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Perfectly Mobile, Perfectly Still

David Craig: Land Artists, 14 December 2000

by Andy Goldsworthy.
Thames and Hudson, 203 pp., £35, August 2000, 0 500 51026 1
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... Both change continually, the one in its shape, the other in its invisibility; indeed Salt Lake rose recently and drowned the Jetty. At some stage in the submersion it must have become a tapering tongue, finally perhaps a mere stub. Smithson, an adventurous character (who was killed when flying a light aircraft to look at one of his works from above), might ...

A Common Playhouse

Charles Nicholl: The Globe Theatre, 8 January 2015

Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle That Gave Birth to the Globe 
by Chris Laoutaris.
Fig Tree, 528 pp., £20, April 2015, 978 1 905490 96 7
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... by Henry VIII in 1538, whereupon its five-acre precinct became a prime piece of Tudor real estate. Chris Laoutaris’s Shakespeare and the Countess gives a remarkably detailed account of its residents in the 1590s, some of them very distinguished, and of their efforts to exclude one who would become more distinguished than any of them. Blackfriars is an area ...

One-Man Ministry

Susan Pedersen: Welfare States, 8 February 2018

Bread for All: The Origins of the Welfare State 
by Chris Renwick.
Allen Lane, 323 pp., £20, September 2017, 978 0 241 18668 8
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... to legislation without the actuary’s approval.’ Watson does not appear in Bread for All, Chris Renwick’s synthetic history of the British welfare state. Instead Renwick tops and tails his book with the well-known figure of Sir William Beveridge, opening with a vignette of the great social reformer going to the Commons on 16 February 1943 to listen ...

Ready to Rumble

John Upton, 16 March 2000

King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero 
by David Remnick.
Picador, 326 pp., £14.99, October 1999, 0 330 37188 6
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Muhammad Ali: Ringside 
edited by John Miller and Aaron Kenedi.
Virgin, 128 pp., £14.99, September 1999, 1 85227 852 8
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... uncertainty in the minds of both the public and his fellow boxers. To watch Prince Naseem or Chris Eubank today is to see a clumsy rehash of Ali in the early years, when he seemed so threatening, so unconstrained by the social rules willingly or unconsciously accepted by Liston or Patterson. The space in which imagination and conjecture could float ...

Gentlemen Travellers

Denis Donoghue, 18 December 1986

Between the Woods and the Water 
by Patrick Leigh Fermor et al.
Murray, 248 pp., £13.95, October 1986, 0 7195 4264 2
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by Jonathan Raban.
Collins, 301 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 00 272119 8
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The Grand Tour 
by Hunter Davies.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 241 11907 3
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... cusped ogees led to spiralling steps; and indoors, springing from the leafy capitals of polygonal rose-coloured marble pillars, beautiful late gothic vaults closed over the Hall of the Knights. Has he really remembered those diapers, those cusped ogees – he doesn’t say he had a camera and a hundred rolls of film – or has he conjured the details on the ...

At Home in the Huntington

John Sutherland: The Isherwood Archive, 10 June 1999

... diaries to be published and promised that they would be ‘frank’. The world’s press rose to the bait, expecting another instalment of Hollywood-Babylon: ‘Private Lives of Stars Laid Bare in Diaries,’ the Telegraph forecast. Prudently, Isherwood had destroyed the journals that would have interested posterity most: the record of his life ...


Christopher Tayler: Aleksandar Hemon, 23 May 2013

The Book of My Lives 
by Aleksandar Hemon.
Picador, 224 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 1 4472 1090 0
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... Work of Alphonse Kauders’, an absurdist recitation pitched somewhere between Roberto Bolaño and Chris Morris, was dreamed up for radio in 1988) but later addressing his displaced existence. The Question of Bruno (2000) and Nowhere Man (2002) made him something more than a name to watch, and since then he’s had his share of American goodies – big-name ...


Jenny Diski: Germaine Greer, 8 January 2004

The Boy 
by Germaine Greer.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £29.95, October 2003, 9780500238097
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... over the perfect naked body of a reclining 16-year-old male model, blowing playfully at the rose petals that barely cover his genitals while he tries to retrieve the petals and keep his bits concealed. ‘They’re all disappearing to Earls Court down there,’ she says, pecking tenderly at his neck and cheeks. ‘So’s your hand,’ he ...
... Britain; ‘Scotland’ seemed remote, even irrelevant. Nationalism was a creature of the Rose Street twilight – ‘the chip on the shoulder, growing and growing’ (Rayner Heppenstall’s words?) – scowling against the modern world. ‘Homogeneity’ was a function of imperial and wartime pressures, and a marginalisation of the ...


Dave Haslam: Post-Madchester, 25 February 1993

... of the city cohesion and a means of self-expression. Applications for student places in Manchester rose by 30 per cent. Madchester also drew tourists, not just to the clubs, but to the clothes stalls and record shops as well. Madchester meant business. Madchester began as a grassroots phenomenon which the London-based media eventually stopped ignoring. Once ...


Will Self: Video Games, 8 November 2012

... rather grotesque cri de coeur: ‘If only the victims of Ted Bundy, Ivan Milat or Frederick and Rose West had exercised the same survival instinct.’ Perhaps Trout isn’t cursed with sons the way I am – possibly he has three lovely smiley blonde daughters like Chris Patten, a once bullish Tory minister, who, or so I ...

Good New Idea

John Lanchester: Universal Basic Income, 18 July 2019

... work: ‘If he hired a housekeeper, national income went up, economic growth increased, employment rose and unemployment fell. If he subsequently married her, and she continued to do precisely the same activities, national income and growth went down, employment fell and unemployment rose. This is absurd (and sexist).’ The ...

Medes and Persians

Paul Foot: The Government’s Favourite Accountants, 2 November 2000

... press officer and deputy chair of the Party’s Social Justice Commission. The ice-cool Hewitt rose to fame in the 1970s, when she replaced Martin Loney as general secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties after he was ousted in a coup. She narrowly lost Leicester East for Labour in 1983, was a prominent member of the Institute for Public ...


Susan Pedersen, 6 October 2011

Structures and Transformations in Modern British History 
edited by David Feldman and Jon Lawrence.
Cambridge, 331 pp., £50, January 2011, 978 0 521 51882 6
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The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain 
edited by Simon Gunn and James Vernon.
California, 271 pp., £20.95, May 2011, 978 0 9845909 5 7
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Classes, Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin 
edited by Clare Griffiths, John Nott and William Whyte.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, April 2011, 978 0 19 957988 4
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... is much the most coherent of the three collections. Packed with citations of Foucault, Nikolas Rose and of course Joyce (but not McKibbin or Stedman Jones), almost all its essays are concerned with the way liberal practices and technologies (free markets, free labour) produce new relations of power. A characteristic Foucauldian fondness for paradox is much ...

Necessity or Ideology?

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Legal Aid, 6 November 2014

... has the power to define the classes of people entitled to legal aid. The current lord chancellor, Chris Grayling, reacting in part to some high-profile cases in which foreign nationals secured victories in human rights cases funded by legal aid, recently issued a regulation that limited (with a few exceptions) the provision of legal aid to ...

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