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Notes on…The Charm of the Dordogne

It’s only 150 years since a toff was roasted in the remote Dordogne village of Hautefaye. The poor soul was a French aristocrat resented by the locals. Perhaps he was an outsider. Perhaps he was a second-homer taking advantage of the delights of the Dordogne without ever turning up to any 19th-century equivalents of today’s

Why does the BBC so love lefty journalists?

My response to the appointment of Ian Katz, deputy editor of the Guardian, to the editorship of BBC2’s Newsnight has been one of disbelief and amusement. Of course there’s nothing new in the Beeb hiring a paid-up Guardian-ista. It’s what we have come to expect. But one might have expected its new director-general, Tony Hall,

When the bloke in the bar turns out to be a paedophile

To the British tabloids, he was ‘the Pied Piper of paedophiles’, the UK’s ‘most wanted child abuser’. But we all knew him as Willem: the fat, jolly, occasionally lecherous Dutchman who was a mainstay of Prague’s expatriate gay community. If you visited one of the city’s same-sex watering holes before last August, when Czech police

Congratulations, Rob Ford: you’ve finally made me despise you

The first thing you see after leaving the baggage carousel at Toronto’s Pearson airport is an enormous photograph of Mayor Rob Ford. In it, the former high school football coach grins in his blingy regalia, teeth yellowed, one eye squinting in a semi-wink. His scalp is flushed and shiny through a receding blond hairline and

What’s keeping the banks buoyant?

‘The central bankers have won,’ a senior City stockbroker said to me this week with an air of resignation. ‘There’s no point fighting them. Investors are doing as they’re told.’ And, wow, how they’re doing as they’re told. Thanks to central bank money-printing, cash is sloshing around the global financial system in desperate search of