Cosmo Landesman

My life of genteel poverty

Every year at the beginning of April, I tell myself I must top up my Isa before the 5 April deadline. And all my friends tell me I must. My financial adviser tells me I must. Articles in the press and adverts on social media tell me I must. And every year on 6 April

I’m saving the world, one worm at a time

Recently, I was walking down a London street when on the pavement I spotted a worm. It was so motionless I wasn’t sure if it was alive or dead. Normally, I would have passed the worm by without a second thought. But I’d just been to my local park to do stretches, meditation, breathing exercises

Confessions of a closeted bourgeois boy

Recently, I got very stoned. I haven’t been that stoned since I was at Woodstock. Or was it the first Glastonbury festival? Or maybe Bob Dylan at the Isle of Wight? I can’t remember, but that’s dope for you. The curious thing is, I don’t take drugs any more. I hate getting high. It’s like

Grumpiness is a way of life

I used to be a terrible grump who would rant and rage against the 1,001 irritations of modern British life. And then one day I decided life was too short to be permanently enraged by everything and everyone.  ‘These kind people simply want to share their music with me! How thoughtful!’ For grumpy me, the

Should I become a microdoser?

Microdosing, the practice of taking a very small amount of a mood-enhancing drug, has been happening in America for a long time. But in the UK, microdosing was, until recently, a fringe activity. Now everyone – teachers, techies, lawyers, hedge fund managers and hipsters – is doing it. Microdosing is moderation in pursuit of moderation.

Can this dating gimmick help me find love?

When it comes to dating, I’ve tried every kind of matchmaking method you could imagine: dating apps, speed-dating, slow-dating and even no-date dating. Consequently, I’ve suffered from date-app fatigue and repetitive disappointment. So I’m the perfect person for a new dating trend: the Pear ring. Pear rings aim to return the hunt for romance back

Can I be a woman?

I have a friend who describes me as an ‘uptight boring old straight heterosexual’ – simply because I don’t use porn or prostitutes, don’t swing both ways and have no interest in orgies and dogging, or any desire to be tied up and flogged by some fat dominatrix in a ‘torture den’ in Pimlico. He

I’m grey – and proud

In the wake of new research by New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, scientists think a treatment for stopping our hair going grey – and even reversing it – may soon be possible. Their optimism is based on early positive experiments with mice, which is great news if you’re a mouse, but what if

Confessions of a class tourist

Pundits writing for a young audience are always telling readers to ‘stop pretending to be working-class!’ and stop ‘fetishising the working class’. They seem more angered by the imitation of class than the iniquities of class itself. Singer Lily Allen and the rap star Yungblud have both been denounced on Twitter for – to paraphrase

The day I sold my destroyed piano to the Tate

One day in October 1966 I came home from school and found a large man stripped to the waist, attacking the family piano with a woodman’s axe. Seeing the anxious look on my face, my father assured me there was nothing to be afraid of. The axe-wielding man was, he explained, an ‘artist’ who was

Why your more successful friends will drop you

You might have noticed the numerous glowing pieces by friends of Salman Rushdie about their ‘brave’ and ‘brilliant’ friend. I too would like to write a glowing piece about my brave and brilliant friend Salman Rushdie, but there’s one little problem: I’m not a friend of his. In fact I don’t have any famous novelist

I’m tired of being a good friend

I would do anything to help a friend. Need money? A shoulder to cry on? A place to stay? A confidant to confess to? I’m your man. Want me to read your new novel? Forget it. I would do anything for a friend, but as the late Meat Loaf would say: I won’t do that.

In defence of staring

Like many people, I enjoy watching people. There’s a great pleasure in sitting in a café or on a park bench on a sunny afternoon and just watching people pass by. But increasingly, people-watching is becoming suspect, and even criminalised. The latest and most worrying example is Transport for London’s campaign against what it calls

Why men of a certain age love to get naked

Something very strange happens to men as they get older: they like to go nude. I don’t mean they become practising nudists who seek out and enjoy the company of others of their kind. But unlike most younger men, they feel no embarrassment or regret at being seen naked. Consider the recent battle between one

When did sexual deviancy become so dull?

Recently, at a London dinner party, I found myself sitting next to a beautiful young woman with a PhD in physics and a passion for bondage. At first I thought: I’ve hit the jackpot! Brains-Beauty-Bondage — here she is: wife number three! And then she treated me to a long monologue on the joys of

It’s no longer just clean eaters who are the health bores

David Hockney has just endorsed a series of specially designed beer mats, created by an artist called Mr Bingo, that display a cigarette in an ashtray with the slogan: ‘Bored with wellness.’ He went on to declare he found the very idea of wellness ‘ridiculous’ and ‘too bossy’. Hockney is a verification of that urban

Would you go to a naked dining club?

Why would anyone want to dine in the nude with other nude diners? Yes, I get being nude on a sunny beach. Swimming nude. Walking nude. But eating nude in public? What’s the appeal? Why leave your comfort zone for the Twilight Zone? Yet nude dining is making a comeback — or at least it’s

Help! I don’t know what a cervix is

With all this talk of private parts, the political has now gotten very personal. Recently, I was having an argument with a male transgender rights activist over Labour MP Rosie Duffield’s claim that ‘only women have a cervix’. I huffed and puffed and pontificated about the ‘undeniable facts of biology and female anatomy’ when it

My failed attempts to be a good Samaritan

I’ve been trying to be a good Samaritan for some time now and failing. But this week I discovered that even well-trained, experienced good Samaritans — who work for the Samaritans — can fail too. Reports have surfaced revealing the ‘abuse’ of vulnerable callers by a small number of the charity’s phone volunteers. It’s a

We’ve become a nation of armchair psychiatrists

Are we becoming a nation of amateur psychoanalysts and armchair psychiatrists? We all speak the language of therapy and are quick to diagnose and label friends, strangers and even loved ones. Prince Harry does it to his wife Meghan Markle in a forthcoming five-part series on mental health for Apple TV that he’s co-produced with