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Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret, 4 January 2018

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... Russell Harty on his deathbed had his tracheotomy tube removed, in order to be able to tell Alan Bennett that the princess had asked how he was, twice. Every celebrity seems to have fantasised about sex with the princess. Eddie Fisher claimed that he had had an affair with her. When her marriage was breaking up, Peter Sellers was besotted with the idea ...

Got to go make that dollar

Alex Abramovich: Otis Redding, 3 January 2019

Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life 
by Jonathan Gould.
Crown, 544 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 0 307 45395 2
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... had been playing around with the theme for years. In 1964, he’d written a song for Carolyn Crawford – ‘My Smile Is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down)’ – which included the lines ‘Just like Pagliacci did/I’ll keep my sadness hid.’ In 1965, he’d written ‘Tracks of My Tears’: Outside, I’m masquerading Inside, my hope is fading Just a ...

Do put down that revolver

Rosemary Hill, 14 July 2016

The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House between the Wars 
by Adrian Tinniswood.
Cape, 406 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 224 09945 5
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... the horrors of the first half of the 20th century. The title is borrowed from Robert Graves and Alan Hodge, whose social history of Britain from 1918 to 1939, The Long Weekend, appeared in 1940, and it conjures up a sepia image of a tranquil Indian summer ‘in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington, 30 November 2006

State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... kind of fall: tragic early death. He wrote books about the CIA and the Pentagon, on Clinton and Alan Greenspan, carrying on at the Post as well, making a name for himself as a reporter and author others wished to emulate. He’d brought down a president: journalistically, what can beat that? He’s now more famous and must be wealthier than any other ...

Concierge

John Lanchester, 16 November 1995

Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound 
edited by Michael Alexander and James McGonigal.
Rodopi, 183 pp., $23.50, July 1995, 90 5183 840 9
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‘In Solitude, for Company’: W.H. Auden after 1940 
edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins.
Oxford, 338 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 19 818294 5
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Auden 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 406 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 434 17507 2
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Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman 
by Thekla Clark.
Faber, 130 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 0 571 17591 0
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... Tomlinson, Douglas Dunn) to new Best of Young British megastars (W.N. Herbert, Robert Crawford). But the fact relevant to Pound’s current standing is the one in Michael Alexander and James McGonigal’s Introduction: Sons of Ezra could not find a British publisher. Pounds have always been a dodgy stock, of course, but still ...

The Laying on of Hands

Alan Bennett, 7 June 2001

... one of his reports at theological college his tutor had written, ‘Tends to confuse God with Joan Crawford.’ Treacher looked at his watch. One or two of the participants had preceded their contributions with a few words about Clive – Clive as assiduous and imaginative hospital visitor, Clive as holiday companion, Clive as lover of Schubert and ...

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