Gold diggers go prospecting in the Valley

If Emily Chang’s forthcoming exposé of Silicon Valley is to be believed, some of the goods are not just odd, but extremely odd indeed.


The odds are good, but the goods are odd
(Image credit: Credit: Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo)

A few weeks ago, I watched Some Like It Hot. This classic comedy is the story of two musicians (played by Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, pictured with Marilyn Monroe) who disguise themselves as women, join a female jazz band led by Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Monroe) in order to escape the Chicago Mob.

The band travels to Florida, where Sugar hopes to snag a millionaire, rather than the penniless musicians she keeps falling for. Things don't turn out as planned Sugar instead falls for Curtis's character, disguised as the heir to Shell Oil. Meanwhile, Lemmon's character inadvertently catches the eye and attracts the unwelcome advances of the eccentric Osgood Fielding III.

Some prefer it odd

Women in search of a wealthy husband today wouldn't go to Florida, New York or even Hollywood. They'd go to Silicon Valley. This is because "the payouts of A-list actors and the wolves of Wall Street just aren't that impressive among the Silicon Valley elite", notes Emily Chang in Vanity Fair, and the technology sector is still dominated by men. However, as fans of Some Like It Hot will have learned, "the odds may be good, but the goods are odd". And if Chang's forthcoming expos is to be believed, some of the goods are not just odd, but extremely odd indeed.

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On one level the problem is immaturity. Many in the Valley "have a high opinion of their attractiveness and what they should expect or deserve in terms of their sex lives". So, in the profiles on dating apps it's normal to "routinely brag about their tech jobs or start-ups all but saying, Hello, would you like to come up to my loft and see my stock options?'". There's also a great deal of bragging "some guys will whip out their phones and show off the trophy gallery of girls they've hooked up with".

In the worst cases it gets downright creepy. "About once a month, on a Friday or Saturday night, the Silicon Valley technorati gather for a drug-heavy, sex-heavy party." Guests "arrive before dinner and are checked in by private security guards, who will turn you away if you're not on the list". And this is not just a matter of a few people in someone's living room. Indeed, "on special occasions, the guests will travel north to someone's chteau in Napa Valley or to a private beachfront property in Malibu or to a boat off the coast of Ibiza, and the bacchanal will last an entire weekend".

The appeal of "raw water"

Those tech tycoons not stuffing themselves with illegal substances are going to the other extreme by deciding that their bodies are too pure to bother with any of the public-health innovations of the last two centuries. In San Francisco, "glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as raw water' unfiltered, untreated, unsterilised spring water" are sold for $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill, reports Nellie Bowles in The New York Times.

Those thinking of following this fad need to be aware that, by bypassing modern filtration systems, they are at risk of being exposed to "E. coli bacteria, viruses, parasites and carcinogenic compounds that can be present in untreated water". Raw water also turns green if not consumed quickly and can be expensive one system that draws moisture from the air costs as much as $4,500 to install.


Tabloid money Captain Birdseye's £8m makeover

McMafia highlights the "mighty evils" caused by the drugs trade, but the BBC's new crime thriller ignores "the real Mr Big", says Peter Hitchens in The Mail on Sunday. The real villains are the millions of heedless people who buy drugs, pouring in colossal amounts of cash, which the gangs then fight over. Yet their crime is seldom raised by the BBC or the writers of a "ridiculous" new report that claims critical attitudes towards drug abusers are a form of "discrimination".

The Global Commission on Drug Policy whines: "Public perception is that drug use is a choice and that individuals choose not to control it." Well, yes, that is what sensible people think. "Whose interests will it serve if this sort of common sense is stamped out?"

Princess Beatrice can count on the support of a "powerful mentor" in her new role as a "business matchmaker", says Adam Helliker in the Sunday Express. Jimmy Wales, the founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, now lives in London and is said to be "keen to encourage" the Queen's granddaughter, and seventh in line to the throne, in her endeavours to introduce fledgling companies to potential financial backers. A spokesman for the princess said, "They have known each other for a while Beatrice knows a lot of people. They are business associates."

"Traditionally, Captain Birdseye resembled the winner of an Ernest Hemingway lookalike contest with his big, scraggly white beard and a jaunty cap perched on the back of that weather-beaten bonce," says Tony Parsons in The Sun on Sunday. Look at him now. The frozen-peas-and-fishfinger maker has given the captain an £8m makeover as part of their latest advertising campaign, with the man himself played by "smouldering Italian hunk" Riccardo Acerbi (pictured). "Captain Birdseye now looks like a sexy Jeremy Corbyn. Or is that a contradiction in terms?"