A family of royals just like us
By Cristina Odone - 26 July 13:00

The Kennedys may be a monarchy but they are wholly American in style. By Cristina Odone

The New Statesman Profile - The Tuscan holiday
By Quentin Letts - 26 July 13:00

Chiantishire may be the new Labour idyll of choice. But it has protection rackets, tax avoidance and

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 26 July 13:00

The cabinet musical chairs game has plainly got out of hand. At the last count, five ministers had declared they would not be moved.

She finally agreed that the impotent man in chapter two didn't have to be a sociologist
By Laurie Taylor - 26 July 13:00

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.

Automated phone answering systems are universally loathed, but can they be uninvented?
By Sean French - 19 July 13:00

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.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 19 July 13:00

Huddersfield is not a place to mess with, even if it wasn't the birthplace of J B Priestley.

Anglo-Saxons are infantile: they either ignore sex or reduce it to a dirty quickie. So three cheers for Kubrick!
By Cristina Odone - 19 July 13:00

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.

The New Statesman Profile - Media Woman
By Anne McElvoy - 19 July 13:00

She can report from a war zone or the lobby. But punditry is for the guys, and letting her edit is a

"No vases?" Sam shrieked. "You've got to get out of here. No TV. No privacy. This is a hospital, isn't it?"
By Suzanne Moore - 19 July 13:00

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.

The BBC was alarmed to hear A J P Taylor declare that history was not his strong point
By Laurie Taylor - 19 July 13:00

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 boy emerged, LA gangsta-style, and fired
By Darcus Howe - 19 July 13:00

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.

Nothing in my 30 years of reporting wars compares with the present propaganda dressed as journalism
By John Pilger - 12 July 13:00

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.

Cricket still doesn't want blacks
By Darcus Howe - 12 July 13:00

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.

A lifetime of greasing up to celebs has honed my sycophancy skills to perfection
By Laurie Taylor - 12 July 13:00

I've been greasing up to celebrities for the best part of 20 years.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 12 July 13:00

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.

I've always been able to throw away the ladder. The trouble is that I was usually still on it at the time
By Sean French - 12 July 13:00

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.

The British should be proud to have a sissy and a nerd as their male icons
By Cristina Odone - 12 July 13:00

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.

Tony Benn took out an old "smoking" sign and put it on top of a "non-smoking" sign. Rules don't apply to him
By Cristina Odone - 05 July 13:00

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.

One black permanent secretary? Wait till the year 2050
By Darcus Howe - 05 July 13:00

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.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 05 July 13:00

To Belfast, for the peace summit. No resemblance, naturally, to the upmarket EU versions at Cologne. The talks were in an ugly 1960s office block on Stormont estate, with a draughty marquee and trestle tables for the hacks.

Have you heard the intellectual joke about Goethe, Joyce, a joist and a girder?
By Laurie Taylor - 05 July 13:00

My first mistake was the duck joke: "This duck goes into a bar and says, 'Pint of bitter and a bag of your excellent salt and vinegar crisps.'

"And the barman says, 'You speak very good English for a duck.'

"And the duck says, 'Thank you.'

Why do Wimbledon tennis players demand of their audience the silence of a requiem mass?
By Sean French - 05 July 13:00

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.

I met Harold Pinter once. He turned away without a word, which by his standards was a sign of friendliness
By Sean French - 28 June 13:00

A J Ayer was once rude to my mother. I'll break off there for a moment, because that affords an opportunity for one of those rare moments when this column offers moral instruction.

Paul Routledge
By Paul Routledge - 28 June 13:00

Neil Hamilton, the disgraced former Tory MP, has agreed to give evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Presumably his wife Christine, who pulls his strings, will be there.

Ron Davies took a daft kind of risk, but Tony Blair should learn to chance his hand just a little more
By Cristina Odone - 28 June 13:00

Ron Davies, the bisexual MP so fond of the flora and fauna of Clapham Common, is undergoing psychiatric treatment to curb a "compulsive quest for risk". He blames the "problem" on a "troubled, violent and emotionally dysfunctional childhood".

The NS Profile - Francis Fukuyama
By George Lucas - 28 June 13:00

No longer the gleeful young prophet, he is ready to admit his forecasts can be wrong

"Humanitarian intervention" is the latest brand name for imperialism as it begins a return to respectability
By John Pilger - 28 June 13:00

In Newsweek last week Tony Blair described the "new moral crusade" that is to follow Nato's attack on Yugoslavia. "We now have a chance to build a new internationalism based on values and the rule of law," he wrote. George Robertson was more blunt.

There's no place for public tears in these postmodern times, but at least the sofa stays dry
By Laurie Taylor - 28 June 13:00

One thing everyone knows about Stuart is that he absolutely adores his wife. So when he stopped over in London on Wednesday night we naturally began with Jan. How was she? Did she enjoy living in Yorkshire as much he'd hoped she would?

Why I left Oldham with a feeling of dread
By Darcus Howe - 28 June 13:00

Bernard Manning is a fine humorist. This has not always been my view. Once I wanted him banned from the airwaves, dismissing him, as I did in a Channel 4 debate, as a foul-mouthed racist.

Can fluffy platitudes beat Red Ken in London?
By Darcus Howe - 21 June 13:00

Two major interviews in the broadsheets in successive days and Trevor Phillips, hereinafter called T Phil, has declared his candidacy for the post of mayor of London.

For some time he has been promising, hinting, but now he has taken the plunge.

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