THE TOP THREE
My own favourite articles from the last few years
The week began badly when, on Monday, the Polish magazine Wprost released secretly recorded tapes, on them the Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski's linguistically florid appraisal of Cameron's Europe policies. "It's either a very badly thought-through move, or, not for the first time, a kind of incompetence in European affairs," he began politely. And then, "remember? He f**ked up the fiscal pact [of 2011]. He f**ked it up."
On a June evening last summer I was sitting at the kitchen table, surveying all that I had built up: a sweet house in Shepherd’s Bush, a steady job, a VW parked outside, and evenings out at the promising new gastropub. But that night, thinking over all the promises this life had never delivered, I decided it was time for a change. I would ditch the idealised West London life and go to find the perfect bachelorette pad. And where else does one go when running away from responsibility but Soho?
I fell for the first flat I saw — a top- floor, two-bed garret on a Georgian pedestrian street. I begged friends to help me with the steep deposit, put my house on the market, and ran open-armed into a new life.
In 1979 around 400 armed fundamentalists led by Jahayman Uteybi pulled out their guns and laid siege to the Grand Mosque in Mecca. It was November 20, the last days of that year’s Hajj. That the incident has been excised from school textbooks in Saudi Arabia is unsurprising—the kingdom is hardly one that embraces open criticism. That the siege of Mecca was not mentioned in the new exhibition about the Hajj at the British Museum was rather more surprising.
PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE
The story-tellers, taste-makers, captains of industry and aesthetes: interviews with the great, the good, and the not-so-good
THE LONDONER'S DIARY
The Londoner's Diary is an historic sketchbook of London's professional, political and social worlds, which turns a hundred this year. Previous editors include Harold Nicholson, Winston Churchill - for a week when his son Randolph, the real editor, was away - and more lately Max Hastings and Sarah Sands, now editor of the Standard. It is an unusal job spec: after arduous duties such as drinking champagne at political and cultural parties in the evening, come the morning you must still have enough fizz to write a witty and insightful column. There is too much content daily to upload here. You can follow it via the Evening Standard website here.
FROM THE BOOKSHELVES
Every so often I turn around to my office neighbour, books editor Katy Guest on the Independent on Sunday, and ask if I can review a book for her over the weekend. Often the choice is a book that tells the story of a country through its literature, art or politics. Below is a selection of recent publish articles.