High life

High Life | 22 August 2009

Gstaad Gee whizz, couldn’t someone have told me about it 19 years ago? Did I have to read it in Toby Young’s column? Someone should be held responsible, but who? It was only two weeks ago that I discovered that there is a scale of recognition in British public life — ‘an unofficial honours system’

Low life

Low Life | 22 August 2009

After lunch on Sunday the sun put in a rare appearance. While everyone shot off to the beach, I ignored it in protest and went to the cinema. The local cinema is a converted barn run by volunteer movie buffs, who leaven mainstream Hollywood with a strong dash of European arthouse. For two-and-a-half hours, while

Wild life

Wild Life | 22 August 2009

Indian Ocean As a child I wandered Kenya’s north shore beaches. On coral reefs I hunted rare cowries. The Bajunis in their outrigger canoes taught me how to fish. I knew my nudibranchs from my trepangs. Inland it was still mostly wild forest, teeming with birds and elephants that amazingly came down to swim in

Slow life

Slow Life | 22 August 2009

It was ten o’clock in Bournemouth, Saturday night: silent and still with a faint hint of chilliness under the stars at Hengistbury Head, where my parents live. My wife, children and I had spent a gentle week with them, pottering and pootling. No better place for it either. Hengistbury Head is right at the other

More from life

Status Anxiety | 22 August 2009

One of the most remarkable things in Quentin Tarantino’s remarkable career is that he doesn’t appear to realise just how bad his most recent films are. ‘I have sibling rivalry with Orson Welles,’ he said recently on CBS Sunday Morning. ‘I don’t think he’s that good… all right? I have sibling rivalry with him and

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport | 22 August 2009

Well, that wasn’t too bad then. The nameless sense of dread that seizes you at the start of each football season — you know, too many overtattooed men chanting En-ger-land, too many managers bitching at refs and each other, too many twerps earning too much money — all dissipated in a few minutes of sublime

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 22 August 2009

Q. I am in the middle of a second gap year some 33 years after the first (which was marred by menial work). The ‘Dear Mary’ item (8 August) about Justgiving charity requests prompted some thoughts since I have just been on the soliciting rather than receiving end of a fundraising drive. I fully share

Mind your language

Mind Your Language | 22 August 2009

Forming part of my husband’s baggage-train en route for another medical ‘conference’, I read a novel by an American. It contained this sentence: ‘It requires that a very real dynamic and active union exists.’ It could have been worse: it might have employed the subjunctive. I have nothing but affection for the subjunctive. I sing