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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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... Lennon associated with ‘all those bloody musicians and their GCEs’. In a 1982 interview with David Scheff, he insists again that although rock and roll first came into his consciousness through white singers like Bill Hayley, Elvis Presley and the most marked white influence on the Beatles, Buddy Holly, it was the original black music which ‘changed ...

What’s going on, Eric?

David Renton: Rock Against Racism, 22 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge 
by Daniel Rachel.
Picador, 589 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 1 4472 7268 7
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... to be gaining a presence not just in politics but in pop culture too. That same month, May 1976, David Bowie was photographed at Victoria Station on his return to Britain after two years in North America. Standing in an open-topped Mercedes, he appeared to give his fans some kind of open-handed, straight-armed – possibly fascist – salute. Soon afterwards ...

Death by erosion

Paul Seabright, 11 July 1991

Medical Choices, Medical Chances: How patients, families and physicians can cope with uncertainty 
by Harold Bursztajn, Richard Feinbloom, Robert Hamm and Archie Brodsky.
Routledge, 456 pp., £12.99, February 1991, 0 415 90292 4
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Examining doctors: Medicine in the 1900s 
by Donald Gould.
Faber, 148 pp., £12.99, June 1991, 0 571 14360 1
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Some Lives! A GP’s East End 
by David Widgery.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 248 pp., £15.95, July 1991, 1 85619 073 0
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... care teams, and should not assume’ that they have a right to ‘control all health affairs’. David Widgery’s Some Lives! is not directly about medicine, though his profession as a GP is what provides his perspective on the East End of London whose neglect and decay during the Eighties he angrily records. Most of his book is ...

Diary

Jeremy Harding: My ’68, 19 July 2018

... Socialism, 36 Gilden Road, London NW5’. The brilliant young Trotskyist David Widgery may have had a hand in that family tree. He had recently joined the International Socialists, the forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party. (He went on to become part of the editorial team of OZ, at the time of the famous obscenity trial over ...

In the bright autumn of my senescence

Christopher Hitchens, 6 January 1994

In the Heat of the Struggle: Twenty-Five Years of ‘Socialist Worker’ 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1993, 0 906224 94 2
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Why You Should Join the Socialists 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 70 pp., £1.90, November 1993, 0 906224 80 2
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... On team – led to an excellent correspondence. Mervyn Jones’s essay on Solzhenitsyn is absent. David Widgery, one of the best radical journalists of the post-war period, squeaks in with one of his less coruscating contributions. Most of the stuff is pure ‘filler’, principally made up of exhortation and, of that exhortation, principally composed of ...

A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?, 19 February 2004

Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... despised abroad and at home, this crowing may prove not to have been the wisest of moves. David Kelly’s decision to take his own life on 17 July 2003 produced a wave of public revulsion against the government, and against the prime minister in particular. It could have seemed a relatively minor event – the sad death of an eminent public servant ...

High Priest of Mumbo-Jumbo

R.W. Johnson, 13 November 1997

Lord Hailsham: A Life 
by Geoffrey Lewis.
Cape, 403 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 224 04252 1
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... bursting into tears and clutching his baby and generally behaving in a strange way’. Finally, David Ormsby-Gore, Britain’s Ambassador in Washington, rang Macmillan and told him that Hogg’s succession ‘would be a tremendous blow to Anglo-American relations and would in fact end the special relationship’ – so appalled had Kennedy been by what ...

Oh God, can we face it?

Daniel Finn: ‘The BBC’s Irish Troubles’, 19 May 2016

The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland 
by Robert Savage.
Manchester, 298 pp., £70, May 2015, 978 0 7190 8733 2
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... facts presented in his account, and in those of pioneering media critics such as Liz Curtis and David Miller, suggest that a more critical verdict would not be out of place.* The early years of broadcasting in Northern Ireland had been safe and somnolent, as Savage describes. After BBC Northern Ireland was established between the wars, its directors quickly ...

A New Kind of Being

Jenny Turner: Angela Carter, 3 November 2016

The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography 
by Edmund Gordon.
Chatto, 544 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 7011 8755 2
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... underside of the 1960s fixation on beautiful young people, the hangers-on and the left-behinds, as David Widgery once put it, ‘who hung on to the myths and … ended up in a mess’. It’s spooky the way Carter describes Honeybuzzard, with his ‘soft, squashy-nosed, full-lipped face’, his ‘new, very white, very frilly shirt’, and Ghislaine, with ...
Goldenballs 
by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... before he had been provoked either by libel or ‘sustained vilification’. It started at David Frost’s house in July 1975 when Frost (who told the story to Peter Jay) introduced Goldsmith to Wilson and Falkender. Since both Goldsmith and Wilson had, at different times, declared that the Eye was dedicated to the overthrow of capitalism and social ...

The Card-Players

Paul Foot, 18 September 1986

Error of Judgment: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings 
by Chris Mullin.
Chatto, 270 pp., £10.95, July 1986, 0 7011 2978 6
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... that a positive Greiss test had only one meaning: contact with nitroglycerine. Since the trial, Mr David Bal-dock, former head of the Home Office forensic laboratories at Nottingham, carried out exactly the same test on a series of quite different substances – on nitrocellulose lacquer, for instance, on nitrocellulose chips and nitrocellulose aerosol ...

Why Partition?

Perry Anderson, 19 July 2012

... behest – to alter the award. Like most senior judges of the day – in the age of Denning, Widgery or Hutton, has it changed that much? – Radcliffe could be bent, not to money, but to power. Mountbatten had little difficulty getting him to change his boundaries to allot two pivotal Muslim-majority districts in Punjab to India rather than to ...

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