Clarissa Tan

Good luck having a proper holiday if you own a smartphone

This time last year, the Spectator’s Clarissa Tan discussed how you can never really have a proper holiday if you own a smartphone. A year on, and Clarissa is no longer with us, but her wonderful writing still is: I was sitting on some rocks by the Cornish coast when a teenager swanned by on the

The Visit

Clarissa Tan, who wrote articles and TV reviews for The Spectator, has died of cancer aged 42. She came to London from Singapore after winning this magazine’s Shiva Naipaul prize for travel writing and over the next seven years wrote about a great many things: Asia, race and the East; also smartphones, Sienna and socks.

A quietly stunning quest for Bonnie Prince Charlie

What if Bonnie Prince Charlie, as he swept down from Scotland towards London to lay claim to the throne, hadn’t lost his nerve at Derbyshire but had instead pressed on — and won? What would Britain be like today? In the year that the Scots vote on whether to stay in the UK, the art

So long, Scandinavia. Bonjour, Benelux! 

So long, Scandinavia. Bonjour, Benelux! BBC4, your subtitle-friendly channel, has filled the hole left by Nordic-noir The Bridge with Belgian crime drama Salamander (Saturday). At first, I thought this might involve a series of murder mysteries set in Flemish country houses, all solved by a dapper English detective called Horace Parrot. Not to be. Salamander

China’s banking problems are snowballing — fast

The world’s largest bank by assets, Beijing-based ICBC, has announced it won’t take full responsibility for a trust investment worth 3-billion yuan (£300 million) that may go bust. In other words, one of China’s ‘big four’ banks may be linked to a default on a loan pretty similar to the sort that started the Lehman

Clarissa Tan’s Notebook: Why I stopped drinking petrol

Florence was in fog the day I arrived. Its buildings were bathed in white cloud, its people moved as though through steam. The Arno river was a dense strip of dew. At the Piazzale Michelangelo, the statue of David was etched by the surrounding murkiness to a stark silhouette, the renaissance defined by gothic cloud.

After Sherlock, TV will never be the same again

You know the holiday season is over when, instead of being torn between The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday night, you have to choose between The Voice and Splash!. The good news for The Voice is that pint-sized superstar Kylie Minogue has joined its judging panel. In the season opener, competition

Is Sherlock starting to suffer from ADD?

Sherlock’s not dead. A good thing, since on New Year’s Day BBC1 launched its third series of Sherlock, and it’d be inconvenient if the three episodes didn’t have Sherlock. Last season, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes stood on a building rooftop, dramatic coat flapping, a tweedy caped crusader. Then he jumped to his death. Only he didn’t.

Shinzo Abe’s shrine visit is a sign of a new, hawkish Japan

Peace and goodwill seem to be in rather short supply in the Far East, with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe paying homage at Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni wartime shrine, provoking a sharp rebuke from China within an hour of his visit. Abe’s appearance at the shrine – dedicated to those who died for the Empire of Japan, including the general responsible

Why doesn’t Doctor Who travel far from Britain? 

If I could go back in time, I’d watch Doctor Who from the very first episode. I wasn’t born in Britain, and with the 50th anniversary of the series hurtling towards us like an Earth-bound Tardis, I’m wondering if I might understand this cultural touchstone better if I’d grown up in the country, along with

Will the women of The X Factor stop perving?

Will the women on ITV’s The X Factor (Saturday) stop perving? I suppose there are two ways to tackle the issue of gender equality — one is to dictate that nobody mention sexuality at all; the other is to make females slobber over the males the way men purportedly slobber over women all the time.

Introducing the celebs of Victorian reality TV

Did Dr Jekyll turn into Jack the Ripper? Besides becoming evil Mr Hyde, did Robert L. Stevenson’s fictional creation morph into the serial killer who terrified Whitechapel? In a way, he did. A stage version of Stevenson’s novel was playing in the West End at the time of the East End murders. On stage, the

Give us your views! Here is Fraser Nelson’s

Spectator readers are known for their views — fierce, funny, original. Now we want not only your opinions, but your visual views as well. This week’s magazine features Sam Leith’s lovely review of Simon Jenkins’ wonderful book, ‘England’s 100 Best Views’. What are your favourite views, from these shores and beyond? Send them to us.