Reportage

Greece: An Octagonal Tour

'In post-classical Greek the word for ‘beauty’ originally meant ‘timely’. The prevailing aesthetic was that appearance should match one’s age. Thus both a young girl and a dignified matron could qualify as having horaios, but never an older woman trying to recapture her youth.'

Practically Unwatchable

'Without passports or any kind of identification documents, they were effectively stateless, and since they could not be repatriated, they were herded into open-air camps, given a little food and water and then abandoned.'

Radical Bears in the Forest Delicious

'People have tried to help pandas become pragmatists. And in captivity they comply – they eat the yams and bananas and fish set before them. But compliance is not conversion.'

A–Z of the Death Drive

You are an accident waiting to happen. You are a complete wreck. What is driving you to do this? Will the automobile (a fusion of libido and machine) ever lose meaning as a sexualized instrument to be controlled and mastered?

Katherine Would Approve

'It was my first full-time job in a long while. The chairman of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society and the four paid staff were there, all in winter coats.'

Virginia Woolf in the Bomb-scarred City

'This was her grandest bid to bring something back from the ruins. She was not reading despite the bombs; she was reading with them, and the two – reading and bombs – are jumbled together in one of her last letters.'

Yates Lane, NW8

'Escapees from St Mary’s, Paddington: expectant father smoking; old lady wheeling herself in a wheelchair, smoking; die-hard holding urine sack, blood sack, smoking.'

A Very Practical Joke

'I watched as she stuffed three oil paintings packed in bubble wrap into her large duffel bag, along with twenty t-shirts. We were only going for three days.'

Annie Hall

'I can’t help feeling like he’s dismantled the very admirable legacy of his earlier work by his later, overly prolific efforts. It’s a more benign version of Ralph Nader.'

Out of Windows

'Last Halloween, a woman was thrown out of a fourth-floor window in Marylebone. I was heading back to my flat on Chiltern Street with the intention of watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a film that I had always avoided.'