Price £5 Serving the American Community in the UK
Features include: • News • UK Sports • Travel • Eating Out Theatre • Tax • American Women’s Clubs News • Arts & Antiques Insurance • Property • Top Ten Tips • Immigration
Publisher's Note����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 3 Eating Out����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Hotel Review����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 8 Property��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������11 Taxing Issues��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������14 UK Sports����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������16 Top Ten����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������18 Immigration������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������23 Investments�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������27 American Women's Clubs News������������������������������������������������������������28 Arts & Antiques����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������36 Travel�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������38 Theatre���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������40 American Eye��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������42 American Church in London��������������������������������������������������������������������45 Useful Numbers����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������46 Embassy Corner���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������48
Price £5 Serving the American Community in the UK
PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott Tel: 020 8661 0186 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing Director: Damian Porter Tel: 01737 551506 Email: email@example.com American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB Advisory Panel:
Features include: • News • UK Sports • Travel • Eating Out Theatre • Tax • American Women’s Clubs News • Arts & Antiques Insurance • Property • Top Ten Tips • Immigration
Danny DeVito appears in The Sunshine Boys at the Savoy Theatre from 27th April
No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers Origination and Printing by Gemini Group
Letter From The Publisher
Dear Reader, I hope you have enjoyed the recent sunshine and that you are looking forward to Easter and the upcoming early summer months. Firstly, many thanks to those readers who attended The 2012 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition in February. We had over 700 visitors and we raised £1386 for the Comard Mondello Nursery, that I am raising money for in memory of my late business partner and her family. If you would like to make a contribution to this charity please visit www.justgiving.com /assunta-comard-mondello-and-family. Every penny counts to the £20,000 I am aiming to raise, and many thanks to those readers who have already kindly made a donation. I have already raised over £12,500 to build the nursery in Uganda in their memory and hope to reach the £20,000 target by the summer. Summer will prove to be an exciting time for London, with the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, shortly followed by the 2012 Olympics. The Central Weekend to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee takes place from Saturday 2 June to Tuesday 5 June 2012, with celebratory activities throughout the UK and across the Commonwealth. The Jubilee Weekend features an extra Bank Holiday for the Diamond Jubilee, with the late May Bank Holiday moved one week later, thereby making a 4-day long weekend. The main programme of events are as follows: Saturday 2 June, 2012 The Queen will attend the Epsom Derby. Sunday 3 June, 2012 The Big Jubilee Lunch: Building on the already popular Big Lunch initiative, people will be encouraged to share lunch with neighbours and friends as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. This may take the form of a traditional street party or a picnic lunch in small or larger groups. The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant: This event will take place on the Thames and consist of up to 1,000 boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will travel in the Royal Barge which will form the centrepiece of the flotilla. Monday 4 June, 2012 There will be a televised Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace with tickets being available to UK residents by public ballot. The musical programme for the concert is still being planned and is expected to feature British and Commonwealth musicians. Details on how to apply for the concert will be available in due course. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Beacons: A network of 2,012 Beacons will be lit by communities and individuals throughout the United Kingdom, as well as the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Commonwealth. Tuesday 5 June, 2012 Service of Thanksgiving and Carriage Procession: There will be a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and a formal carriage Procession by The Queen. Commonwealth Realms and other Commonwealth nations will be creating their own events in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. In addition, they will be represented at, and involved with, the events taking place over the central weekend, including the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June and the Service of Thanksgiving on 5 June. If you have plans to enjoy the Diamond Jubilee, I hope you have a great time. Lastly, if you live in London or are visiting London before April 9th, then look out for the large eggs that have been dotted around the Capital courtesy of The Big Egg Hunt. This initiative aims to raise money for charity, as well as breaking a world record for the largest Easter Egg hunt ever, and you have the opportunity to win a £100,000 Fabergé egg. Friends and I searched for eggs a couple of Sunday’s ago and had a great time finding eggs covered in fur, Humpty Dumpty, an egg you look into and see a kalaidescope, and many more that are painted beautifully. Further information and maps can be downloaded on www.thebigegghunt.co.uk. It is a great way to explore London and have fun at the same time. April to June are my favourite months in the UK, and in more recent times, have proved warmer and sunnier than July and August which have traditionally been the best months of the year. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and sunny spring, and hope you enjoy reading the spring issue of ‘American in Britain’. With very best wishes,
Helen Elliott Publisher
Eating Out Cassis Bistro
London Restaurant Reviews Cassis Bistro 232-236 Brompton Road, London, SW3 2BB Telephone: 020 7581 1101 With its accent on the Provençale cuisines of Southern France, Cassis Bistro successfully brings the heart of rural Provence to the streets of London with a mix of traditional and contemporary Provençale dishes. The innovative menu has been carefully created to show off the great produce and bold flavours of this beautiful region. David Escobar heads up the kitchen team and came from the three Michelin-starred restaurant Lameloise in Chagny, France. Cassis Bistro opened in November 2010, and is situated on the Brompton Road, just 4
round the corner from the V&A Museum. The owner, Marlon Abela, owns a number of Michelin-starred restaurants including The Greenhouse, Umu, and the private members’ club, Morton's, in Berkeley Square, not to mention restaurants in New York, Boston and Connecticut. The restaurant, designed by Tara Bernerd of Target-Living, has a modern and stylish decor, with well-chosen art displays on the walls, reflecting the sophisticated, yet contemporary restaurant that it is. The atmosphere is relaxed and there is a pleasant ambience, providing a perfect venue for all occasions. The bar is a destination in its own right, and is a separate part of the restaurant, comprising some very comfortable booths. It has a cool and modern style, and we were recommended two deliciously fruity cocktails by the experienced bar-tender – trust his recommendations, they were the perfect aperitif! My guest and I chose the new Dinner Menu (2 courses £37, 3 courses £46, 4 courses £55) which represents excellent value for the quality of the food. The wine list is full of a fantastic selection of over 700 wines (mainly French, but including Italian, Spanish and American) at prices from £18 a bottle, many of which are unavailable elsewhere in the UK. The Sommelier advised us well on which wines would complement our dishes. I started with a fine selection of Three Homemade Pâtés, served with delicious fig
chutney and toasted country bread – the foie gras and ham-hock pâté was my favourite. My guest thoroughly enjoyed the Beef Carpaccio with truffle oil, parmesan and rocket (this was on the special's board). Both entrées were very generous in portion size, and were complemented with a glass of 2009 VdP d’Oc Viognier, Languedoc, France (£9 a glass). The accompanying breads were certainly a highlight and extremely moreish. For our next course we both had the “Risotto à la Marinière”– the risotto was creamy and tender, and cooked and flavoured to perfection, with a bit of a ‘bite’. We also both enjoyed a delicious glass of 2007 Beaune, 1er Cru Les Champs-Pimont, which was my favourite wine of the meal, and one of the finest wines I have enjoyed in a long time. There is an excellent selection of main courses on the dinner menu, including
Lobster Ravioli, Atlantic Cod, Chicken Breast, Veal and Lamb Shoulder –and some specials making the decision a tough one. I went for the grilled Sea Bass on a warm pearl barley, served with tarragon sauce. The sea bass was cooked to perfection and partnered perfectly with the rich tarragon sauce. My guest opted for the generous Ibearian Pork Chop with comté cheese polenta which he felt was succulent and flavoursome. I would highly recommend the side dishes – the brussel sprouts with pancetta, and the potato tourte à la Provençale (£4 each dish) were simply delicious, and their addition made for a perfect main course for both of us. We enjoyed the main course with a glass of 2006 Barbaresco, Mondino. As with the rest of the menu, there was a good selection of desserts. I chose the Lime and Rosemary Crème Brûlée – the perfect, light, sweet conclusion to the meal. My dessert was accompanied with a glass of 2008 Muscat du Cap Corse, Domaine Leccia, Corsica (£14 a glass). There is a fantastic list of dessert cocktails, which my guest felt necessary to sample – he ordered the Forêt Noir Gâteau – a highly satisfying, creamy cocktail with a smooth and rich blend of forest berries. He thoroughly enjoyed it, and would welcome a return visit just to sample the tiramisu martini or the raspberry cheesecake cocktails – maybe a meal in their own right! The service was very good, gracious and nonintrusive. Cassis Bistro is a bistro bordering on fine dining, although more relaxed. You really feel like you are experiencing the finest ingredients from some great menus whilst enjoying the Provençal passion for great cuisine. MU Restaurant & Cocktail Bar 17 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 9NU Telephone: 020 7201 6330 MU is situated on the first floor of the Millennium hotel, Knightsbridge. It is perfectly located to provide a well-earned lunch or relaxing evening meal after a hard day's shopping, sitting as it does on Sloane Street, amid an impressive array of designer shops. A sweeping white spiral staircase heralds the entrance into MU, and the high vaulted glass ceiling gives a sense of space and openness about the restaurant. My partner and I dined on a quiet evening, perhaps explained by the news that Victoria Beckham was unveiling a new fashion collection in a neighbouring building. We were excited to find that the restaurant had just unveiled a new collection of its own in the shape of a new Mediterranean inspired menu. This marks quite a departure from the Asian menu that had previously been in place. We sampled dishes from across the menu, but will focus on our particular favourites
Kumo 11 Beauchamp Place, South Kensington, London, SW3 1NQ Telephone: 020 7225 0944
MU Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
To start, my partner enjoyed the Crispy Fried Baby Squid with smoked paprika and fresh lime, whilst I was delighted by the Mozzarella with Salt Baked Beetroot and provençal herbs. Being a lover of beetroot I really appreciated the contrasting textures and subtle blend of sweetness and saltiness. We were also lucky enough to sample the Ham Hock and Corn-Fed Chicken Terrine served with fruit chutney, This was quite delicious when eaten with generous chunks of bread-in fact a bit too delicious for our waistlines! Starters range in price from £8.00 to £9.50. For our main courses we chose Panfried Seabass and Grilled Entrecote Steak served with glazed beetroot, swiss chard and black mustard. Neither of these dishes disappointed, being cooked exactly as we would wish them to be. The steak in particular was beautifully tender and succulent. Main courses start at £14.50 for Roast Belly of Suffolk Pork and rise to £24.50 for the Steak. Side orders include the essential accompaniment to a good steakhand cut chips, along with sautéed spinach and purple sprouting broccoli. For our dessert we both opted for Pain Perdu, with poached plum and fig and served with a salted caramel ice cream. Pain Perdu I have learnt, is similar to French toast, but unlike French toast the batter cooks into a custardy crispy coating leaving the bread creamy inside. When contrasted with the tartness of the plum and sweetness of the ice cream, this made for a deliciously different dessert which we both enjoyed immensely. We enjoyed a superb bottle of Beajoulais with the meal, chosen from quite an extensive wine list. The waiters are extremely attentive and willing to please – we shall look forward to the formal launch of the new Mediterranean inspired menu, and watching how this restaurant gathers new found interest and attention over the coming months.
Since its opening, Kumo has attracted strong views from its clientele, and like a well-known English spread, you appear to either love it or hate it. I, for one, loved it, as it ticked all my boxes. Kumo is ideally located a stone’s throw from Harrods in Beauchamp Place, and is a perfect venue for relaxing after some retail therapy, or later in the evening as a chill out zone in which to socialise with friends. Be warned. unless you are eagle eyed, this venue can seriously damage your shoe leather, as the entrance is an unassuming doorway with a small sign, and I walked up and down the road a number of times before finally finding the entrance! The initial entrance corridor is not that inspiring, but once you descend down the low lit oak stairway, you feel you have left the hustle and bustle of the busy London streets, and have entered into an oriental boudoir. The man behind the design is award winning bar and club designer Lee Broom, and he has managed to create both a modern bar as well as a cosy and intimate area within a restricted space by the subtle use of lighting. One end of the room is dominated by a bright and modern bar, whilst the other end has a more relaxed seating area where you can sit and enjoy the company of friends in more comfortable seats. Kumo is a fashionable bar which serves exceptional food rather than being a restaurant. Kumo has an extensive cocktail list which has been devised by award winning impresario Douglas Ankrah, and I would thoroughly recommend spending the time to look through it, as although I am not a cocktail person, there are a number which caught my eye. The Persian Kiss, a delightful blend of peach and passion fruit liqueurs, pineapple juice and grenadine dressed with strawberry puree, and the New Orgasm (Kalua, Baileys, Vodka, Disaronno and Cointreau shaken and served in a large martini glass) are two of Kumo’s sig-
nature cocktails. Other cocktails are available including those with a distinct Japanese twist for the more adventurous. There is only a small wine list (3 white, 3 red, and a rose), and champagnes, but they will satisfy the majority of patrons and all are reasonably priced. (Wines from £22.50 and Champagnes from £34.95). The menu, designed by Nasa Lazari (formerly of Zuma) and Yuka Aoyama (formerly of Nobu) is again selective and has focussed on those Japanese dishes much loved by Londoners. Quality is paramount, as is the presentation, and there are excellent sharing platters on offer for 2-3 people (£35), and 3-4 (£45), which include a selection of meat, fish and vegetable sushi as well as Chicken Skewers, Deep Fried Squid and Edamame Beans. There are also a good range of à la carte dishes to choose from, and my favourite was the Crispy Fried Baby Squid with green chillies served with a delightfully tart ponzu sauce (£7.95). Other dishes of note were the Skewers of Spicy Hibachi Chicken Breast in coconut cream, green chilli and lemongrass (£11.50) and the Fried Soft Shell Crab served with wasabi mayonnaise (£12). This is not a typical Japanese restaurant where you sit down formally and eat, this is an upmarket bar and club (only later at night and at the weekends), which is great to come and experience with friends, and to nibble on some exceptional Japanese food. I loved the whole concept of the place, and the overall vibe, and it has been nominated for Best Boutique Bar in the London Club and Bar awards, and I think that others who have come and not liked it were expecting a more formal restaurant, and Kumo is not that. Mele e Pere 46 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9TF Telephone: 020 7096 2096 If you are looking for good quality, unpretentious food, in an authentic environment in the heart of Soho, then you, like me, will be delighted that Mele et Pere has just opened. It is situated on Brewer Street and is ideally placed for the theatre and nightlife around this area, but is different from all the other restaurants in the vicinity. The difference hits you the moment you walk up to it, in that the whole of its front window is a wall of Murano glass apples and pears. On entering the quirky ground floor entrance you descend the stairs into a large subterranean cavern where you could imagine large oak casks of wine being piled high by the wine grower except you then remember you are not in Northern Italy but the heart of London. The décor is rustic and the furniture is irregular, but this all combines perfectly to 6
Mele e Pere
create a little rural oasis in the bustle that is Soho. Other delightful touches are the Anglepoise lamps on the walls that provide the lighting for the tables. As you walk down the steps the bar comes into view, with its striking copper surface, and although I didn’t try one, I have been reliably informed that the Vermouths they serve are sublime. The menu is true to its Northern Italian roots with its clever use of rabbit, tripe and razor clams, but does allow a few old favourites to appear, namely Spaghetti Carbonara. We started with a basket of breads (£2.50) with the highlight being the focaccia stuffed with olives. Other pre-starters looked inviting, and I know when I bring my son here he will devour the Spicy Ascolana olives (£3.50), but we resisted temptation to ensure there was enough room for the feast to come. My partner chose the Buffalo Mozzarella, Roasted Red Pepper and Anchovies (£6) whilst I took my starter of the pasta course having the Tagliatelle with Beef Cheek Ragu (£12). The sharpness of the anchovies complemented the creaminess of the cheese beautifully. My dish was one of the best pasta dishes I have had and was smooth and slightly salty with the chunks of meat nestling invitingly in perfectly cooked Tagliatelle. For my main I chose the Charcoal Grilled Shoulder of Lamb (£17), and delighted in the perfectly cooked meat that seemed to melt as my knife approached. With this I chose the home made chips and the grilled peppers, aubergine and courgette (you get one side dish free with your main additional ones are £3.50). Both were generous and it was good to see courgettes and aubergine on a menu as they are so underrated. My partner chose the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (£10) which followed, the typical Italian recipe of not having a drop of cream, but instead the sauce was a delicious combination of cheese, egg and butter into which a generous amount of pancetta nestled. Again the pasta
was cooked perfectly. With that my partner chose a portion of Fried Zucchini with Mint. It was at that stage that we both looked at each other and were just about to admit defeat when the attentive but unobtrusive waitress brought us the dessert menu. Delights such as Nonna’s Apple Tart with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Warm Zabaglione, Lingue di Gatto biscuits or Tiramasu (all £6.50), were oh so tempting, but my partner chose the Yoghurt Ice Cream, Caramelised Apple Crumble, and I decided to try a scoop of ice cream as we thought these would be lighter options. The ice creams are rich and creamy flavours are intense, and there is no hint of wateriness which you can get with inferior offerings, but the true surprise was the Yoghurt Ice Cream and Apple. This was so simple and yet so good with the crunch of the crumble combining perfectly with the smoothness of the ice cream and the sweetness of the caramel. It is a must. The wine list is ample with plenty of choices with many less well known Italian wines rubbing shoulders with the more well known. Prices start at £16.50 which is remarkable considering where this is located, and you will certainly find something you like. I suggest asking the waiter for their advice, as there are many undiscovered treats on the list which you may not immediately choose. Mele e Pere also do a pre-theatre menu between 17.00 and 19.00 where you can choose from a reduced menu for £12.50 for 2 courses and £15.50 for 3. Few Italian restaurants currently provide their diners with simple cooking executed to perfection with authentic recipes and ingredients. Mele e Pere is one of those and I for one am delighted I now have somewhere right in the heart of the city to go where you get high quality cooking at a reasonable price. n
Reviews by Damian Porter and Ben Everson
Hotel Review Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Bath
ucknam Park Hotel and Spa is situated close to Bath, and is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, and relax back in grandeur from a bygone age. When we arrived at the entrance gates we could just about see the imposing main house built in the Palladian style, framed by a magnificent mile long avenue of four hundred lime and beech trees, and it was at this point we realised this was going to be special. This feeling continued on arrival at the house, as staff greeted us from the car and took our bags into reception where we were quickly welcomed and shown to our room. Meanwhile a valet drove our car away, which wasn’t seen again until we sadly had to leave. Lucknam Park has a variety of luxurious rooms and ours was located in the former stables across the courtyard from the main building, and conveniently close to the Spa. The décor is opulent and fits perfectly the style and age of the building. Our room was dominated by an imposing four poster bed which yielded one of the best night’s sleep I have had. What distinguishes Lucknam Park from other hotels are the little extra touches that take a hotel from good, to great. The rooms have MP3
players, dvd’s, dressing gowns and slippers but for me the clincher was the overlarge fluffy white towels which brought back memories of when I was a child and the towels dwarfed me - priceless. The Spa at Lucknam Park has won awards, and rightly so. It was opened in 2008, and although ultra- modern, it has been designed and built sympathetically with the original buildings. The gym is air conditioned and state of the art, and hosts all the machines and weights a dedicated ‘gymer’ would need, all with individual tv screens so you can watch the programme of your choice from those available, and there are spare headsets for those who have forgotten theirs. The true delight however, is the pool. This mosaic tiled pool is perfect not only for those who want to do lengths (20 metres long), but is also a standard depth throughout so is very child friendly. It is also lit up when the sun sets by a flickering wall of fire almost at water level. Whilst recovering from my exertions in the gym on the indulgently thick sun loungers awaiting my partner’s return from her spa treatment, I was drawn to the incredible glass domed roof which spans the room, and marvelled at the clever design which succeeded in bringing the outside inside, and gave the room such an airy
feel. This feeling of space is continued in the communal thermal suites where glass walls give an unusual spacious feel to the sauna and steam rooms. There is even a tepiderium with warm tiled loungers to relax on (yes they do think of everything here). The hydrotherapy pool continues in the same vein and is partly inside and partially outside, split by a sliding door, which allowed me to soak in delightfully warm water whilst gazing out on the tranquillity of 500 acres of Wiltshire parkland whilst watching the sun set. The only thing missing was a glass of champagne! The hot stone massage, my partner declared on returning, was sublime and had taken her to an even greater level of relaxation and wellbeing. She had been offered a delicious fruit cocktail in reception, and then led to a very modern and comfortable treatment room where she thoroughly enjoyed the hot stone massage and declared that everyone should have one at least once in their lifetime!. There are numerous other treatments but you do need to book as they are extremely popular. After the exertions of the day, I was looking forward to seeing if the food could live up to what had gone before, and I was not disappointed. Lucknam Park has two restaurants; The Park, which is fine dining, and The Brasserie, which provides a more informal alternative. We had pre-dinner drinks in the drawing room, and as we settled back into the sumptuous sofa, sipping a glass of champagne and nibbling on delightful canapés, the relaxation was complete. I chose the Gourmet menu and my partner had the Vegetarian Gourmet menu (£90 amd £70 respectively). Both were a delight, comprising course after course of subtle and delectable dishes which were thoroughly devoured. The pinnacle of the meal for me was the Slow Roast belly of Roundway Hill Pork with caramalised apples and pan fried foie gras, in an organic cider sauce. The pork was succulent and rich and the slightly sweet apple complemented it perfectly. The wine list is extensive and there are bottles and prices to suit all tastes. We chose and enjoyed our Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.
In an attempt to walk off our ample breakfast the next day, we walked around the wonderful gardens in the winter sun, and also visited the outdoor tennis courts and the horse riding centre. Unfortunately we didnâ€™t have time to experience either, but if they follow the same ethic as the rest of Lucknam Park, then they will also be special. On our way home we dropped in on nearby Castle Combe which is well worth a visit. It has been called the prettiest village in England where all the houses are made from natural stone tiles in the typical Cotswold style, and the village has recently been used in the films War Horse and Stardust. Overall Lucknam Park is a luxury hotel with a capital L, set near enough to Bath and surrounding areas, but far enough removed to ensure you have a truly relaxing stay away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Nothing is too much trouble and the attention to detail is second to none; and it was a true wrench to have to leave. n For further information please visit www.lucknampark.co.uk Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN14 8AZ Telephone: 01225 742777
2013 Monday 4th February 2013
Property Focus On Northcote Road, Battersea
orthcote Road is nestled between the two commons of Wandsworth and Clapham and runs south for around half a mile from close to Clapham Junction station. It is regarded today as the epicentre of Battersea’s famous nappy valley area. However, the picture of happy families and trendy uberfashionistas has not always been the case. In 1850 there were only 300 people recorded as living in what was known as South Battersea, now referred to as “between the Commons”. A wealthy banker Robert Dent bought large portions of what was formerly Earl Spencer’s land and embarked on an ambitious building programme including several large estates and five grand houses facing the common. The opening
of Clapham Junction railway station in 1863 made the city accessible and the area became a target for developers. So unpopular was Battersea in Victorian times that the station – now the UK's busiest railway hub – was named Clapham Junction even though it sits squarely in Battersea with planners deciding that it would be more prestigious to name it after its more salubrious neighbour Clapham. Battersea suffered further during the heavy and sustained aerial bombardment during World War II (the evidence of this can still be seen in the Victorian streets which are pockmarked with “bomb build” 50’s concrete buildings) due to its many railway yards, power station and bridges. The area subsequently fell into decline, with Clapham and nearby Wandsworth regarded as smarter places to live. As a result, Northcote Road and its surrounds became very workingclass and in the 1960s gangs prowled the streets to look for trouble. However, a walk down Northcote Road today, past flocks of mothers pushing prams or drinking coffee with friends in one of the street’s many coffee shops or restaurants, paints a very different picture. Northcote Road is a prime example of why Wandsworth and Battersea lifestyle is one of the best in London. Where else can you find super-sexy people,
buy a globe, a second hand wet suit and have a decent lunch? The mixture of young professionals and families with a high disposable income has helped to create a vibrant shopping and socialising street lined with everything from street markets to bespoke cheese shops to bric-a-brac antique furniture shops. One of the main attractions for residents and shoppers is the variety of unique and high quality food and wine shops to be found on Northcote Road. The local butchers (once a dying breed on British high streets) Dove is always bustling and busy. First established in 1889, the business is now run by Bob Dove who is the third generation of master butchers to run Dove. They source the very best meat produce as well as running a deli counter where you can buy traditional scotch eggs or proper meat pies. Across the road (just follow the smell of cheese!) is Hamish Johnston, a fine cheese shop which has established itself as a favourite stop for residents. The variety of different cheeses and accoutrement is astonishing and enough to quench the desires of the most hardened cheese lover. Northcote Fisheries is another firm favourite and offers a far wider selection of fish and shellfish than you can find in any supermarket. They will also scale and fillet the fish for you on site. Complementing these three excellent independent stores is the wine merchant Philglas and Swiggot. Owners Karen and Mike Rogers founded the business in 1991 with their first shop on Northcote Road and have been here ever since. This is a specialist shop for the discerning wine lover, sourcing small growers of fine wine, as well as many of the big names in the wine industry, from around the world. They have won the Wine Magazine “London Wine Merchant of the Year” for four years running. If you drop into their shop you can see why – it’s an Aladdin’s cave! The Northcote Road market is another good reason to take a stroll down the road. They are open every day of the week except Sunday and can get very busy on Saturdays. You will be able to browse an array of Artisan bread, pizzas, pastries, fresh fruit and vegetables, flower, clothing and art, all thronging the 11
road and creating a lively buzz of shoppers. As well as the food and wine establishments which make this road so unique and desirable, there is also a large selection of interesting eateries. From your friendly Italian to the smart new Spanish restaurant Lola Rojo which serves excellent Tapas and is always busy. Gastro pubs are also present and a firm favourite is The Bolingbroke, located on the quieter stretch towards Broomwood Road, it is owned by three local boys (Tom, Mark and Nick), has a stylish interior where you can lounge with friends, and serves contemporary English seasonal food with a twist, such as Manuka smoked duck breast with fennel, bitter leaves and an English blackberry salad, or grilled salt marsh lamb steak with anchovy and caper butter. There are a number of popular high end chain establishments such as Farrow and Ball as well as beauty shops, but what marks the street out again is an excellent selection of antique shops and gift shops. Very popular with the bargain hunters or last minute present shoppers alike, you will find everything from birthday cards to fine art available to buy. The draw of this street has of course resulted in much demand to live within walking distance of this trendy stretch of real estate. Not only do you have all the shops, bars and restaurants on your doorstep, but access to the city (from Clapham Junction mainline train station) takes only 10 minutes, getting out of the city (via the A3) is easy, and there are the large open spaces of Clapham and Wandsworth Commons to take your children for a game of football or walk your dog on weekends. There are several popular local schools off Northcote Road, including the highly rated primary schools Belleville and Honeywell, although beware these state funded schools are very much in demand and places are at a premium. There is also a new secondary school planned to serve residents, on the site of the Bolingbroke Hospital. For those of you who may be looking to move to the area, you will need quite deep pockets. There is a wide variety of classical housing stock from Edwardian terraced houses to large Victorian villas some of which have been converted into apartments. A typical two bedroom apartment “between the commons” will cost around £2,000 pcm to rent or can be bought for circa £500,000. If you are looking for a family house you can expect to pay upwards of £4,000 pcm or purchase prices from £1 million and rising quickly to £2 - £3 million for larger refurbished homes. n For more information on living on and around Northcote Road, please contact Peter HermonTaylor on 020 8871 3033 or phermon-taylor@ johndwood.co.uk www.johndwood.co.uk 12
Taxing Issues Carol Hipwell Of Frank Hirth Highlights A Few Tax Related Matters For American Expatriates
he recent 2012 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition, held on Monday 6th February at Hotel Russell, offered a great chance for individuals and businesses with common interests to meet and share information. My colleague, Gillian Everall and I aimed for education rather than entertainment during our presentation, but our talk regarding expatriate tax issues was well received and followed up by numerous questions. It was great to meet so many people on the day, and it allowed us to understand what really concerns expatriates, particularly Americans. There are a few recurring themes worth exploring in more detail: 14
Interaction of US and UK taxes This aspect of international tax planning is more complex than ever with the United Kingdom (UK) non-domicile and remittance rules still very much in existence, but with limited benefits of using the remittance basis of taxation. It is quite common for expatriate Americans to believe that UK income is taxable in the UK, and US income is taxable in the US. The earned income and housing exclusions which can be claimed on the US returns while resident overseas can often encourage this mistaken belief, and many people believe that these exclusions remove the filing requirement in the US for UK earned income. “It used to be simpler”: US citizens and residents reported their worldwide income and claimed credits for the tax paid on income that was also taxable in the UK. This usually included only the obvious types of income such as employment income, UK bank interest, and dividends from UK shares. The UK taxation rules for non-domiciled individuals meant that numerous Americans could pay only US tax on their non-UK income, as long as they followed the remittance basis rules. The impacts of the changes effective in the UK from April 2008 are easily misunderstood. Many US taxpayers realised that they should now be reporting non-UK income in the UK if they were long-term residents in order to avoid the flat-rate remittance basis charge. If they no longer benefited from the remittance basis, the arising basis of declaring worldwide income in the UK offered an incremental tax cost rather than a completely new tax. A few misconceptions about this change include the following: “The UK tax authorities will give a credit for US tax on US investment income”: Simplifying the treatment, this is only true where the US tax is not based purely on citizenship. If, for example, a non-resident alien of the USA is not liable to pay tax on US bank interest, the UK will not allow a US citizen a credit for the US tax on bank interest. The US/UK income tax treaty will help to define which country has primary taxing rights on income, and which country will exempt the income or allow a credit against their tax. “The UK and the US way of taxing income and gains is roughly the same”: In response to this misconception, it can be noted that anti-deferral rules for offshore company investments exist in both US and UK legislation, and an investment that is a perfectly normal equity investment in one jurisdiction and taxable at beneficial rates could be punished in the other. It should also be noted that tax-free accounts such as ISA’s are not tax free in the US. The taxation of main residences and pensions is also different,
creating further differences in taxable income and gains between the tax jurisdictions. “Reporting income on a worldwide basis in the UK means that you are domiciled here”: Again, at a high risk of being overly simplistic, this is not true. Equally, paying tax on a worldwide basis does not mean that any offshore funds can be brought into the UK or enjoyed in the UK without paying tax on the remittance of funds. Where there has been a period of time in which you were resident in the UK and utilised the remittance basis of taxation, it is important to know how to structure your finances to avoid unexpected tax bills. Increasing regulation and compliance I have written about this before, but both the US and the UK tax authorities are tackling tax evasion and non-compliance currently in a host of ways. Although it may sound somewhat incongruous, anyone facing the prospect of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) seeking back tax on US income that may have been omitted from UK returns should consider the suitability of the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF). HMRC recently announced the availability of this facility, which follows a formal agreement between the UK and Liechtenstein Governments in 2009, is being extended to the 31 March 2016. Despite its title the LDF does not require a participant to have existing financial interests or investments in Liechtenstein. In simple terms, as long as the individual or company concerned had an offshore interest at 1 September 2009, (which would include a bank account or other asset in the US), then by creating a financial interest in Liechtenstein they could legitimately take advantage of the facility. The benefits of the facility include limiting the UK back tax to periods from 6 April 1999 (rather than 6 April 1991 which would be the norm), a fixed penalty of only 10% of the tax (as opposed to up to 100% under normal rules) and providing a guarantee that HMRC will not prosecute any underlying tax offences. The possibility of exiting current HMRC's enquiries (apart from the more serious tax fraud investigations) in favour of the LDF, thus acquiring the favourable terms, also exists. The LDF has developed into a very effective vehicle for resolving UK tax issues on previously undisclosed funds in Switzerland. It should not be dismissed merely because there are no current investments in Liechtenstein or you because you do not even know where the country is! The IRS has reopened their Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) following continued strong interest from taxpayers and tax practitioners after the closure of the 2011 and 2009 programmes. This programme will
be open for an indefinite period until otherwise announced. In part, this is because other legislative changes have brought more and more delinquent taxpayers to the attention of the US Internal Revenue Service. I am not even going to explain what the acronym FATCA stands for in terms of US legislation, but simply mention that its effects are extremely far reaching. This legislation is effectively forcing nonUS financial intermediaries to track and report their US clients. This is bringing to light a huge number of US citizens with little or no connection to the US who have not been aware of how the US tax system affects them. As soon as they are made aware of their US tax obligations, it is important to take advice on how to address the arrears and move forward. In many cases the penalties for informational forms far exceed any possible penalties based upon US tax balances outstanding. The new requirement to disclose non-US financial assets on Form 8938 is part of the increasing regulation. Despite the overlap with the US report of foreign bank accounts known as Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR), this new form, when required, is in addition to the FBAR. With the wide range of assets required to be
included, the requirement will affect numerous long-term UK residents. There is also a significant penalty for failing to file the form. US citizenship I have been asked how I know if someone is a US citizen, particularly if they have another nationality, have never lived in the US, and have never had a US passport. I am not an immigration specialist but I do know the impact of the answer. Therefore I have a few key questions to ask to establish whether citizenship should be reviewed. For example, citizenship is most obvious when it is given to individuals born in the US. Citizenship can also pass from a US parent but this does also depend on residency in the US by the parent. As dual citizenship is allowed, the existence of another nationality does not mean that US citizenship has ended. Many individuals who have lived outside of the US all or most of their lives have questioned whether they should continue to be US citizens. This decision may have a far-reaching impact on their tax and immigration status, but is a common thread during discussions, particularly when someone is facing the tax obligations of being a US citizen for the first time. Expatriation in some cases is an attractive option.
Tax timetable notes The next few months are busy ones in the tax timetable. The UK tax year ends on 5 April 2012, followed shortly thereafter by the first US deadlines for tax returns and payments. Ideally tax planning is not a separate exercise that takes place as the tax year comes to a close, but these dates remind us that action may be necessary before the end of the year. Nonetheless, I hope that these points have relevance to you and your situation as I have only covered the topics in brief. n Carol Hipwell Frank Hirth plc Enquiries email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.frankhirth.com US Treasury Department Circular 230 disclosure:â€¨To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.
UK Sports Our Quarterly Overview Of UK Sports
hat an abundance of sports awaits us this spring and summer. The Olympic Games (which will be previewed in the next issue) will, of course, dominate our sporting summer. The soccer season is nearing its climax in May to be followed by the European Nations Championship Finals in June, and the top two world ranked cricket countries meet in three Test matches in England in July and August. What more could we want? Soccer It’s difficult to know whether to laugh or cry! Four months before the England team play in the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and the Ukraine the England manager resigned! And why, because the FA sacked the team captain without consulting the team manager, Fabio Capello. The team captain (John
Terry) appointed by Capello and beloved by all Chelsea football club fans, but probably by few others, had got himself into another spot of bother, this time on the field of play, by allegedly racially abusing a fellow professional during a match. Charged with a criminal offence, Mr Terry’s trial is not due until after the Euro finals. Too much, believed the FA, for an England captain to lead the national team with such an imminent criminal trial involving a very sensitive topic. Innocent until proven guilty, believed the England manager. Who was right? Both held a valid point of view but it cannot be right for such a decision to be taken by the FA without consulting the team manager/coach. Had the FA and Mr Capello met and discussed the issue before a decision was taken it might well have led to the same outcome but we may well have retained our manager at this critical time. What is also surprising is the outpouring of contempt for Mr. Capello by some of the media who seem delighted at his demise with just some five months of his five year contract to go, irrespective of the potential disastrous disruption this could have on England‘s chances of winning Euro 2012. Capello’s record as England’s manager is better in terms of win percentage that any of his predecessors since Sir Alf Ramsay who was appointed in 1963 and won the world cup in 1966! With a win percentage of 66.7% and a loss of only six matches in forty two games, why does Capello so outrage our media? Now the old outcry has returned - an Englishman must be England’s manager! The manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Harry Rednapp, having been found not guilty of a tax evasion charge on the very day Capello resigned, is the media’s favourite, and possibly that of many England football fans. Until a new manager is permanently appointed, however, the coach of the England Under 21 team, Stuart Pearce, took charge of the team in the friendly against Holland on 29 February . But hold on, was there not a bit of hypocrisy on the part of the FA in this? Was it not the same Stuart Pearce who allegedly racially abused another fellow professional, Paul Ince, in his playing days in 1994? It is, of course, a shambles. Who in their right mind would want to take the job of England manager? My sympathy is with Capello. Despite the shambles at the last world cup finals in South Africa his record is a good one. The manager is the most important person in a football team and no manager of club or country should have the sort of decision, as was the one by the FA over John Terry, taken without his involvement and consent. Sorry Fabio - why not become the manager of Scotland and win the world cup!! That might upset the FA.
In the European Champions tournament Arsenal and Chelsea were the only clubs to reach the knock out stage, but Arsenal were immediately eliminated by AC Milan 4-3 on aggregate. Chelsea progressed to the quarter finals with a 5-4 aggregate win after losing the first leg at Napoli 1-3. So only one premiership club has reached the quarter final stage, whereas we would normally expect to see three, if not all four premiership clubs in this stage of the competiton.) Has the standard of the premiership declined or have other European clubs improved? For their efforts, Chelsea have been drawn against Benfica in the quarter-finals, with the advantage of the second leg at Stamford Bridge. That should be a winnable tie. In the Europa Cup (Europe’s secondary competition) the two Manchester clubs, having been demoted from the European Champions League after failing to qualify from the ECL Group stage, have both been eliminated in their first knock out round. Manchester United were well beated by Athletic Bilbao 5-3 on aggregate and Manchester City were eliminated by Sporting Lisbon whose two away goals scored overall victory in a 3-3 aggregate score. In the Premiership there are effectively three mini competitions - the championship title between the two Manchester clubs and the fight for third and fourth places for that coveted entry to next season’s European Champions League, being contested by Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle United (Liverpool having seemingly dropped away from that fight); and the fight against relegation between Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Queens Park Rangers. It has become a very interesting season with the three mini competitions keeping more clubs and their respective fans with a high degree of interest in the remainder of the season. The European competitions have, however, become very disappointing. CRICKET England suffered a humiliating 3 - 0 whitewash by Pakistan in the Test series held in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in January and February. The team was completely unable to cope with the Pakistani spinners and things look somewhat bleak when we visit Sri Lanka in March and April for two Test matches. The pitches there will also favour spin bowlers but maybe the Sri Lankan spinners will not be quite as devastating as the Pakistanis. England did regain some pride against Pakistan in the five one day internationas (winning all five!!) and the three match
Twenty20 competition which England won by two matches to one. Back home, England entertain both the West Indies and the South Africans in a three Test series, the Windies in May and June and the South Africans in July and August. England should prevail over the former opponents who have dropped dramatically down the world rankings but the series against South Africa will be a close affair. Interspersed with these Test matches are endless one day and Twenty20 matches involving Australia as well as our Test opponents. These are good matches for spectators as they can see both the start and finish of a game in one day. Five day Test matches are the ultimate in classic cricket but they do take their time. TENNIS We still wait, as of course does Andy Murray, for his first Open championship victory. Close again, but still not quite there. This time it was the Australian Open in which he was runner up in the last two tournaments but this time not even a place in the final. That nemisis, well one of them, Rafael Nadal eliminated our Andy in the semi finals and so the wait for a major title goes on. More disappointment befell our Andy when he subsequently lost the ATP Dubai final to Roger Federer and then crashed out of the Indian Wells tournament in his first match! Oh dear; new coach Ivan Lendl clearly still has some work to do!! The next major will be the French Open at Roland Garros from 27 May to June 10, then ‘The Championships’ at Wimbledon, where the pressure will again be even stronger on Mr Murray, from 25 June to 8 July, and then the Olympics in August. Without Andy Murray, the Great Britain Davis Cup team pulled off an unexpected victory over Slovakia in their Europe/Africa Zone One tie in Glasgow. The Slovakian players were more highly ranked than the GB boys but young Dan Evans won both his singles matches (the second, and final rubber, in a five set thriller) and our doubles pairing of Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins won the doubles match to give GB a 3-2 win. Well done team GB! THE BOAT RACE April 7 will see this years annual boat race between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge on the river Thames between Putney and Mortlake. It is difficult to understand why this sporting event creates so much interest. The crews are usually manned by overseas students, many of whom get into
these universities primarily because of their rowing capabilities! Much always depends on winning the toss. The crew that wins the toss invariable picks the advantage of the first bend in the river and once one boat gets in front of the other by a certain boats’ length it can cross over and take advantage of the second, and much longer, bend. By the end of the first bend, therefore, the race is usually over!! Each year the winning crew of the winning boat look as though they could easily race back in the opposite direction and do it all over again. The losing crew, however, exhibit the symptoms of have run up to the top of mount Everest! However, sexual equality has at last broken through this bastion of male dominance. It is true that the Oxford and Cambridge crew have often have a female cox (sorry, coxwain!) because of her diminutive stature but how many followers of this traditional event knew that there was a women’s boat race along the same stretch of river between the two universities? I, for one, did not because it was not, unlike the race between the two male reserve crews, on the same day as the men’s race! A historic decision has been taken! The Women’s boat race will be held on the Thames tideway course between the same Thames bridges as the men’s race on the same day! Wait a bit though - not until 2015!! Furthermore, the BBC has agreed to cover the race!! Will history and heritage ever be the same again? Well, it’s about time Oxbridge caught up with the Olympics and the twenty first century! OTHER SPORTS For those of our readers who would like to get to know some of our less well known sports why not go to Budleigh Salterton in Devon from 6 to 10 June to see the Men’s and Women’s Croquet Championships or nip up to Aberdeen in Scotland to watch the Scottish Mixed Curling finals from 30 March to 1 April. Gliding championships take place at Lasham, Hampshire and Aston Down, Gloucestershire (2-10 June) and at Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire (16-24 June) - it’s definitely worth going to the latter just to say you visited Husbands Bosworth! Then there are the British Lacrosse championships at Wilmslow, Cheshire (5-6 May) and the ladies European Open Netball championships in Sheffield (25-27 April). Finally, Real Tennis (not to be confused with proper tennis!) takes place at Seacourt where the British Women’s Open Singles and Doubles championships will be played (10-15 April). n
www.theamericanhour.com The American Hour website is a valuable resource for any American moving to, or living in, the UK. Updated regularly, we provide useful information on all aspects that affect American expatriates living in the UK. The website has been up and running since 1999, and continues to achieve high volumes of traffic from visitors all over the world, although primarily from the UK and the US.
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Top Ten Tips Hollywood in Britain by Judith Schrut
his year’s Oscars may have come and gone, but movies are forever! In this issue we focus our Top Ten lens on Hollywood’s longstanding love affair and cinematic special relationship with Britain. 1. I SPY A FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT Where better to begin our Hollywood in Britain adventure than with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 transatlantic spy thriller, Foreign Correspondent? It starred heartthrob Joel McCrea, the Brad Pitt of his day, as New York journalist Johnny Jones, sent to London on the eve of the Second World War. Johnny’s first assignment is to get the inside scoop on a top secret European treaty. But things don't go to plan, and a few Big Ben chimes and bowler hats later, our hero is whisked off to Amsterdam where he witnesses the dramatic assassination of a diplomat and becomes caught up in espionage, bullet dodging and the inevitable steamy romance with co-star Laraine Day. Although the movie leads went to Americans, Foreign Correspondent boasted a splendid UK and continental supporting cast and crew. Along with plenty of plot twists and turns, seat of the pants suspense and soppy kisses, the
film also had clever comedy, ground breaking technical special effects, and an atmospheric soundtrack. Foreign Correspondent has long been considered a masterpiece of war propaganda, notably by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, but film fans and location lovers are most likely to remember its windmill hideout scenes, a terrifying mid-Atlantic plane crash, and the attempted murder of our hero from atop London’s Westminster Cathedral. Luckily, he steps aside just in time, and we watch the villain plummet to his death instead. If you’d like to re-trace Johnny’s steps, we recommend a visit to the atmospheric Cathedral, where you can climb the steep bell tower and enjoy breathtaking views across London. The film’s script famously had to be rewritten many times during production to mirror ever-changing real world events. It premiered just as the Battle of Britain began, and while the US was still dangerously prevaricating whether or not to join the War. Hitchcock’s climactic ending sees our surviving hero back in a London radio newsroom. With enemy bombs falling around him he makes an impassioned on-air plea to fellow Americans to end neutrality and save the Free World: “It's death coming to London...it’s as if the lights were all out everywhere, except in America. Hello, America! Hang on to your lights. They're the only lights left in the world.” 2. IT’S A JOLLY (BRITISH) HOLIDAY WITH MARY POPPINS On a recent visit to family near San Francisco, we enjoyed a small town’s Movie Night Out in a beautiful woodsy local park. Star of the evening was Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins,
Mary Poppins flying high over London
projected onto a giant outdoor screen. The event was packed with parents, children, grannies and an assortment of ageing hippies seated on log benches and huddled under picnic blankets. Even though we’d all seen it umpteen times before, it was clear from the faces of all around us that this film was as charming and magical as ever. There’s no denying that many of our American perceptions of Britain come from movies like Mary Poppins – and why not? That’s why we think Mary Poppins is a practically perfect example of Hollywood in Britain. Who can forget Mary’s travels by umbrella high above Big Ben and the Thames, Mary and her chimney sweep pal Bert plus assorted farm animals, woodland creatures and penguins dancing merrily through a fantasy English countryside, bird feeding in front of the spitting image of St Paul’s Cathedral or Bert and his merry band of sweeps cheerily step-in-timing across the rooftops of London? Mary Poppins gave us a superb recreation of Edwardian London, yet not one screen millisecond was actually filmed in the UK -- it was made entirely in Walt Disney’s Burbank, California studios. Simply one of the world’s best loved films and one of the greatest to combine live action and animation, Mary Poppins won a carpetbag of 1964 Oscars including Best Actress for a buddingly brilliant Julie Andrews making her movie debut as the enchanting supernanny. The film is also famously memorable for dear Dick Van Dyke as Bert, with his off the Richter scale bad but adorable Cockney accent and a supercalifragilistic mainly British supporting cast which included the delicious Glynis Johns as the suffragette mum and David Tomlinson as the strict bowler hatted dad.
Beware the American Werewolf at Tottenham Court Road station, image copyright Philip Perry and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
Dobcross celebrates 'Yanks' at area's annual War Weekend, image copyright Paul Anderson and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
3. YANKS FOR THE MEMORIES World War II famously played a major part in cementing the bonds of our Anglo-American 'special relationship' and was also fertile cinematic territory. One top movie to embrace this theme was 1979 film Yanks. A tale of transatlantic romance with a social conscience and lots of heart, Yanks is set in 1943 rural Lancashire at a time when millions of American soldiers had been sent to military bases in England to prepare for the D-Day landings. But war preparation was not the only interest of the eponymous Yanks, labelled as “overpaid, oversexed and over here.” Yanks was a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic and a triumph for late, great British director John Schlesinger. It starred a gorgeous young Richard Gere and a host of other brash and lusty GI Joes. Heading up their feminine counterparts, whose sweethearts were away at war and who found it hard to resist Yankee chocolates, cigarettes, nylons and flirtation, were Vanessa Redgrave and new star Lisa Eichorn, sporting a very credible Northern accent for a native New Yorker. The movie is packed with great British locations and superb period reconstructions, is beautifully filmed and has a wonderful atmospheric score by Richard Rodney Bennett. Film location lovers may enjoy a visit to the moorland village of Dobcross, nostalgically transformed for several key scenes, while others were filmed in and around Stalybridge, Uppermill and Oldham. The energetic dance and racism-fuelled fight scenes took place in Hyde Town Hall and the moving and emotional ending, which sees thousands of soldiers bidding farewell to their local hosts, lovers and pregnant girlfriends as they are shipped southwards and off to battle, was filmed at Keighley’s historic Railway Station in Yorkshire. Although rarely screened nowadays, we think Yanks is well worth another view. 4. FANCY A BITE? AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON If you prefer your Hollywood in Britain with humour and a bit of a bite, you’ll love 1981 comedy-horror An American Werewolf in London. Considered a cult classic of its genre, it featured David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Griffin Dunne plus a host of thrillingly scary scenes and spooky locations around the UK. The film follows American backpackers David and Jack, on vacation in the Yorkshire moors. They stop for an eerie pint in The Slaughtered Lamb, a quaint village pub where locals warn them to stick to the road and beware the
full moon. Ignoring this weird advice, they promptly head out for a jolly night hike across the moors where they are savagely attacked by a mysterious howling creature. Jack dies, and while David recovers in a London hospital, he is horrified to learn he has turned into a werewolf and should be afraid, very afraid, of the next full moon. Movie tourists wishing to follow in David and Jack’s infamous footsteps should make their way to the English-Welsh border near Hay on Wye, where the hamlet of Crickadarn and surrounds stood in for Yorkshire, its Welsh road signs disguised by fake trees, then head south to the Black Swan in Ockham, Surrey, site of The Slaughtered Lamb. Proceeding next to London, fans can check out Finborough Road, Earl’s Court, where our incipient werewolf recovered in hospital, retrace his path as he prowled the spectral streets and underground tunnels near Tottenham Court Road, Charing Cross and Piccadilly, mauling several innocents along the way, eventually ending up naked on the floor of a wolf cage in London Zoo where a young Zoo visitor exclaimed in horror, “a naked American man stole my balloon!” Finally, fans can revisit the dark alley at Winchester Walk, SE1, where the werewolf met his bloody end. American Werewolf is also famous for fantastic makeup and body transformation effects, for which it won an Academy Award, and a memorably haunting soundtrack full of everyone’s favourite moon tunes. See it and we promise you’ll never want to be alone on a London Underground platform again. 5. FISH AND CHIPS WITH WANDA If you are a Monty Python or Fawlty Towers fan (and who isn’t), or in need of some sidesplitting laughs and a whizz round London at speed on the back of a barrister’s motorbike, then A Fish Called Wanda is the film for you. Billed as a tale of “lust, greed, revenge, murder and seafood,” Fish is the ultimate Hollywood in Britain comedy. The movie features an artfully matched Anglo-American cast headed by Jamie Lee
Curtis, Kevin Kline and ex-Pythons John Cleese and Michael Palin and is jam-packed with terrific comic moments and great location filming. Utilising our favourite national stereotypes to hilarious effect, Fish pits stiff upper lipped Brit barrister Archie Leach (Cleese) against dim-witted paranoid American psychopathic crook Otto (Kline) and his sexy but smart babe Wanda Gershowitz (Curtis). There are plenty of jokes about the proper, polite and easily embarrassed Englishman and the "inyer-face", oversensitive gun-gungho gangster played by Kline, who won an Oscar for his role. Bullied, stuttering fish lover and accidental dog murderer Ken is played to perfection by Palin, with whom we cheer when he enjoys the last laugh. And look out for a marvellous cameo from the then little known Stephen Fry. The film’s most famous scene, where Archie excites Wanda’s passions by reciting Russian literature while performing a striptease, presumably using Marks & Spencer’s underpants, was filmed in New Concordia Wharf near Tower Bridge. Otto tortured Ken by way of chips up the nose at 7 Maida Avenue, Maida Vale, and three small dogs and one careless owner met their filmic sorry ends in Onslow Gardens, Kensington. We do however have it on good authority that no animals were actually harmed in the making of Fish – in fact, the fish we see Otto eating were made of Jello. Kline apparently offered to eat a live fish but the filmmakers considered this might be too sensitive. Cinematic sightseers will also love the thrilling chase scenes through Docklands, Kensington and the legal Inns of Court and the finale involving Heathrow, a steam roller and a great deal of wet cement. We should warn you however, whether you colour your sense of humour British or American, it’s just possible that you may die laughing while watching this film. We’ve heard recent reports that there’s a musical Fish Called Wanda in the making. If these rumours are true, we can’t wait! 6. DOING IT WITH (101) DALMATIANS Disney’s 1996 live action remake of its famous animated comedy adventure 101 Dalmatians has a wealth of classic Hollywood in Britain scenes and themes. This charming transatlantic AngloAmerican romance with dogs features a first class US/UK cast, most notably Glenn Close as the deliciously evil, fur-worshipping Cruella De Vil (Motto: so many dogs, so little time). In fact, it took 230 cute but extremely active Dalmatian puppies and 20 adult Dalmatians to make the film. We understand some of these were so terrified of Ms Close in full makeup that they had to be rounded up after 19
Magnificent Lincoln Cathedral, image copyright Robert Stephens and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
running off set, and actors had to be rubbed with raw hot dogs to ensure the pups licked them on cue. For movie tourists, 101 Dalmatians is chock full of great UK location filming. Our favourite is the Dalmatian-led cycle chase through some renowned London sites including Leicester and Trafalgar Squares, Piccadilly’s Burlington Arcade and St James Park, ending in true love between the soulmate-seeking Pongo and Perdita as well as their human owners Roger and Anita, perfectly played by Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson. The romantic wedding scenes werefilmed at neo-Gothic St Luke’s Church in Chelsea. The puppies were dognapped to Hambleden, a picture postcard village in Oxfordshire and a longtime film location superstar-- Band of Brothers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Avengers and many other shows were all filmed here. Hambleden is the backdrop for some very funny scenes featuring duo Hugh Laurie (of House and Blackadder fame) and Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films) as Cruella’s puppy-stealing henchmen, although we think you’ll agree it’s Glenn Close who steals the show, if not the puppies. 7. TYING THE NOTTING HILL Can the most famous Hollywood star in the world fall for just an ordinary British guy? In 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill that is exactly what happened, and we cinemagoers lapped it up. Hugh Grant plays Will, an affable, cute and bumbling Portobello Road bookseller who gets to know visiting actress Anna, played by Julia Roberts, after he accidentally spills orange juice over her celebrity chest. That’s the start of a movie fairy tale which is just as much a love letter to London as an unlikely but totally charming tale of transatlantic love. Enjoyable, witty and full of good tunes, Notting Hill was a joint US and Brit effort with a fine supporting cast plus notable cameos from Alec Baldwin, Matthew Modine, Simon Callow, Sanjeev Baktar and Omid Djalili. We understand writer Richard Curtis (of Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral Portobello Road, Notting Hill, image copyright Danny Robinson and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
fame) chose to film in the Notting Hill area because he considered its melting pot atmosphere the perfect backdrop for his story. If by chance you've not yet been to this wonderful part of West London, we urge you to make time for a visit. To get the full excitement and multicultural feel of the place, we recommend visiting on a Portobello Road Market day and trek its full length from the top end, with its antique stalls, cool boutiques, vintage fashion shops and trendy bars, down to the Westway flyover and beyond, finishing in Golborne Road where you can sample a dazzling array of Morroccan cafes, Portugese patisseries and Spanish delis. Notting Hill also zooms in on lots of other great London locations well worth a visit including Hampstead’s Kenwood House, the Savoy, Ritz and Hempel hotels, Nobu restaurant in Mayfair and the Coronet Cinema, one of the UK's oldest cinemas and filled with historic Victorian charm. Will’s famous flat can be found at 280 Westbourne Park Road (although the original blue door has since been auctioned off for charity) and his rooftop garden is at 113 Portobello Road. 8. DECODING DA VINCI Next we turn our cinematic spotlight on Dan Brown’s blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code. The 2006 movie version of this thrilling tale of religious mysteries and secret societies is studded with memorable Hollywood in Britain moments. Starring Tom Hanks as Harvard prof Robert Langdon and Audrey Tautou as his cryptologist sidekick Sophie Neve, other notables in the film’s glittering international cast include Ian McKellen as Holy Grail expert Leigh Teabing, Alfred Molina as a Spanish bishop and Paul Bettany as a very evil man with creepy eyes. Cinematic sightseers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to locations to visit, since much of the film was made in the UK. Fairfield Hall, Croydon was turned into a
Parisian lecture hall, Burghley House in Lincolnshire and Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire doubled as the Pope’s residence Castel Gandolfo. The exquisite interior of Winchester Cathedral stood in for the Vatican and a small art deco airport in Sussex became Paris’ Le Bourget. Although Westminster Abbey, with its many fascinating connections and memorials to poets, scientists and scholars, was a key location in the novel and always worth a visit, only the screen shots outside the Abbey were for real. We understand Abbey officials would not allow filming inside because they believed the book was “theologically unsound”. The interior of magnificent Lincoln Cathedral was used instead. You can, however, make a pilgrimage to Temple Church in London’s Inner Temple, genuine headquarters of the holy monk order of the Knights Templar, or visit the setting for the final atmospheric scenes at Rosslyn Chapel and Rosslyn Castle in Midlothian, Scotland. 9. BOURNE’S ULTIMATE ULTIMATUM Britain has long been been a favoured setting for Hollywood thrillers and action films. Mission Impossible, Eyes Wide Shut, Batman and The Mummy Returns are just a handful which come to mind. Arguably the very best of these is multiple Academy Award winner The Bourne Ultimatum, third in a series of gripping action spy thrillers about former CIA assassin and amnesiac Jason Bourne. Based on Robert Ludlum’s bestseller, it continues the story of Bourne’s ongoing quest to discover his true identity, avoid captivity and torture and stay alive. Like the earlier Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremacy, this 2007 movie starred a dashing Matt Damon leading a glittering AngloAmerican cast and was a huge box office and critical hit. From its opening moments, when our hero reappears after a daring escape from Russia, the film is one heartstoppingly action packed chase from start to finish as we are
propelled along at breakneck speed, accompanied by car crashes, shattering glass, death defying leaps and plenty of bullet dodging bangs for your buck. Some of the movie’s finest scenes were filmed in the UK, most famously the remarkable chase sequence in and around Waterloo station where Bourne’s Guardian journalist contact is brutally gunned down. Filmmakers couldn’t actually shut down Waterloo, one of London’s busiest commuter stations, for filming, but the use of crowded rush hour platforms and concourse shops, station CCTV cameras and real commuters rather than extras only makes for more thrilling viewing. Look carefully at the Waterloo scenes and you may catch passersby pointing at cameras. Other UK locations used to good effect include Charing Cross underground station, Holborn’s Renaissance Chancery Court Hotel and Heathrow Airport. 10. HOLLYWOOD IN BRITAIN 2012: GLASGOW’S MILES BETTER This year looks set to be the year of Hollywood in Scotland, with a record number of new releases filmed north of the border. Heading the list is Brad Pitt’s hotly antici-
pated World War Z, first in a trilogy of global ‘zombpocalyptic’ drama thrillers based on Max Brooks’ popular novels. The movie stars Brad as a journalist travelling the world to interview survivors of the Zombie apocalypse and generally trying to stop things in the universe getting out of hand. Its filming last summer saw Glasgow’s George Square and John Street hit by Brad Pitt fever in one of the biggest productions to come to Scotland, bringing millions to the local economy as Brad and his cast and crew of 1200 turned Glasgow into the post-Zombie war ruins of Philadelphia. To provide the perfect hellish backdrop for some fierce Zombie vs Human battles, over 100 American cars were shipped in, dozens
of double yellow lines and street signs were replaced and an ingenious array of false shop fronts were constructed. Another fantasy sci-fi epic due out soon is Cloud Atlas, an ambitious and multi-layered cinematic telling of six interrelated stories set in different times and places. Filmed last year in London and Glasgow city centre, whose steepest streets were dressed up as vintage San Francisco, its top drawer Anglo-American cast includes Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Ben Wishaw and Hugh Grant. Last but not least, we can look forward to The Dark Knight Rises, the eagerly awaited Batman sequel due for release mid-year. With a terrific international cast including Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hardy and a tastefully treacherous Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, much of the movie was filmed in Glasgow and the photogenic Scottish Cairngorms. This is the latest in our featured series of Top Tens for Americans in Britain. If you’ve got a hot Top Ten tip to share with our readers, we’d love to hear from you: email@example.com n
Zombies in Glasgow, photo credit Stewart Attwood
Assunta & Fabrice on their wedding day
Pierre Tony Mondello and me on Assunta’s wedding day
Please help us raise money to build a nursery school in loving memory of Assunta and her family As many readers know, my late business partner Assunta Mondello, with whom I presented The American Hour Radio Show, managed The American Hour Online and the networking events we held, sadly and tragically passed away with her husband Fabrice and their two young children Pierre 5, and Claire 3, due to carbon monoxide poisoning in their home in France in January 2010. As a tribute to them, and Assunta's brother Tony, who sadly also passed away last year at the age of 34, I am going to raise £20,000 to build a nursery school in Uganda that will be named the Comard-Mondello School, in their memory. Assunta's two children were both at school, and Assunta was a big supporter of children's charities, so after months of trying to decide what to do in their memory, I am delighted to say that I now have a project which I know Assunta would have been proud to be associated with, and a financial target to reach. The North of Uganda has enjoyed peace for the last few years and the effects can be seen as people leave their temporary mud huts that housed them for up to 20 years, and head back to the land they once farmed. Joseph Kony has not completely left their minds as he continues his destruction in Congo, but, for now, for this community, there is hope. The children of this area have had more years of war than peace and many only know fear and danger. They have witnessed things that no child should observe. There are no professionals to explain the nightmares, or why they only draw guns. The schools in this area have a massive job ahead. There are at present a few primary schools in Uganda, but my aim is to build a nursery school attached to one of these schools, which seems fitting as Pierre was 5 and Claire was 3 when they passed away. I started the fundraising campaign in October last year by walking a marathon in London (I still have the remains of the blisters to prove it!), and so far I’ve raised nearly £10,000 which is great, but I still need to raise another £10,000. I have set up a Just Giving Page so that those who would like to contribute to this project, can. People will also be able to see how close to the target we get, and then once the project is underway, I will publish pictures in future issues of American in Britain. The address if you would like to make a donation is www.justgiving.com/Assunta-Comard-Mondello-and-family For further information on the charity that will be building the nursery in their memory, please visit www.abaana.org I would like to thank you for your support and look forward to letting you know how this worthwhile project, in memory of a beautiful family, is coming along. Best wishes, Helen xx
Immigration Your questions answered - spouses and dependants of those coming to the UK on a working visa
ver the last four years the UK immigration system has been subject to significant changes, starting in 2008 with the introduction of the Points Based System (“PBS”). These changes could have an impact on visa holders and their families, but can easily go unnoticed when already juggling the demands of daily life and moving to another country. If not properly managed or planned for, and with so much change occurring at such a fast pace, the specific needs of a visa holder’s family can often be overlooked. This article seeks to address some of the typical questions that might be asked in relation to PBS migrants and their families.
Who can be considered a dependant under the Immigration Rules? Under the PBS, dependants consist of married partners, civil partners, unmarried partners (living together for at least two years), same sex partners and children under the age of 18. In very limited circumstances it may be possible for children over the age of 18, parents or grandparents to be considered dependants, for example, if the family member suffers from a severe learning disability, or if they are shown to be wholly and financially dependent on the main applicant. However, these types of cases are considered very exceptionally. We are not married but are living together. Does my partner qualify to come and live with me in the UK? If you are in an unmarried relationship it is possible for your partner to live with you in the UK. You will need to be able to meet more demanding requirements to satisfy the UK Border Agency that your relationship is genuine. You and your partner must have lived together in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least two years and be able to provide supporting evidence to prove this. Before entering the UK to reside, your partner will need to apply at a British Consulate for a visa and provide documentary evidence of two year’s co-habitation and the relationship. Your partner will also be required to provide evidence that he/she will be able to maintain himself/herself without recourse to public funds (this requirement also applies to married couples). If satisfied that these requirements are met, entry clearance should be issued. These rules hold true for both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Are there any restrictions on our children living with us in the UK? When first applying for entry into the UK, your children must be under the age of 18 to qualify as dependants under current immigration rules, unless exceptional circumstances apply. You will have to show that you can support your children without relying on state benefits or other public funds. Your children must be dependent on you, this means that they cannot have formed an independent family unit or be leading an independent life. In the case of younger children this will be clear on the facts. However, for children who are 16 years old or over, you will need to provide supporting documents to evidence that they are still reliant on you. This could, for example, be established by providing documents to show the child still lives in the family home.
What about my children from my first marriage, can they live with me in the UK? Bringing children to the UK from a previous marriage can be challenging. Given natural and understandable concerns over child abduction and the need to ensure that proper parental consent has been given to allow a child to leave their home country, both parents must be either lawfully in the UK or both be applying for entry to the UK. This is unlikely to be the case when the marriage has ended. Exceptions to this requirement apply where there is only one surviving parent, or if the parent who wishes to come to the UK has sole responsibility for that child’s upbringing. The exact meaning of “sole responsibility” (and the extent to which it should be applied) has been the subject of much interpretation and debate. However, where the other parent still has significant involvement with the child, the requirement for sole responsibility may not be met. Without the explicit consent and support of the other parent to confirm that you have sole responsibility for the child, or, in the absence of such consent, other strong evidence to show that you have almost exclusive parental responsibility, the application may be refused. Of course, there is scope for the British Consulate to exercise discretion and other serious and compelling family or other considerations could be taken in to account. The decision will be made based on the specific facts of each case. Will my partner be able to work? The spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner of a PBS migrant is generally entitled to work in the UK. However, they are not allowed to take up employment as a doctor or dentist in training unless they have a primary degree in medicine or dentistry from a recognised UK institution. What happens to my children when they finish school in the UK at 18? Can they remain in the country? If your child already has immigration permission to be in the UK as your dependant when they turn 18, they can remain in the country provided they remain dependent on you. They will need to confirm they are not leading an independent life, are unmarried, are not in a civil partnership and have not formed an independent family unit. Once this is no longer the case your child would need to apply for a UK visa in their own right. For example, as a sponsored skilled worker under the PBS 23
or as the spouse of a person with settled status as is the case. If I have a child born in the UK, will they be British? As a PBS migrant, your children born in the UK will not be British Citizens automatically. They will be subject to the same immigration controls as you. You will need to apply for leave to remain to regularise their stay in the UK. To do so, you must apply for a passport for them from your home country’s embassy and then file an application within the UK for them as your dependant. You should make this application as soon as possible after the child is born, and certainly before you travel outside of the UK together, as your child may be refused entry back in to the UK without a valid entry clearance visa endorsement.
important to note, however, that you cannot remain in the Schengen group of countries more than 90 days in any 180 day period. The Schengen group of countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The 90 days are counted from your first date of entry into the Schengen region. Therefore, if you or your dependants are planning to travel frequently within the Schengen region, you must continuously monitor your travel and the amount of days you remain in each country.
Are my dependants allowed to leave the country while I am here on a visa? Yes. Your dependants may leave the country and return as they wish so long as their UK visa remains valid. They must not commit any act to cause their visa to be invalidated (e.g. acts of criminality) and you, as the main PBS migrant, must also maintain your UK visa. Your dependants’ visas are tied to yours and therefore if your visa expires or becomes invalid, so will theirs. Whilst your dependants may travel freely, prolonged absences from the UK may attract further questioning from the port authorities. In addition, your dependant must reenter the UK before the expiry of their visa. If they attempt to re-enter on the expiry date of the visa or close to it (e.g. within days), the immigration officer at the port of entry may ask why the visa has not yet been extended and the imminent expiry may cast doubt on whether your dependant intends to lawfully stay in the UK. Therefore, it’s advisable for you and your family not to travel outside of the UK right before your visas expire if you intend to return to the UK. It is also important to always remember to apply for any extension in advance of the expiry date to avoid serious immigration consequences.
Can my family and I get permanent residence in the UK? This will depend upon whether you satisfy the requirements for permanent residence, otherwise known as indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”) and the visa category you are in. Tier 1 and Tier 2 (General) are considered settlement categories. However, for Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (“ICT”) visa holders, the options become more complex. Historically, an ICT visa holder could also apply for settlement after five years of continuously residing in the UK. In turn, this could eventually lead to an application for citizenship. Since 6 April 2010, however, those coming in under this category are prevented from applying for settlement after five years, although they can still extend their visas. On 6 April 2011, the category was further restricted. From this date, not only are visa holders under this category prevented from settling, but they are also prohibited from staying in the UK under the Tier 2 ICT category for any continuous period of more than five years. At this point a “cooling off ” period compels the individual to leave the country for at least 12 months, before returning in the same visa category. If you are in the Tier 2 ICT category, you should look to the date when your visa was first granted to determine under which set of rules you fall and, therefore, whether you are entitled to apply for settlement.
Can my dependants visit other countries in the European Union (EU)? Your visa and your dependants’ visas are valid for the UK only and do not confer any rights to enter other EU countries. Therefore, based on your nationality, you may still need to apply for a visa to travel within the European Union (EU). United States citizens do not require a visa to visit any EU country. It is
What are the eligibility criteria for permanent residence? If you are eligible to apply for permanent residence, you must still meet certain requirements in order to be granted ILR. The specific requirements will vary depending on which visa category you are in. Generally speaking, PBS migrants who are in a category that allows settlement will be able to apply to
settle after five years of continuous residence in the UK. The basic requirements for ILR are: • Continuous residence for at least 5 years • No unspent convictions • Financial stability and therefore no reliance on public funds • Passing the “Life in the UK Test” (this will apply to most but not all PBS migrants) • If in Tier 2, you must still be required for your employment and be paid at least the minimum salary for your type of job as stipulated by the UK Border Agency. Addi tionally, it was announced on 29 February that those applying for settlement between 6 April 2016 and 5 April 2018 need to be paid at least £35,000. Those who do not qualify will be able to stay for a maximum of 6 years, after which they will be prevented from returning in Tier 2 for one year • If in Tier 1, you will need to score the requisite number of points based on the same attributes as when you initially applied for Tier 1 status e.g., age, earnings, qualifications. Your dependants may also apply with you. In the case of your partner you must be able to show that you have lived together in a subsisting relationship for at least the last two years. Once you and your family are granted ILR, you will no longer by part of the PBS and will be free of any further immigration control in the UK. So long as you maintain your ILR status, you will be able to remain in the UK for an indefinite period. This response has been necessarily brief, covering the main requirements for ILR. For further detail you should refer to the UK Border Agency guidance for settlement applications or seek specialist advice to assist with your application. What happens when the visa expires? Your dependants’ ability to stay in the UK will very much depend on you as the main PBS migrant. If your visa is extended, then your dependants will be able to extend their visas in tandem (keeping in mind the requirements of children who are over the age of 18). If your visa is not extended, then you and your family will be expected to leave the UK prior to the visa expiry date. How often does immigration policy change? Whilst immigration policy for PBS migrants is subject to frequent change, family policy tends to be relatively stable. Having said this, the government have been reviewing family policy and changes are expected to be announced in
the Spring. Historically however, the government has recognised the importance of being able to bring family members to the UK to accompany the main visa holder and we do not expect this to change. Of course, nothing is set in stone and it is always advisable to keep an eye out for policy changes that may affect you and your family. This article has been written with PBS migrants in mind, particularly those in Tier 1 (General) and Tier 2, who are thinking of coming to the UK or have recently arrived. However, it is important to note that the UK immigration system is extremely complicated and one size does not fit all. Furthermore, there are still several other PBS categories – Tier 1 Investors, Entrepreneurs and Post Study Workers, Tier 4 Students and Tier 5 Temporary Workers to whom there are alternative, additional or varying immigration rules. Accordingly, it is always best to seek specialist advice to discuss your individual case as alternative options or rules may be applicable.
Bill Foster is a Partner of Fragomen based in the London office. He has responsibility for Fragomen vendor relations in Europe, Middle East and Africa and oversees the delivery of services for major accounts across the region. Bill has extensive experience in UK immigration matters. In addition, he has a vast knowledge of global immigration policy, with particular acumen in providing strategic and consultative advice and assistance to some of the world’s largest global organisations. Bill has experience with large-scale infrastructure deployment projects in challenging markets. Bill worked with Fragomen in the United States for over 10 years. Prior to joining Fragomen, he worked in both private practice and the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom. He also was a Legal Officer with the Director of Public Prosecutions Office in the Republic of Fiji. To contact Bill Foster, please call +44 (0) 203 077 5056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org This article was researched by Kelly Chua.
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Bull Avenue or Bear Street? Source: Bespoke Investment Group (B.I.G). Factset, Standard and Poor’s as of February 10th 2012
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A year of two halves In the first half of 2011 asset allocation mattered little, as equities, corporate bonds and sovereign credit all moved upwards together. As we came into the Fall, however, the European crisis was in full swing and the flight from ‘risk-on’ assets to the perceived safer 26
havens gathered pace. By Thanksgiving, US Treasuries and UK Gilts had, in our opinion, risen to yet more expensive levels, and corporate bonds had also done well, leaving equities to languish in their shadows. It is impossible to understate the impact that the economic situation in continental Europe is having. It almost single-handedly determined which asset classes did well in 2011, and the crisis is not over. But it would be unwise to expect the pattern of returns seen last year to be repeated this year, as has been clearly demonstrated by the optimism reflected (and at the time of writing so far maintained) in stock markets. It is well known that investor sentiment can easily drive markets in the short-term, but to rely on this too heavily could be imprudent.
Despite the temporary fix, Europe has only bought itself a little more time. Difficult decisions about public and private debt in the US, UK and Europe still have to be taken and the rise in the price of oil is once again in focus. Bonds have moved higher together with stocks and this suggests that a degree of nervousness about the future persists. Indeed, we feel that the potential for pitfalls will remain plentiful in 2012. As interest rates will, however, undoubtedly remain lower for longer, investors searching for returns should consider a well-diversified portfolio of equities, as well as bonds - but perhaps with a little longer time horizon. Optimism for the US Investors may be wondering why the markets
have been rallying in 2012 when the Greek and wider Eurozone debt crisis is far from resolved. Last Summer, and during the Fall, markets suffered sharp declines as investors adopted a ’risk-off ’ strategy in the turmoil of negative news headlines about Europe and its impact on the wider global economy. Recent headlines have reported positive news, such as Apple shares crossing the $500 level for the first time, and corporate activity, such as Pfizer spinning out its animal health business. In addition, corporate balance sheets are (in aggregate) at their strongest in decades. Indeed, Apple is currently enjoying $100 billion cash! This is a strong treasure chest at their disposal for potential research and development, acquisitions or even a special dividend. According to a recent survey by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), the exposure to stocks is now higher than the lows seen in March 2009, but still significantly below the all-time highs of the late 1990s. In the past three years, US mutual funds have seen $400 billion move away from stocks, and much of this has sought refuge in fixed income securities, while the US indices have doubled in value over the same period. At the end of January a ‘Golden Cross’ occurred in the S&P 500 index (see Chart 1). This is when the 50-day moving average price of the index crosses over the 200-day moving average price of the index. This event is usually a positive indicator and importantly (for the technically minded) a ‘Golden Cross’ occurred just after a ‘Death Cross’ (see Chart 2) in the VIX Volatility Index which provides a measure of the implied volatility in the S&P 500 index. A ‘Death Cross’ happens when the 50-day moving average of an index falls below its 200-day moving average. A VIX ‘Death Cross’ indicates a reduction in volatility. Again this is usually a positive indicator, and the last time this happened was in October 2010. The S&P 500 rallied 8.5% in the following three months and 13% in the following six months. In addition to these technical indicators, we should not need reminding that the US is still the world’s largest manufacturer, and there are many reports of companies such as General Electric repatriating manufacturing. Innovation lives on, and is, we believe, a key driver to the US maintaining its Western economic dominance, despite the recent growth in Asia. A Greek Tragedy This has been a story running for so long that many are suffering from ‘crisis fatigue’. Watching the painful proceedings of European politicians playing to their electorates has
provided little comfort to investors in recent months. While Europe has finally taken a step nearer to fiscal union with an agreement on fiscal rules to balance their budgets and other measures to increase the resources of the bailout fund, concerns for the future remain. The likelihood of a non-managed default for Greece at any time soon has been reduced, but it is difficult to see how they will meet the strenuous economic and fiscal expectations attached to the most recent bailout. More time has been bought for Greece (and for Europe), but we expect further renegotiations to take place, or perhaps even an exit. Nevertheless, outside of these sovereign issues, European countries do provide ample investment opportunities. At current European market levels you can secure healthy and rising dividends from high quality globally focused companies, such as BMW and Siemens, at attractive valuations. We believe that European stocks should be included in a global portfolio and the consensus view is that there will be no major volatility between the Euro and the Greenback in the coming months. An important year for UK regulation It is difficult to make a sterile concept such as regulation fully engaging in words alone, but it must be an important consideration. And, right now, we do believe that investors can be more confident when choosing an adviser to help them during their time in the UK. The events in recent years have inevitably led to an increase in regulation and reporting across all areas of the global investment industry. Here in the UK, The Financial Services Authority (FSA) launched its Retail Distribution Review (RDR) in June 2006. The target of the RDR was the quality and standard of advice available to consumers using the UK financial services sector. A key strand of their analysis was the professionalism of practitioners. One of the developments from their investigations is that the FSA now requires all retail (private client) investment advisers to obtain a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) from an Accredited Body before the end of 2012. Failure to comply will mean that the investment adviser will not be allowed to provide advice. The SPS is valid for 12 months only, requiring a renewal application each year, so you can be confident that any adviser you choose with a valid SPS will have obtained the appropriate qualifications. They will have shown evidence that they have maintained their professional knowledge each year and have adhered to the FSA’s Statement of
Principle and Code of Practice for Approved Persons. In addition, they will have fully complied with a recognised code of conduct from an Accredited Body. A dry subject perhaps, but no less important for that. Investing while in the UK; is there a solution? With increased demands being imposed by the IRS, many UK and European sited investment firms have been withdrawing their services to US expatriates. It is therefore very good news that the UK branches and affiliations of US investment companies are able to assist such investors with these demanding IRS requirements. US expatriates also need to be confident that they will receive correct and appropriate investment advice from these UK ‘satellite’ branches. In light of the application of the proposed Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) on Foreign Investment Institutions and Vehicles in the coming years, the development of these relationships can only grow in importance. We will be pleased to discuss any points in this article that are of interest to you. Please contact us – our details are below. By Paul Stevens, Chartered FCSI Branch Principal and Investment Manager 1st Port Asset Management Telephone: 020 7491 5091 Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com w: www.1stportasset.com
and has a valid SPS.
Paul started in the private client industry in 1985 and established 1st Port Asset Management as a branch of Raymond James in 2004. Paul became a Chartered Fellow of the Securities Institute in 2010
Melissa started her investment career in 1986 at EF Hutton and then Lehman Brothers. Specializing in US equities, Melissa joined 1st Port Asset Management in 2010 having previously worked closely with Paul. Melissa has applied for her SPS. Nick started his career in 2006 and joined 1st Port Asset Management in 2008. Nick assists Paul and Melissa and has recently passed the RDR - required PCIAM exam and applied for his SPS.
American Women’s Clubs News Kensington Chelsea Women's Club KCWC has 30+ Activity Groups catering to its membership with diverse nationalities and interests. Some of the activities are open to the public; however, in order to attend some others, you need to become a member. Here is a selection of their news in February and March, and their activities in the months of April, May and June, including the ones that are members only, just to give you an idea. If you’d like to become a member, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. NEWS from KCWC KCWC’ Special Events team organised a Chinese Tea at the Grand Imperial London on 1 February 2012. Farewell to Board Members Sarah Petrilla and Lucie Dean at Milestone Hotel on
KCWC’ Special Events team organised a Chinese Tea at the Grand Imperial London
Farewell to Board Members Sarah Petrilla and Lucie Dean at Milestone Hotel
9 February 2012 (from left: Kristina Hickey, Newsletter Layout Coordinator; Janet Tanner, KCWC Kids; Nicky Bindler, Corporate Advertising; Claudia Marchetti, Potential Membership Coordinator; Tracey Good, Treasurer; Gamze Newell, Newsletter Editor; Madeline Morrow, Secretary; Mary Narvell, President; Sarah Petrilla (front line), Newsletter Manager; Kathleen Herman (back line), Hospitality Coordinator; Lucie Dean (front line), Hospitality Coordinator; Lindsay Kennedy (back line), Member benefits; Cookie Allred, KCWC Kids; Noelle Irvine, Classified Advertising; Elena Wehrenberg (back line), Newsletter Manager Designate; Judi Robinson (front line), Vice President; Tessa Nicholson (back line), Membership Coordinator; and Kim Parkash, Potential Membership Coordinator). KCWC’s new activity group, Charity Club, has started in March. See them at work at the Haven!
ACTIVITIES IN APRIL OUR MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Thursday 12 April 9:30 am – 12 noon Royal Geographical Society No. 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR (Entrance on Exhibition Road) Nearest tube: High Street Kensington Guest Speaker: FRANCES WILSON on How to Survive the Titanic or the Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay. Since the Titanic went down with the loss of 1,517 lives in April 1912, around 1,000 books have been written about the liner. Now 100 years on, can there be anything more to say on the subject? The answer is YES according to acclaimed writer, Frances Wilson. Out of the familiar wreckage Ms Wilson spins a new epic: when the ship hit the iceberg on 14th April, and a thousand men, lighting their last cigars, prepared to die. J. Bruce Ismay, the ship’s owner and inheritor of the White Star fortune, jumped into a lifeboat with the women and children and rowed away. Accused of cowardice and of dictating the Titanic’s excessive speed, Ismay became, according to one headline, ‘The Most Talked-of Man in the World’. The first victim of a press hatred campaign, his reputation would never recover and while other survivors were piecing together their accounts of the night, Ismay never spoke of his beloved ship again.
Using never-before seen letters written by Ismay to a beautiful first class passenger, with whom he had fallen in love during the voyage, Frances Wilson explores his desperate need to tell his story and to find a way of living with the horror and of lost honour. Join us for what will be not only an illuminating talk by Ms Wilson, but also in what manner she superbly demonstrates how we all have our own “Titanics” and by what means we need to find ways of surviving them. GENERAL MEETING SCHEDULE: 9:30 – 10:30 am Coffee and activity sign–ups 10:30 am – 12 noon Announcements followed by Guest Speaker 12:15 – 2:30 pm Hospitality luncheon at a nearby restaurant. REMINDER: Spouses, partners and friends are welcome. Please note that we cannot accommodate babies and small children at General Meetings. Out of respect for our speakers, if you must leave early, please be seated at the back of the lecture hall and kindly exit discreetly only during breaks between talks. As a courtesy to fellow members, please switch mobiles off or put them on silent. The Wine Society will enjoy a special “California Dreamin’ Dinner” at The Palm Restaurant: WINEMAKER DINNER “CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ DINNER” WITH CAKEBREAD CELLARS AT THE PALM Friday 27 April; 7:15 pm Flying in just for the KCWC ladies is the award-winning winemaker Bruce Cakebread from Rutherford, Napa, CA, who will showcase the Cakebread line-up of elegant liquid hedonism from the rolling mountains of California's world renown Napa Valley. Cakebread Cellars is a family winery making quality wine for nearly 40 years. This formal sit down 4-course wine dinner featuring one of America’s most noted vintners will be paired with the decadent food at London’s best American restaurant, The Palm in Belgravia.
KCWC’s voice, the Treblemakers, will attend the “Sing A Cappella” Workshop in Hertfordshire on 29 April: The Treblemakers sing close-harmony, a cappella (unaccompanied) arrangements of mostly 20th century popular songs. If you love that sound, come audition to sing with them. They meet for rehearsal every Tuesday (and sometimes Friday) morning, working to achieve a professional standard while still having plenty of fun. And if you don’t sing, they’ll come and sing for you! They perform for parties, concerts, corporate and charity functions, donating the profits to KCWC charities. For more information or to buy their CD and/ or to send a personalised “Happy Birthday to You” sung by them in four-part harmony, check out their website www.treblemakers. org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org. IN MAY OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! KCWC is pleased to announce that it will hold its May General Meeting at the Royal College of Music’s Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, Prince Consort Road, SW7 Friday 11 May 6:30pm - Doors open 8 – 9 pm - Concert Programme Entry ticket £10* in advance, £15* at the door. *KCWC will donate all profits from ticket sales to its designated charities: Independent Age (formerly UBS), combating isolation and poverty amongst older people; and The Haven, non-medical breast cancer support groups. KCWC members and their guests are invited to a programme of musical entertainment designed by the Royal College of Music exclusively for us. Join us to hear some of the College's most talented and award-winning young musicians. Founded in 1882, the RCM is one of the world’s leading music conservatories, training gifted musicians from around the world. Illustrious alumni include Benjamin Britten, Gustav Holst, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Do come with your spouse or partner for a most special evening General Meeting. For further information, please email email@example.com. KCWC’s Art History Group organises “Members Only” activities. They will have four trips out of London in May: SPRING OUT WITH ART HISTORY: TURNER CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM – MARGATE, KENT Tuesday 1 May JMW Turner, Britain’s best-loved painter, created new and unusual combinations of earth, water, air and fire and closely examined their interactions. The exhibition brings together 88 works: 76 watercolours and 12 late oil paintings, many from the Tate collection.
HAMPTON COURT PALACE – ROYAL COLLECTION Tuesday 8 May The Royal Palace had been inhabited by the Tudors, Stuarts and Hanoverians from 16th to 18th century. It was originally built for Cardinal Wolsey, a favorite of King Henry VIII, circa 1514. The Palace houses many works of art and furnishings from the Royal Collection, mainly dating from the two principal periods of the Palace's construction: the early Tudor (Renaissance) and late Stuart to Early Georgian period. ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM - OXFORD Thursday 17 May British tourists in Italy in the 1770s were time-travellers, imagining themselves in the classical past amidst the landscapes and ruins they encountered on their journeys. We have the opportunity to step into a time-capsule of this world and experience the fascinating story of the Westmorland, its voyage, and its treasure. A DAY IN PARIS Thursday 31 May What better time of the year to escape to Paris for a day and immerse ourselves in its wealth of 19th century / early 20th century art? A day at the Musée d’Orsay and lunch in a Parisian brasserie before heading to the Marmottan! IN JUNE CHECK WITH THE ORGANISERS FOR AVAILABILITY FOR NON-MEMBERS! KCWC’S ANNUAL JUNE LUNCH Thursday 7 June, 12 noon Royal Automobile Club It promises a wonderful way to participate in some of the Golden Jubilee festivities! Contact Brittan Chepak at events@kcwc. org.uk THE 9TH ALTHORP LITERARY FESTIVAL Friday 15 June Departure at 8:30 am - return approx 7pm Meet at Park Lane coach bays nearest Marble Arch, London W1 (Nearest tube: Marble Arch) £110 - includes luxury coach transport, tea/coffee on arrival, 2-course luncheon at the Althorp House Picture Gallery, and 3 festival sessions. Limit: 80 KCWC is once again privileged to be invited by Earl Spencer, personally, for a very special day at the opening of the 9th Althorp Literary Festival to be held at his home in Althorp, Northamptonshire. We will arrive by luxury coach and have the opportunity to visit some of the rooms of this exquisitely restored stately mansion, family home of the Ninth Earl and his sister Diana, the late Princess of 29
Charles Spencer at Althorp
Wales, for five centuries. Upon arrival, we will be welcomed with tea and refreshments at the historic Picture Gallery with its superb collection of portraits of Charles II's many mistresses, known as the Windsor Beauties, as well as the Earl's most treasured masterpiece, a double portrait of cousins who fought on opposing sides in the English Civil War by Van Dyck. Luncheon will be served exclusively for our group in this fabulous gallery for the very first time in the many years of this annual LitFest. Some of the authors who will present on the day are Dr Kate Williams on her latest book Young Elizabeth, commemorating the Queen's Jubilee, as well as biographer Helen Rappaport and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling. Other authors are yet to be confirmed. In between talks, we can enjoy the magnificent gardens, stables, café and gift shops before our departure back to London. Register with Cindy Maceda at events1@ kcwc.org.uk. Northwood Area Women’s Club - A multinational women’s group We are now at the mid-point in our season and all the signs are that the club is on course for another successful year. The current success of NAWC is not only due to the dedication and hard work of the board members but the partnership with all the members who show an amazing amount of support. “It never fails to amaze me
how readily all the members give of their time and talents and hospitality. It is truly wonderful” says Christine Tyler, Vice President. New members continue to arrive at each and every meeting. Membership numbers are almost at our target level of around 100 members. This number allows the club to be financial viable, and offers a wide range of activities whilst still keeping the club intimate where members can readily get to know each other and establish friendships. Friendships are easily formed and developed in our range of interest groups where 6 – 25 members meet to share, extend and develop interests or even learn new ones. In the knitting group those with experience are passing on tips and tricks to the novices. The group have knitted jumpers for chickens! No joking - littlehenrescue.co.uk. As well as premature baby clothing for Romanian orphanages, beanies, jumpers, bags and cushion covers, and the latest fashion scarves in abundance. In the quilting and stitching group our Spanish ladies are leading the way producing a stunning array of items all beautifully and lovingly sewn. Ladies who lunch can always be spotted by the sound of great peals of laughter of ladies enjoying themselves. They have taken brunch, lunch at a steak house, and afternoon tea in an elegant hotel. They are now looking forward to sampling melt in the mouth salt beef bar as well as fine dining at a lovely local Italian restaurant. The couples dining group have dinners planned for April, May and June where the host will decide the theme and each couple will prepare a course. This is always fun, and a wonderful opportunity to sample cuisines from throughout the world. The language group meet regularly for an hour, over coffee and cake, giving everyone a chance to polish
up their language skills, conversing half the time in the chosen language and the remainder of the time in English. The art appreciation programme is continuing to attract great support with its varied and interesting programme. Planned treats are an evening illustrated talk by a well-known local artist, teacher and lecturer, where friends and family will be welcomed with wine and a visit to Sir John Soane’s Museum with an introductory talk by the curator. The finale of the season will be a day trip to Cambridge. The first stop will be the New Hall Art Collection at Murray Edwards College. From there we will go next door to Kettle’s Yard, the home of Jim (and Helen), a former curator of the Tate Gallery in London. Over the years he gathered a remarkable collection, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, glass, ceramics and natural objects. This is a fantastic trip that should not be missed. During the coming months the Stage and Screen ladies will be undertaking a back stage tour of the National Theatre, a visit to the comedy bunker and a trip to the cinema. The Walkers & Ramblers have been exploring areas of London during the winter months. A good number enjoyed a pleasant circular walk, through picturesque Little Venice and the beautiful green corridor of The Regent's Canal, Primrose Hill and St John's Wood. An area rich in history and culture, that has always been somewhat avant-garde, and is now home to some of London's most desirable addresses. Next month they will be learning some local history about the development of the Pinner High Street area. Future walks provide the opportunity to admire the countryside in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Middlesex. Two of the interest groups, the Day Time book club and the Mah Jong group, have a larger membership and have moved to hired
Picture Gallery where KCWC will have lunch
Mah Jong Group
Members enjoying trying their hands at hand bell ringing
rooms which allow the larger numbers attending to meet regularly in comfort. The book club members are enjoying lively discussions, experiencing differing perspectives together with developing a greater understanding of the subject matter. At the next meeting they will be exploring the incredible successful book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. The Mah Jong group continues to expand with the more experienced players tutoring the newer members to fathom out the game. Having discovered that there are nearly as many versions of Mah Jong as there are nationalities in the club, the group has set about developing its own set of rules, and now all the players seem to be playing the same game - well almost all! The recent couples Bunco in celebration of Valentine’s Day was the biggest and best yet. Some prizes were naughty, but all were nice, and a record amount was raised for our charity, RAFT. (Restoration of Appearance Following Trauma).The Shopping group have also raised a good sum whilst also enjoying seeking out bargains and competing to see who could get the best value for money. Xana Conceicao our fundraising coordinator who is from Portugal says that it is both a delight and a privilege to work in partnership with RAFT. “It is not hard work at all. The membership is so supportive donating gifts, suggesting ideas and readily participating in the fundraising activities. Everyone is really enjoying it”, said Xana. NAWC is a truly international women’s club run by the members for the members providing support and friendship to those in the area either on a temporary or permanent basis. We continue to promote the themes of Friendship, Fun, and Fundraising with lots of food along the way. If you are in the area do come along and join in the fun. A warm welcome awaits you. www.northwoodareawomensclub.co.uk or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org 32
American Women of Surrey (AWS) The American Women of Surrey is proud to be kicking off its 37th year with over 425 members representing over 25 nationalities. As spring approaches, we are thrilled we have surpassed well over a half a million pounds in charity donations since our inception! Our biggest annual fundraiser, the Holiday Gift Fayre, this past November was especially successful -- and brought in over £16,000 for our current charity slate recipients. We had over 85 vendors selling everything from jewellery and clothing, to English cheeses and fine art. Brooklands Radio broadcast live from the event, which saw a wonderful local turnout. We are currently accepting applications for our upcoming 22nd Annual Gift Fayre event, which will be held on Sunday, November 4th at The Cobham Hilton Hotel. Log onto www. awsurry.org for details. AWS members are very involved with the spirit of the Surrey community. During the holidays we donated over £2,400 of gifts and toys through our annual “Giving Tree” fundraising drive which directly benefits our sponsored charities. Additional fundraising efforts include monthly service projects and our Annual Progressive Dinner, which is always popular with our members and helped us raise a further £1800 in February. Our final fundraising effort will take place on Saturday, May 12th in Cobham with the return of our Annual Car Boot sale. Last year, this very successful event brought in great community support with over 75 cars participating on the day. If you would like further details, log onto our website at www.awsurrey. org. Once a month, AWS members gather for our General Meetings. The speakers have been
very entertaining this year with a visit from Shelley Von Strunckel of The London Times and London Evening Standard, to Jason Vale, “The Juice Man” and Anne Sebba, author of the New York Times best seller That Woman. Upcoming speakers include Ingrid Seward of Majesty Magazine, to highlight the Queen’s Jubilee and Pinky Lilani, OBE and author. Throughout the year, AWS members stay busy and meet other members with over 40 different club activities on offer. AWS has so much variety and choice of activities that there is always something for everyone! The AWS Interior Design Group was delighted to recently receive an exclusive tour at Sycamore House, the private residence and design studio of Tim Gosling. Gosling is renowned not only for his exquisite furniture handcrafted by master craftsmen, but also for creating luxury interiors. Gosling showed the group several of the painstakingly renovated rooms at Sycamore House, part of his rare book collection and discussed his background and appreciation for classical architecture that inspires his designs. It was a memorable morning for all. The AWS Hiking Group takes advantage of the incredible Public Footpath system in England, by exploring the countryside and villages of Surrey. Their weekly hikes are between five and seven miles in length and are capped off with lunch at a local pub. A collection of recipes and photographs from their recent hikes have been complied into a beautiful hard cover cookbook, with all proceeds going toward our charity slate. The Moms & More activity group has been very busy with climbing Big Ben, tea at The Ritz, planning our annual Ascot Racing Day outing to an upcoming adventure experience day and family picnic.
English experience at Longleat
Speaker Shelley Von Strunckel
The English Experience group at AWS has once again travelled through time with a diverse group of lecturers and authors sharing England's incredible history. They have visited historic homes, castles and palaces from Hatfield House to Windsor to Frogmore while learning about the rich culture of England and it’s wonderful past. Our “Let’s Go” activity coordinates great fun filled days out from trips to Stoke-onTrent to see the pottery, Anthrop in Belgium to visit the antique marts to fascinating London Walks and National Trust excursions. AWS members are excited to celebrate the Queen’s 60th Jubilee with a “Night under the Stars”, on a private boat ride down the Thames on what promises to be an historic day for our adopted country! The American Women of Surrey are hosting a Car Boot Sale on May 12th 2012 at the Fairmile Pub, Cobham, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1BW. The Car Boot Sale will start at 12 and finish at 4pm rain or shine. There is free entry for buyers and £20 entry fee for sellers. For further enquiries contact us at www.awsurrey.org. All proceeds benefit AWS Charity Slate. Article Contact: Kyra Pugh, AWS President Kyrales@aol.com 07780 663417 mobile
The Junior League of London In February the Junior League of London (JLL) welcomed its Spring New Member class at the Super Saturday induction and kicked off the new member orientation series. Following orientation, the spring class will work together to plan and execute a charity project that supports the Junior League’s community focus of eliminating poverty in London. The New Member Development Committee is currently planning Information Sessions to be held throughout the summer for those interested in joining the league as part of the Autumn New Member Class. The Community Council has been busy planning the All-JLL Service Day, to take place on 31 March. While our community efforts are usually geared to include five to ten volunteers in a shift, the All-JLL Service Day will involve 100 Junior League members, partners and friends volunteering their time to complete improvement projects across London. During this massive event we will strive to transform the London community in which we live for at least a day. LEAD, the JLL’s learning, education and development committee, kicked off the New Year with a tightly packed “Fun with Fundraising” session. Panellists shared tips on how to fundraise internally and externally in the current economic climate. On 14 March, the committee hosted a session on women volunteering together and how to make the most of this unique opportunity. In January, the Events Committee hosted a cheeky Tarts & Tartans evening at Beaufort House to raise funds for the Junior League and a good time was had by all. The committee’s next event is a champagne afternoon tea at The Park Room at Grosvenor House. Attendees will enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea overlooking Hyde Park with all of the traditional elements: Allison Bennett, Lisa Bajardi and Christa Carroll at the JLL's Tarts & Tartans event.
finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, an array of tempting cakes and pastries, plus a glass of champagne! This event is open to non-members as well as members and tickets can be purchased on the JLL’s website. The JLL’s Centrepoint committee, which helps the youth charity re-integrate residents into society through a programme of events, workshops and mentoring, hosted a very successful bowling evening for the youths and staff in February. The committee has a busy schedule of cooking evenings, tutoring sessions and CV workshops through the rest of the year. To join the JLL and get involved with any of our exciting voluntary committees, please visit jll.org.uk or email us at email@example.com for more information. American Women’s Club of London Celebrates 113 Years! This year marks AWC’s 113th birthday! To commemorate this landmark AWC hosted a cocktail party at Millennium Gloucester Hotel. It was a lovely affair which raised funds for AWC and affiliated charities with both silent and live auctions. Given the recent celebration, it seems like an appropriate time to reminisce about AWC’s history. Once upon a time (in 1899) Carrie Louise Griffin invited 25 ladies to afternoon tea to propose an idea: a club for American expat women living in London. The group hoped to create an opportunity for both friendships and charitable work to flourish. In her own words, “serious social intercourse that would lead to useful service, a centre of our own, in a land of our sojourn.” The first project was to outfit a hospital ship, the HMS Maine, that brought British wounded home from the Second Boer War. During WW1 the club’s members volunteered in the Red Cross and operated a knitting factory that employed 45 women. At a time when infant mortality was 100 per 1000 births, they worked with local women to help establish The North Islington Infant Welfare Centre and School for Mothers. In 1918 the AWC purchased a clubhouse on Grosvenor Street, an elegant affair with 30 bedrooms, a ballroom, a library and an Italian Garden. The perfect gathering point. The club continued to grow through the roaring 20s, so that there were over 1500 members. The women were very active socially as well as with charities and educational endeavors. War did break out in 1939 and not surprisingly, WWII saw dark times for the club. Many Americans returned to the States. The club house furnishings were put in 33
AWC Founders Day
AWC Founders Day
storage and the ballroom was used by the US Embassy. The club members that remained worked, without heat, in the basement, continuing to assemble relief items. Eventually the funds dwindled and the large house was sold in 1945. The club then met at 1A Queens Gate which ushered in a new informality. Doormen and servants were out, self-service was in! Despite the change in standards, the club began to grow again. In 1948 there was a cocktail party hosting Eleanor Roosevelt. In the years following, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited as well as the Queen Mother. Once again the club turned its hand to philanthropic work. An annual jumble sale was established as a fund-raiser for Kingsdown Home for Old Ladies. They also hosted teas for International students studying in London, with the hope they would return to their home country remembering the goodwill of Americans. By the early 60s the club was once again on sound financial footing and purchased a new club house at 1 Cadogan Gardens. Activities then were similar as we see today: teas, coffees, antiques, foreign language instruction, fitness and yoga, fashion shows, square dancing, and Derby Day. The Golden Eagle Ball raised thousands of pounds for a variety of charities throughout the 60s and 70s including Sunshine Home for Blind Babies and Battered Babies 34
AWC Founders Day
Centre. In 1978 the club gifted a kidney dialysis machine to Hammersmith Hospital and a van to the Roosevelt School for the Disabled Children, just to name a few of the initiatives. Once again in 1983, the high fees of Cadogan Gardens forced the club to relocate. At first the club moved to The American Club at 95 Piccadilly. That didn’t work out for long because women were not allowed in the upstairs bar until after 6pm, so they moved out. The club located to Connaught Rooms on Great Queen Street until 1994 when the decision was made to move into 68 Old Brompton Road. The Golden Eagle Ball continued to raise funds for the Royal Marsden including purchasing a CAT Scanner. AWC also provided funding for the Special Baby Care Unit at Westminster Hospital, Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and Ronald McDonald House. Today, The American Women’s Club of London is involved in both hands-on service at Ronald McDonald House and The Soup Kitchen, as well as providing needed funds to worthy causes such as Cancer Research UK, Benjamin Franklin House and building wells in Cambodia. There’s still an emphasis on friendships with Book Clubs, Hikes, Bridge, Mah Jong, Day Trips, Afternoon Teas, Lunches, Crafts, Cooking Classes, Wine Tastings, Fitness
Fanatics - the list goes on and on. It seems Carrie Louise Griffins’ dream to found a club that would provide “serious social intercourse that would lead to useful service, a center of our own, in the land of our sojourn” is alive and well! n
AWC Founders Day
For information on the latest Events and to enter some excellent competitions, please visit www.theamericanhour.com
Arts And Antiques Aquatic Centre by Zaha Hadid ©V&A
British Olympic Design: 1948 - 2012 by Abby Cronin
ith barely four months before the 2012 Olympic Games begin, London is in the throes of final preparations. The city feels slightly frantic at the moment. It feels as if everyone is working hard to welcome visitors and athletes from all corners of the world. What must not be ignored, Poster for 1948 Olympic Games ©V&A - Courtesy of www.theCommunications, Group.co.uk
of course, are the years of planning and all the behind-the-scenes work done by extraordinarily gifted designers and architects working in a variety of fields. We begin by looking at a few examples of their outstanding contributions. The latter part of this article will look back sixtyfour years to the immediate post-war period when the 1948 Olympic ‘Austerity Games’ took place in London. Britain faced serious challenges similar to those we continue to face today. While the look of the 2012 Games may have changed, the enduring spirit and motivation of participating athletes continue to aim for ever higher levels of excellence. Since 1936 a new torch has been designed each year to carry the flame on a journey to the host city for every Olympic Games. Soon the 2012 Olympic torch will set off on its round- the-world journey. The 2012 torch is an elegant golden tapering cone, perforated with 8000 small laser-cut holes in two aluminium skins welded together. It is truly an example of excellence in British design. When the Olympic torch sets off on its global relay from 19th May to 27th July it must meet a demanding brief. The flame will be passed on from one torchbearer to the next in order to reflect the celebratory nature of the Games. It must be light enough for 8000 people to carry it over 8000 miles. And it must reflect the Olympic motto: ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’. Designers Jay Osgerby and Edward Baber know their torch will be watched by millions and culminate in lighting the Olympic cauldron at the opening of the Games. It embodies traditional values expressed in an iconic stylish honeycomb executed in a modern style and has been nominated as one of the highly acclaimed designs of 2012. The brand logo of the 2012 Games is welded to the surface of the torch. Today this logo is an instantly recognisable emblem. But when introduced in 2007, it aroused considerable controversy. Designer Wolff Olins took nearly a year to create it at an estimated cost of £400,000.
There was an unprecedented backlash with thousands signing a petition calling for it to be scrapped. Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, came to its defence explaining that: ‘This is the vision at the very heart of our brand…’ Others defending the design regarded it as a truly innovative brand logo that captured the essence of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Those who like the logo agree that its design is somewhat dissonant but feel it reflects London as an edgy modern city. Even though the emblem contains neither sporting images nor pictures of London landmarks, it shows that the Games are more than London, more than sport; they are for everyone, regardless of age, culture and language. When we come to view the architecture in the 2012 Olympic Park, the Olympic Velodrome deserves praise as an example of the best in British design. In October 2011, it was awarded the Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award, a prestigious accolade. From all accounts it is a state of the art-style stadium. Architectural critics have praised it for its unusually pure form. Viewed from a distance it is a stunning organic yet geometrical structure. Inside are a swooping wooden 250- metre cycling track, 6000 seats, a cycle workshop and storage and additional facilities including a café. In keeping with its function, the building’s design concept was inspired by the efficiency of the bicycle. It boasts controlled environmental conditions and will be used after the Games when a road cycle circuit and a mountain bike course will be added. The Velodrome was the first Olympic Park venue to be completed, and Hopkins Architects and co-partners are to be congratulated for having designed and built a landmark of striking architectural beauty and function. After the Games the VeloPark will be managed by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and open to the public and world-class cyclists. Together with the 2012 Olympic torch, it joins the list of Best Designs of the Year 2012. A model
of the Velodrome can be seen at the Design Museum until 15th July 2012. Another outstanding architectural design for the 2012 Olympics is the Aquatic Centre by Zaha Hadid. Fifteen years ago Hadid saw that London should be developed toward the east, and the Olympic Village has been a catalyst for its regeneration. Hadid’s unique structure is featured in the Victoria and Albert’s Exhibition British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, which opens 31st March. Her design is a tall, irregular building and probably too big to comprehend from the outside. The sweeping wave form of its huge roof is meant to remind spectators that the building is a homage to water. The roof appears to float like the swimmers who compete inside. It conveys a feeling of undulation which is said to be inspired by swimmers’ movements through water. Temporary wings of raked seating are detachable. The seats will be in place for spectators during the Games but will be removed afterward. Hadid remarked, ‘It was important for us to conceive the building within its setting at the entrance to the park.’ She elaborated further; explaining the ‘architectural language of fluidity and spatial complexity ensures that the Aquatics Centre retains the strongest sense of belonging to its riverside environment.’(p 348 V&A catalogue British Design from 1948: Innovation in the Modern Age. 2012). Connections and contrasts link the 1948 ‘Austerity’ Games to the 2012 Olympics. The Austerity Olympics are described in Janie Hampton’s book as a ‘triumph of invention, thrift and improvisation that resulted in the most inexpensive and unpretentious…and friendliest and least political of all Olympics.’ The Games revealed a nation pulling together. With Britain left nearly bankrupt and struggling to recover from a world Olympic Torch ©Design Museum
war, basic goods were rationed. The entire budget for the 1948 Games was £760,000, a stark contrast with today’s billion-pound budget, Olympic village and high-speed rail links. Such differences are hardly surprising. The main venue for the 1948 Games was the Empire Stadium – now known as Wembley Stadium. The diets of Olympians in 1948 were excessively modest by current standards. They had to train on a basic ration of a mere 2,600 calories per day. Teams from abroad brought their own supplies: the Chinese brought bamboo shoots; the Argentinians brought green tea and spaghetti. We need to be reminded that sixty years ago when women were barred from most sports; few people objected. And while the Games were held during Ramadan, Muslims were not excused from training while fasting. (1) Overall connections between the 2012 Olympic Games and the 1948 Austerity Olympics include one which reveals a deep pride in Britain’s commitment to support global sporting competitions. In 1948, British sporting and governmental bodies mustered the famous ‘spirit of the Blitz’ to organise the Games, working with minimal resources. The Games began on 29 July 1948, with King George VI presiding over the opening ceremony in the presence of more than 80,000 spectators. By contrast, when the 2012 Olympic torch sets the cauldron alight at the opening ceremony on Friday 27th July, the spectacle will be broadcast worldwide, giving billions of viewers ‘front-row seats’. Only then will we be able to grasp how remarkably creative and innovative the behind-the-scenes designers and architects have been. The 2012 Olympics will be a momentous occasion for everyone involved, from the drawing board, to Londoners, and to the world. n
NOTES: 1. Hampton, Janie. The Austerity Olympics: When the Games Came to London in 1948. 2008 Introduction EXHIBITIONS: 1. Design Museum. Designs of the Year 2012. February 8th 2012 – 15th July 2012. www. designmusuem.org 2. Victoria & Albert Museum. British Design 1948 – 2012: Innovation in the Modern Age 31st March 2012 – 12th August 2012. http:// www.vam.ac.uk/ IMAGES: Courtesy of the Design Museum; V&A Press Office; The CommunicationGroup.co.uk; London Olympic Logo LOCOG Contact: Abby Cronin firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.abbycronin.co.uk
Logo for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Wolff Olins, 2007®LOCOG London Velodrome © Design Museum
Travel Edinburgh city skyline
A Weekend in Edinburgh by Lynne McAlister
he sun has just set, the lone piper is in the spotlight, playing a lament from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, whilst 9,000 spectators hold their breath. Scottish heritage or not, I defy anyone to escape goosebumps! Throughout the month of August, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo will thrill over 200,000 spectators on the esplanade of the Castle. One after another, pipe and drum bands from around the globe will enchant audiences with a variety of different mini-shows. Some of the performances are Keystone Kop comical, and some are potent and powerful, but the highlight each evening is the massed pipes and drums performance. Over 1,000 musicians file in and play Auld Lang Syne, while the audience clasp hands ‘St. Andrews style’ and sing along. Not surprisingly, for over a decade, these performances are sold-out well in advance of August. If this sounds like your cup of tea, there is no better time for a weekend get-away to Edinburgh than August, and no better time to buy your tickets to the Tattoo than right now! The Tattoo is just one part of the Edinburgh Festival, which is made up of several festivals held almost simultaneously between August 2nd and September 2nd. The most popular is the Fringe Festival, where every spare storefront, auditorium and warehouse is transformed into a theatre. Performers come from every corner of the Earth to participate in comedies, musicals and dramas. I found that
by going the first weekend, it’s easy to get free tickets as the troupes are investing in word-ofmouth advertising. If you prefer to skip the indoor performances, you can easily roam the streets and be entertained by an amazing array of street performers. Acrobats, vocal artists, clowns and thespians of all types will dance, juggle, swallow fire, sing or hula-hoop, while balancing on a uni-cycle. There is also the International Festival which offers slightly more refined performances and the Book Festival with dozens of guest authors speaking on their chosen area of expertise. If you prefer to avoid the crowds and just whistle The Bonnie Banks O’Loch Lomond (O ye'll tak' the high road, and Ah'll tak' the low...) while strolling through a cobblestone street in Old Town, Edinburgh offers plenty of ways to delight! Photo by Edinburgh Inspiring Capital
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Photo by Edinburgh Inspiring Capital
The first stop is practically inescapable as it always seems to be peering down on you from above. Edinburgh Castle is perched above the city on an extinct volcano. It is a World Heritage Site and a must-see attraction! The Castle has played a pivotal role in Scottish history, initially in the 11th Century as a Royal residence, then as a military stronghold. Because of the dominant position of the Castle it was under siege on and off for the better part of the last millennium. The Castle last saw military action in 1745, and following that, prisoners from the American Revolution were interned here. Now it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland. Every year more than a million visitors walk past Robert the Bruce and William Wallace to explore St. Margaret’s
Chapel and the Great Hall of King James IV. After visiting the Castle you’ll want to make your way down the Royal Mile passing Parliament Square, the Lawnmarket, and the Museum of Edinburgh, along with a host of monuments. You might want to pop in a couple of tantalising shops like Haggis Backpackers and Nicolson Kiltmakers. The Royal Mile journey will end at Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the monarchy in Scotland. Queen Elizabeth II spends one week every summer in residence here. Holyrood Palace represents the entrance to Holyrood Park, sometimes called Queen’s Park. In the evening why not turn your attention to one of Scotland’s finest products, Scotch Whisky? There is no better way to tempt your taste buds and learn about Scotland’s most famous export than at The Scotch Whisky Experience on Castle Hill. We began the multi-sensory tour by climbing into an oversized barrel which takes visitors through a replica distillery. (Think: Disney’s “It’s a small world” except with spirits!). Experienced Guides will introduce the uninitiated to the difference between a Speyside and Highland Whisky with a tutored nosing and tasting.
The tour concludes with the World’s largest collection of Scotch. If you want more there is a Whisky bar stocking over 300 Scotch Whiskies and the Amber Restaurant serving regional favourites! After Scotch and dinner take a leap into the total tourist world and pay a visit to the other kind of spirits. Go on a Ghost Walk! As this area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age the city is chocked-full of specters! Enthralling, enthusiastic story tellers bring Edinburgh’s history alive with tales of dark and stormy nights, witches, hangings and graverobbers in a ghoulishly humorous way! The next morning, don those hiking boots and return to the other end of Holyrood Park for some hillwalking. Originally a 12th Century royal hunting estate, the park’s 650 acres are remarkably wild especially considering it’s a mile east of Edinburgh Castle. You’ll find the best view of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat. The 250 metre (822 feet) climb is popular with locals and tourists alike. You’ll see why from the top; not only are the views of Edinburgh spectacular, but on a clear day you can see East Lothian and across the Firth of Forth to Fife (which is just fun to hear and say). If I sound a bit nostalgic and romantic about Edinburgh, forgive me, it’s because I am. It’s hard to be objective about a city, and a people, I adore. n Travel Details: Transportation: 4.5 hours by train from Kings Cross or Euston Station Accommodations: For over-the-top quirky opulence try Prestonfield (5 minute taxi ride to city centre) with all the advantages of being in the countryside (from £150 double) The Tattoo is performed every weekday evening and twice on Saturdays throughout August and has never been cancelled due to inclement weather. Lynne McAlister is a freelance journalist living in London with her husband of Scottish heritage.
Photo by Edinburgh Inspiring Capital
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Theatre Some Reviews Of London's Theatre One Man, Two Guvnors While James Corden and most of the rest of the original cast of One Man, Two Guvnors are now on Broadway, the National Theatre’s production of the remake of A Servant of Two Masters, has just re-opened, moving from the Adelphi to the stunning Theatre Royal Haymarket, with a new star-studied company led by Owain Arthur, Corden’s former understudy, in the role of Francis Henshall. Owain has very large shoes to fill (both literally and in relation to the acclaimed Corden who played the role so well), but Owain too is perfect as the loveable, if not slightly dim, Francis. Owain speaks in his native Welsh accent, which adds to his charm, and his ad-libbing throughout the show is clever and witty, and had me laughing out loud. He completely charmed the audience on the opening night, with his red-faced zeal and winking asides. He converses with the audience as if we were old mates down the pub, tumbles over furniture while catching peanuts in his mouth, and in one sequence beats himself up with wild abandon because he’s suffering an identity crisis. He is continuously funny and endearing. One Man, Two Guvnors is a typical, British, 40
slap stick comedy, that is extremely well acted by all nine main characters, all of whom are recognisable – Jodie Prenger, Ben Mansfield, Jemma Whelan, Daniel Ings, Nigel Betts, Martin Barrass, Hannah Spearritt. The other cast members also play their roles well, and the entire show has a semblance of an adult pantomime, with Francis resembling the ‘Buttons’ character from Cinderella. This was reflected in one scene where Francis was asking if anyone had any sandwiches, although he wasn’t really expecting an answer as you do at a pantomime, but at one point a member of the audience said he did, and that led to a hilarious ad-lib section, where Francis himself was almost crying with laughter, as were the majority of the audience, as the audience member took away two of three lines one of the lesser characters had (Andrew Dennis), and apparently they were all he had, and Andrew in turn then played his role brilliantly throwing an evil look to the man who had ruined his night of stardom throughout the rest of the show! Another one of the other best scenes, I thought, is where they got a reluctant member of the audience on to the stage, to help Francis stash away food that is meant for his bosses, but he hasn’t eaten for 16 hours so feels he is due most of their meal! - If you don’t like audience participation yourself, then stay away from the first few rows as you do end up on stage for a while! I’ll say no more! The story is based around Francis, who, as the title of the show suggests, ends up with two jobs, working as an assistant to two slightly dubious characters, or are they? The performance starts with Francis turning up to an engagement party, but the couple getting engaged aren’t the same names on the invitation, and the story goes from there. The fiancée, with whom Pauline is really in love, is played by Daniel Ings who plays Alan, and he is hilarious, acting his role as a wannabe actor. Every single word and action is well thought out, and is highly entertaining. It is the sort of show where you need to listen to every word, for fear of missing another punch line, as almost every line has some joke related to it. If you like the silly sense of humour, such as Fawlty Towers, then this show is for you. The Craze, are a brilliant band who play before the show and during most scene changes, so be sure you are seated in your place early, as they start playing about 15 minutes before the show starts. All the main characters are incredibly talented, and as well as acting, many of them perform a musical act during scene changes, including singing, playing horns and David Ings even plays his own chest! The show is based on Carlo Goldoni’s 18thcentury Italian commedia dell’ arte piece, The Servant of Two Masters. It’s pretty funny in its original form but Richard Bean has
Owain Arthur, One Man, Two Guvnors
transformed it into a delirious English carryon set in Brighton in 1963, creating scenes and dialogue that often leave the audience helpless with hilarity. Richard Bean has transformed the show into a mixture of wisecracks, sight gags, and fiendish moments of audience participation. The jokes and verbal sallies just keep on coming, while the cast give every impression of enjoying themselves as much as the audience without slipping into the ill-disciplined selfindulgence that can kill comedy stone dead. I challenge anyone not to laugh out loud at some stage of the show, as there is something for everyone with a good sense of humour, and I am sure it will continue it’s incredible success to date. SWEENEY TODD – THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET Following its sell-out success at Chichester Festival Theatre, Jonathan Kent’s acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd has now transferred to London’s West End Adelphi Theatre for a limited season. Widely acknowledged as Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpiece, Sweeney Todd stars distinguished musical performer Michael Ball as the eponymous demon barber of Fleet Street and Oscar-nominated actress Imelda Staunton as the devoted Mrs Lovett. Based on the book by Hugh Wheeler, set amongst London’s seedy side streets and laced with Sondheim’s brilliant wit and dark humour, the musical depicts Sweeney Todd’s savage quest for justice and retribution after years of false imprisonment. Designed by Anthony Ward, the staging, steel walkway and circular gallery, cleverly
evokes the eerie feeling and atmosphere of Victorian London. The stage is brought to life by the neon lights of Mrs Lovett’s pie shop, and of course, the red ‘barbers’ chair. The clever and atmospheric lighting enhances the backdrop. The production offers a fascinating portrait of a man driven to madness by injustice and his desire for revenge. Whilst Michael Ball may not be considered as the first choice to be cast in the role of Todd, he managed, not only to carry off this demonic character, but complements his fine performance with his amazing voice. He has a brooding and menacing presence and gives an absolutely compelling portrait of Todd. He looks almost unrecognisable (actually he reminded me a bit of Ricky Gervais!) and he certainly appears to enjoy playing the bad guy for once. Aided and abetted by the pie-shop owner, Mrs Lovett, Todd sets out to avenge the wrongs done to him and his family. As Todd’s accomplice, Mrs Lovett, played by Imelda Staunton, mixes an excellent balance of humour with a deranged portrait of a woman who is overcome by greed and lust. It is a tough time to be living, and you have to admire her propensity to survive and her ‘killer’ drive and instinct to make her business succeed. Her dainty frame and twee costumes help all the more to make her role amusing when combined with the dark songs and gruesome storyline. My favourite musical number in the show was a duet with Staunton and Ball, called ‘A Little Priest’ where they concoct their
devious plan through some very clever and witty rhyming. Staunton’s performance was a true highlight for me, and I was truly amazed and surprised by her fabulous singing voice. The throat cutting scenes are well produced and sometimes humourous, enhanced with the clever glimmering of the shiny blades and a fair amount of fake blood. The corrupt judge, played by John Bowe, successfully portrays this villainous character, and we eagerly awaited his comeuppance. The supporting cast, in general, were very good and there is also some very powerful ensemble singing and fantastic harmonies throughout. There is no denying that this is a dark, but atmospheric production which is lifted by Mrs Lovett’s humourous character and songs, and Michael Ball’s amazing delivery as Todd. Ball and Staunton’s chemistry is certainly magical. This show is running for a limited period, but warrants a longer West End run. The cast received a rapturous applause and standing ovation at the end, and deservedly so. Be cautious when booking your next haircut though! The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Adelphi Theatre, Strand, London, WC2R 0NS 10 March – 22 September 2012 www.SweeneyToddWestEnd.com Box Office: 0844 811 0053 n
WIN TICKETS TO THE SUNSHINE BOYS AT THE SAVOY THEATRE! Golden Globe and Emmy awardwinner Danny DeVito makes his West End debut alongside Olivier and Tony award-winner Richard Griffiths, in a new production of Neil Simon’s hilarious and moving comedy The Sunshine Boys. Kings of comedy, Willie Clark (Danny DeVito) and Al Lewis (Richard Griffiths) aka ‘The Sunshine Boys’ haven’t spoken to each other in years. When CBS call for the vaudevillian greats to be re-united for a television special, past grudges resurface as they take centre stage once more. Ageing ailments aside, can this legendary double-act overcome their differences for one last show? Old rivalry and vintage hilarity abound in this classic comedy of showbiz and friendship. Directed by Thea Sharrock, who won the Olivier Award last year for her production of After The Dance at The National Theatre, The Sunshine Boys looks set to be the theatrical event of the year. The Sunshine Boys is showing at the Savoy Theatre for a limited season from 27 April. www.sunshineboystheplay.com To win a pair of tickets to the show, simply email email@example.com with ‘The Sunshine Boys’ in the email subject. Competition closes on 10 May 2012. Prize Validity: One pair of tickets valid Monday to Thursday until 6th July 2012, subject to availability (excluding all public and school holidays). There is no cash alternative. Prize is non-transferable and not for re-sale.
American Eye This issue’s American Eye belongs to American actor, dancer and allrounder, Sean Palmer, currently starring in the smash hit West End musical 'Crazy for You'. Sean’s been described as ‘every bit the knight in shining armour’ and ‘made to play a classic musical leading man’. 'American in Britain’s' Judith Schrut spoke to Sean in his dressing room between shows at the Novello Theatre. 42
ou have English roots on your mother's side - tell us a little about that and how your Mom/Mum happened to end up in Nevada, where you were born? Yes, even tho I call her ‘Mom’ I still think of her as English. Mom was a Royal Air Force baby, born in Birmingham. As a young woman, she was a dancer and actress. On tour in Germany with the USO she met her first husband, an American jazz musician. They toured the US west and eventually settled in Reno, which you may have heard is nicknamed the Biggest Little City in the World. The irony is that Mom decided to live in the States and I’ve decided to come here, at least for now! You’ve been called a ‘triple whammy performer’ – singing, acting, dancing. Who inspired you along the way in your career? My passion was first ignited through dance. Mom would watch ballet on TV and even at the age of four I’d be out there dancing the men’s parts! In high school I learned singing from an inspirational choir teacher, Naunie Gardner. Naunie had a classical background and loved opera. She was revolutionary in that she created an arts programme within the school especially for kids like me. Not just me -- I was lucky to be part of an incredibly talented group and Naunie encouraged and inspired all of us. And the great Gene Kelly and Bob Fosse. Bob Fosse inspired me to move to New York to follow my dream. Apart from your current leading role as Bobby Child, what’s your most memorable role to date? I’ve been blessed to do so many different things. I’m open to trying new things so every role offers something integral to who I am.
Playing the part of Marcus, Stanford’s boyfriend in Sex in the City, was one of those blessings. My favourite recent role was playing Charles Blackwood in We Have Always Lived in the Castle with the Yale Repertory Theatre. That was a tremendously exciting piece. Those are great roles, but I expect it hasn’t always been easy. What’s been your strangest role to date? My strangest experience was, as a young man newly-arrived in New York, working in the chorus at the Radio City Christmas Show. I soon began to think of this as a ‘cushy prison’. I had to dress in all kinds of bizarre costumes and do some pretty strange things! Like riding a tricycle and jumping on a trampoline wearing a panda costume with a huge head. Or dressing up as a Christmas Tree and doing a dance. The other performers all seemed to be getting calls for Broadway roles but I wasn’t getting anything. I remember performing while weeping under that silly smiling bear’s head. And your fantasy role? It would have to be something Sondheim – The Baker or the Wolf from Into the Woods, Anthony in Sweeney Todd, or Robert in Company. What’s top of your favourite things to do in the UK when you’re not working? I like theatre, lots of theatre. I also really enjoy spending quiet times in the countryside with my extended family. They have a 17th century cottage in a beautiful village near Salisbury in Wiltshire. I love long walks in the country with dogs, having tea and eating delicious meals. What essential things would you advise Americans in Britain to be sure not to miss?
That’s a hard question because there are so many things they shouldn’t miss, but I’d say there are two absolute essentials. First, the art galleries like the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery. Secondly, this place is about theatre. With such a rich heritage, there’s always great Shakespeare or Noel Coward to see. London’s one of the greatest cities in the world for culture and the arts scene is fantastic, even more than New York I’d say. What American comforts do you miss the most? I miss weird stuff really, like being able to go to certain shops in New York, particularly health food shops. I sometimes feel England is a little behind the times when it comes to healthy eating and living! Do you have a favourite number from your current show? It would have to be my solo dance near the end. I’ve never danced alone on stage before and it was intimidating and challenging at first. The piece took many days working and watching myself to get it just right. But because it was challenging, it’s really rewarding. I’m pleased to say I think I do it well. There are also some other beautiful parts of the show which I love, like the beginning number with its big, bright, fast-moving introduction to the characters. Any thoughts of what you'd like to do after this run of Crazy for You?
I really have no desire to go back to New York just yet. I love being with my family here, spending time in the countryside where I feel I can really relax. I love that pace of life and it’s great to be part of that. I like my life over here and hope to extend my stay.
Fiona Shaw (although she’s Irish). Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, my Mom, Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. I’d love to meet Alan Bennett so I’d definitely invite him, and Meryl Streep. I’d ask Julia Child to be the chef and I’d like Beyonce to sing. n
Here at American in Britain we like to promote Anglo-American relations - who would you invite to your fantasy AngloAmerican dinner party? Oscar Wilde, certainly - he’d be a kick!
You can see Sean Palmer in Gershwin’s "Crazy for You" at the Novello Theatre, London. Sean has been nominated for best actor in a musical by What’s on Stage and for a national dance award.
Sean Palmer as Bobby Child with Zangler's Follies in 'Crazy for You'. Photo by Roy Tan
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The American Church In London Revd. John A. D’Elia Senior Minister Of The American Church In London
lot of people in our contemporary culture wonder what the point is to having religious faith. I don’t see that as a threat-far from it! As the pastor of a Christian church I think this is not only one of the most important questions we can ask, but it also ought to be one of the most satisfying and fun mysteries to wrestle with. In the end I think that faith, true faith-should be a source of change and growth in our lives. If our faith in God is real, then it should show in the way we live and love and work and spend. Recently in our church we talked about the Apostle Paul’s shortest letter, a book simply titled “Philemon.” It’s actually a personal note, the only communication like it in the whole New Testament. In the letter Paul was trying to convince his Christian brother to do something that went against what the culture expected-something, though, that his faith demanded of him.
This story requires a little scene setting. Philemon was a wealthy man who hosted a church in Colossae, which is now in Turkey. Philemon and his wife and son were leaders in the Christian community, and were generous supporters of Paul’s work. Like many wealthy people in the Roman Empire of the day, Philemon had a large household that included slaves. Sometimes slaves were prisoners taken in war, and other slaves were joined to a wealthy family over generations. There’s no need to sugar-coat this part, though. Slaves in the Roman Empire were property, and their lives were completely dependent on the decisions of their owners. Paul wrote his letter from a prison cell in Rome, where he was locked up for his faith. Onesimus, who is the subject of the letter, was a young man who was a slave in the house of Philemon, and who had become a Christian by listening to the church in his house. You can imagine how powerful the message of the Christian message would sound to a slave. Onesimus heard the message of Jesus the Messiah, the one who came to “set the captives free,” and he believed. Since Philemon had come to faith through meeting Paul, then Onesimus would have connected the message of the gospel with this great preacher. That’s about to be very important. Somewhere along the way Onesimus ran away from Philemon’s household. A young Turkish runaway slave in the Roman Empirewhere did he decide to go? All the way to Rome to visit Paul, the great apostle of the Christian faith. Onesimus is in serious trouble-he was under an immediate sentence of death. Eventually Onesimus became a trusted helper and friend to Paul, but Paul knew that the right thing to do was to send Onesimus back to Philemon, and so that’s the origin of the letter. Paul’s letter to Philemon isn’t really an argument against slavery. That sort of thing would have been nothing more than an abstract academic point, especially with the Roman Empire making the rules. Paul isn’t an abolitionist here, he’s just trying to make the point that the shared faith between Philemon and Onesimus made them equals in the eyes of God, and that that equality changed the rules about what their earthly relationship should be. I wonder how many of the rules in our culture that divide us-the conflicts over race and class and gender and sexuality-I wonder if our faith could ever be strong enough to help us resist falling in their trap. Still, one of the things we learn in this letter is that faith inspires us to change our behaviour sometimes. Philemon had every right under the law to punish his runaway slave, but their shared faith changed the game completely. Just one side note. Historians have wondered for centuries how this short, personal letter was
John A. D’Elia
included in the Christian Bible. As the story goes, about 40 years after this letter was written, the Bishop of Ephesus compiled the definitive collection of Paul’s letters to be circulated among the early Christian churches. There were 10 letters in that group, and the letter to Philemon was the last one of the bunch. It’s probably important to say that the name of the Bishop of Ephesus at the time was Onesimus. In gathering the works of Paul for distribution among the churches, Onesimus was not going to exclude the letter that got him his freedom, and confirmed his credentials as a friend of Paul and as the recipient of a truly great gift. What does that mean for us, almost 2000 years later? If we go back to the question about the point of having faith, I think it’s about learning to live a new way, with a new set of values, with a new way of seeing the relationships in your life, with your heart set not on whatever drove you before, but on seeing God’s priorities take shape in your own life and in the lives of those around you. Some of that is based in knowledge. Paul writes to Philemon: “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Some is based in the condition of our hearts. Paul also writes to his friend: “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” But in the end this is about how clearly our faith is seen in the way we live our lives. When we believe, not just the information about Christ but the way he lived and calls us to live, when we follow the master our lives will be different: in our values, in the ways we fellowship and worship, and in the ways we reach out to the world God loves. That’s the point of having faith. Seems like a pretty big deal to me. n 45
Useful Numbers AMERICAN EMBASSY
24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE Telephone: 020 7499 9000 Website: www.london.usembassy.gov Travel advisories: www.travel.state.gov An officer is available via the switchboard all day, every day for a life-or-death emergency involving a US citizen.
AMERICAN FOODS & PRODUCTS
PANZER’S 13-19 Circus Road, St John’s Wood, London NW8 6PB Telephone: 020 7722 8162/8596 Fax: 020 7586 0209 Email: email@example.com Website: www.panzers.co.uk We deliver groceries and fruit & veg daily to St John’s Wood, Hampstead, The West End, Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge. Phone, fax or email and we’ll send your delivery home the same day. We offer the best selection in London of groceries from the USA, and specialities for seasonal events. 46
COURIER & POSTAL SERVICES
Personal Mail International, Inc./PMI Expatriate Mail Services 5 Cold Hill Road South, Suite 28, (PO Box 311), Mendham, NJ, USA 07945 (973) 543-6001 or 800 548-3622 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.pmipmi.com Contact: Lisa Calimano Cannon PMI Expatriate Mail Services has provided professional mail and package forwarding services for Americans abroad since 1987. Use our box or street USA address for reliable, confidential shipments world-wide. MAIL BOXES ETC. 123 stores across the UK and Ireland Telephone: 0800 623 123 / or +44 (0) 1608 649230 (for international callers) Email: email@example.com Website: www.mbe.co.uk Contact: James Simmons At Mail Boxes Etc. we offer a choice of globally trusted couriers from any of our 120+ stores across the UK & Ireland. We'll advise you on the best carrier, from FedEx, UPS, DHL, TNT and Parcelforce Worldwide, for every consignment, for urgent documents, gifts, eBay sales, personal belongings and freight. We’re experts in customs know-how and country-specific requirements and we’ll pack, despatch and track your packages to delivery across North America and around the world.
CLOKE DENTAL Pall Mall Dental Clinic, 15 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU Telephone: 020 7766 7150 Contact: Dr. Laura J. Cloke DDS Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Laura J. Cloke is an American Dentist. With over 15 years’ experience in Family and Cosmetic Dentistry both in the US and Europe, she welcomes new patients to her Central London location. Member of the American Dental Association, New York State Dental Association, British Dental Association and American Dental Society London.
EDUCATION - SCHOOLS
ACS International Schools Heywood, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1BL Telephone: 01932 869721 Email: email@example.com Website: www.acs-england.co.uk Contact: Fergus Rose Three superb locations close to London,
ACS provides a stable environment, high educational standards and a happy social life for relocated youngsters. ISL Group of Schools Two UK schools: Old Woking Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 8HY 139 Gunnersbury Avenue, London W3 8LG Tel: +44 (0)1483 750409/+44 (0) 20 8992 5823 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.islschools.org Contact: Heather Mulkey The ISL Schools offer an international education with an important addition: mother tongue or modern language training from an early age. Academic research increasingly points to the importance for English as an Additional Language learners of gaining a solid language and literacy foundation in their own language. For English speakers, research supports the value of language learning in overall academic success. Looking towards our students' global future, multiple language facility will become increasingly valuable. ISL London is one of the first schools to offer the IB Diploma. TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: email@example.com Website: www.tasisengland.org TASIS England offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an American college preparatory curriculum, and AP courses to its diverse community of coed day (3-18) and boarding (14-18) students from 50 nations. The excellent academic program, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualized attention needed to encourage every student to reach their potential. Outstanding opportunities in art, drama, music, and athletics provide a balanced education. Extensive summer opportunities are also offered. Located close to London on a beautiful and historic 46-acre estate. THE NORTH LONDON INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 6, Friern Barnet Lane, London, N11 3LX Telephone: +44 (0)20 8920 0634 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nlis.org Contact: Alison Miley, Admissions The North London International School (NLIS) is a leading international, independent school, only a tube journey away from the centre of London. NLIS is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, and it was one of the first in the UK to offer the full IB Programme.
John D Wood & Co. 140 Kensington Church Street, London W8 4BN Telephone: 020 7908 1109 Email: email@example.com Website: www.johndwood.co.uk Contact: Nik Madan John D Wood & Co. is a long established and highly regarded firm of estate agents handling residential sales and lettings in London and the South of England.
Cigna International 1 Knowe Road, Greenock, Scotland, PA15 4RJ Telephone: 01475 492 222 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cignaenvoy.com Contact: Mark Coleman, Director, International Sales Looking for health insurance that meets your needs? As the largest provider of international healthcare benefits, you can be confident that we offer cost effective and comprehensive cover around the world. We provide a wide range of core and supplemental corporate and individual healthcare plans that are tailored to your exact requirements.
IMMIGRATION Legal Services
FRAGOMEN 4th Floor, Holborn Gate, 326-330 High Holborn, London WC1V 7PP Contact: Charlotte Slocombe Telephone: +44 (0)20 3077 5250 Email: email@example.com Website: www.fragomen.com As the world's leading provider of immigration legal services and advice, Fragomen has served the immigration needs of clients ranging from individuals to the world’s leading multinational corporations for 60 years. With 36 offices in 15 countries worldwide, Fragomen has the resources and the reach to provide strategic and effective immigration solutions for over 140 countries around the globe.
XN FINANCIAL SERVICES (UK) LTD 8-11 Crescent, London EC3N 2LY Telephone: +44 (0) 207 480 1077 Contact: David Ghiglieri Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.xnfinancial.co.uk XN Financial® provides insurance and financial products designed specifically for the needs of international assignees, high net
worth individuals and corporate directors and officers. We support our growing portfolio with powerful technology, access to personalised international service, and valuable health, safety and security tools.
DT MOVING 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London CR4 4HR Tel: 020 7622 4393 Email: email@example.com Web: www.dtmoving.com Contact: Tim Daniells DT Moving is a long established and awardwinning international moving company. Founded in 1870 as Davies Turner, DT Moving has vast experience in moving Americans to and from the United States and to other worldwide destinations. With a customer satisfaction rating of 96% for 2011, DT Moving offer a quality service at competitive rates. 1st class storage facilities are available.
BDO LLP 55 Baker Street, London W1U 7EU Contact: Andrew Bailey Telephone: 020 7893 2946 Email: Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.bdo.co.uk Whether you are a business with expatriate employees, or a high net worth US person (resident, citizen, green card holder), BDO’s London-based US tax team can help with both US & UK personal tax matters. We provide tax return preparation services together with specialist consultancy advice. Frank Hirth plc 236 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8HL Telephone: +44 (0)20 7833 3500 Fax: +44 (0)20 7833 2550 Website: www.frankhirth.com Email: email@example.com Contact: Mark Walters Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Frank Hirth is a leading international taxation and accounting practice, offering advice on UK and US cross-border taxation on individuals, corporations, partnerships and trusts. INGLETON PARTNERS LLP Berkeley Square, Berkeley Square House, London, W1J 6BD Email: email@example.com Telephone: 020 7183 2251 www.ingletonpartners.com Ingleton Partners is a boutique US/UK tax consultancy advising on expatriate taxation matters for individuals, trustees, corporations
and partnerships. Included within our service is UK and US tax return preparation. WESTLETON DRAKE LLP 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YF Telephone: +44 (0)20 3178 6041 Fax: +44 (0)20 3178 4083 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.westletondrake.com US and UK tax advisors who specialise in assisting Americans living in the UK, and corporations and partnerships doing business in the US and UK.
RÊVE DES ALPES Telephone: 020 8133 8248 Email: email@example.com Website: www.revedesalpes.com Contact: Ed Shellard Rêve des Alpes is the exclusive, upmarket holiday service that specialise in creating tailor made travel itineraries for families that wish to explore the Swiss Alps. Once abroad we can discretely accompany our clients and eliminate all the effort and stress associated with travelling in Europe.
If you would like to advertise your company’s products or services in this Useful Numbers section, please call Helen Elliott on 020 8661 0186 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Entries cost £175 per issue, or £600 for the year. For further detailed advice and information on many aspects of relocating to, or living in the UK, please refer to our extensive resources highlighted on the ‘Useful Advice Pages’ of www.theamericanhour.com. As we continue to develop this website as an invaluable resource, we are also highlighting up-to-date Events & Activities, plus some fabulous Competitions & Offers. If you would like to receive The American Hour Monthly Email Newsletter, please email Helen@theamericanhour.com and put ‘Newsletter’ in the subject.
Your Vote Counts! The 2012 US Elections The 2012 election year is already underway. Some primaries are over but several more are still to come. Even if you don’t plan to participate in the primaries, be sure to register according to your state deadline to ensure you can vote in the general election on Tuesday, November 6th.
Voting laws have changed. Are you certain you will get a ballot this year? Due to a recent change in the law, states are no longer required to send absentee ballots automatically to registered voters unless they receive a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) during the election year. The US Embassy therefore recommends that all voters send a new FPCA each election year, especially if there has been a name or address change. It’s a bother, we know, but the good news is that submitting a new FPCA is easier than ever. Just go to www.fvap.gov for the FPCA and the 2012 Voting Assistance Guide and follow the instructions. Make your vote count!
What if I no longer have a residence in the US? If you live outside the US and no longer have a residence in the US then you would provide the last address you had immediately prior to coming overseas. You would also check in Block 1 of the FPCA your intent not to return to the US. There is a potential tax liability issue if a voter checks “intent to return,” but isn’t paying state/local taxes. You can send the FPCA directly to your Board of Elections in an envelope with sufficient UK postage OR it can be sent postage free through the Embassy using the US postage free envelope template – which must be printed directly on an envelope and NOT stapled or pasted on – or if the return envelope received with your ballot is marked “US Postage Paid”.
Upcoming Primaries by Date: April 3rd District of Columbia, Maryland, Mississippi April 24th Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island May 8th Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia May 15th Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon May 22nd Arkansas, Kentucky June 5th California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota Information is available on our website at http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/scs/voting.html or on http://www. travel.state.gov/travel/living/overseas_voting/overseas_voting_4754.html. You can e-mail email@example.com or write to US Embassy Voting Unit, 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 2LQ.
Avoid the Crowds – Renew Your US Passport Now A busy summer filled with activities capped by the Olympics and Paralympics will bring thousands of US citizens to the United Kingdom in 2012, and the US Embassy expects to be very busy in the months ahead. Are you travelling this summer? Does your passport expire soon? Do you need additional pages in your passport? Please take a moment to check your US travel documents and, if you need our services, apply NOW to avoid the summer delays and crowds. Passport and Citizenship information can be obtained by visiting our website at http://london.usembassy.gov, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 0207-499-9000.
LONDON’S ‘BEST NIGHT OUT’ Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2011
0844 826 8000 WickedTheMusical.co.uk
APOLLO VICTORIA THEATRE LONDON 1 minute from London Victoria Mainline & Underground Stations 5 minutes from Victoria Coach Station
The spring 2012 issue of the quarterly, glossy, A4 magazine for Americans living in Britain