Grand Canal, Venice

Death of Venice

I’m in Venice for the film festival that just ended, and as an American humorist once wired his paper, “Streets full of water, stop. Send funds, stop.” What is there to say about Venice that hasn’t already been said or written by better men or women? (Thomas Mann and Jan Morris come to ...

Sanaa, Yemen

Saudi Thugs and Book Plugs

After the heat in Greece, the Alps are cool and green and very comfortable. My sensei Richard Amos is over here, and we squeezed two weeks of intensive karate training into three days. Nothing makes me feel better than the sense of total exhaustion after a hard day’s fight. We do “kihon” and ...

Princess Diana

Live and Let Di

I was appalled. She had asked Lord John Somerset to ask me to join her, and I rose rather unsteadily to do so. This was during a Jimmy Goldsmith ball, and I was writing the Atticus column in The Sunday Times, along with High Life in The Spectator. A German girlfriend of mine at the time warned me ...

The Haiti of Europe

Greece is a small beautiful country in the southeastern part of Europe, a place of jasmine, bougainvillea, mimosa, cypresses, olive trees, pines, oregano, sage, and thyme; sand, rock, and the bluest and cleanest water on earth. It was the birthplace of (selective) democracy, philosophy, Attic ...

New Man Lives

When the Germans smuggled arguably the world’s most evil man into Russia 100 years ago, they did not imagine the harm they were springing on the human race. Once Lenin had prevailed, he decided to forge a new consciousness, a New Man, as the Bolshies called it, one that would overcome “the ...

Margaret Osborne duPont

The Gender Racket

One of my many regrets is that when I was young and on the tennis circuit, I played as a man. I had a crush on Margaret Osborne duPont, an older player who won numerous Wimbledon and U.S. national doubles titles, and the very pretty Karen Hantz, a Wimbledon singles winner, not to mention the Buding ...

Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb

As Jacob Rees-Mogg said in a different context, a happy birthday at my age is a terminological inexactitude. I needed the birthday I had last week like a hole in the head, to coin a brand-new expression. Mind you, the miasma of misinformation that deals with maturity never fails to depress. The ...

Spetses, Greece

Dubious Knights and Ladies

Greece is jasmine, bougainvillea, mimosa, cypresses, olive trees, pines, oregano, and sage; rock, sand, wine, fruit, and the bluest and cleanest water in the Med. The Peloponnese has the nicest, most welcoming, most generous of people, none more than my host and hostess at their private island, ...

Greece Is the Word

I’ve stayed far away from the new barbarians with their choppers, tanklike cars, home theaters on board, and fridge-shaped superyachts that terrorize sea life. In fact, dolphins escorted us into Kyparissi, a tiny village on the eastern Peloponnese sixty kilometers from Sparta, my grandmother’s ...

Cyclades, Greece

A Tale of Two Parties

I am surfing along the Cycladic islands on a 125-foot classic that was launched in 1929 by John Alden and has remained among the most beautiful sailing boats ever: Puritan. Everything on board is original, including the MoMC, my two grandchildren, and my son. I boarded her at Porto Heli, where the ...