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28-29 October

Behind the headlines

The warped logic of “oppressors vs oppressed”

Why is it, says Yascha Mounk in The Spectator, that after the worst day for Jews since the Holocaust, huge demonstrations filled the streets of Berlin, London, Paris and Brussels, “not in solidarity with those who had been brutally murdered, but in support of the terrorists”? The most charitable interpretation is that protesters were expressing a desire to protect Palestinian civilians from Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes. But if that is the true motive, where were the throngs of people mourning the hundreds of thousands of Shias – “or, for that matter, 3,000 Palestinians” – murdered by Bashar al-Assad in Syria? Or the millions of Uighurs oppressed by the Chinese government in Xinjiang?


This one-bedroom penthouse in Holloway, north London, has floor-to-ceiling windows along one side, filling the flat with light and affording far-reaching views over the leafy canopies of Highgate Wood. In the newly renovated kitchen, a wall of bespoke joinery provides extensive storage above a dining area with built-in bench seating. Terrazzo flooring extends from the well-proportioned double bedroom into a brightly tiled bathroom with walk-in shower. Archway Tube station is a 10-minute walk. £465,000.


Quoted 28-10-23

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”

Edgar Allen Poe

Love etc

Burton, Taylor and a life of “glorious” excess

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, “one of the most gloriously over-the-top Hollywood couples to have ever lived”, are the subject of a new, “delicious triumph” of a biography by Roger Lewis, says Hadley Freeman in The Sunday Times. “Want to know what Taylor’s favourite sexual position was? Or the one meal Burton cooked while he and Taylor were married? The weekly rent of the yacht they hired just for their dogs? Then Erotic Vagrancy is the book for you. (Respectively: from behind, boiled eggs and $2,400.)” The title comes from an “outraged statement” made by the Vatican when it became clear that Taylor and Burton – both married, but not yet to each other – were having an affair while filming Cleopatra in Italy. Burton’s reaction was typically brusque: “F*** it, let’s go to f***ing Alfredo’s and have some f***ing fettuccine.”


This Grade II-listed four-bedroom cottage in the Welsh borderlands retains many original features, including an Inglenook fireplace, exposed Wattle and Daub on the first-floor landing, and an old cobbler’s shop that has been turned into a sitting room. Outside, well-planted borders and beds surround winding paths leading to hidden seating areas, as well as a shed, greenhouse and old pigsty. Gobowen train station, which has services to Birmingham in 90 minutes, is a 20-minute drive. £295,000.


Quoted 28-10-23 Wharton

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

Edith Wharton