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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

‘Damn right,’ I said

Eliot Weinberger: Bush Meets Foucault, 6 January 2011

Decision Points 
by George W. Bush.
Virgin, 497 pp., £25, November 2010, 978 0 7535 3966 8
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... of the current po-mo poster boys, Tao Lin, with his anaesthetised declarative sentences, and Kenneth Goldsmith with his ‘uncreative writing’, such as a transcription of a year’s worth of daily radio weather reports. Foucault notes: ‘Today’s writing has freed itself from the theme of expression.’ Even the title of the book unchains the ...

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 ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... affairs and hone their interview techniques. ‘I like that Michael Howard,’ says one. ‘And Kenneth Clarke’s a good bloke too.’ Neither boy, I suppose, has ever known anything but a Tory government nor by the sound of it ever wants to. At Birmingham I have a session with David Edgar’s playwrights’ class, then do another ‘Our ...

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