A Journal of the Plague Year Week 12

Sunday 31st May 2020


As American cities burn under protests (25 have declared curfews) other cities round the world are also holding protests in sympathy for George Floyd. Today London held a march between Trafalgar Square, down Whitehall and crossing over to the US Embassy in Vauxhall, where it was stopped from reaching by the police (cmawn, they’ve got a moat). It ended peacefully, but the numbers were impressive, spread by social media and disowned by the Black Lives Matter UK movement (who’d prefer to enforce social distancing). A sister #BLMLondon took the reins after trending:

Black Lives Matter protest






Sister demos were held in Manchester and Cardiff too





Not to mention abroad.





Tokyo held theirs yesterday



In the US scenes of violence across the nation are getting ever more lurid in the news and on social media. Agitators from both far right and far left appear to blame, with the Minneapolis mayor putting an estimate of those fighting overnight at 80% from outside the city (and confirmed today when St Paul mayor announced every single person arrested last night had come from out of state).

When even Salt Lake City or Fargo are seeing violence one knows the shit’s hit the fan.

In more hopeful scenes, many peaceful protests, and dissolution of violence have also been filmed, from the Mennonite supporters (similar to the Amish):


to the protesters protecting a riot cop in Louisville separated from his team:


to the Flint, Michigan Sheriff, who put down his baton and helmet, and asked the crowd what they wanted. They asked him to march with them, and he did:

As did the Camden police chief:


Protesters protected a Target Store (cross country the massive chain has closed, bummer of a name right now):


To a more strained relationship at times between the Black Lives Matter groups (BLM) and the Anti Fascist League (Antifa), who were appropriating the BLM acronym in their grafitti:

The protests appear to have caught a zeitgeist for much of the young. Too long lumbered with the politics of old, and the sins of their fathers from race to sexism, homophobia to inequality, corruption to populism, student debt to never owning a home, a gig economy to ecological disaster. To not just one crisis of a generation but two in quick succession -the 2008 Financial Crisis, and now the 2020 Pandemic, with the Great Depression to come, not to mention global warming. This is a world they have inherited, and too long powerless to change. So depressed (and for so long) was Greta Thunberg at seeing her future wrecked, with the adults unconcerned all around her, she took up protesting.

Comparisons have been drawn to the summer of 1968, an equally volatile year that saw in riots and call for rights across the world, enshadowed by the Vietnam War, the Cold War and threat of dictatorship on one hand and nuclear war on the other. People who lived through it are saying this is worse. To the new generations, an apology is owed.




A Journal of the Plague Year Day 72

Saturday 30th May 2020


America is burning. Over 30 cities are now seeing protests, and 25 are calling curfews. LA has declared a state of emergency along with the National Guard deployed, as have a handful of others. Worst hit still remains Minneapolis, and its coming fifth night of violence.



The Minneapolis Riots map shows several main streets heavily affected by damage and fire, the city centre, and spreading to its sister city centre (known as the Twin Cities), St Paul:



zoomed in:


To appreciate a scale of the destruction, here is a list of the businesses damaged or destroyed:


7 Mile Fashion
United States Post Office
Affordable Housing Development
Atlas Staffing
AutoZone Auto Parts
AutoZone Auto Parts
Bismillah Grocery & Coffee
Bling-Bling Beauty Supply
Chicago Furniture Warehouse
Citi Trends
CFSC New Money Express
Cricket Wireless
El Sabor Chuchi
Family Dollar
Fatima African Hair Braiding
GM Tobacco & Super Vapor
H&R Block
Hexagon Bar
Home Choice Stores
Hop Wong
Lake Street Tobacco
Lloyd’s Pharmacy
maX it PAWN
Metro by T-Mobile
Minnehaha Lake Wine & Spirits
Mirasol Express
NAPA Auto Parts – Genuine Parts Company
Nguyen Architects, Inc.
Physicians Group
O’Reilly Auto Parts
Quality Tobacco
Uncle Hugo’s / Uncle Edgar’s Bookstore
Shell / Tobacco Shop
Town Talk Diner & Gastropub
U 2 Nails
Residential Home Columbus Ave
21st Ave S Vehicle Fire x2
2932 Park Ave Minneapolis
35W North at Washington
7-Sigma Inc.
ACE Cash Express
Addis Ababa Restaurant
Big Top Wines & Spirits
Bole Ethiopian Cuisine
Boost Mobile
Chicago Ave Vehicle Fire
Cub Foods
Dakota County Western Service Center – Apple Valley
Dollar General
Dollar General
Du Nord Craft Spirits
El Nuevo Rodeo
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Fade Factory
Family Dollar
Foot Locker
Foot Locker
Furniture Barn
Gandhi Mahal Restaurant
Great Clips
HD Laundry
Holiday Station
Integrated Staffing Solutions
Iron Door Pub
Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct
Little Caesars Pizza
LV’s Barbershop
maX it PAWN
maX it PAWN
Metro PCS
Midori’s Floating World Cafe
Midtown Corner Low Income Housing
Migizi Communications
O’Reilly Auto Parts
O’Reilly Auto Parts
O’Reilly Auto Parts
Olympic Cafe
Laddatude Tattoo
Neighbors One Stop Inc. Gas Station
Rongo’s Auto Service
Sabri Properties
Schooner Tavern
Sol Travel
Sports Dome
Springboard for the Arts
Stop N Shop
T.J. Maxx
Teppanyaki Grill and Supreme Buffet
Total Wireless
TwinCare Dental
U.S. Bank Branch
U.S. Bank Branch
Winner Gas Station
Wells Fargo Bank
Wells Fargo Bank


1 Life CBD Products
J Klips
SoPHI Apartments
Fifth Street Towers
365 Nicollet
Valerie’s Taqueria Inc
Hennepin Lake Liquor Store
ICC Wireless
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
Pineda Tacos
Como Tap
Penn Gas Stop
The Fremont Restaurant & Bar
Broadway Liquor Outlet
Skol Liquors
ALDI Grocery
Dollar Tree
Hi Lake Liquors
CSL Plasma
East Lake Library
Precision Tune Auto Care
Dairy Queen
Sabri Commons
Papa Murphy’s | Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza
Planet Fitness
Domino’s Pizza
LA Skin Care & Spa
Urban Forage Winery and Cider House
Car-X Tire & Auto
Galactic Pizza
Frattallone’s Ace Hardware
Minnesota Transitions Charter School
See Eyewear
Laundromax LLC
Soderberg’s Floral & Gift
Hennepin Healthcare East Lake Clinic
Seward Pharmacy
Electra Tune Tire & Auto
Elevated Beer Wine & Spirits
Seward Community Co-op – Franklin Store
Midtown Global Market
Briva Health
BMO Harris Bank – Only Drive-Up Open
Zipps Liquors
Uptown Pawn
Chicago Lake Liquors
East Lake Liquor Store
Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Gifts & Foods
Hamdi Restaurant
Freewheel Bike Midtown Bike Center
Hudson Hardware
Birchwood Cafe
CVS Uptown
Sunny’s Hair & Wigs
Thurston’s Jewelers
Banadir Pharmacy
GameStop Uptown
Indulge & Bloom Uptown
H&M Uptown
Apple Uptown
Urban Outfitters Uptown
Smokeless – Vape and CBD
AutoZone Auto Parts
Buzz Mart
Noodles and Company
The Vitamin Shoppe Hamline
Sprint Store
Midway Tobacco and Vapor
Leeann Chin
America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses
Discount Tire
TCF Bank
Ananya Dance Theatre
7 Miles Sportwear
Fire ‘N’ Ice
Liquor Barrel
R.F. Moeller Jeweler
The Fixery
CVS Pharmacy
Boost Mobile
Advance Auto Parts
Park Nicollet Clinic Minneapolis
Penzeys Spices
First Grand Avenue Liquor Store
To New York
Peking Garden
Five Guys
Honda Town
Tires Plus
MPS Center for Adult Learning
Cutz Too Barber Shop
El Pollo de los Santos
Degan Childcare Center
Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry
Electronics for Less
Valvoline Instant Oil Change
Lake Plaza
Holiday Station
Gold’n Treasures
Holiday Stationstores
GameStop – Brooklyn Center
Walmart Supercenter – Brooklyn Center
T-Mobile – Brooklyn Center
Family Dollar – Brooklyn Center
Walgreens – Brooklyn Center
Ax-Man Surplus
Park & Lake Car Wash
Sew Simple
Juxtaposition Arts
Northtown Mall – Blaine
Hawthorne Crossings
Cub Foods – Sun Ray Shopping Center Maplewood
Cub Liquor – Sun Ray Shopping Center Maplewood
Best Buy – Roseville
Target – Roseville
Walmart Supercenter – Roseville
Rosedale Center – Roseville
Tobacco & Mas
Nowak’s Liquor & Wine – West St. Paul
Famous Footwear – West St. Paul
Metro by T-Mobile – West St. Paul
Boost Mobile – West St. Paul
Foot Locker
Broadway Clinic
The Jewelers
A-1 Lock Service by Kee Wee
A Auto Mall
Turf Club
Gordon Parks High School
Trader Joe’s
Holiday Station
Minneapolis Central Library
Cork Dork Wine Co
Minneapolis Carbone’s Pizza & Pub
Casablanca Foods
Pat’s Tap
Great Health Nutrition
The Hub Bike Co-op
MGM Wine & Spirits
Walgreens – White Bear Lake
Walfoort Liquor Store
Sun Foods
Trend Bar
Taco Bell
Vig Guitars
Pawn America – Roseville
Goodwill – St. Paul
Marathon Gas
Tibet Store
Familia Skateshop
Ken & Norm’s Liquor
Landmark’s Uptown Theatre
Palm Beach Tan
Mucci’s Italian
Lyndale Tobacco
Hennepin County WIC Office
MTS Secondary
Master Collision – Minneapolis
White Castle
Pantry Food Market
E And L Supermarket And Deli
Matt’s Bar and Grill
Holiday Station
Everett’s Foods & Meats
Paper Source
USA Smoke Shop
Nokomis Shoe Shop
First Cherokee Bank
4Marq Apartments
Cub Foods
White Castle
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
Origami Restaurant
Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op
Sprint Store
Office Depot
Sprint Store
BMO Harris Bank
Boost Mobile
15th St East Minneapolis
Williams Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar
Whittier Clinic & Pharmacy
Dollar Tree
Yuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant
Xcel Energy
Whiskey Junction
The Nic on Fifth
Sanaag Restaurant and Coffee
Salon Levante
Sally Beauty
Running Room
Ribnick Luxury Outerwear
Parkway Pizza
Office Depot
Merwin Liquors Minneapolis
Martin Patrick 3
John Fluevog Shoes
Infinite Vapor Uptown
Giant Wash Coin Laundry
Firefly Credit Union
El Chuchi Market
Dogwood Coffee Bar – Uptown
Cal Surf
AT&T Store
Anthony’s Pipe & Cigar Lounge
Walgreens Pharmacy
Frattallone’s Ace Hardware
Hook Fish & Chicken
H&R Block
Pearle Vision
Kyle’s Market
Metro by T-Mobile
Kitchen Window
Brite Dental Center
Extreme Noise Records
Hibachi Buffet
Urban Tails Pet Supply
Chris Kvale Cycles
El Nuevo Miramar
Yusuf Center
International Bazaar
Cost Cutters
Little Caesar’s
African Development Center
Annex by Opitz Outlet
North End Hardware & Rental
All Washed Up
Union Liquors
Family Dollar
Sabri Properties
Pizza Hut
Dream Haven Books & Comics


Violence as left and right wing clash is pronounced:



As with the police, alongside footage of them pepper spraying /shooting news crews and people in their homes or standing on their porch.



These two students were singled out, beaten and tasered, and charged with breaking curfew, the cars in front and all around notably ignored.

And meanwhile the looting continues:



It appears POTUS, increasingly embattled in the White House as protesters chant outside, is picking sides. He didn’t even mention the protests or George Floyd till two briefings later, where he announced he had spoken to the family, the best. The brother of Floyd mentioned they hadn’t even been allowed to speak.



As night falls, and the running battles take the streets, America searches for its soul







A Journal of the Plague Year Day 71

Friday 29th May 2020


Okay after the uproarious events of the last few days I promised a day off. I mean, how much news can one get? Like a UV drip through every media, either ongoing outside distantly, or swept in full force through a screen.

Two stories have appeared just too delicious. One is the mass protests now occupying America, with over 20 cities seeing in reports of violence, looting and burning of buildings following the killing of George Floyd. CNN is currently holed up in its Atlanta offices with live coverage of a crowd attacking it’s very building, that it shares with a police precinct.

Some of the pictures emerging from ground zero in Minneapolis are horrifying, where two police precincts and several blocks have been burned out.


APTOPIX Minneapolis Police Death

All the largest cities, from NYC, to Chicago have seen ‘dozens’ of protests each, including freeway intersections in LA and Oakland, near San Francisco and 200 arrested in Houston alone. The White House at one point was put under lockdown as protests took outside it. By day the protesters appear peaceful albeit disruptive, by night it worsens.




200 have been arrested in Houston alone

Minneapolis, now approaching its fourth night of riots, has called in the National Guard and imposed a curfew and state of emergency (as has Portland), a man has been shot dead in Detroit, though it’s still under investigation if this had to do with the protesting. In Lousiville ongoing protests merged with those for Breonna Taylor, an unarmed emergency medic shot 8x just days before, killed in her bed after it was mistakenly stormed in a drugs/money raid (the police were plain-clothed, burst in with a “no-knock warrant” and didn’t announce themselves -her boyfriend put out a warning shot, and the 911 transcript showed he still didn’t know they were police when he called for help). No drugs or drugs money was ever found at her flat, and the suspect they were looking for was found in an entirely different address.

The city also saw a night of violence, with 7 people shot and injured.


The 33 cities so far affected by mass protests (both peaceful and violent) are Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Louisville, Bowling Green,  New Orleans, Lincoln, New York City, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Portland, Dallas, Houston, Columbus, Cincinnati, Canton, Richmond, Seattle, Milwaukee and Washington DC.

Early harrowing footage of a disabled woman in a wheelchair being assaulted (punched in the head and a fire extinguisher let off in her face) in a Target Store and doing the rounds across social media appears more than the snapshots used. On closer inspection the full videos show her trying to stab Black looters (and allowing White ones to pass, perhaps randomly perhaps because of race) beforehand, and a later one of her walking about. Mental illness surely?


The other storm appears to be Trump’s handling of the unfolding crisis. His Tweet to match ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts’ has been widely condemned that the President of the US is condoning the shooting of its citizens, not to mention the quote was taken from notorious Miami Police Chief Walter Headley who uttered it in a 1967 speech outlining his department’s efforts to “combat young hoodlums who have taken advantage of the civil rights campaign.”


Twitter, hot on the heels of its earlier fact-check warning slapped on his latest falsehood, now hid the text due to inciting violence, another of its rules. As reminder, shooting looters is unconstitutional, even if they are dangerously dark-skinned and TV-holding, or even walking down the street, and despite the long tradition to do so following any disaster.

You literally couldn’t make it up. The Great Orange Dolphin has gone apoplectic; his lifeline to insults, power and obnoxiousness appears to be fighting him. He’s subsequently started the day with all barrels blazing, drawing a gunfight with China with a long list of accusations, from C-19 cover up to stealing tech, while attempting to align the ‘left wing forces’ as supporting them. His announcement of unprecedented action, including the suspension of special treatment for Hong Kong, will ratchet up the trade wars when the world needs it least, with China now waiting to take retaliation. It’s noted this very much looks like his reelection platform, piqueing a hatred of China, of C-19 and lockdown on top of the culmination of White American demographic embattlement. It marries with his announcement alongside that the US is fully leaving the World Health Organisation for claiming it in league with China to “mislead the world”, and withdrawing all funds at a time it needs it most.

Donald Trump

It appears he’s having a bad day. And some people just want to see the world burn.





A Journal of the Plague Year Day 70

Thursday 28th May 2020

Following the death of George Floyd protests in Minneapolis last night have gotten increasingly destructive. A block of housing under construction has burned down along with an apartment building, several garages and stores in the part of town near the 3rd Precinct police station, where the police officers involved in his death were based.

The turn of the crowd appears to have started with the looting of an AutoZone store, as protesters urge the man to stop.


Online people identified the man as possibly Jacob Pederson of the St. Paul PD, including a screenshot of his alleged ex-girlfriend claiming she also recognises the gloves and mask as hers.



All this still needs to be verified rather than just speculation and politicking, but one imagines the looting and fires would have started at some stage. The fact the protests have spread to well beyond Minneapolis, to 20 other cities is a sign. Watch the vid of George Floyd’s last moments and you can see why.

It is not just another injustice, just another cop killing of an unarmed Black man, but one where you see it happening in real time and -in a world gone mad -a crowd pleading for it to stop, to no avail. The fact a cold-blooded killing can occur in broad daylight with full back up of the law says there’s something very wrong with this world.

I must admit, as cities burn a part rages with the violence: that society needs to change. That the difference in the arrest of say, Dylann Roof, armed after the massacre of 9 Black churchgoers, and the arrest of an unarmed, already handcuffed Black man suspected of having just given in a fake $20 bill is a difference that willfully kills. A statistic we will no longer tolerate, where being Black means you’re 3x more likely to be killed after the police show up. That the use of tear gas and foam bullets early in the peaceful demonstration, as opposed to the hundreds of heavily armed far righters allowed to storm State Capitol buildings last month, speaks volumes.


In a show of how impossibly cack-handed a single organisation can be, the Minneapolis police arrested a Black CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez, on an empty street unaware the cameras were still rolling and being beamed live into the newsroom. They handcuffed him and led him away, with no charge given even after he asked for one. A fellow crew on the same street were also approached (the reporter was White), but not arrested and told they could stay. The MPD later apologised, and said they were investigating.

The city of Minneapolis, long the belle of liveability and progression for the US, will forever be tainted.


Another scandal briefly kicked off at home, with uproar over the replacement of presenter Emily Maitliss for her emotive coverage of the Dominic Cummings scandal. The BBC apologised for her lack of impartiality in her opening words (including the line “a deep national disquiet”), and the subsequent pressing of interviewees.

Twitter was strangely alive with reprimands against her rather than support, and her leftist agenda (she was actually a former writer for the central right Spectator). Numerous accusations then flew that many of these were bots, as was seen days earlier when Commings’ story broke, with hundreds of copy-pasted messages of support for him identified. Also many reminded that the infamously feared and pushy presenter before -Jeremy Paxman -had been allowed year in year out to be so direct, and even celebrated for it -the difference being that when a woman doesn’t hold the punches it results in furore. A BBC insider followed up to say the Beebs response had been “weak and embarrassing” for caving into the government.

Within the day Maitliss had been reinstated, claiming she had asked for a night off, and her last-minute replacement, Katie Razzall, stating she would never have agreed to cover if it had been anything other.


In a third scandal Trump has been at it again, starting a fight with Twitter that he is so obnoxiously reliant on to spread his word. To date, The Great Orange Dolphin has publicly declared over 18,000 outright lies and misleading information while campaigning for or in office, thanks to the Washington Post counter which must be going metronomically these days. His claim over the voting by post changes being rolled out, that “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent” was slapped with a warning label of ‘unsubstantiated’, the first for him, despite the fact he would long have been banned had he been anyone other than POTUS.


Trump subsequently went on a hissy fit. He threatened to “strongly regulate” or even “close down” social media platforms, tweeted to his 80 million followers that Republicans felt the platforms “totally silence conservatives” and that he would not allow this to happen, also claiming Twitter was “completely stifling free speech”. By evening he said that Twitter “has now shown everything we have been saying about them… is correct” and vowed “big action to follow”. People immediately pointed out he was stifling free speech in the name of free speech, and/or claiming free speech to stifle it. What would have been hilarious is if Twitter had subsequently slapped fact-check warnings on those statements, but hey, we can but dream.


Today has been in short, a confusion for many, many editors as to what on earth to put on the headlines. CNN has chosen to continue with the ongoing repression of Hong Kong, (which is a bigger story than appears -as if all the protests of the past few years have culminated in Beijing’s most direct attack at its democracy). However it has dropped the killing of George Floyd to the very last story listed on its front page (and within hours has disappeared it altogether), while all other US news network and paper have it as their main headline, from Fox News to MSNBC. The BBC have steadfastly buried the Emily Maitliss scandal alongside, in the same bottom-right position, while it trends as the main story online and in rival news.

It is a bonanza for journalism right now.







A Journal of the Plague Year Day 69

Wednesday 27th May 2020

I have just witnessed one of the most disturbing things caught on camera. The slow death of a person, pleading for help, occasionally screaming. At some stage he calls out for his mother.

He is being kneeled on the neck by a sociopath till suffocated and wets himself, while people all around plead for the man to get off. After the victim passes out the perpetrator continues, in broad daylight, in full eyes of the law as they tell him he’s unconscious, not moving, not breathing, with blood from his nose. Another assailant keeps watch, standing ground against the gathering, both being armed.

The onlookers ask him to just check for a pulse, which the men ignore, along with the fact they are being filmed the entire time, and their badge numbers recorded and still they do not budge. It is the arrogance of killing, of complete power.

How dangerous can an unarmed man be, handcuffed behind, another man on his back, another on his neck for 8 minutes and passed out, no longer moving?

After the killing, with the lifeless body hauled onto an ambulance, the police officer gets off, head held high as the crowd yell he just killed a man. He briefly talks to the ambulance workers, another police officer, then calmly gets into the squad car and drives off without another glance.

George Floyd wasn’t even formally charged. Reports of a fake banknote had sent the police down, who then claim he got belligerent, that when they arrested him they then noticed he was in need of medical aid. From the video that does appear to be true – because two police officers are sitting on him and slowly suffocating him.

He called out that he couldn’t breathe, an echo of the 2014 case of Eric Garner, another unarmed Black man arrested for illegally selling single cigarettes in NYC, and choked to death in an arm hold, who said the same words eleven times as he was suddenly slammed to the ground by several police officers. In that instance no one was ever prosecuted, not even for manslaughter, and the one officer using the illegal hold only sacked four years later.

George Floyd also asked them: ‘Please don’t kill me’. What were his thoughts as he could hear the people pleading, and it being ignored? No longer able to move, just lying there. This is what being buried alive is like, as people watch helplessly. The police and news have subsequently reported he died shortly after arrival in hospital, the video shows him dying in front of our eyes, or at the very least inculcating everything that led to his death.

*edit*^ the emergency crew transcript has since shown that when they turned up his body was pulseless and not breathing. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. In short George Floyd is killed on screen, in real time.

************WARNING ******* DISTURBING VIEWING **************


Jacob Frey, the Mayor of Minneapolis where the killing took place, was visibly moved. He mentioned: “Being Black in America should not be a death sentence.” It comes fast on the heels of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, shotgunned three times as he was jogging, and condemned to death for peeking into a house under construction -cameras record several visits that day by passersby, though all were White and thus did not incur the tresspass of the local Neighbourhood Lynchmob, armed with guns and pickups.

Protests have taken over Minneapolis, one of America’s most progressive and livable cities on par with the Nordic qualities and equalities of life. Outside the house of the officer in question, now sacked, a small crowd gathered, peaceful, with the local head of police joining them. They blocked all food deliveries being sent to the property.

A larger gathering (expanded by social distancing) met at the crossroads where George Floyd died then marched to the 3rd Precinct where the officers are stationed. Police confronted the so-far peaceful march with tear gas and foaming bullets (used to identify people after), which was replied with a barrage of plastic water bottles anyone was carrying. As dusk came harder missiles began to be thrown, police vehicles spray painted and in the streets running battles with vigilantes.


Four Minneapolis police officers fired after man dies in police custody

'I Can't Breathe' Protest Held After Man Dies In Police Custody In Minneapolis

There is something very wrong with our world when an innocent man can be murdered in public, for a horror-stricken world to watch. How many times has this happened before? Before the advent of cameras and filming on our phones? That still happens when crowds are not around to see it? The fact that when police had to adopt body cameras themselves, police complaints fell by 93%, showing they not only protected the police but the public from them.

George Floyd, remember his name.






A Journal of the Plague Year Day 68

Tuesday 26th May 2020


So today is all about getting my arse back into gear, notably getting off it and doing shit. Went food shopping (what else kind of shopping is there these days?), stocking up on a range of things we’d long run out of, having been chained to the bed and screen this past week. But am revived to go on a diet, my face getting saggy and spotty from an increase in weight and lack of fresh air.


Got home, de-iced the fridge (shitty habit of icing up and incinerating anything that touches the back into a carrot version of the Silver Surfer), cleaned the kitchen, cut my hair and fried some rice. I’m off meat, packaged foods, sweets, fizzy drinks, bread, dairy and sugar and promise to cut down on the salt. Life fucking OVER, but at least I’ll look slim and coquettish when I die, having jumped out a window by day 3. Seriously who likes veg???


Apparently the Chinese diet has skyrocketed in salt content, mostly from adding it during cooking (on top of dashes of soya sauce), so I’m looking to cut down. It’s mostly the northern Chinese cuisines, hearty for the cold. Although there’s a lot of salt, it doesn’t actually end up tasting so salty (people wouldn’t partake otherwise), rather it gets offset by the flavour balance that is the raison d’être for Chinese cuisine, saltiness watered down by sweet or ‘clear’ notes, and all of it further diluted by copious amounts of rice -it’s just that rice portions are shrinking as the mains grow. However, although northern salt intakes are lowering they’re rising in the south, who are increasingly featuring packaged/ processed food in meals and snacks. The popularity of pickled foods is another feature, also a major contributor to the increased cancer levels in the region.


My creation today was chilli fried rice, with lots of veg. Tried my best not to just fling any available item in, and actually plan the flavours. Carrots, beans, garlic, chilli (forgot the turmeric), peas, egg. Passable but nothing to er, blog about.

I left the big window open in the kitchen, as the sun was basking -came back to two pigeons literally shitting on the tabletops. I shooed them back out and cleaned the mess, like three times over with anti-bac, then again for every flat surface. Didn’t tell A, he’d freak.



J is back, appearing in better spirits though his back is playing up and like many folk, won’t take painkillers unless they’ve lost a limb. We watched a film together (Dracula Unearthed/ Unplugged or summat). Then followed up with a dinner bowl of no-added-crap muesli they possibly sell in petstores (OMG miss sugar already, would have drizzled honey, cream and chcolate bars over that shit).

We listened to opera, A being an ardent fan as of late, and myself starting to get used to bits. I think listening to music and doing nothing else, with one’s partner is one of the best things you can do in life. We compared Maria Callas’s voice, which apparently even she hated (unable to listen to a recording since bursting into tears and swearing to give up back in the day) and that the salons initially dismissed. It is very slightly dry, hoarse yet nasal – it isn’t mellifluous, fattened with feminine grace and gentle at the edges. Rather it is the stretched string of a wavering soul (with a bunged up nose), it expresses humanity in the same way drugged up singers do these days, like Lykke Li with gravitas and a snail pace.

Somewhere in her drawn out high notes (can’t really describe it any better than an elegant screech, it’s probably referenced in opera-speak as La Scremma Electrocutia) there is a rousing inner sound, that is a wavering spout, vulnerable and yearning which a perfected version misses:


I remember seeing Madame Butterfly back when I worked in the Castle, and we’d get free tickets to the Queen’s Box (erm, that’s a private balcony seat in the Albert Hall). I managed to bag an event but -like all stage productions with me -could never suspend disbelief (who walks around shouting all the time?). **SPOILERS***While she -and the audience -was crying on her abandonment at the end, I couldn’t fail to notice how the terracotta in the background was badly painted. Fast forward to now and I’d be in tears, possibly bringing some spyglasses and a lace hanky.

Well who’d a thought. Finally fucking grown up.

Listened to some Bloodhound Gang of noughties infamy to offset all that culture. Ba-limey, you wouldn’t get away with that nowadays. In my day…





A Journal of the Plague Year Day 67

Monday 25th May 2020

Tomorrow, tomorrow.

It’s all still kicking off on top aide and resident genius to the PM (read: the de facto leader of our country) Dominic Cummings, now under siege from the groudlings on ( I mean off) the streets, the Opposition, his fellow MPs and even the Church. He sneaked 260 miles into County Durham during the lockdown he helped create, and now JK Rowling’s entered the fray, armed with quite some humour. If ever there was a delicious scandal to pass the time between Eastenders and Hollyoaks re-runs, this is it. Following Boris’ decision to back Cummings against the uproar of the nation (even the Daily Mail screaming outrage, and every broadsheet exposing that the PM is dependent), through the reworking of what a lockdown should engender, someone released an official Tweet from the Home Office.


“Arrogant and offensive. Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?”

After it was hastily removed, she offered a year’s salary to the sleuth.


One can imagine the scene in the government offices right now, the Prime Minister’s door slamming, the roaring, the staff running round the corridors -or at least their living rooms, where they’ve been WFH, zooming back and forth between walls in a show of urgency. The wrenched phones, the papers fluttering in the air as a bespectacled secretary scrambles to pick them off the floor. The whodunnit perpetrator, possibly holed up in a photocopying room, making surreptitious folders, or downloading data while a wingman fakes a seizure.

The mood of the nation is just as brazen as Cummings has been, both in his crime and his response to getting caught.


Well, what an epic spectacle, with #BooforBoris or #Booris (and er, #CumGate) trending for a day, planned for an 8pm Tuesday. We should order popcorn. The Twitterstorm is also full of supportive tweets for the government, that runs into the new Dominic Cummings show, and subsequent investigations as to how many copy-pasted messages have aligned, by accounts inactive for years, sometimes decades, before recent revival.


The copy-paste of Tory MPs to their constituents also appeared sourced from some handed-down directive:


In other words support bots still at large, run by the Conservatives, and another of Cummings’ tricks from up his algorithmic sleeves. This new arsenal is hot on his act with Cambridge Analytica that swerved the tide for Brexit (by targetting over a billion ads at swing voters). This a sign of the times, the future of democracy under attack by partisanship, AI, populism and media wars.

Coronavirus - Mon May 25, 2020

His public announcement, to a gathering of the press in his lush £1.6 million Islington garden, showed he was unrepentant, claiming his circumstances exceptional, and that the law apparently allows for. JK, who appears to be tweeting hourly through lockdown (new book too she just announced, free online, that’s setting every HP fan near to self immolation with expectation), had something to say on that:



The fact there is obviously two systems at play, one set of laws and restrictions for the spivs, and the other for an elite to openly dismiss. People (including fellow politicians) who’ve been unable to say goodbye to dying relatives due to obeying the lockdown are furious, with some MPs already tendering resignations in protest.

Cummings also admitted to have driven to Castle Barnard where he was spotted, a 60 mile excursion, but only to ‘check his eyesight’ with wife and child in tow, a practice Michael Gove now echoes that he himself has done in the past, possibly near baby-killing ceremonies in Masonic Temples. The castle happens to be large HQ for big pharma company Glaxo-SmithKline, that also announced a deal to supply vaccines and meds to France on the same day. His wife can drive -a 2012 Spectator article dug out about her roadtrips in the US -so why did she not take the wheel so concerned were they about his eyesight? Ever more holes are appearing not just in the story but his Party support, now bitterly divided.

Another Tory twit following suit didn’t help things. The party seems doomed:


Well, all in all quite a schadenfreuden showdown. But in other more sobering news, Trump was spotted playing golf as America’s death toll breached 100,000 on the Memorial Day weekend. Biden, who was out for the first time in 2 months, released an advert:


I mean look at him, just LOOK AT HIM.




Meanwhile the crowds continued to pack it in Stateside, with some of the usual scenes of protest, such as two stalwart Karens wearing facemasks but with a big hole in the visors cut out (gimp-like) so they could fully partake in Germfest ’20.


Another meme doing the rounds has been the nurse protesting against lockdown alongside the rest of the circus, until it was noticed she had on a fake badge (handwritten fer Chrissakes) and a dodgy costume.

Plus the Republicans’ chairwoman for Arizona urging protesters to fake it:

Planning protest to #Reopen America? EVERYONE wear scrubs and masks -the media doesn’t care if you are really in healthcare or not -it’s the “message” that matters!




Meanwhile China has quietly taken away Hong Kong’s rights not to stay bidden to the thumb of the Party.  While everyone’s too busy with the pandemic, and many Hong Kongers too fearful of infection to gather, as they so valiantly do normally, the regime’s slipped in a fast one. All after months of fighting off the extradition laws, which would have made everyone submissable to Chinese legislation- and treatment -as any Mainlander. It fully undermines the special status of the One Country Two Systems policy, and a democracy enshrined for 50 years after Handover.


Well now all that protesting appears for nothing. China’s quietly taken the initiative, with the appointed HK leader, Carrie Lam telling the world they ‘have no place’ to protest and denying the law will curtail citizen rights. Hmmmmm. I do kinda feel for her sometimes, dubbed ‘Beijing’s Puppet’ and jeered wherever she goes, despite her redemption in a winning handling of the C-19 crisis. But she is evidently lying imo.

This comes hot after China decided to give every adult Hong Konger a no-strings $1200 for being “overwhelmed by a heavy atmosphere” back in February, alongside a wave of freebies in the new budget. It appeared to be part fiscal handout for a struggling economy, part bribe to not keep protesting by the millions, for months on end. The new laws will ban treason, secession, sedition and subversion -everything the Hong Kongers have been doing for years, starting an entire generation culturally used to mass protest and rebellion.


The border is slowly being erased, and for Hong Kongers that’s an erosion of their freedom-wheeling protectorate under Chinese law. It says a lot about our times, and our governments who will make use of the pandemic to sneak in their wishlist. From Victor Oban’s dissolution of democracy in Hungary to the US vowing only to ease sanctions against Venezuela (the socialist regime sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves) in so pressing times as long as they replace their anti-American leader. When denied, Trump swiftly followed up with a failed US invasion earlier this month, that’s been barely reported. A coup so botched and abandoned by its backers, and the plan reported in the press beforehand too, that the handful of mercenaries who arrived were only lightly armed and seasick already. Though dutifully wearing face masks:



If Big Bird and his auntie tried to stage a revolución it would look a bit like this butter fingered rout (Selmaaa!!! Where’d ya put the ammo???).

The two surviving American mercenaries (8 were killed), hired by a security firm in Florida are now prisoners, paraded in front of the media and forced to confess. The regime is absolutely loving it. Yet the lack of furor? Sheer embarrassment on Trump’s behalf, and a media complicit with a script that the heroic West never fails at anything (nor so laughably), and doesn’t do cackling, villainous things to cackling villains (the current President Maduro is largely seen as illegally holding onto power). It’s not so much being caught red-handed in the brazen attempt at an illegal coup -one of 76 the US has so far funded abroad -but the circus of absurdity they called a military operation. That by far, would be the more damaging to the demagoguery, that American heroes are not how Hollywood Netflix portrays.




I ended the day watching Disney’s nature films. Childish commentary (and completely devoid of science, positively avoiding it) but with jawdropping photography. An unlimited budget surely helps. Insanely cute too, from baby pandas tumbling down a slope to leopard cubs chewing on mom’s ear, to shivering little monkeys.

We need this in our lives right now, a nice reminder that there is a world beyond our people, our politics, that’s still turning.