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Stephen Walsh: Prokofiev, 25 September 2003

Prokofiev: From Russia to the West 1891-1935 
by David Nice.
Yale, 390 pp., £25, April 2003, 0 300 09914 2
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... wrote. Stravinsky of course remained immune – but that’s another story. The first volume of David Nice’s Prokofiev biography stops when the 44-year-old composer settles in Moscow with his Spanish wife, Lina, and two young sons at the end of 1935. But it describes in detail the eight preceding years, during which Prokofiev lived and ...

At the David Parr House

Eleanor Birne: There are two histories here, 7 November 2019

... just as ordinary from the outside as the rest, it is open – two days a week at least – as the David Parr House, after its one-time owner. The narrow hallway is dark; your eyes have to adjust to the dimness. A half-circle of stained glass above the front door lets in some light, but it’s quickly absorbed by the brown-painted wood on the walls. Step into ...

Buffers

David Trotter, 4 February 1988

Argufying: Essays on Literature and Culture 
by William Empson, edited by John Haffenden.
Chatto, 657 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 7011 3083 0
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... like it (and many couples do like a reasonable amount of biting) they are only giving each other a nice time. The question is rather what they think radically nice; whatever the means, what is the end. Empson had always admired Swinburne’s poems, and was not going to be deterred by mere foam and blood. He remains ...

Rainbows

Graham Coster, 12 September 1991

Paradise News 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 294 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 436 25668 1
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... accepted Boeing’s tender for a massive new cargo aircraft for the United States Air Force, David Lodge would not have been able to write Paradise News. Instead, however, Lockheed got the contract, and Boeing were left with a redundant set of blueprints for the biggest furniture van never built. To save all that development money going to ...

Problems for the SDP

David Butler, 1 October 1981

... the Dimbleby Lecture, Liberals argued that all Roy Jenkins had to do was to join their party. But David Steel rightly perceived a vast extra reservoir of strength for the centre that could be tapped by a new party, with none of the historic baggage of the Liberals, appealing both to Labour’s disillusioned Right and to many people with no background in ...
Bowie 
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... David Robert Jones, alias DavidBowie, is now in his 40th year. His creepy, chilling phrases pop out of pub jukeboxes, and extracts from his movies catch the eye on pub videos, whether he is embracing a Chinese girl or being executed by Japanese soldiers; his image appears in the Sunday-paper magazines, artistically displayed in sundry poses ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Social Network’, 4 November 2010

The Social Network 
directed by David Fincher.
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... David Fincher’s The Social Network, which tells the story of Facebook, is fast and intelligent and mean, a sort of screwball comedy without the laughs. It’s written by Aaron Sorkin, whose credits include The West Wing and A Few Good Men, and based on a novelised history by Ben Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaires ...

Is this the end of the UK?

David Runciman: The End of the UK?, 27 May 2010

... all these responsible voters trying to achieve by voting the way they eventually did? It would be nice to think that they were so pissed off with politics in general, and this bunch of politicians in particular, that they were resolved to contrive a result in which nobody was the winner. Electoral politics resembles sport in many ways – the tribalism, the ...

Socialism in One County

David Runciman: True Blue Labour, 28 July 2011

The Labour Tradition and the Politics of Paradox: The Oxford London Seminars 2010-11 
edited by Maurice Glasman, Jonathan Rutherford, Marc Stears and Stuart White.
www.soundings.org.uk, 155 pp., June 2011, 978 1 907103 36 0
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... any party, including the Labour Party of Tony Blair and the Conservative Party of Blair’s heir, David Cameron. Glasman has no fundamental problem with Cameron’s notion of the Big Society, which he takes very seriously. He absolutely is not one of those who think it’s just a fluffy cover story for an ideological programme of radical Tory cuts (which is ...

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 ...

Narco Polo

Iain Sinclair, 23 January 1997

Mr NiceAn Autobiography 
by Howard Marks.
Secker, 466 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 436 20305 7
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Pulp Election: The Booker Prize Fix 
by Carmen St Keeldare.
Bluedove, 225 pp., £12.99, September 1996, 0 9528298 0 0
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... That is the first question any visiting journo asks Howard Marks about his autobiography, Mr Nice. Marks suppresses a yawn. The morning is not really his time. He’s in the middle of a promotional binge, late nights, dry-throat blather; the anecdotes on autopilot. By temperament he’s the contrary of the Tory apparatchik in the radio car. Instant ...

In a Faraway Pond

David Runciman: The NGO, 29 November 2007

Non-Governmental Politics 
edited by Michel Feher.
Zone, 693 pp., £24.95, May 2007, 978 1 890951 74 0
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... On 24 July, in a speech to the Rwandan parliament, David Cameron said that the old ideological divisions concerning aid and trade – aid is ‘wasteful’, trade is ‘unfair’ – needed to be abandoned in favour of a commitment to what works. He talked about the importance of transparency and accountability at both governmental and non-governmental levels to ensure that resources were used efficiently and money reached its targets ...

The Pouncer

Julian Barnes, 3 March 1983

The Mystery of Georges Simenon 
by Fenton Bresler.
Heinemann, 259 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 434 98033 1
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... I’ve been having these bad dreams about David Plante recently. Sometimes, I am slumped on the lavatory, glued there by gin and self-pity; sometimes, I am watching The Sound of Music on television and bawling shameful tears; sometimes, I am driving bad-temperedly through the Tuscan countryside, railing foolishly at the world’s treatment of me ...

Strange Fruit

Francis Spufford, 5 February 1987

The Garden of Eden 
by Ernest Hemingway.
Hamish Hamilton, 247 pp., £9.95, February 1987, 0 241 11998 7
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... Not me, at any rate. The Garden of Eden is studded with provincial delicacies Elizabeth David would be proud of (‘jamon serrano, a smoky, hard-cured ham from pigs that fed on acorns’) and dramatic narratives of eating and drinking that might please M.F.K. Fisher. The book is a sort of domestic novel, a portrait of amour fou and its aftermath in ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Eastern Promises’, 15 November 2007

Eastern Promises 
directed by David Cronenberg.
October 2007
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... safely (if painfully and disastrously) in the mind. No director realises this more clearly than David Cronenberg. He is best known no doubt for The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988) and his much vilified Crash (1996), but some of us have a soft spot, if that’s the term, for his early work The Brood (1979), a classic instance of the acting-out theory. A ...

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