In Restless Flight to be an Auteur

Posted on by Marketing Manager

I’ve become inured over the years to people telling me – in the same tone of voice reserved for inveighing against blood sports – that the theatre is a spoilt brat, a minor art, impoverished in imagination, hopeless, dull, feeble, sclerotic, rotten, boring and just plain bad. I think, perversely perhaps, that it’s to the […]

When Kicking a Dead Dog Can Upset the Applecart

Posted on by Marketing Manager

For most people, I imagine the smell of dusty books, or the sound of church bells, or even the gentle scent of marijuana would be enough to conjure up memories of university years. For me, however, it is passages like this that make me smile, close my eyes, and think dreamily of the past: In […]

Besotted

Posted on by Marketing Manager

There is a long list of foreigners who have travelled across America and attempted to explain the United States to their European readers. The greatest of them all, Alexis de Tocqueville, observed the sensitivities of the inhabitants. ‘The Americans in their intercourse with strangers’, he wrote, ‘appear impatient of the smallest censure and insatiable of […]

One of Literature’s Greatest Liars

Posted on by Marketing Manager

In 1881, shortly before his death, Trelawny was visited by the eminent archivist Sir Sidney Colvin. Like others who had beaten a path to Trelawny’s door, Colvin had come to listen to a legendary raconteur. Trelawny’s tales of plucking Shelley’s heart from his funeral pyre or of discovering Byron’s clubbed feet had entertained Victorian drawing-rooms […]

My Adventure with Wogan

Posted on by David Gelber

I may as well confess now that I adore snooker on television. More ink has been spilled over the phenomenon than on any other subject so I don’t propose to add to the swell of secondary and tertiary source material that will burden the research students of the future by saying too much on that […]

No Flies on Bob

Posted on by David Gelber

I had the privilege of meeting Bob Geldof in 1983 when he was simply a Boomtown Rat and I had seen his star in the South East and had come to worship him. A newspaper had set up my visit to the Geldof household where the dazzling Paula Yates shoved a microwaved corn-cob (Geldofgrown) and […]

Edna Strikes a Blow

Posted on by David Gelber

The flat at 11 Downing Street is notoriously detested by chancellors’ wives – those five bathrooms with no one else to clean them, civil servants blandly opening the front door and using the lavatory just inside. (‘And I have to go to Sainsbury’s to buy their lavatory paper and Harpic’ was a running irritation for […]

Ragged Bunch of Romantics

Posted on by Tom Fleming

WILLIAM HAZLITT described the act of painting as the purest form of philosophy – learning to draw and paint, we shed our preconceptions and encounter the complexity of a world where no two trees, or two leaves are the same. In Hazlitt’s terms painting is a metaphor for true perception, the Muse of humility and […]

Triteness is All

Posted on by Tom Fleming

THE MORE I think about it, the more convinced I am that Henry Kissinger’s most signal achievement is to have got everyone to call him ‘Doctor’. There are literally millions of PhDs and second-rate academics in the United States, but he is the only one below the rank of professor to have managed to pull […]

Mothers & Daughters

Posted on by Tom Fleming

WHEN I was once rashly defending Susan Chitty against Michael Holroyd’s attack on her for plagiarism, I was effectively silenced on being shown The Great Donkey Walk, by Susan Chitty and her husband, Thomas Hinde, and challenged to read the references in that book to myself in case I should suppose that Chitty’s distortions of […]

On the Box

Posted on by Tom Fleming

TELEVISION’s greatest enemy – aside from the BBC’s board of governors – is fine weather. The British are a weak-willed people – proud, of course, fiercely independent no doubt – but pusillanimous to a fault. (Though come to think of it, I never heard of anyone ever being pusillanimous to a virtue.) When they should […]

Astringent, Acerbic and Alembic

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Why, I wonder, did I not enjoy Dutch Girls, the over-heralded film by William Boyd shown one dark weekend in late November? Almost everyone else I know adored it. The performances were all there. The 25-year-old actors were realistically dirty-minded Gordonstoun schoolboys, and a very talented Dutch actress guiding them gently from confused adolescence to […]

Special Reserve

Posted on by Tom Fleming

ONLY AN EDITRESS of considerable tact and taste, breeding and discernment, could have invited me to review this book. After all, I have eaten Patricia Cockburn’s bread and salt. I have sat up with Claud into what used to be called the small hours. I have known Andrew and Patrick very well since university, and […]

Revenge is Sour

Posted on by Tom Fleming

ON FRIDAY March 25 this year, the day on which Greeks celebrate their deliverance from the Turks in 1829, General Markos Vafiadis put down at Athens airport. It was the first time that he had left the Soviet Union since the end of the Greek civil war more than a quarter century previously. In that […]

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