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12 October

In the headlines

The UK is “teetering on the edge of recession”, economist Yael Selfin tells the BBC, after the economy shrank by 0.3% in August. The pound fell sharply overnight against the dollar – dipping below $1.10 – after the Bank of England confirmed its emergency bond-buying intervention will end on Friday. King Charles III will be crowned on Saturday 6 May next year, Buckingham Palace has announced. Royal aides have been instructed to plan a “slimmed-down” ceremony to reflect the cost-of-living crisis, says Metro, with guest numbers slashed from an expected 8,000 to around 2,000 and the usual three-hour service trimmed to just an hour. Marmalade sales surged by 18% after the Queen’s death, says analytics firm Kantar. The tangy preserve became an unexpected symbol of remembrance after mourners were inspired by her marmalade sandwich Platinum Jubilee sketch with Paddington Bear.

International relations

Putin’s “hybrid warfare” on the West

Vladimir Putin is already waging war against the West, says Andreas Kluth in Bloomberg, just not the guns-and-bullets kind. At the same time as bombing Ukraine and loudly threatening nuclear escalation, the “KGB-trained warlord” is also ramping up the “hybrid warfare” he’s spent decades mastering. In recent weeks he has (probably) blown up gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea; caused rail services in the north of Germany to come “to a screeching halt for several hours” by cutting crucial radio cables; and launched cyberattacks on US airports. The clever thing about these attacks is that we can’t prove who did them. Those in the know tend to finger Putin as the prime suspect, while others “dredge up conspiracy theories from the nether regions of the Kremlin’s propaganda swamp” and deny Russian involvement.

US elections

Have the Republicans lost their marbles?

There’s only one response to the “hollowness and depravity and madness” of the modern Republican Party, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish: “Burn it down.” There’s no evil they will not excuse ­– “and no moron they won’t elect” – if it means gaining power. Look at Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for Senator in Georgia. After Trump’s gushing endorsement claiming “he is a GREAT person”, Walker smashed his nearest rival by 55 points in the primary election. “There are a few problems, however.” First off, he’s “very dumb”. Take his explanation of climate change: “Our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air, so when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move.”


“Flashing undergarments” is already standard practice on catwalks, says Vogue, but now the trend is spreading to the streets. After designers like Tom Ford and Victoria Beckham recently featured visible underwear in their shows, fashionistas started layering “naked dresses” – garments made from sheer fabric like tulle – on top of lacy lingerie. One advocate, Camille Charrière, wore two see-through dresses at her wedding, just so she could show off her fancy La Perla undies.

Inside politics

Tory MPs have apparently been sharing around a piece in The Economist which argues that however long Liz Truss remains in office, she’s already lost control of the political agenda – making her the PM with the shortest “grip on power” in British history. “Take away the 10 days of mourning after the death of the Queen,” says the magazine, “and she had seven days in control. That is the shelf life of a lettuce.”

Quirk of history

Despite all her “regal majesty”, says Tatler, Queen Victoria was known to engage in the 19th century’s answer to drunk texting. A cache of letters shows the monarch deploying abbreviations similar to texting acronyms today: a lower case “q” for “Queen”, and “wh” meaning “which”. In some letters written when Victoria was “a little drunk”, the handwriting was so unreadable that a professional graphologist had to be hired to decipher it. One note suggesting a “less than sober state of mind” simply reads: “The q. wishes ti know the height of the gypsies [?] male donkey”.

Eating in

Food blogging on Instagram used to consist of “crisp, pristinely lit plates” with sprigs of herbs tediously arranged using styling tweezers, says Eater. But now, it’s entering a “laissez-faire era”. Chefs are creating “weirder, messier, and more comfortable” meals, like slapdash bowls of pasta, layered jelly cakes and rustic-looking breads, which they say “convey a greater sense of authenticity”. According to one culinary influencer, followers want recipes that can be realistically cobbled together after a long day at work. “People still want vibes, but the vibes have relaxed.”

Tomorrow’s world

“The hottest place in our solar system is not the sun,” says National Geographic, but rather a spot in the Oxfordshire village of Culham. There, in a vast hangar, a cutting-edge experiment in nuclear fusion – which could one day provide limitless energy with no pollution or global warming – occasionally reaches 150 million degrees Celsius, roughly ten times hotter than the centre of the sun. Though obviously a thrilling prospect, the everyday use of fusion may be a little way off. The record so far, set in Culham last December, is 59 megajoules of energy – “enough to power three domestic tumble dryer cycles”.


It’s one of three newly discovered drawings by LS Lowry. The previously unknown sketches were produced by the artist in 1959 and 1961, and given to a friend who was a teacher at the Liverpool School of Art. A painting enthusiast acquired the teacher’s collection of loose work after her death 20 years ago, not knowing it contained the Lowrys. She only stumbled upon them when she went to reuse a frame from the collection – and found two of the drawings hidden inside. They’re up for auction for £20,000 each.


Quoted 12.10.22

“After you make a fool of yourself a few hundred times, you learn what works.”

Pop star Gwen Stefani