High life

High Life | 25 July 2009

On board S/Y Bushido While the eastern islands of Greece are being whipped daily by the meltemi, the hot, strong winds that can turn sailors into zombies, the western side, or the Ionian, remains soft, green and as feminine as ever. The sea off Cephalonia is smooth and mirror-like, but this year I have yet

Low life

Low Life | 25 July 2009

‘Busy in here tonight,’ I observed. ‘Hello, stranger!’ she said. ‘We’ve got a band on later. Didn’t you know?’ I didn’t. Eight pints of Foster’s, ten Silk Cut, and a game of pool had been the upper limit of my ambition for the evening when I looked in the mirror before coming out. I told

Wild life

Wild Life | 25 July 2009

Indian Ocean Coast I am woken at dawn by bastardised Australian and Swahili. ‘Wakey wakey hands off snakey,’ says Abo. ‘Comin’ out, malango?’ These are my surfing buddies: Daudi, Tony, James, Bumblebee, Mud Prawn. Surfing should be cool and fashionable. But our average age is 50. We look like vagrants. Abo has gout and walks

Slow life

Slow Life | 25 July 2009

First day of the holidays and I’d promised the kids I’d take them to Oxford. As I reflect on this fatherly gesture of kindness, I realise it was for my benefit more than theirs. Specifically, they wanted to go to the toyshop on the ring road. That was all they wanted to do. Centuries of

More from life

Status Anxiety | 25 July 2009

‘Antichrist’ is the comic masterpiece of a con artist mocking fans of high culture Is Antichrist, the new film from Lars von Trier, a comedy? At first glance, that seems like a ludicrous suggestion. It contains some of the most disturbing images I’ve ever seen in the cinema, including a scene in which Charlotte Gainsbourg

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport | 25 July 2009

After the Lord’s Test you have to hand it to Ricky Ponting and the boys in the Baggy Greens — they have a sense of sportsmanship that is pretty much fair dinkum. As Adam Gilchrist explains in his brilliant autobiography, True Colours, the Aussie sporting psyche takes its lead from the school playing field. That

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 25 July 2009

Q. My husband has started working from home. The invasion of my privacy and the disruption of my peace is driving me almost mad. Now he has developed a habit of standing at the bottom of a staircase to the room where I myself work and yelling questions up it. He says he is too

Mind your language

Mind your language | 25 July 2009

The eccentric Sir George Sitwell, the father of Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell, had a valet called Henry Moat, who would also have been called eccentric had he not been a plain-speaking Yorkshireman. One evening after lugging a heavy trunk up the stairs of an Italian hotel he opened the door with his elbow and threw