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John Lanchester, 5 June 1997

Journals 1990-92 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 434 00430 8
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... memorable characters in A Dance to the Music of Time are the miners and bankers with whom Nicholas Jenkins, the narrator, serves during the war, or the literary down-and-outs with whom he mingles after it; a large part of the value of the work is that it encompasses Lady Huntercombe’s dance, as well as the vissicitudes of the small magazine Fission, the ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... his speeches. ‘Lazy? Lazy?’ Bevan responded to a sneer about the laziness of his colleague Roy Jenkins: ‘How can a boy from Abersychan who acquired an accent like that be lazy?’ From Princess Margaret comes a comment on the moribundity of the London Season: ‘Every tart in London can get in.’ Kynaston appreciates the respect for working-class values ...

Parkinson Lobby

Alan Rusbridger, 17 November 1983

... meagre inches of pious editorial. Writing in the Guardian three days after the story broke, Peter Jenkins talked of ‘the practical question of what should be done about the Fleet Street heavy mob bivouacking in Hertfordshire and Wiltshire, the Prime Minister pursued wherever she goes not by lobby correspondents but by crime reporters’. That, indeed, was ...

Got to go make that dollar

Alex Abramovich: Otis Redding, 3 January 2019

Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life 
by Jonathan Gould.
Crown, 544 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 0 307 45395 2
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... By the summer of 1958, he had dropped out of school, teamed up with a local guitarist named Johnny Jenkins, and joined a group called Pat T. Cake and His Mighty Panthers. Soul music was coming into its own. Ray Charles was recording for Atlantic Records; Sam Cooke had left the Soul Stirrers; James Brown was touring with his Famous Flames. But Otis Redding ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... me.‘Aren’t you famous?’‘Well I can’t be, can I, if you don’t know my name.’‘It’s Alan something.’‘Yes.’‘From Scarborough?’‘No.’‘So which Alan are you?’‘I’m another Alan.’‘Are you just a lookalike?’‘Well, you could say so.’He pats my arm ...

This Charming Man

Frank Kermode, 24 February 1994

The Collected and Recollected Marc 
Fourth Estate, 51 pp., £25, November 1993, 1 85702 164 9Show More
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... his teacup in a very refined way, though his partly averted face is aggressively tense. Clive Jenkins is a smiling serpent, Muggeridge has an accusing face and defensive hands. Betjeman, looking amusingly miserable, is on his knees. Among the bull’s-eyes are Robin Day, Ian Paisley, David Owen, Douglas Hurd, Kenneth Baker, David Mellor, ...

Opera Mundi

Michael Neve, 1 December 1983

Out of Order 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 256 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 86051 190 1
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Frank Johnson’s Election Year 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 192 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86051 254 1
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by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 264 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 224 02114 1
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Poem of the Year 
by Clive James.
Cape, 79 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 224 02961 4
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The Original Michael Frayn 
by Michael Frayn.
Salamander, 203 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 907540 32 5
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... while, in his account of election year 1983, he seems deliberately underimpressed by Roy Jenkins holding Glasgow Hillhead, as he had been when Jenkins took it in the first place. It is the facetiousness that annoys. Is John Pilger really so dreadful? Can the Stephen Waldorf affair be taken lightly? Does Johnson ...


Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997

Michael Heseltine: A Biography 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 241 13691 1
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... been insulted for their intellectual shortcomings. One (possibly apocryphal) story about Roy Jenkins illustrates the point. He’d been persuaded by a Welsh colleague to hobnob with some of the lads. ‘Buy ’em a drink, Roy. They’ll always remember your kindness and they’ll be flattered you sought them out.’ So ...


W.G. Runciman: Slums, Unemployment, Strikes and Party Politics, 23 June 1988

... the experts. But the conclusion of Sean Glynn, in a recent volume of papers edited by himself and Alan Booth under the title The Road to Full Employment,* is that ‘it can be said with reasonable confidence that unemployment in the 1980s has been much worse than during the inter-war period and has reached levels comparable with the 1930s peak.’ Some will ...

Great Fun

John Bayley, 22 January 1987

by Patricia Meyer Spacks.
Chicago, 287 pp., £9.25, November 1986, 0 226 76844 9
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The Bonus of Laughter 
by Alan Pryce-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 263 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 241 11903 0
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... as a focus for speculation. Gossip and speculation go together. Anthony Powell’s narrator, Nick Jenkins, has the engaging habit of pondering, on our behalf, the possible implications of others’ behaviour. Surmise and romance go together, putting fascination in the place of knowledge. In Edith Wharton’s novel The House of Mirth Lawrence Selden sees Lily ...

The Tories’ Death-Wish

Kenneth O. Morgan, 15 May 1980

Tariff Reform in British Politics 
by Alan Sykes.
Oxford, 352 pp., £16, December 1979, 0 19 822483 4
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... it was a strange, anarchic, self-destructive phase. Much new light is shed on these mysteries by Alan Sykes’s fascinating new book, which covers the 1903-13 period. He traces again the now familiar story of Joseph Chamberlain’s crusade for tariff reform, which captivated the party faithful and captured the party machine between 1903 and 1905. In ...


Alan Bennett: Where was I in 1987?, 10 December 1987

... Mr Gorbachev going to be on Blankety Blank?’ Oxford, 14 March. To Oxford to cast my vote for Roy Jenkins as Chancellor. Only 9.30, but the line of voters is already round the Sheldonian and the atmosphere that of a cocktail party. The average voter is about my age, tall and armed with a beaming wife, both determined to make a day of it. Never was there such ...

Corbyn’s Progress

Tariq Ali, 3 March 2016

... went to work for a corporation that had benefited from their policies. The former health secretary Alan Milburn, for example, is on the payroll of several companies involved in private healthcare and is currently working for Cameron as the chair of his Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. It was not just the Iraq War that was responsible for the ...


Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... Oxford to vote for the chancellor, though it doesn’t seem very long since I did the same for Roy Jenkins. At Bodley I’m overtaken by A.N. Wilson, who’s brought his gown in a Sainsbury’s bag, though it’s part of Roy Jenkins’s legacy that gowns are no longer required on such occasions. This doesn’t stop many of ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust, 19 July 2018

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... single passage of her book, she argues that the famous scene in which Powell’s narrator, Nick Jenkins, takes Jean Templer in his arms – in the back of a car, speeding through night and snow along the Great West Road, past the neon sign where a bathing belle ‘dives eternally through the petrol-tainted air’: the opening embrace of the principal ...

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