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Exhausting but exhilarating

The art and antiques business is as unpredictable as an English summer. And it is not only the works of art that confound market rules and crystal balls. The fairs that serve as the dealers’ collective showcase similarly defy expectations. Who would have thought, for instance, that fair entrepreneur David Lester could put up a

The whole tent stank of kippers

Lady Elizabeth Anson ‘numbers President William Jefferson Clinton, Hans Heinrich Thyssen Bornemisza, Mrs Henry John Heinz, the late Mr Alfred Heineken, Princess Esra Jah, Mrs Basil Hersov, Mr John Paul Getty II, Mr Galen Weston, the then Mr and Mrs Tom Cruise, Mr Donald Trump and Mrs Ivana Trump and the University of Boston among

Don’t expel Dr Hook

A dingy community hall in the back streets of Bethnal Green on a cold and miserable winter’s evening. We’re all here waiting for the weird, hook-handed fundamentalist cleric Sheikh Abu Hamza al Misri, the most loathed man in Britain, who is about to hold a public meeting. When I say ‘we’re all here’, I mean

Don’t drop the pilot

I keep meeting people with a dilemma. On the one hand, they want to see a swift, successful outcome of President Bush’s crusade against Iraq. On the other, if the war goes horribly wrong, they perceive a chance to get rid of Tony Blair. The vision fills them with an ecstasy normally reserved for winning

The case for colonialism

The West might be superficially divided between hawks and doves, but there is a deeper division: between foxes and hedgehogs. In a famous essay on Tolstoy, Isaiah Berlin said the division was ‘one of the deepest’ among human beings. The distinction applies just as well to politicians and governments. Foxes, said Berlin, are sophisticated, pluralist,