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The Thought of Ruislip

E.S. Turner: The Metropolitan Line, 2 December 2004

Metro-Land: British Empire Exhibition Number 
by Oliver Green.
Southbank, 144 pp., £16.99, July 2004, 1 904915 00 0
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... begin to match the bulging treasure-houses of Harrods and Army and Navy Store catalogues, but as Oliver Green, the head curator of the museum, says in a succinct introduction, it is full of the cheerful brashness of the period. Thanks to the Empire Exhibition, Wembley had become a prestige station on the line. Not content with this, the company yearned ...


Douglas Oliver, 1 August 1996

... Between the perspective of buildings tall crane idle against the lines of morning and a doleful green lion with navy-blue eyes tattering down to emerald wraiths dissipates its body in smoke. Among the stream of Lubavitchers this Saturday from the synagogue comes a half-transparent gesture with a hand that turns in mid-air and comes back boldly dark ...

Taking stock of woods

Douglas Oliver, 17 December 1992

... Grey cloud roof sliding backwards lifts blue sky into the notch between hill-lines green au gratin. Pom-pommed, the slopes barge trees into valley turbulence. Along the summits, sunlit topknots. down to mid-distance, puffs, explosions, uprisings, striking tall, and achieved stature, horizontal shadow-flows running along the sides, mists of green dreaming scabbed with blackened precipices, as if the hills were green dogs with the mange ...

The Oracle of the Drowned

Douglas Oliver, 4 February 1988

... Memory in sea-green with sea-weed grain of glass as the rearing wave rains briefly before a lot of bother on the beach of childhood and men with a burden file across sand. Those far-out surfaces are lipped with transparent phrases coming to mind: that the real dying happened in middle heights between the lips and the sea floor ...

Two Poems

Douglas Oliver, 10 September 1992

... book. The soul as crumpled bedsheet Moon shoots into fumy night sky, worn down coin in fulgurous green, as we arrive at Tompkins Square Park after hotly debating a medieval sermon at Sheila’s house: has the soul a pure core and a penumbra of ideas through which alone the shadowy events of every day come nearer the disc’s intense white centre? We go ...

Behind the Green Baize Door

Alison Light: The Servant Problem, 5 March 2020

Feminism and the Servant Problem: Class and Domestic Labour in the Women’s Suffrage Movement 
by Laura Schwartz.
Cambridge, 248 pp., £75, July 2019, 978 1 108 47133 6
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... Workers’ Union of Great Britain and Ireland. It was launched in the spring of 1910 by Kathlyn Oliver, a 24-year-old cook-general, in response to a challenge from the Woman Worker, the organ of the National Federation of Women Workers. The DWU had offices in Belsize Road in London and membership cost 2d a week. Grace Neal, its general secretary, gave up ...

Distant Sheep

Penelope Fitzgerald, 21 July 1994

by John Bayley.
Duckworth, 192 pp., £14.99, May 1994, 0 7156 2618 3
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... There was an innocent, too, as hero in his last novel, In Another Country, published in 1955. But Oliver, a young officer with the British army of occupation, was a worrier and a sensitive, risking trouble for the sake of his German girlfriend, and contrasted with his hideously successful rival. In Alice the two innocents are uncompromisingly ...


Nicholas Spice, 17 May 1984

Present Times 
by David Storey.
Cape, 270 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 224 02188 5
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The Uses of Fiction: Essays on the Modern Novel in Honour of Arnold Kettle 
edited by Douglas Jefferson and Graham Martin.
Open University, 296 pp., £15, December 1982, 9780335101818
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The Hawthorn Goddess 
by Glyn Hughes.
Chatto, 232 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 7011 2818 6
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... I particularly liked the essay by Alistair Stead on the art of naming in the fiction of Henry Green. Glyn Hughes’s creative personality contrasts sharply with David Storey’s. Where Storey draws his imaginative sustenance from what’s under his nose, and achieves his subtlest effects through a notation of the banal which salvages our most routine acts ...

Stick in a Pie for Tomorrow

Jenny Turner: Thrift, 14 May 2009

Make Do and Mend: Keeping Family and Home Afloat on War Rations 
Michael O’Mara, 160 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 1 84317 265 9Show More
The Thrifty Cookbook: 476 Ways to Eat Well with Leftovers 
by Kate Colquhoun.
Bloomsbury, 256 pp., £14.99, April 2009, 978 0 7475 9704 9
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The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less 
by India Knight.
Fig Tree, 272 pp., £14.99, November 2008, 978 1 905490 37 0
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Jamie’s Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hours 
by Jamie Oliver.
Michael Joseph, 359 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 7181 4862 1
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Eating for Victory: Healthy Home Front Cooking on War Rations 
Michael O’Mara, 160 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 1 84317 264 2Show More
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... that reader-sparing slippage of the smugness from subject to predicate being a staple of the green-consumerist marketing voice, though not often done with such class. ‘And, yes, it could even help change your world’ – apparently. It’s clearly important to India Knight that she should never be seen to be guilty or anxious or apologetic or ...

Life, Death and the Whole Damn Thing

Jenny Diski, 17 October 1996

An Anthropologist on Mars 
by Oliver Sacks.
Picador, 336 pp., £6.99, January 1995, 0 330 34347 5
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The Island of the Colour-Blind 
by Oliver Sacks.
Picador, 336 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 330 35081 1
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... Oliver Sacks seeks for meaning in the chaos of neurological deficit. He has that in common with his patient Mr Thompson, one of two Korsakov amnesiacs described in The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, who, says Sacks, ‘must seek meaning, make meaning, in a desperate way, continually inventing, throwing bridges of meaning over abysses of meaninglessness, the chaos that yawns continually beneath him ...

In the Country

Peter Campbell: Trees, 24 September 2009

... bad news. The station at Agen faces a steep hillside covered with a forest in many shades of green through which the roofs of villas emerge. You don’t usually think of trees as being jolly, but that is the effect. The landscape of intensive agriculture is merely dispiriting. Dead or dying trees can make people deeply anxious. In France last month the ...

In the Garden

Peter Campbell: Rampant Weeds, 26 April 2007

... says. Weeds follow the spade and the plough and flourish under open skies on broken soil. Oliver Rackham, in his History of the Countryside, says that many weeds ‘could not survive in the wild: they cannot withstand shade and have little power of competition’. They are, in the most general sense, unwanted plants, an uncultivated horde that invades ...

Cartoon Quality

Zachary Leader, 6 December 1979

Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright 
by Steven Millhauser.
Routledge, 305 pp., £4.95
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A Prize Paradise 
by Oliver Pritchett.
Eyre Methuen, 171 pp., £4.95
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A Revenger’s Comedy 
by Derwent May.
Chatto, 191 pp., £5.95
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... cellophane the colors shine: popsicle orange and lemon-ice white, cotton-candy pink and mint-jelly green, cherry-soda red and raspberry-jello red. Cellophane crackles in the green-and-red-tinted dark.’ Here, the frankly nauseating means to evoke the object under scrutiny. With the novelist’s own (as it ...

Short Cuts

Matthew Beaumont: The route to Tyburn Tree, 20 June 2013

... whose execution in 1724 drew a crowd of two hundred thousand people. Nor is there any testament to Oliver Cromwell, whose remains, along with those of two other regicides, were disinterred after the Restoration, and hanged at Tyburn in a posthumous execution. The Tyburn Tree plaque seems even more modest when compared with the elephantine public sculptures ...

Dialect does it

Blake Morrison, 5 December 1985

No Mate for the Magpie 
by Frances Molloy.
Virago, 170 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 86068 594 2
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The Mysteries 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 229 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 9780571137893
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Ukulele Music 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 103 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 40986 0
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Hard Lines 2 
edited by Ian Dury, Pete Townshend, Alan Bleasdale and Fanny Dubes.
Faber, 95 pp., £2.50, June 1985, 0 571 13542 0
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No Holds Barred: The Raving Beauties choose new poems by women 
edited by Anna Carteret, Fanny Viner and Sue Jones-Davies.
Women’s Press, 130 pp., £2.95, June 1985, 0 7043 3963 3
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Katerina Brac 
by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 47 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 571 13614 1
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Skevington’s Daughter 
by Oliver Reynolds.
Faber, 88 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 571 13697 4
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Rhondda Tenpenn’orth 
by Oliver Reynolds.
10 pence
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Trio 4 
by Andrew Elliott, Leon McAuley and Ciaran O’Driscoll.
Blackstaff, 69 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 333 4
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Mama Dot 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, August 1985, 0 7011 2957 3
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The Dread Affair: Collected Poems 
by Benjamin Zephaniah.
Arena, 112 pp., £2.95, August 1985, 9780099392507
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Long Road to Nowhere 
by Amryl Johnson.
Virago, 64 pp., £2.95, July 1985, 0 86068 687 6
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Mangoes and Bullets 
by John Agard.
Pluto, 64 pp., £3.50, August 1985, 0 7453 0028 6
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Ragtime in Unfamiliar Bars 
by Ron Butlin.
Secker, 51 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 07810 4
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True Confessions and New Clichés 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 135 pp., £3.95, July 1985, 0 904919 90 0
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Works in the Inglis Tongue 
by Peter Davidson.
Three Tygers Press, 17 pp., £2.50, June 1985
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Wild Places: Poems in Three Leids 
by William Neill.
Luath, 200 pp., £5, September 1985, 0 946487 11 1
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... officialdom and a description of what seems to be a tank or armoured vehicle – an olive-green van and its four-ways-facing lily strafing the boulevards – suggest that she may be Eastern European, but, as with everything else about Katerina, we cannot be sure. ‘I write poems and make the best of what I have’ is as much as she will tell us. The ...

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