Piano bar blues

‘I taught my children, to thine own self be true,’ the pianist said. ‘I think it may have been a mistake’

The economy of praise

One woman’s ‘good’ is sturdy praise, while another’s has notes of sympathy attached

Shall we dance?

‘I have always seen sorrow in dance, in part because of what the life of a dancer costs the body’

What lies in store

Department stores are like novels about growing up, each floor exposing you to expectations about living

Don’t regale me with your holiday plans

What is it that provokes people’s need to flee? What is that airplane-shaped hole they are trying to plug really about?

The heights of mediocrity

I once thought that excellence was the pinnacle, the thing to go for in life, and anything less was a miscued ball

Misery, murder and a maths high

‘The Archers’ becomes a soundtrack to your domestic life and goes in very deep, somehow

Footnotes are not fancy-free

Bone-dry by their very nature, footnotes must also be dashing, recherché and altruistic. Who knew?

Get your excuses in early

All this ‘pre’-ing makes it clear we are a step ahead, in control, not just on top of the game but winning

Measures for pleasure

In the happiness economy, four small jolly occurrences might affect you more than a large piece of good news

Nesselrode pudding

Oysters Christian Dior, omelette Arnold Bennett: is there a better legacy than having a dish named after you?

The dark end of the street

There is something familiar and reassuring and authentic about darkness on Eversholt Street, that the best of the City’s writing and paintings have

In the spirit

Ghosts are haunted themselves. They want to correct the past. They want closure. But do they want ‘Frasier’?

A break in the coffee routine

I can’t take out loyalty cards with coffee outlets. It’s too much responsibility

‘I have had a very jealous week’

We all have our faults, certainly. But when we start to display new faults, it is worth asking why

Holding the line

If someone doesn’t want to reach you, there are at least five different ways for them to make this known. That’s brutal

Measures of rightness

When you go to sleep, instead of counting things that went wrong, why not count those that went right?

The best cure for January blues

One strange day in New York City in 1986, there were rainbows in the sky, everywhere you looked

The only one in the loop

I lived alone for most of the time between 18 and 26 and hardly anyone ever knew where I was

How to ‘take a cloud and pin it down’

We think of it as ephemeral, but production of data or Google searches is as solid and material as concrete

ABOUT SUSIE

Susie BoytSusie Boyt writes a column on shopping for the FT Weekend supplement. She is a novelist and lives in London.

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