High life

Backing Zac

New York ‘Why would he run for Parliament?’ screams the headline in the New York Times. A subheading lists ‘An inherited passion for women, gambling, the environment and politics’. As I start to read, I fear the worst, but as it turns out it could have been a lot worse. Zac Goldsmith’s name is big

Low life

Table talk

Seven hours between flights at Nairobi airport and nowhere to smoke. So I bought a ten-dollar transit visa, left the airport precincts and headed for the nearest bar. It was called The Pub. The white-shirted, bow-tied waiters saw me coming and greeted me with a chuckle, as if they were thinking, ‘Here comes another nicotine

Real life

Dressed to kill

This will be a bit of harmless fun, I thought, as I climbed three flights of stairs to the top of a building in theatreland in search of a fancy-dress costume. I found myself in a room full of rails crammed tight with bright costumes. And there, standing in front of them, was the strangest

More from life

Early retirement

How can Flat racing keep its public enthused when the moment a superstar emerges he is whisked away to other duties? Winning the 2000 Guineas, the Derby, the Coral Eclipse, the Juddmonte International, the Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Sea The Stars gave us a glorious summer. But at only

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 7 November 2009

Q. At a party recently I was bearded by a woman who effectively pinned me against a wall while she lectured me about an aspect of my work that has just reached the public domain. No one came to rescue me for about 20 minutes. How can one get away from people in situations like

Mind your language

Mind your language | 7 November 2009

Dot is very exercised by Shakespeare.. Every time I see a Shakespeare play, I wonder how many of the words the audience is picking up. It is all very well their getting the drift from the behaviour of the actors, but that makes it like a mime accompanied by unknown utterances. Matters are not helped

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man | 7 November 2009

I recently read of a music writer who believes the perfect pop song lasts precisely two minutes and 42 seconds. Crazy though it sounds, he may be on to something. Try ordering your iTunes collection by duration and you may find as I did that songs of that length seem slightly better on average than