Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious with his girlfriend Nancy Spungen in 1978. Photograph: Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It is because of Heathcliff that we are like this,” Susan says and takes another sip from the salt-rimmed glass. “It was irresponsible of them to tea(...)

The best things about Christmas really are free: the carol singing, being around children, long walks, and meeting friends and family. Ignore all the hype. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

December is a bitter month and not just weather-wise. Christmas festivities hardly ever live up to the way they are portrayed in television advertisem(...)

Footballers’ Wives: one of the best things about it was that it never showed any football being played

I used to have a vague addiction to the ITV series Footballers’ Wives. Full of tongue-in-cheek excess, the show centred around the fictional club Earl(...)

Author Alain de Botton (R) makes notes during his week as writer-in-residence at Heathrow Airport, west London, on August 20, 2009.

Internet research has convinced some we can know everything. But away from Google’s spoon dipped into Wikipedia’s stockpot, the idea of the mystery of(...)

Geoff Dyer on board the USS George HW Bush. Photograph: Chris Steele-Perkins

Among the deadly bombs, 10-gallon tubs of army grub and ocean-ruling technology, something moves. As the USS George HW Bush wades through the Gulf’(...)

Illustration: Thinkstock

Q I am 27 and live at home with my parents. Life is really getting me down and I am angry all the time. I feel I could be heading for depression. T(...)

‘In the Salon of Madame Geoffrin in 1755’ , a painting by Anicet Charles Gabriel Lemonnier of a group of artists and writers at the salon of Marie-Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin, Hotel Rambouillet, Paris

Sometimes it can feel as though a conspiracy of superficiality looms over us like a candyfloss cloud dictating the kinds of conversations that are soc(...)

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

I’m looking at a wall. Or at least, a painting of a wall. I’ve got about five different articles to write and many more emails to answer, but I’m look(...)

Dazzling: a visitor with Kyung A Ham’s silk embroidery Greedy Is Good, at this autumn’s Frieze Art Fair in London. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty

Sometimes these days, when I’m going around art exhibitions, I find myself feeling grumpy, miserable and hopeless. This is bit like the feeling you ge(...)

Marcel Proust, 1871-1922. Photograph: Culture Club/Getty Images

Marcel Proust was a publisher’s nightmare: the page-long sentences; endless corrections and additions. “I fail to see why a chap needs 30 pages to des(...)