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Coldbath Fields

Simon Bradley: In Praise of Peabody, 21 June 2007

London in the 19th Century: ‘A Human Awful Wonder of God’ 
by Jerry White.
Cape, 624 pp., £20, January 2007, 978 0 224 06272 5
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... as the starting point for a discussion of a wider theme, such as publishing or prostitution. Jerry White’s epigraphs, like his subtitle, come from Blake’s Jerusalem (1804-20), but the contemporary voices in the text tend to be less unworldly. Some of them – Hazlitt, Louis Simond, Dickens, Charles Booth, Arthur Munby, ‘Walter’, Molly Hughes ...


Ian Sansom: A novel about work, 2 December 2004

Some Great Thing 
by Colin McAdam.
Cape, 358 pp., £12.99, March 2004, 9780224064552
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... he’s Canadian and lives in Australia. Some Great Thing resounds with the sound of working men: Jerry McGuinty, Edgar Davies, Tony Espolito, Johnny Cooper, Mario Calzone are ‘the usual muddy mix’, men who can stand ‘for 19 hours in the rain’, building houses and talking to each other the way men do – ‘I can’t cunt find fuckin nails ...

Down and Out in London

David Cannadine, 16 July 1981

Rothschild Buildings: Life in an East End Tenement Block 1887-1920 
by Jerry White.
Routledge, 301 pp., £11.50, September 1980, 0 7100 0603 9
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East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding 
by Raphael Samuel.
Routledge, 355 pp., £11.50, April 1981, 0 7100 0725 6
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... criminals as Jack the Ripper, and for such do-gooding enterprises as Toynbee Hall. More precisely, White’s volume recovers the fabric of Jewish life among those immigrants who lived in one East End tenement block, while Samuel’s puts between hard covers the ordered reminiscences of Arthur Harding, a man described to the Royal Commission on Metropolitan ...

Give or take a dead Scotsman

Liam McIlvanney: James Kelman’s witterings, 22 July 2004

You Have to Be Careful in the Land of the Free 
by James Kelman.
Hamish Hamilton, 437 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 0 241 14233 4
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... confession of Jeremiah Brown, a 34-year-old Glaswegian exile. After 12 years in America, Jerry is coming home. His mother, whom he hasn’t seen for eight years, is ill, and in any case he could use a change of scenery, if only to break a streak of lousy luck. He has been struggling to hold down a succession of shitty jobs – bartender, truck ...
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... While American astronauts danced on the Moon, the BBC played ‘Ground control to Major Tom ...’ Jerry Hopkins, an American rock critic, thinks this was an odd song to choose for the occasion. ‘In a way, it didn’t make any sense. “Space Oddity” was about a loser, who drifted off into space, rather than complete his mission. It was as if the BBC ...

Joe, Jerry and Bomber Blair

Owen Hatherley: Jonathan Meades, 7 March 2013

Museum without Walls 
by Jonathan Meades.
Unbound, 446 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 908717 18 4
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... the passionate hater of Blair and Blairism who has a place in his heart for the Fabians and the white heat of technology; the enthusiast for Portsmouth’s Tricorn Centre (above), demolished in 2004, who dotes on Lutyens; the proud insulter of Islam who loves the multiculturalism of Birmingham; the critic of colonialism who relates the horrors of the Opium ...

Be Rapture Ready! The end times are nigh!

John Sutherland: Armageddon - out of here, 5 June 2003

Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages 
by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.
Tyndale House, 398 pp., £15.99, April 2003, 0 8423 3234 0
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... swell with end-times narratives. The undisputed champions of this brand of fiction are LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Armageddon, the 11th instalment of their ‘Left Behind’ series, hit American bookstores in April. The covers of the paperbacks of the earlier volumes in the series claim more than fifty million sales, though the latest hardback scales this back ...

Wait a second what’s that?

August Kleinzahler: Elvis’s Discoverer, 8 February 2018

Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll 
by Peter Guralnick.
Weidenfeld, 784 pp., £16.99, November 2015, 978 0 297 60949 0
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... towns for two hundred miles. Nashville, the other large city in Tennessee, is regarded as a ‘white’ city and has long been thought of as the home of country music, whereas Memphis is identified with the blues and rock ’n’ roll, and from the 1960s, with soul and R&B. Sam Phillips did not invent rock ’n’ roll, a term coined by the Cleveland DJ ...

Blue Suede Studies

Hugh Barnes, 19 December 1985

Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... still travelling in the wake of Little Richard. The history of rock ’n’ roll focuses on the white triumvirate – Presley, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis, who have at different times heaped contumely on themselves – neglecting its roots in Jazz and the Blues, and a sibling relationship with Soul. Along the ...

The Life of the Mind

Michael Wood, 20 June 1996

directed by Joel Coen.
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by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.
Faber, 118 pp., £7.99, May 1996, 0 571 17963 0
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... towers of a city in the distance; then a set of ramshackle houses; a pasture and a farmhouse; the white screen of a drive-in; a field full of oil pumps. A drawling voice, all wide vowels and unclosed consonants, starts to philosophise: ‘The world is full of complainers, and the fact is, nothing comes with a guarantee ... Something can always go wrong ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The ‘Onion’, 12 December 2002

... at war with’; ‘Hijackers surprised to find selves in hell’; ‘American life turns into bad Jerry Bruckheimer movie’; ‘Massive attack on Pentagon page 14 news’, and the one after: ‘A shattered nation longs to care about stupid bullshit again.’ There’s also extensive coverage of the Presidential election that brought Bush to power: ‘Nation ...

Idiot Mambo

Robert Taubman, 16 April 1981

Cities of the Red Night 
by William Burroughs.
Calder, 332 pp., £9.95, March 1981, 0 7145 3784 5
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The Tokyo-Montana Express 
by Richard Brautigan.
Cape, 258 pp., £6.50, April 1981, 0 224 01907 4
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... energy of destruction in the orgies of The Naked Lunch was about as liberating as a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Burroughs, one hears now, ‘has recently said of himself that he is interested in extending his vision outward rather than inward.’ He said this before, in a Paris Review interview of 1965, and suggested Beckett as a contrast (‘Beckett wants ...

Shizza my drizzle

William Skidelsky: Nick McDonell, 5 September 2002

by Nick McDonell.
Atlantic, 244 pp., £9.99, July 2002, 1 84354 071 1
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... the way black people talk (‘Foh shizza my drizzle’; ‘What in the damn shiz for a niz’). ‘White kids pretending to be black’, they prowl the streets looking for trouble, committing such appalling crimes as stealing hip-hop CDs, scoring dope and buying cigarettes with their fake ID cards. Part of the reason they are funny is that, for all their ...

Elzābet of Anletār

John Gallagher, 22 September 2016

This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World 
by Jerry Brotton.
Allen Lane, 358 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 0 241 00402 9
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... ofturkey makinge of orient colours’, ‘a greate turky carpet with grene wrethes & flowers of white and blewe’ and ‘a percian [Persian] carpet lyke turkye worke’. In Holbein’s great mural for Whitehall Palace (destroyed by fire in 1698), the rucked-up carpet on which Henry VIII stands was probably the work of Muslim craftsmen. When Gremio makes a ...

Blackberry Apocalypse

Nicholas Guyatt: Evangelical Disarray, 15 November 2007

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America 
by Chris Hedges.
Cape, 254 pp., £12.99, February 2007, 978 0 224 07820 7
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... claiming that he was ‘completely heterosexual’. Things got worse. In May this year, Jerry Falwell, arguably the most influential evangelical of the last three decades, died suddenly of a heart attack in his office at Liberty University in Virginia. Falwell had founded Liberty in 1971 as a private religious college and it played an important role ...

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