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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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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Table Talk

Table Talk (consisting of three poems) 1 When people talk about people they say ‘they’. They do it over the starters. You’re sitting betw... Read more
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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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Statement & Legal Activities

Statement I wasn’t there that night. And if I was, I didn’t know. Not that they were drinking, you hear things sometimes, it’s only now I... Read more
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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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Two Poems

On my back I carried the coffin in which my father lay. / Bent low by its weight, I staggered forward step by step. / My pace slowed, the burden was too great, it was beyond / me.

Of Immediate Interest

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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.'
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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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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.'
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The Decline of the Coffee to Stay

How could one ever feel pessimistic here? But then one day out went the beautiful iron-sided tables and comfortable chairs, and with them the people and all of their books.
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Number 35

Outtakes, rough sketches, first ideas, one-offs, research frames, photographs, scraps of dialogue and washes of colour from the making of Richard McGuire's groundbreaking graphic novel, Here.
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Why Willows Weep

'Long ago, when the world was still quite young, the trees and plants ruled all living things. I say ‘ruled’ but there was no need then for rules; rather they were the caretakers of creation.'

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.'
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