Flat White

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National roll of dishonour

In times of crisis, Australians demand leadership, leadership of the quality which that great Roman, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus, or that…

18 Aug 2018

Should we bomb Iran?

Clearly, when I say ‘we’, I don’t mean you and me.  As a responsible Speccie reader I’m sure you know…

18 Aug 2018

A change of wind

Annual Meeting of the Climate Change Party People of any sex or neither, let us begin by acknowledging the traditional…

18 Aug 2018

Suffer your children

Of all the green/Left groups badgering schoolkids about human-caused global warming, the most determined is the Australian Academy of Science.…

18 Aug 2018

Dear Jymbo

Dear Jymbo, I am a sad and disgruntled Liberal party member of parliament in Canberra. I thought I was being…

18 Aug 2018

What did you not learn at school today?

It’s hard for a student at university these days, with all the awful things they (that’s the authorised pronoun for…

18 Aug 2018

Sex, lies and fake news

Working in politics teaches you one thing about Australian voters. They despise the political class although not usually their local…

11 Aug 2018

Business/Robbery etc

Pigs might fly – but they will not be Australian porkers (or beef or lamb) flying into the European Union…

11 Aug 2018

The House

The House is the economically direct title of a new book about  ‘the dramatic story of the Sydney Opera House…

18 Aug 2018

Lang Lang in an improbable situation

An internationally admired orchestra in a beautiful hall: that’s the Melbourne Symphony in Hamer Hall of the Victorian Arts Centre.…

11 Aug 2018

Wayne Blair

Such a lovely title, it’s hard to believe that The Long Forgotten Dream hasn’t been used before. The title belongs…

4 Aug 2018

John Russell

Once he was known as ‘Australia’s lost impressionist’ and referred to as John Peter Russell. Now at the Art Gallery…

28 Jul 2018

The case for bringing back feudalism

Gstaad I need it like Boris needs a bleach job. Another birthday, that is. Birthdays tend to make your life…

18 Aug 2018

Why the kindness of strangers trumps a pagan festival

The entire Alpine village, contemptuously dismissed recently in an online tourist guide as a nondescript centre of old peasants and…

18 Aug 2018

Why won’t anyone live with me?

When I placed an advert for a lodger I really did expect potential tenants to want to come and see…

18 Aug 2018

Racing for the app generation

Making racing profitable depends on getting information at the right time. In the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood two Saturdays ago…

18 Aug 2018

Ménage à quatre with Robert Graves

‘I have a very poor opinion of other people’s opinion of me — though I am fairly happy in my…

18 Aug 2018

A feast for foot fetishists

It is always interesting to see what art historians get up to when none of the rest of us is…

18 Aug 2018

Did the notorious Zinoviev letter ever exist?

This is a well-written, scrupulously researched and argued account of an enduring mystery that neatly illustrates the haphazard interactions of…

18 Aug 2018

The plight of the returnee: A Terrible Country, by Keith Gessen, reviewed

If the 20th century popularised the figure of the émigré, the 21st has introduced that of the returnee, who, aided…

18 Aug 2018

Anita Leslie: sparkling socialite with the Croix de Guerre

Anita Leslie knew how to tell a story. Arranging to sit for a portrait six months before she died, she…

18 Aug 2018

How do we envisage Shakespeare’s wife?

Despite his having one of the most famous names in the world, we know maddeningly little about William Shakespeare. His…

18 Aug 2018

Unlucky in love: Caroline’s Bikini, by Kirsty Gunn, reviewed

‘The most interesting novels are a bit strange,’ Kirsty Gunn once told readers of the London Review of Books. ‘They…

18 Aug 2018

From the Iliad to the IRA: Country, by Michael Hughes, reviewed

Recently there has been a spate of retellings of the Iliad, to name just Pat Barker’s The Silence of the…

18 Aug 2018

It’s time to rehabilitate the art connoisseur

Many art historians have written their own story of the making of an aesthete: Ruskin, Berenson and Kenneth Clark to…

18 Aug 2018

The perfect guide to a book everyone should read

‘The Divine Comedy is a book that everyone ought to read,’ according to Jorge Luis Borges, and every Italian has…

11 Aug 2018

The selective breeding of pets: how far should we go?

It was in his play Back to Methuselah that George Bernard Shaw honoured a lesser known aspect of Charles Darwin’s…

11 Aug 2018

‘We are not cattle, we’re people’: everyday hell in Stalin’s labour camps

‘No testimony from this time must ever be forgotten,’ the great Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova says in his afterword to…

11 Aug 2018