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Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland, 17 July 1980

Duffy 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... true initials while obfuscating their sex and identity. Harry Patterson (‘Jack Higgins’) and Brian Garfield (‘Brian Wynne’) have adopted surnames which were, apparently, those of their mothers before they married. In one of the pseudonymously offered novels under review, Julian Barnes writes as ‘Dan ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The ARRSE Guide’, 1 December 2011

... invocation to London streets. The sense is strong, it has always been strong, of an unbreakable bond between ordinary citizens and their armed forces. Only nowadays it has something to do with the rigours of shopping. On cue, a book has arrived to add to the fun. It’s not a masterpiece but it contains plenty of stuff to make a blaze. Inspired by its own ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Julian Assange, 18 February 2016

... permit after his leaks broke in the summer of 2013. Sometimes it’s more nebulous: outlaws bond, as we know from the movies, and in any case stars – out of reach and incomprehensible to humans – have a better time with each other than with ordinary mortals. After all, you appreciate, they can compare experiences the rest of the world will never ...

Watch with mother

Zachary Leader, 23 May 1996

Eastern Sun, Winter Moon 
by Gary Paulsen.
Gollancz, 244 pp., £16.99, April 1996, 9780575063198
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The Attic: Memoir of a Chinese Landlord’s Son 
by Guanlong Cao, translated by Guanlong Cao and Nancy Moskin.
California, 256 pp., £19.95, April 1996, 0 520 20405 0
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... boys. His best-known boys’ books are a trilogy of survivalist novels about an urban adolescent, Brian Robeson, stranded in a Canadian wilderness: Hatchet, which sold over a million copies, Hatchet: The Return and Hatchet: Winter, which Paulsen claims to have written in response to fan mail (‘as many as two hundred letters a day’). The themes of these ...

The Will and the Body

David Pears, 17 December 1981

The Will: A Dual Aspect Theory 
by Brian O’Shaughnessy.
Cambridge, 250 pp., £25, November 1980, 0 521 22680 5
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... of rescuing the mind from the lofty isolation of Cartesianism. There must be some other way, and Brian O’Shaughnessy’s book is the record of a search for one. As its title indicates, it does not deal with the general question of the relation between mind and brain, nor does it cover in equal detail every type of interaction between mind and body ...

Self-Effacers

John Lanchester, 24 May 1990

Chicago Loop 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 183 pp., £12.99, April 1990, 0 241 12949 4
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Lies of Silence 
by Brian Moore.
Bloomsbury, 194 pp., £12.99, April 1990, 0 7475 0610 8
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Amongst Women 
by John McGahern.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.99, May 1990, 0 571 14284 2
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The Condition of Ice 
by Christopher Burns.
Secker, 170 pp., £12.95, April 1990, 0 436 19989 0
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... garden, waiting for the cat. But the cat did not come. Where was it?’ Students of the oeuvre of Brian Moore’s one-time collaborator Alfred Hitchcock will hum doomy music to themselves when they read those words – and they’ll be right. The cat doesn’t come because the cat has been murdered by a team of IRA gunmen who, later that same evening, break ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... gallery, with a show of paintings by Kenneth Noland, two years later – a beautiful space in New Bond Street designed for them by Ahrends, Burton and Koralek, with a curiously shaped white ceiling, white walls and a green-khaki rubberised floor. It was a space described by Kasmin as ‘a machine for looking at pictures in’; those pictures, moreover, were ...

All together

Humphrey Carpenter, 7 December 1989

The Safest Place in the World: A Personal History of British Rhythm and Blues 
by Dick Heckstall-Smith.
Quartet, 178 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7043 2696 5
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Mama said there’d be days like these: My Life in the Jazz World 
by Val Wilmer.
Women’s Press, 336 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 7043 5040 8
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Lenya: A Life 
by Donald Spoto.
Viking, 371 pp., £15.95, September 1989, 0 670 81211 0
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... Beatles’ most fertile period was when they were under the dual (and somewhat divided) control of Brian Epstein and George Martin, both of whom had set out to manufacture a marketable product rather than inspire great musical achievements. A recent biography of Epstein emphasised the four musicians’ profound relief when at last they allowed themselves to ...

Four Moptop Yobbos

Ian Penman, 17 June 2021

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 642 pp., £9.99, March, 978 0 00 834003 2
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The Beatles and Sixties Britain 
by Marcus Collins.
Cambridge, 382 pp., £90, March 2020, 978 1 108 47724 6
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The Beatles in Context 
edited by Kenneth Womack.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £74.99, January 2020, 978 1 108 41911 6
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... Spark, A Far Cry from KensingtonOn​ the opening page of Craig Brown’s One Two Three Four, Brian Epstein and his personal assistant, Alistair Taylor, behold the Beatles for the very first time. It is November 1961, in a ‘dank and damp and smelly’ Liverpool basement, and the young band are loud, foul-mouthed, almost purposefully unprofessional.After ...

Paisley’s Progress

Tom Paulin, 1 April 1982

... as ‘mindless’, and the Establishment view of him is expressed in two later remarks of Brian Faulkner’s. When the British Government suspended Stormont; Faulkner accused it of reducing Northern Ireland to ‘a coconut colony’ (‘fuzzy wuzzy colony’ was the Lord Mayor of Belfast’s inspired alternative). Later, when the power-sharing ...

Love that Bird

Francis Spufford: Supersonic, 6 June 2002

... from the wheels, which in July 2000 brought down Air France Flight AF4590 in a scrawl of flame. Brian Trubshaw, the chief test pilot for Concorde at the British Aircraft Corporation, was at the controls that day in 1974, dressed in his orange flight suit. He swung the plane round and pointed it west up the tarmac. Concorde cornered smartly on its spindly ...

When the Mediterranean Was Blue

John Bayley, 23 March 1995

Cyril Connolly: A Nostalgic Life 
by Clive Fisher.
Macmillan, 304 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 333 57813 9
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... is more that of a journalist than of a scholar or scientist.’ Absorbed, with Harold Acton and Brian Howard, in the creation of a daring aesthetic manifesto to be called ‘The Eton Candle’, Connolly would have been greatly disturbed by this deflating prophecy, which was soon to be echoed by a boy called Jessel, one of his friends and ...

Little More than an Extension of France

Hugo Young: The British Isles, 6 January 2000

The Isles: A History 
by Norman Davies.
Macmillan, 1222 pp., £30, November 1999, 9780333763704
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... legitimation, which accounted for a whole literary genre, epitomised by Kipling, stressing the bond of identity between imperial Britons and ancient Romans. Rome provided the model for the civilising mission of a multinational empire, and the precursor of centuries of English leaders who suppressed or ignored the Celts while still, at any rate ...

About as Useful as a String Condom

Glen Newey: Bum Decade for the Royals, 23 January 2003

... as proles. Hence the epiphany of a bemused monarch and her consort watching the antics of Brian May on top of her own strobe-lit Palace on 3 June. Hence, also, the most arresting spectacle of royal conflagration since the storming of the Winter Palace, the pyrotechnic finale of the schlock extravaganza cannibalising the very imagery of revolt. The ...

All change. This train is cancelled

Iain Sinclair: The Dome, 13 May 1999

... activity, its sirens and flashing lights, was organised like the final, formulaic act of a James Bond movie. Another mad scheme for world domination revealed. Another doomsday weapon defused. Bond movies, up to now, were way beyond North Greenwich’s ambitions. The old gasworks had featured in the odd episode of Dr Who ...

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