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Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Who’s the arts minister?, 5 April 2001

... and mouth epidemic. He was actually there to give the Wordsworth Memorial Lecture, but since Janet Anderson, the Minister for Tourism (at least I think that’s what she is; the Guardian recently referred to her as the ‘Creative Industries Minister’), was in the West Country and not even Government ministers can be in two places at once, Smith nobly ...

Owners and Editors

David Astor, 15 April 1982

... past decade. Four enormous corporations – headed by the late Roy Thomson, Rupert Murdoch, Robert Anderson and ‘Tiny’ Rowland – have been involved in their rescue. And without the intervention of firms of this size, these papers would already be dead. It is unlikely, however, that giant corporations can play the role of publishers of papers of this kind ...

On the Sofa

David Thomson: ‘Babylon Berlin’, 2 August 2018

... for the Peaky Blinders gang. Going further still, I wonder if Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson and Tom Hardy might not come to the wrecked Weimar of 1929 and install Claire Foy of the Crown to ward off the lethal arrival of Adolf H. That’s silly, of course, but no sillier than a feeling in 1932 that things would be all right. You can’t do that ...

Men in Aprons

Colin Kidd: Freemasonry, 7 May 1998

Who’s Afraid of Freemasons? The Phenomenon of Freemasonry 
by Alexander Piatigorsky.
Harvill, 398 pp., £25, August 1997, 1 86046 029 1
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... in its infancy. In 1717, the Grand Lodge of England was formally established and in 1723, James Anderson, commissioned in 1721 to ‘digest’ the old ‘Gothic’ charges of Masonry, published its modern Constitutions. A Jacobite, the Duke of Wharton, did hold the Grand Mastership in 1722-23, but left – tongue and throat intact – in 1723, under ...

The Court

Richard Eyre, 23 September 1993

The Long Distance Runner 
by Tony Richardson.
Faber, 277 pp., £17.50, September 1993, 0 571 16852 3
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... Cup Final ...’ ‘When we had Huw Wheldon at the BBC ...’ ‘When we were first married ...’ David Hare calls the curators of these arcadias the ‘whenwes’. They guard their territory with a dogged devotion. Although the theatre is a medium that exists entirely in the present tense, it is not immune to the arcadian virus: ‘the National Theatre at ...


Benedict Anderson, 21 January 1988

Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800 
edited by Nicholas Canny and Anthony Pagden.
Princeton, 290 pp., £22, September 1987, 0 691 05372 3
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... AD’, but that, in its very essence, time was now ‘man-made’ and ‘man-co-ordinated’. From David Landes’s work we know that in exactly the same year in which the Thirteen Colonies declared their Independence, London’s Gentlemen’s Magazine included this brief obituary for John Harrison: ‘He was the most ingenious mechanic, and received the ...

Sweetly Terminal

Edward Pearce, 5 August 1993

by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 421 pp., £20, June 1993, 0 297 81352 8
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... say that to Pinochet if I get to see him on Friday. We opened a bottle of Palmer ‘61. Bruce (Anderson) laid down the law on personalities and ratings. My own shares are down badly after that slip on the Channel Tunnel. She was not going to keep Paul (Channon) on. Bernard had the briefing to hand ... Bruce was dismissive about Tristan, ‘not up to ...

Dam and Blast

David Lodge, 21 October 1982

... of condolence. Arguably, the real stars of the film are the Lancasters, which the director Michael Anderson and his cameraman photographed in black and white with great skill and artistry, posing their unmistakable profiles against the flat landscapes and huge skies of East Anglia to poignant effect, or showing their great wings thrillingly skimming the ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Narcissistic Kevins, 6 November 2014

... grievance comes from the fact that the bowlers responsible for much of England’s success (Broad, Anderson, Swann) had built up their role, as though they were the ones who mattered. For Pietersen, cricket is a batsman’s game; bowlers are there as extras to do the heavy lifting. The batsman is alone, exposed, standing or falling by his own genius. ‘When ...

Fog has no memory

Jonathan Meades: Postwar Colour(lessness), 19 July 2018

The Tiger in the Smoke: Art and Culture in Postwar Britain 
by Lynda Nead.
Yale, 416 pp., £35, October 2017, 978 0 300 21460 4
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... to detect this temporal exchange. When Nead describes Miss Havisham’s Satis House in David Lean’s adaptation of Great Expectations (1946) as a ‘Gothic bombsite’ – which it wasn’t – we are assured that it exhibits the ‘colour of the period’, which seems to mean low-key lighting, glutinous blackness and overwrought decor. Cinema is ...


Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... 13 January. Having supper in the National Theatre restaurant are Lindsay Anderson and Gavin Lambert. ‘I suppose you like this place,’ says Lindsay. I do, actually, as the food is now very good. I say so and Lindsay, who judges all restaurants by the standard of the Cosmo in Finchley Road, smiles wearily, pleased to be reassured about one’s moral decline ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Rebecca’, 20 July 2006

directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
June 2006
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... in a brand-new, sharp-focus print at the National Film Theatre and the Screen on the Hill, was a David O. Selznick film, ‘a picturisation’ as the title credits have it, of a very successful novel. ‘We bought Rebecca,’ Selznick wrote in a memo objecting strenuously to a first draft of the screenplay, ‘and we intend to make Rebecca.’ That was the ...

At The Hutton Enquiry

Daniel Soar: Hutton’s Big Top, 11 September 2003

... end pick up the pieces. And it will. Downing Street’s first-choice strategy for the outing of David Kelly – writing, semi-publicly, to the Intelligence and Security Committee to offer him as a witness – was vetoed by Ann Taylor MP, the Committee’s chairman, whose staff refused to be sent the suggested letter. In her testimony to the Inquiry, Taylor ...

Degrees of Not Knowing

Rory Stewart: Does anyone know how to govern Iraq?, 31 March 2005

What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building 
by Noah Feldman.
Princeton, 154 pp., £12.95, November 2004, 0 691 12179 6
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Blinded by the Sunlight: Surviving Abu Ghraib and Saddam’s Iraq 
by Matthew McAllester.
Harper Perennial, 304 pp., $13.95, February 2005, 0 06 058820 9
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The Fall of Baghdad 
by Jon Lee Anderson.
Little, Brown, 389 pp., £20, February 2005, 0 316 72990 6
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The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq 
by Christian Parenti.
New Press, 211 pp., £12.99, December 2004, 1 56584 948 5
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... His account of this terrifying experience is modest and precise. The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson first met Ala Bashir, an Edinburgh-educated plastic surgeon, one of Saddam’s few intimates and his official sculptor, in August 2000. As Bashir evolves from an apologist for Hitler and Saddam into a critic of Saddam’s cabinet, ...

Taking the blame

Paul Foot, 6 January 1994

Trail of the Octopus: From Beirut to Lockerbie – Inside the DIA 
by Donald Goddard and Lester Coleman.
Bloomsbury, 325 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 9780747515623
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The Media and Disasters: Pan-Am 103 
by Joan Deppa, Maria Russell, Dona Hayes and Elizabeth Lynne Flocke.
Fulton, 346 pp., £14.99, October 1993, 9781853462252
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... The American investigative columnist Jack Anderson has had some scoops in his time but none more significant than his revelation – in January 1990 – that in mid-March 1989, three months after Lockerbie, George Bush rang Margaret Thatcher to warn her to ‘cool it’ on the subject. On what seems to have been the very same day, perhaps a few hours earlier, Thatcher’s Secretary of State for Transport, Paul Channon, was the guest of five prominent political correspondents at a lunch at the Garrick Club ...

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