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Gleichenstein’s Hat

Robert Simpson, 14 September 1989

Beethoven Essays 
by Maynard Solomon.
Harvard, 375 pp., £23.50, July 1988, 0 674 06377 5
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... In contemplating the psychology of a dead artist, referring to the only sure thing we have to go on – his work – can be tricky: we are tempted into making the evidence conform to our theories, Freudian or other. Maynard Solomon recognises this danger, but is not altogether saved from rashness. An example is his chapter on the four dreams that Beethoven happened to describe (very briefly and sketchily) in letters ...

National Institutions

Hans Keller, 15 October 1981

The Proms and Natural Justice: A Plan for Renewal 
by Robert Simpson.
Toccata Press, 66 pp., £1.95, July 1981, 0 907689 00 0
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The Proms and the Men Who Made Them 
by Barrie Hall.
Allen and Unwin, 192 pp., £8.95, June 1981, 0 04 780024 0
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The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven 
by Antony Hopkins.
Heinemann, 290 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 0 435 81427 3
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... interweaves deep historical insights with a strong composer’s inevitable prejudices – Robert Simpson’s impersonal challenge is spotlessly objective, sternly factual and, at the same time, unashamedly ethical. His scrupulous analysis of the Proms’ past yields a practical proposal as well as what already seems to have proved an indisputable ...

Those Suits

Paul Foot, 7 September 1995

Jeffrey Archer: Stranger than Fiction 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 456 pp., £17.50, May 1995, 0 241 13360 2
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... weekly investigative column. The document was a copy of a pro forma shoplifter’s report from the Robert Simpson Company Ltd, which owns a department store in Toronto. The report was timed at 10.40 a.m. on 18 November 1975, and was in the form of a voluntary statement, as follows: ‘I Jeffrey Howard Archer do state that I took merchandise to the value ...

As seen on TV

Keith Kyle, 26 September 1991

From the House of War 
by John Simpson.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 0 09 175034 2
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In the Eye of the Storm 
by Roger Cohen and Claudio Gatti.
Bloomsbury, 342 pp., £16.99, August 1991, 0 7475 1050 4
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... For many people the BBC Foreign Affairs Editor John Simpson, who stayed behind in Baghdad when Armageddon was scheduled to begin, was the civilian hero of the Gulf War. The only thing that may have puzzled them was his title. How could a man edit reports coming from all quarters of the globe if he deliberately isolated himself under conditions of siege? On this matter From the House of War provides little help, except for a passing reference to the author’s ‘rather empty title’, which apparently carries important psychological impact when dealing with Iraqi (and other) civil servants, perhaps pandering, in the case of the Iraqis, to their notion that the whole world ought to be edited from Baghdad ...

Music on Radio and Television

Hans Keller, 7 August 1980

... internal unity has gravely impaired. The hollowness of this pretext has become obvious ever since Robert Simpson, one of our leading composers, announced his resignation after decades of distinguished BBC service: the saddest event, this, in the BBC’s musical history. Otherwise, the Corporation has succeeded, more or less, in keeping its dissidents ...

Diary

Wendy Lesser: On O.J. Simpson, 21 July 1994

... I missed most of the original hoopla in the O.J. Simpson story because I happened to be spending the weekend in a televisionfree zone, as a house-guest in the Connecticut countryside. We all thought, before we secluded ourselves, that O.J. had probably done it; the widely publicised bloodstained ski mask (which has since mutated, as a piece of evidence, into the far less memorable knitted cap) seemed to seal his fate ...

Uncrownable King and Queen

Christopher Sykes, 7 February 1980

The Windsor Story 
by J. Bryan and Charles Murphy.
Granada, 602 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 246 11323 5
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... and friend that his ministers presumed, with apparent prescience, that he would soon tire of Mrs Simpson and add her to the growing scrapheap of discarded mistresses, friends and favourites. They were totally mistaken. When the love affair had led to the miserable anti-climax of abdication, her devotion to him wavered in later years, but never his to her. In ...

John and Henry

Christopher Reid, 2 December 1982

The Life of John Berryman 
by John Haffenden.
Routledge, 451 pp., £15, September 1982, 0 7100 9216 4
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Poets in their Youth: A Memoir 
by Eileen Simpson.
Faber, 272 pp., £10.95, September 1982, 0 571 11925 5
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... almost simultaneous appearance of John Haffenden’s The Life of John Berryman and Eileen Simpson’s Poets in their Youth seems fortuitous. John Haffenden has already edited manuscripts of Berryman’s for posthumous publication (Henry’s Fate – Other Poems) and he is the author of John Berryman: A Critical Commentary, a guide through some ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Ulysses v. O.J. Simpson, 28 July 2016

... between Joyce’s great, many-peopled novel and the recent ten-part TV series on the fall of O.J. Simpson. I can’t remember if it was Joyce or the O.J. trial’s Judge Ito who referred to ‘the ineluctable modality of the visible’, but that’s the kind of thing we’re talking about: the tendency of reality to give way to the fiction-maker’s ...

Loners Inc

Daniel Soar: Man versus Machine, 3 April 2003

Behind Deep Blue: Building the Computer that Defeated the World Chess Champion 
by Feng-hsiung Hsu.
Princeton, 300 pp., £19.95, November 2002, 0 691 09065 3
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... a front sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA’s Lieutenant Colonel Robert Simpson was interviewed by Dominic Lawson (‘Dominic’ to Hsu – such is the democracy of computer geekery that he is filed under D in the index); not wanting to appear out of the loop, Simpson explained that an ...

The great times they could have had

Paul Foot, 15 September 1988

Wallis: Secret Lives of the Duchess of Windsor 
by Charles Higham.
Sidgwick, 419 pp., £17.95, June 1988, 0 283 99627 7
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The Secret File of the Duke of Windsor 
by Michael Bloch.
Bantam, 326 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 9780593016671
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... the Order of the Crown of Italy, one of the highest decorations of the Mussolini regime. Ernest Simpson, the dull partner in a shipping firm whom Wallis married in 1928, had close business ties with Fascist Italy. But her feeling for Fascism cannot be attributed only to her men friends. On the contrary, the ‘new social order’ brayed around the ...

Looking back at the rubble

David Simpson: War and the Built Environment, 25 May 2006

The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War 
by Robert Bevan.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £19.95, January 2006, 1 86189 205 5
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... cleansing’, with its suggestion that nothing more than a routine housekeeping task is involved. Robert Bevan begins his book with an account of his childhood obsession with photographs and film footage of the destruction of Europe’s built heritage in World War Two, an obsession that ‘felt wrong’ in relation to the ‘greater evil’ also available for ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: On the Original Non-Event , 20 April 1995

... regarded this as its best effort was widely thought to be embarrassing. As the movie’s director Robert Zemeckis gave his speech of acceptance (which he did, excruciatingly, by speaking ‘on behalf of Forrest Gumps everywhere’), the girl seated next to Madonna, in the words of my colleague Frank DiGiacomo, ‘turned to the pop star and displayed the ...

Hairy

E.S. Turner, 1 October 1987

The war the Infantry knew 1914-1919: A Chronicle of Service in France and Belgium 
by Captain J.C. Dunn, introduced by Keith Simpson.
Jane’s, 613 pp., £18, April 1987, 0 7106 0485 8
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Passchendaele: The Story behind the Tragic Victory of 1917 
by Philip Warner.
Sidgwick, 269 pp., £13.95, June 1987, 0 283 99364 2
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Poor Bloody Infantry: A Subaltern on the Western Front 1916-17 
by Bernard Martin.
Murray, 174 pp., £11.95, April 1987, 0 7195 4374 6
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... any fighting unit. In the Great War the Second Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers could muster Robert Graves (Good-bye to All That), Siegfried Sassoon (Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer) and Frank Richards (not, as some have supposed, the creator of Billy Bunter but the author of Old soldiers never die, an excellent view of the ...

Wandering Spooks

David Simpson: Vietnam’s Ghosts, 14 August 2008

Ghosts of War in Vietnam 
by Heonik Kwon.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £25, March 2008, 978 0 521 88061 9
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... civil-society theorists about the inevitability of the break-up of the Soviet empire in 1989, and Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone warned of the dire consequences for the political culture of the United States of failing to nourish similar voluntary forms of civic participation. Kwon applauds the creation of an ‘ethical horizon of human solidarity beyond the ...

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