The Brits are voting today. Probably to vote out Gordon Brown, and new (now old) Labour, and to vote in David Cameron as their new leader. Although there is a strong possibility of a hung parliament. Hey, what does it matter to me. I was in the UK when Blair was elected, and it was a wonderful time there then. The economy was booming. People were happy. It was the time of Blur, Radiohead and lots of other marvelous Britpop. Damian Hirst was having a wild time showing off his art. It was a Cool Britannia.
Things have changed since then. And the Brits feel the need for a new government. They do so every 10 to 12 years. So it’s nothing unusual.
More about Britain though: that story this morning reporting Zuma’s expensive stay in London reminded me of a story I heard recently about my grandmother. Zuma and his entourage spent more than R5m on accommodation. Most of them stayed at The Dorchester, a five-star hotel in central London.
My uncle told me about a lunch he had with my visiting grandparents – his in-laws – at the Dorchester Hotel. My delightful grandmother was wearing a white pants suit. When she arrived at the hotel she was told she couldn’t wear pants. No problem she said. And off my granny went to the powder room where she removed her pants. She emerged wearing a very elegant but short jacket-dress.
The staff were aghast at her audacity. My uncle amused.
Vivienne Westwood who has once again wowed the fashion crowd at the London fashion week is a green campaigner – of sorts. She has been reported to have “noted that human beings are destroying their habitat at an unstoppable rate …”
She’s about to open 20 new shops in China. As the designer has acknowledged the damage we’re doing Alice Olins asked her whether she’d implemented changes to make her own manufacturing more environmentally sound.
“She just mumbled about a few organic T-shirts and admitted that nothing had really been done.”
“Just stop buying” she said, repeatedly.”
STOP BUYING. What an interesting concept in this day and age. And what about those shops in China?
Some YouTube footage from the show:
Yesterday in his apology Tiger Woods announced that “I will strive to be a better (read faithful) person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.”
Apology aside, whether he will become a better person or not is questionable. He is too young, too famous and has obviously way too much pulling power to make this change easily. In the London Times today, Matthew Syed explains why so many top sportsmen are unfaithful – and Tiger is one of them.
One of the first things you learn as an aspiring sports star is the art of selfishness. It’s all about getting that forehand into a state of perfection, about capturing the next title, about becoming No 1.
As Jenson Button put it rather graphically after driving off with the Formula One World Championship: “It’s all about winning, all about me.”
Read the full story.
Lordy lordy, Jeremy Clarkson is good at a rant.
He’s hating the UK, but can’t think of anywhere better to go (South Africa is too risky):
It’s a lovely idea, to get out of this stupid, Fairtrade, Brown-stained, Mandelson-skewed, equal-opportunities, multicultural, carbon-neutral, trendily left, regionally assembled, big-government, trilingual, mosque-drenched, all-the-pigs-are-equal, property-is-theft hellhole and set up shop somewhere else. But where?
Jarmila Kratochvílová is a former Czech runner who has been holding the 800m world record for 26 years with a time of 1:53.28. That’s a whole two seconds-plus faster than Caster’s 1:55.45.
Dominic Lawson in the Times of London reported this week that at the time a US doctor had said that “This is not a normal physiological female body. I’ve treated Olympic female athletes in 34 countries but I’ve never seen a body like that.”
She’s still the fastest woman, and nobody has doubted that.
Last year the Atheist Bus campaign was in London and it’s now moved to New York – and will be officially launched on Saturday. In London the campaign was a response to one by a Christian group whose message warned that non-believers would “spend all eternity in torment.”
The Times of London is reporting that “Israel is believed to be using controversial white phosphorus shells to screen its assault on the heavily populated Gaza Strip yesterday. The weapon, used by British and US forces in Iraq, can cause horrific burns but is not illegal if used as a smokescreen.”
This week’s In Touch magazine reports that in:
London, Angelina was at dinner, when, a source says, “She announced her pregnancy to the waiter when he started to pour her a drink. Brad was annoyed because he’s not ready to go public with the news, but Angie thought it was hilarious.” Plus! “Brad feels a little guilty that he has to rely on hired help.” Dude, you have six kids and you are a millionaire.
Two weeks ago Cherie Blair advised Michelle Obama, the next First Lady of America, in the Times of London, that she must learn to take a back-seat.
“You have to learn to take the back seat not just in public, but in private,” Blair who continued to work while her husband was prime minister wrote in her regular column, “When your spouse is late to put the kids to bed, or for dinner, or your plans for the weekend are turned upside down again, you simply have to accept that he had something more important to do.”
Michelle’s position as the new First Lady-elect has initiated some serious debate amongst mothers. Some say that while Barack Obama has broken racial barriers, his wife remains ‘bound by a traditional role that seems too small and too ill-fitting for a thoughtful, Ivy League-educated exucutive.’
Michelle’s ‘mommification’ involves her leaving her $300,000 a year as a vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Centre. The New York Times reports that in January, Obama, 44, will become the first black woman in the position and the second first lady in history to have had an active career until shortly before entering the White House.
Michelle said about giving up her career to support her husband’s bid for the presidency:
“I miss my colleagues, I miss my work, I enjoyed what I was doing. But this is really pretty significant. My view of career is that I can always have whatever career I want. That’s why I, I don’t question that I can go back to that job or go back to something else interesting.”