Toby Young

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.

Writer and financier get go-ahead for new schools

Fears that the Government's "free" schools programme will be dominated by faith groups and create more segregation between religions were re-ignited yesterday. Five of the first 16 schools announced by Education Secretary Michael Gove will be faith-orientated – two Jewish, one Hindu, one Sikh and one Christian.

Toby Young: Why giving boys chocolate powder and coloured sand is no

As the father of three boys under five, I share the Government's concerns. My oldest boy, four-year-old Ludo, started in reception last September and is finding it more difficult to master the basics of reading and writing than his sister did at the equivalent stage. Sasha is now six and has a reading age of nine. Ludo has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, past each developmental milestone – and his two younger brothers are the same. If the discrepancy between them remains, Sasha will start secondary school with a huge advantage over her male siblings.

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

Tim Fountain: I'm not just a sex freak...

Tim Fountain's one-man show 'Sex Addict' caused ire all round. Now he's back with a guide to sexual shenanigans up and down the country. Partly, as he tells Peter York, to discover if he's all that unusual

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