4 MAY 2002

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The Spectator

T he Queen, addressing both Houses of Parliament for her Golden Jubilee, said she would serve 'through the changing times ahead'. The last two defendants charged with the murder...

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I t didn't take government scientists for James I to work out that tobacco probably wasn't very good for the health. Perhaps inspired by Sir Walter Raleigh's smoker's cough, he...

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I know nothing of the alleged conversation between Mr Blair's office and Black Rod over whether the Prime Minister was to be F'ing Important or Very Frning Important at the...

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Mr Blair has a slightly mad obsession with the press. He should be more worried about Mr Brown PETER OBORNE T here were two anniversaries at Westminster last week. The Queen's...

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Why do people look the other way when children are violent in public? Because they are scared, says Phil Craig, who describes what happened when he rebuked three young...

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Edna O'Brien talks to Mary Kenny about sex with married men, and reveals that she has never cooked a Sunday lunch in her life WHEN I first arrived in London in the 1960s, Edna...

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Andrew Gimson visits Burnley, where the BNP is a threat and the PM's chief spin doctor is spoken of as a future MP Burnley TONY BLAIR. Alastair Campbell, Liz Dawn (who plays...

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Mark Steyn argues that Americans are more compassionate and law-abiding than violent and cynical Europeans New Hampshire ON 12 September 2001, the New Yorker's theatre critic....

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Mind your language

The Spectator

IF sheep-telling were hypnotic I should be the Sleeping Beauty by now. Many of you have sent in variants of the Borrowdale sheep-counting numerals taken from Children's Games in...


The Spectator

Petronella Wyatt talks to Oliver Letwin about crime and health — and the burglar who ordered him to go to the loo WHEN Oliver Letwin was appointed shadow home secretary, it was...

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Banned wagon

The Spectator

A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit WHEN Welsh separatists were merrily burning down holiday cottages in Wales in the 1970s, they were generally regarded...

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Bijan Omrani says that the graffiti on the lavatory walls of the Bodleian Libraty must be preserved for posterity IN the last few weeks, a great hue and cry has been raised...

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Dancing with the Wordsworths and the Ullswater daffodils PAUL JOHNSON I t is exactly 200 years ago that William and Dorothy Wordsworth came across the wild daffodils on the...

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The meaning of Le Pen

The Spectator

From Mr P.J. Strudwick Sir: Congratulations to John Laughland for his superb piece on Jean-Marie Le Pen (Why does everybody hate me?", 27 April). I've known J.M.L.-P. for 15...

Cold War of words

The Spectator

From Mr Andrew Alexander Sir: The Polish ambassador (Letters, 27 April) is 'astonished' at my claim that the Cold War was the fault of Poland (The Soviet threat was bogus'. 20...

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Winning NHS formula

The Spectator

From Mr Nicky SamengoTurner Sir: I was both surprised and vaguely amused to find Bernie Ecclestone's name on a shortlist of people who Martin Vander Weyer (Nice bloke, no...

Selfish Silvio

The Spectator

From Mr Jeremy Dummeu Sir: The reason Italians voted for Berlusconi (Maggie, not Musso', 20 April) is that they are fed up with ineffective coalition governments and want...

Dam personal

The Spectator

From Elisabeth Lopez Sir: While I found The God of Small Things unreadable, I applaud Arundhati Roy's use of her prominence to further the fight against a dam that will...

Taki's pleasure

The Spectator

From Mr Tom Phillips Sir: I know Taki from the Big Bagel. We had a famous row at Elaine's over the use of an alleged cellphone. Nevertheless, I am fond of him and the dispute...

Flying free

The Spectator

From Mr Peter Broxton Sir: The term 'bird' as denoting prison, mentioned by Theodore Dalrymple (Second opinion, 27 April), is an old one that derives from the cockney rhyming...

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Would you swap an Elgin marble for a planespotter in an anorak?

The Spectator

FRANK JOHNSON B ritish liberals tend to think that we should return the Elgin marbles to Greece. Let us hope that Greek liberals are demanding of the Greek minister of culture...

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How the Queen wowed (and the Duke cowed) the hacks from the republican press

The Spectator

STEPHEN GLOVER I n a constitutional sense these have been good weeks for the monarchy. Royalist newspapers are in full flood and the republican press is at least temporarily in...

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Fly your friendly bank, in first class or steerage, when what you want is modest comfort

The Spectator

CHRISTOPHER FILDES A n eminent tax accountant of my acquaintance was moved to write to a High Street bank's chief executive: 'Dear Sir, Is your Hampstead branch still open?'...

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The Vietnam legacy

The Spectator

Bronwen Maddox WAR IN A TIME OF PEACE by David Halberstam Bloomsbury. £20, pp. 540. ISBN 0747559465 The real danger to an open society like America was the ability of a...

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Not censuring but clapping

The Spectator

Miranda Seymour JANE AUSTEN AND THE THEATRE by Paula Byrne Hambledon & London, £25, pp. 283, ISBN 1852853867 L iterary interpreters of Mansfield Park are responsible for the...

The Dance

The Spectator

There was something that made you want to laugh, as though the fat man's rush for the train was somehow deliberately choreographed, with the timing practised again and again — a...

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Deeper than Welles

The Spectator

Hugh Brogan THE CHIEF by David Nasaw, with a foreword by Conrad Black Gibson Square Books, 15 Gibson Square, London N1 (tek 0207 689 4790), £20, pp. 687, ISBN 1903933072 I am...

Eminent before Victoria

The Spectator

Raymond Carr BLACK TOM by Terence Copley Continuum, £20, pp. 299. ISBN 0826457231 T homas Arnold is remembered, if at all, as the great headmaster of Thomas Hughes's...

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Women talking to women

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Anita Brookner UNLESS by Carol Shields Fourth Estate, £16.99, pp. 213, ISBN 0007137702 I t is hard to describe what makes this resolutely old-fashioned novel so beguiling. Even...

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On a wing and a prayer

The Spectator

M. R. D. Foot FIRST LIGHT by Geoffrey Wellum Viking, £16.99, pp. 338, ISBN 0670912484 E arly this year, at a former clandestine aviator's memorial service, one of his...

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Poetry, politics, polemics

The Spectator

Peter Porter THE INVASION HANDBOOK by Tom Paulin Faber, £12.99, pp. 201, ISBN 0571209157 P oets are often the most recalcitrant ideologues, the most severe dislikers of the...

The night is darkening round me

The Spectator

Blair Worden AT THE END OF AN AGE by John Lukacs Yale, £16, pp. 230, ISBN 0300092962 T his is a gloomy book, written 'at the hour of sunset of a life that occurs together...

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Low j inks in the dorm

The Spectator

Grey Gowrie TROUBLE AT WILLOW GABLES AND OTHER FICTIONS by Philip Larkin, edited by James Booth Faber, £20, pp. 544, ISBN 0571203477 I n the case of The Public versus The Late...

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Queerness is no big deal

The Spectator

Jonathan Keates LOVE IN A DARK TIME: GAY LIVES FROM WILDE TO ALMODO VAR by Colm Teibin Picador, £19.99, pp. 278, ISBN 0330491377 C an there be such a thing as a gay life, in...

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Making Spanish connections

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Robin Simon on how a political fiasco initiated the creation of one of the greatest art collections O n 18 February 1623 Jack and Tom Smith rode out from London for Madrid....

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Miseries of change

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Patrick Carnegy on Adrian Noble's resignation from the Royal Shakespeare Company I f you want to stay out of trouble don't attempt to change a flagship theatrical institution....

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Theatre 2

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Henry V (Shaw) A Midsummer Night's Dream (Barbican) The Winter's Tale (Roundhouse) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Palladium) Macbeth (Arcola) Stuck into Shakespeare Toby Young I t...

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About A Boy (12, selected cinemas) Desperate mothers Mark Steyn T his is apparently the third Nick Hornby movie adaptation. I believe I saw the first two and may even have...

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Will Alsop (Soane Museum, till 7 June) Daring to be different Alan Powers I n a book of 1939, now probably all but forgotten, called Taste and Temperament, the mediaeval-art...


The Spectator

II Trovatore (Royal Opera House) Sweeney Todd (Leeds) Denying the truth Michael Tanner I 1 Trovatore is Verdi's nearest approach to a mythic opera. That does not by itself...

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Bending it like Beckham

The Spectator

Ursula Buchan W hat was it to be, that Wednesday evening in early April? The second leg between Manchester United and Deportivo la Coruna in the Champions League or How to be a...

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Staying power

The Spectator

James Delingpole A t 3 a.m. on the day of the Queen Mother's funeral, the Fawn and I went to see her lying in state. We had first tried at 10.30, but the queues were still too...

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Short changed Michael Vestey W hen abroad I always have a shortwave radio with me to listen to the BBC World Service. This week has been no exception as I've been in Italy...

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The turf

The Spectator

Team effort Robin Oakley H ow long is it since some of us used to bop to Boney M's 'Daddy Cool' and 'Brown Girl In The Ring'? Finding my feet still moving, as I watched the...

Unacceptably boring

The Spectator

Taki L New York ike many very. very rich men, Heini Thyssen was very much a bore. I first met him when I was still a teenager, on the Riviera, where else? He was a good-looking...

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Staying the distance

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke F or the last six months I've been taking part in a clinical trial for this new antiimpotence drug. The aim of the trial is to find out how it compares with an...

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In praise of older mothers

The Spectator

PetroneIla Wyatt I t is a truth universally acknowledged in the newspapers these days that a woman over 30 who has not yet had a child is in a very bad way indeed. Feminism has...

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Reaching for the Cup

The Spectator

Harry Mount TOWARDS the end of the 1990 World Cup, the England team bus was being driven through Rome when it was caught in traffic at the heart of the city. To the right was...


The Spectator

Dear Mary.. . Q. I recently purchased eight of what Beardmore's would have described as 'cabinet-fitting cardframes' but I think of as brass cardholders. These I have attached...