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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Summer of a Dormouse
A Year of Growing Old Disgracefully
Hardcover
By John Mortimer




Quote:
The Lottery grant of twenty-one million towards the twenty-eight million needed for rebuilding the Royal Court Theatre came with a sting in its tail. You might think that if the masters of the Lottery thought a theatre was worth rebuilding they would pay for it all, but the 'matching money' has bedevilled all the theatres that have been chosen to benefit, and the quest for it has ruined at least one provincial playhouse. In the Royal Court's case, we have to find it or face disaster. The search for the missing seven million pounds dramatizes the conflict between the received morality of the theatrical left and the harsh reality of life in the arts today, when political ideals can lead to nothing more satisfactory than a large hole in the ground on one side of Sloane Square.

The hole-in-the-ground prospect is not one that alarms the old guard at the Court. An unfilled hole will show up, surely, they say, the inconsistency of the Lottery and the callousness of the Arts Council, and will cause such a public outcry that the Government will be shamed into writing us a cheque. This argument ignores the fact that governments, of any colour, are no longer capable of being shamed into anything, and bailing out arts facilities in troublke is not high anong the preferences of the focus groups which now rule our country. (Chapter 6, p. 54)


Quote:
The Summer of a Dormouse
Audio Cassette ONLY and
unfortunately ABRIDGED!
(WHY, why do they do this?!)
Nevertheless sweetly narrated by the author




Again, former barrister Mortimer learned a thing or two about story-telling and oral delivery in court, though his voice is much gentler than listeners might expect, and the humor more raucus. Delightful memoirs provide an entertaining overview of some of the great names in theatre in the off-hours.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The State Within
DVD


Quote:
More on the real-life events on which this account might well be based.




Quote:
Episode 6

Post-Invasion Strategy Meeting - British Residence (Washington, D.C.)


Sir Mark Brydon (British ambassador): Thank you all very much for coming. Let's start with Gordon Adair of Armitage, who's put together a plan for economic recovery. Gordon?

Gordon (Armitage CEO): We have a lot of material here so I'm going to boil it down for us. My analysts predict that the first three per cent tax on Armitage net profit will provide the new treasury of Tyrgyztan with approximately $1.6 billion per annum. Now we may be in for a bumpy ride, but I'd like you to know that my company stands totally committed to this country.

Mark: Thanks, Gordon.

General: My concern is insurgents. Allied military commitment on the ground can't hope to protect industrial facilities from attack.

BG: If you're talking manpower, CMC provides security for several corporations over there.

Gordon: But what about overstretch? You're already plugging holes in Afghanistan.

Charles MacIntyre: I've got 1,000 Russian recruits, ex-Spetsnaz and commandos at a training facility near Bratsk.

Mark: That's quite an investment.

MacIntyre: Well, you have to plan ahead in this business.

Phil Lonsdale: Privatisation of war - it's the new Klondike.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

DON'T MISS!
PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Shakespeare
.



London
The Biography

Hardcover
By Peter Ackroyd




Quote:
The first evidence of gambling in London can be adduced from the Roman period, with the excavation of dice carved out of bone or jet. The unexpected turns of life, as then experienced, are also revealed in the elaborate equipment of a fortune-teller found beneath Newgate Street. In the early medieval period Hazard was played in taverns and other low houses, together with another dice game known as Tables. In medieval brothels, too, gambling and drinking were part of the service. Quarrels over a game were sometimes fatal and, after one round of Tables, 'the loser fatally stabbed the winner on the way home'. There was plentiful scope for fraud, also, and there are reports of the gaming was everywhere. An excavation in Duke's Palace revealed 'a piece of medieval roof-tile shaped into a gaming counter', according to a report in The London Archaelogist, and as early as the thirteenth century, there were rules in Westminster for the punishment of any schoolboy found with dice in his possession. A stroke of the rod was delivered for every 'pip' on the dice.

Playing cards were imported into London in the fifteenth century, and their use became so widespread that in 1495 Henry VII 'forbad their use to servants and apprentices except during the Christmas holidays.' Stow records that 'From All hallows Eve to the day following Candlemas-day there was, among other sports, playing at cards, for counters, nails and points, in every house'. They were found in every tavern, too: packs of cards had the names of various inns imprinted upon them. Their merits were widely advertised. 'Spanish cards lately brought from Vig. Being pleasant to the eye by their curious colours and quite different from ours may be had at 1/- [one shilling] a pack at Mrs Baldwin's in Warwick Lane.' The business in cards became so mid-seventeenth century an annual income of five thousand pounds which meant that 'some 4.8 million packs of cards' must have been traded.

Fulham earned a reputation as early as the sixteenth century for its dubious traffic in dice and counters; it is evoked by Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor, where

For gourd and fullam holds
And 'high' and 'low' beguile the rich and poor.

A fullam in this context was a loaded die...

... Gaming was declared illegal but, despite nightly raids upon certain selected hells in the city, it continued to flourish. There was always 'assembled a mixed crowd of gentlemen, merchants, tradesmen, clerks and sharpers of all degrees and conditions', ready to play at Hazard, Faro, Basset, Roly-poly and a score of other games involving dice and cards. Into these hells came the puffs, the flashers, the squibs, the dunners, the flash captains with a regiment of spies, porters and runners to give notice of approaching constables. At Almacks, a famous gaming club in Pall Mall, the players 'turned their coats inside out for luck'; they put on wristbands of leather to protect their lace ruffles and wore straw hats to guard their eyes fro the light and to prevent their hair from tumbling. Sometimes, too, they put on 'masks to conceal their emotions'. At Brooks's, the twenty-first rule stated that there whould be 'No gaming in the eating room, except tossing up for reckonings, on penalty of paying the whole bill of the members present'. There were othedr less agreeable occasions for a wager, as recorded in London Souvenirs. A prospective player once dropped down dead at the door of White's; ;the club immediately made bets whether he was dead or only in a fit; and when they were going to bleed him the wagerers for his death interposed, saying it would affect the fairness of the bet'.

... The traditions of public gaming were continued into the nineteenth century by such places as the Royal Saloon in Piccadilly, the Castle in Holborn, Tom Cribb's Saloon in Panton Street, the Finish in James Street, and Brydges Street Saloon in Covent Garden otherwise known as 'The Hall of Infamy' or Old Mother Damnable's'. On the other side of London, in the East End, there were gambling rooms and gambling clubs, to such an extent that one minister working among the poor of the area informed Charles Booth that 'gambling presses drink hard as the greatest evil of the day... all gamble more than they drink'. The street urchins gambled with farthings or buttons, in a card game known as Darbs, and betting on boxing or horse-racing was carried on through the agency of tobacconists, publicans, newsvendors and Booth's survey of the East End, 'Women as well as men...men and boys tumble out in their eagerness to read the latest 'speshul" and mark the winner.'

And then there was the lottery. It was first established in London in 1569... (From Chapter 42, A Turn of the Dice, at pgs. 381-385)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Short History of
Tractors in Ukrainian

Paperback
By Marina Lewycka




Quote:
My father goes to Nottingham for Valentina's appeal after all. How does she persuade him? Does she threaten to tell the bureaucrazia about oralsex? Does she cradle his bony skull between her twin warheads and whisper sweet nothings into his hearing aid? My father is silent about this, but he has a cunning plan.

... When it is my father's turn to speak, he asks in a quiet voice whether he may go into a separate room. There is some discussion amongh the Immigration panel, but their conclusion is that, no, he must speak in the front of everybody.

"I will speak under duress," he says. They take him through the same series of questions, and his replies are just the same as Valentina's. At the end, when he has finished, he says, "Thank you. Now I want you to record that all I have said is spooken under duress."

He is taking a gamble on her lack of English.

There is a flurry of note taking, but not one of the panel members looks up for a moment or meets my father's eye. Valentina raises one eyebrow a fraction, but maintains her fixed smile.

"What it mean, this dooh-ress word?" she asks him, as they are waiting for the train to take them home.

"It means love," my father says. "Like the French, tendresse."

"Ah, holubchik. My little pigeon." She beams, and gives him another peck on the cheek. (From Chapter Eleven, under duress, pgs. 118-119)


Quote:
"Vera said something about a correction block?"

"Aha, this was an unfortunate episode. Caused entirely by cigarettes. I have told you, I think, that I owe my life to cigarettes. Yes? But I have not told you also that I almost lost my life through cigarettes. Through Vera's adventure with cigarettes. Lucky that war ended then. British came just in time - rescued us from correction block. Otherwise we surely would not have survived."

"Why? What ... ? How long ... ?"

He coughs for a moment, avoiding my eyes.

"Lucky also that at liberation we were in British zone. Another piece of luck was Ludmilla's birthplace, Novaya Aleksandria."

"Why was that lucky?"

"Lucky because Galicia was formerly part of Poland, and Poles were allowed to stay in West. Under Churchill-Stalin agreement, Poles could stay in England, Ukrainians sent back. Most sent to Siberia - most perished. Lucky that Millochka still had birth certificate, showed she was born in former Poland. Lucky I had some German work papers. Said I came from Dashev. Germans changed Cyrillic to Roman script. Dashev, Daszewo. Word sounds like same, but Daszewo is in Poland; Dashev is in Ukraina. Ha ha. Lucky immigration officer believed. So much luck in such a short time - enough to last a lifetime." (From Chapter Thirty, two journeys, p. 283)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

COUNTRY LIFE
Magazine Subscription
Interview of the Week
Sir Howard Colvin
Leading architectural historian
By Jeremy Musson
May 3/07


Quote:
View a sample of maverick Colvin's excellent work.

STILL MORE of Colvin brilliant and fascinating scholarship.





Quote:
Sir Howard Colvin is that unusual figure in British life: a legend in his own lifetime. The first Reader in Architectural History at the University of Oxford, his Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 can only be described as a bible for achitectural historians - with entries on hundreds of the architects who can be identified in documentary sources. This summer, it goes into its fourth edition since 1954.

... 'Becoming Reader (at St. John's, Oxford) was a bit of luck really. The vacancy was for a reader in art history under Edgar Wind, but didn't like any of the candidates. I was on sabbatical at the British School at Rome when I got a call offering me the job. I said yes, as long as I could call myself reader in architectureal history. I began a special subject in the history school, which continues to this day. I used to take undergraduates to look at churches, give them a plan and get them to hatch in the different periods.'

... Of architectural history today, he observes: 'For post-medieval architectural history, we have had a great period of taking stock throughout the 20th century - for instance, Prevsner's great inventory of buildings, John Harris's catalogues of architectural drawings and my work on the Dictionary. This means there is a mass of material for scholars to work on and explore more conceptual ideas such as patronage, building technology and the economics of building. It also has a great amateur following, which, combined with an academic stiffening of discipline in the matter of evidence, is a good recipe." (-- p. 120)


Quote:
Biographical Dictionary of English Architects
1600-1840

Hardcover
By Sir Howard Montague Colvin






From Impossible Odds:

COUNTRY LIFE
Magazine Subscription
Interview of the Week
A scholar's lair
50, Plantation Road, Oxford. The former home of Sir Howard and Lady Colvin
Just before its collections and contents were sold off, Richard Hewlings had a last glimpse of the house this great architectural scholar designed for himself
Oct. 22/08




Quote:
Sir Howard Colvin, doyen of the profession of architectural history, was a small man. He had microscopic handwriting and he cultivated alpines. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to find that, from 1970 to his death in 2007, he lived in the tiniest street in Oxford, down which a car can only just be squeezed from off the Woodstock Road.

In 1948, he had obtained a senior research fellowship in history at St. John's, the first non-Oxonian to be elected a Fellow there. Sir Howard (he was knighted in 1996) was to remain at St John's for the rest of his life, as Librarian (1950-84), Tutor (1953-78), and Emeritus Fellow (1987-2007). Plantation Road is so close to St John's that, after Lady Colvin's death in 2003, he could walk there every day for lunch. (-- p. 60)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too Close to the Sun
The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton
Hardcover
By Sarah Wheeler




Quote:
At the bookmakers or around the roulette table, Denys thrived on risk. Inheriting the family gene that ruined his uncle George, he had begun betting at school, and quickly found that it took him to a place where reality was blotted out and adrenaline hijacked his functions. Besides danger, he craved the visceral thrill of winning and the challenge of outwitting his opponents. Naturally, he was keen to fill No. 117 (High Street, Denys's flat off campus) with gambling partners. When, in the winter term of his final year, a vacancy came up, he wrote to John Craigie asking if he would like to fill it. Craigie, a bluff golfer three years Denys's junior who had kept a betting syndicate at Eton, was about to go up to Magdalen. "Denys was such a celebrity," Craigie recalled, "that Dr Herbert Warren, president of Magdalen, allowed me as a freshman to say yes to this, and forgo my first year in college." Craigie shared many of Denys's delinquent tendencies, but even he could not always keep up. He remembered one particular roulette session at No. 117 attended by the mayoral bookmaker John Langley, Count Felix Elston, whose real name was Prince Yusupov, and C.T. Chu, a convivial little man who liked to bruit about the observation that he was the "52nd heir to the Chinese emperor." Craigie bailed out halfway through and was awakened the next morning by a gray-faced Feltham announcing, "It's 'arf past seven, sir, the ball is still rollin' and the Chinaman's lost two 'undred." In a single session, Denys had lost and retrieved his entire annual allowance of £300. ...

By the time Denys left Oxford, he was gambling so ferociously that he was poised over the abyss of self-indulgence - a Prince Hal fallen into the hands of his own Falstaff. But the risks were, over time, to grwo exponentially. The terrestrial pleasures of gambling failed to hold Denys down. He took to the air, where the stakes were higher. (From Take Your Hat Off, Hatton, pgs. 41-42)


Far more compelling take on the guy immortalized by author Karen Blixen (and Robert Redford):

Out of Africa
DVD




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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Napoleon of Crime
The Life and Times of Adam Worth,
Master Thief

Hardcover
By Ben Macintyre


Quote:
More of the book at the Gambler's Code.





Quote:
STILL MORE of the book and the Duchess of Devonshire.


Quote:
The Prince of Wales and his Marlborough House set (not so far removed, in its habits and personalities, from Georgiana's Devonshire House set in the previous century) elevated conspicuous consumption to an almost full-time occupation: shooting parties, house parties, boating parties, trips to Paris and the German spas, late-night Champagne-doused card parties. While birth and breeding were useful passports to this exclusive world, the only essentials were vast wealth and a deternination to spend it on enjoyment. One historian has noted that, "as the first gentleman of the land, Edward's tastes and habits, including his liking for the 'nouveau riches,' set the tone in high aristocratic circles." Worth's riches could hardly have been newer, whereas his taste for luxury was evident to the most casual observer, and he slipped through the barriers of class with consummate ease, utterly disguised by his stolen money. The circle of those who could afford such pleasures was necessarily small, and although it is entirely possible that the future king and the monarch of the underworld rubbed shoulders, there is no evidence they ever met. But there is also no doubt that the highest in the land would have found, in the very lowest, a kindred spirit. (From A Silk Glove Man, p. 158)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Minister
A Question of Loyalty
British comedy classic
DVD




Quote:
Sir Humphrey: Do you know, Bernard, I sometimes think our Minister doesn't believe that he exists unless he's reading about himself in the papers. I'll bet you the first thing he says when he gets into the office is, 'Any press reports on my Washington speech?'

Bernard: How much do you bet?

Sir Humphrey: A pound.

Bernard: Done.

(After shaking hands to seal the bet...)

Bernard: But he won't because he's already asked. ... In the car, on the way back from Heathrow.

Sir Humphrey (reluctantly parting with a pound): You're learning, Bernard.

Later on ...

Sir H: Welcome home, Minister.

Minister Jim Hacker: Bernard, didn't you say there were some press cuttings on my Washington speech? Somewhere?

B: (returning the pound note to Sir Humphrey) Yes, yes. I put them in the box.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Britain
Magazine Subscription
Nobody Does It Better
Sian Ellis has a licence to thrill as she celebrates
the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth and shares the
locations that inspired the man behind James Bond
April/May, 2008


Quote:
More of old Flem.





Quote:
Ian Fleming (1908-1964) once predicted he would "write the spy story to end all spy stories." He was working in Britain's Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War at the time, and his imagination was fizzing with undercover plots, ingenious gizmos and codes.

In 1953, he proved true to his word by launching the iconic secret agent, James 007, into the world with the publication of Casino Royale.

Fleming's 14 Bond books have since sold over 100 million copies and been translated into nearly every language. This means more than half the world's population has seen a 007 film, and everyone knows the suave but deadly hero likes his dry martinis "shaken, not stirred." This year, 28 May, 2008, marks the centenary of the author's birth. With lots of events and celebrations planned and underway, it's a great time to get on the Bond trail in Britain.

... When he wrote Casino Royale, he joked it was to take his mind off his imminent marriage. In fact, the middle-aged bon viveur, raised on the daring tales of Sapper's Bulldog Drummond, John Buchan and Robert Louis Stevenson, had found his vocation. He rewarded himself with a gold-plated typewriter. (-- pgs. 22-24)


Quote:
Casino Royale
Vintage Paperback
By Ian Fleming




Quote:
Casino Royale
Audio CD
Narrated raspily by English actor Rufus Sewell




Quote:
Casino Royale
Featuring Daniel Craig, the
latest and rather icy Bond
DVD



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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Animal Farm
A Fairy Story
Papberback
A classic by the great George Orwell


Quote:
More of Orwell, his classic, 1984, and the context of Stalin's Soviet regime.





Quote:
"We were very lucky to get out of Spain alive," George Orwell wrote afterwards. He was not talking about the nearly fatal throat wound he suffered in combat during the Spanish Civil War but about Stalin's murderous political apparatchiks who had gained partial control of the Spanish government by 1937.

He had gone to Spain to fight for that government because he thought it represented political decency, and his belief in the importance of political decency had nearly been the end of him. More or less by chance, he had ended up in a Trotskyist outfit at a time when Stalinists were trying to destroy every trace of Trotsky's contribution to the Russian revolution. These purges were directed from Moscow, but had deadly consequences even in faraway Spain, where Stalin was obstensibly supporting a democratic Spanish government.

"Many of our friends were shot, and others spent a long time in prison or simply disappeared," Orwell recalled in his preface to a 1947 Ukrainian-language edition of Animal Farm.

This narrow escape from the long reach of Moscow-style politics left him alarmed about the gullibility of other well-meaning, decent people in Western Europe. He thought too many decent people in the Western democracies had succumbed to a dangerously romantic view of the Russian revolution that blinded them to Soviet reality.

Communism paid a heavy price for what it did to Orwell in Spain. Out of that experience came Animal Farm. An attack on the myth of the nobility of Soviet communism, Animal Farm became one of the century's most devastating literary acts of political destruction. (From the Preface by Russell Baker, pgs. v-vi)


Quote:
Animal Farm
Audio CD
Narrated by former British journalist Ralph Cosham




If his read of 1984 is anything to go by, this must be first rate!


Quote:
Animal Farm
1954 Animated classic
DVD



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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

COUNTRY LIFE
Magazine Subscription
Finding An Architect in Yorkshire
By Marcus Binney
Feb. 22/07




Quote:
Digby Harris (info@francisjohnson.fsnet.co.uk) is part of the partnership which continues the legendary Yorkshire practice of Francis Johnson & Partners, the most accomplished country-house architect of his generation. The hallmark of a Digby Harris building is the wonderful choice and handling of building mateirals, whether brick or stone. Mr. Harris says: 'Francis used to lament that he never built a stone house. By good fortune, I am now on my third.'

Smooth ashlar facing stone is relatively cheap compared to what it used to be, thanks to modern cutting techniques. One client found a sandstone quarry near Richmond producing a lovely golden stone. Stone slates are coming from Northumberland. 'They're the only quarry producing riven slates of the northern variety, brownish rather than the black as you get in the West Riding.'

The key to his success is the choice of suppliers. For bricks, he often goes to the York Handmade Brick Company, which produces colors, sizes and shapes to order. ...

He laughs when I ask him about sash windows. 'I am now on the last single-glazed house we shall be able to build. The problem with double glazing is that it's never guaranteed for more than 10 years, and that's about the time when seals start to go. The likelihood is that they will have to be replaced, and that probably outweighs the loss of heat from single glazing in carbon-footprint terms.'

Aesthetically, he says, the best way to get the right proportions is to mirror the chunky glazing bars of the early 18th century. If you want thin astragals of the late Georgian kind, you have to form a lattice over a large sheet of glass. Visually, this works well, but if the double-glazing seal goes, it will be difficult to replace the glass without damaging the frame. (-- p. 110)


Quote:
Deeves Hall Rocks On
It survived music legends,
now its fortunes are revived

By Penny Churchill


Quote:
... In 1967, the three found members of the group decided to form a new band. Having searched for a suitable audition venue, they rented Deeves Hall. Eventually, the make-up of the new band was decided by which time the group had decided to change its name. Concrete God was one of the names chalked up on the wall at Deeves Hall, but the vote went in favour of Deep Purple. The hall become the group's headquarters for a couple of years.

The fortunes of the hall took a turn for the worse, and in 2003, the house was in need of 'some modernisation' .... Since then, Deeves Hall has been totally renovated, and extended ... It's now back on the market, with Strutts quoting a guide price of £2 million. (-- p. 109)




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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This England
Magazine Subscription
Literary Landscapes of England
The 'beloved Bucks' of Benjamin Disraeli
Autumn, 2007




Quote:
Educated at Miss Roper's school in Islington and then Higham Hall School, Walthamstow, Disraeli left education at the age of 16 or 17 and, for a short time, was articled to a firm of solicitors. In the autumn of 1824 he had begun to speculate in South American mining shares but when the bubble burst barely a year later the young man was left with crippling debts that burdened him until late middle age. ...

Luckily, his first novel, Vivian Grey was published not long afterwards and earned him 200 pounds. It was an extravagant piece of writing, relating the whole story of the Representative and lampooning Murray's involvement in the disaster. It was not an action designed to win Disraeli any friends and the resulting recriminations alienated several influential people in the literary and political worlds, John Murray included. ...

His preference for dandified clothes, including lace shirts, green velvet trousers and showy jewellery, combined with his affected speech and mannerisms to create a raffish and exotic impression. He had also become notorious for conducting a scandalous affair with a married woman, Lady Henrietta Sykes, the original of his novel Henrietta Temple.

All these factors marked Disraeli out for ridicule amongst his peers, hence that catastrophic failure of his maiden speech. To his credit he learned from this experience and toned down his appearance and speaking style for his subsequent orations. In time Disraeli developed a talent for coining striking phrases, such as "I have climbed to the top of the greasy pole," "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics," and "Experience is the child of Thought."

In August 1839 Disraeli married Mary Anne Wyndham, a wealthy widow 12 years his senior. Gossipmongers at the time implied that he had married for money alone, but the couple were clearly devoted to each other and Mary Anne once remarked, "Dizzy married me for my money but if he had the chance again he would marry me for love." (-- pgs. 22-24)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Gambling on God:

Good Poems
Selected by Garrison Keillor
Hardcover




Quote:
Cathedral Builders

John Ormond

They climbed on sketchy ladders towards God,
With winch and pulley hoisted hewn rock into heaven,
Inhabited sky with hammers, defied gravity,
Deified stone, took up God's house to meet Him,

And came down to their suppers and small beer,
Every night slept, lay with their smelly wives,
Quarrelled and cuffed the children, lied,
Spat, sang, were happy or unhbappy,

And every day took to the ladders again,
Impeded the rights of way of another summer's
Swallows, grew greyer, shakier, became less inclined
To fix a neighbour's roof of a fine evening,

Saw naves sprout arches, clerestories soar,
Cursed the loud fancy glaziers for their luck,
Somehow escaped the plague, got rheumatism,
Decided it was time to give it up,

To leave the spire to others, stood in the crowd
Well back from the vestments at the consecration,
Envied the fat bishop his warm boots,
Cocked up a squint eye and said, "I bloody did that."

(-- p. 356)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam the Sudden
Hardcover
By P.G. Wodehouse


Quote:
More of the book.





Quote:
If the Cohen Bros., of Covent Garden, have a fault, it is that they sometimes alllow their clients to select clothes that are a shade too prismatic for anyone who is not at the same time purchasing a banjo and a straw hat with a crimson ribbon. Fittings take place in a dimly lit interior, with the result that suits destined to make phlegmatic horses shy in the open street seem in the shop to possess merely a rather pleasing vivacity. One of these Sam had bought , and it had been a blunder on his part. If he had intended to sing comic songs from a punt at Henley Regatta, he would have been suitably, even admirably, attired. But as a private gentleman he was a little on the bright side. He looked, in fact, like a bookmaker who won billiard tournaments, and Kay gazed at him with repulsion. (From the chapter entitled, Sam is Much Too Sudden, p. 80)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

COUNTRY LIFE
Magazine Subscription
Licence to Thrill
This is the year of James Bond. Michael Murray-Fennell visits two new exhibitions showing the reality, fantasy and imagery of 007's world
April 17/08


Quote:
More of old Flem.





Quote:
Ian Fleming grew up in the shadow of his older brother. After a scandal with a prostitute at Sandhurst, he flitted from journalism to banking. The Second World War saved him from a life indulging in the typical Bond pursuits of philandering and gambling.

Unlike his fictional alter ego, Fleming saw out the war from behind a desk, as assistant to Admiral John Godfrey - director of naval intellligence, a surrogate father figure, and prototype for Bond's boss, M. Deep within the Admiralty's nerve centre, Fleming planned raids and operations with the same meticulous detail that he would bring to his thrillers.

But the world was a different place in 1952 when he sat down in his Jamaican retreat to write the 'spy story to end all spy stories.' Gone were the 'Red Indian days' of the Second World War. Instead, the cloak-and-dagger world of the Cold War looms large over the series.

Actual accounts of defections and assassinations inspired several Bond plots. Sometimes Fleming even appeared to forecast events: Thunderball's threat of nuclear attack of Miami anticipated the Cuban missile crisis of two year later.

However, the politics wasn't the real appeal of Fleming's novels. 'We're the only two writers,' he confided to Somerset Maugham, 'who write about what people are really interested in: cards, money, gold and things like that.'

He was being kind to Maugham - nobody does it better than Fleming. His connoisseur's account of Bond's drink of choice puts the cinematic 'shaken not stirred' version to shame: 'A dry martini. In a deep Champagne goblet. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it well until it's ice cold, then add a thin slice of lemon peel."

Fleming was clear about his target audience - 'warmblooded heterosexuals in railways, airplanes or beds.' For a 1950s Britain, in the grip of rationing, aware of its diminishing role on the world stage, and with the sexual licence of the 1960s not yet on the horizon, the Bond books were escapist fantasies of exotic food, locations, thrills and women. (-- p. 119)


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