Mumbai

Mumbai

Published in The Times, 2011 I wouldn’t want to give the impression of being deluged by racially abusive correspondence, but there is a steady trickle and, when the letters arrive, they usually tend to: (a) be handwritten; (b) include clippings of offending articles...
Wilbert Rideau

Wilbert Rideau

Published in The Times Wilbert Rideau was recently sitting behind his desk in the study of his Fifties red-brick home in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when, looking through the window, he watched a youth walk past a magnolia tree, enter a neighbour’s garage and...
V.S. Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul

Published in The Times The prospect of meeting V.S. Naipaul fills me with a strange combination of excitement and trepidation. The author has written 20 mesmerising books of fiction and non-fiction, but is also notoriously difficult, famed for once reportedly dressing...
Rock Festivals

Rock Festivals

Published in the Times The Isle of Wight, earlier this month, wasn’t, technically speaking, my first festival. Last year I attended Hay as a guest of a corporate sponsor, was put up in a mansion, drove to the literary gathering in an Italian supercar I was...

Martin Amis’ Money

Published in The Times There is a certain kind of bloke — and, let’s face it, it’s always a bloke — who cites Martin Amis as his favourite author. Now in his thirties or forties, this bloke read The Rachel Papers and/ or Money as a teenager and enjoyed it/...

Is the Countryside Racist?

Published in the Times I’d like to take my mother for a day trip to the English countryside. Which probably sounds simple enough. But single-handedly decoding the human genome would be easier. Not least among the complicating factors is the fact that, as a family,...