High life

High life | 21 May 2011

Orlando A neutron bomb hit this place just as I got off the aeroplane, killing all humans but leaving the buildings standing. It was a horrid, unpardonable crime, and for it I blame the scientists. But not for the reasons you think. They should have done it the other way round. Kill the buildings, save

Low life

Low life | 21 May 2011

‘Come on, man, wake up! What are you doing lying here like this, dressed like this?’ He was a young black man, confident, street-wise, and he sounded let-down, disappointed. I think it was the suit and tie. He didn’t like to see good clothes treated like that. The tie meant I was a conservative type

More from life

Status Anxiety: Held captive by Captain Kidd

I think I may soon have enough material for another comic memoir, this one charting my increasingly accident-prone career as a political campaigner. I’m not talking about setting up the West London Free School, which is still going swimmingly, but the strange direction my career has taken as a consequence of the political platform the

Motoring: Company man

There recently left these shores a benign and fecund angel of the automotive realm, Dr Franz Josef Paefgen, retiring chairman and CEO of Bentley. Benign because he was unfailingly polite and helpful and understood the Bentley tradition and the sort of people who buy into it. Indeed, he empathised with a wider tradition than that:

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 21 May 2011

Q. May I pass on a tip to readers? Three of my sons are revising for exams at the moment, all in the face of the usual sorts of distractions from social networking sites, cricket and football score alerts, to say nothing of emails pinging into their laptops. I was therefore delighted when they told

Mind your language

Mind your language | 21 May 2011

‘Where seldom is heardsworth a discouraging Wordsworth, / And the skies are not cloudy all day,’ sang my husband in the manner, he thought, of Cary Grant in Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House, with variations. His excuse was my mentioning the word home. ‘Where seldom is heardsworth a discouraging Wordsworth, / And the skies

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: Shopping for a self-image

Judging by the television channels in international hotels, Europeans must think Anglo-Saxons are the most boring people in the world. While Italian, French or German stations show a mixture of soap operas, game shows and other cheerful nonsense, English-language channels are confined to news bulletins and the kind of rolling financial programming once parodied by