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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 good accents and daft haircuts always are, and Saville comes off quite well, the genius of the piece in fact, which is probably saying quite a lot, since the Manchester music scene of the late 1970s and 1980s (the setting for the movie) bred self-proclaimed geniuses in the way Sheffield used to produce knives and forks ...

Loot, Looter, Looted

Peter Howarth: John Haynes, 3 January 2008

Letter to Patience 
by John Haynes.
Seren, 79 pp., £7.99, April 2006, 1 85411 412 3
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... his employer because uneducated Muslims like him are being manipulated by Babangida’s cronies, keen to stir up inter-ethnic hatred to legitimise perpetual military government and maintain private oil revenues. This mimics the endlessly postponed democracy put forward by Lord Lugard, governor-general of Nigeria, in his Dual Mandate in British Tropical ...

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. Playing against Hilton College, I came up against Hylton Ackerman and Mike Procter – the latter opening both the batting and bowling at the age of 13 – while at Durban High School the opening pair of Lee Irvine and Barry Richards had century or double-century partnerships every week; it was impossible to bowl to them ...

Diary

Vesna Goldsworthy: In Montenegro, 17 February 2000

... 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 tabloid has advised young women not to conceive for another ...

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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... 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 Bernard Cornfeld. Inspired by that example, he studies the many ...

From a Novel in Progress

James Wood, 9 May 2002

... consider me as the writer of the proposed obituaries? I don’t cope well with pressure. I was keen to stay on Hegley’s order-form, and suddenly I realised that the most decisive way both to explain my tardiness and to appeal for sympathy would be to tell him that I had been lately dealing with my own, rather proximate obituary: I told Hegley that my ...

Half Bird, Half Fish, Half Unicorn

Paul Foot, 16 October 1997

Peter Cook: A Biography 
by Harry Thompson.
Hodder, 516 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 340 64968 2
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... I was a friend and devoted admirer of Peter Cook for thirty years but I never realised until I read this book how much our early lives had overlapped. We were born in the same week into the same sort of family. His father, like mine, was a colonial servant rushing round the world hauling down the Imperial flag. At one stage both fathers were ensnared in the argument about the most appropriate capital for the West Indies Federation: an argument as vexed as it was futile since the Federation lasted only a few months ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2019, 2 January 2020

... unaware of. I’ve never been an enthusiastic member, partly because Larkin wasn’t particularly keen on my stuff or keen on my being keen on his (which I am); Amis (K.) very much of the same mind. It wasn’t this, though, that put me off. What made me dubious about the society was the ...

Saint Jane

D.A.N. Jones, 20 October 1983

The Good Father 
by Peter Prince.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02131 1
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Mrs Pooter’s Diary 
by Keith Waterhouse and John Jensen.
Joseph, 208 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2339 5
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Dandiprat’s Days 
by David Thomson.
Dent, 165 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 460 04613 6
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The Dream of a Beast 
by Neil Jordan.
Chatto, 103 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 7011 2740 6
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Squeak: A Biography of NPA 1978A 203 
by John Bowen and Eric Fraser.
Faber, 127 pp., £2.95, October 1983, 0 571 13170 0
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The Life and Times of Michael K 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 250 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 10297 8
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... Peter Prince’s admirable novel, The Good Father, is about a group of professional-class people in the London Borough of Lambeth, trying to see themselves as liberal and left-wing. They were students together in the late 1960s and are struggling to maintain in the 1980s the package of liberal values (or ‘received ideas’) which they shared so confidently in their youth ...

Knowing

Frank Kermode, 3 December 1981

Bliss 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 296 pp., £6.50, November 1981, 0 571 11769 4
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Exotic Pleasures 
by Peter Carey.
Picador, 192 pp., £1.95, October 1981, 0 330 26550 4
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... undressed, who turns out to have a skin and limbs that also come off; in another, a father who is keen on the need for love dematerialises in the sitting-room. There’s an element of Science Fiction, and a rather poetic story about a mime, but the most telling is called ‘War Crimes’. It deals with what is clearly a favourite topic, the fascist ravages of ...

Sour Notes

D.A.N. Jones, 17 November 1983

Peter Hall’s Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle 
edited by John Goodwin.
Hamish Hamilton, 507 pp., £12.95, November 1983, 0 241 11047 5
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... Sir Peter Hall is a man of Notes. He is a director of plays who has become Director of the National Theatre. The skills of play directors are not those of performers (like his predecessor at the National, Lord Olivier). Play directors pride themselves on their ability to give what they call Notes. This sort of Note (scarcely recognised by dictionaries) is not the sort manual workers make, in notebooks or on notepaper: it is mouth work ...

Diary

Anne Enright: Mrs Robinson Repents, 28 January 2010

... struck him as ‘bizarre’, in that the interview took place on the day her husband, Peter Robinson, went to Downing Street to accept the role of First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly ‘and there really was a sense that Iris had stolen his thunder’. Black, who was hired as her political adviser, does not say when he decided to ...

Cad’s Cadenzas

Christopher Driver, 15 September 1988

William Walton: Behind the Façade 
by Susana Walton.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 19 315156 1
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Façade: Edith Sitwell Interpreted 
by Pamela Hunter.
Duckworth, 106 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 9780715621844
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... in the concertante solo violin part of Heldenleben, just as Benjamin Britten’s dependence upon Peter Pears, the sharer of his bed, shines through most of his later music. Susana Gil alighted upon the gossip circuit of musical Europe as a living anachronism. ‘By God, William is going to marry a native,’ said one of Walton’s friends when the eminent ...

Irving, Terry, Gary and Graham

Ian Hamilton, 22 April 1993

Behind Closed Doors 
by Irving Scholar and Mihir Bose.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 0 233 98824 6
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Sick as a Parrot: The Inside Story of the Spurs Fiasco 
by Chris Horrie.
Virgin, 293 pp., £4.99, August 1992, 0 86369 620 1
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Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different 
by Colin Malam.
Stanley Paul, 147 pp., £12.99, January 1993, 0 09 175424 0
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... when David’s problem first surfaced in the summer I had received a telephone call from a very keen Spurs supporter, who I knew was very friendly with Terry Venables ... He chit-chatted for a couple of minutes, and then he suddenly said: ‘I’ve got Terry’s number on holiday, and he would be very interested in hearing from you.’ I politely declined ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... the last war it was Connolly and Koestler and Spender, William Plomer, Alun Lewis, Dylan Thomas, Peter Quennell. Some still have life or fame or both, some not: but then, not now, was their moment. Was Connolly himself any good as a writer? The question means little because the point of Connolly turned out to be Connolly not producing the masterpieces which ...

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