Stay Single Until Love Feels Exactly Like This

Stay single until you find someone who doesn’t want to play games, someone who knows what they want. Someone who will tell you how they feel, someone who won’t be scared to be vulnerable with you. Someone who doesn’t use excuses about confusion and not wanting labels and ‘seeing where things go’, stay single until you find someone who knows what a beautiful, magical person you are, someone who knows an amazing thing when it’s in front of them. Someone who doesn’t want to risk losing you, someone who is certain from the beginning.

Stay single until it feels easy, simple, like breathing. Stay single until you don’t have to constantly remind someone how to be better or how to treat you right. Stay single until you find someone who knows exactly what you need before you have to ask, someone who understands your love language and will do their best to learn it, who is willing to make compromises, who wants to make sure you are both understood and appreciated. Stay single until you find someone who would do anything to make you feel loved and heard.

Stay single until you find someone who never fills your heart with doubt, someone who reminds you every day how special you are to them. Someone who knows that it’s the little things which mean the most – a ‘Good Morning, Beautiful’ text as you open your eyes in the morning just so you know you’re their first thought as soon as they wake. Someone who plans romantic date nights – even if it’s just a walk in the park whilst the air is still warm, simply so you can be together. So you can hear their voice and the way their laugh rumbles out of their chest. Just so you can feel their eyes on you. Someone who knows that all you really want is someone who is willing to make the effort, someone who wants to fit you into their busy schedule because a few moments with you is worth feeling tired the next day for, it is worth cab rides and long walks in the rain. It is worth a little bit of inconvenience just to see your face light up, to feel your body tangled around theirs as the sky turns dark.

Stay single until you find someone who makes even the most mundane moments feel like adventures, someone will dance with you in the kitchen at the end of a difficult day, someone who will bring you coffee when you’re tied up in deadlines and overwhelmed with stress. Someone who will listen to you talk about the same thing over and over, without telling you you’re being ‘overly-sensitive’ or ‘dramatic’, someone who feels like your problems are their problems, because you’re a team. Stay single until you find someone who never makes you feel as if you are “too much”, someone who doesn’t make you feel as if you are demanding and needy.

Stay single until you find someone who doesn’t run at the first sign of trouble, someone who doesn’t disappear after the first argument- no matter how big or small it might be. Find someone who won’t ignore you when things turn sour. Someone who will stay up late into the night with you to fix it and find a solution, someone who will never let you go to sleep feeling upset or worried about your future together. Stay single until you find someone who knows that disagreements are bound to happen but that what you have for each other is stronger than that. Someone who values you more than being right or “winning”.

Stay single until you find someone who just makes sense, who has only ever brought you peace and happiness. Someone who always makes you feel like a priority, someone who challenges you and pushes you, but accepts you as you are. Someone who wants the best for you, even when you don’t want that for yourself. Someone who loves the parts of you which are messy and confusing and a little chaotic, someone who loves the parts of you that others weren’t able to, someone who isn’t afraid of the parts you think are scary and dark and unlovable, someone who lets you be authentically you without ever fearing they’ll turn their back on you.

Stay single until love feels exactly like this.


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America’s strip club capital sees push for fair terms, labor rights and food

Meals 4 Heels is offering healthy late-night takeout for sex workers and strippers, and its just part of a discussion on wellness and working conditions in the industry

Nikeisah Newton has cornered a market in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, which she calls strip city.

Shortly before 10pm on a Friday, Newton bounces around her kitchen, steaming kale and packing take-out boxes into a tote bag. Newton is working for herself in a business she created called Meals 4 Heels, a one-of-a-kind food service that delivers fresh, nutritious bowls to sex workers and strippers during late-night hours.

After 13 years of living in Portland and hustling in food service, Newton launched Meals 4 Heels in January. Her ex-girlfriend is a stripper and she has several friends who work in the industry. She quickly noticed that no one was looking out for their basic health needs like sustenance.

Were known for our food carts and strip clubs, but yet the human aspect is missing, said Newton. It doesnt make sense why there hasnt been something like this.

Better eating is just a part of a wider discussion on wellness and labor rights and conditions taking place in some of the countrys strip clubs. Just as in more conventional workspaces, there is now a debate over workers rights, the complex pros and cons of contract work and a struggle to wrest better terms from employers.

Cha Cha plus chicken sausage, a dish produced by Meals 4 Heels. Photograph: Nikeisah C Newton

Portland is home to the most strip clubs per capita in the US. According to research by Priceonomics, the city boasts 54 and has more than twice as many strip clubs as it has public restrooms. That is largely because Oregons constitution protects obscenity under the first amendment. Moreover, zoning laws state that businesses cannot be denied locations based on their sexual content or nature.

Yet despite their numbers, strippers and sex workers are rarely free from disparagement in many instances their industry is the first to face harassment and the last to be protected.

For Newton, Meals 4 Heels is her way of putting a diverse and caring face on Portlands sex industry, while nourishing its workers.

From an online menu, clients can choose from several south-western and Mediterranean-inspired bowls, like the GTP ($Gettin That Paper$), a gluten-free and vegan dish that includes roasted cauliflower and sweet potato noodles; or the Freegan Vegan, piled with roasted yams, apples, sauted mushrooms and brown rice. Almost all ingredients are organic and locally sourced.

The menu is curated for dancers, said Newton. No legumes, low on nightshades, low garlic, onions and acids, so theyre not gassy or breathing garlic. I keep that in mind.

Newton does all the prepping and cooking herself and delivers to about 20 clubs. Shes also running a GoFundMe campaign to help cover costs and wants Meals 4 Heels to be recognized as a business of color in Americas whitest city.

At Riverside Corral, a strip club in Portlands south-east neighborhood, a dancer who uses the stage name Plum ordered the Verbal Tipper, which comes with lemon pepper couscous, massaged kale, pickled veggies and marinated artichokes.

What she likes most about Meals 4 Heels, said Plum, is the delivery, number one. And its so nice to have food thats healthy thats not going to make me fart or shit my pants. And its just made with love.

Julie Flores, a stripper at Club Rogue, said her favorite was the Cha Cha Cha, which blends brown rice, citrus slaw, black olives, avocado and tortilla chips.

Its just a really good, clean option for us, said Flores. Where I work, we just have fried shit, like wings. So [Meals 4 Heels] provides wholesome meals that fuel our bodies, because every time I come home I feel like I just did a workout.

Late-night employees would be hard pressed to find food options that are open at 2am and not teeming with trans fats and cholesterol.

But a healthy diet is just one of the issues facing Portlands sex workers and strippers.

Matilda Bickers, a former stripper, and Amy Pitts, another dancer, sued Portlands Casa Diablo strip club in 2015, citing unpaid wages and harassment, on the part of the customers and employees. They settled out of court.

A strip club in Portland, Oregon, which has more strip clubs per capita than any other US city. Photograph: Melanie Sevcenko/The Guardian

Since then, Bickers, who now works as an escort, has been a vocal proponent of sex workers rights in the city. One of her most publicized platforms is lobbying for strippers to be classified as employees in Oregon.

Most strippers in the US are deemed independent contractors. Theyre paid in tips, rather than an hourly wage or salary.

Many of them prefer the freedom to schedule their own shifts, wear whatever they want, do the job in the way they want, work for competitors even, said the labor lawyer Rich Meneghello. Now if they became employees, a lot of that freedom goes away.

But freedom also means contractors dont pay into social security or Medicare, are not eligible for sick leave, overtime or unemployment benefits and are not protected in the same way as employees from workplace harassment.

In addition, as contractors, strippers essentially have to pay to work, through what are called stage or house fees. They can range anywhere from five dollars to well over a hundred. Its a pay for the pole policy that is typically meant to cover expenses like advertising and club maintenance.

If theyre late to a shift, get sick or dont make enough in a night to pay those fees, the stripper then owes back rent to the club.

In January this year, a Democratic state senator, Kathleen Taylor, introduced a bill that would have classified strippers as employees. The bill was eventually laid to rest, marking the third attempt to get this type of legislation passed.

According to a study by Portland State University, because Portland strippers dont require a permit, can perform fully nude, allow clients to touch them with consent during private dances, and, as contractors, lack protection from workplace agencies, the research suggests that exotic dancers are at risk of experiencing various forms of violence while at work with limited resources to turn to for help.

Of 33 strippers who participated in the study, 32 reported experiencing some form of violence while at work, while 84% reported they had experienced unwanted groping, rape, forced or coerced unwanted sexual acts.

Elle Stanger, who dances at Portlands Lucky Devil Lounge, is fiercely committed to maintaining her independent contractor status. She makes good money, has control over her performances and schedule, and keeps all her earnings from private dances.

But she recognizes that her club is not all clubs, which means theres no silver bullet solution.

I just want to caution people to be wary of a quick fix approach to labor problems, when the issues tend to be so different in some cases, said Stanger.

Elle Stanger has been co-organizing the Portland Slutwalk since 2014. Its a demonstration against sexual violence and victim-blaming. Photograph: Courtesy Elle Stanger

In neighboring California, a bill passed the legislature in September that designates independent contractors in several industries as employees, including strippers. At first sight, it sounds good.

But Stanger, who co-hosts the sex worker industry podcast Strange Bedfellows, has been asking for feedback from strippers in California who have recently become employees. According to Stanger, the majority say the bill is damaging to their industry, claiming lower earnings and fewer bookings.

Stanger foresees clubs forced to fire dancers, simply because they wont be able to afford their wages.

I heard from dancers who said: I was deemed too fat for my club. Or due to racist management practices, they cut a lot of dancers of color, said Stanger.

Aaliyah Topps, who danced in Seattle, said she believed club managers and owners favored Caucasian strippers. I know multiple girls who arent allowed back to the club due to back rent and most of these are women of color. They dont advertise women of color on any flyers, posters or websites, she said.

Topps is part of a coalition called Strippers Are Workers, which formed in the summer of 2018 through the not-for-profit Working Washington. It was co-founded by the dancer Angelique, who declined to offer her last name. She works at one of the only clubs in Seattle that is not owned by Dj Vu, which runs roughly 132 strip clubs in 41 states. It owns 11 of Washingtons 14 strip clubs.

More and more customers were becoming aggressive, they were starting to not pay for services, said Angelique of why she started the coalition. [The clubs] were treating us like employees in terms of scheduling us, having control over our work and setting our prices, which is illegal.

The coalition took its complaints to the Washington legislature last October. Topps, who stripped at Dj Vu, testified about the lack of running water at the club, having to use a portable toilet as a restroom, harassment from management, and the $140 to $200 stage fees the dancers had to pay the club per night, which can quickly become back rent.

This May, Strippers Are Workers succeeded in getting House Bill 1756 passed. Its a landslide piece of legislation for the sex worker industry that requires Washington strip clubs to install panic buttons in VIP rooms; offers a Know Your Rights training for dancers who apply for a business license; creates a record and blacklist of violent customers; and establishes an advisory committee to help implement and enforce the bill.

The efforts in Washington echo another reform movement in Minneapolis. In August, its city council unanimously voted in a new ordinance that mandates adult entertainment workers receive a copy of their contracts, prohibits retaliation against those who report violations and requires businesses to post customer conduct and workers rights information.

Back in Portland, Nikeisah Newton knows the importance of lifting up those who are sidelined as a gay, black woman working for the sex worker industry: Its all about marginalized groups. Weve got to take care of each other.

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Im Not Choking Her!: How an Andy Kaufman Joke Lives on Today

In the canon of big, important American years, 1979 doesn’t get as much attention as say, 1776, or 1812, or 1945. But it had some sleeper hits: Sony dropped the Walkman; Voyager 1 found Jupiters rings; Aaliyah was bornalso, comedian Andy Kaufman wore a bathrobe on Saturday Night Live, wrestled Lacoste heiress Mimi Lambert for three straight minutes, pinned her, kicked her, and named himself the Intergender Wrestling Champion of the World.

The performance, which took place 40 years ago today, was not Kaufmans first fight. For months, the song and dance man had been performing sets (he called them concerts) where he would invite women to wrestle. The idea was to channel old carnival wrestlers who toured town-to-town, offering $500 to any man who could pin them. Kaufman, rocking a dentists physique, couldnt pull that off. Guys would crush him; he challenged girls instead. The comedian had a whole spiel to egg them on: It takes a certain mental energy to wrestle, a certain strategy, he says in one video at the Comedy Store. Women, I do not think, possess this. Now, there are times when the woman does have this mental energy, for example in the kitchen, scrubbing the potatoes, washing the carrots, scrubbing the floors, raising the babies… Usually, the rant then devolved into baby talk or shrieks.

People didnt love it, but mostly, people didnt know much about it, unless theyd happened into a Kaufman concert. That changed after SNL. The comic showed up in his robe, white long johns, black gym trunks, and, according to a biography, a significant amount of tape on his junk to prevent any on-air embarrassments. He gave his speech, turned down a pregnant lady, and picked Lambert, a dancer still in her leotard. They wrassled for a bit. The audience booed, while Kaufman howled reassurances (IM NOT CHOKING HER) and commands (SHUT UPPP). After the act, Kaufmans popularity dipped. The kayfabe of the fightof Kaufmans whole persona, for that matterhadnt registered. Audiences didnt get that he was playing the villain, a classic wrestling trope. Departing from one convention (not hitting girls) left people fuzzy on just how many hed abandoned. Plus, he kept screaming: This is not a comedy routine! This is not a skit! This is real!

The performance would achieve cult status, spawning novelty T-shirts and some real world effects on actual wrestling. But that would not become clear for a while. For months, both Kaufman and SNL received hate letters by the thousands, often from women, challenging Kaufman to a rematch. In one of the few remaining postcards, the sender wrote only her address, phone number, height (48), weight (104 lbs), age (19), occupation (Junior Food Service Management major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, part-time saute chef), and a brief message: Ill beat Andy!

But Kaufmans biggest critic was a guy, a wrestler himselfMemphis heavyweight champ, Jerry The King Lawler. After Kaufmans act aired, he kept touring around the states, showing down with over 400 women. Lawler saw him in Memphis. The fourth and final challenger that night was a tall, sturdy woman named Foxy Brown (not that one). Unlike Kaufman’s early opponents, Brown stood a real chance. In the footage from that night, she grabs Kaufmans leg, and throws him to the ground. But he recovers quickly and pins her. Lawler hated it, the idea of a man striking a woman. The irony here barely needs statingLawler, 66, was arrested in 2016 for domestic violence against his 27-year-old girlfriend. But his moral umbrage launched a feud that lasted until long after Kaufman died.

Lawler insisted on a rematch, offering to train Brown. When she lost again weeks later, he challenged Kaufman to a real fightagainst him. In April of 1982, they faced off in the ring. Kaufman taunted Lawler in an unhinged Southern accent: Im from Hollywood! Where they make movies and TV shows! Im not from down here in Mayn-fuss, Ten-uh-see! As far as fighting, the comedian had some moments. At one point, as the referee held Lawler, his lavender onesie disheveled, Kaufman slapped him in the face three times. But Lawler slipped aside, and charged Kaufman for a suplex: lifting him up and slamming his back to the mat.

The melodrama peaked months later, when the two appeared on David LettermanKaufman in a neckbrace, Lawler dressed like an Elvis impersonator (red pants, polyester button-down, popped collar, buttons undone to his navel). Tense small talk gave way to snide insults and, in a gorgeous piece of television, Lawler smacked Kaufman out of his chair. The comedian exploded into a tantrum, hollering words the FCC doesnt like, throwing coffee in his face, and storming off set. (The obscenities were so unkosher, NBC threatened legal action; Kaufman responded with his own lawsuit for $200 million in damages). The feud escalated from there: Kaufman put a bounty out for $5,000 to anyone who could piledrive Lawler to smithereens. There was a temporary truce, an inevitable backstabbing, and an unfortunate powder-throwing incident. The war was only cut short when Kaufmans decade-long cough proved to be lung cancer. He died in 1984.

Like all wrestling storylines and pretty much anything Kaufman ever did, the specter of stagecraft loomed over their rivalry. But Kaufman never broke character. Neither did Lawler. After the comic died, Lawler told a reporter: People keep asking me about Andy Kaufmans death. Im really the wrong person to talk to about that. I didnt like Andy Kaufman, and Andy Kaufman didnt like me. Only later, when the saga appeared in the comics biopic, Man On The Moon (1999), did actor Jim Carrey, who went deep on Kaufmans methods, reveal the whole thing had been a hoax.

But from this blurry unreality, a few concrete, non-joke effects emerged. Kaufmans tussle with Lawler had been wild publicityhis NBC lawsuit made the New York Times front page. If I play my cards right, Kaufman told Rolling Stone, semi-seriously, in 1981, I could bring network wrestling back to TV… Im reaching people who wouldnt otherwise watch it. Celebrity ties pulled the Memphis scene onto the national stage, and World Wrestling Entertainment promoter Vince McMahon was watching. McMahon recruited a celebrity of his own: pop singer Cyndi Lauper. He first booked her on a WWE segment called Pipers Pit, alongside wrestler Lou Captain Albano, described at length by female wrestling pioneer Lillian Ellison in her memoir, The Fabulous Moolah. On air, Albano called Lauper a broad. In response, she hit him with her purseand then challenged him to a match.

This wasnt a full-on intergender showdown; the fight would play out between two women. But it was a landmark beef. The Lauper-Albano storyline helped usher in the Rock-n-Wrestling era, a longstanding rapport between the music and wrestling worlds that was great for viewership. Months after Kaufmans death, when McMahon brought Lauper onstage for the inaugural WrestleMania event in Madison Square Garden, the 1980s were on their way to becoming one of the largest commercial booms in wrestling history.

Another odd thing happened: real intergender matches. Real, at least, by wrestling standards. In the late 1990s, wrestling saw a spurt of intergender fights. Unlike Kaufmans championships, these fights were not especially scandalous; and they werent necessarily in service of some larger feminist point either. Man-woman matches werent common per se, but when they happened, they were remarkable in their ordinariness. Take Chyna, for example, the first woman to fight in the Royal Rumble, who sloshed major male wrestlers on the regular. Here she is in 1999, facing off against Billy Gunn, a beefy blond in green spandex, then known as Mr. Ass. The two demolish each other: Ass tossing Chyna out of the ring; Chyna hitting the floor like a ragdoll; Chyna playing wounded; Ass playing concerned; Chyna slamming Ass into a set of steel stairsall announced, by the way, by Jerry Lawler. Chyna walked away the winner.

Chyna, who became the first female Intercontinental Champion by slugging Jeff Jarrett over the head with an acoustic guitar, had peers in that realmMadusa did man matches; Jazz was another big name. But past the 90s, intergender wrestling faded from WWE. It found a home instead on independent programming, most recently in shows like Lucha Underground, which ended last year after four seasons, and in James Ellsworths Intergender Wrestling Championship, a more overtly comic contest held in Kaufmans honor.

The reason for that disappearance is disputed. But its become a pertinent question. In January, when Nia Jax entered the mens Royal Rumble, making her just the fourth woman to do so, a male wrestler superkicked her in the face. It was an uncanny and frankly, very cool movethe networks first man-on-woman strike in years, as reporter Luis Paez-Pumar described in a piece for Deadspin that month. WWE has never specified a policy about intergender matches, but rumors swirled that they signed a contract with Mattel for a line of female wrestler dolls, which prohibited co-ed matches. A WWE spokesperson denied that any such contract existed. He claimed the network had no policy against intergender wrestling, but cited a quote from Paul Levesque, WWE executive vice president of talent, live events and creative. I don’t believe that it should be the norm, Levesque told ESPN last year. The women don’t need a man in the ring with them to become a prime spot on the card. They don’t need that to be the main event [in WWE]. They just need another woman in there thats as great as they are.“

But the question of need seems somewhat beside the point. The pleasure of wrestling is spectacle. Everyone knows the fights are staged. If fans had any illusions about that, they were cleared up in 1989, when the World Wrestling Federation told the New Jersey Senate the sport was just entertainment to avoid broadcasting taxes. The reality is not the draw. If in real sports, the best athletes mesmerize when they seem exempt from basic laws of human ability, wrestlers fascinate for similar reasons. Not because they transcend those laws, but because they ignore them.

Take, for example, a moment from WrestleMania 34 in April of last year. Mixed martial arts legend Ronda Rousey, who had just signed to WWE months earlier, was making her debut, teaming up with wrestler Kurt Angle to face off against their bosses: WWE execs Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Usually in couple fights like these, the partners tag teamman v. man; woman v. woman. But about 12 minutes in, as Rousey nearly armbars McMahon into submission, Triple H reaches from outside the ropes and pulls the ref out of the ring. Rousey, eyes made up like Darth Maul, mimes fury. When Triple H, a bearded guy in a black speedo, climbs back onto the mat, she starts circling. The announcers cannot believe it. This is not happening, one says, Ronda Rousey squaring off with a 14-time champion. She advances, pummels him into the corner, and absolutely unloads. Triple H, a gargantuan man, flails like a 256-pound baby.

The clip went viral. Not because Rousey was a girlboss or whatever. The fight was plainly insane to look at, at once plausible, impossible, and eerie, like some transgression we werent supposed to see. As with all wrestling, it was melodramamorality theater where avatars of human instinct play out in cartoon, tightly spandexed form. For a sport that blows up subtext and makes it legible, intergender wrestling presents a dynamic simultaneously unnerving, hilarious, and laden with baggage. But Kaufman knew that four decades ago. In his words then: I got the brains.

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Teen who murdered ex in ‘frenzied’ attack jailed

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption The court heard Ellie Gould was a keen horse rider who talked of joining the mounted police

A teenager stabbed his ex-girlfriend repeatedly in the neck in a “frenzied attack” before trying to make it appear her wounds were self-inflicted.

Thomas Griffiths admitted murdering Ellie Gould, 17, at her home in Calne, Wiltshire, in May, after she ended their relationship.

Griffiths, now aged 18, went to the schoolgirl’s home, killed her and then left her hand on the knife handle.

He was jailed for a minimum of 12 and a half years at Bristol Crown Court.

Carole Gould said there was nothing in Griffiths’ behaviour before her daughter’s death that “would ring alarm bells”.

“We welcomed him into our home. We ate dinner with him,” she said.

The packed courtroom heard the night before Griffiths murdered her, Ellie had told friends they had broken up and he had “not taken it well”.

The pair were A-level students at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham, had known each other since Year 7, and been in a relationship for three months.

Image copyright Wiltshire Police
Image caption Thomas Griffiths was 17 when he killed Ellie in her family home

Griffiths walked out of school on the morning of 3 May and drove to Ellie’s home in Springfield Drive.

There he attempted to strangle her, before stabbing her 13 times in the neck with a knife taken from the kitchen.

“Griffiths became angry, perhaps by Ellie’s continued rejection of him, and he attacked her,” prosecutor Richard Smith QC said.

A statement was read out in court from Ellie’s father, Matt Gould, who found her lying on the kitchen floor with the knife still in her neck.

He said it was “the most frightening, horrific and saddest scene I have ever experienced” and it “fills my thoughts all day”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCarole Gould: ‘I’ll never forget that phone call’

Evidence suggested Griffiths had put Ellie’s hand on the weapon to make it look like she had done it to herself.

The court heard Griffiths spent an hour at the house before he drove home, changed his clothes and dumped a bag of items taken from Ellie’s house in a wood.

Later that day he sent a series of “fake” messages to friends and to Ellie’s mobile phone asking if she wanted to meet.

Griffiths also told friend marks on his neck were caused by self-harm but the court heard they most likely caused by his “young victim fighting for her life”.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Ellie Gould told friends Griffiths had “not taken their break-up well”

Sentencing him, Judge Mr Justice Garnham told Griffiths his actions had been a “frenzied knife attack” and “the most appalling act” on a “vulnerable young woman in her own home where she should have been safe”.

He said Ellie had “tried desperately to fight back, scratching frantically at your neck” and “most chilling is that you left her on the kitchen floor with the knife still in her neck and with her left hand on the knife”.

The judge told Griffiths it was one of several steps he had taken to “cover your tracks”.

“There can be no more dreadful scene for any parent to contemplate than that which confronted Ellie’s father when he came home that day from work,” Mr Justice Garnham said.

‘Destroyed lives’

The court had previously heard Ellie was a keen horse rider who competed in local shows and cross-country events, and talked of joining the mounted police.

The judge told Griffiths: “The effects of your actions have not only snuffed out the life of this talented girl… but loaded pain on her friends and family.”

The court was told that following his guilty plea in August, Griffiths, of Derry Hill, Wiltshire, had written a letter outlining his “heartfelt remorse”.

In it, he said: “I feel confused and angry at myself that I was able to hurt someone so special to me.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ellie’s body was found at a house in Springfield Drive, Calne

Det Ch Insp Jim Taylor of Wiltshire Police said Griffiths ended Ellie’s life “in the cruellest way imaginable” and “destroyed the lives of those who were close to her”.

“While I know that this prison sentence will not bring Ellie back, and 12 and a half years no doubt seems insignificant given the severity of this crime and the colossal loss for this family, I hope that in some way it provides them with some form of closure,” he added.

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Why life on Scotland’s islands makes us happy

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Harris is part of the Western Isles

Scottish islands are consistently among the happiest places to live in the UK, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

Its annual wellbeing study asks people to rank their happiness, anxiety, life satisfaction, and feeling that things in life are worthwhile.

Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles have all recorded high ratings since 2012. Three locals have told us about the lure of island life.

Leah Irvine: Shetland is always home

Image copyright @shetland_islands_with_leah
Image caption Leah on Clift Hill in Shetland

I grew up on the outskirts of Lerwick. I studied in Edinburgh, but I live and work in Shetland now. When you experience life in a city, even a beautiful one like Edinburgh, you realise how the pace of island life is slower.

If you have a a long day in the office or things aren’t going right, you can walk along a beach and the sense of calm is overwhelming. There’s no way you can be outside in Shetland and be stressed. It takes it away and sends it out to sea.

When I look at my childhood I had no idea how lucky I was because it was normal for me. Now I’m at a stage where I have friends who have families and they’re in the car for an hour to pick up their daughter from ballet. I went to netball and dance class, but it was a five-minute drive and the majority of my time was spent outside and exploring.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image copyright Getty Images

There is a community feel but you definitely get out of island life what you put into it.

If you’re going to sit at home and say you’re bored, you are not going to have that sense of wellbeing or the quality of life you want. But if you’re willing to get involved then you’ll have a massive sense of wellbeing.

I’ve done lots of travel, but the thing about Shetland is it’s always home.

Earlier this year I took six weeks off and travelled around the Caribbean. It was amazing. But as gorgeous as it was, the only thing it had over Shetland was the weather.

Jack Norquoy: You grow at island pace

Image copyright Jack Norquoy
Image caption Jack Norquoy grew up in Orkney

I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in Orkney. It’s a very supportive community – it’s very vibrant and unique, with a real charitable spirit. That all helps with a sense of wellbeing.

It’s a place of outstanding natural beauty, and there are other factors such as smaller classroom sizes, so children are able to develop very strong relationships far more easily.

Orkney is changing and maybe for some it is changing too quickly. There is the expansion of the renewable sector and tourism continues to boom, and it would be wrong to say Orcadians are not reaping some good from those developments.

I think having a sense of ownership helps with wellbeing. Any Orcadian would say they feel at home anywhere in Orkney. The whole place is home to them.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image copyright Getty Images
Image copyright Getty Images

I think, had I grown up somewhere different, I would feel differently. Compared to a city, there’s not the same pressure and you can be younger for longer and fulfil your childhood for that bit longer without some of the pressures coming to you so quickly. You grow at island pace.

From a very young age you establish the importance of your surrounding environment. I think it comes down to that sense of community and a sense of working together and appreciating and protecting what you have far more.

I also have an eagerness to see more of the world, and take the vales of my upbringing with me and share them elsewhere. I get a longing for home when I haven’t been there for a while. Orkney always make me smile when I think about it.

Catriona Dunn: The bonds you build are strong

Image copyright Catriona Dunn
Image caption Catriona Dunn’s garden looks out towards Wester Ross

I lived in Aberdeen for five years and I liked it, but I always wanted to be back here on Lewis.

The family support network here is great. It was a brilliant place for our son to grow up and I can help out with my nieces.

I help to run a parent and toddler group at our church. It’s for everyone and we realised we are serving a need. We discovered we are a lifeline for some parents and can help them build a network of support for their own wellbeing.

Those bonds that you build are strong.

The backdrop to our life also helps. From my kitchen window I look across the sea and see its moods. On a clear day you can see the hills of Wester Ross. There’s only a small amount of light pollution and you can avoid it.

There’s nowhere like it on a starlit night. Sometimes I don’t realise it until I visit my son in Glasgow and it’s nice to realise how much we appreciate the natural environment.

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Wife told to shut eyes and expect gift was stabbed

Image copyright Google/Kent Police
Image caption Shaun May was jailed after being convicted of attempted murder

A husband who told his wife to close her eyes and wait for a present before stabbing her has been jailed.

Shaun May, 34, awoke his partner in the bedroom of her Kent home on 9 October 2018, police said.

After telling her to close her eyes he left the room to get a kitchen knife, plunging it into her neck and shoulder upon his return.

At Maidstone Crown Court, May was convicted of attempted murder and jailed for 13 years and six months.

May was arrested after his wife was rushed to hospital from the home in Southborough, Tunbridge Wells.

May, of Station Road, Aylesford, had denied a charge of attempted murder but was convicted following a trial on 4 September.

‘Violent manner’

PC Mark Beeching said: “May acted in a cold, callous and violent manner on that morning.

“The assault with a knife could have easily had fatal consequences and will no doubt have a long-lasting and profound effect on the victim.”

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Restaurant of owner who enslaved, tortured Black man getting review bombed

A South Carolina restaurantis getting review bombed after its owner received a 10-year sentence for enslaving and torturing an intellectually disabled Black man for 23 years.

Bobby Paul Edwards,54, of Conway, South Carolina, pleaded guiltyto one count of forced labor in June 2018.Chris Smith started working at therestaurant, which has been identified as J&J Cafeteria, at 12 years old. Over time, after Edwards became the manager of the restaurant which belongs to his family, he stopped paying Smith and started abusing him.

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He would whipSmith with a belt, beat him with pots and pans, burn him with hot grease and tongs, and use a frying pan to hit him over the head. Edwards also held Smith captive in acockroach-infested apartment behind therestaurant and would call him the N-word, according to the Root.

It wasnt really living conditions It was an office with a bed in it. It wasnt no kitchen or nothing in it, Smithtold WPDE in 2017.

Edwards wouldnt let Smith see his own family. Smith also says that the rest of the Edwards family knew about it, but did nothing.

During his enslavement, Smithworked 119 hours a week and never got a day off or even a work break, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Smiths behalf.

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He was eventually rescued after Geneane Caines, who was a restaurant regular and longtime friend of the Edwards family, noticed signs of abuse andreported Edwards to social services.

In November 2014, Edwards was arrested andcharged with second degree assault and battery.

On Monday, a U.S. District Court sentenced Edwards to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to forced labor. People, who are frustrated with the lenient sentence, are taking justice into their own hands by barraging the establishments Yelp and Facebook pages withnegative reviews.

Owners enslaved a disabled black man for 23 years. Disgusting and place should be shit [sic] down, one user wrote on Yelp.

I ate here, had the seafood, which tasted like tears, another wrote. Maybe it was the salty ocean the seafood came from. Or maybe it was the worker in the kitchen who had been ENSLAVED FOR 17 YEARS TO WORK FOR FREE. 100 HOURS A WEEK.

Many were upset that no one thought to intervene for 23 years.

How can anyone in their right mind support a establishment when the owner has committed clear atrocities against another human being. And a mentally disabled person at that, one wrote. And you cant tell me nobody else knew.The owners are the most pathetic lazy asses that could have ever been created.

What is wrong with everyone who worked and ate at J&J Cafeteria? You all did nothing while a black developmentally disabled man, Chris Smith, was enslaved and brutalized by a white man, Bobby Paul Edwards for 23 years! another reviewer wrote. Youre all racists and cowards and you should all burn with shame.

Cant speak to the food. Never ate there. But I am expressing m vehement discontent with how the owner forces a mentally challenged man into slavery! Im also upset that this ogre of the person did this for decades workout anyone intervening, another wrote.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Yelp page had only one star. Yelp issued a disclaimer, stating that the page was being monitored by Yelps Support team for content related to media reports.

Many are also leaving comments on past positive reviews onJ&J CafeteriasFacebook page, reminding patrons that they were dining off of slave labor.

Ah slavery. Ever wonder WHY the price was so reasonable? one commenter wrote in response to a patron who wrote that it was a good reasonably priced spot.

The Facebook pageis flagged as an unofficial page and was created because people on Facebook have shown interest in this place or business It isnt affiliated with or endorsed by anyone associated with J & J Cafeteria,according to a note on the page.

A person affiliated with J&J Cafeteria, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Daily Dot on Saturday that the restaurant has been under new management and ownership since Edwards arrest in 2014. They refused to comment further but said the restaurant remains open.

The Root reports that the Edwards family still owns the establishment.

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Cloud kitchens is an oxymoron

The biggest wave in consumer products right now has all the hallmarks of another bubble of misplaced investor expectations and sadly lower margins.

Cloud kitchens (the category, and not just CloudKitchens the startup service) is essentially WeWork for restaurant kitchens. Instead of buying an expensive restaurant site on a heavily walked street, a cloud kitchen is developed in a cheaper locale (an industrial district, perhaps), with dozens of kitchen stations that are individually rentable for short periods of time by chefs and restaurant proprietors.

It’s a market that has exploded this year. CloudKitchens, which has been funded by former Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, is perhaps the most well-known example, but others are competing, and none more so than meal delivery companies. DoorDash announced that it was opening a shared kitchen in Redwood City just this week, Amazon has announced it is getting in the game and, around the world, companies like India-based transportation network Ola are building out their own shared kitchens.

DoorDash opens a shared kitchen in Redwood City

That has led to laudatory headlines galore. Mike Isaac and David Yaffe-Bellany talk about “the rise of the virtual restaurant” at The New York Times, while Douglas Bell, contributing to Forbes, wrote that “Deliveroo’s Virtual Restaurant Model Will Eat The Food Service Industry.”

And there are not just headlines, but predictions of doom as well for millions of small-business restaurant owners. Mike Moritz, the famed partner at Sequoia, wrote in Financial Times earlier this year that:

The large chain restaurants that operate pick-up locations will be insulated from many of these services, as will the high-end restaurants that offer memorable experiences. But the local trattoria, taqueria, curry shop and sushi bar will be pressed to stay in business.

Latent in these pieces (there are dozens of them published on the web) lies a superficial storyline that’s appealing to the bright but not detail-oriented: that there are high software margins (or “cloud” margins, if you will) to come from a world in which kitchen space is suddenly shareable, and that’s going to lead to a complete disruption of restaurants as we know them.

It’s the same sort of storyline that propelled WeWork to meteoric heights before eventually crashing the last few weeks back down to reality. As Jesse Hempel wrote in Wired a few years ago about the shareable office startup: “Over time, this could be a much bigger opportunity than coworking spaces, one in which everything WeWork has built so far will simply feed an algorithm that will design a perfectly efficient approach to office space.”

Clearly, the AI algorithm for office efficiency (“WeWork Brain”?) wasn’t as profitable as hoped, with WeWork expected to lay off 500 software engineers in the coming weeks.

Report: WeWork expected to cut 500 tech roles

And yet despite the seeming collapse of WeWork and the destruction of its narrative, we still haven’t learned our lesson. As Isaac and Yaffe-Bellany discuss in their NYT piece, “No longer must restaurateurs rent space for a dining room. All they need is a kitchen — or even just part of one.” Now I know what the two mean here, but let’s be uncharitable for a moment: you can’t rent a part of a kitchen. No one rents the stovetop and not the prep area.

But it is that quickly slippery logic that can cause an entire industry to rise and eventually crumble. Just as with the whole “WeWork should really be valued as a software company” meme, the term “cloud kitchens” implies the flexibility (and I guess margins?) of data centers, when in reality, they couldn’t be further away in practice from them. Commercial kitchens require regulatory licenses and inspections, constant monitoring and maintenance, not to mention massive kitchen staffs (they aren’t automated kitchens!).

So let’s look at how margins and leverage play out for the different players. If you are the owner of one of these cloud kitchens, how exactly do you get any pricing leverage in the marketplace? Isaac and Yaffe-Bellany again write, “Diners who order from the apps may have no idea that the restaurant doesn’t physically exist.”

That sounds plausible, but if consumers don’t know where these restaurants physically are, what is stopping an owner from switching its kitchen to another “cloud”? In fact, why not just switch regularly and force a constant bidding war between different clouds? Unlike actual cloud infrastructure, where switching costs are often extremely prohibitive, the switching costs in kitchens seems rather minimal, perhaps as simple as packing up a box or two of ingredients and walking down the street.

That’s why we are seeing almost no innovation coming from early-stage startups in this space. Deliveroo, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Ola and more — let alone Amazon — are hardly under-funded startups.

In fact, this supposed rise of the cloud kitchen gets at the real crux of the matter: the true “expense” of restaurants isn’t rent or labor, but in fact is really marketing: how do you acquire and retain customers in one of the most competitive industries around?

Isaac and Yaffe-Bellany argue that restaurants will join these meal delivery platforms to market their foods. “…[T]hey can hang a shingle inside a meal-delivery app and market their food to the app’s customers, without the hassle and expense of hiring waiters or paying for furniture and tablecloths.”

Let me tell you from the world of media: Relying on other platforms to own your customers on your behalf and wait for “traffic” is a losing proposition, and one that I expect the vast majority of restaurant entrepreneurs to grok pretty quickly.

Instead, it’s the meal delivery companies themselves that will take advantage of this infrastructure, an admission that actually says something provocative about their business models: that they are essentially inter-changeable, and the only way to get margin leverage in the industry is to market and sell their own private-label brands.

For example, I get the same food delivered from the same restaurants regularly, but change the service based on which coupon is best this week (for me, that’s Uber Eats, which offered me $100 if I spent it by Friday). That inter-changeability makes it hard to build a durable, profitable business. Uber Eats, for instance, is expected to be unprofitable for another half decade or more, while Grubhub’s profit margins remain mired in the single digits.

The great hope for these companies is that cloud kitchens can fill the hole in the accounting math. Private brands drive large profits to grocery stores due to their higher margins, and the hope is that an Uber Burger or a DoorDash Pizza might do the same.

The question, of course, is whether consumers “just want food” or whether they specifically want the pad thai from that restaurant down the street they love because it is raining and they don’t want to walk to it. Food brands have a prodigiously long gestation period, since food choices are deeply personal and take time to shift. Just because these meal delivery platforms start offering a burger or a rice bowl doesn’t suddenly mean that consumers are going to flock to those options.

All of which takes us back to those misplaced investor expectations. Cloud kitchens is an interesting concept, and I have no doubt that we will see these sorts of business models for kitchens sprout up across urban cities as an option for some restaurant owners. I’m also sure that there will be at least one digital-only brand that becomes successful and is mentioned in every virtual restaurant article going forward as proof that this model is going to upend the restaurant industry.

But the reality is that none of the players here — not the cloud kitchen owners themselves, not the restaurant owners and not the meal delivery platforms — are going to transform their margin structures with this approach. Cloud kitchens is just adding more competition to one of the most competitive industries in the world, and that isn’t a path to leverage.

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Ellie Gould’s killer ‘should never be released’

Image copyright Wiltshire Police
Image caption Ellie Gould’s mum originally believed there was no chance Thomas Griffiths could have harmed her

The mother of murdered teenager Ellie Gould has called her killer a danger to women who should never be released from prison.

Ellie, 17, was found stabbed to death at the family’s Wiltshire home in May.

Carole Gould said Thomas Griffiths, who has been given a life sentence and told he would serve at least 12-and-a-half years, had become “obsessed” with her daughter.

He stabbed Ellie after she ended their relationship, the court heard during his sentencing.

The murdered teenager’s grandmother branded him a “monster” who should face the death penalty.

It was just three months after joining in Ellie’s 17th birthday celebrations that Griffiths stabbed her to death at her home in Calne.

The Gould family maintained they had done their best to make Griffiths, who has turned 18 since the killing, feel welcome.

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Media captionCarole Gould: ‘I’ll never forget that phone call’

“My husband wasn’t overly keen on him (Griffiths) because he didn’t say much,” said Mrs Gould. “I just assumed it was because he was a 17-year-old boy. It was nothing that would ring alarm bells.

“We welcomed him into our home. We ate dinner with him.”

Griffiths even asked to be allowed to do work experience at the family business just days before the murder.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Ellie’s mum called her “the perfect daughter”

Mrs Gould said Ellie was not looking for a serious relationship but Griffiths was. Shortly before her death, his behaviour changed.

“It was only in the last week that she (Ellie) began to spot some signs,” Mrs Gould said. “She said that he’d been acting very strange.

“I said to her ‘what are you going to do?’ and she said ‘don’t worry Mum, I’ll sort it’.

“Little did we know he was going to turn up the next day and do what he did.”

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption “No mother should hold her dead daughter’s hand,” said Carole Gould

It was a phone call from Mrs Gould’s husband Matthew that alerted her to the horrific events of Friday 3 May.

He had come home from work to find Ellie fatally wounded on the kitchen floor.

“I could tell from his voice he was absolutely hysterical,” said Mrs Gould. “I was thinking ‘what on earth has happened?’

“As I was coming through Calne, a police car was trying to weave through the traffic and I thought to myself ‘that’s nothing to do with us, is it?’.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ellie’s body was found at the family home in Calne

It was, and nothing could prepare Ellie’s mother for the scene outside the family home in Springfield Drive.

“There were police cars abandoned everywhere, an ambulance at the end of the drive, and Matt just sobbing.”

As the stunned couple took in the fact Ellie was dead, officers asked them if their daughter had a boyfriend.

Yes, replied Mrs Gould – but she explained to them how devoted Griffiths was. “He wouldn’t harm her,” were her words.

But he had.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Ellie, 17, was a pupil at Hardenhuish School, Chippenham

Within hours, police told Ellie’s parents her death was being treated as murder.

“At that point I just felt like I’d been thrown against a wall,” said Mrs Gould.

“We both said she didn’t have any enemies. Who on earth would want to murder her?”

It was not long before the couple realised Griffiths was the main suspect.

“There was just disbelief that he would do that, and why?”

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Ellie’s killer Thomas Griffiths was present when she celebrated her 17th birthday

In August, Griffiths pleaded guilty to Ellie’s murder at Bristol Crown Court. Mrs Gould said she wanted him to spend the rest of his life in prison.

“He’s a danger to society, particularly to women,” she said.

“He became obsessed with Ellie within a matter of weeks. He could become obsessed with another woman and who knows what could happen?”

Ellie’s grandmother Pat Gould said Griffiths was “evil” and she believed Ellie’s murder was premeditated.

Image caption Ellie’s future has been “wiped out by this monster”, said her grandmother Pat Gould

“I believe it should be capital punishment – a life for a life,” she said. “Otherwise he’s being detained at our expense.

“She (Ellie) had a lovely future and a lovely family to support her and it’s been wiped out by this monster.”

Ellie’s family still feel her loss keenly.

“Her life was full and she had all the opportunities in front of her,” said her mother. “She was the perfect daughter.

“When the A-level results came out in the summer, it broke me because I just thought this time next year that would have been Ellie, we would have been talking about her future.

“No mother should hold her dead daughter’s hand. That was heartbreaking.”

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Marvelous Mrs. Maisel actor Brian Tarantina dead at 60

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