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Martin and Martina

Ian Hamilton, 20 September 1984

Money: A Suicide Note 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 352 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 224 02276 8
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... giving money away,’ he confides in us. ‘If you were here now, I’d probably slip you some cash.’ ‘Oh, money, I love you. You’re so democratic. You even things out for me and my kind.’ Although he has a spare-time problem, Self likes things that are fast. He doesn’t quite know why, except that this happens to be the momentum of the ...

Making Money

Andrew Cockburn: The Chalabis, 1 December 2011

Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family 
by Tamara Chalabi.
Harper, 352 pp., £12.99, July 2011, 978 0 06 124039 3
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From Dictatorship to Democracy: An Insider’s Account of the Iraqi Opposition to Saddam 
by Hamid al-Bayati.
Pennsylvania, 347 pp., £23, February 2011, 978 0 8122 4288 1
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... when the bank was seized by the Jordanian authorities as Ahmad made his exit across the border. An Arthur Andersen audit found Petra’s books riddled with errors – or fraud – but it was clear enough that at least 40 per cent of its outstanding loans, many of them to members of the Chalabi family, were ‘non-performing’. Companion Chalabi enterprises ...

Facing the Future

Keith Middlemas, 17 December 1981

Fifty Years of Political and Economic Planning: Looking Forward, 1931-1981 
edited by John Pinder.
Heinemann, 228 pp., £9.50, June 1981, 0 435 83690 0
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... 20th-century British political élite. In a well-known essay on ‘Middle Opinion in the 1930s’, Arthur Marwick called it ‘the most successful and most enduring of the “planning” groups’. Sparked off by a revolt of journalists on the Saturday Review, and founded in 1931 in the context of world slump and authoritarian solutions to the problems of ...

Dykes, Drongs, Sarns, Snickets

David Craig: Walking England, 20 December 2012

The English Lakes: A History 
by Ian Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 0958 7
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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 432 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 0 241 14381 0
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... Sawrey and the dale of Newlands, settles there finally and specialises in native breeds of sheep. Arthur Ransome writes stories set in Coniston (and elsewhere) and inspires me and many thousands of other children with tales about families learning to camp and sail and climb and skate and smelt copper. Such for Thompson are the prime markers in the history of ...

Keeping Score

Ian Jackman: Joe DiMaggio, 10 May 2001

Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life 
by Richard Ben Cramer.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £20, April 2001, 0 684 85391 4
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... by being Joe. (There’s a wonderful extended passage about him retrieving a bin-liner full of cash from his earthquake-damaged home.) All sporting heroes’ lives are divided into the time they played their game and the much longer time they play being themselves, usually much less well. DiMaggio performed supremely well at both. He holds one of the ...


Ian Hamilton, 20 June 1996

Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 632 pp., £35, February 1996, 0 19 211789 0
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... a taker? Ford was hugely generous when in funds but/therefore frequently in need of bailouts and cash-in-advance. By 1915, he was more or less bankrupt. Ford – called many-modelled by a waggish friend – was always popular, but never quite knew why. In society, he came across either as too lordly or too keen to please. His tall stories, though, were ...

The Leader’s Cheerleaders

Simon Jenkins: Party Funding in Britain, 20 September 2007

The Cost of Democracy: Party Funding in Modern British Politics 
by K.D. Ewing.
Hart, 279 pp., £30, March 2007, 978 1 84113 716 2
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... or in terms of business activities’. Does Ewing really think that the accountancy firms, Arthur Andersen and KPMG, gave such sterling service to Labour (£2.5m from KPMG) without thought of the billions of pounds in Treasury contracts that followed? As for the ‘fund-raising ethics committee’ set up after Bernie Ecclestone’s £1m donation to get ...

Builder of Ruins

Mary Beard: Arthur Evans, 30 November 2000

Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth 
by J.A. MacGillivray.
Cape, 313 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 224 04352 8
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... disappointment, not so much at the excavation site itself (‘where,’ he writes archly, ‘Sir Arthur Evans … is rebuilding the palace’) but at its collection of prize paintings and sculpture, which had been removed to the museum in Heraklion. In the sculpture, he ‘saw nothing to suggest any genuine aesthetic feeling at all’. The frescoes were much ...

They saw him coming

Neal Ascherson: The Lockhart Plot, 5 November 2020

The Lockhart Plot: Love, Betrayal, Assassination and Counter-­Revolution in Lenin’s Russia 
by Jonathan Schneer.
Oxford, 331 pp., £25, July, 978 0 19 885298 8
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... very long, but not unbroken. Remember the Bay of Pigs.It’s not enough to have enormous sums of cash, or weapons ready to ferry in, or satellite images of military airports and barracks, or some plausible exile who can be hurried into the presidential palace. All those are helpful. But they come second to two basic forms of knowledge. The first is ...

Bitov’s Secrets

Michael Glenny, 18 October 1984

... paid than in most Western countries; his translations include, for instance, two SF novels by Arthur C. Clarke. Even more valuable than his cash earnings, however, were the attendant perks of the job. Apart from the right to buy scarce or otherwise unobtainable goods in special shops open only to the Party’s ...

Fancy Patter

Theo Tait: Holmes and the Holocaust, 31 March 2005

The Final Solution 
by Michael Chabon.
Fourth Estate, 127 pp., £10, February 2005, 0 00 719602 4
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... of an elderly bibliophile. By the time of Holmes’s resurrection in ‘The Empty House’ (1903), Arthur Conan Doyle heartily resented his most famous creation, but vast amounts of cash had proved an irresistible lure. Doyle made no further efforts to bump him off; the best he managed was retirement. In ‘His Last ...

Blood Relations

J.I.M. Stewart, 1 December 1983

Diversity and Depth in Fiction: Selected Critical Writings of Angus Wilson 
edited by Kerry McSweeny.
Secker, 303 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 436 57610 4
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... but has already shrunk to a grotesque (and for the nonce a plebeian grotesque) as the intolerable Arthur Calvert in Late Call. There are traces of him all over the place. Even Bill Eliot, that successful barrister and adoring husband in The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot, has a touch of him in his gambling and the financial irresponsibility that leaves his widow ...


Clive James, 10 January 1983

... it was who, raised as a Red Guard, Looked back on his achievements with remorse. With Mao set to cash in his Party card Deng and the boys announced a change of course. The Student Wei invited ten years hard Saying they’d got the cart before the horse: If freedom came first, progress might begin. He pulled his ten years and five more thrown in. As ...

Mrs Thatcher’s Universities

Peter Pulzer, 22 June 1989

... anti-Conservative committee-rooms, as happened in the Vale of Glamorgan by-election in May; that Arthur Scargill would be seeking to become a fully-owned subsidiary of Ron Todd? Yet all this has come to pass, and so has industrial action by academics. That is, for me, the saddest development of all. Fashions may change in how best to run an industry or ...

Mae West and the British Raj

Wendy Doniger: Dinosaur Icons, 18 February 1999

The Last Dinosaur Book: The Life and Times of a Cultural Icon 
by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 321 pp., £25, November 1998, 0 226 53204 6
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... political history, fiction (the ‘lost worlds’ of Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Bur roughs and Arthur Conan Doyle), film, advertising, depth psychology and art (paintings in art museums and museums of science, cartoons and comics). The scholarship is successfully air-brushed by an elegant Post-Modern presentation. Mitchell, who teaches English and art at ...

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