Dating the modern way, being crap, some home cooking and bidding for Elton John

Share

Affairs of the heart

According to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics, "Divorce rates in the UK have hit a 30-year low". To celebrate that little-reported fact, one company has been sending out a pat-itself-on-the-back piece of PR to point out its part in this turnaround. "There are multiple reasons why people are less keen on divorce today," reads the blurb. "Economic climate, keeping up appearances, staying together as a family unit, and for the thousands online at Illicit Encounters, they are having extramarital affairs."

Illicit Encounters, for the uninitiated, is an "extramarital dating site" that boasts 850,000 members across the UK. Its claim that it is to be congratulated for the fall in divorce rates, though, feels rather like Nicolas Anelka taking credit for getting the quenelle banned from British football pitches. But what do the experts think? Over to Relate counsellor Christine Northam: "The divorce rate has been steadily falling and there are many factors. But our advice would be to seek help for a relationship if people aren't happy, rather than seeking an affair as a solution."

No one's perfect

Perhaps because we're all fed up with seeing our friends' attempts to project their immaculate lives on various social-media sites, a backlash appears to be in full swing and suddenly it seems it's okay to accept the fact that we are less than perfect. The three examples that prove the trend?

1 Nickolay Lamm's efforts to take his Lammily ("the average Barbie") doll into full-scale production.

2 "Normcore", the fashion world's new buzzword for the "stylised blandness" that is, apparently, the key look of the season.

3 The continuing success of Emily Beecher's The Good Enough Mums Club, a musical "about realising that being just good enough is fine". Being a bit crap is the new black. Count me in.

Make a wish

Among the many cockamamie websites open for business, one of the more imaginative is Crowdwish.com, which sets out to harness the power of the masses in order to fulfil its stated desire to "Make things happen. Every day".

Confused? It works like this: members sign up and vote for things they would like to see happen (current items high on the website's wishlist range from "I wish that people with mental health issues were better understood" to "I wish I could be an extra in the new Star Wars film"). Each day, Crowd Wish's team of "expert deal-brokers, researchers and negotiators use the power of the combined demand to create [often highly imaginative] results".

There have been a few successes along the way, but the highlight of Crowd Wish's short existence surely came last Tuesday, when the site's founder, Bill Griffin, attempted to fulfil the members' wish that "Katie Hopkins could be the subject of a gagging order". Griffin knew where Hopkins – the Apprentice contestant turned right-wing rentagob – was going to be and, posing as a fan, asked her to sign a piece of paper, which she duly did.

Unbeknown to Hopkins, the piece of paper was a contract that, among other things, made her solemnly swear that "I will accept that my 15 minutes of fame are over" and it concluded: "I'm sorry and embarrassed for pretty much everything I've ever done. I'll go now."

Hopkins was unavailable to comment on the prank. Let's not get our hopes up, eh?

A new way to take-away

Budding home chefs and people who just can't be bothered to cook will all be interested in a project just launched called Eatro. The idea is simple: you either make a dish and sell spare portions to people nearby, or you browse the site for homemade food available near you. After some encouraging early press, Eatro is now a live concern (Eatro.com) and the three young men behind the scheme – Bar Segal, Zifeng Wei and Daniel Kaplansky – plan to launch an app and then, hopefully, roll it out across other major European capitals.

As for hygiene concerns, the Eatro boys interview and vet all the "homechefs" wanting to take part in the project. And, if you want to check out the founders' own cooking credentials, they all throw regular dinner parties which can be booked via EatWith.com, the "global community that invites people to dine in homes around the world". In fact, there may be space left at Zifeng's "Homemade Chinese Dumpling Feast" tonight. Or you could just order in a pizza.

Under the hammer

Now that we have dispensed with the annual Independent auction, you might like to know about more money-can't-(usually)-buy experiences available to the highest bidder. Dinner for eight round at Elton John and David Furnish's home with a tour of the couple's art collection (£3,000 to £4,000) … a private screening of a Julie Walters film of your choice for you and 20 friends, introduced by the actress (£2,000) … tea with Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London, at Mansion House (£1,000-£2,000) ….

If any of these items appeal, there's still time to buy tickets for this Wednesday's auction in aid of the Terrence Higgins Trust at Christie's (tht.org.uk). Money no object? There's no doubt about the best lot on offer: that'll be tickets to see Donny and Marie Osmond in Las Vegas, complete with Club Class flights, hotel and the chance to meet the pair backstage after the show (£10,000 to £12,000). Great cause, too, of course.

For no rhyme or reason

Another in an the intermittently regular series of limericks based on recent events:

Wonders they never will cease

Time to throw off the thermal and fleece

Cos the forecasters say

That for just this one day

The UK will be warmer than Greece

twitter.com/@simmyrichman

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher

£120 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: The Humanities Department of this ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Music Teacher

£120 - £180 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Newham Position: Music Start dat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Sutton Position: Science teacher S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A residential tower block in an area of Southwark with a high concentration of social housing  

We desperately need to solve our housing crisis, but rent controls are not the answer

Mira Bar Hillel
Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras  

Syriza's victory in Greece might not be the radical revolution you were hoping for

James Bloodworth
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee