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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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... sleeping with a Russian attaché called Eugene Ivanov, a regular visitor to Ward’s flat, as were Roger Hollis, head of MI5 and mole extraordinaire, and Anthony Blunt. They spoke freely in front of Keeler, she claims, about nuclear warheads. They weren’t worried about her apparently. Ward knew she was safe. ‘The only gossip was about fashions, the new ...

Heart of Darkness

Christopher Hitchens, 28 June 1990

Not Many Dead: Journal of a Year in Fleet Street 
by Nicholas Garland.
Hutchinson, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 0 09 174449 0
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A Slight Case of Libel: Meacher v. Trelford and Others 
by Alan Watkins.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7156 2334 6
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... Entry for 18 April 1986, Not Many Dead The success of Michael Moore’s film about Roger Smith and General Motors has aroused an envious spirit of emulation in my breast. ‘Conrad and Me’, a script which I hone and burnish in slack moments, has the following points of mild interest. In the summer of 1985, I wrote an article for the Spectator ...

The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair, 22 December 1994

Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... is enough to invoke, by conditioned reflex, the Agatha Christie cornerstone, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Or as Derek Raymond (Robin Cook) frequently proclaimed, paraphrasing Edmund Wilson: ‘who gives a fuck who killed Roger Ackroyd?’ Raymond, attempting in The Hidden Files to define the ‘black ...

The Arrestables

Jeremy Harding, 16 April 2020

... a bridge or shutting down a stretch of Oxford Street, as they did in 2019. Both Gail Bradbrook and Roger Hallam, two of the movement’s founding activists, have been exemplary arrestables. Arrests, they argue, are the necessary price for refusing a police order to move, and if enough people are detained, police stations and magistrates’ courts, perhaps even ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’, 2 January 2003

... in Guildford. Then its particular interest was that the village scenes featuring the local doctor (Roger Livesey) had been shot at Shere, a picturesque hamlet below Newlands Corner where we’d sometimes go on walks. Livesey watches the goings-on in the village via a camera obscura, though why he does this isn’t explained or the workings of the device ...

Public Works

David Norbrook, 5 June 1986

The Faber Book of Political Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 481 pp., £17.50, May 1986, 0 571 13947 7
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... the early Auden. (He does not, however, give us the earliest text of ‘Spain’, defended by E.P. Thompson in ‘Outside the Whale’.) Some critics would see Tony Harrison as a leading continuer of the radical tradition. Where Hill eschews the prosaic, Harrison courts it, pushing poetry to the brink of banality in the manner of the Lyrical Ballads, trying ...

So much was expected

R.W. Johnson, 3 December 1992

Harold Wilson 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 811 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 00 215189 8
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Harold Wilson 
by Austen Morgan.
Pluto, 625 pp., £25, May 1992, 0 7453 0635 7
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... just about every leading social scientist (Titmuss, Townsend, Halsey, Floud), historian (Hobsbawm, Thompson, Hill) or literary intellectual (Wesker, Tynan) in sight. This was what gave the 1964 Labour Government a significance far greater than the 1974-79 Administration. 1964 saw the coming together of the British best and brightest. The failure of Wilsonism ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... for New Society, a violence pundit. He got everything that was coming to him: he was played by Roger Daltrey. But the real clincher, as far as Reg was concerned, came with the last rites for his mother Violet. ‘Last but not least, when he attended my mother’s funeral in the role of reporter, he did not wear a tie. He was never a true villain.’ The ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1995, 4 January 1996

... been playing, with, responsible for their suppression, the commissioner of police for Bruges, one Roger de Bris. This gives quiet pleasure as it’s also the name of the transvestite stage director in Mel Brooks’s The Producers, who makes his appearance bare-shouldered and in a heavy ball gown. 7 March. Our pillar box is now emptied at 9 a.m. not by the ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... from the cultural milieu. There was Clive, Fred Halliday, later Sheila Rowbotham got involved, and Roger Smith, script editor at the BBC. The French May erupted as we were about to launch the first issue, which had come out looking slightly miserabilist and unimaginative. It was generally felt that the cover was awful. We voted to pulp it and ...

Somerdale to Skarbimierz

James Meek, 20 April 2017

... investment. I contacted the three executive directors and 11 directors – Sir John Sunderland, Roger Carr, Rick Braddock, Ellen Marram, Guy Elliott, Rosemary Thorne, David Thompson, Sanjiv Ahuja, Wolfgang Berndt, Lord Patten and Raymond Viault. Only Berndt replied (Chris Patten’s assistant told me he was in ‘rural ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... were on him, the breakfast shows seeing him as a symbol of desperation as the inferno raged. Neil Thompson, the editor of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, ordered that the cameras be kept on him. ‘At the point at which Elpie started to cry,’ he said later, ‘there was smoke billowing out from behind him, and I told them to cut off him. Anybody watching ...

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