One year ago: Week 31, 2020


July 27-August 2…

MONDAY The Morning Star has been doing a series on leftist and anti-fascist (“antifa“) footie clubs around the world. They included Clapton CFC, the most famous one here in London.

📌 The blogger My Life As A Piece Of String (aka, “String”) is getting up steam on the drift “back to normal”. I especially liked the use of the phrase “leaky cliches” in reference to Brexit. String also predicts that “face masks will become the new socks”, which I like, too. Here on Golden Lane, City of London (weird), our chief councillor, aka Alderman, is also resisting the drift back to normal by refusing to hand in his “letter of surrender” (resignation), which signals the end of his natural term in office. He claims he is not “refusing” but “deferring” until the pandemic has passed.

📌 My latest stitchwork project has progressed in fits and starts, but a breakthrough moment came when today I actually felt like I was drawing and painting with thread, as pretentious as that might sound.

TUESDAY Lockdown Catch-up. Malcolm was at it again last night in Spooks (Series 7). He fired up his computer, ran a few of his wizard programs and Hey Presto, Connie is outed as the Russian spy in MI5. Unfortunately, she’d already slit Ben’s throat with a razor wire she’d cunningly hidden in her bra strap.

📌 There’s an article in The Conversation saying that most of the funding to invent a Covid vaccine quickly has come from the public purse, whereas the distribution of it is in the hands of the private sector.

📌 I posted the Story of Twiggy and for some reason immediately began to regret it.

📌 I now suspect the Labour Party is keeping quiet about government screw-ups because it would most likely have done pretty much the same. It will be telling when the tsunami of mass unemployment (and maybe a second or third virus spike) hits. Will the government, which has already stolen an awful lot of Old Labour policies (nationalisation, state intervention), continue on that path to Blue Socialism? If it does, all Labour can then argue is that “we could do it better”, which isn’t much of a rallying cry.

📌 My wife’s birthday present arrived while she was out, which was a relief.

📌 Our new fold-down balcony table arrived, too.

📌 My wife visited a department store and returned to say all the mask refuseniks were men. She also did an offline, real-world yoga session. She was in a class of 3.

📌 Spoke to Margaret, Jan and Philippa. Jan has been out in the new campervan, which has all the trimmings inc toilet, shower, microwave, comfy bed. Later sent Margaret a message to put in Mena’s card as she goes off to have her baby. I have missed the Big Event entirely.

📌 Sam sent me her picture of Kat’s lizard. Sam’s niece named it Lenny. Kat told us it was a boy.

WEDNESDAY Taxes could be another deadly blow to businesses if urgent reforms of the business rates is not introduced. Businesses cannot scale down to safe operations at the current cost of this local tax. Businesses have already had massive support from the state, but the economics of enterprise is still no longer sustainable. UK business collapse is inevitable unless the UK Chancellor announces something drastic soon. Bail them out or let them fail?

📌 I think there must be a debate going on (again) that I’ve missed…

📌 Geologists have been speculating as to what the Covid-19 fossil record will look like to the horny-handed excavators of a distant future. The Covid virus itself will leave no geological trace, but discarded face masks and rubber gloves will be neatly preserved as fossils in the layers of sandstone and shale that will come under scientific scrutiny millions of years hence.

📌 I got a Like from a blog called The Drabble, and when I investigated, it turns out that a drabble is a story in exactly 100 words and a genuine literary genre. The Drabble has loads of them, so I decided to give it a try.

📌 Got an email from James reminding me about the meeting with a disability designer from the Royal College of Art on Friday to discuss making some “disability” face masks. These are my designs. My main concern about masks is that can act as gags, so I tried to design masks that have a “voice”.

📌 I asked Stuart what he imagined Neil Young meant when he sang, “I was thinking about what a friend had said. I was hoping it was a lie.” He offered: “Hey Neil, I just saw your lady in the laundromat washing some ‘his and hers’ lurex bondage suits with a moustachioed Mexican called Sebastian.”

THURSDAY The Hackney Citizen has an absurdly long piece about the backlash against the decision not to remove the statue of slave-trader and philanthropist Sir Robert Geffrye from the Museum of the Home.

📌 A nice motto appeared buried in a page from It’s Nice That. It comes from photographic artist Izumi Miyazaki, who is interviewed as their Midweek Mentor. In one line she says, “Think about something fun and ridiculous and get some sun through the window…”

By Izumi Miyazaki…

📌 Window cleaners are outside dangling from ropes attached to the roof.

📌 Sam sent me the picture of the candle she chose to draw in the Home Studio session.

📌 The government seems to be on a crash-course to conflict over its decision to end “shielding” on 1 August and order people back to work.

📌 You know you’re getting old when you hear Story of the Blues on Radio 2.

FRIDAY I think Boris might be building up to the reintroduction of full-blown Lockdown. His government once again has failedto get its message across. In fact, all evidence suggests nobody knows what the message is, or even if there is one. A friend in Brighton tried to work out what was going on… “Just checking I’ve got this right: Go out and eat and drink in pubs and restaurants to ‘eat out to help out’ and protect the economy, but don’t do that cos you’ll get fat and die of the Covids you’re helping to spread. But we’ll give you 50% off in the really cheap shit places, but don’t take up our offer, you greedy fat fucks. If you’re in the north, you can go to the pub and meet your mates and family, but you can’t meet them in your garden. Any worsening of coronavirus in the UK will be you and Europe’s fault due the ‘second wave’, despite the UK still having more deaths every week than the rest of the EU combined. And we’re really just still in the first wave. Go on a foreign holiday to help the travel industry, but if you come back with the Covids, it’ll be your fault. And if you can’t quarantine when you come back because you’ll starve or get fired, that’s also your fault. Anything I’ve missed?

Health Minister Matthew Hancock…

📌 The Wee Ginger Dug has a very witty name for the ousted Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw. He calls him Surname Surname. The Dug also hints that Ruth Davidson’s tipped appointment to the House of Lords is a bribe for her return to lead the Scottish Tories.

📌 I asked the family on Zoom who they were supporting in the FA Cup final (Arsenal v Chelsea). The verdict was Arsenal, but Kate added jokingly that she wanted “mass casualties” so that neither team is a threat to Liverpool next season.

📌 We’ve started watching Dead To Me on Netflix, from Series 1. My wife thinks Judy is a psychopath. I think that’s probably what she’s meant to think.

SATURDAY A good-story start to the day is a good habit to get into.

📌 The Barbican has opened its conservatory free, allowing visitors to book tickets online and using a strict one-way system. Every time I visit there’s a new discovery waiting. Today, one of the huge terrapins was even out on a rock, sunbathing.

Terrapin around 35cm head to tail…

📌 The self-made Thankyou card Mia sent us for her 17th birthday present reminded me of the sleeve for Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life album.

Stevie…
Mia…

📌 Frank had a small gathering in the allotments to release the 10 butterflies he had nurtured as a school project. It was also another chance to smell our tomato plants.

Butterflies awaiting release…

📌 We watched all 3 hours of the BBC2 documentary about Rupert Murdoch. It was chilling in parts, but what hit me most was the resemblance in the methods used by newspaper snoops and hackers to those of the MI5 staff in TV’s Spooks.

SUNDAY In Quora, someone asks, “Has anyone made plans to leave the UK due to Brexit?” The top answer is a blunt YES: “This is no longer the country I grew up [in] and had a degree of affection and allegiance to. It has become an increasingly divisive and spiteful place, run by nasty spiteful career politicians.”

📌 On the radio, Sue Perkins spoke to two boybanders of yesteryear, one from Boyzone, the other from Westlife. They have gone into partnership as BoyzLife, which allowed Perkins to speculate on the ‘girl’ equivalents. The funniest was Destiny’s Kitten.

📌 From a Crystal Palace supporter…

📌 Did a couple of postings from our visit to Barbican Conservatory yesterday. One, a picture story, plus 3 short videos and a gallery.

📌 Although Dead To Me is quite suspenseful, it has some funny moments. Tonight’s involved a birthday cake for Jen’s dead husband.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

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