Robert Gore-Langton

Christmas Special

65 min listen

Welcome to the special Christmas episode of The Edition! Up first: What a year in politics it has been. 2022 has seen five education secretaries, four chancellors, three prime ministers and two monarchs. But there is only one political team that can make sense of it all. The Spectator’s editor Fraser Nelson, deputy political editor Katy Balls

The art of the panto dame

There is nothing more panto than a dame. The grandmother of today’s dames is Dan Leno (1860–1904), a champion clog dancer and music-hall performer, not much taller than Ronnie Corbett. He was preceded by others, notably James Rogers, who in 1861, in Aladdin,played a character called Widow Twankey, named after a cheap and revolting tea.

The rise and fall of Tammy Faye

Tammy Faye Bakker was a chirpy, perky televangelist noted for her lavish mascara and her barrel-stave eyelashes. She once conducted an interview on her PTL (Praise the Lord) chat show for which she remains revered among gays. It was in 1985 and she was talking to Steve Pieters, a soft-spoken church pastor with a soup-strainer

Why I donated a kidney to a stranger

One year ago I walked into an operating theatre, dressed in a tiny surgical nightie. Over the next three hours, through various keyhole incisions in my belly, my left kidney was cut from its pillow of protective suet and extracted from below the belt line. The kidney was rinsed through, put on ice and boxed

Why Merseyside is the natural home for a Shakespearean theatre

Prescot is a neglected little town in Merseyside noted for having Britain’s second narrowest street and for its Brazilian waxing salon. It’s now also home to Shakespeare North, a game-changing new theatre. This handsome, modern brick building overlooking a Jacobean church has a light, airy, unfussy interior – a stairway to heaven. You leave the

The psychopath who wrecked New York

Robert Moses was the man, they say, who built New York. He was never elected to anything, yet he had absolute control of all public works in the city for more than 40 years, until 1968. His record was mind-bending. He personally conceived and directed the building of 627 miles of New York parkways and

The scourge of Britain’s seagulls

What’s happened to seagulls? They used to be rather charming. The plaintive cawing of gulls used to be the nostalgic soundtrack to any seaside holiday. In the banal, best-selling book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the eponymous bird flies for the spiritual joy of it and learns great truth and wisdom. The one thing it doesn’t do is

The death of lawn mowing

Are we witnessing the slow death of manly gardening? A new government initiative urges us that for the sake of bees and pollinators we should leave the mower in the shed and let our lawns turn into savannahs. Some thirty councils are signed up. King’s College Cambridge has turned its lawn into a wild flower

What is it with Bristol and rioting?

‘Bristol riots’ has a lengthy section of its own on Wikipedia. In the wake of the ugly scenes that erupted in the city at the weekend, the list of disturbances is now even longer. Police were injured, a few badly. Vans were set alight and the mindless joy of all that breaking glass became infectious — one