Dawn of the Antiskilled

10th March 2013 0

Le Figaro recently ran an article predicting that, by 2030, the British economy would be the largest in Europe. I felt a momentary spike of patriotic optimism: then I pulled myself together, and thought ‘If this is really true, so much the worse for Europe.’ I suppose that having been so accustomed to national decline ever since my birth (I … [Read on]

President Normal the 1st of France

9th March 2013 0

Sometimes I feel a little sorry for people in high public office. First they are photographed everywhere they go, then the picture editors choose the photos that show them at their worst. Mrs Clinton, for example, is always shown is if she were playing Lady Macbeth. Of course, there is an explanation for this other than the malice of picture … [Read on]

TV Executions

7th March 2013 0

The late Neil Postman wrote a brilliant book titles Amusing ourselves to Death about the deleterious cultural effects of television. The author maintained that television was an intrinsically trivialising medium, that it made shallow whatever it touched, dissolving utterly the distinction between the important and the unimportant. Whether or not his thesis is true, whether or not a non-trivialising TV … [Read on]

The Bishop’s Portakabin

7th March 2013 0

A few days ago I visited what is acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful parish churches in England. I was horrified by what the philistines of the Church of England had done to its interior. I won’t mention which church it was, for it was by no means the first church I had seen so aesthetically vandalised and … [Read on]

Grog Blossoms

7th March 2013 0

Not every painter reputed great pleases me, and among those who do not is Jacob Jordaens (1593 – 1678). There is an exhibition of his work on at the moment the Petit Palais in Paris, and as I left I heard a French woman sigh as she, too, left, ‘That’s enough for me.’ My sentiments exactly. Jordaens is best known … [Read on]

A Fearful Lie

7th March 2013 0

Although I don’t practice medicine any more I still read some of the medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. A banal sentence in a multi-authored paper in that august publication caught my attention last week: The first and last authors vouch for the accuracy and completeness of the reported data and analyses and for adherence of the … [Read on]


10th December 2012 0

Last week I went to a dinner for the retired consultants of the hospital in which I had worked. How everyone (apart from me, of course) had aged! I have seen the future and it is death. But let that pass. It was only six weeks from Christmas, and so, in this land where Christmas lasts at least three months, … [Read on]

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