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30-31 July

Long reads shortened

The floating mansions of the super-rich

The market for superyachts is booming, says Evan Osnos in The New Yorker. Last year a record 887 were sold, nearly twice the previous year’s total. With more than 1,000 on order, ultra-rich clients “unaccustomed to being told no” have been shunted to waiting lists. One buyer in Florida was willing to pay an extra $15m just to skip a three-year queue. There are now around 5,400 superyachts – classed as anything longer than 98ft – and 100 or so 295ft-plus “gigayachts”. The latter can cost more than $250m apiece.


The joys of an unreliable memory

The latest Gen Z trend, says Sam Leith in The Spectator, is posting “throwback videos” on TikTok. Having reached the “ripe old age of, say, 11”, these kids are digging through old posts to unearth and critique that embarrassing haircut they sported in the “distant past” of 18 months ago, or reminisce with friends about “Snapchat filters we all used to use”. It’s silly, but it’s also “a little sad”. A whole generation of digital natives is going to enter adulthood in a world where nothing is forgotten. You won’t be able to romanticise or reinvent your own history. It will all be there, “ineradicably chronicled somewhere in the cloud”.


The natty highwayman

In July 1875, the Wild West’s “weirdest outlaw” began his eight-year spate of stagecoach robberies, says The Retrospectors podcast. Black Bart was an unlikely bandit: outside his criminal activities, he was a “nattily dressed, quietly spoken” former teacher from Norfolk known as Charles E Boles. Those people “privileged enough” to be held up by Bart commented on his impeccable manners. The Englishman exclusively robbed Wells Fargo coaches – 28 in total – as the bank had wronged him years before. If fearful customers flung their personal belongings out of carriages, Bart would gallantly return them. During one hold-up, he even bought a traveller’s gun off him rather than steal it.

Desert Island Discs

From teenage supermodel to obsessive gardener

Kate Moss was “quite lonely” as a child, the supermodel tells Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs. She would dress her younger brother up as a girl just to have someone like her to play with. Her parents splitting up when she was 13 left her “heartbroken”: Moss started smoking spliffs, hanging out with older boys, and taking the train from her home in Croydon into central London, where she would drink in Soho bars, ordering Long Island iced teas as they “didn’t taste of alcohol”.


It’s hard to feel too sorry for the “extremely awful, obscenely rich” Trump children, says Arwa Mahdawi in The Guardian. But after hearing the “bizarre and tragic” eulogies at Ivana Trump’s funeral last week, I found myself feeling “weirdly sad” on their behalf. Take Donald Jr, who chose to remember his mother with the “warm memory” of the time Ivanka accidentally destroyed an expensive chandelier and then, “it will shock you to hear”, lied and said it was her brother’s fault. Ivana pulled out a wooden spoon to teach young Don a lesson. By the time he finally convinced his mother of the truth, her “eastern European discipline” had left her “too tired to deal with Ivanka”. I can’t help thinking if these kids had had a few more hugs, “the world might have been spared the worst of their shenanigans”.


quoted 30.7.22 Cecil

“A compromise is an agreement between two men to do what both agree is wrong.”

Lord Edward Cecil

Staying young

If you’re looking for a simple way to boost your health, try “grounding”, says Vice. All you have to do is make direct contact with the ground by walking barefoot on grass, say, or touching soil with your hands. Advocates claim that because Earth’s surface is electrically conductive, coming into contact with it can boost energy levels, reduce anxiety and improve sleep. For urban dwellers who find going barefoot a bit “hippie”, there are specially developed “grounding mats” that mimic the earth’s current in the comfort of your own home.

Tomorrow’s world

Wind farms in the North Sea could soon be supplemented by clusters of floating solar panels. The proposed “solar parks” would be easy to set up, says The Independent, because they can use the same undersea cables as the wind turbines. They also make the most of the dead space that needs to be left between turbines. A pilot project is planned off the coast of Ostend, Belgium.


This week, author Joyce Carol Oates tweeted that publishers won’t even read first novels by young white male writers – “no matter how good, they are just not interested”. It’s true, says Kat Rosenfield in UnHerd. Of the 100 most recent debut books listed on Publisher’s Marketplace, 83 were written by women. Just three of the 13 authors on the Booker prize long list are white men, none of them under 45.

Even more damning is the “anecdotal evidence”, like the Filipino author who had his book deal binned at the last minute because he adopted the voice of a young black man for his protagonist. Or, more bizarrely, the prize-winning poetry of “Yi-Fen Chou” – who turned out to be Michael Derrick Hudson, a white American who thought, quite rightly, he had a better chance of getting published using a female Chinese pseudonym.



This end-of-terrace house lies on the leafy avenue of Highbury New Park in north London. Extending across 3,000 sq ft, it has five en-suite bedrooms and underfloor heating throughout. Outside there is a three-level garden with a terrace and cosy seating area. Canonbury station is less than a 10-minute walk away. £2.65m.


This Grade II listed former church house is in the hamlet of Perranzabuloe, a mile from the Cornish coast. Its sprawling 1,700ft interior includes three bedrooms, an open-plan living space and dual-aspect windows flooding the property with light. It also has a stone terrace, which seats 14 for al fresco dining. Truro is a 10-minute drive. £950,000.



quoted 31.7.22 Hanna

“There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

Former US senator Mark Hanna