Category Archives: 20th Century

Dolly Wilde, a Ghost in Paris

In 1920s Paris, pained, fuzzy-headed morning afters must have been as defining a feature of life as the sparkling night befores that brought them on. On some of these grey mornings there were some unfortunates, still hours away from achieving verticality and spooling the evening’s events through their minds trying to fill in the blanks, […]

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Did Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love Ever Really Reign at the Moulin Rouge?

Yesterday found me watching Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!. This, I must confess, is not an entirely uncommon occurrence. In fact, were I to feed all my innermost preferences into some kind of film-making robot and send it off for a few months, it’d probably come back with something very like Moulin Rouge! in the can. […]

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Is Paris Burning: Did a German General save the City of Light?

In February 1943, there was nothing in Stalingrad but the ghost of a city. The scale of the battle that had raged for the past seven months was so unimaginable that it is nearly impossible to talk about it without resorting to empty cliché. There are the figures, of course – 850,000 Axis casualties, 1.1 […]

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Site of the Week: Oscar Kirk’s Diary

Oscar Kirk was born and raised in Poplar, East London, close to the substantial complex known as the West and East India Docks. A few days before the end of the First World War, Oscar, then just 14, got a job at the docks, and started to write a diary of his everyday experiences. His […]

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