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(...)

January:  an odd month. Like a lousy host, she invites you to party, but when you arrive, the lights are out and she’s gone to bed

Man alive, this year hasn’t exactly tumbled out of a bed of optimism and spun around the room in a flurry of bonhomie, has it? It’s not struggling int(...)

The goldfish won’t forget this in a hurry. Photograph: Thinkstock

I suppose it’s a seasonal thing: this need for reappraisal, this new-broom feeling that pops up with the lost turkey thermometer (a bit late now, m(...)

‘In the words of Lou Reed, I’m beginning to see the light.’ Photograph: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

WISDOM WEEK In the words of Lou Reed, “I’m beginning to see the light, a little wine for my breakfast, a little breakfast at night”. The e(...)