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19-20 November


The World Cup’s violent beginnings

Brazil may be the country “most associated with the World Cup”, say Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook on The Rest Is History podcast, but it was the British who pioneered the sport in South America. In the 1890s, Charles Miller, the son of a Scottish-born businessman living in Brazil, returned home from studying at an English boarding school, proudly clutching a document. His father presumed it was his diploma – it was actually a list of the rules of football. Most Brazilians’ first reaction to watching football was one of “incredulity and horror”. “A group of Englishmen – a bunch of maniacs as they all are – get together to kick something that looks like a bull’s bladder,” read a report in a Rio newspaper. “It gives them great satisfaction or fills them with sorrow when it passes through a rectangle formed of wooden posts.”


quoted da Vinci 19.11.22

“Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom.”

Leonardo da Vinci


Quoted Greer 19.11

“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

Germaine Greer

On the way out

An increasing number of bands are ditching the encore as a pointless waste of time. Many musicians now see it as a “charade”, says The Washington Post, in which they walk off stage knowing full well they’ll come back on again. Some now make it clear that won’t be the case: “We just f***ing play ‘til the show is over,” Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl often announces to the crowd.

Gone viral

The Economist’s Bagehot columnist left no stone unturned for his latest piece, entitled “Who speaks for the Great British Lad?” “Bagehot woke up fully-clothed, face-down in a Novotel in Leicester on Saturday morning,” it begins. “The curtains were open and the lights were on. An evening in search of the Great British Lad had ended abruptly when two Peronis, four pints of Madri (a trendy lager aimed at middle-class football fans), a daiquiri, a woo-woo, a vodka Red Bull, two vodka lemonades and two rounds of tequila left your correspondent without time to put on his pyjamas.”

Inside politics

Once Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman has been sworn into office in January, says Morning Brew, exactly 10% of the US Senate will have the first name of Jon or John.

The great escape

Chalet Edelweiss in Courchevel is where “billionaires go to see and be seen”, says The Daily Telegraph. Despite costing £620,000 for a two-week stay, the house, nestled in a prime position on the side of Bellecôte piste, is often booked up years in advance. The lavish 34,400 sq ft interior includes a cinema, a private car wash and a nightclub that holds up to 100 guests. Chalet attendants warm boots and polish goggles for skiers every morning, while a team of chefs prepare swanky seven-course tasting menus and platters of sushi. During a recent birthday celebration, staff closed off an entire piste so that guests could enjoy a private cocktail party and fireworks display undisturbed, before escorting attendees home on toboggans.

Tomorrow’s world

You can now generate fake selfies for your Tinder or LinkedIn profile using artificial intelligence, says Vice. For $19, PhotoAI will take 12 to 20 of your “mediocre” pics and, 12 hours later, return a batch of fake photos specially tailored to the style or platform of your choosing: the LinkedIn package generates images of you sporting a smart suit or business attire; the Tinder option promises to make you “the best you’ve ever looked”.

Gone viral

The American satirical website McSweeney’s recently ran a feature entitled, “Are you a parent of a toddler or an assistant to a male CEO of a tech startup?” The telltale signs included: “he routinely overestimates his abilities”; “he never pays taxes”; “he won’t stop talking about how he’s going to build a rocket ship and blast off into outer space”; and “when he says something that doesn’t make sense, you smile, nod, and tell him he’s a genius”. See the full list here.


The villa

This nine-bedroom palazzo is near the medieval village of Castelmuzio in Tuscany. Set over four floors, it has a grand dining area, multiple reception rooms, two kitchens, and 3,230 sq ft of original cellars for olive oil production, wine and grain. The first floor also features a terrace with panoramic views across the Tuscan countryside. Castelmuzio is a 10-minute drive, and Siena is 40 minutes away. £650,000.

The cottage

This 17th-century, Grade II listed thatched cottage lies in the small village of Long Marston in Warwickshire. Its 1,350 sq ft interior includes three bedrooms, an airy conservatory and a generous living room with a wealth of period features, including exposed wooden beams and a handsome fireplace. The home has both front and rear gardens, as well as a paved terrace and two gazebos for al fresco dining. Honeybourne station is a 10-minute drive away, with trains to London Paddington taking just under two hours. £500,000.