25 OCTOBER 2003

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M _ r Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, was taken to

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hospital after complaining of pain in his chest; he is , thought to have been sufferinv from supraventricular tachycardia, an over-rapid heartbeat, or, some said, atrial...

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Rough trade from the US

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A [most forgotten among the hubbub over the Iraqi war is the last bout of diplomatic fisticuffs between Europe and America, On 5 March 2002, George W. Bush issued Presidential...

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A n evening of virulent antiAmerican propaganda at Covent Garden, or

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rather a terrific Madame Butterfly, brilliantly lit as well as sung. The evening was marred only by the distraction of a madwoman waving her arms at the edge of the stage. This...

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Will it all be over for lain Duncan Smith by Christmas?

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-1 . t has been a week of stagnation and drift in Westminster. MPs have almost nothing to do in the Commons. On Monday night party managers put Conservative MPs on a one-line...

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It is no longer possible to scoff at the idea that Diana was murdered

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1 f the Daily Min - or reported the Second Corning, would anyone believe it? Probably not. There is a general view in polite society that the newspaper and its editor, Piers...

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The mystery of the missing links

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It is becoming fashionable to question Darwinism, but few people understand either the arguments for evolution or the arguments against it. Mary Wakefield explains the thinking...

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Thick accents

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Theodore Dalrymple says that bad pronunciation is being encouraged by the middle classes to keep the poor in their place -w henever, as happens with a frequency that makes me...

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How to save the Tory party

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Mark Steyn says that US-style local democracy could just save the Conservatives New Hampshire R cadets may recall that, back in the glory days of New Labour, I wrote a piece...

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What's good for GM is good for the world

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Ross Clark says we should ignore the eco-brigade's hysteria over genetically modified food A fter years of trampling crops, the anti-GM food lobby believes that it has finally...

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The Church hesitant

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Andrew Gimson sympathises with the bishops struggling with the question of Gene Robinson. Confusion is normal in a Christian, he says T he Anglican Church is much stronger than...

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Parking Appeals Officers x 2 Brent Council Salary: £21,984 We

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currently have a vacancy for two Parking Appeals Officers to work as part of a team responsible for dealing with appeals relating to Penalty Charge Notices (parking tickets)....

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Mugabe is their darling

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Aidan Hartley finds that the Zimbabwean president is regarded as a hero by Africa's upper middle classes I , n Johannesburg recently I hooked up with Mojo, an old drinking churn...

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Who says that honour is no more? The recent killing of several young Asian women, because they would not do as their male relatives wanted, proves it. The young women brought...

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Mind your language

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I am looking forward to reading The Floating Prison, the memoirs of a French prisoner, Louis Garneray, who became an artist while captive in the hulks in Portsmouth harbour...

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Mahathir knows best

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Sholto Byrnes defends the Malaysian Prime Minister against his many enemies in the West A n outburst from Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad is, like the appearance of rainclouds...

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Ancient & modern

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Mr Blair has promised to 'listen to the people'. Would a Roman-style nibunus plebis. 'tribune of the plebs', help him to do so? The early years of the Roman republic...

Let's return to his infamous speech of last week in

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which, you may be surprised to learn, he lamented the emergence of Muslim interpreters who discouraged the study of anything other than theology. 'They became more and more...

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Ottoman umpire

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Owen Matthews on Washington's embarrassment over Iraqi hostility to Turkish peacekeepers T . he United States is suffering from a reverse Midas touch in Iraq. Just as things...

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The spoils of Waugh

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W. F. Deedes on the essence of Evelyn Waugh, the anniversary of whose birth falls next week T hose of us who have been cashing in on the centenary of Evelyn Waugh's birth,...

Page 38

The BBC now lives in terror, which is bad for the public but good for the PRs

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ere's a bit of a puzzle. John Humphrys, the presenter of Radio Four's Today programme, has apparently — threatened to resign because his bosses bowdlerised an interview he had...

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Marvels of therapeutic engineering and the epiphany of the Giant Man

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I wandered out of my dentist's, off Sloane Street, a fortnight ago, reflecting on the principles of architecture: that is, the way in which space is enclosed, and forms upheld,...

Page 42

'Everyone' says that IDS is doomed, which is a good reason to suspect that he is not

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T hank you. Charles, for putting me through such hell. Thus Diana, Princess of Wales, in the newly revealed letter to her butler, Paul Burrell, not long before her death. Ours...

Page 44

They do listen

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From William Little Sir: Opinionated pieces like Melanie Phillips's ('Why do politicians lie? Because they have to', 18 October) play a large part in the creation of cynicism...

From Mark Taha As a social libertarian, I disagree with

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many of Melanie Phillips's attitudes. Her call for small shops in towns to be preserved at the expense of supermarkets is what the American libertarian philosopher Dr Nathaniel...

From Michael Grenfell

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Sir: Sir Peregrine Worsthorne's extraordinary attack on Margaret Thatcher in his review of the new John Campbell biography stands reality on its head. Sir Peregrine sees the...

Staying power

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From Bruce Shaxson Sir: Michael Gove has shown considerable if uncharacteristic constraint in his condemnation of Mr Duncan Smith (`Terminal depression', 18 October), though he...

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From Geoffrey Harrison Sir: Bigger questions now face the Tory

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party than how to fight the next general election or who should succeed IDS. Where a generation ago ideologues argued over the need for a realignment of the Left, now is the...

Damaging campaign

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From Ken Livingstone Sir: I was surprised to find with my copy of The Spectator (11 October) that a leaflet was enclosed from the Campaign for an English Parliament. The...

Loss of respect

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From Philip Brooks by Sir: One can only sympathise with David Loyibond as he watches his home town of Devizes descend into a quagmire ('Town and out', 11 October). But I do not...

Godly conversation

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From Robert Triggs The hypocrisy surrounding the ordination of homosexuals within the Anglican communion is breathtaking (Portrait of the week, 18 October). Without homosexual...

From Robert Calkin Sir: While the Anglican Church tears itself

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apart over the ordination of an openly gay bishop, the Pope remains unequivocal — homosexuality is quite simply evil. I rather admire the Pope. At least he is consistent in his...

Page 48

'Liberal' Mr Liddle

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From Joanna Gray Sir: Rod Liddle does not believe in holding back when it comes to offending people ('Who's to blame for African homophobia?', 18 October). When you offend, you...

From Jason Robertson Sir: Rod Liddle thinks what people do

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with the organ of human reproduction should not concern anyone else, least of all communities who see themselves under divine regulation in this matter: presumably random...

Timely obsession

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From Michael Ban - au Sir: Beryl Bainbridge has recently become obsessed with J.W. Dunne's theory of time (Diary, 18 October). It is an obsession I have had for most of my...

Forgetting Sir John

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From Jay Mulraine Sir: Given the authority that Simon Jenkins enjoys in the field. I should not imme diately dismiss his attribution of Castle Howard to Nicholas Hawksmoor as a...

Democracy sprouts in Iraq

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From Howard I. Shapiro Sir: A past, but disgraced, American vice president. Spiro Agnew, coined the phrase, `the nattering nabobs of negativism', which aptly describes Paul...

Mounting popularity

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From Sir Michael Samuelson Sir: James Blount may well shudder at the expression 'horse-riding', as did John Betjeman nearly 60 years ago (Letters, 11 October). The blame rests...

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Lonely confessions

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James Richard Palmer H any was eight, and he bore the mark of a victim. It wasn't that he was especially stupid or clumsy or weak; it was a perpetual feeling of shame. His walk...

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A talent for the unexpected

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Philip Hensher A HOUSE OF AIR by Penelope Fitzgerald Flamingo, £20, pp. 552, ISBN 0007136420 p enelope Fitzgerald excelled in the art of summary. As a novelist, she had the...

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Not a party to deception

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Paul Routledge THE POINT OF DEPARTURE by Robin Cook Simon & Schuster, £20, pp. 368, ISBN 0743252551 T he first thing that strikes one when reading Robin Cook's revelations is...

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When death lost some of its sting

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Jane Ridley FLESH IN THE AGE OF REASON by Roy Porter Allen Lane, £.25, pp. 574, ISBN 0713991496 R oy Porter, who died in March 2002. was a great and prolific historian. By the...

A group of noble dames

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Matthew Dennison TEA WITH MR ROCHESTER by Frances Towers Persephone, £10, pp. 192, ISBN 1903155347 C u cy could have wished that Florence were not quite so Florence were not...

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Faiths of our fathers

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Daniel Swift REFORMATION: EUROPE'S HOUSE DIVIDED, 1490-1700 by Diarmid MacCulloch Allen Lane/Penguin, £25, pp. 831, ISBN 0713993707 D iarmaid MacCulloch's enormous new history...

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A clump of plinths

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Roger Lewis THE PYTHONS' AUTOBIOGRAPHY by the Pythons Orion, £30, pp. 360, ISBN 0752852930 T he joke surely with Monty Python is that these trainee doctors, accountants,...

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Tales of the expected

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Robert Edric MCSWEENEY'S MAMMOTH TREASURY OF THRILLING TALES edited by David Eggers and Michael Chabon Hamish Hamilton, £14.99, pp. 497. ISBN 0241142318 I ntroducing the first...

The heath revisited

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Adrian Samuel I could never 'get' Eliot's The Four Quartets. The work seemed to be neither poetry nor philosophy; it was rather stranded uncomfortably between the two, for it...

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The sea monster that never was

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David Crane THE BOUNTY by Caroline Alexander HarperCollins, 00 pp. 491, ISBN 0002572214 I t is never easy to tell a story that everyone knows and still harder to tell one that...

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Several degrees of bluff

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Charles Mitchell EMPIRE STATE by Henry Porter Orion, £12.99, pp. 416, ISBN 0752856839 H enry Porter's new book, Empire State, is well up to the high standard of his first two....

Tidings of comfort and joy

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Jonathan Keates BACCHUS: A BIOGRAPHY by Andrew Dolby The British Museum Press. £14.99, pp. 166, ISBN 0714122424 H e was born to a virgin honoured with the attentions of the...

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The stateliest and the starriest

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John Martin Robinson ENGLAND'S THOUSAND BEST HOUSES by Simon Jenkins Allen Lane, £30, pp. 950, ISBN 073995963 T his elegant synthesis (you can tell immediately that Simon...

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Politically almost too correct

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Jonathan Sumption MEMOIRS by Douglas Hurd Little, Brown, 420, pp. 534, ISBN 0366861472 D ouglas Hurd's political career ended only eight years ago, but it already seems to...

Page 66

From chrysalis to butterfly

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Lucy Moore THE JOURNALS: VOLUME I by John Fowles Cape, £30, pp. 668. ISBN 022406911X J ohn Fowles's diaries — or 'disjoints', as he calls them — are evidence of his own theory...

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A picture of Dorian Gray

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Philip Ziegler BEATON IN THE SIXTIES: THE CECIL BEATON DIARIES AS THEY WERE WRITTEN introduced by Hugo Vickers Weidenfeld, £25, pp.434, ISBN 0297645560 A good diarist must have...

Page 68

Musts for the glove compartment

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Alan Judd DRIVE ON! A SOCIAL HISTORY OF THE MOTOR CAR by L. J. K. Setright Granta, £25, pp. 400, ISBN 1862076286 THE MOTORING AGE: THE AUTOMOBILE AND BRITAIN 1896-1939 by Peter...

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Dancing to Monteverdi

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Stephen Pettitt wonders whether we are becoming incapable of listening to music without visual help LtLA et me take you back three years. At the English National Opera...

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Lowry, the magician

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Andrew Lambirth L S. Lowry Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, London SW3, until 1 November ight from the start, I have to say that I 1N.am strongly biased in Lowry's...

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Rediscovering Paestum

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Russell Chamberlin on how the city was left to brigands and buffaloes p aestum, 40 km south of Salerno in southern Italy, is something of an enigma among Italian archaeological...

Page 73

Birthday tribute

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Robin Holloway A fter nearly a week I'm beginning to understand the lay-out of this megamaniac hotel, a redbrick and terracotta masterpiece by Alfred Waterhouse built...

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Primal truths

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Mark Steyn Mystic River 15, selected cinemas T had heard of the Mystic River before I I ever saw it and, given the name, it's something of a disappointment — just one of the...

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Mesmerising exoticism

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Giannandrea Poesio La Bayadere Royal Ballet Royal Opera House Rosas Sadler's Wells Stephen Petronio Company Queen Elizabeth Hall P ere is no better way to start a new batet...

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Ideal incarnation

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Michael Tanner Madama Butterfly; Cecilia Bartoli Royal Opera House W hen the Royal Opera's new production of Madarna Butterfly opened in March, I was moved by the powerful...

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Sexual perks

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Toby Young Betrayal Duchess The Deep Blue Sea Theatre Royal. Brighton Tales from the Vienna Woods Olivier I s Peter Hall in cahoots with Joan Bakewell? Hall has brought his...

Rumpole to the rescue

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Michael Vestey H orace Rumpole must be one of the most glorious fictional comic characters of our time. He was played beautifully by the late Leo McKern on television but now...

Page 79

What a let-down

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James Delingpole A llost every time I've met an merican in this country since the start of Bush's 'war on terror' they have begun by apologising for being American. And, in...

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Tale of two cultures

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Taki New York T hirty years ago this week, on 17 October 1973 to be exact, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised the price of oil to $5 from $3 a barrel,...

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Bath time

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Jeremy Clarke ?These days Uncle Jack only comes out 1 of his room once a week, for a bath. The rest of the time he sits in his chair in front of the television. wailing. You...

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Roman holiday

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Aidan Hartley Cape Town T have Roger Whittaker's classic song 'Kenya is my country!' jingling in my head as I prepare to return to the motherland, somewhat delayed after my...

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The pitfalls of the foreign property bandwagon

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A re you suffering from villaenvy? Do you have the uncomfortable feeling that you belong to the bourgeoisie's very own underclass? You mean, you don't actually have a home...

Page 88

Love thy neighbour

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Michael McMahon E ven the most gregarious urbanite pauses at least occasionally to imagine a home far from other people's traffic noise, burger boxes and dogshit. When you're...

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M y nieces — aged five and eight — came to

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visit last weekend and I had it all planned. On Saturday it was the art café, a magical place where a single side plate manages to transmute into a £487 bill, then one of those...

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Rooting for the boot

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MICHALL. riENDERS(% T he Man Booker Prize came and went, as it does these days, because it has ceased to mean anything. The Turner Prize never meant anything in the first...

Q. My wife and! have between us received invitations to

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no fewer than 17 parties being held in London on Wednesday, 12 November, all of them drinks parties between 630 and 9 p.m. How should we tackle this emban - as de richesse?...

Q. My wife and! are elderly. Over the years we

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have formed the habit of holding hands when walking out of doors. On a recent holiday this year in Corfu we were jostled by a group of English youths who were obviously the...

Q. Where can I buy 'placement' cards and which are the best sort to plump for?

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C.B., London SW3 A. You can buy place-a-table cards at Smythson, 40 Bond Street. Parties can get off to a bad start if amnesiacs canna remember the names of those old friends...

Q. May! pass on a tip to readers who are

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parents of babies or toddlers? My life has been transformed since! started putting my blowup travel pillow, of the sort available at any airport for about £5, around my...