It's great to see bookies handing over wedges of tenners - but they never come my way
By Laurie Taylor - 01 January 12:00

We don't have many Christmas traditions in my family.

Time's up. Get your answers to the Sean French Christmas Quiz and start to live again
By Sean French - 01 January 12:00

I'm a bit constrained in what I can write this week. My solicitor has said that I am absolutely not allowed to write about moving house.

1999 doesn't count: we must think about the millennium now - but watch out for a King of Terror from the sky
By Mary Riddell - 01 January 12:00

Despite the political meltdown of the past ten days, the smack of firm government remains intact. From the Home Office comes the news that new Labour is to ban imports of absinthe, a hallucinogenic green concoction to which smart-set drinkers are apparently getting addicted.

At Xmas, my mother, usually so sad, burst into song
By Darcus Howe - 18 December 12:00

Two Christmases ago my mother made a series of unusual telephone calls to London from her home in Trinidad. "Is your father coming home for the Christmas holidays?" she asked my daughters. They were puzzled. I was more so.

The New Statesman Profile - Albany
By Hywel Williams - 18 December 12:00

Since Byron's days, the great and the wicked have chosen to call this place home

On television, on billboards, in poetry, at dinner parties and even on the Tube - sex is everywhere
By Cristina Odone - 18 December 12:00

The most memorable scene in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita was provided by blonde, buxom Anita Ekberg splashing about in Rome's Trevi fountain.

I don't want to moan or anything, but where are all my Christmas cards?
By Laurie Taylor - 18 December 12:00

I certainly don't wish to fill a column which has got to last you for the next two weeks with something which will sound like a purely personal grievance. But where on earth are all my Christmas cards?

This has been a year of noisy neighbours, nosy neighbours and dirty herberts
By Mary Riddell - 18 December 12:00

We base ourselves on the idea that we must peacefully co-exist, said Nikita Khrushchev - clearly a man who had never lingered in Purley where, shortly before Christmas, Sir Bernard Ingham was arrested for allegedly kicking one of his next-door neighbour's three Mercedes cars.

It's that time of year when little messages reveal just how important you are (or aren't)
By Sean French - 18 December 12:00

I never quite know what to do about Christmas cards. Some years I send them, some years I don't. The result is a strange sort of fractured, dislocated correspondence from year to year. People cross me off their Christmas card lists ("well, he didn't send us one").

I have eaten so much offal that I may be the one person who is due to die next year of mad cow disease
By Sean French - 11 December 12:00

Nobody has yet asked me to name my favourite book (or indeed anything else) of the year, and it's getting rather close to Christmas. But among the many benefits (for me) of writing this column is that, when all else fails and nobody wants to ask me about something, I can ask myself.

Is Britain as racist as 50 years ago? I say: surely not!
By Darcus Howe - 11 December 12:00

Readers of this column know that I chaired a public debate on Channel 4 following a Dispatches programme which reported gang rapes perpetrated by black juveniles on their female contemporaries of the same race.

Just because the idea of cloning provokes outrage doesn't mean it should be banned
By Mary Riddell - 11 December 12:00

We like our Christmas miracles simple. First along was Zoe McDougall, born weighing 15 ounces and now home from hospital. Second in line was the recommendation that research into human "spare part" cloning should be legal.

The best way to keep the children quiet at Christmas is to sit on them
By Laurie Taylor - 11 December 12:00

For the whole of this month I've been carefully looking for opportunities to play around with small children.

Statisticians tell us that we're all middle class now - but that doesn't stop poorer people dying younger
By Mary Riddell - 04 December 12:00

Class boundaries have been redrawn. Up the social order go teachers, librarians and bank managers, now elevated to Professional Grade One. Down go cooks, hairdressers and plasterers.

The best advice I can give a young writer is to read a lot and steal even more
By Sean French - 04 December 12:00

Has anybody famous come out of the "Fame School of Performing Arts" that Paul McCartney helped set up in Liverpool four years ago? And what about that football academy that the FA set up with great publicity in the mid-eighties?

The New Statesman Profile - Annie's Bar
By Ian Aitken - 04 December 12:00

At the heart of the Commons stands a watering hole where indiscretion is routine and intrigue flouri

If we really want to be more European, we should move in with mum, dad, auntie and grandma
By Cristina Odone - 04 December 12:00

My brother, 35, still lives with his mum. Two years ago, when our mother moved to London, it seemed only natural that my high-earning, single brother should invite her to share his large flat.

If I pleaded guilty, said the lawyer, I'd only get five years
By Darcus Howe - 04 December 12:00

As I write, it is almost 27 years to the day that I and eight others walked out of the Old Bailey, freed by a jury on charges of riot, affray and a mixed bag of assaults on police. Those were primitive days compared with what transpires now.

Frozen at the foot of the bed after love-making, I sent for Mr Proctor, the osteopath
By Laurie Taylor - 04 December 12:00

I was going to save this information until the next significant dinner party silence but, deferred gratification never having been my strong point, I might as well lean back smugly now and announce my good news. It's odds on that I have found the osteopath of my dreams.

In memory of Stokely, my friend, who said: Get Guns
By Darcus Howe - 27 November 12:00

Kwame Toure, formerly Stokely Carmichael, died last week, aged 57. Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson apart, he was perhaps the leading black revolutionary activist in the United States in the late sixties and seventies.

Have you heard about the NS columnist who can't stop spreading rumours?
By Laurie Taylor - 27 November 12:00

I like to think that I have a modest reputation as a rumour-monger.

The British so idolise animals that now even John Prescott has to worry about the skylark and the song thrush
By Mary Riddell - 27 November 12:00

The trial of the world's most prolific serial killer began this week. Known as the Terminator, Anatoly Onoprienko is thought to have murdered 53 people, many of them small children.

If there's one thing I've almost learnt in life, it's how to change a bicycle tyre
By Sean French - 27 November 12:00

The other day I read the New Statesman's recent supplement on lifelong learning. Somebody had rung up various famous people and asked what they had learnt since stopping formal education.

The New Statesman Profile - Gus O'Donnell
By George Lucas - 27 November 12:00

Who but the most skilful mandarin could work for Lawson, Major and now Brown?

Journalists who enjoy freebies and flattery turn the truth upside down
By John Pilger - 27 November 12:00

It was a pity that, in all the recent remembrance of the first world war, there was nothing about the press. In 1917 the prime minister, David Lloyd George, confided to C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: "If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow.

The New Statesman Profile - Hugo Young
By John Lloyd - 20 November 12:00

The liberal conscience of the nation despairs of the grubby hypocrisy of our politicians

Blacks do 8 in 10 gang rapes? If so, we should be told
By Darcus Howe - 20 November 12:00

This week, I chaired a discussion show on Channel 4. The current affairs department had commissioned a small independent company, Laurel Productions, to make a 30-minute documentary on young people's sexuality.

Professional secrecy and public faith allow doctors to get away, literally even, with murder
By Mary Riddell - 20 November 12:00

I realised that my relationship with my one-time GP was foundering when I discovered that my surgery file consisted of a note of two old prescriptions and assorted press clippings.

Moving house can turn sweet old ladies into Al Pacino, but at least you get to nose round their bedrooms
By Sean French - 20 November 12:00

I've been trying to imagine how I would describe what it's like to move house to someone who had never done it. Everybody knows the old cliche about it being the third most traumatic event in life after a death in the family and divorce. But somehow that doesn't convey the particular pain.

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