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The Journalist and the Murderer 
by Janet Malcolm.
Bloomsbury, 163 pp., £12.99, January 1991, 0 7475 0759 7
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... I shall bite the next person who comes up to me at a party and asks if I’ve read The Journalist and the Murderer. It is not a well-intentioned question. It implies that Ms Malcolm’s book has dealt irreparable damage to me and my kind (journalists who do interviews for a living), and that henceforward we must hang our heads in shame. I don’t see it myself, but let’s begin with the book ...

Utterly in Awe

Jenny Turner: Lynn Barber, 5 June 2014

A Curious Career 
by Lynn Barber.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 1 4088 3719 1
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... doing this? What do you do on your own in a hotel room? Why? Questions like this are what Lynn Barber uses to open up her celebrity interviews, and I think you can see why. They’re simple, direct, upfront and conversational, but also come at you from an angle. You’d start happily blurting out an answer, only to find yourself in deep and ...

Cold Shoulders, Short Trousers

Ian Hamilton, 12 March 1992

Will this do? 
by Auberon Waugh.
Century, 288 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7126 3734 6
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Mr Wu and Mrs Stitch: The Letters of Evelyn Waugh and Diana Cooper 
edited by Artemis Cooper.
Hodder, 344 pp., £19.99, October 1991, 0 340 53488 5
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... called the Oldie. Ingrams, we learn from a recent interview, also has a father-problem. He told Lynn Barber that ‘he could not have worked for Private Eye if his father had been alive, because “he would have been so disapproving.” ’ Private Eye humour has often enough been called schoolboyish, and so it is, but perhaps we are close here to ...


Zoë Heller: Ronald Reagan, 2 March 2000

Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan 
by Edmund Morris.
HarperCollins, 874 pp., £24.99, October 1999, 0 00 217709 9
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... the impression that they had hired an ‘in-house historian’, Morris was more of an in-house Lynn Barber – interested in matters of ‘humanity’ rather than policy, convinced that ‘in the end what chiefly survives or should survive of any Chief Executive is the quality of his personality.’ Now that Dutch has been published (the title refers ...

A Dingy Start to the Day

Frank Kermode, 10 September 1992

Kingsley Amis: Modern Novelist 
by Dale Salwak.
Harvester, 302 pp., £24.99, April 1992, 0 7450 1096 2
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London Calling: V.S. Naipaul, Postcolonial Mandarin 
by Rob Nixon.
Oxford, 229 pp., £27.50, May 1992, 0 19 506717 7
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... Amis’s contribution to this historical revelation, the bit in double quotes, was vouchsafed in a Lynn Barber interview. The rest is Salwak’s work. He is further able to inform us that Amis learned from his father’s example ‘the nature and practice of moral judgment’, that he is aware of ‘a cleavage between conscience and desire’, and has ...


Jeremy Harding: Hitchens, 31 March 2011

... solution. Much of this could be turned against the post-socialist Hitchens – the one who told Lynn Barber in 2002 that henceforth his politics would have to be ‘à la carte’ – or at any rate trouble the surface of his writing with bizarre reflections. But the enduring puzzle is the big one: a working intellectual framework – for instance ...


James Paradis, 18 June 1981

Sir Joseph Banks 
by Charles Lyte.
David and Charles, 248 pp., £10.50, October 1980, 0 7153 7884 8
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The Heyday of Natural History: 1820-1870 
by Lynn Barber.
Cape, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 9780224014489
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A Vision of Eden 
by Marianne North.
Webb and Bower, 240 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 906671 18 3
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... of Banks material, catalogued by Warren Dawson in 1958, that is currently held at Kew Gardens. Lynn Barber’s The Heyday of Natural History: 1820-1870 is a colourful account of the Victorian popularisation and commercialisation of natural history. Popular natural history, as Ms Barber presents it, was an extension ...


Julian Loose, 25 June 1992

Crystal Rooms 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Hodder, 342 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 340 56409 1
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... most charming editor-presenter of the arts’ he rates the accolade of his own Spitting Image. Lynn Barber may have famously delineated his ‘awful smug matey blokiness’ in the pages of the Independent on Sunday, but perhaps that only demonstrates what an inviting target Bragg has become. As a character in Kingdom come (1980) explains, ‘the rules ...

Narco Polo

Iain Sinclair, 23 January 1997

Mr Nice: An Autobiography 
by Howard Marks.
Secker, 466 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 436 20305 7
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Pulp Election: The Booker Prize Fix 
by Carmen St Keeldare.
Bluedove, 225 pp., £12.99, September 1996, 0 9528298 0 0
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... the working-class boyo, penetrated the middle classes, beginning with the ‘rivetingly glamorous Lynn Barber’, a future journalist who never forgot the experience. Onward and upward: bent aristos, dopers with great collections of blues records. A brief affair with the daughter of the champion of the English Revolution, Christopher Hill, Master of ...

No Beast More Refined

James Davidson: How Good Was Nureyev?, 29 November 2007

Rudolf Nureyev: The Life 
by Julie Kavanagh.
Fig Tree, 787 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 905490 15 8
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... did not serve myself, that was all. I did not want to stand in a queue,’ he explained to Lynn Barber more than 25 years later, as if to clear up one of the great issues of our time. As for his failure to invite Petit to take a bow, well that was Makarova’s responsibility. Very soon, one begins to see Kavanagh coming. When, early on, she ...

Fetch the Chopping Knife

Charles Nicholl: Murder on Bankside, 4 November 2021

... which some information emerges. The real-life protagonists ‘personated’ onstage were a London barber-surgeon, John Howe; his teenage daughter, Agnes, about to receive an inheritance from her aunt; and various suitors competing for her hand, among them a bookbinder named Flaskett. It was Flaskett who commissioned the play, to expose Howe’s underhand ...

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