Country's Interior Ministry denies responsibility
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Sunday 18 October 2009
In his foreword to this new edition (published on the back of Carwardine's TV series with Stephen Fry), Richard Dawkins observes perceptively that Douglas Adams' comic style is similar and not inferior to that of PG Wodehouse – evidenced by such similes as "When the rhino moved a leg, just slightly, huge muscles moved easily under its heavy skin, like Volkswagens parking." But Adams could write seriously, too (it seems he did most of the actual writing, with Carwardine supplying zoological expertise): the chapter on the komodo dragon is as good a piece of reportage as George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant".
Friday 16 October 2009
Tension was high today as angry protests greeted a visit to the UK by a Dutch far-right MP.
Friday 18 September 2009
A book by Labour's veteran left-wing firebrand Tony Benn had a major influence on the early political thinking of David Cameron, the Conservative leader disclosed yesterday.
Friday 28 August 2009
Tuesday 11 August 2009
On the dance floor, Mark Ramprakash more than fulfilled his potential. Alas, as an international Test batsman, it was a different story. Despite his talent with the willow, Ramprakash never flourished for his national side. He was dropped in 2002 and that, most of the cricket world presumed, was that.
Friday 31 July 2009
Friday 31 July 2009
In late 1938, still frail after the Spanish Civil War, Orwell went to Morocco and wrote "Marrakech". Faced with a respectful column of colonial troops from Senegal, meekly serving France, he notes – this in the heyday of blithe, oblivious travel writing – "How much longer can we go on kidding these people? How long before they turn their guns in the other direction?"
Wednesday 29 July 2009
Wednesday 22 July 2009
Sunday 28 June 2009
Peter Ackroyd has done the general reader a service with this Greatest Hits selection; a collection of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poems and 14 of his most memorable tales. The poems are light on meaning but strong on atmosphere and euphony. Poe's 19th-century American prose style can be tiresomely stodgy, but his peculiar morbid genius shines through. The title story is a brilliant evocation of psychological horror. I'm wondering now, as I wondered the first time I read it, what was actually in the pit?
Friday 12 June 2009
The bass guitarist and composer Hugh Hopper was a pivotal member of Soft Machine, the Canterbury group which went through many incarnations and shifts in musical identity and proved more successful in continental Europe than the UK in the late Sixties and early Seventies. A friend and schoolmate of the founder-member, drummer and vocalist Robert Wyatt, Hopper contributed to the group's psychedelic debut in 1968 and was their road manager before replacing bassist Kevin Ayers on the jazzier Volume Two album the following year. Hopper was a mainstay of the Softs until May 1973, his trademark fuzz Fender Precision bass riffs and experiments with tape loops as important to the group's ever-evolving sound as Mike Ratledge's Lowrey electric organ through five albums, including the best-selling Third (1970) and Fourth (1971).
Sunday 07 June 2009
Friday 15 May 2009
The perfect beach book, as long as your preferred resort is Serifos rather than Scarborough, Sunshine is a counterblast to The Cloudspotter's Guide. Mighall explores the heliophilic tendency in English culture from Philip Sidney (whose association of sun and love is likened to the Manic Street Preachers) to, unexpectedly, George Orwell.
Ode to recession: with Donne and Weller ringing in their ears, Indy readers took up the challenge...
Monday 04 May 2009
Sunday 03 May 2009
Although not a parties man, even George Orwell would have enjoyed the awards for political writing held in his name at the Foreign Press Association on the Mall, London. For, with only three gongs to be dished out – best book, best journalism and best blog – guests could relax, safe in the knowledge they could soon get back to chatting and drinking.
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