Andrea Chénier, Royal Opera House, review: like a Carry On – but without the jokes

21 January 2015 11:53
Leave your brain at the door: David McVicar's Andrea Chenier at the Royal Opera House. All images: Bill Cooper/ROH

Andrea Chénier Royal Opera House, in rep until 6 February Who on earth could have predicted that a hoary old operatic melodrama set in revolutionary France would find resonance in… Continue reading


Will the US Embassy’s haggis virgin be tempted to lift the offal ban?

21 January 2015 11:48
Lord McColl, Ranald MacDonald and Stan Phillips

It was the culmination of an elaborate lobbying operation. The scene was set, the piper poised and the whisky flowing. As the Haggis was piped in to Boisdale on Bishopgate last… Continue reading


Revealed: Michael Gove’s ‘female ballad’ ringtone

21 January 2015 10:24
Michael Gove's secret is out

After Michael Gove’s mobile phone went off in a Cabinet meeting, everyone’s been trying to find out what the ‘jazzy’ ringtone is. As Mr S documented, even Charles Moore was thwarted in… Continue reading


Blunt is right. Being posh in the arts is career suicide

20 January 2015 14:55
Chris Bryant and James Blunt

Yesterday saw Labour’s shadow minister for the arts, Chris Bryant MP, amusingly and justly savaged by the pop star James Blunt for some ill-advised remarks about the predominance of public school… Continue reading


Newsnight: Has Paxman just taken a shot at Ian Katz?

20 January 2015 14:48
Now that would be real news...

Since Jeremy Paxman quit Newsnight last year, he has hardly been discreet with regards to his feelings about the BBC’s flagship current affairs show, claiming it is run by 12-year-olds. Now, he tells this week’s Radio Times… Continue reading


Does Harriet Harman love or loathe Obama? It’s becoming hard to tell…

20 January 2015 13:44

‘Most people will feel that Obama does not really know what is going on in this country,’ said a snappy Harriet Harman last night. The Labour deputy leader was sent… Continue reading


Coffee Shots: Facebook HQ ‘sceptical’ of Ukip

20 January 2015 10:00
Facebook officials chose the 'sceptical' room for their meeting with Ukip

When Ukip officials arrived at Facebook HQ for a meet-and-greet, they were surprised to be led to a boardroom that went by the name of ‘sceptical’. However, far from a tense affair,… Continue reading


Exclusive: Russell Brand pays an unwelcome visit to Lord Rothermere’s home

20 January 2015 8:00
Russell Brand was an unwelcome guest at Lord Rothermere's home

Russell Brand’s stints filming for his new documentary on the financial crisis have so far seen him storm RBS and upset a bank employee by causing his lunch to go… Continue reading


Now that the Sun has axed Page 3 girls, will Britain ever be the same?

19 January 2015 23:31
Lacey, 19, from Bradford.

Word is that Friday’s edition of The Sun was the last to have a topless woman on Page 3 – thereby closing a chapter of British cultural history. Immortalised, perhaps, in… Continue reading


Catholics must not breed like rabbits, says the Pope. Yes, you read that right

19 January 2015 19:56

Catholics should not breed like rabbits and gender theory is a bit like the Hitler Youth. Yup, the Supreme Pontiff is giving another of his in-flight interviews and yet again… Continue reading


Chuka his toys out of the pram

19 January 2015 16:03

Uh oh, looks like Chuka Umunna hasn’t been doing his homework. The shadow business secretary walked out of a live television interview on Sky News after he was asked his… Continue reading


Good question, Mr Bryant, where are the Albert Finneys and the Glenda Jacksons?

19 January 2015 15:48
James Blunt and Chris Bryant.

James Blunt, the self-deprecating musician who may or may not have stopped World War III, has written an open letter to Chris Bryant calling him a ‘classist gimp’ after the… Continue reading


Green Party smash their own system

19 January 2015 15:00
Natalie Bennett says Green Party membership has reached record numbers

Last week the Green Party announced that their membership has soared to 52,000, thanks to a little help from the free publicity awarded to them by the Prime Minister over the leaders’… Continue reading


‘Blooming precious’ James Blunt vs ‘prejudiced wazzock’ Chris Bryant

19 January 2015 14:16
James Blunt is married to Sofia Wellesley

Chris Bryant’s call for more diversity in British culture, has hit a nerve with James Blunt. After Bryant, the new shadow culture minister, remarked that ‘we can’t just have a culture… Continue reading


Will South Thanet care that Al Murray has a gig in Dartford on election night?

19 January 2015 13:00

On election night, Al Murray will not be in South Thanet as is the usual custom among candidate hopefuls. Instead, the 46-year-old comedian will be performing a gig in Dartford. Despite… Continue reading


Met Opera Live’s Merry Widow, review: kitsch, glorious kitsch

19 January 2015 11:54
Renée Fleming is Hanna and Nathan Gunn is Danilo in Lehár's The Merry Widow. Photo: Brigitte Lacombe/Metropolitan Opera

The Merry Widow Met Opera Live ‘Even today, at 75, the waltz from The Merry Widow sends me into a fit of rage,’ wrote Richard Strauss to his close collaborator… Continue reading


How Kraftwerk did more to shape modern music than anyone since the Beatles

19 January 2015 9:00
Getty Images Europe

Normally, few things in life are quite so tedious as listening to a bunch of academics discussing pop music. However this week’s Kraftwerk Konferenz at Aston University may be the… Continue reading


The coalition government is not blame for the latest NHS ‘crisis’

18 January 2015 11:29
No, the Tories aren't killing off the NHS.

Of all the accusations thrust at the Conservatives by Labour over the NHS in recent weeks, their weakest has been the attempt to blame the Government’s reforms to the NHS… Continue reading


Spectator competition: Not Richard Dawkins’s Book of the Year (plus: literary agony uncles and aunts)

17 January 2015 9:15
Richard Dawkins. Could these blurbs make the bible his book of the year? Image: Getty

The recent call for publicity blurbs that sell the bible to a modern audience attracted a host of new competitors as well as the old-timers. Kieran Corcoran’s entry presented Jesus… Continue reading


Burnham’s bill for hollow Hunt legal threat

17 January 2015 9:00
The Attorney General Applies To Judges At The High Court To Quash The Original Hillsborough Inquest Verdicts

Ubiquitous Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has had to admit that he ‘spent’ £25,000 in a disastrous and embarrassing threat to sue his counterpart Jeremy Hunt. Burnham has had to… Continue reading


The ineffable sadness of Mitt Romney 2016

16 January 2015 14:58
Mitt Romney Campaigns With AK Senate Candidate Dan Sullivan In Anchorage

The suggestion Mitt Romney might make another run for the Presidency of the United States made me think of a line from one of my father’s novels: ‘There’s nothing so sad… Continue reading


Do Theresa May and Mr Henry Bellingham think we were born yesterday?

16 January 2015 12:57
Image: Getty

On Wednesday the Home Secretary made a statement in the House of Commons about the terrorist attacks last week in Paris. Here is part of the Hansard transcript of the… Continue reading


Charles Moore puts Michael Gove’s ‘jazzy’ ringtone to the test

16 January 2015 12:19
Michael Gove's secret is out

Ever since Michael Gove was scolded at Cabinet for bringing his noisy mobile phone into the room, everyone’s been trying to find out what the ringtone is. Cabinet sources various… Continue reading


That’s Dr Vince Cable to you…

16 January 2015 11:10
Vince Cable has a PhD

After Vince Cable was ditched last week as the Liberal Democrat’s main economic spokesman, Mr S is pleased to hear that he still has some titles left to his name.… Continue reading


Nine ways to stop your child getting fat

16 January 2015 10:17

About a third of children in the UK are overweight, increasing their risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and joint problems in adulthood. Here are some hints… Continue reading