Charity balls

Something strange has happened in the world of charity fund-raising. It’s what Malcolm Gladwell calls a tipping point, and what…

The great divide

Last year my wife Holly and I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, a stunning colonial town nestled in the Shenandoah mountains.…

What’s not to Leica?

Just off Oxford Street, there is a dusty little camera shop. At first glance, you would think it had been…

Vice Versa

Do you remember buying a newspaper for the first time? It’s a big deal, a conscious decision to grow up…

nightclubs

Export strength

‘Nightclubs, if they are run badly, can attract the worst of the worst,’ says Guy Pelly sagely. Pelly became famous…

Neighbourhood Watch

The terrific 1958 Peter Sellers skit ‘Balham, Gateway to the South’, written by Frank Muir and Denis Norden, has lost…

Masters at work

The apprentice is back! No, not another series of the transatlantic TV show starring blowhards with bad hair, but the…

Arcade games

Art dealer John Martin folds up his bicycle and puts it behind the desk of his Mayfair gallery, a haven…

Angel blue

Angel Blue has got a sensational story. A lot of the people we feature on the South Bank Show are not…

Any colour you like

Without bad taste there would be no good taste, so thank God we don’t all like the same thing. The…

Bore street

I blame Tom Wolfe. Reading the Man in the White Suit’s epic 1980s boom-and-bust novel The Bonfire of the Vanities…

Oscar and the oppressors

As the host Ellen DeGeneres joked at the Academy Awards, there were two outcomes that night: ‘Possibility number one: 12…

Family cases

Many men really can only communicate through sport. It provides a ritualised way to argue, to become passionate and to…

One to Watch: Nickolas Butler

I took Shotgun Lovesongs with me to Florida after the Oscars last year, with no intention of actually reading it.…

Knickers for the lady

Often when a relationship is over we are left with little tangible to remember it by. Few young people I…

One to Watch: Lara Pulver

I first met Lara on video, and Mark Gatiss thought she was naked. It sounds worse than it was. This…

Alpha rising

When the announcement was made that Justin Welby, a disciple of the Alpha course, was to become the 105th Archbishop…

Soul on ice

I am following Ben Saunders into Scott’s Hut, the hut on Ross Island in Antarctica, the hut to which the…

Dangerous games

Egyptian croquet players are an indomitable bunch. Interrupt their game with a flurry of tear-gas canisters and they’ll halt proceedings…

Five-star schools

There are several ways to measure the scale of the cultural changes in the English private school of the last…

Stealth and privilege

These must be strange times for Eton. You spend centuries building a reputation as the school for the nation’s elite,…

A cool glass

Red-faced, plummy-voiced, with a big nose, the wine snob is a familiar social stereotype. He might laugh at you at a…

Socialist climbing

Not a day goes by without some second-tier shadow minister squawking about the ‘cabinet of millionaires’. Under the new politics…

How high?

The Square Mile is turning cubic. The sky above London’s financial district has already been scraped by Tower 42, the…

Reinventing the wheel

Until recently, leaving a big London party or a Mayfair club at closing time meant joining a forest of waving…