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The Fame Game

Alan Brien, 6 September 1984

Hype 
by Steven Aronson.
Hutchinson, 198 pp., £5.95, May 1984, 0 09 156251 1
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Automatic Vaudeville 
by John Lahr.
Heinemann, 241 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 434 40188 9
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Broadway Babies: The People who made the American Musical 
by Ethan Mordden.
Oxford, 244 pp., £19, August 1984, 0 19 503345 0
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... his attacks, unscathed, protected by their own sense of themselves. It is a relief to turn to John Lahr’s Automatic Vaudeville, 15 reprinted essays written over the last decade, which go far to confirm his rating as the Leavis of the popular, largely performing arts, though this collection also includes a snatch of reportage on Dallas – at once living ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... Hamburg after the war, I met a very interesting man, mentioned in these dispatches from the 1950s. John Harvey-Jones was a naval officer who talked to people as if they were all there, in a way that was strange among seniors, and he gave people books – in my case, Daisy Ashford’s The Young Visiters. He later became the head of ICI. I forgot to ask him ...
Martha Jane and Me: A Girlhood in Wales 
by Mavis Nicholson.
Chatto, 243 pp., £14.99, November 1991, 0 7011 3356 2
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Vanessa Redgrave: An Autobiography 
Hutchinson, 300 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 09 174593 4Show More
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... Stores dividend slips, the club cards, her spare hair nets, small gold safety pins, and a St John’s Ambulance First Aid book.’ Or maybe in the couple of old, badly-mended lustre jugs hanging above? ‘In each you would find something interesting: a small roll of bandage, a coin, a hair clip, a bus ticket or a stub of pencil with a rubber in its end ...

Truth

Nina Bawden, 2 February 1984

At the Jazz Band Ball: A Memory of the 1950s 
by Philip Oakes.
Deutsch, 251 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 233 97591 8
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... years after the war – Quarto, Departure, the Window. Then, at a party in Kensington, given by John Lehmann and intimidatingly full of ‘famous faces’, he meets John Wain, who is editing a series of books of new poetry. Oakes’s first book of verse is published under the title, Unlucky Jonah. It is well reviewed. He ...

Chinaberry Pie

D.A.N. Jones, 1 March 1984

Modern Baptists 
by James Wilcox.
Secker, 239 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 9780436570988
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Speranza 
by Sven Delblanc, translated by Paul Britten Austin.
Secker, 153 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 9780436126802
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High Spirits 
by Robertson Davies.
Penguin, 198 pp., £2.50, January 1984, 0 14 006505 9
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Hanabeke 
by Dudley St John Magnus.
Angus and Robertson, 133 pp., £6.95, January 1984, 0 207 14565 2
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Train to Hell 
by Alexei Sayle.
Methuen, 152 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 413 52460 4
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The English Way of Doing Things 
by William Donaldson.
Weidenfeld, 229 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 0 297 78345 9
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... to the gateway with its heraldic bull’s head, so discouraging to the female students. Dudley St John Magnus also lives in Canada, but he was born in Surrey and claims to have lived as a bagman in Australia in the Thirties. The narrator of his semi-autobiographical novel, Hanabeke, is called Morton Montgomery de Ruthwell (a name as unsuitable for an ...

Journos de nos jours

Anthony Howard, 8 March 1990

Alan Moorehead 
by Tom Pocock.
Bodley Head, 311 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 370 31261 9
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Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir 
by Carl Bernstein.
Macmillan, 254 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 333 52135 8
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Downstart 
by Brian Inglis.
Chatto, 298 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3390 2
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... his contribution was, though he can be sharp enough at times – writing, for instance, of John Braine: ‘His copy was boring; so, on his visits to deliver it, was he.’ He appears to have been the impresario of most of the bright new talent that was assembled – a formidable roll-call including such names as Bernard Levin, Katharine Whitehorn, Alan ...

Et in Alhambra ego

D.A.N. Jones, 5 June 1986

Agate: A Biography 
by James Harding.
Methuen, 238 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 413 58090 3
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Subsequent Performances 
by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 253 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 571 13133 6
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... to give the audience a new idea. It is easiest to make such changes when the playwright is dead. John Osborne and Peter Nichols did not want Miller to alter their plays, but he was more fortunate when he directed Robert Lowell’s version of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound. Since Miller did not want to set this play in the Caucasus, with an actor tied to a ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... Cry (a Moorcock favourite), through his love for his cousin Rosie and his spiky relationship with John Barbican Begg, developer and despoiler, global media tycoon. Revelations, betrayals, shifts of fortune, seductions, conspiracies, keep the fingers flicking over the pages. Dead on cue, after some cunningly weighted rhetorical passage, a jibe at ‘Pretty ...

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