SATURDAY Marina Hyde reckons MPs earn a good wage and do not deserve a pay rise.
Eighty-two grand basic is great money for serving as a combination of robotic lobby fodder and what you might call a glorified social worker…Marina Hyde, the Guardian
📌 Zadie Smith really is a gifted essayist. I have been serial borrowing her Feel Free collection from our local library and consider it a stroke of luck that no one else wants to borrow it.
📌 My wife thinks that whoever is “head of trousers” on Strictly Come Dancing should be sacked.
SUNDAY There is a sleep disorder called Exploding Head Syndrome.
📌 There is still plenty of evidence from around the world that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
📌 Rod Stewart has released two new songs recently that would have passed for OK but for their ridiculously bad choruses.
📌 The sleaze ball just keeps rolling.
Boris Johnson is not the only politician to think that an MP’s salary, though nearly triple that of the national average, is a poverty wage.Andrew Rawnsley, the Observer
The article also points out a difference between Conservatives who made their money before entering Parliament – notably Rishi Sunak – and the ones who use their position as MPs and ministers to pimp their grubby services to the highest bidder.
📌 The story of the British woman held captive in Iran keeps coming back to the PM.
MONDAY The taxi driver in Liverpool locked the passenger door and jumped out just in time.
📌 I thought this sketch was really bad when I first made it. Now it seems reasonably OK.
📌 Project Australia is moving along enjoyably, which probably means it’s about to fall flat on its face.
TUESDAY The Guardian has a paramedic’s account of how the NHS has been driven to its knees.
📌 Project Australia (a digitally curated exhibition from the Monash University Museum of Art collection) has thrown up a challenge, which is to make browsing around 20 pictures feel like an epic journey of discovery.
📌 At an online forum on the future of social care held by the New Local think tank there was a general failure to distinguish between social care, which requires high-cost professional underpinning, and social support, which can be delivered in lots of different low-cost non-professional ways.
📌 In Ed McBain’s book Lightning he has a description of how a killer intends to dispatch his latest victim. “A modified arm drag, designed neither to take her down nor to bend her over at the waist but instead to force her body weight over to her left foot, exposing her side. With her left arm extended, he would move up under her armpit, and before she could turn her head, would clamp his hand at the back of her neck in a half nelson. Swinging around behind her, he would move his other hand up under her right armpit and clasp it at the back of her neck to complete a full nelson. Then he would press her head straight downward, forcing her chin onto her chest and, by exerting pressure, cracking her spine“. I’ve read this passage several times and still wouldn’t know what to do. I’m sure such “how to” guides are easy for those who can imagine disabling and snapping someone’s spine but I think I’d be forced to stop mid-way into the killing and read the instructions once again – like they do on Taskmaster – and still get it wrong.
📌 Barbican Cinema allows people to take whole trays of food into a screening.
📌 The talk before our screening of Twelve Angry Men featured a presentation from Professor Lorna Dawson, Head of Forensic Soil Science at the James Hutton Institute, who gave us a Ladybird guide to matching the soil on someone’s shoes to a crime.
WEDNESDAY Apparently, Monday was national Clean Out Your Fridge Day, so in Art Class we were asked to bring in something from our fridge to draw. Marianne said Marge’s pepper looked like a chicken. I went for something less controversial.
📌 There’s a real buzz at the Golden Lane Stitchers. The momentum of this speculative social-cohesion project is picking up fast. Dawn showed us pictures from her night at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, including the stunning dress she got from TK Maxx for £16.99.
📌 The Connecting Conversations event at the Barbican went off well. I did my chirpy continuity-announcer thing and the panel jibber-jabbered about art, what it’s for and who is in charge of it. Ali was the star performer, identifying the “inclusivity” cliques that operate on the fringes of the established art world but rarely get to touch real power.
THURSDAY At last night’s Barbican event, Chris screwed a half-hearted agreement from Barbican director Will Gompertz to put on an exhibition of neurodiverse art. I decided to turn it into a work of art…
📌 The government is still trying to instal Paul Dacre as head of the media regulator Ofcom. And Marina Hyde is still trying to stop it.
No editor hated single mothers more than Dacre, and no politician has created more of them than Johnson.Marina Hyde, the Guardian
📌 Rose asked me to be a conduit between Toynbee Hall and Golden Lane. I said yes.
📌 Dinner with cousin Helen and Steve. They are on their way to New York where they will hook up with old pals from Malawi. We trawled through the latest updates in our crazy family and speculated on the craziness that is yet to come, which incidentally included the revelation that we have a vague and distant connection with Harold Shipman. This brought to mind one of our friends in Brighton who one day discovered she knew a man who chopped up the people he had killed and stored the body parts in a chest freezer in his garage.
FRIDAY Stitching straight in to a canvas frame is not easy, but it would be a good skill to master.
📌 Not sure I can remember the last time I boiled a live lobster…
📌 The reluctance worldwide of some people to get vaccinated hints at a deep mistrust of governments and institutions.
📌 A criminal called Colin Pitchfork has been returned to prison two months after being released.