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Strange, Angry Objects

Owen Hatherley: The Brutalist Decades, 17 November 2016

A3: Threads and Connections 
by Peter Ahrends.
Right Angle, 128 pp., £18, December 2015, 978 0 9532848 9 4
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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism 
by Barnabas Calder.
Heinemann, 416 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 434 02244 1
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Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 
by Elain Harwood.
Yale, 512 pp., £60, September 2015, 978 0 300 20446 9
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Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World 
by Christopher Beanland.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £18, February 2016, 978 0 7112 3764 3
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This Brutal World 
by Peter Chadwick.
Phaidon, 224 pp., £29.95, April 2016, 978 0 7148 7108 0
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Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture 
by Nicolas Grospierre.
Prestel, 224 pp., £29.99, February 2016, 978 3 7913 8229 6
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Modernist Estates: The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them 
by Stefi Orazi.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 7112 3675 2
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Architecture an Inspiration 
by Ivor Smith.
Troubador, 224 pp., £24.95, November 2014, 978 1 78462 069 1
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... street in the air. Aesthetics were secondary, programme was all. The designers of Park Hill, Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith, boasted that they didn’t draw a single elevation while designing one of the largest buildings in Europe. For Banham, this promised an architecture autre, where most accepted canons of form and order could be discarded in favour of ...

Boys will be girls

Clive James, 1 September 1983

Footlights! A Hundred Years of Cambridge Comedy 
by Robert Hewison.
Methuen, 224 pp., £8.95, June 1983, 0 413 51150 2
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... lose interest when they do more writing than performing, or more producing than writing. Jonathan Lynn, for example, is duly credited as a fill-in cast member for the Cambridge Circus touring company, but there is no mention made of the writing he has done for Yes Minister, which is on a level with that of Clement and la Frenais. Humphrey Barclay is credited ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1995, 4 January 1996

... have many distinguished old boys though one which it never seems to acknowledge was the critic James Agate. This reticence may be on account of Agate’s well-known propensity to drink his own piss. 13 June. Three police acquitted in the case of Joy Gardner who died after being gagged with 13 inches of tape, a restraining belt and leg irons. It’s not ...

A Dingy Start to the Day

Frank Kermode, 10 September 1992

Kingsley Amis: Modern Novelist 
by Dale Salwak.
Harvester, 302 pp., £24.99, April 1992, 0 7450 1096 2
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London Calling: V.S. Naipaul, Postcolonial Mandarin 
by Rob Nixon.
Oxford, 229 pp., £27.50, May 1992, 0 19 506717 7
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... Amis’s contribution to this historical revelation, the bit in double quotes, was vouchsafed in a Lynn Barber interview. The rest is Salwak’s work. He is further able to inform us that Amis learned from his father’s example ‘the nature and practice of moral judgment’, that he is aware of ‘a cleavage between conscience and desire’, and has noted ...

Our Muddy Vesture

Frank Kermode: Pacino’s Merchant of Venice, 6 January 2005

William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ 
directed by Michael Radford.
December 2004
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... as Bassanio shows us why the Christians in this play are, on the whole, such an unlikeable lot. Lynn Collins as Portia looks as good as she ought to, and redeems some tiresome moments in the early scenes by being startlingly good and grave in the trial scene. Since the piece is set in Venice there is a lot of photography, and some of the results are indeed ...

Inky Scraps

Maya Jasanoff: ‘Atlantic Families’, 5 August 2010

Atlantic Families: Lives and Letters in the Later 18th Century 
by Sarah Pearsall.
Oxford, 294 pp., £61, November 2008, 978 0 19 953299 5
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... letters persuaded their many British readers to see the slave trade as morally problematic. As Lynn Hunt has argued, it was no coincidence that the rise of the novel and the rise of what would later be called ‘human rights’ occurred in tandem: learning to feel for people on the page was analogous to learning to feel for people in situations one might ...

Looking for Imperfection

Gilberto Perez: John Cassavetes, 23 August 2001

John Cassavetes: Lifeworks 
by Tom Charity.
Omnibus, 257 pp., £10.95, March 2001, 0 7119 7544 2
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Cassavetes on Cassavetes 
edited by Ray Carney.
Faber, 526 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 571 20157 1
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... relax, however, the moments of fun can be memorable: Lelia Goldoni being flirtatious in Shadows; Lynn Carlin laughing in Faces; the ending of A Woman under the Influence (1974), where at the last minute the tone lightens and a heavy melodrama is brought to a surprisingly satisfying comic conclusion; much of the strange Love Streams (1984), his last ...


Thomas Sugrue: Civil Rights v. Black Power, 5 October 2006

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice 
by Raymond Arsenault.
Oxford, 690 pp., £19.99, March 2006, 0 19 513674 8
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... Riders later became important advocates of black power. William Worthy and Conrad Lynn – two of the members of the original Journey of Reconciliation – created the all-black Freedom Now Party less than two years after the Rides ended. By 1965, CORE had jettisoned its integrationism for an emphasis on black-led community development. Its ...

No Beast More Refined

James Davidson: How Good Was Nureyev?, 29 November 2007

Rudolf Nureyev: The Life 
by Julie Kavanagh.
Fig Tree, 787 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 905490 15 8
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... Factory and to Stavros Niarchos’s yacht with its Degas, Delacroix and Toulouse-Lautrecs, its ‘James Bond’ features and 17th-century olive-wood panelling? Who else was an object of some interest to Mick Jagger, François Mitterrand and Greta Garbo, to Gorbachev, Judy Garland – ‘Rudi’, ‘Judy’, ‘Rudi’, ‘Judy’ – and François ...

For ever Walsall

Angus Calder, 21 March 1985

Rural Life in England in the First World War 
by Pamela Horn.
Gill and Macmillan, 300 pp., £25, November 1984, 0 312 69604 3
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Britain in Our Century: Images and Controversies 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 9780500250914
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Labour and Society in Britain: 1918-1979 
by James Cronin.
Batsford, 248 pp., £8.95, August 1984, 0 7134 4395 2
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Women in England 1870-1950: Sexual Divisions and Social Change 
by Jane Lewis.
Wheatsheaf, 240 pp., £16.95, November 1984, 0 7108 0186 6
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... sources. It is a very good example of the type of specialised study on which Arthur Marwick, James Cronin and Jane Lewis have had to depend while putting together their syntheses. In this case, the omission of Scotland and Ireland might seem uncontentious. Ireland’s was another story. The Scottish narrative would be similar in respect of government ...


Christopher Hitchens, 19 October 1995

Palimpsest: A Memoir 
by Gore Vidal.
Deutsch, 432 pp., £17.99, October 1995, 0 233 98891 2
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... a quarter of a century ago, supplies one clue. The narrator is set off by a recollection of Henry James, who after fifty years remembered ‘a boy cousin being sketched in the nude at Newport before his life was “cut short, in a cavalry clash, by one of the Confederate bullets of 1863” ’. Death, summer, youth – this triad contrives to haunt me every ...


John Sutherland, 21 April 1988

by Stephen King.
Hodder, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 340 39070 0
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The Tommyknockers 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 563 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 340 39069 7
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by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 245 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 9780670816545
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by Charles Willeford.
Gollancz, 293 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 575 04197 8
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by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 282 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 571 15147 7
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... undead in Dracula’s Guest and in other hands has had innumerable revivals. Fans wouldn’t let James Bond decently retire the service with the death of his creator Ian Fleming, but kept him going for an increasingly dreary series of adventures by John Gardner. For the fan, once is never enough. King’s The Tommyknockers has many familiar aspects to ...

Lucky Boy

Kevin Kopelson, 3 April 1997

directed by Scott Hicks.
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Shine: The Screenplay 
by Jan Sardi.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £7.99, January 1997, 0 7475 3173 0
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The Book of David 
by Beverley Eley.
HarperCollins, 285 pp., £8.99, March 1997, 0 207 19105 0
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Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life with David Helfgott 
by Gillian Helfgott, with Alissa Tanskaya.
Penguin, 337 pp., £6.99, January 1997, 0 14 026546 5
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... Susannah Prichard, a writer; Beryl Alcott, an organist; Sylvia, a wine bar owner; and Gillian (Lynn Redgrave), an astrologer. Cecil Parkes has just the one arm; Ray hasn’t even got a chance. Chalk it up to the compulsory heterosexuality of commercially viable cinema. (In reality, ‘Sylvia’ is a man.) All these women, most of them older, mother ...

You see stars

Michael Wood, 19 June 1997

The House of Sleep 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 384 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 670 86458 7
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... stories, old chatty novels, stage farces – not everyone would connect Jean Cocteau with Sid James and Kenneth Connor. But it is above all a novel of the Thatcher years, satirically seen as the reign of a particular mentality, easily identified, but not so easily defined. Coe portrays it through six grotesques, members of a single family, which itself is ...

Lord Cardigan’s Cherry Pants

Ferdinand Mount: The benefits of the Crimean War, 20 May 2004

The Crimean War: The Truth behind the Myth 
by Clive Ponting.
Chatto, 379 pp., £20, March 2004, 0 7011 7390 4
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... the full colonels had joined up in the 18th century). The otherwise tolerably rational ” Sir James Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty, thought fighting alongside the French was ‘unnatural’ and refused to allow British ships to carry French troops. The prime minister, Lord Aberdeen, had expected war with France rather than Russia. Neither he nor ...

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