July 16-22, 2022
SATURDAY 16 Yippeee! Just found out that… A. We can get free Covid lateral flow tests, and… B. The fifth and final series of Better Things starts on TV tomorrow.
📌 Bored with the Tory leadership race; they’re all despicable in one way or another. Just hope that an early general election comes out if it.
SUNDAY 17 Andrew Rawnsley puts Penny Mordaunt under the microscope, sneering at a political career so far based on knob jokes, only to conclude that her best qualification to be the country’s next prime minister is that she isn’t one the others.
Three years of Boris Johnson is a warning to the Conservative party about any more experiments with politics as a branch of light entertainment.
📌 In an essay in the London Review of Books, Iain Sinclair ponders on a future when there is “an unbridgeable chasm” between lowly millionaires and billionaires, the Haves vs the Have-Yachts…
…And bigger yachts. And yachts with helipads and missile-launch systems. With Picassos and Warhols and Bacons. Yachts bigger than many tax-avoidance islands. When the ice has all melted and the animals have been drowned or burned, the great ghost fleet of oligarchs will rule the ocean.
📌 I’ve been browsing some of my old drawings and photos for details that would make standalone artworks…
MONDAY 18 In last night’s Tory leadership TV debate, Rishi Sunak accused Penny Mordaunt of coming on like Jeremy Corbyn with taxation. Calling someone in the Conservative party a “Corbyn” is obviously a big insult.
📌 All of the leadership contenders apparently said that if they won they would not call an early general election. Polly Toynbee says don’t believe them. If a moment of “new broom” popularity with the public pops up they will go for it like a rat up a drainpipe.
📌 Excited to discover that Uniqlo Amsterdam is very close to the hotel we will be in next week. Emergency clothing replenishment at your fingertips.
📌 Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have pulled out of tonight’s scheduled TV debate. They clashed badly in last night’s debate and have decided their conduct is embarrassing the party.
TUESDAY 19 In my online art class the teacher talks about “minimal depiction”. A human eye, for example can be a simple dot, or a nose a triangle. Understanding the minimal depiction, she says, enables you to establish the form on which you can build the detail (pupil, iris, lid, etc). This sounds obvious, but finding the minimal depiction in the first place is a project all by itself. Today we did noses.
Next comes ears, where I will learn all about the helix, the tragus and the concha.
WEDNESDAY 20 There are three candidates remaining in the contest to replace Boris as leader of the Conservative party and prime minister. This afternoon they will become two. Of the three, two (Rishi Sunak and Luz Truss) are stained by Boris’s antics, the other (Penny Mordaunt) is the only “change” candidate remaining. I’m wondering how mischievous Conservative party members really are. Mordaunt is flaky, vain and inexperienced. Installing such a person as prime minister is possibly the only chance of the Conservatives staying in office, but it is a big risk. In one sense it is a chance to bury the Boris years, but in another sense it would be yet another leap of wishful thinking, as it was when they appointed Boris leader.
THURSDAY 21 After two days of oppressive heat in which the will to move evaporated, temperatures are more temperate and I even managed to sort some laundry in anticipation of our travels to Holland and Switzerland next week. I’m tempted to move on to the unruly jungle of tomato plants in our allotment but have decided to delegate the task of bringing some order to a dense mass of green, sweet-smelling foliage that somewhere in its midst contains just one single young tomato.
📌 Being an optimist means I’m often wrong these days, so pessimism it is from now on and the horrible thought that Liz Truss (whose famous Cheese Speech has gone viral on social media) will probably be our next prime minister. She told the nation that if she becomes PM she will “hit the ground from day one”.
📌 In a last gasp of optimism it was exciting to see that The Lionesses are through to the semi-finals of the Euro 2022 competition. They beat Spain at the Amex stadium in Brighton and their coach is Dutch.
📌 The internet is rammed with pictures of Liz Truss in Margaret Thatcher copycat outfits.
📌 Lunch at Headway was exceptional – chicken pie with petit pois followed by Sam’s peanut butter and chocolate cookies.
FRIDAY 22 We’ve spotted an irritating development in TV thrillers, exemplified most recently in the Netflix series Pieces of Her. The trend is to make the story as confusing as possible to a logical mind, then to insert, often using tricksy flashbacks, details with which the viewer can hopefully work out what’s going on. Good luck with that. BBC’s The Control Room was similarly annoying.
📌 According to the Socialist Worker, a new report shows the Labour party as ridiculously monolithic, entrenched in bitter factionalism and a big turn-off for voters.
📌 Ironing linen shirts must be one of the most pointless and unrewarding things anyone can spend time on. So why did I just waste two hours doing just that?
📌 Sarcasm is still one of Quora’s great strengths…
📌 A writer in The Critic observes that Boris has a habit of scratching his arse during Prime Ministers Questions, and especially in his final outing during which he teased Labour leader Keir Starmer if having a “funny wooden flapping gesture”.
What is it that draws his hand back to his rump during almost every question? An untucked shirt? A nasty rash? Worms? He scratched his arse as he answered Marco Longhi, as he discussed the Windrush Scandal, and as he talked about legacy prosecutions of soldiers in Northern Ireland. He did it when he talked about fisheries and when he discussed student loans.Robert Hutton, The Critic
📌 If ever a psycho became a national treasure, it would be Chris Eubank. He is so psychologically disabled that all you can do is give thanks that he is still allowed to exist.