Nicholas Lezard

Music was always Anthony Burgess’s first love

Anthony Burgess, a professional to his finger- tips, knew how to write an arresting first sentence. The locus classicus is his opening to Earthly Powers. But try this for size, a lapel-grabbing start of a piece about William Walton in The Listener: Waking crapulous and apothaneintheloish, as I do most mornings these days, I find

Judge Dredd: the prescience of a 45-year-old comic strip

In 1977, an enduring character was created for the pages of the IPC comic 2000 AD: Judge Dredd, lawman of the future, the most visible symbol of police procedure – a helmeted, black-clad, motorbike-riding policeman patrolling the streets of Mega-City One, a vast metropolis stretching along the eastern coast of the US, whose remit also

How hardboiled detective fiction saved James Ellroy

Public readings by James Ellroy would tend to begin like this: Good evening, peepers, prowlers, pederasts, panty sniffers, punks and pimps. I’m James Ellroy, demon dog of American literature, the foul owl with the death growl, the white night of the far right, and the slick trick with the donkey dick. My books are written

The art of exclamation marks!

This is a short book, but it carries a punch, as does its subject, the exclamation mark – or shriek, or bang, as it is occasionally and graphically called. I use the word ‘graphically’ advisedly, for the punctuation mark falls into an ambiguous territory overlapping orthography and illustration. I say to myself that I don’t

The new vandals

31 min listen

This week: In his cover piece Douglas Murray writes that museums are turning against their own collections. He is joined by the historian Robert Tombs to discuss whether a culture of self-flagellation is harming British museums (00:56). Also this week: For the magazine The Spectator’s assistant editor Cindy Yu writes that the tune is changing in China.

How to avoid paying London’s Ulez charge

It’s getting hard to escape low emission zones. In Birmingham, Oxford and Bristol – and pretty soon the whole of London – unless your vehicle is squeaky clean, you are going to have to pay every day that you drive. London–based readers probably know by now of Transport for London’s plans to expand its £12.50-a-day