18/06/2022
18 Jun 2022

Leaderless

18 Jun 2022

Leaderless

Books

More from Books
Lynn Barber
Jarvis Cocker measures out his life in attic junk

If you were hoping for an autobiography this isn’t it. Jarvis Cocker calls it ‘an inventory’ and insists: ‘This is not a life story. It’s a loft story.’ But anyway it’s as quirky and engaging as you would expect from Cocker and also the most beautifully produced book I’ve seen in years, designed by Julian House. And it does, in its circuitous way, tell us quite a lot about Cocker’s formative years in Sheffield. The MacGuffin is that Cocker is meant to be clearing out a loft where he’s been storing stuff for years and deciding what to ‘cob’ (chuck) and what to keep.

Jarvis Cocker measures out his life in attic junk
Ian Birrell
Abolishing slavery was no cause for smugness

When the 13 colonies of the United States declared independence in 1776, the first country to recognise the new nation was France. Other leading European powers, such as Britain and Spain, acknowledged its arrival at the Treaty of Paris, two years after a decisive victory by American forces. Yet when Haiti asserted independence in 1804, it was ostracised by Britain, France, Spain and the US. During its first fragile years as a fledgling state, that self-declared guru of liberty Thomas Jefferson even imposed a rigid blockade while president.

Abolishing slavery was no cause for smugness
Ferdinand Mount
What shape is the Treasury in now?

Don’t bring a bottle. Your chances of finding a party in full swing down those chilly corridors are close to zero. At most, you might hear the sound of a distant flute playing a courante by Lully. As Sir Howard Davies puts it in this insider’s view, which manages to be both authoritative and quite cheeky: The Treasury does not cultivate a warm and cuddly working environment. You may well not know if your immediate boss has a spouse or partner, and would certainly never meet them if they exist.

What shape is the Treasury in now?
Suzi Feay
The Victorian origins of ‘medieval’ folklore

I would guess that contemporary pagans have a love-hate relationship with Ronald Hutton. With books such as The Triumph of the Moon and Stations of the Sun, scholarly accounts of the history of modern witchcraft and the ritual year in Britain, no one writes more sensitively about their worldview. On the other hand, as an academic, Hutton assiduously seeks to saw off the branch on which many of their fondest assumptions sit.

The Victorian origins of ‘medieval’ folklore
Iain MacGregor
Berliners were punished twice – by Hitler and by the Allies

‘Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.’ Albert Einstein’s deft avoidance of the question put to him in 1929 – whether he considered himself a German or a Jew – was prophetic of what would happen to his country in the following decade. He was just one of the many stars of Berlin, Europe’s dazzling, decadent centre of the arts and culture, whose spark would be dimmed or extinguished by Adolf Hitler.

Berliners were punished twice – by Hitler and by the Allies
Frank Lawton
Piloting a Boeing Dreamliner can be less than dreamy

Mark Vanhoenacker dreams of my nightmares. Ever since he was a young boy, he fantasised about piloting airplanes. Ever since I was a young boy, well, let’s just say I’ve preferred to take the train. Of course I know that, statistically, flying is safe; but that knowledge doesn’t stop the unnerving sense that at some point the laws of physics will reimpose themselves and we’ll be punished for our former miracles. And let’s be honest, if God had wanted us to fly, would he really have invented airline food? Vanhoenacker has no such worries – which is handy, since he’s fulfilled his dream and now pilots Boeing 787 Dreamliners round the world (a life he detailed in his surprise 2015 bestseller Skyfaring).

Piloting a Boeing Dreamliner can be less than dreamy
Brian Martin
Connecticut connections: A Little Hope, by Ethan Joella, reviewed

A Little Hope, Ethan Joella’s debut novel, is about the lives of a dozen or so ordinary people who live in smalltown East Coast America. By helicopter over Connecticut ‘you wouldn’t notice Wharton right away’. Yet the problems its inhabitants face are universal. There is the seemingly American Dream family – Greg, Freddie, Addie the daughter and Wizard the dog. In line with the novel’s themes of ‘hurt’ and ‘hope’, Greg develops an aggressive blood cancer and is fighting for his life.

Connecticut connections: A Little Hope, by Ethan Joella, reviewed
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