SATURDAY A man in Italy tried to dodge getting vaccinated by wearing a fake arm. The militant anti-vaxxer needed the jab to get a health pass.
📌 The RSC’s Comedy of Errors at the Barbican last night was not exactly a barrel of laughs. It got a five-star review in the Guardian, so maybe I’m missing something. There were some funny touches and some momentary sparks of cheesy farce, but for the most part I did not feel my sides splitting. There was one very funny moment with a bottle of hand gel, but it was just very deliberately slapstick rather than inventive. There were also a couple of neat sound tricks, but tricks is the key word. The standout performance was from deaf actor William Grint, who plays a gangsterish 2nd Merchant. His burly minder signed all of his “words” in a masterly integration of complex needs into the performance.
At the end of the performance the cast dedicated that night’s show to Antony Sher, legend of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who died the day before, aged 72.
📌 Got a message from Laura inviting me to an “unveiling” in Bloomsbury of the studio work we did for Bonnier Books in creating our own versions of some of their iconic book covers. She said Emily Jenkins, who wrote We Were Liars (the book cover I worked on) was very impressed with my stitchwork and watercolour on linen reproduction.
📌 Paul Waugh’s report on Keir Starmer’s shadow-cabinet reshuffle quotes some of his closest colleagues unable to say what the Labour leader stands for. “Keir’s basically like David Cameron. He wants to be Prime Minister first, and what he will do if he gets there comes second,” said one.
📌 Black humour dept. In Winchester Robin and Sarah report that hospital doctors treating old people suffering from dehydration refer to them as being “crispy”.
SUNDAY The Omicron variant really is in a different ballpark from all the previous coronavirus mutations. It is as if it has designed itself with the sole purpose of foxing the virology experts. The idea that virus infection was a nuisance that will at some point in the near future slacken its grip on our lives and ultimately fade away now seems ridiculous.
📌 Liz is off to a flying start for Christmas.
MONDAY The couriers made no attempt to disguise the arrival of this Christmas gift for my wife.
TUESDAY A story in the Guardian implies that London police has a policy of talking rape victims into dropping their complaints.
📌 Simon Jenkins detects yet another knee-jerk government lurch towards authoritarianism in its new “war on drugs”.
📌 My cousin Kate got her special birthday gift, a memory painting I did about the legendary 1977 Liverpool v St Etienne game at Anfield, at which she fainted but recovered to hear the final whistle. Her description features in the painting.
📌 Progress on the stitchwork version of Sean’s discarded sketch is slow but enjoyable. It has become a new image in the process. The two gazing 1920s women at the café table have become my eccentric friends.
📌 World events are once again the plaything of Russia and the US. Whichever way things shake down in the standoff in Ukraine, the world will be a more dangerous place.
WEDNESDAY A leaked video shows senior members of the government joking about having a Christmas party last year when the rest of the UK population was cowering under the laws of lockdown and likely to face arrest if found to be in breach. It can’t now be long before the Prime Minister faces a police investigation and conviction.
📌 It was never quite top of my list of curiosities, but wondering how medieval knights in full armour coped with basic mobility was always a question waiting for an answer. And it seems the answer, as described in Design History, was IT DEPENDS. The fit of the armour was crucial, and if your armourer got your chest measurements wrong, or failed to leave enough wriggle room under your arms, you were almost certainly headed for an early grave.
📌 Cats are annoying, sly creatures, totally selfish and often smelly. It would be hard for me to start liking them, except…
📌 We didn’t need a new router after all. Just a hard reset. Fingers crossed it works for the TV, too. Still have several episodes of Succession to catch up on.
📌 The Australians at Muma (Monash University Museum of Art) all love my travel essay. Charlotte even said it was “poetic”.
📌 In the latest media storm about a party at No10 the PM claims never happened, Martin Kettle detects a genuine turning point in Boris’s fortunes. The joke is over, he says, and the public has tired of his act.
THURSDAY At art class yesterday I did a picture of Chris in the style of Julian Opie. Chris told me today that on the A13 in Dagenham there is a roundabout known locally as Madonna’s Bra.
📌 The Guardian has a piece that outlines a coherent way forward to living with Covid. It finishes by adding that a safer future is certainly possible, but only if citizens can trust the messaging of their leaders.
📌 HuffpostUK has a neat summary of the Prime Minister’s unfortunate predicament.
📌 Bit disappointed with Donna Leon’s Unto Us A Son Is Given. Still no crime at Chapter 9 of 28. Hurry up, Brunetti, find a body, willya.
FRIDAY The prime minister’s difficulties refuse to slip away quietly as more and more Covid-clandestine parties are uncovered. The Tortoise says Conservative MPs are nearing rebellion in the form of a vote of no confidence in the PM.
Already reluctant to vote through new rules on ideological or economic grounds, they are less willing to be used – over and over again – to mop up government messes.
📌 Spoke too soon about the router. It’s on the blink again and I’m reduced to using my phone and its meagre data plan for all online activities.
📌 Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story has great sets and great dance sequences, but the two leads, Tony and Maria, were played by non-actors, which was disappointing. The only character who could act was Riff.