I’m keen on all sorts of my fellow females — broads, gold-diggers, career girls — but the best is the adventuress. According to Merriam-Webster, she is ‘a) a woman who seeks dangerous or exciting experiences; b) a woman who seeks position or livelihood by questionable means’. To me she is an admirable character who simply seeks to make life an awfully big adventure rather than be merely hatched, matched and dispatched as women historically were expected to be.
The wedding of Prince Harry, sixth in line to the British throne, and Meghan Markle, actress and former star of the legal drama Suits, is almost upon us. The cake has been commissioned from a Hackney bakery — ‘a lemon elderflower cake that will incorporate the bright flavours of spring’, according to a palace statement — and alterations are still being made to the wedding dress (the bride reportedly keeps shrinking).
‘It was Plato who said storytellers rule the world,’ observes Mariana Mazzucato, her powerful voice tempered with a beaming smile, ‘But the stories we’re constantly told about how value is created are largely myths. We must rethink where wealth really comes from.’
An economics professor at University College London, Mazzucato is fast emerging as one of the world’s leading public intellectuals. From her high-ceilinged office in Bloomsbury, a host of grant-making bodies on speed dial, this 49-year-old Italian-American is determined to ‘replace our current parasitic system with a more sustainable, symbiotic type of capitalism’.
In 2005 I published a book called The Strange Death of Tory England, and a long article called ‘Cricket’s final over’, lamenting the decline of the game. The book appeared shortly before an election in which, although Labour easily kept its majority, the Tories gained seats, presaging a great revival, or so Charles Moore later claimed while genially deriding my book. The piece on cricket appeared, with even more faultless timing, in the September issue of Prospect, at the very moment when England had just regained the Ashes, with the victorious team, including a gloriously hungover Andrew Flintoff, touring London in an open-topped bus and inevitably bidden to meet Tony Blair, while a wave of enthusiasm swept the country.
Have you ever thrown something away and then realised that you needed it? Surely all of us have done so. There is even a collective noun for such items in The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd: ‘nottage.’
However, it is not just people who have nottage, but governments as well.
Last week, we learned how the Home Office in October 2010 had destroyed thousands of landing card slips recording the arrival by boat of immigrants into this country.
A couple of years ago, Simon Barnes wrote a moving piece in this magazine about how his son Eddie, who has Down’s syndrome, had changed his mind about political correctness. Political correctness might be met with derision, he wrote, but it was also what made his son’s life bearable. In the not-so-distant past, Eddie would have been shut away and people like him made fun of in everyday conversation; now he is received everywhere with kindness and consideration.
The French President says he wants to rule as a Jupiter — but he doesn’t look like a Jupiter to me. Not the bearded beefcake painted by Rubens in the Louvre, anyway. Macron’s more a clean-shaven Mercury, messenger god and patron deity of the financial services industry. So far the message has been: ‘En Marche!’ Forwards! But forwards where? ‘Macron est nul,’ says the graffiti at Porte Maillot.
Imiss London’s parks.
Splats of calves’ liver in a puddle of blood; rabbits, headless, stretched and stripped of fur; and plucked poussins, nestling together in plastic trays. All garnished with sprigs of parsley. Welcome to Jago’s butcher, Chelsea Green, where the liver is ‘as tender as a butcher’s kiss’, as Rob the butcher tells me as I consider raw flesh through the glass.
A few doors down, the cobbler runs what was previously his father’s shop.