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Ronald Bryden, 10 December 1987

The Life of Kenneth Tynan 
by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 407 pp., £16.95, September 1987, 9780297790822
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... motive for his self-exile to California; he was particularly shocked by the attacks on him by John Osborne and William Gaskill in Logan Gourlay’s collection of essays on Olivier. Mrs Tynan’s last chapters make depressing reading. More and more, as his illness advanced, he took on the grotesque likeness of Kaufman and Hart’s Sheridan Whiteside, the Man ...

Gosh, what am I like?

Rosemary Hill: The Revenge Memoir, 17 December 2020

Friends and Enemies: A Memoir 
by Barbara Amiel.
Constable, 592 pp., £25, October 2020, 978 1 4721 3421 9
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Diary of an MP’s Wife: Inside and Outside Power 
by Sasha Swire.
Little, Brown, 544 pp., £20, September 2020, 978 1 4087 1341 9
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... offer of a column on the Telegraph when he was proprietor. This was naturally embarrassing for Charles Moore, the editor, and annoying for the rest of the staff or, as Amiel puts it, a ‘small but vocal-in-corners group’ of them. Amiel sought the advice of William (Bill) Deedes, a former editor, a ‘seminal figure at the paper’ and all-round ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... the Nash brothers, Alf White? Get your PR in first, before you pick up a shooter from ‘Dukie’ Osborne, if you’re into immortality. Hire your Joe Haines, like any other self-respecting tycoon. Give the legend a bit of a massage. It could be the difference between being a statistic in a Channel 4 filler and being reincarnated by Richard Burton. Only ...

Good New Idea

John Lanchester: Universal Basic Income, 18 July 2019

... a single cash payment, given to everyone, irrespective of circumstances. In the frank words of Charles Murray, he of The Bell Curve: ‘What I want is a grand compromise between the left and the right. We on the right say: “We will give you huge government, in terms of the amount of money we spend. You give us small government, in terms of the ability of ...

The Magic Lever

Donald MacKenzie: How the Banks Do It, 9 May 2013

... industrial countries, were then pressured or persuaded into agreement, a process described by Charles Goodhart in his book on the history of the committee.2 At the core of the 1988 Basel Accord on Capital Adequacy (‘Basel I’, as it is now known) is an apparently straightforward rule, named for the then chair of the Basel Committee, the Bank of ...

A Bloody Stupid Idea

James Butler: Landlord’s Paradise, 6 May 2021

Red Metropolis: Socialism and the Government of London 
by Owen Hatherley.
Repeater, 264 pp., £10.99, November 2020, 978 1 913462 20 8
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... is its reliance on passenger fares for 72 per cent of its funding, after a deal between George Osborne and Johnson, towards the end of his stint as mayor, slashed its central funding by £700 million. The equivalent networks in Paris and New York rely on fares for only 38 per cent of their funding. Crossrail’s delays and spiralling capital costs have ...

How can we live with it?

Thomas Jones: How to Survive Climate Change, 23 May 2013

The Carbon Crunch: How We’re Getting Climate Change Wrong – and How to Fix It 
by Dieter Helm.
Yale, 273 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 300 18659 8
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Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering 
by Clive Hamilton.
Yale, 247 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 0 300 18667 3
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The City and the Coming Climate: Climate Change in the Places We Live 
by Brian Stone.
Cambridge, 187 pp., £19.99, July 2012, 978 1 107 60258 8
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... less guzzle CO2 and piss petrol. But not just yet. Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University, Canberra, is suspicious of ‘the lure of the technofix’. In Earthmasters, between the handwringing (‘for those who value civilised society and who are not willing to turn their faces away from the poorest and most vulnerable people ...

Old Dad dead?

Michael Neill: Thomas Middleton, 4 December 2008

Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 2016 pp., £85, November 2007, 978 0 19 818569 7
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Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 1183 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 818570 3
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... Revenger’s Tragedy, and its angry young author is further imagined as an early avatar of John Osborne. But it is Hals, with his fondness for exaggerated quirks of character and his unabashed relish of bourgeois vulgarity, who provides the best equivalent for the aspect of Middleton’s art that decisively sets him apart from Shakespeare – what Taylor ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... books I swotted up for my scholarship. Remembering Bruce MacFarlane was at Dulwich, I wander into Charles Barry’s huge hammerbeam hall, the walls lined with honours boards of distinctions at Oxford and Cambridge chiefly; though there’s some mention of the Army and the Indian Civil Service, there is none of any other universities or places of higher ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... was never absent in this last decade of their lives. 14 August. Listen to the last programme in Charles Wheeler’s Radio 4 series on National Service, a discussion with, among others, Neal Ascherson, Michael Mates and Arnold Wesker. Though my own experiences (basic training in the Infantry, then the Joint Services Russian Course) were hardly typical, I ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors: On Johnson’s Britain, 15 August 2019

... investment. She too wanted to splash some cash after years of restraint. Cameron and Osborne were native speakers of the serpentine language of austerity, but for her it was only ever a grudgingly acquired second tongue (Johnson looks set never to learn even the basic vocabulary). She vowed to deliver Brexit; but she too wanted to be ‘more than ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... to do a fair amount of that.You weren’t encouraged, as we were, to go in for little whimsical Charles Lamb-like essays? Writing trivia about trivia? No. The senior English master was a raging Leavisite, an absolute caricature.Had he been to Cambridge? No, he’d been to Southampton and had been thoroughly instructed there by a sub-Leavisite. At that ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... housing stock and left councils to pick up the pieces and deal with the housing shortage. George Osborne did more harm than any British politician for a generation when he cut rent revenues and imposed austerity measures. In her rush to be sympathetic, May must have forgotten the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which did yet more to undermine councils in ...

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