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Diary

Iain Sinclair: Swimming on the 52nd Floor, 24 September 2015

... extras from Gŏng, the ‘cinnabar inspired’, dragon-red cocktail bar and champagne lounge. The white-T-shirt man with the broom, preparing the gleaming floor for twilight drinkers, is happy to exchange pleasantries about the pool, the view, and his exposure, day after working day, to these things. But he is not permitted, at any time, early or after ...

One of the Cracked

Dinah Birch: Barbara Bodichon, 1 October 1998

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon: Feminist, Artist and Rebel 
by Pam Hirsch.
Chatto, 390 pp., £20, July 1998, 0 7011 6797 1
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... Davies, Elizabeth Blackwell, Gertrude Jekyll, Mary Howitt, Sara Hennell, Octavia Hill, Elizabeth Garrett, Millicent Garrett, Bessie Parkes, Anna Mary Howitt, Adelaide Procter, Max Hays, Emily Faithfull, Lizzie Siddal, Helen Taylor, Anna Jameson, Jessie White. Many of these women looked ...

That Wooden Leg

Michael Wood: Conversations with Don Luis, 7 September 2000

An Unspeakable Betrayal: Selected Writings of Luis Buñuel 
translated by Garrett White.
California, 266 pp., £17.50, April 2000, 0 520 20840 4
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... Studio Vingt-Huit – high up a winding street of Montmartre, in the full blasphemy of a freezing Sunday; taxis arriving, friends greeting each other, an excitable afternoon audience’. The description is Cyril Connolly’s, the occasion a showing of Luis Buñuel’s first film, Un Chien andalou. The audience seemed baffled at the end, and some of its members were angry, unprepared no doubt for what Connolly called the ‘destructive reverence’ of the film ...

Gynaecological Proletarians

Anne Summers, 10 October 1991

The Charge of the Parasols: Women’s Entry to the Medical Profession 
by Catriona Blake.
Women’s Press, 254 pp., £6.95, October 1990, 0 7043 4239 1
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Women under the Knife: A History of Surgery 
by Ann Dally.
Radius, 289 pp., £18.99, April 1991, 9780091745080
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The Science of Woman: Gynaecology and Gender in England, 1800-1929 
by Ornella Moscucci.
Cambridge, 278 pp., £35, April 1991, 0 521 32741 5
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... of formal medical qualifications to women such as Elizabeth Blackwell (1849) and Elizabeth Garrett (1859) signalled not so much the opening as the re-opening of the field of medicine to women: a first assault against a relatively recent exclusion. Before the 19th century, as all three authors show, the professional colleges had not been able to prevent ...

At the Hayward

Marina Warner: Tracey Emin, 25 August 2011

... spontaneity. A more recent quilt, from 2005, hangs upstairs, and is blanched, a study in cream and white. It always Hurts is the title. The gypsy festiveness has been quelled, and the anger has turned to sorrow. The final rooms are filled with smeary white paintings, closer to De Kooning and Twombly than anything Emin has ...

Helter-Skelter

Edmund Gordon: ‘Melmoth’, 3 January 2019

Melmoth 
by Sarah Perry.
Serpent’s Tail, 271 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 1 78816 065 0
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... was the scent of rain on raincoats, and among the passengers, sunk in his upturned collar, Dr Luke Garrett was reciting the parts of the human heart. The fast-and-loose attitude to scene setting, and the quirky inclination to privilege things over people are appealing, although it’s strange to encounter historical fiction so nonchalant about period ...

Subject, Spectator, Phantom

J. Hoberman: The Strangest Personality Ever to Lead the Free World, 17 February 2005

Nixon at the Movies: A Book about Belief 
by Mark Feeney.
Chicago, 422 pp., £19.50, November 2004, 0 226 23968 3
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... movie – I don’t see too many movies but I try to see them on weekends when I am at the Western White House or in Florida – and the movie I selected, or, as a matter of fact, my daughter Tricia selected it, was Chisum with John Wayne. It was a Western. FDR was known to admire Myrna Loy and Ike to enjoy watching shoot-’em-ups; underdog Harry Truman had ...

Smoking for England

Paul Foot, 5 July 1984

Smoke Ring: The Politics of Tobacco 
by Peter Taylor.
Bodley Head, 384 pp., £9.95, March 1984, 0 370 30513 2
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... Association of Business Sponsorship of the Arts, which was founded in 1976 by, among others, Tony Garrett, chairman of Imperial Tobacco. For all this hectic lobbying and slush, tobacco has lost a little of its pulling power in Britain and America since its peak in 1973. It has responded with relish by concentrating more and more on selling its poison in ...

Michael Foot’s Fathers

D.A.N. Jones, 4 December 1980

My Life with Nye 
by Jennie Lee.
Cape, 277 pp., £8.50, November 1980, 0 224 01785 3
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Debts of Honour 
by Michael Foot.
Davis-Poynter, 240 pp., £9.50, November 1980, 0 7067 6243 6
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... the paper, that week, as Dick Clements was on holiday. I had written a front-page piece, headed ‘White as Leprosy’, about a Tory project for harassing blacks; and, for good measure, I had criticised two Labour MPs, Lena Jeger and Roy Hattersley. I felt that Mrs Jeger had supported the policy I favoured with a silly argument and that Roy Hattersley ...

His Secret Opening

Joe Dunthorne: Revism, 2 April 2020

Childhood 
by Gerard Reve.
Pushkin, 160 pp., £9.99, October 2019, 978 1 78227 459 9
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... he said quietly. ‘She says I should stay at home, nice and cosy. That I should wear the white jumper. She makes oliebollen with the wrong pieces of apple … Almighty, everlasting, she thought she was buying wine, but it was fruit juice. The sweet, good woman. Berry-apple. She moves her head back and forth when she reads. She is my mother. See her ...

Plot 6, Row C, Grave 15

Malcolm Gaskill: Death of an Airman, 8 November 2018

... dismal sight, barren and desolate. The sky would soon be crowded with aircraft, usually with red, white and blue roundels rather than black crosses. Occasionally they would sight an enemy strafing Allied artillery positions and give chase. Then they would return to base, have a second breakfast and a cigarette, and go back to bed. Subalterns in the trenches ...

Lola did the driving

Inigo Thomas: Pevsner’s Suffolk, 5 May 2016

Suffolk: East, The Buildings of England 
by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale, 677 pp., £35, April 2015, 978 0 300 19654 2
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... feel about the placing of such an establishment in this location, has a magical quality … The white dome, which is the outer shell of the containment building that protects the reactor and its steam generator, is about 230 ft (70 metres) high and can be glimpsed from miles around. Pevsner, admirer of Gropius and risk-taker that he was, had no obvious ...

House-Cleaning

David Bromwich: I met a Republican, 7 March 2019

... charged with the crime was an antisemite who despised Trump as a weakling incapable of defending white America. Neither the attempted terror bombings nor the mass shooting could be linked to the president, but it was impossible to dissociate them from the frequent brutality of Trump’s words and gestures, the mayhem he sponsors, the people he makes ...

Less than Perfectly Submissive

Susan Pedersen: No Votes, Thank You, 20 March 2008

Women against the Vote: Female Anti-Suffragism in Britain 
by Julia Bush.
Oxford, 340 pp., £35, October 2007, 978 0 19 924877 3
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... and titled wives than civic reformers appeared to find this argument persuasive (as Millicent Garrett Fawcett tartly remarked in the next issue), but the signatures of Beatrice Webb and the coterie of Oxford women who had been instrumental in founding Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall must have given suffragists pause. For a time, then, and as Bush ...

On Thinning Ice

Michael Byers: When the Ice Melts, 6 January 2005

Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment 
Cambridge, 139 pp., £19.99, February 2005, 0 521 61778 2Show More
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... climate change presents a collective action problem (‘the tragedy of the commons’, as Garrett Hardin termed it) that simply can’t be resolved. With hundreds of governments, thousands of stateless transnational corporations and billions of consumers relentlessly pursuing growth inside fossil fuel-based economies, the necessarily co-operative ...

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