London

First he brought limp salad, and now it’s drizzling

The pitfalls of picnics (and how to avoid them)

4 July 2015

Strange, isn’t it, that despite having such famously terrible weather, we Brits are so fond of a picnic. It’s something to do with making the most of what sunshine we… Read more

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27 June 2015

Home Tens of thousands took part in a demonstration in London against austerity, and thousands more in other cities. Russell Brand was heckled for being too right-wing: ‘Fuck off back… Read more

The Ivy has lost its sparkle

The new Ivy doesn’t have the old magic (if there ever was any)

27 June 2015

The Ivy is a Playmobil-style faux-medieval restaurant in a triangular building opposite The Mousetrap; of the two, The Ivy is more ancient and threatening. It has mullioned windows, a photogenic… Read more

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My eco-home nightmare

20 June 2015

I write this half-naked, sucking on ice cubes, breaking off sentences to stick my head in the fridge. In the flat below, one neighbour dangles out of her window, trying… Read more

Iain Sinclair

Iain Sinclair and me — Michael Moorcock meets his semi-mythical version

20 June 2015
London Overground: A Day’s Walk Around the Ginger Line Iain Sinclair

Hamish Hamilton, pp.259, £16.99, ISBN: 9780241146958

In the late 1980s Peter Ackroyd invited me to meet Iain Sinclair, whose first novel, White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, I had greatly admired. Ackroyd initially knew Sinclair as a poet,… Read more

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Let's turn London into Venice: Thomas Heatherwick interviewed

13 June 2015

Fast-forward a few years. Picture the scene. Before the decade is out you could be strolling across or lingering on Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge, which, if it materialises, will take flight from… Read more

Beware of the Pretend Sloanes

The new Sloane Rangers – now with less charm

13 June 2015

Ann Barr — who created the Sloane Ranger with Peter York in 1982 — died in May at the age of 85. But the co-author of The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook… Read more

Nanny-wars

Nanny wars!

13 June 2015

My pregnancy unleashed a primitive craving. The strength of my yearning left me dizzy: a nanny, I wanted a nanny! I worked full time, and couldn’t conceive of giving up… Read more

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A fantasy world with its own perfumed air: the Colony Grill Room

13 June 2015

The Beaumont Hotel is a bright white cake in the silent part of Mayfair, where the only sound is Patek Philippe watches, tick-tocking. We are in the eye of the… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

Which behaved worse: callous Thomas Cook or cynical Barclays?

30 May 2015

Which is worse, morally and reputationally — to be Thomas Cook, shamed by its refusal to show proper human concern, for fear of being taken to admit responsibility, over the… Read more

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Fenchurch in the Sky Garden – like going for dinner in Total Recall

30 May 2015

Fenchurch is a restaurant that is scared of terrorists. It cowers at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street, a skyscraper which looks like an enormous and unfashionable Nokia 3120 mobile… Read more

BRITAIN-POLITICS-LABOUR

What Labour needs to do is estrange its awful voters

16 May 2015

And so now we have to suffer the epic delusions, temper tantrums and hissy fits of the metro-left. They simply cannot believe how you scumbags could have got it so… Read more

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Lefties should cherish trendy London while they still can

16 May 2015

London is a bad thing. Everybody knows this now. Britain has had enough of London. Ed Miliband failed in part because he was ‘too north London’ (euphemism) and Chuka Umunna… Read more

Employment

Can Cameron bring us full employment? And do we want it?

16 May 2015

‘Two million jobs have been created since 2010 — but there will not be a moment of rest until we have reached our goal,’ said David Cameron in a Telegraph… Read more

The Spears 500

Posh, educated and energetic: meet the servants of the super-rich

16 May 2015

‘Let me tell you about the very rich,’ said F. Scott Fitzgerald. ‘They are different from you and me.’ Indeed they are. They can afford to live in London. Just how… Read more

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There’s only one place to mourn another Labour loss

16 May 2015

Ed is a plank. He was always a plank — and now he is in Ibiza being a plank. Plankety–plankety-plank: goodbye to our most recent terrible leader — and who… Read more

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In praise of the pit bull terrier

9 May 2015

Last night I saw a woman dancing with a pit bull terrier. It was about 9 p.m. and her curtains were open, lights on. Music must have been playing, though… Read more

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Why the internet hasn’t killed estate agents (and what might)

9 May 2015

I don’t like to make business predictions, but — barring some apocalypse — I suspect there will be plenty of estate agents around in 2065, and occupying prominent high-street shopfronts… Read more

9 May 2015

Q. As a writer I find working at home too distracting. I am a longstanding member of the London Library where rules and conditions allow one to concentrate in perfect… Read more

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I don’t want to be a mansion tax migrant

2 May 2015

This election will see me up all night until the last results are in. It will have me knocking on doors, handing out leaflets and driving old ladies to the… Read more

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Tinder went looking for fresh flesh – and accidentally found me

2 May 2015

Through some freak accident of PR, I was invited to an event organised by Tinder. If you’re over 40 or have become prematurely married, you might not know what Tinder… Read more

(Photo: Liavittone)

The Portrait restaurant: a secret glade of stone and brick, suspended above Trafalgar Square

2 May 2015

The Portrait Restaurant lives at the top of the National Portrait Gallery, London. It is fiercely modern, but likeable. You ride an escalator into a void, glimpse the raging faces… Read more

English cities don’t have quarters – whatever the executives say

2 May 2015

‘No quarter given,’ yelled my husband as he stabbed at a cushion with his stick, spoiling the cavalier effect a little by catching his foot in the loose rug, about… Read more

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‘About time too!’: Joan Collins curtseys to Prince Charles

25 April 2015

The day of my investiture at Buckingham Palace dawned bringing freezing rain and fierce winds, which lashed at the windows as I regarded the outfit I had painstakingly planned —… Read more

Vienna's Belvedere Palace

Neither London nor New York will be livable in ten years’ time

25 April 2015

A recent column in the FT made me mad as hell. The writer, Simon Kuper, calls Vienna a backwater, which is a bit like calling the Queen a busted flush… Read more