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Triumph of the Poshocracy

Susan Pedersen: Britain between the Wars, 8 August 2013

The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, Citizenship and Internationalism, c.1918-45 
by Helen McCarthy.
Manchester, 282 pp., £65, November 2011, 978 0 7190 8616 8
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A Lark for the Sake of Their Country: The 1926 General Strike Volunteers in Folklore and Memory 
by Rachelle Hope Saltzman.
Manchester, 262 pp., £65, April 2012, 978 0 7190 7977 1
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... from across party lines. Inevitably, however, the organisation took root among those whom Michael Frayn would later call ‘the Herbivores’: the ‘do-gooders; the readers of the News Chronicle, the Guardian and the Observer; the signers of petitions; the backbone of the BBC’. Free Church congregations were more likely to join than Anglican ...

Is the particle there?

Hilary Mantel: Schrödinger in Clontarf, 7 July 2005

A Game with Sharpened Knives 
by Neil Belton.
Weidenfeld, 328 pp., £12.99, May 2005, 0 297 64359 2
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... and easy extrapolation. Belton is not one of them; he is as fastidious, though not so succinct, as Michael Frayn in his play Copenhagen. Heisenberg said in his memoirs that ‘science is rooted in conversations.’ He seemed to open the door, in the friendliest fashion, for the novelist and the playwright. Schrödinger’s formulation was ...

Like a row of books by Faber

Peter Porter, 22 January 1987

Other Passports: Poems 1958-1985 
by Clive James.
Cape, 221 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 224 02422 1
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... 14-liner Pushkin invented for Eugene Onegin. This last he adopts for his letter from Moscow to Michael Frayn. Here the subject curdles unpleasantly and James the Cold Warrior puts in an appearance. I am sorry to see him joining Bernard Levin in offering a thanksgiving for the bomb which has guaranteed four decades of peace in Europe. It’s true that ...


Alan Bennett: What I Did in 2015, 7 January 2016

... in his digs in Keble Road in Oxford when I was with Eric Korn and possibly, over from Cambridge, Michael Frayn. Oliver said that he had fried and eaten a placenta. At that time I don’t think I knew what a placenta was except that I knew it didn’t come with chips.11 September. David Cameron has been in Leeds preaching to businessmen the virtues of ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... is too easy.24 October. In an interview for the Observer this morning Robert McCrum congratulates Michael Frayn on being more of a free spirit than others of his generation, ‘Michael Winner and Alan Bennett being prisoners of their own celebrity’.Prisoners possibly but I hope we’re not in the same cell.14 ...

St Jude’s Playwright

Michael Church, 5 September 1985

The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams 
by Donald Spoto.
Bodley Head, 409 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 370 30847 6
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Tennessee Williams on File 
by Catherine Arnott.
Methuen, 80 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 413 58550 6
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... even want to? Certainly not our Brenton-and-Hare political puritans, nor yet our Ayckbourn-and-Frayn tragicomedians. Poverty, disease and disability we encounter in abundance, but as the occasion for either morbidity or schmaltz. The slow but sure revival of interest in Tennessee Williams – this summer Harold Pinter directing Sweet Bird of Youth, and ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... Edward Crankshaw and C.A. Lejeune, a socially and intellectually glamorous world, particularly to Michael Frayn, one of a group of us who went to the exhibition. But, of course, London itself was beginning to seem glamorous then – the Coffee House in Northumberland Avenue, the Soup Kitchen in Chandos Place, films at the Academy on Oxford Street and ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... whenever he could to attend meetings of kindred spirits, including journalists and writers such as Michael Foot, Tom Hopkinson (of Picture Post), Tom Harrisson (of Mass Observation), Alastair Forbes and Stephen King-Hall, some of whom became Observer contributors when Astor took charge. But that was years away. In the meantime he started to work for Louis ...

Serious Mayhem

Simon Reynolds: The McLaren Strand, 10 March 2022

The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren: The Biography 
by Paul Gorman.
Constable, 855 pp., £14.99, November 2021, 978 1 4721 2111 0
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... instalments, but it didn’t matter: I read and reread the piece that summer. Sharply written by Michael Watts, it covered the aftermath of the Pistols’ split at the end of a disastrous American tour; the fitful struggle to make a Sex Pistols movie; McLaren’s dalliance with managing the Slits; the fatal stabbing of Nancy Spungen, holed up with Sid ...

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