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The Good News of Isenheim

In the Christkindlesmarkt — the Christmas market — in Nuremberg at about this time of year you will see an astonishingly large array of Christmas decorations. The market stalls are full of them — carved ones, tinselly ones, glittery ones, some woven out of straw — those stalls, that is, which are not selling sausages,

Recipe for success

Mary Wakefield meets Nigella Lawson and finds that she is friendly, confident, beautiful — but nervous with it In a window-seat at the far end of the bar in the Rib Room of the Carlton Tower Hotel, Nigella Lawson, dressed in black, sits waiting for me. The lighting is mellow, the seats leather and her

Go to work on Christmas Day…

Good generals know when it is time to give up an impossible defence and seek a more secure position to hold. It is time to give up Christmas. It is now utterly overrun by the combined forces of sentimentality, irreligion, bad manners and worse taste. I do not say that on ‘the day’, as it

Stop flattering Putin

Moscow Russia’s Duma election was not an irrelevant farce. It marked an important stage in the continuing struggle between President Putin and the enlightened few who are striving, with talent, energy and courage, to create democracy and a civil society in this country. Though the political events in the preceding weeks sometimes looked like impenetrably

Why al-Qa’eda is winning

Last month, the sixth since President Bush proclaimed ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Iraq, proved the worst so far in terms of American and ‘coalition’ body bags: 81 in all. November was also marked by the bombing of a residential quarter in Riyadh, and by the four Istanbul car-bombs. In ironic contrast, this was the month dignified

Window of opportunity

Tom Stacey on how, as an act of penance, his great-great-uncle donated the great west window to King’s College Chapel As the choristers of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, fill our ears on radio and our eyes on television with their double Christmas bill of carols for the birth of Jesus, the light that plays upon

The temple of whom (singularly possessive)?

Craig Brown has to mind his Ps and Qs when he goes carol-singing with The Pedants’ Association It’s always pleasant to go carol-singing, or carols-singing, with The Pedants’ Association, formerly The Pedants Association, originally The Pedant’s Association. I first joined ten years ago with the long-term aim of attracting the requisite number of votes in

Reasons to be cheerful

Theodore Dalrymple on the joy of seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary — in gooseberries, for example, even in human beings In my line of work, it is rather hard to think of reasons to be cheerful. On the contrary, it requires quite a lot of concentrated intellectual effort: one has the sensation of scraping

We need to be saved

Hell exists, says Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, but so does hope. Choices have consequences, and by making the right choices we move towards God Before very long, I would imagine, together with my fellow-Cardinals, I will be going to the Vatican for the election of the successor to Pope John Paul II. The election takes place

Africa isn’t dying of Aids

Cape Town It was the eve of Aids Day here. Rock stars like Bono and Bob Geldof were jetting in for a fundraising concert with Nelson Mandela, and the airwaves were full of dark talk about megadeath and the armies of feral orphans who would surely ransack South Africa’s cities in 2017 unless funds were