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Dangerous Play

Mike Selvey, 23 May 1985

Gubby Allen: Man of Cricket 
by E.W. Swanton.
Hutchinson, 311 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 09 159780 3
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Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack: 1985 
edited by John Woodcock.
Wisden, 1280 pp., £11.95, April 1985, 0 947766 00 6
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... newspapers.* Last summer? Well, that problem was solved last week when the Gospel according to St John, all 1300 pages of it, beat the dust out of the doormat. It is a sure sign that spring is in the air when Wisden arrives. While there is a good twelve months browse therein, one flick through is enough to stir the brain cells. It is the cricketer’s holy ...


Reg Gadney, 26 January 1995

The Escape from Whitemoor Prison on Friday, 9 September 1994: The Woodcock Enquiry 
by John Woodcock.
HMSO, 144 pp., £16.50, December 1994, 0 10 127412 2
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... after the Whitemoor escape, the Home Secretary asked a former Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir John Woodcock, ‘to enquire into the circumstances of the escape and to recommend any action that should be taken to avoid any recurrence’. Within a month of the Report’s publication, matters in the Prison Service were very much worse. Frederick ...

Short Cuts

Francis FitzGibbon: Locking On, 10 February 2022

... These measures will probably reappear in new legislation. Lord Walney (formerly the Labour MP John Woodcock, now a crossbench peer) claimed that the protest clauses in the Bill were ‘designed to protect the primacy of our democracy’. How odd, then, that they were not in the version put before the democratically elected Commons. Instead, the ...

All Together Now

John Lloyd: The British Trade Union, 19 October 2000

British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. I: The Postwar Compromise, 1945-64 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 335 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. II: The High Tide of Trade Unionism, 1964-79 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 389 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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The TUC: From the General Strike to New Unionism 
by Robert Taylor.
Palgrave, 299 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 333 93066 5
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... who is a working peer. The only leading official to whom the Prime Minister talks regularly is John Monks, the TUC General Secretary, who shares something of his political approach and whom he usually sees discreetly, rather than for talks heralded by the TUC. Union leaders have had, perforce, to get used to a vastly diminished status – though none of ...

Plain English

Denis Donoghue, 20 December 1984

Nineteen Eighty-Four: Facsimile Edition 
by George Orwell, edited by Peter Davison.
Secker, 291 pp., £25, July 1984, 9780436350221
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Nineteen Eighty-Four 
by George Orwell, edited by Bernard Crick.
Oxford, 460 pp., £17.50, March 1984, 0 19 818521 9
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Inside the Myth. Orwell: Views from the Left 
edited by Christopher Norris.
Lawrence and Wishart, 287 pp., £12.50, November 1984, 0 85315 599 2
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The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell 
by George Woodcock.
Fourth Estate, 287 pp., £5.95, November 1984, 0 947795 05 7
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Orwell’s London 
by John Thompson.
Fourth Estate, 119 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 947795 00 6
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... 18 June, 0 335 10580 7), Remembering Orwell, compiled by Stephen Wadhams, introduced by George Woodcock (Penguin, 227 pp., £2.95, 27 September, 0 14 007458 9), Nineteen Eighty-Four and All’s Well? by Tom Winnifrith and William Whitehead (Macmillan, 104 pp., £15 and £5.95, 4 April, 033 33493 0), Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (Secker, new ...

Traven identified

George Woodcock, 3 July 1980

The Man who was B. Traven 
by Will Wyatt.
Cape, 326 pp., £8.50, June 1980, 0 224 01720 9
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The Government 
by B. Traven.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £6.50, May 1980, 0 85031 356 2
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The Cotton-Pickers 
by B. Traven.
Allison and Busby, 200 pp., £5.50, October 1979, 0 85031 284 1
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The White Rose 
by B. Traven.
Allison and Busby, 209 pp., £6.50, May 1980, 0 85031 369 4
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... and, simultaneously, the man who was Traven first moved tentatively out of the shadows. When John Huston set about filming The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in 1946, he woke one morning to see a small man standing in his Mexican hotel room, offering a card which introduced him as Hal Croves, Traven’s trusted agent. Croves worked for Huston as an ...

In for the Kill

Inigo Thomas: Photographing Cricket, 17 August 2017

... Eagar says he always hoped his pictures would be the illustrations to go with what he read in John Woodcock’s reports for the Times and what he heard in the radio commentary of John Arlott. On Midsummer’s Day in 1975, Clive Lloyd captained the West Indies team to victory at Lord’s in the first one-day world ...

The Chase

Inigo Thomas: ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’, 20 October 2016

... seen at first sight’ was another of his aphorisms, one that he borrowed from Gotthold Lessing or John Opie, magpie that he was. ‘Every glance is a glance for study,’ he also said. The scene in Rain, Steam and Speed is of an imminent death, the instant of an action caught by a glance. A train rushes across a bridge and is bearing down on a hare that’s ...

Frog’s Knickers

Colin Burrow: How to Swear, 26 September 2013

Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing 
by Melissa Mohr.
Oxford, 316 pp., £16.99, May 2013, 978 0 19 974267 7
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... slutch calf-lollies, grouthead gnat-snappers, lob-dotterels, gaping changelings, codshead loobies, woodcock slangams, ninnie-hammer flycatchers, noddiepeak simpletons, turdie gut, shitten shepherds, and other suchlike defamatory epithets’. As these few tasters from Sir Thomas Urquhart’s translation of Rabelais indicate, swearing can be ...


Tim Dee: Twitching, 11 March 2010

... lost redpolls but finding solace in siskins, watching lapwings mopping at a wet sky, or hearing a woodcock grunting its love song overhead at dusk, or feeling redstarts tug you in pursuit of them by quivering their rusty tails? That list is mine; every birder will have their own. To me ducks seem hard to love while thrushes are easy. Some birders in recent ...

Swaying at the Stove

Rosemary Hill: The Cult of Elizabeth David, 9 December 1999

Elizabeth David: A Biography 
by Lisa Chaney.
Pan, 482 pp., £10, September 1999, 0 330 36762 5
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Waiting at the Kitchen Table. Elizabeth David: The Authorised Biography 
by Artemis Cooper.
Viking, 364 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7181 4224 1
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... postwar England. The manuscript had been rejected by several more literal-minded publishers before John Lehmann, the editor of New Writing, took it on at the recommendation of his assistant, Julia Strachey, Lytton Strachey’s niece. So it was as a literary work, with a lingering glow of Bloomsbury behind it, that David’s first book made its appearance. To ...


Frank Kermode, 2 November 1995

Roy Fuller: Writer and Society 
by Neil Powell.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £25, September 1995, 1 85754 133 2
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... The last years of Fuller’s life saw an extraordinary outpouring of poems. His son, the poet John Fuller, aware of the great quantity already published in his father’s declining years, was surprised to find a posthumous mass of additional typescripts. Last Poems,* selected by John Fuller from this cache, includes an ...

The British Disease

Peter Jenkins, 21 August 1980

Governments and Trade Unions: The British Experience 1964-79 
by Denis Barnes and Eileen Reid.
Heinemann, 240 pp., £12.50, May 1980, 0 435 83045 7
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... for although the subject is generally a grey one some of the characters – Brown, Castle, Wilson, Woodcock, Jones – had colour and some of the events contained high drama. The book does not quite do justice to the sense of desperate exasperation which overcame everyone I know – including Sir Denis – who was obliged during those years to grapple with the ...

Green War

Patricia Craig, 19 February 1987

Poetry in the Wars 
by Edna Longley.
Bloodaxe, 264 pp., £12.95, November 1986, 0 906427 74 6
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We Irish: The Selected Essays of Denis Donoghue 
Harvester, 275 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 7108 1011 3Show More
The Battle of The Books 
by W.J. McCormack.
Lilliput, 94 pp., £3.95, October 1986, 0 946640 13 0
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The Twilight of Ascendancy 
by Mark Bence-Jones.
Constable, 327 pp., £14.95, January 1987, 0 09 465490 5
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl 
edited by John Quinn.
Methuen, 144 pp., £8.95, November 1986, 0 413 14350 3
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... hunting, and makes of it a daredevil and jovial business; next comes the sporty slaughter of many woodcock and pheasants. The Irish aristocracy acts true to type in this study, down to the display of eccentricities, which enables the author to assemble a good collection of anecdotes and bon mots. One Edwardian Co. Cork lady, for instance, was in the habit of ...

This Sporting Life

R.W. Johnson, 8 December 1994

Iain Macleod 
by Robert Shepherd.
Hutchinson, 608 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 09 178567 7
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... to lead their own lives. When, later, he was one of the five ministers selected to check whether John Profumo was lying about his relationship with Christine Keeler, Macleod distinguished himself by avoiding his colleagues’ ponderous circumlocutions. ‘Look, Jack,’ he said, ‘the basic question is: “Did you fuck her?” ’ Sadly, Profumo continued ...

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