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Lady Thatcher’s Bastards

Iain Sinclair, 27 February 1992

Class War: A Decade of Disorder 
edited by Ian Bone, Alan Pullen and Tim Scargill.
Verso, 113 pp., £7.95, November 1991, 0 86091 558 1
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... smoke. In degraded photo-reproduction jagged white spurts of petrol-bombs orgasm among the pebbled bone helmets of snatch-squads. The mob awaits its impresario. Some shockheaded Struwwelpeter. A Malcolm McLaren whispering of historical precedents: Tyburn, the Gordon riots, Newgate ablaze, ‘Dickensian’ revengers pouring out of the slums and rookeries. It ...
... the grill. All of them slip a little further into kilter and the permanent rain; a splinter of bone that pierced the right kneecap. As they attached a metal brace to stop his right leg shrivelling shorter than his left, a vision of Mary and her child left his heart serene and his flesh finally untroubled by lust. Ropes tighten into the sea; and all of ...

How to Shoe a Flea

James Meek: Nikolai Leskov, 25 April 2013

‘The Enchanted Wanderer’ and Other Stories 
by Nikolai Leskov, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
Vintage, 608 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 0 09 957735 5
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The Enchanted Wanderer 
by Nikolai Leskov, translated by Ian Dreiblatt.
Melville House, 256 pp., £8.99, August 2012, 978 1 61219 103 4
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... of the Pevear-Volokhonsky collection, long enough to be published separately in a translation by Ian Dreiblatt, Leskov’s narrative restlessness finds its most compelling representative. Ivan, whom we meet as a monk in later life by the shores of Lake Ladoga, is described as resembling a bogatyr, one of the tall, muscular strongmen heroes of Russian folk ...

The Head in the Shed

Gavin Francis: Reading Bones, 21 January 2021

Written in BoneHidden Stories in What We Leave Behind 
by Sue Black.
Doubleday, 359 pp., £18.99, September 2020, 978 0 85752 690 8
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... Ian​ Hamilton once recounted in the LRB (22 October 1992) that ‘when William F. Buckley Jr sent a copy of his essays to Norman Mailer, he pencilled a welcoming “Hi, Norman!” in the index, next to Mailer’s name.’ The index discloses a lot about the nature of a book, and the passions of its author, more than is sometimes realised (‘acknowledgments’ are similarly illuminating ...


Ian Hamilton: Locating the G-Spot, 5 August 1982

... location of the spot: ‘It is usually located about half-way between the back of the pubic bone and the front of the cervix, along the course of the urethra ... and near the neck of the bladder.’ And it is here, say the critics, that Perry is being particularly smart. There is, indeed, they admit, a spot of sorts somewhere round this region, and ...


Ian Thomson: Assault on the Via Salaria, 14 April 2011

... in the lower left rear (parieto-occipital) region of my skull. The X-rays didn’t show any bone splinters round the edge of the fracture, indicating that whatever hit me might have been ball-shaped. A large stone, say, concealed inside a sock. But who would have hit me? The clinic couldn’t perform the operation I needed and by the time the ambulance ...


Ian Aitken: Party Fairy-Tales, 22 March 1990

... to say, such moments were fairly rare, since a good deal of Parliamentary business was just as bone-achingly boring as it is today. But these few shafts of illumination served to supplement my own childhood memories of Welsh miners shuffling along the gutters of well-to-do streets, singing for pennies. It was, as it turned out, a first-class training for ...


Ian Hacking: Religion’s evolutionary origins, 21 October 2004

In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion 
by Scott Atran.
Oxford, 348 pp., £20.99, November 2002, 0 19 514930 0
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... us more fit to survive. But if religion is counterfactual, counterintuitive and costly, every bone in the body of natural selection rebels against religion being selected. What could fit us less well for survival than a bunch of false or meaningless beliefs in which individuals and groups invest vast amounts of resources? There have been a lot of answers ...

Young Wystan

Ian Hamilton, 8 September 1994

Juvenilia: Poems 1922-28 
by W.H. Auden, edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Faber, 263 pp., £25, July 1994, 0 571 17140 0
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... a stone; A distant splash, a whispering, a laugh The icy hands of fear weighed heavy on the bone I turned and travelled quickly down the track Which grass will cover by and by Down the lonely volley; once I looked back And saw a waste of stones against an angry sky. Many years later, in New Year Letter (1941), Auden describes this same stone-dropping ...

Absolutely Bleedin’ Obvious

Ian Sansom: Will Self, 6 July 2006

The Book of Dave 
by Will Self.
Viking, 496 pp., £17.99, June 2006, 0 670 91443 6
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... In his translation of Psalm 3, Milton praises God ‘for thou/Hast smote ere now/On the cheek-bone all my foes,/Of men abhor’d/Hast broke the teeth.’ If a psalmist were to turn up for a few stitches at your local minor injuries clinic, chances are they’d have multiple piercings and facial tattoos, and you’d be wanting to ask them how many hours of ...

Somebody Shoot at Me!

Ian Sansom: Woody Guthrie’s Novel, 9 May 2013

House of Earth: A Novel 
by Woody Guthrie.
Fourth Estate, 234 pp., £14.99, February 2013, 978 0 00 750985 0
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... feet and eight inches tall, square built, but slouchy in his actions, hard of muscle, solid of bone and lungs, but with a good wide streak of laziness somewhere in him … a medium man, medium wise and medium ignorant, wise in the lessons taught by fighting the weather and working the land, wise in the tricks of the men, women, animals, and all of the ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash, 9 March 2006

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... organ that hadn’t been operated on, an area of skin that hadn’t been gashed, or a significant bone that hadn’t been cracked.’ This sounds like an entry from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, and Turner – the author also of Amazing Grace: The Story of America’s Most Beloved Song and a biography of Cliff Richard – can’t be unaware of the implied ...

Three Poems

Fiona Pitt-Kethley, 20 February 1986

... of sect to sect, patching up old schisms to make a whole and undivided church. (He even asked Ian Paisley to join in a wonderful stroke of naivety or taking the piss – I’ve never quite known which.) He held vast correspondences with priests, archbishops, cures and archimandrites – all of the smallest denominations. The American ones gave him ...

Living Things

Ian Hacking, 21 February 1991

Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science 
by Scott Atran.
Cambridge, 360 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 521 37293 3
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... head to explain this? He mentions parts of the body, such as wings, but not flesh and blood and bone. He winces a bit when experimenters confront children with agricultural quasi-artifacts like apples, but does not pause to consider the domesticated plants and animals. I sense, in skimming through Atran’s examples, that he is fascinated by peoples in the ...

I Am Brian Moore

Colin Burrow, 24 September 2020

The Dear Departed 
by Brian Moore.
Turnpike Books, 112 pp., £10, April, 978 1 9162547 0 1
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... left hand he pulled on the index finger; then, using the clam shell like a saw, cut to the bone. He sawed through the bone and pulled the skin and gristle free. He held up the finger joint. The crowd roared and cheered.’But the tensions of Moore’s native Belfast run through all his novels, even those set in ...

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