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and work. And in those days too, there were the joys of the elegant Pittman’s shorthand, with its own compensatory aesthetic rewards.) And yet this life of efficiency has been paralleled – or perhaps it’s better to say occasionally interrupted – by repeated attempts at creativity. Over the years, I have from time to time taken piano and classical guitar lessons; enrolled in drawing classes; studied ballet and contemporary dance; joined creative writing groups and workshops. Nearly always, and even when my attempts were good enough, I managed to undermine this

in Austerity baby
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University of Iowa’s writing programme at the time, he decided to spend the summer of 1956 in New York, sharing an apartment with a friend from Iowa’s theatre department. They came to rent Nina Balaban’s fifth-floor apartment at 6 West 75th Street for $65 a month, while she summered, and painted, in Woodstock. Here is a Nina thirty years after Horgan’s fictional character. Nina was in the doorway, managing to look apprehensive, welcoming, imperious, and charming all at the same time. Her eyes struck me first, dancing gray eyes, straight across the bottom and rounded into

in Austerity baby
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snapped at her daily sunbath of ultra violet rays. For the past few months Miss Smith has been the sensation of New York where she has become known as “The Little Bunch of Personality.” Her recent song hits “Banana Anna” and “Hot Poppa be Yourself” together with her Blackbottom dancing are the chief cause.’ Greater Manchester County Archives, GB124.DPA/1129/15, [General Photographic Agency, Fleet Street

in Soaking up the rays
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swimming, dancing, and physical culture. 132 Overy has characterised modernist architecture of the interwar period as marked by a fascination for ‘light, air and openness’, heavily influenced by sanatoria design. 133 Le Corbusier (1887–1965) is repeatedly mentioned for his preoccupation with sunlight, as is British architect Edwin Maxwell Fry (1899–1987), who built his ‘Sun House’ in 1935 and

in Soaking up the rays
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making this a big deal in the book – indeed, only on page 246, though he alludes to the connection briefly throughout: When I was four, my mother and I moved into the communes of her guru – a bearded man-god who promised ecstasy and delivered mainly absence. I was supposed to be the child of the commune, not of my mother ... In the communes that bore Bhagwan’s name, she and her friends danced, rolled their heads, swayed their arms, beat cushions, broke down their social conditioning and set themselves Austerity baby free. Meanwhile, we children filled our lives as

in Austerity baby
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serif and sans-serif typefaces. 5 But our attention is inevitably drawn back to the model, larger than life and as glamorous and graceful as a dancer on the stage. Placed before the theatrical background of orange and white rays, she twists her body playfully towards (and presumably under) the large orb that is the sun. Yet it is not the sun per se that she worships, but modern technology. A

in Soaking up the rays