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9 January 1992
Through a Glass Darkly: The life of Patrick Hamilton 
by Nigel Jones.
Scribner, 408 pp., £18.95, December 1991, 0 356 19701 8
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... about, and so indicative of a place, a time and a culture. When he was himself living in Brighton, Nigel Jones happened to meet the widow of the writer’s elder brother Bruce, who gave him access to a mass of letters the siblings had exchanged over the years. As one might expect, the atmosphere of the Hamilton household was decidedly incestuous: father a ...

Short Cuts

Chris Mullin: Anonymous and Abuse

19 November 2019
... life by a crazed Islamist. Ten years earlier, again while conducting a surgery, the Cheltenham MP Nigel Jones was seriously injured by a sword-wielding constituent. His assistant was killed. All this was long before Brexit poisoned the well of British politics.Has it got worse? Yes, it has. Brexit has released a nasty strain of chauvinism which has ...

Something Rather Scandalous

Jean McNicol: The Loves of Rupert Brooke

19 October 2016
Rupert Brooke: Life, Death and Myth 
by Nigel Jones.
Head of Zeus, 588 pp., £12, April 2015, 978 1 78185 703 8
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Fatal Glamour: The Life of Rupert Brooke 
by Paul Delany.
McGill-Queen’s, 380 pp., £28.99, March 2015, 978 0 7735 4557 1
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The Second I Saw You: The True Love Story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner 
by Lorna C. Beckett.
British Library, 216 pp., £16.99, April 2015, 978 0 7123 5792 0
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... sanitised. Christopher Hassall was asked to write the authorised biography in part because, as Nigel Jones notes in his own biography of Brooke, Hassall’s lengthy Life of Eddie Marsh had managed ‘to avoid the topic of his subject’s homosexuality’ and he could therefore be relied on to be discreet. (It’s unfair to say that Hassall doesn’t ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Ukip’s wrinkly glitz

4 November 2004
...  ...

Passing-Out Time

Christopher Tayler: Patrick Hamilton’s drinking

29 January 2009
The Slaves of Solitude 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Constable, 327 pp., £7.99, September 2008, 978 1 84529 415 1
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The Gorse Trilogy 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Black Spring, 603 pp., £9.95, June 2007, 978 0 948238 34 5
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... course there was the drinking. Bruce died in 1974. After an interval, his widow gave his papers to Nigel Jones, whose 1991 biography of Hamilton was followed two years later by a less substantial Life written by Sean French. Between them, these biographers raised their subject to his current position as the go-to guy for shabby-genteel, pub-dwelling ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flirtation, Seduction and Betrayal

5 September 2002
... the bouncy castle of celebrity without taking off their shoes? What will happen, for example, to Nigel Farndale? Farndale’s Flirtation, Seduction, Betrayal: Interviews with the Rich and Famous is to be published at the end of October (Constable, £14.99). When an advance proof copy arrived on the Short Cuts desk I eagerly pounced: at last! Everything I ...

Fill it with fish

Helen Cooper: The trail of the Grail

6 June 2002
Parzival and the Stone from Heaven: A Grail Romance Retold for Our Time 
by Lindsay Clarke.
HarperCollins, 239 pp., £14.99, September 2001, 0 00 710813 3
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Merlin and the Grail: ‘Joseph of Arimathea’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Perceval’ The Trilogy of Arthurian Romances Attributed to Robert de Boron 
translated by Nigel Bryant.
Boydell and Brewer, 172 pp., £30, May 2001, 0 85991 616 2
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Le Livre du Graal. Tome I: ‘Joseph D’Arimathie’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Les Premiers Faits du Roi Arthur’ 
edited by Daniel Poirion and Philippe Walter.
Gallimard, 1993 pp., £50.95, April 2001, 2 07 011342 6
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... Yes, yes, Mr Burne-Jones,’ Benjamin Jowett is reputed to have said as he inspected the artist’s newly completed Arthurian murals in the Oxford Union, ‘but what does one do with the Grail once one has found it?’ This sounds almost as much the definitive question as the Grail was the definitive quest, but Jowett’s objection is more radically misconceived than any answer could be ...

Late Capote

Julian Barnes

19 February 1981
Music for Chameleons 
by Truman Capote.
Hamish Hamilton, 262 pp., £7.95, February 1981, 0 241 10541 2
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... constant tease of Answered Prayers – that promised concoction which will be half Proust, half Nigel Dempster – but in the meantime a new aesthetic was getting overdue. The Preface to Music for Chameleons, reprinted from Vogue, provides it. It opens with some routine bravado – ‘Writers, at least those who take genuine risks, who are willing to bite ...

Diary

Tobias Jones: On Chess

5 June 1997
... classic tactical treatise of the 17th century, Go Rin No Sho (A Book of Five Rings), and replaces Nigel Short’s notorious TDF game-plan of (‘trap, dominate, fuck’) with haikus and aikido tenets (‘If pulled, enter. If pushed, turn’). Zen training to cultivate the quality of fudoshin, the ‘imperturbable mind’, is offered as the perfect blend of ...

swete lavender

Thomas Jones: Molesworth

17 February 2000
Molesworth 
by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle.
Penguin, 406 pp., £8.99, October 1999, 0 14 118240 7
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... are missing a different point: and they’re bound to, because they did read it at school. Nigel Molesworth is a 1950s prep-school boy – the ‘goriller of 3B’, ‘curse of st custard’s which is the skool i am at’ – whose spelling is atrocious. His diaries, written by Geoffrey Willans (a one-time schoolmaster) and illustrated by Ronald ...

Would we be any happier?

Thomas Jones: William Gibson

20 February 2020
Agency 
by William Gibson.
Viking, 402 pp., £18.99, January, 978 0 241 23721 2
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... who lives in Vancouver, was in London on 31 January. ‘Dreamt of a squealing, woad-smeared Nigel Farage,’ he tweeted, ‘weakly prancing naked at Stonehenge, then woke to see I’d slept, soul-delayed, through the start of Brexit Hour.’ ‘Soul delay’ is jet lag: Cayce, recently arrived in London at the beginning of Pattern Recognition, imagines ...
15 August 1991
John Major: The Making of the Prime Minister 
by Bruce Anderson.
Fourth Estate, 324 pp., £16.99, June 1991, 9781872180540
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‘My Style of Government’: The Thatcher Years 
by Nicholas Ridley.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 09 175051 2
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... in the ‘ruthless and cruel’ Conservative Party who brought her down. Above all, he blames Nigel Lawson for precipitating the economic crisis which he believes was the underlying cause of her fall. Not that Mr Ridley says anything beastly about John Major. He just doesn’t say anything very admiring about him. This is perhaps not entirely ...
16 August 1990
Sir Huge: The Life of Huw Wheldon 
by Paul Ferris.
Joseph, 307 pp., £18.99, June 1990, 0 7181 3464 8
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... and firmly related to the intention and quality of the programme in question. He defended Nigel Kneale’s Year of the Sex Olympics because it was a serious play; he wondered mildly if there were not some house taboo against the bare breasts on view in Nana. Incidentally, in a consideration of television and the way a television panjandrum exercises ...

Hard Labour

Frank Kermode: Marvell beneath the Notes

23 October 2003
The Poems of Andrew Marvell 
edited by Nigel Smith.
Longman, 468 pp., £50, January 2003, 0 582 07770 2
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... periodical articles, by no means all of which deserve his, or anybody else’s, attention. Nigel Smith, Marvell’s new editor, remarks that the serious annotation of Marvell’s works began only in 1927, with H.M. Margoliouth’s Oxford edition. That edition might never have been projected but for Eliot’s 1921 essay on the poet, itself the ...

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