Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

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We Do Not Use The Word Lightly

For years I have been an illicit cultivator of neglected patches of public land. I ‘fight the filth with forks and flowers’ and until now had never been confronted with the choice between arrest and retreat.

Number 41 | How Can This Be Possible?

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She

He loved her so much he doesn’t believe it now; he laughs about it, a long, hard and cynical laugh. It is the laugh of someone who has lost.
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A Small Planet

When you move house, you move the stuff with you. Beneath a few notebooks and rubber bands, there’s a letter from a former lover. You no longer see each other.
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Day 1851

Today does not mark anything particularly special, but nevertheless there is an 8o per cent chance that today is a special day: I must increase measurement sensitivity, be alert to abnormal behaviour.
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Like a Fleeting Shadow

That’s the irony with photography: photos can halt time or slow it down, but they can also let time pass with merciless speed. In Sanguinetti’s work, Guille and Belinda grow up in seconds.
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Do Not Pet

Nothing better to put a broken heart into perspective, I think to myself, than the inanity of the llama, the enlightenment of the sloth, the opportunism of the chimpanzee.
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Four Poems by Mustafa Stitou

On leaving the bar I heard / a painter say that astronauts / often grew up without a father.

Of Immediate Interest

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Greece: An Octagonal Tour

'In post-classical Greek the word for ‘beauty’ originally meant ‘timely’. The prevailing aesthetic was that appearance should match one’s age. Thus both a young girl and a dignified matron could qualify as having horaios, but never an older woman trying to recapture her youth.'
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Consolation

'When the schoolgirl / in the Domino Tea Room / suddenly started sobbing, / an old woman, / none of whose business it was, / said not to take things so much to heart.'
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Day 1851

Today does not mark anything particularly special, but nevertheless there is an 8o per cent chance that today is a special day: I must increase measurement sensitivity, be alert to abnormal behaviour.
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Glass House

'The version of intelligence we colloquially mean by ‘smarts’ or ‘brains’ or ‘brightness’ is our ability to work on the edge of human understanding.'

Our Town

Dispatches from London

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My Father’s House

Every summer we were ordered out into the garden with machetes to chop down the grass, which grew above our heads. We loathed having to spend summer days in manual labour, but we never dared question our father’s authority.
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The Fight for Broken Britain

For a place teeming with the ghosts of empire, hard labour, hard liquor, sailors and prostitutes, it’s almost unbearably tranquil. This Britain isn’t broken: it’s just quiet to the point of being unsettling.
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What Goes Around

'Riding past a crowded pavement on a hot day, swallowing consecutive gusts of perfume, sunscreen, cigarette smoke, and sometimes even halitosis, you realize just how helplessly intimate we all are in this city.'
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Virginia Woolf in the Bomb-scarred City

'This was her grandest bid to bring something back from the ruins. She was not reading despite the bombs; she was reading with them, and the two – reading and bombs – are jumbled together in one of her last letters.'
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Yates Lane, NW8

'Escapees from St Mary’s, Paddington: expectant father smoking; old lady wheeling herself in a wheelchair, smoking; die-hard holding urine sack, blood sack, smoking.'
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Out of Windows

'Last Halloween, a woman was thrown out of a fourth-floor window in Marylebone. I was heading back to my flat on Chiltern Street with the intention of watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a film that I had always avoided.'
Unknown

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