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Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

27 October 1988
... could he have felt? Normality’s strange – Always more of it gets delivered in cartons With the names washed off. Maybe next century We’ll have extra labels: a noun for the sensation Of hearing PhilipGlass while being driven in a Citroen Or of sitting down to eat a bag of chips With two historians of mesmerism near Inverkeithing. Meantime I’m adjusting to my newfound status As a matinee for ...


Stephen Walsh: Philip Glass

6 May 2015
Words without Music: A Memoir 
by Philip Glass.
Faber, 416 pp., £22.50, April 2015, 978 0 571 32372 2
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... Words without Music​ is PhilipGlass’s second book about himself, and it inevitably includes some of the same information, or the same kind of information, as its predecessor, published in 1987 in New York as Music by PhilipGlass and ...


Adam Shatz: Ornette Coleman

15 July 2015
... the great figurative painter Bob Thompson, who shared his love of jazz. He was a pivotal influence on a student at Syracuse, Lou Reed; another close listener was a composition student at Juilliard, PhilipGlass. Yet his most electrifying effect was on young black jazz musicians, who looked to him as a model of artistic integrity, particularly after Coltrane’s death. Coleman thought deeply (and, as ...

At the Met

David Hansen: Richard Serra

30 June 2011
... of pigment, while also articulating the physical labour of the drafting hand. The two pairs of hands in Hands Scraping (one Serra’s, the other belonging to his sometime performance collaborator PhilipGlass) are drawing in reverse: shovelling, sweeping, picking and wiping up a heap of steel filings. And in Hand Catching Lead, the blackened artist’s fingers snatching at falling shards of metal ...

Prosecco Notwithstanding

Tobias Gregory: 21st-Century Noir

3 July 2008
The Lemur 
by Benjamin Black.
Picador US, 144 pp., $13, June 2008, 978 0 312 42808 2
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... mistress. There are colourful minor characters. There is whisky before noon. There are cigarettes, lots of them, but times have changed even in the world of noir. After the protagonist, John Glass, sneaks a smoke in his 39th-floor Manhattan office, he then spends a paragraph trying to dispose of the butt; when he lights up on the street he gets a lecture from the cop: ‘“You should quit ...

At Tate Modern

Eleanor Nairne: Nam June Paik

19 November 2019
... from a roll of toilet paper. Beneath him, according to one reviewer, were ‘two pianos (one of which had no keys), tape recorders, tin cans with stones, a toy car, a plastic train, an egg, a pane of glass, a bottle holding the stump of a candle and a music box’. For the finale, Paik ‘ran about like a madman, sawed through the piano strings with a kitchen knife and overturned the whole thing ...

Bristling with Diligence

James Wood: A.S. Byatt

8 October 2009
The Children’s Book 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 617 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 7011 8389 9
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... There is what seems an interesting slip early in A.S. Byatt’s new novel. It is 1895. A young working-class man, Philip Warren, has been adopted by a liberal upper-class family, the Wellwoods. At the Kentish country home of Olive and Humphry Wellwood, a glorious Midsummer Party is in preparation. Humphry is a banker ...

Through Plate-Glass

Ian Sansom: Jonathan Coe

10 May 2001
The Rotters’ Club 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 405 pp., £14.99, April 2001, 0 670 89252 1
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... actually create a larger cast-list, but in The Rotters’ Club, the characters include a Colin, a Sheila, a Benjamin, a Paul and a Lois Trotter, a Bill; an Irene and Doug Anderton; Barbara, Sam and Philip Chase, Malcolm, Roy Slater, Sean Harding, Steve Richards, Culpepper, Cicely Boyd, Donald, Claire and Miriam Newman, and Mr Plumb. And these are only some of the speaking parts. To try to summarise ...

Deny and Imply

J. Robert Lennon: Gary Shteyngart

16 December 2010
Super Sad True Love Story 
by Gary Shteyngart.
Granta, 331 pp., £12.99, September 2010, 978 1 84708 103 2
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... recitation of passages from Kundera, it reads like a promotional poster in an adults-only public library. There are too many audience-friendly cultural references: ‘an old Arcade Fire tune’, PhilipGlass, kids applying to Swarthmore. The result is an arch, winking, hipster-dogwhistle chumminess that some readers are liable to feel alienated by, and which won’t age well. And though this new ...
6 October 1994
... expensive tastes of that justly discriminating public can no longer be taken for granted. In that sense, the popular success of Górecki constitutes a threat distinctly different from that of a PhilipGlass or a Steve Reich – not to mention Michael Nyman, the most candidly and astutely ‘commercial’ of Post-Modern British composers. Even at the lowest level, the real benefits (if not the cost ...


Charles Glass: The Levant

8 March 2012
Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean 
by Philip​ Mansel.
John Murray, 480 pp., £10.99, September 2011, 978 0 7195 6708 7
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by Samir Kassir, translated by M.B. Debevoise.
California, 656 pp., £19.95, December 2011, 978 0 520 27126 5
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... the onslaught of nation, race and sect. Diversity and simple self-interest were replaced by demagoguery, tribalism and nationalism and islands of diversity and mutual tolerance began to disappear. Philip Mansel documents the rise and inexorable crash of the great Levantine entrepôts as four centuries of relative stability under the Ottomans gave way to a century of ethnic expulsion, tyranny and war ...

Tunnel Visions

Philip​ Horne

4 August 1988
The Tunnel 
by Ernesto Sabato, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Cape, 138 pp., £10.95, June 1988, 0 224 02578 3
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Pilgrims Way 
by Abdulrazak Gurnah.
Cape, 232 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 0 224 02562 7
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States of Emergency 
by André Brink.
Faber, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1988, 0 571 15118 3
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Moonrise, Moonset 
by Tadeusz Konwicki, translated by Richard Lourie.
Faber, 344 pp., £11.95, May 1988, 0 571 13609 5
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... in an attempt to make contact with a sympathetic reader, Castel is agonised by self-rebuke: ‘It was I who killed you, I, who saw you mute and anxious, but could not touch you through the wall of glass. I, so stupid, so blind, so incredibly selfish and cruel!’ His inability to sustain a settled union with someone else is naturally matched with his schizophrenic failure to achieve any unity within ...

In Memory of Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois

Rosemary Hill: Where is Bohemia?

6 March 2003
Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts 
by Elizabeth Wilson.
Tauris, 288 pp., £11.99, October 2002, 1 86064 782 0
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Quentin & Philip 
by Andrew Barrow.
Macmillan, 559 pp., £18.99, November 2002, 0 333 78051 5
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... gentrification. Conversely, it may flourish in unlikely places, in country towns and even suburbs. The subjects of Barrow’s ‘double portrait’, his friends Quentin Crisp and the surrealist poet Philip O’Connor, were both children of the Home Counties. Crisp, who began life as Denis Pratt, found his way to bohemia from the Pooterland of Egmont Road, Sutton. O’Connor spent a significant part of ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Playtime’

20 November 2014
directed by Jacques Tati.
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... funnier when they don’t; they can always crash another day. Playtime still feels, at its beginning, like a too heavy satire of the modern world. ‘Modern’ here means tall buildings, lots of glass walls and doors, men in suits and squawking American women. America was always one of Tati’s targets. In Jour de Fête, François sees a supposed documentary about postal services in America – ...


Gillian Darley: James Stirling

7 September 2000
Big Jim: The Life and Work of James Stirling 
by Mark Girouard.
Pimlico, 323 pp., £14, March 2000, 9780712664226
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... The recently opened Gilbert Collection at Somerset House includes a vast number of objects made by a meticulous technique of inlay known as micromosaic, in which tiny fragments of glass are assembled to form a picture – not always in the best possible taste. Mark Girouard’s biography of James Stirling is constructed by a similar procedure, an astonishing accumulation of small ...

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