Don’t reach for the stars

‘Meeting Kylie at her intimate gig,’ runs the Mastercard ad. ‘Priceless.’ Wrong: vaguely unfulfilling. And that’s at best. At worst…

Left: Lod floor mosaic, late 3rd century. Centre: plaster bust of Alexander Pope by Louis-François Roubiliac, c. 1760. Right: Jewish embroideries c. 1700

Full house

At the heart of a turreted manor in Buckinghamshire, the young man sits alone, concentrating on building his house of cards.…

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Belle Fleur

Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s first glimpse of her character in the British film Belle came on a postcard. It was of a…

The Rooftop Film Club on top of the Bussey Building in Peckham

Moving pictures

For a little while in the middle of the last decade, I was proud to be able to call myself…

Peaches Geldof

Peaches and me

One of the first things I told her was that I knew very little of her back story, and Peaches…

Trouble Building

On the first-floor landing of my new house stood Martin the structural engineer, giving an inch-wide crack the sort of…

Perfectly Suited

The last time I had seen Peter Mandelson had been at a dinner given by Evgeny Lebedev. This was at…

Out & About

1. Fera, Mayfair Fera, designed by Guy Oliver, is Claridge’s star vehicle for Michelin-starred Simon Rogan. The name means ‘wild’…

The Wish List

Clockwise from left: Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio, £6,800, Panerai; Grande Seconde SW Acier, £11,600, Jaquet Droz; Annual…

Dancing on the edge

Mikhail Baryshnikov is annoyed with himself. When we meet, it’s at the world premiere of his play The Old Woman,…

Hot Scots

Rose Leslie Though the housemaid she played in Downton Abbey left to become a secretary during the first series, Rose…

‘Sometimes I think I must have done a deal with the devil’

In Page Eight, the sophisticated 2011 spy drama written by David Hare, the MI5 agent Johnny Worricker — played by…

Life cycle

‘As a heads up,’ says Sir Chris Hoy’s PR lady in that breezy-yet-bossy voice that is public relations, ‘Chris doesn’t…

Escape from deco hell

When the ceiling in our sitting room fell down last month, we descended with the thudding plaster and the lathe…

Maker’s marques

Back in the pre-war era, cars were invariably bought in the form of a naked chassis for which a specialist…

The art of war

In November 1943, when it looked like London was going to be subjected to a new aerial barrage from Nazi…

The monuments man

Grant Heslov, the screenwriter and producer of the monuments men, talks to Olivia Cole about the way he writes screenplays…

Back to bespoke

Did you know we were in the middle of another industrial revolution? Perhaps, like me, you’ve been too busy fretting…

Smoke rings

Despite the draconian smoking bans which have come in across Europe over the last decade or so, cigar smoking is…

Small audio dynamite

Not long ago, the Fawn came about as close as she ever has done to crossing the red line marked…

Clothes force

Like many men, I’ve never got used to the idea that Mother doesn’t dress me any more. I tried in my…

Dream machine

The fear began as soon as my bum settled into the leather seat. It rose from my foot to my…

Clockwork culture

The watch world’s enthusiasm for selling products by linking them with dangerous sports is well known — diving, driving, flying,…

Hands on

Ewan McGregor caught the tinkering bug from his grandfathers. One of them, on his father’s side, was a motoring obsessive…

Striking again

In a studio above the Clink prison museum near London Bridge, Richard -Hoptroff shows me his latest invention: the world’s…