Two brothers, aged 12 and 13, have been charged with perpetrating a 10-month burglary spree, beginning last April, during which they hit several hotels here—Claridge’s, the Four Seasons, the Corinthia—as well as BBC Television in White City. They and their elderly accomplice (he’s 19) have denied the charges and were released on bail. The younger boys, who will be tried separately because of their age, are due back in youth court this coming week. (Also because of their age: with them in the dock was their mum.) The older defendant won’t be in court again until next month, but was advised by the magistrate, “Before that date, you really, really, really need to stay out of trouble, do you understand?”
Meanwhile, in France, seven equally larcenous young people, ranging in age from 13 to 21, have struck Lupin, the hit Netflix heist series. (Irony is not dead.) “The TV unit, along with the series’ principal actor, Omar Sy, were filming in the Pablo-Picasso district of the Parisian suburb of Nanterre on an afternoon in late February when they were attacked by about 20 hooded assailants,” reported The Guardian. “The robbers launched fireworks at the crew before making off with equipment worth about €300,000 [$330,000].… [They] are accused of armed robbery as part of an organised gang and receiving stolen goods.”
Unsafe European Home: The Ukrainian punk band Beton (it means “concrete”) went into a studio here and recorded “London Calling” as “Kyiv Calling,” armed with new lyrics and the blessing of the surviving members of the Clash. The new verses “call upon the rest of the world to support the defence of the country from Russian invaders,” reported The Guardian. “All proceeds of what is now billed as a ‘war anthem’ will go to the Free Ukraine Resistance Movement (FURM) to help fund a shared communications system that will alert the population to threats and lobby for international support.” Some of the customized lines: “The iron age is coming, the curtain’s coming down” and “Kyiv calling to the NATO zone/Forget it, brother, we can’t go it alone.”
As the newspaper notes, “The original song was written in 1979 by Mick Jones and Joe Strummer, the Clash’s late singer and lyricist, while the band travelled around the world playing gigs through another period of international instability.... Drawing on the chaos he felt around him, Strummer wrote a chorus line that deliberately echoed the old BBC radio broadcast call sign, but was intended to come from an impending dystopian future.” Which evidently has arrived.
However talented Angel City F.C.’s on-field roster might prove to be, the National Women’s Soccer League expansion team, which played its first game last weekend (a 1–1 tie against the San Diego Wave), has an ownership group that qualifies as all-star. The co-owners are Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, Uzo Aduba, and Jessica Chastain, and the ownership group includes “retired football legends Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Shannon MacMillan, Rachel Van Hollebeke and others; Billie Jean King, Sophia Bush, Serena Williams, James Corden, Christina Aguilera, Rachel Zoe, NHL star PK Subban, gold-medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson East, Cobi Jones, and Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade and their three-year-old daughter,” according to The Guardian. “In all, Angel City FC has more than 100 co-owners — two-thirds of whom are women.”
Portman, who wasn’t into sports when she was growing up, told the newspaper that “watching my son idolize players like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan the same way he did Lionel Messi or Karim Benzema, I realized that amplifying female athletes could rapidly shift culture.” The Guardian said that Portman “was bothered by the fact that even top female footballers often have no retirement plan and little to live on when they quit the game, unlike their male counterparts.” So she set about creating a team. Angel City F.C. plays at L.A.’s Banc of California Stadium, and already has 16,000 season-ticket holders. Their second game is this weekend.
At Sukayu, a northern-Japanese hot-springs resort, konyuku—mixed male-and-female naked bathing—is not a problem, but only because it’s no longer done in the altogether. “Men wear knee-length shorts and women yuami — loose shorts and a matching sleeveless top — as part of a government initiative to encourage mixed bathing,” reported The Guardian. “‘I don’t have to worry about being ogled,’ one female bather said.”
But as more hot springs are introducing no-nudity rules, the disappearance of traditionally discreet, respectful, reliably gaze-averted konyuku is seen by some Japanese as a reflection of a decline in standards. “Many blame the rising menace of wani (crocodiles) — the nickname given to men who spend long periods immersed in the water, their eyes constantly scanning the room for female bathers,” said the newspaper.
George Kalogerakis, one of the original editor-writers at Spy, later worked for Vanity Fair, New York, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of Disunion: A History of the Civil War, he is a Writer at Large for AIR MAIL