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Beefcake Ease

Miranda Carter: Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen, 14 January 2002

Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, Crazy 
by Damien Love.
Batsford, 208 pp., £15.99, December 2001, 0 7134 8707 0
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Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care 
by Lee Server.
Faber, 590 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 571 20994 7
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McQueen: The Biography 
by Christopher Sandford.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £16.99, October 2001, 0 00 257195 1
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... they were by doing or seeming to do nothing. It was the fashion. Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, James Coburn, and in England – and in a different, English way – Michael Caine, seldom did anything else. It was also a manner which could not always be easily distinguished from simple idleness. For the first 25 years of Mitchum’s career, his ...

I’m not an actress

Michael Newton: Ava Gardner, 7 September 2006

Ava Gardner 
by Lee Server.
Bloomsbury, 551 pp., £20, April 2006, 0 7475 6547 3
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... cone. A drawer full of images was spread out before her. After a little while, according to Lee Server’s new biography, she ‘kind of shrugged, and she said: “Jeez . . . From the way people went on so, I thought I was better-looking than that.”’ There’s an essay to be written on the disadvantages of physical superiority, and Ava ...

National Treasure

Christopher Hitchens, 14 November 1996

Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Memoir 
by John Davis.
Wiley, 256 pp., £14.99, October 1996, 0 471 12945 3
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... My scoffs were absolutely at a discount. And then I read a memorial interview with that old self-server and mass-murderer Robert McNamara. He recalled an occasion, quite early in the Lyndon Johnson presidency, when Jackie had come up to him at a reception in New York and beaten her fists on his chest, calling on him to stop the killing in Vietnam. Of ...

The Concept of ‘Cat Face’

Paul Taylor: Machine Learning, 10 August 2016

... Over the course​ of a week in March, Lee Sedol, the world’s best player of Go, played a series of five games against a computer program. The series, which the program AlphaGo won 4-1, took place in Seoul, while tens of millions watched live on internet feeds. Go, usually considered the most intellectually demanding of board games, originated in China but developed into its current form in Japan, enjoying a long golden age from the 17th to the 19th century ...

Crossman and Social Democracy

Peter Clarke, 16 April 1981

The Backbench Diaries of Richard Crossman 
edited by Janet Morgan.
Hamish Hamilton/Cape, 1136 pp., £15, March 1981, 0 241 10440 8
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... This is a record of the inner workings of the Labour Party during the transition from the Attlee era to the Wilson years. The period covered saw the Bevanite revolt in the early 1950s, the subsequent emergence of a revisionist critique of socialism, and the efforts by Hugh Gaitskell to fight and fight again to save the party which many of his political ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 29 June 2016

... came along in 1999, enabling users to share music files across the internet without a central server, the phrase ‘peer-to-peer sharing’ was familiar only to the early internet’s true believers.5 Napster, with its user-friendly interface, brought file-sharing to the masses. The old model of copyright and revenue generation became obsolete ...

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