We're all in favour of encouraging people to dress up nicely, but Ascot really ought to spare a thought for those of us who look rubbish in hats. Anyone with a small head, a big head, short, long or curly hair has experience of looking charmless in a chapeau, so either they should relax the rules on fascinators (if only because the word is so nice) or just let people wear any kind of hat that suits them. Flat cap, anyone?
Each time E L James's mucky book Fifty Shades of Grey smashes a record (last week it sold faster than Harry Potter and was rapidly catching up on the Bible – basically, anyone reading an eBook can be assumed to be up to her eyeballs in sleazy Christian Grey and his Red Room of Eew, Gross), someone else asks in exasperated tones, "Why are women reading this crap?" Literary women complain that the novel's gender politics are straight out of the 1950s, and that independent modern feminists should not be buying into this nonsense. I think that they are missing the point. Yes, the book is badly written, derivative and contrary to the independent modern feminist's idea of a healthy relationship, but ladies, it is not a fly-on-the-wall documentary. Nobody tells men that they must not enjoy, say, George RR Martin's Game of Thrones series, because the rape, pillage and incest scenes are not politically correct, and I'm all for women's right to read just as much escapist nonsense as men. Anyone who wants to write a literary, feminist sexual fantasy (whatever that might look like) should feel free – but be quick, before all the world's presses become devoted to printing Fifty Shades of Grey.