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Keeping Quiet on Child Abusers

Paul Foot, 4 July 1996

The Kincora Scandal: Political Cover-Up and Intrigue in Northern Ireland 
by Chris Moore.
Marine, 240 pp., £6.99, June 1996, 1 86023 029 6
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... went on for more than a decade before it was exposed. The inquiries could start by looking at Chris Moore’s study of the first big child abuse scandal in Britain – at Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast. A large Victorian building off the Newtonards Road, Kincora was opened by the local Health Board in 1958 as a residence for boys from broken ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... the party’s right-wingers to be fierce Europhobes and fight the Maastricht Treaty. In doing so, Chris Patten believes, she destroyed the Conservative Party. The right-wing press took a similar line to Thatcher. No doubt many Conservatives in the country and some of the more naive MPs thought that what they read in the Times and Telegraph reflected genuine ...

Full of Glory

John Mullan: The Inklings, 19 November 2015

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings 
by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski.
Farrar, Straus, 644 pp., £11.20, June 2015, 978 0 374 15409 7
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... spirit of their gatherings: ‘To the Bird and Baby where I was joined by Humphrey, Tollers, and Chris. Tollers looking wonderfully improved by his restcure at Stonyhurst, and in great spirits (having packed his wife off to Brighton for ten days).’ It was from these meetings that Lewis’s children’s stories and Tolkien’s fantasy fiction arose. When ...

All about Me

Kevin Kopelson: Don Bachardy, 8 April 2015

Hollywood 
by Don Bachardy.
Glitterati, 368 pp., £45, October 2014, 978 0 9913419 2 4
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... Isherwood must have had. (I was right about this – as you can hear in the recent documentary Chris and Don: A Love Story. But this was no mere affectation on Bachardy’s part. ‘I can’t help it,’ he says in the film. ‘I’m an unconscious impersonator.’) He now asked if I would like to ‘sit’ – not ‘pose’, I noticed – for him. He ...

Fear in Those Blue Eyes

David Runciman: Thatcher in Her Bubble, 3 December 2015

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. II: Everything She Wants 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 821 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 7139 9288 5
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... principles and her private interests were at odds with each other. She was a conservative. Charles Moore’s​ recounting of this episode reveals the strengths and weaknesses of his biography as it arrives at the apogee of Thatcher’s power. He is excellent on the high politics and the potency of personal connections. Powell, who provides the source for some ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: ‘Phantom Ride’, 4 July 2013

... light on architectural details or plumb the shadows of other rooms where other works lurk (a Henry Moore? another Epstein?). In a shot that is, cinematically speaking, pure Harry Potter, a statue of St George and dragon floats in mid-air without its plinth, then is gone in a twinkle of computer-generated lens flare. In fact, some of the best and strangest ...

Heart of Darkness

Christopher Hitchens, 28 June 1990

Not Many Dead: Journal of a Year in Fleet Street 
by Nicholas Garland.
Hutchinson, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 0 09 174449 0
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A Slight Case of Libel: Meacher v. Trelford and Others 
by Alan Watkins.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7156 2334 6
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... and President Reagan in particular. Entry for 18 April 1986, Not Many Dead The success of Michael Moore’s film about Roger Smith and General Motors has aroused an envious spirit of emulation in my breast. ‘Conrad and Me’, a script which I hone and burnish in slack moments, has the following points of mild interest. In the summer of 1985, I wrote an ...

Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat

David Runciman: Thatcher’s Rise, 6 June 2013

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography. Vol. I: Not for Turning 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 859 pp., £30, April 2013, 978 0 7139 9282 3
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... keep going longest. But it does. That is one of the clear lessons from the first volume of Charles Moore’s exhaustive and exhausting authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher, which takes the story up to the Falklands War in 1982. The person on display here is not more intelligent than her rivals, or more principled. She chops and changes as much as they ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: The World Cup, 30 July 1998

... Romanians? Earlier tournaments are now known by their ‘defining moments’. In 1970, we had Moore and Pele swapping shirts; in ‘82, there was the demented Altobelli; in ‘86 the Hand of God; in ‘90, Gazza’s tears. I’m not sure what it was in ‘94: Romario and Bebeto doing that baby-cradling thing? Or was it about Maradona and his drugs, or ...

Properly Disposed

Emily Witt: ‘Moby-Duck’, 30 August 2012

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea 
by Donovan Hohn.
Union, 402 pp., £8.99, September 2012, 978 1 908526 02 1
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... again into the North Atlantic.In Alaska, where the animals first made landfall, Hohn travels with Chris Pallister, a lawyer recently separated from his wife, down on his luck, who has made it his mission to clean up a remote outpost called Gore Point. Situated on the windward shore of an isthmus, Gore Point is ‘one of the wildest places left on the American ...

Diary

Jonathan Lethem: My Egyptian Cousin, 12 December 2002

... the bee-stings of a dissident leftist – Noam Chomsky, say, or Ralph Nader, perhaps Michael Moore – had had him imprisoned. Astonishment would quickly give way to fear of speaking out. The incarceration of one person, the right person, can be an act of the most ruthless efficiency, chaotic kangaroo-court tableaux notwithstanding. So Saad, a ...

Elective Outsiders

Jeremy Harding, 3 July 1997

Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology 
edited by Iain Sinclair.
Picador, 488 pp., £9.99, June 1996, 0 330 33135 3
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Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne 
by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge.
Liverpool, 196 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 85323 840 5
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Carl Rakosi: Poems 1923-41 
edited by Andrew Crozier.
Sun & Moon, 209 pp., $12.99, August 1995, 1 55713 185 6
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The Objectivists 
edited by Andrew McAllister.
Bloodaxe, 156 pp., £8.95, May 1996, 1 85224 341 4
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... enjoy it.’ Twenty-five, thirty years after the best of them began to publish – John James, Chris Torrance, Lee Harwood, Andrew Crozier, Peter Riley, J.H. Prynne, Michael Haslam, Douglas Oliver, Barry MacSweeney, Denise Riley – they must nonetheless wonder, from time to time, whether theirs is a case of having missed the boat which would only have ...

Into the Eisenshpritz

Elif Batuman: Superheroes, 10 April 2008

Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories 
by Will Eisner.
Norton, 493 pp., £18.99, November 2007, 978 0 393 06107 9
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Epileptic 
by David B..
Cape, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 224 07920 4
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Shortcomings 
by Adrian Tomine.
Faber, 108 pp., £12.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23329 8
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Misery Loves Comedy 
by Ivan Brunetti.
Fantagraphics, 172 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 56097 792 6
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... novels simply enable ‘the bourgeois to read comics without feeling bad’; according to Alan Moore, they allow publishers to ‘stick six issues of whatever worthless piece of crap they happened to be publishing lately under a glossy cover and call it The She-Hulk Graphic Novel’. Moore and Satrapi, in common with ...

Literary Friction

Jenny Turner: Kathy Acker’s Ashes, 18 October 2017

After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography 
by Chris Kraus.
Allen Lane, 352 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 1 63590 006 4
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... In France​ , Chris Kraus wrote in an essay from 2003, there exists ‘a formal/ informal structure for the perpetuation of a dead artist’s work’ that gets called ‘the Society of Friends’. The friends gather up the artist’s work, plans, notebooks and so on and write and elicit tributes, then publish the lot in a book called the ‘Cahiers’, maybe at their own expense ...

Who’s sorry now?

Andrew O’Hagan: Michael Finkel gets lucky, 2 June 2005

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa 
by Michael Finkel.
Chatto, 312 pp., £15.99, May 2005, 0 7011 7688 1
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Burning Down My Master’s House 
by Jayson Blair.
New Millennium, 288 pp., $24.95, March 2004, 9781932407266
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The Journalist and the Murderer 
by Janet Malcolm.
Granta, 163 pp., £8.99, January 2004, 1 86207 637 5
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... I gathered my nerve. I looked him squarely in the eyes. I spoke clearly and assertively. ‘Chris,’ I said, ‘did you do what you are accused of doing?’ His face remained composed. It was as though he’d been waiting for me to ask this. He was silent for a moment, and I felt he was selecting his words carefully. ‘I can’t answer that right ...

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