It's the height of the silly season, and the capital glows in the unexpectedly seasonal heat. For anyone who has not forsaken London for the seaside or elsewhere, I recommend the witty diversions of Video Quartet by Christian Marclay, at White Cube in Hoxton Square until 30 August. Four screens project a profusion of film fragments choreographed seamlessly with accompanying soundtrack – clips from Hollywood movies, of singers and musicians (from Hendrix to Sinatra and Callas), concentrating on keyboards, horns and violins.
Anglicans in the United States believe it is a good idea for bishops to express their homosexual preferences genitally with long-stay companions. Some people will believe anything. Others find it hard to believe in the event commemorated each 15 August, the Assumption into Heaven of the Virgin Mary. I can't myself see it is any harder to believe than the substantial presence of Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Eucharist.
The sexually explicit scenes in Sex and the City – now into its last series on Channel 4 – make me feel like Maurice Chevalier: I'm so glad that I'm not young any more. It is not that I feel, as my husband Richard West does, that it is all quite 'filthy' and 'disgusting' (he recalls with fondness the Old Aussie saying 'There's nothing worse than toilet talk from sheilas'): goodness me, I'm no prude.
Ross Clark on how the new CAP rules make it profitable for city folk to buy farms and use them as homes – with big gardensIf the words 'Get orff my land' are delivered in future less in yokel tones than in the mid-Atlantic accent of the trading floor, don't be surprised. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reveals that two thirds of all farms sold between April and June this year were bought by non-farmers, many of them by City bankers who like the idea of living in a country house surrounded by 300 acres of their own land.
This name is seldom, if ever, on the lips of the man in the saloon bar. But mention Sir Hayden Phillips to men of affairs, men of a certain consequence in our public life, men who are members of his club, Brooks's, and you will find that they laugh, or smile at least, and say what an amusing fellow he is, besides being a brilliant operator. There is something about the mere thought of Sir Hayden that cheers people up.
It started with some junk mail. I threw it out: I gave no consideration to the fact that it was addressed to a Miss Phyllis Henshaw. I put it down to some glitch in the address-sharing industry. But then the telephone calls started. The first one was from a business I'd always been rather unhealthily intrigued by: the photographic makeover studio. 'Could I speak to Miss Phyllis Henshaw, please?' the voice said.
I remember Wales: the early start from a sleeping Liverpool, the changes of trains and freezing waiting-rooms at polysyllabic stations, the endless trek across the permanent Sunday that was Anglesey in the 1950s. None of this was supposed to be fun. There were family connections stretching back over 100 years to a fiercely biblical great-grandfather, who had walked from Somerset to Amlwch for a job on the new railway.
It is not just the reputation of ministers and their bagmen that is taking a bashing at the Hutton inquiry. So is the reputation of Britain's intelligence services. British Intelligence has been subverted. The nation's front line of defence has been catastrophically damaged by New Labour's spin machine. The tawdry ethics of Robert Maxwell's Daily Mirror newsroom have infiltrated the secure Cabinet Office rooms occupied by the Joint Intelligence Committee.