High life

High life | 23 April 2011

New York How fair a rule is monarchy? A Byzantine scholar wrote that it was the fairest, to the point that God sustained it, as long as the emperors were elected by the army or an aristocratic senate. With their coronation, legitimate successors and usurpers alike automatically became sacred. The ancient Greeks went a step

Low life

Low life | 23 April 2011

The Spectator is a civilised paper. If they give you a weekly column, they are pleased for you to say what you like. The only editorial interference you can expect, apart from being hired, is the sack. They’d all rather die a slow and horrible death than exert the slightest influence over what you write.

Real life

Real life | 23 April 2011

A dimly lit street in a drab south London suburb at 8 p.m. on a weekday night. A girl driving to her friend’s house for dinner. Suddenly the girl gets a blinding headache and needs to pull over. She searches in vain for a space but cannot see anything. The headache gets worse and worse

Wild life

Wild life | 23 April 2011

Kenya Marriage can be hard for all of us. A friend of mine, we’ll call him Charles, works far away from home. One day he told me his wife had left him. ‘She has gone back to her mother. What’s worse, she left the children behind and there is nobody taking care of them.’ I

More from life

Status Anxiety: Going for a fifth?

I came in late the other night to discover my wife watching One Born Every Minute, a Channel 4 programme featuring women having babies. I sat down next to her on the sofa and it wasn’t long before my hands were clamped over my eyes. A young woman was howling in pain as her insides

Motoring: Power and glory

The skies are brightening over Warwickshire, where they breed Aston Martins. The recession reduced staff from 1,200 to 900 but now they’re back up to 1,000 and are opening a dealership in — of all places — Dublin. After spending almost a century in the red, they’ve finally nudged into profit under the leadership of

The turf: Useful lessons

The Newbury race day that finally for me switched the focus of racing from the jumpers to the sleek equine whippets racing on the Flat was appropriately devoted to the emergency services. Sadly, they are a vitally needed accompaniment to the training and riding of horses. Only in horse racing and motor racing are the

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 23 April 2011

Q. My friend John sets the standard of dress for our small community. It has come to his notice that HRH the Duke of Edinburgh is sporting black suede shoes with black tie. I think John is keen to adopt this mode of dress but is unsure about it. I think he should stick to

Mind your language

Mind your language: On behalf of

Someone, so the Times reported, was asked about young people being unemployed. ‘The problem is not the lack of jobs,’ came the reply, ‘but a lack of determination on behalf of young jobseekers.’ What he meant was ‘on the part of young jobseekers’. It was they who lacked determination, not anyone else on their behalf.

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: The obsession with things

I’m off to California next week to visit relatives in Los Angeles, but we are flying into Phoenix first. I’m off to California next week to visit relatives in Los Angeles, but we are flying into Phoenix first. I love Phoenix for quite a few reasons, not least the Botanical Gardens and the Frank Lloyd