You want the two-word review of this new book about the City? ‘London porn.’ For those of you with more…
My problem with supermarket charitable giving
The words that echoed constantly in the back of my mind as I read this book were from Paul Simon’s song ‘Train in the Distance’: ‘the thought that life could be better is woven indelibly into our hearts and our brains’.
Pooh-poohed by Owl
Why can’t we have traffic laws for pedestrians?
Very useful in modern conversation, Oscar Wilde.
It is 1979. You are a 15-year-old boy starring in a hit US television show. You’ve seen the crowds of screaming girls outside the gates as you arrive for work, and are therefore very excited to have received your first fan letter. You open it eagerly and begin to read: ‘Dear Mr Rob Lowe, You are a great actor. Can you please send me an autographed photo of yourself? If possible in a bathing suit or in your underwear. Sincerely, Michael LeBron. #4142214 Pelican Bay Prison.’
The one northern vowel that never quite goes south
Imagine a 77-year-old woman hanging around, say, Leicester bus station, telling people about her life. She confides her belief that she is under surveillance by the military. She maintains that she can ‘see the reality of the web of synchronicity in my life’. Showing off her special jewellery that ‘helps balance the chakras’, she reveals that ‘because I had a high metabolism and moved around a lot, I had no real [weight] problem until I was about 50’.
Awkwardness is the tax we pay on luxury
London has been the subject of more anthologies than Samuel Pepys had hot chambermaids. This is fitting, as an anthology’s appeal — unexpected juxtaposition — matches that of the capital itself. But it does mean that any new contender has to work hard to justify its publication.
Writing is my living. So why can’t I write by hand any more?
For the first 17 days of their ordeal, the Chilean miners trapped underground last year were forced to ration themselves to one sliver of tuna every 36 hours. Less than a month later, while still down the mine but after rescuers had secured them regular food supplies, they threatened to go on hunger strike.
Nora Ephron has a clever solution to a particular social quandary. Whenever she pinches her husband’s arm at a party, it’s their agreed signal for ‘I’ve forgotten the name of this person I have to introduce you to, so give them your name directly and they’ll respond in kind’. Only one problem — his memory is now as bad as hers, so he keeps forgetting what the signal means.
One of Allan Metcalf’s contentions in OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word is that the two letters have become America’s philosophy: ‘we don’t insist that everything be perfect; OK is good enough’.
P. J. O’Rourke is what happens when America does Grumpy Old Men.
In September 1954, Albert Speer decided to walk from Berlin to Heidelberg, a distance of 620 kilometres.
Nigella Lawson is not sexy.
There are those of us who, asked if we play golf, reply: ‘No, I like women.’ A relaxing game in pleasant surroundings it may be.
But it’s a boy thing, admits Mark Mason. Women are just too sensible to watch Spinal Tap 35 times — but they don’t know what connects Ringo Starr and Shane Warne