May 28-June 3, 2022
📌 Watching Liverpool play football on TV is incredibly stressful. Today it is made even more stressful by the presence of my sister, who vents every conceivable emotion in a 90-minute window of psychological outpouring. My heart is with the real fans.
SUNDAY 29 Once again the shambolic organisation of a sporting event overshadows the actual contest.
📌 Again I expected to be bored stiff at a choir concert at the Barbican featuring my wife and the LSO Community Choir, but was again pleasantly surprised.
MONDAY 30 Very convincing essay in the Guardian describing a twisted form of the capitalist economic model that now prevails in Britain. There is no risk attached to profit, and the state has become the underwriter-in-chief for greedy business.
Now that the retail price of energy is effectively decided by Ofgem, the soaring profits of energy giants such as Shell have to be understood as official UK government policy.
TUESDAY 31 There was a sociologist on the radio who gave a class analysis of cricket, saying that historically batsmen were the bosses and bowlers the workers.
📌 Also on the radio, as reported by my wife, was a story about an art exhibition in Baltimore, USA, curated by the gallery’s security staff.
WEDNESDAY 1 Cowardly Conservatives are finally making the simplest calculation: kill or be killed. But it is still a gamble. If Boris makes it to the next election as their leader, they are doomed. If they replace him now and support a new leader at the next election they have a slim chance of survival. If they stick with Boris and by some miracle he stumbles into a moment of newfound popularity, he will call a snap general election and might win.
📌 American Express predicts a bumper year for foreign travel, but my wife laughed with derision when I suggested adventure travel companies might sell package Summer holidays to Ukraine to help clear up and rebuild.
📌 Another email arrives from Amazon detailing a new phase of the Kindle Swindle. Not only will I soon be unable to buy books with my Kindle device, I won’t be able to buy them with the Android app either. This is clearly a plan to kettle all Kindle users into subscribing to Kindle Unlimited. The only way I can otherwise buy books from Amazon is through their website. I’m not sure I’ll bother. This feels like a tipping point for Amazon. What was once a good business model has been corrupted by excessive greed… Prime deliveries never arrive the next day as promised, Amazon staff wages and conditions are poor, the Kindle Swindle, the arrogance of the monopolist business believing it can own practically everything and everyone… The list goes on an on.
📌 An article in the Guardian listing the likely contenders to replace Boris as PM is hilarious because none of the proposed replacements scores higher than 5/10. This raises the likelihood of Boris keeping his job simply because his party is so totally empty of political talent. Talented Tories such as Rory Stewart, Sayeeda Warsi and Ruth Davidson are not seen as contenders.
THURSDAY 2 Fascinating article in Variety about how Patti Smith’s big hit Because The Night came into existence. A very rough cassette version of it written by Bruce Springsteen sat on her mantlepiece for a long time before she finally listened to it, fell in love with it, rewrote bits and created her masterpiece with producer Jimmy Iovine. I remember being blown away by Springsteen’s own version of the song (credited to Patti Smith Group), performed at Manchester Apollo in 1981.
📌 The stitchwork portrait of three drunk women staggering down the street is a reprise. I have made this image so many times and with the women in so many different outfits. To recap why I return to it: the powerful triangle of forward motion is reminiscent of a rugby maul; no faces are shown, which forces the viewer to imagine them; no background is shown, which forces the viewer to invent one in their own mind. I do think of these women as drunkenly launching themselves into infinity.
📌 The commentators are edging towards the belief that economic sanctions against Russia have backfired and only military confrontation can bring an end to the war in Ukraine.
📌 At last, the padron peppers are showing some signs of life!
📌 The Platinum Jubilee (Platty Joob) flypast for the Queen was impressive but slightly muted, as if a show of military might was not appropriate at this moment in history.
📌 The Guardian urges Conservative MPs to muscle up and depose their maverick leader.
During the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations, the country will celebrate the life of a figurehead who embodies for many voters the idea of selfless service and integrity in public life. The contrast with the current occupant of No 10 could not be more stark.Guardian editorial
FRIDAY 3 I embarrassed myself in a dream and woke up riddled with guilt and sweating.
📌 We sat in the pub last night roughing out the first episode of The Golden Lane Murders. It is a sort-of cross between Midsomer Murders and Stephen Merchant’s The Outlaws. There is an exsanguinating body lying face down in the rooftop fish pond of Great Arthur House. The water that usually leaks from the pond onto Betty’s balcony one floor below has turned pink. I asked my wife two questions. Who is the stiff and who killed them? Her answer was to name a much-hated local politician as the victim and her displeased illicit lover (a freemason) as the perp.
📌 Boris was roundly booed by crowds as he arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Queen’s jubilee service.
PLEASE MESSAGE WITH ANY CORRECTIONS, BIG OR SMALL.