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Richard Gott: In Memory of Cornelius Cardew, 12 March 2009

Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished 
by John Tilbury.
Copula, 1069 pp., £45, October 2008, 978 0 9525492 3 9
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... the title a Maoist study group at London University gave to a meeting held in November 1971: ‘Alan Sillitoe and David Mercer: Traitors to the English Working Class’. Further meetings, with more innocuous titles like ‘Seek Truth to Serve the People’, were held in December that year, and Cardew and Tilbury, with other members of the Scratch ...

How does one talk to these people?

Andrew O’Hagan: David Storey in the Dark, 1 July 2021

A Stinging Delight: A Memoir 
by David Storey.
Faber, 407 pp., £20, June, 978 0 571 36031 4
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... away,’ Uncle Vanya says, when hope is gone. ‘Work! We’ve got to get to work!’ Early in Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Arthur Seaton stuffs a packet of sandwiches and a flask of tea into his pocket and is soon at work amid the generators and milling machines. ‘He pressed the starter button, and his motor came to life ...

Doris and Me

Jenny Diski, 8 January 2015

... she got to England with her small son, Peter. Writers, poets and theatre people came to supper, Alan Sillitoe and his wife, the poet Ruth Fainlight, Arnold Wesker and his wife Dusty. Naomi Mitchison. Ted Hughes, Christopher Logue (whose recording of poetry and jazz, Red Bird, I’d bought with my pocket money at St Christopher’s), Lindsay ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2010, 16 December 2010

... the world since Mrs Thatcher in that gritty hard little word. 2 May. Several of the obituaries of Alan Sillitoe who died last week mention how, when as a child he was being hit by his father, his mother would beg ‘Not on his head. Not on his head.’ My father was a mild man and seldom hit my brother or me but when he did my mother would make the same ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?, 18 April 2019

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February 2019, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... solid bourgeois life – first in Hobsbawm’s London flat, then in a house in Clapham shared with Alan Sillitoe, then in a six-bedroom semi-detached house in Hampstead. Disarmingly, in Interesting Times, Hobsbawm disclaimed much responsibility for his own prosperity: he was just part of a lucky generation for whom ‘postwar life was an escalator ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... modernism and so on, I read them with pleasure.The wine was described as ‘cheerful’; the late Alan Sillitoe was described as a lovely man, ‘without the talent of saying hello’. Seamus made the case for Dante, for peaches, and for basil ice cream. Willa Muir, according to Karl, ‘was fighting a losing battle at Harvard with the homoerotic ...

Dummy and Biffy

Noël Annan, 17 October 1985

Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community 
by Christopher Andrew.
Heinemann, 616 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 02110 5
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The Secret Generation 
by John Gardner.
Heinemann, 453 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 434 28250 2
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Two Thyrds 
by Bertie Denham.
Ross Anderson Publications, 292 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 86360 006 9
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The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany 1933-1939 
by Wesley Wark.
Tauris, 304 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 1 85043 014 4
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... certainly many of the cryptographers were odd. Dilly Knox preferred to solve problems in his bath; Alan Turing converted his savings into silver ingots, buried them and forgot where. Bletchley was a success, partly because it was more like a university than a military or civil service department. On the other hand, in MI6, Dansey, who loved nothing better than ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 30 June 2016

... He said he feared prosecution on the one hand and humiliation on the other. The borstal boy in Alan Sillitoe’s ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ comes from a family who make much of running, ‘especially running away from the police’. He hates being understood, feels authority is only there to grind you down, and holds on to his ...

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