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Jonathan Meades: Designs for the Third Reich

4 February 2016
Hitler at Home 
by Despina Stratigakos.
Yale, 373 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 300 18381 8
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Speer: Hitler’s Architect 
by Martin Kitchen.
Yale, 442 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 0 300 19044 1
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... the persona burnished during Speer’s long lucubrations in Spandau. A persona that has had a toxic appeal for a particular sensibility: gullible, cheek-turning, risibly generous, smugly liberal. MartinKitchen does not possess that sensibility. Speer: Hitler’s Architect is not a biography. It is a 200,000-word charge sheet. Kitchen is steely, dogged and attentive to the small print. He shows ...
18 October 1984
... This is the big one,’ I told myself nervously. ‘The Martin Amis interview. This is the one that could make you or break you.’ As I neared his front door my heart was in my mouth. No doubt he would have said it more cleverly. He would have said his heart ...
28 November 1996
... Still, while we’re talking about bodily functions, before we take our leave I’ll just pay a visit myself.’ Too late Mr Ransome realised he should have warned him and took refuge in the kitchen. The sergeant came out shaking his head. ‘Well at least our friends had the decency to use the toilet but they’ve left it in a disgusting state. I never thought I’d have to do a Jimmy Riddle ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dream On

27 June 2002
... out of their dreams, can probably tell you more about their unconscious minds than their dreams can. But then again, it may just be that in a past life I helped sell rhinos to the ancient Greeks. Martin Amis, whatever he may have been in a past life, is currently turning into Gyles Brandreth. Blazoned across the Daily Telegraph on 13 June were pictures of the eminent novelist in sports kit that ...

Two Poems

Robert Crawford

12 November 1998
... next room, where a Bren-gun spat, Its title changed into King’s Regulations; Tanks manoeuvred round the hearth and range, Smashing duck eggs, throwing up clouds of flour. Fleeing the earth-floored kitchen, an ironing table Hirpled like girderwork from bombed Cologne Into the study where my Aunt Jean studied How not to be a skivvy all her life, While my dead uncle revved his BSA, Wiping used, oily ...
23 May 1996
The Law of Enclosures 
by Dale Peck.
Chatto, 287 pp., £15.99, February 1996, 0 7011 6160 4
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... The first thing the literary world noticed about Dale Peck was his youth. Now 28, he produced the harrowing Martin and John (attractively published in Britain as Fucking Martin) at 25. Why do we expect so little of the (not all that) young? Peck’s sophistication needs no excuse or applause on those grounds. There is something far more remarkable about him within the youth ...

Short Cuts

Paul Myerscough: Iris Murdoch

7 February 2002
... at the point that movies try to convey genius, or ‘thought’ generally, for that matter, that their limits are most obviously, uncomfortably exposed. It’s a familiar observation, repeated by Martin Amis in a recent review of Iris: where literature addresses the internal, cinema must always deal in the external. So, ‘romance’ in Iris is all jumpers and bicycles and giddy concupiscence ...

The Exorcist

Robert Crawford

23 June 2005
... ashore from Charon’s ferry, He catches slobbering Cerberus chomp up The bodies of the damned. Maybe his granny’s Stories come back to haunt him, or it’s just That carbon copy of hell’s kitchen-stink, Dysart’s midnight pitch-black darkness, spooks him. The farmers cower. The exorcism goes on With no one except Lang having a clue, Though everybody hears groans, grumbles, voices Threatening ...

Sinister Blandishments

Edmund White: Philip Hensher

3 September 1998
Pleasured 
by Philip Hensher.
Chatto, 304 pp., £14.99, August 1998, 0 7011 6728 9
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... pathetic fallacy’ (an effect I’ve always rather admired). Sometimes the writing is ‘good’ or at least attractive (‘lawns dark and wet as spinach’). Or the thoughts of another young man, Martin, one of Friedrich’s friends, become both fiendish and camp, though they sound slightly odd when we remember we’re supposedly reading a translation from the German. Take the hilarious moment when ...

Love among the Cheeses

Lidija Haas: Life with Amis and Ayer

8 September 2011
The House in France: A Memoir 
by Gully Wells.
Bloomsbury, 307 pp., £16.99, June 2011, 978 1 4088 0809 2
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... What would it have been like to fall in love with the young Martin Amis, ‘the most fascinating man’ Gully Wells had ever met? ‘Only the most awful clichés,’ she tells us, ‘could possibly do justice to the way I felt.’ He was ‘very funny and very ...

Stage Kiss

Martin​ Crimp

26 July 1990
... cassette. The Sunday supplements seem to like the fact that I began life as a stage-manager, and it’s quite true that I have a gift for this kind of work. There’s a green felt noticeboard in the kitchen with the usual papers pinned all over it – this month’s calendar (it’s October), coupons for money off toothpaste, handy phone-numbers (plumber, pizzas, minicab), and among all these I notice ...
25 March 1993
... should she? She lived and worked in London, England. She didn’t have to know about Mount Rushmore. Except that she’d been woken up, and her night’s sleep ruined worrying about it. She wished Martin hadn’t taken his Encyclopaedia Britannica with him when they split up. She missed that more than she missed him. Tomorrow, she promised herself, she would go to the library at school and check it ...

The Things We Throw Away

Andrew O’Hagan: The Garbage of England

24 May 2007
... The journey in search of rubbish had taken the whole winter long and now I was here with the bins. The evening it was all over I emptied the latest rubbish onto some newspapers spread out on the kitchen floor – a cornflakes packet and old razor blades, apple cores and cotton buds. Looking through the stuff I felt how secret the story had been. I’d gone looking for the end but had always been ...

Freakazoid

Melissa Denes: ‘The Slap’

19 August 2010
The Slap 
by Christos Tsiolkas.
Tuskar Rock, 485 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 1 84887 355 1
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... might be any big English-speaking city – London or New York, Los Angeles or Sydney. There is the familiar jumble of children, family, friends, colleagues who aren’t mixing. There is chaos in the kitchen, the guests are drinking too fast, and the host, Hector, has taken two lines of speed. The day is glorious, ‘a lush late summer afternoon, with a clear blue sky’, the conditions near perfect for ...

The Ugly Revolution

Michael Rogin: Martin​ Luther King Jr

10 May 2001
I May Not Get there with You: The True Martin​ Luther King Jr 
by Michael Eric Dyson.
Free Press, 404 pp., £15.99, May 2000, 0 684 86776 1
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The Papers of Martin​ Luther King Jr. Vol. IV: Symbol of the Movement January 1957-December 1958 
edited by Clayborne Carson et al.
California, 637 pp., £31.50, May 2000, 0 520 22231 8
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... predators. A century after the Civil War, a massive, non-violent black revolution brought three centuries of legally enshrined, lethally enforced white supremacy to an end. Its national hero is Martin Luther King Jr. Far from giving way in the face of moral example and legal right, racial injustice rose to fever pitch during the 1960s. The third and deadliest Ku Klux Klan (succeeding the Southern ...

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