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Joining up

Angus Calder

3 April 1986
Soldier, Soldier 
by Tony Parker.
Heinemann, 244 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 434 57770 7
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Echoes of the Great War: The Diary of the Reverend Andrew Clark 1914-1919 
edited by James Munson.
Oxford, 304 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 19 212984 8
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The Unknown Army: Mutinies in the British Army in World War One 
by Gloden Dallas and Douglas Gill.
Verso, 178 pp., £18.50, July 1985, 0 86091 106 3
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Soldiers: A History of Men in Battle 
by John Keegan and Richard Holmes.
Hamish Hamilton, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1985, 0 241 11583 3
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... Guards turned their machine-guns on them. This is not confirmed in The Unknown Army, an admirably thorough, concise and well-written study of First World War mutinies by the late Gloden Dallas and DouglasGill, though they do observe that the Guards, and the Scottish units, retained a reputation for reliability while the efficiency of most other sections slumped as carnage slowly stripped the Army of ...

At the Palazzo Venier

Nicholas Penny: Peggy Guggenheim’s Eye

9 May 2002
Peggy Guggenheim: The Life of an Art Addict 
by Anton Gill.
HarperCollins, 506 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 00 257078 5
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... that year, amounted to an ‘anthology of modern art’ – that is, a sourcebook of approved models of thirty years of European avant-garde art. At the end of his long biography of Guggenheim, Anton Gill, whose years of research have not deepened his regard for his subject, wonders whether she was in the same league as Walter Arensberg or the Cone sisters or other collectors who devoted more years of ...

Pay Attention, Class

Robert Hanks: Giles Foden

10 September 2009
by Giles Foden.
Faber, 353 pp., £16.99, June 2009, 978 0 571 20522 6
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... about the magic number, then gets caught by Ryman’s (younger, attractive) wife rifling through his study, and in his panic nearly wrecks the place. When not experiencing strange urges towards Gill Ryman (‘The skin on her face was so luxuriantly healthy I had a curious desire to lick it’), he moons after Gwen and Joan, a pair of posh, stylish Waafs at the Met Office outstation, failing to ...
23 July 1992
Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero 
by Charles Sprawson.
Cape, 307 pp., £15.99, June 1992, 0 224 02730 1
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... to the goddess Tanith, once nudged against the swimmers where green water shimmered over blue mosaic tiles. Now it is weedy and frog-infested, an Arab lavatory, but Gide loved it, and so did Norman Douglas and the magician Aleister Crowley. Although male love and sexual competitiveness swarm about the bather like gladiatorial shades, a contrasting impulse – Rupert Brooke’s at Granchester – wants ...
30 December 1982
The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry 
edited by Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion.
Penguin, 208 pp., £1.95, October 1982, 0 14 042283 8
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The Rattle Bag 
edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
Faber, 498 pp., £10, October 1982, 0 571 11966 2
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... Poetry have not included a single feeble poem of this sort, and that is in itself quite an achievement. Instead, we have the admirable poems of Michael Longley, Tony Harrison, and particularly Douglas Dunn, whose Terry Street poems are models of their kind. Equally successful – permanent anthology figures – are Tony Harrison’s Uncle Joe, the stammering printer in ‘Self-Justification ...

I sizzle to see you

John Lahr: Cole Porter’s secret songs

19 November 2019
The Letters of Cole Porter 
edited by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh.
Yale, 672 pp., £25, October, 978 0 300 21927 2
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... After she had parted ways with her philandering first husband, who was reported to have had sadistic conjugal tastes, Linda ‘had had enough of the sexual side of marriage’, according to Brendan Gill. In their white marriage, Porter and Linda slept in separate rooms, though always nearby, with separate buildings on their estate in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and separate apartments on the 41st ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’

2 January 2003
... playing fields in front of it. It doesn’t look much of a building whereas the old school is a handsome example of its period (c.1930). Its demolition illustrates almost to the minute what Brendan Gill, late of the New Yorker, christened the ‘Gordon Curve’ after the architect Douglas Gordon of Baltimore. ‘This posits that a building is at its maximum moment of approbation when it is brand-new ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson

14 January 2002
... been in his thirties. I never thought Oscar had opinions; he would just stroke his beard and smile.Who decided on the minimalist layout for the minimalist poems in the ‘Review’? They were set in Gill Sans typeface, as a tribute to Geoffrey Grigson’s New Verse. I think it was John Fuller’s idea. And it looked rather horrid. For some reason the first three issues were trimmed down in size, too ...

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