The Friday Speed Read
It perhaps says all too much about the events dominating the news in the past few months that this week’s spat-with-missiles between everyone’s favourite chubby-faced -totalitarian-crackpot-in-a-Beatles-style-collarless-jacket Kim Jung-un and the Great-Making Leader of the Free World Donald J Trump feels like a bit of light relief.
Say what you want about The Big ‘Un (as his mates call him, before being arrested and sentenced to forty years hard labour in subhuman conditions) but the fella’s got great timing. Launching a missile with a range long enough to reach Alaska on the eve of the 4th of July is the equivalent of a North Korean middle digit being slowly raised in the direction of DJT. Like an internet troll. But one with the ability to kill millions and start a dreadful war.
His scriptwriter’s not too shabby either, penning a line for his boss straight of the Bond villain handbook: “(the missile) is a gift for the American bastards”. Presumably accompanied by maniacal laughter and backed with a chorus-line of high-kicking generals. And no it’s not funny. And yes, with Trump at the helm of the good ship America, a man shown many times to react to provocation like a child in a playground, the potential consequences of this military chest-beating are nothing short of terrifying.
But maybe not as terrifying as the state of Andy Murray’s thigh. That’s right, it’s Wimbledon fortnight-o-clock, meaning a feast of tennis, strawberries, Pimm’s and endless discussions in the papers about a dodgy Quadriceps femoris. As the tournament began, rarely-matched levels of scrutiny were applied, with conversations across media channels that ran along these lines:
Media1: Look. There. He limped. He DEFINITELY limped.
Media2: That’s just how he walks. It’s a Scottish walk.
Media1: No it’s not. There. THERE. That’s a limp. I know a limp when I see one and that’s a god’s honest limp.
Media2: It’s a fake limp.
Media1: (crying real, salty tears) Don’t try to make this better. Don’t spare me the pain. That’s definitively the limpiest limp in the history of racket sports and there’s no way Our Andy can win Wimbledon now. It’s over.
Andy Murray then won his first two matches without dropping serve.
The Daily Star chucked its hat into the Year’s Worst Pun contest with its headline heralding Murray and wife Kim’s announcement that they’re expecting their second child. “New Bawls” it guffawed.
Everyone else just went a bit quiet.
Elsewhere, the news continued its recent trend for fragmentation, with stories bubbling up for a few hours before then disappearing. Some more notable moments have included the continued cabinet split over the public sector pay cap, with TM the PM, weak and lacking a majority, having to sit back and smile thinly as various members of her government gave interviews saying the cap should be lifted. The Daily Mirror took an ambiguous, non-definitive view on comments from ex-PM Dave Cam (remember him?) with its headline:
“It’s selfish to give our heroes pay rises says the millionaire ex-Premiere who rakes in £120,000 for speeches”.
Tell us what you really think Daily Mirror!
New figures released this week showed that ¾ of graduates will never pay off their student debt, while at the other end of the generational divide, wealthy Tories in rural areas have been warned to braces themselves for a “double whammy” (it’s never a single whammy is it?) of more new homes and more bypasses. Not that students are every likely to be able to afford either – well, not that they’re likely to want to buy a bypass but rather run a car in order to use a bypass but that wasn’t as quite a pithy sentence-closer.
Bad news for fans of extra-terrestrial life and 50s B Movies arrived in the form of fun-spoiling scientists who’ve discovered that the red planet is covered in a “toxic cocktail” (worse even that that Sex on The Beach that you drank at Ritzy’s in Torquay) of chemicals that can destroy all life. And thus in a flash, all talk of buried water suggesting that life may once have existed on the planet is rendered as hogwash and anyone wanting to make a Martian-based sci-fi movie will need a new title: “They almost definitively didn’t come from Mars because conditions on the planet’s surface render life of any kind pretty much an impossibility.” Which has a certain ring to it.
In the “News Beginning with a V” pile is a story about a “drug-fuelled” orgy at the Vatican and Volvo which reached peak Swede with its significant and admirable announcement that from 2019, all its new cars will be either fully electric or hybrid. Which is the kind of story that could pass you by as relatively mundane until you think about the consequences. And then you realise it could change the world. And for once this is not hyperbole.
Later today at the G20 summit in Hamberg, Trump will meet V-Putz face-to-face for the first time (although we presume they’ve been Snapchatting for months) and TM the PM will be jostling to maintain the UK’s global position in a post-Brexit world, a position which currently seems to be somewhere out the back stacking the dishwasher while the US, Russia and the EU get stuck into a massive game of Uno upstairs.
And we end with the discovery that there are NO GOOD SONGS ABOUT TENNIS. Honestly, try to find one. You won’t. Frank Turner wrote one and it’s not very good and elsewhere the cupboard is bare.
So, here’s the most sun-filled, sweaty, slightly naughty feeling piece of music we can find. Put this on. Lie back. Enjoy the weekend.