Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

Number 40 | We Had No Say In This

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Of Immediate Interest

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The Agony Uncle – Part 1

'I am a nervous public speaker and next month I have to address a meeting of top business managers. Do you have any advice on how I might keep calm on stage?'
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Teaching by Example

'When I met Professor Sebald for our first tutorial, I was immediately struck by how different he was from the mostly aloof, self-important professors that I was used to at Munich University.'
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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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Why the Chestnut Tree Has White Candles

'For a few weeks every spring, the chestnut blazes with white candles. Their flames are so bright you have to shade your eyes when you look at them. Then they gutter and die, and their blooms drip to the earth.'
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Why the Yew Lives So Long

'Men did not learn that death breeds only death. Little by little, the reputation of the yew grew. Without wishing it, the yew became a symbol of resurrection and hope, and wisdom.'

Our Town

Dispatches from London

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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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Diamonds in the Dark

'It is a secret, private, hidden world that operates under a strict set of unspoken internal laws: never screw a partner and once a deal is done it is a 'mazen brucha' and it must be adhered to.'
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