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Category Archives: feature

My first Carr

On my personal discovery of eccentric English novelist (and teacher, and artist, and airman, and footballer) JL Carr, the night before what would have been his 108th birthday. – For The Critic

‘Beauty retire’ – or; Some notes on a portrait of Samuel Pepys

The odd (and possibly inconsequential) story of Pepys’s portrait, his song, and his relationship with Mrs Knepp. – For The Critic

Peak fitness: a virtual expedition diary

Climbing a mountain, lest I start climbing the walls In January, I promised a visiting Reservist mate that we’d climb Adam’s Peak. That plan was scotched when, days before he landed, I went down with dengue fever. But I’d done Adam’s Peak before (the first time, Christmas ’04, probably saved my life when the tsunami struck…), and [...]

Trouble at t’Mill

The curious life of John Stuart Mill, philosopher . When JS Mill was born, his father, James, challenged a friend to ‘race with you in the education of… the most accomplished and virtuous young man.’ That other child has not gone down in history – but he may well have dodged a serious bullet. Learning [...]

An Oxford squaddie

From deer park to gun park… . Sixteen years ago, American and British forces hurled themselves into Afghanistan the same week I arrived at Magdalen College, Oxford. I didn’t give them much thought – although the ‘War on Terror’ was immediately everywhere. I had an Egyptology degree to get to grips with; and choral evensong [...]

Blessed are the speechmakers?

A back-handed tribute to President William Henry Harrison. – For The Spectator

St Paul’s (Knightsbridge) and the Great War

A blog piece for Culture House on the Royal Naval mobilisation of the Rev Wilfrid Hannay Gibbins, and the parish mags of a church in West London over the course of the First World War. – For The Spectator

Good show(?)! – Mozart Undone

His circus-like extravaganzas have sliced and diced The Beatles, played fast and loose with Bob Dylan, and spawned successful imitations across the theatre scene in his native Denmark. Now the gleefully wilful director-cum-ringmaster Nikolaj Cederholm brings his trademark ‘theatre concert’ to London’s Barbican, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s temporary residence in the British [...]

Peace-dance!

A disquisition on the balletic arts at the Rugby World Cup 2011. – For theartsdesk

With friends like these…

An exclusive from Rana Dasgupta, master of tanbur-related micro-non-fiction. – For theartsdesk