Raise a glass to Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull may be feeling her age, but just look what she's been through.


Marianne Faithfull is not in great shape, but that's hardly surprising, says Jan Moir in the Daily Mail. Leaning on a walking stick and fumbling for her glasses, she told her fans at a concert in London last weekthat she was "not so youngany more". "I am a crock!"she cried.

Actually, she's lucky to be alive at all, given what she's been through. At her lowest ebb in the 1970s, says Moir, she lived rough on the streets of Soho for a couple of years, "lost in a fog of drugs, drink and god-knows what else". Between songs, she even reminisced about her drug dealer, "Spanish Tony", who would bring her heroin during concerts, which she would snort in the loos before going back on stage.

"Do as I do and think about cancer before having a glass of wine," said England's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, a remark "more likely to make women reach for the bottle than lock it away". But where wouldDame Sally begin with Faithfull, whose whole life "seems to have been barrelling towards this frail junction"? Yet the singer, now 69, is still up there, under the spotlight, so she must be as strong as a she-ox to have come through it all. "What a survivor."

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The daft hoarding of the super-rich

Why do a mere 62 people own half the world's wealth, wonders Caitlin Moran in The Times. Whatever happened to the idea that wealth was supposed to "trickle down to everyone else"? Moran cites the Oxfam report, which argues that as the wealth of the 62 richest people has increased by $500bn, the wealth of the poorest 50% has dropped by 41%. "That's some fairly big stats on it not trickling down. Rather, it's trickling up."

It's odd, to want to be so rich, thinks Moran. And it's easy not to be look at JK Rowling, who was on the world's "100 Richest List" and then dropped off, as she'd given so much away.So why don't the 62 richest people do what she's done?The answer is that veryrich people are "hoarders".

If they were hoarding 50% of the world's stamps, or china figurines, we would think they were daft. But they hoard "insane amounts of money" and we don't think that even though most of themoney they have is useless. Instead of saving lives or transforming towns with it, they just hang on to it.Very odd, says Moran.

A great time to be a butler

Carson, the butler in Downton Abbey, had no need to worry about the future of his profession, it seems, though the pay packets of his modern descendants might have caused him to raise an eyebrow. The demand for butlers is booming, especially abroad, according to BBC Online. About 350-400 butlers are trained in Britain every year: most make £40,000 to £50,000 a year;some make double that. About half stay here, while the biggest proportion of the rest 30% of the total end up inthe United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Tabloid money: the industry that makes you feel like a cheapskate

The new advice on recommended alcohol intake from the chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, certainly won't stop me from reaching for "a glass or two" of wine on a Saturday night, says Fiona Phillips in the Daily Mirror. Why wouldn't I? Italy "a country where Aperol Spritzes are a morning coffee-bar drink, followed by a glass of red wine for lunch and a tipple after work" has much lower rates of alcohol-related deaths. "Dame Sal's sensationalist, dictatorial, no-alcohol stance is misplaced."

How can Age UK's chief executive, Tom Wright, "sitting pretty in his £1.2m home on £180,000 a year", still "keep his job?" asks The Sun. The pensioners' charity sends out "glossy leaflets" encouraging "OAPs to sign up for an E.ON energy package £245 a year pricier than its cheapest" it is "facilitating their systematic rip-off". We are "sick of such groups assuming that they have a position on the moral high ground which allows them to get away with murder".

"Europe may be important to politicians," says Brian Reade in the Daily Mirror, but "the wilful destruction of the NHS" is a far more pressing issue. If the government doesn't increase spending, "our greatest modern achievement will soon have its life-support machine switched off". Of course, "we've never been asked if we wanted to hand control of our laws to Brussels". However, "when were we asked if we wanted to hand control over the greatest of our national treasures to private firms whose priority is making profits not saving lives"?

The wedding industry is a nightmare, says Vanessa Feltz in the Daily Express. "Every flipping thing from a dinner plate to a rose for the groom's buttonhole comes in ordinary and super-smashing great". While this gives the illusion of choice, the idea is to make you "feel short-changed and wretchedly cheapskate about even entertaining the notion of going with the budget variety".