I am a fan of the quick character sketch, like this one. An excellent example from The Economist.
An amusing story is to Mr Johnson as an oasis to a thirsty camel.
Fresh out of Eton, he had wangled an internship on this newspaper, he says, because “about three of my uncles” (in fact, two) were writing for it. This is a curious start to a conversation about privilege and social mobility, a subject Mr Johnson has recently been opining on, as he appears suddenly to appreciate. “It was a disgraceful example of, umm…” he blusters, then resumes the gallop. “The piece was about a plan for a third, no, second, either second or third, bridge over the Bosphorus, and not since Xerxes or Darius had there been, you know, blablafishcakes, and they put it in! My first published piece!” he cries. Then comes the inevitable addendum: “It did, I’m afraid, contain at least one glaring factual inaccuracy…”
“I think I confused Xerxes with Darius or possibly Cambyses and about 15 Canadian professors wrote to denounce it,” says Mr Johnson, before giving a cameline snort as he races for the water’s edge. “But of course it’s very difficult to get a scoop right…not that it was perhaps the most exciting scoop ever broken—I mean, ‘new bridge in Turkey!’” He sits back, chuckling, lapping it up.
That incident was an augury of Mr Johnson’s brilliant career. He is privileged, funny, prone to blunder and rarely inconvenienced by the fallout.