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Bad News at the ‘Observer’

Colin Legum, 4 November 1982

Powers of the Press: The World’s Great Newspapers 
by Martin Walker.
Quartet, 401 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7043 2271 4
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Goodbye Gutenberg: The Newspaper Revolution of the 1980s 
by Anthony Smith.
Oxford, 367 pp., £3.95, January 1982, 9780198272434
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New Technology and Industrial Relations in Fleet Street 
by Roderick Martin.
Oxford, 367 pp., £17.50, October 1981, 9780198272434
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News Ltd: Why you can’t read all about it 
by Brian Whitaker.
Minority Press Group, 176 pp., £3.25, June 1981, 0 906890 04 7
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... of relationship, however, exists between newspapers and the national Establishment. On this point Martin Walker quotes approvingly the views of Wilbur Schramm: ‘Prestige papers are shaped, to an important degree, by what the leadership in the country wants to know and wants known. The leadership in the country is also shaped, to an important degree, by what ...

Short Cuts

James Francken: The Booker Prize shortlist, 2 November 2000

... crap out there.’ His opinion of The Keepers of Truth? ‘A bit gruesome.’ Not as gruesome as Brian O’Doherty’s The Deposition of Father McGreevy, however, a novel which made the reviewer in the Evening Standard blush: ‘the unspeakable subject matter … we needn’t go into.’ In the opening pages of this delightfully sinister novel, the ...

At the Soane Museum

Peter Campbell: Joseph Gandy, 11 May 2006

... remaining evidence of his limited practice. The writings he left are, judging by the account Brian Lukacher gives of them in Joseph Gandy: An Architectural Visionary in Georgian England, voluminous but opaque, incoherent and cloudily speculative.* (When he entered into an ill-judged defence of his employer in the Guardian the architect James Spiller said ...


Wystan Curnow, 19 March 2015

... Lestat a Premium Stake- holder Vampire (PSV), bloods him and then he goes into the fire.   With Brian Boyd who knows the story, Lestat makes his     Mother Gabrielle a vampire. Lestat encounters   Armand’s coven. Lestat makes a tidy sum, a killing. Lestat gives Renaud’s Theater to four vampires who, with   Nicolas Bourriaud, turn it into the ...

No 1 Writer

John Sutherland, 5 September 1985

by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 251 pp., £8.95, July 1985, 0 670 80571 8
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by Elmore Leonard.
Penguin, 283 pp., £2.50, July 1985, 0 14 007238 1
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by Elmore Leonard.
Penguin, 304 pp., £2.50, August 1985, 0 14 007083 4
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The Hunting Season 
by J.K. Mayo.
Collins, 253 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 00 222783 5
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... salsa rhythms and what Leonard calls ‘glitzy crap’. This glitz was the leading feature of Brian De Palma’s remake of Scarface, with its play on luminous surfaces in which blood, neon and Miami sunsets finally merge into a single crimson garishness. The same glitz features in the current TV hit, Miami Vice. Mafiosi are usually portrayed as dressing ...

Journos de nos jours

Anthony Howard, 8 March 1990

Alan Moorehead 
by Tom Pocock.
Bodley Head, 311 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 370 31261 9
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Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir 
by Carl Bernstein.
Macmillan, 254 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 333 52135 8
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by Brian Inglis.
Chatto, 298 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3390 2
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... as the dutiful and adoring son. At least there is no such nonsense about the home-grown memoirs of Brian Inglis. A child of both the Irish Ascendancy and of the Empire, he does not try to conceal that he regarded both his parents as total strangers, finding his prep-school headmaster’s instruction to kiss his mother (when she suddenly arrived from ...


Peter Craven: On the Demidenko Affair, 16 November 1995

... was reported by the only survivor of the massacre in Kuznetsov’s Babi Yar. It is repeated in Martin Gilbert’s The Holocaust and is used in D.M. Thomas’s The White Hotel, both of which Darville admits having read. Five days later, subterranean whispers of plagiarism had turned into a shriek. Not only did The Hand That Signed the Paper open with a ...


Daniel Finn: Ireland’s Election, 17 March 2011

... electoral pundits could barely find enough superlatives for the role played by Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen in the party’s triumph. Ahern, they said, was a ‘political tsunami’, and Cowen, if anything, even more formidable. This time around, neither Ahern nor Cowen was standing, rightly fearing the vengeance of the electorate. Cowen’s awe-inspiring ...
The Bayreuth Ring 
BBC2, October 1982Show More
directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.
Edinburgh Film Festival, September 1982
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by Lucy Beckett.
Cambridge, 163 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 521 22825 5
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Wagner and Literature 
by Raymond Furness.
Manchester, 159 pp., £14.50, February 1982, 0 7190 0844 1
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Wagner to ‘The Waste Land’: A Study of the Relationship of Wagner to English Literature 
by Stoddart Martin.
Macmillan, 277 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 333 28998 6
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Wagner and Aeschylus: ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Oresteia’ 
by Michael Ewans.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11808 9
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... operas, here traces the allegedly strong Aeschylean influence on Wagner, while Furness and Martin discuss Wagner’s influence on others: but all three are too little concerned with the peculiar nature and conditions of Wagner’s own musical-dramatic achievement. Why do so many musical terms, like ‘composed’, ‘resolve’ or ‘tonic’, also ...

The Party and the Army

Ronan Bennett, 21 March 1996

... party or continue as a front for the IRA. Ignoring renewed protestations from Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness that Sinn Fein is separate from the IRA, that it is a political party with a democratic mandate from its voters, most politicians and observers have, like Major himself, accepted almost without question the Unionist formulation: Sinn ...

Frog in your throat?

Terry Eagleton: How to Purge a Demon, 9 May 2013

The Devil Within: Possession and Exorcism in the Christian West 
by Brian Levack.
Yale, 346 pp., £25, March 2013, 978 0 300 11472 0
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... by 24 pounds of various substances twice a day for two weeks. (With admirable judiciousness, Brian Levack, the author of The Devil Within, warns that ‘the veracity of such reports can be questioned on a number of grounds.’) Some young women’s limbs grew so stiff that the efforts of several muscular men proved insufficient to bend them, while others ...

Particularly Anodyne

Richard Norton-Taylor: One bomb in London, 15 July 2021

The Intelligence War against the IRA 
by Thomas Leahy.
Cambridge, 356 pp., £18.99, March 2020, 978 1 108 72040 3
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... secret back-channel talks with Catholic priests, the Derry businessman Brendan Duddy, and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin. After Mountbatten’s murder in August 1979 and the killing, hours later, of 18 soldiers at Warrenpoint – the army’s heaviest single loss in Northern Ireland – Thatcher asked Maurice Oldfield, the recently retired head of ...
Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years 
by Brian Boyd.
Chatto, 783 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7011 3701 0
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... States, and, post-Lolita, in Montreux. Disposing of Andrew Field, his predecessor in the field, Brian Boyd cites his insolent, perfunctory response to one of Nabokov’s factual corrections. Told an event had taken place in July and not on ‘a wet autumnal day’, Field emended the phrase to ‘a wet autumnal day in July’ – a covert imputation and ...


Karl Miller: Ten Years of the LRB, 26 October 1989

... and éclat’. The Times warns of the ‘danger of getting trapped in a successful formula’. Brian Sewell of the Evening Standard ends the page by saying the same and adding that the paintings of this ‘precocious prodigy’ speak ‘only of provincial inexperience’. These ladies and gentlemen of the bench of metropolitan critical adjudications ...

What happened to MacDiarmid

David Norbrook, 23 October 1986

Hugh MacDiarmid: The Man and his Work 
by Nancy Gish.
Macmillan, 235 pp., £25, June 1984, 0 333 29473 4
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Complete Poems 
by Hugh MacDiarmid.
Penguin, £8.95, February 1985, 0 14 007913 0
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... at last possible to survey his oeuvre as a whole: two volumes of Complete Poems were published by Martin Brian and O’Keeffe in 1978, and Penguin, in keeping with their best traditions, have risked issuing them in paperback. And it is coming to seem that the fault lay as much with the narrow criteria of the critics as with the ambitions of ...

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