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David Goldie: Morecambe and Wise, 15 April 1999

Morecambe and Wise 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 416 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 1 85702 735 3
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... it in TV, they would have to sharpen-up their act. Working for Lew Grade’s ATV with the writers Dick Hills and Sid Green, they subtly altered the relationship between the stage personae of Eric and Ern. Over the course of six series between 1961 and 1968 something developed between the pair that made them look less like an act and more like a ...


Clancy Sigal: Among the Draft-Dodgers, 9 October 2008

... and called me a ‘sanitation Nazi’ when I hectored them. ‘Who’s writing your speeches, Dick Nixon?’ jeered Charlene, a tall, leggy, mussed-blonde deserter groupie and self-described Missouri trailer trash. Charlene, fed up with ‘American fascist bullshit’, had landed on us one day along with a tubercular deserter from Stockholm’s ...


David Trotter: Bearness, 7 November 2019

... Roosevelt in the foreground, and behind him a small and rather startled bear on a leash. Morris and Rose Michtom, who ran a store in Brooklyn, created a novelty toy based on the cartoon – advertising it, with the president’s consent, as ‘Teddy’s Bear’. The bear Teddy did not shoot died anyway.There has been a lot of violence to ...

Georgian eyes are smiling

Frank Kermode, 15 September 1988

Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: The Search for Love, 1856-1898 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 486 pp., £16, September 1988, 0 7011 3332 5
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Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters. Vol. IV 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 946 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 370 31130 2
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Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. Vol. VIII 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 175 pp., $25, April 1988, 0 271 00613 7
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Shaw’s Sense of History 
by J.L. Wisenthal.
Oxford, 186 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812892 4
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Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. III: 1903-1907 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 532 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 521 32387 8
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Joseph Conrad: ‘Nostromo’ 
by Ian Watt.
Cambridge, 98 pp., £12.50, April 1988, 0 521 32821 7
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... this debacle, he later took a strong line about feminine demands on him, somewhat in the manner of Dick in The Devil’s Disciple. Among those he tormented were Edith Bland, whose husband Hubert was unfaithful. Failing to get Shaw into bed, she made her famous complaint: ‘You had no right to write the Preface if you were not going to write the book.’ Then ...

Hoarder of Malt

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 7 January 1999

Shakespeare: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 479 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 19 811792 2
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £11.99, December 1998, 0 7190 5425 7
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... local schoolchildren, all walking in time to regimental trumpets and the inane jingling of morris-dancers, the Immortal invoked and perhaps appeased by all this partakes at once of municipal worthy, folk hero, national icon, monarch, pagan god, Catholic saint and Messiah. (The last analogy is made all but inescapable by the name of Shakespeare’s ...

Blood for Oil?

Retort: The takeover of Iraq, 21 April 2005

... five years in the 1990s as CEO of Halliburton, the world’s largest oil and gas services company, Dick Cheney drew $44 million in salary from an outfit that on his own Brechtian admission saw war as offering ‘growth opportunities’. Millions of dollars more in ‘deferred compensation’ were earmarked to tide him over during his time in government. In ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby, 23 March 2006

... Christian evangelicals like Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, as well as Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, former majority leaders in the House of Representatives, all of whom believe Israel’s rebirth is the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and support its expansionist agenda; to do otherwise, they believe, would be contrary to God’s ...

A Common Assault

Alan Bennett: In Italy, 4 November 2004

... car. The general view seems to be that I need something solid and dependable, opinion favouring a Morris 1000 (‘Your sort of car’). But in the nick of time I remember my old bike and switch to a scootier primrose yellow Mini. With my next car I went even further and got a Triumph Herald, and while it didn’t quite have drop handlebars, it was at least a ...

Cute, My Arse

Seamus Perry: Geoffrey Hill, 12 September 2019

The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Oxford, 148 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 19 882952 2
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... may write: A reference to the popular situation comedy Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, aired on BBC television in 1973-74. Thelma (Brigit Forsyth) is the fiancée and subsequently wife of Bob (Rodney Bewes), whose scurrilous childhood friend Terry (James Bolam), returning to civil life after five years in the ...

Who had the most fun?

David Bromwich: The Marx Brothers, 10 May 2001

Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 480 pp., £7.99, April 2001, 0 14 029426 0
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The Essential Groucho 
by Groucho Marx, edited by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 254 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 14 029425 2
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... the road with the Leroy Trio, Leroy fell hard for the second boy, a ‘buck-dancer’ named Johnny Morris, and the two ran off with all the money Groucho had stuffed in his mattress. How, he wondered, did his mother pay his way back from Cripple Creek, Colorado? ‘Probably hocked one of my brothers.’ By the time the brothers were well launched in the early ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett, 8 March 2007

... is so cheeky. Now we’ve read Dylan Thomas, haven’t we, and some John Cowper Powys. And Jan Morris we’ve read. But who else is there?’ ‘You could try Kilvert, maam,’ said Norman. ‘Who’s he?’ ‘A vicar, maam. Nineteenth century. Lived on the Welsh borders and wrote a diary. Fond of little girls.’ ‘Oh,’ said the Queen, ‘like Lewis ...

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