SATURDAY In the Geography round on Pointless Richard Osman told us that Donald Trump once accidentally renamed Namibia as Nambia and kept saying “Nambia” throughout a long speech.
📌 Brad Pitt is the victim of a revenge sue over a vineyard he bought with his former wife Angelina Jolie, who now obviously hates him so much she is prepared to wreck his plans for an early retirement in the south of France pretending to know about wine and modelling a new line in rustic floppy hats.
📌 The new project for our community Stitch & Bitch group is a Platinum Jubilee tote bag featuring a very cute corgi.
📌 Stuart in Brighton announced a status change on Facebook…
Sometimes, when I’m bored, I get wrapped up in my tutu and put a giant horn on my head and lather sparkles all over myself and slide around the kitchen floor pretending I’m a magical unicorn!
There then followed a string of earnest pledges from Stuart’s former school chums to join him in his eccentric pleasure-taking. One of them is actually mad enough to do it.
📌 My wife asked cautiously whether I agreed it was time for a new rug in our living room. When I replied yes without hesitation, adding that I always thought the existing rug looked like a dead dog, she seemed relieved.
SUNDAY The space between not asleep and awake was filled by a radio production of John Berger’s autobiographical And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief As Photos, read compellingly by actors Simon McBurney and Harriet Walter. McBurney especially gave life to the poetry of Berger’s writing, something I’d not properly appreciated before.
📌 The so-called “listicle” is a much derided journalistic form favoured by click-bait websites. But there’s a Waitrose version out there on display every week in the posh papers. Andrew Rawnsley pens an excellent example today in which his weekly essay on the state of British politics is a list on the multiple ways in which Britain has gone to pot.
The credibility and moral authority of the entire structure of public life is shuddering
MONDAY Nick Clegg has been promoted to Mark Zuckerberg 2.0.
📌 The usefulness of hooking my glasses into the collar of my sweater was brought into question when they wriggled free and fell into the toilet.
TUESDAY There’s a messy propaganda conflation happening in the media in which Nato, the EU and the UN have all been shoved together as the good guys, and all of Russia as the bad guys. Putin is obviously a bad guy, but both Nato and the EU have thrown their weight around internationally before now, so there is no small amount of hypocrisy in these accounts. Very helpfully an article the Morning Star today offers a reminder of the founding principles of the UN after WW2 and does not hesitate in naming Nato as the organisation it believes has done most to undermine those values.
It is no longer feasible or possible to harbour any lingering belief that Nato is anything other than a tool of US hard power, deployed not to protect and defend, but to destroy and dominate.
WEDNESDAY The Conversation has the most convincing analysis of the Russia/Ukraine situation. Read in conjunction with a viewing of the BBC iPlayer documentary Putin, Russia And The West creates what just about passes for a fair estimate of the current crisis amid all the shouty warmongering.
Meanwhile, the Socialist Worker sides with the Morning Star in fingering the West as antagonist-in -chief.
📌 Art class today was the first of a two-week celebration of International Women’s Day. I didn’t dare raise the issue of gender fluidity but instead kidnapped some Bridget Riley Op-Art and created an image of three drunk women staggering down The Tunnel That Never Ends.
📌 Sam sent her latest picture and it’s a hat that looks very like the one my cousin Kate wore at her wedding.
THURSDAY On the radio in the middle of the night there was a drama about a young woman enslaved by loneliness. She sat awake at night watching the shopping channels on TV. She starts buying and buying, but never opens the door when the delivery guy arrives. He leaves her items outside her flat. Inside it are stacks of boxes of unopened TV shopping. Soon she is weaving her way through an internal construction of her own making, trying desperately to work out how to escape.
I got to a point in this story where the sadness of the character, Nikki, was so heavy I switched off the radio. A happy ending would have seemed gimmicky; a psychotiç downward spiral would be depressing.
📌 As if to add to the downer of this radio play, shortly afterwards a message popped up on my notifications saying Russia had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Maybe Vladimir Putin and TV shopaholic Nikki have something in common. I wouldn’t be surprised. On page 1033 of his memoir Hitch 22, Christopher Hitchens notes that on the day he was born, 13 April 1949, the Russian foreign minister Andrei Gromyko “denounced the newly formed Nato alliance as a tool for aggression against the USSR”.
📌 I grew up as a child watching the Vietnam war on the TV. All I knew back then was that Ukraine was “Russia’s bread basket”. I feel quite ashamed that my generation couldn’t stop this happening.
📌 Wagging his finger at a few Russian banks and billionaires is not enough, Boris is told. Problem is there is too much Russian cash hidden in the City of London, says the Morning Star as it struggles to look for a solution.
Bellicose bullshit from all sides gets in the way of a rational resolution and Labour should be arguing for an alternative to our government’s grandstanding that might consolidate the stalled efforts of Germany and France to resolve the issue in Europe’s interest rather than that of US energy corporations.
📌 Simon Jenkins attempts to put a level head into the growing conflict in Ukraine, only to be shot at by readers calling him a pathetic apologist.
FRIDAY It is widely reported that diplomacy with Russia is dead and Putin firmly entrenched as the dictator on the doorstep.
📌 To lunch in Croydon with Sue and her mum Margaret. Sue had a first-hand report from one of her online language students in Kyiv as the Russian army rolled in. She also showed us an ancient photo of her mum as a young woman at work measuring components for aircraft and missiles. The Duke who always turns up at Wimbledon (Kent?) is stood alongside her pretending to be fascinated by her measuring contraption.
📌 A detour through the Next Outlet in Croydon revealed waistcoats to be a thing. Trying to imagine a passing tribe of young swains cruising down George Street looking for fun.