SATURDAY We’ve opted out of NHS Digital’s GP data-sharing plan. The attempt to rush it through without proper consultation is typical of how our government operates now. We are passionately in favour of medical data sharing, but not in this way. Polly Toynbee in the Guardian puts the case well.
📌 News that a commercial diver got swallowed and spat out by a whale triggers the memory of a whale-watching trip we did in the USA in 1998. We thought someone on deck had farted but were then told that’s what whale breath smells like. “They don’t brush their teeth,” the guide added jovially.
📌 Football matches rarely turn into news events. But when when Denmark’s Christian Eriksen went down during the Euro game against Finland and didn’t move for a long time, something bad had obviously happened. In 1985 I turned on the TV to watch Liverpool play Juventus in the European Cup Final and the same sense of doom hit me.
📌 Tonight’s dessert looks like it’s waiting to appear in a horror film.
SUNDAY Christian Eriksen, the Danish footballer who collapsed on the pitch yesterday during a Euro match against Finland is recovering in hospital.
📌 Someone has designed a pair of sunglasses based on Frida Kahlo’s monobrow.
📌 Last week’s Headway Home Studio project was to draw the pair of creepy mannequin puppets that hang in a corner of the studio. Sam sent her drawing…
… and I attempted to deepen the evil spirit by multiplying the mask of horror…
MONDAY The devious dealings of our local council, the Corporation of London, knows no bounds. Local elections around Britain have restarted post-Covid, as have by-elections. Yet the CoL postpones its ward elections until March 2022, citing the pandemic as the reason.
📌 Trades Unions are obviously not what they used to be. Their public image seems set hard in the past and any progressive reforms made in recent times have been overshadowed by the impression that their main purpose is to pull strings with the Labour Party. Perhaps a divorce is inevitable. The unions can’t move on until they separate from Labour. And centre-ground politics can’t move on until Labour splits with the unions.
📌 A statement that the government’s furlough scheme, in which the state pays up to 80% of worker’s salaries, will not be extended beyond July 1, is bad news for many. Others will see it as a reality check. In a properly functioning market economy, the taxpayer should not be required to subsidise private enterprise.
📌 There’s now some concern that the delay in delivering the vaccine second doses was an open door to the spread of the problematic Delta variant.
📌 Maybe Boris’s light-touch dictatorship is what most people want nowadays?
📌 Utopia is the theme I’m pimping in the studio at the moment, asking for key words on which we can hang conversations and artwork depicting a perfect world.
📌 The momentum to get tax on the fairness agenda is starting to get traction. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has launched an online TaxLab, which aims to cut through the obscurity.
📌 A leading article in the Guardian identifies Boris Johnson as a serial burglar of Labour policies, especially those of former leader Ed Miliband.
📌 The London Review of Books (LRB) has a piece pointing out that Labour did nowhere near as bad in the May elections as everyone presumes they did. But they did get a lot of their messaging disastrously wrong, and leader Keir Starmer has continued to blunder ever since.
📌 Friends in Brighton complain that their back garden has become a fox toilet.
TUESDAY The artist Jean Dubuffet sure had a thing about faces, and a bigger thing maybe about men in glasses.
📌 An article in HuffpostUK likens Covid-19 to Arnie Schwarzenegger, with each variant carrying the “I’ll be back” threat.
📌 The theory that the pandemic started from a laboratory leak will not go away, which has made other pathogen labs around the world nervous. Only a quarter of them have good safety records.
📌 Another classic line from Marina Hyde today nails the quacks and the conspiracists. Gillian McKeith gets special attention. “No matter how beaten you might think we are as a society, the only way we could be more completely spannered is if we started letting ourselves think that maybe the poo lady had a point.”
WEDNESDAY The PM has been slammed for taking a plane (emission = 100kg CO2) rather than a train (14kg) from London to Cornwall for the recent G7 meeting of nations. He claimed he was flying the flag for “jet-zero” aviation fuel, which he said Britain is developing.
📌 When Western leaders talk about developing a “friendship” with China, they mean something entirely different to what Chinese leaders think of as friendship. One is a friendship based on equality (Plutarchic), the other is rooted in hierarchical subservience (Confucian).
📌 In HuffpostUK Paul Waugh points to Boris’s vanity as the cause of the Delta variant upsurge the country is now grappling with. “…the 14-day delay in putting India on the ‘red list’ was a ‘fortnight of failure’ driven by Johnson’s desire to have a photo-op with Narendra Modi. It was not the India variant, nor the Delta variant, but ‘the Johnson variant’.”
📌 You’d think we’d fallen into the poverty trap. Every time a nice relaxing bath seems like a comfy option, my wife barks, “Not on a Wednesday!” like pleasure is the last thing any sane person should seek in the middle of the week.
📌 Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick is running out of friends. The latest revelations about deep corruption within the Force have the ring of finality about the them.
THURSDAY In a sublime moment of football yesterday in the Wales vs Turkey game Gareth Bales received a short corner, spotted a slender gap just inside the touchline and went for it like a rat up a drainpipe. He barged past several players, pulled back and passed to a primed team-mate (Connor Roberts), who slotted the ball home. In that moment Bale’s intuition and his skill came together. It acted like a shot in the arm for his nearby colleagues, who must have felt a great surge of inspiration. Wales won 2-0.
📌 Resilience has replaced sustainability as the new benchmark of a healthy condition. Cities such as Amsterdam and Brussels are refusing to “bounce back” to the over-tourism they suffered before the pandemic. Their new normal will be a “resilient” tourist industry that can withstand future trauma.
📌 Wilting roses really are a thing of beauty…
FRIDAY Agreed with Cristina to do a monoprinting workshop at Autograph next month. Hope I can use the archive image of the two boys playing at a photo shoot. I’ve already tried it as a monoprint and it is now my current stitchwork project.
📌 Academics have built a database of 84 million tweets about coronavirus. They hail it as a 21st Century equivalent of Samuel Pepys’ 17th Century diaries of the Great Plague.
📌 Social media kicked up a scare story about the Danish footballer who collapsed on the pitch.
📌 Sam’s workrate just gets faster and faster. I miss not seeing her in the studio.
📌 Best quote about the Chesham & Amersham by-election result is from Paul Waugh in HuffpostUK: “It’s a comforting fantasy to believe that a hipster coffee shop appearing in a Tory town somehow signals a revolution.”
4 thoughts on “Diary: Week 24”
Never a football fan, I thought I would watch some this time. These early rounds have put me off – but I clearly missed a good moment in the Wales one.
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Always nice to read your diary, which shines a light on some of the more sophisticated aspects of the week. I decided to allow the NHS to share my data, then read about it and decided not to. Then decided I couldn’t be bothered to opt out. . .
This is how Governments win. I talk about manning the barricades, then I get distracted and watch TV instead.
Meanwhile, I have been inspired to write a piece called “The halitosis of whales”. Don’t know what it will be about, but the title seemed too good to waste.
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The Halitosis of Whales sounds like an existential epic, but I’d honestly prefer the situation comedy animation in which the school of Atlantic whales all rank one another according to the smelliness of their breath.
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But do they realise they have smelly breath?
This may have more comedy potential – https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/fish-fart-to-communicate_n_1022665?ri18n=true
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