Editor-At-Large: Icons for our age. Shallow, inarticulate - but enthralling

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The Independent Online

David Beckham signs a deal which makes him the second highest-paid sportsman in America, and what happens? The British press unites in sneering at its least favourite celebrity couple. She's too thin, too miserable, and can't be bothered to pout for the paparazzi. He's as tongue-tied as ever, coming up with a risible justification for their decision: "I don't want to go out to America at 34 years old [in three years' time] and have people saying, 'He's only going there to get the money' ... Soccer is huge all over the world except America and I want to make a difference."

Now, David, can we break it to you gently? We don't actually care why you're going to earn a shed-load of money playing for some godforsaken team that is based in deeply unfashionable Long Beach. Don't pretend you're on the sporting equivalent of a UN fact-finding mission bringing soccer to the deserving youth of the United States. Whatever makes you feel good, baby, it's no skin off our noses. In fact you and the wife are being secretly thanked by hundreds of photographers and third-rate gossip columnists all over the world, who now will be able to justify regular trips to southern California on expenses as they rush to chronicle this latest stage in your extraordinary career.

Beckham's footballing skills peaked some time ago, but Brand Beckham is still a going concern- and full marks to the pair of them for getting Simon Fuller on board to work out how to maximise David's earning potential for years, regardless of how he performs on the pitch - which is not going to be much of a challenge when his fellow players come from a different, more humble world. Result - Beckham is going to look like a golden boy for quite some time to come. And there's a ready-made entourage already in place for King David - the modern equivalent of Sinatra's Rat Pack. There's nothing that ex-pats from Robbie Williams to Rod Stewart like more than a fellow Brit they can kick a ball about with.

The kids can go to school with other offspring of the rich and famous. Victoria no longer needs to pretend to have a career - Beverly Hills is packed with rich wives who do very little except groom themselves. She's no longer the local freak, constantly criticised for looking like a stick insect; in Tinseltown size 0 is de rigueur. Victoria will be living in the dieting capital of the world, with shopportunities galore. This really is a city where people can spend lunch drinking a glass of mineral water discussing their latest pet psychiatrist or nail technician. She'll have a ball.

And what about all those middle-aged, flabby male sports journalists who have rushed to condemn Beckham, saying he is taking the "soft option"? If earning over £100m kicking a ball about in the sun is an easy option, then I'm sure most of the British male population would be booking their tickets to California right now. There's no one more hypocritical than football commentators. What did they expect the poor bloke to do - come back to the UK and take a job as a sports instructor at one of Tony's fabulous city academies, so that he could "repay" some mythical debt to society?

The Beckhams have provided us with enormous entertainment over the past decade, both on the pitch, in the press, and on television. We are the consumers who paid for thousands of magazines with them on the cover, turned his scent into a commercial success and tuned in by the million to watch the documentaries about their lifestyle. We have lapped it all up, discussed it over our morning coffees, year in and year out.

I couldn't care less where they live, whether Posh becomes a Scientologist or David waxes his genitals live on television. They are perfect icons for our age - deeply shallow, perfectly turned out, inarticulate, but totally enthralling.

Ellie's family make the Gallaghers look refined

It was an extraordinary funeral. The tiny, hand-painted coffin carried to the church in a carriage drawn by white-plumed horses, the male pall- bearers in dark suits wearing matching pink satin ties. One was Kiel Simpson, whose dog mauled his niece, five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson, to death at her grandmother's house on Merseyside in the early hours of New Year's Day. The family are said not to attach any blame to Simpson, who has served a jail sentence for possessing drugs worth £24,000. The dog has been destroyed, and since Ellie's death local police have carried out a series of raids in the area, seizing up to 60 pit bull terriers. There is talk of a dog-fighting ring; over a dozen arrests have been made. Ellie's granny was badly injured in the attack, and the police are said to have taken drugs and around £15,000 in cash from her house, where Simpson also lived. All of which makes me very glad indeed that I don't reside within 50 miles of Simpson and this very strange family, so full of Christian forgiveness. What kind of granny thinks it's normal to keep a pit bull type dog - banned in the UK - on the loose in the living room while a much-loved granddaughter is staying the night? It makes Shameless look like Mastermind.

Hot stove: Share a meal and add another year to your life

Women spend three years of their lives making food for the family, a survey reveals, and many admit to making two different meals a night to cater for food fads and fussy eaters. One in four makes a completely different meal from her own for her husband or partner. How depressing is that? They should adopt the Street-Porter mantra: fit in or fuck off. I have never cooked a special meal for any man. Start, and there's no going back. Life's too short, girls. You could claw back at least one of those three years you're spending cooking and have some fun instead.

Snob fodder: For real flavour give me wonky carrots any day

The major supermarkets are reporting a huge rise in sales for their "premium" brands of food: you know, the stuff they shamelessly label Finest, The Best, Taste the Difference. All these brands do is appeal to our innate snobbery. God forbid anyone should look in our baskets at the checkout and see we're reduced to buying anything labelled Value or Basics. It's treating food like designer fashion rather than something nutritious. By the same measure, Waitrose flogs us normal, unwashed, knobbly carrots and other veg and call them Uglies, as if they were freaks of nature. Really freaky food is stuff so pre-packed, so laundered, so perfectly shaped, it has no taste.

Race meeting: The revolution begins... at Royal Ascot

Another bastion of snobbery smashed - Ascot racecourse is planning to flog tickets to the royal enclosure as part of an entertainment package for racing enthusiasts. Now any members of the common classes who are prepared to shell out between £530 and £1,410 can have a top day out at the races, mingling with the aristocracy, gawping at the Queen and marvelling at how many high-class hookers are already in there.

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