Cui bono?

Saturday 24th October 2020, 10.50am (day 3,348)

Leeds station, empty, 24/10/20

This is Leeds railway station, at what should be peak time on a Saturday morning.

You may think this desperately depressing scene is justified and necessary. I do not. When a crime has been committed the good investigator first asks — cui bono? It means ‘who benefits’? And who does benefit from all this — if we are not travelling, not spending money in the same places we were spending it last October, seeing friends, partying in nightclubs, going to Elland Road or wherever? I name Rupert Murdoch, Jim Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt and all their kin as people with the most profoud vested interest in keeping us locked up through the spreading of fear and this year’s sudden, digitally-driven enhancement of what Michel Foucault called the carceral state. If I’m wrong, sue me. If you don’t like it, defy it.

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View to the hills

Friday 23rd October 2020, 3.45pm (day 3,347)

Rooves and hills, 23/10/20

With no disrespect to the people who are sharing this life with me (Clare, Joe), things have a drabness to them at the moment: all the diary contains are work events, there is nothing communal beyond some football matches (and even they are visited alone), no parties, no gigs. This is what the world has become now the Great Fear has been used as an excuse to kick us all into a digital semi-prison. If things are different where you are, then embrace that. At least from my house the view is quite good, particularly when the afternoon sunlight catches the hills in the distance.

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Canal Street lock(down), Manchester

Thursday 22nd October 2020, 9.25am (day 3,346)

Canal Street lock, 22/10/20

The Rochdale Canal has featured many times on this blog, most recently eleven days ago, near Todmorden. This shot is taken in the centre of Manchester, on Canal Street, as urban (and metrosexual) as you get, but you wouldn’t know that from this shot. When I returned past this point in the afternoon, all the leaves had gone, suggesting the lock had been opened at some point during the day — a small sign of life in what remains a mostly comatose city, just waiting for the Tory Party to take it down and stomp it underfoot for a few more weeks.

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Being a Reader

Wednesday 21st October 2020, 3.40pm (day 3,345)

Reading in pub, 21/10/20

My job title is Reader. That means, as a local Prof once put it to me, that there are times when I should just be doing some f***ing reading. I agree with him, and accept that it’s a perk of the job that there are times I can validly do it while nursing a pint of Old Peculier during working hours.

The book, by the way, is Nick Hayes’ The Book of Trespass and I highly recommend it, particularly if you are (specifically) English. It has a lot to say about how control is asserted over our national psyche.

Asserting a right

Tuesday 20th October 2020, 7.15pm (day 3,344)

Atherton Collieries FC, 20/10/20

Going to see a football match is such a simple, harmless thing, and no one is compelled to do it. Our Glorious Leader and some associated bureaucrats, desperate to deflect blame away from the fact they’ve all been promoted above their level of competence, are desperate to take this pleasure away. Region is being played off against region, town against town, neighbour against neighbour even, and simple, harmless things are suddenly not so simple any more. What a farce all this has been, and a no-deal Brexit still to come.

This is about half an hour before kick off at Atherton Collieries’ very fine little ground, by the way. The hosts were smiling at the end — the scoreboard read 5-0 by full time.

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Royd Terrace stays in touch

Monday 19th October 2020, 11.50am (day 3,343)

Satellite dishes, 19/10/20

Whether or not Authority spasms and throws out arbitrary diktats in the next few weeks will not change the fact that I have plenty of work to do, and opportunities to get out of Hebden Bridge are going to be limited. So, Johnson, Our Glorious Leader, do your worst, I don’t care any more. Expect more photos of the local area. I don’t know why I focused on this run of satellite dishes on the street of Royd Terrace this morning — possibilities range from a ‘staying in touch’ metaphor, up to and including the decline of civilisation itself. Perhaps.

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Hammock smile

Sunday 18th October 2020, 2.00pm (day 3,342)

Hammock smile, 18/10/20

I don’t get to spend enough time in hammocks. There is something deeply relaxing about this mode of relaxation. A shame the weather is getting colder now and this one — lying outside the houses that stand above our allotment — probably won’t be used much now, until the spring. (Spring 2021 seems even longer away this year than usual, sadly.)

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Joe’s tour of inspection

Saturday 17th October 2020, 10.55am (day 3,341)

Joe inspects Staffs Uni, 17/10/20

Astonishing as this may seem, our Joe is now at the stage where he is putting together applications for university in 2021-22. Staffordshire University, in Stoke-on-Trent, is on the list, but all any of them can offer at the moment are ‘virtual open days’ which provide info, sure, but not a feeling for the place. And that’s essential if you’re going to spend three years anywhere. So we arranged for our own little tour of inspection today, both of the campus and the city. And despite it being dead, like the set of a post-apocalypse movie dead — the campus tour did not seem to be offputting. Perhaps then we will be seeing more of this place in the future.

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Mural (no longer heron)

Friday 16th October 2020, 1.30pm (day 3,340)

I quite like the heron mural that occupied this spot until fairly recently; now it has become this. Possibly this blog is now the only record of how it used to look. I do quite like its successor too, but this photo is more of all the various quadrilaterals on the side of what used to be the Hole in the Wall pub and has been ‘under refurbishment’ for what seems like years now.

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Ether Knott

Thursday 15th October 2020, 1.15pm (day 3,339)

Ether Knott, 15/10/20

The start of teaching has been delayed four weeks this year, but the summer can’t last forever. This is basically my last three-day gap of freedom before it all kicks in. And in weather like today, I made the most of it — as did the other walker just visible on this shot, below the summit of Ether Knott, a minor protuberance above Borrowdale. Behind, Skiddaw, one of the Lake District (and England’s) 3,000-footers. Boosting one’s immune system is very much the way to go, whatever the lockdowners think.

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