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Ian Hamilton, 25 January 1996

Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... Log (‘with Graham Clark’) and Blue Grit by Glasgow Rangers’ John Brown (‘with Peter Watson’). Would Brown reveal some juicy Gazza tales or give us the dirt on Graeme Souness? Not a chance. Gascoigne is not mentioned (perhaps he arrived too late) and as for Souness: ‘I haven’t got a bad word to say about Graeme. I don’t know if he ...

Do you like him?

Ian Jack: Ken Livingstone, 10 May 2012

You Can’t Say That: Memoirs 
by Ken Livingstone.
Faber, 710 pp., £9.99, April 2012, 978 0 571 28041 4
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... yards from the Bank of England, while incoming tides of men crossed London Bridge every morning in bowler hats. Livingstone at first struggled to find a niche for himself in this pre-swinging capital. An 11-plus failure, he’d spent his years at the brand-new Tulse Hill Comprehensive avoiding mental or physical exercise of almost any kind. Two inspirational ...

I met murder on the way

Colin Kidd: Castlereagh, 24 May 2012

Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War and Tyranny 
by John Bew.
Quercus, 722 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 85738 186 6
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... Among the few groups perceived as uncool are Ulster’s Protestant Unionists. It’s not only that bowler hats epitomise 1950s squareness, or that the symbolic meaning of orange sashes rather undermines their potential to offer a swish of colourful ethnic pluralism; there is also something in Ulster straightness – a dour literalism – which repels groups ...

The analyst is always right

Mark Ford: Tessimond and Spencer, 17 November 2011

Collected Poems with Translations from Jacques Prévert 
by A.S.J. Tessimond.
Bloodaxe, 188 pp., £10.95, November 2010, 978 1 85224 857 4
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Complete Poetry, Translations and Selected Prose 
by Bernard Spencer.
Bloodaxe, 351 pp., £15, February 2011, 978 1 85224 891 8
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... am’ poems are nearly all attempts to capture the lives of various city types – a man in a bowler hat, a prostitute, a jack-the-lad – or explore the institutions that govern daily life: ‘I am your master and your master’s master’ (‘Money’); ‘I am the fairy tale, the lovely lie, the brighter-than-truth’ (‘Hollywood’): I am the ...

Mother One, Mother Two

Jeremy Harding: A memoir, 31 March 2005

... last moment, now has it in her arms as though it had been there all along. Colin, who is wearing a bowler hat and leather gloves and earning £1200 a year on the London Stock Exchange, looks as if he’d just got away with an ingenious robbery. Secrecy was paramount. As far as Colin’s parents knew, Maureen had given birth to the bright new member of the ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley, 11 July 2002

Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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The Cat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... last few years. First in Patricia Hearst’s 1996 thriller, Murder at San Simeon; more recently in Peter Bogdanovich’s The Cat’s Meow. In the style of a docudrama, the film depicts a weekend pleasure cruise aboard William Randolph Hearst’s 208-foot yacht, the Oneida, in November 1924. Hearst’s guests included Chaplin, Ince (whose birthday it was) and ...

Maigret’s Room

John Lanchester: The Home Life of Inspector Maigret, 4 June 2020

... pretty quickly – as Suite at the Majestic. That same translation became The Strange Case of Peter the Lett, then The Case of Peter the Lett. In 1963 it was newly translated as Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett. David Bellos’s recent translation is the first with the confidence to call the book in English what it is ...

The Suitcase: Part Three

Frances Stonor Saunders, 10 September 2020

... together. Elena was now Helen, Mummy not Mami; Papa became Daddy; the boys were still Donald and Peter, of course, but they had far fewer words at their disposal by which to express themselves. They were now British – British refugees, to be exact – not just because their identity documents said so, but because their survival depended on it. And thus ...

What’s next?

James Wood: Afterlives, 14 April 2011

After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell and Purgatory 
by John Casey.
Oxford, 468 pp., £22.50, January 2010, 978 0 19 509295 0
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... writings, the first detailed depictions of the Christian hell appear. In the Apocalypse of Peter, an apocryphal text from perhaps the early second century, the damned, as in Dante, receive bespoke punishments: blasphemers hang by their tongues, adulterers by their genitals and so on. The history of this iconography, Dante notwithstanding (and Casey is ...


Alan Bennett: My 2006, 4 January 2007

... who could, nevertheless, sing like angels. What of them? I never met or saw Britten, though he and Peter Pears came disastrously to Beyond the Fringe sometime in 1961. Included in the programme was a parody of Britten written by Dudley Moore, in which he sang and accompanied himself in ‘Little Miss Muffet’ done in a Pears and Britten-like way. I’m not ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... every appearance of relish. Maybe he did do that in public – the Derek and Clive dialogues with Peter Cook left very little to the imagination, so it’s not unlikely.23 March. Barry Cryer brings a good deal of old-fashioned joy into my life, as I’m sure he does for many others. His phone calls always begin, ‘It’s your stalker,’ after which without ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester, 5 July 2001

... it among the music played by the band as the ranks of veterans proceeded up Whitehall wearing bowler hats and medals. And he persuaded a major record company to release a performance of it by the band of a Guards regiment. It was a habit of his to quote out of nowhere and out of context the lines from Henry V, ‘In peace there’s nothing so becomes a ...

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