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 November 25

Ancient and Modern
While the military is running Zimbabwe, there is no hope of anything resembling a functioning democracy replacing the tyrant Robert Mugabe after 37 years. But at least there is one small mercy -- the army in Zimbabwe appears to be united.The end for...
'A New Map of Wonders: A Journey in Search of Modern Marvels', by Caspar Henderson - Review
Different people find different things impressive. Some claim, for instance, to experience a sense of wonder at the fact of being alive. But one has nothing to compare it to, so why find it surprising? Another sensibility will find joy in the observation...
Angela Merkel's on Thin Ice
The breakdown of coalition talks is uniquely damaging for the German leaderTrier, RhinelandWas it really just a few months ago that Angela Merkel was being hailed as the leader of the western world? A few months since she was lauded as the only politician...
'Auntie's War: The BBC during the Second World War', by Edward Stourton - Review
The camouflage-painted, smoke-blackened entrance to London's 1940s Broadcasting House, moated with sandbags and battered by bombs, provided its staff with a refuge from attack. Inside, a gender-segregating blanket divided the employees' emergency dormitory...
Baxter Dury on His Acclaimed New Album, and His Dad
Michael Hann talks to Baxter Dury about his acclaimed new album - and the challenges of being Ian Dury's sonIn the last week of October, the middle-aged Baxter Dury and the boy Baxter Dury were brought together. The 45-year-old man released his fifth...
Beware a World without Cash
We should fear a world without hard currencyWhat could be more terrifying than a return to the 15 per cent interest rates with which homebuyers had to contend in the early 1990s? Possibly the vision presented last week in UBS's Global Economic Outlook:...
Charles Moore: The Spectator's Notes
Windsor Castle on Monday night sounds like a children's party magnified. The rooms were filled with golden-leaved trees. A giant block of ice carved with the initials of the Queen on one side and the Duke of Edinburgh on the other dominated the reception...
Cinema: Battle of the Sexes
Battle of the Sexes recreates the famed, culture-changing 1973 tennis match between 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, a self-proclaimed chauvinist, and 29-year-old Billie Jean King, the world's top female player who was out to liberate women and herself. (She...
Classical Music: The Chinese Revolution Up Close
On a bullet train out of Shanghai, a nuclear family catches my eye. The father, weather-beaten and wearing an ill-fitting suit, is clearly a working man. His wife, younger and city sleek, is dressed to impress. Their son, an only child, is four or five...
Cottage Industry
Why do gay men still seek anonymous public sex in the age of Grindr?There are nights when, crossing the dark parkland by my house, I see a man beneath a remote streetlamp. He is usually alone, and smokes as he circles the low walls of a squat little...
Dear Mary: Your Problems Solved
Q. I was recently at an informal dinner given by two dear friends, but returned home seething with rage against one of their two guests. The odd thing was that for at least half of the dinner I had liked her; she had seemed soothing and articulate and...
Diary: Simon Sebag Montefiore
At the top of Machu Picchu last week, I saw two wide-winged condors swoop over Sacred Valley through a rainbow that curved between two holy mountains. Weary after many books and travels, I felt restored and inspired by this magic. There was hardly anyone...
'Feeling Jewish: A Book for Just about Everyone', by Devorah Baum - Review
Jewish humour has always been a defence mechanism against pain and persecution, says Keiron PimIf you're Jewish, or Jew-ish, or merely subscribe to the view that Jews should be trusted to recognise anti-Semitism rather than be accused of making false...
Food: Tanya Gold
Farmacy, which opened last year, is London's most fashionable 'clean eating' restaurant; it is, therefore, a restaurant for people who hate food. This 'clean eating' epidemic grows as we fall into decadence and see food, rather than our own mouths, as...
High Life: Taki
The faux Leonardo that sold for 400 million greenbacks -- plus a 50 million fee for Christie's -- was a subject dissected again and again by the glitterati at two rather splendid dinners given in the Bagel by George Livanos and Mick Flick. My fellow...
How Dope Has Made LA Boring
Los Angeles was once full of fun and vigour. Legalising dope has made it dullLos Angeles stinks. Not just of the usual things: sex, money, suntan oil, hipster food, surfer wax -- odours that I like. There's a new whiff in town, and it's a bad one. Weed.The...
James Forsyth: The Irish Gamble
Never has a European Council been so important to a British prime minister as this December's is to Theresa May. In No. 10 there has long been a belief that if she can get 'sufficient progress' in the Brexit talks to move on to trade and the transition,...
Leading Article: Being Boring
Philip Hammond began his first Budget, in March, by playing down its importance -- for his big ideas on fiscal policy, he suggested we would have to wait until the autumn. It was a wait which was very nearly extended to eternity as he narrowly avoided...
Letters
The medium is the messageSir: In his piece about the tech-savvy Labour party, Robert Peston writes: 'A party's values and messages matter. But in today's digital Babel, they are probably less important than how the message is presented and to whom it...
Low Life: Jeremy Clarke
The door to Trev's flat was open so I walked in and found him on the sofa watching TV. He looked up and gave an ironic cheer. How long was it? We thought it must be at least a year since we'd last seen each other, maybe a year and a half. And how was...
Martin Vander Weyer: The Very Simple Reason Why Hammond's Housebuilding Target Is Pie in the Sky
The Chancellor sounded purposeful when he declared that he'll do 'whatever it takes' to boost the rate of housebuilding -- including pushing developers and councils to use up land banks and act on existing planning permissions -- with a view to hitting...
Matthew Parris: The Era When You Could Love a Car Is Over
There are four of us in this relationship: my partner and I, his horse and my truck. His horse is 12, my truck 18. I'm jealous of his horse. He's beastly about my truck. In our household Julian has only to say 'nitrogen dioxide' over dinner and my jaw...
'Milton and the Making of Paradise Lost', by William Poole - Review
In December 1996 Martin Amis told listeners of the BBC's Desert Island Discs what would relieve his solitude were he to end up cast away in paradise with one piece of music, a luxury and a book for company. He chose Coleman Hawkins's version of the jazz...
Mind Your Language: Dot Wordsworth
'It's up there on the shelf you can't reach,' said my husband in an unhelpfully helpful tone. The 'it' was a copy of The King's English, Kingsley Amis's book on usage. I quoted it the other week on the deployment of the.On the same page is a Kingsleyish...
Mutti the Peacekeeper
Without her, can Europe stay together?No leader is indispensable, but it does feel like the future of Europe stands or falls with Angela Merkel. She's been the godmother of the European Union for almost 15 years, and other leaders have learnt to accept...
Nico Muhly: Drugs, Cults and James MacMillan
Will Damian Thompson make it out of the room without asking the composer Nico Muhly the Wrong Question?There's a scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie in which Tippi Hedren is emptying a safe while a cleaning lady silently drags her mop towards her. Can...
Norway's Tough Love
Norway's immigration minister on the best way to help refugeesWhen Angela Merkel invited refugees to Germany in 2015, tearing up the rules obliging migrants to seek asylum in the first country they arrive in, the consequences were pretty immediate. Over...
Notes On. Literary Motorcycles
No seat belts. No airbags. Just air, and coming at you as fast as you like. Motorcycling shouldn't be allowed, really, but thank God it is. Hanging on to an engine braced between two wheels as you travel through the countryside is worth any dose of mindfulness....
Opera: Semiramide
The late arch-Rossinian Philip Gossett regarded Semiramide as a neoclassical work, vaguely and alarmingly suggesting to me a musical equivalent of Canova, a sculptor I detest. Actually, I don't think the terminology is helpful. Nor is Semiramide monumental...
Parliament's Legal Challenge
Too many lawyers become MPsLast week the Daily Telegraph's front page showed the 15 Tory MPs who had voted against the government under the headline 'The Brexit Mutineers'. One of the first things pointed out was that two thirds of the group were lawyers....
Portrait of the Week
HomeThe cabinet, including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, agreed that the European Union would have to be offered something like £40 billion in the fond hope that at the summit on 14 December it would agree to start talking about a trade agreement....
Radio: Space Travel/ Maureen Lipman
Wally Funk is on a mission -- to make real her dream that a woman will walk on the moon in her lifetime. She was one of 13 female pilots who trained at Nasa alongside the Mercury 7 astronauts as they prepared to go to the moon. But when the Apollo programme...
Real Life: Melissa Kite
Six months into the renovations and I have so much dust in my lungs I have had to give Stefano an ultimatum.'You've got to finish by Christmas,' I told him when he arrived with his men the other morning, 'or I am going to have to start spending the budget,...
Rod Liddle: However You Look at It, Divorce Is a Disaster
I went to Relate once, the counselling service formerly known as the National Marriage Guidance Council. I wasn't married at the time -- this was about 25 years ago -- but in a long-term relationship. Or at least it was long-term for me at the time....
Spectator Sport: Roger Alton
So the Ashes has finally got over the line, and not a minute too soon. At the time of writing we don't know what happened in the first day but it's a fair bet that it hasn't turned out well for England -- they haven't won in Brisbane since 1986. Steve...
Spectator Wine: Wine Club 25 November
I adore the wines of New Zealand and reckon I could survive on nothing but, if I were ordered to drink the wines of just one country for the rest of my days. Well, I'd need the odd bacon sandwich or plate of oysters in between, but I think you know what...
Status Anxiety: Toby Young
Last Saturday, the high-street chain Paperchase ran a promotion in the Daily Mail offering two free rolls of wrapping paper. Nothing objectionable about that, you might think, even if the design was migraine-inducingly awful. I have lost count of the...
'The Accident on the A35', by Graeme Macrae Burnet - Review
His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet's previous novel, had the sort of success that most authors and creative writing students can only dream of. A psychological crime novel set in 19th-century Scotland, it became a surprise bestseller -- and it...
Theatre: Network/ Inside Pussy Riot
The inexplicable popularity of Ivo Van Hove continues. The director's latest visit to the fairies involves an updated version of Network, a creaky and over-rated news satire from 1976. Van Hove appears to be unconstrained by thrift or self-discipline...
The Best Art Books of the Year: Martin Gayford
'I should like,' Edgar Degas once remarked, 'to be famous and unknown.' On the whole, he managed to achieve this. Degas is after all one of the greatest names in European art, but there is much about him that remains enigmatic. Some of his works seem...
'The First Iron Lady: The Life of Caroline of Ansbach', by Matthew Dennison - Review
It can sometimes seem -- unfairly but irresistibly -- as if the sole function of the myriad Lilliputian German statelets of the Holy Roman Empire was to provide the royal families of Europe with some of their most dismal consorts. In the century and...
'The Future Won't Be Long', by Jarett Kobek - Review
In 2014 Michael Alig, impresario, party promoter and drug provider, was released on parole after 17 years in prison for the manslaughter of Angel Melendez. Alig, leader of New York's Club Kids during the 1980s and early 1990s, features as a minor character...
The Listener: Morrissey - Low in High School
Grade: B-It is truly painful to criticise someone who greatly enrages the Guardian and the leftie music press, and has been doing so with enormous chutzpah for 25 years or more. Morrissey is of independent convictions, most of which depart from the facile,...
The Turf: Robin Oakley
Richard Johnson may already have 100 winners in the bag, and Paul Nicholls may already have banked £750,000 worth of prize money for his owners, but for most racing fans Cheltenham's November meeting marks the start of the true jumping season.There was...
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.