High life

High Life | 14 February 2009

All’s fair Gstaad At Easter 1215, a young Tuscan married woman innocently flirted in public with a man not her husband. He flirted back just as innocently, and then things got out of hand. A vendetta was declared between Guelf and Gibel, two rival brothers of Pistoia, that resulted in extreme violence, the splitting of

Low life

Low Life | 14 February 2009

It’s good to talk Last week, when the snow lay thickly on the ground, in a rare burst of altruism I picked up the telephone and dialled the number of a frail, elderly and vulnerable member of our community, to ask her if there was anything I could get for her from the village stores.

Real life

Real Life | 14 February 2009

With good reason, I get suspicious and frightened when things go right. I have learned certain truths during my time on this planet, not least that all events in the end conspire against me and that every rule and regulation I encounter has been tailor-made specifically to frustrate my progress. And yet. And yet. A

More from life

The turf | 14 February 2009

There is no certainty today. For years we humble wage-earners were told that City bankers were sage repositories of special expertise who could be entrusted with that little that is left when the taxman and the bookies have finished with us. In reality, it turns out, they were greedy spivs who knew no more about

Status Anxiety | 14 February 2009

I had quite a sobering lunch this week. It was with Bill Griffin, the former CEO of Kiss FM and now the strategy director of a big London ad agency. The main topic of conversation was the cultural impact of the recession and Barack Obama’s election. Would brands that are closely associated with the boom

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 14 February 2009

Q. My 12-year-old son and I braved the snow last week to keep an appointment for him to look at a school. On the much delayed journey back to Paddington I was walking through to the buffet car when I saw two friends of a friend who kindly suggested I fetch my son and come

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man | 14 February 2009

Two years ago my father decided to try selling books on the internet. Since he had spent much of my childhood expatiating his theory that computers involved more work than they saved, this was something of a U-turn. But he quickly opened a seller’s account on Amazon where he listed for sale the 1,500 of