Kacey Musgraves Vows to Break 'Cycle' Caused by 'Systemic Privilege': 'I Will Not Be a Bystander'


Kacey Musgraves is speaking out following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis who died in police custody after a white officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck.

On Monday, the Grammy Award-winning artist shared a message with her followers on Twitter, vowing to take action in the fight against racial injustice and police brutality.

"It’s been hard to find the words to adequately convey how outraged and sad I am," she shared. "WHITE PEOPLE HAVE HAD IT SO F—ING WRONG SINCE THE BEGINNING and I will do whatever I can I help break the DISGUSTING, damaging cycle racism and systemic privilege causes. I will not be a bystander."

Musgraves, 31, then shared a list of resources and ways her fans can help catalyze change, whether through donations, contacting elected officials or signing petitions.

The "Rainbow" singer is just the latest celebrity to speak out amidst the killing of Floyd and the subsequent protests erupting in cities across the United States. Many celebrities, including Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx and more shared powerful messages in the last week emphasizing the importance of taking active steps to combat racism.

Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga also called for political change, reminding their followers of the importance of voting in the upcoming presidential election.

“We have known for a long time that President Trump has failed," Gaga, 34, wrote.  "He holds the most powerful office in the world, yet offers nothing but ignorance and prejudice while black lives continue to be taken. We have known he is a fool, and a racist, since he took office. He is fueling a system that is already rooted in racism, and racist activity, and we can all see what is happening. It’s time for a change.”

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On Monday, the music industry also announced that it would be standing in solidarity with protesters and the black community by staging a "blackout" on Tuesday, June 2. Many major music studios and their employees shared a statement that calls for the initiative and says it is an "urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change."

"As gatekeepers of the culture, it's our responsibility to not only come together to celebrate the wins, but also hold each other up during loss," reads the statement, which called the blackout a "day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community."

The sentiment was echoed across countless prominent music executives and studios, using the hashtag "#TheShowMustBePaused."

Columbia Records clarified, in a statement on Instagram, that its Blackout Tuesday will not be a "day off," but rather a "day to reflect and figure out ways to move forward in solidarity."

Meanwhile, Universal Music Group Nashville, which represents Musgraves, also voiced their involvement in the "Black Out Tuesday." 

"We must use our voices to confront and protest the injustice that surrounds all of us. Universal Music Group Nashville is committed to identifying challenging, and defeating the systemic root of inequality everywhere," they shared. "We stand together with our black community against all forms of racism, bigotry and violence."

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Eight easy tricks to get the most out of your candles

When you’ve spent far too much money on a fancy candle, you’ll want to make the most of it.

But whether it’s tunneling, black marks along the rim, or burning out before its time, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

With some care, though, there are ways to keep your candles lit and making your home feel like a cosy retreat.

We chatted to Richard Fewings from Cosy Owl to get his top tricks.

How to make candles burn slower

First off, if you’ve heard that freezing your candle will make it last for ages and are hastily shoving your collection in the freezer, stop.

Richard says there’s no evidence this process works and there are quite a few risks: you could crack your candle, leaving you with messy shards of wax, the wax could pull away from the container, or you could alter the fragrance of your candle. Think about it soaking up the scents of frozen peas and fish currently in your freezer drawer. Not so appealing.

Instead, it’s worth sprinkling a pinch of salt into the melted wax just after you blow out your candle. Richard says the salt will slow down the burn time the next time you light it.

How to properly put out a candle

Okay, so apparently if you’ve been just blowing out your candles as though they were on a birthday cake, you’ve been doing it all wrong.

‘Never extinguish your candle by blowing on it,’ says Richard. ‘Instead, place a glass lid (or just a glass if you don’t have a lid) over the flame until it goes out

‘Wait until the wax has melted all the way to the edge before putting it out.’

How to avoid tunnelling

Tunnelling is that annoying process where the middle of your candle burns down while the outside stays on the glass.

You can avoid it by always allowing your candle to burn for longer the first time you light it, letting it burn until the entire top is melted into a pool (rather than just the centre).

As a rule of thumb, you should allow your candle to burn for an hour per inch of diametere wax on the first burn.

If you missed this step, never fear – we previously recapped an easy fix for tunnelled candles.

How to lengthen or shorten a wick

Ever found it impossible to light a wick that’s just a tiny nub?

‘As a guide, your wick should be between 1/4” and 1/8”,’ Richard explains. ‘Firstly, try to relight the wick and see if the problem resolves itself or not after a short 20-minute burn (this should have created a small indent around the wick, so more of it should be exposed. If you can clearly see the wick and it isn’t covered by wax, then you can relight it and it should work as usual).

‘If you still cannot see the wick, you’ll need to expose it by scraping out the room-temperature wax using a butter knife.’

How to clean candle wax off a surface

This one’s easy. Slowly heat your wax with a hairdryer, then when the wax is fully liquified you can just wipe it away with a sponge or towel.

How to make new candles with leftover wax

First you’ll need to get a new container and a fresh wick – you can order these online.

If you have a pre-waxed wick, simply use a glue tab or molten wax to stick it to the base of your container, then make sure you use a peg or hair clip to hold the wick up and straight while you pour in your wax.

To use leftover wax from old candles, you’ll want to heat it up so it’s easy to pour, then go ahead and put it in your container while the wick is held straight.

‘Before you melt your remaining wax, just make sure that there are no pieces of burnt wick in the mix,’ says Richard. ‘You should also try not to mix different types of wax together, as these may have different characteristics and melting point.’

How to use the bottom bit of wax of a candle

So you’ve used your candle to the max, but there’s a chunk of wax at the bottom you just can’t burn.

Don’t just chuck it away – instead, use it for a wax burner.

Fill your candle’s container with water and place in the microwave for two minutes. When you take the candle out of the microwave and the mixture cools, the wax will come free from the base and float the top.

At this point you can easily lift the wax out, break it up, and use the pieces for melts for a wax burner.

How to recycle and reuse your empty candle containers

Again, don’t just chuck out a nice candle container. Reuse it as a plant pot, a makeup brush holder, whatever you fancy.

All you need to do is add warm water to the container to make the wax soft and easy to scrape out. Then give the container a proper clean and it’s ready to use.

Do you have a DIY hack we need to know about? Get in touch to tell us all about it by emailing [email protected]

Share your views in the comments section below.

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Coronavirus: April deadliest month ON RECORD in England and Wales with 88,000 deaths – double last April – The Sun

APRIL 2020 was the deadliest month on record for England and Wales after 88,153 died across the two countries. 

The grim tally is more than double the amount of people who died in April 2019 (44, 123) as coronavirus reached its peak in the UK.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The figures suggest that during the height of the pandemic, people in England and Wales were dying at twice the rate of a normal month.

London was hit even harder, suffering three times as many deaths this April than the same month the year before.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that until now, January 2018 had the highest number of fatalities (64,154).

ONS statistics published today show the number of people who have died of any cause, month by month.

In January this year, 56,706 people died in England and Wales.

The figure is high, but not unheard of for winter.

It was followed by 43,555 in February and 49,723 in March.

REGION BY REGION

When comparing the number of deaths which took place in individual regions in April 2019 and April 2020, the biggest rise was in London, where the figures rose by 197 per cent.

In April this year, 12,175 deaths were recorded in the capital, three times more than the 4,102 logged in the same month last year.

In the West Midlands, the number of deaths rose from 4,527 in April 2019 to 9,932 in April 2020.

In the North West, which includes Lancashire, Cumbria and Manchester, fatalities rose by 112 per cent – from 5,835 to 12,354.

The South East – which includes Surrey, Hampshire and Kent – recorded the highest number of deaths (12,823) in April 2020 when compared with any other region.

It compares to the 6,765 people who died there in April 2019.

EXCESS DEATHS

It comes as new figures show the UK has suffered the highest rate of excess deaths during the coronavirus pandemic among all countries with comparable data.

Britain registered 59,537 more deaths than usual since the week ending March 20,

equating to 891 people per million – a higher rate than any other country with the same quality of data.

The data also shows the UK is the worst hit in Europe when it comes to a percentage increase in deaths across the same period, trumped only by Peru internationally.

Yesterday, the Department of Health revealed the nation's overall death toll from the virus is now 37,460.

The true figure, however, is believed to be much higher, with data from the Office for National Statistics suggesting more than 47,000 people could have been killed by the deadly bug in Britain already.



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Pregnant black woman suffers miscarriage after being ‘stomped’ by cops during her brutal arrest, lawsuit claims – The Sun

A WOMAN has filed a lawsuit against a California city and multiple police officers after she claims cops "stomped" on her pregnant belly and caused a miscarriage.

Emerald Black was "visibly pregnant" and still wearing hospital clothes from a visit earlier in the day when an unidentified number of officers pulled her fiance over in San Leandro, according to court documents filed Monday with the US District Court for the Northern District of California.


That when the cops allegedly "yanked pregnant Ms. Black from the car, taunted her, piled on top of her, and stomped on her stomach leaving a shoe mark."

"Days later" Black experienced a miscarriage, which ended her pregnancy, according to the lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by VICE News.

On the morning of June 7, 2019, she and her fiance were pulled over for "bad registration tags", the lawsuit says.

Black told officers she visited the hospital for an exam hours earlier  and found out she was at a "high risk" for a miscarriage, court docs show.

After the alleged attack, the officers refused to allow Black, who was still in hospital clothes from her visit, to put on shoes, according to the filing.

In her suit, Black claims her miscarriage was "a result of the officers' excessive force".

She also "suffered other physical injuries, embarrassment, humiliation and emotional distress both from the incident and loss of her child", according to the complaint.

Black is seeking general, special, and punitive damages "in a sum to be proven at trial" including damages for loss of wages and income, plus medical expenses.

The city of San Leandro hasn't responded to the suit in federal court.

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Patrick Buelna, Black's lawyer, said her client was pulled over for a "minor vehicle infraction" VICE News on Wednesday and accused officers of treating her "like she had just committed a violent felony."

"It is important to note that Ms Black had committed absolutely no crimes, nor was she even suspected of any. She was simply a passenger in the car being pulled over for a minor vehicle infraction," said Buelna.

"Ms Black, a pregnant African-American female, was torn from the car even after informing officers that she was pregnant and had just left the hospital," he continued.

"Ms Black simply asked to remain in the car because she was pregnant and had just left the hospital earlier that day and learned she was at risk for a miscarriage.

"If officers were adamant about her exiting the car, they should have simply, and gently, assisted Ms. Black getting out of the car. Instead they treated her like she had just committed a violent felony."

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Mackenzie McKee: Okay, Fine, My Husband Didn’t Cheat on Me. But Still!

Mackenzie McKee would like to clarify something about her claim that her husband has been cheating on her with her cousin.

And we hope you’re paying close attention because it’s a rather important clarification.

Okay? Ready? Here we go…

Mackenzie McKee’s husband didn’t actually cheat on her with her cousin.

We understand why you may have thought otherwise, considering the Teen Mom OG star came out last week and said her husband cheated on her with her cousin.

Did she write those exact words?

We mean, you can scroll down and decide for yourself.

“I know many have it worse than me. This isn’t a pity party. Life has thrown me some huge curve balls. Idk how I’ve made it here,” McKee wrote several days ago in a lengthy Facebook post.

She then came right out and wrote;

“To find out that one week after my mom died ‘when he started leaving and changing his behavior’ to find he was texting a woman 3-600 times per month and calling her on these nights he was ‘fishing’ until 3am.”

Yikes, right?!?

Eventually, McKee wrote that this woman was actually her cousin, Ashley.

And she emphasized that it was time for her to finally “walk away,” especially when you consider that Josh also cheated on Mackenzie last year.

McKee went on to explain that Josh grew more and more distant after her mom, Angie, died of cancer, although she also admitted that her own behavior changed around this time as well… understandably, of course.

“What all went on? I don’t know. My family will never be the same and we are all torn. I WAS NOT only hurt by him, but by her,” Mackenzie wrote.

Within 24 hours after this Facebook post went viral, Mackenzie’s Instagram account shared a sponsored link post in her stories about the break up with the headline: “Josh cheated on me with my cousin.”

Pretty straightforward, right?

Not quite apparently.

Mackenzie McKee: My Cheating Husband Has Sucked the Life Out of Me!Start Gallery

Fast forward another 24 hours and McKee posted another sponsored link to a Champion Daily story in which she provided quotes about the marital split.

In this interview, Mackenzie described Josh’s relationship with her cousin as an “emotional affair.”

She said she “pulled his phone records and found he had been texting and calling a number more than necessary… and that’s when I chose that we were done for good and posted the status.”

But are they actually done for good?

Mackenzie McKee: Taking Her Cheating Husband Back ALREADY?!Start Gallery

Let’s be frank, Mackenzie said the same last year… and then Josh re-proposed on her birthday in October and she went around saying he was a totally changed man.

Now, less than a week after saying very clearly that Josh had betrayed her trust once again, Mackenzie is walking back her affair accusations.

“I never used the word cheating or banging,” Mackenzie wrote on Instagram over the weekend “For the sake of my family stop using that word.”

It feels like McKee should have said this into a mirror. But okay, noted.

Mackenzie’s post concluded with the hope that everyone can get past the whole Josh-having-an-affair-with-her-cousin fiasco.

“I’m moving on so let’s all stop stalking my relatives and move along,” she wrote.

At this point, we have no clue what to make of Josh and Mackenzie’s relationship.

It appears to be in a bad place, that’s for certain.

Later, on Twitter, Mackenzie said that “Josh was texting and calling [Ashley] for advice on how to handle me and to me that was wrong on both ends and enough to walk away.”

It actually sounds like the actions of a thoughtful husband who isn’t sure how to help his grieving wife, in our view.

But what do we know, right?

When it comes to Mackenzie and Josh, the answer is very clearly: Nothing.

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From Normal People to Meghan Markle’s raunchy sex scene in Suits — the top 10 TV shows that set your pulses racing – The Sun

IT was the TV drama that made Meghan Markle a star — and now Suits has been declared one of the raunchiest-ever shows.

Viewers who watched while hooked up to a heart rate monitor saw their pulses rise by 12 beats per minute.

The US legal drama, which is on Netflix, was just one of the steamy shows that got participants in a new study the most excited.

Meghan — now the Duchess of Sussex — even gets it on inside a store cupboard.

Scenes in other hit dramas that caused pulses to race include lesbian prison romps, frisky shower sex and naked orgies.

And experts reckon that hot action on our screens is becoming the norm.

Psychotherapist Neil Wilkie says: “Sex scenes are becoming more frequent and more graphic.

AROUSAL & EXCITEMENT

“In the UK we have awoken from prudishness and want to see passion and intimacy.”

But some viewers’ hearts thump harder due to the awkwardness of watching explicit scenes with another person present.

Environmental psychologist and well-being consultant Lee Chambers says: “Sex scenes create an environment of high arousal and excitement.

“They can also create a level of anxiety if we are watching these scenes with others, which can also cause our heart to race.”

Watching sex can have a similar effect on viewers’ hearts as frightening on-screen action too.

Lee added: “Programmes that cause us to enter a high arousal positive state, such as exciting scenes, cause our blood pressure to rise and our heart rate to increase.

“This is similar for programmes that cause a high arousal negative state, such as scary scenes.”

The research for online marketplace OnBuy.com was carried out on 1,800 UK participants who had an average resting heart rate of 81 beats per minute (BPM).

They each wore a Fitbit activity tracker to measure their pulse.

Between watching sex scenes, the participants rested so their heartbeats could return to normal.

Here, we reveal the top ten sizzling shows that made viewers’ tickers go quicker and the average heart rate for each one.

1. Orange Is The New Black

Features: Lots of lesbian sex, a drug-fuelled threesome and sex toys

It’s lockdown, but not as we know it.

The women in hit US drama are banged up in prison – and their steamy scenes have officially made the show the raunchiest programme on the telly.

Sizzling action from the Netflix show, which ended last year after seven series, scored the highest on the measure of viewers’ heart rates.

Among the eye-popping scenes is a lesbian romp between Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) and her on-off girlfriend, middle-class lag Piper Chapman, who is played by Taylor Schilling, who also romps with Stella Carlin (Ruby Rose). The lusty couple even manage to get it on while in the prison chapel. Heavens above!

Other X-rated moments feature romps between prison guards and inmates, a drug-fuelled threesome and a butch, middle-aged lesbian using a sex aid on herself.

Neil Wilkie, author of Reset: The Relation-ship Paradigm, says: “The scenes in Orange Is The New Black win the hottest contest because the sex scenes in the show were intense, unexpected and – as it was lesbian sex – unusual on TV.

“It was a shock, so they really got the adrenalin flowing and the heart pumping.”

BPM: 101

2. Shameless

Features: Threesomes, toys and a days-long sex marathon

As you can guess from the title, Shameless isn’t scared to push boundaries. Set on a fictional council estate in Manchester, Channel 4’s black comedy follows the lives of the Gallagher clan.

Its naughty scenes include threesomes, sex toy sessions, a sex marathon lasting days and a hook-up on a professor’s desk.

Martina Laird played Michelle Critch- all, the owner of a male escort agency who wasn’t afraid of getting to grips with her employees, above.

The show is so raunchy that it has become a hit on sex site Pornhub, with a compilation of its more explicit moments amassing more than 2.4 million views.

BPM: 96

3. Game of Thrones

Features: Orgies, full nudity and disturbing incest

The fantasy series gripped the world with its epic scope – and frequent full nudity. A few of the many sex scenes stood out.

Oberyn, Ellaria and Olyvar enjoyed an orgy with several prostitutes in a brothel, while Daenerys Targaryen learned all about sex with her handmaid.

Daenerys, played by Emilia Clarke, and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) romped at the finale of the seventh series. Some of the sex scenes were disturbing, including a heated affair between siblings Cersei and Jaime Lannister.

The series also shows several gay sex scenes, with one between Loras and Renly proving particularly intimate.

BPM: 95

4. Normal People

Features: 41 minutes of ‘realistic’ sex scenes

The hit BBC Three drama follows the turbulent love story of working-class lad Connell (Paul Mescal) and well-heeled teen Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones), both left, in a fictional Irish town.

Sex, kissing and foreplay takes up 12 per cent of the show’s screen time – but critics praised its realistic portrayals of intimacy.

Relationship expert Neil Wilkie says: “The first scenes show the awkwardness between Marianne, the shy, odd virgin, and hunky but uncommunicative Connell.

“The sex is unhurried and detailed. It feels real.”

BPM: 93

5. Suits

Features: Meghan Markle in a steamy workplace romp

Before she became a member of the Royal Family, Meghan set pulses racing with her sex scenes in the US legal drama.

Her character Rachel Zane has an intense relationship with her law firm colleague Mike Ross, played by Patrick J. Adams.

The pair have a passionate and playful time together – even stripping off for risky sex in a storeroom cupboard.

Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, is currently in lockdown in LA with Prince Harry and their one-year-old son Archie. She was so sexy in Suits that Harry was said to have lusted over her for two years before meeting her.

BPM: 93

6. Outlander

Features: Outdoor romp and nudity

Starting in the 18th century, this US time travel fantasy spans 200 years – and it did not shy away from showing lots of sex.

The plot follows the love story of Claire and Jamie Fraser, played by Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Fraser.

Claire takes her husband’s virginity on their wedding night and they are seen getting intimate in almost every episode, including an outdoor romp. But there are a fair few disturbing scenes as well.

One, which is very close to the line, shows Jamie spanking his wife before she turns the tables and holds a knife to his throat as they once again get intimate.

BPM: 92

7. Sex Education

Features: Solo sex acts, lesbian kisses and ‘orgasm faces’

In an unflinching look into the sex-obsessed lives of hormonal teenagers, the Netflix series features intimate and often awkward moments – from first-time sex right through to experienced clinches.

Following the lives of insecure teenager Otis – above, with Ola – his sex-therapist mum and his pals, the show featured 15 X-rated scenes in the opening three minutes of its second series.

There are solo sex scenes throughout. It has been ap-plauded for its portrayal of LGBTQ sex, with numerous frank discussions between characters.

Stand-out moments include Ola and Lily’s first passionate kiss, Aimee finally discovering how to climax – while guiding her boyfriend through it – and the moment when Olivia finds the courage to embrace her “orgasm face”.

BPM: 91

8. Jessica Jones

Features: Rough, bed-breaking sex

Even superhero Jessica Jones has raunchy sex scenes, like the one pictured, to set pulses racing, and this series from Netflix had them from the first episode.

Jessica (played by Krysten Ritter) enjoyed a passionate romp with fellow superhero Luke Cage (Mike Colter) in episode one, and it was just the first of many more to come.

Later they got so passionate they broke the bed, while another scene showed Luke throw her against a wall, breaking glass, luckily without injury. She is a superhero, after all.

BPM: 90

9. Queer As Folk

Features: Lots of groundbreaking gay sex scenes

The Nineties drama sparked controversy with its graphic gay sex scenes but is now regarded as groundbreaking.

It ran for two series in 1999 and 2000, charting the lives of three gay men living on Manchester’s Canal Street.

The most notorious scene featured Charlie Hunnam as 15-year-old Nathan and Aidan Gillen’s older guy Stuart.

A very explicit scene of the pair in bed ignited a storm of protest from some viewers.

BPM: 89

10. Girls

Features: Role-play, bathroom solo and kitchen sink sex

The HBO comedy drama series held nothing back when it came to its string of very X-rated sex scenes.

While at least two showed Marnie leaning over her kitchen sink for some very rushed sex, another awkward one saw Hannah’s parents get frisky in the shower.

Elsewhere, Hannah was seen energetically bedding Adam and attempting role-play as she wore an icy blonde wig to reignite her sex life, while Marnie was even filmed having rapid solo sex in a public toilet.

BPM: 88

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Coronation Street's Kym Marsh ‘forever in debt’ to NHS for saving family

Kym Marsh revealed she is ‘forever in the debt’ of the NHS, after workers saved the lives of three family members.

The Coronation Street legend, 43, is set to get involved in an online pub quiz to help raise money for key workers during the lockdown.

And she opened up about the help those closest to her have received from healthcare staff – recalling her dad suffering two heart attacks.

‘The NHS saved my dad’s life, they saved my daughter’s life, they saved my son’s life, and they saved my life, I am forever in their debt,’ Manchester Evening News states she said.

‘My dad suffered two heart attacks and without the amazing care and attention of doctors and nurses he wouldn’t be with us today.

‘They are the reason two of my children, Polly and David are alive here today after being born prematurely and needing extra care. The odds were against Polly surviving and she needed help around the clock.

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Saturday fun with my girl ❤️❤️❤️

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‘She was born seven weeks premature and she needed help with every breath she took.’

Kym – who played Michelle Connor in the ITV soap – also praised the NHS workers who were by her side during her lowest point, following the tragic death of her son, Archie.

Explaining staff voiced concerns about her ‘mental state’ as she ‘struggled with coming to terms’ with the pain of losing her baby boy, she continued:  ‘They are the reason that I am here alive today.

‘They got me through the most horrendous experience of my life when my son Archie passed away just minutes after being born in February 2009.

‘There is no doubt I simply would not have got through the process alone – I wouldn’t be here without them.

‘The staff were so dedicated and caring and some of them even came to Archie’s funeral, which I will never forget.’

To say thank you – especially at such a testing time – Kym is joining in a star-studded pub quiz today (Friday) at 8pm, in a bid to raise £500,000 for those in need.

And she isn’t the only Cobbles star getting involved, with Catherine Tyldesley, Hayley Tamaddon and Scott Wright popping in to help fundraise for healthcare workers.

EastEnders’s Tracy Ann Oberman and Shaun Williamson are also among those taking part, alongside Luisa Zissman.

If you fancy your chances, entries are £5, and more information can be found at PubQuizParty.com.

If you’ve got a soap or TV story, video or pictures get in touch by emailing us [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you.

Join the community by leaving a comment below and stay updated on all things soaps at our homepage.

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Are Birkenstocks Cool? Jason Momoa Just Ended the Debate.

When it comes to experimenting with style choices, every man has his limits. Trends like fanny packs, clunky dad sneakers, and rompers for men—that one still has us shook—are embraced by some and scoffed at by most. Truth is, we men know what we like, and in terms of style, we know what’s a safe bet.

However, on the ever-so-rare occasion, a new accessory comes along or a new trend gains momentum that piques our interest. Yes, trying to figure out how to wear something and when to wear it can be too intimidating for most men to take the plunge. As a style editor who welcomes new trends and is rarely intimidated to dress outside my comfort zone, even I drew the line at Birkenstock sandals and clogs.

Growing up in New York City, I’ve always had an aversion to “mandals.” Can you imagine how many germs can reach your toes when pounding the pavement of dirty city streets? Because I can. And when I did finally shake my germaphobia, I opted for a sleek, minimalist sandal, not the footwear I associate with crunchy, granola folks who enthusiastically recall stories of Woodstock.

Somehow, some way, over 50 years since the first Birkenstock sandal was produced, I surprisingly find myself googling images of the Arizona and Boston style. So, what drives a man to question his sartorial choices? For one, Birkenstocks have slowly but surely gained popularity over the past two decades. The New York Times reported college kids embracing the footwear brand back in 2006, while The Wall Street Journal debated Birkenstock’s cool factor in 2015, and The Financial Times even dared to call them “sexy” this past summer. Even on the fashion runways, extra-orthopedic sandals were dubbed a top trend for men this summer. Sure, this kind of built-up ethos can sway a man’s opinions, but what really changed my mind was one photo of Jason Momoa looking effortlessly cool in pair of Birkenstock’s Boston clogs.

Momoa’s unshakable confidence and bold style choices could inspire any guy to unapologetically peacock with a fresh look, but as we’ve seen with his style evolution morph over the years, the Aquaman actor’s best looks can be credited to his collaboration with Jeanne Yang, veteran celebrity stylist to A-List actors like Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves, Christian Bale, and Collin Farrell. So, when I saw this simple-yet-elegant Birkenstock look Yang styled Momoa in last year, I knew she would be the perfect style savant to discuss all things Birkenstocks with. Exceeding my expectations to finally answer the simple question “Are Birkenstocks cool?,” Yang revealed the one thing all men should do when embracing a style decision outside of their comfort zone that can have you channelling the cool confidence of Hollywood’s most stylish men.

Birkenstock Suede Boston Clogs for Men

birkenstock.com

$145.00

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Birkenstock Arizona EVA Waterproof Slide Sandals

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$33.71

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Birkenstock Boston Shearling-Lined Clogs

nordstrom.com

$165.00

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Birkenstock Arizona Essentials EVA Black Sandals

amazon.com

$44.95

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Are Birkenstocks Cool?

Birkenstocks are not a trend, they’re a style staple. “There’s something interesting to the way the company straddles between cool and comfortable and it’s really rare,” says Yang. “To me, Birkenstocks are like the Stan Smith. This is something that for the rest of your life you can wear and you never have to worry about it going out of style. When you do a closet clean out, you won’t think of tossing them, you’ll think of getting a new conditioning kit, because it’s still cool and always will be.” Both Momoa and Yang are longtime fans of Birkenstock. In fact, Momoa’s whole family wears Birkenstocks.

When styling Momoa, both for his appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (when he wore Birkenstocks) and other events, it’s a true collaboration. “Jason is who Jason is,” says Yang. “He’s always his genuine, authentic self.” Instead of just pulling outfits for a specific event, Yang will curate a capsule of separates each season for Momoa to don—like the dirty pink sweater from The Row that Yang bought a few months prior, before Momoa wore it with white Tom Ford jeans and Birkenstock Boston clogs.

So when Momoa was planning on surprising two lucky people on Ellen’s “Greatest Night of Giveaways” episode in December 2019, the duo wanted Momoa to look like his casual, cool self, but slightly more dressed up for this appearance. After debating between flip-flops, which felt too casual, and rugged boots, which felt too serious, Yang settled on her and Momoa’s go-to comfortable shoes.

Jason Momoa, I couldn’t possibly love you more. Thank you for helping Brian and Sofia. #EllensGreatestNight pic.twitter.com/gGAPlu7j1l

“He’s essentially playing Santa to this family and the Birkenstocks were the perfect touch—you know, the suede Bostons,” says Yang. “Because there’s a warmth to them, they’re comfortable, and he was giving a gift to a family in need. It was one of those situations where he wanted to feel natural and comfortable and those Birkenstocks were perfect thing to create that soft and comfortable warm feeling.”

The key to Birkenstock’s cool factor is their unmatched comfort and ease. Yang compares the growing interest in Birkenstocks to the trajectory of sneakers, having made their way from casual to red-carpet approved.

“I remember years ago when I dressed Robert Downey, Jr. for the Oscars red carpet in a tuxedo and a pair of Lanvin sneakers and it was thought to be this crazy thing,” says Yang. “Sneakers have become a huge part of people’s lives [outside of performance wear] and I think it’s not necessarily the sneaker, it’s about the comfort level. I think the next iteration is someone who wants to have that feeling of comfort, but wants to show more personality.”

How to Wear Birkenstocks

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that a pair of Birkenstocks carry a punch of personality. However, Yang suggests there are multiple ways to wear it if the bohemian chic look isn’t your cup of tea. Whether you’re going for a California-cool vibe or want to add a relaxed feel to your preppy garb, just make sure your pants balance out the width of your Birkenstocks.

“Because Birkenstocks have a wider last, I would avoid wearing a pant that’s too slim with it,” says Yang. “It’s a real juxtaposition and might be too significant seeing the width of the shoe with the narrowness of the pant leg. Generally speaking, it is a little bit more of a relaxed shoe, but if you’re going to dress them up, go with a fresh pair of Birkenstocks in a rich texture, like suede.”

Yang recommends strappy Arizona sandals for a summer shorts outfit and the Boston clogs to pair with a longer pant. Momoa’s suede Boston clogs provided the perfect textural mix when paired with his white denim jeans and soft pink sweater—it elevates his look, without making it look too forced. Isn’t that what every guy wants to look like? Cool, confident, and expensive.

Confidence Is Key to Wearing Birkenstocks

You might be sold on the comfort and style of Birkenstocks, but if you’re not sure you can pull off the look, all you have to do is look to yourself for the answer (and a few friends.)

“From my post, I had people saying ‘Jeanne, let’s be honest, he can wear anything’ and I say ‘Yeah, you’re totally right,’ but I think sometimes taking that picture and having a friend say to you ‘Oh my God, you look amazing! Go for it!’ is important—that’s what these celebrities get,” says Yang. “They get confidence from stylists, groomers, publicists, agents, and to have four or five people give a little sense of ‘yeah, you look good,’ it makes a big difference.”

While millennials and the Gen Z crowd feel more comfortable taking selfies, older men might feel silly taking photos of themselves, but Yang encourages men to take pictures or even take a good look in the mirror to see their own reaction. If you looked pained in the face, you’re not going to fool anyone, but if the photo or your reflection makes you look comfortable and happy, you can wear anything.

“I think it’s really about how comfortable they are,” says Yang of celebrities’ confidence on a red carpet. “If you look at Julianne Moore or Charlize Theron, all these ladies wear Birkenstocks all the time, because they’re comfortable and you can wear them with anything. It kinda conveys a feel of cool. You’re just like ‘oh yeah’—there’s this sort of underlining hipness to them.”

A smirk and some swagger goes a long way for confidence that translates to how you carry this new look. And when in doubt, find yourself a cheerleader.

“I holy profess the importance of getting cheerleaders,” says Yang. “It’s just like sports without cheerleaders, without crowds, without the audience. You want the reassurance of people and that is a big confidence booster.”

As I wrapped up my conversation with Yang, she assured me that I wouldn’t regret my choice in purchasing Birkenstock Boston clogs. Though she did warn me that I might curse her for “cheerleading” this purchase.

“The real problem I find is, once people try a pair, they never want to take them off or wear another shoe,” says Yang. “It’s not about trying to get someone into Birkenstocks, it’s about trying to get someone to take them off.”


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K-League: FC Seoul fined 100 million won for sex dolls in stands

A South Korean club has been fined 100 million won (£66,500) by the K-League for filling empty seats with ‘sex dolls’ at their recent home match.

FC Seoul put 30 “premium mannequins” in the stands, with fans unable to attend because of coronavirus restrictions.

The club said they did not know the dolls were adult products and apologised on Monday.

“The incident has greatly insulted and hurt female and family fans,” a K-League statement said.

Some of the dolls were holding signs advertising x-rated websites, despite pornography being banned in South Korea.

The K-League added that the club had made “a serious mistake” by not removing the dolls before the match.

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Jeremy Renner Has Repeatedly Missed the Chance to Lead His Own Movie Series

Jeremy Renner has been nominated for two Academy Awards. He has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the better part of a decade. And yet, the actor still hasn’t ever been handed the keys to his own movie series. With more and more alleged details coming out about his personal life, we can’t help but wonder if there’s a connection between the two.

Jeremy Renner doesn’t have a great reputation within Hollywood

Renner has far from a pristine reputation in the industry. He has repeatedly gotten himself in trouble with the things he has said. These include slut-shaming comments regarding Black Widow, the character Scarlett Johansson plays in the MCU. And that was well before more recent accusations from his ex-wife began to come to light.

In truth, Renner has been plagued with intermittent rumors about his behavior and general demeanor for quite a while. In the midst of starring in universally acclaimed films such as Arrival, The Town, and The Hurt Locker, Renner is a controversial figure off the set. This might actually explain why he can’t seem to hold on to a movie series, aside from his gig at Marvel.

RELATED: A List of Jeremy Renner’s Most Controversial Statements

Perhaps that’s why he keeps near-missing out on his own movie series

After landing back-to-back Oscar nods in 2010 and 2011, Renner was very much in demand. In short order, he joined the MCU as Hawkeye with a cameo in 2011’s Thor. And he signed on to a major supporting role in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. At the time, rumors swirled that Renner’s character would inherit the series. But this did not come to pass.

Instead, star Tom Cruise stuck around, with Renner returning to the franchise in 2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. Similarly, The Bourne Legacy introduced Renner as Aaron Cross, a hero who presumably would carry his own spin-off series. Yet, Matt Damon returned as the title character for 2016’s Jason Bourne, to significantly more commercial success.

Even when Renner has the opportunity to launch a new movie series of his own, it doesn’t pan out. Case in point, 2013’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters — co-starring Gemma Arterton — earned enough to potentially warrant a sequel. Development on the follow-up got far enough to lead to hiring a director in 2015. But the sequel still hasn’t come together years later.

RELATED: 5 of the Best Movies From Marvel’s Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner

Fans haven’t even heard much about the ‘Hawkeye’ Disney+ show

In many of the above cases, Renner’s lack of long-term commitment to another franchise has been blamed on his busy schedule. While he has appeared in four MCU movies since 2012, the actor remains the only one of the six original Avengers not to headline his own movie. Such a project was originally planned for Phase 4 but fell prey to Marvel Studios’ planning.

He might not reprise his MCU hero on the big screen anytime soon. But Renner remains attached to the Hawkeye TV series heading for Disney+. Unfortunately, Marvel Studios has not revealed any details on the show, though Hailee Steinfeld has long been rumored to play Kate Bishop. Even if Renner does star on the show, it will likely be so that he can pass the torch.

In the comics, Clint Barton — whom Renner plays on-screen — eventually trains Kate Bishop to be the next Hawkeye. At first, the Disney+ show seems like Renner’s big chance to take the spotlight. But it also feels like more of a smooth way to give his character a timely exit from the MCU. Again, time will tell, as Marvel Studios will likely make an official announcement soon.

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