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Football Mad

Martin Amis, 3 December 1981

The Soccer Tribe 
by Desmond Morris.
Cape, 320 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 9780224019354
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... By the time you read me, anything might be happening. Brian Clough or Bob Stokoe or Elton John could be the new England manager, nursing bruised dreams for the World Cup in 1986. On the other hand, Sir Ron Greenwood might even now be contentedly inspecting the hotels in Bilbao, hoping to find a likely venue for the lads next summer. Thanks to a series ...


Tom Shippey, 26 July 1990

England and Englishness: Ideas of Nationhood in English Poetry, 1688-1900 
by John Lucas.
Hogarth, 227 pp., £18, February 1990, 0 7012 0892 9
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The Englishman’s England: Taste, Travel and the Rise of Tourism 
by Ian Ousby.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £45, February 1990, 0 521 37374 3
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Fleeting Things: English Poets and Poems, 1616-1660 
by Gerald Hammond.
Harvard, 394 pp., £24.95, March 1990, 0 674 30625 2
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... retaining it and FIFA be damned – what is this about ‘Englishness’? It is this question that John Lucas sets himself to answer, in considering the poetry of two centuries. He has one immediate cultural handicap: he cannot refrain from sniping at his own side (the English), as if to provide credentials of fairness. But what he says often seems more ...

Marginal Man

Stephen Fender, 7 December 1989

Paul Robeson 
by Martin Bauml Duberman.
Bodley Head, 804 pp., £20, April 1989, 0 370 30575 2
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... of Robeson’s music was even more problematic. He was happy enough to perform songs like ‘John Brown’s Body’ and ‘Old Man River’, written by whites about what the blacks must be suffering, but he thought jazz had been ‘debased’ by white influence. When someone in a Des Moines audience asked for ‘St Louis Blues’, Robeson’s manager ...

Don’t teach me

Gillian Darley: Ernö Goldfinger, 1 April 2004

Ernö Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect 
by Nigel Warburton.
Routledge, 197 pp., £30, November 2003, 0 415 25853 7
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... was fierce. Goldfinger – assisted by such influential neighbours as Roland Penrose, Flora Robson and Julian Huxley – successfully defended his design, citing its kinship to the formal articulation and clarity of the Georgian terrace. ‘Only the Esquimeaux and Zulus,’ he said, ‘build anything but rectangular houses.’ The houses were duly ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors, 3 January 2002

... box-office; he may even have paid. The film had already started, Errol Flynn flirting with Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth while the usherette showed us down the aisle and before we had even sat down the man was pinching me and remarking on my nice chubby legs. This seemed fairly boring to me as, so far as I was concerned, they were just legs, but I put up ...

After Strachey

Adam Phillips: Translating Freud, 4 October 2007

... in other translations; but, then again, reading Brill and Joan Riviere and Katherine Jones and Robson-Scott had not been illuminating. I didn’t, in other words, really think that Strachey was the problem with Freud. I was quite happy to be locked up in Strachey’s Freud and the myth of the Standard Edition and assume that it was more or less for all ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... word, I sit halfway down the south aisle festooned in hearing aids in the lee of a plaque to Flora Robson. But someone must have taken the acoustics in hand because if anything it’s too noisy and I turn one of them off. It’s a good service, a model, with none of the speakers – his two sons, Richard Eyre and Robert Bathurst – outstaying their welcome ...

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