly by my employer (the Guardian newspaper) in my fight for life, I shall nevertheless mourn those who weren’t so lucky.
📌 Finding witty ways to pair the words ‘tax’ and ‘text’ is this weekend’s media sport.
📌 A crazy Australian fantasist is going to court to prove he’s the secret lovechild of Charles and Camilla. He’s pissed off that they’ve ignored his letters demanding a DNA test and says he has a picture of his daughter that looks like The Queen.
📌 You simply can’t move for intellectuals overusing the word “fungible”.
📌 Marina Hyde reckons “James Dyson” is just secret code for Boris’s latest sex partner.
📌 At today’s online coffee/chat with local friends I learned about the lost language of Polari, which was widely used among subcultures, and especially the gay community, until the decriminalisation of homosexuality starting in 1967. I was also introduced to the work of the surrealist photographer Angus McBean.
📌 Decided to have a go at digital collage. This is my a tribute to Sam Jevon.