Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

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The Zen of Eminem

In the face of this kind of misplaced hysteria, good rappers don’t back down. They defend the right to use words in the same way any novelist or filmmaker is free to do. They tell their personal truths.
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NW11

It’s a painstaking process, a learned performance. I spent years making small, conscious modifications to my character, to be more British when I was in London, more Brazilian in Rio.
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Days of Shame

He started right in yelling, ‘Not my president! Not my president!’ His voice was high and clear and loud. He was fearless. Whenever he said, ‘Not my president!’ the people near them smiled coldly and said, ‘Yes, he is. He is now.’
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Tourism

A poem from the back of issue 42, the very last page, the last thing you'll be able to read of the issue, by Jay Barnett.

Of Immediate Interest

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The Stickiness of Lime Trees

'People were careless and clumsy, always letting things slip through their soft fingers, and the trees made it their business to make sure these things were not lost. They carefully stored empty crisp packets.'
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Not Being Shy

Everybody wanted to buy a taco made by That Guy, the guy who needed to get away from his girlfriend so bad that he basically dug a hole in the ground where he could finally have a little peace.
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Dark Man at the Airport

I followed dutifully to a metal table where the men unzipped my suitcase, because they could unzip my suitcase if they wanted, they could search me if they wanted, they could detain me if they wanted.
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A Jet-Propelled Armchair

If his friends are to be believed, Cyril Conolly was a monster of sloth and self-regard. And yet, what an endearing figure he cuts through their letters and memoirs.
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Adults

'I’d look up to them looming on street corners, / or down on them at night through my bedroom blinds, / crashing home from the Labour Club, mad drunk. / After a while I decided they must be unhappy.'
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Radical Bears in the Forest Delicious

'People have tried to help pandas become pragmatists. And in captivity they comply – they eat the yams and bananas and fish set before them. But compliance is not conversion.'

Our Town

Dispatches from London

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NW11

It’s a painstaking process, a learned performance. I spent years making small, conscious modifications to my character, to be more British when I was in London, more Brazilian in Rio.
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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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