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Hit & Run

Hit & Run: Seagal under siege

Steven Seagal has discovered that not even he – actor, writer, philanthropist, aikido black-belt, blues musician, buddhist and reserve deputy sheriff of Jefferson Parish in the state of Louisiana – is above the law. You might indeed, were you so inclined, describe him as being under siege, too. This week his former personal assistant, 23-year-old Kayden Nyugen, claimed she was sexually assaulted by Seagal three times while working for him in New Orleans, and that he retained two young Russian attendants as sex slaves. Nyugen, one could say, is out for justice – oh, and $1m in compensation. Seagal's lawyer says the allegations are "ridiculous and absurd".

Hit & Run: Snog, marry, avoid?

Pub chitchat after a long day in the office is wont to veer towards gossipy banter over insightful political analysis. So imagine the glee at the opportunity to combine the two following Monday's Ask the Chancellors debate on Channel 4.

Hit & Run: Second helpings of Nigella

Unimaginable but true, Nigella Lawson, the prima donna assoluta of foodie porn, the doe-eyed, brown-haired, pink-sweatered doyenne of spatula and mixing bowl, the flirty sexpot of pot-roast and pavlova, hit 50 in January. The fall of years has not diminished her infinite gorgeousness by a jot or tittle, sprig or teaspoon, but some pretenders have been waiting in the wings, groomed by publishers and TV producers to take over the goddess's mantle.

Hit & Run: An expat's guide to Dubai

Dubai might boast lush beaches, dozens of nightclubs and attract the excruciatingly rich – along with the downright tacky – but don't let that deceive you into thinking it's Ibiza-on-the-Persian-Gulf. The City of Gold is a strict Muslim society, where Ramadan is observed by locals. Drunkenness is banned, as are Public Displays of Affection (kissing and cuddling). In October 2008, the British expatriate couple Michelle Palmer, then 36, and Vince Acors, then 34, were jailed for three months for having sex on a local beach. Now a Dubai-based marketing executive Ayman Najafi, 24, from Palmers Green, and a British tourist Charlotte Lewis, 25, face up to a month in the slammer for allegedly kissing while drunk in a restaurant. It looks like this Middle Eastern tourist trap is a manners minefield – one accidental beach-side slip of the towel and you could face a hefty fine. As a former expat who braved the mores of Dubai's cash-rich, but religiously strict society, here are some tips on how to avoid a jail sentence while soaking up the tax-free lifestyle.

Hit & Run: Ker-ching whenever Chung wears something

When Anne Boleyn first wore the French hood on the front row of the Tudor court, ye fash pack ditched their gabled headgear and copied her Parisian chic. When she engineered fuller sleeves to cover her congenital sixth finger, the Grazia editors of the day took note and disseminated advice about ermine trim.

Hit & Run: Whitehall – by bus

First Tory MP Sir Nicholas Winterton railed against the prospect of second-class train travel, almost gagging on his own foot as he suggested passengers with regular tickets were "a totally different type of people".

Hit & Run: Sexiest thing in the office

Are you sitting comfortably? I am, which is a first for a lanky loafer with a dodgy back, fidgety disposition and a posture more brute than ballerina. For a week I have been carpet-testing an office chair hailed by its makers as a revolution in workplace seating. Not very exciting, as revolutions go, but office furniture rarely is. Yet millions of us spend more time on our swivels than anywhere else bar our beds (if we're lucky).

Hit & Run: Thanks for the memory

There is an indispensable skill needed to become a top Conservative politician. It's a surer route to the Shadow Cabinet than going to Eton, being a member of the Bullingdon Club or living in Notting Hill. It's the ability to speak without notes.

Hit & Run: Downhill in denim

Seth Wescott is a lot of things – a bit of a dude, pretty hot on a snowboard and, perhaps, the first man in Olympic history to win a gold medal while wearing jeans. At least they looked like jeans. The American competitor, who nabbed gold in Monday's thrilling snowboard cross final crossed the line in a pair of baggy ski pants with a faded denim finish, jeans pockets and rivets.

Hit & Run: So long Harry, hello Percy

Wannabe wizards worried about the magical-world vacuum to be left by the demise of the Harry Potter film franchise, the final movie of which is released in two parts in November and the following July (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in case you ask) should take heart. There's a new adolescent with special powers and bum-fluff on his upper lip in town.

Hit & Run: Roses are red, texts are blue

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Not Terribly Surprising Information, 78 per cent of women would love to receive a love letter, but only 50 per cent of men have ever sent one. The survey doesn't record how many men would love to receive a love letter; perhaps the conveners of the survey imagine most men would respond to such a missive with suspicion or puzzlement or hostility.

Hit & Run: The zero-gravity zoo

As Iran's dispute with the US over its nuclear programme rumbles on, the Iranians have chalked up at least one psychological victory over their superpower rivals: yesterday the Tehran administration announced the successful launch of a Kavoshgar-3 missile into space, just days after Barack Obama confirmed the curtailment of Nasa's ambitions to return men to the Moon.

Hit & Run: Relax, it's only politics

To be fair to David Cameron, it was Holly Willoughby who asked him how the demands of the top job might affect his family life. What was he going to say? But, never one to miss out on a bit of Brown-bashing, Cameron took the opportunity to land an easy blow from the safety of the This Morning sofa. The wheels of any government he leads would spin a little more slowly, he said, to leave more time for R'n'R – something as familiar to the workaholic incumbent as R'n'B.

Hit & Run: Why lust at first site is big bucks

He's a married businessman in his late 30s. His secretary has knocked off for the day and he has time to kill before an hour-long commute back to the Home Counties. He moves his mouse to the favourites menu and selects an unmarked folder. When the URL pops up, it offers him these choices: "erotic chat/email/phone fantasies"; "discreet relationship"; "one-on-one sex"; "group sex (three or more)" or "alternative activities". Soon he's browsing through profiles of women who, like him, are attached – and looking for an adulterous encounter.

Hit & Run: Antarctic undies

It's a winter's morning on a blustery station platform. A line of inappropriately attired, angry people produce storm clouds of breath. Red ears, a loss of feeling in the fingers and chapped lips can do that to a commuter. Then someone saunters past. They're wearing a combination of super-light, wind-proof and water-resistant technology stuffed with down feathers. The warmth hugging their body is matched only by the heat generated by their self-satisfied cheeks.

Hit & Run: Acting on autopilot

Why is it that Hollywood actresses seem to have stopped...acting? This week's Golden Globe nominations may have been a triumph for Brits like Carey Mulligan, Emily Blunt and Helen Mirren but they underscored just how limited Hollywood actresses' choices have become. When Sandra Bullock is nominated for her performance in a lightweight romantic comedy like The Proposal and Meryl Streep racks up yet another nomination for her inglorious mugging in Julie & Julia, it is clear that something is very badly awry.

Hit & Run: Take the Tiger test

It's hard keeping up with Tiger Woods' collection of alleged girlfriends. Not just because they keep popping up like fluffy rats in a fairground sideshow; nor because they're as likely to deny, as to admit, any involvement with the great sportsman – leading to suspicions they've been silenced by money. It's hard keeping up because they're so interchangeable. Mr Woods diligently favours the Las Vegas Babe look: white-skinned, breasty, leggy, bottle-blonde, perma-smiling, not seemingly overburdened with intelligence.

Hit & Run: Second fiddle is best

When hosting the 2005 Oscars, Chris Rock asked a pertinent question. "Who is Jude Law? Why is he in every movie I have seen in the last four years?

Hit & Run: SimplicITy computer delivers over-50s to the digital

If social networking is something you do at the bingo hall, windows require (net) curtains, and a Mac is to be worn in the rain, chances are you're old. Because, apparently, old people don't do computers. Things like Twitter and spreadsheets only bother them when they're on the One O'Clock News. But anyone watching the BBC's lunchtime bulletin yesterday will have seen a pensioner called Betty using a computer designed to deliver her generation to the digital age.

Hit & Run: Red carpets and mint cake

If there were a device that could measure toughness – an adrenalin radar scanning the planet for nutters in harnesses – hardcore hotspots would probably include the Himalayas and the Alps. But the sick-ometer (as in "dude, that was like the sickest jump ever") is at risk of blowing up over a grey corner of northern England later this month when some of the world's greatest daredevils gather for the Kendal Mountain Festival.

Hit & Run: Holding out for a hamster

I'm in the toy department of Boots on High Street Kensington and I'm holding a picture of a robotic hamster. "Do you have this?" I shout at a sales assistant. "I must have this. There are only 46 days left until Christmas," I explain desperately.