May 22: the only child in Strangemont house

In the block where I live, which includes sixty flats spread out over five floors around a central courtyard that admits no vehicles, there are few children. It is as if they cannot prosper here. This is a block of singletons, couples and members of the LGBT+ community. I realized this when I saw a boy playing in the courtyard. I have seen him a few times at weekends with his father. I imagine him a divorced fatherr who receives the child one weekend in two. This does not count. Four days a month is not enough for the poisonous breezes to contaminate the child. There is also a crying infant two floors above us. This is no baby but a toddler, still blaring out its pain through the night, the night fears of Strangemont house beginning to curdle its blood. No, the only flourishing child in Strangemont House is the daughter of a Polish couple whom you see departing and returning in her school uniform every day. She is regular as clockwork and could indeed be an automated child wound up or somehow regulated every morning. This is the only child in Strangemont House and she has somehow evaded the sulphuric fumes that would contaminate a normal child. Now perhaps you see why I like the place.

May 15: eurovision

The Eurovision song contest is an excellent gauge of the shifting preoccupations of our culture, as well as a revealing indicator of the gap between ordinary folk and the chattering classes. A few years ago the environment was the great exploitable topic that was deemed viable to appeal to the groups that tune in and vote for the various songs, these groups being, I suppose, ordinary telly watchers, the young, the LGBTq community. This year it’s identity and mental health that carry the day, as though we have crawled back into ourselves after Covid. Nobody cares about the environment anymore. The way the show works is that first juries from each country vote, which count for 50%, then the telly watchers vote, another 50%. The Australian entry, an awful, self-regarding, feeling sorry for itself victim song got a decent mark from the juries, before the telly viewers put the boot in. An interesting insight into how unrepresentative the media is of the population’s instincts. In the end, Ukraine, with a decent song and a real cause, won out over a UK entry that for once was not an embarrasment. Even France gave them douze points.

May 8: nobody knows any better

I, of course, know none of the facts. The trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp continues with its steamrollered coverage. I do not know who abused who and in what proportion. The coverage, however, seems massively to favour Mr Depp. Out of curiosity you click onto a news item titled Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Owns Amber Heard or Johnny Depp Has the Court Laughing Along with Him. When you watch you are at pains to connect the headline with the video. On the comments under the video all-comers seem to agree with the headline.

This understanding that people are so easily led by the noses was borne out last week at the Royal Festival Hall concert of Mitsuko Uchida, the renowned pianist, and particularly Mozart interpreter. It seemed to me she created a terrible hash of the Fantaisia in D minor. Just my opinion of course. But seemingly everyone else in the hall were up on their feet in an act of cult reverence.

Viewing both Johnny Depp coverage and Mitsuko Uchida reverence my conclusion is, just make your own mind up, nodody else knows any better.