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The Guardian G2 - May 9, 2018

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Wednesday 09/05/18
Arwa Mahdawi
Billionaires love
capitalism – but do you?
page 3
Jess Cartner-Morley
Let us give thanks for
the Met Gala dress code
page 6
Meghan Markle
makes over
the monarchy!
Is there
any hope
for the
Pass notes
№ 3,805
The art of the rash promise
Newly crowned snooker world champion Mark
Williams kept his promise to conduct Monday night’s
post-final press conference naked if he pocketed the
title. Truly, a man of his word. I was ready to condemn
him after he arrived at the press conference sporting
a towel, but he did indeed remove it and used
a tablecloth to allow him to answer questions about Melania: the
long reds and troublesome pinks without undue
most reluctant
embarrassment. Who else has made a rash promise?
first lady ever?
And have they gone through with it?
Gary Lineker
Age: 66.
Appearance: Like someone ate Steven Seagal.
“A disgraced Vegas magician”, according to the
LA Times. A melted John Travolta.
He’s not in the news because he’s made another
film, is he? Tell me it’s not that. Calm yourself,
my friend. Were that the case, we would have
posted a trigger warning. He has simply been
sighted as one of the guests at Vladimir Putin’s
latest swearing in as Russia’s Greatest President
of All Time Totally No Messing.
Why was he there? I thought he was some Zen
Buddhist master thingibob. He was indeed
declared a tulku, or reincarnated lama, by a
Buddhist master in 1997. But he has since then
found a way to combine the reborn spirit of
treasure revealer Chungdrag Dorje dwelling
within him with other things.
Like what? He released two albums, launched
an energy drink and an aftershave called Scent
of Action, and became a reserve deputy sheriff
in Jefferson, Louisiana, which led to the reality
show Steven Seagal: Lawman.
Oh, I remember that! The real police were
really good at enduring his presence. Why iss
it not on any more? It all got a bit complicated
after Seagal was named in a suit alleging sexual
trafficking, although he denied it and the suitt
was later dropped.
Ah. But he’s bounced back! He became aikido
buddies with Putin and a cheerleader for some
of the man’s greatest works, a spokesman and
lobbyist for the Russian arms manufacturer
Orsis and, two years ago, a Russian citizen.
(“He was asking quite insistently and over
a lengthy period,” according to a weary
government official.)
Wow. I know. And you thought there was no
beginning to the man’s talents.
Well, I have seen Kill Switch. Fair enough. But
bear in mind also that he fitted all this around
developing a line of aromatherapy oils and
fending off allegations of sexual assault.
What a guy. You begin to see what Putin sees
in him. It’s not just the outspoken support for
the annexation of Ukraine. He’s a real grafter.
He made more than five direct-to-video films in
2016 alone, as well as touring Russian schools
and visiting arms fairs with the president.
I did not think I would live to see the day when
I would long for Steven Seagal to stick with
acting. Truly, every hour we stray further
from God’s light. But closer to the fiery
heat-death of the universe! So, peckers up,
everybody! Peckers up!
Do say: “I miss the 80s.”
Don’t say: “What’s Russian for ‘useful idiot’?”
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
In December 2015, the presenter
promised to “do the first Match of the
Day of next season in just my undies”
if 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester City won
the Premier League. Leicester duly
delivered, which is more than Lineker
did. He opened the programme in
what looked to me more like a pair
of shorts than boxers. Oddly, most
pundits accepted this, with only
former England cricket captain Michael
Vaughan calling him out. A sad case of
the emperor’s
new shorts.
Paddy Ashdown and
Alastair Campbell
Cornered on a BBC election-night
panel in 2015, Ashdown promised
to “eat my hat” if the exit poll’s
prediction of just 10 seats for
the Lib Dems proved correct.
Campbell doubled down with a
promise to “eat my kilt” if Labour
suffered meltdown in Scotland.
Both predictions proved accurate,
but neither fulfilled their promises
until presented with a chocolate
hat and kilt, which doesn’t count.
Matthew Goodwin
Dan Hodges
The political pundit is another who
changed the rules of the game when
his prediction went wrong. In 2012,
Hodges tweeted: “If Ukip break 6%
at the next election, I’ll streak naked
down Whitehall.” Ukip got 13% in
the 2015 election and Hodges jogged
tentatively down Whitehall wearing
a pair of ill-fitting black Calvin Klein
Katie Hopkins
The real scandal, though, concerns
Hopkins. In 2016, she vowed to run
naked through the capital with a
sausage up her bottom if Sadiq Khan
won the London mayoralty. An
expectant nation waits.
Stephen Moss
The only person who comes out of this
well is the academic and Ukip expert,
who promised to eat his new book on
Brexit if Jeremy Corbyn polled 38%
or more in the 2017 election. Labour
got more than 40% of the vote and
Goodwin was seen on Sky News a
few days later stuffing pages into
his mouth. But even here there are
questions: did he swallow them? How
much of the book was consumed?
Was the stunt just a clever plug for the
book? I demand a recount.
The correct response to the Trump
spectacle is to retire in disgust, but
there’s something about Melania.
Everything she does is laced with
this mesmerising ambiguity: does
she just loathe her husband? Or does
she despise the entire business?
From her black lace garb and
appalled visage while meeting
the pope (handily subtitled by
Twitter: “Dress for the job you want
#widow”) and her refusal to touch
Trump in public, to her manifest joy
in the company of Barack Obama,
it often looks like straight spousal
hatred. But then she launches a
campaign for child internet safety,
accompanied by a pamphlet that
bears “an uncanny resemblance” to
a document released under Michelle
Obama’s name, almost two years
after she was accused of partly
plagiarising one of her convention
speeches, and it looks a lot like
revulsion for the whole enterprise
they call “first lady”.
She would not be the first to dread
the job. Eleanor Roosevelt said,
of the night of the election: “I had
watched Mrs Theodore Roosevelt
and had seen what it meant to be the
wife of a president, and I cannot say
I was pleased at the prospect.”
However idiosyncratic a first
lady, Melania can never escape her
context. Both Roosevelt and Lou
Henry Hoover had fine proto-feminist
credentials in feminism’s nascent
phase; it was only when the women’s
movement was established that first
ladies had to start acting like Stepford
wives. Hillary Clinton, having
begun her pitch as her husband’s
intellectual equal, found herself in
a cookie-baking competition with
Barbara Bush. That was the 90s all
over; prove your strong views, then
demonstrate how easily you can
think the opposite, in case anyone
doesn’t like your strong views.
Michelle Obama drew that into a
more comfortable, 00s shape with her
apparently boundless enthusiasm for
all ca
causes, from freeing kidnapped
Nigerian girls to the benefits of
exercise. Melania may not be
reluctant so much as theatrically
embodying a 21st-century cultural
endpoint, a wry, impeccably groomed
nihilism, ascending each podium
like a woman
who, sentenced to the
guillotine, doesn’t care.
Zoe W
Honestly, the
midlife crisis
isn’t all bad
A hedgehog
Phelps has
been receiving
lessons” since
he was found
with injured
back legs in
Scotland last
He is due to be
released back
into the wild,
where we hope
he won’t hog
any lanes.
The author Marian Keyes wants you
to know that the male midlife crisis
is not funny. She told the podcast
Love Stories With Dolly Alderton
that she wanted “to do justice to
a midlife crisis novel” with her latest
book, The Break. In so many such
works, “the man is portrayed as
a complete fool. He’s a ridiculous
character ... He runs off with a
19-year-old who obviously has
no interest in him other than his
money. And he buys a car that he
is far too old and unflashy for. And
they’re always presented as figures
to mock.” We’ve all probably read
a novel like that. I think I might
have written one.
Of course these things happen in
books because they also happen in
real life – you won’t get to 50 without
knowing a man who has gone off
the rails in precisely the manner
described above – but Keyes’s point
is that there is something genuinely
tragic at the heart of it. “Nobody
goes through a midlife crisis without
experiencing real despair, a real fear,
real soul-searching.”
I dislike the expression “midlife
crisis”, because it implies there
is a point after midlife when the
whole thing stops, and this is not
my experience. I prefer the term
“ongoing personal emergency”,
which better captures the mounting
sense of alarm. And while Keyes is
correct to say it can be tragic, it’s
still bleakly funny, because having
a midlife crisis is so undignified.
Arguably, it’s a necessary shedding
of dignity, which can become
me. So
a terrible burden over time.
you buy a weird new wardrobe,
make a disastrous career change,
p or do
leave a stable relationship
th your
something ill-advised with
hair. Then you set about slowly
reclaiming your lost dignity,
ould keep
which, if nothing else, should
you busy for a few years.
In retrospect, all I did was buy
a banjo when I turned 44,,
which was a lot cheaper
than a Porsche and did
away with my dignity
quickly enough. If I
reclaim it any time
soon, I’ll let you know.
Tim Dowling
Let them eat gold! Why
capitalism deserves to be loved
I won’t knock Be Best
– us certified geniuses
need to stick together
Thoughts and prayers for capitalism, please. It is doing its best, it really is,
but nobody loves it any more. Poll after poll shows that young people in the
west are disillusioned with the prevailing economic system. And pundit after
pundit is forecasting the end of capitalism as we know it.
Enter Ken Langone, an 82-year-old billionaire, whose mission it is to make
young people appreciate capitalism again. I know, weird, isn’t it? A billionaire
who loves capitalism! Who would have thought? Anyway, Langone loves
capitalism so much that he has written a
book called I Love Capitalism!, which comes
out next week – shortly after the 200th
anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth. And you
know what? I can’t wait to buy Langone’s
celebration of capital on the free market.
Langone was inspired to write his
oeuvre after witnessing young Americans’
support for Bernie Sanders during the 2016
presidential campaign. According to the Wall
Street Journal, it troubled Langone that so
many millennials thought the US “should be
headed toward something that … resembles
socialism: guaranteed income. Free college
Enemy of
tuition. Single-payer healthcare.” Truly, the
idea of graduating debt-free and not having
Ken Langone
to worry about being bankrupted by medical
bills is borderline dystopic. No wonder
Langone, the co-founder of Home Depot, was
so upset. Free healthcare has no place in the DIY American dream.
Please don’t think I am being snarky. Capitalism is facing challenges.
Studies show that millennials in the US and the UK are the first generation
in modern memory who will be worse off than their parents. Meanwhile,
the average American worker has less time off than a medieval peasant;
one in three UK millennials will never be able to own their own home; and
the world’s richest 1% are on track to own two-thirds of the world’s wealth
by 2030. There are lots of statistics like these; there is an abundance of data
that suggests capitalism is benefiting the few and letting down the many.
Ultimately, though, capitalism deserves to be loved. Far from enriching
a few lucky individuals, it enriches the world. If you don’t believe me, look
up the Wikipedia entries for the wealthiest people on the planet. The first
sentences of these hagiographies usually include the word “philanthropist”.
Capitalism lets entrepreneurs pay as little tax as possible – then donate some
of their billions towards humankind and pat themselves on the back.
Forget all the do-gooding, though. The best thing about capitalism is
the cool stuff it produces. For example, gold chicken wings! Yes, thanks to
Instagram capitalism, while most of the world is starving, the rest of it is
eating gold. In Manhattan, you can buy chicken dipped in 24-carat gold.
In Melbourne, you can buy burgers in gold buns. In London, you can buy
pizza with sprinklings of gold flakes. Some people may see the trend for
edible gold as disgusting evidence of the excesses of capitalism, but I view
it as a canny survival tactic by the bourgeoisie. After all, the poor are going
to think twice about eating the rich when doing so carries the risk of
heavy metal poisoning.
Poor Melania Trump. Everyone
is making fun of the first lady for
her new BE BEST initiative, which
promotes children’s wellbeing. The
all-caps campaign is being accused
of plagiarism and being ridiculed for
its creative approach to grammar.
The internet is full of BE BEST
memes and the first lady is being
treated like THE STUPIDEST.
This maligning of Melania is
unfair, because the woman isn’t an
idiot; she is a genius. And not a selfproclaimed “very stable genius”, like
her husband. She is a certified genius.
In 2001, Melania, a Slovenian citizen,
was granted permanent residence
in the US under the EB-1 green card
programme. Known colloquially
as the “Einstein” or “genius” visa,
the EB-1 is reserved for immigrants
with “extraordinary ability”.
Since Melania shot to prominence
as the president’s wife, there has
been widespread speculation about
how she qualified for such a visa.
After all, when the green card was
granted, Melania Knauss was best
known for modelling. Her biggest
job was a shoot for the swimsuit
edition of Sports Illustrated, where
she was featured hugging an
inflatable killer whale. Was that
really extraordinary?
I am going to argue that yes, it
was. You see, while I am normally
no fan of Melania, we geniuses have
to stick together. A few years ago,
I was also granted a “genius” green
card. I didn’t hug an inflatable killer
whale for Sports Illustrated to get it.
I just spent a lot of money on a good
lawyer who knew how to play the
system (legally). That is the thing
about immigration systems. They
are not abused by poor refugees,
much as conservatives may like
to pretend they are. No, they are
gamed by the privileged. They have
never been about merit; they have
always been about money.
John Oliver’s run-in with koala chlamydia
In marsupial news, the comedian John Oliver now has a koala
chlamydia ward named after him. The actor Russell Crowe
bestowed this dubious distinction on Oliver – payback for the
comedian donating to an Alaskan Blockbuster store a jockstrap
once owned by Crowe. Oliver isn’t the first celebrity to be
immortalised ignominiously. There is a landfill in New Zealand
named after John Cleese. A beetle in Malaysia is named after
Leonardo DiCaprio. Barack Obama has many gross things named
after him – including Aptostichus barackobamai, a trapdoor spider,
and Obamadon gracilis, an extinct lizard. Thanks, Obama!
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
Celebrating the
UN’s proposal
to allow the
creation of
Israel, Tel Aviv,
November 1947
When Israel declared independence
70 years ago, the Guardian sent the
writer Arthur Koestler to report.
But was he an altogether accurate
witness? Oliver Holmes
looks through the archives
The birth
of Israel:
‘a stubborn
fight for life’
n the beginning was
chaos and muddle,”
reads the first line of
the June 1948 dispatch
from the coastal city of
Tel Aviv. The state of
Israel was less than a month old
when the Manchester Guardian
launched a series of articles by the
journalist and novelist Arthur
Koestler. The country had declared
independence on 14 May.
In the midst of a conflict with Arab
Palestinians, coupled with an invasion
by surrounding states, Israel had no
clearly accepted borders but was
hastily forming a government. So
young was the country that the Israeli
visas stamped on Koestler’s and his
partner’s passports in Paris were
numbered five and six. On arrival, he
found airport signs freshly painted
in English and Hebrew, while
immigration and customs officers
had not yet received uniforms.
“Here is bureaucracy in a state
of virginal innocence before it has
had time to spin itself into a cocoon
of red tape,” wrote Koestler in his
first article, titled “Israel: First
Impressions”. Seventy years ago,
Koestler had published Darkness at
Noon (1940) and was established as a
buccaneering leftwing intellectual
and close friend of George Orwell.
He arrived to an Israel vastly
unrecognisable from the regional
powerhouse it is today.
Notwithstanding open conflict,
Israel’s untested leaders were
gathering Jewish militant factions
into one army and forming a nation
of disparate Jews from across Europe
and the Middle East. After close to
three decades in which the territory
had been under the British Mandate
for Palestine, the United Nations
proposed, in 1947, to split the area
into two, forming independent Arab
and Jewish states. Civil war erupted,
and Jewish leaders later announced
Israel’s creation.
“The first year or two of Israel’s
existence will be decisive for its
future, and it depends on its leaders
who have resurrected the Jewish
State against almost impossible
odds,” wrote Koestler.
Born in Hungary in 1905 to Jewish
parents, Koestler had embraced a
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
myriad of 20th-century political
movements, describing himself as
the “Casanova of Causes”.
Sometime communist, anti-fascist,
anti-death penalty and proeuthanasia, Koestler was captured
by Franco’s forces in the Spanish
civil war in the late 1930s, and
narrowly avoided being executed
after he was arrested for spying.
Later, in 1940, he managed to escape
from the Nazis when they invaded
France, and made his way to Britain.
Despite all this, chief among his
political obsessions may have been
the establishment of the Jewish
state. Koestler, who first travelled to
Palestine in 1926 as a Jewish settler,
once described himself as a “young
duel-fighting Zionist”.
A controversial malcontent,
the writer was known to be a
manipulative sexual predator, and
an alleged rapist (Michael Foot’s
wife, Jill Craigie, was one of his
alleged victims, confirming a claim
made in a 1999 biography). Further
contention was added to his record
after he and his wife killed
themselves in 1983, even though she
was healthy and years younger than
him. Police found the pair seated in
chairs in the living room of their
Knightsbridge home.
Koestler began his Israel
dispatches in deserted Haifa, a
Mediterranean town where, weeks
before his arrival, he reported that
most of the port city’s 70,000 Arabs
had fled amid fierce fighting with
Jewish forces. Koestler’s take was
that “it fell because the Arab
population, though only slightly
inferior in numbers and superior in
arms, were utterly demoralised
through the desertion of their
leaders”. The Haganah, a Jewish
paramilitary organisation that went
on to become the Israel Defense
Forces, had broadcast in Arabic the
names of the deserters to demoralise
the Arab gunmen, he wrote.
Arabs featured only occasionally
in Koestler’s articles. “The native
Palestine Arabs,” he said, “never
fought seriously because they had
no reason for fighting, having
accepted the presence of the Jews
with its economic benefit and the de
facto partition as accomplished
facts.” Travelling down the coastal
road from Haifa to Tel Aviv, Koestler
said his view was “confirmed” by
Arab farmers in Israel who he said
were “unmolested” while being
treated “with equanimity and
trading produce with Jews”. It was
not clear if he had stopped to speak
to them.
Anita Shapira, an Israeli historian
who has focused on the early years
of statehood, says this “very idyllic
description of farmers working in
the fields baffled me. It was far from
reality. We are talking about almost
10 months of civil war between the
Palestinians and the Jews, and then a
month of fighting with the Arab states.
I don’t think anybody could have
imagined idyllic relations between
Jews and Arabs at that time.”
More than 700,000 Palestinians fled
or were driven from their homes in
the war surrounding Israel’s creation
– an event that is commemorated by
Palestinians every year on 15 May as
the Nakba, or “catastrophe”. Tens of
thousands of Palestinians stayed
and make up about a fifth of Israel’s
modern-day population.
Eman Abu Hanna-Nahhas, who
has written a PhD on the collective
memory of the Nakba for
Palestinians, says the relationship
with Arabs remaining inside Israel,
many of whom were internally
displaced, varied significantly.
“When you are defeated and you
know that you’ve lost your home,
I’m not sure you would have good
relations,” she says. Other
Palestinians who had fled but were
trying to return to the new state
were blocked. But, she adds, in other
cases there was amicability.
One of the only times an Arab source
did appear in Koestler’s reports was
when he interviewed two Egyptian
prisoners who, he said, “displayed
about the lowest morale I ever saw
among combatants in any army”.
Koestler had already written
much on Palestine, including
Thieves in the Night, a novel
inspired by his experiences in an
agricultural kibbutz. A 1946 review
in the New York Times called it
“editorial, angry and partisan”. It
added: “There is never a time when
[the book’s Jewish settler
protagonist] questions the right of
his people to dominate the land in
which the Arabs are and have long
been in a majority.”
After he returned to Israel in 1948,
Koestler described what he said was
a “mystical fervour” among the
state’s improvised army: “Native
Jewish Tarzans throw homemade
Molotov bombs on tanks from the
tops of eucalyptus trees or jump at
turrets blowing themselves up.”
Many of his reports centred on the
Jewish forces being haphazardly
collated into one military, with
sporadic “fratricide struggle”
between bitter rivals.
One story, titled “Trouble in
Israel”, covered the sinking of the
Altalena cargo ship, which was the
focus of a confrontation between the
Irgun, a rightwing Jewish
paramilitary group, and the nascent
army. Sixteen men were killed and
scores wounded when gunboats of
the Israeli navy fired on and
grounded the ship, which the Irgun
Members of the
Haganah with a
trench mortar;
refugees (below)
‘The very idyllic
description of
farmers working
in the fields baffled
me. It was far
from reality’
had used to transport arms. Koestler
quotes one of the civilian
passengers, a woman who had
travelled from France to immigrate
to the new state: “I gave up my
studies to help defend the Jewish
State. While approaching the shore
we were received by the fire of
Jewish guns and four of us were
killed. This ends all hope.”
Koestler contrasts what he said
was a moderate Haganah with the
“terrorist” Irgun and Lehi militants,
whom he described as religiously
motivated extremists who “fought
with uncompromising fanaticism,
committed murder, and walked
cheerfully to the gallows, with some
savage Psalm of David on their lips”.
Reply all
In it
Poppy Noor and readers
answer your questions
Our community of 70 families is facing
being made homeless by our landlord,
who wants to knock down our estate to
build executive-style houses. They are
rare houses, built by the National Coal
Board in the 50s. We have organised a lot
around this petition but are fearful it may
all amount to nothing. How can we stop
the demolition of these rare homes?
Operating underground during
British rule, in 1946 the Irgun had
blown up the southern wing of
Jerusalem’s iconic King David hotel,
killing 91. And, in September 1948,
Koestler reported the assassination
by Lehi of Count Folke Bernadotte,
the UN peace mediator.
The heavy-handed response to the
Altalena incident, Koestler wrote,
was down to an insecure leadership,
which he said “suffers from an
inferiority complex and is obsessed
with asserting its authority”. “Like a
young school teacher facing an unruly
class it is reverting to unnecessarily
draconian measures,” he wrote.
“This situation is aggravated by the
fact that the government is not
elected but self-appointed and is
displaying embryonic tendencies
towards dictatorship.”
The provisional prime minister,
David Ben-Gurion – who Koestler
said ran the country with “paternal
despotism” – would go on to lead
Israel for a total of 13 years, although
not consecutively; his political allies
remained in power until the late 1970s.
Shapira says there was never a
concern that Israel would not hold
elections, which were planned for
and took place a year after Koestler’s
visit. “Dictatorship was never an
option,” she says. “However, BenGurion was not a very tolerant person,
especially on the issue of authority.”
For him, she says, it was essential
that the state had a monopoly on the
use of force.
Koestler later turned his back on
Israel (where he is viewed
disfavourably to this day), but in
1948 he was bursting with Zionist
zeal. Nevertheless, he found Israel
“aesthetically” disappointing. He
appeared to hold a particular dislike
for Tel Aviv, then a city of about
200,000 people whose apartments
had sprung up swiftly following
waves of migration. “Tel Aviv’s
architecture is the drab
functionalism of the early 20s at its
worst. The streets have no skyline;
the seafront is hemmed in by a row
of sordid little cafes with blaring
loud-speakers,” he wrote. “As for the
countryside, no greater contrast is
imaginable than that between the
picturesque squalor of the Arab
villages, now mostly dead and
deserted, and the sober
purposefulness of Jewish
settlements,” he added.
Israel, he concluded towards the
end of his seven-month assignment,
“is both a hard pioneer country and a
bitter refugee country, disillusioned
by experience, stubbornly fighting
for life, with an aching void in its
past and an interrogation mark for
its future”.
Arthur Koestler
in 1947 with
Mamaine Paget,
who went with
him to Israel.
They married
in 1950
What a sad situation. Look through the council’s local
plan, and check whether this development disagrees with
its aims in any areas, be it around affordable housing,
the environment or conservation. Think about other
interest groups you might bring in, like ex-mining communities that care about the legacy of these properties.
I spoke to successful housing campaigners for
you. Glyn Harries, from the New Era campaign, says
you should make it clear that you are willing to take
non-violent direct action. One simple thing is deciding
to make a clear statement on whether you plan to
leave your homes. Dr Stuart Hodkinson, from Leeds
University, says: “They might be private renters with
fewer rights, but if all 70 say they have no plans to
leave, it will be a big financial operation to evict them.”
Could you create a non-profit organisation and seek
to buy the homes yourselves, with fundraising? You
should also get expert advice. Find out what all the
costs will be – of eviction, redevelopment or potential
homelessness – so you can make people aware of what
costs the private developer may be avoiding, and who
will end up paying for it – for example, in their tax bill.
And look at the cost of alternatives, like bringing these
homes up to a decent standard instead of demolition.
Finally, say Harries and Hodkinson, celebrity
doesn’t hurt. If you had a well-known Yorkshireperson
backing your cause, it would bring huge public
attention. Think about who that might be.
Buy the site from the landlord
Rather than fighting what looks like
a losing battle, why don’t the 70
tenants form a self-build association
and offer to buy the site from the
landlord? They could team up with a
local building society, which might
take care of the funding, and with
self-build schemes – the input from
the self-build members is normally
taken in lieu of a deposit.
Get the government to help
Consider taking advantage of
government funding to develop
a local neighbourhood plan
( Once
in place, the local planning authority
and developer must take the
neighbourhood plan into account
when seeking planning consent.
J Aitch
Demolition is a good idea
Fifties houses? They are almost
certainly better demolished and
replaced with good-quality, wellinsulated homes. You just have to
fight for them to be lived in by YOU.
We’re going back to feudal times
The council’s planning committee
may not own the land, but it does
have the power to grant or refuse
planning permission for what kind
of development is permitted. Most
councils, unfortunately, side with
those with the big bucks (perhaps
because they are strapped for cash).
Mere ownership of the freehold
should not be the be-all and end-all;
otherwise we are back to feudal times.
Linda Roberts
Look for weaknesses to exploit
Even if planning permission is
awarded, your landlord doesn’t have
to go ahead with the proposals (I
know, it’s unlikely). Try to find out
why it has made these proposals.
You can then try to think of ways to
a mutually satisfactory agreement.
You could also investigate whether a
housing association might want to
buy the properties, with you all as
sitting tenants. If the landlord won’t
play ball, look for any weaknesses
you could exploit: an aversion to
bad publicity? Use it. Try to interest
the media – are there any lovable
grannies, people with disabilities,
sick children, newlyweds, who
would lose their homes? Don’t worry
about stooping too low. You are up
against an organisation that wants to
knock your home down. Also, is your
landlord a bigger organisation, with
an AGM you could picket? Could you
become a shareholder and speak at an
AGM or call a meeting? Finally, direct
action: you need as many people
involved as possible. Good luck!
Build an alliance
What we need is an alliance between
the local and national organisations
that defend rented homes against
demolition, and social housing against
being made into “affordable” housing,
together with organisations and
groups interested in protecting diverse
architecture and varied local character.
The next problem
My community seems united in
discouraging Travellers from using
a small local common. But surely
they are legally allowed to settle on
this land as it is held in common?
Email your advice – or send a new
question for Poppy and readers
to consider – to
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
leap of faith
This year’s Met Gala theme of Catholicism in fashion
was a challenge. But from Rihanna’s pope to Lena
Waithe’s rainbow cape, the opening night was a triumph
➺ Words Jess Cartner-Morley
t took curator Andrew
Bolton several years to
convince the Vatican to give
its blessing to Heavenly
Bodies: Fashion and the
Catholic Imagination,
the blockbuster show at the
Metropolitan Museum in New York
that explores divine inspiration
in fashion. One imagines Rome’s
reluctance stemmed from concern
that the exhibition – and particularly
the opening night gala, which has
become known for its outrageous
outfits – would trivialise religious
imagery. It needn’t have worried.
Fashion takes clothes very, very
seriously. In an industry in which
dressing up matters and sartorial
symbolism carries a very real weight,
the Met Gala is the most important
night of the year. Even when it looks
absurd to outsiders – remember the
omelette dress of 2015? – the fashion
seen on the Met Gala red carpet has
been considered and planned with
the solemnity of a papal conclave.
In their Manhattan hotel rooms,
celebrities dress for this event with
a level of meticulous ceremony that
would befit a Sunday at St Peter’s.
This year’s dress code was a
challenge. To succeed on this red
carpet required honouring the
theme of Catholicism in fashion
without being seen to make fun of
it. What is special about the Met red
carpet – by comparison, for instance,
with Cannes – is that you can’t win it
just by looking good. A supermodel
can wear a tight dress and high heels
and sail through almost every other
public occasion with flying colours,
but that look is a fast track to being
completely ignored at the Met.
You have to dig deep for this night,
because Met Gala triumph requires
not just beauty but bravery and a
leap of faith. The Vatican would
surely approve.
The obvious link between the
world presided over by Pope Francis
and the one ruled by Queen Anna
Wintour is that clothing delineates
status. Rihanna attacked this theme
with her signature fearlessness and
blew everyone else out of the water.
In the season of the first Millicent
Fawcett statue and of a Christian
Dior slogan T-shirt namechecking
Linda Nochlin’s feminist essay “Why
Have There Been No Great Women
Artists”, RiRi gave us a female pope.
She wore a heavily embellished
mini dress under a matching cloak,
accessorised with a pointed mitre,
stiletto heels and pearls strung
around one ankle – because, after
all, there’s not always room for a
rosary in a clutch bag – all created for
her by John Galliano for the house
of Maison Margiela. The look was a
version of an ensemble designed by
Galliano during his time at Christian
Dior that appeared on the catwalk in
2000 worn by a man, and is included
in the Met exhibition.
But clothes are never only about
power, either in fashion or in the
church. Beauty as a metaphor for
human goodness runs through the
history of art, through religious
iconography and through the way
fashion worships at the altar of
beauty and glamour. Katy Perry
was a triumph in Versace. In a gold
‘pagan’ butterfly
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
Rihanna’s pope;
Lena Waithe’s
cape (above);
and (above
left) Alicia
Vikander in
Louis Vuitton
Solange Knowles
in Iris van
Herpen; below,
Lily Collins in
Footwear rules for summer
Katy Perry,
dazzling in
Getting ready for that summer pedicure? No, me neither. But
there is good news for those who identify as lazy when it comes
to their feet. This season, toes will be a rare site in fashionable
circles, and toe cleavage is practically illegal, according to the
denizens of the front row. This year’s look is all about the
closed-toe mule, you see. A quick swipe with the pumice
stone is all you need. Here are four of the most fashionable
heel-flashers around. By Lauren Cochrane
The woke
dress and boots, and with a 6ft
white feathered wingspan, she was
arguably the most breathtaking
representation of the archangel
Gabriel since Fra Angelico painted
the Annunciation fresco in the
Convent of San Marco. (And yes, I do
realise how sacrilegious that is, in
artistic terms.)
Sienna Miller in gold and white
Louis Vuitton was also divine as
another Renaissance angel on the
red carpet.
The transactional business of
fashion is a multimillion-pound
industry precisely because it
taps into powerful emotions and
desires. Fashion deliberately blurs
the boundaries between things
that you have the power to change
and the things you don’t. (You can
buy the perfect party dress, but
you can’t actually buy romance or
joy or fun.) Religious imagery has
long employed the same porous
boundaries, conjuring the invisible
into life. The word halo – an
accessory seen at the gala on Solange
Knowles in Iris van Herpen and Lily
Collins in Givenchy, among others
– means glory. And the aesthetic of
papal garments has roots in worldly
power, as well as spiritual. When
the Emperor Constantine moved
his capital east to Constantinople
and allowed the pontiffs to assume
control the old capital, Rome, they
incorporated some of the clothing
and accessories worn by the Roman
emperors who had ruled before
them, the better to legitimise their
power in the eyes of the people
of Rome.
Like all the best dress codes,
the Met Gala invitation allowed
for lots of individuality. Frances
McDormand consolidated her role
as 2018’s designated maverick by
coming as “a pagan”, she said on
Flat mules
with bow,
Katy Perry, with a
6ft white feathered
wingspan, was
a breathtaking
portrayal of the
archangel Gabriel
the red carpet, in her Valentino
butterfly headdress. Those actors
who have pledged vows to fashion
houses (or at least, signed contracts
with them) showed their constancy
with looks that mined clerical
robes for the most this-season
silhouette. A clear winner on this
is the mozzetta, a short shouldercovering robe worn by the pope
and cardinals and, last night, by a
very chic Alicia Vikander in Louis
Vuitton. Kate Moss wore a black
dress with a feathered black neckline
that nodded to the dress code with a
fallen-angel vibe – this was her first
appearance in the US since 2009,
and there was speculation that
the prolonged absence was due to
difficulty procuring a visa after the
drug scandal of 2005 – but mainly
referenced herself. Moss in a black
feather trim dress, with Johnny
Depp at Cannes, and a messy bun,
is a late-1990s fashion reference the
fashion faithful will immediately
Best red-carpet quote of the
night, though, goes to the actor
Lena Waithe, who wore a rainbow
flag cape to spotlight the Catholic
church’s complicated relationship
with the LGBTQ community. “The
theme to me is, like, be yourself,”
she told the New York Times on the
red carpet. “You were made in God’s
image, right?”
Rainbow stripe
mule, Kurt
Geiger, £139
The arty
Juniper ball
heel mules, £62,
The Seven
Year Itch
It doesn’t get much better than
your shoe of choice enjoying the
Marilyn Monroe seal of approval.
The actor wore slingbacks in that
1955 subway grate scene in The
Seven Year Itch. OK, those were
open-toed, but 2018’s version has
all the mid-century charm without
any toe issues. Prada’s came with
punk attitude but gingham gives a
bit of classic wholesomeness that
the 50s would totally get. It also
looks great with that other Monroe
fashion favourite, denim.
When Maria Grazia Chiuri came to
Dior in July 2016, she put feminism
front and centre of her own new
look . Ballet fl ats, it’s fair to say, are
a bit too cutesy to scream
intersectionality or any other
zeitgeisty term. Instead, Ch iuri
gave tthem a rework by tweaking
the bo
bow to the side of the shoe,
adding a point to the front and
emancipating your heels. Other
rand have followed suit. Meet
your ttake-you-everywhere
summer shoe – that includes
marching on anti-Trump protests,
has a whole category entitled
“holiday shoes”. We like its style.
The backless loafer introduced by
Gucci – complete with shearling – in
2015 has morphed into the kind of
shoes that demand attention, or
at least a rooftop and a caipirinha
before lunch. Maximalist styles
ranging from XL pompoms to
rainbow stripes are all invited, and
all on the high street, too.
Anyone who follows Simon Porte
Jacquemus on Instagram will
find not employing the adjective
“adorable” tricky. Paris’s golden
boy, who posts videos of tulips on
bicycles and donkeys on the beach,
along with himself in oversized
picture hats, has also had a hand
in making shoes with heels that
could quite easily pass in a Ettore
Sottsass exhibition. Topshop and
other brands are exploring other
heel shapes. Expect ball-heeled
mules at gallery openings this
£49.99, Mango
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
mind the
➺ Words John Harris
The anti-royalism of the Sex Pistols’ era feels like
ancient history as Harry and Meghan’s wedding
approaches. Have republicans simply lost the fight?
n a scorchingly
hot Saturday lunchtime in Leeds, the
varied strands of the British left have
gathered outside the city’s art gallery
for their annual May Day parade.
They are all here: the Labour party,
the Communist party, the Socialist
party, a smattering of trade unions,
the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and
a handful of vegans chalking slogans
on the paving stones. Meanwhile,
under a green gazebo adorned with
the tagline “End the Reign”, activists
from a radical organisation that
resists any left/right stereotyping are
setting up their stall and hoping for
a decent couple of hours’ business.
On a trestle table, they have
arranged a handful of laminated
blowups of newspaper articles,
mostly from the Guardian, about
Prince Harry being interviewed
by police about the killing of rare
birds, the Queen’s £82m income and
the “black spider letters” – named
after Prince Charles’s eccentric
handwriting – that revealed the
future king’s efforts to influence
some of the policies of the last
Labour government. The basic point
all this bumf is intended to illustrate
is presented in a four-page A5
leaflet. “Monarchy must go,” it says,
explaining why having a hereditary
head of state “goes against every
democratic principle”, as well as
claiming that looking after the royals
costs the public purse £334m a year.
The Yorkshire branch of
Republic – the pressure group
dedicated to “campaigning for
a democratic alternative to the
monarchy” – has been in existence
since 2012. Its prime movers
reckon they have a database of
“a few hundred” supporters
across the region, but the group’s
once-a-month campaigning work
tends to be carried out by a handful
of committed activists. Today,
there are four: Shaun Iggleden,
52; Nigel Catling, 59; Ian Cox, 64;
and 41-year-old Mark Baxter.
The fact that they are all older
white men perhaps illustrates
the parts of the population their
campaigning has yet to reach, but
they are far from being the cranks
and anoraks some people would
have you believe. Their arguments
against the monarchy are calm, lucid
and eloquent; they all have a clear
sense of how difficult this enduring,
often bizarre, institution is to
campaign against and how long it
may take even to start to dislodge it.
The arduous nature of antimonarchy activism is quickly proved
by the 10 minutes I spend talking to
Tracy, Helen and Nigel, who play in
the brass band that is about to lead
the May Day crowd on a five-minute
lap of the surrounding area. Do they,
I wonder, know what Republic is
all about?
“Disestablishing the monarchy,”
says Nigel, without missing a beat.
“I think that was a better argument
before Donald Trump got elected.
That puts me off.”
“I’d keep it like it is,” says Tracy,
who plays the tenor horn. “I like
it. I think it’s brill: all the parades
and the pomp and ceremony. And
I think the Queen’s amazing.” She
‘I’m not bothered
who Harry
does or doesn’t
marry. It doesn’t
concern me’
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
will be watching Prince Harry marry
Meghan Markle next week. “It’s
going to be great.”
What do they think about how
much the monarchy costs?
“They bring so much money in,”
she says. “And everything costs a lot.
The government costs a lot.”
Do they worry at all about the
prospect of King Charles III?
“I really think it should be William
next,” says Helen, who plays the
cornet. “But you don’t get to change
those things.”
Tracy adds: “I don’t think Charles
will be able to do what he wants,
though. They get told what to do,
don’t they?”
Over the next two hours,
passersby highlight most shades of
opinion. Simon Till, a 61-year-old
punk rocker whose leather jacket
features the logo of those infamous
seditionaries the Sex Pistols, takes
a leaflet and gets straight to the
point: “I’m not a monarchist. I’m not
for the rich. Will I be watching the
wedding? Will I buggery.”
A handful of twentysomethings
cross the square, look askance at
the Republic stall and greet my
questions about the monarchy with
a baffled surprise that soon tilts
into claims that we’d be better off
keeping the royals, if only for the
amount of tourist money they bring
in. This is a point that, needless to
say, Republic fiercely contests – to
quote from their campaign material:
“Research shows that tourists come
here for our world-class museums,
beautiful scenery, fantastic shopping
and captivating history – not
because they might catch a glimpse
of Prince Andrew.”
A woman here with the Labour
party tells me that the royals
“represent that massive gap between
the rich and the poor”, whereas Sam,
a history of architecture student,
says that the monarchy “embodies
the constitution”, and “Britain
has never had a Hitler because the
Queen wouldn’t allow it”.
Back at the Republic stall, even
as the sun beats down and a sudden
gust of wind threatens to blow
the gazebo over a wall, the people
in charge maintain a calm, steely
demeanour. “I don’t know whether
this is a good example, but with the
suffragettes – how long did it take
for women to get the vote?” asks
Catling, a civil servant. “That took
decades. There were women who
started it who didn’t see the end of it.
We’ve got to start from somewhere,
and that’s what we’re trying to do –
plant seeds in people’s minds.”
Do they worry that the arrival of
Markle has made campaigning even
more trying? They must know the
arguments: that a person of colour
joining the House of Windsor is
supposedly a sign of modernisation,
consigning to memory the facets of
the institution that have been among
the most problematic (such as, say,
Prince Philip’s racist “quips” or his
son’s recent comment that someone
with brown skin didn’t look like they
were from Manchester).
“Whether Harry marries Meghan
Markle or not, it doesn’t alter the
political nature of how the country
is run,” says Iggleden, who works
‘Will I be
watching the
wedding?’ …
Simon Till
reveals he
will not
as a lorry driver. “That’s ultimately
what we’re campaigning against.
These are side issues. I’m not
bothered who Harry does or doesn’t
marry. It doesn’t concern me.”
It may not, but such window
dressing is surely a big part of how
the monarchy endures, via its
emotional bond with people. In that
sense, the cold realities Republic
talks about – the cost, secrecy and
hidden power – may not count for
much at all.
“That’s something we have
discussed,” he says. “How do you
argue against emotion with logic?
You often hear emotional responses:
‘I love the Queen.’ And you can’t
argue with that. You say: ‘Yeah, but
it’s undemocratic.’ And you’ll get:
‘Yeah, but I like the Queen.’”
For the past quarter-century or
so, opinion polls have tended to
put support for the monarchy at
more than 70%, while just under
of 18-34-yearolds support the
of over-55s
support the
‘Tourists don’t
come here
just to catch
a glimpse of
Prince Andrew’
one in five of us have seemed to
favour a republic. The royal wobble
after the death of Diana, Princess
of Wales seemed temporarily to
affect support for the institution,
there was a big hiccup at the time
of Prince Charles’s marriage to
Camilla Parker Bowles – and the PR
problems the next king will face are
highlighted by an August 2017 poll
suggesting that, if given the choice
between Charles becoming king
or the role passing straight to his
eldest son, only 22% would favour
the former, whereas William would
be backed by 51%. Republicans,
of course, point out that such
questions only serve to highlight
the monarchy’s absurdity – Charles
will become king no matter what
anyone thinks.
Support for the monarchy is
noticeably lower among younger
people: in 2016, it was reported
that 84% of those over the age of 55
wanted to keep it, compared with
66% of 18-34s. The royal soap opera,
though, may not be quite as popular
as some people think: when Harry’s
engagement was announced, 52%
of respondents to a poll by YouGov
said they were “indifferent”. But,
overall, the royals seem to have
precious little to worry about: at
the last count, Ipsos Mori reckoned
that 76% of people in the UK want
the monarchy to continue, against
only 17% who would like to see the
back of it.
What is perhaps remarkable
is the disappearance of
republicanism from the culture.
In past decades, anti-royalism was
embodied by the aforementioned
Sex Pistols and their Jubilee-year
masterpiece God Save the Queen
and the Smiths’ 1986 album The
Queen Is Dead, supported by the
quotes Morrissey used to utter
before he became what the modern
vernacular calls “problematic”.
(“I despise royalty. I always have
done. It’s fairy-story nonsense.”)
It’s perhaps an arbitrary point
of comparison, but where popcultural attitudes had arrived
25 years later was probably
symbolised by the occasion in
2013 when Prince Harry was
invited backstage by those downhome scions of the establishment
Mumford and Sons. According
to the Daily Mail: “He absolutely
bear-hugged Marcus [Mumford]
and apologised for missing their
set. Marcus told him not to worry
and to help himself to the beer.”
Such are the raging seas of
absurdity in which Republic tries
to stay afloat. For the moment, the
Yorkshire branch remains its only
active regional offshoot and the vast
majority of its work is done from
its office – or, rather, three-person
workstation – near King’s Cross
station, in London. Thanks to an
annual income of about £140,000 –
which comes from a membership
base of 4,000 people, topped up
with a few occasional donations
of between £5,000 and £15,000,
Republic has two full-time staff:
its 27-year-old campaigns officer,
Michael Moore, and Graham Smith,
44. The latter has been Republic’s
chief executive and strategic brain
since 2005, when he returned
from seven years working as an IT
specialist in Australia. Smith says
he experienced “this huge sort
of reverse culture shock” related
to how much the monarchy was
covered in the media and was
reminded of the fact that “I’ve felt
strongly about all this for as long as
I can remember”.
I talk to Smith in a branch of Costa
Coffee near his office, where he
explains how he changed Republic
from being a tiny organisation that
had been set up in 1983 to something
with a decent membership and
a sense of purpose. “We spent quite
a bit of time looking at a longerterm strategy,” he says. “We tried to
imagine, as an exercise, all the MPs
filing through the division lobbies
and giving us a referendum on
getting rid of the monarchy. We tried
to imagine what kind of country
would witness that happen.”
This remains the vision that
most of Republic’s work is built
around. As a way of steadily
advancing its cause, Smith and
his colleagues regularly make
Freedom of Information requests,
commission research, and publicise
overlooked information about how
the monarchy works – such as the
fact that Prince Charles’s private
organisation, the Duchy of Cornwall,
is exempt from corporation and
capital gains tax, or that the 18 royals
officially classed as “working” each
cost the taxpayer an average of £19m
a year.
“We don’t say that the fact
that the monarchy is expensive
is a reason to get rid of it,” Smith
Nigel Catling
in Leeds
cautions. “It’s not. The fact that
it’s expensive is a symptom of
the fact that it’s unaccountable
and secretive. It’s really a way of
pointing to the institution and
saying: ‘Essentially, the monarchy is
corrupt.’ I don’t think it’s going too
far to say that. If corruption is the
abuse of public office for personal
gain, that is what the monarchy
does. And it’s routine; it’s built into
the system.”
Republic would like an elected
head of state similar to the one who
serves the Republic of Ireland –
where the role is largely ceremonial
and apolitical, but the president can
speak up at times of national crisis
or uncertainty.
“One example would be the two
weeks after the Brexit referendum,
when we were essentially devoid
of political leadership,” says Smith.
“We had just taken this huge, very
scary decision and there were all
these reports about racist attacks …
it felt like a very febrile atmosphere
and there was no one to rise above
all that, calm nerves and show any
leadership. It was a classic example
of an occasion when a head of state
might say: ‘This is something we’re
going through and we’ll sort it out –
we’re going to be OK.’”
He says he takes heart from the
fact that a republican is now leader
of the Labour party, and from the
other anti-monarchy organisations
across Europe that will be coming
to London on the day of the royal
wedding for this year’s convention of
the Alliance of European Republican
Movements (Sweden, apparently,
has the strongest; in Spain, “the
polling is good, but the movement
is splintered”). The end of the
monarchy, he says, “could happen
in my lifetime – it depends how long
my lifetime is”.
His main source of optimism is
the prospect of King Charles III.
“I think there’s a very real risk
of a constitutional crisis. It’s not
difficult to imagine that, after he
becomes king, the government
could change a policy and the new
policy could be in line with what we
know Charles thinks. The question
will then be asked: ‘Have you done
that because you think it’s the right
policy or because Charles has been
pressing you to change that?’”
But what if the prospect of
William taking over works as
a convenient distraction?
“Charles could easily be king for
20 years. That’s quite a long time
to wait. By that time, William will
be well into his 50s, if not his 60s.
And I think all this stuff about how
popular some of them are … I think
it’s overblown. I don’t think people
care that much. William has lost
that youthful Diana look, and he’s
a fairly dull, uninspiring individual.
There’s time for the gloss to wear
off. You can find headlines from the
1970s that say: ‘Prince Charles is the
young prince who’s going to save
the monarchy.’ All this stuff gets said
over and over again.”
Back in Leeds, as Republic’s
activist quartet start to pack up the
green gazebo, they explain their
immediate plans. On the day of
the royal wedding, they will be in
Parliament Street in York. “I think
we’re providing a public service, in
some respects,” says Nigel Catling.
“There are a lot of people out there
who are probably Republicans,
but who don’t know. We’ll be
there, saying: ‘If you don’t agree
with an unelected head of state,
you’ll be able to talk to people on
the same wavelength.’ It’s a bit of
therapy, really.”
A few minutes later, a young man
with a pierced nose appears at the
stall and gets into a polite argument
with Iggleden. “We’ve had them for
ever, haven’t we? It’s tradition,” he
says. “I really like the royal family.”
Iggleden mentions the question
of the monarchy’s cost. “I’m not
bothered,” comes the reply. “I’d
be happy to give more money to
support it. It’s a good thing.”
It turns out that, with his dad and
two cousins, 17-year-old Thomas
has train tickets to Windsor booked
for 19 May. “I’m going to see the
procession. I just want to see them.
Harry and Meghan. In the flesh.”
The exchange lasts barely
a minute, but it is enough to
prove beyond doubt that between
monarchists and republicans lies
a philosophical chasm that makes
the leave/remain divide look like
a mere tiff. Iggleden exhales and gets
back to packing up, but there is one
more thing. “I’ll take a leaflet,” says
Thomas. “Just to read, you know?”
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
Cutting edge …
the driverless
below, Amazon
Dash buttons
Need a towel
Then ask Brett!
Solar-powered shirts, laundry robots, smartmowers …
tomorrow’s home will be full of ingenious devices, finds
Oliver Wainwright – but many will be spying on us
say in where it’s going. We’re hoping
the exhibition will give people the
tools to make sense of what’s
happening and help them bring
about the kind of future they want.”
Designed by the provocative
Spanish architect Andrés Jaque’s
Office for Political Innovation, the
exhibition covers four areas – Home,
Public, Planetary, Afterlife – and asks
things like: “We are all connected,
but do we feel lonely?” and “If
Mars is the answer, what is the
question?” The section on the
future of the home sets a sinister
tone with: “Could your toaster turn
against you?”
Those expecting to find a killer
Dualit on the loose will be
disappointed, but there are plenty of
things that you might think twice
about welcoming into your house, if
not for their malevolence then for
their apparent uselessness.
Alongside Jibo – the first “social
robot” helpmate for the home,
which purports to be “authentically
charming” by lolling about like a
drunken iMac – we meet Brett,
the Berkeley Robot for the
Elimination of Tedious Tasks, an
ongoing artificial intelligence
research project at the University
of California.
Programmed to learn through
trial and error, it shows just how
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
difficult it is to teach a robot to
complete a simple chore that we can
do without thinking. This clumsy
steel toddler may be at the cutting
edge of AI and robotics, but here it
struggles to even do the laundry.
Domination by our robot overlords
seems a safe way off.
Most of the domestic items on
show, from the driverless
lawnmower by Bosch (which
develops much of the technology for
self-driving cars, testing it out on
mowers first) to voice-controlled
smart assistants, are seemingly
geared towards the same end: saving
us time. There’s no need to go to the
trouble of getting out your
smartphone to order an Uber when
you can simply shout at Alexa. She
can turn up the heating and switch
on the hi-fi while she’s at it.
But these labour-saving devices
have increasingly been revealed
to be serving a different purpose:
the collection of masses of
monetisable data. Simply by going
about our business in our voluntarily
surveilled homes, we are
unwittingly carrying out huge
amounts of valuable market
research for the tech companies and
online retailers waiting to sell us
more stuff.
If there is one device that
represents our Faustian pact with
… home help
the connected home, it’s the
Amazon Dash button. In a kind of
April Fool’s Day parody of the
internet of things, these are wifienabled buttons that you stick on
your wall next to a branded product,
allowing you to restock with the
push of a button. There’s a Listerine
button for when you run out of
mouthwash and an Ariel button for
when you’re low on detergent. You
can decorate your whole house with
these branded buttons that cover
everything from Whiskas cat food to
Durex condoms.
The inconvenience of having to be
at home to receive the deliveries, as
well as the vast quantities that are
delivered, make the whole thing
absurd. Adam Greenfield, the army
psychologist turned tech analyst,
goes further in his prescient book,
Radical Technologies: The Design of
Everyday Life. “They get data on the
time and place of your need,” he
writes, “as well as the frequency and
intensity, and that data has value. It
is, explicitly, an asset, and you can
be sure they will exploit that asset in
every way their terms and
conditions permit them to –
including by using it to develop
f the invention of the ship
was also the invention of the
shipwreck, as the French
philosopher Paul Virilio
suggested, then what does
that make the invention of
the Nest learning thermostat? As
our homes fill up with connected
devices, funnelling every aspect of
our lives into the great cloud of big
data, the answer could be something
much more alarming than just a few
more faulty appliances cluttering up
our cupboards.
This is one of the unsettling
questions at the heart of The Future
Starts Here, an exhibition about to
open at the V&A in London. It
promises to be less of a showcase of
Tomorrow’s World-type gadgetry
than a thought-provoking probe into
where exactly this new generation of
smart technology is taking us.
“People seem scared of the future at
the moment,” says Rory Hyde who,
with co-curator Mariana Pestana,
has spent the last two years trawling
university laboratories and touring
Silicon Valley to gather 100 hot-outof-the-factory innovations, from a
low-cost satellite to a solar-powered
shirt that can charge a smartphone.
“There’s a sense,” he adds, “that
all this new technology is arriving so
fast that we don’t really understand
its implications – or have much of a
A ‘teeny bit’
Plugged in …
a shirt with
solar panels
to charge the
wearer’s phone
seems a long
way off … Brett
the Berkeley
Robot for the
Elimination of
Tedious Tasks
Amazon will know
when I’m hungry
and drone-deliver
a Chinese takeaway
straight to
my mouth
behavioural models that map the
terrain of our desires, so as to
exploit them with offer greater
efficiency in future.” The endgame,
Amazon has admitted, is that you
won’t even need to press a button:
they will ultimately know what you
want and when.
For the lazy among us, this might
sound like a boon. Amazon will
know when I’m hungry and dronedeliver a Chinese takeaway straight
to my mouth. But, beyond concerns
over what’s happening to our data –
amplified by the recent Cambridge
Analytica revelations – many of
these smart-home technologies have
proved vulnerable to hacking. As
Greenfield points out, there are
hundreds of thousands of unsecured
webcams around the world, readily
accessible to anyone online, while
last year there were even claims that
intelligence services had found a
way to hack Samsung TVs, turning
them into domestic snooping
There have also been suggestions
that touch-screen light switches can
be easily hacked, playing havoc with
entire floors of hotels. With this in
mind, does anyone really think
remotely operated smart front-door
locks are such a good idea?
The rise of the home as the major
new tech battleground was in
evidence at this year’s Milan
furniture fair. Traditionally the place
where high-end design houses
launch their latest expensive sofas,
this year’s gathering was graced by
Google for the first time, with an
installation designed to give a
touchy-feely fabric-upholstered face
to the omniscient tech giant. With
images depicting a wholesome
young family caressing the latest
Google Home product range while
draped on beanbags, it was an
attempt to show that having a smart
home needn’t mean filling your
house with grey plastic boxes.
“We were very conscious of
trying to soften everything we did,”
says Ivy Ross, head of design at
Google’s hardware division,
speaking from the car on her Silicon
Valley commute. “Our watchwords
were ‘human, optimistic and bold’.
We wanted to make everything less
shiny and sharp-edged, using
instead rounded corners and muted
pastel fabrics.”
Available with soft-knit covers in
shades of “chalk, fog, coral or
charcoal”, the products, from voiceactivated assistants to surveillance
cameras and VR headsets, look like
what might result if Habitat turned
to tech. So is the cosy feel meant to
distract from the fact that these
devices are listening to everything
you say in order to better hone
Google’s targeted advertising? “I
can’t talk about that,” says Ross.
“It’s more about how to make the
technology blend into your home.
Our ultimate goal is to make it
The Future Starts Here is at the
V&A, London, from Saturday until
4 November.
From José the Mexican
immigrant to Achmed the dead
terrorist, Jeff Dunham’s foulmouthed puppets give voice to
Trump’s America. How will he go
down in Britain? Rob Walker
meets the phenomenally
popular ventriloquist
eff Dunham is on a high. He has
just played to a sell-out crowd in
the Texas city of San Antonio. Any
other ventriloquist would be happy
with an audience of a few hundred,
maybe a thousand. But Dunham
and his cast of dummies pulled in a whopping
19,000 fans – and every one of them seemed to
have had a riotously fun evening.
“Other comedians,” he says, “must be
thinking, ‘How the hell is this happening?’ It’s
like aliens were looking down and saying, ‘Here’s
how we’re going to screw up Earth. We’ll make
a reality TV guy the president and then, here’s
something weirder, we’ll make this ventriloquist
guy so successful he sells out stadiums.’”
Dunham is no children’s entertainer. His
puppets are dysfunctional, foul-mouthed and
unashamedly stereotypical, from Seamus
the drunken Irish baby to José the Mexican
immigrant and Achmed the jihadi suicide
bomber. Spurning all accusations of racism,
sexism and homophobia, Dunham has become
a comic phenomenon. He doesn’t just hold the
Guinness World Record for most tickets sold
for a standup comedy tour – 2m – he is also
ranked by Forbes as one of the highest paid
comedians on the planet, up there with Jerry
Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Amy Schumer.
His videos have amassed 1bn views on
YouTube and his characters revel in smirking
at liberals and carving up political correctness.
There’s Walter, a retired grumpy old man
whose catchphrase is “Shut the hell up!”; and
Peanut, a furry purple creature from a small
Micronesian island who is hyperactively
annoying. The two trot out lewd comments
about women and ridicule foreign accents.
Meanwhile, Seamus derides alcoholism and
Achmed jokes about virgins in paradise.
“People accuse me of using the puppets as
a vehicle to shoot off about my own beliefs,”
says Dunham, “or to tell terrible jokes that
I believe in. But it’s not that at all. What the
characters do is give you a licence to go a little
further than you would as a human being,
simply because they’re not real.”
Unrepentant …
Dunham with
Peanut; above,
with Achmed,
inspired by 9/11
Dunham’s audiences, judging by the myriad
clips online, are mostly white Americans. They
are the ones guffawing, for example, when the
one-legged José Jalapeño puppet declares he
can’t show his green card because he’s left it in
his other leg. “Never make fun of big groups of
people,” says Dunham. “Always make fun of
individuals. I think that’s a good rule of thumb.
I mean, if a group of people believe or think
one thing, that’s their right. But if you have one
idiot out of a group behaving incredibly badly,
then that person deserves to be made fun of.”
British audiences will shortly get a chance
to decide for themselves, as Dunham arrives
to play arena gigs in Birmingham and London.
What will they make of his most notorious
character: Achmed the dead terrorist, as his
jihadi suicide bomber dummy is more properly
known? A clip – Meet Achmed – has notched
up 16m views on YouTube. In it, the crowd roar
with laughter when the puppet curses: “God
damn it! I mean – Allah damn it! Silence, I kill
you!” The character came about, Dunham says,
after 9/11 and the initially fruitless search for
Osama bin Laden. “We didn’t know if he was
dead or alive, so I thought, ‘You can’t make
fun of 9/11. But I will make fun of that guy, that
idiot. And I know where he is – Bin Laden’s dead
and he’s hiding out in my suitcase with all my
other guys.’”
Dunham handcrafts all the puppets. “The
way I create characters is to react to whatever
is going on in the world and come up with
something, someone, that I think other people
will laugh at or identify with.” Does he ever
worry he might offend people? Dunham insists
he only ever offends a “teeny bit” of people,
adding that whatever he is doing to offend
those “3 or 4%”, is what the other 96% are
“laughing at the hardest”.
Unusually for a US comedian, Dunham
backed Donald Trump in the election and
lampooned Hillary Clinton. Trump, he thought,
had the business acumen to take the US forward
while most people only favoured Clinton
because they thought it was “time” for a woman
president. “You wanna punch [those voters] in
the face,” he told one radio host in 2015.
He claims to have become more sensitive to
criticism “because it’s gotten so much worse”.
He concedes, too, that some of the material he
performed in the past now makes him “cringe
a bit”. But he is otherwise unrepentant. “You
don’t want to lose your edge either – that’s
another fine line.”
Although Dunham doesn’t need to work
any more, he’s too hooked on performance.
“It’s like jumping off a high diving board in the
middle of the night,” he says. “Then halfway
down you release you forgot to check if there’s
any water in the pool.”
Jeff Dunham plays Birmingham Genting Arena
on 19 May and Wembley Arena 20 May.
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
Live reviews
Love and loss ...
Claire Skinner
and Sion Daniel Young
Bridge theatre, London
Until 26 May
Box office: 0333-320 0051
Ocean Wisdom
Gorilla, Manchester
Touring until 10 May
ll the qualities
one has admired
in Barney Norris’s
earlier plays are
visible in his new
one. As in Visitors,
Eventide and Echo’s End, Norris
shows himself expert at dealing
with love and loss in a deeply
English rural setting. But, much
as I liked the play and its added
element of social rage, I felt it
would have benefited from a more
intimate staging than this handsome
new venue can provide.
In one sense, the play justifies the
epic space: an oil pipe runs across
the stage of the wilting Hampshire
farm, vividly realised in Rae Smith’s
design, in which the action takes
place. The pipe is crucial to the plot
since the play opens with Ryan,
who has taken over the farm since
his father’s death, aiding his mate,
uch is the pace of
Brighton’s Ocean
Wisdom that he was
once deemed the world’s
fastest rapper. His single
Walkin’ was calculated
to contain 4.45 words per second;
unofficially beating record-holder
Eminem, whose Rap God had 4.31
words per second. While MC Harry
Shotta has since trumped both
artists, tonight remains a potent
display of Wisdom’s word-stuffed,
syllable-packed style.
The opening track, Don,
bounces to life with a drum’n’bassflavoured beat as Wisdom’s rapidfire technique fills the room. The
following Brick or Bat is one of the
many moments of the evening
that merges Wisdom’s distinctly
British lyrical sensibility and
technique with music rooted
in a clear love of old-school US
hip-hop. The loop-heavy beat
rolls along smoothly, almost at
odds with the tone of the lyrics:
“Smash a little prick, hurt a little
Pete, in illegally siphoning off
oil: in desperate times, corporate
property is being put to private
use. Ryan’s mother, Jenny, still
poleaxed by grief after her husband’s
death, is appalled at the theft. She
is even more horrified when her
daughter, Lou, threatens to desert
her to marry Pete. As she roundly
tells him, “You’re trying to pull my
family apart.”
Students of Chekhov will be quick
to recognise familiar themes. Since
the only hope for the debt-ridden
farm is a property company’s plan
to build 20 new houses on the land,
we are clearly in Cherry Orchard
country. There is even a hint of
Uncle Vanya in Norris’s stress on the
need for stoic endurance in times
of trouble. As in any Russian play
or novel, characters are unafraid
to philosophise about their fate.
Lou has one particularly poignant
Rapid-fire raps ...
Ocean Wisdom
prat / When I hit ’em with a brick
or hit ’em with a bat.” The melodic
construct of the lines work together
so harmoniously it’s almost like a
twisted nursery rhyme.
Despite Wisdom’s clear volubility
and his ability to spit words at headspinning speeds, he understands
the power of restraint, too. He
speech, in which she dwells on the
way youthful dreams and hopes
are crushed by quotidian reality: “I
never had time,” she claims “to think
about how to be happy.”
Norris, however, is stronger on
character than on plot. Much the
best scene is one in which Lou
is confronted by a spontaneous
proposal from
We are
Pete: even
though her
in Cherry
initial response
is an incredulous
country …
“Fuck off ”,
you feel the
philosophise tremulous
excitement of
two young people
their fate
on the verge of
radical change.
Norris also shows
how Jenny’s
shock at her husband’s death turns
into a warped possessiveness. But
too much narrative information,
such as the reason why Pete has
spent a year in jail, is held back until
late in the piece.
Good as Laurie Sansom’s
production is on psychological
detail, words sometimes get lost
on the Bridge’s big stage. There is,
however, no question about the
quality of some fine performances.
Claire Skinner is superb as Jenny.
Shadowed by bereavement, she
combines a feckless disregard for the
farm’s future with a manipulative
cunning when it comes to hanging
on to her two children. Ophelia
Lovibond’s body language as Lou
conveys perfectly the confusion of
a young woman aching for escape
from a routine job and a derelict
farm. Sion Daniel Young as Ryan
and Ukweli Roach as Pete catch
the troubled nature of an unequal
male friendship.
Even if it would have gained
from being seen in a studio
theatre, there is much to relish in
Norris’s poignant study of rural
decay and desperation.
Michael Billington
holds back his words and lets the
genre-spanning music do the
work when necessary or, with the
DJ, teases the audience, making
exaggerated rewinds to take tracks
back to the beginning just as the
crowd are about to erupt into sweatsaturated euphoria.
I Ain’t Eaten is another shift
in genre, touching on grime with
its gut-punching bass but with
a twist of wonky jungle rhythm
driving it forward. Deebo is
propped up by a stark yet fizzing
beat, the perfect backdrop as
Wisdom’s words gush forth like a
dam opening its floodgates.
Closer Walkin’ explodes
through the speakers as the room
thrashes, and pouncing bodies
move along to the crunching beat.
Yet nobody is able to move in sync
with Wisdom’s words, which he
spits out with ferocious pace and
taut precision. As the song itself
says: “In my raps, there’s unlimited
lyrics and syllables.”
Daniel Dylan Wray
First-class turns ...
Lexicon by
NoFit State
Brighton festival
Until 14 May
Box office: 01273 709709
wapping their
trademark promenadestyle circus for a retro
seated event in a big
top, NoFit State’s new
show mixes skill and
physical poetry with a large dollop
of nostalgia. Despite an opening
sequence in which old-fashioned
school desks are transformed into
sky-skating boats suspended high
above the audience, the meaning
of the title never reveals itself.
Dramatic coherence has never been
this company’s strong suit.
And yet if you go with the flow
it creates a seductive dreaminess
around some first-class turns,
including marvellous displays
of diablo and unicycling, neither
normally high on the wow factor.
The unicycling in particular is
both absurd and full of drama
as attempts to get dressed
while cycling, or to ride over a
line of upturned wine glasses,
constantly wobble on the edge
of failure.
It’s great to see the clowning
spring directly out of the skills
themselves: flaming torches
constantly set the juggler alight;
three men wage a ridiculous war on
the Cyr wheel. A hand-balancing act
set to haunting klezmer chords is
both funny and mournful.
But it’s a pity that the show
also looks to the past in the way
the women are sidelined and
showcased: twirling in the air
on a giant mobile, their skirts
rising like Marilyn Monroe’s,
or employing traditional skills
such as manipulation. A terrific,
largely all-female band doesn’t
quite make up for the fact that men
command the space and preen on
the trapeze and the women sweep
up after them.
Lyn Gardner
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
TV and radio
Watch this
Isak herds
reindeer in
Vive La Révolution!
Joan Bakewell on May ’68
10pm, BBC Four
“Be reasonable – demand the impossible”
was one of the rallying cries of the situationists,
one of the forces behind the protests against
capitalism and imperialism that took place in
1968. Revolution briefly seemed possible in
May, when France was brought to a standstill
by a general strike, demonstrations and
sit-ins. Joan Bakewell (pictured), someone
with more than a passing recollection of that
era, looks back at an insurrection that briefly
shook the globe.
National Geographic
One Strange Rock
Sam Wollaston
Will Smith is getting jiggy with planet
Earth. Who needs experts when
you’ve got a Hollywood star?
e sure lucked out with planet
Earth,” says Will Smith,
wearing a look of humble
wonder and opening up the
doors on to a pool area with
a nice view. “Blue skies, rolling
hills, water everywhere. I mean, this place is nice.”
Yes, that Will Smith – the Fresh Prince, the movie
star, Agent J, He Is Legend. And now He Is Host of Flashy
Natural History Documentary. Who needs experts when
you’ve got a Hollywood star? This project has a filmmaker involved as well, in its executive producer Darren
Aronofsky. Small screen, big ambitions.
Will continues in this style: “But our home didn’t
come like this out of the box. Earth was a serious fixerupper. And it took some seriously hard work to build this
paradise. Nearly 4bn years of renovations, some tiny,
some huge, to make this house a home.”
Are you following, there at the back? Not getting
too technical or science-y? Did you like the little Home
Improvements analogy there? Also, that P-word
sneaking in there – the paradise one, would you Adam
and Eve it – is that something to keep an eye on, for any
religious subtext that might be sneaking in? I’m glad he
said 4bn years, rather than seven (or is it six?) days.
It – heaven, paradise – crops up again. Mike is
describing how, when he looked down on the world,
he got so emotional that he cried. “This must be the
view from heaven,” he remembers thinking. “And then
I thought to myself: no, that’s not right, this is what heaven
must look like. And I felt like I was looking into a paradise.”
Hang on, who the hell is Mike? I thought this was Will’s
gig. Mike is Mike Massimino, an astronaut. He did a couple
of shuttle runs in the 00s, that’s why he was looking down
on the planet. This is One Strange Rock’s USP: natural
history and Earth science plus an extra perspective, the
view from afar, from a few men and women who have seen
it from there. This show’s got stars and astronauts!
And here’s Mike being driven around Manhattan in a
taxi, because … well, I’m not quite sure why, to be honest.
For a (back-)down-to-earth, relatable, human touch
perhaps, to tell us a bit about himself and how emotional
he got in space, and how he saw Earth as heaven.
“Earth is a kind of Eden,” agrees Will. “But if Mike had
been orbiting way back in the day, he wouldn’t be looking
at heaven, he’d be gazing straight into hell. All that fire
and brimstone had a role to play.” Mmm. I’m not sure
there is a subtext, but it certainly has that kind of feeling
– like it might be an advert for the Alpha Course.
Anyway, to Bolivia, to meet a man named Omar,
who has -ologist at the end of his job title. He’s the
paleont- type, an actual expert. He’s looking at dinosaur
footprints. And then to Norway where Isak, riding his
snowmobile out of a low sun, is
herding his reindeer. Will calls them
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen,
in case you’re struggling with what
a reindeer is and need a reference.
Will is at the next stunning location
himself – he’s a sucker for a tropical
island, he says. “I get off the plane and
Lichen is a
head straight for the beach. Cool sea
‘weird form
breeze and sand between my toes. But
of life, part
get this: all of that sand down there,
algae, part
most of it came out of the wrong
fungi,’ Smith
end of fish.” Then it’s underwater in
the Maldives with a man called Prof
tells us
Chris, who is a coral reef geoscientist,
to see a parrot fish pooping out sand.
Cool, but how is it connected to the
dinosaur footprints and the reindeer?
Well, Dancer and Prancer eat lichen (“a particularly
weird form of life, part algae, part fungi,” explains Prof
Will), which can break down rock over thousands of
years. So it’s kind of about how life has helped to create
the land, and left its mark.
Likewise, the Chinese limestone being scaled by
Caroline the French rock climber used to be shells and
bones. Wow, that is One Big Rock Caroline is climbing.
And One Strange Rock does, undeniably, look great.
That’s what it’s really about, going around some fabulous
locations with Will Smith, getting jiggy with the planet,
saying: “Wow”, “Didn’t we luck out” and “This place is
nice”, while Mike the spaceman looks down and weeps.
And it’s also about saying thank God (there he is!) for the
BBC Natural History Unit, and for David Attenborough.
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
David Stubbs
Inside the SS
8pm, National
Ooh, I like Safe
(Netflix, from
Thursday). But
maybe don’t
watch if you
live in a gated
or have
teenage kids
Wartime Germany has
been well trodden for
factual forays, but this
new series attempts to
explore the minds of
those who served in
Hitler’s private army.
The recollections from
surviving members
of the SS – some still
sticking to the Nazis’
sickening beliefs – offer
uncompromising insights.
Mark Gibbings-Jones
Britain’s Fat Fight
9pm, BBC One
As Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall’s attempt
to slimline the country
concludes, he becomes
the latest person to feel
dissatisfied after dealing
with Jeremy Hunt.
Elsewhere, he explores
junk food marketing
and joins forces with the
celebrity chef who walked
this lonely road most
recently, Jamie Oliver.
Can this foodie tag-team
come up with a plan?
Phil Harrison
Love in the
9pm, BBC Two
As the dating show
continues, the farmers
invite their matches to
experience rural life,
roast beef and getting
up at 5.30am to milk the
cows. The women are
superbly cast, from KimKardashian-alike Franny,
a classic fish out of water,
to super-sweet Megan,
who is having her first
date since her husband
died. Gently charming.
Hannah Verdier
The 100
9pm, E4
Season five of the grimy/
sexy sci-fi soap kicks off
by filling in all the gory
details contained within
a recent six-year time
jump. How did plucky
Clarke survive Earth’s
second nuclear cataclysm
after sending her pals back
into orbit? And what is the
deal with the new influx
of badass jailbirds making
landfall? Graeme Virtue
Tortured By Mum
and Dad?
10pm, Channel 5
David and Louise Turpin
made headlines in
January, when it emerged
that they may have been
keeping their 13 children
captive for several years
in an abusive, cult-like
environment. This
documentary picks up
where the red tops left
off. Hannah J Davies
Channel 4
Channel 5
Breakfast (T) 9.15 Rip Off
Britain: Food (T) (R) 10.0
Homes Under the Hammer
(T) (R) 11.0 A1: Britain’s
Longest Road (T) 11.45
The Housing Enforcers
(T) 12.15 Bargain Hunt (T)
(R) 1.0 News and Weather
(T) 1.30 Regional News
and Weather (T) 1.45
Doctors (T) 2.15 800
Words (T) 3.0 Escape to the
Country (T) 3.45 Flipping
Profit (T) 4.30 Flog It!
(T) 5.15 Pointless (T) 6.0
News and Weather (T) 6.30
Regional News and Weather
(T) 7.0 The One Show (T)
Flog It! Trade Secrets (T) (R)
6.30 A1: Britain’s Longest
Road (T) (R) 7.15 Flipping
Profit (T) (R) 8.0 Super Fast
Falcon (T) (R) 9.0 Victoria
Derbyshire (T) 11.0 Newsroom
Live (T) 11.30 Daily Politics
(T) 1.0 Perfection (T) (R) 1.45
Home Away from Home (T)
(R) 2.30 Going Back, Giving
Back (T) (R) 3.15 Digging for
Britain (T) (R) 4.15 Tudor
Monastery Farm (T) (R)
5.15 Money for Nothing (T)
(R) 6.0 Eggheads (T) (R)
6.30 Great British Railway
Journeys (T) (R) 7.0 Back to
the Land With Kate Humble
Countdown (T) (R) 6.45
3rd Rock from the Sun
(T) (R) 7.35 Everybody
Loves Raymond (T)
(R) 8.30 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
Coast v Country (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 The £100k
Drop (T) 5.0 Four in a Bed (T)
(R) 5.30 Buy It Now (T) 6.0
The Simpsons (T) (R) 6.30
Hollyoaks (T) (R) 7.0 News
Watchdog Live (T) The team
report on some alarming
concerns about a major car
Britain’s Fat Fight (T)
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
turns his attention to
junk food marketing
techniques, and heads to
the Conservative party
conference. Last in series.
Top of the Shop With
Tom Kerridge (T) The
seven heat winners are up
against one another in the
final. Last in the series.
Love In the Countryside
(T) Dairy farmers Pete
and Ed’s dates arrive on
their farms and are thrown
straight into unfamiliar
farm life.
8.30 Heathrow: Britain’s
Busiest Airport (T) In the
immigration department,
officers Kat and Bob come
across a visitor whose
reasons for entering the
country do not add up.
9.0 Who Wants to Be a
Millionaire? (T) (5/7)
Quiz in which contestants
attempt to win £1m.
The Secret Life of the Zoo
(T) Chester Zoo’s penguins
move to a temporary home,
while the African painted
dog pups leave their den.
One Born Every Minute
(T) Lauren and Rachel
arrive in the maternity
ward awaiting the birth of
their second child together.
Last in the series.
10.0 News (T)
10.30 Local News (T)
10.45 Sunday Night at the
Palladium (T) (R) Jimmy
Carr hosts the show.
11.45 British Touring Car
Championship Highlights
From Donington Park.
1.0Jackpot247 3.0 Grantchester
(T) (R) 3.50 ITV Nightscreen
5.05 Jeremy Kyle (T) (R)
10.0 First Dates (T) Voiceover
artist Nick meets golfer Laura.
11.05 Naked Attraction (T) (R)
12.10 Friday Night Dinner (T)
(R) 12.35 High & Dry (T) (R)
1.05 Genderquake (T) (R)
2.0 The Quiet Ones
(John Pogue, 2014) (T)
Horror. 3.40 Fill Your House
for Free (T) (R) 4.35 One
Star to Five Star (T) (R)
10.0 News (T)
10.30 Regional News and Weather
(T) Includes lottery update.
10.45 Joshua v Klitschko: Return
to Wembley (T) The pair
meet for the first time since
their heavyweight fight.
11.30 Ambulance (T) (R) Matt and
Ian attend a stabbing and a
machete attack.
12.30 Weather (T) 12.35 News (T)
10.0 Detectorists (T) (R)
10.30 Newsnight (T) Weather
11.15 Syria: The World’s War
(T) (R) (1&2/2) Lyse Doucet
on the civil war in Syria.
1.15 Sign Zone Stephen: The
Murder That Changed
a Nation (T) (R) 2.15
Pilgrimage: The Road
to Santiago (T) (R) 3.15
This Is BBC Two (T)
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 Tenable (T) 3.59
Local News and Weather
(T) 4.0 Tipping Point (T)
5.0 The Chase (T) 6.0 Local
News (T) 6.30 News (T)
7.0 Emmerdale (T) Charity
opens up to Harriet, who
encourages her to talk more
about her past. 7.30 Coronation Street (T) Johnny
makes an upsetting discovery.
Other channels
6.0am Home Shopping
7.10 Top Gear 8.10 American Pickers 9.0-10.0
Storage Hunters 10.0-1.0
American Pickers 1.0
QI XL 2.0 Top Gear 3.0
World’s Most Dangerous
Roads 4.0 Steve Austin’s
Broken Skull Challenge 5.0 Top Gear 6.0
Taskmaster 7.0-9.0 QI
XL 9.0 Taskmaster 10.0
Room 101 10.40 Live
at the Apollo 11.40 QI
XL 12.40-2.0 Mock the
Week 2.0 QI XL 3.0-4.0
The Last Man on Earth
4.0 Home Shopping
All programmes from 8am
to 7pm are double bills
6.0am-7.0 Hollyoaks
7.0 Couples Come Dine
With Me 8.0 How I Met
Your Mother 9.0 New
Girl 10.0 2 Broke Girls
11.0 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
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 Blackish 8.0 The Goldbergs
8.30 The Big Bang
Theory 9.0 The 100 10.0
Timeless 11.0-11.55 The
Big Bang Theory 11.55
First Dates 1.0 Tattoo
Fixers 2.05 The 100 2.45
Timeless 3.30-4.40 The
Goldbergs 4.40 Couples
Come Dine With Me
11.0am Guadalcanal Diary (1943) 12.50
Hondo (1953)
2.30 Crash Dive
(1943) 4.40 Arrowhead (1953) 7.0
The Seeker: The
Dark Is Rising (2007)
9.0 A Walk in
the Woods (2015)
11.05 AVP: Alien
v Predator (2004)
12.55 Q&A (1990)
6.0am The Planet’s
Funniest Animals 6.20
Totally Bonkers Guinness
World Records 6.45
Totally Bonkers Guinness
World Records 7.10
Who’s Doing the Dishes?
7.55 Emmerdale 8.25
The Cube 9.25 The
Ellen DeGeneres Show
10.20 The Bachelorette
12.15 Emmerdale 12.45
You’ve Been Framed!
Gold 1.15 You’ve Been
Framed! Gold 1.45 The
Ellen DeGeneres Show
2.35-6.0 The Jeremy
Kyle Show 6.0 You’ve
Been Framed! Gold 6.30
You’ve Been Framed!
Gold 7.0 You’ve Been
Framed! Gold 7.30
You’ve Been Framed!
Gold 8.0 Two and a Half
Men 8.30 Superstore
9.0 Hercules
BBC Four
Milkshake! 9.15 The Wright
Stuff 11.15 Paddington
Station 24/7 (T) (R) 12.10
News (T) 12.15 GPs… (T) (R)
1.10 Access (T) 1.15 Home
and Away (T) 1.45
Neighbours (T) 2.15 Yorkshire
Vet (T) (R) 3.15 Driven
Off the Rails (David Jackson,
2017) (T) A married woman
recovers her memory after
an accident and believes she
has had an affair. Drama
starring Hannah Barefoot.
5.0 News (T) 5.30 Neighbours
(T) (R) 6.0 Home and Away
(T) (R) 6.30 News (T) 7.0
Police Interceptors (T) (R)
GPs: Behind Closed Doors (T)
A musician is worried about
his hearing due to ear, nose
and throat issues. Includes
news update.
Rich House, Poor House
(T) The well-to-do ScaifeLacys from Beverley, east
Yorks, trade places with
the Flinthams from Hull,
only a few miles away.
10.0 Tortured By Mum & Dad (T)
The shocking story of David
and Louise Turpin, who kept
their 13 children imprisoned.
11.05 Criminals Caught on Camera
(T) (R)
12.05 Diced to Death: Countdown
to Murder (T) (R) 1.0 SuperCasino (T) 3.10 GPs: Behind
Closed Doors (T) (R) 4.0 Get
Your Tatts Out… (T) (R)
Beyond 100 Days (T)
7.30 Danceworks:
Choreographing History
(T) The artistic process
behind Shobana Jeyasingh’s
dance piece Contagion,
telling the story of the
1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
George III: The Genius of
the Mad King (T) Robert
Hardman uses the personal
papers of the monarch to
shed new light on Britain’s
longest-reigning king.
Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents
(T) Robert Cecil learns of
a Catholic conspiracy to
blow up Parliament.
Last in the series.
10.0 Vive la révolution! Joan
Bakewell on May ’68 (T)
11.0 Timeshift: Mods, Rockers
and Bank Holiday Mayhem
The conflict between the
two subcultures in 1964.
12.0 Tankies: Tank Heroes of
World War II (T) 1.0 TOTP:
1983 (T) 2.05 Danceworks:
Choreographing History
(T) 2.35 Vive la révolution!
(2014) (FYI Daily is at
10pm) 11.05 Family
Guy 11.30 Family Guy
12.0 Family Guy 12.30
American Dad! 12.55
American Dad! 1.25
Two and a Half Men
1.55 Superstore 2.20
Teleshopping 5.50
ITV2 Nightscreen
8.55am Food Unwrapped
9.30 A Place in the Sun:
Winter Sun 10.30 A Place
in the Sun: Winter Sun
11.35 Four in a Bed 12.05
Four in a Bed 12.35 Four
in a Bed 1.05 Four in a
Bed 1.40 Four in a Bed
2.10 Come Dine With Me
2.40 Come Dine With Me
3.15 Come Dine With Me
3.50 Come Dine With Me
4.20 Come Dine With
Me 4.50 A Place in the
Sun: Winter Sun 5.55 A
New Life in the Sun 6.55
The Secret Life of the
Zoo 7.55 Grand Designs
9.0 Building the Dream
10.05 24 Hours in A&E
11.05 8 Out of 10 Cats
Does Countdown 12.10
Kitchen Nightmares USA
1.10 24 Hours in A&E
2.10 Building the Dream
3.15 8 Out of 10 Cats
6.0am Animal 999 6.30
Animal 999 7.0 Meerkat
Manor 7.30 Meerkat
Manor 8.0 Monkey
Life 8.30 Monkey Life
9.0 Motorway Patrol
9.30 Motorway Patrol
10.0 Road Wars 11.0
Warehouse 13 12.0
NCIS: LA 1.0 Hawaii Five0 2.0 Hawaii Five-0 3.0
NCIS: LA 4.0 Stargate
SG-1 5.0 The Simpsons
5.30 Futurama 6.0
Futurama 6.30-8.0 The
Simpsons 8.0 Carnage
9.0 Harry & Meghan:
A Love Story 10.0
Scream (1996)
12.05 Brit Cops: Rapid
Response 1.0 Ross Kemp:
Extreme World 2.0 Most
Shocking 3.0 Hawaii
Five-0 4.0 Highway Patrol 4.30 Highway Patrol
5.0 It’s Me or the Dog
Sky Arts
6.0am Dmitri Shostakovich: A Man of Many
Faces 7.15 André Rieu:
Live in Dublin 9.0 Watercolour Challenge 9.30
The Art Show 10.30
Tales of the Unexpected
11.0 Classic Albums 12.0
The Eighties 1.0 Discovering: Vivien Leigh 2.0
Watercolour Challenge
2.30 Art of the Portrait
3.0 The South Bank
Show Originals 3.30
Tales of the Unexpected
4.0 Classic Albums 5.0
The Eighties 6.0 Discovering: James Cagney
7.0 Tate Britain’s Great
Art Walks 8.0 Mystery
of the Lost Paintings 9.0
Discovering: George C
Scott 10.0 Hollywood:
No Sex, Please 11.0 John
Malkovich: Just Call Me
God 12.30 Mystery of
the Lost Paintings 1.30
My Beatles Black Album
With Charles Hazlewood
2.30 Status Quo: Live
in Montreux 4.30 Tales
of the Unexpected 5.0
Auction 5.30 Auction
Sky Atlantic
6.0am Hotel Secrets 7.0
The British 8.0 The Guest
Wing 9.0-11.0 The West
Wing 11.0-1.0 House
1.0 Without a Trace 2.0
Blue Bloods 3.0-5.0 The
West Wing 5.0-7.0 House
7.0 CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation 8.0 Blue
Bloods 9.0 Occupied
10.0 High Maintenance
10.35 Silicon Valley
11.10 Barry 11.45 Billions
12.55 The Sopranos
2.10 Togetherness
2.45-4.0 Happyish
4.0-6.0 The West Wing
Radio 3
6.30 Breakfast 9.0
Essential Classics.
Christian Jessen guests.
12.0 Composer of the
Week: Boulanger (3/5)
1.0 News 1.02 Lunchtime
Concert: 2017 Hay
Festival – Mozart Plus
(R) (2/4) 2.0 Afternoon
Concert: Celebrating Last
Year’s Verbier Festival
3.30 Choral Evensong:
Lancing College 4.30
New Generation Artists
5.0 In Tune 7.0 In Tune
Mixtape 7.30 In Concert.
Live from the Lighthouse,
Poole. Simon Trpčeski
(piano), Bournemouth
SO, Kirill Karabits.
Elgar: Overture – In the
South (Alassio, Op 50).
Tchaikovsky: Concerto
No 1 in B flat minor,
Op 23. Interval Music.
Walton: Symphony No 1
in B flat minor. 10.0
Free Thinking: Charms.
Eleanor Rosamund
Barraclough talks to
three writers about the
renewal of myth and folk
stories. 10.45 The Essay:
The Migrants – Seasons
(3/5) 11.0 Late Junction:
Hyperrealism 12.30
Through the Night
Radio 4
Neve Campbell
in Scream, Sky1
6.0 Today 8.30 (LW)
Yesterday in Parliament
9.0 Only Artists: Tracey
Thorn Meets Carol
Morley (1/7) 9.30
Classified Britain. James
Naughtie explores
history through the small
ads. (1/5) 9.45 (LW)
Daily Service 9.45 (FM)
Book of the Week: The
Language of Kindness,
by Christie Watson. (3/5)
10.0 Woman’s Hour.
Includes at 10.41 Drama:
The Wings of the Dove.
(8/10) 11.0 Bearing
Grudges (R) 11.30
Ability: Matt’s Rubbish
Carer, Bob, Is Due for
his First Assessment.
The sitcom continues.
(2/4) 12.0 News 12.01
(LW) Shipping Forecast
12.04 Four Thought:
Capturing Moonlight
(R) 12.15 You and Yours
1.0 The World at One
1.45 The Assassination:
The Call (3/10) 2.0 The
Archers (R) 2.15 Drama:
Rumpole and the Quality
of Life (3/3) 3.0 Money
Box Live 3.30 All in the
Mind (R) 4.0 Thinking
Allowed (R) 4.30 The
Media Show 5.0 PM
5.54 (LW) Shipping
Forecast 6.0 News
6.30 Daliso Chaponda:
Citizen of Nowhere –
The Haters (2/4) 7.0
The Archers 7.15 Front
Row 7.45 The Wings of
the Dove (R) (8/10) 8.0
FutureProofing: Animals.
Timandra Harkness and
Leo Johnson find out
what might happen
once we understand
animals properly. (2/4)
8.45 Four Thought:
Exceptional. With David
Baker. 9.0 Costing the
Earth: Outback Outrage
(R) 9.30 Only Artists
(R) 10.0 The World
Tonight 10.45 Book at
Bedtime: The Valley at
the Centre of the World,
by Malachy Tallack.
(8/10) 11.0 Six Degrees
of John Sessions (4/4)
11.15 Terry Alderton’s
All Crazy Now (R) 11.30
Today in Parliament
12.0 (FM) News 12.30
Book of the Week
(3/5) 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 (R)
Radio 4 Extra
6.0 High Table, Lower
Orders (3/6) 6.30
Conversation Piece –
Dame Freya Stark 7.0 The
Leopard in Autumn (1/6)
7.30 Daliso Chaponda:
Citizen of Nowhere
(1/4) 8.0 The Navy Lark
8.30 Round the Horne
(3/13) 9.0 The Write
Stuff (6/6) 9.30 The
27-Year Itch 10.0 Two
on a Tower (2/2) 11.0
Short Works: A Season
of Murder, Mystery and
Suspense (3/5) 11.15
Chopping Onions 12.0
The Navy Lark 12.30
Round the Horne (3/13)
1.0 High Table… (3/6)
1.30 Conversation
Piece… 2.0 The Secret
History (8/15) 2.15
Shakespeare’s Restless
World (18/20) 2.30
Gillespie and I (3/10)
2.45 Michael Palin
Diaries (3/5) 3.0 Two on
a Tower (2/2) 4.0 The
Write Stuff (6/6) 4.30
The 27-Year Itch 5.0 The
Leopard in Autumn (1/6)
5.30 Daliso Chaponda…
(1/4) 6.0 Night Watch
(3/5) 6.30 The Tingle
Factor 7.0 The Navy
Lark 7.30 Round the
Horne (3/13) 8.0 High
Table… (3/6) 8.30
Conversation Piece… 9.0
Short Works… (3/5) 9.15
Chopping Onions 10.0
Daliso Chaponda: Citizen
of Nowhere (1/4) 10.30
2525 (4/6) 11.0 Clayton
Grange (2/4) 11.30
Delve Special (1/4) 12.0
Night Watch (3/5) 12.30
The Tingle Factor 1.0
High Table… (3/6) 1.30
Conversation Piece… 2.0
The Secret History (8/15)
2.15 Shakespeare’s
Restless World (18/20)
2.30 Gillespie and I
(3/10) 2.45 Michael
Palin Diaries (3/5) 3.0
Two on a Tower (2/2)
4.0 The Write Stuff
(6/6) 4.30 The 27-Year
Itch 5.0 The Leopard
in Autumn (1/6) 5.30
Daliso Chaponda… (1/4)
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
no 14,977
Quick crossword
5 Verbal abuse (4-7)
7 Saliva (4)
8 Hinged floor opening (8)
9 Small savoury snacks (7)
11 Circular (5)
13 Not silently (5)
14 Cambridge college founded
by Henry VIII (7)
16 Reverie (8)
17 Tool with tines (4)
18 Jumping-off point (11)
1 Flake of soot (4)
2 Strew (7)
3 Transparent (5)
4 Relax after stress (4,4)
5 A psalms unit (anag) — part of a
Roman Catholic wedding (7,4)
6 Kind, friendly and patient (4-7)
10 Rocks (8)
12 Lincolnshire port (7)
15 French river — type of fishing net
17 Young horse (4)
Solution no 14,976
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 or call 0330 333 6846.
Sudoku no 4,054
no 4,055
Medium. Fill the grid so that each row, column and
3x3 box contains the numbers 1-9. Printable version at
Word wheel
Word wheel
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-48.
Good-40. Average-32.
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
Can you find 14 creatures with tails
in the grid? Words can run forwards,
backwards, vertically or diagonally,
but always in a straight, unbroken
Steve Bell
Which actor had
a pet rat called
a. Angelina Jolie
b. Eva Mendes
c. Amy Adams
d. Cameron Diaz
Answer top right
The Guardian
Wednesday 9 May 2018
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