20 NOVEMBER 1999

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Bodyzone! The Dome secrets emerge M r David Trimble, the leader of the Ulster Unionist party, decided to support an agreement under which Sinn Fein would be allowed into...

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Sometimes it's hard to be a Unionist, giving all your love to just one man MICHAEL GOVE But you'll search in vain for any song which suggests there can be harmony between...

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ALEXANDER CHANCELLOR F or the first time in ages I went to lunch at The Spectator last week. It is 15 years since I used to work there and noth- ing much has changed in the...

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Let us poor Nimbies rise up against the ruthless cosmopolitan toffs BORIS JOHNSON G oodbye ponds, goodbye voles. Farewell you great-crested grebes and the manifold life-forms...

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As a matter of public interest, Lloyd Evans reveals how the notorious tabloid offered him L15,000 to shop two friends NOW it can be told. A couple of months ago — following the...

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Peter Oborne observes that many of the surviving hereditaries, like the life peers, are placemen THE Queen's Speech from the throne of the House of Lords was a gloomy and...

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A survivor

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writes.. . WE all know or should know that it is fatal to boast. For some time I have been saying that my family has written more books than any other, but we are now told that...

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Melik Kaylan says that nothing is as it seems in Peshawar, except sex, drugs and death IMAGINE history as a sort of turbulent Greek goddess with a fatal attraction for certain...

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Michael Heath

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George W Bush's mixture of arrogance and ignorance is damaging his presidential hopes, says Christopher Caldwell Washington `IF you are for one of my erstwhile oppo- nents,'...

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Second opinion

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LAST week I took my dog to the vet. I have mentioned before that the behaviour of animals awaiting medical attention is vastly superior to that of humans in a sim- ilar...

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John Laughland, in the face of vulgar abuse, still maintains there is no evidence of mass graves 'THE guy's a complete asshole.' Spectator readers, who are simple souls, may be...

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MY VISION FOR THE BBC Greg Dyke, the new director-general, outlines his plans for the airwaves IT is appropriate that my first speech as a BBC employee should be The Spectator...

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Peregrine Worsthorne believes the new director-general is misguided and out of touch IN THIS year's Spectator Lecture [an extract of which appears on page 22] Greg Dyke quotes...

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Camden council under Frank Dobson was a byword for inefficiency, humbug and social disaster, says Christopher Booker IF THOSE of us who lived in the London borough of Camden a...

Mind your language

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A SPOKESMAN for Marks & Spencer's said on the wireless the other day that the company was no longer 'UK-centric'. Really! What he meant was that Marks & Sparks was going to buy...

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Sarah Whitebloom on signs that the Roman Catholic Church is plotting to introduce married priests EAST GRINSTEAD, the Sussex market town, has many hidden charms; among them its...

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Politicians in Northern Ireland should take their lead from the province's frustrated romantics, says Max Davidson BROWSING through the lonely-hearts sec- tion of the Belfast...

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What art can do for you, if you have the sense to try it PAUL JOHNSON T he exhibition, Private Painters in Public Life, which is at the London School of Eco- nomics until 3...

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Max must be spared the terrible fate of Charles Wintour and Stewart Steven STEPHEN GLOVER S everal weeks ago I wondered in this column how John Major would treat Stewart...

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Winston's fears and hopes From Mr Anthony Montague Browne Sir: Churchill's decision to fight on alone in May 1940 had a different consideration from the likelihood or...

Art of a master

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From Mr Philip Hensher Sir: Simon Schema's characteristically excitable letter (13 November) complains about a number of points he says I made in my review of his book...

Radio yimes

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From Lady Mosley Sir: The radio concession we got from Ger- many in 1938 was copied from Mr Plugge MP's concession from the French govern- ment in the Thirties, Radio Normandie....

From Mr Mark Corby Sir: John Vincent hesitates to utter

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the supreme blasphemy. We were mad to have gone to war in 1939 and madder still to continue it throughout 1940. Even a cursory glance at Mein Kampf would have told us that we...

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From Mr Colin Reid Sir: My mother, more than 60

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years ago, taught me that 'rolling out' was what you did to pastry, especially puff. Has anything changed? Colin Reid 43 Essex Street, Newbury, Berkshire

Roll out the ballot

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From Mr Benedict King Sir: It seems to me that there is a further explanation ('meaning' is too strong a word in the context of this government) for 'rolling out' (Another...

Holy politics

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From Mr Thomas James Sir: Charles Moore is right ('Jesus is not a Tory', 13 November) when he says that Jesus was neither Tory nor New Labour. Everyone knows that he was a...

Sinners list

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From Mr Graham Fisher Sir: Paul Johnson's provocative list of the century's greatest leaders (And another thing, 13 November) seems to accept a degree of ends-justifying-means...

British no more

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From Mr Bill Cameron Sir: Lord Deedes's otherwise interesting and amusing article ('Whingeing Aussie losers', 13 November) contains one faux pas that may reveal more about his...

From Mr Michael Wharton Sir: No need for a botanist

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to tell us whether the strawberry is a fruit or a veg- etable. I think it was Bernard Levin who told us how to resolve such questions. Can if be served with custard? So the...

Wild about strawberries

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From Lady Emma Tennant Sir: As a botanically-minded Spectator read- er, I can assure Joan Collins (Diary, 13 November) that the strawberry is indeed a fruit, or, in botanical...

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My part in educating Mr Al Fayed in the demotic branch of the English language FRANK JOHNSON I met Mr Mohamed AI Fayed just once. I was entertained by him; entertained in both...

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In the Grand International Boondoggle Stakes, if we want to win, we must try harder CHRISTOPHER FILDES T hey're off! In the Grand International Boondoggle Stakes, as they rush...

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Christmas Books I

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Books of the Year The best books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors Alan Judd Carcanet's selection of Ford Madox Ford's war writing, War Prose (£14.95), is...

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Spectacular special effects

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Moorea Black INFINITE VARIETY by Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino Viridian Books, $27.95, pp. 248, ISBN 0- 9670527-2-6 T his is a. book about an extravagant,...

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Wits, monsters, satyrs and saints in Academe

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John Bayley THE DONS by Noel Annan HarperCollim, £17.99, pp. 357 u song les dons d'antan? Most of the young have barely heard of the satyrs and monsters, learned and...

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A lover of limelight and secrecy

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Alan Ross LAURIE LEE: THE WELL-LOVED STRANGER by Valerie Grove Viking, £20, pp. 552 V alerie Grove's The Well-Loved Stranger is the second book about Laurie Lee to be...

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A bloody, awful year

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Peter Vansittart NERO'S HEIRS by Allan Massie Sceptre, £16.99, pp. 248 I n his poem 'Nero's Term' Constantine Cavafy envisages Nero warned by Delphi to fear 'seventy-three...

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Dreadfully sorry about that

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An amiable insanity

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David Profumo A JERK ON ONE END by Robert Hughes Harvill f12, pp. 117 A lthough British piscatorial writing now broadly divides into either the techni- cal or the devotional, it...

A song of sympathy

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Katie Grant INDEPENDENT PEOPLE by Halldor Laxness Harvill, £10.99, pp. 544 T he most remarkable thing about this remarkable book is that it was first pub- lished when the author...

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Il faut

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cultiver notre jardin Rosanna James THE PURSUIT OF PARADISE by Jane Brown HarperCollins, £19.99, pp. 377 I enjoy riding slowly through the villages near here, when the added...

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Easy rider along the glamour trail

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Jonathan Keates GORE VIDAL by Fred Kaplan Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 850 I n the same incisive essay on Byron which features the celebrated sneer at 'the British public in one of...

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Not angels on horseback

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Benjamin Yarde-Buller THE COSSACKS by John Ure Constable, f20, pp. 253 A s Sir John sat weighing the relative merits of subjects for his next book, he can hardly not have been...

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Taking off one's hat

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Jane Gardam ENGLAND'S THOUSAND BEST CHURCHES by Simon Jenkins Penguin, f25, pp. 822 T his book is lavish and beautifully pro- duced. It began as a series in Country Life,...

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Stepping smartly on

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Caroline Moorehead PASSIONATE NOMAD: THE LIFE OF FREYA STARK by Jane Fletcher Geniesse Chatto, £20, pp. 400 I n the early 1930s, Freya Stark joined the Baghdad Times. On her...

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Let them be heard Robert Tanitch on neglected playwrights whose work should be revived A s we approach the millennium, it might be a good moment to consider some playwrights...

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Exhibitions 1

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French Impressionists and French Mediaeval Art of the Early 14th Century (Fitzwilliam, Cambridge, till 9 January) A Personal View of British Art from 1949 to the Present Day...

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Exhibitions 2

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C.R.W. Nevinson: The Twentieth Century (Imperial War Museum, till 30 January) The pity of war Matthew Dennison N ew movements in art throw into the melting-pot what has gone...

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Peter Grimes (Coliseum) Relationship problems Michael Tanner E ach time I see Peter Grimes in an ade- quate production, reasonably performed and the revival of Tim Albery's...

Exhibitions 3

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Cezanne Watercolours (Acquavella Galleries, New York, till 24 November) Stay, tarry, linger Roger Kimball I vividly remember my first Cezanne watercolour. I say 'my', but...

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Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Savoy) Four Nights in Knaresborough (Tricycle) Resident Mien (Bush) Heritage rubbish Sheridan Morley A s Ira Gershwin almost wrote in Porgy, 'Tess,...

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Fight Club (18, selected cinemas) Male fantasies Kim Fletcher T he most talked about film of the month features a bunch of guys who escape the mundane nature of their...


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The Breathing Show (Sadler's Wells) Hypnotic combination Giannandrea Poesio D espite a large number of enthusiastic followers, the American Bill T. Jones does not seem to be...

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Falling for it Simon Hoggart the 11 O'Clock Show (Channel 4) is cult viewing, which means that not many people watch it, but those who do like it very much. It also means long...

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Why can't Tony hear them? Michael Vestey C uriously enou g h, there is a person this side of the En g lish Channel who would like to hear reports from the European Parlia-...

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Is it a house, is it a . . . Alan Judd W hy can't houses be more like cars? Cars are forever evolving and improving. Their generational cycle is less than a decade; every few...

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The turf

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Rulers and ruled Robin Oakley I f trainers or jockeys commit a blunder the racing media, on the whole, are restrained in their criticism. They might need trainer Jorrocks or...

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High life

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What is truth? Taki T alk about trash journalism. Better yet, talk about the basic post-modernist idea that truth is somehow invented rather than discovered. The JFK Jr...

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Country life

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Take another look Leanda de Lisle T rying to draw attention to the fact that there are more pragmatic forms of sustain- able agriculture than organic farming has been like...

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Singular life

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Journey from hell Petronella Wyatt E gypt Air flight 990 fell into the Atlantic on 31 October, killing all 217 peo- ple on board. On that count it must be the worst airline of...


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Have a heart Andrew Robson CHARISMATIC bridge star Zia Mah- mood, in conjunction with Orbis, has launched a challenge to all bridge players. Zia poses an ingenious bridge...

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Peter Barnes IT may have been the Romans who invented the idea of dining with a view. Some clever amphitheatre entrepreneur, no doubt, decid- ed that bread-eating circus-goers...

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Modest indulgence Auberon Waugh THERE are three old favourites in this Corney & Barrow offer, with the curious fact that all three are cheaper than they were when last offered...

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Innocent slang Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2111 you were invited to supply a piece of prose in which at least ten slang words are used in an inno- cent sense, with comic or...


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The U ltimate Islay Malt. CHESS Furred man Raymond Keene JON SPEELMAN has leapt back into the limelight with a fine performance at the Mind Sports Olympiad Masters in London...

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 6 December, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

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Diffident lord of the ring Simon Barnes THERE is something about Lennox Lewis that reminds me of one my favourite British archetypes, the aesthete at the bat- tle of the...


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Dear Mary. . . Q. Recently at a drinks party in Sydney I was introduced to one of our famous, expat celebrity authors. 'And what are you doing here?' I asked. 'Just standing...