The Saturday Miscellany: Sex and the City vs Girls; Andy Murray; Wychwood Festival; Man Ray


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The Independent Culture

Culture clash: All female sitcoms

By Holly Williams

Sex and the City vs Girls

As Sex and the City moved from newspaper column to US TV series in 1998, it not only captured an era of consumption and confidence – The shoes! The vibrators! The cocktails! – but was also hailed as game-changing, thanks to its focus on the friendship of four New York-dwelling women. But after six series, those disastrous films, and the financial crash… well, it now feels a bit tacky.

Lena Dunham's Girls is also about four archetypal female pals in New York – but living in the current economic doldrums, and acerbically bitter about it. This is what happens when girls grow up watching SATC, only to find it was peddling a myth.

Girls is funnier, and more wincingly truthful than SATC – for all its frank talk about shagging – ever was.

The winner: Girls

Holly Williams

The deleted emails of... Andy Murray (as read by John Walsh)

To: 9 May
Subject: Mah bad back

Hello. No need to explain who I am (here's some hints: pumping fist, screwed-up face, Centre Court blubbing, Olympic gold) but I need your help.

I have terrible back pain in sacral region. Bin giving me grief for three years. Serving on grass feels as though yr spine's being wrung out like a flannel. Playing on clay's like having a claymore shoved up your jacksie.

I've tried everything –massage, acupuncture, having Craig and Charlie come over to sing (I Will Walk) 500 Miles – and you're mah last hope.

I heard from a mate you offer a special healing treatment involving me lying naked on the floor while a lassie dressed as Susan Boyle walks up and doon mah vertebrae. Can I have a go? I need to be in shape for French Open on the 26th. I hope this isnae a joke, because I have a limited sense of humour.


Instant ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. A work colleague has an absurdly loud sneeze. Can I bring it up with her?

A. Sneezing is a spasmodic involuntary action, so that's pointless. But maybe she's trying to advertise impressive vocal chords? Invite her to work karaoke, already, and put the poor woman out of her misery.



By Charlie Cooper

Do: Family-friendly Wychwood Festival returns to Cheltenham Racecourse with Bill Bailey and the Human League among the attractions. 31 May-2 June,

See: War Games, a new exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood, tells the story of the curious link between war and child's play. 25 May to March 2014,

Buy: You've seen his pictures at the National Portrait Gallery, now play on the beechwood art deco chess set Man Ray designed in the 1920s. £495,

Indy Index

By Charlie Cooper

* 4,224 multi-millionaires (those with assets worth more £19m) live in London, the highest concentration in  the world

* Which means that roughly one in every 2,000 Londoner is a multi-millionaire

* £2,000: the price of a sales brochure for one London property, on the market for £100m 

* The top 1% of British earners take 10p in every pound of pre-tax income paid in Britain

* And the bottom 50% of earners take 18p in every pound of pre- tax income

* Britain’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov has a fortune of £13.3bn

* Usamov is president of The International Fencing Federation, whose budget doubled to 24.5m Swiss francs the year he took over

* There are 1,426 billionaires around the world today

* The collective wealth of all the world’s billionaires is $5.4 trillion

* The gross domestic product of the UK (pop. 63m) is $2.4 trillion


World City Millionaire Rankings, Wealth Insight

World City Millionaire Rankings, Wealth Insight

London's most expensive house yet, at £300m? BBC

Squeezed Britain 2013, The Resolution Foundation

Squeezed Britain 2013, The Resolution Foundation

Sunday Times Rich List

Billionaire Usmanov Re-Elected Head of World Fencing Federation, Bloomberg

Inside The 2013 Billionaires List: Facts and Figures, Forbes

What The Combined Wealth Of All 1,426 Billionaires Could Do, Forbes

GDP (current US$), World Bank