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Benetton Ethics

Nick Cohen: Treachery at the FO, 2 July 1998

First Annual Report on Human Rights 
by Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
56 pp., April 1998
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The Great Deception 
by Mark Curtis.
Pluto, 272 pp., £14.99, June 1998, 0 7453 1234 9
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... go to the Public Record Office to find evidence of Foreign Office complicity with the slaughter. Mark Curds, author of The Great Deception, had done the legwork. Reporters did not even have to read his books: he had summarised his findings in a pointed, if regrettably hacked-back article in the Observer in 1996. Curtis’s ...

77 Barton Street

Dave Haslam: Joy Division, 3 January 2008

Juvenes: The Joy Division Photographs of Kevin Cummins 
To Hell with Publishing, 189 pp., £200, December 2007Show More
Joy Division: Piece by Piece 
by Paul Morley.
Plexus, 384 pp., £14.99, December 2007, 978 0 85965 404 3
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directed by Anton Corbijn.
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... warehouse where the band rehearsed; most striking are those showing the band’s singer, Ian Curtis, pale and brooding, lit by dusty light. Cummins also photographed the band standing in the snow down by the cathedral, and on a bridge overlooking Hulme, a huge 1960s housing estate. The four band members looked like refugees. Morrissey of The Smiths would ...

At Tate Britain

Julian Bell: ‘Migrations’, 8 March 2012

... Troubling’: that’s the word chosen by Penelope Curtis, the new director of Tate Britain, in her preface to the catalogue for Migrations, the gallery’s recently opened exhibition (it closes on 12 August). She’s referring to the name of the institution she heads. The launch of Tate Modern in 2000 gave Tate curators the thankless and well nigh incoherent task of demarcating which of their holdings belonged to a story about a specific nation and which to a story about value systems in general ...

Belgravia Cockney

Christopher Tayler: On being a le Carré bore, 25 January 2007

The Mission Song 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 339 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 9780340921968
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... India’s Arundhati Roy, who pleads for a different way of seeing, your British George Monbiot and Mark Curtis, Australia’s John Pilger, America’s Noam Chomsky’ etc. Rage blinded several reviewers to the fact that the speaker turns out to be a provocateur, and le Carré does something similar with The Mission Song’s roll-call of ‘A-list ...

Destroy the Miracle!

Lorna Scott Fox: Manuel Rivas, 19 May 2011

Books Burn Badly 
by Manuel Rivas, translated by Jonathan Dunne.
Vintage, 592 pp., £8.99, February 2011, 978 0 09 952033 7
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... the novel’s most controlled and haunting achievement, is partly seen through the eyes of Vicente Curtis a.k.a. Hercules, a promising boxer brought up in a brothel who wants to be an electrician. A few days earlier, he was horsing around with friends, looking forward to a trip upriver to Caneiros in ‘the heart of the forest’ for ‘libertarian ...

A Squid in the Closet

Jessica Olin: Curtis Sittenfeld’s ‘Prep’, 6 October 2005

by Curtis Sittenfeld.
Picador, 406 pp., £12.99, September 2005, 0 330 44126 4
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... and dorks of all kinds. What we have not seen is someone like Lee Fiora, the reluctant heroine of Curtis Sittenfeld’s first novel, Prep, which is a thoughtful, measured account of life at a top East Coast boarding-school. In a field dominated by shock tactics and deliberate quirkiness, Prep is a straightforward, serious, funny book. Ault School, at which ...

Per Ardua

Paul Foot, 8 February 1996

In the Public Interest 
by Gerald James.
Little, Brown, 339 pp., £18.99, December 1995, 0 316 87719 0
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... Mafia’, a group of arms manufacturers and dealers who met in the Savoy suite of Alan Curtis, a close friend of Denis Thatcher, to discuss their contracts and the chances for more of them. He had met everyone he needed to know. He had met Denis Thatcher and Mark at an arms fair. He had several times come across ...

Red Pill, Blue Pill

James Meek, 22 October 2020

... the elite with an excuse to vaccinate the population with a mind-control vaccine), introduced Mark Steele, a former bouncer from Gateshead who heads an anti-5G organisation called Save Us Now. Steele told the crowd of his concerns about the harmful effects of 5G radiation, particularly on young people. In 1994, Steele was sentenced to eight years in ...

Got to keep moving

Jeremy Harding, 24 May 1990

Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-War Pop 
by Charles Shaar Murray.
Faber, 247 pp., £7.99, November 1989, 0 571 14936 7
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by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe.
Macmillan, 400 pp., £13.95, February 1990, 0 333 53195 7
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... time I listen to his tunes,’ Evans said of Hendrix, ‘I hear something new. That’s the mark of a great composer.’ In 1970, Jimi Hendrix and Gil Evans had planned a live album from Carnegie Hall. Hendrix died before the concert but Evans put out an album in 1974. Murray calls these arrangements ‘a gorgeously tantalising vision of one of the many ...


John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry, 5 May 2005

by Tom Maschler.
Picador, 294 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 330 48420 6
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British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s 
by Eric de Bellaigue.
British Library, 238 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 7123 4836 0
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Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Viking, 484 pp., £25, May 2005, 0 670 91485 1
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... have combined a reverence for English culture with a mission to deprovincialise it. When John Curtis left Penguin for Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 1957 (leaving the vacancy that the young Tom Maschler would fill), he was told two things. At Weidenfeld and Nicolson, authority was not devolved via committee: this was George Weidenfeld’s show. Second, ...

At the Design Museum

Andrew O’Hagan: Peter Saville, 19 June 2003

... of taste, its moment-capturing image-makers: Aubrey Beardsley’s dark-nippled Europeans, Mark Boxer’s economical line-drawings, Nan Goldin’s bruised, droopy-eyed victims, Art Spiegelman’s morality cartoons (currently appearing in the LRB). Walking in the Design Museum, you get the impression that Peter Saville never closes his eyes, that he is ...

Backlash Blues

John Lahr, 16 June 2016

What Happened, Miss Simone? A Biography 
by Alan Light.
Canongate, 309 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78211 871 8
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... rapacious, furious, joyous, bereft. Her singing was at once ravishing and lacerating; it left its mark. ‘She didn’t sing jazz, because in jazz you have to submit to the force of the band – it’s a collective experience and I don’t think Nina liked to play like that. I think she liked it to be about her,’ the African-American music and cultural ...

Anxiety of Influx

Tony Tanner, 18 February 1982

Plotting the Golden West: American Literature and the Rhetoric of the California Trail 
by Stephen Fender.
Cambridge, 241 pp., £15, January 1982, 0 521 23924 9
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Witnesses to a Vanishing America: The 19th-Century Response 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Princeton, 320 pp., £10.70, July 1981, 9780691064611
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... points to one of the key sources for that kind of anguished energy which is so often a distinctive mark of American writing. Chapter One draws on Washington Irving and on less well-known figures such as Timothy Flint and James Hall, and, taking up the fairly familiar point that when confronted by any new scene or phenomenon we need ‘reassuring frames’ or ...


David Goldie: Morecambe and Wise, 15 April 1999

Morecambe and Wise 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 416 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 1 85702 735 3
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... Tynan likened the two to a classic sports car developing through three distinct phases. From the Mark I of the variety stage, a serviceable but clunky number, there evolved the Mark II of ATV, a breezier twin-cam job. Then, with the move to the BBC in 1968, so Tynan argued, the double act underwent a decisive change. No ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... are whispered among the cognoscenti like a confederation of secret masters: Gerald Kersh, James Curtis, Mark Benney, Robert Westerby, Alexander Baron, John Lodwick, Jack Trevor Story. They have been struck from the canon, these technicians, these life-enhanced witnesses. They are noticed only by slumming journalists (who ...

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