Are Dobbo and Ken big enough for the city of Dickens?
By Darcus Howe - 13 March 12:00

I have in the past few days been pretty close to the mayoral argument. I chaired a meeting in east London only days after Frank Dobson was named the Labour Party candidate. He did not turn up and sent no apologies. Trevor Phillips, his running mate, replaced him.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 13 March 12:00

Tetchy Tony Blair is not solely motivated by a natural parental concern in his legal action to prevent the Mail on Sunday (or any other newspaper) printing revelations by the family's former nanny, Ros Mark. He is also worried about his image, and that of the First Lady, Cherie.

My clear-out last week may have accidentally created a glut in the academic text market
By Laurie Taylor - 13 March 12:00

I may have started a trend. In normal weeks this column hardly attracts a bulging postbag.

Laurel and Hardy in Spanish and French? Just try translating "Laughing Gravy" to get a laugh
By Sean French - 13 March 12:00

In one of his lifemanship books, Stephen Potter recommends that if the person next to you on a plane asks what you're reading, if you have a newspaper you should reply: "Do you read your press cuttings?" Or, if you have a book: "Proust. In Spanish. Much funnier."

The maiden aunt is free: that's the real triumph of feminism
By Cristina Odone - 13 March 12:00

"Women have settled for a fake equality instead of true liberation." Discuss. More than 500 women across the UK did, as part of a survey undertaken by Germaine Greer's publishing house, Anchor.

Mandelson turns the screw in new Labour's Medici court
By Cristina Odone - 06 March 12:00

The sound of Pavarotti being squeezed till his pips squeak bears little resemblance to the tenor's honey-toned arias.

Islands in the sun, where the treasuries are empty
By Darcus Howe - 06 March 12:00

I called the Foreign Office to ask whether Prince Charles's visit to the Caribbean was part of a new initiative by the British to rescue the region from the social and economic disaster in which several of the islands find themselves.

The New Statesman Profile - Caprice
By Jason Cowley - 06 March 12:00

She has turned her brightly packaged self into a corporate image fit for a king - or at least a prin

Forget books on shelves as status accessories. Only the insecure need to look "academic"
By Laurie Taylor - 06 March 12:00

Yesterday morning, three men in brown coats from London University called round to my flat, stacked 620 books into eight large boxes, and took the lot away to Senate House library for "sorting and disposal".

Sanctions on Iraq kill 200 children every day; bombing raids have cost the taxpayer £60 million. This is news
By John Pilger - 06 March 12:00

Last August, the defence minister John Spellar described the no-fly zones over Iraq as "international zones, designed by the international community". This is false.

Do drugs affect creativity? By two in the afternoon, I've drunk so much coffee that I can scarcely hit the keyboard
By Sean French - 06 March 12:00

Do you remember the ridiculous level of coverage when the last Oasis album came out? Newspapers were reviewing it on the front page, acclaiming it as a work of genius.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 06 March 12:00

A forthcoming book about the relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair will say, according to the Sunday Times, that the Chancellor shed "tears of anger and frustration" last year when Alastair Campbell described him as "psychologically flawed".

I'm being deprived of sleeping pills - yet another worry to keep me up all night
By Laurie Taylor - 28 February 12:00

My doctor has stopped the sleeping pills. When I called in to pick up a repeat prescription, I was ready for the usual cursory interview. "Still not sleeping too well?" "I'm afraid not." "Still kept awake by worries?" "That's right." "Any particular worries?" "Not really.

Since moving to the country, I've learnt that blackbirds are black and that robins have red breasts
By Sean French - 28 February 12:00

When I was younger, I would often arrive at the cinema after the film had begun. It didn't matter much, because when the film finished we would wait and watch the beginning of the film again until we reached a bit we recognised. You can't always do this nowadays.

I said the police were racist, and nearly went to jail
By Darcus Howe - 28 February 12:00

A young reporter from one of the broadsheets called. It was the first anniversary of Sir William Macpherson's report on the Stephen Lawrence case, and the reporter wanted to know if anything had changed over the past year.

I watched the tower block explode: a failed experiment in living went up in a cloud of smoke
By Suzanne Moore - 28 February 12:00

An explosion on a sunny Sunday morning is just what you need. There was to be a "controlled demolition" near where I live. A block of flats was to be blown up. I thought we might even go en famille - though this proved too much for my teenage daughter.

A little suckling baby pig it might have been, but eating it felt so liberating
By Laurie Taylor - 21 February 12:00

Over the years I've had what can only be regarded as more than my fair share of trouble with suckling pigs. When I first landed in Madrid with Ruth in the early 1980s, I had no idea that they were likely to feature on the average menu, let alone come to dominate our entire interpersonal agenda.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 21 February 12:00

Much bleating at Westminster over the funding of political parties, which new Labour says it is determined to bring under public scrutiny and control. And fine words they are.

There is a word to describe the Dome, beginning with c and ending with p. And it isn't "cheap"
By Sean French - 21 February 12:00

Let nobody deny that there are any stunning experiences at the Millennium Dome. This week, I walked across the almost deserted forecourt and found a ticket booth: "One adult, one 12 year old and one six year old, please," I said. "That'll be fifty-three pounds," the man in the booth replied.

Why all good republicans should cheer the victory of OK!
By Cristina Odone - 21 February 12:00

The Archduke of Marzipan, the Count of Westphalianham and other obscure mittel-European royals must be choking on their caviar and gagging on their champagne. Some have probably even taken to wearing black arm-bands. The reason for their distress?

My friend BW, killed by the NHS internal market
By Darcus Howe - 21 February 12:00

The state of the National Health Service is largely discussed in terms of waiting lists, availability of beds, epidemics here and there, public-spending cuts and the like.

Jack Straw would make a fine interior minister in Singapore, the land of "happy-face fascism"
By John Pilger - 21 February 12:00

When the Austrian neo-fascist Jorg Haider pointed out that his political programme closely matched that of the Blair project, his comments were lost in the heady news that Prince Charles would cancel a visit to Austria.

Now Uncle Tom looks like a militant terrorist
By Darcus Howe - 14 February 12:00

In all the years I have been active on race relations issues, I have never heard of Raj Chandran. Yet he is apparently the longest-serving member of the governing body of the Commission for Racial Equality.

The New Statesman Profile - Martine Aubry
By David Lawday - 14 February 12:00

She brought the 35-hour week to France, a reform of global reach. But is she a visionary or a bully?

Despite my flabby arse and potbelly, Carl Jung would have marvelled at my powerful front crawl
By Laurie Taylor - 14 February 12:00

It's a slovenly New Year's resolution that only kicks in half way through February, but the sight of my brand new Speedo goggles hanging from a kitchen hook provides comforting evidence whenever I'm brewing up that I have finally turned my fitness aspirations for the new millennium into aquatic

The Americans fight their culture wars over abortion; the British fight over buggery
By Suzanne Moore - 14 February 12:00

So they've done it then, the Lords have seen off the buggers!

Greene would finish writing before the morning had even begun; I have to beat the score on my Gameboy
By Sean French - 14 February 12:00

Each week, the Times book pages feature a regular item on "How I Write" in which someone with a new book out describes whether they use a pencil or a word processor.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 14 February 12:00

Alun Michael, the beleaguered bardic premier, should have remembered that if a week is a long time in politics, six years is not. Mr Charisma has got into difficulties as First Person of Wales largely because he cannot get Treasury funding for his Welsh Budget.

See what wonders a puce-faced minister will perform
By Cristina Odone - 14 February 12:00

Let's hear it for the choco-terrorist, the bosomy blonde Birgit who, with a little help from her friend Max Clifford, spread an eclair across Nick Brown's face and herself across the front page of every national newspaper.

Were Lego bricks, with those silly great towers, really the best the 20th century could do in the way of toys?
By Sean French - 07 February 12:00

This week I discovered that there is something called the British Association of Toy Retailers. It even has a boring name. Why couldn't it be called the British Association of Toy Sellers? Then it could be known as BATS. That would be a bit funnier.