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The young E M Forster spent his formative years in Hertfordshire and it was a county for which he’d hold lifelong affection. As 2010 marks the fortieth anniversary of his death Amanda Hodges looks back at his childhood days.

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17 Feb 2010, by

A Writer Called Bond

Michael Bond recalls standing on the platform at Reading station as if it were yesterday. “I remember at the start of the war that trains from London were arriving with evacuees. They were all wearing a label around their neck with their name and address on, so I gave Paddington a ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you’ label. It just felt right.”

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17 Feb 2010, by

Telstar

Today Nick Moran may be better known as an actor from a film like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but judging by this darkly comic profile of Sixties record producer Joe Meek- begun in leaner times with James Hicks- he’s also a playwright of considerable accomplishment.

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It’s rare and inspirational indeed to come across a production where everything blends with perfect precision. Just as George Seurat was renowned for his innovative technique and prescient vision as an artist, so the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Sondheim & Lapine’s musical- now transferring to the West End- utilises compelling new computer projection to bring the painter’s world to richly unforgettable life.

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When Lorraine Hansberry’s play opened on Broadway in 1959 it caused an immediate sensation, allowing a glimpse into a section of the community rarely given a voice let alone a dramatic profile.

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First produced in 1992, it says much for the Lyric’s current revival of Tony Kushner’s epic two part play that, despite clocking in at over six and a half hours of drama, the vast majority of this (a few superfluous moments aside) offers theatre of the highest calibre: riveting, darkly humorous and profoundly humane, a triumphant revival in all respects.

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“I am very glad that my little book has proved so acceptable to yourself and your children. Giving it away to my little friends is a cheap luxury in which I frequently indulge as they are a numerous tribe; in fact.. I find that they become friends on short acquaintance, though few with whom it has been so short (about 30 minutes I think!) as in the present case…”

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‘The great beauty of Poetry is that it makes every thing, every place interesting’, John Keats wrote with characteristic enthusiasm. Today his Hampstead home stands as a museum celebrating his enduring status as one of the finest Romantic poets, one whose innate sensitivity to Nature found creative expression in ‘the humming of the bee, the sight of a flower or the glitter of the sun.’

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‘I work and sleep up in my cottage at present and anything grander than the days and nights at my porch you will not find away from the Alps; for the dark line of my hill runs up to the stars, the valley below is a soundless gulf. There I pace like a shipman before turning in. And in the day I have a brilliant universe rolling up to me.’

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In 1912 twenty-six-year-old David Herbert Lawrence met Frieda Weekley, the wife of his university professor and the two rapidly formed an intense romantic attachment that led them to leave England for Europe.

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