Notebook

Horace meets other great poets.

Was Horace a town or a country mouse?

Romans – like the poet Horace – tired of the relentlessness of city life and depicted the country as a venue for retreat and relaxation. But they also knew that time in the country was made all the sweeter by big city moolah and achievement.

Dam connecting Dinard to Saint-Malo

Finding the future in France Profonde

Never be fooled by the bucolic France Profonde postcard. It exists of course, but not far away may stand the laboratory where tomorrow’s world is being imagined.

Gareth Southgate misses penalty at Euro 96

Football’s rhetoric of suffering

Today’s players and managers frame football as a process of pious struggle, vacillating between anguish and redemption. In the wake of Covid-19, can football maintain its self-pitying rhetoric?

Drunk and disorderly: Michelangelo’s Bacchus

Whether an inspiring portrayal of inebriation’s ‘divine madness,’ a study of alcoholic dissipation, or a controversial depiction of same-sex desire, the sculptor’s statue has divided both collectors and critics down the centuries.

A Lebanese protester chants wearing a mask from Spanish crime show 'The Heist'.

Goodbye, Bella Ciao

Bella Ciao has been co-opted by activists and corporations the world over. Does Italy’s most famous protest song deserve a beautiful goodbye?

Bandstand by sea and people

More than a bandstand

Derelict bandstands are a symbol of a lost age of Victorian optimism. It’s time to recapture their zeal in improving civic life.

man waves cuban flag on street

Cubans are losing their fear

The digital revolution has given pressed Cuban protesters confidence to shake off complacency. That ought to make the regime afraid for its survival.

Impressive Egyptian temple built for the pharaohs.

The ancient art of sycophancy

Sycophancy, like most political diseases, is not new. The ancient Egyptians developed it to a fine art and its aura persists to this day.

The Mercury Seven immortalised in Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff

The new Right Stuff

Space entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk are recapturing the bold and individualistic spirit of America’s first astronauts, the Mercury Seven.

A South Korean soldier runs past a billboard poster for 'Matrix Revolutions' during an anti-chemical weapon attack drill at a subway station in 2003 in South Korea.

In defence of The Matrix: Revolutions

Unfairly maligned by critics, the third edition of the Matrix series is the true heir to cyberpunk and a tonic to the cold sheen of Holywood Sci-Fi.

Battersea power station from across the thames

Conversationalist in brick

Overlooked in his own lifetime, Giles Gilbert Scott’s architectural skill in uniting the past and the present make his buildings unforgettable.

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