High life

High life | 11 May 2017

Much like the poor, the charity ball has always been with us, but lately it’s turned into a freak. Something is rotten in the state of New York, and the name of it is the Met Gala. Once upon a time, the Metropolitan Museum’s gala ball was fun. Serious social-climbing multimillionaires competed openly for the

Low life

Low life | 11 May 2017

I was sitting between mother and daughter on the sofa, and we were having a ‘wee night’ as Glaswegians put it. Having a wee night roughly means ‘celebrating’. Yesterday the daughter finished the final exam of her English degree. On the low table in front of us were three gin and tonics, two packets of

Real life

Real life | 11 May 2017

Well, there were seven of us in this chain, so it was a bit crowded, to paraphrase a princess. We didn’t know there were seven. We thought there were five. Imagine my confusion, therefore, when my house sale and purchase didn’t go through day after day, despite all five lawyers being on the phone to

More from life

Magical thinking isn’t a political position

I’m due to debate the philosopher A.C. Grayling on Saturday about whether there should be a second EU referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal. It is part of a two-day event being held at Central Hall, Westminster, on ‘Brexit and the political crash’. It is billed as a ‘convention’, an opportunity for all

The turf | 11 May 2017

The longer Donald Trump sits there the better Ronald Reagan looks, not least because he had a sense of humour. The President who told his aides that he should always be woken in an emergency, even if he was in a cabinet meeting at the time, once declared that he wasn’t worried about the budget

Wine Club

Wine Club 13 May

I write this from my sick bed. Laid low with a vile lurgy, I feel far from well. And, sad to report, Mrs Ray is far from understanding. She says I should learn to be more stoical. I say she should learn to be more, well, sympathetic. It’s not my fault that I feel my

Spectator Sport

Two hours down the track

Of the great sporting imponderables that have come into clearer view over the past few days — will The Archers’ Lily Pargetter ever score any runs for Ambridge and herald a bold new world for women’s cricket? Will we see the first sub-two-hour marathon? — only one can be answered with clarity. As for hapless

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 11 May 2017

Q. My 23-year-old son has taught himself to play the piano, learning the theme tune to The Truman Show without lessons. But it is the only thing that he has learned, and now he plays it every time he walks through our hall, driving the whole family mad. How can I end this purgatory without


Character floors

Six Storeys on Soho is in a slender grey townhouse on Soho Square: a bar, restaurant and club. It is technically art deco, but it feels much older; it grasps back for 18th-century Soho without the typhoid epidemic and the corpses. It used to be a gay bar called the Edge, but the gay bars

Mind your language

Progressive | 11 May 2017

I laughed, in a sympathetic way I hope, when I read a letter in the Daily Telegraph pointing out that Steve Hewlett, the media commentator who died this year, had admitted ruefully that when he had heard that his cancer was progressive he had thought for a moment this was a good thing. The progressive