‘Hospitality is a wonderful thing. If people really want you, they’ll have you, even if the cook has just died in the house of smallpox.’ Those words come from the Notebooks of F Scott Fitzgerald, creator of Jay Gatsby, just one of the hundreds of characters, real and imaginary, who appear in this anthology. In the 350 years of writing of covered here the manners have changed but the essential components of parties have not, nor has time lessened the potential for disaster which that powerful mix of drink, sex, food and music can engender.
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With just a few days to go until the first issue of the new decade, does anyone recognise the stern figure on our February cover?
'Fiona Shaw, in Jonathan Miller’s production, is the best shrew I have seen. She starts off in a mustard yellow dress with a mustard sharp tongue.'
From the archive, Kate Kellaway on a 1988 production of 'The Taming of the Shrew'.
'He was not a revolutionary at all of course. He was only marginally a socialist. His tradition was rooted in the Liberal aristocracy, and his politics were entirely bounded by Parliament.'
From the archive, Paul Foot on Tony Benn's diaries.