COVID Self-Isolation Diary: Day 5

A fine warm day. I started it with another batch of washing and drying. A woman's work... sorry, I've said that before. The job really never ends, but I think peak laundry is over for now.

Which we can't say about the coronavirus epidemic. I heard a WHO announcement this morning that the world total of cases is still going up. With the total of deaths following. Hell and damnation.

My father liked to quote the saying: "Anyone can govern in a state of siege". We are certainly in a state of siege. But can anyone govern? The pro-business parties that have mostly controlled the rich capitalist states in the last generation have deliberately dismantled the welfare state and economic planning. They have privatised public assets, deregulated business, defunded services, gutted redistribution (this was called "welfare reform") and urged us to believe in the almighty individual. The result has been rising inequality, rocketing insecurity, and collapsing capacities in the public sector. And then comes the coronavirus. When we need, above all, strong public institutions - public health, public education, income security - and a strong public ethos of mutual aid.

It should not surprise anyone that the clowns in power, the Trumps, Morrisons, Johnsons - inheritors of an exhausted ideology of greed - are making a hash of things.

Talking with my daughter on Skype this morning, we reflected on how clever the new coronavirus is. It has developed a way to go forth and multiply, using human society as its vessel. Many infected people have very slight symptoms, or none at all. Not realizing they are carriers, they move around as normal, starting new colonies of the virus by accident as they go. With our mass transport and long-distance airlines, we provide a lovely environment for this strategy.  Isn't evolution wonderful? (Or would you say this is Intelligent Design?)

Our strange weather in Sydney has one nice effect: my beautiful "Peace" rose bush, now 23 years old, is having an early-autumn burst of flowering. Here are two of the blooms, as they looked in the light of the setting sun yesterday. ("Peace" is a hybrid tea rose from France, released just at the end of WWII and named accordingly.)

I was saddened to hear recently of the death of Bondi boy Don Burrows, the clarinet, sax and flute player who was maybe Australia's greatest gift to jazz. I only heard him in live performance once, at the Town Hall. I was enchanted, and have often looked for his recordings - hard to find in CD, apparently there was some snarl about copyright. In the last couple of days there have been some great memorials on radio. I hear that Don cut his first track in 1945, so his career spanned the whole transition of jazz from the wildly popular dance music of the War years to the artistic subculture it is today. Though he experimented a lot, to my amateur ear his playing kept alive something from the swing era - melodiousness, dance rhythm, I can't tell exactly what. Catch it if you can!
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