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In Moscow

Tony Wood: In Moscow, 8 August 2002

... buildings were erected, made of stone instead of wood and characteristically painted yellow with white plaster flourishes, in the belief that they would bring with them urban sophistication. But Moscow’s overall character remained that of a ‘big village’ (a phrase Muscovites still use), with low, dimly lit buildings straggling along narrow lanes ...

At the Royal Academy

Tony Wood: Building the Revolution, 17 November 2011

... columns line the approach to a building with curving, unadorned balconies projecting from a simple white block. There is an elegiac quality to many of Pare’s photographs, which often depict sites that have long since lost their original function: abandoned factories, clubs for workers whose jobs no longer exist. Even where the buildings remain in use, they ...

The Mother of the Muses

Tony Harrison, 5 January 1989

... clear. To imagine herself so stooping is a feat as hard as that of gymnasts she has seen lissom in white leotards compete in trampolining on the TV screen. There’s one with her mashed dinner who can’t summon yet again the appetite to smear the food about the shrunk face of a woman weeping for death in her 92nd year. And of the life she lived remembers ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... to read the signs, the measured droop of Lord Bragg’s handkerchief, the precise organisation of Tony Blair’s latest consensus hair policy, Lord Archer’s ironic, pre-penitentiary crop, the way Andrew Motion carries off his loden coat as he swirls between taxi and station platform. Julian Barnes’s novels are depilated at source, fat-free. Frisking them ...

The Battle for Venezuela

Tony Wood, 21 February 2019

... 2018, Trump apparently asked aides why the US couldn’t just invade. But until last month, the White House’s preferred scenario was for the Venezuelan army to get rid of Maduro on its behalf. In February 2018 the then secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, casually speculated about the possibility of a military coup, and in September the New York Times ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... that Ronnie Kray did shock him. Just once. An unforgettable occasion. A motor eased alongside Tony at the corner of Blythe Street, Bethnal Green. Ron and Reg were inside, keeping company with a known associate, Dickie Morgan. Reg was nicely cased in a blue three-piece by Woods of Kingsland Road. Dickie matched him. (The Twins were very influential that ...

In Bexhill

Peter Campbell: Unpopular Culture, 5 June 2008

... if more of those whom I saw eating and sunning themselves had been young and bronzed, not old and white-haired, and if the pavilion was not still surrounded by the brick terraces you see in the earliest photographs, you would have guessed that the planner’s dream had been achieved. Overy quotes Earl De La Warr, the socialist mayor of Bexhill who promoted ...

The Pomegranates of Patmos

Tony Harrison, 1 June 1989

... the temptation to preach ‘The End of the World is Nigh’ when they see the shit on the beach or white dishes scanning the sky, and the johnnies jostling for searoom like the eelskins of very sick eels Prochorus would see as new signs of doom and the angels half-way through the seals. My charms are mere whispers in lovers’ ears against the loud St ...

Not Rough Enough

Tony Tanner, 19 October 1995

Bret Harte: Selected Stories and Sketches 
by David Wyatt.
Oxford, 332 pp., £5.99, February 1995, 9780192823540
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... had to take the place of law in a lawless world; the racial collisions which occurred as ruthless white men from a predominantly Protestant East poured into a territory which was still vestigially Spanish (Catholic)-Mexican-Indian-American; the sexual and emotional problems endemic in these growing aggregations of what were overwhelmingly – at least at ...

What Condoleezza Said

Tony Wood: Why Did Saakashvili Do It?, 11 September 2008

... took were clearly intended not only as provocations to Tbilisi, but as signals to Washington. The White House responded by pursuing the missile shield more intently: in early July, Condoleezza Rice travelled to Prague to sign a deal on radar facilities. On 9 and 10 July, according to the State Department’s press office, she was in the Georgian capital to ...

Short Cuts

James Meek: Anglospheroids, 21 March 2013

... strength of the right in Canada and Australia. This is the notion of the Anglosphere. It’s a white English-speaking male preoccupation, founded in a selective view of history that portrays war as inevitable, noble and glorious, where Britain and the majority white countries of its former empire repeatedly come together ...

Ten Poets

Denis Donoghue, 7 November 1985

Selected Poems 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 124 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 9780856355950
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Collected Poems: 1947-1980 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 837 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 670 80683 8
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Instant Chronicles: A Life 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 58 pp., £4.50, April 1985, 9780019211970
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Selected Poems 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 596 8
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Selected Poems 
by Jeffrey Wainwright.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 598 4
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Selected Poems 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 112 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 594 1
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The Price of Stone 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, May 1985, 0 571 13568 4
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Selected Poems 
by Iain Crichton Smith.
Carcanet, 121 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 597 6
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Selected Poems 
by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 585 2
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From the Irish 
by James Simmons.
Blackstaff, 78 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 331 8
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... affiliations. Many poems in this new collection are tokens of affection, offerings to friends – Tony White, Mary Ure, a dying poet. A few are more public, like the rather unquestioning poem about the Long Kesh hunger-strikers. There is a weirdly memorable poem about a poisoned goat. Fifty sonnets are about buildings, and the price of them: Nelson’s ...

All that matters is what Tony wants

John Vincent: Reforming the Lords, 16 March 2000

Reforming the House of Lords: Lessons from Overseas 
by Meg Russell.
Oxford, 368 pp., £18.99, January 2000, 0 19 829831 5
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... which swathe the memo-writing classes – when all that matters from first to last is what Tony wants. We live under despotism tempered by character assassination, but it remains convenient to use Royal Commissions to create illusions of propriety. Hence the constitutional issues are dealt with by omission, or perhaps by a timid desire to avoid any ...

Scots wha hae gone to England

Donald Davie, 9 July 1992

Devolving English Literature 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 320 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198112983
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Scottish Poetry 
edited by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 424 pp., £17.50, July 1992, 9780571154319
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... argument on behalf of the Scots, avoids this mistake, detecting in a provincial Englishman like Tony Harrison a fury and resentment not surpassed by any Scot. But this is hardly a novel perception, for Harrison has achieved fame on the strength of it. In fact, it’s hard to find any English writer who isn’t provincial in origin; I’m as much a West ...

Facing South

Alistair Elliot, 23 June 1994

... for Tony Harrison Happiness, therefore, must be some form of theoria. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, X.8 Theoria: ... a looking at, viewing, beholding ... ‘to go abroad to see the world’ (Herodotus) ... 2. of the mind, contemplation, speculation, philosophic reasoning ... theory ... II. the being a spectator at the theatre or the games ...

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