Tarka the Rotter

He wrote animal stories of exquisite prose, yet Henry Williamson ended up as an overt, unapologetic Nazi. In this Dabbler classic, Jonathan Law looks at the good and the (alarmingly) bad sides of the author of Tarka the Otter... If we’re honest, most of us have at least one friend that we ... Read More...

Out of the Race: Politics, Fear and Failure

As a couple more Labour leadership contenders drop off the greasy pole, Terry Stiastny, author of political thriller Acts of Omission, disinters a blisteringly cynical fictional account of the political life, and wonders why they bother in the first place. It was so comfortable to be out of the race. Then again, he ... Read More...

Oi veh! – Mr Slang’s Guide to Yiddish

‘Adam gave names to all created things; his Yiddish-speaking descendants offer critiques' - here's Jonathon Green's guide to the Jewish language of the put-down... Yiddish, sometimes known as Jüdisch -Deutsch (Jewish-German)  is the dialect of German spoken by the German or Ashkenazi (Hebrew: ‘German’, i.e. European) Jews. It has been recorded ... Read More...

Adrian Carton de Wiart: Happy Odyssey

Gaw pays tribute to one of the most remarkable soldiers this country has produced... Adrian Carton de Wiart's soldiering career extended from Boer to Second World Wars, taking in many events of large historical importance. He was usually to be found in the thick of the action, winning a VC during the ... Read More...

The Suburban Sublime – Southgate Tube Station

Nige admires the work of Charles Holden, the architect behind Southgate Tube Station, one of London's finest Art Deco Underground stations... That is not a newly landed art deco UFO above - it is Southgate Underground station, towards the end of the Cockfosters branch of the Piccadilly Line. I discovered this part of ... Read More...

Turnspit Dogs

Could this be the reason why the Queen keeps Corgis? A strange forgotten dog breed in today's weird Wikipedia article from the Dabbler's Wikiworm... The Turnspit Dog was a short-legged, long-bodied dog bred to run on a wheel, called a turnspit or dog wheel, in order to turn meat for cooking. The breed is now extinct. It is mentioned ... Read More...

Blind Men and Ostriches

The cruelties of Ancient Rome's circuses give Frank an idea for an exciting new movie starring Russell Crowe... One of the combat sports which thrilled the crowds in the circuses of Ancient Rome was the pitting of blind men against ostriches. A savage and ugly spectacle, no doubt, and one quite ... Read More...