The Essential Monthly For All Americans
THE AMERICAN • SEPTEMBER 2008 • Issue 665
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Issue 665 – September 2008 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 email@example.com Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director Nadia Abd Rabbo, Ad Manager +44 (0)1747 830520 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining email@example.com Mary Bailey, Social firstname.lastname@example.org Cece Mills, Arts email@example.com Bob Pickens, Columnist firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Gale, Sports Editor email@example.com Sean Chaplin, Sports firstname.lastname@example.org Dom Mills, Motorsports email@example.com Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey firstname.lastname@example.org Riki Evans Johnson, European email@example.com Nadia Abd Rabbo, Music firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome In a packed magazine this month, we help you find out about a part of England you may not have thought of visiting – West Sussex and Chichester. Virginia Schultz tries three very different restaurants and Cece Mills has some great arts events to go to. Birmingham Council in England’s West Midlands thinks their city is in Alabama! We review some great off-the-wall albums in Music and debunk myths about overseas voting. Ian Kerr rides small Italian bikes in the California hills. Richard Gale interviews Chargers star runner LaDainian Tomlinson and Sean Chaplin rates Nadal and Murray’s chances at the US Open. If all that wasn’t enough there are two great competitions for Fall Out Boy and Barbara Taylor Bradford fans – if you fall into both camps let us know, we’d love to meet you! By the way, you can now read back copies of The American available online, at theamerican.co.uk
Enjoy your magazine.
Michael Burland, Editor
Some Of This Month’s Contributors
Former Editor of The American, Bob Pickens thinks we should go transatlantic by Zeppelin.
When Richard L Gale first published an NFL preview, in 1988, he said that without Barry Sanders, the Lions were nothing. Not much changes.
Riki Evans Johnson reaches the finish line of her transIberian trek and starts to settle into life as The American’s expatriate expat.
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Cover image: Chichester Cathedral. Inset: LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers ©NFL PARTNERS.
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.
In This Issue... The American • Issue 665 • September 2008
16 our roving canine 64 Spot reporter (below)
4 Embassy News Important news about Embassy emails and ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization 6 News Brown going down, BA & American taking off and the city of Birmingham getting very confused. It’s been a busy month 9 Competition WIN Five Barbara Taylor Bradford adaptations on DVD 10 Diary Dates What’s on in Britain, specially selected for The American’s readers 14 Music Southside Johnny covers Tom Waits, plus some great new acts
Hirst sells 40 Damien direct to the public
Jeep Patriot - can a 4x4 really do 40mpg?
17 Competition WIN Fall out Boy tickets – see the guys at Wembley 18 As I Was Saying... Fed up of baggage restrictions on those transatlantic trips? Bob Pickens has a novel solution 20 Myths About Overseas Voting Debunking some reasons not to vote in November
21 Back Pain Dig out that Space Hopper 21 Scots Come Home 2009 is Homecoming year 22 A Real Life Move To The Sun Riki reaches the finish line 25 Destination Chichester A short drive from London, an area worth exploring whatever you like to do
28 The Berkeleys A Nightingale Sang there, but so much else happenend in Berkeley Square
istory, modern art, sailing 25 HandLondon’s horse racing, all on doorstep
30 Coffee Break Fun and games
welcomes its own 21 Scotland expats in 2009 fascinating story of 28 Thethe Berkeley family
32 Wining & Dining A spa in North Wales, a super steak in East London and an exclusive casino in St. James. 38 Arts Spotlight on Cheshire 44 Reviews Chaucer for kids, a rom-com for mom and the FBI’s centenary 46 Politics War of the Words 47 Drive Time The Jeep Patriot, just how good is it on British roads – and off
head up our NCAA 58 Georgia preseason predictions
52 Sports NFL and NCAA Season Previews plus an interview with LaDainian Tomlinson 60 American Organizations Your comprehensive guide 64 Paw Talk Rebel meets the Queen’s corgi. Oh really?
AMERICAN EMBASSY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM 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 www.usembassy.org.uk Hours: American Citizen Services, daily 8.30-12.00; then Monday/ Wednesday/Friday 2-4pm
Warden and Other Emails
Those of you who have volunteered as community Wardens may have received an email from LondonWarden@state.gov from the Embassy’s American Citizen Services section regarding your status as a warden. Some of you may be concerned that this was an internet scam. The Embassy can assure you that the email you received from was legitimate, and was NOT a scam. If you have additional questions or concerns, you can contact them by telephone at 020-74999000. If you have marked the email address London-Warden@ state.gov as spam, you should re-mark it as safe. If you would like to receive the Embassy’s regular monthly newsletter, email email@example.com. For general queries or assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Embassy will be closed for public holidays on Monday August 25, and Monday September 1.
Embassy News Consular Section Changearound The London Embassy’s Consular Section is undergoing a period of change. Consul General John Caulfield, left London in July and André Goodfriend, Chief, American Citizen Services, left at the beginning of August. Colleagues in the Visa Section are also moving to other postings. The new Consul General, Derwood “Woody” Staeben, and American Citizen Services Chief, Paul Boyd, will be arriving at the beginning of September. The American would like to say a big thank you to John and André for making our task of being the voice of the American community in the UK, and getting news and information out to you, both easy and a pleasure.
On August 1, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began its pilot of Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA allows non-U.S. citizen travelers going to the United States on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to obtain advance authorization for boarding an aircraft to travel to the United States. The ESTA program replaces the green I94-W card VWP travelers had to complete when they arrived in the U.S. with a brief on-line questionnaire. Within the first two weeks of the pilot, more than 36,000 travelers successfully obtained their ESTA, which is valid for two years and can be renewed in
two-year increments for the life of the traveler’s passport. Travelers may submit ESTA applications at any time before travel, but DHS strongly encourages them to apply at least 72 hours ahead of a planned trip to the United States. Because the ESTA system will not provide authorization to travelers who try to use a passport they had already reported as lost or stolen, the Embassy takes this opportunity to remind all travelers that once they report a passport as lost or stolen, even if they recover the passport, they should know it is no longer valid for travel. Starting January 12, 2009, ESTA will become mandatory for all citizens and eligible nationals from VWP countries who want to travel on the Visa Waiver Program. http://london.usembassy. gov/dhs/
Talk with the Consul Webchat
Our next “Talk with the Consul” Webchat is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 25, 2008, with Paul Boyd, the incoming chief of the American Citizen Services section. We welcome early submission of questions or comments for the Webchat via our email address, SCSLondon@state.gov. You can view transcripts of previous Webchats, as well as find information on how to submit questions or comments during the Webchat, on our website at http:// london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/ acs_webchats.html.
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Buying & Selling USA Stamps, Covers & Postal History
The American Museum in Britain Learn about the early pioneers in the American Heritage Exhibition. Join our Quilting Bees. Enjoy the grounds.
This Month Talent for Textiles Sale Vintage textiles and quilts, lace, linen, trimmings, furnishing accessories, at very affordable prices. Friday September 5, 12noon-5pm Sunday @ Claverton: ‘Noel Coward’ as played by Martin Williamson A light-hearted tribute to Coward’s wit and wisdom, featuring anecdotes linked by his most famous songs. Sunday September 14, 2pm Workshop: Knitted Christmas Fairy Pauline Bayne hopes you will join her to make your own knitted Christmas Fairy. Materials provided, including knitting needles, but please bring basic hand sewing equipment and any yarns you would like to use. £50 members, £55 non-members Saturday September 20, 10am-4.30 pm ‘Discovering American History in England’ Lecture & Book Signing with Catherine Leitch. Book signing to follow lecture. Sunday September 21, 2pm American Civil War Weekend The biggest living-history event of the season. Includes Drill Displays and a hillside Skirmish complete with barricades, cannon fire and lots of noise! Saturday September 27 – Sunday 28, 2.30pm
Open 12.00 - 5.00pm Closed Mondays except August & Bank Holidays Claverton Manor near Bath. 01225 460503 www.americanmuseum.org
News Brown ‘Bad for Britain’ Say Influentials B ritain’s movers and shakers believe Gordon Brown has lost Labour MPs’ loyalty, according to the latest YouGovStone ‘Influentials Monitor’. Furthermore they say he is bad for Labour and bad for Britain. Polling organization YouGovStone reported in August that just 18% of 250 selected influential people in the UK believe Labour MPs remain loyal to the Prime Minister. Two thirds believed that Labour would be better off without Gordon Brown as leader and half agreed Britain would be better off without him as Prime Minister. The poll followed Labour’s disastrous results in the Glasgow East by-election and at the time of David Miliband’s controversial article, which notably failed to mention Brown once, in The Guardian newspaper. 95% of respondents do not think Brown will still be Prime Minister beyond the next general election. 31% expect him to go this Fall, 19% give him another year, and 45% expect him to last only until the next general election. Of the 95% who think Brown will not last beyond the election, David Miliband is thought to be most likely to replace him by 35%, Jack Straw polled 24% and Alan Johnson 8%. Given a list of criticisms levelled at the Prime Minister, 74% believed he “hasn’t been decisive over big decisions”. 69% agreed that his “reputation
for prudence has been severely damaged” and 60% said he “comes across as remote and uncaring”. Just 32% said he has been positive on overseas development, 26% said strong on terrorism, and 22% that he is the best person to tackle issues arising from the current international economic downturn. 35% could find no positives while 100% of respondents selected at least one negative. Comments included: “He has never looked like a natural political leader, and in 11 years at the Treasury he failed to develop the broader political skills he so badly needed. He peaked out before the end of Blair’s first term in office.” David Hobart, Chief Executive, The Bar Council “Poor man was not born for the job of Prime Minister, he lacks the essential leadership skills, charisma and the respect of his colleagues, let alone the ‘Country’.” Adrian Watney, Chairman, Portman Settled Estates. “He is reaping the results of his own deficiencies as Chancellor. It is a kind of poetic justice but it is catastrophic for the UK.” Gillian Reynolds MBE, Radio Critic, The Daily Telegraph “He has amply demonstrated the truth in the negative criticisms of his personality that were widely circulated when Tony Blair was PM.” Leon Morgan, Partner, Davenport Lyons
Eagle Scouts Help Local Communities
Birmingham, not Alabama
Birmingham, England, Officials Fail To Recognize Own City B
irmingham City Council has admitted sending out 720,000 leaflets which showed the skyline of Birmingham, Alabama instead of their West Midlands city. The leaflets ironically praised local citizens for their eco-friendly green activities, achieving recycling targets early. They cost £15,000 to produce and deliver to homes in the area. Jon Cooper, 37, of Kings Norton, Birmingham noticed the gaffe when he received his copy of the pamphlet. “Thank You Birmingham!” the headline announced. Landmarks in the English Birmingham include the Rotunda at the Bull Ring and the highly identifiable new Selfridges building. But Mr Cooper was surprised to see a skyscape he did not recognise. “I had a really close look,” he said, “and didn’t recognise any buildings that I know from Birmingham so I thought there’s just something wrong here. I’m a regular visitor to the US and I thought maybe it looked a little bit like a US city. I thought well actually there’s a Birmingham in America. So I got on to Google and found a picture of the downtown area of Birmingham, Alabama, and hey presto, there it was. I actually thought it was pretty funny.” He summed up, “I am sure this was a simple mistake by whoever was asked to find a picture of the city, but who is checking this stuff?” Initially officials claimed that no mistake had been made. Incredibly they said that the picture was a “generic skyline”, “intended to symbolise an urban area”. Eventually a spokesman admitted the council was at fault, saying “We accept that the wrong photo was used, but the text and detail contained in the leaflet is wholly correct which is the most important message.” He said it had received only one complaint about the error and there were no plans to reprint the leaflet. However, the local newspaper the Birmingham Post says it pointed out the error to the local authority some days ago but the council still went ahead with a reprint of the leaflet. The authority would not detail how the error occurred not say whether the leaflets were designed and produced by people unfamiliar with the city or based out of the area. Last January, West Midlands’ Conservative MEPs made the same mistake on their website, but replaced the image within 24 hours.
Two Boy Scouts from Southbank International School have been sworn in at a special Eagle Court of Honour at the United States Embassy. Stefan Mitrasinovic and Patrick Neeb, of the Boy Scouts of America Troup 401, Mayflower District, both in Grade 9 at Southbank International School in Westminster, are achieving great things, within and beyond school. The school’s principles of “international mindedness” and “action” are reflected in the Scouting movement and in these two students who have reached out to serve their communities in London. Stefan was born in Ridgewood, NJ, and moved to London with his family in 1997. To earn his Eagle rank, he decided design and build recycling boxes for Southbank International School in Hampstead. With the help from fellow scouts and talented parents, the primary school hallways are now transformed, encouraging recycling from the young students. Patrick was born in Orlando, Florida, and moved to London with his parents and younger sister in 2000. For his Eagle Scout project, he renovated the gardens at his church. Southbank Hampstead Principal, Jane Treftz, commented: “The high standards required of boys seeking this award set Eagle Scouts apart from other Scouts and other students their age. All indications are that we can expect Eagle Scouts to become leaders in their communities in the future.”
American Airlines and BA Enter Joint Venture Regent’s Scholarships for Fall intake For the Fall intake, commencing August 28, Regent’s American College London is offering Merit Based Scholarships worth up to 50% off tuition fees. Merit Scholarships are awarded to students with strong academic achievement and are available for all undergraduate courses There is still time to apply but act quickly as space is filling up. With your application you should submit an additional essay explaining why you should be considered for a scholarship and how you will contribute to the community here. For more information contact Maral Dadourian on firstname.lastname@example.org
AOL to be split confirms Time Warner Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has confirmed that AOL’s internet-access and media units will be separated at the beginning of 2009. The move has been widely expected since Bewkes mentioned it speculatively a few months ago. Many industry observers expect the media giant to divest itself of the underperforming AOL division altogether, perhaps selling it to a bigger or more specialist player in the online-advertising market. The internet service provider EarthLink has been mentioned by some insiders. AOL’s own web sites are profitable although display advertisement revenues have fallen. However the company’s internet access service is loss-making. It lost 2.8 million subscribers year on year, 604,000 in the second quarter of 2008 alone.
merican Airlines, British Airways and Iberia have signed a joint-business agreement that will enable them to cooperate on fares, routes and schedules on the allimportant transatlantic routes. Managing director of international planning for AMR Corporation (American Airlines’ parent company) Don Casey told financial analysis website MarketWatch that if the agreement is approved, around 22% of the trans-Atlantic traffic will be under the venture’s Oneworld alliance. It will not be the only such arrangement: the SkyTeam alliance, which includes Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM, currently has about 28% of transatlantic traffic under its recently approved antitrust immunity. “The open-skies agreement allows European carriers to fly to anywhere in the U.S. and vice versa,” Casey said. That has increased trans-Atlantic competition, particularly to London’s Heathrow, the world’s third busiest airport. If the new joint venture gets the go-ahead, it will serve 443 destinations in 106 countries with around 6,300 daily departures. The three airlines will be able to align ticket prices, rationalize bookings and flight routes and reduce costs.
The move was expected by the industry, but has attracted extreme criticism from Virgin Atlantic boss Sir Richard Branson. Virgin Atlantic is believed to be planning a £3 million advertising and lobbying campaign to challenge the proposed venture. Branson believes that the partnership would give American and BA a stranglehold on transatlantic flights from Heathrow which would be “dangerous for consumers”.
New Republicans Abroad Voting League Website The forthcoming Presidential election is set to be an interesting one, and expatriate voters may have a significant impact on the result. The Republicans Abroad Voting League has launched the following website to assist expats in registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot: www.republicansabroad-vl.org. Once you have completed the requested information, it generates a PDF of the Federal Post Card Application that is emailed to you. Click on the section “where to send it” to find the correct address for your County and State. Don’t forget to sign and date your form in the DD/MM/YYYY format before posting it to the appropriate place.
The Barbara Taylor Bradford Collection
arbara Taylor Bradford OBE, is the first author in publishing history to record 23 consecutive best selling novels in both the UK and US. She has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide. Proof of her extraordinary talent lies in the popularity not only of her books, but all the onscreen adaptations of them. Now for the first time ever, five film adaptations of the hugely successful novelist’s best-loved books are available together in one beautifully packaged six-disc set. The Barbara Taylor Bradford Collection will be released on 15 September 2008, courtesy of Acorn Media. A Woman Of Substance (shown in 1985) remains the highest rated programme in Channel 4’s history, drawing in a staggering 14 million viewers. The saga of ambitious servant girl Emma Harte, who overcomes humble beginnings to become one of the richest women in the world, it stars a who’s who of great British talent including Deborah Kerr, Liam Neeson, John Mills, Miranda Richardson and Jenny Seagrove as the determined Emma Harte. Hold The Dream is the epic sequel to A Woman Of Substance, starring Nigel Havers, James Brolin and Claire Bloom. In To Be The Best Emma Harte’s granddaughter Paula faces the greatest struggle of her career, battling against robberies, a stockholder with a gambling problem, a Hong Kong drug ring and the risk of an Ainsley family takeover. Stars Lindsay Wagner, Christopher Cazenove, Stephanie Beacham, and the superb Anthony Hopkins.
Victoria Tennant, and Elizabeth Hurley star in the emotionally stirring Act WIN THE COLLECTION Of Will, based partly on Barbara Taylor by entering our competition Bradford’s remarkable life story. A powerful, romantic drama, QUESTION: Voice Of The Heart tells the Barbara Taylor Bradford’s first job story of two intelligent was at which great British newspaper: beautiful women, a British A Manchester Evening News author from a good B London Evening Standard family and an American C Yorkshire Evening Post actress with a terrible secret. What unites Send your answer with your name, address, daythe two women will time telephone number and email address (optional) tear their lives apart. to reach us by mid-day, Tues. September 30, 2008. Stars Victoria Tennant, Email it to email@example.com with Honor Blackman, BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD COMPETITION in the Lindsay Wagner and subject line. Or send a postcard to: BARBARA TAYLOR Leigh Lawson. BRADFORD COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre The recommended House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 retail price of this mag6AW, UK. You must be 18 years old or over to nificent set (Certificate enter this competition. Only one entry per 15) is £59.99. person per draw. The editor’s decision is final.
Your Guide To The Month Ahead
Get your event listed in The American – call the editor on +44 (0)1747 830520, or email details to firstname.lastname@example.org Beyond the work of one Bodleian Library, Oxford University Rarely seen manuscripts, books, documents and artefacts from around the world. The unique display comes from 27 College collections, a Private Hall, the Oxford Union and the Bodleian, brought together for the first time. www.ouls.ox.ac.uk to November 01, 2008
150@150: 150th Anniversary Exhibition Royal West of England Academy, Bristol An exhibition with a difference, historical elements with a contemporary twist. Works by RWA Academicians are available at a remarkable price of £150. www.rwa.org.uk to September 14, 2008
WW2 Part 2 At Kew Kew Bridge Steam Museum 1940s themed weekend, World War II and You: Life on the Home Front. Wartime vehicles and demonstrations, tips on ‘make do and mend’ and rationing. Special wartime menu in the cafe. GI Jitterbugs dance team – have a go. Can you find the spy? treasure hunt for children. www.kbsm.org August 30, 2008 to August 31, 2008
Design Cities Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 The story of contemporary design through the focus of seven key cities, and the part that they have played in the evolution of design and architecture over the last century – London at the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851, Vienna 1908, Dessau 1928, Paris in 1936, Los Angeles 1949, Milan 1957, Tokyo 1987 back to London 2008. www.designmuseum.org 020 7940 8783 September 05, 2008 to January 04, 2009 Duxford 90th Anniversary Air Show Imperial War Museum, RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire A great air show showcasing the best of historic and modern, military and civil aircraft including favourites such as the Spitfire and B–17 Flying Fortress, Sally B. duxford.iwm.org.uk PLEASE NOTE THE DATES IN LAST MONTH’S ARTICLE WERE SUPPLIED INCORRECTLY – the correct dates are September 06, 2008 to September 07, 2008 National Mud Festival WWT National Wetland Centre, Llanelli, Wales Well dressing (designing and decorating clay with organic matter e.g. berries, flowers), Mud Hut constructions, mud sculptures, mud facials, pottery, Mud Safari – a walk along the estuary to see the importance of mud. Competitions for all the family in ‘welly wanging’ – throwing a welly as far into the estuary as you can – and ‘Mud of War’ (tug–of–war). www.wwt.org.uk/visit/llanelli September 06, 2008 to September 07, 2008 The Regent Street Festival Regent Street, London Annual free outdoor event: Regent Street will be closed to traffic from 12 noon to 8pm welcoming an expected 600,000 people from all over the world. Retailers have special events.
Traditional marching bands, The Royal Academy of Music, Scottish pipe bands, dance groups, organic British food stalls, even a veteran car display. www.regentstreetonline.com September 07, 2008 ICA 60th Anniversary Auction Sotheby’s, London An auction of artworks, in associatoin with Sotheby’s, to mark the ICA’s 60th anniversary by leading international artists who have played a part in shaping its history. Exhibition at ICA Sep 11th – Oct 5th; Preview exhibition at Sotheby’s Oct 12th – 17th; Auction: Oct 17th & 20th. Participating artists inc.: Peter Blake, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Martin Creed, Tacita Dean, Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor, Alex Katz, Barbara Kruger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Yoko Ono, Julian Opie, Eduardo Paolozzi, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mark Wallinger, Andy Warhol. www.ica.org.uk 020 7930 3647 September 11, 2008 to October 05, 2008
Ahoy There! Design Museum, London SE1 Children’s Creative Activity – To celebrate the Thames Festival, kids can design and make their own flotilla of catamarans, boats and barges inspired by the Design Museum’s riverfront location. www.designmuseum.org 020 7940 8783, email@example.com, September 13, 2008 then Sep 14th, 21st and September 28, 2008 Auto Italia (Italian Car Day) Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire An outstanding display of exotic Italian marques: Lamborghinis, Lancias, Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, Maseratis and more. Plenty of other activities too... Visit the Heritage Trust Collection, try the demanding off–road course, enjoy family karting fun, even the chance to drive on Aston Martin’s Test Track. www.heritage–motor–centre.co.uk September 14, 2008
Southampton Boat Show Mayflower Park/Town Quay, Southampton SO15 Discover exciting new features, explore the thousand plus boats on display, see over 500 exhibitors, ‘Try A Boat’, see (or enter) the Miss PSP Southampton Boat Show competition and enjoy everything about boating in one giant show! www.southamptonboatshow.com September 12, 2008 to September 21, 2008
Aluminum Show Pleasance Courtyard Grand (Edinburgh Fringe Festival) then selected regional dates Ingenious visual theatre combining dance, puppetry and illusion devised by a former member of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, about aluminum in all its forms! Inanimate objects are brought to life by athletic dancers and an imaginative production, cold metal tubes are turned into living creatures. Since first performed in Jerusalem in 2003, it has toured Israel, Argentina, Russia and mainland Europe. Critics have compared it to the Blue Man Group and Stomp. ‘Unalloyed pleasure’ – The Independent (4 star review). July 30th–Aug 25th Edinburgh; Aug 28th–30th Nottingham Concert Hall; Sep 2nd–6th Bradford Alhambra; 8th–10th Preston Charter Theatre; 11th–13th Cardiff New Theatre; 15th–17th Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre. www.aluminum–show.com to September 17, 2008
LaLaLyric Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith A unique event teaming exciting musical acts with fast–rising fashion designers, raising funds for LYC (Lyric Young Company). Simon Amstell comperes a line–up that includes Sophie Ellis–Bextor, Emmy the Great, Melodica, Melody and Me, FrYars and graduates from London’s most prestigious fashion and design courses: the perfect kick–off to London Fashion Week! www.lyric.co.uk 0871 22 117 22 September 14, 2008 Something That I’ll Never Really See The Herbert, Coventry A fantastic collection of contemporary photographs from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, by a host of internationally named artists as well as emerging talents. www.theherbert.org September 16, 2008 to January 11, 2009 John Singleton Copley: Painter of American Revolutionaries and the English Aristocracy English–Speaking Union, 37 Charles Street, London W1 A lecture in aid of The ESU American Arts Scholarship to Attingham, given by Emily Ballew Neff, Curator, American Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. esu.org 020 7529 1550 firstname.lastname@example.org September 16, 2008 Goodwood Revival Goodwood, West Sussex The world’s most authentic historic motor race meeting, staged in the romantic time capsule of the Fifties and Sixties. Fantastic cars and bikes from the era are not just on show, star drivers from the past and present take the racing seriously. The circuit is as it was in its heyday and many visitors dress in period costume to join in the fun. www.goodwood.co.uk September 19, 2008 to September 21, 2008
Def Comedy Jam Short UK tour Legendary Hip–Hop pioneer and entrepreneur Russell Simmons brings his ground breaking and hugely popular Def Comedy Jam to the UK for the first time. Stand Up Comedy from some of today’s hottest urban comics from the US inc. Patrice O’Neal, Capone, Tony Roberts and Dominique, music from DJ Kid Capri. Sep 16th Manchester Apollo; 17th Birmingham Alexandra Theatre; 20th London Brixton Academy. www.livenation.co.uk September 16, 2008 to September 20, 2008
Ceramics in the City Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, London E2 In the Geffrye’s contemporary gallery, a selling fair showcasing 40 ceramicists – meet the makers on the opening day. (Part of the London Design Festival, staged across the capital from Sep. 13–23). www.geffrye–museum.org.uk 020 7739 9893 September 19, 2008 to September 21, 2008 Big Sky International Kite Festival Margate Main Sands, Kent Kite flyers from the UK, Holland, Belgium, Spain, France, New Zealand, Thailand and Malaysia will be flying magnificent large inflatables, soft kites and single line kites in a daily line–up that includes aerial ballet displays, stunts, competitions and club displays. Workshops, stalls and other attractions including a local wind garden and a Dutch wind and music garden – alongside the spectacular scheduled arena activities. 0870 264 6111 www.visitthanet.co.uk September 20, 2008 to September 21, 2008
Moorcroft Pottery Auction Bonhams, New Bond Street, London The biggest single–owner collection of Moorcroft Pottery to appear on the market is being sold. The collection, estimated at approximately £150,000, was started in the 1920’s by Mr and Mrs Bracewell, who greatly admired the designs of William Moorcroft, at their home in the Lake District. Many desirable patterns and shapes including Claremont, Moonlit Blue, Wisteria and Waratah and flambe ware. www.bonhams.com September 24, 2008 Mark Rothko Tate Modern, Bankside, London Tate Modern presents an exhibition by one of the world’s most famous and best–loved artists, Mark Rothko. This is the first significant exhibition of his work to be held in the UK for over 20 years. www.tate.org.uk September 26, 2008 to February 01, 2009 Thanks to the U.S. Embassy, London, for their help in compiling elements of this list.
American? Living Abroad? exercise your
RIGHT TO VOTE USe this for voter registration and ballot request
Find out about Democrats Abroad: www.DemocratsAbroad.org or call 020 7724 9796
THE DECORATIVE FAIR
antiques & textiles 30 September – 5 October 2008. The Marquee, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ
The original interior decorator’s source for statement pieces. Antiques & C20th furniture, accessories & works of art. Free Shuttle from Sloane Square. Open from 12 noon Tuesday & from 11am daily thereafter. Closes Tue, Wed & Thur 8pm. Fri & Sat 7pm. Sun 6pm.
decorativefair.com Tel: +44 (0)20 624 5173
Music First Beatles-Epstein Contract To Be Sold
The Great Unravel
ne of the most important music contracts in history will be sold on September 4 at The Fame Bureau’s ‘It’s More Than Rock and Roll’ memorabilia auction. It is Brian Epstein’s personal copy of the first fully signed agreement between himself and The Beatles. There is something rather poignant about the simple typed document signed by the young band and their new manager – as well as Paul and George’s fathers, as the two were under 21 years of age at the time. The contract is dated October 1, 1962. Epstein started managing the Beatles at the beginning of that year, but wanted to fulfil his promise to get them their first recording deal before tying themselves together legally. The EMI deal in place, he signed on behalf of his company News Enterprises along with John Winston Lennon, George Harrison, James Paul McCartney and Richard Starkey (Ringo). Epstein would represent them in return for a quarter of the band’s earnings, as long as they made more than £200 per week each.
ALBUMS theof MONTH Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams High noon Records
Also in the sale are John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to Sexy Sadie and the Bechstein grand piano used on The Beatles’ White Album and Hey Jude as well as by David Bowie, Queen, Elton John and Harry Nilsson. The cut-out of cowboy Tom Mix from Peter Blake’s album cover design for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the first guitar Jimi Hendrix set on fire (a 1965 Fender Stratocaster expected to fetch £500,000) make up the sale, which is at the Idea Generation Gallery, Chance Street, London E2 7JB.
Hudson Valley based Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams were Formed in Sleepy Hollow, New York in the late nineties. Looking at their photos you might worry that image is all to this extraordinary quartet. Worry not. The music is the key. Variously described as ‘punk-hillbilly-Floyd’ and ‘psychedelic roots rock’, with definite Celtic tinges, they are not as musically wacko as the visuals suggest, but they are unusual enough to attract nu-hippy hipsters while being acceptable to the mass market. And the big time is somewhere they may easily end up. They have what most bands would kill for – a sound. you can recognise trace elements of influences. Joziah Longo’s voice is like nothing so much as Neil Diamond’s baritone phrased like early David Bowie. The guitars are Dave Gilmouresque. The backing vocals evoke 1967 summer of love. From obscurity The Circus seem to have become festival specialists, going down well across the Sates and making their UK debut at Bedfordshire’s Rhythm Festival in August. ‘Let go, Free your mind to travel, Make way for the Great Unravel’, indeed!
Grapefruit Moon – The Songs of Tom Waits Southside Johnny with La Bamba’s Big Band Evangeline Records
Now here’s a concept – Tom Waits’ songs played in a world where rock and roll never happened and the cool cats stayed in jazz. Specifically Basie/Ellington big band jazz – bebop never occurred in this universe either. Springsteen compatriot Southside Johnny (he of the Asbury Dukes) has a lived-in growl that brings him close to Waits’ idiosyncratic delivery but stays closer to the blues/jazz mainstream. It has the Waits seal of approval – he out-gravels Johnny dueting on Walk Away. Richie LaBamba’s band is extraordinary. Individually, the musicians have performed with some top acts, like Sinatra, Dizzy, Springsteen, Diana Ross, and Tina Turner.
Here they sound like a unit that plays together and stays together. Their website promotes them as a weddings ‘n’ bar mitzvah corporate entertainment outfit. They’re much better than that (although they were the perfect choice when they booked the band for HBO’s The Sopranos’ party – you can see Tony shrugging off his jacket and walking Carmela onto the dance floor!). Waits favorites like Down, Down, Down, Tango Til They’re Sore, the always moving Johnsburg Illinois and A New Coat Of Paint are all done full justice. This is not just a record for Tom Waits completists. It’s for anyone who loves Waits’s songs, jazz, blues, oh, just everyone. Southside Johnny is touring with the Asbury Jukes in the UK from September 26 to October 8 – see theamerican.co.uk music pages for details.
Morley Wrasse Records Opening with a lonesome pedal steel on Somebody New, Seen sounds like it’s going to be another classy country album. Fiddles and acoustic guitars inhabit the next track Bird Over The Ocean, but the subtle flavors are funk and gypsy, with soulful voices. The album is a melange of roots influences, but presented oh so smoothly. The album’s press release stresses Morley’s background. She is not, it says, African American, but grew up among the black people of Jamaica, a neighborhood in Queens, New York City and feels close to them and their causes and movements. The title, Seen, is Jamaican patois for ‘Understood’ (that’s Jamaica, Caribbean). This is not an overtly political album but the lyrics throw light on the state of America. You could play this as the background to an uptown dinner party, but it would be interesting to see what would happen if the guests started to listen to the lyrics.
Second Time Around Nell Bryden 457 Records, NYC
So there you are in the honky tonk, beer in front of you, wondering who’s playing here tonight, and where the evening is going to take you. The door opens and in walks this classy dame in fifties dress and high heels. Surely she’s come in to the wrong place. But no, she sashays up to the stage, opens a guitar case and begins to sing. That’s Nell Bryden. Her sophisticated, full voice, and cosmopolitan, soulful approach to bluegrass, folk and country has resulted in support gigs with KT Tunstall and Counting Crows, a short UK tour and this great album for which she wrote all the varied but cohesive songs and played electric, acoustic, twelve string and Dobro guitars and cello. The lonely night at the honky tonk just got better.
LIVE AND KICKING
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.
fter the festival furore of the last couple of months, September is a relatively quiet time for concerts in Britain. Here are a few quirky and very different selections that might be worth a try.
Royal Festival Hall, London Since the 1960s Hancock has blazed the trail for ground–breaking music – transcending jazz genres. All Hancock concerts carry a sense of anticipation and occasion that signals an artist who invariably produces music at the very highest level, as highlighted by his recent Grammy Award for Album of the Year. www.southbankcentre.co.uk September 15, 2008
Approximately Infinite Universe
American country singer-songwriter Shelby Lynne comes to Southbank Centre to perform songs from her new critically acclaimed album Just a Little Lovin’, a tribute to Dusty Springfield www.southbankcentre.co.uk September 19, 2008
Described as ‘A Caravan Of Raw Sound Magic From Finland And The US’ (and named after Yoko Ono’s 1973 double album?) this is an eight-date tour by Finnish ‘weird/avant folk’ artists who have each invited a US West Coast counterpart to collaborate on a composition and Finland’s northern communities. The artists are: Kemialliset Ystavat & Axolotl, Es & Fursaxa, Islaja, Blevin Blectum & Samara Lubelski and Dream Triangle. http://www.no-fi.org.uk/ Sept. 19th Glasgow, CCA; 20th Aberdeen, Lemon Tree; 21st Sheffield, Bar Abbey; 23rd Birmingham, Hare & Hounds; 24th Newcastle; Gateshead Sage; 25th Manchester, Contact Theatre; 26th Bristol, The Cube; 27th London, ICA
Royal Festival Hall, London
Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London American musician and songwriter Paul Curreri. Renowned for his inspired songs, bright voice and talented finger–style, he performs with Lucy Sale on percussion and Jo Carvell on double bass. www.southbankcentre.co.uk September 26, 2008
Big Chill Report
or me the prospect of attending a music festival usually induces a sense of dread, having been jaded by many a rainy Glastonbury. Bad toilets, limitless burger vans and mud, lots of mud, is what springs to mind. All these memories were wiped clean by the sunny Big Chill festival, a diamond of a festival set in the beautiful grounds of Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire. An eclectic mix of music, art installations, comedy, and poetry ensured that there was something for everyone – highlights included The Orb, The Mighty Boosh and Leonard Cohen. The festival is family friendly with under 13s going free and children’s entertainment provided. There was also an amazing range of food and drink to purchase. Fancy a mojito before going to a sushi restaurant? No problem. All in all a brilliant festival with some excellent performers – book now for next year! NAR
Soul legend Isaac Hayes dead at 65
saac Hayes, soul superstar, was found dead at his home on August 10, 2008. He was 65. A police spokesman said that the cause of death was not immediately known, although Hayes suffered a stroke in January and family members believe that ‘an outstanding medical condition’ may have been the cause, according to Music Week magazine. He was found beside an exercise treadmill that was still running. Hayes’ career was one of the most influential in soul music. He began as a session keyboard player at Stax Records where his songwriting abilities were noticed. He wrote many great numbers with his writing partner David Porter, including Soul Man and Hold On I’m Coming for Sam & Dave. He may be best remembered for the theme music to the blaxploitation film Shaft, which became a US number one hit and garnered him an Academy award. His second solo album Hot Buttered Soul was a major hit both sides of the Atlantic. Although Hayes continued writing and recording until his untimely death, he is probably better known to younger audiences from his TV role as the voice of Chef in South Park. Even this gave him a hit record, in the form of 1999’s Chocolate Salty Balls. Hayes was working on his first new studio album since 1995. He was married four times and leaves 12 children.
WIN TICKETS TO SEE
FALL OUT BOY
at Wembley Arena
We have THREE pairs of tickets to Fall Out Boy’s concert on 22 October to give away courtesy of Wembley Arena. Twelve months after the release of Infinity on High, their multi million selling follow up to debut album From Under the Cork Tree, Fall Out Boy return to the UK to play a date at the iconic Wembley Arena. The boys have had huge success with singles Dance, Dance, Thnks fr th mmrs and This ain’t a scene, its an arms race. Their latest single Beat It featuring John Mayer is out now to download. To be sure of being the first to know about upcoming gigs at Wembley Arena, register TODAY with www.wembleyarena.co.uk. For more information or to book tickets call 0844 815 0815 or visit www.wembleyarena.co.uk.
QUESTION: Which Simpson did Fall out Boy bass player marry in May? A Jessica Simpson B Ashlee Simpson C Marge Simpson Send your answer with your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, Tuesday September 30, 2008. Email it to theamerican@ blueedge.co.uk with FALL OUT BOY COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: FALL OUT BOY COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Tickets are for the October 22 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.
As I was saying... Are increasingly exorbitant baggage charges getting to you? Bob Pickens has a suggestion.
utumn, when nights cool and we watch our breath swirl about and dew makes pearl strands out of spider webs, arrives the third week of this month. With it comes the decision whether to head back to the States for the holidays. In fact, by the time Autumn officially arrives, it’s almost too late to find a bargain fare. For the majority, and sooner than we realize, the option to return Stateside for a seasonal break is going to disappear as it becomes more costly in air fare and environmental terms. If you’ve lived abroad since the Boeing 747 launched the era of cheap air travel, consider yourself fortunate that your life as an expat occurred when travel to and from the States was at its most affordable. Those days are gone forever, at least until we’re capable of “beam me up, Scotty” matter transfer. When you have more than two adult fares to consider, and “home leave” isn’t part of your company’s emoluments package, a trip to the States isn’t fun and games. For us it starts with a letter to the bank manager to let him know we’ll be using our overdraft. Again. We’re lucky that our family in concentrated in the eastern third of North America: Connecticut and Toronto, Kansas City and St. Louis, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Vermont or Martha’s Vineyard where one nomadic relative was last known to be, and a few in farm towns throughout the Midwest
and the South. I cannot wait for Costco to start selling airline tickets on a family bulk-buy basis. Once everyone agrees where to gather, the shopping gets underway, a weighty concern this year for expats. If you want to take back “British” presents that say something about your experience here: teapots and tea cosies, seconds porcelain from Stoke-on-Trent, martingales, a bottle of decent Scotch, M&S undies, plum puddings, logo’d beer glasses pilfered from your local, you’re going to build up a lot of weight in the one suitcase you’re restricted to.
”I’d gladly pay a couple of pounds to make sure the airlines don’t fleece me.” No longer is your main worry the Customs man. Unless you’re up to something really bad, they’re pretty understanding about bringing in more than your allowance at Christmastime. What you have to be mindful of this year is the airlines. Over the past couple of years they’ve steadily cut back on weight limits. When I went back to repair Katrina damage to the family home, I packed heavy work clothes and boots, a helmet, chainsaw chaps, even some hand tools. I still had weight allowance to spare. Early last year I was
allowed two suitcases, but each had a maximum of around 40 pounds. By last Easter I was limited to a single 23 kg suitcase, or thereabouts. By Christmas I bet it will be even less. The beancounters at the airline HQs are not limiting weight to be more fuel efficient and lower the pollutants their planes emit. All they’re doing is keeping us from carrying on board what we used to carry in a more civilised time, so they can jampack the rest of the hold with other peoples’ cargo, right? There is a certain honesty to what is happening in the luggage weigh-in game. A friend who monitors the aviation industry for a living tells me weight restrictions actually give greater transparency about what we pay for. It costs money to fly weight in an airplane, whether that weight is living or a load of doorknobs. The fairest fare could be to say “This is what it will cost you to fly the Atlantic – just you and the shirt on your back. If you want to take anything with you, it will cost this much per kilo.” In the old days someone who flew with just a carry-on was subsidizing the travel of the passenger with three full suitcases. I see the logic, but I don’t trust airlines to tell me how much I can carry. My last trip across the pond I weighed in and was told I was four pounds over. I returned to the car and chucked a pair of trainers, some chinos and a shirt or two into the back
seat. Back at the checkout counter, my suitcase was suddenly 12 pounds under the limit. Am I justified in suspecting this weight thing stinks of a scam? What about people with a few pounds over in their stowable luggage who remove it and stuff it into their carry-on? It doesn’t make the airplane lighter doing that, yet the people at check-in seem perfectly happy for you to do it right in front of them. I hope someone sets up an independent luggage scale at Heathrow, linked up with the atomic clock or something, that will measure suitcases to the .000th gram. I’d gladly pay a couple of quid to make sure the airlines don’t fleece me. I fully acknowledge the airlines are facing huge increases in fuel and operating costs. I accept that we have had it good for a long time. I genuinely feel we need to do something about high-flying jets depleting the ozone layer. But cheap flying has become so ingrained in our societies and economies, it’s hard to see how things could change. Well, maybe it can, if we think a bit laterally - or lighter, so to speak. One of the clearest childhood recollections is going to the beach at Point Pleasant, NJ, with my grandparents. Almost every time we went, a huge, silver US Navy blimp would pass along the shore. It was serious stuff; in the Cold War 1950s blimps were apparently the best way to conduct anti-submarine patrols and carry the first versions of early warning radar. For me that great big skyliner was just a magic sight, I had no idea anything so big could fly. Play in the shallows stopped as I watched it float past, its thrusters clearly audible above the waves. How I wanted to go up in that thing, look down on the little ant-specks on the beach, then head out to sea and
look out for a thousand miles in any direction. I still do. Why can’t we have airships crossing the Atlantic? 28 hours from London to New York at 7,000 feet, skimming over icebergs and fishing boat and whales? Carrying four suitcases per passenger, for the same fare (or even less?) than one pays for cattle-car seats on a jumbo with one small valise. Knowing that the only pollution it put out was comparable to a semi-truck or two, I’d do it, and I bet millions of others would, too. Can’t you see airships docking at the Burj al Arab, or the Berlin Fernsehturm, or at Lakehurst, NJ? There’s a catch, as my aviation-observing neighbor is quick to point out. You’d need a huge new infrastructure: docking towers, flight control, maintenance (any idea how big an airship hangar has to be!), training armies of personnel, which would probably dwarf the cost of building the things in the first place. Perhaps we should put off sending a spaceship to Mars and divert the funds. Logistics giants like FedEx have already started looking into using airships for cargo transport. The engineering is there and technology has advanced considerably since Germany and the US Navy were regularly flying them. After that, surely it would not be a huge step to introduce passengers. It may not happen in my lifetime, but one day our grandkids might see airships in the sky again. About the time they perfect travel by matter transfer. H
Myths about Overseas Voting T
here are a number of common misconceptions about overseas voting, which can prevent Americans abroad from exercising their right to vote. Democrats Abroad asks expatriate voters of all political persuasions – please help us dispel these myths!
“I can’t vote. I don’t have a US address anymore.” WRONG. Regardless how long you have lived outside the country, you always retain the right to vote in US Federal elections. Your legal voting address is the last place you resided prior to departing the US. (If you have never lived in the US, many states will allow you to vote using the legal voting address of one of your American parents. Also, depending on state law, it could be that studying or summering in the U.S. is enough to establish residence. Check with local authorities.)
“I don’t need to register. I did it last time.” WRONG. Voters living abroad should mail in a ballot request every election year. Yes, there is a recent Federal law stating that a single ballot request should be valid for four years. And there are some places, like California, which permit “permanent absentee” registration. But, don’t forget that our votes are administered by 3,000 different local authorities across the country, each with its own
understanding of the law. Better safe than sorry – send a new ballot request each election year!
Ohio 2006: The race for a seat on the Erie County Democratic Committee ends in a dead tie!
“They don’t even count overseas ballots.” WRONG. Absolutely 100% false. By law, every properly executed absentee ballot must be counted before a final vote count can be certified. However, if the number of outstanding ballots – overseas or otherwise – is smaller than the difference between two candidates, a winner may be called before every last vote has been tallied. Nonetheless, all outstanding ballots are counted before the election result can be certified.
“One vote can’t make a difference.” WRONG. Just look at recent election results. Florida 2000: George W. Bush wins the state by a margin of 537 votes. Washington 2004: Democrat Christine Gregoire becomes Governor by just 127 votes.
“If I vote, the IRS will hassle me.” WRONG. Voting in US Federal elections does not affect the determination of tax liability or tax residence. You will not hear from the IRS because you voted in a Federal election, i.e. President, Senate, or House of Representatives. (Note: Voting in state and local elections can potentially affect state and local tax status. We recommend that you seek expert advice before voting in state or local elections.)
“Voting from abroad is so complicated.” WRONG. This used to be true! Now, US citizens can complete the process of registering and requesting an absentee ballot – and spread the word to friends and colleagues! – in just two minutes flat at www. VoteFromAbroad.org.
‘Blood and Heart’ Scots Urged to ‘Come Home’ in 2009
Blast Back Pain With Classic Toys
ids these days… Get out of the house and play! You’ll get square eyes watching that screen! As the school summer holidays end, how many times have you heard those phrases in the last few weeks? Slumping in front of computer games and TVs can lead to serious physical problems, even for youngsters. The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) says that back pain in the UK has risen by a staggering (their phrase!) 5% since last year and that nearly half of 16 to 24 year olds suffer from back pain. BCA Chiropractor Tim Hutchful comments: “We are concerned that the incidence of back pain has grown so dramatically amongst young people. In 2004, less than one in five young people were suffering, now that figure has risen to every other young person [44%] in the UK having some form of back pain”. The BCA is encouraging kids – and, why not, oldies too - to look to the past. They suggest bringing back some of those well loved toys that actually require movement other than twitching digits on games handsets, remote controls and mobile phones. Skipping ropes assist with fitness and improves balance, hula hoops help core stability, increase mobility of the spine and tone abdominal muscles and space hoppers strengthen the spine. Even playing bat & ball is important in improving hand and eye co-ordination – it is amazing how many people have difficulty catching these days. These retro toys can help promote and strengthen your posture as well as improve your general fitness levels. Hutchful adds “We want to educate people about how making a few simple lifestyle changes can help to reduce the risk of back pain as well as making you feel and look better. Using any of the toys mentioned or incorporating a very simple three minute exercise routine entitled ‘Straighten Up UK’ into your daily lives will help to strengthen your spine and improve your posture.” Straighten Up UK is a simple, three minute posture care programme divided into three quick sessions: Stars (warm up), Flying Friends (posture care) and Core Balance (to finish off the session). By promoting balance, strength and flexibility in your spine, the risk of getting problems with your back now and in the future can be substantially reduced. Download the exercise routine from www.straightenupuk.org, for more information and a free Straighten Up leaflet visit www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk or call 0118 950 5950.
tarting January 25, 2009, the 250th birthday of Scotland’s poet Robert Burns, Homecoming Scotland is a series of cultural and heritage activities, something every week of the year, for anyone interested in Scotland. Burns Night, a national holiday similar to Thanksgiving, is celebrated with a ‘Burns supper’ with music and readings of Burns’ poetry including the famed Address to a Haggis – the steamed ‘pudding’ of sheep’s offal that became Scotland’s national dish. In Glasgow, the Celtic Connections music festival will showcase internationally known contemporary performers influenced by Burns. May is Scotland’s national Whisky Month. The Spirit of Speyside Festival from May 1-10 has master blenders and distillery owners who will host tastings and residential whisky courses. The Gathering (July 25-26) is the largest Clan Gathering ever held in Scotland, with a Highland Games in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, pipers and dancers, and a Historic Clan Pageant beside Edinburgh Castle. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo (August 7-30) and The Open Golf Championship (July 1618) at the home of golf, St. Andrews, will include Homecoming festivities. There’s a two-week cultural festival across the Highlands in October and the Homecoming’s finale is on St Andrew’s Day, November 30, with a major celebration of Scottish music, traditional and modern.
A Real Life Move to the Sun Part III: Reaching the Finish Line
n our road-trip through England we’ve driven through breathtaking scenery, met interesting people and filled my passion for historic relics to the brim. Although only halfway through this Non-Road-Trip Enthusiast is seriously considering becoming a convert.
SUNDAY, APRIL 13 At Plymouth Harbour, aboard our floating hotel for the night, Ken and I had a lot to celebrate: a future into the Spanish unknown, I’ve survived half the road-trip and above-all, Ken’s 65th birthday - official OAP status! It was eerie on deck watching the Ken’s birthday surprise - Santander!
New Yorker Riki Evans Johnson says Goodbye to England and Hola to her new home in Spain
shores of England fade away, but no turning back - we had already paid for 6 weeks villa rental in Nerja. Brittany Ferries ‘Pont-Aven’ was our first taste of cruising, a minicruise experience but major French hospitality in first class settings. We tucked the car in for the night, located our roomy stateroom and set off to explore. With sweeping Titanic-style staircases, piano-bars, restaurants, movie theatre, and of course a duty free shop, the ship was five-star.
We made a reservation in the elegant Flora restaurant and I snuck away to locate the Concierge and arrange for a birthday cake. Ken is still a little boy at heart. Dinner was a gastronomic dream, buffet tables bedecked with ice sculptures and overflowing with every type of seafood, meat and side dishes. The idea wasn’t to eat absolutely everything, but what the heck. Dessert was just as impressive with dozens of puddings and cheese boards. The seams on my fitted dress were practically gone. At the requested hour, the personable wait-staff presented Ken with a decadent chocolate gateau and sang Joyeaux Anniversaire. An added Champagne toast rounded out a lovely evening.
MONDAY, APRIL 14 After a comfortable night and hearty breakfast, we heard our names announced over the ship’s PA system. Wondering what we did to effect such notoriety, we proceeded to the Concierge Desk. It seems that word of Ken’s special birthday made it to the Purser, who arranged for us to meet Captain Quere and 2nd Captain Bergeroux, along with 20 crew members, on the Bridge as the
Following Don Quixote’s route
ship entered Santander! While Ken discussed ships and fishing, I was mesmerized by the views. Watching our approach from this vantage point through dozens of bowed glass windows was spectacular. First Spanish destination: Lerma/ Burgos – 3 hours, 141 miles. Our route would bisect the entire country, reaching our finish line at the Mediterranean Sea, Costa del Sol. For the sake of Ken’s sanity and to stave off my fidgeting, we would make the 13 hour drive over two nights. With the blind-leading-the-blind out of Santander (no signs, just following other de-boating cars – like de-planeing?) we entered El Cid territory (Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, actually); a Castilian off-the-beaten-track area, filled with golden landscapes, castles that appear from nowhere, and some of the narrowest village streets one can imagine. I loved it. We splurged our first night at the exclusive Parador. The former 17th century ‘home’ of the Duke of Lerma, Palacio Ducal is breathtaking. The Duke squandered a fortune from the State, but built a great bolt-hole filled with understated grandeur. Our suite overlooked the expansive valley and
”We splurged our first night at the exclusive Parador.” after sleeping like royalty, we watched (through 15 ft. French doors) the most stunning sunrise from our private balcony.
TUESDAY, APRIL 15
Today’s destination: Manzanares – 4 hours, 201 miles. Home to Cervantes’ Don Quixote, La Mancha is a feast for the eyes. One can tour the region tracing all the locations of Don Quixote’s exploits, including Moorish castles and of course the eye-catching windmills. We drove through the centre of La Mancha, where we first saw the snow-topped peaks of the Sierras, and our first ‘hilltop bulls’, a sort of Spanish Welcome Wagon which line the A7/E5 straight down to the Sea. Having seen so many now I’ve given them names! The drive through the Sierra mountain range was a bit of a whiteknuckle ride, but beautiful throughout. Following directions we were given by the truckers on the ferry to bypass central Madrid, we managed
not only to take the wrong toll road, but to meet Madrid head-on at rush hour and become completely lost. (Little tip, there are two R2 roads!) Nothing prepares you for Madrid’s rush hour. We managed to find the right road for Manzanares then drove in circles trying to locate the Parador (reservation made at Lerma) and realised that the sign is only visible arriving from the opposite direction! The Manzanares Parador is located in a country house set amidst a beautiful nature reserve. We had a lovely room and excellent breakfast, and were off for our last day of driving (thank heaven) reaching Oasis de Capistrano, Nerja.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16
Destination: Finish Line at Nerja – 230 miles. Following the Sierras the entire way, passing the cities of Toledo and Cordoba, we counted down the kilometres until we entered Granada Province, finally reaching the sea. We turned left at Motril. After more
Our finish line - and the start of a new life
misguided directions (this time from the villa owners) we arrived at Oasis de Capistrano. Ken and I felt we found heaven – magnificent gardens with a huge terrace and sea view in a quiet and calm urbanisation. Haverhill, Suffolk seemed eons away. An hour later, after prying out the jigsaw puzzle of belongings in the car, we opened the champagne and the BBQ was lit! We had reached our finish line.
APRIL 17 TO MAY 31 After a couple of weeks of pure holiday, it was time to find permanent housing and become ingrained into the Spanish lifestyle. We read the Costa Del Sol weekly paper, became ‘members’ at the local Internet café (no Internet line at our villa), and acquired Spanish SIM cards for our mobile phones. We shopped at the Mercadona with our trusty pocket dictionary (don’t leave home without it), opened a local bank account, ate at our favourite Spanish restaurants (Menu del dia at Eclipse in Caleta de Velez and the fantastic pizzas at the Balcon de Europa) and attended events at the Nerja Cultural Centre. Ken drove back to England (same
”Ken has become BBQ King, apron and all; I’ve mastered the Spanish instructions for the washing machine.” route) to sell our British car and through our estate agent (who knows everyone) we found a Spanish-registered Seat Ibiza. Our housing hunt was trying. We scoured around for a permanent rental, reading bulletin boards, surfing the Internet, visiting estate agents and asking our new friends. We rented a ‘penthouse’ (duplex) in Torrox Costa, 15-minutes from Nerja, as it was move-in condition, but not what we wanted permanently. We’ll use this year to find our permanent home. After three weeks of sun, sea and overeating, I needed to ‘do’ something and started volunteering two days a week at Cudeca, the local Cancer Care charity shop. I’m picking up Spanish, met lovely people and we’re developing a busy social life.
JUNE 1 TO PRESENT Our belongings arrived from England and we moved into the apartment. Ken acquired his Residencia and we filed for health benefits as Ken is an EU pensioner in Spain. On the other hand, we have dealt with red tape for my Residencia – which could take a year; red tape for my 90-day visa (being an American and not an EU citizen); installed English TV and Internet (quite a hassle), and found the best place to buy Cava and Rosado (major necessities). Ken kick-started his hobby of fishing and has become BBQ King, apron and all; I’ve mastered the Spanish instructions for the washing machine, dishwasher and Spanish recipes, and the difference between bug killer and plant spray. We’ve enjoyed numerous festivals (the concert in the Nerja Caves was mind-blowing), celebrated July 4th with the local British/American club, taken up walking (the hills here will kill you), and eating more fruit and vegetables than we’ve eaten in a year. (Beer and wine also, but who’s counting!). Moving to Spain is a major life change and one which many do not endure. Life can be difficult and fraught with emotions, and one has to be realistic on their hopes and dreams. Many expats told us it can take up to two years to find oneself in this environment. Just learning the language is an obstacle but a must, and we start official lessons in September. My Diary is now finished and although not yet a road-trip enthusiast, I may give-way here having much to explore. Through many ups and downs, we have no delusions of paradise, but are determined to ‘take the bull by the horns’ and pursue our real life move to the sun. H
Destination Chichester V
irtually every part of Britain has interest to the American visitor. After all, many Americans’ families came from these shores. And there is fascinating history everywhere. But some areas are better known than others. There are some less-discovered gems and the West Sussex area around the historic town of Chichester is certainly one of them. If you have one of those families (or group of friends) that is difficult to plan for because one wants to get out and do something sporty in the fresh air, one wants to see some English heritage, another loves modern art and a fourth just wants to eat and drink well in beautiful surroundings – sea or countryside - this could be a great destination for a day trip, a short break or even longer – especially as it’s only around 60 miles from London. History? How far back do you want to go? People have lived in the area from the dawn of time. Traces of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers as well as Bronze and Iron Age settlements have been found in the area. The Romans knew this was a great place to live. The Duke of Richmond, head of the family that owns Goodwood (of which more later) once told me that the area was the vineyard of the Roman Empire and that more wine was made here than anywhere. One of the finest provincial Romans Palaces can be
by Michael Burland
seen at Fishbourne, just outside Chichester. It was discovered accidentally by a workman digging a trench for a water main in 1960. Fishbourne has the largest collection of in-situ mosaics in Britain including a famous one of Cupid on a Dolphin which you walk over on a suspended walkway. There are lots of hands-on Romanesque activities and demonstrations throughout the year. One of the most important surviving Tudor houses in the country, Cowdray opened only recently to the public. You can be one of the first people to see it, and in September there are some great activities – on the 12th there’s a Heritage Open Day, with free entry, where you can see the Tudor kitchen in full working order, traditional cooking and crafts. The 21st is Stuart Regalia Day, re-creating the fashions of the Stuart era. The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum is the leading museum in England for historic buildings and traditional rural life. And they do mean buildings – the 45 historic buildings on site have been rescued from destruction and rebuilt as a real village where you can look round the buildings, watch the heavy horses and working cattle and see rare breeds.
Reliving English history at Cowdray (top left) The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum rescues genuine ancient buildings (top right) The funny but disturbing One Of Us On A Tricycle by Steven Gregory, Cass Sculpture Foundation
Spitfire prototype lovingly recreated at Tangmere Helen Blumenfeld’s Spirit of Life in the perfect location of Cass
Pallant House Gallery (opposite)
At Arundel, just along the coast from Chichester, the Amberley Working Museum is a draw for anyone interested in technology and industry, with vintage bus and narrowgauge train rides and telecommunications displays through the ages. More up to date is Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, the home during World War II of RAF Spitfire squadrons and the base from which British Air Ace Douglas Bader took off on his last mission before he was shot down. Two air speed record holders, a Phantom, a Lightning, a Hawker Hurricane and a replica of the prototype Spitfire make for a fascinating display. Chichester is a small, pretty city and the Cathedral is its heart. 2008 is the 900th anniversary of the magnificent building’s consecration as a sacred space. This year the Cathedral is also remembering Bishop George Bell who died 50 years ago and is famous worldwide for his life’s work. He was responsible for much of the Cathedral’s emphasis on art – particularly that of 20th Century artists including Piper, Sutherlands and Chagal. Marc Chagal produced a beautiful stained glass window especially for the Cathedral. The recent concert by Sir James Galway in the Cathedral was an aural delight in a stimulating visual environment. Art plays a large role in the area’s life. The 2007 Gulbenkian Prize winning Pallant House Gallery is set in a Queen Anne
townhouse in the center of Chichester. It houses one of the best collections of modern art in England. I’m afraid I have to admit to being a modern art sceptic (Tracey Emin’s Royal Academy ‘rude room’ didn’t move me, except to the exit) but Pallant House’s displays are intelligent, thoughtful and provoking, with the works of art – by Auerbach, Blake, Freud, Hodgkin, Moore, Paolozzi, Piper, Sickert and Sutherland among others – chosen well and shown to explain their meaning. The staff are helpful too. Just north of Chichester you will find the internationally famous Cass Sculpture Foundation. This is art on a massive scale, 70 regularly changing monumental works by over 50 sculptors, outside in 26 acres of unspoilt ancient woodland. Like Pallant House you can be an aficionado or a neophyte – they are helpful and friendly and do not mind helping the less expert to enjoy the best modern British sculpture. Although a charitable foundation, it’s not a museum – everything is for sale. Goodwood is a name that crops up regularly when thinking about the Chichester area.
CONTACTS Fishbourne: www.sussexpast.co.uk Cowdray: www.cowdray.org.uk Arundel: www.amberleymuseum.co.uk Tangmere: www.tangmere-museum.org.uk Cathedral: www.chichestercathedral.org.uk Pallant House: www.pallant.org.uk Cass: www.sculpture.org.uk Chichester Harbour Water Tours: Web: www.chichesterharbourwatertours.co.uk
COWDRAY RUINS It is the beautiful family home of the Duke of Richmond and his family, direct descendents of King Charles II. The Duke’s son the Earl of March, is a keen motor racer and the grounds of the house host the famed Festival of Speed in July. In September, go next door to the racing circuit for the wonderful Revival meeting – dress up in 1940s-1960s clothing and go back in time to see fabulously expensive classic cars in wheel-to-wheel action. If the roar of engines is not your thing, there is horse racing on the estate, particularly at the Glorious Goodwood meeting at the end of July. Goodwood House itself is a unique Regency gem. I was lucky enough a few years ago to be one of the guests at the first formal dinner in the newly restored Egyptian Dining Room. This and other public parts of the house can be hired for a unique experience. The Goodwood Park Hotel, right next door, is the perfect place to stay, recently taken over and revitalised it has The American’s seal of approval. Further north, nearer London, a good base is Lythe Hill Hotel & Spa in 30 acres of gardens at Haslemere, over the county border but a short hop home if you live in London or Surrey. From the grandstand at the race course you can see the sea, over the Solent to the Isle of Wight on a clear day. Outdoor activities in the area are water-borne. The wide harbour alone, with its many creeks, has 17 sailing clubs. You can hire or charter a yacht, or if that’s too much like hard work there’s a great 1½ hour Chichester Harbour Harbour Trip departing from Itchenor letting you to visit the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from the water. H
One of Southern England’s most important early Tudor brick courtier’s houses set within the stunning “Capability” Brown landscaped Cowdray Park in Midhurst. Built from 1520 and partially destroyed by fire in 1793, royal visitors included Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Explore the Tudor Kitchens, Buck Hall, Chapel, splendid Gatehouse, Vaulted Storeroom and Cellars, Visitor Centre and Shop. Entry includes an easy-to-use audio tour. Groups benefit of 10 or more are welcome by appointment and get a discounted rate of £4 per person for visits in 2008, plus the option of a guided tour.
For more information, please contact: Heather Ongley, Operations Manager Cowdray Heritage Trust, Cowdray Ruins Visitor Centre Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9AL Tel 01730 810781 info@Cowdray.org.uk www.cowdray.org.uk
LYTHE HILL HOTEL & SPA
Lythe Hill Hotel & Spa, Petworth Road, Haslemere, Surrey, GU27 3BQ
Nestled deep within the Surrey countryside, the four star Lythe Hill Hotel and Spa is a unique and very special place, where traditional values of hospitality and service meet with the opulence and ease of modern facilities. Telephone: +44 (0)1428 651251 Fax: +44 (0)1428 644131 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.lythehill.co.uk
More Than Nightingales ‘I may be right, I may be wrong, But I’m perfectly willing to swear That when you turned and smiled at me A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square.’
ou probably know the World War II song by Eric Maschwitz and Manning Sherwin, A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square. Thanks to the song, published in 1940, the London square is forever linked in our minds with romance and nightingales. But Berkeley Square is known for many other things, among them its lofty and magnificent 18th century plane trees and some interesting buildings. At Number 44 is a notable William Kent house of 1747 that was described by Nikolaus Pevsner, the architectural historian, as ‘the finest terrace house in London’. No longer a private residence, it is now the Clermont Club. It is where, in 1974, ‘Lucky’ Lord Lucan was due to meet his friends when he disappeared after the horrific murder of his children’s nanny, never to be positively identified again. Annabel’s, the fashionable night club, is housed in the basement.
by Leslie Walford What was claimed in Victorian times to be ‘the most haunted house in London’ is at no. 50 Berkeley Square, today the premises of an antiquarian bookseller. Built in the 18th century, this is the house where Prime Minister George Canning died in 1827. It is reputed to have ghosts in profusion. They include a little girl in a kilt, a screaming young woman called Adeline who fell from a window ledge, a violent, insane man confined to a room at the top of the house by his brother, two people who failed to survive a night sleeping in a haunted room, and a sailor who was found impaled on the front railings one Christmas Eve after bedding down in a room in the house. Many of London’ ancient streams feeding the river Thames are no longer visible, some are completely lost, their courses a mystery. Most of them, however, are still there but flowing beneath London’s streets. One, the Tyburn, runs ‘along the line of Baker Street, under Oxford Street, and through Berkeley Square’, according to John Hollingshead who traversed the bricked over stream/sewer in 1860 and published an account of his subter-
ranean journeys, Underground London, two years later. Berkeley Square is where the Berkeleys, an ancient aristocratic English family, at one time had their town house. The square was laid out in the 1730s and named after Lord Berkeley of Stratton, a Royalist commander in the English Civil War. Members of the Berkeley family have lived at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire from the reign of Henry II (1133-1189) for 900 years, right up to the present day. In his 1944 book The Berkeleys of Berkeley Square, Bernard Falk was not very impressed by the Lords of Berkeley until that time: ‘The absence of the slightest evidence of a social conscience offends us, though scarcely so much as their dreary sense of values, the three things to count with them being nobility of rank, keys of power and tangible wealth’. The current head of the family, Charles Berkeley, says, “Where other Castles were romanticised or “modernised” by the Georgians or the Victorians, Berkeley quietly survived as what it is: a Norman fortress with an enclosing curtain wall, built and enlarged through the mediaeval period and beyond into a secure, comfortable, substantial home.” It is open to the public. (www.berkeley.castle.com) Berkeley Castle, one of the March Castles, built to keep out the Welsh, has been the scene of high drama over many centuries. King Henry II was brutally murdered there in 1327 and in the 18th century Mary Cole, the pretty daughter of a Gloucester butcher, was duped into a form of marriage by the Fifth Earl of Berkeley, a prominent member of the Prince Regent’s circle. At the castle she was ostracised and insulted because she was considered ‘unsuitable ‘ for the aristocratic Berkeleys. After giving birth to several illegitimate children by the Earl an attempt was made to falsify the church records to make the marriage appear legal. It is said that through her strength of character she eventually secured a legal marriage in 1796 and by skilful management brought prosperity to the family estates. Another famous one time resident
Lord Lucan, the playboy who vanished after the murder of his children’s nanny
Berkeley University in California is named after George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, who donated his library to the university. The family also provided the first Governor of Virginia.
of Berkeley Castle was Edward Jenner, the Berkeley family physician. Dr Jenner discovered the principle of vaccination. The Berkeleys were the last family in England to employ a jester. One unfortunate jester, who appears, curiously, to have been on loan from the Earl of Suffolk, died when revelry got out of hand and he was thrown from the castle’s minstrel gallery. He was buried at St Mary’s in Berkeley and his epitaph was written by Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, who was at one time chaplain to George, the Earl of Berkeley at the castle: ‘Here lies the Earl of Suffolk’s fool Men called him Dicky Pearce His folly served to make men laugh When wit and mirth were scarce Poor Dick, Alas! is dead and gone What signifies to cry? Dickies enough he left behind To laugh at by-and-by’ 18 June 1728 age 23 H
Berkeley Castle David Hughes
Coffee Break Coffee Break Quiz QUESTIONS 1 W ho is Melanie Griffith’s famous actress mother? 2 W ho is Jamie-Lee Curtis’s famous mother? 3 I n Norse mythology, what name was given to the female warriors who carried the bodies of heroes from the battlefield to Valhalla?
4 W hich country is sometimes referred to as the Dead Heart of Africa? 5 W hich sporting star has a line of designer clothing called Aneres? 6 W hich is the only US state that contains none of the letters from ‘Osama’ in its name?
7 Which is the only US state which contains none of the letters of Mackerel’` in its name? 8 Which sport uses a piece of equipment that must be exactly 9 foot long and 5 foot wide? 9 What does the acronym `LASER` stand for? 10 How many black keys are there on the a standard piano? 11 In The Simpsons what were Bart Simpson’s first words? 12 What game starts with a squidge off? 13 What is the only Olympic sport that has a finish line that no competitor ever crosses? 14 What was the first man-made object to move faster than the speed of sound? 15 Originally known as Idlewild Airport, by what name is it known today?
Answers at foot of the page.
July Issue Competition Winners The Nickelback tickets in our July issue were won by Sarah Coldwell of Croydon, Surrey. Coffee Break Quiz Answers 1. Tippi Hedren; 2. Janet Leigh; 3. Valkyrie; 4. Chad; 5. Serena Williams (Aneres is Serena spelt backwards); 6. Kentucky; 7. Ohio; 8. Table Tennis 9. Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation; 10. 36; 11. ‘Ay Carumba’; 12. Tiddlywinks; 13. Swimming; 14. A whip 15. John F. Kennedy International Airport
September 1, 1972 – American Bobby Fischer beats Russian Boris Spasski in Reykjavik, Iceland, to become world chess champion.
September 2, 1666 – The Great Fire of London starts. It burns for three days and destroys 10,000 buildings including the first St. Paul’s Cathedral. September 3, 1189 – Richard I of England (a.k.a. Richard “the Lionheart”) is crowned at Westminster.
September 4, 1781 – Los Angeles, California, is founded as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (the City of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the Little Portion) by 44 Spanish settlers. September 5, 1939 – World War II: The United States declares its neutrality in the war.
September 6, 1997 – funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. The television audience is more than 2.5 billion. September 7, 1998 – Google is founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students at Stanford University
September 8, 1504 – Michelangelo’s David is unveiled in Florence. September 9, 1543 – Mary Stuart, nine months old, is crowned “Queen of Scots”.
September 10, 1608 – John Smith is elected council president of Jamestown, Virginia.
September 11, 1776 – BritishAmerican peace conference on Staten Island fails to stop the coming American Revolution.
September 12, 1959 – Bonanza premiers on NBC.
September 13, 1503 – Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David (– you do the math).
September 14, 1901 – President of the United States William McKinley dies after an assassination attempt on September 6, and is succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.
It happened one... September
September 15, 1947 – The U.S. Air Force is separated from the US Army to become a separate branch.
September 23, 1912 – First Mack Sennett “Keystone Cops” comedy is released.
September 17, 1908 – The first airplane fatality. Orville Wright crashes The Wright Flyer, passenger Lt. Thomas Selfridge is killed.
September 25, 1690 – “Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick”, the first newspaper in the Americas, is published for the first – and only – time.
September 16, 1920 – The Wall Street bombing: a bomb in a horse wagon explodes in front of the J.P. Morgan building in New York City – 38 are killed with 400 injured.
September 18, 1502 – Christopher Columbus lands at Costa Rica on his fourth, and final, voyage.
September 19, 1970 – The first Glastonbury Festival is held at Michael Eavis’s farm in Glastonbury, UK. September 20, 1973 – Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in battle-ofsexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome in Houston, Texas. September 21, 1897 – The “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter is published in the New York Sun. It remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language. September 22, 1692 – Last people hanged for witchcraft in the United States.
September 24, 1906 – Devils Tower is made the U.S.’s first National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt.
September 26, 1872 – The first Shriners Temple (called Mecca) was established in New York City. September 27, 1930 – Bobby Jones wins the U.S. Amateur Championship to complete the Grand Slam of golf. (In those days, the U.S. Open and Amateur, and British Open and Amateur.) September 28, 1066 – William the Conqueror invades England: the Norman Conquest begins.
September 29, 1916 – John D. Rockefeller becomes the first dollar billionaire. September 30, 1947 – The World Series, featuring New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, is televised for the first time.
Dining out at
THE QUAY HOTEL & SPA
here are wonderful places to see all over the UK, but too often the last place we think to visit is Wales. “Awful weather,” I’ve been told. “It’s always raining there.” What everyone seems to forget is that depending on weather in the UK is like marrying a bigamist and expecting it to be his or her only marriage. The Quay Hotel & Spa on Wales’ north coast offers 74 bedrooms, suites and penthouses which are set against the backdrop of the Conwy estuary and, luckily, out of the three days we were at The Quay, Maxine Howe, my actress friend, and I had one day of sweater weather, one perfect summer day and the last day, the inevitable rain. In fact, Maxine on that warm sunny afternoon, was so relaxed sitting on the terrace in front of our hotel room staring out at the ruins of an ancient castle in the distance and watching sailboats drifting along with the soft wind she fell asleep and had to rush off for her spa treatment. And what a perfect spa it was. The Elemis and Aromatherapy treatments were pure indulgence and at £55.00 to £65.00 per average treatment cost far less than any we could have had in London. Jessica gently smoothed out the aches and pains of age and an overindulgent lifestyle with pure scented creams as music played softly in the background and when I rose from the table an hour later I felt as if I’d lost twenty years. Maxine, who has a knee problem, was
Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
Deganwy Quay, Conwy North Wales LL31 9DJ 01492 564 100 www.quayhotel.com
The Vue – the restaurant with a view
almost ready to tango when Victoria finished an hour and a half later. All the women in the spa are experienced therapists and spoke with us before our treatment so they were aware of any problems we might have. There is nothing more tiring than being pampered and Maxine and I returned to our room for a cup of tea and clotted cream shortbread biscuits which we prepared for ourselves and rested until dinner. Of course, if I had any energy left, I could have gone for a swim or to the fully equipped gym with the latest fitness machines, sauna, steam room and whirlpool. The gym instructors are extremely knowledgeable and can help develop a special exercise program for you during your stay. Rested, Maxine and I floated upstairs to the first floor restaurant, “The Vue”. Andy Soster, the twenty-six year old chef, is in charge of breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as the banquets for weddings, anniversaries and the business conferences being held at the The Quay. It always amazes me how young so many chefs in the UK are. Perhaps one needs to be young because while we were there Andy was catering for hotel guests like Maxine and myself, locals who were enjoying a meal out, and business people who expected fast service at the exact time promised and food prepared to exact standards.
And Andy certainly came through at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of the food is locally grown, caught or bred and whether fish, fowl or meat, one can be assured it hasn’t spent days on a truck, ship or plane coming from farm to table. The rump of lamb I had at dinner (£16.95) was cooked to perfection and the chanternay carrots in tarragon butter (£2.50) so good I asked for a second helping. The wild mushroom and asparagus tagliatelle (£14.95) which Maxine and I had for lunch the next day was, she said, as delicious as she ate in Italy. There were a few misses, service was very slow at dinner, but our waitress was most apologetic and came through with an extra dessert we had considered ordering. There is also an excellent wine list without the huge mark up we too often have in London. There are numerous things to do in the area no matter how old you are. Llandudno, a lovely Victorian town a short taxi trip away, has a range of shops with a mixture of cafes, pubs as well as the Tweedmill Factory Outlet with bargains for men and women. There is a Bronze Age mine nearby which would be fascinating for children to see. Maxine and I, however, decided to take the Great Orme Tramway that winds its way up the mountain side to the Summit Complex. This is one of three tramways still in existence,
the other two are in San Francisco and Lisbon. We were told by our taxi driver to sit near the front as it has better views and he was right. There is so much to see and do in this part of Wales, it would take far more than three days if I wanted to participate in half the things offered. Wales, we were told, has more castles per square miles than any other place on earth. Sailing, riding, walking, golf, wildlife parks, were all within a short drive from The Quay. No, you can’t always count on the weather, but then if we counted on the weather in the UK most of us would stay home. Last but not least, if you have any questions or problems before or even while you’re staying at The Quay, talk to Philip who not only answers questions on how, when or where to go, but can provide out of his huge Santa Claus pack a tooth brush (as he did me) or even a tiny pliers to fix your glasses. Oh, and make sure you try some of Andy’s hand cut chips (£2.50) and Garlic and Welsh Cheese bread (£2.75) and then go for a swim. Prices are not cheap, but there are special offers during the year for both the hotel and spa. If you plan to go with a group of friends as Maxine and I hope to do this winter, reservations should be made ahead of time for the restaurant and any treatments you plan to have.
What a perfect spa!
The Quay’s busy young head chef Andy Soster
lthough I’ve eaten excellent steaks in London, I’d seldom had one that has what I call the “wow!” factor until my actress friend, Maxine Howe, and I ate at the Green Door Bar and Grill. Located on the site of a former wine bar, it boasts a kind of cowboy glitz combined with old fashioned pub opulence that makes for a relaxed atmosphere. There’s a long imposing marble bar on the first floor where one can have a beer, perhaps American Samuel Adams (£3.50 a glass), Guinness Draught
If I was disappointed in my first course, I was soon revived by the 10 oz Filet Mignon (£19.95) and 10 oz Blackened Rib eye (£16.95) that arrived. Some beef aficionados declare that Filet Mignon should have little marbling (streaks of fat) and no bone to add flavour and juiciness, but they haven’t eaten at the Green Door. Filet Mignon comes from the filet, or tenderloin and ours, from an English breed rather than Argentine, was as savoury as the Japanese Wagyu I enjoyed recently. Grading can be
Green Door Bar and Grill Dining out at
Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
(£3.50) or a Kopparberg Pear Cider (£4.20 for 500ml). Or maybe a bottle of R. Fabry Bruth NV, France (£7.00 a glass, £35.00 a bottle) if you want Champagne and your bonus this year wasn’t quite what you expected, with the credit crunch. Slightly disappointingly there is only Kronenbourg 1664 on tap (£3.50). A staircase leads up to an elevated dining area, slightly more low key and private, useful if you’re a married man dining with a colleague from the office as we suspected the couple at the table next to us were. Maxine started with the Smoked Duck (£8.00) which was excellent. I had the inevitable Thai Crab cake. I only say this because every restaurant in London, whether French, Italian or Spanish, serves Thai crab cake which, I decided after one bite, I shall never ever have again except in a Thai restaurant. Maryland crab cakes are just as delicious and a better combination with Western style food, but then my prejudice may be showing.
telling, but beef should also be hung properly and for the right amount of time and Green Door’s talented Polish Chef, Pawel Jursa, who worked for a number of years in the States, is a perfectionist when it comes to this. Not only that, but Maxine ordered the Filet rare and that’s how it came, charred on the outside, red and juicy in the center. My medium rare rib eye was also superb, but next time I need
a beef fix, I will have the tenderloin - there is no better in town. With the first course we drank a Viognier, Jewel Selection, California 2005 (£9.95/£26.95) which almost me had me waving the flag for it was as good a Viognier as I’ve tasted recently. Usually I prefer Pinot Noir with steak, but my Cabernet Sauvignon, El Otro (£6.75/£17.75) with its fruity cassis flavour matched my rib eye well and Maxine’s Pinotage, Cape Town (£7.50/£21.50) (a combination of Cinsault and a Pinot Noir hybrid) had her ordering a second glass. It was only at the urging of Lexus, our lovely English waitress, that I consented to sharing with Maxine the chef ’s specialty, the chocolate fondant with vanilla pod ice cream (£6.50). How glad I was. In fact Maxine an I fought for the last sliver on the plate. Lexus, who spoiled us all evening, also had us try the Champagne sorbet (£6.00) which would have been better for my waistline. For those who prefer not to have dessert, the Espresso Martini ( £7.00), a shot of chilled expresso with Vodka, Kahlua and Creme de Cacao, would be the perfect replacement. 33 Cornhill, Bank, London EC3V 3ND. www.greendoorsteakhouse.co.uk 020 7929 1378
Dining out at
Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
hen I was in my early teens I loved historical novels on the Regency era. Many a night when I was supposed to be asleep, I’d be curled up in bed reading by flashlight about the wicked parties held by aristocrats in London. Private gambling clubs then were scattered throughout the St. James’s area of central London. Possibly the most famous was the St. James’s Street Club, better known as ‘Crokeys’, owned by William Crockford. The magnificent building, designed by the fashionable architect, Benjamin Wyatt, was opened in 1827 and was soon “the most talked about gambling hall in the most talked about street in the most talked about city in the world”. Members were the Who’s Who of the day and strolling up and down the magnificent grand staircase designed by Wyatt one might pass the Duke of Wellington, Benjamin Disraeli, or Prince Esterhazy to name a few. While most of the private clubs in London offered boiled mutton or boiled beef in their dining rooms, the St. James’s Street Club employed Louis Eustace Ude, who had been the chef to King Louis XVI until the French Revolution, at the princely salary of £1,200 a year. I have no doubt Crokey would approve of the redesign of this magnificent building by Jeffrey Beers, a New York based architect and interior designer. There are five floors of gambling rooms with the most modern gambling facilities, sophis-
ticated bars, chic restaurants as well as Fifty Below, an elite club lounge in the basement with a DJ providing aural stimulus. Under jewel-like chandeliers in this glamorous lounge, one imagines James Bond smiling at the beautiful cocktail waitress as she serves him a Martini - while he watches Manchester United vs. Chelsea on the integrated video screen displayed on the cocktail table. In Salvatore’s Bar on the ground floor I sip one of the best Bellini’s I’ve had in London while talking to Salvatore Calabrese, who is perhaps the most creative cocktail mixologist in London as well an expert on vintage cognacs. In fact, we were so fascinated listening to Salvatore that Nelly Pateras and I almost forgot our dinner reservation at the second floor restaurant, V. Well-known chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is behind V as well as Rama, opposite Salvatore’s, which features South East Asian dishes specially created for Fifty. I had previously had a four course dinner in V created by Chris Galvin, chef-owner of Galvin Bistrot de Luxe and Galvin at Windows. It was a special summer menu for one night
50 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1JT www.fiftylondon.com 0870 850 8454 (08704 15 50 50 for membership).
only and there wasn’t a wrong note in anything Chris Galvin prepared that evening. Although the food was good, V’s present kitchen has some way to go to match the standards of someone like Galvin. However, the service was impeccable and the wines suggested by the sommelier for our various courses matched each dish perfectly and I shall return before making further comments on the food. The dining room is elegant with every detail thought out from the dishes we ate from to the glasses holding our wine. There is a comfortable bar at one end where one could have a drink before or after dinner or a light supper prior going to the theatre or upstairs to one of the gambling rooms. Fifty is a hip yet contemporary classic design, a visual delight whether looking down from the top of the magnificent central staircase or in Fifty Below. One could enjoy an evening here whether a gambler or not. Membership is limited and available by application at £750 a year.H
Cellar Talk Libations by Virginia E. Schultz
DAIQUIRI Sarah: These are delicious...What’s in it? Sky: Oh, sugar and a sort of native flavouring. Sarah: What’s the name of the flavouring? Sky: Bacardi. – Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown visit Havana in ‘Guys and Dolls’, 1950
ummer, as I write this, is finally trying to make an appearance. I can at last sit out on my balcony overlooking the Thames and friends are beginning to serve cocktails in the afternoons. One of my favourites is the Daiquiri. It’s origin was in the malarial swampland that was Cuba in 1898. With mosquitoes as thick as fleas on a dog in Houston, Texas (I speak from experience) and anti-malarial drugs not yet invented, rum was often added to drinking water as a fever preventative. Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer, supposedly invented the drink one night when he ran out of gin and was expecting guests to arrive any minute. In reality, the Daiquiri was more likely made-up by Cubans who had the basic ingredients of rum, lime juice and sugar readily handy. If any cocktail proves that the best cocktails are usually those whose ingredients are born together, it is the Daiquiri, named for a small town near Santiago on the west coast of Cuba. However it came into existence, the Daiquiri’s popularity soon spread. Imported to the States
by Navy Admiral Lucas Johnson in 1909, the Daiquiri was so popular in Washington’s Army and Navy Club that a brass plaque in the club’s Daiquiri Lounge honoured Jennings Cox’s name. Here it was served frozen as it was in Havana’s La Florida Bar (now El Floridita). In the 1930’s, Fred Waring, the bandleader, observing that the clubs where he was playing had difficulty providing crushed-ice on demand, with bartenders hammering away at ice blocks, promoted his electric blender as the solution. Famous Daiquiri drinkers were Ernest Hemingway, who liked his doubled, and Marlene Dietrich. According to legend, the bartender at the Savoy’s American Bar in London would make up a Daiquiri for Hemingway or Dietrich as soon as he saw them enter the bar. My romanticized love of the Daiquiri started when I first read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise in my early teens. Impressed at how sophisticated Fitzgerald’s characters in the book appeared as they sipped their Daiquiri’s, a friend and I made up our own recipe of lime juice, sugar, and coca cola substituting for the rum. We sat on the front porch sipping the drink from my parent’s Baccarat cocktail glasses until my mother discovered us and made me replace the crystal with ordinary water glasses. Sadly, that ruined the whole effect and we returned to drinking lemonade.
My husband’s method of making Daiquiri’s was 1½ ounce of the best white rum, usually Bacardi Superior, 1 tsp sugar, and juice of 1½ small limes, strained of seeds. Rather than pour over crushed ice in a tall glass and stir or put the ingredients in a blender with ice cubes, he put the ingredients into a cocktail shaker straight up with ice cubes, then shook vigorously and strained carefully so there was not even a sliver of ice into a cocktail glass that had been refrigerated for about an hour. Purists believe the Daiquiri shouldn’t be garnished, but I must admit I do like a twist of lime with mine.H
WINE of the MONTH
Waterbrook Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2006 A slightly sprightly pear and apple tingle on the tongue that slips gently to a silky finish. Proves once again the State of Washington is pushing ahead of California with their lower priced chardonnay. Have with roast pork and apple. £8.00
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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.
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Michael Foreman’s eight favorite things in one at What Are You Like? Dulwich Picture Gallery
Cece Mills picks her Arts and Exhibitions for September, from the British Seaside to the Australian Outback Beside the Seaside: Snapshots of British Coastal Life, 1880-1950
What Are You Like? Self Revealing Artworks by People in the Public Eye
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich September 17th, 2008 to April 19th, 2009 There is nothing quite like the British seaside. For such a small island, Britain has the most varied and interesting coast including some spectacular beaches which have long been the focus for tourism and leisure. This exhibition of photographs draws from the Francis Frith Collection. Frith was a pioneering Victorian photographer who focussed on illustrating British coastal life, and you will be able to see fascinating pictures of Edwardians relaxing under their parasols, fishermen landing their catch on the beach, bustling piers and promenades, and much more. Eastbourne, Sussex Courtesy National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Dulwich Picture Gallery September 9th 2008, to January 18th 2009
Samantha Hobson, Today Now, 2008, Acrylic on Canvas
Samantha Hobson: Our life… is land … is culture October Gallery, Old Gloucester Street, London September 11th to October 18th This solo debut for Hobson, a 27 year old Aboriginal artist is a revelation. Capturing the very essence of the burning heat of the Outback, her semi abstract images also convey impressions of traditional Aboriginal customs and beliefs, as well as social issues of violence and harsh conditions in the remote areas of Australia. The depth of colour and startling feeling of light and fire in her work is inspiring.
Following on neatly from August’s piece about narrative art in the form of Manga, this exhibition is all about illustrating eight favourite things through art. A range of famous people were asked to illustrate their favourite things in whatever medium they choose, celebrating the art of illustration. Narrative art/illustration traditionally crosses boundaries of language, culture and age.
A Continuous Line: Ben Nicholson in England Abbot Hall, Cumbria. Until September 20th The first of three venues showing the work of Ben Nicholson during the period of 1922 to 1958, a time span somewhat overlooked or overshadowed by his later work in St Ives. It includes landscapes of Cumbria where Nicholson lived with Winifred, his first wife, in the 1920s. The show moves on to Bexhill-onSea, and then on to St Ives, where Nicholson lived with his second wife, sculptor Barbara Hepworth.
Tracey Emin: 20 Years Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh August 2nd to November 9th
Nathan Drake, New Terrace Walk – chosen by Tracy Chevalier for her exhibition at York Art Gallery © York Museums Trust
A Thousand Words… An Exhibition by Tracy Chevalier York Art Gallery September 13th, 2008 to January 4th 2009 I have always loved imagining the story around certain paintings – this works better, generally, with the detailed works of French artists like Ingres (I’m thinking specifically of the heavenly Turkish Bath painting), Manet, Degas and Renoir, rather than blurry contemporary images or landscapes. In this exhibition, Tracy Chevalier, famous for her book The Girl With The Pearl Earring, brings together a selection of paintings from York Gallery’s collection where the art captures the central moment of a story. As the Gallery’s artist in residence, Tracy will be there to encourage the public to make their own beginnings and endings to stories around the paintings and these will be on display for all to see. The title of the show is something that we journalists are all too aware of – that the picture is worth a thousand words – and I am ashamed to say I get a bit carried away with words!
I touched on this briefly in August’s issue in connection with the Edinburgh Festival, but this exhibition deserves a slot of its own. It is an extensive catalogue of Emin’s work from the late 1980s to now, including the famous – or infamous – bed, her appliquéd blankets, video installations and paintings. Emin is part of the Young British Artists group, and her very personal take on her work seems to strike a chord with the public. She approaches the issues of her rape at 13 years old, her subsequent promiscuity during her teens, abortion and then her desire for children and obsession with pregnancy. She also tackles her relationships with certain members of her family. Emin’s work is also featured at the Folkestone Triennial until September 14th, where she has cast old baby clothes such as mittens and booties in bronze, and they lie in a trail through the town and beach. Above: Tracey Emin, It’s Not the Way I Want to Die, 2005, Reclaimed metal and timber Courtesy Jay Jopling / White Cube, London
Below: Tracey Emin, My Bed, 1998, Mattress, linens, pillows, rope, various memorabilia Saatchi Gallery, London, © The Artist
The quirky Salt Museum, Chester
One of Hutch’s WWI sketches at Chester Salt Museum
ome months ago I remember eulogising about the artistic merits of the Falkirk Wheel – Scotland’s incredible rotating boat lift which replaced 11 locks over a span of 1.5km with a lift that moves boats an incredible 115 feet from one level to the next. Well, Cheshire has its own architecturally spectacular and equally famous boat lift at Anderton, near Northwich, and connects two levels of the canal. The Anderton Boat Lift has been there since 1875 and was restored in 2001. On more conventional lines than the rotating lift at Falkirk, the Anderton Boat lift appears to be exactly that – an elevator. Boats drive into the space, the doors shut and it goes up, or down, and they drive out. So simple. I mention this for the benefit of those engineers amongst readers, who would find a visit to the lift fascinating. While we are in the Northwich area, a visit to the Salt Museum would be in order. Salt has been produced in Cheshire for over 2000 years, and Northwich is the Salt Capital! At this museum you can find out the millions of uses for salt – from preserving mummies to making polythene. 2008 happens to be Cheshire’s Year of Gardens and the museum is marking this with an exhibition called Boxed In – should be interesting. Later in September they are holding a fascinating exhibition of sketches and paintings by ‘Hutch’ (W H Hutchings 1885 – 1962), who was born in Liverpool and spent 50 years in Northwich working at the Salt production centre. His sketches were predominantly made during his time in WW1 in the Royal Army Medical Corps.
”Cheshire was once the hub of the silk industry and there are many museums to take you through the story of silk” Cheshire was once the hub of the silk industry and there are many museums and attractions to take you through the story of silk, from cocoon to catwalk. One such place is Paradise Mill in Macclesfield, where speciality silk ties were sent to America on the Queen Mary. The Museum includes interesting exhibitions of collections of silks, fabrics, costumes through the ages, and an incredible 1000 volumes of pattern books from 1804. Fabrics and weaving are always rather put aside as art forms, veering towards the practical I suppose, and the fact that we wear clothes every day makes us tend to ignore the skill of such a craft. This should appeal to the kids in the household – at Nantwich Museum they are showing an exhibition called Scary Monsters/Super Creeps. Renowned artist Reuben Amarna presents examples of his special effects work, showing props and creatures from various films. Some you know – such as from Star Wars and Doctor Who – and others you have yet to meet. There’s no sofa in the Millennium Gallery to hide behind, but come in anyway and be scared. Be very scared! This goes on until September 20th. Liverpool is actually in Lancashire, but is just over the water from Cheshire and often teams up with Cheshire for arts events. It is stuffed with galleries, interesting buildings and museums. Not least it is the Capital of Culture or something! The amazing 8 foot by 16 foot panorama painting of Liverpool by Ben Johnson is on display until 2nd November at the Walker Art Gallery. Also on show are his equally huge and impressive panoramas of Jerusalem, Zurich and Hong Kong.
Above: Ben Johnson working on Liverpool Cityscape panorama © Ben Johnson
Below: Aut by Reuben Amarna at Scary Monsters/Super Creeps Natwich Museum
More Hirst Less Greed W
hen a rich, famous, mould-breaking and successful artist decides to cut out the middle man and sell direct, with his work estimated in the millions of pounds, it seems, on the face of it, plain greedy. One wonders whether Damien Hirst might be about to be brought down by his own hubris. On the other hand, this might be the sort of brass-necked nerve which encourages all artists to sell direct and put the galleries and middle men out of business. As he says himself, “It’s a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art.” The ground breaking auction of 233 works of art ranging from a variety of beasts in formaldehyde to Hirst’s speciality splatter paintings and butterfly collages, is to take place on September 15th and 16th. The price estimates are staggering. A preparatory drawing for one of his artworks might go for a snip at £15,000, while the latest work,
a golden calf in formaldehyde, is valued at an affordable £12 million. Well, I suppose it must have cost a bit to make, with hooves and horns of 18 carat gold, a plinth of Carrara Marble and the several gallons of formaldehyde. Sotheby’s are selling for Hirst, cutting out his long standing agents and gallery owners Jay Jopling and Larry Gagosian in London and New York. If the auction goes well and Hirst sells like mad, then it seems that he may well find it unnecessary to use them as a shop front in the future. If it doesn’t go well, they may not want him. We will have to wait and see. The Gagosian Gallery said “As Damien’s long-term gallery, we’ve come to expect the unexpected. He can certainly count on us to be in the room with paddle in hand.” Instead of using the paddle to bid, this rather insinuates they are expecting him to be up the proverbial creek and will be there to rescue him. The media are agog, not least because just recently Hirst failed to sell some old and new work at Art Basel, one of the worlds biggest art fairs. Could the credit crunch affect this ambitious and newsworthy auction? Who is likely to be there with their cheque books? What do you do with a Damien Hirst Damien Hirst, The Dream, foal, glass, steel, resin, silicone and formaldehyde solution, executed in 2008, estimate £2,000,000-£3,000,000 © Damien Hirst
The Rose Window, Durham Cathedral Damien Hirst
work anyway? My husband wouldn’t give room space to a zebra in a box – anyway, there wouldn’t be much room left for us to sit in. Beautiful Inside My Head Forever is the title of the auction, and I should think if Hirst was to realise the full potential of the value of the lots – some £65 million – then his head will indeed be very beautiful inside forever. I may sound as if I thoroughly disapproved of all this – I do, but there could be ways he could redeem himself if he does sell every last lot. Large chunks of money towards endangered species and butterflies perhaps. So it is with some relief that I find out that the Sotheby’s sale will include 4 works (out of 233 – is that enough?) which will benefit charities, and I just hope they sell well. The charities concerned are Demelza Hospice Care for Children, Survival International, Strummerville (the Joe Strummer Foundation for new music which creates new opportunities for aspiring musicians), and Kids Company. This last is a charity founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996, and which provides support, advice and practical help for inner city children and young people. Finally, an oil painting entitled Bill with Shark will be sold on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to reduce inequalities in the United States and the world. Well, that makes me feel a bit better.
this Art The American
Is this Art? Work No. 850: Martin Creed
ometimes I feel I really have not got a grasp on what really constitutes art, but then do any of us? [too modest: Cece is, as regular readers will know, a talented artist in her own right – ed.] The bottom line is that ‘art’ is created by artists, the artists call their creations ‘art’, so they are ‘art’ whether we agree or not. I am beginning to see that ‘art’ is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder either, for you can look at ‘art’ and not understand it or like it, but it remains ‘art’. It’s one of those bossy things that happen these days, like Pringles being cakes. This is art and you’d better believe it. So moving on, I am fascinated and bemused by Martin Creed’s Work No. 850 at the Tate Britain. The idea is that a runner – and you could be one of these runners if you fancy it – sprints as fast as they can through the Duveen Galleries from point A to point B. Having done that, there is a pause of about thirty seconds, and then another chump sprints. Logistics of the ‘art’ work make my mind boggle. Is there a gym mistress in the wings with a stop watch all day, urging the runners from the starting post, timing the pause and then chastising the next runner to get into position? I can almost hear the squeak of the plimsolls and the pounding of feet on the gallery floor. The pregnant silence of thirty seconds will be nectar to the ears before the
next session of heavy breathing and slapping trainers. All day do you think? I can hardly bear to work out how many runners that would be per day. Creed explains that once he was in Italy visiting the catacombs and unfortunately arrived just before closing time. He and his chums had five minutes to see the whole tomb system, so they set off at a sprint and ran frenetically through the catacombs almost blindly, catching fleeting glimpses of bodies and tombs. I wonder if that split second sighting of things heightened the senses, making them doubt what they saw, adding a sense of mystery
to the catacombs, and an edge of fear? Anyway, Creed says he thinks running through museums is the perfect way to see them, leaving time for other things. I guess he doesn’t rate museums very highly on his list of interesting things to take time over! Work No. 850 is a celebration of the human spirit and everything physical. The ‘exhibit’ is physical and not much else. It may well claim to bring people together from all walks of life throughout London, but then so does the Underground system. No-one chats to each other on the train and I can’t imagine the sprinters have much time to chat while they wait their split second time to run either. It is a mystery to me. What do you think? Creed is purported to be a realist. He uses real things in his work to convey their position in our lives, and to explore the relationship between art and reality. He seems to be questioning what art really is, and describes his art as “about 50% what I make it and 50% about what other people make of it”. You can see Creed’s sprinters doing their stuff until November 19th in the Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain. It began on July 1st. Now work out how many runners over the period – that really would be art. Martin Creed, Work No. 850 2008 © The artist. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
Reviews FBI 100 Years – An Unofficial History By Henry M Holden
T Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: In Bite-sized Verse By Richard Cuddington
ollowing his Easy Reading Shakespeare, Richard Cuddington tackles another great of early English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer. Cuddington is an iconoclast – realising that the writers had fantastic stories but that there was a huge audience that was never going to pick up Canterbury Tales or King Lear in their original versions, no matter how attractively packaged, he takes the tales and completely rewrites them in modern, simple verse. Heresy? Perhaps, but kids and many adults pick up his books and enjoy them. If it leads them to the original – or in Chaucer’s case a truer modern translation – then so much the better. The Canterbury Tales retain the romance, medieval chivalry, treachery, avarice and humor of the original stories of a disparate group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury Cathedral, while losing some of the bawdiness. MB Book Guild Publishing, £12.99
his is the history of the underbelly of American society, the things that we might prefer to sweep under the carpet but are glad someone else is there to clean up the mess. 2008 marks the centenary of the formation of an investigative force known as the Special Agent Force which became the FBI. Holden has unique access to active and former FBI staff and to the Bureau’s archives at its headquarters in Washington D.C. and its academy at Quantico. He has law-enforcement experience and has written a number of books on the topic. Comprehensive, entertaining and attractively packaged, FBI 100 Years contains hundreds of rare or previously unpublished photographs of FBI luminaries and the bad guys they battled against as well as Wanted posters, newspaper cuttings, film posters, humorous cartoons, even Dick Tracy strips, that illustrate the story of the Bureau. It is all here, from World War I anti-spy and anti-anarchist activities, the gangbusters era, J. Edgar Hoover’s regime (and his extraordinary private life and notorious private files), McCarthyism and the blacklists, civil rights and unrest, the battle against organised crime, the Waco tragedy, all the way up to 9/11 and the Bureau’s counter-terrorism mission. MB MBI , Hardback, £25.00
A Hollywood Ending By Robyn Sisman
aige Carson, Hollywood starlet and a has-been at 29 (or so the producers say) picks up sticks and moves to London. LA life is fake, the men are appalling and she wins the Razzie award for Worst Actress. Then the chance of a Shakespearean role in London comes out of the blue. Ah, quality art in a new city. London will be everything she’s dreamed of – and the men will be elegant, cultured and classy. Yeah? What do you think… London doesn’t live up to its billing, dreary and damp. Paige’s documentary-directing landlord Ed Hawkshead thinks the Hollywood brat is a royal pain. The feeling is mutual. But hey, guess what, opposites attract. Robyn Sisman, best-selling author of Weekend in Paris knows whereof she speaks. Born in Los Angeles, she moved around form Geneva to Munich via Oxford and has settled in Bath, England. This warm, frothy little number is as substantial as a good cappuccino, but just as welcome for those coffeebreak moments. MB Orion, Hardback, 320 pages £9.99. Published August 28, 2008
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War of the Words In the war of words, clichés and spin are strangling the language, complains Jo Cole.
here’s a solution for everything – or so those working in politics would have us believe. A sign near my local tube station apologises for the (never-ending) delays, promising that my ‘transport solutions’ are being improved. Transport solutions? What are these? Why can’t they just write ‘trains’? An excellent section in satirical magazine Private Eye takes pride in highlighting many such uses of the word ‘solutions’ – one of my favourites being a store boasting that it offers ‘packaging solutions’
for a shop that ultimately just sells cardboard boxes. Solution? Really? I wasn’t aware that packaging alone was much of a problem. Why can’t the shop just advertise what they sell: boxes. I was recently part of a group enjoying a tour of a new building given by the project manager. “There is a café”, he told us, “should you want to take a food experience”. Take a food experience? What is this delicious sensory delight, I pondered? “If you want some lunch, there’s a café” would surely have sufficed perfectly well. I suppose I can only be grateful that he didn’t go further and describe it as a “hunger solution”. An Australian writer called Don Watson published a book last year entitled Death Sentences in which he argues that “clichés, weasel words and management-speak are strangling public language”. You may be familiar with this business-talk already in your office; if you, like me, spend hours discussing work “moving forward”, (which other way would you want your work to move?); instead of admitting you’re going into a meeting room for a private chat, you’re “touching base off-line”; instead of just asking me to do my work, my boss urges me to “action” it. People in public roles are the worst for producing this gibberish and politicians in particular seem incapable of uttering a single simple sentence. Every success is glori-
fied, every awkward truth somehow avoided. Of course, politics wouldn’t be politics without a bit of what we now call ‘spin’. The term “spin doctor” was being used in the 1980s in America but it wasn’t until the era of Tony Blair that it became a term understood by most British people – thanks largely to his master spin doctor, Alistair Campbell. While Tony Blair may have perfected this art, George W Bush has been perfecting the politician’s gaffe. Apologies to any George W Bush fans out there – I’d hate you to think that I was misunderestimating the President – but he managed to move away from just policy-speak to often simply being incorrect. “You teach a child to read”, Bush once told an audience in his best English, “and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test”. Excuse me for my gratuitous use of Bushisms but there is a serious point to this – will we ever get politicians to speak to us plainly and get them to tell us what they really believe? The war of words between Brown and Cameron, and now in America between Obama and McCain, are testimony to the fact that this is unlikely to happen in the world of politics for some time. Each sentence is polished, each word carefully selected, each cliché perfected. Sadly this seems to be the one thing for which there really is no “solution”. H
Drive Time Aston Martin One-77
‘O Artists impression of VW’s new Tennessee plant
Volkswagen Builds Factory in Tennessee ... some positive news, Volkswa...while Toyota Ito ngen’s board has approved plans build a plant in Chattanooga, heads to Mississippi Tennessee, with an investment of $1 billion. The first vehicle to be manufactured in the factory will be a new midsize sedan designed specifically for the US market. Production is due to start early in 2011. Initially the facility will employ approximately 2,000 staff, producing 150,000 automobiles. It will include all the functions of body-production, paintshop and assembly. “The USA market is an important part of our volume strategy and we are now very resolutely accessing that market. Volkswagen will be extremely active there. We will be selling 800,000 Volkswagen p.a. in the USA by 2018, and this new site will play a key role,” said Prof Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG. “He added that the plant will help to permanently alleviate exchange-rate fluctuations. Chattanooga was chosen from 25 candidate sites. Volkswagen intends to become the biggest European carmaker in the United States. Like Toyota, VW’s aim is to have American customers think of the company as a domestic manufacturer.
oyota’s currently under-construction factory in Mississippi which will open late 2010 is being switched to from making the Highlander SUV to production of the greener Prius hybrid vehicle. It will be the second Toyota hybrid produced in the United States as Toyota’s Kentucky plant already produces the Camry Hybrid. The Highlander will still be produced in the USA, at Toyota’s Indiana factory from fall 2009. The Tundra full-size pickup truck, currently built in Indiana and the Toyota plant in Texas is to be consolidated at the TX location in the spring of 2009. However Tundra and Sequoia truck production is being suspended from early August through to November and staff will be reassigned for extra training. Toyota say this fits in with their long-term aims of enhancing its ability to flexibly respond to rapid fluctuations in North American market demand – read this as “SUV sales have fallen through the floor, we need to sell hybrids as American vehicles!”
ne of 77’ sounds like some kind of weird cult. And in a way it could be. Aston Martin has just released a two-line press release teasing us with a snapshot picture and the barest details of a stunning new car, One-77. They say it’s “the ultimate creative interpretation of the renowned British marque” which “fuses advanced technology with stunning Aston Martin design to create possibly the world’s most desirable automotive art form.” Quite a claim. One-77 will be built on a carbon fibre chassis with (of course!) a handcrafted aluminium body, powered by a 7.0 litre V12 engine. The production run will be strictly limited to... Aston Martin carefully say ‘up to 77’. They won’t give a price, but if you want to upstage your pal with the MercedesBenz SLR McLaren you’d better get your order in now.
BMW Cans Range Rover Rival
ore SUV queasiness at a major manufacturer. The collapse in SUV sales in the U.S., due to the worldwide credit crunch, has forced BMW to cancel the X7 luxury offroader project. BMW has reduced its sales targets in North America by 40,000 vehicles. The company will try to sell the cars elsewhere, mainly in Russia and China. If that proves unfeasible, production will be cut. BMW has issued a profits warning for 2008 to stock exchanges and CEO Norbert Reithofer has is quoted as saying that he expects 2009 to be little better.
Reviewed by Michael Burland
eep is one of those generic words that refer to a whole class of products. You’ve heard it: “I see you’ve got a new Jeep” when someone turns up in a LandCruiser (Toyota) or X-Trail (Nissan). The brand has always stood for the ultimate in off-road ability, whether a basic model like the Wrangler or at the luxury end – the Grand Cherokee. It was the first 4x4 car, too, born in the crucible of World War 2 and beating Land Rover by several years. So how in heaven will Jeep aficionados take to the Patriot. Launched in 2007 but still a fairly rare sight on British roads, it is a sister to the Compass, the least Jeep-y Jeep. The running gear is part-time 4x4 and it is designed to be a family car as much as an SUV. The 2.0 liter diesel engine we tested is sourced from – gasp – Volkswagen. Can it really fit into the ruff tuff range? That’s an important consideration, because car buyers purchase an image and a lifestyle as much as a practical tool. Jeep would suffer if the Patriot fails to match up to the image. First, it’s important to recognise where the Patriot sits in the market. The Japanese firms have pushed upmarket with their small SUVs and Land Rover’s Freelander seems to be
Jeep marketed as a reduced-size Range Rover. Even the on-road styled Compass is more expensive. The Patriot is pitched as a budget SUV. And it is very good value. The diesel can be found at online brokers for around £14,600 for the Sport version, the 2.4 liter petrol engined version for as little as £11995. That’s sensational value. For that price you could forgive a lot. You do have to forgive a little – the interior is the Patriot’s main flaw, constructed in places from hard, sharp and flimsy plastic. It’s a design philosophy from another era, even cheap Korean models have more pleasant insides. But get over that (and I could, given the £5,000-plus difference between the Patriot and its main rivals) and the equipment package is pretty good. The rear seats recline, for comfort and to adjust the cargo space, which is limited but large enough for two big collie dogs; the door mirrors fold electronically; there’s a useful computer showing a choice of average miles per gallon, elapsed time and more, including Jeep’s trademark (and surprisingly useful when you’re navigating by map not satnav) electronic compass; there’s ample leg room
front and rear; the steering wheel has controls for the sound system and the cruise control; the climate control works fine and the cargo area light even doubles as a removable flashlight. That’s enough for most people. There’s no satellite navigation, but you can buy off the shelf GPS’s for a couple hundred pounds and most car makers charge £1,500 for satnav. Limited models don’t add much to the basic package but the two tone leather seats make it a nicer place to sit. The Patriot is a little soft to drive, but it doesn’t roll too much. The kids said it made them travel sick more than some cars, but I
a contender. If the rest of the package was for sale at the same asking price but it managed 30-35 mpg it would surely sell reasonably well. But the diesel Patriot claims an EU combined cycle consumption of 42.2 mpg. We didn’t quite get that but we achieved 41.8 mpg in mostly out of town motoring. And that makes the Patriot a sure-fire winner. Let’s sum up by looking at four aspects of the Patriot. For its abilities as the family car that it will undoubtedly spend most of its time being, it scores highly: practical, easy to drive and roomy – 8/10 . For its off road credentials, it’s compromised compared to its top-notch
think the heady but temporary plastic new car smell was the culprit. Styling is take it or leave it old-school Cherokee. I would happily take it, especially in black with what Chysler happily call the ‘bling thing’ look – chrome grille and fender inserts and other bits. Others thought it too slabby. As for offroading, the Patriot is not designed to go up mountains. So we didn’t. But in England’s muddy summer fields it acquitted itself with no problem, especially when full-time 4 wheel drive was engaged with the simple lift-up lever on the center console. In USA, a CVT gearbox that apes a low-range gearbox & a trail-rated version are options, but Jeep tell me they’re not coming to Britain, at least for now. I couldn’t tell in the week we had it how durable it would prove, but American testers have used Patriots pretty hard without finding any obvious weak spots. It all felt pretty well nailed together, with the exception of a recurring squeak from the driver’s seat. And the VW engine should outlast God if it’s up to the German firm’s usual build quality. Ah, that diesel. It’s what makes the Patriot
stablemates, so 6/10. Its appeal to driver, passengers and onlookers was too varied, so 6/10. But for its value for money the Patriot may be one of the best cars in the market – a genuine all rounder with 4x4 image and lots of room for a supermini price – 10/10 H
Motogiro America Ian Kerr enjoys transporting an Italian tradition into the Californian hills
s early as 1914 the Motogiro D’Italia ‘lap of Italy’ was the ultimate test of both the bike rider and the motorcycle. The then cottage industry of motorcycle manufacturers saw it as the ultimate challenge for their, mainly small capacity, machines. Two wheels were the main form of transport until the car became affordable as well as something of a status symbol. These four wheeled machines then joined in, creating some of the most famous races on public roads like the Mille Miglia. They attracted worldwide coverage, but the pure road races of Italy were brought to an end when Alfonso Cabeza de Vaca’s Ferrari blew a tire during the 1957 event. The resulting crash killed spectators and the Government banned all such motorised events. The Motogiro D’Italia was not forgotten though and thanks to the
Small Italian, a long way from home
Running roadside repairs in the desert
efforts of an American by the name of David Gross it was reborn in Italy in 2001. Gross is a passionate genius employed by Ducati and the fact that the company has become an iconic brand on a par with Harley Davidson, is largely down to him. The Giro returned with the slogan ‘La leggenda ritorna’ (the legend returns) and the man that led it away was Giuliano Moaggi who had won the event for Ducati in 1956. His image, complete with cigarette in his mouth on all the posters told the story without words, of how passionate the Italians were about their road races. It certainly rekindled the passion, because every year since the event has been run in Italy. An enormous number of Italians have dragged bikes from garages, dusted them off and headed once again for the narrow tracks that still criss-cross the Italian countryside.
From that very first event, a large number of Americans have flown to Europe to take part. Other than the British contingent, they have been the largest group of non-Italians in the event. In fact the only female to enter that inaugural event was an American called Vicki Smith. She has completed every one since and is known as something of the events Matriarch! The event is no longer an outright race on the public highway, but more a tour, using as many of the original routes as possible. The winner is now decided by a series of ‘ability tests’ at various points on the route. These consist of riding around a course marked out with cones in a set time that is only given to you on your arrival at the checkpoint. Given the attraction of Italian motorcycles in the US, it was not surprising when small ‘giro’ events began on both the east and west coasts. David Gross looked at these and thought, you might as well have one big prestigious event and call it Motogiro USA. While you are at it, why not run it prior to the Moto GP at Laguna Seca, add an auction and a concourse event and create a bike week called ‘The Meet’? Thanks to his drive he not only got the blessing of the ‘Governator’ , a certain Mr Schwarzenegger, but he got the Italian Trade
Fast Company By David Goss
American motorcycles made an appearance at the classic auction
Commission, and Laguna Seca CEO Gill Campbell involved, along with a whole lot of other people. The result was the very first Motogiro USA sponsored by Italian motorcycle brands Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Vespa with an entry of 100 like-minded souls mainly on Italian machinery. Taking part were racing legends Paul Smart from England and Cook Neilson and Phil Schilling representing the US. After a day of motorcycle auction and concours in the centre of Monterey, Sunday July 13 saw Cannery Row become the starting point for the inaugural event. It was not Steinbeck that led it away, but none other than the ‘Italian Knight’ Giuliano Maoggi who has ridden in every Motogiro D’Italia since 2001. From this famous street, the riders headed out for a few laps of Laguna Seca before heading out into the Californian countryside. It had been intended that the first day would be spent in Carmel Valley before returning to Monterey, but thanks to the raging fires it had to be re-routed through the adjacent wine areas. Despite the mainly flat going, it gave everyone a chance to bed their bikes in ready for the rest of the event. Fortunately Highway One (CA-1) re-opened the following day and the route returned to plan. Unfortunately the smog and dust ruined the views
down the coast and there was little to see along the Big Sur coastline apart from burnt trees! Crossing up into Fort Hunter Ligget for lunch the temperature and views improved dramatically. The route then took participants into Paso Robles, which was to be the base for the next three nights. The next day saw the San Andreas Fault being crossed as the bikes spent the day in the vast open farmlands with a lunch stop in Shandon, home to the official James Dean Memorial. Wednesday’s route returned to the coast and headed south to Morro Rock, before returning inland to the grasslands, with lunch at the historic and very isolated Pozo Saloon. The final day saw some re-routing as Carmel Valley was still closed off. So the bikes again wound their way through the wine regions before ending up back at Monterey and the finish. The final dinner saw the presentation of the many awards by the stunning Paola Bellusci, the Italian Trade Commissioner. Ironically the winning bike was a Honda! While some headed home, others spent the weekend at the Moto GP. All agreed it was an excellent event that had injected a little Italian flair and passion into California and everyone from riders to staff stole Arnie’s line. “I’ll be back!” H
David Gross was hugely influential in the rebirth of Ducati under the Texas Pacific Group. Those who have met him know how passionate he is about the brand and motorcycling in general, and may assume this has been a lifelong interest. In fact, in this autobiography, Goss reveals that he only started riding after he had secured the job of Ducati’s creative director and director of strategic planning. Trained at Harvard Law School, he worked as a corporate lawyer as well as a finance journalist for the likes of the New York Times, before the offer came from Bologna. Gross is a superb wordsmith. As you read the first few chapters detailing his early life in Manhattan you look forward to finding out more about Ducati. However, when you get to the part on the ‘Cosmodromic’ motorcycle company you find that the names have been changed - Ducati is not mentioned other than in the above terminology. But you realise how much he played a part in the revival, of what was, despite racing success, an ailing/failing company. Anyone with an interest in business and marketing will learn a lot from the 300 plus pages. The book is not just about business. It is about the Italian passion for motorcycling, fashion and life in general, not to mention (in this case, gay) sex. As a result it is a very different book on motorcycling history. www.fsgbooks.com ISBN 0 374 28133 5
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San Diego Chargers star runner LaDainian Tomlinson is the No.1 selection on fantasy football drafts. Could it be time for LT to fulfil his own fantasy and win a real-world Superbowl? In his NFL season preview, Richard L Gale says London may be previewing the NFL Champion for a second straight season.
Superbowl Bound S
ettled in the corner of a Park Lane hotel suite, LaDainian Tomlinson looks composed. 3pm in London is 7am, West Coast time, but LT looks alert. He’s not distracted by travel, by interviews, or by the prospect of a season interrupted by a trip across the pond to play the New Orleans Saints in England. This time last offseason, things weren’t quite so settled in Chargerland. Coach Marty Schottenheimer, popular with the players and off the back of a 14-2, AFC West-winning
season, had been replaced by Norv Turner, an established coordinator with a losing record in previous spells as a head coach. They staggered out of the gate to a 1-3 start. “It took us to the middle part of the season to really get going,” explains Tomlinson, “but the first couple of games obviously there were a lot questions, but we just had to continue to believe in what Norv was coaching. Once we really started to believe him, that’s when we started to really play well.”
The Chargers rallied, winning seven of their last eight, including six straight, then beat Tennessee and reigning Super Bowl champions Indianapolis before falling to New England in the AFC Championship game. In his first season, Norv had taken the Chargers further than Marty had, and the monkey was off his back. All the same, the Chargers want more, the fans want more, and many NFL writers are predicting more. Tomlinson has graced more fantasy football ‘Super Bowls’ than almost any player in history, but now entering his eighth year, he’s looking to feature in Super Bowl celebrations here in the real world. The team is stocked beyond LT. Receiver Chris Chambers arrived from Miami last season to complement all-pro tight end Antonio Gates, and young passer Philip Rivers (LT’s golf buddy, apparently) has had two highly impressive seasons as a starter. The defense is no slouch either, Shawne Merriman with 12.5 sacks from inside linebacker, and the Chargers adding 1st round pick Antoine Cason to Quentin Jammer and Antonio Cromartie at cornerback. That latter addition might be seen as an attempted answer for the Patriots, the team still most likely to stand in their way. The Patriots beat them handily twice last season, and alongside the Colts are again the teams to mention in the AFC. In the NFC, the Giants don’t look a gimme to repeat. Jeremy Shockey was a distraction and was traded, Michael Strahan retired, Kawika Mitchell and Gibril Wilson left as free agents, and July training camp saw receiver David Tyree on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and Plaxico Burress held out with his own injury. The Dallas Cowboys, by comparison, look in fine shape for the division and the conference, with expectations high enough that should coach Wade Philips not deliver a Super Bowl, he could be out of a job. The other popular teams to pick in the NFC include the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints, the former with a backfield stud of LT calibre in Adrian
NFL Season Preview Peterson running behind a monster line, and the latter with an array of offensive weapons, Jeremy Shockey now added to Marques Colston and the two-deep backfield of Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush, not to mention QB Drew Brees, who gets to play against his former team, the Chargers, on October 26 (in London, in case you hadn’t heard). That’s not to say they won’t have a chance to meet again, say, February 1, in Tampa Bay.
The Patriots are away to both the Chargers and Colts this season. If they top those two, the ‘unbeaten season’ stuff could start all over again, because the AFC East won’t be putting up enough resistance, even with Brett Favre now a Jet. The Bills will still be looking to get more pressure on opposing QBs to make up for an offense that was actually less productive than even the Dolphins last season. If Ronnie Brown is fit or Ricky Wiliams willing for the backfield, don’t be surprised if the ’Phins leap back with as many as five times as many wins as last year (...so, that would be five).
The Chargers will run away with the West this season rather than spotting their rivals a head start, and week 6 could be a showdown of unbeatens with New England. With Kansas City clearly in rebuilding mode (however impressively) and the Raiders figuring out how to integrate last year’s splashy draft pick (never mind this year’s), the default second place should be Denver. However, the Broncos receiving corps has lost Javon Walker to Oakland, Rod Smith to retirement, and Brandon Marshall to discipline. Hardly a recipe for playoff contention or QB Jay Cutler’s further development. The key to anybody other than the Chargers making it even to 8-8 in this division will be stopping the running game of the rest.
AFC PREDICTIONS AFC EAST New England NY Jets Miami Buffalo
13-3 8-8 5-11 4-12
AFC WEST San Diego Denver Oakland Kansas City
15-1 6-10 6-10 5-11
AFC NORTH Cleveland Pittsburgh Baltimore Cincinnati
11-5 10-6 6-10 3-13
AFC SOUTH Jacksonville Indianapolis Houston Tennessee
12-4 10-6 7-9 7-9
WILDCARDS Pittsburgh Indianapolis AFC Championship San Diego v New England
NFC PREDICTIONS NFC EAST Dallas NY Giants Washington Philadelphia
12-4 10-6 9-7 7-9
NFC WEST Seattle Arizona San Francisco St Louis
10-6 9-7 6-10 2-14
NFC NORTH Minnesota Green Bay Detroit Chicago
11-5 9-7 8-8 5-11
NFC SOUTH New Orleans Tampa Bay Carolina Atlanta
10-6 9-7 8-8 5-11
WILDCARDS Green Bay NY Giants NFC Championship Dallas v New Orleans
Kellen Winslow is trying not to be a distraction by asking about another new contract. Derek Anderson is floating above any QB controversy with Brady Quinn. Jamal Lewis is trying not to get old too quick. So far, it’s all working okay for the Cleveland Browns, and if it stays that way, they’ll win the AFC North. While Baltimore works out when to install QB Joe Flacco, Pittsburgh will provide considerable resistance after RB Rashard Mendenhall and WR Limas Sweed landed in their draft laps. The Cincinnati Bengals seem likely to continue their role as soap opera rather than NFL contender, so far a desperate waste of QB Carson Palmer’s career.
Last year, 8-8 was good enough for last in the AFC South. This year, the Texans should be better again if they turn out as right about Matt Schaub and Duane Brown as they were about Mario Williams. But playing the Steelers, Vikings, Browns and Packers on the road is as cruel as a schedule gets for a fourth-place finish. The Colts, starting the season with a gimpy Manning, share those destinations. Jacksonville do not, and that might be the edge the Jags need to steal away this division. Tennessee signed DE Jevon Kearse, trying to make Titans fans ignore Justin Gage as their starting wide receiver.
SUPERBOWL XLIII: San Diego Chargers v Dallas Cowboys WINNER:
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 54
It’s time for the Cowboys to win a playoff game with Tony Romo. With free agents Zach Thomas and Adam Jones (eventually), Dallas may be the best all-round team in the NFC. Problem is, the Giants are still Super Bowl champs, and despite everything, New York are still deep at receiver, have a matured Eli Manning, still have some tools on defense, and didn’t need Jeremy Shockey to win the big one. Let’s not write them off yet. Jim Zorn arrives as head coach in Washington, who may end up in a logjam of 9-7 teams. Philadelphia’s record for injuries (especially Donovan McNabb’s) makes me skeptical about picking them as one of those logs.
It’s there if the Cardinals want it. Right now, the line is stable, Edgerrin James is young enough, Anquan Boldin hasn’t demanded a trade yet, and the defense is underrated. But the Cardinals still think Matt Leinart is their quarterback, and he has to step up and seize the opportunity with both hands. If not, same old same old, and Seattle takes the South with Matt Hasselbeck slinging for 4000, a committee running behind a good line, and everybody keeping their fingers crossed the defense stays healthy. If 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz and Alex Smith click, the 49ers could be something of a surprise – Frank Gore suits this offense well and could be a fantasy stud. The Rams couldn’t do as bad as 3 wins again ... could they?
Forget the Favre saga, this division will be Green Bay and Minnesota running the ball at each other with Ryan Grant and Adrian Peterson respectively. Minnesota clearly has the offensive line and, now with Jared Allen, the defensive line to go a long way. However, untested Packer Aaron Rodgers still represents a passing advantage over Tarvaris Jackson. Minnesota may win the division, but Green Bay may go furthest if Rodgers overcomes any post-Favre jitters. Detroit’s Jon Kitna will still be the best QB in the division statistically. For the Bears, any starting QB would do.
Tampa Bay won the South last year, but their 9-7 record left the impression of the Saints simply not showing up. Defense is specifically where the Saints didn’t turn up. Grant, McKenzie, Gay, Harper, Bullocks, Young, Thomas, Fujita, Vilma – the Saints have plenty of noteworthy names on defense, but were statistically horrible. They have the potential for a big bounce-back from everybody playing just a little better. Meanwhile, Carolina will be hoping that the return of Muhsin Muhammad brings back the good times. Atlanta can hardly remember the good times, but Michael Turner will provide occasional highlights.
LaDainian Tomlinson Earlier this summer, LT found a few moments to sit down with Richard L Gale and talk about ...chefs?
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If you’re still in the middle of your career as far as you are concerned (LT nods), do you still feel young? I do, even though I’ve been successful for a long time. I still feel like I’ve got a lot left, I haven’t had any injuries, I haven’t really had anything to really nag me. I still feel fresh. How are you coping with the accent? Have you been here before? No. First time, but my chef’s from Scotland, so I’m kind of used to the accent. I can hear the difference. Where did you find him? I was playing in a golf tournament, and I was heading back to the airport and this guy and his girlfriend needed a ride to the airport: “Do you mind if they ride with you?”. So it was like, no problem. So we get to ride with them and start talking – and mind you, this was a time when I was looking for a chef, and I wanted to hire a chef so badly. “What do you do?” ... “I’m a chef?” ... “Really?” ... So I invited him over to cook for my wife and I, and we both loved it. His name is Stewart Dotts. Do you know about this magic touch going on with London at the moment – the Giants and the Celtics? Yeah. The good thing is the Giants were the away team and we’re the away team this year so hopefully the mojo continues.
You’re mid-way through your career, and you’re half way to the NFL rushing record. Has that crossed your mind? I try not to think about it, even though people start to talk about it more and more. I believe when you start to focus and to think about it, it doesn’t happen because your mind becomes conscious of something you’re trying to break, so you’re always trying to please that record instead of just playing the game. I’ve got this far by just playing, not worrying about the numbers, and so I’m going to continue to just do the same thing. Just play. You’re also keeping pace for the all-purpose yardage record. I enjoy being able to do a little of everything. I kind of pride myself on that. I read that you trained with Emmett Smith [current holder of the NFL rushing record]. Well, it was more him being there to interview me while I was training. So he didn’t do anything, he just sat there and watched me like ‘oh yeah, that was good’.
”Emmett played, what? 15, 16 years? I don’t want to play that long. That’s too long.” So I’m the one walking in Emmett’s footsteps here? Okay. You’ve said that he’s one of the influences on your running style. Yeah, absolutely, because I was a huge Cowboys fan when I was growing up and Emmett was one of my role models I looked up to. If we’re not going to compare your numbers to Emmett’s, how about longevity? Would you like to be around as long as he was? No, not that long. He played , what? 15, 16 years? I don’t want to play that long. That’s too long. What are you thinking about doing when you do retire? Coaching? Not coaching. Maybe acting. Getting the Superbowl ring is obviously the goal, but if you had to stick around to the end like Walter Payton, would that be okay? Obviously I’d like to get the multiple ones, but if I had to wait around to the end of my career, I’d be satisfied, as long as I get it – as long as I have the chance to experience winning that championship.
Let me ask about your blockers. This season [fullback] Lorenzo Neal is gone. Are you a little uneasy about that? It’s going to be tough to lose him because he was a hammer. He would always put his face in there and really do the tough things we needed him to do. But we all understand the business of the NFL and everybody can’t be with one team forever. That’s just a part of it but we have to find a way to contue to be successful.
BBL’s Back September signals the start of the British basketball season
Lorenzo’s another one who’s been around awhile. Do you look at these guys and keep an eye on how they’re working out and getting themselves ready for the season. Definitely. That’s a part of preparing, seeing what other guys are doing gets you ready to play. Which teammate do you tend to hang out with? Well, it was Lorenzo. I don’t know now. I play golf with Philip Rivers a lot. What’s the going rate for buying your blockers presents? High-end expensive watches, tailored suits, world class trips around the world... For me it depends on how good of a year we’ve had and what they deserve, especially most times when they play well, I try to give them something that’s really good. And how about blocking tight ends? Not tight ends because they catch the ball too much– they don’t like to block. Actually, Brandon Malumaneuna is our blocking tight end and, I need to start giving him something ’cos he’s like an extra lineman. But Antonio Gates, he wants to catch the ball. Well, he’s a basketball guy. [laughing] – Exactly! H
Photo courtesy of Andy Bowler
he British Basketball League season starts September 14th with the first leg of the Cup Winners’ Cup between last season’s Playoff and Trophy winners the Guildford Heat and BBL Cup winners the Milton Keynes Lions. The second part of the event takes place September 19th. Those wanting to know more about the event should visit www.guildfordheat. com or www.mklions.com. The league schedule begins September 26th, when defending league champions the Newcastle Eagles host the Heat. It should be a testing road trip for a muchchanged Guildford side, who begin their league season on a four-game tour covering the four corners of England. Although the Heat will
see the return of fan favorite Chad McKnight after a year with Leicester, coach Paul James clearly faces a challenge in the early going. By comparison, an excellent Plymouth Raiders side returns nearly intact, continuity which could make them the team to watch out of the gate, though Newcastle remain league favorites until somebody proves otherwise. Amongst others, Worcester Wolves have been very busy signing size and talent and could contend for silverware, while Worthing Thunder will provide a local rival to Guildford, not least for poaching 3-point shooter Dan Wardrope for their first BBL campaign. For more information, visit the league website: www.bbl.org.uk.
Sean L Chaplin previews the US Open
The Reign of King Rafa Begins
he US Open will be the venue where Rafael Nadal takes a firm grasp on the number one ranking. However, the player to keep an eye on will be Britain’s own Andy Murray, who capped off a memorable couple of pre-Olympic weeks by winning the Cincinnati Masters over Novac Djokovic in straight sets. Even as Nadal accumulated enough points to wrestle the number one ranking from Roger Federer and head to New York as the tour’s top player, Murray stole his thunder with a run of form that will certainly make him a threat to win his first major. After reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon, Murray will likely be number six in the rankings after his stellar performance in Cincinnati and will look to build on the momentum gained by his recent success. To win in Queens, Murray must overcome a persistent knee problem that has hindered his progress this season, as well as his propensity to blow up over the slightest adversity which has plagued his rise up the rankings. Murray certainly has the ability, but so too does Djokovic and if winning is part of the equation, Novac already has a Slam on his mantle after winning in Australia at the beginning of the year. Novac has the game and has proven he can win on the big stage and for that reason alone, stands a great chance of knocking Nadal from his perch.
The one person who cannot be written off is the incomparable Roger Federer. While not playing his best tennis, and going out early in the Olympic singles, he is still in contention for every tournament he plays in. Roger is certainly human, as proven by past results, but with a little rest he will be back on top sooner rather than later and is the player to beat in my estimation. The cream always rises to the top and Roger will not want to end the year without a major. For that reason alone he remains the favorite to beat the Olympic gold medal winner Rafael and claim his place in history as the modern game’s greatest men’s champion. On the ladies tour, Jelena Jankovic is the number one player almost by default. Despite recently losing to unranked Dominika Cibulkova, Jankovic has overtaken Ana Ivanovic. Maria Sharapova has a history of raising her game for the Open, but the shoulder injury that also forced her to miss the Olympics will open the door for both Serena and Venus Williams. Venus took home the trophy when the two met in the Wimbledon final, but payback may be in order as Serena loves playing in Queens and has the talent to win each time she takes the court. After an injury plagued season, Serena is looking to win a major and as the most talented player on tour, must be accounted for by those with loftier rankings. Serena has proven she can
After the French and Wimbledon titles, how far will Rafael Nadal’s run of majors stretch? Photo © Getty Images/Getty Images for Evian
play with finesse as well as power and with only three tournament wins, will show up at the Open with all guns blazing in an attempt to cap what has been a disappointing year by her standards. Most players would love to have her record, but Serena is not most players and will be on the prowl to prove her critics wrong with a win in New York. Despite Olympic medal-winning Russians Elena Dementiava and Dinara Safina in the mix, the upheaval in the ladies’ rankings leaves the way open for Serena to take advantage of the chaos. After doubles gold for the Williams sisters, the US Open is next on the agenda. I foresee Serena serving notice that she is still lurking and looking for a shot at number one. H
Dog Days for Buckeyes? O
hio State appear to be in a rut, albeit an enviable one. The past two seasons, they made the BCS title game only to be stomped by a fresher SEC team. First Florida, then LSU. This year, Georgia’s in the mix with RB Knowshon Moreno being mentioned as a Heisman candidate. Of course, Georgia have a few things to take care of first. The SEC is a furnace of fearsome teams, with Auburn, Tim Tebow-fuelled Florida, and BCS champs LSU all on the schedule, not to mention probably having to play a conference championship game, while Ohio State sit back and relax after dealing with the likes of Penn State and that annual season finale against Michigan (which is, to be honest, becoming something of a formality under Jim Tressel, now at 6-1 and counting). The biggest danger date for Ohio State this season may not be against the Big Ten wannabes of Wisconsin or Illinois, but instead a non-conference trip to play USC on September 13. Southern Cal figures to have it easy themselves this season, rolling a Pac-10 full of incomplete teams, and haven’t lost a non-conference game since 2001. Mind you, during that span, they’ve never played a team this good this early. USC have slipped up to lesser foes these past two years, and though they look good on paper, the likes of Buckeyes RB Chris Wells, QB Todd Boeckman, LB James Laurinaitis and CB Malcolm Jenkins look good on grass. Of course, there are many other teams to mention – Clemson’s hope to win the ACC, Oklahoma and
Ohio State lost the last two Championship games to SEC foes. Could the Georgia Bulldogs make that three in a row? Missouri’s probable clash in the Big 12 championship game (with QBs Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford also in the Heisman hunt), a plethora of Big East hopefuls led by West Virginia (QB: Pat White), and some non-BCS challenger, the outsiders du jour being Fresno State and a resurgent Brigham Young. Or Notre Dame (well, okay, not Notre Dame).
But when the season stops spinning, that tough conference road might once again have thrown up a battle-hardened SEC team such as Georgia to fight the victor of the Ohio State-USC clash. Or perhaps Buckeyes v Trojans is only the warmup for a re-match on January 8, 2009. There’s time for a lot of poll controversies between now and then.
Joe Paterno’s Penn State has a great O-line, a good D-line, very able RBs, and eventually, some passer. Wisconsin is another team with a question at QB, but has as good a running game as PSU, not to mention a better LB corps than ‘Linebacker U’. Illinois will miss RB Rashard Mendenhall in a big way, but in Juice Williams at least has a QB of note, plus SEC-style speed defense. New Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez will have to install his spread option with an O-line in rebuild, allowing Michigan State and RB Javon Ringer to overtake them. But Ohio State is still king in the Big Ten.
It would be a mistake assuming LSU’s dismissal of QB Ryan Perrilloux means Auburn is the automatic choice in the West. LSU is deep in talent, while Auburn’s great line will be covering for no more certain a passer. Auburn RB Mario Fannin could be the splashiest SEC talent outside Florida. Alabama’s secondary could exploit both, however, so the Crimson Tide will have a say. In the East, if Georgia so much as sneezes at the wrong moment, Florida’s mighty offense will be on them. Tennessee will likely stay close with anyone, while South Carolina’s talent is still patchy.
Oklahoma have legitimate national title hopes thanks to excellent lines, but must watch Texas Tech in the South. QB Graham Harrell, WR Michael Crabtree and the whole O-line return for the Red Raiders. With Jamaal Charles gone and the line in flux, Texas may be a year away. In the North, Kansas may have shown their best in ’07, with a tougher schedule and new tackles this time around, leaving Missouri to gear up for the Big 12 title game against OU, the only team to beat them last year. Colorado, Nebraska, and even Iowa State mustn’t be underestimated, however.
USC lacks a challenger in the Pac-10. Oregon has the line, but must recover from losing Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart; ASU has veteran QB Rudy Carpenter and Lou Groza kicker Thomas Weber, but the line is a question-mark and the schedule’s a beast; Oregon State, who upset USC last season, are rebuilding their defense. So who will the Trojans trip over this year? Maybe UCLA, whose Norm Chow-designed offense looks like having RB Kahlil Bell back in action; or more likely California, where Zack Follett leads a new LBfocused 3-4. But most likely, none of the above.
Georgia aims for the SEC ...if not more © University of Georgia /Rebecca Hay
For our full NCAA preview, visit www.theamerican.co.uk
It’s strange to think of Miami and Florida State outside the national championship picture, but both are outsiders even for the ACC title. Virginia Tech should walk the Coastal, even with a humdrum offense and special teams that aren’t quite so Beamerball as in previous years. North Carolina could be their surprise rival, especially if the Tar Heels upset them in their September 20 ACC opener. Clemson may be favorites in the Atlantic division, but road trips to BC, Wake Forest and Florida State could allow any one of those in the back door. FSU’s schedule is particularly watery.
Before Max Hall’s potential 4,000-yard season and a staunch run defense has BYU fans talking BCS, the Cougars need to win their own state. Utah also has a stand-out QB in the oft-injured Brian Johnson, and their secondary and kicking game may have what it takes to upset BYU in the season finale. TCU’s ambitions are ground-based behind a line that is almost as good as BYU’s and produces an aggressive defensive front on an annual basis. Air Force’s 9-4 record last year will be hard to come by again, with nearly everybody who ever carried the ball since departed.
New coach Ken Niumatalolo will change nothing about Navy’s run-obsessed offense, led by QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada. The Middies are again the forces team most likely to go bowling. Meanwhile, Army may return to the wishbone offense, which could yield better than last year’s 3-9 record. Notre Dame can only dream of a running game after averaging 2.1 a carry last season. The line also allowed 58 sacks ...and most of that unit returns! If QB Jimmy Clausen gets to stay vertical long enough, the schedule is a walk in the park however, and a minor bowl seems likely.
There’s simply not a bad team here (Syracuse excepted) and each is capable of knocking off the next. Pitt’s final-week upset of West Virginia last year has the Panthers as a dark horse, but unless injury strikes dual-threat QBs Matt Grothe (USF) or Pat White (WVU), those have to be the schools to watch. West Virginia’s line and flashy RB Noel Devine give them the edge. UConn returns 16 starters from their surprise team of last year. Rutgers and Louisville can expect to be 8-win teams again, while Cincinnati QB Ben Mauk’s 6th year was denied, setting them back.
A deep backfield has people talking up Fresno State as a possible BCS-buster, but both they and Boise State have schedules that should trip them up before their end of season clash November 28th. That game is on the blue turf in Boise, so if RB Ian Johnson has helped the Broncos power past Oregon in an earlier away game, it will be Boise, rather than Fresno that has pollsters perplexed. Beyond them, Nevada could be riding tailback Luke Lippincott into contention, while a Colt Brennan-less Hawaii takes a step back from the highs of last year.
Our pick in the MAC East is Bowling Green, but the West is where it’s at, QBs Dan LeFavour (Michigan State) and Nate Davis (Ball State) facing off November 19th in a guaranteed shoot-out. Tulsa has our nod over Houston for C-USA West, but we fancy East Carolina to win the East and the conference on the basis of two sturdy lines. After tying with Troy in the conference last year, the Florida Atlantic Owls and QB Rusty Smith will leave the Sun Belt in their wake this year, and should gift coach Howard Schnellenberger his 150th career win by season’s end.
Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London, by Rebel. Reb’s reverie – a dream date at the Palace
ain beats against the car window as I rest on the back seat, waiting for She-Who-MustBe-Obeyed-Usually. Suddenly, there is the crash of breaking glass and I see a gloved hand reaching through the window to unlock the door. There’s a roar as I grab hold of his wrist with my teeth. Furious, the man grabs hold of my ears, pulls me through the broken glass and throws me to the ground. His face contorted with fury, he growls, “Rotten little dog,” and lifts his leg to kick me. Terrified, I roll away and run, fast. He’s getting closer when I see metal bars, far enough apart for me to squeeze through. With the man shaking at the fence, I look for an escape route when I hear a small voice: “Hey, come over here quickly.” It’s a Corgi. “He’s going to climb the fence,” I cry. “If he does, he’s in big trouble,” she says. “Come on in where it’s dry.”
I follow her through a door into an entrance hall with a crystal chandelier hanging from a ceiling ten times higher than She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually’s apartment. “Is this a hotel?” I ask. “No, it’s Loving One’s house,” she explained. “She and my brothers and sisters and Admiral G are in Scotland, but I couldn’t go as I was ill.” “It’s certainly a big house,” I remark as I look up at paintings of humans, some wearing crowns. “Don’t you get lost?” “I’ve lived here too long,” she laughs, “Now, you roll on the carpet and dry off then I’ll take you to my favourite place where I go to relax.” Dubiously, I do as she says, then feeling guilty as I leave a dirty rug, I follow her up red-carpeted stairs. We go through a huge wooden door into a room with two gold chairs on a platform at the far end. “That’s where Loving One and Admiral G sit on official occasions,” she explains. “I hide behind the curtains in case she needs my help.” “Of course,” I say, after all, protecting one’s master and mistress is a dog’s duty, no matter how small. “By the by, what does the G stand for?” “Grumpy,” she giggles, “But you must never repeat that. Now, come on, I’ll show you my favourite place.” I follow her across a shiny parquet floor, up the platform steps, and jump onto one of the
gold chairs where we sit for an hour discussing our lives. Although they are different, we both agree the most important thing is having someone who loves you. Suddenly, I hear a clock sounding eleven o’clock. “She-Who- MustBe-Obeyed-Usually will be terribly worried,” I cried. “I must go.” “Oh, dear, I would have loved to have you stay for lunch,” the Corgi says. “You will come again, won’t you?” Promising I will, she leads me back to the door where I entered. To my relief I see no sign of the man and with a wave of my paw I ease my way through the fence. A policeman grabs me and says “Your mistress will be pleased to see you, little Westie,” he said. “She’s been really worried about you.” She-Who-Must-Be-ObeyedUsually grabs hold of me tightly. “Oh, my poor little darling,” she cries tearfully. “How awful it must have been for you. When we get home, I’m going to give you a lovely piece of chicken.” We get in our car and drive past a huge building with hundreds of people taking photographs. “That’s Buckingham Palace where the Queen lives,” She-Who-MustBe-Obeyed-Usually informs me. “I was fortunate to have been invited to several receptions there.” I don’t reply as I’m busy contemplating how I might visit my corgi friend again. I bet she eats nothing but chicken and steak every day. H
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Published on Jun 4, 2009
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