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The Killing of Blair Peach

David Renton, 22 May 2014

... showed around twenty NF supporters, all men, giving Nazi salutes as they went into Southall Town Hall. Southall was one of the most racially diverse areas in London: in five wards surveyed in 1976, 46 per cent of the population had been born in the New Commonwealth. The National Front’s candidate, John Fairhurst, had stood in nearby Hayes and Harlington in ...

One Night in Maidenhead

Jean McNicol, 30 October 1997

Noel Coward and Radclyffe HallKindred Spirits 
by Terry Castle.
Columbia, 150 pp., £15.95, November 1996, 0 231 10596 7
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Your John: The Love Letters of Radclyffe Hall 
edited by Joanne Glasgow.
New York, 273 pp., £20, March 1997, 0 8147 3092 2
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Radclyffe HallA Woman Called John 
by Sally Cline.
Murray, 434 pp., £25, June 1997, 9780719554087
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... pioneer that’s got left behind. I believe she’s the beginning of things like me.’ Radclyffe Hall has long since been left behind, along with Joan Ogden, the heroine of her first novel, The Unlit Lamp, and the character to whom these words refer. The young women she had overheard, Ogden thought, were ‘aggressively intelligent ... not at all ...

Who Will Lose?

David Edgar, 25 September 2008

Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future 
by Newton Minow and Craig LaMay.
Chicago, 219 pp., £11.50, April 2008, 978 0 226 53041 3
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... in his preparation. It emerged that his advisers had prepped him for a different question: ‘Do we accept Soviet domination of Eastern Europe?’ In 1960, Nixon didn’t bother to rehearse his responses at all (though Kennedy did); twenty years later, so-called ‘debate camp’ preparation – including full-scale debate simulation with a surrogate ...

Charlot v. Hulot

David Trotter: Tativille, 2 July 2020

Play Time: Jacques Tati and Comedic Modernism 
by Malcolm Turvey.
Columbia, 304 pp., £25, December 2019, 978 0 231 19303 0
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The Definitive Jacques Tati 
edited by Alison Castle.
Taschen, 1136 pp., £185, June, 978 3 8365 7711 3
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... appearance, mannerisms and pattern of behaviour. A lot happens in these films, mostly having to do with the hero’s pursuit of basic needs (food, money, sex, status) through the exercise of a kind of flighty, Zen belligerence. In Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), a cameraman’s efforts to film the proceedings attract the attention of a passer-by dressed in ...

The Welfare State Intelligentsia

R.E. Pahl, 17 June 1982

Inner-City Poverty in Paris and London 
by Peter Willmott and Charles Madge.
Routledge, 146 pp., £8.50, August 1981, 0 7100 0819 8
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The Inner City in Context 
edited by Peter Hall.
Heinemann, 175 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 435 35718 2
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New Perspectives in Urban Change and Conflict 
edited by Michael Harloe.
Heinemann, 265 pp., £15, December 1981, 9780435824044
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The Politics of Poverty 
by David Donnison.
Martin Robertson, 239 pp., £9.95, December 1981, 0 85520 481 8
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The Politics of Poverty 
by Susanne MacGregor.
Longman, 193 pp., £2.95, November 1981, 0 582 29524 6
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... in their various ways, throw light on the issue of whether ameliorism worked. Did the experts do any good? Charles Madge and Peter Willmott compare Inner-City Poverty in Paris and London, Peter Hall edits an SSRC Working Party’s Reports on The Inner City in Context, Michael Harloe, in New Perspectives in Urban Change ...

Always on Top

Edward Said: From Birmingham to Jamaica, 20 March 2003

Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-67 
by Catherine Hall.
Polity, 556 pp., £60, April 2002, 0 7456 1820 0
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... Africa and Asia don’t seem quite as bad. The perplexingly affirmative work of Niall Ferguson and David Armitage scants, if it doesn’t actually trivialise, the suffering and dispossession brought by empire to its victims. More is said now about the modernising advantages the empires brought, and about the security and order they maintained. There is far ...

Perpetual Sunshine

David Cannadine, 2 July 1981

The Gentleman’s Country House and its Plan, 1835-1914 
by Jill Franklin.
Routledge, 279 pp., £15.95, February 1981, 0 7100 0622 5
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... her that the drive is indeed a mile long, that there are deer in the park, and that peacock do strut upon the terrace. As he observed, ‘all the story-book things are there.’ Similar scenes, evocative rather than detailed, abound in Buchan and Brett Young, in Waugh and Wodehouse: their country-house world was ‘mellow, dignified, creeper-clad and ...

Lady Chatterley’s Sneakers

David Trotter, 30 August 2012

... 1926, a couple of months before he embarked on the first version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence gave voice – as he often did – to the hatred he felt for ‘our most modern world’. Tin cans and ‘imitation tea’ feature prominently on his list of things not to like about being ‘most modern’. Tin cans often featured on such ...

Diary

D.A.N. Jones: In Baghdad , 5 July 1984

... who wanted me to read verses at a little morning session for foreign poets. ‘Oh, please, Mr David. We only have one Frenchman so far.’ Foolishly I agreed to pipe up if she really ran short of European versifiers. By Easter Sunday we were enjoying an ideal English summer, blue skies and cool breeze. We were feasted, Arab poems were beautifully ...

Who Lost?

David Edgar: the third presidential debate, 9 October 2008

... desk, was a more engaging and dramatic affair than the traditional podium-based and town-hall meeting style debates that preceded it. Not that it broke the pattern of the series as a whole. Although the final debate saw more disagreement on substance (and more detail about policy), the most memorable section dealt with the campaign itself. As ...

Even Uglier

Terry Eagleton: Music Hall, 20 December 2012

My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall 
by John Major.
Harper, 363 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 00 745013 8
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... consummate performer. Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father, was said to have an ‘almost music-hall style of speaking’, while his son greatly admired the music-hall comic Dan Leno and would sing his songs with what this book enigmatically describes as ‘teddy bear gestures’. Harold Macmillan could ...
Breaking the Mould 
by Ian Bradley.
Martin Robertson, 172 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 85520 469 9
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... Party. Callaghanite Labourism, with its corporatist kow-towing to the Unions and its Tammany Hall approach to political leadership, was, if anything, even less attractive to us than Bennite neo-Marxism. But even we had not quite emancipated ourselves from our Labour Party pasts or from the Labour Party assumptions which we had absorbed at the political ...

Stalking Out

David Edgar: After John Osborne, 20 July 2006

John Osborne: A Patriot for Us 
by John Heilpern.
Chatto, 528 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 7011 6780 7
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... influence on the generations that followed. Following Osborne’s death in 1994, however, David Hare, among others, leaped to the playwright’s defence, in his memorial eulogy and a longer lecture first delivered in 2002 and repeated on the stage of the Royal Court on the 50th anniversary of Look Back in Anger’s opening. Now John Heilpern has taken ...

Utopia Limited

David Cannadine, 15 July 1982

Fabianism and Culture: A Study in British Socialism and the Arts, 1884-1918 
by Ian Britain.
Cambridge, 344 pp., £19.50, June 1982, 0 521 23563 4
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The Elmhirsts of Dartington: The Creation of an Utopian Community 
by Michael Young.
Routledge, 381 pp., £15, June 1982, 9780710090515
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... their Utopian endeavours, for reasons well summarised by Leonard Elmhirst, founder of Dartington Hall School: ‘they disregarded sound economics, they followed some ethical or theoretical principle too rigorously, or they attempted to isolate themselves too completely from the social and economic world around them.’ Above all, Utopians have usually been ...

Mother Country

Catherine Hall: The Hostile Environment, 23 January 2020

The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment 
by Amelia Gentleman.
Guardian Faber, 336 pp., £18.99, September 2019, 978 1 78335 184 8
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Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation 
by Colin Grant.
Cape, 320 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 1 78733 105 1
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Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Become Scapegoats 
by Maya Goodfellow.
Verso, 272 pp., £12.99, November 2019, 978 1 78873 336 6
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... government’s own failure to bring down the numbers of new immigrants in line with the promises David Cameron had made. A range of new policies, including checks with hospitals, councils and letting agencies, were designed to hound people out of the country by making it impossible for them to get state benefits or employment. The scandal was that the Home ...

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