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The Spectator

22 March 2014

Cash for class

What money can buy in the modern British establishment

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How to buy your way into the British establishment

Money isn't quite everything. But it's getting there


Putin is making the West's Cold Warriors look like fools

For all the anti-Russian rhetoric, we've been exposed as posturing, weak and divided


Is Hamas finally losing its grip on Gaza?

With Egypt closing the tunnels, its economy is in trouble


The joy of less sex

I used to think nothing would ever be more important. I was wrong


I don’t want to rate the restaurant. I want to rate the date

Why are customer satisfaction surveys always for the wrong thing?


Why working class grandparents are better than middle class ones

Working-class people do grandparenting right. Middle-class ones, increasingly, don't


The bull market is five years old. Does that mean it’s nearly over?

Share prices have had a long rise, yes – but not an exceptionally steep one


How to tell a tech bubble from a tech revolution

Technology investing has come a long way since the dotcom bust

Marte Armitage's ‘Cobweb’ in turquoise and taupe, available at Hamilton Weston

Notes on...

I never thought I'd write about wallpaper. But I'd never seen wallpaper like Marthe Armitage's

These hand-printed patterns aren't just charming or even lovely – they're magical

The Week

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home In the Budget, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that the economy was working but the job…


Laurence Fox's diary: On being married to a WOP

Plus: Working with Donald Whately, and why I love my drummer


MH370 isn't the only flight that's still missing

Plus: The cheapest countries for childcare, and the state of Britain's squirrels

Ancient and modern

On teaching, St Jerome is with Daisy Christodoulou

Classical education advice appears to accord with the evidence


Spectator letters: John Rutter and Coeliac UK answer Rod Liddle

ME is real Sir: Rod Liddle may or may not be right that certain illnesses become fashionable once given a…



The risks for Osborne now he's back on top

Success for the Chancellor fuels the Tories' in-house conspiracy theorists

The Spectator's Notes

How I became editor of The Spectator - aged 27

Plus: R.S. Surtees, and the first person to give Archduke Franz Ferdinand both barrels

Rod Liddle

So now we know – the BBC is more scared of offending Muslims than gay people

I had good reasons for turning down BBC3's Free Speech. But now I really wish I hadn't

Matthew Parris

We have to tell the truth about Tony Benn now. Who will hear it later?

The convention to speak only good of the dead should not be applied to politicians

Hugo Rifkind

Six months as a TV critic, and I’ve seen enough corpses to last a lifetime

Must every series begin with the naked, lifeless body of a young woman?

The Speculator

How to beat a robot bookie

The secrets of battling betting algorithms

Any other business

HS2’s boss is right – it’s push on or be rubbed out

Plus: Malaysia’s culture of secrecy, and Oxfam’s shifting mission


Lead book review

Management consultancy! Sculpture park! Sports stadium! The many faces of the Delphic Oracle

A review of Michael Scott’s Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World. It's a fascinating mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped up in unfortunate academic jargon


‘A public urinal where ministers and officials queued up to leak’

A review of Chapman Pincher’s Dangerous to Know. At 100, the Daily Express's veteran spycatcher isn't giving up his obsessions – but he still got most of the big stories right


Fleet Street’s ‘wild Irish girl’

A review of Mary Kenny’s Something of Myself and Others. Life lived to the hilt


Recycling Sackville-West style

A review of Sarah Raven’s Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst: The Creation of a Garden. Haven't we had enough cuttings from Vita Sackville-West by now?


The thrill of cutting into a human brain

A review of Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery. Cutting people’s heads open, it turns out, really does your head in


Caught between a New Age rock and a theory junkie hard place

junkie hard place
A review of Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World. This novel's artspeak may be a headache but the tenderness and generosity of the storytelling is unbeatable.


Memoirs of an academic brawler  

A review of John Carey’s The Unexpected Professor. This reader and reformer was the perfect don for his time – which, of course, meant hating dons


The making of a novelist

A review of Boyhood Island, by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. Childhood mundanities are made universal in the Norwegian author’s account of his childhood

'Marcia painting her self-portrait’; detail from Boccaccio’s On Famous Women (1402)


The selfie from Akhenaten to Tracey Emin

A review of James Hall’s The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History. This wonderful survey has brilliant timing – but not nearly enough illustrations


The talent and tragedy of Richard Pryor

Every page of David Henry and Joe Henry’s biography Furious Cool carries something either appalling or amusing


Julian Mitchell with Rob Callender rehearsing ‘Another Country’


Menuhin is the world’s toughest violin competition. Why is it packed with Asians, and no Brits?

The world’s toughest violin competition is jam-packed with Asians – and this year,  not a single Brit

‘Hercules Killing Cacus’, 1588, by Hendrik Goltzius


Upside down and right on top: the power of George Baselitz

The British Museum's immaculately presented 'Germany Divided' shows the strength of its headline act. Plus two more German shows - Renaissance Impressions at the Royal Academy and Strange Beauty at the National Gallery

Fernand Léger ‘s ‘The City’, 1919


The tubular joys of Fernand Léger

As a new Venetian exhibition shows, the Cubist was a pioneer in poster design and experimental film as well as a painter


The Royal Opera House's Die Frau ohne Schatten – a dream solution to Strauss’s problem opera?

Conductor and cast deliver near ideal performances but the staging needed more focus


The dancers who said ‘no’ to postmodernism

The spectacle-oriented 70s dance company Pilobolus bring their mesmerising shadow play to London


A gaggle of husbands and a pair of piglets

Sharmila Chauhan's The Husbands is a great idea that should have been written by a chap. But seeing I'd Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole is an act of charity

Will she jump? Imogen Poots as Jess, the daughter of a politician


These screen suicides deserve a nudge off the ledge

A Long Way Down is so poorly written, so lacking in insight or sympathy, that you just want the characters to jump


Eton vs snobbery

CBBC’s new documentary gives the school the best PR it could ever wish for 


Lives captured in transit

Plus: legendary interviewer Lynn Barber lets us in on her secrets

Culture notes

Jeremy Deller is lost in Walthamstow

It must have seemed a great idea to take Jeremy Deller’s aggressive look at contemporary Britain to the William Morris gallery. But it doesn't fit there


High life

Paddy Macklin's special kind of courage

A solo yachtsman from a family of heroes

Long life

It's sheer madness for Cameron to resurrect the hunting issue

What really happens on foxhunts nowadays is a mystery, but it must be pretty exciting to command such enthusiasm



A number of young Israelis are taking the International bridge world by storm. All in their twenties, their achievements so…

Spectator Wine

March Wine Club

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True Blue

The Oxford v. Cambridge Varsity Match held at the Royal Automobile Club two weeks ago ended in a draw. This…

Chess puzzle

No. 306

Black to play. This position is from Miles-Hodgson, Zaragoza 1993. Black has a powerful build-up on the kingside. How did…


Art of darkness

In Competition 2839 you were invited to submit a poem about the darker side of spring. There were references in…


2154: Clickety click

This puzzle marks the 40 of a 33 29. 16A, 24 and 1D (four words) are three of his works.…

Crossword solution

Solution to 2151: Sources

The three theme words are CHAMBERS (12A, 16A, 40A), OXFORD (colleges) (24A, 4D, 8D), and (works by Wilkie) COLLINS (9D,…

Status anxiety

I was all for press freedom. Then I heard from Gary Lineker...

Now that Hacked Off has this lot, who could oppose it?

Spectator sport

Whisper it, but could England win the next Rugby World Cup?

Stuart Lancaster is proving to be an impressive leader. But are his replacements good enough?

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How long must I wait to tuck in?

Plus: A definitive ruling on phone etiquette


Who dines at Highgrove when Prince Charles doesn't?

I have been inside his gazebo, and I know

Mind your language

When Google can't help you

Mobile-less with the mystery of the mandorla