Culture

Nick Cohen

There’s nothing racist about Anglo-Saxons

One of the aims of progressives in higher education ought to be to use their privileged position to spread knowledge to their fellow citizens. In the all but forgotten world of the original socialist movement, radicals aimed in the words of the Workers Educational Association (founded 1903) to bring ‘education within reach of everyone who needs it’. How does this noble aim fit with the constant and needless urge to police and rewrite the language 99 per cent of the population use? To create elite discourses, to exclude and obfuscate, to launch linguistic heresy hunts, to preen yourself on knowing the latest jargon, and to punish the untutored for no valid

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Cindy Yu

Slavoj Zizek, Angus Colwell, Svitlana Morenets, Cindy Yu, and Philip Hensher

32 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Philosopher Slavoj Zizek takes us through his diary including his Britney Spears Theory of Action (1:08); Angus Colwell reports from the front line of the pro-Palestinian student protests (8:09); Svitlana Morenets provides an update on what’s going on in Georgia, where tensions between pro-EU and pro-Russian factions are heading to a crunch point (13:51); Cindy Yu analyses President Xi’s visit to Europe and asks whether the Chinese leader can keep his few European allies on side (20:52); and, Philip Hensher proposes banning fun runs as a potential vote winner (26:01).  Produced by Patrick Gibbons and Oscar Edmondson.

Sean Thomas, Kara Kennedy, Philip Hensher, Damian Thompson and Toby Young

35 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Sean Thomas worries that Paris has lost some of its charm (1:21); Kara Kennedy reports on US-style opioids arriving in Britain (8:43); Philip Hensher describes how an affair which ruined one woman would be the making of another (15:32); Damian Thompson reflects on his sobriety and his battle with British chemists (23:58); and, Toby Young argues a proposed law in Wales amounts to an assault on parliamentary sovereignty (29:26). Produced and presented by Patrick Gibbons.

Lionel Shriver

Douglas Murray, Lionel Shriver, Mark Mason and Graeme Thomson

29 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: reporting from St Helena, Douglas Murray reflects on the inhabitants he has met and the history of the British Overseas Territory (1:12); Lionel Shriver opines on the debate around transgender care (9:08); following a boyhood dream to visit the country to watch cricket, Mark Mason reads his letter from India as he travels with his son (17:54); and, Graeme Thomson reviews Taylor Swift’s new album (22:41). Produced and presented by Patrick Gibbons.

Sam Leith

Svitlana Morenets, Mary Wakefield, Max Jeffery, Sam Leith and Richard Bratby

35 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: In light of the help Israel received, Svitlana Morenets issues a challenge to the West to help Ukraine (1:15); Mary Wakefield questions the slow response to the Ministry of Defence being daubed in paint (7:33);  Max Jeffery discusses the aims and tactics of the group responsible for the protest, Youth Demand (13:25); Sam Leith reviews Salman Rushdie’s new book (18:59); and Richard Bratby pays tribute to Michael Tanner, The Spectator critic who died earlier this month (27:34). Produced and presented by Patrick Gibbons.

Lara Prendergast

With Victoria Hislop

30 min listen

Victoria Hislop is a bestselling author and a lover of all things Mediterranean. Victoria’s first book ‘The Island’, came out in 2005 and became an immediate international best-seller. Victoria’s subsequent novels have explored the Spanish Civil War, Cyprus and the Greek islands, and she’s celebrated for cleverly combining history, culture, family, time and place into fascinating stories. Her latest book ‘The Figurine’, is out now and it deals with the contentious subject of acquiring cultural treasures. Now an honorary Greek citizen, Victoria divides her time between Kent and Athens. Presented by Lara Prendergast.Produced by Linden Kemkaran.

AI art is folk art, and a revolt against the arts establishment – which is why they hate it

Left-liberals despise AI-generated art. Not because of the themes explored by its adherents (that would be akin to disliking canvas and paint due to the way Goya used them), but because, they say, it has the potential to steal work from artists. Both in the sense that it deprives them of opportunities, and that it uses their images, in aggregate, to inform its output. I suspect the reason for their animus is more culturally contingent than these pragmatic explanations suggest. AI art democratises a medium they see as belonging to them, putting the ability to create arresting images within easy reach of anyone with an internet connection. The monkeys have

Olivia Potts

With John Nichol

35 min listen

John Nichol is a former RAF Tornado navigator who, during the first Gulf War in 1991, was famously shot down, paraded on television and held prisoner by Saddam Hussein. John wrote movingly about his experience in his first book, ‘Tornado Down’, and has gone on to write fifteen more best-selling books. His latest, ‘Eject, Eject’, is out now. He also loves food, is very fond of cooking and often posts pictures on social media of his many and varied culinary creations. Presented by Olivia Potts.Produced by Linden Kemkaran.

Olivia Potts

With Ewan Venters

37 min listen

Ewan Venters is the former chief executive of Fortnum & Mason and is now the CEO of Artfarm and Hauser & Wirth. Ewan is launching Artfarm’s first London venture combining food, drink and art which will also mark the revival of the historic Mayfair landmark, The Audley. Presented by Olivia Potts.Produced by Linden Kemkaran.

Freddy Gray

Freddy Gray, Kate Andrews & Lloyd Evans

20 min listen

This week Freddy Gray takes a trip to Planet Biden and imagines what would happen if little green men invaded earth and found a big orange one back in the White House (01:15), Kate Andrews finds herself appalled by the so-called ‘advice’ routinely handed out to women that can be at best, judgemental, and at its worst, slightly bullying (12:51), and Lloyd Evans spills the beans on searching for love on his recent blind date, courtesy of the Guardian (07:13). Produced and presented by Linden Kemkaran

Olivia Potts

With Diana Henry

41 min listen

Diana Henry is a critically acclaimed, multi-award winning cook, food writer and author of 12 books including the classic cookbook ‘Roast Figs, Sugar Snow’, which has just been updated and re-released twenty years after it was first published. Diana also writes for newspapers and magazines, and presents food programmes on TV and radio. On this podcast Diana shares childhood memories of her mother’s baking, how ‘Little House on the Prairie‘ influenced her writing and when, on a French exchange trip, she learned how to make the perfect vinaigrette. Presented by Olivia Potts. Produced by Linden Kemkaran.

Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris, Dan Hitchens and Leah McLaren

23 min listen

Matthew Parris, just back from Australia, shares his thoughts on the upcoming referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice (01:08). Dan Hitchens looks at church congregations and wonders why some are on the up, while others are in a spiral of decline (08:32), and Leah McLaren describes the delights of audio and tells us why young children should be heard, but not seen (17:57). Produced and presented by Linden Kemkaran

Cindy Yu

Cindy Yu, Charlie Taylor and Petroc Trelawney

17 min listen

Cindy Yu tells the story of how she got to know Westminster’s alleged Chinese agent and the astonishment of seeing herself pictured alongside him when the story broke (01.12), Charlie Taylor, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, talks breakouts, bureaucracy and stabbings, and wonders – where have all the inspirational leaders gone (06.45), and Petroc Trelawney shares his classical notebook and describes a feeling of sadness as the BBC Proms wraps up for another year (11.54). Produced and presented by Linden Kemkaran.

Sam Leith

Francesca Peacock: Pure Wit

45 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast, I’m joined by Francesca Peacock to talk about the remarkable life and extraordinary work of Margaret Cavendish, the 17th-century Duchess of Newcastle. Famous in her own day for her bizarre public appearances and nicknamed ‘Mad Madge’, the author of The Blazing World has been marginalised by posterity as an eccentric dilettante. But in her new book Pure Wit, Francesca sets out to reclaim her as a serious feminist writer before feminism was generally thought of, and as a radical thinker in natural philosophy. She tells me about the contradictions of ‘Lady Bashful’ who lived to be famous, this happy wife who wrote scaldingly about marriage, and this

Lara Prendergast

With Philip Khoury

22 min listen

Philip Khoury became the head pastry chef at Harrods in 2018. He made it his mission to pioneer the creation of plant-based desserts, calling it the ‘last frontier’ of vegan cuisine. He’s just written a book ‘A New Way to Bake’, which came out on 31st August 2023, and which focuses on creating masterpieces out of vegan ingredients.

Lara Prendergast

With Sir Nicholas Mostyn

40 min listen

The Hon. Mr Justice Mostyn was a British high court judge who left the Bench just a few weeks ago. Nick Mostyn enjoyed a long and distinguished career and earned the nicknames ‘Mostyn Powers’ and ‘Mr Payout’ after winning vast sums for ex-wives in high-profile divorce cases. Recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he went on to form the cult podcast ‘Movers and Shakers’ with fellow sufferers Jeremy Paxman and Rory Cellan-Jones. To join a special live episode of ‘Movers and Shakers’ on Wednesday 6th September 2023, click on this link: https://youtube.com/live/xH_uejTjCLU?feature=share

Dismantle the maestro myth and classical music will suffer

The news that conductor John Eliot Gardiner is thin-skinned, ill-mannered and thuggish should not be news to anyone. Or not to any Spectator readers anyway. ‘What, one wonders, will John Eliot Gardiner be chiefly remembered for?’ wrote Stephen Walsh in October 2013. ‘Perhaps, by many who have worked with him, for his notorious rudeness to performers and colleagues.’ Peter Phillips wrote about Gardiner ‘losing his temper’ with a member of the London Symphony Orchestra in April 2014 (Private Eye had alleged the conductor had clocked a trumpeter). ‘Is there anything [Gardiner] can’t do?’ asked Damian Thompson in a Heckler column from 2015. ‘The answer is yes. One art eludes him:

In defence of the Arts Council

I once knew a monster who said she could not read Proust because there were no figures in Proust with whom she could identify… Theodor W. Adorno, ‘Aesthetics’ (1958-59) Getting an audience to identify themselves in a work – ‘being seen’ – is one of the only reasons why art is commissioned, celebrated or even allowed to exist today. In other words, the 21st century world belongs to Adorno’s monster: we just live in it.  The 20th century’s definition of art, as expressed by another Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse, where ‘art is committed to that perception of the world which alienates individuals from their functional existence and performance in

Freddy Gray

What did Succession get right about the Murdoch empire?

24 min listen

Andrew Neil, The Spectator‘s chairman and super fan of the HBO show, Succession, joins this episode to talk to Freddy about where the show overlapped with the real life media empire of Rupert Murdoch, who has his own problems of succession to think about. This conversation was originally filmed as an episode of ‘The View from 22’ from Spectator TV, which you can watch here.

Gareth Roberts

Succession’s only real flaw

It’s strange to reach the end of something you’ve relished with a sense of relief. HBO’s Succession has given me and many others lashings of pleasure, but I was glad as the credits rolled on the final episode. Fascinating though they were, it was satisfying to wave goodbye to the Roys, every one of them both great viewing and utterly repulsive. One of the many great things about Succession, which makes it almost unique in our stultifying didactic age, is that it didn’t tell the viewer what to think Like The Iliad, which stops when its stated theme, the anger of Achilles, is over, and never gets to the fall