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Eliot’s End

Graham Hough

6 March 1980
Thomas Stearns Eliot, Poet 
by A.D. Moddy.
Cambridge, 365 pp., £12.50, March 1979, 0 521 22065 3
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Theory and Personality: the Significance of T.S. Eliot’s Criticism 
by Brian Lee.
Athlone, 148 pp., £9.95, November 1979, 0 485 11185 3
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... consistent, and often dictated by the needs of his creative work at the time. To try to fit a small-mesh theoretical grid over writing conceived in larger and looser terms is sheer waste of time. BrianLees’ Theory and Personality is subtitled ‘The Significance of T.S. Eliot’s Criticism’, but it hardly fulfils that promise. It is, in fact, a minute examination of ‘Tradition and the ...

At Turner Contemporary

Eleanor Birne: ‘Curiosity’

18 July 2013
... go quite nicely in Sir John Soane’s Museum, with its domes and crypt and secret corners. Even the essays in the exhibition catalogue (Hayward, £22.99) are collections of a kind: Marina Warner and Brian Dillon, the show’s curator, have both written magpie pieces that list facts about collecting and find disparate ways of talking about the idea of curiosity. Part of the pleasure of the cabinet of ...

Diary

August Kleinzahler: Too Bad about Mrs Ferri

20 September 2001
... block where we lived. TV trucks and news reporters were clustered at the gates to the long drive leading up to Albert Anastasia’s enormous Spanish Mission-style home. The Palisades section of Fort Lee, New Jersey, then as now, was a sleepy, leafy enclave, overlooking the Upper West Side, a mile or so across the Hudson. My mother came out the front door of our house, walked up to me, knelt down ...

At Tate Britain

Brian​ Dillon: Queer British Art

6 September 2017
... frustrated by the comparative scarcity of material.’ In a section somewhat dutifully titled ‘Defying Convention’, we find John Singer Sargent’s 1881 portrait of an austerely boyish Vernon Lee, and Alvaro Guevara’s Dame Edith Sitwell from 1916. Laura Knight, three years earlier, had been condemned by the Telegraph for a self-portrait with a nude model that lacked ‘the higher charm of ...

At the MK

Brian​ Dillon: Gerard Byrne

23 March 2011
... published texts into awkward, anachronistic dramas. Why It’s Time for Imperial, Again (1998) puts an already ludicrous 1980 advertorial dialogue between Frank Sinatra and the Chrysler mogul Lee Iacocca into the mouths of two middle-aged actors wandering the run-down streets of Long Island City. In 1984 and Beyond (2005-07) a group of Dutch actors of varying abilities perform the text ...

Fundamentally Goyish

James Wood: Zadie Smith

3 October 2002
The Autograph Man 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 420 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 241 13998 8
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... what have you – the riffs always expertly blending the sentimental and the Cultural-Studies-theoretical; a tendency to elongate into lists whenever possible (of the ‘there were ten things that Brian really disliked’ kind); kooky epigraphs, mixing high and low authorities; long, feverish run-on sentences, desperately semaphoring their gross mimetic appetite, their need to capture as much of ...

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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... it on a piece of A4. Behind the door is a whitewashed space with metal shelves, neatly stacked with placards and furled banners, and four desks. Nearest the door sits the IWGB president, Jason Moyer-Lee. He is a stubbly American in his late twenties, dressed in a T-shirt and chinos, as if he were working for an internet startup. He has been involved in trade unions for four years. In 2012 Moyer-Lee ...
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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... You get the crowd numbers, the length of each set, the hotel the band stayed in, how much they 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 ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Ken or Boris?

10 April 2008
... has never been seriously behind in the polls before, and Johnson hadn’t done any campaigning. Livingstone’s popularity had been affected by a campaign in the Evening Standard attacking Lee Jasper, his Senior Policy Adviser on Equalities. The Standard hates Livingstone and has been swinging punches at him for years, without much evident effect until now. The stories, mainly written by ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Stop-Loss’

8 May 2008
Stop-Loss 
directed by Kimberly Peirce.
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... them – Hispanic, black or white, young, working-class and enlisted – are also the subject of the other three recent American war movies I know of: Paul Haggis’s In the Valley of Elah (2007), Brian de Palma’s Redacted (2007) and the newly released Stop-Loss, directed by Kimberly Peirce. This is her second film, and in certain curious ways a follow-up to the troubling Boys Don’t Cry (1999 ...

National Treasure

Christopher Hitchens

14 November 1996
Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Memoir 
by John Davis.
Wiley, 256 pp., £14.99, October 1996, 0 471 12945 3
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... any rate it seems to my provincial, country-mouse Washingtonian optic. I am sometimes taken there for a treat by my editors at Condé Nast, who use the place as a sort of staff canteen. My old friend Brian McNally, demonstrating that le patron mange ici, occasionally lets me sit at his table. I have learned not to point and squeak and say: ‘Look, isn’t that the girl from Dirty Dancing!’ Everybody ...

Spin Foam

Michael Redhead: Quantum Gravity

23 May 2002
Three Roads to Quantum Gravity: A New Understanding of Space, Time and the Universe 
by Lee​ Smolin.
Phoenix, 231 pp., £6.99, August 2001, 0 7538 1261 4
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... currently being turned upside down by theoretical physicists in their attempt to reconcile the two great pillars of 20th-century physics: quantum theory and Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Lee Smolin, a major contributor to the subject, brings us right up to date with it in this book. It’s written for general readers, but is more than just another work of popular science: it is a serious ...

Play hard

Dave Haslam

20 October 1994
The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music 1972-93 
by Nick Kent.
Penguin, 338 pp., £9.99, May 1994, 0 14 023046 7
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... Kent proves himself an entertaining eyewitness to the characters and casualties of these years, serving us, for instance, Lou Reed stumbling around in New York, the New York Dolls in Paris and Brian Wilson in ‘psychicpain’, as well as Iggy Pop and the Rolling Stones. Chapters on later stars like Morrissey, Guns ’N’ Roses and Happy Mondays lack this vivid authenticity. Looking back, you ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB

20 January 2005
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian​ Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... scoundrel’ (‘his DDship gives an extra flavour to my execrations,’ the firmly anti-clerical Stephen noted), but with the help of his indefatigable assistant and eventual successor, Sidney Lee, the ship was put back on an even keel. Curiously, although the Grosart debacle, fully documented in John Bicknell’s edition of Stephen’s letters, is briefly mentioned in Alan Bell’s exemplary ...
18 April 1996
Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation 
by Declan Kiberd.
Cape, 719 pp., £20, November 1995, 0 224 04197 5
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... close involvement with Holy Mother Ireland. Some texts were created, you feel, so that Kiberd could play his game with them. It is tempting to think that Shaw wrote John Bull’s Other Island and Brian Friel wrote Translations with Kiberd watching over them, egging them on. Both plays are full of the paradoxes proposed by England in Ireland and Ireland in England. The drama comes from the identity ...

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