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w/e 2020-05-10

Hello. Today I’m a bit bored of regular headaches. Ah well, there are worse things.

Photo of me wearing a cloth face mask with a wave pattern in dark blue on beige

§   This week I bought some very nice cotton face masks made by Studio Masachuka, a small Japanese clothing manufacturing studio in Stratford, a sentence which I award 6 Mongolian yak blankets on the Monocle scale.

This is me planning ahead for a time when I might once again go somewhere and be near people. Lately, the only people I’ve seen have been while walking country lanes, or when we walked to the shop in the next village – I’ve yet to see anyone wearing a mask, because why would you?

Anyway, I have planned ahead, and the masks are lovely things, reasonably priced, buy here.

§   I’m very wary of private companies that provide services anywhere close to the NHS because I assume they’re doing Bad Things, at best dealing only with the most wealthy and healthy people to make a profit.

But I had a repeat prescription due and a friend recommended the “digital pharmacy” Phlo. I wouldn’t have used them when we were within walking distance of several chemists but now we’re a half-hour drive from the chemist and we’re trying not to go anywhere…

It was really good. I signed up, nominated them as my chosen pharmacy, and ordered my repeat prescription at the doctor’s the usual way. A couple of days later Phlo emailed to say I could set up delivery, so I entered the delivery address, paid the standard £9.15 prescription charge, and a couple of days later the medication arrived with our standard Royal Mail post.

I’m not often pleased with new services like this, and throughout I was expecting things to go wrong, or to surprise in unpleasant ways. But they didn’t and it was good.

§   We watched the final ever episode of Homeland this week. We stuck with the show even when it seemed to be losing its way, which was probably inevitable after the high-profile and self-contained first season and, at some point, it must have picked up again because I was no longer watching it a little grudgingly. It probably helped that I had got used to suspending my disbelief entirely.

Surprisingly, after eight seasons, they managed to pull off that most elusive thing, a satisfying ending to an open-ended, long-running show. Good work. All in, and allowing for that disbelief suspension, it was a good last season, tense with good cliff-hangers.

I have my own theory about Carrie though. While she’s ostensibly a brilliant but psychologically troubled agent, I suspect she’s actually very bad at her job (and still psychologically troubled). I haven’t conducted an exhaustive review but I’m pretty sure everything she’s involved in goes disastrously wrong and, if it eventually achieves some success, this is only via an overly-roundabout route on which many, many people die unnecessarily. I assume Saul has run out of other agents in the field which is why he, at the end of his career, has to keep turning to her. “Fuck it,” he thinks, “this is all fucked. Might as well send Carrie. It can’t get any worse.” He never learns.

§   Important telly news in our household: this week we signed up to Now TV, the first time we’ve paid directly for telly other than the licence fee. Having found iPlayer and All 4 to be gradually thinner pickings it seemed time. Given Now TV is owned by Sky I’d have previously felt, at best, awkward about giving Rupert Murdoch any money, but now Sky is owned by Comcast, so it’s all fine!

(I often wonder whether having a human public face at the top of a company is, overall, a good or bad thing. Elon Tesla, Jeff Amazon, Richard Branston… apparently some people like them, but they all put me off their companies more than if they were run by more publicity-shy bosses. I assume Comcast is as terrible as Murdoch’s Sky was but, because I don’t know, it’s apparently OK.)

So now we are spoilt for choice when it comes to televisual feasts. We’ve started with season one of Westworld which we enjoyed a lot. It is very in love with its own pompous twistiness, but it is good fun. Although the behind-the-scenes company politics were a bit tiresome and feel rather stilted compared to the in-park adventures.

My main takeaway is that it’s a terrible company to work for, even worse than the one in DEVS. Employees are rude to each other, departments fight against each other, the boss does whatever he likes, the board loves money and hates art and wants the boss gone, you don’t get fired for being an arsehole and drunk and pissing over co-workers…

§   This week I read the short novel literally show me a healthy person by Darcie Wilder, another one I noted from this Guardian article, and which I enjoyed. It’s a stream of sentences and paragraphs, free of much punctuation and capitalisation, that makes up a very vague narrative. Here’s an excerpt. In a way it reminded me a little of David Markson’s books like Wittgenstein’s Mistress in that it’s “a series of statements made in the first person”, as Wikipedia puts it. Anyway, interesting, and builds to more than the sum of its parts. Which I guess is true of every novel ever written but still.

§   That’s all. Chin up, soldier on, let it go.

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