On the Contrary

Easy Rider

'Since my return from Bali, I have experimented with an accommodative tranquillity on a bicycle that makes my journey not only more pleasant but probably safer'

Grammar and Genitals

'The fashionable claim that “God loves all her children” is simply ridiculous. Accepting there is one, God doesn’t have genitals'

All Must Have Prizes

‘Why not televise a Plumbing Booker — recognising the rare tradesman who puts in shower stalls that don’t leak?’

Puff Justice

‘Permitting cigarettes while cracking down on e-cigs is worse than barmy. It’s a violation of our civil rights’

Data Oversharing

'Whenever I buy something over the phone I am giving a total stranger the means to clean out my current account'

Self-Portrait of the Artist

‘I imagined that my having written a novel about weight and food issues meant that I owed journalists the lowdown on my private diet and exercise habits. Wrong’

The Beige of Beijing

‘When I asked my winsome Han tour guide what would happen when the skyscrapers collapsed, she said with cheerful gusto, “We’ll build them again!”’


‘In case some of you Europeans were getting hopeful, no, mainstream demography does not predict that Americans are on the brink of extinction’

UK to US: Butt Out

'Obama's attempt to discourage a British referendum on EU membership was old-style imperialism'

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"