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Thomas​ Jones: Buffy!

7 March 2002
... the other best thing on TV, which BBC2 has just lost to Channel 4. (It should not go unremarked that Buffy and The Simpsons are both owned by Twentieth Century Fox; Fox, like Sky, is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Channel 4 is said to have paid £15 million per series – £700,000 per episode – in the Simpsons deal. Murdoch’s British enterprises continue to enjoy generous tax breaks ...

A Common Assault

Alan Bennett: In Italy

4 November 2004
... was not fanciful was that going to Italy meant that I would not be able to go to the funeral of a friend which, unsurprisingly, fell on my birthday.1 The friend with whom I was going on holiday was RupertThomas. At that time, May 1992, I am not sure that I would have called him my partner, or indeed known what to call him, though partners is what we are now. Friend, I suppose I would have said then ...
6 May 1982
An Unsuitable Attachment 
by Barbara Pym.
Macmillan, 256 pp., £6.95, February 1982, 0 333 32654 7
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... Barbara Pym’s posthumous novel, An Unsuitable Attachment, begins with an echo of Pride and Prejudice. Rupert Stonebird, an eligible bachelor, has just moved into a middle-class neighbourhood. Two of its women walk past his house to size him up. Perhaps he will make a suitable husband for the vicar’s wife ...
6 December 1984
The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters: Correspondence of George Lyttelton and Rupert​ Hart-Davis. 
edited by Rupert​ Hart-Davis.
Murray, 193 pp., £13.50, April 1984, 0 7195 4108 5
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... 1962, thus ending a correspondence which had begun in 1955; the first of the volumes edited by the survivor was published in 1978, the rest have appeared at intervals since. ‘For beginners’, as Rupert Hart-Davis puts it, mindful of those who have had to pick up the thread at some intermediate stage of the correspondence, the editor ‘had been taught by George at Eton, where he was an outstanding ...

Short Cuts

Thomas​ Jones: Costa Concordia

9 February 2012
... counterparts across the rest of Europe. The damage done by his toxic media empire is another matter, but that would have been achieved even if he’d never personally entered politics: look at Rupert Murdoch. Schettino says that sailing too close to Giglio wasn’t his idea: he was merely following the orders of his paymasters at Costa Cruises, a line of defence that Berlusconi would never fall ...
2 May 1985
The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1980 
by Maldwyn Jones.
Oxford, 696 pp., £22.50, November 1983, 0 19 913074 4
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America: A Narrative History 
by Charles Brown Tindall.
Norton, 1425 pp., £16.95, July 1984, 0 393 95435 8
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The Longman History of the United States 
by Hugh Brogan.
Longman, 740 pp., £19.95, March 1985, 0 582 35385 8
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American Tough: The Tough-Guy Tradition and American Character 
by Rupert​ Wilkinson.
Greenwood, 221 pp., £27.95, March 1984, 0 313 23797 2
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... help in reading and comprehending his mammoth work gives pause for thought. Thus the publishers in question recommend that students – and one assumes they have American students in mind – acquire Thomas S. Morgan’s The Study Guide for Tindall’s ‘America: A Narrative History’, which, among other things, ‘offers general tips on how to read the text and how to study history’, as well as ...

Weasel, Magpie, Crow

Mark Ford: Edward Thomas

1 January 2009
Edward ThomasThe Annotated Collected Poems 
edited by Edna Longley.
Bloodaxe, 335 pp., £12, June 2008, 978 1 85224 746 1
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... Prends l’éloquence et tords-lui son cou!’ Verlaine resonantly, and eloquently, declared in his ‘Art poétique’ of 1874. The line must have lodged in Edward Thomas’s mind: in May 1914, some six months before his late efflorescence into verse at the age of 36, he wrote to Robert Frost of his longing to ‘wring all the necks of my rhetoric – the geese’. He ...
21 January 1982
The Outbreak of the English Civil War 
by Anthony Fletcher.
Arnold, 446 pp., £24, October 1981, 0 7131 6320 8
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The Royalist War Effort 
by Ronald Hutton.
Longman, £12, October 1981, 0 582 50301 9
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... perceptive recent work (Tyacke, Collinson and Lamont on religion; Hirst on the electorate; Russell on the evolution of Pym’s character and Morrill on Pym’s relations with backwoods MPs; Peter Thomas on Court and country cultures) is intelligently deployed, but not always searchingly tested against the events Mr Fletcher describes. And Mr Fletcher is careful to warn us that ‘although this book ...

I fret and fret

Adam Phillips: Edward Thomas

5 November 2015
Edward ThomasFrom Adelstrop to Arras 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 480 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 4081 8713 5
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... Edward Thomas​ believed that up to about the age of four what he called ‘a sweet darkness’ enfolded him ‘with a faint blessing’. It was, though, a darkness and the blessing was faint. ‘From an early ...
13 June 1991
Edmund Blunden: A Biography 
by Barry Webb.
Yale, 360 pp., £18.50, December 1990, 0 300 04634 0
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... One of the many excellent photographs Barry Webb has assembled shows Blunden going out to bat with Rupert Hart-Davis, in a match between Jonathan Cape and the Alden Press. That was in 1938. Blunden looks miniature, a frail determined Don Quixote with eagle nose and jaw, who had persuaded the burly ...
3 March 1983
The Life and Death of the Press Barons 
by Piers Brendon.
Secker, 288 pp., £12.50, December 1982, 0 436 06811 7
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... this tale of the tiny subsidiary unit of a soulless bureaucracy intent on promoting the capitalist order in general and the interests of its parent company in particular. The name is Murdoch. Plain Rupert Murdoch, for all the offers of titles that habitually come the way of newspaper proprietors. Mr Murdoch, who appointed Kelvin MacKenzie to revitalise the flagging Sun, who ordered, ‘I want a ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!

3 January 2019
... Edinburgh run by Drue Heinz. Thereafter, every Christmas Drue sends us a box of partridges or venison which, not being especially carnivorous, we find it hard to dispose of. This year, though, Inigo Thomas, having been brought up on such fare, has offered to take them off our hands (and later sends round a brace in a delicious casserole).7 February. Nick H. rings this morning to say they’d been ...

Saying yes

Rupert​ Wilkinson

19 July 1984
... leader may escort the nation; it can also be the virtue that America shines forth to the world – an image made much of by New England’s founding Puritans. At the Republican Convention in 1948, Thomas Dewey ended his speech: ‘The ideals of the American people are the ideals of the Republican Party. We have lighted a beacon here in Philadelphia, in this cradle of our independence. We have lighted ...


Alan Bennett: What I Did in 2015

7 January 2016
... he’s a celebrity, resenting being looked at while at the same time (and like any other celebrity) having put himself in the way of it in the first place. Bridget goes round pretty much at my pace, Rupert as always slower and taking more in, noting the tears brimming in Lucrezia’s eyes, for instance, and how she has had to half slip herself out of her heavily brocaded dress the more easily to stab ...
18 July 1985
The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... House of Commons Lobby, they necessarily have to give their attention to every ephemeral political event and could not devote themselves to the intricacies of 30 April-2 May 1982, even if their owner Rupert Murdoch so wished – which he emphatically doesn’t. Peter Riddell of the Financial Times has taken an educated interest, but he is also in the House of Commons Lobby, and you cannot expect Lobby ...

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