10:56

Jeremy Thorpe

Hugh Grant is doing a great turn as Thorpe. Looking back on it, the whole tale was much more than ‘A very English Scandal’. It was high farce. This is from Frances Wheen’s review of Michael Bloch’s biography.

Did Thorpe mean to kill Scott or merely to give him a fright. Either way it's a preposterous yarn , expertly narrated by Bloch in which the best man from Thorpe's wedding consults a Welsh carpet merchant, who recruits a Swansea nightclub owner, who hires an airline pilot and part time hit man named Andrew 'Gino Newton, who shoots Scott's Great Dane, Rinka - as  a consequence  of which Thorpe is accused of conspiracy to murder and the late editor of the Literary Review, Auberon Waugh, stands for Parliament against him on behalf of the Dog Lovers' Party.

At which point you may scratch your ear and think: can any of this be true? It reads like a shaggy-dog story, fittingly enough, and credulity is stretched even further by some of Bloch's supporting cast: DCS Proven Sharpe, head of Devon and Cornwall. CID; his chief constable, Colonel Ranulph 'Streaky' Bacon; Norman Scott's most sympathetic landlady, Mrs Friendship; his kindly Jesuit mentor, Father Sweetman. And then there's  the handsome young Buckingham Palace footman who had an affair with Thorpe and wrote about it many years later in his memoir, Adventures of a Gentleman's Gentleman. His name? Guy Hunting.


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14:46

St Kilda

St Kilda
You can easily miss St Kilda. To find it, locate Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and then head out fifty miles into the Atlantic wher...
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11:17

Theodora’s speech

Theodora’s speech
This is Empress Theodora’s speech to her husband Justinian and his council during the Nika Rebellion of 523. It must be up there with Church...
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18:39

Grade inflation

Grade inflation
One of the sins of getting older is the moan that it was all better in the past. Most of the time it’s just different - and that applies to ...
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09:04

2nd Referendum

2nd Referendum
The subject of a second referendum once the terms on offer are known seems to me not only democratic but also commons sense: we had no idea ...
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16:48

American Porn

American Porn
I  These are the top shelves (note the plural) of a magazine shop in Miami Airport. Note the (slightly) ashamed way they (sort of) cover the...
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15:39

Mary Stuart

Mary Stuart
Robert Icke’s production of Schiller’s Mary Stuart is great theatre. It starts with Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams tossing a coin - a sov...
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12:38

Burns night joke

Burns night joke
The  Health Secretary was being shown round a hospital. In one room he saw three poor souls gibbering apparent nonsense. "The best laid...
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15:17

The illogicality of drug laws

The illogicality of drug laws
The best that can be said about modern drug laws is that we are where we are. The link between harm and legality is obviously illogical as i...
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19:10

Somerset

Somerset
Last week I went to the funeral of a friend in Yeovil, Somerset. Lily was a wonderful person and the crematorium was packed. Her husband, Gr...
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19:03

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour
The reviews were ecstatic and praise for Gary Oldman universal - ‘the definitive Churchill’. I went to Darkest Hour in great anticipation - ...
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14:02

Interesting stuff

Interesting stuff
These are things I’ve read, heard or seen - and enjoyed last year. Of course I believe in luck. How else does one explain the success of tho...
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