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How Movies End

David Thomson: John Boorman’s Quiet Ending, 20 February 2020

Conclusions 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 237 pp., £20, February, 978 0 571 35379 8
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... or anyone, would walk away from the money. It was probably tactful of Boorman not to mention that Walker (Parker’s new name) was possibly dead, or else dreaming the whole story, like Charles Foster Kane.Isn’t this heady, inside movies stuff just what you hoped for? Well, I should tell you now that much of what I’ve talked about so far comes from ...

Iniquity in Romford

Bernard Porter: Black Market Britain, 23 May 2013

Black Market Britain 1939-55 
by Mark Roodhouse.
Oxford, 276 pp., £65, March 2013, 978 0 19 958845 9
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... with wartime controls was an aberration. (Wartime America was much less obedient.) Cartoon by David Langdon for ‘Punch’, November 1949. Mark Roodhouse’s answer to the crude question of just how much black market activity there was in Britain, both during the war and in the period of postwar austerity, is that, though widespread, it was far less so ...

Short Cuts

Ferdinand Mount: Untilled Fields, 1 July 2021

... produced such enormous results that, by 1983, the then minister for agriculture, Peter Walker, was able to claim that the UK was now 75 per cent self-sufficient in temperate foodstuffs and, more remarkable still, according to the boast of the Conservative Campaign Guide that year, 100 per cent self-sufficient in wheat.Free trade zealots retorted ...

Prince and Pimp

Paul Foot, 1 January 1998

The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken 
by Luke Harding and David Leigh.
Penguin, 205 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 14 027290 9
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... else, he wanted lots of quick and easy money. Where to start? The answer was obvious. Slater Walker. In 1974 everyone who was anyone was talking about this get-rich-quick financial empire founded by a city slicker and a Tory MP. The first lie I ever extracted from Jonathan Aitken was in reply to an inquiry about some insider dealing he’d been up to at ...

Don Roberto

David Daiches, 17 February 1983

Selected Writings of Cunninghame Graham 
edited by Cedric Watts.
Associated University Presses, 212 pp., £13.50, August 1982, 0 8386 3087 1
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The Scottish Sketches of R.B. Cunninghame Graham 
edited by John Walker.
Scottish Academic Press, 204 pp., £8.75, August 1982, 0 7073 0288 9
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... many-sidedness of this writer that the other evidence of the revival of interest in him, Professor Walker’s selection of the writings concerned with Scotland, is the work of a Scots-born professor of Spanish in Canada. There is no section on the political and polemical writings and speeches on Scotland. Two stories, the much-anthologised ‘Beattock for ...

Fear in Those Blue Eyes

David Runciman: Thatcher in Her Bubble, 3 December 2015

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. II: Everything She Wants 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 821 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 7139 9288 5
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... set the members at odds with the leadership of the Alliance and represented a direct rebuke of David Owen’s much more hawkish SDP. Labour was different. ‘The Labour Party will never die’ was one of Thatcher’s mantras. What Labour did mattered because it was the only alternative party of government. And in this case the party members were in tune ...

What the Dickens

F.S. Schwarzbach, 5 April 1990

The Letters of Charles Dickens. Vol. VI: 1850-1852 
edited by Graham Storey, Kathleen Tillotson and Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 909 pp., £80, June 1988, 0 19 812617 4
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... that Dickens was then busy launching; one thanked a Sheffield firm (innocently mentioned in David Copperfield) for the gift of a set of knives; another attempted to patch up his lapsed friendship with George Cruikshank, who had probably been offended by Dickens’s attacks on his temperance pamphlets; another was a long, newsy report to a Swiss friend ...

Yeti

Elizabeth Lowry: Doris Lessing, 22 March 2001

Doris Lessing: A Biography 
by Carole Klein.
Duckworth, 283 pp., £18.99, March 2000, 0 7156 2951 4
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Ben, in the World 
by Doris Lessing.
Flamingo, 178 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 00 655229 3
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... the classic paradigm of the family as a microcosm of society. It is the Swinging Sixties. Harriet Walker and David Lovatt meet at an office party and discover that they are both ‘eccentrics’, at odds with the prevailing social climate: they want to fall in love, marry and settle down to have at least six (or eight, or ...

Eyes and Ears

Anthony Thwaite, 23 June 1988

The Silence in the Garden 
by William Trevor.
Bodley Head, 204 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 9780370312187
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Sea Music 
by David Profumo.
Secker, 207 pp., £10.95, May 1988, 9780436387142
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Tell it me again 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 202 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 7011 3288 4
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The Continuing Silence of a Poet: The Collected Short Stories of A.B. Yehoshua 
Peter Halban/Weidenfeld, 377 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 1 870015 14 2Show More
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... other novels and stories. Such children are at the centre of William Trevor’s tenth novel and David Profumo’s first; or rather, Trevor seems to have chosen to place young Tom both centrally and peripherally (as children often are, in fiction and in life), while Profumo makes young James the very eyes and ears of his book, though distancing him by ...

Bad News at the ‘Observer’

Colin Legum, 4 November 1982

Powers of the Press: The World’s Great Newspapers 
by Martin Walker.
Quartet, 401 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7043 2271 4
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Goodbye Gutenberg: The Newspaper Revolution of the 1980s 
by Anthony Smith.
Oxford, 367 pp., £3.95, January 1982, 9780198272434
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New Technology and Industrial Relations in Fleet Street 
by Roderick Martin.
Oxford, 367 pp., £17.50, October 1981, 9780198272434
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News Ltd: Why you can’t read all about it 
by Brian Whitaker.
Minority Press Group, 176 pp., £3.25, June 1981, 0 906890 04 7
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... however, exists between newspapers and the national Establishment. On this point Martin Walker quotes approvingly the views of Wilbur Schramm: ‘Prestige papers are shaped, to an important degree, by what the leadership in the country wants to know and wants known. The leadership in the country is also shaped, to an important degree, by what the ...

He knew he was right

John Lloyd, 10 March 1994

Scargill: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
HarperCollins, 296 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 300 05365 7
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... subsidy of any state enterprise. The Government, and especially the Energy Secretary, Peter Walker – who had been informed by Thatcher, at the time of his appointment, that his job was to defeat the NUM – had laid the ground as carefully as possible, pushing through legislation which made picketing illegal, preparing the police and changing the ...

Towards the Transhuman

James Atlas, 2 February 1984

The Oxford Companion to American Literature 
by James Hart.
Oxford, 896 pp., £27.50, November 1983, 0 19 503074 5
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The Modern American Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Oxford, 209 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 19 212591 5
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The Literature of the United States 
by Marshall Walker.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £14, November 1983, 0 333 32298 3
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American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Valuation 
by Frederick Karl.
Harper and Row, 637 pp., £31.50, February 1984, 0 06 014939 6
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Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 919 pp., £21, January 1984, 0 233 97610 8
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... as ‘a bohemian rebellion against established society which came to prominence about 1956’; David Ignatow’s poetic idiom as ‘Brooklynese speech’. But at least it doesn’t pretend to be more than it is – a ‘companion’, not a history. I wish I could say the same for the season’s lot of general surveys, which look so authoritative to the ...

Lennonism

David Widgery, 21 February 1985

John Winston Lennon. Vol. I: 1940-1966 
by Ray Coleman.
Sidgwick, 288 pp., £9.95, June 1984, 0 283 98942 4
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John Ono Lennon. Vol. II: 1967-1980 
by Ray Coleman.
Sidgwick, 344 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 283 99082 1
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John Lennon, Summer of 1980 
by Yoko Ono.
Chatto, 111 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 0 7011 3931 5
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... into Scouse, seedbed of poetry and stronghold of music hall as well as of the high culture of the Walker Gallery and the orchestras. Arthur Ballard, one of Lennon’s teachers at the art school, has rightly said that it took twenty years’ work to create the culture which produced John Lennon. A deeper study of this period would show Lennon systematically ...

A Turn for the Woowoo

Theo Tait: David Mitchell, 4 December 2014

The Bone Clocks 
by David Mitchell.
Sceptre, 595 pp., £20, September 2014, 978 0 340 92160 9
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... David Mitchell​ is a career-long genre-bender. Only with his fourth book, Black Swan Green (2006), did he raid his own store of experience to write a first-novelish novel, a charming if low-key coming-of-age story, set in Worcestershire in 1982, full of references to Findus Crispy Pancakes, the Falklands War and playground slang ...

The Real Magic

David Sylvester, 8 June 1995

A Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Deutsch, 834 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 233 98859 9
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... now I have taken the view that my ‘Desert Island’ book, if I were asked, would have to be David Thomson’s A Biographical Dictionary of the Cinema. First published in 1970, it has just re-appeared as A Biographical Dictionary of Film in a third edition that is revised and considerably enlarged. Despite its titles it is indeed a work of ...

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