July 11th, 2019


I own a framed photograph of Iris Murdoch. It's been in a cupboard for several years but now that I'm re-reading her I've hoiked it out and hung it on the wall.

I bought it from the Guardian. It's the work of one of their staff photographers but not I'm fairly certain of the great Jane Bown (more's the pity). It's a head and shoulders shot. Murdoch, aged about 60, is standing against a wodge of unremarkable brickwork, looking out at us shyly, quizzically, humorously, flirtatiously. People used to ask me if she was a relative.


"X has died," says Ailz

X has the same name as a British celebrity and at first I thought it was the famous one who had died.

"No," said Ailz, "Not that X, our X."

He was one of the people we initiated into Wicca. We've all moved on since those days- and we'd only been in touch with him through his ex-wife. She went up and he went down. The booze killed him.

Busy place, this planet. People coming and going all the time. Always a bit of a jolt, though, when someone you know gets up, walks out the door...

Raise a glass to him.

No, in the circumstances, maybe not...

O, what the hell!

Raise a glass.

It's Not Working So Change It

Our next prime minister is shortly to be chosen by the tiny percentage of the population who are paid-up members of a deeply unpopular political party. It's an electorate of people who have effectively purchased their right to vote. Most of the country, faced with the choice of Candidate A and Candidate B, would almost certainly go, "Neither of the above."

If this is an example of how politics is conducted in a so-called democracy.... Well, complete that sentence however the spirit moves..

Politics across the globe is so disfunctional.

But it always have been.

So don't go into a decline about it. Take heart. The difference between now and then is that the disfunction is more evident than ever before. Isn't that what Trump is for- to display the disfunction in all its infantile glory, uncensored, without any overlay of pretended sophistication?

And the more we're aware of the disfunction the more we'll be motivated to change it.