After queuing outside the club for a few hours, our limbs start twitching with tiredness and amphetamines. Vinegar and aftershave waft in the air. We are waiting to get in, watching the twist of lights inside and listening to the thud and slide of distant music. Those in front shuffle forward in their vinyl clothing, gearing up for reckless recreation. Behind us the queue snakes further back; it’s long past midnight, but more people, looking glazed in the rain, keep coming round the corners, out of taxis and off night-buses. Unlikely, but now even this underbelly of society is becoming politicised.
Vol. 19 No. 6 · 20 March 1997
I wonder what criteria govern the appointments to your editorial staff. If the diary of Tobias Jones (LRB, 6 March) is anything to go by, the possession of common sense is not one of them. I pray that this sort of socialist claptrap is not a portent of things to come between now and the general election. Please remember that every subscriber to the London Review of Books is not as gullible as pop musicians and their hangers-on. Some of us have actually got New Labour weighed up.
Downham Market, Norfolk
Vol. 19 No. 7 · 3 April 1997
P.R. Bonnett (Letters, 20 March) does not give any examples of Tobias Jones’s ‘socialist claptrap’ in his letter but I infer that he is a Conservative and disapproves of political articles being published in a literary journal. But it is these occasional articles that would make it impossible for me to give up the LRB. Conrad Russell’s brilliant piece in the same issue is a good example. I trust their advisers will ensure Messrs Blair and Blunkett read it, and revise their plans for salving our educational system.
Quite frankly, I am a left-winger who subscribes to the LRB because, in the past, it has not seemed to cave in to the dictates of some imaginary middle of the road on a highway that continually curves to the right. I hope it is not becoming your policy to take your core subscribers for granted. It was with some dismay that I found Hilary Mantel’s apologia – for John Major in particular and for condemnation in general – in your issue of 6 March. Mantel asserts that ‘not even his worst enemies would believe John Major is a brute.’ Well, as one of Major’s enemies I am here to tell you that he is most assuredly a brute (it being quite possible to be a wimp and a brute at the same time). I also fail to understand why I must see in the same issue the gratuitous Soviet-bashing by John Lloyd, praising yet another pandering, poorly researched ‘exposure’ of supposed Soviet misinformation.
Bellingham, Washington State
Vol. 19 No. 8 · 24 April 1997
James MacGibbon’s inference (Letters, 3 April) that I am a Conservative is correct. The Conservative Party is like the LRB: not perfect, but much better than its rivals.
Downham Market, Norfolk
I read with interest the continuing debate in your pages about whether the LRB is ‘left-wing’. It may be argued with much truth that the LRB has simply stood still while many other journals have rushed to the right past it. When New Labour wins a landslide in the early hours of 2 May, will the LRB editor and staff be dancing in the streets with the rest of us, or not?