Think Inc. by Adam Diment (1971)

I squeezed the trigger and there was a derisive click as the firing pin fell on nothing. The fucking gun wasn’t even loaded. (p.29) And so we bid a sad farewell to the stoned and sex-mad ‘spy’, Philip McAlpine, in this, the fourth and final novel by young Adam Diment, all public school and swinging London, who […]

The Bang Bang Birds by Adam Diment (1968)

‘McAlpine,’ he grunted, ‘ why do you wear such godawful clothes. You look like a pacifist faggot beatnik hippie.’ (p.42) The Bang Bang Birds – Great title, a really brilliant title. The setting This is Adam Diment’s third novel about his twenty-something hash-happy, dolly bird-hunting ‘spy’, Philip McAlpine, and finds our layabout spook lounging in […]

The Great Spy Race by Adam Diment (1968)

It felt good to be alive – take a memo McAlpine – make sure you stay that way. (p.78) The main attraction of being a layabout is watching the rest of the world rushed off its aching feet. (p.83) This is Diment’s second novel featuring Philip McAlpine – a kind of lazy, dirty, dope-smoking twenty-something […]

The Dolly Dolly Spy by Adam Diment (1967)

‘I think the sexy spy’s going out of vogue, don’t you, Bill, darling?’ Brentridge laughed a bit. ‘Yes, worse luck. It’s all computers these days.’ (p.167) Adam Diment The mysterious Adam Diment was 23-years-old when this, his first novel, was published. It shot him to fame, he appeared in all the right Sunday supplements, and […]

The life of Julius Caesar by Suetonius (120 AD)

Suetonius Not much is known about Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, generally referred to as Suetonius. He was born around 70 AD, probably in a town in modern-day Algeria. He may have taught literature for a while, he seems to have practiced the law. He is recorded as serving on the staff of Pliny the Younger when […]

The way things are by Lucretius translated by Rolfe Humphries (1969)

I try to learn about the way things are And set my findings down in Latin verse. (Book IV, lines 968 and 969) This is a hugely enjoyable translation of Lucretius’s epic poem De rerum natura which literally translates as ‘On the nature of things’. Fluent, full of force and vigour, it captures not only […]

Feminine power: the divine to the demonic @ the British Museum

This is the first major exhibition ever held at the British Museum focusing solely on goddesses – on female spiritual beings from mythological traditions from around the world – and it is absolutely fabulous! Questions about women and femininity The exhibition sets out to ask questions about images and ideas of the divine: How do […]

Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder by Evelyn Waugh (1945)

“Ought we to be drunk every night?” Sebastian asked one morning. “Yes, I think so.” “I think so too.” (Charles and Sebastian as students discuss their drinking habits in Brideshead Revisited) Brideshead Revisited is probably Evelyn Waugh’s most famous novel, simply because of the huge success of the 1981 ITV dramatisation. Which is ironic, because […]

Peru: a journey in time @ the British Museum

This is a magnificent exhibition. I think the British Museum is my favourite museum/gallery in London, not only because of the beauty of the building, its sense of size and spaciousness, the awesome breadth and range of its holdings – but because it also combines two of my favourite subjects, art and deep history: art […]

Ninety-Two Days by Evelyn Waugh (1934)

It is by crawling on the face of it that one learns a country; by the problems of transport that its geography becomes a reality and its inhabitants real people…[by describing them one offers one’s reader] a share in the experience of travel, for these checks and hesitations constitute the genuine flavour. (Ninety-Two Days, page […]