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The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes, 20 January 2011

... office workers, and street gangs pretending they are riding with Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Patrick Wright, in Passport to Peking, quotes the Labour politician Morgan Phillips, who visited China as part of a delegation in 1954. ‘As I saw the great mass of cycles on the road I was reminded of a day in Bedford during the last war … The workers ...

In a Dry Place

Nicolas Tredell, 11 October 1990

On the Look-Out: A Partial Autobiography 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 85635 758 8
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In Two Minds: Guesses at Other Writers 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 296 pp., £18.95, September 1990, 0 85635 877 0
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... Charing Cross Road’. Occasionally, the day’s work done, he goes to pubs and meets poets: David Wright, ‘a literary instrument of precision’, and a long-time friend and supporter; Patrick Kavanagh, who was to be approached ‘with a large whisky in one’s outstretched hand’; George Barker, first seen ‘wearing a ...

Father, Son and Sewing-Machine

Patrick Parrinder, 21 February 1985

Garden, Ashes 
by Danilo Kis, translated by William Hannaher.
Faber, 170 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 9780571134533
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Star Turn 
by Nigel Williams.
Faber, 314 pp., £9.95, January 1985, 0 571 13296 0
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On Glory’s Course 
by James Purdy.
Peter Owen, 378 pp., £9.95, January 1985, 0 7206 0633 0
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... inhabitants avidly practise. Purdy, whose earlier novels include 63: Dream Palace and Cabot Wright begins, once seemed tailor-made as a prototype of the self-conscious American novelist, playing with themes of writing and identity, and questioning reality and character-consistency. In On Glory’s Course the playful and self-conscious touches have ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... won’t find, for instance, Burns Singer, one of the most original poets of the Fifties, or David Wright and John Heath-Stubbs. All three were friends of Graham, and their inclusion might have helped the Forties and Fifties out of their New Apocalypse v. Movement stand-off. Hamish Henderson, whose 1948 Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (reprinted by Polygon ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... fires, scrambler bikes and wavering golden beds of reeds. My instinct was to follow the example of Patrick Wright, whose television journey, The River: The Thames in Our Time (1999), starts on the open sea, with the offshore forts, before making landfall on the Isle of Grain. Ackroyd believes that ‘the source is the place of enchantment, where the ...

French Air

John Sutherland, 12 November 1987

The Foul and the Fragrant: Odour and the French Social Imagination 
by Alain Corbin, translated by Miriam Kochan.
Berg, 307 pp., £18, November 1986, 0 907582 47 8
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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer 
by Patrick Süskind, translated by John Woods.
Penguin, 263 pp., £3.95, September 1987, 0 14 009244 7
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The Double Bass 
by Patrick Süskind, translated by Michael Hofmann.
Hamish Hamilton, 57 pp., £8.95, September 1987, 9780241120392
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... him. But his book will attract a wide and lay readership for the same reasons that made Lawrence Wright’s delightful history of the lavatory, Clean and Decent (1960), a perennial best-seller. And for the reader only mildly interested in French history, Corbin, like Wright, supplies a wealth of fascinating tidbits: for ...

Lucky’s Dip

James Fox, 12 November 1987

Trail of Havoc: In the Steps of Lord Lucan 
by Patrick Marnham.
Viking, 204 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 670 81391 5
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Lucan: Not Guilty 
by Sally Moore.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 9780283995361
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... was found in the US mailbag at 46 Lower Belgrave Street in London there has been no new evidence. Patrick Marnham’s only novelty is the evidence from Taki, the Spectator gossip-columnist, to the effect that he knew Lucky Lucan had a powerboat and had made dummy runs with an eight-stone sack to the coast. That fits with Lucan’s remarks to Greville Howard ...

Each Scene for Itself

David Edgar: The Brecht Centenary, 4 March 1999

War Primer 
by Bertolt Brecht, edited by John Willett.
Libris, 170 pp., £35, February 1998, 1 870352 21 1
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Brecht in Context: Comparative Approaches 
by John Willett.
Methuen, 320 pp., £12.99, February 1998, 0 413 72310 0
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Brecht and Method 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 184 pp., £19, November 1998, 1 85984 809 5
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... If current Brechtology has a subject, it is Brecht’s relationship to that process. Elizabeth Wright’s Post-Modern Brecht (1989) sought simply to claim him as an embryonic Post-Modernist, on the superficially bizarre basis that the Marxist-Leninist playwright was ‘sceptical of what Lyotard called the great narrative, the great danger, the great ...

Once a Syrian, always a Syrian

Maria Margaronis: Joseph O’Neill, 8 March 2001

Blood-Dark Track: A Family History 
by Joseph O'Neill.
Granta, 338 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 1 86207 288 4
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... officials and documents distinguish his family’s community from the Turks. From Sir Denis Wright, Mayers’s successor in Mersin, O’Neill learns that contrary to his family’s self-presentation as pillars of Turkish society, the Syrians were in fact ‘disliked, mistrusted and envied by the Turks because of their origin, their religion and their ...

How to Grow a Weetabix

James Meek: Farms and Farmers, 16 June 2016

... start draining the land for ploughing. The only way he could be stopped was by a direct order from Patrick Jenkin, the environment secretary. Cabinet papers released recently show a furious squabble between Jenkin and his counterpart at the Ministry of Agriculture, Michael Jopling. Jenkin wanted to make the order, rather than lose part of the ‘traditional ...

Florey Story

Peter Medawar, 20 December 1979

Howard Florey: The Making of a Great Scientist 
by Gwyn Macfarlane.
Oxford, 396 pp., £7.95
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... that is the minimal entry qualification for being considered ‘great’. In a memorialaddress, Patrick Blackett likened Florey’s achievement to that of Jenner, Pasteur and Lister: but the public were so little aware of him that when Macfarlane first approached publishers with the notion of a biography, they wondered if he would not do better to write on ...

For the Good of Our Health

Andrew Saint: The Spread of Suburbia, 6 April 2006

Sprawl: A Compact History 
by Robert Bruegmann.
Chicago, 301 pp., £17.50, January 2006, 0 226 07690 3
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... land drawn around London with seeming foresight in the 1930s. Because of such planners as Patrick Abercrombie and Raymond Unwin, who believed the countryside was virtuous and cities should be contained, Londoners like me can still relish and appropriate scenes that New Yorkers, Angelenos and even Parisians, Romans and Milanese must go further to ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: Trimble’s virtues, 7 October 2004

... government’s suspicion that none of the Unionists could be trusted. Even now, Godson says, Patrick Mayhew, Northern Ireland secretary at the time, describes Trimble’s performance at Drumcree as ‘undoubtedly triumphalist’. He aroused great hostility in nationalist Ireland and among what Godson calls ‘mainland progressive opinion’, which helped ...

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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... in Barcelona, Wagner and Hoffman in Vienna, Guimard and Horta in France and Belgium, Frank Lloyd Wright in the US – of which he finds Clough, and the AA generally, unaware. I am not at all sure, either about the unawareness or about this ferment being the only one available. After all, Clough was plumb in the middle of the excitements of the Cottage ...

Marching Orders

Ronan Bennett: The new future of Northern Ireland, 30 July 1998

... however, Trimble blotted his copybook by allowing himself to be seen in conversation with Billy Wright, the Loyalist assassin who was himself later shot dead in prison in the most spectacular circumstances. Trimble’s cheerleaders at Westminster were not pleased, though he was doing no more than following the principle laid down by Carson and Craig: obey ...

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