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Walls, Fences, Grilles and Intercoms

Andrew Saint: Security and the City, 19 November 2009

Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the 21st-Century City 
by Anna Minton.
Penguin, 240 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 0 14 103391 4
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... before. Physical planning became something of a dirty word in this country, she explains, after Peter Hall and the other freedom-loving authors of ‘Non-Plan’ tried to prise Britain out of the rigidities of the postwar planning system at the end of the 1960s. But the results were not what they intended, propelling us down the free-market path and ...

How long before Ofop steps in?

Patrick Carnegy, 16 March 2000

In House: Covent Garden, 50 Years of Opera and Ballet 
by John Tooley.
Faber, 318 pp., £25, November 1999, 9780571194155
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Never Mind the Moon: My Time at the Royal Opera House 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Bantam, 356 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 593 04355 3
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... the Liverpool department-store manager who’d built it up from its wartime use as a dance-hall, and then for 18 years as general director. The high point of Webster’s reign was the Georg Solti era (1961-71). Tooley presided over the rather lesser era of Colin Davis (1971-86). Things, indeed, began to fall apart when Davis’s partnerships with ...

Obscene Child

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Mozart, 5 July 2007

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography 
by Piero Melograni, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Chicago, 300 pp., £19, December 2006, 0 226 51956 2
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Mozart: The First Biography 
by Franz Niemetschek, translated by Helen Mautner.
Berghahn, 77 pp., £17.50, November 2006, 1 84545 231 3
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Mozart’s Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music 
by Jane Glover.
Pan, 406 pp., £7.99, April 2006, 0 330 41858 0
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... being prone to clowning and lavatory humour. Think of the babyish and buffoonish Amadeus of Peter Shaffer’s play. Or the impetuous, tousle-haired and disconcertingly North American figure in the Milos Forman film, stalked through the Vienna night by Antonio Salieri to the sound of the Dies irae from the Requiem. Franz Niemetschek, Mozart’s ...
... of the Lubetkin and Tecton High Point flats, and of William Lescaze buildings for the Darlington Hall Estate, are still wonderfully convincing. Attempts to make the same style work cheaply do not. Wells Coates’s Minimum Flat was all too easy to translate into something which offered a minimum life. Artist-designed fabrics on the whole do not stand ...

Big Fish

Frank Kermode, 9 September 1993

Tell Them I’m on my Way 
by Arnold Goodman.
Chapmans, 464 pp., £20, August 1993, 1 85592 636 9
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Not an Englishman: Conversations with Lord Goodman 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 237 pp., £17.99, August 1993, 1 85619 365 9
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... Finally he made his speech, as he had to; it was pained and cold, but polite. A little later Peter Hall, called upon to speak for the other guests, took a different line, telling them warmly that they were as disgusting a group as it had ever been his misfortune to encounter. It was an admirable and memorable speech. Whether or not it was more ...

As if Life Depended on It

John Mullan: With the Leavisites, 12 September 2013

Memoirs of a Leavisite: The Decline and Fall of Cambridge English 
by David Ellis.
Liverpool, 151 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 1 84631 889 4
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English as a Vocation: The ‘Scrutiny’ Movement 
by Christopher Hilliard.
Oxford, 298 pp., £57, May 2012, 978 0 19 969517 1
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The Two Cultures? The Significance of C.P. Snow 
by F.R. Leavis.
Cambridge, 118 pp., £10.99, August 2013, 978 1 107 61735 3
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... of the working classes in the second half of the 20th century: ‘the telly, the car, the bingo hall … eating fish and chips in Spain’. The laughter of the Cheltenham audience is tinged with shock that he should be quite so sneering. In the second lecture, discussing the unfortunate consequences of Eliot’s ‘Francophilia’ and referring to his essay ...

At Tate Modern

Peter Campbell: Bruce Nauman’s Raw Materials, 4 November 2004

... The turbine hall of the old power station is cathedral-like. Its dimensions and proportions, the windows at each end and the choir-screen bridge that divides the nave space of the entrance from the space beyond are churchy. As an art gallery, it is demanding. When the long red horn of Anish Kapoor’s Marsyas filled the box the scale was exhilarating in itself, but it made the hall feel like a shed ...

Two Poems

Peter Redgrove, 3 February 1983

... Hall of Clothes and Circuses I The rich seaside stones turn to cloth at a word, To magnificent garments, the tweeds of the granite, Felspar woven with mica and buttons of quartz. The whole earth at a word is a magnificent garment Which the Lord wears, A magnificence sewn for him by his Mother, The smooth sleeves of wet slate, the sewn pearls of barnacles, A dressing-gown of sliding sand, a nightdress of mud With snailtrack stitching, pyjamas of glittering silica, A shirt of schists, the cricketer’s white of china-clay, And the sea winking, and the waves leaping Over and over each other in the tidal circus, The little snapping white horses, And the green horses racing in the oaks ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... In the National Theatre’s inaugural season in 1963 Michael Redgrave played Claudius to Peter O’Toole’s Hamlet. Apart from Olivier, the theatre’s first director, Redgrave, then aged 55, was its greatest star. Known to the public from his many film roles, and having just been named actor of the year by the Evening Standard for his Uncle Vanya at Chichester, which one critic called ‘the highest level of acting the contemporary theatre has to offer’, he was good box-office ...

At the Funfair

Peter Campbell: ‘Winter Wonderland’, 7 January 2010

... but the quieter but still content-free manifestations of the higher fairground art in the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern – it invites comparison with the aspects of reality that in the past would have been called sublime. To enter into direct competition with a big waterfall, or the excavations of an iron ore mine, or a blast furnace seen by night, or ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: John Martin, 20 October 2011

... the second and third of which are reproduced here. These are hung in a long dark hall (hell-fire sermons, preached visually or verbally, resonate best in large spaces); a preacher’s voiceover describes the torment and bliss they illustrate, but there is thunder too, if I remember rightly, and startling effects as bits of one picture after ...

Wharton the Wise

D.A.N. Jones, 4 April 1985

The Missing Will 
by Michael Wharton.
Hogarth, 216 pp., £10.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2666 3
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... For 27 years Michael Wharton has written the ‘Peter Simple’ column in the Daily Telegraph. He was only 43 when he secured this good, steady job and now he has published an autobiographical account of his 43 apprentice years – dissident, drifting, bohemian years, marked by a lack of will-power, what the Greeks called aboulia ...

Short Cuts

Peter McGill: In Japan, 31 March 2011

... where the 38,000 had perished in the clothing depot. In 1931, a red brick Reconstruction Memorial Hall was added. I visited in 2007. The only other visitor was a tramp. Inside I found a couple of American posters soliciting aid for stricken Japan. The US appeal, kicked off by Calvin Coolidge, only recently installed in the Oval Office, raised $19.6 ...

At the Saatchi Gallery

Peter Campbell: London’s new art gallery, 8 May 2003

... The Saatchi Gallery, now to be found in the old County Hall building, spreads itself down long corridors and through ranks of offices. Many of these contain single works. Only in the big rotunda are a substantial number of pieces seen together – among them Damien Hirst’s very large anatomical model and Ron Mueck’s very small sculpture Dead Dad ...

At the Saatchi Gallery

Peter Campbell: The Triumph of Painting, 17 February 2005

... part of The Triumph of Painting – there will be two more – is at the Saatchi Gallery in County Hall until 5 June. It isn’t exactly a triumph. Resignation is in the air, as though the force behind twenty years of Saatchi exhibitions is on the wane. In those exhibitions things became famous without necessarily being seen. People felt they knew the ...

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