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The Flow

Paul Myerscough: ‘The Trap’

5 April 2007
The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom 
directed by Adam Curtis.
BBC2
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... weekend evening ratings with ‘Top 100’ lists and nostalgia formats such as I Love the 1970s, which interrupt C-list celebrity interviews with barrages of archive clips. But there are exceptions. AdamCurtis, whose three-part documentary The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom has lately been shown on BBC2, keeps things busier than most, and there’s a great deal he wants to say. Curtis ...

Diary

Jonathan Lethem: Theatre of Injury

15 December 2016
... conclusions different from his. And of course, it also means that, having this information at hand, he is willing to act upon it. We were warned by our European friends. I was warned in person by AdamCurtis, in London, in May. It now seems to me that Curtis spoke pityingly, but also gently, as to one in a dream from which it might be dangerous to be woken too suddenly. In the words of an ...

Horrid Mutilation! Read all about it!

Richard Davenport-Hines: Jack the Ripper and the London Press by Perry Curtis

4 April 2002
Jack the Ripper and the London Press 
by Perry Curtis.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 300 08872 8
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... the association in his diary on 2 October. ‘More murders at Whitechapel, strange and horrible. The newspapers reek with blood.’ This media storm, and its meanings, form the subject of Perry Curtis’s carefully researched and informative study. Violence against women was so routine in Whitechapel that it’s difficult to agree when the series of murders began. The killing in April 1888 of Emma ...

Imbued … with Exigence

Christopher Tayler: Rachel Cusk

22 September 2005
In the Fold 
by Rachel Cusk.
Faber, 224 pp., £10.99, September 2005, 0 571 22813 5
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... to character. Her protagonists are almost always grotesques, either crippled or made monstrous by self-absorption, while her supporting casts contain a number of caricatures familiar from Richard Curtis movies. And although she focuses on middle-class private life, it’s rarely represented ‘unadorned’: there’s usually a literary model in view. Raymond Carver said that John Gardner ‘helped ...

Introversion Has Its Limits

Adam​ Mars-Jones: ‘Essayism’

8 March 2018
Essayism 
by Brian Dillon.
Fitzcarraldo, 138 pp., £10.99, June 2017, 978 1 910695 41 8
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Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found 
by Bella Bathurst.
Wellcome, 224 pp., £8.99, February 2018, 978 1 78125 776 0
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Proxies: A Memoir in Twenty-Four Attempts 
by Brian Blanchfield.
Picador, 181 pp., £9.99, August 2017, 978 1 5098 4785 3
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... It’s unusual to come across a book as evenly divided between under-sharing and over-sharing as Proxies. Blanchfield’s family history is complicated and presented obliquely: his father, Curtis, left when Brian was nine or ten, and from the time Brian was 12 saw him very rarely – for an hour or so every few years. His mother remarried, and his stepfather, Frank, formally adopted him when ...
18 February 1982
Plotting the Golden West: American Literature and the Rhetoric of the California Trail 
by Stephen Fender.
Cambridge, 241 pp., £15, January 1982, 0 521 23924 9
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Witnesses to a Vanishing America: The 19th-Century Response 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Princeton, 320 pp., £10.70, July 1981, 9780691064611
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... father of American ethnology’, who collected native vocabularies), Thomas McKenney (who aspired to build up a comprehensive Indian archive), Seth Eastman, Joseph Sharp, William Henry Jackson, Adam Clark Vroman, Edward Curtis (these last three all photographers), and others. The whole enterprise was beset by paradox. ‘The ideal American society ... needs continuous regeneration through ...

Living the Life

Andrew O’Hagan

5 October 2016
Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency 
by James Andrew Miller.
Custom House, 703 pp., £20, August 2016, 978 0 06 244137 9
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... he hates (but says he loves). In Some Like It Hot, the talent booker, Mr Poliakoff, is on the phone to the William Morris Agency. Standing in his office are Jerry and Joe – Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis – a bass and a saxophone player. Jerry tries to persuade Poliakoff to give them the job – three weeks in Florida with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators – but Poliakoff tells them to beat it ...

St Marilyn

Andrew O’Hagan: The Girl and Me

6 January 2000
The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe 
Christie’s, 415 pp., $85, September 1999, 0 903432 64 1Show More
The Complete Marilyn Monroe 
by Adam​ Victor.
Thames and Hudson, 339 pp., £29.95, November 1999, 0 500 01978 9
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Marilyn Monroe 
by Barbara Leaming.
Orion, 474 pp., £8.99, October 1999, 0 7528 2692 1
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... the previous world record for the sale of a female costume: a blue velvet Victor Edelstein dress belonging to Princess Diana that sold for £222,500 in June 1997. The actor and peroxophile Tony Curtis, who must have forgotten that he once said kissing Marilyn was like kissing Hitler, got out of his seat at the auction to tell reporters that Marilyn would have been thrilled. ‘She’d have enjoyed ...

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