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In Bloody Orkney

Robert Crawford: George Mackay Brown, 22 February 2007

George Mackay Brown: The Life 
by Maggie Fergusson.
Murray, 363 pp., £25, April 2006, 0 7195 5659 7
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The Collected Poems of George Mackay Brown 
edited by Brian Murray.
Murray, 547 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7195 6884 6
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... the awkwardly constructed and uninvitingly written ‘literary biography’ of Brown by Rowena and Brian Murray, published in 2004, this new account is clear and stylish. Fergusson’s most arresting new material concerns his dealings with women, about which she is remarkably non-judgmental. At times, however, she seems reluctant to sift the ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley, 11 July 2002

Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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TheCat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... Twentieth-century Huxleys have received less biography than one might have expected. Nicholas Murray usefully fills a gap between Sybille Bedford’s thirty-year-old life of Aldous and the awaited definitive biography by David Bradshaw. With the passing of time, Murray can tell us things prohibited to his predecessor by discretion and the libel laws ...

Cave’s Plato

A.D. Nuttall, 7 July 1988

In Defence of Rhetoric 
by Brian Vickers.
Oxford, 508 pp., £40, February 1988, 0 19 812837 1
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Recognitions: A Study in Poetics 
by Terence Cave.
Oxford, 530 pp., £40, March 1988, 0 19 815849 1
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... consistent upon almost nothing else, have been united in a sustained denunciation of rhetoric. Brian Vickers’s In Defence of Rhetoric is an attempt, copious, complex, armed at all points with telling examples, to meet and turn back this onslaught, which seems so confidently sure of its own rightness. If we define rhetoric as the art of ...

Bloody Sunday Report

Murray Sayle: Back to Bloody Sunday, 11 July 2002

... On the night of 30 January 1972, Murray Sayle was sent by the Sunday Times to Londonderry to report on the fatal shooting of 14 unarmed civil rights marchers by British Army Paratroopers. The article he wrote diverged from the official line; it was never printed. Twenty-six years later, his lost copy was unearthed by the new Inquiry ...

Sticky Wicket

Charles Nicholl: Colonel Fawcett’s Signet Ring, 28 May 2009

The Lost City of Z 
by David Grann.
Simon and Schuster, 339 pp., £16.99, February 2009, 978 1 84737 436 3
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... on matters of drink and loose-living. His childhood, as he recalls in writings edited by his son Brian in Exploration Fawcett (1953), was ‘devoid of parental affection’ but full of ‘grand times’ with his brother and sisters. At the age of 19 he was a commissioned officer in the Royal Artillery, handsome in a lanky, buttoned-up sort of way, and was ...

Last Exit

Murray Sayle, 27 November 1997

The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the Handover of Hong Kong 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £22.50, July 1997, 0 316 64018 2
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In Pursuit of British Interests: Reflections on Foreign Policy under Margaret Thatcher and John Major 
by Percy Cradock.
Murray, 228 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 7195 5464 0
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Hong Kong Under Chinese Rule: The Economic and Political Implications of Reversion 
edited by Warren Cohen and Li Zhao.
Cambridge, 255 pp., £45, August 1997, 0 521 62158 5
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The Hong Kong Advantage 
by Michael Enright, Edith Scott and David Dodwell.
Oxford, 369 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 19 590322 6
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... of the lease was first raised with China by the most far-sighted of Hong Kong’s governors, Sir Murray (now Lord) Maclehose, during the first visit ever by a governor to Beijing in March 1979. The tall, dignified Scot had seen a vision of the Hong Kong that was to be; under his aegis, the first harbour tunnel and subway line were begun, and the new ...

Diary

Susan McKay: Jean McConville, 19 December 2013

... mother’s body and to get the IRA to admit the truth about what it did has kept her alive. Jean Murray was born in 1935, the first of five children. The family lived in a tiny two-up two-down house owned by the Corporation in the heart of Protestant East Belfast. From the front door you can see the yellow cranes of the Harland and Wolff shipyard where ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie, 5 April 2012

Starman: David Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... of the rhythm section Bowie would work with for the next five years – Alomar on guitar, George Murray on bass, Dennis Davis on drums – and the new emphasis on production over composition in the song-making process. Bowie’s new onstage persona, the Thin White Duke, a vampiric cross between Aleister Crowley and Prospero with fascist overtones, having ...

Scrum down

Paul Smith, 14 November 1996

Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity 
edited by John Nauright and Timothy Chandler.
Cass, 260 pp., £35, April 1996, 0 7146 4637 7
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... a graphic illustration of the problem with much of the prose in this volume). In any case, after Brian Dobbs’s Edwardians at Play, one of the few works to combine an interest in the sociology of sport with a lively appreciation of the sports themselves, it seems almost certain that Bob Deans scored an equalising New Zealand try, though the referee decided ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont, 21 July 1983

Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... single source has enjoyed so much esteem: the writings of the respected contemporary historian, Brian Manning, are heavily derivative on Baxter for an explanation of how a constitutional struggle (1640-3) broadened into a religious struggle (1643-9). But such reliance is dangerous. For one thing, as we have seen, it is an account written after the ...

The Groom Stripped Bare by His Suitor

Jeremy Harding: John Lennon, 4 January 2001

Lennon Remembers 
by Jann Wenner.
Verso, 151 pp., £20, October 2000, 1 85984 600 9
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... in the form of meditation, a natural place to have gone with LSD, hard on the heels of Brian Epstein’s death in 1967 (‘I thought: “We’ve fuckin’ had it”’), but it didn’t work out. It was a fraud masterminded by an earthly purveyor of cosmic wisdom who splashed his transcendental pheromones around the ashram, or whatever it ...

What the Twist Did for the Peppermint Lounge

Dave Haslam: Club culture, 6 January 2000

Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade of Club Culture 
by Sheryl Garratt.
Headline, 335 pp., £7.99, May 1999, 0 7472 7680 3
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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey 
by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.
Headline, 408 pp., £14.99, November 1999, 0 7472 7573 4
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Saturday Night For Ever: The Story of Disco 
by Alan Jones and Jussi Kantonen.
Mainstream, 223 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 9781840181777
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DJ Culture 
by Ulf Poschardt.
Quartet, 473 pp., £13, January 1999, 0 7043 8098 6
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Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture 
by Simon Reynolds.
Picador, 493 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 0 330 35056 0
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More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction 
by Kodwo Eshun.
Quartet, 208 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 7043 8025 0
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... glorifying the work of the Velvet Underground over Motown releases, the production skills of Brian Wilson over those of Norman Whitfield, and the social significance and songwriting talent of John Lennon rather than James Brown – persists. Clearly, too, most rock writing foregrounds lyrics, whereas most dance music works through texture, beats and ...

Brown v. Salmond

Colin Kidd: The Scottish Elections, 26 April 2007

... Bute was decried as the new Highland adventurer. It did not help that another Scot, William Murray, Lord Mansfield, who was dogged by the smear that he was intent on importing Scots Romanist principles into the English common law, had become lord chief justice in 1756. Might Bute and his Scotch cronies find no better use for Magna Carta, English ...

Vuvuzelas Unite

Andy Beckett: The Trade Union Bill, 21 October 2015

Trade Union Bill (HC Bill 58) 
Stationery Office, 32 pp., July 2015Show More
Trade Union Membership 2014: Statistical Bulletin 
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 56 pp., June 2015Show More
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... got to grasp this nettle,’ she told the big political interviewer of the day, Brian Walden, in one of her many telling interventions during the strike mayhem of the ‘winter of discontent’. But once in government she bided her time for more than two years, waiting until the increased unemployment caused by her economic policies had ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... of State for Defence before it was announced that he was to join the Royal Bank of Scotland and Murray Johnston Trusts. Having been Mrs Thatcher’s staunchest ally, Norman Tebbit finally left the Government in 1987 after eight years of service. In the three years that followed, he became a director of Manpower (formerly the employment agency); a director ...

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