Why not kill yourself while you are still healthy?

27th December 2015 0

In theory, at any rate, I am opposed to euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the like – except for myself, that is. Recently I was laid low by an illness among whose symptoms were slight nausea, fever and severe headache. It wasn’t even the worst illness I had ever had in my life, let alone the worst illness imaginable, but it … [Read on]

How much is the train ticket from Montreuil to Kobane?

26th December 2015 0

Not long ago on a bus in Montreuil, an unfashionable suburb of Paris, I noticed that I was the only person of perhaps fifty or sixty who got on the bus while I travelled on it who actually paid. I felt slightly awkward for having done so: was I letting the side down, or at any rate a side down, … [Read on]

The Companions of Silence

22nd December 2015 0

I have reached the age when friends start to suffer serious illnesses and today I had to take one of them (whom I have known for more than 40 years) to hospital for his radiotherapy. Oddly enough, this was not the depressing experience one might have expected it to be. In the first place, all the staff were kindly, even … [Read on]

Middle Class Beastliness

20th December 2015 0

Man, as far as I know, is the only creature who can envisage his own extinction: not only envisage it, but enjoy doing so. Deadly new viruses, collisions with asteroids, overwhelming floods: all are the stuff of Hollywood films. But of all of mankind that enjoys contemplating its own extinction, the portion that enjoys it the most must surely be … [Read on]

Editorial Winter 2015 ©

15th December 2015 0

This November a crowd watching a ‘friendly’ football match in Istanbul between Greece and Turkey booed and chanted ‘Allah Akbar’ during a minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris attacks. Allowing for the yobbishness of football fans worldwide and a long history of antagonism between Greek and Turk it still shows how little sympathy the west can expect from … [Read on]

Was Shakespeare Chinese?

4th December 2015 0

Was Shakespeare Chinese? Being a literary, book-buying type, the Oxford University Press informs me by e-mail of its new publications in the field of literature. And next year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, so it was only to be expected that there would be an even large number of books published about him than usual. I am mildly … [Read on]

Medieval Personality Disorders?

3rd December 2015 0

On every visit to the National Gallery, I’m always drawn to the early Italian paintings. They are in room 51 in the Sainsbury Wing. I was in there for an hour and a half yesterday. As the 14th century ends and we come into the 15th, it is hard not to notice a change in the style of these paintings. … [Read on]

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