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by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... the word ‘extremist’: Richard Ingrams may be an extremist in his journalistic methods, but, as Alan Watkins has pointed out in an excellent Spectator profile, he is a radical Tory who professes to despise political extremes. Goldsmith stabbed in all directions at his imaginary enemies and, to his cost, singled out Auberon Waugh, thinking him to be the ...

Petting Cafés!

E.S. Turner: Wartime spivs and dodgers, 4 December 2003

An Underworld at War: Spivs, Deserters, Racketeers and Civilians in the Second World War 
by Donald Thomas.
Murray, 429 pp., £20, July 2003, 0 7195 5732 1
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... tricks (as set out, entertainingly, by the old sweat who took over the education lecture in Alan Hackney’s Private’s Progress); if the resulting loss fell on shareholders too old to fight, or on those in reserved occupations, then some sort of rough justice was being achieved, or so the offender might argue. Frauds against the state were all too ...


James Wood: The ‘TLS’, 27 June 2002

Critical Times: The History of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ 
by Derwent May.
HarperCollins, 606 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 00 711449 4
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... time that a new English novel had been given a full page piece to itself; and the editorship of Alan Pryce-Jones (1948-59), during which the paper ‘became a serious, modern, intellectual journal’, and developed its willingness to comment freely about world events, something it has continued to do very well under its now departing editor, Ferdinand ...

All the Necessary Attributes

Stephen Walsh: Franz Liszt, Celebrity, 22 September 2016

Franz Liszt: Musician, Celebrity, Superstar 
by Oliver Hilmes, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 353 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 300 18293 4
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... The account of Liszt’s death in Bayreuth in 1886 is well told and moving, but adds little to Alan Walker’s account in his great three-volume biography, which made full use of the then unpublished diary of Liszt’s pupil and unofficial carer Lina Schmalhausen. Liszt had returned to Bayreuth at Cosima’s request for that year’s festival, but ...

Political Gothic

Andy Beckett: David Peace does the miners’ strike, 23 September 2004

by David Peace.
Faber, 465 pp., £12.99, March 2004, 0 571 21445 2
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... Peace places a retired general in a remote Scottish castle, plainly based on the late Sir Walter Walker, the half-absurd, half-credible focus for hopes and fears of a British military coup in the mid-1970s, who is growing impatient with what he sees as Thatcher’s lack of decisiveness. Throughout, there is an intriguing tension between the book’s ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende, 11 July 2002

Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... of this sinister idiocy was represented by blimpish figures of fun like former General Sir Walter Walker, who perhaps thought he had found a formula to negate one of the oldest maxims of the class war – that you cannot dig coal with bayonets. But there were other serving officers who clearly hoped that they might improve on the silent mutiny with which they ...


John Lanchester: A Month on the Sofa, 11 July 2002

... is from Peckham, where Damilola Taylor was murdered, and spoke prominently about that, so he and Alan Smith went to the school to express their condolences. This is exactly the kind of thing that English footballers tend not to do, so good for him. This was his first time back to Osaka since then. Mulling over what the photographer said about hooligans, it ...


Colm Tóibín: The revolutionary Edward Carpenter, 29 January 2009

Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Verso, 565 pp., £24.99, October 2008, 978 1 84467 295 0
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... and shadowed him and his companions as they walked in the countryside – Carpenter was a great walker. Carpenter moved away from his friends to speak to Merrill, and secured his address. Merrill was 22 years younger than Carpenter and from a working-class background. He had had a number of homosexual relationships with older, wealthier men before he met ...

As Astonishing as Elvis

Jenny Turner: Ayn Rand, 1 December 2005

Ayn Rand 
by Jeff Britting.
Duckworth, 155 pp., £12.99, February 2005, 0 7156 3269 8
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... among them Rand’s eventual heir, Leonard Peikoff, and a young clarinet-playing economist called Alan Greenspan. The NBI started out giving lecture courses in hired hotel rooms, but by 1963, according to Barbara Branden, NBI classes were being offered in 54 US cities; two years later the number had risen to 80, and there were plans to take the institute to ...

The Real Magic

David Sylvester, 8 June 1995

A Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Deutsch, 834 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 233 98859 9
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... but how many musicals are great films? Or, speaking of moments, the killing of Jack Palance by Alan Ladd in Shane is exquisite, but Shane as a whole is a phoney. (But its director, George Stevens, did direct a musical that’s a serious candidate for greatness: Swing Time.) And the problem of evaluating the makers is vastly complicated, as it is with the ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire, 11 June 2009

... bout of traffic thrombosis. Congestion, says one of Vanderbilt’s well-deployed experts, Alan Pisarski, is ‘people with the economic means to act on their social and economic interests getting in the way of other people with the means to act on theirs.’ Maybe co-operation is just another way of referring to the stuff you have to put up with in ...


Neal Ascherson: Hugh Trevor-Roper, 19 August 2010

Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Weidenfeld, 598 pp., £25, July 2010, 978 0 297 85214 8
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... regius professor. But Trevor-Roper was always a highly physical creature. He was a phenomenal walker in the Borders or the Peloponnese, and would appear in college after ‘a short stroll’ of 38 miles in the Cotswolds. Above all, he developed a lifelong passion for hunting. Horses rolled on him; he lost his spectacles in ditches. But an alluring meet ...

A Cousin of Colonel Heneage

Robert Crawford: Was Eliot a Swell?, 18 April 2019

The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume VIII: 1936-38 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 1100 pp., £50, January 2019, 978 0 571 31638 0
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... he wrote a few days later, ‘and asked if I was not a cousin of Colonel Heneage.’ Colonel Walker Heneage of Coker Court, the local manor house, part-Tudor, part-Georgian, belonged to the family that owned the New Inn and some surrounding land; in thinking he might be the colonel’s cousin, the landlady was placing Eliot in terms of social class ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... was reported that he was to receive an annual salary of £20,000. He later became Lord Howe. Peter Walker’s resignation in May 1990 was followed by an explosion of career activity. He took directorships with the Welsh off-shoot of N.M. Rothschild, the bank used by the government for the sell-off of British Gas, and with British Gas itself, at a salary ...


Andrew O’Hagan: The Bournemouth Set, 21 May 2020

... and he put a ship’s bell in the garden. (The original lighthouse was built by his uncle Alan, 12 miles south-west of Tiree.) Fanny put benches here and there, so that Stevenson could sit on sunny days with a writing board perched on his knee.Sir Henry Taylor, a colonial reformer and poet-dramatist, had a villa in Bournemouth; he was 84 that year. He ...

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