The Saturday Miscellany: How to win a rap battle; condom multipacks; Justin Marozzi's bookshelf


How to: Win a rap battle...

By Oscar Quine

You've practised your rhymes long enough: time to take your rap career public. To win that first battle, follow these tips from Educational Consultant-cum-MC Mark Grist.

1. Rhyme more than one syllable. Take this by Bender:

"You would have made the atomic bomb designer doctor Robert Oppenheimer and his squad of top advisors wanna side or compromise with all the Nazi occupiers".

2. If you're drawing comparisons in your insults, make them relevant. My favourite: "This Blizzard lizard's got no fire, it's just hot air he's breathing/ And when all's said and done, as the years dragon, you'll look even more like Deborah Meaden".

3. Do something unexpected. In Marlo's debut against Josh Fox, Marlo decided to relentlessly compliment the city of Peterborough.

Mark Grist is on tour with his show, 'Rogue Teacher' until 30 May,

Rotating column: Multi pact

By Will Dean

Apart from a privileged few, many young men will retain a fond spot for a condom which lived in their wallet for so long that it formed a ring shape in the cheap leather. Its ultimate utility uncertain and reliant on external factors.

For those with misshapen wallets, it's hard enough, during a dry spell, offloading one – now high-street pharmacists seem to insist on only selling 10-12 multipacks*. Often in multiplier deals.

If you're single, it's an incendiary quantity. If you're in the early stages of a relationship, it's presumptuous (and fate-tempting) to turn up with a 12-pack. And, if you're long-term hitched well... there's a chance some of those suckers might go bad. The monopolistic 12-pack is a product suited solely for couples in the giddy stratospheres of early love. Ban it.

*smaller packs are available. We’re solely talking high-street pharmacists

Instant Ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. I'm a frequent user of an app-based taxi service which charges me directly. As a result, my friends never pay straight back. Can I nag?

A. Good friends remember to repay their debts, so it's not you who's being cheap. Next time you see your freeloading frenemies for drinks or dinner, suggest deducting the money they owe from your share of the bill.


Micro extract: Microeconomics

"The truth is that only since the end of the 20th century have we had the statistical data and above all the indispensable historical distance to analyse the long-run dynamics of the capital/income ratio..."

From 'capital in the 21st century' by Thomas Piketty, Harvard £29.95

Four play: J Edgar Hoover* had a file on...

1. Colonel Sanders

2. The Grateful Dead

3. The Song “Louie Louie”

4. Liberace

*appointed head of FBI , today 1924

All good things

By Charlotte Philby

In the bag

From opulent, Paris-based tea company Kusmi comes the new 'I love my BB detox' (above) – the teabag form of their detox blend, combining green tea, maté, rooibos, guarana, dandelion and grapefruit aroma. Savour every sip. £17.50 for 24 sachets,

Gold finger

Hand-crafted in Hatton Garden with Peridot gems, the 'Spotlight Ring' by Maya Magal (above) s adjustable in size and would work perfectly for stacking. £34,

Ruling class

Each with a contrasting coloured end, these screen-printed wooden rulers (above) are so cheerful, they are sure to make practical chores a little bit more uplifting. From £7.50,

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