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Why Caroline Flack died – by the people who knew her least

When Caroline Flack was found dead in her home, the vulture business went to work. On Twitter, many decided that with the news still fresh and facts about the TV presenter’s death largely unknown, it was the ideal moment to pass judgement.

The story leads the tabloids. Each has a hot take on why Caroline Flack died, not least of all the Mail, which calls her “troubled”, the Sunday Mirror which shrouds the awful news in the shocker ‘Death By Valentine’ and the Express which considers the location and style of home her home newsworthy (Flack dies in “London flat”).

caroline flack death
caroline flack death

caroline flack death
caroline flack death
caroline flack death

On Twitter, a heated debated was triggered over who was behind Caroline Flack’s death:

Journalists:

Sun journalist Dan Wootton:

ITV:

Media:

Twitter:

Social Media:

The Law?:

The Law:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, February 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Dresden: Kurt Vonnegut remembers the World War Two bombing

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) survived the allied bombing of Dresden during World War II. It inspired his novel Slaughterhouse Five.

The Allied onslaught on the German’s industrial and transportation hub was brutal. On 13 February 1945, British aircraft began the attack on the eastern German city of Dresden. In less than half an hour, warplanes dropped 1,800 tons of bombs. More then 25,000 people died in the firestorm. “Dresden was one big flame. The one flame ate everything organic, everything that would burn,” Vonnegut wrote. The city became “like the moon now, nothing but minerals. The stones were hot. Everybody else in the neighbourhood was dead.”

In 1983, Vonnegut recalled his time in an underground meat locker as a prisoner of war in Dresden for the BBC – ‘And So It Goes’:

Posted: 13th, February 2020 | In: Books, Celebrities, Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


‘Tough Guys For Trump’ – Larry David’s epiphany

larry david donald trump

Larry David has yet to appear in a Bernie Sanders sketch. But he’s in one written for Twitter by Donald Trump.

In this skit, David is seen driving a small, foreign-made car. The liberal New Yorker, star of fly-on-the-wall documentary Curb your Enthusiasm, is wending his way along a sun-dappled road in California when his bad navigation skills and disregard for his fellow Americans causes him to drift and cut up a law-abiding biker.

The biker pulls up alongside.

David, sensing the error of his ways, is converted. In a moment of real epiphany he pulls on a ‘MAGA’ hat and vows to help the biker ‘Make American Great Again’. The buyer nods in brotherhood, politely advises David to “be more careful next time” and drives on.

Unless…

Posted: 12th, February 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Brave Phillip Schofield and celebrity cocks

Stephenie Lowe, wife of TV presenter and father of her two children Phillip Schofield – he just came out as gay – tells the Sun she loves him “as much today as I ever have”. One day earlier, Schofield had told the Sun: “I was confused by what it was. I thought maybe I was bisexual. But over time I realised and started coming to terms with it.” Stephanie had “known for a while” that he was gay.

And that’s pretty much it. It’s a private matter. Only a fool would wish either of them ill. And to be clear, consensual gay sex is love. It’s easy to grasp if you’re capable of acknowledging the stretches and reaches of human desire. We can empathise with the awkwardness of dawning self-realisation, the confusion of growing up gay in a world where we just want to fit in, just as we can comprehend the thrill of holding secret desires and the excitement deceivers find in illicit sex.

But that’s not to say some of the rush to praise a private matter in the public forum doesn’t warrant comment. Schofield’s been called “brave” by various celebs, one going as far as to say Schofield is possessed with the “the heart of a lion”. What kind of lion was left unspecified – the one on the road to Oz, the one in the C. S. Lewis wardrobe or how about the one on the telly ripping into a zebra below David Attenborough’s Voice of God?

And is anyone wondering what reaction would be like if Holly Willoughby (married to a man; mother-of-three), Schofield’s This Morning co-host, came out as gay? If she did, would the liberal, celebrity love for “brave” Phil be countered? TV Phil can continue to do the ice dancing show and the cake making but should we put Holly on DIY and politics? Which of them fronts The Morning’s parenting segment? The one question to take them this story and the ensuring narrative is: would you treat a gay TV presenter any differently than a heterosexual one?


Posted: 10th, February 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Lie on your CV if you’re name ends with a vowel or you’re not called John

racism jobs

Funke Abimbola claims she was victim of “bias” when she tried to get into the legal profession. She tells the BBC: “I found a number of barriers to entering the profession because I had an African name and am a black woman, without any doubt. I had to make over 100 phone calls to get a foot in the door. I have experienced bias and situations where, being a black woman, I was judged more harshly over other colleagues. You are more likely to be noticed and are far more likely to have negative judgements made about you if you are part of an ethnic minority.”

Should you put a false name on your CV if it ends in a vowel or sounds ‘foreign’ to employers’ ears? My own family changed their name twice – once because the officials at the gates misspelt it and once from the Sephardic Benhamu to the more anglicised Benham.

Change your name or leave it off your CV? “Your name no longer matters on your CV,” the Daily Telegraph announced in 2015. CVs are going “name blind”. You can remove age, address, gender and educational background also. This will, at least, make the initial stage of the recruitment process more open, so the thinking goes. Until you get to the diversity box, that is, the one that asks applicants to declare their religion, ethnic roots, sexuality and disability status. Has this box-ticking helped job seekers from minority backgrounds? Has it helped end prejudice or discrimination aimed at someone on the basis of their race?

In 2017, the BBC told us:

A job seeker with an English-sounding name was offered three times the number of interviews than an applicant with a Muslim name, a BBC test found.

Inside Out London sent CVs from two candidates, “Adam” and “Mohamed”, who had identical skills and experience, in response to 100 job opportunities.

Adam was offered 12 interviews, while Mohamed was offered four.

Although the results were based on a small sample size, they tally with the findings of previous academic studies.

Meet ‘Honest John’:

Yogesh Khrishna Davé, 56, is the director for quality at a pharmaceutical company in Slough. It has taken him decades to reach this senior role.

During the journey up the ladder he suspected he was being consistently overlooked for jobs because of his name. So he secretly carried out his own experiment. 

“I entered the job market in the 80s. I put my CV in and it was disappointing. I got rejection letters.

“Someone suggested: ‘Why don’t you put a very English name on your CV [as well as sending one in your own name]… and see who they might offer the job to?’ So I had my name, Yogesh, and John Smith. John Smith got the interview. I got rejected for the interview.”

None of this mans you’re going to ge the job, of course. The employer will still want to see you. The results of an independent review by Sir John Parker (that is his real name) into the ethnic diversity of UK boards is out. You can read it here.

Meet ‘Honest John II’ in the Times:

The Parker Review, which was launched in 2017, has found that 37 per cent of FTSE 100 boards still have all-white boards. Although the latest figures are an improvement on the 50 per cent that had no ethnic minority representation three years ago, its latest report said that progress had been slower than hoped.

Sir John Parker, who heads the review — and sits on an all-white board himself as chairman of Pennon Group, the water company — accused businesses of being complacent in their approach.

Look lively. It’s ‘Honest Jon III’:

Separate research by the Financial Reporting Council, the watchdog that sets the UK’s corporate governance code, found that most companies were failing to adequately report and set targets for ethnic diversity. More than half of FTSE 250 companies fail to mention ethnicity in the board diversity policy. Only 14 per cent of FTSE 100 companies and 2 per cent of FTSE 250 companies set measurable ethnicity targets.

Sir Jon Thompson, 55, chief executive of the regulator, said: “The UK’s record on boardroom ethnicity is poor. It is unacceptable that talented people are being excluded from succession and leadership simply because companies are failing to put in place appropriate policies on boardroom ethnicity.”

In conclusion: you can never have enough Johns in charge of fairness…

Posted: 5th, February 2020 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


The Entartete Kunst – when Nazis banned ‘degenerate’ art and music

Entartete Kunst

The Nazis were not ones for jazz and free expression. They damned all as entartete kunst (degenerate art). To let fellow Ubermensch know what wrong thinking looked like, the Nazis created a travelling exhibition called – predictably – Entartete Kunst. The show opened in Munich in 1937, displaying works deemed to be “an insult to German feeling”. How they flocked to be educated and disgusted by stuff purged from museums and stolen by the State for the common good. More than two million visitors attended the exhibition from July 19 to November 30, 1937, in Munich alone.

Part of the purge was listed in the 10 Rules for Combatting Jazz. The whole shebang of depravity formed a brochure, of which London’s V&A holds the only known copy of a complete inventory of Entartete Kunst.

The museum notes:

The list of more than 16,000 artworks was produced by the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) in 1942 or thereabouts. It seems that the inventory was compiled as a final record, after the sales and disposals of the confiscated art had been completed in the summer of 1941. The inventory’s two typescript volumes provide crucial information about the provenance, exhibition history and fate of each artwork.

The inventory consists of 482 pages (including blank pages and a missing page), split into two volumes. The entries are organised alphabetically by city, institution and artist’s name. Volume 1 covers the cities Aachen to Görlitz, while Volume 2 covers Göttingen to Zwickau.

It’s pretty much a guide to everything you should enjoy.

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 30th, January 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Strange But True | Comment


Let’s swap Prince Andrew and Anne Sacoolas

Prince Andrew is “too honourable”. We know this because he told us so during a televised interview with the BBC on his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (now dead). Since that televised coach crash, Randy Andy might have imagined the story would go away, blown off the news cycle by bigger events: Brexit, Meghan Markle’s seaplane, a killer virus in China. But it didn’t. And now the ambulatory advert for a republic has been called out by lawyers in New York City as having provided “zero co-operation” to an inquiry into the rotting sex offender.

Epstein was not killed. As the BBC states: “Convicted US sex offender Epstein took his own life in a jail cell in August, aged 66, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.” Fact. A billionaire who abused underage girls and hung out with the super-entitled, super-rich suddenly ended it all alone in a jail cell. No guards saw it. No CCTV recorded it. It just happened. Barbara Sampson, New York’s chief medical examiner, says she stood “firmly behind our determination of the cause and manner of death for Mr Epstein”.

Kicking over the dead body, the piles of cash and the abused women is attorney Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He says the FBI and his office had requested to interview Andrew as part of their inquiry into Epstein’s crimes, but “to date, Prince Andrew has provided zero co-operation”. Maybe they’ll have more luck making Epstein talk?

Maybe the US can extradite Andrew? This country is interested in Anne Sacoolas, a suspect in the death of Harry Dunn. So far the US has refused to extradite her. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Home Secretary Priti Patel and PM Boris Johnson have all criticised the US decision to reject the request for Anne Sacoolas to return to the UK. Mr Johnson’s spokesman tells media: “We believe that this is a denial of justice and the individual concerned should return to the UK.”

anne sacoolas

So how about they get Andrew and we get Sacoolas – one national embarrassment for another? The Americans can turn it into a TV event. And we can sleep easy knowing America respects out laws, investigates the suspicious deaths of our citizens, whether it be by drone or car.

Posted: 28th, January 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Black activist cropped from Greta Thunberg Davos photoshoot

Vanessa Nakate,

If Greta Thunberg was black, would the world’s media prick up its ear when she spoke? It’s not what she says, but that the white, blonde from Sweden is saying it. Time to meet Vanessa Nakate, a 23-year-old climate activist from Uganda who like Greta has been at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

On Friday, Vanessa was at the Fridays for Future protest in the rarified Swiss town. Big media covered the event. And when the Associated Press portrait of the young activists hit the newswires, Vanessa was noticeable by her absence. The four white girls stayed in the picture, each looking a bit miserable and concerned. It might be modelling shoot for some mid-market brand. To the side, the smiling black girl, the young woman from lands the West presents as places to nurture, control and save, is gone.

Says Vanessa: “I cried because it was so sad not just that it was racist, I was sad because of the people from Africa. It showed how we are valued. It hurt me a lot. It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.”

She’s right, isn’t she. Climate change activism looks a lot like colonialism. We know best. We must save them. Their job is to provide the noble cause. And if they’re really lucky, maybe a TV celebrity will come and adopt them and fly them to a place where the knowing really understand what’s going on …

Posted: 25th, January 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


28 animals you can eat at China’s Wuhan Market

These are the 28 animals identified by the South China Morning Post for sale at the Huanan (Wuhan) market in China. Many animals do not feature. And the thinking is why not? If you can eat camel and donkey, why not llama or flamingo? And are Hoxton’s hipsters lagging, sticking to ostrich, emu and crocodile when those food-forward Chinese are dining on Asian badger, otter and scorpion? As the West weeps over footage of the burnt Australian wildlife, are Chinese sympathies fogged by the scent of roast koala?

bat soup
Best served accompanied by a young Robin with a Penguin chaser

Some science suggests the coronavirus spreading in China started in bats served at the aforementioned Wuhan market. Analysis shows the virus’s genetic makeup is 96% identical to that of a coronavirus found in bats. “I would be very surprised if this were a snake virus,” says Timothy Sheahan, a virologist at the University of North Carolina. Bats were also the ultimate source of SARS, scientists believe.

bat soup
Apple News

“evil! Chinese eat bat – movie exposure, ” says a headline to an Apple News story shared by the Daily Mail. The video features a woman eating bat soup. Why eating bat should be evil and, say, eating newborn lamb the stuff of daytime telly cooking shows and Easter treats is moot, moreover eating kangaroo testicles for slots of entertainment dished up between ads for insurance, holidays and mobile phones?

But war with the bats has begun. And you need to pick sides. (I’ll have a side of chicken wings and foie gras.)

Posted: 24th, January 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Read Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks online

Read Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks online

Leonardo da Vinci’s unpublished manuscripts and notebooks – Codex Arundel – are now digitized and ready to read in the British Library. The Library tells us that after he died, one of his pupils, Francesco Melzi, “brought many of his manuscripts and drawings back to Italy. Melzi’s heirs, who had no idea of the importance of the manuscripts, gradually disposed of them.” But over 5,000 pages of notes “still exist in Leonardo’s ‘mirror writing’, from right to left.”

You can see da Vinci’s “visions of the aeroplane, the helicopter, the parachute, the submarine and the car. It was more than 300 years before many of his ideas were improved upon.”

As Josh Jones writes: “For an overwhelming amount of Leonardo, you can look through 570 digitized pages of Codex Arundel here. For a slightly more digestible, and readable, amount of Leonardo, see the British Library’s brief series on his life and work, including explanations of his diving apparatus, parachute, and glider.”

Spotter: OpenCulture, Flashbak

Posted: 16th, January 2020 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment


God bless Victoria Agoglia : Charlene Downes is still missing

Victoria Agoglia

So now we know. The BBC puts it well: “Social workers investigating child sex exploitation in Manchester knew children were suffering ‘the most profound abuse… but did not protect them’.” Why not? And where is Charlene Downes, the teenager who vanished in Blackpool?

After a child’s death in 2003, police identified at least 97 “predominantly Asian” suspects, but “very few” faced justice, the independent review found. The police operation was “prematurely closed down” after senior officers decided to “remove resources”, it said.

We only know about this because the media got involved. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham commissioned the report after the BBC broadcast The Betrayed Girls in 2017. The show shone a light on Victoria Agoglia. The teenager was placed in the case of Manchester City Council after her mother died. Victoria died after being injected with heroin by an”older Asian man”. Before she died, over the course of 18 months Victoria told adults in positions of trust that she was being abused, raped and plied with drugs by paedophiles. In 2004, a 50-year-old man was cleared of her manslaughter. He admitted two offences of injecting her with heroin and was jailed.

The Guardian reported on her death:

Manchester city council is investigating how Victoria Agoglia, known to her family and friends as Vicky Byrne, managed to run away from her care home and take the drug. She moved to a house on the outskirts of Rochdale in April with a team of residential care workers who were supervising her 24 hours a day. She absconded in the middle of last week, before she took the drug, and became ill on Saturday morning… Shortly after she was admitted to hospital, a man of 50 and a woman of 29 were arrested. They were released on police bail.

And what did the police do? Well, they looked busy. The GMP launched Operation Augusta. It would tackle “the sexual exploitation throughout a wide area of a significant number of children in the care system by predominantly Asian men”. It spotted at least 57 children “as potential victims” and up to 97 “persons of interest” involved in the crimes against them. They identified eight men who had gone on to commit rapes against children. And then they shut the thing down. The BBC notes, “one suspect vehicle uncovered in the initial investigation was linked to a GMP officer, who was later dismissed from the force.”

And what of the council? The Manchester Evening News wrote in 2007:

Simon Crabtree, representing Manchester City Council, said: “In the context of guidance there was nothing further the local authority could have done to prevent Vicky’s untimely demise … Vicky clearly was a child who by conventional standards behaved in a way in which many children and young people would not behave, and in a way which parents would not, or at least should not approve. However that does not make her an unworthy individual, quite the contrary, she had many redeeming qualities. She was not ‘bad’ but misguided in her youth”

And:

Coroner Simon Nelson, giving a narrative verdict, said: “Vicky was a vulnerable young person who died of opiate intoxication following a lethal ingestion of heroin. The local authority should have properly anticipated Vicky Byrne’s propensity to abscond, abuse drugs and alcohol and mix with inappropriate people. However, no inference can be made that these events were foreseeable. Her death was not the result of a breach of the council’s protective duty.”

Police had received this note written by Victoria and “ignored” by police:

“I am only 13. I got the rest of my life ahead of me. I have slept with people older than me. Half of them I don’t even know there [sic] names.”

And get this from 2013:

Margaret Oliver, a former detective constable, quit the force in disgust over the way three separate inquiries into gangs of men having sex with underage girls were handled. In one instance, an aborted foetus from a 13-year-old abuse victim was kept in an evidence store after officers took it without the mother’s knowledge or consent. Officers established the identity of the father — a married Pakistani taxi driver in his thirties — through DNA evidence in February 2009 but did not charge him for almost two years. Oliver, who has been commended for her work during murder and gang crime inquiries and who worked on sex abuse investigations in 2004 and 2010, later broke the news to the 13-year-old and her mother that the foetus had been retained. She believes that hundreds of cases of alleged abuse were mishandled or ignored by Greater Manchester police (GMP).

This new report notes:

 “(Victoria’s) exposure to sexual exploitation by adult males was known to police and social services and, despite the risk of significant harm caused by the men who were sexually exploiting her, statutory child protection procedures, which should have been deployed to protect her, were not utilised and the strategies put in place to protect Victoria were wholly inadequate.”

Children are ignored. Poor children are seen as fair game and damned. We know some of what happened then. What’s happening now?

Posted: 14th, January 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


So Long Meghan and Prince Harry – can you take Andrew and the Yorkies with you?

beatrice eugenie

Royals are lining up to replace The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have announced they will step back as “senior” royals and work to become financially independent. It’s the moment the Yorks have been waiting for, surely.

Princess Eugenie cost us a few million in security when she married last year in a televised event. But Eugenie never gelled with the public. Prince Andrew honourably tried to promote his girls and keep the York torch burning by appearing on the BBC in a one-on-one interview. It had worked for Diana when she sat down to chat with Martin Bashir. But whereas Diana came across as likeable, abused and isolated, he came across as an entailed prig who’d been mates with a prolific paedophile.

Diana perished in a car crash. Andrew created a car crash of his own and tried to creep away unscathed.

Maybe Meghan Markle’s abdication from guest editing Vogue as a Royal to guest editing Vogue as a celebrity, becoming the kind of Hollywood star Liz Hurley pretends to be as Harry demures and self-deprecates at her side, can provide the distraction Andrew needs to get away and push his kids and brand to the fore?

The Mail has 17 pages on Harry and Meghan’s decision to do what those in the know call “not the done thing”. People who know what done things are include: anyone who says “gels”; anyone who can recognise a horse from a pony; anyone who knows which spoon is proper to scoop out a serving wench’s foetus. The rest of us wonder why any one of these minted toffs are on the public payroll and if the Sussex’s pile we paid a couple of million quid to do up will now provide shelter for the homeless?

Meanwhile, what of Princess Beatrice, the other Yorkie, notable until now for having once worn a hat modelled on a vampire quid’s entrails, eating a pizza and, well, anyone got anything else? But worry not because Beatrice’s story is to swell. She is to marry a property developer. Neither the BBC nor ITV plan to broadcast the wedding live. But in this busy media landscape they’re not all, and any one of Netflix, Amazon or Dave could step in and fill the void between reruns of Cash in the Attic.

Farewell, then, Meghan and Harry. Your leaving is a new beginning for the Royal Family. And if you can take the rest of the hanger-ones and freeloaders with you, perhaps as part of a US trade deal with the post-Brexit UK, we’ll consider the chlorinated chicken a fair exchange for Princess Michael of Kent.

Posted: 9th, January 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


A girl’s 1940s ledger of her Cat’s Whiskers

cat whiskers 1941

These pictures show us a handmade book by Janet Gnosspelius. The book contains her cats’ whiskers. Janet collected the whiskers she found in her home from 1940 to 1942. She then wove each and every whisker into the pages of her book and catalogued them, noting when, where and how they were found.

Janet Gnosspelius had artistic pedigree. Her mother was Barbara Collingwood, granddaughter of W.G. Collingwood, John Ruskin’s secretary. She was one of the first women to attend the Liverpool School of Architecture. Archivists say the meticulous nature Gnosspelius exhibited in creating her book remained throughout her life as she worked in “local history and building conservation, regularly posting samples of masonry to Liverpool City Planning Office, neatly labelled with their provenance and date, demanding their restoration.”

Gnosspelius continued her love of cats. At age 40 she wrote a diary. “The diary is no ordinary one,” says her archivists. “It is written from the perspective of her beloved ginger cat Butterball, recording the dates of his fights, illnesses, and stays with friends: ‘9 March 1965: wrapped my mouse in the mat outside kitchen door.’”

cat whiskers 1941
cat whiskers 1941

Spotter: Colossal, Flashbak, The Collingwood Archive of the Cardiff University Special Collections 

Posted: 7th, January 2020 | In: Books, Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Cass Elliot and Keith Moon died in the same bed at Harry Nilsson’s London pad

Keith Moon Annette Walter-Lax
Keith Moon, the eccentric drummer of The Who, at Heathrow Airport with his girlfriend Annette Walker-Lax, on return from the United States. PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Cass Elliot died choking on a ham sandwich; everybody knows that. Except that she didn’t. The myth began because the first doctor who examined her after her death, Dr Anthony Greenburg, in a late-night press conference, said, ‘She was lying in bed eating and drinking a Coca-Cola while watching television. She was half propped up by pillows and it seems that she choked on her sandwich and inhaled her own vomit.’ Dr Greenburg added, ‘She had been dead for some considerable time before her body was found.’

Dr Greenburg, Elliot’s own physician, had overlooked the relatively important fact that the ham sandwich was by the side of her bed and untouched, but by then it was too late. The press reported his initial comments and the doctor unwittingly gave rise to the sandwich myth. A few days later at the inquest Gavin Thurston, the Westminster coroner, recorded a verdict of death from natural causes. ‘There was left-sided heart failure,’ wrote pathologist Professor Keith Simpson. ‘She had a heart attack which developed rapidly.’ Cass Elliott had been going on crash diets for years which in the end fatally weakened her heart. She was just thirty- two when she died.

Cass Elliot eating a typically healthy meal interspersed with cigarettes at a party at Crockford’s casino in London, circa 1974. (Photo by Joe Bangay/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Keith Moon (1946 – 1978), the drummer for The Who, with his girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax, circa 1975. (Photo by Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images/Getty Images)

Four years after the death of Cass Elliot at Harry Nilsson’s flat, Keith Moon, after fitting in enough partying and convivial nights in his short life for a small town, died of an overdose of Heminevrin tablets in the very same bed. Keith and his girlfriend, Annette Walter-Lax, had been to a party held by Paul McCartney at the trendy chrome and neon-lit cocktail-bar restaurant called Peppermint Park on St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden. By many accounts Keith was unusually quiet and sober and shared a booth with the McCartneys, David Frost, John Hurt and, Kenny Jones – Moon’s eventual replacement, ironically. At midnight, everyone went to the Odeon, Leicester Square, for the late-night première of the Buddy Holly Story that starred Gary Busey. Before the end of the film Keith and Annette caught a taxi back to Curzon Place. Keith started watching the film The Abominable Dr Phibes but fell asleep after taking several Heminevrin sedatives that had been prescribed to aid alcohol withdrawal. At about 7.30 a.m. he ordered Annette to cook him steak for breakfast. She complained but Keith retorted with, ‘If you don’t like it, you can fuck off.’ They were to be his last words.

Taken from: The Death of Cass Elliot and Keith Moon at Harry Nilsson’s Macabre Mayfair Flat

Posted: 5th, January 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment


All Good Things : buy Stephen Ellcock prints

Stephen Ellcock prints All Good Things Flashbak

The new shop at Flashbak features prints curated by Stephen Ellcock. Curated is an overused word – up there on the list of hackneyed tosh with ‘holistic’, a word used to describe anything from a therapy suite’s range of revolving-door services to finger painting at primary school, and ‘edited’, which is a bit like curated but can be used to describe the starters in restaurant menus. But curating is what Stephen does. His new book, All Good Things, is a delight. And many of the prints in that lovely bestseller are available to buy in the Flashbak Shop.

The prints are on gorgeous, archival paper. And worldwide shipping is free. Buy your gorgeous prints here.

Posted: 23rd, December 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


White academic says ‘geek’ should be a hate crime on par with racism

When you hear that an academic has said calling someone a “brainbox” or “geek” should be classed as a hate crime, do you think they’re anything but white? Dr Sonja Falck, of the University of East London, says: “Insulting slurs about age, disability, religion and gender identity remained in widespread use until relatively recently. Society at the time turned a blind eye to their impact by passing them off as harmless banter. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that we realise how wrong we were. The same can be said about anti-IQ words like nerd, brainbox, geek, egg-head, smart-arse and dweeb.”

Got that? Anti-semitic slurs – race hatred against the Jews; a grim story backed by hundreds of years of persecution (the Inquisition; pogroms; the Holocaust) – were “until recently” “harmless banter” on a par with calling someone “brainy”. Calling a black woman a n***** – a word constructed on enduring racist policies that sought to cast blacks as sub-humans, offering a State-endorsed acceptable excuse when they were raped, tortured and murdered by their colonisers and owners; the systematic horror of slavery that lasted for centuries; institutional racism in the police force – is on a par with calling the bloke who did well at maths a “geek”. Verbally abusing a disabled person – the ugly, murderous mistreatment of the disabled is a scar on humanity – is no worse than calling you a “dweeb”, or the “D-word”, as we should call it.

Dr Falck is billed as a “Harley Street psychotherapist”. Her new book is called Extreme Intelligence. It is “a study of discrimination against those with very high IQs”.

Do we now talk about what IQ tests are, if they’re worth a dime and how they impact on thoughts around eugenics and race?

The only way a comment on intelligence can ever be prejudicial is when people look at the demise of Jeremy Corbyn’s racist Labour Party and tell you those “clever Jews” were behind it. Anything else is idiotic.

Posted: 18th, December 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


‘Harbinger Customers’ back failed politicians and buy bad products – identifying the postcode losers

harbinger customers

Is it peer pressure, rebellion, a herd mentality or something else? The Dace Mirror introduces us to “harbinger customers” who live in “harbinger zip codes”. They buy unpopular products and back losers in elections. They do this often enough to suggest a pattern of behaviour.

First, the findings document the existence of “harbinger zip codes.” If households in these zip codes adopt a new product, this is a signal that the new product will fail. Second, a series of comparisons reveal that households in harbinger zip codes make other decisions that differ from other households. The first comparison identifies harbinger zip codes using purchases from one retailer and then evaluates purchases at a different retailer. Households in harbinger zip codes purchase products from the second retailer that other households are less likely to purchase. The analysis next compares donations to congressional election candidates; households in harbinger zip codes donate to different candidates than households in neighboring zip codes, and they donate to candidates who are less likely to win. House prices in harbinger zip codes also increase at slower rates than in neighboring zip codes.history

Are these people the outsiders, societal outliers? Are they the ones who think outside the box?

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the harbinger customer effect is that the signal extends across CPG categories. Customers who purchase new oral care products that flop also tend to purchase new haircare products that flop. Anderson et al. (2015) interpret their findings as evidence that customers who have unusual preferences in one product category also tend to have unusual preferences in other categories. In other words, the customers who liked Diet Crystal Pepsi also tended to like Colgate Kitchen Entrees (which also flopped).

Fortune does not always favour the brave.

Spotter: bb

Posted: 12th, December 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Hero fought terrorist on London Bridge with huge Narwhal tusk

Narwhal tusk

Two people were murdered today in another attack on London. The killer was brought to a standstill and taken to the ground by passers-by on London Bridge.

Amy Coop was there. She tweets: “A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5’ narwhale [sic] tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker.”

Tour guide Stevie Hurst helped restrain the attacker. He spoke to BBC radio. “We saw a guy being accosted to the floor,” he said, adding that people were “screaming” the attacker had “stabbed a couple of women”.

“Everyone was just on top of him trying to bundle him to the ground,” he added.

“We saw that the knife was still in his hand… I just put a foot in to try and kick him in the head.We were trying to do as much as we could to try and dislodge the knife from his hand so he wouldn’t harm anyone else.

“The guys that were there were absolutely amazing. Heroes beyond belief.”

The suspect was shot dead by police.

Posted: 29th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn isolates British Jews

The Jeremy Corbyn and Jewdas Seder abridged
British Jews send a message to Jeremy Corbyn;’s Labour

Oy vez, Je-rem-meee Corrrrrr-bin. The Labour Party’s leader’s been hit with those allegations of anti-Semitism again and challenged over his commitment to deal with bigots in his party’s ranks. It turns out that parroting the line about his life-long fight for anti-racism and how much he loathes racism and how Jew hatred is wrong (who knew?) isn’t convincing everyone. Andrew Neil posed a few questions on the matter in a Q&A that gave Jews hope that their lot is not being ignored, boosted the Tories and assured Prince Andrew that he is not the worst person in interviews.

Watch the full Andrew Neil interview with Jeremy Corbyn

The full Andrew Neil interview with Jeremy Corbyn. You'll want to see this.

Posted by Conservatives on Tuesday, 26 November 2019

As Nick Cohen says of Corbyn’s unwillingness to apologise to Jews: “The best is to admit its guilt and reform. Labour cannot because Labour’s leader and his supporters are so contaminated by racial prejudice they lack the moral capacity to change, or even admit to themselves the need to change.”

The papers lead with the horror show:

Corbyn Jews

Only the Daily Star and Mirror don’t lead with Corbyn. The Star looks at two big Lottery winners. The Mirror goes for a story on the NHS, those Lottery winners, a recycling “disgrace”, and a chance to win a “giant Olaf toy”, as seen in the films Frozen and Frozen 2. No room for those pesky Jews:

daily mirror corbyn

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is one of the many upset by Labour’s inability to grasp the situation. His open letter is here in full:


The overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety. The question I am most frequently asked is: What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labour Party forms the next government?


The Jewish community has… learned the hard way that speaking out means that we will be demonised… and accused of being partisan or acting in bad faith by those who still think of this as an orchestrated political smear. Yet, I ask myself: should the victims of racism be silenced by the fear of yet further vilification?


The way in which the leadership of the Labour Party has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud. It has left many decent Labour members and parliamentarians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed.


It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root in the Labour Party.


Many members of the Jewish community can hardly believe this is the same party that they proudly called their political home for more than a century.


How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be in order to be considered unfit for high office? Would associations with those who have openly incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would describing as ‘friends’ those who endorse and even perpetrate the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not. What we do know from history is that what starts with the Jews, never ends with the Jews.


It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote. I simply pose the following question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country? I ask every person to vote with their conscience. Be in no doubt – the very soul of our nation is at stake.


And Labour’s response? If you watched the video above, you will have heard Corbyn refuse to apologise. And worse still, as Cohen notes:

Reassurance comes there none. In its place, Labour released its race and faith manifesto this morning. Buried in it was a commitment to ‘enhance the powers and functions of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, making it truly independent’.

It sounded a sweet aspiration until you remembered that Labour is the first party since the neo-Nazi British National Party to be the subject of a formal investigation into institutional racism by the commission. The commission’s lawyers have reportedly received thousands of documents, some from disgusted former Labour staffers detailing how complaints about the party were dismissed or ignored. We know the commission’s lawyers spent hours ‘forensically examining the depressingly mountainous evidence of anti-Semitism within the Labour party’ before deciding that there is ‘an arguable case that Jewish people are being unlawfully discriminated against by Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.’
And the response from Corbyn and his clique is to descend into conspiracy theory and question the commission’s independence.

There was no process in Labour to deal with anti-semitism before Corbyn was made leader, says Corbyn… Well, you know, needs must. Brendan O’Neill asks who sees Neil’s interview, looks at Corbyn’s record on Jews – that mural, the wreath, those ‘friends’, the lesson in ‘English irony’, the Jewish MP hounded out of the party – and still votes for him?

Why do so many decent people want to serve under him as an MP? Vote in Labour moderates to save the Party, say the likes of Tony Blair, a man who claims to be appalled by the racism rife in the party he once led. Egregious balderdash. Vote Labour and you get Corbyn, a man who heads a group lacking in the moral capacity to admit grievous error and move on.

Too often accusations of racism in his Labour are recast as ‘smears’, part of a conspiracy to do him and his down, say the fans. Who runs this conspiracy? Well, who runs all the conspiracies that lead to all your problems. You know who, that’s who. Nudge-nudge. Wink-wink.

But fear not, Jews, because Corbyn knows racism exists in other places and will make sure the synagogues, shops and streets where Jews meet are well defended. But if they breach the Jewish school’s gates, these enemies possessed by a hate Corbyn can neither fathom nor identity, Jews can flee to Israel perhaps – the country Corbyn targets as the epitome of all that’s wrong with the world.

First they protect us for our own good. Then they block our escape route. Not again. Never again.

A vote for Corbyn’s Labour is a vote for racism. Please don’t do it.

Posted: 27th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Photoshop nightmares: Cloned human beings spotted on Eurostar

Ian Martin has spotted something strange on the Eurostar.

The full render is more worrying. “Have you seen the fuller render,” asks @pistosophy. Here it is:

Eurostar photo
shop

Spotter: @IanMartin

Posted: 24th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


The True Blue Cookery Book – cookies with Tories

The Truth Blue Cookery Book is is “an assembly of recipes contributed by the Conservative Members of Parliament and their wives”. No husbands can cook, or at least no husbands are prepared to share their recipes.

Published in 1977 in association with the Ruislip-Northwood Conservative Association, the people and recipes are a blast from a different age. In the same series, titles include: “Right Way To Make James”; “Deep Freeze Secret”; “Easy Wine And Country Drinks”; and “Choose A Wine”. Any wine. They all get you there, dear boy:

The True Blue Cookery Book
The True Blue Cookery Book
The True Blue Cookery Book
The True Blue Cookery Book

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 22nd, November 2019 | In: Books, Key Posts, Politicians, The Consumer | Comment


The Shining In Gingerbread

Twin brother Aaron and Austin Keeling recreated scenes from The Shining with Gingerbread. They’re pretty tasty:

the shining in gingerbread
the shining in gingerbread
the shining in gingerbread
the shining in gingerbread
the shining gingerbread

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 21st, November 2019 | In: Film, Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Prince Andrew on Jeffrey Epstein – as advised by Michael Spicer in ‘the room next door’

prince andrew epstein

Michael Spicer was listening in the next room when Prince Andrew was telling BBC viewers about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the now dead convicted peadophile.

Andrew refutes allegation he had sex with a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts – now Virginia Giuffre.

Giuffre alleges Prince Andrew sweated profusely before the alleged sexual encounter she was “forced” into. But he says he wasn’t able to sweat at the time. The New York Post delivers a great headline:

Posted: 20th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Jeffrey Epstein: Prince Andrew dry humps for democracy

prince andrew central park epstein
Who got the jacket first?

Having issued the time-honoured non-denial denial, confronted with a televised Q&A into his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (now conveniently dead), innocent Prince Andrew duly gave us the sympathetic backstory.

He could not have been engaged in a sweaty dance with a 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at a London night club because he cannot sweat. Why not? Is he a lizard?

He didn’t respond to that rumour, but he did lick his eyeballs and tell the world via the BBC’s Newsnight show that he has a “peculiar media condition which is that I don’t sweat or didn’t sweat at the time.” Was he dancing the ‘dry hump’ at London’s Tramp disco with the young Virginia Roberts, as she was then known before changing into the more tongue-trying Virginia Giuffre? He didn’t sweat “at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War, when I was shot at, and I simply… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.”

C’est la guerre.

Perhaps that’s why he chose to conduct the interview in a room at Buckingham Palace vast enough to have its own postcode and an ambient temperature low enough to ensure that cold blue blood stays chilled.

Highlights are many. And Andrew explained his way though the more with the following:

Why had he stayed at the Epstein’s pad for four days?

Prince Andrew: “It was a convenient place to stay”

But why four days?

PA: “… at the time it felt like it was the honourable and right thing to do.”

What about that photo with his arm around Virginia’s waist?

PA: “I don’t believe it’s a picture of me”

Fake fingers?

PA: “I don’t believe it’s a picture of me in London because when I go out in London I wear a suit and a tie… Nobody can prove whether or not that photo has been doctored, but I don’t recollect the photo ever being taken.”

If Andrew were a politician or some other public figure we could eject, things would be interesting. But he speaks as a man who acts with impunity. One is just too honourable. It’s all pretty unpleasant. But the real shocker is that with an election looming, not one leading party thinks it a good idea of tells Andrew and the other aristo spares to, in the word of his mummy, “Naff orf!”

Posted: 17th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Jeffrey Epstein: Prince Andrew issues non-denial denial over sex with underage Virginia Roberts

prince andrew roberts

Prince Andrew says he cannot recall if he ever met Virginia Roberts – now Virginia Giuffre. He tells the BBC’s Newsnight he has “no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever”. He tells interviewer Emily Maitlis he has nothing to hide.

That’s Virginia Roberts with Andrew in the above photo.

Virginia Giuffre alleges she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on Epstein’s private island off the coast of Florida when he she was 17 – making her underage and the sex a crime according to Florida law.

Virginia Giuffre claims she was “forced” to have sex with Prince Andrew three times between 1999 and 2002. He denies ever having had sex with her. That much he remembers.

The media tucks in to the man once dubbed ‘Randy Andy’ who hung out with Epstein, a convicted peadophile. Epstein took his own life while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. That we know because official sources tell us that’s what happened. That’s why Epstein’s dead and unable to act as Andrew’s character witness.

Newsnight Quote 1
Newsnight Quote 2

The papers tuck in:

Prince Andrew Epstein
Epstein andrew

And we’re left to wonder: why is Prince Andrew speaking now?

Posted: 16th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment