Uncoupled by a mattress

‘I hate the scent that Shangri-La hotels use. It reminds me of a detergent from boarding school’

Ho Chi Minh’s shoe shame

‘I’ve seen ambitious networkers palm off their name cards to the Prince of Wales – and even the Queen’

Hotel loses its composer

In the toilet of one Australian brewery the graffiti reads: ‘You never buy the beer, you just rent it’

A flair for fashion

‘Chinese women put into trousers after the 1949 revolution were years ahead of Yves Saint Laurent’

Let’s talk scents

‘My taste for incense comes from my early days when I was an altar boy swinging the thurible at mass’

In search of suitable seats

‘My favourite loo is at Aspinall’s, where onyx and marble exude respect for the user’

Nightclubs and bath tubs

‘I doubt I could pull off having a business meeting in my hotel room with others fully clothed while I sat naked in the bath’

China’s power to surprise

‘I calculated that China will need about 75 years to catch up the US in terms of GDP per capita’

Turn back the clock

‘That tick-tock sound in the silence of a room is magically soothing, and a perfect backdrop to reading a good book’

Suburban flash mob

‘Testosterone should be demonstrated by cerebral dexterity or bodily muscles, not car ownership’

When love is off the rails

‘I always find that a very romantic place for dinner à deux is at a railway station with its history of encounters and separations’

How to sleep like James Bond

‘There is no greater luxury than sitting next to a fire, having a crumpet with a cuppa’

Get it right on the knight

As for all my friends, they of course just write ‘Dear Tang’ or something more derogatory like ‘Dear Fatso’

How I treat my domestic staff

One of my students once went up to Edward Heath and said ‘Do you talk old lubbish?’

Elton John’s stamp at Christmas

Despite the many unspeakable chocolate-box scenes of Yuletide, at least cards are a protest vote against social media

A fight between fish and chips

In my reception I leave two well-thumbed copies of Playgirl and Penthouse

Suspicions about Belgium

Worst of all, the name “Brussels” evokes, other than sprouts, the tyranny of the EU

Picasso versus a prince’s pants

I suspect ‘Guernica’ would be a touch more interesting than the Duke of York’s underwear

A horror best cellar

Why I always leave a baseball bat at the entrance to any dark basement

A back-rub with Schubert

But there is no point fussing over all the decorations and ending up with a pair of palms that does not press the right points


David TangDavid Tang, the FT's Agony Uncle, answers readers' questions about property, interiors, architecture and gardens although he often strays beyond his remit to debate concerns about everything from etiquette to grammar.

Tang is the entrepreneur who founded China Tang and iCorrect, and he has homes principally in Hong Kong, mainland China, London and Essex .

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