High life

High life | 8 October 2011

New York An English prof. made an earthshattering discovery about ten years ago — that there is a strong link between having money fall upon you and being happy. No, he didn’t win a Nobel for it, nor for the conclusion to his findings, which was that money buys autonomy and independence. The prof. should

Low life

Low life | 8 October 2011

On Sunday morning we got up early, met the guide, Khalila, on the hotel steps and went on a cultural landmark and shopping tour of Marrakesh. We’d done the Majorelle garden, which we all thought we liked. We’d done the Koutoubia mosque and the Jemaa el-Fnaa square. We’d had a look around an empty palace,

Real life

Real life | 8 October 2011

Melissa Kite’s Real Life I’m prepared to do almost anything rather than apply to Lambeth Council for a bulk waste collection. Every human being has their limits of endurance, a line of suffering beyond which they begin to contemplate committing terrible atrocities themselves in order to make the pain stop. It’s just that most people

Wild life

Wild life | 8 October 2011

Aidan Hartley’s Wild Life Israel Jerusalem was once a very sad place for me and I feared returning. I was mad with grief when I was last here in the 1990s. I remember my friend Julian tried to cheer me up by taking me to a gun shop where a South African who had made

More from life

Status Anxiety: Nothing to write about

I’m writing this from the Conservative party conference in Manchester and I must say it’s nice to be among friends. I mean the drunken hacks at the bar, obviously. This is a conference where we can drink with impunity because, let’s face it, there isn’t much for us to write about. The big story at

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 8 October 2011

Q. I have been building a small business, so far single-handedly, with a tiny bit of input from my parents. We live in a tight-knit rural community and a couple of unemployed graduate friends, still living at home like me, on hearing that I may be expanding soon, have asked me to employ them. They


Drink: Champagne Conservatism

Puritanism is like sea water. When it meets resistance at one point, it promptly finds another route. I came to that conclusion during the Tory conference in Manchester. If you passed a couple of Tory representatives, they might well be discussing community. Every ‘community’, every diversity, that you could think of was in view, plus

Mind your language


Most people think polar bears attractive animals, at least when not sharing space with one. Yet, ‘polar bears are, unquestionably, the world’s largest land predator,’ a popular magazine remarks. It’s the way some animals are. Beasts of prey are called predators by extension. The Latin praedator was a ‘plunderer, pillager, robber’. But words don’t mean

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: Evolution and the airline seat

How can something as complicated as a human eye possibly arise through a process of natural selection — through trial and error? Most people will have asked themselves this question at some point in their lives, but without bothering to find out the answer. A pity, since the stage-by-stage explanation of how the eye might