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Strange, Angry Objects

Owen Hatherley: The Brutalist Decades

17 November 2016
A3: Threads and Connections 
by Peter Ahrends.
Right Angle, 128 pp., £18, December 2015, 978 0 9532848 9 4
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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism 
by Barnabas Calder.
Heinemann, 416 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 434 02244 1
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Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 
by Elain Harwood.
Yale, 512 pp., £60, September 2015, 978 0 300 20446 9
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Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World 
by Christopher Beanland.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £18, February 2016, 978 0 7112 3764 3
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This Brutal World 
by Peter Chadwick.
Phaidon, 224 pp., £29.95, April 2016, 978 0 7148 7108 0
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Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture 
by Nicolas Grospierre.
Prestel, 224 pp., £29.99, February 2016, 978 3 7913 8229 6
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Modernist Estates: The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them 
by Stefi Orazi.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 7112 3675 2
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Architecture an Inspiration 
by Ivor Smith.
Troubador, 224 pp., £24.95, November 2014, 978 1 78462 069 1
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... Green, and Park Hill in Sheffield, both attempts to recreate the bustle of a working-class street in the air. Aesthetics were secondary, programme was all. The designers of Park Hill, Jack Lynn and IvorSmith, boasted that they didn’t draw a single elevation while designing one of the largest buildings in Europe. For Banham, this promised an architecture autre, where most accepted canons of form ...
8 March 2012
Militant Modernism 
by Owen Hatherley.
Zero, 146 pp., £9.99, April 2009, 978 1 84694 176 4
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A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain 
by Owen Hatherley.
Verso, 371 pp., £9.99, July 2011, 978 1 84467 700 9
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... Hood Gardens is, he writes, ‘fortress-like, daringly sculptural, with its gradated concrete gleaming golden in the sun.’ Park Hill, designed by the Smithson-influenced architects Jack Lynn and IvorSmith, is now the largest listed building in Europe, and as he trolls about the Sheffield streets Hatherley is struck again and again by the ‘sublime scale’ of this humungous housing development ...

Thatcherism

Gordon Brown

2 February 1989
Thatcherism 
edited by Robert Skidelsky.
Chatto, 214 pp., £18, November 1988, 0 7011 3342 2
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The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left 
by Stuart Hall.
Verso, 283 pp., £24.95, December 1988, 0 86091 199 3
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... Mrs Thatcher’s upbringing in Grantham, her background of hard work and family responsibility, ambition and postponed satisfaction, duty and patriotism.’ It is on this aspect that Anthony King and Ivor Crewe concentrate in the Skidelsky collection. Margaret Roberts moved from her Anglo-Poujadist origins via Oxford, the lab and the bar to eventual leadership and Gaullist ambitions, more honoured in ...

Gurney’s Flood

Donald Davie

3 February 1983
Geoffrey Grigson: Collected Poems 1963-1980 
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 419 4Show More
The Cornish Dancer 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 64 pp., £4.95, June 1982, 0 436 18805 8
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 420 8
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Blessings, Kicks and Curses: A Critical Collection 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 437 2
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Collected Poems of Ivor​ Gurney 
edited by P.J. Kavanagh.
Oxford, 284 pp., £12, September 1982, 0 19 211940 0
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War Letters 
by Ivor​ Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 271 pp., £12, February 1983, 0 85635 408 2
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... Slow Bell from the High Hill’, ‘John Hunter’s Canal’, ‘The Lawn of Trees and Rocks’, ‘Quelle Histoire’, and (an unusual exertion of sympathy) ‘Dulled Son of Man’. In a poem to Ivor Gurney, Grigson, who can sometimes be magnanimous to the dead, hails Gurney as a poet of ecstasy. In his own case, it is his hatreds that are ecstatic, and one wonders how he would get along if ...

Footing the bill

Jonathan Parry

9 June 1994
Aspects of Aristocracy: Grandeur and Decline in Modern Britain 
by David Cannadine.
Yale, 321 pp., £19.50, April 1994, 0 300 05981 7
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... and lacking in self-control’, his son was ‘a paranoid and anti-semitic reactionary’. Randolph Churchill was ‘rude, spoiled, unstable, headstrong, irresponsible and argumentative’. Ivor Guest was ‘an incorrigible snob and social climber’; his son Freddie was ‘a snob, a playboy and a lightweight’. Winston Churchill was ‘a shameless cadger and incorrigible scrounger’ who ...

Meaningless Legs

Frank Kermode: John Gielgud

21 June 2001
Gielgud: A Theatrical Life 1904-2000 
by Jonathan Croall.
Methuen, 579 pp., £20, November 2000, 0 413 74560 0
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John G.: The Authorised Biography of John Gielgud 
by Sheridan Morley.
Hodder, 510 pp., £20, May 2001, 0 340 36803 9
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John Gielgud: An Actor’s Life 
by Gyles Brandreth.
Sutton, 196 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 7509 2752 6
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... family’, as he put it) and at one time thought of changing his name to Terry. He accepted the charge that he moved badly; he was no athlete, hated having to get up on a horse, and had, according to Ivor Brown, ‘the most meaningless legs imaginable’. He had to conquer, and succeeded completely in doing so, his early tendency to shyness, self-consciousness and laziness. He was proud of his voice ...

At war

Iain McGilchrist

25 January 1990
The Faber Book of Fevers and Frets 
edited by D.J. Enright.
Faber, 364 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 0 574 15095 1
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... ! how could I escape Infinite wrath and infinite despair! Whom Death, Earth, Heaven and Hell consigned to ruin, Whose friend was God, but God swore not to aid me! – and the, to me, unknown poem by Ivor Gurney, addressed to God, which he wrote in Barnwood Mental Hospital, as much as a portrayal of what used to be done to patients in the name of sanity as of the insanity itself: Why have you made ...

Famous Four

R.W. Johnson

30 November 1995
SDP: The Birth, Life and Death of the Social Democratic Party 
by Ivor​ Crewe and Anthony King.
Oxford, 611 pp., £25, November 1995, 0 19 828050 5
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... farce. Whatever party renovation Kinnock attempted, he continued, in the eyes of the Volvo-and-muesli classes, to personify ‘old Labour’ and they were having none of it. His replacement by John Smith changed everything. In the months following Kinnock’s resignation everything crumbled: the Tory vote collapsed, the Liberal vote collapsed with it and great waves of former Alliance voters headed ...

Redheads in Normandy

R.W. Johnson: The 1997 election

22 January 1998
The British General Election of 1997 
by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 343 pp., £17.50, November 1997, 0 333 64776 9
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Labour's Landslide 
by Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge.
Manchester, 211 pp., £40, December 1997, 0 7190 5159 2
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Britain Votes 1997 
edited by Pippa Norris and Neil Gavin.
Oxford, 253 pp., £12.99, January 1998, 9780199223220
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Collapse of Stout Party: The Decline and Fall of the Tories 
by Julian Crtitchley and Morrison Halcrow.
Gollancz, 288 pp., £20, November 1997, 0 575 06277 0
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Les Election Legislatives, 25 Mai-1er Juin 1997: Le president desavoue 
Le Monde, 146 pp., frs 45, June 1998Show More
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... understanding of such matters in France has been markedly higher than it is in Britain. Typically, the best analysis I have found in Britain has been in one or two large post-election articles by Ivor Crewe in the Guardian, but in France such pieces were legion before as well as after elections, not only in Le Monde, Le Matin and Le Figaro but in the mass-circulation weeklies such as L’Express ...

Come and Stay

Arnold Rattenbury

27 November 1997
England and the Octopus 
by Clough Williams-Ellis.
CPRE, 220 pp., £10.95, December 1996, 0 946044 50 3
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Clough Williams-Ellis: RIBA Drawings Monograph No 2 
by Richard Haslam.
Academy, 112 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 1 85490 430 2
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Clough Williams-Ellis: The Architect of Portmeirion 
by Jonah Jones.
Seren, 204 pp., £9.95, December 1996, 1 85411 166 3
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... on plains – than the too exact Straight streets of modern times, that strait and strict And formal keep men’s spirits within bounds, Where too dull duties keep in monotonous rounds. That is Ivor Gurney in about 1922, and lest there be any mistaking the near-desperation to build with whatever is to hand, the lines come from the heart of a group of poems terrible with the mutilations and death ...

Something Rather Scandalous

Jean McNicol: The Loves of Rupert Brooke

19 October 2016
Rupert Brooke: Life, Death and Myth 
by Nigel Jones.
Head of Zeus, 588 pp., £12, April 2015, 978 1 78185 703 8
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Fatal Glamour: The Life of Rupert Brooke 
by Paul Delany.
McGill-Queen’s, 380 pp., £28.99, March 2015, 978 0 7735 4557 1
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The Second I Saw You: The True Love Story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner 
by Lorna C. Beckett.
British Library, 216 pp., £16.99, April 2015, 978 0 7123 5792 0
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... money’ given to the descendants of Spencer Perceval, the only British prime minister to be assassinated, enjoyed cultivating decorative and talented young men whom he could show off around town (Ivor Novello was Brooke’s successor). Brooke’s redoubtable mother had made Marsh rewrite the memoir several times: she felt he’d been an unwholesome influence (which probably means she knew he was a ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Did in 2015

7 January 2016
... some of them shake hands and there are occasional selfies, but even when we’ve been at it an hour we haven’t reached the end of the line. Then we are called inside to be shepherded with Maggie Smith through the foyer down the back stairs and onto the stage, where we are introduced and shown to the audience by Nick. We don’t have to speak and are a bit nonplussed, with the audience just wanting ...

Horrid Mutilation! Read all about it!

Richard Davenport-Hines: Jack the Ripper and the London Press by Perry Curtis

4 April 2002
Jack the Ripper and the London Press 
by Perry Curtis.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 300 08872 8
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... They influenced Wedekind, Berg and Brecht, and have provided a staple film subject since Marie Belloc Lowndes’s Ripper novel, The Lodger (1913), was first adapted in 1926 by Alfred Hitchcock, with Ivor Novello playing a suspected serial killer known as the Avenger. It was through the print media of the 1880s that they had their greatest impact, however. Revolting details – surpassing even Walter ...

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