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. 9233, 2005

A Family Affair
At Pamplona for the running of the bulls, my usual spiritual, mental and physical meltdown occurred, as usual, about the fourth day. As usual I visited that awful place lit by the shocking white light of alcoholic truth and as usual I'd been frightened....
A Fantasist of the First Order
A fantasist of the first order THE ORIENTALIST: IN SEARCH OF A MAN CAUGHT BETWEEEN EAST AND WEST by Tom Reiss Chatto, £17.99, pp. 433, ISBN 070117885X * £15.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848Many years ago, in one of those precious moments of serendipity,...
Ancient & Modern
Six former chiefs of the defence staff have rounded on politicians and lawyers for threatening to prosecute soldiers who are simply trying to do their best in life-or-death situations. Romans would have been aghast.The two cardinal virtues demanded of...
A Selection of Recent Paperbacks
Fiction:Author, Author by David Lodge, Penguin, £7.99Fascination by William Boyd, Penguin, £7.99The Fit by Philip Hensher, HarperPerennial, £7.99The Finishing School by Muriel Spark, Penguin, £6.99Ghost Story by Toby Litt, Penguin, £7.99The tinder Box...
Bleak Brilliance
TelevisionBleak brillianceRicky Gervais has been lowering expectations about his new sitcom, Extras (BBC2, Thursday), calling it in advance 'the disappointing follow-up to The Office'. It's also been launched on a minority channel in late July, an act...
Diary
During last Thursday's two-minute silence I was in Knightsbridge, standing on Brompton Road. When it was over, the hundreds of office workers and shoppers who had come out into the bright sunshine broke into spontaneous applause. I found myself enthusiastically...
From Dumb to Singing Pictures
From dumb to singing pictures PATRICK CAULFIELD PAINTINGS by Marco Livingstone Lund Humphries, £35, pp. 224, ISBN 0853319170Patrick Caulfield's paintings look specific while giving us tantalisingly little to go on. Where are we? Seemingly, a spotlight...
Have the Bombs Scared the Government?
Watching the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw this week, as he denied any link whatever between the London bombings and the war in Iraq, I must confess that I felt the tiniest prickle of sympathy. How undignified it must be, endlessly having to pretend that...
Heading for the 100
Some sportsmen explode precociously into the headlines - and disappear as quickly. Some, while respected by their peers, have to graft their way through the tack-on paragraphs and body copy before they win recognition. If you had looked up Shane Kelly...
He Did It His Way
In January, as the then schoolboy editor of the Eton College Chronicle, I wrote to Sir Edward Heath to ask him for an interview for my school magazine. A few days later, a typed letter from Sir Edward arrived through my letterbox. He was flattered, he...
In Search of Fresh Villains
In search of fresh villainsBRANDENBURG by Henry Porter Orion, £10, pp. 437, ISBN 0752856936THE FOREST OF SOULS by Carla Banks HarperCollins, £18.99, pp. 372, ISBN 000719210X * £16.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848More than any other literary form,...
It's a Sporting Life for Stuart Rose, So Let the Dog See the Rabbit
Something was missing from Marks & Spencer's shareholders' meeting. It was the man from the Pru, standing up to propose a vote of thanks. This used to be one of the City's most regular fixtures. Neither M&S nor the Prudential are quite the forces...
Letters
The duty of Muslim parentsFrom Sue WardSir: I couldn't agree more with Boris Johnson's analysis ('Just don't call it war', 16 July). The last thing we want to do is aggravate the situation.Muslim parents need to start confronting their children about...
Lord's Prayer
It is astonishing that England have not won an Ashes Test match at Lord's since 1934 - and that one only because Hedley Verity cornered the Aussies on a wicked, fast-drying pitch. The Yorkie left-armer's eight for 43 dismantled Australia on the third...
Making the Day Go Better
ExhibitionsMaking the day go betterCorporate Culture: A History of Corporate Art CollectionsThe Fleming Collection, 13 Berkeley Street, London W1, until 3 SeptemberCollecting art is an addiction. Neither its cost nor its supposed value as an investment...
Mercenary Mentality
The corporate greed of the City has now spread to the BBC, judging by the BBC's annual report, which reveals the salaries and bonuses of executives. The director-general Mark 'Biter' Thompson now earns £459,000 a year and his deputy Mark Byford £351,000...
Mr Byers Had Lied to the Commons and Should Resign Immediately
Amid the 'tributes' showered on the late Sir Edward Heath earlier this week, there was, inevitably for a man who upset so many people, the occasional reference to his most catastrophic service to his country: his decision to take us into what is now...
Python's Life of Mohammed
The refusal of Londoners to be frightened by the bombings of 7 July has been generally impressive. It is just a shame that the spirit of fearless normality has been breached by the one body which should, above all others, be setting an example: Her Majesty's...
Slurps, Burps and Bleeps
A few months back I left a performance of Vera Drake emotionally drained. As the lights came up I felt a mixture of indignation, suppressed anger and loathing for the injustices human beings inflict on each other. It took a couple of stiff glasses to...
Staying with the Old Firm
Staying with the old firm WHY I AM STILL A CATHOLIC edited by Peter Stanford Continuum, £12.99, pp. 142, ISBN 0826485774There have been many books over the years with titles that approximate to Why I Am Still a Catholic. In the Fifties a dream team would...
Surging Energy
OperaSurging energyRigoletto; MitridateRoyal Opera HouseOf the Royal Opera's Verdi productions of recent years, David McVicar's seems likely to be the most durable. It evokes and sustains an atmosphere which is entirely suited to the particular tinta...
The Barbarians within the Gates
The barbarians within the gates OUR CULTURE, WHAT'S LEFT OF IT: THE MANDARINS AND THE MASSES by Theodore Dalrymple Ivan R. Dee, £18.99, pp. 341, ISBN 1566636434Spectator readers have known of Dr Dalrymple for many years through his regular column in...
The French Have It
The French have itAndrew Lambirth is in no doubt that the Americans come second at the Royal AcademyIn the first room of the Royal Academy's Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting - a strangely mixed and muted Impressionist exhibition - a Monet...
The God-Monster of Hampstead
The God-Monster of HampsteadPARTY IN THE BLITZ: THE ENGLISH YEARS by Elias Canetti, translated by Michael Hofmann Harvill, £17.99, pp. 266 ISBN 1843432048 * £15.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848AUTO DA FÉ by Elias Canetti, translated by C.V. Wedgwood...
The Gospel According to Lukes
The gospel according to Lukes WHO MOVED MY BLACKBERRY(TM)? by Martin Lukes, with Lucy Kellaway Viking, £12.99, pp. 375, ISBN 0670915610 * £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848From: ChristopherBland@bt.comTo: Lit Ed@spectator.co.ukSubject: Book ReviewDear...
The Left's War on Britishness
The terrorist attacks of 7 July, as the ludicrous BBC refuses to call them, have raised many questions. We might ask what turned ordinary Muslim youths into mass murderers. Or we might wonder how a religion of peace can inspire people to terrorism across...
The Lower End of the Higher Good
The lower end of the higher good THE PEOPLE'S ACT OF LOVE by James Meek Canongate, £12.99, pp. 387, ISBN 01841956546 * £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848This superb novel takes place in the remote settlement of Yazyk, at the end of a 100-mile...
The Man We Love to Love
The man we love to love THE PURSUIT OF VICTORY: THE LIFE AND ACHIEVEMENT OF HORATIO NELSON by Roger Knight Allen Lane / Penguin, £30, pp. 874, ISBN 0713996196 * £26 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848The life and death of Nelson grip the imagination,...
The Spectator's Notes
The late Sir Edward Heath was notoriously uneasy with women, but there was one, Sara Morrison, who was a good friend and an important political confidante. She was with him when he died on Sunday. Sara was robust enough to be able to withstand the strange...
Title Role
Friends sometimes ask me if I'm going to write a book about bridge. This invariably leads to a discussion about what it might be called - and then to what they might call their own bridge memoirs. Among my favourite titles are Antonia Eraser's - Sorry,...
Topless Fantasies
It's often said that the best time to sell your convertible is during good summer weather. This may be so; or it may be one of those self-sustaining beliefs that appears true because so many sellers act on it, i.e., more rag-tops are sold because more...
Trouble at Club
Far be it from me to denounce the British for having lost interest in their heritage - they have embraced multiculturalism, deny the good their empire once brought the world, have banned fox hunting - but when it comes to changes that directly affect...
Two Sad Losses
Two sad losses to report: the former Soviet grandmaster Leonid Shamkovich, who emigrated to New York, has died at the age of 82. Shamkovich was a noted theoretician and a tactical wizard of considerable ingenuity, as I once found to my cost (see game)....
War and Peace and Islam
Forget your mental image of a sociology professor. David Martin, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the LSE, is a softly spoken conservative Anglican. His critique of the concept of secularisation, begun in the 1960s, brought a new rigour to the study...
War on the Law
The House of Lords has already been subjected to thoughtless changes. It is now threatened with further political correcting, including a change of name. This government is not only hostile to its ethos and its historical resonance. The Blairites resent...
We're All in This Together
What is it about some MPs? Are they born thinking they know best, or does it just come with the title? Why do so many of them seem to think that they're the only ones with the answers?No, I'm not about to start talking about 'the nasty parliamentarians',...
What's Extremist about Islam That Is Not Extremist about Christianity?
The parliamentary draftsmen have yet to come up with the wording, but one thing we know already. However the government defines what it now wants to prohibit - the spreading by Islamists of an 'extremist' message - the new statute will make no reference...
Why Aussies Are Rooting for the Poms
SydneyFirst, a macabre coincidence. The last Ashes series, the eighth straight pitiful England capitulation, started days after the Bali bombing which killed 88 Australians and 26 British travellers. Now, as the Lord's Test begins, London reels from...
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