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

... The most startling revelation is that it includes a character called light-term">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 ...


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

... have made a disastrous queen. Didn’t go to the theatre at all.’ 19 January. light-term">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 ...


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 ...
Stories in an Almost Classical Mode 
by Harold Brodkey.
Knopf, 596 pp., $24.95, September 1988, 0 394 50699 5
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... themselves masters of their feelings, but whose lives can be knocked off-blight-term">alance by a sudden, inexplicable access of emotion. Brodkey’s stories don’t have elaborate plots, but the narrative scope and frame of reference of most of the early work from this collection is broad – plenty of action stretched over ...


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

... he said that he listened to the Sinhala World Service. Perhaps he was too far along the path to enlightenment to express any of his less compassionate thoughts on the subject. The BBC, like the post-tsunami NGOs and even the Norwegian peace-brokers, is suspected because it is an outsider. The Rajapaksa government may not have started the present round of ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1986, 18 December 1986

... up, the force of the torrent is too much for his companions: as they struggle to pull him out, his light still shining through the water, he drowns. The students are later found unharmed. What the feelings of the rescuers must be when, having lost one of their colleagues, they come upon the students is hard to imagine. Some harsh words spoken, or no words ...

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 ...


Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... have a session with David Edgar’s playwrights’ class, then do another ‘Our light-term">Alan’ performance for a more general audience. 26 January. Run into Tristram Powell. Andrew Devonshire (sic) has done a diary for the Spectator mentioning the memoir of Julian Jebb (edited by Tristram) as one of the books he was putting in ...

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 ...


Stuart Hampshire, 16 February 1984

Alan Turing: The Enigma 
by Andrew Hodges.
Burnett, 587 pp., £18, October 1983, 0 09 152130 0
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... This is a very long biography, and before it appeared light-term">Alan Turing was not very well-known; his genius was of a kind that is not likely to be spread abroad. An immense amount of work has gone into this book, which expresses profound, and sometimes almost obsessional, admiration. It is not hagiography, but rather a study of a hero, an intellectual hero ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Hating Football, 27 June 2002

... kind of sophistication has yet to cause the generally football-appalled like myself to see the light. I have this bunch of pals in London who are mainly Scottish but who play in a team called the Battersea Juniors. They are more persuasive in this regard. The team is a bit up-and-down, a bit part-time, even for a Saturday league, but I went to see them ...


Alan Milward: On Anti-Semitism, 17 October 1985

... Beginning this volume with what looked likely to be the gradually advancing triumph of the enlightened attitudes to Jewry proclaimed by 18th-century philosophy, he has instead had to trace the hostile reactions to Jewish emancipation in the major countries and stands at the end peering forward into the dark abysses of human behaviour in the 1930s. To ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011, 5 January 2012

... unsmiling but an excellent carpenter and Eugene, much jollier and from New Zelight-term">aland who has supervised it all. Walking round the job this evening R. is shocked to discover in the bathroom above the bath a crudely made wooden cross. He takes this to be the work of Max who, scarcely out of his teens, already has two ...

Radical Heritage

Conrad Russell, 1 September 1988

Bertrand Russell: A Political Life 
by Alan Ryan.
Allen Lane, 226 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 7139 9005 8
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... the infallible custodians of his or her political legacy. The fact that light-term">Alan Ryan’s view of Bertrand Russell and my own are very closely similar is not, therefore, proof that we are both right. It is merely proof that our perceptions are compatible with a thorough knowledge of the evidence, and perhaps reason for ...

Everybody behaved perfectly

Eric Hobsbawm: Hilde’s Two Husbands, 25 August 2011

Scientist Spies: A Memoir of My Three Parents and the Atom Bomb 
by Paul Broda.
Troubador, 333 pp., £17.50, April 2011, 978 1 84876 607 5
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... project between 1942 and 1945: Berti, or Engelbert Egon August Ernst Broda, and light-term">Alan Nunn May, who was sentenced to ten years for it. Broda, who probably had the longer record of relations with Moscow, was never tried though seen as heavily suspect by the British security services. As it happens, I knew or met all three as ...

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