Tuesday 3 November, 2020

A portent?

Photo by Quentin this afternoon.

Quote of the Day

”I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws, or crafts its advanced treaties, if I can write its economics textbooks.”

  • Paul Samuelson

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Handel – Sarabande in D minor | Copernicus Chamber Orchestra conducted by Horst Sohm | 2011


Long read of the day

“Eat Butterfiles with Me”, Patricia Lockwood’s stunning essay on Vladimir Nabokov in the London Review of Books

More on Gordon Parks

The brief video on Gordon Parks’s photography in yesterday’s edition prompted a lovely email from Pete Ashton pointing me to Half Past Autumn, the HBO documentary on Parks, the full version of which is on Vimeo here. It’s an hour and a half and wonderful. Cancel Netflix for an evening and watch it instead. Parks was such an amazing and gifted individual.

What it was like to work in a Covid ICU

This is the most vivid, most moving thing I’ve read about what it’s like not to be able to save people who are dying from Covid.

My eye was caught first by this:

We leaned forward and bowed our heads in order to redirect the flow of tears. We couldn’t risk touching our faces and we need them to fall onto our scrubs. We couldn’t ruin our masks.

And then I started to read…

And now I can’t forget it.

Better cancel Christmas, btw

John Crace on Boris Johnson’s shambolic performance in the Commons yesterday:

The longer the session went on, the more confused Johnson’s answers became. He was adamant the country would return to regional lockdowns on 2 December, even though he could give no guarantees the rate of infection would have come down sufficiently over the course of the next month.

He guessed it would be down to parliament what happened next, he said unhappily. So that was a yes and a no.

“The country wants politicians to act together,” he shrugged sadly, apparently unaware of his own failure to act on scientific evidence and work with Labour a month ago – and of the fact that the MPs least inclined to work together were his own. Some wanted golf courses reopened, others were happy to compromise on pitch and putt. The DUP’s Sammy Wilson said that he had come to hear Churchill but had only got Halifax-style appeasement instead.

What became more and more evident the longer the session went on was that Boris was out of ideas. Other than to do too little too late. He wasn’t even sure what he had and hadn’t promised Scotland by way of bailout. Starmer slumped back in his seat.

He knew what we all knew: that we would be back in the Commons on 2 December with little change in the nation’s health, to have the same arguments over lockdowns and the failure of test and trace all over again. You can cancel Christmas now.

We have four more years of this.

Other, maybe interesting, links

  • A selfie set in stone: hidden portrait by cheeky mason found in Spain 900 years on. Link
  • What it was like to work with Sean Connery. Lovely Twitter thread. Link.
  • A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air. Terrific animated explanation by El Pais. Link

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