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It makes yer head go

David Craig: James Kelman and Gordon Legge, 18 February 1999

The Good Times 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 246 pp., £14.99, July 1998, 0 436 41215 2
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Near Neighbours 
by Gordon Legge.
Cape, 218 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 224 05120 2
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... mistakes an out-of-date longwindedness for wit: ‘Not being one to court unwanted publicity, the brown-trousered refereeing Fire Officer said he would see what he could do’; ‘With all the subtlety of an outraged Exocet, Catherine stormed in’; ‘Adopting a gait that brought to mind none other than Maureen O’Hara striding it out in The Quiet Man, she ...

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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... street.’ He picks up a lump of chert that ‘resembled a white eyeball wrapped in layers of brown linen’ and the geologist tells him that chert is the young Palestinians’ favourite throwing stone: ‘During the first intifada the young ones who took on the Israeli military with chert became known as the “children of the ...

Heimat

David Craig, 6 July 1989

A Search for Scotland 
by R.F. Mackenzie.
Collins, 280 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 00 215185 5
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A Claim of Right for Scotland 
edited by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 202 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6022 4
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The Eclipse of Scottish Culture 
by Craig Beveridge and Ronald Turnbull.
Polygon, 121 pp., £6.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6000 3
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The Bird Path: Collected Longer Poems 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 239 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 245 2
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Travels in the Drifting Dawn 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 160 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 240 1
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... the piece on ‘The Radical Literary Tradition’) – a fling at the Establishment which Gordon Brown, as a student at Edinburgh, had defied in the most practical way by getting elected as University Rector, then setting up the Special Publications Board which published the Red Paper and has recently evolved into the pioneering publisher Polygon. But we can ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 30 June 2016

... a search warrant issued under the Australian Crimes Act 1914. They were looking for a man named Craig Steven Wright, who lived with his wife, Ramona, at 43 St Johns Avenue. The warrant was issued at the behest of the Australian Taxation Office. Wright, a computer scientist and businessman, headed a group of companies associated with cryptocurrency and ...

Diary

David Craig: In Florence, 26 November 1998

... partly built up with masoned blocks, its steel-bar door locked. Through it we can see a thick brown crucifix on a rough-hewn plinth and a flagged floor. The sides and slanting roof of the cell are raw grey rock. In this refuge, this living grave, S. Alessandro Falconieri slept, prayed, shivered and hungered, around 1310. The mountain is ringed with these ...

Ten Days that Shook Me

Alan Bennett, 15 September 1988

... novelists Paul Bailey, Christopher Hope and Timothy Mo (who also writes for Boxing News), the poet Craig Raine (who doesn’t) and the playwright Sue Townsend of Adrian Mole fame. I had many misgivings about the trip, particularly in regard to creature comforts. I wondered, for instance, if the Russians had got round to mineral water. John Sturrock reassured ...

Those Suits

Paul Foot, 7 September 1995

Jeffrey Archer: Stranger than Fiction 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 456 pp., £17.50, May 1995, 0 241 13360 2
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... male; age: 35; date of birth: 15.4.1940; height: 5 ft 10 ins; weight: 165 lbs; eyes: blue; hair: brown; married: yes; address: 24A The Boltons, London SW1. The merchandise taken was listed as three suits, valued at $140, $175 and $225, and the witnesses to the document were two Simpson’s store detectives, M. St Jean and Y. Jorken. Across the bottom of the ...

Crusoe and Daughter

Patricia Craig, 20 June 1985

Crusoe’s Daughter 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11526 4
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The Tie that Binds 
by Kent Haruf.
Joseph, 246 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 7181 2561 4
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Hannie Richards, or The Intrepid Adventures of a Restless Wife 
by Hilary Bailey.
Virago, 265 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780860683469
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A Fine Excess 
by Jane Ellison.
Secker, 183 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 14601 0
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Victory over Japan 
by Ellen Gilchrist.
Faber, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 571 13446 7
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... commentary, or a piece of pure historical evocation (‘The dress was of pure silk muslin, golden-brown, with needlework bands and a high neck stitched with blue silk thread’), though it conforms to the rules of each of these categories in turn. It’s not exactly an allegory either, more a sustained salting of one set of fictitious memoirs with another ...

The Story of Joe

Craig Raine, 4 December 1986

The Orton Diaries 
edited by John Lahr.
Methuen, 307 pp., £12.50, November 1986, 0 413 49660 0
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... He nearly had mother out of her coffin ... He was picking her head up. ‘What’s all this brown stuff?’; ‘try and get her rings off.’ I said: ‘I don’t want to.’ He said: ‘I do.’ He wanted to see her feet, he was opening her dressing gown. ‘It’s incredible,’ he said, ‘doesn’t she look bizarre.’ The kids were screaming and I ...

The Wildest, Highest Places

David Craig, 17 July 1997

John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings 
edited by Terry Gifford.
Baton Wicks, 912 pp., £20, November 1996, 1 898573 07 7
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... valleys that make its arteries. The sequoias rise so tall, on their 200-foot trunks like furred brown tendons, that as you stand beneath them and look upward to their crowning needle-clusters, you feel yourself sucked through a time-tunnel into some primal and unpeopled continent. Muir rejoiced to think that they were in their prime and ‘swaying in the ...

Like a boll weevil to a cotton bud

A. Craig Copetas, 18 November 1993

New York Days 
by Willie Morris.
Little, Brown, 400 pp., £19.45, September 1993, 0 316 58421 5
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... a bad lesson and no one wants to repeat it,’ a domestic policy adviser to interior minister Tina Brown told the New York Post in an article that was not published because its owner, Rupert Murdoch, had shut down the paper. ‘The prevailing view of this government is that Americans cannot be trusted to edit for Americans. Harper’s circulation figures, then ...

Goodbye Moon

Andrew O’Hagan: Me and the Moon, 25 February 2010

The Book of the Moon 
by Rick Stroud.
Doubleday, 368 pp., £16.99, May 2009, 978 0 385 61386 6
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Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon 
by Craig Nelson.
John Murray, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2009, 978 0 7195 6948 7
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Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon 
by Buzz Aldrin and Ken Abraham.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £16.99, July 2009, 978 1 4088 0402 5
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... gods, we have public relations. In Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon, Craig Nelson tells the tale in a way that seizes the spirit of the age: A central reason for the creation of the federal space agency was to prove to both the citizens of the United States and the world at large that the American way of life was superior to ...

Turning down O’Hanlon

Mark Ford, 7 December 1989

In Trouble Again: A Journey between the Orinoco and the Amazon 
by Redmond O’Hanlon.
Penguin, 368 pp., £3.99, October 1989, 0 14 011900 0
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Our Grandmothers’ Drums: A Portrait of Rural African Life and Culture 
by Mark Hudson.
Secker, 356 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 436 20959 4
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Borderlines: A Journey in Thailand and Burma 
by Charles Nicholl.
Secker, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 436 30980 7
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... of the empty cosmos, of the unfeelingness of causal connections, I concluded that this message of brown and purple blotches on a background of browny-white had been intended just for me.’ In both of O’Hanlon’s chronicles of his chaotic river jaunts, the first down the Rajang river in Borneo, this between the Orinoco and the Amazon, bird-watching ...

The Planet That Wasn’t There

Thomas Jones: Phantom Planets, 19 January 2017

The Hunt for Vulcan: How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet and Deciphered the Universe 
by Thomas Levenson.
Head of Zeus, 229 pp., £7.99, August 2016, 978 1 78497 398 8
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... a pair of scientists at the California Institute of Technology, Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown, announced that they had discovered compelling evidence of an as-yet-unseen giant planet – Planet X – orbiting the Sun, seven times further out than Neptune.1 This isn’t the first time that astronomers have believed there may be nine planets in the ...

Diary

Craig Raine: In Moscow, 22 March 1990

... A huge crowd has gathered. Alexander Bloch from PEN, an elegant figure in a pin-striped suit and brown suede shoes, nods towards the speakers and says: ‘The strong, silent Russian hasn’t been invented yet.’ Madame Bloch asks me if I do not think the translation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera rather ‘unfortunate’. Our programme says we are to see it ...

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