High life

The sad demise of Brooks Brothers

New York Our own Douglas Murray is the canary in the Bagel coal mine as of late. The left controls culture, education and technology over here, but a few canaries are still free to warn the rest of us that we’re being taken for a ride. Here’s a warning to those multimillionaires who get down

Low life

The nature of luck

I was walking across a fallow field to the pub with my two grandsons. ‘What’s this?’ said my 11-year-old Oscar, showing me a bone he’d noticed embedded in the footpath and prised out. I rubbed the mud off the delicate, strangely beautiful thing with my thumb. ‘That,’ I said, with more authority than knowledge, ‘is

Real life

Why I won’t be following the new equine vaccine regime

When the vet had finished giving my horses their annual flu boosters, she reminded me the vaccination regime had changed. For the purpose of competing, horses must be vaccinated for flu every six months, which is something that had passed me by. What with worrying about human vaccines, I had not noticed this change in

Wine Club

Wine Club: two astoundingly fine fizzes from Frerejean Frères

Order today. As you know, when it comes to champagne, Pol Roger is pretty much The Spectator’s house pour. Indeed, a dog-eared sign on the door of the office fridge demands that staff always ensure there are two bottles chilling within it for emergency celebrations and commiserations or simply for whenever the moment strikes. It’s

No sacred cows

The tragedy of being a QPR fan

Normal families spend the Easter holidays by the seaside or in the Mediterranean. But not the Youngs. My three boys and I took advantage of the two-week break to criss-cross the country following Queens Park Rangers, going to Sheffield, Preston and Huddersfield. We lost 1-0 to Sheffield and 2-1 to Preston, but managed to draw

Spectator Sport

What English cricket needs now

You couldn’t ask for a more amiable man than Rob Key to run English cricket: affable, shrewd and universally liked, he has the look of a recalcitrant monk, nipping out the back for a quick drink and a fag. Whether he’s any good is another matter, but let’s hope so for all our sakes. The

Dear Mary


The Harrods disadvantage: Em Sherif reviewed

I am never bored with Harrods, only disgusted, and it is disgust of the most animated and exciting kind. It is Nabokov’s fish-tank of a department store, but with lampshades, not hebephilia. Its wares have surpassed its beginnings, which were haberdashery. Charles Harrod’s first shop was at 228 Borough High Street when George IV, who

Mind your language

The linguistic ingredients of ‘salmagundi’

‘It makes me hungry,’ said my husband when I mentioned the word salmagundi. That is his reaction to many words. But he liked the sound of it. I think in its sound, suggestive of something impossible to pin down, it resembles serendipity. The obscure French original of salmagundi, a dish of chopped up meat and


Homes Under the Hammer

When I get there, my friend is fast asleep with nail clippings scattered on his knee in the dayroom’s baffled light. I wake him gently. ‘I don’t know where I am.’ ‘You’ve been asleep.’   Homes Under the Hammer is on the BBC. We manage, once we find his stick, a turn around the block.

Ben Nicholson Throws a Rubber Shark at Eileen Agar Polzeath, July 1937

Perhaps there is more than one way of loving the world, Miss Agar. Perhaps you are right. I am booting lonely stones on Perranporth Beach as I struggle with this letter late this morning by the hunting sea.   I apologise again for that silliness with the shark. My memory has fixed a photograph of

sculptures of Ancient Rome

How many nights now and my desire is a bronze hare — as heavy in me and as light — molten creature cast on the point of flight, elements holding their form for two thousand years and more — although the patina is changing, reflections change under different lights. Every day this spring, walking in

Soul Singer

Can you hear me singing? I have a high, clear voice like that of Percy Sledge. I’m a soul singer from somewhere like Macon, Georgia.   I perform mostly country soul numbers in the Music Shoals style – Percy’s ‘Out of Left Field’, ‘You’ve Got My Mind Messed Up’ by James Carr.   I’m not