Caroline Phillips

Journalism

Caroline Phillips
“Caroline Phillips is a tenacious and skilful writer with a flair for high quality interviewing and a knack for making things work.”

Caroline Phillips

Journalism

All Columns & Regulars articles

The urban ruralist

Country House Magazine | 21 Apr 2007

I’m not the type who finds it pleasurable to relieve myself behind trees or have calamitous journeys just to get lost in country lanes littered with reeking mounds of bovine excrement. (Personally, I’d poop-scoop cow pats.) Others may enjoy the experience of losing their mobile signal and collecting blackberries with not a BlackBerry in sight. Not me.


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Lord Bath: Law and disorder of the Bath

The Express | 19 Apr 1997

The air is close with the smell of sweaty old feet and unwashed plates. He has stained bedsheets, pillows with red hearts, lopsided posters of Monet and Manet, screaming pink, yellow and red paint work and a cupboard full of blouses with flounces, frills, embroidery and twirls. It could be a bohemian student squat. But his doorbell on the Fifties block states simply “Bath”.

This is the home of the 7th Marquess of Bath, Alexander Thynn, 64, dubbed the Loins of Longleat in reference to his multifarious romantic interests and the safari lions at his £150 million, 10,000 acre Elizabethan stately home in Wiltshire.


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Stay in the car for a Christmas to remember

The Express | 10 Dec 1996

A survey released last week by motor manufacturer Toyota found that the car has overtaken the breakfast table as a principal family meeting place. The evidence from the survey will be used in designing its Picnic “family fun” car.

Our family has known this for years. A long time ago, we started having family Christmases in the car. We don’t have to put up many decorations because we can, if the mood takes us, park beneath the festoons of light adorning Regent Street.

And we do our bit for the environment – the tree part of it, at least – because we speed to Trafalgar Square to admire the 65ft Norwegian Christmas tree rather than splashing out on our own somewhat smaller baubled conifer.


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Day my car was towed away–for being parked legally

Evening Standard | 3 Aug 1994

LAST week I had to have emergency treatment for chronic back sprain. After two days of intensive therapy I managed the five-minute walk to my car in a record 20 minutes, desperate to be driven to my physio. Sadly the car was gone.

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Low-cost option for imprisoned junkies

Evening Standard | 19 Jul 1994

Random drugs tests are to be carried out on about 12,000 prisoners a year to combat the growing narcotics problem in jails. It’s estimated that nearly half the inmates of British prisons take self-prescribed medication (heroin, LSD, cannabis and the like) while detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure. That’s a prison population of 49,000 in England and Wales alone. So the forthcoming tests should provide enough material and statistics for Prison Service paper shufflers to write off an entire rainforest.

But aren’t they locking the cell after the criminal has bolted? Isn’t this approach comparable to giving HIV tests and forgetting about condoms and safe-sex education?


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Harry Enfield: Money, sex and the neuroses of Enfield man

Evening Standard | 19 Mar 1992

Comedian Harry Enfield has a nightmare. It is rooted in a childhood experience. “The only violent dream I ever had is of beating a monk, Father Gaisford, around the head with a cricket bat. I completely bashed him.” Father Gaisford was at Worth Abbey, a Catholic public school, which Enfield found horrifying. He was there for two years between the ages of 13 and 15, before his parents took him away early. “My abiding image is of 14 boys lined up just before Christmas in 1974 outside the headmaster’s study, each one going in to be beaten. It was like something out of Tom Brown’s Schooldays.”


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Margaret Drabble: ‘I can live with my husband now’

Evening Standard | 10 Feb 1992

The writer Margaret Drabble lives in a Hampstead house and Michael Holroyd, the husband to whom she is devoted, lives in Ladbroke Grove. It is an arrangement that London’s top-drawer literary couple have maintained since their secret wedding in 1982. But now she wants to move in with him.

When they entertain, they sleep at her house; when they go to the airport, they spend the night at his. “We speak every day,” says Drabble of Holroyd, the enigmatic man of letters who received a record advance of £625,000 for his biography of George Bernard Shaw.


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Karlheinz Stockhausen: King of the tinklybonk

Evening Standard | 7 Sep 1990

Ascetic eccentric who served as a stretcher bearer during the war and has written more than 200 musical works. Long haired, energetic, darling of the avant-garde with a maverick intelligence and six children.

Mystic, wit and wizard of electronic music who designed his house with sloping ceilings and hexagonal rooms, all lit from the outside. Whither Karlheinz Stockhausen, the composer-visionary and media star of the swinging Sixties?

There are four of us listening to my interview with the 62-year-old King Tinklybonk: his two girlfriends (vegetarians and thirtysomething), myself and his guardian angel. He’s also taping us – wanting to turn it into music later.


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Ted Heath: Sailing past the cynics

Evening Standard | 14 Jul 1990

Edward Heath is known for being pompous and aloof, a bad loser, having an under-active thyroid, sailing, and conducting boats and orchestras respectively.

Could he, in fact, be sensitive, gentle, reflective and shy; a man who uses his intellect as an armour against public expression of feeling?

“People used to say ‘We must do something about your image’. They never got to that point,” he says, in the voice of a tape recorder whose batteries are running low, “because I said, ‘I don’t believe in images – you should be yourself’.” And to the best of his ability, he is.


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Richard Harris: Fire on ice…

Evening Standard | 8 Jun 1990

A former wild man and hellraiser turned Bahamian island recluse; erstwhile hard drinker turned hypoglycaemic, once rumbustious and still unpredictable and funny. A man who, they say, cannot go out to buy a packet of cigarettes without causing chaos.

Multi-millionaire actor and poet, gentle and with a face – steel rim bespectacled – that has been described as being like five miles of bad Irish road. Twice bankrupt, twice married, an eccentric who loves the vagabond life… Is this Richard Harris, currently playing Pirandello’s madman Henry IV?


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Roll out the doggie

Evening Standard | 14 Mar 1989

My family has what must be London’s only dachshund on wheels. She’s called Muffit. Crufts and suchlike are fine – working dogs, gun dogs, pedigree chums, prowling prancers and canines with unpronounceable Chinese names. But against her, they pale into insignificance.

Muffit was under the supervision of Keith Butt, the Adonis vet whom women cross London to see (they stop off in Harrods en route to buy a pet to take with them). Following an accident in which her back legs had become paralysed, he suggested she be sent to the kennel in the sky.

My father went to see her in doggy hospital to give her her last grapes. He ended up writing a cheque for some fantastic amount (relative to the size of the dog) which was duly dispatched to the States (where else?) where some doggy wheels were speedily fired, or run up or whatever you do to make canine roller skates.


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