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The Kiss

Blake Morrison

22 May 1986
...  ...


Blake Morrison

24 January 1985
... Be careful not to spill it when it pops. He’d bloody crucify me if he caught us.’ We had taken months to get to this, our first kiss a meeting of stalagmite and stalactite. The slow drip of courtship: her friend, June, interceding with letters, the intimate struggle each Friday under the Plaza’s girder of light. But here we were at last, drinking Pomagne in her parents’ double bed, Christmas Eve and the last advent-calendar door ...


Blake Morrison

9 October 1986
... Was it thrup or thrip, your word for the thunderflies that came off the cornfield with the paddlesteaming combine, like wafted ashes sticking to our bodies and warning us of this: the yellowing page set alight at one corner, the burning of straw. We can see the flames rushing towards us like a lynch-mob, blood in their eye, tarring and furring, until the churn and swirl of the ploughed field-edge brings them up short as a river would yards from our door ...

A Child in Winter

Blake Morrison

1 December 1983
... Where is the man who does not feel his heart softened ... [by] these so helpless and so perfectly innocent little creatures? Cobbett When the trees have given up snowberries come into their own, winter grapes, albino settlers of the dark. With their milky blobs they lined our doorstep that November dusk we swung your basket up the gravel-path and home ...


Blake Morrison

6 December 1984
... They come each evening like virgins to a well: the girls queuing for the xerox-machine, braceleted and earmarked, shapely as pitchers in their stretch Levis or wraparound shirts, sylphs from the typing-pool bearing the forms of their masters, the chilly boardroom gods. But this one, this nervous one, is different. She doesn’t gossip with the others and pleads, when it’s her turn, no, you go first ...

The Grange Boy

Blake Morrison

30 December 1982
... Horse-chestnuts thudded to the lawn each autumn. Their spiked husks were like medieval clubs, Porcupines, unexploded shells. But if You waited long enough they gave themselves up – Brown pups, a cow opening its sad eye, The shine of the dining-room table. We were famous for horse-chestnuts. Boys From the milltown would ring at our door asking Could they gather conkers and I’d to tell them Only from the ground – no stick-throwing ...

The Renunciation

Blake Morrison

20 November 1980
... Our lives were wasted but we never knew. There was such work to be done: the watch-chains And factories, the papers to sign In the study. Surrounded by brass How could we see what we amounted to – A glint of eyes as headlights swept away? In a cot on the lawn lies my nephew, Whose name I can’t remember – the strands Of family thinner each year, though we Are here again, politely ...

Boxes of Tissues

Hilary Mantel

6 March 1997
As If 
by Blake Morrison.
Granta, 245 pp., £14.99, February 1997, 1 86207 003 2
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... Blake Morrison begins his account of the murder of James Bulger with a delicate diversion into the story of the Children’s Crusade. The year 1212: at Saint-Denis, a boy of 12 begins to preach. He has received word from God that it is the mission of Christian children to free the Holy Land from the infidel. He draws crowds, draws followers: boys and girls swarm from street and field ...

On Sizewell Beach

Blake Morrison

18 December 1986
... There are four beach huts, numbered 13 to 16, Each with net curtains and a lock. Who owns them, what happened to the first twelve, Whether there are plans for further building: There’s no one here today to help with such enquiries, The café closed up for the winter, No cars or buses in the PAY AND DISPLAY. The offshore rig is like a titan’s diving-board ...

Whinny Moor

Blake Morrison

2 April 1987
... the old man gave them to the soul to protect its feet whilst crossing the thorny moor. Richard Blakeborough, Wit, Character, Folklore and Customs of the North Riding of Yorkshire (1911) I was back walking on Lothersdale Moor, through ling, blackthorn and blips of sheepshit, over dry-stone walls and up kestrels’ airstreams, back with the becks and ...

Noblesse Oblige

Blake Morrison

7 July 1983
... Quels bons bras, quelle belle heure me rendront      cette région d’où viennent mes sommeils? Rimbaud This is the excitement that ends in pain. Dark names stretch for you from their seedbed, Bronze statesmen harangue the crowded squares. All week you’ve driven round the capital In a blacked-out Volvo, testing the way. What is this new air, ideas run up flagpoles, The people pressing to some grand conclusion, Not to be restrained ...

Taking Flight

Thomas Jones: Blake Morrison

7 September 2000
The Justification of Johann Gutenberg 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 259 pp., £14.99, August 2000, 0 7011 6965 6
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... Towards the end of And When Did You Last See your Father? (1993), Blake Morrison says:Stand them up against grief, and even the greatest poems, the greatest paintings, the greatest novels lose the power to console. I used to think that solace was the point of art, or part of it; now it’s failed the test, it doesn’t seem to have much point at all ...
24 June 1993
And When Did You Last See Your Father? 
by Blake Morrison.
Granta, 215 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 14 014240 1
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Eating Children 
by Jill Tweedie.
Viking, 314 pp., £15.99, May 1993, 0 670 84911 1
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... Plath, the seminal ‘Daddy’. Germaine Greer’s used up Daddy, We Hardly Knew You, and now Blake Morrison has bagged And When Did You Last See Your Father? Which leaves me, I guess, with a choice between Oh, mein Papa and Daddy’s Little Girl. I’d better get a move on, or I’ll be lumbered with When Father Papered the Parlour, which wouldn’t ...
5 June 1980
The Movement: English Poetry and Fiction of the 1950s 
by Blake Morrison.
Oxford, 326 pp., £8.50, May 1980, 9780192122100
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The Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse 1945-1980 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 299 pp., £7.50, May 1980, 0 19 214108 2
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... It seemed to be happening only yesterday, but Blake Morrison was born in 1950, and for him the Movement is something you have to work on in a library. So it suddenly comes to seem rather remote, as deep in the past as those files of the Spectator where he found the famous pieces by J.D. Scott and Anthony Hartley, or the scripts of John Wain’s Third Programme magazine First Reading, or copies of the Reading limited editions of Wain and Amis ...

Fenton makes a hit

Blake Morrison

10 January 1983
In Memory of War: Poems 1968-1982 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 96 pp., £6.95, June 1982, 0 907540 17 1
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... No one can have been more surprised than James Fenton that In Memory of War turned out to be one of the most acclaimed books of 1982. A year ago, used to being told by reviewers that he was a ‘difficult’, even ‘esoteric’ poet, it looked as if he had decided that small publishers and little magazines were the most appropriate place for his work ...

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