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77 Barton Street

Dave Haslam: Joy Division, 3 January 2008

Juvenes: The Joy Division Photographs of Kevin Cummins 
To Hell with Publishing, 189 pp., £200, December 2007Show More
Joy Division: Piece by Piece 
by Paul Morley.
Plexus, 384 pp., £14.99, December 2007, 978 0 85965 404 3
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directed by Anton Corbijn.
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... claim their equipment was so bad they couldn’t hear what Curtis was saying, though the drummer, Stephen Morris, still wonders how they missed the desperation. When they recorded Unknown Pleasures in the studio in April 1979, the band must have been able to hear the lyrics more clearly, but they preferred not to think about what lay behind them. Sumner says ...

Plimsoll’s Story

Stephen Sedley, 28 April 2011

The Oxford History of the Laws of England 1820-1914: Vol. XI, English Legal System; Vol. XII, Private Law; Vol. XIII, Fields of Development 
edited by William Cornish et al.
Oxford, 3571 pp., £495, February 2010, 978 0 19 925883 3
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... when the typist was away. My head of chambers could recall Lord Darling, memorably insulted by the Birmingham Daily Argus in 1900, when he lectured the local press on how to report his decisions, as an impudent little man in horsehair who might have made a successful bus conductor, sitting in the 1930s on the judicial committee of the Privy Council and ...
... man, the Hong Kong-based Li Ka-shing? In north-east England, they work for Warren Buffett; in Birmingham, Cardiff and Plymouth, the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company; in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool, Iberdrola; in Manchester, a consortium of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a J.P. Morgan investment fund. More than anyone, you’d think, it ...


Denis Arnold, 19 September 1985

Interpreting Bach’s ‘Well-Tempered Clavier’: A Performer’s Discourse of Method 
by Ralph Kirkpatrick.
Yale, 132 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 300 03058 4
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Bach, Handel, Scarlatti: Tercentenary Essays 
edited by Peter Williams.
Cambridge, 363 pp., £27.50, April 1985, 0 521 25217 2
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Handel: The Man and his Music 
by Jonathan Keates.
Gollancz, 346 pp., £12.95, February 1985, 0 575 03573 0
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Sensibility and English Song: Critical Studies of the Early 20th Century: Vols I and II 
by Stephen Banfield.
Cambridge, 619 pp., £27.50, April 1985, 0 521 23085 3
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... largely due to the enthusiasms of Englishmen, with Anthony Lewis at the Barber Institute in Birmingham and the devotees of the Handel Opera Society in London providing the chance to see as well as to hear – a necessary test for any kind of opera. It is the miracle of Handel’s operatic genius which has allowed these ventures to succeed. No Farinelli ...

Christopher Hitchens states a prosecution case

Christopher Hitchens, 25 October 1990

Crossman: The Pursuit of Power 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 361 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 224 02592 9
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... for the lighter but more efficient cane: much relish here in the details. ‘Dick’ moans to Stephen Spender: ‘Even if I become prime minister, I’ll never again be as great as I was at Winchester.’ ‘Dick’ is immortalised by John Betjeman: Broad of Church and Broad of Mind, Broad Before and Broad Behind. ‘Dick’ competes with Auden for the ...


John Upton: Damilola Taylor, 4 January 2001

... to stop a young boy from losing his life. Parallels with the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence will also be made. The Metropolitan Police has learnt from its PR disasters in that case and has proudly announced that the hunt for Damilola Taylor’s killers is the biggest since Jill Dando’s murder. As far as is possible, the Met has ...

The road is still open

David Wootton: Turpin Hero?, 3 February 2005

Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman 
by James Sharpe.
Profile, 258 pp., £8.99, January 2005, 1 86197 418 3
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... is the source of Joyce’s title for the forerunner to Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ‘Stephen Hero’. Turpin is no hero to James Sharpe, who sets out to cut him down to size, just another ‘callous, brutal and violent’ criminal, an ‘unpleasant thug’, hardly distinguishable from so many others, so that when The Lives of Noted Highwaymen was ...


Elisa Segrave: Is this what it’s like to be famous?, 11 May 1995

... only had a few hours’ sleep. I’m hysterical. Is this what it’s like to be famous? No wonder Stephen Fry tried to escape across the Channel. The woman in charge of the television programme rings up. Would I be prepared to take a phone-in from women suffering from breast cancer? I say I’m not too keen on the idea as I’m not medically qualified and ...

Successive Applications of Sticking-Plaster

Andrew Saint: The urban history of Britain, 1 November 2001

The Cambridge Urban History of Britain. Vol. III: 1840-1950 
edited by Martin Daunton.
Cambridge, 944 pp., £90, January 2001, 0 521 41707 4
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... A bout of dirigisme from the centre having failed in the 1850s, well-governed cities such as Birmingham had briefly savoured near medieval measures of independence from central control, like towns which showed the local time on the clocks before the coming of the railways. The County Councils Bill might have been, Davis says, ‘the last occasion on ...

More ‘out’ than ‘on’

Glen Newey: Chris Mullin’s Diaries, 27 August 2009

A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin 
by Chris Mullin.
Profile, 590 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84668 223 0
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... Democracy, as the editor of Tribune in the mid-1980s, and notably in the campaign to quash the Birmingham Six’s convictions. As he comments here – no doubt part joke and part apologia – the CLPD’s demand for mandatory reselection of sitting Labour MPs, though branded as a ‘loony left’ entryist stratagem at the time, was in fact New Labour avant ...

People and Martians

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 24 January 2019

The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties 
by Robert Conquest.
Bodley Head, 576 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 84792 568 8
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The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivisation and the Terror-Famine 
by Robert Conquest.
Bodley Head, 412 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 84792 567 1
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... anti a lot of other people.’ Three years earlier, Conquest had told the demographic historian Stephen Wheatcroft – co-author with Robert Davies of Years of Hunger, a study of Soviet agriculture in the famine era – that it was not his opinion that ‘Stalin purposely inflicted the 1933 famine. No. What I argue is that with resulting famine imminent, he ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... into England could be a bit of a trial. Like the time Seamus nearly got arrested at Birmingham Airport.’HEANEY: That’s right. Your man stopped me and he said, ‘What’s the purpose of your visit?’ and I said, ‘To educate the English,’ and that was it. Kept me there under the Prevention of Terrorism. I had to explain it was a joke.We ...

In the Workshop

Tom Paulin: Shakespeare’s Sonnets, 22 January 1998

The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 672 pp., £23.50, December 1997, 0 674 63712 7
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Shakespeare's Sonnets 
edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Arden, 503 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 1 903436 57 5
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... speech acts’, we remain condemned to a ‘static view of any given sonnet’. Gently criticising Stephen Booth’s account of the contrary pulls in sonnet 146, she that grants that his discussion is ‘interesting’, but finds it too preoccupied ‘with meaning alone’. The editorial and critical accounts published over the last thirty years do not pay ...

Paisley’s Progress

Tom Paulin, 1 April 1982

... where Bloom is Moses the precursor of Christ, the liberator; Parnell is both Moses and Christ; and Stephen is Christ the Hero. However, Joyce’s idea of the Irish nation is inclusive rather than exclusive – it is a definition beyond tribalism, beyond religious creed. And those Irish historians who congratulate themselves on their freedom from tribal ...


John Sturrock, 20 February 1986

Handbook of Russian Literature 
edited by Victor Terras.
Yale, 558 pp., £25, April 1985, 0 300 03155 6
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Verbal Art, Verbal Sign, Verbal Time 
by Roman Jakobson, edited by Krystyna Pomorska and Stephen Rudy.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £25, July 1985, 0 631 14262 2
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Historic Structures: The Prague School Project 1928-1946 
by F.W. Galan.
Croom Helm, 250 pp., £22.50, May 1985, 0 7099 3816 0
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Mikhail Bakhtin 
by Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist.
Harvard, 398 pp., £19.95, February 1985, 0 674 57416 8
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The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics 
by M.M. Bakhtin and P.M. Medvedev, translated by Albert Wehrle.
Harvard, 191 pp., £7.50, May 1985, 0 674 30921 9
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Dialogues between Roman Jakobson and Krystyna Pomorska 
translated by Christian Hubert.
Cambridge, 186 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 521 25113 3
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The Dialogical Principle 
by Tzvetan Todorov, translated by Wlad Godzich.
Manchester, 132 pp., £25, February 1985, 0 7190 1466 2
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Rabelais and his World 
by Mikhail Bakhtin, translated by Hélène Iswolsky.
Indiana, 484 pp., $29.50, August 1984, 0 253 20341 4
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... Wittgenstein before going to teach Classics at the University of Southampton. In 1939 he moved to Birmingham, where he died of a heart attack in 1950. At this point he was head of the linguistics department, a member of the British Communist Party and an admirer of Stalin. Mikhail was the quiet brother, who craved uneventfulness. He was a most successful ...

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