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Buying and Selling

Paul Foot, 6 April 1995

The Davies Report: The ‘Great Battle’ in Swansea 
by Michael Davies.
Thoemmes, 139 pp., £3.99, October 1994, 1 85506 366 2
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... including Colwyn Williamson, who had been lecturing in philosophy in Swansea since 1967, and Michael Cohen, a former Tory voter described by Sir Michael Davies as a ‘careful and reasonable sort of person’. In early 1990, all four lecturers, Hunt, Maclean, Williamson and Cohen, formally complained to the ...

Holy Boldness

Tom Paulin: John Bunyan, 16 December 2004

Glimpses of Glory: John Bunyan and English Dissent 
by Richard Greaves.
Stanford, 693 pp., £57.50, August 2002, 0 8047 4530 7
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Theology and Narrative in the Works of John Bunyan 
by Michael Davies.
Oxford, 393 pp., £65, July 2002, 0 19 924240 2
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The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ 
by Isabel Hofmeyr.
Princeton, 320 pp., £41.95, January 2004, 0 691 11655 5
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... and influential writers and preachers of his age to a dull and worthy figure. Both Greaves and Michael Davies appear to accept, and even collude with, Bunyan’s diminished presence in contemporary British culture. Bunyan, however, remains an enduring presence in Ulster Protestantism. In a lecture given many years ago, ‘The Triumph of the Word of ...

Sorry to decline your Brief

Stephen Sedley, 11 June 1992

Judge for yourself 
by James Pickles.
Smith Gryphon, 242 pp., £15.99, April 1992, 1 85685 019 6
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The Barrister’s World 
by John Morison and Philip Leith.
Open University, 256 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 335 09396 5
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Advocates 
by David Pannick.
Oxford, 305 pp., £15, April 1992, 0 19 811948 8
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... revelation in Pickles’s book. ‘I have not been able to reveal until now that it was Mr Justice Michael Davies who suggested that I jail Renshaw for seven days,’ he writes. ‘He asked how long I proposed to give her, and I said 21 days. “No, make it seven,” he said, and I did.’ There is not a trace of irony in this passage. Nor is there in his ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Mank’, 21 January 2021

... that’s a big question.’ Asked if he knew William Randolph Hearst’s mistress, Marion Davies, he says yes – ‘if anyone did’. When Houseman worries about being fired, Mank says, ‘I’ve never not been fired,’ as if confirming an earlier remark that ‘every moment of my life is treacherous.’ This could all sound self-pitying, but Oldman ...

Vicarious Sages

Michael Mason, 3 November 1983

John Forster: A Literary Life 
by James Davies.
Leicester University Press, 318 pp., £25, June 1983, 0 7185 1164 6
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Mr George Eliot: A Biography of George Henry Lewes 
by David Williams.
Hodder, 288 pp., £12.95, June 1983, 0 340 25717 2
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Johnnie Cross 
by Terence de Vere White.
Gollancz, 153 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 575 03333 9
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... which have taken up these long-standing biographical challenges do so in very different ways. Dr Davies has written the more orthodox book for the situation: it puts the presenting of a full range of information on a new subject (and this is a carefully researched study) before the achievement of a controversial or intriguing statement about it. Mr ...

Truly Terrifying Things

Walter Nash, 10 January 1991

51 Soko: To the Islands on the Other Side of the World 
by Michael Westlake.
Polygon, 258 pp., £8.95, September 1990, 0 7486 6085 2
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Behind the Waterfall 
by Chinatsy Nakayama.
Virago, 213 pp., £12.99, November 1990, 1 85381 269 2
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Dirty Faxes, and Other Stories 
by Andrew Davies.
Methuen, 243 pp., £13.99, October 1990, 0 413 63270 9
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... Yoshi kept coming to mind as I puzzled, eased, or intermittently ground and grinned my way through Michael Westlake’s 51 Soko – an ingenious, teasing, complex, at times impenetrable, often brilliantly parodic book, with a title that reads disconcertingly like a personal number-plate or a cosmetic preparation (‘51 Soko for firmer follicles’). It may be ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Ageing Crims, 4 June 2015

... that blended very naturally with the world of other folk heroes in the Glasgow of the 1920s. Michael O’Hagan was the kind of hard man feared and admired in equal measure, and, to this day, such men are spoken about as decent ordinary sorts who bring the spirit of the people along with them on their criminal activity. It is hard to know how this ...

Born of the age we live in

John Lanchester, 6 December 1990

Stick it up your punter! The Rise and Fall of the ‘Sun’ 
by Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 434 12624 1
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All played out: The True Story of Italia ’90 
by Pete Davies.
Heinemann, 471 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 434 17908 6
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Gazza! A Biography 
by Robin McGibbon.
Penguin, 204 pp., £3.99, October 1990, 9780140148688
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... since hardly anybody believes it. (Consider the grotesque recent headline on the subject of Michael Heseltine’s political advisers: ‘THE ADULTERER, THE BUNGLER AND THE JOKER’.) This misses the point. Say that only one person in ten gives any credence to the Sun’s urgings: while the paper is being read by about twelve million people a day (four ...

Sterling and Strings

Peter Davies: Harold Wilson and Vietnam, 20 November 2008

... European allies. He also defended it in the House of Commons, and the foreign secretary, Michael Stewart, even appeared on television to defend American actions. At a televised ‘teach in’ in Oxford in June 1965, Stewart argued that ‘the future relationship between North and South could, in time, be a matter for the genuine free decisions of the ...

They don’t even need ideas

William Davies: Take Nigel Farage ..., 20 June 2019

... the record for the most unpopular leadership duo ever, breaking the record set by Thatcher and Michael Foot in December 1981. The roots of this disillusionment extend back many years, well before the 2016 referendum. Many have highlighted the role played by the 2009 expenses scandal. Nevertheless, a plebiscite does particular violence to the faith on which ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Enough about Politics, 15 April 1982

... indeed too much. Instead, a warm welcome for a new book by that indefatigable tramper Hunter Davies. This one is A Walk along the Tracks,* an exploration of the disused railway lines which have now accumulated to 8,000 miles, with no doubt more to come. Some of these lines have been taken over by enlightened local authorities and turned into agreeable ...

Dependencies

Elizabeth Young, 25 February 1993

The Case of Anna Kavan 
by David Callard.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, January 1993, 0 7206 0867 8
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... years at the offices of Horizon. ‘Understandably, Connolly was never comfortable with Kavan,’ Michael Sheldon wrote in Friends of Promise, his book about Connolly. He was presumably referring to her heroin addiction. Friends and mentors over the years – Rhys Davies. Peter Owen, Brian Aldiss – have made considerable ...

Baby Face

John Bayley, 24 May 1990

William Gerhardie: A Biography 
by Dido Davies.
Oxford, 411 pp., £25, April 1990, 0 19 211794 7
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Memoirs of a Polyglot 
by William Gerhardie.
Robin Clark, 381 pp., £5.95, April 1990, 0 86072 111 6
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Futility 
by William Gerhardie.
Robin Clark, 198 pp., £4.95, April 1990, 0 86072 112 4
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God’s Fifth Column: A Biography of the Age 1890-1940 
by William Gerhardie, edited by Michael Holroyd and Robert Skidelsky.
Hogarth, 360 pp., £8.95, April 1990, 0 7012 0887 2
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... Waugh admired. He borrowed from him too. In this highly fascinating and erudite biography Dido Davies notes some of the echoes of Jazz and Jasper in Vile Bodies. Gerhardie’s Lord Ottercove, based on the ubiquitous literary model of Beaverbrook, shouts ‘Faster! Faster!’ like Agatha Runcible. Beaverbrook seems to have genuinely and deeply admired ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The life expectancy of a Roman emperor, 3 June 2004

... seem not to be able to abandon ship quickly enough. Piers Morgan, like Greg Dyke and Gavyn Davies before him, was out of a job as soon as it was established that he had been responsible for misinforming the public about goings-on in Iraq. (In one sense, though not in the sense the cabinet would like, the publication of those photos makes the Mirror ...

What are they after?

William Davies: How Could the Tories?, 8 March 2018

... things apply to Johnson, but a Venn diagram of these various characteristics would also include Michael Gove, Douglas Carswell, Daniel Hannan and Jacob Rees-Mogg. The result of these disparate characteristics is a comfortable familiarity with the myths and rituals of the British state, but a blasé indifference to the impact of policy. As Ian Jack pointed ...

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