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Bone idols

New York The Manhattan tattoo artist Craig Dershowitz had already spent $60,000 fighting a desperate legal battle with his ex-girlfriend for custody of their ‘son’ before he appealed to the public a few weeks ago. He needed another $20,000 so he can keep going, he said. Had the helpless victim at the centre of this

A sporting life

If you wanted a little more excitement in this year’s Olympic marathon, you could do worse than imitate the race in 1908 — the first time the Games were held in ­London. Competitors, running from Windsor Castle to Shepherd’s Bush in the boiling heat,  were given hot and cold Oxo, rice pudding and milk, but

I was never a rebel

It’s a hot and crowded afternoon in Manhattan. Martin Amis is in the New York Public Library, relaxing on a small purple sofa. He’s tired, but he takes the time to answer a few questions about his new novel Lionel Asbo about poetry, porn and modern Britain.  Spectator: You grew up in 1960s Britain with

Drop the dead donkey

In 1992, I wrote a book called The Conservative Crack-Up, and my liberal adversaries were joyous. Which is not to say they read the book. American liberals never read a book by a conservative, not even an essay, not even a letter to the editor. What gave wings to their spirits was that 1992 was

The train to nowhere

The fact that you cannot perform a U-turn in a train is one of the limitations of that form of transport. When the line ahead is blocked, locomotives form long queues, unable to go anywhere until the problem is solved. It is scarcely any easier performing a U-turn with a high-speed rail project, especially after


Hay Notebook

The first Saturday of the Hay Festival is always a bit like the first day of term — bumping into people you’ve haven’t seen in months, sometimes for a whole year. Then there are the people down from London, dressed in mufti, sporting inappropriate sunglasses and crumpled linen jackets that haven’t been out of the