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David Beckham leaves the field. Photo:  ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images

Tattoos are sad and stupid – we should discriminate against people with them

20 August 2014 15:31

It’s not often you can blame Samantha Cameron, Sandra Howard and Cheryl Cole for a social trend that blights the job prospects of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men and women,… Continue reading

54 Comments
Photographer:
Andersen Ross / Blend Images

Is there anything worse than kids’ parties? Actually yes – the shops that sell kids’ presents

19 August 2014 16:17

It has been a bad fortnight. Not only am I off the sauce for a few weeks to help my liver grow back, last weekend saw me preparing for a… Continue reading

14 Comments
Robin-Thicke-Blurred-Lines-Video-Feature

I’d like to share my favourite violent pop video with you

19 August 2014 14:03

This week has seen the Prime Minister playing Mary Whitehouse again. On Monday he announced that, as of October, music videos on sites like YouTube and Vevo are to carry… Continue reading

17 Comments
Little Miss Muffet cast in sand at the  Creepy Crawlies Sandscupting Exhibition in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Getty

Spectator competition: recast a nursery rhyme in the style of a well-known author (plus pets who perish in unusual ways)

16 August 2014 9:28

I was prompted to ask for short odes on the death of a pet in unusual circumstances by Thomas Gray’s poem ‘Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned… Continue reading

1 Comment
Debbie Sledge of Sister Sledge at Tramlines Festival 2014. Photo:  Andrew Benge/Redferns via Getty Images

Roland Barthes was a fan of Sister Sledge – and I can see why

15 August 2014 11:36

Disco, the tackiest of music subcultures, is the nostalgia choice de nos jours. The sudden revival is a sort of pop gentrification. You want proof? They play Baccara’s ‘Yes Sir,… Continue reading

21 Comments
British Union Jack flags flutter in the

After Scotland, whither Britain? Divorce is a costly business.

14 August 2014 17:48

If, like me, you missed Andrew Neil’s BBC programme exploring What the Hell Happens to the United Kingdom if Scotland Votes for Independence Next Month you might be interested to know that… Continue reading

98 Comments
The Village. Photo: BBC / Company Pictures / Brian Sweeney

The Village: Sunday-night TV at its most unsubtle and addictive

14 August 2014 16:38

Proof that television has changed a bit since 1972 came with an archive clip shown on BBC4 on Sunday. ‘My first guest:’ Michael Parkinson announced matter-of-factly on his Saturday-night chat… Continue reading

4 Comments
Robin Williams outside the Comedy Store in 1978. Photo: Wynn Miller/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Robin Williams in London

14 August 2014 14:46

In 2001 I wrote a book called The Comedy Store (still available in some good bookshops – and quite a lot of bad ones) about the London comedy club that… Continue reading

6 Comments
Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall — a true great

13 August 2014 11:15

As so often, no one put it better than Papa. Here is Ernest Hemingway talking of all the movies made from his novels and short stories: ‘The only two I… Continue reading

9 Comments
6th Annual Stand Up For Heroes - Show

What’s your favourite Robin Williams one-liner?

12 August 2014 10:49

Mr S was saddened to hear of the death of Robin Williams — a man who contributed to the gaiety of nations. People wax lyrical about Williams’s ability to inhabit… Continue reading

58 Comments
Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming, James Bond and The Spectator

12 August 2014 10:30

It’s 50 years since the death of Ian Fleming and The Spectator has always taken James Bond seriously. The writer of the Spectator’s Notebook in 1962 went along eagerly to… Continue reading

13 Comments
Wynton-Marsalis1

Martin Gayford meets the jazz legend Wynton Marsalis

10 August 2014 11:05

In this week’s magazine, Martin Gayford interviews the trumpeter and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, who founded ‘Jazz’ at Lincoln Center in New York City. Here are some quotes from his piece. ‘One… Continue reading

4 Comments
Mel

3,000 masochists descend on Edinburgh

9 August 2014 11:30

And they’re off. The mighty caravan of romantic desperadoes, radical egoists, stadium wannabes, struggling superstars and vanity crackheads is on its way to Edinburgh. This year’s Fringe sponsor is Virgin… Continue reading

41 Comments
Flanders Fields 100 Years Since The Great War

Spectator competition: write a preview in verse of when the lights go out (plus voter-repelling party political broadcasts)

9 August 2014 9:00

The recent call for off-putting party political broadcasts on behalf of the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens or Ukip drew a surprisingly small entry. But the Green party… Continue reading

6 Comments
T.E. Lawrence's vision of Arabia.

What has Hezbollah’s Secretary General been reading this summer?

8 August 2014 18:09

In Britain we seem to be obsessed by what our politicians are reading this summer. It tells us, so we think, about the way they’re thinking or perhaps just what… Continue reading

43 Comments
Rare Roman Souvenir Acquired By The British Museum

The great David Ekserdjian deserves a museum of his own

8 August 2014 14:28

Ever since Mr Blair’s New Dawn of 1997, the dominant idea in public policy towards public collections has been ‘access’. The doctrine is more than half-right: art, antiquities etc paid… Continue reading

1 Comment
Chapman Pincher tests for uranium (Photo: Getty)

Harry Chapman Pincher – ‘Fleet Street’s spy-hound’ (1914 – 2014)

6 August 2014 18:55

Harry Chapman Pincher, the veteran investigative journalist, has died aged 100. He was renowned for unearthing military secrets and exposing spies. Earlier this year, The Spectator published a review of… Continue reading

0 Comments
Ruffers

Anti-Semitic double standards: the arts and the Jews

6 August 2014 15:35

‘Would you force anyone else to behave like this?’ the promoters of the UK Jewish Film Festival asked the artistic director of London’s Tricycle Theatre. Indhu Rubasingham and her colleagues… Continue reading

520 Comments
Chapman Brothers show at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Picture: Hugo Glendinning

I take my kids to galleries to demonstrate my cultural superiority over the masses

5 August 2014 17:40

Jake Chapman, one half of the YBA duo the Chapman Brothers, has been rude about taking children to art galleries. He told the Independent that ‘it’s as moronic as a… Continue reading

3 Comments
Imperial War Museum. Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty.

The Apollo Podcast July/August: The Imperial War Museum Reopens

4 August 2014 17:24

The Apollo magazine podcast, produced in association with The Spectator’s Culture House, takes a monthly look at international art and museum news. In the July/August edition, Thomas Marks is joined by Diane… Continue reading

0 Comments
London Gay Pride. Picture: Getty

‘Tolerance’ is the last thing gays need

4 August 2014 16:59

There I was flexing my defensive muscles, waiting for the tsunami of hatred to come my way once my new book hit the shelves, when I discovered that not only… Continue reading

96 Comments
Image: Getty

Spectator competition: provide snippets of misleading advice for British tourists travelling abroad (plus Margaret Thatcher’s secret love poetry)

2 August 2014 9:30

The recent challenge to unmask a secret poet among well-known figures from 20th-century history produced a postbag full of politician-bards, which included poignant lines from the pens of Edward Heath… Continue reading

3 Comments
Image: Getty

If the Edinburgh Fringe thinks it’s fine to give in to bigots, I might have to give up on the Edinburgh Fringe

31 July 2014 15:38

When is a great international arts festival not a great international arts festival? When it can’t uphold even the most basic principles of free speech. Last night a play by an Israeli… Continue reading

330 Comments
German NSA Investigation Committee Considers Typewriters Out of Data Leak Concerns As Sales Rise

Tunes of Numpties: Scottish novelists on independence

31 July 2014 13:26

There are many ways to commission fat-headed political analysis but, in my experience, by far the easiest is to ask a novelist his (or her) opinion on the great issues… Continue reading

182 Comments
Moeen Ali. (Image: Getty)

Moeen Ali reminds us that sometimes sport is the only place for politics

29 July 2014 18:46

Moeen Ali, the England cricketer, faces a possible reprimand after the International Cricket Council (ICC), the game’s governing body, censured him for wearing two wristbands, one saying ‘Save Gaza’, the other… Continue reading

114 Comments