17 DECEMBER 1994

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SPECTAT THE OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL

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Telephone: 071-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 THE LEFT DISGRACES ITSELF T he direst warnings given to me before I decided last week to publish Alasdair Palmer's...

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Absent friends. M r John Major, the Prime Minister, told the House of Commons that a referen- dum about the European Commission might be held one day: 'I have indicated that...

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In which the New Year Honours list contains an unpleasant surprise for John Major BORIS JOHNSON T he Prime Minister turned over his Trollope, sighed, and gazed at the roaring...

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T hose of you hoping for a diary stuffed with Christmas cheer (or 'Holiday greet- ings' as the Americans have it) had best skip this page. I don't usually feel like Scrooge, but...

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Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? CHARLES MOORE n preparation for my first Christmas as a Roman Catholic, I duly attended Mass two Sundays ago...

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John Simpson investigates the rich literary tradition of the British Secret Service, and makes some interesting discoveries NOWADAYS, the Secret Intelligence Ser- vice keeps...

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William Boyd investigates how the prejudices of the most famous surgeon in Britain almost cost the life of a future sovereign ON 13 JUNE 1902 Edward VII had under a fortnight...

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Will of the week Sir Harold Mario Mitchell Acton, KBE,

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of Villa La Pietra, Via Bolognese, Flo- rence, Italy, the historian and aesthete, who died on Feb. 27th last, aged 89, left estate in England and Wales valued at £61,952 gross,...

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Simon Courtauld talks to the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, Lt-Commander (retd.) Jack Lumby JELLICOE and Beatty; Scheer and Hip- per. The great set-piece battle of 31...

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Martin Vander Weyer discovers the secret of success for some of our leading entrepreneurs — a regular post-prandial nap FOR MANY hardworking people, the most wicked...

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Here are some answers, but what are the questions? (Or you may turn to the ques- tions on page 96.) Bows and arrows 1 The Sparrow 2 Ahab 3 Harold 4 An albatross 5 Longfellow...

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By RUTH RENDELL A crime story AFTER SHE had been doing it for a year, it occurred to Linda that looking after Betty fell to her lot because she was a woman. Betty was Brian's...

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One hundred years ago

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ON MONDAY, a Reuter's telegram from Auckland announced the death of Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson, the well- known novelist. He died on Monday evening, December 3rd. Two hours...

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Anne Applebaum travels to Belorussia to discover her family's roots, and encounters the painful truth, or lack of it Kobrin IT WAS a Saturday morning, and still dark when the...

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Jonathan Sinclair Carey recalls his two - year secondment as a student priest in New York; all human, and inhuman, life was there I BURIED Joan Crawford. To be banally exact,...

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By MURIEL SPARK A new short story `I'LL TRACK him down,' said Mr Neviss. I'll be relentless.' Dr Felicity Greyland offered him a caramel of which there was a bowl on her table...

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Robert Byck says that his colleagues in the field of psychiatric medicine have been attempting to define happiness, so far without success IT IS the time of year when the...

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Matthew Parris attempts to unlock his family's saddest secret and so learn something of his own origins SUICIDE within families is not something families talk about, or not my...

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Mind your language

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`FOWLER REALLY is silly,' I said to my husband over breakfast after looking up his entries on syllepsis, zeugma, hen - diadys and 'Siamese twins'. 'What?' said my husband,...

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Nicholas Coleridge reports on the lengthening shadow of the festive season and hankers after a golden age before divorce and foreign travel WHEN I WAS nine or ten years old...

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If symptoms persist. . .

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IT GOES without saying that I am in favour of British fathers paying for the upkeep of their children. Someone has to pay for the little bastards (I speak both literally and...

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Auberon Waugh's Diary of 1994, in which every event of any note seems to have involved varying degrees of immorality THE NEW year of Mr Major's `Back-to- basics' campaign...

One hundred years ago

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The Times reports a Japanese discovery which may prove of great commercial importance. Yokichi Takamine, former - ly a student in Glasgow, has succeeded in producing from the...

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Mark Steyn looks at the Great American Christmas, invented by Jews, but now being challenged by black Santa separatism New Hampshire THESE ARE dangerous times for the American...

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How to eat nobly and still enjoy Christmas lunch PAUL JOHNSON C hristmas ought to be about God and our salvation. And we have made it about eating. I have been thinking about...

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LETTERS Do we trust in Gott?

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Sir: It comes as no surprise to me that Guardian journalist Richard Gott was enjoying the largesse of the KGB (`How the KGB ran the Guardian's features editor', 10 December)....

Sir: Your 'outing' of Richard Gott is to be welcomed.

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I always wondered why the Guardian devoted so much space to obitu- aries of obscure Communist Party hacks. A recent instance of Gott's lack of scruple In his work at the...

Sir: May I say, as a cousin of both Roger

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Hollis and Richard Gott who has worked 21 years for the Guardian, voted three times for Margaret Thatcher and used to belong to the Conservative Party, that , its acceptance?...


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12 Months 6 Months UK ❑ £ 80.00 ❑ £41.00 Europe (airmail) CI £91.00 0 £46.00 USA Airspeed ❑ US$130 El US$66.00 USA Airmail 0 US$175 El US$88 Rest of Airmail CI £111.00 0...

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Support from Siberia

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Sir: Through the kindness of one of your readers I became a subscriber of The Spec- tator last summer. The Spectator is a bril- liant magazine, very clever and inquisitive. It...

Third act

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Sir: Ian McGarry, General Secretary of Equity, complains that my piece on his union was 'littered with inaccuracies'(`No militants like showbiz militants', 26 Novem- ber). It is...

Mother knows best

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Sir: Having known my son, William, through- out his life, I have never heard him utter an anti-Semitic word, and although he is contro- versial, I find many of the responses to...

Speaking for Germany

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Sir: I refer to the article of 3 December, 'Is this what we mean by European Union? dealing with a German court's decision c oncerning the place of residence of two minors....

Sir: At Winchester College in the 1950s we knew there

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was something wrong with Richard Gott. He sang counter-tenor in the Choir. Simon Courtauld The Close, Pewsey, Wiltshire

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In praise of the second-rate Philip Hensher THE READER'S COMPANION TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY NOVEL edited by Peter Parker Fourth Estate, £25, pp. 748 O ne of the curiosities of...

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Glad confident morning came a little later

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William Buchan THE COLLECTED LETTERS OF W. B. YEATS, VOLUME III, 1901-1904 edited by John Kelly and Ronald Selluchard Clarendon, £35, pp. 830 O nce, long ago, in conversation...

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Not a joy forever

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Brian Masters THE DUCHESS WHO DARED: THE LIFE OF MARGARET DUCHESS OF ARGYLL by Charles Castle Sidgwick & Jackson, £15.99, pp. 166 S ome 20 years ago Margaret, Duchess of...

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It was roses, roses all the way

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Emma Tennant THE GRAHAM STUART THOMAS ROSE BOOK John Murray, £25, pp. 385 G raham Stuart Thomas, doyen of English gardeners, discovered his vocation when he was a small boy,...

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Familiarity breeds belief and children

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John Bayley THE BOOK OF THE ARCHERS by Patricia Greene, Charles Collingwood and Hedli Niklaus Michael Joseph, £14.99, pp. 320 R eading the story in a woman's magazine, or its...

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Hanged by the neck

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Andrew Barrow THE BOOK OF TIES by Francois Chaille Flammarion, £29.95, pp. 176 I t is claimed in the preface to this weighty but lightweight tome that there is `a growing need...

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Stranger than fiction

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William Trevor N ewspapers are bought for the contri- butions of a single columnist when the columnist is pleasingly succinct, capable of being funny about serious matters, and...

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DIARY 1995 £12 Plain £13 Initialled The Spectator 1995 Diary, bound in soft black leather, is now available. Laid out with a whole week to view, Monday to Sunday, the diary is...

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Until the Wright man came along

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Montagu Curzon A PASSION FOR WINGS: AVIATION AND THE WESTERN IMAGINATION by Robert Wohl Yale, £25, pp. 288 t least the 20th century has added a passion to the range available....

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Much have I travelled in the realms of gold

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Nigel Spivey THE LOST TREASURES OF TROY by Caroline Moorehead Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20, pp. 306 he treasures of Troy are not lost. They are in an attic of Moscow's Pushkin...

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. . . t© climax Nullity's debauch . . .

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Peter Blegvad THE BOOK OF MASKS: FRENCH SYMBOLIST AND DECADENT WRITING OF THE 1890s by Remy de Gourmont, translated by Andrew Mangravite, Terry Hale and Stuart Merrill Alias...

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Her service richly rewarded

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William Scammell THE TOTAL ZONE by Martina Navratilova and Liz Nickles Hodder, £14.99, pp. 246 MARTINA UNAUTHORIZED by Adrianne Blue Gollancz/Witherby, £15.99, pp. 224 I n the...

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A corking good book

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Eric Christiansen FIEFS AND VASSALS: THE MEDIAEVAL EXPERIENCE REINTERPRETED by Susan Reynolds OUP, £20, pp.544 W hy should anyone want to study the Middle Ages? This is not...

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Stable Song

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And then Mary fell asleep. Pale with the weary journey and her labour (After months of fears her faith rewarded By a baby more perfect than she knew), She wrapped her maybe...

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Change and D. Kaye in all around I see

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Roger Lewis NOBODY'S FOOL: THE LIVES OF DANNY KAYE by Martin Gottfried Simon & Schuster, £17.99, pp. 352 A ny fool can write a showbiz biography: you take the underground to...

Being Christlike

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You did not want to be Christlike. Though your Father Was your God and there was no other, you did not Want to be Christlike. Though you walked In the love of your Father....

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Barbarians within the gates

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Charles Glass CLASSICAL ANATOLIA: THE GLORY OF HELLENISM by Harry Brewster I.B. Tauris, £29.50, pp. 224 I t was perhaps the gentlest and most fruitful cultural conquest in...

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A selection of recent art books

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David Ekserdjian Far more rewarding is the same publish- er's The Renaissance from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo — the Representation of Archi- tecture (£45, pp. 696), which is...

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Rhapsody in black humour

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Christopher Hawtree A TALENT FOR GENIUS by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger Villard, $25, pp. 527 A ny movie, however bad, that finds a Part for Oscar Levant is always worth...


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Make sure of your copy of The Spectator every week by asking your local newsagent to save or deliver it. Complete the form below and hand it to your newsagent Please...

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Little given to romance

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Richard 011ard THE DIARY OF JOHN EVELYN edited by Guy de la Becloyere Headstart History, £21, pp. 501 I f there is to be a core curriculum for schools to provide the young with...

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A Cautionary Tale A nightmare never to be repeated Rupert Christiansen T his is the story of what I think must be the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me:...

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A Rare & Delicate Offer For six generations, the Hine family has been devoted to the production of limited quantities of premium cognac. Today, Jacques and Bernard Hine would...

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Only joking Giles Auty T he history of artistic spoofs is long and honourable. One has but to think of the fictitious pre-war artist Bruno Hat, brain- child of Brian Howard,...

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Mu sic

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Overwhelmed by goodness Robin Holloway h at interests me in the increasingly massive and diversified operations of the record industry is twofold: new repertoire of whatever...

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A Christmas Carol (Barbican) Oliver! (London Palladium) The Clandestine Marriage (Queen's) Sentimental chestnuts Sheridan Morley I n a highly Dickensian Christmas season for...

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The Specialist C15', selected cinemas from Boxing Day) The Pagemaster (`U', selected cinemas from Friday) Stone me down Mark Steyn As the old Hollywood joke had it, 'Di It...

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Multiplying over the years Alistair McAlpine he beginning of this year was not a good time for the fine art and antiques trade and neither has the end of it been madly...

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Pop music

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Snap, crackle pop Marcus Berkmann A nd so the annual ritual rolls around again. Most people who buy records buy only three or four a year, and most people who buy three or...


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Ten days on a sofa Nigella Lawson I t says something, I suppose, about the utter bankruptcy of family life that wall-to- wall television is seen not so much as an `Little Miss...

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High life

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Free information Taki N ow that two friends I greatly respect, Alan Clark and Ian Gilmour, have dis- missed suggestions that Richard Gott was `a KGB agent of influence' as...

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Long life

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Skipping the family Nigel Nicolson Christmases have a dismal way of merg - i ng in recollection. Family custom, like hi d- i ng children's presents in different parts of the...

Low life

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A paw for Mr Webber Jeffrey Bernard I have just received a letter from an inmate of HM Prison, Cornhill, Shepton Mallet, Somerset. The convict in question is S.J. Webber...

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Office life

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Leaking invitations Holly Budd I t saddens me to realise how much I've come to dislike Christmas. As a child it was magical, in my twenties it was holiday and 9 Portunity but...

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Here are the questions: Bows and arrows 1 Who killed Cock Robin? 2 Who was mortally wounded by 'an arrow shot at a venture'? 3 Who does the Bayeux tapestry appear to show...

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Imperative cooking: Food presents

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Nicosia THE ST ANTONY Market in Nicosia sells the sort of things you would expect: some very good loose olives — green and black, sheep's cheese, a lot of nuts, some spices,...

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Chaos theory Raymond Keene THE MOSCOW OLYMPIAD has been full of spills and upsets, both on and off the chessboard. In the chess-political sphere Kasparov has been actively...


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ISLE Of i U R A ,A,UFMAIS(08,0 L ° 1 1 ShCLIMALII.COMI1ONO COMPETITION The monster Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 1860 you were invited to provide a prose portrait of the...

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Competition entries

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To enable competitors to economise on postage, entries for one or more weeks of the competition and/or crossword may be posted together under one cover addressed 'Competition...

P@OOT'EASS fbVIOZS r=r@ pc) 7-His ciiRisrmnS

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No. 1863: Double tanka

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A `tanka' is a traditional form of Japanese poem consisting of 31 syllables arranged in lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7 syllables. You are invited to provide a double one in English...

Solution to 1187: Cold comfort

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'B 2A F 3F 1.4E R s 6D 7R A 8W 9 A l bmEE MEM T 1° N H l b ELIVILL E uR 1 1.31 EI II L s IM ME ( 14 p ERNrEAGGT L 0 141TRILE1112 tTEELY7%211 I. 26 FR ET...

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GRAHAM 'S PORT GRAHAM'S PORT CROSSWORD Decorations, by Columba A first prize of £100, three prizes of £25 and six further prizes of The Spectator Annual (published by John...

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Unerring aim Frank Keating LAST WEEK, 25,000 Liverpool football supporters paid over a quarter of a million pounds to pay tribute at a testimonial match to the club's...


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1114 1 Killen invited some of her favourite ce lebrities to share their problems with her: Q' My problem hasn't happened yet, so . it d oe sn 't exactly fill the bill for your...