Monday, 21 May: Weather glorious. Left home at 8 am with Cynthia for Google’s Zeitgeist conference at the Grove Hotel in Herefordshire (about an hour outside London) – due to talk in the early afternoon. We went early to get an idea of what the conference was about. The audience was mainly Google advertisers and employees – people with a lot of money and influence.
The first panel discussion on the current political situation – Greece and the Euro – bludgeoned me into incredulity. Worthless discussion about upturns, downturns, cycles and growth and not including the factor of climate change: like preparing the Sunday roast and not turning on the heat because the house is burning down. Why am I here? I can read this stuff in the papers.
We first met our friend, Marc Koska, at a previous conference. These things are networking opportunities to raise support for our causes. And Marc has a wonderful cause: he invented a disposable syringe – only one time use is possible – that has saved millions of lives. Massive spread of disease in poor countries is due to using the same syringe and needle on a string of patients. After 20 years of finding ways to combat the practice of drug companies, his safe syringe will become the only model used, supported by the World Health Organization. Great news!
Lily Cole and Jimmy Wales (the founder of Wikipedia) were interviewed By CNN anchor, Becky Anderson. Jimmy is endorsing Lily and her project, giving her the technical help she needs to inaugurate her ‘gifting’ website, “ImPossible”.
Now I was to be interviewed by Becky Anderson. Nobody had yet mentioned climate change and I was bored by the audience and didn’t care what I would say. But I was angry and it all came out anyway – my mantra: climate change is caused by the bad financial system; human values instead of abstract sums about money. When Becky tried to ask me questions I told her, “You’re trying to interrupt me” and carried on in full spate until I was finished.
Then! The members of the audience were delighted and clapped and hooted. I was surprised and of course really pleased.
Then! The lightning struck! Annie Lennox and a presentation on HIV/AIDS and its impact on women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Did you know?” she asked us. “One in three women and children die from AIDS in Africa.” I did not put my hand up; one or two did. She told us that there is treatment to prevent transmission from mother to child at birth.
I have never heard anything like this speech. The power of this woman is a phenomenon! Passion and oratory on a grand scale. I told her later and she rang with laughter, “Nobody would have listened to Hitler if you’d been around.”
Cynthia and I had decided to leave that evening. We could have stayed another day to network. Lily stayed; I’ll ask her how it went.
Tuesday, 22 May: Yoga class. Shopping (food) and letters. 4.00 at work. Met ????, photographer, and Joanna who took an impression of my finger to cast for a charity exhibition of lots of fingers and her work. I came also to collect Andreas. He wanted to come with me and we set off on our bikes to a Conde Nast Traveller event where I accepted an award for sustainability on behalf of Cool Earth. Then, as we were in the West End, we made it an evening and met my son, Joe, for dinner. We have lots to talk about but I won’t tell because Joe is not really part of this diary but he does “stuff”. He has a human rights charity called “Humanade” (www.humanade.org.uk) . He supports Leonard Peltier and also the “Inga Foundation” which is an agricultural project which replaces the slash and burn agriculture of the rainforest. On the way home, I looked in at the windows in Selfridges promoting the “World’s End” shop and showing my graphics, e.g. The Family Tree, which has drawn a lot of attention.
I loved being out with Andreas. We are so lucky in life and, who knows, this might be the last age of great material wealth. Before I went up to bed I stayed in the kitchen adoring the flowers in the middle of the table. Andreas had bought them. It’s always lovely to choose the flowers yourself rather than letting the florist do it. These are still in their glory but tomorrow it will be over. Thank you, flowers.
Wednesday, 23 May: This evening the Royal Academy hosted a Jubilee party for the arts. The Queen will give the awards.
I usually borrow something but almost all the Summer Collection was in Hong Kong. I spent all day messing about at home but I couldn’t find the right thing in my own wardrobe. I had been asked to go with my muse and that was Lily Cole who I was supposed to meet at work. These things can take ages (one reason for wearing the same things over and again. Chanel had all her clothes organized as outfits with numbers for each.) If it weren’t for Lily, I think I might have just not gone – there were at least 1,000 people there and I wouldn’t have been missed. When I got to work, Andreas had also spent the whole day and he had managed to collect a rail of outfits for me and for Lily to choose. So it was all sorted. Andreas did it.
We arrived – I thought early (it was still only 6.00) – but in fact we were late. The organizer kept saying, “Please come, I have to get you in.” But I, true to my own bossy character, delayed in order to talk to the BBC live because I’m a great fan of the Queen. The result was I missed being in the group picture of British dames but never mind.
I was able to talk to Lily. She said that the next day at the Zeitgeist conference, President Clinton gave a good speech and that he did mention climate change. She also told me about a group called “World Land Trust” (www.worldlandtrust.org), who sound like people we should be working with about climate change.
I did some networking – Annie (again), Bono and Paul Smith. I hope to involve them in our big event in July – celebrities to lead the way – saving the planet from Climate Change.
It must have been about 8.30 when I left. Piccadilly was thronging plus total traffic bock. I headed for Green Park tube and headed home. I quite enjoyed being so dressed-up on the tube even though the trains were packed.
Thursday, 24 May: Dentist. Worked on “World’s End”. Cynthia went to the pre-BAFTA premier of the documentary, “Shadows of Liberty”. Cynthia says: This film by a young Canadian, Jean-Philippe Tremblay, presents the story of the global control of politics and media by vested economics interests. Big business in partnership with governments decides what the media tells us – we only know what they want us to know. The powerful and dismaying stories presented by journalists including Amy Goodman (Democracy Now), Dan Rather (former CBS News anchor) and Julian Assange (Wikileaks) happened in the US – but the same forces are at work internationally. Julian also took part in an audience discussion afterwards(wearing a Guy Faulkes mask!) further examining the media crisis and looking at the future of the internet.
Evening: Andreas and I went to ”The Prince’s Drawing School” for a private view of “The Prince’s Drawing Club’s” annual exhibition. For my speech I had planned to talk of the imagination – insight and the fact that we are cross-wired refer to Manifesto pgs 14 & 15; that the appreciation of art is direct knowledge and that the foundation of visual art is skill in drawing; the importance of art in creating true culture. The place was packed, half of them young children. I hadn’t expected this so I had to adapt my speech and I really enjoyed the task of explaining these intellectual ideas so that young people could understand something of it. Prince Charles has identified a well-felt need in establishing this school and its regional drawing clubs. Our stale academies of visual art (e.g. Goldsmith’s) tech only dogma, not skill.
Andreas and I were blown away! This school is so great. The facilities are a dream. Kids attend from age 10; with parents’ consent they can do nude life drawing from age 12 (they are taught by artists); students can take an MA arts degree here. There is also a department of Islamic crafts with an incredibly high standard resulting in beautiful objects.
The listed building is an old fur warehouse; the interior is beyond well done. Just believe me – it’s great. The teachers are so lucky to teach here; they have such support from everything – the structures and the whole programme – being so conducive to creative output. The atmosphere vibrates with potential. Andreas and I were really inspired. He can’t wait to receive a drawing of a horse and rider he was allowed to choose.
Friday, 25 May: Thank God for “Greenpeace”. They’re the ones who got us the Antarctic. It’s international. No one can disturb it. Now they must do this for the Arctic. We must put an end to the obscene quarrels for ownership between the US, Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark or agree to our own suicide. Greenpeace will do it. The plan is simple genius. More of this another time. Why did they want to come and talk to me? – John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK, and his colleague Sophie came to see me at work – I guess when you plan such a smooth operation as is required you need all the help and support you can get and talking adds to and fixes the idea. Andreas listened, too. He is so visual and auditory (I am more literary). He was so taken by John, by his presence, tranquillity and grace, clarity and determination (these are my words). Small things, bits and pieces for the rest of the day.
Saturday, 26 May: Yoga. Despite the glorious weather – the same, reading – but sat in the garden a bit. Andreas went out to a party and club. (There was also the problem of Sudoku – it can end up taking too much time.)
Sunday, 27 May: One day I must tell you about the book I am still reading (because I need to read other things between), “The Story of the Stone” – the greatest reading experience I have ever had