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Pop your own abscess

Rory Scothorne: Definitions of Poverty

22 February 2018
The New Poverty 
by Stephen Armstrong.
Verso, 242 pp., £12.99, October 2017, 978 1 78663 463 4
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Poverty Safari 
by Darren McGarvey.
Luath, 244 pp., £7.99, November 2017, 978 1 912147 03 8
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... as you feel’ dental clinic that had been set up in Dewsbury with the support of DentAid, an international NGO. DentAid’s UK operations began in 2015, providing a charitable alternative to what StephenArmstrong calls ‘DIY Dentistry’. In a chapter that’s almost impossible to read without flinching, Armstrong tells story after story of individuals forced by the scarcity of public services and ...

King of Razz

Alfred Appel Jr: Homage to Fats Waller

9 May 2002
... On the eve of World War Two, Fats Waller was, after Louis Armstrong, the jazz musician and jazz entertainer best known and most loved by the American and English populations at large. In recent years, however, Waller’s reputation has declined, possibly because the ...

Keeping mum

Stephen​ Sedley

2 March 1989
The Spycatcher Trial 
by Malcolm Turnbull.
Heinemann, 228 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 434 79156 3
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Reform of the Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911: Government White Paper 
HMSO, 16 pp., £2.60, June 1988, 0 10 104082 2Show More
Official Secrets Bill 
HMSO, 14 pp., £3, December 1988, 0 10 300989 2Show More
Security Service Bill 
HMSO, 8 pp., £2.60, November 1988, 9780103007892Show More
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... that being the general view and general conclusion, there was no proposition to put to the Attorney-General.’ The only real difference is that the obliquity is not too well concealed in Sir Robert Armstrong’s impromptu response: in the White Paper it lies low. But there is not much to choose between Armstrong’s fluent evasion and the White Paper’s gracious acceptance of the swingeing injustice of ...

More ‘out’ than ‘on’

Glen Newey: Chris Mullin’s Diaries

27 August 2009
A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin 
by Chris Mullin.
Profile, 590 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84668 223 0
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... to become leader, while his faction intrigues against Blair’s. At the DETR, Prescott blusters and bungles away, the Peter Principle made flesh. Other ministers – Alan Milburn, David Blunkett, Stephen Byers – briefly shoot skywards, flare and fizzle. Through the passing show Mullin is by turns wryly amused and appalled, but often just alienated, a Meursault of the red boxes. Despite his Bennite ...

Diary

Alan Hollinghurst: In Houston

18 March 1999
... so faceless or recklessly ugly, its inner life so hidden. I am still haunted by the number of windowless buildings there. Houston’s Pevsner, and my main means of imaginative entry to the city, is Stephen Fox, a professor at both the large and unlovely University of Houston, where I am teaching, and the élite Rice University, which has a beautiful campus laid out by the Boston architect Ralph Adams ...

Crypto-Republican

Simon Adams: Was Mary Queen of Scots a Murderer?

11 June 2009
Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by Stephen​ Alford.
Yale, 412 pp., £25, May 2008, 978 0 300 11896 4
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... invites treatment normally found in the more ponderous biographies of contemporary politicians. The standard life, by Conyers Read, is in two volumes (published in 1955 and 1960), each larger than Stephen Alford’s new book. Alford, the author of The Early Elizabethan Polity: William Cecil and the British Succession Crisis (1998), has chosen to focus his study on the controversial subject of the ...
21 March 1985
Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture 
by Paul Cummings, Jorn Merkert and Claire Stoullig.
Norton, 308 pp., £35, August 1984, 0 393 01840 7
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Abstract Expressionist Painting in America 
by William Seitz.
Harvard, 490 pp., £59.95, February 1984, 0 674 00215 6
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About Rothko 
by Dore Ashton.
Oxford, 225 pp., £15, August 1984, 0 19 503348 5
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The Art of the City: Views and Versions of New York 
by Peter Conrad.
Oxford, 329 pp., £15, June 1984, 0 19 503408 2
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... mills were rolling, and the large abstract canvases which became the badge of New York painting went on being produced in moulds which had to a large extent already been formed. De Kooning, says Tom Armstrong, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, ‘has changed the nature of painting and our understanding of art’. He describes a film in which the artist paints a picture: ‘his relationship ...

Diary

Stephen​ Smith: On the Applegarth

13 April 2000
... just close up and go home.’ Harry kept suitcases of money under the bed at the kibbutz, and was never at a loss for a Cup Final ticket. He was married to Bessie, who banged the gong for dinner. Stephen Smith, my grandfather, was in on the café venture with his brother and also had shops in New Brighton (hardware, glass). Stephen was a sidesman at the Baptist church. No TV was allowed on Sundays ...

A Conversation with Gore Vidal

Thomas Powers: Meeting Gore Vidal

30 July 2014
... subject: had Edel deliberately suppressed important evidence that Henry James was a homosexual, and if so, why? A complicated story. It happened that Vidal had information on this subject: both Stephen Spender and John Lehmann had been told by Hugh Walpole – in identical words, apparently – of an occasion mentioned by Edel. Walpole, then young, beautiful, and awed by the Master, had offered ...

Operation Backfire

Francis Spufford: Britain’s space programme

28 October 1999
... in harnessing destructive chemistry to deliberate ends. All the British rocketmen talk of the pleasure of working with very high levels of energy. John Scott-Scott was a hydrodynamicist at Armstrong Siddeley Rocket Motors at Ansty near Rugby, who worked on conventional turbine engines before switching to rockets. He invented a turbo-pump incorporating a floating ‘cavitation bubble’ which ...

Festival of Punishment

Thomas Laqueur: On Death Row

5 October 2000
Proximity to Death 
by William McFeely.
Norton, 206 pp., £17.95, January 2000, 0 393 04819 5
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Death Row: The Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment 
edited by Bonnie Bobit.
Bobit, 311 pp., $24.95, September 1999, 0 9624857 6 4
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... In Proximity to Death William McFeely makes the connection between then and now explicit: ‘opposition to the death penalty today,’ he says, ‘is the contemporary equivalent of abolitionism.’ Stephen Bright, the lead counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, whose archives were the starting point for McFeely’s exploration of the way capital punishment actually works, sees himself as ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers

6 March 2008
... other patrol groups from the company. ‘We then did a U-turn on Green 9 and Green 12’ – these were combat zones – ‘and turned into an area known to us as “India”,’ says Lance Sergeant Stephen Phipps. ‘We then made our way through the al-Mukatil al-Araby district. I’m not sure if we drove to Green 5 – the streets were getting quieter.’ The patrol was about forty kilometres from ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett

5 April 2007
... be bothered by heroes. If I walk down to the Bank of Ireland at the corner of Westland Row and Pearse Street, which I do regularly, I hardly ever think about Leopold Bloom and the Kilkenny People or Stephen Daedalus and the ghost of Hamlet’s father, even if I decide to walk the route down Kildare Street and past the National Library. I studied in the National Library almost every weekday between 1973 ...

Come and Stay

Arnold Rattenbury

27 November 1997
England and the Octopus 
by Clough Williams-Ellis.
CPRE, 220 pp., £10.95, December 1996, 0 946044 50 3
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Clough Williams-Ellis: RIBA Drawings Monograph No 2 
by Richard Haslam.
Academy, 112 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 1 85490 430 2
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Clough Williams-Ellis: The Architect of Portmeirion 
by Jonah Jones.
Seren, 204 pp., £9.95, December 1996, 1 85411 166 3
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... in what may now seem less than likely ways. Rose Macaulay collected soap and Storm Jameson socks and blankets for Spain; Patrick Hamilton deserted satirical realism for dystopia and allegory; Stephen Spender meandered Forward from Liberalism, crabwise; Sybil Thorndike joined the board of the Daily Worker; Dylan Thomas insisted that his ‘Ceremony after a Fire Raid’ must first appear as part of ...

Excellence

Patrick Wright

21 May 1987
Creating excellence: Managing corporate culture, strategy and change in the New Age 
by Craig Hickman and Michael Silva.
Allen and Unwin, 305 pp., £12.50, April 1985, 0 04 658252 5
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Intrapreneuring: Why you don’t have to leave the corporation to become an entrepreneur 
by Gifford Pinchot.
Harper and Row, 368 pp., £15.95, August 1985, 0 06 015305 9
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The IBM Way: Insights into the World’s Most Successful Marketing Organisation 
by Buck Rodgers.
Harper and Row, 224 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 06 015522 1
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Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage 
by Richard Foster.
Macmillan, 316 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 333 43511 7
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Ford 
by Robert Lacey.
Heinemann, 778 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 434 40192 7
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Company of Adventurers: The Story of the Hudson’s Bay Company 
by Peter Newman.
Viking, 413 pp., £14.95, March 1986, 0 670 80379 0
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Augustine’s Laws 
by Norman Augustine.
Viking, 380 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 9780670809424
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Peak Performers: The New Heroes in Business 
by Charles Garfield.
Hutchinson, 333 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 09 167391 7
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Going for it: How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur 
by Victor Kiam.
Collins, 223 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 00 217603 3
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Take a chance to be first: The Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success 
by Warren Avis.
Macmillan, 222 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 02 504410 9
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The Winning Streak 
by Walter Goldsmith and David Clutterbuck.
Weidenfeld/Penguin, 224 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 297 78469 2
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The Roots of Excellence 
by Ronnie Lessem.
Fontana, 318 pp., £3.95, December 1985, 0 00 636874 3
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The New Management of Local Government 
by John Stewart.
Allen and Unwin, 208 pp., £20, October 1986, 0 00 435232 7
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... the Lunar Extension Module for the Apollo 11 mission. He saw people ‘waking up’ and reaching new heights of achievement as they shared in the great patriotic adventure that would put Neil Armstrong on the Moon. Convinced that a person doesn’t have to be an astronaut to reach for the sky, Garfield set out to show that the ‘improvements in performance’ to be seen in the LEM project can ...

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