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Tag Archives: London

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

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

Spies like us?

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

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. There are more Jews in New York than there are in Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland put together. They worship in 37 synagogues. Every fifth person belongs to the family of Abraham. — The Nelson Evening Mail, December 1 1906   . Coleraine Blackjack is the cheapest porter in the world. Thomas Nelson [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. The German army has the healthiest troops in the world. — The Nelson Evening Mail, July 13 1908 . In January 2001 a BBC documentary crew filmed the everyday goings on in a typical workplace. The skin of fantas melons smells of BO. There’s 25% off Rovic floors. Philip Hensher will read any old crap. [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. More than 6000 editions of the “Imitation of Christ”, ascribed to Thomas a Kempis, have been issued in the past 400 years. — The Nelson Evening Mail, January 21 1907 . The record for the fastest hole in golf is 32.7 seconds. Acres of quiet farmland set a peaceful scene. ‘Bert’ is like a [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. Throughout Denmark there is not one person over 10 years of age who cannot read or write. — The Nelson Evening Mail, September 4 1906 . There is a whale whose voice is too low to communicate with other whales. Seatbelts do not statistically improve your chances of surviving a car accident. London’s Mithraic temple is [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. Our Eastern allies have just spent £2,000,000 in equipping a Government steel works. — The Nelson Evening Mail, September 8 1908 . Ben Stokes is the sixth Englishman to have his name on the honours boards at Lord’s for both batting and bowling. The smell of hot food is not very common on building sites. Annalise was [...]

Failure to launch?

To Daunt’s in Marylebone, last night, where former pretty-boy and nightclub bouncer (and Amorist ‘Fiascos’ columnist) Anthony McGowan launched his latest literary venture, The Art of Failing. Subtitled Notes from the Underdog, the book chronicles a year in the life of West Hampstead’s shambolic would-be flâneur, by way of library mishaps, bad packed lunches, and [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. On the body of a man who committed suicide in the canal at New Gravel Lane, Stepney, a hospital card was found marked “delusions”.’ — The Nelson Evening Mail, January 6 1909 . The new Norwegian Bible translation is by no means a rush job. Gieves & Hawkes is the cheapest Top 10 London tailor. [...]

An unsigned note

Oldie readers will need no reminding that the heart of John le Carré’s ‘Circus’ – indeed, of his entire ouevre – is one George Smiley OBE. From Call for the Dead (in ’61) to the classic ‘Karla trilogy’, and on til (almost) the collapse of Communism, he battled foe and, sometimes, friend, quite often in [...]