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No Casket, No Flowers

Thomas Lynch: MacSwiggan’s Ashes, 20 April 2006

Committed to the Cleansing Flame: The Development of Cremation in 19th-Century England 
by Brian Parsons.
Spire, 328 pp., £34.95, November 2005, 1 904965 04 0
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... Street then left at Hope and into Charlotte Square, the site of the Edinburgh Book Festival. Brian Parsons’s Committed to the Cleansing Flame chronicles a ritual shift coincident with the Industrial Revolution. Just as the plough and pasture gave way to the furnace and factory, the grave has given way to the cremator. And the ‘sacred ...
The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons 
HMSO, 46 pp., £3.95, December 1982Show More
Sea Change 
by Keith Speed.
Ashgrove Press, 194 pp., £7.95, December 1982, 0 906798 20 5
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One Man’s Falklands 
by Tam Dalyell.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.50, December 1982, 0 900821 65 5
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War in the Falklands: The Campaign in Pictures 
Weidenfeld, 154 pp., £7.95, November 1982, 0 297 78202 9Show More
Armed Forces and the Welfare Societies: Challenges in the 1980s 
edited by Gwyn Harries-Jenkins.
Macmillan, 281 pp., £20, December 1982, 0 333 33542 2
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... accuses Mrs Thatcher of deliberately sabotaging the peace efforts of Mr Haig and Sir Anthony Parsons. In a letter published in the Daily Telegraph on 10 January 1983 he alleged that the Prime Minister had ‘spurned an honourable peace and for her own political purposes opted for a military solution’. Central to Mr Dalyell’s thesis that Mrs Thatcher ...

Badoompa-doompa-doompa-doom

Graham Coster, 10 January 1991

Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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Bare 
by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... got paid and the girls Bill got off with afterwards. Especially the girls. Wyman had 278 (he and Brian Jones counted up) during the first two years of the Stones. Odd, in a way, that he got rid of his original surname: Perks. Stone Alone is perversely fascinating in its grinding, routine repetitiveness: gig after gig after gig on tour after tour, more girls ...

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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... of nervous breakdown and excitement. The main strand of the narrative follows the short life of Brian Foxe, manifestly drawn from Trev, even down to the stammer. His mother, Mrs Foxe, is just as clearly drawn from Mrs Ward. She is addicted to Mrs Ward’s favourite epithet, ‘splendid’, and, like Mrs Ward, she is a Unitarian: ‘the wonderful thing for ...

Darwin Won’t Help

Terry Eagleton: Evocriticism, 24 September 2009

On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition and Fiction 
by Brian Boyd.
Harvard, 540 pp., £25.95, May 2009, 978 0 674 03357 3
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... It was Darwin above all who sent the literati scrambling for their spiritual values along with the parsons. The world he portrayed no longer seemed to be going anywhere. There were some marvellous characters, but distressingly little plot. A novel like Middlemarch trades on the assumption that reality itself is story-shaped: that there is a design of sorts ...

Run to the hills

James Meek: Rainspotting, 22 May 2003

Rain 
by Brian Cathcart.
Granta, 100 pp., £5.99, September 2002, 1 86207 534 4
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... but everyone in Britain gets a corporate-box view of the weather. ‘In the past few years,’ Brian Cathcart writes on page two, ‘I have watched a lot of rain through my big window.’ As beginnings of British books about Britain go, this is unpromising. The only more daunting marker of intent would be: ‘In the past few years, I have watched a lot of ...

Disgrace under Pressure

Andrew O’Hagan: Lad mags, 3 June 2004

Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
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Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
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Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men's Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
Show More
Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
Show More
Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
Show More
Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
Show More
Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
Show More
Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men’s Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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... reassurance about the wonders of male normalcy. They look for all this in the way people like Tony Parsons have taught them, in a spirit of soft-core irony and hard-core sentiment. But apart from reassurance and a sort of avenging pride, what are these magazines selling to their readers? With their grisly combinations of sensitivity and debasement – ‘How ...

Wham Bang, Teatime

Ian Penman: Bowie, 5 January 2017

The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference 
by Paul Morley.
Simon & Schuster, 484 pp., £20, July 2016, 978 1 4711 4808 8
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On Bowie 
by Rob Sheffield.
Headline, 197 pp., £14.99, June 2016, 978 1 4722 4104 7
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On Bowie 
by Simon Critchley.
Serpent’s Tail, 207 pp., £6.99, April 2016, 978 1 78125 745 6
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Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy 
by Simon Reynolds.
Faber, 704 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 571 30171 3
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... today you can choose from a huge selection of books on any given cult figure (Nick Drake, Gram Parsons, Syd Barrett etc). In the days when such figures were active you had to be satisfied with an occasional music-press annual, or the lyrics printed in your girlfriend’s Jackie, or, if you were really lucky, a title like The Sociology of Riff (no photos or ...

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