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Just a Big Silver Light

Theo Tait: Alan Warner, 25 May 2006

The Worms Can Carry Me to Heaven 
by Alan Warner.
Cape, 390 pp., £11.99, May 2006, 0 224 07129 7
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... It’s not very clear what The Worms Can Carry Me to Heaven is really about, or why Alan Warner has written it. It’s not that it’s conspicuously awful or straightforwardly confusing, like some of his other novels. It’s clear enough what’s happening and where; for the most part, it’s gently diverting, sometimes even entertaining ...
... 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 ...

Three Poems

Alan Ross, 28 November 1996

... with the noise Of rubbery foghorns. In the early hours, Sleepless, they cruise Beaufort Street, Light on the river behind them Like marbled endpapers, swilling Under bridges. On such nights In convoy ships lowed like cattle, Sixth senses warning of proximity. Hearing them I wake sweating. In Battersea the gold Japanese pagoda Looms out of darkness, mist ...

In a Restaurant

Alan Brownjohn, 15 September 1983

... instead Of warmth and clarity, and bright Colours for everything, we saw A shadow land, a listless light Which neither of us understood: A place so closed and small and black It nearly hurt, smiling, gripping Our glasses harder, coming ...


Alan Jenkins, 4 October 2001

... places, names no one had heard till then, where the sun was not allowed to set but where the light was fiercer anyway. It was God’s will, like the deaths they bloomed to, leeches clinging to their heads in place of clouds of hair . . . I put them back and went out to the garden – there the honeysuckle dripped, and dew-drops hung like convex mirrors ...

Hard Beats and Spacey Bleeps

Dave Haslam, 23 September 1993

Will Pop Eat Itself? Pop Music in the Soundbite Era 
by Jeremy J. Beadle.
Faber, 269 pp., £7.99, June 1993, 9780571162413
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Present Tense: Rock & Roll and Culture 
edited by Anthony DeCurtis.
Duke, 317 pp., £11.95, October 1992, 0 8223 1265 4
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... and rap). In his essay on rap in Present Tense – one of the best things in the collection – Alan Light writes that rap is ‘the genre that speaks most directly to and for its audience, full of complications, contradictions and confusion’. Beadle ignores the fast-moving complexities of rap in order to concentrate on Public Enemy, rap’s prime ...

Backlash Blues

John Lahr, 16 June 2016

What Happened, Miss Simone? A Biography 
by Alan Light.
Canongate, 309 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78211 871 8
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... was crowded. Couldn’t get in,’ her brother Carrol Waymon recalled of her initial wallop, in Alan Light’s gossipy What Happened, Miss Simone?, ‘inspired’ by Liz Garbus’s 2015 documentary of the same name. The gravity and grace of her performance – her moody interpolation of lyrics played against a filigree of dissonant chord clusters ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012, 3 January 2013

... in some of his poems. By rights all such schools should be free schools, as indeed in the light of their origins, should many public schools. The nearest public school to us in Yorkshire is Giggleswick which started off as the local grammar school. It’s certainly not free today, though like many public schools its exclusiveness shelters behind what ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... said, ‘she’d have made a disastrous queen. Didn’t go to the theatre at all.’ 19 January. Alan Bates opens tonight at the Barbican in the RSC production of Antony and Cleopatra. The version put on at Stratford opened with Antony making love to Cleopatra, his head up her skirts. Cunnilingus served cold, as it were, was quite hard for a Stratford ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1984, 20 December 1984

... punctuated by bouts of frenzied activity. The scene in Tony Richardson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade in which Lord Raglan and his party view the charge from a nearby hilltop is (perhaps deliberately) very like watching the making of a film. The terminology of film – ‘cut’, ‘shoot’, ‘action’, ‘reload’ – is the terminology of ...

Bored Hero

Alan Bell, 22 January 1981

Raymond Asquith: Life and Letters 
by John Jolliffe.
Collins, 311 pp., £10.95, July 1980, 9780002167147
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... widow’s death. She outlived him by 60 years, and at last this memorial compilation can see the light of day, the letters including a few of Asquith’s verses, such as the fine parody of Kipling’s ‘Soldiers of the Queen’: The sun like a Bishop’s bottom        Rosy and round and hot Looked down upon us who shot ’em        And down ...


Alan Strathern: A report from Sri Lanka, 1 November 2007

... is probably no place on earth that offers a greater range of supernatural services: palmistry, light-reading, deity visitations, exorcism, astrology, numerology, talismans, vows, curses, black magic (huniyam), and much more. My wife visited one of the most famous astrologers – I’ll call him Fernando – who is consulted by everyone from the president ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... so still seems contemporary. The most startling revelation is that it includes a character called Alan Bennet (sic) who is described as ‘in his late forties. He is neatly dressed but there is an indefinable quality of failure about him’.Coward’s play was staged in September 1960, a month after Beyond the Fringe, and a year after I had appeared on the ...

Into the Dark

Kathleen Jamie: A Winter Solstice, 18 December 2003

... Mid-December. It was eight in the morning and Venus was hanging like a wrecker’s light above the Black Craig. The hill itself – seen from our kitchen window – was still in silhouette, though the sky was lightening to a pale yellow-grey. It was a weakling light, stealing into the world like a thief through a window someone forgot to close ...

Best Things

Alan Hollinghurst, 20 August 1981

Viewpoints: Poets in Conversation with John Haffenden 
Faber, 189 pp., £7.50, June 1981, 0 571 11689 2Show More
A Free Translation 
by Craig Raine.
Salamander, 29 pp., £4.50, June 1981, 0 907540 02 3
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A German Requiem 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 9 pp., £1.50, January 1981, 0 907540 00 7
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Caviare at the Funeral 
by Louis Simpson.
Oxford, 89 pp., £4.50, April 1981, 0 19 211943 5
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... irradiate obiter dicta as facets of the creative life, they are none the less eager to shine their light on their own work. At its best, self-consciousness is forgotten and the act of self-explanation becomes a part of the self-vindication of the work and even of the creative process in general. The interview is a medium obtained from television. In print, the ...

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