Blackfriars Bridge

Dirt: Grime and reason

Depending on your point of view, dirt can be a deadly foe, an unsavoury sight or a mark of authenticity. We live in an age of extreme cleanliness but our conflicted feelings about filth are anything but neat and tidy, argues Andrew Martin

Tooley scrumptious: Magdalen, Tooley Street, London

It's just as well the by-line photos accompanying restaurant reviews aren't legally obliged to reflect the actual size of the writer. There has been such a waxing and waning of waistlines in reviewing circles recently that picture editors would be struggling to keep pace. As some of my big-boy peers melt into slender ephebes thanks to no-carb diets, I'm heading in the opposite direction, having adopted a punishing regime of round-the-clock eating in preparation for the judging of the London Restaurant Awards.