(“The Observer and I have been a very happy fit” 2016)
“I hope that newspapers will live on for centuries. The Observer specifically: I would miss its tone, the way it combines acuity of thought with gentleness of heart. It’s funny but not glib. It’s analytical and kindly at the same time, like you would teach children to be if you could. I’d miss that voice and quiet power. But most of all, I’d miss the crossword.”
(“Called to the bar? No thanks” 2017)
People really love the pub. I say people. I mean my husband. Nothing makes my husband happier than settling down in the corner of some reeky-carpeted local boozing house for a good old sit. Maybe a chat. And, obviously, a beer. A sit and a chat and a beer. Beer and a chat and a sit. Sit, chat, beer. Chat, sit, beer. Sit, sit, beer beer, chat chat chat, sit sit sit.
Sometimes no chat! Just a nice quiet beer. Nice quiet beer and a sit. A sit and a beer. A sit and a beer and a sit. Christ! As if we were immortal!
Beer is revolting, I think we can all agree on that? Foul, sour, fizzy, fermented concoction; it tastes like the liquid that gathers at the bottom of a wheelie bin (or so I imagine). And yet, not only do people drink it, they drink pints of it! Vast quantities of this yeasty bin-juice; pints and jugs and tankards sloshing down into poor, stretched, windy stomachs. All night, people sit there.
(“Manxiety needs fempathy: in defence of mansplaining” 2017)
“And, if you ask me, the biggest problem facing our western world at the moment is the decline of kindness. As huge differences of opinion batter against each other, we forget to be gentle and careful with each other’s dreams, respectful of each other’s self-worth.
It means a lot to your poor old dad, uncle, colleague, husband or friend to offer his advice and insights. Sitting there, mug or glass clutched eagerly in hand, looking forward to holding forth… how much do you really want to see him quiet and disappointed, confronting his own limitations? How much do you want to shout: “Nobody gives a shit, Granddad! You pompous old bore! Let’s talk about me!”? How much are you actually reduced if you let him feel listened to?”
(“How to play poker” 2005)
“Last week, we paused briefly to note the onset of Christmas and acknowledge the spirit of giving. Let’s forget that nonsense now, and get straight back to the important business of taking other people’s money.”
(“Women can still have it all. Can’t they?” 2017)
I dread the day my own daughter has to go to school. All the talk is of an overcrowded job market, lack of affordable housing, massive long shot of any decent future – to which end, the rat race starts around the age of five. From primary school onwards, they’re like tiny, middle-aged office workers, chained to the desk, shouting: “No time to talk, deadlines deadlines!”