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At The Hutton Enquiry

Daniel Soar: Hutton’s Big Top, 11 September 2003

... have been up for it. DIS, SIS, ICG, CIC, JIC, FAC, ISC, DCDI: these are a few of the acronyms most frequently referred to in the proceedings of the Inquiry and in the evidence submitted to it – several hundred letters, e-mails, transcripts, drafts, reports and scribbles (the scribbles aren’t always fully legible to the scribbler being ...

Touching the music

Paul Driver, 4 January 1996

Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship 
by Robert Craft.
Vanderbilt, 588 pp., £35.95, October 1994, 0 8265 1258 5
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... Heard are newly included. Letters (also to Craft) from Arnold Schoenberg, Luigi Dallapiccola, Glenn Gould and other musical luminaries are also published for the first time; and most of the illustrations are new. Gone are the itineraries that laboriously prefaced each chapter-year in the original edition and the ...


Julia Bryan-Wilson: Rosie Lee Tompkins, 17 December 2020

... Y. Yau (closed until February but available online), features some seventy objects by Tompkins, most of them hung vertically against white walls like tapestries or modernist paintings. It is a studiously dignified presentation that highlights the striking optical effects of her works, as in the showstopper String (1985) with its luscious, undulating strips ...

Newspaperising the World

Sadakat Kadri: The Leveson Inquiry, 5 July 2012

Dial M for Murdoch 
by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman.
Allen Lane, 360 pp., £20, April 2012, 978 1 84614 603 9
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... arm, he wanted one statement on the record from the outset. ‘This,’ he proclaimed, ‘is the most humble day of my life.’ As the American satirist Jon Stewart observed, Murdoch wasn’t so humbled that he was willing to wait his turn to speak. But his very presence in Portcullis House represented an extraordinary turnaround. After dominating British ...

Prosecco Notwithstanding

Tobias Gregory: 21st-Century Noir, 3 July 2008

The Lemur 
by Benjamin Black.
Picador US, 144 pp., $13, June 2008, 978 0 312 42808 2
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... the Hamptons, the rooftop suite at the George V in Paris, the account at Asprey’s in London, but most important, control of the Mulholland Trust. That was what Louise prized most; that was the future. Glass spends his happiest moments with his mistress, Alison, a young Irish painter, ‘very dark of hair and very pale of ...

The Family Biden

Christian Lorentzen, 6 January 2022

... healthy attitude, no doubt, though not widespread among the press. It’s fitting that the most disgusting revelations in Ben Schreckinger’s The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power (Little, Brown, £25) are to do with Trump and his coterie of goons rather than the Bidens themselves. The contrast is between shameless fraud and ...

At Tate Liverpool

Eleanor Nairne: Keith Haring, 18 July 2019

... the Daily News headline ran: ‘FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.’ Yet, as the downtown writer Glenn O’Brien recalled, ‘instead of dropping dead, New York came alive.’ Experimental venues emerged, dedicated to a new scene of live music, fancy dress, performance and installations. The Mudd Club opened on Halloween 1978 (the name announced its ...

Enid’s Scars

Peter McDonald, 23 June 1988

You must remember this 
by Joyce Carol Oates.
Macmillan, 436 pp., £10.95, January 1988, 0 333 46182 7
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A Case of Knives 
by Candia McWilliam.
Bloomsbury, 266 pp., £12.95, January 1988, 0 7475 0074 6
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Burning your own 
by Glenn Patterson.
Chatto, 249 pp., £11.95, March 1988, 0 7011 3291 4
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... Enid Stevick is obscured, as is the sense of suffering and helplessness imparted by the book’s most resonant image, a memory experienced on the evening of Enid’s suicide attempt: ‘She remembered a mourning dove the boys had caught in the vacant lot then dosed with gasoline then lit with a match. The bird’s wild wings flapping flying in looping crazy ...


Karl Whitney: The golf course is burning, 2 June 2016

... tended grass verges. The war memorial at the entrance to the village was planted with wildflowers. Most of the posters pinned to the noticeboard outside the community centre were about gardening. When the smoke from the golf course blew into Clara Vale it was an unwelcome and bituminous blast from the village’s past. Residents kept their windows closed. The ...

Off the edge

Frank Kermode, 7 November 1991

Musical Elaborations 
by Edward Said.
Chatto, 128 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 7011 3809 2
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... to understand what the professionals are up to. He knows a great deal more about music than most amateurs, and argues persuasively that it should not be left entirely to the rigorous mercies of the musicologists. The result is this very interesting, excited, crammed little book, in which admirable and questionable propositions jostle one another so ...

If everybody had a Wadley

Terry Castle: ‘Joe’ Carstairs, the ‘fastest woman on water’, 5 March 1998

The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of ‘Joe’ Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water 
by Kate Summerscale.
Fourth Estate, 248 pp., £12.99, August 1997, 1 85702 360 9
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... Che Guevara, Greta Garbo, Edith Sitwell, JFK, Maria Callas, Howard Hughes, Andy Warhol, Glenn Gould, the late Princess of Wales) down to minor bog-sprites such as Eartha Kitt, Cher or Quentin Crisp. (Such lists are infinitely expandable.) What links each of these disparate individuals is a singularity so tangible as to border on the uncanny. We ...

Going Against

Frank Kermode: Is There a Late Style?, 5 October 2006

On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain 
by Edward Said.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £16.99, April 2006, 9780747583653
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Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work 
edited by Karen Painter and Thomas Crow.
Getty, 235 pp., $40, August 2006, 0 89236 813 6
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... The odd thing is that most of the contributors to these books doubt whether it is possible to offer a clear and distinct idea of the subject under discussion. Indeed, Karen Painter, one of the editors of the Getty volume, says right out that ‘late style does not exist in any real sense.’ But she and her colleagues continue to search for distinguishing marks of lateness in the work of major artists in their last years, to ask whether they give evidence of failing powers, such as might in the ordinary course of things be expected: senescence; illness; the decay of the senses; the certainty that death, always feared at a distance but now in the room, is taking a hand ...


Karl Miller: Football Tribes, 1 June 1989

... started out, as he did himself, in the North-East: but there was a wish to put him down, much as Glenn Hoddle was always being put down, before being driven off to France. I expect that the same outlook will see to it that the international career of Peter Beardsley, also from the North-East, will soon be reaching a premature end. It is possible to feel that ...

At the Venice Biennale

Alice Spawls: All the World’s Futures, 18 June 2015

... fascistic and funereal, and in place of Pallas’ pediment is a neon by the American artist Glenn Ligon, faint in the bright sunshine, which reads ‘blues blood bruise’ – a quotation from Daniel Hamm, one of the Harlem Six. Each Biennale has a new artistic director; this time it’s Okwui Enwezor, Nigerian by birth (the first from Africa), now ...

Stop the war

Penelope Lively, 1 April 1982

The Parting of Ways: A Personal Account of the Thirties 
by Shiela Grant Duff.
Peter Owen, 223 pp., £10.50, March 1982, 0 7206 0586 5
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From Middle England: A Memory of the Thirties 
by Philip Oakes.
Deutsch, 185 pp., £5.95, May 1980, 0 233 97232 3
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Dwellers All in Time and Space: A Memory of the 1940s 
by Philip Oakes.
Deutsch, 227 pp., £8.50, March 1982, 0 233 97434 2
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... to Darwen grammar school. In this volume, the narrative is entirely novelistic: dialogue for the most part. And robust, free-wheeling dialogue it is, plunging the reader convincingly into the rivalries and loyalties, the cunning and the chirpy valour, of adolescent boys. From time to time the sense of autobiography all but vanishes: the danger of selecting ...

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