Zoe Strimpel

Israeli nightlife is slowly returning

Tel Aviv is the size of Bristol, with about 400,000 residents each. While Bristol has 400 pubs and bars, and just shy of a thousand restaurants, the rough concrete charm of Tel Aviv yields no fewer than 1,750 cafes, bars and clubs and more than 4,000 places to eat. Tel Aviv is a dense, hedonistic city: friendly,

Why women still love Twilight

Anybody who has been a teenage girl will know how dark and swampy the sexual imagination of that demographic can be. At 14 and 15, after watching Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet (1996), and then James Cameron’s Titanic (1997), I became so obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio that I’d lie for hours on my bed hatching

Why climate activists love to hate Israel

Climate activists have been busy since 7 October. The demands for ‘action now’ on global warming continue, but affairs in the Middle East are proving to be a distraction for Just Stop Oil. Cries of ‘free Gaza’, ‘ceasefire now’, and even ‘from the river to the sea’ – a chant, purported to be a cry for

Back to the future: Sunak’s big gamble

45 min listen

On the podcast: It’s been a busy week in Westminster. On Monday, Rishi Sunak’s first major reshuffle saw Suella Braverman sacked and David Cameron make a surprise return to politics.  Then two days later, the Supreme Court’s Rwanda ruling left the government’s pledge to ‘stop the boats’ in tatters. It was meant to be the

The death of TV

A while ago, a therapist advised me to go out less and stay in and watch TV more. Having avoided the world of block-streaming until then, I took her advice and immediately found great pleasure in my new pastime. There was so much to watch, and it was all so absorbing and pleasantly addictive. The

Among the Glastonbury pagans

England is a mystical place, and its epicentre is Glastonbury, known by its pagan residents as Avalon, the mythical island of the Arthurian legend. It has sacred springs, the supposed tomb of King Arthur, the Tor and ruined tower, proximity to Stonehenge and now a thriving, sprawling community of pagans, with dozens of denominations from druid to water-witch.

In defence of the noughties

Russell Brand always seemed repellant to me, but that had little to do with the fact he became famous in the noughties. And yet, since allegations have emerged, we keep being told repeatedly that Brand is a typical toxic product of the early years of the new millennium.  ‘Resurfaced clips give a sobering reminder of

The truth about Bedales

Every now and again, my alma mater is in the news, and why wouldn’t it be? Britain is obsessed with schools and class. Bedales provides ample fodder for both: the boarding school in Hampshire is famously ‘liberal’ – and was so even when England was famously illiberal. Bedales, whose graduates include Lily Allen, Kirstie Allsopp

Forget the Cotswolds, try the Forest of Dean for a weekend break

The roads around Monmouth are quiet but have their attractions; they cut through valleys and woods, past castles and churches. My host, soignee interior designer Neil McLachlan, explains that this part of the world is a well-kept secret, popular with minor gentry and Londoners in the know but protected from the crowds that flush in and

Trumpvision: he’s making America watch again

27 min listen

On the podcast this week:  In his cover piece for the magazine, The Spectator’s deputy editor Freddy Gray says that he was hardly surprised that Donald Trump chose not to participate in last night’s Republican candidates debate. He argues that Trump no longer needs the TV networks and joins the podcast alongside Douglas Murray, who profiles the

I’m cancelling rat girl summer

Rat girl summer is a typically absurd TikTok meme that most women –indeed, most humans – born before 1990 would probably struggle to understand. But it’s a thing. And here’s what it means, according to the Washington Post: it is ‘a TikTok movement that emphasizes living like a rat: scurrying around the streets at all hours of the day

Chess doesn’t need Rishi Sunak’s cheesy cheerleading

There’s something embarrassing about Rishi Sunak’s plan to revive chess in Britain. The PM is set to announce half-a-million pounds funding for the English Chess Federation. The money could be used to send teams to international tournaments, install chess tables in parks and teach the game to school kids. But Rishi’s cheesy cheerleading for government-sponsored

Live like Louis XVI for a day

Some of the ways the rich can amuse and refresh themselves today include spas in the Maldives with glass floors offering views of brightly coloured fish during treatment, private retreats in the mountains of St Lucia costing thousands per night, and fabulous overnight trains through Rajasthan. But the last word in luxury is still to

Boozy lunches are back

The financial crash of 2008 didn’t kill the boozy lunch outright, but it took the wind out of its sails. Ever more Americanised work styles further deflated the tradition, before Covid stamped on it. But the boozy lunch is back. It’s certainly surprising. After all, we are in the middle of a cost-of-living squeeze and

The strange allure of wine tinnies

Some years ago, on a trip up America’s Pacific Northwest, I spent a night in Portland in a hotel that was depressing in the way that not-quite-posh, not-quite-cool hotels can be. As part of its attempt to inject a sense of pizzazz into my cavernous room, there was a welcome pack whose starring feature was

Martin Amis and the death of the lascivious young man

In the days since Martin Amis died at 73 of oesophageal cancer, the papers have been full of tributes. Mostly by men, mostly admiring, and clearly envious of Mart’s gutsy, mad way with words and his lusty, hard-living literary life, full of the cigarettes that killed him and more booze and women than today’s young

What Miriam Cates gets wrong about working mothers

Miriam Cates and I have a different idea of what Thatcherism was all about. To me, the Lady T era was more feminist than any other before or after because it included all people, including women, in its vision of work, wealth, power and success. It did so without all the carry on about menstruation

The great AI panic is spiralling out of control

I refuse to get Amazon Alexa, and never use Siri, because I find the concept of human-style interactions with robots somewhere between the unhealthy and the grotesque. And almost always more hassle than they’re worth because they don’t actually ‘understand’ what you’re telling them. But I don’t find them sinister, and find myself sceptical of

Ealing’s ‘women-only’ tower block is regressive

Designs for a tower block in Ealing just for women – the first in Britain – have been given the thumbs up by planners. On the surface of it, the scheme, proposed by the Women’s Pioneer Housing association, which was founded in the 1920s by women’s rights campaigners, sounds rather good. It offers a permanent, refuge-style living