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A model life

This season, as London fashion week was starting, Vogue posted a video following the new model of the moment Kaia Gerber (who is Cindy Crawford’s daughter). It was so far from the reality of being a model that I almost couldn’t watch it: Kaia walking for all the top designers in her very first season;

The danger of no danger

We all know about helicopter parents and how terrible they can be. In New York, where I live, a mother sued her child’s $19,000-a-year nursery because her four-year-old was spending too much time playing with two-year-olds, thus ruining her chances of one day getting into an Ivy League university. Huge story, but I suppose I

The kids aren’t all right

Now that the Scots have banned people from smacking kids — both their own and, presumably, those that belong to other people — I suppose we will dutifully follow suit and another one of life’s harmless little pleasures will have bitten the dust. Fair enough, we can still say horrible, frightening things to them in

The return of Lady Muck

My sainted mum was of untarnished working-class blood — she worked, variously, as a cleaner, factory hand and shop assistant — and like most women of her kind who grew up before the 1960s, she never swore. Not a ‘bitch’, ‘slut’ or ‘slag’ ever passed her lips, though she certainly loathed a lot of women

The idiot box

How to sum up David Frost? The lazy writer’s friend, aka Wikipedia, calls him ‘an English journalist, comedian, writer, media personality and television host’. To which I would add only: ‘Britain’s first TV superstar.’ (To some he was also ‘The Bubonic Plagiarist’, but we won’t dwell on that.) That Was The Week That Was, The

Destitution is the new British disease

I became aware that there was real destitution in modern Britain five years ago. Destitution, as I see it, arises when a family or individual is hungry, unable to afford gas and electricity, and on the brink of homelessness. It was apparent to me then that too many people at the bottom of the pile

The universal credit crunch

It only dawned on me in late summer just how terrible our new benefits system, universal credit, might be both for the poor souls who depend on it and for the bedraggled Conservative party. An old friend, Terry, alerted me to the depth of the problem. Terry is 70-odd and has learning difficulties, though he’s

Arabian nights

Recall the media coverage at the height of the Jimmy Savile scandal, times it by about a thousand, and you get an idea of the hysteria currently surrounding gay men in Egypt. That’s not an arbitrary analogy. The social ramifications of coming out as a ‘gay man’ in most parts of the Middle East are


Greece Notebook | 26 October 2017

I have come to Greece in search of sanity over Brexit. Ostensibly it is a symposium to discuss relations between Britain and Greece. But it is also an excuse to step away from the minutiae of the negotiations to think about the future of Europe. It was from Greece, of course, that our continent derived

Notes on...


Autumn is upon us, and the streets are full of families in fancy dress. People of all ages are dressing up, everything from smugglers to suffragettes. In Lewes it can only mean one thing — it’s bonfire time again. Elsewhere in Britain, Bonfire Night has been overwhelmed by Halloween, but here in the historic county