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Morality in the Oxygen

E.S. Turner: Tobogganing

14 December 2000
How the English Made the Alps 
by Jim Ring.
Murray, 287 pp., £19.99, September 2000, 0 7195 5689 9
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Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps 
by Fergus Fleming.
Granta, 398 pp., £20, November 2000, 1 86207 379 1
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... preserved in the Zermatt museum, symbolises the frayed ends of the story. What were English gentlemen, and all those Anglican clergymen, doing in the Alps, anyway? If the English, as the title of JimRing’s book claims, ‘made’ the Alps, did they not also do much to ruin them? The story of England’s ‘love affair’ with the Delectable Mountains is hardly a new one, but Ring’s book ...
16 July 1981
... The cistern groans under a new pressure. Little-known taps are being turned on in obscure regions of the palace, cutting off the water for his tea. Jim forwards her mail to the garden, laughing because he has hidden the marmalade. At nine, they both stay home and do nothing, out of work. The ring in the bath and the hacked loaf prove he is on the ...

At Kettle’s Yard

Eleanor Birne: The Reopening

22 March 2018
... Jim Ede​ had been living abroad – first Tangier, then the Loire – when he found himself ‘dreaming of the idea of somehow creating a living place where works of art could be enjoyed, inherent to ...

A Town Called Mørk

Adam Mars-Jones: Per Petterson

6 November 2014
I Refuse 
by Per Petterson, translated by Don Bartlett.
Harvill Secker, 282 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84655 781 1
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... Early one morning in September 2006, two childhood friends, estranged for more than thirty years, recognise each other on the Ulvøya bridge on the outskirts of Oslo and exchange a few words. Jim, long-term unemployed and unable to sleep, is fishing from the bridge, while Tommy is out driving his new grey Mercedes with tinted windows. Jim notices without envy that the car’s paintwork is ...

On Jews Walk

Andrew Saint: Eleanor Marx’s Blue Plaque

9 October 2008
... us that the blood-red of Eleanor Marx’s struggle has faded to a fruity pink, no matter. Following their lead, stumbling through the text from rain-spattered sheets, we made ‘The Internationale’ ring up and down Jews Walk, as it can hardly have done for a century, then washed it down with ‘The Red Flag’. The sharp-suited Lewisham MP, Jim Dowd, pulled the cord, and the core of the pensioners ...

I want my wings

Andrew O’Hagan: The Last Tycoons

3 March 2016
West of Eden: An American Place 
by Jean Stein.
Cape, 334 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 0 224 10246 9
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... disappointment with it. She magnified it to the point where she got very self-destructive. She couldn’t handle being young and almost beautiful.’ There’s a moment in Rebel without a Cause, when Jim Stark (played by James Dean), Judy (Natalie Wood) and Plato (Sal Mineo) climb up to an old Hollywood mansion that’s now lying empty. They pretend they’re going to live there together, with Jim ...

Walk Spanish

Christopher Tayler: Joshua Ferris

19 July 2007
Then We Came to the End 
by Joshua Ferris.
Viking, 387 pp., £14.99, April 2007, 978 0 670 91655 9
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... cheese,” he said. There were bagels? “In the kitchen”.’ Someone is always likely to break up the discussion by suggesting that it’s time to do some work: a role that’s usually filled by Jim Jackers, office jackass, or Joe Pope, Lynn’s inscrutable deputy. Out of this mass of talk, Ferris quarries a series of running gags and shaggy-dog stories in which ‘we’ become particularised ...

The Ugly Revolution

Michael Rogin: Martin Luther King Jr

10 May 2001
I May Not Get there with You: The True Martin Luther King Jr 
by Michael Eric Dyson.
Free Press, 404 pp., £15.99, May 2000, 0 684 86776 1
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The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr. Vol. IV: Symbol of the Movement January 1957-December 1958 
edited by Clayborne Carson et al.
California, 637 pp., £31.50, May 2000, 0 520 22231 8
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... gangs; subject to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and debt peonage; terrorised, brutalised and murdered in the thousands of lynchings often advertised in advance as public entertainments; confined to Jim Crow schools, public accommodation, restaurants and hotels (where any were available at all); made involuntary participants in sterilisation and other medical experiments; and confronted with ...

My Little Lollipop

Jenny Diski: Christine Keeler

22 March 2001
The Truth at Last: My Story 
by Christine Keeler and Douglas Thompson.
Sidgwick, 279 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 0 283 07291 1
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... she might have to do more than lie on her back to make a living.’ Visiting the Twenty-One Room, ‘a glorified knocking shop with overpriced drinks and rooms to rent upstairs’, Keeler met a Major Jim Eynan. He wanted to go to bed with her in the afternoons, she says, ‘and, for nearly two years, he often did. Ours was a commercial situation for Jim always advanced me some money for rent or ...

Whisky and Soda Man

Thomas Jones: J.G. Ballard

10 April 2008
Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton – An Autobiography 
by J.G. Ballard.
Fourth Estate, 278 pp., £14.99, February 2008, 978 0 00 727072 9
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... of his novel. Well, I say ‘of course’, though as the fall of Shanghai approached in Miracles of Life, I found myself waiting for the moment when Ballard would be separated from his parents, as Jim is in Empire of the Sun. It never came. On the contrary: ‘For me,’ Ballard writes, ‘the most important consequence of internment was that for the first time in my life I was extremely close to ...


Michael Church

18 April 1985
Gypsy and Me: At Home and on the Road with Gypsy Rose Lee 
by Erik Lee Preminger.
Deutsch, 277 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 233 97736 8
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George Thomas, Mr Speaker: The Memoirs of Viscount Tonypandy 
Century, 242 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 7126 0706 4Show More
Toff down Pit 
by Kit Fraser.
Quartet, 129 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 7043 2513 6
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Menlove: The Life of John Menlove Edwards 
by Jim​ Perrin.
Gollancz, 347 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 575 03571 4
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... more interest to Mr Foot and his friends than it is to the rest of us. The most amusing revelation of all dates from long before the boy from the Rhondda made it to the Speaker’s chair, and shows Jim Callaghan dropping on his knees to pray with Thomas and then, having softened him up, requesting his support for the party leadership. True or false – and who cares? – this is just old-fashioned ...


Joan Aiken

17 July 1980
... Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, who had to slave for her harsh aunt Miranda Sawyer in order to pay off the mortgage on her home. Fleda, in Queechy, had the same problem; the word mortgage had a fearsome ring then, which it may have regained today. There was Anne of Green Gables, straight from the orphanage and received coldly because she had red hair and should have been a boy. There was Tom Sawyer ...


Michael Hofmann: The Charm of Hugo Williams

22 May 2003
Collected Poems 
by Hugo Williams.
Faber, 288 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 571 21233 6
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... yearning), the strange flexibility of time and space, and the abrupt masque at the end, make it a simultaneously gorgeous and desolating poem, like a conjurer’s display of pulling silks through a ring. There is something characteristically metaphysical about the poem’s enactment of absence (as with ‘And think I am in France’). This wistfulness – beginning with something (‘We spread our ...

Only the Camels

Robert Irwin: Wilfred Thesiger

6 April 2006
Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer 
by Alexander Maitland.
HarperCollins, 528 pp., £25, February 2006, 0 00 255608 1
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... intellectual read books about mountaineering, big-game hunting and pig-sticking. On the whole the young Thesiger belonged to the second category. He read the novels of John Buchan and Rider Haggard, Jim Corbett’s tales of tiger hunting, Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game, Blackwood’s Tales from the Outposts, Jock of the Bushveld, Henri de Monfreid’s account of smuggling across the Red Sea ...

At the British Library

Katherine Rundell: Harry Potter

14 December 2017
... by David Heyman, who went on with Rosie Alison to make the hit Paddington movies, they raised the bar for live-action family entertainment. But they are big-budget motion pictures: tap them and they ring like money. Great children’s fiction isn’t slick; the film studio’s imperatives of mass audiences and shareholders erode at the difficult edges of a work. The current exhibition at the British ...

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