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A Rumbling of Things Unknown

Jacqueline Rose: Marilyn Monroe, 26 April 2012

... distinguished her from every other celebrity he had ever met. Most simply, however high her star rose, Monroe never let go of her roots. ‘I would have never thought that our ordinary lives would have interested someone like her but they did,’ Lena Pepitone, her personal maid in the last years of her life, said in Marilyn Monroe – Confidential, written ...

Gentlemen Travellers

Denis Donoghue, 18 December 1986

Between the Woods and the Water 
by Patrick Leigh Fermor et al.
Murray, 248 pp., £13.95, October 1986, 0 7195 4264 2
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by Jonathan Raban.
Collins, 301 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 00 272119 8
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The Grand Tour 
by Hunter Davies.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 241 11907 3
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... cusped ogees led to spiralling steps; and indoors, springing from the leafy capitals of polygonal rose-coloured marble pillars, beautiful late gothic vaults closed over the Hall of the Knights. Has he really remembered those diapers, those cusped ogees – he doesn’t say he had a camera and a hundred rolls of film – or has he conjured the details on the ...


Dave Haslam: Post-Madchester, 25 February 1993

... of the city cohesion and a means of self-expression. Applications for student places in Manchester rose by 30 per cent. Madchester also drew tourists, not just to the clubs, but to the clothes stalls and record shops as well. Madchester meant business. Madchester began as a grassroots phenomenon which the London-based media eventually stopped ignoring. Once ...
... Britain; ‘Scotland’ seemed remote, even irrelevant. Nationalism was a creature of the Rose Street twilight – ‘the chip on the shoulder, growing and growing’ (Rayner Heppenstall’s words?) – scowling against the modern world. ‘Homogeneity’ was a function of imperial and wartime pressures, and a marginalisation of the ...

At Home in the Huntington

John Sutherland: The Isherwood Archive, 10 June 1999

... diaries to be published and promised that they would be ‘frank’. The world’s press rose to the bait, expecting another instalment of Hollywood-Babylon: ‘Private Lives of Stars Laid Bare in Diaries,’ the Telegraph forecast. Prudently, Isherwood had destroyed the journals that would have interested posterity most: the record of his life ...


Christopher Tayler: Aleksandar Hemon, 23 May 2013

The Book of My Lives 
by Aleksandar Hemon.
Picador, 224 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 1 4472 1090 0
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... Work of Alphonse Kauders’, an absurdist recitation pitched somewhere between Roberto Bolaño and Chris Morris, was dreamed up for radio in 1988) but later addressing his displaced existence. The Question of Bruno (2000) and Nowhere Man (2002) made him something more than a name to watch, and since then he’s had his share of American goodies – big-name ...


Jenny Diski: Germaine Greer, 8 January 2004

The Boy 
by Germaine Greer.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £29.95, October 2003, 9780500238097
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... over the perfect naked body of a reclining 16-year-old male model, blowing playfully at the rose petals that barely cover his genitals while he tries to retrieve the petals and keep his bits concealed. ‘They’re all disappearing to Earls Court down there,’ she says, pecking tenderly at his neck and cheeks. ‘So’s your hand,’ he ...


Will Self: Video Games, 8 November 2012

... rather grotesque cri de coeur: ‘If only the victims of Ted Bundy, Ivan Milat or Frederick and Rose West had exercised the same survival instinct.’ Perhaps Trout isn’t cursed with sons the way I am – possibly he has three lovely smiley blonde daughters like Chris Patten, a once bullish Tory minister, who, or so I ...

Good New Idea

John Lanchester: Universal Basic Income, 18 July 2019

... work: ‘If he hired a housekeeper, national income went up, economic growth increased, employment rose and unemployment fell. If he subsequently married her, and she continued to do precisely the same activities, national income and growth went down, employment fell and unemployment rose. This is absurd (and sexist).’ The ...

Ready to Rumble

John Upton, 16 March 2000

King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero 
by David Remnick.
Picador, 326 pp., £14.99, October 1999, 0 330 37188 6
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Muhammad Ali: Ringside 
edited by John Miller and Aaron Kenedi.
Virgin, 128 pp., £14.99, September 1999, 1 85227 852 8
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... uncertainty in the minds of both the public and his fellow boxers. To watch Prince Naseem or Chris Eubank today is to see a clumsy rehash of Ali in the early years, when he seemed so threatening, so unconstrained by the social rules willingly or unconsciously accepted by Liston or Patterson. The space in which imagination and conjecture could float ...

Perfectly Mobile, Perfectly Still

David Craig: Land Artists, 14 December 2000

by Andy Goldsworthy.
Thames and Hudson, 203 pp., £35, August 2000, 0 500 51026 1
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... Both change continually, the one in its shape, the other in its invisibility; indeed Salt Lake rose recently and drowned the Jetty. At some stage in the submersion it must have become a tapering tongue, finally perhaps a mere stub. Smithson, an adventurous character (who was killed when flying a light aircraft to look at one of his works from above), might ...

Into the Eisenshpritz

Elif Batuman: Superheroes, 10 April 2008

Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories 
by Will Eisner.
Norton, 493 pp., £18.99, November 2007, 978 0 393 06107 9
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by David B..
Cape, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 224 07920 4
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by Adrian Tomine.
Faber, 108 pp., £12.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23329 8
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Misery Loves Comedy 
by Ivan Brunetti.
Fantagraphics, 172 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 56097 792 6
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... the journalist’s introduction to his new boss: ‘Savitsky, the commander of the Sixth Division, rose when he saw me, and I was taken aback by the beauty of his gigantic body. He rose – his breeches purple, his raspberry-coloured cap cocked to the side, various military orders pinned to his chest – splitting the hut in ...

Medes and Persians

Paul Foot: The Government’s Favourite Accountants, 2 November 2000

... press officer and deputy chair of the Party’s Social Justice Commission. The ice-cool Hewitt rose to fame in the 1970s, when she replaced Martin Loney as general secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties after he was ousted in a coup. She narrowly lost Leicester East for Labour in 1983, was a prominent member of the Institute for Public ...

Heart of Darkness

Christopher Hitchens, 28 June 1990

Not Many Dead: Journal of a Year in Fleet Street 
by Nicholas Garland.
Hutchinson, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 0 09 174449 0
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A Slight Case of Libel: Meacher v. Trelford and Others 
by Alan Watkins.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7156 2334 6
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... Ireland at one point, but lays off the bet by referring to me as ‘Hitch’ (which I like) and ‘Chris’ (which I don’t) to show that these things are all part of the general chummery. If Garland has an opinion of Conrad Black, he keeps it to himself, preferring the safer ground of other people’s eavesdropped speech. Charles Moore describes Black at a ...

Licence to kill

Paul Foot, 10 February 1994

Spider’s Web: Bush, Saddam, Thatcher and the Decade of Deceit 
by Alan Friedman.
Faber, 455 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 17002 1
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The Unlikely Spy 
by Paul Henderson.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 7475 1597 2
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... have bought a packet of seeds for every man, woman and child in Iraq. These agricultural credits rose inexorably through the Eighties, until they totalled a thousand million dollars a year. But that was nothing like enough to satisfy Saddam Hussein (or the greed of the people who supplied him). What he wanted was a bank in America with an open and endless ...

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