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All the week’s wisdom in one place
15-21 October 2021

Behind the headlines

Global Update


quoted Aaronovitch 15.10

“Bloody foreigners. Not coming over here and taking our jobs.”

David Aaronovitch on Twitter

Inside politics

A picture-perfect break in Marbella

Boris Johnson won’t be worried about the pictures of him painting while on holiday in Marbella, says Simon Kelner in the I newspaper. “This, he might think, will be a portrait of a confident, cultured leader channelling his inner Churchill” (who finished more than 500 paintings in his lifetime). And with respect to the Mirror, which published the snaps: “Who really cares?” We have a PM who is “unembarrassable” and, for now, “unassailable”. He dominates politics like no one since Thatcher – Tony Blair always had Gordon Brown as a brake on his authority. So let Johnson “luxuriate, palette in hand, in impressionistic reverie in the Mediterranean sun”. The world will catch up with him eventually.


noted data 15.10

It is estimated that by the time a child turns 13, ad-tech firms will have gathered 72m data points on them.


Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson

From the wrestling ring to the White House?

Dwayne Johnson, once a goofy professional WWF wrestler known as the Rock, is now “the most successful movie star in the world”, says Chris Heath in Vanity Fair. For five years he has ranked as either the world’s best or second-best paid actor, banking an estimated $430m from franchises such as Fast & Furious. Driving his pickup truck around Hollywood, the 49-year-old loves pulling up next to busloads of tourists for a chat. Making people’s day “is one of the best parts of fame”, he says. Snooty celebrities “are missing out”.


quoted ed west 15.10

“The Tory government was way ahead of Black Lives Matter when it came to defunding the police.”

Ed West in UnHerd

After Hours

The townhouse

This detached house in a conservation area near Queen’s Park, northwest London, offers a welcome sanctuary from city life. It has six bedrooms, four receptions, an open-plan kitchen-diner, a conservatory, a garage and a large west-facing garden. It’s a short walk to Kilburn Tube station £6.25m.

The hideaway

Just 15 minutes from Aix-en-Provence, this 17th-century Palladian villa is set in seven acres of secluded gardens and woodland, with a pool, a tennis court and equestrian facilities. It has 10 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a billiards room, a domed ceiling in the living room and a magnificent staircase in the hall. €4.2m.

The cottage

Three-bedroom Rock Cottage is on a quiet lane in Llanwarne, a picturesque Herefordshire village near Hereford and Ross-on-Wye. Parts of the main house were built in the 17th century and there’s a one-bedroom barn conversion that’s used as a holiday let. £700,000.

The pied-à-terre

Once home to Jane Austen, Green Park is a suburb of Bath, just outside its centre, next to the River Avon and 10 minutes from the main station. This two-bedroom flat on the first floor of a Grade II listed Georgian terrace opposite the park has high ceilings, sash windows and an open-plan living area with a marble fireplace. £495,000.

The country house

Grade II listed Fenwick Towers Farmhouse is in 2.6 acres of gardens and paddocks in the Tyne Valley, Northumberland. It has four bedrooms, a kitchen-diner with an Aga and sweeping countryside views. There’s a stable block and an outbuilding that could be turned into an office or annexe. Newcastle is 15 miles away. £850,000.


noted pilots 15.10

Airline pilots are worryingly rusty after months out of the cockpit during the pandemic. Among dozens of errors reported to US aviation authorities, one out-of-practice pilot forgot to start his plane’s second engine for take-off and another almost landed without lowering the wheels.


quoted Hodges 15.10

“Yesterday: ‘Boris and his ministers always ignore the experts! They just make stuff up on the hoof! They’re maniacs!’ Today: ‘Boris and his ministers didn’t second guess the experts! They just did what they were advised! They’re maniacs!’”

Dan Hodges on Twitter, after the UK’s Covid inquiry landed

Five of the best

Remote bars

Ion Adventure Hotel, Iceland

On the lava fields of Mount Hengill, a vast volcano east of Reykjavik, the Ion Adventure Hotel offers breathtaking views of the northern lights in winter. The bar serves brennivin, a caraway-flavoured spirit affectionately known by Icelanders as “Black Death”.

Floyd’s Pelican Bar, Jamaica

A mile off the Caribbean island’s south coast, the Pelican Bar can only be reached by boat. The rickety driftwood shack was built by Floyd Forbes in 2001 and has become a firm favourite with fishermen and visiting tourists.

Faraday Bar, Antarctica

The cosy pub at the Verdansky Research Base, five miles off the Antarctic Peninsula, is the world’s southernmost drinking hole. Open to tourists in summer, it’s a year-round refuge for the station’s dozen Ukrainian scientists –who, in true enterprising spirit, distil their own vodka using glacial ice.

The Old Forge, Inverie, Scotland

This former blacksmith’s workshop on the shore of Loch Nevis is accessible only via an 18-mile hike or a seven-mile boat journey. Those who survive the trip are greeted with folk music, freshly caught seafood and an impressive selection of single malts.

Subsix Bar, Maldives

This underwater paradise is on a private island in the Maldives. Visitors arrive by speedboat and descend 20ft into the Indian Ocean to sip a signature Deepwater Daquiri while moray eels and parrotfish swim by.


Kirsty noted 15.10

A £400m divorce settlement has made former beauty queen Kirsty Bertarelli richer than the Queen, says Helena Frith Powell in the Telegraph. After leaving her husband of 21 years, Swiss pharmaceutical heir and billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, Britain’s richest divorcée has everything you could want: “Looks, talent, children, money, a 97-metre superyacht with pop-up yoga deck, and a £20m glass house in Gstaad.” The 50-year-old even has a No 1 single to her name: in 2000 she co-wrote the All Saints hit Black Coffee.


We’re loving… Pernille x Mango

Scandanavian influencer Pernille Teisbaek has teamed up with Mango to design a “minimalist and modern” collection, says Vogue. It includes a cream wool suit, above, high-waisted jeans and a black minidress. From £15.99.

It’s trending… eye jewellery

“Under-eye bags are glowing up,” says The Cut. Soo Joo Park wore crystals under her peepers for the Etro show at Milan Fashion Week last month. Recreate the look with Barry M’s face jewels, £4.99, or mermaid gems from Shrine, £10.

Coming up rosy… concrete basins

Make your bathroom “more art-house” with bold bathware in eye-popping colours, says the fashion blog Collagerie. The Orson concrete sink from London Encaustic comes in seven stylish shades, including this blush pink. £540.

It’s cute… Zara’s pet collection

Zara has launched a pet range with co-ordinating outfits for dogs and their owners. Pick up a yellow quilted jacket for your hound, £27.99, with a bucket hat to match, £17.99.

It’s essential… skin mist

“I’ve lost count of the number of dermatologists who have told me to use this £15 skin mist,” says Stylist. The Clinisoothe+ Skin Purifier is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial – a perfect remedy for “maskne and really for all of life’s cuts, scrapes and irritations”.


From the archives

“I’m a Rocket Man”

Star Trek star William Shatner, 90, became the oldest person to reach space this week, blasting off on Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin rocket. In 1978 he performed a spoken-word rendition of Elton John’s Rocket Man.

Quirks of history

quirks of history slut 15.10

The word “slut” is penned in sprawling red letters on the final page of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath manuscript, says Alison Flood in The Guardian – a mystery that has always perplexed scholars. This week the case was cracked by Jonathan Shaheen of Stockholm University. “It is the Swedish expression for ‘the end’,” he wrote to experts, noting that Steinbeck had visited Sweden in 1937, the year when he feverishly composed the novel. “A well-placed ‘slut’ always makes me laugh,” added Shaheen, who’s not sure whether Steinbeck or his wife, Carol, was to blame.


12 Oct: Mazatlan, Mexico, 29C  🌊

13 Oct: Izmir, Turkey, 19C ☀️

12 Oct: Newark, Vermont, 14C 🍁

13 Oct: Hong Kong, 28C 🌀

Oct 13: Richmond, London, 15C 🦌

8 Oct: Pathum Thani, Thailand, 30C ☔️

12 Oct: Krasnoyarsk, Russia, -2C ☃️

12 Oct: Goleta, California, 17C 🔥