Monday 18 May 2020



The city lies sleeping;
The morn, to deplore it,
May dawn on it weeping:
Sullenly, slowly,
The black plague flew o'er it,—

Thousands lie lowly;
Tens of thousands shall perish—
The living shall fly from
The sick they should cherish:

But nothing can vanquish
The touch that they die from.
Sorrow and anguish,
And evil and dread,
Envelope a nation—
The blest are the dead,
Who see not the sight
Of their own desolation;
This work of a night—
This wreck of a realm—this deed of my doing—
For ages I've done, and shall still be renewing!

Lord Byron's Manfred, Act II, Scene III (First Destiny speaking) - acknowledgements
Laudator Temporis Acti

One of the few upsides to the lockdown has been the absence of televised, professional sport. At times when you would usually find televisions everywhere needlessly, endlessly on, screening hours of Wimbledon, tedious days of golf and constantly recurring, super-duper important football finals, there is nothing but blessed silence.

Juliet Samuel in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday


  1. It is an astounding feature of the contemporary international political scene that almost no coverage of American affairs, including in most of the President Donald Trump-hating American media, reports or comments in a way that is even slightly relevant to the unfolding facts in that country. Unlike all other important countries except Britain and Canada, the United Stares has had the same political institutions for over 150 years. For over a century it has operated on a scale that the world had never imagined to be possible. It is a fantastic success, but it is not at all the shining “city on a hill”...

    It is a democratic meritocracy, but a tough country of profound inequalities, great garishness, extensive corruption by British and Canadian standards, a dysfunctional and profoundly unjust justice system and an inordinate amount of it is slums, strip malls and potholed roads. Its strength and its weakness is that it is a jungle — this produces immense productivity, competitiveness, fermentation, ingenuity, creativity and high achievement in almost every field, but it also grinds millions of people to powder needlessly. It is in this context that the current American political drama must be seen. 
    Like all jungles, the U.S. is run by 30-foot constricting snakes and 700-pound cats, and one group of jungle beasts is being defeated and overthrown by another. It is great drama, for those who have the intelligence to perceive it, instead of clucking over lapses of etiquette in the White House.

    Conrad Black
    National Post

  2. The New York City Health Department for the first time released data on coronavirus deaths broken down by the city’s more than 60 ZIP codes.

    The highest death rate was documented in Canarsie-Flatlands in Brooklyn, an area with a subsidized housing development, where 612 in 100,000 people died from the virus. 

    In Far Rockaway in Queens, which has a 40 percent black and a 25 percent Latino population, there were 445 deaths per 100,000 people.

    The primarily white and wealthy neighborhood Gramercy Park in Manhattan 31 deaths per 100,000 people were recorded.