Banning tourist-engorged seagoing behemoths from Venice’s lagoon has been on the city’s mind for years, but now it’s actually happening, the Italian government has announced. The Times of London had reported that cruise ships—500 of which normally visit the city every year—might be “blocked from cruising past St Mark’s Square and along the Giudecca Canal where they have been accused of weakening the foundations of vulnerable palazzi before disgorging hundreds of visitors,” and henceforth they will indeed be docking across the way at the mainland port of Marghera. The hordes will then be conveyed to Venice proper in flotillas of smaller vessels, an amphibious invasion that screams, “Head for the hills!”
During lockdown the locals have apparently come to appreciate the reclamation of their city, which no longer feels like the 42nd Street subway platform back when the 42nd Street subway platform felt like, well, Venice. And in an apparent show of support for the new plan, two dolphins—real ones, unlike last year’s Photoshopped versions—were recently filmed swimming off of St. Mark’s Square.
Footwear and brimstone: One Sunday in 2019, a Dallas M.B.A. student named Ben Kirby overslept, missed church, and turned to YouTube for his worship—and there had an unexpected revelation. “Thanks to his recent interest in sneakers, he realized that the pastor in one of the videos was wearing an expensive pair of shoes,” reported The Guardian. “When he posted about it on his personal Instagram account, it triggered reactions from people about the idea of a religious figure wearing flashy, high-priced designer products.”
Two years later, Kirby’s PreachersNSneakers Instagram account, devoted to “posts that reveal the enormous price tags of the fashion worn by prominent clergy,” has 200,000 followers, who are treated to photos of, for instance, the pastor-personality John Gray in a Gucci sweater and Steven Furtick (minister-songwriter) in Saint Laurent boots. As for Kirby, who says he’s not passing judgment, he’ll soon have his own good book: PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities, to be published at the end of the month.
To execute his royal-reconnaissance caper at Buckingham Palace, The Crown’s production designer, Martin Childs, didn’t even have to infiltrate: he paid his $36 for the State Rooms tour, along with all the tourists. (Pre-pandemic, naturally.) But what he observed helped him re-create the palace—on four sets and at 11 locations—for the series. “Whenever I was in a room I was looking through doorways into the next room, to see what interesting frames it would make on the screen,” he told The Times of London. Childs, who won an Oscar for his work on Shakespeare in Love, admitted that his “undercover tour was disheartening because so many of the rooms looked the same, and scouting other buildings that could stand in for the royal home became a liberation.”
Blessed are the cheese-makers. Also savvy. Faced with a 4,000-wheel surplus—the result of a pandemic-related onsite-sale moratorium—monks at Cîteaux Abbey (since 1098), in Burgundy, went online with “Operation Fromage” last week, and within 24 hours had sold two tons of their award-winning artisanal raw-milk semi-soft. “We tried explaining to our 75 cows that they needed to produce less milk but they don’t seem to have understood,” the brother in charge of marketing at the monastery told AFP.com. Minimum order: two wheels for $27, plus shipping.
Electric planes—because why should electric trains get all the attention?—might be crisscrossing European skies in five years’ time. Full-size ones, too, if a French start-up achieves its goal. “Powered by six electric motors driving propellers, the 19-seat Electric Regional Aircraft (Era) is under development by Aura Aero, a Toulouse-based company founded in 2018 by former Airbus engineers,” reported The Times of London. “This week the company began production of a new two-seater plane made of carbon-wood, a lightweight composite material.” And so the race to achieve emissions-free flight and become, as Aura Aero’s C.E.O. has put it, “the aeronautical Tesla,” gains altitude.
Time to get those kilts and fustanellas out of mothballs: skirts for men are back. Or here. Or coming, anyway. “Skirts have been included in the autumn/winter collections of Stefan Cooke, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Burberry and Jaden Smith’s MSFTSrep label, while longer skirts have been worn by the rappers Post Malone and Bad Bunny and the singer Yungblud,” reported The Guardian, while also giving a trendsetting nod to Harry Styles (Vogue’s December 2020 cover), Kanye West (Givenchy leather skirt, 2012), David Bowie (the U.K. cover of The Man Who Sold the World, 1971), and Mick Jagger (the Stones’ 1969 Hyde Park concert). Then there’s the influencer Mark Bryan. “I am just a straight, married guy, that loves Porsches, beautiful women, and incorporating high heels and skirts into my daily wardrobe,” he notes on his Instagram account, which has more than 400,000 followers. He told the newspaper that the skirt “offers me more than the traditional men’s trouser.” Actually, it offers him less—especially if he’s wearing it above the knee.
George Kalogerakis is a Writer at Large for Air Mail