Diary: Week 26

26 June – 2 July…

SATURDAY An article in The Conversation says it’s bad to correct mispronunciations such as expresso for espresso. That won’t stop the pedants judging the linguistic delinquents, which is “probly” a bigger crime.

📌 The knives are out, the court of public opinion is in session and Matt Hancock’s future hangs in the balance. Add cliche to taste.

An art app’s version of the fateful “clinch”…

📌 The latest stitchwork project seems to be taking an age to complete. Two factors: the heavy canvas tote bag is much harder to get a needle through; the subject is truly absorbing. There are multiple new projects waiting for the hoop, but this one is worth spending time on.

From an archive image in Autograph APB’s The Missing Chapter: Black Chronicles collection…

📌 Javid replaces Hancock. Can’t wait to see what Dominic Cummings lines up next. It was Dom who stuck the knife in The Saj when he was Chancellor.

SUNDAY An elderly neighbour said she didn’t recognise me. I asked if in future she’d like me to remind her who I was. She said she’d rather I left her to remind herself.

📌 My wife reckons Covid could have done society a big favour. Because all the public schools and elite universities have been shut down, our government in 15 years’ time will comprise normal people. The virus has robbed the posh people of the opportunity to form their superior societies and cocky cliques.

📌 Portugal are very proficient cheats. Their dirty deeds on the pitch deserve greater punishment.

MONDAY A piece in the Guardian about the new Health Secretary Sajid Javid makes a passing remark about what happens After Boris: “His return means there may now be three leading British Asian candidates – Javid, Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel – in the next contest to be Tory leader and possibly prime minister.”

📌 The new stitchwork tote bag is finished. The image is from the archive of the Autograph APB gallery, where the studio currently has an exhibition.

📌 At last, my artwork is so controversial that our council, the Corporation of London, has censored it, without explanation, for a window exhibition. I am now truly an enfant terrible.

The original artwork…
The displayed version…

OK, if an idea needs to be explained, it probably doesn’t work. To explain: the brief was to supply an image of a local character for a community art project called People Where I Live.

Ted Bolt is a local character, but I have never seen him. To me he exists solely as The Whinger on the community’s online discussion forum. Ted might not even be a real person, I speculated. He could be a phantom, an invention. For all I know, Ted Bolt could be, er, David Beckham. But whoever Ted is, he needs to relax. He really does get worked up about petty screwups by the authorities.

This was a the idea behind the image I originally created. I’m happy to accept that it’s a flaky concept, but censorship certainly doesn’t improve it. Sorry, Ted, whoever you are…

📌 Another spectacular bit of colour work from Sam.

Platform Boots, by Sam Jevon…

📌 My wife says she’s not surprised the Euro players have high fitness ratings. They’ve had plenty of time off work to do their keep-fit exercises. And, she says, they will not have been able to frequent night clubs and pole-dancing bars.

TUESDAY My wife is supporting Switzerland. I’m for Denmark, but secretly want Belgium to win. That’s assuming England are out.

📌 Chief Medical Officer Prof Whitty has been hassled on the street by “thugs”.

📌 Chris says it was easier to buy a used car with his debit card than it was to buy a coffee in Barbican Kitchen.

📌 If we all stopped talking about how bad the England team is at penalties they’d miraculously transform into superlative spot-kickers, says a report in The Conversation.

Read the full story here…

📌 The ethics of a refusal to vaccinate are complex. The legal questions are a minefield awaiting clumsy footfall.

📌 England won 2-0 against Germany. The taxi driver taking us back to Whitstable station was chuffed.

WEDNESDAY Bryn’s podcast came through and he actually used the ridiculous quote in which I proclaim “air is art.”

📌 The Accumulate “passing out” awards ceremony at the Barbican was full of heart-warming stories of wrecked lives turned around. And given the Barbican has just been outed as institutionally racist, it was pleasing to see a majority of non-white faces at an event.

THURSDAY Paul Waugh in HuffPostUK gives Boris a proper skewering, the message being that his pathological lying is starting to undo his grip on power.

📌 We visited the Common Threads exhibition and concluded that Yoki’s self-portrait is a stunner.

Yoki in the window at the Autograph gallery in Shoreditch…

📌 That Princesses Diana statue is no triumph.

📌 Stuart says he was so pretentious when his band were on stage one night in the 1980s that he took hold of the newly invented wireless radio microphone and left the stage, continuing to sing as he walked through the venue’s reception area, out the door and down the street.

FRIDAY Any hope of enjoying the tennis at Wimbledon fell to bits as soon as the first serve arrived and along with it a succession of noisy grunts and yelps.

📌 Stuart says when he was a youngster his dad banned him from wearing jeans. He was forced to wear either cords or nicely pressed trousers from a snobby shop in Liverpool called Austin Reed, where his dad had an account “for a while”.

📌 Labour win the Batley & Spen by-election against all predictions of a defeat. The controversial rabble-rouser George Galloway – who seems to be setting himself up as Labour’s equivalent of Nigel Farage – inevitably sucked votes out of what became a very close contest. The Socialist Worker says the result allows Labour leader Keir Starmer to “limp on” for a while yet. It was a nasty, dirty contest.

📌 Britain will soon be starved of its supply of Haribo sweets due to a shortage of lorry drivers.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

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