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Down to the Last Flea

Richard​ Fortey: Resurrecting the mammoth

23 May 2002
Mammoth: The Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant 
by Richard Stone.
Fourth Estate, 242 pp., £14.99, January 2002, 1 84115 517 9
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... Should they be stuffed and exhibited, alongside other palaeontological wonders? Or can they be rescued from their frozen obscurity and brought back to life, once more to browse the Arctic plains? RichardStone assumes that attempts to revive mammoths are a practical possibility. Frozen mammoth sperm, so the theory goes, may yet be viable. Techniques are already used routinely in fertility treatment ...

Downhill from Here

Ian Jack: The 1970s

27 August 2009
When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 576 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 571 22136 3
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... scent of Courvoisier and cigars, and may well have been early warnings for the Alzheimer’s and bowel cancer that were diagnosed a few years after he quit. One of Beckett’s best discoveries is Dr RichardStone, whose father, Joe Stone, had been Wilson’s GP since the 1940s – a job that the junior Stone took over for the last 12 years of Wilson’s life. ‘Harold had been the master of the detail ...


Richard​ Sanger

9 August 2001
... Her fields of grain, not the shopfloor virgin Goading the workers to exceed their quotas … No, today I’ll do you and your reign justice: A monument in the public square, A clump of men fallen (stone or bronze), Writhing, agony, gestures, the struggle, And there above them, above the fray, You as I would only you portray – Nothing vulgar or carnal, a presence We divine only in their faces, all ...

The Magic Trousers

Matt Foot: Police Racism

7 February 2019
Behind the Blue Line: My Fight against Racism and Discrimination in the Police 
by Gurpal Virdi.
Biteback, 299 pp., £20, March 2018, 978 1 78590 321 2
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... concerns have been voiced in the BMJ that they are being blamed for group or systemic failures. The cases I have described provide a snapshot of the way our criminal justice system deals with race. RichardStone, an adviser to Macpherson during the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, provided character evidence at Gurpal Virdi’s trial. The court was told that Virdi’s submission to the inquiry was one of the ...

Ice Rink

Richard​ Murphy

7 February 1985
... lure them to backslide. Their figure-carving feet have chased my skin With puckish onslaught. Gloss they vitiate For pure fun, when they joust through thick and thin, Vanishes under frost, a hoar-stone slate. Midnight, my crushed face melts in a dead heat: Old scores ironed out, tomorrow a clean sheet ...
20 October 1994
... A catalogue preface, whether rhapsodic, investigative, polemical or explicative, is also meant to be a piece of advocacy. This creates a problem over writing a preface about Richard Long. He has too many admirers. A quarter of a century has passed since he began to gain an international reputation at about the time he left art school, and this reputation has steadily grown ...


Norman Stone

21 July 1983
The Invention of Tradition 
edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £17.50, March 1983, 0 521 24645 8
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... Monarchy is a most enjoyable romp, with a hard core of common sense. In the early 19th century, no Duke of Norfolk existed to make sure that everyone performed their ritual to his satisfaction; no Richard Dimbleby existed to ‘sell’ the royal performances to the public. This would not have been an easy task, for the performers missed their cues, arrived drunk, took the wrong places and, in some ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell

2 December 2010
J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... is by using a very tightly organised plot that draws all the disparate elements together. Perhaps it should have both these things – but whatever it is at the centre must be substantial like the stone in a peach and it must exist before one can ever begin to start thinking constructively. In May he decided to have a break and, on a friend’s recommendation, took a boat from Narragansett to Block ...

Magic Zones

Marina Warner

8 December 1994
Flesh and StoneThe Body and the City in Western Civilisation 
by Richard​ Sennett.
Faber, 413 pp., £25, October 1994, 9780571173907
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... mud decorated with white scrolls and borders like piped icing. But on the whole, the freedoms of the flesh Pasolini dreams up take place in the open air, free of clothes or inhibitions – free of stone. It’s significant that Pasolini turned to the Orient to conjure his rather forced vision of primitive sanity, and that he expressed his resistance to Western embourgeoisement through a honeyed ...

Archaeology is Rubbish

Richard​ Fortey: The Last 20,000 Years

18 December 2003
After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC 
by Steven Mithen.
Weidenfeld, 622 pp., £25, June 2003, 0 297 64318 5
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... his harpoons, learned to trade sea shells in exchange for the best obsidian. The network of commerce grew, and with it the possibility of wealth. All this within what was long ago called the Stone Age: a period now much more precisely calibrated thanks to carbon dating and the refinements of field archaeology. The evidence for the transformation of humans from just another species to masters ...

Consider the lions

Peter Campbell

22 July 1993
The House of Gold 
by Richard​ Goy.
Cambridge, 304 pp., £60, January 1993, 0 521 40513 0
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The Palace of the Sun 
by Robert Berger.
Pennsylvania State, 232 pp., £55, April 1993, 0 271 00847 4
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... a monument to power on a much grander scale. His palace frontage is not the jolliest Classical building in Paris, but it is still the most impressive and among the most magisterially consistent. Richard Goy and Robert Berger, in their respective accounts of the construction of the Cà d’Oro and of Louis XIV’s Louvre, remove ambiguities which hang around the word ‘built’. They ask who made ...

Into the Southern Playground

Julian Bell: The Suspect Adrian Stokes

21 August 2003
'The Quattro Cento’ and ‘Stones of Rimini’ 
by Adrian Stokes.
Ashgate, 668 pp., £16.99, August 2002, 0 7546 3320 9
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Art and Its Discontents 
by Richard​ Read.
Ashgate, 260 pp., £35, December 2002, 0 7546 0796 8
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... until his death forty years later. Stones of Rimini is decidedly the more compelling performance. Its opening lines step forward with a cool swagger, toying with Virgilian cadences: ‘I write of stone. I write of Italy where stone is habitual.’ The reader is invited to fall in with a persona of Baedekered cosmopolitanism and sensual self-assurance. ‘We are prepared to enjoy stone in the South ...
16 October 1980
The English Heartland 
by Robert Beckinsale and Monica Beckinsale.
Duckworth, 434 pp., £18, June 1980, 0 7156 1389 8
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The English Village 
by Richard​ Muir.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £8.50, May 1980, 0 500 24106 6
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... the new light that filters through to illuminate their understanding of old familiar scenes. Among the professionals must be included Robert and Monica Beckinsale; among the self-confessed amateurs, Richard Muir. The Beckinsales – one native to the north Cots-wolds and the other to the Vale of the White Horse – present what is for them the English heartland. Richard Muir, nostalgic for the ...
28 September 1989
Manila Envelope 
by James Fenton.
28 Kayumanggi St, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Phillipines, 48 pp., £12, May 1989, 971 86 4701 5
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New Selected Poems 
by Richard​ Murphy.
Faber, 190 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15482 4
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The Mirror Wall 
by Richard​ Murphy.
Bloodaxe, 61 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9781852240929
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Selected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 85635 741 3
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The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 47 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3455 0
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... work: Far from the wisdom of the heart I saw a child being torn apart.    Is this you?    Is this me? The fields are mined and the night is long; Stick with me when the shooting starts. Richard Murphy is not a reckless poet. Those who rate him surely rate him much too highly. Ted Hughes compliments him with the anti-reckless word ‘classical’ and with ‘the gift of epic objectivity ...

Everlasting Stone

Patrick Wormald

21 May 1981
The Enigma of Stonehenge 
by John Fowles and Barry Brukoff.
Cape, 126 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 224 01618 0
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British Cathedrals 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 275 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 297 77828 5
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... childhood memories of the monument and its modern appearance, protected from the public for the greater public good by barbed wire and bored guards. The other was a lecture on Stonehenge by Professor Richard Atkinson, where the greatest living expert on the subject sternly rebuked a member of his packed audience who had the temerity to ask whether we could know anything of the culture or religion of ...

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