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. 283, No. 8922, 1999

A Master with Two Mistresses
BOOKS A master with two mistresses Bevis Hillier THE LETTERS OF WILKIE COLLINS: VOLUME I, 1838-1865, VOLUME II,1866-1889 edited by Wiliam Baker and William M. Clarke Macmillan Press, 50 each volume or 85 for the two-volume set, pp. 267, pp. 616 IOLANI;...
Ancient & Modern
THE Bishop of Edinburgh has announced that religion has nothing to do with ethics. If he carries on much longer like this, Zeus/Jupiter will soon be returning to his ancient throne, from which the Roman emperor Constantine so unfeelingly debunked him...
Are We Crazy to Rank a Minor Cabinet Minister above the Donkey Nappies of Great Yarmouth?
When I served on the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the others were always talking about something called `news-values'. Apparently, the topic occupies a good deal of attention at the BBC wherever a few are gathered together to discuss public-service...
Artfully, Seriously Ludic
HEADLONG by Michael Frayn Faber, 16.99, pp. 3954 The journey begins with a literal journey: a couple travelling north with their young baby. They are going to their cottage in the country, which is furnished with all the comforts of a typical low-grade...
Bye Bye, Mr Small Potatoe
New Hampshire `GOOD to see you, Mark,' said Dan Quayle, and looked me straight in the eye. Then he looked deep in my eyes. And deeper still, his twinkling baby blues lighting up the darkest recesses of my soul. If he'd been anyone other than Dan Quayle,...
Choose Hughes
It is August and it is hot. The whole country seems to be in the toils of humidity, too comatose even to complain about the weather - or to pay attention to the Liberal party's leadership contest. It is never easy to take the Liberals seriously; they...
Dear Mary
Q. A friend of mine, whom I had previously credited with a high degree of intelligence and good taste, has just given birth to a female and proposes to call the child Hope. I associate English abstract nouns used as names with the lowest forms of US...
Diary
Iasi, Romania Here I am in the noble but forgotten capital of the Ottoman principality of Moldavia, searching for the unravelled intestines of my giant, one-eyed hero. I am on a ghoulish international treasure hunt for his scattered body parts - and...
Doing a Darling
Rottach on Tegernsee "The Eighty Yard Run' is probably Irwin Shaw's best short story. The hero, Christian Darling, walks along the football field where he played 15 years earlier. It is dark and it's alumni day weekend. Darling pretends to run with the...
Falling for It
Peter has now bought two horses. Ben, the chestnut I introduced to you in an earlier column, and Sky. Rather a hippy name, don't you think? He is grey and huge but, I'm told, very gentle. Perhaps I will be able to ride him. I haven't sat on a horse for...
Fires Can Be a Blessing, Often Very Effectively Disguised
Fires are terrible events, which sear the emotions as well as destroy irreplaceable things. My heart goes out to Natasha Spender, widow of the poet, who has lost her husband's library as well as her famous Provencal garden. It is characteristic of her...
George Robertson Has Done Well out of the War-The Peace Will Be Harder
Sir Michael Jackson has suddenly become everyone's favourite General. Not since Sir John Harding was Governor of Cyprus has any soldier stood so high in public esteem, and rightly so. But George Robertson has a special reason for being grateful to Mike...
Goodbye to the Throgmorton Street Club-I Can't Wait to Knock It Down
I have few ambitions left in the City, but I was there when the Queen opened the Stock Exchange and I want to be there when she shuts it. She and I could take turns with the jack-hammers. Not long to wait now. The Exchange has plucked up the courage...
Hume's Cardinal Error
IT has always been clear to Roman Catholics in Britain that Cardinal Hume would be a hard act to follow. Though theoretically only the head of the Church in his archdiocese of Westminster, he had established himself as the de facto primate of England...
I Love Butlins
`HOW imaginative,' said friends en route to Tibet, or bound for a fortnight's watercolour course in a hilltop monastery in Umbria. `How brave,' said other mothers as they headed to the wild unspoilt shores of Eigg or North Uist for shrimping on the beach...
Impossible Dream
At Shakespeare's Globe, Giles Block's new Antony and Cleopatra is a weird affirmation of that amazing space's strengths and weaknesses, and far and away the best production I have ever seen there, which is admittedly not saying a lot. An all-male cast,...
Letters
Crimes of the cloth From Mr James McDonald Sir: Simon Caldwell's piece `First the suspect then the crime' (31 July) is really too much. The article suggests that accusations of child abuse against priests are largely unfounded, and hints that in England...
Menotti Exposed
How bad is Menotti, and The Consul in particular? Not that the question is of great interest in itself, but the production this week in Holland Park, which is in most respects excellent, gets it into focus, and helps one to see what kind of phenomenon...
Mind You Language
'YOU'LL know,' said my husband in a harassing tone just as a wasp was trying to come between me and a cooling drink with a bit of borage floating on it. `What's that funny symbol that looks like an upside-down circumflex accent over a c? You get it in...
New Era
The last two ballets in the welcome Bolshoi season at the Coliseum were Swan Lake and Don Quixote. (And spare a drop of gratitude that we have gallant impresarios like Victor Hochauser prepared to undertake the financial risks in bringing this noble...
Not Their Blue-Eyed Boy
IT had to be roses. When the little Albanian girl in Pristina was photographed handing a posy to the British Prime Minister, the Albanians' hero, it was only right that she present him with the symbol of triumphant modern European social democracy -...
Portrait of the Week
Mr George Robertson, the Secretary of State for Defence, was put forward as the next secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. This guaranteed that there would be some reshuffling of the Cabinet just when weeks of speculation had come...
Posthumous Dating
I like a double life - no, hang about, make that a treble one. The more complicated things are the better. Dissemble? Me? As Eliza Doolittle said, not bloody likely (I dissemble, of course). Every girl, you see, should have a Bunbury in the oven. These...
Recent Audio Books
Thirty years ago, I remember being puzzled and excited by The Alexandria Quartet, but that was because I knew Lawrence Durrell and had admired him since the war as a poet. I still do admire him greatly as a poet, but already before any of these four...
Restaurant: Eating out in Cape Town
I HAD expected Cape Town and its surroundings to be beautiful, and its wines to be excellent. What I had not been prepared for were the variety and excellence of its restaurants. In five days there I ate in many restaurants, every one of them a winner,...
Restoration, Creation and Imagination
A GARDEN LOST IN TIME by Penny David Weidenfeld, L20, pp. 185 AN ENGLISH GARDEN IN PROVENCE by Natasha Spender Harvill, L25, pp. 205 Perhaps because they live in such a crowd with not much more than an acre of good land each, the English try to compose...
Romantic Spirit
John Piper (The Stables Gallery, Renishaw Hall, Sheffield, till 26 September) Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire is the seat of the Sitwell family, its lineaments long familiar to readers of Osbert Sitwell's five-volume autobiography from the evocative illustrations...
Sacred Cows
Pop music Sacred cows Marcus Berkmann Warm days, hot nights: a time for home truths. `Let's face it,' said my friend Boyd the other evening, holding a Fleetwood Mac compilation I thought I had hidden rather carefully on my shelves. `Everyone says the...
Sex and Showers
At Glorious Goodwood the petunias are extra pink and the Pimms has a particular zing. Leggy chestnut fillies carry themselves with an especial confidence and the horses look up for it as well. Even on the Saturday, after others had enjoyed days of tabloid-scanning...
Starring Hitchcock
Cinema Strangers on a Train (PG, selected cinemas) In her first novel, Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith wrote: But love and hate, he thought now, good and evil, lived side by side in the human heart, and not merely in differing proportions in...
Take a Great Leap South
ALTHOUGH a number of French wines were included in the tasting and one or two of them scored high marks, at the end of the day we have an all-South American offer, with three wines from Argentina, three from Chile. Price was not a major factor in the...
Tear Up the Old Rule Books
Whenever an estate of newly built detached houses appears over a cornfield in the course of a country drive, it produces a pain in the pit of the stomach. The report of the government's Urban Task Force, entitled Towards an Urban Renaissance (E&FN...
The Distressing Truth about Our Nocturnal Lives
Much of last week's flatteringly widespread media coverage of The Spectator's change of editor assumed that one of the purposes behind it was to increase the magazine's production of scoops - i.e., exclusive stories worth following up by the daily newspapers....
The Great Escapism
`DON'T worry about a valuables bag, lads,' the manager said to the visiting team. `They're not thieves, just murderers.' Which would have been as good an epigraph for the book as the stuff from Primo Levi. The book is Manslaughter United: a season in...
The Word on the Strada
San Rossore, Pisa THEY call them the lucciole, the fireflies who stand by the road. They will be there on Sunday when the Blair motorcade sweeps past on the Via Aurelia Nord. They stand in their stilettos and little else, here on this single carriageway...
Top Class
Not surprisingly much has been written about the causes for England's recent abject performance at Lord's against the New Zealanders. In an article in the Guardian Matthew Engel, the current editor of Wisden, went further than most in blaming the changes...
Two Wagers with Providence
THE AFRICA HOUSE: THE TRUE STORY OF AN ENGLISH GENTLEMAN AND HIS AFRICAN DREAM by Christina Lamb Viking, L12.99, pp. 346 The walls are good and solid -- almost three feet thick, and with plenty of antiques and paintings around as well as some Persian...
What Paper Drops a Distinguished Correspondent after 28 Years? the Guardian, of Course
Imagine if the government put out a press release like this feeble specimen just issued by the Guardian. `Martin Walker has resigned from the Guardian to take early retirement after a career which included postings in Moscow, Washington and Brussels....
What Tosh
A reader recently e-mailed the editor from New Zealand to urge him to send me to the abattoirs. It seemed a rather excessive punishment for my having criticised Europhilia on BBC radio and it made me wonder if, thanks to the EU, we had any abattoirs...
When the Birds Sing in Greek
THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL by Peter Daily Robson, L16.95, pp. 225 Virginia Woolf suffered from manic depression all her life and Peter Dally, a psychiatrist, has written her biography in an attempt both to describe and understand her illness, though...
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.