coffee house

Coffee Houserss

Time for Elgar to go global

25 May 2007 8:33

One of the guests at our third Elgar concert at The Spectator’s offices in Old Queen Street last night shrewdly pointed out the oddity that the great composer does not… Continue reading


More abuse to come

24 May 2007 17:51

Why does David Cameron keep insulting his party? It’s a question plenty of Tories are asking and the answer is buried on p33 of The Times today. Its new chief… Continue reading


A novel way to get on the property ladder

24 May 2007 16:57

Despairing about how to get on the property ladder in London? Then you might want to talk to a 70 year old tramp called Harry Hallowes who’s ended up with… Continue reading


Expect some market turbulence

24 May 2007 12:37

In my Any Other Business column in the magazine this week I warn that the overheating of the Shanghai stock market looks highly likely to lead to a local crash… Continue reading


Who needs Iowa?

24 May 2007 11:55

Thirteen of the last fourteen nominees from the two major US parties have won the first primary  state of Iowa. The odd one out? A certain Bill Clinton in 1992,… Continue reading


Will Brown abolish inheritance tax?

24 May 2007 10:02

Peter Wilby thinks he might in an effort to establish his middle England credentials. Can’t see it myself, though.


Is Hillary’s camp in a panic?

23 May 2007 23:40

If you want to know how much the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has changed since people thought that Hillary just had to turn up to win, read this story about… Continue reading


Reading aloud

23 May 2007 23:05

A hot, hot night in a Portobello Road boookshop for a poetry reading (see my earlier post) hosted by the excellent Pass on a Poem and Oxfam, in aid of… Continue reading

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Why Rocky rocks

23 May 2007 19:02

DVD release of the week is Rocky Balboa, the sixth and final instalment of the boxing saga. Yes, I know the idea of the 60-year-old Sylvester Stallone climbing into the… Continue reading

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An unhealthy performance from Cameron

23 May 2007 12:49

There is a curious sound Labour MPs make when Tony Blair is on form, a kind of yodel which resonates around the chamber. We heard plenty of it this afternoon,… Continue reading

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Name that minister

23 May 2007 12:43

Iain Dale is running a rather cheeky competition to name the most incompetent Labour minister. As his comments section demonstrates, there’s no shortage of candidates. The question is will things… Continue reading

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Groups of New York?

23 May 2007 10:40

According to the Youth Justice Board, most teenage “gangs” should be referred to less abrasively as “groups”. Which makes me think how very different Martin Scorsese’s movie would have been… Continue reading


Bush signs off on black ops against Iran

23 May 2007 10:09

ABC News has an interesting report on the CIA’s new covert Iran strategy which is designed to get the Iranians to stop enriching uranium and arming elements of the insurgency… Continue reading


Cameron’s education

23 May 2007 7:52

Tim Montgomerie has a piece in today’s Daily Telegraph which should cause anxiety in Conservative Party HQ. Tim – reasonable and eloquent as ever – explains why the grammar school… Continue reading

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Our rotten taste in tomatoes

22 May 2007 18:14

Some people think that the only tomato worth eating is the one you’ve grown yourself but this isn’t actually true. I can think of loads of tomatoes – eg the… Continue reading


Remembering Sheridan Morley

22 May 2007 16:38

What a wonderful afternoon it was! Who can imagine a theatre jammed full of the most famous thespians in London honouring that despised creature, a theatre critic? But they —… Continue reading

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The great PMs

22 May 2007 15:58

Over at Comment is Free, Martin Kettle has an interesting post on which 20th Century British Prime Ministers deserve to be classified as outstanding. Kettle thinks that 11 deserve the… Continue reading


Poetic news

22 May 2007 15:08

Tomorrow, I am taking part in the launch of Pass on a Poem, a terrific campaign to encourage the reading and enjoyment of poetry at the Oxfam Bookshop, 170 Portobello… Continue reading


Will he or won’t he?

22 May 2007 13:12

If you want a quick guide to whether Al Gore will end up running for president or not read this piece by Ben Smith, one of the savviest US political… Continue reading


The fight on the right

22 May 2007 12:08

The issue that ends up rendering asunder the American right will not be Iraq but the other i-word, immigration. George W. Bush and Karl Rove have long believed that the… Continue reading


An audience with the King of Google

22 May 2007 0:28

Just back from Google Zeitgeist Europe 2007 in Hertfordshire, as dazzling an assembly of those shaping the destiny of the web as you could hope to behold. The cast list… Continue reading


Hollywood, friend of cheap dates everywhere

21 May 2007 16:42

Leonardo di-Caprio and Blood Diamond gave men an excuse not to buy their wives and girlfriends diamonds on the grounds that they were ethically tainted. Now Julia Roberts is going… Continue reading

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The political web

21 May 2007 13:36

Fascinating piece in today’s Washington Post about Republican’s fears that they are “losing the Web.” What was once a side-show for political geeks is becoming core electoral terrain. Actually the… Continue reading


Advantage Cameron

21 May 2007 12:48

Just back from David Cameron’s press conference. It was a Blair-style "beat the goalie" session, with journalists invited to ask him nasty questions until they were exhausted. And, like Blair,… Continue reading


A good idea from Don Rumsfeld–no really

21 May 2007 12:21

Few people have a good word to say about Don Rumsfeld right now and there is little doubt that he was an absolute disaster in his second stint at the… Continue reading