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Lying on a Spanish beach with the red-faced members of the CDMA

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The Friday Speed Read

Every week, The Friday Speed Read lies on the ground to soak up the rays from the news sun and then, via a process still baffling to science, converts them into paragraphs of writing that can be read by those with a proficiency in English. 

So we’re confused. Are we going to win the World Cup or not? We only ask because at the start of the week it was, according to many newspapers, a nailed-on certainty. “You Sixy Things” bellowed the Sun’s front page on Monday morning, following England’s 6-1 thrashing of mighty Panama, England’s biggest-ever victory in a World Cup match. Every paper splashed the holy image of Saint Harry of Kane (who had, in sacred beneficence, delivered three blessed goals unto us during the match) on their covers and, by Wednesday, the Sun (again) had got itself into such of a lather of excitement that it was encouraging the nation to “Get it up for the 3 Lions”. The “it”, mercifully, being the Cross of Saint George.

And thus it appeared to be written. The Germans lost and were out (Sun headline: schadenfreude!) and therefore Football was going to “come home”. There would be parties and spontaneous marriages in the street, with children born nine months from now given the names “Saint Harry”, “Oh-John-Stones” and, for the girls, “Gareth”. But then England played Belgium and were, putting it kindly, fairly awful. The Sun, however, is still drunk this Friday morning: “Well played Lads!” slurred its front page as it quickly steadied itself after getting up too quickly, claiming the 90-minute dirge last night was a tactical masterclass from the team which now has an “easier route to the final”.

Of course, blind faith is the very thread from which fandom is woven and maybe, hopefully, The Sun will be proved correct but, even so, it’s hard not to conclude that if football is indeed coming home then it’s taking a circuitous route with a stopover in Frankfurt; a tube journey featuring a change at Bank; a replacement bus service due to engineering works outside Bristol Temple Meads and then, finally, a trip to Aldi for toilet roll, milk and tea bags before reaching its front door.

In related news, there’s been widespread concern this week about the Europe-wide shortage of Carbon Dioxide caused, it would seem, by someone in the Carbon Dioxide Manufacturers Association (you should see their Christmas parties: gassy carnage) not sharing the holiday calendar on Outlook and all of them shipping off to Magaluf for the same fortnight. And what the CDMA (this is all fictional by the way) has gained in sun tan and sangria, the rest of us have lost in fizz, with growing shortages of lager, cider, Coca-Cola and, worst of all, crumpets, causing widespread consternation. “Beer we go!”, protested The Star; “Beer supplies run dry in hot weather” said the Times more prosaically.

Now, if you’re astute and attractive enough to be a reader of The Friday Speed Read then it won’t have escaped your Sherlock-esque powers of deduction that it’s been quite hot of late. And by “quite” we of course mean very and by “of late” we mean that we’ve forgotten what we called that wet stuff that used to come out of the sky in ye olde days. Regular readers will also know that the UK media likes nothing more than a story about Diana but if it can’t have one of those then its second favourite topic is THE WEATHER. And so, here’s a full list of places that SIZZLING BRITAIN has been hotter than this week (according to all newspapers all week):

-Africa (bit vague there The Daily Mail, please try harder)
-The Sahara Desert
-Sydney (where to be fair, it’s winter)
-Magaluf (thus teaching the members of the CDMA a much-needed lesson)

This absurdly hot weather is not predicted to end any time soon which is bad news for the firefighters trying to control the blaze that broke out on Saddleworth Moor earlier in the week. An eerie image of a woman carrying her shopping while wearing a gas mask was featured in many papers and as the army was brought in to control the flames over seven square miles, experts have warned that the fire may not be extinguished for several weeks.

Another week has brought us another chapter in the badly-drawn cartoon that is the political career of Boris Johnson. After promising his Henley constituents that we would “lie down in front of the bulldozers” to stop a third runway being built at Heathrow Airport, he was nowhere to be found during Parliament’s debate and vote on the issue on Monday evening. In a move that redefines the meaning of the word “coincidence”, the Foreign Secretary “coincidentally” had to fly urgently to Afghanistan to have his photograph taken with the Deputy Foreign Minister in Kabul.  On his return a few hours later, the third runway had been voted into law and BJ took flak from all sides for essentially ducking his promise.

A quick rifle through the sock drawer of “other news this week” finds the Duke of Cambridge watching the World Cup on a sofa in the Middle East (“William the Peacemaker” – The Express); justice minister Rory Stewart suggesting that all prison sentences less than a year should be scrapped (“A Green Light for Criminals” – The Daily Mail, obviously); doctors still working longer hours than is healthy for them and their patients (“Exhausted doctors walking around like drunks”, The Express; “Stressed GPs seeing 70 patients a day”) and TM the PM spending another jolly day in Brussels smiling and laughing as if she has nary a care in the world (“May insists Brexit talks still on track”, The Guardian) while her EU colleagues just shake their heads in bemusement.

Finally, fans of Harry Potter will be thrilled by a story that appeared in the papers this morning that revealed “scientists” are getting closer to developing a “spectral cloak” that makes objects invisible to the human eye. By changing the colour of light that passes through an object and then quickly changing it back again as it emerges, these clever types can trick onlookers that the object is as invisible as Boris Johnson at a crucial Commons vote.

And with that piece of clunking satire, we reach the end of the week. If you’re one of the seven people on the planet that hasn’t seen the video below then do make time for it. Whatever you think of Corden, it’s blimmin’ Paul McCartney. ‘Nuff said, (as cool people said in the early 90s for about a week).

Have a great weekend.

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