The Legacy of Elizabeth Taylor

“The Elizabeth Taylor who’s famous, the one on film, really has no depth or meaning to me,” the Hollywood icon told Life magazine’s Richard Meryman in 1964. “She’s a totally superficial working thing, a commodity. I really don’t know what the ingredients of the image are exactly — just that it makes money.” At the …

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Influence Has Become Democracy’s Influenza

Two months after the departure of Donald Trump, the world is seeking to understand the contours of the new administration’s still hesitating foreign policy. US President Joe Biden made a bold step forward this week when he vowed to pursue the fantasy of Russiagate, the Democratic equivalent of QAnon. He may fear that without the …

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From keep fit to sex: how Guardian readers have boosted their mood during the pandemic

Everyone needs a release from the stresses of lockdown life. Readers share the ideas that work for them

We bought some solar-powered garden fairy lights and set them up on our garden shed. We can see them when we are having dinner or letting the dog into the garden. It means that, during the day, we have the fun of the flowers and, at night, twinkling lights. They remind me of the stars, another mood-lifter – stargazing puts everything in perspective. Nicholas Vince, actor and YouTuber, London

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How can I stop obsessing about my fiance’s ex-girlfriend?

You need to look at how you were made to feel as a child, says Annalisa Barbieri. Was the love conditional?

My fiance and I have been together for 18 months, but we haven’t seen each other for almost a year due to Covid restrictions. He had a four-year relationship before, with a girl he claimed he didn’t like that much, saying they always argued. At the beginning, I was totally fine with this, as everyone has a past. However, things started to change after I saw some pictures of them together and over the past few months I have started asking him all kinds of questions, such as, “Did you go to that place with her?” and, “Did you try this sex position with her?” If he says no, I’m OK, but if the answer is yes, I normally end up crying and blaming him. I know it’s not healthy, but I always bring it up in our daily call. It has become an obsession. No matter what we are discussing, I can always bring it back to his past. If he gets impatient, I get more angry.

I can feel this is affecting our relationship and I want it to stop, but I don’t know how. We can’t create new memories right now. Can this issue be solved only once we can meet up again, or is there a way to fix it before then?

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I bought a face mask recommended by a contestant on Coach Trip | Romesh Ranganathan

My wife pointed out that Raef had beautiful skin – the sort that we might like to have

As I have written before, my lockdown has involved a selection of deep dives into different hobbies, ranging from trying to DJ to making the perfect porridge. Each one does the vital job of keeping my mind off the mental challenges of what we are all going through, while also involving some small degree of self-improvement. Soon I will re-enter the world as a music-mixing porridge connoisseur who is also excellent at colouring-in.

One of my latest obsessions, believe it or not, is rewatching old series of Coach Trip. There is something incredibly addictive about seeing people shout at each other to the point of tears about the prospect of staying another day on a coach journey. It is also extraordinary to see how offensive some parts of it feel. In the 2010 celebrity series, EastEnders’ Ricky Groves and Alex Ferns were runners-up, despite flashing their penises at models and “TV personalities” Bianca Gascoigne and Imogen Thomas, and then going on to claim they were the victims because the women had misinterpreted what they meant by it. In one non-celebrity episode, they are driving through Kraków, and Brendan Sheerin, the incredible tour guide, asks the group what they think of Poland. Someone replies: “Well, you can see why they all come over to us.”

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My guilty pleasure? I thought I didn’t have one, until I got a big telly for my birthday

I grew up in a house where the TV was the centrepiece, but over the years I started to fret that they looked tacky

Recently, I stumbled upon a Twitter conversation about “YouTube guilty pleasures”. I clicked, and happily lost an hour watching people citing funny TV outtake videos and pop stars singing covers.

I’ve always found it strange that people feel guilty or embarrassed about harmless fun. I tell myself I see through it: that the notion a woman mustn’t eat cake is more about patriarchy than personal responsibility; and deriding certain music is, at worst, elitist and, at best, grouchy. I also suspect I just don’t have space for guilty feelings around eating an eclair and exercising to Little Mix, what with all these other guilts to worry about. (Thanks, religious upbringing!)

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