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We were the Lambert boys

Paul Driver, 22 May 1986

The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 388 pp., £13.95, April 1986, 0 7011 2731 7
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... Andrew Motion’s book is intended to portray a family’s rich self-destructiveness. He begins with Larkin’s famous quatrain: Man hands on misery to man.   It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can,   And don’t have any kids yourself. The Lamberts – painter George (1873-1930), composer-conductor Constant (1905-51), and manager of The Who, Kit (1935-81) – got out as early as they could, and of the two who had kids neither showed paternal enthusiasm or skill ...

Wide-Angled

Linda Colley: Global History, 26 September 2013

The French Revolution in Global Perspective 
edited by Suzanne Desan, Lynn Hunt and William Max Nelson.
Cornell, 240 pp., £16.50, April 2013, 978 0 8014 7868 0
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... is history for? What do we want it to do? In 1731, an obscure Kentish schoolmaster named Richard Spencer offered some answers. Properly to ascertain his position in geographical space, he reasoned, required not a single map, but access to a global atlas, one that would allow him to ‘see what London and the adjacent parts are in the kingdom; what the ...

The Obdurate Knoll

Colin Kidd: The Obdurate Knoll, 1 December 2011

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan 
by Jeff Greenfield.
Putnam, 434 pp., £20.25, March 2011, 978 0 399 15706 6
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11.22.63 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 740 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 4447 2729 6
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... influential essay ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’ was given as the Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford on 21 November 1963. Hofstadter’s subject was the irrational underside of American political culture, where ill-defined fears gave rise to the populist scapegoating of particular groups, whether Jews, Freemasons, Communists or ...

Cleaning up

Simon Schaffer, 1 July 1982

Explaining the Unexplained: Mysteries of the Paranormal 
by Hans Eysenck and Carl Sargent.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £9.95, April 1982, 0 297 78068 9
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Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts 
by R.C. Finucane.
Junction, 292 pp., £13.50, May 1982, 0 86245 043 8
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Hauntings and Apparitions 
by Andrew Mackenzie.
Heinemann, 240 pp., £8.50, June 1982, 0 434 44051 5
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Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences 
by Susan Blackmore.
Heinemann, 270 pp., £8.50, June 1982, 0 434 07470 5
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... yes: fork-bending no. The question is not this simple, however. In the books by Dr Finucane, by Andrew Mackenzie and by Susan Blackmore, there are countless contemporary experiences of ‘psychic’ phenomena. They are all very carefully classified: out-of-the-body experiences, psychokinesis (the ability to move objects without physical contact or any known ...

The Cult of Celebrity

Jacqueline Rose, 20 August 1998

... forms of celebrity – sacred and secular. ‘Not only did she capture the spirit of the age,’ Andrew Morton writes on the last page of the most recent edition of his famous book, ‘but more than that the manner of her life and death formed part of a religious cycle of sin and redemption, a genuinely good and Christian woman who was martyred for our ...

What Is He Supposed To Do?

David Cannadine, 8 December 1994

The Prince of Wales 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Little, Brown, 620 pp., £20, November 1994, 0 316 91016 3
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... also possesses a remarkable capacity for shooting himself in the foot. And in marrying Lady Diana Spencer, he thought he had chosen the ideal bride, yet it turned out that he had made the most terrible mistake of his life. The most important thing that a Prince of Wales has to do is to choose the right wife. Neither George IV nor Edward VIII managed it, and ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... Asian pharmacist is a bit nonplussed and as he serves me I offer to go next door to Marks and Spencer for their security man. But the blonde assistant is pluckily standing her ground. The young man has a really mean face and the pharmacist thinks the best thing is to wait until he goes. Which he is doing when he spots a small woman in her sixties at the ...

White Lie Number Ten

Nicholas Jose: Australia’s aboriginal sovereignty, 19 February 1998

Race Matters: Indigenous Australians and ‘Our’ Society 
edited by Gillian Cowlishaw and Barry Morris.
Aboriginal Studies Press, 295 pp., AUS $29.95, March 1998, 0 85575 294 7
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Aboriginal Sovereignty: Reflections on Race, State and Nation 
by Henry Reynolds.
Allen and Unwin, 221 pp., AUS $17.95, July 1996, 1 86373 969 6
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... schooling assistance, for example – can underline the inferiority they are supposed to redress. Andrew Lattas sees white settler Australians as internalising a sense of not being at home with themselves: ‘The experience of the self as lacking in subjectivity, as lacking in spiritual form, is one of the most powerful images of the self our society has ...

Bobbing Along

Ronald Stevens: The Press Complaints Commission, 7 February 2002

A Press Free and Responsible: Self-Regulation and the Press Complaints Commission 1991-2001 
by Richard Shannon.
Murray, 392 pp., £25, September 2001, 0 7195 6321 6
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... unfounded. The issue was, however, destined to blow up in his face with the publication of Andrew Morton’s book on Diana which, though itself outside the Commission’s field of activity, was almost certain to be serialised in a newspaper and would in any case generate comment in the press. Once again McGregor was betrayed by his own ignorance and ...

Never Mainline

Jenny Diski: Keith Richards, 16 December 2010

Life 
by Keith Richards, with James Fox.
Weidenfeld, 564 pp., £20, October 2010, 978 0 297 85439 5
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... reviews I’ve seen have been pretty much raves. ‘Whooooosssh! What a trip,’ says Charles Spencer at the Telegraph: ‘it is an absolute blast. Over more than 500 pages, its narrative only rarely fails to grip.’ According to John Walsh in the Independent, ‘the 500-plus pages of Life throb with energy, pulsate with rhythm and reverberate ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: London’s Lost Cinemas, 6 November 2014

... votive spectre, sentimentalised, inflated, patched into every available blank space, was Charles Spencer Chaplin: ‘London’s world famous star’. Child vagrant. Global-franchise tramp. Swiss domiciled millionaire guardian of his own archive. Author of a myth-making autobiography exploiting the nexus of these streets. The fable of Chaplin’s heroic ...

Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman Pincher’s Scoops, 5 June 2014

Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... Profumo, Lord Dilhorne, George Weidenfeld, Maurice Oldfield, Victor Rothschild, Lord Porchester, Andrew Parker Bowles: ideally they should be highlighted in bold type, as was the way in the Hickey column. The author lets us know a little about each. Mountbatten may have had an affair with Barbara Cartland; Prince Michael of Kent worked for British ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... hit a lung and the heart, causing massive internal bleeding. He had no chance of survival. Captain Andrew Cox dispatched a helicopter to pick up the injured man and bring him back to base. The helicopter carried him to camp Abu Naji where he was ventilated, but his pupils became fixed and at 00.50 hrs on 2 May 2005, surrounded by medical officers, Guardsman ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... consultant) and Dr Michael Clark (a Parliamentary adviser). Southern Water enjoys the services of Andrew Bowden as its Parliamentary consultant. Southern Electricity expressed its appreciation of Ian Bruce by making him a gift of two fax machines. British Telecom uses Simon Coombs as its Parliamentary consultant, Midlands Electricity has ...

When the Costume Comes Off

Adam Mars-Jones: Philip Hensher, 14 April 2011

King of the Badgers 
by Philip Hensher.
Fourth Estate, 436 pp., £18.99, March 2011, 978 0 00 730133 1
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... novels were selling strongly and being urgently discussed: one was lyrical and would-be Proustian (Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance); the other was bilious and aspired to satire (Larry Kramer’s Faggots). I disliked them both, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that gay literary culture had room for two such opposite productions, could ...

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