This is an extract from the latest issue of Spectator Life, out on 9 June. The magazine will come free with your next copy of The Spectator, and will also be available to read online at life.spectator.co.uk.
Welcome to the June issue of Spectator Life. James Delingpole and I are both huge fans of Game of Thrones so it was a bit of a tussle over who would get to interview Alfie Allen, the actor who plays Theon Greyjoy. Of all the major characters in the epic saga, Theon has probably undergone the most dramatic transformation, having been enslaved by the dastardly Ramsay Bolton, who promptly castrated him and forced him to change his name to ‘Reek’. Quite a journey for any young actor to navigate, yet the 29-year-old Allen has handled it with aplomb. In the end, James won the fight.
This issue is a bumper 84 pages because it includes a ‘Wine and Food’ section, a new addition to Life. Expertly edited by Lara Prendergast, it boasts regular columns by Brendan O’Neill (‘Food Fight’), Olivia Potts (‘Vintage Chef’), Laura Freeman (‘Impeccable Taste’) and Bruce Palling (‘The Wine List’), as well as a guest column by Sebastian Faulks on how alcohol transformed him from a tongue-tied wallflower to a cocksure Don Juan, and a great piece by Nicholas Farrell on the sheer awfulness of Italian food.
We have the usual array of news-making features at the front of the book, including a piece by Alex Wickham on the secret rivalry at the top of the Labour party, as well as our line-up of great columnists (Roger Scruton, Sarah Vine, Merryn Somerset Webb and Candida Crewe). Finally, we have a four-page spread featuring interviews by Simon Barnes with some of Team GB’s brightest hopes in the forthcoming Olympic Games.