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Diary

Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... the son of the author of Wind in the Willows? A. A nickname: Mouse. Tell the Bede story to Maggie Smith, who recalls some lines she had to sing in revue: Oh, I am the Venerable Bede I can scarcely write and just about read. 18 February. Listening to the last movement of Elgar’s First Symphony I’m put in mind of some huge submerged mass coming to the ...

Alas! Deceived

Alan Bennett: Philip Larkin, 25 March 1993

Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 570 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 571 15174 4
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... book-jacket and by all accounts Larkin the librarian could be a pretty daunting figure. Neville Smith remembers him at Hull stood at the entrance to the Brynmor Jones, scanning the faces of the incoming hordes, the face heavy and expressionless, the glasses gleaming and the hands, after the manner of a soccer player awaiting a free-kick on the edge of the ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... cultural milieu. There was Clive, Fred Halliday, later Sheila Rowbotham got involved, and Roger Smith, script editor at the BBC. The French May erupted as we were about to launch the first issue, which had come out looking slightly miserabilist and unimaginative. It was generally felt that the cover was awful. We voted to pulp it and D.A.N. Jones, later of ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... might betray me, but to what?’ Jarman remembered. ‘Only when, at 22, I tumbled into bed with Ron did I become aware that in the pubs and bars there was a look, a cut of the trousers, a flick of the hair.’ Later came the leather years, with a battered jacket rancid with Vaseline and poppers, and jeans split at the knees. Doc Martens, short hair ...

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