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Will-be-ism?

Nicolas Walter

27 February 1992
Demanding the impossible: A History of Anarchism 
by Peter Marshall.
HarperCollins, 783 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 00 217855 9
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The Self-Build Book 
by Jon Broome and Brian Richardson.
Green Books, 253 pp., £15, December 1991, 1 870098 23 4
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... We live in interesting times, alas. The new world order isn’t bringing much order to the world. What used to be called ‘actually existing socialism’ is no longer existing in most places, and while capitalism is existing it isn’t doing much better for most people. The warfare state and the welfare state (right or left) are both falling under their own weight, as the economy (market or command ...

Eels in Their Pockets

Nick Richardson: Poaching

17 December 2015
The Last English Poachers 
by Bob Tovey and Brian​ Tovey, with John McDonald.
Simon & Schuster, 288 pp., £16.99, May 2015, 978 1 4711 3567 5
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... placing the loop of the snare round the neck of a sleeping bird and pulling the cord to tighten it. Patience, precision, quiet. But the tone of The Last English Poachers, written by Bob, his son Brian (also a poacher) and a ghost called John McDonald, is more punk than its predecessors’. The Robin Hood aspect is to the fore. The Toveys see themselves as the rural frontline in the class war, and ...

Breaking In

Nick Richardson

29 June 2016
... the year poring over blueprints: which homes have wide enough chimneys? In which cases would it be wiser to pinch a ladder from a shed, sneak up the back of the house and enter through a skylight? In Brian De Palma’s Mission: Impossible, Tom Cruise steals a computer disc from the CIA’s Langley HQ while suspended from a cable attached to the belt of a co-thief hidden in a ventilation shaft in the ...
21 May 1981
Jane Austen’s ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ 
edited by Brian​ Southam.
Oxford, 150 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 0 19 812637 9
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... There would be more genuine rejoicing at the discovery of a complete new novel by Jane Austen than any other literary discovery, short of a new play by Shakespeare, that one can imagine.’ Brian Southam begins his Introduction to ‘Grandison’ by quoting the apparently prophetic observation of Margaret Drabble in 1974. Ever since she said it, there has been a run of near misses or all-buts ...
7 December 1989
... one of the men with a cut lip and a black eye. His evidence, said the judges, ‘does not help the appeal’. Two officers from Winson Green Prison at the time the men were admitted, Peter Bourne and Brian Sharp, gave evidence that the men were marked with injuries when they first came to the prison. The judges said that Peter Bourne was just trying to cover up for the fact that the men were beaten up ...

At Home in the Huntington

John Sutherland: The Isherwood Archive

10 June 1999
... as the ‘Rupert Brooke of the Depression’.) Isherwood, he grudgingly conceded, could claim ‘accomplishment’. Isherwood returned the tepid compliment, 12 years later, with a script for the Tony Richardson production of The Loved One. The movie regularly makes the lists of alltime turkeys. Would that my enemy had written a book and I might adapt it for the screen. The stock of the various members of ...

Carry on up the Corner Flag

R.W. Johnson: The sociology of football

24 July 2003
Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe during the Second World War 
by Simon Kuper.
Orion, 244 pp., £14.99, January 2003, 0 7528 5149 7
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Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 342 pp., £17.99, February 2003, 9780743220798
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... got far into it before the conviction grows that most football managers and chairmen and all football agents belong behind bars. The trouble is that no one much cares: Nottingham Forest still has its Brian Clough Stand, while George Graham and Terry Venables remain in demand despite accusations of corruption. Modern soccer is summed up not by the idea of ‘the beautiful game’ but by a remark of ...

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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... You could sit indoors. Most trainspotters don’t have a sixth-floor window overlooking Crewe Junction, 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 ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: On the Booker

12 November 1987
... and Mrs Humphry Ward’s The Marriage of William Ashe. In 1910 Howards End might have run into Clayhanger, and (Wells again) The History of Mr Polly; perhaps the Antipodean outsider Henry Handel Richardson would have scooped it with The Getting of Wisdom. In 1924 Forster’s publishers might have thought they had a chance with his block-buster, A Passage to India. For once, Wells wasn’t dogging him ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett

24 June 1993
... disbelief; later, the news confirmed and the cuts from London in my hands, I spent a long time pondering the implications. For almost fifteen years Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson had insisted they were innocent and had been framed by the police. I recalled that Sir Michael Havers, who led for the Crown in the 1975 trial, had reasoned to the jury that if the Four were innocent ...

Velvet Gentleman

Nick Richardson: Erik Satie

3 June 2015
A Mammal’s Notebook: The Writings of Erik Satie 
edited by Ornella Volta, translated by Antony Melville.
Atlas, 224 pp., £17.50, June 2014, 978 1 900565 66 0
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... art-rock star avant la lettre. His career contained all the phases of 1970s art-rock history, though not in the same order: a proggy occult phase, a glam phase, a Bryan Ferryish lounge pop phase, a Brian Enoish ambient phase, a David Bowieish decadent nightclub phase; Bonjour, Biqui, Bonjour! was his punk phase. Debussy and Ravel (not to mention Poulenc, Fauré, Milhaud and others) may have written ...

Poor Dear, How She Figures!

Alan Hollinghurst: Forster and His Mother

3 January 2013
The Journals and Diaries of E.M. Forster Volumes I-III 
edited by Philip Gardner.
Pickering and Chatto, 813 pp., £275, February 2011, 978 1 84893 114 5
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... expresses the impatience as well as the mild misogyny of the old queen who requires young men to be dishy and amenable if they are to interest him. He had spent a happy two hours with the 19-year-old Brian Remnant, who had come up to King’s for an interview, but wonders if he will remain in his life two years on. ‘I may meet him again – coarsened, begirled, and lost.’ A famous 79-year-old gay ...
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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... and industrialist whose own father had been Gordon Selfridge’s butler. Robert seemed a thorough aristo to his friends in the pop music world, but his nobbier chums looked down on him a bit. John Richardson says: One of the odd things about Robert was that he always dressed up. The rest of us were in blue jeans and leather jackets and up to no good in the Village, but Robert always had an impeccable ...
8 January 2015
... the gravestones. Last winter I came back to the same place. It was even colder this time, and the pathways were glittering as I made my way down to the church. I hadn’t taken in before that Charlie Richardson, leader of the Richardson Gang, was buried here, as well as George Cornell, the gangster shot by the Kray Twins in The Blind Beggar pub. But it was the graves and sentry toys of the unknown children ...
13 May 1999
... as soon as he was nudged from the magic rectangle, spent years brooding on his fall. Reinvented as an architect, a designer of domes, he settled in Winchester, where he was visited by the journalist Brian Viner. Viner discovered that his luncheon companion was in the grip of ‘paranoid delusions’. ‘He thinks,’ Viner wrote, ‘that the British secret service, and possibly the CIA too, tapped his ...

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