Flat White

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Decaying one day, enchanting the next

The private island resort of Bedarra was once a byword for excess: champagne baths were not unheard of. But when…

Energy robber barons

The car industry were amateurs compared to these guys. During the last great assistance package to the car sector, the…

14 Oct 2017

A world without Christianity

Not all homosexuals are cowering in corners as they suffer the dreaded hate speech of the same-sex marriage debate; indeed,…

14 Oct 2017

Kiwi cargo cult

Driving south from Auckland you might well ask why the big volcanoes are spread all over the North Island unlike…

14 Oct 2017

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun

The Peking duck arrived on a platter the size of a solar dish and the party of prosperous retired couples…

14 Oct 2017

In space, no one can hear you screaming for cash

Such is the mystique of Elon Musk that he is able to make the absurd declarations that he will launch…

7 Oct 2017

Another Trek

Paul Swart, 86, was a kind man of great compassion and his face mirrored those qualities. Mr Swart helped 30…

7 Oct 2017

The war we don’t know how to fight

One day, perhaps before it is too late, Turnbull, Brandis, Shorten and co. and their fellow members of the political…

7 Oct 2017

Xavier de Maistre

Gracie Fields used to sing: ‘I took my harp to a party but nobody asked me to play’. I can’t…

14 Oct 2017

The Merry Widow

Not everyone celebrates a 55th anniversary, but if you are a national ballet company at the peak of its form,…

7 Oct 2017

Terracotta bust of Edmund Barton by Nelson Illingworth (c.1901)

Although they are not especially grand, these houses are arguably the most significant in the country. The four official residences…

30 Sep 2017

Thomas Hampson

Sir Andrew Davis became Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2013 and, happily, will continue until the end…

23 Sep 2017

Not so much

‘Kiss me mucho,’ sang my husband with a revolting leer, ‘and we’ll soar. And we’ll dance the dance of love…

14 Oct 2017

Real life

They are building the bonfire already. In the dip where winter flooding sometimes creates a small lake, the wood and…

14 Oct 2017

Dear Mary

Q. A well-known television mogul,whom I had met only once, came to dinner at my house. I was on good…

14 Oct 2017

High life

I smell a rat when it comes to Harvey Weinstein. Let’s take it from the start. The telephone rang very…

14 Oct 2017

The problem with Hungary

The name of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is on the lips of most left-wing, liberal politicians and intellectuals…

14 Oct 2017

On the waterfront

Much has been made of the American novelist Jennifer Egan’s mutation, in her latest novel, from purveyor of metafiction and…

14 Oct 2017

Gleaming pictures of the past

If you think you know what to expect from an Alan Hollinghurst novel, then when it comes to The Sparsholt…

14 Oct 2017

Princess Uppity

Princess Margaret was everywhere on the bohemian scene of the 1960s and 1970s. She hung out with all the famous…

14 Oct 2017

His dark materials

In this giant, prodigiously sourced and insightful biography, John A. Farrell shows how Richard Milhous Nixon was the nightmare of…

14 Oct 2017

Highly charged territory

I first heard of this tragicomic spy romp around Israel and Palestine when Julian Barnes sang its praises in the…

14 Oct 2017

Putting the boot into Italy

A young woman, naked and covered in blood, totters numbly down a night road. A driver spots her in his…

14 Oct 2017

The great betrayal

They were at sea for more than two months in desperately cramped conditions. The battered ship, barely seaworthy, pitched violently…

14 Oct 2017

Navigating a new world

In the 1890s, when British-owned ships carried 70 per cent of all seaborne trade, legislators worried about the proportion of…

14 Oct 2017

Recent crime fiction

Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling (4th Estate, £12.99) has the word masterpiece emblazoned on the cover, alongside quotes from several…

14 Oct 2017

Lost in the metropolis

Richard Rogers is to architecture what Jamie Oliver is to cookery. It is not enough for either of them just…

7 Oct 2017

Octopus beaks and snake soup

Driving across Japan’s Shikuko island, the food and travel writer Michael Booth pulls into a filling station to find, alongside…

7 Oct 2017