Another day, more stuff written. Today has been quite exciting from a local history point of view.
These days Fridays are Queer Britain Lockdown Hunt days. Queer Britain is a project that aims to build a bricks and mortar queer museum in the UK. Every Friday my lovely pal Dan Vo does a Twitter takeover where they focus on one particular type of queer memorabilia. Today the object was badges, of which I have plenty. So I did my bit and tweeted some photos.
During the day Dan does brief interviews with various queer celebrities, much as he has been doing for Museum from Home. His first guest today was Sue Sanders of LGBT History Month, who had some announcements to make.
First up, the LGBTHM theme for 2021 will be Mind, Body & Spirit. Sue also announced the five “faces” of 2021, one of whom will be Michael Dillon. That’s a perfect choice (if I do say so myself, ahem!). Dillon was an Oxford graduate, and keen thinker, a champion rower in his younger days, a deeply spirital person, and later in life the first Western European to become a Buddhist monk.
This means, of course, that I am likely to be rather busy next February. I’ve already started the planning process, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to bring you some as yet unknown Dillon facts when we get there. Watch this space!
Out in the world, the UK government continues to be a laughing stock (or laughing at us in the case of Matt Hancock, the Minister for Death). But events here have been overshadowed by the unfolding disaster in the USA. When I saw the rallies that Donny Little Hands did for the Police Union in 2016 I got the impression that he saw a heavily armed police force as his own private militia that he could turn to should he need military backup. It gives me no pleasure to see this coming true.
Anyway, my very best wishes go out to all of my friends in the Minneapolis/St.Paul region, and to all African Americans wherever in the country you might be.
Another day in Lockdown. Not much news. I have written things. You will be able to read some of them soon.
Out in the rest of the UK, things have gone a bit mad.
Our government has been operating virtually for several weeks, but Parliament has now voted (by which I mean that the government pushed through a vote) to “return to work”. Online participation will no longer be allowed.
However, social distancing rules are still being observed in Westminister. No more than 50 MPs will be allowed in the chamber at any one time. There are over 600 MPs.
Furthermore, the utterly archaic system that Westminister uses for voting involved crowds of MPs trooping through Aye and No lobbies, and this is clearly contrary to all social distancing rules. So voting will not be allowed.
Which means that Parliament can debate (sort of), but cannot actually pass any legislation. Which presumably means that the government will be ruling by fiat.
People, if you thought that Cummings going on a road trip was outrageous, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
OK, I forgot last week because I was so busy with the One25 Fundraiser, but Lockdown Reading is back this week. This time around we have Rocks and Shoals, another of Juliet E McKenna’s Quartering the Compass stories. You can get it, and all of the other free stories, here.
Today was mostly a being an historian day. I have a book contribution for which the edits came back last week and which I need to finish this week. That’s mostly done. Can’t tell you much else until the book is officially announced. But I’m glad the project is going ahead despite the craziness.
I also did a food shop. As things are starting to get back to some semblance of business as usual I’m trying to move to shopping once a week rather than once a fortnight so I can make sure I get fresh fruit, veg, etc.. Tesco had some flour today, which I guess is progress.
Elsewhere the rolling weekly average death count in the UK ticked upwards today. One day does not make a trend, but I worry about the combined effects of the glorious weather and CumGate.
Talking of our inglorious leaders, today was Prime Ministers’ Questions day in Parliament. This is a sort of gladiatoral combat entertainment in which opposition MPs line up to try to make the Prime Minister look an idiot. These days it is more like feeding Christians to lions. Bozo is so good at making himself look an idiot that no one has to try very hard. Thankfully the opposition are at last competing among themselves to see who can cut him down in the most elegant and witty fashion.
None of this matters, because he has a massive majority. Sure, a few have got upset over CumGate, but not enough yet that he’s ever likely to lose a vote.
I was expecting to be giving you the final totals raised some time this week, but today I got email from One25 saying that they were keeping the fundraiser open for a few more days as some people are still getting pledges. Which is a bit embarassing because I’ve been stuck on 68% since the campaign ended.
Anyway, if you happen to fancy dropping a few quid on it, the donation page is still up here. And you can find all of the videos and photo sets I produced here. My explanation as to why I’m fundraising for One25 is here.
Today has been mostly day job again. Code has been written. It isn’t exciting.
Elsewhere the political storm that has become known as CumGate rumbles on. For the benefit of foreigners, the story so far is that our allegedly beloved PM, Bozo the Clown, has fallen under the influence of a charismatic guru called Grigori Rasputin. The people have decided that Mr Rasputin is a selfish and dishonest piece of excrement who is apparently only charismatic to people he is able to blackmail (meaning most of the Cabinet), and he has been caught doing all sorts of terrible things. Even the Daily Malice has had a go at him. But Bozo will not abandon his beloved teacher, and in any case Rasputin has more blackmail data on Bozo than on anyone and would happily leak it to the media if anyone crossed him. A number of junior Tory MPs, who are more afraid of pitchfork-wielding mobs of their local peasantry than of Rasputin, are believed to be plotting an assassination. Their heads are expected to appear on pikes on Westminster Bridge next week.
It is a big week for local history on Bristol. A new series of David Olusoga’s popular A House Through Time starts tonight, and this time he’s come home to look at a house built by a wealthy slave trader.
In addition to that the lovely people at the Bristol Radical History Group have published a new book. Mostly I wouldn’t bother telling you about such things, but this one should be of interest. Angela Carter’s ‘Provincial Bohemia’ is an examination of the radical counterculture communities that flourished in Bristol and Bath when Carter lived in the region between 1961 and 1976. Author Stephen E Hunt hopes that the book will shed light on Carter’s influences during these formative years. The book even has a rave recommendation from Eugene Byrne. You can buy it direct from the lovely people at Tangent Books.
I totally forgot to do a post yesterday, didn’t I? I’m sorry, I was having fun at Wiscon.
Today has been back to work for me, so there’s nothing much interesting to report here.
As to the wider world, the people of Britain are continuing to find out that their government simply does not care what they think of it, and there’s nothing that they can do about it. I suspect that the total refusal to admit any wrong-doing is the point. They want to rub people’s noses in the fact that they can do whatever they want. Once people realise that their anger is futile, it will morph into despair, and then resignation. And then further outrages become possible.
I’ve made a start on an academic paper for an online conference that’s happening in 3 weeks time.
I’ve participated on what WE believe is the UK’s first — possibly the world’s first — socially distanced protest march. Thanks to everyone who shared the #PayProtectProtest hashtag on social media.
I watched the Formula E from Virtual Berlin (while doing the ironing).
And I have spent much of the day at Wiscon, which continues to be interesting. Today we saw some of the ways in which online conventions don’t work quite as well as face-to-face ones; or at least we haven’t developed the right techniques yet. Overall, however, I’m still very happy. You can expect a more detailed report in the new Salon Futura (which will be out next week).
On social media the Great British Public has morphed into the Very Angry British Public. Not that it is likley to come to anything, because the government has a majority of 80 and utter contempt for the electorate, but it is good to see that there is something that will get people riled up, and that it is not owning a donkey farm.
Hmm, yes, I was going to write about stuff. But I got distracted by an online convention. Which I think is a good thing. I love how people are suddenly willing to try all sorts of solutions to not being able to meet in person.
My main news from today is that I have noticed that after 10 weeks in Lockdown I am starting to get distinctly larger. As I don’t want to have to buy a new wardrobe, I have decided that I ought to start taking my government-mandated daily exercise. Besides, tomorrow the Women’s Equality Party is staging a socially-distanced protest march in support of carers and care workers. I need to go out and walk for that, so I got some practice in today. Somewhat to my suprise, my legs remembered how to walk.
I think that’s enough excitement for one day without looking at the news.
Life is slowly returning to normal here. I did some day job work today. But a lot has fallen by the wayside this week. There was no radio show as I was busy all weekend. And I totally forgot to do a new Lockdown Reading book today. Next week.
The main order of business today was food shopping. While I was out I also picked up my prescription, so I am OK for hormones for another 3 months. This is a huge relief.
The weather here is gorgeous. People are going to want to get out and about, especially as we have a bank holiday weekend. I’m planning to stay at home. After all, I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in Virtual Wiscon, which will mess with my time schedule.
Oh, and OutStories Bristol launched a new project today. I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow.
OK, the #GiveItUp125 thing is now over. I’m sure a lot of you are relieved. The rest of you, I hope you enjoyed the show.
Tomorrow I get back to normal-ish life.
The news from the “real” world is that MPs have voted to stop meeting remotely and instead convene in person from the beginning of June. The word is that Bozo is failing badly at Prime Minister’s Question Time and he wants to have his baying mob of back-benchers there to support him from now on.
Oh well, at least they are getting very well paid to risk their lives, unlike most NHS staff and other “key” employees.
This is almost the last post I will do for this year’s fundraiser. There will be one more next week when the folks at One25 come through with the final total of how much we have raised.
The donation page will remain open for a few days. I suspect that I have generated so much content that most of you haven’t had time to watch/read all of it. You can find all of the posts on this blog here. And do check out the #GiveItUp125 hashtag on Twitter as well because I think the music threads are one of the best things I’ve done during this.
My personal total is currently at £513 which is about £100 less than I raised last year. That’s a little disappointing, but pretty good given the circumstances.
And if you have donated, signal-boosted, suggested content, or in some other way helped me get the message out, thank you so much on behalf of One25.
Here’s the final video in the travelogue series that Kevin and I have been doing for the One25 fundraiser. In this one Kevin climbs the Eiffel Tower. I miss meeting Diana Prince but do find that lesbian-owned bookstore. And I visit the Home of Comics.
Here we are folks, the final stage on my virtual world tour. France, of course, is famous for its food. In this video I have breakfast and lunch. The latter includes far more cheese than is entirely sane, and a plate of escargots. Enjoy!
In case you were wondering, I did eat all of the snails. So much garlicky goodness.
As always, if you have enjoyed these videos, please donate to help One25. Every little helps. I’m only on 68% and today is the final day of the challenge.
Important as all this fundraising is, I will be glad when this week is over. I might be mostly free of virus-like symptoms, but I’m not fit enough for long work days. Thursday and Friday won’t be quiet as I have to cram a week’s worth of day job into two days, but I don’t have a radio show next week so I won’t be working all weekend.
Today’s bit news from the real world is that Hungary has passed a law banning gender changes. There are going to be a lot of very frightened trans people in Hungary right now. It will be interesting to see how the EU reacts to asylum claims. They must know that the same sort of thing is likely to happen in the UK soon, so anything they do for Hungarians will set a precedent.
I don’t think the UK government will start repealing laws just yet, but what they are doing is issuing “guidance”. Well, the government isn’t doing it. Random politicians are doing it. But that’s just testing the water. What I expect to happen is a new “interpretation” of the Equality Act which defines trans rights as being discrimination on the grounds of sex so, even though trans people are theoretically protected, anyone who tries to give equal rights to trans people will open themselves up to being sued for discrimination under the Act.
Oh, and the government has also been boasting about taking away our freedom of movement. I note that I do not earn enough to be allowed to move to the UK as an immigrant, but I apparently also earn too much to be eligible for income support under the government’s scheme to help the self-employed during the pandemic.
My final post from Virtual Canada is a set of photos from inside the Royal British Colombia Museum. The light wasn’t great for my poor photography skills, but in one way it enhances the incredible art on display. As with the Inuit, I think that the native peoples of Vancouver Island speak for themselves through their art and craft.