Scrapbook: Week 7

February 11-17, 2023

SATURDAY 11 In Brighton for a civil-ceremony party, plus a chance to wander around seeing what’s changed since we lived here. The charity shops in Brighton still offer some surprises.

Spooky dolls..
Lapel pin…

πŸ“Œ Seriously pleased to see our Brighton friend recovering from major surgery in such fantastic spirit, slimmed and looking good. A lot of determined physiotherapy to come, but the will to get strong and back in action is definitely there.

SUNDAY 12 It was a joy at last night’s civil-ceremony party to bump into old friends we haven’t seen for years. It made us realise how much we miss them.

“That used to be us,” I said to Stephanie as we gazed down on the street from a first-floor window in Brighton city centre…

πŸ“Œ Failed to stop a sneeze and spilled hot tea not only all over myself and the duvet but into the small plastic pot in which I store my daily meds. They promptly turned into a pool of pharmaceutical sludge that I had to flush down the toilet.

πŸ“Œ No one would ever dare put the headline on it, but  “Lockdown Was A Capitalist Con” is the upshot of a Larry Elliott piece in the Guardian.

πŸ“Œ The rail-replacement bus driver took the Dyke Road roundabout a bit too fast and ejected a toddler from a pushchair.

πŸ“Œ Our friends were dogsitting a two-year-old called Little Ernie, which opened up the opportunity for a cute AI portrait in “the style of” Vincent van Gogh.

Little Ernie…

πŸ“Œ MONDAY 13 Fascinating revelations in the Guardian about Wagner, the state-sponsored Russian terror group who’ve taken over military operations in Ukraine, and the total breakdown of the Russian laws they are supposedly subject to.

πŸ“Œ Making progress with a stitchwork of Tirzah’s Mr Angry emoji from her big brain painting.

Mr Angry…

TUESDAY 14 I’m told the dress code for this evening’s Valentines surprise is smart-casual.

πŸ“Œ I asked a friend recently about her son, now at university, and she described his lifestyle: Uber taxicabs everywhere and ordering meals from Deliveroo, etc. It’s a far cry from our student days, we agreed, when how to create something inspiring from a can of tomato soup was a big part of our lives. But as a fabulous essay in the latest issue of the London Review of Books makes clear, generational separation is obviously no new thing. The essay’s author, a university teacher, grumbles at some of the habits GenZ has adopted to distinguish itself from its elders, but the most serious crime he could name is overusing the word “relatable”. Not being able to use a can opener would have been my choice.

WEDNESDAY 15 Last night’s Valentine’s Surprise was a seat in the Barbican’s main theatre to see a screening of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet accompanied by a choir singing songs from the film to juice up the tragedy of the story. As if it needed juicing up. It was a strange experience, two of life’s veterans surrounded by young couples still feeling their way in the relationships game. Some of the women clutched bunches of flowers and some of the men thought it OK to barge out of the performance mid-scene to get more beer. My wife said Juliet (Claire Danes) was nowhere near “alluring” enough for a young Leo Dicaprio (Romeo).

πŸ“Œ To add a bit of spice to my gym sessions I stepped on to the treadmill and started the Grand Staircase Hike, which the machine describes as “a sequence of layered sedimentary rock that stretches across Arizona and Utah… Get ready for a geological rainbow, from the pink sands of Zion Canyon, to the orange hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, to the black volcanic debris of Sunset Crater.”

πŸ“Œ Nicola Sturgeon has quit. She looked quite tearful during her speech and I’m not sure she’s the type to fake it.

Nicola Sturgeon during resignation speech…

πŸ“Œ In Art Class last week we did exaggerated portraits and I took a photo of our friend Marge and distorted it in the Photo Booth app. Marge then used the photo to create her own self-portrait, which IMHO is brilliant.

Marge, by Marge…

πŸ“Œ Raquel Welch, RIP at 82.

THURSDAY 16 Someone at the Guardian has decided it’s time to let Simon Jenkins hang himself. His argument today that bad apples (BBC chair Richard Sharp) are best left inside the barrel is clearly the sign of a thoughtful man on the brink of insanity.

πŸ“Œ Lancashire police are rightly in hot water over the decision the publicise personal details of a missing person it had previously described as suffering from “vulnerabilities”. Can’t help thinking this is the thin end of a very ugly wedge.

πŸ“Œ At the Headway writing group (soon to be renamed Babyshoes) our assignment was to write 100 words exactly on Political Correctness. Mine was: “It wasn’t the right time to say it. The female members in the group were an edgy coalition of hardline fems and blue-stocking passive aggressors. He tried to picture the scene if he said it… ‘Why don’t we just simplify the solution and put signs on the toilet doors saying PENIS and VAGINA. Males who think of themselves as women but still have a penis go in the PENIS door. And females who think of themselves as men but don’t yet have a penis enter via the VAGINA.’ He thought that last line might get a much-needed laugh. It didn’t.”

πŸ“Œ Keir Starmer’s anti-Corbyn mission has a real chance of blowing up in his face. It is a gift to his enemies.

πŸ“Œ To Barbican Cinema 3 for Women Talking, a film on domestic abuse in a 21st Century US religious community and an “imagined” rebellion by the abused women. The grim subject matter was lifted by a stellar cast (Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand), amazing photography and a superb story structure that turned a group debate on what to do about the rapists within the community into a what felt like a courtroom drama.

FRIDAY 17 My wife bought a fabulous new nightie at Primark. It features a design by the artist Keith Haring. We kept calling him Richard Herring, who is a comedian and a master blogger.

Richard Herring is someone else…

πŸ“Œ Hardline Unionists and the ERG are talking tough, but Rishi desperately needs a political win and his fudge on the Northern Ireland Protocol is a chance to make himself look vaguely competent.

πŸ“Œ A confederacy of dunce politicians is getting wound up by the idea of the “15-minute City”, a “socialist conspiracy” that makes it easy for everyone to get to schools, hospitals, shops and bus stops.

πŸ“Œ Sat quietly in the Barbican listening to three middle-class 30ish men talking. First they raked over the problems for Russia in its war with Ukraine. Then they moved on to female fertility. One of them reported a fateful look in the eyes of some of his 31-year-old childless female friends. He was very specific about the 31.

πŸ“Œ I started to laugh uncontrollably while typing this SMS to my wife. Anyone looking over my shoulder must have been puzzled.

πŸ“Œ Photographically, the Barbican just never stops giving.

At the Barbican

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


9 thoughts on “Scrapbook: Week 7

  1. “Not being able to use a can opener would have been my choice.” Wasn’t there a row a few years ago when someone suggested only people buying cheap food need can openers as higher quality shops use cans with ring pulls?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I mainly buy cheap canned goods so not many have ring pulls. Since arthritis I have had to resort to lifting the cap with a knife when I do have a ring pull. If it comes off (no it’s not just you) I use a stout kitchen knife and plunge it through the top. It opens the can but plays hell with the edge. Modern can openers don’t seem as good as they used to be, but that might just be me bcoming clumsy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree. Cheap ones are shoddy and useless. More expensive ones are often just as bad, but they fail with more style. I am seriously thinking of going back to the old-fashioned ones that you punch through the lid. They may produce a dangerous and jagged lid, but you can get the food out. That’s what I want from a can opener. I don’t want style, I want a hole in the can.

        Liked by 1 person

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