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Captain Swing

Eric Hobsbawm, 24 November 1994

The Duke Ellington Reader 
edited by Mark Tucker.
Oxford, 536 pp., £19.95, February 1994, 0 19 505410 5
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Swing Changes: Big-Band Jazz in New Deal America 
by David Stowe.
Harvard, 299 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 0 674 85825 5
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... musical entertainment. Its greatest figure, who has been properly honoured in the 536 pages of Mark Tucker’s Duke Ellington Reader, a ‘source-book of writings on Ellington’, lived and died as a travelling band-leader. It was not that he had to – in his later years he subsidised his band out of his royalties – but that he could not conceive ...

Superplot

Frank Kermode, 1 March 1984

The Paper Men 
by William Golding.
Faber, 191 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 571 13206 5
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William Golding: A Critical Study 
by Mark Kinkead-Weekes and Ian Gregor.
Faber, 291 pp., £3.50, February 1984, 0 571 13259 6
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... resist and only partly discerns. Grubbing in the novelist’s dustbin at dawn, Professor Rick L. Tucker of Astrakhan University, Nebraska, retrieves a scrap of compromising correspondence, a piece of a letter from a long-discarded mistress. It is the beginning of the end of Wilfred Barclay’s marriage, but also the beginning of a union with ...

The Style It Takes

Mark Ford: John Cale, 16 September 1999

What’s Welsh for Zen? The Autobiography of John Cale 
by Victor Bockris.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 7475 3668 6
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... a gutter, attracted by its title, The Velvet Underground. So named, and with the androgynous Moe Tucker on drums, the group embarked on a two-week stint at the Café Bizarre on MacDougal Street, where they scared off the customers and baited the management. Just before they were closed down, however, Andy Warhol wafted in. The following day Warhol proposed ...

Jungle Joys

Alfred Appel Jr: Wa-Wa-Wa with the Duke, 5 September 2002

... quotations or dismiss them as self-indulgent distractions or pointless jokes, which misses the mark. The postwar bebop jazzmen employed musical quotations even more often than Ellington. Charlie Parker frequently concludes fast-paced, hard-swinging numbers by stopping on a dime and gaily quoting – out of tempo, with leisurely elegance – from Percy ...

The Right Kind of Pain

Mark Greif: The Velvet Underground, 22 March 2007

The Velvet Underground 
by Richard Witts.
Equinox, 171 pp., £10.99, September 2006, 9781904768272
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... New York composer LaMonte Young, was the band’s violist and played bass guitar. Maureen ‘Mo’ Tucker, a self-taught teenage percussionist, played standing up, without cymbals or pedals, and was one of only a very few female drummers in rock. Sterling Morrison, the band’s fine second guitarist, has always been underappreciated, partly because he ...

Days of Reckoning

Orlando Figes, 7 July 1988

Stalin: Man and Ruler 
by Robert McNeal.
Macmillan, 389 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 333 37351 0
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... in the Bolshevik underground in Baku. Martov, the Menshevik leader, was probably closer to the mark in 1918 when he accused Stalin of having carried out bank robberies (‘expropriations’) to finance party activities, although on this, as on quite a few other unresolved points in Stalin’s biography, McNeal appears to have no opinion. On several ...
Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 320 pp., $24.95, May 1996, 0 520 20407 7
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... mammy-singing disciples included not only Eddie Cantor, George Burns, George Jessel and Sophie Tucker, but the future movie mogul Harry Cohn, the young Walter Winchell and his own older brother. Signed by the Shubert Brothers in 1911, Jolson was the first product of the bastard forms of vaudeville and minstrel show to be legitimised on Broadway’s Great ...

Burrinchini’s Spectre

Peter Clarke, 19 January 1984

That Noble Science of Politics: A Study in 19th-Century Intellectual History 
by Stefan Collini, Donald Winch and John Burrow.
Cambridge, 385 pp., £25, November 1983, 9780521257626
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... of the established Church,’ we are reminded, ‘Malthus was as much the successor to Abraham Tucker and William Palcy as to Adam Smith, and as much the contemporary of someone like Bishop Sumner, who did so much to make his doctrines acceptable in Anglican circles, as of his friend Ricardo.’ Macaulay, on the other hand, is to be visualised, as he so ...

Diary

Tom Nairn: Australian Blues, 18 November 2004

... elder statesman of the Labor Party, Gough Whitlam, appeared to counsel patience on his protégé Mark Latham, who recently became the Labor leader. The gaffer prognosticated that a full two sessions of zombiedom might have to elapse before the progressives get another chance. Had not he himself had to wait 23 years before the turnaround of the 1970s? Though ...

‘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 ‘trusted friends’. Foucault: ‘What difference does it make who is speaking?’ ‘The mark of the writer is … nothing more than the singularity of his absence.’ As a postmodern text, many passages in the book are pastiches of moments from other books, including scenes that Bush himself did not witness. These are taken from the memoirs of ...

In the Streets of Londonistan

John Upton: Terror, Muslims and the Met, 22 January 2004

... attendance at left-wing gatherings. It comes as no surprise to learn that it was slower off the mark in monitoring right-wing groups. By the outbreak of World War Two, however, these to0 had come under its gaze. Before the war’s end, the focus had reverted to the Red threat, and from the 1950s until the end of the Cold War, the Branch spent a huge ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... territory itself with Kim Jong-un, the president brings along one of his favourite Fox News hosts, Tucker Carlson, as well as Ivanka. Carlson says of North Korea: ‘It’s a disgusting place, obviously. So there’s no defending it. On the other hand, you’ve got to be honest about what it means to lead a country. It means killing people.’*Two major hotel ...
Rationalism in Politics, and Other Essays 
by Michael Oakeshott, edited by Timothy Fuller.
Liberty, 556 pp., $24, October 1991, 0 86597 094 7
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... did not attract much public notice. Even the Spectator, which might have been expected to mark the event with a full salute, ignored it for half a year, before carrying a curiously distracted piece by its editor, reporting strange losses in the philosopher’s papers, without so much as mentioning his political ideas. Perhaps another element in the ...

Time Unfolded

Perry Anderson: Powell v. the World, 2 August 2018

... the restrictions of what it contained and, resisting all impatient access, leaving the intractable mark of genius on it, in more, and more unforgettable, images than any other novel ever written. Proust aimed at the sublime. His addiction to hyperbole could become a lame – on occasion even an absurd – striving for it: few passages in Western literature ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust, 19 July 2018

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... rage’, his ‘calm, generous and open’ mother ‘a born peacemaker’ – left a two-fold mark on him: on the one hand, acquiring as a baby ‘the rock-bottom security that came from being unconditionally loved by his mother’, who bore him when she was 38; on the other, learning as a boy from the spectacle of his father the need for ‘strategies of ...

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