We bring you the chic and unique, the best and most bizarre shopping offers both online and offline. We offer you tips on where to buy, and some of the less mainstream and crazy, individual and offbeat items on the internet. Anything that can be bought and sold can be featured here. And we love showcasing the best and worst art and design.
I love bottled water. It makes the humble look exceptional. One Guardian writer is less impressed. She says bottled water is “ignorant, insensitive and irresponsible”. You see how interesting water has become. A simple glass of water is now steeped in meaning. You can talk about at dinner parties. Katherine Purvis says, “It’s just another ugly indicator of our world’s many inequalities”. Discuss.
We’ve reached peak bottled water. From today, for a sweet £80, Harrods will sell ‘luxury water’ harvested from icebergs off the coast of Svalbard.
If people want to spend lots of cash on bottled water, so be it.
In other hydration news to natter about, the Guardian saysBrexit ‘threatens the craft beer revolution’.
The paper attempts to answer the questions they’re all asking in Sudan, ‘So what’s the best wine club to join?’ and ‘Are expensive wines worth the money?’. One writer warns that if you do spend £100 on a bottle of wine ‘you’d better be braced for sanctimony and ridicule’.
Another Guardian writer is struggling: ‘With champagne being promoted at anything between £9 and £126 this Christmas, it’s almost impossible to know what’s good value.’
Big news on the Sun’s cover is that teetotal Muslims who eat at Brewer’s Fayre and Whitbread Inn pubs will be “outraged” to learn their beef lasagne contains pork. How many Muslims are shocked, dismayed and angered by the presence of non-kosher meats in their non-halal stomach liner could run into the single digits.
The cheesy beef lasagne is, we’re told, 8.5 percent beef and 4.5 per cent pork.
The meal is made by Creative Foods in Flint, Wales. The Sun recalls that in 2013 Creative “sold lasagne containing horse DNA to Whitbread”. Which, as any Italian will tell you, made it pretty authentic.
If you’re too busy to tweet yourself, you can outsource the task and others to the woman above. She’s a clickfamer installing apps on a screen of Apple iphones. The more installs an app has the higher it ranks on Apple’s marketplace.
For a $11,000 one-off payment – plus $65,000-a-week for upkeep – you too can ensure your crappy appy hits the Top 10 of free apps. You can hire a cheat / marketeer to game the system on China’s Taobao.
The original photo was tweeted on Weibo with the caption, “Hard-working App Store ranking manipulation employee.”
Apple tries to prevent PC-based iPhone emulation programs (bots) made for this purpose and bans apps that use them, so manual labor is the best way to ensure the closest simulation of actual users.
A search for “app store ranking manipulation” (刷榜 app store) on Taobao, China’s most popular C2C ecommerce site, reveals dozens upon dozens of vendors selling similar services. Their prices are listed as one yuan, but it’s more likely that the real negotiations take place through direct chat.
Can you hire out your iPhone for the day to do this? Asking for a friend.
Books. Ever hear of them? The Sun says “SHOCK LEAK Game of Thrones fans sent into a frenzy as ‘entire plot for season seven leaks online’”. Games of Thrones is based on a series of books by George R.R. Martin. If you want to know what happens in the TV version, why not just, you know, read the books?
Yes, yes, the TV version does differ from the books. Producer David Benioff says the show is “about adapting the series as a whole and following the map George laid out for us and hitting the major milestones, but not necessarily each of the stops along the way”. But you get the gist of the plot.
The Mail says “a Reddit user going by the name awayforthelads posted an enormous list of very detailed spoilers”.
How do we know to trust awayforthelads? Maybe they made it up? After all, the Sun looks at the leaks and says it is”reveals a pregnancy and a saucy romp between two main characters”. Sex in Game of Thrones is like the weather at the end of the evening news. It’s expected. As for a pregnancy, the show is about dynasties. Kids are part of the process.
And then comes the truly conniving part: the Mail wants to turn the taps open on that leak.
If you want to read the leaks, you can, of course. If you enjoy escapism, you might want to pass over the leaks and just wait for the entertainment.
Ever go to Australia’s The Grove Hill hotel, a watering hole between Darwin and Katherine, in what might best be termed ‘the middle of nowhere’? The place is closing. Owner Stan Heausler wanted to sell it but no buyers came forward. Now in his 80s, ‘Stan The Man’ has had enough.
He might continue to drink a bottle of rum a day, as is his won, but he won’t be doing it at the Grove.
Grove Hill pub in February 1942
Stories abound about the pub “built in 1934 from materials scavenged from abandoned mining sites in the aftermath of the Great Depression.”
“We were in Victoria dredging for gold, me and Derek, and there was a total eclipse,” says one patron. “We were in the Beechworth pub, I was only 17 … He drank everyone’s beer in the bar while they were out looking at the eclipse. I had an old 350 twin motorbike and we got half a carton under each arm, but going up the hill he fell off the back. For weeks later we were picking cans off the road, picking them up every time we went into town.”
The Northern Territory hotel just existed. “It’s not a great little pub,” says Darwin restaurant owner Lars. “It’s just been here for so fucking long, no one really gives a shit. It’s just been here.”
PS: any gold left in the land, Stan? “We used to sell gold nuggets, ” he recalls, “but the locals had run out of them so we’ve got to wait for them to find some more.”
Hot dogs are un-Islamic, says the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (MIDD). To receive halal certification,the MIDD, a religious government body, says hot dogs must be renamed.
MIDD’s Sirajuddin Suhaimee explains says: “In Islam, dogs are considered unclean and the name cannot be related to halal certification.”
Yes, but the hot dog contains no dogs, it being most often a composite blend of pigs’s scrotum, anus and lips.
“Malaysian halal food guidelines say halal food and halal artificial flavour shall not be named or synonymously named after non-halal products such as ham, bak kut teh, bacon, beer, rum and others that might create confusion,” he adds.
The Auntie Anne store has been refused halal certification unless it renamed its “Pretzel Dog”. Mr Suhaimee says it should be called a Pretzel Sausage”.
And in keeping with Islamic law, Auntie Anne might care to ‘circumcise’ the tip of its Fat Torpedo:
Presidential Tat Watch spots this “Donald Trump Paddle Ball” on sale at the Gagosian’s Benefit for Clinton, Art For Hillary.
Designed by New York sculptor Elliott Arkin, the wooden paddle features a likeness of Donald Trump’s face. The mouth is open. The idea is that you smack the red rubber ball into Trump’s pie hole.
Arkin’s work references Koons’s Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer paddle ball game from 2000. “I often use existing contemporary works to satirize. Since Koons has made that print of the Mona Lisa for this event, I thought his Rudolph paddle ball was a natural fit for Trump,” he says.
Konn’s Mona Lisa repo costs Clinton fans – get this – $50,000.
To even things up, Arkin has also made a Hillary Clinton Flash Drive an 8 megabyte flash drive in the shape of a miniature Clinton. You pop off Clinton’s noggin – decapitate it, if you will – and reveal the device.
Whether the data storage device contains any data, like emails, say, or has been accidentally wiped clean by forces unknown is unsaid.
What does it mean to be working class? Aditya Chakrabortty knows. Having analysed the 17m people who voted to leave the European Union and found them “delusional”, he tells Guardian readers what it is to be working class:
What the pound’s weakness will chiefly achieve is to stop Britons buying as much. The middle classes will swap the wonders of the Alhambra for a week in Anglesey. The working classes will find Zara 15% more expensive.
Tops, shits, hobnail boots and hats by Zara. Grime: models’ own
The working classes rather enjoy packages holidays to Spain. But, yeah, shopping at Zara is just what defines the working class, those people employed in the blue collar trades who having put food on the table and coins in the gas metre can’t afford market-stall schmutter and catalogue shopping and are forced to do with Zara fashions.
PS: In April the Guardian increased its cover price in the UK by 20p, taking the cost of the weekday print edition to £2 and Saturday edition to £2.90. The working class should form an orderly queue at the newsagents.
Howard Gayle was the first black footballer to play for Liverpool. The State wanted to reward Toxteth-born Gayle for footballing whilst black and working with the anti-racism charity Kick It Out with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). But Gayle, 58, was unimpressed.
He explains why he rejected the gong:
If they want to be inclusive and accepting of black people around the UK and the Commonwealth, then they need to change the title of it – as it’s an exclusive club being an MBE or OBE or one of those gongs.
A lot of people around the world contacted me to say they accepted my decision and that the title of MBE did rankle.
In his book 61 Minutes In Munich, Gaytle talks about the racism that was rife in football and society. In the 1970s and 1980s, English football was infected by racism.
Gayle recalls an episode with Liverpool enforcer Tommy ‘Anfield Iron’ Smith.
Tommy tried to distract me by making nasty comments related to the colour of my skin. For a while, I somehow managed to restrain myself…
I received the ball, controlled it, and lashed a shot towards goal. Tommy Smith was on the other team and it hit him on the leg. It clearly stung and some of the other players started laughing. I had a smile on my face as well. I saw it as karma. Tommy responded with a tirade of abuse. It was ‘black this, black that’.
The place went quiet. Everybody could hear it, including the staff. He was a legend. I was a nothing. Nobody said a word.
I’d had enough of him (Smith): this bitter old man. So I went over and squared up: nose to nose. I looked at him dead in the eye.
“You know what, Tommy; one night you’ll be taking a piss at home and I’ll be there waiting for you with a baseball bat,” I said, calmly. “And then we’ll see what you’ve got to say.”
I wanted to start a fight with him. And then he walked away…
Graeme Souness was the only one that came over in the immediate aftermath. “Well done, Howard,” he said. “Tommy deserved that”. Graeme was a true leader.
Other might have just lamped Smith.
After I left, John Barnes became the first black player to be signed by Liverpool from another club. He quickly earned the nickname of ‘Digger’, after Digger Barnes in the Dallas television series. Personally, I wouldn’t have accepted that because of its closeness to the ‘N’ word.
Hyper-sensitive? Seeing racial undertones in a nickname given to player who would be idolised at Anfield?
Things have changed. Now professional football might well be the lest colour conscious occupation in Britain – one in four of professional footballers is black.
Emma Phillips, Wallasey, Wirral, is the trainee teacher who got a large dildo stuck in her anus (?). This is no secret. Emma has not been exposed or outed in some way. She wants to tell us all about her “embarrassing” accident because it is a “taboo” we need to be warned about.
She’s told her story to Mercury Press, who have sold it to the Daily Mirror. How you prove the story of the vanishing viby is a moot point. Emma just wants to tell us about it. And we are all ears.
And no giggling as “Emma offers a thumbs up from her hospital bed”. Let’s hope she washes it first and removed any false fingernails.
One day her child will get to read about the tale of “Mum-of-one Emma Phillips”, her partner Lee Miller, 29, and the the 7 inch sex toy that “disappeared”.
When she leaned forward she could feel it vibrating inside her bottom wedged behind her hip.
Lee tried to extract the toy with a fork handle and BBQ prongs before calling for an ambulance.
In Wrexham hospital Emma underwent the “minute-and-a-half surgery which involved placing a camera down her throat and the surgeon pressing on her stomach before manually extracting i”.
And “Doctors offered her the toy as a keepsake but she decline”.
We are indebted to Pies for this gem of an item for Liverpool fans looking to buy a clock. The Bradford Exchange are offering this £197.94 ‘Liverpool FC Stadium clock’, an officially licensed piece of merchandise to enliven any wall.
It is what Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley would have wanted.
Plays You’ll Never Walk Alone on the hour! Every hour!
As newspaper investigations go, the Mail’s look at the piece of coffee 30,000 feet in the air aboard a plane is weaker than a happy hour cocktail in Riyadh. In “Revealed: How low-cost airlines inflate the price of in-flight coffee by up to 4,000 per cent”, Qin Xie repurposes as bit of PR from Kayak.co.uk, which “looked at the prices for coffee on five low-cost airlines departing from the UK – Ryanair, easyJet, Thomas Cook, Flybe and Jet2 – and compared them with the cost of making the same beverage at home.”
Budget airline unveils new low-cost seats
Unless you live aboard a passenger jet, the relative costs don’t hold water. But undeterred by the obvious, the Mail ploughs on:
For example, the cost of a cup of Lavazza coffee on Ryanair is the equivalent of £2.55 when converted from euros. But if you purchased the same coffee at supermarkets, available in 100g tins for £3, each serving comes in at just six pence.
This means a mark-up of 4,150 per cent was applied to the coffee.
What does a cup of coffee cost in high-street coffee shops, like Nero or Costa, or in a local greasy spoon cafe? Qin Xie doesn’t mention that.
But look out for the Mail campaign for the right for passengers to take aboard their own kettles, coffee granules and mugs.
PS – And look out for other ‘revelations’ on other things that cost more when not bought in bulk and consumed in the home, like, well everything.
Jamie Vardy is plugging his autobiography. The Leicester City and England striker tells a good story in From Nowhere.
I had a three-litre vodka bottle at home I would put loads of Skittles sweets in. After that, you can drink the vodka neat and it tastes just like Skittles. When I was bored at home in the evening I’d pour myself a glass, sit back and enjoy. The vodka was decent but it wasn’t doing much for my dead leg, which didn’t stop bleeding for ages.
Dave Rennie, the physio, said he couldn’t believe it wasn’t improving. He’d seen a torn calf muscle heal quicker. He pulled me aside one day when nobody else was about.
“What are you doing?” Dave asked.
“Nothing I wouldn’t normally do,” I replied. Then I explained that what I’d normally do was drink Skittle vodka.
“Well, that will be why, then,” Dave said.
In other news, during a sting which has caused England manager Sam Allardyce to be investigated by the FA, he appears to have drank a pint of wine. The Guardian notes:
One question our useful feature doesn’t answer is what exactly is the England boss drinking in the picture on the front page of the Telegraph. The beverage is in a pint glass but it’s definitely not beer and doesn’t look like lager. Football365 are suggesting it’s wine…
A pint of wine? Skittles vodka. It’s like the football revolution with it microbiotic diets and image rights never happened. Football might have been repackaged for the lentil-munching classes, telling us to sit down, shut up and pay up, but here is evidence that something of the old game lingers. And you know what – we love it, don’t we.
Ever hear of the spider whose bite can give you a four-hour erection? The spiders are free and come with bunches of Asda bananas. Right now everyone with a flaccid bellend is heading to the supermarket, browsing the aisles for discount Viagra.
Ashley Gamble tells the Sun that he bought some of the phallic fruits. His partner Sophia Newcombe and their two daughters spotted the Brazilian wandering spiders and “fled” their home after “dozens of the creepie-crawlies burst out of a nest that was stuck to a piece of fruit”.
They hoovered a load of the little beasts up but didn’t get them all. Sophia wants Asda to fumigate her home. Pfizer, makers of Viagra, doubtless want the spiders killed.
And anyone keen to offer Sophia cash for the contents of her hoover bag should be aware of the health warning: the erection lasts four hours but the man wearing it is dead inside two hours.
And, no, rigor mortis, is not a recognised cure for impotence.
Artist Craig Ward took sterilized sponges onto the New York sUbway system. He was looking for life invisible to the naked eye. He pressed the swabs into agar plates and incubated them in his Brooklyn studio.
“Over the summer of 2015, I rode the trains of each of New York City’s twenty-two subway lines, collecting bacterial samples from hand rails, seats and other high traffic surfaces in an attempt to create an unconventional series of portraits of the city’s complex eco-system and a snapshot of the city at large,” says Craig. “The resulting images are a portrait of the complex microcosm that each of us contribute to and are a part of.”
“When you hold onto the handrail it’s like you’re shaking hands with a hundred people at the same time.”
“You look at the subway and it’s all just different shapes and sizes and colours of people and you look at it at a microscopic level and it’s all just different shapes and sizes and colors of bacterial colonies,” Ward tells Bernstein & Andriulli. “It’s a nice kind of portrait of the city on a very small scale.”
The S Train – here the agar was actually removed from the plate in the shape of an S for visual variation.
Among the bugs are strains of E. coli, serratia marcescens, proteus mirabilis and salmonella.
The B, D, F and M group
Microbial residents of the L Train. They were here before it was cool.
Liverpool have a new ‘official timing parter’. It’s a brand called Holler. This is how Holler announced the deal on their website:
Yeah, not a single wrist in sight. Odd that a brand specialising in watches would show three Liverpool players not wearing one between them.
Holler describes itself thus:
The Official Timing Partner of Liverpool FC.
Holler was born out of a long history of soul music originating in the 1960’s. Soul is a genre which combines different elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues.
And what is soul music without watches?
And they’re on Twitter. This was how @HollerFC account tweeted about Liverpool.
It looks like Holler announced the deal and then mocked Liverpool for their lack of league titles in recent years, praising Manchester United for good measure.
Like the time when Americans knew nothing about football…
NOTE: Is the @HollerFC account authentic? The Drum says:
…speculation around the legitimacy of the new Holler FC Twitter account in relation to the Holler brand has since circulated. However the @Holler_Soul twitter account, which has over 19,000 followers, had promoted the launch of the Holler FC division in its Twitter background page which read: “Coming soon at HollerFC.com”. This has since changed but a screenshot of the old background can be seen below.
Liverpool celebrate their last last league title win on April 28 1990.