25/08/2012
25 Aug 2012

25 August 2012

25 Aug 2012

25 August 2012

Featured articles

Features
Annabel Howard
Driving to Shangri La

I’d go to Canada if I wanted to ski, or fish, or see the Northern Lights, but in the end it was only to launch my (Canadian) boyfriend D.W.’s book that I ventured west. I hate to think of myself as prejudiced, but even lyrical books like Will Fiennes’s The Snow Geese don’t do much to encourage Canadian tourism. Which made D.W.’s goal — to woo me into a love of the Great White North — difficult: I was determined not to be converted.

Driving to Shangri La
Mark Lutyens
The new country garden

Like Nostradamus, the vision is flickering but I believe I have glimpsed the future — at least, the future look of garden and landscape design. I wonder whether, in these dark times, we are at the threshold of a new enlightened age. There were two great moments in the history of garden and landscape design: the first was the introduction of naturalistic planting pioneered by William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll towards the end of the 19th century; and second, before that, in the first half of the 18th century, the landscape movement as exemplified by William Kent and Capability Brown.

The new country garden
Mark Mason
A fan’s notes

When was the last time a piece of technology made you happy? Truly happy, so satisfied with the experience that you immediately wanted to repeat it? For me it was last weekend, in a pub toilet, using an Excel Xlerator hand dryer. This unbelievably powerful bit of equipment sorted out my mitts in less time than it takes to say ‘force 12 hurricane’. I was tempted to re-wash them, simply for the fun of using it again.

A fan’s notes
Melissa Kite
War on games

On a visit to my old school not long ago, I found myself confronted by my former PE teacher, now the deputy head. She fixed me with an icy glare. ‘Oh no,’ I said, ‘I’ve forgotten my note.’ The icy glare froze completely so I explained: ‘You remember? I’m the one who came to every single PE and games lesson with a note from my parents saying I had neck ache.’ Icy glare. To her, it still wasn’t funny.

War on games
Douglas Murray
Dictating terms

When the International Criminal Court (ICC) was set up ten years ago, it was meant to make the world a safer place. The Court and the various UN war crimes tribunals were supposed to pursue and punish war-criminal dictators as a warning to all the others. The idea may have been a noble one but, as Syria now demonstrates, it has proved hideously flawed. Far from deterring brutal dictators, the prospect of ending up like Slobodan Milosevic or Charles Taylor has persuaded some of the worst dictators that they only have one choice: to fight it out to the end.

Dictating terms
Brendan O’Neill
Malthus’s children

Two hundred years ago, the creepy Revd Thomas Malthus would take to his pulpit to rail against the copulating lower orders. Author of An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), Malthus was one of the first promoters of the overpopulation thesis. If people — especially poor people — didn’t stop having so many babies, ‘premature death would visit mankind’. The demand for food would outstrip mankind’s ability to produce it, giving rise to famines, to ‘epidemics, pestilence and plagues’ that would ‘sweep off tens of thousands’.

Malthus’s children
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