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The Right Kind of Pain

Mark Greif: The Velvet Underground, 22 March 2007

The Velvet Underground 
by Richard Witts.
Equinox, 171 pp., £10.99, September 2006, 9781904768272
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... of these musicians is a virtuoso of one or another aspect of pop. Yet the first book to appear, by Richard Witts, tackles the Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground were decidedly not these kinds of virtuoso. There are confirmed music fans who can’t bear to listen to the songs considered their most characteristic (‘Heroin’, ‘Sister ...

Creative Accounting

David Runciman: Money and the Arts, 4 June 1998

Artist Unknown: An Alternative History of the Arts Council 
by Richard Witts.
Little, Brown, 593 pp., £22.50, March 1998, 0 316 87820 0
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In Praise of Commercial Culture 
by Tyler Cowen.
Harvard, 278 pp., £18.50, June 1998, 0 674 44591 0
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... Keynes and Christie surrounding the birth of the Arts Council are turned into camp soap opera in Richard Witts’s engagingly superficial and highly eccentric history of that organisation. The book seems to have been published just too soon to bear witness to the whole thing coming full circle, as the Labour Government attempts to reinvent the Arts ...

Everlasting Stone

Patrick Wormald, 21 May 1981

The Enigma of Stonehenge 
by John Fowles and Barry Brukoff.
Cape, 126 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 224 01618 0
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British Cathedrals 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 275 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 297 77828 5
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... there is no real parallel among their neighbours – not that this has prevented some ‘Wander Witts’ from indulging an equally fervent passion for the Italian Renaissance. Both the books under review, different as they are in subject-matter, scale, format, ambition and price, have this tradition in common. Both are labours of love in English fields ...

Field of Bones

Charles Nicholl: The last journey of Thomas Coryate, the English fakir and legstretcher, 2 September 1999

... Man Out of His Humour; Humfrey King, the poetic tobacconist; the barber-surgeons Tom Tooley and Richard Lichfield; the tavern joker John Stone. These loquacious oddballs found a small economic niche as ad hoc entertainers; they are haunters of St Paul’s Churchyard and the Inns of Court, of revels and convivia. We have no first-hand record of a Coryate ...

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