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Alexander Chancellor was editor of The Spectator 1975-1984


Our first kills of spring

19 April 2014

The arrival of spring is not an unmitigated joy. The warmth is nice, of course, as are the fresh leaves on the trees and the general sense of rebirth and… Read more

The Queen And Duke Of Edinburgh Visit Rome And The Vatican City

Compassion is fashionable again. Thank the Pope

12 April 2014

There was something poignant about the decision of L’Wren Scott, Mick Jagger’s American girlfriend, who committed suicide in New York last month, to leave everything she had to him in… Read more


America's crazy war on old pianos

5 April 2014

More than 20 years ago, when I was living in New York, I wrote an article about the mutilation by the United States government of a fine old piano on… Read more

Duchy Originals In New Agreement With Waitrose

I'll have to give up Waitrose. It's too exciting for me now

29 March 2014

Waitrose in Towcester has closed down for a week to make what it describes as ‘a final few touches’ to an ‘exciting’ refurbishment. We will see just how exciting this… Read more

Newbury Races

It's sheer madness for Cameron to resurrect the hunting issue

22 March 2014

My house in south Northamptonshire looks out over parkland on which Henry VIII used to hunt deer with Anne Boleyn. The only deer on it nowadays are the unhunted muntjacs,… Read more

Placido Domingo - another golden oldie (Photo: Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty)

I want to age like the Three Tenors

15 March 2014

In February each year the Oldie magazine gives ‘Oldie of the Year Awards’ to people who show unusual vigour and enterprise in old age. This year’s winner was Mary Berry,… Read more

New York City Police Department's Emerald Society marches up Fifth Avenue during the St. Patrick's day parade Photo: Getty

Dear Bill de Blasio: there are better reasons to boycott the St Patrick's Day parade

8 March 2014

The new mayor of New York, who despite his name (Bill de Blasio) claims Irish ancestry, is boycotting this month’s St Patrick’s Day Parade because its organisers refuse to allow… Read more


I was forced on to the internet in the 1980s. I still don't belong there

1 March 2014

With regard to modern technology, I find that people of around my age — by which I mean people in their seventies or over — are divided into two camps.… Read more

Shirley's New Year

Was Graham Greene right about Shirley Temple? 

22 February 2014

Shirley Temple, who died last week at the age of 85, was the most successful child film star in history. During the second half of the 1930s, a decade in… Read more

Milton Keynes, a nice place to live

In praise of Milton Keynes

15 February 2014

Who would ever have thought it, but I have become quite fond of Milton Keynes. Although I live slightly closer to the ancient city of Northampton than to this widely… Read more


Local protests don't stop windfarms. Subsidy cuts do

8 February 2014

Here in the valley of the River Tove in south Northamptonshire my chickens are laying copiously, my ducks are quacking loudly, and my Jack Russell, Polly, is yapping gaily in… Read more

One way to jog the memory (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty)

Why I get my health advice from the Daily Mail

1 February 2014

When one is in one’s seventies, as I am, one begins to fear the horror of dementia and to carry out anxious checks on one’s memory to see if the… Read more

An activist against the death penalty di

If America can't put a person to death painlessly, it should stop executions altogether

25 January 2014

I have never supported the death penalty. Maybe I was influenced when I was six or seven years old by the fact that our next-door neighbour in Campden Hill Square,… Read more

Are these the only pair of shoes owned by French president Francois Hollande? Photo: AFP/Getty

Forget the sex scandal. Why does Francois Hollande have only one pair of shoes? 

18 January 2014

Of all the interesting revelations by the French magazine Closer about François Hollande, the most interesting for me is its claim that he owns only one pair of shoes. I… Read more


Alexander Chancellor: The Chinese must save the cigar from extinction

11 January 2014

In Dorchester during the Christmas holiday I bought a two-slice electric toaster at Currys. It was a nice little toaster that worked very well when I got it home. And… Read more


Alexander Chancellor: I think my doctors are trying to frighten me

4 January 2014

The date of this issue of The Spectator is 4 January 2014, which also happens to be my 74th birthday. There is nothing very special about being 74 except that… Read more

Viva Forever - Press Night - Inside Arrivals

Alexander Chancellor: This Christmas it’s nice to be able to pity the stinking rich for a change

14 December 2013

This is the season of goodwill when one should think about people less fortunate than oneself and wish them better luck. It’s easy to forget to do this when one… Read more

Remembering the journalist John Thompson, who turned down the editorship of The Spectator

7 December 2013

John Thompson, who died last week at the age of 93, could have been editor of The Spectator if he had wanted. He was offered the job in 1970 by… Read more

Lorenzo da Ponte

Alexander Chancellor: A slice of Italy in Milton Keynes

30 November 2013

Back home from a week in Italy, I almost feel that I haven’t left. For I go almost at once to Milton Keynes to see Donizetti’s quintessentially Italian opera, L’elisir… Read more

Pope Francis smiles to pilgrims in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican Photo: AFP/Getty

Alexander Chancellor: What Pope Francis and Silvio Berlusconi have in common

23 November 2013

It’s filthy wet weather in Tuscany, so I’m lying on my bed in the afternoon reading through the Italian newspapers. They are full of stuff about Pope Francis — how… Read more


Alexander Chancellor: Can one be addicted to making emergency calls?

16 November 2013

The police have been complaining a lot lately about frivolous calls to the emergency services. All over the country people in their thousands are calling 999 for the weirdest or… Read more

One of the two pavilions at Stoke Park, designed by Inigo Jones

Is Northamptonshire not scenic enough to visit?

9 November 2013
The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire Bruce Bailey, Niklaus Pevsner and Bridget Cherry

Yale, pp.757, £35, ISBN: 9780300185072

I don’t know whether Bruce Bailey, a proud Northamptonshire man, agrees with the late Sir Nikolaus Pevsner that no one would visit his county for its landscape. In the introduction… Read more


Alexander Chancellor: Do you think you should read this piece for free?

9 November 2013

I was in Nottingham last Sunday to address university students about journalism. The occasion was a one-day ‘media conference’ organised by the Nottingham University students’ magazine, Impact, for the purpose… Read more


A dog mess or two is not too high a price to pay for an owner’s happiness

2 November 2013

A month ago I was reporting complacently that peace and calm had returned to Stoke Park after a series of bestial attacks on my chickens and ducklings by foxes and… Read more

Daniel Lambert, who was famous for his unusually large size

'Too Fat Polka', and other politically incorrect songs of the 1940s

26 October 2013

When I was a child, growing up in Hertfordshire just after the second world war, my parents employed a cook called Mrs Sharp, who was a very kind and good… Read more