The Week in... Front Pages
Of every stupid thing I do to myself, choosing to wake up to the Today programme must surely rank as the most masochistic. And that's coming from someone who still holds out hope for a Mutya Keisha Siobhan album.
Soothing us into this morning are the groaning timbers of a joint BBC and Guardian bridge-burning exercise over at Buckingham Palace. Personally I've lost track of the number of Mondays ruined by Sarah Montague-narrated revelations that several people a) have very much more money than me, they b) aren't using it to support my FRANKLY UNRELIABLE recycling collections, and having dodged their civic duties to buy an extra yacht or three, they c) don't even have the WIT or WILE to cover it up properly. Is decent financial subterfuge really so beyond the modest abilities of our monied elites? Are discreetly amoral accountants in such short supply?
On the plus side, all this talk of 'assets' and 'fiscal' 'arrangements' has reminded me I need to apply for a new credit card. Christmas isn't going to 0% purchase itself!
And on we rumble. Should have known from the Guardian's jazzy new ident and colour palette that they'd be sat, shifting eagerly, on more than a day's worth of material.
I suppose as someone who spent a significant chunk of the last decade winding up Twitter on behalf of a left-leaning think tank I should be better at feigning interest in such affairs. But to be honest, I never expected much of Lewis Hamilton (past crimes: upsetting Nicole Scherzinger, Formula One), Lord Ashcroft (Conservatism, though to be fair the pig story was pretty good) or the 'creatives' behind 'Mrs Brown's Boys' (imprisonable offence in itself).
Clearly something must be done. Easiest course of action may be to let global warming simply run its course and watch as most sandy-beached tax jurisdictions sink beneath the waves; otherwise it sounds like Anne Robinson might be looking for a new project?
Dysfunctional cabinet, that sleazebag from Gossip Girl, yet more Paradise Papers... the national front pages tell a uniformly depressing tale this grey November morning. Let us instead turn to my usual source of mid-week light relief, Stylist magazine: bible for independent professional businesswomen the country over and one of the few genuine pleasures to be found at central London tube stations (see also: the random succulent pop-ups at Old Street; reassuring blasts of hot, stagnant air as you descend the Kennington emergency stairs).
What do you have for me this morning, ladies? Another Nigella Meets Salted Caramel feature? Six pages on how to organise my increasingly catastrophic work locker? Any chance of an advertorial on the health benefits of tube-bought succulents? Wait, hang on, something's not - OH GOD WHAT KIND OF ITV2-MEETS-TAMMY BROWN HELL NIGHTMARE?
At the risk of sounding slightly more self-obsessed and neurotic than usual, here's a fact for you: Fearne Cotton is an experimental life-long project designed to get on my nerves. I said it. FACT.
The evidence is overwhelming. 1997 - 2001: destruction of Saturday morning television. 2004 - 2006: tanking Top of the Pops. 2009-2014: invasion of Jo Whiley's Live Lounge and end to Radio 1 listenability. 2015-17: annoyance diversification, via books on clean eating, baby yoga (???) and - urgh - anxiety.
I thought it could get no worse. But NOW? She's setting her sights on one of RW's resident treasures:
STYLIST: What paintings are you currently working on?
FEARNE COTTON: I started one of Claudia Winkleman a while ago. I’ve done two versions.
Fuck! Run, Claudia! Run while you still can!!!
Life goal #349: learn to affect Priti Patel's throbbing aura of self-satisfied insouciance at times of crisis.
Look at her. LOOK. AT. HER. The woman's just been fired for over a month's worth of absurd and inept political chicanery, a downfall broadcast live from the UK's entire flock of rolling news helicopters, and yet she glides off into the night like she's snuck out of a dear friend's party at 9.30pm to eat Nandos in bed.
Or something other people find triumphant and joyous. Whatever.
The Guardian's visual design department might disagree, but there's only one story in town today: TAYLOR SWIFT HAS FINALLY RELEASED HER NEW ALBUM. OMG. AND ONLY TWO MONTHS AFTER EVERYONE GOT BORED OF THAT CHOICE OF A LEAD SINGLE.
Given recent developments chez Swift (not releasing Clean, 'Hiddleswift', somehow contriving to look more manipulative than Kim Kardashian) I'm genuinely, obsessively curious about this self-proclaimed new and undead Taylor. Is she the cuddly Tumblr Santa of witty reblogs and secret listening pyjama parties? The self-aware artiste behind Treacherous and the Blank Space video? Or is that all a cynical front for her growing sideline in malfunctioning Kimye voodoo dolls and a victim complex the size of her former, sadly-disbanded squad? Burning questions journalists would surely be asking if it weren't for the media blackout currently mushroom clouding itself over the reputation campaign.
If only there was some other way of divining the truth behind those mysteriously vacant eyes?
TAYLOR SWIFT re-emerges into public life.
TAYLOR SWIFT: (samples Right Said Fred)
TAYLOR SWIFT: (neglects calls to denounce Nazism in favour of cease-and-desisting minor blogs)
TAYLOR SWIFT: (junks traditional press plan to free up time for excruciating new vanity publications TS!! and TS Swiftly)
TAYLOR SWIFT: (encourages Ed Sheeran to start rapping)
ALSO TAYLOR SWIFT: (records, unironically, a track entitled 'This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things')
Nope. I'm none the wiser.