Were the Sex Pistols inspired by Bach?

25th March 2013 0

A friend in France having recommended the film The Grand Budapest Hotel, I went to see it recently. Tastes evidently vary, even among friends. The film was a long and painfully extended joke about Central Europe that was not very funny to begin with and the script was completely without the wit that might just have carried off the original … [Read on]

Theodore Dalrymple finds being swindled by an honest thief preferable to being robbed by his bank

20th March 2013 0

Reading about the recent murderous explosions in Volgograd and their Dagestani perpetrators, I could not help but recall my only visit to Dagestan and its capital, Makhachkala. Although the Soviet Union no longer existed, it was not surprisingly still very Soviet in atmosphere: for it has proved easier to take a country out of the Soviet Union than the Soviet … [Read on]

The Bag Snatcher of Downing Street

19th March 2013 0

Only once have I hit my wife and that was by accident. I was driving in Naples and a motor scooter swerve in front of my car, causing me to stop. At that moment a young man, a pedestrian, opened the rear door and grabbed my wife’s bag sitting, vulnerable, on the back seat. I turned to give him a … [Read on]

Life is tricky in a country that has no national tongue

13th March 2013 0

I was in Morrison’s yesterday and noticed several stacked rows of Lindt chocolate bunnies wrapped in gold paper, lined up in their boxes horizontally, except many of them weren’t; their little chocolate bodies replaced by bunny shaped empty spaces, as many of them had been nicked, purloined, and guzzled before getting anywhere near the till. As I had heard that … [Read on]

Girlie shrieks versus the stutter of AK47s

10th March 2013 0

On line there are heart stopping images from Syria showing hands, feet and faces smashed to pieces, eyes gouged out, and one young man being castrated. It’s almost an equivalent of Nazi activity in occupied Europe, the effects are going to last for years and years. Here in the UK we are preoccupied with the question of whether a fat, … [Read on]

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]

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