Scrapbook: Week 45, 2021

November 6-12…

SATURDAY 38 Degrees messaged to say that the campaign to re-wild Britain has been a great success so far. But they still haven’t persuaded the Royal Family to join in.

📌 There’s a weird alien presence lurking in our bedroom door.

📌 Tony Allan’s Submit to Love studio logo is a dream to remake in stitchwork.

📌 Project Cuba is finally out. All I have to do now is pay everyone.

SUNDAY The sleaze is starting to stick on the government. And the most potent accusations are coming from within its own ranks. John Major can always be relied upon for a grey-faced declaration about decency and shame. Some Tories simply don’t like Boris’s flavour of Tory. He doesn’t like theirs, either, but he is running out of friends. A time will come when getting behind Boris will be seen as a bad move.

📌 Labour MPs are notoriously earnest, so Jess Phillips’s incidental wit was a cheery sight

📌 My wife wants to know who on Earth is voting for Dan The Plank on Strictly Come Dancing. This characterless TV stooge has an unusual ability to survive when better dancers are eliminated.

MONDAY Glasgow is the scene of some grubby old-fashioned industrial relations involving picket lines and scabs. The council tried to get parks-and-gardens workers to take over from striking cleaners.

📌 Glasgow is also the scene of a new discovery in climate change. Its cold-water coral reefs are in danger.

📌 Stephen Bush in the New Statesman says Boris’s downfall might ultimately be at the hands of his own people, especially those he has previously fired from their top jobs. These are the former ministers who now make up for their lost income doing dodgy side-hustle consultancy jobs. The Guardian has a useful list of who they are.

📌 Hardly anyone on the government side turned up for the sleaze debate.

TUESDAY Sleaze and Northern Ireland are tipping points that look as if they are about to conjoin to become Boris’s Iraq. I wrote that sentence as a kind of puzzle. I imagine reading it many years from now and trying to work out what it means.

📌 Editing the video of our 1997 road trip in Australia has emerged as my chosen distraction/procrastination method from actually writing an essay about it, which I have pledged to deliver by Friday.

📌 Just as it looks like another perilous winter of virus imprisonment is upon us, the urge to travel is back. We’ve talked about sailing into New York next year aboard a cruise ship. It’s not quite the arrival my young mother, her sisters and parents would have made back in the 1930s, but an opportunity nevertheless to let your imagination rip on all the migrants who once made that journey and what became of them. Other countries beckon, too, and Sam only boosted the hunger by sending a Sphinx picture.

Sphinx by Sam Jevon...

📌 I wonder if years from now, voters will talk about Britain’s disintegration as a nation as “Boris’s Britain” in the same way they look back derogatorily on “Thatcher’s Britain”.

📌 I spent five minutes searching for my glasses. Only when I caught sight of myself in the mirror did I realise where they were.

WEDNESDAY Hooked up with Chris last night at a “relaxed viewing” of the RA Summer Show, directed by Yinka Shonibare. Every room was so jam packed the idea of it being an exhibition was sometimes lost. Small paintings hung 15m above the ground is not what art exhibitors should be doing. The overall effect was claustrophobic.

The number of works might have been inflated because Covid prevented a show from taking place last year, but I pitied the artists who finally made it to the big prestigious space only to be shoved out of anyone’s eyeline.

Miranda Argyle stitchwork, top left…

I felt dizzy staring up at a version of the Last Supper with John Lennon presiding over a table full of dead pop stars (Amy Winehouse included) “Who’s that next to Elvis?” I heard someone ask. It was Michael Hutchence.

Having said all that, I loved every minute of it and argued on the bus home that such a fabulous collection of art in such a place should be permanent and free. I especially liked the work of Miranda Argyle.

📌 In Art Class today we did a still life involving shadows. Sara told us there was no such thing as a line, just a border between light and dark. In this sense, blurring the boundaries becomes a kind of philosophy.

A jar in various states of light and shade…

📌 Islands are the latest stitchwork obsession, starting with Tenerife.

Tenerife in stitches…

THURSDAY I think I’ve successfully managed to dodge a radio interview about next week’s event at the Barbican.

📌 Kate sent a vintage photo of Bill Shankly helping to shovel snow off the Anfield pitch

Snow sweeping at Anfield…

📌 Rose on Strictly Come Dancing couldn’t rehearse today because the battery on her hearing aid conked out. Her partner, Giovanni, laughed at her.

FRIDAY The Tortoise says it is Geoffrey Cox and his second jobs that will become the government’s running sore of sleaze. Unlike Owen Patterson, it says, Cox wasn’t caught bang to rights breaking the rules, he was simply too busy doing his second job to do his first job as an MP, paid for by the British taxpayer.

The satirists are out…

📌 We could be seeing the start of a British withdrawal and abandonment of Northern Ireland today.

📌 The New Statesman reports that Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke, who told politically-active footballer Marcus Rashford to stick to his day job, has a second job that adds £36,000 a year to her £82,000 MP’s salary.

📌 At a family Zoom, I complained that no-one in the TV crime series Shetland smiles, and that Shetland cannot possibly be such bleak place that no-one has a laugh. I was told pointedly that Tosh’s boyfriend has a nice smile.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…

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