Mark Mason

A provincial library is pure Alan Bennett territory

25 February 2017 9:00 am

This book kept reminding me of Robin Williams in One Hour Photo. Just as his character spied on customers’ private…

Why do people think it’s OK to order me to dance?

18 February 2017 9:00 am

Why does it make people angry that I don’t want to?

A storm brewing over Hill Hill Hill

The magic and strangeness of British placenames

4 February 2017 9:00 am

British placenames are so good you can read the map for entertainment rather than navigation. Hardington Mande-ville, Bradford Peverell, Carlton…

A curse on silky teabags

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Beware this poncy material and its flavour-free brews

Milk delivery on skis in London during one of the bitterest winters on record, December 1962

Mourning the milkman’s daily round

12 November 2016 9:00 am

One of David Cameron’s choices on Desert Island Discs, this book reminds us, was ‘Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the…

Don’t whistle: Burlington Arcade

The two people allowed to whistle in Burlington Arcade

29 October 2016 9:00 am

It all began with oysters. Londoners used to eat them as they walked along, throwing away the shells much as…

The player: Lionel Messi, with Marcos Llorente of Deportivo Alavés

Barcelona’s latest big tourist attraction: Lionel Messi

15 October 2016 9:00 am

The secret to keeping any relationship going is, of course, to see as little of each other as possible. We…

I’m selling our Aga. Here’s why

17 September 2016 9:00 am

The case against Britain’s most overrated kitchen appliance

Don’t fear to tread: vineyards in the Douro Valley

The delicious secrets of the Douro Valley

10 September 2016 9:00 am

They’re called quintas, Joana tells us, because the rich families who owned the land along this stretch of the Douro…

Trail to the ruins of Machu Pichu, Peru

Secrets of the snail trail

10 September 2016 9:00 am

You could say that this book contradicts itself. Robert Moor’s chosen topic is trails — not just walking, where you…

You wouldn’t believe how little we knew about gay life in the 1980s

13 August 2016 9:00 am

Once, the world barely knew there was a closet to come out of

Prince George County, Maryland — among the meanest streets in America

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Quick tip, should you ever find yourself alone in the interview room at the police headquarters of Prince George’s County,…

My holiday hell: just say no to ‘say hello’

11 June 2016 9:00 am

How travel tips landed Mark Mason in trouble

Confess your guilty displeasures

14 May 2016 9:00 am

It is now entirely cool to adore the uncool. But what about the things we can’t admit to not enjoying?

The Heckler: love your music, Macca, just not sure about you

7 May 2016 9:00 am

It’s slightly galling, after years of sticking up for Paul McCartney, to read a new biography of the bloke and…

The famous rip tide in French Pass, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Across the river... and into the trees

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Water accounts for 70 per cent of your planet, and 60 per cent of your body. Yet when do you…

How baby names got so weird

23 April 2016 9:00 am

How Wolf and Skylar pushed out John and Mary

Keith Moon’s wedding-night abseil and other marvellous false memories

27 February 2016 9:00 am

False memory disasters, from Keith Moon’s wedding-night abseil to Sophia Loren’s peanut addiction

Girl about town — on a bicycle

23 January 2016 9:00 am

The old ditty got it wrong: it should have been ‘Maybe it’s because I’m not a Londoner that I love…

Nessie’s enduring attraction

12 December 2015 9:00 am

It wasn’t until I drove past Loch Ness a couple of years ago that I realised just how enormous it…

Sir Ian Botham is a hero – and a fool

28 November 2015 9:00 am

In 1981, when I was ten and Ian Botham was 26, I thought he was God. Now, the week after…

Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, from the east, painted by the Flemish artist Jan Siberechts in 1695. In the foreground the D-shaped bowling green sits on a raised terrace with a banqueting house on its southern side

Discover your inner nerd

7 November 2015 9:00 am

There’s a curious thing about the bowling green in my Suffolk village. The footpath running alongside it is on a…

From Spike Milligan — and Marge Simpson — with love, light, peace and great respect

24 October 2015 9:00 am

This book is a serious bit of kit. Its hard covers measure 28.9 by 21 centimetres, and it weighs 1.62…

Why isn’t it creepy when women phwoar at Poldark?

3 October 2015 9:00 am

When women lust after blokes on telly it’s funny, not seedy