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Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

Lock Me AwayClive James
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In the NHS psychiatric test

For classifying the mentally ill

You have to spell ‘world’ backwards.

Since I heard this, I can’t stop doing it.

The first time I tried pronouncing the results

I got a sudden flaring picture

Of Danny La Rue in short pants

With his mouth full of marshmallows.

He was giving his initial and surname

To a new schoolteacher.

Now every time I read the Guardian

I find its columns populated

By a thousand mumbling drag queens.

Why, though, do I never think

Of a French film composer

(Georges Delerue, pupil of

Darius Milhaud, composed the waltz

In Hiroshima, Mon Amour)

Identifying himself to a policeman

After being beaten up?

But can I truly say I never think of it

After I’ve just thought of it?

Maybe I’m going stun:

Dam, dab and dangerous to wonk.

You realise this ward you’ve led me into

Spelled backwards is the cloudy draw

Of the ghost-riders in the sky?

Give me the deb at the end

With an angle on the corridor,

So I can watch this world you speak of

Go by in the right redro, Dr La Rue.

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