High life

High Life | 18 April 2009

New York I crossed the river last week and went into the heart of darkness. Unlike Conrad’s hero, it took me about 15 minutes by train, and there I was, right in the midst of a city bloated with squalor, oily storefronts, dilapidated tenements, vacant courtyards, and trash-strewn lots. I was the only white man

Low life

Low Life | 18 April 2009

I’m virus aware. For example, I don’t touch door handles in public lavatories. If they’ve got in-swinging doors, I time my exit to coincide with someone else and let them grasp the handle. And I never, ever, touch the rubber handrail on Tube station escalators. Imagine what hundreds of thousands of commuting fingertips deposit on

Wild life

Wild Life | 18 April 2009

Laikipia As our farm manager Celestino Sikuku drove home with two other workers last month a gang of bandits waylaid their vehicle. It was an inside job. Somebody had revealed that the car was carrying the payroll. At the first gunshots Celestino halted the car, slipped the others the cash and urged them to run.

Slow life

Slow Life | 18 April 2009

Possibly, the shoe was where it all started to go wrong for us as a species. Possibly, I say, the shoe represents the end of paradise. Possibly, we donned our size 12s and stomped right out of Eden. There we’d been, running barefoot through the trees with the sun on our faces, reconnecting with mother

More from life

Status Anxiety | 18 April 2009

Armando Iannucci’s satirical movie about New Labour is a tribute to the Iron Lady It is the 30th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 election victory on 4 May and, not surprisingly, the tributes have already begun to pour in. Most of these are from the usual suspects, but I was pleased to see that Armando

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport | 18 April 2009

The good guys are having a good time right now. And it makes a change from the usual headline-makers. Look at Chelsea. Hiddink and the formidable Michael Essien apart, John Terry’s men are all steely-eyed, humourless ambition — it’s difficult to warm to them. And the McLaren racing team — ferocious, implacable in their resolve,

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 18 April 2009

Q. Have you any ideas on how to deal with recurrent offenders in the party-present line? I have an old and intimate friend who always brings a present almost insultingly slight, but, more seriously, also invariably well past its sell-by date. One small jar of pickle was two years too old. Other old friends contributed

Mind your language

Mind your language | 18 April 2009

Coley (not a fish but Veronica’s dog, which we were looking after) yelped, from surprise rather than pain, when my husband threw down the paper on the spot where the poor dog was taking his rest. ‘What’s he mean, “convince”?’ The culprit was a writer on the sports pages who had referred to Tom Hicks