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Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: With the Hackerati, 19 August 2010

... to carry it onto the runways at New York fashion week. Except that the founder of WikiLeaks – brown cargo pants, computer rucksack, and this season’s must-have, prematurely silver hair – would certainly be arrested as he attempted to cross into the land of the free. Assange has been denounced by everybody from the US defense secretary, Robert ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: Smile for the President, 20 February 2003

... of flowers and busts of the Roman emperors, before climbing a wide and elaborate staircase to the Brown Room. Off to one side of the room there is a balcony, and daylight creeps in from the open doors. Three chandeliers hang from the ceiling. ‘The President’s hair is cool,’ says Tapan Das, aged 11. Tapan is the only one of the four not wearing a white ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The ARRSE Guide’, 1 December 2011

... grow a moustache and pretend you once had friends called ‘Tug’ Wilson, ‘Strangely’ Brown, ‘Spud’ Murphy and ‘Spider’ Webb. Lovely blokes, the lot of them. Diamond geezers. Never backwards at coming forwards. Credit to their ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: A City of Prose, 4 August 2005

... into every face as they sat on a Number 30 from King’s Cross, and if the face happened to be brown, they looked to their bag or backpack. That is how fear and paranoia work: they create turbulence in your everyday passivity, and everyone was affected after the attempted bombings on 22 July in ways that won’t quickly go away. In the realm of ...

Your mission is to get the gun

Theo Tait: Raoul Moat, 31 March 2016

You Could Do Something Amazing with Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat] 
by Andrew Hankinson.
Scribe, 204 pp., £12.99, February 2016, 978 1 922247 91 9
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... to Gordon Burn’s horribly fascinating books about Peter Sutcliffe and Fred and Rosemary West. Andrew Hankinson’s new book dramatises the last days of Raoul Moat, the Newcastle bouncer and bodybuilder who in July 2010 shot his former partner, Samantha Stobbart, her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, and a traffic ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... remain outside. David Trimble was astonished but that’s how it always is with New Labour. Andrew Rawnsley records how the momentous decision that Britain would not join the euro during the current Parliament was taken. Aware of the increase in Euroscepticism from Philip Gould’s focus groups and daily readings of the Sun and the Mail, Gordon ...

Making sense

Denis Donoghue, 4 October 1984

A Wave 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 89 pp., £4.95, August 1984, 9780856355479
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Secret Narratives 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 46 pp., £6, March 1983, 0 907540 29 5
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Liberty Tree 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 78 pp., £4, June 1983, 0 05 711302 5
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111 Poems 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1983, 0 85635 457 0
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New and Selected Poems 
by James Michie.
Chatto, 64 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2723 6
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By the Fisheries 
by Jeremy Reed.
Cape, 79 pp., £4, March 1984, 0 224 02154 0
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Voyages 
by George Mackay Brown.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2736 8
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... to compare with Ashbery’s ‘Self-Portrait in an Convex Mirror’ and ‘Fantasia on “The Nut-Brown Maid” ’. The origin of ‘A Wave’ may be the passage about dreams in ‘Self-Portrait’: ‘They seemed strange because we couldn’t actually see them ... ’ As in ‘Self-Portrait’, Ashbery’s style is loose-limbed, musing, discursive ...

The Things We Throw Away

Andrew O’Hagan: The Garbage of England, 24 May 2007

... underneath. Harrow has a system of compulsory recycling: green bins for paper, cans, bottles, and brown bins for organic waste, which includes garden waste and leftover food. People in Harrow who mix the stuff up, or ‘contaminate’, have their rubbish left uncollected, and must pay £20 to get it picked up, after they’ve sorted it; persistent offenders ...

Tunnel Vision

Jenny Diski: Princess Diana, 2 August 2007

The Diana Chronicles 
by Tina Brown.
Century, 481 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 1 84605 286 6
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Diana 
by Sarah Bradford.
Penguin, 443 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 14 027671 8
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... to understand that stories have their own needs and immutable trajectories. Diana told Andrew Morton in Diana: Her True Story that she would never be queen. In 1992 I reviewed the Morton book for this paper and mocked her prediction: ‘The premonition is never quite explained. Does she think that death is beckoning, or divorce, or is she ...

Answering back

James Campbell, 11 July 1991

The Intended 
by David Dabydeen.
Secker, 246 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 436 20007 4
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Cambridge 
by Caryl Phillips.
Bloomsbury, 185 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 0 7475 0886 0
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Lucy 
by Jamaica Kincaid.
Cape, 176 pp., £11.99, April 1991, 0 224 03055 8
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... under the guidance first of the great W.E.B DuBois, then of the poets Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown, and next a line of novelists headed by Richard Wright, began the task of reclamation about two generations earlier than the Caribbean writers who identified – if one can nowadays put it that way – with Europe, specifically England. Their literary ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: At the Olympic Park, 9 February 2012

... and rethink the fridge, but I want it badly. It’s like a cyclist’s helmet made of conker-brown wood; or, maybe, like the Aquatics Centre, it represents the movement it will soon contain. There’s something Japanese about this sort of thing: the wave caught at the apex of its journey or the trees bent and frozen by the wind’s motion. The designer ...

Queenie

Alice Munro, 30 July 1998

... second storey was like a roof, covered in shingles. The shingles were dark green or maroon or brown. The porches came to within a few feet of the sidewalk and the spaces between the houses seemed narrow enough for people to reach out the side windows and shake hands. Children were playing on the sidewalk, but Queenie took no more notice of them than if ...

Corbyn’s Progress

Tariq Ali, 3 March 2016

... What appealed to the young and to the many who had left the party in disgust during the Blair/Brown years – what appealed to the people who turned the campaign into a genuine social movement – was precisely what alienated the political and media cliques. Corbyn’s campaign generated a mass movement that renewed the base of the Labour Party – nearly ...

Not in the Mood

Adam Shatz: Derrida’s Secrets, 22 November 2012

Derrida: A Biography 
by Benoît Peeters, translated by Andrew Brown.
Polity, 629 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 0 7456 5615 1
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... Anyone reading these notes without knowing me,’ Jacques Derrida wrote in his diary in 1976, ‘without having read and understood everything of what I’ve written elsewhere, would remain blind and deaf to them, while he would finally feel that he was understanding easily.’ If you think you can understand me by reading my diaries, he might have been warning future biographers, think again ...

I am French

Jeremy Harding, 21 January 2016

Who is Charlie? Xenophobia and the New Middle Class 
by Emmanuel Todd, translated by Andrew Brown.
Polity, 211 pp., £16.99, September 2015, 978 1 5095 0577 7
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... In January​ 2012 François Hollande, socialist candidate for the presidency, announced on the campaign trail that his ‘true’ enemy was finance capitalism. In the space of twenty years it had taken control of ‘the economy, society, our very own lives’. A few weeks later in London, where the British public had bailed out the City with mixed feelings, Hollande backed off ...

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