12 FEBRUARY 2000

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The Spectator

T he government was defeated in the Lords over its attempt to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which for- bids the knowing promotion of homosexu- ality in schools....

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The Spectator

JULIE BURCHILL M y mother died last month, and I do miss her. I miss her most of all because she was the only person I've ever known who was remotely like me. This is the curse...

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The Spectator

The week that Mr Mandelson wobbled and Sinn Fein reverted to type BRUCE ANDERSON T he latest political crisis in Ulster could have an unprecedented outcome. For the first time...

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The Spectator

Damned if they hid and damned if they were visible MATTHEW PARRIS M y grandmother was the kindest of creatures; good-hearted and sociable, she would not have hurt a fly. In...

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The Spectator

Dreaming spires? Come off it. More like waking nightmare. Three Oxford undergraduates — Bijan Omrani, George Baily and Catharine Gulick — issue a challenge to their university...

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The Spectator

The Serb leader has tricked his people into believing they are victims, says Boris Johnson Belgrade OK, so they bumped off one member of the Milosevic government. But what the...

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The Spectator

William Cash reveals Betty Boothroyd's role as the understudy chatelaine at Labour's very own Cliveden THEY say it was a terrific Millennium Eve party that the Rt Hon. Betty...

Mind your language

The Spectator

IF you do not want to read a word that the Oxford English Dictionary tells me is `not in polite use', then look away now and skip to the second paragraph. It is just that Sir...

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The Spectator

Rowan Pelling talks to Jack Straw about sex, drugs, burglary and Blackburn Rovers A MATRONLY lady from the Home Office reception desk escorts me to the seventh floor. In the...

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The Spectator

Michael Heath


The Spectator

India's flexible character is being ravaged by Hindu fundamentalists, says Trevor Fishlock Varanasi MILKY morning light revealed the jum- bled outlines of India's holiest city:...

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The Spectator

Julian Manyon on the agony of Russian parents waiting for news of their sons Moscow THE military history of Russia is littered with desperate battles to escape encir- clement:...

Banned wagon

The Spectator

A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit LEGISLATORS are a little like wash- ing-machine salesmen: they would always rather be selling us a new model than be...

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The Spectator

The increase in prison suicides is evidence not of a repressive regime, but of leniency, observes Theodore Dalrymple THERE were more suicides in our prisons last year than in...

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The Spectator

We must forgive our enemies, but what about our friends? PAUL JOHNSON T he attempt by the European Union to tell the Austrians how to vote is an absurd example of our...

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Off target

The Spectator

From Mr Andrew Gilligan Sir: Geoffrey Hoon's hair-trigger response (Letters, 5 February) to my piece on Tri- dent underlines the Ministry of Defence's sensitivity about this...

Nuclear reaction

The Spectator

From Mr Malcolm Jackson Sir: One of the small mysteries of the pre- sent age is how the originally vaguely pejora- tive term 'nuclear family' (social isolation, lack of wider...

LETTERS Red smoke

The Spectator

From Mr Jonathan Manthorpe Sir: Ross Clark's quip (Banned wagon, 29 January) that perhaps the only hope for white Anglo-Saxon smokers is the discovery that ethnic minorities...

Free the newt

The Spectator

From Lady Mortimer Sir: Red Ken's heroic plan to ban fox-hunt- ing from Brent is surely to be applauded by all right-thinking people. But he does not go far enough. It is time...

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Finnegans quark

The Spectator

From Mr Michael Smith Sir: Paul Johnson's speculation (And another thing, 5 February) that the word `quark' could have been invented by Edward Lear was close — but no banana. It...

Bad hair days

The Spectator

From Mr Adrian Weak Sir; Sarah Sands shows commendable con- cern over the anxiety caused to small boys by the onset of the growth of pubic hair when they are in their early...

Hedy's assets

The Spectator

From Mr Peter Walton Sir: In Mark Steyn's article on Hedy Lamarr (Arts, 29 January), he quotes Hedda Hopper's description of her as `orchidaceous' without, perhaps, realising...


The Spectator

From Mr Oliver Hume Sir: While accepting that the legendary `vicious bile to column inch' ratio in Ms Burchill's writing is calculated to shock or irritate, rather than to...

Pollen knew best

The Spectator

From Viscountess Sidmouth Sir: In his review of Alan Powers's book on the work of Francis Pollen (Books, 29 Jan- uary), Christopher Montgomery put for- ward the quaint idea that...

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The Spectator

Dog devouring dog used not to be a story. Now it is STEPHEN GLOVER E ver since I entered Fleet Street I have heard occasional rumours about financial journalists enriching...

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The Spectator

More than a fighting cock Philip Hensher THE PALE ABYSSINIAN: A LIFE OF JAMES BRUCE by Miles Bredin HaiperCollins,177.99, pp. 290 B oswell couldn't warm to James Bruce, the...

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Putting the hum in humdrum

The Spectator

Kate Grimond DRESSING UP FOR THE CARNIVAL by Carol Shields Fourth Estate, £13.99, pp. 198 A concert harp falling from an upstairs window knocks a young woman to the ground in...

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Christian soldiers with a vengeance

The Spectator

Jonathan Sumption THE TEMPLARS by Piers Paul Read Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 350 T he Templars were founded a few years after the conquest of the Holy Land by the First Crusade in...

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Playboy of the Western Front?

The Spectator


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Charisma in spades

The Spectator

Alexander Waugh IGOR STRAVINSKY by Stephen Walsh Cape, £25, pp. 698 S travinsky could never claim to have looked attractive. He was small with rotten teeth almost from the...

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One-man comedy show

The Spectator

Katie Grant DON'T READ THIS BOOK IF YOU'RE STUPID by Tibor Fischer Secker, £10, pp. 248 B ooks which have pretentiously jokey covers, even more pretentiously jokey titles, and...

An enigmatic androgyne

The Spectator

D. J. Taylor THE ANGELIC DARKNESS by Richard Zimler Arcadia, £11.99, pp. 247 T he Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Richard Zimler's previous novel, set among the Jewish community of...

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Dazzling art but dark artist

The Spectator

Jonathan Keates M by Peter Robb Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 569 I f, as Nicholas Poussin once gloomily pronounced, Caravaggio came into the world to destroy painting, then painting...

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Social justice and other perversions

The Spectator

Herb Greer THE QUEST FOR COSMIC JUSTICE by Thomas Sowell The Free Press, $25, pp. 214 F or some years, most recently in The Vision of the Anointed, the American con- servative...

Hot shots and top dogs

The Spectator

Ian Dunlop BOOGIE-WOOGIE by Danny Moynihan Duck Editions, £9.99, pp. 254 I magine paying over £1,000,000 at auc- tion for a ceramic urinal which probably cost £100 to make, or...

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Self-sacrifice on the altar of the Motherland

The Spectator

Francis King JULIAN GRENFELL by Nicholas Mosley Persephone, tel: 0171 253 5454, £10(including p+p), pp. 411 D espite its title, this fine biography, first published in 1976 and...

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Funny peculiar and ha-ha

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling LOST IN THE FUNHOUSE: THE LIFE AND MIND OF ANDY KAUFMAN by Bill Zehme Fourth Estate, £12, pp. 366 t is difficult, if not impossible, to think of a great...

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Remembering Peter Levi

The Spectator

Jeremy Lewis I first met Peter Levi in 1992, and, for some curious reason, I expected to dislike him. It was important that I should stifle such feelings, since someone had...

A selection of recent paperbacks

The Spectator

Fiction: The Château by William Maxwell, Harvill, £10.99 Chocolat by Joanne Harris, Black Swan, £6.99 Our Fathers by Andrew O'Hagan, Faber, £6.99 Remembrance Day by Henry...

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The Spectator

Let the past be the future Roger Kimball on how museums are in danger of becoming emporia for the ephemeral T he evening of Tuesday, 25 January was filthy weather in New York....

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The Spectator

Live in Your Head (Whitechapel Art Gallery, till 2 April) Thinking the unthinkable II Martin Gayford I n 1970 the artist Keith Arnatt exhibited a work entitled 'Is it Possible...

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The Spectator

Arresting originality Stuart Nicholson A t the end of last month, the Barbican Jazz series opened its sixth year with a con- cert by the saxophonist, composer and arranger...

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Theatre 1

The Spectator

American Buffalo (Donmar Warehouse) Bash (Almeida) Five O'Clock Angel (King's Head) Power play Sheridan Morley I n a powerhouse week for violent Ameri- can drama, back to the...

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Theatre 2

The Spectator

The Seagull (Swan Theatre, Stratford) A perfect balance Patrick Carnegy F ollowers of theatrical events will be aware that the first night of the RSC's new Seagull was...

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The Spectator

Otello (Royal Opera House) Madame Butterfly (Opera North, Leeds; Albert Hall) Thwarted love Michael Tanner T wo performances, very different, of Madama Butterfly in a...

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The Spectator

For love and money Peter Phillips I wonder what Vivaldi said when the authorities at the Ospedale della Pieta asked him to compose another concerto for their orphaned girls....


The Spectator

The End of the Affair (18, selected cinemas) Triangular dilemma Mark Steyn I t's not often that I get to review a movie based on a book by a Spectator film critic — in this...

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The Spectator

The nobbling game Michael Vestey I f Today presenters John Humphrys or James Naughtie were suddenly fired by the BBC they would probably never know the real reason for it....

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The turf

The Spectator

Enjoying success Robin Oakley If they were still casting Ealing Comedies they would not have to look further than Jean Broadhurst and her partner Matt Archer for the public...


The Spectator

Deeply shocked James Delingpole T he other day, eminent left-wing histo- rian Andrew Roberts came bounding up to me at a party and said, 'Look. There's something really...

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Food for thought

The Spectator

Chicory complications Simon Courtauld T he one thing I thought I knew about chicory — one of the very best of winter vegetables — is that the French call it endive, while they...

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High life

The Spectator

Alpine drama Taki Rougemont here is fear and loathing in this beau- tiful, chocolate-box alpine village, with gangs of Swiss vigilantes searching our houses and demanding...

No life

The Spectator

Domestic servitude Toby Young E velyn Waugh said the great thing about being a foreign correspondent is that, irrespective of how dull your life is, all your friends imagine...

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Country life

The Spectator

Get on with it Leanda de Lisle F armers — go forth and diversify! It is, if Tony Blair is to be believed, the answer to all your problems. You can try organic farming,...

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Singular life

The Spectator

Homophobic musings Petronella Wyatt I have actually found myself, recently, from time to time, harbouring frankly homophobic thoughts. The other day a female friend suggested...


The Spectator

Idiot or genius? Andrew Robson UNFORTUNATELY I have not been able to track down the declarer on this deal. The two defenders — US World champions Nick Nickell and Dick Freeman...

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Peter Barnes

The Spectator

IN a certain kind of film, gourmet dinners are the prelude to seduction. In the first scene, a man and woman in evening-dress discover a mutual attraction across a restaurant...

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The Spectator

Erewhemos Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2122 you were invited to describe an imaginary place of interest, horror or delight. I recommend the paperback Dictionary of Imaginary...


The Spectator

The Ultimate Islay Malt. C RdbN www.ardbeg.com CHESS Alexander the Great Raymond Keene IN 1994 a 17-year-old Russian created a tremendous stir when he won the Lloyds Bank...

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CROSSWORD 1450: Quotation II by Ascot

The Spectator

A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 28 February, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

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The Spectator

Welcome error of his ways Simon Barnes IT is strange the way that a person will leave your life in disgrace and then, when he turns up again, you find that you are oddly...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. The other day I chanced upon a mal- odorous object on the floor of the office. Close examination left no doubt that this was a dog turd. Such specimens have...