Flat White

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Well out of it

Of all the absurd things that have been said about Brexit, Chris Patten’s comment in his Spectator Australia interview with…

24 Feb 2018

Top three lefty unis

From the sandstones to the concrete monstrosities, Australia’s university students are returning to lecture halls and classrooms in coming weeks.…

24 Feb 2018

Business/Robbery etc

The Turnbull government’s survival depends on a far more serious internal battle than whether Barnaby should keep his fly done…

24 Feb 2018

Bye bye Nats?

Some could use the Barnaby Joyce Affair as an opportunity to kick the National party while it’s down… so let’s…

24 Feb 2018

Minding the gap

Once again the start of the federal parliamentary year has been marked by what has become an annual ritual. The…

24 Feb 2018

What is the point of Cory Bernardi?

Let me be honest. I don’t really see the point of Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives (‘AC’) party as presently configured.…

24 Feb 2018

Paying for steel jobs

Indian billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is now in the same category as American entrepreneur Elon Musk in that any absurd idea…

24 Feb 2018

Aux bien pensants

Proscribe parallelism not promiscuity By proscribing sexual relations with ministerial staff and through his public moral condemnation of Nationals leader…

24 Feb 2018

Rinat Shaham (Carmen) & Marcelo Puente (Don José)

There was an intriguing surprise at a fine performance of Carmen last week; the surtitles carrying the translation of the…

24 Feb 2018

Paula and Helen Thomson in Top Girls

Caryl Churchill is getting on a bit; I know because she was born just two days after me. She is…

17 Feb 2018

Railways and the Raj

Many of our acquaintances now rarely watch 7.30, partly out of irritation with the succession of whingers and trade union…

10 Feb 2018

Morning Star, 2017

President Macron is lending the Bayeux Tapestry for exhibition in the British Museum; the medieval tapestry masterpiece The Lady and…

3 Feb 2018

I dream of my perfect state: Sparta

Gstaad It was nostalgia time at Prince Victor Emmanuel’s birthday party here, with many old friends reminiscing about our youthful…

24 Feb 2018

The vomit-cleaners of YouTube

My hangover was what the great Kingsley Amis describes in his Everyday Drinking guide as a ‘metaphysical’ hangover. Apart from…

24 Feb 2018

I can’t live without Jane Fonda

Everything since the ZX Spectrum has pretty much left me cold. Ghetto blasters, Sony Walkmans, CDs, Apple Macs, iPods, PlayStations……

24 Feb 2018

Hate the Winter Olympics? Here’s why you’re wrong

Despite the best efforts of this column (and the BBC), too many Brits regard the Winter Olympics with the same…

24 Feb 2018

Debussy: the musical genius who erupted out of nowhere

At the end of his study of Debussy, Stephen Walsh makes the startling, but probably accurate, claim that musical revolutionaries…

24 Feb 2018

Laura Freeman reads her way out of anorexia

It is hard to be honest about anorexia. The illness breeds deceit and distortion: ‘It thrives on looking-glass logic. It…

24 Feb 2018

Is Tegucigalpa the crime capital of the world?

The Spanish journalist Alberto Arce worked for Associated Press in Honduras in 2012 and 2013. After a year, he says:…

24 Feb 2018

The Adulterants: a caustic take on London’s brutal property market

Often a blurb exaggerates, but rarely does it fundamentally misrepresent (unless it contains the words ‘In the tradition of…’). The…

24 Feb 2018

Spain has effectively obliterated Franco’s memory

Spanish restaurants in Germany are relatively rare, but not nearly as rare as biographies of General Franco. So when the…

24 Feb 2018

The body count piles up in Mick Herron’s London Rules

The well-written spy novel is not a hotly contested field. Le Carré, Fleming, Deighton, a few Greenes, and that’s largely…

24 Feb 2018

The Book of Joan: part apocalyptic tale, part erotic poem

Does J.G. Ballard’s ‘disquieting equation’, ‘sex x technology = the future’, still hold? Not in Lidia Yuknavitch’s novel, which imagines…

24 Feb 2018

Hitler’s charm offensive at the Berlin Olympics was a sinister cover for his main offensive

The British diplomat Robert Vansittart had been warning against Nazism for years, so it was a surprise when he and…

17 Feb 2018

The best way to escape my abusive family was to write novels

Early on in Amy Tan’s 1989 bestseller, The Joy Luck Club, a Chinese concubine slices a chunk of flesh from…

17 Feb 2018

César Aira returns to the evocative small-town landscape of his youth

The publication of César Aira’s The Lime Tree in Chris Andrews’s assured translation is a reminder that much of the…

17 Feb 2018

Why do people risk their lives to fight for a foreign cause?

What’s the point of a cover if not to judge a book by? One look at the image on the…

17 Feb 2018

Kafa, the birthplace of coffee, was a kingdom straight out of Rider Haggard

For many of us, coffee is the lift that eases the load of our working day. Yet the sharpened mental…

17 Feb 2018