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Diary

Melanie McFadyean: In the Wrong Crowd, 25 September 2014

... who did not intend or desire or expect that to be the result’. Laura Mitchell and her boyfriend, Michael Hall, stopped for a drink at the King’s Head in Buttershaw, Bradford on a Saturday night out in 2007. At about 2 a.m. they and some friends left the pub and got into a taxi outside. The taxi turned out to have been booked by someone else and a fight ...

Ready for a Rematch

Michael Byers: The Bushes and Saddam Hussein, 8 February 2001

... Bush with an opportunity to shine. Flanked by two of his most trusted aides, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, he threw the US military into a desert war that was relatively easy to fight and win. Cruise missiles and tank-destroying aircraft soon routed the Iraqi Army at a cost of only a few hundred allied lives. Ultimately, allied forces did not advance on ...

Saint Jane

D.A.N. Jones, 20 October 1983

The Good Father 
by Peter Prince.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02131 1
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Mrs Pooter’s Diary 
by Keith Waterhouse and John Jensen.
Joseph, 208 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2339 5
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Dandiprat’s Days 
by David Thomson.
Dent, 165 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 460 04613 6
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The Dream of a Beast 
by Neil Jordan.
Chatto, 103 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 7011 2740 6
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Squeak: A Biography of NPA 1978A 203 
by John Bowen and Eric Fraser.
Faber, 127 pp., £2.95, October 1983, 0 571 13170 0
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The Life and Times of Michael
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 250 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 10297 8
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... the Brixton riots: at a lunch party in nearby Stockwell, the firmest of the true believers, Jane Powell, is maintaining that a legal amnesty should have been given to all those arrested in the street fighting. Her friends call her Saint Jane: she is a lawyer who works for a law centre, a hard-working Labour councillor, regularly insulted by her Haughey-like ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: Colourisation, 22 March 2018

... by Retrographic: History’s Most Exciting Images Transformed into Living Colour, edited by Michael D. Carroll (Carpet Bombing Culture, £19.95) – is a marker of our level of estrangement. Take Marina Amaral’s brilliant rendering of a photograph of one of Ulysses S. Grant’s councils of war in 1864, the Union command seated on pews carried out into ...

Longing for Croydon

Luke Jennings, 7 February 1991

Them: Voices from the Immigrant Community in Contemporary Britain 
by Jonathon Green.
Secker, 421 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 436 20005 8
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The Golden Thread: Asian Experiences of Post-Raj Britain 
by Zerbanoo Gifford.
Pandora, 236 pp., £17.99, October 1990, 0 04 440605 3
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... for security. There was public concern. ‘They’ began to be seen as a ‘problem’. Enoch Powell prophesied ‘rivers of blood’ and white working-class fascists shaved their heads. A series of Immigration Acts was passed, dividing families, stemming the flow. Most of the migrant workers had originally meant to stay a few years; go back with some ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust, 19 July 2018

Anthony PowellDancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... has been encased in an obese 995 pages from Zachary Leader. Hilary Spurling’s Life of Anthony Powell breaks with this pattern. The longest-lived of all significant novelists of the last century, his 94 years are covered in fewer than 450 pages of text. In part, that’s because she confines the final quarter of his life to the briefest of postscripts. Yet ...

Time Unfolded

Perry Anderson: Powell v. the World, 2 August 2018

... be incongruous he disregarded. Cases where parallels are as close as those between Proust and Powell lend ‘the compulsion to evaluate’ he thought so generally inescapable a particular force, requiring especial care. We are dealing with two great writers, one universally, the other marginally, acknowledged as such. Yet in at least a couple of respects ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007, 3 January 2008

... with swallows skimming low over the tops and it feels like a scene from the 1940s. It could be a Michael Powell film or a page from the diaries of Denton Welch. This isn’t wholly imagination either, as it turns out that there was a camp here during the war for American airborne troops, which makes the survival of these wonderfully elaborate ...

Wharton the Wise

D.A.N. Jones, 4 April 1985

The Missing Will 
by Michael Wharton.
Hogarth, 216 pp., £10.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2666 3
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... For 27 years Michael Wharton has written the ‘Peter Simple’ column in the Daily Telegraph. He was only 43 when he secured this good, steady job and now he has published an autobiographical account of his 43 apprentice years – dissident, drifting, bohemian years, marked by a lack of will-power, what the Greeks called aboulia ...

Born Again

Phillip Whitehead, 19 February 1981

Face the future 
by David Owen.
Cape, 552 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 224 01956 2
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... of academics offstage. David Owen has had his prescription for Britain patronised by Grimond and Powell, dissected by Ken Coates, and treated like a first-year undergraduate’s essay by Professor Peter Townsend. With his publishers bringing its publication forward to catch the crisis, the book might look like a hastily-written manifesto for the alliance of ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken, 30 April 2009

... which hung outside the Security Council, was covered over to stop it forming a backdrop when Colin Powell was making the case for the Iraq war – a bronze bust of Powell forms part of the installation. In front of it at the Whitechapel is a circular glass case/ conference table, surrounded by black leather chairs. Among the ...

Opera Mundi

Michael Neve, 1 December 1983

Out of Order 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 256 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 86051 190 1
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Frank Johnson’s Election Year 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 192 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86051 254 1
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Enthusiasms 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 264 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 224 02114 1
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Poem of the Year 
by Clive James.
Cape, 79 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 224 02961 4
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The Original Michael Frayn 
by Michael Frayn.
Salamander, 203 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 907540 32 5
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... He is wrongly uninterested in any Wilsonian legacy, silly about Dennis Skinner, bad on Enoch Powell and crass about gays and feminists. There is no necessary connection between being a political commentator and having no capacity for praise. Mr Johnson’s lack of ostentation is fine, but sometimes the large thing, well said, is the right thing. Out of ...

Show us the night

Michael Gorra: Michael Dibdin, 26 November 1998

A Long Finish 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 249 pp., £16.99, September 1998, 0 571 19341 2
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... A Long Finish, to the wine and truffle country of the Piemonte, the sue tragicomic adventures of Michael Dibdin’s Venetian-born ‘supercop’ Aurelio Zen have offered many of the pleasures of tourism. Dibdin, however, skips over Italy’s ancient monuments to concentrate on its kidnappings and financial scams, its wiretapping and wirepulling, charting the ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... investigator, immortalised on the screen by Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep, mortalised by Dick Powell and Robert Montgomery during Chandler’s lifetime, and afterwards by Elliot Gould, Robert Mitchum and James Garner. He was the hero of the most listened to radio detective serial in history, and, by the time Chandler died in 1959, had sold over five ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone, 2 January 2020

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. III: Herself Alone 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 1072 pp., £35, October 2019, 978 0 241 32474 5
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... of a leadership election among Conservative MPs in which she secured more votes than her rival Michael Heseltine but not quite enough to prevent the contest going to a second round. At that point her cabinet collectively turned against her and let her know that she needed to step down for their sake. They couched it as a plea to save the party from ...

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