London

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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

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Boris Johnson on his plans for the Olympic Park: inspired or whimsical?

18 April 2015

Overseeing Boris Johnson’s futuristic office, with its spectacular view of the increasingly culinary skyscape of the City of London with its Gherkins and Cheesegraters, is a bust of Pericles, distinctive… Read more

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy Chelsea Garden: Richard Caring has finally built a restaurant I admire

18 April 2015

The Ivy Chelsea Garden is a restaurant inside an Edwardian house disguised as a Tudor house on the King’s Road; it was formerly the fetid Henry J. Bean’s American Bar… Read more

Matisse trumps Picasso Photo: Getty

Andrew Marr

11 April 2015

So far, what an infuriating election campaign. We have the most extraordinary array of digital, paper and broadcasting media at our fingertips — excellent political columnists, shrewd and experienced number-crunchers,… Read more

Bus Conductor

'I will call the police!': My close encounter with 'revenue protection'

4 April 2015

‘Make yourself a happy bunny this Easter with cheap tickets and egg-cellent deals!’ chirped the Abellio train company advert. I use Abellio’s Greater Anglia service regularly from London and was… Read more

William Hogarth’s ‘Night’, in his series ‘Four Times of the Day’ (1736), provides a glimpse of the anarchy and squalor of London’s nocturnal streets

Dickens’s dark side: walking at night helped ease his conscience at killing off characters

21 March 2015
Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London Matthew Beaumont

Verso, pp.496, £20, ISBN: 9781781687956

In England, walking about at night was a crime for a very long time. William the Conqueror ordained that a bell should be rung at 8 p.m., at which point… Read more

Kitty Fisher’s: proof that the PM has good taste in restaurants, if not in friends

21 March 2015

David Cameron is too cowardly, or too cynical, to debate with Ed ‘Two or Possibly Three Kitchens’ Miliband — which depends entirely on the breath of your own cynicism —… Read more

The Grill at The Dorchester - night time panels detail HIGH RES

Is the Dorchester the designated grand hotel for fat people? The portions at its new grill say so

7 March 2015

The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, is a cake floating in space. All grand hotels create a parallel universe in which their guests are returned to some great gilded and unnatural… Read more

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The myth of the housing crisis

28 February 2015

There is no such thing as the English countryside. There is my countryside, your countryside and everyone else’s. Most people fight just for theirs. When David Cameron told the BBC’s… Read more

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Bet on a swift Grexit

21 February 2015

‘Will Greece exit the eurozone in 2015?’ Paddy Power was pricing ‘yes’ at 3-to-1 on Tuesday, with 5-to-2 on another Greek general election within the year and 6-to-4 on the… Read more

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Rowleys is Did Mummy Love Me Really? food – and it’s perfect

21 February 2015

I think Rowley’s is the perfect restaurant; but I am really a gay man. Rowley’s is at 113 Jermyn Street (the Tesco end). It was made in homage to the… Read more

Steve McFadden

EastEnders wanted to show Thatcher’s Britain. These days it would make Maggie proud

14 February 2015

Albert Square full of Thatcherites? You ’avin a larf? No, it’s true. EastEnders, conceived 30 years ago partly as a means of enraging the Conservative party, has blossomed into a… Read more

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Murder, mystery and sexual obsession

14 February 2015
Second Life S.J. Watson

Doubleday, pp.432, £14.99, ISBN: 9780857520197

Few first novels are as successful as S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, which married a startling and unusual premise to a tightly controlled and claustrophobic thriller. Its only… Read more

Foxy Lady

The Tooting poisoner and the relentless rise of the urban fox

7 February 2015

Cowering in the corner of a pet shop, I edged towards the door to try to escape as a stranger yelled at me. The man’s face was so puckered up… Read more

Winston Churchill leaving Westminster Pier, with Harry Hopkins, John Winant, and William Bullitt Photo: Getty

Powers of persuasion: how Churchill brought America on side

7 February 2015
Sleep in Peace Tonight James MacManus

Duckworth, pp.368, £16.99, ISBN: 9780715649350

In time for the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death comes this pacy novel about his attempts to persuade the Americans to join the war. It is January 1941; President Roosevelt’s… Read more

Alain Ducasse Photo: Getty

Rivea: a London annexe to the world’s maddest expensive restaurant

7 February 2015

Rivea (stupid name) is in the bowels of Bulgari in Knightsbridge, a hotel which looks like a vast Virgin Upper Class lounge. It sits opposite One Hyde Park (stupid name),… Read more

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Quaglino’s, the vampire brasserie

24 January 2015

Quaglino’s is an ancient subterranean brasserie in St James’s, a district clinging to the 18th century with cadaverous fingers. It was founded in 1929 by -Giovanni Quaglino, who once wrote… Read more

UK Braced For Further Storms As Rain And Snow Bring More Flood Misery

How long will it be before the climate forces us to change?

17 January 2015

This time last year, homeowners in Oxfordshire and Berkshire were recovering after storms had brought down power lines and blocked roads. Soon, power cuts were the least of their problems.… Read more

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David Sedaris was right: litter is a class issue

17 January 2015

David Sedaris is my new hero. Not because he’s such a funny writer, but because he’s obsessed with litter. He told a group of MPs last week that he spends… Read more

Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba Photo: Getty

Nicky Haslam

10 January 2015

I was once bundled into a police car in Palm Springs to explain why I didn’t have snow-tyres on my pick-up in the red-hot California desert. I don’t remember the… Read more

Enoch Powell

The deep instinct that Britain’s immigration debate still ignores

10 January 2015

The issue of immigration won’t go away, because it threatens the soul of the nation. Nobody in political authority uses such language today, because they are unsure of the validity… Read more