25 NOVEMBER 2000

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`No, hang on! It's Gore! I mean Bush! Daffy Duck . . . ?' T he government committed itself to providing at any time 12,500 troops, 72 combat aircraft and 18 warships to a pro-...

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

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1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 THE DEBT WE OWE HER U ntil Margaret Thatcher arrived in Downing Street in 1979, it was common ground among the political classes that Britain was in...

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ROGER ALTON T he other day I took my daughter, who likes dancing, to see the film Billy Elliot, which is about dancing. My daughter is ten, the film is a certificate 15, so...

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Ten years on, Mr Major's achievements look more impressive than ever BRUCE ANDERSON T here is a problem about trying to assess Margaret Thatcher's place in history. She is not...

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Sometimes you've just got to ignore your own prejudices MATTHEW PARRIS I t's always the same. It was the same when Dominic Lawson edited this maga- zine, the same when Frank...

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says that within five years Britain will either have joined the single currency or be well on its way to doing so NEIL KINNOCK greets me, as I had had a bet with myself that he...

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Daniel Hannan says that now that their President has resigned, the Peruvians may be heading for a velvet revolution Lima HE's gone. The only ethnic Japanese to have been...

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Mind your language

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AT convent school we were taught by the good nuns not to brood over lacrosse wounds or failures in examina- tions but to 'offer them up' for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. I was...

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Norman Tebbit says that the Tory social permissives don't understand the damage they are doing THE muddle over Conservative policy on drugs, and the coming-out of the new...

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John Laughland wonders why the Tories are up in arms about the Euro-army: it's just what Nato ordered THE Daily Mail is furious; the Telegraph is appalled; Lady Thatcher has...

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China supported the Khmer Rouge, but so President Jiang's visit to Cambodia Phnom Penh THERE has been a nice symmetry in their schedules. While President Clinton has been in...


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Michael Heath

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Mark Steyn looks back on his forecasts and forward to life after all the chads have been thrown into the dustbin of history New Hampshire ASK not for whom the chad hangs, it...

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Frederic Raphael says that there is a tradition of anti-Semitism in Britain, but there is an equally strong tradition of toleration ANTHONY Julius's article about English...

Second opinion

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YOU shouldn't judge a book by its cover, perhaps, but you'd be a fool not to take any notice of the rings a girl wears. I am not talking about diamonds as big as the Ritz, you...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit MOTORISTS driving on the busy A38 into Birmingham this week were treated to the sight of the large, illuminated head...

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Will Brussels do away with the British passport? Sarah Helm digs for the truth MYTHS of old were often spun around an element of fact. Archaeologists removing the sediment of...

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Leo McKinstry has been talking to London police officers about how the Macpherson report has undermined law enforcement `IT is hoped that this investigation will do for the...

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Bears at the picnic

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FIVE years ago, when the merchant banks held their clearance sale, Warburgs and Kleinworts went for £1 billion and Barings for £1. I thought at the time that Barings might prove...


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IF you want to read someone's excursus on `Whither the dot.com economy', you may have to fall back on mine. Don't try The Street.com.uk, which has turned out to be more of a...

Hopes deferred

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ONE school of reorganisation now wants to dig Railtrack up and bury it, and perhaps the trains should never have been parted from the tracks — or not on purpose, any- how....


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We regret the delay to the modern railway's arrival. This is due to second-guessing CHRISTOPHER FILDES B efore Gerald Corbett there was Ger- ard Fiennes. He was the...

Nice choice

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THE ideal in-flight reading for Tony Blair as he fastens his seat-belt and wings his way to Nice. 2066 And All That (Inyx, £6.99 while the pound still exists) is William...

As safe as hedgehogs

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THE railways' strategic supremo, Sir Alastair Morton, has never minded a fight, so I was pleased to see him take on the welterweights at Health and Safety. He is not convinced...

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LETTERS The other anti-Semitism

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From Mr William Dalrymple Sir: Anthony Julius (England's gifts to Jew hatred', 11 November) suggests that news- paper criticism of Israel's murderous poli- cies in the occupied...

From The Revd Anthony Symondson, SJ Sir: It is not

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only at Scratchwood that engaging Italians offer designer clothes. When I was in Rome recently a young man in a car with a puzzled expression on his face, holding a map, stopped...

Suits you, suckers

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From Mr Marcus Warren Sir: I believe I can trump Colin Bostock- Smith (Italian Lesson', 18 November). I was a victim of aggressive, face-to-face mar- keting Italian-style one...

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Poll tax blunder

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From Mr Jonathan Oates Sir: Edward Pearce (Letters, 18 November) is wrong about the poll tax when he writes of the 1990 community charge that it was a tax 'not seen since...

Not my grandpa

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From Mr David Gilmour Sir: By transforming a 'his' into a 'my' (Let- ters, 18 November), The Spectator suggests that Lord Curzon was my grandfather rather than Nicholas...

LETTERS Relative dates

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From Mr Charles Patak Sir: Contrary to Steve King (Books, 4 November), Henri Poincare did not 'antici- pate' Einstein's special theory of relativity; he invented it. Neither did...

Grecians 2000

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From Mr Antony Sharpies Sir: I greatly enjoyed Taki's column (High life, 18 November) on the cultural achieve- ments of modern Greece, reminiscent as it was, in both scope and...

Alarm over excursions

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From Mr Max Hastings Sir: In The Spectator Diary (28 October), I referred to a threat by the MoD to exile all army regimental museums from MoD property by 2003. My informants,...

Ober the top

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From Mr Patrick Skene Catling Sir: The Europeanisation of these north- westerly offshore island proceeds apace. A symptom now endemic is the German pre- fix fiber-, as . in that...

A husband writes.. .

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From Mr Tony Wilkinson Sir: I am appalled that an article Mid some- one say bitch?', 18 November) which pur- ports to do a hatchet job on my talented and charming wife, Lindsay...

Charitable website

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From Mr John Stoker Sir: James King (Watch out, there's a char- ity about', 28 October) queries the grounds for the decision of the Charity Commission that the Church of...

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Why the government is going bananas over the Eurosceptic press STEPHEN GLOVER magine Tony Blair in Moscow earlier this week. He is swept around in limousines, flattered by...

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Parliamentarian of the Year: the winners THE 17th annual Highland Park/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards, spon- sored by Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky and...

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Are these the real reasons why Sir Walter Ralegh is to be removed from his pedestal? PAUL JOHNSON I t is characteristic of New Labour, which hates our history and its glories,...

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Brian Masters

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The most enjoyable book of the year came at the end. Bryan Magee's Wagner and Phi- losophy (Allen Lane/ Penguin Press, £20) takes one through the most difficult con- cepts with...

Christmas Books II

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Books of the Year A further selection of the best and worst books of the year, chosen by our regular contributors Jane Gardam I didn't feel rapture for any novel I have read...

P. J. Kavanagh This year the great excitement for me,

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bookwise, is that the American poet Peter Kane Dufault has at last found an English publisher — Looking in All Directions, (Worple Press, £10). I have been a fan for years and...

Eric Christiansen

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A Confederacy of Dunces by J. K. Toole has been republished (Penguin, £5.99) nearly 40 years after it was written. Strongly recommended to those who need or enjoy periods of...

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Jane Ridley

The Spectator

Paula Backscheider's Reflections on Biogra- phy (Oxford, £30, paperback £14.99) received little notice when it came out late last year, but don't be put off by the fusty, dark...

David Pryce-Jones

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Roger Kimball has a Voltairean wit and clarity as an expositor of ideas. He thinks that today's culture is putrid, and in The Long March (Encounter Books, $23.95) he shows how...

Patrick Skene Catling

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Bellow: A Biography by James Atlas (Faber, £25), seems as complete, candid and justly balanced as if it had been published after Saul Bellow's death. It is possible to imag- ine...

Stuart Reid

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The book that gave me most satisfaction was Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion by Robert Coles (Perseus Books, $16.50), which I found in the gift shop of an old church in Lower...

John de Falbe

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Robert Edric's terrifying The Book of the Heathen (Anchor, £9.99), set in West Africa in 1897, has impressed me most this year. Not for the faint-hearted, perhaps, but — wow!...

Roger Lewis

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Nigella Lawson, whom I've never met in the picturesque flesh, is hard to dislike. She's beautiful, in an Edward Burne-Jones sort of way, and well-connected (my friend Jonathan...

David Hughes

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For sensuality I go for Reflections on Blue Water (Harvill, £18), the latest of Alan Ross's fine reports on foreign parts, this time celebrating his lifelong liking for Ital-...

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Jonathan Cecil

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A. N. Wilson's God's Funeral, now out in paperback (Abacus, £9.99) is a masterly book. Mr Wilson's unique combination of erudition and sly humour and his empathy with the...


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The novel having died when Salman Rushdie began to write, I have resorted to rereading classics, such as The Charterhouse of Parma, Stendhal's masterpiece about the treacherous...

Paul Johnson

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Anyone looking for a sumptuous Christmas present for a loyal subject and ardent royal- ist should examine The Daily Life of the Queen: An Artist's Diary by Michael and Vivien...

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The higher the fewer

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Michael Tanner WAGNER AND PHILOSOPHY by Bryan Magee Allen Lane, Penguin, £20, pp. 398 H ow one responds to this book depends very much on its highly distinctive tone. It is the...

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Putting the story back in history

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Allan Massie SCOTLAND: THE STORY OF A NATION by Magnus Magnusson HarperCollins, £19.99, pp. 734 A s a boy in Edinburgh Magnus Magnusson learned his Scottish history from Walter...

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Taffy and the Hun

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Byron Rogers OUR FIRST LEADER by Jan Morris Gomer, £5.95, pp. 136 I suppose it had to happen. With the first National Assembly shakily in place in Cardiff, a new form of...


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he Dictionary of Military Quotations by Peter Tsouras This epic new volume brings 4,000 years of military history to life through the words of more than 800 soldiers,...

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Unnerved by ancestral voices

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Tony Gould TRIALS OF THE MONKEY: AN ACCIDENTAL MEMOIR by Matthew Chapman Duckworth, £14.99, pp. 337 T his hugely entertaining book is some- thing of a curiosity. It sets out to...

The final showdown

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Michael Wharton THE MANDALA OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE MISSING YEARS edited by Jamyang Norbu John Murray, £16.99, pp. 279 A s the fate of present-day Tibet, help- less in the...

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Directing from the wings

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Brian Masters LADIES OF INFLUENCE by A. Susan Williams Allen LanelPenguin, £18.99, pp. 240 A book of undemanding pen-portraits is a rash endeavour. Hester Chapman used to...

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Mistress of arts

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Jonathan Mirsky GEISHA: THE SECRET LIFE OF A VANISHING WORLD by Lesley Downer Headline, £20, pp. 370 Y ou recall the overture from The Mikado followed by the entry of the...

Games of Chance

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Forever searching, you must find The piece to fit your jigsaw heart. I offered mine; you said its shape Was nothing like the missing part. Though I would change to make you...

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A fatal female friendship

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Sophia Watson MY SISTER, VICTORIA by Charlotte Moore Penguin, £5.99, pp. 376 - ■■•■1 T his is one of those terrible stories of female friendship that leave this reader almost...

Western tunnel vision

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Sam Phipps WORLD HISTORY by Clive Ponting Chatto, £30, pp. 862 I f history is written by the victors, then perhaps world history is written by the megalomaniacs. How else to...

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A selecti©n of recent thrillers

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Charles Mitchell H enning Mankell is a Swedish thriller writer whose Kurt Wallander books bear a strong resemblance to Maj Sjiiwall and Per WahlOo's Martin Beck stories. In...

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Partial and personal

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William Keen R ichard Eyre and Nicholas Wright reckon that 'making television programmes about the theatre is as quaint a folly as putting ventriloquists on the radio'. Theatre...

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Fighting words of wisdom

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Al un Chalfont THE DICTIONARY OF MILITARY QUOTATIONS edited by Peter G. Tsouras Greenhill Books, £29.95, pp. 574 I n his memorable introduction to the first edition of that...

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Loyal and unfaithful

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David Caute hen Pablo Picasso joined the French Communist party in the autumn of 1944, soon after the liberation of Paris, where he had lived under the Nazi occupation,...

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The analyst giveth and the analyst taketh away

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Lewis Wolpert PROMISES, PROMISES: ESSAYS ON LITERATURE AND PSYCHOANALYSIS by Adam Phillips Faber, £10, pp. 376 A dam Phillips's range and knowledge are very impressive,...

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Stop this litany of buzzwords Josie Appleton argues that museums are losing sight of their real purpose I f I hear the word "Access" one more time,' said ex-British Museum...

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Master of spin

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Robin Simon on the inflated reputation of Sir Joshua Reynolds T he appearance of a massive catalogue raisonne of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds proves that, so far as his art...

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Exhibitions 1

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Painting the Century (National Portrait Gallery, till 4 February) Portraits on parade Andrew Lambirth P ortraiture is in trouble. Too few seri- ous artists will undertake the...

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Exhibitions 2

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Conflation of opposites Martin Gayford T here are certain artists — just as inter- esting if not more so than the others who are out of tune with their times. One such was...

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Exhibitions 3

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Inspirational explorer Roderic Dunnett I f ever there was a refreshing ikon for our era, the Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is it. Films are proliferating, of which...


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Pop graduates Stuart Nicholson M ainstays of the progressive 'Down- town' Manhattan jazz scene for more years than they care to remember, the Jazz Pas- sengers enjoy a joke...

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The Caretaker (Comedy) Peer Gynt (National) Macbeth (King's Head) Pinter surprise Sheridan Morley N ow here's a funny thing, and it hap- pens rather surprisingly to be Harold...

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Katya Kabanova (Royal Opera House) Third time lucky Michael Tanner NO's Italian season makes its gesture towards modernity with a triple bill, of which only one element is an...

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Copland celebration Robin Holloway T he Aaron Copland Centenary (he was born on 14 November 1900) seems a con- tradiction in all but bookkeeping terms that music of such...

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Now and then

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H.V. MORTON'S collection of essays The Heart of London was published in 1925. Morton's London is compared with that of today: We walked down a long avenue packed with umbrellas....

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Too many Chads Mark Steyn F or us Presidential correspondents who carelessly signed on for Campaign 2000 unaware that it would run until 2003, there's nothing like a light,...

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Rambert Dance Company (Sadler's Wells Theatre) Ondine (Royal Ballet) Masterly concoction Giannandrea Poesio I t was about time a work by Mats Ek entered the repertoire of a...


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A question of breeding Simon Hoggart T he key moment in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (ITV) this week came when Judith Keppel, described as a 'gardener from Fulham', in fact a...

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We'll miss you, Andrew Michael Vestey T here are times when a BBC decision makes you want to find the nearest brick wall to bang your head against until the eyes pop out, the...

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Stately appeal Alan Judd I was offended to read, years ago, that Mercedes estate cars were reckoned the best estates in the world. I thought I had the best — a Volvo — and for...

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The turf

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Ascot treats Robin Oakley I f you could have bottled and sold what trainer Sheila Williams was giving out in the winner's enclosure at Ascot on Satur- day you would have your...

High life

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Stimulating the emotions Taki I t's damn nice to be back in London and to run into what my friend Sir Les Patter- son calls English ceiling inspectors. There were about five...

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Wild life

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Clap trap Aldan Hartley T here are only three kinds of men in Africa,' my old Dad used to say. 'Those who have got the clap, or have had the clap, or are going to get the...

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No life

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Fishy's story Jeremy Clarke A t the last church I joined (charismat- ic), the gulf between words and deeds was the widest, by a mile, of any church I've ever been to. Before...

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Country life

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United in greed Leanda de Lisle can smell fruit on your breath,' Peter announced crossly as he stood over my desk. I get through a lot of apples when I'm working. But they...

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Singular life

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In praise of shopping Petronella Wyatt S hopping has been impinging a lot on my consciousness recently. You might think, so what's new about that? Not much, only it is the...


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Double danger Susanna Gross THE OTHER day, playing rubber bridge for money, my partner and I reached a contract of 5+, which East doubled and West, not noticing this, also...

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The LI Itirnate isfay Malt. CHESS Rdbeci www.ardbeg.com Orient express Raymond Keene EVERY other year FIDE (the World Chess Federation) organises its Olympiad, or team...


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Two sorts of outrage Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2163 you were invited to imagine that Kipling or Wilde were alive today and writing a letter to one of their 19th-century...

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No. 2166: Behaving badly

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You are invited to write a poem (maximum 16 lines) beginning with the line, 'Your behaviour's impossible, —', supplying in place of the dash a first name of your choice. Entries...


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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 11 December, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

Solution to 1488: House style lilt r11111

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mrki Min ririel Egg E IN a II 11, p 1 1 . 4 C 1 du REIS II IM IM21 An 113 a MIMI ri ill n i N nen ie 3 o 11 01 11 1111Mhan , rin seri_ Mom AI MO drir112111 el r PI In kti L...

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FOOD Deborah Ross

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AS a food/restaurant critic (and as one of the best and most authoritative around, if I may presume to say so, which I most certainly do*), the question I am most often asked...

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A refining moment Simon Barnes AND so even sport can become so rarefied, so elegant, so precious, that it becomes refined out of existence. That was made clear by a bizarre...


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Q. May I pass on a money-saving tip to mothers of small children? As every mother knows, there is no point going to a great deal of trouble with birthday tea parties, since the...