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Paul and Penny

Julian Symons

25 October 1990
Paul Scott: A Life 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hutchinson, 429 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 09 173984 5
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Paul Scott’s Raj 
by Robin Moore.
Heinemann, 246 pp., £18.50, October 1990, 0 434 47588 2
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... full of such passages, produced by a writer who often replaced some scenes by others, but never contemplated or perhaps understood the idea of achieving effects by compression or omission. Nothing in RobinMoore’s book bears directly on the literary merits of the Quartet, although he thinks that the TV serial lost much of ‘the texture of testimony’, the ‘intimation of character’. He also ...

Angry Duck

Jenny Turner: Lorrie Moore

5 June 2008
The Collected Stories 
by Lorrie Moore.
Faber, 656 pp., £20, May 2008, 978 0 571 23934 4
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... Once upon a time, as Lorrie Moore begins, ‘there was a not terribly prolific American short-story writer who, caught ten years between books with things she called Life and others called Excuses, was asked to write an introduction ...

Brexit and Myths of Englishness

James Meek: For England and St George

11 October 2018
... Of the two​ folk-myths bound up with Englishness, the myth of St George and the myth of Robin Hood, the myth of St George is simpler. Robin Hood is a process; St George is an event. Robin Hood steals from the rich, which is difficult, to give to the poor, which is trickier still, and has to keep on doing it over and over; but St George kills the dragon, and that’s it. Before the ...

Fear in Those Blue Eyes

David Runciman: Thatcher in Her Bubble

3 December 2015
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. II: Everything She Wants 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 821 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 7139 9288 5
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... wanted them back in their traditional roles. She had no desire to live in a world where her personal principles and her private interests were at odds with each other. She was a conservative. Charles Moore’s​ recounting of this episode reveals the strengths and weaknesses of his biography as it arrives at the apogee of Thatcher’s power. He is excellent on the high politics and the potency of ...

Prize Poems

Donald Davie

1 July 1982
Arvon Foundation Poetry Competion: 1980 Anthology 
by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
Kilnhurst Publishing Company, 173 pp., £3, April 1982, 9780950807805
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Burn this 
by Tom Disch.
Hutchinson, 63 pp., £7.50, April 1982, 0 09 146960 0
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... reckoning, is a class of poems that are neither distinguished nor memorable but certainly creditable. And here figure Mairi MacInnes, Miriam Levine (two), Gerry Loose, Paul Coltman, Richard Dankleff, Robin Ivy, Pete Morgan (two), Phyllis Koestenbaum, Barbara Moore, David MacSweeney (one out of two), Randall Garrison, Donald Stallybrass, Ellery Akers, Peter Abbs, John Hodgen, Andrew Motion, Edwin ...

The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair

22 December 1994
Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... cove to become involved with apocalyptic mania, had always been more at home with the Book of Psalms than the Book of Revelation. Orwell had Eton and the military police to draw on for 1984, and Alan Moore (V for Vendetta) had Orwell. What’s interesting is that for this ‘entirely new departure’ James stayed so close to the sense that runs through all her work of the horror of human intimacy, of ...

Living with Monsters

Ferdinand Mount: PMs v. the Media

22 April 2010
Where Power Lies: Prime Ministers v. the Media 
by Lance Price.
Simon & Schuster, 498 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84737 253 6
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... that he might hint that the rebel MP Sir Anthony Nutting was ‘terribly under the influence of his American mistress’. I am not sure whether this was better or worse than Campbell’s ultimatum to Robin Cook that he must choose between his wife and his mistress. In any event, Clark resigned soon afterwards, complaining that ‘news management’ had become ‘news invention’. Even the young Queen ...

Strange, Angry Objects

Owen Hatherley: The Brutalist Decades

17 November 2016
A3: Threads and Connections 
by Peter Ahrends.
Right Angle, 128 pp., £18, December 2015, 978 0 9532848 9 4
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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism 
by Barnabas Calder.
Heinemann, 416 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 0 434 02244 1
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Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-75 
by Elain Harwood.
Yale, 512 pp., £60, September 2015, 978 0 300 20446 9
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Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World 
by Christopher Beanland.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £18, February 2016, 978 0 7112 3764 3
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This Brutal World 
by Peter Chadwick.
Phaidon, 224 pp., £29.95, April 2016, 978 0 7148 7108 0
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Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture 
by Nicolas Grospierre.
Prestel, 224 pp., £29.99, February 2016, 978 3 7913 8229 6
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Modernist Estates: The Buildings and the People Who Live in Them 
by Stefi Orazi.
Frances Lincoln, 192 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 7112 3675 2
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Architecture an Inspiration 
by Ivor Smith.
Troubador, 224 pp., £24.95, November 2014, 978 1 78462 069 1
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... life in the East End of London (more through Nigel Henderson’s photographs than Willmott and Young’s sociology), in the messy, chaotic work of Eduardo Paolozzi and Art Brut (‘Fuck Henry Moore’ was one slogan), in vernacular architecture, in industrial buildings, and in Hollywood films and advertising. Their buildings were meant to be noisy; for Banham, exemplars include Lasdun’s ...

The Things We Throw Away

Andrew O’Hagan: The Garbage of England

24 May 2007
... is the greatest servant.’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘That’s all right. But Jesus had a slave’s mentality.’ ‘We just want to save resources,’ said Martin, with a sigh. ‘It’s more of a Robin Hood model – we’re stealing from the corporations. We found a bin today with fifty or sixty cartons of milk inside.’ Everything Alf and Martin own is in the van. They sleep in the back and they ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan

7 June 2018
... in my council block. I can’t leave the flat. Please pray for me and my mum.’Some people never got out of bed, the fumes killing them while they slept. This seems to have been the fate of Ligaya Moore, a 78-year-old woman who came from the Philippines 45 years earlier, fulfilling a dream she’d had from childhood, to live in London. Mrs Moore died in her bed surrounded by photos of her husband ...

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