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At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Lucian Freud, 25 July 2002

... again.’ Which makes you think about sitting and standing self-portraits: Hogarth sitting – keen, you feel, to get closer to the canvas. Velázquez in Las Meninas standing – clearly needing to move back to see how his latest mark is working. In Freud’s later, freer pictures the puckering of cheek or belly is described by marks which strongly ...


Vesna Goldsworthy: In Montenegro, 17 February 2000

... had already begun and public transport was appalling. The Serbian Government, like Nato, appears keen to play down suggestions of any environmental damage caused by the bombing raids, but Belgrade buzzes with wild rumours about low-level uranium radiation, pollution and poisoned river water. One tabloid has advised young women not to conceive for another ...

At the Design Museum

Andrew O’Hagan: Peter Saville, 19 June 2003

... I think it likely – or slightly more than likely – that Peter Saville is the only English graphic artist to have had an actor play him in a major motion picture. The film, 24 Hour Party People, was entertaining in the way that films full of intense people with good accents and daft haircuts always are, and Saville comes off quite well, the genius of the piece in fact, which is probably saying quite a lot, since the Manchester music scene of the late 1970s and 1980s (the setting for the movie) bred self-proclaimed geniuses in the way Sheffield used to produce knives and forks ...

Lords loses out

R.W. Johnson: Basil D’Oliveira and racism in sport, 16 December 2004

Basil D’Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story 
by Peter Oborne.
Little, Brown, 274 pp., £16.99, June 2004, 0 316 72572 2
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Reflections on a Life in Sport 
by Sam Ramsamy and Edward Griffiths.
Greenhouse, 168 pp., £7.99, July 2004, 0 620 32251 9
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... Growing up in Durban in the 1950s, I could see how keen Coloured and Indian cricketers were, how much everything was tilted against them and, at the same time, how good white South African cricket was. Take the schoolboy generation I saw rising around me. Playing against Hilton College, I came up against Hylton Ackerman and Mike Procter – the latter opening both the batting and bowling at the age of 13 – while at Durban High School the opening pair of Lee Irvine and Barry Richards had century or double-century partnerships every week; it was impossible to bowl to them ...

Saint Jane

D.A.N. Jones, 20 October 1983

The Good Father 
by Peter Prince.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02131 1
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Mrs Pooter’s Diary 
by Keith Waterhouse and John Jensen.
Joseph, 208 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2339 5
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Dandiprat’s Days 
by David Thomson.
Dent, 165 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 460 04613 6
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The Dream of a Beast 
by Neil Jordan.
Chatto, 103 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 7011 2740 6
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Squeak: A Biography of NPA 1978A 203 
by John Bowen and Eric Fraser.
Faber, 127 pp., £2.95, October 1983, 0 571 13170 0
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The Life and Times of Michael K 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 250 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 10297 8
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... Peter Prince’s admirable novel, The Good Father, is about a group of professional-class people in the London Borough of Lambeth, trying to see themselves as liberal and left-wing. They were students together in the late 1960s and are struggling to maintain in the 1980s the package of liberal values (or ‘received ideas’) which they shared so confidently in their youth ...

Young Marvin

Frank Kermode, 24 January 1991

A Tenured Professor 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 197 pp., £12.95, November 1990, 1 85619 018 8
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Shade those laurels 
by Cyril Connolly and Peter Levi.
Bellew, 174 pp., £12.95, October 1990, 0 947792 37 6
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... and the legitimacy of the extracurricular activities of the professoriat, especially Marvin’s. Keen to do some good in the world, not least for himself, young Marvin needs the security of tenure, and produces a solid thesis to that end. But one day in Heffers he picks up a book and reads about Bernard Cornfeld. Inspired by that example, he studies the many ...

New Looks, New Newspapers

Peter Campbell, 2 June 1988

The Graphic Language of Neville Brody 
by Jon Wozencroft.
Thames and Hudson, 160 pp., £14.95, April 1988, 0 500 27496 7
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The Making of the ‘Independent’ 
by Michael Crozier.
Gordon Fraser, 128 pp., £8.95, May 1988, 0 86092 107 7
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... which created a writer’s paper. People who put their powers of invention into words are usually keen to have them printed in traditional form. They want a proper book or newspaper, which has led to the look of pages changing much more slowly than their content and explains why the dropped initial, italicised passages, rules, subheadings, and most of the ...

Half Bird, Half Fish, Half Unicorn

Paul Foot, 16 October 1997

Peter Cook: A Biography 
by Harry Thompson.
Hodder, 516 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 340 64968 2
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... I was a friend and devoted admirer of Peter Cook for thirty years but I never realised until I read this book how much our early lives had overlapped. We were born in the same week into the same sort of family. His father, like mine, was a colonial servant rushing round the world hauling down the Imperial flag. At one stage both fathers were ensnared in the argument about the most appropriate capital for the West Indies Federation: an argument as vexed as it was futile since the Federation lasted only a few months ...

From a Novel in Progress

James Wood, 9 May 2002

... consider me as the writer of the proposed obituaries? I don’t cope well with pressure. I was keen to stay on Hegley’s order-form, and suddenly I realised that the most decisive way both to explain my tardiness and to appeal for sympathy would be to tell him that I had been lately dealing with my own, rather proximate obituary: I told Hegley that my ...

Irving, Terry, Gary and Graham

Ian Hamilton, 22 April 1993

Behind Closed Doors 
by Irving Scholar and Mihir Bose.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 0 233 98824 6
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Sick as a Parrot: The Inside Story of the Spurs Fiasco 
by Chris Horrie.
Virgin, 293 pp., £4.99, August 1992, 0 86369 620 1
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Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different 
by Colin Malam.
Stanley Paul, 147 pp., £12.99, January 1993, 0 09 175424 0
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... when David’s problem first surfaced in the summer I had received a telephone call from a very keen Spurs supporter, who I knew was very friendly with Terry Venables ... He chit-chatted for a couple of minutes, and then he suddenly said: ‘I’ve got Terry’s number on holiday, and he would be very interested in hearing from you.’ I politely declined ...

Thinking big

Peter Campbell, 26 September 1991

Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition 
by Ed Regis.
Viking, 308 pp., £16.99, September 1991, 0 670 83855 1
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... well as clever. They admit no necessary divide between literary and scientific imagination and are keen to move from story to theory, theory to tinkering in the garage, and from tinkering to the stars. When you start to make even small moves of a practical nature the fun starts. Take the case of Dora Kent’s head. Way back in 1968 her son Saul had been ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: FOI, 4 February 2021

... The ‘cash for ash’ scandal in Northern Ireland revealed that both Sinn Féin and the DUP were keen to avoid writing anything down, in part out of fear of future FOI requests. In 2017, the Scottish information commissioner concluded that the devolved government in Edinburgh’s FOI procedures were ‘inherently wrong’ and ‘contrary to the spirit’ of ...

Sour Notes

D.A.N. Jones, 17 November 1983

Peter Hall’s Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle 
edited by John Goodwin.
Hamish Hamilton, 507 pp., £12.95, November 1983, 0 241 11047 5
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... Sir Peter Hall is a man of Notes. He is a director of plays who has become Director of the National Theatre. The skills of play directors are not those of performers (like his predecessor at the National, Lord Olivier). Play directors pride themselves on their ability to give what they call Notes. This sort of Note (scarcely recognised by dictionaries) is not the sort manual workers make, in notebooks or on notepaper: it is mouth work ...


Frank Kermode, 3 December 1981

by Peter Carey.
Faber, 296 pp., £6.50, November 1981, 0 571 11769 4
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Exotic Pleasures 
by Peter Carey.
Picador, 192 pp., £1.95, October 1981, 0 330 26550 4
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... undressed, who turns out to have a skin and limbs that also come off; in another, a father who is keen on the need for love dematerialises in the sitting-room. There’s an element of Science Fiction, and a rather poetic story about a mime, but the most telling is called ‘War Crimes’. It deals with what is clearly a favourite topic, the fascist ravages of ...

Whipping the wicked

Peter Clarke, 17 April 1980

The Optimists: Themes and Personalities in Victorian Liberalism 
by Ian Bradley.
Faber, 301 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 571 11495 4
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... rise and fall of Liberal support are, however, rather less convincing. Gladstone himself took a keen speculative interest in electoral sociology and found encouraging precedents for the fact that the humble and meek made the warmest response to the Liberal appeal. ‘Did Scribes and Pharisees or did shepherds and fishermen yield the first, most and readiest ...

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