Charles Nevin has been a journalist for 25 years, and has reported for the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, and Observer. He writes a weekly column for The Independent on Mondays.
31 December 2011 12:00 AM
What apter way than this for looking backwards and forwards through a dizzy mist of vigorously induced benevolence? A simple, forgiving tune; fine, dense and eminently slurrable dialect, as in: "We'll tak a right gude-willy waught, for auld lang syne", which translates as a goodwill drink (waught: draught) for old times long since (gone). Its origins are lost amid Rabbie Burns, strong drink and folk memory: some even claim the tune is English.
24 December 2011 12:00 AM
You'll be tired by now, after a testing day which has included much wrapping, preparing and purchasing, plus that moment this afternoon, amid the jingle-jangle of the music, the unnatural heat, the smell of scent and the scent of panic, when you just couldn't think what to get for which visiting extended family member and made your annual resolution to start in September.
17 December 2011 12:00 AM
What could be more innocent than celebrating our winter festival with light to defy the darkness and warm the soul? Not in Britain, however, where no opportunity, however sweet, simple and unpromising, is missed to demonstrate distinctions and supposed superiorities, ie, nudge and smirk.
10 December 2011 12:00 AM
The subjects in this space are generally selected with a certain affection, but today, as it's the Season of Goodwill, I'll make an exception. Can no one rid us of these affronts to intelligence and taste, these inducers of an invincible urge for the paper receptacle Alice is accustomed to pass?
03 December 2011 12:00 AM
The most unexpected regular event in Britain is on its way, if it hasn't already arrived.
26 November 2011 12:00 AM
It seems odd that eccentrics should be cherished by the British, who are pretty much a conformist people, but that's probably why.
19 November 2011 12:00 AM
Dunking biscuits is one of the chief pleasures many Britons afford themselves, which tells you much about the country. Even so, the practice is disapproved of by other Britons, mostly members of the middle classes who follow what they believe, usually erroneously, to be the views of the upper classes.
12 November 2011 12:00 AM
A minor institution with its best days behind it. This was once a hubbub of a place, filled by a long table groaning under the lord's fare, with the unworthy sat below the salt and great dogs slumbering before the fire in between gnawing the large bones hurled to them by their indulgent master, while minstrels plainted and jesters frolicked.
05 November 2011 12:00 AM
Nothing personal, but Guy is a moveable, slippery fellow. Originally German, he arrived with the Normans, gaining a haughty reputation (cf Robin Hood's enemy, Guy of Gisbourne).
29 October 2011 12:00 AM
As you prepare to hide in the dark refusing to answer the door, I have some consolation regarding this festival of faff, fuss and over-excitement.
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence