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18 August

In the headlines

“Generation Covid” received their A-level results today, with a sharp drop in top grades meaning thousands could be rejected from their first-choice university, says The Times. The first pupils to sit traditional exams since the pandemic have been awarded about 60,000 fewer A and A* grades than last year’s cohort, who were assessed by their teachers. British passengers face four days of travel misery as thousands of transport workers strike over pay. Only a fifth of National Rail services are running today, with London’s Tube and bus services out of action tomorrow. Two men filmed illegally zipping down Venice’s Grand Canal on electric surfboards have each been slapped with a €1,500 fine. Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro posted a video describing the pair as “arrogant imbeciles” and offering dinner to whoever identified them. They were caught soon after.


Gen Z men’s new favourite aesthetic is the 1970s “himbo”, says Mary Knapp in Vice. It essentially involves dressing like a cult leader, complete with tinted sunglasses, flared corduroy trousers, and gold chains that “sparkle between the curls of your super-low-V-neck-framed chest hair”. Other essentials are a loud button-down shirt (any retro print will do) and a “pair of lacquered Saturday Night Fever elevator shoes”. The finishing touch: a heavy 70s moustache à la Burt Reynolds.

Inside politics

Gladstone started with breakfast for eight people, Churchill would have a “daily whisky mouthwash” and Tony Blair would eat cereal with his children. Boris Johnson’s morning routine is rather different, says Jack Blackburn in The Times: according to his sister Rachel, the Prime Minister’s day begins with a run, and a recitation of the first 100 lines of Virgil’s Aeneid. The classical text “is about a figure on the international stage who loves and leaves women, before the story ends abruptly with no real conclusion. Who knows why Boris Johnson finds this to be so resonant?”

Gone viral

This video of a rare white moose taking a dip in a Swedish lake has racked up more than 13 million views on Twitter. “When the world was young and lit only by sunlight and fire,” says one user, “this is how legend and mythology were born.” Watch the full video here.


Brooklyn Beckham is getting “absolutely fried”, says Page Six, for claiming his career as a “chef” paid for his top-end sports car. Viral TikToker Daniel Mac, who films himself asking drivers of pricey motors how they paid for them, grilled Brooklyn after bumping into the football and fashion heir driving his $1.2m McLaren P1 around Beverly Hills. A truer answer might have been: “My parents are rich so I just kinda vibe,” one person commented. Or simply, wrote another, “I was born.”

On the way out

Carbon dating – the technique for judging the age of fossils by measuring their levels of radioactive carbon-14 – “revolutionised archaeology” when it was invented in 1946, says The Economist. But its time is nearly up. The epic scale of atomic bomb testing during the Cold War have radically altered the levels of carbon-14 in the atmosphere, and rampant fossil fuel emissions are only exacerbating the effect. The result is that carbon dating can no longer tell the difference between a modern object and one from 100 years ago, making it harder to date “anything from human remains to aged whiskies”. Bone boffins say by 2050 the phenomenon will be so pronounced that there will be no way to differentiate between a contemporary item and one from the Middle Ages.


It’s how Gap is selling the clothes from its collaboration with Kanye West, following strict instructions from the rapper-turned-fashionista himself. According to one Twitter user, West “got mad” when he saw garments on hangers and insisted on them being heaped in huge rubbish bags. According to some reports, shop staff won’t even help you find the right size, you have to “just dig through everything”.


quoted 18.8.22

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book.”

Cicero, circa 43BC