Observatory

What Makes A Londoner?

It’s one of those questions that come up on pub evenings: Are Londoners born or raised? Heredity has lost out over environment. It’s not who your parents are but how you live, and London is working proof. After a period of living here, residents quickly adopt London habits. Being able to tick any three of […]

Nothing Under The Bonnet

The BBC’s viewing figures for a lavish new production of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ managed a pathetic 3.5 million, despite high quality production values and a cast that includes my old pal the ever-excellent Jonny Lee Miller as Mr Knightly. Of course this is the four millionth Austen production turned out in the last five years […]

The Vicar & Tina Turner

A very English story, this. The vicar of St Barnabus’ Church, Tunbridge Wells, is sick of officiating at cremations (or ‘crems’ as he calls them) and having to listen to mum’s doggerel poetry read over Tina Turner songs instead of a requiem mass. He feels his presence at a funeral where someone plays ‘Candle In […]

Jan Moir Hate Article Inspires Record Complaints

‘Fast, free, fair’ reads the logo of the Press Complaints Commission, to which we should probably add ‘And f**king Useless’. After the PCC received a record 21,000 complaints about bigoted old bag Jan Moir’s pre-burial attack on singer Stephen Gately, which managed to suggest that his civil partnership was somehow the cause of his death, […]

Season of Fire

Three colourful events on top of each other, Diwali (from the Sanskrit meaning a row of lamps), Hallowe’en, meaning manufactured event to sell orange-and-black plastic rubbish to children who – in London at least – don’t actually trick or treat anyone – and Guy Fawkes Night. Diwali seemed low-key this year, with fewer firework displays […]

Nothing Natural About Jan Moir

For years we’ve conveniently turned a blind eye when the Daily Mail publishes hate articles on subjects it thinks its dim suburban readers want to read (I certainly have, having had interviews published by them). So it’s good to see that Jan Moir, who penned an unforgivably disgusting piece on singer Stephen Gately’s untimely demise […]

One Is Highly Amused

The great thing about the theatre is you get in cheap if you’re a pensioner. So when an elderly couple shuffled in late to a production of ‘War Horse’ at the National this week, squeezing past the seated with polite apologies, nobody turned a blind eye. It turned out that the Queen and Prince Phillip […]

Paging Mr Darwin

26 year-old bank fraudster Maxi Sopo has been caught after he updated his profile on Facebook. He’s been hiding out in Cancun. Although Sopo’s profile was set to Private, his list of friends was not. The FBI was surprised to see that one friend listed an affiliation with the justice department. They sent a message […]

Britain’s Maddest Event

‘Burn him in a tub of tar Burn him like a blazing star Burn his body from his head Then we’ll say old Pope is dead.’ It’s almost time for the most bonkers event in the country…no, not the newly adopted US-style Hallowe’en but Guy Fawkes’ Night, and although there are no urchins on street […]

Coming Back To London

Summer’s end saw me selling my house in France and moving back to London. I’ll miss many things, but one of them won’t be the culture shock of arriving back in King’s Cross. On my last return I bade farewell to my happy, healthy summer pals and dressed in grey once more. I spent several […]