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by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... quite as strong as our sense of jubilation, of ‘a giant step for mankind’. Further, as Peter and Leni Gillman suggest (prosaically or poetically), ‘Space Oddity’ sounds like an experience of shooting heroin, and they sternly quote another Bowie lyric: Ashes to ashes, funk to funky, We know Major Tom’s a junkie. Anyway, Major Tom helped to ...

Eating people is right

Paul Delany, 21 February 1985

Modern Times 
by Peter York.
Heinemann, 128 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 434 89260 2
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Face Value: The Politics of Beauty 
by Robin Tolmach Lakoff and Raquel Scherr.
Routledge, 312 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 0 7100 9742 5
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... The Sloane Ranger style, Peter York has told us, reflects ‘a state of mind that’s eternal’. This may be putting it a bit strongly: but the Sloane ancestry goes back at least to the days when knighthood was in flower and one really needed a pony. Like British trade unions, Sloanes have deep roots as a defensively-organised collective, and ‘What Really Matters’ to them may well matter differently, or not matter at all, to everyone else ...

Competition is for losers

David Runciman: Silicon Valley Vampire, 23 September 2021

The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power 
by Max Chafkin.
Bloomsbury, 400 pp., £25, September, 978 1 5266 1955 6
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... Peter​ Thiel is known for so many different things it can be hard to keep up. He co-founded PayPal, which provided the basis for his early fortune as well as Elon Musk’s. He is the eerily prescient angel investor who helped launch Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook on the path to global domination. He is the man who bankrupted Gawker, the online gossip site, by funding Hulk Hogan’s libel action, fulfilling a decade-long vendetta that started after Gawker outed Thiel as gay ...

The Stamp of One Defect

David Edgar: Jeremy Thorpe, 30 July 2015

Jeremy Thorpe 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 606 pp., £25, December 2014, 978 0 316 85685 0
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Closet Queens: Some 20th-Century British Politicians 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 320 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 4087 0412 7
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... murder. For Mangold, the important thing about Thorpe’s story was not that an unjust law laid a gay politician open to blackmail and even to the temptation to dispose of the blackmailer, but what he saw as an establishment cover-up, which kept Thorpe out of trouble for years. Published, at Thorpe’s request, after his death, Michael Bloch’s eminently ...
Dance till the stars come down 
by Frances Spalding.
Hodder, 271 pp., £25, May 1991, 0 340 48555 8
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Keith Vaughan 
by Malcolm Yorke.
Constable, 288 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 09 469780 9
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... of taste seem an absurd condescension. Even Pop Art was still fine art going popular, but Peter Blake’s and David Hockney’s mature commercial appearances rated star billing and held their own in record stores and poster shops. Minton did not have Piper’s or Ravilious’s Betjemanesque delight in the look of England, but his Death of ...


Philip Booth, 20 July 1995

Drag: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts 
by Roger Baker.
Cassell, 284 pp., £35, December 1994, 0 304 32836 7
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... Nowadays it’s possible to make a career exclusively within gay journalism. Roger Baker, however, was a journalist of wide-ranging interests whose careful think-pieces were a strong feature of Gay News in the mid-Seventies, but who was just as comfortable writing for the Times ...

Defoe or the Devil

Pat Rogers, 2 March 1989

The Canonisation of Daniel Defoe 
by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Yale, 210 pp., £20, February 1988, 0 300 04119 5
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The ‘Tatler’: Vols I-III 
edited by Donald Bond.
Oxford, 590 pp., £60, July 1987, 0 19 818614 2
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The ‘Spectator’: Vols I-V 
edited by Donald Bond.
Oxford, 512 pp., £55, October 1987, 9780198186106
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... proto-symbolism. Some of the reasons for this state of affairs have been brilliantly explored by Peter Gay, in an essay prompted by the original publication of Bond’s Spectator, which appeared in Encounter in 1967, and there’s a thought – how many young people today could easily see how strong the literary pages of Encounter were in its ...

Even If You Have to Starve

Ian Penman: Mod v. Trad, 29 August 2013

Mod: A Very British Style 
by Richard Weight.
Bodley Head, 478 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 0 224 07391 2
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... Colin MacInnes) and you’re plunged into a lost river with discrete but commingled tributaries: gay, criminal, East End Jewish, upper-class drop-out, lower-class dandy; the ‘morries’ of Cook’s dodgy Chelsea set, and Baron’s Harryboy Boas, a proto-Mod. ‘One thing about me, I always dress smartly,’ Boas declares. ‘A good suit, midnight blue ...

Post-Modernism and the Law

Robert Post, 21 February 1991

Languages of Law: From Logics of Memory to Nomadic Masks 
by Peter Goodrich.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 297 82024 9
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Post-Modern Law: Enlightenment, Revolution and the Death of Man 
edited by Anthony Carty.
Edinburgh, 166 pp., £25, August 1990, 0 7486 0156 2
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... seemingly indifferent to the internal regulation of its direction. It is this focus which informs Peter Goodrich’s Languages of Law. The book appears to be a collection of disparate essays, oddly connected and repetitive, but which nevertheless circle back obsessively to the question of how the law sustains its own authority. Goodrich continually queries ...

Suiting yourself

Peter Campbell, 27 July 1989

I Modi. The Sixteen Pleasures: An Erotic Album of Renaissance Italy 
by Lynne Lawner.
Northwestern, 132 pp., $35.95, February 1989, 0 8101 0803 8
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The Dress of the Venetians 1495-1525 
by Stella Mary Newton.
Scolar, 196 pp., £28.50, December 1988, 0 85967 735 4
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Fashion Drawings in ‘Vogue’: René Bouët-Willamez and Fashion Drawings in ‘Vogue’: Carl Erickson 
by William Parker.
Joseph, 128 pp., £14.95, March 1989, 0 86350 198 2
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Women and Fashion 
by Caroline Evans and Minna Thornton.
Quartet, 184 pp., £15, March 1989, 0 7043 2691 4
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... in the argument of fashion. At the age of 25 a well-born late-15th-century Venetian male put off gay hose, slashed sleeves and padded waistcoats in favour of a veste. This long black gown would be his regular wear for the rest of his life – unless he gained office, in which case he made official appearances in the same garment in red. If he became Doge he ...

In Brighton

Peter Campbell: Free associating on stucco, 23 May 2002

... vulgar postcard Brighton (Carry on at Your Convenience), louche Brighton (The First Gentleman, The Gay Divorcee), the Brighton of the disaffected young (Quadrophenia) and the Brighton that mixes violence and fairground glitter (Brighton Rock, Oh! What a Lovely War) – are extracted as simple essences from the mix that is the town ...

The Meaning of Silence

Peter Medawar, 2 February 1984

Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony 
by Lewis Thomas.
Viking, 168 pp., $12.95, November 1983, 0 670 70390 7
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... essay his fans see a different Lewis Thomas – angry where he was once urbane, grim rather than gay, for no aspect of the bomb is at all funny and upon this subject Thomas is unrelievedly grave. His night thoughts are akin to those that most of us have when awake at dawn or sleepless in the small hours of the morning, or whenever the faculty of ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... Street nexus were confirmed by the reception of Paul Routledge’s very unauthorised biography of Peter Mandelson, the Labour Member for Hartlepool who would like to be prime minister. Routledge, an Old Labour hack, set out with an apparently impossible ambition – to do a service to the Labour movement by taking on the second most powerful man in the ...

Nate of the Station

Nick Richardson: Jonathan Coe, 3 March 2016

Number 11 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 351 pp., £16.99, November 2015, 978 0 670 92379 3
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... Winshaw Prize’ stars Josephine Winshaw-Eaves, the daughter of Hilary Winshaw and Sir Peter Eaves, a newspaper editor. Like her mother, Josephine is a tabloid columnist in the Katie Hopkins mould. She attends an awards ceremony for a prize her family has sponsored and put its name to – a prize, ridiculously, for the best prize (it goes to the ...

Urgency Is Not Enough

Peter Campbell, 6 April 1995

Don’t Leave Me This Way: Art in the Age of Aids 
compiled by Ted Gott.
Thames and Hudson, 246 pp., £12.95, March 1995, 0 642 13030 2
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The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of Aids 
by Simon Garfield.
Faber, 406 pp., £17.50, November 1994, 0 571 15353 4
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... this, because it is a view from the outside, is offered up with an apology. When he interviewed ‘gay people and haemophiliacs and others who have been most affected by Aids in this country, I usually felt I was selling them short.’ You cannot easily put art about Aids in the art-only box: it is part of a dialogue, between those who have the disease and ...

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