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Riot chic

Last weekend, I got into a conversation with the son of an old friend. He’s a nice middle-class boy, mid-twenties, who plays in a band and has lots of tats and piercings. We got into a conversation about summer festivals. I was telling him about a wonderful one I’d been to — the Curious Arts

You’re fired!

 Washington D.C. Even a reality show needs good plot twists, and Donald Trump has delivered them like the master he is. First the misdirection: a week of publicly humiliating his attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, to the point where Sessions would surely quit or be fired. Then the sudden swerve — it was the press shop, not

Girl power | 3 August 2017

England won the cricket World Cup for the fourth time. Huzzah! England reached the semi-finals of the European football championship. Huzzah again! Or you can, as some have preferred, say well, it’s not really England, is it? It’s England women — and that’s not the same thing at all. Ten points for observation, eh? I

Snapping point

Our family holiday snaps used to be slides. We’d gather in the sitting room while Dad clicked through each one. He and my mother are archaeologists, so the pictures were short on people and long on fortifications. These days we tourists take so many photographs that a slide show would take all day. We record

Whither Ukip?

‘Some wine? How about a beer? Shall we settle into a good old pub?’ I make these suggestions to Ukip’s interim leader, Steve Crowther, as we meet in central London, but he opts for a quiet bistro where he orders a cup of tea. He has a dapper suit, a ruddy, forceful face and a

A fighting chance

‘We remember it not only for the rain that fell, the mud that weighed down the living and swallowed the dead, but also for the courage and bravery of the men who fought here.’ The Prince of Wales was in good voice on Monday at the centenary commemorations of the battle of Passchendaele — more

Road to nowhere | 3 August 2017

When I heard the government’s announcement that petrol and diesel cars are to be banned from 2040, I resorted, as I often do for entertainment, to the British Pathé news archive. I found a 1967 film showing trials of a prototype electric Mini, as well as a similar experiment from Ford. Then came this rather

Notes on...

The Surrey hills

I live in the oldest village in England. How come? Well, in a field below the big house, there is a Mesolithic pit dwelling dating back some 10,000 years. This is the oldest known man-made dwelling in England — at least according to Dr Louis Leakey, who excavated it and wrote about it in The