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You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... dramatic – and it guides outsiders through a previously prohibited landscape. Without Carol Clerk’s assistance in shaping his autobiography, Lambrianou’s reputation would have been left to the mercy of several stridently unsympathetic witnesses. Charles Kray (in Me and My Brothers) saw the Lambrianous as ‘paper villains, concerned only ...

You, Him, Whoever

Philip Connors: Anthony Giardina’s new novel, 7 September 2006

White Guys 
by Anthony Giardina.
Heinemann, 371 pp., £11.99, August 2006, 0 434 01605 5
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... left behind. Billy went to jail for assaulting a cop, and now he is stuck in Winship, working as a clerk in a paint store. The lever of the plot tips when, years having passed, the group pays Billy a visit, and Kenny offers him a job, in an effort to lift him out of what they all perceive as an undignified position and into the attainable splendours of the ...

‘I was such a lovely girl’

Barbara Newman: The Songs of the Medieval Troubadours, 25 May 2006

Lark in the Morning: The Verses of the Troubadours 
translated by Ezra Pound, W.D. Snodgrass and Robert Kehew, edited by Robert Kehew.
Chicago, 280 pp., £35, May 2005, 0 226 42933 4
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Medieval Lyric: Middle English Lyrics, Ballads and Carols 
edited by John Hirsh.
Blackwell, 220 pp., £17.99, August 2004, 1 4051 1482 7
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An Anthology of Ancient and Medieval Woman’s Song 
edited by Anne Klinck.
Palgrave, 208 pp., £19.99, May 2004, 9781403963109
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... the Christian symbols, which are themselves masked in chivalric dress. The familiar Corpus Christi carol is presumably about the eucharist, but takes the form of an eerie lullaby about a falcon, a bleeding knight, a weeping maid and (in some versions) their faithful dog. This carol, like some of the secular ballads Hirsh ...

Amazing Sushi

Jessica Olin: Nani Power, 23 August 2001

Crawling at Night 
by Nani Power.
Heinemann, 234 pp., £9.99, July 2001, 0 434 00856 7
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... boat in his mother’s belly, while on deck his father’s brain swelled up from encephalitis. Carol, Ton’s mother, has cared for him on her own for twenty years, finding comfort in her Bible study with the Vietnamese Ladies Coalition, but is still visited by the troubled spirit of her husband. And these are just the major characters. There is the Indian ...

Writing French in English

Helen Cooper: Chaucer’s Language, 7 October 2010

The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and Nation in the Hundred Years War 
by Ardis Butterfield.
Oxford, 444 pp., £60, December 2009, 978 0 19 957486 5
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... form – only in a single language. Most of us will be most familiar with macaronics through a carol such as ‘In Dulci Jubilo’, where the languages not only alternate but interlock grammatically (‘Our delight and pleasure/Lies in praesepio’); medieval England regularly offered a much denser mixture, not in poetry so much as in the most quotidian ...


Charles Nicholl: ‘The Shakespeare Circle’, 19 May 2016

The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography 
edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 107 69909 0
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... to a French immigrant printer in the Blackfriars, Thomas Vautrollier. In her essay on Field, Carol Chillington Rutter observes that printers’ and booksellers’ apprentices listed in the Stationers’ Register at this time came from ‘York, Wiltshire, Lincoln, Salop, Surrey [and] Flint’, and were sent ‘abroad’ to London by fathers who worked as ...

How peculiar it is

Rosemary Hill: Gorey’s Glories, 3 June 2021

Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey 
by Mark Dery.
William Collins, 512 pp., £9.99, October 2020, 978 0 00 832984 6
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... in Chicago in 1925 to the summer of 1944, when he was a conscript sitting out the war as a company clerk at an army base in the Great Salt Lake Desert, ‘a ghastly place … we kept ourselves sloshed on tequila, which wasn’t rationed.’ His father was a newspaperman, a reporter then an editor; his mother was a housewife who adored her precocious son. Gorey ...

In His Pink Negligée

Colm Tóibín: The Ruthless Truman Capote, 21 April 2005

The Complete Stories 
by Truman Capote.
Random House, 400 pp., $24.95, September 2004, 0 679 64310 9
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Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote 
edited by Gerald Clarke.
Random House, 487 pp., $27.95, September 2004, 0 375 50133 9
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... I’ll say. Seriously though, it makes me hopping mad.’ Two years later he saw The Confidential Clerk in London: ‘Confidential Jerk is a better title for a very dreary item indeed.’ In 1961, he wrote to Beaton about La Dolce Vita: ‘Honestly, my sweet, how could you have liked it? So pretentious, fake arty and BORING!’ Nor did he like Beyond the ...

Little Miss Neverwell

Hilary Mantel: Her memoir continued, 23 January 2003

... in their lives, to have the services of someone very conscientious, like me? I could see her: a clerk very conscientious and quiet and dull, who wore snuff-coloured garb and filed herself in a cabinet every night and whose narrow heart fluttered when anyone mentioned a flying freehold or an ancient right of way. But you’re not looking at me, I thought. I ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... Police Station on 7 December 1974. The first question runs: Sit down J weve spoken to Pad & Carol & they have put U right in it. & said U were involved in bombing the 7 Stars PH in gld at 9:30 pm on 5 Oct 75 In the typed police witness statement the ‘contemporaneous’ manuscript is rendered: Sit down John, we’ve spoken to Paddy and ...

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