Friday 2 September, 2022

On discovering that Liz Truss is to be Prime Minister

(Courtesy of

Quote of the Day

“One evening, I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord — the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The colour shrieked. This became The Scream.”

  • Edvard Munch, in his Diary.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Liam Clancy | Aghadoe | with the Irish Philharmonic Orchestra


September 2 would have been Clancy’s 87th birthday, had he lived. Thanks to Pam Appleby (Whom God Preserve) for suggesting the song, a ballad about the ill-fated Irish Rebellion of 1798, narrated by a bereaved lover.

Long Read of the Day

 If You’re Suffering After Being Sick With Covid, It’s Not Just in Your Head

One of the things that really annoys me is the comprehensive failure to acknowledge the seriousness and prevalence of ‘long’ Covid. This typically thorough exploration by Zeynep Tufecki is the exception that proves that rule. She thinks that “it’s the tip of a long-term scandal in how we approach complex chronic conditions and post-viral syndromes” and she’s right.

And the strange thing is that we should have known this was coming. Think back to ‘Spanish flu’.

When the influenza pandemic of 1918-19 ended, misery continued.

Many who survived became enervated and depressed. They developed tremors and nervous complications. Similar waves of illness had followed the 1889 pandemic, with one report noting thousands “in debt and unable to work” and another describing people left “pale, listless and full of fears.”

The scientists Oliver Sacks and Joel Vilensky warned in 2005 that a future pandemic could bring waves of illness in its aftermath, noting “a recurring association, since the time of Hippocrates, between influenza epidemics and encephalitis-like diseases” in their wakes.

Then came the Covid-19 pandemic, the worst viral outbreak in a century, and when sufferers complained of serious symptoms that came after they had recovered from their initial illness, they were often told it was all in their heads or unrelated to their earlier infections.

As Peter Medawar said in his 1960 Nobel lecture “a virus is a piece of bad news wrapped up in protein”.

It sure is.

My commonplace booklet

”If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it”

  • Hotel notice in Moscow pre-1989. I thought of it when the news broke that Mikhail Gorbachev had passed away. He might have appreciated it.

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