The British sculptor Antony Gormley is applying for German nationality for one reason. “I’m embarrassed about Brexit,” Gormley, who is half German, told The Guardian. “It’s a practical disaster, a betrayal of my parents’ and grandparents’ sacrifice to make a Europe that was not going to be divided again. It’s a tragedy.”
He might not be alone. “Art dealers warned last month that Britain’s reputation as a centre of the trade was fading, as it was revealed that the country’s share of the global art market fell by 3% last year to its lowest point in a decade,” reported the newspaper, and the blame is thought to lie chiefly with the increased paperwork and VAT levies resulting from Brexit. “Some galleries warn London will suffer as Paris did in the 1960s, when a complicated system of taxes and royalties on art sales drove a shift in business to America and Britain.”
Adolf Hitler fretted about his voice, according to letters written by his ear-nose-and-throat specialist. “If there is something bad, I absolutely have to know,” Hitler told the physician, Carl Otto von Eicken, after their first appointment, in May of 1935, according to The Guardian. The letters von Eicken wrote to a cousin over the 10-year period he treated Hitler were released by the doctor’s great-great-grandson and reported in the Zurich-based newspaper NZZ am Sonntag. They revealed that the Führer, loath to be forced to rest his voice, once postponed an operation to remove a polyp until after he’d delivered a speech. The Guardian noted that when von Eicken was asked by Russian interrogators why he hadn’t killed Hitler, he replied, “I was his doctor, not his murderer.”
A “premium pet dessert shop” exclusively for dogs in the United Arab Emirates capital offers cakes and other treats (plus complimentary self-service coffee for their human attendants). Hyunsuk Ku, a Korean nutritionist, opened the small, airy, pastel-colored canine café back in December, but here it is June and we’re still laboring to unsee the Euronews clip of what appeared to be a golden retriever in a pink tutu scarfing down birthday cake.
While it’s true that this mountain range’s loss of snow cover has a silver lining—carbon sequestration, which reduces carbon dioxide’s presence in the atmosphere—that’s about the only good news. “Mountain areas are heating about twice as fast as the global average,” said The Guardian, and, according to Professor Sabine Rumpf, of the University of Basel, lead author of a paper published in Science, “the scale of the change has turned out to be absolutely massive in the Alps.” Thawing permafrost means more landslides, rockfalls, and mudflows, as well as the unwelcome albedo effect: a diminishment in reflected sunlight, leading to higher temperatures, less snow cover, more habitat loss, and so on in an unhappy cycle. As the Alps green, it’s no consolation to suggest heading for the hills.
The Russian movie director Andrei Konchalovsky has a good track record—Paradise won a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and Dear Comrades! made the Oscars short list and took a Special Jury Prize in Venice. Or, rather, he had a good track record. Konchalovsky’s 2010 version of The Nutcracker, an extravaganza for which he got funding, as with his other movies, from Vnesheconombank (VEB), Russia’s state development corporation, flopped spectacularly. According to Meduza, the Latvia-based, independent news Web site, “a new investigation by Transparency International Russia found that Konchalovsky owes VEB almost $130 million—roughly equivalent to Russia’s entire state film production budget for 2021.”
Konchalovsky’s The Nutcracker in 3D starred Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane, and John Turturro; was panned by critics (“Gnarled and stunted and wrong, something that should never have been allowed to see the light of day” —Slate); and given wide berth by moviegoers. (It made just $196,000 in the United States and lost more than $73 million in all.) “I believe critics just completely misunderstood it,” said Konchalovsky. Now VEB, which provided the bulk of the $90 million budget, is trying to get its money back. At the end of 2020, Nutcracker Holdings Limited, a Cayman Islands–based company, owed VEB $127.8 million, according to Meduza, which added that “representatives of [Konchalovsky] and his companies, as well as VEB, have not responded to requests for comment. It’s unclear what stage the legal proceedings are currently in.”
Spain needs waiters. “From Mallorca to Madrid, restaurateurs are crying out for waiters with tens of thousands of jobs waiting to be filled,” reported The Guardian, even though unemployment in the country stands at 13.4 percent. “People come to me for interviews and they say: ‘I’ve got three offers already,’” Albert Cabanos, of the hospitality employment agency Camareros.com, told the newspaper. “We used to tell an applicant, we’ll call you if there’s anything. Now they say, I’ll call you if I’m interested.”
The reasons are familiar. Some immigrants, who made up a significant percentage of Spain’s waiters, went home and haven’t returned. Restaurant staff, forced to find other work during lockdown, found that they preferred it. And in general, many people took stock and simply decided they didn’t want to spend their lives taking mispronounced dinner orders from tourists. —George Kalogerakis
George Kalogerakis was one of the original editor-writers at Spy and later worked for Vanity Fair, Vogue, New York, Travel + Leisure, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor for 13 years. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of two books on the Times’s Civil War series, Disunion, he is a Writer at Large for AIR MAIL