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Film-maker Patrick Keiller's latest book, Robinson in Space, has many apercus about contemporary British life, narrated in a manner which mixes the deadpan and the surreal. The obelisk designed by Quinlan Terry for Alistair McAlpine at his former home, West Green, he reminds us, bears a Latin inscription: 'This monument was built with a large sum of money, which would have otherwise fallen, sooner or later, into the hands of the tax gatherers.' But my favourite is a quote from the distinguished

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