Monthly Archives: July 2014

Graffiti in church

Nowadays English parish churches are quaint, underused decorative motifs for period costume dramas and Kodak moments — but it seems that they weren’t always that way. Fascinating research that is at a very early stage of data gathering seems to … Continue reading

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‘And you try and tell the young people of today that… they won’t believe you’

PriceWaterhouseCoopers the accounting firm with corporate offices in every major city in the world, has mercifully begun calling itself PwC. It has had a bit of a track record with name changes as it swallowed more rivals over the years … Continue reading

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Local newspapers have a death wish

On British local newspapers, traditionally that time-honoured apprenticeship of newsgathering, ill-fitted Fleet Street tricks are being aped. You can see this for yourself in headline language used to “big up” a story. “Council boss hits out over bins horror”, “Attendance … Continue reading

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You Talkin’ to Me…?

  The message that the past really is another country for which you have got nothing but a visitor’s visa is rammed home when you read this. (Click on the image). Crimes of passion have been happening since the Neanderthals. … Continue reading

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If you build it, they won’t necessarily come

Almost everyone has heard of the Crystal Palace. The better informed would tell you that it was the inspiration of Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, as a place designed to hold the Great Exhibition of 1851. They would maybe add … Continue reading

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There should be a name for…

Shakespeare made up words. Now it’s your turn. There ought to be a name for… The tuft of hair that sticks from the back of a baseball cap The diablo of pleasure, then mild boredom, trounced by guilty remorse that … Continue reading

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‘With your bodies between your knees’

Eager to sample the recently unveiled Spectator archive, which is cheeringly welcoming to all (pro tem), not skulking behind the palings of some pay wall, I came across this chorus of Floreat Etona in an article published in the summer … Continue reading

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Light Up the Sky Like a Flame

Few Londoners know how close they once came to losing Leicester Square. Without  Baron Albert Grant it would have been ‘Farewell Leicester Square’ in 1874, when the private gardens that we know as the square were earmarked to build a … Continue reading

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Some have greatness thrust upon them

To become a fixture in history is a luck lottery. Some have it; most don’t. Fame comes in many guises. Captain Scott and General Custer were famous for just one episode – dying. Heroically? Probably not in either case, as … Continue reading

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If I ruled the World

The talk these days is about caliphates and demagogues whose aspiration is to stage a bizarre rerun of the Crusades. My book An Infinite Deal of Nothing, coming out in August, is the untold story about two of the most … Continue reading

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