The Spectator

2 August 2014 Aus



The rise of crowd culture – a generation scared to do anything alone

Individualism is dead: we have succumbed to the lure of the crowd


The war that we Germans really don't mention

My country has worked hard to come to terms with the second world war. That seems to have meant ignoring the first


Porn-agains: meet the middle-aged men - and women - warped by internet porn

Society's anxiety about online porn has been so focused on the young that its impact on the older generation has gone largely unnoticed

Gauguin’s Pacific Islanders owe as much to travel literature as to direct observation.


From the Elgin marbles to Carl Andre's bricks: the mistakes that have made great art

Some of the most important creative steps forward begin simply as misunderstandings


In our hard-pressed NHS, must sympathy be rationed too?

A toxic mixture of cost-cutting and ideology seems to have put a limit on tea and sympathy


Now remember August 1714

This week's other great historical anniversary: the Hanoverian accession

Each green is a riddle: Gleneagles

Notes on...

An amateur's guide to the glories of Gleneagles

At the home of this year's Ryder Cup, each green is a riddle

The Week

Leading article

Stricter benefits limits shouldn't stop with immigrants

Other countries manage to implement sensible systems without being rebuked by the EU. It's time we learnt from them

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Britain is to halve to three months the time that EU migrants without realistic job prospects can claim benefits,…


Miriam Gross’s diary: As a qualified teacher, I say let in the ‘untrained’

Sir Richard Evans should know that many great teachers are natural talents


Hold on to your umbrella, Mr Putin: what the Russians lose without British trade

Plus: Notable restaurant bills, and the argument over migrants and money

Ancient and modern

Hadrian’s advice for a new Defence Secretary

Either you must dominate completely, the emperor found, or give people their freedom. And we can only afford the second option


Spectator letters: Nepotism, aid and Chatsworth

Nepotism rules Sir: Julie Burchill’s piece ‘Born to be famous’ (26 July) was very strong and as, like her, I’m…



Why this could be David Cameron's last summer in politics

Once the Scottish referendum is over, the party leaders face a battle for which none seems fully prepared

Rod Liddle

I was a slut too, Prime Minister, and I think you're giving in to PC nonsense

Another week of witless moral relativism at its most deluding

James Delingpole

You owe it to yourself to visit John Clare country

Clare’s poetry is strange, intense, wonderfully sensuous – and magical

Any other business

I know how ineffective sanctions are – but these ones just might work

Plus: What should be in bankers’ version of the Hippocratic Oath?


He who must be obeyed: portrait of the Kaiser by Ferdinand Keller, 1893

Lead book review

Kaiser Wilhelm's guide to ruining a country

A review of Wilhelm II: Into the Abyss of War and Exile, 1900-1941, by John C.G. Röhl, translated by Sheila de Bellaigue and Roy Bridge. The anachro­nistic, racist and militaristic German monarch hastened his country’s self-destruction


The robber baron who 'bought judges as other men buy food’

A review of Empty Mansions, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr, a materialistic, yet hypnotic bestseller about W.A. Clark, one of the most ruth­less accumulators of wealth in American history

Leading with the chin: Dusty Springfield in the mid 1960s


The mad, bad and sad life of Dusty Springfield

A review of Dusty: An Intimate Portrait, by Karen Bartlett. The sexually repressed and mentally unstable singer’s rise to stardom was as meteoric as her fall


Like Birdsong – only cheerful

A review of The Birdcage, by Clive Aslet. This Ripping Yarns version of British trench warfare makes for an entertaining – if not entirely serious - read


The threat from Russia’s spies has only increased since the fall of Communism

A review of Britannia and the Bear, by Victor Madeira. This survey of interwar Soviet spying offers many lessons on how we deal with Putin’s Russia

Portrait of John Piper by Peggy Angus


Potato prints, paintings and the Soviet Union: the real Miss Jean Brodie

Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter, by James Russell. Angus’s playful, naïve designs were rich and strange, as were her politics


Creepy, dizzying and dark: a choice of recent crime fiction

A review of four very readable new thrillers: Research by Philip Kerr, Remember Me This Way by Sabine Durrant, The Final Silence by Stuart Neville and Cobra by Deon Meyer.


Banned – and booming: the strange world of Chinese golf

A review of The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream, by Dan Washburn. A book about money, power and whim that tells you everything you need to know about modern China


Murakami drops magic for realism in this tale of a lonely Tokyo engineer

A review of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel. It’s impressive that such a brilliant myth emerges from such unspectacular ingredients


Arts feature

Home Front: Radio 4's first world war drama will fight out the full four years

The ambitious new series, Home Front, will run from 2014 and 2018, creating ‘a patchwork of impressionistic stories from the war’

‘Goose Woman’, c.1840, by George Smart


Why did it take so long to recognise the worth of British folk art?

The Tate’s new show of Brobdingnagian shop signs, evocative stitchery, glorious figureheads from ships and collaged pictures is both timely and hideously overdue

Arts feature

I think I’ve found the new Maria Callas

Some of my most enjoyable evenings, when I reviewed opera weekly for The Spectator, were spent at the Royal College…


Was Elgar’s The Kingdom an attempt to write a religious Ring Cycle?

Plus: a preview of two strongly contrasting works by John Tavener that will premiere at the Proms


In Norwich, a director is caught trying to murder Wagner’s Tannhäuser

But the music and singing win out in Theater Freiburg’s new production

Terribly, terribly English: Helen McCrory as Medea


Let’s face it, Greek tragedy is often earnest, obscure or boring. Not this Medea

Plus: a summer festival offering from the Arcola that, despite being aimed at the lumpen trustafariat, high on MDMA, is pretty good


Moon Indigo: an all-you-can-eat buffet for the eyes - but your brain will feel famished

How much you enjoy Michel Gondry’s film all depends on your tolerance for visual whimsy

The Terracotta Army Museum: the warriors were built to protect Quin Shi Huuang, China’s first emperor


Barbie dolls? This girl aims for the head

Plus: Andrew Graham-Dixon uncovers a 3,000-year-old depiction of the Tiger Mother in The Art of China


Glasgow and the Commonwealth go back a long way; Radio 4 explores a murky past

Plus: a Radio 2 music drama that gets lost in translation moving to Radio 4

Culture notes

A history of remembrance

An English Heritage exhibition atop Wellington Arch explores six London memorials


High life

Even Switzerland is turning lefty. Am I going to have to move to Wyoming?

I'd hate to leave good old Helvetia. But if things keep on like this, I'll do it with a smile on my face

Low life

The indiscreet charm of Jim Davidson

All the old jokes are there. But he seems kinder and milder – even when heckled

Real life

The only woman who can make me lie

I answer most questions far too frankly. You know that. But ask me if I floss...

Long life

You can't spin yourself into authenticity – as Ed Miliband is finding out

Self-deprecation can work for a politician. But only one whose faults are charming



The brilliant American bridge writer and former world champion Eddie Kantar once overheard two wives in his bridge class arguing…


Treasure Island

As I write, young Jonathan Hawkins has stormed into the lead in the British Championship in Aberystwyth with the tremendous…

Chess puzzle

no. 325

White to play. This position is from Rogers-Milos, Manila Olympiad 1992. White is a mass of material down but the…


Hidden talent

In Competition No. 2858 you were invited to imagine that a well-known figure from 20th-century history was a secret poet…


2173: Men of note

The unclued lights are of a specific kind.   Across   11    Top flier backs help for sloth (6)…

Crossword solution

to 2170: Hector’s summer nights

The unclued lights are the titles of the six movements of Nuits d’Eté (Summer Nights in translation) by Hector Berlioz:…

Status anxiety

Want to be a neglectful parent? Come to a festival and learn

'Jemima, Otis and Cooper,' said the walkie-talkie, 'it's time for you to go to bed'

The Wiki Man

Four gadgets to take on holiday — and two to leave behind

In the age of the Kindle, holiday reading is a simpler question. But there’s a new packing dilemma in its place

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How to accept wine refills at parties without getting drunk

Plus: Avoiding kisses from visitors, and resolving a family double-booking

Mind your language

The mystery of the missing Mrs

Newspapers shouldn't let politicians be the only people with honorifics