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Bevan’s Boy

R.W. Johnson, 24 March 1994

Michael Foot 
by Mervyn Jones.
Gollancz, 570 pp., £20, March 1994, 0 575 05197 3
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... At the Party Conference following Labour’s crippling defeat in the 1983 election Michael Foot stood before the massed ranks of the faithful to account for his stewardship of the Party. ‘I am deeply ashamed,’ he began. Unfortunately for Mervyn Jones, who both loves and admires his subject and would have us dwell on other things, it is the freeze-frame of that moment which lives on ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Michael Crichton’s Revenge, 4 January 2007

... to an English-language bookshop – there’s even one at the railway station – to buy a copy of Michael Crichton’s new novel, Next (HarperCollins, £17.99). But why go to the trouble of spending the whole of Wednesday morning buying a book, when I could just download it now, on Tuesday evening? Diesel eBooks were offering Next in three formats: I plumped ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Lincoln’, 20 December 2012

... a witty and domineering abolitionist, represented by an extraordinary black wig that has Tommy Lee Jones underneath it. Jones gets craggier with every film he is in, his face, as Woody Allen might say, a combination of Gertrude Stein’s and some local mountain. He manages to be funny and bleak without any sense of ...


Graham Coster, 10 January 1991

Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... paid and the girls Bill got off with afterwards. Especially the girls. Wyman had 278 (he and Brian Jones counted up) during the first two years of the Stones. Odd, in a way, that he got rid of his original surname: Perks. Stone Alone is perversely fascinating in its grinding, routine repetitiveness: gig after gig after gig on tour after tour, more girls in ...

When students ruled the earth

D.A.N. Jones, 17 March 1988

1968: A Student Generation in Revolt 
by Ronald Fraser.
Chatto, 370 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 7011 2913 1
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Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties 
by Tariq Ali.
Collins, 280 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 9780002177795
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Sixty-Eight: The Year of the Barricades 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 241 12174 4
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Nineteen Sixty-Eight: A Personal Report 
by Hans Koning.
Unwin Hyman, 196 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 9780044401858
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... I was interviewed by a Swiss television team: ‘Don’t you think England might go Fascist, Mr Jones? A quiet English sort of Fascism?’ ‘Abs’lument pas!’ I snapped (quoting from a favourite French film), ‘Abs’lument pas!’ – with a confidence I could not muster today. Then, a contemporary at a college reunion (a conservative chap, working ...

Kissing Cure

Peter Gay, 31 August 1989

The Clinical Diary of Sandor Ferenczi 
edited by Judith Dupont, translated by Michael Balint and Nicola Zarday Jackson.
Harvard, 227 pp., £23.95, February 1989, 0 674 13526 1
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... these years, Karl Abraham, was sober and methodical. ‘Prussianity,’ Freud once wrote to Ernest Jones in his charming, near-perfect English, ‘is very strong with Abraham.’ He could not have said the same of Ferenczi. There were storm signals almost from the beginning, however. Early in their friendship, Freud briefly analysed Ferenczi, and Ferenczi ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: New Writing, 8 March 2001

... Barbara Trapido, Anthony Thwaite, Anne Stevenson, Alan Brownjohn, Helen Simpson, Andrew Motion, Michael Hofmann, Alan Sillitoe, Louis de Bernières and Geoff Dyer are ten of them, and ‘new’ isn’t the first word that springs to mind. But there are plenty of good reasons, too obvious to need repeating, for the inclusion of well-known writers, and it’s ...

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Thomas Jones: The Spectator, 25 January 2001

... Boris de Pfeffel Johnson gives up his role as Tory MP for the Spectator to take over from Michael Heseltine as the editor of Henley-on-Thames, you have to wonder where they’re going to find someone sufficiently blond to be his successor at Doughty Street (from which sturdy address the organ Johnson currently oversees emerges each week). Blondness ...

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Thomas Jones: What’s your codename?, 23 June 2005

... British intelligence. ‘Danny Boy’ is the call-sign of Smith’s superior in London, played by Michael Hordern. One of the most puzzling things about the movie is why the man allocating the code names would choose to call himself ‘Danny Boy’ (I’m reminded of Steve Buscemi’s character in Reservoir Dogs, complaining about his nom de heist being ‘Mr ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Politicians and the Press, 26 January 2006

... of any Lib Dems, including Kennedy’s enemies and rivals, to cause havoc by speaking up. And then Michael Howard announced his intention to stand down as Conservative leader the day after the election, when there were still a few seats not declared. So any Lib Dems eager to stab Kennedy in the back would have to wait until after the Tories sorted themselves ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: When is a planet not a planet?, 18 August 2005

... data from which the object was discovered were obtained’, as one of its discoverers, Michael Brown, carefully puts it – in the second half of October 2003 (the 21st fortnight of the year; U is the 21st letter of the alphabet). Brown and his colleagues, Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz, have submitted a name to the International Astronomical ...

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Thomas Jones: A Quick Bout of Bardiness, 6 June 2002

... for example, has recently been enjoying An Englishman in Paris: l’éducation continentale by Michael Sadler (Simon and Schuster, £10). On 14 April Charles wrote Sadler a letter, duly circulated a few weeks later by his publishers (I don’t think it’s a hoax). To make sense of it, it’s useful to know that Sadler’s book opens with a description of ...

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Thomas Jones: The Ryanverse, 11 July 2002

... been dropped, and Red Rabbit will be hopping its way up the bestseller lists in a matter of weeks (Michael Joseph, £18.99). Clancy rocketed to fame – the cliché isn’t inapt for such a notorious gizmologist, though he’d no doubt give you the make and serial number of the rocket in question – in the mid-1980s with his first novel, The Hunt for Red ...

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Thomas Jones: The life expectancy of a Roman emperor, 3 June 2004

... him: Gordon Brown wouldn’t be the only disappointed person were Tony Blair to be succeeded by Michael Howard. Caracalla was succeeded by Macrinus, a co-conspirator of Martialis, the man who did the actual stabbing and was shortly afterwards caught and impaled. Macrinus, thoroughly incompetent, was dead within 14 months, to be replaced by Heliogabalus, a ...

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Thomas Jones: Angels aren’t what they used to be, 16 December 2004

... I am), it ought to be with at least a little bit of awe. Here’s Milton, for instance, describing Michael’s heavenly forces setting out to do battle with Satan and his rebellious hordes (from Book Six of Paradise Lost): At which command the powers militant, That stood for heaven, in mighty quadrate joined Of union irresistible, moved on In silence their ...

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