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Badoompa-doompa-doompa-doom

Graham Coster, 10 January 1991

Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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Bare 
by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... of them: ‘Jimi would be the macho man, Mitch the bouncy type, and I’d be the quiet one.’ Bill Wyman, it emerges from the two Stones books, was originally hired for a certain unique stage presence only he at the time could contribute: a decent set of amplifiers. The bassist knows the rest of the band can’t do without him, and also knows the rest of ...

Like a boll weevil to a cotton bud

A. Craig Copetas, 18 November 1993

New York Days 
by Willie Morris.
Little, Brown, 400 pp., £19.45, September 1993, 0 316 58421 5
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... Bill Clinton – cooing and eager – is arguing that the watermelon is not a parasite. It is New York, America, and the year is 1968 or 1969. We are having cocktails, the Southern gentleman’s expression for raw liquor sprayed with vermouth, at Elaine’s Restaurant, or perhaps it’s the home of Jean Stein, the wealthy and stunningly attractive daughter of the chairman of the board of the Music Corporation of America ...

Diary

David Bromwich: The Establishment President, 13 May 2010

... On Sunday 21 March the House of Representatives passed a healthcare bill that had been promoted for a year and brokered in many particulars by Barack Obama. This marked a victory for a substantial piece of social legislation, the first of its kind in more than three decades; and the result appears to have given the president and his party fresh confidence in their efforts at comprehensive reform ...

Family History

Miles Taylor: Tony Benn, 25 September 2003

Free at Last: Diaries 1991-2001 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 738 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 09 179352 1
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Free Radical: New Century Essays 
by Tony Benn.
Continuum, 246 pp., £9.95, May 2003, 9780826465962
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... Voted off the NEC in 1993, he could only watch as first John Smith and then Blair and Gordon Brown modernised the Party. That they did so from Millbank Tower, built on the site of the house in which Benn was born, added pathos to the triumph of New Labour over old. The fate of the Bennite Left under New Labour underlines the point: stalwarts from the ...

Preacher on a Tank

David Runciman: Blair Drills Down, 7 October 2010

A Journey 
by Tony Blair.
Hutchinson, 718 pp., £25, September 2010, 978 0 09 192555 0
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... He faced two serious and determined enemies during his time in Downing Street: al-Qaida and Gordon Brown. One, he concluded, represented a force so strong and rooted that it had to be uprooted and destroyed, since confrontation was inevitable; the only question was when and how. The other had to be contained, because stepping over the line would have been ...

A Hard Dog to Keep on the Porch

Christopher Hitchens, 6 June 1996

... to the length of self-slaughter. Most were more sanguine. I don’t especially remember Bill Clinton, perhaps because he was one of the more moderate and conciliatory types. But I remember several of his girlfriends and I remember being impressed at a house that boasted its own duplicator for the production of Vietnam Moratorium leaflets. And now I ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Voices from Beyond the Grave, 20 November 2008

... in the confines of his study, mugging before the mirror in order to perfect the rascally sneer of Bill Sikes or the effeminate moue of Old Mr Turveydrop. He was not alone in this, if you bear in mind the solo thespian flights of Bruce Chatwin. A woman in Italy with whom Chatwin used to stay remembers an afternoon when the maid came running ...

Spliffing

Richard Davenport-Hines: Drugs, 2 November 2000

The Science of Marijuana 
by Leslie Iversen.
Oxford, 278 pp., £18.99, April 2000, 0 19 513123 1
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Drug Diplomacy in the 20th Century: An International History 
by William McAllister.
Routledge, 344 pp., £16.99, September 1999, 0 415 17989 0
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The Control of Fuddle and Flash: A Sociological History of the Regulation of Alcohol and Opiates 
by Jan-Willem Gerritsen.
Brill, 278 pp., €52, April 2000, 90 04 11640 0
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Drugs and the Law: Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 
Police Foundation, 148 pp., £20, March 2000, 0 947692 47 9Show More
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... were arrested in Old Compton Street and accused of offering to supply raw opium. In fact, the brown substance in their possession was hashish, which it was then legal to possess, and the case was abandoned. But it provided the excuse for an alarmist series of cheap newspaper articles in the silly season – including a supposed interview in the Daily Mail ...

Diary

Jay Griffiths: The Mayday protest in London (2000), 22 June 2000

... lies’. One protester, Steve, comes to a meeting fresh from court, where the Vestey heir, Mark Brown (accused but found not guilty of organising J18) is on trial. ‘The press, they were scum today; they were parasites.’ Outside the court, he says, RTS activists and the press were involved in a scuffle: ‘One cameraman got his camera ...

Our Guy

John Barnie: Blair’s Style, 20 January 2011

... Wodehouse takes over. George Mitchell is ‘an immensely shrewd and capable wise oldish bird’; Bill Clinton was ‘a total brick throughout’; Derry Irvine ‘has a brain the size of a melon’. People are ‘of that ilk’ and can be found with ‘their faces grimacing as if a thousand lemons had been forced down their throats’. The queen ‘was in a ...

If I Turn and Run

Iain Sinclair: In Hoxton, 1 June 2000

45 
by Bill Drummond.
Little, Brown, 361 pp., £12.99, March 2000, 0 316 85385 2
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Crucify Me Again 
by Mark Manning.
Codex, 190 pp., £8.95, May 2000, 0 18 995814 6
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... spring afternoon and they have dressed for it in country formal outfits: stout boots, long, brown chequerboard coats with too many buttons, furry headwarmers that flap down over their ears. They look worried – like posh herdsmen who have lost their reindeer. At Shoreditch Church, they dress to the left and march west under the railway bridge. It’s ...

Throw it out the window

Bee Wilson: Lady Constance Lytton, 16 July 2015

Lady Constance Lytton: Aristocrat, Suffragette, Martyr 
by Lyndsey Jenkins.
Biteback, 282 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 1 84954 795 6
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... and the Realm. The work made her feel ‘rampantly well’ for once. She would lunch frugally on brown bread and ginger biscuits and sit up working until the small hours. But Edith felt that the journalism took Constance too much away from home, and so Constance obligingly gave it up, just as she had once given up hope of studying piano at a ...

The Money

Adam Shatz: What the War is Costing, 6 March 2008

... estimate rises to almost $5 trillion.* And that’s just the cost to the United States. Gordon Brown reserved £1 billion for the war. Britain has now spent more than £5 billion on ‘direct operating expenditures’ in Iraq, and Stiglitz and Bilmes predict that by 2010 the cost of the war will exceed £20 billion. Some of this money has come from a ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: You had better look out, 10 December 1998

... and Gordon Show. Some speculation about whether Blair may be more of a be-er than a do-er, whereas Brown really lives for the exercise as well as the possession of power. I say I’m worried by any politician who thinks that he has the strength of ten because his heart is pure and that he can therefore sup with the devil unscathed. Might the country be better ...

Against Responsibility

William Davies, 8 November 2018

Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism 
by Melinda Cooper.
Zone, 447 pp., £24, March 2017, 978 1 935408 84 0
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... The phrase was used as a way of signalling economic and moral commitment at the same time. Gordon Brown – who liked to cloak redistributive policies in communitarian, traditionalist rhetoric – is said to have been the first to use it, in 1995. The Blair, Brown and Cameron governments all repeatedly claimed to be on the ...

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