The Spectator

27 August 2016

Marriage for one

Meet the women taking the ‘we’ out of wedding





The rise of marriage for one

The women taking the ‘we’ out of wedding are representative of a much bigger social trend

chart negative (hi res)


Why negative interest rates are mad, bad – and dangerous

Central banks’ latest wheeze may not boost growth, but it will have plenty of other consequences

(Photo: Getty)


Take note, Tony Blair: why jewellery looks so bad on men

They think it makes them more youthful. In fact, it shows us they’re desperate

The 'Golden Division': members of the Iraqi counter-terrorism forces (ICTF) (Photo: Getty)


After Isis, then what? The scramble for Mosul

Inside the coalition against Islamic State, a quieter battle is being waged for the fate of northern Iraq

(Photo: Getty)


Bring back bonkbusters!

It’s time for a new wave of the quintessential Thatcherite literary form

Would you recognise this face? Mussolini back in 1924, on a drive with his pet lion cub, Ras

Notes on...

A beautiful place to die: Mussolini at Lake Como

Even in sunglasses and a German uniform, the Duce wasn’t tricky to spot. That hasn’t stopped Italy’s conspiracy theorists



HS2 is a triumph of male vanity. Theresa May should kill it

This phallic line will wreck communities and cost billions, for little benefit except to the egos of its backers

The Week


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Virgin Trains released videos showing that there were seats available when Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party,…



Could we win back Gordon Brown’s gold at the Olympics?

Don’t hold your breath. Also in our Barometer column: Eastern European wages, dog attacks and veteran sports stars


Ancient and modern

Ancient Rome’s scandalous special advisers

Close to power but despised by those with more formal office. Sound familiar?

German troops at the ready (Photo: Getty)

From The Archives

Coming to terms with trench warfare, 1916

In this new form of combat, the batting has a great advantage over the bowling



The problem with our golden age

Also in Spectator Letters: Economists for Brexit; screaming points; Labour anti-Semitism; Capability Brown; and Wales

Earlier this year Roger was included in the The Queen's birthday honours list and awarded a knighthood (Photo: Getty)


The only way to make a ‘safe space’ for conservatives at universities

Also in Roger Scruton’s diary: the blessings of a broken femur, and a defence of aristocratic titles

(Photo: Getty)

Leading article

The proof that Scotland is better off in the UK

Two years after the independence referendum, the Better Together case looks stronger than ever



Rod Liddle

Why I’ll keep cheering for Caster Semenya

She is not a cheat by any measure. And she has brought liberal and transgender illusions face to face with the real world


Mary Wakefield

The Boris-bashers should be ashamed

What purports to be considered criticism is almost always sanctimonious sour grapes


James Delingpole

George Osborne’s gone, thank God. So why’s Mark Carney still around?

Like Osborne, Carney abused the prestige of his office quite abominably during the EU referendum


Any other business

Sorry, but Opec won’t back up this oil-price rise

Also in Any Other Business: sanity on bankers’ bonuses, what universities need, and some final restaurant recommendations



Will Labour split? Don’t hold your breath

All our political parties are awkward coalitions. This one may be becoming intolerably awkward


Conceptual image of Lactobacillus acidolphus that occurs naturally in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth

Books feature

Want to feel better? Be kind to your bugs

Ed Yong's new book will give you a positive outlook on your body's trillions of bacteria

Pile of Faux Uncut Diamonds Isolated on a Black Background


Who wouldn't want to be Joseph Conrad?

Marlow’s Landing, Toby Vieira’s debut, is yet another fevered tribute. But such re-workings of Heart of Darkness are wearing a bit thin

Old School Lockers and Hallway


Sean O’Brien explores a very English form of sadomasochism

His latest novel centres on past crimes at a jingoistic public school — where treason, murder and fascism have been shamefully covered up

Centre of attention (Photo: Getty)


A study of female street walkers is disappointingly pedestrian

Flâneuse describes Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, Martha Gellhorn and others strolling round town looking for inspiration — in plodding prose

Tom Wolfe at 85: still working the suit and hat look


Aged 85, Tom Wolfe discovers the key to human progress

But his argument — for the all-importance of speech — is as confused as his daft wordplay is embarrassing

Sketch of Dr James Barry


Doctor in disguise: the secret life of James Barry

Michael du Preez tells the curious story of the dedicated British army surgeon who had to conceal her gender for over 50 years in order to pursue her vocation

Julie Christie as Lara in David Lean’s 1965 film


The true story of Dr Zhivago’s Lara

The beautiful, widowed Olga Ivinskaya, exiled to the gulag for her association with Boris Pasternak, was as tragic a figure as her fictional counterpart, according to Pasternak’s great niece

Author Jon Kalman Stefansson (Photo: Getty)


Gale-force lyricism from Iceland’s most poetic novelist

Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s latest novel of storm-tossed fishermen and oceanic grandeur has the salt-scoured wisdom of ancient Nordic sagas

Spy Chief at Buckingham Palace (Photo: Getty)


Sir Maurice Oldfield: a spymaster smeared

The enigmatic MI6 man (widely considered the model for George Smiley) emerges from the shadows as an outstanding intelligence officer in Martin Pearce’s exemplary biography

Author Peter Ho Davies (Photo: Getty)


Peter Ho Davies’s Chinese-Americans are neither one thing nor the other

In four complex stories spanning the Civil War to the present, Davies describes Chinese immigrants struggling to find an identity in the Land of the Free


At Kingston Lacy, Dorset (right): Rubens’s ‘Portrait of a Noblewoman with a Dwarf’, 1606

Arts feature

The countryside contains enough show-stopping paintings to rival the National Gallery

Many of the treasures of Britain’s stately homes have gone to national museums, but enough exceptional art remains – and is worth a visit

Grand visions: Birmingham’s Bull Ring shopping centre in 1965, a year after completion


Birmingham can be maddening – but culturally it has a lot to teach London

As the Proms prepares to welcome the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under its new chief conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, Richard Bratby hails an infuriatingly energetic city

Bake off contestant Selasi


A few things you didn't know about the Great British Bake Off – such as how it's all faked

Also: GBBO was first broadcast in 1946; the first winner was the Duke of Rutland’s pastry chef Maurice Dufour; and in the late 1960s Mary Berry was once replaced by Marianne Faithfull

Almodóvar’s loving gaze: Emma Suárez as Julieta


Red hot: Almodóvar's Julieta reviewed

As ever men are peripheral adornments and the women are venerated. And the film’s signature colour, red, pulses on screen like a hazard light



At times utterly gripping: Crystal Pite at the Edinburgh International Festival reviewed

And even though Angelin Preljocaj’s work looks better on a classical company like the Scottish Ballet, his MC 14/22 (Ceci est mon corps) is ultimately tedious

Victims of the atomic blast, Hiroshima (Photo: Getty)


How Radio 4 made it possible for people to talk to the dead

Plus: how a 1946 New Yorker essay about Hiroshima shocked and terrified the world – and spawned the birth of ‘immersive journalism’

Groundhog Day, The Old Vic (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Musical Theatre

Did Rodgers and Hammerstein intend Allegro for the theatre? Or for euthanasia treatment?

Plus: Groundhog Day at the Old Vic will be a hit – but it only succeeds as spectacle, not as a musical



High life

My newest crush is Morgan Lake – the perfect combination of grace, youth and beauty

We are not created equal, and beauty is the least equal of all


Low life

What we thought of Tibetan Buddhism before we got soppy

Next week I am going to Ladakh, in northernmost India, so I've been reading up




There’s been a fair amount of moaning about the English Bridge Union’s decision to move the week-long ‘Summer Meeting’ —…



So it St Louis

From the humble status of wild-card entry at St Louis last year, the US Grandmaster, Wesley So (formerly of the…


Chess puzzle

no. 423

Black to play. This is from Vachier-Lagrave–Anand, Sinquefield Cup, St Louis 2016. White has played to win a pawn but…



Body talk

In Competition No. 2962 you were invited to supply a poem about a body part of an author of your…



2275: Frame of reference

Seven words read clockwise round the perimeter, in alphabetical order. Each of eighteen clues contains a misprinted letter in the…


Crossword solution

to 2272: Holiday time

21 and 41 are definitions of SUMMER; RECESS defines each of the other unclued lights.  First prize Rhiannon Hales, Ilfracombe,…

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Films aren’t better because they bomb – whatever the BBC’s poll says

I’d take Iron Man and The 40-year-old Virgin over anything by Lars von Trier

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

How to cope with two groups of friends in one corner of Greece

Also in Dear Mary: How to declare one’s romantic feelings towards a classmate

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

What the OED gets wrong about pelican pie

An ancient joke in need of more careful explanation


Spectator Wine

Wine Club 27 August

Summer’s taking its leave and we have a fine Gallic half-dozen from Corney & Barrow with which to enjoy the…


The Wiki Man

The internet of stupid things is crowding out real innovation

Sometimes, too much competition can be as much of a problem as too little


Real life

I wanted somewhere to put a piano. I got a Big Yellow night of the soul

I'm in danger of losing my cottage in the country. So whatever you want to tell me about 'storage solutions', I'm obliged to listen


Long life

It's better to be a lottery winner than the Duke of Westminster

Philanthropy seems the best way to handle great riches. We should learn from the Americans



A toast to the glories of Provence

Roman genius and discipline, the bounty of nature — and French peasant cunning. It is an irresistible combination


Wild life

'So you're the guy who kills black people.' 'I thought that was you?'

Unlikely friendship and a legacy of charity that began in a Kenyan jail