The news over Easter that Lord Adonis, the counterweight to nominative determinism, was standing as a Labour Remain MEP was greeted with a fair degree of scepticism. Many commented that it would be a novelty for him to stand for anything — in his early twenties he became an SDP councillor in Oxford, but that’s the last time he was elected to anything. His career has been based entirely on patronage, mainly from Tony Blair, who plucked him from journalism (he worked for the Financial Times and then the Observer) to run his policy unit, and then made him a peer so that he could become minister for education.
Something’s been missing from Westminster these past few days. Normally, in an election week, there is a buzz about the place. Politicians feast off their encounters with the voters, coming back from the campaign trail with new theories about what the public really want. But this time, few MPs from any party seem keen to talk about this week’s local elections — or the impact they are likely to have on Brexit, Theresa May’s tenure in No.
Lesbian tourism has long been a thing — women who once kissed a girl trying to appear more interesting while living a heterosexual life. Anne Heche, Madonna, Britney Spears and Ariana Grande have used lesbian/bisexual hints to titillate fans and sell more records.
But nothing riles me like the Miley Cyrus approach which is to be heterosexual, married to a man, but claiming to be ‘queer’ and edgy. In a recent interview about her marriage to Liam Hemsworth, she said: ‘We’re redefining, to be fucking frank, what it looks like for someone that’s a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship.
For those of us who grew up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, there is a pungent but negative sense of time travel around New IRA statements. The New IRA spokesman is a ‘T. O’Neill’ — which, you might notice, is just a consonant and some bad blood away from the old Provisional IRA spokesman ‘P. O’Neill’ — and his sonorous words, like those of his predecessor, are carefully crafted to mask a sad, nasty reality.
Los Angeles has its shortcomings. Some are shared with almost all big cities (traffic, more traffic), while others are unique to this weird desert city (rattlesnakes on hiking trails, winters that are too sunny and warm). But despite its shortcomings, LA is also the place where the sublime can easily and surprisingly wrap itself in the clothing of the utterly banal.
A few weeks ago, I woke up on a Sunday morning, went for a hike (dodging a few sleepy rattlesnakes), did some tai chi in the sun (please keep in mind that since moving to LA, I’ve become a perfect little LA cliché; a sober middle-aged vegan who alternates between yoga and tai chi), and took a look at my phone.
I have been a defence lawyer for more than 25 years. I have defended clients charged with almost every crime there is. I have argued against convictions for robbery, rape, sexual assault, murder, manslaughter, copyright theft, perverting the course of justice, perjury, serious fraud, international illegal fishing, money laundering, causing death by dangerous driving, grievous bodily harm, blackmail… and the list goes on.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
When the Kennedy clan were children, JFK and his siblings would tear off their clothes before leaping from the pier at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts — safe in the knowledge their servants would pick up their discarded clothes.
That used to strike me as the ultimate in entitlement before I ended up here in a hotel in Jamaica. I’m being waited on hand and foot in a way that wouldn’t have disgraced the Kennedys — or a 19th--century duke.
‘You can get away from everything,’ said Harold Wilson of the Isles of Scilly, ‘not only in distance but also in time’. During recess, Wilson would frequently catch the sleeper from Paddington to Penzance before making the notoriously choppy crossing to Britain’s most westerly archipelago. There he would unwind in his cottage on St Mary’s — a place where the red box could not easily follow.
This family of five islands 28 miles off the nose of Land’s End has always enjoyed a somewhat secretive coterie of admirers — Jude Law and Michael Morpurgo to name but two.