To peach or to scurryfunge…..

I have been reading a fascinating new book, Hitler’s British Traitors, by Tim Tate. It takes a look at the British Nazi sympathisers from the aristocracy downwards, or indeed upwards. One such was a self-described author called James Lonsdale-Bryans, who on two occasions tried to meet Hitler directly. MI5 considered …

What exactly is a “Swansong”?

According to tradition, many ancient peoples believed that swans, creatures whose “voices” are not as melodious as those of other birds, burst into clear song when they felt death nearing. The fifth-century B.C. Greek philosopher Socrates is said to have explained that this voice transformation occurred because the swans were …

The Almighty Dollar……

That great man of letters, Ben Jonson, recognised that the regard for wealth often engendered a quasi-religious respect as he wrote in his letter to the Countess of Rutland in 1616: Whilst that for which all virtue now is sold, And almost every vice, almightie gold. Two centuries later the …

An Indecent Supper…..

It will come as no surprise that Oscar Wilde had rich and bohemian tastes. “Poke him and he would bleed absinthe and clotted truffles” remarked the actress Elizabeth Robins. Wilde loved to stay and dine at London`s Savoy Hotel, but the publicity it received during Wilde`s “indecency” trial lost it …