April 22-28, 2023
SATURDAY 22 Fascinating long-read in the New Statesman on how the master-servant relationship between Russia and China has switched. Didn’t know that Russia has in the past annexed parts of China.
📌 RIP Barry Humphreys, aka Dame Edna Everage, Sir Les Patterson, 89.
📌 RIP Logan Roy, evil TV media megalomaniac.
📌 To the Alice Neel exhibition at the Barbican for a quick first look (we will revisit). Shade and shadow were a big thing with Alice. Everyone looks a bit grubby and no-one knows how to smile in pose. Oh, how the times have changed!
SUNDAY 23 Andrew Rawnsley sounds both depressed and angry at the sordid state of UK political standards. His list of woes is a long one. He calls for the political will to clean up the filth, to restore some public trust in our so-called democracy. Yet he stops short of advocating a special investigating unit, like AC12, to scare the pants off those who tempted by corruption.
📌 To RHS Wisley for a community day out. Thousands upon thousands of tulips gave the whole area a painterly feel.
MONDAY 24 Now Rishi has lost Dominic Raab in a fit of bad temper, speculation turns to Suella Braverman. Is he ready to sack her and rid the party of all its crazed ideologues, or will he draw them closer? The New Statesman thinks he is now more than ever dependent on Suella to keep the “swivel-eyed loons” onside.
📌 One of the people who coordinates a voluntary project we’re involved in is dyslexic and we feel guilty chuckling every time we get messages about meetings in the Barbican library because Barbican comes out as “Barbarian”.
📌 The UK Foreign Office has abandoned British citizens stranded in war-torn Sudan. It evacuated diplomats and their families in a secret weekend rescue mission, but has told everyone else to sit tight and dodge the bullets to the best of their ability.
TUESDAY 25 I’m trying each day to practice my scales on the piano. I think my favourite is F.
📌 The Diplomat is one of those generic American political dramas that moves at breakneck speed through global affairs with razor-sharp snappy dialogue and a pushy force of nature that tries to make every country other than the US look like an also-ran. Its hooks are gripping and its twists unravelable. In other words it mesmerises in the moment, but no real drama ever gets a chance to breathe in the mists of artifice.
WEDNESDAY 26 In Wake Up To Money on the radio they were discussing the causes of the high inflation that has ushered in our so-called Cost Of Living Crisis. They don’t call it The Nation’s Failure, which is what it is. Some loose cannon at the Bank of England says that high inflation is the result of high wage claims. In other words, workers should suck it up and make do with less. Others say that our high inflation is caused by the Bank of England pumping silly volumes of money into a national economy that can’t stand on its own two feet. I rewound to Farming Today to hear about the UK farmer who went on TV’s Love Island, found love and brought it back to his farm, where the couple joyously make social-media content together featuring lambs.
📌 We are loving Colin From Accounts, a beautiful Australian rom-com series that manages to push together micro-brewing, gynaecology, testicular cancer and a very cute border terrier called Colin.
📌 My contribution to this week’s Babyshoes writing group at Headway was 100 words exactly with the title A Change Of Key. Here it is…
What he didn’t know was that it was never meant to be him. It wasn’t meant to be any of them. A swingers party to her, Lisa, was just like, like…. like totally no. He didn’t know because she didn’t know. That’s how swingers parties work. She put her hand in the black bag and felt around for something she liked the feel of. She thought she’d found it then realized it was one of those disgusting penis keyrings. She dropped it and pulled out a Teletubbies keyring instead. That’s how she ended up in bed with Tinky Winky’s dad.
📌 There is a fascinating new trend on social media of people sharing their abject failures at Wordle, as if in defiance of all the smart-arse show-offs who do it in two.
📌 A meeting with Katie, our financial adviser (aka, The Money Mum), established that we will probably not die in poverty. But arriving at this happy place took more time than we could imagine and I missed this week’s Art Class. The task was to interrogate our own facial features, namely eyes, nose, mouth and ears. I did it while we talked about earnings, savings, pensions, preferred holiday destinations, etc, and tried to predict the near future. Our friend Janet in Brighton said I made myself look like a “benefit-scrounging member of the aristocracy”.
THURSDAY 27 Yesterday, at a meeting with our financial adviser, she told me I was “a poster boy” for income protection insurance (IP). This is a type of insurance policy bought by employers to insure their staff against accidents or unforeseen events that result in the employer being unable to work. Having a stroke, as in my case, is a good example. For the past 10 years my income has been “protected” by an insurance policy my employer held with Canada Life Insurance. What I didn’t know until Katie told me yesterday was that for group employers IP doesn’t cost very much, because the claim risk is very low, but for the one person in a big crowd of employees who suffers an unfortunate setback, the benefits are very high, and in my case transformative.
📌 The Guardian has a blistering attack on the Bank of England, who earlier in the week (see Wednesday 26 above) told us all (but not them) to get used to being poor.
📌 At a planning meeting at the Barbican for the Headway takeover of the Curve gallery in August, the designers showed us drawings of an ingenious and very elegant ramp to guide visitors into the exhibition. It demonstrates that accessibility, when treated as an architectural feature and an “experience”, can be a thing of beauty.
FRIDAY 28 Full Fact has an interesting take on the government’s recent boast to have boosted the number of police officers by 20,000. That is roughly the same number it got rid of between 2010 and 2017.
📌 Clearing out our Brighton apartment in preparation for the new owner to arrive we’ve come across several items we’ve held on to over the years purely for sentimental reasons. The future of my mother-in-law’s old sewing machine is at the moment unknown. It is a museum piece.
📌 At the Paris House in Brighton tonight we did a team Quordle and scored 16.
Read all of my scrapbook diaries…
PLEASE MESSAGE WITH ANY CORRECTIONS, BIG OR SMALL.