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You can’t argue with a novel

Jerry Fodor, 4 March 2004

Radiant Cool: A Novel Theory of Consciousness 
by Dan Lloyd.
MIT, 357 pp., £16.95, December 2003, 0 262 12259 6
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... the prospects for a novel of philosophical exposition aren’t promising. That, however, is what Dan Lloyd has written in Radiant Cool. Or rather, Lloyd supplies both the novel and a commentary; the latter is supposed to fill in aspects of his philosophical psychology that the former only partially articulates. The ...

Even Uglier

Terry Eagleton: Music Hall, 20 December 2012

My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall 
by John Major.
Harper, 363 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 00 745013 8
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... an ‘almost music-hall style of speaking’, while his son greatly admired the music-hall comic Dan Leno and would sing his songs with what this book enigmatically describes as ‘teddy bear gestures’. Harold Macmillan could do a superb impersonation of the languid patrician he actually was, while Harold Wilson could imitate his true identity as a ...

Who Lost?

David Edgar: the third presidential debate, 9 October 2008

... is remembered for rounding on George Bush Sr in 1984 for patronising her, as is her 1988 successor Lloyd Bentsen – with an equally questionable excuse – for accusing Dan Quayle of comparing himself to President Kennedy. In the last of the three 2008 presidential debates it was the counter-blows that will probably be ...

Lincoln, Illinois

William Fiennes, 6 March 1997

All the Days and Nights: The Collected Stories 
by William Maxwell.
Harvill, 415 pp., £10.99, January 1997, 1 86046 308 8
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So Long, See You Tomorrow 
by William Maxwell.
Harvill, 135 pp., £8.99, January 1997, 9781860463075
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... history: something Updike learnt from Maxwell. In ‘The Lily-White Boys’ (1986), Celia and Dan Coleman return home from a Christmas party to find their apartment has been burgled, and Dan watches as his wife tries on her old evening dresses: ‘She tried them on, one after another – the black taffeta with the ...

At the Hayward

Peter Campbell: Dan Flavin, 23 February 2006

... For the duration of the Dan Flavin retrospective (until 2 April), the large foyer through which you enter the Hayward Gallery is bisected by a barrier of identical rectangular units, each mounted with four fluorescent tubes. They form a glowing, waist-high wall of green light which blocks the way to the ramp leading to the upper level ...


John Lloyd: Report from Moscow, 4 July 1996

... recalls in his customary lush prose a visit by Zyuganov in spring 1991 to the offices of his paper Dan (‘Day’ – suppressed after the August coup of the same year, then wittily reissued as ‘Tomorrow’). ‘We sat outside at a table on which were the first flowers of spring. He asked me if I didn’t think it necessary to put out an appeal in which ...

Refuge of the Aristocracy

Paul Smith: The British Empire, 21 June 2001

Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 264 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 7139 9506 8
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... For most working people in the great cities, the Empire was first and foremost where you saw Dan Leno and Marie Lloyd. Even in Joseph Chamberlain and Leo Amery’s Birmingham, sixty years or so later, empire did not mean a great deal, to judge by David Cannadine’s memoir of his not very imperial childhood which he ...

How to Survive Your Own Stupidity

Andrew O’Hagan: Homage to Laurel and Hardy, 22 August 2002

Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy 
by Simon Louvish.
Faber, 518 pp., £8.99, September 2002, 0 571 21590 4
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... music halls. Homer Simpson is a kind of Grimaldi, an air-guitar-playing, nacho-chomping version of Dan Leno: he does songs, he falls on his arse, he has trouble with machines, with self-worth, and he goes in for disguises, catchphrases, patter and multiple personalities. The old comics were human, of course, but the startling thing about the newer television ...

Like choosing between bacon and egg and bacon and tomato

Christopher Tayler: The Wryness of Julian Barnes, 15 April 2004

The Lemon Table 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 213 pp., £16.99, March 2004, 9780224071987
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... one of Barnes’s many frighteningly sensible women points out to the narrator, Christopher Lloyd, that the attraction of the idea of fast-forwarding to a sprightly 65 might have something to do with fearing the responsibilities of adult life – a fear that he eventually overcomes. Jean Serjeant, thanks to a loveless postwar marriage, is similarly ...

Sing Tantarara

Colin Kidd, 30 October 1997

Secret and Sanctioned: Covert Operations and the American Presidency 
by Stephen Knott.
Oxford, 258 pp., £19.50, November 1996, 0 19 510098 0
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The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 367 pp., £25, December 1996, 1 85619 637 2
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American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson 
by Joseph Ellis.
Knopf, 365 pp., $26, February 1997, 0 679 44490 4
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Slave Laws in Virginia 
by Philip Schwarz.
Georgia, 253 pp., $40, November 1996, 0 8203 1831 0
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... be trumped by Ronald Reagan in his speech to the Republican Convention. Parodying the rebuke which Lloyd Bentsen had delivered to Dan Quayle four years previously, Reagan mocked his own antiquity – ‘I knew Thomas Jefferson’ – the better to prick Clinton’s presumption. For once, the Great Communicator’s message ...

Who Will Lose?

David Edgar, 25 September 2008

Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future 
by Newton Minow and Craig LaMay.
Chicago, 219 pp., £11.50, April 2008, 978 0 226 53041 3
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... most talked-about moment from the 1988 campaign came in the vice-presidential debate: noting that Dan Quayle had cited Kennedy as an example of a relatively inexperienced candidate for national office in his stump speech, his opponent, Lloyd Bentsen, prepared – and was able to use – the devastating put-down: ‘I knew ...


McGuire Gibson: The Theft of Iraq’s Antiquities, 1 January 2009

... museum looting story died, essentially, after the airing on 8 June 2003 of a BBC documentary by Dan Cruickshank, in which he claimed that many of the missing objects had been stolen before the war by the museum authorities at the behest of Saddam. Two days later, in the Guardian, David Aaronovitch seconded Cruickshank, and right-wing commentators in the US ...

A Hard Dog to Keep on the Porch

Christopher Hitchens, 6 June 1996

... The first harvest of cabinet appointments shows Georgetown beating the Mall every time. Lloyd Bentsen, the prince of Capitol influence-peddlers, gets the Treasury. Alan Greenspan, the reactionary fan of Ayn Rand, who has roosted at the Federal Reserve these many years, is beseeched to ‘stay on’. Winston Lord, an old Kissinger hand, gets the Asia ...

Joe, Jerry and Bomber Blair

Owen Hatherley: Jonathan Meades, 7 March 2013

Museum without Walls 
by Jonathan Meades.
Unbound, 446 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 908717 18 4
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... as with the Communist emulator of the style of Italian Fascism Douglas Stephen, architect of a ‘Dan Dare mini-skyscraper’ in Swindon, or the South London aesthete Sextus Dyball, designer of delirious suburban villas, you might think he’s making them up. He isn’t. The North, broadly conceived, is Meades’s fixation, bar brief ventures into ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... media’ crowding in behind them. ‘Stop filming!’ they said, gathering round the BBC’s Dan Johnson while he delivered a piece to camera. ‘Social media can show better than this,’ someone said. ‘Shame on the media. Liars.’ The piece of text running under Johnson’s report said: ‘Sajid Javid promises support.’A man in a black T-shirt ...

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