Matthew Bell: Rant & Rave (27/05/12)

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Once, climbing the world's highest mountain was rather original. For centuries, Mount Everest stood there, daring us to conquer it. In 1922, a few explorers had a go and, for 30 years, man and mountain slogged it out. Then, in 1953, we won! Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made it to the top. Now, enough people have schlepped up and back that the place is covered with litter. Even worse, the bodies are stacking up.

Last weekend, a storm claimed four lives, and 19-year-old Leanne Shuttleworth returned describing a "human traffic jam" at the top. Once, exploration was just that – about breaking new boundaries. But when it involves grappling past Disneyland-style queues, well, you might as well go to Disney. George Mallory tried Everest because it was there. Sixty years on, so is the world and his wife. Can't we all leave it alone now?


Two cheers for Theresa May, who, like Carol Vorderman, manages to get herself into the papers just for wearing clothes. To recap: she's the Home Secretary, who has to make important decisions, such as whether to deport suspected terrorists. But what attracts more attention? Her Vivienne Westwood technicolour jacket, of course!

Leaving aside this obvious sexism, I'd like to toast May's colourful approach to the rest of her ministerial brief. Parties I have found her at include: the Royal Academy's summer party, the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, and the London College of Fashion's end of year show. Frankly, she'd turn up to the opening of a packet of crisps. She may not be the best incumbent, but there's something jolly about running into the Home Secretary at a screaming fashion party, whatever she's wearing. If only Willie Whitelaw or Kenneth Baker had done the same. Long May she continue.

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