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He’ll have brought it on Himself

Colm Tóibín, 22 May 1997

Sex, Nation and Dissent in Irish Writing 
edited by Éibhear Walshe.
Cork, 210 pp., £40, April 1997, 1 85918 013 2
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Gooddbye to Catholic Ireland 
by Mary Kenny.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 320 pp., £20, March 1997, 1 85619 751 4
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... the way we dealt with our families, the way we gathered as a group, to take just two examples. Mary Kenny, in what she calls ‘a social, personal and cultural history from the fall of Parnell to the realm of Mary Robinson’, does not list Micheál Mac Gréil’s books in the bibliography. Her book does not deal ...

Uneasy Listening

Paul Laity: ‘Lord Haw-Haw’, 8 July 2004

Germany Calling: A Personal Biography of William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’ 
by Mary Kenny.
New Island, 300 pp., £17.99, November 2003, 1 902602 78 1
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Lord Haw-Haw: The English Voice of Nazi Germany 
by Peter Martland.
National Archives, 309 pp., £19.99, March 2003, 1 903365 17 1
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... as to who it might belong to. Lord Haw-Haw became a craze. It was ‘one of those moments’, Mary Kenny writes in her biography of Joyce, ‘when a fashion, a fad, a talking point and a comical inspiration are synthesised into a minor cult’. Haw-Haw was discussed every day in the press, and ‘Germany Calling’ or ‘Jairminy Calling’, the ...


Anne Enright: Censorship in Ireland, 21 March 2013

... wanted to, and after that they went to Lourdes. My mother prayed at the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette, and her prayers must have been answered, because two Enrights went out there, but three Enrights came back. In fact, my mother carried more than this, as yet undeclared, baby through Irish customs. My father told her to take the ...


Peter Robins: Gary Indiana, 25 July 2002

Depraved Indifference 
by Gary Indiana.
HarperCollins, 336 pp., $24.95, January 2002, 0 06 019726 9
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... you must remember that their originals are the even less plausible-sounding Sante, Kenneth and Kenny Kimes. If you think it a bit much to have them arrested on slavery charges and then carrying on as if nothing has happened, or to have their scams involve Gerald Ford and Pat Nixon, or to have the man who sells them illegal guns explain how to make a ...

Time for Several Whiskies

Ian Jack: BBC Propaganda, 30 August 2018

Auntie’s War: The BBC during the Second World War 
by Edward Stourton.
Doubleday, 422 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 85752 332 7
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... he’d lived in England for nearly twenty years – also appealed. In the words of his biographer Mary Kenny, he mocked ‘swells’ in a way that hadn’t been heard on British airwaves before. One of his most memorable phrases, ‘the upper nation’, described the rich: ‘The upper nation of the Mayfair type of snob feeds on the lower nation whom it ...

Snail Slow

Colm Tóibín: Letters to John McGahern, 27 January 2022

The Letters of John McGahern 
edited by Frank Shovlin.
Faber, 851 pp., £30, September 2021, 978 0 571 32666 2
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... McGahern didn’t inform his father even of Green’s existence. By the end of the month, though, Mary Kenny, a journalist in Dublin, had been told of the arrival in Cleggan of the notorious writer by ‘a second cousin of hers who owns a village bar’, and she published it all in a Dublin newspaper. McGahern and Green were married in 1973. Over the ...

At Tate Britain

Julian Bell: ‘British Folk Art’, 3 July 2014

... enthusiasts can’t avoid this awkward speech position and, wisely, Myrone and his colleagues Ruth Kenny and Jeff McMillan don’t try to tidy it up. Rather, they let their eyes and curiosity take them on a ramble. If these lure them into an omnium gatherum – in one place, those Indian woodcarvers at work; in another, a French prisoner of war shaving mutton ...

Audrey and Her Sisters

Wayne Koestenbaum, 18 September 1997

Audrey Hepburn 
by Barry Paris.
Weidenfeld, 454 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 297 81728 0
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... stars embraced, and then ‘Audrey pointed to one of Elizabeth’s enormous jewels and asked: “Kenny Lane?” “No, Richard Burton,” replied Taylor, and both stars screamed with laughter.’ It blows my mind – I don’t know a more proper way to say it – to imagine Hepburn pointing to Taylor’s jewels, as if the two were simply women at a ...

On the Pitch

Emma John, 4 August 2022

... women finally brought football home.After his team’s defeat, the Northern Ireland manager, Kenny Shiels, said it would be a ‘massive failure’ if England didn’t win the tournament. But Shiels has a history of saying unhelpful things. The last time the two sides met, in a World Cup qualifier in April, he blamed ‘female psychology’ for another ...

Antigone in Galway

Anne Enright, 17 December 2015

... lined the route. Thomas Kent was buried in the family plot at Castlelyons and the taoiseach, Enda Kenny, gave the graveside oration. ‘Today,’ he said, ‘we take him from the political Potter’s Field to lay him with all honour among “his own”.’ Although the land in which he had lain is now, technically speaking, Irish, the prison yard still held ...

The Atmosphere of the Clyde

Jean McNicol: Red Clydeside, 2 January 2020

When the Clyde Ran Red: A Social History of Red Clydeside 
by Maggie Craig.
Birlinn, 313 pp., £9.99, March 2018, 978 1 78027 506 2
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Glasgow 1919: The Rise of Red Clydeside 
by Kenny MacAskill.
Biteback, 310 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 1 78590 454 7
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John Maclean: Hero of Red Clydeside 
by Henry Bell.
Pluto, 242 pp., £14.99, October 2018, 978 0 7453 3838 5
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... status and some control over its working conditions.The strike that is often seen, as it is by Kenny MacAskill (the new SNP MP for East Lothian) in Glasgow 1919, as marking ‘the start of “Red Clydeside”’ took place not in the shipyards or engineering workshops or in the mining towns around Glasgow, but in the Singer sewing-machine factory in ...

The Wickedest Woman in Paris

Colm Tóibín, 6 September 2007

Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins 
by Rupert Everett.
Abacus, 406 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 349 12058 4
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... in the years when he was doing his main cavorting. In my head I had him slightly mixed up with Kenny Everett, who was a disc jockey during my youth; Rupert, it turns out, is no relation, though they both made films (Kenny’s was called Bloodbath at the House of Death) and did voiceover in animations, and they both ...

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