• 5 ways to get your nature fix in London

    As I type this, Soho is sunny. Not just a-few-weak winter-rays sunny, but a glorious, blazing, Vitamin D fest that has us sweating into our suddenly unseasonal puffas. Yesterday evening, it was 4 degrees; today, miraculously, it is 16. And while the miserable London winter has given me a perfect

  • London’s top 10 cultural cafés

    People watching is one of the greatest pleasures a big city affords. It’s especially good when practiced from a warm corner with a flat white and a home-made cupcake. It’s even better in a location that guarantees an eclectic crowd of trendsters, students, tourists, quirky arty types, and re

  • Reading London

    I grew up in the Oxfordshire countryside and spent my formative years running half-naked in fields, riding resentful ponies and reading on a scratchy blanket my mother had got free from the National Trust under the shade of our orchard’s sticky, half-dead plum trees.

    At least, that’s how

  • Jazz, meet word

    If you asked any London culture vulture to identify the hottest trends in the capital this spring, jazz and spoken word are both likely to figure on their list.

    From the buzz around Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Great Gatsby adaptation to the flapper frocks that colonised last month’s Fashion W

  • Silk and the city

    It’s whispering down the catwalk at Somerset House for London Fashion Week. It’s caressed by every tourist nipping into Liberty’s for an iconic paisley scarf.  And it’s the star of the current exhibition at the V&A, in the form of a shimmering golden cape that took 1.2 million Mad

  • In Residence: Beowulf

    This season, the British Library is all about the manuscripts. The gorgeous artworks in ‘Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination’ – its big winter exhibition charting 800 years’ worth of illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts collected by English kings and queens

  • Future Folk

    It was an unlikely pairing. You wouldn’t expect the sort of edgy, urban international hipsters that attend SXSW – the music, film, and technology festival and all-round trend-spotting mecca that sprouts from the desert of Austin, Texas each year – would have much interest in a bunch of bob

  • In Residence: Madonna del Prato

    Perhaps the recession makes us eager to feel we’re getting more for our money. Perhaps James Cameron, Peter Jackson and the other masters of the CGI epic have led us to expect nothing less. Or perhaps the arts marketing industry has simply got really good at fuelling the hype machine. Whatever

  • Speakeasy season

    The envelope was black, the address handwritten in silver calligraphy. Inside nestled a small, shining graphite key on a thin black cord. This was, the accompanying letter told me, my access-all-areas bracelet to the Cointreau Privé, “London’s most exclusive speakeasy”: a three-week pop-u

  • Are you ready to be a member?

    When it comes to London arts and culture, membership is a rather fraught concept. On one hand it seems inimical to the spirit of the place. Our city is renowned for its eclectic inclusivity; a spirit evinced both bottom-up, in the vibrant street culture, and top-down, with the government’s com

  • Two by two

    Now here’s an idea. A socio-techno-enviro-biblical idea, which are often pretty good ones.

    A rather excellent man I know vaguely from various social media shenanigans, Mr Phil Campbell, is building an ark.

    But this is no bog-standard deluge-dodging zoophiliac

  • Oo oo aa aa

    ‘No me, no my, no self, no soul. No me, no my. No me, no my.’

    The venerable Ajahn Poh, seventy-eight year old abbot of Suan Mokkh monastery in the southern jungle of Surat Thani, renowned spiritual leader and author – gaunt of body, bald of head, orange of robe and calmly, childishly radiant of f