14 OCTOBER 2000

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The Spectator

Members of the Tory party rolling the world's biggest joint for the Guinness Book of Records at Bournemouth some years ago T he names of four people interviewed by police in...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 DRUGS AND LIBERTY D isaster? What disaster? The entire media continue to write...

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STUART REID T o London City airport, for the first time. In the mid-afternoon traffic it takes about an hour to make the seven-mile jour- ney from central London, so I arrive...

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Ann Widdecombe is arrogant and wrong, but the blame for the Big Gaffe lies with Mr Hague BRUCE ANDERSO N D uring the Major government, Ann Widdecombe and Oliver Henley were...

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Now is the time for all good men to confess to the shameful secrets of their youth MATTHEW PARRIS L ive radio can be terrifying. Of course you get accustomed to doing it, up...

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It's hard to be neutral about Catholicism and Anglicanism. Melanie Phillips gives a Jewish view of the meeting in Rome next week between the Pope and the Queen HER MAJESTY...

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Tom Walker says the West should stop its one-sided support of the Albanians IT was the spring of 1998, and the prim- roses had just pushed their way through the lingering,...

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Jasper Gerard probes the thick blue smoke that surrounds the Prime Minister's gap year MANY heads have been swimming since it was discovered that the chalk-striped char- lies...

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Mark Steyn says that Gore is getting even weirder, sighing and lying and looking like a pantomime dame. He'll lose big time New Hampshire THERE are times, frankly, when I feel...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit ACCIDENT prevention is a noble enough aim. Unfortunately, as the many organisations working in this field have long...

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Ross Clark says the tourists should lighten up. There is nothing wrong with the inner cities that the market can't cure IT IS an axiom of British political com- mentary that...


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Michael Heath

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Mind your language

The Spectator

ONE of you very kindly sent me an antidote to all that tosh about the 17th- century nun growing old (30 Septem- ber). This is a genuine early 18th-century piece by Jonathan...

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Is he arrogant or shy? Whatever the answer, says Hugo Dixon, Lain Vallance's dead hand has done for British Telecom IT SEEMED to have so much promise. It was the first of...

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Rachel Johnson visits a feminist sex shop in Antwerp and leaves shaken but not stirred `SO are you going to the PTA coffee morning, then?' I was asked at the school gates last...

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Second opinion

The Spectator

WHAT are the most terrible words in the English language? Without doubt, they are 'I love her — or him — to bits, doc- tor'. For loving someone to bits in modern British...


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Max Hastings on why he refused to give evidence before the new Bloody Sunday inquiry A CONVERSATION from history came back to mock me a fortnight ago. The IRA released tapes...

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Are you now, or have you ever been, a virgin, Secretary of State? FRANK JOHNSON At the time of writing, the Labour Cabi- net is bravely holding out. After the Mail on Sunday's...

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Shooting the messengers

The Spectator

GOOD news from the Equitable Life for its policyholders, or some of them. They are being paid £70 to tell its researchers where its communications have gone wrong. Cer- ....

Utilitas publica

The Spectator

KEN Livingstone still wants to keep Lon- don Underground free of private risk and public usefulness. As the next best thing, he is bringing in Robert Kiley, who comes from New...

Periculum privatum

The Spectator

THE seal of the Stockton and Darlington Railway shows four coal trucks pulled by a horse. The directors would not go nap (says my railway correspondent, I.K. Gricer) on George...


The Spectator

An atrium over the woks it's the sign of doom foretold by Parkinson the Lawgiver CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he Royal Bank of Scotland is trying to build itself a swagger new...

Hello, Dubai

The Spectator

THE empire of global capitalism strikes back. After the riots in Prague, the Interna- tional Monetary Fund retired to its fortress in Washington, where those concrete lumps in...

Fair exchange

The Spectator

NATIONAL pride is at stake, both of the managers have now walked out, nobody else seems to want their jobs, so I propose a swap. Kevin Keegan would become chief executive of the...

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If Hollick really is going to sell the Express to the Barclays, he'd better look lively STEPHEN GLOVER Then the horse's mouth got in touch with me, if I can put it that way....

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Bruce's bad habit

The Spectator

From Dr P. G. Urben Sir: 'Cigarettes are far more dangerous than all the other drugs put together.' Whatever Bruce Anderson (Politics, 7 October) was on when he wrote that is...

Superwit Hague

The Spectator

From Mr Christopher Heneghan Sir: I was fascinated by the symmetry of sev- eral articles in your 30 September edition: Oborne, Wheatcroft and Parris on UK poli- tics, and Mark...

London grime

The Spectator

From Sir David Nicholas, CBE Sir: I walked down Piccadilly the other after- noon afternoon at about 3 p.m. The litter bins were full to overflowing. In a doorway near the Royal...

LETTERS Righting African wrongs

The Spectator

From Mr Tony Leon, MP Sir: Dr Essop Pahad, MP, Minister in the Presidency, South African Government, has now internationalised his usual domestic cocktail of bilious rhetoric,...

Couch critics

The Spectator

From Mr Bernard Dunstan, RA Sir: Mark Glazebrook, writing about the new Saatchi exhibition (Arts, 23 September), seems to think that there is nothing nowa- days between 'cheeky,...

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Sins of the fathers

The Spectator

From Mr A. Blesovsky Sir: It is strange that, in their articles on Israel and the shooting of a 12-year-old boy (7 October), neither Emma Williams nor Stephen Glover asked the...

Race confusion

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From Mr John Owen Sir: Taki (High life, 7 October) claims to be free of racism 'if racism means disliking someone because of the colour of their skin'. So why does he mention...

Poetry pleas

The Spectator

From Mr Michael Horowitz Sir: Your editorial of 23 September claimed that The Spectator is reversing its anti-poetry policy', but went on to insist that to be admis- sible,...

Pension promises

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From Mr Alan Pavelin Sir: You justify restoring the earnings link for the state pension on the grounds that it `is in effect a contract drawn up with tax- payers decades ago'...

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Plundering the poor and waging war on the beggars PAUL JOHNSON I have always hated the Lottery. I hate all forms of gambling, but this one is peculiarly objectionable. It is,...

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Do we still need them? Julie Burchill S ometimes, when my friends have public engagements that they don't feel equal to, they call me up, and as I have such a good imagination...


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La pourriture noble

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Philip MacCann THE WAY OF ALL FLESH: A CELEBRATION OF DECAY by Midas Dekkers, translated from the Dutch by Sherry Marx-MacDonald Harvill, £16.99, pp. 280 I n a time of instant...

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Those who won't lie down and die

The Spectator

Jonathan Mirsky THE DAILY 'TELEGRAPH BOOK OF SPORTS OBITUARIES edited by Martin Smith Macmillan, £15.99, pp. 332 I n 1959 I met a swimmer from the 1928 Chinese Olympic team,...


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A grateful guest in the world

The Spectator

Brian Masters MANGO AND MIMOSA by Suzanne St Albans Virago, £18.99, pp. 338 I f ever one entertained doubts about the difference between autobiography and memoir, this...

Failing to reach Grimsby

The Spectator

Harry Mount THE WRONG BOY by Willy Russell Doubleday, £16.99, pp.411 A few weeks ago, a letter appeared in the Times Literary Supplement pointing out a mistake in Anthony...

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Surprised by joy

The Spectator

Selina Hastings DEEP ROMANTIC CHASM: DIARIES, 1979-1981 by James Lees-Milne, edited by Michael Bloch John Murray, f22.50, pp. 276 T his volume of diaries by James Lees- Milne...

Correction The author of The Road to Nab End: A

The Spectator

Lancashire Childhood is William Woodruff, not William Woodward, as printed in Robert Oakeshott's review of 30 September. We apologise for this mistake.

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The fascination of the banal

The Spectator

Norman Lebrecht THE POSTCARD CENTURY by Tom Phillips Thames & Hudson, £29.95, £19.95, pp. 452 T he time has come to confess to a dirty little habit, before the tabloids get...

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The men who would be king

The Spectator

Alan Sked REBELS, PRETENDERS AND IMPOSTORS by Clive Cheesman and Jonathan Williams British Museum Press, £17.99, pp. 192 efore the age of newspapers and pho- tography, it was...

Nothing matters very much

The Spectator

Robert Macfarlane J ohn Barrow wrote a very good book about scientific TOEs or Theories of Every- thing, so it seems only proper that he should since have turned his...

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A choice of first fiction

The Spectator

Jessica Berry ■ hen the body of a young woman is found lying in her blood in a Viennese park beneath the statue of Kaiserin Elizabeth, herself assassinated 12 years before,...

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Hiring and firing

The Spectator

Roger Lewis W hen they were making Cany On Don't Lose Your Head, the one about the French Revolution, the wonder is that the cast didn't grab their chance to shove Peter...

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Playing well with oneself

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling THE WHOLE HOG by Aidan Higgins Secker, £16.99, pp. 400 T he structure of this final volume of Aidan Higgins's autobiographical trilogy is fugal and...

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Hot water and cold revenge

The Spectator

Philip Glazebrook THE STAR'S TENNIS BALLS by Stephen Fry Hutchinson, £16.99, pp. 371 T he opening pages of a novel need to interest the reader in the novel's milieu before he...

The full jigsaw revealed

The Spectator

David Nokes ENLIGHTENMENT: BRITAIN AND THE CREATION OF THE MODERN WORLD by Roy Porter Allen Lane, £25, pp. 727 R ay Porter reads in many ways like Daniel Defoe, one of the...

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A child of celluloid fantasy

The Spectator

Jonathan Keates MANUEL PUIG AND THE SPIDER WOMAN by Suzanne Jill Levine Faber, £20, pp. 429 M anuel Puig (Pooch' to Catalans, `Pooig' to Argentinians) achieved interna- tional...

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The Spectator

Victims of their own success Martin Gayford finds museums and galleries besieged by milling crowds Y ou've got to be careful about wanting things, as is well known, because...

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First-night excitements

The Spectator

Andrew Larnbirth enjoys an extravaganza of opening parties T he autumn season of exhibitions and their attendant private views is now well under way. It began properly for me...

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Triumph of art over evil

The Spectator

Mark Glazebrook charts the turbulent history of Warsaw's Bellotto paintings A t the end of the 19th century, R.A.M. Stevenson acknowledged in his book on Velazquez that there...

An exhibition of work by Jonathan Pike can be seen

The Spectator

at W.H. Patterson, 19 Albermarle Street, Wl, until 18 Octo- ber. Included in the show is 'Fonda- menta de le Procuratie' (above), plus paintings inspired by Pike's travels to...

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Heads on the block

The Spectator

John Spurling is irritated by flippant curators at a new exhibition of portrait busts T his exhibition is sadly and irritatingly misconceived. The basic idea of assembling a...

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Delivering the (luxury) goods

The Spectator

Susan Moore on the importance of 'lifestyle' in selling works of art I t may seem perverse to cast an eye across the glossy, glamorous surface of the international art market...

How does your garden grow?

The Spectator

Nicholas Powell wanders around a magnificent mediaeval garden in Paris M onkey and unicorn prints pad along the path beside plants which mediaeval tapestry makers once wove into...

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Important artefact Mark Steyn I saw This Is Spinal Tap first time round. in 1984, back in my disc-jockey days when I was spending a lot of time backstage wait- ing to...

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Orphee et Eurydice (New Theatre, Cardiff) Sublime resolution Michael Tanner W hat is the centre of interest in Gluck's Orphee et Eurydice, as realised by Berlioz? The new and...

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The Spectator

Noises Off (Lyttleton) Romeo and Juliet (Olivier) Ring Round The Moon (King's Head) National crisis Sheridan Morley A ound London or regional theatres at present, it is (or...

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A couple without love Giannandrea Poesio I f you like your Shakespeare twisted and washed up to the point that it becomes almost unrecognisable, do not miss Angelin...

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Life in the market yet Peter Phillips I t has been just over a year since Hay- market Publishing took over Gramophone magazine. It is just under a month before Haymarket...


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Quantity, not quality Michael Vestey I sometimes think the BBC is like a pow- erful and incorrigible virus, forever spread- ing, pausing occasionally to deal with a briefly...

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Surreal success Simon Hoggart G oodness, just when we'd almost given up, along comes a terrific new sitcom. Black Books (Friday, Channel 4) reaches its third episode this...

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The turf

The Spectator

Cases and races Robin Oakley In seats next to the German contingent I found myself surrounded by people whose entire vocabulary consisted of sexual swear words relentlessly...

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No life

The Spectator

Laughing matters Jeremy Clarke I couldn't say for certain that I was depressed. Maybe melancholia and guilt, I told myself, were perfectly normal reac- tions to living the way...

High life

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Athenian ideals Taki The reason for the invasion was George and Iro Kovas's ball on the occasion of their daughter's wedding. The Kovases, as you may imagine, are not exactly...

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Country life

The Spectator

Stick to your guns Leanda de Lisle F oxhunters have long warned that if their sport was banned, the next target would be pheasant shooting. But they were wrong. Neither the...

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Singular life

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Just say yes Petronella Wyatt I t's the Alan Clark season again. Good old Al and his diaries, full of indiscretions about the great and the bad, and above all yet more...


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No finesse Susanna Gross MYRTLE BENNETT of Kansas City, whom I wrote about last week, was not the only person charged with committing mur- der at the bridge table. There's...

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Myself when young.. . Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2157 you were invited to supply an imaginary boastful confession of juvenile naughtiness by a British politician, alive or...

, RdbN The U [timate [slay Malt.

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CHESS Rdbeci www.ardhes.corn London calling Raymond Keene THE $2 million match for the world chess championship between the world's top two ranked players is now under way...

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1485: Supernumerary by Columba A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 30 October,...

No. 2160: Light touch, heavy topic

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wish I had the voice of Homer/ To sing of rectal carcinoma,' exclaimed J.B.S. Haldane, a sufferer, and wrote a poem which has found its way into anthologies of light verse. You...

Solution to 1482: Cunning

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'A 0 Hm_i_ 11P L A . 5 F'Ell T 0 ItiFFECTI,ONED _,A N E 1319" ES T A in Ela ER c elk E ir) EF NH I R V E 0 g al& Ba ri Ng a Ell .‘. AA rii, A I 11110110 1 T . _1...

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The job from hell Simon Barnes NOTHING in the job became him like the leaving it. Kevin Keegan resigned as coach to the England football team on the revolu- tionary grounds...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. When sending flowers in London, I ring Pulbrook & Gould who I know will send something fabulous. In the summer, for example, they sent out for me little two-...