Wasting time

When living through events, it is almost impossible to distinguish the momentous from the trivial.    In the aftermath of the ridiculous EU referendum I found myself hooked, obsessively following the news hour by hour.  The government resigned and was swiftly replaced.  At that moment of vulnerability, the Labour opposition collapsed and its dazed MPs went on strike against their constituency members.  I scoured the media for who would be the charismatic thoughtful emerging leader to challenge the hapless Corbyn.  After various false starts, a public relations manager from the pharmaceutical industry emerged as the people’s champion.  The two descended into an insane virtual bidding war, each making more fantastical promises.  It seems obvious that wild policy proposals  are trivial when future events are unpredictable.  I want to hear how they would make government resilient in the face of new unexpected challenges, holding to principles and not taking the well-worn easy path of offering divisive iniquitous answers to difficult questions.  I have tried to tell them this, on Facebook, in the Guardian comments section, even shouting at the radio, but they don’t seem to be listening.

2016-07-18 18.54.15

National events, work and family (perhaps in that order) pushed aside sketching and posting on this blog.  I am catching up.   Above is a small drawing done at Kenilworth Castle in mid June.  I was waiting for my wife to cross the finishing line for the Two Castles 10km run – originally I left a space for her in the sketch but she arrived obscured behind two large men so the drawing was completed without her.  The back of my nephew’s head can just be seen front right.

2016-08-05 13.41.17-1

Here, more recently, the children are playing on a tyre in the park.

2016-08-05 Anne Hathaway's cottage

This one was from half term in May.  I had taken the children to Anne Hathaway’s cottage, fitting in with the school’s focus on Shakespeare.  In the foreground is a large round sculpture woven from coppiced twigs, in which the children were sitting.

Below is a small drawing on rough paper from last Thursday, done when walking on the north Cornwall coastal cliff tops.  My daughter is beneath me, crouching in a rocky hollow, investigating shale stones made brittle in someone’s campfire.

2016-08-25 Moomin's Hollow

I am partway through reading Robert Harris’s trilogy set at the time of the  collapse of the constitution of the Roman Republic and the centralisation of power in the hands of the emperor.  Republican politician Cicero can hold back the storm for a few years but history rolls on.  Much that must have seemed so important at the time has blown away like dust.



21 responses to “Wasting time

  1. We live in turbulent times. I found it hard to draw after the Referendum. Had to do it through gritted teeth. Settling down now and trying to ignore the Labour Party shenanigans. Drawing the ancient stones has been strangely comforting. Your sketches are fab, I especially like the one of your daughter in amongst the rocks.

  2. I agree with you about the referendum but can I ask why you see Corbyn as hapless? Many people see him as the only leader with coherent and inspiring ideas

      • Hi Jo
        Hapless was how I felt he seemed that terrible weekend after the referendum. A greater leader would have brought his doubters on board. But since then hapless would be a generous description of the PLP’s coup d’etat. I will be voting for Jeremy as leader.

    • Hi
      Thanks for commenting and leading me to your entertaining blog. I enjoyed the Beowulf dedication in Anglo Saxon post.
      As for Corbyn, that weekend as the shadow cabinet resigned and then the vote of no confidence was passed, he seemed hapless. This is a failure of leadership, but perhaps what I expected of him is impossible. Knowing he was supported by a minority, he could have honoured the real achievements of recent Labour governments, gone out of his way to make his shadow ministers feel loved and learned faster how to perform at the front bench to set their pulses racing. However, I have to admire his resilience. If I am unconvinced by his leadership skills, he remains a valuable thorn in the side of the PLP. Something has to overcome their complacency and overturn their belief that they can win an election and be a worthwhile government simply as credible middle managers for corporate interests and the press. I plan to vote for Jeremy in the leadership contest but I hope he can up his game.

  3. I’ve had a different reaction. Have left tv and internet news behind and done more sketching than i ever have. On results day escaped to the seaside ignoring the ‘independence day’ signs by the roadside (inset days are useful). It was a good to arrive and find things carrying on as usual despite my feeling of slight panic. I’ve just finished Thoreau’s Walden and am sorely tempted to make for the woods. Now reading a Will Self which I always enjoy. Great pictures. I too love the cornwall one. I’m very impressed with the conte effect you are developing. Would like to see this in person. I’ve just been reminded of that Mary Poppins (?) Song – Favourite things is it? I’ve sub consciously added eu referendum, tory govt, labour collapse to “when the dog bites, when the bee stings” and have been counting off my blessings and favourite things.

    • Hi OA
      I’m glad the collapse of civilisation as we know it has some positive benefits 🙂
      Your most recent drawings have been inspired.
      Having lost the relevant sketchbook, I’m pleased to say the pub where I left it is posting it to me.

      • It has made me look inward if only to check if I have gone mad along with everyone else! I know of families no longer on speaking terms and criticisms of democracy from some surprising quarters. I did keep thinking that this will make an excellent subject for future history students. There will be a module on it with some provocative title – ‘When Britain …..’

      • Both were recommended by my personal bookseller – (insert any charity shop). Try – book of dave by self – my favourite so far. Will consult with bookdealer re harris.

    • Thank you. It was a very small sketch in a moleskine watercolour book. I have left the book in the pub in Cornwall, but they’ve found it and are posting it back to me.

  4. We’re in the same boat here in the US…I just can’t listen to any election rhetoric anymore. There is no sanity left in the world’s leadership, courtesy of the voters (that’s us). Making art is the only solution!
    And I like your drawings. (K)

    • Hi Kerfe
      Thanks for the comment. It gave me a thought. I wondered whether we might suggest round our various friends that we each make a piece of art / cartoon / visual comment on political events. Except that we have to do this on our perceptions of each other’s countries. I think we might have several countries between us, so instead of my expressing my ideas on the obvious Trumpery, perhaps I’d have to research a bit about Australian politics for example. I have the impression you do quite a bit of virtual group art, so I’d value your thoughts on this before suggesting it more widely.

      • It’s an interesting thought…but politics is so fraught, I’m not sure. I’m having trouble speaking to some of my friends now about the election. And I’m not sure I would feel competent to comment on another country. I was uncomfortable when a Russian blog I follow posted favorably about Trump…

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