Scrapbook: Week 34

August 20-26

SATURDAY 20 It seems Marina Hyde is quite looking forward to Liz Truss becoming prime minister…

Itโ€™ll be interesting watching Liz try to give a pep talk to gravity.

Marina Hyde, the Guardian

๐Ÿ“Œ Back in Winchester and the chance to touch base once again with Bapsy.

SUNDAY 21 Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, has been targeted in the media for dancing wildly at a party. Some saw it as unseemly for the leader of a country to behave in such a way, others thought it perfectly normal for a 30-something woman to be out partying and hit back at critics with the the hashtag #solidaritywithSanna, posting on social media videos of themselves cavorting similarly.

๐Ÿ“Œ In Southampton our very first visit to the bulk-buying warehouse enterprise Costco proved that there are very few things you can’t buy 10 of, and nothing you can buy one of.

At Costco, Southampton…

MONDAY 22 The bumpy train journey back from Winchester must have shaken us more than we imagined. Half an hour after arriving home we both exited the flat without our door keys. The next-door neighbours keep a spare for us, but they were away. Just as I was scoping the possibility of breaking into our own home through the kitchen window, my wife was able to contact our Nextdoor neighbour, who revealed the secret code to the key safe they have outside their front door. We gained access to their property and grabbed the spare keys for our property, and the day was saved.

๐Ÿ“Œ The September train journey through France to Spain for Grahamโ€™s birthday is shaping up, thanks to Jane and Liz. My role has been next to nonexistent. Iโ€™ve managed to check out a few bars and restaurants near our apartment in the St Michel area of Bordeaux, but otherwise Iโ€™ve done little but get excited.

TUESDAY 23 Last night I bumped into Bev and she asked me to send a message to our community Facebook group. This is what I wrote…

Terry at City Hardware found a blue parrot. If you know anyone who has lost one and is searching in desperation for the dear creature, reassure them and tell them Terry took it to Clerkenwell Vets for safekeeping.

๐Ÿ“Œ We travelled to Milton Keynes first class for my birthday treat at the insistence of a kindly platform guard at Euston station. First impressions of MK were of it as a business and retail park the size of a whole town laid out in a strict grid. On our approach to MK Gallery, the smell of chips and weed wafted over us as we passed a weird sculpture called Dangerous Liaisons.

Dangerous Liaisons…

๐Ÿ“Œ Iโ€™d never heard of โ€œnanny photographerโ€ Vivian Maier before today. Now I am mildly obsessed and want to know more. Thankfully my wife bought me a chunky book for my birthday to go with the magical day out in Milton Keynes to see an exhibition of her work. My jotted notes read like an extract from a bad stream-of-conscious essayโ€ฆ

At MK Gallery…

Reflections and odd juxtapositions. A way of seeing and sensing all at once. Patterns and composition, framing, texture. The photographer as a spy. Subjects always unaware of photographer. Thousands of images seized from storage lockers and auctioned to pay off the outstanding rent. Forever ready to capture a moment. A balletic assembly of unsuspecting actors. Self portraits with mirrors, often wearing a hat. Shape and shadows as signifiers of mystery. Though many of the images appear snatched it is obvious from the series of contact prints that she hung around a scene waiting for a shot to emerge.

๐Ÿ“Œ Wonder Of Science posted a fantastic bit of footage of a hovering kestrel.

WEDNESDAY 24 The hosepipe ban starts today, so it’s watering cans for the tomatoes from now on.

๐Ÿ“Œ It now seems so inevitable that Liz Truss will become prime minister that all speculation has shifted to who might be in her cabinet. Rishi Sunak has all but ruled himself out with his denouncement of Truss, and Priti Patel is standing hard, hands on hips, steely gaze, etc, with a look that dares Truss to sack her from her job as home secretary.

๐Ÿ“Œ I always get the blame for the paper tissue in the washing machine. I blame the person who didn’t check all pockets before tossing the laundry into the machine.

THURSDAY 25 Martin Kettle points out how the system for electing political party leaders has become so twisted that Liz Truss, if elected Conservative party leader and prime minister, will be forced to call a general election immediately.

๐Ÿ“Œ Michelle asked me to write a line memorialising Stephen, one of the studio’s artists who died recently. I wrote: “Watching Stephen paint was like being caught unawares by a force of nature. As he sat jabbing colour after colour into the canvas you felt kinda helpless, locked in wonder and never quite sure how you’d make it back into the real world.”

๐Ÿ“Œ A Turkish company is trialling a new turbine in Istanbul that uses the wind generated by passing traffic.

๐Ÿ“Œ At Headway Chris did his presentation of findings from his visit to Germany and the Prinzhorn Collection. From what he was saying, studios such as ours get more direct state funding in Germany than in Britain.

๐Ÿ“Œ The hustings for the election of a new alderman in our local ward threw up the prospect of the alderman becoming an alderwoman and a campaign under the hashtag #sue4alderwoman. Our backward council, the City of London Corporation, has a history of denying the existence of female councillors by describing all of its elected representatives as “councilman”.

FRIDAY 26 We’d been listening to shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves hammering on about energy price caps and what a turkey of a government we have, so when we woke up this morning I jokingly said to the black ball in our bedroom, “Alexa, play Rachel Reeves”. Alexa did just that, though I think she got Rachel Reeves politician and “Rachael Reeves on Amazon Music” mixed up.

๐Ÿ“Œ Boris presided over more than 100,000 deaths with his failure to act at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Now his successor is likely to follow suit with a failure to act on energy prices.

๐Ÿ“Œ I watched a YouTube video of Will Self talking about psychogeography, but stopped paying attention not on his fifth mention of Baudelaire but on the sight of his fingernails, which appeared to be painted pink.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


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