America

Acropolis Hill, Athens

Where Alcibiades once walked, amateur tax spies are trying to entrap poor pistachio-sellers

14 March 2015

 Athens I am walking on a wide pedestrian road beneath the Acropolis within 200 meters of the remaining Themistoclean wall and the ancient cemetery to eminent Athenians. One side is… Read more

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Oh joy! Sean Penn has tried to crack a joke

28 February 2015

What a pleasure it is to see the Hollywood actor Sean Penn neck deep in PC ordure. The rodentine thespian was handing out an award at the Oscars to his… Read more

How I Learned to Drive at Southwark Playhouse

Muswell Hill reviewed: a guide on how to sock it to London trendies

28 February 2015
Muswell Hill Park Theatre
How I Learned to Drive Southwark Playhouse

Torben Betts is much admired by his near-namesake Quentin Letts for socking it to London trendies. Letts is one of the few individuals who enjoys the twin blessings of a… Read more

US President Theodore Roosevelt's teddy bear Photo: Getty

The pleasures and perils of podcast listening

28 February 2015

No phrase is better calculated to tense the neck muscles of a regular podcast listener than ‘We have something special for you now.’ Having your radio shows downloaded to your… Read more

Law in action: Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman

Better Call Saul review: the box set equivalent of a (very) well-made play

14 February 2015

I lost count long ago of the number of dinner parties and pub conversations where I’ve had to utter the humiliating words, ‘Actually I haven’t seen Breaking Bad.’ The social… Read more

An early sketch of the standard 'contour' design

The art of Coke

7 February 2015

In 1915 D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation was premièred, Henry Ford manufactured his millionth Model-T (‘a million of anything is a lot’, he said), Kafka’s Metamorphosis was published and… Read more

King maker: David Oyelowo in ‘Selma’, the best performance of the year not nominated for an Oscar

Selma review: rich, nuanced, heartbreaking

7 February 2015
Selma 12A

Selma, the civil rights film that stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, undoubtedly contains the best and most powerful performance of the year as not nominated for an Oscar.… Read more

Rambo wannabe, Matthew VanDyke: ‘Everybody wants cool stuff they can show their friends on Facebook’

Arabian Motorcycle Adventures review: enthralling and constantly surprising

7 February 2015

There were great numbers of young men who had never been in a war and were consequently far from unwilling to join in this one.(Thucydides, 5th century BC) I love… Read more

Channing Tatum and Steve Carell

Foxcatcher: piercing, shattering, spellbinding

10 January 2015
Foxcatcher 15, Nationwide

Foxcatcher is a crime drama (of sorts) that has already been dubbed ‘Oscarcatcher!’ as it barely puts a foot wrong. It is tautly directed, deftly written, thoroughly gripping and offers… Read more

2012 Republican National Convention: Day 2

How America’s right wing is becoming a lot more like Britain’s

22 November 2014

   Washington DC Amid all the commentary about the Republican party’s triumph in America’s midterm elections, a remarkable fact was ignored: in style and substance, the American right is rapidly… Read more

Carrie's back: Clare Danes in Homeland

Hooray for Homeland - Carrie’s back blasting America’s enemies to pieces with drones

25 October 2014

One of the more welcome and surprising things about television at the moment is that Homeland (Channel 4, Sunday) is good again. As I’m not the only person to have… Read more

23 August 2014

Worth the candle Sir: I was saddened by Charles Moore’s account of the Westminster Abbey candlelit vigil marking the centenary of the start of the first world war (The Spectator’s… Read more

Julian Assange speaks at the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been holed up for two years Photo: Getty

Help! I've started to feel sorry for Julian Assange

23 August 2014

Poor Julian Assange. Call me a contrarian but I’m genuinely starting to feel sorry for the guy. He’s just made such a mess of his life, hasn’t he? And with… Read more

Conrad Black back on familiar territory at The Spectator on 3 July. Image: Alan Davidson

Andrew Roberts

5 July 2014

The former proprietor of this magazine, Conrad Black, is in London at the moment with his gorgeous wife Barbara, and I’ve got very bad news for those of his enemies… Read more

Elliot Rodger Photo: AFP/Getty

Elliot Rodger and the Hollywood ending

31 May 2014

I’ve found myself strangely drawn to the videos made by the 22-year-old assassin Elliot Rodger just before he went on his killing spree in his university town of Santa Barbara,… Read more

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Why I no longer want to live in America

10 May 2014

A few years ago I would have quite liked to live in America. I’m not sure now. For one thing, most of the things perfected by Americans (convenience, entertainment, technology,… Read more

castro_the_endWD

How to shop for the apocalypse

3 May 2014

 New York City An architect friend who usually designs Manhattan skyscrapers was recently asked to pitch for a far more interesting project. The client, a senior partner at Goldman Sachs,… Read more

Clinton Bush

Clinton vs Bush — again

26 April 2014

America is much less threatened by right-wing extremists than by the oligarchic rule of the two major political parties. The mainstream right, however, is wedded to the absurd notion that… Read more

jack-kerouac

Lost Kerouac that should have stayed lost

15 March 2014
The Haunted Life: The Lost Novella Jack Kerouac, edited by Todd Tietchen

Penguin, pp.192, £20, ISBN: 9780141394084

In 1944, when he was 22, Jack Kerouac lost a manuscript — in a taxi, as he thought, but probably in Allen Ginsberg’s room at Columbia University — and it… Read more

Russian-Bear

Europe's 'new world order' is letting Vladimir Putin run riot

8 March 2014

If Vladimir Putin’s invasion and occupation of the Crimea brings to an end the Pax Americana and the post-Cold War world that began in 1989, what new European, or even… Read more

American beat poet Allen Ginsberg Photo: Getty

American Smoke, by Iain Sinclair - review

23 November 2013
American Smoke Iain Sinclair

Hamish Hamilton, pp.309, £20, ISBN: 9780241145272

If you have read Iain Sinclair’s books you will know that he is a stylist with a love of language. You will also know that he has opinions to express… Read more

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Celia Walden

16 November 2013

For a minute I just stood there with my back against the wall, staring at the credit card receipt. Then I slid down into a crouching position on the kitchen… Read more

‘Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge’, 1859–63, by James McNeill Whistler

The painter of poetry

16 November 2013
An American in London: Whistler and the Thames Dulwich Picture Gallery

The famous court case in which Ruskin accused Whistler of ‘flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face’ continues to rumble through the public response to art in this… Read more

Signifying Rappers, by David Foster Wallace - review

14 September 2013
Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello

Penguin, pp.154, £8.99, ISBN: 9780880015356

Since his suicide, David Foster Wallace has made the transition from major writer to major industry. Hence this UK issue of a slender work of music history got up for… Read more

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer - review

31 August 2013
The Interestings Meg Wolitzer

Chatto, pp.480, £16.99, ISBN: 9780701188276

Thick, sentimental and with a narrative bestriding four decades, Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings feels above all like a Victorian novel, one which finds itself as comfortable in our time as… Read more