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Appreciating Paisley

Charles Townshend, 22 January 1987

God save Ulster: The Religion and Politics of Paisleyism 
by Steve Bruce.
Oxford, 308 pp., £15, November 1986, 0 19 827487 4
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Children of Wrath: Political Violence in Northern Ireland 
by Michael MacDonald.
Polity, 194 pp., £19.50, September 1986, 0 7456 0219 3
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... must be taken as an indicator of British incomprehension of the ‘Irish problem’ as a whole. (Steve Bruce rightly points out that the use of the word ‘problem’ itself implies a typically British misconception. ‘Problems’ have solutions; British political culture has taken shape round the idea that all public issues are problems in this ...


Colin Wallace, 8 October 1992

The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland 
by Steve Bruce.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 19 215961 5
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... nor has the Ulster situation been an issue in any general election since the Seventies. Steve Bruce says he decided to write The Red Hand because, while there is an extensive literature on the IRA, very little has been written about the Loyalist paramilitaries, who have been responsible for just under half of the civilian deaths caused by ...


Stephen Smith: Peace in Our Lunchtime, 6 October 1994

... demur when I included him in a remark about Loyalist ‘operators’. In The Edge of the Union, Steve Bruce, the self-styled ‘Prods are me’ spokesman of academe, observes that ‘paramilitaries use the term “operators” to distinguish those members who have been or are prepared to be personally involved in illegal violence from the “backroom ...

On the Threshold

Tom Nairn, 23 March 1995

Frameworks for the Future 
Northern Ireland Office, 37 pp., February 1995Show More
Northern Ireland: The Choice 
by Kevin Boyle and Tom Hadden.
Penguin, 256 pp., £6.99, May 1994, 0 14 023541 8
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... Protestants form an ethnic group and that the Northern Ireland conflict is an ethnic conflict,’ Steve Bruce concluded in The Edge of the Union (1993). ‘The depth of the ethnic divisions in Northern Ireland is such that it is almost impossible to think, and harder to act, in any other terms.’ Since the Sixties depth has become abyss. Twenty-five ...


Ian Stewart, 4 November 1993

The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier 
by Bruce Sterling.
Viking, 328 pp., £16.99, January 1993, 0 670 84900 6
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The New Hacker’s Dictionary 
edited by Eric Raymond.
MIT, 516 pp., £11.75, October 1992, 0 262 68079 3
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Approaching Zero: Data Crime and the Computer Underworld 
by Bryan Clough and Paul Mungo.
Faber, 256 pp., £4.99, March 1993, 0 571 16813 2
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... buy The Hacker Crackdown. To continue its Story: on 1 March 1990, the Secret Service raided Steve Jackson Games, a computer game publisher that employed 15 people and had an annual turnover of $500,000. It was looking for a ‘handbook of computer crime’, allegedly being published by the company. It took away every item of computing ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Vice’, 21 February 2019

... far did he oblige?’ Cheney, played by Christian Bale, whose other larger than life roles include Bruce Wayne, Patrick Bateman and Jesus, looms effectively in the film, as he should – nothing is quite so visible in a movie as a supposedly invisible man. Bale is terrific in the part but he is not the film’s hero. He is its plump, ever present ghost. The ...

She wore Isabel Marant

Joanna Biggs: Literary London, 2 August 2018

by Olivia Laing.
Picador, 140 pp., £12.99, June 2018, 978 1 5098 9283 9
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... drink Le Mesnil and eat husband-made cake and the doorbell keeps ringing ‘when someone shouted Steve Bannon’s resigned. They all checked their phones. Bruce Forsyth had also died, he was older than Anne Frank, but the main news was Bannon. It had literally just happened, no one quite knew why, great wedding present she ...

Beefcake Ease

Miranda Carter: Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen, 14 January 2002

Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, Crazy 
by Damien Love.
Batsford, 208 pp., £15.99, December 2001, 0 7134 8707 0
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Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care 
by Lee Server.
Faber, 590 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 571 20994 7
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McQueen: The Biography 
by Christopher Sandford.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £16.99, October 2001, 0 00 257195 1
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... At the height of Steve McQueen’s fame in 1968, after a run of huge box-office successes – The Sand Pebble, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt – it was Robert Mitchum, his elder by 13 years and a star for more than twenty, who was voted the screen’s ‘godfather of cool’ on America’s university campuses. Both men had got to where they were by doing or seeming to do nothing ...


Jonathan Lethem: My Marvel Years, 15 April 2004

... culture of the 1950s and early 1960s: Ernie Kovacs, The Twilight Zone, the British Invasion, Lenny Bruce, the Beat writers, film noir. I tended to identify with my parents’ taste in things, and with the tastes of my parents’ friends, more than with the cultural tokens of my own generation. With Luke, I went to see a Ralph Bakshi film called Heavy ...

Feeling Right

Will Woodward: The Iowa Straw Poll, 16 September 1999

... he says – often – in a similar vein to fellow conservative challengers Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes, but more effectively. ‘He believed what he said. He didn’t have his finger up in the air to find out which way the wind was blowing.’ Bauer tells how as a child in 1964 he watched a Reagan speech endorsing Barry Goldwater, and ...

The Amazing …

Jonathan Lethem: My Spidey, 6 June 2002

directed by Sam Raimi.
May 2002
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... and Batman’s deep whiteness that establishes Spider-Man’s metaphoric blackness. Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne live in palaces of privilege and operate from fantasy cities, Metropolis and Gotham, while working-class Spider-Man is a bridge-and-tunnel person, from Queens, in the real New York. Spider-Man’s good intentions get misrepresented in the media, and ...

Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language, 10 May 2012

Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... in the 1980s as a champion of the language poets: Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, Rae Armantrout, Steve McCaffery, Ron Silliman, Susan Howe, Bruce Andrews and perhaps a dozen others, who first published during the 1970s in a brace of little magazines, one of which bore the all too catchy name L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. Often – too ...

It’s alive!

Christopher Tayler: The cult of Godzilla, 3 February 2005

Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters 
by William Tsutsui.
Palgrave, 240 pp., £8.99, December 2004, 1 4039 6474 2
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... Americans to name a famous Japanese person, Godzilla came third (or second, if you don’t count Bruce Lee, who wasn’t Japanese; Hirohito came top.) But, even in America, his name connotes little more than bigness, Japaneseness, latex costumes and violence towards buildings. Serious writers on Japanese cinema have tended to decry its low-end ‘plethora of ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash, 9 March 2006

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... his life was an absolute mess. In his thorough and entertaining authorised biography of Cash, Steve Turner establishes a suitably saintly tone on the first page. ‘It was doubtful,’ he writes of his subject, ‘whether he had a bodily organ that hadn’t been operated on, an area of skin that hadn’t been gashed, or a significant bone that hadn’t ...

Language Writing

Jerome McGann, 15 October 1987

In the American Tree: Language, Poetry, Realism 
by Ron Silliman.
National Poetry Foundation, 628 pp., $34.50, June 1986, 0 915032 33 3
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‘Language’ Poetries: An Anthology 
by Douglas Messerli.
New Directions, 184 pp., $19.95, March 1987, 0 8112 1006 5
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... as Rea, cinct pp pools we sly drosp Geianto     (o sordea, o weedsea!) The Canadian writer Steve McCaffrey once wrote of Pcoet that its text ‘seems less like writing than incisions into the very surface of signification’. Pcoet is not a deliverer of meaning but a carefully-constructed linguistic field where meaning is rendered possible. Much of it ...

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