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Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2016, 5 January 2017

... I suppose because the rasping quality in his voice echoed Auden’s harsh tones. However, because Richard Griffiths was available and indeed anxious to play the part, the role went to him. Emergency casting sessions such as the one Gambon knew we were holding are always mildly hysterical and often very funny as assorted names (often wildly unsuitable) are put ...

What will be left?

Tom Crewe: Labour’s Prospects, 17 May 2017

... left is reinforced in this perception by its reading of Labour history, most recently displayed in Richard Seymour’s Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics, which holds that the will to win elections has often been a form of collusion in the perpetuation of the traditionalist British state.3 This history has its own familiar ...

Deeper Shallows

Stefan Collini: C.S. Lewis, 20 June 2013

C.S. Lewis: A Life 
by Alister McGrath.
Hodder, 431 pp., £20, April 2013, 978 1 4447 4552 8
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... famous episode of Lewis’s life, especially as represented, and perhaps somewhat travestied, in Richard Attenborough’s 1993 film Shadowlands. In 1952 Lewis met and developed some form of relationship with (was single-mindedly pursued by?) a noisy, unhappily married, not very successful, American freelance writer 16 years younger than he was. In 1955 Joy ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... More generally, there is the literature on the corruption of the innocent which takes its cue from Richard Hoggart’s Uses of Literacy and which is apt to picture every form of mass consumption as degenerate. Here – as in the writings of Jeremy Seabrook – it is the prosperity of the working class, rather than, or as well as, the poverty, which is the ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Finding My Métier, 4 January 2018

... a monologue about a child molester, has him hearing the planes beginning their descent to Leeds Bradford Airport and imagining the seat-belt sign going on, the monologue (memorably done by David Haig) ending in a terrible wordless scream.21 May. Rupert, who is being taught sewing by his (professional) mother, makes me as an exercise a pillbox hat out of ...

11 September

LRB Contributors, 4 October 2001

... Peter Mandelson’s strangely off-key suggestion that the secret services should be recruiting in Bradford rather than St James’s (apparently on the grounds that immigrants would find it easier than Old Etonians to disguise themselves as Islamic extremists). But almost the oddest response has been our terrified certainty that there remains a plentiful ...

Barely under Control

Jenny Turner: Education: Who’s in charge?, 6 May 2015

... Four pages were attached to the letter, purporting to be instructions sent to a ‘brother’ in Bradford on how to infiltrate the governing bodies of state schools in Muslim areas, wearing down the head teacher until they ‘just give up’. The letter was well-informed about problems in several Birmingham schools going back to the 1990s, all of which, it ...

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