Are you a Scrabble sadist or a Cluedo nerd?

30 Mar

It is only in the most extreme circumstances that people, stripped bare of the veneer of civilisation, show their true natures. A crisis like the present one brings out the best, and the worst of the humanity. We are tested in the fire. In this case, not the purifying fire of war but the ouchy burny fire of staying […]

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Why I’m reactivating World of Warcraft

23 Mar

As the long national quarantine comes upon us — confined in our own homes, playing out Huis Clos with our immediate families, missing our elderly relatives — what will we do to pass the time? Tempted though I am by umpteen repeat watchings of the three-hour director’s cut of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, I have a sneaking […]

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The modern world doesn’t belong in kids’ books

4 Mar

If you look at the iconography of writing for children — from the very first A B C wallchart you Blu-Tak to the nursery wall — there’s something very odd about it indeed. A is for aeroplane, and like as not you’ll see something with a propeller on its nose. T is for train, and there, […]

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Why the world needs curmudgeons

3 Mar

I own many books of quotations, but almost certainly my favourite is one — long out of print — which I have had on my shelves for more than 30 years. Edited by Jon Winokur, it’s called The Portable Curmudgeon (subtitle: “A cross word for every occasion”). It contains the highest proportion of lean meat to fat of any […]

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