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Revealed: Stephen Fry’s brush with the law over James Rhodes injunction

24 May 2015 13:20

Last week James Rhodes won a legal battle to publish his memoir Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music. This judgement came after his ex-wife took out an injunction through… Continue reading

A face that Country Life claims to be of Shakespeare featured in the 'Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes'. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

There’s one obvious reason why this image could only be of Shakespeare

24 May 2015 10:56

Professor Stanley Wells writes that the newly identified picture of Shakespeare on the title page of Gerard’s Herball (1597) is ‘obviously not Shakespeare’ but neither he, nor Mark Griffiths, the botanist… Continue reading

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Revealed: Lithuania, not Sweden, was Britain’s real Eurovision choice

24 May 2015 2:26

So when Nigella Lawson popped up on television to give Britain’s results, what had Britain decided? The UK vote is a 50/50 split between jury and televoting – and the… Continue reading

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How to break Britain’s Eurovision curse

24 May 2015 1:32

“Over the past five years, Britain has produced some of the biggest chart-topping acts on the planet from Adele to One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith. But in nearly two decades, it… Continue reading

Image: Getty

Spectator competition: An update on Belloc’s kiddie delinquents (plus: write a poem celebrating a modern-day blot on the landscape)

23 May 2015 9:30

The call for an update on one of the children in Cautionary Tales who lived to tell the tale attracted a large and excellent entry. Belloc’s gallery of kiddie delinquents… Continue reading

A face that Country Life claims to be of Shakespeare featured in the 'Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes'. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

This ‘new image of Shakespeare’ is obviously not Shakespeare – but I’ll tell you who it might be

22 May 2015 13:39

In its issue dated 20 May, Country Life has published a long article by the botanical historian Mark Griffiths claiming that a figure on the magnificent title page of John… Continue reading

James Rhodes has won the right to publish an autobiography telling of his abuse as a child (Photo: Getty)

Another child abuse memoir. Why can’t the past be private?

21 May 2015 17:17

I feel torn on pianist James Rhodes’ victory at the Supreme Court yesterday. On one hand, the lifting of the legal injunction preventing him from publishing his child-abuse memoir is… Continue reading

Sansa Stark, star of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has always been a vacuous banquet of sex and violence. Why are people suddenly outraged by it?

20 May 2015 16:27

If you’ve never watched Game of Thrones, it is a twee fantasy show in which men and women discuss politics at length, dance in Austen-like balls, and drink small amounts of wine by streams. Characters… Continue reading


What Afghan soldiers really think – the same as us

19 May 2015 11:36

‘The NATO Commander in Eastern Afghanistan has said that this year 54 foreign bases have already been closed…’ Last December Channel 4 aired a documentary entitled Billion Dollar Base: Deconstructing… Continue reading

Anna Harvey as the widow in Walton's The Bear at the Royal Academy of Music

Why do directors of comic opera encourage performers not to behave like human beings?

18 May 2015 12:25

The Royal Academy of Music’s Sir Jack Lyons Theatre is closing, whether for refurbishment or to make way for something more ambitious I don’t know. It’s a place where I… Continue reading

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Image: Getty

Spectator competition: ‘I have my own gun and a mind sufficient cold to master the arcane philosophies of your payment protection insurance’: Cormac McCarthy applies for a telesales job (plus: write a saucy short story)

16 May 2015 9:30

Inspiration for the latest comp came from a young Hunter S. Thompson’s characteristically unorthodox pitch for a position at the Vancouver Sun. An unflattering portrait of his relationship with a… Continue reading


Why dance needs a Simon Cowell

15 May 2015 17:08

I have more and more time for Simon Cowell. On Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday night he was dishing out his hard-faced reality check to the parade of wannabes who… Continue reading

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Dulwich Picture Gallery fakes its own Fragonard

15 May 2015 8:00

This article was first published on Apollo magazine’s blog The latest addition to Dulwich Picture Gallery’s permanent collection display was a bargain at $88. For weeks the cheap Chinese copy… Continue reading

Ian Fleming

If I were prime minister, by Ian Fleming

14 May 2015 19:35

This article was first published in The Spectator on 9 October, 1959. I am a totally non-political animal. I prefer the name of the Liberal Party to the name of any… Continue reading


Chris Burden created some of the most exciting and utterly deranged art I’ve ever seen

14 May 2015 19:22

I once went out with a girl who jabbed me in the ribs every time I mouthed the phrase ‘conceptual art’. It hurt, but I got her point. The C-word,… Continue reading

It's a brand opportunity!

A radical guide to boosting your baby’s ‘brand individuality’

14 May 2015 17:50

A Telegraph journalist, Lucy Denyer, has written about how rubbish it is that people are calling their children stupid, made-up names. (Spoiler alert: I’m anti stupid made-up names.) Trouble is, while… Continue reading

'Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)', 1955, by Pablo Picasso

What you could buy for the price of a $179million Picasso

13 May 2015 15:00

This article was first published on Apollo magazine’s blog Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) was the star lot at Christie’s ‘Looking Forward to the Past’ sale on 11 May, smashing the… Continue reading

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The polling debacle – and the wisdom of Walt Whitman

12 May 2015 18:45

I was at the IEA/Taxpayers’ Alliance post-election conference yesterday, listening to Lord Ashcroft giving facts and figures about why voters chose the Tories. Given how wrong all of the pollsters were,… Continue reading

Nicola Sturgeon, as depicted by Morten Morland on the cover of this week's Spectator (with apologies to Delacroix)

Spectator competition: a poem for the victorious Nicola Sturgeon

9 May 2015 12:10

In a 1985 interview with the New Republic,  Mario Cuomo famously said that politicians campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Last week, we asked competitors to put their own twist… Continue reading


Channel 4′s The Vote reviewed: ‘complex, acute, very funny and oddly moving’

8 May 2015 14:21

He’s back on top form. James Graham has taken the unlikeliest setting, a polling station during the last hour of a general election, and turned it into a beautifully crafted… Continue reading


Who is the bigger pillock: Alan Partridge or Steve Coogan?

5 May 2015 13:21

Those of us who spent our teens quoting Alan Partridge owe a lot to Steve Coogan. He made my adolescence funnier, at any rate. Yet I know several people who… Continue reading

Who will write a poem for Charlotte Elizabeth Diana?

Spectator competition: write a poem for the new royal baby (because the Poet Laureate won’t)

4 May 2015 17:03

Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate, has again refused to write a poem to commemorate the birth of the new royal, Charlotte Elizabeth Diane. Rod Liddle has written his own… Continue reading

The new Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy po

Carol Ann Duffy won’t write a poem for the royal baby, so I have

4 May 2015 15:11

Our wonderful bisexual poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has decided once again not to write any of her doggerel to commemorate the latest royal birth. I suppose this is a… Continue reading

Geoffrey Chaucer. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: Nando’s with Chaucer (plus: what became of Belloc’s Lord Lundy?)

2 May 2015 9:30

The title of a poem by Anthony Brode, ‘Breakfast with Gerard Manley Hopkins’, prompted me to invite verse submissions describing a meal with a well-known poet. Sylvia Fairley tucked, somewhat… Continue reading

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Why you should listen to the great pianist who gave in to the Nazis

1 May 2015 11:12

Alfred Cortot (1877-1962) was in my opinion the greatest pianist in recorded history. If I had to give one reason – and there are many – it would be the… Continue reading