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Morality in the Oxygen

E.S. Turner: Tobogganing, 14 December 2000

How the English Made the Alps 
by Jim Ring.
Murray, 287 pp., £19.99, September 2000, 0 7195 5689 9
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Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps 
by Fergus Fleming.
Granta, 398 pp., £20, November 2000, 1 86207 379 1
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... and all those Anglican clergymen, doing in the Alps, anyway? If the English, as the title of Jim Ring’s book claims, ‘made’ the Alps, did they not also do much to ruin them? The story of England’s ‘love affair’ with the Delectable Mountains is hardly a new one, but Ring’s book usefully, and ...

Sonny Jim’s House

Hugo Williams, 16 July 1981

... taps are being turned on in obscure regions of the palace, cutting off the water for his tea. Jim forwards her mail to the garden, laughing because he has hidden the marmalade. At nine, they both stay home and do nothing, out of work. The ring in the bath and the hacked loaf prove he is on the track of his elusive ...

A Town Called Mørk

Adam Mars-Jones: Per Petterson, 6 November 2014

I Refuse 
by Per Petterson, translated by Don Bartlett.
Harvill Secker, 282 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84655 781 1
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... recognise each other on the Ulvøya bridge on the outskirts of Oslo and exchange a few words. Jim, long-term unemployed and unable to sleep, is fishing from the bridge, while Tommy is out driving his new grey Mercedes with tinted windows. Jim notices without envy that the car’s paintwork is shiny, ‘as skin can be ...

At Kettle’s Yard

Eleanor Birne: The Reopening, 22 March 2018

... Jim Ede​ had been living abroad – first Tangier, then the Loire – when he found himself ‘dreaming of the idea of somehow creating a living place where works of art could be enjoyed, inherent to the domestic setting, where young people could be at home unhampered by the greater austerity of the museum or public art gallery, and where an informality might infuse an underlying formality ...

On Jews Walk

Andrew Saint: Eleanor Marx’s Blue Plaque, 9 October 2008

... lead, stumbling through the text from rain-spattered sheets, we made ‘The Internationale’ ring up and down Jews Walk, as it can hardly have done for a century, then washed it down with ‘The Red Flag’. The sharp-suited Lewisham MP, Jim Dowd, pulled the cord, and the core of the pensioners trooped off to the final ...

Walk Spanish

Christopher Tayler: Joshua Ferris, 19 July 2007

Then We Came to the End 
by Joshua Ferris.
Viking, 387 pp., £14.99, April 2007, 978 0 670 91655 9
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... the discussion by suggesting that it’s time to do some work: a role that’s usually filled by Jim Jackers, office jackass, or Joe Pope, Lynn’s inscrutable deputy. Out of this mass of talk, Ferris quarries a series of running gags and shaggy-dog stories in which ‘we’ become particularised figures as well as types of the American office worker. A huge ...

I want my wings

Andrew O’Hagan: The Last Tycoons, 3 March 2016

West of Eden: An American Place 
by Jean Stein.
Cape, 334 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 0 224 10246 9
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... handle being young and almost beautiful.’ There’s a moment in Rebel without a Cause, when Jim Stark (played by James Dean), Judy (Natalie Wood) and Plato (Sal Mineo) climb up to an old Hollywood mansion that’s now lying empty. They pretend they’re going to live there together, with Jim and Judy as the ...

The Ugly Revolution

Michael Rogin: Martin Luther King Jr, 10 May 2001

I May Not Get there with You: The True Martin Luther King Jr 
by Michael Eric Dyson.
Free Press, 404 pp., £15.99, May 2000, 0 684 86776 1
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The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr. Vol. IV: Symbol of the Movement January 1957-December 1958 
edited by Clayborne Carson et al.
California, 637 pp., £31.50, May 2000, 0 520 22231 8
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... in the thousands of lynchings often advertised in advance as public entertainments; confined to Jim Crow schools, public accommodation, restaurants and hotels (where any were available at all); made involuntary participants in sterilisation and other medical experiments; and confronted with residential apartheid and job discrimination as they moved North. A ...

My Little Lollipop

Jenny Diski: Christine Keeler, 22 March 2001

The Truth at Last: My Story 
by Christine Keeler and Douglas Thompson.
Sidgwick, 279 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 0 283 07291 1
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... glorified knocking shop with overpriced drinks and rooms to rent upstairs’, Keeler met a Major Jim Eynan. He wanted to go to bed with her in the afternoons, she says, ‘and, for nearly two years, he often did. Ours was a commercial situation for Jim always advanced me some money for rent or helped out financially in ...

Mothers

Michael Church, 18 April 1985

Gypsy and Me: At Home and on the Road with Gypsy Rose Lee 
by Erik Lee Preminger.
Deutsch, 277 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 233 97736 8
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George Thomas, Mr Speaker: The Memoirs of Viscount Tonypandy 
Century, 242 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 7126 0706 4Show More
Toff down Pit 
by Kit Fraser.
Quartet, 129 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 7043 2513 6
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Menlove: The Life of John Menlove Edwards 
by Jim Perrin.
Gollancz, 347 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 575 03571 4
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... of all dates from long before the boy from the Rhondda made it to the Speaker’s chair, and shows Jim Callaghan dropping on his knees to pray with Thomas and then, having softened him up, requesting his support for the party leadership. True or false – and who cares? – this is just old-fashioned Parliamentary back-stabbing, and Viscount Tonypandy, with ...

Orphans

Joan Aiken, 17 July 1980

... mortgage on her home. Fleda, in Queechy, had the same problem; the word mortgage had a fearsome ring then, which it may have regained today. There was Anne of Green Gables, straight from the orphanage and received coldly because she had red hair and should have been a boy. There was Tom Sawyer, painting the fence for Aunt Polly. Boys did not seem to work ...

Imbalance

Michael Hofmann: The Charm of Hugo Williams, 22 May 2003

Collected Poems 
by Hugo Williams.
Faber, 288 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 571 21233 6
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... gorgeous and desolating poem, like a conjurer’s display of pulling silks through a ring. There is something characteristically metaphysical about the poem’s enactment of absence (as with ‘And think I am in France’). This wistfulness – beginning with something (‘We spread our things on the sand’) and ending with nothing, though an ...

Adrian

Peter Campbell, 5 December 1985

... but a syndrome, need no longer suspect itself of hypochondria. Sue Townsend’s descriptions ring true, the word is out: kids, parents, pets and geriatrics are all in this mess together. Children take to the books partly, I gather, because the disgusting details of Adrian’s spots, the mention of his wet dreams and of his regular measuring of his ...

Only the Camels

Robert Irwin: Wilfred Thesiger, 6 April 2006

Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer 
by Alexander Maitland.
HarperCollins, 528 pp., £25, February 2006, 0 00 255608 1
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... Thesiger belonged to the second category. He read the novels of John Buchan and Rider Haggard, Jim Corbett’s tales of tiger hunting, Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game, Blackwood’s Tales from the Outposts, Jock of the Bushveld, Henri de Monfreid’s account of smuggling across the Red Sea, Churchill’s The River War and, of course, The Seven Pillars ...

At the British Library

Katherine Rundell: Harry Potter, 14 December 2017

... for live-action family entertainment. But they are big-budget motion pictures: tap them and they ring like money. Great children’s fiction isn’t slick; the film studio’s imperatives of mass audiences and shareholders erode at the difficult edges of a work. The current exhibition at the British Library, Harry Potter: A History of Magic (until 28 ...

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