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Boy Gang

Peter Prince

19 January 1984
Minor Characters 
by Joyce Johnson.
Collins, 262 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 00 272511 8
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Neurotica: The Authentic Voice of the Beat Generation 1948-1951 
edited by Jay Landesman and G. Legman.
Jay Landesman, 535 pp., £19.95, July 1981, 0 905150 26 0
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Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac 
by Gerald Nicosia.
Grove, 767 pp., £14.95, October 1983, 0 394 52270 2
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... Joyce Johnson was Jack Kerouac’s lover during a brief but crucial period in his career. She met him on a blind date fixed up by Allen Ginsberg in January 1957, nine months before the publication of his second novel. Outside a small circle of avant-garde writers and artists and drinking buddies, Kerouac then had few admirers. In 1950, under the name John Kerouac, he had published The Town and 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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... PeterPrince’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 ...
1 January 1998
The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken 
by Luke Harding and David Leigh.
Penguin, 205 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 14 027290 9
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... Are we all bare-faced liars?’ The question came from Jonathan Aitken, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, in January 1994. It was put to the then editor of the Guardian, Peter Preston. The words ‘we all’ referred to Aitken himself, his wife Lolicia and his faithful Arab friend Said Ayas. The answer to the question was ‘yes’. They were all bare-faced liars, but none ...

Romeo and Tito

Penelope Gilliatt

5 June 1980
... a businesslike Russian had been quoted as saying. Tito laughed when I told him that, and said: ‘I have been looking into our history and found a precedent. At the end of the 18th century Archbishop PrincePeter I, who was Regent of Montenegro, was summoned to appear in Moscow on charges of being a spy for the British. He called together the heads of the clans and they gave their reply. They said that ...

All hail, sage lady

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Crown’

15 December 2016
... who asked if a novelist wrote books. As often with the duke, his question lay somewhere between existential brilliance and intergalactic dunce-hood. I merely smiled in imitation of his lovely wife. Prince Philip is a pure catch for a dramatist. Imagine nearly seventy years in the mellow afterglow of someone else’s radiance, two steps behind, a man infantilised beyond belief, provided with everything ...

Royal Pain

Peter​ Campbell

28 September 1989
A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture 
by HRH The Prince​ of Wales.
Doubleday, 156 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 9780385269032
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The Prince​ of Wales: Right or Wrong? An architect replies 
by Maxwell Hutchinson.
Faber, 203 pp., £10.99, September 1989, 0 571 14287 7
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... pose and make the failures the responsibility of the politicians, the planners and the developers. The ambivalence of the architectural profession has been highlighted by the fuss surrounding the Prince of Wales’s entry into various debates on building and buildings. For example, Martin Pawley in the Guardian complains that the V & A exhibition put on to coincide with the publication of A Vision ...

Caliban Rex

Peter​ Spagnuolo

4 January 2018
... toss down coconuts for Da’, pile on us laughing, or howl while chasing down a pig. I’m the boss of no one now. Let her sail off to Napule, whatever that place is – she can lay her velvet prince in his velvety bed, his floppy royal tool like squid when it’s dead, convince herself that she can live on that. She gets a pump from him, and slips into a trance, and sees my sun-burnt, wooly ...

In Fiery Letters

Mark Ford: F.T. Prince

8 February 2018
Reading F.T. Prince 
by Will May.
Liverpool, 256 pp., £75, December 2016, 978 1 78138 333 9
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... Although​ during his lifetime F.T. Prince (1912-2003) acquired a number of illustrious admirers – including those poetic polar opposites, Geoffrey Hill and John Ashbery – his poetry is still not widely known. ‘Soldiers Bathing’, it ...

Downhill Racer

John Sutherland

16 August 1990
Lying together 
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 255 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 575 04802 6
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The Neon Bible 
by John Kennedy Toole.
Viking, 162 pp., £12.99, March 1990, 0 670 82908 0
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Solomon Gursky was here 
by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 576 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 394 53995 8
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Death of the Soap Queen 
by Peter Prince.
Bloomsbury, 277 pp., £13.99, April 1990, 0 7475 0611 6
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... hiding in the attic!’ As one of the less law-abiding Gurskys puts it, on his death bed: ‘If God exists, I’m fucked.’ I would very much like to see again the television play that was made of PeterPrince’s novel Play Things in the early Seventies. It had a quirky plot about a young man whose initially comical attempt to run a London children’s playground on liberal principles comes to a ...

Barclay’s War

David Chandler

19 March 1981
The Commander: A Life of Barclay de Tolly 
by Michael Josselson and Diana Josselson.
Oxford, 275 pp., £12.95, June 1980, 0 19 215854 6
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... Given the amount of attention that has been lavished on the Napoleonic period in its many aspects, it may seem strange that a full life of Field-Marshal Prince Barclay de Tolly has not appeared before now: but it is not difficult to suggest reasons for this. Barclay had a rather dour and in some ways unattractive personality. He had little of the panache of ...
2 May 1985
Founders of the Welfare State 
edited by Paul Barker.
Gower, 138 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 435 82060 5
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The Affluent Society 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Deutsch, 291 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 233 97771 6
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... the trade unions in the NHS and the DHSS. The Welfare State is our largest nationalised industry and is not for privatisation. Meanwhile poverty is in the process of being rediscovered yet again. The Prince of Wales has said his equivalent of ‘something must be done’ and the Archbishop of Canterbury has placed his anathema on the social divisiveness of Thatcherism. The public is busy signalling its ...


Peter​ Campbell

1 October 1981
Early Disorder 
by Rebecca Josephs.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 186 pp., £5.50, September 1981, 0 571 12031 8
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A Star for the Latecomer 
by Bonnie Zindel.
Bodley Head, 186 pp., £3.95, March 1981, 0 370 30319 9
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Catherine loves 
by Timothy Ireland.
Bodley Head, 117 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 370 30292 3
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Jacob have I loved 
by Katherine Paterson.
Gollancz, 216 pp., £4.95, April 1981, 0 575 02961 7
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... Moon, Caps for Sale, Where the wild things are, The Blue Fairy Book, The Red Fairy Book, The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Book, Stuart Little, The Secret Garden, The Borrowers, The Little Prince, Member of the Wedding, Gigi, Lord of the Flies, Return of the Native … This is Willa, the 15-year-old narrator of Early Disorder, looking at her bookshelf and wondering if you are what you read ...

Smart Girls

Emma Tennant

17 July 1980
‘Clever Gretchen’ and Other Forgotten Folktales 
by Alison Luire.
Heinemann, 128 pp., £3.50, May 1980, 0 434 94899 3
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... up alive by her father for wanting to marry the wrong man. She digs herself out after seven years and goes wandering in a countryside devastated by war. Finding herself in the castle of her lost prince’s betrothed, a sinfully ugly bride who sprains her ankle on the wedding-day, Maid Maleen exchanges identity with her and goes, protected by the veil, to the church. Nettles in the path are ...

Poor Khaled

Robert Fisk

3 December 1992
... Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, commander-in-chief of all foreign forces in the Gulf War, nephew of King Fahd, and son of the Saudi Defence Minister, Prince Sultan, used to employ an American public relations company to manage his press conferences. Deep in the high-pile carpeted interior of the Saudi Ministry of Defence, an Irish-American of massive ...


Vesna Goldsworthy: In Montenegro

17 February 2000
... Until the middle of the last century, when secular Western ideas intruded, this mountainous principality was Europe’s closest approximation to Tibet – a theocracy, ruled by celibate orthodox prince-bishops selected from the boys of the Njegusi tribe, who live in the stony valleys south of the former capital, Cetinje. The last of the prince-bishops and the greatest Romantic poet in the Balkans ...

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