Best of British Longform: Spies, Sugar, and Sparring
Sophie McBain, New Statesman, 29 March
Darfur is a long way from Hull. But it’s even further when you’re travelling with no money, no freedom to cross borders, and you’re trying to protect your family from militants. Sophie McBain follows one family the British government helped resettle and gives a global tragedy a very human face.
Gordon Corera, Wired, 7 April
Today, John Le Carré’s version of spying is as much a fiction as Ian Fleming’s. The frontline is now big data and national intelligence agencies are in an arms race to collect and process as much as they can. Which, as Gordon Corera finds out, makes spies more powerful — and increasingly at risk of having their cover blown.
Decca Aitkenhead, Guardian, 6 April
In 1991, a Chris Eubank fight ended with his opponent, Michael Watson, in a coma. Twenty-five years later, boxer Nick Blackwell suffered the same fate at the gloves of his son, Chris Eubank Jr. Where Eubank Sr lost his ‘killer instinct’, his son claims the experience will only make him tougher. In this fascinating piece, Decca Aitkenhead explores the toll victory takes on the warrior.
Laura Snapes, Buzzfeed, 8 April
Over seven albums, Tegan and Sara have gone from musical outsiders to archetypes. Their oddball sound and image, once thought anathema for mainstream success, has been aped by a legion of chart-bothering acts. In this ace profile, Laura Snapes explores the twins’ dynamic, their transition from in-the-know act to on everyone’s lips, and how they battle an industry organs that still label them as a “Canadian lesbian duo.”
Ian Leslie, Guardian, 7 April
Sugar is the new nutritional bogeyman, but science has known it’s the white stuff we should worry about — not fat — since the 1970s. Ian Leslie explores how Big Food conspired to ruin a scientist’s reputation and cover up how one of its most profitable ingredients was killing us all. If nothing else, it will make you rethink your relationship with dessert.