Michelle Obama dances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Barack Obama’s legacy will doubtless be the subject of many column inches and much debate when he closes the White House door behind him after the (...)

Sunrise over Montreal: You are an amateur, Montrealers told me...  You have never wintered here; you know nothing. You wouldn’t last five sub-zero minutes.

Ages ago (holy cow, was that really a decade ago?), I spent a month or more, in springtime, working on and off in Montreal. A play I had written had b(...)

Crocs, for those of you who haven’t yet had the dubious pleasure, are those very round-toed, utterly flat plastic shoes that come in a variety of unappealing colours. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Doubtless inspired by living in a household that is slowly, slowly, crawling towards the holy grail of the Leaving Cert, that peculiarly cruel ditch I(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

The market in my local park was heaving. Young thirtysomething couples, wrapped up in woolly scarves and cute earmuffs and the terribly important b(...)

‘If there was something worth voting for, I’d vote for it,’ said the non-voting Russell Brand, a sentiment I found as well-worn and unappealing as his leather trousers. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

I remember being 18 in 1980. I remember the bite of the rain, and the wind whistling through the holes in the economy, and the empty spaces where f(...)

Me time: a gap in the schedule when you’re not snorkelling in the laundry basket or using all your fingers and toes to calculate your word count. Photograph: Thinkstock

I was buying myself a takeaway coffee in a suburban cafe. It’s a pretty funky little establishment actually, one of those places where you drink ou(...)

Lurking under the subheading ‘Oedipus – Schmoedipus!’ was a request from a man who described himself as ‘academic (60), Jewish, genial’, who was looking for ‘a slim older woman with whom to spend agreeable times’. Photograph: Thinkstock

I was reading the latest issue of the London Review of Books, a watery sun illuminating the erudite paragraphs. Beyond the gracious windows, the se(...)

Double date: Jason is excited that Valentine’s Day follows Friday the 13th 8:46

Let’s face it: if you are a grudgingly single, lovesick triskaidekaphobic, this is probably not going to be a red-letter weekend for you, eh? If yo(...)

Wear a mask: A worker at a flower plantation in Ecuador prepares for Valentine’s Day. Photograph: Guillermo Granja/Reuters

Thank goodness January has bitten the frozen dust. It’s time to get all chirpy and energised now, to rush around cleaning the mocking windows and w(...)

The Count: doesn’t know how lucky he is

‘Could I have some worm pills?” I asked the veterinary assistant. Momentarily, she desisted from creating a pyramidical display of pussycat des(...)