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Alan Dixon, 7 March 1996

... Know them by their machines, Machines of visiting friends, As they want to be known. Not beautiful, I think, But elegant, I suppose, She speaks if what I wear Respects her neighbourhood. My wellingtons and spade Make me invisible; Having no shiny shell I take to camouflage. Sometimes card-backs displayed Like polished teeth show me How popular they must be ...

Jean Cocteau

Alan Dixon, 19 November 1992

... Scruffy cyclist in black track shorts with shammy-leather internal arse patch designed and executed by mother, I once saw Jean Cocteau. Something was going on in a bank, or a place like that on the Riviera – I think it was Menton. We were inquisitive and looked through a narrow opening, and there he was, saying something to his muralist about shapes on the ceiling ...

New Bike

Alan Dixon, 18 August 1994

... You didn’t expect Jackson Pollock flicked over the frame. (We imagine fun-crusted machines and their operatives’ Overalls standing as sturdy as pachyderms’ legs.) Take a dekko at this black bottle! A dynamo! That thing with a grid that looks a bit like a compound eye Isn’t a reflector. Yes, bikes always had an insect look. Picabia rode a wheel-winged insect, though I used to think Of him squeezing a honkable horn, liking options for transports With chère Udnie and others ...


Alan Dixon, 5 December 1991

... Think what a terrible waste nailed by the bed Of a spitting hag, bride long ago, once fat, Or pinned next to a feather on her greasy hat This flat, black, sun-dried, and, through lack of a drenching, dead Bridleway toad would be! But O so chic It would be sure to look hung round the neck On a silver chain easy enough to thread In that clean nail-hole knocked right through the head! Just perfect for a present when you wed! The charm should last your life, if worn with care ...

Two Poems

Alan Dixon, 29 August 1991

... Little Blotter to her Master, and his Reply It is sad in the grave my master, my chosen Who fed me and stroked me and clicked on the fire, And though you tried to make me comfortable And laid me down gently, wrapped in a towel, And dropped in forget-me-nots and daisies – Day’s eyes for mine, to die here with me – It is sad to think I must lie here forever ...

Advice for the New Nineties

Julian Symons, 12 March 1992

HMS Glasshouse 
by Sean O’Brien.
Oxford, 56 pp., £5.99, November 1991, 0 19 282835 5
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The Hogweed Lass 
by Alan Dixon.
Poet and Printer, 33 pp., £3, September 1991, 0 900597 39 9
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Collected Poems 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 319 pp., £18.95, November 1991, 0 85635 923 8
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... witty, stylish, unpretentious, constantly enjoyable. Enjoyable seems the right epithet too for Alan Dixon’s pamphlet. The joys and miseries of childhood are a dismally common poetic theme, but ‘Odd Shoes’ leavens sentiment neatly with comedy through the shoes of the title, one blue and white, the other ‘a heavy black laced pair with round ...

Uplifting Lust

E.S. Turner: Mills and Boon, 6 January 2000

Passion’s Fortune: The Story of Mills and Boon 
by Joseph McAleer.
Oxford, 322 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 19 820455 8
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The Romantic Fiction of Mills and Boon 1909-1995 
by Jay Dixon.
UCL, 218 pp., £11.99, November 1998, 1 85728 267 1
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... whether they get through ‘more than ten a month’). These stories, in the view of the sapient Alan Boon, can be compared to Valium for women. But the Mills and Boon operation is such a high-powered one that the worldwide propagation of the attitudes it fosters perhaps ought to be worrying the anti-globalisation lobby. In 1998, according to McAleer, the ...

Uncle Clarence

Alan Bennett, 5 June 1986

... I do not quite know what ‘being ruptured’ means. Some shame attaches to it, I know, because Mr Dixon, who takes Standard 5 at Armley National, where I go to school, is ruptured and all the boys think it is a joke. Mr Dixon is the first male teacher I have come up against, he is short and fat and said to wear a ...

Miss Skippit

Andrew O’Hagan, 18 February 2021

... as a surprise. ‘Can you give us your “Sex Life in Ancient Rome” face?’ she asked. (Jim Dixon, the hero of Lucky Jim, is keen on making faces, and is stumped at the end of the book because he is more or less happy, and so, ‘as a kind of token, he made his Sex Life in Ancient Rome face.’) Amis, suddenly befuddled, didn’t quite know what to say ...

Serried Yuppiedromes

Owen Hatherley: What happened to London?, 21 August 2014

Guide to the Architecture of London 
by Edward Jones and Christopher Woodward.
Phoenix, 511 pp., £16.99, July 2013, 978 1 78022 493 0
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... the years have always informed the reader of Jones’s role as one of the partners, with Jeremy Dixon, of the firm of Dixon Jones; Woodward, we are told, has been an architect in public and private practice and now writes architectural guides to European cities. There is a lot more to the story of both, and it is ...


Tobias Jones: Campaigning at the Ministry of Sound, 6 March 1997

... the music inside will come from Creation Records, the label which launched Oasis, whose founder, Alan McGee, gave Blair a cool £10,000 to nurture Young Labour and pay for the Youth Rally in Blackpool; it was the same McGee who presented Blair with the band’s platinum disk, and gave the now legendary riposte to Virginia Bottomley when invited to a bash for ...

Who is Stewart Home?

Iain Sinclair, 23 June 1994

... ironing-board or mooching through a Municipal Gallery (in the expectation of being eavesdropped by Alan Bennett?). The women bring in the wages by running the claims desk down at the alternate SS (Social Security).This is a tribe of scapegoats by appointment to the culture at large, boastful losers. They are decadents, style-warriors, spending more time under ...

The Authentic Snarl

Blake Morrison: The Impudence of Tony Harrison, 30 November 2017

The Inky Digit of Defiance: Selected Prose 1966-2016 
by Tony Harrison, edited by Edith Hall.
Faber, 544 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 571 32503 0
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Collected Poems 
by Tony Harrison.
Penguin, 464 pp., £9.99, April 2016, 978 0 241 97435 3
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... policeman say, ‘Move along there,’ the kind of colloquialism you’d hear on the street or in Dixon of Dock Green; the Latin teacher crossed it out and suggested ‘Vacate the thoroughfare’ instead. Harrison had his revenge on him – and on everyone else for whom the word ‘Classics’ was and is synonymous with ‘posh’ – when he translated ...

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 ...

Stuck on the Flypaper

Frances Stonor Saunders: The Hobsbawm File, 9 April 2015

... but, like Congreve’s secret, it was whispered everywhere (the postman and future home secretary Alan Johnson was aware that letters on his round were surreptitiously removed from the frame and taken upstairs). Photostats were made using pedal-operated cameras, later replaced with less cumbersome 35mm film and Kodak cameras. The copies were then couriered in ...

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