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Diary

Stephen Smith: At the Dingle Derby, 19 September 1996

... spikes. The women were contenders in the Best-Dressed Lady competition (‘kindly sponsored by Brian de Staic’) and/or the Most Elegant Mother & Daughter event. I kept an unofficial book on the Best-Dressed Man handicap: my nap was a character in a five-gallon hat and red neckerchief. I had him in a double with a man in a carnation, a pair of gumboots ...

Woman/Manly

Kristin Dombek: Kim Gordon, 19 March 2015

Girl in a Band 
by Kim Gordon.
Faber, 288 pp., £14.99, February 2015, 978 0 571 31383 9
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... music I’d learned about growing up. And there was Kim Gordon, lined up between Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, in the middle of the huge stage, not a token girl bass player, not a riot grrrl in an angry all-girl band, but a musician among musicians, standing next to her husband, to all appearances equal, taking turns. It meant something, the way she ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Simpsons Movie’, 16 August 2007

The Simpsons Movie 
directed by David Silverman.
July 2007
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... still not left their home. This film is not a conversion from TV, like The Muppet Movie or Life of Brian, in which creatures or sketches sought a new life in a new climate. The inventors of The Simpsons, Matt Groening et al, all on board for the movie occasion, have wisely decided to make a bumper episode of the TV series, a guest appearance of television in ...

You are not helpful!

Simon Blackburn: Wittgenstein in Cambridge, 29 January 2009

Wittgenstein in Cambridge: Letters and Documents 1911-51 
edited by Brian McGuinness.
Blackwell, 498 pp., £75, March 2008, 978 1 4051 4701 9
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... Brian McGuinness has edited and compiled many collections of writings by Wittgenstein and about him, and his 1988 biography, reissued a few years ago as Young Ludwig, as well as being a fascinating account of Wittgenstein’s life up until 1921, also provides one of the best short introductions to the ideas and the style of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus ...

Out of the jiffybag

Frank Kermode, 12 November 1987

For Love and Money: Writing, Reading, Travelling 1969-1987 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins Harvill, 350 pp., £11.50, November 1987, 0 00 272279 8
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Original Copy: Selected Reviews and Journalism 1969-1986 
by John Carey.
Faber, 278 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 571 14879 4
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... to enjoy such books as Martin Green’s Children of the Sun, in which people like Harold Acton and Brian Howard and Cyril Connolly, and all who profess to believe that heterosexual affairs are ‘the mark of state-subsidised undergraduates’, are dug reeking from their lairs, scraped and dumped. Like Orwell, he has a particular loathing for such people when ...

Putting Religion in Its Place

Colm Tóibín: Marilynne Robinson, 22 October 2014

Lila 
by Marilynne Robinson.
Virago, 261 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84408 880 5
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... Graham Greene, Flannery O’Connor, Chinua Achebe, Georges Bernanos, Kate O’Brien, Maurice Gee, Brian Moore and Andrew O’Hagan, have made a big effort. Others, such as James Joyce, have managed to weave religion into a larger fabric, with all the sheer drama of faith and doubt, and have managed also to include the comic possibilities of dogma and ...

Prize Poems

Donald Davie, 1 July 1982

Arvon Foundation Poetry Competion: 1980 Anthology 
by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
Kilnhurst Publishing Company, 173 pp., £3, April 1982, 9780950807805
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Burn this 
by Tom Disch.
Hutchinson, 63 pp., £7.50, April 1982, 0 09 146960 0
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... Loose, Paul Coltman, Richard Dankleff, Robin Ivy, Pete Morgan (two), Phyllis Koestenbaum, Barbara Moore, David MacSweeney (one out of two), Randall Garrison, Donald Stallybrass, Ellery Akers, Peter Abbs, John Hodgen, Andrew Motion, Edwin Drummond, Gregory Harrison, Gordon Mason and Robert Ballard, Isabel Nathaniel and Peter Didsbury, Anthony Edkins and ...

Do, Not, Love, Make, Beds

David Wheatley: Irish literary magazines, 3 June 2004

Irish Literary Magazines: An Outline History and Descriptive Bibliography 
Irish Academic, 318 pp., £35, January 2003, 0 7165 2751 0Show More
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... in 1904, it outspokenly attacked the Church and the Revival, as well as publishing George Moore, an important figure in the Revival. Joyce eventually sneaked in with a wispy ‘Song’ in August 1904, though he still included the editor of Dana, John Eglinton (W.K. Magee), in the rogues’ gallery of his broadside ‘The Holy Office’, published ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... Smith] said of Hardy’s second wife that she had tried first to get off with George Moore – or so he said. “George Moore would have said that of the Virgin Mary,” said B.B. [Berenson], “if he’d ever heard of her.” ’ But is it witty or humorous to predicate that George ...

Sinking Giggling into the Sea

Jonathan Coe: Giggling along with Boris, 18 July 2013

The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson 
edited by Harry Mount.
Bloomsbury, 149 pp., £9.99, June 2013, 978 1 4081 8352 6
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... the other three-quarters of the Beyond the Fringe team (Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore), who would go on to present their own take on the nuclear threat, in a sketch called ‘Civil War’.In that sketch, a worried Moore listens trustingly as a succession of posh-voiced government spokesmen seek to reassure ...

The Will and the Body

David Pears, 17 December 1981

The Will: A Dual Aspect Theory 
by Brian O’Shaughnessy.
Cambridge, 250 pp., £25, November 1980, 0 521 22680 5
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... of rescuing the mind from the lofty isolation of Cartesianism. There must be some other way, and Brian O’Shaughnessy’s book is the record of a search for one. As its title indicates, it does not deal with the general question of the relation between mind and brain, nor does it cover in equal detail every type of interaction between mind and body ...

Dangerous Play

Mike Selvey, 23 May 1985

Gubby Allen: Man of Cricket 
by E.W. Swanton.
Hutchinson, 311 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 09 159780 3
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Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack: 1985 
edited by John Woodcock.
Wisden, 1280 pp., £11.95, April 1985, 0 947766 00 6
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... The Cricketers’ Almanack has appeared on my bookshelf ever since I realised it wasn’t Old Moore with jaundice, listing the phases of the Moon or high tide at London Bridge. My entire cricket career, every over of it, is encapsulated in a row of books four feet long. The editor, John Woodcock, the highly respected cricket correspondent of the ...

Mysteries of Kings Cross

Iain Sinclair, 5 October 1995

Vale Royal 
by Aidan Dun.
Goldmark, 130 pp., £22.50, July 1995
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... and Donne, through Milton and Blake and Keats, to David Jones, Gascoyne, Dylan Thomas, Nicholas Moore, to Lee Harwood’s Cable Street, Bill Griffiths’s Whitechapel and Brian Catling’s The Stumbling Block. London infected its interpreters, soliciting contributions to an open-ended project. The names of the poets were ...

Green War

Patricia Craig, 19 February 1987

Poetry in the Wars 
by Edna Longley.
Bloodaxe, 264 pp., £12.95, November 1986, 0 906427 74 6
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We Irish: The Selected Essays of Denis Donoghue 
Harvester, 275 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 7108 1011 3Show More
The Battle of The Books 
by W.J. McCormack.
Lilliput, 94 pp., £3.95, October 1986, 0 946640 13 0
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The Twilight of Ascendancy 
by Mark Bence-Jones.
Constable, 327 pp., £14.95, January 1987, 0 09 465490 5
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl 
edited by John Quinn.
Methuen, 144 pp., £8.95, November 1986, 0 413 14350 3
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... and savage’) to certain terms bandied about today: ‘terrorist’, ‘bomber’. Brian Friel, another of the ‘Field Day’ directors, does something similar in his play, Translations, which isn’t only about the act of translating place-names from Irish to English, but also ‘translates’ a typical British battalion in the Belfast or ...

Irishness is for other people

Terry Eagleton: Enrique Vila-Matas, 19 July 2012

Dublinesque 
by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey.
Harvill Secker, 245 pp., £16.99, June 2012, 978 1 84655 489 6
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... is a kernel of truth to the notion of Ireland as a breeder of fantasies. Culture – from Bono to Brian Friel, Heaney to Riverdance – is modern Ireland’s most remarkable export. There is a small but impressive film industry known as Paddywood. Artists in Ireland are exempt from income tax on their work, and this respect for the arts goes a long way ...

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