Could I ask a small favour? Even if you only intended to check out the general subject of this column before getting back to something more important, like shredding cabbage, would you be so good as to keep your eyes on the words in front of you and not let them wander aimlessly down the page?
Nelson Mandela is finally saying goodbye to the world of politics. In a ticker-tape parade through Johannesburg, he accepted the plaudits of his people and refused any future role in public life.
I won't be taking up BSkyB's offer of a "free digital dish and decoder box". If ever I get short of something to watch on TV, there's always the TV version of Peter Hall's production of The Oresteia which I taped in 1983 - unless the tape has decayed or been eaten by rats.
Why were Margaret McDonagh, the Labour Party general secretary, Ken Jackson, general secretary of the engineering union AUEW, and the party's chief fixer, Frazer Kemp MP, discreetly at table together in the members' dining room at Westminster four days after the elections in Scotland and Wales?
In the left-hand corner, the pain-relief junkie, addicted to psychiatrists, painkillers and Prozac; in the right, the stoic with his stiff upper lip. Which camp do you belong to? If you're under 50 and raised in this country, probably the former.
New Labour's successes in Scotland and Wales mask a growing panic among MPs in marginal seats.
The one I feel sorry for is Mr Flett. Eric, his name seems to be. You know the story, do you? Kathryn Flett is a feature writer on the Observer. A few years ago her husband of just 17 months abruptly told her he was leaving. Well, that's men for you.
Brixton has been transformed, since last month's nail bomb explosion, into a political circus.
A green thumb is sexier than a tongue stud; a flourishing allotment more coveted than a Notting Hill address. Garden centres have sprouted up and down the country; gardening shows proliferate on the box.
Margaret Thatcher went to war in a tank, Tony Blair goes to war in an open-necked shirt and black jeans. The Iron Lady's memorable photo opportunity came when she donned headscarf and goggles and sailed past, a tanked-up Britannia. When Blair went to Washington in a hawkish mode he wore a suit.
Ever since I mixed up Antonioni and Fellini at Dave Spier's 40th birthday bash I've had to watch myself whenever the conversation turns to film. Somehow I never seem to have the same philosophical purchase on auteur theory as I do on early Marx or middle-period Foucault.
The Caribbean masses are stirring. The peoples of these tiny island states have long followed a pattern of rebellious behaviour. One island explodes and then the others follow in a train of revolt. Thus was modern democracy established in the Caribbean in the 1930s.
I suspected the conversation was spinning out of control when Geoff started on about Victorian penises. Until then I'd been rather satisfied with the first meeting of Paradox, our new conversation club.
William Hague is thinking about who to sack. Tory insiders say he will reshuffle his shadow cabinet after the May elections if results are "good" (in other words, anything better than a total disaster), or in June, after the European elections.
I went to see Elvis Costello at the Albert Hall with an old friend whom I first met at university. The first time we went to see Costello together was in 1979. Has any pop performer ever been more resistant to routine? More eager to develop musically?
It was just what you'd expect of a middle-aged birthday celebration: a modest, slightly self-conscious affair, with all the excitement of a bottle of plonk and a few stale crackers with cheese spread.
On 26 March the New Statesman published a letter by Derek Fatchett, the Foreign Office minister, objecting to my suggestion that the enforced suffering of the people of Iraq by the US and British governments was a crime comparable with those of General Pinochet or General Suharto or Hen
Get ready for a new Protectorate. We may not be subjected to Oliver Cromwell's roundhead puritanism again - no black cloaks or cone-shaped hats, no kill-joy sermons about the decadence of music and the bawdiness of dance.
Get off at Brixton Underground station on a Saturday afternoon, as I have done thousands of times in the past 25 years. As you climb the stairs you will see, at the top, Magic, a rasta man, plying joss sticks, as if they were coming out of his ears.
Some years ago when a friend of mine was involved in producing a British version of Wired magazine, he took me out to dinner with some of the cutting-edge Americans involved. God knows why - I think I had only just graduated from an Amstrad.
It was flattering to be asked up to Birmingham to address a staff-graduate seminar, but even as I licked the stamp I was beginning to have serious reservations.
Both Nicholas Shakespeare's biography of Bruce Chatwin and the television documentary he made to accompany it mention Chatwin's secrecy about the Aids that was killing him.
Much entertainment at Westminster over DonaId Macintyre's new biography of Peter Mandelson. The big revelation is about how Mandy swept out of a pre-election meeting at Millbank after disagreeing with Tony Blair over an abstruse point of policy that nobody can now remember.
At the height of the first world war the prime minister, David Lloyd George, confided to C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: "If people knew the truth, the war would be stopped tomorrow.
I am, of course, an obsessive reader of this journal.
Fresh report from the battle front. No, not Kosovo, but the really nasty little war among the Liberal Democrats. Paddy Ashdown has let it be known that he will lay a kingly hand on the shoulder of the would-be MP he wishes to inherit his Yeovil seat.
I don't believe that there is a God who watches over my every move, protecting me from harm. Nevertheless only once has anybody broken into a car of mine and on that occasion they only stole one thing.
When it was first mooted that the five suspects in the Stephen Lawrence murder wanted to be interviewed on television and that Martin Bashir would be the inquisitor, I supported those who said the project should go ahead, and made that clear in this column in September last year.
Step right up and come this way please. Here is John Prescott, who will give you a guided tour of No 10 and rent you - at £3,000 a night - the Tony and Cherie suite. Think of it! You can live a life in the day of the People's Prime Minister, feel the hand of history upon your shoulder . . .