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Round up the usual perverts

Michael Wood: ‘L.A. Confidential’, 1 January 1998

L.A. Confidential 
directed by Curtis Hanson.
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... of a period but a lively party in fancy dress. Kevin Spacey, in particular, as Sergeant Jack Vincennes, the man behind the Dragnet look-alike, plays the whole thing as a charade, fun to do but fatal to take seriously. It’s not that the movie is about movies, littered with allusions to film history, although there is that, too. At one point Kim ...

Lancelot v. Galahad

Benjamin Markovits: Basketball Narratives, 21 July 2022

Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks 
by Chris Herring.
Atria, 368 pp., £23.95, January, 978 1 9821 3211 8
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... its ability to tell complex stories – its contributors included William Faulkner, John Updike, Jack Kerouac and Don DeLillo. In Blood in the Garden, Herring is firmly in narrative mode, and he wants to remind us what a good narrative sport basketball is.This is true for several reasons, some more interesting than others. First, the obvious ones. Basketball ...

Balfour, Weizmann and the Creation of Israel

Charles Glass: Palestine, 7 June 2001

One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate 
by Tom Segev, translated by Haim Watzman.
Little, Brown, 612 pp., £25, January 2001, 0 316 64859 0
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Ploughing Sand: British Rule in Palestine 1917-48 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Murray, 290 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 7195 6322 4
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... from finding refuge in Britain. (Echoes of Balfour’s resistance to the Eastern hordes persist in Jack Straw’s ‘bogus asylum seekers’, Tony Blair’s call for the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees to be rewritten, and John Townend’s complaint about the ‘mongrelisation’ of Britain.) Balfour warned Parliament that the Jews ...

A Little Holiday

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Ben Hecht’s Cause, 23 September 2021

A Child of the Century 
by Ben Hecht.
Yale, 654 pp., £16, April 2020, 978 0 300 25179 1
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Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures 
by Adina Hoffman.
Yale, 245 pp., £10.99, April 2020, 978 0 300 25181 4
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... MacArthur, drew large audiences to Madison Square Garden shortly before Pearl Harbor, and starred Jack Benny, Betty Grable, Eddie Cantor, Ethel Merman and Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, who tap-danced on Hitler’s coffin. Hecht also wrote propagandist radio plays and, in 1943, another pageant. We Will Never Die was dedicated to the ‘two million Jewish dead ...

Higher Man

John Sutherland, 22 May 1997

The Turner Diaries 
by ‘Andrew Macdonald’.
National Vauguard Books, 211 pp., $12.95, May 1978, 0 937944 02 5
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... by the Washington DC ‘gun raids’ of September 1991. These have been sanctioned by the ‘Cohen Act’. Posses of deputised blacks (egged on by the Jewish-owned Washington Post) raid the homes of white people, seizing their weapons and violating the women (recent legislation has decriminalised rape and hard-drug use by African Americans). Washington ...

Still Superior

Mark Greif: Sex and Susan Sontag, 12 February 2009

Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-64 
by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 318 pp., £16.99, January 2009, 978 0 241 14431 2
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... that gives this volume of her diary its title. She was born in January 1933, the daughter of Jack and Mildred Rosenblatt of Manhattan, traders of furs in China. Her father died in Tianjin when she was five. The widowed Mildred took Susan from her grandparents and moved with her to Tuscon: the dry air and sand of Arizona would help Susan’s asthma. A ...


Alan Bennett: Where I was in 1993, 16 December 1993

... morning to be sitting at my desk, watching the rag-and-bone man push his cart past the window, his Jack Russell stood eagerly in the prow as if waiting to strike land.On Any Questions on Radio 4 tonight are Roy Hattersley and Edward Heath, Janet Cohen and Jonathon Porritt. Neither Heath nor Hattersley is a particular ...

Strange, Angry Objects

Owen Hatherley: The Brutalist Decades, 17 November 2016

A3: Threads and Connections 
by Peter Ahrends.
Right Angle, 128 pp., £18, December 2015, 978 0 9532848 9 4
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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism 
by Barnabas Calder.
Heinemann, 416 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 434 02244 1
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Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 
by Elain Harwood.
Yale, 512 pp., £60, September 2015, 978 0 300 20446 9
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Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World 
by Christopher Beanland.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £18, February 2016, 978 0 7112 3764 3
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This Brutal World 
by Peter Chadwick.
Phaidon, 224 pp., £29.95, April 2016, 978 0 7148 7108 0
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Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture 
by Nicolas Grospierre.
Prestel, 224 pp., £29.99, February 2016, 978 3 7913 8229 6
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Modernist Estates: The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them 
by Stefi Orazi.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 7112 3675 2
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Architecture an Inspiration 
by Ivor Smith.
Troubador, 224 pp., £24.95, November 2014, 978 1 78462 069 1
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... street in the air. Aesthetics were secondary, programme was all. The designers of Park Hill, Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith, boasted that they didn’t draw a single elevation while designing one of the largest buildings in Europe. For Banham, this promised an architecture autre, where most accepted canons of form and order could be discarded in favour of ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash, 9 March 2006

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... features him singing not only ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and ‘Cocaine Blues’, but also the Jack Clement number ‘Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart’, which has the chorus, ‘I’ve been washed down the sink of your conscience/In the theatre of your love I lost my part/And now you say you’ve got me out of your conscience/I’ve been flushed ...

On Not Being Sylvia Plath

Colm Tóibín: Thom Gunn on the Move, 13 September 2018

Selected Poems 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 336 pp., £16.99, July 2017, 978 0 571 32769 0
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... rolled, like stones, and he died’) I thought sadder than anything in Joni Mitchell or Leonard Cohen. I was also interested in Thomas Kinsella’s ‘Another September’, because I knew the house just outside Enniscorthy where it was set and I had met the poet’s wife, whose sleeping figure was evoked in the poem. What was most interesting about ...

Fed up with Ibiza

Jenny Turner: Sybille Bedford, 1 April 2021

Sybille Bedford: An Appetite for Life 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 432 pp., £35, November 2020, 978 1 78474 113 6
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... live again’. A corollary is that it’s only in Quicksands that she writes much about what Lisa Cohen has called ‘the close-knit, fractious lesbian networks of New York, London and Paris’: from Eva to Allanah to Esther to Evelyn and then Eda, with many side projects and much criss-crossing, as Allanah darts off with Eda and then Jane, around the same ...

Last Exit

Murray Sayle, 27 November 1997

The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the Handover of Hong Kong 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £22.50, July 1997, 0 316 64018 2
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In Pursuit of British Interests: Reflections on Foreign Policy under Margaret Thatcher and John Major 
by Percy Cradock.
Murray, 228 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 7195 5464 0
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Hong Kong Under Chinese Rule: The Economic and Political Implications of Reversion 
edited by Warren Cohen and Li Zhao.
Cambridge, 255 pp., £45, August 1997, 0 521 62158 5
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The Hong Kong Advantage 
by Michael Enright, Edith Scott and David Dodwell.
Oxford, 369 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 19 590322 6
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... year of US $26,000, higher than that of Britain, Australia or Canada. Under the discreet Union Jack and omnipresent portrait of the Queen (governors, mostly former diplomats, kept a low profile) it was as stable, secure and friendly to money-making as any place on earth has ever been. There was no audible call for local self-rule, a strange idea to most of ...

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