Listen to the telephone call between two blue-rinsed ladies in the shires. Not their chat about the garden, or the church fete, or their giggling about Portillo. No, it's the goodbye that has you doing a double-take: "Love ya lots," they chirrup, before hanging up.
He is the French John Prescott, anti-euro, anti-market, not very pro-government. Jean-Pierre Chevene
Quite out of the blue, we are told that 4,000 Muslims, mostly young men, are in prisons in the UK. Not Asians, not Bangladeshis, not Pakistanis, please note, but Muslims. This is supposed to be new, surprising and alarming.
Whose fault is it that 12 year olds get pregnant? This is a multiple-choice question if ever I heard one. Tick one of the following answers. It's Margaret Thatcher's fault because she decimated industry, thus giving unemployed men little purpose in life except to impregnate children.
It all started with a perfectly innocent little chat before dinner about an academic colleague of mine from Teesside University who'd decided after much personal anguishing that he was a woman in a man's body and would therefore go ahead and arrange to have what he always referred to in a capita
I heard about the various celebrations surrounding John Peel's 60th birthday with something close to alarm.
In the latest volume of her autobiography, the writer Emma Tennant reminisces about her lusty affair with the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. In 1976, after a drink at a bar in Notting Hill, Hughes invited Tennant back to his lair in Tufnell Park, north London.
Carl Russo, the 42-year-old moustachioed chief executive of Cerent, is the newest billionaire spawned by the information age. Under his direction, an information technology outfit that was ailing last year has now been sold for £7 billion.
The hairdressing story rumbles along. Last week I told the tale of Mrs Howe going to a salon in Brixton, south London, to have her hair done, and the stylist making it plain that they did not entertain people with "your kind of hair".
Following the "moral crusade" in the Balkans, there were calls for heretics to apologise. It was reminiscent of the hysteria surrounding the death of Diana Spencer and, like the froth on a cappuccino, blew away once reality was restored.
Last Tuesday evening I realised with extreme alarm that although I was sitting as usual in my Posture-Wise chair, there was something about my attitude that might readily have been mistaken by a casual visitor for slumping. It was a frightening realisation.
Somebody once paid tribute to Shakespeare's Mark Antony by saying that he had drunk the "stale of horses", which sounds a bit dodgy, and also that he had eaten strange flesh that other men had died simply by looking at.
New Labour's lifestyle queen bids us forget the past, be Mediterranean and flaunt our emotions. Tric
About 12 years ago I happened to be working in Kingston, Jamaica, on a television documentary. Whenever I visited the Caribbean, I would purchase the daily newspaper and turn immediately to the death announcements.
Once again it's time for our annual summer party. This year could be rather special.
Is there anything that you can't buy a guide to? This week I discovered that there is now a library of guidebooks on the subject of that thing called the gap year. It's become another industry.
On my way out of Red Fort, in Dean Street, I bump into a young woman wearing an elaborate shawl who tells me enthusiastically that she has recently had the good fortune to be appointed deputy media controller for a new public relations firm called Jam.
I see that Boots is going to create some stores that are devoted to men's cosmetics.
I went along to Rickard Close, off Upper Tulse Hill, in Brixton. It leads to a warren of flats on a huge council estate, where a 13-year-old black girl was gang-raped. Three young men of her race held her down while a fourth raped her.
One of the ducks that wanders around just outside our front door had nine ducklings a few months ago. Everyone loves ducklings. Little bundles of golden yellow and dark brown fluff and emitting not a horrible, loud quack but a little peeping sound.
On every newspaper that I have worked on those in charge have been worried about fucking. The word, you understand, not the activity. At the Independent, Andrew Marr was always saying that there was far too much fucking, shitting and pissing going on in the paper and it had to stop.
The journey I have been commissioned to make by Channel 4 throughout England (with a detour to the Outer Hebrides) is finally over.
I had my head half inside the freezer compartment and was meticulously dividing the number of ice-cubes in the tray by six, when Sally grabbed me round the shoulders and, with a breathy urgency that threatened to defrost the Ben and Jerry's Vanilla Fudge, told me to forget the after-dinner whisk
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.
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.
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.