As a footnote to the battle of the Bachplayers, I’m getting a certain thrill from The Independent on Sunday‘s poll of the 50 Smuggest Britons.

Which seems a pretty smug feature to run, but it’s so catty I got hooked…I mean, when do you ever see a newspaper slag off another one so explicitly? The Guardian somehow qualifies as a person, with the manifesto for inclusion running: “Patronising toffs getting their revenge on the world after being bullied at school.”

You can vote for anyone and everyone, more or less, from Myleene Klass to Martin Amis, from Jeremy Paxman to Jeremy Clarkson. Currently Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson are running neck & neck in first place, with Simon Cowell a little way behind. Surprised to see Sting in there, though – what have they got against him? He does a darned good job at being Schumann in the new DVD Twin Spirits

Music-world candidates are a tad limited, beyond him. Not surprising: musicians in Britain don’t often have a chance to feel smug, since they’re mostly struggling in any way they can just to make a living and gather a bit of attention for all their hard work. But those who might perhaps qualify could include Katherine Jenkins, Valery Gergiev (hon brit as chief conductor of LSO), Raymond Gubbay and Roger Wright… Any more suggestions, folks?

An autumn note

“For many, the end of this uneasy year cannot come quickly enough”

An ordinary killing

Ian Cobain’s book uses the killing of Millar McAllister to paint a meticulous portrait of the Troubles

Greater—not wiser

John Mullan elucidates the genius of Charles Dickens