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 October 3

'A Man's World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith', by Donald McRae - Review
A Man's World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith Donald McRaeSimon & Schuster, pp.440, £20, ISBN: 9781471132346 I don't like boxing. If I ever get into a boxing ring, I'll be in the corner with the governor of California, Edmund 'Pat' Brown,...
Charles Moore: Jeremy Corbyn Must Have Brilliant Spin Doctors
Contrary to the sneers of what he calls the commentariat, Jeremy Corbyn has already acquired brilliant spin doctors. In advance, the media was full of how his party conference speech would be all about his patriotism. Actually, this was barely mentioned....
Cinema: Macbeth
Macbeth15, Nationwide Who goes to big-screen Shakespeare? Not theatre-goers much, and with reason. Apart from the odd corker by Kurosawa, arguably Olivier and Orson Welles -- and let's bung in Zeffirelli for those with a sweeter tooth -- the Bard...
Dance: Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and JulietRoyal Opera House, in rep until 2 DecemberLes Ballets Trockadero de Monte CarloTouring until 11 NovemberHofesh Shechter Company: BarbariansSadler's Wells There was blood on the walls and floor at the birth of Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo...
David Cameron's Place in the Premier League of Tory History
Where will David Cameron rank among Tory prime ministers? At a large Tory breakfast meeting that David Cameron spoke to recently, the tables were named after all of the Conservative premiers of the past: the good, the bad and Ted Heath. So there were...
Dear Mary: Your Problems Solved
Q. A friend of mine is performing a recital in Dublin and has sent round an email advertising the time and date and asking if people will come to hear him play. I've already seen him performing once and it was pretty dire the first time round. Now...
'Dictator', by Robert Harris - Review
Dictator Robert HarrisHutchinson, pp.452, £20, ISBN: 9780091752101 Marcus Tullius Cicero was the ancient master of the 'save' key. He composed more letters, speeches and philosophy books than most writers of any epoch; but more important than any...
Douglas Murray: Euroscepticism Is Growing All over Europe
Europhiles have warned us for years of the dangers of Britain leaving the EU. But all the while a different spectre has crept up on their other flank: which is that even if the UK votes to stay in the EU in 2017, we might be one of the only countries...
Exhibitions: Avigdor Arikha: Painting & Works on Paper
Avigdor Arikha: Painting & Works on PaperMarlborough Fine Art, until 17 OctoberDennis Creffield: Painting of Innocence and ExperienceJames Hyman Fine Art, until 30 OctoberRobert Irwin: 2 x 2 x 2 x 2White Cube, Bermondsey, until 15 NovemberCerith...
Fancy That
When women lust after blokes on telly it's funny, not seedy Stand by your remotes, girls: the second series of Poldark is under way. Filming has started -- yes, he's out there somewhere, wearing those trousers, not wearing that shirt, swinging that...
Film: Incomprehensible Genius
London's Goethe-Institut has a two-month season of films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder (whose 70th anniversary it's celebrating), but only five movies, each one alternating with a film influenced by him from another country. Considering that Fassbinder...
Food: Tanya Gold
Smith & Wollensky is a restaurant from The Shining : a terrifying American steak joint by the Thames, four months old, with a £10 million refurbishment and no passing trade; it sits opposite the Georgian houses in John Adam Street, like a cow...
'Frederick the Great: King of Prussia', by Tim Blanning - Review
Frederick the Great: King of Prussia Tim BlanningAllen Lane, pp.625, £30, ISBN: 9781846141829 Reacquaintance with Germany is long overdue for most English people. Before 1914 it was at least as familiar as France and Italy. Tim Blanning, former professor...
German Refugees Transformed British Cultural Life - but at a Price
German-speaking refugees dragged British culture into the 20th century. But that didn't go down well in Stepney or Stevenage, says William Cook Next week Frank Auerbach will be honoured by the British art establishment with a one-man show at Tate...
High Life: Taki
If cheating is the cancer of sport, losing has to be its halitosis. I stunk out the joint in Amsterdam last week, and even managed to be thrown (a first) for my troubles. Winners, for some strange reason, never have an excuse. Losers tend to. Mine...
How to Save the Hedgehog
Mrs Tiggywinkle's in deep trouble. But your garden could help Here's a strange truth about British life: we love a hedgehog. Britain is conspicuously short of an anti-hedgehog lobby. No one runs down a hedgehog with malice. None of us can see a hedgehog...
Hugo Rifkind: Does Jeremy Corbyn Believe in Compromise, or Just in Compromise for Other People?
One of my favourite things about Jeremy Corbyn, beyond the beard (I do like beards) and the way he was photographed in the Times the other day unabashedly wearing sandals with socks (spunky; no quarter given) is his embrace of dissent as a virtue....
Leading Article: Will Spain Learn?
One of the unforeseen consequences of the reunification of Europe after the Cold War has been a resurgence of independence movements in western Europe. Emboldened by a greater sense of security and influenced by the rebirth of independent nations...
Letters
Cold-calling ETSir: Alexander Chancellor has called for Spectator readers to suggest a message to send into space on behalf of the world, in response to some Russian billionaire's prize of £1 million for the best (Long life, 19 September). Given that...
Long Life: Alexander Chancellor
When Robert Peston, the economics editor of the BBC, interviewed George Osborne on television in an open-necked shirt with collar awry and a wisp of chest hair on display, he was subjected to a barrage of criticism to which he responded with vigour....
Low Life: Jeremy Clarke
Every morning for the past two years, on waking, I've reached out for the white plastic tub on the bedside table, shaken out four oval white tablets into the lid, tossed them into my mouth, and washed them down with a pint of water. Initially I counted...
Martin Vander Weyer: VW and the Truth of Engineering: Say What You Do, Do What You Say
Not that I was much of a boy racer, but the sexiest car I ever owned was a 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco with the lines of a paper dart and the cornering of a cheetah. I once drove it overnight from the City to Tuscany with a blind date who barely uttered...
Matthew Parris: Jeremy Corbyn Understands about the Cold, Dark Heart of the British Public
There's a hard, hard mood out there among the public and I don't think our newspapers get it at all. Could it be that the general populace are now more cynical than their journalists?At Tim Farron's closing speech to his Liberal Democrat conference...
Mind Your Language: Critique
I lost my husband on the way from Malabar. He is easily lost. We had been talking about the verb critique , which we neither much care for. But, in gathering ammunition, I'd come across this charming sentence from a book of voyages translated in...
New Mothers Deserve Something Better Than NCT Classes
Why women are seeking alternatives to NCT antenatal classes When I was pregnant, nearly everyone who'd had children asked me and my husband whether we'd booked our antenatal course with the National Childbirth Trust. Men tended to ask with a gleam...
Notes On. Cruising
By the end of my ten-day Atlantic crossing to New York, a new wellbeing seemed to radiate from me. Lulled by the motion and murmurings of the rocking sea, I slept like a baby. I was never bored. Queen Mary 2 , the Cunard Line's flagship, has everything...
Opera: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Lady Macbeth of MtsenskColiseum, in rep until 20 OctoberLost in Thought: A Mindfulness OperaLSO St Luke's 'Kiss me, Sergei! Kiss me hard! Kiss me until the icons fall and split!' sings Katerina Ismailova, adulterous antiheroine of Lady Macbeth of...
Radio: Special Effects
Maybe what we love about radio is the way that most of its programming allows us the luxury of staying content with ourselves, of realising that it's OK to be no more, or less, than average. There's no spangle, no sparkle on the wireless; nothing...
Real Life: Melissa Kite
At least two insurances are going to have to go, as I grapple with fear of penury, I have decided.My health insurance is looking increasingly pointless, because I never use it. I just keep it going because I daren't stop it. And I think the same...
Rod Liddle: At Least These Rioters Hate the Right People
I was unable to join the violent protests held by Class War at the Cereal Killer Café in London last week because I had to stay at home to supervise our gardener. Yes -- I know what you're about to say. It is indeed ridiculous that one should have...
Sex and the Saudis
Since King Abdullah died, the ruling family are without restraints A young Saudi prince, Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud, has apparently fled to the Wahhabi kingdom on his private jet after a bleeding woman was found trying to escape from his Los Angeles...
She Could Be a Contender: Nicky Morgan Interviewed
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan thinks a woman should run to be the next Tory leader Nicky Morgan has been Education Secretary for 15 months now. Yet her office looks like she has just moved in. She has some family photos on the desk, a small collection...
Spectator Sport: Roger Alton
Pity poor Chris Robshaw. England's sturdy captain might have a knockout girlfriend and exceptional skills on the cappuccino machine, but he has taken one hell of a pounding from Her Majesty's armchair battalion of former players and coaches, much...
Spectator Wine: October Wine Club
Jason Yapp has been even more ebullient than usual, if such a thing was possible, Yapp Brothers having scooped three awards at the International Wine Challenge, including 'Languedoc-Roussillon Specialist Merchant of the Year'.Jason knows Languedoc-Roussillon...
Status Anxiety: Toby Young
Last week I went to a screening of Steve Jobs , the new biopic about the co-founder of Apple directed by Danny Boyle, and I was impressed. It's structured like a three-act play, with each act set backstage at the launch of a new product -- in 1984,...
'Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction', by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner - Review
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction Philip Tetlock and Dan GardnerRandom House Books, pp.340, £14.99, ISBN: 9781847947147 Forecasts have been fundamental to mankind's journey from a small tribe on the African savannah to a species...
'Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life', by Jonathan Bate - Review
Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life Jonathan BateWilliam Collins, pp.662, £30, ISBN: 9780008118228 In Testaments Betrayed , Milan Kundera says: 'Biographers know nothing about the intimate sex lives of their own wives, but they think they know all...
Television: Independents' Day
I really hadn't meant to write a postscript to last week's column on my dark Supertramp past. But then along came a TV programme which reminded me: I WAS cool once. It happened after Oxford when I became, almost simultaneously, both an acid-house...
Theatre: Mr Foote's Other Leg
Mr Foote's Other LegHampstead Theatre, until 17 OctoberJane EyreLyttelton, in rep until 10 January 2016 Samuel Foote (1720-77) was a star of the 18th-century stage who avoided the censors by extemporising his performances. Today we'd call him a stand-up...
'The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold', by Jeanette Winterson - Review
The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold Jeanette WintersonHogarth, pp.288, £16.99, ISBN: 9780804141352 It is fair to say that Jeanette Winterson is not Shakespeare, though I cannot imagine why any authors would accept these commissions to retell...
'The Story of the Lost Child', by Elena Ferrante - Review
The Story of the Lost Child Elena FerranteEuropa, pp.480, £9.90, ISBN: 9781609452865 'You understand, Lenú, what happens to people: we have too much stuff inside and it swells us, breaks us.' The line comes from the third of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan...
The Turf: Robin Oakley
One of Alan Bennett's characters once lamented, 'We tried to set up a small anarchist community ...but people wouldn't obey the rules.' Perhaps he should have found a job within horse-racing. Just look at the aftermath to this year's St Leger. I...
The Volkswagen Diesel Scandal Was Driven by Carbon Obsession
A fixation on carbon emissions will produce many more scandals like the one that has shamed Volkswagen What fun it is watching again all those smug Volkswagen ads on YouTube, featuring men in mid-life crisis revving up their Golfs and Passats. German...
'Undermajordomo Minor', by Patrick deWitt - Review
Undermajordomo Minor Patrick deWittGranta, pp.336, £12.99, ISBN: 9781847088697 Patrick deWitt is a Canadian writer whose second novel, a picaresque and darkly comic western called The Sisters Brothers , was much praised and shortlisted for the Man...
When Will Boris Take the Plunge?
His leadership challenge is dwindling while Osborne's star rises Five months ago, allies of Boris Johnson were ready to launch his bid to become leader of the Conservative party. The election was imminent and even David Cameron was fretting that the...
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