High life

High Life | 23 August 2008

On board S/Y Bushido Finally a gold medal for Greece, for cheating. Fifteen of our men and women have joined the pantheon of cheaters, the latest our 400-metres hurdles gold medal winner in Athens, Fani Halkia. It’s a disgrace but the athletes are not solely to blame. Ever since the Soviet Union began using the

Low life

Low Life | 23 August 2008

I’m in the pub before the first match of the new Premiership season, a pint of lager in each hand, and I’m thinking here we go again, another nine months of the same old overpriced, overhyped rubbish. The same old faces are pushing their way into the packed bar — though some are browner than

Slow life

Slow Life | 23 August 2008

The giant sequoia is the largest living thing on the planet: a tree. There’s quite a well-known photo of one with a road going through the middle. They’re indigenous to North West America but, far from uncommon in this country, great avenues of them are lining drives of stately homes like moon rockets, skewing the

More from life

Motoring | 23 August 2008

Some at least of the 71 vehicles I’ve owned (68 if tractors don’t count) are probably best excused by a weakness for romantic impracticality. It was never inherent impracticality that attracted me but something else about them — rarity, unusual histories or locations, coincidence, the appeal of rescue. Hence the Daimler Conquest Century convertible, the

The Turf | 23 August 2008

Who would ever have thought that two wheels could prove as exciting as four legs? Watching the triumphs of Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Ross Edgar and Rebecca Romero in the Olympic Velodrome I cheered myself hoarse. Frankie Dettori might have difficulty managing a flying dismount from the mechanical steeds on which they scored their successes,

Status Anxiety | 23 August 2008

New York’s Eurotrash exude a preening self- regard that makes me sick to my stomach In New York, the big story of the summer is that the Eurotrash are back. Thanks to the weak dollar, rich Europeans have been descending on the city by the jet-load, irritating the locals by referring to ludicrously overpriced luxury

Wine Club

September Spectator Mini-Bar Offer

Next month we launch the new all-singing, all-dancing, bells and whistles super-duper Spectator wine club, which will be much the same as the old Spectator wine club, but bigger. And even better. Meanwhile, as you wait with bated breath (not ‘baited’ breath; you do not have a piece of cheese or a worm on your

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 23 August 2008

Q. I have just moved into a sizeable townhouse which also comprises a separately owned basement flat (occupied by a young family). The entrance to the flat is set half-below street/garden level round the side of our property and down some steps at the back. The house has not been occupied for several months and

Mind your language

Mind Your Language | 23 August 2008

‘What are all these letters?’ asked my husband, unhelpfully stirring the pile on the doormat with his foot, looking without success for any addressed to him. They were about the BBC recommendations to announcers, published in 1928, that I wrote about last week. To entertain you further, I’ve been rummaging in a successor booklet, from

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man | 23 August 2008

In their now famous book Nudge, self-described ‘paternalistic libertarians’ Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein cite this new paint as an example of ‘feedback’ — the notion that people will make better choices when their decisions have rapidly visible results. If you’ve tried typing on an outdated PC, where characters take seconds to appear on screen,