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The Guardian G2 - March 29, 2018

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Local heroes
How to save your
high street
Thursday 29/03/18
Arwa Mahdawi
I took a home DNA test.
Big mistake
page 3
•
Who bit Beyoncé?
… and other mysteries
surrounding Queen Bey
page 4
•
Pass notes
№ 3,782
Shortcuts
Throw the duck out with the bathwater Harry Potter
and the profit
Want your child to have a hygienic bathtime? Then
of collectors
The Beast of
Clashindarroch
Age: Unknown.
Appearance: Elusive, fearsome, magnificent.
That looks like a cat to me. It is a sort of cat –
the biggest, wildest, meanest cat you ever saw.
In fact, that looks like my cat. Does he answer
to Mr Whiskers? He answers to nothing and
no one.
I haven’t seen him since Christmas. What
happened to his elf costume? You couldn’t be
more mistaken. This, my friend, is a wildcat.
You’ve never met Mr Whiskers. The Scottish
wildcat is a unique island population of the
European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris),
an entirely different subspecies from the
domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus).
It’s a tabby! It has fur like a tabby, but this
specimen – captured with a baited camera
trap in Clashindarroch forest in Aberdeenshire
– is enormous, one of the largest wildcats
ever recorded.
m)
Really? How big is it? An estimated 4ft (1.2m)
from nose to tail.
Huh. That is quite big, I suppose. You seem
a trifle underwhelmed.
It’s not exactly a cheetah, is it? It’s just
slightly larger than a normal cat. Next door’s
is at least that big. God knows what they’re
feeding it. The Beast of Clashindarroch is a
wild animal, not a pet. “This is nothing like
a domestic cat, and you certainly wouldn’t
want it sitting in your lap,” says Kev Bell, of the
conservation project Wildcat Haven.
It’s just when you say “Beast of”, people
expect something that could walk off with a
sheep, like the Beast of Bodmin. Unlike the
Beast of Bodmin, the European wildcat is real,
albeit one of the rarest animals in the world.
There are thought to be 35 in Scotland, of
which 10 to 15 are in Clashindarroch.
Why so few? Fragmentation of habitat – they
have a huge range – and hybridisation.
Hybridisation? Wildcats are known to
crossbreed with domestic cats, which could
lead to “genetic swamping” and eventual
extinction.
You know what they say: “If it looks like a cat,
walks like a cat, has sex with other cats …” But
recent studies have found crossbreeding rates
are lower than previously suspected. The drive
to neuter feral domestics in the Highlands is
more about stopping them eating the rabbits
and rats that would otherwise feed wildcats.
Do say: “We must do everything in our power
to protect this mildly impressive beast.”
Don’t say: “HAVE YOU SEEN ME? Plus-size
tabby, bad-tempered, occasionally eats deer.
Reward offered.”
2
ditch their rubber duck. That’s one implication of
work by a research team led by the Swiss Federal
Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology,
which has found these particular bath toys to be
teeming with bacteria. The key issue with the mucky
duck is that it is often made from cheap polymers
that provide the nutrients certain bacteria need. The
Swiss recommend using better plastics. But this is
just the tip of a very dirty iceberg. From the kitchen
to the living room, the average home is crammed
with hidden health hazards.
Spon
Sponges
The League of
Gentlemen were
not wrong. As
Uncle Harvey
and Auntie Val
once observed,
after you’ve
cleaned, you
need to clean
your cleaning
implements. In
2011, the NSF –
an international
body that
advises on
public health
and safety
– tested the
hygiene of 30
household
items.
Dishcloths and
kitchen sponges
were worst,
containing
bacteria from
the same family
as E coli in 75%
of households.
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
Chopping
boards
What’s on a
chopping board?
Dead animals.
What’s in dead
animals’ guts?
Fecal bacteria
– that’s where
they make
them. Worse,
micro-grooves
cut into the
chopping boards
form cosy
homes in which
the bacteria
can grow
and prosper.
All of which
adds up to a
bacteriological
bacchanalia.
Washing
machines
A dank and
occasionally
warm cove in
your home,
the washing
machine is an
ideal breeding
ground for
bacteria. We
put our dirty
underwear
in there. And
because cold
washes are more
eco-friendly,
we no longer
heat our clothes
to the levels
required to kill
most germs.
Ice
Ice-makers
and ice-trays,
seldom cleaned
because “they
only have
water in them”,
cultivate
stagnant pools
of occasionally
reanimated
bacteria. In 2012,
while doing a
science project,
12-year-old
Jasmine Roberts
found that the
toilet water at
Florida fastfood joints was
cleaner than the
ice. “Seventy
per cent of the
time, the ice
from the fast
food restaurant
contained more
bacteria,” she
told her local
news station.
Computer
keyboards
In 2008, Which?
sent experts
around its
London offices.
Of 33 keyboards
swabbed, four
were regarded
as potential
health hazards.
One had 150
times the
recommended
limit for
bacteria. How
do you prevent
this? Shake the
crumbs out, for
a start. Wipe
with a soft,
damp lint-free
cloth.
Occasionally
disinfect with
alcohol wipes.
Gavin Haynes
News that Italian bookseller Rudolf
Schönegger has been found guilty
of stealing a signed first edition of a
Harry Potter book will have sent fans
of the boy wizard looking through
their copies faster than you can say
“he who must not be named”.
The 55-year-old’s conviction is a
sharp reminder of the inflated prices
paid for first editions of the epic
children’s series, especially if JK
Rowling has scrawled her name in
them. Even signed first editions of
her adult debut, The Casual Vacancy,
head towards four figures.
The stolen copy of Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire was tagged at
£1,675, a nifty profit for anyone who
bought it for its £14.99 cover price 18
years ago, but not as nifty as the
profit on one signed copy of her
debut, Harry Potter and the
Philosopher’s Stone, which fetched
26 times that, thanks to a typo. In
2016, a businessman paid £43,750 for
the rare book, which has
“philosopher” misspelt on the back
cover.
It comes as a shock to anyone
who cashed in first editions of
Rowling’s books 10 years ago amid
predictions of Peak Potter when
the last in the series, Harry Potter
and the Deathly Hallows, appeared.
Back then, one critic I know made
a tidy £18,000 on a complete set of
proofs and first editions. Kerching!
They have watched slack-jawed as
prices inflated like a bitcoin bubble.
Rowling’s fans’ cult-like devotion
is one reason signed first editions
remain valuable. But rarity is what
makes the real money.
The values of Harry Potter
titles have an inverse relation to
pagination, thanks to small print
runs and typos. The first three
books, which, added up, are shorter
than the last, always fetch top
dollar. A proof of Philosopher’s
Stone with the attribution printed
as JA rather than JK Rowling sold
in 2017 for £10,000. The hardback
of The Prisoner of Azkaban fetches
similar prices as the initial print run
was stopped midway when it was
spotted that “Joanne” rather than
“JK” was on the copyright page.
Poor Angus Wilson. Schönegger
used a copy of his Late Call as a decoy
for his theft. Its value, according to
Abebooks, is £6.
Danuta Kean
Harry Potter …
when a
misprint
is worth a
fortune
•
Arwa
Mahdawi
Spring – when
eyebrows burst
into bloom
Say
what?
COVER ILLUSTRATION: MICHELLE THOMPSON
Vincent
McKevitt,
founder of the
health food
chain Tossed,
has blamed
his diet for an
“uncivilised
and deplorable”
attack on
nightclub
bouncers.
“He admits
he was under
the influence
of alcohol at
the time,” his
lawyer told
City of London
magistrates,
“but his diet
is a form of
starvation and
lowers alcohol
tolerance
considerably.”
Now that spring is firmly sprung –
officially, at least – even eyebrows
are bursting into bloom, in one of
the season’s most enjoyable beauty
trends. The “garden eyebrow” seems
to have sprung from the verdant and
very funny mind of Taylor R, a
Canadian beauty vlogger and
Instagram star living in Hong Kong,
who treated her 822,349 subscribers
to a little tutorial this month on how
to bring a touch of longed-for
greenery to your face. (Basically,
wax or gel your brows, colour them
with liquid lipstick, then add
flowers.) There followed a poll:
“#GardenEyebrows (butterfly emoji,
flower emoji) Yes or no? (chin
stroking emoji)”. With 36,190 likes,
the results seem to be inarguably
in favour.
Taylor R is also credited as the
inventor of #ChristmasTreeEyebrows
(think tweaked hairs decorated with
tiny gems and golden stars) and – a
personal favourite – nostril hair
extensions, by which, with just a
few sprigs of false eyelashes, young
women across the globe can
achieve the nasal luxury of the
late Denis Healey.
Of course, the fashion for
adorning your brows with a little
of nature’s finest is not new. High
society ladies in the 1700s are said
to have attached pieces of mouse
fur above their plucked-bald brows
to give them that all-too-desirable
look of aristocratic surprise. While
Taylor R may have swapped rodent
offcuts for green colouring and
the buds of real flowers, the desire
is the same: to beguile and delight.
As Andrew Marvell might have put
it way back in 1681: “How vainly
women themselves amaze,/ To
pluck the palm, the oak, or bays,/
And their uncessant labours see,/
Faces crown’d with several trees.”
There are, at time of writing,
just 129 #gardeneyebrows
blossoming on Instagram, but it is
surely only a matter of time (and
a sprinkling of Baby Bio) before the
look is seen upon the face of every
waitress, bus driver and financial
ombudsman from Hong Kong to
Harlesden. Viva la vida and power
to your brows.
Nell Frizzell
What did I learn from my DIY DNA
test? How foolish I was to fall for it
Heineken’s new ad
shows the industry has
a thinking problem
I have made a terrible mistake. I have sold all my DNA on the internet. Actually,
it’s worse than that: I recently paid a not-insignificant sum to a technology
company that could decide to sell my DNA on the internet.
Why did I do this? Well, embarrassing as it is to admit, I did it because all my
friends did. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is all the rage these days and
many a millennial gathering seems to include a discussion about your 23andMe
or Ancestry.com test results – at least in the US, anyway, where the technology
is most popular. The DIY DNA industry entered the mainstream last year and
is projected to grow rapidly. Industry estimates suggest that roughly 1 in 25
adult Americans now have access to their genetic data.
Getting your DNA analysed is easy. Simply
buy a kit, spit in a tube and send said spit to a
lab. A few weeks later you get a report breaking
down the genetic information you have paid
for. I shelled out $199 (£140) for an analysis
that promised information about my
ancestry and genetic propensity to conditions
including Parkinson’s disease, late-onset
Alzheimer’s and various forms of cancer.
So, what did my results reveal? Well,
mainly that, like many things in life, directto-consumer genetic testing is tailored for
white people. The test was able to break
down my 53.5% European ancestry in very
granular detail, telling me what percentage
British and Irish I was compared with Italian,
French, Balkan and Iberian. However, it broke down the rest of my heritage
into the incredibly broad categories of Middle Eastern and north African,
explaining in a helpful blurb that, hey, they’re basically the same thing.
My results contained a lot of information I have long suspected: such as
the fact that I do not have the genetic makeup of an elite athlete. It also offered
some highly dubious “insights”. Apparently, people with my genetics tend to
wake up at 8.39am on their days off. Perhaps the most fascinating thing was
that my DNA contains 238 Neanderthal variants. I thought that might make
me special but, no, we are all a little bit Neanderthal apparently.
Our Neanderthal ancestry affects us in ways I had never imagined. I am proud
to say I have one Neanderthal variant associated with a reduced tendency to
sneeze after eating dark chocolate. I’m putting that information on LinkedIn
immediately. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to find LinkedIn has already
procured a copy of my genetic makeup and is using it to suggest other people
I should add to my professional network. The company’s privacy policy contains
the usual caveats about not using your information without consent, but these
are very broad, and consumer protection experts advise that you ought to
assume that, when it comes to DNA tests, you are signing your life away.
Delving into my DNA taught me some fascinating things about Neanderthal
sex and afforded an opportunity for some genetic navel-gazing. However,
nothing I learned was worth the price tag and privacy risks involved. Genetic
testing may be growing in popularity, but I strongly suggest you don’t try it at
home. Meanwhile, my only consolation for idiotically sending my information
into the ether is that I can at least blame my Neanderthal DNA. No wonder
those guys went extinct.
Advertising people are supposed
to know how to communicate.
That is literally their job. Marketing
departments invest a lot of time and
money in understanding the different
ways in which their messaging
might be interpreted. Nevertheless,
not a month seems to go by without
a large company releasing a tonedeaf ad that should never have
seen the light of day – and, indeed,
probably never would have if
most ad agencies weren’t largely
melanin-free zones.
Dove and H&M have both
apologised for “racist” adverts
in recent months. This week,
Heineken Light joined the club with
a commercial featuring a bartender
sliding a bottle of beer past a number
of black people before it lands next
to a light-skinned woman.
“Sometimes, lighter is better,” a
tagline announces. It does not take
a genius to see what the problem
with this is. It did, however, take
a number of complaints before
Heineken canned the ad. On
Sunday, for example, Chance the
Rapper tweeted that it was “terribly
racist” and said he thought some
companies were purposely “putting
out noticeably racist ads so they can
get more views”.
I think it is highly unlikely that is
the case. I worked in advertising for
several years and when it comes to
offensive ads, I reckon it’s fair to say
you should not ascribe to malice that
which is adequately explained by
stupidity. Ads such as Heineken’s
aren’t a machiavellian attempt to
get more views; they are a reflection
of the woeful lack of diversity in
most ad agencies and marketing
departments. The reason you get
“noticeably racist” ads such as these
is not because people are actively
trying to make them but because the
in
industry still seems incapable of
notici
noticing just how racist it is.
Our health will depend on cockroach power
wer
The American cockroach is a terrifying creature. It can fly, run as
fast as the human equivalent of 210 miles an hour, and live
ve for a
week without a head. Keys to the cockroach’s powers are encoded
in its DNA, which has recently been sequenced by Chinese
hinese
scientists. In an article published in Nature Communications
nications last
week, researchers note that the size of the American cockroach’s
oach’s
genome is comparable to humans. They are hoping to use its
genetic secrets for medical treatments. I’m just worried that, in a
lab somewhere, a radioactive cockroach has bitten a researcher,
resulting in the universe’s most disgusting superhero.
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
3
•••
The Beyoncé
mysteries
As ‘Who bit Beyoncé?’ sweeps
the internet, the pop queen has
maintained her usual silence.
But this only encourages fans to
conjure endless bizarre theories
➺ Words Laura Snapes
Tiffany Haddish,
whose biting
story sparked
a frenzy
4
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
W
ho bit Beyoncé?
What does
Beyoncé taste
of? How does
anyone even
get close
enough to Beyoncé to make eye
contact, let alone sink their teeth
into the skin that launched a
thousand pore strips? How does
Beyoncé react when somebody bites
her on the face? More importantly:
what superhuman self-restraint
does actor Tiffany Haddish possess
to have sat on the greatest anecdote
of all time since December?
In a GQ magazine profile, the
Girls Trip star told of the time she
attended a party and witnessed
Beyoncé moving husband Jay-Z
away from a flirtatious actor, who
retaliated by biting her face. When
Haddish valiantly offered to “beat
[her] ass”, Beyoncé begged her not
to. Haddish was undeterred. “Near
the end of the party, Beyoncé’s at
the bar, so I said to Beyoncé: ‘Did she
really bite you?’ She was like: ‘Yeah.’
I was like: ‘She gonna get her ass beat
tonight.’ She was like: ‘Tiffany, no.
Don’t do that. That bitch is on drugs.
She not even drunk. The bitch is on
drugs. She not like that all the time.
Just chill.’”
This story – as with every drop
of information that emerges about
Beyoncé – has prompted obsessive
interest. Never was there an artist
whose every move, outfit and photo
was picked over more intensely
for clues. Fans have been checking
the “receipts” to work out who
was at the party; Huffington Post
contacted many leading actors to
clarify if it was them (“No, Shirley
did not bite anything,” wrote
Shirley MacLaine’s publicist. “She’s
83 years old, for God’s sake”).
Fans have suggested it’s the actor
Sanaa Lathan, who has refuted the
accusation, while Sarah Michelle
Gellar “confessed”, tongue in cheek,
alongside a photograph of herself
in Buffy mode.
The mystery will persist until
Haddish’s fabulously loose tongue
slackens again. But mystery is part
of the fun of loving Beyoncé, who
became the world’s biggest pop star
by giving away as little as possible.
She hasn’t done a print interview
since September 2015, when she
answered trivia questions for Beat
magazine (“Is kale overrated?”
“Not at all”). That year, she also
‘She doesn’t
provide the
answers, she makes
us look. You don’t
just enjoy Beyoncé,
you study Beyoncé’
There is more to her marriage to
Jay-Z than meets the eye
Beyoncé’s 2016 album Lemonade
was interpreted as her response
to Jay-Z allegedly cheating on her:
“Of course sometimes shit go down
when it’s a billion dollars on an
elevator,” she rapped on Flawless,
referring to an incident in which
her sister, Solange, was said to
have launched into Jay-Z in a lift.
His 2017 album 4:44 was assumed
to be an act of contrition. But is
that too neat a narrative? Are both
records fictional plays to stoke the
pair’s profile? Wouldn’t that be
an incredibly detrimental thing
to do to a healthy marriage? Plus,
according to a French journalist who
very quickly ate his mots, Beyoncé
has been having an affair with
Barack Obama.
She is a master manipulator
This is true – in a GQ interview, she
admitted to filming most of her life.
While us suckers give away our data
and act surprised when it gets into
the wrong hands, Beyoncé laughs
gracefully and pats her very own
archive, a “temperature-controlled
digital-storage facility”.
She has locked Sia in her basement
In 2015, Sia described working with
Beyoncé as intense, and implied
that the singer liked to hoard other
writers’ songs until she picked
which ones to use. This is standard
practice, but it didn’t stop fans from
interpreting one of Sia’s tweets –
“Hope Everyone Likes Pancakes”
PHOTOGRAPHS: REUTERS; GETTY; ALAMY; REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; PA
Queen Bey ... on
stage (far left);
in Lemonade
(top); with Jay-Z
and Blue Ivy
appeared on the cover of US Vogue’s
prestigious September issue –
without an interview. “Beyoncé is
seen but not heard,” read a New York
Times report about her refusal to
speak to the media.
The internet abhors a vacuum,
and in the absence of concrete
information about Beyoncé’s desires
and motivations, a rumour mill that
would normally be confined to the
gossip magazines broke into the
mainstream long ago. Here are six
Beyoncé mysteries that have stirred
the most debate:
•
Reply all
The idea that the
singer birthed her
sister Solange is
a creation myth
worthy of the
Greeks
Sia, maker of
pancakes
– as a cry for help, and coming to
the conclusion that Sia was locked
in Beyoncé’s basement. If only that
were true, we would have been
spared Katy Perry’s “woke banger”
Chained to the Rhythm.
There are clues to her pregnancies
hidden in her music
Of all the myths about Beyoncé, the
rumour that she didn’t give birth to
Blue Ivy is among the daftest and
the cruellest. Even when she shared
un-doctored photographs of her
second pregnancy, conspiracies
proliferated: was her re-wearing
the earrings from the If I Was a Boy
video a clue to the twins’ gender?
(Nope!) Was Kate Middleton’s third
pregnancy announced on Beyoncé’s
birthday to reclaim the limelight
from the world’s most famous
babies? We’ll find out in season 27
of The Crown.
She is Solange’s mother
The better rumour pertaining to
Beyoncé’s maternal capacities is
that she is in fact seven years older
than her publicly stated age of 36,
and not Solange’s older sister, but
her mother. The absurd theory
Destiny’s Child
is that she got pregnant at 12 and
her parents raised the baby. Many
celebrities lie about their age,
but the idea that Beyoncé birthed
Solange is a creation myth worthy
of the Greeks.
W
hy do people
weave so many
theories about
Beyoncé?
Caity Weaver,
who did the
interview with Haddish, has a
concise theory: “SHE IS BEYONCÉ.”
One party-pooping explanation
is that Beyoncé’s achievements
appear so superhuman – her
groundbreaking albums, peerless
visuals, beautiful children,
extraordinary self-control – that
they can only be “explained”
through suspicious theories that
undermine her power as a female
musician and a black woman.
What’s interesting is that
Beyoncé lets this speculation fester
rather than shutting it down. “She
doesn’t provide the answers,”
says Canadian journalist Lainey
Lui. “She makes us look for the
answers – you don’t just enjoy
Beyoncé, you study Beyoncé. To
create this distance, this mystique,
requires discipline – the discipline
to release your work into the world
without being tempted to explain
it. So it really doesn’t matter
whether anything is proven or
disproven. It matters more that
she remains elusive.”
“Fandom doesn’t need another
interlocutor unless the artist needs
to reach people she otherwise
can’t, and who can’t she reach on
her own?” says John Herrman, who
wrote a landmark essay for the Awl
about celebrities denying access to
media. “And what better way is there
to deal with rumours and spiraling
narratives than to release new art
about them, again, if you’re in a
position to do so.”
Beyoncé’s media strategy isn’t
negligence, but an affirmation of
her power to remain omnipresent
and yet totally inaccessible. You can
look, but you can’t touch. Unless,
apparently, you’re an actor who’s
high at a party.
Ask
Hadley
Given that the mullet is back, is this proof that
everything, no matter how hideous, can become
fashionable again?
Jon, by email
Yes. But while the long-running
hirsute, still sexually viable Silver
return of the mullet is an inevitable
Lake dad crossed with a Chinatownoffshoot of the hipster trend,
dwelling trust-funded art-school
I thought it would die with the
kid who’s never not up for doing
death of American Apparel. That
psychedelics.” Man, the 21-year-old
store represented the branch of
in me just got a little turned on there.
hipsterdom that championed the
And for SHIA LABOEUF, for God’s
mullet – the skeezy dirtbag hipster,
sake. Seriously, this year is garbage.
as opposed to the gluten-excluding
I’m all for odd fashion icons. For
uber-woke hipster. But
example, I never understand why
I underestimated the hipster
everyone cites Breakfast at Tiffany’s
determination to reclaim obviously
as the ultimate fashion movie when
ugly things, from tracksuits to
it’s clearly Steel Magnolias. But
statement spectacles. And so, enter
I must draw the line at LaBoeuf
stage left, the mullet, which is still
for three reasons. First, his style is
a thing in 2018. And you thought
not nearly as odd as people seem
learning that the Now That’s What
to think: he’s just another skeevy
I Call Music! compilations are now
hipster and, as God is my witness,
on volume 99 would be the thing
I shall kill off the skeevy hipster
trend or drown myself in an avocado
that made you feel old this month.
shell filled with a dairy-free flat
(Proud to say my first Now was
white. Second, this skeevy hipster
No 17, and yes, I did buy it because
Paula Abdul’s Opposites Attract, her thing – where you look and smell
like you have just rolled out of your
beautiful song about the sexual
floor mattress – is only an option
love affair between a woman and
for men. Because on men, looking
a cat, was on it, thanks for asking.)
like you have made no effort reads
But the mullet manages to be only
as sexy, whereas on women it
the second most offensive thing
reads as certifiable. And third, this
in fashion at the moment because
faux “not making an effort” look
that slot has been given over to the
is nonsense. No effort is going into
latest fashion icon. Now, a fashion
Gap and buying some anonymous
icon is someone who represents the
T-shirts. Effort is seeking out a thrift
cutting edge of chic, the ultimate
store and finding some acceptably
in aspirational cool and physical
ironic clothes that fit you, and only
beauty. So it says everything about
a resting actor has time to do that.
the dumpster fire that is 2018 that
So, in short, Shia LaBeouf is
this title has been bestowed upon
now a fashion icon, bad clothes
… Shia LaBeouf. “That prat who
are now good, to every season turn
walks around with a paper bag on
turn turn. Yes, humanity is going
his head and looks like he smells of
down the pan. But on the upside,
three-week-old underpants, sweat
his fashion resurgence has gifted
and self-importance? That guy?”
us with the phrase “stout Uggs”,
Guardian readers cry as one. Yes.
so for that we all owe him some
That guy.
begrudging thanks.
I must admit, I was unaware of
the style renaissance of LaBeouf
until I read about it in the New
Yorker last month (learning about
a fashion trend from the New Yorker: Shia LaBeouf ...
fashion icon?
ways you know you’re approaching
middle age, part 17,375,382). Writer
Naomi Fry describes as particularly
memorable a LaBoeuf look that
featured “scrunched-up sweats [that
revealed] a slice of naked shin ... just
above a pair of stout Uggs”. Hello,
fashion icon 2018! But it was really
Fry’s description of LaBoeuf himself
that got me rather than any of the
photos of him and his stout Uggs:
“With his dirty denim and obscurely
logoed baseball caps and facial
hair and ironic T-shirts and work
boots and fleece hiking tops, he is a
Need style
counsel?
Post your
questions
to Hadley
Freeman, Ask
Hadley, The
Guardian, Kings
Place, 90 York
Way, London
N1 9GU. Email
ask.hadley@
theguardian.
com
How bad is
2018? Well,
this year’s
fashion icon
looks like
he smells
of threeweek-old
underpants
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
5
•
Food
Fast food
Shakshuka
By Josh Katz
Shakshuka means “a mixture”
in Tunisian Arabic. I was first
introduced to shakshuka by some
Israeli travellers I met in Australia
many moons ago. This recipe is
as good on a cold night as it is
for breakfast.
Method
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas
mark 4.
Sweat the onions and garlic in
the olive oil until softened and
translucent. Add the red pepper
and chilli and cook for five to seven
minutes, until the red pepper
softens. Add the paprika and hot
pepper paste or tomato puree and
cook for two minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes and
chilli flakes, bring to simmering
point, cook for 20 minutes and
season to taste.
Transfer the sauce to a wide,
ovenproof frying pan and bring the
sauce back to a simmer. Make eight
wells in the sauce, crack an egg into
each and cook for two minutes.
Transfer the pan to the oven for five
to seven minutes, until the egg white
is set and the yolk remains runny.
Meanwhile, put the tahini in a
mixing bowl and gradually pour in
the water, mixing with a whisk. It
will start to thicken, but keep adding
the water until a smooth, sauce-like
consistency is achieved. Season to
taste with salt.
Remove the pan from the oven,
sprinkle with the parsley and dot
with the tahini sauce. Finish with
a drizzle of olive oil.
Serve with sourdough toast
or pitta.
Time
Serves
40 mins
4
Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and
finely chopped
2 garlic cloves,
finely chopped
1 red pepper,
chopped
1 red chilli, finely
chopped
2 tsp smoked
paprika
1 tbsp hot pepper
paste or 1 tbsp
tomato puree
500g tinned plum
tomatoes
1 tsp chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
8 eggs
For the tahini sauce
100g tahini
100ml ice-cold
water
Salt, to taste
To serve
2 tbsp flat-leaf
parsley, chopped
Formal dinners are over, so what is the etiquette around
casual cooking for friends? Follow Tony Naylor‘s
guide to being a good host – and an even better guest
A
decade ago, that
monitor of good
manners, the
Telegraph, was
already mourning
the demise of the
classic dinner party. Last year,
Nigella Lawson, who off camera you
might imagine inhabits a world of
place cards and polished silver, set
the concept in 1970s aspic jelly when
she told the BBC: “I’m not a formal
dinner party person.”
Yet eating at home with friends
or family, or even a volatile mix of
the two, is still hugely popular. It
is now in a far looser format, from
a buffet to a casual get-together
where no one is laying out different
wine glasses or (the horror!) seating
interesting strangers in a way that
is meant to generate sparkling
conversation.
Nonetheless, laidback as this
“I’m just doing a bit of food” era is,
it still needs to be navigated with
sensitivity. Not least over Easter,
Josh Katz is the chef-owner of
Berber & Q. His debut cookbook,
Berber & Q, is published on 31 May
(£25, Ebury Press). Order a copy
for £21.25 including free p&p at
theguardianbookshop.com
6
The new rules of
dinner
parties
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
when many will be feeding others or
being fed ourselves. So, here are the
dos and don’ts of the modern dinner
party for guests and hosts.
Confirmation bias
Much as we admire those free spirits
who refuse to be tied down by
bourgeois convention, if someone
offers to feed you, accept or decline
promptly. Under no circumstances
should you start quizzing the host
about who else is invited.
Clock-watching
When someone tells you to arrive at
7.30pm, the last thing they want you
to do is arrive at 7.30pm. They will be
in the shower. Or at Tesco Metro on
an emergency capers run. Give it 15
minutes.
Heavy weather
Cooking for people is stressful. You
have to suck that stress up and bury
it. Deep. Otherwise, as host, your
rancorous mood will set the tone.
Tip: if you don’t know your creme
brulee from your croquembouche,
this is not the time to attempt either.
Do not be too ambitious. Ultimately,
no one cares. They will remember
how drunk they got and what a
laugh they had. The food is almost
immaterial, a mere framework for
social interaction.
Gift rap
Flowers? Wine that needs
decanting? A dessert that needs
defrosting? Do not lumber your host
with extra work.
Alcohol concerns
Bring booze. Bring more booze
than you need. Do not arrive with
a four-pack of Carling and decide,
on a whim, to rinse through the
host’s carefully curated craft beer
collection. It is the oldest, stingiest
trick in the book. As is trying to palm
the host off with that Hungarian
prosecco someone left at your house
three years ago (you shouldn’t
have, really), while hogging a £20
pet-nat red that you think no one
else will understand. An easygoing
sharing of the booze stash goes
with the territory, but people must
contribute fairly. Note: only a [shrill
beep] would retrieve their leftovers
as they leave. That alcohol is the
host’s to keep, a booze bonus that is
embedded in British law.
Cold calculation
The host’s fridge is precariously
stacked to the last millimetre. Touch
it and it (or the host) will go off like
Buckaroo. No, you can’t wedge your
beers in. Think ahead: buy some ice
and bring your chilled booze in a
cool bag.
•
The faddy eater
Marriage counselling
From “jocular” attempts to get
other guests to adjudicate on the
argument you were having on the
way over to the simmering tension
between couples counting the
days until divorce, please leave any
baggage at the door. Smile. Pretend.
Avoid each other’s eye. It may be
therapeutic.
Bring more booze
than you need.
Do not arrive
with a four-pack
of Carling
Kitchen hand
You know people who hover in the
kitchen, nattering away, oblivious
to the fact you have moved them 17
times to get to the oven? Don’t invite
them next year. Likewise people
who offer to lend a hand and then
just … drift … off. “Can I help?” Yes,
get out of the kitchen.
Diet plan
How far a host should go in
accommodating your free-from
dietary requirements is a debate as
fraught as whether or not gluten
intolerance really exists. Intimacy
matters here, as does the severity
and complexity of those dietary
requirements. Numbers add up, too.
Invite a close vegan mate as one
of a party of six and, naturally, you
will build a menu accordingly, or
happily cook separately for them.
However, if you are invited as
someone’s last-minute plus-one and
you have multiple intersecting food
intolerances (ie not life and death,
and possibly difficult for the host to
accommodate), you may have to grin
and bear their bodge job and politely
pick at your plate.
Flag those intolerances up early
and you might argue that, whether
cooking for six or 16, it is no more or
less difficult to cook an extra portion
for one person with specific dietary
needs. But, in reality, the larger the
number of guests, the busier the
kitchen, the greater the moving
parts, the more of an imposition
it becomes. It is at the host’s
discretion.
When we get into the realms of
genuine food allergies and medically
diagnosed conditions (eg coeliacs),
offering to bring your own food, far
from being seen as faddy, is both
considerate – particularly if you
don’t know the host well – and, quite
possibly, a sensible precaution.
ILLUSTRATION: BILL BROWN
Sharing the load
If everyone is pitching in and you are
asked to bring a starter or dessert, no
one will mind how much you spend.
This is not a financial quid pro quo.
Nor are you under obligation to
cook from scratch. This is not The
Great British Bake Off. It should be
a relaxing meal among people you
love, not a high-wire test of your
choux pastry.
But you need to engage your
brain. Do not turn up late with a
starter that takes an hour to cook,
causing an oven logjam. Bringing
paté? Then bring the bits, too:
bread for toast, chutneys and
pickles. Do not lazily grab
two cheesecakes on the way
over “because everyone likes
cheesecake” (translation: you like
cheesecake), nor, in a strutting
display of gastro one-upmanship,
turn up with a highly divisive vat
of Fergus Henderson’s pea and pig’s
ear soup.
In this case, it really is the
thought that counts. That, and
bringing enough to comfortably feed
everyone. This is a party, right?
Potluck packaging
Do not bring dishes in, for instance,
prized Staub cookware. Like
cigarette lighters, such things are
often mislaid in the boozy melee. It
may be weeks before you see your
beloved again.
Child maintenance
To kids, eating merely interrupts
their attempts to destroy your
house. Give them (cheap, frozen)
pizza and chips. Anything else is
a waste. They don’t like it? Their
parents will have fed them that
morning. No one will starve.
On no account give them what
the adults are eating. There is
nothing more demoralising for
a host than, amid a tortuous
negotiation of wheedling promises
and pathetic threats, watching a
seven-year-old refuse to eat as its
parents let their meal go cold.
“But how will they learn to
appreciate good food?” asks
Concerned Foodie Parent. Simple:
do it on your own time.
Fast food
Guests expect to be fed within two
hours of arrival, max. If you work
inordinately slowly in the kitchen,
factor that in. You have a room full of
hangry people next door and they all
have knives.
… but not too fast
There are people who treat the
unveiling of a buffet like the race
for the last helicopter out of Saigon.
Or, at the table, start lobbying for
seconds while the host is eating.
Cool your jets.
Musical chairs
When it comes to music, the prefix
“dinner party” is a longstanding
putdown for unobtrusive jazz and
soul. Sounds terrible, right? But,
conversely, this is not the time to
subject your guests/captives to your
love of Norwegian black metal. The
challenge is finding that centrist
sweet spot (Nina Simone, Nils
Frahm) where the music is diverting,
but not so interesting that Uncle Jeff
will moan throughout. Forgoing
music is not an option. No one wants
to listen to other people chewing.
Rag’n’Bone Man would be preferable
to that racket.
Roughing it
Forget fish knives and 48-piece
dinner services. Few of us these
days have the money or space to
maintain the dinner party basics,
such as endless dining chairs or
matching cutlery. The modern
dinner party is all about mucking
in, to the extent that, if numbers
nudge above six, everyone accepts
that someone will end up sitting on
a camping chair. It would be churlish
to complain. The lack of ceremony is
a release, in fact. Get the kitchen roll
on the table. The age of the napkin
(ring) is over.
Bacteria hysteria
When dining communally,
remember: generally, people are not
infectious. If someone passes you a
piece of bread rather than the plate,
if someone manhandles the cheese,
remain calm. Do your mates freak
out if you go in for a second dip of
hummus with a half-eaten carrot
stick? Solution: get new mates.
Hands-free
It is 2018, moderate at-table phone
use is expected. Two things, though.
Repeatedly corralling the room into
photos for social media is tedious
and intrusive. As is Instagramming
the host’s food.
Home time
Ordinarily, if an invite is for 2pm on a
Sunday, the host expects their house
back by 8pm. A midweek meal won’t
necessarily end in a 3am karaoke
blowout. On Saturday night, all bets
are off, but if your host is bathing the
kids, tidying the kitchen or asleep
on the sofa, take the hint. Forget
“one for the road” and get on it.
It’s been great, but this debate about
[delete to taste] Corbyn/Mourinho/
Morrissey will keep. Now, sling
your hook.
Morwenna
Ferrier
Mezcal – with a
lt –
side of worm salt
g
is finally having
its moment
If you wind down the window of your rental car on
federal highway 91 in Oaxaca, Mexico, you can smell
it: agave hearts, known as piña, being roasted in
underground pits, the first stage of making mezcal.
The smell has been likened to barbecue sauce, but it
reminds me more of the time after I accidentally left a
baked potato in the oven, then roasted a chicken and
then, later, grilled a pie. It is a rich, burning smell: peaty,
evocative of both the landscape and the anxiety of
having left the oven on by mistake.
Mezcal is the parent drink of tequila. Whereas tequila
is made from one type of agave, mezcal can be made
from 30 types and can taste of almost anything – sweet,
smoky, sometimes leafy – which is perhaps why it has
eluded the buffs. Still, it is being tipped to be the drink of
2018. To be fair, it has been tipped since the mid-00s but
this is definitely its year, something we know because a
broad but reliably prophetic trio are making it happen:
vegans (it’s vegan); illegal reptile hunters (this month, a
market in Oaxaca City was raided by the federal office for
environmental protection after trying to sell 15 bottles
of mezcal containing blood pythons and whip snakes in
lieu of the worm); and George Clooney (who discovered
it while on a tequila recce in southern Mexico and is
now launching his own version, Casamigos Mezcal,
this April).
In Oaxaca, it is sold on the roadside near small Zapotec
towns, usually in large glass vats the colour of swimming
pools. I first tried it in a bar, but still went native and
had it with a side of worm salt, which is exactly what
you think it is and fine provided you don’t think about it
too much.
Its appeal says a lot about where we are now. As well
as being vegan, it is also gluten-free, and good for people
– let’s call them massive babies – who don’t like tequila.
It doesn’t give you much of a hangover – although I can’t
vouch for this as I was pretty jet-lagged when I tried it. It
is also made in relatively small quantities, in a relatively
rustic way, which feeds the bucolic fantasy of people
who like to know the personality of their lamb and so
on. But if it takes off, we can probably thank Clooney:
an Oscar-winning actor who – given his last role was in
Nespresso: Comin’ Home – clearly knows which side his
quesadilla is fried on.
Positive gratitude
Thank your host as you leave
and next morning by text. They
deserve it. Gloss over any kitchen
disasters until the host is ready
for the inquest. Do not intrude on
private grief.
Away leg
In nature, there are hosts and there
are people who, for various reasons,
would never dream of cooking for
you. Do not dwell on it, much less
demand a reciprocal date. Feeding
people should be an honest act of
generosity. Otherwise, it leaves a
bad taste.
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
7
•
The high street
that came back
from the dead
A decade ago many of the shops on York’s ‘Bishy Road’
had closed; even the bargain booze store was struggling.
Then one shop owner had a big idea. Could his solution
help build successful ‘sticky streets’ across Britain?
➺ Words Kevin Rushby
I
t’s the stuff of nightmares.
You wander down a road
where most of the shops
are boarded up. The
bookmakers is open, but
reeks of desperation, with
gamblers hunched over fixed-odds
machines. Next door, the payday
loans place looks quiet, as does the
pawnbroker. Moving on swiftly
through a rising tide of discarded
takeaway food containers, you reach
the only entertainment in town: the
tanning parlour. You start running
now. Even the charity shops have
closed down. The pound shop has
a sale. You wake in a mucksweat,
praying that this is not a vision of the
future for the British high street.
The figures, however, suggest
these dystopian scenes are
uncomfortably close to reality.
According to the Centre for Retail
Research, more than 11,000 major
high street outlets have gone bust
since 2008, affecting almost 140,000
employees. And, although the years
2008 and 2012 were the worst, the
last 12 months have been traumatic,
too. Agent Provocateur, Jaeger and
Store Twenty One have gone under,
and it’s not only clothing retailers:
photo studios, ice-cream parlours,
pet-grooming centres, toyshops and
bike shops have all buckled. Even
the sex-toy industry is feeling the
pinch: the Warrington-based chain
Nice ’n’ Naughty briefly went into
administration in January 2018. The
latest victims, not unexpectedly
in business circles, have been Toys
R Us and Maplin. Mothercare is
restructuring its finances, Debenhams
is considering closures, Claire’s has
declared bankruptcy and Jones
Bootmaker has closed some branches
and been rescued twice in a year.
The one consolatory note of
recent times has been that cafes
and restaurants were doing well.
No more. Earlier this year, it was
reported that Jamie’s Italian and
Byron Burgers are losing a third of
their roster, more than 30 outlets.
That news was quickly followed
by the announcement that Jamie
Oliver’s Barbecoa had gone into
administration, as has the gourmet
pie-and-mash chain Square Pie.
Prezzo is closing 94 restaurants. The
accountancy firm Moore Stephens
reports more than 1,500 restaurant
insolvencies in the UK in 2017, and
says that almost 15,000 others are
under threat.
One group not going out of
business appears to be the experts
commissioned to report on the
decline. The average British high
street would sink under the weight
of all the pie charts and sage
advice. A typical comment goes:
“Higher spending can be generated
by a diverse town centre which
can satisfy customers’ needs for
immediate purchase of the goods
they want.” In other words: if it’s in
stock, people might buy it. Among
all the reports on high streets, the
one that stands out for its clarity
and intelligence comes from the
retail guru Mary Portas. In 2011 she
8
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
laid out the problems: supermarket
sprawl, out-of-town shopping, the
internet and poor communication
between councils, traders and
landlords. She concluded: “We
have sacrificed communities
for convenience.”
What is certain is that the
traditional high street of the last 50
years, founded on chain stores and
well-known brands, is undergoing
a brutal transformation. There
are also, however, signs of what
might emerge from this period of
revolutionary change.
In York’s Bishopthorpe Road –
Bishy Road to the local community –
I settle down in the window of
a high-street cafe-restaurant-bakery.
Beppe Lombardo’s Sicilian food
outlet, Trinacria, is full of people
having a mid-morning coffee; some
are sampling the impressive range of
homemade pastries and cakes, while
a clutch of small children linger near
the ice-cream display.
“When I came to York in 2001,
there was no good ice-cream,” says
Lombardo, his expression hinting
at the profound shock he had felt.
“Not like proper Sicilian ice-cream.”
He waves to a friend outside on
the pavement. Lombardo waves
a lot. He not only brought Sicilian
ice-cream to York, he also brought
a high standard of sociability and
friendliness. He is involved in plans
to stage a street Olympics and a dog
show, and to use street art to engage
with visitors.
Does he worry about the
economic downturn? “We are doing
OK here. I don’t think we need any
more cafes and restaurants, but
things are OK.”
Bishopthorpe Road is one of a few
high streets around the country that
have bucked the downward trend,
managing to revive and reinvent
itself during one of the harshest
retailing recessions ever. That is
in stark contrast to York’s premier
shopping strip, Coney Street, where
20% of units lie empty. What really
hurts is that some of these outlets
are the most beautiful storefronts
It was a simple
plan. Gather
the shops under
one banner and
launch it with a
street party
in England: when Jones Bootmaker
closed nearby, it shuttered the
windows on the magnificent, gabled
birthplace of explorer Thomas
Herbert, a man who witnessed
another brutal revolution in his
time, standing behind Charles I on
the scaffold in 1649.
Less than a mile away, a stroll
down Bishopthorpe Road reveals
many of the elements that are on
everyone’s wishlist for a decent
local high street: a handful of
excellent cafes and restaurants,
hardware shop, chemist, baker,
two greengrocers, a brace of small
supermarkets, pub, bike shop, deli
and butcher. Most are independent,
and many have won awards. The
street was voted Britain’s best high
street in 2015. “Bishy Road fully
‘We are doing
OK here’ …
Bishy Road’s
Beppe Lombardo,
owner of Trinacria;
and Frankie and
Johnny Hayes in
their kitchenware
shop; (left) the road
in the 1900s
deserves the title,” said Marcus
Jones, minister for high streets at the
time. “We’ll be sharing Bishy’s top
tips with other high streets across
the country to make sure others
learn from their success.”
What is really fascinating
about this success is that it is not
a glamorous location, a street laden
with tourist attractions or backed
by upmarket housing; it is a socially
mixed area and, at first glance, a very
ordinary British shopping street.
How did it pull off such a trick?
I go to see Johnny Hayes, local
councillor and co-owner of Frankie
and Johnny’s kitchenware shop,
and Andy Shrimpton from the Cycle
Heaven bike shop. Both have lived
and worked in the area for more than
30 years and were instrumental in
PHOTOGRAPHS: ASADOUR GUZELIAN; KEVIN RUSHBY
•
turning Bishopthorpe Road around.
“It was quite depressed back in the
late 70s,” says Hayes. “The council
had a plan to bulldoze a dualcarriageway ring road through the
area – you know, the car was the
undisputed king in those days. The
plan was never implemented, but it
created uncertainty.”
By 2008 a fifth of shops were
empty, several others were hanging
on, and even the bargain booze shop
was struggling. “When the post
office closed, I really thought we
were in trouble,” says Hayes. In fact
it was the start of the upswing: “Two
things happened. We got the Pig and
Pastry cafe opening – local owners
who knew everyone and worked
damn hard to make a brilliant little
place to eat – and then in 2010 Andy
came to me with an idea.”
“I was inspired by cycling trips
to Copenhagen,” says Shrimpton.
“There was a sense of neighbourhood
and community … I thought, why
can’t all cities be like this?”
It was a simple plan. Gather all the
shops together under one banner,
or more precisely one website, and
launch it with a street party. “It was
a eureka moment,” says Hayes. “At
6pm we closed the road to traffic.
There was hardly a soul about. We
put up some bunting and set out a
few stalls. By 6.20 there were 3,000
people out there. The butcher gave
away burgers, there were bands,
people were dancing. I could not
believe it. I realised there was so
much goodwill. I thought, ‘We are
going to be all right.’”
What Hayes was witnessing, on
a grand scale, was the creation of
what urban planners call “a sticky
street”. The phrase was popularised
by the Canadian planner Brent
Toderian, who has helped redesign
cities all around the world. “Our
conversations about streets were
always about movement for cars,
or movement for people,” Toderian
says. “The measurements for
success from engineers were about
how many cars or people we could
move through a space as quickly as
possible. But there was very little
conversation about how people
actually use, enjoy and love streets,
and how lingering should actually
be a measurable definition of
success for a great street.”
Toderian has a refreshing, realworld practicality. He cites the
visionary Danish architect and
designer Jan Gehl, who in the early
1960s synthesised psychology and
architecture to reboot the planners’
approach to city living. Gehl railed
against “bird shit” architecture and
towers dropped in from the heavens
by globe-trotting architects, and
championed the pedestrian and
the cyclist.
A couple of years ago, back
on Bishopthorpe Road, the cafe
owners had spotted a bit of potential
“stickiness” for themselves. The
Victorian architects who had raised
the terraced houses here back in
the 1860s had given each property
a forecourt garden. The houses had
soon become shops and the gardens
were lost to the pavement. Now the
cafes claimed it back, putting in chairs
and tables to create an opportunity
for visitors to stick around.
Of course, nostalgia for a
supposed golden age of the high
street could be misleading. But,
I wondered, was there ever a heyday
for the high street?
Local York historian Sue Major
is cautious about suggesting
Bishopthorpe Road street life was
better in Victorian times. But, she
says, “It might be argued that with
heavier traffic along the street in the
last 50 years, people have been less
likely to spend time there for leisure.”
L
ooking through the
pages of the York Herald
newspaper, there are
plenty of suggestions
that street life was
more colourful and
boisterous than today. In the narrow
streets behind Bishy Road you
could find a brewery, a dye works, a
shipbuilding yard, a steam-powered
chocolate factory, a candiedpeel maker, and a wooden type
manufacturer. There were regular
galas, parades and occasional trips
over the river to witness a hanging.
At Martinmas, every November,
Wombwell’s menagerie would come,
the wagons full of wild beasts hauled
by elephants. Some of the lion
collection had been born in York’s
Parliament Street in 1856.
The whole panoply of Dickensian
street life was present, including
the threat of “pocket pickers” and
the possibility of destitution. One
local musician, Joseph Sherwood,
kept a diary that shows how,
struggling to make ends meet
during the 1880s, he turned his
Bishopthorpe Road house into a
newsagents, which is now the Pig
and Pastry cafe.
High streets may have been
livelier back then, but they were a
school of hard knocks for business.
The photo record for Bishopthorpe
Road shows how shops were
Bishy Road has
reinvented itself
during one of
the harshest
retailing
recessions ever
founded, thrived and foundered in
an endless bout of retail creation
and destruction. The piano-dealer
and beer-seller became an estate
agent, then a florist; the Dainty cafe
became a baker, then a hairdresser.
Others have stood the test of time:
the fish and chip shop, for example,
is Victorian vintage.
Pete Kilbane, manager of
the Angel on the Green bar and
restaurant, is a stalwart of the socialownership movement, having
started a community garden, cinema
and nightclub, as well as the Golden
Ball pub (which has more than 180
shareholders). He thinks social
ownership has a part to play. “It
takes away some financial pressure
and means we can have events
that are beneficial, but not money-
making.” The bar at the Golden Ball
tells its own story, selling eggs, bread
and pies from local suppliers as well
as real ales. Some locals have been
coming to the folk music sessions for
over 45 years.
Kilbane knows the importance
of preserving an area’s informal
spaces. “We’re slow to get to know
one another, aren’t we? So people
need places where they have a valid
reason to be. Working together
on the community garden, doing
the composting – that created
the relationships that went on to
buy the pub.” Having spent years
creating venues for interaction, he is
now eyeing up the newly available
empty shop across the road from
the Angel – a rare occurrence on
Bishopthorpe Road. “I want it to be
another bar,” he laughs. “Then we’ve
got a scene, haven’t we?”
In the past people went to the high
street for shopping and work, just
like today, but also for entertainment
and leisure. That state of affairs
may be returning. York’s smaller
shopping streets, once shabby
and depressed compared with the
centre, are now in better shape than
ever. With support from the council
on road closures, historic streets
like Micklegate and Fossgate are
holding events that attract crowds.
The independent movement has
spawned a city map and a website.
The strength of smaller high
streets has not gone unnoticed.
Figures from business research
analysts LDC show that the number
of independent outlets has risen all
over England during the past year,
while chain stores have declined.
When Portas wrote her report in 2011
she highlighted the lamentable case
of Ely, a Cambridgeshire town that
seemed to be deliberately strangling
its own high street, building outof-town shopping with a free bus
service. But since then independent
shops have moved in, accounting
for 89% of retail growth, and making
Ely high street a success story akin to
York’s Bishopthorpe Road.
Gehl’s influence is apparent in
cities all around the world. After his
redesign of Melbourne, the number of
street cafes rose 12-fold. “A good city,”
he says, “is like a good party – people
stay longer than really necessary.”
On a smaller scale, applying
that motto to British high streets
appears to be bearing fruit. Portas
came to similar conclusions. “We
need,” she declared, “to put the
heart back into the centre of our high
streets, reimagined as destinations
for socialising, culture, health,
wellbeing, creativity and learning.”
‘Why can’t all
cities be like
Copenhagen?’
… Andy
Shrimpton
of Cycle
Heaven; (top)
Bishopthorpe
Road now
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
9
•
Arts
Lookout …
sailors watch
for whales while
catching seabirds
‘Islanders tend to
smash cameras
during whale hunts’
Faroe whale hunts cause global outrage. But Mike Day
spent four years filming the islanders – and uncovered
a far more complex story. Patrick Barkham reports
“They had this big, black block
that they were carving off, and we
said, ‘What’s that?’ They said, ‘pilot
whale’. They salt-and-wind-dry the
meat, and it’s like jerky I guess.” The
Faroese invited Day to film their own
traditional seabird hunt.
Day’s first visit to the Faroes, in
2011, coincided with the annual
meeting of its whale hunting
association. He arranged to show
five minutes of his guga-hunting
film in the hope of persuading
islanders to let him document their
globally condemned whale hunt.
“The collection of government
officials, police, hunting sheriffs
[hunt regulators] and hunters
were obviously very sceptical,” he
says. Outsiders’ cameras tend to
get smashed at the whale hunts;
suspicious locals have been duped
by visitors, like Day, claiming to be
filming neutral social anthropology.
“There wasn’t much way of cutting
through that scepticism, other than
that the five minutes of film turned
into the full hour.” Afterwards, Day
was interrogated – mostly about
10
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
what the hell he was doing in that
Hebridean storm.
Thus began four years of filming
on the Faroes. Day would drive 1,200
miles from his home in Scotland,
across to Calais and up to northern
Denmark to catch a ferry. He spent
two three-month stints on the
islands, taking a big sack of rice and
living “hand-to-mouth” off local
fish. While he eventually attracted
funders from the Wellcome Trust
to Kickstarter – the final budget was
£500,000 – he was not confident
he could make a whale film. “It’s a
sanity-testing endeavour, that’s for
sure,” he says. “I don’t know another
artistic project where you’d have such
a large budget with such uncertainty
for such a length of time.”
Day devoted 53 weeks to filming,
and the result is a beautifully shot,
naturalistic and deeply intimate
look at Faroese society. Day and his
Lethal … the
spear used to
paralyse whales
Race to the
shore … the
hunt draws
a large crowd
cameras almost seem to disappear;
there’s no narration, no off-camera
questions and no self-consciousness
from the taciturn islanders; instead,
the Faroese discuss over dinner
how they are conflicted about the
whale hunt. Their journey from
a community without electricity
and roads to a society with one of
the world’s highest proportions
of Facebook users is not without
self-doubt.
“Time is our greatest capital,” says
Day of his laborious method. “To be
able to film the hunt probably took
six months to a year, but to sit down
at someone’s family dinner table was
another matter. It takes a long time
to get that level of intimacy we need
to tell the story in that way.”
A doctor, Pál Weihe, emerges
as one of the quiet heroes in a
collection of stoical islanders. Day
follows locals as they are tested
by Weihe for heavy metals in their
bodies as part of his epic 30-year
longitudinal study which has
helped expose the dangers of the
concentration of pollutants up the
oceanic food-chain. Day reveals the
moving dilemma of Bárður Isaksen,
a traditional hunter, and his wife, a
nurse, who worries about the impact
of pollution on their children.
For months, Day was unsure if
he could document the notoriously
unpredictable whale hunt. It only
occurs if islanders chance upon
a pod of pilot whales when they
are hunting seabirds (a bizarre
practice whereby fishermen scoop
up fulmars floating on the water
with what resembles an enormous
lacrosse stick). Historically, whale
meat was so important on these
barren islands that it was a crime
not to report a pod. Roused into
small boats, islanders herd the 20ft
mammals into one of 17 designated
hunting bays. Other islanders race
on to the beach, brandishing a
sinister-looking implement to sever
the thrashing whales’ spinal cords
before slitting them underneath so
PHOTOGRAPHS: ANDRIJA ILIC/SIPA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; MIKE DAY
I
f outsiders are dimly aware
of an archipelago of 18
islands in the North Atlantic
they probably picture the
Faroes’ spectacular peaks or
horrifying blood-red bays.
The islanders’ annual slaughter
of pilot whales, driven by flotillas
of small boats on to the beach, is
virtually the only occasion when
the lives of 50,000 Faroese impinge
upon the consciousness of the
wider world.
Mike Day’s debut film, The
Islands and the Whales, begins
with a familiar juxtaposition of
these images but soon veers into
unexpected territory. Rather than a
polemic against the cruelty of whale
hunting, this deeply immersive
documentary tells of a disappearing
way of life, a weather-beaten
people who are now buffeted by
globalisation – and pollution. Whale
meat is laced with mercury and
other toxins, and an epic study by
a Faroese doctor has revealed how
eating it has impaired islanders’
cognitive function, reduced IQs and
increased their risk of Parkinson’s
disease. This is the big message for
Day. “Our way of life is really ending
theirs,” he says.
The film was a five-year slog
for Day, a Scot who quit his job as
a lawyer, bought a camera with
his savings and sailed to the Outer
Hebrides to capture Scotland’s last
guga hunt. Guga are juvenile gannets
that, for centuries, have been seized
from their nests by cliff-climbing
Hebrideans. After Day went out with
the guga hunters, storms forced
them to be rescued by helicopter
– helping Day obtain a free aerial
shot. While the film-maker repaired
his boat in Stornoway harbour, some
Faroese sailors pulled alongside.
•
My best shot
‘It’s free food’ …
pilot whales are
herded into a cove
to be killed; right,
the imposing islands
Vera Lutter
‘I blacked out my windows and turned my studio into a camera obscura
to capture this high-rise being built opposite. The exposure took six days’
they bleed out. The meat is then
meticulously divided into portions
and wheelbarrowed away by
each islander.
Day got wind of a whale hunt
shortly after he and his sound
recordist were rappelled 100ft down
a cliff to a slippery ledge for a night
to film the Faroese guga hunt. The
sound man caught a chill. “We
had to cover him with still-warm
bird carcasses to keep him warm,”
says Day. “Then the camera broke
because there was so much fog and
sea-spray.” On his way up, he span
round on an uncoiling rope with the
camera on his back: “There’s GoPro
footage of that which still makes
me ill.” Day had just enough time to
recharge his camera batteries before
the whale hunt began. When he
arrived, “there were some people
on the beach who were upset we
were there with the camera but they
found out we were the guys who had
gone off the cliff,” he says. He was
accepted. “We’d earned our stripes.”
In one shot, these big, sentient
mammals convulsing on the beach
make a noise that sounds like
‘The sound man
caught a chill
recording one night.
We had to cover him
with bird carcasses
to keep him warm’
screaming. Was it hard to film? “It’s
a difficult scene on many levels.
First of all we’re trying not to get
hit by a tail and killed. We’re trying
not to sanitise the scene and at the
same time we’re trying to recalibrate
the audience to see it as it was to
be there, which isn’t to come at it
with our prejudices,” says Day. “Of
course it’s horrific, it’s horrible to
see animals being slaughtered but if
you eat meat it comes from that. The
atmosphere at the hunt isn’t what
you’d presume. It’s a harvest for
them, free food, and it’s expensive
to live there. At the beginning, when
they’re standing on the beach there’s
a real tension because everybody
wants it to go well, and it’s not
an easy task. The frenzy of the
slaughter is framed by relief at the
end when it goes well.”
Some way into the film, outsiders
appear. Activists from Sea Shepherd,
the anti-whaling charity, arrive in a
plush campervan, with expensive
boats and a piratical logo, intent on
direct action to stop the slaughter.
The islanders revolt, quietly, against
the likes of Pamela Anderson.
“Whether or not it’s intended, it’s
perceived as gunboat diplomacy
when you cruise into a place with
multi-million pound vessels and
skulls and crossbones,” says Day. “If
an Iranian ship came up the Thames
and said, ‘You can’t eat pork because
to us it’s sinful and it’s an intelligent
animal, so we’re going to picket
your farms,’ people would be out
on the riverbank with bacon rolls
protesting. And of course that’s the
reaction up there.”
According to Day, locals “who
hadn’t eaten whale since they
were kids suddenly became very
defensive of their right to do it. It’s
definitely perceived as cultural
imperialism. The nations that have
polluted the seas have turned up to
tell them that eating whale is wrong.
To me that embodied so much of our
own lack of awareness.”
The anti-whaling activism
had another consequence too:
islanders became suspicious that
the urgings of Weihe, the Faroese
doctor, not to eat whale meat was
part of a conspiracy to stop the
hunt, undermining his public health
message. Ultimately, says Day,
“we’re not arguing for or against
the whaling. People have their own
minds made up about that issue.
We’re saying if the pollution is so bad
in the sea that the animals are that
toxic, then all of these groups should
be uniting over this bigger threat.”
The Island and the Whales is
released today
For 15 years, my studio in New York’s Garment
District looked out over a parking lot. It was
an inspiring sight: I’d watch the birds and the
people coming and going. Then they started
digging out the foundations for a high-rise.
I took this shot of the work in 2011, as part of a
series I called The Loss of my View. It went on
for almost two years. I’m one of the few artists
left in the area. It used to be all pre-war highrises and industrial buildings but the garment
industry, like everything else in the city, has
largely moved out, unable to afford the rents.
The Garment District has been gentrified and
“rezoned” to allow residential buildings, not
just commercial ones.
To take this shot, I turned my studio into
a pinhole camera, or camera obscura – which
literally means “dark room”. I covered the
windows in black plastic and taped a metal
plate in place, one with a precisely drilled
hole in it. When I open that hole the image
floods in and projects itself – upside down and
reversed – on photographic paper hanging on
the wall opposite. It’s like watching a film. You
see everything that’s happening out there,
especially in bright daylight. The exposure
took six days, from 9 to 15 December, because
it was almost the darkest time of the year. And
the image was very big: 264cm by 284cm.
I love doing camera obscura
demonstrations. I’m currently working on
a series at the Los Angeles County Museum of
Art, where they’ve built me a plywood box on
wheels. I roll it around the museum campus
photographing its architectural aspects. The
box is the size of a shipping container and
sometimes staff members come inside to
look at a projected image – but not while I’m
actually making a photograph.
I have to be alone when I work. I need to
concentrate. I tuck myself up beneath the
pinhole, watching the cone of light widen out
from that tiny point. In a longer exposure, I
go inside every other hour. In shorter ones –
anything up to six hours – I stay inside for the
duration, since the image develops quickly
and I need to manipulate the light, obstructing
certain parts now and again. The edges take
longer than the centre.
If I don’t do it right, it’s
The CV
all screwed up.
Born Kaiserslautern,
It is a pretty amazing
Germany, 1960.
technique. I started
Training Academy
experimenting when
of Fine Arts, Munich;
I first moved to New
School of Visual
York in 1993, turning
Arts, New York.
my loft into a camera
Influences “All arts,
and photographing this
literature, music.”
city that was so new to
High point “Being
me. These days, when
content with a work.”
I’m working outdoors
Low point “9/11.”
I use adapted shipping
Top tip “Never
containers. That’s how I
follow a trend.”
shot London’s decaying
Battersea Power Station
in 2004 and, more
recently, the vast Effelsberg radio telescope in
Germany with its 100m-diameter dish.
The longer the exposure, the more you can
observe everything you’re shooting. At this
construction site, you can see the ghostly
image of a truck. It stood at the base of the
crane long enough to leave this trace. But in
other parts of the image, more movement
can be detected: the dumpster in the left of
the foreground was repeatedly being filled,
shipped out and replaced, while white
sheeting hanging from the first floor windows
would billow around.
That movement was important. The
image was about how my neighbourhood
was changing – how a gritty urban view was
transforming into a boring facade. It turned
out to be such an ugly building that I didn’t
do the final image. It was just too depressing.
Interview by Amy Fleming. Vera Lutter:
Turning Time is at Gagosian Britannia Street,
London, until 14 April.
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
11
•
Live reviews
Power couple ...
Željko Lučić and
Anna Netrebko
Opera
Macbeth
★★★★☆
Royal Opera House, London
Until 10 April
PHOTOGRAPHS: TRISTRAM KENTON FOR THE GUARDIAN; JONATHAN KEENAN; STEVEN CROPPER
Box office: 020-7304-4000
Jazz
Jay Phelps
★★★★☆
Cockpit theatre, London
M
acbeth, in one
form or another,
seems almost
ubiquitous at
present, and the
Covent Garden
revival of Phyllida Lloyd’s 2002
production of Verdi’s opera comes
hard on the heels of new stagings of
Shakespeare’s play by the National
Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare
Company. Though Lloyd’s take
on the work has more than its fair
share of irritations, the revival,
conducted by Antonio Pappano and
wonderfully well cast, is, for the
most part, musically formidable.
The Macbeths are played by
Željko Lučić and Anna Netrebko,
both giving interpretations of
considerable power and insight.
Lučić doesn’t quite convince as
the military man at the start, but
his performance gains in stature as
ambition and conscience gradually
corrode Macbeth’s mind and
integrity. The introspective lyricism
of his singing in the first two acts
contrasts with Netrebko’s ferocity.
Her voice has darkened and gained
in amplitude of late without losing
its agility, and her vaunting, thrilling
coloratura is at once the expression
of her own steely fixity of will and
the weapon with which she incites
her husband to murder.
The turning point comes after
the appearance of Banquo’s ghost.
When Lučić launches Sangue a Me,
a touch of metal
Pappano
creeps into his
tone precisely at
slowly
the point when
ratchets
the steel begins
up the
to drain from
tension
Netrebko’s voice.
to near
He keeps us just
breaking
the right side of
point
empathy as he
descends into
authoritarianism:
Pietà, Rispetto,
Amore is really moving as an
expression of the last vestiges of his
humanity as the final catastrophe
approaches. Netrebko, meanwhile,
T
he versatile and
personable Canadian
trumpeter Jay Phelps –
not as regular a
sighting on the UK’s
live jazz circuit as he
deserves to be – lent extra spice to
Jez Nelson’s monthly Jazz in the
Round show at the Cockpit theatre
this week, on an already imaginative
triple bill featuring drummer/
composer Phelan Burgoyne and
lyrical, riproaring Cuban expat
violinist Omar Puente.
Phelps has been compared to
American trumpet stars such as
Wynton Marsalis and Terence
Blanchard for his virtuosity and
sense of the jazz tradition. He was a
founding member of the
prizewinning British post-bop group
Empirical, and has more recently
been an enabler as well as a player on
London’s burgeoning and youthful
late-night jamming scene.
All that diverse experience was
reflected in a tight, vivacious
performance that drew extensively
Full-throttle
funkiness
… Jay Phelps
on this year’s Free As the Birds – only
the second solo album of his career.
The set took in playfully funky music
descended from 1960s hard bop,
a lyrical folk-jazz reminiscent of
Avishai Cohen’s (powered by double
bassist Fergus Ireland’s booming
pizzicato and briefly featuring
Phelps’ modestly melodious
singing), and a bristling instrumental
gives us a remarkable Sleepwalking
Scene, in which singing and acting
fuse in a genuinely harrowing
depiction of mental disintegration.
There are tremendous things
elsewhere, too. After a low-key
start, Pappano slowly ratchets up
the tension to near breaking point,
and the baleful orchestral sound,
all implacable brass and slithery
woodwind, gets under your skin.
The Royal Opera Chorus are on
tremendous form at the moment:
the refugees’ scene at the start of Act
Four hits home as one of the great
passages in the score. Yusif Eyvazov
makes an excellent Macduff with
his intense way with words. Bassbaritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo is
the handsome-sounding Banquo,
though the role lies fractionally low
for him.
It’s a shame, however, that Lloyd’s
staging sometimes gets in the way.
The witches control the action
throughout as impersonal agents
of a malign destiny. In addition to
their prophetic function, they take
Macbeth’s letter to his wife, form
Duncan’s entourage on his arrival in
Dunsinane and engineer Fleance’s
escape from the assassins, before
finally homing in on Konu Kim’s
Malcolm as their next victim, all of
which muddies the examination of
the relationship between fate and
free will that informs the opera as it
does the play.
Elsewhere, the symbolism is
heavy-handed. Returning from
the battlefield, Lučić, in a chilling
moment of prescience, washes
his hands at a faucet, which
remains on stage throughout,
and later sloshes water, at times
noisily, whenever anyone does
something incriminating.
Political power, meanwhile, is
represented by a gilded cage that
effectively imprisons those who
wield it. It’s all a bit clunky. You
need to hear it, since much of this
production is astonishing, but you
also need to make allowances, at
times, for what you see.
Tim Ashley
improv version of Outkast’s Spread
that began as a fanfare-like
declaration of the theme by Phelps
and pianist Rick Simpson, and
wound up as an ensemble roar urged
on by exciting drummer Will Glaser.
Phelps’ quartet delivered a fullthrottle, genre-fluid contemporary
jazz of a kind that can ignite almost
any venue. The intimacy of the
Cockpit’s in-the-round environment
was also a perfect match for Phelan
Burgoyne’s subtly cinematic
compositions with the evening’s
opening trio, featuring the softly
piping and flute-like sound of Martin
Speake’s alto saxophone and its
delicately serpentine counterpoint
with Rob Luft’s guitar. And though
Omar Puente’s mid-show solo set
was short, the Cuban violinist’s
romantically melodic call-andresponse games with himself, pedalpowered electronic band-mimicry,
and gracefully whirling tributes to
his homeland’s classic danzón form
almost stole the night.
John Fordham
Feast of secrets ...
Tina Chiang
as Lily
Theatre
Mountains
★★★☆☆
Royal Exchange, Manchester
Until 7 April. Then touring
Box office: 0161-833 9833
H
elen is a Cambridgeeducated
lawyer, raised
in a Manchester
chippy, working
in Hong Kong.
She thought she’d feel at home
in the city from which her
Chinese grandmother, Lily,
emigrated. But she’s lonely, and
the intensity of her emotions
conjures the long-dead Lily, a
woman whose father told her how
to move mountains.
“You called me into your
present and I invite you into
my past,” Lily tells Helen, and
time and identity shift as the
two women go on a journey into
maternal family history that
includes murder, the wartime
Japanese invasion, lost children
and Lily’s move to England where
she founded a restaurant using
recipes she perfected on the boat
over. This is a family that cooks
what it cannot say.
Based on Helen Tse’s novel Sweet
Mandarin, inspired by the femalerun Manchester restaurant of the
same name, In-Sook Chappell’s play
considers the need to understand
your family history and offers a
lively look at ambition and the desire
to improve the lives of children and
grandchildren. Lily does just that,
but at what cost?
This is an enjoyable, piquant
play that in Jennifer Tang’s
bustling production not only
raises ghosts but the spectres of
racism. Part of a fine ensemble,
Ruth Gibson gives a wry portrait
as the well-meaning Mrs Woodman,
a woman trapped by privilege,
and Siu-See Hung and Tina Chiang
are moving as the granddaughter
and grandmother unearthing
family secrets.
Lyn Gardner
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
13
•
TV and radio
Watch this
JP (left) and
Jo, both in
their 30s,
have long
believed
they are on
the spectrum
Indian Summer School
9pm, Channel 4
Review
Are You Autistic?
The Doon school, in the Himalayas,
was founded by masters from Eton and
Harrow, and the strong work ethic it instils
in its pupils has produced impressive
results. So what happens when a group of
underachieving, white working-class boys –
including some “difficult” cases – are subjected
to its regimen for six months? In tonight’s
programme, the boys cope with haircuts,
alcohol confiscation, the absence of toilet rolls
as well as having to deal with “brainwashed”
fellow pupils.
Channel 4
Tim Dowling
This ably presented primer on autism
revealed it to be far more common
than previously thought
★★★☆☆
14
it sought to cater for an audience with zero knowledge or
experience of autism – including people who might have
it and don’t know it – the programme probably told most
viewers something they didn’t already know.
Particularly fascinating was the extent to which
“social masking” may be behind the under-diagnosis of
women with autism. Because women are better trained
to fake sociability – laughing at jokes they don’t find
funny, making an effort with eye contact, rehearsing
social interaction ahead of time – the
condition can be missed. In one,
It was
admittedly anecdotal, experiment a
thought the
group of young autistic women went
prevalence
speed-dating with neurotypical men,
of autism was none of whom noticed anything. Of
higher among course, this may have something to
do with the average twentysomething
men, but it
seems women neurotypical male’s ability to talk
about himself endlessly. More
are better
poignant was the revelation of the
at faking
struggle this social masking involves.
sociability
Several of the women said they would
probably later have a meltdown in a
darkened room as a result of the
stress brought about by the experiment.
Jo and JP were finally sent for diagnostic interviews
with the autism expert Dr Simon Baron-Cohen – “as
much as a neurotypical can be an expert on autism,” said
Harper. The “reveal” of the diagnosis was kept off camera.
Only afterwards did we discover that JP was indeed
autistic, and Jo was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.
Both seemed immensely relieved; it was especially
important to JP, whose nine-year-old son is also autistic.
The programme’s online questionnaire – the largest
study of its kind – found 87,000 people out of 750,000
participants reached or passed the diagnostic cutoff for
autism. If nothing else, this is well above the accepted
statistic that autism affects 1% of the UK population.
Above all, Are You Autistic? was a plea for
understanding. Actually, it was more than that: with
its upfront, playful and sometimes spiky approach, it
amounted to a persuasive insistence on understanding.
Neurotypicals, wake up.
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
Big Cats About the
House
8pm, BBC Two
And
another
thing
I am addicted
to The Repair
Shop (BBC Two).
It’s just people
fixing old
broken stuff,
but rarely does
anything
provide so
much joy while
asking so little
of me
PHOTOGRAPH: MARK JOHNSON / CHANNEL 4
P
eople with autism have a word for those
who don’t have it: neurotypical. You might
think this reverse labelling unhelpful, but
it is an effective way to shift perspective –
to counter the sense of superiority that
comes of thinking yourself normal, and to
be obliged to own a term that seems reductive and
exclusionary. While the label “neurotypical” doesn’t
begin to address the many and varied things that are
wrong with me, it is still nice to have a diagnosis.
Are You Autistic? sought to overturn preconceptions
about the condition (not illness). Autism manifests
itself across a spectrum, but that spectrum is not a
straight line – there are any number of interconnected
traits leading to varying degrees of difficulty with social
interaction, organisation and sensory perception.
Ably and amiably presented by trainee human rights
lawyer Georgia Harper and artist Sam Ahern, both of
whom are autistic, and deploying Anna Richardson as
a sort of neurotypical ambassador, the programme was
underpinned by a new online study. The question in
the title hinted at the programme’s main proposition
– backed up by the study – that autism is a vastly underdiagnosed condition. Until recently, it was thought
the prevalence of autism was four times higher among
men than women, but it now seems autistic women are
just better at camouflaging it. And while the diagnosis
of children has improved, it is likely that there is a “lost
generation” of adults who don’t know they are autistic.
The programme held out the possibility of a diagnosis
for two people – JP and Jo, both in their 30s – who have
long suspected they are somewhere on the spectrum.
While this would not seem obvious to anyone meeting
either of them for the first time, certain traits emerged
in interviews and testing. JP is hypersensitive to noise –
he and Jo outperformed neurotypicals in a ridiculously
difficult hearing test – and they each struggled when
presented with staged scenarios in which actors said
things they didn’t mean. Neither seemed to have much
sense of the psychological gears grinding away in the
heads of others. Then again, you could blame the acting.
Are You Autistic? constituted a fairly basic primer, but
it was undoubtedly one the public sorely needs. Even if
David Stubbs
Concluding episode
of the doc in which
conservation expert Giles
Clark hand-rears a jaguar
cub in the comfort of
his own home (because
what could possibly go
wrong?). While Maya is
now a well-loved member
of the family, her mobility
is a worry for Giles,
who treats her to some
hydrotherapy.
Hannah J Davies
Not Going Out
9pm, BBC One
Lee Mack’s pleasing retro
comedy goes through the
motions this week, with
a story about the family
acquiring a pet to which
Dad is hostile. It goes
exactly where the sitcom
textbook says it should,
without any neat subplot
or many great gags to
elevate it. It is still well
crafted; there just isn’t
much there.
Jack Seale
Civilisations
9pm, BBC Two
The great domes that
adorn some of the
most startling religious
buildings across the world
– from the basilicas of Italy
to the mosques of Turkey
– typify the achievements
of the Renaissance in the
west and east. This week,
Simon Schama stands in
awe of St Peter’s Basilica
in Rome and Istanbul’s
Hagia Sophia.
Ben Arnold
Billions
9pm, Sky Atlantic
The financial-sector
turbo-soap returns
and, after two seasons
of tearing each other
apart, smarmy tycoon
Bobby “Axe” Axelrod
(Damian Lewis) and rash
litigator Chuck Rhoades
(Paul Giamatti) are now
both in survival mode.
Can they hoard enough
scenery before grand
ham John Malkovich
joins the cast?
Graeme Virtue
In the Long Run
10pm, Sky1
Walter and Evelyn came
to London from Sierra
Leone 13 years ago; now
they work, work, work.
The arrival of Valentine,
Walter’s brother, brings
laughter and chaos to their
lives. Set in 1985, with
shell suits at every turn,
this brilliant, nuanced
comedy created by and
starring Idris Elba bursts
with nostalgia.
Candice Carty-Williams
•
BBC One
BBC Two
ITV
Channel 4
Channel 5
6.0
6.0
Repair Shop (T) (R) 6.25
Money for Nothing (T) (R)
7.15 Coast (T) (R) 8.0 DIY
SOS: The Big Build (T) (R) 9.0
Victoria Derbyshire (T) 11.0
Newsroom Live (T) 12.0 Daily
Politics (T) 1.0 Black
Narcissus (Michael Powell,
Emeric Pressburger, 1947)
(T) 2.40 Great Irish Escape
(T) (R) 3.40 Blitz Cities
(T) (R) 4.10 Britain’s Ultimate
Pilots: Inside the RAF (T) (R)
5.10 Put Your Money Where
Your Mouth Is (T) (R) 6.0
Eggheads (T) 6.30 Repair
Shop (T) 7.0 Mountain:
Life at the Extreme (T) (R)
6.0
6.0
Countdown (T) (R) 6.45
3rd Rock from the Sun (T)
(R) 7.35 Everybody Loves
Raymond (T) (R) 8.30 Frasier
(T) (R) 9.0 Frasier (T) (R)
10.05 Ramsay’s Kitchen
Nightmares USA (T) (R)
11.0 Undercover Boss USA
(T) (R) 12.0 News (T) 12.05
Come Dine With Me (T) (R)
1.05 Posh Pawnbrokers (T)
(R) 2.10 Countdown (T) 3.0
A Place in the Sun: Summer
Sun (T) (R) 4.0 A New Life in
the Sun (T) 5.0 Four in a Bed
(T) (R) 5.30 Star Boot Sale
(T) 6.0 Simpsons (T) (R) 6.30
Hollyoaks (T) 7.0 News (T)
6.0
Big Cats About the
House (T) Giles Clark
is overwhelmed by
the enormity of the
task he has taken on.
Civilisations (T) Simon
Schama examines how
the role of artists from
the different traditions of
east and west developed
following the Renaissance.
8.0
Location, Location, Location
(T) Kirstie Allsopp and Phil
Spencer visit Wales to search
for houses in Barry and the
Wye valley.
Indian Summer School
(T) New series. Five British
boys who have failed their
core GCSEs go to study at
the world-famous Doon
School in Dehradun.
8.0
Breakfast (T) 9.15 Holding
Back the Years (T) (R) 10.0
Homes Under the Hammer
(T) (R) 11.0 The Sheriffs Are
Coming (T) (R) 11.45 Claimed
and Shamed (T) 12.15 Bargain
Hunt (T) (R) 1.0 News and
Weather (T) 1.30 Regional
News and Weather (T) 1.45
Doctors (T) 2.15 Moving On
(T) (R) 3.0 Escape to the
Country (T) 3.45 Money for
Nothing (T) 4.30 Flog It!
(T) (R) 5.15 Pointless (T) (R)
6.0 News and Weather (T)
6.30 Regional News and
Weather (T) 7.0 One Show
(T) 7.30 EastEnders (T)
MasterChef (T) Six more
hopefuls try their hand at
professional service.
9.0 Not Going Out (T) Lee
and Lucy get a pet in to
try and teach the children
to be more responsible.
9.30 Still Game (T) Jack and
Victor persuade a reluctant
Navid to lend them his
caravan for one night only.
8.0
10.0 News (T)
10.30 Regional News (T) Weather
10.45 Unsolved The Man With
No Alibi (T) (1/2) The case
of a heroin addict who was
convicted of the murder of
a Korean student in 2002.
11.45 This Week (T) Andrew Neil
introduces the usual roundtable political chat.
12.30 Weather (T) 12.35 News (T)
10.0 MOTD: The Premier
League Show (T)
10.30 Newsnight (T) Weather
11.15 Top Gear (T) (R) Matt
LeBlanc test-drives the
Ferrari 812 Superfast.
12.15 Sign Zone MasterChef
(T) (R) 12.45 Saving the
British Bulldog (T) (R) 1.45
Back in Time for Tea (T) (R)
2.45 This Is BBC Two (T)
8.0
9.0
Good Morning Britain (T)
8.30 Lorraine (T) 9.25 The
Jeremy Kyle Show (T) 10.30
This Morning (T) 12.30
Loose Women (T) 1.30
News (T) 1.55 Local News
(T) 2.0 Judge Rinder (T)
3.0 Dickinson’s Real Deal
(T) (R) 3.59 Local News (T)
4.0 Tipping Point (T) 5.0
The Chase (T) 6.0 Local
News (T) 6.30 News (T) 7.0
Emmerdale (T) 7.30 Tonight:
Can Brexit Fix Britain? (T)
Robert Peston is in the northeast of England, an area the
government forecasts will
be hit hard by exiting the EU.
Emmerdale (T) Ross
fights for his life.
8.30 Coronation Street (T)
Gary and Seb’s hunt for
Phelan’s gun is halted when
the police arrest them.
9.0 The Real Full Monty:
Ladies’ Night (T) Coleen
Nolan and Ashley Banjo
lead female celebs in a
one-off striptease show.
8.0
10.30 News (T)
11.0 News (T)
11.15 Kingpin (Bobby
Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, 1996)
(T) Amish bowling comedy
starring Woody Harrelson,
Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel.
1.15 Jackpot247 3.0 Tonight:
Can Brexit Fix Britain?
(R) 3.25 ITV Nightscreen
5.05 Jeremy Kyle (T) (R)
10.0 20 Kids and Counting (R)
Meet the Radford family.
11.05 Gogglebox (T) (R)
12.05 One Born Every Minute
(T) (R) 1.0 The Supervet (T)
(R) 1.55 Are You Autistic?
(T) (R) 2.50 Dispatches
(T) (R) 3.20 Thrifty Ways
to Summer Holiday (T) (R)
3.45 Amazing Spaces (R)
4.40 Coast v Country (T) (R)
9.0
Other channels
Dave
6.0am Home Shopping
7.10 Scrapheap Challenge
8.10 American Pickers
9.0-10.0 Storage
Hunters 10.0-1.0
American Pickers 1.0
The Best of Top Gear 2.0
Top Gear 3.0 Impossible
Engineering 4.0 World’s
Most Dangerous Roads
5.0-7.0 Top Gear 7.0 Cop
Car Workshop 8.0 Dara
O Briain’s Go 8 Bit 9.0
QI XL 10.0 Not Going
Out 10.40 Not Going
Out 11.20 QI XL 12.20
Mock the Week 1.0 QI
1.40 Would I Lie to You?
The Unseen Bits 2.20
Mock the Week 3.0 Suits
4.0 Home Shopping
E4
All programmes to 7pm
are double bills 6.0am
Hollyoaks 7.0 Rules of
Engagement 8.0 How
I Met Your Mother 9.0
New Girl 10.0 2 Broke
Girls 11.0 Brooklyn NineNine 12.0 The Goldbergs
1.0 The Big Bang Theory
2.0 How I Met Your
Mother 3.0 New Girl
4.0 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
5.0 The Goldbergs 6.0
The Big Bang Theory 7.0
Hollyoaks 7.30 Extreme
Cake Makers 8.0 The Big
Bang Theory 8.30 Young
Sheldon 9.0 Brooklyn
Nine-Nine 9.30 Derry
Girls 10.0 Five Star Hotel
11.05-12.05 The Big
Bang Theory 12.05 First
Dates 1.10 Five Star Hotel
2.10 Tattoo Fixers 3.05
Gogglebox 4.0 Brooklyn
Nine-Nine 4.20-6.0
Rules of Engagement
Film4
11.0am Flight of
the Navigator (1986)
12.50 Anna and
the King (1999) 3.45
Hugo (2011) 6.20
Oblivion (2013)
8.50 Free Fire Interview
Special 9.0 Die
Hard (1988) 11.40 Anchorman: The Legend
of Ron Burgundy (2004)
1.30 Metallica:
Through the Never (2013)
ITV2
6.0am The Planet’s
Funniest Animals 6.207.10 Totally Bonkers
Guinness World Records
7.10 Who’s Doing the
Dishes? 7.55 Emmerdale
8.20-9.35 Coronation
Street 9.25 The Ellen
DeGeneres Show 10.15
Totally Bonkers Guinness
World Records 10.30
Spy Kids 3-D:
Game Over (2003) (FYI
Daily is at 11.30 12.15
Emmerdale 12.45-1.45
Coronation Street 1.45
The Ellen DeGeneres
Show 2.35-4.50 The
Jeremy Kyle Show 4.50
Judge Rinder 5.50 Take
Me Out 7.0-8.0 You’ve
Been Framed! Gold
9.0
BBC Four
Milkshake! 9.15 The
Wright Stuff 11.15 Can’t
Pay? We’ll Take It Away (T)
(R) 12.10 News (T) 12.15
GPs: Behind Closed Doors
(T) (R) 1.10 Access (T) 1.15
Home and Away (T) 1.45
Neighbours (T) 2.15 NCIS:
Catching a Serial Killer –
Dead Reckoning (T) (R)
3.15 Buried Secrets
(Monika Mitchell, 2014)
(T) Thriller. 5.0 News (T)
5.30 Neighbours (T) (R) 6.0
Home and Away (T) (R) 6.30
News (T) 7.0 The Yorkshire
Vet: A Five Legged Lamb &
Other Curious Creatures (T)
Goodbye Bargain-Loving
Brits in the Sun (T) Drag act
Wayne and his husband Des
host a charity fun day. Last
in the series. Includes news
update.
Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It
Away (T) Gary and Cona
are in west London to
recover almost £1,800
in unpaid parking fines.
10.0 Do the Right Thing With
Eamonn & Ruth (T) Ways
to protect against carbon
monoxide poisoning. Last
in the series.
11.05 Undercover Benefits
Cheat (T) (R)
12.0 SuperCasino 3.10 GPs:
Behind Closed… (T) (R) 4.0
Britain’s Greatest Bridges (T)
(R) 4.45 House Doctor (T) (R)
7.0
Beyond 100 Days (T)
7.30 Top of the Pops:
1985 (T) (R) Gary Davies
and Dixie Peach present
the chart programme,
first broadcast on 25 July
1985. Today’s programme
features Madonna, Feargal
Sharkey, the Cure, Dire
Straits and Eurythmics.
8.0
Timeshift: Hurricanes and
Heatwaves – The Highs and
Lows of British Weather
(T) (R) Documentary
focusing on the evolution
of the weather forecast.
The Secret Science of Pop
(T) (R) Evolutionary biology
Professor Armand Leroi
analyses more than 50
years of UK chart music.
9.0
10.0 Britpop at the BBC (T) (R)
Blur, Oasis, Suede et al…
11.0 Sings the Great American
Songbook (T) (R)
12.0 Top of the Pops: 1985 (T) (R)
12.30 Treasures of Ancient
Egypt (T) (R) 1.30 Timeshift:
Hurricanes and Heatwaves
(T) (R) 2.30 The Beauty of
Anatomy (T) (R) 3.0 Witness
for the Prosecution (T) (R)
Radio
8.0-9.0 Two and a Half
Men 9.0-10.0 Family
Guy 10.0 Celebrity Juice:
Easter Special 10.5011.45 Family Guy 11.4512.40 American Dad!
12.40-1.35 Two and
a Half Men 1.35-2.20
Totally Bonkers Guinness World Records
2.20 Teleshopping
5.50 ITV2 Nightscreen
More4
8.55am Food Unwrapped
9.30-11.35 A Place in
the Sun: Home or Away
11.35-2.10 Four in a
Bed 2.10-4.50 Come
Dine With Me 4.50 A
Place in the Sun: Home
or Away 5.55 Kirstie
and Phil’s Love It or
List It 6.55 The Secret
Life of the Zoo 7.55
Grand Designs 9.0 The
Good Fight 10.05 999:
What’s Your Emergency?
11.10 24 Hours in A&E
12.15 Ramsay’s Kitchen
Nightmares USA 1.15 The
Good Fight 2.15 999:
What’s Your Emergency?
3.15 8 Out of 10 Cats
Sky1
6.0am The Dog
Whisperer 7.0-8.0
RSPCA Animal Rescue
8.0-9.0 Motorway
Patrol 9.0 Road Wars
10.0 Warehouse 13 11.0
David Attenborough’s
Conquest of the Skies
12.0 NCIS: LA 1.0-3.0
Hawaii Five-0 3.0 NCIS:
LA 4.0 Stargate SG-1
5.0 The Simpsons 5.306.30 Futurama 6.308.0 The Simpsons 8.0
Arrow 9.0 SEAL Team
10.0-11.0 In the Long
Run 11.0 Jamestown
12.0 The Force: North
East 1.0 Ross Kemp:
Extreme World 2.0 Brit
Cops: Law & Disorder
3.0 Most Shocking 4.05.0 It’s Me or the Dog
5.0-6.0 Futurama
Sky Arts
6.0am-9.0 The
Glyndebourne Opera
Cup 9.0 Tales of the
Unexpected 9.30
Landscape Artist of the
Year 2016 10.30 Video
Killed the Radio Star
11.0 The Eighties 12.0
Treasures of the British
Library 1.0 Discovering:
Ernest Borgnine 2.0
Tales of the Unexpected
2.30 Landscape Artist
of the Year 2016 3.30
Video Killed the Radio
Star 4.0 The Eighties
5.0 Treasures of the
British Library 6.0
Discovering: Laurence
Olivier 7.0 André Rieu:
Magic of Maastricht 8.0
Laurel and Hardy: Their
Lives and Magic 9.45
Chaplin: The Birth of
the Tramp 11.0 Portrait
Artist of the Year 2018:
The Winner’s Story 12.0
National Treasures: The
Art of Collecting 1.0
Fanarchy 2.55 Prokofiev:
Piano Concertos 3.15 30
Degrees in February 4.30
Tales of the Unexpected
5.0-6.0 Auction
Sky Atlantic
6.0am The British
7.0 Urban Secrets 8.0
Richard E Grant’s Hotel
Secrets 9.0 The West
Wing 10.0 The West
Wing 11.0 House 12.0
House 1.0 Without a
Trace 2.0 Blue Bloods
3.0 The West Wing
4.0 The West Wing
5.0 House 6.0 House
7.0 CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation 8.0 Blue
Bloods 9.0 Billions
10.10 Our Cartoon
President 10.45 The
Putin Interviews 11.55
The Putin Interviews
1.05 Dexter 2.15 Blue
Bloods 3.10 Divorce 3.45
SMILF 4.20 The West
Wing 5.10 The West Wing
Asa Butterfield
in Hugo, Film4
Radio 3
Radio 4
6.30 Breakfast 9.0
Essential Classics.
Judith Kerr guests. 12.0
Composer of the Week:
Gesualdo (4/5) 1.0
News 1.02 Lunchtime
Concert: Malcolm
Martineau – A Life in
Song. Mahler’s Rückert
lieder, Schumann’s
Maria Stuarda Lieder and
Wagner’s Wesendonck
Lieder. (3/4) 2.0
Thursday Opera Matinee:
Berg – Wozzeck.
Christopher Maltman
(baritone: Wozzeck),
Eva-Maria Westbroek
(soprano: Marie), Willard
White (bass: Doctor),
other principals, Dutch
National Chorus, New
Amsterdam Children’s
Choir, Netherlands
Philharmonic, Marc
Albrecht. 5.0 In Tune
7.0 In Tune Mixtape
7.30 In Concert. Ex
Cathedra present a
sequence of Lenten
music at St John’s, Smith
Square, London. 10.0
Free Thinking Festival:
Building Bridges and
Other Megastructures.
Discussion. 10.45
The Essay: Is Music
a Civilising Force?
With Jameela Siddiqi.
(4/5) 11.0 Exposure:
Bethesda, Wales 12.0
Late Junction: Alasdair
Roberts Mixtape 12.30
Through the Night
6.0 Today 8.31 (LW)
Yesterday in Parliament
9.0 The Long View 9.45
(LW) Daily Service 9.45
(FM) The Channel: The
Shared Sea. With Renaud
Morieux. (4/5) 10.0
Woman’s Hour. Includes
at 10.45 Drama: Judas.
(4/5) 11.0 Crossing
Continents: Unearthing
Catalonia’s Past 11.30
The Art of Now. Mansoor
Adayfi guides listeners
through an exhibition
of artworks created
by Guantánamo Bay
inmates. 12.0 News
12.01 (LW) Shipping
Forecast 12.04 Home
Front: Ivy Monk (19/40)
12.15 You and Yours
1.0 The World at One
2.0 The Archers (R)
2.15 Drama: My Son the
Doctor, by Saleyha Ahsan
and Sudha Bhuchar.
3.0 Ramblings: Purton,
Gloucs (7/7) 3.30 Open
Book (R) 4.0 The Film
Programme 4.30 The
Brexit Lab (R) 5.0 PM
5.54 (LW) Shipping
Forecast 6.0 News 6.30
The Hitchhiker’s Guide…
Hexagonal Phase (4/6)
7.0 The Archers 7.15
Front Row 7.45 Judas
(R) (4/5) 8.0 The EU
After Brexit. The Bottom
Line and The Briefing
Room come together to
examine the economic
and political future of the
EU. 9.0 Inside Science
9.30 The Long View
(R) LW: 10.0 The World
Tonight. 10.30 TMS:
New Zealand v England
– Second Test, Day One.
12.48; 5.20 Shipping
Forecast. FM: 10.0 The
World Tonight 10.43
Voicemail 10.45 Book at
Bedtime: Reservoir 13
(9/10) 11.0 It’s Jocelyn:
Family (R) 11.30 Today
in Parliament 12.0 News
12.30 The Channel (R)
12.48 Shipping Forecast
1.0 As World Service 5.20
Shipping Forecast 5.30
News 5.43 Prayer for the
Day 5.45 Farming Today
5.58 Tweet of the Day
Radio 4 Extra
6.0 The Unpleasantness
at the Bellona Club (5/6)
6.30 Words, Words,
Words 7.0 North by
Northamptonshire (2/4)
7.30 The Hitchhiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy:
Hexagonal Phase (3/6)
8.0 Marriage Lines
(10/13) 8.30 The Goon
Show 9.0 Listomania
9.30 HR (1/6) 10.0 Sons
and Lovers (1/3) 11.0
Man About the House
(1/3) 11.15 Quartet
(4/4) 12.0 Marriage
Lines (10/13) 12.30
The Goon Show 1.0 The
Unpleasantness… (5/6)
1.30 Words, Words,
Words 2.0 The Norfolk
Mystery (9/10) 2.15
Laurence LlewelynBowen’s History of
Home (9/10) 2.30
The Old Curiosity Shop
(19/25) 2.45 Hellhound
on His Trail (4/5) 3.0
Sons and Lovers (1/3)
4.0 Listomania 4.30
HR (1/6) 5.0 North by
Northamptonshire (2/4)
5.30 The Hitchhiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy…
(3/6) 6.0 The Willows
(3/4) 6.30 Great Lives
(3/9) 7.0 Marriage
Lines (10/13) 7.30
The Goon Show 8.0
The Unpleasantness…
(5/6) 8.30 Words,
Words, Words 9.0 Man
About the House (1/3)
9.15 Quartet (4/4)
10.0 The Hitchhiker’s
Guide… (3/6) 10.30
Sketchorama (2/4) 11.0
Masala FM (5/6) 11.30
Bleak Expectations
(2/6) 12.0 The Willows
(3/4) 12.30 Great
Lives (3/9) 1.0 The
Unpleasantness… (5/6)
1.30 Words, Words,
Words 2.0 The Norfolk
Mystery (9/10) 2.15
… History of Home
(9/10) 2.30 The Old
Curiosity Shop (19/25)
2.45 Hellhound on His
Trail (4/5) 3.0 Sons
and Lovers (1/3) 4.0
Listomania 4.30 HR
(1/6) 5.0 North by
Northamptonshire
(2/4) 5.30 The Hitchhiker’s Guide… (3/6)
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
15
•
TODAY’S PET CORNER ANSWER JEAN COCTEAU
Puzzles
no 14,942
Yesterday’s
solutions
Quick crossword
Wordsearch
Across
5 Relating to groups of atoms
bonded together (9)
8 Anxiety (4)
9 Plant also called speedwell — I’ve
no car (anag) (8)
10 Pants (6)
11 Change into a variant form (6)
13 Gems — Mick Jagger’s rollers? (6)
15 One watching one’s weight (6)
16 Lose emotional control (5,3)
18 Very top (4)
19 Vehicle thief (9)
1
Down
1 Pounds in a stone? (8)
2 Uneasy psychological state (6)
3 Minimum required number of
members present for conducting
business (6)
4 Type of thin linen or cotton (4)
6 Land (9)
7 Broadcast (9)
12 Youngster (8)
14 Capital of Macedonia (6)
15 Come off (6)
17 Unfortunately (4)
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
13
14
12
15
Solution no 14,941
P
C
A
L
E
Q
U
I
L
I
B
R
I
U
M
B
S
L A S T I
R U
N K MA
P
O T H E S
E D
Y S S
I
T
P
S T E R I
U O
O B I L E
E
E
S
S
C A T E D
A A
I
R Y L A N
F
L
I
P I N N
U O G
N A N I T
H
A
A
C U B
P
R
L
P HON E
Y
P
16
17
18
D
Y
19
Y
E
Stuck? For help call 0906 200 83 83. Calls cost £1.10 per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.
Service supplied by ATS. Call 0330 333 6946 for customer service (charged at standard rate).
To buy puzzle books, visit guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846.
Sudoku no 4,019
Sudoku
no 4,020
Hard. Fill the grid so that each row, column and 3x3
box contains the numbers 1-9. Printable version at
theguardian.com/sudoku
Word wheel
SLAUGHTER
Word wheel
Suguru
Wordsearch
Find as many words as
possible using the letters
in the wheel. Each must
use the central letter and
at least two others. Letters
may be used only once. You
may not use plurals, foreign
words or proper nouns.
There is at least one nineletter word to be found.
TARGET: Excellent-61.
Good-53. Average-41.
Fill the grid so that each square
in an outlined block contains a
digit. A block of 2 squares contains
the digits 1 and 2, a block of three
squares contains the digits 1, 2 and
3, and so on. No same digit appears
in neighbouring squares, not even
diagonally.
Can you find 12 physics terms in
the grid? Words can run forwards,
backwards, vertically or diagonally,
but always in a straight, unbroken
line.
Suguru
Steve Bell
If…
Pet
corner
Which French
film director
is this with his
Siamese cat?
a. René Clair
b. Jean Cocteau
c. Jean Renoir
d. Jacques Tati
Answer top right
16
The Guardian
Thursday 29 March 2018
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the guardian, journal
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