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The Staidness of Trousers

E.S. Turner, 6 June 1996

A Peculiar Man: A Life of George Moore 
by Tony Gray.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 344 pp., £20, April 1996, 1 85619 578 3
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... were among the Dublin epithets collected by his fellow writer Susan Mitchell and here passed on by Tony Gray. Manet thought Moore’s face had the look of a broken egg-yolk, and his first portrait of the author ‘was described by the critics as like that of a drowned man, taken out of the water’. Sickert’s portrait was likened to ‘an intoxicated ...

A Resonance for William Styron

Gabriele Annan, 7 November 1985

Savage Grace 
by Natalie Robins and Steven Aronson.
Gollancz, 473 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 575 03738 5
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... his homosexuality. An earlier cure by means of a French girl had not been completely successful; Tony’s father, Brooks Baekeland, had gone off with the girl he married after Barbara’s death. This occurred in Cadogan Square, so Tony was sent to Broadmoor. Eight years later he was released, extradited, and sent to live ...

In Praise of Middle Government

Ian Gilmour, 12 July 1990

Liberalisms. Essays in Political Philosophy 
by John Gray.
Routledge, 273 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 415 00744 5
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The Voice of Liberal Learning: Michael Oakeshott on Education 
edited by Timothy Fuller.
Yale, 169 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04344 9
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The Political Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott 
by Paul Franco.
Yale, 277 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04686 3
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Conservatism 
by Ted Honderich.
Hamish Hamilton, 255 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12999 0
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... for some time to come. Coincident with the end of socialism in any meaningful sense, John Gray tells us that ‘a liberal political philosophy is an impossibility,’ and Ted Honderich announces that Conservatism is a nullity. If both of them are right and can be taken at face value, there does not seem to be much left. Dr ...

Because We Could

David Simpson: Soldiers and Torture, 18 November 2010

None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture 
by Joshua Phillips.
Verso, 237 pp., £16.99, September 2010, 978 1 84467 599 9
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... sometimes suicide. His two principal homecoming narratives certainly follow this pattern. Adam Gray was a sergeant in the tank regiment in which his friend Jonathan Millantz was a combat medic. There is strong evidence that both committed suicide, although their deaths were ruled accidental by the military. Both talked about their experiences, Adam to his ...

The Right to Murder

Gaby Wood: ‘In a Lonely Place’, 22 March 2018

In a Lonely Place 
by Dorothy B. Hughes.
NYRB, 224 pp., $14.95, August 2017, 978 1 68137 147 4
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In a Lonely Place 
directed by Nicholas Ray.
Criterion Collection, £14.99
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... have been better, but I don’t see why the rest should worry you.’ Enter his alibi: Laurel Gray, a neighbour who saw him come home with Atkinson. At the threshold of the captain’s office she raises an eyebrow, just slightly, and over the next few moments it becomes clear that, for the purposes of irascible romance, Dix and she are the same ...

On the Coalition

LRB Contributors, 10 June 2010

... they had been liberal enough to start with. Right now, the Lib Dems look to me quite like Tony Blair nuzzling up to George Bush. But if I can’t really come up with any government I would have preferred among the options, why am I so appalled? Because, I suppose, pitifully minimal as it was, now there isn’t even a protest vote left. Jenny Diski If ...

Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher

John Gray: The Tory Future, 22 April 2010

The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 446 pp., £25, January 2010, 978 0 7456 4857 6
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Back from the Brink: The Inside Story of the Tory Resurrection 
by Peter Snowdon.
Harper Press, 419 pp., £14.99, March 2010, 978 0 00 730725 8
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... down. Thatcher made the breakdown the basis of her programme, and it was this that attracted Tony Blair. Together with Gordon Brown and the rest of the small group that created New Labour, Blair understood that the rise of Thatcher was not an aberration, as nearly everyone on the left believed. A rupture had occurred in British politics, and if Labour ...

In a Bookshop

Peter Campbell: Penguin by Illustrators, 10 September 2009

... and intimate promise of what the writer has contrived’ is rare. Lettering sometimes does it. Jon Gray, taking a lead from East European packaging, did a cover for A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian that is a joke about, but also a lead into, the story. And illustration – not just a picture on the theme of the book but a scene or character from it ...

Veni, vidi, video

D.A.N. Jones, 18 August 1983

Dangerous Pursuits 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Secker, 192 pp., £7.50, June 1983, 0 436 44086 5
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Monimbo 
by Robert Moss.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 297 78166 9
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The Last Supper 
by Charles McCarry.
Hutchinson, 427 pp., £8.96, May 1983, 0 09 151420 7
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Heartburn 
by Nora Ephron.
Heinemann, 179 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 434 23700 0
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August 1988 
by David Fraser.
Collins, 235 pp., £8.50, July 1983, 0 00 222725 8
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The Cure 
by Peter Kocan.
Angus and Robertson, 137 pp., £5.95, July 1983, 9780207145896
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... irritating manner, spoiling the atmosphere of a pub which Croucher favours. This bounder is called Tony (Croucher’s least favourite name) and kisses a British girl ‘full on the lips’. This is ‘not the English way. To see such a respectable-seeming and well-brought-up girl embracing a foreigner, one of a nation that has contributed so signally to our ...

Beetle bonkers in the beams

Michael Wood: Tony Harrison, 5 July 2007

Collected Film Poetry 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 414 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 0 571 23409 7
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Collected Poems 
by Tony Harrison.
Viking, 452 pp., £154, April 2007, 978 0 670 91591 0
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... One of the great pleasures of reading Tony Harrison is the sense of quick passage between worlds, the sudden switch from the local to the international and back. At one moment he immerses us in a Northern (or Midlands in my case) English worry about what happens to us socially when we drop our ‘h’s and pronounce our ‘u’s as in ‘wuss’ rather than as in (the Southern form of) ‘lustre’, the next he is wondering how to memorialise the dead of Hiroshima or the Gulf War ...

The Right Stuff

Alan Ryan, 24 November 1994

The Principle of Duty 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 288 pp., £17.99, June 1994, 1 85619 474 4
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... in June, John Patten praised it, the Home Secretary says Selbourne has proved conclusively that Tony Blair cannot turn the Labour Party into a ‘civic’ party, and so, more or less endlessly, on. What has got into editors, politicians and the public? A variety of things, of which three are obvious. One is that the Conservative Party is feeling the lack of ...

The Hippest

Terry Eagleton, 7 March 1996

Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues 
edited by David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen.
Routledge, 514 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 415 08803 8
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... to New Times, Leavis to Lyotard, Aldermaston to ethnicity. He is also a Marxian version of Dorian Gray, a preternaturally youthful character whose personal style evokes a range of faded American epithets: hip, neat, cool, right-on. There are two ways to recount his story, one less charitable than the other. The more jaundiced narrative is one of a relentless ...

High Punctuation

Christopher Ricks, 14 May 1992

But I digress: The Exploitation of Parentheses in English Printed Verse 
by John Lennard.
Oxford, 324 pp., £35, November 1991, 0 19 811247 5
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... No, I certainly hadn’t read William Percy.’Lennard likewise had the good sense to inquire of Tony Harrison and Jon Stallworthy as to his speculations about their parentheses. (Confirmed, though not thereby proved.) He and we wouldn’t have to take the poets’ word for it, but how odd of differently-minded critics to want to shut their ears to the ...

The End of Labour?

Colin Kidd, 8 March 2012

... a veteran of the 1974 debacle, performed a series of craven contortions as he compliantly followed Tony Blair’s mazy hesitations on devolution. Blair was an instinctive centraliser and control freak, who breezily likened the projected Scottish Parliament to an English parish council, yet in his early years as party leader also felt constrained to observe the ...

A Bit of Ginger

Theo Tait: Gordon Burn, 5 June 2008

Born Yesterday: The News as a Novel 
by Gordon Burn.
Faber, 214 pp., £15.99, April 2008, 978 0 571 19729 3
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... few achieve media ubiquity without being turned on, in one way or another – whether they’re Tony Blair, David Beckham, Princess Diana or Kate McCann. For Burn, celebrity is an irresistible force that always leads to obscenity and violence. Written hard, in a style that bears the clear influence of Martin Amis, his second novel, Fullalove (1995), is the ...

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