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Triumph of the Poshocracy

Susan Pedersen: Britain between the Wars, 8 August 2013

The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, Citizenship and Internationalism, c.1918-45 
by Helen McCarthy.
Manchester, 282 pp., £65, November 2011, 978 0 7190 8616 8
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A Lark for the Sake of Their Country: The 1926 General Strike Volunteers in Folklore and Memory 
by Rachelle Hope Saltzman.
Manchester, 262 pp., £65, April 2012, 978 0 7190 7977 1
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... from across party lines. Inevitably, however, the organisation took root among those whom Michael Frayn would later call ‘the Herbivores’: the ‘do-gooders; the readers of the News Chronicle, the Guardian and the Observer; the signers of petitions; the backbone of the BBC’. Free Church congregations were more likely to join than Anglican ...


Alan Bennett: What I Did in 2015, 7 January 2016

... in his digs in Keble Road in Oxford when I was with Eric Korn and possibly, over from Cambridge, Michael Frayn. Oliver said that he had fried and eaten a placenta. At that time I don’t think I knew what a placenta was except that I knew it didn’t come with chips.11 September. David Cameron has been in Leeds preaching to businessmen the virtues of ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... is too easy. 24 October. In an interview for the Observer this morning Robert McCrum congratulates Michael Frayn on being more of a free spirit than others of his generation, ‘Michael Winner and Alan Bennett being prisoners of their own celebrity’. Prisoners possibly but I hope we’re not in the same cell. 14 ...

Like a row of books by Faber

Peter Porter, 22 January 1987

Other Passports: Poems 1958-1985 
by Clive James.
Cape, 221 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 224 02422 1
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... 14-liner Pushkin invented for Eugene Onegin. This last he adopts for his letter from Moscow to Michael Frayn. Here the subject curdles unpleasantly and James the Cold Warrior puts in an appearance. I am sorry to see him joining Bernard Levin in offering a thanksgiving for the bomb which has guaranteed four decades of peace in Europe. It’s true that ...

St Jude’s Playwright

Michael Church, 5 September 1985

The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams 
by Donald Spoto.
Bodley Head, 409 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 370 30847 6
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Tennessee Williams on File 
by Catherine Arnott.
Methuen, 80 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 413 58550 6
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... even want to? Certainly not our Brenton-and-Hare political puritans, nor yet our Ayckbourn-and-Frayn tragicomedians. Poverty, disease and disability we encounter in abundance, but as the occasion for either morbidity or schmaltz. The slow but sure revival of interest in Tennessee Williams – this summer Harold Pinter directing Sweet Bird of Youth, and ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... Edward Crankshaw and C.A. Lejeune, a socially and intellectually glamorous world, particularly to Michael Frayn, one of a group of us who went to the exhibition. But, of course, London itself was beginning to seem glamorous then – the Coffee House in Northumberland Avenue, the Soup Kitchen in Chandos Place, films at the Academy on Oxford Street and ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 1 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... whenever he could to attend meetings of kindred spirits, including journalists and writers such as Michael Foot, Tom Hopkinson (of Picture Post), Tom Harrisson (of Mass Observation), Alastair Forbes and Stephen King-Hall, some of whom became Observer contributors when Astor took charge. But that was years away. In the meantime he started to work for Louis ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... records the birthdays of various contemporary literary figures. Here is Dennis Potter on 17 May, Michael Frayn on 8 September, Edna O’Brien on 15 December, and so naturally I turn to my own birthday. May 9 is blank except for the note: ‘The first British self-service launderette is opened on Queensway, London 1949.’ 4 January. George F. tells me ...

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