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David Gascoyne: Notebook, New Year 1991, 25 January 1996

... grandmother, at Sailing Club. The European. Indifferent TV. Saturday 12: – Letter from Simon Callow, at last – Supermarket – Cowes. Ian Gibson’s Assassination of F.G. Lorca from library (rather disappointing). – Picked up Humphrey Carpenter’s Ezra Pound: A Serious Character unexpectedly. – Dull TV. Sunday 13: – Had made apricot ...

Thunder in the Mountains

J. Hoberman: Orson Welles, 6 September 2007

Orson Welles: Hello Americans 
by Simon Callow.
Vintage, 507 pp., £8.99, May 2007, 978 0 09 946261 3
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What Ever Happened to Orson Welles? A Portrait of an Independent Career 
by Joseph McBride.
Kentucky, 344 pp., $29.95, October 2006, 0 8131 2410 7
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... lounge.) In addition to all this, there is an apparently unending succession of books, of which Simon Callow’s ongoing biography is the most monumental, now two volumes in and not even arrived at The Third Man, the 1949 movie that made Welles a myth. Callow’s second volume, Hello Americans, is named after the ...

People shouldn’t be fat

Zachary Leader, 3 October 1996

Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu 
by Simon Callow.
Cape, 640 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 224 03852 4
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Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 460 pp., £20, September 1996, 0 316 91437 1
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... of his life Orson Welles weighed 350 pounds. His appetite, though, was not a late development. In Simon Callow’s biography the composer Virgil Thomson reports the 22-year-old actor-director devouring ‘oysters and champagne, red meat and burgundy, dessert and brandy’ immediately before squeezing into a canvas corset to play Brutus in Julius ...

Dear God

Theo Tait: Patrick McGrath’s Gothic, 19 August 2004

Port Mungo 
by Patrick McGrath.
Bloomsbury, 241 pp., £16.99, May 2004, 0 7475 7019 1
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... She sounds like a hammy male actor in late middle age – perhaps Christopher Lee in his prime, or Simon Callow. She is Gin Rathbone, and she introduces herself with these fine words: ‘I am a tall, thin, untidy Englishwoman, I drink too much and yes, I suppose I am rather – oh, detached – distant, aloof – snobbish, even, I have been called all ...

All about Me

Kevin Kopelson: Don Bachardy, 9 April 2015

by Don Bachardy.
Glitterati, 368 pp., £45, October 2014, 978 0 9913419 2 4
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... some portraits – reproduced in full colour – that had been done of Strachey; there’s one by Simon Bussy, drawn in 1904 (the year of Isherwood’s birth); there’s one by Henry Lamb, painted in 1914; there’s one by Dora Carrington from 1916. In Meade’s book, I was most struck by the following passage about a party in Los Angeles. (Parker, in ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... In the 1970s, Corin and Vanessa were prominent members of the Workers Revolutionary Party. Simon Callow described seeing Corin, dressed in a trench coat and sitting at a trestle table under a naked light bulb, shouting that the government was on the point of surrounding Heathrow airport with tanks, as a prelude to a coup. In 1975 the Observer ...

The Monte Lupo Story

Simon Schama, 18 September 1980

Faith, Reason and the Plague 
by Carlo Cipolla.
Harvester, 112 pp., £7.50, November 1980, 0 85527 506 5
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... at any time between 1400 and 1800 – our contemplation of Michelangelo, Bernini and Voltaire is callow and impoverished. The Low Puff refers more tactfully to ‘spare’ prose and ‘deft’ strokes, evoking the warbling of the piccolo rather than the swell of the Vox Humana. I should in fairness add that for your £7.50 you get three appendices (one ...


David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... a maddening book to read, and only someone who knows the biographies of Welles by Charles Higham, Simon Callow and others is likely to guess what Conrad is up to and why. Yet he is also writing criticism. Here the difference should matter between a line written as a writer writes and a line spoken as an actor reads. Even in a study like this (a scrambled ...

The Fatness of Falstaff

Barbara Everett, 16 August 1990

... might have called ‘acting and not-acting’. In a memorable autobiographical study, an actor – Simon Callow – has described the long discipline of learning to act as a ‘re-inventing’ of the physical self, an actual ‘re-birthing’. This is the context from which Falstaff was ‘borne about three of the clock in the afternoon, with a white ...


David Lan: On Jim Allen’s Perdition, 2 April 1987

... by Zionists. How I felt is captured by Lenni Brenner’s account, in Jews in America Today* of the callow youth who are heard to say: ‘I wouldn’t be seen dead with those creeps.’ Reading the correspondence Perdition elicited, it came back to me why I felt as I did. In the play, Ruth Kaplan charges Yaron with gross self-interest. She claims that Yaron’s ...

Story: ‘Offences against the Person’

Hilary Mantel, 20 March 2008

... I said. ‘Offences against the person.’ ‘Yes, that sort of lark. Plus I understand young Simon offered her the extra hundred a year.’ ‘Probably luncheon vouchers,’ I said. ‘I shouldn’t wonder.’ ‘Occam’s Razor shaves you closer,’ I said. I had only begun to suspect something when he began multiplying explanations. My foot shot out ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott, 23 May 2019

by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May 2019, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... Jay McInerney’s breakthrough novel, Bright Lights, Big City, and Morgan Entrekin, the editor at Simon and Schuster who acquired Bret Easton Ellis’s Less than Zero. Lish had the cult cred, but their properties shone the brightest. Gary and Morgan, Morgan and Gary, Jay and Bret, Bret and Jay – how often we heard their names tick-tock together then, the ...

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