Why is it that people no longer suffer from cancer, but always "fight" or "do battle" with it?
By Sean French - 18 September 13:00

I am addicted to reading obituaries. I don't want to sound like a complete and utter bastard, but just once I would like to read one that ends: "During his long final illness, he was self-pitying and cowardly, insatiable in the demands he made on those around him." I know I would be.

If we all spit together, then we are all socially included
By Cristina Odone - 18 September 13:00

I am walking down the street and I pass a woman in a flowery dress, mouth stuck to an Evian water bottle. She bounces along, and some of the water spills down her chin. We stop at a pedestrian crossing and I spot a little saliva trickling out of the side of her mouth.

Britain is recolonising Sierra Leone in an attempt to get its hands on the country's diamonds
By John Pilger - 18 September 13:00

The ITN reporter in Sierra Leone described the killing by British troops of 25 Africans in their own country as a fine operation, an unqualified success. The rejoicing consumed the British media, which featured a coy appearance by paratroopers who had taken part in the massacre.

It seems to have slipped out that Mo Mowlam's favourite record used to be "Chuck E's in Love"
By Laurie Taylor - 18 September 13:00

It was a typical enough Sunday morning: six of us sitting around in Geoff's backyard, reading our way through a mound of morning papers and trying to outdo each other's moans of exasperation.

A carnival that rips off the public and whips up hysteria
By Darcus Howe - 11 September 13:00

What has happened over the Notting Hill Carnival, I think, is that an old script has been discovered in the archives, dusted down and presented as original thought.

By a vote of five to two, we agreed to exclude the Christian from our fortnightly dining club
By Laurie Taylor - 11 September 13:00

Sarah has let us all down. Only a week after we had agreed that she would be a valuable member of our fortnightly dining club, she turned up at our planning meeting in The George and casually announced that she had decided to become a Christian.

When a man's genitals are bitten off by a pit bull, can anything be retrieved that's worth sewing back on?
By Sean French - 11 September 13:00

Anthony Lane wrote in the New Yorker that the moment he heard that Speed was about a bus with a bomb on board which would go off if it dropped below 50 miles an hour, he gave an anticipatory grin. Some ideas are like that.

Now only Clare Short stands out from a grey Cabinet
By Cristina Odone - 11 September 13:00

And then there was one. With Mo Mowlam announcing that she will step down as an MP at the next election, only Clare Short is left to stand out from the greyness that is the new Labour Cabinet.

I've enjoyed intimate relationships with Veronica Lake, Leslie Caron and a Charlie's Angel
By Laurie Taylor - 04 September 13:00

For some time now, Stewart Hickman has been gripped by the absurd belief that he bears an uncanny resemblance to Harold Pinter.

The New Statesman Profile - the hacker
By Richard Adams - 04 September 13:00

He may be a white hat, a black hat, a phreaker or a script kiddie. But is he just a vandal, or is he

Where the Asians and Caribbeans now wage bloody war
By Darcus Howe - 04 September 13:00

Last week, I mentioned that relations between Asians and blacks in Bradford were at a rather low ebb. In fact, it is much worse than that. There is much blood on the carpet. A group of Asians executed a black man: shot him and slung his body in a river, I hear.

US and British officials told us that at least 100,000 were murdered in Kosovo. A year later, fewer than 3,000 bodies have been found
By John Pilger - 04 September 13:00

After more than a year, the silence of those who wrote and broadcast the propaganda for Nato's "humanitarian war" over Kosovo remains unbroken: they who answered the Prime Minister's call to join "a great moral crusade" against a regime that was "set on a Hitler-style genocide equivalent to the

Even after 3,000 hours of French tuition, I can't order the right amount of cheese
By Laurie Taylor - 28 August 13:00

After roughly 3,000 hours of intense tuition in such diverse pedagogic settings as a secondary school in Liverpool, evening classes at the City Lit and conversational practice with Martine in the privacy of my own home, I am now more or less able to make myself understood at the cheese counter o

Solidarity based on race is on the retreat, Trev
By Darcus Howe - 28 August 13:00

Dr Tony Sewell has concluded that "black culture", whatever that is, prevents young black men from succeeding in education. The good doctor is employed as a commentator by Choice FM.

Colour should not obfuscate issues of policing
By Darcus Howe - 21 August 13:00

I wrote a few weeks ago that I had been invited to the farewell party for Chief Inspector Dalton ("Mack") McConnie, the resigning police liaison officer for Lambeth - which includes that insurrectionary turf, Brixton.

The New Statesman Profile - IPPR
By Nick Cohen - 21 August 13:00

What real influence does the voice of the centre left and Labour's favourite think-tank wield? The I

Carol has been in therapy ever since she found her husband in women's clothing
By Laurie Taylor - 21 August 13:00

I don't know how many of you were in therapy ten years ago, but those who were might remember a projective technique called "Who Am I?".

The pathetic thing about Hague's story is not the 14 pints, but the impulse behind telling it
By Sean French - 21 August 13:00

Normally when people come back from holiday in the middle of August and ask if anything interesting has happened while they have been away, if anyone famous has died, it is difficult to think of anything apart from crop circles.

The New Statesman Profile - Swindon
By Judy Jones - 14 August 13:00

A wannabe city full of company headquarters and shopping malls, but with no cathedral or university.

To get the job, I just have to remember which side of the table I'm sitting on
By Laurie Taylor - 14 August 13:00

I'm due to be interviewed for a new post next Thursday.

No novel, not even Anna Karenina or A la recherche du temps perdu, is ever as good as the one in your head
By Sean French - 14 August 13:00

A new biography of Edmund White, which has just been published, reveals that he works for only one hour a day. Bastard. Graham Greene used to write exactly 300 words every day. When he had reached 300, he just stopped, even if he was in the middle of a sentence.

Brixton: home to summer leagues and guns
By Darcus Howe - 14 August 13:00

There are mixed signals coming through the summer heat in Brixton. A fortnight ago, a young man in hot pursuit of another fired a volley of bullets into a crowd queuing to get into a club on Peckham High Street.

Labour claims its actions are lawful while it bombs Iraq, starves its people and sells arms to corrupt states
By John Pilger - 07 August 13:00

''All governments are liars," wrote the great American muckraker I F Stone, "and nothing they say should be believed." He exaggerated, although not by much.

A pane of glass separated my feverishly erotic video from the courtyard wedding
By Laurie Taylor - 07 August 13:00

The receptionist at my Amsterdam hotel had clearly graduated in catering studies with at least an Upper Second.

My iMac is a beautiful object, but it should be beaten and scratched until it begs for mercy
By Sean French - 07 August 13:00

In December 1899, Rudyard Kipling decided he needed his own car, so he hired one. It cost three and a half guineas a week.

Caribbean news gets more ghastly by the week
By Darcus Howe - 07 August 13:00

Channel 4's Caribbean Summer season hit the broadcasting world with a bang, woven as it is around the Test cricket series between England and the West Indies.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 31 July 13:00

The exigencies of column-writing being as they are, this is the last time I shall bring you gossip from Westminster until late September, when the party conference season will be upon us. Even that isn't the same. Both the Labour and TUC conferences are wrapping up a day early.

Dress up as an accident victim and you can have an excellent conversationabout a new library
By Laurie Taylor - 31 July 13:00

It was the great Cynthia Payne who once memorably observed that it was impossible to get any sense out of men until they had been "de-spunked".

Did you think the band 10cc were named after an ejaculation of semen? The truth is on the internet
By Sean French - 31 July 13:00

In last week's diary, I narrowly avoided making a fool of myself - all right, all right, a fool of myself again. At the very last minute, I was alerted that the transcript of obscene out-takes from Have I Got News For You was actually a fake.

Staines is in Middlesex, but really it's just like Brixton
By Darcus Howe - 31 July 13:00

A committed conservationist, Barbara Hunt, accused her local council, Spelthorne Council, in Staines, Middlesex, of transforming one of the town's main streets into a "messy" Brixton. She describes her area thus: "[Like Brixton] the town centre has become very run-down.