High life

Truth twisters

New York I remember well a conversation I had with Gianni Agnelli in the winter of 1963 about John Profumo and lying: ‘Poor man,’ said the charismatic Fiat chairman- to-be, ‘such disgrace for so ugly a tart.’ Both of us at the time took it for granted that British politicians did not lie, something unheard

Low life

Beyond Boswell

All I knew about Corsica before going there last week for a touring holiday was that it is a French possession, that Napoleon hailed from there and that James Boswell visited there once. Exactly where Corsica was in the Mediterranean sea, I was uncertain about. I remembered Boswell was there because not long ago I

More from life

Your Problems Solved | 7 June 2003

Dear Mary… Q. Earlier this year we went to stay with friends in Devon for the weekend. Our host went to tremendous trouble trying to find enough horses to enable our whole family (of six) to hunt. We had brought with us a present of a small box of chocolates and when, on the Saturday

Mingling with the mighty

There I was standing in a room with the word ‘Service’ painted on the door, in the Gellert hotel in Budapest. I was attempting to iron a pair of trousers for the first night of Phantom of the Opera, which was to be the biggest stage production Hungary had ever attempted. Only the Gellert had

Mind your language

Mind Your Language | 7 June 2003

‘If you dial 1471,’ writes Dr Roger James, a reader, naturally, ‘you are likely to be told by a recorded female voice that “The caller withheld their number.” This is an example of the difficulties that our language gets into because it lacks a word that means “his” or “her”. Years ago, she would have