John Walsh

John Walsh: Hey - that's Eric Idle at the next table

I'm just back from Los Angeles, where they make up their own rules about reality. Where your lovely hostess asks if, being British, you'd like a proper full English breakfast and you find that the bacon you're eating is Turkey Bacon, (with, according to the label, "50 per cent less fat than pork bacon") and the strangely sweet sausage is, duh, Chicken Apple Sausage (equally less fat-bearing than that awful pork stuff) and the salt you grind over your eggs isn't any old sea salt, it's Trader Joe's Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals (product of Pakistan).

John Walsh: Is university going to be worth it?

The Coalition is going degree-tastic. They're expanding the number of university places available to students with fewer than three As at A-level; they're going to allow universities which charge less than £7,500 per annum to attract more students – up to 20,000 more. Not only that. Students, according to this week's Government White Paper, will soon be giddy with empowerment. New measures will "allow" them to rate their lecturers as part of a students' charter or review; and "allow" them to complain about their courses.

John Walsh: What I learnt at the Playboy Club

The Slutwalk business has had repercussions. Men and women have been squaring up to each other all over the place. At a literary salon on Saturday night, a young woman whom I'd never met before waved her cigarette at me and said: "Why do you wear all those rings? Are you gay or something?" to which I replied, "No, I just like personal adornment."

John Walsh: Time we made our tantrums official

Now now. Temper temper. Our thoughts are with Matt Prior, the bearded and slightly alarming England wicketkeeper, who, completely by accident, smashed a window at Lord's Cricket Ground during the Test against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. True, he had just been run out for four, after getting halfway down the crease and being sent back to his wicket by Ian Bell, but these things happen.

John Walsh: Why the Queen will be among friends

The organisers of the Queen's visit to Ireland next month won't be getting any medals for tact. Were they right to prepare an itinerary that takes Her Maj into Dublin's Garden of Remembrance with its beautiful statue of falling soldiers and ascending wild geese commemorating those who died for Irish freedom; then takes her down O'Connell Street, past the GPO where the Easter Rising began in 1916, and on to Croke Park stadium where British soldiers fired on a football crowd in 1921?

John Walsh: Outside my flat, a whole lot of stress

Would you feel more or less secure if there was a policeman parked outside your house day and night? I've been wondering because, for the last three weeks, I've had what seems like half the Met hanging about, in relays, outside my flat in west London.

John Walsh: Between the sheets with Colonel Gadaffi

According to an interview, Colonel Gadaffi's favourite book is The Outsider by the British author Colin Wilson, a study of alienation, although he's also very keen on Uncle Tom's Cabin. According to my diplomatic sources, the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao routinely brings Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations with him, when he travels abroad. Vladimir Putin, his cultural attachés will tell you, is a fan of Tolstoy, Chekhov and Gogol, revealing a sliver of difference between him and his President, Dmitry Medvedev, who favours Chekhov, Bunin and Dostoevsky.

Royal Wedding: A day to remember

Three decades ago, a bride and her prince charmed the nation. Since then, scandal, sell-outs and cynicism have changed our attitudes to Royal weddings. So, asks John Walsh, will we raise the bunting this time?

John Walsh: Simon Cowell, the Booker awaits you

I went to the Man Booker Prize dinner at the Guildhall on Tuesday and bags of fun it was: the crush of 500-plus literary titans, agents, publishers and alternative-investment managers from the Man Group, the hot frocks of the ladies (the top three were wrapped around Amanda Ross of the TV Book Club, Mariella Frostrup and the poet and gossip writer Olivia Cole), the yummy rump of lamb, the sound of the impeccably patrician Sir Jonathan Lloyd distastefully trying the words "podcast," "app" and "available for download" on his tongue before confessing: "I find myself on unfamiliar ground here."