Scrapbook: Week 4

January 21-27, 2023

SATURDAY 21 Welsh soccer just closed the gender pay gap. Men and women international footballers will get the same wages.

πŸ“Œ Venturing into the Barbican’s lakeside Foyer these days is like walking into an episode of Motherland.

SUNDAY 22 Andrew Rawnsley drones on about Brexit again: three years and nothing to show for the Great Flouncing out of Europe. Facts are still getting lost in emotions. The UK under the Conservatives never had the political skill or will to work within the confines of the EU. And outside of it that same political disability is now a feature of its relations with the devolved nations of the union.

πŸ“Œ Navigating the chatter on whether Boris plans to unseat Rishi is to play poker with a hand full of what-ifs. What is certain is that Boris’s chances of regaining the Tory crown are fading daily. Andrew Marr sees a further snag (and especially for Rishi) in the rise of Reform UK, which is UKIP with a change of hats. This is the party that will ultimately steal votes from the Conservatives.

πŸ“Œ Started the second series of Slow Horses, which is filmed in our neighbourhood. Gary Oldman makes a superb job of the slobby MI5 reject Jackson Lamb.

πŸ“Œ The Working Class History feed on Mastodon reports that on this day in 1880 “French anarchist and metalworker, Alphonse Tricheux, was born. In his lifetime of activism, spanning revolutionary unionism and solidarity with Spanish Civil War refugees, he was also jailed for 8 months for publishing articles against colonial war in Morocco.”

Alphonse Tricheux…

MONDAY 23 I’ve been trying to work out what I dislike about Times Radio. On the surface it is an acceptably professional enterprise. It follows the media agenda slavishly and dishes up a passable chatterbox service, delivered with skill and high competence. There’s not much to not like, if political news and cultural wallpaper is your thing. But its presenters are without personality and the station lacks any charm. It is very professionally and busily dull.

πŸ“Œ I don’t know why, but I wondered how old Kath is these days. In 2001 we sat together in horror watching New York’s Twin Towers collapse on TV and speculated on who was responsible. Kath dismissed “the Pallies” as not being resourced enough for such an audacious act. “Could it be that Bin Laden fella?” she mused. When I googled her this morning to find her age I learned that last year she got married to Adrian Chiles.

πŸ“Œ The walls are closing in on Nadhim Zahawi, writes Rachel Wearmouth in the New Statesman. It’s a sign of the gross double standards that course through the present government that immunity from the rules that apply to all other citizens do not apply to ministers of the realm.

TUESDAY 24 Every day the government looks more and more like a consortium of clownish popinjays from the 17th Century. Nadhim Zahawi’s carefully bunch-wrapped woolly scarves have become a signifier.

πŸ“Œ Sam returns to colour after a recent switch back to her classic mono.

Egyptian Headdress, by Sam Jevon

πŸ“Œ Larry Elliott’s routine report on the UK’s growing debt burden depicts a nation that has failed to build an economy that can sustain its population.

πŸ“Œ The countdown is officially on for Zahawi’s exit.

πŸ“Œ Whenever my wife returns from visiting our frail 96-year-old neighbour, she reeks of cigarettes.

πŸ“Œ Whenever a contestant in Junior Bake Off muses, “I think I’m in with a chance of winning Star Baker” they do win it.

WEDNESDAY 25 A story on the radio told of a 4th Century Welsh goddess of love, St Dwynwen, and today being the Welsh equivalent of Valentine’s Day. Dwynwen didn’t have much luck with boyfriends so she became a nun and prayed for others to not suffer the same fate.

St Dwynwen…

πŸ“Œ We arrived in Art Class to find around a dozen folding chairs stacked randomly in the middle of the room. Today’s illustrative subject was “Goblin Mode”, a new expression to enter the dictionary and one our art teacher Sara interpreted as Chaos. She referenced her slovenly teenage daughter’s bedroom as further inspiration. I opted to go full Goblin Mode and created some casually fluid digital paintings alongside photographs showing the slobby side of my life – eating beans straight from the tin and a box of surplus electrical wires and plugs.

Digital paintings of stacked chairs…

Goblin Mode photographs…

THURSDAY 26 The Conversation has an article saying that striking workers are very likely to be starved back to work by soaring prices and debt repayment costs.

The very thing that has has triggered today’s strikes – the cost of living – could also bring about an end to this action.

The Conversation

πŸ“Œ Sam has updated her famous Legs drawing with a creaky pair of pins showing signs of wear and tear.

Legs, by Sam Jevon
More Legs…

πŸ“Œ At Headway some musicians from the City of London Sinfonia turned up to play improvised experimental music. I put my ear buds in and settled into an iPad portrait of the cellist. It looks like she’s operating a road drill in a cartoon.

Road drill cellist…
Missile cellist…

πŸ“Œ Quordle is becoming stupidly addictive. Most of the time my scores are 25+, but recently I had a phase of 22s, and last night I had one last shot before turning the light out and scored 18.

FRIDAY 27 Every week an email arrives from The Economist pimping the contents of that week’s magazine. It’s a teaser to encourage readers to cough up for a subscription. But the teaser is often all I want, so the plea to subscribe will never succeed. Today, for example, Economist editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes attempts to promote a cover story about the declining fortunes of investment bank Goldman Sachs. In the short pitch, Zanny quotes an old article from Rolling Stone magazine in which Goldman Sachs is described as…

A great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

That told me as much about Goldman Sachs as I need. The picky detail of how it has recently been performing badly in the squid game of global finance and outperformed by nimble younger squids is more than I care to know.

πŸ“Œ Buffing up the grouting in the kitchen of our Brighton flat (goes on sale Monday) made me glad I now have a ready-made excuse not to do DIY any longer.

πŸ“Œ On Junior Bake Off we are always heartened to see the young contestants helping and supporting one another. In this series there is one player who does not offer or ask for help. And he is conspicuously ignored by the others. This is the one who will likely end up as our Prime Minister.

πŸ“Œ And just to prove how professionally dull it is, in the dead of night Times Radio ran a ridiculously long interview with Bear Grylls.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


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