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July 2008

THE ESSENTIAL MONTHLY FOR ALL AMERICANS

Est. 1976

THE AMERICAN • JULY 2008 • Issue 663

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SUMMER in our diary section MUSIC • ARTS RESTAURANT REVIEWS SPORTS • POLITICS

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Win tickets to see

NICKELBACK

British echoes of

EISENHOWER


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The American ®

Issue 663 – July 2008 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Editor: Michael Burland 01747 830328 theamerican@blueedge.co.uk Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director Nadia Abd Rabbo, Ad Manager 01747 830520 sabrina.theamerican@blueedge.co.uk nadia.theamerican@blueedge.co.uk Subscriptions enquiries: Phone 01747 830328, email theamerican@blueedge.co.uk Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining Correspondent virginias@blueedge.co.uk Mary Bailey, Social Correspondent maryb@blueedge.co.uk Cece Mills, Arts Correspondent cecem@blueedge.co.uk Richard Gale, Sports Editor richardg@blueedge.co.uk Sean Chaplin, Sports Columnist seanc@blueedge.co.uk

Welcome Happy Independence Day! It seems to be less fashionable nowadays to proclaim one’s American nationality. One young American recently told me that when she’s working in a bar she pretends she’s from another country in case of a sudden eruption of anti-Americanism. Another American, an executive in a major financial company, also told me with sadness and anger that some British people react negatively to him purely because of his accent. Why, they demand, are you in Iraq/extraditing terrorist suspects/refusing to sign up to environmental initiatives? It’s not me personally, he thinks, but he feels that arguing would be counterproductive. This from an articulate, experienced man who has lived in the UK for some twenty years. This is not party political, and it seems to have been building over decades. I wonder if this disruption of the special relationship is because the generation that fought together against the tyranny of the Nazis is dwindling. But I have a feeling that the people of Britain, including the young, have a core understanding that the U.S.A. is genuinely their country’s best friend and closest ally, tied by a shared history and more similarities than differences. Like family, when the chips are down, the two nations will pull together. This issue of The American has two stories from those wartime days, one about General Eisenhower’s own special personal relationship with these islands (page 24), and one on the GI Brides that fell in love with American servicemen during World War II (page 13). On a lighter note we have some great features on the first Royal motorist, an interview with Adam Long (from the Reduced Shakespeare Co.), lots to see and do in Britain this month, competitions to win some great prizes and lots more. Enjoy your magazine.

Riki Evans, Columnist rikie@blueedge.co.uk Nadia Abd Rabbo, Music Correspondent nadiaa@blueedge.co.uk ©2008 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd.

Michael Burland, Editor

Printed by The Westdale Press Ltd 70 Portmanmoor Road, Industrial Estate, East Moors, Cardiff CF24 5HB

Don’t forget to check out The American online at www.theamerican.co.uk

Cover image: The Tower of London and 30 St Mary Axe (©Richard Gale). Inset: Dwight D Eisenhower.

The entire contents of The American and www.theamerican.co.uk 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 663 • July 2008

– featuring a 40 ArtsSpotlight on Wales

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News Matt Damon in London, Spanish solar power in Arizona free guns in Missouri and waterfalls in NYC

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Candide Competition Win some limited tickets for this great new production

10 Diary Dates The best events around the British Isles, selected for The American 13 Vet buys antiques for his English wife Say what? Oh, it’s a 62 year old headline about GI Brides! 14 Music News, reviews, July 4th concerts and a fond farewell to Big Bad Bo

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15 Barbican Summer Jazz Competition 19 Nickelback Competition See the rock monster live at Wembley Arena

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at the 7 Candide English National Opera

20 As I Was Saying... Come on over, Barack and John, says our columnist Bob Pickens 22 The First Royal Motorist Edward VII’s automotive obsessions

24  20 Willcomethetocandidates Britain?




The American

24 Eisenhower in Britain The American general and president who had a special place in British hearts 26 Coffee Time Time for a break with our regular quiz, cartoon and fun facts 28 London’s Blue Plaques Commemorating a famous American broadcaster

out in London and 29 Eating the regions

29 Wining & Dining The best food, drink and places to stay

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in five-part 34 Dickens harmony

34 Interview: Adam Long The Shakespeare reducing guy does Dickens 36 Arts Cece Mills rounds up the most fascinating art events around the country

Aftrika! goes North 10 Afrika! in our Diary Dates

42 Reviews Beautiful Mayfair book (and Reader Offer) plus some great new reads 48 Living In The UK Pounds, pence, but not shillings 49 Politics Sport – a lesson for our leaders? 50 Drive Time GM downsizes company and vehicles, London car shows and eco-motoring

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54 Sports How to win Wimbledon, a young American racer aims for open wheel glory, and the prospects for a 17th NFL game 60 American Organizations Useful resources in the UK 64 Tail End Foxy happenings on Rebel’s balcony 3


News Those were the days – the $3 gallon barrier broken in 2006 Tewy

The $4 Gallon Drives Drivers Onto Mass Transit

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merican news resources are reporting a long-term shift in commuting patterns in America’s larger cities. Rail companies across the nation are frantically asking customers to travel in off-peak hours. Many commuter buses coming into Washington from the ‘burbs have standing room only. In San Francisco, seats have been removed from some subway cars to allow more commuters to squeeze in. Record gas prices are pushing die-hard drivers to forsake their automobiles and try mass-transit systems. The American Public Transportation Association reports that 2.6 billion trips were taken on public transportation in the U.S. during the first three months of 2008, a 3 percent increase on the same period in 2007. To confirm the trend, the number of miles driven on U.S. roads fell from 3,014 billion in 2006 to 3,003 billion in 2007 - the first time in over a quarter of a century that this marker fell. If mass-transit systems invest in more and better facilities and capacity, this may result in cleaner and more efficient transport, especially for commuters. But it will depend on good planning by authorities and private companies and there may be a painful period of readjustment.



Matt Damon At The Tower A ctor Matt Damon took a break from filming in London to look at one of the capital’s famous landmarks. Damon is working on a movie which involves a number of American expatriates (we can’t name the film until its release, but we’ll be taking a look at it then). One of them, Michael Dwyer, is an active US Marine who joined the U.S. Marine Corps the day after 9/11. He is currently serving his 3rd tour in Iraq. Hailing from the Bronx in New York, Dwyer was a successful stock broker and has been acting as a military advisor for Matt Damon on the movie. Dwyer introduced Damon to Michael E. Allen, the Founding Commandant of the London England Detachment of the Marine Corps League (the first in Europe) who was also an extra in the movie. Mike Allen is also a friend of Steve Froggett, a former Royal Marine and now one of the Yeoman Warders who guard the Tower of London. Allen’s Detachment has

many Royal Marine Association associate members. Marines over the world have a special bond, and that’s how Matt Damon got his special tour around the Tower. Pictured are Matt Damon with Steve Froggett inside the Tower of London’s club. Michael Dwyer is on the far right in the group photo, which also includes some of the US military personnel involved in the movie. Damon, Froggett and Dwyer are wearing Marine Corps League Associate membership pins, pinned on them by Mike Allen, who also took the photographs.


The American

Lead Ammo Ban Too Late To Save Seven Condors

“New York City Waterfalls” unveiled in July

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major new work of art will be installed temporarily at four sites along the waterfronts of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Governors Island, as part of a public art project. Olafur Eliasson, the artist, is particularly known for his architectural art, transforming rooms or objects with unusual construction or location. His latest work is called the New York City Waterfalls and will consist of four man-made waterfalls erected in New York Harbour. The water is raised using electrically-powered pumps, to fall spectacularly from the heights of 90 - 120 feet. The tallest waterfall will be around the same height as the Statue of Liberty. They will operate from 7am to 10pm and will be lit after sunset. All the waterfalls will be visible from the South Street Seaport. One will be at Pier 35 in Manhattan (north of the Williamsburg Bridge), another under the Brooklyn Bridge, a third in Brooklyn, between Piers 4 and 5, and the last off Governor’s Island. See them when you visit NYC from mid-July to mid-October 2008.

Solar Power At Gila Bend

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Spanish company is transforming three square miles of Arizona desert into one of the largest solar power plants in the world. The plant, at Gila Bend, 50 miles southeast of Phoenix, will be the largest solar power plant in the world. It has been named Solana, meaning “a sunny place” in Spanish and is planned to be producing solar energy by 2011. Abengoa Solar will build, own and operate the plant. It has signed a contract with Arizona Public Service

Co. (APS) to sell it the electricity produced over the next 30 years, which should generate over $1 billion in economic benefits to the state of Arizona. Solana will have a total capacity of 280 megawatts, enough to power 70,000 homes, using Concentrating Solar Power trough technology developed by Abengoa. It will cover 1,900 acres. Construction will create about 1,500 construction jobs and the plant will employ 85 skilled full-time workers when running.

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ew legislation is enacted on July 1, banning hunters in California from firing or even possessing lead ammunition when they are in the home habitat of the Californian condor. But during the last month seven of the endangered birds have been found suffering from lead poisoning at the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in the San Joaquin Valley. That is a fifth of all the bird’s population in the state. The California condor was nearly globally extinct in the 1980s, but a breeding program helped restore the species to its current precarious numbers. The total number of the birds is approximately 36 in California and around 200 in the wild overall. Five birds were treated by veterinarians at Los Angeles Zoo. One died and four are still being treated, including a chick. The source of the contamination has not been proved, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials believe that the birds ate the carcasses of animals that had been shot by hunters and were poisoned by eating lead shot or bullets. U.S. Fish and Wildlife condor coordinator Jesse Grantham said that the situation was alarming and that the agency was in “crisis mode.” The new law need not be difficult for sportsmen. Steel, non-toxic shotgun shells are available, while some hunters claim that copper, lead-free bullets perform better ballistically than the traditional lead bullets for hunting.




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 July 4th Picnic Night Pack a blanket and head up the hill for BBQ, ice cream and dancing to celebrate American Independence Day. £2.00 per person or £5 per family. July 4 Independence Day Displays A humorous glimpse into the life of British soldiers during the American Revolutionary War. July 5-6, Drill displays at 1.30 and 3.00pm Workshop: Herbs of the New World North American herbs examined for their medicinal and culinary uses. £40 members £45 non-members Saturday 19 10am – 4pm Wild West Encampment The Wyoming Wild Bunch show the dangers of the cow trail, lawless towns and poker games gone bad. July 26-27, Demonstration at 2.00 pm Puppet Show: Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon A misfit dragon that would rather tend his veg patch than gobble up the local villagers. For children age 5+. July 31, 1.00 pm

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



London’s Urban Beach Club

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o you have a bar in the East End of London. What do you do to make it different, exciting, even written about in The American? You import 40 tonnes of pure, soft, white Caribbean sand and create a 1000 square foot urban beach at the back of the club. Garnish with wooden decking, beach balls, deck chairs, and season with DJ Decks and a barbecue and you have 54: Mile End, London’s latest hip venue. It’s not quite London’s only beach – all along the tidal stretch of the Thames there are sandy strips with pebbles (and sometimes unmentionable items) where working class Londoners used to play in the 1930s – but it’s certainly got the best sand and sounds. A cool club for hot summer days.

Car dealership offers British WWII Fighters free handgun with car Crash in Galveston

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ansascity.com reports a singular deal on new cars: Customers of Max Motors car dealership in Butler, Mo. get a free handgun with every new car. Caliber of your choice – just like your paint job. Buyers can choose either a $250 gun coupon or one of equal value for gasoline. So far, most have gone for the heat. They probably think it will be worth more by the time they get off the plot. “I’m telling them to get the semiautomatic because it holds more rounds,” the dealership’s general manager, Walter Moore, said. “Down here we all believe in God, guts and guns. Our correspondent Virginia Schultz comments, “I find this very shocking and I speak as someone whose husband belonged to a gun club here in England and in the States. But, as my mother did with my father, the gun was locked away and I had the key!”

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n a bizarre accident at the Galveston Airshow a World War II Supermarine Spitfire collided with a Hawker Hurricane. The fighters were landing in close formation after a display when the Hurricane ‘ground looped’. It was struck by the wing of the two-seater Spitfire which was landing close behind. The Spitfire’s propeller a wing and its undercarriage were damaged and the Hurricane’s tail fin was sheared off. Fortunately both are repairable and more importantly no-one was injured. The Spitfire, arguably the most beautiful fighter plane ever made, is iconic of the RAF’s fight against the Luftwaffe. During the Battle of Britain, the majority of RAF squadrons flew ‘Hurris’ and they claimed the majority of ‘kills’ during that period. There are less than ten two-seater Spitfires left in the world and only twelve airworthy Hurricanes.


The American “A lavish new production. It’s a dazzling show.” ~ The Sunday Times “Bernstein’s provocative opera, inspired by Voltaire, triumphs! This new production of Candide is an enormous success.” ~ El Pais “Director Robert Carsen has staged a remarkable production.” ~ Die Welt

WIN TICKETS TO

Candide

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“Candide is a smashing Success” ~ Le Figaro “Carsen’s production was given a rapturous reception” ~ International Herald Tribune

rom its famous overture to the soaring, emotional finale, Candide glitters with an unforgettable score by Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story, On the Town) and brilliantly witty lyrics. Based on Voltaire’s satirical masterpiece, Candide follows the journey of a young man who is determined to follow his tutor’s philosophy of absolute optimism – “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds”. However, his beliefs are severely challenged when he leaves the sheltered environment of his home to embark on an epic adventure across the world… Director Robert Carsen’s award-winning new ENO co-production, the sensation of both Teatro alla Scala, Milan and the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, features a company and orchestra of over 100, ingenious sets and colourful costumes. Toby Spence, Anna Christy, Marnie Breckenridge, Alex Jennings and Beverley Klein lead the outstanding cast in this summer’s unmissable London musical.

WIN TICKETS TO CANDIDE

June 23, 25, 27 & 28 & July 4, 5, 9 & 12 at 7.15pm. June 28 & July 5 & 12 at 2pm. June 29 & July 6 at 3pm. Sign Language interpreted performance July 9. Pre-performance talk by Edward Seckerson: June 27 at 5.30pm, London Coliseum Pre-performance talk by John Snelson: Jul 9 at 5.30pm, London Coliseum

HOW TO ENTER

Tickets £10 - £87

Book at www.eno.org/candide or call 0871 911 0200 English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES

July 12th performance

One of two pairs of tickets could be yours. Just answer this question correctly: QUESTION: Who is Candide’s tutor and mentor, who teaches him the philosophy of absolute optimism. a) Fullgloss b) Pangloss c) Candifloss Tickets are for the July 12 performance, so ACT NOW! Send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, Wednesday July 9. Email it to theamerican@ blueedge.co.uk with CANDIDE COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: CANDIDE 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.

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The American

New Gallery for National Museum of Scotland

A Social Climbing In Undiscovered Masterpiece

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t isn’t often that a bona fide undiscovered masterpiece turns up at auction. but Bonhams have exactly that at their Sale of Old Master Paintings ( July 9, 2008 at their 101 New Bond Street, London auction rooms). The painting is a recently discovered and previously unrecorded portrait by one of the greatest portrait painters of the 18th Century, Thomas Gainsborough. Never sold at auction before, it is expected to fetch between £80,000 and £120,000. The painting has been in the same family since it was commissioned. The portrait, in oil on canvas, is of Humphrey Hall (1738-1801), son of Thomas Hall (1692-1748) a London merchant who made his fortune in the China Trade. Humphrey Hall, although wealthy, was still regarded as ‘trade’ by high society, but he raised his family to the gentry when he married the daughter of Lord St John.

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major new permanent gallery will open at the National Museum of Scotland this month ( July). Scotland: A Changing Nation will explore the experiences of people living and working in Scotland from World War I to the present via first-hand accounts from famous people and ordinary members of the public, objects, film, literature, music, and costumes. It will also incorporate the existing Scottish Sports Hall of Fame. Dr Gordon Rintoul, National Museums Scotland Director, said: “This gallery is an incredibly important addition to the museum. It aims to reflect the vibrancy and diversity of Scottish culture during the past century and as we know it today. By bringing together so many fascinating objects and perspectives from all over the country we have been able to create an intriguing glimpse into our social history, which we hope will inspire visitors from Scotland and abroad.” Comedian Billy Anyone with Scottish ancestors – or anyone visiting Connolly, scotland’s Scotland who wants to know more about this fascinatgreatest export since ing and beautiful country – will enjoy the new gallery. whisky

Square Dance Week

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he British Association of American Square Dance Clubs is holding a National Week of Dance in August from August 9-15 at Lytham St Annes High Technical School, Lytham St Annes, near Blackpool. Costs for dancing are £80.00 per person. Square dancing is offered from Mainstream to C2 level and round dancing Phase II to Phase V. Camping with your caravan, tent or motorhome costs £32.00. Call Roger Spratt on

01494 639307, email istana295@ btinternet.com, or write to 295 Rutland Avenue, High Wycombe HP12 3LY. Other events are listed at www.squaredancing.co.uk. The BAASDC is looking for more square dance callers. If you are qualified, they would love to hear from you. If you are not qualified but keen to learn, they can arrange caller schools. Contact Zoe Bremer at the BAASDC at RPMsquaredancing@ aol.com


The American

News from your Embassy UK Consular Information Sheet

A new Consular Information Sheet for the UK was released on June 3, 2008, and is available at http:// travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/ cis_1052.html. In this update, among other things, we’ve supplemented the “crime” section with a information about the “cabwise” program, leaving a GPS devise visible in a parked car, and using underpasses after dark.

Crackdown on knives

In the CSI we also note that “generally low crime rates and rates decreased slightly in 2007 in significant categories;” however, we have seen an increase in arrests for carrying knives following the announcement of stronger sanctions to prevent knife crime. We would like to remind you that many pocketknives and other blades, and mace or pepper spray canisters, although legal in the U.S., are illegal in the UK and will result in arrest and confiscation if detected. See www.met.police.uk/youngpeople/guns.htm for and http://customs. hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/downloadFile?contentID=HM CE_CL_001734 for details.

Paying it Safe

We’ve also had reports in the past month from Americans residing in the UK who have found that unauthorized charges were being made

in the U.S. on their U.S. credit cards. The Federal Trade Commission has advice on its website at http://www. ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/online/ payments.shtm that can help people avoid becoming victims of credit or bank fraud, particularly when using electronic systems.

Celebrate independence – register and request your ballot! The Secretary of Defense has designated June 28 to July 7, 2008 as Overseas Citizens Voters Week. This is an excellent time to check that you are properly registered and if not to do something about it. Don’t wait until the last minute, plan ahead! July 4 is only 123 days from the General Election. And as U.S. citizens gather for Independence Day activities, spread the word to them.

Embassy Closure Dates

The Embassy will be closed on Friday, July 4, for Independence Day.

AMERICAN EMBASSY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM GROSVENOR SQUARE, LONDON W1A 1AE Switchboard +44 (0)20 7499 9000 Visa Information (£1.20/min):  09042 450100 Mon-Fri 8.00am – 8.00pm, Sat 10.00am – 4.00pm Passport Unit (American Citizen Services): +44 (0)20 7894 0563 24hr assistance for genuine emergencies: +44 (0)20 7499 9000 Hours: American Citizen Services, daily 8.30-12.00; then Monday/ Wednesday/Friday 2-4pm Ambassador: Robert Holmes Tuttle Deputy Chief of Mission: Richard LeBaron Chief, American Citizen Services: André Goodfriend Minister Counselor for Management: Rich Jaworski Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs/Consul General: John P. Caulfield Minister for Economic Affairs: Mark Tokola Minister Counselor for Public Affairs: Barrie Walkley Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs: Dorothy L. Lutter Minister Counselor for Political Affairs: Maura Connelly Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs: Rodrick McSherry Defense Attache: Rear Admiral Ronald H. Henderson, USN Press Attache: Beth Poisson Consul General, Belfast, N.I.:  Susan Elliott (028 9038 6100) Consul General, Edinburgh: Lisa Vickers (0131 556 8315) Welsh Affairs Officer, Cardiff: William Muntean (029 2078 6633)




The American

Diary Dates

Your Guide To The Month Ahead

York Early Music Festival Venues inc. York Minster and the National Centre for Early Music Medieval to C18th music performed amid medieval architecture in a city that has been inhabited since preRoman times. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Exile: music written for a strange land’, focusing on musicians, composers and their families whose politics, religion or personal ambitions led them to spend time away from home. Artists include Jordi Savall, Rolf Lislevand and Pierre Hantai; the Harp Consort directed by Andrew LawrenceKing, presenting The Play of Daniel in York Minster; Yorkshire Baroque Soloists performing Handel’s Israel in Egypt; the Choir of New College, Oxford; the Orchestra of the Age of

Enlightenment directed by Rachel Podger; London Baroque with Emma Kirkby; and Joglaresa. +44 (0)1904 658338 www.ncem.co.uk to July 12, 2008 Go Architects! Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD Children’s Creative Activity – Inspired by architectural models in the Richard Rogers exhibition, children can design and make their own fantasy buildings and structures using a range of model making skills and materials. 020 7940 8783, tickets@ designmuseum.org, www.ticketweb.co.uk July 1, 2008 then each Sunday to July 27, 2008

Henley Royal Regatta Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire Ostensibly a festival of traditional rowing races, with many top athletes, but for most of the visitors, more a pinnacle of the English summer’s social scene. Ladies, check the strict dress code for some ‘Enclosure’ areas. www.hrr.co.uk July 2, 2008 – July 6, 2008 Capturing Film History in the making Getty Images Gallery 46 Eastcastle Street London W1W 8DX Iconic, behind-the-scenes photographs of some of the world’s greatest stars filming at the great British studios of Pinewood, Shepperton and Teddington over the past 50 years. After London, the exhibition will tour to New York in September and Los Angeles in November. +44 (0)20 7291 5380 www.gettyimagesgallery.com July 4, 2008 – August 2, 2008

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS

courtesy mclaren Racing

INDEPENDENCE DAY with Democrats Abroad UK Leeds – details tbc DAUK in Leeds are planning an evening event – details were not finalised at time of going to press, but email for information. leeds@democratsabroad.org.uk July 4, 2008

British F1 Grand Prix Silverstone, Northamptonshire Will Lewis Hamilton’s home crowd give him the edge or will the Ferraris edge him out? Should be an exciting day for all concerned. www.silverstone.co.uk July 6, 2008

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INDEPENDENCE DAY with Democrats Abroad UK Marylebone Gardens (South of Chester Road, near playground), Regent’s Park (same as in prior years). Pack a picnic, a kite, and your political knowledge.Bring the family, friends, and colleagues – Time: 12:30-3:00. No RSVP necessary. Prizes for most creative kite and for the winner of the Democrats Abroad Political Quiz. www.democratsabroad.org/node/5634 July 5, 2008


The American

Spirit of the Sea maritime festival Weymouth & Portland, Dorset Celebrating the area’s close relationship with the sea, the festival brings together a range of sporting activities, cultural events and entertainment – all on a maritime theme. Includes Dorset Seafood Festival. 01305 785747 www.spiritofthesea.org.uk July 5, 2008 – July 13, 2008 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show East Molesey, Middlesex The world’s largest annual garden and flower show, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society. RHS members only on Tues. and Wed. Open to the public from Thursday to Sunday. This year’s highlights include features on growing and cooking an array of fruit and vegetables, how Climate Change will affect gardening, a Thai Floating Market and a Family Weekend with fun activities including a Scarecrow Competition. Plants can be bought then left in the plant creche to collect when you leave. 0870 842 2234 www.rhs.org.uk/hamptoncourt July 8, 2008 – July 13, 2008 Painting Family: The De Brays, Master Painters of C17th Holland Dulwich Picture Gallery, London SE21 Jan de Bray is almost unknown now, but he was the most important painter in Haarlem, Holland in the second half of the C17th, a mantle he inherited from his father Salomon, who trained him. Jan’s brothers Dirck and Joseph were also artists and this beautiful show features masterpieces by all four De Brays. 020 8693 5254 July 9, 2008 – October 05, 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed Goodwood House, West Sussex the world’s greatest celebration of motor sport and automotive culture: this year’s theme is ‘Hawthorn to

Glen Nevis River Race Returns! Fort William, Scotland The legendary Glen Nevis River Race returns! An extreme challenge with participants navigating the icy waters of a two-mile stretch of the River Nevis on an air-bed, through obstacles like the Gurgling Gorge, Dead Dog Pool, the Leg Breaker and the Lower Falls Leap (a thirty foot waterfall). It was run from 1973 to 2003 and more than 3000 competitors have taken part, raising thousands of pounds for the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team. Flippers and swimming aids are banned, but athletes must have an ‘inflatable craft’ - expect to see inflatable sheep, crocodiles, whales and possibly even a blow up woman or two! Fancy dress is encouraged. Go, support, enjoy – and enter? www.lochabermrt.co.uk July 19, 2008

Hamilton – Britain’s Love Affair with World Motor Sport,’ +44 (0)1243 755055 bookings@goodwood.co.uk www.goodwood.co.uk/motor sport July 11, 2008 – July 13, 2008 Dorset Seafood Festival Weymouth Waterfront, Dorset Weymouth harbour will be transformed into a Seafood Village with fish and shellfish landed straight from the boats and cooked in the open by celebrity chefs. Entertainment, live music, demonstrations and displays throughout the day. 01305 785747 www.dorsetseafood.co.uk July 12, 2008 – July 13, 2008

Eastbourne Extreme Eastbourne, East Sussex A free two day event with air, land and water outdoor pursuits offering taster sessions, demonstrations and national competitions – windsurfing and stand up paddlesurfing, jet skis, rowing, power boats, land yachts, mountain bikes, skating and stunt kites. 0871 663 0031 www.eastbourneextreme.co.uk July 19, 2008 – July 20, 2008 RNAS Air Day Helston, Cornwall Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose is home to almost 100 aircraft including Merlin helicopters, Sea Kings and Hawk Jets. See awesome flying

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The American

150th anniversary at their annual Spectacular at this stunning lakeside setting, conducted by John Wilson with classical masterpieces from Tchaikovsky, Grainger, Prokofiev, Johann Strauss, Wagner, Grieg, Dvorák, Berlioz, and the famous Dam Busters March by Coates. The concert will end with a spectacular and extensive firework display set against Tatton Park’s breathtaking backdrop. Concertgoers can pitch up from 5pm, enjoy a picnic in the park and soak up the atmosphere as the Hallé play in to the night. 0871 386 1119 www.tattonparkconcerts.com August 2, 2008

Afrika! Afrika! The Trafford Centre, Manchester After a run in London to the end of May, this spectacular and exuberant show is going to the North of England. More than just a show, it is an experience, from beautiful Moorish tents and Moroccan style cafes to authentic African arts and crafts and African food, the audience is given a glimpse of the heart of Africa from the moment they step through the door. An important part of AFRIKA! AFRIKA! is its support of cultural projects in Africa and through ticket sales in London alone the show has so far raised over £70,000 for UNESCO. 0844 847 247, 0844847 1554 www.afrika-afrika.com from July 23, 2008

displays, meet the heroic Aircrew who fly Britain’s helicopters around the world, get up close to state-of-the art aircraft and learn all about life in the Royal Navy. (01209) 614000 July 30, 2008 Amlwch Viking Festival Ynys Mon, Wales Two hundred authentically equipped warriors and villagers recreate early 10th Century political rivalry, internicne treachery and the Battle of Ros Meilion that expelled the Vikings. Walk around a C10th encampment, experience a Viking wedding, enjoy the spectacular display and battles. www.amlwchvikingfestival.co.uk August 1, 2008 – August 3, 2008

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Edinburgh Military Tattoo Castle Esplanade, Edinburgh A must if you’re in Scotland – or a good reason to visit there – the 2008 Edinburgh Military Tattoo celebrates over 50 years of music and spectacle set annually against the world famous backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Features military bands, acts from Australia, the United States, Canada and the Far East, massed Highland Dancers. The evening culminates with the haunting sound of the Lone Piper. +44(0)131 225 1188 www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk August 1, 2008 – August 23, 2008 Hallé Fireworks & Light Spectacular Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire The Hallé Orchestra celebrate their

Innocent Village Fete A ‘typical’ English village fete in the heart of London. An afternoon of ferret racing, welly-wanging, goose herding, cake eating, old fashioned funfair rides, cream teas, home-made cakes, tombola, a band stand and Morris Dancing. There’s a farmers’ market and live music from The James Taylor Quartet, Earl Okin, The Ukulele Orchestra, and many more. It’s held by the innocent smoothie drinks company but is a non profit making event that supports Samaritans, Friends of the Earth, Wellchild and the innocent foundation. 11am until 7pm. £7.50 for adults and £3.50 for kids. www.innocentvillagefete.com August 2, 2008 – August 3, 2008 Carnival Crazy Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD Children’s Creative Activity – It’s carnival season so here’s your chance to test out your funky fashion skills and design and make your own fantasy carnival costume – including headdresses, sashes and masks. 020 7940 8783, tickets@ designmuseum.org, www.ticketweb.co.uk August 3, 2008 then each Sunday to August 31, 2008


The American

Vet buys antiques for his English wife by Wendy Barnes, Director of Sulgrave Manor

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his headline appeared in the World Herald, Omaha on January 27, 1946, over a touching tale of a GI who searched in the city’s jumble shops for items which would make his new English wife feel comfortable in her new Nebraska home. His greatest finds were a teapot and some eggcups! It’s one of many stories in 1946 about the influx of the foreign wives of World War II GIs. About 30,000 of them came from Britain. That means 30,000 sets of family links that still continue today. Even more came after the war. By 1960, 100,000 British women are believed to have started life with new husbands in the USA. From my street in South London in the late 1950s, two girls, Joan and Margaret, left with GI husbands, Bob and Mike. Their stories could be replicated in many towns and villages across the UK. Meeting the American eagle.

GI brides line up to begin their journey to the United States. courtesy of Sulgrave Manor

Joan was my sister, so I have an American nephew, two nieces, one great-niece and one great-nephew. At Sulgrave Manor (the ancestral home of George Washington) I work alongside Cheryl, whose mother was a GI bride who had extracted a promise from her husband that they would return to England if she didn’t like the States – they did, and Cheryl grew up here. Then, too, there are the US veterans who have chosen to retire in the UK, with or without British wives. The links forged through the military are some of the strongest that bind our two peoples together. When we came to look for activities which could feature in our annual Independence Day event (celebrating a rather different sort of military relationship!) we looked to World War II. On Sunday 6th July you can spend a day in 1940, learning to ‘jitterbug’, do the ‘hokey-cokey’ and ‘the Lambeth walk’. Play 1940s games, see how much you know (or remember)

about those years with quizzes and competitions, and experience an air raid shelter. Meet ‘Winston Churchill’, that most English of statesmen who was, actually, half-American, get close to a Bald Eagle or a husky dog, or tap your feet to Appalachian dancing. Sulgrave Manor was purchased to be held in trust for the American and British peoples just months before the outbreak of World War I and during both conflicts was active in welcoming US troops on R & R. One of our most precious documents was given to us by American troops in recognition of the welcome they received from the Manor during the War. The Manchester Stars and Stripes Club also left with us a memorial to the 112 US soldiers from their barracks who died in World War I. This has recently been rediscovered in our store and those who visit with us on 6th July will be some of the first to see it in its new position of honour. H

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The American

Music Tori Amos at Madison Square Garden in 2007 Eric Skiff

Britney in more innocent days

Britney On The Road Back

Tori Sacks Record Company E

ver the maverick, Tori Amos has reversed the usual process whereby troublesome artists are ditched by their record label. She has sacked her label, Epic, instead going independent in advance of her new album, expected to be released (by her) in Spring 2009. Amos seems to be acutely aware of the shift in power and control from record label to artist – providing that the artist is able to utilise new technology like the web to distribute their music. On her website Amos explains: “This is an exciting time. There will be many ways in the present and in the future for artists to cross what has become the new unchartered Music Frontier. Ways that may seem impossible today but in a months time will seem probable. There are many ways to be involved in a struc-

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ture. But what kind of structure will it be and what will be the make up of it’s foundation? These are important questions, so important that I’ve been observing many different working templates in the music business for years now. “The key word here is the word “working.” In some cases these structures do not work positively for some artists. Only for those who have designed the system to specifically “work” for the corporate few. Artists need not fear structure, we just have to design and partner with expansive ideas. It is time for us as artists to stop being dependent, dependent on any system that has become undependable. Only then can we help to create a new system that propagates and secures independence for each creator.”

Britney Spears apparently looks ‘hot and blonde’ in a cameo appearance in the Pussycat Dolls’ new video. Britney drives a car past the Dolls’ Impala and they wave at each other. Not the most demanding role, but she made it to the shoot and looks healthy and happy, says a source on the set.

Last Ever Police Show The Police have announced that their final show – ever, honest - will be at Madison Square Garden. It will be a fundraiser in aid of New York Public Television. In addition the band has pledged $1 million to go to the Mayor’s MillionTrees initiative to plant 10,000 new trees, helping to reforest 2,000 acres of New York. To maximise the money for public TV there are some added extras to the usual tickets (which themselves go for a steep $150 – $750). For $2000, you get ‘prime seating’ and a pre-show reception. And for $5000, you get into the sound-check and attend a dinner prior to ‘special seating’ at the show.


The American

ALBUM theof MONTH Little Voice Sara Bareilles Epic

Little Voice has brought mainstream success to Sara Bareilles. The single, Love Song, was Top 5 on the Billboard pop charts and has now gone top ten in the UK. Bareilles, born and raised in Eureka, CA, bears comparison with any number of piano-playing female singer-songwriters from the last few years. But Bareilles’ bold production and arrangements transform her intimate lyics and wry observaitons into a big, clever pop experience.

The energy and power in the sound makes perfect sense when you know she played early on in California with members of Maroon 5 in a band called Kara’s Flowers. Little Voice is Bareilles’ fourth album, her first on a major label. The first two in 2003 were independently released live albums and six songs from her debut studio album, Careful Confessions, have been reworked for inclusion on Little Voice. Love Song is a sarcastic, cagey warning to a lover who she’s not yet sure about. “If you’re on your way, I’m not going to write you to stay.” But there’s an if, and it ends with a positive twist: I’ll walk the seven seas when I believe that there’s a reason to write you a love song today. At 28 years old, Bareilles is old

enough to be wary and ironic, but young enough not be jaded or cynical. In Vegas she’s looking for the greener grass over the fence – she knows that Vegas, and New York, and Mexico are not really where dreams come true, but she’s keeping on looking. And it has the killer line ‘cherry blue skies’. Throughout Little Voice, Bareilles performance is confident, polished, sexy and mature. Her songs are mainstream enough to be all over the radio now, but individual and deep enough lyrically to bear repeated plays in years to come.. A two-disc special edition of Little Voice with live acoustic tracks was released on March 18, 2008. The bonus disc also includes an interview with Bareilles and accompanying videos of the performances.

Win Tickets

Two of the great contemporary American artists in The Barbican’s Summer Jazz Season. WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS

Branford Marsalis Quartet + Andrew McCormack Trio One concert only with the world renowned Jazz saxophonist performs with Joey Calderazzo (piano), Eric Revis (bass) and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts (drums). One of the most exciting units on the jazz scene today. ‘A saxophonist of fearsome focus and energy.’ ~ The Telegraph Tue 8 Jul 7.30pm

These concerts happen just two weeks after this issue of The American. To win a pair of tickets to one of them, email your contact details to theamerican@ blueedge.co.uk with BARBICAN JAZZ COMPETITION in the subject line. Send your name, address, daytime telephone number. Remember, tickets are for the July 8th and 9th performances, so your entry must reach us by mid-day, Friday July 4. 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.

Maria Schneider Orchestra + Portico Quartet The Grammy winning composer returns to London with her brilliant New York big band for one concert only. Minnesota-born composer and arranger Schneider worked with legendary jazz arranger Gil Evans during the last couple of years of his life and has built a distinguished recording career. ‘She paints breathtakingly beautiful pictures in sound.’ ~ New York Sun Wed 9 Jul 7.30pm

Tickets from £15 • Book Now www.barbican.org.uk or call 0845 120 7508 15


The American

LIVE AND KICKING

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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.

Independence Music

Forget the family BBQ or the works softball game – Dolly’s in town (Cardiff town that is). Dolly Parton plays the Cardiff International Arena on July 4th. If melodramatic rock is what floats your boat, Meat Loaf is playing at The Rec, Bath’s rugby ground on the big day. And in London, who is the big draw for the biggest American day? Morrissey! Yes, the quintessential Englishman (albeit having lived in the U.S. for the last decade) will perform at London’s Hyde Park on Independence Day. Announcing the concert, he said: “It is, of course, the day when America celebrated its independence from Sidcup, but we can easily reverse that situation with a bit of John Mills stiff-upperness.” Meanwhile on July 5, cult comedy duo The Mighty Boosh headline a unique festival this summer at new venue, The Hop Farm in Kent. It combines the UK’s first open air comedy festival with a traditional music event. The main music stage has attracted an eclectic bill, with Har Mar Superstar, The Charlatans, The Kills, Peaches, White Denim, Robots in Disguise, Gary Numan, and Polar Bear. Jarvis Cocker will do a DJ set. The Boosh’s Noel Fielding says “The line up is finally coming together with all our favourite bands and comic friends. We can’t wait; it is going to be a blast!” You can book tickets for most

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Dolly in Cardiff

concerts in the UK via the links on our website, go to www.theamerican. co.uk and click on Music Live.

Hackney Empire 2008 Spice Festival The Hackney Empire is a former Edwardian music hall, designed in 1901 by the master of music hall building Frank Matcham. It’s big and brash, with a local East End community feel but big enough to attract major acts. It’s a great venue to see all sorts of entertainment. So that’s what they’ve planned. The Spice Festival is a four week celebration of arts and culture, a showcase of local talent with a select number of international stars. It offers everything from comedy, spoken word and slam poetry – new sensation Daniel Beaty of ‘Knock Knock’ fame (pictured) - street art, food, dance, theatre, comedy, kids, music hall and cabaret, fashion, photog-

Beaty and Berry hit Hackney

raphy, opera, fashion, gigs, film, weightlifting(!) + more. And, of course, music – the grand old man of rock and roll Chuck Berry makes a rare and welcome appearance. www.hackneyempire.co.uk

Ice Cube One-Off UK Performance Gangsta Rap legend Ice Cube returns for the first time since 2006 to play at London’s Electric Ballroom on July 14th 2008. It will be his only UK show this year. The gig will feature numbers form his solo career, his time with N.W.A. and from his new album, Raw Footage, which was released on June 17th on Cube’s independent imprint, Lench Mob Records.


SULGRAVE MANOR

Sulgrave Banbury OX17 2SD Tel: 01295 760205 www.sulgravemanor.org.uk enquiries@sulgravemanor.org.uk

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS SUNDAY 6th JULY 10.30am – 4.00pm Enjoy the sights and sounds of 1940’s Britain with our American/English re-enactors Come meet ‘Winston Churchill’ Learn the Jitterbug and Lambeth Walk

The american women’s health centre London www.awhc.co.uk OB GYN

DICKINSON B COWAN 214 great portland street london w1w 5qn Appointments: 020 7390 8433 (Phone) 0844 800 3006 (UK only) 020 7383 4162 (Fax)

An exhibition of American Indian artefacts, clothing and pictures Appalachian Dancing and Music from ‘Soft Option’

HOG ROAST

Dickinson B. Cowan

and refreshments all day Visit the Manor House – home of George Washington’s ancestors Adult £7.50 Child £3.50 Family £20

www.doctorcowan.co.uk

US and UK Tax Preparation and Planning

Jaffe & Co

Incorporating American Tax International Each year we prepare both the US and UK tax returns for dozens of Americans residing in the U.K. We use the same software and produce the same tax returns as the BIG Four Firms, at a fraction of the cost. We would be pleased to assist you with all of your US/UK tax matters. We have been preparing tax returns for US citizens in the UK for more than 20 years. We provide a personal service at a very reasonable cost. Please call us toll free today for assistance on: 0800 085 1537 or 020 8346 5237 or visit our website: www.americantaxonline.com


The American

Hey! Bo Diddley – The Originator T

he man with the ‘hambone’ – the ‘shave and a haircut, two bits’ rhythm that he based his music around – has gone. Bo Diddley died on June 2nd 2008 at his home in Archer, FL. He had suffered a stroke in May last year and gone home to recuperate. One of his grandsons, one of many family members with him when he died is reported on Reuters to have said “There was a gospel song that was sung and he said ‘wow’ with a thumbs up. The song was ‘Walk Around Heaven’ and in his last words he said that he was going to heaven.” Diddley was born Ellas Otha Bates in 1928 , in McComb, Mississippi. He changed his surname to that of Gussie McDaniel, his mother’s cousin, who raised him. The family moved to Chicago in 1936 and the young Ellas McDaniel was a precocious musicican. Perhaps surprisingly he started in classical music, becoming a gifted violinist. The coincidence of him breaking a finger, which menat that concert-standard playing was out of reach, and seeing John Lee Hooker and other blues-

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Who Do You Love? RIP Bo Diddley, 1928 – 2008

men around Chicago, led to Ellas taking up the guitar. There are various stories of how he chose his stage name – Bo Diddley was supposedly his nickname as a young boxer, taken from a southern phrase meaning nothing of worth, - “he ain’t bo diddley”. No doubt he meant it ironically – would the man who recorded Bo Diddley Is a Lover have been so self-affacing? Or the name may have been was taken from the diddley bow, a one-stringed instrument made from fencing wire and nails used in the south by black musicians. Diddley was a multi-instrumentalist – apart from vocals, guitar and violin he played all sort of keyboards and percussion. His career could be told through his song and album titles, which combine braggadocio, humour, innovation and the ability to pick up on new trends while retaining his individuality: Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger, Man Amongst Men, Mighty Bo Diddley, Promises, Who Do You Love, Got My Own Bag of Tricks Bo’s Guitar (he famously made his own square instruments), Big Bad Bo, Black Gladiator, Super Blues, Boss Man, Originator, Surfin’ With Bo Diddley, Bo Diddle y’s Beach Party, Bo Diddley’s a Twister, Have Guitar, Will Travel, Go Bo

Diddley. All told part of the story. Although some thought him not as authentic as, say Hooker or Muddy Waters, Diddley was equally influential. He took electric blues into a new sphere and was one of the originators of rock and roll. His effect on young muiscians, especially the white bands that took blues and rock and roll and started rock music as we know it. Tributes have flooded in from musicians including Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Costello, Ronnie Hawkins, Mick Jagger, BB King, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty, Robert Plant, and George Thorogood. Eric Burdon (The Animals) was a friend of Diddley and sang at the funeral. And finally, the rhythm that Bo Diddley called his ‘tradesman’s knock’. It is an enduring thread throughout rock music. And not just in obvious covers or copies of Diddley’s songs, as by The Rolling Stones and Buddy Holly. It can be heard in I Want Candy, the garage band staple, in George Michael’s Faith, and how about Johnny Marr’s underlying riff on The Smiths’ How Soon Is Now?. “I don’t sound like nobody!” was Bo’s motto, but over the years pleanty have tried to sound like him. That’s a legacy. H


The American

K C A B E AR TS!

K E C K C A I B T L N E I K W C I N

WIN tickets to see Nickelback at London’s Wembley Arena on September 21st 2008

The rock monster returns to the UK to play an Arena Tour this Fall

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upported by multi-platinum Massachusetts based band Staind, multi-million selling Nickelback are set to return to the UK for a string of five arena shows in the Fall. They are in the Manchester Arena on September 15th, Sheffield Arena on the 16th, Birmingham’s NEC on the 18th, London’s O2 Arena on the 19th and newly added Wembley Arena on 21st September. Ticket details from www.livenation.co.uk. The band are currently riding a tsunami of worldwide radio and video play after the success of their hit single, ‘Rockstar’, taken from their latest album, ‘For All The Right Reasons’. The album has shifted a staggering 9 million copies globally. Incredible statistics are what Nickelback excel at. They connect with people on a level far beyond the ordinary and that is reflected in global

album sales of around 26 million albums and counting. They’ve bagged numerous awards around the globe and the ‘Silver Side Up’ album broke the 1 million sales barrier in the UK. Frontman Chad Kroeger is looking forward to flying back over the pond, stating; “We can’t wait to get to the UK and give our fans the Nickelback show they deserve!” Be sure to catch the band at one of the shows as it’ll be your last chance to see them play before they close ranks and return home to Canada. There they will begin work on album number six, which is penciled for release in 2009 through Roadrunner Records. Tickets are priced at £32.50 Regional /£35.00 – London and can be booked through www.livenation.co.uk or 24hr cc hotline 0844 576 5483 (all tickets subject to a booking fee).

A pair of tickets could be yours if you answer this question correctly: QUESTION: Which Texan guitarist appeared vocally on Nickelback’s album All The Right Reasons? A Billy Gibbons B Stevie Ray Vaughan C Joe Ely HOW TO ENTER As usual, send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, Thursday July 31. Email it to theamerican@blueedge.co.uk with NICKELBACK COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: NICKELBACK COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Tickets are for the September 21 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.

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The American

As I was saying... Bob Pickens would be a happy man if Barack or John dropped by. After all, Americans in the UK have votes too...

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Marc Nozell

hen it comes to politics, I’m just a regular Joe. I don’t compulsively seek out Washington’s breaking news and couldn’t tell you who Harry Truman’s Vice President was. I usually have to be reminded how bills move forward in the capitol’s legislative bodies and how they come together to be made into law. But what is supremely important in my somewhat limited political environment is that I have cast my vote in every election in which I’ve been eligible to participate as an expat. I’ve got a few opinions, for whatever they’re worth. They are usually shared only with friends, though occasionally after a few pints I might go on the stump to anyone in earshot. But talk is baloney, especially at my level of political expertise. Yet every four years I bear a sobering responsibility about which I feel vaguely uncomfortable, but also, way

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down deep, privileged to carry. It is a responsibility all adult Americans abroad have every fourth year – every Presidential election year. It puts its heavy hand on our shoulder as the party primary elections get underway, and its mass grows as the campaign progresses, until it has an inevitable presence whenever we are in the company of non-Americans. This year, it arrived almost as a burden; I do not recall it ever having as great a requirement on what little political knowledge, awareness, contemplation and wisdom I can muster. Most readers will have already figured out what this burden is; every expatriate American has experienced “it.” “It” is a question posited upon us, just as one Englishman meeting another Englishman for the first time might comment on the cricket scores as a means of breaking the conversational ice. “It” is directed at us for the sole reason that we are American, and not because of our accomplishments in commerce, housekeeping, soldiering, education or the arts. “It” is “Who is going to win the US election?” My problem – and everybody else’s this year, for that matter – is that we genuinely don’t know. People ask me purely because they have overheard my accent. Maybe my drawl makes

”Maybe my drawl makes them think I might be some kind of fount of knowledge. ...I’m six ways from Sunday.” them think I might be some kind of fount of knowledge. More probably it gives them hope that I might be willing to share the skinny on a titbit they hadn’t heard themselves. Sadly for them, I have to say I haven’t got the faintest idea. I’m six ways from Sunday. I tell them it’s a wide open race, the most neck-to-neck, threehorse sprint since Ross Perot threw his feisty hat in the ring and actually a whole lot closer than that one ever was. Their happy, inquisitive smiles flip flop when they hear that until the summer conventions even the wisest sages among us won’t have an inkling who will win the office. It would be so much easier if I was a political animal. Then I could answer with the name of the person I was keen to support and move on to the next set of questions by reciting the reasons drilled into my brain. My new acquaintance would probably go away satisfied he had got an answer, even if it wasn’t one that he had expected or wanted to hear. But I am not a political animal. I am, instead,


honest, and I tell my inquisitor that his guess is as good as mine. And the conversation then turns to the cricket scores. So, as the pressure grows on us expats to be willing and able to predict a winner, or at least account for the platforms that will make them the likely winner, are the candidates, and more specifically their campaign managers, lending us a hand? Ask yourself this: when was the last time you can remember an official American Presidential candidate doing an overseas whistle stop? For me it was 1988, when George Bush the elder came to London. Actually, the main reason he was here was because a film crew was trailing along behind him for the purpose of making television commercials that portrayed him as a world leader. Well, okay, he was Vice President at the time, and yes it is a good idea to put your man in that light, but except for a few private moments he may have had with Republicans Abroad leaders here, he didn’t do squat to tell us overseas voters that he needed or even wanted our support. No speeches on the front steps of the embassy, no Today Programme interviews, no “town hall” meetings. Just a bit of makeup and brushing down for when the cameras rolled as he shook hands with Mrs. Thatcher at No. 10. There’s hope. John McCain was in London in March, but it was a low-key visit and at the time he couldn’t really lay claim to being the Republican’s official candidate. Rudolph Giuliani was here last summer, laying some groundwork that would enhance his image as an international statesman. And Michelle Obama came to London earlier this spring, for a high-profile drop-in that received plenty of news coverage. Too bad it wasn’t the candidate himself.

Spokespersons for both Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad tell me that there are plenty of fundraisers and rallies being planned for the coming months, and some will even feature notable political figures who will stump for their candidate. But neither party can yet count on their official candidate themselves coming to London – or any other overseas destination– during the course of the 2008 campaign.

Adam Barker

The American

”You’d think the political organizations would be willing to show their appreciation for the efforts of their overseas branches” There is a growing cache of provable evidence that the overseas vote has figured in recent US Presidential and Congressional elections. People expect more close calls to be determined by the overseas vote in 2008. Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad are all too well aware of this, and they are working hard and successfully to get out the vote. The only thing missing from this phenomenon is an acknowledgement by the Presidential campaign machines that these close calls are actually happening. You’d think the political organizations would be willing to show their appreciation for the efforts of their overseas branches by having a candidate speak directly to overseas Americans – not in a videotaped message, but by meeting us face to face. That they haven’t tells me the national campaign managers are an insular bunch and, at best, ignorant of the possibility for

killing two birds with one stone: playing the international statesman card a la the 1988 Bush visit and appealing to overseas voters at the same time. You can’t blame Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad – for years they’ve been telling their party HQs they want a candidate to come overseas. I never, ever tell anyone who I vote for. Even my wife doesn’t know how I’ve cast my ballots. For me, it’s one of the greatest features of our democracy that I can keep that secret to myself. But when, for the first time, I hear an official Presidential candidate step up to a microphone in Grosvenor Square, and speak to Americans overseas as vital participants in the national election, and solicit our support because he or she is the best candidate, then I’m happy to say publicly that that person is going to get my vote. H

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The American

The first royal motorist

by Leslie Walford

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s the 19th century drew to a close few people could have predicted the impact that the motor car would have on our world, our lives and on the environment. If Queen Victoria had her way the motor car might never have been allowed to sully her realm. With the Queen’s condemnation of motoring as ‘a reckless pastime’ still ringing in the ears of her widespread European family, it took a lifelong rebel to defy the matriarchal strictures and lead the way for the royals to embrace the new fangled motor car. ‘Bertie’ was that rebel. Bertie, otherwise known as His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (his given names were Albert Edward) enjoyed all the usual interests of the upper class of his day – hunting, shooting, horse racing and gambling. To these he added a prodigious appetite for food, drink and women. Wherever the Prince of Wales went he was, said one of his regular companions, surrounded by ‘a flotilla of white swans, their long necks supporting delicate jeweled heads’. ‘He preferred men to books and women to either’, said another of his cronies. In the last years of his mother’s long reign, Bertie became, in addition, an enthusiastic motorist. His first ever ride in a motor car was in 1899 in a 12 hp Daimler belonging to Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, whose

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descendants today maintain the world renowned motor museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire. It was not long before the Prince became the proud owner of a 1900 Daimler Tonneau, a 6hp, twin-cylinder poppet valve engine. This was the beginning of the British Royal Family’s long association with Daimler.

Those horrible machines

Bertie’s wife Alexandra’s enthusiasm for the automobile seems to have matched that of her husband. By 1908 she owned two cars, both Siddeleys. In 1901 she wrote in a letter to her husband: ‘...I did enjoy being driven about in the cool of the evening at 50 miles!! an hour! – when nothing in the way of course only! – & I must say I have the greatest confidence in our driver – I poke him violently in

The Prince of Wales in John Montagu’s Daimler outside Highcliffe Castle, Hampshire coURTsEY nATionAL MoToR MUsEUM, BEAULiEU

the back at every corner to go gently & whenever a dog, child or anything else comes in our way!’ Like so much else to do with the Prince’s lifestyle, Queen Victoria was disapproving of his new interest. She ordered her master of the horse not to allow ‘those horrible machines’ in the royal stables. Motor cars, she said disdainfully, were ‘very shaky and disagreeable conveyances’ which ‘smell exceedingly nasty’. After his mother’s death on January 22, 1901 the prince became King Edward VII and his wife Queen Alexandra. The date for the new King’s coronation was postponed when he developed appendicitis.


The American

Most of the crowned heads of Europe, already assembled in London, packed and went home again, hotel reservations were cancelled and all the manufacturers of carefully dated coronation souvenirs were left to mourn their losses. His coronation finally took place on 9 August 1902 and among the guests were not only most of European royalty but a selection of the king’s mistresses. By the time of his coronation the King had four motor cars – all Daimlers. From the start of his opulent reign Edward VII did his best to encourage motoring and the newly emerging industry. He gave his patronage to the automobile exhibitions of 1903 and 1906 and gave permission for ‘Royal’ to be added to the Automobile Club’s title. By 1906 the King’s own cars included a Renault and a Mercedes-Benz. All the King’s cars were painted a rich claret colour and, says one authority, could be distinguished by ‘their lack of number plates’, although in photographs his first car clearly sports a registration plate marked A7. Charles Stamper was the King’s motor mechanic charged with looking after the royal cars and it is said that the King knew nothing about the mechanics of his cars, nor did he wish to know. He would not even have been able to tell you how they were fuelled. That was all left in the capable hands of Mr Stamper. There is a story that in conversation with his cousin, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Kaiser had asked him what fuel the cars used. Edward confessed tonot knowing. His German cousin appears to have been every bit as ignorant about how the car engine worked, suggesting that it was probably fuelled on potato spirit. The royal chauffeurs soon found that the King’s interest in his cars

was limited to acquiring them and to encouraging his drivers to overtake all the cars in front of his own. On one occasion he insisted on taking his car high up into the mountains in the Mediterranean island of Majorca when other less adventurous motorists in the royal party had abandoned their vehicles because the journey had become too dangerous.

Old Crocks still run

All the King’s traveling in Ireland in 1907 was done by car and there were always cars available for him when he made pleasure visits to Biarritz and Marienbad. It is on record that the King’s staff expressed their concern when a bill for £1,500 was submitted for the hire of a car for the King’s use in Marienbad. Long before Queen Victoria made known her aversion to motoring one other royal appears to have been smitten by the idea of the horseless carriage. The Belgian engineer JJ Etienne Lenoir had built the first motor car with an internal combustion engine as early as May 1862. It had a 2 hp engine which ran on liquid hydrocarbon fuel at 100rpm. In 1864 Lenoir received what was probably the world’s first order for a motor car from none other than the Czar of Russia, Alexander II. The car was duly built and driven to the railway station at Vincennes where it was put on a train to St Petersburg. There the trail goes cold. There is no record of the car’s arrival at the Imperial Court and it was not until 1906 that papers were found that prompted a search to find the missing vehicle. But the hunt was in vain and the mystery of the disappearing Lenoir car has never been solved to this day. By 1903 a table of the world output of motor vehicles showed

that France was by far the biggest producer, manufacturing 30,204 automobiles. The USA was second with 11,235. Great Britain made 9,437 cars, Germany 6,904, Belgium 2,839 and Italy 1,308. (That’s right, the land of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Fiat was outdone by Belgium!) What happened to Edward VII’s first motor car? In 1971 Queen Elizabeth II entered it in the annual London-Brighton Run for veteran cars. The run is held to commemorate the end of the legal requirement for cars to be preceded by someone carrying a red flag and is popularly known as ‘The Old Crocks Run’. The car has taken part in the 50 mile run on many further occasions since then, driven by members of the royal household. It is on display with many other historic royal cars at Sandringham Museum in Norfolk. H

A vintage bus on the London-Brighton Run in 2006 Jon’s Pics

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Eisenhower in Britain The man who led the Allied armies back into Europe and then became President is fondly remembered in Britain, writes Mary Bailey

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Dwight D. Eisenhower

View from the gallery at Culzean Castle looking towards the drawing room Photo: National Trust for Scotland

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t is only a small rather unimportant looking plaque which I noticed while walking to visit friends in a leafy part of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, but it honours the man who commanded the thousands of troops from many nations who, from the sea and from the air, went forth to liberate Europe – General of the United States Army and 34th President of the United Sates, Dwight David Eisenhower. Eisenhower’s Headquarters at Telegraph Cottage, recently rebuilt, were just along the road from the plaque, which was presented by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in 1994 to mark the 50th anniversary of D Day. It’s in the area known as Bushy Park, where Henry VIII rode out from Hampton Court Palace to hunt deer. 400 years later many American troops were housed here,

preparing one of the greatest military battles of all time. Ike lived there from 1942-44 and on June 6th, 1944 he gave the command to commence operation ‘Overlord’. I found a few people who, young then, stood near Kingston Parish Church that fateful day. They remembered the air being black with planes, so low and close that you could hardly see the sky. They told me of their joy that, after five long years of war, they were going back, and they could start to look forward to life again. Eisenhower was a Texan who had followed a fairly routine army career. He did 40 years active service but it was not until 1941 that his promotions became rapid. He had one special gift – he could get on with people, of his own and other nationalities. A useful talent in his post of Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force. Not only had he his own US masters to satisfy he had to get on with the indomitable Churchill who never bowed to Hitler, the difficult but brilliant British General Montgomery , and General de Gaulle who carried the pride of France on his shoulders but was proud and very French! The Generals must have known that day they were sending thousands of young men to their deaths and there has always been debate about the strategy of the battle. It has been said that Ike was not merciful to captured German soldiers, but people in Europe were starving and a new word had entered the language, ‘Belsen’. Afterwards, an aide found in the General’s jacket pocket a crumpled piece of paper which read ‘On landing in the Cherbourg/Havre area we failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time


The American

and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.’ The words of an officer and gentleman. Ike was not a political creature but the Republican Party adopted him as candidate and he became the 34th President. By the British he is more thought of as a great American General. As a gesture of Scottish thanks for American support in World War II, in 1945 he was invited by the Kennedy family to accept the tenancy of a specially created top floor apartment for his lifetime, in their Robert Adams-designed castle of Culzean in Ayrshire. He liked it and used it once while president and several times in retirement where the nearness of golf links and courses were an added attraction. Culzean truly is a beautiful place and you can stay here too. If you are ever in Kingston, remember to glance at the plaque. It seems so long ago but it happened here. H

Below: Eisenhower inspires his boys – a pep talk to paratroopers on the morning of D-Day. Paratrooper Wallace C. Strobel is wearing the no. 23 label.

Above: The drawing room at Culzean Castle. Photo: National Trust for Scotland

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The American

Coffee Break Coffee Break Quiz QUESTIONS

1 W  hich well known brand’s secret ingredient is codenamed x7?

4 W  hat does ‘http’ stand for, as used in website addresses?

2 I n which Clint Eastwood film was the catchphrase ‘Go ahead, make my day’ first used?

5 W  ritten by Edgar Allen Poe and published in 1845, what poem repeats the famous line ‘nevermore’?

3 I n which decade did the population of the world reach 4 billion?

6 O  lympus Mons is the largest volcano known to man. Where is it?

7 W  hat was the profession of Wyatt Earp’s sidekick Doc Holiday? 8 I n Charles Dickens ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, what were the two cities? 9 W  hich sport are you not allowed to play left handed? 10 Which actor was stung in ‘The Sting’? 11 ‘Man on the Moon’ was the biopic of which US comedian? 12 Colonel James Doolittle led the first bombing raid on which city during World War II? 13 Who is the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated? 14.  Why was the 2006 Superbowl ‘larger’ than usual? 15. From the Marvel Comics, name the Fantasic Four. Answers at foot of the page.

Last month’s Competition Winners The winners of the London International Music Show tickets in June were Teresa Moray of Norfolk and Gwyn Berry of Beckenham Coffee Break Quiz Answers 1. Coca-Cola. 2. Sudden Impact. 3. 1970s 4. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. 5. The Raven. 6. Mars. 7. Dentist. 8. London and Paris. 9. Polo. 10. Robert Shaw. 11. Andy Kaufman. 12. Tokyo. 13. Spencer Percival. 14. As it was the 40th Superbowl, it was called ‘Superbowl XL’. 15. Mr Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Thing.

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It happened one... July July 1, 1963 – ZIP Codes are introduced for U.S. mail. July 2, 1947 – An object speculated to be a UFO crashes near Roswell, New Mexico, though the U.S. Air Force claims it is a weather balloon. July 3, 1863 – American Civil War: The final day of the Battle of Gettysburg culminates with Pickett’s Charge. July 4, 1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story, one that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. July 4, 1865 – three years later, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is published. July 5, 1295 – Scotland and France form an alliance, the beginnings of the Auld Alliance, against England. July 6, 1189 – Richard the Lionheart is crowned King of England. July 7, 1863 – United States begins first military draft; exemptions cost $100 July 8, 1898 – The shooting death of crime boss Soapy Smith releases Skagway, Alaska from his iron grip. July 9, 1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution ratified guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law. July 10, 1913 – Death Valley, California hits 134 °F (~56.7 °C), the highest temperature ever recorded in the United States. July 11, 1798 – The United States Marine Corps is re-established; they had been disbanded after the American Revolutionary War.

What a Buzz – Aldrin does the moon walk

Hollywood, Los Angeles. It originally reads “Hollywoodland “ but the four last letters are dropped after renovation in 1949. July 14, 1969 – The U.S. $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills are officially withdrawn from circulation. July 15, 1954 – First flight of the Boeing 707, the first American jet passenger airliner. July 16, 1955 – Original Disneyland park opens in Anaheim, California July 17, 1975 – Apollo-Soyuz Test Project: An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with each other in orbit marking the first such link-up between spacecraft from the two nations. July 18, 64 – Great fire of Rome: A fire begins to burn in the merchant area of Rome and soon burns completely out of control while Emperor Nero reportedly plays his lyre and sings while watching the blaze from a safe distance July 19, 1545 – The Tudor warship Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, sinks off Portsmouth. July 20, 1903 – Ford Motor Company ships its first car. July 21, 1969 – Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon. July 22, 1933 – Wiley Post becomes first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.

July 12, 1812 – War of 1812: The U.S. invades Canada at Windsor, Ontario.

July 23, 1632 – 300 colonists depart Dieppe, France, bound for New France – much of what is now Canada and the United States.

July 13, 1923 – The Hollywood Sign is officially dedicated in the hills above

July 24, 1832 – Benjamin Bonneville leads the first wagon train across the

Rocky Mountains by using Wyoming’s South Pass. July 25, 1897 – Writer Jack London sails to join the Klondike Gold Rush where he will write his first successful stories. July 26, 1953 – Fidel Castro leads an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, beginning the Cuban Revolution. July 27, 1663 – The British Parliament passes the second Navigation Act requiring that all goods bound for the American colonies have to be sent in English ships from English ports. July 28, 1586 – First potato arrives in Britain. July 29, 1864 – American Civil War: Confederate spy Belle Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, DC. July 30, 1619 – In Jamestown, Virginia, the first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convenes for the first time. July 31, 1790 – First U.S. patent is issued; granted to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process. Thanks to all our friends at Wikipedia

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The American

London’s Blue Plaques So, what are those blue disks stuck on London walls all about?

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s you walk around London you may have noticed round blue plaques attached to various walls. They commemorate famous, important or interesting people who have lived in London by pointing out buildings they are associated with. In 1866 the Society of Arts started the scheme and erected its first plaque – not in the present blue circular design – in 1867, to the poet Lord Byron. The Society put up 35 plaques, less than half of which survive. In 1901, the scheme was taken over by London County Council (LCC). Nearly 250 plaques were put up over the next 64 years and the blue disk design was adopted. The LCC also put in place strict selection criteria. The LCC was abolished in 1965 and the scheme passed to the Greater London Council (GLC) which widened the range of people to be commemorated. Between 1965 and 1986 the GLC’s 262 plaque recipients include the suffragette (women’s rights campaigner) Sylvia Pankhurst; Samuel Coleridge Taylor, composer of the Song of Hiawatha; and Mary Seacole, the Jamaican nurse

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and heroine of the Crimean War. Since 1986, English Heritage has managed the blue plaques scheme. The number of new plaques has increased and English Heritage has erected nearly 300 plaques in London.

Edward Murrow Remembered

One of the newer blue plaques, and one of particular interest to Americans, is that in honor of Edward R. Murrow. Ed Murrow is remembered by many Americans as one of the most respected people in the history of broadcast journalism. His integrity and courage are legendary. Many remember the way he criticised Senator Joseph McCarthy’s UnAmerican Activities Committee, on Murrow’s TV documentary series See it Now (as seen in the movie Good Night, and Good Luck, directed by George Clooney). In that program he famously said “We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” Perhaps some things never change. Murrow is remembered by the British – and some older Americans – for a different series of broadcasts. In 1937 he became European Director of the broadcaster CBS. He moved to London and, far from being desk-bound, began reporting stories on the radio. When World War II began, Murrow’s news broadcasts from

London – in the time before the U.S.A. had joined the Allies - helped rally American public opinion to the British side. In the “darkest hour” of the Blitz – the all-out bombing of London by the German Luftwaffe – he broadcast live from dangerous locations. He made one broadcast from the roof of the BBC’s Broadcasting House during an air raid. Later he flew on 25 bombing raids over Europe, telling the story of the raids in a completely new way. It has been said that Murrow’s reports made the United States’ entry into the war possible. In 1941 he started a new program, Meet Uncle Sam, which told the story from the other direction, introducing the United States and its people to the British public and making his deep, and deeply credible, voice familiar to Britons. In a 25 year career Edward R. Murrow made over 5,000 broadcasts and he was the archetype of the straight talking, thoughtful reporter and commentator. April 25, 2008, would have been the 100th birthday of Edward R. Murrow, the man still seen as the benchmark for honest, fair broadcast journalism. H Murrow’s blue plaque can be seen at Weymouth House, 84-94 Hallam Street, London W1, where he lived from 1938 to 1946.


The American

A

corner of France in the English country side was the description given to me, but my first impression when I arrived at this charming sixteenth century Inn was of Jane Austin stopping to enjoy a cup of tea before continuing her journey to a friend’s country estate near Henley. I imagined her sitting by one of the fireplaces, discussing King Charles II, known as The Black Boy because of his swarthy complexion, who sought sanctuary there while fleeing from the Parliamentarians after the Battle of Worcester. The area was a Parliamentarian stronghold, but the surrounding villages of Henley and Hambledon were strongly royalist and the King was aware he’d be safe from his enemies. When

Dining out at

The Blacks Boys Inn Restaurant reviews by Virginia E Schultz

I mentioned this to my actress friend Maxine Howe, she added it would still be the perfect hideaway for a secret rendezvous. Deciding it was best not to go into that with the patron Adrian Bannister standing only a few feet away, I looked at the small, but very interesting wine menu. Prices per bottle were not only far less than one would pay for the same wine in London, but there were over forty wines we could order by the glass at reasonable prices. One, a good Viogner Casa La Joya Estate Reserve Colchagua Valley, Chile 2006, was £4.50/£5.95 a glass compared to the £7.50 I paid at a London restaurant few days before. We, however, decided on the house aperitif, a Limoux Brut with a splash of Cassis and Burgundy (£6.50). The menu was not long, but with enough varied selections to satisfy the most discriminating palate with the exception of perhaps a vegetarian. However, I’m certain a quiet talk with Head Chef Simon Bonwick and

that could be easily arranged. Our problem was whether to choose fish, fowl or meat. Having learned to love eel after living in Holland for a number of years, Maxine chose River Dart Smoked Eel with horseradish remoulade and beetroot (£6.50). I debated between Fromage Blanc Mousse, Pickled Asparagus, with Chervil Truffle Dressing (£7.85), Hand Picked Salcombe Crab with Tomato and Mint (£9.95), and Tartare of Blue Tuna, Liquorice & Saff ron Dressing £8.50. The crab won. Both were wonderful, although we may have made a mistake not ordering the tuna after the oh’s and ah’s we heard from the next table. I was driving so I stuck to sparkling water, but Maxine, at Adrian’s suggestion, had the Sauvignon Blanc Nobilo Southern Rivers, East Coast New Zealand 2006 (£5.95/£7.95 a glass). It’s crisp gooseberry and kiwi flavours were a perfect match with the eel. I ordered the line-caught sea bass with

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artichokes & lemon (£18.50) only because Maxine found the Cornish monkfish & sea scallops with Toulouse Cassoulet (£18.50) irresistible. How right she was. It looked like a painting and tasted even better. My sea bass was delicious and delicate, proving Chef Bonwick has a deft hand when it comes to cooking seafood. I was somewhat leery about dessert as too often I find chefs’ talents end after the first and main courses. Fortunately, I was proved wrong. The Chocolate Sablee, Bitter Chocolate Mousse with Pistachio Sauce and the Indian Apricots, Riz Imperatrice and Breton Biscuit (both £5.95), which we shared, garnered kudos for the chef from both of us. Coffee was strong and the chocolates and macaroons scrumptious. All in all, we found the food we enjoyed that afternoon was British cooking at its finest and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Michelin star in the future. There are double en-suite rooms at Black Boys Inn from £65.00 (not this rate during Henley Regatta and Henley Festival weeks) including a full English breakfast. Henley Road, Hurley, Berkshire SL6 5NQ Telephone: 01628 824212 www.blackboysinn.co.uk

The Art Of Appreciating Wine

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n July 8 at 7pm Sotheby’s Grosvenor Galleries (Bloomfield Place, off New Bond Street, London W1) will host an informal introductory course conducted by Damian Tillson, a senior specialist in Sotheby’s Wine department. Damian will guide participants through a tasting of six different wines looking at the varying styles and qualities, how to taste wine, what to look for in a good wine, matching wine and food, exciting wine regions to look out for, whether expensive wines are really worth it, and suggestions for where to buy your wine. Tickets are £45 per person (gift vouchers available). + 44 (0)20 7293 5727 or alexandra.floyd@sothebys.com.

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Jimmy’s Dining out at I

n an ideal world, every neighbourhood in London would have a restaurant like Jimmy’s. The service is friendly and competent, there’s a capable and inventive kitchen and the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxing. Ideally, the head chef would be similar to Liam Cooper, who at twenty-five has earned his experience throughout the UK and Europe with some of Europe’s leading Michelin star chefs including Gordon Ramsey. Ignore the criticism that the young owners, James and Rachael Robertson, have decorated the place too 1950’s or that the food isn’t excitingly modern. No, Head Chef Cooper isn’t mixing bacon with ice cream or adding salmon foam to mash potatoes. Jimmy’s is the kind of restaurant you’ll go with friends or even on your own over and over again. Don’t misunderstand, I’m fascinated by what is being done at The Fat Duck in Bray and El Bulli in Spain. I even cooked turkey the way Chef Blumenthal suggested and


The American

it was delicious. Do it again? Not unless I had four experienced sous chefs helping me. Maybe I’m just an old fashioned girl, but I enjoy food the way my father and grandmother use to cook. The eggs I ate came from my uncle’s farm, the vegetables from my father’s garden, and the meat and fowl from the local Amish market. The food was flavoured by herbs rather than salt (I had a serious heart condition as a child) and the first really spicy food I ate was cooked by the Mexican mother of a girl I met at summer camp. What am I trying to say? Well, I’ve eaten twice at Jimmy’s and both times were very enjoyable. The battered Pollock with chips and tartare sauce I had at lunch was to go back for as was the old fashioned apple crumble and custard. And the Bloody Mary (£6.50) tasted the way it’s suppose to. Dinner with my friend Maxine was also excellent starting with the bread - always a sign of whether or not the food will be good. We sipped champagne (£8.00) in lovely long flute glasses as we studied the menu. Max chose the Roast Breast of Quail with Bubble & Squeak, excellent, while I had a Crab & Crayfish cocktail which, with its avocado base, was more interesting than tasty. I regretted not ordering the smoked haddock & salmon ravioli instead. The main course selections would be familiar to anyone growing up in England. As much as I love Macaroni Cheese, adding Poached Hen’s Egg and Truffle rather turned me off so I chose the Beef Wellington with Roast Potatoes. Max too kept to the traditional and decided on the Mutton & Lamb Shank Pie. Both were mouth-watering delicious. The crust around my Wellington melted in the mouth and the beef inside was beautifully pink. For dessert Maxine decided to have the Knickerbocker Glory. It came in a tall glass and with its layers of toffee, dark chocolate, strips of vanilla ice cream, raspberries and red jelly it reminded me of the stockings worn by some old fashioned baseball team – is that where the name originally came from? I could have continued the school theme

with Bakewell Tart with Creme Anglaise but decided Passion Fruit and Banana Sorbet would be a lot less filling. Not being English, I don’t know for certain, but if Jimmy’s is retro cooking, than all I can say is hip, hip hooray for the good old days! Lunch costs £15.00 for two courses, £20.00 for three. Dinner is £22.00 for two courses with three at £27.00 386 Kings Road, London, SW3 5UZ Telephone: 020 7351 9997 info@jimmyschelsea.com www.jimmyschelsea.com

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Cellar Talk by Virginia E. Schultz

CACHACA

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PHOTOS by Christian Horvat

achaca (pronounced “ka-sha-sa”), the Brazilian liquor fermented from freshly pressed sugar cane, has been described as the next tequila. Walk into most bars in London, however, and you’ll find more people drinking Tequila than caipirinha, the signature drink of Brazil made from cachaca. But this popular national liquor of Brazil is beginning to catch on with the chic sophisticates of London, New York, Paris and Berlin. Last summer more than 500,000 cases of cachaca were sold in Germany alone. Somewhere between 1530 and 1550 slaves in Brazil were turning leftover cane juice from the milling process into an alcohol beverage. Noting how their workers enjoyed the liquor, plantation owners began offering the juice to their slaves as an incentive after their work was completed. Although wealthy members of

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Brazilian society regarded cachaca as a peasant drink, it didn’t stop the liquor from becoming an integral part of the culture. Like tequila, cachaca, is at its root a drink of the people and it is only in recent years that producers have began marketing premium versions. In order to protect this growing industry, the Brazilian government is beginning to impose stricter regulations on its production. Presently, the country produces around 1.3 billion litres of cachaca a year of which 99 percent is consumed by Brazilians. I’ve drunk caipirinha, (pronounced key-peer-EEN yahs) in Brazil and enjoyed it with friends in Houston, Texas but only recently in London. As befits a peasant’s drink, the name comes from ‘caipira’, meaning hayseed, hick or rube. “One caipirinha, two caipirinhas, three caipirinhas, floor,” I was warned. Fortunately, I took the advice, but a friend didn’t and three caipirinhas later was sprawled across the dance floor in one of Rio’s most exclusive hotels. As with all spirits, the better the cachaca, the better the caipirinha. The best is made in small batches by artisanal distillers, using the methods their predecessors used in colonial days. The most memorable caipirinha I had was in a popular bar and restaurant in Leblon, a waterfront neighbourhood near Ipanema where we ate bolinhos, fried meatballs or cheese balls, and a wonderful pork and black bean stew that I’ve tried to copy to no avail for over twenty years.

THE CLASSIC CAIPIRINHA

2 limes, cut lengthwise into eighths 4 tablespoons superfine sugar 8 ounces Sagatiba Cachaca or other premium brand. (I bought this at Harvey Nichols, but Waitrose, Tesco, Selfridges, Harrods also carry Sagitiba. Or try www. thedrinkshop.com, www.drinkon.com or www.sagatiba.com Place four lime pieces in a 9 ounce cocktail glass, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. With a wood spoon, muddle lime and sugar for about 30 seconds to release oils in lime skin; do not crush lime. Fill the glass with ice cubes, add 2 ounces of cachaca. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously for thirty seconds. Repeat to make three more drinks.

WINE of the MONTH

ALVENTO Elige 2005 (Canada) Moderately Expensive A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot with hints of blackberries, cherries and the faint aroma of new oak. I drank this delightful Canadian wine with two exceptionally knowledgeable friends as we nibbled on spelt bread and a lovely fois gras mousse from France.


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: www.lacapanna.co.uk Business account customers and party bookings are welcome. All major credit cards accepted.

FULLY AIR CONDITIONED • PRIVATE CAR PARK

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 • www.mondorestaurant.co.uk • mondorestaurant@btconnect.com


The American

Long story short The American catches up with Reduced Shakespeare Company founder Adam Long and asks him what the Dickens he’s been up to

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f you don’t know Adam Long by name, you’ll know his work. He’s American, and one of the founders of the Reduced Shakespeare Company. His drive to compact vast swathes of the past led to The Complete History of America (abridged), The Condensed History of Tony Blair, Star Wars Shortened and a 30 minute distillation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. He’s just written the condensed histories of the three major British political parties for BBC Radio 4, which will transmit in July. Now on at the Comedy Theatre in London’s West End, Dickens Unplugged was written (including the songs) and directed by him. It’s his first foray into musical theatre and as you might expect from Adam it crams the life and works of Charles Dickens into 90 minutes – but this time in five-part harmony! He talks to Michael Burland about it. The American started in 1976 – bicentennial year. Where were you then? I was a kid, living in America. I remember we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain to celebrate the bicentennial. I was born in New York and lived there until I was

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two years old then we moved out to Los Angeles. I grew up there until I was in my 20s then I moved out and lived in the mountains at Santa Cruz, California for a few years.

Was it work or a lifestyle choice that made you cross the Atlantic? It was purely work at first – it became a lifestyle thing. I always felt kind of a misfit in California, I fit in better here.

It must have been nice there. Yeah, it was, but I prefer London, I have to say. I came here with the Reduced Shakespeare company on New Year’s Eve, end of 1991. I met an Englishwoman and we got married and I ended up staying here, having kids.

But I have heard you being referred to as a hippy. That’s from my Santa Cruz days. I had long hair and lived in a house up in the woods in the mountains around Santa Cruz. What did you do before the RSC? I worked for a political action committee, trying to stop the spread of nuclear weapons during the Reagan administration, and I was having no luck, strangely. I started doing the RSC just for the fun of it on weekends. I had studied acting, and my dad was an actor, but I decided to go into politics instead. Gradually I got dragged from politics back into acting – by a very circuitous route. First I joined a folk-punk band, inspired by British bands like The Jam and The Clash but all played on acoustic instruments, and then I fell in with these jugglers. That sounds so medieval – “I fell in with some jugglers…” They made a very good living performing on the street and passing the hat. Then we felt we could do the same


The American

thing with Shakespeare and started doing short versions of Shakespeare out on the street. I love the idea of your Dickens show. Rather than just doing ‘Reduced Dickens’ you’re doing it as a tribute band? We bill ourselves as the Biggest Charles Dickens Tribute Band in Santa Cruz. So how many Charles Dickens Tribute Bands are there in Santa Cruz? Bizarrely this is based on truth. In Santa Cruz I lived just down the road from Neil Young and all these iconic 1960s figures like Ken Kesey and Neal Cassady. In December, these hippies would pack up their guitars and fiddles and go up to San Francisco, hire out a warehouse on the waterfront and build inside it a re-creation of Dickens’ London. Everybody would dress up in Dickensian costume and audiences would pay money to come and rub shoulders with Mr Micawber and Fezzywig and Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens himself would wander around shaking hands. They had a whole Dickens festival every Christmas with craft and food stalls. Hippies by day, closet Dickens fanatics by night! It was done totally for the love of Charles Dickens. The Reduced Shakespeare Company started off at a similar Renaissance festival in California. The more I researched Dickens, the more I realised the love affair between him and America goes all the way back to his time. There was a great poem by Bret Harte about cowboys around the campfire, reading the latest instalment of Old Curiosity Shop, worrying about whether Little Nell was going to survive. It’s a fantastic description. You can hear the wind whistling through the pine trees as the youngest cowboy steps forward and reads out loud the latest episode.

We have this idea that we’re terribly modern, with our airplanes and international travel, and no-one ever went anywhere before. But Dickens went to the U.S. He did two trips to America, one before slavery was abolished and one after. The first time he went there he was very unpopular because he said that the Americans should abolish slavery and people didn’t like to hear that. When he went back, in his old age, it was just a love-fest. He dressed very flamboyantly and everywhere he went there were huge crowds of people. He was like a rock and roll star. Did you have a love of Dickens when you were young? I read David Copperfield when I was young and it really made an impression on me, although I didn’t understand a lot of the language. I definitely didn’t understand the geography of the book. But there were things that burned themselves into my memory – the shipwreck in the flashing lightning at night, everybody getting shipped off to Australia at the end of the book. It was exotic but impenetrable. But after I’d been living here for a while Dickens meant a lot more to me. As you can hear I haven’t really picked up a British accent so when my producer suggested we did a Dickens show I was faced with whether I could do it in an American accent, from an American point of view. Would it still make sense. Last year we did a prototype version up at the Edinburgh Festival in our full-blown American twang and it went down great so we expanded it into a full-length West End musical, 90 minutes with a 20 minute interval. Your Dickens Tribute Band’s songs are American in style too.

They’re Americana rather than Country and Western – I went back to the Harry Smith Folk Anthology, and you’ll hear some of The Band, some Dylan, some Crosby Stills Nash and Young. But a lot of that music has its roots in Britain in the 1800s. Folk music came over to the States and turned into bluegrass and other forms. In the 60s, that got co-opted into that bizarre explosion of music that came out. But you’re taking the music seriously? It’s all done for comedy, but it’s the marrying of the serious music with the subject matter that you wouldn’t normally expect. [Archly] It’s the juxtaposition of the incongruous! I’m a huge fan of the Marx Brothers and Bugs Bunny cartoons and my sense of humour comes from that. We never allow a good tune to get in the way of finding a joke to go with it! H

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The American

CECE’S CHOICE

Cece Mills picks her Arts and Exhibitions for July, and suggests some places to visit in Wales The American Scene British Museum To September 7 With a dazzling cast of Louis Lozowick, George Bellows, Edward Hopper, Josef Albers and Jackson Pollock amongst the 74 modern American painters, The American Scene features a range of artists whose work reflects American society and culture in the 20th century. From the Depression to the changing urban landscape of New York, and America’s involvement in World War Two, this is a fascinating insight into American modern painters.

Above: Teapots by Richard Godfrey

Art in Action Waterperry, Oxfordshire July 17-20

Louis Lozowick, New York; c.1925. Lithograph. © Lee Lozowick

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Last month I mentioned Waterperry in the Oxfordshire spotlight section. This month it sees the unparalleled Art in Action. Over 400 artists, designers, craftspeople, musicians, performers, teachers and lecturers come together to present an event unrivalled in Europe for its size and interactivity. With demonstrations, practical classes, a wealth of art materials and publications, music, storytelling and lectures, as well as incredible art and a unique sculptural garden installation specially for Art in Action 2008.

Art in Action at Waterperry

Deal Festival of Music and the Arts July 5-19 Deal Summer Festival has an endless programme of amazing music, including the Russian Chamber Philharmonic St Petersburg, Tibetan Monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery demonstrating their traditional arts and crafts, more music, and SEAs, South East Open Studios.


The American

Left: Virginia Woolf

Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913 - 2008 Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh To September 21 Vanity Fair has long been associated with some of the greatest portrait photography, and this exhibition features a huge selection of work from the magazine’s early period to 1936, as well as pictures from the re-launch of the magazine in 1983 onwards. With an illustrious cast of portraits from Charlie Chaplin to Ernest Hemingway, taken by an even more illustrious list of photographers, from Cecil Beaton to Mario Testino, this important exhibition charts the purpose of the publication – to record modern men and women of culture, status and talent.

Above: Hilary Swank Left: Mick Jagger, Madonna and Tony Curtis Below: Firefighters by Jonas Karlsson

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The American

Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, in 1960 Photo by Horst Tappe/Hulton Archive © Getty Images

For Your Eyes Only Imperial War Museum To March 2009 Celebrating the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, this exhibition looks at the authors wartime career, his work as a journalist and travel writer, and how he drew on his experiences to create the famous James Bond.

London Festival of Architecture To July 20

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Eugenia Primavesi 1913/14 © Toyota Municipal Museum of Art

Including 600 exhibitions, lectures, installations in public spaces, guided walks and bike rides, boat tours and parties ….. The theme this year is ‘Fresh’, inviting us all to take a fresh look at London. Events include Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge Hub Walking Tour, Clerkenwell Party on the Green, The Great Hoxton Bake Off, Anything But Grey, Street Art at Brewhouse Yard – the list is endless. See www. lfa2008.org for more information.

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Gustav Klimt Tate Liverpool To August 31 Liverpool is the 2008 European Capital of Culture and celebrates with showing the first comprehensive Gustav Klimt exhibition in the UK. Klimt was founder of the Viennese Secession, a progressive group of artists, who embraced art, architecture, fashion, decorative objects and furniture.

Art in the Garden Hillier Gardens, Romsey To October 26 For the 9th year running, Hillier Gardens near Andover, presents Art in the Garden, with resident sculptor Rebecca Newnham working in the gardens from 11th to 17th August. Her work is an exploration of energy, photo–synthesis and geometry within plants and seeds.


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The American

Left: The Pentre or Gazebo at Portmeirion

The Pantheon or Dome at Portmeirion – as seen on TV in the cult 1960s series The Prisoner

Photo: Portmeirion LtD

Photo: Portmeirion LtD

spotlight on

O

ne of the interesting things about Wales is its language. Welsh seems to the uninitiated to be absolute gobbledegook, and it is incredibly difficult to learn. Even written in English, the place names are a mouthful and a half! I present you with a variety of interesting Welsh events and festivities, and a collection of place names that my spell check nearly seized up over. One of the best known places in Wales is Portmeirion. This amazing development of the early 1900s includes a 70-acre estate of subtropical woodland called The Gwyllt, and is owned by Ymddiriedolaeth Clough Williams-Ellis Foundation. Bought in 1925 for £5,000 by Clough Williams-Ellis (1883 – 1978), his idea was to prove that you could develop an area without spoiling it. As the architect of Portmeirion, Williams-Ellis used rescued architectural follies as well as designing site specific buildings. Now it has about 50 buildings, mostly hotels or places to stay, and has remained one of Wales’ most visited places. There is an American connection too, Clough Williams-Ellis was a friend and col-

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Wales

league of Frank Lloyd Wright, both sharing a Welsh heritage. In 1956 Lloyd Wright returned to Wales to receive an honorary degree from the University of Wales where he re-met Williams-Ellis. There is an exhibition of the work of Clough Williams-

Ellis’ granddaughter, Menna Angharad, in Castell Dendraeth. Her work is stunning, detailed and botanical. Not far from Portmeirion is a lovely art gallery situated in an old village forge and showing mainly


The American

Welsh art. I had to mention this because of its name! The gallery is called Garrey and is at Llanfrothen, Penrhyndendraeth – got that? Llancaiach Fawr is an old Tudor manor house near Nelson in South Wales. It is run as a living museum with a cast of many, fully dressed in 17th century costume, centred around the owner of the house at that time, Edward Prichard. The house is reputedly one of the most haunted in Britain and the website even sports a ghostcam so that you can watch rooms all night to spot your own ghost. In Swansea, the Dylan Thomas Centre was opened in 1995 by Jimmy Carter, a great Thomas fan. The museum holds a huge collection of memorabilia, letters, photos and artefacts of the Welsh poet and playwright who died in St Vincent’s Hospital, New York City. It is also the venue for plays, poetry readings, exhibitions and book signings. The ‘Armadillo’ is the new Welsh Millennium Centre and home to the Welsh National Opera. At the cost of a mere £106 million it has been welcomed by the Welsh and was intended to bring their capital, Cardiff, into focus as a cultural centre. This summer Madonna kicks

off her world tour there. The WMC was opened in 2004 by Her Majesty the Queen, and as well as a huge variety of performances, features two permanent gallery areas showing the work of Welsh and Wales-based artists. The Makers Guild exhibition ‘Heritage’, showing during July, is a collection of work inspired by the design and materials used within the Millennium Centre.

”Llancaiach Fawr is an old Tudor manor house and is reputedly one of the most haunted houses in Britain” Also in Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum is a good place to visit, to see how people in Wales have lived and worked, their traditions and lifestyles, costumes and music. In the grounds of a 16th century manor house it has over 40 original buildings re-erected in the grounds illustrating different periods of history. The Welsh Proms kick off at the beginning of July and go on until the 26th at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, the The Welsh Millennium Centre

National Concert Hall. The musical line-up is as impressive as ever, with practically every famous orchestra you can think of. With wonderful soloists like Bryn Terfel and Rebecca Evans, the Proms also feature Folk music, Gamelan, organ and children’s Proms. My own favourite folk band, Show of Hands, is playing with the excellent back-up group Fishermen’s Friends. I last saw these two bands at a sell-out concert at the Albert Hall some years ago – fabulous. Wales’s Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth, Powys regularly holds the Machynlleth Festival in August, which consists of a host of recitals, jazz, Celtic culture, music, dance and performances. From the end of July they host a cultural celebration of the North WalesLiverpool links with Owen Owen. Owen Owen was the name of a shop founded in Liverpool in the 1790s by a Victorian draper of the same name who hailed from Holyhead, Wales. Lastly, Sesiwn Fawr (Mighty Session), is reputedly one of Europe’s biggest and best world music festivals. Held at Dolgellam in Snowdonia on the July 18-19 it includes a spectacular programme as well as a craft market and plenty of food and drink stalls.

Interior detail of the Welsh Assembly, adjacent to the Millennium Centre.

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this Art? The American

Is this Art? The Italian Chapel, Orkney

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n a rather bleak hillock of rocky land, treeless and exposed, surrounded by a choppy and chilly looking sea, is an unprepossessing old Nissen hut – a cheaply made building built from corrugated iron during World War II. Unprepossessing if you look at it from the side or back! From the front it has been transformed into a charming, whitewashed, Mediterranean village church. This tiny place of worship was the work of many Italian prisoners of war in the 1940s. Some 550 Italians were taken prisoner in North Africa and shipped to Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, to help in the construction of a series of causeways known as the Churchill Barriers. These were – and are – formidable constructions of massive blocks of concrete, blocking the eastern access to the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow, a necessity after a German U-boat sank HMS Royal Oak there. Camp 60 became their home, on the tiny island of Lamb Holm. They used their collective creativity and an abundance of eclectic raw materials they found, to transform the humble hut into a mystical, holy and now much visited place of prayer. Led by Domenico Chiocchetti (now a legend in Orkney and Italy), the Italians lined the hut with plasterboard, made a concrete altar and painted the glass windows. Chiocchetti himself painted the interior with elaborate brick-work patterns on walls and ceiling, as well as the incredible altar-piece, copied from

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a prayer card sent to Chiocchetti by his mother at the start of the war and carried with him everywhere. It pictured Madonna of the Olives by Nicolo Barabina. Chiocchetti re-painted it in his own style, creating a beautiful and awe-inspiring focus within the church, no less breathtaking today. He also created a magnificent statue of St George and the dragon which stands outside the church, out of a frame of old barbed wire covered with concrete, helped by a concrete expert, Bruttapasta (who sounds like a comic-strip character!). Another prisoner, Palumbo, fashioned the wrought iron rood screen and two iron candelabra out of reinforcing rods left over from

The Italian chapel, Orkney Photo: Cece Mills

the concrete blocks used for the barriers. Beautiful brass candlesticks were made from kickboards of ships, lanterns from canned beef tins and all manner of wooden objects from shipwrecks. All the other materials were waste products from the construction site. The dedicated, detailed and intricate workmanship of this tiny centre of art is breathtaking, and pays constant tribute to the band of Italians, miles from home, who worked together to create something so beautiful out of virtually nothing. H


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The American

Reviews

by Virginia E. Schultz, Michael Burland and Richard L. Gale

Mayfair Photographs by Gemma Levine, Written contributions by Sir Martin Gilbert & Michael Portillo

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aging through Mayfair I was once again reminded how elegant, glamorous and sophisticated this area of London is now and has been for over four hundred years. It was the reason I decided this book was the perfect guide to take with me when I took a walk along Mayfair’s well cared for tree lined streets and squares and down ancient alley ways one Sunday morning a week later. I don’t know the statistics, but I doubt if any other part of London has more English Heritage blue plagues on the front walls of various houses and buildings with the names of the many prominent people who once resided behind the closed doors. I saw one for Jimi Hendrix, another for Nancy Mitford, but the plaque that had my imagination running over time was Catherine Walters, (Skittles), the last Victorian Courtesan who lived in that particular house from 1872 to 1920. Gazing at the many photographs taken by Gemma Levine in this absorbing book, I was reminded of the five weeks I lived in Mayfair during the late 1970s. Photographed were the building on Mount Street where my apartment was located fourth floor, no lift - the Guinea Pub

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on Bruton Place where I often lunched with visiting friends, and the American Embassy on Grosvenor Square which hadn’t been boxed in then by ugly black barriers or guarded by tough looking policemen in uniforms with guns. I relived memories of shopping in the fashionable shops on Bond Street, having my first English tea at Brown’s Hotel and going to church in Grosvenor Chapel, built in 1830, where my youngest daughter was married a few years ago. Old and new, graceful or menacing, this gorgeous book shows a world of people and places in a part of London that is as fascinating today as it was when Benjamin Franklin enjoyed an ice with some fashionable lady at Gunter’s Tea Shop on Berkeley Square in the late 1700s. Whether it is reading eminent historian Sir Martin Gilbert’s evocations of Mayfair’s vibrant past or former Conservative politician (and now TV pundit) Michael Portillo’s descriptions of the mesmerizing six main areas that make up Mayfair – Hanover Square, Berkeley Square, Shepherd Market, Grosvenor Square, Mount Street Gardens and Bond Street - or viewing the fascinating photographs taken by Levine, this is

the perfect book for the coffee table, to keep as a memento of your time in London, or even to use as a tour guide as I did that sunny Sunday morning. HarperCollins, £30.00

READER OFFER:

Save 20% on this lovely MAYFAIR book To save 20% and order your copy of Mayfair at the special price of £24.00 (RRP £30.00) please call the HarperCollins Hotline on: 0870 787 1732 and quote Dept 278T. Or write to Mail Order Dept 278T, HarperCollins Publishers, Westerhill Road, Bishopsbriggs, Glasgow G64 2QT, enclosing a cheque made payable to HarperCollins Publishers. Free P&P for all UK orders. Please allow 21 days for delivery. The offer starts on July 1st and ends on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2008.


The American

America Unchained Dave Gorman

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hat does any self-respecting American want to read while they’re over here? Why, a book written by a British comedian about his rather wobbly adventures driving across America in a thirty year old Ford Torino, trying to avoid spending any money in corporate shops, restaurants, motels or gas stations, of course. Is it possible to make the trip patronising solely Mom and Pop businesses? What will the folk in the mid west make of such a crackpot guy and his crackpot scheme? Gorman is known in the UK for his stand-up comedy, and TV and radio shows but you may know him from the States where he has worked on TV with David Letterman, Jay Leno and Jon Stewart. He obviously loves America and Americans but on a stageshow tour, Googlewhack Adventure, had become frustrated with eating and sleeping in couldbe-anywhere chains. Could he skip

back decades and travel from California to the east coast using only independent operations? He tries, and along the way he and his companions who are making a documentary about the venture discover things about small town America that surprise them, me and I suspect most American readers. Gorman also discovers things about himself. At one point in the Nevada desert his passenger asks what would happen if they broke down. “This is where you and I differ,” he says. “I like the fact that we’re on our own. I like the fact that this is so anywhere and nowhere.” Gorman finds not one independent-minded America but many. For an outsider’s view of the US that comes from the heart this is recommended to all – except perhaps to Mormons! Ebury Press, paperback, 382 pages, £11.99

Dr. Johnson’s Doorknob

And Other Significant Parts of Great Men’s Houses By Liz Germaine. Introduction by Germaine Greer

T

hrough the keyhole might be a better description of this delightful book. It is a photographic catalog of often overlooked personal objects from some of the most famous households in history. From the mantelpiece in the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt to the chairs sat on by Thomas Jefferson to the door handles and banisters from the hallways of Charles Dickens and Jules Verne, we have a peek at the ordinary possessions owned by extraordinary men in England and America. Each of the nine chapters in this enchanting slipcased package is a delight to view. Liz Workman, the author of several books, including National Heritage Revisited, The Dining Room, and Kitchen Cupboard has combined her love of the domestic with a reverence for history that is captivating from beginning to end. Rizzoli International Publications, £15.00

Special Op: Bomber Steve Barlow

I

f you are interested in the history of the air war during World War II – and from meeting you I knew that a great many of The American’s readers are – this book will add to your knowledge with a special blend of personal recollections and previously unpublished letters and official documents. Darlow, a respected military aviation author, has found first hand testimonies from those taking part in the vital Allied missions that were vital to stopping and then defeating the Nazis, from those on the airbases in Britain helping to make the operations possible, and from those on the ground in Europe at the receiving end of the devastating raids. A key word in this is ‘Allied’. Both the RAF and the USAAF are included. The book is divided into chapters based on famous missions like the Thousand Bomber Raid, the Dambusters, the Schweinfurt missions when B-17s flew unescorted in daylight over Germany, the joint RAF and USAAF “Big Week”, and “Big B” when American bombers finally attacked Berlin. Whatever one thinks of the morality of the bombing, the relentless flood of individual, named, human voices in Special Op: Bomber is impressive, sad, at times exciting and thought-provoking. David & Charles Publishers, 304 pages, £12,99

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The American

We’ve Always Had Paris... and Provence By Patricia and Walter Wells

I The First London Olympics: 1908 By Rebecca Jenkins

I

t would be easy to dismiss a book on the 1908 Olympics as a commemorative aside, taking advantage of the centenary and the build-up to the London Olympics in 2012. However, Rebecca Jenkins’ book is a highly accessible tale of the first modern Olympiad in which national teams played a major part. It is made all the more interesting by the historical pivot of Great Britain, in the final chapter of its Empire, taking on the rising power of the United States, the two nations in momentary balance. The book retells events we would recognize in many ways – the first opening ceremony, a doping scandal, track and field controversies, and of course, the relentless battle against the English weather. In other ways, we are a world removed: the tug-of-war event made front page news (albeit for the wrong reasons), while the event logo cost a mere £49. Each chapter works as a story too, Jenkins in no rush to hand us the results of events long enough in the past that we may experience the suspense of century-old highlights. The result is a diverting piece of time travel. Paiatkus, £16.99

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already knew Patricia Wells as the food critic of the International Herald Tribune but it wasn’t until I read her book The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris in the late ’80s that I became a complete devotee. That book, as well as “The Food Lover’s Guide to France” were the two “bibles” I took with me on my many trips and holidays to France with my husband and children and which now lie tattered and torn in some unknown box in storage. In this latest book, a memoir written in collaboration with her husband Walter, they share in two voices, the good, bad and ridiculous of their life in a country they love and where they are as close to being accepted as any non-native can be. And what a life that has been! From 1980 to 2007 Patricia was restaurant critic for IHT, runs a popular cooking school in Paris and Provence and somehow found the time to write ten books. Walter, who retired as executive editor of IHT in 2005 after previously working as editor and director since 1980, was equally as involved. Their life in France was certainly far different from where they started out in Milwaukee (Patricia) and South Carolina’s piney woods (Walter). This is a moveable feast of a book that I savoured and enjoyed over one long bank holiday weekend and now sits with five other favourite cookbooks in my kitchen. From the beginning of their courtship when they both worked for the New York Times, food has been an important part of the Well’s relationship. But it was their move to Paris which bound their destiny and the excitement the two experienced then and still do is felt on every one of the 312 pages.

They describe the many friends they made, like when Patricia cooked in the kitchen of the famous chef Joe Robuchon, as well as the mistakes they made as they struggled to learn the very complicated French rules of the table. Along with the anecdotes, insights and views of a country that has become more than just a second home, are over thirty recipes, three of which I tried...most successfully. Beautifully written with the taste and colour of their adopted country flavouring every chapter, I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. In fact so much so, I’m seriously considering taking a cooking course at her school in Paris or Provence this winter. HarpersCollins Publishers $26.95 (USA)

I Am Going To England By Sarah Satchwell

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useful little book by a lady who has given hospitality to hundreds of visitors and students over the years. It is aimed particularly at students coming to live in the UK for the first time but handy for anyone arriving here without much prior knowledge. It is a step by step guide, starting with ‘Suggested items to bring with you’, ‘Arrival’ and ‘Travel including Driving’. Basic advice is given for ‘Accommodation’, ‘Money’, ‘Shopping’ and so on, with short useful phrases and pages of explanations of words that visitors may not know. It is all fairly basic – including the production – but it would be a good starter for newcomers without local friends or colleagues, especially if English is not their first language.


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Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition

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July 2008 The aMeric

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June 2008

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irst published in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons spawned a role-playing games industry and influenced two generations of computer games. It is estimated that 20 million people have played the game at least once. Thirty-four years on, ‘D&D’ arrives in its fourth incarnation, three core rule books that may represent the most complicated dice game ever to grace a dining room table. The books are weighty tomes. The Players Handbook – the essential rules to the whole system – is 320 pages of table-strewn text (the best way to learn the rules is probably still to ask somebody else) broken up by fantasy artwork that, while not Boris Vallejo or Alan Lee, is of a high standard. And while the subject matter is classic ‘sword and sorcery’ stuff, the art is considerably less bloody than much to be seen in fantasy computer games. The presentation of this complex hobby is less sophisticated but a little more coherent than 2001’s 3rd Edition, reading a little more like a game and less like an encyclopedia, in the hope of winning over a new generation that slipped straight to computer games. The Monster Manual – 288 pages of nasties to test the questing heroes – is heavy with both illustrations and statistics (this never was a game for those frightened of math). The 244page Dungeon Master’s Guide, together with the Monster Manual, is intended for the narrator-like ‘dungeon master’ who runs the game rather than other players who need only the Players Handbook. The books are cheaper than most computer games of a similar genre, and the collaborative aspect might tempt teenagers to spend some time with the printed word and communication face-to-face. And while the D&D books still seem suited to the more precocious of teenagers, it isn’t impossible that some 30- and 40-something executives may sneak a glance, and think wistfully of their high school and university days. Wizards of the Coast, $34.95 per book (USA)

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The American

Living in the UK Taking note of the currency

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ne of the more daunting aspects for many American newcomers to Britain is the currency. If you are worried about not being able to cope with pounds, shillings and pence, fear not, the days of toffs tipping urchins a ha’penny and Celia Johnson paying thruppence for a cuppa tea have long gone. Britain’s currency was decimalised in 1971. The official currency in Britain is the pound (aka pound Sterling) and uses the symbol £. Like the dollar (and the Euro and most currencies around the world) the pound is divided into 100 smaller units – there are 100 pence, or pennies, in a pound. Pence/pennies are often referred to just as p, pronounced ‘pee’ – as in, “that will be 25p change, love”. Pounds are often called ‘quid’ (not quids, that would be silly!) – just as dollars are ‘bucks’.

BANK NOTES

The Bank of England has been issuing banknotes for over 300 years. There are currently four different denominations of Bank of England notes in circulation. £5 – The £5 note, sometimes called a ‘fiver’ is the lowest denomination note in value and the smallest in size. The main illustration shows Elizabeth Fry, a Victorian social reformer, reading to prisoners at Newgate. In recognition of her work she was awarded the key to the prison and this is used in the design of the £5 note.

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£10 – Charles Darwin is pictured on the ‘tenner’. As a young man Darwin was employed as the naturalist on board the ship HMS Beagle, an illustration of which is depicted on the back of the note. Also pictured are Darwin’s own magnifying lens and some of the flora and fauna that he came across on his travels. £20 – Old-style. Sir Edward Elgar, one of England’s greatest classical music composers, spent most of his life in Worcester and the first performance of the full version of his famous Enigma Variations took place in Worcester Cathedral in 1899. An image of the west face of the cathedral is included in the design on the back of the note. £20 – New-style. Adam Smith, pictures on the latest £20 note, was one of the fathers of modern economics. £50 – Sir John Houblon was the first Governor of the Bank of England. The current £50 note was issued in 1994, the Bank’s 300th anniversary. The design on the back of the note includes an image of Houblon’s house in Threadneedle Street on the site of the Bank’s present building.

COINS

The coins currently in circulation in Britain are £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p. You may also see a Five Pounds (£5.00) coin, but these have been released as special issues and are not in common circulation.

© Lee Pettet

IS IT REAL?

If you’re worried about money that you’ve been given you can find out how to check if English bank notes are real or counterfeit at the Bank of England’s website at www. bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/ kyb_lo_res.pdf

OTHER PARTS OF THE UK

Sterling bank notes, the same value as English notes, are issued in other parts of the UK, using their own designs. In Scotland they come from the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank. They are recognised currency in Scotland – in pure legal terms they are not technically ‘legal tender’, but everyone treats them as ‘real’. They are generally accepted throughout the UK. However if a shopkeeper in England refuses to take them from you, it is generally not worth the trouble of arguing (although many Scots people do!) – better to change the notes for English ones at any bank or Post Office. In Northern Ireland, bank notes are issued by the Bank of Ireland, First Trust Bank, Northern Bank and Ulster Bank. These are often not accepted in other parts of the UK as they are rarely seen there. Sterling banknotes are also issued by The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, which are legally British dependencies outside the UK. H


The American Can British sporting success save Gordon?

MASTER SGT LANCE CHEUNG, USAF

Sport and Politics B

enjamin Disraeli, a 19th century Prime Minister, once claimed; “England is unrivalled in two things – sports and politics”. Sadly for the current PM neither seem to be going terribly well at the moment. The link between a country’s political stability and its sporting prowess shouldn’t be underestimated and with the way things are going for Gordon Brown’s Government he’ll be hoping that that Britain’s sporting fortunes improve considerably this Summer. Brown has been mocked for jinxing almost every football game he goes to. The first was when he saw England lose to Germany at the Wembley Stadium opener last August, shortly after he’d become PM – made worse as he was sitting next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the time. Brown then attended the Rugby World Cup final, only to witness England lose to South Africa. Later, he watched Scotland fail to qualify for Euro 2008 by losing to Italy. His aides thought it best he miss England’s match with Croatia for the same tournament but it was too late and England failed to qualify too. Brown’s official spokesperson admitted: “Some have argued he’s not been the best of omens so far.” When he just wished Rangers good luck in the UEFA Cup Final

the omen was unleashed and they promptly lost to Zenit St Petersburg. When the national football team does well, so does the economy. However, this works the other way. Simon Chadwick, professor of sport business strategy and marketing at Coventry Business School estimated that a successful run to the 2008 final would have led to a “£2bn bonanza for the economy”. He also argues that “worker productivity normally increases as the England national team progresses through major tournaments and the ‘feel good factor’ takes hold”. Instead, it is predicted there will be a £2bn impact on the economy, particularly on pubs and retailers. When there’s economic prosperity, people are happy and when the people are happy, politicians feel safe. Who can forget the joy – and relief – on Tony Blair’s face when it was announced that the Olympics were coming to London? That now seems to have been the end of New Labour’s heyday. Football has influenced Brown’s leadership in other ways too – he’s always said that he supports Scotland, but also supports England when they are playing. What if England play Scotland, then?, cunning journalists have often asked – but the Prime Minister remains mysteriously

By Jo Cole

mute on this point. It’s only football, some might argue, but our national game runs much deeper than that. This is about loyalty and where Brown’s loyalty lies is of particular interest to many English voters in Britain. It has been suggested recently that Brown is under pressure to cull a number of Scots from his cabinet in order to balance it more proportionally to reflect the country. A quick survey of football teams supported in the cabinet would show where the imbalance lies. It’s as though nothing could get worse for our Prime Minister this Summer, what with the credit crunch, rising fuel and food prices, gossip regarding instability in his party and uncertainty of his leadership. If only England had secured a place and success in Euro 2008 all of these problems could have been swept under the carpet! There’s no chance of British football success this Summer, but what about other sports? A British win at Wimbledon could sort things out for Brown – but there too our main chances of success are resting on Andy Murray – a Scot! Perhaps we should conclude that Disraeli’s words about sports and politics no longer apply; right now it seems that Scotland are rivaling England at both! ★

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The American

Drive Time Bonkers British Steam Car Open Day Earthrace makes her first British appearance at the Motor Show

Action on the Water at Motor Show

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his month for the first time there will be hot action on the Thames as well as on dry land at the British International Motor Show. The organisers of the Southampton and London Boat Shows have arranged some stunning on-water displays and an attractive line-up of boats on the marina, to complement the 600+ four-wheeled exhibits from over 60 manufacturers and the activities on dry land like the Land Rover Ultimate Experience, Honda‘s Live Action Arena, The Greener Driving Pavilion & Electric Vehicle Village, the Motor Show Music Festival, and the PeugeotKids Driving School.. Every day throughout the show you can see racing powerboats, new Viper jet boats, Thundercats, jet skis, wakeboarding, and rigid inflatables. In the OnBoard programme, kids from 8 to 16 can climb on board a dinghy to give sailing a try. Look out for Earthrace, the wavepiercing trimaran, following her circumnavigation of the globe. Earthrace runs on 100% biodiesel and is appearing in Britain for the first time. The event runs from the 23 July to 3 August at ExCeL London. Tickets start at £10 for an adult weekday pass and £6 for a child’s ticket. www.britishmotorshow.co.uk 0871 230 5588.

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he British Steam Car Team is off to Bonneville in a few months for their attempt to break the World Steam Car Speed Record. It’s one of the longest-lasting world records in any sphere, one that has stood for over 100 years, and they’re throwing the doors open to the public. The world steam powered record was set in 1906 by Fred Marriott, making it the longest standing land speed record recognised by the FIA. Marriott recorded an average of 128mph over a measured mile in a Stanley Steamer. There is only a limited number of tickets (first come first served) so prebooking is essential, at www.steamcar.co.uk. Admission costs £5.00 for adults, £2.50 for children (6-16 years old) and senior citizens, and under 6’s are free. All proceeds will be donated to the British Steam Car Appeal. Apart from seeing the British Steam Car before it departs for America, you’ll be able to meet the team, ride on the Stanley Steamer, and you can take part in clay pigeon shooting, military tank rides, quad biking, archery and eat a hog roast. (A nominal fee will be charged for some of these activities). It’s all happening at Newtown Park Farm Estate, Portmore, Nr. Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 5RN on Sunday July 13, 2008, from 11am - 3pm.


The American

GM May Offload Hummer

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he worldwide gas crisis is hitting car firms hard. That must be the case, despite the protestations of several big players. How do we know? Because General Motors, the largest American automobile manufacturer, has announced that it is to close four plants currently employing 10,000 workers and that it may even sell its high profile Hummer brand. GM sees record oil prices not as a blip but a permanent threat to its business. Rick Wagoner, GM’s Chief Executive, said that GM would close the plants, making pickup trucks, in Oshawa, Ontario, Toluca, Mexico, Moraine, Ohio, and the Janesville, Wisconsin facility that is GM’s oldest, dating from 1919. It will add shifts at two other U.S. plants. “High gasoline prices are changing consumer behavior rapidly,” Wagoner said. “We at GM don’t think this is a spike or temporary shift. We believe that it is by and large permanent.” He added that GM may also sell the iconic Hummer SUV brand. Hummer has become synonymous with gas-guzzling excess which, to some, has damaged GM’s image, as has its association with military endeavors in the Middle East. Instead, GM is working on two new Chevrolets, a compact car to replace the Cobalt and a subcompact to replace the Aveo, to go on sale in 2010. Also expected to be for sale in two year will be the Chevy Volt, GM’s lithium-ion battery powered electric car that aims to make eco-motoring exciting. Chevy Volt – saving the planet quickly

GM In Miniature

GM In Miniature is a book title, not a business prediction! In a cruel coincidence, the month in which GM admitted its modern problems also saw the release of a great new book for fans of The General’s earlier models. With 545 (count ‘em) colour pictures of exquisitely hand built museum-quality replica vehicles, this is a treasure trove for modelers and for lovers of old American Iron. It covers GM’s light trucks and cars from the 1920s to 1954, all the Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and GM brands. For modeling aficionados there is a comprehensive list of builders and hand built models available today and there is information about the processes of making the scale models. With historical and technical information, comprehensive lists of models, pricing and sources, this is a must for serious GM fans and scale model collectors. Canadian Randall Olson, the author, fell in love with automobiles and their history when he cruised across the flatlands of Winnipeg in his parent’s 1956 Chevrolet as a small child. He is a talented scale modeler with a large collection of rare hand built replicas. Veloce Publishing, Paperback, 160 pages, £24.99 UK / $49.95 USA

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The American

Capture your car’s CO2, make new fuel

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hat’s the extraordinary claim of a British company. It sounds like a miraculous way to avoid personal transportation ruining the environment while still allowing us to drive around in our own cars. Can it possibly be true? The technology was unveiled for the first time in Liverpool at the UK’s largest Green Motor Show, GreenCar-Guide Live! 2008, in June. Origo Industries says it has developed a system that captures the CO2 from your vehicle’s engine emissions in special ‘cartridges’. These could be swapped at gas stations for ‘clean’ ones, or taken home where you could regenerate the CO2 through algae in a special unit, turning the emissions into bio-oil which you could to re-power your car. It could even be used to heat and power your house. Origo says you can make up to 2500 litres per year tax-free We will take a closer look at the equipment and the company - it certainly sounds worth further investigation. Green-Car-Guide Live! 2008, held at the new award-winning Arena & Convention Centre in Liverpool, England, showed forty low carbon vehicles, from city cars to executive cars and trucks. The various technologies, all aiming to decrease our impact on the planet, included petrol, diesel, biofuel, hybrid and electric – even a truck using gases from landfill garbage sites. Cars on display included the brand new Ford Focus ECOnetic, Subaru’s new Legacy Outback diesel (the UK’s most economical 4x4), and the Lexus LS600h hybrid, a top of the range 5 litre luxury limo that emits just 219g/km of CO2. There were also sustainable race and rally cars and a biodiesel racing.

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The Liberty Sell H

ere’s a completely different take on the whole eco-friendly car thing. New firm Liberty Electric Cars Ltd. is investing £30 million in reengineering large luxury cars and 4 x 4s into emission-free, high performance electric vehicles. Instead of designing a completely new vehicle – with extra development costs, safety testing etc. – Liberty will design and manufacture a unique electric drive-train platform to power a range of vehicles. The platform will also be able to incorporate new green technologies as they arise. One of the first Liberty cars will be a zero emission, electric Range Rover. Barry Shrier, Liberty founder and CEO says the car “takes electric vehicle technology into a new sector, to large luxury cars that people aspire to drive, particularly in cities and urban environments where environmental controls are becoming increasingly tighter”, making less environmental impact than even the smallest, most fuel efficient car, yet still offering the comfort and security of a luxury 4 x 4. An electric motor also provides superior acceleration because unlike a petrol engine its acceleration force (torque) is instantly available at all times – you don’t have to rev it hard to get going. Liberty claims that electric vehicles have 80 per cent lower running costs than petrol cars, as petrol engines only use around 25 per cent of their energy to create motion while electric motors deliver 90 per cent efficiency. This does not include losses in transmission of electricity from its generation to your vehicle, which should be factored in before making any comparisons. The plan is to make tens of thousands of cars annually and create around 250 new jobs. Prices will be between £95,000 and £125,000 depending on model and specification. Liberty seem intent on proving that you can have your SUV or limo cake and eat it too.


The American

Breckland Beira Launch

That transatlantic connection – Motoexpo signing up for NYC last year

Motorexpo – Financial Center Fantasia

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f you work in London’s Canary Wharf you’ll know about The Motorexpo. It started life a decade ago as a way to get bankers and hedge fund tyros out of their skyscraping offices to socialise and discover the shops, restaurants and other facilities that the financial center is now famous for. The blocks contained the ultimate target audience for upmarket products, who until then had pretty much arrived on the Isle of Dogs by tube or DLR, gone straight to their offices, made a few millions then retraced their steps, without realising what was literally on their doorsteps and under their noses. It worked, and over the years this unique style of motor show has grown and has a life of its own. It’s unique because it is held predominantly outdoors in the heart of the world’s leading business districts. That’s plural, because in 2008 a sister event will be held at the World Financial Center, New York in September. It’s also unusual because the Motorexpos are free for the

visitors – mainly financial types through the week, but with many ‘civilians’ and their families at the weekend. In the early days, the exhibitors were local luxury car dealers, eager to relieve the ‘City boys’ of part of their bonuses. It has become a must-do for the manufacturers themselves, so much so that several prefer it to the major UK car show just down the river – its audience is more targeted and it costs less to exhibit. This year’s London Motorexpo featured 19 show debuts, including the Aston Martin DBS, BMW X6, Cadillac STS, Confederate Wraith and Hellcat Combat bikes, 2008 Corvette Z06, and the new Jaguar XF.

One of the highlights at June’s Motoexpo in London was a US/UK crossover sport car. Offering supercar performance at, they say, a fraction of a supercar’s cost while being ecofriendly, the new Beira is hand-built in Norfolk by Breckland. Part of Hong Kong-based multi-national, Riche Holdings, it is a firm that has consulted to many others in the industry but is now making its own product. One advantage of being a low-volume producer is that the Beira’s interior can be customised to suit every customer. To keep development costs down the Beira is based on GM’s established Kappa platform, familiar in the U.S. Under the hood, room is made for a 400bhp 6.0-litre, LS2 V8 engine from the last-model Corvette. It replaces the Kappa’s usual four-cylinder Ecotec engine, doubling the power. Using the existing technology has enabled Breckland to focus the engineering, the chassis dynamics and the aesthetic design. Breckland Director, Mike Rawlings says, “We also looked seriously at environmental concerns and, as a result, Beira is designed to run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas as well as petrol. This not only helps to reduce running costs and emissions, but also means Beira is capable of a range of some 700 miles between refuelling stops - that’s the equivalent of travelling non-stop from the north to the south coast of France.” There is a 70-litre LPG reservoir to go with the existing, 13-gallon petrol tank. Oh, and that fraction – the price will be confirmed shortly but is expected to be in the region of £55,000. H

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The American

Finding the formula

Dom Mills interviews US A1GP racer Jonathan Summerton Great win in China, did you go into the race thinking you could win? Yes, we came into the weekend pretty pumped from the weekend before in Mexico where we were third, the win was definitely something we were ready for. We had a little bit of trouble with the set up at the beginning of the weekend but eventually the car was pretty good and everything went well.

You never know, hopefully I’ll have a contract signed for the whole season. Is A1GP a competitive series compared to other international championships? Definitely. You’ve got some ex-F1 drivers and others that have won the very competitive Macau GP F3 race. GP2 series drivers; you name it, winners from a whole host of different formulae; so it’s definitely a very competitive field.

You went well in China last year.

The A1GP “World Cup of Motorsport” circus pitched up in the UK for the final race of the season at Brands Hatch, Kent. All 22 cars, teams and drivers were on show the Sunday before race day on London’s Regent Street. Dom Mills caught up with 20 year old Team USA driver Jonathan Summerton, from Kissimmee, Florida, fresh off the back of the team’s first ever A1 race win in Shanghai. 54

Yeah, last year we finished in third place. I know the track really well. Maybe it’s a circuit that suits my style, I don’t know, Mexico City seemed to suit me and Shanghai also. We’ll see about Brands Hatch, last year we finished sixth so we’ll see about that! The team is ready for it so we should be able to get a podium, if we don’t I’ll be a little disappointed myself. [Gearbox problems meant that Jonathan had to battle to a 12th place in the Brands race, but watch out for him next season.] How did you get involved in A1GP? I did Formula Euro in Europe. The A1 team wanted a driver that had experience of the European circuits but when I started racing with them it was on circuits I’d never been to! So it was a little weird but it was a good move to go there. Team USA has had a number of different drivers in the car this year, Buddy Rice to name one; will you be contesting the full series next year?

What do you think of the IRL/Champ Car merger? It’s a very good thing, I’m sad to see Champ Car disappear totally but it’s better for the series worldwide because now you only have one series in America. The American fans aren’t going to fight about which open-wheeler they’re going to follow and it will compete more against NASCAR in the US so it will bring the American crowd stronger towards open-wheeler. It may even build worldwide now because they’re not just doing ovals and next year I think they’re cutting it [oval racing] down to around 50 per cent. Where do you see yourself competing in the future? My goal is to get into F1. This is not common for an American but that’s my first goal. Everyone knows F1 as the best of the best. It’s high technology, the budget is three or four hundred million a year so it’s the top series. To be in the top 3 or 4 drivers would be very good. It’s not just to compete,


The American

it’s also to be competitive. I don’t just want to go there and be with a low ranked team and do like Scott Speed did because it didn’t do really good for the Americans. I’d rather go there knowing I had a fighting chance or at least be able to prove myself. If things don’t work out I’m going to have to go towards IRL because I want to stay in open-wheel. With the loss of the Indianapolis F1 race, has the view towards F1 diminished in the States? I think so. There’s still the very hardcore F1 fan base but as far as the American public eye, it has dipped quite a bit. Racing overall has. But now with that Danica Patrick win, there’s been a lot of people taking an interest in the Indy Car series. Do you think Danica could make the move up to F1? Maybe for PR reasons but I don’t think it would be done based on what she’s accomplished, she’s a good driver and all but I don’t think she’s ready for F1. Out of the current crop of young American open-wheel drivers, who do you think could compete with you in F1? Graham Rahal, I’ve raced with him all my life. He has the name that may have carried him a little bit quicker, to move forward than me, but in my view he’s probably got the best chance of going there. You don’t think Marco Andretti might fancy following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps? I don’t think so because he’s built such a strong name in America that if he

were to go to F1 and not do so well, for some reason - like his dad – that would really hurt him. I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s kind of scared to go and do F1. If you do progress to F1 will you feel any pressure of representing the States? I don’t think it will be so much of that. I’m going there for my goals and my reasons, not because America needs a driver in F1. I’m going there to win I want to go in there at the top level of competition. You’re doing Formula Atlantic this summer, how do you think that will go? I think it will go pretty well, we signed with Newman Wachs which is a very good team. The start of this season I finished fourth in the first race and was top rookie so I think it’s a good start. My biggest competition [for the title] finished behind me so it should be a good season. In Atlantic cars, a lot of speed is gained in the set-up which I was really surprised about. I have one of the best engineers, I just haven’t done enough testing. It’s going to take

a little bit of time to get used to the car but I think I’ll be fine. Do you see yourself based in the States for a while or do you see yourself heading back to Europe? This season I tried to do F3 Euro but I couldn’t find the budget but I got a very good deal with the Atlantic series so I went back to America. Also to build up my perception in the public eye in the US, because that is the key for finding sponsors for racing in Europe. I’m in talks with a couple of top notch teams so we’ll see. We’re trying to work on a deal for next year in GP2, we’ll see how that goes. It’s not about the best price, its about getting into the best team. When do you see the step up to F1 coming for you? Hopefully within the next two or three years. The move may come just from my achievements in A1GP, you never know. A1 getting involved with Ferrari next year opens that door. There are also the Ferrari-engined F1 teams, I’m sure Ferrari have a say in what they do. And my manager being head of the Ferrari F1 team is another good thing! H

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The American

How to win Wimbledon Sean L. Chaplin analyses the combination of skills needed to win The Championship Right: Venus Williams holds up the Venus Rosewater Dish in 2007 © AELTC

Below: The men’s and ladies’ singles trophies © AELTC

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he biggest dilemma Wimbledon imposes is that it is played on grass, a surface foreign to many American players who, as in my own days as a ranked junior USTA player back in Texas, grew up playing on hard surfaces. Meanwhile, many Europeans grow up playing on clay. Imagine playing the French Open and then a month later playing the most prestigious tournament of the year, on grass. The surfaces are polar opposites, clay being slow and encouraging long rallies, and grass fast, especially as the tournament progresses and the grass wears. There are a few aspects of playing on a quick surface that directly correlate to success and maybe a Wimbledon title. The most important aspect of switching from clay to grass is often the most overlooked: the mental strain. Centre Court is a daunting venue for anyone, especially when coupled with the change in playing surface. Wimbledon is watched by thousands at the ground, but millions more are watching on television, and the strain can prove paralyzing. Practice prior to the tournament is paramount, with many “satellite” grass court tournaments such as the Stella Artois (scheduled after the French) that are a must for anyone aspiring to challenge for the Wimbledon title. Mentally, just playing a game that counts on grass is fundamental to steeling the psyche for the rigors of a fortnight at Wimbledon. Many top players use the time to rest as opposed to playing another tournament, but don’t be fooled;

they all arrive in England early and do practice privately on grass to ensure they are ready to go once Wimbledon starts. Tactics must also change, with an emphasis on finishing points quickly. History shows that the most successful players at Wimbledon were mainly serve and volley artists such as John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova. As a fast court specialist myself, I can attest to the importance of serving hard and punishing weak returns, but Martina was the prototype. She was the first lady to play a punishing serve and volley game and looked invincible on grass. The name of the game is to put the ball away as quickly as you can; as a measuring stick, take note of the amount of aces at Wimbledon as compared to the French. Dealing with an English summer is paramount to success over the fortnight. Rain is a fact of life and how a player copes with delays may mean the difference between winning and going home early. Matches are often interrupted and not resumed until the next day, (and occasionally the day after). The most annoying aspect of resuming play after any delay, let alone after a day or two is picking up where one left off, especially if momentum


The American

was in your favor. Mentally, the key is to look at a resumption of play as another match, not the one you left behind and as such, grabbing the initiative is key. I can’t count how often a player, winning handily prior to a delay, quickly lost the initiative and went out. Weather is going to be a factor for everyone, but the player who plans for the eventuality of a delay is better prepared to deal with it and be successful. The viewer will be able to pinpoint players who are prepared for this by watching their form after a prolonged delay in play. The most important aspect of winning Wimbledon is doing the homework. The top professionals will prepare and with experience, will know what to expect. Preparing by playing grass court tournaments, accepting weather will be a factor and knowing one’s opponent are all part of preparation. Nerves and facing adversity are also critical to success as any top player will attest, but preparing yourself mentally and physically for playing on grass will greatly enhance the chances of being successful. The top players can afford to arrive in England early to begin preparation for Wimbledon. The rewards are astronomical, as prize money, increased endorsements

and the prestige of winning Wimbledon are well worth their efforts. Practice time will be spent working on the mental aspects more so than the physical act of hitting great shots. The field is filled with great players who can hit great shots in practice, but doing so while down two sets to none with a set point on the line at Wimbledon is a different scenario altogether. Preparation may be the difference in double faulting as opposed to acing a serve when all the cookies are on the table. I have very fond memories of waking up to Wimbledon broadcasts as a kid and distinctly remember watching Borg and McEnroe dueling for hours. The amount that goes into winning the big tournaments was always an afterthought, until I actually began playing tennis at a high level myself, and I have a great respect for anyone who can withstand the rigors of Wimbledon. As you enjoy this year’s version, imagine the preparation and mental toughness of the players and I am sure you will be able to sort the wheat from the chaff, especially after the first week. Happy viewing and if you get the chance, pick up a racket yourself and imagine millions watching you serve for the match and lifting the trophy! H

Court 2 at Wimbledon © AELTC

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The American

s t r o sp horts USA 2018? s Sports highlights from the past month

The USA appears geared up for a 2018 World Cup soccer bid. Is it a straight race with England? ponders Richard L Gale.

Red Wings claim Stanley Cup

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Detroit triumphed in the NHL final, taking the series 4-2 over Pittsburgh after the Penguins were unable take advantage of 5-on-3 opportunities in both game 4 and 6.

Henin Retires, Ivanovic No.1

Justine Henin abruptly retired before the French Open, temporarily promoting Maria Sharapova to no.1 before being supplanted by French Open winner Ana Ivanovic.

Nadal still perfect in France

Raphael Nadal’s 28-game winning streak at the French Open stayed alive as he captured his fourth straight French title, easily beating Roger Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.

Danny Dixon wins Indy 500

New Zealand’s Danny Dixon held off Vitor Meira and Marco Andretti to win the 92nd Indianapolis 500. Starting on pole, Dixon led seven times, for 115 laps.

Parker wows WNBA in debut Former Lady Vol Candace Parker scored a record 34 points, with 12 rebounds and 8 assists, in her professional debut for the LA Sparks.

Paul Rabil tops MLL Draft

Johns Hopkins star Paul Rabil was the top pick of Major League Lacrosse’s annual draft, after being selected by the Boston Cannons.

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S Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati was just here to see England beat the USA 2-0, of course. One day earlier, however, Gulati had been throwing the UK media some facts he happened to have in his back pocket. The fact that the US still holds the World Cup record for total attendance. And average attendance. And the fact that the US has 50 stadia with 70,000+ capacity. 10 of those are bigger than Wembley. For the record, England has three of that size – Wembley, Twickenham and Old Trafford – and would probably have to appropriate Wales’ Millenium Stadium to find a fourth, and could claim a couple more above 50,000 capacity before having to knock on Scotland’s door and asking if it could borrow a couple more. It was all looking pretty good for England before the US showed up.

Australia, China and Russia were no small players in the bidding, but 42 years removed from England’s last time as World Cup host, they seemed a shoo-in as the first European venue in 16 years. But aside from the numbers, the US will have another strong angle if (when) the bidding starts in earnest: finishing the job the 1994 World Cup started. That event followed MLS’s announcement in 1993. With MLS expansions planned for 2010 and 2012, a World Cup in the US would act as a major boost for the league’s progression up the pecking order of US sports coverage, which recently has relied on Englishman David Beckham for attention. How ironic would it be if Beckham proved to be a more pivotal player for the US World Cup bid than that of England? Team USA lost 2-0 against England this past month, but 10 years from now, the USA could enjoy the bigger victory. COURTESY OF THE FA


The American

Sideline

Richard L Gale contemplates future NFL strife and the prospects for a 17th regular season game ...coming to a stadium near you soon?

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strange thing happened at the recent NFL owners’ meeting: they agreed. Every single one of them. And the thing they agreed on was to disagree with their players. The owners voted unanimously to opt out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which dictates how big a share of NFL revenue goes to the players. Naturally, most of us could care less about a squabble between billionaires and millionaires over zeroes, but this vote has some other implications for the fans. For one, 2010 would be an uncapped year, allowing big-money teams to out-bid smaller-money teams for top free-agents. Then again, to have small-market teams likes Green Bay and Buffalo agree to this, the owners must already have some ideas of how to keep parity in check, so let’s not fret. Other implication: labour strife may be ahead, a player lockout, with echoes of the strike-shortened 1982 and 1987 seasons. And the NFL Draft might also come under threat after 2011. This last one should worry more than graft geeks like me. At the moment, the long offseason is punctuated by the Senior Bowl, Combine, and Draft, without which, that offseason would be a desert of non-football, leaving the NFL cold and momentum-free going into its interminable preseason, and the NFL Network showing six months of re-runs. If that were to be followed

by a strike-torn season, imagine the damage the NFL would do to itself. Of course, don’t imagine the NFL owners haven’t considered such things. This is the sort of pressure that gets a deal done in the winter months of 2009-2010. Probably.

The 17th Game

The jewel in the crown of such a new agreement may be a 17th game. For years, veteran players and some owners have openly questioned – okay then, despised – the four game preseason. It isn’t a stretch to see that the extra money owners and players seek might come from pruning preseason (which is barely worth pocket money to any veteran secure in his role), increasing the season by one game check for players (arguably around $50,000 as an average), and increasing turnstile action for owners. So far the biggest problem with a 17th game would appear to be venue. At the moment, each team plays a balanced 8 home and 8 away games. Would teams alternate between having an extra home game one year and an extra away the next? Just in case the NFL is unsure, here’s my suggestion: every team plays the extra game at a neutral site. The NFL has its eye on several major league cities it doesn’t presently occupy, and keeps making noises about taking American football to the global audience. You want 16 venues? I have them right here for you...

USA: Three of the nation’s top 10 urban populations lack an NFL team: San Antonio, San Jose, and LA (whose bluff can be called with two games to sell out). Also, make the Columbus Hall of Fame game the real season kickoff, week 1. North America: The Bills are already ahead of us with Toronto; the NFL once sited a World League team in Montreal; and let’s not forget that Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium holds the record for the highest attendance for an NFL regular-season game (103,467). Internationally: Wembley yes, but how about one game circulating between Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium, and Dublin’s Croke Park; one game each for Frankfurt and Berlin. Frankfurt was NFL Europe’s marquee location, with regular crowds of around 40,000; Tokyo and Sydney – crossing the Pacific is no small task, but the NFL has been there before; and two games in new territories – Paris and Rome would provide picture-postcard backdrops, and if Beijing is already in the NFL’s plans, Moscow can’t be far behind.

Of course, NFL owners might not be looking for global expansion (think of the ever-increasing travel costs) so much as an extra annual home game. Given two years to put pen to paper, don’t be surprised if the whole 17th game suggestion gets bypassed, and the NFL goes straight for 18. H

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The American

Tail End

Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London, by Rebel This month Rebel comes nose-to-window with some urban wildlife t was a dark and stormy night and Scout couldn’t sleep. She-WhoMust-Be-Obeyed-Usually was gone for the evening and I was doing my best to calm her down. Scout is staying with us because Blondie, her mistress, is redoing the garden and she is afraid she’ll do something stupid like going into the street if one of the workmen happens to leave the gate open. Anyway, there I was lying in my bed trying to get some shut eye and all she did was roam through the flat barking madly every time lightning flashed across the Thames and the thunder sounded shortly afterwards. It wasn’t quite as bad as when fireworks boom and flash across the sky, but bad enough. I don’t think humans realize how much noise like that bothers dog’s sensitive ears. Fortunately, She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually returned early with some beef in a doggie bag for the two of us and was able to calm Scout down. Getting a doggie bag for leftover meat you don’t eat when dining in a restaurant is a very American thing which, frankly, is embarrassing when I’m with She-Who-MustBe-Obeyed-Usually. Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t eat whatever she brings home and I must admit the filet was delicious and Scout and I swallowed it down in seconds. Now relaxed, including Scout, we were all about to settle down when I heard a strange noise out on the

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balcony. To my horror, I saw a fox looking at me through the sliding doors which, fortunately, were shut. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually saw him too and knocked at the window telling him to go away, but the fox looked at her as if he was amused. In the meantime, while She Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually and I were trying to get him to leave, Scout went and hid under the bed.

”We were about to settle down when I heard a strange noise out on  the balcony.” “Okay, stay there,” She-WhoMust-Be-Obeyed-Usually finally told Fox in frustration. “I’m going to bed.” Which was exactly what she did while I stood there staring after Fox who stared after me. “I could eat you up in a matter of minutes,” Fox said disdainfully. “However, you’re really too skinny and it isn’t worth my time to try and get into your flat... now.” And with that, he leaped from the balcony and the last I saw of him he was strolling down the sidewalk along the Thames as if he didn’t have a care in the world. In the meantime, of course, I couldn’t sleep.

It is my duty as a dog to protect my territory and I couldn’t leave that window in fear of Fox returning after that threat he made. But, did anyone appreciate my standing guard all night? No, the next day She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually drags Scout and me off to Battersea Park for an hour’s walk. I tell you, my little legs were about to fall off. But, what really got to me was when She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually remarks afterwards, “Honestly, Rebel, you wouldn’t be so tired if you got some sleep last night. Look how brave Scout is. She slept solid as a rock while all you did was roam throughout the flat.” n

Graeme Purdy

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The American Magazine July 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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