December 3-9, 2022
SATURDAY 3 Now properly addicted to AI art tools. Tried a pop psychedlic version of the sketch I did of the wounded Syrian boy sitting in an ambulance from 2016.
SUNDAY 4 Yesterday’s Guardian ran a story superficially about Labour’s win in the Chester by-election. But it concluded with a warning that Labour is still without a story to tell the nation about how it will rebuild both the economy and the trust of British people. One of its big ideas is to scrap the House of Lords and replace it with an elected chamber. If they can sell it as part of a fairness agenda, good. If it becomes a distraction from the serious business of getting the country back in its feet, bad.
MONDAY 5 Labour’s determination to map out plans to scrap the House of Lords and devolve more powers to the UK regions (including Scotland) is getting some lightweight kickback in the media. But lightweight it is and I suspect Starmer knows that most people in their heart of hearts back the proposals. Even in the BBC, despite its screeching demands for every last detail years ahead of the next general election.
📌 A new series of the gripping Life Lines, a radio drama based in an ambulance control room, has started. The last series was so traumatic to listen to I’m not sure I’m ready for another one yet.
📌 We’ve started Series 5 of The Crown, and after a few gasps at the colossal height of the new Diana and Jonathan Pryce’s failure to capture Philip as anything other than a malign force, we are enjoying it. Dodi has just appeared on the scene so things will hot up from here on.
📌 Not paying any attention to the World Cup is proving remarkably easy, although constant footie chatter from the family WhatsApp group makes full detachment impossible.
TUESDAY 6 December is less than one week old and the desperation to find a Christmas gift for my wife is already entrenched. I thought I’d cracked it a few years ago with Indytute, which specialises in “experiences” and unusual craft courses, but eventually that wore thin. Every year I tempt her with a new Winter coat, or diamonds even, but those ideas are greeted with indifference. The joint membership to the Royal Academy has become a standard, but it’s not very gifty. So the brain-wracking continues..
📌 The Adidas walking shoes I’ve had for years are playing up. They squeak when I walk, on both feet. They are so old, I guessed they would no longer be in stock. But I nevertheless googled the brand just in case, only to discover that for years my favourite walking shoes have been Adidas Edge for Women.
📌 I’m getting stern reminders from Duolingo to pay more attention to the accents on the words that appear in my French lessons. I am bad on gender, too, but not as bad as I am at missing the cedilla off garçon. I never worried too much when Lily was the one issuing the reminders, but Duo has installed a new teacher, who is far more frightening…
WEDNESDAY 7 Used the AI art generator to make an oil painting for my cousin Kate’s birthday, then messed around with some shadows cast on to our living-room wall.
📌 At a Barbican workshop in how to use storytelling in evaluation I made a nuisance of myself by continually picking holes in what is obviously studied methodology. It all just seemed so flaky to me.
📌 Floated the idea to Sue of a Friday-evening after-work arts & crafts café. She seemed to like it.
THURSDAY 8 At the Barbican storytelling workshop yesterday the facilitator started by asking us to introduce ourselves, including our personal pronouns. Four of the six-member group opted for she/her, one chose she/they and I said I disliked pronouns and was quite happy with “Billy”. I wanted to question the she/they about their choice but never got the chance.
📌 There’s a lot of media chatter about the government’s inclination to introduce strike bans as more and more workers are choosing to travel that road. And there is parallel chatter on the possibility of a general strike before long. That would put the Labour Party in a pickle.
📌 Not widely reported is the supply-chain problem with HRT.
📌 Rishi Sunak is the living embodiment of the word “disappointment”, writes John Crace in a column that also includes “Door” Matt Hancock’s return from the jungle to announce his departure from UK politics. No one cried.
📌 One very stupid fleeting thought is that the government’s only way ahead in handling the country’s perilous predicament (millions striking, millions on hospital waiting lists) is to deliberately do nothing in the hope that private profit will be shamed into paying its way and deliver the services. Yes, very stupid.
📌 I think psychologically I knew something was wrong. In the latest of my series of stitchworks featuring tree leaves I misspelled the name of the tree in the original transfer trace. I wrote GINGKO but was then forced to correct it in the stitching.
📌 Listening to Oasis with Chippy at the Headway Vinyl Club coordinator Paul remarked that he once read that Liam Gallagher modelled his voice on “bad-day” John Lennon, who in some of his solo work slipped into a raspy whine, extending the vowel sounds into an expression of dull pain. I suggested Liam might have done that at the instigation of his brother.
📌 I hate it when you bump into someone, ask after their family and are told of a death you never knew about.
FRIDAY 9 Somebody I knew a long time ago as a young snotty brat put a picture of themself on Facebook, now balding badly and wearing a hearing aid.
📌 To the Guildhall School of Music & Drama at Milton Court for an Open Space Technology gathering to discuss Creative Placemaking. OST is a theory and methodology based on the idea that all the best ideas come up at the coffee breaks in meetings. While I was still trying to work out what Creative Placemaking is, I sneaked into the Guildhall School’s costume department to check out the student’s work.