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Half-Way up the Hill

Frank Kermode, 7 July 1988

Young Betjeman 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 457 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 7195 4531 5
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... only forgotten Victorian architecture, but the verse of Philip Bourke Marston or that of Ebepezer Jones (whom Mr Hillier, by an un-Betjemanian slip, confounds with Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn Law Rhymer). In such matters it was good and original pedagogy to be droll. To be so on the subject of the extremely upper classes may seem less useful. They evidently ...

What the Twist Did for the Peppermint Lounge

Dave Haslam: Club culture, 6 January 2000

Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade of Club Culture 
by Sheryl Garratt.
Headline, 335 pp., £7.99, May 1999, 0 7472 7680 3
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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey 
by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.
Headline, 408 pp., £14.99, November 1999, 0 7472 7573 4
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Saturday Night For Ever: The Story of Disco 
by Alan Jones and Jussi Kantonen.
Mainstream, 223 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 9781840181777
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DJ Culture 
by Ulf Poschardt.
Quartet, 473 pp., £13, January 1999, 0 7043 8098 6
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Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture 
by Simon Reynolds.
Picador, 493 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 0 330 35056 0
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More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction 
by Kodwo Eshun.
Quartet, 208 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 7043 8025 0
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... through texture, beats and effects. Back in 1976, punk set itself against disco wholeheartedly. Alan Jones and Jussi Kantonen describe an occasion in July 1979 at the home stadium of the Chicago White Sox baseball team when thousands of disco records were set alight while the crowd chanted ‘Disco sucks, Disco sucks!’ The 1989 edition of the Penguin ...

Great Fun

John Bayley, 22 January 1987

Gossip 
by Patricia Meyer Spacks.
Chicago, 287 pp., £9.25, November 1986, 0 226 76844 9
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The Bonus of Laughter 
by Alan Pryce-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 263 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 241 11903 0
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... that is to say, if the addict feels like contemplating real people rather than fictitious ones. Alan Pryce-Jones’s recollections – ‘autobiography’ would be too pompous a word for them – are incredibly readable. Page after page is turned in utter fascination to see who will next appear and to listen to what they ...
... Chatterley for a reference for a gamekeeper. The magazine sort of launched me on a career, because Alan Pryce-Jones, who was then the editor of the TLS, gave me a lot of reviewing work. AH: How did you see your future then? FW: I suppose I feebly wanted to be a writer, but, apart from those stories, I couldn’t think what ...

Diary

Karl Miller: What is rugby for?, 5 December 1991

... strength: but they also tried, eventually, to run the ball. The Australian captain Nick Fan-Jones ‘dreaded’, afterwards, ‘to think what might have happened had England been used to getting the ball wide and knowing what to do with it when it really mattered’. That seems right, and Campese, the arch-exponent of running rugby, could be felt to be ...

D.A.N. Jones writes about David Robert Jones

D.A.N. Jones, 20 November 1986

Bowie 
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... David Robert Jones, alias David Bowie, is now in his 40th year. His creepy, chilling phrases pop out of pub jukeboxes, and extracts from his movies catch the eye on pub videos, whether he is embracing a Chinese girl or being executed by Japanese soldiers; his image appears in the Sunday-paper magazines, artistically displayed in sundry poses ...
... from the oriel window on the west side of the table between Holmes and Simopoulos whose host, Alan Taylor, had the end seat ... In SCR I was at the opposite end of the horseshoe to the Vice-president, the only consequence of which was that the melon gave out before it reached me. But there were peaches, nectarines, grapes, apples, oranges, dates and ...

Mr Toad

John Bayley, 20 October 1994

Evelyn Waugh 
by Selina Hastings.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 600 pp., £20, October 1994, 1 85619 223 7
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... When Put out More Flags was published in March 1942, Alan Pryce-Jones reviewed it in the New Statesman, praising the writer’s ‘dead-accurate’ social sense and his vituperative use of ‘the unpopular weapons of economy and proportion’, and yet concluding that the book and its author were ‘fundamentally without humour ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: New Writing, 8 March 2001

... number of familiar names on the contents page: Barbara Trapido, Anthony Thwaite, Anne Stevenson, Alan Brownjohn, Helen Simpson, Andrew Motion, Michael Hofmann, Alan Sillitoe, Louis de Bernières and Geoff Dyer are ten of them, and ‘new’ isn’t the first word that springs to mind. But there are plenty of good ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dictionaries, 24 August 2000

... has been developed in Canada and christened ‘triffid’, allegedly in honour of a nebula – Alan McHughen, the scientist responsible, may be a mild-mannered biologist by day, but at night he’s an amateur astronomer. He’s dismissive of fears that the association with John Wyndham’s 1950s novel won’t do the controversy-strewn world of GM any ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Telly, 9 August 2001

... diaries, edited by John Lahr, which are to be published in October. Among the slogans (‘Think Alan Clark meets Alan Bennett’ – no, don’t) and the paraphernalia (a padlock and key) is a pamphlet of highlights. A good many of the selected entries concern spanking, and a good many others are anecdotes about ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Say Cheese, 21 February 2002

... Welcome. Ahaa, or should I say Yee-haa!, because I, Alan Partridge, am broadcasting live from Las Vegas, US of A, stateside. I promise you tonight we’ll have a real half-pound cheeseburger of a show for you. And it’s a cheeseburger that contains lots of meaty chat, a salad of wit and a flap of amusing cheese. Knowing Me, Knowing You: Radio Show 3 One of Alan Partridge’s trademark mannerisms was to overextend his metaphors, stretching them to their elastic limit and beyond until they snapped and he was left with a useless, sagging coil of words, a vehicle wholly detached from its tenor ...

Unaccountables

Donald Davie, 7 March 1985

The Letters of Hugh MacDiarmid 
edited by Alan Bold.
Hamish Hamilton, 910 pp., £20, August 1984, 0 241 11220 6
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Between Moon and Moon: Selected Letters of Robert Graves 1946-1972 
edited by Paul O’Prey.
Hutchinson, 323 pp., £14.95, November 1984, 9780091557508
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... brought up to show that the modernist impetus survived in the generation after Pound: David Jones, Anglo-Welshman; Basil Bunting, Northumbrian Englishman; and Hugh MacDiarmid, Lowland Scot. The claim for Jones seems the weakest: it is advanced by Jones’s admirers, not by the poet ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: War Talk, 6 February 2003

... from the recent arrests that the terrorist network is here,’ he told MPs. He sounds like Alan Partridge, who once observed that ‘the police are hardly going to arrest someone unless he’s guilty.’ Whatever happened to people being presumed innocent, or for that matter being in contempt of court? Who cares: he’s the Prime Minister. At least we ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bad Manners, 6 July 2000

... of the heart, but not one of the palate.’ Whoever s/he was can’t have read Fielding, In Tom Jones (1749), ‘what is commonly called love’ is defined as ‘the desire of satisfying a voracious appetite with a certain quantity of delicate white human flesh’. Not all of the ‘gems’ concern table manners; that’s just one of eleven chapters. Other ...

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