High life

High life | 20 July 2017

I switch personalities at Spectator parties, depending who the guests are: for our readers’ tea party, I am a warm and gracious semi-host, swigging scotch, but graciously answering questions about my drinking, love life and writing habits. For our summer Speccie spree, I turn into a tight-lipped, street-smart tough guy, conscious of my brave obscurity

Low life

Low life | 20 July 2017

Valencia was a furnace. During the short ride from the airport, the taxi driver supplemented his chat about the weather with a photo on his phone sent by his father-in-law. His father-in-law lives about an hour away. The photo showed a bus stop on a deserted street. Attached to the bus shelter was a temperature

Real life

Real life | 20 July 2017

Two months after I cancelled Sky, a strange letter arrived in the post. ‘We are writing to you because we haven’t heard anything from you since we previously wrote to you about your overdue account,’ it said. Of course, I realise that it is easier for a rich man to get himself prosecuted for attempting

More from life

The turf | 20 July 2017

A woman I once encountered at the dining table whose prime years were clearly behind her described herself as ‘approaching fifty’. Noting our raised eyebrows she added, ‘Look dears, I don’t have to say from which side.’ Suddenly the weighing room too seems full of veterans. Lightweight jockey Jimmy Quinn is certainly approaching 50 from

Winter is nearly here – bring on the body count

As a Game of Thrones fan, I feel ambivalent about the fact that the saga is finally wending its way to a conclusion. The latest season, which debuted on Sunday, is the last series but one; there will only be a total of 13 episodes across both. On the one hand, I feel sad about

Wine Club

Wine Club 22 July

Esme Johnstone at is the past master at digging out little parcels of top quality, fully mature vino from fine French estates and I’m delighted to report that his touch has not deserted him. Along with a brace of tip top whites and a rosé, we’ve a trio of really tasty (and tastily priced)

Spectator Sport

Rog apart, Wimbledon 2017 was a disgrace

For obvious reasons this column always welcomes ‘King Roger Rules The World’ headlines on the back pages. And the front too. So warm congrats from one Rog to the greatest Rog of all. Is Federer the best sportsman ever? Pelé? Ali? Bradman? Maybe, but it’s hard to challenge Rog. Look at this year: two grand

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 20 July 2017

Q. Last summer a friend of my brother-in-law’s house-sat for us while we were in Greece for a week. We paid him £25 a day and all he had to do was look after our dog and water the garden when necessary. I left food for him, including fruit, in our fridge. Mary, I say


Salt-beef delirium

Katz’s Delicatessen, established 1888, is a theme park of Jewish-American food, with tribute gift shop, on the lower east side of Manhattan. There is nowhere more Jewish than Katz’s except Haredi Brooklyn, but if you go there you don’t come back. Katz’s offers a gentler Jewish experience, if you can conceive of such a thing,

Mind your language


The Foreword didn’t bode well. This was on the first page of The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. It was a ‘Foreword by Mathew’ as though he were some promising infant. In the second sentence he gave thanks ‘for the support and the respect for my independence which has been shown by her [Theresa