Page 1

June 2008

The Essential Monthly For All Americans 

Est. 1976

THE AMERICAN • JUNE 2008 • Issue 662







What’s On Guides Music • Arts Restaurant Reviews Sports • Politics


Say ‘hello’ 4p to Say to ‘hello’ calls to America. calls to Ameri Say ‘hello’ to 4p calls to America.

Talkmobile World offers youTalkmobile Which means youyou can keepWhich means you World offers great value calls to the rest of in touch your friends great value callswith to the rest of and in touch with your f the world from your mobile. the world family and not spend a fortune. from– your mobile. family – and not sp Our PayWorld As You is Our can join World PayYou Ascan You Go Talkmobile tariff is You can join Talkm Talkmobile offersGo youtariff Which means you keep great value calls to the rest of in touch with your friends and simple, with straightforwardsimple,by buying a SIM only or a SIM with straightforward by buying a SIM on the world from your mobile. family – and not spend a fortune. pricing, no hidden charges and and handsetcharges package. pricing, no hidden and and handset packa Our Pay As You Go tariff is You can join Talkmobile World no bank account needed. no bank account needed. simple, with straightforward by buying a SIM only or a SIM pricing, no hidden charges and no bank account needed.

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Askin in your nearest Ask in your nearest Ask your nearest Carphone Warehouse Carphone Warehouse Carphone Warehouse store. store.


Minimum call charge of 10p per call. International call rates are billed per minute. Excludes calls made while roaming and premium rate numbers. Ask in-store or visit for the list of countries where international Minimum 10pcalling per call. call rates are billedcall percharge minute.ofExcludes made while roaming numbers. Askcalls in-store or visit Minimum 10p per calls call. International call ratesand are premium billed perrate minute. Excludes made whiletalkmob roamin calling is offeredcall andcharge individualof country rates.International * £20 top-up required for cash purchases. is offered for andthe individual countrywhere callinginternational rates. * £20 calling top-upisrequired purchases. ore or visit calling list of countries offered for andcash individual country calling rates. * £20 top-up required for cash purchases.

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The American ®

Issue 662 – June 2008 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Editor: Michael Burland 01747 830328 Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director Nadia Abd Rabbo, Ad Manager 01747 830520 Subscriptions enquiries: Phone 01747 830328, email Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining Correspondent Mary Bailey, Social Correspondent Cece Mills, Arts Correspondent Richard Gale, Sports Editor

Welcome I

t took a lot of thought and discussion, but we finally decided to turn The American into a glossy magazine. Regular readers will have noticed the difference. If you’re a new reader, Hi!, this bit may not make a lot of sense, but I hope it will help explain what we’re all about. Apart from the better paper, we’re in a brand new “travel size” too. So why change? The newsprint format served The American well for over 30 years. We started in 1976 as a local fortnightly newspaper for the community. But the world is a different place now and so is publishing. News is mostly online and the job that The American now does is that of a quality monthly publication, with some news but mainly features and listings. We will have more space for great interesting articles in a much more convenient size to carry in your bag, briefcase or pocket. But we’re not losing anything – a lot more news and interactivity can be found on our sister website, If you would like to read The American regularly, you can subscribe (see the panel on page 67) If you’re a member of an American community group we can even offer you a special deal and make donations to your organization or a charity of its choice. That’s our news – but even more important is yours. The magazine is for all Americans in the UK and Ireland, whether you’re here on vacation, on business or for keeps. What do you want out of your regular magazine? What are we doing wrong? There’s no point in telling us what’s right, although sometimes it’s nice to hear! Enjoy your magazine.

Sean Chaplin, Sports Columnist Riki Evans, Columnist Nadia Abd Rabbo, Music Correspondent

Michael Burland, Editor

©2008 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd.

Printed by The Westdale Press Ltd 70 Portmanmoor Road, Industrial Estate, East Moors, Cardiff CF24 5HB Cover Images of Ascot © Action Images / Ascot Racecourse

Don’t forget to check out The American online at The entire contents of The American and are protected by copyright and no part of it may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information in The American is accurate, the editor and publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. The views and comments of contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers.

The American

In This Issue... The American • Issue 662 • June 2008

4 News Protection for your kids on the internet, a book by the Prince of Wales, a letter from the Ambassador, High School Musical live and more

Diamond recorded 13 N–eilalbum review...


...and on stage. Win tickets to see him at Wembley, p.17

Diary Dates The best events around the British Isles, selected for The American

12 Music A new book of previously unseen Dylan photos, the best selection of live music and Neil Diamond’s great new album reviewed


16 Competitions Win tickets to see Def Leppard. Or Neil Diamond. Or make your own music at the London International Music Show. Result! 18 As I Was Saying... Bob Pickens is back, with a quiver full of opinions ready to fire 20 COVER STORY: The Season Where the rich and famous go for the British Summer Season – and how you can join them

among 52 JtheakeNFLLongdebutants

22 A Real Life Move To The Sun Our former Slice Of America becomes the Expatriate Expat... Riki Evans Johnson decamps to the Costas

22 OinurSpainBritish American 51

Action Images / Ascot Racecourse

The American

26 Coffee Time Take a break with our fun new section 28 Wining & Dining The best food, drink and places to stay

the places to 20 Abescot:seenonethisofSeason

35 Promotion See M  ichael Frayn’s new play Afterlife courtesy of The American 36 Arts Cece Mills rounds up the most fascinating art events around the country – and stars in one herself


return 18 TofheBobwelcome Pickens

42 Reviews The most interesting Books and DVDs, including Debbie Macomber’s latest novel 46 Living In The UK If you’re new to Britain we have some helpful tips – this month, Driving in the UK 48 Drive Time Driving here is different – so are the cars...

ast, furious and classic 48 Faction at Beaulieu

51 Politics Why Punch & Judy just won’t go away


52 Sports NFL Draft Review, NHL’s Penguins and Stars in focus, French Open Tennis preview, BBL Playoff Finals and much more

64 Tail End Rebel has trouble with exercise

photo by Johan Persson

60 American Organizations Useful resources in the UK

The American

News Life’s A RIAT T

he Royal International Air Tattoo at the United States Air Force base, RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, is one of the largest and most interesting air shows in the world. For 2008 there are some fantastic highlights in store. American interest is provided – among other things – by the UK flying debut of the USAF’s most advanced jet fighter, the F-22A Raptor. This year is the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force and there will be displays by legendary World War Two aircraft such as the Spitfire, Lancaster and Hurricane along with special tributes in the air and on the ground – look out for an explosive demonstration of the hi-tech capabilities of current RAF aircraft. Seven of the world’s greatest aerobatic display teams will include the legendary RAF Red Arrows. On the ground, youngsters can meet pilots and sit in the aircraft and enjoy ‘Tri@RIAT’ a feast of entertaining and interactive activities designed to inspire and excite young minds. The icing on the cake for 5,000 invited guests will be a private ceremony in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen to watch the presentation of new Queen’s Colours to the Royal Air Force in the UK and the Royal Air Force Regiment (the ‘soldiers’ of the RAF). The last time a ceremony of this size was staged was in 1977. The ceremony, will begin with a Royal Salute and there will be a mass flypast of aircraft representing the Royal Air Force’s past and present.

The Start of Something New – High School Musical in London T

he stage version of the Disney Channel’s Movie High School Musical, currently on tour in the UK, is going live in London with a strictly limited run at the Hammersmith Apollo. Kids love the movie and now they can see basketball captain Troy, super-smart Gabriella and the gang brought to life. Following the much-loved story of the movie, there are new elements added for the theater production. Fans of British TV soap Eastenders will be delighted to see Letitia Dean in the role of Ms Darbus. Letitia said ““I am absolutely delighted to be playing Ms Darbus. She has a great love of theatre and the arts and adores her pupils and wants them to succeed. She’s firm but fair and takes no nonsense. Musical theatre is my first love and

this will be the first time I have been on a musical stage since I was in Annie when I was 13. I grew up with Judy Garland and Calamity Jane so this is a joy for me “ The musicals runs from June 28 to August 31. Mark Henry-Evans and Claire-Marie Hall star in HSM

The American

ACS Sponsors Online Child Security Congress


courtesy US Embassy

A Message from Ambassador Tuttle About Security Improvements at the U.S. Embassy Dear Fellow Americans,


s many of you well know, the perimeter of our Embassy in London has been somewhat of an eyesore over the last few years, as we installed temporary security barriers after September 11, 2001 and then started in 2006 a substantial construction project to make permanent security improvements. I am very pleased to report to you that by mid-June those upgrades will be completed, and I believe the Embassy will look better than it ever has. Working closely with the City of Westminster, our aim has been to not only make the Embassy and its surroundings safer, but also to improve the area’s appearance and streamline the entrance of American citizens, visa applicants and other visitors. I look forward to fulfilling that commitment when we open two new entry pavilions in front of the Embassy and complete landscaping that will once again gracefully integrate our presence with the beautiful

and historic Grosvenor Square. One of the entry pavilions will be devoted to American citizens and distinguished visitors, while we will have a separate pavilion for processing the daily flow of hundreds of applicants for various types of visas. Chain-link fencing will be replaced by an attractive iron fence, and we will once again have wide pedestrian walkways along Upper Brook and Grosvenor Streets. This project has taken us a bit longer than we expected, but we are proud of the result that you will see this summer. We appreciate the forbearance of our neighbors, the support of the Westminster Council, and all the hard work that has gone into this project. I hope that the next time you visit the Embassy you will be as proud as we of the Embassy’s new look. Sincerely,

Robert H. Tuttle Ambassador

CS Cobham International School in Surrey is joining global brands Microsoft, Virgin Media and Visa Europe to sponsor a unique event in which 200 young people will come to London in July. The young delegates, aged between 14-17 years, will come from around the world, including the USA. They will attend the inaugural International Youth Advisory Congress (IYAC), to help develop online safety for children. The outcome will be a Children and Young People’s Global Online Charter that will be presented to the United Nations as part of the 2008 Resolution of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, is being led by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre – the UK’s dedicated organisation for tackling the sexual abuse of children. It is supported by the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), a global alliance of law enforcement agencies tackling the sexual exploitation of children. CEOP’s Project Manager is Tracy Edwards MBE (pictured), famous as the skipper of the first all female yacht crew to race around the world. She said: “IYAC is without a doubt the most exciting project I have ever worked on: I truly feel as if I am a very small part in a very big, solution-based project which will change child protection forever. When I visited the CEOP Centre and saw the work going on to make children safer I knew that was where I wanted to be. CEOP’s totally holistic approach to child protection is unique and inspiring.”

A watercolour of Lochnagar near Balmoral, one of the Paintings by Prince Charles in this delightful book

The American Museum in Britain Come visit the American Museum for a great day out. Learn about the early pioneers in the American Heritage Exhibition. Wonder at the American Quilts and join our Quilting Bees. Run around the grounds. Enjoy an American Cookie!

This Month Sculpture Exhibition in grounds – Wilderness II Students from Bath Spa University create works inspired by the Museum. May 31 - June 22, 2008 Sunday @ Claverton: Jeff Warner The New Hampshire musician and folklorist returns to share traditional (and sometimes silly) instruments, songs and stories. June 8, 2.00 pm Vintage Gardening Show Every type of garden tool and machine from the Victorian era to the mid 1970s. June 14-15 Friends Summer Drinks Party To join the Friends of the Museum, please contact us. June 20, 6 - 8 pm Titanic - Dream, Reality, Nightmare Lecture by Alan Aldridge, principal auctioneer of Henry Aldridge and Son June 22, 2.00 pm Bath Banjo Festival An illustrated talk on early banjos and the development of the American minstrel tradition in the UK June 29, 2.00 pm

Open 12.00-5.20pm. Closed Mondays except August & Bank Holidays Claverton Manor near Bath. 01225 460503

Prince of Wales Birthday  Souvenir Album P

rince Charles is publishing a book. Or rather, to celebrate the 60th birthday of the Prince of Wales in November this year, the Royal Collection is publishing an official ‘biography in pictures’ to accompany an exhibition that opened at Windsor Castle in May. Titled Charles, Prince of Wales A Birthday Souvenir Album, the book traces the Prince’s official and family life using material selected from the Royal Archives, the Royal Photograph Collection and the Prince’s own collection and archive. It covers his childhood, schooldays and university life, his Investiture as The Prince of Wales, marriage to Lady Diana, the births of Princes William and Harry, and his marriage to the Duchess of Cornwall. Childhood photographs include some of the Prince playing with his sister, Princess Anne, in one cleaning a life raft on the royal yacht HMY Britannia. Also included in the book are some of the Prince’s favourite toys  –  a trolley of wooden bricks decorated with the words ‘Prince Charles Express’ and a Sunbeam Coupe pedal-car, which he drove up and down the Grand

Corridor at Windsor Castle. The Prince is Chairman of the Royal Collection Trust and woven through the book are some of His Royal Highness’s favorite items from the Collection, accompanied by his very personal responses to the works of art, including paintings by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Winterhalter, Landseer and Zoffany. The Prince’s love of art, which was encouraged by his grandmother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, has extended to an enjoyment of painting in watercolour, and some of his own watercolours and sketches are reproduced in the album. In 1985 The Prince reintroduced the practice of taking an artist on overseas tours, and a number of the resulting works are included in the book. Charles, Prince of Wales: A Birthday Souvenir Album is available from the Royal Collection shops at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse and bookshops, priced £9.99 (hardback). HRH The Prince of Wales: An Exhibition to celebrate his Sixtieth Birthday is at Windsor Castle until February 22, 2009.

The American

Discounts for New Recruits at the Union Jack Club


Shakespeare’s Globe on the Road L

ast summer’s tour of Romeo and Juliet was so successful, say Shakespeare’s Globe, that they are taking the play out for another tour of the UK and Europe. And proving you can’t have too much of a good thing, The Globe is launching a second open-air tour, The Winter’s Tale, which will be traveling across the UK from June 4 to September 7. The two tours are part of the Globe’s most ambitious theatre season to date. Named ‘Totus Mundus agit histrionem’ – ‘the whole world is a playhouse’, paraphrasing Shakespeare in As You Like It – artistic director Dominic Dromgoole’s vision for the Globe to reach outside its physical location. In The Winter’s Tale, a troupe of actors will entertain crowds with a stripped down version of Shakespeare’s magical story of jealousy, love and redemption. The outdoor venues include Leeds Castle, Newby Hall and Woburn Abbey and they will also play indoors at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and the Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, Yorkshire. The climax of the tour is Kensington Palace Gardens, London.

Romeo and Juliet visits St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury, Wilton House (as part of the Salisbury International Arts Festival), Heaton Park, Manchester and St Andrews Castle in Scotland. The Tour finishes at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. New venues are still being added, so visit theatre/globetouring for the full list.

he Union Jack Club is one of London’s oldest and best known private members’ clubs for current and ex-members of Britain’s armed forces. Many of its facilities are also offered to U.S. military personnel, both current and former. It has announced exclusive discount cards for new members of the armed forces. There is also 50 per cent discount on two night’s accommodation for new recruits’ first visit to club, which is situated in the heart of London, a short walk from South Bank, The London Eye and The London Aquarium and close to Waterloo station which offers convenient connections across London, taking you to the capital’s famous shopping and museum areas. The club says that it is more important than ever that members of the armed forces can make the most of their free time and The Union Jack Club provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy London, with more than 280 rooms and suites available from just £33 per night.

ESSENTIAL CONTACTS Here are some crucial telephone numbers to know while you are in the UK EMERGENCIES Fire, Police, Ambulance 999 or 112 (NOT 911) TRANSPORTATION London Underground 020 7222 1234 National Rail Enquiries 08457 4849 50 National Bus Service 0990 808080

TELEPHONES Direct Dial Code, US & Canada  001 Operator Assistance, UK 100 Operator Assistance, Int. 155 International Directory Assistance 153 Telephone Repair 151 MEDICAL ADVICE LINE NHS Direct delivers 24-hour telephone and e-health information services, direct to the public. 0845 4647

For more details go to, click on Essential Contacts 

The American

The Imperial War Museum North’s award winning building, Manchester

All images courtesy IWM NORTH

Horrible Histories: Frightful First World War – The Exhibition T

he Horrible Histories books are great favorites with the kids and they have taken on a life of their own with spin-offs in various media (we’ve reviewed the stage plays based on them before). Now there’s a new exhibition at Imperial War Museum North. Author Terry Deary says: “The First World War was such a significant episode in human history I feel the need to reach as many young people as possible. I have done that with the books, with an audio CD, with stage productions and with television. A museum exhibition is yet another doorway into the consciousness of more young people. But the IWM North exhibition can

offer something the other media can’t - authentic artefacts from the Museum’s own collection. Combine the populism of the Horrible Histories books with the distinction of the IWM collection and you have something fresh and unique. The First World War “frightful” because of the misery of the trenches but the “Horrible Histories” interpretation is to add the suffering of the non-combatants on both sides. No previous war had ever affected so many women and children. “My own favourite fact about the First World War is improvising a gas mask by peeing into your handkerchief – pure Horrible Histories stuff. Horrible, unbelievable but a sign of the lengths

humans drive one another to. The photographs are simply riveting. You can look at them a hundred times and be drawn in to a world of people who are long dead yet whose lives were frozen forever in the click of a shutter. This is the 90th anniversary of the First World War and it is the last major anniversary when there will be any veterans around who were there at the time and almost the last when people have memories of the time.” Some may think that the Great War is not a subject for levity, but Deary disagrees: “No one learns anything unless they are “engaged” by a narrative. You can do this by using techniques like surprise or suspense. Or by making them laugh. People like to laugh. But when the laughter dies you are maybe left with something deeper that remains behind. Knowledge or understanding or both.” n

The American

Diary Dates

Your Guide To The Month Ahead

Oxford Fiddle Group Summer’s Evening Concert Jacqueline du Pre Music Building, Oxford Playhouse Lively folk tunes and songs from UK, Ireland and USA performed by the 20+ musicians of The OFG. Fiddles, viola, double bass, guitar and celtic harp take listeners on a musical journey from foot–tapping jigs and reels to emotional slow aires and laments. A rare opportunity to see OFG’s full band. June 01, 2008

Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical Gigi starring Golden Globe winner Oscar nominee Topol. +44 (0)844 826 4242 www. June 02, 2008 – September 13, 2008 Gun Salutes Hyde Park & Tower of London Gun salutes to mark the Royal occasions: a 41–gun salute is fired at 12 noon by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park (opp. Dorchester Hotel) & a 62–gun salute

at 1pm by the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London. Dates are June 2nd, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation; 10th, the Duke of Edinburgh’s birthday and 14th, Queen’s official birthday. June 02, 10 & 14, 2008 Beating Retreat Horse Guards Parade, Central London Marching and military/classical music by the bands of the Household Division. Tickets must be bought in advance. “Beating retreat” is a tradition which has its origins in the 16th century: before sunset, soldiers would beat drums at sunset to let people know that the gates were about to be shut. ceremonialandheritage/household/ beat_retreat.htm June 04, 2008 – June 05, 2008

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Bletchley Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, worked closely during World War 2 with the secret code–breaking establishment at Bletchley Park. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, the original car that was used in the 1968 film starring Dick Van Dyke (which is also having its 40th birthday) will be on show. There’s a competition to ride around Bletchley Park in the car, a Victorian fun fair, craft stalls, Punch and Judy, a snow play area for kids, prizes, face painting and free tobogganing – also guided tours of Bletchley Park itself. 01908 640404 June 01, 2008 Outdoor Theatre in a London Park Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 The only permanent professional outdoor theatre in Britain. Picnic on the lawns of the park, or visit the café-bar among trees lit by fairy lights. The 2008 season has Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream re–imagined for young audiences and a new production of

International Tug Of War

Memorial Sports Ground, Sandhurst, Berkshire The Tug of War Association celebrates its 50th anniversary with an international club competition with both men’s and ladies’ teams, hosted by Sandhurst Tug of War Club, one of the most successful clubs in the world; the England men’s 560kg team that won the World Championships in Rochester, Minnesota, USA in 2004, was a Sandhurst team. It is also the 30th anniversary of the USA Tug of War Association this year and the USA ladies team (pictured) won the 520kg world title in 2004 in Rochester. June 01, 2008

The American

The Oaks & Derby Day Epsom Downs Racecourse Two major flat races, for 3–year old fillies and horses, at one of the premier racecourses in the UK. June 06, 2008 – June 07, 2008

the work of 3 of the greatest living composers. Based on the novel by J.M. Coetzee Waiting for the Barbarians looks at war between oppressors and oppressed. 020 7638 8891 June 12, 2008

York’s new Quilt Museum Quilt Museum and Gallery, St Anthony’s Hall, Peaseholme Green, York YO1 7PR Europe’s first museum dedicated to quilting and textile arts opens June 7 in this medieval hall. The Quilt Museum and Gallery will be the national HQ of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles and its Heritage Collection. 600 quilts include a signed and dated 1718 patchwork coverlet, miniature pieces, quilted clothing, tools and equipment. EXHIBITIONS: Quilts in Time: Journey from Bed to Wall, June 7 – September 28, 2008. Quilting Across the Globe: quilts from the International Quilt Study Centre in Nebraska – the first time the IQSC has sent an exhibition outside the USA – October 1 – December 31, 2008 +44 1904 613242 June 07, 2008 – December 31, 2008

Gwyl Gregynog Festival Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, Powys, Wales One of the UK’s oldest musical festivals, (this is the 75th) held in the intimate setting of the Music Room of a mock–Tudor country house set in 750 acres of landscaped grounds and wooded parkland. From 1933 to 1938 it attracted leading figures such as Gustav Holst, Adrian Boult, Walford Davies. Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams. This year’s artists include tenor Andrew Kennedy, the Badke Quartet, chamber choir Tenebrae, soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, French pianist Pascal Roge and the strings of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. +44 (0)1686 625007 June 13, 2008 – June 22, 2008

Britain Celebrates Silversmiths Various locations across Britain A new event: the first British Silver Week has silversmithing workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations of silversmithing techniques around the country in 25 locations inc. London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bath, Stratford upon Avon, Nottingham, Cambridge, Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells, in galleries, fine jewelers and assay offices. 01249 656230 June 10, 2008 – June 17, 2008 Waiting for the Barbarians The Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS The Barbican is putting on an exciting production of the opera Waiting for the Barbarians by Phillip Glass as part of the Present Voices series showcasing


Man v Horse Race Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys (the smallest town in Britain) Rders compete against runners over a 22 mile course over farm tracks, footpaths, forestry roads and moorland. In 2004, for the first time in the history of the race, a man crossed the finish line before the first horse and claimed the £25,000 prize. 01591 610 265–v– June 14, 2008 Trooping the Colour Central London To celebrate the Queen’s “official” birthday (her real birthday is in April), she inspects infantry and cavalry from the Army’s Household Division who march with their regimental flag (“colour”). Military bands play marching music throughout. Invitation only, but you can stand on the Mall to watch the soldiers as they march from

Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards at 10am and as they march back again at 12 noon, guarding the Queen. Afterwards, crowds gather in front of Buckingham Palace, as the Queen and members of the royal family stand on the balcony and watch a flypast at 1pm by planes from the RAF. June 14, 2008 Nettle Eating Contest The Bottle Inn, Marsh Wood, Dorset 50 challengers are given two foot long stalks of stinging nettles and have one hour to eat as many leaves as possible. It stems from a contest between two farmers as to who had the longest stinging nettles. One brought in a nettle over 15 foot long and said if anyone had a longer one, he would eat his. They had. He did. June 14, 2008 Father’s Day (UK) A time for people living in the UK to treat their fathers. June 15, 2008 Prince William – Garter Day Windsor Prince William, The Prince of Wales’ oldest son, will become a Royal Knight of the Garter at a ceremony at Windsor Castle, part of a system of honours which dates back to 1348. Windsor Castle itself will be closed to visitors. June 16, 2008 Taste of London Regents Park, London Sample world cuisine from 40 of London’s top restaurants. Buy an entrance ticket for lunch or supper and some “crowns” to buy sample–sized dishes from small kitchens set up by each of the restaurants. taste/london.html Benjamin Franklin and Medicine Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London WCN Lady Joan Reid will discuss Benjamin Franklin and Medicine June 19 , 2008, 6:30pm

The American

Royal Highland Show Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, near Edinburgh The best of rural Scotland, including crafts, food and sheep/cattle competitions. June 19, 2008 – June 22, 2008 Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons Tate Modern, London SE1 9TG Coinciding with Cy Twombly’s 80th year, this will be the first major retrospective in the UK for twenty years of the work of this artist. Born in 1928 in Lexington Virginia, Twombly studied in Boston, New York and Black Mountain College, Carolina. In the mid 1950s, following travels in Europe and Africa, he emerged as a prominent figure among a generation of artists working in New York that included Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. +44 (0) 20 7887 8888 June 19, 2008 – September 14, 2008 City of London Festival Music and dance festival in the City of London, also known as the “Square Mile” financial area of the capital. Events include free lunchtime concerts in the City’s churches or squares. June 20, 2008 – July 10, 2008 Exhibition Road Music Day In and around Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London Free live music events at various venues, the London version of the popular French music festival Fete de la Musique, always held on the longest day of the year. June 21, 2008 Wimbledon Tennis Tournament London SW19 The world–famous tennis competition that the pros all want to win. June 23, 2008 – July 06, 2008

American Friends of English National Opera 2008 Spring/Summer Season The London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES. Summer Celebration for Candide, Chairman’s Room, Wednesday, 6.30pm 020 7845 9332 June 25, 2008 Courtauld’s Cezannes The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN The most important collection in Britain of works by Paul Cezanne, together for the first time. Major paintings such as the iconic Montagne Sainte–Victoire and Card Players will be shown alongside rarely–seen drawings and watercolors. The climax of the 75th anniversary program of the Courtauld Institute. +44 (0)20 7848 2526 June 26, 2008 – October 05, 2008 The Mystery Plays of Chester Cathedral Green, Chester Mystery plays were an early form of drama in medieval Europe, telling the story of mankind as seen in The Bible, from the creation with Adam and Eve through the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ to the Day of Judgment. They were suppressed in England in the 16th century, but have been revived. At Chester in north–west England, mystery plays are performed every five years in front of the city’s Cathedral, a theatrical spectacular performed by hundreds of amateurs under professional direction. This year’s production involves a revolving stage and special effects with water, pyrotechnics, circus skills and world music and dance. The surviving original manuscripts of medieval mystery plays are mostly in the possession of prestigious libraries in the UK and USA. Mon–Sat 7.30pm, additional performances 1.30pm Sats. +44 (0)1244 304 618 June 28, 2008 – July 19, 2008

A Lecture With Former President, Bill Clinton Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, Scotland AB23 8BL Join one of the most colourful politicians of the 20th Century for an evening of lively discussion. President Clinton will present on current affairs and discuss his time in office. During his tenure the world was changing fast and he played a major role in shaping the world we know today. He will discuss major issues that are affecting the world today together with his ideas and plans to combat these. Passports required for admission. £95.00–£145.00 +vat inc. drinks reception with canapes. VIP dinner with Special Guest Speaker prior to President Clinton’s Key Note Speech, table of 10 £2950.00 +vat inc 1 person at Private Reception to meet President Clinton 0141 429 3066 June 22, 2008


The American


Motor Show Rocks


ow, to the British International Motor Show. No, we haven’t messed up, this is a music item not a motoring one. The show is a great attraction to petrolheads, but music fans can get their kicks at this year’s event too. As the sun goes down, after you’ve seen the cars, the Motor Show Music Festival (previously called Dock Rock) takes over, a series of major-name concerts in a part-covered outdoor arena right by the banks of the Thames. Tickets are limited to 6000 for each concert, so you can see some great names in an unusually intimate setting. So far the acts confirmed for this year include Alice Cooper, Status Quo, Blondie, Deep Purple, Chicago and Meat Loaf. Classic bands, new cars, what’s not to like?

‘Real Moments – Photographs of Bob Dylan’ by Barry Feinstein


einstein is a well known and respected music photographer whose images of the entertainment and music aristocracy of the 1950s and 60s, among them George Harrison, Janis Joplin and Steve McQueen are as recognisable now as they were forty and more years ago. Perhaps his best work was of Bob Dylan, the subject of this gorgeous large-format coffee table book. Feinstein got closer than most photographers to Dylan, who allowed him to accompany him on his European tour of 1966 and his tour across the USA in 1974. Half of the photos in the book have not been published before. Feinstein has written short, pithy captions for each. The images go back in time to Dylan’s ‘authentic folk’ roots, with a humorously serious


shot of a young, short-haired Dylan sitting backstage clutching an autoharp and blowing a harmonica. The most evocative are the photos taken on the 1966 tour of Britain and Ireland - the one where a ‘music fan’ who wasn’t enamoured of Dylan’s new electric-guitar driven direction yelled out “Judas” at the Jewish singer. The stick-thin, black-clad, tousle haired Dylan looks iconic but the ethereal image occasionally drops, as when he meets some scruffy urchins on Liverpool’s empty streets. One off-duty moment is captured as two Irish ladies get into Bob’s bedroom.

One hangs back looking impeccably 60’s cool with long dark hair, big mascara and a laid-back demeanor, a cross between Nico and Swinging London supermodel Jean Shrimpton. The other is her antithesis – a freshfaced farm girl in a polka dot dress, right in Bob’s face. Feinstein’s caption reads, perhaps euphemistically, “They were poets and he was quite taken with their poems. It made for a quick friendship.”  Omnibus Press  £24.95 Barry Feinstein’s exhibition of Bob Dylan photographs runs at Snap Galleries in Birmingham between until June 28.

The American

CD REVIEWS Home Before Dark Neil Diamond Columbia Records

Let’s start with the producer. Rick Rubin, original Beastie Boy, Def Jam founder, rap/metal crossover originator, producer of Aerosmith and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, co-head of Columbia and latterly (and unexpectedly) the genius who produced Johnny Cash’s brilliant swansong albums. Now he has recorded Neil Diamond. A step too far – a case of ‘reinventing one old singer worked, let’s dig another out’? Well, no. This album is driven by Diamond. He appears to be an obsessive-compulsive, his compulsion being to write great pop songs, ones with depth and thought behind the memorable tunes. Rubin has helped the tunes come out from beneath the overproduction and over-performance that has sometimes swamped Diamond’s work. Strippeddown mostly acoustic instrumentation, just guitars, bass, subtle keyboards and orchestra, frame passionate vocal performances, any imperfections adding emotion and deliberately left, not airbrushed away. Home Before Dark is as powerful as anything Diamond has ever done, and the Neil Diamond album I will go back to.

Exotic Creatures Of The Deep Sparks Li’l Beethoven Records

Anyone who can expose their entire recorded catalogue to public performance is clearly confident about longterm quality control – I mean, would Bowie include Laughing Gnome and Little Drummer Boy in a live retrospective? You will know Good Morning from

the radio, a cheery singalong tale of a slightly sordid one night stand (close in subject – but not substance – to Rod the Mod’s Stay With Me). There’s a great demolition of cynical love songs in the Goldfrapp-ish I Can’t Believe That You Would Fall For All The Crap in This Song and an operatic Let The Monkey Drive. Sparks songs frequently make you double-take like Tom & Jerry, as in (She Got Me) Pregnant. And anyone who sings Lighten Up Morrissey gets my vote. Sparks are almost modern cabaret rather than rock band. I loved A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing and Kimono My House in the 70s. I love Exotic Creatures now, so much it makes me want to seek out all the rest of their 21 albums to see what I missed in the middle.

Nine Lives

Steve Winwood Columbia Records What is it with these old guys? Can’t they sit back in the old rocking chair and make room for the young ’uns? Apparently not, a damn good thing too when a sexagenarian like Steve Winwood can turn out a record like Nine Lives. Winwood somehow keeps up with the times, reinventing his sound without losing his inner ‘Winwoodiness’ – think of Gimme Some Lovin’, Paper Sun, Valerie, Higher Love, Roll with It… All the different facets of his sound are present on Nine Lives. Opener I’m Not Drowning is straight delta blues. Next song, Fly is an LA jazz-tinged ballad, Dirty City a darkly distorted guitar and organ driven blues with an Eric Clapton solo. Latin rhythms complement, not dominate, We’re All Looking and Hungry Man has South African guitar influences. Perhaps not a truly great album (how few really are) but very much worth getting hold of.

DeShannon, the superstar you didn’t know you knew

Her Own Kind Of Light: The Best of Jackie DeShannon Zonophone

Sharon Lee Myers is not a well known name. Even her more familiar nom de plume, Jackie DeShannon, is not one that trips lightly from the tongue of most pop music fans. But it should. DeShannon, a great recording and live artist, became a hugely influential singer-songwriter. She has co-written with Randy Newman, appeared in film with Bobby Vee, had a U.S. Number 1 hit record with Bacharach/David’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and sung on record with Van Morrison. But she has been even more successful as a writer. Her songs have been chosen by major performers – and you will know these tunes, instantly recognisable numbers like When You Walk In The Room, Bette Davis Eyes, Put A Little Love In Your Heart, Breakaway, In My Time Of Sorrow and Laurel Canyon. Her Own Kind Of Light is her original versions of her own work, all the songs listed above plus another 20, that stand up to the more famous covers. Comes with specially-written track-by-track notes by Jackie herself.


The American



The live music scene in the UK is vibrant and varied. Here are some highlights. We’ve included some in future months as they are expected to sell out quickly and are worth booking ahead. It’s always a good idea to check with venues or agencies for availability – dates and details may change.

ive and loving it around the UK this month are acts from all aspects of popular music. You can get tickets for most of the concerts in the country (as well as sports events, arts events, plays, musicals and tourist attractions) via our website www. Just click on Music Live, follow the links and type in the name of your favorite act. The American thoroughly recommends this lot. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something Blue: Avril Lavigne, Foo Fighters, The Osmonds 50th Anniversary Tour, Sparks (playing every note from every album they have made… and that’s a lot), Rufus Wainwright, Fleet Foxes, Black Kids (new Jacksonville, Florida indie band getting a lot of press), Mary J Blige, Neil Diamond, Judy Collins, Cat Power, Estelle,

photo by Joe Sigman


photo by Kristian Peacocke


REO Speedwagon, Joan As Police Woman, Steve Earle, Bon Jovi, Sex Pistols, Van Morrison, and Blue Oyster Cult. If that isn’t enough, we’re entering the busy festival season. Once upon a time (and not so very long ago) there were a couple of major regular festivals (Reading), a few mega sized occasional ones (Hendrix at the Isle of Wight) and a smattering of little hippyesque gatherings. Now you can hardly move for the things, much better organised than in days of yore but sometimes a little too, how you say, corporate? Anyhoo, they’re a great way to see a whole lotta bands in one place. Here’s a selection of prime cuts.


For a much more dance/indie feel to the proceedings head straight to Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands and don’t pass go. Do, however, stop to see nu-disco rocker Calvin Harris, Does It Offend You Yeah?, Editors, The Orb, The Twang, Underworld and DJs Fatboy Slim and Pete Tong. June 7-8

Download Festival

Hard and heavy, Download is the Mecca for the leather-clad, for whom the IOW is just too lightweight: Kiss, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Offspring, Incubus, Bullet For my Valentine and Lost Prophets. At Donington Park near Castle Donington in Leicestershire (Midlands). June 13-15

The American

Hard Rock Calling

Eric Clapton and The Police perform concerts in London’s Hyde Park at Hard Rock Calling. Solid support comes from festival favorites Sheryl Crow, KT Tunstall and singer/songwriter John Mayer. The festival was previously called Hyde Park Calling, but the famous restaurant chain (the London one is just across the road from the park) has sponsored it. Hard Rock Calling – restaurant not music.  June 28-29

photo by Beatrice Murch

Police Alert!

Isle of Wight

The Police, Kaiser Chiefs, Sex Pistols, N.E.R.D., KT Tunstall, Ian Brown, Iggy & the Stooges (how did Iggy come to be listed lower down the bill than former Stone Roses singer Brown?)  June 13-15

Wychwood Festival

Wychwood Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire, a lovely part of England in the rural West. There’s hardly an American act as far as we can see, but The Proclaimers (very much from Scotland), Robyn Hitchcock & the Psychedelic Trams (whimsically southern English) and The Divine Comedy (clever luscious pop from Ireland) should provide enough variety, when teamed with Duffy (Wales), the northern English songbird Kate Rusby and the Senegalese Orchestra Baobab! There’s comedy, workshop sessions and even cinema at The Groovy Movie Picture House if you feel the need to get away from the volume. Wychwood is making a name for itself as an alternative to the alternative, a civilised, smaller, friendlier Glastonbury. Get packing now, it’s on from May 30 to June 1st. (Lucky The American comes out early!)

BOOK NOW George Jones is unstoppable. People say that Keith Richards is going to outlive us all but I have a suspicion that George will see Keef off. If you’re in Ireland, North or South, you have the chance to see the Grand Ol’ Man on August 5th at Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena, NI; and 8th and 9th at The Royal Theatre, Co Mayo. He also stars at… The UTV Country Music Festival in Dungannon Park Co.Tyrone, in the heart of Northern Ireland, features George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Nanci Griffith, Gene Watson and Vernon Oxford among many genuines country stars, American and Irish. August 2-3.

R.E.M. have announced four outdoor summer stadium shows in August. Special guests confirmed so far are Editors and Guillemots. Britain seems to have a particular affinity with R.E.M. so the atmosphere should be magical. The dates are August 24 Manchester, Lancashire County Cricket Club; 25th Cardiff, Millennium Stadium; 27th Southampton, Rose Bowl; 30th Twickenham Stadium, Middlesex. Madonna – just the two UK dates for Madge this year. Oh well, she’s selling up her country pile (a couple of longbow shots away from The American’s rural retreat on the Dorset border) so maybe she’s not feeling quite so much of a Brit these days. August 23 Cardiff Millennium Stadium; September 11 Wembley Stadium.


Win Tickets!

London International Music Show ExCeL, London, Thursday 12 – Sunday 15 June 2008


he London International Music Show (LIMS) comes to London this summer, with four spectacular days set to represent the entire music industry. As the only event of its kind, London International Music Show will play host to a musical community at ExCeL London with one common aim – to make music! Whether people are new to music or seasoned professionals, The London International Music Show is a show for everyone. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument regardless of age or ability and will feel inspired by performances from some of the industry’s most influential musicians. A great day out for the whole family, the London International Music Show brings together a community of like-minded people, amazing equipment manufacturers, demonstrations, performances and experts all under one roof.


The London International Music Show now includes four great shows, the hugely successful Drummer Live and London Guitar Shows plus the brand new Unplugged and Sound Recording Technology events. With the music capital of the world as its backdrop, it is set to rival established music events across the globe. For your chance to win a pair of tickets to this year’s London International Music Show, simply answer the following question:

The London International Music Show brings together how many fantastic shows? A: Two B: Three C: Four D: Five


For your chance to win one of FIVE pairs of tickets, send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, MONDAY JUNE 9th, 2008. Email it to with LIMS in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: LIMS COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Be quick – the show starts on June 12th. You must be 18 years old or over to enter this competition. Only one entry per person per draw. The editor’s decision is final. For further information, or to purchase tickets to this years event please call- 01353 660780 or click on

The American

More Tickets to be Won!

Def Leppard G

et ready for some Hysteria! One of the mightiest hard rock groups on the scene, hailing from Sheffield, Yorkshire, England and massive in the USA, Def Leppard are prowling the world’s arenas. Second on the bill are Whitesnake, supported by the young Edmonton, Kentucky, based Black Stone Cherry.


ou can’t argue with the numbers – it’s 42 years since Neil Diamond first hit the charts, he has had an extraordinary 45 albums on the Billboard 200, and now his new album Home Before Dark is having huge success here and in the States. He will be singing songs from the new record along with the hits you know and love at Wembley Arena on June 27. One of two pairs of tickets could be yours if you answer this question: “I thought love was only true in fairy tales” is the opening line from a song written by Neil Diamond which became a hit for which band? A: The Monkees B: The Beatles C: The Byrds

To win a pair of tickets to the Wembley Arena gig on June 26, courtesy of Live Nation, just answer the following: Def Leppard’s number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 was: A: Love Hurts B: Love Screams C: Love Bites


Send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, Friday June 20. Email it to theamerican@ with DEF LEPPARD COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: DEF LEPPARD COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Tickets are for the June 26 performance. You must be 18 years old or over to enter this competition. Only one entry per person per draw. The editor’s decision is final.

Win Tickets to see Neil Diamond HOW TO ENTER

Send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, Friday June 20. Email it to theamerican@ with NEIL DIAMOND COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: NEIL DIAMOND COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Tickets are for the June 27 performance. You must be 18 years old or over to enter this competition. Only one entry per person per draw. The editor’s decision is final.


The American

As I was saying...

Bob Pickens was our editor for 13 years. We’re delighted to welcome him back as a regular columnist.


’ll be back” was the utterance of the evil-then-heroic Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 cyborg, which became a catch phrase for zillions of kids and quite a few adults, and was probably the most cashable soundbite ever, resulting in two more movies of the same ilk and a lot of gold for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played the Terminator. It even had a role in launching his gubernatorial career under the moniker “The Governator.” And there was the corn-cob pipe smoking General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who, after escaping the besieged Corregidor fortress in a PT boat, told first an Australian and then (repeatedly) a global, audience “I shall return”. He


did, a couple of years later in the theatrical style which he favored, wading onto the shore of Leyte Bay with his pipe belching and his Ray-Ban aviators becoming the most iconic eyepieces until Buddy Holly’s. Churchill did it too, when he lost, then won back the job of being British Prime Minister, as did Grover Cleveland, when he became the only President to serve two split terms of office, although I don’t know that either of them became famous for a declaration that they would be back in the saddle again. And even Napoleon had his come-back, but as beautiful as the French language is, “Je serai de retour” just doesn’t pack the punch to make anyone believe you will, even if you really, really mean it. So I feel that I’m in pretty good company when I say “Hey, ya’ll. I’m here again” (think Gomer Pyle, not General MacArthur) as a kick-start to this piece. You see, up until about 1994 I used to edit The American. That’s when it was a newspaper. And I wasn’t really the editor; my handle was associate editor, but I’m darned if I can remember the guy who called himself the editor for the 13 years I was there ever having written a single paragraph for publication in the paper, or having spent even an hour in the office to make sure the phones were answered, the club news was typed out, or the classified ads were in the right category. So yeah,

I edited it. I’m the one who burned the midnight oil. There, after 15 years of holding that little secret in I’ve finally spilled the beans… And it was good times for the newspapering business. Back in 1980, if you were an American living in the UK, there was no other way to get word about your community apart from word of mouth. And as the US community here was pretty much split up into two parts of roughly equal size – military and civilian – which only mingled in their margins, a great many people from one group never knew much of what was going on in the other. And consequently they often had really weird stereotyped ideas about what the other was all about. When I fell into the job, The American was mainly concerned with printing page after page of photos of people holding wine glasses at the various civilian clubs’ social evenings; printing the teacher-supplied reports of as many elementary school projects it could get a hold of; collating reams of Department of Defense Public Affairs Office press releases; and cashing in on the handouts of free meals, theatre tickets and travel books under the guise of writing a review for the readers. Of current events news there was, possibly, a couple of column inches – when it was one of the more hardhitting issues. So one of my first objectives

The American

starters, it won’t be a newspaper any more. I’ll be seeing it in its new guise for the first time when the postman delivers it, and I already know I’ll miss the feel of ink rubbing off onto my fingertips. Ah, the good old days – used to have my batman iron my copy, so I could open that front page with a crack, don’t you know.

”Back in 1980, if you were an American living in the UK, there was no other way to get word about your community apart from word of mouth.” I wish them luck, and am pleased that Michael, the new editor, says they intend to adjust the content to meet the demands of the readers. Repeat: the R-E-A-D-E-R-S. So, expat community, this is your chance to let them know what you want the magazine to become. They need your help, your feedback, your trust – and your subscription. Every organization in the expat community ought to purchase a year’s club subscription as a sign of support and goodwill for their effort to revive this old title. In that regard, nothing has changed. It doesn’t take an Isaac Newton to see whether the editorial content serves the needs of its audience, and whether it is carefully and thoughtfully crafted into a 30minute read from which Bill PP

when I landed the job was to start putting things into a balance that I felt was a better representation of the community, and which provided expats with a source of community information that they would actually need to read – and which as a result would be able to sell lots of advertising space to firms that wanted to send their commercial message to the community. We did a reasonably good job, that little team of three and a half people in our office. We were recognized for it: by some of the trade press and national newspapers for our newsgathering efforts, by our bank for having made more money than had ever been previously made, and by a few lawyers and Chamber of Commerce officers who did their best to punish us for having taken a fair and objective viewpoint on their client’s or their own activities (read as a “non-condescending” viewpoint). But times have changed. Now you can get news about Americans in the UK from e-mail, internet websites, radio, podcasts and blogs, and even a few of the traditional club or school newsletters are still around. Tune in, log on or subscribe to all those and you’ll quickly get yourself into a situation of information overload. Of course, you can stay in your tightly defined narrow channel of data and you might be perfectly happy there. But if you’re a curious sort and want a wider band of news, there’s the option to go to someone who will do all that gathering for you, assesses what they’ve learned, evaluate it for the most relevant, important and entertaining bits, and then assemble it into one convenient package. That’s what the new(ish) owners of The American tell me they’re going to do. There are some things they’re changing that I will miss. For

you take away some genuine, fresh and even vital information. That was the guideline I used to set for myself: grabbing 30 minutes of the reader’s time with each issue. National daily newspapers can only plan on getting about 15 minutes from the average reader, so doubling that is pretty good going. Good value for advertisers, too, and advertising support is something else the magazine needs. So, just as 25 or so years ago when I was gathering articles – articles about RAF Upper Heyford F-111s making combat flights into Tripoli; about the London Warrior’s exhibition baseball games at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s football ground; about the preacher who resigned after having an affair with a parishioner; about the Art of the American West show at the ICA; about the families who lost children or parents over Lockerbie; about whether Koo Stark and Prince Andrew were an item; about Sam Wanamaker’s quest to build the Globe Theatre; about all kinds of remarkable fellow Americans stuck off in various corners of this wonderful land: glassmakers, boat builders, dulcimer players, stockbrokers, alternative lifestyle gurus, urban planners – way back then I needed your ideas and comments and feedback and support. Because it was your newspaper, and your input was what made it good. Well now it’s your magazine, and it is time for you to again give it that same fantastic support you kindly gave me a quarter of a century ago. n


The American

The Royal Procession at Ascot, one of Her Majesty’s favorite places ALL ASCOT PHOTOS © Action Images / Ascot Racecourse

The Season

Will you be with the In-Crowd this Summer, asks Michael Burland


raditionally “The Season” was rigidly defined as a certain number of sporting and cultural events through the summer, beginning with the presentation of ‘debs’ – young upper class ladies coming out onto the social scene - to the monarch, a tradition that died out in 1958. Standards have slipped! The classics have been joined by some jumped-up newcomers and they let in normal people. Join the upper crust of British society at some great events … Glyndebourne Opera Festival is a one-off. Top class opera beside a stately home, picnic and champagne provided by oneself and eaten, wearing full evening dress, on the lawn. If you are arriving from abroad or don’t have a car, take the special train


from Victoria Station – no mixing with the riff-raff. From May throughout the summer. Named for Lord Derby, The Derby was first run in 1780 and gave its name to top class horseracing worldwide. It’s held at Epsom, 30 miles south of London. Go on Derby Day, the Saturday when the Queen goes ( June 7). Ideally get tickets to the Queen’s Stand and dress formally in morning coat (tails) and top hat for the gentlemen, formal day dress and hat for ladies. The other racing treat of the summer is Royal Ascot. The Queen is here too but unlike many of her public appearances racing is no imposition. She loves horseracing and if you get close you will see a genuine

royal smile. Thursday is Ladies’ Day, June 19, where fashion is as important as the sport - huge hats are a must. Try to get into the Royal Enclosure – tickets are hard to get, but try the Ascot Office at St. James’ Palace or the U.S. Embassy. Wimbledon – you don’t have to add “Tennis Championship”. Run by the All England Tennis and Croquet Club since 1877, it wouldn’t be the same without strawberries and cream, rain-stopped-play and line-call disputes. Everyone tries to get tickets for Centre Court, especially for the finals, but it can be fun to wander around and see players – sometimes very famous ones – close-up playing on the smaller outer courts earlier in the week. June 23 to July 6.

The American

photo by Hilary Perkins


Wimbledon, Glastonbury and the Albert Hall, three places to enjoy The Season

south coast). It dates from 1826, the days of King George IV and the social scene is as spectacular as the yachts. At the Proms (officially The BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concert season) music fans will enjoy a series of great performances at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, from midJuly to mid-September. The one to be at is the famous Last Night of the Proms. Normally straight laced establishment types dress up, throw streamers, blow hooters and generally act silly to a soundtrack of fabulous and rousing classical music. The Season also includes the Chelsea Flower Show and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, but nowadays it could also be said to encompass the Glastonbury Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Royal Windsor Horse Show, cricket Test Matches, the British Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival meetings and even at a pinch London’s Notting Hill Carnival. n

Pink hats for summer – fashion at Ascot, tradition on the Umpire’s Launch at Henley

courtesy Henley Royal Regatta

Another fixture from way back, Henley Royal Regatta was first held in 1839. Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert was its first Royal Patron. Henley-on-Thames hosts the rowing fest. The place to be seen (count the number of people actually facing the River Thames as the boats fly by) is in the Stewards En closure. Dress code is especially strict for females. More than one American lady has been turned away for the sin of wearing a smart trouser suit or a skirt deemed to be too short. July 2-6. The Cartier International Polo Day claims to be the biggest polo day in the world. It’s hosted by the Guards Polo Club, so we won’t argue! The Duke of Edinburgh has been its President ever since and you’re guaranteed to see royalty, celebrities and top polo players at Smith’s Lawn in the Great Park at Windsor on July 27. Cowes Week (August 2-9) is when the in-crowd heads off to Cowes on the Isle of Wight (the diamond shaped lump off England’s

The American

A Real Life Move  to the Sun Part I: Living the Journey


oving to the countryside of England from New York City was quite a culture shock for a city girl from Manhattan, and a move I was sure would be my major life change. During my seven years in England, I was fortunate to be afforded exceptional opportunities – writing, radio presenting and of course my introduction to Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace which definitely topped the chart. Over the years, with a number of ups and downs, Ken and I were reaching a new plateau – retirement age (for him at least!) was on the horizon. In September 2007, Ken and I enjoyed a well-deserved holiday in Spain, our fourth trip to the Costa del Sol and an area we thoroughly enjoyed, English being the second

Riki Evans Johnson used to live in England and day-trip to the Continent – now it’s the other way round

language! Although I had many extracurricular activities, after three and a half years, my full-time job was extremely stressful as a manager for a high-end shoe company; and Ken, (having been made redundant at 60 in international sales, after 30 years with his company) worked on average 80 hours a week as a taxi driver. He loved his job, but it was wreaking havoc on his time and health. We both had Thursdays off, the only day of the week we could possibly spend together, and some weeks that didn’t work out as either he or I had to change our day-off. We went through the six weeks before Christmas not

Sunrise over the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lerma, Spain. [credit] photo by Riki Evans


spending one full day together. One Sunday evening, exhausted from an 89 hour week, Ken came home and asked me to consider the idea of selling up and moving to Spain. In an instant I replied, “You make the reservations, I’ll pack.” We are not in the upper echelon of wealth to just sell up and lay on the beach with a glass of Sangria on a daily basis, not by half. We owned a small terrace house on the Suffolk/ Cambridge border and did not have millions in the bank in which to live off the interest, but it was time to find ‘the better way’. For most of us, permanent life on the Costa del Sol is only a dream, but for Ken and me, it was an idea we seriously considered. Over the next month our extensive ‘homework’ covered health insurance, taxation, bank accounts, residency permits, working qualifications, buying a car in Spain, and of course the really important aspects of life: satellite TV, mobile phone SIM cards, and Internet availability. I contacted the ACS in London and Madrid, made exhaustive Internet contacts of long term rental agents and private rental owners, read blog after blog from UK and US expats

The American

Nerja, looking good as Riki’s temporary home ©

who have relocated permanently to Spain and ended up with a file the weight of the Manhattan telephone directory – the usefulness of which, according to Spanish regulations, would have made a great doorstop. Deciding to rent and not buy a property immediately, in order to get ourselves ingrained into the lifestyle and see if where we chose to live, between Torre del Mar and Nerja, would be right for us, we took the plunge. Basically, we felt this was the right time and if we didn’t do it now, we never would. Our plan was to put the house on the market in late January, hoping the house would sell by late March, thereby moving to Spain around May. Ken would become an OAP (only in age, not vitality) in April, and we felt financially, with part-time work on both our parts, we could afford to live a comfortable, relaxed and less stressful life. Now, I do have to make a confes-

sion: I am not a lover of hot weather. Moving to England from NY and losing the ghastly hot summers and severely cold winters was a benefit. But without air-conditioning and the autumn season in Spain, I would be out of my comfort zone.

”The charity shops filled their racks with my  winter wardrobe alone” So I gave in as long as we had home comforts: air-conditioning for the oppressive heat in summer and a bath tub/shower were high points and I would go along with life in the sun. (We came to realise finding an air-conditioned house/apt. with a full bath/shower in Spain is searching for a needle in a haystack.). I also needed to lose a stone of weight to offset hot weather bloat but size 0 I’d never see!

January 22: house went on market; January 28, buyer! No way would we have imagined a quick sale. As things would have it, we sold the house with a firm commitment in eight days and complete on 31st March (our choice due to time constraints). We knew it would take a month just to clear out the loft and garage! Next step – Deciding what to take, what to sell, what to go to auction and what to give to charity was a full-time job. After rehashing day by day, we decided to take one piece of furniture, our sofa, which had an expensive recovering recently and was our most comfortable item, along with 40 large boxes and clothing wardrobes – the charity shops filled their racks with my winter wardrobe alone. We would buy a new bed and TV. The new owner bought a number of items which helped us to unload all the white goods and replaceable furniture. Sentimental and important household effects


went into storage in England to be retrieved when we found permanent housing. Just to inform those who are considering removal companies, you need to do your homework. We did not have corporations paying for our move, so expense was primary, as well as delivery direct to Spain. We had three estimates and only one was honest enough to tell us exactly how we could save money, and would drive the containers door-to-door. Note to all women readers: it was excruciating trying to decide what to take for two to three months for different climate zones from one’s entire wardrobe. As a noted clotheshorse, it took me two weeks of packing and unpacking! Then came the search for temporary shelter in Spain in order to give us time to find permanent housing. After all the Internet work of contacts hitting a dead end, we found a great place (villa, in loose terms) in our local newspaper – six weeks rental holiday home at a hefty discount (for long term) just outside Nerja, our first choice of locations. As this was temporary, we didn’t have to worry about furniture. Most homes/apartments in Spain are sold or rented fully furnished, so you have to deal with the owner to remove pieces or rooms of furniture you don’t want. Our next obstacle was working out exactly when we would arrive in Spain. Now for the nitty-gritty: We really hadn’t decided how to get to Spain! We had two cars; mine, the oldest, would be sold. A friend of Ken’s at the taxi company bought my Astra. It was a tearful goodbye. Then, what to do with his car and how to get loads of stuff we would need before our belongings arrived. Driving and the ferry from Plymouth was the answer.


© iStockphoto/gosia76

The American

”Now for the nitty-gritty: We really hadn’t decided how to get to Spain!” All was easier said than done (as usual when dealing with Spanish bureaucracy). New car insurance was necessary, found on the Internet, as our UK insurance did not insure us for ‘extended’ coverage outside the UK; an expensive tune up; accessories for a GB-plated car for Spain, including dimmers for headlights as they drive on the US side and their headlights are directed opposite the UK’s; reflector vests; flashlights (torches); many miscellaneous items; reservations for the ferry from Plymouth to Santander and plotting the drive throughout the entire country of Spain. This ‘adventure’ which we kept calling it, would be my trial by fire as I do not take well to long-haul drives; after seven years, I had not been west of the Cotswolds!) We knew that we could keep the car in Spain for 183 days before it needed to be ‘imported’ and registered. Bar-

ring that expense and loads of red tape, Ken would drive his car back to sell in the UK and fly back to Spain and we would buy a Spanish car when he returned. Driving was definitely the right answer as I tend to be a packhorse, so how to get our stuff into the car was a nerve-wracking experience. Brutality of clearance on Ken’s part (and a few tears on my part) and packing the car like a jigsaw puzzle got everything in which I felt we truly needed for two to three months. Ken would have been fine with a toothbrush, change of underwear and a pair of shorts in a tote-bag! It was now time to say goodbye. Leaving our respective jobs after Easter, we said our goodbyes to friends, waved farewell to Horsham Close on March 28th and spent the night at the local Comfort Inn. We were literally homeless, a very unnerving feeling, and the realisation of what lay ahead was upon us. n

Next month: Part 2 – To have begun is half the job


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The American

Coffee Break Coffee Break Quiz QUESTIONS

1. Which actor played ‘the Ugly’ in The Good, The Bad And The Ugly? 2. What do Germans do with a ‘handy’? 3. According to the lyrics of the song by the Weather Girls, it will start raining men at just about what time?

4.  Which make of car is named after the market it was designed for, the U.S.A.?

7. What is the correct way to address a Duke? 8. In which country is the world’s longest outdoor skating rink?

5. By what name is Barbara Millicent Roberts better known?

9. Which flag was flown by the Mayflower when the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts?

6. What do the names Charlie, Oscar, Victor, Mike and Juliet have in common?

10. Superman works for the Daily Planet, but who works for the Daily Bugle? 11. What were Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt the last men to do (at least they were when we went to press)? 12. What is the only place in the whole of Great Britain that the Queen absolutely cannot visit? Answers at foot of the page.

Last month’s Competition Winners The winners of the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss tickets in the May issue were Amber Zavala of Downham Market, Norfolk and Alicia Couzins of Harefield, Middlesex. Well done! Coffee Break Quiz Answers 1. Eli Wallach. 2. Make a phone call with it (German name for a cell phone or mobile phone). 3. Half past ten. 4. Lexus (stands for Luxury Export United States). 5. Barbie. 6. Names in the NATO phonetic alphabet. 7. Your Grace. 8. Canada (Rideau Canal, Ottawa). 9. St. George’s Cross. 10. Spiderman (a.k.a. Peter Parker). 11. Walk on the moon. 12. The House of Commons.


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It happened one... June June 1, 1925 – Lou Gehrig plays the first game in his streak of 2,130 consecutive games; a record only broken by Cal Ripken Jr. 70 years later. June 2, 1855 – The Portland Rum Riot, Portland, Maine. June 3, 1800 – President John Adams takes up residence in Washington, DC in a tavern, The White House was not finished. June 4, 1584 – Sir Walter Raleigh establishes first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina). June 5, 1851 – ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly’ by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s starts a ten-month run as a serial in the National Era abolitionist newspaper. June 6, 1932 – The Revenue Act of 1932 is enacted, creating the first gas tax in the United States, at a rate of 1 cent per gallon. June 7, 1862 – The United States of America and Great Britain agree to suppress the slave trade. June 8, 1968 – James Earl Ray is arrested for the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. June 9, 1856 – 500 Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa and head west for Salt Lake City, Utah carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts. June 10,1935 – Dr. Robert Smith takes his last drink, and Alcoholics Anonymous is founded in Akron, Ohio, United States, by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob. June 11, 1962 - Frank Morris, and John and Clarence Anglin become the only prisoners to successfully escape from the prison on Alcatraz Island.

June 12, 1775 – American Revolution: British General Thomas Gage declares martial law in Massachusetts and offers a pardon to all colonists who lay down their arms. There are two exceptions: Samuel Adams and John Hancock, if captured, were to be hanged. June 13, 1983 – Pioneer 10 becomes the first manmade object to leave the solar system. June 14, 1777 – Stars and Stripes adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States. June 15, 1215 – King John of England puts his seal to the Magna Carta. June 16, 1903 – Ford Motor Company is incorporated. June 17, 1994 – Following a televised low-speed highway chase and a failed attempt at suicide, O.J. Simpson is arrested for the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Sir Walter Raleigh

June 23, 1611 – Henry Hudson’s mutinous crew sets Henry, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they are never heard from again. June 24, 1314 – End of the Battle of Bannockburn. Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce defeat Edward II of England. Scotland regains its independence.

June 18, 1923 – Checker Cab puts its first taxi on the streets.

June 25, 1876 – Battle of the Little Bighorn and the death of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.

June 19, 1846 – The first baseball game under recognizable modern rules is played in Hoboken, New Jersey, United States.

June 26, 1963 – John F. Kennedy speaks the famous words “Ich bin ein Berliner” on a visit to West Berlin.

June 20, 1819 – The U.S. vessel SS Savannah arrives at Liverpool, United Kingdom. She is the first steam-propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic, but most of the journey was made under sail. June 21, 1964 – Three civil rights workers are murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States, by members of the Ku Klux Klan. June 22, 1825 – British Parliament abolishes feudalism and the seigneurial system in British North America.

June 27, 1985 – U.S. Route 66 ceases to be an official U.S. highway. June 28, 1997 – Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield II – Tyson is disqualified in the 3rd round for biting a piece from Holyfield’s ear. June 29, 1613 – The Globe Theatre in London, England burns to the ground. June 30, 1953 – The first Chevrolet Corvette rolls off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan. Thanks to all our friends at Wikipedia


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Bumpkin Dining out at

Reviewed by Mary Bailey


umpkin is a (sometimes) affectionate British term for country people. The restaurant was created to offer traditional country food with a British focus. The quality of the food is excellent, the décor ‘funky country’ is fun and of course the area, Notting Hill Gate is well known to food (and film) lovers. Bumpkin is a large square build-


ing with four floors and three open kitchens. The ground floor houses the brasserie - no booking here, just stroll in. The first floor is the main restaurant, it’s best to book here, we went on a Tuesday evening and it was comfortably full. There is a private dining room on the next floor and finally on the top is The Attic for late night parties and games. I always notice the lighting in a ‘grown up’ restaurant; I think it should be cosy enough to make you want to stay, bright enough to read the menu but not so bright that it shows up a lady’s mascara!… here it was just right. Indeed my companion Guy thought the designers should be congratulated as the atmosphere is terrific We were met by the General Manager, Dariush, assisted by Rebecca who showed us to our table. An important thing about this place

is the excellence of the staff, who had the knack of being friendly without going too far. They seemed to be actually enjoying themselves and hoping you would too. Guy spoke very highly of Genevieve who, confessing they were out of Dubonnet, comforted him with an enormous Bloody Mary. I had a dry sherry with my starter of the first of the English Asparagus. Guy had the mushrooms on toast., which he followed with a salmon fillet. This was rather dry, he had asked for it well done which may have been the trouble and it was served black side up. I had one of the pots, Chicken and pearl onions. The pots and pies are a strong feature of the menu going with the ambience of real country cooking. Vegetables, a good selection, are served separately. There is plenty of fish together with traditional

The American

The Dali Universe:

The Dali Cafe

Reviewed by Virginia E. Schultz


dishes such as pork belly with apple sauce and rack of lamb. There were plenty of unusual items on the menu, I was tempted by potato soup with Welsh Rabbit Toast and puddings included a delightfully old fashioned treacle tart. With our main course we shared a bottle of a delicious New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The wine list is really excellent (yes, there are a few English wines) and with the puddings they indicate a suitable glass of liqueur or wine, which I have not seen done before. Of course it is tempting, however we were rather full and shared an enjoyable English cheeseboard. Bumpkin do a Sunday Roast for £24, for the rest it is really what you want, from a light bite to a full dinner. If you want an old fashioned really grand restaurant this is not it, but if you want to enjoy good traditional food in a happy atmosphere with just enough formality …go Bumpkin.

Westbourne Park Road, London, W11 1EA. 020 243 9818

aking a long slow spin on the London Eye has become a top tourist attraction to anyone visiting London. On a clear day, there is a breathtaking view from the top that excites everyone no matter how often they’ve done it, as I discovered when I joined friends from Houston who had experienced the ride on three previous occasions. Knowing they’ve visited most of the other attractions along the Southbank, I took them to the Dali Universe, a permanent retrospective of Salvador Dali, the great surrealist and creative genius of the twentieth century. Set in County Hall, a short distance from the London Eye, the 30,000 square feet gallery features the largest collection of Dali sculptures in the world as well as rare graphics, jewellery, glass objects, etchings, furniture, tapestries, lithographs, watercolours and paintings, alongside black and white photographs of Picasso taken by Andre Villars. The exhibition has three themes, “Sensuality and Femininity”, “Religion and Mythology” and “Dreams and Fantasy”. Dali’s signature melting watch is everywhere. I loved the colossal oil painting for Alfred Hitchcock’s film Spellbound. My friends preferred the wood and red satin sofa modelled on Mae West’s lips. We admired the well-known sculpture Buste de Femme Retrospect, one of the defining classics of Surrealism from the l930s. Having delighted ourselves visually and intellectually, we had to do something about the hunger pangs we were beginning to feel.

Fortunately on the premises is ‘The Dali Cafe’. Throughout Dali’s life, food played an important role in his work and he even produced an exceptionally beautiful cook book, Les Diners de Gala. The cafe was a pale green and white haven after the mind boggling exhibition. I had a glass of “Salvador Dali”, carrots and clementines, my friend the “Spellbound”, raw beetroot, carrot, orange and spinach, and her husband a glass of Torres Mas Rabell. We couldn’t make up our minds as to what we would like from Chef Sebastian Ryder’s Spanish influenced menu, so decided to have a selection of dishes which we would then share. The hot corn-fed chicken sandwich with lemon and sage was my friend’s favourite while her husband preferred the Catalonian beef pie (£6.95) so much, he ordered a second one which he ate, don’t ask me how, all by himself. The three of us enjoyed the Serrano ham, artichoke, and tomato salad (£5.95), but my favourite was the creamy custardy Quiche (£4.95). For dessert I chose a chocolate cup cake with vanilla ice cream while my friends shared a huge very buttery shortbread cookie with jam between, the cafe’s signature dessert, and strawberry cheese cake dessert. Both were absolutely delicious, they assured me. There was a wonderful selection of teas, but we decided on coffee (£2.00) to help keep us awake as we were going to the nearby National Theatre later that evening. County Hall, Riverside Buildings, Southbank, London SE1 7PB 0870 744 7485


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Roussillon Dining out at

Reviewed by Virginia E. Schultz


alt is salty, sugar is sweet, sloes are sour, and orange peel is bitter, but what describes the savoury, meaty taste of mushrooms or chicken soup? Umami is the answer, and that night Roussillon’s had chef Alexis Gauthier was offering us a special menu of specifically designed umami combinations. Umami is called the “fifth taste”...which as Nelly Pateras, my guest at the dinner, said contradicts everything we were taught as children. Sweet, sour, salty were the original tastes until the Greek philosopher Democritus took up the question over two thousand years ago and added bitter. Plato and Aristotle agreed and so did everyone until Auguste Escoffier came along. In late l800’s Paris, Escoffier opened the most glamorous, expensive, revolutionary restaurant in the city then wrote a cookbook, The Guide Culinaire. Modern chefs still have it on their shelves. The meals he created tasted new and original. He invented a veal stock with a new


flavour but because it was none of the original combination of the ‘four tastes’, it wasn’t ‘real’. People paid a fortune to eat at his restaurant, but to scientists it was all fantasy. On the other side of the world, in 1908, a chemist named Kikunae Ikeda was discovering something similar when he was enjoying a bowl of dashi, a classic soup made from seaweed. Dashi had been used by Japanese cooks much the same way Escoffier used stock as a base for all kinds of foods. Ikeda went to his lab to find out the secret ingredient and discovered it was glutamic acid which he renamed “umami”, meaning delicious or yummy in Japanese. In 2000, scientists led by Nirupa Chaudhari at the Miami School of Medicine finally confirmed the umami taste and identify its cause. Humans have receptors L-glutamate and when something is really, really yummy in a non salt, sweet, sour, or bitter way, its this fifth taste they’re enjoying. Probably because they were

scientists, not chefs, they named this “new” taste in Ikeda’s honour, “umami” instead of “miam miam” as the French would have said it. The always adventurous Alexis Gauthier decided to create a menu that would show the French characteristics of umami cuisine, so his customers might experience the explosiveness of the flavour that can transform a dish from being just good to “succulently delicious”. Nelly and I started with Egg and Parmesan Reggiano Custard, spring Blanchetta Truffle and veal jus. It definitely had the “wow” factor. Nelly, whose French nose twitches disdainfully at the mention of cheese, stated she wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. Next came Green Asparagus rolled in Parmesan, then cooked delicately in brown butter and chicken jus. Plain delicious. The combination of Pan-Fried Fillet of Daurade, caramelised shallots with light soy sauce pulled the individual flavour from the fish while enhancing the taste.

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Nelly’s dislike of cheese matches one of my aversions, so when the lightly battered calf ’s sweetbreads with spring onions, morels in veal jus appeared in front of me, I took a deep breath and tasted slowly... then again... but in sheer pleasure. Because we were uncertain about the umami menu, we had Roberto Della Pietra, the head sommelier and Roussillon’s wine buyer, choose the wine. In the times I’ve eaten at Roussillon, Roberto has never let me down. Frankly, unless you’re a wine expert, having the advice of a top sommelier like Roberto is not only smart, but rather dumb if you don’t. With our first course I enjoyed the 2006 Muscat Sec Les Audacieux, Vin de Pays des Cotes Catgalanes, Domaine Piquemal, Roussillon over the 2005 Sauvignon sur Lie from Domaine St. Paul, Languedoc. That was personal opinion and I’m not certain Nelly would agree. The 2006 Saint-Chinian Blanc, Chateau Puysserguier, Languedoc and the 2884 Saint-Chinan Rouge from the same wine maker were excellent as was the 1984 Rivesaltes, Domaine Gerard Bertrand, Roussillon. But, it was the Pommeau de Normandie, Christian Drouin, Normandie that blew away my taste buds. I’m not sure I would recognise that “fifth taste” unless I was seriously thinking about it only because my brain is set on four. Alexis’ combinations rendered the first four tastes undetectable, yet, at the same time enhanced all the flavours. He definitely deserves an extra star.

16 St. Barnabas Street, Pimlico, London SW1 8PE 020 7730 5550


The American

The M

Bear at Hungerford

any pubs, inns and hotels call themselves the oldest this or most historic that in the country. The Bear has a better claim than most. It dates back to the early 13th Century – yes that’s the 1200s! It was owned by King Henry VIII who gave it to Anne of Cleves then, fickle monarch, to Katherine Parr. Queen Elizabeth I stayed there after the Armada (her coachman passed away during the stay, but don’t let that put you off ) and William of Orange met James II’s council in his bedchamber at The Bear where he received the English Crown to become King William III. That’s some historical bragging rights. In more recent times – since the late eighties – the hotel went into sad decline after being taken over by a chain, who seemingly did not know how to fit the quirky old place into a corporate plan. But the new owners of The Bear, a group of private investors, are keen to recognize and


Reviewed by Michael Burland maintain the old, but bring The Bear right up to date, making it an individual boutique hotel. Nothing is too much trouble, they say, all you need do is ask. All that history, with all the facilities of a modern hotel? Sounds like an ideal place for our readers to visit, we thought. We went to take a look. We even took the dogs – unusually The Bear welcomes pooches who stay free of charge, in ground-level bedrooms in an barn-conversion annexe overlooking the river, and have dog beds and even a pack of dog biscuits supplied at no extra cost! The main building has more character than the dog-friendly annexe. Some of the rooms have warped and tilting floors without a right angle to be seen. That’s 800 years of character for you. The décor carefully keeps the old features but adds modern class,

The Bear combines sleek modern style with really old world charm.

with modern art, Wi-Fi and internet connections and flat-screen TVs in every room. Prices are reasonable, £125 for a Standard room, not including breakfast, up to £190 for a Suite. Chef Phil Wild and his team recently won their second AA Rosette, and no surprise, the food is worth traveling for alone. All the dishes had something special with well-chosen ingredients, just surprising enough to titillate the imagination and the palate, but not enough to be silly or confusing – some London trend-setting spots take note. Our starters, salad of roast

La Capanna For the finest Italian dining experience in the most picturesque of settings, perfect for that romantic dinner for two, a family celebration or business entertainment.

L Table d’Hôte, 2 courses only £16.95 La Capanna Special Menu, 2 courses only £29.95 Sunday Lunch, 3 courses only £24.95 Children’s Menu – £12.00 48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey

01932 862121

Book your table online on our website: Business account customers and party bookings are welcome. All major credit cards accepted.


a Capanna, now celebrating its 30th year, was built from an old farm house discovered in the Sussex countryside, which has been rebuilt behind the facade of an equally old 17th century cottage at the end of Cobham high street. The result is a large and spacious rustic restaurant, boasting a wealth of exposed beams and high ceilings, enjoying a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere where you will be well looked after. Enjoy eating al fresco in the lovely riverside Italian Garden. The restaurant also prides itself on catering for large parties such as weddings or birthdays. The food at La Capanna is prepared with singular taste and imagination by head chef Matthew Crook. The antipasto specials trolley, which is brought to your table, has a varied and unique selection of Italian starters that are complimented by a comprehensive a la carte menu. La Capanna offers the best of whatever is in season, and its selection of fresh fish and seafood, meat, and game is second to none.

“La Capanna must boast the prettiest interior of any restaurant I have ever dined in” – David Billington, Hello Magazine

Your Local Italian Restaurant with menus to suit all tastes and pockets

Sunday Lunch 3 Course Menu £19.95 including our famous buffet table Ideal for celebrations of all sizes, whether it be dinner for two, a party or business lunch. Try our new Brunch Menu – we are open all day to welcome you for coffee or something more substantial, and while you relax we can valet your car.

Mondo Restaurant, 2 Temple Hall, Monument Hill, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 8RH 01932 843470 • •

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quail and crayfish with champagne dressing, and a goats cheese and red onion tart with marinated olives set the scene. Wine is reasonably priced, with a good Pouilly Fume at £27. Hungerford is not a major tourist draw in itself, despite being a pretty and pleasant old market town with individual non-chain antiques shops, but it is a great place to base yourself for a look around the south of England, as it is right in the middle of the south. Perfect for a weekend break too. On the doorstep are lovely walks along the Kennet & Avon Canal. Golfers can get their fix at the Marlborough and West Berkshire Golf Clubs and the area is a centre of horse racing with Lambourn, a big training area, and Newbury racecourse nearby.

The Bear Hotel, 41 Charnham Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0EL 01488 682512

Cellar Talk by Virginia E. Schultz


am going to Ascot for the first time in several years. As always, the picnic I’m taking will include smoked salmon sandwiches and champagne. From time to time I try to come up with something slightly more imaginative, but since there are only three of us I decided to stick to a simple menu. Chicken and potato salad, of course, and a dessert that is easy to prepare. Perhaps strawberry and blackberry cobbler. I can make the cobbler in the morning, assemble the strawberries and blackberries, and put the cream in my cooler along with the Champagne and the Alsace wine. The 2005 vintage in Alsace has been wonderful in most of the grape varieties and wine styles. While many of the vintages in Alsace rely on a long moderate growing season to achieve ripeness and balance, 2005 seemed to have a mind of its own. First there was a warm dry winter which ended in March with heavy rainfall that aided bud break in April. Spring through summer was dry, with heat tossed in from time to time, helping encourage a rapid growth of grapes. Then, just as the producers began to fear there might be too much dryness, rainfall showed up in late July and August followed by a cool period that helped maintain the acidity level and maturation of the grapes. A warm autumn delighted everyone, especially the region’s late harvest and dessert style wines. Alsace wines, especially Gewurztraminer, are wonderful to take on a

picnic. The soft, almost rosewater fruit with its touch of spice can handle the chicken, potato salad and cobbler far better than a Riesling, especially a Grand Cru. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but with a picnic one wine other than Champagne is all you need. If you don’t like a Gewurz, and sadly many people don’t, take a Pinot Gris instead. However, if wine or champagne is not something you want to have on a picnic, why not mix up a batch of cocktails to take along instead? Make up a batch of whatever you enjoy, pour into a clean milk carton and stick into your cooler along with a bag of ice cubes and garnish. n

MOSCOW MULE This drink was dreamed up in Los Angeles in the 1940s by John Martin who was trying to sell Smirnoff vodka. As it happened, Jack Morgan, owner of the Cock ‘n Bull was trying to sell a ginger beer he concocted, the two got together and a drink was born. 1½ oz Vodka 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2/3 cup of chilled ginger beer. Fill a 12 ounce glass three fourths full with ice cubes. Add vodka, lime juice and ginger beer and gently stir. Pour into the glass with ice cubes, add garnish and serve.

The American

Win Tickets Afterlife to see

National Theatre From June 3 The world premiere of Michael Frayn’s new play, Afterlife, which tells the story of Max Reinhardt, one the greatest impresarios of theatrical history. The National Theatre’s award-winning productions of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen and Democracy opened to huge critical acclaim and subsequently transferred to Broadway.

Competition Win three pairs of tickets For your chance to win one of three pairs of tickets, send your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by June 27. Email it to with AFTERLIFE COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: AFTERLIFE COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. You must be 18 years old or over to enter this competition. Only one entry per person per draw. The editor’s decision is final. (Excludes Saturday evening and matinee performances)


Great seats just £35, plus FREE pre-show drink!

Call 020 7452 3000 and quote ‘American Magazine Offer’. Valid for performances from 11 June – 5 August. Excludes Saturday evenings and all matinees. (Subject to availability. Seats normally £39.50)


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Cece Mills picks her Arts and Exhibitions for June, highlights the county of Oxfordshire and ponders the aesthetic merits of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 Turmoil and Tranquillity National Maritime Museum, London June 20, 2008 to January 11, 2009 One of my most favourite subjects to paint and to look at in other peoples work is the subject of water, in particular the sea. This fabulous exhibition is stuffed with wonderful images of the sea through the eyes of Flemish and Dutch masters (1550 – 1700). This period marks the time in which the Dutch Republic became so powerful, with settlements and trading posts all over the world, from the East Indies to the Americas. You can see tremendous shipwrecks and stormy seas as well as calm and tranquil coastal waters.


Above: Deux Contes, Pablo Picasso Below: Jan Porcellis, English Ships in Rough Sea

Blood on Paper Victoria and Albert Museum, London From April 15th The art of the book. This is particularly relevant at a time when books seem to be – on the face of it – in the process of being taken over by computers and digital information. Artists books come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and genres. Matisse, Picasso, Anselm Kiefer, Anish Kapoor, and indeed most 20th and 21st century artists, have produced books of one sort or another. Used to work out ideas, illustrate their creative processes, reveal the soul of their work and to experiment, these books become works of art in their own right. Here is an amazing exhibition, including huge sculptures and installations on the art of the book.

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Edgar Degas, Café Concert at Les Ambassadeurs, 1876-1877 Courtesy Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. © MBA Lyon / Alain Basset

The classic Scandia Lounge Chair at Olympia in June courtesy Mullendorf Antiques

Sophie Ryder and Helen Escobedo Yorkshire Sculpture Park Until November Two great artists at a fantastic venue. Sophie Ryder’s work includes large drawings in wire, sculptures, and works on paper. She combines human and animal forms, attitudes and instincts, using herself as the model. Meanwhile, Helen Escobedo brings an interesting perspective to the cylindrical form based on the concept of baled hay, present in so many images of British rural life. Twenty cylindrical structures are sited

in a square acre at the Sculpture Park, with inner and outer layers of mesh creating weird sensations of shifting and moving with the landscape behind.

Impressive Interiors National Gallery, Dublin All the old Impressionist favourites – Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas etc – but this time depicting room interiors, from the intimate to the informative. From Paris bars and cafes, and the quiet ambience of ‘home’, to the busy places of work giving us an insight into social conditions of the 1800s.

Festivals and Jollies: Olympia International Arts and Antiques Fair June 5-15

The Scandia chair is amongst other Norwegian furniture classics exhibited and sold by Mullendorf Antiques, just one of the 250 exhibitors at the Fair. Here you can look and buy from some of the world’s leading international dealers and experience the widest selection of world-class art and antiques. With furniture, fine art, antiquities, oriental works, books, textiles, clocks, sculpture and glass.


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North Devon Festival 200 arts events in 80 towns and villages throughout June. See for a full list.

Richard Prince

Serpentine Gallery 26 June - 7 September

American Richard Prince, painter, photographer, sculptor and collector, follows his Guggenheim exhibition with a special one for the Serpentine featuring a selection of his most iconic works plus new sculptures.

Cece Mills Hemmings

Patrick Mills Seashore paintings and photography Dorset Art Weeks Venue 170 12 Swyre, near Bridport


Above: Wave II by our own Cece Mills

As well as the charming Mills venue in Swyre, near Bridport, where you can come and meet your Arts Correspondent in the flesh, there are some cracking and innovative places to visit other artists about the county. How about visiting sculptor Sarah Gilpin in her beach hut at the famous Portland Bill. With no water or electricity there you may be pushing it to ask for a cup of tea, but instead can appreciate the benefits of such a unique studio position for inspiration. Another fabulous place to visit is Oliver Strong’s Cider Orchard in Waytown, which he is transforming into a safari park full of animal sculptures. Full details of all the venues can be found on the DAW website And don’t forget what I said last month – 10% discount if you flash this magazine or last month’s copy of the paper in front of me. See you in Swyre!


Spotlight on


any of our readers live and work in and around Oxfordshire, but how many of you have visited the adorable museum in Uffington? Home village to Sir John Betjeman, Uffington has a tiny and rather unusual museum displaying artefacts and images of the area, as well as mementoes belonging to Betjeman, and also to Thomas Hughes. Hughes was the author of Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857), and his book is full of descriptions not only of the 380 year old schoolroom, but of the surrounding area. Hughes later went on to found a utopian village in the USA, a colony on the Cumberland Plateau of eastern Tennessee some 70 miles north of Knoxville, which he also called

Rugby. This community, based on co-operative ideals, is still in existence today. Each year the museum has a special exhibition. This year it is entitled ‘A year in the life of Uffington’ and includes photographs taken specifically for the show. The area is rich in history with the famous Iron Age hill fort and White Horse, as well as the near by Megalithic tomb called Wayland’s Smithy. Another gem is tucked in behind the library in Summertown, Oxford, in South Parade. The Turrill Sculpture Garden is a place of peace, quiet and somewhere to contemplate beautiful works of art. It is owned by Oxford County Council and run by the Friends of Turrill Sculpture Garden,

who are always on the lookout for new sponsors to help them improve and enhance the garden – interested? For June they are featuring an exhibition called ‘Words Set in Stone’ – letter cutters bring words beyond the Library.

Art among the flowers at Turrill Sculpture Garden


The American

Waterperry House and Gardens near Wheatley, just outside Oxford, is not only home to the annual Art in Action extravaganza, but host to all sorts of events and entertainment year round. There is an 18th century barn housing the Gallery which has a year round programme of exhibitions featuring British artists, in particular over 20 local Oxfordshire artists. On June 21st they are having a Midsummer Concert by the Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Ensemble (tickets 01844 339254).

Is t

Just off the M40, between junctions 5 and 6, and off the A40 to Christmas Common, is the Chiltern Sculpture Trail at Cowleaze Wood. It makes a lovely dog walk with the added bonus of surprising and entertaining works of art all over the forest. It is free and there is plenty of parking. Further in towards Oxford is Garsington Manor. June sees their open air opera season in full swing. The house and gardens are a magnificent backdrop for your supper picnic in the interval. Operas this season include Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. The auditorium seats 500 and is sheltered under a canopy with views into the garden, giving you peace of mind should it rain, and the benefit of fresh air and a lovely view. The O3 Gallery in Oxford is within the city’s oldest quarter – the Oxford Castle Heritage project. It is an unusual circular gallery on two floors


combining contemporary art with an Oxford Prison ambience! I will not go into the other wonderful galleries and museums in Oxford which you may already be aware of – my favourite is the Pitt Rivers Museum – but leave you with the recommendation that you visit the Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage. Here ‘Diversity’ is the title for the exhibition showing in June by the group ‘Losing the Thread’. The group shows what can be created from a huge range of media from fabric, felt, paper and wood to metal and glass, and how diverse materials can produce even more diverse results.

Right: guests find Garsington the perfect backdrop to outdoor summer opera photo by Johan Persson

Maggie Harris in the Diversity exhibition

this Art? The American

Is this Art? Terminal 5!

No doubt a large proportion of The American’s readers will have had at least one experience by now of the infamous T5 at Heathrow. Having just returned from a very traumatic trip to Brazil (yes, it was supposed to be a holiday!), my husband and I were lucky (?) enough to spend rather a lot of time at Terminal 5, both on the way, and the way back. I won’t bore you with the gory details, all of which happen to everyone, daily, but it did give me a little time to inspect the artwork around the Terminal, and to cast my eye over the architecture. Actually, once I had got over the abrupt manner of one of the staff on the x-ray machine, disposed of the duty free they wouldn’t let me take on to Scotland, and deposited my (temporarily) one-legged husband in the exceedingly pleasant Executive Lounge, I found myself being rather impressed by the soaring steel pillars and vast expanses of gleaming white

Terminal 5 photoS by Cece Mills]

metal, huge bolts and a variety of things that looked like hinges – as if the whole structure could fold up on itself at the touch of a button. Now – a quick resume of the mind-blowing statistics and figures about T5. Quite apart from the cost of building the structure, the planning process alone cost £63million. The airport employs 68,000 people, 16,500 of which work at T5. There is 185,000 square feet of retail space, 150 retail units, 25 restaurants including Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food, 32,500 square feet of duty free shopping (check first where you can take the stuff though!), 96 self service kiosks, 140 customer service desks and 96 fast bag drops. Not just that, but 175 lifts, 131 escalators, 18 kilometres of conveyor belts for bags, and 13 kilometres of tunnels

to connect the terminal by road and rail. There is a car park for 4,000 cars, and the terminal is big enough to fit 50 football pitches. The total cost of building was £4.3 billion, it took 18 years to design and 20,000 workers to build! Architects Richard Rogers Partnership claim the roof is the largest single-span roof in Europe. So, is this Art? Well, for a start, the work of an Architect is detailed, measured and technical art, but has the same end as conventional art – to please or ‘speak to’ the viewer, with the extra dimension of being of some use to people. Distancing myself from the chaos within, which I am sure will resolve in time once everyone gets used to the new environment, yes, I think it is a wonderful showcase of beauty and clean lines and one the architects can be proud of. In my view it is the people that spoil the effect! n


The American


Mary Bailey was in London for the spring launch of Debbie Macomber’s latest book


nce upon a time there was a lovely lady called Debbie Macomber, She had a husband and four children (and still has!) Debbie was dyslexic which one might think would be a put off to being a writer. Not so with Debbie. Debbie says she comes from a long line of story tellers, and indeed, that is just what she is. You turn the pages of her books with the same sense of anticipation that your forebears would have enjoyed listening to a story by the fireside long/ long ago. I met Debbie at the UK launch lunch and got the strong feeling that here was a realist, that reality was good enough. We discussed over lunch her rejection slips, received as she typed in her kitchen on a borrowed machine and her determination to cope with dyslexia. Later, on a transatlantic phone line, Debbie told me of her five year search to find a publisher who would buy one of her Debbie Macomber


manuscripts. At last came success, her manuscript Heartsong was acquired by Silhouette Books and demand for her books soon exceeded her wildest dreams She now has 60 million copies of her books in print. She told me she had herself no favourite book, they were like children, you love them all the same. The money, said Debbie, was very nice but not the reason she wrote her books. We then got to the knitting – the background to her books! Does she really knit? Yes, came the answer, of course!. When I phoned her she had returned back to America from England and was preparing to go on a huge tour of the States. Intermittently she would invite her husband to join her for a while if he was getting bored at home without her. Debbie is a very practical woman, which shows in her books where solutions to life’s problems are targeted, not just talked about. When I asked about the dyslexia she told me that it was mostly overcome, but she had a reader to go through her manuscripts at an early stage; she still has trouble with ‘much’ and ‘such’ and other similar words. I liked Debbie Macomber very much. She is a familiar name to our readers from the States, not quite so well known here yet, but that deserves to change. Wednesdays at Four is a story of real women with real problems. We can recognize them, we feel we know them. For instance, have we

not all known a couple happily in love but being badly bruised by one side’s insistence on a huge wedding. Alix feels it is not her thing and she cannot go through with it, but she cannot hurt her beloved Jordan. Colette has been hired to help in the knitting shop next door to Susannah’s A Good Yarn. Colette is a young widow who had been looking forward to a long and happy marriage, and above all babies. She just loves babies, but she is dismayed to find herself pregnant after a brief affair. Lydia, another of the group is a cancer survivor but has worries about her ageing mother. Every Wednesday the group meet and a sisterhood develops as they find they can in very different ways help each other. Debbie Macomber is a very clever lady, she bring to life a situation or a personality in a few brief words and she makes us care about them. There is nothing oversentimental or ‘soppy’ in this book. Wednesdays at Four by Debbie Macomber is out now and Twenty Wishes is published in July, both published by Mira Books, priced £6.99.

The American

My Life

Fidel Castro with Ignacio Ramonet. Translated by Andrew Hurley


astro is known for his generalship of the Cuban Revolution, his huge stature on the world’s political stage for such a small country, his seven-hour plus long speeches, and of course for the Cuban Missile Crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. He was friends with Ernest Hemingway and with Communist dictators and despite his ailing health and passing power to his brother Raul he still wields considerable power. It has been a fascinating life and all this and more can be found in this book. Unfortunately it can be difficult to access some of it – it is written as a marathon conversation between Castro and his interviewer, Ramonet, a left wing academic now based in Paris. Ramonet is credited as editing the book – perhaps he should have spent a little more time editing the rather reverential questions and, particularly the verbose answers. But as a unique insight into the mind of one of the world’s most influential statesmen this is a useful and intriguing book. (First published in the UK in October 2007, now in paperback). Penguin, Paperback £12.99, 724pp

Fortune & Glory:

Tales of History’s Greatest Archaeological Adventures by Douglas Palmer, Dr Nicholas James & Giles Sparrow


ublished on 22 May to coincide with the UK release of the new Indiana Jones movie this is an adventure story as much as a history book. It looks at how archaeological methods have changed, and how our attitudes to them have altered, by following the exploits of some of the real-life ‘Indys’, adventurers as much as academics, who put their lives and reputations at risk to discover everything from dinosaurs to pyramids – and just as important make a name and often a fortune for themselves. Particularly interesting to American readers are Roy Chapman Andrews and Hiram Bingham III. Andrews was supposedly the role model for Indiana Jones going deep into Outer Mongolia to search for prehistoric fossils in the 1920s, fight-

ing Mongolian bandits while making major discoveries. Bingham, who later became Governor of Connecticut and a United States Senator, made the major discovery of the Incan lost city of Machu Picchu. Also described are Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb, how Heinrich Schliemann turned myth into history when he found the legendary city of Troy, the uncovering of Bible stories and the search for King Solomon’s Mines among others. At under 300 pages it cannot be a comprehensive examination of all these important historical sites, but it is a welcome introduction to areas of archaeology that you may not know. David & Charles £12.99. Paperback, 272pp, 60 b&w photos

IDEO Eyes Open Fred Dust

IDEO Eyes Open is a series of quote ‘experiential guidebooks’ unquote. In all honesty they consist of a fairly small selection of interesting places to visit and things to do in London and New York. There may be more style than substance, but the style is certainly there in the production and design of the books as well as the eclectic choice of entries. They won’t take the place of Baedeker Tourist Guides, Time Out, or dare we say it The American, but they might point you in the direction of things to experience in our cities and new ways to see them  Chronicle Books £12.99

Travelers Advisory A Travelers Advisory is usually a very serious notification from a government agency or some such official Travelers Advisory body about the problems that travelers may face in far flung parts A Travelers Advisory is usually a very of the world. This small-format, serious notification from a governpadded-cover book performs much ment agency or some official the same function – thesuch warning body about problems that travelbit – with no the practical solutions or ers mat face inwhen far flung parts of the useful function you’re in that world. This foreign placesmall-format, – but it is verypaddedfunny! cover on book much the same Leave theperforms shelf in the bathroom function – theguests. warning bit – with no to amuse your practical solutions or useful function when you’re in that foreign place – but it is very funny! Leave on the shelf in the bathroom to amuse your


The American

A Voyage Long and Strange By Tony Horwitz

“T Absolutely So why is The American reviewing a TV comedy program that you’ve never heard of and hasn’t been seen for 15 years? Because it’s Absolutely brilliant, that’s why. Absolutely influential and Absolutely funny. It’s one of those lost treasures that – if you like Monty Python – you will love. A motley crew of Scottish and Welsh comics made four series, 28 shows in all, of a daft, sometimes grotesque sketch show that often hid its sharply clever writing beneath some hilarious and appalling characters. Paul Whitehouse (from The Fast Show) admits its influence on his comedy. Private Eye magazine’s Ian Hislop calls it ‘hugely underrated’. Jo Brand loved the characters Little Girl and Frank Hovis (the misogynistic reactionary stand-up who calls himself the ‘radical feminist comedian’) – my favorites too. Most of the cast of Absolutely went on to great things in straight and comedy acting, Morwenna Banks particularly who has worked a lot in America as a regular cast member and writer for Saturday Night Live and appeared on HBO/Fox’s Dream On, Comedy Central’s London Calling, ABC’s Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Weird Science and The Critic. The 8 DVD boxed set includes every episode and lots of DVD extras including “never before requested interviews”.  Fremantle Home Entertainment  £34.99


his is where it all began”, proclaims a father to his less than impressed kids as they gaze at Plymouth Rock. The Pilgrim Fathers, the beginning of the story of modern America. Of course it wasn’t the start of it all. There was a gentleman called Columbus who arrived in the Americas 128 years before. Tony Horwitz began a journey that took him to some unexpected places in time and on the ground, finding out historical facts and also meeting the folk living in the modern day locations – in effect seeing how history shaped today’s United States. The book is divided into three

parts, Discovery, Conquest and Settlement, within which the chronological story is told in chapters named after the places where Europeans arrived: Vinland (he describes the founding of the Viking colony set up by the murderous Eirik the Red most humorously), Santo Domingo, The Gulf Coast, The Plains, Jamestown and so on. Plymouth, far from being where it all begins, is the last chapter. Horwitz, A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times best selling author is meticulous in his history but genial and easy to read. John Murray, hardback 445 pages, £25


By Robert Descharmes & Gilles Neret


alvador Dali needed mirrors of many kinds: his pictures, his admirers, newspapers and magazines and television, Robert Descharmes and Gilles Neret write in the opening chapter of this part biography, part art book. The thought of not being noticed was, for him, unbearable and the reason one Christmas in New York he took a bell and rang it whenever he thought people weren’t paying attention to him. Whether one believes he is a great artist or not, one cannot help but be aware of this unusual man who provoked the art world with his surreal inventiveness and weird and bizarre personality for a good part of his eighty-five years. In this 25th anniversary special edition by the well-known publisher, Taschen, Descharmes, a leading expert on Dali, and Neret, an art historian and museum correspondent, tell the story of Dali’s life from his birth in Spain in l904 to his death in 1989. Included with this fascinating biography is an eclectic catalogue of his paintings, many of which can be seen in the Dali Museum in London. A must book for Dali enthusiasts as well as those who want to know more about this unique artist.  Taschen GmbH, Hohenzollernring 53 D-50672 Koln.

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The American

Living in the UK Driving in the UK is an experience if you’re only used to straight Interstates. But take it one step at a time and get mobile. Using Your American License 1 A United States citizen who normally resides in the United States and is visiting or temporarily residing in the United Kingdom may drive by virtue of his/her valid American license for a period of one year from the date of his/her last entry visa. After this period has expired, he/she must be in possession of a British license. 2 A U.S. citizen residing in the UK may drive by virtue of his/her valid American license for a period of one year. After this period has expired, he/she must be in possession of a British license.


3 A U.S. citizen who does not possess a British license after the one year “grace period” has expired must obtain a British Provisional license, display “L” learner plates and drive with a qualified British driving license holder at all times until such time as he/she passes the British driving test.

5 An International Driving Permit can be used as a substitute for an American driving license for up to one year only. According to the Traffic Legislation Department of the Police, this provision is made under the International Circulation Order — which means that in order for the license to have been issued, a full and current driving license had to have been produced to acquire it.

4 Since there is a delay of several months between applying for a British test and taking the test, all U.S. citizens who intend staying in the UK for more than one year are urged to make an application for a British test as soon as possible after their arrival here. Information and forms (D–1) may be obtained from any Post Office, Traffic Area Office, Vehicle Registration Office or DVLA.

6 A lost or expired American license can be replaced only by the state that issued it. Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for details. The best source of up-todate information can be found on the Internet website, www.; for your search, enter your state and the phrase “drivers license.” Many states will allow you to apply for a renewal on line.


Rules of the Road The road bible. It’s worth getting a copy of the Highway Code, the government publication that is essential reading with rules for all road users: pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists, as well as motorcyclists and drivers. It’s available online from Left is right. Remember to drive on the left side of the road! It’s not always as easy to remember as you think, especially if you are new to the UK or only drive occasionally. Bringing your car with you? If you bringing your car into the UK from the U.S. you must check that the lights, speedometer and fog lamps conform to British specifications. For information about bringing a foreign car into

The American

the UK on a long term basis, contact the National Approvals Office on 0117 9515151. Zigzags and Zebras. You must stop at Pedestrian Crossings (or Zebra Crossings as Brits call many of them because of the black and white stripes) if you see anybody anywhere near one! British people expect cars to stop and often launch themselves on to them without a second thought. Do not park between the white zigzags on either side of the zebra crossing. Although people get away with this in many countries, the police are not forgiving of this sin in the UK. What’s that mean? Look out for unfamiliar street signs. If you’re unsure, the Highway Code has a list. More manuals. Many cars in Britain including hire cars have manual transmissions. If you are unfamiliar with stick shifts, ask for an automatic. If you will be driving a manual for a while, consider getting some tuition. Red light spells danger. Unlike in many American States you may NOT turn right at a red light even if your way is clear unless there is a green filter light telling you to do so. Seat belts. it is compulsory for drivers and front seat passengers to wear seat belts. If rear seat belts are fitted, they must be used by any rear seat passengers. Parking Permits. In most areas of London and in some other cities you will have to get a residents parking permit for unlimited street parking. Permits are obtained from the local council and an annual fee is charged. To obtain a permit you will need to take with you written confirmation

that you are resident in the property. The permit is displayed in your car and enables you to park in designated residents parking areas. Roundabouts! Possibly even more confusing and difficult to get used to than driving on the ‘wrong’ side. The golden rules are: l Stop before the roundabout, unless you can clearly see that it is completely empty. l Look RIGHT – traffic comes at you round the roundabout clockwise. l Don’t trust the signal flashers of cars on the roundabouts – drivers sometimes signal too early, so you assume they are turning off the roundabout before they get to you. Discretion is the better part of valor – better get hooted at by someone behind you than getting an MPV in the side! l Give way to any traffic already on the roundabout. Once you’re on it, other traffic coming up to the roundabout has to give way to you. l Give way to the right within the roundabout – for example if a vehicle needs to cross in front of you to exit, you must yield. l Keep up your speed. l Plan your exit. l And just to make life more interesting, watch out for ‘magic roundabouts’, found

in places like Swindon and Milton Keynes, which have mini-roundabouts dotted around the main circle, each with its own traffic flow. Take it steady! Breakdown buddies. You should consider joining one of the national motoring associations which will come to your rescue should you breakdown or run out of fuel. These usually charge a range of membership fees for different levels of service. The big three are the AA, the RAC and Green Flag. Tell other readers what you’ve found strange about driving in the UK, and any tips you’ve found useful, and we will pass them on! email Take a ride on the Magic Roundabout photo by Dick Bauch

Each issue of The American and will have more handy tips about living in Britain, building into a useful guide. Oh, and one last thing, enjoy your time here, whether you’re on vacation, on a business trip, or living here permanently. 47

The American

Drive Time British Army Bikers Get One Over Chevrolet


oldiers stay on the ground and fire things into the sky, especially the gunners that look after the big cannons. But nobody seems to have told the Royal Artillery Motorcycle Display Team – The Flying Gunners. We’ve seen these guys – all fully trained soldiers from Royal Artillery units – in action and their aerial displays and other stunts are truly incredible. And as every bike mad kid (and that includes a lot of grown ups round here) knows, a proper bike show has to include a jump over a row of other vehicles. This year Chevrolet has provided four new cars – two Captiva SUVs, a Lacetti Station Wagon and a brandnew Epica – to transport the riders around the UK to all their shows, but they have a starring role in the grand finale of each event when the team jumps all four cars. The team’s Captain Derek Jeffers said: “We are extremely pleased to be continuing our relationship with Chevrolet for this year’s tour. We are looking forward to the brand new vehicles that Chevrolet has provided for us, they’re a pleasure to drive, look great during the show, and the final jump over the cars always gets a great reaction from the crowd!” The team is based in Larkhill, Salisbury, just up the road from The American HQ. To find an event near you go to


Motorcycle World at Beaulieu B eaulieu has everything for a great day (or weekend) out – a fabulous stately home, a medieval abbey and the National Motor Museum. One date for your twowheeling diary is Motorcycle World at beautiful Beaulieu in the New Forest. One of the most varied and successful motorcycle shows in the country it features gravity defying stunts, displays of rare bikes on the circuit, both modern and classic, the latest machines and race teams a short-track grass track arena and the chance to meet top riders of today and the past. July 5th-6th

Show Your Own Hot Rod or Custom Car If you have your special car over here, take note - Hot Rod, Custom and American vehicle owners are invited to become part of the Beaulieu collection for a day on Sunday June 22. A prize for the best car in show

will be given. The winner will receive Autoglym car care goodies and a chance to have their vehicle displayed in the National Motor Museum. The entrance price £10 (£7 in advance) per adult, and £5 (£3 in advance) per child in a hot-rod or custom vehicle, which includes admission to the whole Beaulieu attraction including The National Motor Museum, Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey so this is a day out for the whole family.

Ferrari Store in Store for London


errari has announced the first Ferrari Store in Britain which will be opened in the Fall this year. It will be managed by The Percassi Group, a leading Italian and international retailer which also owns the Ferrari Store in Milan which opened in September 2005. The new store will be located on Regent Street, one of London’s most exclusive shopping thoroughfares, and will cover around 5500 square feet on two floors. There are currently twenty Ferrari stores worldwide, half in Italy and the rest in the United States, China, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Macao and Singapore. Surprisingly there has not been one in the UK until now.

The American

Under Pressure

Your tires should be looked after – they’re the only things between you and the blacktop, says Ian Kerr


f like me you are a tool junkie and believe you should always have the right tool for the job you will absolutely love the International Tool Company catalogue. There is no substitute for good professional tools. There is plenty of tat on the market at very cheap prices but these items can cause more problems than they solve. This is especially true with tire pressure gauges, which if inaccurate to any large degree, can end up causing crashes or collisions for any car and especially for motorcycles where correct pressures are crucial to good handling and stability. There is also the problem of getting them to fit squarely on the valve, especially with modern bikes and intricate cast wheels. No problem for the ‘Performance’ tire gauges sold by ITC that come with an array of heads that will quickly swap so that it fits onto any known valve configuration. It must be said that the 0-60 psi item sold for motorcycles, has fitted 90% of my bikes without any problem. Although the gauge is not calibrated, I have checked it up against the Flaig Gauge set they sell, which comes with a certificate of accuracy and found it to be spot on, on every occasion. (The Flaig system comes in a neat plastic box with different heads and is fully serviceable and capable of being calibrated regularly.) What was frightening was to see how inaccurate all the other gauges

The smart Thing To Do


I had been using were, including a digital item that was itself not cheap. However, I now have a comprehensive system that fits every vehicle I currently own, and am likely to, that fits squarely onto the valves without bending either, can be clearly read and have a release valve to ensure absolutely spot on tire pressures. In the great scheme of things the Performance gauge at £16.37 is not expensive. (I would suggest adding the rubber cover at £2.51 to protect it if regularly carried with you.) The Flaig set at £40.84 is no more than the cost of a good meal, but unlike the food will last a lifetime! In either case it is money well spent for the driver or motorcyclist who values their life and wants to get the best from their vehicle and its tires!

nother motoring day out, this time just outside London at Mercedes-Benz World. The smart car reaches double digits (age in years, not mph!) at the world’s first purposebuilt racing circuit, Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey, on June 21. There will be test drives of the new smart electric car, stunt-driving displays, a range of early smart concept cars, and the maddest car around, the forfun2 AKA the smart monster truck. Al Young of Thesmartclub says, “Last year around 1200 cars took part but as this year is smart’s 10th Anniversary, we’re hoping that smart clubs from across Europe will join in and make it an even bigger event. We’ll be holding competitions to find the best smart cars in different categories and more details about how to register will be available shortly on the club’s web site.” smart owners and drivers who want to register for the 2008 smart Festival and enter the competitions should log onto www. For a full day out, you can check out Mercedes-Benz World, take a ride on the new high-speed circuit, see the old banking on the pre-war Grand Prix track and the restored Edwardian Clubhouse. There’s a Grand Prix Exhibition featuring Formula One cars driven by racing heroes such as Senna and Hakinnen. The museum’s hangars also house over 30 historic aircraft including a WWII bomber salvaged from Loch Ness and a new Concorde Experience.


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The American

Jo Cole explains British politics – no written constitution but a thousand years of tradition

y d u J k c & a B h e c PT un Politics Ar he sun is out, the parks are full and the tube is far too hot to travel on, but if you’re looking for some summer entertainment in London there’s no need to travel to Covent Garden; you’ll find plenty of Punch and Judy in Westminster. You may have believed that with the great orator Tony Blair gone from public life a year ago, a new era of politics was dawning. Gordon Brown promised that he would make British politics less about spin and presentation and more about substance and policies – or, as David Cameron recently put it, less focus on PR and more on being PM. When Cameron became Conservative leader in 2005 he pledged a new approach to politics, promising to support the Government where he agreed with them and to challenge them constructively but not for show where he didn’t. He said: “we need to change, and we will change, the way we behave. I’m fed up with the Punch and Judy politics of Westminster, the name calling, backbiting, point scoring, finger pointing. I want and I will lead a Conservative party that when the government does the right thing, we will work with them, and when they do the wrong thing we will call them to account and criticise them.” However, he’s still knocking Gordon Brown about every Wednesday lunchtime at Prime Minister’s Questions with no intention of stopping, refer-

ring to him as a “loser not a leader”. Last month Cameron admitted on Radio 4 that this was one leadership election promise that he’d failed to keep, blaming his ‘anger’ at Brown. Admittedly, it must be difficult for a leader of the opposition not to be tempted to knock the government when they’re so down.

”Do politicians damage themselves when they argue so openly?” Mr, Brown has himself been accused of putting substance over style with accusations that the changes to the 10p tax boundary announced in the budget was done purely to wrongfoot the Conservative party. Brown has been forced to retract the policy after public outcry. Once again his opponents are accusing him of focusing on spin rather than policies. There is no equivalent in the USA to Prime Minister’s Question Time, the weekly half hour when the PM is asked questions by other MPs. Some argue that ‘PMQs’ and live press conferences mean that the Prime Minister and government are held to account and that the President of the USA should have their own version.

Others see such ‘Punch and Judy’ displays as another step in losing the public’s trust in politics; the bickering and braying of the ‘honourable members’ looking more like a playground debate than politicians discussing the important issues of our country, risking them basing policies on short term wins against their opposition? Do politicians damage themselves when they argue so openly with each other? Many see the Hillary Clinton versus Obama fight as damaging the Democrat Party, leaving McCain to show a stable and united Republican Party. Similarly in the UK, the Liberal Democrats have had numerous leadership elections and back-stabbings in the past few years. The Prime Minister uses Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s nickname, “Calamity Clegg” against him, but this originally came from his leadership election opponent Chris Huhne, now a member of his Shadow Front Bench team. I’m sure Clinton and Obama are hoping that they too haven’t shot their party in the foot in a similar way. Westminster enjoys one more month of Punch and Judy before the long Summer break; yes, our politicians enjoy three months off during the warm weather. So, if it’s entertainment you’re after, pop on the politics channel during July. Otherwise, you’ll have to fight through the crowds and join everyone else watching the display in Covent Garden. n


The American

Playing The Long Game The annual draft brought an influx of fresh talent for NFL teams looking to rebuild. Tackles were hot and wide receivers were not, writes Richard L Gale.


hen it comes to the draft, NFL teams usually fall into two categories: those looking for the final piece of the puzzle to make it into the playoffs and contend for a Super Bowl, and those who just know they’re nowhere near. Those looking for an immediate spark often go for a pass rusher, a runningback, or whatever it was that just escaped by free agency. The teams that are building – or often rebuilding – for the longer term may go for offensive tackles. As for a quarterback, well, that’s usually just a cry for help. In all, seven teams chose offensive tackles in the first round, and it’s probably no coincidence that none of those teams made the playoffs last year. As much as having a weakness at tackle is a recipe for mediocrity, teams dreaming of long-term improvement know that, at worst, a failed left tackle still has a shot as starting right guard. There’s safety in numbers beginning with 7. Miami began the draft with Michigan tackle Jake Long (pictured opposite), and are an interesting case – although they’re not my team, I’m fascinated by the rebuild from a 1-15 fiasco into what could be a playoff team three years from now. They have a new front office, a new coaching staff, and now the thing they’ve been begging for: a new line. With their drafting of both Long and QB Chad Henne, the Dolphins made a statement – ‘we build from here’.


Another team whose draft was as much about sending a message as acquiring talent was Atlanta. The Falcons spent last year as a franchise in emotional crisis. The face of the team, Michael Vick, was jailed. The season started badly enough that some speculated coach Bobby Petrino was losing deliberately to give the Falcons a shot at drafting Louisville QB Brian Brohm in 2008. DeAngelo Hall and Alge Crumpler seemed to want out. Petrino told Blank everything was fine, then left. Fast forward to the draft, and the Falcons take pro-style QB Matt Ryan, a new tackle, and a new corner and tight end to replace Hall and Crumpler. Message: ‘We are moving on’. Ironically, Louisville’s Brohm slipped out of the first round entirely, landing in Green Bay. Even with Favre gone, this was something of a shock with Aaron Rodgers poised to ascend Brett’s throne, but it wasn’t a good year for skill position players, and several slid to teams who simply couldn’t resist a luxury pick. While ‘best player in the draft’, RB Darren McFadden, went to the Raiders at pick no.4, RB Rashard Mendenhall slid past some expected suitors, and no wide receivers were taken in the first round for the first time in the history of the draft. They made up for it in the second round, with 10 taken, perhaps a reflection of too many recent problems and tantrums by NFL receivers.

Getting It Done CAROLINA: Added powerful all-round stud RB Jonathan Stewart of Oregon, then traded back into the 1st round for Pittsburgh OT Jeff Otah. Later value picks included Penn State all-time tackle-leader LB Dan Connor, something of a steal in the 3rd round. ARIZONA: 1st round CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and 2nd round DE Calais Campbell matched needs, LSU WR Early Doucet and OL Brandon Keith were underpriced, but ‘good character’ loomed large, suggesting many more hits than misses. KANSAS CITY: Monster DT Glenn Dorsey of LSU was the headliner, but after also taking OT Branden Albert in the 1st, they continued to land valuable extras such as CB Brandon Flowers, RB Jamaal Charles and DaJuan Morgan – in the first 3 rounds alone. WASHINGTON: Numerous deals related in an upsizing of the receiving corps, adding top WRs 6’2” Devin Thomas and 6’3” Malcolm Kelly, either side of TE Fred Davis of USC. Also chose OT Chad Rinehart and added a host of free agent OLs afterwards.

Definite Progress ATLANTA: Good ‘team’ players and high production was a recurring theme. In addition to QB Matt Ryan, they landed OT Sam Baker of USC and CB Chevis Jackson of LSU. Only a new receiving TE went unchecked. PITTSBURGH: Scooped up the talent others left on the table, picking up pounding RB Rashard Mendenhall, large WR target Limas Sweed, destructive UCLA DE Bruce Davis and QB Dennis Dixon of Oregon.

The American

Dolphins in Detail Miami’s draft was already a success when they signed up OL Jake Long with the first overall pick, addressing a long-standing need. Some things that haven’t been long standing are the Dolphins QBs, but with Long aboard, Miami spent a second round pick at passer for the second year in a row, landing Long’s college buddy Henne. The ’Phins conducted two draft-day player trades, sending RB Lorenzo Booker to the Eagles for a 4th, and trading a 4th to Dallas for TE Anthony Fasano and LB Akin Ayodele.

They added WR Davone Bess of Hawaii (293 catches, 3600 yards in three years) as an undrafted free agent, as wideout was one area the Dolphins didn’t solve through the draft; after parting with their four top receivers (Randy McMichael, Chris Chambers, Wes Welker, Marty Booker) in roughly a year, receiver remains an area of concern. At least they have Ted Ginn Jr – with the trade of Booker, the apparent superceding of QB John Beck, and the release of DE Abraham Wright, the new leadership in Miami seems eager to erase most things connected with the brief Cam Cameron era. For even more detailed analysis of this and every other NFL team’s draft, check out our full draft review online at


Image courtesy of Miami Dolphins

DEs Phil Merling and Kendall Langford arrive to rejuvinate a defense which is unsure of the return of jivin’ Jason Taylor; Merling may play some DT. Emphasizing the line-oriented philosophy of Miami’s new regime, they added two offensive guards on day two. With two runningbacks and another DT towards the end of the draft, a return to the fundamentals of ‘run the ball and stop the run’ couldn’t be more clear.

The American

Image courtesy of Miami Dolphins

DETROIT: The Lions had a chance to draft RB Rashard Mendenhall but didn’t, electing to take OT Gosder Cherilus instead. It’s too early to slam them for that, but high production from Central Florida RB Kevin Smith is needed to justify an otherwise solid set. GREEN BAY: Brohm’s arrival may create a QB controversy sometime, but the Pack know they got a 2nd round bargain. CB Patrick Lee of Auburn was a need selection, while Jordy Nelson of K-State was my favorite WR of the draft, a real chains-mover. MINNESOTA: The Vikings paid a 1st round pick and two 3rds to buy Chiefs DE Jared Allen, a more immediate result than might have been there in the draft. They also traded up for safety Tyrell Johnson, and landed USC QB John David Booty with a 4th. BALTIMORE: Unable to get their hands on Matt Ryan, the Ravens traded down and back to add 6’6”Delaware QB Joe Flacco. Rutgers RB Ray Rice, Miami LB Tavares Gooden, and Notre Dame S Tom Zbikowski help, but they’d better be right about Flacco.

Putting in an Appearance NEW ENGLAND: There’s clearly no complacency on defense. Selected Tennessee ILB Jerod Mayo, two pass rushers, and two CBs including Colorado’s Terrence Wheatley. SAN DIEGO: A short draft netted DB Antoine Cason of Arizona, FB/RB Jacob Hester of LSU and cut-price corner DeJuan Tribble of Boston College (a mere 6th rounder).

DENVER: The Broncos satisfied their positional needs – OT Ryan Clady of Boise State, WR Eddie Royal of V-Tech, a center, a CB, a DT – but didn’t look especially value-efficient. Signed a couple of useful kickers after the draft, which was another ‘need’ area.

NY JETS: Wrecking DE Vernon Gholston gets all the headlines, but pass catching TE Dustin Keller was another significant pick. Kansas WR Marcus Henry may prove useful.

ST LOUIS: Took ‘the other Long’, DE Chris, son of Howie, then became the first team to select a WR, unexpectedly taking Houston’s Donnie Avery, who almost certainly wasn’t at the top of anybody else’s WR board. Some of the later selections could pay off.


CINCINNATI. The Good: USC LB Keith Rivers and two WRs, Coastal Carolina’s Jerome Simpson and Florida’s Andre Caldwell. The Bad: as ever, character concerns abound. CLEVELAND: Didn’t pick until 4th round, taking LB Beau Bell and TE Martin Rucker when they could. Rucker led the nation in receptions by a tight end in 2007, with 86. INDIANAPOLIS: Three centers and a long snapper made for an odd collection, but might spell ‘the next generation of interior lineman’ (I can sense your excitement). Also, steal of the day: RB Mike Hart in the 6th.

DALLAS: Arkansas RB Felix Jones arrives as the dangerous change of pace back to Marion Barber. Georgia Tech RB Tashard Choice was also selected. A 4th round pick was sent to Tennessee for Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, but two more CBs were selected – Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick, making this a strangely two-dimensional draft.

BUFFALO: Too many arrests and injury questions for somebody not to be a bust, but on the surface, a solid draft. CBs Leodis McKelvin and Reggie Corner help retool the secondary, while WR James Hardy will try to distract coverage from Lee Evans.

OAKLAND: They now have Arkansas blue chipper Darren McFadden to go with all those other RBs. However, they pretty much bypassed all their other needs.

NY GIANTS: The secondary was addressed with safety Kenny Phillips of Miami and CB Terrell Thomas of USC in rounds 1 & 2. WR Mario Manningham was a 3rd round steal.

TENNESSEE: Needed a deep threat for Vince Young, but took a small slot receiver type in the 4th round. 4.29 speed of RB Chris Johnson could work well with LenDale White. SAN FRANCISCO: Traded out of a high pick long ago and were left with DT Kentwan Balmer at pick 29. 2nd round OG Chilo Rachal was fairly typical of a dull collection. PHILADELPHIA: Could have had their choice of WRs in the first, but traded down, took DT Trevor Laws and belatedly gave Donovan McNabb smallish WR DeSean Jackson. JACKSONVILLE: Two 3rds and a 4th to swap 1st round picks and take Florida DE Derrick Harvey seems expensive. Then added a second DE, Quentin Groves, in a 5-player draft.

Any Chance of a Do-over?

CHICAGO: Drafted for offense: LT Chris Williams in the 1st, RB Matt Forté (increasingly the heir apparent to Cedric Benson) in the 2nd, and WR Earl Bennett in the 3rd.

HOUSTON: Traded down 8 spots to gain value, but watched 8 players they probably wanted come off the board in front of them. OT Duane Brown was a consolation pick.

SEATTLE: 1st rounder DE/OLB Lawrence Jackson was followed by no.1 need, TE John Carlson. Resisted trading up for a big name RB, but added hardman FB Owen Schmitt.

NEW ORLEANS: USC DT Sedrick Ellis was the headliner, but they traded up from 10th to 7th to get him. Only ticked some of their needs. Too many reaches and gambles. n

TAMPA BAY: Added speed with CB Aqib Talib, WR Dexter Jackson and even QB Josh Johnson. But there’s too many players with question marks – ‘shot with a taser’ shouldn’t really appear in draft notes.

For detailed NFL draft analysis, see our full division-by-division draft review online at

The American

On Court

Will the French Open find a home champion – or will France adopt Justine Henin for another year, asks Sean L Chaplin

Vive La France


pring is in the air and my thoughts are turning to the eternally beautiful city of Paris and the renaissance of French tennis. All eyes will be on Roland Garros and the strong French contingent who have more than a passing chance of winning this year’s French Open. Names like Gasquet, Mathieu and Tsonga do not roll off the tongue when talking contenders for the title, but this year may see a distinct Gallic flavor at the top of the podium with Richard Gasquet leading the charge. Ranked ninth on the tour, Gasquet won the men’s doubles title at the Australian with fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and is poised to take advantage of the rowdy home crowd support to elevate his game to new heights. Tsonga is a huge talent for the future as his thirteenth world ranking can attest and will also pose a strong challenge as he looks to improve on his 29-19 career record in singles matches. His experience in reaching the Australian Open finals earlier this year may prove vital, especially in Paris, where dealing with the mounting pressure of winning the national title will be immense for any Fenchman. Not to be outdone, eighteenth ranked Henri Mathieu will be worth keeping an eye on as the tournament progresses – he reached the semis at Marseille and the quarters

in Adelaide. The good news is that all three men have an excellent chance of becoming the first Frenchmen to win the national title since Yannick Noah defeated Mats Wilander way back in 1983. Of course, there will be the formidable obstacles of three time champion Rafael Nadal and, as always, Roger Federer, who will be looking to win the one Slam that eludes him, but imagine the excitement and hype that would be generated with one, or all three Frenchmen still in the tournament’s final stages. I hope that is the case as it would be great for the game to see some fresh faces contending on clay. As for French hopes of a ladies title, that rests on the slight shoulders of Belgian Justine Henin. I know, she is actually Belgian, but she speaks French, the countries border one another, and the French did embrace American Mary Pierce for her mother’s French background a few years back. Beyond Henin though, there is a distinct drop-off in talent, with eleventh ranked Marion Bartoli the leading French player. She did make it to the 2007 Wimbledon finals in what proved to be her breakout year and she should make it through to the second week of the French, but actually winning the title may prove to be more than she is capable of at this point in her career. Amelie

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was a finalist in Australia. Could he win it all on home turf? ©Getty Images Publicity/Getty images

Mauresmo is also lurking in the background, but conventional thinking suggets that her best years are behind her. As talented as any player in the field on her day (number one world ranking in 2004), she has been an afterthought in recent years and was ousted in the first round of last year’s tournament. Being ranked in the top twenty is an outstanding achievement, but French talent on the ladies tour has been overshadowed by the Croatian and Russian influx of top 10 players. However, the chance that two French speaking players will win this year’s French are better than they ever were. The men’s draw will be the more difficult to call, but the guess here is that Tsonga will make history and lift the trophy alongside Henin and make Paris a very happy place to be this spring. n


The American

Flying Penguins, ord Stanley’s Cup, the Holy Grail of professional hockey, will soon be etched with the names of the NHL’s latest championship team. The silver and nickel alloy chalice, arguably the most difficult trophy to win in the sporting world, will be kissed, cuddled, drained of champagne, passed around, and held aloft by bearded, bedraggled men who have battled their way through sixteen of the most difficult wins of their career. The question is, which team will have the right to lift the mug after the final buzzer has sounded? If there is justice in the universe, and if the hockey gods believe in giving props where props are due, the honour will be granted to either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Dallas Stars, this year’s biggest playoff hits. The Penguins’ playoff push has been the icing on an already sweet season, which saw them finish second in the Eastern Conference. Not only does the team have two of the playoffs’ top points-getters – the second-ranked Evgeni Malkin (thirteen points in eight games) and the sixth-ranked Sidney Crosby (twelve points in eight games) – they also have the post-season’s top netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury, who leads the way in save percentage (94 percent), wins (seven), and shutouts (two). The Penguins may be flightless birds by nature, but they’re certainly soaring in this year’s post-season, having won seven of their first eight outings. They have a firm hold on the top spot in offensive output, averaging 3.5 goals per game, while leading all playoff teams in defence as well, giving up an extremely stingy 1.88 goals


Rising Stars By Jeremy Lanaway

per game on average. The stats don’t end there – the Pens also sit atop the power-play and penalty-kill ladders, with success rates of 25 and 88.2 percent respectively. ‘We all realise how hard we’ve worked to get to this point,’ said Crosby, remaining guardedly optimistic about his team’s playoff stature. ‘We can’t get caught looking ahead. We have to keep the same mindset we’ve had all playoffs, which is worry about the next one. I think we’ve done a good job of playing the game, erasing it, and focusing on the next one.’ ‘We’re in a great position,’ added Crosby’s winger, Marian Hossa, the biggest of the Penguins’ draft deadline pickups. ‘Nobody would think we would be in this position, but right now we’re greedy. We want to win.’ And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing. The Western Conference has its own feel-good playoff story in the Stars. By disposing of last year’s Stanley Cup champions, the Anaheim Ducks, in the opening round, the Stars swiftly established themselves as true Cup contenders. Not only has the team overachieved beyond the wildest dreams of even the most hopeful fan in Texas, they’ve done it by playing an airtight system of hockey that’s worthy of canonisation. They’ve played a hard, smart game, maintaining their composure, even in the face of adversity, and relying on discipline. They let the

Photo © Glenn James / Getty Images


The American

Ducks try to bully them, but instead of succumbing to the black-shirts’ brute force, they took the high road and focused on scoring and preventing goals. They continued their potent play against the San Jose Sharks, previously favoured to go all the way, their measly two-goals-against per game is enough to promote them to the second place in the playoffs’ defence race. Much of the Stars’ success comes from their goaltender, Marty Turco, whose otherworldly play has helped the team to exorcise the demons of their many first-round exits in the past. Turco is currently sitting on a 1.88 goals-against average, a save rate of 92 percent, seven wins, and one shutout. His puck-handling prowess, universally viewed as the best in the league, has rendered the Sharks’ offence nearly impotent by sealing the lane behind the net, thereby preventing them from dumping and chasing. ‘Spectacular – I don’t know what else to say,’ lauded team captain Brenden Morrow of Turco’s playoff performance to date. ‘He’s given us a chance to win every night, and he’s made huge saves for us – saves that define the game.’ Next up for the Stars will be the Detroit Red Wings. Even though the Red Wings are playing like the team that won the President’s Trophy in the regular season, which hasn’t always been the case in recent years, the Stars know they have what it takes to make it past the legendary original-six team. ‘I like where we are,’ summed up Stars forward Brad Richards. ‘We’re in a great spot.’ Looking at the efficiency with which the Stars have disposed of their opponents thus far, it’s hard – if not impossible – to disagree with him. n


The The American

Blaze of Glory

US Open Golf:

Torrey-Pines a Tiger Tale?


niversity of Buffalo alumnus Dan Gilbert put up 27 points to earn MVP honors, as the Guildford Heat beat the Milton Keynes Lions 100-88 in the BBL Playoffs Final. By adding the Playoffs title to their Trophy success earlier in the year, the Heat completed a two-year round-up of British basketball’s silverware. In the 2006-2007 season, Guildford won the BBL Cup and were league champions. The Playoff Finals weekend at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena also featured this year’s League champions, Newcastle, and last year’s Trophy champs, Plymouth in a match up of the top four seeds.

Day one saw Plymouth ousted by the Heat, 81-66, while the Lions upset Newcastle 72-63. In the final, the Lions jumped ahead early, 8-2, and led 16-8 before the Heat found their rhythm to lead 24-21 at the end of the first quarter. The Lions continued to keep it close, Dru Spinks helping them claw back from 68-83 to 82-89. However, when Spinks was called for a foul, Lions coach Vince MacCauley drew a technical foul, and Guildford’s Tony Dorsey sunk four as Guildford pulled away again. The Heat’s 100 points were the most scored in a BBL Playoff final, with 33 of those in the final quarter.

Image Courtesy of GARy BAKER


Image: Istock/ iChen Chun Wu

Torrey-Pines’ awaits the PGA Tour with open bunkers. After the watery graves and mogul-like undulations of Sawgrass, the South Course at TorreyPines might sound like easy money. Not a bit of it. 28 bunkers have been added to what is now a 7,600 yard epic. So much for the ease of the municipal golf course. Sergio Garcia voiced what a few may have been thinking when he won The Player Championship, starting his Waterford Crystal acceptance speech with a thank you to Tiger Woods for not being there. Despite Paul Goydos’ tenacious 3rd and 4th rounds coming to nought (save a cool million dollars) after hitting the lake in the hole 17 playoff, he, Garcia and Jeff Quilley made for the only lasting contenders in what might have been a Woods walkover had he been there. Garcia will be among the players to watch at the US Open, as Tiger returns to fitness following knee surgery. Last year’s winner, Angel Cabrera is hardly hot, failing to make the cut four times in his last eight tournaments. Whether it’s time for the Tiger, the Duck, or El Niño, our pick would be Phil Mickelson, who fell away badly in the last round at TPC, but had snatches of form and is a California native resident who has probably been keeping a closer eye than most on course developments at Torrey-Pines.

American star Dan Gilbert powers Guildford Heat to their first British Basketball League Playoff title

The American

The hills are alive

with the sound of

Brian McBride (20) trains with Fulham teammate Clint Dempsey (23). Image Courtesy of EMPICS

‘Fulhamerica’s great escape F

ulham FC – the English Premier League’s home to five US soccer players – is celebrating another season of staying in the EPL. Life hasn’t been easy for Fulham, who spent most of the season in the relegation zone, but with Jimmy Bullard and American team captain Brian McBride returning to action for the later stages of the season, Fulham improbably avoided the drop to the Championship League. A 2-0 away victory over Reading began the fight-back, before beating Manchester City in a 3-2 road thriller, and after 2-0 home win over Birmingham City, they needed to beat FA Cup finalists Portsmouth to avoid the fall. That they did, Danny Murphy heading the ball into the net with 15 minutes left in the season. While US stars Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Kasey Keller, Eddie Johnson and McBride could all celebrate, the result was a disappointment for US player Marcus Hahnemann, goalkeeper for Reading, who are demoted in place of Fulham. No rest for these Americans-inBritain, however: the US play England May 28 at Wembley stadium. You can still catch our pre-season interview with Clint Dempsey online at



By Dom Mills

fter a fantastic winter of European club soccer June sees the elite of the national teams head towards the alpine countries of Austria and Switzerland to compete in Euro 2008 – the European Championships. This is the second time two countries have co-hosted the championship and has proved an effective way in allowing smaller countries the ability to enjoy the influx of tourists while also being able to cope with the logistics of such a huge and important sporting event. Two groups of four teams will play the group stages spread over four cities in each country where a variety of cultural events and festivals will be held throughout the month. The party will certainly be a big one as traveling fans unlucky in getting hold of a precious match ticket can enjoy the games in huge fan areas where they can watch the game on big screens while enjoying a drink or two. The cities from each country with the largest stadia – Basel and Vienna – will host all of the games in the knockout phase of the tournament making either city an ideal place for sports fans to visit and sample the atmosphere of one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. England, pioneers of the beautiful game, failed to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since the World Cup of 1994 in the States so which team should you follow come June? The hosts will do well to get beyond the group stage; Austria has only managed one win in the build up and played so poorly that some embarrassed fans offered Austria’s place on eBay to a more deserving team, Germany and Croatia will go through. Switzerland are stronger but are in a tough group with the Czech Republic, Portugal and Turkey where I expect the Czechs and Portuguese to progress. Reigning champs Greece have gone backwards since 2004 with a poor showing at the World Cup in 2006 and will struggle against group favorites Spain but could squeeze past Russia and Sweden with a bit of luck but I think Russia will ultimately take second spot. Group C is the so called group of death with three very strong teams in France, World Cup winners Italy and Holland. Any of these teams could win the tournament and it is very hard to choose between them but, for my money, France and Italy will continue. From there we really are dealing with some of the best national soccer teams in the world but the draw does seem to favor the teams from Groups A and B which could see Germany claim their fourth championship but I have a sneaky feeling it might be Spain’s chance to shine. They are past masters at flattering to deceive but they now have a good mix of youth and experience and could spring a surprise. I’m hoping to visit a friend in Vienna over the final weekend of the tournament so I can’t wait for the championship to begin as there is nothing better than experiencing these events in the flesh, I’ll see you in the bar! n


The American

Tail End

Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London, by Rebel This month Rebel doesn’t know which is worse – doggie dancing or cats have just been watching Gin, the Border Collie, and his mistress Kate, on Britain Has Talent 2008 on You Tube. Gin, does a Canine free style dance with his mistress that is absolutely amazing. Even Simon Cowell was impressed and that’s saying something. She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually became all weepy when Kate told the audience Gin was her best friend and she didn’t know what she’d do without him.. I thought it was lovely as well until She-Who-Must-Be-ObeyedUsually decided we should learn to do something similar. So, she gets an umbrella – we didn’t have a cane – and tries to show me how to do it. I’m supposed to go under her legs, turn around and then stand on my hind legs, do another turn, and then follow after her. When I have difficulty following , she takes my two front paws and tries to teach me, forgetting I’m a Westie and don’t have long legs like a Border Collie. Gin can stand on his back legs and prance around like a ballerina which is impossible with my short legs and body. She-Who-Must-Be-ObeyedUsually sniffs and remarks something about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks. Well, let me tell you, you can’t teach an old girl either. Fortunately, the phone rang and She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually had to stop to answer it. Ah, but not for long. As soon as she hangs up, she decides to do


her exercises. I don’t mind until she starts using me a weight. She lies flat on her back on the floor and then lifts me up and down several times. About all I can say is it’s better than waltzing. When I start complaining, she tells me about these fat dogs she’s seen on television. Considering the free style organic dog food I eat

”How could I be bad when three twenty pound Persians were eyeing me up and down” most of the time, I can’t see that’s a problem for me. As much as I adore fois gras, believe me, I’m lucky to get a quarter of a spoonful when Nelly brings it over. Fortunately, Nelly, being French, understands my craving and always sneaks me an extra bite or two. Suddenly, She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually realizes it’s close to four and we must run off to pick up the cake she ordered for Gil’s birthday a few days before. Gil is eighty, but you can hardly believe it. Ugh, the things humans eat. It was carrot cake with a fondant center and orange icing. Between you and me, although it looked lovely, it isn’t something I’d ever take a bite of. Give me roast chicken with a touch

of garlic any day. Yummy! Unfortunately, She-Who-Must-Be-ObeyedUsually has been going out so often this past week I’m stuck with canned dog food. She-Who-Must-Be-ObeyedUsually had four birthday parties in a row this week and I think that’s what the exercise craze is all about. And speaking of parties, I’m off to a bone and catnip party tomorrow given by Lotus, a white Persian cat, who spends most of her time staring at herself in the mirror. Last time I went to one of her parties, there were three cats and me, Believe me, I never left She-Who-MustBe-Obeyed-Usually’s side. Afterwards, I was told what a good little dog I was. I mean, how could I be bad when three twentypound Persians were eyeing me up and down as if they were trying to make up their minds if they should have me for dinner or carry me up a tree and drop me from the top branch? n Image: Istock/Hasan Kursad Ergan


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SUBSCRIBE TO THE AMERICAN 331/3 % DISCOUNT A year’s subscription to The American costs just £20 in the UK, a massive one-third off. That’s twelve issues of the very established magazine (we’ve been around since 1976) for all Americans in the UK and Europe, mailed to your door. To make sure you get your regular copy, visit or why not call us on +44 (0)1747 830520. We’d love to hear from you.

Only 15 mins from Walt Disney World H Special rates for readers of The American – Prices from £545 (usually £645) H Our villa with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms sleeping 10 comfortably, offers everything required for a wonderful experience including complete privacy and lovely scenic views. The en-suite master and double bedroom’s access the pool and patio privately. The 3 twin bedrooms access the pool via the large vaulted ceiling lounge and breakfast nook. The formal dining room and front entrance looks onto greenbelt nature reserve. There are several new excellent licensed restaurants within a two-minute drive. Nearby is the beautiful Omni resort featuring three golf courses and the famous village of Celebration. The kids will love the tropical pool resort with lazy river, water slide, hot spa pool, sun decks, licensed restaurant, pool bar, and games room. The 18-fairway course is considered one of the finest in the United States. Driving to Tampa/Clearwater beaches or the Atlantic Coast takes just over an hour. Access to and from Orlando, Sanford, and Tampa/Clearwater international airports is less than an hour’s drive.

To view additional photos please visit our web site at For enquiries please contact us by telephone in the UK (01494-772379) or from USA (44 1494-772379) or email You will love our beautiful villa!


The American 662 June 2008  

The American has been published in Britain for over 30 years. It is the only monthly magazine / website /community for Americans visiting a...

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