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Rainy Nights

Sylvia Clayton, 1 March 1984

Sidney Bernstein 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Cape, 329 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 0 224 01934 1
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... reticent, seldom interviewed. His interests are not those of the public that has kept Coronation Street so high in the ratings for nearly twenty-five years. He owns a Bonnard, a Gauguin, several Modiglianis and a Utrillo and was one of the first collectors in this country to admire Paul Klee. He has a taste for ballet, for the plays of ...

Us and Them

Robert Taubman, 4 September 1980

The Secret Servant 
by Gavin Lyall.
Hodder, 224 pp., £5.50, June 1980, 0 340 25385 1
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The Flowers of the Forest 
by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 365 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 0 436 20087 2
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A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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Enter the Lion: A Posthumus Memoir of Mycroft Holmes 
by Michael Hodel and Sean Wright.
Dent, 237 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 460 04483 4
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Dorothy I. Sayers: Nine Literary Studies 
by Trevor Hall.
Duckworth, 132 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 9780715614556
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Milk Dime 
by Barry Fantoni.
Hodder, 192 pp., £5.50, May 1980, 0 340 25350 9
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... 500’, which seems to mean MI5), and the hero is no sooner posted to 10 Downing Street than a grenade comes through the front door. The material is that of any hard-core thriller, and very unsympathetic it is, cold-hearted in its violence and cynical about loyalty or affection. Most modern thrillers not only use this material but show a ...

Diary

Ronan Bennett: Being Irish in New York, 6 April 1995

... the Irish-American imagination and too much to the good-for-nothings seen everyday around bars and street corners. As the man who had repudiated his slave name told us, ‘the Irish Americans object to the Irish coming into their bars, taking their girlfriends, taking their jobs, not working properly when they take the jobs. The older Irish don’t like their ...
The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen 
introduced by Angus Wilson.
Cape, 782 pp., £8.50, February 1981, 0 224 01838 8
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Elizabeth Bowen: An Estimation 
by Hermione Lee.
Vision, 225 pp., £12.95, July 1981, 9780854783441
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... the Grand Duchess which can also be disrespectfully called the Fortnum-and-Mason, or the Bond Street, or the Ritzy Style, unless those places have all been taken over by Lord Forte within the last couple of weeks, or, of all her styles that one which I feel she held most close to her heart, and which, again disrespectfully, I call the Bowen 707 or the ...

Record-Breaker

Mary Hawthorne, 10 November 1994

The Informers 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 226 pp., £9.99, October 1994, 0 330 32671 6
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... out to entertain with its depravity. It’s a pop chronicle of evil: the protagonist, a vile Wall Street broker named Patrick Bateman who inexplicably turns serial killer, is, it turns out, just your everyday fashion victim – Ellis’s version of the Nazi. Like the murderer nervously wiping away his fingerprints, Ellis engages in the meticulous erasure of ...

Diary

Nick Laird: Ulster Revisited, 28 July 2011

... religious or civic leaders. The rows about the past are replicated at local level: Councillor Sean McGlinchey, who served 18 years for his role in a car bombing in Coleraine in 1973 that killed six people, is now the Sinn Fein mayor of Limavady. In Cookstown, my town, a large wooden sign was nailed to a lamppost in Monrush, a Protestant housing ...

You Have A Mother Don’t You?

Andrew O’Hagan: Cowboy Simplicities, 11 September 2003

Searching for John Ford: A Life 
by Joseph McBride.
Faber, 838 pp., £25, May 2003, 0 571 20075 3
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... weapons, and had this to say about the movie High Noon in a February 2002 article for the Wall Street Journal: Cowboys are normal people – some are impulsive, some are loners, some are neither. But what [the Europeans] are rejecting is not a modern-day cowboy, but rather a modern-day marshal, and marshals are different. They and their equivalents, such ...

Diary

Inigo Thomas: Michael Wolff’s Book Party, 8 February 2018

... they’re rife, in government and among journalists. ‘You couldn’t make this shit up,’ Sean Spicer, then Trump’s press secretary, told Wolff about life in Trump’s White House. In fact you wouldn’t have needed to make it up: everything you might reasonably have assumed to be true about Trump is confirmed by Wolff. As he would later ...

How We Remember

Gilberto Perez: Terrence Malick, 12 September 2013

... and, through the car’s rear window, see the pale green two-storey house receding down the quiet street. Then, unpredictably, we cut to a shot from inside the empty house: through the middle of three tall bay windows, past a green tree overhanging the road, the car can be seen disappearing into the distance. The home returns the mother’s gaze; in a kind of ...

Devolution Doom

Christopher Harvie: Scotland’s crisis, and some solutions, 5 September 2002

... average. ‘Growth’ has become similarly elusive: probably negative if we don’t count the high street and housing. Is a rise in GDP a good measurement, anyway? The quality of growth was a 1970s idea, worth resurrecting. German progress in solar power has brought the price of photo-voltaic cells tumbling and, by enabling houses to generate their own ...

A Winter Mind

John Burnside, 25 April 2013

... in a snowfall, were rendered strangely magnetic. Gravity altered. When I went out into the snowy street, everyone I met felt like kin. Most important of all, for those of us who defined everything in terms of relative deprivation, public spaces became places that could be shared. As absurd as it might sound, snow granted us a few days, sometimes even ...

Diary

Chris Mullin: The Birmingham Bombers, 21 February 2019

... Walker – were arrested at Heysham in Lancashire as they got off a train from Birmingham New Street which connected with the ferry to Belfast. A sixth man, Hughie Callaghan, was arrested the next day in Birmingham. The five were taken to Morecambe police station where Dr Frank Skuse, a Home Office forensic scientist, tested their hands for evidence of ...

Bloody Sunday Report

Murray Sayle: Back to Bloody Sunday, 11 July 2002

... Martin McGuinness (not yet knighted for his varied public services, but it’s early days), and Sean ‘Harpie’ Hargan, the Derry football hero. The TV wasn’t there, we thought wistfully, to cover us, or the long-running story that had brought us back to Northern Ireland after thirty years: the Inquiry into the fatal shooting of 14 unarmed civil rights ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Slums, Unemployment, Strikes and Party Politics, 23 June 1988

... discovering, still a matter of unresolved controversy among the experts. But the conclusion of Sean Glynn, in a recent volume of papers edited by himself and Alan Booth under the title The Road to Full Employment,* is that ‘it can be said with reasonable confidence that unemployment in the 1980s has been much worse than during the inter-war period and ...

What can happen when you make contact in a MOO

John Sutherland: Crime and passion in a virtual world, 29 July 1999

My Tiny Life: Crime and Punishment in a Virtual World 
by Donald Dibbell.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £16.99, January 1999, 1 84115 058 4
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... things on the rugby pitch or in the boxing ring that would land you in jail if you did them in the street. A number of MUDders have fallen into the error of imagining that their game-zone is where they can do things in VR (virtual reality) free from the constraints of RL (real life) – a dangerous misapprehension. Unlike in boxing, the rules of MUDding are ...

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