November 12-18, 2022
SATURDAY 12 Another impressive column by Andy Beckett on how Britain might reverse its decline. It points to the lack of will among the political classes to make it happen, mainly because it does not serve their interests.
One way to think about Thatcherism, and all the British governments it has influenced, is not as a project to end national decline – as she claimed – but as a way of confining that decline to social groups that mainstream politicians and swing voters don’t care a lot about.Andy Beckett, the Guardian…
📌 Facebook tells me that three years ago I drew a picture of Angela Rayner, who I believed should be leader of the Labour Party.
📌 Yesterday I got a mysterious message via Facebook Messenger from a writer called Howard Male saying he liked the look of my profile picture (a self-portrait in ink) and wondered whether I would like to read a free promotion copy of his novel Etc Etc Amen, in the hope that I might then read more of his books (photo supplied). I balked at the missing punctuation in the title of the book but decided to suspend my irritation and say yes. A digital copy duly arrived and I read the first page. I was not put off by the style or the characters outlined so far, so I will continue.
📌 It’s still only November but Christmas arrived early at the cinema this afternoon in the shape of Living, a slushy, sentimental film starring Bill Nighy about a dull man with a terminal illness who makes one last attempt to put some happiness into his zombie life.
📌 The number of objections my wife has to the antics on Strictly Come Dancing is getting longer. Last week she insisted on an immediate ban on the judges standing to applaud the contestants after they have just put their hearts and souls into a cha-cha-cha. This week it is a ban on contestants telling sob stories about dead relatives and suffering children, etc – any corny story, in fact, to harvest sympathy votes from viewers.
📌 Every year at this time my three red Remembrance poppy badges get resurrected. I didn’t know until this year, when one of our neighbours, Annie, gifted me a purple poppy, that these commemorate the animals that died in warfare. It makes a nice addition to my lapel collection.
📌 The mutant red cypress sprig stitchwork is finished. We shall give Betty the choice of this one or the more conventional green one.
📌 Q: When is a donkey a chicken? A: When its name is Tony Adams.
MONDAY 14 My wife is out all day so I take this as an opportunity to engage in experimental cooking. Today I will attempt to make a galette.
📌 The experiment with cooking galettes got off to a bad start but recovered slightly in time for lunch.
📌 Sam has rekindled her love of pandas. Years ago she did a version of a famous Bert Hardy photograph featuring a panda posing as a photographer.
📌 UK politics is in a sorry state if the Labour Party really cannot now tolerate the membership of Jeremy Corbyn in its ranks. Radicals such as Corbyn have kept the party on its toes ever since I can remember.
TUESDAY 15 I realised yesterday that I am a mansplainer. I don’t think I’m seriously infected, but some treatment is required. I probably just thought I was performing a service to those I was mansplaining to, offering linguistic clarity. But no, it’s mansplaining, even when I’m talking to a man. In 8 Ways To Stop Mansplaining, number one is “Take Ownership Of The Problem”. Tick. Number six is “laugh at yourself”.
📌 On It’s A Fair Cop, Alfie Moore reminded us that even what is seen as the lowest-ranking of police officer – the traffic cop – has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. He also illustrates week in week out that ordinary British police officers have a high level of discretion as to how they implement and enforce the law. He makes this funny by pointing to some of the contradictions, like when a boozy office party during lockdown restrictions is not a crime but a “misunderstanding”.
📌 India and China are starting to crack in their backing of Russia over Ukraine.
📌 To Rich Mix on Bethnal Green Road for a screening of Zara’s documentary portrait of Tony Brooks and Posy’s Chaos/Quest, after which I joined a panel conversation about my involvement in the film. It was all part of our Art Is Freedom residency.
WEDNESDAY 16 We laughed out loud when the ageing poseur from across the road posted a request on Facebook.
📌 In Art Class we had been instructed to bring “something from home” to use in a workshop on impression printing. I stretched the brief a bit because I fancied the idea of combining printing on Calico with stitchwork. To a deep green holly leaf I can add gold veins and red berries.
📌 I’ve become mildly addicted to a Twitter group called FessHole, in which people offload all manner of ridiculous and outrageous confessions. Most of them, though, are just funny.
THURSDAY 17 Energy prices are tipped to soar even higher than they already are. I wonder if it’s a uniquely British thing to turn tragedy into comedy…
📌 The comedian Joe Lycett is seriously threatening to shred £10,000 unless gay icon David Beckham withdraws his support for the Qatar World Cup or donates his fee to LGBTQ+ causes.
📌 Lunch at Headway (£3.50) is often like visiting a new restaurant. What gets cooked and served by staff and members can be exotic and inventive in the extreme because it is based on whatever ingredients have been supplied by Fare Share. Today we had Ghormeh Sabzi, an Iranian lamb stew.
📌 The big tech companies have a lot to answer for, but rarely are their stratospheric rapid growth strategies brought into question. The result is that the idea that rapid growth is good has become embedded in economic thinking. Larry Elliot believes it’s time to think again and for advanced global economies to work towards a slower and steadier path.
FRIDAY 18 Quick half-hour gym sessions split between upper body and lower body does it for me.
📌 Getting my Canon DSLR to connect with my iPad is a serious test of temperament.
📌 Qatar has banned beer from the World Cup. And the BBC reported this morning that most of the England women’s team have decided to boycott it.
📌 The Guardian’s First Edition newsletter always arrives just after my early-morning French lesson with Duolingo. Today it includes a close look at how the Labour Party is ducking and diving over how differently it would handle the UK’s current economic plight.
📌 Our 80something friend talking about her grandson: “We think he’s going to be gay, when he gets started.”