High life

High Life | 2 August 2008

On board S/Y Bushido Around 20 years or so ago, Udai Hussein, Saddam’s boy, had some of his heavies beat up a man who refused their master’s invitation to join his table in a Geneva nightclub. The Iraqi wanted to meet the man’s beautiful companion, hence the invite. Although arrested, Udai got away with it

Low life

Low Life | 2 August 2008

‘Gordon, can I have your autograph?’ I said, offering pen and small notebook folded back at a new page. I’d butted into his conversation, but he swung round in his seat and smiled pleasantly up at me and took the pen and notebook and inscribed his name. ‘You’re a great man, Gordon,’ I said, as

Real life

Real Life | 2 August 2008

The really useful thing about relationship break-ups is that you get to eat up all the out-of-date stuff in the fridge without fear of food poisoning. It took me a while to work this out. There was I going around moaning, ‘Oh, I want to die’, and it not occurring to me the many positive

More from life

Status Anxiety | 2 August 2008

There have been many wise and learned discussions about the impact the internet has had on journalism. However, one area that has been neglected is the impact it has had on the egos of journalists. I don’t mean the bruised feelings that Matt Drudge’s success has caused among the higher echelons of the American intelligentsia.

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport | 2 August 2008

You need a PhD in astro-physics to work out what’s going on in cricket at the moment, so time for some simpler fare. Here are 10 good reasons, and I know no sane person should be thinking about this right now, why the next football season could be the most exciting ever. 1. The chance

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 2 August 2008

Q. I am sorry this is anonymous, but I volunteered to write on behalf of a good friend — call her Anna Finch — who is terrified at the prospect of being identified in the small conservative village where she has lived for a dozen years. Here is the problem: when A.F. moved to the


The Table | 2 August 2008

At a House of Commons cocktail party I suddenly noticed a friend’s face contorted like ‘The Scream’ of Edvard Munch. Could it be yet more bad news for Labour? No, she was being offered a plate of smoked salmon, probably her thousandth munch for the year. I entirely sympathised; the stuff usually served up is

Mind your language

Mind Your Language | 2 August 2008

After Padraig Harrington gave an interview to the Today programme the other day, Evan Davis, the presenter, commented that he had never heard the phrase ‘amn’t I’ before. Perhaps he has not been to Ireland. The Oxford English Dictionary does not seem to comment on the Irish character of the abbreviation. This interrogative form is