Modern manners

The internet’s war on free speech

14 May 2016 9:00 am

The dream of internet freedom has died. What a dream it was. Twenty years ago, nerdy libertarians hailed the web…

Confess your guilty displeasures

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Strawberries. Ella Fitzgerald. Lying on the beach. They’re three of my ‘guilty displeasures’. You haven’t heard of the guilty displeasure?…

The slow (and ignominious) death of the British funeral

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Funerals ain’t what they used to be. Today’s emphasis is more on celebrating a life past than honouring the future…

Dear Mary: When I woke up at 3 a.m., my dinner party guests hadn’t gone

14 May 2016 9:00 am

How do you persuade your pleasant dinner guests to go home when they will stay into the early hours if…

The horrors of Soho House’s country outpost

14 May 2016 9:00 am

It is summer and the listless metropolitan thinks of grass. It cannot afford to stay at Durslade Farmhouse, Somerset, a…

Cycling in Lycra is bad for the soul

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Spring is here and the air is alive with the sound of sweaty manmade materials rubbing together, as middle-aged cyclists…

Making friends with the axeman next door

7 May 2016 9:00 am

When I moved to London, my husband Henry gave me a copy of Kate Fox’s Watching the English: The Hidden…

Why it makes sense to buy your banker lunch

7 May 2016 9:00 am

We recently moved -offices from Canary Wharf to Blackfriars bridge. When you move after a long time in one place,…

Is my plant Pinterest-ready?

It started with a cardboard box: discovering the joys of indoor gardening

30 April 2016 9:00 am

A year or so ago, I inherited a cardboard box filled with plants. It was an offshoot from an enormous…

How baby names got so weird

23 April 2016 9:00 am

You have to pity the Welsh woman who was last week prevented by the Court of Appeal from naming her…

It’s not work that’s stressful. It’s offices

23 April 2016 9:00 am

In the 1920s, the anthropologist Margaret Mead studied the people of New Guinea. She noticed that they hunted birds and…

It starts with tidying your sock drawer. It ends with emptying your mind

16 April 2016 9:00 am

How clean are you? I ask not as a mother confessor. I’m not interested in the state of your soul.…

An old man’s guide to living dangerously

9 April 2016 9:00 am

As an old man, well past my Biblical sell-by date, I cannot for the life of me understand why increased…

Dear Mary: How can I make a conversation-stopping gaffe go away?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. What should a host do when a guest says something so embarrassing in front of the assembled company that…

I have seen the future, and it’s a racist, filthy-mouthed teenage robot

2 April 2016 9:00 am

‘I’m a nice person,’ said the robot. ‘I just hate everybody.’ Maybe you know the feeling. The robot in question…

What I’ve learned reciting poems in the street

2 April 2016 9:00 am

It was past midnight in Norwich. There was a keen wind rifling up London Street. It was dark and it…

Confessions of a Saga lout

2 April 2016 9:00 am

It’s chucking-out time at my local pub, and the high street is full of idiots. They’ve all had a lot…

Your guide to the coming moth invasion

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Last month a friend invited me to lunch at the Garrick Club. As an impoverished writer, I don’t get many…

Would you like to buy an American’s vote?

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Killing time in a Heathrow first-class lounge, I notice how many men adopt an unmistakable ‘first-class lounge’ persona. They stand…

Why Britain (and Europe) depends on migrants

26 March 2016 9:00 am

This is perhaps not the best moment in history to extol migrants from the developing world or Eastern Europe, but…

Dull hipsters in broad daylight – why I’m done with today’s dance music

19 March 2016 9:00 am

At 19, I dropped out of university to pursue a career as a rave promoter. I went into business with…

The most annoying word in advertising

5 March 2016 9:00 am

It used to be ‘Your M&S’. That was presumptuous enough. Now, when you drive past Earls Court exhibition hall, pathetically…

Ancient Roman advice on how to deal with bouncers

27 February 2016 9:00 am

The papers are full of top stories about important people who cannot get into important parties because the doorman does…

The sad decline of the teenage snog

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Sometimes I sit my nieces down and treat them to tales of dating in the dark ages, before iPhones arrived…

Does creaky voice make you a female yuppie – or an updated Vicki Pollard?

20 February 2016 9:00 am

My husband, not surprisingly, finds it extremely annoying. It, in this instance, is the use by women of creaky voice.…