Scrapbook: Week 5

January 28-February 3, 2023

SATURDAY 28 Rod Stewart, a lifelong Conservative, says we need a Labour government.

πŸ“Œ Tom Verlaine, RIP.

πŸ“Œ Maybe the next Liverpool dream team will be a management partnership of Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso.

SUNDAY 29 Rishi sacked Zahawi at 8.58am. The timing is interesting: just in time for the 9am broadcast news, too late for the Sunday newspapers.

πŸ“Œ Rishi obviously tried to keep his opponents in the Tory leadership contest onside. He’s now been forced to sack Zahawi, and Braverman at least will surely follow soon, especially if she continues to ignore the kidnapping of asylum-seeking children from Home Office hotels. On Twitter Mike White speculates that Rishi is lining up a policy clash with Braverman on the assumption that she will flounce out of office.

πŸ“Œ My Motorola phone has the very useful gesture of tapping the screen with three fingers to get a screenshot. Very useful until you want to play chord triads on the piano app and it constantly takes screenshot after screenshot.

Chord triad screenshot…

MONDAY 30 Totally screwed up the ingredients for a loaf and ended up with a half-baked clump. Sadly, it looked really good.

πŸ“Œ When my wife and I first got together 36 years ago, we nearly fell out in a blazing row about local taxes. I claimed that local councils were being starved of funds because central government held the purse strings on what was called the Rate Support Grant. This is taxpayers money that tops up local-authority revenue (local taxes, business rates, etc) as required. It allows local governments to run local economies according to the needs of its local population. Or that was the idea. The system worked OK until central governments decided they didn’t like what local governments were spending the money on and started to restrict the flow of cash. Or feed it instead to the local councils it favoured. Now the idea of a fairer system of funding for local councils is back on the table, prompted by the progressive interventions of Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and a new local transport network aimed at kick-starting economic growth in the north of England. Thirty-six years later, my wife and I are in total agreement about something.

πŸ“Œ Tried to salvage the half-baked clump of bread by putting it back in the oven. Will eat with soup.

Bread resurrection…

TUESDAY 31 There’s a nice simile in the latest installment of the News Agents podcast. In describing the distressed nature of the Conservative Party with its litany of scandals, sleaze and inquiries pending, Jon Sopel says it’s like Boris Johnson became leader, childishly dropped a stink bomb and now the smell just won’t go away.

πŸ“Œ Rishi is getting slapped in the media for not knifing Zahawi sooner. There might be another reason for his tardiness. By handing the issue to his new Ethics Adviser, Laurie Magnus, he gave him an open goal with which to open his account in the job. This makes Rishi look like he’s living up to his pledge to get rid of the Tory stink left behind by Boris and Liz Truss.

πŸ“Œ As universities get to grips with the business of being cut-throat businesses, Nature reports a colossal drop in the number of students from EU countries applying for university places in the UK (Brexit pushed up the fees) and a colossal rise in the numbers arriving from India and China.

πŸ“Œ My wife announced proudly that she had completed Quordle in 17. I replied that I wouldn’t even try to compete with that, even though I will when she’s not looking.

WEDNESDAY 1 News that my art teacher had a puncture and would be late allowed me to lie in bed reading the latest newsletter from It’s Nice That, which rambled on about the continuing rise in design of something called Maximalism.

Example of Maximalism…

πŸ“Œ You can’t beat a Guardian headline determined to conform to stereotype.

πŸ“Œ The Art Class project this week was to start a self-portrait using the work of Lucian Freud as inspiration.

Lucy (left) and me…
Experimenting with colour…

THURSDAY 2 At a meeting in St Giles church last night, each of our eight local councillors stood up to tell us what they’ve done on our behalf over the past year. As they did, a list of the committees, subcommittees, groups and boards they sit on was projected on to a large screen alongside a photograph of themselves trying to look like they mean business. The lists were useful in the narrow sense of knowing who you need to talk to if you have an issue with, say, rough sleeping or anything to do with small-business rates. In a bigger sense together they illustrated the interminable layers of administration that is the DNA of the City of London Corporation (our Council). This must be one of the most twisted self-feeding governmental beasts ever created. Staring at those lists of council committees was like gazing into a bucket of worms and trying to work out where all the heads and tails join up.

πŸ“Œ Australia is to take the Queen’s head off its bank notes. Bit hasty if you ask me.

πŸ“Œ The Conservatives are “practically begging to be put into opposition”, writes Rafael Behr in the Guardian.

πŸ“Œ One of our friends recently described me as a “cultural disruptor”. I had to look it up, and I think they are probably correct.

πŸ“Œ The Guardian has a feisty editorial on the way economics is reported in the media and on methods of reporting facts that close the conversation rather than open it.

πŸ“Œ Spotted an old CitroΓ«n LNA parked in Laburnum Street. Didn’t know that LNA stands for HΓ©lΓ¨na.

πŸ“Œ Worked on a few more self portraits for Art Class. I really must stop now.

πŸ“Œ To the Crick Institute for a Science On Screen showing of the film Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind plus a panel discussion with neuro experts about the functioning of memory. A day’s memories are consolidated during deep sleep, we were told by a Crick scientist.

FRIDAY 3 The dreaded thought for his morning is that the contestant we dislike most on Junior Bake Off for his smug countenance and air of entitled superiority will win this evening’s final.

πŸ“Œ At Tate Modern’s Cezanne exhibition we learned there wasn’t much he couldn’t do with apples and crumpled tablecloths. But he certainly tried.

πŸ“Œ Yippee! The much unloved contestant on Junior Bake Off lost to his chief rival, Amelia.

πŸ“Œ My wife scored 20 in today’s Quordle challenge. I settled down with a glass of white wine to have a go. I got it in 18.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.