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Diary

Marina Warner: Why I Quit, 11 September 2014

... the list includes Ben Okri, Michèle Roberts, Elizabeth Cook, Iain Sinclair, Tom Raworth and Irvine Welsh), the administrators told me ‘family fun’ was to be the mood. So instead, would I give a talk about The Wobbly Tooth, a little children’s book I wrote thirty years ago when my son Conrad lost his first tooth? I was astonished – pleased ...

Devolution Doom

Christopher Harvie: Scotland’s crisis, and some solutions, 5 September 2002

... O’Hagan himself has talked of the more general problem of reaching the chemical generation. If Irvine Welsh and his satanic kailyard alone seems to connect, that is the dimension of Scotland’s problem. Drugs make an unhelpful demography worse. Ireland often figures as an SNP paragon. It has its own drug problem, sure, but it lives off the high ...

About Myself

Liam McIlvanney: James Hogg, 18 November 2004

The Electric Shepherd: A Likeness of James Hogg 
by Karl Miller.
Faber, 401 pp., £25, August 2003, 0 571 21816 4
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Altrive Tales 
by James Hogg, edited by Gillian Hughes.
Edinburgh, 293 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 7486 1893 7
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... Hogg is the Proleptic Shepherd – Hogg our contemporary – whose work foreshadows Frost, Irvine Welsh, Kafka, Beckett, William McGonagall and the Incredible String Band. Davie Tait’s style of praying in The Brownie of Bodsbeck anticipates the ‘New Christianity of the 1960s’. Bits of The Three Perils of Man ‘read like a pre-run of the ...

All your walkmans fizz in tune

Adam Mars-Jones: Eimear McBride, 8 August 2013

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing 
by Eimear McBride.
Galley Beggar, 203 pp., £11, June 2013, 978 0 9571853 2 6
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... any help from the layout of the page. James Kelman indents his dialogue as a matter of course, and Irvine Welsh, following Joyce, accords his readers the additional courtesy of the French-style dash. McBride lets the registers mix within the paragraph, with results that are mostly worth the effort: ‘I make my breakfast. Eat that. Don’t look. Don’t ...

Wizard Contrivances

Jon Day: Will Self, 27 September 2012

Umbrella 
by Will Self.
Bloomsbury, 397 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 1 4088 2014 8
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... and whatever the changing nature of its cast and content – the underclass of Irvine Welsh, the denizens of Rushdie’s fables and those of other postcolonial Booker shoo-ins – it remains unperturbed by the idea that modernity simply cannot be accommodated in such securely cosy forms. When people say a contemporary novel is ...

Man is the pie

Jenny Turner: Alasdair Gray, 21 February 2013

Every Short Story 1951-2012 
by Alasdair Gray.
Canongate, 933 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 85786 560 1
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... in Gray and Kelman, of idealising old-fashioned working-class solidarity. Hence the habit, in Irvine Welsh, of going on and on about getting off your face. People need to shift for themselves and refuse to be bullied. Like the boy who ate the star rather than hand it over, leaving a trail of glorious stars ...

Pop your own abscess

Rory Scothorne: Definitions of Poverty, 22 February 2018

The New Poverty 
by Stephen Armstrong.
Verso, 242 pp., £12.99, October 2017, 978 1 78663 463 4
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Poverty Safari 
by Darren McGarvey.
Luath, 244 pp., £7.99, November 2017, 978 1 912147 03 8
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... of the Scottish political class. It has earned praise from Nicola Sturgeon, J.K. Rowling and Irvine Welsh, the latter two providing glowing quotes for the book’s cover, and has received positive reviews. It’s worth noting that one element of his critique which hasn’t been embraced concerns class: the journalist Dani Garavelli argued in the ...

Dunbar’s Disappearance

Sally Mapstone: William Dunbar, 24 May 2001

The Poems of William Dunbar 
edited by Priscilla Bawcutt.
Association for Scottish Literary Studies, £70, May 1999, 0 948877 38 3
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... husband were not matched in Scottish literature until the ‘Bang to Rites’ section of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, in which the self-confessedly rancid Renton has sex in a toilet with the heavily pregnant wife of his dead friend, whose funeral they are attending. Few conventional love lyrics survive in the Dunbar corpus – the amatory is ...

After the Revolution

Neal Ascherson: In Georgia, 4 March 2004

... is a Scotophile. He was one of the stars at a recent Edinburgh Book Festival and is a friend of Irvine Welsh. He wears an outsize cloth cap, chocolate-coloured, at all times. Turashvili said that it would be a cultural disaster if Georgia decided to follow the fashion and fancy itself a European nation – which, to him, is a euphemism for the ...

After the Referendum

LRB Contributors, 9 October 2014

... them off towards federalism like ferrets after a rabbit. The idea of excluding Scottish and Welsh MPs from decisions on the English NHS, English schools and English housing has put Labour – extraordinarily negative about its own future as an English party – on the back foot. Most attractively for Cameron, it would enable him to woo Ukip supporters ...

Waspish Civilities

Stephen Sedley: The Case for a Supreme Court, 21 May 2020

High Principle, Low Politics and the Emergence of the Supreme Court 
by Frederic Reynold.
Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 154 pp., £14.95, September 2019, 978 0 85490 283 5
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... looked very much like the end of civilisation as they had come to know it.We know that English and Welsh appeals could be brought before either house of Parliament until, in the early 15th century, the Commons at its own request was relieved of judicial business, leaving the Lords as the only forum to which appeals could go. There are scattered records from ...

Everything and Nothing

Stephen Sedley: Who will speak for the judges?, 7 October 2004

... In June last year, the lord chancellor, Lord Irvine, was dismissed in a cabinet reshuffle. It was announced, not to Parliament but by press release, that his office was not to be filled and that his department was to become part of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, headed by a newly appointed minister, Lord Falconer ...

The Vulgarity of Success

Murray Sayle: Everest and Empire, 7 May 1998

Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond 
by Peter Steele.
Constable, 290 pp., £18.99, March 1998, 0 09 478300 4
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... days later Mallory, who was 38, around the peak age for physical endurance, and his friend Andrew Irvine, 22, an Oxford rowing blue, set off with the primitive, heavy oxygen apparatus of the time for a last attempt at the summit, swathed in cloud. Just after noon the clouds briefly cleared. The expedition’s geologist, Noel Odell, looking up from two ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns, 11 December 1997

Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... are one or two odd repetitions and discontinuities that may be signs of haste. Mysteriously, ‘Welsh hymnody lies outside the scope of this book,’ though American hymnody is examined – and rightly so, if only because so many Victorian hymns which have become popular in Britain are of American authorship. (Conversely, we learn from Bradley about the ...

Who will get legal aid now?

Joanna Biggs: Legal Aid, 20 October 2011

... have to step in and get things back to sensible levels. But it was Blair’s Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, who capped the legal aid budget, moved to fixed instead of hourly fees and let some areas of law, like personal injury, fall out of legal aid to be replaced with ‘no win no fee’ deals: little snips that have caused hundreds of firms to drop out of the ...

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