October 29-November 4, 2022
SATURDAY 29 At the Headway/Barbican brainstorm Mike once again got told off for taking photographs. I understand the privacy concern, but Mike’s brain injury left him with poor short-term memory and he uses photographs to remember the immediate past.
📌 While playing minder to Séan, 12, last night I tried to get him interested in Taskmaster. He preferred Ghosts.
📌 RIP Ian Jack, a gent and a lovely prose stylist. Got to work with him very briefly at the Independent On Sunday.
📌 Whenever visitors come to stay we inevitably end up watching TV programmes that wouldn’t normally appear on our radar. Tonight it was a show called I Can See Your Voice.
SUNDAY 30 The day after an evening entertaining guests always means the fridge is in a mess. My wife has a slapdash attitude to principles such as placing non-dairy foodstuffs on the Dairy Shelf (olives, I ask you!). And she gives space priority to half-finished bottles of wine over essentials such as milk.
📌 To keep him amused last night I gave 12-year-old Séan my iPad to explore and he used one of the apps to create a digital illustration announcing “Billy is the best”. The painting was revealing in another way: for years I have been spelling his name wrong.
📌 My wife told me the Russell & Bromley shoes I put on today looked “a bit Old Man”.
📌 To the Barbican for Symphonic Gospel, mainly because the remnants of my wife’s disbanded community choir were on stage. I shouldn’t complain about Gospel being what Gospel has become, but I found the experience both preachy and slightly creepy. The conductor, André Thomas, used the performance to deliver a succession of corny black-history homilies when all I wanted was to enjoy the beauty of hearing and watching lots of people singing together.
MONDAY 31 Not sure I will be watching any of the World Cup from Qatar, which begins in November.
📌 Blocked kitchen sink and neither of us can remember where we put the Big Plunger.
📌 Big Plunger located in that place we had long ago designated for the Big Plunger and other such stuff.
📌 There came an almighty glug and the kitchen sink was unblocked and sanity restored.
📌 Our residents’ association meetings are normally dull and poorly attended. But tonight’s featured enthusiastic performances from various councillors, residents and a bold attempt by the committee to look professional. Was the presence of our MP, Nickie Aitken, a factor behind this new vigour?
TUESDAY 1 I’m not sure Rishi can carry on backing Leaky Su for much longer. Her performances in Parliament are becoming more and more hysterical. There is the general agreement that she should be politically sectioned for her own good (and everyone else’s). And when a government starts breaking its own laws – be it on immigration, national security or the environment – the writing (a desperate scrawl) is on the wall.
📌 Matt Hancock is to appear on this year’s I’m A Celebrity… and has therefore been suspended by the Conservative Party for neglecting his duties as an MP. One of his closest colleagues told the press that they relish the thought of the former health secretary eating a kangaroo’s penis. A writer in the Guardian also seems to be relishing Hancock’s appearance, casting it as comedy payback for all the harm he heaped on the nation during the pandemic. I always thought revenge was best served cold, not with a barrel of laughs.
📌 Finished the stitchwork of Cecil’s gang of 70s hipsters and have decided to try recreating some classic news photographs in stitches, starting with a pattern for the 2016 image of a blood-soaked Syrian child on the seat of an ambulance.
📌 Finally finished some letterbox landscapes supposedly inspired by JMW Turner for Art Class. Can’t say I enjoyed this project. It felt like a fight.
WEDNESDAY 2 Rishi’s only been in the job for a week and already he’s tripping over his own shoelaces, says Polly Toynbee in a compendium of Sunak Screwups ranging from the appointment of Leaky Su to his “too busy” shun of the Cop27 global climate conference in Egypt.
📌 Rishi lunges into his first U-turn…
📌 Hats off to the makers of TV’s The Pact for keeping us guessing throughout Series 2 with a minimal drip-feed of confusing clues. When we finished it tonight it was obvious that what we were meant to feel was sympathy, but what we actually felt was incredulity.
THURSDAY 3 Hot news arrives from America to say da kids are alright.
📌 Larry Elliott’s opening paragraph in describing Britain’s economic disappearance down the toilet is a classic of its kind…
Economic policy in the UK is peppered with the language of S&M. The Treasury demands budgetary discipline. The Bank of England sees the need for monetary tightening. Policymakers talk of the need to avoid “fiscal dominance”. Only in Britain could there ever have been an instrument of monetary control known as the corset.Larry Elliot, the Guardian
📌 At Headway James, the music coordinator who used to be in Microdisney, tells me he is about to go on tour with Shakin’ Stevens in support of Status Quo. And Margi gave me some peanutty Fijian Cheetos.
📌 Not till very near the end of a Guardian story reporting a drop in profits for Sainsbury’s do we discover that this year’s profits were £340m. The idea that a business might be happy breaking even, paying all its costs and keeping people in jobs is truly a thing of the past.
📌 A modern remake of the vintage British comedy The Admirable Crichton has on many occasions in the recent past seemed like a film waiting to happen. And now we have it in the clever contemporary satire on class and social hierarchies that is Ruben Östlund’s Triangle Of Sadness.
There are some truly hilarious moments, the most memorable being a 10-minute sequence in the middle of the film in which an orgy of vomiting breaks out aboard a luxury yacht cruise during bad weather. It gets worse as oysters, caviar, champagne and human incontinence all get washed together in a vast floating cesspool, to be scrubbed clean almost immediately by migrant workers.
Later the yacht’s captain, an American socialist (Woody Harrelson), and a slobby Russian capitalist argue drunkenly on the finer points of Marxism over the ship’s PA system. It ends with the yacht being attacked by pirates in the dead of night and blown up. With a group of survivors stranded on a “desert” island, the role-reversal fun begins as the ship’s toilet cleaner takes charge of the situation.
Somewhere in this film you will recognise yourself, and it might not be a pretty sight.
FRIDAY 4 Bumped into Vera. Her pet terrapin Ben is recovering nicely. She had been over-feeding him, but now he is on strict regime of meals twice daily, morning and night.
📌 The iffy upper-body mole the doctor wanted to double-check is not dangerous and the miserable phlebotomist René (aka, Count Dracula) was unusually chatty.
📌 My wife tells me that the last two films we’ve seen at the cinema have both featured a dead donkey. They both in fact featured the KILLING of a donkey.
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