Paul Johnson on his favourite spot in London.
Recently I managed to get hold of a copy of Alone by Norman Douglas. This series of essays about Italian…
To me, history has always had a double magic. On the one hand it is a remorseless, objective account of…
This is the time of year when I am irritated by the pop-pop of shotguns near my house in Over…
The great thing about taking a holiday every year in the same place — provided it is the right place of course — is that you notice the huge, reassuring continuities, and the minute changes which prove that life, though stable, is at work.
One need not be depressed by lugubrious calculations of how many trees are chopped down to produce one edition of a popular newspaper.
There are many odd tales behind the origins of classic gastronomic dishes. Who would have believed that the old Ipswich bruiser, Cardinal Wolsey, was responsible for that perfect combination, strawberries and cream?
And another thing
As someone who has spent nearly 60 years as a professional writer, I am inevitably set in my ways, though capable of changing them radically in a crisis. But I recognise that my ways are not typical, that there is no such thing as a typical writer.
Recently a friend from abroad, anxious to enrich himself from our past, asked me about the cathedrals. Which must he visit, which should he visit if he had time? These are not easy questions.
In this age of creeping censorship ‘mad’ is not a word to be used lightly. It would certainly be unlawful to use it in Kipling’s sense when he refers to frontier tribes being ‘stirred up’ by ‘a mad mullah’.
I suppose in 100 years’ time, perhaps much sooner, no one will smoke. So we will be back where we were before the 16th century, when adventurers like Raleigh brought the Red Indian habit of smoking tobacco to Europe.
The cartoonist Vicky (Victor Weisz, 1913–66) fled to London not long after the Reichstag fire, with the Gestapo at his heels. Had he not possessed a Hungarian passport he would never have got away, for as the boy wonder of Berlin political cartooning in the 12 Uhr Blatt, he had gone for Hitler as far back as 1928, and was a marked man.
At this time of year my thoughts often dwell on the Loch Ness Monster. Let me recapitulate what we know about this beast.
The moral theology of the umbrella stand
Not going gentle into the good night of retirement
What is the most important thing about London? Trees
Why Agatha Christie never made camel soufflé
The man who took a PhD in Happiness Science
Rubbish, entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
A very parfit gentil knight of music
The young generation prefers to face life with their gloves off
Why we don’t know who killed Cock Robin
Cultural revolutions come from below, not above
The best thing this country has ever produced is a fine-sown, closely mown and weedless lawn.