The Spectator

A weekly, UK-based magazine covering current political, economic, and cultural issues. Articles include interviews, commentary, opinion pieces, essays, and cultural criticism.

Articles from October 2009

A Dogged Foe
THE MONSTER IN THE BOX by Ruth Rendell Hutchinson, £18.99, pp. 277, ISBN 9780091931483 . £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Old detectives rarely die - or age, for that matter: Poirot is forever 60, Sherlock Holmes 50, P. D. James's...
Agony and Ecstasy
NINE LIVES : IN SEARCH OF THE SACRED IN MODERN INDIA by William Dalrymple Bloomsbury, £20, pp. 284, ISBN 9781408800614 . £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Twenty years ago, when Wil-liam Dalrymple published his first book, In Xanadu,...
Another Voice
'29 BIKERS KILLED OR INJURED IN THE LAST 5 YEARS', says the big yellow roadside sign as I drive along the A515 between Ashbourne and Buxton, on my way to this week's Tory conference in Manchester. The sign is repeated many times...
Art of Darkness
The East Anglians; Subversive Spaces: Surrealism and Contemporary Art Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, until 13 December Most exhibitions of photographs could be viewed just as satisfactorily from an armchair with a book of high-quality...
Authoritarian? China's Not a Patch on Britain
The 60th birthday celebrations of the People's Republic of China seemed to confirm that, for all its embrace of Western-style capi-talism, China remains a faraway place where they do things differently. Can you imagine young female soldiers...
Beware the Cheese Police
Let's hope that Gordon Brown was too busy trying to hex Cameron this week to notice the story about the Sainsbury's staff member who refused to sell a pregnant customer cheese. Sainsbury's defence was that it might be bad for baby,...
Diary of a Notting Hill Nobody
SUNDAY What a triumph! Sam launches conference with an Erdem Moralioglu jacket which is far more Modern and Compassionate than Sarah Brown's Moralioglu dress. At just £500 off the peg, this truly is affordable fashion for the Age of Austerity ...
Does Anyone like 3-D?
Roger Ebert believes not, and that its use in films is an annoyance and a distraction Has it really come to this? I read in Variety, the film industry journal, that 'Mark Thomas of Elsinore Films is producing a 3-D musical Hamlet...
Double Trouble
For followers of every sport there are trigger words, often in pairs, which immediately bring great moments to life. 'The Thriller in Manila', Muhammad Ali's third fight against Joe Frazier, probably does it for boxing. Any bracketing...
Easy Romp
Zombieland 15, Nationwide Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee 15, Key Cities I can't say I care much for zombies - that is, film zombies; I've never met a real one - but the horror-comedy Zombieland is quite fun and does feature such...
Far from a Sleeping Partner
KISSINGER'S YEAR : 1973 by Alistair Horne Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 457, ISBN 9780297850915 . £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Richard Nixon had met Henry Kissinger only once before he asked him, on his landslide victory in 1968, ...
Gasping for Entertainment
Breakfast at Tiffany's Theatre Royal Haymarket Inherit the Wind Old Vic 'W hat do you want?' a film producer asks Holly Golightly about half an hour into Breakfast at Tiffany's. 'I don't know, ' she says, 'but if I find out I'll tell you first.'...
Give Peace a Chance
LUSTRUM by Robert Harris Hutchinson, £18.99, pp. 451, ISBN 9780091801007 . 15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Time was, back in the Rena issance , when barely a book would be published which did not feature some lavish hero-worship...
Good Women and Bad Men
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS' NEST by Stieg Larsson Maclehose Press, £18.99, pp. 599, ISBN 9781906694166 . 15.19(plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Just in case you hadn't guessed after nearly 1,800 pages of the 'Millennium' trilogy,...
Home Comforts
Hotels frighten me. I can only approach them armed with industrial-strength earplugs, a box of teabags, a jar of Marmite, an orthopaedic pillow, a towelling robe and slippers that fit, a large bag of apples, some bottles of...
Last Orders for the British Pub
Dominic Midgley says a great institution of national life is under threat from the credit crunch, the smoking ban and cheap supermarket booze - but there are signs of hope The sounds of merry-making could be heard from the street as 300 journalists,...
Letters
Invest in the state Sir: David Cameron will never be a revolution-ary if he follows your advice and concentrates only on government spending ('Is Cameron a revolutionary?', 3 October). He needs to com-pletely rethink taxation, too. You...
Moment of Truth
I wonder how many people still listen to plays on radio now that there is so much competition for our attention from Twitter, YouTube and the hours taken up with Strictly Come Dancing. It's not just that we're being taken over by techie ...
Musical Triumph
Tristan und Isolde Royal Opera House Tristan und Isolde is a masterpiece that can be given widely different interpretations, since even by Wagner's standards it is permeated by ambiguities. He may have intended, as he wrote ...
Portrait of the Week
Among austerity measures outlined by Mr George Osborne, the shadow chan-cellor of the exchequer, at the Conservative party con-ference in Manchester was that the pension-able age for men should rise to 66 no earlier than 2016, instead...
Race Is Not an Issue in the UK Anymore
I first arrived in this country from Bombay in January 1960. Harold Macmillan had yet to make his Winds of Change blowing through Africa speech. Coronation Street hadn't appeared on our television screens. As an eight-year-old...
Spies and Counter-Spies
THE DEFENCE OF THE REALM : THE AUTHORIZED HISTORY OF MI5 by Christopher Andrew Allen Lane, £30, pp. 1032, ISBN 9780713998856 . £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The origin of this unique publication is the 1990s Waldegrave open...
Spiritual Guidance
New York They founded this place 400 years ago this year among the Indians in the marshes, and no one's looked back since. Some of the Dutch descendants are still around but you wouldn't know it by reading the gossip columns or celebrity...
Star Quality
Scottish Ballet: 40th Anniversary Season Sadler's Wells Theatre Scottish Ballet has been frequently praised for its stylistically impeccable and theatrically superb renditions of George Balanchine's works. It is thus more than fitting...
Take Tw O Charles Spencer
A few weeks ago I was in Chichester, reviewing a fine revival of Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables and suddenly experienced a great ache of nostalgia for the period immediately before my birth. Rattigan's play, first staged in 1954, portrays...
The British Electorate Prefers Its Toffs to Act with Chutzpah
We all know the truth about the wealth and privilege of the future Tory front bench, says Rod Liddle, but it's better to brazen it out like Boris than try to seem apologetic The Labour party's cynical attempt to target the opposition as a party...
The Cameron Era Has Begun
Power, or the expectation of it, has a transformative effect on politi-cal parties. It was draining from the Labour party at its confer-ence in Brighton last week, just as obviously as it was rushing towards the Conservatives ...
The Father of Scottish Tourism
'How do we make Scott more popular?' The question ran round the table and none of us had an answer. It was a meeting of the Abbotsford Trust. I am not myself a trustee, but was there as a member of an advisory committee. The Trust...
The Market Is Flooded with Single City Boys
Venetia Thompson says that if you don't mind slumming it for a bit, you can snap up an out-of-work banker or trader whose stock is sure to rise soon I'm back behind enemy lines in the Square Mile, thankfully nowhere near the trading floor I used...
There Will Be Blood
All right, I surrender. There's just no way on earth I can deal in 600 words with all the great, or potentially great, TV that has been on lately. Emma; Alex: A Passion for Life (the sequel to that moving documentary about the brilliant...
The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards 2009
All is not lost. While the standing of parliament as a whole is at a low ebb, our readers have jumped at the chance to highlight those politicians who - whisper it - are a credit both to their exulted positions and to the country. Yes, your nominations...
The Spectator's Notes
Manchester In the early Cameronian period, which now feels prehistoric, the only news was good news. It shows how the recession has turned everything topsy-turvy that this week the Tories have actually been aiming for 'bad' headlines. They have succeeded:...
The Wiki Man
Every time I am forced to listen to whingefests such as You and Yours, I wonder if it's time to invent the mir-ror image of a consumer affairs programme - where Britain's largest businesses get to expose the behaviour of their worst custom-ers....
Top Heavy
As I was getting changed, a naked figure emerged from the clouds of steam in the showers. The upper half was the Incredible Hulk, the lower half Charles Haughtry. I recognised the face. It was a lad I always used to see working out...
We Can Trust Cameron on Europe
As the Conservative confer-ence got underway, news-papers led with reports of a right-wing insurgency against David Cameron. For four suc-cessive days the story continued: there was, we kept being told, an almighty barney about whether...
Whatever Happened to Hillary?
What's become of Hillary Clinton? At times of inter-national crisis - and boy, do we have a few - it is cus-tomary for the American Secretary of State to take centre stage and work the phones until the early hours sorting out the...
What George Osborne Didn't Tell You about the Tories' Radical Economic Agenda
It was as if the banks were taunting the Conservatives when they arrived into Manchester Piccadilly on Sunday: the cash machines at the station had run out of money. The queues were snaking around the escalators, and Tory activists could ...
Who Wants to Be a FTSE Chairman?
ITV shareholders did not wait for Sir Crispin Davis to be appointed chairman before saying publicly they didn't like him. No wonder people are thinking twice before putting themselves forward to head our major companies. Even salaries of £500,000 plus...
Your Problems Solved
Dear Mary Q. We are in the habit of entertaining guests from overseas, including a countess, at a bush camp in one of the excellent KwaZulu Natal game reserves. Usually we go, in a group of up to eight, on game walks, which bring us up close to animals...
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