High life

Those ancient Greeks were bores — but things are looking up

Thick snow is falling hard and heavy, muffling sounds and turning the picturesque village postcard beautiful. I am lying in bed listening to a Mozart version of ‘Ave Maria’, a heavenly soprano almost bringing tears to my eyes with the loveliness of it. This is the civilisation of our ancestors — one that gave us

Low life

The risks of being an Englishman on Burns Night

I’m rubbish at public speaking and detest it. Even the thought of reciting an English poem of my choice at a Burns Night Supper cast a long shadow beforehand, in spite of the strong probability that everyone at the table would be blootered when the time came for me to get to my feet. A

Real life

The dead iPad Sketch

My iPad is dead, that’s what’s wrong with it. The plumage don’t enter into it. But since the blasted thing fell off its perch last November, it has somehow run up crippling excess data charges. At first, I could think of only two possible explanations: either my iPad was pretending to be dead, while secretly

More from life

Come on, Tristram Hunt, if you think you’re hard enough

For a brief moment earlier this week, I thought education might become an issue in the general election campaign. The Commons Education Select Committee’s lukewarm report on the government’s academy and free school programmes was leaked to the Guardian on Monday and the accompanying story claimed that Labour hoped to open a ‘second front’ following

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: how can I stop my husband from chopping down all our trees?

Q. My husband — currently unemployed — has started ‘sourcing’ logs from our own smallholding. Chopping down perfectly good trees, sawing logs, drying them … to say nothing of trying to get a fire going without proper kindling or firelighters, is now taking him up to three hours per day. I realise that this is displacement activity


The spirit of Prohibition lives (if you’re a haggis)

It is an old adage, but still pertinent. ‘Every generalisation about India is true, and so is the opposite.’ The other night, some of us were discussing the US and wondering if the same applied. Certainly, there are lots of paradoxes. Although Americans passionately believe that they live in the land of the free, there

Mind your language



I’d tell you I came back here, that I’m writing in this room, if you had not found another and are happy, I presume. I’d tell you I returned and I have walked to you know where, if it were not to disturb you for so little, seems unfair. I’d tell you I have chosen

The Wiki Man