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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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... between 1915 and 1932). As reissues go, this slim volume originally costing threepence does not begin to match the bulging treasure-houses of Harrods and Army and Navy Store catalogues, but as OliverGreen, 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 ...


Douglas Oliver

1 August 1996
... A purple-haired woman with a paper handkerchief for a face runs down the rue des Messageries. 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 ...
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 ...

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 ...

Two Poems

Douglas Oliver

10 September 1992
... springfulness, wondering about women. This now premonitory, of adult life vanishing later in the same 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 ...

Behind the Green​ Baize Door

Alison Light: The Servant Problem

23 February 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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... to Schwartz’s book – and closest to her heart, I suspect – is her research on the Domestic 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 ...

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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... readers, who need to keep their wits about them. To begin with, he conjures up a couple of innocents. 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 ...


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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... on the African and Commonwealth novel, and studies of individual 20th century novelists. Of the latter, 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 ...

In the Garden

Peter Campbell: Rampant Weeds

26 April 2007
... not be popular. ‘Not easy to eradicate, regrowth occurs from root fragments,’ the Pest and Weed Expert 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 ...

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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... cunningly laconic: thrifty food is, apparently, ‘tasty and infinitely, almost smugly, rewarding’ – 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 ...

In the Country

Peter Campbell: Trees

24 September 2009
... it as it did many others. The French penchant for mixtures of trees in quite small gardens is not always 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 ...

Short Cuts

Matthew Beaumont: The route to Tyburn Tree

20 June 2013
... Sheppard, the most charismatic and popular thief of the time, who twice escaped from Newgate, and 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 ...
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 ...

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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... stiffen. Brighter than licked lollipops, livelier than soda in sunlight, lovelier than sunshine on 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 ...

The Whole Point of Friends

Theo Tait: Dunthorne’s Punchlines

22 March 2018
The Adulterants 
by Joe Dunthorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 173 pp., £12.99, February 2018, 978 0 241 30547 8
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... community in Wales, is enjoyable, but less distinctive, less funny, more in the fictional mainstream.) Ray could be a disappointed grown-up version of Submarine’s precocious teenage narrator, Oliver Tate. Both are character studies that remind you how annoying really funny people often are. Both have the same undertow of sexual creepiness, and the same unhealthy fixation with researching medical ...

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