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Category Archives: Journalism

Intelligence review

‘For centuries before the Second World War, educated British people knew far more about intelligence operations recorded in the Bible than they did about the role of intelligence at any moment in their own history.’ Nowadays, one might think, few would even know that. But that’s where Christopher Andrew – Emeritus Professor of Modern and [...]

Litterary death match

In the Autumn of 2014, feeling somewhat down about his wordsmithing career, uncertain in his role as model for his two sons, and with one eye on the health of his own father, Toby Litt decided to take on the oft-postponed biography of great-great-great-grandfather William. An undefeated prize-fighter and winner of 200 belts in the [...]

M.O.’s m.o. – or; Everybody wants to be like Mike

A review of Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight. – For The Spectator

Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy Bluffer’s Guide

Last weekend I played host to a particularly friendly cricket match – by which I mean that both teams had no clue what they were doing. The opposition, Rain Men, were captained by my friend and usual team-mate Simon, whose excuse was that he’d only played the game 263 times previously. The other captain was, [...]

Monty’s trouble

A footsoldier’s review of Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: the Battle for the Bridges, 1944. – For The Oldie

Sehr Gutenberg

On movable type, the Internet, and almost every damn thing in between. – For The Oldie

Spies like us?

A less-than-Smiley response to John le Carré. – For The Oldie

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. Norway has five leper hospitals, with about 600 patients. — The Nelson Evening Mail, January 24 1907 . There is an injury called ’tennis elbow of the heel’. The rocks in the Sultanate of Oman are special. Hitler only started all the Nazi bollocks because he was such a godawful painter. There is no necessary connection between [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. We call our day 24 hours, but it is really 23 hours 56 minutes 5 seconds. — The Nelson Evening Mail, September 28 1906 . ‘Facetious’ is the shortest word in the English language including all the vowels in alphabetical order. The English theatre loves the joker. Samuel Beckett notched up 35 runs in first-class cricket. UK funeral directors are [...]

Creation-ism

This weekend I will be joining a local choral society for their performance of Haydn’s The Creation – and what better way to welcome Spring now that it’s finally arrived. An avowed and much-loved masterpiece from its earliest performances – Vienna, 1798 – ‘whose appeal [I read from A Peter Brown's DECCA sleeve-notes] was irresistible [...]