SATURDAY NHS vaccination staff are under attack from nasty sunseekers demanding their second jab early so they can go on holiday.
📌 Say what you like about Alastair Campbell, but he sure knows how to write a headline. “Putinism with posh accents” is how he described the government’s most recent naked attempt to tamper with the BBC.
📌 Quora is riddled with stupidity. But sometimes it’s worth sticking with.
📌 Just like every other business, higher education will be forced by the trauma of the pandemic and the upheavals of the post-Brexit marketplace to think anew, abandon some of its old ways and to find new paths of learning.
📌 Paul Waugh in HuffpostUK detects a new realism in the Labour Party for sucking up Brexit and “repairing” what is widely agreed to be a bad deal.
SUNDAY The government’s mixed-messaging roundabout has restarted and the argument about masking in confined spaces after Freedom Day next week is the motor.
📌 It was probably a hope too far to believe there was a collage artist somewhere who’d happily take the mountain of books we have in storage. A web search proved fruitless, but I will persist. There must surely be a bright young person out there who wants to do something crazy like sculpt ornamental trees from old books.
📌 A flood in the apartment next door sparked a mini crisis that has seen all of our existing towels used to soak up surface water. The residents are away and we are the key holders.
📌 The England football team is a modern reflection of a modern English society, writes Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer. And its inclusivity and diversity stands as an uncomfortable reminder of everything the modern Conservative Party is not.
MONDAY Woke up to discover that late last night my wife and a friend shared a spontaneous WhatsApp commiseration on England’s defeat to Italy in the “Year-Late Euros”. The best quote… “The younger ones do all these steppy-dance penalties instead of just whacking it. It doesn’t work!”
📌 So football didn’t come home. It stayed exactly where it was.
Barney Ronay writes a superb piece in the Guardian that reflects on the tournament that briefly lifted the gloom of the past 18 months: “At times Southgate has seemed like the last sensible person left. This England iteration may or not go on to further glories from here. But when something is good it’s never gone, and this fine young group of footballers made a mark here that will not be lost. After a year and half of fear and isolation football has, for the last few weeks, provided a reminder that other things also exist, that there is also hope and warmth to be found, other stories to be written.”
📌 If the Year-Late Euros gave me one thing it was a moment, just like during the 2012 Olympics, when I actually felt some affection for my country.
📌 Pigs in blankets will be in short supply this Christmas.
📌 Protests in Havana lend weight to the belief that the power to keep Cuba communist was always dependent on the name Castro.
📌 One of the more bizarre conclusions you could drawn from a report about the heat spike in NW Canada and the resulting “inferno” is that Britain could be man-made warmer by greater use of fossil fuels. Emissions warm air, which then gets trapped in a “heat dome”, creating freakish local weather systems, which then bump global weather systems off course. Countries with high emissions will thus boil in the heat while the ice caps melt. Everyone else will just have to find the best way to deal with it. Until human life becomes extinct, that is.
📌 Angelina sent a petition for continuing legislation on wearing masks on public transport. From next week the government intends to “urge” wearing masks in certain circumstances.
TUESDAY There was a feeling during the England vs Italy Euros final that England could not control possession and were constantly chasing the ball around the pitch. That has seemingly been verified by statistically-minded people at The Tortoise, who report a raft of numbers supporting the view that Italy were worthy winners of the tournament.
- Italian players attempted 820 passes between themselves – with 88% accuracy, compared with England’s 74% – allowing them to get and keep close to England’s penalty area.
- It was this penetration into England’s territory, amounting to a ball possession rate of 66%, that gave the Italians countless opportunities to strike.
- They took those opportunities. Of their 19 shots on goal, six were on target. England attempted six shots, only two of which were on target.
📌 My wife wants to sneak in a last visit to IKEA before 19 July, when public transport will be thronged with the unmasked and the unvaccinated. Or both.
📌 There’s a headline in The Tortoise that says scientists at Imperial College London found antibodies in blood samples from people with Long Covid that could lead to a test for the condition within 18 months.
📌 How to govern a country: If a fiasco works, repeat it.
📌 The new stitchwork looks even more like a Halloween mask every day. Few would guess that it is simply London seen from another angle.
📌 Ever since reading that soon there will be a test for Long Covid I’m convinced I have it. In classic Woody Allen-style hypochondria, I see every moment of lethargy as a reminder to check my will, choose a coffin and make a list of those who were nice to me. Do I really still want Crazy by Seal as my funeral music?
📌 An alternative to the cruelty of the penalty shootout, writes Simon Jenkins, is to widen the goalposts.
📌 The vote in parliament to cut foreign aid came via a cunning bit of trickery, despite probably being quite popular in the country at large.
📌 In a meeting to firm up a panel discussion Headway is planning with the Barbican, when asked the question, “What is the purpose of the event?” I blurted out that it was to “smash the cliques and destroy the bullying tribes” of the mainstream art world. Oh dear!
📌 The students at Accumulate, the art school for the homeless, are always full of ideas, so a clay workshop in self-portraits with them was always likely to throw up a few moments of magic. But the busty DJ at the decks was a real surprise.
THURSDAY Last week’s Home Studio was all about Salvador Dalí. Sam’s portrait is a real gem.
📌 The Prime Minister’s “Levelling Up” agenda, which has delivered legions of former Labour voters to the Conservatives, risks alienating the so-called “Shire Tories” and delivering them to the Liberal Democrats. This has the potential ultimately to reduce the Conservative Party to a minority populist movement while the rest of British politics bickers over which form of cuddly social democracy is best.
FRIDAY When the decimal point goes wandering, what looked like a drama suddenly becomes a crisis…
📌 There’s more speculation on the mental health of the Prime Minister after an incoherent and rambling speech yesterday to promote his so-called “levelling up” policy.
📌 Shirley sent a message to test if your brain is working OK…
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It momentarily threw me back into all the autospelling nightmares I’ve ever had.