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Old Bag

Jenny Diski: Silence!, 19 August 2010

The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book about Noise 
by Garret Keizer.
PublicAffairs, 385 pp., £16.99, June 2010, 978 0 15 864855 2
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... of those years when the pianist McCoy Tyner played in the quartet. Tyner and the drummer Elvin Jones left the group when Coltrane expanded it and started to explore free jazz. Coltrane began to blow notes that ruptured blood vessels in his nose. ‘All a musician can do,’ he said, ‘is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in ...

A Row of Shaws

Terry Eagleton: That Bastard Shaw, 21 June 2018

Judging Shaw 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Royal Irish Academy, 381 pp., £28, October 2017, 978 1 908997 15 9
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... sitting on a rock adopting the pose of Rodin’s Thinker, a loincloth around his waist. ‘Like Dylan or Bowie,’ O’Toole remarks, ‘he was one of the great masters of self-invention, a nobody who captured the zeitgeist.’ In fact, Shaw and Bob Dylan are the only two people to have won both an Oscar and a Nobel ...

Lost in Beauty

Michael Newton: Montgomery Clift, 7 October 2010

The Passion of Montgomery Clift 
by Amy Lawrence.
California, 333 pp., £16.95, May 2010, 978 0 520 26047 4
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... are three kinds of classic American crash: the James Dean, Eddie Cochran legend-sealer; the Bob Dylan at Woodstock disaster turned into an opportunity for reinvention; and the sweet Gene Vincent long martyrdom. Clift could have been another James Dean. Instead he was granted the Gene Vincent twilight, doomed to carry on as his own shadow, the ravenous crowd ...

Come and Stay

Arnold Rattenbury, 27 November 1997

England and the Octopus 
by Clough Williams-Ellis.
CPRE, 220 pp., £10.95, December 1996, 0 946044 50 3
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Clough Williams-Ellis: RIBA Drawings Monograph No 2 
by Richard Haslam.
Academy, 112 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 1 85490 430 2
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Clough Williams-Ellis: The Architect of Portmeirion 
by Jonah Jones.
Seren, 204 pp., £9.95, December 1996, 1 85411 166 3
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... to the idea of a Snowdonia National Park, quickly added: ‘but keep it under your Crown.’ Jonah Jones has a slightly different version of the same story, like anyone who heard it from Clough himself. In his two autobiographies, Architect Errant (1971) and the even more errant Around the World in Ninety Years (1978), there are different versions, although in ...

Diary

D.A.N. Jones: In Baghdad , 5 July 1984

... working hard on my old verses (after all, he reminded me, Arabs have produced good translations of Dylan Thomas and James Joyce) and was put out when I rejected them and gave him the new simplistic piece: but I was determined to ‘make my position clear’, so that no one thought me to represent some devious British foreign policy (if such there be) connected ...

Horrors and Hidden Money

D.A.N. Jones, 6 February 1986

Jackdaw Cake: ‘An Autobiography’ 
by Norman Lewis.
Hamish Hamilton, 214 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 241 11689 9
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... book, about his childhood, are written in a strain of hyperbole, sometimes as pleasingly Welsh as Dylan or Gwyn Thomas. Before we reach the third section, about his pre-war adventures among Arabs, Cubans and Sicilians, we have been astonished by his weird boyhood in Carmarthen and Enfield, where his experiences seem scarcely less bizarre and exotic. We no ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie, 5 April 2012

Starman: David Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... of Bowie’s musical heroes of the 1960s – John Lennon, Syd Barrett, Anthony Newley, Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground. Which would make Ziggy Stardust the beautiful butterfly that emerged from the chrysalis. Paul Trynka begins his biography with a description of Bowie’s performance of ‘Starman’ on Top of the Pops on 5 July 1972. It was ...

Blowing over the top of a bottle of San Pellegrino

Adam Mars-Jones: Protest Dance Pop, 15 December 2005

Plat du Jour 
by Matthew Herbert.
Accidental
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... In turn Herbert is freed from the burden of acting out his good intentions, the burden which made Dylan reject his original audience, becoming steadily more cryptic and spiky, and which makes Billy Bragg seem exhausted by figurehead duty. Formalist art contains the sincerity of its maker without needing to transmit it directly. That’s the theory anyway. Of ...

The Unpronounceable

Adam Mars-Jones: Garth Greenwell, 21 April 2016

What Belongs to You 
by Garth Greenwell.
Picador, 194 pp., £12.99, April 2016, 978 1 4472 8051 4
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... project a diffused self-portrait onto four well-known cultural figures who had been his friends (Dylan Thomas, George Orwell, Eric Gill and John Middleton Murry), evoking them first separately and then in some slightly dizzying comparisons: I had seen Murry working, happily absorbed and with real skill, mending fences, sawing up logs (once, too ...

A Town Called Mørk

Adam Mars-Jones: Per Petterson, 6 November 2014

I Refuse 
by Per Petterson, translated by Don Bartlett.
Harvill Secker, 282 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84655 781 1
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... and Disney cartoons are unifying experiences. When Jim looks tense, Tommy immediately thinks of Dylan on the cover of Blonde on Blonde. After a party, somewhat drunk, Tommy and Jim do some digging in a trench being excavated by the telephone company, and decide they need to sing something to help them keep time. They try various songs by the Beatles and the ...

Dogface

Ian Hamilton, 28 September 1989

Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 330 pp., £15, September 1989, 0 19 503797 9
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War like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 241 12531 6
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... the great issues of our time. In The Great War and Modern Memory he quotes with enthusiasm David Jones’s dodgy-sounding dictum that ‘the artist in man is the infantryman in man ... all men are aboriginally of this infantry, though not all serve with this infantry ... continued employment “away from the front” has made habitual and widespread a ...

Going Electric

Patrick McGuinness: J.H. Prynne, 7 September 2000

Poems 
by J.H. Prynne.
Bloodaxe/Folio/Fremantle Arts Centre, 440 pp., £25, March 2000, 1 85224 491 7
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Pearls that Were 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 28 pp., £4, March 1999, 1 900968 95 9
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Triodes 
by J.H. Prynne.
Barque, 42 pp., £4, December 1999, 9781903488010
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Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970 
edited by Richard Caddel and Peter Quartermain.
Wesleyan, 280 pp., $45, March 1999, 0 8195 2241 4
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... some, all this exposure, combined with a move to a ‘mainstream’ publisher, has been like Bob Dylan going electric, but it represents an opportunity for the most radically innovative poet now writing to extend his readership. Prynne has been compared with John Ashbery, but there is little of Ashbery’s canny slackness of tone or perspective. The ...

Oms and Hums

Julian Symons, 22 March 1990

Ginsberg: A Biography 
by Barry Miles.
Viking, 588 pp., £20, January 1990, 0 670 82683 9
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... strips off as he was likely to do in youth or early middle age, but when doing a tour with Bob Dylan he suggested that they should be filmed together in bed, talking about ‘ecology, capitalism, communism, God, poetry, meditation and America’. The couple settled for improvising a slow blues, ‘trading verses back and forth’ over Jack Kerouac’s ...

Untouched by Eliot

Denis Donoghue: Jon Stallworthy, 4 March 1999

Rounding the Horn: Collected Poems 
by Jon Stallworthy.
Carcanet, 247 pp., £14.95, September 1998, 1 85754 163 4
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... Magdalen College. Again his teachers were splendid, he had Jack Bennett for Anglo-Saxon and Emrys Jones for Shakespeare. I’m sure he spent many hours in the Bodleian, but more on the rugby pitch. In Singing School he doesn’t mention his literary prizes, but he gives the scores of the rugby matches in which he played and quotes favourable reviews of his ...

How Do You Pay?

Bee Wilson: Falling for Michael Moore, 1 November 2007

Citizen Moore: An American Maverick 
by Roger Rapoport.
Methuen, 361 pp., £8.99, July 2007, 978 0 413 77649 5
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Manufacturing Dissent 
directed by Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk.
October 2007
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Sicko 
directed by Michael Moore.
October 2007
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... least known movie, The Big One (1997), where he launches effortlessly into a gravelly imitation of Dylan singing ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’’ before reverting, with a chuckle, to his own spoken voice. In his films, his physical appearance – in flannel shirt and outsize jeans – represents Moore the underdog, the champion of regular working ...

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