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. 286, No. 8999, 2001

A Concerto in Prose
THE LAST SUMMER by Boris Pasternak, translated by George Reavey Peter Owen Modem Classics, L8.50, pp. 92 In literature the Stream of Consciousness began to flow most systematically, as it were, at about the same time; and it flowed most strongly at opposing...
A Damned Puzzling Dozen
To be asked to review a book is always nice. To be asked to do a dozen in one go makes one suspect the literary editor of exploitation. But it was not such drudgery after all. There are only 64 smallish pages in each of these plainly elegant hardbacks...
Among the Blokes
Australia I WENT to Melbourne with my younger brother, Simon, and a whole load of preconceptions. Centre-stage in my imaginary Australia were the men - laconic, chippy, thin-lipped and strong-chinned; they drank Castlemaine XXXX and sheared sheep when...
Ancient & Modern
IN cases of homicide, no punishment these days seems too severe in the eyes of the victim's family, and there are voices in government that seem willing not only to listen to these families' selfrighteous bleatings, but even to consider taking them into...
A Triumphant Disaster?
A triumphant disaster? THE SIEGE OF KARS, 1855 edited by Tim Coates The Stationery Office, (Undercover Editions), L6.99, pp. 252 Each book in this series draws on the Stationery Office library to present a historical incident by means of printing the...
Banned Wagon
THERE are plenty of politicians, particularly of the local variety, who would ban the driving of cars if only they could. Such powers, of course, lie outside their orbit. What they find they often can do instead, however, is to stop motorists parking...
Being Mysteriously Interfered With
Being mysteriously interfered with THE HESPERIDES TREE by Nicholas Mosley Secker, L15.99, pp. 311 I have never read anything quite like this extraordinary book before. It is about a student who, even by student standards, is preoccupied by the nature...
Blood and Lust
Theatre La Lupa (Barbican Pit) A Wedding Story (Soho Theatre) Even for a company understandably eager to break out of its Shakespearean shackles from time to time, and yet curiously unable to find any modern plays of distinction, the RSC's La Lupa is...
Blooming Fantastic
Ischia NOTHING quite prepares you for the sheer force of the charm offensive that greets you when you come face to face with Susana Valeria Rosa Maria Gil Passo, more formally known as Lady Walton. The widow, and greatest champion, of the composer Sir...
Bravery and Break-Down: A Military Mystery
Soldiers invalided from the Western Front in the early stages of the first world war often shocked their doctors and nurses with the grotesque postures and gestures they adopted as a result of their terrible experiences. For the first time this pattern...
Clara Comes in to Cure the Exchange's Delusions but She Must Be Its Last Chance
Fourth time lucky? Clara Furse must surely represent the London Stock Exchange's last chance. She has emerged as its choice of chief executive, the job in which her three predecessors took the blame for decisions made by others and for the failures of...
Clinton Country
AMERICANS - the ones I know anyway - don't go to the Ozarks, the vast wilderness of rivers, mountains and forests that straddles Missouri and Arkansas. When I told a friend in New York that I was about to spend a month there, he fairly jumped out his...
Dear Mary
YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED Q. I am a single working mother blessed with a beautiful 12-year-old girl. We depend on and appreciate enormously the help of -a motorised, energetic, 60-year-old lady, Della, who chaperones my daughter after school. Della has independent...
Deceptive Images
I Am A Camera (Saatchi Gallery, Boundary Road, NW8, till 25 March) In the centre is Christ, a strangely serene figure, in the centre of the emotional storm his words have created. Around him, seated behind the long table, the Apostles react in differing...
Diary
I am eight months into the writing of what looks like being a very long novel, and at last I think I can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. During the process of writing I try to keep my fetishistic quirks and superstitious habits to a...
Establishing the Credentials of the New Establishment
Hugh Massingberd DEBRETT'S PEOPLE OF TODAY 2001 edited by John Crookes and Alison Green Debrett's Peerage Ltd, L130, pp. 2,170 'You know, Jeeves,' observes the 9th Earl of Rowcester in Ring for Jeeves, `even in these disturbed post-war days, with the...
Famous Last Words Do Not Always Ring True. or Do They?
AND ANOTHER THING THING There is a rumour going around about Auberon Waugh's last words. It is said he became briefly conscious and asked, 'Have they sacked Dominic Lawson yet?' But then, like Pilate, 'would not stay for an answer'. This story evokes...
Feast of Victoriana
Radio There's nothing like an anniversary to bring out the best in Radio Four, as we've been hearing for the past week. To mark Queen Victoria's death on 22 January 1901 the network broadcast several programmes about her life and times with a splendid...
Heroic Dozen
Television This is a tale which will make you realise why people hate television companies. I was watching Jungle Janes (Channel 4) with my wife, when she suddenly said, `There's Sandy!' And so it was. Alexandra James, our old chum - well, friend of...
Holocaust Abuse
Memorial days have never been an English practice. We have a few `holy days', whose religious significance is nowadays almost ignored, but even the Queen's birthday is not a public holiday, and it seemed unnatural when Michael Foot insolently proclaimed...
Honour among Goalkeepers
SPECTATOR SPORT I ALWAYS rather liked Bruce Grobbelaar, so the fact that he has been exposed as, to use the gloating words of the Sun, a crook, a cheat, a liar and a traitor is saddening. It's a goalkeeper thing, really. I was a keeper of spectacular...
Learning Difficulties
No life The Spanish teacher was a quarter of an hour late for the first evening class of the new term. The course was over-subscribed. Elbow room was limited. We sat in embarrassed silence wondering if anyone was going to come to teach us. Then this...
Letters
Johnson and Maclean From Sir Charles Maclean of Dunconnel Sir: Paul Johnson doesn't seem to have done his homework before proposing my father Fitzroy Maclean as the missing villain in Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy (And another thing, 13 January)....
Life in the Afternoon
Spain Life in the afternoon Jeremy Clarke UNTIL we went to Madrid for the weekend just before Christmas, my boy, Mark, aged 11, had not been out of the country. He hadn't flown in an aeroplane either. Nor had he stayed at a hotel, sat in a bar, eaten...
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Charlie
The waggoners on the road stopped their wains, the late noisy ploughmen leaned vacantly on their stilts, the turnip-pullers stood erect in air, and the shepherds' boys deserted their bleating flocks; - all was life and joy and liberty - `Liberty, equality...
Lost Innocence
Opera The Elixir of Love (Opera North) Verdi's Requiem (Barbican) L'Elisir d'Amore is the most benign of operatic comedies, and Opera North, in its excellent new production - I delayed visiting it until I could get to Leeds by train -- is wholly faithful...
Lugged Around
Singular life Luggage. Now there's a conundrum. I was very sorry to read of the trial of the rubbish collector, Mark Oliver, who is accused of handling Posh Spice's stolen luggage - four Louis Vuitton bags containing designer clothes, a lock of her son...
Mandy Has Gone Again - but It's No Thanks to the BBC
So Peter Mandelson has gone. The general view at Westminster and in Fleet Street was that the Northern Ireland Secretary would not have to resign, though his future prospects might have been damaged. Indeed, the most striking feature of the events of...
Messing about in a Barge
France THERE are many interesting travel opportunities on the Internet, and le-guide.com seems to offer one more challenging than most: `Be seduced by the Canal du Midi, built from 1666, by up to 12,000 men', it begins. But it wasn't the idea of being...
Mind Your Language
MIND the doors! The consensus is that early doors (13 January) derives from theatrical use, although one reader suggested it came from the practice of the 'knocker-up' (or knocker-upper, through a diploid reduplication, on the parallel principle to putter-inner,...
Mr Mandelson Kept on Digging until the Hole Became His Political Grave
POLITICS One might have thought that he would have learned his lesson. Peter Mandelson was lucky to return to office only a few months after the mortgage fiasco; politicians have been destroyed by lesser offences. But during his brief exile, as he brooded...
Never a Wet Blanket
Helen Osborne GIELGUD: A THEATRICAL LIFE by Jonathan Croall Methuen, L20, pp. 579 "Everybody loved him,' warned the late Dirk Bogarde, when Jonathan Croall talked to him about Gielgud: A Theatrical Life, `so the book might make rather flat reading.'...
Not a Single Dud
THIRTY LONDON MAGAZINE STORIES selected by Jane Rye London Magazine Editions, 12.50, pp. 328 Short stories are the impressionism of fiction, glimpses that imply whole panoramas. `The short story,' according to V. S. Pritchett, a master of the form, `is...
Playing (and Not Playing) the Game
TOURNAMENT OF SHADOWS by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac Little, Brown, L25, pp. 672 We can agree to call this episode in history `the Great Game' since Kipling gave Captain Arthur Conolly's coinage a wider circulation, though, as these authors...
Portrait of the Week
Mr Peter Mandelson, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, resigned, after forgetting and then remembering that he had made a telephone call to a Home Office minister to do with the possibility of British passports for the brothers Srichand and...
Recovering from Schnittke
Music I write still reeling a fortnight later from the all-out bombardment of the BBC's Schnittke Weekend earlier this month. Even as spaced more widely on Radio Three the concentration was intensive, with some 25 works, mostly substantial, running from...
Remember the Middle-Rankers
The turf If I had a L100.000 two-year-old I would happily engage Dale Gibson to ride it. It would win if it was good enough and be looked after and educated if it wasn't. If I had to abandon my wife in a racecourse bar I would equally happily leave her...
Righ-Wing Conspiracy
ALASDAIR MILNE telephones to alter our appointment. `Wednesday's my laundry day,' he says, `and as it hasn't been done for a fortnight it needs to be sorted out.' We agree to meet a day earlier. Arriving at his house in Holland Park, the former director-general...
Sparkling Form
Dance La Fille Mal Garde (Royal Opera House) Giannandrea Poesio Now that almost all the Sugar Plum Fairies and their dim-looking Nutcracker Princes have been packed away with the rest of the Christmas decorations, ballet companies are back to a more...
Sporting Chance
Motoring Sports cars are unseasonable, so it's a good time to buy if you can find a good one. Many owners hold on to them until spring or early summer in the justifiable belief that weather affects what people purchase. It's the same with classic cars...
The Art of Darkness
The Congolese President Laurent-Desire Kabila fantasised that he would fall victim to a white imperialist plot and be assassinated like his hero Patrice Lumumba, the Pan-Africanist leader murdered in 1961. The bullet that finally killed Kabila on 16...
The Cross Maltese
MY father-in-law, Wally, stands with me on a finger of land called Senglea, gazing out on the beauty of Malta's Grand Harbour. There are no office blocks to interrupt our view of the 16th-century honey-coloured city of Valletta on the other side. Wally...
The Fault Is in Our Stars, Dear Brutus
The fault is in our stars, dear Brutus Ann Geneva TRUE AS THE STARS ABOVE by Neil Spencer Gollancz, 10.99, pp. 246 An obscure corner of academia has come up with a wheeze for explaining the genesis of world religions in secular terms. The sociology of...
The Man about Whom Still More Remains to Be Said
Ian Ousby THE HITLER OF HISTORY: HITLER'S BIOGRAPHERS ON TRIAL by John Lukacs Weidenfeld, L25, pp. 279 Anybody who takes a serious interest in the history of the second world war will already know John Lukacs' work, so they are unlikely to be fooled...
The Time Is Coming When the Left Will Again Lead the Tory Party
ANOTHER VOICE I was invited recently to a short symp sium organised by the Tory Reform Group. Late for the gathering, I had in my confusion remembered only where I was supposed to be and when - ten minutes ago, as usual. In my confusion I had forgotten...
Time to Sack Nanny
GORDON BROWN promises a silent revolution. Within five years we will witness the 'biggest' transfer of power from the state to the individual. These words are welcome, and should be viewed with a hopeful scepticism. The Chancellor's emphasis is on grey...
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Failure
Moscow DEVOTEES of new technology will sneer, but I still find the photocopier an indispensable tool. In a previous journalistic life I took a portable one to Prague and managed to copy a 600-page secret police file in a room around the corner from their...
Under Western Eyes
I HAVE SEEN THE WORLD BEGIN by Carsten Jensen Harvill, L16.99, pp. 337 Carsten Jensen does not explain why he took time off from journalism in Copenhagen to wander about through China, Cambodia and Vietnam, but he gives us a hint when he writes on page...
Vamping It Up in Old New York
I WISH I had been born in 1908. That would have made me the age I am now in 1938. Were I the age I am now in 1938, I could have trained as a vamp: 1938 was a golden year for vamps. Myrna Loy, Gene Tierney, Hedy Lamarr, Joan Crawford, Claudette Colbert,...
Verdi and Vienna
My first visit to Vienna was nearly half a century ago. I had come to Europe from Australia in my mid-twenties, eager to see and hear all that the Continent could offer, and in Austria I found myself bowled over by the baroque architecture, and by a...
Yes, We Have No Big Ideas
EVERYBODY thinks they must be missing something. That's why they've got me in. "Ere,' the editors say, `that 'orrible New Labour lot can't possibly be planning to fight an election without a new theme. It's just not their style; they're the party with...
Youth and Beauty
High life Youth and beauty Taki To London for the 50th birthday party of Charlie Glass, a great friend of long standing despite him being left-wing and a womaniser. My, how the years go by. I first met Glass when he was an ABC correspondent and filing...
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.