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Friday Speed Read: Melancholy, madness and exploding kitchens

Every week, The Friday Speed Read ponders over the great philosophers to question how their musings relate to modern day. Fair warning, this is being written by a millennial so by great philosophers I do mean Kurt Cobain and his ground-breaking studies on melancholy.

You’ll be surprised to hear that this week, the UK government managed to contradict itself over the COVID-19 pandemic. I know, it’s hard to believe but it actually happened. Even more shocking is it came from everyone’s favourite interviewee (no, not Prince Andrew) – Matt Hancock.

Back in July, he urged those with coronavirus symptoms or anyone who has any doubt to get a coronavirus test. Now that the government has realised it’s failed the country at almost every turn during the pandemic and tests are beginning to run out while cases are on the rise, he’s changed his tune. The party line is now that Brits are getting too many coronavirus tests and only those who are “eligible” should come forward. It’s almost as if the government has realised that with fewer tests taken, there will be less official cases. I’m sure I’m just being a cynic though…

This nonsensical U-turn was followed by Boris Johnson announcing more stringent lockdown rules to make social gatherings of more than six people illegal in response to the spike in coronavirus cases across the UK. Who’d have thought it? Telling people to “Eat Out to Help Out”, sending children back to school and opening gyms, pubs and anywhere else that helps kickstart the economy would have an adverse effect on infection rates.

Right, we’re more than 300 words in and we’ve not lambasted Donald Trump yet, despite his approach to the pandemic being so flawed it makes the UK government almost seem competent… almost.

Journalist Bob Woodward, best known for his coverage of the Watergate scandal, this week released recordings of POTUS admitting he intentionally misled the American people, admitting he had always planned to “play it down”. His reasoning for this? He wanted to ensure the country remained calm, which is apparently more important than keeping them alive.

Even more infuriatingly, the governor of South Dakota yesterday announced she plans to use $5m from the coronavirus relief fund to create a 30-second tourism advert, despite the state being one of the hot spots for COVID-19 infections. To repeat, this wasn’t done behind closed doors or hidden in any way, she felt it was such a great idea that it was announced in a press conference. Might be time to hire new advisors.

Back to the UK now as the government has drafted a new bill to amend the UK’s Brexit deal which even Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admits will “break international law”. An agreement was reached with the EU last year but it seems we’re at risk of sliding back to square one. Boris has now issued an ultimatum, giving the EU a five week deadline to hash out a trade deal or talks are over. It seems what could have been an amicable separation is turning into a bitter divorce where the UK comes out second best. I can see it now…

Michel Barnier: “So the five weeks are up. Are you happy with the mess you’ve caused?”

Boris Johnson: “Well I wouldn’t call it a…”

Barnier: “We get the house, car, kids, cat, dog, plants and Netflix account”

Johnson: “What about us?”

Barnier: “We’re happy for you to retain the UK’s £2 trillion debt”

Johnson: “Hmm, better let Matt Hancock take care of the press on this one…”

Ok, that’s enough politics for one week – luckily, there have been plenty of outright absurd goings on to take our minds off the ongoing game of 2020 catastrophe bingo.

A French pensioner taught the world how not to deal with insects when he inadvertently blew up his kitchen when trying to deal with an unwanted fly. He was unaware of gas leaking into the property which was ignited by the electric bug zapper he was using. The surprisingly nimble 80-year-old avoided serious injury by diving onto the floor, no word on the health of the fly though.

A mother in South East London seems to have bought the latest copy of ‘Parenting for Dummies’ by David Cameron, after accidentally leaving her baby in a pram on a train when departing. Luckily they were reunited at the next station and the ordeal caused a five minute delay during the 5pm rush. Quite impressive when you consider I’ve been delayed for 30+ minutes due to leaves on the track.

Last but by no means least, I bring you irrefutable proof that Kim Kardashian can count to at least five. Jury is still out on her fans though. The star has apparently been inundated with what she calls “wild theories” that she has six toes on each of her feet. A quick Instagram story showing off her feet soon put paid to the rumours though and resulted in coverage in The Sun, Daily Mail, Sky News, Daily Mirror and others. BREAKING NEWS: Woman has ten toes.

Ok, that’s a wrap on another eventful Friday Speed Read. Here’s some of that infamous Nirvana melancholy to help you ease into the weekend.

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