SATURDAY Quora says that the term “Don’t be a James” is cockney rhyming slang for advice not to be a James Blunt.
📌 The tennis player Rafael Nadal has been on the radio saying the Australian Open tournament is bigger than any single player. Meanwhile, the BBC has a clear analysis of the situation, concluding that Novak Djokovic effectively cancelled his own visa in his actions. As much as sports people like to tell us they are not “political”, Djokovic knowingly played state law against federal law. If the outcome is “political”, he is the one who made it so.
📌 Novakgate is starting to smell very Brexity. I wonder what the result would be if Liberal Australian PM Scott Morrison brought forward this year’s elections, took a leaf from Boris’s book and made his election slogan “No, vaccine, no entry”.
📌 Really enjoying getting my needle stuck into Sam’s Legs.
SUNDAY Chris Roberts was on Facebook recalling an interview with Jean-Jacques Beineix, who died recently. He mentioned the film Diva, which for many years in my youth I named as my favourite movie. It was my introduction to cinema as art and left a big impression on the young me.
📌 The Barbican displayed some of the lighting fixtures from the current Noguchi exhibition in the Conservatory, added a pop-up wine bar and somehow invented a new indoor/outdoor social setting for the well-healed.
📌 Marge came round to dinner last night so we missed The Masked Singer. Tonight ‘Bagpipe’ was revealed to be former tennis ace Pat Cash.
📌 My wife goes all gooey when she sees Junior Bake Off contestants helping each other rebuild collapsed cakes. Likewise when they console those who cry at the news that they came last.
MONDAY A fascinating radio programme about the role of fleas and other parasites in poetry sent me on a bodily tour of itch scratching.
📌 Half way through a cold, dispassionate analysis of the UK’s Covid deaths it started to feel like the whole experience has been a mass cull of people deemed economically non-productive and of little use to the future of post-Brexit Britain. Then came the news that pregnant women had died and babies born prematurely because midwives were not supported properly.
📌 Just because Boris is about to be toppled, don’t be fooled into thinking Britain has changed, says an article in the Guardian. To those who voted for him, it states, Johnson is as disposable as any other servant.
Johnson is a contracted private service provider – as long as he delivers, then as clients, his supporters don’t really care what he gets up to outside of the tasks he has been hired for. Those tasks are broadly Brexit and a shiny, prosperous country where jobs and funds have been cut or confiscated from those less deserving.
📌 Finished Sam’s Legs. Not sure I want to work with white linen again for a while. Calico here I come!
📌 There’s a line in Ed McBain’s 87th Street Precinct story Poison in which a detective thinks “Hope is the thing with feathers”.
TUESDAY Be careful what you wish for. Nadine Dorries, culture secretary and an ally of Boris, is threatening the BBC if it doesn’t shut up reporting her friend’s misdemeanors. What she hasn’t twigged, writes the Socialist Worker, is that the BBC is the establishment’s greatest ally and chief propogandist, so getting rid of it might not be such a bright idea.
📌 Conservatives itching for Boris to go might also want to think hard… about who might replace him. The latest money is on Penny Mordaunt, minister of trade last seen in a popular TV diving show called Splash.
📌 For many, a Conservative leadership contest is the best bit of TV fluff to hit our screens in years. The sheer drama of who will knife who next is up there with Season 4 of Ozark.
📌 It looks like Boris is engineering his own exit by claiming his innocence in Partygate but willing to resign if Sue Gray’s inquiry says he was warned about having a party during Lockdown. My wife is still annoyed that Downing Street staff are apparently allowed to drink alcohol while “working”. Government policy is fuelled on gin.
WEDNESDAY It’s my guess that very soon the Prime Minister will be out and a new one in. In preparation I wondered what the cartoonists would make of Boris’s tipped replacements.
📌 Our next project in art class is focused on Chinese New Year. Out with the hopeless, in with the hopeful, etc. I have decided to base a collage exercise using couplet papers on something widely assumed to be Chinese but I’m told is in fact a British marketing stunt…
THURSDAY Earth history has already seen five Mass Extinctions. These are catastrophes in which at least 75% of the planet’s species are wiped out. According to an article in Vice we have now entered the sixth. The article includes a quote from a scientist saying:
The most important thing we can do for the future is to preserve as many species as possible in museums, so that in 200, 300, or 500 years from now, people will still be able to say this is what the Earth once had.
📌 The plan to unseat Boris has been labelled the “Pork Pie” plot because one of the chief plotters represents the Mowbray constituency in Leicestershire, where pork pies are made.
📌 Boris has now been fingered for using mafia methods to keep his MPs in line.
FRIDAY Found a lost email yesterday inviting us to a family wedding in Switzerland in July. This released a flurry of activity deciding a route and finding a suitable hotel in the centre of Basel. We decided to add a few days in Amsterdam to the trip and my wife skilfully found a luxury train fare that is only a little more than standard. It’s nice to be able to make plans again.
📌 Today’s plan is to move the sofa and vacuum away all the dust that has collected beneath it. It’s also a chance to fix a faulty light switch. How exciting is that! Might even put on the radio news while toiling to get the latest on the discovery of a secret torture chamber in the basement of 10 Downing Street where Boris in a gimp mask has been waterboarding Tory MPs who think he should shove off and let a real Prime Minister take over.
📌 My cousins Helen and Kate both hope Boris survives the “pork-pie putsch” and carries on being rubbish at his job. That way he just has more time to make himself and his party look TOTALLY UNELECTABLE at the next election.
📌 The government has really got a grip on what the public wants right now – and that is less boring announcements on trains. The subheading to this story is “Bonfire of the Banalities”, as if the entire train-using public can reference Tom Wolfe novels just like that.
📌 RIP Meat Loaf, never knowingly referred to as Meatloaf.
📌 We never go there, but I’m glad Conway Hall exists and persists. I guess that supporting it in spirit is not really good enough? I suspect that’s what humanist-in-chief Polly Toynbee would tell me. In her column today she reckons political protest in the UK is on its way down the same road as Hong Kong.
📌 Doctors are greedy blood-suckers too. Is that such a surprise?
📌 Being very short, buying trousers has always been an ordeal. Then I found Banana Republic stocked my perfect size. Then Banana Republic closed down and the Trouser Ordeal started all over again. Now my waist has grown with old age, Marks & Spencer are my saviour. Off the peg, perfect fit, happy days.