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State Theatre

Peter Burke, 22 January 1987

The Rome of Alexander VII: 1655-1667 
by Richard Krautheimer.
Princeton, 199 pp., £16.80, November 1985, 9780691040325
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Firearms and Fortifications: Military Architecture and Siege Warfare in 16th-century Siena 
by Simon Pepper and Nicholas Adams.
Chicago, 245 pp., £21.25, October 1986, 0 226 65534 2
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... 16th-century Siena, but it is viewed from a very different angle, that of the Renaissance bastion. Simon Pepper and Nicholas Adams are concerned with military architecture and siege warfare. Like Richard Krautheimer, they are art historians concerned to place art in context. Their study of the bastions designed for Siena by the architect Baldassare ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Caliban’s Lunch, 24 June 2010

... spoon, wipes his mouth and rises from the table like a new tele-hybrid, part Jonathan Meades, part Simon Schama, for another assay: ‘The mid-16th century, in gastronomic terms, was precisely such an exotic place.’ And off we go with ‘How to smeare a rabbet or a necke of mutton’, from The Good Hous-wives treasurie. Beeing a verye necessarie Booke ...

How Jeans Got Their Fade

Peter Campbell: Mauve and indigo, 14 December 2000

by Jenny Balfour-Paul.
British Museum, 264 pp., £19.99, October 2000, 0 7141 2550 4
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Mauve: How One Man Invented a Colour that Changed the World 
by Simon Garfield.
Faber, 222 pp., £9.99, September 2000, 0 571 20197 0
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... an indigo and red fake’) but as trade developed in the 17th century, indigo was up there with pepper and cloves in volume and value. Stronger in colour, and cheaper, imported tropical indigo eventually destroyed the European woad industry – just as the Indian indigo trade was to be ruined by synthetic indigo in the 19th and 20th centuries. Woad ...

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 series of radio broadcasts Welles delivered ...

Wicked Converse

Keith Thomas: Bewitched by the Brickmaker, 12 May 2022

The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World 
by Malcolm Gaskill.
Allen Lane, 308 pp., £20, November 2021, 978 0 241 41338 8
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... out of the kettle again; this time it had been cut into three long slices. A few months later, Simon Beamon, one of Pynchon’s servants, refused to help Parsons carry home some heavy sacks of flour. But when he trotted away on his ‘gentle, quiet horse’, he fell off, not once but three times, even though the placid horse had not shied and continued to ...


David Denby: Deaths on Camera, 8 September 2016

... but remains tirelessly cogent in its pursuit of it. Of the famous shows, perhaps only the David Simon classic The Wire adds the dimensions of fallibility and compromise to the image of the police. Here the police sometimes act with righteous violence, sometimes not. Often they are stymied by the peevishness and self-interest of police bureaucracy. They live ...

A Family of Acrobats

Adam Mars-Jones: Teju Cole, 3 July 2014

Every Day Is for the Thief 
by Teju Cole.
Faber, 162 pp., £12.99, April 2014, 978 0 571 30792 0
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... the book Julius attends a performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Simon Rattle. He notices details in the music for the first time, relishing for instance a third movement that is ‘loud, rude and as burlesque as it could conceivably be’. After the concert he inadvertently uses an emergency exit, one that leads directly to a ...

Not No Longer but Not Yet

Jenny Turner: Mark Fisher’s Ghosts, 9 May 2019

k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher 
edited by Darren Ambrose.
Repeater, 817 pp., £25, November 2018, 978 1 912248 28 5
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... for government.’ ‘Pro-Corbyn memes and football chants are a start,’ Gilbert wrote in Red Pepper in September 2017. (It looks like I’m mocking him, but I’m not. I too was thrilled by the surprise result of the 2017 election and remember wishing Fisher had been alive to see it.) ‘What new forms of expression may emerge in the years ahead, nobody ...

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