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I have nothing to say and I am saying it

Philip Clark: John Cage’s Diary

15 December 2016
The Selected Letters of John Cage 
edited by Laura Kuhn.
Wesleyan, 618 pp., £30, January 2016, 978 0 8195 7591 3
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Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) 
by John Cage, edited by Richard Kraft and Joe Biel.
Siglio, 176 pp., £26, October 2015, 978 1 938221 10 1
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... By 1963​ , John Cage had become an unlikely celebrity. Anyone who knew anything about music – who had perhaps followed the perplexed reviews in the New York Times – could tell you how he had managed to transform the piano into a one-man percussion ensemble by wedging nails, bolts and erasers between its strings; or how he had – ‘and you’re never gonna believe this’ – somehow composed ...

Autoerotisch

Richard​ J. Evans: The VW Beetle

12 September 2013
The People’s Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle 
by Bernhard Rieger.
Harvard, 406 pp., £20, April 2013, 978 0 674 05091 4
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... Volkskühlschrank). Soon there were many other products. The People’s Car (Volkswagen) belonged to this series, though its official title was the Strength through Joy Car (KdF-Wagen), named after Kraft durch Freude, the leisure programme of the Labour Front, the Nazi successor to the trade unions (though to anyone who’s ever been in a Beetle, strength and joy don’t seem the appropriate terms ...

Simply Doing It

Thomas Laqueur

22 February 1996
The Facts of Life: The Creation of Sexual Knowledge in Britain 1650-1950 
by Roy Porter and Lesley Hall.
Yale, 414 pp., £19.95, January 1995, 0 300 06221 4
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... a particularly earnest and prurient form. Porter and Hall provide almost no evidence about working-class or ‘plebeian’ sexual knowledge and for this reason, among others, I wish they had included Richard and Jane Carlile and their Everywoman’s Book. (Richard Carlile, who had been a chemist’s boy and tinner’s apprentice, sold or printed a variety of ultraradical, republican newspapers in the ...
23 October 2008
Mad Men: Season One 
Lionsgate Home Entertainment, £29.99, October 2008Show More
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... 6. (‘Freud, you say,’ mocks Don Draper. ‘What agency is he with?’ – as he dumps her report in the trash.) Great moments in the history of advertising are simply acted out, rather in the way Kraft Television Theater in its day might have dramatised scenes from the life of George Washington. All through the first episode, Draper, as creative director, is racking his brains for the right pitch ...

From Soixante-Huit to Soixante-Neuf

Glen Newey: Slack-Sphinctered Pachyderm

29 April 1999
Collected Papers: Technology, War and Fascism 
by Herbert Marcuse, edited by Douglas Kellner.
Routledge, 278 pp., £25, March 1998, 0 415 13780 2
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The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust 
by Norman Geras.
Verso, 181 pp., £15, June 1998, 1 85984 868 0
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... to the witnessed act of defecation by the hippopotamus, is an incoherent stream of outpouring of utterly irrational rage. I shall not repeat here the uncouth popular idiom which says as much ... [Richard] Hofstadter himself acquired the dogma from such ‘Frankfurt School’ followers of avowed arch-conspirator Georg Lukacs and the sometime OSS and CIA agent, sometime Communist, and active ...
19 April 2017
... with the help of a steam engine, in a rented four-storey building in a back alley in Birmingham. In the early years his cocoa got a warrant from Queen Victoria but by 1861, when his sons George and Richard took over the factory, now in different premises, the business was on the brink. A new product the Cadburys had been counting on to turn things around, a drink called Iceland Moss, made of cocoa ...

Grim Eminence

Norman Stone

10 January 1983
The Twilight of the Comintern 1930-1935 
by E.H. Carr.
Macmillan, 436 pp., £25, December 1982, 0 333 33062 5
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... pattern, after lengthy examination of some difficult statistics. Carr dismissed this, and said it left us ‘just about where we were’. An American writer on British intervention in the Civil War, Richard Ullman, managed to offend Carr. He unearthed some minutes, written by Carr as a junior official in the Foreign Office, which spoke quite warmly of the White cause. He used these in footnotes, and ...

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