sat 24/02/2018

memoir

John Tusa: 'the arts must make a noise' - interview

In our era of 24/7 news, downloadable from anywhere in the world at the touch of an app, it's hard to remember that not so very long ago the agenda was set by the BBC - the Home Service as Radio 4 was then called, and BBC TV, just the one channel,...

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Afua Hirsch: Brit(ish) review - essential reading on identity

Usually extracts in newspapers should stimulate the appetite of the reader to get with it; this is a rare moment when the glimpses afforded to Afua Hirsch’s Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging have peculiarly maligned a complex and amply...

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David Lodge: Writer’s Luck - A Memoir 1976-1991 review - literary days, in detail

Metaphor, metonymy, simile and synecdoche, anyone? FR Leavis, Roman Jakobson, Jacques Derrida, Frank Kermode? If any of this, and more, turns you on, this lengthy memoir will be irresistible. It is almost a day-by-day account of 15 years of the...

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Jaron Lanier: Dawn of the New Everything review - pioneer of virtual reality tells his story

Jaron Lanier has quite a story to tell. From a teenage flute-playing goat-herd in New Mexico to an “intense dreamer”, and a maths student capable of arguing, about films for example, with “supremacist. Borgesian flair”, then onwards and upwards,...

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Tina Brown: The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992 review - portrait of an era of glitz and excess

Tina Brown’s first Christmas issue of Vanity Fair in 1984 had this to say about “the sulky, Elvisy” Donald Trump: “…he’s a brass act. And he owns his own football team. And he thinks he should negotiate arms control agreements with the Soviet Union...

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The Best of AA Gill review - posthumous words collected

Word wizard. Grammar bully. Sentence shark. AA Gill didn’t play fair by syntax: he pounced on it, surprising it into splendid shapes. And who cared when he wooed readers with anarchy and aplomb? Hardly uncontroversial, let alone inoffensive (he...

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Peggy Seeger: First Time Ever - A Memoir, review - a remarkable life

Seeger. A name to strike sparks with almost anyone, whether or not they have an interest in folk music, a catch-all term about which Peggy Seeger and her creative and life partner Ewan MacColl (they didn’t actually marry until a decade before his...

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Orhan Pamuk: Istanbul, Memories and the City review – a masterpiece upgraded

Along with Balzac’s Paris and Dickens’s London, Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul now ranks as one of the most illustrious author-trademarked cities in literary history. Yet, as Turkey’s Nobel laureate told me during a Southbank Centre interview last month, he...

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Claire Tomalin: A Life of My Own review - the biographer on herself

The title says it all, or at least quite a lot. Luminously intelligent, an exceptionally hard worker, bilingual in French, a gifted biographer, Claire Tomalin has been at the heart of the literati glitterati all her working life. Here she turns her...

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Extract: Peter Brook - Tip of the Tongue: Reflections on Language and Meaning

A long time ago when I was very young, a voice hidden deep within me whispered, "Don’t take anything for granted. Go and see for yourself." This little nagging murmur has led me to so many journeys, so many explorations, trying to live together...

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Sigrid Rausing: Mayhem review - you want it darker?

There is fictional Nordic noir. And then there is this, the real thing. Subject matter really couldn’t be much darker than that of Mayhem: A Memoir in which publisher, philanthropist and heiress Sigrid Rausing gives her perspective on her younger...

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Chris Patten: First Confession - A Sort of Memoir review - remembrances of government and power

It’s 25 years since Chris Patten lost his seat as Conservative MP for Bath. The 1992 election was called by an embattled prime minister, bruised by the Maastricht Treaty (remember “the bastards”?). Neil Kinnock had been expected to win, Labour ahead...

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