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10 January 1991
Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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Bare 
by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... sort of funny entertainment’. Rock’n’roll as modern vaudeville: I doubt the precious George Michael would agree. On the cover of I was a teenage Sex Pistol Matlock peeps cagily over his shades at you; Bare has George in one of his standard-issue moody pouts. I take it the title connotes the craven exposure ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The Big Issue

20 September 2001
... Chomsky. It hit the big time a while ago, with sought-after interviews with the Stone Roses and George Michael (‘breaking a six-year silence’). Guest editors have included Damien Hirst and David Bailey – Big Issue chic. The ads say something, too: Levis, Sony, Calvin Klein, Bacardi; British Nuclear Fuels, a contentious issue in the office, soon ...

Cocoa, sir?

Ian Jack: The Royal Navy

2 January 2003
Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy 1900-45 
by Christopher McKee.
Harvard, 285 pp., £19.95, May 2002, 0 674 00736 0
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Rule Britannia: The Victorian and Edwardian Navy 
by Peter Padfield.
Pimlico, 246 pp., £12.50, August 2002, 0 7126 6834 9
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... side. ‘A shadow would come over the ship as soon as you heard you were coaling,’ said George Michael Clarkson (Joiner First Class). The great enemy was dust. All doors would be sealed; small holes were filled with oakum; lifeboats were hoisted outboard; officers and men alike wore their oldest clothes and poked Vaseline up their nostrils and ...

Don’t think about it

Jenny Diski: The Trouble with Sonia Orwell

25 April 2002
The Girl from the Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 208 pp., £9.99, May 2002, 0 241 14165 6
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... venom that pursued her into and beyond the grave’. The venom was largely a result of the way, as George Orwell’s widow, she managed the literary estate. She was deemed to be tyrannical, grasping and interested only in the income the estate generated. She was remembered – by men in particular – as having slept around copiously in her youth, though when ...

Diary

John Sutherland: Sad Professor

18 February 1999
An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Culture 
by Roger Scruton.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £14.95, November 1998, 0 7156 2870 4
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... moment, represents the voice of ‘youth’ is peculiar enough. REM’s lead singer and lyricist, Michael Stipe, is knocking on 40; other members of the group are older (one, the percussionist Bill Berry, has taken early retirement, on grounds of advanced age and poor health). Stipe is as close in age to Roger Scruton as to Liam Gallagher and, on photographic ...

On Michael O’Brien

August Kleinzahler: Michael O’Brien

16 February 2017
... few​ significant American poets called as little attention to themselves in their lifetimes as Michael O’Brien, who died last November at the age of 77. Much as with Lorine Niedecker – whose ‘silences’, he wrote, ‘derive from an intellectual conviction that art, like science, demands total concentration on the object of attention’ – his ...
26 November 1987
David Lloyd GeorgeA Political Life. The Architect of Change, 1863-1912 
by Bentley Brinkerhoff Gilbert.
Batsford, 546 pp., £25, April 1987, 0 7134 5558 6
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... facts. All his skills were needed here: during some seventeen years of ministerial life Lloyd George took a hand in five books about himself, and much distortion resulted. After the war, for instance, Ll.G. hoped that his long struggle against Naval expenditure had been forgotten. He recorded that in July 1908 he had told the German Ambassador of his ...
2 April 1981
... with uncertain boundaries referred to as ‘classic realism’. Not for the first time, it is George Eliot who is picked out for most attention as the author of classic realist texts. The specific point of comparison with Joyce is the two writers’ treatment of dialogue in their fiction. According to MacCabe, Joyce in Dubliners avoids setting up a ...
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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... If Jennie Lee, Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot had achieved Cabinet rank together in the 1960s, the United Kingdom would be in better shape now. ‘That is my truth,’ as Bevan used to say. ‘Now tell me yours.’ What have they in common, though, this leftist Gang of Three, the Englishman, the Welshman and the Scot, Bevan, his wife and his friend, all from such different backgrounds? They have similar opinions, of course: but what of their human and moral nature, their style of writing and speaking? It may be worth noting that all three are childless and parentful: all three have been devoted to Protestant Christian parents and have (to my regret) firmly rejected the faith of their fathers ...

Five Poems

Michael Longley

8 January 1987
... under the stairs. Shockwaves are wrinkling the water that isn’t there. Stone-in-Oxney for George Newson At a table which seems to take root in the lawn We breakfast late to a single propeller’s drone, The ghost of a Spitfire over Stone-in-Oxney Or a Stuka, its turning-circle that cloud-gap Or wherever you point to show me a bird, its dive Low as the ...
9 July 1987
Speak, Memory 
by Vladimir Nabokov.
Penguin, 242 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008623 4
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The Russian Album 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 191 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3109 8
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The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff 
prepared in association with by Sonja Sinclair.
Toronto, 265 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 8020 2556 0
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A Little of All These: An Estonian Childhood 
by Tania Alexander.
Cape, 165 pp., £12.50, March 1987, 0 224 02400 0
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... way, I inherited an exquisite simulacrum – the beauty of intangible property, unreal estate.’ Michael Ignatieff was born in Canada in the 1940s. ‘My friends,’ he remarks a little sheepishly at the start of his book, ‘had suburban pasts or pasts they would rather not talk about. I had a past of Tsarist adventurers, survivors of revolutions, heroic ...

Modernity

George Steiner

5 May 1988
Visions and Blueprints: Avant-Garde Culture and Radical Politics in Early 20th-century Europe 
edited by Edward Timms and Peter Collier.
Manchester, 328 pp., £29.50, February 1988, 0 7190 2260 6
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... from the list of significant British writers involved in the Spanish cockpit, the very name of George Orwell! Or how ambiguous are the criteria which impel Peter Collier to cite, with almost breathless admiration, Auden’s commendation of ‘the necessary murder’. Ritchie Robertson is concise and authoritative on the Zionist impulse in Herzl and ...

His Greatest Pretend

Dinah Birch: The man behind Pan

1 September 2005
Hide-and-Seek with Angels: A Life of J.M. Barrie 
by Lisa Chaney.
Hutchinson, 402 pp., £20, June 2005, 0 09 179539 7
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... straddled stance became emblematic of the irresponsibility of Peter Pan, the immortal boy. George Frampton’s familiar statue in Kensington Gardens fixed the image, with the addition of pan pipes turning David’s whistle into something that fused the glamour of those Housman called the ‘lads that will die in their glory and never be old’ with the ...

Venice-on-Thames

Amanda Vickery: Vauxhall Gardens

7 February 2013
Vauxhall Gardens: A History 
by Alan Borg and David Coke.
Yale, 473 pp., £55, June 2011, 978 0 300 17382 6
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... patron, Frederick, Prince of Wales, the artists Hogarth and Hayman, the designers Gravelot and George Michael Moser, the sculptor Louis-François Roubiliac and the composers Arne and Handel: ‘The brash light-heartedness, the unwillingness to follow rules, the energy, informality and experimentation that were intrinsic to Vauxhall are all typical of ...

Pouting

Karl Miller: Smiley and Bingham

9 May 2013
A Delicate Truth 
by John le Carré.
Viking, 310 pp., £18.99, April 2013, 978 0 670 92279 6
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The Man Who Was George Smiley: The Life of John Bingham 
by Michael Jago.
Biteback, 308 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 1 84954 513 6
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... Bear of that night sky being the series of novels lit by the round English gentleman, spymaster George Smiley, he who wipes his glasses with the thick end of his unfailing tie. Among the features of these spy stories is a concern with patriotism and uncertainty, not least with the uncertainties of patriotism. There are passages which can be hard to ...

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