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23 June

In the headlines

“Polio found in Britain for the first time in 40 years,” says the I newspaper, after the virus that causes the disease was discovered in a worrying number of sewage samples in London. There have been no reported cases, but health officials have still declared a “national incident” and urged those who haven’t been vaccinated to get the jab. Rupert Murdoch, 91, and Jerry Hall, 65, are getting divorced after six years together, says The Washington Post. The split, the cause of which isn’t clear, marks the end of the media tycoon’s “fourth, and shortest, marriage”. Lacy boxer shorts have become an unlikely menswear hit in Japan, says The Times. Underwear company Wacoal says its sold-out pants (below), which cost £24, are designed to “comfortably wrap around the male part and glamorise it”.



We should fear anarchy, not tyranny

Almost every fictional dystopia, from 1984 to The Handmaid’s Tale, involves a “vast and oppressive state”, says Janan Ganesh in the FT. Because 20th-century dictators like Hitler and Stalin “have such a hold on Western thought”, we expect the next big threat to take a similar shape. We shouldn’t. “The story of our species is mostly the story of disorder, not too much order; of anarchy rather than tyranny.” As long as Donald Trump remains on the scene, strongmen remain a danger, but the larger trend “is towards fragmentation and chaos”.


Johnsonism: it’s “always someone else’s fault”

Isn’t it funny, says Marina Hyde in The Guardian, how nothing is ever Boris Johnson’s fault? We learned this week, for example, that he tried to secure his then mistress, now wife, Carrie a plum job as his chief of staff when he was foreign secretary. For many people, this will confirm the suspicion that their “golden boy” has been “captured and turned bad by a woman” – that his many political problems stem from his bothersome wife. Well, sorry guys, but that’s total rubbish. The reason Johnson is an “immoral, grasping and chaotic dignity-vacuum” is because that’s what he’s always been. He is by miles the more powerful half of his marriage. So if he tried to get Carrie a job or got a Tory donor to cover their gold wallpaper bill, it’s on him. No one else. Just him.

Quirk of history

When Michael Eavis started Glastonbury in 1970, it was rather different to the 200,000-person mega-festival taking place this week, says Danny Wright in Vice. “For one thing, it was called the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival. For another, it was attended by only 1,500 hippies.” We arrived at the gates without a ticket, paid £1, and were given a free pint of milk, recalls original Glastonbury-goer Lynne Telfer. Hardly anyone bothered with tents, “you just got your sleeping bag on when it started getting cold and went to sleep”. The Kinks were supposed to headline but never turned up. So Marc Bolan performed instead – but only because Glastonbury was on the way to a gig he had at a nearby Butlin’s.


When he was a choir boy, broadcaster Gyles Brandreth sometimes sang at London’s Holy Trinity Brompton church. “I loved this job,” he tells The Daily Telegraph. He would get half a crown for weddings and five shillings for funerals, and therefore remembers “really wanting more funerals”. The choir boys would kneel down, survey the congregation and agree on who was the oldest-looking member. “And we would pray to God to kill them.” Sooner or later, their prayers would be answered. “I loved the fact that God was on the side of the entrepreneur.”


“You’ve heard of the LBD,” says Harriet Walker in The Times, but “here’s the SFD: the Short Flirty Dress”. It’s not especially short – it tends to “hit a relatively safe spot just above the knee” – and thankfully, these days we care little about the state of one’s knees. “If they bend without clicking, you’re doing well.” As for the flirty element, it means fun detailing or “a certain flippy-flounciness” – not a dress worn to solicit bad pick-up lines.

Gone viral

RMT boss Mick Lynch has received plaudits from some surprising quarters for his often-hilarious interviews defending rail workers on strike. Former Tory MP Rory Stewart praised his “uncanny knack of flustering his questioners”, while old Etonian actor Hugh Laurie says: “I don’t know enough about the rail dispute. I only observe that RMT’s Mick Lynch cleaned up every single media picador who tried their luck today.” Watch a compilation of his best zingers here.


Martin Sheen has said he regrets changing his name from Ramón Estévez in order to further his career. But he’s “far from alone”, says The Guardian. Other Hollywood stars who have adopted a stage name include Whoopi Goldberg (born Caryn Johnson), Jamie Foxx (Eric Bishop), Michael Caine (Maurice Micklewhite), Vin Diesel (Mark Sinclair) and Joaquin Phoenix (Joaquin Bottom).


Nearly 100 dirt bikes and quad bikes are being bulldozed in New York – the confiscated vehicles are illegal on the city’s streets. “Frankly,” says one Twitter user, “I’d be delighted if Sadiq Khan would order the same treatment for electric scooters.”


quoted 23.6

“Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places.”

American inventor E Joseph Cossman