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Heimat

David Craig, 6 July 1989

A Search for Scotland 
by R.F. Mackenzie.
Collins, 280 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 00 215185 5
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A Claim of Right for Scotland 
edited by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 202 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6022 4
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The Eclipse of Scottish Culture 
by Craig Beveridge and Ronald Turnbull.
Polygon, 121 pp., £6.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6000 3
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The Bird Path: Collected Longer Poems 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 239 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 245 2
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Travels in the Drifting Dawn 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 160 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 240 1
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... flow of oil and gas from the bed of the North Sea (1977-?). It may be that our nationalism is on a par with feminism as Dale Spender sees it: for ever having to be painfully rediscovered, rather than evolving continuously from strength to strength, without relapses between those peaks where consciousness, ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 30 June 2016

... The RaidTen men raided​ a house in Gordon, a north shore suburb of Sydney, at 1.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 December 2015. Some of the federal agents wore shirts that said ‘Computer Forensics’; one carried a search warrant issued under the Australian Crimes Act 1914 ...

I’m a Surfer

Steven Shapin: What’s the Genome Worth?, 20 March 2008

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life 
by Craig Venter.
Allen Lane, 390 pp., £25, October 2007, 978 0 7139 9724 8
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... Until fairly recently, you did not choose a scientific career with the idea of getting rich. After the end of World War Two, American academic scientists started out on about $2000 a year – the rough equivalent of $17,000 these days – while few full professors at the peak of their careers commanded as much as $10,000 ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary, 27 April 2000

An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... John Fothergill, the high-handed host of the Spreadeagle at Thame between the world wars, described himself in Who’s Who as ‘Pioneer Amateur Innkeeper’. Evelyn Waugh, sending him a copy of Decline and Fall, inscribed it to ‘Oxford’s only civilising influence ...

Music Made Visible

Stephen Walsh: Wagner, 24 April 2008

Wagner and the Art of the Theatre 
by Patrick Carnegy.
Yale, 461 pp., £35, September 2006, 0 300 10695 5
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... Among the operatic victims of what its enemies nowadays refer to as ‘directors’ theatre’, Wagner has suffered as much as anyone. Keith Warner has the Wanderer crash-land his fighter plane into Mime’s cave; Phyllida Lloyd has Brünnhilde as a suicide bomber who blows herself up in the immolation scene; Jürgen Flimm turns Nibelheim into a microchip factory ...

Diary

David Craig: In the Barra Isles, 30 October 1997

... Eight years ago, at Buaile nam Bodach on Barra, the landlady at the B&B had said, ‘My great-aunt was cleared from Pabbay’ – the next island but two to the south, the third-last joint in the backbone of ‘the Long Island’ of the Outer Hebrides. I was researching my book On the Crofters’ Trail at the time, collecting from people whatever their grand or great-grandparents had told them about the High-land Clearances, when landlords desperate to increase the income from their land forced many thousands of small tenants from their homes by a mixture of bribery, threats and the torching of their thatch, their roof-timbers and their looms ...

Look over your shoulder

Christopher Hitchens, 25 May 1995

... You can read about neo-Nazis all the time in the New York Times,’ said a sardonic acquaintance of mine the other day, ‘as long as they are in Germany.’ And indeed, the existence of an all-American underground composed of paranoid fascist mutants was until recently considered a fit topic only for those who are themselves labelled paranoid ...

Educating the Utopians

Jonathan Parry: Parliament’s Hour, 18 April 2019

The Oxford Handbook of Modern British Political History, 1800-2000 
edited by David Brown, Robert Crowcroft and Gordon Pentland.
Oxford, 626 pp., £95, April 2018, 978 0 19 871489 7
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... criticism. Pundits, particularly in the 19th century, wrote about ‘parliamentary government’ as the nation’s pride and Britain’s gift to a less fortunate world, but they did not mean that Parliament should actually govern. It would zealously check an overmighty executive, and ...

Diary

David Craig: Barra Microcosm, 24 May 2001

... comfortably up the M74 through the Border hills near Beattock on the way to South Uist and Barra. At Oban I’ll rendezvous with David Paterson, a landscape photographer, who’s working with me on a book on the Highland Clearances. As I overtake ...

Scotland’s Dreaming

Rory Scothorne, 21 May 2020

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot: The Great Mistake of Scottish Independence 
by John Lloyd.
Polity, 224 pp., £20, April 2020, 978 1 5095 4266 6
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The Literary Politics of Scottish Devolution: Voice, Class, Nation 
by Scott Hames.
Edinburgh, 352 pp., £24.99, November 2019, 978 1 4744 1814 0
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... 2011 majority in the Scottish Parliament (it had been in minority government since 2007) into an independence referendum in 2014 that cannibalised Labour’s old electoral base and provoked a revival, by the time of the 2016 Holyrood elections, of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Independence is not ...

Strangers

John Lanchester, 11 July 1991

Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon 
edited by Stephen Egger.
Praeger, 250 pp., £33.50, October 1990, 0 275 92986 8
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Serial Killers 
by Joel Norris.
Arrow, 333 pp., £4.99, July 1990, 0 09 971750 6
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Life after Life 
by Tony Parker.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.50, May 1991, 0 330 31528 5
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American Psycho 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 399 pp., £6.99, April 1991, 0 330 31992 2
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Dirty Weekend 
by Helen Zahavi.
Macmillan, 185 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 333 54723 3
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Silence of the Lambs 
by Thomas Harris.
Mandarin, 366 pp., £4.99, April 1991, 0 7493 0942 3
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... the biggest multiple killer in British criminal history, has remarked. He went on: The population at large is neither ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’. They seem to be bound together by a collective ignorance of themselves and what they are. They have, every one of them, got their deep dark thoughts with many ...

Upstaging

Paul Driver, 19 August 1993

Shining Brow 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 86 pp., £5.99, February 1993, 0 571 16789 6
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... of the age, thought that the meaning of libretto’s words were its least important component (at any rate, so far as the audience is concerned), and that a libretto is ‘really a private letter to the composer’, he also found that ‘...

Shtum

John Lanchester: Alastair Campbell’s Diaries, 16 August 2007

The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries 
edited by Alastair Campbell and Richard Stott.
Hutchinson, 794 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 09 179629 7
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... There is a structural flaw in British politics. In theory, we have a representative democracy: we the electors vote for members of Parliament, whose job is to represent us, and who, collectively, are the sovereign power. In practice, though, it doesn’t quite work like that. We the electors vote for MPs, who regard their primary role as being representatives of their political party, and who pay just enough attention to their electorate in order to get re-elected ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... 28 January 2005. Fly to Rome for a British Council reading. It occurs to me that a lot of the camp has gone out of British Airways and that as the stewards have got older and less outrageous so the service has declined. This morning there is scarcely a smile, not to mention a joke, the whole flight smooth, crowded and utterly anonymous ...

‘Make sure you say that you were treated properly’

Gareth Peirce: Torture, Secrecy and the British State, 14 May 2009

... human beings in rows in aircraft, hooded and shackled for transportation across the Atlantic, much as other human beings had been carried in slave ships four hundred years earlier. The captor’s humiliation of these anonymous beings – unloaded at Guantánamo Bay, crouched in open cages in orange jumpsuits – was ...

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