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Leaving the Speccie

Ian Buruma was drawn to the Wodehousean world of the Spectator, but its complacency proved to be too much

By Ian Buruma   April 1999

When I arrived in London in 1990 the bubble was about to burst. House prices were starting to crumble. The Thatcher era would soon end in her own public tears. After a decade of economic boosterism, during which men and women with more ambition than finesse had been encouraged to roll the dice and go for it, London felt harsher than before. I had been living in Hong Kong – not a sentimental place. But even there I had never seen quite the same look of contempt that disfigured the coarsely handsome features of a young man in a double-breasted…

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