But private schools, private tutors and bestselling books are filling the vacuum, says Harry Mount. Larkin was right: there is a hunger in us all ‘to be more serious’The decline of the British education system has been my gain, I’m only partly ashamed to confess. As somebody who has published a jokey book about a highbrow subject, I have profited from the proceeds of writing for a market that simply didn’t exist half a century ago.
Looking every inch the Brit that he isn’t, American playwright Christopher Shinn takes a bite of a sandwich in a Shepherd’s Bush rehearsal room on a rainy summer afternoon and confesses that, although grateful, he still finds it ‘a mystery’ that it should have been London’s theatrical community, rather than New York’s, that made his career. For his latest play, Now or Later, recently opened at the Royal Court, will be his fifth to premiere in London before going anywhere near his own continent, about which he relentlessly writes.
Isn’t it about time Muslim terrorists rethought their strategy of recording glorious martyrdom videos, in advance of failing to blow anything up? Wouldn’t it be a bit less embarrassing for all concerned? Time after time we see these imbeciles on our television news promising all sorts of mayhem and misery, the righteous and cleansing fires of Allah poured down upon we imperialist decadent kafir scum, ‘body parts’ scattered in the streets, etc.
At a Google conference in Rhodes, Matthew d’Ancona finds himself part of a bid to break the world record for Zorba dancing — and to relive one of the greatest scenes in cinema‘Teach me to dance. Will you?’ Few scenes in cinema have the emotional poignancy and magic of the last moments of Zorba the Greek (1964), as Basil, the young English writer played by Alan Bates, seeks his final lesson in life from Anthony Quinn’s majestic peasant-magus, on the Cretan shore.
The PM’s claim to have created three million British jobs is a grave deceit, says Fraser Nelson. Strip out immigrants from the picture, and Labour has barely dented the problem of British worklessness. Over to you, Mr CameronIf there were to be a British Statue of Liberty, it should be erected at Victoria coach station in London. For it is here that most of the tired, poor, huddled masses of Eastern Europeans have arrived seeking what Michael Howard once called the ‘British dream’.
Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, pretends that this republic is a haven of stability. Not so, says Tom Parfitt: the Ingush are subject to a campaign of murder and repressionAmong the first-class passengers who flew into Ingushetia’s Magas airport from Moscow on the afternoon of 31 August were two grey-haired men in suits. The pair avoided each other’s gaze. One was Murat Zyazikov, 50, a former KGB officer and president of Ingushetia, the small Muslim republic which borders Chechnya in southern Russia.