From the archive: the inside story of Arnold Schwarzeneggers rise to power

In 1991 the Observer Magazines cover story provided a unique blend of muscle, ambition and Nietzschean philosophy The Observer Magazine cover story of 10 November 1991 is an extract from George Butlers Arnold Schwarzenegger A Portrait. This was around the time of Total Recall and Terminator 2 and, arguably, the peak of his film career. The main thing that comes across is Schwarzeneggers obsession with his image and how he controls it, and the implied insecurity. When they travel to Austria to meet Arnies mother, Aurelia, Schwarzenegger refuses to allow a picture outside her old house. He wants us to see the big new house he has bought her instead. Aurelia tells us that, at 14, he would sneak out …

End-of-life doulas: the professionals who guide the dying

Doulas are tasked with maintaining a sense of calm for the dying, and those around them and open the conversation about death and loss In October of 2016, Gregory Gelhorn ran the Twin Cities Marathon. Seven months later, he was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes nerve cells to break down, resulting in muscle weakness and atrophy. The average life expectancy of an ALS patient, once diagnosed, ranges from about two to five years. The cause of ALS is not fully understood, and no cure is known. Gelhorn was in his mid-40s. It was a shock, said Kathy Fessler, Gelhorns sister. He was always the one who took the best care of himself. Dying from ALS is …

50 years of pickup artists: why is the toxic skill still so in demand?

Teaching men how to approach women they dont know is a $100m industry. But does it help men find their dream mate – or just encourage street harassment? In an upmarket bar near Oxford Circus in London, I am watching two men hit on women with all the desperation of a doomed cavalry charge. But without the heroism. Mike and Raj (not their real names) circle the bar, scanning for women, drinks held at an awkward right angle to their chests. When they identify a target, they approach. The women stiffen, their smiles tightening. They swirl drinks with straws and chit-chat politely before mentioning boyfriends real or imagined. The men retreat, regroup, identify fresh women. Advance, engage, retreat. On and …

From royalty to rebellion: the fashion renaissance of argyle

Since it was invented in the 17th century, argyle has been worn by everyone from royals to Kanye West and Nick Faldo. Now the classic diamond pattern is having a Generation Z moment A different view on an established classic is a familiar trick in fashion take shoulder-robing your coat or french-tucking a shirt, for example. And consider argyle: the diamond pattern came into being by looking at something another way in this case, tartan in the 17th century. London fashion week 2019, from left: Victoria Beckham, Molly Goddard and Gucci. Composite: Guardian Design; Estrop/WireImage; Tullio M Puglia/Getty Images for Gucci Clans used to weave tartan on smaller frames to make tartan hose, says Professor Alistair ONeill, a fashion historian …

Team older feminist: am I allowed nuanced feelings about #MeToo?

After #MeToo, I wondered if my real problem with young feminists was how little they seemed to need us older ones. As far as I could see, they didnt even want to know us I remember a woman who screamed like a feral animal. She was leather tan and sinewy. Spiked bleached blonde hair, sculpted biceps, low-slung cargo pants with Doc Martens, veins bursting from her neck, eyes bugging from her drawn face. She stood on the sidewalks of New York City with a folding table covered with poster-size images from hardcore pornography: women wearing dog collars, women on leashes, women leaned over and viewed from behind, their backs crosshatched with scars. Much of the time she displayed a blowup …

The latest internet trend I cant get enough of: gelatin

From fashion to the art world down to the simple charms of a video of Jell-O being spanked gelatin is having a moment For a year now, Ive been a member of a Facebook group for gelatin enthusiasts. Called, amazingly, mutilated sea bass reconstructed with a conga line of gelatin-ensconced shrimp on its back) or jiggle videos of various jellies being cut soap or made a case for the phenomenon of odd satisfaction being a product of the grace of witnessing a perfect fit. What is clear is that jellys charms are catching on: lately, the worlds of fashion and art have also been ready for some jelly. To wit: for SS20, Balenciaga showed petal-like confection evocative of the flowers …

Spam, dead parrot and a giant foot: Monty Python fans’ themed wedding

John Wood and Gemma Harris got married in West Sussex on 50th anniversary of shows first broadcast A British couple spent two years and thousands of pounds planning their Monty Python-themed wedding in the hope of inspiring other superfans to try to find their Python-mad soulmate. John Wood, 59, who once won a competition looking for the biggest fan of the surreal comedy sketch show, and Gemma Harris, 35, tied the knot in a totally bonkers ceremony in West Sussex on 5 October, the 50th anniversary of the first Monty Python broadcast. When Wood got divorced from his first wife, who didnt like Monty Python, he was certain that his next partner had to appreciate it. The way I look …

The muzzling of Michael Winterbottom: how Sony censored Greed

His fashion tycoon send-up, starring Steve Coogan with alarming teeth, was meant to end with shocking figures about workers pay. But the studio said no. The director relives a six-month spat Every year for the past three decades, Ingmar Bergman. (Bergman only agreed to the documentary because he was so tickled by the then 25-year-olds surname. Its the one time its been a help, says Winterbottom. As a child, it wasnt the easiest.) Now, abruptly, that routine has changed. Winterbottom is on sabbatical. To recover, it turns out, from the past six months, spent unsuccessfully haggling over the final cut of his latest film. Philip Green. David Mitchell plays a journalist roped into writing his biography, who travels to the …

Jonathan Safran Foer: why we must cut out meat and dairy before dinner to save the planet

Animal products create more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, but we dont want to confront this inconvenient truth: our eating habits are a problem Our planet is facing a crisis. But even when we know that a war for our survival is raging, we dont feel that it is our war. Although many of climate changes accompanying calamities extreme weather events, floods and wildfires, displacement and resource scarcity chief among them are vivid, personal and suggestive of a worsening situation, they dont feel that way in aggregate. The distance between awareness and feeling can make it very difficult for even thoughtful and politically engaged people people who want to act to act. So-called Al Gores An Inconvenient …

Before the internet broke my attention span I read books compulsively. Now, it takes willpower | Josephine Tovey

My brain on a good book is a better place. But carving out space for one requires carefully devised strategies Last month I texted afriend to ask if she wanted to start a book club with me. What about a club where we talk about our favourite TikTok memes and viral dances instead? she suggested. I always baulk at the idea of book clubs because I fear it would show me up as being a bad reader. Have been on the same book for ages!!! Im terrible!!! I scroll social media before bed, ie I am a BAD PERSON. I felt seen, to say the least. My limp attempt to start a book club was a product of similarguilt. It …

Why Instagram’s biggest book accounts aren’t your usual influencers

They stage backdrops and match book covers to flowers. But theyre also avid readers. Could they actually be living the lives they promote online? A pink blanket goes with everything: Jane Austen classics, a queer young-adult romcom, fantasy novel Six of Crows. Jordan Hickeys version is crocheted, made by her grandmother, and appears in most photos on her Instagram account best practice, how to manage Instagrams props. Some accounts focus on old books, or books by authors of color, many play with elaborate matching my outfits to books, which sounds so dorky, but its just really fun, booktube, told me. If shes posting about a thriller, shell reduce exposure levels to make the photo darker, or will wear a black …

I was a dangerous person: Casey Legler on life as a teenage Olympian and raging alcoholic

At 19, Legler broke the Olympic freestyle swimming record. But she was also an alcoholic and drug dealer who had suffered years of abuse from her trainers. She is surprised she is still alive, she says One day, when she was a teenager, Casey Legler woke up with a hangover, then jumped into a pool and broke the Olympic freestyle swimming record. The year was 1996 and Legler was in Atlanta, a member of the French team, having a practice session as she awaited the Olympic finals the next day. Legler, at 6ft 2in, was built to swim. She had been groomed to be an Olympian from the age of 12. But when the finals came the biggest day of …

Anna Paquin: I am absolutely a control freak. Its in my DNA

The actor, 37, on breaking Oscar protocol, loving film-set pranks, and being a backseat producer even as a child At the Academy Awards, when I won with X-Men? I was 16 and just thought it was really, really cool that Id been cast in a super successful superhero movie. Being an executive producer means youre a gigantic control freak. I am absolutely a control freak. I genuinely believe its in my DNA. I have twins and I can confidently say there are some personality traits that people are born with. I care about details. I care about things happening in the right way. Ive learned how to make that happen on a set, and it never involves shouting. Anna Paquin …

Heres the long and the short of it mullets are back

With a little help from Stranger Things, the 80s hairstyle is a hit again David Bowies Ziggy Stardust wore his cascading down his neck, Andre Agassi kept his in check with a headband. Patti Smiths, meanwhile, was pure business in the front, party in the back. Mullets were everywhere in the 1970s and 80s, and now perhaps to the surprise and consternation of many they are back. Partly inspired by the hit TV series Stranger Things and the 1980s footballer look showcased to perfection in the recent documentary has been reinvented for the 21st century as a statement of gender fluidity and cool. Mines a combination of George Michael and Ian Botham, said Tom Watson, 20, who regards the look …

Wild oversharing comic Phoebe Robinson: ‘I do dumb things. That’s who I am!’

Is the fringe ready for the brash standup who used to get paid in nachos and chicken wings? We meet one half of 2 Dope Queens as she fills her shoes with sweat What does Phoebe Robinson want to see when she arrives at the Edinburgh fringe? Just tons of dudes smuggling their bangers and mash in their kilts. Observational comic, astute social critic, signee of a deal with ABC studios, bestselling author (2 Dope Queens (the podcast duo turned HBO stars), Robinson has a philosophy: that comedy thirsty, uninhibited, occasionally gross, with riffs on Googling David Bowies penis size after learning he has died can be a force for good. At Edinburgh, Robinson will tour her show, called Sorry, …