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. 288, No. 9066, 2002

Ancient & Modern
THERE are some problems that can be solved just by throwing money at them (e.g., an overdraft) but there is no indication that the NHS is one of those. Since socialists, however, take it as an article of faith that injections of money - or is it just...
Banned Wagon
A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit THE government has declared that we all ought to do more exercise, for the good of our health. How we are going to manage it in the face of the government's health-and-safety police is another...
Batting for the Home Team
This week's announcement of the 2002 Broadway Tony Awards (winners will be known on 2 June) makes it look like another very good year for the home team. Three out of five of the Best Actor nominations go to Alan Bates, Liam Neeson, and Alan Rickman;...
Careless Approach
Dance Romeo and Juliet (Royal Opera House) The artistic genius of Kenneth MacMillan will be celebrated with a series of events, starting in October with an international dance conference and continuing with performances by the major British ballet companies....
Criss-Crossing Ideas and Influences
The late David Sylvester once told me that in the great artistic race between Matisse and Picasso - just the kind of question he loved to ruminate over - he had finally concluded that Picasso finished about two laps ahead. It would be fascinating to...
Diary
I had hoped to be in Umbria for Easter, but the apartment that I have bought there for occasional visits wasn't ready, and the gas wasn't connected. Apart from observing the religious festivals that take place beneath my windows - I'm next to a Baroque...
Duncan Smith Ate My Party
I WAS in the Cinnamon Club the other day. Despite its name, it is not a lap-dancing joint but an upscale Indian restaurant in Westminster where I was lunching with Avtar Lit, a massively wealthy Asian who has built his radio empire, here and around the...
Falklands Legacy
Radio JL or me the most impressive of BBC radio's programmes marking the 20th anniversary of the Falklands war was Michael Nicholson's six-part series, Falkland Families which ends its run on Saturday. Nicholson and one of his producers, Neil George,...
Feast of Football
I'm round at Dave's apartment watching the tapes of Channel 4's documentary Football's Fight Club. There's Dave, me and the maid sat on the sofa in front of Dave's wide-screen TV. Dave's wife has gone to the West End, and Dave has arranged for an articulated...
Flushed with Pride
Beijing MOST people have a lavatory-from-hell story. Mine was in a village outside Ulan Bator in mid-winter. After a night bingeing on mutton fat and vodka in a felt tent, I needed to go and sit in the wooden hut outside. Inside that freezing pit of...
Guitar Power
Pop music Guitars: everyone comes back to them in the end. Even an old rockophobe like me, who feels uncomfortable in the same room as a leather jacket, cannot deny the simple effectiveness of an electric guitar well played. (Or badly played - that often...
Hanratty Deserved to Die
TWENTY years after its inception, Channel 4 finally did last week what it was established to do: it screened a `challenging, alternative' programme. Hanratty: The Whole Truth set out to prove, unfashionably, that the person whom the wicked old British...
Hot Prospects
The turf Youth and fashion are starting to edge into memory lane. When the warm-up band for the 69-year-old Jacques Chirac played at his Sunday night rally in the Place de la Republique I was probably the only one who could sing along with `Rivers Of...
How Far Can You Go?
Some of Ann Winterton's best friends, no doubt, are Pakistanis. And others, even more certainly, are good, solid, white Cheshire Conservatives appalled at Iain Duncan Smith's decision to sack her for cracking a joke about throwing Pakistanis out of train...
How the West Was Lost
AT first blush, the murdered Dutch maverick Pim Fortuyn and I would not appear to have been natural bedfellows. He was, after all, a flamboyant, post-Marxist, gay libertarian who advocated sexual permissiveness, casual drug use and euthanasia. I campaign...
In the Dog-House
Singular life It recently emerged that the government is thinking of bringing in legislation to protect dogs. I wish to point out at once that I am not an animal rights campaigner. But in the case of a Bill of Rights for dogs, all I can say is, about...
It's Grim Up North
Television Retro television is suddenly popular, at least with television executives. We have had The Forsyte Saga, University Challenge, Bill & Ben, Paul Merton as Tony Hancock, Ant and Dec returning as The Likely Lads and now Auf Wiedersehn, Pet...
It's Pretty Rum When Mr Murdoch Can Plausibly Be Represented as a Cultural Improvement
Leaders who feel guilty because they are not interested in the government's draft Communications Bill need not reproach themselves. It will make a difference to media moguls and media companies, and it may excite media journalists, but I doubt it will...
It Was Their Body and the River Police Weren't Going to Let Anyone Else Take It
Journalists are encouraged to look for recency or topicality in our stories; but the corpse of which I write was not found by me `last night', police are not searching, there are no links to anything and this story has no 'legs'. The death-by-drowning...
Keep Quiet or Face Arrest
LIKE the canaries in coalmines that fell from their perches at the earliest whiff of poison gas, eccentrics and outsiders are the first to suffer when intolerance grows and repressive conformism spreads. Such people can easily be isolated by mockery...
Letters
Teenagers are dehumanised From Mr John Papworth Sir: Perhaps Phil Craig (`Reign of terror', 4 May) is being a trifle glib in his assessment of male teenage hooliganism. The biggest difference that I can see from a childhood in the Twenties and Thirties...
Not Funny or Painful Enough
WHO'S SORRY NOW? by Howard Jacobson Cape. L16.99, 1699, pp. 326, ISBN 0224062867 As a seasoned reader of books in the bath, I know that if pages start crinkling after 20 minutes then it is the paper's fault, not the water's. Taking into account the blurb's...
Now Tony Blair Begins His Final Mission: To Shackle the Media
Never has Labour stood so high, or the Tories so low, as they do this weekend. To gain just 250 seats in the local election results was a catastrophe for the Tories. Look back at the 1980s, when Neil Kinnock's moribund Labour rarely failed to gain 45...
One Angry Man
JUSTICE: CRIMES, TRIALS AND PUNISHMENTS by Dominick Dunne Time Warner, L8.99, pp 535, ISBN 0751532606 Dominick Dunne is an angry man. He has sat through so many hugely publicised trials, watched so many respected lawyers debase themselves with deceit...
Only Connect
Music People who travel a lot are known to become sad people. The very bustle of it all may sound glamorous, until the arrangements go wrong; and then one discovers just how badly human beings can treat each other. The problem for musicians travelling...
On the Edge
Opera Lulu (English National Opera) NO's new production of Berg's Lulu is an unequivocal triumph, even if not an unqualified one. The team of Paul Daniel, Richard Jones the director, and Paul Steinberg and Buki Shiff, responsible for sets and costumes...
Restaurants
SO, to the Admiralty restaurant, Oliver Peyton's latest eatery, situated in historic Somerset House - Smart enough for you? Far enough from Crouch End for you? - for our friend Louise's 40th birthday dinner. This is quite a swish place, I know, but then...
Retreat into Fame
RAGE FOR ROCK GARDENING by Nicola Shulman Faber, L9.99, pp. 112, ISBN 1904095216 cost gardeners know something about Reginald Farrer, the great rock garden expert, intrepid collector of mountain plants and flower painter, who made rock gardening both...
Second Opinion
AS we all know, mankind's most precious gift is liberty, but when, exactly, is a man free? I recall the days when, as a mere stripling, I had nothing, not a penny to my name, and thought myself imprisoned by poverty. Nowadays, I am weighed down by possessions,...
Set Us Free to Pay
DURING the phoney war before the last general election I attended a lunch with William Hague. He was in fine form, telling witty anecdotes and talking about the scale of the challenge ahead. As we chatted over coffee, I suggested that he stop banging...
Sex, Drugs and Rocking with Laughter
IN SEARCH OF KING SOLOMON'S MINES by Tahir Shah John Murray, 17 99, pp. 233, ISBN 0719563240 When I asked Sir Wilfred Thesiger if he would be kind enough to supply a helpful quote for my first book, he smiled at me defiantly. `How about, "Read this book...
Snipe and Spin
Bagram IT was lights out in our tent. Specialist 'Woody', the callow young soldier assigned to mind us, had finally fallen asleep, his copy of Shotgun News slipping from his hand. Woody reads Shotgun for its small ads: `Beretta automatic pistol, blue...
Spectator Mini - Bar Offer
THIS is the first in what we hope will be a series of Spectator Wine Club offers, which I've called, rather tweely you might think, the Spectator Mini-Bar. The plan is to offer wines which, apart from being excellent value, all have something in common,...
Stardust and Shavings
PEOPLE'S WITNESS: THE JOURNALIST IN MODERN POLITICS by Fred Inglis Yale, 18.95, pp. 416, ISBN 03000932 76 The dust jacket of this slightly sprawling, untidy book carries a photograph of the famous American television journalist Edward R. Murrow interviewing...
Stylishly but Consistently Wrong
THE LAST EMPIRE by Gore Vidal Abacus, L10. 99, pp. 316, ISBN 0349115281 To describe this book as badly timed is an understatement. It isn't just badly timed, it is atrociously badly timed, grotesquely badly timed, even obscenely badly timed. Although...
Taking Sides
High life New York X-ray Bagelites who lunch are in a tizzy over Pauline Pitt's fax to a New York Post gossip columnist accusing Al Taubman of being 'a pig who never does the right thing unless it looks better in high society'. Before I go on, a brief...
The Beautiful, Bestial Game
SPECTATOR SPORT Yes, it is true that football has done more than anything to establish the cult of stupidity in British life. One has only to consider the phenomenon of David Beckham to see that the game occupies an unhealthy place in what is known as...
The Perils of Interference
NARROW ROADS OF GENE LAND: VOLUME TWO, THE EVOLUTION OF SEX collected papers of W. D. Hamilton OUP, L50, pp. 928, ISBN 0198503369 If all those who must be kept alive by elaborate medication during their child-- bearing years are so kept alive and duly...
There's More to Good Business Than Laws or Codes or Wheezes from Big Swinging Bankers
Warren Buffett became chairman of Salomon Brothers by accident. The big swinging bankers there (evoked by Michael Lewis in Liar's Poker) had tried to swing a fast one on the United States Treasury, and were caught, and were out - and since Berkshire...
Trying Too Hard
THE WHITE FAMILY by Maggie Gee Saqi Books, L11.95, pp. 416, ISBN 0863563805 Mysteriously - for these things are rarely foreseeable - the figurative strain that periodically surfaces amid the upper reaches of English fiction is making something of a comeback....
Understanding the Half-Understood
SUBMERGED by A. L. Barker Virago, 16.99, pp. 239, ISBN 1860499279 What can there be left to say about a collection of short stories such as A. L. Barker's Submerged, coming, as it does, with an introductory encomium of several pages by none other than...
What Makes Us Who We Are
PATRIOTS: NATIONAL IDENTITY IN BRITAIN, 1940-2000 by Richard Weight Macmillan, L25, pp. 826, ISBN 0333734629 National identity is not really natural and unalterable, of course, but it certainly feels like that. The various components of what it means...
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.