Speeches in the House of Commons by the Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg are an erudite comedy turn. As MPs debated the European Union (Approvals) Bill (Lords), which writes into British law two draft regulations passed by the Council of the European Union, only he thought it necessary to read into the official record part of what one of the regulations actually said.
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Tuesday 07 December 2010
Sunday 07 November 2010
We know that secrets can destroy, but in the final pages of Sylvie Germain's curiously flat novel we realise that it's their release that has the real destructive force.
Sunday 18 July 2010
Friday 02 July 2010
Themes of childbirth and motherhood link four stories in Joanna Kavenna's ambitious second novel. Two are set in present-day London, one in Vienna in 1865, and one in a dystopian future. The present episodes work best: in the first, writer Michael Stone reassesses his relationship with his mother while feeling completely ill at ease at a literary do for his first, poorly reviewed novel. In the second, Brigid Hayes, exhausted and overdue with her second baby at the age of 42, struggles with a toddler son, an irritating mother and encroaching labour. The first shows sensitivity, skilfully capturing creative disillusionment and social discomfort. The second, while displaying great insight into a woman's state of mind throughout the gruelling birth process, also resembles a very long NCT coffee morning.
Sunday 16 May 2010
The notion of sibling rivalry is at least as old as scripture: Cain slew Abel in a jealous fit over who had lavished the best gifts on God and gave us the first murder in history. The contest between the Miliband brothers is, therefore, full of symbolism. Though they are unlikely to enjoy the comparison with Adam and Eve's offspring, they can take comfort from being by no means the first, and certainly not the last.
Saturday 24 April 2010
Monday 12 April 2010
How do I tell my children I was adopted at birth? The answer is becoming quite urgent. The children are aged seven and five and I want to tell them myself but I don't know how to begin. I've tried to explain it to them a few times, but always bottle out at the last minute. I suppose I'm afraid it will upset them. I'm so afraid someone else will tell them first, because it's no secret in my circle that I'm adopted. Have you got any suggestions?
Yours sincerely, Jan
Friday 26 March 2010
One train may hide another, as the track-side signs at French country stations say. And one literary scandal or sensation may mask an altogether bigger deal. In Contested Will, James Shapiro cooly considers and then deftly dismantles the belief that Shakespeare did not write his own plays. This irresistible book hums with all the learning and panache that made Shapiro's 1599: a Year in the Life of William Shakespeare such a treat. No credible scholar has ever given such polite, even sympathetic scrutiny to the 150-year record of snobbery, fantasy and paranoia behind the claims that either Francis Bacon or Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, pulled off the scam of the ages as an undercover toff ran history's most tortuous conspiracy while "having his latest play delivered surreptitiously to the stage door of the Globe".
Sunday 21 March 2010
Tuesday 16 March 2010
Golders Green Crematorium has been the final destination for an amazing list of the talented and famous. It is one of the best known crematoria in the world, and the oldest in London, having been opened in 1902, 17 years after cremation was legalised in Britain.
Wednesday 27 January 2010
Friday 22 January 2010
The writer Frank Tallis is a clinical psychologist, but he is not often to be seen at conferences for Jungian therapists. He is also a writer of disturbing crime fiction set in Sigmund Freud's Vienna (a city where murder and twisted sexuality apparently ran riot), but he is not to be seen at crime fiction conventions.
Friday 18 December 2009
Tuesday 17 November 2009
"Love is the answer," said Woody Allen, "but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty interesting questions." Indeed. And in that particular field, few subjects have inspired quite so much inquiry as the female orgasm. Some of the greatest male minds, from Sigmund Freud to Billy Chrystal, have wrestled with the subject. Does it exist? What is its evolutionary purpose? Can it be faked?
Sunday 01 November 2009
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 4 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 5 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection