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Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount, 20 February 2020

... ban on Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G network, and the bombardiers of Brexit – Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis, Liam Fox et al – are furious too. The industry points out that Huawei kit has already been installed in dozens of cities across the UK and to a more sophisticated standard than the US can currently provide. Ripping it all out would ...

Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America

Eliot Weinberger, 25 October 2018

... He is referring to the FBI.*Pornography star Stormy Daniels provides a detailed description of Donald Trump’s penis. Although Trump had bragged about the size of his member in the primary debates and in campaign speeches, Daniels, based on her professional expertise, laughingly refutes this.*Hurricane Florence causes basins containing more than two ...

It makes yer head go

David Craig: James Kelman and Gordon Legge, 18 February 1999

The Good Times 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 246 pp., £14.99, July 1998, 0 436 41215 2
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Near Neighbours 
by Gordon Legge.
Cape, 218 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 224 05120 2
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... plonking away, or of looking at pictures painted by numbers with the broadest brush. On the cover Duncan McLean makes a strenuous effort to enlist Legge in the brother and sisterhood of the Scottish New Wave (Warner, Galloway, Welsh) by crediting him with the subtlety of Chekhov. Subtlety is the last thing McLean should have claimed for him. Legge tells his ...

Dysfunctional Troglodytes with Mail-Order Weaponry

Iain Sinclair: Edward Dorn, 11 April 2013

Collected Poems 
by Edward Dorn.
Carcanet, 995 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84777 126 1
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... this Bitch burn at my deliverance in the furnace of my joyful cremation. We were fortunate that Donald Davie, setting up an English Department at the University of Essex in 1965, invited Dorn to cross the Atlantic as a Fulbright lecturer. This was a pivotal episode for Dorn and for the mass of younger English poets who had heard rumours of Black Mountain ...

Memories of New Zealand

Peter Campbell, 1 December 2011

... The pictures were prints: Franz Marc’s Tower of Blue Horses; a Monet of yachts on a river; Duncan Grant’s Dancers, a cornfield by John Nash. The one original was a watercolour by T.A. McCormack dominated by a Chinese fish plate. Over the years all this moved towards something prettier; the first impulse to modernity was not wholly ...

There is only one Harrods

Paul Foot, 23 September 1993

Tiny Rowland: A Rebel Tycoon 
by Tom Bower.
Heinemann, 659 pp., £16.99, May 1993, 0 434 07339 3
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... as non-racist, pro-African and hostile to the illegal Rhodesian regime of Ian Smith. He lit upon Duncan Sandys, a slow-witted, racist, pro-Rhodesian right-wing Tory MP, described by another director as ‘bent ever since he was a lower boy at Eton’. Sandys was interested in chairing Lonrho for one reason only: the remuneration. He was already a consultant ...

Agh, Agh, Yah, Boo

David Wheatley: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 4 December 2014

Midway: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay to Stephen Bann, 1964-69 
edited by Stephen Bann.
Wilmington Square, 426 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 1 905524 34 1
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... were pronounced. Harold Cohen was ‘never to be mentioned again. He is an ignorant person’, Donald Davie was a ‘wretch’, and R.B. Kitaj ‘one of the very worst painters of the century’. When words were insufficient, Finlay’s indignation broke out in truncated sound poems (‘Agh, agh, yah, boo, ach, och, yugh, pugh, poo, pshaw and dash ...
... and Lonrho’s boss, Roland ‘Tiny’ Rowland, in his Cheapside headquarters, and the editor, Donald Trelford. This began over an article Trelford wrote about atrocities in Zimbabwe. The main point made in 1982 was in line with evidence given to the Monopolies Commission by the paper’s former editor David Astor, by the chairman of the Observer Trust ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... fury of New Apocalypse. As for the Movement, two of its original New Lines members, Thom Gunn and Donald Davie, went off in directions undreamed of by Robert Conquest and still largely ignored by contemporary British poetry. Looking a little further, we find that Gunn and Davie between them do something that has still not been taken on board in Britain: they ...

Stay Home, Stay Stoned

Andrea Brady: Diane di Prima, 10 March 2022

Revolutionary Letters: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition 
by Diane di Prima.
City Lights, 213 pp., £13.99, September 2021, 978 0 9957162 6 1
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... Prima wrote plays, acted, directed and produced. They put on dramas by Frank O’Hara and Robert Duncan at various downtown venues and broadcast Antonin Artaud’s radio piece ‘To Have Done with the Judgment of God’, complete with ‘gongs and blood-curdling screams’, to the whole of Bleecker Street. In 1965 di Prima founded the Poets Press, which ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... Me Not’; but there we go. I’m not sure which was which; but one of them I sent to Ronald Duncan at the Royal Court. Immense crowd scenes, people standing around, pitying the hero – i.e. me.It sounds very like Duncan. It was. This Way to the Tomb was his big play at the time. I liked that title.You say you also ...

Snarly Glitters

August Kleinzahler: Roy Fisher, 20 April 2006

The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 
by Roy Fisher.
Bloodaxe, 400 pp., £12, June 2005, 1 85224 701 0
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... Fisher saw for the first time the work of the later William Carlos Williams, Basil Bunting, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Louis Zukofsky, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson and others. ‘I’d never seen poetry used as these people were, in their various ways, using it,’ Fisher remembered, ‘nor had I seen it treated as so vital an activity. These people were ...

Nigels against the World

Ferdinand Mount: The EU Referendum, 19 May 2016

... with the support of other longstanding Eurosceptic ministers and former ministers, such as Iain Duncan Smith, Nigel Lawson and David Owen. Then there’s Grassroots Out, which was supposed to bring the other two lots together. But the prospectus on offer has been muddied because the spokesmen within each organisation have had different ideas. Johnson in ...

‘Just get us out’

Ferdinand Mount, 21 March 2019

... Disney and Monty Python’. The king lapped it all up, and now so do the Jacob Rees-Moggs and Iain Duncan-Smiths, whose freedom to practise their Catholic faith is no thanks to Henry VIII. Today these harkings back are semi-playful, but under them lies an adamantine insistence that the white cliffs of the nation-state shall not be eroded by the splashings of ...

What a carry-on

Seamus Perry: W.S. Graham, 18 July 2019

W.S. Graham: New Selected Poems 
edited by Matthew Francis.
Faber, 144 pp., £12.99, September 2018, 978 0 571 34844 2
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W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Hofmann.
NYRB, 152 pp., £9.99, October 2018, 978 1 68137 276 1
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... and portcullis,’ he said. He once wrote a sweetly affectionate letter to Ronnie and Henriette Duncan (‘Come my dearest dears’) and, having completed it, wrote vertically up the margin: ‘Do not read this letter as a softness. I am hard as fucking nails.’ You wonder how they took so bizarrely double-minded a letter. He could write very tenderly ...

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