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Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama, 11 October 2012

... Lewis did in 1914: ‘What balls!’ So even given the participation of Tom Stoppard, Rebecca Hall and Benedict Cumberbatch, it was surprising to see a Ford adaptation given five hours on BBC2. Ford was last unloosed in this way in 1981, when Julian Mitchell adapted The Good Soldier for Granada Television. That film – starring Jeremy Brett, another ...


Ian Aitken: Closing Time at the Last Chance Saloon, 6 August 1992

... anything in the world. So when Mr Paul Dacre picked Rothermere’s Daily Mail in preference to Rupert Murdoch’s Times, Worsthorne’s first reaction was that it was like choosing to be King of Ruritania instead of King of England. But Sir Perry has built his career on telling us that the country is going to the dogs. So after mature consideration, he ...

Crusoe and Daughter

Patricia Craig, 20 June 1985

Crusoe’s Daughter 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11526 4
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The Tie that Binds 
by Kent Haruf.
Joseph, 246 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 7181 2561 4
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Hannie Richards, or The Intrepid Adventures of a Restless Wife 
by Hilary Bailey.
Virago, 265 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780860683469
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A Fine Excess 
by Jane Ellison.
Secker, 183 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 14601 0
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Victory over Japan 
by Ellen Gilchrist.
Faber, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 571 13446 7
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... on a saltmarsh, somewhere on the Northumbrian coast. Nearby are a church, a nunnery, a folly, a Hall and an iron-works. All of these buildings, but especially the yellow house, which faces the sea, are obliged to withstand the battering of strong winds blowing from the north-east. At the yellow house live Polly’s Aunt Mary and Aunt Frances, both too ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: The Trump Regime, 1 December 2016

... after his father’s disgrace. It was a way to get Mayor Bloomberg to answer his calls and Rupert Murdoch to invite him aboard his yacht. Kushner was always nice to me. He kept me around and when I resigned thanked me for doing a good job. One week the job involved rewriting a sex column written by a friend of his wife, Ivanka Trump. The next week it ...

Utopia Limited

David Cannadine, 15 July 1982

Fabianism and Culture: A Study in British Socialism and the Arts, 1884-1918 
by Ian Britain.
Cambridge, 344 pp., £19.50, June 1982, 0 521 23563 4
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The Elmhirsts of Dartington: The Creation of an Utopian Community 
by Michael Young.
Routledge, 381 pp., £15, June 1982, 9780710090515
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... their Utopian endeavours, for reasons well summarised by Leonard Elmhirst, founder of Dartington Hall School: ‘they disregarded sound economics, they followed some ethical or theoretical principle too rigorously, or they attempted to isolate themselves too completely from the social and economic world around them.’ Above all, Utopians have usually been ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... where’s your sense of humour? It’s only a joke.’7 May. On the TV news footage of Stuart Hall arriving for the first day of his trial at Preston Crown Court; he is seemingly handcuffed with his hands held in front of him, but thus shackled has to negotiate the quite steep steps from the police van. At 84, he manages this without much help, which is ...
Rembrandt by Himself 
edited by Christopher White and Quentin Buvelot.
Yale, 272 pp., £25, June 1999, 9781857092523
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Rembrandt: The Painter at Work 
by Ernst van de Wetering.
Amsterdam University Press, 340 pp., £52.50, November 1997, 90 5356 239 7
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... Gallery basement, seventy-odd likenesses of the artist have been brought together. Its central hall, holding more than a dozen of the late self-portraits, compactly presents the case to be made for Rembrandt. The appeal of these paintings stems from our capacity to empathise with the subject. As we turn to the portraits, the subject’s eyes draw ours into ...

Who owns John Sutherland?

John Sutherland: Intellectual property in the digital age, 7 January 1999

... shelves in free facilities? Or as something equivalent to ‘pay-per-view’ TV, with Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch or Don King calling the shots? If you subscribe to a printed journal and then stop doing so, at least you have your back numbers. ‘Unsubscribe’ from an electronic database and you have nothing. ‘Access denied’ – the bleakest of electronic ...

Vuvuzelas Unite

Andy Beckett: The Trade Union Bill, 22 October 2015

Trade Union Bill (HC Bill 58) 
Stationery Office, 32 pp., July 2015Show More
Trade Union Membership 2014: Statistical Bulletin 
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 56 pp., June 2015Show More
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... and ideologically driven’. In September, the Tory civil libertarian David Davis told Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News, an unlikely place to hear a defence of unions, that ‘there are bits of [the bill] which look OTT, like requiring pickets to give their names to the police force. What is this? This isn’t Franco’s Britain.’ The next day, the ...

Class Traitor

Edward Pearce, 11 June 1992

Maverick: The Life of a Union Rebel 
by Eric Hammond.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 297 81200 9
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... the programmed reflex of hissing and snarling which would arise from the prescribed corners of the hall. He tells briefly here of his own background in Gravesend, the disabled father, the loving and loved mother, the evacuation to Canada during the war, the admiration for Gravesend’s original and idealistic MP Richard Acland, the bottomless contempt for his ...


Michael Ignatieff, 20 December 1990

Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years 
by Brian Boyd.
Chatto, 607 pp., £20, November 1990, 0 7011 3700 2
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... our eye. Take the moment when, as a Cambridge undergraduate in 1921, he records his impression of Rupert Brooke’s Grantchester:   I once passed through Grantchester by bike. Fences, complicated iron gates and barbed wire in the surrounding fields tortured the eyes. A humble humdrumness emanated from the dirty little brick homes. A tomfool wind blew up a ...

Top Grumpy’s Top Hate

Robert Irwin: Richard Aldington’s Gripes, 18 February 1999

Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale 
by Fred Crawford.
Southern Illinois, 265 pp., £31.95, July 1998, 0 8093 2166 1
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Lawrence the Uncrowned King of Arabia 
by Michael Asher.
Viking, 419 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87029 3
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... was my misfortune never to meet any of the right ones, except Pino and himself.’ Like Rupert Brooke (with his ‘swimmers into cleanness leaping’) Lawrence had placed a curious stress on the ‘cleanness’ of the war and the warriors he evoked in The Seven Pillars, but Aldington was not having any of this. There was nothing clean about ...

Fumbling for the Towel

Christopher Prendergast: Maigret’s elevation to the Panthéon, 7 July 2005

Romans: Tome I 
by Georges Simenon.
Gallimard, 1493 pp., €60, May 2004, 2 07 011674 3
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Romans: Tome II 
by Georges Simenon.
Gallimard, 1736 pp., €60, May 2004, 2 07 011675 1
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... I am old enough to remember the Maigret series on television, with Rupert Davies in the starring role. To the accompaniment of a mildly haunting theme tune, a portly figure would appear onscreen, drably but comfortably dressed in raincoat and hat, strolling through the damp, mist-laden streets of Paris, pausing on a bridge to light his pipe and look over his shoulder, the whole scene held in grainy black and white ...

Sun and Strawberries

Mary Beard: Gwen Raverat, 19 September 2002

Gwen Raverat: Friends, Family and Affections 
by Frances Spalding.
Harvill, 438 pp., £30, June 2001, 1 86046 746 6
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... hollyhocks on gold Japanese leather-paper to be put in the arch above the fire-place in the hall’ sums up Gwen’s mother’s aspirations for the autumn of 1885. And even Rose Macaulay’s admiration for Period Piece was punctured by the thought that Gwen herself had not really had enough to do, and that she would have been much happier if she had ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... claims’; ‘Corbyn’s Iraq War apology will do him good – if not Labour’; and ‘Rupert Murdoch predicts Corbyn win.’ Above all this, throwing it into the shade and into context, were the contributions of the Guardian’s big beasts, Polly Toynbee and Jonathan Freedland. Toynbee began by comprehensively misreading the moment, refusing to ...

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