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Lucky Boy

Kevin Kopelson, 3 April 1997

Shine 
directed by Scott Hicks.
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Shine: The Screenplay 
by Jan Sardi.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £7.99, January 1997, 0 7475 3173 0
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The Book of David 
by Beverley Eley.
HarperCollins, 285 pp., £8.99, March 1997, 0 207 19105 0
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Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life with David Helfgott 
by Gillian Helfgott, with Alissa Tanskaya.
Penguin, 337 pp., £6.99, January 1997, 0 14 026546 5
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... equalities for purposes of telephonic seduction, Tristan-esque trip-taking.’ Now comes Scott Hicks’s Shine, an equally arty but commercially viable biopic about a man – David Helfgott (played by Geoffrey Rush, Noah Taylor and Alex Rafalowicz) – who is abnormally inarticulate. Helfgott’s very first words are: ‘Kissed them all, I kissed them ...

Done for the State

John Guy: The House of York, 2 April 2020

The Brothers York: An English Tragedy 
by Thomas Penn.
Penguin, 688 pp., £12.99, April, 978 0 7181 9728 5
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Richard III: The Self-Made King 
by Michael Hicks.
Yale, 388 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 0 300 21429 1
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... to be on the council and how would the regency work? When we come to consider what happened next Michael Hicks’s Richard III: The Self-Made King proves valuable. The great merit of Hicks’s academic study is that he anchors every known move in Richard’s career to the (often conflicting) sources, making it easier ...

Get off your knees

Ferdinand Mount: An Atheist in the House, 30 June 2011

Dare to Stand Alone: The Story of Charles Bradlaugh, Atheist and Republican 
by Bryan Niblett.
Kramedart, 391 pp., £19.99, January 2011, 978 0 9564743 0 8
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... motion to be made standing between him and his taking of the oath.’ The leader of the House, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, rose to object. The speaker silenced him, reminding him that Hicks-Beach had himself not yet taken the oath. And that was the end of it. What is so remarkable is that Bradlaugh took the oath, which is ...

On Michael O’Brien

August Kleinzahler: Michael O’Brien, 16 February 2017

... few​ significant American poets called as little attention to themselves in their lifetimes as Michael O’Brien, who died last November at the age of 77. Much as with Lorine Niedecker – whose ‘silences’, he wrote, ‘derive from an intellectual conviction that art, like science, demands total concentration on the object of attention’ – his ...

Who gets to trip?

Mike Jay: Psychedelics, 27 September 2018

How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics 
by Michael Pollan.
Allen Lane, 465 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 0 241 29422 2
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Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds 
by Lauren Slater.
Little, Brown, 400 pp., £20, February 2018, 978 0 316 37064 6
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... Wouldn’t you like​ to see a positive LSD story on the news?’ asked the late comedian Bill Hicks in one of his most famous routines. ‘Today, a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there’s no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we’re the imagination of ourselves ...

Honest Graft

Michael Brock, 23 June 1988

Corruption in British Politics, 1895-1930 
by G.R. Searle.
Oxford, 448 pp., £19.50, November 1987, 0 19 822915 1
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... with legal rights can be deemed corrupt. Dr Searle gives details of the purchase for Army use of Hicks Beach’s Netheravon estate. This aroused criticism because the seller was a leading cabinet minister: but a landowner’s position was so powerful in such a case that he did not need cabinet office in order to hold his countrymen to ransom. The Netheravon ...

It’s not the bus: it’s us

Thomas Sugrue: Stars, Stripes and Civil Rights, 20 November 2008

The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph that Shocked America 
by Louis Masur.
Bloomsbury US, 224 pp., $24.95, April 2008, 978 1 59691 364 6
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... ensued. Anti-busing leaders denied that their protest had anything to do with racism. Louise Day Hicks, a city council member who was nearly elected mayor on an anti-busing platform, said that busing was ‘undemocratic, un-American, absurdly expensive and diametrically opposed to the wishes of the parents in this city’. William Bulger, the flamboyant ...

Gove or Galtieri?

Colin Kidd: Popular Conservatism, 4 October 2017

Crown, Church and Constitution: Popular Conservatism in England 1815-67 
by Jörg Neuheiser, translated by Jennifer Walcoff Neuheiser.
Berghahn, 320 pp., £78, May 2016, 978 1 78533 140 4
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Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy 
by Daniel Ziblatt.
Cambridge, 450 pp., £26.99, April 2017, 978 0 521 17299 8
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Edmund Burke and the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914: An Intellectual History 
by Emily Jones.
Oxford, 288 pp., £60, April 2017, 978 0 19 879942 9
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Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir 
by Ken Clarke.
Pan, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 1 5098 3720 5
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... we concede that May, however ghastly, is a more attractive option than flesh-creeping figures like Michael Gove or Liam Fox. Rather, Ziblatt prompts consideration of more fundamental options. Having the whole appalling crew in power from time to time has been the necessary cost of avoiding a fragile and fearful democracy that never knows when the next military ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... P.N. Furbank on E.M. Forster, Philip Williams on Gaitskell, Sybille Bedford on Aldous Huxley, Michael Holroyd on Augustus John, J.E. Morpurgo on Allen Lane, Ronald Lewin on Slim and Christopher Sykes on Evelyn Waugh. On the other hand, we do get José Harris on Beveridge, James Lees-Milne on Harold Nicolson, O.S. Nock on Stanier, and Hugh Thomas on John ...

Falling in love with Lucian

Colm Tóibín: Lucian Freud’s Outer Being, 10 October 2019

The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68 
by William Feaver.
Bloomsbury, 680 pp., £35, September 2019, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... were allowed to go … It just seemed amazingly exciting.’ While there, he had an affair with Michael Wishart, who was 18 – Freud was 23 – and a nephew of a woman Freud had been close to, and a cousin of the woman who would be his first wife. Wishart, who became a painter, would marry Anne Dunn, who was also a lover of Freud’s. In Paris he worked on ...

They would have laughed

Ferdinand Mount: The Massacre at Amritsar, 4 April 2019

Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre 
by Kim A. Wagner.
Yale, 325 pp., £20, February 2019, 978 0 300 20035 5
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... this and fingers those notorious reactionaries and outspoken Dyer supporters, Sir William Joynson-Hicks, the home secretary, and Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, then war secretary, but he can find no trace of the necessary arrangements in the papers of either ‘Jix’ or ‘Worthy’, suggesting that even they felt the need to conceal what they were up to. All ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... spoke to his team and put them all to work. He got to Sergeant Helen Tilbury at 5.30 a.m. PC Emma Hicks and PC Kelly Hicks, contacted a bit later, went to the rugby trust building in Walmer Road while Tilbury and PC Dave Pullan went to another temporary relief centre, Clement James in Treadgold Street. ‘Because we were in ...

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