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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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... styles change. Could they be changing again? That’s the thought which emerges from reading Martin Amis’s Invasion of the Space Invaders, about the microchip games possible only since 1978, and IanLivingstone’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 ...

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 ...
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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... than culture. In her case, the soothing solidity of the bourgeois is embodied in the mutually devoted 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 ...

Little Mercians

Ian​ Gilmour: Why Kenneth Clarke should lead the Tories

5 July 2001
... disastrous form of privatisation that its Conservative predecessors had inflicted on the rest of the 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 ...
1 December 2011
... I didn’t find out until we flew over it on a flight home many years later that its far side had 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 ...

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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... of a jolt It’s over a decade since Mugabe and his guerrillas in effect won the war to liberate Zimbabwe, 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 ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster

18 March 2004
... on ‘permanent loan’, at nearby UCL. The Penguin and Hamish Hamilton archives are, substantially, 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 ...

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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... muffled by the sinister beat of Lambeg drums. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland 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 ...
7 November 1985
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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... nothing else to pay them with, so all depends on his moral clout. He must conjure up a sense of mission. 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 ...

Betting big, winning small

David Runciman: Blair’s Gambles

20 May 2004
... the last decade. Gordon Brown is another risk-averse politician, but one who prefers to play for low 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 ...
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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... the equivalent of – and about as valuable as – a book about post-war British socialism which ignored 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 ...

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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... has to be a minister for Northern Ireland, whose job it is to preside over a great deal of mayhem while 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 ...

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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... in Holloway, 16 months after his release by the home secretary on the grounds that his conviction for 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 ...

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