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Jam Tomorrow

F.M.L. Thompson, 31 August 1989

Clichés of Urban Doom, and Other Essays 
by Ruth Glass.
Blackwell, 266 pp., £25, November 1988, 0 631 12806 9
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Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the 20th Century 
by Peter Hall.
Blackwell, 473 pp., £25, November 1988, 0 631 13444 1
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London 2001 
by Peter Hall.
Unwin Hyman, 226 pp., £17.95, January 1989, 9780044451617
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The Big Smoke: A History of Air Pollution in London since Medieval Times 
by Peter Brimblecombe.
Routledge, 185 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 415 03001 3
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New York Unbound: The City and the Politics of the Future 
edited by Peter Salins.
Blackwell, 223 pp., £35, December 1988, 1 55786 008 4
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The Idea of a Town: The Anthropology of Urban Forms in Rome, Italy and the Ancient World 
by Joseph Rykwert.
MIT, 241 pp., $15, September 1988, 0 262 68056 4
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... environment. In the introduction to the collection of her reprinted essays Clichés of Urban Doom, Ruth Glass offers a forceful, eloquent and polemical expression of the view that planning, along with all the basic values and institutions of the modern democratic welfare state, has been uprooted and up-ended since 1979 by a gigantic conjuring trick which ...

Revelation

Ruth Padel, 5 January 2012

... the master whispered, ‘of nucleic acid.’ This was the first we’d heard of it. Rain nosed the glass; wind lashed the trees outside. ‘Four hydrogen-bonded nucleotides locking on like mating damselflies, but each a different size, pulling the ladder’s sides into a twist, like serpents on the sign outside a chemist who for old time’s sake gives lodging ...

Scotch

Ruth Padel, 14 November 1996

... hedge at two in the morning to see what he doesn’t often get a glimpse of, that moonspark on a glass of Scotch he doesn’t often smell being more at home with fish-heads and the rinds of Emmental: trainspotting to his fox-astonishment a tumbler doing the rounds of his own beat about heart-height in the ...

Writing a Postcard after a War

Ruth Padel, 3 December 2009

... pale-rose tint he’s given to particles of water drying on a letter, 6th May 1947, This is the glass in which I drink the fresh and perfumed wine of Alsace à ta santé. Tous les jours que tu n’es pas ...

Two Poems

Ruth Padel, 12 March 2009

... down each nape. White cheeks and that dagger of kohl down the nose. Vibrissae, strands of black glass under a pure white chin. Nefertiti eyelashes, each aching hair standing proud from each whiffy pelt. That ready-to-flee gaze which unleashes the epinephrin in me – and in my phantom rival, who drops to his knees among the black icicles of our own shadows ...

Two Poems

Ruth Padel, 28 April 2011

... in a haze of cold spring sky. Breathing Hebrew to himself, he pours water, two delicate glass stamens from a copper cup, over his girlfriend’s fingers. A prayer she is too shy to ask him about. Lone Ranger When all this is over, said the princess, this bothersome Growing Up, I’ll live with wild horses. I want to race tumbleweed blowing down a ...

Slices of Toast

Ruth Padel, 8 March 2007

... that rattle-burp it only ever does when the wind is fierce outside. Black raindrops flame on the glass. Light from across the back gardens, one lone yellow oblong, someone up early on a winter morning. And I think of my parents putting radiators in their home, dark slices of metal toast in every room. Before, it was so cold of a morning I’d leave the next ...

Sugar-Paper Blue

Ruth Fainlight, 16 December 1993

... split at the folds and fell apart. iii I was probably not more than 12 when, in my aunt’s glass-fronted mahogany bookcase –       dusting its elaborate clawed feet,       the swagged garlands of leaves swathing       the hips of the female torsos       that surged from the column each side       like naked caryatids, or ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Ghost Writer’, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, 22 April 2010

The Ghost Writer 
directed by Roman Polanski.
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
directed by Niels Arden Oplev.
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... get to if your car moves when the ferry docks, a luxury barracks built of sandy blocks and sheet glass, and a picture of wealth and power as modes of infinite discomfort. It belongs to a high-powered American publisher, and is inhabited when the film starts by a former British prime minister, locked away writing his memoirs. Or rather … That corpse on the ...

Not in My House

Mark Ford: Flannery O’Connor, 23 July 2009

Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor 
by Brad Gooch.
Little, Brown, 448 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 316 00066 6
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... Asbury tries out another means of bonding with the incommunicative pair. He pours himself a glass of fresh milk from one of the cans, and drains it. Randall watches him: ‘She don’t ’low that,’ he said. ‘That the thing she don’t ’low.’ Asbury poured out another glassful and handed it to him. ‘She don’t ’low it,’ he ...

A Predilection for the Zinger

Rebecca Mead: Lorrie Moore, 10 December 1998

Birds of America 
by Lorrie Moore.
Faber, 291 pp., £9.99, November 1998, 0 571 19529 6
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... so many of Moore’s characters live in, that of disappointed making do: ‘It was life like a glass of water: half-empty, half-full. Half-full. Half-full. Oops: half-empty.’ In ‘Which Is more than I Can Say about Some People’, Abby marries Bob after her dog dies of kidney failure, and the marriage is as successful as that auspicious start would ...

O cruel!

Michael Mason, 16 June 1983

Far Away and Long Ago 
by W.H. Hudson.
Eland, 332 pp., £3.95, October 1982, 0 907871 25 9
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W.H. Hudson: A Biography 
by Ruth Tomalin.
Faber, 314 pp., £13.50, November 1982, 0 571 10599 8
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... and green places, and the winds on the heath, and saw the brightness of the skirts of God.’ Ruth Tomalin’s active interest in Hudson is of long standing, for she wrote a biography of him as long ago as 1954. She is obviously deeply acquainted with her subject. But her response to the special problems of writing about Hudson is not always ...

Oh! – only Oh!

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Burne-Jones, 9 February 2012

The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 629 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 571 22861 4
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... and other poems on fairy mythology; his first serious income as an artist came from the stained glass windows he began to design for James Powell and Sons in the late 1850s. He turned out hundreds of such designs over the course of his working life, most of them for Morris & Co. In a frenzy of mourning after Morris’s death in 1896, he ‘flew at his ...

Sleeping It Off in Rapid City

August Kleinzahler, 22 February 2007

... have done, no one knows why The Bible Store respires in its sanctum As if in an outsize black glass humidor This is a sacred ground, a holy place 4 a.m. in a sacred place I can tell this is a sacred place, I needn’t be told It’s in the air I feel it This old heritage hotel, this is a sacred place The tour buses are lined up outside it Awaiting the ...

Foreign Body

Tim Winton, 22 June 1995

Patrick White: Letters 
edited by David Marr.
Cape, 678 pp., £35, January 1995, 0 224 03516 9
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... him than cause him grief or loss. In his working life he was rarely without champions, his mother Ruth being the first (however unwelcome she was in the role of booster). For a diffident man he had many friends, and for a difficult writer he had many readers. As an Australian writer he was English enough to reassure the English and exotic enough to interest ...

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