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Openly reticent

Jonathan Coe, 9 November 1989

Grand Inquisitor: Memoirs 
by Robin Day.
Weidenfeld, 296 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 297 79660 7
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Beginning 
by Kenneth Branagh.
Chatto, 244 pp., £12.99, September 1989, 0 7011 3388 0
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Storm over 4: A Personal Account 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Weidenfeld, 215 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79538 4
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... to resist and there is nothing for it but to start writing books about themselves. In the case of Robin Day (Sir Robin, I suppose, if one is not to repeat Mrs Thatcher’s famous gaffe) that time has come at the age of 68; in the case of Kenneth Branagh, at the age of 28. Make of that what you will. Actually I had ...

Diary

Stephen Sharp: The ‘Belgrano’ and Me, 8 May 2014

... in 1984 when I wrote letters to Francis Pym and Sarah Kennedy about the Falklands War and Sir Robin Day’s part in it. Sarah was presenting a radio programme and I thought she was talking about me when she spoke of a young man who had just lost his mother. Francis Pym said, ‘Guns fire from Number 10’ on the Sarah Kennedy show. I took this to ...

This Charming Man

Frank Kermode, 24 February 1994

The Collected and Recollected Marc 
Fourth Estate, 51 pp., £25, November 1993, 1 85702 164 9Show More
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... hands. Betjeman, looking amusingly miserable, is on his knees. Among the bull’s-eyes are Robin Day, Ian Paisley, David Owen, Douglas Hurd, Kenneth Baker, David Mellor, Alan Bennett. There are a few outers: Jonathan Miller, Stephen Spender, Alfred Brendel, Melvyn Bragg – but even in these he is good on the hair, which, according to Craig ...

Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity

James Meek, 18 February 2016

... everyday thought and speech, the interpretations will be deficient. This is the importance of the Robin Hood myth. It’s the first and often the only political-economic fable we learn. It’s not a children’s story, although it is childlike. It contains the three essential ingredients of grown-up narrative – love, death and money – without being a love ...

Born Again

Phillip Whitehead, 19 February 1981

Face the future 
by David Owen.
Cape, 552 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 224 01956 2
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... up again and again in this book. It was quite clear from their recent television discussion, with Robin Day trying to play the parson and Frances Morell as a disdainful bridesmaid, that any marriage between David Owen and David Steel is a long way off. For one thing, Steel is in danger of being rumbled for the social democratic infiltrator which he is in ...

Images of Violence

Phillip Whitehead, 17 September 1981

The Media and Political Violence 
by Richard Clutterbuck.
Macmillan, 191 pp., £15, July 1981, 0 333 31484 0
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... the General belongs). The book ends with some very rum suggestions. They are too much for Sir Robin Day, who writes the foreword, and they are too much for me. After some anodyne advice to the forces of light that they must be at least as adept as the forces of darkness in using the media, the Major-General suddenly flips. He calls for an Institute ...

On my way to the Couch

E.S. Turner, 30 March 1989

On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... press, picking up the clues, has since identified him as an outstanding submarine commander of the day. Mr Kennedy says he went so far as to turn up the records and then to invite the officer to have lunch with him. He was brushed off, and his gift to the officer of a copy of his Naval book The Pursuit was coolly received. Obviously the commander was ...

Being Greek

Henry Day: Up Country with Xenophon, 2 November 2006

The Long March: Xenophon and the Ten Thousand 
by Robin Lane Fox.
Yale, 351 pp., £25, September 2004, 0 300 10403 0
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The Expedition of Cyrus 
by Xenophon, translated by Robin Waterfield.
Oxford, 231 pp., £8.99, September 2005, 0 19 282430 9
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Xenophon’s Retreat: Greece, Persia and the End of the Golden Age 
by Robin Waterfield.
Faber, 248 pp., £17.99, November 2006, 0 571 22383 4
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The Sea! The Sea! The Shout of the Ten Thousand in the Modern Imagination 
by Tim Rood.
Duckworth, 272 pp., £12.99, August 2006, 0 7156 3571 9
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... the ‘clearness of style and modesty of temper’ he found in the Anabasis, a judgment that Robin Waterfield’s new translation doesn’t traduce. Xenophon’s relatively simple sentences, preference for the vivid present tense, and use of third-person narration inevitably invite comparison with that other great classical war reporter, Julius ...

Beyond Dubh-Chladach

Robin Robertson, 23 May 2019

... spring flowers – marsh marigolds, buttercups, pansies, primroses, silverweed, vetch, ragged-robin, yellow rattle, eyebrights, thrift. It was a false spring, though, that year; the cold held on, deep-rooted in the ground. We walked a lit candle three times round the crib; washed him three times in saltwater, passed him three times over the fire, but saw ...

Circus on Calton Hill

Robin Robertson, 18 April 1996

... Edinburgh burns below us, this blazing day where flame’s invisible, a dark wave lapping at the petrol’s grain, as the fire-eaters assuage their thirst. The fanned embers of the city rustle like the wrappers of sweets; heat tinkering in the coal. Sitting under the colonnade, we are so close we almost touch. Tumblers flip and flex, desultory on the dry grass; gulls channer in the stunned heat, shedding air above us and over the baking Craigleith stone, to bank away to the airish Firth and Inchkeith Island, the Ferry and the May ...

Three Poems

Robin Robertson, 6 September 2001

... can’t stop the light that finds us, annealed, fruitless, two strangers broken on the field of day. In the window-box, the narcissi come up blind. Nightdriving Straight on through the rifled dark, the headlights film the road: light pools ahead as the land dips – the skid and slur of sodium hangs, traced in the eyes, as the road reels in to the sound of ...

Four Poems

Robin Robertson, 6 May 2004

... hooves so you can walk to the shops holding the devil’s hand. The Lake at Dusk I watch the day break down over the lake: wind looting the trees, leaving paw-prints on the water for the water-witch to read. With the pass of a hand it stops, and the scoured glass lies pewter-still in a red, raking light, hardening to mirror. Rinsed after the rain, the ...

Two Poems

Robin Robertson, 15 December 2005

... walking up from the bay and nightfall begins with the morning dew when daffodils open on Christmas Day and you see a crow as white as a dove I will return to you, my love, I will return to ...

Two Poems

Robin Robertson, 20 January 2005

... What the Horses See at Night When the day-birds have settled in their creaking trees, the doors of the forest open for the flitting drift of deer among the bright croziers of new ferns and the legible stars; foxes stream from the earth; a tawny owl frisks the long meadow. In a slink of river-light, the mink’s face is already slippery with yolk, and the bay’s tiny islands are drops of solder under a drogue moon ...

The Coming God

Robin Robertson, 13 September 2012

... tree-line stripe, the fallow deer speckled like a fall of stars, the pricked ears of the lynx. One day he came upon a maddened she-bear and reached out his right hand to her snout and put his white fingers to her mouth, her teeth, his fingers gentle at the bristled jaw, which slackened and drew in a huge breath covering the hand of Dionysus with ...

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