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Laura Craik on moving heaven and earth to accommodate football, vape safety and summer’s mask + shades cool conundrum

Recently, 16,000 lucky fans watched their beloved Chelsea/Man City compete in the Champions League final. Thousands were British, many flown to Porto on specially chartered planes, allowing them to bask in balmy Portuguese sunshine without any need for quarantine upon return. Portugal, placed on the red list last summer, was suddenly given green-light status on 17 May. Three weeks later, this status was just as suddenly revoked.

‘Fans have had to suffer more than 12 months without the ability to see their teams live. To deprive those supporters of the chance to see the match in person was not an option,’ said the president of Uefa, justifying the decision to move the final from red-list Turkey to Portugal. ‘After the year that fans have endured, it is not right that they don’t have the chance to watch their teams in the biggest game of the season.’

Tempting as it is to yell, ‘Have they not heard of televisions!?,’ I shall desist. I, too, have had to suffer more than 12 months without live music, reduced to dancing round my kitchen while the Sonos crows from the worktop. But since nightclubs aren’t as mainstream or lucrative as football clubs, I’ll just have to suck it up. How very wonderful to be a football fan since football is a sport in which heaven, earth and travel rules can be moved at a whim in the pursuit of money.

Now Uefa wants a minimum of 22,500 fans watching the Euros at Wembley. Whether Freedom Day goes ahead or not, the Government has pledged this will be allowed. I’m not against grown adults exercising their free will to expose themselves to risk to do something they love, but how unfair that this privilege is still denied to theatre goers, live-music lovers and clubbers.

“Since nightclubs aren’t as mainstream or lucrative as football clubs, I guess I’ll just have to suck it up”

Bar one festival and one club night in Liverpool, the scientific pilot events (which suspend Covid restrictions and aim to test the safety of big crowds) have focused on sport. Meanwhile, New York is planning a 60,000-
capacity festival in August. Come on, London. Let the football play but let the music play.

League of its own: fan privilege

Juul intentions

MPs are currently consulting to raise the age for the sale of cigarettes from 18 to 21 in order to end ‘the tobacco epidemic’ by 2030. How London’s teenage smokers will scoff. Any fag-ash Lil will tell you she’s been buying ciggies since she turned 14, thanks to unscrupulous newsagents who couldn’t give a stuff about young lungs.

Also: what of ‘the Juul epidemic’? In watermelon, bubblegum and cherry, these cheap, cynically marketed ‘nicotine substitute’ vapes are mainlined by teenagers (life hack: if you find what looks like a USB stick in your kid’s pocket, it’s probably a Juul). Nobody knows what their long-term effects are, since they were only invented in 2015. Like cigarettes, Juuls should come with a health warning.

Shady characters

For anyone currently struggling with the conundrum of how to wear sunglasses and a mask without looking really stupid, here’s a handy guide. Classic aviators and a mask: basic numpty. Oakleys and a mask: estate agent numpty.

Cat-eye glasses and a mask: Shoreditch numpty. Tortoiseshell glasses and a mask: retro numpty. Jackie-O glasses and a mask: delusional numpty. No shape or style in the world can effect an aura of cool, summery nonchalance under masked circumstances, so don’t bother trying. You’re welcome.


Mark Ronson and
Grace Gummer are engaged, which calls for a portmanteau. Mace? Grark? Actually neither: this couple are too cool for that shit.


Banging on about
the Sussex’s new
baby’s name.