Diary of a Somebody

Image: Wikimedia Commons The Diaries 1918-1938 Henry Channon, edited by Simon Heffer, Penguin, London, hb, 1,002 pages, £35 KEN BELL dives into an interwar atmosphere of complacency and privilege The complete diaries of Sir Henry “Chips” Channon are now being published and the first volume will be required reading for anyone interested in the interwar…

England’s musical Shakespeare

Henry Purcell STUART MILLSON gives a glimpse into the life of Henry Purcell Henry Purcell (1659-95) is forever associated with the birth of opera (or masques) in England – works such as King Arthur and The Fairy Queen - the creation of semi-operatic scenic cantatas, like his music for The Tempest, and with expansive works…

Medical notes from underground

"Theodore Dalrymple", anatomist of modernity (Image: Wikimedia Commons) MARK GULLICK profiles the cultural commentator THEODORE DALRYMPLE The English writer Theodore Dalrymple, whose real name is Dr. Anthony Daniels, spent much of his professional career as a hospital and prison psychiatrist. He has also written many books on a variety of subjects, and travelled the world…

Adolf of Gloucester goes to the Wall

This is Part 3 of LIAM GUILAR's still-being-written epic of Britain. Chapter 1 was published in Long Poem Magazine #25 Spring 2021, and you can read Chapter 2 in the previous issue of The Brazen Head. The story so far: 449 AD. The Roman province of Britannia is tottering. The Legions have long gone and…

Of course a man can imagine what it’s like to be a woman!

GUY WALKER says we must be allowed to imagine opposites Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Dr. Lydgate, Edward Casaubon, Will Ladislaw, and Daniel Deronda are excellent examples of well-rounded and believable male literary inventions, with a variety of qualities of character. Portia, Beatrice, Miranda, and Viola are excellent examples of brave, intelligent, and virtuous women, while…

A road by any other name…

Shutterstock DEREK TURNER takes a Brum road-trip What’s in a name? A great deal – so Birmingham City Council hopes. In December, as part of a £500m redevelopment of the city’s blighted Perry Barr district, it revealed the names of six new roads to “reflect community and Commonwealth sport values”. Diversity Grove, Equality Road, Destiny…

Brexit blindness

Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain Fintan O’Toole, Head of Zeus, 2019 Three Years in Hell: The Brexit Chronicles Fintan O’Toole, Head of Zeus, 2020 KEN BELL says a prominent Remainer still doesn’t comprehend Brexit I have just finished reading Heroic Failure and Three Years In Hell, both by Fintan O’Toole, which is…

American piety: meet the new Boss

SHUTTERSTOCK MARK GULLICK sees wrinkles on the Free World's senior stuffed-shirt “I confess that in America I saw more than America; I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or to hope from its progress” ((Alexander de…

A realm apart – why Brexit happened

SHUTTERSTOCK This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe Robert Tombs, Allen Lane, 224 pages, £11.22 KEN BELL praises an exceptionally historically-informed Brexit explainer The small numbers who read the Guardian will no doubt disagree, but the argument over Brexit is now as much a part of history as the Free Trade debate that…