Angus Colwell

Angus Colwell

Angus Colwell is an assistant online editor at The Spectator.

‘I was astounded’: Gary Marcus on the Sam Altman saga

This morning, OpenAI – the firm behind ChatGPT – rehired its chief executive, Sam Altman, after it fired him on Friday. Altman is the most prominent ambassador for the world of artificial intelligence, and was set to join Microsoft after leaving the company. After his sacking, more than 95 per cent of OpenAI’s employees demanded

Svitlana Morenets, Sean Thomas and Angus Colwell

21 min listen

This week, Svitlana Morenets says Ukraine’s counteroffensive is not living up to the hype (00:59), Sean Thomas says he likes travelling to crappy towns (10:27), and Angus Colwell defends London’s rickshaw drivers (17:38).  Presented and produced by Max Jeffery.

In defence of Rickshaws

London rickshaws, or pedicabs, are always described as a scourge. They’re too bright and they’re too loud, the charge sheet reads: they block up the road and rip people off. Last week, the government announced in the King’s Speech that Transport for London will be given powers to license them. Drivers will have their fares

Inside the Armistice Day protests

The Metropolitan Police today staged their largest-ever operation with two marches – the pro-Palestinian march and a smaller counter-protest – taking place in London. The latter, centred on Westminster, provided most of the arrests. The main route of the pro-Palestine march (which started in Park Lane and was moving towards the US Embassy in Vauxhall)

Kamala Harris doesn’t get AI

At least Kamala Harris managed to avoid the dreaded phrase that we should ‘harness AI’s ‘potential’. But that was just about the only blessing in the Vice President’s impressively rubbish speech yesterday at the US embassy in London. Artificial intelligence, it is generally agreed, is the most important issue facing humanity, yet all we had

Both sides deny being behind Gaza hospital strike

Who is responsible for the bombing of a hospital in Gaza? This evening as many as 500 people are thought to have been killed in one terrible act in a medical building in Gaza. Thousands of civilians were reportedly sheltering there, after fleeing their homes following an Israeli order to evacuate the northern part of

Welcome to the pub of 2030

In 2030 I will turn 30. I hope to be in the pub, but maybe a little less often than I am now. Judging by the way things are going, that might be easier than we’d like to admit. And not just because we lost 383 pubs between the start of the year and the end of June. 

The real problem with Thomas Straker

Thomas Straker became famous for his TikTok recipes, although he doesn’t like it when people point that out. He protests that he’s a serious cook – he has worked at Elystan Street, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and The Dorchester – but most people know him as the butter guy. It’s hard to avoid that label

How to enjoy Glastonbury from your sofa

More than 200,000 people have schlepped down the ley lines for another year of ‘Glasto’. It’s tempting to deride these people: they’ll stink, they’re anchorless hedonists, they’re blue-haired hippies. However, they’ve got tickets to Glastonbury and I haven’t, so they win.  Actually going to the festival, however, is a minority experience. More of us will

Save our cheese sandwiches!

Sad things, cheese sandwiches, especially in their most basic form. Most would add a garnish: pickle, tomato and onion are the most popular. Cowards. The point of a cheese sandwich is its beigeness. This is fuel, not food. Consoling sad corporate workers at their desks. Rows upon rows of sandwiches on Tesco shelves: ‘Cheese – no mayonnaise.’

Martin Amis 1949-2023: How The Spectator covered his life

Martin Amis died in Florida on Friday, of oesophageal cancer at the age of 73. Some of The Spectator’s best writers praised, reviled, laughed at and scorned Amis throughout his career. Here’s some extracts from our archive: The Rachel Papers ‘The narrative is often very funny indeed, but I suspect that Martin Amis is getting

Why are the Nat Cons so serious?

The problem with socialism, the saying goes, is that it takes up too many evenings. Well, the National Conservatism conference, or NatCon, is currently detaining ‘delegates’ for 12 hours at a time, for three days in a row. We’ve had long agonised debates about protectionism vs free trade, communitarianism vs individualism, Ukraine support or Nato

Sam Leith, Lionel Shriver and Angus Colwell

23 min listen

This week: Sam Leith explains how he’s been keeping up friendships by playing online scrabble (00:55), Lionel Shriver questions Nike and Bud Light’s recent marketing strategy (06:52) and Angus Colwell reads his review of the V&A Dundee’s tartan exhibition (15:24).

What the V&A Dundee exhibition doesn’t tell you about tartan

Criss-crosses, everywhere: 300 objects covered in them. The exhausting range and depth of the world’s most famous pattern is on full display at the V&A Dundee’s vast new exhibition. Tartan is a more genuine emblem of Scottish nationhood than the famous deep-fried Mars bar, which no one really eats. But it’s not uniquely Scottish. Plaid

The new technocracy: who’s who in the chatbot revolution?

Decades are happening in weeks in the world of artificial intelligence. A fortnight ago, OpenAI released GPT-4, the latest model of its chatbot. It passed the bar exam in the 90th percentile, whereas the previous model only managed the tenth. Last week, Google introduced its own chatbot, Bard. Now, the British government is announcing plans to regulate

Xi’s nuclear warnings are a coup for Scholz

Checks and balances on Vladimir Putin don’t come from inside Russia. The people around him supported forced mobilisation, pushed his plans to annex eastern Ukraine, and wanted more nuclear posturing. Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi, of China and India, can do a much better job at constraining Putin. They’re the only two leaders of major powers

Putin at 70: How The Spectator has covered his life

Vladimir Putin turns 70 today. Since he became Prime Minister of Russia in 1999, some of The Spectator’s greatest contributors have asked the perennial questions: who is Putin, and what does he want? We’ve compiled the following pieces from our fully-digitised archive.  ‘Joking with a nine-year-old boy at a televised awards ceremony by the Russian Geographical