Freelance

Never afraid

July 5 marked the first anniversary of the death of Irina Ratushinskaya. She died in Moscow, aged sixty-three, after losing a long battle with cancer. Who was Irina and why...

Freelance

Colony of exiles

Samos is unusually green for an Aegean island, especially in early May. I am several hundred metres up a mountain, plunging down a scree-covered track in an open jeep. Next...

Freelance

Days at the Circus

In B. S. Johnson’s novel Albert Angelo (1964), the narrator writes: The first thing you see about Percy Circus is that it stands most of the way up a hill,...

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Beautiful marble thing

The Panathenaic Stadium is known by Athenians simply as the “Kallimarmaro”, the “beautiful marble thing”. It was constructed on the site of an old horse-racing track in 330 BC by...

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Getting ahead

Once upon a time, it seems, everybody wore a hat. And so in those black-and-white photographs from decades past, famous writers in hats are perhaps conforming to the common practice...

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A libation of Durrells

I was arrested last year in Corfu for conducting a tour without a licence. In the summer a cadre of cycling Tourist Police patrols the town somewhat aimlessly. In this...

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Measureless to man

When I woke from the coma, I discovered that I was more or less paralysed. I was lying in a strange bed in darkness, alone in a room I didn’t...

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Sahara of snow

The arrival of the fabled Beast from the East, and with it the worst weather the United Kingdom had seen for many moons, coincided with the installation of our new...

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Saving face

The universal mark of registered ownership – the “c” within a circle – is not one you will find in most books printed in Burma (now also known as Myanmar)....

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Finding Constantinople

In the catalogue to the exhibition Charmed Lives in Greece: Ghika, Craxton, Leigh Fermor (at the British Museum until July 15), Michael Llewellyn-Smith writes that, in his later years, Patrick...