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The Road to Independence

David Caute, 21 November 1985

Peasant Consciousness and Guerrilla War in Zimbabwe 
by Terence Ranger.
James Currey, 377 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 85255 000 6
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Guns and Rain: Guerrillas and Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe 
by David Lan.
James Currey, 244 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 0 85255 200 9
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... Perhaps Tomorrow (1981), deserves to have been included in Ranger’s bibliography as well as David Lan’s. Our post-Independence historiography obviously runs some risk of an inverted snobbery towards non-kosher white Rhodesian sources (though Ranger has elsewhere drawn extensively on the records of district commissioners). Ranger has concluded from ...

Two Poems

David Craig, 25 September 2008

... creature struggles under ice, Black spider twitching, bunching Its spiny legs while shoals of its young Come clustering round it, spawned From its pulsating womb, or aliens Crowding at us under the ice Which is quaking beat-beat-beat, Perfectly regular, the tissue Of my X-rayed heart, that wounded muscle, As the dye swarms through the dendron Of its multiple ...

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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... John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger ushered in a theatrical revolution. Launching both the Angry Young Man and kitchen-sink drama, the play is held to have had a devastating and irreversible impact on a postwar theatre scene dominated by winsome drawing-room comedies and witless country-house whodunnits. At the time, the play and its message were anatomised ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Da 5 Bloods’, 2 July 2020

... Lindo), Eddie (Norm Lewis), Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr) and Otis (Clarke Peters). Paul’s son David (Jonathan Majors) has belatedly joined them. They have been trekking through the jungle for a day or two and (with the exception of David) aren’t as young as they were. Tempers ...

A Kind of Gnawing Offness

David Haglund: Tao Lin, 21 October 2010

Richard Yates 
by Tao Lin.
Melville House, 206 pp., £10.99, October 2010, 978 1 935554 15 8
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... Yates’ is harder to account for. The novel depicts a romantic relationship between two young people from the beginning to what could be the end, and the light cast on each lover is harsh: the young man is cruel, the girl (she’s 16, her lover is 22) is dishonest, and each expects too much from the other. In all ...

Rubbishing the revolution

Hugo Young, 5 December 1991

Thatcher’s People 
by John Ranelagh.
HarperCollins, 324 pp., £15.99, September 1991, 0 00 215410 2
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Staying Power 
by Peter Walker.
Bloomsbury, 248 pp., £16.99, October 1991, 0 7475 1034 2
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... affairs secretary, and Bernard Ingham, her press officer, and a handful of personal familiars like David Wolfson and Tim Bell, it is hard to think of a single Cabinet politician, perhaps excepting the ever-supplicant Joseph, who did not eventually find themselves, after a period in the sun, banished into the half-light: the most recent victim of this expulsion ...

Boiling Electrons

David Kaiser, 27 September 2012

Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe 
by George Dyson.
Allen Lane, 401 pp., £25, March 2012, 978 0 7139 9750 7
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... tables d’intégrales définies, published in Leyden in 1867 by the wealthy Dutch mathematician David Bierens de Haan. Two years into the atomic age, access to a well-stocked library filled with old, foreign-language books was still required. Hence the need for the 1947 table: although in principle anyone should have been able to compute the integrals, in ...

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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... insisted that ‘a date must soon be fixed beyond which no further immigration can be allowed. The young immigrants who have just come here will have to return to their homelands and their families.’ Racism seemed to be gaining a presence not just in politics but in pop culture too. That same month, May 1976, David Bowie ...

Falklands Retrospect

Hugo Young, 17 August 1989

The Little Platoon: Diplomacy and the Falklands Dispute 
by Michael Charlton.
Blackwell, 230 pp., £14.95, June 1989, 0 631 16564 9
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... and depicted by one of them as the man who might have solved the problem. Within months of David Owen taking over on Crosland’s early death, yet another solution – cession of sovereignty followed by leaseback – is being trotted round Whitehall. The ‘Hong Kong solution’, as this was termed in the late Seventies, sounds a less winning ...

Fear and Loathing in Limehouse

Richard Holme, 3 September 1987

Campaign! The Selling of the Prime Minister 
by Rodney Tyler.
Grafton, 251 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 246 13277 9
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Battle for Power 
by Des Wilson.
Sphere, 326 pp., £4.99, July 1987, 0 7221 9074 3
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David Owen: Personally Speaking 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 297 79206 7
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... camp, on which all their three great warlords agreed – Margaret Thatcher, Norman Tebbit and Lord Young – as did their retinues of ad-men and advisers, was to run a campaign fuelled by fear, a re-run of ‘Don’t let Labour ruin it.’ Fear was a tune which the Prime Minister had practised assiduously over the years: fear of Scargill, fear of ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... can be tolerated, and might even be enjoyed, as piano-players in the funhouse of letters. Early in David Plante’s diaries, we find him tinkling away, dropping names in basso profundo, as if knowing people and knowing what they do in private can be the thing that makes one special. He is 28 years old when he comes to London from the US (a little younger than ...

Be flippant

David Edgar: Noël Coward’s Return, 9 December 1999

1956 and All That 
by Dan Reballato.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 415 18938 1
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Collected Plays: Six 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 415 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Plays: Seven 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 381 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Revue Sketches and Parodies 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 282 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73390 4
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Noël Coward: A Life in Quotes 
edited by Barry Day.
Metro, 116 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 9781900512848
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Noël Coward: The Complete Lyrics 
Methuen, 352 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 413 73230 4Show More
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... is the story, told in Philip Hoare’s 1995 biography, of Coward’s visit to the Court to see David Storey’s grittily realistic Rugby League play The Changing Room. His attention having been drawn to the male genitalia on display in the bath scene, Coward remarked: ‘13 acorns are not worth the price of admission.’ ‘Not worth the price of ...
... Songs of PapuszaI was once besotted with a black-eyed boy. The young menof my kumpania stretched him out in an àshariba. Only thendid Dion´yzy Wajs, ancient Dion´yzy Wajs, pay his coin and court.He possessed harps, bought my mother and stepfather’s heart.All I possessed were secret books. Dion´yzy arranged my bedas we both wished ...

Deal of the Century

David Thomson: As Ovitz Tells It, 7 March 2019

Who Is Michael Ovitz? 
by Michael Ovitz.
W.H. Allen, 372 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 0 7535 5336 7
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... of ‘Whatever happened to … ?’ So who was he? Michael Ovitz was born in Chicago in 1946 to David, the son of Jewish Romanian immigrants. David was a liquor salesman for Seagram’s but he worked weekends too, selling patio furniture to support his family after they moved to Encino in the San Fernando Valley. ‘The ...

The Amazing Mrs Charke

David Nokes, 1 June 1989

The Well-Known Troublemaker: A Life of Charlotte Charke 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 231 pp., £19.95, November 1988, 0 571 14743 7
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The Ladies: Female Patronage of Restoration Drama 
by David Roberts.
Oxford, 188 pp., £22.50, February 1989, 0 19 811743 4
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The Complete Lover: Eros, Nature and Artifice in the 18th-Century French Novel 
by Angelica Goodden.
Oxford, 329 pp., £32.50, January 1989, 0 19 815820 3
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... her father in Epping Forest. Poor Cibber handed over his money, making only the rueful reproof: ‘Young man, young man! This is a sorry trade. Take heed in time.’ ‘And so I would,’ replied his disguised daughter, ‘but I’ve a wicked hunks of a father, who rolls in money, yet denies me a guinea. And so a worthy ...

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