Scrapbook: Week 48

26 November – December 2, 2022

SATURDAY 26 Ashamed to say I angrily flounced out of the Christmas craft market when some self-important art-school twat decided to invade the “Made On Golden Lane” space with her ridiculous (not made on Golden Lane) collection of berets for sale.

📌 If ever there was a TV programme that could turn you into an assassin it is The Wheel.

SUNDAY 27 Wet winter Sunday afternoons really are a great time to go to the pictures. Aftersun looks like an art film shoved uncomfortably into  mainstream cinema. On a Turkish package holiday the purity of youth and the pain of losing it cross paths in the relationship between a lone 30ish father and his 11-year-old daughter. In parts the film is so freighted with melancholy that to casually strap on a happy ending would have been a betrayal of the poetic complexity of the story and the subtle meaning of the title.

Read the Guardian review…

MONDAY 28 The momentum of the Zero-Covid protests in China hint at a deeper discontent with a brutally authoritarian regime. Pockets of protest in Russia against the war in Ukraine illustrate likewise that the freedoms offered by more open societies cannot be selectively absorbed into dictatorships and managed by fear. They take on a life of their own. Governments might successfully suppress outward dissent in the short term, but in the long term it is a fertile organism growing secretly and steadily out of sight. 

📌 When Michelle suggested I try using text in my stitchwork I never paid much attention. She had previously suggested including bits of handwriting into my paintings, so I don’t know why I dismissed the idea so readily. The thing is… just like going to the gym, once I started stitching text I really got a lot out of it. I am putting one of my old flash stories on gold satin.

Text in stitch…

TUESDAY 29 Qatar seems happy to accept its failure as a football playing nation so long as it can be seen as an influential playmaker in the Middle Eastern region. And teams such as Morocco, Iran and Saudi Arabia seem to be proving the point.

📌 To Barbican Cinema 1 for the completion of Daniel Craig’s transitioning from James Bond to Hercule Poirot. It started around this time in 2019 with the fabulous Knives Out and is complete with Glass Onion, which uses the Agatha Christie whodunnit model of gathering a bunch of people together, lights out, body on the carpet and lots of guilty looks. The story barrels along with gloriously entertaining twists and turns and finishes, inevitably, with the detective pointing his finger and a big explosion.

Read the Guardian review here…

WEDNESDAY 30 Listening to the Welsh fans moaning about their 3-0 loss to England in the World Cup and exit from the tournament, a new variant of the English slang contraction “innit?” made its debut on BBC Radio 4. The Welsh pronunciation comes out more as “ennet?” and is delivered with a shrug of resignation, as if the Welsh see in themselves a destiny of defeat.

📌 The popularity of Fesshole suggests there’s obviously an attraction in keeping a secret closely guarded.

📌 It will be fascinating to watch how Joe Biden’s”Buy America” coupling of protectionism and environmentalism pans out.

📌 In Art Class we did life-drawing, and needless to say I played the disruptor by using the session simply to make what I think are nice pictures.

Life drawings…

Also discovered that three of the four pictures I have in the college exhibition have sold. Have high hopes for the 4th to sell before the exhibition closes because it is a painting of our teacher Sara.

Sara’s hand…

📌 Presented some of the studio’s current ideas for the Barbican Curve exhibition next year. Can’t wait to see what the curators come up with. They seem to already have a good grip on the project.

Ideas in action… a narrative in giant slogans…

THURSDAY 1 Just started reading George Orwell’s essay Politics And The English Language, in which he ponders on how the written word has fallen into a spiral of decline perpetuated by a decadent society. It begins…

[Our language] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

George Orwell, Politics And The English Language

Coincidentally, the same could be said for our TV viewing habits since we’ve just finished watching I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and plunged straight into some sub-Apprentice abomination called The Traitors, a kill-or-be-killed reality show that takes all the most hateful aspects of all reality TV shows ever made and places them in the care of 20 idiots in a Scottish castle.

📌 Got told off for using a special green plastic bag that keeps vegetables fresh to wrap some smelly spiced mackerel fillets. My wife issued the gentle scolding with thinly disguised sarcasm: “You weren’t to know those bags were for vegetables,” she withered. “Especially as I’ve told you before.”

📌 The Guardian‘s excellent First Edition newsletter has a crystal clear report on the rail chaos in the north of England and its causes. What is not said, or even hinted at, is that the chaos is part of a deliberate policy to grind down public services to a point of near death.

📌 The hard-hat hanging basket has become a thing at the Timber Wharf building site on Kingsland road.

Hard-hat hanging basket…

📌 As if the blatant profiteering of the energy companies wasn’t enough of a scandal, now comes news that our water is similarly in the grip of cowboy capitalists.

📌 At Headway’s fundraising Winter Feast I shamelessly used the old scumbag reporter’s trick of blatant bluffing to tease out a story, which in this case yielded a tasty Royal scoop. And one of our tablemates, Nick, generously spent £100 on raffle tickets to win a £6 bottle of supermarket cava.

At the Winter Feast…

FRIDAY 2 My French teacher at Duolingo has a subtle way of telling you to pull your socks up.

But when she’s pleased, Lily’s body language is entirely different…

📌 At the start of the St Luke’s coach trip to Canterbury Christmas Market, Barbara introduces today’s raffle prizes in a tone that suggests a life-changing win could be yours very soon.


📌 Polhill garden centre, the traditional toilet stop for the elderly en route to Canterbury, is also a traditional shopping stop for all your Christmas junk.

Polhill garden centre

📌 Canterbury is struggling to raise its Christmas spirit.

📌 At Headway’s Winter Feast last night one of the guests told us about AI art generators. I tried one today, typing in Golden Lane Estate as a prompt. The AI generator duly created its image based on the words given.

AI Golden Lane Estate. Not the one we live in…

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


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