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Free Schools

Dawn Foster, 7 May 2015

... apparently had no chair of governors, despite legal stipulations. But the school prospectus listed Alan Lewis, a former deputy chair of the Conservative Party, as its ‘executive patron’, and the leaked EFA report concludes that he had been the ‘chair of governors between September 2011 and October 2012’. Lewis also rented the land to the school, at a ...

Diary

Mike Marqusee: The Ancient Argument between Bat and Ball, 18 August 1994

... restrict leg-side bowling and scape-goated both Jardine and Larwood. In Jardine Justified, Bruce Harris observed: ‘So used are batsmen to being on top that when a form of attack is evolved to put bowlers on terms again up rises a wail of protest.’ The same complaint could have been voiced by the Pakistanis in 1992. That summer, the English cricket ...

Diary

Christopher Harvie: Cars and Cuckoo Clocks, 26 January 1995

... chancellor said. ‘They don’t want digital technology. They’re paying for tradition.’ ‘Harris tweed.’ It seemed useful to throw that in, as various people in the room were armour-clad in the steel-blue weave that, so they tell me in Stornoway, is made specifically for the German professor market. ‘Whisky.’ Post-industrial man was making his ...

Wait a second what’s that?

August Kleinzahler: Elvis’s Discoverer, 8 February 2018

Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll 
by Peter Guralnick.
Weidenfeld, 784 pp., £16.99, November 2015, 978 0 297 60949 0
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... soul and R&B. Sam Phillips did not invent rock ’n’ roll, a term coined by the Cleveland DJ Alan Freed in the early 1950s. Black musicians did in the 1940s, as the big black swing bands were dying off and smaller ensembles took over, offering stripped-down, up-tempo music with a repetitive beat, honking saxophones showcasing the vocalists, boogie-woogie ...

Gielgud’s Achievements

Alan Bennett, 20 December 1979

An Actor and his Time 
by John Gielgud.
Sidgwick, 253 pp., £8.95
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... in to do the costumes. These were Elizabeth Montgomery and her two partners Margaret and Sophia Harris, the Motleys, who specialised in producing stunning effects with the cheapest materials. The OUDS Romeo and Juliet entranced all who saw it and was the trial run for the triumphant version Gielgud directed at the New Theatre in 1935, when he and Olivier ...

Junk Mail

Jeremy Harding, 23 September 1993

The Letters of William Burroughs, 1949-1959 
edited by Oliver Harris.
Picador, 472 pp., £17.50, August 1993, 0 330 33074 8
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... own arrangement was the mirror-image of Burroughs’s with Joan. There is also Auden’s secretary Alan Ansen, who gets no credit here for working on the Naked Lunch manuscript with Ginsberg. Auden himself is briskly invoked (‘Auden say I am a genius too’) and Ambrose Silk from Put Out More Flags steps forward, in the form of Brian Howard, into the glare ...

Audrey and Her Sisters

Wayne Koestenbaum, 18 September 1997

Audrey Hepburn 
by Barry Paris.
Weidenfeld, 454 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 297 81728 0
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... in Roman Holiday (1953). After her Gigi lost Broadway’s Tony Award for Best Actress to Julie Harris (for Sally Bowles in I Am a Camera), Colette sent the loser a photo inscribed, ‘For Audrey Hepburn, a treasure which I found on the sands.’ That a major French writer should have helped launch an American film actress (whose weird thin androgynous ...

Declinism

David Edgerton, 7 March 1996

The Lost Victory: British Dreams, British Realities, 1945-50 
by Correlli Barnett.
Macmillan, 514 pp., £20, July 1995, 0 333 48045 7
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... technology or the capacity of the nation to fight a war. The book had an extraordinary impact. Alan Clark records approvingly that Mrs Thatcher herself read it, and many of her ministers made public reference to it – which is surprising since Barnett is not a Thatcherite historian, but an economic nationalist. He believes that Britain’s problem was ...

The Least Worst Place

Colin Dayan: ‘Supermax’ Prisons, 2 August 2007

Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay and the Secret Prisons 
by Clive Stafford Smith.
Weidenfeld, 307 pp., £16.99, April 2007, 978 0 297 85221 6
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... any of them were his clients. It took him months to find out they weren’t. Rear Admiral Harry Harris, who is in charge of Guantánamo Bay, described these suicides as an ‘asymmetrical act of war’, and Colleen Graffy, a spokesperson for the secretary of state for public diplomacy, said they were ‘a good PR move to draw attention’. Stafford ...

Gilded Drainpipes

E.S. Turner: London, 10 June 1999

The London Rich: The Creation of a Great City from 1666 to the Present 
by Peter Thorold.
Viking, 374 pp., £25, June 1999, 0 670 87480 9
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The Rise of the Nouveaux Riches: Style and Status in Victorian and Edwardian Architecture 
by Mordaunt Crook.
Murray, 354 pp., £25, May 1999, 0 7195 6040 3
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... guano, mustard, malted milk, chocolate, feathers, buttons, carpets, alpaca and funeral crêpe. Alan Bennett has told of a scholarly-looking gentleman who, after a visitor’s tour of Buscot Park, asked the lady on duty ‘Could you tell me, please, how the first Lord Faringdon made his money?’ only to receive a vinegary ‘I’ve no idea.’ The helpful ...

Utterly in Awe

Jenny Turner: Lynn Barber, 5 June 2014

A Curious Career 
by Lynn Barber.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 1 4088 3719 1
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... for the South Bank Show, ‘smiling, simpering, giggling, looking down at his nails’. Richard Harris at the Savoy in 1990, ‘playing pocket billiards’ through his tracksuit bottoms. Rafael Nadal in Rome in 2011, ‘lying on a massage table with his flies undone, affording me a good view of his Armani underpants – Armani being one of his many ...

Social Policy

Ralf Dahrendorf, 3 July 1980

Understanding Social Policy 
by Michael Hill.
Blackwell, 280 pp., £12, April 1980, 0 631 18170 9
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Poverty and Inequality in Common Market Countries 
edited by Vic George and Roger Lawson.
Routledge, 253 pp., £9.50, April 1980, 0 7100 0424 9
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Planning for Welfare: Social Policy and the Expenditure Process 
edited by Timothy Booth.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £12, November 1980, 0 631 19560 2
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The City and Social Theory 
by Michael Peter Smith.
Blackwell, 315 pp., £12, April 1980, 9780631121510
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The Good City: A Study of Urban Development and Policy in Britain 
by David Donnison.
Heinemann, 221 pp., £4.95, April 1980, 0 435 85217 5
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The Economics of Prosperity: Social Priorities in the Eighties 
by David Blake and Paul Ormerod.
Grant Mclntyre, 230 pp., £3.95, April 1980, 0 86216 013 8
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... or fleeing their country in dinghies came to my mind: Caroline Atkinson, David Blake, Toby Harris, Oonagh McDonald, Paul Ormerod and Donald Roy are trying to counter the absurd radicalism of the economic policies of the Tories by its mirror image, without realising that the result will in both cases be the same – which means that it will be very ...

Hinsley’s History

Noël Annan, 1 August 1985

Diplomacy and Intelligence during the Second World War: Essays in Honour of F.H. Hinsley 
edited by Richard Langhorne.
Cambridge, 329 pp., £27.50, May 1985, 0 521 26840 0
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. I: 1939-Summer 1941, Vol. II: Mid-1941-Mid-1943, Vol. III, Part I: June 1943-June 1944 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 616 pp., £12.95, September 1979, 0 11 630933 4
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... though they were picked principally for their skill at chess. One of them, another Kingsman, was Alan Turing, who, with Gordon Welchman of Sidney Sussex, was foremost among those who decoded Ultra, encyphered on the Enigma machine, and, perhaps more than any single person, helped to save us from defeat in the battle of the Atlantic. When suddenly Japanese ...

The Mothering of Montgomery

John Keegan, 2 July 1981

Monty: The Making of a General, 1887-1942 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 871 pp., £12, June 1981, 0 241 10583 8
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The War between the Generals: Inside the Allied High Command 
by David Irving.
Allen Lane, 446 pp., £9.95, June 1981, 0 7139 1344 4
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... a division in the Expeditionary Force, furthered and endorsed by supporters as influential as Alan Brooke and Wavell, who had already seen his worth, was preordained. Yet there was an element of the surprising in his advancement, which derived from two sources, one willed, the other passionately unwished for. At the age of 40, as an apparently committed ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Mad for the Handcuff Bracelets, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... seemed to agree on the semiotic message given out by Florida’s Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, who appeared in Nancy Reaganesque red suits, blue eyeshadow and false eyelashes, and was roasted by the American press, with one especially cruel review from Robin Givhan in the Washington Post: ‘She took fashion – which speaks in riddles, hyperbole ...

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