• Father's Day 2022: Paganism, roses and how the campaign to celebrate dads was won

    Father's Day, the official date to honour our wonderful dads and celebrate fatherhood, is not far away.

  • Hair loss in men: Signs, symptoms, causes and treatments

    Thinning hair is a natural part of the ageing process for men, but is there anything you can do about it?

  • Lucky stripes: the humble rugby shirt is having a comeback for men over 40

    I always viewed men who wear rugby shirts but don’t play the game like men who carry a Porsche keyring while driving a Fiesta. But then I saw a mature David Beckham making one look stylish and gave it a go.

  • Josh Widdicombe: ‘I can’t even go to the toilet without taking my phone with me’

    Josh Widdicombe, 38, is a comedian and presenter best known for his appearances on The Last Leg and Mock the Week, as well as his BBC Three sitcom Josh. He won the first series of Taskmaster in 2015 and the show’s first Champion of Champions special in 2017. He is married to Rose Hanson, a television producer. They have two children.

  • Matt Baker: 'There's more to farming than wafting around the countryside'

    In his adult life, the longest that Matt Baker has been without a flock of sheep was for a period of six months in 1999. The now 43-year-old had moved down to London to start his dream job presenting Blue Peter. Settling into city life for the first time in Chiswick High Road he says now: “I couldn’t handle it!”

  • The new rules of how to be sexy as a midlife man

    Look at this picture of Brad Pitt. What do you see? A relaxed, fit, long-haired Brad drinking a fancy cup of coffee in a sleek, open-plan, minimalist kitchen. What else? A chunky signet ring, a wristful of bracelets, a forearm tattoo, a bit of a greying beard – but neat, not the unwashed stubble of Brad’s tricky artist phase – and in the background, a conspicuous coffee machine. You may not have heard of De’Longhi (we certainly hadn’t) but Brad is their new brand ambassador, following in the foo

  • Richard E Grant: ‘Playing a drag queen gave me sleepless nights’

    This interview was conducted before the sad news about the death of Richard E Grant’s wife, Joan Washington, who died on 2 September

  • 10 of the best new swim trunks for stylish mid-lifers

    Swimwear is tricky for middle-aged men: go too short or too loud and you attract attention for the wrong reasons; play it too safe and you’re condemned to dadsville. Mercifully, there is a safe place where mid-lifers like me can hit the beach without ridicule and potentially even turn heads.

  • 12 of the best new vetiver fragrances for men

    The fragrance industry suffered during lockdown, since staying two metres apart made dabbing something aromatic on your wrist pointless. Happily, it’s now set for a golden age with a backlog of new scents, many of which feature soothing, calming vetiver.

  • Line of Duty's Martin Compston: 'When I lose that chip, I'll lose an edge'

    If you’ve only ever seen Martin Compston in Line of Duty, playing DS Steve Arnott with his wide-boy Estuary accent, you’d be startled to meet him in person and hear his gruff, playful Scottish brogue. He’s played Arnott, whose accent he modelled on rogue bank trader Nick Leeson, for nine years, but even now at wrap parties crew are shocked to hear his real voice. He keeps up Arnott’s accent on set, only dropping it for ‘the wife and the family – the family wouldn’t speak to me otherwise!’ he lau

  • Why the polo is the hardest working item in your wardrobe

    The classic cotton-piqué polo is one of our most adaptable staples, appropriate for dress-down-Fridays and smart/casual invitations as well as the golf course. Still, there’s only so far a sports shirt made from a breathable fabric can rise up the ranks.

  • How to find the right pair of summer sandals for all types of feet

    Despite working in fashion all my life, I never felt the need to own a pair of sandals. I just bought cheap flip-flops before a holiday – until I discovered the Birkenstock Arizona. With its pretzel-buckled straps and cork-cushioned footbed, the ultra-comfortable Arizona has been a beach-to-bar classic since the 1970s, but it has also proved to be the perfect WFH shoe. It was allegedly the most searched shoe online last summer. I bought a pair myself, and they radically changed my viewpoint on s

  • Why the Breton top is the secret to an easy classic wardrobe

    Introduced as a naval uniform in 1858, with its distinctive stripes (allegedly representing Napoleon’s 21 victories) designed to identify Frenchmen overboard, the Breton shirt is having another fashion moment. La marinière (as it was known) was first adopted as a fashion staple by the 1920s Riviera set – Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel were fans. Later, as worn by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, it came to represent a new spirit of liberation. This summer, the shops are awash wi

  • The best anti-aging face creams for men under £10

    There was a time, not so long ago, when the best the male grooming market could offer was shaving foam, deodorant and soap on a rope. Nowadays, driven by unforeseen demand, we men are offered products we never knew we needed; anyone for a beard-softening shampoo? But with greater choice comes greater confusion. The anti-ageing sector is the golden goose for beauty brands. We all eventually have to deal with wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (uneven skin-tone) or sagging caused by loss of skin elastici

  • Why the Harrington jacket is the timeless men's staple

    You are looking at a menswear classic. The Harrington is the jacket that will go with everything. The original, Baracuta’s G9, was launched as a golfing jacket in Manchester in 1939 but popularised by Ryan O’Neal’s character, Rodney Harrington, in TV soap Peyton Place. Worn in the 1960s by Paul Newman, Elvis Presley, JFK and Steve McQueen before being adopted by British sub-cultures (mods, skinheads, punks), the G9 is still going strong. I bought my first during the Britpop years. Featuring a si

  • Why the Cuban shirt is the hero piece of the summer – no matter your age

    The Cuban-collared or cabana shirt, or Guayabera (it goes by many names) is a mid-century menswear icon. With a soft double-notched one-piece collar lying flat to the body like a pyjama top, it found popularity in the 1960s following the Cuban exodus and was worn by everyone from Hemingway to Elvis. Since that heyday it has stuck around as a more sophisticated choice than its louder Hawaiian sibling. I split cabana shirts into three categories: those with an all-over print (great for holidays an

  • Why you're never too old to wear trainers, and the 12 best options for men

    Unlike my father, who wore sensible shoes as a boy (I know because he never tired of telling me), I spent my formative years shod in adidas, Puma and Nike. My generation has a soft spot for trainers and I plan to keep wearing mine long into my 70s. Millennials, however, consider some styles to be “dad trainers”. To avoid looking like a man in a midlife crisis, heritage styles are the best way forward. Take the Vans Old Skool (the first to use the signature Vans side-stripe), which first debuted in 1977, or the Nike Air Pegasus, first introduced in 1983. Boston-based Saucony, over a century old, has released an eco-friendly spin on its iconic Jazz Court model which uses cotton and jute, but no plastic. The 373 by New Balance is another worthy retro option, especially in burgundy and white. At the other end of the spectrum is relatively new brand, Athletics Footwear. Established in London, designed in Portland, Oregon, developed in Amsterdam and Hong Kong, and with creative direction from Berlin and Paris, its ONE.2 is positioned at the intersection of nostalgia and innovation. These and the Lacoste Game Advance would be my first choice for a trainer to actually go running in. For versatility, the retro plimsoll or pump takes some beating. You can even wear it with a suit. Zara has a style with a double-stripe that looks like it has teleported from the mid-70s, while M&S Collection has a canvas lace-up in a wide range of colours that, at £25 a pop, you can afford to have some fun with. Plimsoll lines

  • Like Keir Starmer, I know nothing gets between a midlife bloke and playing football

    It’s every middle-aged out of shape amateur footballer’s nightmare. Someone brings a camera to the game and captures you in all your huffing puffing tight-shirted glory, shattering a thousand delusional inner commentaries. In those photos you realise you are not the younger version of yourself that compels you to keep playing – nor do you look anything like the stylish Italian greats like Maldini or Pirlo, or the super lean heroes of your Seventies childhood. Photos emerged on the weekend of Keir Starmer looking less than match fit, doubled over and puffing, before finishing the game with a pint. Having been his teammate on a number of occasions previously on Sunday mornings in north London, I knew his game as organised, his captaincy skilful – it was fair to predict he might be heading for a higher role in politics. Contrary to those photographs Keir is very good to play with: he’s solid, not flashy and works hard, which is probably why he looked so knackered. He wasn’t much of a goalscorer, it has to be said, and his “shoot to miss” policy might need some sort of parliamentary investigation. It doesn’t surprise me he’s not stopped despite his new job: for many of us amateur football is the last true link between the dreams we had as kids and the lives we lead today. Especially in a season when we can’t even watch our professional teams live. I’ve kept going too – in spite of having similarly unflattering photos of me mid-match broadcast when I wrote Above Head Height, my book about five-a-side football. An Amazon number one bestseller, newspapers, magazines and Match of The Day: The Premier League Show sent photographers and cameramen to shoot me and my friends. I have never looked so static in all my life. I used to be a box-to-box midfielder; now the only box I’m likely to be getting into is one covered in wreaths. For men in midlife, giving up a kickabout just isn’t an option. I still play two games a week despite health issues which suggest I really shouldn’t. I can’t see, I can’t hear, I have asthma, my insteps have gone but I have no intention to stop, I still have a decent game two out of three weeks. The people I play with range in age from 15 to 73, it’s the same all over the country. Self-organised small-sided games are going on everyday in every city and town in the UK and companies like Power League offer a platform for avid five-a-side nuts, but beyond that there are any number of leisure centres and schools renting their pitches to an array of ageing men and now women in new and vintage kits of their heroes. Admittedly the demand to play in my regular Friday night game once lockdown allowed it again at Easter was naturally greater than on a rainy February night and we’ve been sailing at full capacity ever since. Amateur astroturf football is a great leveller. For those 60 or 90 minutes it doesn’t matter what you do for a living, where you’re from, who you support. There are bonds formed that transcend normal social boundaries. Last Friday I found myself stood outside our local pub having the post-match debrief where people who shoot from the halfway line are forced to explain their actions, and temporary goalkeepers who give the ball away to the opposition striker to score are mocked mercilessly. This time I was with four Manchester United fans, which as a Leeds United fan is not a date I would otherwise arrange, but we played together so we drank together.

  • The 10 best men's collarless shirts

    The grandad-collared shirt is gaining momentum, powered by the popularity of Peaky Blinders and the fact that, with fewer of us working at the office, the collar and tie have never felt more redundant. The look is divisive, though. Does eliminating the defining feature of a shirt (its collar) render it useless, like removing the handle from a teapot? I don’t think so. You just need to know how to wear them – for example, to take the stuffiness out of a formal suit. My advice, if you are new to collarless shirts, is to opt for a vertical stripe. It will take the emphasis away from the neckline and will cut the risk of looking like a dental hygienist. Luca Faloni’s Versilia in khaki stripes, cut from pure Italian linen, and Octobre Editions’ cotton/linen Benny in red, with stripes and mother-of pearl buttons, are two of my favourites. For a more formal look you can try a contrast collar stand (the binding-band around the neckline). APC’s Mark is a slick example of this, as is the linen striped shirt from designer JW Anderson’s collaboration with Uniqlo. At the casual end of the spectrum NN07, a Copenhagen-based firm which specialises in wardrobe staples, has a genius checked flannel shirt/grandad shirt hybrid. Plain grandads require a little more confidence to pull off. H&M, Zara and M&S can all be relied upon for quality – M&S has a very versatile one in a lightweight corduroy. When taking the plunge, my key advice is to always wear the top two buttons undone, with or without a white T-shirt underneath. A world without collar

  • How girdles for guys can take off the lockdown pounds

    Men in Spanx? No thanx. That has always been my reaction to flab-restricting girdles, body-sculpting T-shirts and high-waisted shapewear pants that redistribute your love handles’ fatty bits to other, less obtrusive areas. But now, after two lockdowns of overdoing it on the Pinot Grigio and the Deliveroo dinners and being a mainly horizontal, gym-phobic type looking for a quick fix, maybe it was time for a rethink. With WFH coming to an end and office and social lives starting up again, I wanted to dress up and abandon my baggy H&M sweatpants in favour of a nicely tailored Brunello Cucinelli suit. No time for cardio or a crash paleo diet: I needed an instant, blubber relocation-based solution. My thinspiration came from an unlikely source – Ned Rocknroll, Kate Winslet’s husband. Described by the actress as “one of those impossible people you look at and think, how can you really eat six meals a day and look like that?” it turns out that young Ned keeps himself Jagger skinny by eating copious amounts of chia seeds and lying around in male Spanx. So I ordered some new Spanx Mens Ultra Sculpt wear for myself. They were delivered by a courier clearly tickled by the prominent logo on the bag. ‘How’s it hanging?’ enquired the blurb on the box, with the accompanying leaflet promising ‘Top control and ultimate crotch comfort’. Ew.

  • Prime Minister, be warned: you besmirch the good name of John Lewis at your peril

    Personally, I think Boris Johnson should look on the bright side. Things could easily be worse. Take the latest political news from Scotland. According to the Daily Record, a campaigner for the new nationalist party Alba is a convicted murderer who, in 1992, stabbed his best man in the eye and battered him with a claw hammer. I’d like to see Alex Salmond try and wave that story away. “What I’m finding on the doorstep is that people want to talk about our plans for this great country, not the latest media tittle-tattle about who’s murdered whom…” In my view, that story rather puts the Prime Minister’s troubles into perspective. All the same, he does seem to be having a rough time over the revamp of his Downing Street flat – or, as the saga has been christened by tabloid sub-editors, “Cash for curtains”. The focus of attention has been on the mystery over the revamp’s funding. But even if it turns out that the funding was above board, there’s another aspect to this story that I fear could do the Prime Minister greater damage. And that’s the motivation behind the revamp. It’s been widely reported that Mr Johnson and Carrie Symonds simply couldn’t bear the way the Downing Street flat used to look – because it was, apparently, “a John Lewis furniture nightmare”. What an extraordinary suggestion. John Lewis furniture? A nightmare? I’m sorry, Prime Minister, but this cannot be allowed to stand. John Lewis is a proud British institution, beloved by millions. And woe betide the politician, or politician’s fiancée, who dares to besmirch its good name. When you look down your nose at John Lewis, you look down your nose at the British people. We like our John Lewis furniture. We paid good money for it – out of our own pockets, no less. So it would be awful to think that, behind our backs, the political elite are wincing and sniggering and calling it common. As it happens, my wife and I are in the middle of a revamp ourselves. We’re doing up our living room. And our first port of call, quite naturally, was John Lewis. At the weekend, we went to the Bluewater branch and picked out a Barbican corner-end sofa in Saga Latte polyester, and an Enville Art Deco-style armchair. At the time, we were delighted with our purchases. Yet now we find ourselves worried sick that, should we ever invite the Prime Minister and his fiancée to dine at our Gravesend home, they’ll be so aghast at our desperately déclassé furniture that they’ll hastily mumble their excuses, leap back into the limo, and any hope of an OBE will be out of the window. Still, perhaps sniffiness about John Lewis is more pervasive than we realised. On Radio 4 yesterday, the wife of Michael Gove attempted to defend the PM and his fiancée by arguing that they “can’t be expected to live in a skip” and need “decent furnishings”. Then again, the Goves do have very refined tastes. During the expenses scandal of 2009, Mr Gove agreed to repay £7,000 he’d spent on furniture. A third of it had been spent at an interior design firm founded by Viscountess Astor, David Cameron’s mother-in-law. Next to that, I suppose poor little John Lewis doesn’t quite cut it. Of course, I’m not suggesting that the PM and Ms Symonds are snobs. After all, snobs look down on anyone who buys furniture full stop – because the real upper crust inherit all theirs. The late Alan Clark – Tory minister, best-selling diarist and owner of a castle in Kent – famously pitied Michael (now Lord) Heseltine as a mere “arriviste” who “bought all his own furniture”. Exquisite as their homes may be, however, I can’t say I envy the upper class. What a pain it must be, not being able to buy a new sofa for fear of losing face. Imagine the awkward conversations you’d end up having. “I say, Aunt Araminta, I do admire that chaise longue of yours. In fact, I could rather do with one myself. Would you mind awfully popping your clogs some time soon, so that I can have it?” And while we’re on the subject, goodness knows where the upper class get their TVs. Presumably they can’t pass off a 65-inch LG OLED flatscreen as an heirloom their great-great-grandfather brought back from the Raj. But back to the matter in hand. Mr Johnson and his fiancée may not share Middle England’s taste in home decor. At the very least, though, they should remember what a painful 12 months John Lewis has had. Before the pandemic it was a hugely profitable business, but last year it made a loss of £517m. It’s gone from having 51 stores to 34. Surely the PM doesn’t want to be seen to kick a great British brand when it’s down? A man of his sharp political instincts will be eager to atone for this unfortunate PR own goal as soon as possible. By the weekend, I expect to see Ms Symonds dispatched to Bluewater John Lewis, where she will be photographed swooning over footstools and simpering at a bin. You can read Michael Deacon’s column every Wednesday. Click here to read last week's column

  • 12 best men's sunglasses to buy this spring

    Sunglasses should be something you can have fun with. Admittedly, some styles fit some faces better than others (arched eyebrows suit rounded lenses, straight brows suit square frames) but rules are there to be broken. I say hit the opticians and try as many as you like. Wire frames allow you to experiment with oversized lenses without heading down the Rocketman route. The classic aviator with traditional Top Gun green lenses looks best paired with a black or gunmetal frame. Next has a great pair with filter-3 UV lenses at only £14. Gold wire frames have a 1970s retro vibe so you can be more playful with your choice of lens. Finlay’s Parker aviator with a Californian sunset-orange graduated tint sets a good example. Acetate frames are a different way to introduce some colour — not everyone is happy to see things through rose-tinted glasses, after all. French brand Izipizi’s Glazed Ice collection features some real gems; the frosted blue in the #E shaped frame is a personal favourite. Ted Baker’s Daxtar, with contrast tortoiseshell arms, and Ace & Tate’s Tom, with honey-toned Brick Lane frames, are also worth checking out. The current trend is to mix materials. Marks & Spencer Collection’s new aviator combines a tortoiseshell acetate rim with metal brow-bar and arms, and Sun Smart UPF50+ lenses for those sensitive to bright light. Taylor Morris’ Ledbury in Tawny is another great shout; a lightweight square frame that takes its cues from the classic wayfarer. If sustainability is of concern, head to Wires. All of their shades are made with stainless steel wire and 3D printing for their lens rims, leading to a fraction of the waste. Shades descriptions

  • Are you a modern day hero? How you match up to the new 'Hero Code'

    Growing up in the early Sixties on a military base in France, a young William McRaven devoured superhero comics. His childhood days were filled with the exploits of Batman, Spiderman, The Hulk and – his absolute favourite – Superman. When the family returned to New York a few years later, his father, an officer in the US Air Force, caught him scouring the rooftops for signs of the superhero. He pointed to a passing police officer instead and said: “Son, that’s the man who protects New York City.” Over the course of McRaven’s own stellar military career, which has seen him rise to the rank of four-star admiral and commander of all US special operations, experience has further formed his idea of what it means to be a hero; and he has condensed his learnings into a new book, The Hero Code.

  • The best water-resistant spring jackets to buy this season

    Men’s shopping habits are largely driven by shifts in the weather, which makes the unpredictable British spring a bit of a dilemma. The ideal spring jacket should be lightweight, breathable but solidly dependable if caught in a sudden shower. It also needs to look the part, of course. I’ve always been open about my views on men over 40 wearing camouflage but, going against the grain for once, my jacket of the season is J.Crew’s Brunswick rain jacket in its signature military print. Constructed in a three-layer waterproof nylon fabric, and featuring zippered underarm vents, a cinched hood and flap pockets (to keep your phone dry), it rises to every challenge. Bomber jackets and Harringtons are a shrewd option. They don’t really look like a rain jacket at all (which is why they work in even semi-formal scenarios), but will offer adequate protection in an unexpected downpour. Next has a great example in a heritage check that is made from breathable cotton with a water-resistant finish. From John Lewis & Partners, I recommend the Wallace shower-resistant Harrington with a Black Watch tartan lining. Coach jackets, defined by their flap-over shirt-style collar and usually a drawstring waist, offer the advantage that they can be folded up and stashed in your bag when not needed. Lyle & Scott, Wax and Polo Ralph Lauren have you covered. With shades of the Gallagher brothers, H&M and Zara’s water-repellent windbreaker-meets-parka hybrids make a bolder style statement, but it’s a risk worth taking. It's raining men...

  • ‘My father was the ‘Black Messiah’, murdered before I was born – I’ve spent a lifetime getting to know him’

    Before Chairman Fred Hampton Jr tells me why he doesn’t romanticise being born into political activism, he momentarily stops and says to tell him if he starts speaking too fast. As the son of the Illinois Black Panther Party leader Chairman Fred Hampton, his Chicago accent carries the same reverberations as his father – and as anyone who has watched Shaka King’s new film, Judas and the Black Messiah, knows, you have to pay attention to his words to catch them all. “I feel fortunate to have fallen from the tree of two freedom fighters,” he says after catching his breath, “but the climate I grew up in was a period of defeat for organisations like the Black Panther Party.” On December 29, 1969, Hampton was born with the name Alfred Johnson, but his mother, Akua Njeri, had it legally changed when he was 10. Four weeks before he arrived into the world, police stormed the rear bedroom of his parents’ apartment on West Monroe Street, and shot and killed his father as he slept next to his heavily pregnant fiancée. The murder of Chairman Fred, at 21, was facilitated by William O’Neal, a petty car thief turned FBI informant, who leaked information to police, and spiked his drink with a sedative on the evening before the dawn attack. King’s film is an attempt to explain the impact this betrayal and murder had on the Black Panther movement. Over the years. Hampton and his mother have turned down many projects, books and films that would have “co-opted” his father’s legacy and gone “against the grain”. For this project though, he says: “We pretty much had a dream team, from the scriptwriters to the cast. But there were some contradictions and narratives that came with the perspective chosen for the film about the vicinity O’Neal had to my father. He wasn’t his bodyguard... even down to the wardrobe, there was a scene where Chairman Fred had some stars on his beret and we had to get that removed.”

  • Parlez-vous pandemic? We’re all fluent in the language of lockdown now

    Coronavirus See also: Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, CV, The Rona, Miss Rona The big one, the reason we’re all here. At first it sounded like a tabloid headline about a mystery Mexican lager-induced illness. It turned out to be much, much worse. Quaintly, for a while we added the word “novel”, but that soon wore off. Covidiot A wonderfully flexible term for anybody acting like a moron in the pandemic. Loo roll-stockpilers? Covidiots. The celebrities involved in that cover of Imagine? Covidiots. Anyone driving from London to Snowdonia in lockdown to get some fresh air? Covidiots. Rita Ora? Queen of the Covidiots. Circuit-breaker Not a motorsport term for a missing bit of track, but a short, fortnight-long lockdown designed to halt transmission and save Christmas. That went well. Clap, The Given reports about falling birth rates and a sex drought, the original, colloquial definition of ‘the clap’ is probably experiencing a downturn. But that’s fine, because we developed a new one: the act of gathering on our doorsteps to show our appreciation for NHS workers by passive-aggressively judging our neighbours while denting our least favourite wok. Furlough As Michelle Obama famously almost said: “When they furlough, we say ‘Wait, what? What does that even mean...’” Yes, the US term for a temporary period of absence (typically from the army or prison) became a household name in the UK when Rishi Sunak put half the country on mostly-paid leave that hasn’t ended for many, yet. Lockdown In theory it meant the closing of offices, non-essential shops and hospitality venues, and restrictions on movement and meetings. In practice it meant resorting to crafts, gardening and baking for kicks; Googling “prison cell workouts”; completing Netflix and coming to despise every inch of our own homes and local areas. NERVTAG The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, aka the group of eminent scientists advising Professor Chris Whitty and the Government about the threats from viral respiratory tract infections, and not, as you might have imagined a year ago, a terrible new VR “immersive experience” in which stag dos run around a disused warehouse pretending to shoot aliens. PPE The initial NHS shortage of personal protective equipment was awful, and the rest of us having to wear masks or face-shields or gloves or whole-body hazmat suits (that’s you, Naomi Campbell) to leave the house has not been ideal, but on the other hand, it’s been brilliant to see all those insufferable types who did politics, philosophy and economics at university have had their acronym usurped. R rate Introduced last summer – not as, in fact, a measure for the number of pirates in one room, but the reproduction rate, used to chart the growth of the coronavirus in a community. Who knew? Oh, scientists knew. Well, now we do, too. Sage A nice herb, a lovely colour, a wise old man… but now better known as the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the brains behind our pandemic response. Whitty, Vallance, JVT, Harries, Farrar, Ferguson became the new rock stars. And pub (or Zoom) quiz answers for years to come. Self-isolate Like quarantine (being locked away to avoid risking passing the virus to others), but self-imposed, For The Greater Good, for 14 days. “I can’t, I’m self-isolating,” you’d say, to avoid The Clap. Also known as Starmering, given Sir Keir seemed to have to do it once a month or so. Social distancing 2m – no, 1m. No, 2m. All human contact – handshakes, hugs, high-fives, squeezing past people in the pub with your chest puffed and hands held high so as to prove you’re doing nothing untoward – was out, staying a sneeze-length apart was in. It helped to think of it like a physical manifestation of being emotionally distant. Easier for some than others. Substantial meal What did they decide, in the end? A chipolata? Wine with ice cubes in it? Chewing gum with your Guinness? Super-spreader Kerrygold loses another potential tagline. By March 2020 we knew all about super-spreaders, thanks to one (unfairly maligned) man in Brighton and the Cheltenham festival. It’s misleading because “super” tends to be used in a positive sense (you never hear about “super terrorists”, do you?), but a super-spreader was officially Not Good. WFH Working from home, which for a lot of us is now just “work”. It can also mean “Why the f***ing HELL?!”, as in, “WFH is my neighbour learning the In The Air Tonight drum solo at 11am, and WFH is my internet down, and WFH isn’t this over yet?” Zoom Our overlord. When the world went into lockdown, video calling was inevitable. Skype probably rubbed its little hands together with glee. FaceTime must have licked its lips. And then Zoom, whatever the hell Zoom was, just came in, took over the planet and became a verb.