19 DECEMBER 1992

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The Spectator

M r Major struck a sort of deal at the EEC summit in Edinburgh, by which Britain and the other contributing countries would pay more than they wanted to the poorer nations,...

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'The great cause of cheering us all up' SIMON HEFFER S omeone at BBC2 either has a well- developed sense of humour, or is trying to make some interesting political suggestions...

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NIGEL DEMPSTER C hristmas has been made slightly less bleak for the beleaguered underwriting members of Lloyd's, following the six- month moratorium on the payment of huge...

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Time to kick the craving for private happiness CHARLES MOORE Love in a palace is perhaps at last More grievous torment than a hermit's fast: h at is Keats's view, and it may...

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London is too virile to be deflected by recession, no matter how deep, argues Simon Jenkins LONDON IS in crisis. London is seizing up. London lacks leadership. Its economy is...

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William Oddie reveals the manoeuvring towards religious realignment following the Synod's decision to ordain women ABOUT THREE weeks ago, Cardinal Basil Hume flew to Rome....

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One hundred years ago

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THE GREAT jewel robberies have begun. On Sunday night Leigh Court, near Bristol, the residence of Lady Miles, was entered by adroit burglars, who found a safe, in which jewels...

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Philip Marsden reports how the Christian quarter of Jerusalem has become infested by drug dealers and their customers Jerusalem ON THE Via Dolorosa, a narrow alley that runs...

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Martin Vander Weyer exposes the vast range of possibilities for the professionally challenged executive WHEN I talk about my office in the City, I no longer mean to imply that...

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by KINGSLEY AMIS I — The Pacific Operation . . . THE IMPERIAL FLEET that sailed from the Kurile Islands in the last days of November was the most powerful naval force ever...

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RD. James discovers that for even the best writers an original idea is a scarce commodity A NOVELIST who is visited by what he or she thinks is an original idea experiences a...

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If symptoms persist. . .

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I TAKE IT as axiomatic that all men want to be free: free, that is, of the con- sequences of their own actions. When things go well, they praise themselves; when they go badly,...

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Alec Guinness recounts some of the events which have moved, interested and amused him over the past year A lmost within sound of the chimes of St Fortnum and St Mason stood,...

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John Simpson recounts the horrible and true story of the haunted camera THE RUMANIAN revolution was over, and the ruins of the National Library across the square had ceased to...

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Michael Michael Heath

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Nicholas Shakespeare says that the traditional British meanness starts at the very top ON A VISIT which has so far escaped the scrutiny of his biographers, John Major once...

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One hundred years ago

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THE JEWS in Germany would seem to be in serious danger. As we mentioned last week, Ahlwardt, their great oppo- nent, has been elected by a majority of three to one, and the...

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SOUVENIRS OF FRANCE A short stog by James Buchan IN

The Spectator

SEPTEMBER of 1992, the month the French voted to endorse the Maastricht Treaty and the Duchess of York appeared, grainy and bare-bosomed, in Paris-Match, I went on holiday with...

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Following the Queen's example, Classics master Ross Leckie gives a bluffers' guide to Latin wit and wisdom IN AN AGE of astrophysics, poodle par- lours and oven-ready chips,...

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Auberon Waugh attempts to prove that the past 12 months have been nothing more than a bizarre game of consequences January The year 1991 was an annus mirabilLs, end- ing, as...

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Vicki Woods encounters the wilder shores of hygiene in American childcare I WENT to visit an American baby in New York: his mother is a friend of mine and lives in the...

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You said it This year, which: 1. Politician said: 'Come on, Michael. Out with your club. On with your loincloth. Swing into action!' 2. Pensioner said: 'I don't think I have...

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Why do Italian opera-goers behave like beasts? PAUL JOHNSON R ecently I attended the last perfor- mance of four of Verdi's Otello at Covent Garden. I felt privileged. It was...

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It'll have to be in the New Year, old boy but not too early CHRISTOPHER FILDES 'Tis the week before Christmas, and all through the City Not a creature is stirring — it does...

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Collector's item

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Sir: I am collecting unusual apologies. Per- haps your readers can help? My personal favourite came from a BBC lady who contacted me thus: 'We liked your letter and used it on...

Not even close

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Sir: Following the general election earlier this year, there were widespread rumours that somehow the Conservative overall majority of 20 seats at the election had come about...

LETTERS Trading insults

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Sir: In my article in The Spectator of 28 November (Tacking the wrong horse'), I made the not very revolutionary suggestion that British governments should be careful whom they...

Tyranny of taste

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Sir: Giles Auty writes (Arts, 28 November) about the tyranny of taste forced upon us by the jury of the Turner Prize and others, and he ends his piece by asking the ques- tion,...

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Sir: As the man who won a round of applause for rescuing the Red Underwing moth in my local Chinese restaurant, I was very upset to read, in Isabel Wolff's 'Fifty years of...

Master of banality

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Sir: It was cheering to read in Giles Auty's review (Arts, 28 November) that someone else pronounces 'banal' correctly: I thought I was the only one left. My Shorter Oxford...

1960 and all that

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Sir: I regret that I did not see John Simp- son's 'The Irish Empire' article (21 Novem- ber), but I read four times Hugh Brogan's letter (5 December). How Mr Brogan can set...

Undeserving poor

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Sir: A short while ago, I placed an adver- tisement in the Scotsman offering employ- ment. As might be expected in a recession, I received a great many replies. Of these, a...

Smoking for Britain

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Sir: Nicholas Farrell's piece about smoking (Passive Smoking: the big lie', 14 Novem- ber) overlooks the vital contribution made by smokers to the economy which goes well beyond...

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Time to give up the ghost Neil Lyndon THE DARK SIDE OF POWER: THE REAL ARMAND HAMMER by Carl Blumay, with Henry Edwards Simon & Schuster, .f20, pp. 496 C arl Blumay served...

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A bisexual made for two

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Bevis Hillier PASSIONATE FRIENDSHIPS: MEMOIRS AND CONFESSIONS OF A REBEL by Nerina Shute Robert Hale, £16.95, pp. 252 I am a sceptic in matters of religion but I do believe...

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The Family Friend

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Each year, those eyes Ablaze with temperance And love for all of us Above the rim, she Held it out, her glass's Fluted blossom, pinch-me-tightly Plucking at its stem Although...

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The unacknowledged source

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J. Enoch Powell TYNDALE'S OLD TESTAMENT edited by David Daniell Yale, £25, pp. 643 h ere has been a happening. It is not quite a resurrection, but the nearest thing to one....

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The king of naturalist writers

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Oliver Rackham THE EIGHT WILDERNESS DISCOVERY BOOKS by John Muir Diadem Books, £16.99, pp. 1030 J ohn Muir (1838-1914) was a Scots- American; ploughboy, inventor, drop-out,...

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Civil war in the family

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Michael Davie MY REGARDS TO BROADWAY by James Fairfax Angus & Robertson, Aust $17.95, pp .400 J ames Fairfax was chairman of the powerful Australian company, John Fairfax...

The path of glory leads but to the grave

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Penelope Lively HOWARD CARTER: THE PATH TO TUTANKHAMUN by T.G.H. James Kegan Paul International, £24.95, pp. 443 hen I was a child in Egypt in the 1940s the discovery of the...

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Alive and jogging, probably

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William Rushton THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA by Saul Steinberg Aurum, £30, pp. 208 h e main reason I was so delighted to get this book is that I thought Steinberg was dead. Arthur...

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Serve her right

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Brian Masters THE SERVANT by Alistair McAlpine Faber, £11.99, pp. 98 h e publishers have only themselves to blame if this book comes as a delicious surprise. For months we have...

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In the lap of the gods

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G. Cabrere Infante JUDY GARLAND by David Shipman Fourth Estate, £17.99, pp. 320 W hen a group of movie buffs came to visit with Louis B. Mayer at Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer in 1938,...

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The cost of maintaining a front

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Hugh Cecil RICHARD ALDINGTON AND H.D: THE EARLY YEARS IN LETTERS edited by Caroline Zilboorg Indiana University Press, £25.50, pp. 237 R ichard Aldington, poet and man of...

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Three suicide attempts, a dozen affairs, but not the whole

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truth Peter Levi TSVETAEVA by Viktoria Schweitzer Harvill, £20, pp. 413 F or some 60 years Stalin and his heirs so suppressed and distorted information about writers (among...

Mr and Mrs R and the Christmas Card List

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Shall I cross them off? It's twenty years since we last met. Of course Mr R and I once thought we were made for each other — Oh that heart-stopping moment by the kitchen sink,...

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The facts and the factions

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Anthony Blond MODERN BRITISH JEWRY by Geoffrey Alderman Clarendon, £410, pp. 398 h is work is not, as the blurb pretends, 'a history of the Jews of Britain over the last...


The Spectator

She told me it was something I was missing. Said she'd spotted a hole in me exactly the size of an apple that she'd noticed it (like a gap in my teeth) the first time we were...

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To understand St Paul, don't read the NEB

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Geoffrey Strickland I am devoted to our ancient liturgies and English Bible but have always felt that the partisans of the Alternative Service Book and New English Bible had a...


The Spectator

Seagulls grow on our chimneys. Next door, one stands on two matchsticks, Pecks at the cowl, gives up, and looks round At the billowing roofs. It struts on the tiles, it...

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Prize-winning novels from France

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Anita Brookner h is year the Prix Goncourt was won by Patrick Chamoiseau for Texaco (Galli- mard), unsurprisingly, since a racing cer- tainty from the beginning of the season....

A Christmas Story

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Kids tearing into presents, pinching each other's favourite adding sauce to their meal of gifts, making themselves sick with laughter and chocolate from tree and stocking....

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Pratiquant, Croyant

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I like the senses. Unusual in this climate. Liking, not being hectic, excessive, about indulgence, rejection, repression, perversion. Helped by living abroad. Learning from...


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What we call purity lives in the eyes of animals. Reality which strikes us as a revelation is always joyous, holy, and simple as grass. If it is true that our desire brings...

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Architecture Close encounter of a curved kind Alan Powers hears what happened when Le Corbusier met Marilyn Monroe . . . I don't think many people know that Marilyn Monroe...

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Did Leonardo visit India? Juliet Reynolds on the deeper connection between the Italian master and Indian art A group of Italian and Indian scholars recently made an intriguing...

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'See ya Vic' Teenagers are deserting pop stars for comedians. Emma Forrest explains why Y oung girls screamed and threw under- wear when Rik Mayall appeared at the National...

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Exhibitions 1

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Gilbert & George: New Democratic Pictures (Anthony d'Offay Gallery, till 29 January) Depraved new world Giles Auty S ome time ago a journalist of my acquaintance tried to...

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Exhibitions 2

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Britain's First View of China: Lord Macartney's Embassy to the Peking Court (British Museum, till 4 April) Splendid isolation John Henshall T wo hundred years ago, China was...

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Happy new ear Michael Horovitz I t has been a communicative year for poetry in Britain on stage, page and record. Though recession has driven some com- mercial publishers to...

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Mu sic

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Switched off by Radio Three Robin Holloway F or years one's Sunday morning at home was fixed, and in its way sacrosanct, as church-going. Necessitated absences were resented;...

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Carousel (Lyttelton) Grace (Hampstead) Trelawny of the Wells (Comedy) A fine, dark masterpiece Sheridan Morley W ritten just after Oklahoma! but before South Pacific or The...

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Chaplin ('12', Odeon Leicester Square) Tears of a clown Vanessa Letts C haplin starts in black and white, with a scene where Charlie (Robert Downey Jr) smears off his...

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Lady Rakehandle's Christmas Ursula Buchan I don't mind admitting, I was rather thrilled. Last summer, I was asked by Lush Locations whether I would mind if they used my place...

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Gothic folly Martyn Harris N igel Williams is a decent novelist and a BBC commissioning editor, which has nothing to do with the fact that his two- part drama, Witchcraft (BBC...

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Low life

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Down but not out Jeffrey Bernard I discarded my crutches last Saturday and it seems to me to be almost a miracle. In hospital, after the titanium plate was screwed in, I was...

High life

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Party animals Taki T his is the time of year when I go over to the side of Moby Dick. Like cheering when the bull gets his horn into a Mexican matador's suit, or when the lion...

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Long life

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Mingling with the tenantry Nigel Nicolson B etween the ages of six and ten I spent Christmas at Knole, my grandfather's enor- mous house near Sevenoaks. Every year he threw a...

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Imperative cooking: Planning for 'the day'

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'I THINK we all eat too much at Christ- mas, don't you?' No, certainly not; the reverse. We, or rather they, don't eat enough. Consider their Christmas day. How many meals do...

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Cantina del Ponte

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IT WOULD BE tactless to stand in the presence of almost any restaurateur and call 1992 a good year. Only taxi-drivers seem to have complained more loudly about the nature and...

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Bananas Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1758 you were in- vited to continue, in the proper spirit, these words, culled from the London Review of Books and kindly sent to me by...

Xmas treats Raymond Keene

The Spectator

This year I revive our Christmas competition. Six positions: some tactical, some strategic. The best three sets of analysis to reach me at The Spectator by 8 January will each...

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Christmas Quiz: the answers

The Spectator

You said it 1. Mr Major; 2. Mr Cyril Reenan; 3. Bobby Fis- cher; 4. Mr Lamont; 5. Lady Thatcher; 6. Bar- bara Cartland; 7. Charles Manson; 8. Woody Allen; 9. Sally Gunnell; 10....

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Christmas Trios by Mass A first prize of £75, three prizes of £25 and six further prizes of The Spectator Annual (publisher Harper Collins, £17.50) will be awarded for the...

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The generation game Frank Keating TWENTY YEARS ago, early in 1972, I flew with Dan Maskell to watch the new- fangled World Championship of Tennis finals in Dallas. The series...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. Earlier this year I led a group of three EEC foreign ministers and a European commissioner on a visit to South Africa. We flew overnight in a plane in which...