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Words about Music

Hans Keller, 30 December 1982

Stravinsky: Selected Correspondence, Vol. I 
edited by Robert Craft.
Faber, 471 pp., £25, September 1982, 0 571 11724 4
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Igor Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress 
by Paul Griffiths, Igor Stravinsky, Robert Craft and Gabriel Josipovici.
Cambridge, 109 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 521 23746 7
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... is more natural, and hence more interesting than Stravinsky’s. There are choice quotes in Griffiths’s second chapter, on ‘The Makers and their Work’, such as ‘No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.’ Ironically, even Auden’s musical observations in Craft’s volume can, upon occasion, be ...

Gang of Four

Christopher Driver, 22 December 1983

The String Quartet: A History 
by Paul Griffiths.
Thames and Hudson, 240 pp., £12, October 1983, 9780500013113
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Gyorgy Ligeti 
by Paul Griffiths.
Robson, 128 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 86051 240 1
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... all composition, and much performance, is virtually invulnerable to non-specialist critique. Paul Griffiths, who has already reached the C major of this life by becoming in his mid-thirties the chief music critic of the Times, himself specialises in 20th-century music. His useful short book on Ligeti appears almost simultaneously with this more ...

Tearing up the Race Card

Paul Foot, 30 November 1995

The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker 
by Nigel Harris.
Tauris, 256 pp., £25, October 1995, 1 85043 956 7
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The Cambridge Survey of World Migration 
edited by Robin Cohen.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £75, November 1995, 0 521 44405 5
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... barred. No doubt Tory chairman Brian Mawhinney will be in close touch with his colleague Peter Griffiths, the MP for Portsmouth North, who first won a seat in Parliament in Smethwick, in the general election of 1964, by concentrating heavily on the race issue. It was in that election, without the sanction of Mr ...

In the Body Bag

Adam Mars-Jones: Ian McEwan’s ‘Nutshell’, 6 October 2016

by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 198 pp., £16.99, September 2016, 978 1 911214 33 5
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... but I tend to think of people with penises as men’) caused a certain amount of offence. When​ Paul Griffiths wrote his novel let me tell you, published in 2008, he made the formalist decision to narrate Ophelia’s life story using only her idiolect in the play – a vocabulary of 483 words. Good luck trying to voice personal grievances or casual ...

Falling Stars

Alan Coren, 5 November 1981

Richard Burton 
by Paul Ferris.
Weidenfeld, 212 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77966 4
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Peter Sellers 
by Alexander Walker.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77965 6
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... from other sources than grief in no way invalidates the findings of the experiment. Had I been Paul Ferris, I should certainly have waited until Burton had popped his Gucci clogs: not only would such patience have been rewarded by an exponential expansion of the little-old-lady market (not to say the dirty-old-lady market), it might also have resulted in ...

Blood Boiling

Paul Foot: Corporate takeover, 22 February 2001

Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain 
by George Monbiot.
Macmillan, 430 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 333 90164 9
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No Logo 
by Naomi Klein.
Flamingo, 501 pp., £8.99, January 2001, 0 00 653040 0
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... who for a moment threatened the corporations – David Clark on freedom of information, Nigel Griffiths on consumer influence, Mark Fisher on the arts – has been summarily sacked. Meanwhile, corporation tax and capital gains tax have been cut to ribbons, but income tax has stayed the same. The theoretical regulators of corporate power have become its ...

Not bloody likely

Paul Foot, 26 March 1992

Bloody Sunday in Derry: What really happened 
by Eamonn McCann, Maureen Shiels and Bridie Hannigan.
Brandon, 254 pp., £5.99, January 1992, 0 86322 139 4
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... team when the British realised the depth of his commitment to a united Ireland). Arthur Griffiths and Michael Collins believed the exclusion of the North was a minor matter, which could be dealt with later. They did not believe a six-county state could survive for long. So they sat round the table and argued interminably about petty matters of ...

Suffocating Suspense

Richard Davenport-Hines, 16 March 2000

Cult Criminals: The Newgate Novels 1830-47 
by Juliet John.
Routledge, 2750 pp., £399, December 1998, 0 415 14383 7
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... called Gabriel Varney, who was reworked from elements in the life of the forger-poisoner Thomas Griffiths Wainewright. Bulwer-Lytton was the most distinguished of the sensationally popular Newgate novelists. His closest rival, Harrison Ainsworth, managed nothing more than romantic escapism with a thick accretion of historical allusions. Bulwer-Lytton ...

Keith Middlemas on the history of Ireland

Keith Middlemas, 22 January 1981

Ireland: Land of Troubles 
by Paul Johnson.
Eyre Methuen, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 413 47650 2
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Acts of Union 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 221 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 571 11648 5
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by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Faber, 96 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 571 11645 0
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Ireland: A History 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £9.95, December 1980, 0 297 77855 2
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... cosmos, an integral factor in a prolonged, and possibly insoluble, post-colonial schizophrenia? Paul Johnson’s book is lively, well-informed and often provocative; his standpoint allows little space for nuances. His ‘crucial developments’ are the troubles themselves; the ‘shared experiences’ (one thinks of those thousands of Irishmen who ...

In an Empty Church

Peter Howarth: R.S. Thomas, 26 April 2007

The Man who Went into the West: The Life of R.S. Thomas 
by Byron Rogers.
Aurum, 326 pp., £16.99, June 2006, 1 84513 146 0
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... snob’, in the words of a tight-lipped email to Rogers from the girlfriend, signed ‘Sue Griffiths, PhD’. But in all accounts of Thomas’s domestic life the word that occurs most frequently is ‘silence’: huge, desolate silences filling the mornings and afternoons, gathering and building like the rolls of dust under the furniture (the Thomases ...

He’s Bad, She’s Mad

Mary Hannity: HMP Holloway, 9 May 2019

Bad Girls: The Rebels and Renegades of Holloway Prison 
by Caitlin Davies.
John Murray, 373 pp., £10.99, February 2019, 978 1 4736 4776 3
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... far more difficult to manage than men. Misconduct in Holloway, the prison inspector Arthur Griffiths insisted in 1870, was ‘intensified by hysteria, and those unsexed creatures respect no authority. At times the place is like a pandemonium.’ Selina Salter, one of the working-class prisoners Davies studies, was reported to have destroyed furniture ...

How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney, 14 October 1999

‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... usually written off as lunatic fictions – Michael Flood, Frederick Saxby, Valentine Fane, Griffiths Davies and so on: there were many – may yet turn out to be comrades from the trenches, those other persons he so loved. Although writing of place-names rather than people, P.J. Kavanagh puts the matter exactly in the introduction to his wonderful ...

Is this successful management?

R.W. Johnson, 20 April 1989

One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 570 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 333 34439 1
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... as if sensing the strain, was in both cases able to hound them out of office. (We have just seen Paul Channon, the Transport Minister, brazen out the constant run of transport disasters, thanks to solid backbench support. Would it have been the same if he’d been Jewish?) One Tory backbencher greeted Thatcher’s sacrifice of Brittan with the furious demand ...

Whose Justice?

Stephen Sedley, 23 September 1993

The Report of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice 
HMSO, 261 pp., £21.50, July 1993, 0 10 122632 2Show More
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... the press has a variegated record on miscarriages of justice. At its best it has journalists like Paul Foot who have doggedly reinvestigated cases nobody else would listen to. At its worst the press can be a source of prejudice that, as the case of the Taylor sisters powerfully demonstrates, actually promotes miscarriages of justice. Between these poles its ...

Doctor in the Dock

Stephen Sedley, 20 October 1994

Medical Negligence 
edited by Michael Powers and Nigel Harris.
Butterworth, 1188 pp., £155, July 1994, 0 406 00452 8
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... who would put the difference at 180 degrees. Bonney, for example, looks at the aftermath of the Griffiths report on Community Care: the clinical audit showed that patients were being unnecessarily kept in institutional seclusion, but resource management did not, he contends, furnish the intended alternative: discharges from mental hospitals and long-stay ...

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