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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 ...

An Easy Lay

James Davidson: Greek tragedy, 30 September 1999

Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy 
edited by Simon Goldhill and Robin Osborne.
Cambridge, 417 pp., £45, June 1997, 0 521 64247 7
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The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy 
edited by P.E. Easterling.
Cambridge, 410 pp., £14.95, October 1997, 0 521 42351 1
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Tragedy in Athens: Performance Space and Theatrical Meaning 
by David Wiles.
Cambridge, 130 pp., £13.95, August 1999, 0 521 66615 5
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... A great deal is lost in the translation of any play from the theatre to the page, but to restore what is missing from the mere words of Euripides’ Medea, to rise from the soft paperbacked volume you might buy in any good bookshop and finish in an hour to the experience of an Athenian watching the play’s first performance in Athens in the Theatre of Dionysus in late March 2430 years ago, demands an imaginative effort much greater than would be required if you had plumped for a Pinter or an Ibsen or a David Hare ...

Clues

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 May 1983

A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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The Agatha Christie Hour 
by Agatha Christie.
Collins, 190 pp., £6.50, September 1982, 0 00 231331 6
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The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes 
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Allen Lane, 1122 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 7139 1444 0
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The Quest for Sherlock Holmes 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Mainstream, 380 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 906391 15 6
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Essays on Photography 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 128 pp., £8.50, November 1982, 0 436 13302 4
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Uncollected Stories 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 456 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 436 13301 6
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The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie 
by Charles Osborne.
Collins, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 00 216462 0
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... Why is Baker Street as universally associated with Conan Doyle’s hero as is Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood, or Greyfriars School with Billy Bunter? These are hard questions, and must be put aside in favour of the simple observation that in the bookshops, as the present batch of titles illustrates, Holmes and Poirot are neck and neck. The Quest for Sherlock ...
... at the age of 76 under his fellow Etonian David Cameron, alongside his son-in-law George Osborne.) The 1979 Conservative manifesto barely mentioned privatisation, or denationalisation, as it was sometimes called. In 1968, when an internal party think-tank called the public sector of industry ‘a millstone round our necks’ and proposed some ...

Upstaging

Paul Driver, 19 August 1993

Shining Brow 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 86 pp., £5.99, February 1993, 0 571 16789 6
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... Raine’s The Electrification of the Soviet Union – a Pasternak adaptation set to music by Nigel Osborne. There is a certain admirable posturing about all this, a hunger for the larger canvas, the High Style. The writing and presentation of a verse play is fraught with traditional dangers of the kind T.S. Eliot encountered and Auden described when he wrote ...

What was it that drove him?

David Runciman: Gordon Brown, 4 January 2018

My Life, Our Times 
by Gordon Brown.
Bodley Head, 512 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 1 84792 497 1
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... cack-handedness of the Better Together campaign as they were. Brown repeatedly warned Cameron and Osborne that Project Fear wouldn’t work, and that only Project Supplication (in the form of a promise to devolve more powers, finally made in the week before the vote) would salvage the situation. He was right. The proof came two years later, when Cameron and ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... the Nash brothers, Alf White? Get your PR in first, before you pick up a shooter from ‘Dukie’ Osborne, if you’re into immortality. Hire your Joe Haines, like any other self-respecting tycoon. Give the legend a bit of a massage. It could be the difference between being a statistic in a Channel 4 filler and being reincarnated by Richard Burton. Only ...

Heroes of Our Time

Karl Miller, 19 May 1988

The Monument 
by T. Behrens.
Cape, 258 pp., £11.95, May 1988, 0 224 02510 4
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The Passion of John Aspinall 
by Brian Masters.
Cape, 360 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 224 02353 5
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... Dr Robert Aspinall, The Duke of Atholl, Miss Julie Battersea, Mr Tom Begg, Dr Kurt Benirschke, Mr Robin Birley, Mr Anthony Blond, Mr Robert Boutwood, Mr Claus von Bülow, Mr Timothy Cassel, The Hon. Mr Alan Clark, Sir David Crouch MP, Mr Nigel Dempster, The Earl of Derby, The Duke of Devonshire ...’ And so on through the alphabet. ‘If I have inadvertently ...

What’s the point of HS2?

Christian Wolmar, 16 April 2014

... where the mood could best be described as hostile – yet David Cameron and even George Osborne appear genuinely committed to the project. They see it as a way of boosting business and of demonstrating their credentials as modernisers. They also believe it will help their electoral prospects in the North. The fate of HS2 doesn’t just lie in the ...

The Magic Lever

Donald MacKenzie: How the Banks Do It, 9 May 2013

... international capital requirements. At a private dinner in London in September 1986 with Robin Leigh-Pemberton, governor of the Bank of England, and three of his officials, Volcker found he had an ally. Margaret Thatcher’s ‘big bang’ reforms to the City of London were due to come into effect the following month, and the Bank felt the need to ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... every issue raised by the action group, but it was never enough; they bombarded us with round-robin emails and to my knowledge we tried to keep on top of them. It’s not easy when the TMO had 6500 other social tenants and 2500 leaseholders to help in the borough. But this Grenfell group was political. They hated everything the council and the TMO did, no ...

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