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Vidkids

Tom Shippey, 30 December 1982

Invasion of the Space Invaders: An Addict’s Guide to Battle Tactics, Big Scores and the Best, Machines 
by Martin Amis.
Hutchinson, 128 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 09 147841 3
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Dicing with Dragons: An Introduction to Role-Playing Games 
by Ian Livingstone.
Routledge, 216 pp., £3.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9466 3
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... Amis’s Invasion of the Space Invaders, about the microchip games possible only since 1978, and Ian Livingstone’s Dicing with Dragons, an introduction to RPG or Role-Playing Games, these latter theoretically possible ages ago but in fact not invented till 1974. Can that late invention mean something, such as a shift in public taste? And while the ...

Do you like him?

Ian Jack: Ken Livingstone, 10 May 2012

You Can’t Say That: Memoirs 
by Ken Livingstone.
Faber, 710 pp., £9.99, April 2012, 978 0 571 28041 4
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... Of the two leading rivals for the London mayoralty, Ken Livingstone is much the more difficult to imagine as a child. Nobody, surely, can have that problem with Boris Johnson. The mind’s eye sees Boris as one of Belloc’s Cautionary Tales, a bouncy fellow demanding his tea and laying plans ‘to be/the next Prime Minister but three ...

Rachel and Heather

Stephen Wall, 1 October 1987

A Friend from England 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 205 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 224 02443 4
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The New Confessions 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 462 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 241 12383 6
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The Colour of Blood 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 182 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 224 02513 9
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... Livingstones and their unnervingly contented daughter Heather. Despite being an accountant, Oscar Livingstone has won a very large sum on the pools, and this enables him to give his family every luxury that a conventional middle-class imagination can conceive. They take to their wealth as to an oddly onerous duty; frequent use of the Harrods account seems ...

Little Mercians

Ian Gilmour: Why Kenneth Clarke should lead the Tories, 5 July 2001

... railway system. That seemed an act of madness but was probably just an act of spite against Ken Livingstone. To give Gordon Brown his due, however, he stopped short of reviving the poll tax. As soon as it became clear – to bring Milton up to date – that in many respects, at least in its first term, New Labour was but old Thatcherism writ large, a ...

Memories of New Zealand

Peter Campbell, 1 December 2011

... eroded too, but into proper sea cliffs.) Nearly always the holidays were shared with my Uncle Ian and his family. I can’t remember at all what the adult sleeping arrangements were – I guess the living-room was given over to one couple. And there were tents too. Washing was done in enamel basins, filled with the precious rainwater that dwindled all ...

God’s Own

Angus Calder, 12 March 1992

Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... but its capital’s street names are a bizarre mélange. North of Selous the next avenue is Livingstone; then comes Herbert Chitepo, named after an African leader martyred in the struggle. To the south, Baker and Speke intrude between Samora Machel and Mugabe. Since those two famous explorers never came anywhere near the territory formerly known as ...

I met murder on the way

Colin Kidd: Castlereagh, 24 May 2012

Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War and Tyranny 
by John Bew.
Quercus, 722 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 85738 186 6
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... continues to promote the flat-earth doctrines of its founder, the Free Presbyterian minister Ian Paisley, as well as to provide ample opportunity for satire. The DUP’s Nelson McCausland, Northern Ireland’s culture minister, who believes that Ulster Protestants are descended from the lost ten tribes of Israel, has campaigned against the geological ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... on loan at Bristol University library, in recognition of Allen Lane’s birthplace. In the 1970s Ian Fletcher and Jim Edwards at Reading University had the bright idea of offering publishers what was in effect curatorship in return for deposit. Reading took on the Macmillan and Longman business materials, which would have been unattractive to more obviously ...

In Praise of Middle Government

Ian Gilmour, 12 July 1990

Liberalisms. Essays in Political Philosophy 
by John Gray.
Routledge, 273 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 415 00744 5
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The Voice of Liberal Learning: Michael Oakeshott on Education 
edited by Timothy Fuller.
Yale, 169 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04344 9
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The Political Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott 
by Paul Franco.
Yale, 277 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04686 3
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Conservatism 
by Ted Honderich.
Hamish Hamilton, 255 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12999 0
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... Hugh Gaitskell, Anthony Crosland, and Douglas Jay, and relied instead upon Ralph Miliband, Ken Livingstone and Tony Benn. Honderich is only a little better-informed about past than about present Conservatives. Coleridge makes one fleeting appearance. Disraeli’s Vindication of the Constitution is cited, but only from anthologies, and Honderich appears to ...
London Reviews 
edited by Nicholas Spice.
Chatto, 222 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2988 3
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The New Review Anthology 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 31330 0
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Night and Day 
edited by Christopher Hawtree, by Graham Greene.
Chatto, 277 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 07 011296 7
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Lilliput goes to war 
edited by Kaye Webb.
Hutchinson, 288 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780091617608
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Penguin New Writing: 1940-1950 
edited by John Lehmann and Roy Fuller.
Penguin, 496 pp., September 1985, 0 14 007484 8
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... It is no coincidence, as the academics say, that what joins Karl Miller, now of the LRB, to Ian Hamilton, some time of the New Review, is a dominant, not to say overbearing, personality. Either man is able, by force of self-belief, to make good contributors expend, on an article, energy that they might otherwise have saved up to write books. Getting ...

Betting big, winning small

David Runciman: Blair’s Gambles, 20 May 2004

... stakes, endlessly and tirelessly working the percentages to build up his political reserves. Ken Livingstone, by contrast, is a politician who seems genuinely happy to take big risks, and to gamble everything on uncertain ventures that offer the prospect of spectacular rewards. Blair has frequently been frustrated by what he sees as Brown’s excessive ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... coaxing and cajoling ‘a peaceful solution’ out of a kaleidoscope of groups stretching from Ian Paisley’s branch of the Unionists through to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and whoever they officially or unofficially represent. Typically, this ‘peaceful solution’ seems to involve shuffling Northern Ireland into a closer relationship with the ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... a robbery at the London Electricity Board in Ilford was unsafe. New graffiti tell the world that Ian Tomlinson, an unfortunate pedestrian caught up in the G20 protests in the City, was murdered by the police. The calligraphy is elegant, the punctuation emphatic. A strange and rather Ackroydian incident occurred as I walked past the railings of St John the ...

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