25/10/2014
25 Oct 2014

Arrivederci, Italy

25 Oct 2014

Arrivederci, Italy

Featured articles

Features
Daniel Hannan
How Cameron could make the EU a winning issue (and why he won’t)

[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_Oct_2014_v4.mp3" title="James Forsyth, Mats Persson and Matthew Elliott discuss Europe" startat=60] Listen [/audioplayer]Imagine if David Cameron actually meant it. Imagine if he really did follow through with his implied threat to campaign for Brexit in the absence of better terms from Brussels. You can picture the televised address.

How Cameron could make the EU a winning issue (and why he won’t)
Jonathan Ray
It takes an elephant to get my teenage son up early

Having just turned 13, my boy Ferdy doesn’t really do early mornings. Indeed, during the summer hols we rarely glimpsed him before noon and then only fleetingly whenever he chose to assemble himself a triple-decker jam and Nutella sandwich and flee back upstairs to his darkened room and repeats of Top Gear on his iPad. I saw more of our neighbours’ kids than I did of our own. But there Ferdy was at 5.

It takes an elephant to get my teenage son up early
Peregrine Worsthorne
Bourbon from Bush, envy from Nixon... and running into Herbert Hoover: encounters with eight presidents

I feel a bit of a fraud writing about the ‘presidents I knew’, since journalists do not really get to know the great figures they interview or shake hands with. Indeed the relationship between journalist and great personage is about as false as any relationship can be, since each is trying to make use of the other. So in all likelihood my dreamed relationship with President Herbert Hoover — which began and ended in 1933 when I was aged 11 and only lasted for about a minute — came nearer to being a genuine human relationship than all the other journalistic ones later — which included Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, Richard Nixon, LBJ, Ronald Reagan and George H.

Bourbon from Bush, envy from Nixon... and running into Herbert Hoover: encounters with eight presidents
Harry Mount
It’s time to shave that beard: the decade of the hipster is over

[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_Oct_2014_v4.mp3" title="Harry Mount and Aleks Eror discuss hipsters" startat=1572] Listen [/audioplayer]Calling all hipsters, it’s time to get the razor out! You have hit peak beard. You’ve had a decade of getting away with those narrow, short trousers and the studiously thought-out socks; with the Victorian archdeacon beards and the shaven sides to your heads.

It’s time to shave that beard: the decade of the hipster is over
Matthew Engel
Escape from Omnishambleshire: the case for the old county boundaries

[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_Oct_2014_v4.mp3" title="James Forsyth, Matthew Engel and Tom Holland discuss counties" startat=785] Listen [/audioplayer]Just over 35 years ago, in August 1979, Christopher Booker wrote a cri de coeur in The Spectator calling for the return of England’s ancient counties and the repeal of the 1972 Local Government Act, under which most of them had been either merged, mauled, mangled or murdered.

Escape from Omnishambleshire: the case for the old county boundaries
Nicholas Farrell
Italy’s in terminal decline, and no one has the guts to stop it

[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_Oct_2014_v4.mp3" title="James Forsyth, Mats Persson and Matthew Elliott discuss Europe" startat=60] Listen [/audioplayer] Rome   The Rome Opera House sacked its entire orchestra and chorus the other day. Financed and managed by the state, and therefore crippled by debt, the opera house — like so much else in Italy — had been a jobs-for-life trade union fiefdom.

Italy’s in terminal decline, and no one has the guts to stop it
William Cook
A voyage along my grandfather’s coastline

My grandfather was born in a huge white house on the Baltic coast of eastern Germany, and ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by this enigmatic tideless sea. I’ve travelled along its southern shore, from Germany to Estonia, but I’d always wanted to sail across it, and last month, at last, I did, aboard the Queen Victoria on Cunard’s Royal Viking Adventure. I joined the cruise in Stockholm (the other passengers had sailed here from Southampton).

A voyage along my grandfather’s coastline
Sophia Martelli
Eight of the best river cruises

While ocean liners are hardly butterflies, they have a habit of flitting carelessly between countries, often visiting several within a week. A river cruise, however, takes its (relatively few) passengers to the heart of a country, the aim being to seduce with dramatic, ever-changing vistas and evocative insights — cruises for the connoisseur, if you will. Because of its many different micro-cultures and magnificent backdrops, Europe is where river cruises thrive.

Eight of the best river cruises
Simon Armitage
Visiting the Greek islands in a reverse Tardis

In Huddersfield, where I grew up, a town-centre department store boasted a ‘cruise wear’ section. In the window display the gentleman dummies wore deck shoes, starched white shorts and flannel jackets, while the ladies struck elegant poses and held designer sunglasses in their slender moulded hands. In Huddersfield, the opportunities to flaunt such clothes were limited. The shop closed down, but for as long as it existed it provided a vision of continental chic and luxury living, nestled between Burger King and the Polish mini-mart.

Visiting the Greek islands in a reverse Tardis
Mark Palmer
Discover the blissful peace of Laos

There’s a company I came across the other day called Value Added Travel. And despite the horrible name, it seems to be doing good business — which got me thinking. If I were starting a travel business I’d be tempted to name it something along the lines of Guaranteed To Make You Feel Better About Life — a mouthful, I grant you, and a little twee, but doesn’t it describe the reason we go places? Even the great Patrick Leigh Fermor’s epic walk from the Hook of Holland to the Golden Horn was underpinned by an innate sense of optimism.

Discover the blissful peace of Laos
Olivia Laing
Saratoga Springs: the opposite of a one-horse town

In the sweltering heat of Manhattan, even the prairie plantings on the High Line looked dusty and tired. I usually steer clear of the city in summer, but this year I arrived in the middle of August. It was the night of the supermoon and I went down to the river to try to catch a breeze. On Pier 45, couples were dancing the tango, twisting and dipping as the music drifted out across the water. The sky turned pink and right on cue the moon rose luminous behind the towers.

Saratoga Springs: the opposite of a one-horse town
Next up: The Week