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The Faster the Better

Paul Driver: Anatomising Mendelssohn, 3 February 2005

Mendelssohn: A Life in Music 
by Larry Todd.
Oxford, 683 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 19 511043 9
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... his life is legendary though not unduly eventful. Now we have it in the kind of detail few need. Larry Todd’s book, in the modern academic fashion, is a chronicle of day by day. It is a chronicle, too, of piece by piece, and song by song, both Felix’s and those of his elder sister, Fanny. Todd has also discovered ...

Red silk is the best blood

David Thomson: Sondheim, 16 December 2010

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-81), with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes 
by Stephen Sondheim.
Virgin, 445 pp., £30, October 2010, 978 0 7535 2258 5
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... This book is dedicated to nine men: Julius Epstein, Arthur Laurents, Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), George Furth (who did the book for Company and Merrily We Roll Along), James Goldman (Follies), John Weidman (Pacific Overtures and Assassins); Hugh Wheeler (A Little Night Music and Sweeney ...

Swinging it

Mark Ford, 7 July 1988

S.J. Perelman: A Life 
by Dorothy Herrmann.
Simon and Schuster, 337 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 671 65460 8
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Don’t tread on me: The Selected Letters of S.J. Perelman 
edited by Prudence Crowther.
Viking, 372 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 670 81759 7
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... not made. Perelman disclaimed all pride in his screenplays, even when he hit the jackpot with Mike Todd’s Around the World in 80 Days (1956), for which he was awarded an Oscar: he used the statuette as a doorstop in his Sixth Avenue workroom. As a screenwriting duo, the Perelmans could command around $1,000 a week, so were able to spend half the year back ...

Be Rapture Ready! The end times are nigh!

John Sutherland: Armageddon - out of here, 5 June 2003

Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages 
by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.
Tyndale House, 398 pp., £15.99, April 2003, 0 8423 3234 0
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... have been alert to the usefulness of the World Wide Web. On his site, www.raptureready.com, Todd Strandberg monitors current events to compile a Rapture Index confirming the imminence of the End. The Index measures activity in 45 categories, from ‘False Christs’ through ‘Drug Abuse’ to ‘Floods’. It currently stands at 166 – down from a ...

What the Twist Did for the Peppermint Lounge

Dave Haslam: Club culture, 6 January 2000

Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade of Club Culture 
by Sheryl Garratt.
Headline, 335 pp., £7.99, May 1999, 0 7472 7680 3
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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey 
by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.
Headline, 408 pp., £14.99, November 1999, 0 7472 7573 4
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Saturday Night For Ever: The Story of Disco 
by Alan Jones and Jussi Kantonen.
Mainstream, 223 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 9781840181777
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DJ Culture 
by Ulf Poschardt.
Quartet, 473 pp., £13, January 1999, 0 7043 8098 6
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Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture 
by Simon Reynolds.
Picador, 493 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 0 330 35056 0
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More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction 
by Kodwo Eshun.
Quartet, 208 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 7043 8025 0
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... in some of the era’s worst record sleeves. The book doesn’t have much to say about DJs: Larry Levan is described as ‘one of the most influential DJs of the disco era’, but rates just one paragraph. In a sense, they relinquish their story just as it starts to get interesting. Disco had stagnated by the middle of 1978, just as the hit film ...

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