21 OCTOBER 2000

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. . Mandy's eyes blazed. "Keep your silly loan! just go on living in my dingy flatlet!" I put out my hand to stop him doing anything foolish — the other diners were looking at...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405

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1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 LABOUR'S LOVELY LOONY L ady Gavron is so very pretty that one can hardly bear to attack her. She is almost too good to be true, a divine incarnation of...

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TIM HEALD T his is the first time I've been commis- sioned to do something by a member of the Johnson family since Boris's father, Stanley, asked me to write an attack on the...

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It's time to put an end to the fibs and the pashes at St Tonian's BRUCE ANDERSON 0 nly one author could do justice to the Blair/Brown/Mandelson saga and she, alas, is no...

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DJ. Taylor unmasks the spooky figures who really write the nation's bestselling books Q: WHAT connects the following books, all of them reposing somewhere near the top of the...

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Peter Ainsworth, the shadow culture minister; doggerel to Dickens PETER Ainsworth is one of the shadow Cabinet ministers who, after Ann Widde- combe's crackdown-on-dope speech,...

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David Pryce-Jones explains how Arafat blew his chance for peace `PEACE process' is a phrase that arouses dread in the heart. It signifies that some- where a grievance exists...

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Michael Heath

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Timothy Garton Ash meets a Serb killer who helped to bring down Milosevic Cacak, Serbia MEET a hero of the Serbian revolution. Zivan Markovic is a short, thick-set, mus- cular...

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PAUL DACRE, editor of the Daily Mail, takes a dim view of mistakes by his jour- nalists. In fact, most of them live in terror of putting a comma in the wrong place. However,...

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Sean O'Callaghan reveals that the murdered 'human-rights' lawyer was a committed IRA member ON 12 February 1989 a Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, was murdered in his home by...

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As architects explore new ways of ventilating the demise of the sealed window THE small group of very clever young people who decide how we will live our lives have changed...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit STUNG by accusations of operating a nanny state, the government turned away from the idea of banning things some time...

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Andrew Geddes, a circuit judge, says that journalistic sloppiness has brought the bench into disrepute LET me begin with the ridiculous. In Jan- uary I was trying a case of...

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Mind your language

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MY husband made a noise like a stork regurgitating a toad. I thought a dose of whisky had gone down the wrong way, but it was only a semi-voluntary reac- tion to reading some...

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Helpless pedestrians are being victimised by lawless cyclists. James Bartholomew proposes some solutions WHO are the dashing heroes of our age? They are the brave, free...

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Italy's new revolution in art: the triumph of blonde over grey PAUL JOHNSON I hope the Queen enjoyed her state visit to Italy this week, and especially her sojourn in the...

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The Prince of Darkness no longer strikes terror in the press STEPHEN GLOVER M y eyes nearly popped out of my head on Monday when I read a column by A.N. Wilson, the...

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Briefs encounter

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From Susan Crosland Sir: In her as usual entertaining column (Singular life, 14 October), Petronella Wyatt (or was it Alan Clark?) ranked Porfirio Rubirosa as number one great...

From Mr Charles FitzGerald Sir: Melanie Phillips, with respect, seems

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ignorant of this country's history. The title so proudly claimed by every English monarch since Henry VIII (if, perhaps, to be relinquished by the next in line) is Fidel...

Rhyme and unreason

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From Mr Philip Hensher Sir: Much as one admires Michael Horovitz for not only reading and remembering a lot of aimless free verse about apple trees (Let- ters, 14 October), but...

A kiss is just a kiss

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From Lord Grantley Sir: Tessa Keswick (`Kiss her quick, William', 30 September) argues that 'it is something of a scandal that more is not done by the Conservatives to address...

LETTERS Life starts at conception

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From Mr M.G. Sherlock Sir: In 'A tale of two Churches' (14 Octo- ber) Melanie Phillips tries to explain away the Catholic position on abortion as a mis- interpretation of Old...

Untruths about the US

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From Mr Tim Mitchell Sir: Peter Hitchens's article (land of the free, home of the British', 23 September) is absolute tosh and I deeply resent any of my subscription monies...

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Fat and fatter

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From Plunket Beime Sir: I was amused and in agreement with Mark Steyn (`The least worst hope', 23 September) in how awfully fat my country- men and women are. I read the column...

From Mrs Antony Little Sir: My brother, John Aspinall, never

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referred to a French kiss as a lung-puncher' — just not his style. Unfortunately, like the rest of the Tory party wets, Tessa Keswick is suffering from amnesia, delusion, or...

Sport rules — not OK

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From Mr Luke Fraser Sir: As a proud Australian, I enjoyed Simon Barnes's article on Ian Thorpe (Sport, 23 September). But I've been living in fear of catching green-and-gold...

Expensive Indulgence

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From Sir Kenneth Warren Sir: Our dearly beloved Soames of The Spectator Wine Club writes — rightly well of the 1996 claret vintage (9 Septem- ber). Then he tempts us, with...

OE arrogance

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From Mr Robert Swann Sir: I'm sorry that George Trefgame didn't know in advance (Ile euro rescued (until next time)', 30 September) that an Old Eto- nian campaigning against...

Early Hoggwash

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From Mr Bob Smyth Sir: Your competition winner's fantasy about Lord Falconer and the catastrophic rave in the Oxford brewery (14 October) actually happened — but in the other...

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The duchess, a swimming-pool and a question of taste FRANK JOHNSON W e fans of the late James Lees-Milne's diaries are enjoying an unexpected bonus. Murray has just published...

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Perfection in a small space Philip Hensher THE MEANS OF ESCAPE by Penelope Fitzgerald Flamingo, £12.99, pp. 117 THE HAUNTED DOLL'S HOUSE AND OTHER STORIES by M. R. James, with...

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The Spectator Book of Crosswords One hundred of the best Spectator crosswords from the past thirty years including some of the most challenging cryptic puzzles ever published!...

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A delectable gift from France

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Digby Anderson LIFE IS A MENU by Michel Roux Constable, £15.99, pp. 253 R ecently I bought a pile of second- hand books. But the bookcases are full. So some of the books...

From the absurd to the supreme

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David Pryce-Jones THE FABER BOOK OF OPERA by Tom Sutcliffe Faber, £20, pp. 416 om Sutcliffe, the Evening Standard opera critic and evidently a sound fellow, has no doubt that...


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CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDES 11 November 2000 FILL THIS SPACE For the first time in The Spectator we offer dedicated three-column pages for this year's Gift Ideas Display advertising...

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Leaders and losers

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Tony Benn THE PRIME MINISTER: THE OFFICE AND ITS HOLDERS SINCE 1945 by Peter Hennessy Allen Lane, 125, pp. 686 his book by Professor Peter Hennessy is a must, not just for...

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Strangers after the night

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Sam Phipps THE BEDTRICK: TALES OF SEX AND MASQUERADE by Wendy Doniger University of Chicago Press, £22.50, pp. 492 I mposture can get so confusing, or maybe it's just...

Rebelling against jam and duty

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Frank Egerton THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN by Jennifer Johnston Review, £14.99, pp. 213 L ike its beautifully written predecessor, Two Moons, Jennifer Johnston's latest novel is set...

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The question is: what do you do with alluvial mud?

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Raymond Carr CIVILIZATIONS by Felipe Fernandez Armesto Macmillan, £25, pp. 636 or Fernandez Armesto all our attempts to define civilisation are flawed. Kenneth Clark threw in...

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Loving and Wrecking: Spring Storm

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Running athwart the wind, I was trying to head for harbour, Knowing a light was beckoning there to me. But the wind had other plans in mind And grew momently fiercer and...

The end of the gorgeous Napoleonic dream

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Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson HERMES IN PARIS by Peter Vansittart Peter Owen, £16.50, pp. 234 I can think of few books which would more annoy those bright young things (they...

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Loser takes all

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John Casey OUT OF THE ASHES: THE RESURRECTION OF SADDAM HUSSEIN by Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn Verso, £17, pp. 322 S addam Hussein is the most remarkable ruler of...


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17 (rrp £20) The Faber Book of Opera Edited by Tom Sutcliffe This is a fascinating compendium of essays, letters, reviews, theories and fictional extracts that discuss,...

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Horses have four legs

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John Oaksey VALLEY OF THE RACEHORSE by Robin Oakley Headine, £18.99, pp. 256 I only hope Robin Oakley wasn't expect- ing too much when he decided to transfer his attention from...

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Annoying Wittgenstein and rebutting Sartre

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John Bayley A MEMOIR: PEOPLE AND PLACES by Mary Warnock Duckworth, £18, pp. 246 E veryone is a solipsist when it comes to reading contemporary memoir and auto- biography. We...

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Russia's secret emperor

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Philip Mansel PRINCE OF PRINCES: THE LIFE OF POTEMKIN by Simon Sebag Montefiore Weidenfeld, £25, pp. 634 D ynastic biology is one of the forces behind European history. It has...

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When things go wrong at the top

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Andrew Gimson SECOND TERM by Simon Walters Politico's, £16.99, pp. 399 T his galumphing thriller describes the decline and fall of a fictional Tony Blair. Steven Cane 'ain't no...

Creating and hiding oneself

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Brian Masters THE STATELY HOMO: A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF QUENTIN CRISP edited by Paul Bailey Bantam, £12.99, pp. 251 W ho would have believed, 60 years ago, that the...

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Blowing one's own horn but quietly

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Jonathan Keates WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS: AN UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 322 C ertain kinds of book are ideal for those grim moments in the...

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Truth, Beauty and the Beast 666

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Bradford Verter A MAGICK LIFE: THE BIOGRAPHY OF ALEISTER CROWLEY by Martin Booth Hodder, £20, pp. 507 R eading a biography of Aleister Crow- ley one cannot help but be moved by...

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Seducing the natives

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Charles Allen L cknow, former capital of the king- dom of Oude in northern India, is one of those fabled cities planted more firmly in the imagination than on the ground. To...

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The Logical Negativist

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Caroline Moorehead BERTRAND RUSSELL: THE GHOST OF MADNESS by Ray Monk Cape, £25, pp. 574 W hen John, the son of Bertrand and Dora Russell, was four, his parents decided that...

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art is erotic' B ars, according to Malcolm Lowry who knew a thing or two about the subject — are at their most beautiful early in the morning, when they are empty. It was about...

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Exhibitions 2

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Drink and Be Merry: Wine and Beer in Ancient Times (The Jewish Museum, New York, till 5 Nov) Lifting the spirit Roger Kimball Mosaic depicting camel carrying wine amphora,...

Exhibitions 1

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Elisabeth Vellacott (Piers Feetham Gallery, 475 Fulham Road, SW6, till 4 November) Drawing on experience Michael Glover T he East Anglian artist Elisabeth Vel- lacott manages...

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Exhibitions 3

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Magnificent foolishness Laura Gascoigne A editor of Artists & Illustrators maga- zine, I once got an aggrieved letter from an amateur reader complaining that she couldn't find...

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The Seven Year Itch (Queens) The Guardsman (Albery) Mademoiselle Colombe (Bridcwcll) Tacky stargazing Sheridan Morley W hatever the current troubles of Trevor Nunn at the...


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Irresistible Cunningham Giannandrea Poesio I t was difficult not to be overwhelmed at the end of the opening night of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Barbi- can last...

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What Lies Beneath (15, selected cinemas) Misplaced Hitchcockiana Mark Steyn W hat's happened to Harrison Ford? He seems to be shrivelling away before our eyes into a strange...

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Domes we can love Ursula Buchan D omes, however stately, don't always get a good press. And, by association, nor does any organisation caught up with them. But, for me, the...

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Plugging Pinter Michael Vestey I 've never forgotten a remark the direc- tor Bryan Forbes made to me many years ago when I went to interview him about a film he was making at...

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The great divide James Delingpole A aagh! Help! There have been way too many programmes on this week that I'm dying to say lucid, important, clever things about and I doubt...

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The turf

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Ten to follow Robin Oakley I had, however, taken the precaution of including in my luggage Timeform's splen- did new Chasers and Hurdlers 1999/2000 to aid compilation of my...

High life

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Cultural despair Taki ked to name his favourite book by that symbol of cheapness and hoopla, Oprah Winfrey, Al Gore replied, The Red and the Black. Now there's nothing Al Gore...

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No life

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Tabloid turn-off Toby Young I hoped to be writing this from a desert- island hideaway somewhere in the Caribbean, having retired with a small for- tune, but alas it was not to...

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Singular life

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Weak stomach Petronella Wyatt I read somewhere this week that a for- mer Romanian count whose family is descended from Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's...


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Losing run Susanna Gross ON THE whole, I prefer to play bridge for money than not — it adds a frisson to the game, as well as keeping you focused and disciplined. But when...

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SO, off to the newly-opened 'kosher gourmet' restaurant, Six-13, on Wigmore Street. Six-13? Yes, because there are 613 rilitvos, or Jewish rules for living, which, I believe,...

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cX Alphabetics J aspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2158 you were invited to emulate the poem beginning 'An Austrian army, awfully arrayedRoldly by battery besieged Belgrade. . ',...

ID Rd b The Ultimate Islay Malt.

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CHESS Rd b e www.ardbes.com Hollow crown Raymond Keene AFTER five games of the Brain Games World Chess Championship in London, the challenger Kramnik leads by three points...

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LBV PORT GRAHAM ' S CROSSWORD 1486: Hidden characters by Ascot A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct...

No. 2161: Dog and God

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My versatile elder brother (who 60 years ago dubbed me Jaspistos) has just sent me a poetic dialogue with the above title. You are invited to do the same. Maximum 16 lines....

Solution to 1483: Great and small

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ilia oral" Mermacill9 agrimA mil . Rpm au ender , ' VAIR mom idgerun a . rindadin . i, marlignimmariatin n .ffirlitierirm L Ilri will, . Arm 'Inn A eil c A...

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El Tel for the job from Hell Simon Barnes IT is a great tribute to the myth-making powers of football. Terry Venables remains as bookie's favourite for the job of England...


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Q. Help! I have completely forgotten my hairdresser's name, despite having been to him at least five times in the last year. Since the man has poured out all sorts of intimate...