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Woke Capital

Laleh Khalili, 7 September 2023

The Key Man: How the Global Elite Was Duped by a Capitalist Fairy Tale 
by Simon Clark and Will Louch.
Penguin, 342 pp., £10.99, February, 978 0 241 98894 7
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Icarus: The Life and Death of the Abraaj Group 
by Brian Brivati.
Biteback, 349 pp., £9.99, January 2022, 978 1 78590 733 3
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Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World 
by Brett Christophers.
Verso, 310 pp., £20, April, 978 1 83976 898 9
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... the promised projects had failed to materialise. Insiders leaked emails and financial documents to Simon Clark and Will Louch at the Wall Street Journal, who started to publish evidence of malfeasance. US federal prosecutors brought fraud charges against Naqvi, and in April 2019 he was arrested on disembarking from a plane in London. He paid £15 million ...

At Tate Britain (2)

Rosemary Hill: Kenneth Clark, 3 July 2014

... In part ten​ of Civilisation, Kenneth Clark turned his attention to the Enlightenment, the age of the great amateurs. These were men ‘rich and independent enough to do what they liked’, who nevertheless did things which required considerable ability, men like Lord Burlington, the architect earl. A connoisseur, an ‘arbiter of taste’, Clark explained, ‘the sort of character who these days is much despised ...

Abolish everything!

Andrew Hussey: Situationist International, 2 September 1999

The Situationist City 
by Simon Sadler.
MIT, 248 pp., £24.95, March 1998, 0 262 19392 2
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... entirely on the failure of the group’s revolutionary ambitions. This is why, according to Simon Sadler, it is important to recognise that the demands the Situationists made were, above all, aesthetic. The politics worked out in the beautiful silver-plated issues of the Internationale situationniste are drawn in almost equal measure from Henri ...

Kings Grew Pale

Neal Ascherson: Rethinking 1848, 1 June 2023

Revolutionary Spring: Fighting for a New World, 1848-49 
by Christopher Clark.
Allen Lane, 873 pp., £35, April, 978 0 241 34766 9
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... had only been waiting for a signal to pour into the streets and head for the palaces. Christopher Clark uses a metaphor from nuclear physics for the way the revolution accelerated: From the beginning of March 1848, it becomes impossible to trace the revolutions as a linear sequence from one theatre of turbulence to the next. We enter the fission phase, in ...

No Dancing, No Music

Alex Clark: New Puritans, 2 November 2000

All Hail the New Puritans 
edited by Nicholas Blincoe and Matt Thorne.
Fourth Estate, 204 pp., £10, September 2000, 1 84115 345 1
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... six months in order to deliver its coup de grâce. A lost belt presents opportunities for farce in Simon Lewis’s ‘Two Holes’, but it falls short of the mark, and its comedic pay-off is unearned; in a similar vein, Tony White’s story of a love-lorn husband resolutely missing the point by planning to send his wife a sonnet every day for a year fails to ...

Berenson’s Elixir

Simon Schama, 1 May 1980

Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 477 pp., £9.50, June 1979, 0 674 06775 4
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Being Bernard Berenson 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 473 pp., £8.50, January 1980, 0 297 77564 2
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... the unpardonable lapse of taste of examining the period in between, when Berenson, as Lord Clark pointed out some years ago, did nothing but authenticate. Not only does she presume to scrutinise his dealings with the unsavoury Joseph Duveen – a partnership which began in 1907 and continued for thirty years – but she also attempts (a little ...


Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997

Michael Heseltine: A Biography 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 241 13691 1
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... That snobbishness hasn’t disappeared. Take Michael Jopling’s celebrated remark, quoted by Alan Clark: ‘The trouble with Michael is that he has had to buy all his own furniture.’ Willie Whitelaw is quoted as saying that he is the kind of man who combs his hair in public, though that sounds too mean for Willie. There are also the big political ...

Knights of the Road

Tom Clark: The Beat generation, 6 July 2000

This is the Beat Generation: New York, San Francisco, Paris 
by James Campbell.
Vintage, 320 pp., £7.99, May 2000, 0 09 928269 0
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... romanticism’, his latent racism and misogyny, Campbell now reveals him in his later Simple Simon aspect, as a fauxnaif ‘crazy dumbsaint’ Knight of Oblivion. The Kerouac of the later parts of Campbell’s version is all but finished as a writer, even before his central work has been published: a foolish, besotted, lost hero ‘to whom thoughts ...

How Jeans Got Their Fade

Peter Campbell: Mauve and indigo, 14 December 2000

by Jenny Balfour-Paul.
British Museum, 264 pp., £19.99, October 2000, 0 7141 2550 4
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Mauve: How One Man Invented a Colour that Changed the World 
by Simon Garfield.
Faber, 222 pp., £9.99, September 2000, 0 571 20197 0
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... is the kind of thinking involved. Balfour-Paul is very good at giving an idea of how dyers think; Simon Garfield is not so successful with his organic chemists. Mauve is about William Perkin, and about what followed from his discovery. As it is possible, at a pinch, to trace the achievements of all the chemical industries which once used coal and now use oil ...

Reservations of the Marvellous

T.J. Clark, 22 June 2000

The Arcades Project 
by Walter Benjamin, translated by Howard Eiland.
Harvard, 1073 pp., £24.95, December 1999, 9780674043268
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... of capitalism and class struggle. Marx now had a folder to himself, as did Fourier and Saint-Simon. There were new dossiers on the Stock Exchange, the Working-Class Movement, Professional Revolutionaries, the Commune, the materialist anthropology (and zoology) of the first Socialist Sects. The web was more and more complex – some would say tangled. It ...

True Bromance

Philip Clark: Ravi Shankar’s Ragas, 15 July 2021

Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar 
by Oliver Craske.
Faber, 672 pp., £12.99, June, 978 0 571 35086 5
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... exhilaration of extended tabla solos. Shankar enjoyed listening to the Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, Otis Redding and Janis Joplin, who he said reminded him of an old-school jazz singer like Bessie Smith, but was saddened by Hendrix and The Who, with their sacrilegious destruction of instruments. ‘I am immediately repulsed by anything ugly ...

At the National Gallery

Julian Barnes: Two Portraits, 18 August 2022

... Madame Moitessier arrived at the National Gallery in 1936 (a coup for its young director, Kenneth Clark), one critic protested: ‘Surely the little finger of a normal right hand should be articulated to a knucklebone and not drop from the off-side of the metacarpus.’ But as that early study shows, if you give the three remaining fingers their full ...


Michael Dobson: The Russell-Cotes, 23 February 2012

... game called Masterpiece, and it was small, blurred and usually incomprehensible, even when Kenneth Clark was standing in front of it sounding enthusiastic on television. Why was a naked man wrapped in a curtain jumping over a wagon from behind a tree, twisting his head oddly as he did so to look towards a girl who seemed to be pushing an imaginary door in an ...

Getting on

Humphrey Carpenter, 18 July 1985

In the Dark 
by R.M. Lamming.
Cape, 230 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 9780224022927
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A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory 
by Isabel Colegate.
Hamish Hamilton, 153 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 241 11532 9
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Midnight Mass 
by Peter Bowles.
Peter Owen, 190 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 7206 0647 0
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The Silver Age 
by James Lasdun.
Cape, 186 pp., £8.95, July 1985, 0 224 02316 0
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The House of Kanze 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 307 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 7126 0850 8
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... hoarding books rather than cash, and the novel’s excellent jacket-picture by Emma Chichester Clark has a promising glimpse of him peering at a tome, surrounded by towers of unsorted volumes which wait their places on the empty shelves in the gloom beyond. Unfortunately Lamming’s prose never quite measures up to that picture: the book-hoarding ought to ...

Disgrace Abounding

E.S. Turner, 7 January 1988

A Class Society at War: England 1914-18 
by Bernard Waites.
Berg, 303 pp., £25, November 1987, 0 907582 65 6
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Working for Victory? Images of Women in the First World War 
by Diana Condell and Jean Liddiard.
Routledge, 201 pp., £19.95, November 1987, 0 7102 0974 6
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The Countryside at War 1914-18 
by Caroline Dakers.
Constable, 238 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 09 468060 4
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When Jim Crow met John Bull: Black American Soldiers in World War Two Britain 
by Graham Smith.
Tauris, 265 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 9781850430391
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... she has been drawn to the recently published memoirs of the Essex clergyman, the Rev. Andrew Clark, and quotes extensively from that admirable record (Echoes of the Great War). One chapter deals with the unhappy French countryside, which for four years was methodically (and, from the South Coast, audibly) reduced to mush. Sir William Orpen, visiting the ...

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