Miriam Gross

Germany calling

"After only a few words, we were overcome by hilarity. Conversing in German seemed to us not only comical but also strangely liberating"

Remembering my friend Vidia Naipaul

‘The Vidia Naipaul I knew was friendly, warm-hearted (not quite the same as kind-hearted), curious, responsive, humorous (and able to laugh at himself), convivial, mischievous, never hypocritical’

Confessions of a Bourgeois Comrade

'I've come to the conclusion that revolution is something you can't make It's a happening rather than a planned operation and attempts to force it don't quite work out'

‘Over me my father’s shadow hovers’

In 1984, 17 years after defecting from the Soviet Union,  Stalin's daughter Svetlana agreed to give an interview for the Observer, explaining why she had become disillusioned with the West      

An Experimental Education

Dartington Hall's sense of community and lack of condescension towards its students made for a welcoming atmosphere. But its emphasis on child-led learning let its pupils down

A Jerusalem Childhood

'One of my most vivid memories, though, is the weekly visit from "the Arab with the eggs", as we called him. The arrival on our doorstep of this mysterious figure never failed to thrill and terrify me. There he would stand, wrapped from head to toe in layers of what looked like grey blankets, his swarthy face barely visible beneath his Arab headdress'

Your Call is Important to Us

This isn't just any bureaucracy, this is M&S bureaucracy: Miriam Gross was told by the high street giant that she needn't worry about her lost card. That's when she should have started worrying.

Pinter’s Paradise

A memory of the time Harold Pinter claimed that "cricket was better than sex"

The British Gas Man Cometh (Not)

Standpoint senior editor Miriam Gross tries seven times in vain to negotiate the hopeless beaurocracy of British Gas's customer service department

Waltz the Weight Away

British politicians anxious to combat juvenile obesity should learn from China, and rediscover an old dance

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"