Great Britain

The Disastrous Life Of Jeremy Thorpe

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Hardly any of my friends remember what happened to Jeremy Thorpe, one of those peculiarly English stories filled with awful details – so I decided to read up on it. I first made the mistake of reading Auberon Waugh’s ‘The Last Word: An Eye Witness Account of the Thorpe Trial’, but Waugh was never a […]

Making Money From The Arts

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  In today’s Guardian Suzanne Moore points out that the role of an arts college has been quietly changing behind our backs. 80 students have been occupying Central Saint Martin’s, which is planning to ditch 580 foundation course places. These are the one-year courses which are all that now remain of the free art school […]

Spent: Viv Nicholson Passes Into Mythology

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The people who make it into modern mythology aren’t always heroines or heroes; particular;y here in the UK we often remember them because they tried and failed. One thinks of our love of explorers like Scott of the Antarctic or Earnest Shackleton and the Endurance, or even Eddie the Eagle, the hopeless Olympic skier. Add […]

Rubbish At Sport? Be Proud.

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As a kid I was the second to last to be picked for football matches. My friend John was last, and he had polio. In my school you played compulsory rugby or cricket. I usually went to the library and took the punishment, although I did play once and let through the winning try, because […]

Two Oxfords

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I did not go to university. My grades were good enough to secure an excellent placement, but ultimately it was my decision not to go. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the many writers who had started by honing language in advertising, then move into journalism. During that journey, I fell out of […]

You Can Be Different – Just Not Too Different

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I’ve always returned to London because it was just so damned different to everywhere else, but when I walked into Leicester Square yesterday and saw that the entire centre garden had been swallowed up by something called ‘the Disney Cinderella Experience’ my heart sank. First, it’s that word ‘experience’, tacked onto everything. Then there’s the […]

Who Was Oscar Deutsch?

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The simple answer is that he entertained our nation. Deutsch (1893-1941) created a cinema circuit to rival the big two, Gaumont and ABC, and his chain is still with us today. This inconsequential-looking little man was the son of a Jewish Hungarian scrap metal merchant, and brought about an extraordinary revolution in British style, a […]

A Load Of Tripe

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I am addicted to Very Silly blogs as an antidote to an increasingly serious world. While drifting through the interweb the other day I discovered this. It turns out Bill Tidy isn’t the only man obsessed with tripe (see columns passim). Bill Blunt, journalist, is just such a chap. I mention him after stumbling across […]

Southern Jessies: Try Going North!

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A grim statistic surfaced in the press this week; for every 12 new jobs created in the South, there’s 1 job lost in the North of England. This is after a much-fanfared promise of devolution to city regions which proved such a hot topic in national and local government, when chancellor George Osborne set out […]

The Vulgarians Are Amongst Us

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A couple of days ago a chap called Matt posted a comment on the piece about headphones which struck a chord with me. He pointed out that my idea of mid-range items and his were the line between Haves and Have-Nots, which is an ever more pertinent topic of discussion here in London where the […]