High life

High life | 22 November 2012

Why is it that adultery can ruin a man’s career but rarely a woman’s? In so-called civilised countries, that is. (In Saudi Arabia an adulterous woman is stoned to death.) An American diplomat slated to become the next ambassador to Iraq, Brett McGurk, lost his chance because of an affair with a reporter, who is

Low life

Low life | 22 November 2012

After the open-air night drawing class, the teacher invited anyone who felt like it to repair to the pub afterwards to have a drink and maybe something to eat and maybe a discussion about art. On the way to the pub I’d nipped off to the cashpoint. By the time I got to the pub,

Real life

Real life | 22 November 2012

When you start renovating your home, it is like pulling the loose thread of an old jumper. Everything unravels. I only tried to fit a dimmer switch, and now my entire flat has come apart. Actually, that’s not strictly true. I was having Stefano the Albanian builder fit wardrobes in the spare room. It was

More from life

Long life | 22 November 2012

The Daily Mail last week risked alienating its millions of women readers (whom I assume from its normal priorities to be interested only in health, beauty and plastic surgery) by running pages of indigestible stuff about a conspiracy to curb the freedoms of the British press. It was perhaps a selfless initiative in the public

Winners and losers

My favourite racecourse-bar story this year involved a towel-clad jockey who had enjoyed his game of golf so much that in the shower room he demonstrated the iron shot that had gained him an eagle. Hearing a clunk behind him he discovered that his backswing had connected forcibly with a dwarf, who was lying prone.

Movember, mo’ problems

I’m currently growing a moustache to raise money for various charities associated with men’s health — or ‘doing the Movember thing’, to use the official terminology. I’m not enjoying the experience. I was a blond child and what’s left of my hair is mousy brown, but my moustache is ginger. That’s right, ginger. I look

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 22 November 2012

Q. Even in smart places, waiters have taken my plate away before I have finished, if my head is turned, or they take away a companion’s plate while I am still eating. I recently had a whole slice of beef fillet whipped away whilst I was chatting animatedly away to a fellow guest. How can


In the colonel’s cellar

Like many soldiers, my old friend is a life-enhancing character. Whenever he phones up and says ‘Need your help’, one’s spirits rise. The help always seems to involve pleasure. This time was no exception. He was long on some young-ish wine, and wondered whether a few cases ought to be redeployed via the sale-room. In

Mind your language


Pippa Middleton, I learnt from the Daily Telegraph, has a ‘passion’ for writing. Justin Welby, the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the BBC said, has a ‘passion for resolving conflict’. The Times, in a piece about entrepreneurs, quoted a lawyer as saying: ‘Passion is very, very important.’ Can any of this be true? Certainly not if

The Wiki Man

The leftist case for joining a Pall Mall club

I recently met a friend at the RAC Club in Pall Mall. Leafing through their brochures, I noticed there was an entrance fee of £2,900 and an annual renewal fee of £1,265. Gosh, I thought, that’s expensive. Except it is and it isn’t. It is expensive when you compare it with other clubs. On the