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Angels and Dirt

Robert Dingley, 20 November 1980

Stanley Spencer RA 
by Richard Carline, Andrew Causey and Keith Bell.
Royal Academy/Weidenfeld, 239 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 297 77831 5
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... his paintings Constitute an irresistible temptation to the art historian, and Andrew Causey and Keith Bell, in the opulent and informative catalogue that accompanies the current exhibition at Burlington House, set to with a vengeance, turning up a dazzling hoard of plunder from sources as diverse as Giotto and Gainsborough. They perform their necessary ...

On Wall Street

Keith Gessen, 20 October 2011

... for some other, larger race, still captures what it feels like, especially after the closing bell on the Stock Exchange has pushed the workers out of their offices and onto the train to New Jersey. There’s never been much occasion to visit here; nothing happens here; but now there is. The day before yesterday, the day of the big march from Foley ...

The man whose portrait they painted

Patrick Procktor, 12 July 1990

A Life with Food 
by Peter Langan and Brian Sewell.
Bloomsbury, 128 pp., £16.99, May 1990, 9780747502203
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... Hamilton which is a Bacon copy. In other respects Sewell’s account is remarkably fair, and, like Keith Vaughan’s journal, painfully honest, and endearingly so, about his own highs and lows with Peter. The hero of course is best expressed in his own words. Once the Brasserie was established, Peter conceived the idea of opening in Los Angeles. What convinced ...

Monetarism and History

Ian Gilmour, 21 January 1982

... some political and historical masonry. Ideally, perhaps, this could best have been achieved by a bell, book and candle condemnation of the Heath Government alone. The snag was that some of the leading monetarists had served without demur in that government. The trail of heresy had, therefore, to be extended back to the 13 Conservative years of 1951 to ...

Must we pay for Sanskrit?

Michael Wood, 15 December 2011

... local nostalgia is not any university or establishment of learning, public or private, but the old Bell Laboratories, fondly remembered as a place where people pursued research for its own sake, with only a secondary thought of profit for the company. I have never entirely believed that these laboratories were this legendary place, but I’m not sure my wary ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: How We Are, 5 July 2007

... and caravan site on Canvey Island from his book Sea Walls, and one of a scrap of fatty meat from Keith Arnatt’s Pictures from a Rubbish Tip. The get-it-all-in banality of crime-scene photographs is another way of killing art-historical echoes (Nigel Shafran’s charity-shop interior does that), as is the paparazzi in-your-face flash snapshooting used by ...

What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann, 7 January 1999

John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... shed a little of its ambiguous glamour over him, and at the same time he became a friend of Julian Bell, who invited him to Charleston. In 1931 the Woolfs, who had printed his first tentative book of poems, took him on as a dogsbody and part-time commercial traveller at the Hogarth Press. They had already run through two assistants, but, all the same, Wright ...

Keep talking

Julian Loose, 26 March 1992

Vox 
by Nicholson Baker.
Granta, 172 pp., £14.99, March 1992, 0 14 014232 0
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... network and ‘reach out and touch someone’ in ways entirely unforeseen by Alexander Graham Bell. Speculating about the impact of such artificial erotic experience, Rheingold turned to an already up and-running technology – to ‘telephone sex’, the adult party lines where you pay to make conversation with a member of the preferred gender. While the ...

At The Thirteenth Hour

William Wootten: David Jones, 25 September 2003

Wedding Poems 
by David Jones, edited by Thomas Dilworth.
Enitharmon, 88 pp., £12, April 2002, 1 900564 87 4
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David Jones: Writer and Artist 
by Keith Alldritt.
Constable, 208 pp., £18.99, April 2003, 1 84119 379 8
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... Other admirers may be less minded to seek out the good points in this outpouring of dictator-love. Keith Alldritt’s biography, David Jones: Writer and Artist, makes up for its lack of new material by being a judicious assessment of Jones’s life and reputation. Though he does not mention the Wedding Poems, Alldritt notes how in ‘The Old Quarry’, a ...

Come and Stay

Arnold Rattenbury, 27 November 1997

England and the Octopus 
by Clough Williams-Ellis.
CPRE, 220 pp., £10.95, December 1996, 0 946044 50 3
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Clough Williams-Ellis: RIBA Drawings Monograph No 2 
by Richard Haslam.
Academy, 112 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 1 85490 430 2
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Clough Williams-Ellis: The Architect of Portmeirion 
by Jonah Jones.
Seren, 204 pp., £9.95, December 1996, 1 85411 166 3
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... Here, in Haslam, is a drawing of 1927 for Portmeirion’s comfortably demotic steeple-like ‘Bell Tower’: no nonsense about a ‘Campanile’, as it is now known. Indeed an earlier draft drawing, also in Haslam, points another way entirely, for the Bell Tower boasts an onion dome and other signs of Russia. We have in ...

Towards the Transhuman

James Atlas, 2 February 1984

The Oxford Companion to American Literature 
by James Hart.
Oxford, 896 pp., £27.50, November 1983, 0 19 503074 5
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The Modern American Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Oxford, 209 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 19 212591 5
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The Literature of the United States 
by Marshall Walker.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £14, November 1983, 0 333 32298 3
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American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Valuation 
by Frederick Karl.
Harper and Row, 637 pp., £31.50, February 1984, 0 06 014939 6
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Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 919 pp., £21, January 1984, 0 233 97610 8
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... a ‘chronological table’ that correlates authors and titles with events (Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone the same year that Henry James published Roderick Hudson; Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems coincided with Coca-Cola’s adoption of its ‘distinctly shaped bottle’). Still, naturalists have their molluscs, entomologists their ...

Saint Jane

D.A.N. Jones, 20 October 1983

The Good Father 
by Peter Prince.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02131 1
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Mrs Pooter’s Diary 
by Keith Waterhouse and John Jensen.
Joseph, 208 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2339 5
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Dandiprat’s Days 
by David Thomson.
Dent, 165 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 460 04613 6
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The Dream of a Beast 
by Neil Jordan.
Chatto, 103 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 7011 2740 6
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Squeak: A Biography of NPA 1978A 203 
by John Bowen and Eric Fraser.
Faber, 127 pp., £2.95, October 1983, 0 571 13170 0
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The Life and Times of Michael K 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 250 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 10297 8
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... have washed and anointed myself. Spread your skirt over me.’ All goes merry as a marriage-bell. Never was a tale of depression less depressing. Another way to offer experience of a derangement of the senses, especially the exultant, ecstatic sort of derangement, is to make use of our shared knowledge of dreams. Telling other people our dreams often ...

Rubbishing the revolution

Hugo Young, 5 December 1991

Thatcher’s People 
by John Ranelagh.
HarperCollins, 324 pp., £15.99, September 1991, 0 00 215410 2
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Staying Power 
by Peter Walker.
Bloomsbury, 248 pp., £16.99, October 1991, 0 7475 1034 2
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... Heath years were a disaster. This is what first bound together Ranelagh’s galère, ranging from Keith Joseph to Alan Walters, from Alfred Sherman to Denis Thatcher: the Institute of Economic Affairs competing the while with Enoch Powell for the role of the enduring spiritual godfather whose time had come. Ranelagh’s book is badly organised. Having begun ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2009, 7 January 2010

... it easier to believe if the reporter had been from the Yorkshire Evening Post – the newspaper Keith Waterhouse first worked on as a reporter. So while Red Riding seems like gritty realism it is in this respect quite romantic, as romantic and fanciful as the stories told at the other end of the social and geographical scale in Midsomer Murders. In Midsomer ...

Britain’s Thermonuclear Bluff

Norman Dombey and Eric Grove, 22 October 1992

... secret nuclear-weapons laboratory. Some extremely bright British theoretical physicists (e.g. Bell, Flowers, Skyrme, Marshall) were employed by the Atomic Energy Authority in the mid-Fifties but they were down the road at Harwell and could not be consulted. Penney was none too happy to have this high-flier imposed on him by Lord Cherwell and never got on ...

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