November 5-11, 2022
SATURDAY 5 A 41-year-old woman shared her concern with agony aunts Tara and Marian on the Now You’re Asking podcast that she was being excluded from the informal swingers network that operates outside the gates of her child’s school.
📌 The crumbling of Britain’s infrastructure continues apace.
📌 Rugby League is enjoying a surge in popularity. It is a vicious game but a big hit with spectators, which today in Wigan include the Prince and Princess of Wales doing the banshee scream as studs crush ankles.
SUNDAY 6 Rishi’s tactic of trying to keep a low profile has obviously antagonised the hungry media pack. They’ve sniffed out his wife’s multimillion-pound earnings from businesses in Russia. They’ve forced him to perform a massive U-turn on the climate emergency and to attend the UN Cop27 talks in Egypt after first claiming he was far too busy with domestic issues. He gave a cabinet job to a known bully just hours after being told said bully was under investigation. And last week the Guardian ran an article saying Rishi was basically a blundering bean-counter and totally unsuited to national leadership. You’d hope that nurses voting to strike might shake some kind of sense into him, but that looks unlikely and he seems determined to act as if he can still win a game he obviously lost from the kick-off.
📌 BBC Radio 5 Live had a report on a Finnish cleaner, Auri Kananen, who has become a social media sensation with videos of her getting down and dirty with other people’s filth (for free).
The dirtier the better, so if I see something really dirty I’ll love it.Auri Kananen, cleaner
📌 The standout paragraph from Andrew Rawnsley’s take on the upcoming economic armageddon finishes with a neat comparator.
By feeding media speculation about just how savage the squeeze will be, the government is playing the expectations game in the hope of generating some relief when the chancellor’s measures turn out to be slightly less horrendous than is being pre-briefed. I am unconvinced this manipulation will work. Being told you are about to be chucked out of a 10-storey window won’t make it feel any better when you are then thrown out of an eight-storey one.Andrew Rawnsley, the Observer
MONDAY 7 At the Barbican last night for a concert of modern classical American music I was mesmerised by the unobtrusive periscope camera on stage that was raised and lowered, snooping among the musicians and yielding footage for a Marquee TV recording. It stood just in from of the harp and the Big Cymbal, instruments not used during the performances, not even the long-winded but rapturously received tuba concerto written by Wynton Marsalis.
📌 Mounting artwork for an upcoming exhibition was meant to be enjoyable. It wasn’t. It was so boring that I started to dislike the images.
📌 Claims that Brexit is at the root of all the UK’s economic woes are well wide of the mark, writes Larry Elliott.
📌 A strong article in the Guardian argues that Britain’s alleged “immigration problem” is a massive con and that no such problem exists. It is a government fiction – in defiance of plain facts – to disguise its total failure to build a better Britain after Brexit and to deal with the natural ebb and flow of people around the world.
TUESDAY 8 The Tortoise reports in its Weekly Sensemaker that Facebook is in terminal decline. Its customers are slowly being eaten by nimbler social-media platforms because, says the report, what started as a bright idea has become dull. The story links with one in the Conversation, which asks whether social media is responsible for the decline in democracy across the globe. The academic research behind the article included the analysis of “ten indicators of democratic wellbeing”. The list: political participation, knowledge, trust, news exposure, political expression, hate, polarisation, populism, network structure, and misinformation. On the day of the US Midterm elections, pondering these topics was a cup of tea well used and with it the realisation, for example, that greater political engagement can lead to greater polarisation.
📌 Cypress sprig stitchwork finished and claimed already by Betty, who thought it was a Christmas tree.
WEDNESDAY 9 Labour is continually ducking the question “What would you do if you were in charge?” whenever it questions the government’s judgement. That looks an awful lot like poor judgement to me.
📌 In Art Class we learned how to make drawings by visually breaking down objects into simple geometrical elements.
📌 Marge told us about a Barbican resident who had her dead father’s ashes added to potters’ glaze so that ceramic artworks could be made and sent to various members of the family, with the message “a little bit of Wilf”.
📌 Still trying to make weird digital images using photographs taken during TV programmes. This one is of comedian Fern Brady from Taskmaster.
📌 Bev told me today that she has been frightened of sewing machines ever since sewing lessons in school, during which she tried to make a bikini that smelled of fish.
THURSDAY 10 All the commentary suggests that Donald Trump is still very popular in the US with lots of people, but toxic with a growing number of Republicans and therefore likely to be eclipsed by a character called Ron DeSantis from Florida, who spouts the same line as Trump but laces it with something resembling reason.
📌 The delayed opening of Tony and Tirzah’s exhibition at Rich Mix was exceptionally warm, probably because the artists are so loveable.
Despite the social whirl, I still somehow found time to knock off a shadow portrait of my wife and to do a short promo interview with Elisa on my appearance in Posy’s film Chaos/Quest, which shows at Rich Mix next week.
FRIDAY 11 The pure green cypress stitchwork has been pledged to Betty, so in order to keep the studio collection (oak, elm, sycamore, fig) intact I’m doing another one, this time adding reds, browns, lighter greens and yellows. If anyone questions the colours I will claim it’s a mutant variety of cypress. This one really does look more like a Christmas tree.