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Nicholas Haslam rss

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Design For Living

12 November 2011

Writing in The Spectator a few weeks ago, Ed Vaizey praised the Prime Minister for hosting a party at No. 10 during London Fashion Week to honour the contribution that… Read more

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Schlock teaser

30 June 2010
Gypsy: The Art of the Tease Rachel Shteir

Yale, pp.240, 12.99

The somewhat straightlaced theatre-going audiences of 1880s America, eager for performances by European artistes like Jenny Lind and solid, home-grown, classical actors such as Otis Skinner, were hardly prepared for… Read more

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What a difference a gay makes

20 January 2010
City Boy Edmund White

Bloomsbury, pp.297, 18.99

Edmund White is among the most admired of living authors, his oeuvre consisting of 20-odd books of various forms — novels, stories, essays and biographies — though each one is… Read more

All the Men’s Queen

30 September 2009
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: The Official Biography William Shawcross

Macmillan, pp.1096, 25

It is entirely possible that nobody, not even perhaps Queen Elizabeth herself, has ever known what she was really like, so great the charm, the smiling gaze, the gloved arm,… Read more

Salt of the earth

8 April 2008
Home: A Memoir of My Early Years Julie Andrews

Weidenfeld, pp.344, 18.99

As a young girl in Athens, Maria Callas would watch the films of the extraordinary Hollywood actress Deanna Durbin, and, entranced by that child-star’s utterly perfect voice, vowed to become… Read more

Getting a kick

5 February 2008
Ethel Merman Geoffrey Mark

Barricade Legend, pp.312, 20

One frequently reads of chaps for whom their epiphany was the first sight and sound of Julie Andrews. Mine happened a good few years earlier, lying bed-bound with polio, just… Read more

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How now Browne cow?

3 October 2007
The Coral Browne Story: Theatrical Life and Times of a Lustrous Australian Barbara Angell

Angell Productions, pp.240, $Au 45

Coral Browne: ‘This Effing Lady’ Rose Collis

Oberon Books, pp.322, 19.99

The Christmas book market is about to be flooded, if that’s the word for these somewhat juiceless jottings, by not one but two biographies of the actress Coral Browne. This… Read more

Around the world in 80 years

15 November 2006
Point to Point Navigation Gore Vidal

Doubleday, pp.277, 17.99

Two summers ago at La Rondinaia, during one of those last evenings before he flew from his sky-high eyrie for the last time, Gore Vidal advised me to read the… Read more

Essex girl goes West

5 October 2006
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins Rupert Everett

Little Brown, pp.405, 18.99

This highly entertaining and self-deprecating autobiography should dispel the myth, however craftily put about by the boy himself, that its author could ever have been a successful rent boy. Promotion… Read more

Marriage à la mode

6 August 2005
Take a Girl Like Me Diana Melly

Chatto, pp.280, 14.99

It is surely rare to find a book that describes a marriage with such breathtaking intimacy as Diana Melly does in her autobiography, Take a Girl Like Me. Not only… Read more

Brilliance and bathos

9 April 2005
Tallulah! The Life and Times of a Leading Lady Joel Lobenthal

Aurum, pp.577, 20

That most astute of reviewers, Lynn Barber, recently wrote of this curiously bloodless biography that the subject is a minor star, now only remembered for one film, Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat.… Read more