My own feeling was that the stifling weather and the rather modest status of the speaker would keep the numbers down, so it was heartening to walk into the upstairs function room at the Marquis of Cornwallis last Monday and discover more than a dozen people already assembled for the first meetin
Is there something about becoming middle-aged that makes you - me, that is - cry more? I don't mean that I break down in the street or when people shout at me down the phone. That's one of the great benefits of being a freelance writer, sitting alone at home.
Following the election of Tony Blair, British liberalism's leading journalists were, it is fair to say, beside themselves.
It is difficult to keep up with the rapid degeneration of Caribbean society into the most appalling violence. I wrote here some time ago of a friend and colleague. Tim Hector is his name.
He is Norman Mailer's white negro: hip, materialist and a guru to poor youngsters. Tim Westwood prof
A strange and unnerving phenomenon is occurring all around us, something that no soothsayer ever predicted. It is eclipse snobbery.
Drifting, mid-morning, through the hurly-burly of Brixton recently, I was disturbed by high-pitched voices spouting rhetoric about guns. The statue of Henry Tate, the sugar baron of the Caribbean plantation, dominated the space outside the Ritzy cinema, where a meeting was taking place.
It's one thing to persuade your boss that he can walk on water, another to convince the voters, as Alastair Campbell found out when he took Tony Blair to the Eddisbury by-election. The great helmsman was very cross to find himself mobbed by shouting, fox-hunting Tory demonstrators.
I was sitting quietly at my desk three months ago, wondering whether to finish a longish article on English identity in Prospect or get back to spring-cleaning the grill pan, when the editor of the Library Gazette rang to ask how I'd feel about writing for the September edition
Helen Mandible rings up in the middle of Question Time to give me the exciting news that her first novel has been accepted by Heinemann and to ask if I mind terribly that she's devoted part of the second chapter to the night I couldn't get it up at Selby Fork Travel Lodge.
There was much to look forward to last weekend. An old friend - Kate Gifford, ex-wife of the radical lawyer Lord Gifford - was 60 and she was celebrating at the Brockwell Park Lido in Brixton.
The Kennedys may be a monarchy but they are wholly American in style. By Cristina Odone
Chiantishire may be the new Labour idyll of choice. But it has protection rackets, tax avoidance and
The cabinet musical chairs game has plainly got out of hand. At the last count, five ministers had declared they would not be moved.
Drugs and vases. For these two things, I have seriously considered abandoning a lifelong principle. I have actually considered private health insurance because, having been in hospital for the past week, you get neither enough drugs nor enough vases.
I have, at long last, been invited to speak at a literary festival. The organisers have asked me not to name the precise venue lest I pre-empt the public launch, in September.
The guns are blazing, for sure. Here in Brixton on a hot summer's day, a young man on a motorcycle attempted to execute another who was sharing a basketball court with two dozen black youths. He was the latest victim. Just around the corner another boy was murdered two weeks ago.
There is a principle of evolution that Richard Dawkins explains using a comparison with climbing a mountain. Once you have chosen a ridge heading towards the summit, you are stuck with it.
Huddersfield is not a place to mess with, even if it wasn't the birthplace of J B Priestley.
You can do amazing things from beyond the grave. Look at Nostradamus, posthumously making our skin crawl with his apocalyptic forecasts. Or Stanley Kubrick, dead and buried, but still making our flesh tingle in anticipation of the opening of his film, Eyes Wide Shut.
She can report from a war zone or the lobby. But punditry is for the guys, and letting her edit is a
Drive down an American highway and, at five-mile intervals, your view will be blotted out by Mount Rushmore-sized billboards featuring a four-eyed geek posing in a scarlet velvet suit.
On 17 June, the Guardian published a letter by Ben Bradshaw MP, a new Labour bomber. "In one radio discussion I did with [Pilger]," he wrote, "he even suggested the refugees were inventing stories of massacres." He demanded my apology.
Journalists with inside knowledge are predicting that Alex Tudor, the Caribbean hero of the first Test, is likely to lose his place for the second Test at Lord's.
I've been greasing up to celebrities for the best part of 20 years.
It's too hot to sit for long on the Commons terrace, exposed to the vulgar gaze of the tourists on their river cruises. Gerry, now Lord, Fitt, the Belfast awkward boy, once pointed to his large gin and tonic and teased them: "It's free, y'know!" Not true - it's only half-price, or thereabouts.
Once, many years ago, Werner Herzog heard that the German film critic Lotte Eisner was gravely ill. By his account, he decided that the best contribution he could make to her state of health would be to go and see her instantly. But that wasn't enough.
It seems to have become a tradition: every Wimbledon, I whine about how the men should be allowed only the single serve that they have in other racket games, such as squash and badminton.
He is a pretty unlikely hero. A few thousand miles to the left of me politically, Tony Benn, who has just announced that he will not stand again for parliament, is a pacifist who is anti-Europe and anti-American.
Early one morning a few days ago, a major- general in the British military telephoned me. My first reaction was that I was being hoaxed. After all, I had committed no treasonable act and had no prospect, given my age, of enlisting in the services.