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Wimbledon Ditches Traditional Gender Distinction Over Players’ Towels

Wimbledon will no longer provide different coloured towels to men and women players after officials decided to scrap one of the last bastions of genderism.

Traditionally men were given two “championship” green and purple towels, while women received two “seasonal” ones, which in 2019 were pink and turquoise. But this year, for the first time, players are receiving one of each when they step on court.

A Wimbledon source said that this was one of the last male/female distinctions to go, having committed to equal pay in 2007 and equal tweets about male and female players a few years ago, and said the move was down to “progress” and a sense that the players no longer had a preference for either colour.

However, they confirmed there were no plans to make a new cup for the women and a new plate for the men when it comes to handing out the singles trophies.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon have revealed that they expect to run out of their popular £34 towels by the middle of next week after an unexpected run on them during the opening two days of the tournament.

In 2019 Wimbledon sold 27,419 Championships’ towels across the fortnight but had ordered a “conservative” volume – believed to be closer to 15,000 – this time round.

That was largely due to the uncertainty surrounding the number of fans that would be allowed into Wimbledon. However, officials have been surprised by how many supporters have wanted a memento of their visit after the tournament was cancelled last year.

Earlier on the second day of the Championships on Tuesday, a large oil spill from a cleaning vehicle meant that fans were delayed from entering the grounds for 30 minutes.

Antony Marquez, 36, from Canberra, was among spectators forced to wait as large queues developed outside at gate one. “It’s a bit annoying, but everyone was pretty relaxed as we were early,” he said. “We were held up for about half an hour. A guy from the council came down to declare the spillage safe.”

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We Bought Grimsby Town FC To Help Renew The Place We Love

When the sociologist Michael Young coined the idea of a meritocracy in 1958, he imagined a dystopian future where those who had succeeded on the basis of their inherited advantages would instead congratulate themselves on having done so as a result of their skills and capabilities. In Young’s satirical essay, the elite believed their success was down to individual merit, while a disenfranchised underclass were considered deserving of their social position. Young’s term is now frequently used with a straight face by those who understand neither its original negative connotations, nor what a travesty it is to suggest that merit is the primary factor determining a person’s life chances today.

For a long time, I told myself that my achievements were the product of the meritocracy I was born into, where hard work was both a necessity and a sufficient condition of success. I grew up in Grimsby, and like many entrepreneurial origin stories, mine began at school. To supplement my nonexistent allowance, I sold Opium (knock-off perfume, before you fall off your chair). My teachers called the police, and having spent the morning in the classroom, I sat out the afternoon in a police cell. Thirty years later, I had gone from working on the docks in Grimsby to dealing with private equity investors in New York as a tech CEO; from waking up in a house with ice inside the windows to a home with neighbours from “on the telly” and in the Premier League; from being the son of a single mum who worked three jobs to keep four sons fed and clothed, to becoming a parent who can afford to provide almost anything for my own children.

Yet I now know that the “meritocracy” people talk about is a reflection of their capital, both social and financial. Data and experience tells me I am an outlier in a country where inequality has risen and life chances have got worse for children born into circumstances like mine. It might sound odd, but these realizations are part of the reason I decided to buy my home-town football club, Grimsby Town FC, with my business partner Andrew Pettit. A football club that finished 92nd out of 92 teams in the English Football League in May, and was relegated to the National League. A club with one of the oldest stands in the football league, in dire need of investment, historically teetering on the edge of insolvency without the aid of local benefactors.

On paper, buying the club was a terrible financial decision – and yet when you consider the chance to rebuild civic value in the town where both Andrew and I grew up, it felt like one of the most valuable opportunities of our lives.

In Grimsby, problems that were already becoming clear when I was growing up in the 1970s and 80s have crystallised in the years since: industrial decline, the slow demise of the once-dominant fishing industry and the social problems that followed from a lack of job opportunities and a general sense of abandonment. My brush with the law was tame compared to the reality some children in Grimsby face today, coerced into county lines drug gangs where they face the threat of shocking violence. In several of Grimsby’s wards, close to half of all children are living in poverty. The town continues to be failed by those who purport to care for it: framed by television cameras as a symbol of deprivation and decline, poked by thinktanks and prodded by journalists, caricatured as a victim of the Brexit that its people decisively voted for.

Yet this is nowhere near the whole story of the town I know and love. Grimsby deserves better than becoming the goldfish bowl of post-Brexit Britain, gawped at by the prosperous and socially conscious, a tourist attraction on the map of social and economic deprivation. Instead we should be looking to the town as a place where the voices we hear are not lamenting their lost past, but shaping their future. While many civic institutions and local businesses have faded away and shuttered over the years, professional football teams are one of the few institutions that have endured. Indeed, Grimsby Town FC has a 143-year history and a committed (if somewhat diminished) following today. The Mariners can still engender a sense of collective belonging and an identity that is deeply aligned to the performance of 11 men in black and white on a Saturday afternoon.

Often the only story you hear about Grimsby is about the lack of opportunity, aspiration and education. But dig deeper and you encounter people who avoided university because of the cost and are now building stable careers; twentysomethings running their own companies and people who neither wanted to leave nor felt they had to. “I love the town and never wanted to move away,” said the newest and youngest trustee of Grimsby’s new OnSide Youth Zone. She went on to become a partner at a local accountancy firm and told me: “It’s brilliant here. I grew up thinking everyone lived near the beach.” Young people who have pride in the town and know its problems should have a much greater role in determining the policies that will shape its future. Though we clearly need the support of central government, solutions have to be built as a partnership with the community itself.

Andrew and I became the major shareholders of the club on 4 May this year. This investment seems like the perfect counterweight to the ownership model of the “Super League” teams, a paradigmatic example of distorted capitalism where profit motives and dividend payments are regarded as the only measure of success. Football teams are viewed in high definition around the world but have become untethered from the communities that made them what they are today.

Buying Grimsby Town FC is an opportunity to place a football club and its values at the centre of a renewal that is already happening in the town, and to amplify the amazing community work that is being done by the football club’s charitable arm for education, diversity and inclusivity. We want to show that “levelling up” means recognising the myth of meritocracy and levelling the playing field, rather than assuming that opportunities trickle down. This can only work if it starts from within the community, with a shared identity that a 143-year-old football club is uniquely positioned to play a huge part in shaping.

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How To Wear A Kimono Jacket

There’s a certain poetry when the weather flits from one extreme to another. Snow in April; bitterly cold winds one minute, then blazing hot sun the next. But in terms of dictating a dress code for the day, it is useless. Boots worn in preparation for wet, sludgy mud can be made redundant when on a scorching pavement. Woolly beanies stay in “just in case” day bags but don’t see the light of day for weeks.

We’ve discussed layering before, but the problem with that is you end up with a growing armful of clothes as the heat of the day increases.

Jackets are, I’ve found, the biggest puzzle to which there is no obvious solution. Especially in spring and summer. It feels as if there is no single jacket that will solve all your weather needs. I’ve spent the good part of a year in denim jackets, windbreakers, or a cotton-mix chore jacket. I wore them because they generally solved the weather problem without being overbearing. But they, have never completely satisfied me.

In Japan, they’ve solved this problem with the haori, a jacket popularised in the Edo period, when it was worn by the merchant-class workers. Centuries later, now westernised into the kimono jacket, it is somewhere between a heavy shirt and a bathrobe, and it works beautifully. As seen on the catwalks of Martine Rose and Dunhill, it is more persuasive than a shacket and contains more subtle charms than an overshirt; with its single tie, it feels simple and graceful. Memories of Bowie and Lindsey Buckingham in silk kimono shirts float up to the surface but, speaking technically, this is strictly “workwear” – though only for the type of labour that involves pincer-sharp accuracy and delicacy, such as working in a kitchen as a sous-chef.

Perhaps I’ll never find one jacket that works for all seasons. But maybe that’s OK, especially if I’ve got something as beautiful as a kimono jacket on my back.

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The Condensation On The Can; The Tingle On The Tongue. I Love You, Diet Coke

At significant risk of giving a multinational corporation publicity it does not need – please feel free to Google oligopoly markets after reading this piece – I am going to extol the virtues of a long-term love: Diet Coke. Someone has to, given Cristiano Ronaldo’s rejection of the drink in a Euro 2020 press conference and a recent plummet in its share price.

There are two types of people: those who can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, and those whose taste buds are clearly compromised. Confusing the two is basically like downing a glass of red and proclaiming: “Love a sauvignon blanc!”

I almost certainly started drinking Coca-Cola products too young, my gateway drug being regular Coca-Cola. Now I can’t abide the stuff – it feels as I imagine it would to brush one’s teeth with sugar. But Diet Coke? Someone could make a lot of money opening a rehab clinic.

That exultant hiss of freed fizz is merry music indeed. The pretty patterns of the bubbles rising to the surface. The exquisite tingle on the tongue.

There is a hierarchy of receptacles. I maintain that Diet Coke tastes better from a glass bottle, poured over crushed ice. A recyclable (and teeth‑preserving) straw added to the mix. Next is the pop of a cool can straight from the fridge, diamonds of condensation glittering on silver.

Plastic bottles are out. Not only because (science backs me up here) the chemicals that make up the plastic are capable of contaminating the flavour of the drink, but also because the warmer the beverage, the more CO2 escapes. The heart sinks when one orders Diet Coke at a festival, then spies a two-litre bottle with the flat three inches of liquid languishing at the bottom.

I have cut down on Diet Coke a lot in the past few years. I now consist almost entirely of tap water, Earl Grey tea and cognac, but that gives the DC an extra pleasurable edge when indulging. I can’t agree that aspartame rots the brain, given that my intelligence is clearly off the scale (yesterday I laughed for a solid 20 minutes at someone emulating the waddle of a duck), but I get that it’s probably not the healthiest thing in the world. Please join me in raising a glass, though, to the greatest soft drink there is.

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