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We were the Lambert boys

Paul Driver, 22 May 1986

The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 388 pp., £13.95, April 1986, 0 7011 2731 7
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... more clearly in its originality, and is more widely influential today than ever before (Maxwell Davies is much preoccupied in his recent work with Sibelius). Lambert’s high, perceptive estimation of Kurt Weill (‘almost the only composer who can evoke in music the odd, untidy, drably tragic background that is presented to us so forcibly by William ...

Late Developer

Paul Foot, 22 February 1990

Against the Tide: Diaries 1973-1976 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 512 pp., £20, October 1989, 0 09 173775 3
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... Industrialists, bankers, rich Tories of every description felt that the day of doom was nigh. John Davies, Secretary of State for Industry in the Tory Government and a former Director-General of the CBI, called his children round the hearth to tell them this was the last Christmas of its kind they would be enjoying together. Tony Benn, his planning agreements ...
... that the LSHTM team warned the government on 26 February that a lockdown was necessary. Dr Nick Davies, who carried out the work, told me that there is no justification for this claim.The Imperial model was originally devised to assess the effectiveness of possible responses to an epidemic of avian flu in Thailand, and the most detailed published account of ...
... more significant, part of that heritage is the habit typical of English Surrealists such as Paul Nash and Henry Moore of discovering and fondling and cherishing objets trouvés in the form of stones. Another part is the style of the spectacular photographs Long takes and publishes of his arrangements of those found objects within the landscapes where ...

The Big Mystique

William Davies: Central Banks and Banking, 2 February 2017

The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath 
by Ben Bernanke.
Norton, 624 pp., £27.99, October 2015, 978 0 393 24721 3
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The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy 
by Mervyn King.
Little Brown, 448 pp., £25, March 2017, 978 0 349 14067 4
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... by studying the size of his briefcase as he arrived for monetary policy meetings. Before him came Paul Volcker, who, when Mervyn King asked him for a word of central banking advice, replied: ‘Mystique.’ Devotees thought of Greenspan as the chief architect of the ‘great moderation’, the long boom of the 1990s and the post-9/11 recovery, which were ...

Mr Poland throws a party

John Lloyd, 27 July 1989

... obviously makes possible an almost limitless exercise of power. But martial law, as Norman Davies has pointed out in The Heart of Europe, was introduced by the ‘core of the Communist establishment’, the Army leaders, because every other source of authority had been exhausted. They acted, as Warsaw Pact forces manoeuvred on Poland’s borders and ...

There is no alternative to becoming Leadbeater

Nick Cohen: Charles Leadbeater, 28 October 1999

Living on Thin Air: The New Economy 
by Charles Leadbeater.
Viking, 244 pp., £17.99, July 1999, 0 670 87669 0
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... by treating people like Drayson and Bellhouse as heroes for creating wealth from knowledge’ – Paul Drayson and Brian Bellhouse are both medical inventors – ‘that Britain will develop a fully fledged entrepreneurial culture,’ Leadbeater puffs, as if Thatcherism had never happened, and Britain was not a country so infused with the corporate spirit ...
Dark Continent: Europe’s 20th Century 
by Mark Mazower.
Penguin, 496 pp., £20, March 1998, 0 7139 9159 3
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... had a real chance of success. The triumph of liberal democracy was not predestined. Like Norman Davies in his monumental Europe: A History, Mazower gives ample space to Central and Eastern Europe, redressing the balance of countless conventional histories. Above all, as its deliciously subversive title suggests, this is the story of a ‘dark ...

Funny Mummy

E.S. Turner, 2 December 1982

The Penguin Stephen Leacock 
by Robertson Davies.
Penguin, 527 pp., £2.95, October 1981, 0 14 005890 7
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Jerome K. Jerome: A Critical Biography 
by Joseph Connolly.
Orbis, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 85613 349 3
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Three Men in a Boat 
by Jerome K. Jerome, annotated and introduced by Christopher Matthew and Benny Green.
Joseph, 192 pp., £12.50, August 1982, 0 907516 08 4
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The Lost Stories of W.S. Gilbert 
edited by Peter Haining.
Robson, 255 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 86051 200 2
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... for nearly twenty years. All three items appear in the present Penguin anthology. Robertson Davies’s choice follows closely that of J.B. Priestley, but this is no doubt because large areas of the humorist’s works are undeniably dated. There is a generous helping from Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, the nearest he got to writing a novel, and also ...

Happy Man

Paul Driver: Stravinsky, 8 February 2007

Stravinsky: The Second Exile – France and America 1934-71 
by Stephen Walsh.
Cape, 709 pp., £30, July 2006, 0 224 06078 3
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Down a Path of Wonder: Memoirs of Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Other Cultural Figures 
by Robert Craft.
Naxos, 560 pp., £19.99, October 2006, 1 84379 217 6
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... well as its extraordinary freshness, had an enormous influence on composers such as Peter Maxwell Davies and Harrison Birtwistle. All these late works – right up to Stravinsky’s final masterpiece, Requiem Canticles (1966), which has the wintry radiance of late poems by Wallace Stevens – owe their existence to a significant extent to the presence of ...

Keith Middlemas on the history of Ireland

Keith Middlemas, 22 January 1981

Ireland: Land of Troubles 
by Paul Johnson.
Eyre Methuen, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 413 47650 2
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Acts of Union 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 221 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 571 11648 5
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by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Faber, 96 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 571 11645 0
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Ireland: A History 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £9.95, December 1980, 0 297 77855 2
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... cosmos, an integral factor in a prolonged, and possibly insoluble, post-colonial schizophrenia? Paul Johnson’s book is lively, well-informed and often provocative; his standpoint allows little space for nuances. His ‘crucial developments’ are the troubles themselves; the ‘shared experiences’ (one thinks of those thousands of Irishmen who ...

What a Lot of Parties

Christopher Hitchens: Diana Mosley, 30 September 1999

Diana Mosley: A Biography 
by Jan Dalley.
Faber, 297 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 571 14448 9
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... verminous mattress on a damp floor. Here, I feel, we should better consult Decline and Fall, where Paul Pennyfeather languishes in Dartmoor, taking the rap for the exquisite but evil Margot Beste-Chetwynde, and reflects on the undeniable cogency of Peter Beste-Chetwynde’s ‘You can’t see Mamma in prison, can you?’ The more ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... bonds of good fellowship in the Westminster-Fleet Street nexus were confirmed by the reception of Paul Routledge’s very unauthorised biography of Peter Mandelson, the Labour Member for Hartlepool who would like to be prime minister. Routledge, an Old Labour hack, set out with an apparently impossible ambition – to do a service to the Labour movement by ...

Oh for the oo tray

William Feaver: Edward Burra, 13 December 2007

Edward Burra: Twentieth-Century Eye 
by Jane Stevenson.
Cape, 496 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 07875 7
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... it gives me the fidgets.’ But his intellectual curiosity was nothing like as studied as that of Paul Nash, a somewhat patronising friend, who construed metaphysicality if not surreality wherever he chanced to look. Nash came to live near Rye in 1925 and, Burra gleefully reported, was subjected by his wife to the local music scene: ‘He said my dear must ...

Mingling Freely at the Mermaid

Blair Worden: 17th-century poets and politics, 6 November 2003

The Crisis of 1614 and the Addled Parliament: Literary and Historical Perspectives 
edited by Stephen Clucas and Rosalind Davies.
Ashgate, 213 pp., £45, November 2003, 0 7546 0681 3
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The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England: News Culture and the Overbury Affair 1603-60 
by Alastair Bellany.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £45, January 2002, 0 521 78289 9
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... to repeat the prewar practice of idealising the monarch through masques, the attempt fell flat, as Paul Hammond has explained. Dryden shared the unease that Hobbes and Sir William Davenant had expressed after the execution of Charles I about the destructive potential of ‘inspiration’, a quality that was now fatally associated with the ‘fanaticism’ of ...

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