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Stay Home, Stay Stoned

Andrea Brady: Diane di Prima, 10 March 2022

Revolutionary Letters: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition 
by Diane di Prima.
City Lights, 213 pp., £13.99, September 2021, 978 0 9957162 6 1
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... and emotional complex in an instant of time’. She was also influenced by jazz musicians – Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk: ‘The cadence and line and syncopation that they use, and the places where they would break up a phrase in the middle,’ she wrote, ‘is all part of the American poetic.’ Bird includes poems like this:So here I am the ...

Among the Bobcats

Mark Ford, 23 May 1991

The Dylan Companion 
edited by Elizabeth Thomson and David Gutman.
Macmillan, 338 pp., £10.99, April 1991, 0 333 49826 7
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Bob Dylan: Performing Artist. Vol. I: 1960-73 
by Paul Williams.
Xanadu, 310 pp., £14.99, February 1991, 1 85480 044 2
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Dylan: Behind the Shades 
by Clinton Heylin.
Viking, 528 pp., £16.99, May 1991, 0 670 83602 8
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The Bootleg Series: Vols I-III (rare and unreleased) 1961-1991 
by Bob Dylan.
Columbia, £24.95, April 1991
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... range of other artists he appeals. Surely the only thing in common between Samuel Beckett, Miles Davis, Martin Scorsese, Philip Larkin, Frank O’Hara, Bob Marley, would be their shared interest in his music. His songs have been more widely covered by other musicians, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Jimi Hendrix, from Olivia Newton-John to the ...

Zeitgeist Man

Jenny Diski: Dennis Hopper, 22 March 2012

Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel 
by Peter Winkler.
Robson, 376 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84954 165 7
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... just the acting: Hopper really was a zeitgeist man. He hung out with jazz musicians (apparently Miles Davis composed ‘So What’, on Kind of Blue, inspired by Hopper’s repeated use of the phrase), with Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky and Warhol and Lichtenstein. He bought paintings that became a major Pop Art collection and took photographs that ...

El Diablo in Wine Country

Mike Davis, 2 November 2017

... and Wilder selected Santa Rosa, a picturesque agricultural community of 13,000 people, 55 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma County. The following year, Santa Rosa was introduced to millions of filmgoers in a series of establishing shots that began with aerial views of its pretty countryside and ‘all-American’ downtown. Wartime restrictions ...

The Power of Sunshine

Alexander Cockburn, 10 January 1991

City of Quartz: Excavating the Future of Los Angeles 
by Mike Davis.
Verso, 462 pp., £18.95, November 1990, 0 86091 303 1
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... as the red light filters through the foul air rolling towards Riverside and the desert seventy miles east of the Pacific. And when the Santa Ana winds blow the other way and clean out the whole basin there’s nothing warm in the colour tones even then, just an eerie depth of field so clear throughout its focal range that it’s hard to keep an accurate ...

Philip’s People

Anna Della Subin, 8 May 2014

... office of Buckingham Palace. Compiled by Philip’s now retired private secretary, Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davis (or, as the Tannese, with their love of malapropism, rendered it, Big Ass Dear Summer Lance Daisies), the papers included retellings of the cult’s foundational myths. As the villagers sat round a fire ...

Another Tribe

Andy Beckett: PiL, Wire et al, 1 September 2005

Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-84 
by Simon Reynolds.
Faber, 577 pp., £16.99, April 2005, 0 571 21569 6
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... of these genres had defeated everyone except very rare, much more experienced talents such as Miles Davis and Captain Beefheart, but the Pop Group were undeterred: not only did they plan to create a new music, they planned to use it to carry the most challenging political lyrics. The music press, which was going through a highbrow phase almost ...


Mike Davis: California Burns, 15 November 2007

... writer who spent most of her life ranching in the rugged hills near the hamlet of Ramona, 35 miles north-east of downtown San Diego. Despite the BBC’s incurable penchant for portraying Southern California through the prism of celebrity, it wasn’t Malibu, but Van der Veer’s Ramona that was the epicentre of the Witch Creek fire, the largest and most ...

Motorised Youth Rebellion

Andy Beckett: Radical LA, 18 February 2021

Set the Night on Fire: LA in the Sixties 
by Mike Davis and Jon Wiener.
Verso, 788 pp., £25, April 2020, 978 1 78478 022 7
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... the sense of 1960s LA as an apolitical place largely undisturbed.With Set the Night on Fire, Mike Davis and Jon Wiener attempt to change that. The book documents a whole world of interconnected, often forgotten rebellions that took place on the streets, on campuses, in schools, on beaches, in churches, at workplaces, in radical newspapers and journals, in ...

Adipose Tumorous Growths and All

Kevin Kopelson, 18 May 2000

Franz Liszt. Vol. III: The Final Years, 1861-86 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 594 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 571 19034 0
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The Romantic Generation 
by Charles Rosen.
HarperCollins, 720 pp., £14.99, March 1999, 0 00 255712 6
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Franz Liszt: Selected Letters 
edited by Adrian Williams.
Oxford, 1063 pp., £70, January 1999, 0 19 816688 5
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... Did they succumb to religious scruples? Or did they simply succumb to the concept of simplicity? (Miles Davis comes to mind.) And is virtuosity ever completely renounced? Racine’s last two plays – the religious dramas Esther and Athalie, first performed in a convent – are as virtuosic as Phèdre. Heine’s journalism has a certain ...

Afloat with Static

Jenny Turner: Hey, Blondie!, 19 December 2019

Face It 
by Debbie Harry.
HarperCollins, 352 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 0 00 822942 9
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... waitressing at Max’s Kansas City, where she served steaks and lamb chops to Jefferson Airplane, Miles Davis, Candy Darling, Janis Joplin. Among other things. ‘One night I did Eric Emerson, upstairs … in the phone booth. My one-hour stand with a master of the game.’ Another night, she met a rich man who took her to California, where he bought her ...

Like a Flamingo

Tom Shippey: Viking Treasure, 24 February 2022

The Galloway Hoard: Viking-Age Treasure 
by Martin Goldberg and Mary Davis.
National Museums Scotland, 128 pp., £9.99, February 2021, 978 1 910682 40 1
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... an exhibition of the hoard (at Kirkcudbright Galleries until 10 July), Martin Goldberg and Mary Davis suggest that the top layer was a ‘decoy’. If someone tried to make off with the hoard, or a piece was turned up by ploughing, the discoverers would find the cross and the silver and be so pleased that they didn’t look any further. (In which case, the ...

A Giant Still Sleeping

Lorna Scott Fox: Mike Davies, 4 April 2002

Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the US City 
by Mike Davis.
Verso, 202 pp., £10, November 2001, 9781859843284
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... Mike Davis has gone from meat-cutting and truck-driving to a migrant professorship, from the hands-on New Left to the New Left Review, from California to Edinburgh, Belfast and back. He is one of the last relics of madder, more eclectic days. The poet and environmentalist Lewis MacAdams claims that ‘in a Greek restaurant one night I saw him talk his way through an entire dinner, from the spanakopita to the baklava, without taking a bite ...

Damnable Heresy

David Simpson: The Epic of Everest, 25 October 2012

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest 
by Wade Davis.
Vintage, 655 pp., £12.99, October 2012, 978 0 09 956383 9
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... pursuit of a ‘militant geography’ larger and grander than the mere search for knowledge. Wade Davis’s book on the British Everest expeditions of 1921, 1922 and 1924 shows how each demonstrated its own form of militant geography, its own blend of poetry and politics, error and achievement. Mallory occupies the centre of this story, but the book reaches ...

A City of Sand and Puddles

Julian Barnes: Paris, 22 April 2010

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris 
by Graham Robb.
Picador, 476 pp., £18.99, April 2010, 978 0 330 45244 1
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The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps 
by Eric Hazan, translated by David Fernbach.
Verso, 384 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84467 411 4
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... in reverse order and told in reverse chronology. He casts the affair between Juliette Gréco and Miles Davis as a film script, while his account of the ‘events’ of 1968 is laid out as a parody of a sociology textbook, with questions and answers at the end of sections. Some of these techniques work better than others; and there is a tendency to ...

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