The Outsider’s Diary

Happy Places

'Glyndebourne - which can feel like travelling a very long way just for a picnic - is often filled for the second act by people taking themost expensive nap it is possible to take'

The Taboo of the Tombola

‘I wonder whether people would take Pastor Martin Niemöller's poem seriously in a version beginning "First they came for the tombola . . ."?'

A Sing-Song in Israel

"First Peres, then Netanyahu, and other Israeli leaders sing. They all have passably good voices-a nation in the strangest surroundings enjoying itself"

Changing the Conversation

‘Why can’t we alter the conversation on art from “But is it art?” to “Is it any good?”’

A Tear in our Culture

‘I have always held that everything to do with “interfaith dialogue” should be regarded with intense suspicion’

Delhi’s Delights

'To go without beer for a day is a small inconvenience which adds a suitable solemnity to the business of democracy'

Veil Uncovered

‘At the TV debate it was burkas and niqabs all round. It wasn’t easy when someone made a point because no one knew where to look’

Ennui Questions

'Rather than being "tired of war", more likely the American public is tired of not actually winning one for some time'

Kerry’s Carry-On

‘Why is John Kerry’s plane shuttling to Tel Aviv? The US is not even attempting to stop the killing in Syria or Egypt’

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"