High life

High Life | 6 September 2008

Gstaad ‘Goblins and devils have long vanished from the Alps, and so many years have passed without any well-authenticated account of a discovery of a dragon that dragons too may be considered to have migrated.’ So the Alpine Club was informed in May 1877 by Mr Henry Gotch, the secre-tary, and the news set off

Low life

Low Life | 6 September 2008

I’m down in the bar underneath the stand at half time and everyone’s exceedingly jolly. The team isn’t playing badly for a change. At least we’re trying. Plus, we’ve got a new bloke who can actually pitch over an accurate corner kick. And the sun’s shining. The police run a tight ship at football matches

Slow life

Slow Life | 6 September 2008

Brad, who has been my constant companion for the last couple of months, was just starting to appreciate the strange power of television. The terrible authority, the ridiculous effects of time on the small screen had taken a while to become apparent. By the time the first show went out, we’d already been filming for

More from life

The Turf | 6 September 2008

The one advantage of missing last Saturday’s race day at Sandown, thanks to being encased at the time in a throbbing MRI scanner at St Thomas’s Hospital, was the chance of going Sunday racing instead at Folkestone. Posh it may not be. Trainer George Margarson and I were probably two of only ten people on

Status Anxiety | 6 September 2008

In the current issue of Empire there is a piece by Bob Weide, the director of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, in which he says that the reason I was banned from the set of the film is because Kirsten Dunst insisted on it. I was not aware of this until now, but

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 6 September 2008

Q. I have lived in Indochina for more than six years but I am still invited to various society weddings, exhibition openings, concerts and parties in London. Here in Cochinchina plenipotentiaries are kind enough to include me to garden parties on their national days and receptions when they have visiting dignitaries. Even my host government

Mind your language

Mind Your Language | 6 September 2008

The Earl of Cottenham’s surname is Pepys. He doesn’t pronounce it peeps, like the diarist, but peppiss, stressed on the first syllable. It’s almost impossible to know how to pronounce English family names. The former deputy editor of this magazine, Andrew Gimson, pronounces his with a soft g. Jeffrey Bernard stressed the second syllable of

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man | 6 September 2008

A friend of mine, a professor at an Ivy League university, specialises in research into transgenic mice, learning how DNA modifications affect intelligence and memory. A few years ago, after some genetic tinkering, he created a batch of mice of quite spectacular dimwittedness. They were useless in the maze, ditzily wandering about with no sense