Low life

The anatomy of a Spectator summer party

14 July 2018 9:00 am

I flew from Marseille to Gatwick, rode the Gatwick Express to Victoria, and walked down the thoroughfare of Victoria Street…

Up close with the Rolling Stones

7 July 2018 9:00 am

At 7 p.m., panting, I knocked on the door of room 201 of the Hotel InterContinental, Marseille, expecting it to…

Why I was proud to be a dustman

30 June 2018 9:00 am

I heard the last and final call for flight 6114 to Nice while shuffling forward in the unexpectedly long queue…

Cancer? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Homesick for England, family and friends, I flew back, and the next day went for a long walk with my…

Donald Hankey: a remarkable – and neglected – English voice

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Last year the BBC radio drama department received 3,797 scripts from hopeful authors, of which just 33 were recommended to…

Why did a Ukrainian oligarch invite me to his party in Paris, and pay for me to get there?

9 June 2018 9:00 am

On Monday night I went to a party at the Crazy Horse nightclub in Paris thrown by the oligarch Vitaly…

Was our Airbnb host a closet toreador?

2 June 2018 9:00 am

We were standing in the tiny hall: me, Catriona, Annette and her toy Yorkshire terrier, Ahmed. It was our first…

Catriona’s first bullfight – but would it be her last?

26 May 2018 9:00 am

Six Partido de Resina (formerly Pablo Romero) bulls for Rafaelillo, Thomas Dufau and Juan Leal. The first corrida of the…

Will LSD cure my Brexit obsession?

19 May 2018 9:00 am

An 87-year-old friend, a former doctor, has been urging me for some while to have a look at the latest…

The critics may have liked The Death of Stalin but the French certainly don’t

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Should I or shouldn’t I go and see The Death of Stalin, showing at the French village cinema last Sunday…

On giving and taking offence

5 May 2018 9:00 am

‘Slight prick,’ she said. The nurses all say that before they slide the needle in the upstanding vein in the…

Knife skills for eight-year-olds

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Pig’s trotters. Lamb’s feet stuffed with their brains. Flayed wild rabbits, all sinew, muscle and eyeballs. Nude chickens with flopping…

Brexit for eight-year-olds

21 April 2018 9:00 am

A week ago I plucked my eight-year-old grandson Oscar from the bosom of his rumbustious young family and took him…

I’ve developed a fascination for anti-terrorist security officers

14 April 2018 9:00 am

A pair of anti-terrorism officers watched us check through into the boarding lounge. They stood behind the easyJet woman and…

I try to cut the hypocrisy when speaking to my boy – but it’s tough sometimes

7 April 2018 9:00 am

My boy rang the other night. He said he and his wife had bought tickets to see Ed Sheeran at…

The black art of acting

31 March 2018 9:00 am

I go to the theatre but rarely because I am overpowered by even mediocre acting and find it exhausting. Theatre…

Has Provence cured my cancer?

24 March 2018 9:00 am

During the past three years I have spent quite a bit of time in a rented house in Provence. Volets…

Me, General de Gaulle and an elderly barbecued lesbian

17 March 2018 9:00 am

The flight from Gatwick to France was cancelled and there was no prospect of another for three days. Paddington station…

Was the easyJet representative a fascist?

10 March 2018 9:00 am

Earbuds in. Speed walking to Grant Lazlo’s ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’. A corridor, a left fork, a moving walkway,…

From the First Battle of Ypres to Brexit

3 March 2018 9:00 am

Poperinghe, Bailleul, Wytschaete, Gheluvelt, Ploegsteert, Messines, Zonnebeke, Passchendaele. The other week I grandiosely claimed that I have been reading about…

The vomit-cleaners of YouTube

24 February 2018 9:00 am

My hangover was what the great Kingsley Amis describes in his Everyday Drinking guide as a ‘metaphysical’ hangover. Apart from…

Even the BBC’s recipes are politically correct

17 February 2018 9:00 am

I’m cooking almost full-time for my poor old Mum and learning on the job: shepherd’s pie, roast pork, cauliflower cheese.…

Seeing Nelson in a new light

10 February 2018 9:00 am

I picked up my grandson from his mother’s flat and noticed the change in him the second I clapped eyes…

My Burns Night haircut

3 February 2018 9:00 am

At three o’clock I took half a bottle of Glenmorangie with me to Jimmy’s. That it was Burns Night, and…

Two documentaries have made me determined to visit America’s Deep South before I die

27 January 2018 9:00 am

‘ESTA refused,’ said the email from the official website of the US Department of Homeland Security. Franklin Roosevelt once said…