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Bad Timing

R.W. Johnson: All about Eden, 22 May 2003

Eden: The Life and Times of Anthony Eden, First Earl of Avon 1897-1977 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Chatto, 758 pp., £25, March 2003, 0 7011 6744 0
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The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years 1950-57 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 676 pp., £25, April 2003, 9780333711675
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... president and governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre over many years and supported both Peter Hall and Peter Brook at a time when their avant-garde work frequently brought storms of criticism. He had a voracious appetite for both English and French literature and liked to hunt down French novels on the Left ...

How long before Ofop steps in?

Patrick Carnegy, 16 March 2000

In House: Covent Garden, 50 Years of Opera and Ballet 
by John Tooley.
Faber, 318 pp., £25, November 1999, 9780571194155
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Never Mind the Moon: My Time at the Royal Opera House 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Bantam, 356 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 593 04355 3
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... the Liverpool department-store manager who’d built it up from its wartime use as a dance-hall, and then for 18 years as general director. The high point of Webster’s reign was the Georg Solti era (1961-71). Tooley presided over the rather lesser era of Colin Davis (1971-86). Things, indeed, began to fall apart when Davis’s partnerships with ...

Obscene Child

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Mozart, 5 July 2007

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography 
by Piero Melograni, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Chicago, 300 pp., £19, December 2006, 0 226 51956 2
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Mozart: The First Biography 
by Franz Niemetschek, translated by Helen Mautner.
Berghahn, 77 pp., £17.50, November 2006, 1 84545 231 3
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Mozart’s Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music 
by Jane Glover.
Pan, 406 pp., £7.99, April 2006, 0 330 41858 0
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... being prone to clowning and lavatory humour. Think of the babyish and buffoonish Amadeus of Peter Shaffer’s play. Or the impetuous, tousle-haired and disconcertingly North American figure in the Milos Forman film, stalked through the Vienna night by Antonio Salieri to the sound of the Dies irae from the Requiem. Franz Niemetschek, Mozart’s ...
... of the Lubetkin and Tecton High Point flats, and of William Lescaze buildings for the Darlington Hall Estate, are still wonderfully convincing. Attempts to make the same style work cheaply do not. Wells Coates’s Minimum Flat was all too easy to translate into something which offered a minimum life. Artist-designed fabrics on the whole do not stand ...

Two Poems

Peter Redgrove, 3 February 1983

... Hall of Clothes and Circuses I The rich seaside stones turn to cloth at a word, To magnificent garments, the tweeds of the granite, Felspar woven with mica and buttons of quartz. The whole earth at a word is a magnificent garment Which the Lord wears, A magnificence sewn for him by his Mother, The smooth sleeves of wet slate, the sewn pearls of barnacles, A dressing-gown of sliding sand, a nightdress of mud With snailtrack stitching, pyjamas of glittering silica, A shirt of schists, the cricketer’s white of china-clay, And the sea winking, and the waves leaping Over and over each other in the tidal circus, The little snapping white horses, And the green horses racing in the oaks ...

At Tate Modern

Peter Campbell: Bruce Nauman’s Raw Materials, 4 November 2004

... The turbine hall of the old power station is cathedral-like. Its dimensions and proportions, the windows at each end and the choir-screen bridge that divides the nave space of the entrance from the space beyond are churchy. As an art gallery, it is demanding. When the long red horn of Anish Kapoor’s Marsyas filled the box the scale was exhilarating in itself, but it made the hall feel like a shed ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... In the National Theatre’s inaugural season in 1963 Michael Redgrave played Claudius to Peter O’Toole’s Hamlet. Apart from Olivier, the theatre’s first director, Redgrave, then aged 55, was its greatest star. Known to the public from his many film roles, and having just been named actor of the year by the Evening Standard for his Uncle Vanya at Chichester, which one critic called ‘the highest level of acting the contemporary theatre has to offer’, he was good box-office ...

At the Funfair

Peter Campbell: ‘Winter Wonderland’, 7 January 2010

... but the quieter but still content-free manifestations of the higher fairground art in the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern – it invites comparison with the aspects of reality that in the past would have been called sublime. To enter into direct competition with a big waterfall, or the excavations of an iron ore mine, or a blast furnace seen by night, or ...

Wharton the Wise

D.A.N. Jones, 4 April 1985

The Missing Will 
by Michael Wharton.
Hogarth, 216 pp., £10.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2666 3
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... For 27 years Michael Wharton has written the ‘Peter Simple’ column in the Daily Telegraph. He was only 43 when he secured this good, steady job and now he has published an autobiographical account of his 43 apprentice years – dissident, drifting, bohemian years, marked by a lack of will-power, what the Greeks called aboulia ...

Whitlam Fictions

Zachary Leader, 16 February 1989

Kisses of the Enemy 
by Rodney Hall.
Faber, 622 pp., £12.95, January 1989, 0 571 15091 8
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Postcards from Surfers 
by Helen Garner.
Bloomsbury, 180 pp., £11.95, January 1989, 0 7475 0272 2
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by Frank Moorhouse.
Faber, 175 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 571 15210 4
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... Council. Behind established international figures such as Patrick White, Thomas Keneally and now Peter Carey crowds a small army – a second wave, as it were – of grant-garlanded and prize-bedecked novelists and storytellers, many of whom, especially those whose reputations derive initially from short fiction, have benefited from the Board’s ...

Big Fish

Frank Kermode, 9 September 1993

Tell Them I’m on my Way 
by Arnold Goodman.
Chapmans, 464 pp., £20, August 1993, 1 85592 636 9
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Not an Englishman: Conversations with Lord Goodman 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 237 pp., £17.99, August 1993, 1 85619 365 9
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... Finally he made his speech, as he had to; it was pained and cold, but polite. A little later Peter Hall, called upon to speak for the other guests, took a different line, telling them warmly that they were as disgusting a group as it had ever been his misfortune to encounter. It was an admirable and memorable speech. Whether or not it was more ...

At the Barbican

Peter Campbell: Alvar Aalto, 22 March 2007

... roofs, the vertical accent (the clock tower), the plain brick walls, wave-profiles in entrance hall ceilings and the careful modulation of light in the reading rooms of his British Library can be found in Aalto’s work. He is more at home in England than the one or two Modernists of the first generation who actually did buildings here. The import of the ...

At Tate Modern

Peter Campbell: The fairground at Bankside, 22 June 2006

... the place. It has, in particular, contributed to the great success of installations in the Turbine Hall, which have been among the gallery’s best projects. Anish Kapoor’s Marsyas and Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project were artworks, but also public events. Like fireworks displays in their universal appeal, they were best enjoyed as part of a crowd. The ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: John Martin, 20 October 2011

... the second and third of which are reproduced here. These are hung in a long dark hall (hell-fire sermons, preached visually or verbally, resonate best in large spaces); a preacher’s voiceover describes the torment and bliss they illustrate, but there is thunder too, if I remember rightly, and startling effects as bits of one picture after ...

Short Cuts

Peter McGill: In Japan, 31 March 2011

... where the 38,000 had perished in the clothing depot. In 1931, a red brick Reconstruction Memorial Hall was added. I visited in 2007. The only other visitor was a tramp. Inside I found a couple of American posters soliciting aid for stricken Japan. The US appeal, kicked off by Calvin Coolidge, only recently installed in the Oval Office, raised $19.6 ...

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