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

... me.‘Aren’t you famous?’‘Well I can’t be, can I, if you don’t know my name.’‘It’s Alan something.’‘Yes.’‘From Scarborough?’‘No.’‘So which Alan are you?’‘I’m another Alan.’‘Are you just a lookalike?’‘Well, you could say so.’He pats my arm ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: New Writing, 8 March 2001

... shaky criticism of the series might be directed at the 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 ...


Alan Sheridan, 2 July 1981

Teachers, Writers, Celebrities: The Intellectuals of Modern France 
by Régis Debray, translated by David Macey.
New Left Books, 251 pp., £11, May 1981, 0 86091 039 3
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... to the burgeoning discipline of ‘media studies’. What he delivers falls tar short of this. On page 2 of his Foreword Debray makes what increasingly looks like a Freudian ‘disavowal’: ‘Our purpose here is not to display ill-temper, indignation or resentment, but to analyse.’ (‘Sehr interessant!’ Herr Doktor muses, reversing the ...

Grandiose Moments

Frank Kermode, 6 February 1997

Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, Vol. II 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 696 pp., £35, September 1996, 0 19 212608 3
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... now Max Saunders comes along with two vast volumes, even more thorough and more than doubling the page count. Alan Judd, faithful to Ford’s own lack of respect for academic pieties, brought out his footnoteless but still valuable life of Ford in 1990. Saunders, like Mizener, is an academic and has hundreds of scrupulous ...


Robert Crawford, 7 December 1989

Perduta Gente 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, £5, June 1989, 0 436 40999 2
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Letting in the rumour 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £4.95, July 1989, 9780856357572
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Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 58 pp., £4.99, July 1989, 1 85381 076 2
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Studying Grosz on the Bus 
by John Lucas.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 02 8
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The Old Noise of Truth 
by Joan Downar.
Peterloo, 63 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 03 6
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... take comfort from the fact that the selection of poems in Essential Reading (1986) is edited by Alan Jenkins of the TLS. And that book contains a few examples of what are (in part at least) knowing winks: after describing a catalogue of sufferings in C, Reading concludes that ‘this, rendered in catalectic tetrameters, might do for the TLS or other ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2004, 6 January 2005

... 3 January. Alan Bates dies on 27 December and we break the journey from Yorkshire at Derby in order to go to his funeral. It’s at Bradbourne, a tiny village the taxi-driver has never heard of, and he and his Asian colleagues have a map session before we eventually head off into the Derbyshire hills. The cab is old and draughty, it’s beginning to snow and as we drive through this landscape of lost villages and frostbitten fields it gets more and more foggy and like a journey out of Le Grand Meaulnes ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Alternative Weeping, 7 September 2000

... in 1928. Readers who want to revel in such smut on a park bench or on the train can hide Alan Travis’s forthcoming Bound and Gagged: The Secret History of Obscenity in Britain (Profile, £16.99) behind the generously proportioned pages of the LRB. Anyone churlish enough to suggest that today’s authors don’t earn their whopping advances should ...

Instead of a Present

Alan Bennett, 15 April 1982

... in a hat. Whether as Larkin, Philip Larkin or plain Philip, his name is bound to turn up on every page of this book. Names strike more than they stroke, and I would like to think of him wincing as he reads, staggering under repeated blows from his own name, Larkin buffeted, not celebrated. I should be disappointed in him, too, did he not harbour doubts about ...

American Masturbation

Alan Coren, 17 July 1980

Thy Neighbour’s Wife 
by Gay Talese.
Collins, 568 pp., £7.95, June 1980, 0 00 216307 1
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... dirty pictures. Try to make people happy by sending them pictures of ladies fellating horses (page 380), and right away some interfering Grundy tries to interfere with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! Yes, fine, but should we not examine the social side-effects of selling pictures that show such engaging relationships, which (to take the ...


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 ...

Parkinson Lobby

Alan Rusbridger, 17 November 1983

... to pass judgment on his behaviour as a whole, and then not doing so. A third of its front-page story on 7 October was devoted to the alleged security implications of the affair. The same day’s editorial dismissed this as cant and ‘an excuse for prurience’. The paper’s eventual decision was that Mr Parkinson had made a ‘sad and silly ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Ian Blair and the IPCC, 6 April 2006

... The inquiry is expected to finish in April. On 19 March, the Observer announced on its front page: ‘Top police “clear” Met chief over Menezes.’ In a long interview with the paper, Alan Given, the former second-in-command of Scotland Yard’s Central Operations unit, insisted that Blair didn’t realise the ...


Alan Hollinghurst, 18 February 1982

Sea to the West 
by Norman Nicholson.
Faber, 64 pp., £3, June 1981, 0 571 11729 5
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Out for the Elements 
by Andrew Waterman.
Carcanet, 151 pp., £3.95, October 1981, 0 85635 377 9
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Between Here and Now 
by R.S. Thomas.
Macmillan, 110 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 333 32186 3
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Poetry Introduction Five 
Faber, 121 pp., £5.25, January 1982, 0 571 11793 7Show More
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... in suits. It often becomes hard to say. ‘In winter mists’ silence’ is only viable on the page, and, though it has the air of a colloquial contraction, it is of course quite unidiomatic. Sometimes it seems not to make sense, or is idiomatically dark: What’s she I’d rather instead, not what she’d rather for me? The compression can resemble the ...


Paul Foot: Disaster Woman, 7 January 1988

... and paraded her unsentimental regrets on television screens. She cannot keep this up for long. Alan Reynolds, whose only son died on the Herald of Free Enterprise, went to the service for the bereaved in Canterbury Cathedral. There was tea for everyone afterwards, but not much sympathy. Alan says he approached Mrs ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... January, Yorkshire. Ring Mr Redhead, the coal-merchant at Ingleton.‘Hello, Mr Redhead, this is Alan Bennett. I’m wanting some coal.’‘Goodness me! I am consorting with higher beings!’Last time I rang Mr Redhead he said: ‘Well, I don’t care how celebrated you are, you’ll never be a patch on your dad.’ I remind him of this.‘That’s correct ...

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