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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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... not very clear what The Worms Can Carry Me to Heaven is really about, or why light-term">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 ...

In a Restaurant

Alan Brownjohn, 15 September 1983

... The facing mirrors showed two rooms Which rhymed and blight-term">alanced beautifully, So everything we wore and ate Shone doubly clear for you and me. In the next image after that Life seemed the same in every way: Green bottles and white tablecloths And cutlery as clean as day; But in the third, things looked a mite Less brilliant than in the first two ...

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 ...


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 ...

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 ...


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 ...

Travelling Hero

G.R. Wilson Knight, 19 February 1981

Coriolanus in Europe 
by David Daniell.
Athlone, 168 pp., £9.95, October 1980, 0 485 11192 6
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... or Communist propaganda, according to how one responds to the Shakespearian blight-term">alance. However, there appears to have been comparatively little difficulty on such scores. Many of the audiences came well prepared, and knew the text. Their knowledge of English was remarkable. Continental people are, on the whole, far more ...


Susannah Clapp, 23 July 1987

A Life with AlanThe Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... Diaries Taylor wrote about the early days of CND, his contempt for the New English Bible, his delight in nude bathing, and his belief that if David Owen had stayed in the Labour Party he would have become its leader. All his columns were eagerly followed, but one series excited particular attention. He reported that his wife, the Hungarian historian Eva ...

Ageing White Guy Takes Stock of His Life …

J. Robert Lennon: Dave Eggers, 24 January 2013

A Hologram for the King 
by Dave Eggers.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £18.99, February 2013, 978 0 241 14585 2
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... War on Terror and of his epic mishandling of the storm relief effort in 2005. As instruments of enlightenment and weapons of social justice, these books worked: they vividly illustrate the way the poor, dispossessed and dark-skinned tend to suffer the most in times of crisis. But both are problematic. In What Is the What Deng’s fictional avatar, though kind ...

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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... essay on rap in Present Tense – one of the best things in the collection – light-term">AlanLight 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 ...

Lager and Pernod

Frank Kermode: Alan Warner, 22 August 2002

The Man Who Walks 
by Alan Warner.
Cape, 280 pp., £16.99, May 2002, 0 224 06294 8
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... be unavoidable. This is my sentiment as I contemplate the four novels of light-term">Alan Warner. He has been highly praised (‘dazzling’, ‘classic’, ‘significant’, ‘vastly gifted’, ‘a genius’, ‘one of the most influential literary mould-breakers ever’), and I’m sure none of these ...


Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark, 5 August 1993

... junior minister more aptly represented that mood than the patrician Thatcherite light-term">Alan Clark. A big landowner, a poor QC and a minor historian, the jolly Clark decided to write a diary while in office. From 1983 to 1991, during which time he occupied three offices – Under Secretary at the Department of Employment, and ...

Someone Else

Peter Campbell, 17 April 1986

In the American West 
by Richard Avedon.
Thames and Hudson, 172 pp., £40, October 1985, 0 500 54110 8
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by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Thames and Hudson, 283 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 500 54109 4
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... The first picture in Richard Avedon’s folio is captioned ‘light-term">Alan Silvey, drifter, Route 93, Chloride, Nevada’. Such photographs were taken in the Dustbowl fifty years ago. But this is art, not documentation. We have learned a lot about photography since the Thirties, and now no one believes that truth is simple – ‘all photographs are accurate ...

Backlash Blues

John Lahr, 15 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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... on the spot, to hide her louche employment from her mother, a Methodist minister who moonlighted as a maid. ‘Nina Simone’ is how she announced herself to the Midtown regulars. With a glass of milk beside her on the piano, Simone shut her eyes and began to play. At 4 a.m., when the set was over, she approached Harry Stewart, the owner and ...

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