Saint Denis was beheaded on the hill looming over northern Paris now known as Montmartre. The legend is that he picked up his own head and carried it several miles north, before finally collapsing and expiring on the site of the present day suburb that… Read More
This is an excerpt.
You know you’ve hit your mid-40s when histories of ‘your’ decade start to fill the bookshelves. Writers are always nostalgic for their youth and thirty years seems about right for a proper historical perspective. I turned 18 at the height of the miners’ strike in… Read More
It was, I think, Martin Rowson, perhaps our most ghoulish cartoonist, who first asked whether the coalition was evil, useless or both. Faced with David Cameron’s eccentric stewardship since May 2010, government opponents are often unsure whether to laugh, cry, or run away in terror.… Read More
‘You can’t always get what you want,’ sang Mick Jagger in 1969. ‘But if you try sometimes, well you might just find, you get what you need.’ The Rolling Stones frontman isn’t mentioned in How Much is Enough, which is a shame since his lyrics… Read More
‘The shape of a city changes too fast, alas!, for the heart of mortal man,’ wrote Charles Baudelaire in one of his most famous poems, The Swan. Baudelaire wrote it around 1859, when many of the narrow old streets of Paris were being bulldozed by… Read More
François Mitterrand, French president between 1981 and 1995, died 16 years ago. Well, so they said. But turn on French radio or TV, look around a bookshop, or scan the feature pages of a French paper, and old Tonton is still with us. Perhaps it… Read More
This is a stand first.
The last year has seen a glut of books on economics for general readers, feeding off the fears most people have about their future in the global economy. In fact, the dismal science has never been so popular – or indeed so dismal. Catastrophe sells,… Read More
I have to admit that I’d never heard of Michel Serres until a couple of weeks ago, when I read this interview in Le Monde Magazine (6 November). Serres is a philosopher, which is a profession in France and a term of abuse in Britain. He is also a… Read More