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Kiss and tell

John Ryle, 28 June 1990

Which of Us Two? The Story of a Love Affair 
by Colin Spencer.
Viking, 258 pp., £15.99, May 1990, 0 670 83076 3
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... parties. Extremity of feeling seeks not only consummation but also witness. In Which of us two? Colin Spencer is author, editor and commentator, all three, presenting his own thirty-year-old love letters and those of his then lover, recently deceased, with a linking narrative of their affair. The story is one of love destroyed, abandoned, thrown ...

Homophobes and Homofibs

Adam Mars-Jones, 30 November 1995

Homosexuality: A History 
by Colin Spencer.
Fourth Estate, 448 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85702 143 6
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Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality 
by Andrew Sullivan.
Picador, 224 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 330 34453 6
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Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography 
by David Halperin.
Oxford, 246 pp., £14.99, September 1995, 0 19 509371 2
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... of intellectual ambition. Here are Gay Studies Advanced, Intermediate and also Rudimentary. Colin Spencer’s Homosexuality: A History is the work of a hobbyist, who offers what is essentially a scrap-book of the various ways that homosexuality has been inflected in different periods and cultures. ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: Men (and Women) of the Year, 14 December 1995

... must have been picked some time ago. The ‘outstanding achievement’ prize goes to General Colin Powell, and will be presented by Barbara Walters. The ‘humanitarian’ award goes to Diana Spencer and will be presented by Henry Kissinger. In other words, a single well-placed grenade could remove the whole beating ...

The Obdurate Knoll

Colin Kidd: The Obdurate Knoll, 1 December 2011

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan 
by Jeff Greenfield.
Putnam, 434 pp., £20.25, March 2011, 978 0 399 15706 6
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11.22.63 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 740 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 4447 2729 6
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... influential essay ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’ was given as the Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford on 21 November 1963. Hofstadter’s subject was the irrational underside of American political culture, where ill-defined fears gave rise to the populist scapegoating of particular groups, whether Jews, Freemasons, Communists or ...

But You Married Him

Rosemary Hill: Princess Margaret and Lady Anne, 4 June 2020

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown 
by Anne Glenconner.
Hodder, 336 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 1 5293 5906 0
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... she describes Bonham Carter, who ‘as it happens’ is a cousin of Glenconner’s late husband, Colin Tennant (Lord Glenconner), coming for tea and taking copious notes. It was at this moment, as she tried to recall useful details such as the princess’s smoking style (‘rather like a Chinese tea ceremony’) that she began to consider writing about her ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... Asian pharmacist is a bit nonplussed and as he serves me I offer to go next door to Marks and Spencer for their security man. But the blonde assistant is pluckily standing her ground. The young man has a really mean face and the pharmacist thinks the best thing is to wait until he goes. Which he is doing when he spots a small woman in her sixties at the ...

When the Floods Came

James Meek: England’s Water, 31 July 2008

... It was completely without running water. Pavey commandeered a food trolley from Marks and Spencer and set himself the task of pushing it around the sodden, cracked streets of central Tewkesbury, delivering hundreds of litres of bottled water to the aged and infirm, for no reward but thank yous. ‘All that week, when we ran out of water, I delivered ...

Wrecking Ball

Adam Shatz: Trump’s Racism, 7 September 2017

... demonstrations. In a New York Times profile of the movement, the white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, one of the organisers of Unite the Right, was interviewed saying the antifa ‘have a sadistic streak’, as if he were an authority on violent extremism rather than its embodiment. With Trump’s help, the alt-right had succeeded in inserting itself ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... called to wonder if Astor could rescue his son from drink, depression and riotous behaviour. Colin Legum, expelled from his native South Africa, joined the paper after working as a psychologist at the Tavistock Clinic, becoming the writer who did most to identify the paper with the anti-colonial cause in Africa. Kenneth Tynan replaced Ivor Brown as drama ...

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