August 13-19, 2022
SATURDAY 13 Andy Medhurst is a magnet for daft jokes that circulate the internet…
📌 As opening sentences go, Marina Hyde’s latest is up there with the best…
Nothing could possibly be longer than this Conservative leadership race – not even the final minute of your washing machine cycle.Marina Hyde, the Guardian
📌 I’d put money in Trump being jailed eventually.
📌 Jennifer has a new artist on her books, Yoshihiro Watanabe, who does origami with old leaves and creates animal sculptures.
SUNDAY 14 The Guardian‘s Week In Patriarchy says the chief informants in the FBI vs Donald Trump case are his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, a double act popularly known as Javanka.
📌 On Twitter the author JK Rowling gave her reaction to the knife attack in New York on fellow writer Salman Rushdie, and got a chilling reply…
📌 There is a rump of commentators who don’t believe the climate policies contained in the US’s recently passed Inflationary Reduction Act go far enough. Positive News, however, always does what it says on the tin:
Yet it also marks a significant turning point for a country that barely two years ago had withdrawn from the Paris agreement.Positive News
📌 A columnist in the Observer reckons the majority of Conservatives have accepted that time’s up, the party has run out of steam and winning another general election is a fantasy. There’s a tiny hint in the article, too, that Rishi Sunak is now happy to sit back and watch Liz Truss make a bigger mess than Boris did in the two years until the next election.
📌 Gosh! Will Hutton actually sounds quite angry at the prospect of two years of Liz Truss as PM. He goes right out there and shouts a rude word (“bullshit”). And from Paul Waugh in The i…
📌 A new trend I’ve only just spotted in word use is the adjective as a noun. It comes hot on the heels of nouns being reformed as verbs. In Lisa’s new book, Non Conform Ers: A New History Of Self-Taught Artists there is reference to self-taught art as a contracted “self-taught”. This is a neat shorthand, made a bit cleverer by the use of the adjectival hyphen. Few, I suspect, will spot the joke in the book’s typographically tortured title. Read a serious review here.
MONDAY 15 There are media reports circulating that tell of a British holidaymaker in Greece spotting Boris and shouting at him: “Get back to work, you fat ponce.”
📌 Someone posted a video on Twitter of a dog who had worked out a way to play fetch with itself.
📌 At last the opposition Labour Party starts to look like an alternative government with a call for all electricity and gas prices to be frozen for six months. It looks even better being made by leader Keir Starmer on his return from his Summer holiday just as Boris sets off in his SECOND Summer holiday, leaving behind a sitting government that is paralysed waiting for its new leader to be declared. But you can’t help thinking this is Labour playing a cunning political game. Time and again if Labour policies look like they can win public support, the Conservatives simply steal them and dress them up as their own. And Labour couldn’t do much about it. Now they know that if they shout a radical policy such as the energy price-cap from the rooftops, the government is likely to cherry-pick bits of it. I think this might be Labour’s way of governing without being elected to govern.
TUESDAY 16 You know you’re in trouble when the parody version of the news does a plausible impression of the truth.
📌 Today marks the start of new experiment aimed at finding “interesting ways to walk to Aldi”. The budget supermarket has recently opened nearby, and although it is twice the distance from home as our usual supermarket (Waitrose), the habit of habituating Aldi needs to be nailed. My favourite local cafe is also on the way back, so that helps.
📌 My wife says the last person in the world you want telling you to eat less meat is George Monbiot.
📌 The stitchwork leaf series is shaping up. Number 3 is nearly finished. I thought I was subconsciously choosing trees with three-letter names (oak, elm), but that’s obviously not the case.
WEDNESDAY 17 Essential industries formerly in public ownership, such as water and energy, are at the centre of scandal and scrutiny. Top bosses have taken massive bonuses while household bills soar; raw sewage is daily tipped into rivers and 3bn litres a day are lost in leaks. It’s not surprising, then, that the public is getting fed up with it…
📌 Down in Blackfriars, just south of the river, the area around what was once King’s Reach Tower and Ludgate House has changed beyond recognition. Nowhere could you buy coffee with cash. Thankfully, the posh office reception in which my fellow studio artist Dolores Crump was selling her blossom paintings had plenty of free comestibles to keep the soul together.
📌 In Clerkenwell there’s a plaque on the wall in remembrance of “the musical coalman”.
THURSDAY 18 After struggling through some tediously overwritten crime stories I’m back to reading plays. The economy of language is a big draw, plus the bonus that every line of dialogue serves the drama, which is a compelling coupling. I found a play from 1921 curiously called The Philosopher of Butterbiggens, by Harold Chapin. I picked it for no other reason than I liked the title. It feels from the first few pages like a comedy kitchen-sink drama set in a poor area of Glasgow. The dialogue is all in dialect, which makes it fun to translate.
📌 We’re enjoying the new Stefan Golaszewski drama Marriage, starring Nicola Walker and Sean Bean. That puts us at odds with the rest of the viewing public who have declared the series boring. It lacks the instant charm of Golaszewski’s previous Him & Her and Mum, but the characteristic immersion in the mundane with good actors and characters forever failing to find a way to talk to each other I guess might be a turn-off for some. We love it.
📌 At Headway someone came and sat next to me. We did some small talk and they told me about an event they recently attended that was inspiring. Just as I thought the conversation had reached its natural end, my companion lingered and we sat in silence for some time. Eventually I excused myself but wondered later if the real motive for the prolonged lingering was to confide something or to ask my advice, and I hadn’t twigged. I am notoriously bad at spotting the signs and have a habit of treating one-to-one exchanges as polite function. Missed moments that prompt the question “What if?” are eternally fascinating.
FRIDAY 19 The anticipated guerrilla phase of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has started. Expect it to last a long time as Russian resolve withers and a political path beckons. It is not the grindingly tough journey Vladimir Putin wanted.
📌 In a typically sturdy and dependable article, Andy Beckett declares the Thatcher brand still potent, despite its redundancy.
📌 On the radio an interviewer asked Andrew Ridgeley why he had remixed the classic Wham! song Club Tropicana for a modern audience. Before he could answer, my wife interjected, sarcastically: “To pay for the personality lessons”, adding that George Michael must have been a really nice person to share songwriting credits with such a talent-free dullard, 59, who incidentally now looks like one of the lesser characters in McMafia.
📌 Checking the reviews for a local Malaysian takeaway we found a review that was obviously written for another business.
📌 If Liz Truss is seriously looking for her Miners Strike moment in pledging to put the boot in on striking public-sector workers (the list is getting longer by the day), let’s hope she seeks a mandate via a general election before doing so.
📌 The image from the rail track just outside of Farnborough (en route to Winchester) suggests someone did not have a peaceful journey.