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 Vol. 295, No. 9178, 2004

Accidents of Fortune
Le style, c'était l'homme ACCIDENTS OF FORTUNE by Andrew Devonshire Michael Russell, £13.95, pp. 127, ISBN 0859552861We live in a demotic age. How is it therefore that by the beginning of the 21st century the Duke of Devonshire had become a national...
Alastair Campbell
Placeman without a place ALASTAIR CAMPBELL by Peter Oborne and Simon Walters Aurum, £8.99, pp. 378, ISBN 1845130014One of the chief characteristics of New Labour, Blairism or the Project - they amount to the same phenomenon - is that many of the cheer-leaders...
Ancient & Modern
An American has done some 'research' to demonstrate what he claims no one has yet acknowledged: that hoi polloi know better than the experts. Ancient Greeks knew that some 2,400 years ago.In his dialogue Protagoras, Plato makes Socrates wonder how it...
Animal Magic
I was surprised to see that BBC reports should be based on 'accurate note-taking', a recommendation of the Neil report, set up after the Hutton inquiry to improve the corporation's news reporting. Making accurate notes has always been a vital part of...
Anthony Powell: A Life
The geographer of Bohemia ANTHONY POWELL: A LIFE by Michael Barber Duckworth Overlook, £20, pp. 338, ISBN 0715630490To celebrate the centenary of Anthony Powell's birth next year an exhibition is being planned at the Wallace Collection in London, which...
Birds without Wings
Blunders and exhilarations BIRDS WITHOUT WINGS by Louis de Bernières Secker, £17.99, pp. 640, ISBN 0436205491Louis de Bernières' new novel, his first substantial work since Captain Corelli's Mandolin, ten years ago, proves, in many ways, a problem for...
Bring Back Railtrack
One of the reasons why some of us travel almost exclusively by bicycle is that under this government every other form of transport has been turned into a detailed psychological torment. As I write, the Tube is about to go on strike. Humps and tax have...
Canarino
A concern with appearances CANARINO by Katherine Bucknell Fourth Estate, £12, pp. 340, ISBN 0007178654I was bemused by this novel - a first from Katherine Bucknell, better known as an editor of Isherwood's diaries and of Auden studies. In its concentration...
Diary
After Wednesday's Tube strike, most Londoners will have decided again that the only solution is a bicycle. But there's a dark side to cycling in the city. Since I bought my first bike a year or so ago I have been astonished by the outbursts of spittle-flecked...
Edouard Manet: Impressions of the Sea
Exhibitions 2Breaking the wavesEdouard Manet: Impressions of the SeaVan Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, until 26 SeptemberModern art knew no more enigmatic or contradictory figure than the man commonly described as its founder, Edouard Manet. Among the strangest...
Fins Ain't What They Used to Be
In a single human lifetime we have inflicted a crisis on the oceans, comparable to what Stone Age man did to the mammoth and the sabretoothed tiger, what 19th-century Americans did to the bison and the passenger pigeon, what 20th-century British and...
Forty per Cent of Nothing
The late novelist Douglas Adams was one of very few people who succeeded in pinning down, with admirable precision, the very meaning of life: it was, he argued, in The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42. But there is now growing evidence that he was...
Four Little Greats
OperaImpressive quartetFour Little GreatsOpera North, Sadler's WellsOpera North concluded its season by bringing its 'Eight Little Greats' to Sadler's Wells, and I went to the final day, on which four of them were performed. This has been the most enterprising...
Get Radical, Mr Howard
A shadow minister said to me last week, 'We might have a more credible leader now, but we have less credible policies.' We were talking after the Tories' announcement on health care - throw more money at the problem had been followed by the Labour policy...
Getting Up and Making More of an Effort? Our Money Is Safer in Bed
I wonder what happened to all those plausible people who told us that we should be making our money work harder. Some of them must have been lynched, and some, I dare say, are promoting hedge funds and buy-to-let schemes. This was the sales pitch they...
Greek Greats
As I write, the Greek football team is about to face the Czechs, by far the most talented team in Euro 2004. Win or lose, the heroic Hellenes have done the rest of us Greeks proud. It's politically incorrect to point this out, but when we beat the French...
Hungry for Victory
When James and Pamela Mason were bringing up the precocious Portland, she was allowed pretty much what she liked, to encourage her to develop her own personality. She wore lipstick and couture dresses at four and was introduced to cigarettes at the same...
In St Petersburg I Glimpsed the Hope and Decency of Soviet Communism
It came upon me powerfully, momentarily and quite unexpectedly. Perhaps a couple of vodkas at a bar by the railway station in St Petersburg were to blame. But all at once I realised that if I were a 50-something Russian living in the former Soviet Union...
It Is Time to Praise Mr Rusbridger - for Not Turning the Guardian into a Tabloid
There are lots of people who believe that Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, has messed up. Some journalists on his newspaper think that he has. So do many on the commercial side of the Guardian. The case against him is that over two years ago...
Letters
Arab 'failure'From John HattSir: In his otherwise excellent article about Israel, Max Hastings makes a surprising comment, claiming that the entire Arab world must be classed as a 'failed society' ('There is still hope in the Holy Land', 26 June). Perhaps,...
Midsummer Madness
It is a precise half century since I was aware of Wimbledon. On the first Friday of July 1954 we were given a half day off games to cram into the common room to watch Ol' Drob flickering about on a fuzzy little monochrome screen. Jaroslav Drobny was...
My Life
The boy done bad MY LIFE by Bill Clinton Hutchinson, £25, pp. 1024, ISBN 0091795273Speaking and writing represent two very different disciplines. The most spellbinding orator I ever heard was Aneurin Bevan. Yet when, in 1952, he published his one and...
Nasser: The Last Arab
A man, a plan, a canal . . . NASSER: THE LAST ARAB by Said K. Aburish Duckworth, £20, pp. 342, ISBN 031228683XSaid Aburish, a Palestinian with excellent English who worked for years in Iraq, wrote a very good biography of Saddam four years ago. He brought...
On Best Behaviour
TelevisionOn best behaviourDuring one of the rain delays at Wimbledon this year they repeated a women's final from decades ago, Martina Navratilova versus Chris Evert, with commentary by Dan Maskell. It was as evocative of the past as - well, I was going...
Over the Hill
The French have always enjoyed delivering snubs to les rosbifs. But now they have gone a step trop far. All red-blooded Englishmen, and loyal Englishwomen, should be inflamed this week by their shocking insult to our greatest rose anglaise, Miss Kate...
Restaurants
RESTAURANTSI go to the Cinnamon Club during the England v. Portugal match. I don't mind too much. I just don't have the constitution for these things. I watched England v. Croatia but got so nervous that every time the ball came near our goal I had to...
Russian Landscape in the Age of Tolstoy
Exhibitions 1Russian revelationsRussian Landscape in the Age of TolstoyNational Gallery, until 12 September, supported by BP'Russia is vast', booms the introductory wall panel in the National Gallery's entrancing new exhibition. (Really? I thought it...
Shrek 2
CinemaEarthbound fairytaleShrek 2U, selected cinemasConcluding my Shrek rave in this space three years ago, I wrote, 'I saw it with a four-year-old who can't wait for Shrek 2. Bring it on.'Well, they finally did, and a very strange affair it is. A couple...
Space Invaders
There is a Japanese concept known as ma. A loose translation of ma might be 'the space between things'. In Kyoto, at the temple of Ryoan-ji, is a famous Zen garden. It is a dry garden of 15 rocks positioned on a surface of raked gravel, symbolising clarity...
Spectator Mini-Bar Offer
I have bored on for ages about the excellence of m South African wines. The end of apartheid made it easier for the country's winemakers to adapt to the latest techniques and to follow changing international tastes, while the fall in the value of the...
The Anti-Americans Were Wrong
There was one thing surprisingly absent from last Monday's handover of Iraq's sovereignty by Paul Bremer, leader of the Coalition Provisional Authority, to Iyad Allawi, Iraq's new Prime Minister. It wasn't an extravagant ceremony involving a star-spangled...
The Coma
A very private dream THE COMA by Alex Garland Faber, £9.99, pp. 160, ISBN 0571223079Reading Alex Garland's third novel is a frustrating experience. He is a writer capable of brilliant storytelling, yet his book has virtually no plot; he can create nail-biting...
The High Kick of Regency Fashion
Few of the pleasures of adolescence endure through life, but one which has done so, in my experience, is the reading of the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer. Devil's Cub was the solace of my O levels, The Corinthian attended my appendectomy, Regency...
The Love Bug
MEETING YOUR MATCHWOMENSeeking MenBEAUTIFUL, black, young female, intelligent, sexy, seeks affluent, sophisticated, professional, generous, Ldn man, 30-45, for loving relationship and fun times. Ldn. Call me now on 0906 644 6844 Voicebox 39033DOWN-TO-EARTH,...
The Spectator's Notes
Summer storms can be worse than winter ones because the branches of trees in leaf - particularly ash and willow - are more likely to break. Last week half of our village, including our house, lost electricity for 27 hours when one of these breaks brought...
Things May Be Looking Up for Blair, but It Is Still Not Certain That He Will Fight the Election
As any investment banker will tell you, share prices in ailing companies rarely go down in a straight line. The process of decline is typically punctuated by periods of stagnation, known by technical experts as a 'false bottom'. But these treacherous...
Time to Wise Up the BBC
Barry Millington writes an open letter to the new controller of BBC2Dear Roly KeatingAllow me to join the chorus of congratulations as you get your feet under your new desk at Broadcasting House. Knowing of your track record at BBC4, I was delighted...
Un-British Experience
For those who have never heard of it, the annual Fez World Sacred Music Festival has established a cult following. In the ten years of its existence it has created such an individual formula for concert-giving, so fashioned around high ideals, that one...
Unilateral Disarmament
Tony Blair's relationship with the Labour Left has always been sadly troubled. But now, finally, after Iraq, privatisation, the continued existence of foxhunting and the remaining litany of disappointments, comes something to bring a song to Jeremy Corbyn's...
Uranus
I recently purchased second-hand a charming little book from the 1930s called Chess for the fun of it by Brian Harley, chess editor of the Observer at the time. In his introduction Harley writes: 'Some misguided persons suffer from the delusion that...
Whitefella Jump Up: The Shortest Way to Nationhood
Fantasies under the river gums WHITEFELLA JUMP UP: THE SHORTEST WAY TO NATIONHOOD by Germaine Greer Profile, £7.99, pp. 232, ISBN 1861977395Just as vulgarity can sometimes transcend itself and become something else (I am thinking of Gillray and Las Vegas),...
Wicked Ways
UNTIL recently, I was never quite sure what is meant by a Grosvenor Coup. I've often heard players exclaim to an opponent after going down in a contract, 'You Grosvenor'd me!', and I've always assumed it was an insult. I thought they meant that the opponent...
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.