Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

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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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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.
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Remembering Roger Deakin

Item 19. A research file with cuttings on Apple Day, anti-road protests, Abergavenny carving, Wendell Berry, Bristol trees, fruit-fly flight, feltmakers, Barry Lopez, parakeets and silkworms
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Tristram Shandy

Rewriting is not only a way of appropriating a text, of adopting and endorsing it, it’s also the best, most exact, most alert, most certain way of reading it.

Of Immediate Interest

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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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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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In Praise of Children

'I had a dream my two girls, grown up, / with their intelligent eyes and nuanced, searching faces, / stalked up to me at Christmas, or something very like Christmas'
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Self-Portrait as a White Lady

'wayward, thin-walled, aloof: / I began to appear, bitterly / striving for the impossible body / a huge hole in the hollow of the bus stop, an interior / stadium'
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An Incomplete Guide To Obscenity

This is in the nature of an Open F.I.R. (First Information Report), a technique borrowed from the Indian Police. (It’s true what the agony u... Read more

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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