One year ago: Week 23, 2020


June 1-7

Monday Today is the start of the new Cummings-Johnson anarchy, in which the aim of ‘getting the pandemic done’ swings into operation.

📌 Stuart has moved his musical referencing from the Lotus Eaters to Nik Kershaw (at my instigation).

Tuesday 5Live reports that property lettings have gone through the roof due to relationship break-ups.

📌 President Trump has all but declared Martial Law in the US. He says if black people don’t stop protesting in the wake of the George Floyd killing, he will send in the Army.

📌 One commentator drew a symbolic parallel in the Floyd killing. He said Floyd died gasping for breath as the nation was in the grip of a pandemic that restricts respiration.

📌 The Royal Academy has an online life-drawing class. These are the first two poses.

📌 In Schitt’s Creek, David and Stevie got into their first snog.

Wednesday Last night my wife tittered childishly when a man called Robert Fuchs appeared on the evening news. The titter turned into a scoff when he was followed by a union rep called Wayne King. “What kind of parents with the surname King call their son Wayne!?” she blurted. She said this knowing that my parents wanted to name me Andrew, but didn’t because at school I would have been called “Andy Mann”. She knows also that among my childhood playmates was Carol Ness, who had two older brothers, Peter and Phillip.

📌 Homerton Hospital midwife Rachel Millar, 24, has appeared on the cover of glossy fashion magazine Vogue alongside train driver Narguis Horsford and Waitrose worker Anisa Omar as part of a story about Britain’s “New Frontline”.

📌 The Black Lives Matter movement is getting stronger and stronger worldwide. The Liverpool team publicly did a “take the knee” salute in support, and this tweet appeared below footage of a march in New Zealand.

📌 Jacob Rees-Mogg just scrapped the online remote voting system our MPs were happily using and ordered them all back to sit in Parliament. So the ones shielding or quarantined from Covid lose their right to vote.

📌 The Conservatives are behaving like they know they’ll lose at the next election, so they’re wrecking as much of society as possible in the hope that it can never be rebuilt in a non-Conservative way.

📌 We get a new delivery of food from Tesco tomorrow, so for lunch I made a mini-casserole from stuff we needed to use up: cabbage, green leaves, spring onions, pesto, chorizo, meatballs.

It tastes better than it looks…

📌 One of the contestants on Tenable named Andover as one of France’s top ten cities.

📌 Things you never expected to learn on a grey Wednesday in Lockdown Britain…

📌 Walking to the post box counts as an event.

Thursday Hackney Council has run out of the paper it uses to issue fines to people who urinate and defecate in public places such as parks. London Fields is one victim of this behaviour, but a Hackney resident writes claiming the problem is more widespread and includes “lots of drunk mens’ penises as they walk about weeing everywhere.”

📌 The London protests for George Floyd and Black Lives Matter are in the news.

📌 The building site outside our front door is back in full swing. The north side of our flat is unuseable. I accidentally walked into the spare bedroom room naked the other day. 

📌 The Headway Open Studio art session today was all about Vincent van Gogh.

There was also a lot of chat about flowers and nature. Alex said her sister pushed her in a pond when she was 9 and she felt the frog spawn squelching between her toes.

📌 We came second in the Brighton Zoom quiz. Jaq and Lynne beat us by half a point.

Friday Cris put me onto the Wellcome’s Zine Club on Instagram, which I’m enjoying.

📌 My wife said she had “something controversial to say about the telly”. What she said was that before we buy the new (very big) TV she’d like to replace our blonde-wood Habitat sideboard with a Mid-Century classic equivalent. I said I didn’t think that was in any way controversial.

📌 Zoom Fatigue is in the air.

📌 My wife was talking to one of her friends about some voluntary work she’s doing for a health organisation and is appalled that they use Survey Monkey. I detected a bit of Researcher Snobbery in her tone, which reached a peak of superiority when she exclaimed in horror: “they quote percentages to two decimal places!

📌 I’m not sure the Cummings-Johnson Death Plan to kill off the elderly is working. I’ve seen plenty of our wrinkly neighbours skipping around in face masks clutching their two-year-old Waitrose plastic bags like they’re some kind of war medal.

📌 Chris sent me a nice piece he’d written for the Wellcome. Look forward to seeing what they do with it.

📌 The call of nature stood outside our bathroom window singing his lonesome blackbird songs. It made the other call of nature seem a little less private.

Saturday On the radio were two women (one black, one white), on a bench in a park, 2m apart, talking about the George Floyd killing and the protests that followed. The white one said that what the Floyd case has taught her is that it is not good enough for her to practise non-racist behaviour and to abhor racism. She said her duty now was to be actively anti-racist. It reminded me of the Rock Against Racism movement here in the UK and the gigs we went to. Coincidentally, Richard posted this montage.

Will Black Lives Matter be America’s equivalent moment? If, as an article in The Conversation implies, the issue is tied deeply to America’s position in the world order under Trump, we are indeed at a tipping point.

📌 We did the ‘Breakfast Club’ coffee-shop Zoom and we all brought some of our “favourite” things. Jane brought a silver bracelet that belonged to her mother. And Sandra’s favourite thing was to dress up to go out. So she’d done the whole “experience” of having a relaxing bath, slipping on an elegant dress, jewellery, make-up, etc. Mine was the Timex watch Jane bought me for my 30th birthday. Gill told a lovely story about her favourite jacket and how she never really felt she “belonged” until she got it. She wore it to a Jam gig in 1982 at the Deeside Leisure Centre and afterwards got to spend 2 hours with the band.

📌 This is unusually poetic and reflective from Mark Steel.

📌 I learned a new word: “stushy”. I heard it on the radio and it appears to mean classy or stylish, and is possibly derived from the word ostentatious, which sounds plausible. It was used in reference to a description of Barack Obama’s headphones.

📌 Stuart has got into the groove of inventing band names from body parts and medical conditions. He says it was inspired by Gerry & The Pacemakers, but I think it is just him being silly. He has already invented the musical careers of Calvin And His Coronary Bypass, Ian And The Implants and Lionel’s Liver Salts. He briefly mentioned Gary And The Gall Stones and Pete’s Prosthetic Leg before I was moved to mention Ingrid & The Ingrowing Toenails. He tells me that Ingrid “went out on a limb” and joined Sole To Sole before getting a good job in Boots.

📌 Cardinal is our new TV fix.

Sunday It was disappointing to find that the tomato seedlings have not burst out of their cardboard pots and proliferated all over our planter in the allotments yard.

📌 I did my Local Legend interview on Culture Mile Radio with Hunt & Darton. My wife says I spent too much time interviewing them and not enough talking about Headway, which is a fair point.

📌 At a Baggers Committee Zoom I learned about London’s compost shortage and that Camden Garden Centre has a nifty one-way safe-distancing etiquette. We agreed that this is an exceptional year and that poorly performing Baggers need not be reprimanded. Jacqueline said we should get stuck into making our own compost.

📌 My wife’s new jigsaw is a very unconventional version of a Diego Rivera painting. The difficulty isn’t in the picture but in the weirdness of the cut. Each piece is such an odd shape that, though it cannot be mistaken for any of the others, placing it relies on waiting for its slot to “arrive”. The firm that makes these jigsaws is called Eurographics.

📌 People dying alone and left to rot is a shameful reflection on the type of society we’ve built.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

4 thoughts on “One year ago: Week 23, 2020

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