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After Andropov

John Barber, 19 April 1984

Andropov 
by Zhores Medvedev.
Blackwell, 227 pp., £7.50, June 1983, 0 631 13401 8
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Andropov in Power: From Komsomol to Kremlin 
by Jonathan Steele and Eric Abraham.
Martin Robertson, 216 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 85520 641 1
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Life in Russia 
by Michael Binyon.
Hamish Hamilton, 286 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 241 10982 5
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The Soviet Union after Brezhnev 
edited by Martin McCauley.
Heinemann, 160 pp., £14.50, November 1983, 0 8419 0918 0
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Yuri Andropov: A Secret Passage into the Kremlin 
by Vladimir Solovyov and Elena Klepikova, translated by Guy Daniels.
Robert Hale, 302 pp., £11.50, February 1984, 0 7090 1630 1
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... If success in predicting the future is any criterion of analytical accuracy, Sovietology must be among the least exact of social science disciplines. The record of Western specialists on Soviet affairs in forecasting the direction of change in the USSR has been remarkably poor. The imminent overthrow of Lenin’s government in 1917, the victory of the Whites in the Civil War; the natural reversion to capitalism in the 1920s, the impossibility of modernising through a centrally-planned economy in the 1930s, the weakness of the Red Army on the eve of the Second World War, and Soviet technological backwardness in the 1950s, before Sputnik and Gagarin inaugurated the space age, are only a few of the discarded orthodoxies about the Soviet Union over past decades ...

Identity Parade

Linda Colley, 25 February 1993

People and Places: Country House Donors and the National Trust 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 232 pp., £19.99, October 1992, 0 7195 5145 5
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The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation and Authorship, 1660-1769 
by Michael Dobson.
Oxford, 266 pp., £30, October 1992, 0 19 811233 5
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Myths of the English 
edited by Roy Porter.
Polity, 280 pp., £39.50, October 1992, 0 7456 0844 2
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Fields of Vision: Landscape Imagery and National Identity in England and the United States 
by Stephen Daniels.
Polity, 257 pp., £39.50, November 1992, 0 7456 0450 1
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... not only abroad but also in the minds and imaginations of Britons at home. Neither Stephen Daniels’s collection of essays nor those in Roy Porter’s Myths of the English explore the imperial-domestic connection directly. Yet both books illuminate its importance.To begin with, and as several of Daniels’s ...

Badoompa-doompa-doompa-doom

Graham Coster, 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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... forgetting the manager, even, without whom there would he no gigs, hotel rooms or backstage Jack Daniels on the contract rider. And then there is the bass-player. The bassist is the other man in the band. This is the guy who is only the other half of the rhythm section: the one who only backs up the drummer: who keeps the ...

My Friend Sam

Jane Miller, 16 August 1990

The rock cried out 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 303 pp., £5.99, June 1990, 1 85381 140 8
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Can’t quit you, baby 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 256 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 1 85381 149 1
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... the death of Alan’s young cousin and of the wife of the man he introduces as ‘my friend Sam Daniels’. Sam is black, and his family have had their roots in this landscape too. He is the lover of Alan’s sturdy Aunt Leila and intimately entangled in other ways with this family which owns the land on which his own family have ridden and worked for ...

Hoogah-Boogah

James Wolcott: Rick Moody, 19 September 2002

The Black Veil 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 323 pp., £16.99, August 2002, 0 571 20056 7
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... of minimalism that was fashionable when he was a nervous colt in the 1980s in favour of a bachelor-guy pack-rat approach where everything the author has ever seen, read, felt or heard on headphones is catalogued and databased (Nick Hornby with a dash of Derrida). Where graduates of the Gordon Lish ‘mini-me’ academy were often tagged as emotional anorexics ...

Swoonatra

Ian Penman, 1 July 2015

Sinatra: London 
Universal, 3 CDs and 1 DVD, £40, November 2014Show More
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... troublesome) lure that lent his music a kind of infernal gravitas. Some association with Mafia guys was probably all but unavoidable, given their omnipresence on the live music scene: the clubs they owned, the quid pro quo favours they expected.The Mafia connection had relatively little exposure early on, but the gossip-column sorority had plenty of other ...

The Life of the Mind

Michael Wood, 20 June 1996

Fargo 
directed by Joel Coen.
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Fargo 
by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.
Faber, 118 pp., £7.99, May 1996, 0 571 17963 0
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... and caked with blood, he can speak only in a mangled way. He says: ‘You should see the other guy!’ Fargo, like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, is dedicated to a ghastly comedy of violence, and to the suggestion that violence in life is mainly not malign and planned, but messy, like lasagne dropped all over the kitchen floor, or pathological, like a ...

Sabotage

Gavin Millar, 13 September 1990

Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles 
by Frank Brady.
Hodder, 655 pp., £18.95, January 1990, 0 340 51389 6
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If this was happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 312 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79630 5
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Norma Shearer 
by Gavin Lambert.
Hodder, 381 pp., £17.95, August 1990, 0 340 52947 4
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Ava’s Men: The Private Life of Ava Gardner 
by Jane Ellen Wayne.
Robson, 268 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 86051 636 9
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Goldwyn: A Biography 
by Scott Berg.
Hamish Hamilton, 579 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 241 12832 3
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The Genius of the System: Hollywood Film-Making in the Studio Era 
by Thomas Schatz.
Simon and Schuster, 514 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 671 69708 0
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... was supported by the best team available: Clark Gable, Cedric Gibbons sets, Adrian gowns, William Daniels lighting, accommodating directors. (Who wouldn’t be accommodating? As Crawford pointed out, the star was sleeping with the boss.) It seems appropriate that little Eva Duarte left home for the bright lights of Buenos Aires after seeing Riptide and had ...

Somerdale to Skarbimierz

James Meek, 19 April 2017

... directors and 11 directors – Sir John Sunderland, Roger Carr, Rick Braddock, Ellen Marram, Guy Elliott, Rosemary Thorne, David Thompson, Sanjiv Ahuja, Wolfgang Berndt, Lord Patten and Raymond Viault. Only Berndt replied (Chris Patten’s assistant told me he was in ‘rural Asia’ without email, then, when the deadline was extended, too ill to ...

The Question of U

Ian Penman: Prince, 20 June 2019

Prince: Life and Times 
by Jason Draper.
Chartwell, 216 pp., £15.99, February 2017, 978 0 7858 3497 7
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The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince 
by Mayte Garcia.
Trapeze, 304 pp., £9.99, April 2018, 978 1 4091 7121 8
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... aloof and bony synthesiser muzik. The crowd had a collective meltdown. ‘Fruit, vegetables, Jack Daniels, and even a bag of rotting chicken came flying through the air at the group,’ Draper writes.In 1981, Prince was an uncomfortable reminder of what lay under the global Good Old Days schtick of the kohl-eyed Stones: an ambiguously inviting/inciting body ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... a block for loving their dogs,’ a former neighbour of Zainab’s said. ‘Like, there was this guy on the 15th floor, Steven Power, he had two bull terriers, you know those dogs? Loved them, he did. Would’ve died for those two dogs.’ People in the tower would go round to Steven’s for a drink. Sometimes they sat together outside the tower, too, next ...

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