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The Bayswater Grocer

Thomas Meaney: The Singapore Formula, 18 March 2021

Singapore: A Modern History 
by Michael Barr.
Bloomsbury, 296 pp., £17.99, December 2020, 978 1 350 18566 1
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... the ‘Men in White’ – has given way to an ever more circumscribed stratum, a process which Michael Barr, the leading historian of modern Singapore, examines in rich detail. The well-oiled pistons of the market-state are increasingly accompanied by the creaks and squabbles of a Chinese dynasty. The country’s prized state companies are overrun by ...

Kindness rules

Gavin Millar, 8 January 1987

A Life in Movies 
by Michael Powell.
Heinemann, 705 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 9780434599455
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All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema 
edited by Charles Barr.
BFI, 446 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 85170 179 5
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... Though it does not say so, Michael Powell’s 700-page autobiography is merely the first volume of a work which Powell rather surprisingly tells us is ‘what my mother would have wished and what I was born for’. Surprising not for the reference to his mother, since he always speaks of her with the greatest affection and respect, but for the seeming dedication to letters in a man who never ceases to proclaim his lifelong devotion to images ...

Short Cuts

August Kleinzahler: Ubu Unchained, 5 March 2020

... staff described her as a monstrous boss, abusive and impossibly demanding.This leaves us with Michael Bloomberg, a former general partner at Salomon Brothers investment bank who went on to set up Bloomberg L.P., whose main business is as a financial services company with 325,000 subscribers paying an annual fee of $24,000. He is a three-term mayor of New ...


Tom Paulin, 5 November 1981

Too Long a Sacrifice: Life and Death in Northern Ireland since 1969 
by Jack Holland.
Columbus, 217 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 396 07934 2
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A History of Northern Ireland 
by Patrick Buckland.
Gill and Macmillan, 195 pp., £3.95, April 1981, 0 7171 1069 9
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... the idea of an independent Northern Ireland. In a discussion with two American Congressmen, Glen Barr, until recently the chief UDA theorist, explained the reasons for his organisation’s change of attitude: On the Loyalist side, the Loyalist politicians have manipulated the Protestant people, who believed the Unionists. And we also believe that on the ...


David Bromwich: I met a Republican, 7 March 2019

... by the FBI, it deepened the impression of an espionage implosion in the vicinity of Trump. Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, pleaded guilty to the charge of lying to the FBI about his discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. His sentence was postponed by a DC district court in December (with a strong indication that ...

Top Brands Today

Nicholas Penny: The Art World, 14 December 2017

The Auctioneer: A Memoir of Great Art, Legendary Collectors and Record-Breaking Auctions 
by Simon de Pury and William Stadiem.
Allen and Unwin, 312 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 1 76011 350 6
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Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers 
by Philip Hook.
Profile, 282 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78125 570 4
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Donald Judd: Writings 
edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray.
David Zwirner, 1054 pp., £28, November 2016, 978 1 941701 35 5
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... had a mission to educate and influence unlike that of any equivalent European institution. Alfred Barr, its first director, promoted an idea of modernity that was compatible with the corporate outlook of his chief supporter, Nelson Rockefeller.When MoMA was founded the trustees intended that when artworks were fifty years old they would be donated to the ...

Change at MoMA

Hal Foster, 7 November 2019

... responded to the call of MoMA’s director, Glenn Lowry, to recapture the idea proposed by Alfred Barr, its first head, that 20th-century art be seen as one great experiment or ‘work in progress’ that continues into the 21st century. Of course, MoMA also needed more space for its permanent collection and temporary shows. It already has more modernist ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... A shell company owned by Vekselberg wired $500,000 for reasons unknown to a shell company owned by Michael Cohen, Trump’s attorney at the time – the same shell company which then paid the porn actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money.The president says: ‘Mitch McConnell is a man that knows less about Russia and Russian influence than even Donald ...


Paul Muldoon: Hiberno-English Shenanigans, 1 July 1999

... 10 March. At 6:45 a.m. I set off by car service to Newark airport to catch the 10 a.m. Virgin/Continental flight to Gatwick. At this time of the morning the New Jersey Turnpike is too busy altogether. This use of altogether, I’m reminded by Terence Patrick Dolan in A Dictionary of Hiberno-English, means ‘wholly, completely’ and may be compared to the Irish phrase ar fad, particularly in its positioning at the end of a sentence ...

Tiny Little Lars

Joanna Kavenna: Von Trier’s Provocations, 15 April 2004

Trier on von Trier 
edited by Stig Björkman, translated by Neil Smith.
Faber, 288 pp., £16.99, February 2004, 0 571 20707 3
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directed by Lars von Trier.
May 2003
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... dying horses and abandoned children. In The Element of Crime (1984), a ravaged cop called Fisher (Michael Elphick) struggles through a flooded landscape, trying to solve a crime. Fisher is a particularly bad detective: he has an affair with a prostitute who turns out to have been the lover of the murderer he is trying to find, then he accidentally murders the ...

Obama v. Clinton: A Retrospective

Eliot Weinberger: A Tale of Two Candidates, 3 July 2008

... minorities – no Jews, no Poles, no Italians – and had nominated only one other, the hapless Michael Dukakis. But this was the response of a baby boomer, when in fact one of the remarkable things about the Obama campaign was that it wasn’t about race at all. Obama, though he studiously copied his speaking style from King and other preachers, was not ...

Whose century?

Adam Tooze: After the Shock, 30 July 2020

Schism: China, America and the Fracturing of the Global Trading System 
by Paul Blustein.
McGill-Queen’s, 356 pp., £27.99, September 2019, 978 1 928096 85 6
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Superpower Showdown: How the Battle between Trump and Xi Threatens a New Cold War 
by Bob Davis and Lingling Wei.
Harper, 480 pp., £25, June 2020, 978 0 06 295305 6
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Trade Wars Are Class Wars: How Rising Inequality Distorts the Global Economy and Threatens International Peace 
by Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis.
Yale, 288 pp., £20, June 2020, 978 0 300 24417 5
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The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Metropolitan Elite 
by Michael Lind.
Atlantic, 224 pp., £14.99, February 2020, 978 1 78649 955 4
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... Bernie Sanders that question wouldn’t be surprising. But it was more remarkable to hear William Barr, Trump’s attorney general, describe American business as ‘part of the problem’ because its corporate leaders are too focused on their stock options and have lost sight of the ‘national view’ and the need to ensure that ‘that the next century ...

Loafing with the Sissies

Colm Tóibín: The Trials of Andy Warhol, 10 September 2020

Warhol: A Life as Art 
by Blake Gopnik.
Allen Lane, 931 pp., £35, March, 978 0 241 00338 1
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... to members and the community’. He tried to donate it to the museum but was turned down: Alfred Barr, MoMA’s director, wrote to say ‘we feel it is not fair to accept as a gift a work which may be shown only infrequently.’Warhol ‘tended to work for elite clients’, Gopnik writes. ‘Fashion editors, deluxe record labels, serious publishers and also ...

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger, 4 June 2020

... do so without dictating to people how they should worship God.’ The attorney general, William Barr, defending churches that are insisting on holding services despite lockdown orders, is invoking a law authorising him to sue to eliminate any ‘pattern or practice’ of unconstitutional conduct – in this case, against ‘freedom of religion’. The ...

Stalin at the Movies

Peter Wollen: The Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism by J. Hoberman, 25 November 1999

The Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism 
by J. Hoberman.
Temple, 315 pp., £27.95, November 1998, 1 56639 643 3
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... well-developed politically. Knows about her husband’s work and the role of meter [Joel Barr, who filmed materials for Julius] and nil [unidentified, but not Fuchs or Greenglass]. In view of delicate health does not work. Is characterised positively and as a devoted person. Enough to establish a degree of guilt perhaps, although it couldn’t be ...

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