High life

High life | 10 December 2011

Let’s lighten up a bit and have some fun before next week’s ‘Big Bazooka’, the Christmas double issue. The vast majority of us Westerners are a happy bunch despite our countries being racked by debt, rising prices and job losses. Mind you, I know 4,700 people with no sense of humour whatsoever, especially when it

Low life

Low life | 10 December 2011

‘A race through the subways and streets of Paris anuses.’ Startled, I reread the sentence. Surely that couldn’t be right. To pass the time I was flicking through a programme of December’s films at the local art-house cinema. The sentence came in a synopsis of a French crime thriller. Then I realised it was a

Real life

Real life | 10 December 2011

Do the right thing and the right thing will follow. Right? After my encounter on the Queen’s highway with Wayne and Waynetta Slob, I decided I had better ring my insurance company and warn them that there might be a fraudulent claim. The couple had screeched off from the police station in their shiny new

More from life

Status Anxiety | 10 December 2011

Much merriment was to be had earlier this week reading the Guardian’s report of its four-month investigation into the causes of the August riots. Apparently, the police were the main culprits, in spite of the fact that they were conspicuous by their absence. This feat of logic was summed up in the Daily Mash parody

The turf: Prize giving

When he was awarded the Cartier award of merit for his lifetime contribution to racing, trainer Barry Hills insisted that racing should continue to be fun, and if that meant a little bit of skulduggery then so what. It drew the biggest applause of the evening. It has been a bizarre year for the racing

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport: The legendary Socrates

The great footballer Pat Nevin, as fluent, funny and intelligent an ex-player as you are likely to find, tells a wonderful story about using the word ‘equidistant’ to a referee when they were lining up a free kick. The players looked at him as if he was an alien and the referee nearly booked him

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 10 December 2011

Q. In my late fifties, I find myself, in the run-up to Christmas this year, going to social events and meeting up with contemporaries some of whom I have not seen for years. I have always been bad at recognising people but I notice that some now seem quite offended. They are taking it wrongly


Food: Raiding the fridge

The new hotel W looms like a giant fridge over Leicester Square. They demolished the poor old Swiss Centre to build it as part of the regeneration programme because some people don’t know that some things can’t be regenerated. I often pass through Leicester Square on a Saturday night and it is like watching the

Mind your language

Because I said so

‘Because I said so’ is the most common phrase mothers find themselves using to their children that their own mothers used to them, according to a deeply unscientific survey undertaken by a baby-outfitters. Other such phrases included: ‘Take your coat off or you won’t feel the benefit’; ‘Wait and see’; and ‘Were you born in