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Canteen Culture 
by Ike Eze-anyika.
Faber, 295 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 0 571 20079 6
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by Tony White.
Codex, 158 pp., £7.95, December 1999, 1 899598 13 8
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by Irvine Welsh.
Vintage, 392 pp., £5.99, August 1999, 0 09 959111 1
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... runs off, leaving behind almost a million pounds in cash and some large bags of unidentified white powder (‘Why don’t you taste it like in the movies?’ ‘Because I still wouldn’t know what it was’), it comes as no great surprise that they decide to keep the lot. Equally unsurprising are their subsequent fallings-out, fears of being caught and ...

Thom Gunn in New York

Michael Nott, 22 October 2020

... 1958 in New York City. ‘It was wonderful, and revelatory as it always is,’ he told his friend Tony White. ‘I learn more about people and myself in NY than anywhere else. I got offered a job in a tough-queer 3rd Avenue bar the day before I left, and if I hadn’t been under contract to Berkeley I’d have accepted it’ (he’d been given a visiting ...


Tony Harrison, 15 April 1999

... bridal gownshop’s lights are only on, in winter, Saturday nights. Though window shopping for white wedding gear ’s not done this coldest, darkest time of year, maybe, the owner reckons, as they pass those near-nude girls, reflected in the glass, might remember his window’s lacy white, if they get pregnant from ...


Tony Harrison, 15 December 2005

... got clarted with thick lard and slack and newsprint from the crumpled Yorkshire Post, and made the white bread finger-marked and black when I used the fire I’d lit to make us toast. Why can’t my memory home in on just that? Through the griefguard round the glow we all sat near burst sputterings of polished wood and fat, then smoke I crane my neck at to ...

On the Metre

Tony Harrison, 2 June 2005

... on an echocardiogram in synch with karaoke squid shapes on the screen, I hear now with a woman in white coat. Though not iambic, more fluttery trochee, the odd dochmaic, anapaest, I note the verse in my pounding heart at least’s not free. The beat’s in a blood wash, the sound’s more a factory filled most hours but now forlorn where a nightshift cleaner ...

The Gifts of Aphrodite

Tony Harrison, 4 January 2001

... pears, a fragrant herb to smell, thyme, basil, oregano . . . a red pomegranate flower a sprig of white jasmine. Then as we walked, hot and thirsty, a groaning green truck laden with leafy oranges driven by a black-clad priest drove past us. ‘Catch!’ he cried. The flung rogue orange rolled down the dusty hill till stopped by a wicket of three roadside ...

The Grilling

Tony Harrison, 6 June 2002

... just walked up and down Vesuvio as Goethe did two centuries ago. At the bottom with a bottle of white wine I heard the great poet talking to Tischbein: Vesuvio puffing smoke out not far off flavours this fine vino that we quaff. That force that belches forth its molten mass has poured this tinkling gold in my raised glass. Devastation, Tischbein, ancient ...

I was trying to find the edge

J. Robert Lennon: Cusk-alike, 3 June 2021

Second Place 
by Rachel Cusk.
Faber, 224 pp., £14.99, May, 978 0 571 36629 3
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... the page. L and M are the only characters in the book who aren’t given proper names. There’s Tony, M’s prematurely white-haired, ethnically indeterminate husband; Justine, her mousy, semi-estranged daughter from a previous relationship; Kurt, Justine’s foolish, ill-at-ease paramour; and Brett, L’s young and ...

At Tate Modern

Tony Wood: Kazimir Malevich , 21 August 2014

... the 0,10 exhibition Malevich showed 39 paintings bearing only the simplest geometric forms against white backgrounds – Black Square (1915) the starkest of all. He himself saw it as the point of origin for his new system, calling it the ‘embryo of all possibilities’; he hung it in the top corner of the room, where Orthodox Russians traditionally place an ...

At the Photographers’ Gallery

Tony Wood: Edward Burtynsky, 21 June 2012

... of cadmium red weaving across the land like lava, or uranium tailings coating the ground with a white residue. In 2010, he took several photographs of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from a helicopter above the Gulf of Mexico: the human presence – boats and drilling rigs – is tiny compared with the vast slick that occupies most of the image, in some ...

Microwaved Turkey

Thomas Jones: Tim Lott, 7 February 2002

Rumours of a Hurricane 
by Tim Lott.
Viking, 378 pp., £14.99, February 2002, 0 670 88661 0
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... Tim Lott’s first novel, White City Blue, came out in 1999. The narrator, Frankie Blue, is a West London estate agent. His best friends are Tony, Nodge and Colin. Diamond Tony – formally, Anthony Diamonte – is a flash Italian hairdresser: handsome, charming, apparently successful, he has a flair for cruelty ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Blair on Blincoe?, 21 March 2002

... to review An Accidental MP, Martin Bell’s account of how he ended up wearing nothing but white suits. And now they’ve got Honor Fraser, a supermodel, to write about Nicholas Blincoe’s latest novel, White Mice (Sceptre, £10.99), because it’s set in the world of fashion. The thinking behind the title is ...

On Not Being Sylvia Plath

Colm Tóibín: Thom Gunn on the Move, 13 September 2018

Selected Poems 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 336 pp., £16.99, July 2017, 978 0 571 32769 0
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... pool’; ‘You cannot guess the weed I hold,/Clara Green, Acapulco Gold.’ (In a letter to Tony Tanner from May 1968, he wrote: ‘I have a lot of the best ever grass – it is known as Acapulco Gold and is $15 a lid, it is that good.’) He was always interested in the body and the bodiless, or of the body transforming, being taken over by another ...

Hattersley’s Specifics

Michael Stewart, 19 March 1987

Choose freedom: The Future for Democratic Socialism 
by Roy Hattersley.
Joseph, 265 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 7181 2483 9
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Power, Competition and the State. Vol. I: Britain in Search of Balance, 1940-61 
by Keith Middlemas.
Methuen, 404 pp., £25, October 1986, 0 333 41412 8
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... Tony Crosland’s epoch-making book The Future of Socialism was published in 1956. That Roy Hattersley’s aim is to don the master’s mantle in the late 1980s is evident not only from his book’s subtitle, but also from his brief account of a conversation he had with Tony Crosland a week before the latter’s fatal stroke ...

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 ...

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