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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Spider-Man 3’

24 May 2007
Spider-Man 3 
directed by Sam Raimi.
May 2007
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... the Spider-Man film franchise is so strange that it’s not unpleasant to watch it earn money even while idling. Like the new movie itself, we have our memories, and Tobey Maguire is still with us as Peter Parker, the goofiness wearing a little thin, but the earnestness holding up (in Spider-Man 2 the woman Peter loves appears in a Broadway production of The Importance of Being Earnest), and he does ...

The New Narrative

John Kerrigan

16 February 1984
The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse 
edited by Iona Opie and Peter​ Opie.
Oxford, 407 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 19 214131 7
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Time’s Oriel 
by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Hutchinson, 61 pp., £4.95, August 1983, 0 09 153291 4
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On Gender and Writing 
edited by Michelene Wandor.
Pandora, 166 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 86358 021 1
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Stone, Paper, Knife 
by Marge Piercy.
Pandora, 144 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 9780863580222
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The Achievement of Ted Hughes 
edited by Keith Sagar.
Manchester, 377 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 7190 0939 1
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Ted Hughes and Paul Muldoon 
Faber, £6.95, June 1983, 0 571 13090 9Show More
River 
by Ted Hughes and Peter Keen.
Faber, 128 pp., £10, September 1983, 0 571 13088 7
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Quoof 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 64 pp., £4, September 1983, 0 571 13117 4
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... involution, young poets are in some danger of neglecting an essential resource of the Story. Certainly, to read a collection like The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse, newly-edited by Iona and Peter Opie, is to be reminded of the powerful appeal that’s made in poetry by ‘the kind of story in which, you want to know what happens next’. The Opies’ choice is often cautious and occasionally ...

Prize Poems

Donald Davie

1 July 1982
Arvon Foundation Poetry Competion: 1980 Anthology 
by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
Kilnhurst Publishing Company, 173 pp., £3, April 1982, 9780950807805
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Burn this 
by Tom Disch.
Hutchinson, 63 pp., £7.50, April 1982, 0 09 146960 0
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... of the Ronsard sonnet that defeated Yeats: When you are old and lost in memory you might, seized by a sentimental fit, take down this book and blow the dust off it recalling: ‘Bosley was quite keen on me.’ What on earth were they looking for – Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney and Charles Causley – that they should have rated Bosley’s heart-warming dexterity (feelingful as ...

In Bexhill

Peter​ Campbell: Ben Nicholson

20 November 2008
... from William Nicholson’s jugs and plates. The pictures on show at Bexhill make Nicholson seem a very English painter, a practitioner of the restraint and charm that English art in the 1960s was keen to distance itself from, but which – in Hockney’s drawings, for example – keeps breaking through. The minimalism of the reliefs that gave Nicholson a claim to the title of England’s most ...

At the Design Museum

Andrew O’Hagan: Peter​ Saville

19 June 2003
... I think it likely – or slightly more than likely – that Peter Saville is the only English graphic artist to have had an actor play him in a major motion picture. The film, 24 Hour Party People, was entertaining in the way that films full of intense people with ...

Lords loses out

R.W. Johnson: Basil D’Oliveira and racism in sport

16 December 2004
Basil D’Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story 
by Peter​ Oborne.
Little, Brown, 274 pp., £16.99, June 2004, 0 316 72572 2
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Reflections on a Life in Sport 
by Sam Ramsamy and Edward Griffiths.
Greenhouse, 168 pp., £7.99, July 2004, 0 620 32251 9
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... Growing up in Durban in the 1950s, I could see how keen Coloured and Indian cricketers were, how much everything was tilted against them and, at the same time, how good white South African cricket was. Take the schoolboy generation I saw rising around me ...

Fancy Dress

Peter​ Campbell: Millais, Burne-Jones and Leighton

15 April 1999
Millais: Portraits 
by Peter​ Funnell and Malcolm Warner.
National Portrait Gallery, 224 pp., £35, February 1999, 1 85514 255 4
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John Everett Millais 
by G.H. Fleming.
Constable, 318 pp., £20, August 1998, 0 09 478560 0
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Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer 
by Stephen Wildman and John Christian.
Abrams, 360 pp., £48, October 1998, 0 8109 6522 4
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Frederic Leighton: Antiquity, Renaissance, Modernity 
edited by Tim Barringer and Elizabeth Prettejohn.
Yale, 332 pp., £40, March 1999, 0 300 07937 0
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... have encouraged him to make a confession of failure out of a piece of wry, modest self-deprecation. The trouble is, Millais’s judgment, in whatever spirit it was made, has been that of posterity. Peter Funnell’s essay in the catalogue of the exhibition now at the National Portrait Gallery quotes Arthur Symons, writing in 1896, a few months after Millais’s death: ‘a finer promise than any ...

Diary

Vesna Goldsworthy: In Montenegro

17 February 2000
... Those who remained were worried about the approaching winter and tired of discussing it. Power cuts had already begun and public transport was appalling. The Serbian Government, like Nato, appears keen to play down suggestions of any environmental damage caused by the bombing raids, but Belgrade buzzes with wild rumours about low-level uranium radiation, pollution and poisoned river water. One ...

Young Marvin

Frank Kermode

24 January 1991
A Tenured Professor 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 197 pp., £12.95, November 1990, 1 85619 018 8
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Shade those laurels 
by Cyril Connolly and Peter​ Levi.
Bellew, 174 pp., £12.95, October 1990, 0 947792 37 6
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... topics of discussion include the ins and outs of sexual harassment, the follies of economists, and the legitimacy of the extracurricular activities of the professoriat, especially Marvin’s. Keen to do some good in the world, not least for himself, young Marvin needs the security of tenure, and produces a solid thesis to that end. But one day in Heffers he picks up a book and reads about ...

At the National Gallery

Peter​ Campbell: Goya

14 January 2002
... so reprobates) is probably Don Luis’s secretary Manuel Moreno; the pale-faced man beside him, waiting, it would seem, for the session to be over, may be the composer Luigi Boccherini (Don Luis was keen on music as well as on hunting and science). The man smiling out at us, like a child looking to catch the eye of a parent when he should be attending to his part in the school play, is Boccherini’s ...

At Tate Britain

Peter​ Campbell: Lucian Freud

25 July 2002
... working. Hotel Bedroom is the last painting where I was sitting down; when I stood up I never sat down again.’ Which makes you think about sitting and standing self-portraits: Hogarth sitting – keen, you feel, to get closer to the canvas. Velázquez in Las Meninas standing – clearly needing to move back to see how his latest mark is working. In Freud’s later, freer pictures the puckering ...

At the Royal Academy

Peter​ Campbell: How to Draw Horses

9 October 2003
... horse, and a hunting scene made when he was ten. ‘By then I had seen many pictures by grown ups; I don’t think it is as good as the one of a horse and cart which was quite uninfluenced.’ He is keen to let children know that they are the best judges of their own work and warns them against knowledgable criticism from horsey people. A sculptor as well as a draughtsman, Skeaping had been married ...

At Tate Britain

Peter​ Campbell: Gainsborough

28 November 2002
... mock ineffectual good intentions. Henry, Third Duke of Buccleuch, painted with his dog (both charmingly unaggressive; both, the sharp highlights suggest, damp-eyed), seems to listen to you quietly, keen to agree, to conciliate, perhaps even to persuade you to improve your ways. The portraits attended to, one turns to the ‘fancy pictures’ (country scenes, pictures of poor children) and landscapes ...

At the Wallace Collection

Peter​ Campbell: Osbert Lancaster’s Promontory

25 September 2008
... wheeled in his pram by Nanny in Kensington Gardens and cooed over by a veiled lady with an ermine muff and hat, and in another illustration he is taking tea with aunts whom Lartigue would have been keen to snap. In his guides to British architecture (Pillar to Post and Homes Sweet Homes), the excesses of the latest thing are identified. The story advances spread by illustrated spread, so that ...

At Home

Peter​ Campbell

22 September 2011
... conjuring a big room (what a neighbour of ours called her ‘ballroom’) out of one or two smaller ones and a dingy backyard. The last possible direction to take was down. Town planners, always keen to preserve profiles and details, presumably worry less about new basements than new UPVC glazing bars. It used to seem to me that terraced houses were infinitely adaptable. But after reading ...

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