Anorak

Key Posts | Anorak - Part 3

Key Posts Category

Coronavirus Law : the newspapers lead with house arrest

We’re all under house arrest in the UK – unless you need to go shopping, jogging or sell discount trainers and anoraks at Sports Direct. (Prime Minister Boris Johnson says all UK shops selling non-essential goods must close. Sports Direct says it is “uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible”. And you can betcha last cough drop its staff agree.) The coronavirus is among us. The “invisible killer” (copyright: all media) is the only story around.

Coronavirus newspapers

“End of freedom,” the Daily Telegraph declares. “Britain shuts up shop,” says Daily Mail. The Sun says we’re under “House arrest”. The Daily Mirror calls it a “national lockdown”. The Financial Times says the Government had not choice but to enforce social isolation. The Metro shows how people were ignoring the polite advice as they packed themselves into stuffy Tube trains in London. (How long can the freebie Metro and Evening Standard newspapers last without commuters?) Not one newspaper is critical of anything the Government has ruled., including fines for anyone caught breaking the rules, which can amount to three people not from the same house playing football together.

Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers

Posted: 24th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Anti-Coronavirus hand gels from Bulgarian vodka and Bristol gin

hand sanitzer alcohol

‘Hand gets?,” asked my Bulgarian friend Vanya. “Nah. Use vodka and tissues.” What;’ good in London is better in Bristol, where Bristol gin distillery Psychopomp is using some of its alcohol as hand sanitizer and giving it to locals in exchange for a donation to charity.

Posted: 19th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Premier League: suspend season as Leicester players catch Coronavirus

After the N.B.A. suspended its season on Wednesday after one Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League is under pressure to call off the current football season as three Leicester City players get the bug. In Spain, La Liga has been suspended for “at least the next two rounds of matches” because the entire Real Madrid squad is into quarantine because of coronavirus.

“We had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs,” said Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers. “It would be a shame if the Watford game were postponed], but the public’s health is the most important in all of this. The game is all about the players and the fans and if you have one of those not there, it’s obviously not the same.”

Time to call the season off. Hard cheese, Liverpool.

Posted: 12th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


Coronavirus toilet roll panic: ‘No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight’

Coronavirus toilet roll panic: 'No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight'
Coronavirus toilet roll panic: ‘No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight’

Coronavirus is giving people the runs – and they’re running to the shops buy stacks of toilet rolls. The way to stop panic buying is to remind people that no research has disproven a link between toilet roll and coronavirus. Be warned.

File under: fake poos.

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


Coronavirus in London: Who is Lady Buckethead?

Coronavirus in London

Are you taking precautions against catching the coronavirus, like washing your hands whilst singing Happy Birthday to the tune to Anarchy in the UK and “self-isolating” in a place where nobody will come into contact with you, like on a bed pushed into a hospital corridor, attending a LibDem conference or becoming Prince Andrew.

Maybe you do like to this woman does (see above) and wear a plastic jar on your head whilst riding the London Underground or a bus?

Hat by Tupperwear. Scarf: model’s own.

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


Lawyer creates 68 billion musical melodies by algorithm so you can never be sued for copyright infringement

Two lawyers think if every piece of 12-note musical melody can be created by an algorithm then all music is publicly owners and nobody gets sued for copyright theft. So lawyers Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin came up with a way to record all melodies because, as they see it, only a finite number of melodies can exist.

Riehl explained more in a Tedx Talk. The crux is that music becomes copyrighted the moment it’s recorded and anyone can be sued for “subconscious infringement”. You can be an unwitting thief if a melody in your song sounds like a melody in one of thousands of songs that formed your musical appreciation. The other argument is that hasn’t Riehl just infringed the copyright of thousands of songs?

You can test the theory flicking through one of the 68 billion melodies created at allthemusic.info.

Posted: 4th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, Music, Technology | Comment


Misbehaving Whilst Black: Six-year-old girl handcuffed and arrested in Florida

Six-year-old girl handcuffed and arrested in Florida

To Orlando, Florida. It’s September 2019 and police are carting off a six-year-old girl. Kaia Rolle is under arrest. The child is filmed by the copper’s bodycam as she’s retrained with zip ties and led to a police car. Her alleged crime: misbehaving in class. The story goes that she had thrown a tantrum and kicked and punched three school employees.

The Orlando Police Department investigated. The arresting officer has been sacked. Officer Dennis Turner failed to adhere to the correct protocol, which states that a police officer must have their supervisor’s approval to arrest any child under the age of 12.

Turner, who was fired days after the arrest became national news, had worked in OPD’s Reserve Unit, which is made up of retired officers who are required to work a certain amount of hours at the agency per month and can pick up extra-duty jobs for pay.

Over the course of Turner’s 23-year tenure at OPD prior to retiring last year, he was disciplined seven times for violations of department policy that ranged from unsafe driving to a child-abuse arrest in which he was accused of injuring his 7-year-old son, record released Tuesday showed. He was also accused of sending threatening text messages to his ex-wife in 2009 and racial profiling, records show.

Lawyer’s repressing the child’s family have released the following footage.

Posted: 26th, February 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Scientist makes working rotary mobile phone

RotaryCellphone

Bite this, hipsters. Justine Haupt, a scientist in the Instrumentation Division at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, has created a rotary mobile phone. “In a finicky, annoying, touchscreen world of hyperconnected people using phones they have no control over or understanding of,” she writes, “I wanted something that would be entirely mine, personal, and absolutely tactile, while also giving me an excuse for not texting… It fits in a pocket; it’s reasonably compact; calling the people I most often call if faster than with my old phone, and the battery lasts almost 24 hours.”

The phone features:

  • Real, removable antenna with an SMA connector. Receptions is excellent, and if I really want to I could always attach a directional antenna.
  • When I want a phone I don’t have to navigate through menus to get to the phone “application.” That’s bullshit.
  • If I want to call my husband, I can do so by pressing a single dedicated physical key which is dedicated to him. No menus. The point isn’t to use the rotary dial every single time I want to make a call, which would get tiresome for daily use. The people I call most often are stored, and if I have to dial a new number or do something like set the volume, then I can use the fun and satisfying-to-use rotary dial.
  • Nearly instantaneous, high resolution display of signal strength and battery level. No signal metering lag, and my LED bargraph gives 10 increments of resolution instead of just 4.
  • The ePaper display is bistatic, meaning it doesn’t take any energy to display a fixed message.
  • When I want to change something about the phone’s behavior, I just do it.
  • The power switch is an actual slide switch. No holding down a stupid button to make it turn off and not being sure it really is turning off or what.

She’s smarter than her smart phone. Are you?

Posted: 23rd, February 2020 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comment


Maria Snoeys-Lagler’s fabulous found photo album

To a thrift store in Belgium thrift store, where a lost album of phots is on sale. Inside are photographs of a woman with A-listers: Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford and others. We know their names. But we didn’t know the who the woman was until some detective work. It’s Maria Snoeys-Lagler, a former member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) who got to choose winners at the Golden Globes Awards.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler died in 2016 at the age of 87, which possibly explains how this particular photo-album ended up in a thrift store.

Maria-Snoeys-Lagler
Maria-Snoeys-Lagler
 Maria Snoeys-Lagler’s fabulous found photo album
Heather Locklear

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 19th, February 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


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