Old hat: A dinner suit for hire. Photo: Flickr/faungg
Ed Smith: Black tie used to be about dressing up, now it’s a precursor to throwing up
By Ed Smith - 22 December 15:47

Black tie is still a code, of course, but not really a dress code. It is code language. It shouts to the sober world: we are on a serious bender here, so give us a wide berth.

Light in the darkness: a woman lights a candle at church in Istanbul, Christmas Eve 2013. Photo: Getty
Reverend Richard Coles: Despite the relentless consumerism, Christmas still has the power to give us hope
By Richard Coles - 22 December 12:54

In spite of retail frenzy, the gratuitous use of glitter and our attempts to reconcile irreconcilable family, we perceive in the darkness a light shining, tiny and vulnerable but inextinguishable.

Christmas, of course, is a time for giving. Photo: Getty
Knitted dishrags and runner beans – just some of the presents bestowed upon your doctor
By Phil Whitaker - 19 December 17:28

Christmas, of course, is a time for giving, and from early December gifts start to come in from patients.

I am in love with Jeffrey Schlupp. I like writing his name down. Photo: Getty
Hunter Davies’ Half-Season Awards
By Hunter Davies - 19 December 11:52

Cheer up, Stevie! Go, Schlupp! And Pearson, don’t come down from the stands.

A bit of Kinnock at Christmas. Photo: Getty
Christmas dinner comes early this year, with goulash, Kinnock and serious plotting
By Nick Lezard - 19 December 11:46

Everything went a bit hazy after that. It had got a bit hazy before, to be perfectly honest, because I had drunk about six bottles of wine and several shot glasses of slivovitz.

Will Self and Nick Lezard by Jackson Rees.
Will Self: I couldn’t believe the Hovel was as bad as Nick Lezard makes out, so I went to see it
By Will Self - 19 December 11:27

From without in the chilly night, the Hovel – which is a maisonette above a shop – looked cosy; I could see lamplight and books ranged on shelves.

Oscar Wilde in c1884. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
It’s quite hard to be witty when a man with a tin of beans is calling you a “dyke”
By Eleanor Margolis - 17 December 9:31

It’s unfair that, when we come under attack for our sexuality, gender or race, we expect ourselves to immediately develop the stoicism of Marcus Aurelius, the eloquence of Eleanor Roosevelt and the wit of Oscar Wilde.

© Luke Evans
Colour to dye for: how much do we really know about the risks of colouring our hair?
By Rebecca Guenard - 16 December 12:14

The basic chemistry of hair dyes has changed little over the last century, but what do we know about the risks of colouring our hair, and why do we do it?

In defence of the Cereal Killer café: why lazy hipster-bashing won't solve inequality
By Anoosh Chakelian - 12 December 11:54

Why outrage at the Shoreditch café controversially serving pricey bowls of cereal is misplaced.

Andre Agassi. Photo: Getty
Ed Smith: for some coaches it’s not about improving sporting skills but about moulding people
By Ed Smith - 11 December 10:28

Many high achievers, across all disciplines, have troubled and complex relationships with people who pushed them. I would like to pretend that psychological bullying never works, but clearly it can.

Thanksgiving on the USS Cole. Photo: Getty
Nicholas Lezard: carrying a half-roasted turkey to Finchley on the Tube is an eccentricity too far
By Nicholas Lezard - 11 December 10:18

Why, oh, why, I howl to myself and to the stars, did I ever learn to cook?

This is the first generation to go through adolescence online. Photo: Getty
The two women teaching boys about sexting, porn and laddism
By Sophie McBain - 11 December 9:54

“You sit teenage boys in a room with two sassy New Yorkers and you talk about hardcore pornography, sexting and age of consent and what you can get away with – and they pay attention.”

Tristram Hunt. Photo: Getty
On schools, Labour finally addresses the 7 per cent problem
By George Kynaston - 11 December 9:52

It is a fallacy that attention to the private-school question will distract from improving state education. For 70 years this has been a tired excuse to avoid a difficult problem. 

Players in Victoria put out their bats in tribute to Phillip Hughes. Photo: Getty
SB Tang on Phillip Hughes: The nation mourns a cricket hero
By S B Tang - 11 December 9:32

He was, as we say in Australia, just a really good bloke. 

 

Bacon, the answer to hangovers. Photo: Getty Images
Felicity Cloake: Hangover cures shouldn’t involve further suffering
By Felicity Cloake - 11 December 9:12

In the spirit of festive generosity I would like to offer a helping hand when it comes to surviving the onslaught of hot plonk. Here, food, as in so many situations, is your friend.

The longest yard: Vinnie Jones. Photo: BT Sport
Vinnie Jones: “I speak to kids today and I’m not a footballer, I’m a film star”
By Cameron Sharpe - 10 December 17:53

As Vinnie Jones embarks on his sixth decade, he reflects on the biggest day of his career, his battle with alcohol and why his wife has to stop him calling Massimo Cellino.

A woman at the Hipster Olympics in 2012. Photo: Getty
From foodies to fashionistas, we are so busy trying to be authentic that we often forget to be real
By Ed Smith - 10 December 14:32

Anyone genuinely interested in authenticity must feel like a lifelong yoga devotee now observing the ghastly fad for trite books about “mindfulness”.

Fans await the arrival of William and Kate in New York. Photo: Getty
I’ll never understand why people scream on catching sight of the royal family
By Eleanor Margolis - 10 December 12:28

It seems that today’s screaming fans are more extreme than ever.

Liverpool supporters protest about ticket prices during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Hull City at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, northwest England, on October 25, 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Premier League clubs are less and less able to ignore fan discontent over ticket prices
By Martin Cloake - 05 December 17:33

There are tentative signs that Premier League clubs are starting to take fan campaigns against high ticket prices more seriously.

Carriers: mosquitoes at the Oswaldo Cruz foundation in Rio de Janeiro, on 2 October. Photo: Getty
I’d never heard of “chicken unga fever”. Had a new kind of bird flu hit Britain?
By Phil Whitaker - 05 December 16:59

Dr Phil Whitaker’s Health Matters column. 

Photo: Nan Palmero/Flickr
All my life, people have shouted, “Cheer up!” at me, but I was born with a glum face
By Tracey Thorn - 04 December 16:23

In the recent viral video footage of a woman being repeatedly catcalled as she walks around New York, the first comments we hear addressed to her are: “Smile! SMILE!” It’s an order, an expectation.

A restaurant in central London. Photo: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images
If you want to know how socially conservative Britain still is, go to a restaurant
By Eleanor Margolis - 04 December 10:28

Lesbians have been asked not to kiss because “this is a family restaurant”, and a woman having afternoon tea at Claridge’s was told that she wasn’t allowed to breastfeed her baby. We aren’t always as liberal as we think.

An anti-abortion protestor in Belfast in 2012. Photo: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty
It’s time Northern Ireland put an end to the climate of fear around abortion
By Grainne Teggart - 28 November 11:40

The proposal to impose ten-year jail sentences on any woman who has an abortion in a non-NHS clinic in Northern Ireland would plunge women’s rights into the dark ages.

Footballer Gavin Swankie (left), just one of the players whose every goal is recorded by the Whitehall fan. Photo: Getty Images
Who's the Whitehall civil servant spending hours each week editing footballers' Wikipedia pages?
By Ian Steadman - 27 November 15:59

Someone, somewhere in government, is spending a considerable amount of time keeping Wikipedia's entries on Scottish football up-to-date.

Gravy train: Fifa president Sepp Blatter on the pitch with a Saudi official in Riyadh. Photo: Getty
It is time to clean up the beautiful game
By Jon Holmes - 27 November 10:00

In recent days, Fifa seems to have plumbed new depths of almost comic-book villainy.

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