John Lichfield

John Lichfield: Love and other bombshells

Here is a literary conundrum. A legendary, best-selling French novel, written 60 years ago, has just been published in France for the first time. How can that be? It is a long and fascinating story in which I claim a tiny, walk-on part. More glamorously, there is also a story within the story: the first account of the final love affair of a doomed, British screen idol of the 1930s and 1940s, Leslie Howard. The book in question has never previously appeared in France because its French author thought that it was too naughty for the French. More exactly, Tereska Torres feared that its descriptions of the heterosexual and homosexual love lives of French women soldiers in London during the Blitz might cause offence.

John Lichfield: Note to M&S – Paris is pining for your

I have terrible news for Parisian Anglophiles and British expatriates in Paris. The British sausage and the pork pie are not, after all, returning to the French capital. Ten years after its hurried, Dunkirk-like departure from the continent, Marks & Spencer plans to open a new store in Paris. The location is perfect. M&S will take over a 1,000sq m store on the Champs-Elysées, just a few yards from the office that I share with the BBC (or, as I try to tell visitors, the BBC shares with me).