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All the Cultural Bases

Ian Sansom, 20 March 1997

Moon Country: Further Reports from Iceland 
by Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell.
Faber, 160 pp., £7.99, November 1996, 0 571 17539 2
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... in particular has attracted many devotees and imitators, professionals and poetasters alike. Clive James’s flashy verse-letters in his book Fan-Mail (1977), for example, owe an obvious debt to Auden’s epistle. So do Charles Osborne’s self-advertising ‘Letter to W.H. Auden’ (‘The fact is that I’m writing a huge book/About you – it’s a ...

Diary

Glen Newey: Life with WikiLeaks, 6 January 2011

... in virtue, may get travestied by the inwardly vicious. Everyone also suspects himself, as Scott Fitzgerald noted, of possessing at least one cardinal virtue. Where politicians continually have to flatter a demos that sees them as clay-footed, each citizen, banjaxed and blandished by turns, is apt to divine in himself a moral purity his political ...

Bon Viveur in Cuban Heels

Julian Bell: Picasso, 3 January 2008

A Life of Picasso. Vol. III: The Triumphant Years 1917-32 
by John Richardson.
Cape, 592 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 03121 9
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... of 1920s highlife: fancy dress balls, beach huts and swimsuits, cocktails and jazz – at times Scott Fitzgerald is staying at the hotel down the road. Paul Rosenberg, Picasso’s canny, conservative dealer, backs up the big spending, encouraging him to trot out easy-on-the-eye charmers to keep Olga in Chanel couture. Not long after the return to ...

Vita Longa

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 1 December 1983

Vita: The Life of V. Sackville-West 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £12.50, September 1983, 0 297 78306 8
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... at her own terrible pleasure. Some years later she had an affair with the art historian Geoffrey Scott. Of this incident Nigel Nicolson writes: ‘Vita had not been kind to Geoffrey – she had smashed his life and finally wrecked his marriage – but what part does kindness play in love?’ No doubt the question doesn’t expect an answer but even Vita ...

Miracle on Fleet Street

Martin Hickman: Operation Elveden, 7 January 2016

... International handed detectives emails between Coulson and the News of the World’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, proposing paying the police officers who guarded the queen. Quietly, Scotland Yard joined Operation Elveden up with Operation Weeting, the phone hacking investigation, and Operation Tuleta, an investigation into the hacking of ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell, 1 April 2004

... and Sidmouth. There were fellow poets such as Felicia Hemans, Tom Moore, Samuel Rogers, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Southey; artists of various kinds including the gifted amateur Sir George Beaumont, Francis Chantry, John Constable, Thomas Lawrence, James Northcote and John Soane; and from the theatre, Jack Bannister, George Colman the younger, various ...

Poor Dear, How She Figures!

Alan Hollinghurst: Forster and His Mother, 3 January 2013

The Journals and Diaries of E.M. Forster Volumes I-III 
edited by Philip Gardner.
Pickering and Chatto, 813 pp., £275, February 2011, 978 1 84893 114 5
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... movement was very noticeable; also a theme in the first movement, a fine march.’ In the novel, Clive Durham plays this 5/4 movement – in effect a metrically odd waltz – on the pianola to Maurice at one of their early encounters. Much later, hearing the work in concert, Maurice is told by Risley that Tchaikovsky fell in love with his own nephew ‘and ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 23 October 2014

... His talents took him to the Royal High School, where William Drummond, Henry Mackenzie and Walter Scott had been before him. There Karl became favourite pupil and close friend of Hector MacIver, that incomparable teacher of literature, who recognised his gifts and took him with his other clever boys down the Calton Hill to Rose Street. In those days, a sort ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... into his mouth with every appearance of relish. Maybe he did do that in public – the Derek and Clive dialogues with Peter Cook left very little to the imagination, so it’s not unlikely.23 March. Barry Cryer brings a good deal of old-fashioned joy into my life, as I’m sure he does for many others. His phone calls always begin, ‘It’s your ...

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