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Wine Flasks in Bordeaux, Sail Spires in Cardiff

Hal Foster: Richard Rogers, 19 October 2006

Richard Rogers: Architecture of the Future 
by Kenneth Powell.
Birkhäuser, 520 pp., £29.90, December 2005, 3 7643 7049 1
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Richard Rogers: Complete Works, Vol. III 
by Kenneth Powell.
Phaidon, 319 pp., £59.95, July 2006, 0 7148 4429 2
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... but not before they had completed a breakthrough structure for Reliance Controls in Swindon, which Kenneth Powell describes as ‘neither a factory nor an office building nor a research station but a combination of all three’. The first of many ‘flexible sheds’ that Rogers has designed over the years, the Reliance Controls Electronics Factory owed ...

Decisions

John Kenneth Galbraith, 6 March 1986

Truman 
by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 220 pp., £12.95, February 1986, 0 00 217584 3
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... be a matching of talents. Henry Kissinger should have written about, say, Lloyd George, Enoch Powell or, perhaps now, Anthony Wedgwood Benn. And Jimmy Carter, forgetting his own unhappy passage, should have turned to, say, Alec ...

Kindness rules

Gavin Millar, 8 January 1987

A Life in Movies 
by Michael Powell.
Heinemann, 705 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 9780434599455
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All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema 
edited by Charles Barr.
BFI, 446 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 85170 179 5
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... Though it does not say so, Michael Powell’s 700-page autobiography is merely the first volume of a work which Powell rather surprisingly tells us is ‘what my mother would have wished and what I was born for’. Surprising not for the reference to his mother, since he always speaks of her with the greatest affection and respect, but for the seeming dedication to letters in a man who never ceases to proclaim his lifelong devotion to images ...

Short Cuts

Inigo Thomas: At the Ladbroke Arms, 22 February 2018

... was a referendum on it he was sure it would be reinstated. In his autobiography, Kind of Blue, Kenneth Clarke says the prison population of Britain has doubled in the last two decades: the short explanation for such growth, in his view, is Rebekah Brooks, and the tabloid journalism of News International. You can wonder whether one reason for Britain ...

A Revision of Expectations

Richard Horton: Notes on the NHS, 2 July 1998

The National Health Service: A Political History 
by Charles Webster.
Oxford, 233 pp., £9.99, April 1998, 0 19 289296 7
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... seat when Wilson increased Labour’s majority from four to 95 in 1966. Crossman’s predecessor, Kenneth Robinson, had appointed Howe to chair an inquiry into scandalous allegations, made in the News of thr World, of cruelty, torture and theft at Ely Hospital, a psychiatric institution near Cardiff. Howe’s final report had been submitted in September ...

Fashion Flashes

Zoë Heller, 26 January 1995

Kenneth Tynan: Letters 
edited by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 669 pp., £22, November 1994, 0 297 81076 6
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... French cabaret songs on the radio as I write and I have just lit a cigarette. Try and see me. Kenneth Tynan, aged 18, writing from Edgbaston, to his girlfriend Pauline Whittle We are suspicious of elegant letters. In personal correspondence we expect some trade-off between sincerity and style. The thrice-repeated adjective, the nerdy exclamation mark, the ...

Up the Garden Path

R.W. Johnson: Michael Foot, 26 April 2007

Michael Foot: A Life 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Harper, 568 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 0 00 717826 1
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... bus who’d actually voted for him ten years earlier, and I’d done it with some exasperation. Kenneth Morgan’s over-long biography brings back all these feelings. Part of the problem is Morgan himself. He has written a long list of books about Wales, the Labour Party, Lloyd George, Wales, Jim Callaghan, Wales, the Labour Party, and just occasionally, to ...

At the V&A

Peter Campbell: Penguin’s 70th birthday, 2 June 2005

... has had a long life, in art college reading lists in particular; a more active one certainly than Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation, to which it was an indirect riposte. Schmoller’s anger was misplaced. He might have loathed the look, but here at least was a book which was all of a piece. In 1972, the battle for the visual integrity of Penguin paperbacks was ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone, 2 January 2020

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. III: Herself Alone 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 1072 pp., £35, October 2019, 978 0 241 32474 5
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... there was little they could do about it. Having discovered what her most trusted adviser, Charles Powell, called somewhat euphemistically their ‘ploy’, she moved Howe away from the Foreign Office to become leader of the House of Commons, and a few months later Lawson resigned. The ostensible reason was his inability to work with Alan Walters, Thatcher’s ...

I Should Have Shrieked

Patricia Beer, 8 December 1994

John Betjeman: Letters, Vol. I, 1926-1951 
edited by Candida Lycett Green.
Methuen, 584 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 413 66950 5
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... and the Rosslyns’ young daughter was won over by the same method. And on and on it goes. Anthony Powell remembers that when they were both staying with the Longfords ‘John made everybody laugh.’ ‘Betch made me laugh,’ attests Pamela Mitford. ‘Throughout our lives, whenever we met, we always burst out laughing,’ corroborates John ...

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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... project, it’s also one that stands on its own feet. An affinity with the fiction of Anthony Powell has been caught, but this is not a novel. It is not a memoir, though it eats the memoirs of others, plankton-fashion. It is a species of history – annals, perhaps. Kynaston’s far from copious political judgments are sensible and considerate, though I ...

What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Thatcher 
by Peter Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 334 pp., £17.99, April 1991, 0 241 13005 0
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The Quiet Rise of John Major 
by Edward Pearce.
Weidenfeld, 177 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 297 81208 4
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... range from newspaper editors to political historians, it may make very little difference. As John Kenneth Galbraith has observed, changing the top man in important business corporations rarely affects the price of their shares on the market. A rapid glance at the history of the USA also suggests scepticism about the impact of individual leaders. That great ...

Young Ones

Hugh Barnes, 5 June 1986

Damaged Gods 
by Julie Burchill.
Century, 152 pp., £8.95, March 1986, 0 7126 1140 1
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Love it or shove it: The Best of Julie Burchill 
Century, 148 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 7126 0746 3Show More
Girls on Film 
by Julie Burchill.
Virgin, 192 pp., £5.99, March 1986, 9780863691348
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Less than Zero 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 208 pp., £2.95, February 1986, 0 330 29400 8
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... xenophobia hardly ever slips, and each year she more closely resembles her political hero, Enoch Powell, from whose speeches she quotes liberally in her texts. From the outset Burchill’s career described an upward curve. She arrived in London immediately after leaving school in the mid-Seventies. She won a contest for cub contributors to the NME and landed ...

Make use of me

Jeremy Treglown: Olivia Manning, 9 February 2006

Olivia Manning: A Life 
by Neville Braybrooke and June Braybrooke.
Chatto, 301 pp., £20, November 2004, 0 7011 7749 7
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... volume of which had just appeared when she began The Great Fortune in 1956; the other, Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, which had reached its third volume in 1955. Powell was then literary editor of Punch and Manning often wrote reviews for him. According to the Braybrookes, she bought all the volumes of ...

No more alimony, tra la la

Miranda Carter: Somerset Maugham, 17 December 2009

The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham 
by Selina Hastings.
John Murray, 614 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 0 7195 6554 0
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... aloof and misanthropic: ‘An unpleasant man,’ P.G. Wodehouse told an interviewer in the 1970s. Kenneth Clark, with whom Hastings says Maugham enjoyed a ‘firm friendship’, described him as ‘an extremely mysterious character’; Christopher Isherwood likened him to a Gladstone bag: ‘God only knows what is inside.’ (Maugham said much the same about ...

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