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18-19 June 2022


Beyoncé is on the front cover of British Vogue this month, and has a glowing interview with the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Edward Enniful. But while the piece is almost 1,000 words long, it contains only two quotes from the singer, totalling a measly 17 words. One is describing her family and friends (“My earth, my heart, my soil and my sanity”), the other is a non-committal answer to Enniful’s request for another photoshoot (“I think we could do something for July”).

Global update

For decades, Canada and Denmark have been politely squabbling over Hans Island, an uninhabited, 0.5 sq mile outcrop in the Arctic that both countries claimed as their own. In 1984, Canadian troops quietly planted a Canadian flag on the island, alongside a bottle of Canadian whisky and a note reading “Welcome to Canada”. The Danish promptly responded in kind, swapping the whisky for some Danish schnapps, and over the years this civil back-and-forth was often repeated. But the so-called “Whisky War” was finally resolved this week, when the two countries agreed to divide the island in two. It was, as Canadian foreign minister Mélanie Joly puts it, “the friendliest of all wars”.


thackeray quoted 18.6.22

“I never knew whether to pity or congratulate a man on coming to his senses.”

William Thackeray


THE COUNTRY HOUSE Hill House is a handsome Grade II listed property nestled in the small Norfolk village of Dilham. It has seven bedrooms and retains many of its original Georgian features, including sash windows and exposed timber beams. The garden extends across two and a half acres, complete with a swimming pool and glasshouse. Norwich city centre is a half-hour drive away. £1.5m.

THE TOWNHOUSE This four-bedroom Victorian home is on a wide, tree-lined road in west London. The five light-filled storeys are decorated in chalky white and pale-grey colours. It has huge bay windows, pitch pine floorboards throughout, and a private, west-facing roof terrace perfect for watching sunsets. Notting Hill Gate station is a five-minute walk away. £2.9m.


How Catholicism became cool

American millennials and Gen Zs have a strange new obsession, says Rebecca Jennings in Vox: Catholicism. It’s not so much the religious stuff they’re interested in, but the aesthetic. TikTokers post videos lusting after glitzy, gilded Catholic churches; Instagram accounts dedicated to Catholic memes rack up tens of thousands of followers; and a buzzy, church-inspired fashion label called Praying has become a hit with young celebrities like Olivia Rodrigo. The brand’s signature item is a $100 dollar bikini, “with the words ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ on each of the boobs and ‘Holy Spirit’ on the bottom”.

Quirk of history

When Stalin stole Mao’s 💩

During Stalin’s reign, says Jeffrey Lewis in Foreign Policy, Soviet spooks made up for their lack of gadgets by “collecting and evaluating stool samples from world leaders”, including Chairman Mao. During a state visit by the Chinese leader, the KGB installed special loos that “directed Mao’s precious bodily fluids into secret boxes for analysis”. For 10 days he was plied with food and drink and his waste whisked off. After Mao’s stools had been scrutinised, wrote the BBC’s Steven Rosenberg, Stalin didn’t like what he saw and “poo poo-ed the idea of signing an agreement with him”.


Russia’s lies are worse than western hypocrisy

Vladimir Putin is obsessed with Western hypocrisy, says Gideon Rachman in the FT. And he’s got a point. We defend human rights while selling weapons to Saudi Arabia; stand up for state sovereignty then send in the troops to topple Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi; and claim to be against nuclear proliferation while making exceptions of Israel and India. Where Putin gets it wrong, though, is conflating hypocrisy with lies. He calls the West the “empire of lies”, when really it is Russia that “specialises” in outright fibbing: it claims it hasn’t invaded Ukraine, didn’t poison Alexei Navalny, had nothing to do with the shooting down of flight MH17. The “manacled corpses” on the streets of Bucha? Put there by the Ukrainians.


Marilyn Monroe is the subject of a new biopic, entitled Blonde – and she’s being played by famous brunette Ana de Armas. Watch the Bond girl’s transformation above.


Forget bourbon – this year Americans will for the first time spend more on mezcal and tequila than they do on US-made whisky, says Bloomberg. By 2023, the two agave-based tipples are expected to have supplanted vodka as the country’s most-purchased spirit by value. Mezcal, tequila’s “smokier-flavoured cousin”, is the faster-growing of the two: between 2020 and 2021 the mezcal market’s value rose a whopping 53%.

Gone viral

These runners on the Tambach track in Kenya have racked up over three million views on Twitter. Their shadows cast giant forms: an illusion only visible from above when the sun is low on the horizon at sunset or sunrise.


quote 18.6.22 Picasso

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Pablo Picasso