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19 December 1985
Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... the first time they troubled Southern historians. Gladys’s family hark back to Cherokee Indians. Andrew Presley, a Scottish blacksmith, emigrated to North Carolina in the middle of the 18th century. His son fought in the Wars of Independence and finally settled in the district of Tupelo, Mississippi, where Elvis Aaron was born 150 years later. Elvis and ...

Bugger me blue

Ian Hamilton

22 October 1992
The Selected Letters of Philip Larkin 
edited by Anthony Thwaite.
Faber, 759 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 571 15197 3
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... But then, God bugger me blue, what did that make all the other craps and shags – the Wains, Davies, Hugheses, for Christ’s sake? At least he, Larkin, didn’t show up for readings in a leather jacket. ‘You’ve become what I dreamed of becoming,’ Larkin wrote to Kingsley Amis at a point quite late on in their careers, seeming to mean by this that ...
16 April 2014
... railway planner at the Strategic Rail Authority and founder of the transport consultancy Steer Davies Gleave, he believes the project is essential for Britain’s future welfare. ‘Do you know what the population of Britain will be in 2085?’ he asks, and then answers his own question: ‘85 million. Where will all those people go? London can only ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007

3 January 2008
... be more of this. 23 May. Ros Chatto, my agent, calls to say I have been offered a role in the BBC Andrew Davies adaptation of Fanny Hill. She reads through this raunchy script finding no mention of the part for which I’m slated until she gets to the very final scene, where Fanny meets an old and respectable gentleman (me) whom she fucks to ...

Blame it on the boogie

Andrew O’Hagan: In Pursuit of Michael Jackson

6 July 2006
On Michael Jackson 
by Margo Jefferson.
Pantheon, 146 pp., $20, January 2006, 0 375 42326 5
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... paedophile, haunted by his dead sibling David, and animated by his fascination with the Llewellyn-Davies boys whom he met in Kensington Gardens. Jefferson does not pick up on the parallels – the horrible accusation, the sibling psychodrama, the company of children – but she has a lot of time for the idea that we live in a culture that enjoys the oddness ...

Gilded Drainpipes

E.S. Turner: London

10 June 1999
The London Rich: The Creation of a Great City from 1666 to the Present 
by Peter Thorold.
Viking, 374 pp., £25, June 1999, 0 670 87480 9
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The Rise of the Nouveaux Riches: Style and Status in Victorian and Edwardian Architecture 
by Mordaunt Crook.
Murray, 354 pp., £25, May 1999, 0 7195 6040 3
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... They were part of the Grosvenor (later Westminster) estate left by the young heiress Mary Davies in the 17th century, together with the Mayfair lands which were the first to be exploited. The story of poor addled Mary as the wellhead of wealth scarcely to be imagined is part of legend. To the admirable Thomas Cubitt goes the major credit for replacing ...

Mingling Freely at the Mermaid

Blair Worden: 17th-century poets and politics

6 November 2003
The Crisis of 1614 and the Addled Parliament: Literary and Historical Perspectives 
edited by Stephen Clucas and Rosalind Davies.
Ashgate, 213 pp., £45, November 2003, 0 7546 0681 3
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The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England: News Culture and the Overbury Affair 1603-60 
by Alastair Bellany.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £45, January 2002, 0 521 78289 9
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... Sir Thomas More, Sir Walter Ralegh, Samuel Daniel, Ben Jonson, Thomas May, John Milton, Andrew Marvell and many more – moved between history and poetry or drama, finding in them complementary means of instilling virtue and wisdom and influencing events. History, which was seen as a branch not only of scholarship but of rhetoric and of ...

Dialect does it

Blake Morrison

5 December 1985
No Mate for the Magpie 
by Frances Molloy.
Virago, 170 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 86068 594 2
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The Mysteries 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 229 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 9780571137893
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Ukulele Music 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 103 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 40986 0
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Hard Lines 2 
edited by Ian Dury, Pete Townshend, Alan Bleasdale and Fanny Dubes.
Faber, 95 pp., £2.50, June 1985, 0 571 13542 0
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No Holds Barred: The Raving Beauties choose new poems by women 
edited by Anna Carteret, Fanny Viner and Sue Jones-Davies.
Women’s Press, 130 pp., £2.95, June 1985, 0 7043 3963 3
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Katerina Brac 
by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 47 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 571 13614 1
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Skevington’s Daughter 
by Oliver Reynolds.
Faber, 88 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 571 13697 4
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Rhondda Tenpenn’orth 
by Oliver Reynolds.
10 pence
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Trio 4 
by Andrew Elliott, Leon McAuley and Ciaran O’Driscoll.
Blackstaff, 69 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 333 4
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Mama Dot 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, August 1985, 0 7011 2957 3
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The Dread Affair: Collected Poems 
by Benjamin Zephaniah.
Arena, 112 pp., £2.95, August 1985, 9780099392507
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Long Road to Nowhere 
by Amryl Johnson.
Virago, 64 pp., £2.95, July 1985, 0 86068 687 6
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Mangoes and Bullets 
by John Agard.
Pluto, 64 pp., £3.50, August 1985, 0 7453 0028 6
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Ragtime in Unfamiliar Bars 
by Ron Butlin.
Secker, 51 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 07810 4
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True Confessions and New Clichés 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 135 pp., £3.95, July 1985, 0 904919 90 0
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Works in the Inglis Tongue 
by Peter Davidson.
Three Tygers Press, 17 pp., £2.50, June 1985
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Wild Places: Poems in Three Leids 
by William Neill.
Luath, 200 pp., £5, September 1985, 0 946487 11 1
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...  ...

A Terrible Thing, Thank God

Adam Phillips: Dylan Thomas

4 March 2004
Dylan Thomas: A New Life 
by Andrew Lycett.
Weidenfeld, 434 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 297 60793 6
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... Dylan Thomas’s biographers have mostly thought of him as a big baby – ‘infantile’ is Andrew Lycett’s preferred word, though he has others – who was nothing like as good as he should have been; and whose life, a terrible thing with all its fecklessness and boozing and blathering, was redeemed only by the extraordinary things that were his ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Dining Out

4 June 1998
... when one’s baby-sitter is a cabinet minister one realises one is really old! 21 May 1997. Howard Davies is appointed chairman-designate of ‘SuperSIB’ (or, as it is later christened by Gordon Brown, the Financial Services Authority), as much to his surprise as everyone else’s. He had been on his way to South America in his capacity as deputy governor of ...

Pamela

Alan Brien

5 December 1985
Orson Welles 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 562 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 297 78476 5
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The Making of ‘Citizen Kane’ 
by Robert Carringer.
Murray, 180 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7195 4248 0
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Spike Milligan 
by Pauline Scudamore.
Granada, 318 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 246 12275 7
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Nancy Mitford 
by Selina Hastings.
Hamish Hamilton, 274 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 241 11684 8
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Rebel: The Short Life of Esmond Romilly 
by Kevin Ingram.
Weidenfeld, 252 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 297 78707 1
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The Mitford Family Album 
by Sophia Murphy.
Sidgwick, 160 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 283 99115 1
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... the era of the art-house, the film-society circuit, film magazines and film schools began. Andrew Sarris launched the cult of the auteur. His key thesis was Citizen Kane: The American Baroque, in which he described Kane as ‘the work that influenced the cinema more profoundly than any American film since Birth of a Nation’. If you regarded film as ...
7 March 1991
The Theatre of Embarrassment 
by Francis Wyndham.
Chatto, 205 pp., £15, February 1991, 0 7011 3726 6
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... eagerly lobbied for by our detractors. Perhaps the epitaph for the Magazine – long after Hunter Davies, that other Sixties figure, had been hired to tame it – was the final meeting between McCullin and Andrew Neil, Murdoch’s Editor on the Sunday Times, when McCullin was sacked. His images were no longer needed at the ...

Who Cares?

Jean McNicol

9 February 1995
The Report of the Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Christopher Clunis 
by Jean Ritchie, Donald Dick and Richard Lingham.
HMSO, 146 pp., £9.50, February 1994, 0 11 701798 1
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Creating Community Care: Report of the Mental Health Foundation into Community Care for People with Severe Mental Illness 
by William Utting.
Mental Health Foundation, 76 pp., £9.50, September 1994, 0 901944 17 3
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Finding a Place: A Review of Mental Health Services for Adults 
HMSO, 94 pp., £11, November 1994, 0 11 886143 3Show More
The Falling Shadow: One Patient’s Mental Health Care. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Events Leading up to and Surrounding the Fatal Incident at the Edith Morgan Centre, Torbay, on 1 September 1993 
by Louis Blom-Cooper, Helen Hally and Elaine Murphy.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 7156 2662 0
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... on several occasions, he was discharged. The consultant psychiatrist at Dulwich North, Dr Davies, told the Inquiry that the ‘ward was old and Dickensian and that violence was commonplace’. Its unsuitability, he added, meant that patients were discharged earlier than they should have been. According to the Audit Commission, an area with a large ...

In the Streets of Londonistan

John Upton: Terror, Muslims and the Met

22 January 2004
... new world. The Centre for the Study of Terrorism is housed in a whitewashed terraced house in St Andrews, a few doors down from the main university buildings. Magnus Ranstorp, a Swede, is the Centre’s director. He regularly briefs senior government and security officials overseas and in the UK – among them, Assistant Commissioner David Veness, head of ...

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