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Diary

Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... the nearer one gets to production the bolder one gets. I hope it’s boldness anyway. 23 February. Derek Jarman has died. I liked his writing more than I did his films though I wish he had made the film which he once asked me to write, about his father, a Battle of Britain pilot who turned kleptomaniac in his old age. Jarman dies on the eve of the fudged ...

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself

Ysenda Maxtone Graham: ‘Lost Girls’, 9 December 2019

Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... bed with Lucian Freud; at least three of them slept with Arthur Koestler; and two of them married Derek Jackson, who had previously been married to Pamela Mitford and would eventually tot up six marriages.Before I go on, I want to mention a paradox that I’d like someone to explain to me. On the one hand, divorce in the mid-20th century was still utterly ...

Merry Companies

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: The Golden Age of Dutch painting, 20 January 2005

Dutch 17th-century Genre Painting: Its Stylistic and Thematic Evolution 
by Wayne Franits.
Yale, 328 pp., £45, June 2004, 0 300 10237 2
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... an allegory of the five senses and read a warning against indulgence in the paintings on the wall behind them. A young boy blowing bubbles in a Jan Steen Brewery should be interpreted as a moralising reflection on transience, and so, too, should a small bone lying next to some playing cards in an Outdoor Party by Esaias van de Velde. The precise message ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... Sontag called them in Aids and Its Metaphors: ‘the future ill’. The artist and film-maker Derek Jarman remembered his HIV diagnosis, in 1986: I thought: this is not true, then I realised the enormity. I had been pushed into yet another corner, this time for keeps … The perception that knowing you’re dying makes you feel more alive is an ...

Old Western Man

J.I.M. Stewart, 18 September 1980

C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences 
edited by James Como.
Collins, 299 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 9780002162753
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... added, with characteristic candour: ‘At the Socratic the enemy often wipe the floor with us.’ Derek Brewer, a pupil of Lewis’s who was later to become Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, formed the impression that Lewis attended, and presided over, the Socratic ‘entirely as a sacrificial duty, and loathed it’. This may well be an ...

Complacent Bounty

Susan Eilenberg: The Detachment of Muriel Spark, 15 December 2005

All the Poems 
by Muriel Spark.
Carcanet, 130 pp., £9.95, October 2004, 9781857547733
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The Finishing School 
by Muriel Spark.
Penguin, 156 pp., £6.99, April 2005, 9780141005980
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... one another: affection hears malice coughing and taking off its shoes on the other side of the wall and sighs at the mess curiosity always leaves on the tub. As the young mid-century Fleur of Loitering with Intent, she contemplates an old woman with a visual greed as unsettling as it is endearing: ‘As to her bizarre appearance, I liked it. I liked to see ...

Christendom

Conrad Russell, 7 November 1985

F.W. Maitland 
by G.R. Elton.
Weidenfeld, 118 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 297 78614 8
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Renaissance Essays 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Secker, 312 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 436 42511 4
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History, Society and the Churches: Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick 
edited by Derek Beales and Geoffrey Best.
Cambridge, 335 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 25486 8
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... By grouping them all together under this label, the Christians ‘created an invisible social wall between themselves and their non-Christian neighbours’. To the manning of this wall, they brought the detestation of idolatry characteristic of the jealous God of Israel. For the first time, Christianity hoped to extend ...

‘No, no,’ replied the fat man

Michael Davie, 3 December 1992

The Power of News: The History of Reuters 
by Donald Read.
Oxford, 330 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 19 821776 5
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... Reuter and Herbert, circa 1870, to No 63, a Reuters news picture of the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989. No 17 shows an outpost of the Reuters empire in 1900: Kalgoorlie, Australia, with men in suits and one in a straw hat lounging outside the Miners Institute, which also serves as the office, as a notice says, of the Reuters Telegram Company ...

The Last Hundred Days

Peter Wollen: Kassel’s Mega-Exhibition, 3 October 2002

Documenta 11 
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... Allan Sekula and Raymond Pettibon in California, together with Stan Douglas, Ken Lum and Jeff Wall, all born and based in Vancouver. London fared well, too, with artists such as Kutlug Ataman, Mona Hatoum, Isaac Julien, Steve McQueen and Yinka Shonibare; while Pierre Huyghe, Annette Messager and others are Paris-based. Germany was represented by a number ...

Diary

August Kleinzahler: Remembering Thom Gunn, 4 November 2004

... the Richard Yates books I shared with him. When I was ill at one point I read through all of Derek Raymond, whom I recommend to anyone with a stubborn bacterial infection. ‘Oh, yes,’ Thom said, ‘he’s wonderful, isn’t he.’ Sometimes we came on an author separately that sent us both head over heels. I don’t recall who got there first, or ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: My 2006, 4 January 2007

... Brampton with an inscription carved by the legion that cut the stone here for nearby Hadrian’s Wall. But it’s too cold to go looking for it and it’s said to be overgrown and eroded now, but somehow to see the place that supplied the stone and the mark the men made who quarried it seems much more evocative than the actual ...

When the going gets weird

A. Craig Copetas, 19 December 1991

Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream 
by Hunter S. Thompson.
Picador, 316 pp., £15.95, October 1991, 0 330 31994 9
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... of the townhouse, thrilled that saloonkeeper Fred Moore and CBS heir Bill Paley Jr had convinced Derek and the Dominos to perform live and loud. The food from the Gandy Dancer restaurant was splendid, the wines were vintage and the drugs grown and manufactured by designers with PhDs in botany and chemistry. The acronyms HIV and AIDS were unknown and the only ...

America Explodes

Adam Shatz, 18 June 2020

... did: he was one of the forty million Americans who have lost their jobs since the pandemic began.) Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds as he complained he couldn’t breathe and called for his dead mother, had faced at least 17 previous misconduct complaints and taken part in three police ...

An Identity of My Own

David Pears, 19 January 1989

I: The Philosophy and Psychology of Personal Identity 
by Jonathan Glover.
Allen Lane, 207 pp., £15.95, April 1988, 0 7139 9001 5
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Choice: The Essential Element in Human Action 
by Alan Donagan.
Routledge, 197 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 0 7102 1168 6
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... living my life. But will I survive in duplicate? In his book Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit argues that I will survive in duplicate, but without my identity, because the line of my particular identity could not possibly continue in both my beneficiaries simultaneously and there is no good reason to suppose that one of them carries it on ...

Bus Lane Strategy

Tristram Hunt: London Governments, 31 October 2002

Governing London 
by Ben Pimlott and Nirmala Rao.
Oxford, 208 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 19 924492 8
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... burgher would think about an 18th-century borough. ‘The inhabitants tell him that beyond the wall there is a power which taxes them at pleasure, without their consent . . . He learns that the affairs of the borough are not decided in the borough; but that a man belonging to the king, an intendant, administers them, alone and at a ...

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