Paul Lester

The words I never thought I'd say: Marry me

By Paul Lester, April 4, 2012

Readers, you may remember that, late last year, I got dumped by my girlfriend Mandy when she finally twigged I wasn't going to be able to provide her with the things she really wanted: my ultra-rare Frankie Say Arm The Unemployed T-shirt from 1984 and box set of nine Seinfeld DVDs.


Fings Ain't Wot They Used To Be: The Lionel Bart Story

By Paul Lester, March 2, 2012

David and Caroline Stafford
Omnibus £19.95


Randy Newman: 'If I could have written more hits, I would have'

By Paul Lester, February 2, 2012

Maybe it is his status as one of America's foremost songwriters, the one to whom other acclaimed tunesmiths defer. Perhaps it is the forbiddingly acerbic nature of his songs.


If auld acquaintance be forgot, here's why

By Paul Lester, January 26, 2012

The new Year's eve just gone was a significant one for me - it was my first without my three children since 2006 (my ex-wife was looking after them).


It's child’s play to defeat me

By Paul Lester, December 16, 2011

I know that at Chanucah, our thoughts are meant to turn to children. But do they have to dominate to such a degree? My three overshadow my every waking move. But then, that might be because they are better than me at everything. You name it, my two sons and daughter make me look bad at it. This should be a source of parental pride. It is more often the cause of embarrassment.


Mark Zuckerberg ruined my life

By Paul Lester, November 10, 2011

Breaking up - as that old Jewish sage Neil Sedaka once put it so pithily - is hard to do. And that was in 1962. These days, it's even harder.


My Arab Spring vacation, with extra camels

By Paul Lester, October 6, 2011

I am writing this column sitting beside a hotel pool in Tunisia, where I have come on holiday because I needed a break from all the financial misery and rioting back home. Did you not hear about the Bushey riots? Jews went on the rampage because they ran out of herring at the Deli Cafe.

Why, I hear you wondering, would I pick for my annual holiday destination Tunisia? Because it's cheap.


My love life doesn't quite add up

By Paul Lester, September 1, 2011

You might have noticed that, after three years of being called "Suddenly Single", this column has changed its name, to "Still Single". That's because I'm still single. It's a title that sums up my continuing utter uselessness with the opposite sex.


A child is following me wherever I go. Yes, it must be the summer holidays

By Paul Lester, August 8, 2011

One of the great things about being single is, you don't have to put up with anyone moaning at you. And yet somehow I still managed to get told off this week by a virtual stranger, a young lady in a pub who approached me to complain that lately I've been coming across as "too bitter" in this column.


Interview: Chris Stein

By Paul Lester, June 30, 2011

Before Lady Gaga and Madonna, there was Debbie Harry, the original subversive platinum blonde pop star. In the late '70s and early '80s, she became the world's hottest pin-up.


We no longer need to mind the age gap

By Paul Lester, June 30, 2011

What is the appropriate age-differential when it comes to dating? What I mean is, how low is it OK to go before disapproving stares become audible tuts? I ask this because I've been seeing a girl who is a bit younger than me and I'm wondering what you think.

How much younger? Put it this way: I was born during Beatlemania and she was born during punk.


Barmitzvah boy 1 - barmitzvah boy's dad 0

By Paul Lester, May 27, 2011

My barmitzvah was three decades ago. My eldest son's was three weeks ago. But the similarities are uncanny. Both services took place in north London synagogues and were conducted by young rabbis. Both parties were held in tastefully decorated function rooms (we decided against the replica of the barmitzvah boy sculpted out of smoked salmon). Oh, and I was single at both events.


I'm browned off over whiter teeth

By Paul Lester, April 14, 2011

It would be hard for me to argue that I have become more vain since getting divorced, especially considering that one of the many things that annoyed my ex-wife was that, whenever I was in a restaurant, I would regularly check my appearance in the cutlery.


33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs

By Paul Lester, February 25, 2011

By Dorian Lynskey.
Faber, £17.99


Hypnotherapy? I'm back in the room

By Paul Lester, February 24, 2011

You left me last month having decided, after years of worrying about everything from nuclear war to the price of oil (spot the connection), to pay a visit to my local hypnotherapist, to see if he or s


Interview: Adam Levine

By Paul Lester, February 11, 2011

Maroon 5's poppy brand of funk, or perhaps funky brand of pop, has served them well. The American band - who sound like a tougher, rockier Jamiroquai, or a less heavy Red Hot Chili Peppers - have sold 15 million albums in under 10 years, and topped singles charts all over the world.

But they undoubtedly would never have become so successful without Adam Levine, their charismatic frontman with the soulful vocals, whose photogenic looks have seen him linked with numerous A-list beauties, including Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman.


Constant worrying is making me anxious

By Paul Lester, January 20, 2011

You may have already noticed, but I am what you might call an anxious person. I was going to say unduly anxious, but what I really mean is "Jew-ly" anxious, given that anxiety is almost a precondition of the religion.

It's nothing new - I've probably suffered from a deep-seated disquiet for about, ooh, (counts aloud using fingers of left hand)… 30 years? Yup, for three decades now I've been driving friends and family to distraction with my constant worrying about my health.


What do her parents want - James Dean?

By Paul Lester, December 17, 2010

I don't know about you, but I tend to get on rather well with parents and children. Not my own, you understand - other people's. I seem to have no trouble entertaining and/or controling other people's kids whenever the need arises, whereas my three are generally unmoved either by my efforts to impose discipline or by my attempts at humour.


The batmitzvah girl who walked like an Egyptian

By Paul Lester, October 21, 2010

The Bangles had it all. Good looks, critical acclaim and a series of infectious chart hits. For a period in the 1980s, with songs such as Manic Monday, Walk Like An Egyptian and Eternal Flame, the all-girl four piece from California were one of the biggest acts in the music business. But there was something else that made them really special. Unlike other girl bands - think Spice Girls or Girls Aloud - The Bangles wrote much of their own material, actually played their instruments, and made their own decisions about how to present themselves.


Proud to be daddy's boy

By Paul Lester, September 28, 2010

I notice from scouring the personal ads, as you do, that a lot of Jewish women single out as the attribute that they find most unattractive in a man an over-reliance on their mum. In which case I am surely their worst nightmare, because even though I long ago reached full adulthood - well, full-ish - I still call upon the services of my parents more frequently than is probably right or proper. And I've been doing it more and more since I got divorced.