High life

High life | 27 August 2011

Gstaad Forget about Libya, and don’t even think about Syria, the mother of all battles is about to take place right here, in bucolic Gstaad, a place of terminal political incorrectness — until recently, that is. But before I begin, the Beguine is far more likely to see Saif Gaddafi than this glitzy Mecca of

Low life

Low life | 27 August 2011

In summer the cottage next door is let out to visitors. Each week there’s someone new. I see them coming and going and sometimes circumstances dictate that I get to meet them. Last week a man staying in the cottage came to the door to ask about the television signal in the village. It wasn’t

Real life

Real life | 27 August 2011

What an aptly named place Hook junction is. My mind wandered for only a few seconds but that was enough to land me in peril. I was driving down the A3 and as the road narrowed from three lanes to two I failed to slow quickly enough. At the precise moment the road goes from

More from life

Status Anxiety | 27 August 2011

Don’t be fooled – you’d get into Oxford Rachel Johnson calls to tell me she’s doing a piece for the Financial Times saying she wouldn’t have got into Oxford if she’d been applying this year. She’s quite wrong, of course. A myth has grown up among my generation of Oxford graduates that it’s harder for

Motoring:  Feel-good factor

 Feel-good factor The sloping rear roof-line, especially in white, prompted comparisons with a squashed fag packet. It’s a profile that’s supposed to appeal to younger owners. When I first saw it, lowered from the heavens by a crane during a preview party at the Orangery in Kensington Gardens, I wasn’t convinced. But I’ve a poor

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 27 August 2011

Q. I was interested to see Charles Moore’s italicisation of the word ‘patio’ in the issue of 30 July. We have a paved area in our garden at home, but my wife and I are unsure of what it should be called. What would you suggest? —S.B., Somerset A. Charles Moore was writing about the


Drink: The star of the Stars

Forty years ago this English summer, Australia was stricken by a cultural catastrophe. The damage to national morale has reverberated down the decades. It has contributed to the implosion of Australian cricket and the loss of the Ashes, now irrevocable. The disaster occurred when the only two intellectuals in the convict settlements both bought one-way

Mind your language


I don’t think I pick up tricks of speech from Veronica, but I noticed last week Madonna, who is 53 going on 23, echoing her daughter Lourdes, aged 14. Lourdes was complaining of her mother’s dress sense, as daughters do: ‘Every day, I’ll be like, “Mom, you can’t wear that”.’ Her mother spoke in the

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: Technology and the riots

It was the biggest technological story of the month and I missed it. Instead it was my much cooler friend, Jonathan Akwue, who first mentioned Blackberry Messenger and its possible connection with the riots (at He spent the next two weeks fielding inquiries from the media. Blackberry Messenger (or BBM, as its users call