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7 June

In the headlines

Boris Johnson survived yesterday’s no-confidence vote “by the skin of his teeth”, says The Sun, with only 211 of his MPs backing him. That meant 148 Conservatives (41% of the party) “stabbed him in the back” – a higher proportion than the 37% who voted to oust Theresa May in 2018. It was the “night of the blond knives”. A retired geologist from Bath has been sentenced to 15 years in an Iraqi prison for trying to smuggle 12 shards of 200-year-old pottery out of the country. Some of the pieces were no bigger than a fingernail. Jim Fitton, 66, said he didn’t know he was breaking the law. A granny from California found $36,000 stuffed down the side of a sofa that she got for free off the internet. Vicky Umodu immediately told the previous owners, who gave her $2,200 as a thank you. She’s using it to buy a new fridge.


UK politics

Boris limps on – for now

Boris Johnson is a “dead man walking”, says Matthew Parris in The Times. Of the Tories not on the government payroll, about three quarters are thought to have voted against the PM. And this bruising result is “all the more extraordinary” given the party has no obvious successor. “Anyone but Boris,” seemed to be the mood. The issue remains far from settled. Indeed, the Conservatives now face the “worst possible outcome”: a long, unedifying struggle to remove their leader.


The mesmerising misogyny of Love Island

Love Island, which returned for a new series last night, is “a moral vacuum”, says Kara Kennedy in The Spectator. But that’s exactly why we love it. For about eight weeks, we cast off moralising and indulge in “infidelity, nastiness and misogyny”. Bikini-clad women in high heels line up “like Barbies on a Toys ‘R’ Us shelf”, stepping forward for the men’s choosing. Before entering, most undergo “non-surgical ‘tweakments’” to get the Love Island look: one former contestant, AJ Bunker, admitted she spent £1,000 on fillers the month before jetting off. A waste by all accounts – at “the ripe old age of 28”, she was dismissed by viewers as a granny and swiftly booted off. Even ardent feminists get drawn into whisperings about unflattering bikinis and who “could have done with a crash diet”.

Gone viral

This video of an aluminium plant in Seville exploding into flames has racked up more than a million views on Twitter. Oil spurted out of a broken machine, sparking a fiery explosion that tore apart the factory’s ceiling. No one was injured, says engineer JD Christopher on Twitter, but the explosion did appear to open up “a portal to a demon dimension”.

Inside politics

When Jill and Joe Biden argue, the couple rant at one another over text, rather than out loud. They established the system – which they call “fexting” – when Joe was vice president, to avoid bickering in front of Secret Service agents. Fascinating, says Mia Mercado in The Cut. I wonder if the Bidens, like “everyone above a certain age”, capitalise RANDOM PHRASES and sign each message with their name. Do they use text abbreviations like “U R making me mad 2day, joseph”? And surely – surely – they are “the kind of people who think LOL means lots of love”.

On the way back

Here’s the latest sign of vinyl’s revival, says The New York Times: Harry Styles’s new album, Harry’s House, sold 182,000 LPs in its first week – more than any other album in a single week since 1991. Those sales alone were enough to propel it to number one in the charts.

Eating in

A TikToking chef has racked up hundreds of millions of views by baking his way through Depression-era cookbooks, says Eater. B Dylan Hollis, who has more than eight million followers, has dished up everything from potato doughnuts to tuna salad jelly. A musician by trade, he found his new calling after unearthing an old recipe book in 2020 and reproducing the wackiest one he could find. It was a pork cake, a curious combination of meat, dates and molasses. “It tastes like a question mark,” Hollis concluded. “A good question mark!”

Quirk of history

Back in the 1950s, the CIA developed a hair-raising technique to extract stricken agents from combat zones. A recovery plane would drop a package containing a harness, a pair of poles and a length of line. The agent would set up the poles, string the line between them and attach the harness. The plane would then swoop in, trailing a grappling hook – which would snag the line and lift the operative into the air so that he or she could be winched on board. The so-called “All American Pick Up” sounds like something out of a James Bond film – and indeed a version of it, using a balloon in place of the poles and line, featured in Thunderball (above).


quoted 7.6

“I am convinced that about half the money I spend for advertising is wasted. But I have never been able to decide which half.”

US businessman John Wanamaker