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I’m being a singer

Andrew O’Hagan: Dandy Highwaymen, 8 October 2020

Sweet Dreams: The Story of the New Romantics 
by Dylan Jones.
Faber, 663 pp., £20, October 2020, 978 0 571 35343 9
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... the New Penny in Watford, the kids in their mother’s pussy-bow blouses were getting into what Dylan Jones calls ‘a decade of cultural deregulation’. ‘We all wanted to escape into something that wasn’t really there,’ says Marco Pirroni, one-time guitarist with Adam and the Ants. To begin with, it was a southern English thing, but it spread ...

Disgrace under Pressure

Andrew O’Hagan: Lad mags, 3 June 2004

Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
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Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
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Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men's Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
Show More
Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
Show More
Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
Show More
Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
Show More
Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men’s Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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... A spokesman admits that the cancellation of the Saturday night sleeper from London to Aberdeen ‘until the end of time’ is a bitter blow for those who like to wake up on a Sunday morning to the munching of Highland cattle, but there can be no question of having the train back, say the men at Euston. They can’t find a single soul who’ll agree to work the shift ...

Shapeshifter

Ian Penman: Elvis looks for meaning, 25 September 2014

Elvis Has Left the Building: The Day the King Died 
by Dylan Jones.
Duckworth, 307 pp., £16.99, July 2014, 978 0 7156 4856 8
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Elvis Presley: A Southern Life 
by Joel Williamson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £25, November 2014, 978 0 19 986317 4
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... some Oedipal tension in the mucosal late 1970s air. Early in Elvis Has Left the Building Dylan Jones, the editor of GQ, brushes against some of the paradoxes of Elvis in the age of punk. But it never goes much further than that. We get nearly as much of the author’s own biography as Presley’s: small-town rock obsessive, punk convert, London ...

The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones, 7 August 1980

After My Fashion 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John Cowper Powys and David JonesA Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John Cowper Powys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... Powys, but I, though liking the author’s way with words, could not see the point of his stories. Dylan Thomas’s broadcasts similarly appealed to my father (‘the bullish fields,’ he would say, savouring the words), and it was Dylan Thomas who ‘sent up’ T.F. Powys so memorably on the BBC Home Service, without even ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bob Dylan’s Tall Tales, 21 October 2004

... band on the planet. A notable if unsurprising absence from the Vote for Change parade is Bob Dylan, who was misquoted by Jimmy Carter when he accepted the Democratic nomination in 1976, and who hasn’t said a straight word about politics for forty years. In a recent interview in the Sunday Telegraph, Dylan said he ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Blurbs and puffs, 20 July 2006

... is a novel based on the life of the Egyptian singer Om Kalthoum. It carries a plug from Bob Dylan: ‘Om Kalthoum is great. She really is.’ This is unenlightening for three reasons: first, Om Kalthoum’s greatness isn’t in dispute; second, Dylan will plug anything these days (remember those ads for Victoria’s ...

Forget the Dylai Lama

Thomas Jones: Bob Dylan, 6 November 2003

Dylan's Visions of Sin 
by Christopher Ricks.
Viking, 517 pp., £25, October 2003, 9780670801336
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... threat posed by a sinister and nebulous enemy from the other side of the world. It could be Bob Dylan performing his ‘Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues’ (‘I discovered there was red stripes on the American flag’); but the year is 2002, and the song is ‘Talkin’ Al Kida Blues’ (‘Cuba’s our enemy, unless we need a prison camp’). Al Kida ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dodgy Latin, 20 February 2003

... killing me.’ The Education Secretary was, unsurprisingly, sharply criticised; not least by Peter Jones, a Spectator columnist, who told the BBC that ‘a calm, reasoned and balanced judgment would put it down to pig ignorance and blind prejudice’ – open-eyed prejudice being, I suppose, more to his taste. This is too harsh. What Clarke said was that ...

Wear flames in your hair

William Skidelsky: Jonathan Lethem and back-street superheroes, 24 June 2004

The Fortress of Solitude 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Faber, 511 pp., £12.99, January 2004, 0 571 21933 0
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... could also have been called Motherless Brooklyn – is quite different. It tells the story of Dylan Ebdus, who grows up in Brooklyn during the 1970s, and whose mother abandons him when he is a teenager. It is obviously autobiographical: Lethem was raised in the same part of Brooklyn as Dylan, and his mother died when he ...

It ain’t him, babe

Danny Karlin, 5 February 1987

No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan 
by Robert Shelton.
New English Library, 573 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 450 04843 8
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... often seem designed for target practice, require the sitters to be sitting ducks as well. But Bob Dylan can’t stand sitting. Try playing chess with him: ‘His knees bounce up against the table so much you think you are at a séance. The pieces keep jumping around the board. But he beats me every time.’ (Dave Van Ronk said that.) That must be how every ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Size of Wales, 23 May 2002

... a hundred or so well-known authors from 54 countries, not including Isabel Allende, Bob Dylan or Gabriel García Márquez, who admirably declined to vote. The Guardian did a vox pop. New Puritan about town Nicholas Blincoe rather proudly let slip that he’s read 81 of the top 100; smashing Mark Lawson (69) into a measly second place. ‘I think the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Godot on a bike, 5 February 2004

... c’est lui. Writers must get tired of answering crass questions – and not only writers. Bob Dylan, when asked by a journalist what his songs were ‘about’, said: ‘Some of my songs are about four minutes, some are about five minutes and some, believe it or not, are about eleven or twelve.’ Bernard’s book is organised alphabetically, according to ...

Everything is good news

Seamus Perry: Dylan Thomas’s Moment, 20 November 2014

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The New Centenary Edition 
edited by John Goodby.
Weidenfeld, 416 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 0 297 86569 8
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Under Milk Wood: The Definitive Edition 
edited by Walford Davies and Ralph Maud.
Phoenix, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 724 5
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Collected Stories 
by Dylan Thomas.
Phoenix, 384 pp., £8.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 730 6
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A Dylan Thomas Treasury: Poems, Stories and Broadcasts 
Phoenix, 186 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 726 9Show More
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... Dylan Thomas’s​ foredoomed premature death feels intrinsic to his late romanticism, part of what made him the ‘Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive’, as he labelled himself. But he could have escaped the legend to which he had devoted such energies. As Paul Ferris’s excellent biography established some time back, while Thomas was certainly in a bad way, his death was down to a medical blunder ...

Mysteries of Kings Cross

Iain Sinclair, 5 October 1995

Vale Royal 
by Aidan Dun.
Goldmark, 130 pp., £22.50, July 1995
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... from Chaucer to Spenser and Shakespeare and Donne, through Milton and Blake and Keats, to David Jones, Gascoyne, Dylan Thomas, Nicholas Moore, to Lee Harwood’s Cable Street, Bill Griffiths’s Whitechapel and Brian Catling’s The Stumbling Block. London infected its interpreters, soliciting contributions to an ...

Loaded Dice

Thomas Chatterton Williams: Ta-Nehisi Coates, 3 December 2015

Between the World and Me 
by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Text, 152 pp., £10.99, September 2015, 978 1 925240 70 2
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... mother, a young woman from Chicago, and befriended a handsome doctor’s son called Prince Jones, whose untimely death at the hands of the police functions as the moral fulcrum of the book. Coates then writes of his early years of struggle as a freelance journalist, but says little of his subsequent triumphs at the Atlantic, where since 2008 he has ...

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