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The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair, 22 December 1994

Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... of shit and I’m in it all.’ Incontinence as the universal condition. The drip and dribble of brown fear. Raymond knows we are all trapped in that apple-green room ‘where people wait to be told if it was cancer’. X-ray machines, with no operatives, blistering the city. The fated protagonist has no choice but to get the business done before ‘quitting ...

In Farageland

James Meek, 9 October 2014

... grinning or laughing; it was strange to see him without a smile. I remembered watching Gordon Brown at a press conference once while Tony Blair was PM, curious about what he would do with his face while Blair was taking questions, and I saw Farage was doing what Brown had: looking away from the other speakers and the ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... Literary Diary which records the birthdays of various contemporary literary figures. Here is Dennis Potter on 17 May, Michael Frayn on 8 September, Edna O’Brien on 15 December, and so naturally I turn to my own birthday. May 9 is blank except for the note: ‘The first British self-service launderette is opened on Queensway, London 1949.’4 ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1998, 21 January 1999

... an empty Leeds and the train to King’s Cross. 10 September. Watch some of a programme about Dennis Potter, but the assumptions it makes about the relationship between art and life are so naive and wide-eyed and scarcely above the tabloid level that I don’t persist. It takes Potter at his own self-valuation (always high) when there was a good deal of ...

Dazed and Confused

Paul Laity: Are the English human?, 28 November 2002

Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000 
by Richard Weight.
Macmillan, 866 pp., £25, May 2002, 0 333 73462 9
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Pariah: Misfortunes of the British Kingdom 
by Tom Nairn.
Verso, 176 pp., £13, September 2002, 1 85984 657 2
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Identity of England 
by Robert Colls.
Oxford, 422 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 19 924519 3
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Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, October 2002, 1 85619 716 6
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... the Open University and the new wave of BBC comedy and drama (Dad’s Army, Monty Python, Dennis Potter). This was part of a cultural revival. Union Jacks began to appear in the oddest places: on Mary Quant miniskirts and draped round the shoulders of Pete Townshend (Patriots is always keen to assert the world-beating quality of British pop). Weight ...


Ben Anderson: In Afghanistan, 3 January 2008

... on the black plastic decking, not knowing what to do with myself. Some Afghan workers in Kellogg, Brown and Root T-shirts started lowering the flags. ‘Those fucking flags spend more time at half-mast than they do up,’ one soldier said as he walked past. 1 July. The flags will stay at half-mast today. The Grenadier Guards were hit by a suicide bomber as ...

Mother One, Mother Two

Jeremy Harding: A memoir, 31 March 2005

... is a good word for the way water seemed to me when I was young and still seems now: sustaining, brown, benign – or white, decisive, invigorating, rushing over a weir, churning from the back of a boat. Having been adopted, I was spared the binding notion of blood, with all its passion and fatalism. I simply took the platitude and stood it on its head. I am ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC, 7 July 2005

Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
BBC, 135 pp.Show More
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... space, not just for Edge of Darkness, but for Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff (1981), Dennis Potter’s sexually provocative and formally challenging Singing Detective (1986) and Richard Eyre’s film of Charles Wood’s anti-Falklands Tumbledown (1988). When a newly aggressive ITV, freed from its franchise limitations by the 1990 Act, decided to ...

What are we allowed to say?

David Bromwich, 22 September 2016

... Taking note of the recent protests that forced the ‘disinviting’ of commencement speakers at Brown, Johns Hopkins, Williams and Haverford, the censorious monitoring at Brandeis University of a teacher who said that Mexican labourers were once called ‘wetbacks’, and many similar incidents over the last three years, the sociologist Jonathan Cole ...

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