High life

High life | 1 November 2008

New York America’s diminished intellectualism has made this interminable election period as boring as a Nat Rothschild Corfu party for respectable folk. Part of the problem is that presidential candidates try ‘to reach out to younger voters’, hardly an admirable goal as demographic researchers have gone the way of TV programmers, targeting young morons whose

Low life

Low life | 1 November 2008

The help-yourself breakfast buffet was a single, waxed carton of orange juice (made from concentrate), and a stack of small upturned glasses. I filled one of these, tipped it down my throat, poured another and bore it to a table set for one beside the swing service door leading to the kitchen. A grubby laminated

Slow life

Slow life

Being driven is one of the great luxuries. It’s right up there with breakfast in bed, silence, sunshine, new socks and vast expanses of marble. It’s elevating. It’s relaxing. It’s addictive. How lovely it is to fall into the back of a waiting car to be expertly magic carpeted off to, well, even to places

More from life

The turf | 1 November 2008

Last year’s Flat jockeys’ championship was a classic, an intriguing all-out battle to the last week of the season, with Seb Sanders and Jamie Spencer sharing the title. So it was in 1987 when Pat Eddery and Steve Cauthen slugged each other into total exhaustion as Cauthen won 197–195. This year the title has long

Status Anxiety | 1 November 2008

I am surprised by how ready my journalistic colleagues have been to accept Nat Rothschild’s public explanation of why he behaved as he did. According to him — and his anonymous ‘friends’ quoted in the press — he was furious that George Osborne broke the time-honoured rule whereby guests at upper-class house parties are obliged


Wicker’s world

If you have ever received a hamper, you will be familiar with that delicious quiver of anticipation as you unbuckle the creaking wicker lid to see what lies within. How often have you then suppressed a twinge of disappointment to find that, apart from a pretty tin of lapsang souchong and a bottle of decent

Mind your language

Mind your language | 1 November 2008

‘I hate jokes,’ said my husband affably, and added: ‘Hwumph!’ The latter was an oral marker as he heaved his body from his armchair to the sideboard where the contents of the whisky bottle needed adjusting. With the former remark, I concurred, for he meant formalised jokes (‘Have you heard the one…?) that emerge from

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man | 1 November 2008

An amazing piece of financial analysis has been circulating by email recently. If you had purchased $1,000 worth of AIG stock a year ago, you would have $44.34 left. With Wachovia, you would have had $54.74 left of the original $1,000. With Lehman, you would have had $0.00 left. But if you had purchased $1,000