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. 284, No. 8952, 2000

A Bird in the Bush Is Worth Two in the Hand
WILLIAM MACGILLIVRAY by Robert Ralph Merrell Holberton/The Natural History Museum, L29.95, pp. 128 'Didn't he have something to do with Audubon?' is as much as any but the most knowledgeable naturalists know about MacGillivray. Yet, as this fascinating...
A Broken Weed
The Prime Minister has always looked and sounded like somebody who would take on received opinion with alacrity. Unfortunately, though, his strong words have tended to dwindle into nervous chatter at the realisation that received opinion is proving difficult...
All You Need Is Love
MISS WYOMING by Douglas Coupland Flamingo, L9.99, pp. 272 Douglas Coupland's first novel, Generation X, published nine years ago, accidentally labelled young Americans who failed to bathe, drank a lot of coffee and purchased 'alternative' music from...
Ancient & Modern
ANNOUNCE that a dead baby has had its heart removed for medical research and a shiver goes through the nation. Is it not about time we grew up? In the ancient Greek world all sorts of taboos surrounded the corpse. Primarily, it was felt that the body...
Anglo-Saxon Interference
Of the many literary talents of John Ruskin, the centenary of whose death is celebrated this year, one of the most striking was for sheer, sweeping invective. Take, as an almost random example from his collected works, this from a pamphlet written in...
Attractive Indian Assets
Attractive Indian assets THE NIZAM'S DAUGHTERS by Allan Mallinson Bantam, 16 99, pp. 320 This enjoyable novel is not an Indian episode in the life of a young Englishman who happens to be in the army in the months after Waterloo; it is the study of a...
A Waste of Good Celluloid
IN Hollywood, if you want to make a film, you go to the bank. In Britain you go to the bureaucrats. That is why the Americans still have the world's biggest movie industry and why we still have Lord Puttnam. Yes, we make individual films that win prizes...
Banned Wagon
A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit NO accident happens and no crime gets committed these days without the government pushing ahead with a hasty set of reforms intended to prevent its recurrence. Following the Shipman murders, the...
Dear Mary
Q. I know you have already dealt with the problem of social spitting, but my dilemma is a variation on the more usual theme. I am a spectacle-wearer and want to know what the correct drill is when somebody at a party, spitting by mistake, hits one's...
Diary
I have been back to South Africa as a journalist 12 times over the last ten years; but this is the first time that I've visited with my family - an interesting opportunity to look at it with the fresh eyes of a tourist. The trip to Robben Island is the...
Fair Dos All Around
Fair dos all round Geoffrey Owen JOBS AND FAIRNESS by Robert Oakeshott Michael Russell L35, pp. 710 Most people accept that an industrial enterprise is likely to perform better if the people who work in it have a personal stake in its success and some...
Feud for Thought
Feud for thought Bevis Hillier STYLISTIC COLD WARS: BETJEMAN VERSUS PEVSNER by Timothy Mowl John Murray, L14.99, pp. 182 John Betjeman once said that the only reason he took jobs was to buy the time to write poetry. It was almost true, but not quite....
Fighting for the Future
The architects Herbert Tayler and David Green, working in the 1950s on the best postwar council houses in Britain, had a young assistant who would refer to something he called the borehorse. 'I'm an old warhorse from the Borehorse' was their inevitable...
Inside Televisionland
I've become quite a devotee of the Radio Times. Here's the RT take on Monarch of the Glen, the drama series which began this week on BBC 1: 'the perfect post-dinner, pre-bath, Sunday evening entertainment... it makes no demands of its audience and is...
King of Hearts
Kingston, Jamaica WHEN the last Prince of Wales visited Guyana in 1923, he caused a scandal. The European hostesses from the big plantation houses had been in a social frenzy for months. Elaborate plans were in place to ensure introductions to the future...
Leading Us Up the Cul-De-Sac
Leading us up the cul-de-sac THE THIRD WAY AND ITS CRITICS by Anthony Giddens Polity, L25,L7.99, pp. 189 Anthony Giddens is the self-styled intellectual promoter of Tony Blair and his wretched 'Third Way'. He ought to know better. The director of the...
Let's Sell Mortgages, and If Our Bank Goes Phut We'll Sell It to the Bank of England
Now here's a great business idea. Let's sell mortgages. Look at all those sleepy building societies and banks with all their costly branches - we can run rings round them. We'll do it all from one downtown office, modern technology, minimum fuss, our...
Letters
Pain leading to prosperity From Mr Allan Massie Sir: May I make some observations on Daniel Hannan's smug and superficial account of the 'strange death of Christian Democracy' ('Neither Christian nor Democratic', 26 February)? He asks whether 'the space...
McGuinness Takes Manhattan
New York STOOPED as though hearing a confession, and with his hands folded over his groin like a defender expecting a vicious free kick, Martin McGuinness spoke softly. 'I would like to get back to my job dealing with children,' he said. Northern Ireland's...
Mind Your Language
VERONICA had spent half an hour sheltering from the rain in the greenhouse because I was delayed in letting her into the house by First Great Western (more like Last Great Western). 'Silly girl,' my husband said. 'The back door was open all the time....
Missing the X-Factor?
THERE was mystification all round when it was announced that Pierre-Yves Gerbeau was to take charge of the Dome. Why did our emblematic, national symbol require a Frenchman to turn it around? There was more puzzlement when it turned out that M. Gerbeau...
Monsters of Motiveless Malignity
THE murder in Middle England has baffled everyone: the police, who are no nearer explaining it than when they came upon the scene of the crime; the family of the victim, who are still seeking the answer to their personal tragedy; the journalists who...
Old Britain Flourishes and the Spirit Moves in Jamaica
Is there such a thing as a 'freebie' without commercial strings attached, or even, as in the case of poor Neil Hamilton, balls and chains? I think, perhaps naively, that there is and that I have just been on one - a ten-day trip around the West Indies,...
Old Favourites
Opera Romeo et Juliette; La Boheme (Royal Opera) Old favourites It looks as if the period of teething troubles at the Royal Opera is over, and all concerned must be relieved that the schedule has now reverted to long-standing favourites in well-oiled...
Pleasing Cheeses
Am owl hooted as we arrived at THE pIG IN M CK for the masters versus earth stoppers skittles night. I knew 'masters' meant masters of fox-hounds and their wives. I had a vague understanding that earth stoppers meant terrier men. But I had no idea what...
Portrait of the Week
Mr Ken Livingstone tagged everyone along by delaying his decision-about standing for Mayor of London as an independent candidate. Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said: 'There is no doubt that there is potential for harm, both in terms of human safety...
Role Models
It's first I groaned when I heard Michael Buerk introducing the Moral Maze last week (Wednesday) with the words, 'Which is the most famous - Posh or Becks?' As if we haven't had enough on the radio and in the newspapers about Posh Spice Victoria Beckham...
Running out of Road
The last really good tumbleweeds film I saw was Rovin' Tumbleweeds (1939), with Gene Autry, and before that Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935), with Gene and Roy Rogers, and I feel vaguely I may have caught maybe a couple of other adjectivally accessorised...
Searching for Superlatives
It was as an undergraduate during my university finals that I first learned that you really cannot beat the system. We all heard the story of the bright spark in another examination hall who had researched the university statutes and who demanded that...
Second Opinion
I prefer alcoholics to drug addicts. They are more often people of character and are much more amusing. Even their special pleading (for themselves) is often funny, and they can be brought to see it. By contrast, drug addicts whine horribly and frequently...
Star Shortage
The Brit awards are here again, and as ever the judges have shown that they have their fingers on the pulse of popular music. Three of the five singers contesting the Best Male Performer category - David Bowie, Van Morrison and Tom Jones -- are comfortably...
Talking Bulls
At Taunton the train was going to be half an hour late and the platform was in cold shadow, so I went outside and stood in the sun. I stood with my back against a warm Victorian brick wall and read some more of D.H. Lawrence's didactic, complaining,...
That Wonderful Wheel
There is much to be said for the round trip: going on a journey and coming back to the starting point. But I am thinking not of metropolitan railways like the Circle Line or the Cathcart Loop here in Glasgow, let alone a jaunt around the M25, but of...
The First Commandos
The first commandos Geoffrey Wheatcroft ADRIFT ON THE OPEN VELD: THE ANGLO-BOER WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH, 1899-1943 by Deneys Reitz Stonnberg, L14.99, pp. 560 Just 100 years ago, the Boer war had reached a turning point. After the war began in October 1899,...
The Guardian Has Taken a Risk for Peace, Gerry and Martin Must Not Let It Down
My relative scanned me closely. 'Are you all right, darling?' she asked. I can't be sure, but I think my eyes may have prickled with tears, and there was perhaps a lump in my throat; and she knew. She reads the Guardian, you see, always has done, and...
The Man Who Can't Explode
Miranda France MR PHILLIPS by John Lanchester Faber, L16.99, pp. 247 This follow-up to John Lanchester's much-garlanded The Debt to Pleasure charts one day in the life of an accountant. Mr Phillips is more Prufrock than Bloom. Up until this day, his...
The Onanists, the Stripper and the Manic Totalitarian
Tony Blair once had an unscripted meeting with some journalists and old Labour supporters. It took place in Scotland, and the PM did not enjoy himself. Afterwards, he described his interrogators as 'unreconstructed wankers': a rare glimpse of Mr Blair's...
The Rise of the Fu Movement
New Hampshire CONSERVATISM is doomed. True, in the Eastern bloc, in its conclusive demolition of the Berlin Wall, it won the battle of ideas. But in its own Western bloc, it's lost the battle of process, and that's likely to prove decisive. In the United...
The Serbs Are Still Being Presented as the Bad Guys. So What's New in the News from Kosovo?
Ten days ago up to 60,000 or 70,000 Albanians marched -to the divided city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo. They came from Pristina, the capital, and other parts of the province to the bridge in Mitrovica. As the press put it, they wanted to protest...
The Truth about Sir Stanley That I Wouldn't Tell If the Spectator Were Read on the Terraces
A friend, professionally involved in football, said something to me this week about the newly deceased Sir Stanley Matthews which I found both interesting and disturbing. It was that Sir Stanley was not especially forthcoming with his wallet. He did...
The Wrong Side of the Curtain
The wrong side of the curtain MILA AND MERVUSYA: A RUSSIAN WEDDING by Mervyn Matthews Seren, VO. 95, pp. 214 The catalogue of suffering under the Soviet regime is so full and varied it sometimes seems as if nothing needs to be added, but of course there...
Very Rum Shipmates
Very rum shipmates John de Falbe ENGLISH PASSENGERS by Matthew Kneale Hamish Hamilton, L15.99, pp. 448 In his pamphlet A Proof Against the Atheisms of Geology, the Reverend Geoffrey Wilson propounds the theory that the Garden of Eden is to be found in...
West End Story
Three years, L25 million (give or take a bob or two) and hallelujah the Royal Court is back in business. Twice last century, first when Bernard Shaw and Harley Granville Barker took it over in 1905, and then again when George Devine moved in 50 years...
Windows Show Us the World, but Open into Our Souls Too
There are true and false windows. An example of the false is television, which purports to give you a window on the world but allows you to see only what is selected, edited, spun, twisted and sloped. When you look through a true window, you use your...
Wow, Edinburgh; the Lavender, London SE11
IT is now so rooted in the restaurant rip-off process that most of us have given up noticing it. Ask for water and the reply will come 'Fizzy or still?' It no longer crosses our minds to reply 'Tap'. And so, come the bill, we find that we have paid L3.50...
Writing Wrongs
On Tuesday, Count Balthasar Klossowski de Rola gave a masked ball in his Rossiniere chalet, and a wonderful party it was. For any of you unfamiliar with the name of my host, he is better known as the painter Balthus, whose biography by a lowlife named...
Wrong Time to Be So Talented
BRIAN LARA stands before the world as a classic example of a man who, in finding his heart's desire, found despair. Lara gave his all to become captain of the West Indies cricket team. Now, after two years and a series of ever more abject defeats, he...
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.