SEVERAL days after the bombs, the people of Bali, and tourists who have stayed on, are still in profound shock, still asking, 'Why here? Why us?' This was not an American embassy or military base, so why Bali? Yet in the twisted minds of the bombers an entertainment zone packed with alcohol-fuelled Westerners was the perfect target, and the warning signals that something big was being planned in south-east Asia had been flashing for months, if not years.
I confess bias: I like Mercedes. I've owned several, though by the time they got down to my level they were getting on a bit. But they last, these beasts with the three-point star, which is one of the reasons we respect them. How many other up-market breeds do you find serving out their last decade as African taxis bouncing along pot-holed dirt roads, and still getting you there?
It's a treat, therefore, when a brand new one comes to stay for a few days, delivered to your door.
Mercedes-Benz in association with The Spectator is offering readers the chance to win a wonderful 2-night break including dinner at the 5-star Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds with the use of a new E-Class Saloon. To enter the competition, write an epigram on the theme 'Everything' and send it to Epigram Competition, The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL or e-mail it to mercedes-benz@spectator.
The average man sitting on the Tube, according to Gilbert of Gilbert & George, sees nothing but breasts. Now, that may underestimate the range of interests of the average man (though it is entirely consistent with the stratagems used by mass-circulation newspapers to attract his attention). As for G&G, on the contrary, they find 'ideas blow up' in their brains - not very nice ones, some people say.
The 2002 Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize winner.
There were more than 100 entries from a total of eight countries. The runners-up were Clementine Cecil, Gregory Lascelles, Jonathan Ledgard, Rory Stewart and Ben Yarde-Buller.Just below us we could hear the chowkidar tut-tut-tutting his disapproval on the ground with his stick, pacing up and down, tut, tut, tut, while we two sat together on the flat-topped roof above, our backs to the Lahore skyline.
Jack Straw looked acutely uncomfortable. He was standing in the doorway of his tall Victorian house in Islington's Battledean Road, scruffy on the outside, plush inside. He was casually dressed in sandals and cords, saying he had hoped for a quiet evening. It was May 1976, and his visitors were Roger Courtiour and myself, both BBC journalists. He ushered us to his upstairs front room. We sat. He stood.
Forty years ago the Americans won what I hope will be the nearest thing to nuclear war between superpowers - of which only one is left - ever fought; and the fact that they won it without firing a shot should not diminish but rather increase the extent of the victory.
What I am referring to is known, of course, as the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is how it will go down in history. But for those of us who lived through that extraordinary fortnight in October 1962, it was more than a crisis.
Elisabeth Furse, who died on Monday at the age of 92, was one of the most amazing hostesses London has known. One could not say she had a 'salon', for the word carries connotations of politeness and self-restraint which were entirely foreign to her. When I first descended the fire-escape-style steps to her basement flat in Belgravia in the mid-Eighties, she had already been inducting shy young Englishmen into the charms and horrors of bohemian Central European life for half a century.