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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Yuliia Ovsyannikova/PA
# 7 great reads
Sitdown Sunday: 'He sends a heart emoji every morning, to let her know he’s still alive'
Settle down in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Therapy for the super-rich

Sophie Elmhirst checks into a clinic in Zurich where billionaires spends hundreds of thousands a week for luxury, discretion, isolation and their own team of psychiatrists, doctors, yoga teachers and therapists.

(The Guardian, approx 24 mins reading time)

Ultra-exclusive mental health treatment is one of many new micro-industries that have sprung up to serve the super-rich. The Spears 500, an annual index of advisory services, now recommends experts on everything from vineyard acquisition to crypto reputation management. Dr Ronit Lami, a Los Angeles and London-based “ultra-high-net-worth psychologist”, told me that when she started working in 2000, nobody knew much about the field. Now her clients want specialised professionals who understand the specific intricacies of succession planning and generational wealth transfer. Their desire is like many of their other desires, for a service that comes in a bespoke, exclusive form, a private jet rather than a commercial airline.

2. Gaeilge sa phictiúrlann

A look at the history of the Irish language in cinema and what the success of An Cailín Ciúin in Hollywood means for future filmmaking trí Gaeilge.

(Los Angeles Times, approx 9 mins reading time)

Growing up, Bairéad also attended an Irish-language-only schools, specifically the one that his own father established in their community. Although Bairéad’s father, a linguist, mastered Irish later in life, his love of Irish culture and languages inspired him to be part of an upsurge in Irish-language activism in the 1970s that led to the creation of the Irish-language-only schools. “This film is a product of people like my father who dedicated themselves to trying to preserve the language and find new ways to promote it,” he said. “He had a clear-eyed sense that this is worth preserving, that it would be a tragedy if it was to be lost.”

3. Separated by war

Using text and split-screen video clips, the remarkable story of how a Ukrainian family – a father on the frontline and his wife and child in Germany – has kept in touch over the last year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

(Washington Post, approx 22 mins reading time)

He tries to send her a heart emoji every morning, a way to let her know he’s still alive. And she has so come to depend on those messages that they can determine whether she is upbeat or in shambles when she walks out the door. “Today I got my heart. That’s why I can smile,” Olha said on what happened to be her daughter’s 11th birthday, celebrated with pizza at an indoor playground called Kinderspieleland, along with other Ukrainian refugee children and mothers — and no dads.

4. The end of Succession

The show’s creator Jesse Armstrong has confirmed that its fourth season will be its last. Here, he explains why, and what we might expect from the Roy family’s final outing.

(The New Yorker, approx 15 mins reading time)

When Armstrong got on the phone, precisely fifteen minutes after the appointed time, he sounded much calmer than the harried would-be usurper, played by Jeremy Strong, whom he had created. There had merely been busier thoroughfares anticipated on his route from Williamsburg, where he stays when he is in New York—Armstrong’s home is London—to the editing suites in Greenwich Village, where he was working on the show’s upcoming season, which airs on HBO starting next month. But the occasion of the call nonetheless felt consequential: Armstrong was ready to reveal that this season, the fourth, would be the last.

5. Sensory overload

How air pollution may be causing us to lose our sense of smell.

(BBC Future, approx 11 mins reading time)

The finding has been echoed in other parts of the world in studies published this year. One recent study in Brescia, northern Italy, for example, found the noses of teenagers and young adults became less sensitive to smells the more nitrogen dioxide – another pollutant produced when fossil fuels are burned, in particular from vehicle engines – they were exposed to. Another year-long study in São Paulo, Brazil, also indicated that people living in areas with higher particulate pollution had an impaired sense of smell.

6. 15-minute cities

Conspiracy theorists have declared that the concept of better urban planning is really a secret global plan to lock people in their homes. This is how it came about.

(Wired, approx 7 mins reading time)

Researchers say the #15MinuteCity conspiracy theory has its roots in 2020, when campaigners linked to the fossil fuel lobby tried to push the idea of a looming “climate lockdown,” in which governments would bar people from using their cars, eating meat, or traveling outside of their assigned districts. The idea gathered momentum after conspiracy theorists jumped on a post-pandemic recovery initiative launched by the World Economic Forum think tank called “the Great Reset.” That, they decided, was code for the creation of a tyrannical world government.


Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in prison for rape and sexual assault at a Los Angeles court this week. This piece from 2017 details how he hired private investigators to track journalists and his accusers in an attempt to quash allegations against him. 

(The New Yorker, approx 28 mins reading time)

In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies.

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