Every week, The Friday Speed Read unpacks the main news stories of the past seven days from the same little satchel that it had in primary school and then arranges them in paragraphs for your edification and entertainment.
As we stand teetering on the cusp of another bank holiday weekend, breaths held in excited expectation as we conjure happy thoughts of three more glorious days of warm sunshine, a range of exotic ciders and the smell of lightly barbecued reconstructed meat products . . . *checks weather forecast* . . well, at least you won’t be at work eh?
But whatever the weather brings, the memory of last weekend’s WEDDING will be forever bathed in early summer sunshine. You would have had to have looked fairly hard to find anyone, in the media at least, who had anything less than glowing (and let’s be honest, in some cases fawning) to say about the nuptials of Hazza and Megz: there were lots of nice dresses for fans of nice dresses; plenty of Clooneys for the Clooneyites; lots of non-traditional elements for those that like long-overdue progress and, for the rest of us, there were the facial expressions of the white upper classes as Rev. Curry’s sermon nudged into its fourteenth minute. (TFSR must admit to thinking that all that stuff about “Gilead” was a reference to the new series of The Handmaid’s Tale which started on C4 the following day).
The wedding, naturally, dominated Monday’s newspapers and the coverage war was, of course, won by The Daily Mail, whose locked cupboard of sleepless royal correspondents churned out a scarcely credible 50 pages of coverage PLUS a 32 page souvenir photo album. We discovered Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first dance was to an upbeat classic (The Sun – “Ooh, One wants to dance with somebody”) and that the majority of the guests got royally drunk via the free bar, which was appropriate given the circumstances.
But that wasn’t the end of it: on Tuesday The Sun remained all trembly-kneed and wished it was still the weekend as it hit readers with a “souvenir cover wrap” that you could put up in your loo and slapped another seven pages of wedding coverage on the table. And even on Wednesday, when frankly we all should have had better things to think about, five national front pages ran a story that a bee had briefly troubled Harry when making a speech at his father’s birthday party and that Meghan had briefly giggled. That’s enough now. That really is enough.
This week’s Trump Update (sponsored by Armageddon) continues the recent trend of appearing to be have written by a third-rate hack who was only dabbling in fiction after their career in professional idiocy had hit the buffers. A mere handful of days after the White House had minted a souvenir coin commemorating the summit between DJT and KJU, the summit was hoicked from the diary following comments from Mike “Half” Pence that a North Korean U-turn on the scrapping of their nuclear weapons could end “like the Libyan model” (i.e. with the cowering despot being dragged from a drainpipe and shot). In return North Korea called Pence “stupid” and promised to meet the US either at the table or via “a nuclear to nuclear showdown”. Trump then issued a reciprocal threat, waved his own massive nuclear weapon in the direction of Pyongyang and called the whole thing off. All of which begs three question:
ONE – Is the world now a more dangerous place than it was last Saturday?
TWO – Could it be that the Trump administration doesn’t quite have a firm grip on the nuances of international diplomacy?
THREE – What on earth are they going to do with all those coins?
The inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire opened this week with testimonies from friends and family of the 72 people killed in the tragedy. Many of these were reported faithfully across the media and were, of course, heart breaking. Likewise this week, Manchester marked the first anniversary of the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena that killed 23 and injured well over a hundred. In both cases, you were struck that in the remembrance of the “ordinary” people who lost their lives, they were revealed to be anything but: these people were kind, funny, brave, selfless, loving with not a hint of ‘ordinariness’ about them. People, on the whole and in a million quietly different ways, are extraordinary and maybe we need to do a better job of remembering this.
A quick slug from the “other news this week” bottle brings up the first interview given by Yulia Skripal following her poisoning in Sailsbury; Boris Johnson demanding his own plane and then falling for a prank call from some wag pretending to be the Armenian Prime Minister; ex-Brazilian’s footballer Ronaldo’s plan to marry two women (grudging respect for the Star’s headline: “I do Ron Ron Ron, I do Ron Ron”); Facebook offering to protect you from nude picture blackmail by asking you to start uploading all your nude pictures to Facebook (which given its recent record is akin to putting nude pictures of yourself up around your office – and please don’t do this).
Finally, a widely reported study by “scientists” revealed that English speakers say “thank you” more than speakers of any other language, but even then do so in only 14% of potentially appropriate situations. The same study revealed that speakers of Cha’palaa in Ecuador never thank each other, making them perfect candidates for jobs in the (INSERT SATIRICAL PUNCHLINE OF YOUR OWN CHOOSING HERE) sector.
To close then – there’s only one video that fits the bill. We’ve featured them twice before but Bad Lip Reading’s take on the royal wedding is nothing short of magnificent. Make sure you watch to near the end . . . “you can’t buy a bikini SO SAD!”
Enjoy your three-day weekend.
No really. Thank you.