Susan wrings her hands and twitches as she speaks, jerking her head from side to side. She is clearly not well. “I ate washing powder to try and kill myself,” says the nervous woman in her fifties. Her eyes flash wild. “It was all I could find. I wanted to die. I would rather die than go back.”
Somewhere in the deep, dark ocean, a British submarine is always on patrol. Silent, secret, able to stay underwater for months at a time, it carries Trident nuclear missiles that can fly thousand miles to their targets and kill millions of people at once. The captain has the key to a safe to be opened in the event of war, if all communication with Britain has been lost. Inside is a letter from the Prime Minister of the day, giving orders as to when the missiles should be fired.
The Sistine Chapel Choir is launching the first album in its 500 year history. I went to hear it perform in a private concert under the frescoes of Michelangelo, and found that for the first time there is a British man among the Pope’s full time personal singers. The Vatican provokes complicated reactions in me, as this piece for the Independent on Sunday probably shows.