Emma Byrne, The Spectator’s production editor, has written our cover story on the renaissance of British ballet. Turns out, great British ballerinas are like buses — you wait for years for one to come along, and then… actually, I’m not sure that gag works when you’re talking about creatures as elegant as Yasmine Naghdi, Francesca Hayward and Melissa Hamilton. I don’t think we’ve ever had such a beautiful cover.
On the subject of gags that don’t work, the American television writer Rob Long has written about the reception given to Bigly, his anthology of Donald Trump’s ‘poetry’, in his new column ‘Hollywood Notebook’. The conceit of Bigly is that Trump’s utterances make more sense if presented as poems. Even in his wildest dreams, Rob wasn’t expecting this stocking-filler to get a 1,200-word review in the New Yorker, or for the reviewer to become quite so apoplectic with rage: ‘What kind of writer finds it amusing to recast the President’s most narcissistic, inflammatory, bigoted statements in the form of jokes? And what kind of reader is entertained by such a project? A suggestion can be found in Long’s choice of Toby Young, the conservative British journalist and satirist, to contribute a foreword.’ Long blames me for the bad review. My name ‘triggered’ the reviewer — and if you want to know what ‘triggered’ means, turn to page 32 to read Andy Shaw’s postmodern dictionary of the latest politically correct jargon.
Also in this issue is a piece by Rupert Myers, who recently found himself put on trial on Twitter for sexual misconduct; a profile of Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP for Kensington; and an article by William Cook about an annual chess tournament in Gibraltar. In addition to all our usual columnists (Roger Scruton, Brendan O’Neill, Olivia Potts, Bruce Palling, Merryn Somerset Webb, Sarah Vine, Candida Crewe), we also have a piece in which ten top cartoonists talk about their favourite restaurants.
I hope you enjoy the issue!