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What are we there for?

Tom Stevenson: The Gulf Bargain, 9 May 2019

AngloArabia: Why Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain 
by David Wearing.
Polity, 275 pp., £15.99, September 2018, 978 1 5095 3203 2
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... treated as the decisive moment in the transition from British to US dominance in the region, but David Wearing shows that, in spite of Suez and other setbacks for Britain on the periphery (the 1958 coup in Iraq, the civil war in Yemen in the 1960s), British influence in fact increased in the core Gulf states over the next 15 years, with successful ...
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... David Robert Jones, alias David Bowie, is now in his 40th year. His creepy, chilling phrases pop out of pub jukeboxes, and extracts from his movies catch the eye on pub videos, whether he is embracing a Chinese girl or being executed by Japanese soldiers; his image appears in the Sunday-paper magazines, artistically displayed in sundry poses ...

Everyone, Then No One

David Nasaw: Where have all the bowler hats gone?, 23 February 2006

Hatless Jack: The President, the Fedora and the Death of the Hat 
by Neil Steinberg.
Granta, 342 pp., £12, August 2005, 1 86207 782 7
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... on his chair. For the rest of his presidency, Kennedy was seldom, if ever, seen or photographed wearing a hat, in large part because he believed that, with his thatch of chestnut hair and unruly forelock dangling over his right eyebrow, he looked better without one. Although the decline in hat sales and hat-...

When to Wear a Red Bonnett

David Garrioch: Dressing up and down in 18th century France, 3 April 2003

The Politics of Appearance: Representation of Dress in Revolutionary France 
by Richard Wrigley.
Berg, 256 pp., £15.99, October 2002, 1 85973 504 5
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... male professional – middle-class women were more colourful. Noblemen had the privilege of wearing a sword, and could dress their servants richly in livery embroidered with their coat of arms. The nobility, both men and women, dressed more brightly than anyone else: the vegetable dyes of the period faded quickly, so that colour was a mark of ...

Three Poems from ‘Marriage’

David Harsent, 26 November 1998

... him her name? Wasn’t his, in any case, a nom de guerre? You sat, if I’ve got it right, still wearing your hat and coat against the chill ... Our local café, a small plate of crevettes, a glass of the crisp Sancerre you’d taken to your heart that summer. Didn’t we decide, right away, it was a sham? – the fruity saxophone, a girl who’d fall for ...

The Queen Bee Canticles

David Harsent, 6 January 2011

... Athena. The Apiarist Dreams of the Queen When he picked her up in the Palais de Danse she was wearing her downtown dress: soft stripes; behind her dark glasses, her eyes were darker still. The floor was theirs. They did the jitterbug, they did the Electric Glide and, oh, she was light to the touch. The glitterball slowed and stopped. He followed her out ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Have you seen their sandals?, 3 July 2014

... who all have paparazzi for parents – but I was still taken aback to see the scrum around anybody wearing a coloured sock. One man came along the street wearing red braces under a nice grey suit and the Japanese went into overdrive. The guy stopped, put on his shades, sucked in his cheeks, they went bam, bam, bam, and he ...

At the Queen’s Gallery

Inigo Thomas: David Hockney , 2 March 2017

... of the varieties of representation of the artist from the Reformation and Renaissance to, say, David Hockney. Van Dyck made numerous self-portraits. His friend Rubens’s picture of him confirms the likeness Van Dyck made in his own work. Rubens’s self-portrait is both a picture of a successful man, and an advertisement for himself. He has his head ...

The Garment of Terrorism

Azadeh Moaveni, 30 August 2018

The Making of a Salafi Muslim Woman: Paths to Conversion 
by Anabel Inge.
Oxford, 320 pp., £16.99, May 2018, 978 0 19 088920 3
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by Rafia Zakaria.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £9.99, September 2017, 978 1 5013 2277 8
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... with Muslims. ‘British values’ began to be evoked: integration no longer cut it. The wearing of the headscarf, historically never something politicians had worried about, rose to become a national policy concern and was seen as not only un-British, but as a state security concern. In 2015 David Cameron called ...

Ruling the Roast

David A. Bell: A Nation of Beefeaters, 25 September 2003

Beef and Liberty: Roast Beef, John Bull and the English Nation 
by Ben Rogers.
Chatto, 207 pp., £17.99, April 2003, 9780701169800
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... national pride, particularly when set in contrast to the diet of the scrawny, beef-deprived, clog-wearing peasantries of the Continent. At a time when most of the French subsisted primarily on stale bread, and were lucky to taste meat three or four times a year, even modest English yeomen could put beef on their table every week. Foreign visitors marvelled at ...

No Fol-de-Rols

Margaret Anne Doody: Men in suits, 14 November 2002

The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity: England 1550-1850 
by David Kuchta.
California, 299 pp., £29.95, May 2002, 0 520 21493 5
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... has passed largely unregarded and unrebuked, treated instead as normal, natural and reasonable. David Kuchta’s revisionist history makes male clothing the centre of attention. Despite the dates of his study, Kuchta concentrates on the rise of Whig philosophy in England from the late 17th century onwards, and the development of a new, steady, English civic ...

I’m being a singer

Andrew O’Hagan: Dandy Highwaymen, 8 October 2020

Sweet Dreams: The Story of the New Romantics 
by Dylan Jones.
Faber, 663 pp., £20, October, 978 0 571 35343 9
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... dancing to 1980s pop music and getting excited. A number of drunk men were dressed as St George, wearing England flags and Crusader helmets. Eyes swivelling, pints held aloft, standing on chairs or doing the conga, they were clearly at home in the holiday camp, whose ‘true intent’, it used to say on a neon sign over the swimming pool, ‘is all for your ...

I want to be her clothes

Kevin Kopelson: Kate Moss, 20 December 2012

Kate: The Kate Moss Book 
by Kate Moss, edited by Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett and Jefferson Hack.
Rizzoli, 368 pp., £50, November 2012, 978 0 8478 3790 8
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... Collins); ‘unobtainable’ yet ‘accessible’ (Collins again). Or to quote the photographer David Bailey: ‘She’s the kind of girl you wished lived next door, but she’s never going to.’ Many of these descriptions – perfect yet imperfect, unobtainable yet accessible – relate to a distinction often made with respect to oil painting but ...

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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... the Face, those instantly iconic black and white images of a skinny 16-year-old on Camber Sands, wearing no make-up and very few clothes, grinning through her freckles and pointy teeth, all at once so English, so ordinary and so glamorous. And it’s four decades since David Bowie – ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... can be tolerated, and might even be enjoyed, as piano-players in the funhouse of letters. Early in David Plante’s diaries, we find him tinkling away, dropping names in basso profundo, as if knowing people and knowing what they do in private can be the thing that makes one special. He is 28 years old when he comes to London from the US (a little younger than ...

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