High life

High life | 25 June 2015

Last Wednesday, 24 June, Pugs held a luncheon in honour of our first member to depart for the Elysian Fields, or that large CinemaScope screen up above, Sir Christopher Lee, age 93. Pugs club is now down to 19 members, the ceiling being 21. Our president for life, Nick Scott — I was actually the

Low life

Low life | 25 June 2015

Ninety-two readers (thank you!) sent accounts of their worst debacles on drink or drugs. I printed out each one and clipped it into a ring binder. Last Thursday afternoon I made a pot of tea, opened the file, and settled down for a good read. The first sentence of the first entry was: ‘Priggish as

Real life

Real life | 25 June 2015

Why won’t the middle classes shout at their dogs any more? My suspicion is that the bleeding heart liberals, having succeeded in stopping right-minded people from shouting at their children, have moved on to stopping us from emotionally scarring animals. The result, of course, is that our four-legged friends are becoming about as unpleasant as

More from life

In defence of Gove’s grammar

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Toby Young and Oliver Kamm debate Gove’s grammar” startat=1394] Listen [/audioplayer]Few things are more likely to provoke the disapproval of the bien-pensant left than criticising someone’s grammar. The very idea that one way of speaking is more ‘correct’ than another is anathema to them. Under the guise of being helpful, it asserts the

Long life | 25 June 2015

It is nearly two years since the police were granted new powers to fine motorists for ‘hogging’ the middle lane of a motorway, but it’s only now that anyone has been convicted in court of this offence. A person driving a van at 60 mph on the M62 near Huddersfield has been fined £500 and

Simply the best | 25 June 2015

Nothing pleases the Royal Ascot crowd more than a winner for the meeting’s crucial supporter, the Queen. Imagine, then, the dilemma of one of her Windsor Castle lunch guests, trainer Roger Charlton, when Her Majesty asked him, ‘Are you going to beat me?’ on the day of the Tercentenary Stakes. Charlton is one of the

Spectator Sport

Tiger, Tiger, burning out

A car crash is a terrible thing, but hordes of people still slow down to cop an eyeful on the motorway. Car-crash sport is equally compelling. In the US Open, up at Chambers Bay, Tiger Woods opened with two of the worst rounds he had ever played: 80, with eight bogeys and one triple bogey,

Dear Mary

Your problems solved | 25 June 2015

Q. My partner, a leading political commentator on a national newspaper, recently agreed to shave off his hair at the suggestion of his editor, in order to write and illustrate a feature piece on the charms of baldness. The timing, at the height of the summer season, could of course not be more embarrassing. He


Myths and legends

The Ivy is a Playmobil-style faux-medieval restaurant in a triangular building opposite The Mousetrap; of the two, The Ivy is more ancient and threatening. It has mullioned windows, a photogenic lamp post and a parking space for paparazzi to shoot people who want to be shot, as in early Martin Amis novels. It has been

Mind your language

On the cusp

‘A stalker who dressed a pillow “mannequin” in his ex’s nurse’s uniform, then sent her a picture, has been told he is “on the cusp” of jail,’ reported the Scottish edition of the Daily Star. ‘Sheriff Alastair Carmichael told Mark Glass: “I don’t think you understand just how serious this is. You are on the


Verse Letter

In reply to Ann Baer, aged 101, of Richmond-on-Thames.   Your handwriting, so perfect for its style And firmness, made me feel that this must be A brilliant schoolgirl. Hence my knowing smile At your comparing of my maple tree   With Tennyson’s. But further down the page, And seemingly in passing, you revealed The