Just before the hacking scandal broke, the Sun sent a young and by all accounts decent reporter to meet a woman who said she had a story — a ‘walk-in’ as we call them in the trade.
The walk-in produced a phone and said the Sun would want to take a look. One picture on it showed the face of a much-loved TV presenter. The rest of the celeb’s body was more lustful than lovable, however, as he was exposing his member in triumphant fashion.
I have spent a week of every winter of my life with my family in Zürs, a small village in Arlberg, Austria. It isn’t at all the most famous resort in the region — with fewer slopes than Lech and a quieter nightlife than St. Anton — nevertheless, it possesses a quality that brings most who go there back, season after season.
Part of the place’s attraction must be that it couldn’t exist at all without skiing, from which it derives practically its entire economy, and consequently great pride.
It’s all true about Zoë Wanamaker. She’s like a wood-nymph from the Tolkien franchise. Pixie features, nut-brown eyes, a mischievous tight-lipped smile and a warm cackling laugh. Next week she makes a guest appearance at the Hampstead Arts Festival to discuss her acting career. Had she heeded the advice of her parents — Sam Wanamaker and the Canadian actress Charlotte Holland — she might never have followed them on to the stage.
For 17 years I have been reporting on one of the most haunting tragedies of our modern world — the ruthless persecution of the last survivors of the original inhabitants of southern Africa, the bushmen, by a policy seemingly designed to wipe them from the earth. Those responsible are not wicked white colonialists but the government of Botswana, which, thanks to its vast diamond reserves, is per capita the richest country in Africa.
First World, Third World, East, West, North and South; every few years economists come up with yet another supposedly more acceptable way of slicing humanity into manageable chunks. Mostly these great divides are riven by wealth; sometimes (RIP Second World) by ideology.
But I think it’s time to name a new divide, a more fundamental, more puzzling one — a split between worlds that will define the 21st century much as the Iron Curtain defined the 20th.
All the drama coming out of Washington in the last few weeks has obscured some seriously good news: federal government spending is falling. And not at a trickle: think the White Cliffs of Dover. Not since the economic boom following 1945 have Americans seen such a rapid decline in the government’s claim on the nation’s resources — falling by a welcome $94 billion over two years. You need to go back to the end of the Korean war to find a time when US government spending has actually declined over two years.
Drinking in Corbières, a dingy basement bar just off St Ann’s Square, 30 years ago, you could bump into any number of groovy young Mancunians clustered round the jukebox, talking about the bands they were going to form. One night, as the jukey played ‘The Cutter’ by Echo & the Bunnymen, all evening long it seemed, there was talk of an odd duck from Stretford called Steven Morrissey. Nobody knew him but his name was in the wind.
One of the odd things about bushfires as we know them in Australia is the unlikely truces declared between species normally very keen to inject toxins or tear out each other’s throats. When the state of Victoria burnt and 173 people died in 2009, one young woman from the picturesque hamlet of Marysville found shelter in a large drainage pipe, where she was soon joined by a dog, a tiger snake and a wombat.