- I think it was Phil who shared this LRB article about the Aids crisis. I might just think that because I know Phil reads LRB. Anyway - this article is very comprehensive and beautifully written. It is also absolutely devastating. I was born towards the end of the crisis so although I knew about it growing up I have slightly weird memories of it. There were some things I didn’t know and had never thought about, like the fact that to begin with nobody knew what it was, and there was no test for it. That at the beginning in the UK everyone thought it was “a US thing”. That there were special AIDS wards full of men just wasting away from the illness. That in 1987 only one funeral home would take Aids deaths. This bit:
[June 1983, after the publishing a book called “How To Have Sex In An Epidemic”] Gonorrhoea diagnoses dropped by 73 per cent in San Francisco and more than halved in New York. It is likely that thousands of HIV infections were averted. But for more than half of all the gay men in both cities it was already too late.
- I also learnt the origins of the phrase “patient zero”. It’s from a diagram mapping out HIV cases at the time thought to originate from a single air steward, Gaëtan Dugas. This was possible because Dugas kept names and addresses of the men if different cities that he had slept with. On the diagram he is marked with a letter “o” standing for “out of town”. Although people initially thought Dugas had spread HIV though being extremely promiscuous, it later emerged that the incubation period for HIV was much longer than people thought, meaning the men Dugas had slept with were likely already infected before they met Dugas.
- I just watched the AOC documentary on Netflix. I cried several times during it. Can’t really explain why, it was just really moving.
- I’ve settled in to the new office. There are a number of things that I find entertaining about the build out - things that just haven’t been done quite right that I enjoy noticing but that don’t bother me. For example, the toilet locks are all at one of two orientations. For some, unlocked points down and locked points at 9pm, and for others, unlocked is at 9pm, and locked is up. I can see how this happens, there were lots of locks to fit and different people did them.
- The other enjoyable foible of the new building is that the handles are fitted on the wrong side of the revolving doors. The doors revolve in both directions but the way everyone wants to go is anti-clockwise. This would be fine but the handles are fitted for the clockwise direction. Remarkably, they have now put stickers on the doors to encourage people to push the doors anti-clockwise (IN CONTRADICTION TO THE HANDLES!). Sorry. Not interesting but it is true.
- It is national stationery week! We went on a little lunchtime trip to Present and Correct, which was very good.