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Dear Mohamed

Paul Foot, 20 February 1997

Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... stay at the Ritz in Paris (the hotel belonged to Fayed), in exchange for fighting Fayed’s corner in Parliament. Hamilton was known as a close friend and associate of Ian Greer, and had asked questions favourable to Fayed in the latter’s interminable vendetta against the chairman of Lonrho, Tiny Rowland. Guardian journalists had approached Hamilton ...


Christian Lorentzen: Homo Trumpiens, 3 November 2016

... Hey, everybody,​ how about it, huh?’ Paul Ryan said, coming onto a stage decorated with hay bales and pumpkins in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of 9 October. ‘Man, good day! Good to see you, what a beautiful day, huh? Welcome to Fall Fest, you guys! Welcome to Fall Fest! Look, let me just start off by saying, there is a bit of an elephant in the room ...


Inigo Thomas: Berry Bros, 20 December 2018

... bottle of claret and another of Chablis, both of 1933 vintage, along with gin, whisky and sherry. Paul Mellon, then a captain in the OSS, bought half a dozen bottles of gin and whisky – ‘to be packed in case of travelling’, a note next to his order says. The wine shop recently moved around the corner to larger ...

The Aestheticising Vice

Paul Seabright: Systematic knowledge, 27 May 1999

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed 
by James C. Scott.
Yale, 464 pp., £25, May 1998, 0 300 07016 0
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... that the exotic goods they used to bring back from their travels are now available at their local corner shop. For the rest of the population who do not travel frequently there is no question that global capitalism has vastly increased the variety of goods and services available to them. Ask anyone who has experienced a planned economy: they would have been ...

Screwdriver in the Eye

Paul Mendez: David Keenan, 7 October 2021

by David Keenan.
White Rabbit, 168 pp., £14.99, November 2020, 978 1 4746 1705 5
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Monument Maker 
by David Keenan.
White Rabbit, 808 pp., £25, August, 978 1 4746 1709 3
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... too heavy to lift, owns – surprise! – a restaurant. Assif’s father owns – surprise! – a corner shop (which is broken into: the Boys know he won’t do anything silly like pressing charges, so they sit in the broken glass and drink, smoke and microwave burgers until they’re found the next morning asleep in their own sick). Fists and jaws clench at ...

Did he leap?

Paul Mendez: ‘Harlem Shuffle’, 16 December 2021

Harlem Shuffle 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fleet, 320 pp., £16.99, September, 978 0 7088 9944 1
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... against when trying to make their way. The face of the implacable bank manager crops up on every corner.Since banks are racist, figures from right across Harlem’s elite keep their jewellery, money and other valuables in safe deposit boxes at the Hotel Theresa. It’s ‘the Waldorf of Harlem’, ‘the headquarters of the Negro world’, home to Dinah ...

Theroux and Through

Julian Barnes, 21 June 1984

The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around the Coast of Great Britain 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 303 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 241 11086 6
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Doctor Slaughter 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 137 pp., £6.95, June 1984, 0 241 11255 9
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... don’t you go writing any more of them, Melvyn, until we’ve all had time to catch up.’ Even Paul Theroux’s most devoted readers might by now be puffing a bit and asking for time to catch up. After a fertile beginning (five books in the first seven or so years), Theroux has doubled his striking rate: since Sinning with Annie (1975) he has published 14 ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Inherent Vice’, 5 February 2015

Inherent Vice 
directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
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... we can pay attention to the scenery, the outfits, the accents and think about what’s in the corner of the frame. We can remember there used to be something called a Princess phone, even if the name doesn’t come to us straightaway when we see a private detective using it all the time, making it his best supporting actor. In a sluggish movie we keep ...

Gloomy Sunday Afternoons

Caroline Maclean: Modernists at the Movies, 10 September 2009

The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period 
by Laura Marcus.
Oxford, 562 pp., £39, December 2007, 978 0 19 923027 3
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... Kinetoscope in 1895 by combining camera and projector in their Cinématographe. In Britain Robert Paul produced his own camera and projector when Edison refused to supply him with films. Paul also patented a design for a time machine based on H.G. Wells’s short story, in which a series of moving platforms would ...

Paisley’s Progress

Tom Paulin, 1 April 1982

... and is fond of dressing up in other people’s personalities. After the Almighty, after St Paul – for whom he confesses ‘a strange liking’ – his most influential model, or imaginative icon, is John Bunyan, whose life and work obsess him. Bunyan is ‘this dreamer and penman’, ‘the most prominent man of letters as far as English literature ...

Believe it or not

Rebecca Mead: America’s National Story Project, 7 February 2002

True Tales of American Life 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 416 pp., £16.99, November 2001, 0 571 21050 3
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... A couple of years ago, Paul Auster was asked by a producer at National Public Radio whether he would become a regular contributor to one of the network’s more popular shows. All he’d have to do was come up with a story every month or so and read it aloud. Daunted by the prospect – what writer has plotlines to spare? – Auster was about to decline, when his wife, Siri Hustvedt, who is also a novelist, came up with a suggestion ...

On Wall Street

Keith Gessen, 20 October 2011

... generator and several power strips hooked up to it, and wifi. The occupied park is around the corner from Wall Street; it is across the street from the giant construction site at Ground Zero. Goldman Sachs’s new headquarters is on the other side of the foundation pit. There is a Brooks Brothers to one side of the park, and a Men’s Wearhouse on the ...

Four Funerals and a Wedding

Andrew O’Hagan: If something happens to me…, 5 May 2005

... of meditation and martyrdom, of prayers uttered and strong beliefs confirmed. Yet round the corner in the Campo de’ Fiori, the statue of Giordano Bruno stands high above a modern centre of bar snacks, designer scarves and trendy beers, a statue reminding those who care to be reminded that modernity has its martyrs too. My paternal grandmother ran a ...

Death by erosion

Paul Seabright, 11 July 1991

Medical Choices, Medical Chances: How patients, families and physicians can cope with uncertainty 
by Harold Bursztajn, Richard Feinbloom, Robert Hamm and Archie Brodsky.
Routledge, 456 pp., £12.99, February 1991, 0 415 90292 4
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Examining doctors: Medicine in the 1900s 
by Donald Gould.
Faber, 148 pp., £12.99, June 1991, 0 571 14360 1
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Some Lives! A GP’s East End 
by David Widgery.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 248 pp., £15.95, July 1991, 1 85619 073 0
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... their patients, to share the joy of childbirth, the crisis of illness and the time of day in the corner shop, are swept away. The New Model GP is hunched over the computer screen calculating uptake and turnover, auditing not clinical skill but fiscal returns and acting as an accountant, an architect, a travel agent, a manager: almost anything but a ...

Why are we bad?

Paul Seabright, 15 November 1984

Wickedness: A Philosophical Essay 
by Mary Midgley.
Routledge, 224 pp., £14.95, September 1984, 9780710097590
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... window or just walking dully along .. even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and                            the torturer’s horse Scratches its innocent behind on a tree Another part of its message, indispensable since Fascism, is the way in ...

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