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On the Coalition

LRB Contributors, 10 June 2010

... judges, the Scots and the Welsh. There were a couple of weeks in the summer of 2007 when Gordon Brown posed as a modern Leveller. Even Margaret Thatcher had her Norman St John-Stevas, with his ideas about select committees and revitalising Parliament. The Tory-Lib Dem partnership has been noisy enough about civil liberties, constitutional reform and the ...


W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... Davies is appointed chairman-designate of ‘SuperSIB’ (or, as it is later christened by Gordon Brown, the Financial Services Authority), as much to his surprise as everyone else’s. He had been on his way to South America in his capacity as deputy governor of the Bank of England, having just been involved in that same capacity in seeking a successor to ...

Scentless Murder

Michael Wood: Billy Wilder, 2 March 2000

Conversations with Wilder 
by Cameron Crowe.
Faber, 373 pp., £20, December 1999, 0 571 20162 8
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... as the eyelash-fluttering Daphne manages to captivate the rich Osgood Fielding, played by Joe E. Brown, a had-been comedian whom Wilder dug up for a second round of fame. When Lemmon first announces that Brown has proposed marriage to him, he seems to think it’s a good idea, and Curtis has to explain to him why it’s ...

The Buffalo in the Hall

Susannah Clapp: Beryl Bainbridge, 5 January 2017

Beryl Bainbridge: Love by All Sorts of Means, a Biography 
by Brendan King.
Bloomsbury, 564 pp., £25, September 2016, 978 1 4729 0853 7
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... she married. With Don McKinlay, a painter whom she fell for over a bottle of vodka when he was brown in white trousers. With Alan Sharp, a novelist and playwright: Alan arrives at 6.30. A hearty discussion on Anglo-Saxon dictionerys. At eight a meal. Bed. Then chat on the novel in English life. Then Salvation Army lore, then a whole two hours of Scottish ...

All about Me

Kevin Kopelson: Don Bachardy, 9 April 2015

by Don Bachardy.
Glitterati, 368 pp., £45, October 2014, 978 0 9913419 2 4
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... eyebrows. He had long, thick and even paintbrush-thick eyelashes. These, though, were a very dark brown. (‘They’re like those of Elizabeth Taylor,’ I thought. ‘Or maybe Montgomery Clift.’) His eyes, too, were very dark – but a very dark green. He was, moreover, articulate – speaking in full, proper sentences and using no, like, you ...

But You Married Him

Rosemary Hill: Princess Margaret and Lady Anne, 4 June 2020

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown 
by Anne Glenconner.
Hodder, 336 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 1 5293 5906 0
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... she describes Bonham Carter, who ‘as it happens’ is a cousin of Glenconner’s late husband, Colin Tennant (Lord Glenconner), coming for tea and taking copious notes. It was at this moment, as she tried to recall useful details such as the princess’s smoking style (‘rather like a Chinese tea ceremony’) that she began to consider writing about her ...

Grimethorpe Now

Sam Miller, 6 June 1985

... of the entire strike should have occurred in such a united village. Indeed, the local vicar, Colin Patey, suggests that ‘because of the solidarity of the strike here, there’s probably been less bother, apart from that one notorious week, than in a lot of other places.’ The strike was discussed heatedly at the time, but the general belief that it ...

Flashes of 15 Denier

E.S. Turner, 20 March 1997

Forties Fashion and the New Look 
by Colin McDowell.
Bloomsbury, 192 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 7475 3032 7
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... with bands of young Mexicans and others whose insolence of attire upset the disciplined mind. Colin McDowell does not mention the ‘zoot suit riots’ in his survey of Forties fashion, which deals almost exclusively with women’s wear. He does not even shed a passing tear over those uninspiring demob suits which did so little for the morale of returning ...

Mother Country

Catherine Hall: The Hostile Environment, 23 January 2020

The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment 
by Amelia Gentleman.
Guardian Faber, 336 pp., £18.99, September 2019, 978 1 78335 184 8
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Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation 
by Colin Grant.
Cape, 320 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 1 78733 105 1
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Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Become Scapegoats 
by Maya Goodfellow.
Verso, 272 pp., £12.99, November 2019, 978 1 78873 336 6
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... Commonwealth immigration it was clear that British subjecthood was racialised and that black and brown Jamaicans did not enjoy the privileges of freeborn Englishmen.Approximately​ 12 million African captives were forcibly transported to the Americas in the early modern period. Many died on the passage across the Atlantic. A significant number, bought and ...

The party’s over

Jan-Werner Müller, 22 May 2014

Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy 
by Peter Mair.
Verso, 174 pp., £15, June 2013, 978 1 84467 324 7
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... practice, such talk meant that politicians were trying to cut loose from their own parties. Gordon Brown, when he was chancellor, once dismissed a proposal from the trade unions to restore the link between pensions and average earnings; in the face of overwhelming support for the proposal at the Labour Party Conference, ...

Fog has no memory

Jonathan Meades: Postwar Colour(lessness), 19 July 2018

The Tiger in the Smoke: Art and Culture in Postwar Britain 
by Lynda Nead.
Yale, 416 pp., £35, October 2017, 978 0 300 21460 4
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... colour’ she assigns to the period – 1945-60 – is a foggy sort of greyish brown. Dickens’s monumental fog in Bleak House is perhaps correctly reckoned by Nead to be metaphorical. She doesn’t state what it’s a metaphor for. Presumably the torpid, sclerotic chaos of Chancery. But the impasto fog and smog (a coinage not made till ...

The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones, 7 August 1980

After My Fashion 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John Cowper Powys and David Jones: A Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John Cowper Powys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... his meed of lectures, tutorials and research students. Nevertheless, the book-addicted young, the Colin Wilsons of our time, find John Cowper instantly available in the heart of London, at the Village Bookshop, hard by Piccadilly Circus, that alternative campus. There is here a bust of John Cowper, with large pictures of his photogenic face. There is a wall ...

After the Referendum

LRB Contributors, 9 October 2014

... Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan) is little more than a propaganda outfit. The NHS? Crippled by Blair and Brown with their PFIs and privatisations and now well on its own way to privatisation thanks to the last Health Bill. The railway companies? Loathed by the bulk of their ‘customers’ they still receive state subsidies although the idea of renationalising them ...

Democratic Warming

Tom Nairn: The Upstaging of the G8, 4 August 2005

... made, and he would subsequently find himself driven to even more exaggerated support for Blair and Brown. Why was the mesmeric trance so crucial, and why did it have to be maintained at all costs? Well, there was a lot behind it: something of the way of the world, as well as the investment of billions in pre-publicity, policemen and stadiums. The threatened ...


Tam Dalyell: Argentina in 1984, 6 September 1984

... simply got on the telephone from Bourges to their engineer at Bahia Blanca, Monsieur Hervé Colin, to explain to him in a seven-hour call how to marry a surface-to-surface Exocet to the wing of an aircraft, so today the French merrily continue to supply Argentina with the weapons themselves. To preserve the proprieties, they do it through Israel. But ...

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