Dabbler Heroes – Edward Gordon Craig

Nige introduces Edward Gordon Craig, the prodigiously talented but now virtually forgotten stage designer, actor, artist, musician and womaniser... About this time last year I spent a couple of days in my favourite corner of Derbyshire, where, as usual, I called in on my favourite bookshop (The Bookshop in Wirksworth) and, ... Read More...

C.E.M. Joad and the buzzing bluebottle

'If he hadn't existed, a satirical novelist would surely have invented him' - Nige on the popular philosopher C.E.M Joad... As well as being a 'botanophile' (as he terms it, to distinguish himself from a proper botanist), Jocelyn Brooke was also a keen maker of fireworks, an interest he developed while ... Read More...

Professor Kenneth Minogue

Today we mark the death last weekend of a great Antipodean, Professor Kenneth Minogue - a provocative thinker whose critique of contemporary society should be better known. Funny how it’s the old Tories who have provided the most persuasive and nuanced critique of our recent and ongoing economic disasters. It's because, ... Read More...

Beau Brummell – The Dandy’s Dandy

The great  'Beau' Brummell  was the man who applied himself as none before to the reform and perfection of masculine dress... As Max Beerbohm puts it in his essay on Dandyism, 'So to clothe the body that its fineness be revealed and its meanness veiled has been the aesthetic aim of ... Read More...

Nicholas Clerihew Bentley

Nige reflects on one of Britain's most prolific cartoonists... Today is the 106th birthday of the illustrator and cartoonist Nicolas Bentley, son of the writer E.C. Bentley, who invented that pithy biographical verse form, the Clerihew (E.C's middle name, also Nicolas's). For example (one of the better ones): John Stuart Mill, By a mighty ... Read More...

Dabbler Heroes – Nan Shepherd

Toby Ash discovers an extraordinary nature writer... Firstly, thanks to landscape writer and all round literary top of the class Robert Macfarlane for introducing me to the extraordinary prose of Anna (Nan) Shepherd. He talked about her in his books Wild Places and The Old Ways (a Dabbler Book Club choice), ... Read More...

Happy Birthday Dustin!

On his birthday we pay tribute to a great actor - and one of life's scrappers. Dustin Hoffman celebrates three-quarters of a century this month. Obviously a great actor, but just as obviously quite funny looking. He had to wait until he was 29 for his break - in The Graduate ... Read More...

Dabbler Heroes: Fred Astaire

Nige pays tribute to the greatest dancer... Fred Astaire - especially when dancing with Ginger Rogers - is (and I admit to a sizeable blind spot in the area marked Dance) almost the only dancer I can watch with that rush of aesthetic pleasure, the tingle at the nape of the ... Read More...