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Aunt Twackie’s Bazaar

Andy Beckett: Seventies Style, 19 August 2010

70s Style and Design 
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.90, November 2009, 978 0 500 51483 2
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... A fascination with kitsch … massively influenced avant-garde fashion and interiors … Andrew Logan’s studio-cum-home in Hackney, London … featured a wardrobe fronted by Astroturf, a mannequin torso as a fountain … a plaster Alsatian. A heightened interest in the look of things and in what that meant was also evident in academia. Roland ...


Chris Mullin, 19 March 2020

... to international development has been, to say the least, suspect. Of the most recent only Rory Stewart (2016-18) had any serious track record of interest in ‘Abroad’ and he is no longer a member of the Tory Party, having been expelled in the purge of Brexit dissidents. What to do about overseas aid has long been a problem for the Conservatives. The ...

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 ...

Mirror Images

Christopher Andrew, 3 April 1986

World of Secrets: The Uses and Limits of Intelligence 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 404 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 297 78745 4
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... Geoffrey Prime is renamed ‘Price’; Sir Percy Sillitoe was head of MI5, not MI6; Sir Stewart Menzies was not the last ‘military man’ to head MI6 (he was succeeded by Major-General Sir ‘Sinbad’ Sinclair). Because source material on the current ‘uses and limits of intelligence’ is so much richer in the United States than ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire, 11 June 2009

... each person might be thinking their own thoughts, before one of them, Claudette Colbert or Jimmy Stewart, steps out. And if they seem wildly capable of being themselves, that capability is crowned by the ease with which they move themselves around, sovereign in their cars. This can all be observed in America’s foundations, and the writer Cotten Seiler ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... often with flattering photographs. Not, however, on this occasion.28 July. In the evening we watch Stewart Lee doing his stand-up in Southend. He makes stand-up almost a moral pursuit, predicting an audience’s reaction (or lack of reaction) to his material in a way that makes the usual (and more popular) stand-ups seem crude and obvious. He’s ...

Backlash Blues

John Lahr, 16 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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... Simone shut her eyes and began to play. At 4 a.m., when the set was over, she approached Harry Stewart, the owner and ‘host’, to ask how he liked her playing. Why hadn’t she sung? he asked. ‘I’m only a pianist,’ she said. ‘Tomorrow night,’ Stewart said, ‘you’re either a singer, or you’re out of a ...

Orpheus in his Underwear

Harold James, 1 November 1984

My Life 
by Richard Wagner, translated by Andrew Gray, edited by Mary Whittall.
Cambridge, 786 pp., £22.50, November 1983, 0 521 22929 4
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Untimely Meditations 
by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by R.J. Hollingdale, introduced by J.P. Stern.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £15, December 1983, 0 521 24740 3
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Wagner: A Case-History 
by Martin von Amerongen.
Dent, 169 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 460 04618 7
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... rather unsavoury disciples – most prominently among them, the racist ‘philosopher’ Houston Stewart Chamberlain – and after that by Cosima’s English daughter-in-law, Winifred. Wagner proved for many Englishmen and women the perfect expression of the night-side of European life: the first of these strange disciples, Jessie Laussot, makes her ...

Hoist that dollymop’s sail

John Sutherland: New Victorian Novels, 31 October 2002

by Sarah Waters.
Virago, 549 pp., £12.99, February 2002, 1 86049 882 5
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The Crimson Petal and the White 
by Michel Faber.
Canongate, 838 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 1 84195 323 7
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... confirms that the neo-Victorian low-life, high-filth novel is doing well. To add to the buzz, Andrew Davies’s three-part adaptation of Waters’s first novel, Tipping the Velvet, has just been shown on TV. Waters’s tale of lesbian prostitution in the 1890s attracted publicity chiefly for the casting of Diana Rigg’s daughter, leather dildos and the ...

Why can’t doctors be more scientific?

Hugh Pennington: The Great MMR Disaster, 8 July 2004

... all from the Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine; the first in the list was a surgeon, Andrew Wakefield. The paper described 11 boys and one girl (mean age six) who had been referred to a paediatric gastroenterology unit with a history of diarrhoea, abdominal pain and a loss of acquired skills, including language. Most of the children were shown to ...

Dialling for Dollars

Deborah Friedell: Corruption in America, 19 March 2015

Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United 
by Zephyr Teachout.
Harvard, 376 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 05040 2
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... the presidential election of 2004, teaches law at Fordham University. Last year, she ran against Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York. In more than 90 per cent of American elections, the politician who raises the most money wins. Teachout raised around $800,000; Cuomo raised more than $40 million. She hadn’t expected to beat ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... decay. The litany of names reads like the cast-list of some bizarre Antipodean soap: Allan Stewart, wielder of the pick-axe; Michael Mates, sender of the famous watch; Norman Lamont, evictor (with some help from the tax-payer) of the tenant with too colourful a professional life; Patrick Nicholls, suspected drunk driver; Nicholas Ridley, too loquacious ...

Shoot them to be sure

Richard Gott: The Oxford History of the British Empire, 25 April 2002

The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. I: The Origins of Empire 
edited by William Roger Louis and Nicholas Canny.
Oxford, 533 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924676 9
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. II: The 18th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 639 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924677 7
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. III: The 19th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Andrew Porter.
Oxford, 774 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924678 5
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. IV: The 20th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Judith Brown.
Oxford, 773 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924679 3
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. V: Historiography 
edited by William Roger Louis and Robin Winks.
Oxford, 731 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924680 7
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... in southern Nigeria, in December 1905, in the village of Ahiara. The villagers had killed Dr James Stewart, an officer who had arrived in their village on a bicycle. Major Trenchard, aged 32, was the commander of the force in charge of the subsequent massacre. The historian Johnson Asiegbu interviewed people in the area in 1978, and found that some still ...


Frank Kermode: Remembering William Empson, 16 November 2006

William Empson. Vol. II: Against the Christians 
by John Haffenden.
Oxford, 797 pp., £30, November 2006, 0 19 927660 9
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... company and even for baths, and nursing when he was unwell. More comfort was provided by Alice Stewart, a distinguished Oxford doctor and almost a Nobel Prize winner, with whom he had a long, intermittent and affectionate affair. The Consenting Triangle was not a passing fancy but a serious preoccupation. An important aspect of Empson’s character was his ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... Blair’s latest consensus hair policy, Lord Archer’s ironic, pre-penitentiary crop, the way Andrew Motion carries off his loden coat as he swirls between taxi and station platform. Julian Barnes’s novels are depilated at source, fat-free. Frisking them for a Moorcockian digression, a set of cellulite-heavy parentheses, would be like checking a tub of ...

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