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It happened on TV

Jon Beasley-Murray: In Caracas

9 May 2002
... What was remarkable about the events of 11-13 April in Caracas was not so much the downfall of the President as his precipitate reinstatement – a reversal of fortune that took everybody, not least Chávez himself, completely by surprise. Though he has always claimed that when he assumed power in 1998 he was initiating a ‘Bolivarian Revolution’, nobody was less prepared than its prime beneficiary when something like a revolution finally happened ...

Best Remain Seated

Jeremy Harding: Travel guides

1 January 1998
Kenya 
by Hugh Finlay and Geoff Crowther.
Lonely Planet, 376 pp., £11.99, April 1997, 0 86442 460 4
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Borneo 
by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 632 pp., £13.95, December 1995, 1 56952 026 7
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Asia's Top Dive Sites 
edited by Fiona Nichols and Michael Stachels.
Fielding, 228 pp., £13.95, December 1996, 1 56952 129 8
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Jon Murray et al.
Lonely Planet, 658 pp., £13.99, January 1998, 0 86442 508 2
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Southern Africa 
by Richard Cox.
Thornton Cox, 474 pp., £11.95, July 1995, 0 7818 0388 8
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The World's Most Dangerous Places 
by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 1048 pp., £13.95, December 1997, 1 56952 104 2
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Barbara McCrea et al.
Rough Guides, 697 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85828 238 1
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The Good Honeymoon Guide 
by Lucy Horne.
Trailblazer, 320 pp., £11.95, March 1997, 1 873756 12 7
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Amnesty International Report 1997 
Amnesty International, 378 pp., £18, June 1997, 0 86210 267 7Show More
Morocco 
by Barnaby Rogerson.
Cadogan, 596 pp., £12.99, December 1997, 1 86011 043 6
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... For some varieties of ‘new traveller’, as the guide books refer to him, fun, or value for money, can only be had when the going gets rough. He is, without question, a man. He likes to keep count of his change and clock up the kilometres. Once abroad he’s a seigneur of the road; the locals are vassals, trespassers, con-artists and thieves. The new traveller knows how to deal with them ...
23 April 1987
Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
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... be righted by my choice. But I have seen no evidence that the move to England amounted to exile. (Jon Stallworthy is writing the Life of MacNeice and may have evidence in hand.) After Sherborne, MacNeice went to Marlborough, well enough described in his unfinished and posthumously published autobiography, The strings are false (1965). One of MacNeice’s ...

Wizard Contrivances

Jon Day: Will Self

27 September 2012
Umbrella 
by Will Self.
Bloomsbury, 397 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 1 4088 2014 8
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... a different period. In 1971 Busner thinks about decimalisation; in 2010 he listens to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour. Self has a wonderful ear for accent and idiom, and uses this to signal changes of time or perspective. When she’s recalling her youth Audrey speaks (but doesn’t always think) in a pared-down version of the phonetic mockney Self ...

In the Tart Shop

Murray Sayle: How Sydney got its Opera House

5 October 2000
The Masterpiece: Jørn Utzon, a Secret Life 
by Philip Drew.
Hardie Grant, 574 pp., AUS $39.95, October 1999, 1 86498 047 8
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Jørn Utzon: The Sydney Opera House 
by Françoise Fromonot, translated by Christopher Thompson.
Electa/Gingko, 236 pp., £37.45, January 1998, 3 927258 72 5
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... were like a jazz group, everyone knowing exactly what to contribute,’ one of his collaborators, Jon Lundberg, recalls in the excellent documentary film, ‘The Edge of the Possible’. ‘We had seven years of pure happiness together.’ The jury chose Utzon’s design believing it was ‘capable of becoming one of the great buildings of the world’ but ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers

6 March 2008
... the lawns were already twinkling for Christmas. It was not so much a matter of keeping up with the Joneses as showing the Joneses that some values were held in common, the wire Santas and flashing sleighs a signal of consistency. Eileen Spahr answered the door in a Chanel suit and a beautiful silk blouse; there was something ...

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