My attempt at S&M was redolent of a botched postmortem - or a bout of bedroom fly-fishing
By Laurie Taylor - 01 May 13:00

"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.

Robin Cook's lies are worthy of David Irving, while the government perpetrates crimes against humanity
By John Pilger - 01 May 13:00

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.

The literary agent said I was spread too thinly and should concentrate on sex education
By Laurie Taylor - 24 April 13:00

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?

I didn't care about foxes being hunted until I learned that they crawl into drainage pipes to escape the dogs
By Sean French - 24 April 13:00

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.

We women, my Lady Jay, worry about more than our fat bums
By Cristina Odone - 24 April 13:00

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.

Cricketers must have known of the cheats for years
By Darcus Howe - 24 April 13:00

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?

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 24 April 13:00

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.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 17 April 13:00

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.

The point of low-powered committees is to make sure that no hard and fast rules are ever made
By Laurie Taylor - 17 April 13:00

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 am certainly not going to start saving for my funeral - I would rather have my corpse boiled down into glue
By Sean French - 17 April 13:00

I have to confess that I'm not someone who spends much time reading the personal finance pages of newspapers.

Farewell to the friend who once called me an idiot
By Darcus Howe - 17 April 13:00

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.

The New Statesman Profile - Peter Kilfoyle
By Steve Richards - 17 April 13:00

Once tipped as a future Chief Whip, he has become new Labour's "critical friend". But does he have a

You find irony everywhere these days. But I want irony that cares, passionate irony, Third Way irony
By Suzanne Moore - 10 April 13:00

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.

The Misses Bates of Hampstead showed a far-sighted approach to curing short-sightedness
By Laurie Taylor - 10 April 13:00

According to the young optometrist at the Oxford Street branch of Top Specs, something very significant has happened to my eyesight.

If Tony Blair really wants to wage a war against drugs, he should be seen with a spliff occasionally
By Sean French - 10 April 13:00

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

Fight for the future of Birmingham, or let the racists win
By Darcus Howe - 10 April 13:00

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.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 10 April 13:00

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.

My kids were called piccaninnies - by their granny
By Darcus Howe - 03 April 13:00

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.

Try as he might, Robin Cook cannot give credence to his vast lies - how does he explain away the deaths of 200 Iraqi children every day?
By John Pilger - 03 April 13:00

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.

With a zoom lens in the London Eye, your marital secrets could be subject to a podful of gossip
By Laurie Taylor - 03 April 13:00

"Something for you to write about," said Geoff, as our sealed glass pod soared high above the Thames on Sunday afternoon.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 03 April 13:00

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.

John Updike's son wrote just one novel: it must have been like firing a water pistol under the Niagara Falls
By Sean French - 03 April 13:00

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.

If high-flyers refuse to be mums, we shall rear mediocrities
By Cristina Odone - 03 April 13:00

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.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 27 March 13:00

New Labour's attitude towards the security services is puzzling. On the one hand, it pursues the MI5 renegade David Shayler with a vigour exceeding its prosecution of General Pinochet.

Welcome to the me-economy where ego is supreme
By Cristina Odone - 27 March 13:00

Budget time, and the living is easy. Or at least, the economy is doing very well indeed. Everywhere you look, there are freshly minted millionaires aged about 16, and - give or take a Rover or two - thriving businesses.

How the European God took disaster to Africa
By Darcus Howe - 27 March 13:00

The church of the Restoration of the Ten Commandments it is called, a consecrated building surrounded by banana farms, heads of cattle and schools for infants. It sits in the fertile savannahs of Uganda.

The New Statesman Profile - Imran Khan
By Rachel Halliburton - 27 March 13:00

He is an icon for the black community, but does he take too many risks in advancing the cause of ant

The joy of modern life is that you're only a call or an e-mail away from missing your friends
By Laurie Taylor - 27 March 13:00

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.

Summerhill has filled the powers that be with fear of naked feral children who never attend lessons
By Suzanne Moore - 27 March 13:00

"The absence of fear is the finest thing that can happen to a child." So said A S Neill, the founder of Summerhill. Neill the great educator had not reckoned with new Labour, SATs and performance-related pay for teachers.

Do those who enjoy unprotected sex also allow restaurants to serve them contaminated food?
By Sean French - 27 March 13:00

Nigel Wrench, one of the most famous news presenters on Radio 4, became HIV-positive in 1993 as a result of having sex on Hampstead Heath with a man who didn't want to use a condom.

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