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Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret, 4 January 2018

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... Russell Harty on his deathbed had his tracheotomy tube removed, in order to be able to tell Alan Bennett that the princess had asked how he was, twice.Every celebrity seems to have fantasised about sex with the princess. Eddie Fisher claimed that he had had an affair with her. When her marriage was breaking up, Peter Sellers was besotted with the idea ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... you will be delighted to know that a pub in the Yorkshire town of Otley is to be renamed the Alan Bennett in your honour in order to celebrate Yorkshire Day.’ Fortunately this bizarre baptism is only for a month; were it longer I fear it would soon be reflected in the takings. The body responsible for this kindly gesture is the Otley Pub Club, which ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1996, 2 January 1997

... ring road makes the square difficult to get to and it’s in a bad neighbourhood, not far from the Hyde Park street which is said to hold the record for the most burglaries in England. The British Epilepsy Association is offices only but has a steel door, having been broken into three times, one of them a ram-raid; so, coming away, I’m perhaps more conscious ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... Literature’, including epic, lyric and occasional poetry. The period 1600-1800, introduced by Alan Harrison, is probably more familiar to non-Gaelic readers through Kinsella and O’Tuama’s major bilingual anthology, An Duanaire (1981). The Field Day publicity makes the claim that ‘all texts not originally in English have been specially translated for ...


James Wood: The ‘TLS’, 27 June 2002

Critical Times: The History of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ 
by Derwent May.
HarperCollins, 606 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 00 711449 4
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... her to be sweet and gracious to powerful men, much as she had had to be when such men came to Hyde Park Gate for tea with her father; and yet ‘my real delight in reviewing is to say nasty things.’ The latter mood prevailed, and, in addition to the great manifestos she sent to the TLS (like ‘How It Strikes a Contemporary’), she worked more ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... who recalls his summer as the little boy running between the secret lovers, Julie Christie and Alan Bates. Redgrave’s gaze in that film is watery and blank, which seems right for a man so psychologically traumatised by childhood memories that he had shut down his emotions. In retrospect, though, this had less to do with acting than with the Parkinson’s ...

Miss Dior, Prodigally Applied

Ian Patterson: Jilly Cooper, 18 May 2017

by Jilly Cooper.
Corgi, 610 pp., £7.99, February 2017, 978 0 552 17028 4
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... of males, a character created from a mixture of Mr Rochester, Clark Gable, Casanova, the late Alan Clark MP, and – apparently – various dashing and extant English aristocrats, including Andrew Parker Bowles. Rupert Campbell-Black, wealthy landowner, sometime world champion showjumper, sometime Tory MP and sports minister, exuder of brio, glamour and ...
... Out)Anthony Thwaite(Observer)MiddlingPaul Ableman(Spectator)Peter Conrad(Harpers & Queen)Alan Hollinghurst(New Statesman)Christopher Wordsworth(Guardian)UnfavourablePaul Ableman(Spectator)Robert Cottrell(Financial Times)Martyn Goff(Daily Telegraph)John Osborne(New Standard)John Sutherland(London Review of Books)Auberon Waugh(Daily Mail)In all three ...

Sorry to be so vague

Hugh Haughton: Eugene Jolas and Samuel Beckett, 29 July 1999

Man from Babel 
by Eugene Jolas.
Yale, 352 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 300 07536 7
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No Author Better Served: The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett and Alan Schneider 
edited by Maurice Harmon.
Harvard, 486 pp., £21.95, October 1998, 0 674 62522 6
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... was the antithesis of ‘objective reporting’ and wholly opposed to what Jolas thought of in his Hyde-like aesthetic self as the dreariness of ‘realism’ and ‘reportage.’ As well as work by Joyce and Stein, that first issue of transition of 1927 included paintings by Ernst and poems by the American Modernist Hart Crane, the French Surrealists Robert ...

The Framing of al-Megrahi

Gareth Peirce: The Death of Justice, 24 September 2009

... Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment (RARDE) claimed the find (with his colleague Alan Feraday) and Thomas Thurman of the FBI claimed the analytical victory. All were swiftly hailed (or hailed themselves) as heroes. Thurman appeared on television on 15 November 1991, the day after indictments were issued against the two Libyans, boasting that ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes, 20 January 2011

... parody of the industrial worker, as represented by Albert Finney in Karel Reisz’s film of Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. The most exciting young actor of his generation tracked across the Nottingham cobbles, as Cameron was tracked through Notting Hill, by an unseen camera car. The liberation of moving through a city ...

Museums of Melancholy

Iain Sinclair: Silence on the Euston Road, 18 August 2005

... thunder of that lifesize howitzer by Charles Sergeant Jagger on the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner. Arranged on obelisks are squadrons of engineless planes that will never achieve flight. Granite battleships hide in alcoves. Ghost armies perch on temporary plinths in a psychosexual romance of heavy cloaks, gas masks, boots and belts. I think ...

The Real Magic

David Sylvester, 8 June 1995

A Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Deutsch, 834 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 233 98859 9
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... touch with an occult source of vitality. What a Bilbo Baggins he would have made, or imagine his Hyde to Fred Astaire’s Jekyll. Novak was a big shy blonde, diffident about her beautiful body and forever trying to speak up and project. Many critics saw this tense endeavour and concluded that she was not an actress. But film sometimes flinches at the ...


Jeremy Harding: My ’68, 19 July 2018

... field as hallucinogens were said to do. Communes were a summons to reason: a movement known as the Hyde Park Diggers was beginning to size up the countryside after a phase of urban squatting, and now imagined sanctuaries of rustic dissidence: free food, free love, free thinking, home-grown marijuana. Like Fourier’s phalansteries, they were going to nudge ...

Serried Yuppiedromes

Owen Hatherley: What happened to London?, 21 August 2014

Guide to the Architecture of London 
by Edward Jones and Christopher Woodward.
Phoenix, 511 pp., £16.99, July 2013, 978 1 78022 493 0
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... Tony Fretton, Georgie Wolton (an exceptionally rare woman in this group), the partnership of Alan Colquhoun and John Miller. In the 1970s and 1980s most of these could be found designing mews houses and studios in Camden, Hampstead and Islington, all of course included here. All were a cut above the usual intellectual level of 1980s ...

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