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Randolph Quirk, 25 October 1979

Collins Dictionary of the English Language 
by P. Hanks, T.H. Long and L. Urdang.
Collins, 1690 pp., £7.95
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... Amadeus Quartet. These last examples are more than incidental in their suggestion of trendiness. Bob Dylan gets eight lines; Dylan Thomas four. George Solti, Colin Davis, Janet Baker and Joan Sutherland are all treated with tight-lipped and austere brevity as compared with Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. Even ...

Remember the Yak

Michael Robbins: John Ashbery, 9 September 2010

Planisphere 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £12.95, December 2009, 978 1 84777 089 9
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... that. Or any other way.’ The ‘bills floating along beside’ ‘day’s indisputable margin’ bob up in poem after poem, for ‘Living is a meatloaf sandwich./I had a good time up there,’ and the waitress’s shift is about to end. When asked at a White House dinner what he’d done to be invited, Miles ...

That’s democracy

Theo Tait: Dalton Trumbo, 2 March 2000

Johnny Got His Gun 
by Dalton Trumbo.
Prion, 222 pp., £5.99, May 1999, 1 85375 324 6
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... impact. It has been an influential cult novel: the Beats imitated its breathless style; Bob Dylan’s ‘Masters of War’ (1963) is clearly based on the tub-thumping final chapter. It was turned down by Hollywood studios 17 times, on the grounds that it was ‘too depressing’; Buñuel was set to direct it in 1965 but the funding collapsed. When ...

Save it for HBO

Jenny Diski: Stanley Fish and ‘The Fugitive’, 17 March 2011

The Fugitive in Flight: Faith, Liberalism and Law in a Classic TV Show 
by Stanley Fish.
Pennsylvania, 152 pp., £16.50, November 2010, 978 0 8122 4277 5
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... mid-20th-century liberalism’, and, without doing a Christopher Ricks, who unnecessarily upgraded Bob Dylan’s songs to Great Poetry rather than the more-than-adequate great lyrics that they are, also wanted to claim that there was enough serious and educated thought behind the creation of the series to merit his academic attention. It is central to his ...

Another Tribe

Andy Beckett: PiL, Wire et al, 1 September 2005

Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-84 
by Simon Reynolds.
Faber, 577 pp., £16.99, April 2005, 0 571 21569 6
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... Ana da Silva, who was 27 when they formed, had a doctorate and had written a thesis on Bob Dylan. It also contained excited teenagers. Mark Stewart was a 6’7’’ white boy from Bristol who loved black music. In 1978, aged 17, he and four others formed the Pop Group. The conceptual cockiness of their name hinted at the scale of their ...

Poor Rose

Christian Lorentzen: Against Alice Munro, 6 June 2013

Dear Life 
by Alice Munro.
Chatto, 319 pp., £18.99, November 2012, 978 0 7011 8784 2
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... guess this was where they carried on their sexual shenanigans,’ the narrator’s friend Bob says. ‘Why is it?’ she asks. Just tell me, why is it that no man can mention a place like this without getting around to the subject of sex in about two seconds flat? Just say the words ‘hippie’ or ‘commune’ and all you guys can think about is ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie, 5 April 2012

Starman: David Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... pastiches of Bowie’s musical heroes of the 1960s – John Lennon, Syd Barrett, Anthony Newley, Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground. Which would make Ziggy Stardust the beautiful butterfly that emerged from the chrysalis. Paul Trynka begins his biography with a description of Bowie’s performance of ‘Starman’ on Top of the Pops on 5 July 1972. It ...

Outbreak of Pleasure

Angus Calder, 23 January 1986

Now the war is over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51 
by Paul Addison.
BBC/Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 0 563 20407 9
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England First and Last 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 212 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 571 13587 0
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A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class 
by Trevor Blackwell and Jeremy Seabrook.
Faber, 189 pp., £4.50, October 1985, 0 571 13701 6
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The Issue of War: States, Societies and the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 
by Christopher Thorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 364 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 241 10239 1
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The Hiroshima Maidens 
by Rodney Barker.
Viking, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 670 80609 9
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Faces of Hiroshima: A Report 
by Anne Chisholm.
Cape, 182 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 224 02831 6
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End of Empire 
by Brain Lapping.
Granada, 560 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 246 11969 1
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Outposts 
by Simon Winchester.
Hodder, 317 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 340 33772 9
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... workers to watch on TV prize-money bonanzas sponsored by various capitalist firms, and that Steve Davis, the biggest winner, is a lad from East London who votes Tory. It may be that one Davis does more than fifty Tebbits to invest capitalism with glamour and a sense of opportunity. On the other hand, ...
Sleaze: Politicians, Private Interests and Public Reaction 
edited by F.F. Ridley and Alan Doig.
Oxford, 222 pp., £10.99, April 1996, 0 19 922273 8
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Changing Trains: The Autobiography of Steven Norris 
Hutchinson, 273 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 09 180212 1Show More
The Quango Debate 
edited by F.F. Ridley and David Wilson.
Oxford, 188 pp., £10.99, September 1995, 9780199222384
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... the new company to preside over the privatised network. MacGregor had a good idea for chairman: Bob Horton, who had been chucked out of BP for his high-handed management methods but was plainly the best man for the job. Coincidentally, he had also been to St Andrews University with MacGregor. Who should be Horton’s deputy? MacGregor and Foster pondered ...

Writing Absurdity

Adam Shatz: Chester Himes, 26 April 2018

Chester B. Himes: A Biography 
by Lawrence P. Jackson.
Norton, 606 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 393 06389 9
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... held themselves aloof from those with darker skin. In his 1945 novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go, Bob Jones, a black ‘leaderman’ in an LA shipyard, is at a dinner party with a group of decorous middle-class blacks who ask his opinion on how to ‘integrate the people of this ghetto into the life of the community’. ‘Well, now,’ he replies, ‘I think ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: Eccentric Pilgrims, 30 June 2016

... Finer made recordings and live performances with the Hamburg-based ‘swamp pop legend’ DM Bob. And, driving them on, setting the pace, in the orange jumpsuit of a Guantánamo veteran extraordinarily rendered into the North Circular Road hinterland, was the Deptford percussionist David Aylward. His strident hi-vis disguise, colour co-ordinated with the ...

Afloat with Static

Jenny Turner: Hey, Blondie!, 19 December 2019

Face It 
by Debbie Harry.
HarperCollins, 352 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 0 00 822942 9
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... Sometimes it was big and thick and exhausting-looking. Sometimes it was shorter and lighter, in a bob. Usually you saw roots, a thick black skunk-stripe even. ‘Being a bleached blonde for so many years,’ Harry writes, ‘has made me acutely aware of what healthy hair looks like.’ There’s a picture in the book of a family Christmas in New Jersey, with ...

Erasures

Colm Tóibín: The Great Irish Famine, 30 July 1998

... a lecture delivered on Irish radio in 1995 and published in The Great Irish Famine: The Thomas Davis Lecture Series, James Donnelly remarked thatthroughout the rest of the Famine years, the Gregory clause or ‘Gregoryism’ became a byword for the worst miseries of the disaster – eviction, exile, disease and death. When in 1874 Canon John ...

Where are all the people?

Owen Hatherley: Jane Jacobs, 27 July 2017

Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs 
by Robert Kanigel.
Knopf, 512 pp., £34, September 2016, 978 0 307 96190 7
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Vital Little Plans: The Short Works of Jane Jacobs 
edited by Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring.
Random House, 544 pp., £16.99, October 2016, 978 0 399 58960 7
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... from cranky freelancer to feted urban guru (‘the Mother Theresa of urbanism’, as Mike Davis, a rare dissenter from the church of St Jane, once put it) came about through her encounter with the slum, as a concept and, less and less over time, as a reality. It was the slum, in the eyes of the planners of Radiant Garden City Beautiful, that made ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis (2012) – highly recommended. From Paris, it was on to New York. Meeting Partisan Review’s co-editor William Phillips at a party, Sontag, now a single mother living on a shoestring, got right to business: ‘How do you write a review for Partisan ...

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