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Plugs of Muscle

Joanna Kavenna, 5 July 2001

A Friend of the Earth 
by T.C. Boyle.
Bloomsbury, 275 pp., £15.99, October 2000, 9780747547532
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... the encephalitis which has sent insecticide helicopters whirring above New York for the last two summers. Air-conditioning, the American addiction to perfect frigidity, has been outlawed. Despite floods, winds, thunder and lightning, hail, the population of the US remains fixated on celebrity-goggling and the accumulation of fashionable debris. T.C. Boyle is ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... stretched beneath a pallOf melancholy that would leaveSomething of its gloom behind ...Or Anthony Thwaite:Now what you feared so long has got you too.The blankness has descended where you lieDeep in that building you already knew ...Or Steve Ellis:Hull was the global meridianall poetry was measured from;and now you’re gone, a flat blank gapempty as ...


Inigo Thomas: My Father, Hugh Thomas, 15 June 2017

... I asked my father why he wasn’t going to the house in south-west France where he had for several summers spent a few weeks, his answer sounded straightforward. ‘Too far from Figeac,’ he said. Too far from Figeac? I asked. The house was a distance from the town in the Lot with its baker and café, this was true, but in his phrasing there was, as there ...


Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... palace and its park We take our common place along the road, As summer joins the queue of other summers, Driving towards the dark. 20 July. Although the East Coast rail franchise has now passed from GNER to National Express eccentricity happily persists: the trolley attendant this afternoon warns against too sudden opening of the sparkling water lest it be ...

Alan Bennett chooses four paintings for schools

Alan Bennett: Studying the Form, 2 April 1998

... leg, if you like. I only saw Nureyev dance once, in Manon at Covent Garden. He was partnered by Anthony Dowell, who is much more delicately made. There was nothing delicate about Nureyev. He had legs, like the leg in the painting, that were not so much legs as hindquarters. Nureyev was often compared to Nijinsky and the comparison is apt. He was like ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story, 8 March 2007

... discovered the delights of reading herself Her Majesty was keen to pass them on. ‘Do you read, Summers?’ she said to the chauffeur en route for Northampton. ‘Read, maam?’ ‘Books?’ ‘When I get the chance, maam. I never seem to find the time.’ ‘That’s what a lot of people say. One must make the time. Take this morning. You’re going to be ...

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