Archives - Reviews





The Whig Interpretation of Cricket

Review: The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team (Amazon Prime Video, released 12th March 2020) A chest infection sparked my interest in cricket. Prostrate on the sofa on a hot afternoon last August, I was enthralled by the...



Amid pandemic and climate crisis, apocalyptic thinking is a luxury we can’t afford

Review: Mark O’Connell, Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back (Granta Books, 2020) It is a fundamental part of the human condition to be preoccupied by thoughts of destruction and our...



Lukewarm in lockdown? Attitudes to the UK government and media Covid-19 response

I compiled a survey through Google Forms over a 7-day span between Saturday 18th and Friday 24th April 2020. Respondents were asked a range of questions related to government and media handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, principally in...



Bercow, Djokovic, Bloomberg… and Alexa: my 22nd February diary

Home Alone with Michael Scott Perhaps foolishly, my parents have entrusted me with the defence of the family home this week as they take off for a half-term jaunt. I’ve not encountered any incompetent criminals and spooky old men...



The world of entertainment has saved a bleak January

January 2020 has set an ominous benchmark for the new decade. Almost beginning with World War Three, it ended simultaneously with Britain exiting the European Union and President Trump’s acquittal in impeachment proceedings which...



My 10 Book Countdown for 2019

10. Serhii Plokhy, Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy (Penguin Books, 2019) The central message of Serhii Plokhy’s sensitive account of the April 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion is simply how avoidable it was. Drawing extensively...



An emotionally bereft sovereign leads The Crown into a new realm of mediocrity

For two series, Netflix’s The Crown provided a lavish, sensational admission to the private world of the planet’s most famous family from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Mighty personalities, anaemic premiers and profligate...



Concorde: a missed opportunity or an elitist extravagance?

In the 21st century, flying is a means to an end. For Britons, it is the easiest method by which to escape a cool, rainy island for the warmer climes of a continent we seem desperate – in a different context – to leave. But our...



Carlos Ramos during the infamous match

A homage to inconsistency: thoughts from the US Open

It started with on-court coaching from supposedly tennis’ most impartial source, a match umpire. At the change of ends in his second-round US Open match against Pierre Hughes-Herbert, with the mercurial Australian “tanking” at...



Black and white photo of Roosevelt and Johnson

Summer Reading Review: The Path to Power (1982)

The Years of Lyndon Johnson Volume 1: The Path to Power Robert A. Caro ​ Robert A. Caro is the consummate chronicler of political power – its acquisition, use and abuse. The New Yorker has spent half a century writing 4,500...



2017's 12 Days of Christmas

2017 has been another year to suspend belief, exceed expectations and defy prediction – or, in the case of Donald Trump, a year to meet expectations by continuously defying what could never be predicted of a sitting U.S. president....



Hillary Clinton sat in front of a microphone

Hillary Clinton’s insight remains crucial – even if we don’t want to listen

Several months ago, I greeted the somewhat inevitable news that Hillary Rodham Clinton had written a post-mortem memoir of her 2016 presidential defeat with cynicism and limited curiosity. What could the former First Lady and...



Maria Sharapova standing on court with her arm in the air

Maria Sharapova: The Unstoppable Victim

Returning from a 15-month suspension from tennis for drug offences, Maria Sharapova seeks to rewrite history in her September 2017 memoir, Unstoppable: My Life So Far. Recounting her turbulent life born to a family displaced by the...



The long queue waiting to buy tickets for the tennis

Second-degree burns, a dangerous sleeping bag and a great line up: A Day at the Championships

It seems only right that an excursion to the most famous British sporting tournament should be defined by the activity we perform best: standing in line, for hours on end. The Championships at Wimbledon annually produce a meticulous...



Angela Merkel holding a beer

One too many? Drinking cultures in politics and university

There can be few more stressful occupations than that of Member of Parliament in the opening weeks of spring 2017. Representatives of the opposition parties, and indeed many Tories, will be mourning their powerlessness in the...



The interior of a large tropical Center Parcs swimming pool

If You Go Down to the Woods Today: A Return to Center Parcs

For a small, perilously flat country of 16 million people, the Netherlands has proven incredibly resourceful in its history. Many of the inventions central to our lives are, unexpectedly, Dutch: the Compact Disc, the eye test, the...



A parody of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

2016: My annus mirabilis; Earth’s annus horribilis

A year ravaged by war, demagoguery, fear, lies, and anger which make any progressive question the basic decency of mankind? Or a brilliant year of excitement and success, albeit one in which I peaked in my excessive consumption on New...



Andy Murray posing in front of a trophy

Andy, Champion of the World

In some ways, it seems ironic that tennis world No. 1 Andy Murray should win his third Sports “Personality” of the Year award. Unfortunately for the dour Scot, he makes Courtney Wood (Sunday’s Apprentice runner-up) – or, for...



Cambridge College Bar Guide: Part I (image)

Cambridge College Bar Guide: Part I

Practically since I was in the womb, I have always loved listing and counting things – American states, the number of differently-coloured cars on the motorway, all those banal yet crucial objects detailed in innumerable I Spy...