June 25-July 1, 2022
SATURDAY 25 A charming and welcome recollection popped out of the radio in the middle of the night. On BBC4 Extra the actor David Morrissey presented a half-hour documentary about Roger Hill, an influential radio DJ in Liverpool when I started writing about music back in the early 1980s. I have often since wondered whether Hill was still passionately promoting the weird and the wonderful from the streets of my hometown. What I didn’t know back then was just how influential and inspiring he actually was, or about the theatre work he did with the Everyman theatre, especially with young actors such as David Morrissey himself, Kathy Tyson, Ian Hart and the McGanns. The show also featured Jayne Casey, who once teased me mercilessly in a cafe on Bold Street about my choice of clothes and my taste in music.
SUNDAY 26 Two articles today point to a political future for the UK that sounds blissfully modern. Andrew Rawnsley looks at Boris’s decline and the rise of the not-so secret pact between the two main opposition parties, Labour and the Lib Dems. This looks at the moment like a loose alliance, but if such a light-touch collaboration can be maintained and survive the inevitable challenges from those with a taste for something more radical, a new type of politics might be born. John Harris, meanwhile, extends the idea to envisage a kind of centre-ground populism, where UK politics becomes an pop-fest love-in of coproduction.
MONDAY 27 Lots of reports pointing to a legitimacy crisis in the US Supreme Court following the decision to ban abortion. Its popularity rating has sunk to 25% and many states have pledged to devise a workaround to the ruling.
📌 The cameras at Wimbledon pan to celebrities in the crowd and we’re all meant to know who they are.
📌 In my digital art course I learned all about “flatting”, which is laying down basic colours as a foundation on which to build complexity.
TUESDAY 28 My wife’s cousin, a northern actor, is staying with us in London while he rehearses a play, Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads, in which he plays an intellectual racist. When he is not supplying us with juicy anecdotes from the theatre world, he likes to rant about class. Last week the target of his ire was the BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth, who he dismisses as “Smug Putney”. This week it’s Wimbledon and his sights are on snooty All England popinjays such as Sue Barker and Tim Henman.
📌 A video has appeared on Twitter of Boris emerging from his ministerial 4×4 and jogging a few paces to the open door of a hotel.
📌 I dreamt that I won £360,000 on the Lottery. My wife did not believe me and insisted I’d made a mistake. I persisted and was proved right. My wife put on some lipstick and was nice as pie.
WEDNESDAY 29 Andy Burnham was on the radio this morning repeating the message he delivered at Glastonbury and in the Observer at the weekend arguing for the “rewiring” of Britain’s political system, with more devolution, cross-party collaboration and proportional representation.
📌 Today’s art class was Pointillism on a matchbox, a deeply unsatisfying experience.
📌 I bored easily of the GK Chesterton and Ruth Rendell stories I started and have moved on to Sophie Hannah.
📌 Just when you thought horror movies had moved on from cheesy shlock to become if not more literary then at least more psychological, along comes The Black Phone, which starts off looking like the latter but ends up riddled with implausible turns and stock gimmicks. Baddy Ethan Hawke looked like he was auditioning for the next Batman movie.
THURSDAY 30 My wife’s actor cousin Mike told us about the repeat fees actors get for appearances in film and TV. He says regular payments sustained him throughout the lockdown. He cited big payments for film and globally in-demand series TV (eg, Spooks) and tiny ones (£2.36) for a repeat episode of The Bill in a far-flung corner of the world. A branch of his union checks all transmissions and collects payment: “It’s nice to wake up to an email saying you just got £800 for not moving.”
📌 Duncan Campbell asks how the Metropolitan Police force has descended so far into chaos, incompetence, racism and corruption that it has been put into “special measures”.
📌 Sam’s dragon picture is slightly disturbing, in a Game of Thrones way.
📌 At Headway I volunteered to be the model in a life-drawing workshop hooked to a study of Alice Neel portraits, which will appear in exhibition at the Barbican in Spring next year.
📌 In the Guardian Rafael Behr says that living with Boris as PM…
…feels like paying the bill for someone else who has done a runner from a restaurant, or picking up other people’s litter.Rafael Behr, the Guardian
He goes on to slam a fist on the table of truth: the game is up…
A day of Johnson does more than 24 hours of damage to the Conservative brand.
FRIDAY 1 Last night we hit deepest Peckham for an exhibition of artworks by the learning-disabled members of Intoart. Connie, who used to work at Submit to Love, invited us and before my wife had even taken a sip of her free glass of wine she fell in love with a charcoal drawing at £350, plus £20 for delivery.
📌 My wife was struggling to find the words “magic wand” and instead came up with “abracadabra stick”.
📌 The Westfield shopping city in Stratford, east London, looks like it was designed by the same person who created every single airport retail space in the world and then made it 10 times bigger. It was an exhausting experience, made 10 times worse by a bus journey home in the company of The Great Unmasked coughing, sneezing and spluttering like Covid never happened.
📌 Inspired by a recent art-class project on Nature I’ve decided to try a few botanicals in stitchwork. The leaves of different tree species might make a good collection.
📌 I spotted an old collegue from the Guardian working in the lingerie department of Marks & Spencer, Stratford, east London.