Category: Spectator Australia

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Out in the open

Over the past week, the country has started to spring back to life. Trains and buses are no longer running empty. Bars and restaurants have put out signs proclaiming they are fully booked. Pubs are using school playgrounds as beer gardens and filling every seat. In Soho, people danced in

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Nowt so great as folk

Has any musical moment extended its tendrils in so many unexpected directions as the English folk revival of the mid-1960s? In its beginnings, it was a source of pilgrimage for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, who pinched his arrangement of ‘Scarborough Fair’ from Martin Carthy way back in the dim

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A spiteful muse

By the time Philip Larkin died in 1985, he’d long since achieved national treasure status: his poems were critically admired as well as widely read; his reticence (‘the Hermit of Hull’) was a matter of affectionate respect; and his cantankerous published remarks about ‘difficulties with girls’, children, left-wing politics, and

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A game of patients

How do I know that Britain’s Covid crisis is over? The fakers are back. The hypochondriacs, the psychosomatics, the pseudo-fitters, the attention-seekers and the lonely. They’ve started to return to the acute medical ward where I work. They’ve been gone so long I actually almost missed them. This collection

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When thoughts turn to Venice

We were discussing travel, that forbidden delight now tantalisingly close. Where would be our first destination? Forswearing originality, I chose Venice. Among the world’s greatest paintings, one in particular does not merely come to mind. It fills the mind. I have never been in the Serenissima for the Feast of

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