I'm increasingly concerned about my callous attitude towards other people's avowed depression.
Normally, I would hesitate to make assumptions about an election that takes place the day after the NS goes to press. But I think I can safely predict that, after the votes are counted, Frank Dobson will be in need of a job.
Authoritative and avuncular, he was a symbol of a society at ease with itself - and the public can't
"We've recently tried a spot of S&M," said Mark with a sweep of the hand, which suggested that he'd been testing a new carpet cleaner rather than pushing back the barriers of erotic love. "Did it work?" wondered Claire. "It certainly freshened things up," Mark told us.
The Foreign Office continues to send out its standard dissembling letter on Iraq. Dozens of copies have been forwarded to me by members of the public bemused or angered by the contempt in which they are clearly held by the civil servants responsible.
Did you see the recent advertising campaign for IKEA which was based on the slogan, "Don't be so English"? What must have been especially galling for many people was that this slightly dismissive exhortation was coming not from Americans or Italians but from a Swedish company.
"How little things can make a big difference." This is the subtitle to the clever new bestseller across the Atlantic, The Tipping Point.
I attended the funeral of a very dear friend a few days ago. He had just turned 62, and had spent all his working life at British Rail and the Ford Motor Company.
Two huge moments in the history of the game of cricket. The first was charged with wonderful moments and democratic elegance: the choice, by a multinational panel, of five of the greatest cricketers to grace the game over the millennium. Perhaps there was surreptitious betting. Who cares?
A confidential document, inviting bids from public relations agencies to put the Tory case in the run-up to the general election, offers some fascinating sidelights. To begin with, it tells us who runs the show: the seven samurai.
An enormously enthusiastic man called Norman rings up out of the blue on Thursday morning to say that he'd rather like to be my agent. He tells me briefly that he is a new person "on the block" and has decided to specialise in "talent potential". Do I have an agent at the moment?
The other day, a hunt rode past our garden. Such a sight - the flash of a scarlet coat, the thumping of hooves, the barking of the pack, the blast of the hunting horn, the cries of "View Haloo" - is supposed to provoke one of two responses.
In one of those seemingly off-the-cuff remarks he's so brilliant at, Tony Blair told someone on the tube that he was hoping for a baby girl - because he found girls easier.
Bernard Montgomery Grant shall not pass this way again. I am not in the business of obituaries, simply a summary of his rather short life. I knew Bernie only in passing, but I was aware of the tremendous impact he had on the black and Asian movement for change.
Once tipped as a future Chief Whip, he has become new Labour's "critical friend". But does he have a
Filming of Alastair: the movie has begun, and the impact on Westminster journalists is wonderful to behold. The cameras went into No 10 for the daily lobby briefing, which therefore lasted much longer than usual.
Mike Nesbitt rings to ask if I'd like to join a new committee that will shortly begin a two-year investigation into the impact of online learning on higher education. My duties wouldn't take up more than two days a month, and there'd be a token honorarium of £60 for each meeting.
I have to confess that I'm not someone who spends much time reading the personal finance pages of newspapers.
Birmingham seems to be hotting up, bubbling and backfiring. First, there was the vicious attack in that city on Chris Cotter, the white boyfriend of the black athlete Ashia Hansen. His enemies attempted to scalp him, Geronimo-style.
Those who know more about these things than I do, a bafflingly large majority, say there is a deep-laid plot to ensure that Gordon Brown never becomes leader of the Labour Party and prime minister of his country.
Ironically, it was someone on this very magazine who told me once that I must never use the word "ironically" in my copy. It was bad style, mostly meaningless, unnecessary, cliched and one of the words that he thought should be banned.
According to the young optometrist at the Oxford Street branch of Top Specs, something very significant has happened to my eyesight.
Alongside my fear of suddenly finding myself on stage in the middle of a play and not knowing my lines, I have another fear: of being rung up by somebody compiling one of those questionnaires about "my cultural life" or "what I wish I'd known when I was 17" which appear in newspapers and magazin
So now, Stanley Kubrick being dead, A Clockwork Orange has been finally re-released, without much fuss and without gangs of youths beating people to death in the streets - or, at least, no more than usual.
The Family Policy Studies Centre has come up with its very own bouquet for Mothering Sunday: a study that finds marriage has never been so unfashionable, or motherhood so unappealing. The statistics are dire.
On 26 March, the Observer, in the wake of the racist attack on the British athlete Ashia Hansen and her partner, published an article written by Richard Ellis, a white English journalist. Ellis has been married to a black woman for the past 15 years.
The facts of Iraq's epic suffering are now unassailable. The latest report by Unicef says that half a million young children have died in eight years of economic sanctions. That represents almost 200 deaths every day.
"Something for you to write about," said Geoff, as our sealed glass pod soared high above the Thames on Sunday afternoon.
It's all very well for Tony Blair to keep the punters guessing about whether he will take his statutory paternity leave, but everybody at Westminster knows what will happen. He will have his cake and eat it - as usual.
Geoff rings on his mobile at half-past eleven on Tuesday morning to tell me that he's in Oxford Street. This is not altogether sensational news, in that he lives just off Marylebone High Street and so has only to take a three-minute walk to accomplish such a feat.