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Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon

9 August 2001
One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... the Stones, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Robbie Williams, Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, Evelyn Waugh, Auberon Waugh, Salman Rushdie, Jeffrey Archer, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, William Shakespeare (although to be fair they despise the comedies and some of the history plays only). ‘It is easier, in fact,’ notes ...


D.A.N. Jones

8 January 1987
The Old School: A Study 
by Simon Raven.
Hamish Hamilton, 139 pp., £12, September 1986, 0 241 11929 4
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The Best Years of their Lives: The National Service Experience 1945-63 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 7181 2459 6
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Murder without Conviction: Inside the World of the Krays 
by John Dickson.
Sidgwick, 164 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780283994074
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Inside ‘Private Eye’ 
by Peter McKay.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 947795 80 4
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Malice in Wonderland: Robert Maxwell v. ‘Private Eye’ 
by Robert Maxwell, John Jackson, Peter Donnelly and Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 191 pp., £10.95, December 1986, 0 356 14616 2
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... of these editors by the Bunter of the gang. None of them seems to like or admire his colleagues. Auberon Waugh is said to have ridiculed the cartoonist Barry Fantoni by ‘saying how handsome and witty he was’. Surely the cartoons in the paper are wittier than the writing? Surely Fantoni is better-looking than ...
9 January 1992
Martha Jane and Me: A Girlhood in Wales 
by Mavis Nicholson.
Chatto, 243 pp., £14.99, November 1991, 0 7011 3356 2
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Vanessa Redgrave: An Autobiography 
Hutchinson, 300 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 09 174593 4Show More
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... to pad out tome after fresh tome on Graham Greene, or George Orwell, or P.G. Wodehouse, or Evelyn Waugh, or Bernard Shaw, or Cyril Connolly? Must we prepare our shelves for yet another cache of letters, stumbled across like Dead Sea scrolls, every decade? If so, will they, too, rank high with biographers as first-hand testimony to what the subject was ...


Frank Kermode

8 June 1995
Angus Wilson 
by Margaret Drabble.
Secker, 714 pp., £20, May 1995, 0 436 20038 4
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... was incredible, Wilson affirmed that she was drawn from the life, and congratulated Evelyn Waugh on understanding that. He did a lot of drawing from the life, and the models sometimes recognised themselves. Not all were weird or wild: I was surprised to read that Christopher Morris, later a friendly colleague of mine, correctly identified himself and ...
4 December 1980
The Letters of Evelyn Waugh 
edited by Mark Amory.
Weidenfeld, 664 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 297 77657 6
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... The external paraphernalia of Evelyn Waugh included check suits, an ear-trumpet, a watch-chain, cigars, unfashionable Victorian paintings, a large family and a West Country manor house. To those interested by what lay behind these characteristically English defences, this selection of his letters may come as a disappointment ...


Robert Irwin: The Best Thing since Sex

2 December 1993
... have to be sex in it. But sex scenes are difficult to write at the best of times and just recently Auberon Waugh, from his offensive base at the Literary Review, has made things even more difficult by advertising a booby prize for the worst written sex scene in the coming year’s fiction. I start to tense up as I begin work on the first of my novel’s ...

Not Quite Nasty

Colin Burrow: Anthony Burgess

9 February 2006
The Real Life of Anthony Burgess 
by Andrew Biswell.
Picador, 434 pp., £20, November 2005, 0 330 48170 3
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... kind of creature in the world: a tax exile (in Malta and elsewhere) whose opinions were admired by Auberon Waugh. As he put it in one of the more self-hating passages of his autobiography, ‘I suppose I was dour about the new sexuality because no ageing man likes to see the young doing better than he did . . . I hungered for those girls in ...

Riots, Terrorism etc

John Lanchester: The Great British Press Disaster

6 March 2008
Flat Earth News 
by Nick Davies.
Chatto, 408 pp., £17.99, February 2008, 978 0 7011 8145 1
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... alert to the question, you can see PR influence almost everywhere in the press. The greatly missed Auberon Waugh used to say that behind any claim in any way interesting, striking or surprising in the news, there was either someone demanding more government money or a press release. That is truer than ever, only these days the press release will announce ...


A.N. Wilson

14 May 1992
Evelyn WaughNo Abiding City 1939-1966 
by Martin Stannard.
Dent, 523 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 460 86062 3
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... and Fall, but it would not have been a bad title. On one level, the last 27 years of Evelyn Waugh’s life make melancholy reading. The book begins with Waugh’s sometimes bizarre career in the Army; it chronicles his prodigious commercial success as the author of Brideshead Revisited. It watches him struggle with ...


James Wood: John Carey

8 March 2001
Pure Pleasure: A Guide to the 20th Century’s Most Enjoyable Books 
by John Carey.
Faber, 173 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 571 20448 1
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... cousins in populism sometimes include Simon Jenkins, Paul Johnson, A.N. Wilson and the late Auberon Waugh. An easy moralism animates this worldview. Picasso was a pig; Edmund Gosse was ‘a bore’; D.H. Lawrence hit Frieda and wanted to exterm-inate whole races; Virginia Woolf was a pretentious snob who said horrible things about the plebeian ...
4 June 1987
The Life of My Choice 
by Wilfred Thesiger.
Collins, 459 pp., £15, May 1987, 9780002161947
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Worlds Apart: Travels in War and Peace 
by Gavin Young.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 09 168220 7
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... except for Earl Grey tea. Thesiger’s life has been in the Buchan mould. It is true that, unlike Auberon Herbert (‘the man who was Greenmantle’), he was never pressed to accept a throne – he would certainly have declined even that of Albania – but he played a bold part in restoring his own favourite emperor to the throne of Abyssinia. In doing so, he ...

Siding with Rushdie

Christopher Hitchens

26 October 1989
The Rushdie File 
edited by Lisa Appignanesi and Sara Maitland.
Fourth Estate/ICA, 268 pp., £5.95, July 1989, 0 947795 84 7
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CounterBlasts No 4: Sacred Cows 
by Fay Weldon.
Chatto, 43 pp., £2.99, July 1989, 0 7011 3556 5
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Salman Rushdie and the Third World: Myths of the Nation 
by Timothy Brennan.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, September 1989, 0 333 49020 7
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... the extreme conservatives are hoping. Why do you think that Peregrine Worsthorne, Paul Johnson and Auberon Waugh are, pro tem, in favour of the mosque against secular, brown activists of the Rushdie type? It is depressing to notice how much of the commentary in this matter depends on the unstated false antithesis between ‘the West’ and ...

Bravo l’artiste

John Lanchester: What is Murdoch after?

5 February 2004
The Murdoch Archipelago 
by Bruce Page.
Simon and Schuster, 580 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 7432 3936 9
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Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Media Wizard 
by Neil Chenoweth.
Crown Business, 416 pp., $27.50, December 2002, 0 609 61038 4
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Autumn of the Moguls: My Misadventures with the Titans, Poseurs and Money Guys who Mastered and Messed up Big Media 
by Michael Wolff.
Flamingo, 381 pp., £18.99, January 2004, 0 00 717881 6
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... of Murdoch’s then-wife Anna – was ‘the sentence I am most ashamed of having written’. As Auberon Waugh once said, when a campaign to place a plaque to Matthew Arnold in Westminster Abbey was cut short by a letter from the Dean informing him that there already was one, ‘I am still sure that there is a point to be made, even if I am no longer ...

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