An ice-cream shop moment

Children do most of their growing through the summer holidays because they are less stressed than in term-time, and stress stunts growth

The world’s a stage

People don’t go to ‘maybe I’ll like it’ shows when they could go to ‘you’re going to love it’ ones

When the plot thickens

Sometimes the events of real life are so far-fetched and fantastical that they make writers feel deskilled

Good knowing you, Mrs Florrick

Part of the appeal of ‘The Good Wife’ was that almost everything took place beneath her immaculate surfaces

The sunny side of Bing

Watching ‘White Christmas’ with a flourishing rose bed visible from my window — well, it was a first

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


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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