A Journal of the Plague Year Day 75

Tuesday 2nd June 2020

My birthday in lockdown, secreted from all, except my friends K and C who sent sweet cards (flamingo on a palm-print armchair) and family who Zoomed for 3hrs. Until summonsed out by J who knew, who went out and bought prosecco and cider and Maltesers. Drunk within minutes, watching the Exorcist, then more existentialism as Moana rattled on in the background.

We arrived to the conclusion, head pounding, 2am, that contentment eludes all. No matter how rich, how powerful, how beautiful, society deems us to always battle for more. And when we reach our El Dorado if at all, it’s empty after. That we are living the lifestyles of the millionaires of old -warm, safe, clean, educated, travelled, clothed, fed and cushioned, unriddled with smallpox or gonorrhoea or blasphemy or starvation or state control or war or workhouse, yet still unworthy.


Think of those at the top: the famous, indentured without the freedom to go out or speak openly, constantly battling the downward pull of nature, screentime and Hollywood churn. The billionaires working 15 hours a day, politicking into the night with a cold sandwich from the fridge, while their pampered hubbies, surrounded with everything you could ever want, realise in the empty foil that the absence of struggle, of hope, is despair. The aristocrats and politicians playing out their tenures gladiatorially, rife with intrigue, betrayal and trying to keep the beast of control always fed. Always the want, the yearning.

That that fairy tale princess operated a dictatorship. Where no one ever lives happily ever after. And our horizons are never clear. When was the last time anyone ever saw the sunrise from a flattened plane?


Yuval Noah Harari points out that in our hunter gatherer days we were experts in our field, with bigger brains and marathon-runner bods showing everything our biology, evolution, psychology and DNA had been attuned to for millions of years. That we worked 35 hr weeks rather than the 45 hrs today (not including commuting), or the 80 hr ones for the vast majority of humans that are the Developing world. That you set out at 8am to forage till lunch, then played it out till dinner time, launching hunts one day out of three. That you were rarely alone or felt lonely, sharing families and thus resources. You didn’t have plates to wash up, laundry to iron or bills to pay, before the great scam that was agriculture, multiple babies, famines, ownership, edicts, wars, cities, riots, obesity.


The meaning of life is not happiness, which is a creature we scare and chase, but will approach when you’re not looking. Rather it’s about just getting through it with less hassle according to A. To me, it’s about the once certifiable truth that we will end one day, in the best possible way. And love. And never feeling embarrassed -a detail added by my cousin.

Praise ye, praise ye. To the perpetual struggle. Life, the way they’ve sold it from storybooks to screentime, is a scam. As a great war journalist once said, the journey is the destination.






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.