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Good New Idea

John Lanchester: Universal Basic Income, 18 July 2019

... up in the title of Annie Lowrey’s excellent primer, Give People Money. A guaranteed regular cash payment for every citizen, unconditionally and for life. The money would be enough to provide psychological and practical security, and enough to prevent destitution, but not enough to be a disincentive to work; if you wanted to live on it, you would be safe ...

Dykes, Drongs, Sarns, Snickets

David Craig: Walking England, 20 December 2012

The English Lakes: A History 
by Ian Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 0958 7
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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 432 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 0 241 14381 0
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... Sawrey and the dale of Newlands, settles there finally and specialises in native breeds of sheep. Arthur Ransome writes stories set in Coniston (and elsewhere) and inspires me and many thousands of other children with tales about families learning to camp and sail and climb and skate and smelt copper. Such for Thompson are the prime markers in the history of ...


Jeremy Harding: Arthur Rimbaud, 30 July 1998

Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa 1880-91 
by Charles Nicholl.
Vintage, 336 pp., £7.99, May 1998, 0 09 976771 6
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A Season in Hell and Illuminations 
by Arthur Rimbaud, translated by Mark Treharne.
Dent, 167 pp., £18.99, June 1998, 0 460 87958 8
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... Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud, poet and ex-poet, took a 41 shoe – about a seven and a half in British sizes, an American eight. We have his own word on this, in a letter written shortly before his death at the age of 37, requesting a stocking for varicose veins. The jaunty teenager smoking a pipe in Verlaine’s famous sketch – dearer to Rimbaud’s admirers than the simpering soul in Fantin-Latour’s group portrait of the same year – has elegant legs ...

Builder of Ruins

Mary Beard: Arthur Evans, 30 November 2000

Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth 
by J.A. MacGillivray.
Cape, 313 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 224 04352 8
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... disappointment, not so much at the excavation site itself (‘where,’ he writes archly, ‘Sir Arthur Evans … is rebuilding the palace’) but at its collection of prize paintings and sculpture, which had been removed to the museum in Heraklion. In the sculpture, he ‘saw nothing to suggest any genuine aesthetic feeling at all’. The frescoes were much ...

Fraud Squad

Ferdinand Mount: Imposters, 2 August 2007

The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Continuum, 363 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 1 85285 478 2
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A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson 
by Frances Welch.
Short Books, 327 pp., £14.99, February 2007, 978 1 904977 71 1
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The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York 
by David Baldwin.
Sutton, 220 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 7509 4335 2
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... refused to believe that he was dead. An old sailor turned up at Tichborne House begging for cash and, when asked whether he had ever heard of the Bella, said he had heard that the crew ended up in Australia. A few years later, Henriette placed advertisements in newspapers all over the world. In due course, a bankrupt butcher in Wagga Wagga, originally ...

Martin and Martina

Ian Hamilton, 20 September 1984

Money: A Suicide Note 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 352 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 224 02276 8
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... giving money away,’ he confides in us. ‘If you were here now, I’d probably slip you some cash.’ ‘Oh, money, I love you. You’re so democratic. You even things out for me and my kind.’ Although he has a spare-time problem, Self likes things that are fast. He doesn’t quite know why, except that this happens to be the momentum of the ...


Ian Hamilton, 20 June 1996

Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 632 pp., £35, February 1996, 0 19 211789 0
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... a taker? Ford was hugely generous when in funds but/therefore frequently in need of bailouts and cash-in-advance. By 1915, he was more or less bankrupt. Ford – called many-modelled by a waggish friend – was always popular, but never quite knew why. In society, he came across either as too lordly or too keen to please. His tall stories, though, were ...

The Leader’s Cheerleaders

Simon Jenkins: Party Funding in Britain, 20 September 2007

The Cost of Democracy: Party Funding in Modern British Politics 
by K.D. Ewing.
Hart, 279 pp., £30, March 2007, 978 1 84113 716 2
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... or in terms of business activities’. Does Ewing really think that the accountancy firms, Arthur Andersen and KPMG, gave such sterling service to Labour (£2.5m from KPMG) without thought of the billions of pounds in Treasury contracts that followed? As for the ‘fund-raising ethics committee’ set up after Bernie Ecclestone’s £1m donation to get ...

Bitov’s Secrets

Michael Glenny, 18 October 1984

... paid than in most Western countries; his translations include, for instance, two SF novels by Arthur C. Clarke. Even more valuable than his cash earnings, however, were the attendant perks of the job. Apart from the right to buy scarce or otherwise unobtainable goods in special shops open only to the Party’s ...

Keeping Score

Ian Jackman: Joe DiMaggio, 10 May 2001

Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life 
by Richard Ben Cramer.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £20, April 2001, 0 684 85391 4
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... by being Joe. (There’s a wonderful extended passage about him retrieving a bin-liner full of cash from his earthquake-damaged home.) All sporting heroes’ lives are divided into the time they played their game and the much longer time they play being themselves, usually much less well. DiMaggio performed supremely well at both. He holds one of the ...

Mrs Thatcher’s Universities

Peter Pulzer, 22 June 1989

... anti-Conservative committee-rooms, as happened in the Vale of Glamorgan by-election in May; that Arthur Scargill would be seeking to become a fully-owned subsidiary of Ron Todd? Yet all this has come to pass, and so has industrial action by academics. That is, for me, the saddest development of all. Fashions may change in how best to run an industry or ...

Fancy Patter

Theo Tait: Holmes and the Holocaust, 31 March 2005

The Final Solution 
by Michael Chabon.
Fourth Estate, 127 pp., £10, February 2005, 0 00 719602 4
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... of an elderly bibliophile. By the time of Holmes’s resurrection in ‘The Empty House’ (1903), Arthur Conan Doyle heartily resented his most famous creation, but vast amounts of cash had proved an irresistible lure. Doyle made no further efforts to bump him off; the best he managed was retirement. In ‘His Last ...

National Treasure

Christopher Hitchens, 14 November 1996

Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Memoir 
by John Davis.
Wiley, 256 pp., £14.99, October 1996, 0 471 12945 3
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... confide in him that her late husband had a special fondness for a corny musical about King Arthur. But, as a staunch Camelot-scoffer all my life, I was in for a huge shock when Jackie finally died. Every American female I know took it entirely personally. My scoffs were absolutely at a discount. And then I read a memorial interview with that old ...


Clive James, 10 January 1983

... it was who, raised as a Red Guard, Looked back on his achievements with remorse. With Mao set to cash in his Party card Deng and the boys announced a change of course. The Student Wei invited ten years hard Saying they’d got the cart before the horse: If freedom came first, progress might begin. He pulled his ten years and five more thrown in. As ...

Talking with Alfred

Steven Shapin: Mr Loomis’s Obsession, 15 April 2004

Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science that Changed the Course of World War Two 
by Jennet Conant.
Simon and Schuster, 330 pp., £9.99, July 2003, 0 684 87288 9
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... few months of 1929 he liquidated all his stocks, prudently turning them into Treasury bonds and cash – just before the Great Crash of 24 October. That was the fortune he lived on for the rest of his life, and it was quite big enough to allow him to retire at the height of the Depression, aged just 46. Loomis was very posh, too. His social network centred ...

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