No, it’s not Piers Morgan’s Twitter tirade. Sir Alex’s retirement from Manchester United today has brought plenty of fresh tributes to the most successful managerial career football has ever seen (and possibly ever, given the tumbling average tenure of most managers nowadays). But long before he decided to hang up his hairdryer, the ageing Scot has been beatified by fans around the world.
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Sunday 12 June 1994
Roth, here acting the arch-self-dramatist, dispenses with the masks of Portnoy and Zuckerman and casts as his hero the famous novelist 'Philip Roth'. He goes further, providing Roth with an anti-self, a namesake / lookalike who has been appropriating Roth's world-wide prestige to promote the bizarre notion of Diasporism, an inverted Zionism aimed at resettling Israelis in Europe. When Roth goes to Israel to face down the imposter he plunges into a fully-fledged identity crisis, in which he partially changes places with the imposter. Awash with ironies, exuberant rhetoric and endless worrying at the question, 'I am a Jew, but what is a Jew?', this resembles the ultimate Philip Roth parody. Very funny, but can he be serious?
Major takes the fight to his Tory critics: PM attacks 'parody of debate' as right lines up behind Heseltine
Thursday 31 March 1994
John Major last night came out fighting in a bid to restore his battered political authority with an outspoken attack on his critics over Europe for 'grotesque misrepresentation' of the compromise over majority voting.
FILM / NEW RELEASES: Stealing from the rich: Adam Mars-Jones on Mel Brooks's Men in Tights, Robert Townsend's Meteor Man and the re-released Cinema Paradiso
Friday 17 December 1993
Mel Brooks never seems to have got around to having an identity crisis, and the question should be: why not? Apparently he thinks that any genre of film will benefit from being chopped up and garnished with his unvarying vaudeville routines. When the object of his parody was, say, Frankenstein, then his laziness looked very much like respect. He seemed to love the look of what he was parodying, even when he was mocking its successes. But when it comes to Robin Hood: Men in Tights - which doesn't so much lampoon Prince of Thieves as try to ride on its jerkin-tails - what is it that he thinks he is adding when he takes off a film?
BOOK REVIEW / It's no joke being a literary parodist: 'Misreadings' - Umberto Eco trs William Weaver: Cape, 19.99 pounds
Sunday 20 June 1993
OF ALL the European intellectual stars to have once written a humorous column, Umberto Eco is surely the least surprising candidate. Indeed, for many readers, it's perhaps more surprising now to be reminded of his pre-Name of the Rose reputation as a literary theorist, Joycean scholar and semiotician who then, so surprisingly, turned bestseller. Admittedly, this column was written for an Italian literary monthly, and his subjects mostly fit the forum. But the short pieces collected in Misreadings are among Eco's earliest publications (dating from 1959) and evidence that he didn't suddenly lighten up in mid-life.
DIRECTOR'S CUT / Zero de Conduite: Lindsay Anderson on the pillow fight from Vigo's Zero de Conduite
Friday 30 April 1993
THE MOST famous scene in Zero de Conduite is the one in slow motion in the boys' dormitory, where they've been fighting with pillows and the air is full of feathers. It's a sort of parody or evocation of a Catholic religious procession. In many ways Zero de Conduite is an indignant satirical film, inspired by Vigo's own schooldays, and at the same time it's an intensely poetic one. What's very sympathetic about Vigo is that he was by temperament an anarchist, as any good director should be. His free, lyric spirit runs through the film, so it also acts as a self-portrait like perhaps all the best movies. It's a coincidence that my own film If . . . was made at the time of student revolt in the late Sixties. People imagined it was an illustration of or a complement to that, but it's quite untrue. If . . . was inspired by the personalities of the people who made it. It's not political in that way, it's a film of feeling, and that's what it has in common with Zero de Conduite.
Thursday 29 April 1993
IF THERE is one overwhelmingly positive thing to come out of the South Bank's Alternative Vienna series so far, it is the realisation that H K 'Nali' Gruber, composer, 'chansonnier', bass-player and descendant of the Gruber who gave us Silent Night, is a very interesting figure. Indeed, in Saturday's London Sinfonietta programme the Cello Concerto revealed many more layers of meaning - and of pure musical beauty - than it had in its Proms performance last year. And in Tuesday's London Philharmonic concert it was the turn of Frankenstein]]: 'pan-demonium for chansonnier and orchestra' and Gruber's best-known work - or rather best-known title, since broadcasts and performances haven't exactly been frequent over here.
Thursday 15 October 1992
Sir: I wonder whether any of your correspondents who have been so quick to condemn Spitting Image actually watched the programme. The offending sketch was bemoaning the general lack of interest in the Bible. If that is blasphemy, we're all in trouble.
- 1 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 2 Special Report: US troops are stationed in Japan to protect the nation. But to sex workers in Okinawa, they bring fear, not security
- 3 Should we intervene? Our response to the Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson assault is shocking too
- 4 Exclusive: Cristiano Ronaldo advised to stay at Real Madrid for further 18 months before making possible switch to Manchester United
- 5 Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria