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Crowing

Michael Rogin, 5 September 1996

Imagineering Atlanta 
by Charles Rutheiser.
Verso, 324 pp., £44.95, July 1996, 1 85984 800 1
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... was sung to open the games. Only Americans – Dennis Mitchell after winning a 100-metres heat and Michael Johnson after taking the 200-metre gold – puffed out their chests and pulled their jerseys to display the national emblem. Only Americans accused an Irish swimmer of using drugs when she won the Olympic gold. Only an eliminated American boxer, Fernando ...

Digital Recordings

Michael Hofmann, 20 June 1985

... security guard at HMV and abject night-time guitarist, tapping his foot into a pile of blankets, black-and-blue notes whimpering through the floor ... My fingers whiten as they bunch themselves to grip my father’s pen. Silver and surgically thin, taken in error, its ink is thicker than ...

Lament for Crassus

Michael Hofmann, 26 October 1989

... Crassus, whose standards wouldn’t rise on the final day, who came out of his corner in careless black, whose head, when severed, was a day younger than his ...

Two Poems

Michael Hofmann, 30 August 2018

... her mystery rucksack and impenetrable wraparounds, her superbly articulated deltoids under the black wife-beater –     to iodine from ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘12 Years a Slave’, 6 February 2014

12 Years a Slave 
directed by Steve McQueen.
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... but an art exhibition or a class in design. The frame fills with colours and lines, gold, green, black, yellow, dusty grey, sharp, blurry, fading. The effect is one of pure abstraction, and very beautiful. This effect remains even when the colours and lines resolve into figures, landscapes, objects. Now we see a river, a meadow, a line of trees, the churning ...

Blame it on the boogie

Andrew O’Hagan: In Pursuit of Michael Jackson, 6 July 2006

On Michael Jackson 
by Margo Jefferson.
Pantheon, 146 pp., $20, January 2006, 0 375 42326 5
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... Since being acquitted of child molestation charges last summer, Michael Jackson has been hanging out in Bahrain, enjoying the hospitality of the ruler’s poptastic son Sheikh Abdullah. Jackson is said to have become a Muslim (which is sure to please his critics on Good Morning America), but evidence would suggest he has yet to get the hang of Islamic custom ...

Five Poems

Günter Eich, translated by Michael Hofmann, 25 March 2010

... happiness but how often does it agree to sit on our chairs. Examine your fingertips! If they are black, it is already too late. End of August The white bellies of dead fish loom among duckweed and rushes. Crows have wings to enable them to escape death. There are times I know that God is most concerned with the fate of snails. He builds them houses. We are ...

Michael Gove recommends …

Robert Hanks: Dennis Wheatley, 20 January 2011

The Devil Is a Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley 
by Phil Baker.
Dedalus, 699 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 1 903517 75 8
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... and inverted pentangles; Imperial Tokay, Hoyo de Monterrey cigars and giant spiders; a menacing black servant with eyes glowing like coals; a naked young woman supine on a stone altar, breasts heaving, knife raised over her throat. But only a minority of his novels involve devil-worship; Baker’s title ties together the thing that brought in the money with ...

In the Realm of the Senses

Michael Hofmann, 16 February 1984

... with smoke and sights and consommations. The yellow Citröen sits up and fills its lungs, a black and white green-backed mongrel sees us off. The road skirts the airport like a stray runway. Incoming planes make as if to pick us off. Sometimes it divides: one half runs along the ground, the other makes a sudden hump – my fear of flyovers. A little ...

The Late Richard Dadd, 1817-1886

Michael Hofmann, 4 December 1986

... outlived himself at twenty-six ... There was one day he seemed to catch sunstroke. He fancied the black, scorched beard of a sheik would furnish him with some ‘capital paintbrushes’. Sailing up the Nile, on the Hecate, they spent Christmas Day eating boiled eggs and plum pudding, and playing cards for the captain’s soul. The temples at Luxor stood under ...

The Machine that Cried

Michael Hofmann, 3 April 1986

... drone, five notes, as inhibited and pleonastic as the title. My father bought a gramophone, a black box, and played late Beethoven on it, which my mother was always to associate with her miscarriage of that year. I was forever carrying it up to my room, and quietly playing through my infant collection of singles, Led Zeppelin, The Tremoloes, My Sweet ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘BlacKkKlansman’, 27 September 2018

... on a sign at the entrance to a town – Colorado Springs, a place that is about to hire its first black police officer. The pictured times move from the 19th century to the 1950s to the 1970s. We may not have recognised the first shot as coming from Gone with the Wind, but we’ll certainly have picked up the presentation of the American South and the Civil ...

It’s a riot

Michael Ignatieff, 20 August 1981

‘Civil Disturbances’: Hansard, Vol. 8, Nos 143-144, 16 July 1981 – 17 July 1981 
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... and a coffee-coloured Britain. Tolerance does not require that every Englishman should have a black man for his neighbour or that every Asian should forget his cultural identity. Instead we must acknowledge and understand the existence of social pluralism. It is not surprising that the Times’s Englishman turns out not to include Asians or blacks. What ...

Like ink and milk

John Bayley, 10 September 1992

‘Sons and Lovers’: The Unexpurgated Text 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Helen Baron and Carl Baron.
Cambridge, 675 pp., £70, September 1992, 0 521 24276 2
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D.H. Lawrence: The Early Years, 1885-1912 
by John Worthen.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £14.95, September 1992, 0 521 43221 9
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‘Sons and Lovers’ 
by Michael Black.
Cambridge, 126 pp., £19.95, September 1992, 0 521 36074 9
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... on it as he awaited the outcome of the power struggle – and the circumstances of their flight. Michael Black’s admirable little book in the Landmarks in World Literature series, analysing in close and illuminating detail the plan and growth of Sons and Lovers, and emphasising Frieda’s sense of the novel’s ‘form’, makes the proper companion ...

Welcome Home

Sukhdev Sandhu: Memories of Michael X, 4 February 1999

Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multiracial Britain 
by Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips.
HarperCollins, 422 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 0 00 255909 9
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... if that myth has become entrenched in the wake of last year’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. Black people had lived here for years: in addition to the long-established communities in Liverpool and Cardiff, thousands of Caribbean men and women had served in the RAF and worked as technicians and electricians in factories in the North-West during World War ...

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