The Saturday Miscellany: How to read the shipping forecast; cupcake neoliberalism; Tash Aw's bookshelf
How to: Read the shipping forecast
Whether you're deep-sea fishing or suffering from insomnia, the shipping forecast can be a lifesaver. Helen Chivers, Met Office Forecaster, offers up these three steps to decode reports from Dogger et al:
"The shipping areas were named after islands, rivers or banks within them."
"It always begins with 'And now the Shipping Forecast...' and then the gale warnings. This is followed by the General Synopsis, giving the position, pressure and track of pressure areas. Finally, there are the 31 area forecasts."
Know your lingo. "A backing wind turns anti-clockwise so, for example, west to east, while a veering wind turns clockwise, for example, east to west. The only genuinely rarely heard term is probably 'icing'."
Rotating column: Cupcake neoliberalism
By Lucy Robinson
There's a cupcake concession in Topshop, Oxford Street. Since when was a cupcake an accessory? What is it meant to say about customers' style that they can indulge themselves in what is the most neoliberal form of baking? The cupcake is over-sized – to make our hands feel small and feminine – piled high with hallucinogenic amounts of super-sweet dyed icing – to incite childish levels of sugar rush.
The cupcake is an individual treat for an individualised society. What's more, it's infantilised, and presented in nostalgic candy counter-style that comes with low aspirations. I understand why the cupcake seems like a treat. But we shouldn't settle for the fluff and sparkles. I want the whole cake – a big, grown-up woman's cake, that I can share without marketised guilt and without retro irony.
Micro extract: McAmorphous
"As the McDonald's empire has expanded to 119 countries worldwide, they've had to accept that, globally, one size doesn't fit all. Food is a culturally sensitive product, American cultural imperialism notwithstanding."
From: 'The org: how the office really works' by Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan (£14.99, John Murray)
Four play: Inaugural Hollywood walk-of-famers*
1. Hank Williams
2. Desi Arnaz
3. Fritz Lang
4. Angela Lansbury
*installed this day, 1960
By Ellen E Jones
Q. I fancy my driving instructor, would it be inappropriate to make a pass?
A. Since the invention of the wheel, pervy driving instructors have been terrorising their students with inappropriate passes. Now, finally, you've come along to redress the balance. Go for it. Just remember to check your mirrors first.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election