Toby Young

Harriet Walker: A cuts lesson from my one-year-old niece

It's standard etiquette, I think, not to take things away from a child – unless of course they're wielding a chainsaw, or a spoonful of jam next to a white carpet. The big wigs know this as well as the rest of us. Last week saw the release of a government-commissioned report which found that early intervention in a child's development would break the cycle of "dysfunction and under-achievement". The early years of a child's life are the ones that count, in terms of ability to socialise, learn, communicate and, quite simply, to exist to the very best of their ability.

Diary: Prezza backs wrong Piers

As if a 100-foot billboard of Piers Morgan in Times Square wasn't sufficiently sickly, the rookie CNN interviewer's marketing team yesterday dispatched large boxes of resolution-busting CNN/Morgan cupcakes to newspaper offices across London, no doubt hoping to secure favourable reviews for their man's first outing with Oprah. (I poked it down with tea, sipped from my similarly bizarre Sky News/Adam Boulton mug, received a day previously.) The cupcakes were as nothing, however, to the surprise one loyal reader of this column registered upon learning that former Deputy PM John Prescott had joined the smug one's cheerleading squad: Prescott, it seemed, was tweeting that he planned to stay up until 2am (Morgan's live transmission time), to pull a "Piers All-Nighter". Of course, when said reader rubbed his/her eyes, they realised that Prescott's links led, instead, to live footage of the filibustering House of Lords debate on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – also known as the "Peers' All-Nighter". Sleep has never seemed so inviting.

Bespoke: Delusions of grandeur

It is not enough to buy designer – one has to order bespoke. But this 'Grand Designs' life of endless choice is just an ego-stroking sales pitch that lets us believe our cash makes us creative, argues Charlotte Raven.

An Angela at my table: Toby Young invites a local chef to cater a

The average UK temperature in the first week of January was -2.1 degrees, and things haven't improved that much since. In such extreme weather conditions, the last thing you want to do is leave your house in the evening. Battling your way into work and back is hazardous enough, so why risk going out to a restaurant?

Coming to a cinema near you: even bigger audiences

For the hippies at Woodstock, it was the summer of sex and psychedelia but back across the Atlantic, the buttoned-up Brits who eschewed the hedonism of 1969 preferred to call it the summer of cinema.

Toby Young: How Brüno creates his buzz

Is there anyone better at creating buzz around his own movies than Sacha Baron Cohen? He did a good job of publicising Borat three years ago, but it was nothing compared to his efforts to promote Brüno. His surprise appearance at the MTV Awards earlier this month was watched by 100 million people – and countless more on YouTube.

Toby Young: Is Art Buchwald the man behind Harrison Ford's success?

The news that Harrison Ford is Hollywood's highest-earning actor may come as a surprise to some. After all, isn't he a bit of a has-been? His last film, Crossing Over, grossed less than $500,000 at the US box office. Yet according to Forbes, the 66-year-old action star earned nearly $65m in the 12 months between June 2008 and 2009. How did he manage it?

Screen test: Look what they've done to my book!

Book-writing is a very different art from writing screenplays. So what happens when an author's cherished creation finds itself in Hollywood's tender embrace? Charlotte Cripps asked nine novelists how they cope

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Tarka Cordell: a life in the fast lane

He was born into a rock 'n' roll world of glamour, wealth and opportunity. But the dashing, charismatic Tarka Cordell never quite found his groove – and this week, he took his own life. Tim Walker reports