The Corona Diaries – Day 132

Surprise, surprise – scientists are warning that our ‘world-beating’ track and trace system is inadequate and would have to improve greatly in order to get kids back to school safely!

Sounds par for the course – like the ‘oven-ready’ Brexit and ‘shovel-ready’  building projects. Johnson’s a man who is good on slogans but piss-poor when it comes to putting them into action. We’ve had more than enough of these ‘world-beating’ projects – like our wonderful tracing app, our PPE, our Care-Home protection, our lockdowns and face-masks. I can’t believe a word the man says. He’s all mouth and no trousers.

Local authorities, in frustration at the government failure, are now setting up their own track and trace. It is what the government should have done in the first place. If they had used the GPs and local hospitals they would have been on top of it.

They are now beginning to panic as the numbers of new cases goes up. They think they have opened up too quickly. There are plans to shut pubs and restaurants again. Is it really a juggling act between pubs and schools? Shouldn’t they have restricted it to outside eating and drinking in the first place – at least through summer?

There seems to be some mad inconsistencies – you can drink in a pub but not have a wedding?

Talk about all over the place.

Today is a bit dour and drizzly (like the news) so we’re going for a walk this afternoon in the hopes that the weather picks up. This morning I’ve been working on my editing. I’m enjoying it – a strange semi-biographical book. I’m not sure what you’d call it – it’s not a novel, a memoir or a biography. But who cares. I’m enjoying writing it. What do you think to the extracts I’ve put out?

It has been great playing that old Rockabilly – Billy Lee Riley was great – should have been a lot bigger!

So, with 743 new cases – stay safe! And Rock on!!

Today’s Music to keep me AnSe in Isolation – Billy Lee Riley

I thought I’d delve back to Sun Records in the 1950s and get an infectious dose of Rockabilly to liven up my spirits.

This is where Elvis started and this is who he was sharing the studio with – Billy Lee Riley!

Take it away Billy!! You hep-cat you! Let’s Rock!!


Roy Harper and my Dad – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

I’m lying on my bed in my tiny bedroom listening to Roy Harper’s second album. I’m eighteen and full of angst and rebellion. My dad’s pottering about outside my window, scraping paint off the frame and repainting the window. Roy is singing ‘Circle’ and I’m listening intently to the lyrics:

“I had to pass all of my exams

The old man said I had to be the best one.

I had to do this and I had to do that

They really kept me under constant pressure.

And why aren’t you the captain of the cricket team?

Why aren’t you the genius of the class?

It’s about time you pulled your socks up me boy

Otherwise you’ll get a rude awakening….’

It was all very appropriate for someone taking A Levels and trying to break away and discover some identity and individuality.

It didn’t occur to me that my dad would actually be listening to the lyrics as well, but later he came and talked to me. He had listened to the words and taken them all in. I think they had hurt him. He seemed genuinely concerned that I was identifying with all this social rebellion and was feeling aggrieved at the way I was being treated. Did I feel that they had pushed me? Were they making undue pressure on me?

I reassured him that they hadn’t. Indeed quite the opposite, I would most probably have benefited from a lot more pressure from them. He seemed reassured. But I hadn’t been completely honest; I still felt the weight of expectation that was coming from my parents. They were desperate for me to excel and make something of my life. That was what I reacting to. My mum in particular saw me as a budding little genius. I was destined for big things.

These things were largely unspoken but I felt the pressure. In hindsight I can see that they gave me a remarkable amount of freedom and there was very little stress – but that was not what I was feeling at the time.

We did not have many heart-to-hearts, my dad and I. He was a quiet man who kept himself very private. It might equally have been my fault though. I don’t think I was in too receptive a mood for the best part of thirty years – by then it was really too late. I had my own life and it was very different to his. I had different ideas on what I wanted to do with my time. I have different expectations, values and ideas. He had to stand back and let me go my own way. It must have been very difficult. I’m finding it impossible to do the same. Watching your children making, what you consider to be, mistakes, is not easy.



What is up with these Teaparty idiots spreading false information, claiming credentials and knowledge they don’t have, discrediting the real experts, and touting fake treatments and misinformation.
Hydroxychloroquine does not work against Covid-19 and is a dangerous drug.

How they made us doubt everything.

How they made us doubt everything is a scary BBC series.

The problem is that lies, propaganda and corruption in politics has been exploited by certain politicians. People distrust politicians but ironically the most corrupt, the biggest liars, the greatest purveyors of fake news have exploited this cynicism. Somehow, people like Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro have made people believe that they alone have the real information and are fighting the establishment. The reality is that they are the privileged establishment. By stirring up conspiracy theories and working on peoples’ fears and dislike they have successfully undermined all experts and scientists.

The scary part of this is that we start to believe these daft conspiracy theories and fake news and start disbelieving the real things.

So there is no global warming, no species diversity problems, no overpopulation, and that scientists cannot be trusted. That we didn’t land on the moon, the earth is flat, the CIA blew up the twin towers and the UN is a corrupt body. We are being controlled by ‘The Deep State’.

This is scary because it opens the door to superstition. If all our media, scientists and government are considered corrupt then we are heading for a new Dark Age.

Now I am cynical. I believe that the wealthy establishment has far too much power, that too many politicians are corrupt, the media is biased and democracy is being subverted – but there are limits.

This new trend has enabled the most corrupt bunch of populists to gain power. I believe they are by far the worst bunch we’ve had since the rise of the 1930s fascists!

This BBC series makes for interesting listening.

Possessions and collecting – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

I am sitting here in my study. I give it a grandiose title for what is a room crammed with my stuff; all the stuff that Liz doesn’t like cluttering up the rest of the house. There are a few thousand books, thousands of CDs and a few thousand vinyl albums, some photos, a sound system, computer and desk and my books – the 30 or so that I have written.

I collect. I don’t know why. It is something like hunting, finding bargains, and filling in gaps. I am surrounded with my possessions like extensions of my personality. They say something about me – insane perhaps? Child-like probably? Who knows? These possessions are important to me. I have built up the knowledge and content through the decades. Some are actually precious to me.

When I am gone they will be sold, given away, distributed and the importance I placed on them will be of no value to anybody else.

And what of my 30 books? The work of a lifetime, written in the precious hours gleaned, usually through the early hours of the morning, from a cluttered day. What value will they have? A trunk of faded, tattered wads of paper, 26 letters and a dozen symbols with 10 numbers, endlessly rearranged into stories, ideas and memories, so personal they mark a telescope into the neurones of a cerebrum. When I’ve gone, and the connections are broken, there will only be the echoes in the words, with no one to value them or understand what they really meant to me, what I was trying to say.

Will my children take them for nostalgia’s sake? I somehow hope so. Maybe they will read these words, maybe my grandchildren will read these words, and find a little of me trapped within the symbols.

‘Hello. I speak to you from beyond the grave, down the eras. I have a message. The message is that there are no answers. There are not even any questions. There are no short cuts. There are no reasons and there is no purpose.’

I suppose that all sounds depressing. Let me elaborate further. ‘There is a lot of mystery, a lot of fun to be had, the discovery that fulfilment is more fun than fun, and a whole universe to discover. The journey is all. The journey is all there is. Enjoy it. There are no answers but there are plenty of partial solutions and reasons.’

There. I have spoken. Will these books moulder in their trunk or be thrown into some landfill site, or be burnt or read? What the hell difference will any of it make anyway?

By writing it down, or reading, or experiencing, there is an outside chance that some of this life can make sense – without the religious bigotry and drivel – without the despair at our politicians and leaders. We can learn to build a better world for all living creatures, to share and to love. There are worthy causes to take up, whether there is a purpose to this process of living or not.

But then all this love stuff is just old hackneyed cliché after all. You’d think I would have grown out of it by now.



It is human beings that want everything to be tidy. We are programmed to seek purpose in chaos, order in random patterns. It is a survival characteristic that results in religion.


The Corona Diaries – Day 131

Already 131 days in isolation and the WHO says that we might never get a vaccine or a cure. We might have to live with this forever!

That’s a bit daunting. Basically, it means that we have to learn to live with a variety of measures to reduce our risk for the rest of our lives. I don’t think I like that idea.

Meanwhile, we continue to blunder our way through with a series of mixed messages:

We are being encouraged to use vouchers to eat out and support our catering industry – but we are told that restaurants might have to close because of clusters of disease emanating from them.

Pubs have just opened but might be closed soon – Too much risk and too stupid people not distancing.

Schools will definitely open in September (didn’t we hear this before) but we still do not know how it can be done.

We can have six people mixing together in pubs but not homes.

They want us to go in to work and not work from home – but it unsafe to be indoors with strangers.

All seems a bit confusing!

So, the fall-out is continuing – firms closing and businesses going bust but they have got a new 90-minute test – that must surely help the test and trace??? But haven’t we heard this before – world-beating apps and testing? There is so much fake news, rumours and government cheerleading. It never comes to anything.

In the UK we still have too high levels – 771 new cases and 74 deaths.

In Europe, it looks to be taking off again! In the States, there were another 47,325 new cases and 452 deaths and in Brazil another 25,800 new cases and 541 deaths. Who’s going to win the prize for the most inept? My money’s on the States and Trump!

So today it is colder. I took the car in for a service, walked up my hill, worked on my book and played Led Zep really loud.

Another day eats dust! Stay Safe!!

Today’s Music to keep me NASE in Isolation – Led Zeppelin

Out of the ashes of the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin exploded on the scene. At the time they were considered Heavy Metal but I think they were too complex for that label. They were a mixture of things.

My memory is that ‘Whole Lotta Love’ propelled them into a different orbit.

I’m not sure what it was about Zep that made them greatly different to the last incarnation of the Yardbirds. Page and Beck were amazing together.

I caught Zep right at the beginning at the Toby Jug when they’d broken in the States. It cost me all of 25p and I was able to see them right up close in a small club. They were very powerful!

So today I will play a bit of Zep to cheer me up!