Featured articles


Notes from Salzburg

Gratefully we cast our bread upon the blue-green waters of the Salzach to give thanks to this festival city. Across the river the famous castle stands fortress over the old town. On the terrace of the Cafe Bazar one hears the tongues of France, Italy and Spain as well as Austria, because this is old

Paris en famille

Paris for lovers, tick. Paris for gastronomes, tick. Paris for the fashion-conscious, obviously. But children? Funnily enough, I find it one of the most child-friendly cities we go to. The proprietors of grand boutiques and restaurants who cold-shoulder grown-ups are all smiles when it comes to children. Propping up a bar with my two on

Istanbul: Going Deeper

You’ve done the sights: the Hagia Sofia and the great imperial mosques, the Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar, the Bosporus cruise and Basilica Cistern. With the tourist boxes ticked and the past squared away, it’s time to start exploring the real, living city. You may have had enough of museums, but Orhan Pamuk’s new

All the rage | 30 June 2012

New York The western world seems not just unhappy, but intoxicated with anger. It is the kind of anger that feeds on itself. Offence is not just taken but relished, and multiplied as in a hall of mirrors. I have a name for this kind of anger. A few years ago, in a book about

An idle question, a deadly bite and 60 years of memories

We’re just saying our farewells to the Post Office Hotel in Chillagoe, in the outback of Far North Queensland, and I’m telling Dorothy ­Lawler, the hotel’s 70-year-old part-time cook, that the coleslaw she made with the steaks we had the other night was the crunchiest and most delicious I’d ever eaten. (It’s a great place,

Paying for PFI

There is nothing as dangerous, they say, as the zeal of the newly converted. So it was when Labour under Tony Blair suddenly discovered capitalism. What had been a small-scale pragmatic policy under John Major’s government, the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), was taken up with huge gusto in order to see the rebuilding of hundreds

Meet the new boss

On my first visit to Egypt, soon after Hosni Mubarak succeeded the assassinated Anwar Sadat as president, a cruel joke was circulating among Cairo’s cognoscenti. ‘When Nasser came to power, he looked around for the most stupid member of his party and appointed Sadat as vice president. When Sadat came to power, he looked around

At home with the Stalins

We all know what a city does when a local boy or girl has done good. But what do you do when the local boy turns out to have done very bad indeed? This is the dilemma facing the Georgian authorities in the city of Gori, not far from the boundary line of South Ossetia.

China’s civilising mission

Last week, a distinguished Chinese thinker arrived in Oxford University to give a talk. His mission was audacious: to explain to Britain’s brightest young things that far from being a repressive or unhappy place, China is in fact pretty perfect. More to the point: now that Europe is on the rocks, China will be the

Chavs and toffs together

We live in thoroughly PC times, when tweeting rotten things about a black footballer can land you in jail and opposing gay marriage can see you branded a bigot. But there are still two groups of people it’s OK to hate: chavs and toffs. The tracksuit-wearing poor and the tweed-covered rich. The blinged-up yoof who