Nik Darlington

Readers’ review: Darling’s ripping memoir

When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007, the Labour party was split into three camps: those who genuinely adored Brown, those who believed he could change (elected as New Gordon, govern as New Gordon?) and a deflated Blairite rump that had given up the ghost.  It is not immediately clear which of these camps

In Birmingham, dreaming of opposition

The intrigue of the Liberal Democrats’ conference has centred on the party’s split personality. A Sunday Times/YouGov poll disclosed that as many as 50 per cent of Lib Dems believe that it was wrong to go into coalition in the first place, leading one to assume that only the small clique of ‘conservatives’ around Nick

The mysteries of spin

Close the nominations. Unless someone publishes proof of Shergar pulling a plough in the Yemen, it must be a good bet for William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2011. Twirlymen is the absorbing maiden work by Amol Rajan, a journalist at the Independent.  His aim is to celebrate spin bowling’s impressive survival in the

Supermac in eight anecdotes

The hardback edition of D.R. Thorpe’s Supermac is 626 pages in length (not including endnotes and index), 24cm x 16cm x 6cm in girth, and weighs in at more than one kilogram – on first appearances, not a book for a beach holiday. Or so I thought, because despite the corporeal hardships of reading this

Don’t blame Brando, blame the historians

Turning it over with my bare toes, it had the look and feel of finely ground coffee, typical of the island’s volcanic black beaches. I could not help but smile to myself: even the white coral sand was a myth. As a youngster, I fell in love with a 1930s book series called The Bounty

Nicholls’ touch of magic

It is an old cliché that films of books must be inferior to the books themselves. It is not always true. For instance, read Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and see whether you disagree (the writing is pedestrian and the plotting is incoherent, which is why the movie has a different storyline). Then of course there

Spotify Sunday: Calmly Magnificent

Here let us sweep The boundless landscape; not the raptur’d eye, Exulting swift, to huge Augusta send, Now to the sister-hills that skirt her plain To lofty Harrow now, and then to where Majestic Windsor lifts his princely brow. In lovely contrast to this glorious view, Calmly magnificent. James Thomson, ‘Summer’ from The Seasons, 1727