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Five Great Reads: fish oil fear, remembering a legend, and the new skinny on jeans


Hello. Congratulations to all those who managed to get dressed today, and welcome to a gently fashion-themed edition of Five Great Reads, your weekday summer wrap of great writing and service journalism, styled by me, Alyx Gorman, Guardian Australia’s lifestyle editor, currently wearing a cape in honour of André Leon Talley.

If you’re after breaking news, may I gently nudge you over to our live blog. And if you’d just like to eat some beans, Felicity Cloake has the perfect recipe for baking them Boston-style. Now, on to the reads.

1. Red in the deep

In order to fulfil a seemingly endless appetite for fish oil supplements, some in the fishing industry are looking further and further down the food chain, to zooplankton.

Is that a problem? It could be. While advocates argue harvesting zooplankton doesn’t have an impact on the ecosystem; the industry’s growth potential has scientists (and other fishers) worried.

Notable quote: “They have in mind getting the technology to the place where they can actually go out and really exploit it,” says Peter Wiebe, scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. “And I think, without the kind of studies that are needed to understand the dynamics of the populations there, we do that foolhardily.”

How long will it take me to read? About four minutes.

2. Do you need a pulse oximeter?

As tens of thousands of Australians manage their Covid symptoms from home, demand for blood oxygen monitoring devises is spiking. Donna Lu explains what an oximeter does, and what to do if you can’t get one.

Can I just use my phone or smart watch? No. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has warned that these “are not accurate and should not be used”.

So what can I do? In the absence of an oximeter, Dr Suzi Nou, an anaesthetist in Melbourne who has been managing Covid patients in the community, suggests looking for other signs of low blood oxygen, such as trouble with breathing, blue-tinged lips or extremities, and difficulty completing sentences or getting up the stairs. “They would be very strong signs that there’s not enough oxygen in their body.”

3. Remembering André Leon Talley

Yesterday, groundbreaking fashion journalist and creative director André Leon Talley died at the age of 73. Talley was champion of diversity and industry change on and off the runway, while weathering plenty of racism and size-ism himself.

Andre Leon Talley arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, in New York, May 2, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
Andre Leon Talley arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

The interview: In 2020, Talley spoke with Hadley Freeman at length about his upbringing, ascent in the industry and tangled relationship with Anna Wintour. You can read that interview here.

The image: And here is a look back at his life in pictures. The man could wear a cape like no one else.

4. The elephant in the room (is too sexy)

In Belfast, Jamie Dornan plays a down-at-heel dad, barely able to keep his family afloat. There’s just one problem, Stuart Heritage writes: ““If Belfast was set in any recognisable universe, then one of Dornan’s neighbours would have said, ‘Have you ever thought about becoming a model?’

Jamie Dornan as “Pa” in director Kenneth Branagh’s BELFAST, a Focus Features release. Credit : Rob Youngson / Focus Features
Jamie Dornan as Pa in director Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, a Focus Features release. Photograph: Rob Youngson/© 2021 Focus Features, LLC.

Can I have another example? “The reigning queen of this is probably Kate Winslet,” Heritage writes. She has “made something of a cottage industry of pretending that she isn’t as beautiful as she obviously is”.

And another? “Casting Samantha Barks as ragged, impoverished Éponine in Les Misérables was just silly. Look at that bone structure. Get out there and do some catalogue work, Éponine! You’re in Paris!”

Bonus read: Speaking of credibility and thirst, Spiderman’s latest outing is pushing hard for Oscars. Does the Academy have something against blockbusters?

5. A bolt from the blue

Button up for the end of the tracksuit era, writes Jess Cartner-Morley, it is time to pull your jeans back on (and feel good doing it).

From left: Celine fall 2021, Frame’s Le Sylvie degradable jeans, Nick Kamen in 1986.
From left: Celine fall 2021, Frame’s Le Sylvie degradable jeans, Nick Kamen in 1986. Composite: Dpa Picture Alliance

What kind though? Not the skinny ones. Cartner-Morley advocates for “stone cold classics” – the kind you’d see on Springsteen, a cowboy or current-season Celine.

Where do I get them? Unless you can casually drop four figures on pants, probably not from Celine. Ideally, you can find them at the back of your own wardrobe, and failing that, secondhand Levis 501s look as good as, or better-than, new.



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