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. 298, No. 9226, 2005

A Landslide in the Midi
Dept d'HéraultOur TGV, slipping through La France Profonde from Lille to Montpelier three days before the referendum, would now end its journey earlier, at Nîmes, the intercom told us: unspecified faults on the line. Midi Libre's headline had it the...
A Mountain to Clive
The rarity of a British Lions rugby tour (England, Wales, Scotland and all-Ireland combined as one) makes it so resonant, so keenly anticipated. They kick off today against a Bay of Plenty XV in Rotorua, whiffily sulphurous hot-springsville. They play...
A New Europe
This magazine has a good record of opposing the centralising treaties of the EU. Alone in the media, The Spectator came out in 1985 against the Single European Act, which marked the first big expansion of the qualified majority vote. With a growing pack...
Birds in the Hand
Birds in the hand THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALLEN LANE by Jeremy Lewis Penguin/Viking, £25, pp. 484, ISBN 0670914851PENGUIN BY DESIGN by Phil Baines Penguin/Allen Lane, £16.99, pp. 255, ISBN 0713998393 © £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848Publishers...
Brillo Boxes and Marble Nudes
Brillo boxes and marble nudes WHAT GOOD ARE THE ARTS? by John Carey Faber, £12.99, pp. 298, ISBN 0571226027 © £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848Professor John Carey is at his most acerbic, combative and impassioned in this brilliant polemic, developed...
Choreographic Kaleidoscopes
DanceChoreographic kaleidoscopesRambert Dance CompanySadler's Wells TheatreAt first, the idea of a dance work based on Albert Einstein's theories, including the relativity one, might be puzzling. Yet Mark Baldwin's Constant Speed is a winner. The Rambert...
Diary
Am I losing my puissance or has something gone disastrously awry with the nation's young women? It used to be at this time of year - just as the sun started to shine and the first green blob of plum showed itself upon the twig - that they put away their...
Dictators' Legacies
The propaganda myths surrounding Mao Tse-tung have been exposed this week with the publication of a biography, Mao: The Unknown Story, by Jung Chang, the author of the bestselling Wild Swans. It emerges that one of the few non-mythic aspects of his life...
Exquisite Torture
Consulting my records, as Dr Watson used to say, I find that it was in June 2003 that I first wrote here about the iPod. My former colleague Caspar, now editing the Observer's excellent monthly music magazine, produced the elegant little box of tricks...
Glimmer of Hope
TelevisionGlimmer of hopeTo be honest, I haven't been watching an awful lot of TV lately. It gets in the way of bedtime reading and an early night. You think you're safe watching a programme at 9 p.m., which is when all the best ones are on, but that...
House Rules
In Competition No. 2394 you were invited to supply a rhymed poem offering four parental vetoes on children's behaviour, followed by four juvenile vetoes on parental behaviour. Exhausted and sleepless, back two days late due to botched air travel, I shall...
'How Various He Is'
Exhibitions'How various he is'Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of CelebrityTate Britain, until 18 SeptemberThe first question: why isn't this Reynolds show at the Royal Academy, of which Sir Joshua was so famously the founding father? The short answer is...
It's an Overdue Jolt for Europe's Tram on the Line to Ever-Closer Union
There has to be a first time for everything, and now the French have taken my advice. 'Allez France', so I urged them last week, 'votez Non, votez souvent' - and they did. Offered Europe's new constitution on a plate with lettuce round it, they sent...
Jazzing Up the Wilson Years
Jazzing up the Wilson years ENOUGH Is ENOUGH by Mark Lawson Picador, £16.99, pp. 371, ISBN 0330438034 © £14.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848Sex, as Philip Larkin famously told us, began in 1963: but it did not. It began much later in the decade,...
Letters
ID charadeFrom John HunterSir: You seem to believe that Conservatives have spent the last four years 'standing up for local and national democracy, and against the tendency of the government to centralise power' (Leading article, 28 May). But thanks...
Lost in Translation
They're here to stay. There is no longer any point in discussing whether or not opera performances in languages other than English should have surtitles. Everyone's doing it now.So, if they're here whether we like them or not (and it has to be admitted...
Mexican Wave
Washington, ConnecticutIf you read the conservative press in the United States - which in effect means the neoconservative press - you will find a lot of despairing talk about the damage immigration is doing to Europe. What you are unlikely to find,...
Now for the British Revolution
BrusselsYou might feel safe reading your Spectator, confident that you will die in a bed, but I can reveal that yet another world war is about to break out across Europe, that genocide is stalking the land, and Islamist terrorists are about to blow up...
On the Scent of the Rose
On the scent of the rose THE TUDOR HOUSE AND GARDEN by Paula Henderson Yale University Press, £38, pp. 288 ISBN 0300106874 © £38 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848THE GARDENS AT HAMPTON COURT PALACE by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Frances Lincoln, £25, pp....
Onwards and Downwards
I was running on the treadmill in the gym in the new custom-built trainers I'd bought in Oxford Street. I'd popped my foot on a sensor, the assistant had pressed a button, and my feet had been measured to the nearest half-millimetre from every conceivable...
Paradoxical
A few weeks ago I left you with the tantalising position where the hypermodern grandmaster Nimzowitsch suddenly energised his attack and went on to win with the unlikely-looking retreat Nh1. This week I pick up the thread and explain why the move was...
Philosophical Consolations
Theatre 2Philosophical consolationsBelieve What You WillSwan Theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonAt Stratford's Other Place, the RSC is putting on an excellent new play by David Grieg in which a wounded American pilot spends the entire evening in manacled misery...
Putting the Ghosts to Rest
Putting the ghosts to rest MAO: THE UNKNOWN STORY by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday Cape, £25, pp. 814 ISBN 0224071262 © £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848In 1976, the year of Mao's death, I went back to China when the British foreign secretary Anthony...
Rare Tallis
In thinking about Tallis in this his anniversary year, I have come to realise that performances of even his most famous works are so rare that we are still at the pioneering stage with most of his output. The culture of performing him is so shallow and...
Reading for Pleasure
The first time I went to the British Library, I was waiting to collect my reader's card in the foyer beside a lightly tinkling fountain, when a short fat man ambled over. 'Hi,' he said. 'I'm Leon.' He dipped a finger into the round pool of water. 'I'm...
Rossini Subdued
OperaRossini subduedLa CenerentolaGlyndebourneLa Clemenza di TitoSt John's Smith SquareGlyndebourne began in what is now the traditional manner: high winds and driving rain. This year there was the further discouragement of being kept out of the theatre...
Spectator Mini-Bar Offer
If you've never been there, get yourself to Waddesdon Manor, the vast French château in one of the loveliest parts of Buckinghamshire built by Ferdinand Rothschild as his weekend place. Here, surrounded by more rare and beautiful objects than you are...
Thabo's Tantrum
Does our Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, think that black people are inherently sexually depraved? I have to tell you that the HM Treasury press office has yet to come back to me on this vital question. I think that they are stalling for some...
The Counsel of Trent
Benedict XVI is the first pope in history to have gone about his daily life as a Catholic priest wearing a collar and tie. In this country, the practice is almost unknown; in Europe, it is the mark of a liberal theologian. But the other day the Catholic...
The Spectator's Notes
I wish I could share the widespread joy at the great European 'No'. Yes, the word 'No' is good. Yes, I feel the normal human pleasure at the discomfiture of the politicians. I have enjoyed seeing Peter Mandelson trying to worm round the result and Neil...
The Worst of Both Worlds
Imagine you are a left-leaning Guardian reader with a social conscience. You are not a communist, but your attitude towards private enterprise is less one of enthusiasm than grudging tolerance. If we are going to let private companies run things and...
Under Pressure
MOST bridge players find there's a huge gulf between what they know and what they can put into practice. Solving problems in the comfort of one's home is one thing; playing in a real game, with all the pressures and distractions which that entails, is...
What's 'Nasty' about the Tory Party? Nothing - except the Modernisers
There is a weirdness about the Conservative predicament. The Conservative party has won all the great intellectual and political battles of the last quarter-century. It has defined - and continues to define - the public argument over the role of the...
When Men Were Blokes
When men were blokes HEROES + VILLAINS photographs by David Steen Genesis, £150 (regular edition), £250 (deluxe leather edition, signed by Roger Moore) ISBN 00104351939 www.genesis-publications.com or tel: 01483 540970Ever since David Steen joined Picture...
Woody and Mike
New YorkRobert Wood Johnson IV is the billionaire owner of the New York Jets, an American football team which plays in New Jersey, as its crosstown rivals, the New York Giants, also do. Big Bagel real estate is much too expensive to waste on football...
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