High life

High life | 12 May 2016

New York It was the best of times — downtown — and the worst of times — uptown. Let’s start with the horror near the park: cranial atrophy, unrelenting grossness, overarched and overgrown eyebrows, posterior-baring bondage outfits, and de haut en bas attitudes were the order of the night. Never has a museum site been

Low life

Low life | 12 May 2016

On Sunday we were invited for lunch at Chez Bruno, an unbelievably posh restaurant in the south of France. At Chez Bruno all the dishes, even the ice-cream desserts, are flavoured with truffles. Resting on the gate pillars as we drove in were two gigantic stone truffles, and next to the entrance was a long

Real life

Real life | 12 May 2016

Hello, Cydney spaniel here. She’s lying in a darkened room so I’m to tell you what happened. To cut a long and very shaggy dog story short, the car failed its MOT. And we had to use public transport. I’ve been telling her that Volvo is shaking like no doggy’s business when she brakes, but

More from life

Twelve to follow | 12 May 2016

It has been a little like scraping from the plate as slowly as possible the last traces of Mrs Oakley’s exquisitely sauced vitello tonnato; like draining reluctantly the last glass of our best Condrieu: this year I never wanted the jumps season to end. Sprinter Sacre came back to his best, Richard Johnson finally won

These heartless Europhile snobs

One of the interesting features of the Brexit debate is that it has laid bare a schism in British society which runs much deeper than the conventional Labour-Conservative divide. On the one hand, we have the prosperous, educated elite, mainly based in cities and university towns, who are liberal on social issues, pro-immigration, believers in

Wine Club

Wine Club 14 May

I reckon Robert Boutflower of Tanners has the measure of The Spectator. He knows exactly what tickles our fancy. He put up a dozen wines for our tasting, any one of which I’d be delighted to recommend to readers. Price was ultimately the deciding factor, though, and — hooray! — we nailed the mixed case

Spectator Sport

The Foxes have little to teach us

A few years ago a motivational speaker brought out a smart little book called Legacy: What The All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life. Everyone wanted to know how a tiny country miles from anywhere could dominate the world’s hardest team sport for so long. A lot of it, the book said,

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 12 May 2016

How do you persuade your pleasant dinner guests to go home when they will stay into the early hours if not evicted? I once fell asleep and awoke at 3 a.m. to find our two friends still here! They had seen me nod off in my chair, but hadn’t thought to leave of their own free


Soho in Somerset

It is summer and the listless metropolitan thinks of grass. It cannot afford to stay at Durslade Farmhouse, Somerset, a branch of the Hauser & Wirth art gallery that serves food and plays cow noises in a former barn as authentic country folk rip their eyeballs out. Locals talk about Durslade Farm as a child

Mind your language

Sadiq Khan’s virtues

The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he wanted ‘the most transparent, honest and accessible administration London has ever seen’. It sounds lovely, especially if the Underground is cheap too. Mr Khan’s are a very 21st-century triad of virtues, though honest might sound old-fashioned. It would once have appeared on a housemaid’s reference: ‘Diligent,



The sun always grabs us by surprise its yolky wash on a pub wall the clumsy spill round the black legs of café tables. it rains so frequently it’s like the sea trying to climb out of its skin. The beach is a runnelled grey, an old man’s face in cardiac arrest. we have stopped