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Extraordinary People

Anthony Powell, 4 June 1981

The Lyttelton – Hart-Davis Letters 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 185 pp., £12.50, March 1981, 0 7195 3770 3
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... one dining-club, Hart-Davis was occupied in editing such works as the collected letters of George Moore, Max Beerbohm – above all, Oscar Wilde – and later, now for many years past, in correcting the proofs of my own books with precision and severity. The Letters of Oscar Wilde (1962) constitutes an achievement altogether unusual in its field of ...

Who is Stewart Home?

Iain Sinclair, 23 June 1994

... by Freddie Bird, a well-respected face, who witnessed the current Mr Squires (a pre-Bond Roger Moore) doing a runner, before the bouncers moved in.Home’s praxis is the stuff of London: confrontation, violence, ‘the poetry of the inarticulate’. He was born on the southern fringes of Merton (close to the parklands once tended by the bucolic poet Chris ...

Elective Outsiders

Jeremy Harding, 3 July 1997

Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology 
edited by Iain Sinclair.
Picador, 488 pp., £9.99, June 1996, 0 330 33135 3
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Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne 
by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge.
Liverpool, 196 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 85323 840 5
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Carl Rakosi: Poems 1923-41 
edited by Andrew Crozier.
Sun & Moon, 209 pp., $12.99, August 1995, 1 55713 185 6
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The Objectivists 
edited by Andrew McAllister.
Bloodaxe, 156 pp., £8.95, May 1996, 1 85224 341 4
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... on rummaging through Larkin’s bottom drawer’). For Peter Riley, the failure of Nicholas Moore, another of the predecessors, to break through to a wider readership (bigger publishers) after his success in the Forties proves ‘that poetry-in-public ... was already completely useless in the Sixties for any purpose except re-endorsing the ...

Blistering Attacks

Claude Rawson, 6 November 1980

The Oxford Book of Satirical Verse 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Oxford, 454 pp., £8.50, September 1980, 0 19 214110 4
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... was an unfortunate pedagogue pilloried in schoolboy sketches by Jarry and his friends; or of Alan Coren’s Idi Amin, who amid his slaughtering pranks sends up ‘fo’ de Boys Own Paper Giant Packet o’ One Hunnerd Top Worl’ Stamps fo’ A Mere Shillin”, orders his radio equipment from Hamleys, and wants a cowboy suit for his ‘birfday’. The ...

Hard Beats and Spacey Bleeps

Dave Haslam, 23 September 1993

Will Pop Eat Itself? Pop Music in the Soundbite Era 
by Jeremy J. Beadle.
Faber, 269 pp., £7.99, June 1993, 9780571162413
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Present Tense: Rock & Roll and Culture 
edited by Anthony DeCurtis.
Duke, 317 pp., £11.95, October 1992, 0 8223 1265 4
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... of rock’s establishment is obvious, and was noted over five years ago in Q magazine by DJ Mark Moore of S-Express: ‘It’s the same reaction old fogies had when rock & roll first started.’ For the Sixties generation, however, the electric guitar is a more authentic instrument of human expression than a digital sampler. Thus DeCurtis, in a summary of ...

‘We do deserts, we don’t do mountains’

Alex de Waal: The United Nations, 11 November 1999

Soldiers of Diplomacy: The United Nations, Peacekeeping and the New World Order 
by Jocelyn Coulon.
Toronto, 231 pp., £26, October 1998, 0 8020 0899 2
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Hard Choices: Moral Dilemmas in Humanitarian Intervention 
edited by Jonathan Moore.
Rowman and Littlefield, 320 pp., £18.95, December 1998, 0 8476 9031 8
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New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in the Global Era 
by Mary Kaldor.
Polity, 200 pp., £13.99, December 1998, 0 7456 2067 1
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... a canvas on which majestic incompetence would be painted on a grander scale than ever before. Alan Clark’s The Donkeys was one of the first forays into the study of institutionalised military idiocy. More recently, after the glories of the Gulf War, American generals rejected intervention in Bosnia with the words, ‘We do deserts, we don’t do ...

Sweaney Peregraine

Paul Muldoon, 1 November 1984

Station Island 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 123 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 571 13301 0
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Sweeney Astray: A Version 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 85 pp., £6.95, October 1984, 0 571 13360 6
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by Craig Raine.
Faber, 109 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 571 13215 4
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... words ‘bitter’ and ‘dependable’. In ‘Remembering Malibu’, a poem addressed to Brian Moore, he writes of the island monastic site of Great Skellig:                       the steps cut in the rock I never climbed between the graveyard and the boatslip are welted solid to my instep. Again, that ‘cutting edge’ between ...

Gosh, what am I like?

Rosemary Hill: The Revenge Memoir, 17 December 2020

Friends and Enemies: A Memoir 
by Barbara Amiel.
Constable, 592 pp., £25, October 2020, 978 1 4721 3421 9
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Diary of an MP’s Wife: Inside and Outside Power 
by Sasha Swire.
Little, Brown, 544 pp., £20, September 2020, 978 1 4087 1341 9
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... of a column on the Telegraph when he was proprietor. This was naturally embarrassing for Charles Moore, the editor, and annoying for the rest of the staff or, as Amiel puts it, a ‘small but vocal-in-corners group’ of them. Amiel sought the advice of William (Bill) Deedes, a former editor, a ‘seminal figure at the paper’ and all-round representative ...

Can’t Afford to Tell the Truth

Owen Bennett-Jones: Trouble at the BBC, 20 December 2018

... And change is bound to come. Some parts of the organisation have already experienced it. Chris Moore’s Going Gone: How Newsrooms Die is the latest and best-written in a series of memoirs chronicling the recent history of the BBC and specifically the World Service.* Moore and I were both World Service lifers, but never ...

More Pain, Better Sentences

Adam Mars-Jones: Satire and St Aubyn, 8 May 2014

Lost for Words 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 261 pp., £12.99, May 2014, 978 0 330 45422 3
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by Charlie Hill.
Tindal Street, 192 pp., £6.99, November 2013, 978 1 78125 163 8
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... a hint of condescension here. There are open seams in the plotting. Katherine’s besotted editor, Alan, works on her new novel, Consequences, till the last possible moment: ‘It had been a terrible wrench when he handed the typescript to his assistant to get it biked over to the Elysian people on that final afternoon.’ So the prize isn’t for published ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... those condemned to live in fallout shadows dig and scrape. A dowser and ley line tracker called Alan Hayday, formerly employed on the assembly line of the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham, contacted me to pass on his research into a tunnel he claimed to have discovered running from Sutton House, a Tudor mansion on the ridge above the culverted Hackney ...

Putting Religion in Its Place

Colm Tóibín: Marilynne Robinson, 23 October 2014

by Marilynne Robinson.
Virago, 261 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84408 880 5
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... Greene, Flannery O’Connor, Chinua Achebe, Georges Bernanos, Kate O’Brien, Maurice Gee, Brian Moore and Andrew O’Hagan, have made a big effort. Others, such as James Joyce, have managed to weave religion into a larger fabric, with all the sheer drama of faith and doubt, and have managed also to include the comic possibilities of dogma and ritual to ...

That’s what Wystan says

Seamus Perry, 10 May 2018

Early Auden, Later Auden: A Critical Biography 
by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 912 pp., £27.95, May 2017, 978 0 691 17249 1
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... And it remains pretty well known: the quirkiest testimony to its renown comes in The Habit of Art, Alan Bennett’s play about Auden and Benjamin Britten, when two of the wrinkles come alive and engage in a brief dialogue about themselves. As its furrows gradually deepened, the face was captured by some remarkable photographers, including Cecil Beaton, Richard ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... out of bed, the fumes killing them while they slept. This seems to have been the fate of Ligaya Moore, a 78-year-old woman who came from the Philippines 45 years earlier, fulfilling a dream she’d had from childhood, to live in London. Mrs Moore died in her bed surrounded by photos of her husband, Jim, a retired British ...

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