The Essential Monthly For All Americans
THE AMERICAN • OCTOBER 2008 • Issue 666
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The Saints are Coming!
NFL IN LONDON Reggie Bush interviewed
WHAT’s ON GUIDES Restaurant Reviews Music • Arts • Politics www.theamerican.co.uk
Win tickets for QUEEN
& PAUL RODGERS and 3 DOORS DOWN DESTINATION BATH
The American ®
Issue 666 – October 2008 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 firstname.lastname@example.org Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director Nadia Abd Rabbo, Ad Manager +44 (0)1747 830520 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email email@example.com Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Bailey, Social email@example.com Cece Mills, Arts firstname.lastname@example.org Bob Pickens, Columnist email@example.com Richard Gale, Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Sean Chaplin, Sports email@example.com Dom Mills, Motorsports firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey email@example.com Riki Evans Johnson, European firstname.lastname@example.org Nadia Abd Rabbo, Music email@example.com
Welcome According to the poet John Keats, Autumn in Britain is the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run.” Nobody mention the fact that we don’t seem to have had a Summer! But Autumn can be a beautiful, mild, abundant period and there’s still plenty to see and do around the UK this month. Take a look at our Diary Dates ideas and our features on the ancient and gorgeous city of Bath, and an undiscovered gem in Yorkshire, Markefield Hall. It’s also time for Halloween, when witches and specters ride abroad. Find out how to make it safe for your kids without spoiling their fun on page 38. And we have a lot of political comment, analysis and debate in this issue. What would you expect, just a few weeks away from the most exciting Presidential election for ages?
Michael Burland, Editor
Some Of This Month’s Contributors
Bob Pickens explores how the age difference of our candidates might affect their – and America’s – relationships with other world leaders.
Sir Robert Worcester looks at how the parties stand at this crucial point in history – and explains how he helped get the vote for American expats.
Our NHL expert Jeremy Lanaway gets you ready for the new season with an overview of who’s red hot and ice-cold for 2008/09.
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Don’t forget to check out The American online at www.theamerican.co.uk
Cover image: Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints ©NFL PARTNERS. Inset: Bath Abbey
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 666 • October 2008
4 News American companies help save Bletchley Park, The Ambassador remembers 9/11 and Dodge’s Pearls are for sale
56 NHL Season Preview
18 31 PROFILE Polli Brunelli
52 Cadillac CTS
10 Diary Dates Our selection of the weirdest, wildest and wackiest happenings around Britain, one is quite Bizarre 14 As I Was Saying... Bob Pickens goes beyond the obvious comparisons between the ages of the Presidential candidates 16 Music We like to spot new artists before they make it big and tell you about them. The American thinks Hayes Carll is going to be a star. 18 Competition WIN TICKETS to see 3 Doors Down - but ENTER NOW! 21 Competition WIN TICKETS - Queen are back, with Paul Rodgers. Two great British acts for the price of one - or Free if you win tickets here 22 Coffee Break Fun and games
24 Destination Bath Jane Austen famously went there, so did the Celts and Romans - and now you? 28 Markenfield Hall A treasure in the North wins an important cultural award 31 Profile: Polli Brunelli The head of the FVAP talks to The American 32 Wining & Dining Two different, stylish hotels 39 Hallowe’en Keeping it spooky but safe 38 Arts The best arts events around the UK 44 Reviews A stunning book by Maria Tuttle, the wife of the Ambassador
32 Chateau de Bagnol 24 ‘Sally Lunn’in Bath 16 39 It’s our Issue No. 666!
46 Politics The election is going to be very close. Ahead of the debates we have some essential analysis 52 Drive Time Cadillac’s CTS in European trim, and the Land Rover Freelander 2 56 Sports Jeremy Lanaway’s gives his NHL season preview and Richard L Gale chats to Saints running back Reggie Bush.
28 Award-winning Markenfield Hall
60 American Organizations Your comprehensive guide 64 Paw Talk Is Rebel’s latest social engagement a complete dog’s dinner?
The American Museum in Britain Learn about the early pioneers in the American Heritage Exhibition. Join our Quilting Bees. Enjoy the grounds.
This Month Workshop: Christmas Ornaments Taking inspiration from traditional Pennsylvania German cut paper ornaments, Jill Beard offers a range of designs to hang on your tree or wreath. Materials provided, but bring a pair of sharp scissors. £50 members, £55 non-members Saturday October 11, 10 am - 4.30 pm Sunday @ Claverton: ‘America Over the Water’ by Shirley Collins In 1959 Collins joined legendary musicologist Alan Lomax on a yearlong trip to document and record traditional music. Including readings by Collins and actor Pip Barnes, this show will take you on an unforgettable journey through the musical heartland of America. Sunday 19, 2.00 pm Kids Stuff: Halloween Trail and Spooky Stories Drop-in activity for children aged 5+ (must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). No reservations needed. Wednesday 29, Tuesday 28, Thursday 30 and Friday 31, 12 - 5 pm The Museum closes on November 2, but reopens for Christmas at Claverton on Saturday November 22. We look forward to seeing you then.
Open 12.00 - 5.00pm Closed Mondays except August & Bank Holidays Claverton Manor near Bath. 01225 460503 www.americanmuseum.org
News Bletchley Park Appeal A campaign has been launched to ask US tech companies to help save Bletchley Park, whose wartime work made it the birthplace of modern computing. PGP, an encryption company, and IBM are spearheading the appeal and are looking for other firms to back them. Phil Dunkelberger, chief executive officer of PGP, said that the whole technology industry owes a huge historical debt to Bletchley Park. “We’re calling attention to the fact that Bletchley is falling into disrepair, and that probably the world owes a debt of gratitude to that place,” said Dunkelberger. Bletchley Park was the nerve centre of British code-breaking activities during the Second World War, which
gave the Allies an important edge against Nazi Germany. It was also the home of Colossus, the world’s first programmable computer. The two companies have formed a consortium that has made an initial donation of $100,000 (£55,000) which will be used to repair the National Museum of Computing and other buildings at Bletchley Park. They are calling for other organisations to get involved as the Museum receives no government or charitable funding. The National Lottery and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have both declined to help. You can make a donation and get a limited edition Bletchley Park T-shirt by going to the special website, www.pgp.com/stationx .
Philatex, booth 50 Royal Horticultural Halls London SW1, 30 0ct - 1 Nov
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Buying & Selling USA Stamps, Covers & Postal History
Ambassador and Mrs. Tuttle Lay Wreath for Victims of 9/11
n the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon, Ambassador and Mrs. Robert H. Tuttle laid a wreath at a memorial in London honoring British victims. Accompanying them were State Department Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy James Glassman and his wife, as well as Deputy Chief of Mission Richard LeBaron. 67 Britons were among the people who died in the attacks in 2001. President George W. Bush proclaimed September 11, 2008 as Patriot Day in the U.S. and directed that the flag be flown at half-staff. Americans were also encouraged to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time, the time of the first attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Staff at the Embassy observed a minute of silence at 1:46 p.m., the corresponding local time.
Thanksgiving Day Service, St. Paul’s Cathedral mbassador Robert Tuttle would like every American to have a place to go on Thanksgiving and invites you to St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the day. In his open letter, the Ambassador says, “President Lincoln formally established Thanksgiving in 1863 as an American civic holiday as a way of reminding the American people of their many blessings. The Thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s has become a tradition in London among American visitors, expatriates, and their British friends. The service will include a Thanksgiving message, hymns, presentation of the colors, and a reading of President Bush’s Thanksgiving proclamation. I ask you to share this information with your colleagues and friends, and I invite you all to join Maria and me at St. Paul’s Cathedral Thanksgiving Day service.” No tickets are needed for the service this year, but guests will be required to pass through a metal
detector and bags will be searched. The service is on Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. Doors open at 9:45 a.m. You are advised to arrive early, take minimal baggage and remove any metal objects from pockets prior to being checked.
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 http://london.usembassy.gov Hours: American Citizen Services, daily 8.30-12.00; then Monday/Wednesday/ Friday 2-4pm
The American Promotional Feature
Real American Foods in the UK
ershey, Reese’s, Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima, all names synonymous with exciting foods from the U.S. If you’re lucky, you may live close enough to Harrods or Harvey Nichols to be able to pick up something more varied than the very base lines stocked in the larger supermarkets. Surprising then that a bakery/coffee shop in Milton Keynes, ‘Let’s Eat’, currently stocks one of the largest selections of American foods in the UK. We’re not talking about British or European-made versions of the stuff you may find in other outlets – this is the real deal, imported direct by Let’s Eat Proprietors, Carol and Neil Warby. And it’s not your standard three different Hershey bars, Reese’s pieces and two flavours of Oreo Cookie. At Let’s Eat, you will be lucky enough to get ‘Kisses’ and ‘Hugs’ from Hershey, as well as ‘Nuggets’, ‘Miniatures’, ‘What cha ma call its’ and ‘Milk duds’ and a selection of syrups and fudges; while the Reese’s selection includes ‘Pieces’, ‘Cups, ‘Big cups’, ‘Nutrageous’ and more. Now bear in mind that that little lot covers three square feet of a display table that sits in a 2000 sq ft area of the shop and you begin to get a picture of just how impressive the range at Lets Eat is. But don’t think all of the imported American products in the store are geared towards the younger generation. A huge towering display greets you as you enter the store, which upon closer inspection, turns out to be a bounty of ‘hot’ sauces. And when we say ‘hot’ we mean really hot! Take Da Bomb – rated at 1.5 million scovilles (standard Tabasco sauce is around 6,000) this is, not surprisingly, the hottest sauce currently available in the store. Strict
instructions on the bottle are more like something from the pharmacy than something to put on your dinner. ‘One drop at a time’, ‘do not take more than the recommended dose’, ‘in the case of side effects, cease use and consult a doctor’. Serious stuff, and a sure-fire (pun intended) hit with spice fans everywhere. Da Bomb wins gold in the heat test, but it is knocked out in the heats (pun intended again) in the name game. Ditch the Bitch jalapeño sauce picks up the bronze medal with its no-nonsense style. Silver goes to One f**kin’ drop at a time for its efficient use of title and instruction in 20 letters and an apostrophe. And gold goes to Bomb Laden Mad Blast for this blurb on the label: ‘Load up and set your sights on Bin Laden, then blast away! This hot sauce will BURN his BUNS and set his cave-hiding butt on fire. Once all the hot sauce fire-eaters get heated up, all terrorists are fair game!’ Further proof that this stuff really is imported directly from America. In all there are more than 500 sauces, including full ranges from Dave’s and Blair’s plus the global favourite Pain % range of dipping sauces. They all assist in making shelf browsing at Let’s Eat an experience in itself. Add in more than 15 different flavours of Kellogg’s Pop-Tart, row upon row of Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima products for the baking-types and old favourites like Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, and Apple Jacks for breakfast; Fluff, Smuckers: Goober and Jolly Rancher sweets for later in the day, and you truly get a wonderful perspective of how much fun can be had on a visit to Let’s Eat. If you are not one of the 26 million people living within a 90 minute drive of Milton Keynes, or if carrying 10 boxes of Lucky Charms around thecentre:mk doesn’t appeal, fear not. Every single one of the imported American items is available at www.letseatdirect.com. For a flat fee of just £5, you even benefit from next day delivery to UK mainland. How’s that for service?! l
Anna Thomson Dodge Pearls Sale D
id Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, once own this necklace? Horace E. Dodge may well have believed so. In 1920, the self-made billionaire and founder of the Dodge automobile company bought a natural pearl necklace from Cartier for his wife Anna Thomson Dodge for an unprecedented US$825,000, then one of the most expensive pearl necklaces ever sold on the open market. Dodge purchased it for his wife to wear at their daughter Delphine’s wedding. Now, 88 years later, on December 16 at their New York City salerooms on Madison Avenue, it is to be sold by Bonhams. The three-strand necklace,
comprising 224 pearls and two Cartier diamond clasps, is expected to fetch US$500,000-700,000. It was originally made up of five strands of pearls, which allowed its owner to change the combination and style of the jewellery for different occasions. Anna Thomson Dodge is thought to have worn the necklace just twice in her lifetime. She gave the pearls to her daughter, Delphine. On Delphine’s sad and early death at the age of 44 they reverted to Anna. In 1968, Delphine’s daughter Yvonne inherited the necklace and subsequently divided the strands amongst her friends and heirs. Three of these family members have decided to reunite their individual natural pearl strands to sell as one necklace at Bonhams’ auction. There has always been speculation over the necklace’s earliest provenance. Cartier’s sales invoice to Dodge, dated 24 May 1920, states that the “five row pearl necklace, consisting of three hundred and eighty-nine (389) pearls weighing forty-three hundred and five (4305) grains” was accompanied by an “enamel clasp representing Catherine, Empress of Russia” and “two (2) diamond alternate clasps”. Many newspapers in the early 1920s, and since, including The New York Times and Detroit Times, have suggested that the pearls belonged to Catherine the Great. Anna Thomson Dodge’s heirs maintain that Horace bought the pearls from Cartier believing it to be true.
“Despite exhaustive research to uncover the necklace’s early provenance, we’ve been unable to find any concrete evidence that the jewels once belonged to the Empress of Russia, but I believe there will always be speculation”, says Bonhams’ International Director of Jewellery Matthew Girling. “In the early part of the 20th century, pearls were seen as the most precious of commodities. They commanded astronomical prices as new-money businessmen tried to outdo one another by buying the most extravagant pearls they could find for the women in their lives. Pearls were more valuable than diamonds and the market was hugely overheated, so much so that in 1917 Cartier acquired premises on New York’s 5th Avenue in exchange for a double strand of pearls!” The pearls of Anna Thomson Dodge will go on view at Bonhams in Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dubai and London prior to them being sold in New York on 16 December 2008. For further details and viewing dates, please email: email@example.com or visit www. bonhams.com/jewelry .
American Food – Direct to your door There’s no need to miss your favorite American foods just because you’re living over here.
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American Celebration Hampers Buy one Lucky Charms and get one ½ price
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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 Paul Curreri 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 Wimbledon Bookfest Various venues, Wimbledon, London Lord Levy on A Question of Honour; Toby Young on How to Lose Friends and Alienate People; a James Bond Dinner; Literary Pub Quiz and a Children’s Literature Festival – just some of the highlights of this literary extravaganza.
wimbledonbookfest.org October 04, 2008 to October 12, 2008 Opera North: Of Thee I Sing Tour Coinciding with the US presidential elections, Of Thee I Sing reflects the fickle nature of politics. When Wintergreen’s election campaign flags it is given a boost by staging a beauty contest and focusing on everyone’s passion for ‘love’. The winner will become the First Lady! Light hearted and sprinkled with big songs, this is an enjoyable night out. Grand Theatre, Leeds; The Lowry, Salford Quays; Theatre Royal, Newcastle; Theatre Royal, Nottingham (see website for dates). www.operanorth.co.uk October 04, 2008 to November 20, 2008
Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival St Martin–in–the–Fields, Trafalgar Square, London The Cockney Pearly Kings and Queens gather for harvest thanksgiving dressed in their traditional costumes of suits, dresses and hats which can have as many as 30,000 buttons sewn onto them and weigh as much as 70 lbs. www.southamptonboatshow.com October 05, 2008
Black History Month National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London Highlighting and celebrating the achievements of the black community, Artist and storyteller Diana Olutunmogun leads two storytelling events for visitors of all ages. Join them in front of a different picture each session to explore the hidden voices of characters in the paintings, encouraging imaginative responses and discussion. The first session takes place on October 4 from 1–1.35pm in Room 14, in front of Gossaert’s Adoration of the Kings. The second session takes place in Room 46 on October 28 in front of Dega’s Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando from 1–1.45pm. www.nationalgallery.org.uk October 04, 2008 Pop Goes Design Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 Children’s Creative Activity – Inspired by the whirling psychedelic world of ‘graphic entertainer’ Alan Aldridge, budding illustrators and graphic designers can create their own book covers, CD covers and posters. www.ticketweb.co.uk 020 7940 8783 October 05, 2008 then each Sunday to October 26, 2008 Origin: The London Craft Fair Somerset House, London A celebration of contemporary craft and an opportunity to buy something unique and hand–made from some of the finest contemporary craft makers from the U.S., Japan, China, Thailand, and Sweden, housed in an elegant and modern pavilion designed by Ben Kelly within the beautiful courtyard at Somerset House. Ceramics, textiles, furniture and jewellery. Late–night shopping opportunities and an on–site programme with craft makers leading practical workshops and giving talks on their work. www.craftscouncil.org.uk October 07, 2008 to October 19, 2008 (closed 13th)
World Conker Championships Village Green, Ashton, near Oundle, Peterborough Players take a conker (horse chestnut) attached to a piece of string and take turns trying to break their opponent’s nut. Since 1965, the championships have raised over £300,000 to help various charities for the blind. www.worldconkerchampionships.com October 12, 2008 World Porridge Making Championships Carrbridge, Inverness–shire, Scottish Highlands Competition to find the best cook of Scotland’s favorite breakfast, with pipe band, parade of competitors, official Toast to the Porridge, Farmers Market, cookery demonstrations, product tastings, street entertainment and live music. www.goldenspurtle.com October 12, 2008 Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London This landmark exhibition, organised by the National Gallery, London, and the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, explores the dramatic rise of portraiture in the Renaissance and features works by the great masters of Northern and Southern Europe, including Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Van Eyck, Holbein, Dürer, Lotto, Pontormo and Bellini. Over 70 paintings, important sculptures, drawings and medals. www.nationalgallery.org.uk 020 7747 2885 October 15, 2008 to January 18, 2009 52nd BFI London Film Festival BFI, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 and cinemas throughout London Includes the premiere of Frost/Nixon, an adaptation of the acclaimed Peter Morgan stage play. Directed by Ron Howard, the film focuses on the 1977 TV duel between British journalist
David Frost and the disgraced former US president Richard Nixon. Stars Michael Sheen and Frank Langhella with Kevin Bacon. Screens October 15 ahead of its official UK release in January 2009. www.bfi.org.uk/lff/ October 15, 2008 to October 30, 2008 Falmouth Oyster Festival Falmouth, Cornwall Oyster catching, cooking and celebrating with live music, sea shanties and Cornish crafts. www.falmouthoysterfestival.co.uk October 16, 2008 to October 19, 2008 Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990—2005 St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE Many of Leibovitz’s best–known portraits, including Jamie Foxx, Nicole Kidman, and Brad Pitt; athletes preparing for the 1996 Olympic Games; George W. Bush with members of his Cabinet at the White House; and her famous 1991 image of then–pregnant actress Demi Moore. www.npg.org.uk October 16, 2008 to February 01, 2009 Diwali in the Square National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London Joining in with celebrations on Trafalgar Square, dancers from Annapurna Dance Company bring the colour and drama of Diwali into the Gallery to make their own response to a painting (1pm). Short music and storytelling sessions (12—2.30pm) draw connections between National Gallery pictures and the legends of Diwali. Free and open to all. Ask at Information Desks on the day for locations. Look out for a new gallery trail, ‘Festival of Light’ to be launched on 19 October. To mark Diwali 2008, the trail explores the symbolism of light found in different traditions. www.nationalgallery.org.uk October 19, 2008
Bizarre Ball SeOne Club, London SE1 Alternative culture magazine Bizarre presents its inaugural Ball, featuring Lucha Britannia, Ministry of Burlesque, Circus of Horrors, rock acts, burlesque dancers, freaks, exotic girls, masked Mexican wrestlers and illusionists. The organisers say; ‘Think fancy dress, fetish, rock’n’roll, mods, dandies, fops, wenches, leather, pirates, uniforms, militaria, medical, latex, furry, clowns, bikinis, weird, dark, colourful, but most importantly, FUN! wegottickets.com October 10, 2008
Festival New Orleans The O2, Greenwich, London The unmistakable sounds, sights, tastes and styles of New Orleans are set to descend on London later this year when, for two days in October, The O2 will become home to Festival New Orleans. Coinciding with the New Orleans Saints’ official NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Wembley, London is preparing for one of the largest ever celebrations of New Orleans music and culture outside of Louisiana and the USA. As well as performances from over 20 bands and
musicians direct from New Orleans, the free undercover two day event will feature Louisiana food demonstrations, the Mardis Gras Indians and a host of authentic New Orleans attractions, including a recreation of the French Quarter’s famous Bourbon Street. www.theo2.co.uk October 24, 2008 to October 25, 2008 Paths to Fame: Turner’s Watercolours in The Courtauld Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, London WC2 Eight magnificent watercolours, recently bequeathed by the late Dorothy Scharf, are among a collection of thirty outstanding works by Turner held at The Courtauld Gallery which will be displayed together for the first time. The works range from early studies to magnificent late compositions and give an account of the artist’s rise to fame. www.courtauld.ac.uk/gallery October 30, 2008 to January 25, 2009 Carrying the tar barrels Ottery St Mary, Devon Dating back to 1688, men carry flaming barrels of tar, some weighing
over 50 pounds, on their shoulders until the weight or heat becomes too much for them and another takes over. This carries on until the barrels break up and burn out. www.otterytourism.org.uk November 05, 2008 Junior League of London’s Boutique de Noel Kensington Town Hall, London From 6pm to 10 pm on 11 November, listen to strolling carollers and enjoy complimentary wine and canapes. Experience the VIP room and bid in the silent auction and raffle to win exciting prizes such as designer jewellery and handbags, cooking lessons in Michelin–starred restaurants with celebrity chefs, stays in elegant hotels and vacation homes, return business class tickets to the US, sumptuous food and wines, and hard to get tickets to sporting events. On 12 November from 10am to 4pm the League invites you to browse through over 130 exclusive vendors providing jewellery, children’s clothing and gifts, home decor, stationery, men’s accessories, cashmere, artwork and much more! Tickets are available at the door or
Saul Steinberg – Illuminations: New Yorker New Yorker Dulwich Picture Gallery, London SE21 Steinberg (1914 – 1999), the American artist whose magic lit up The New Yorker for six decades, is the subject of Dulwich Picture Gallery’s latest illustrators exhibition, featuring more than a hundred drawings, collages and sculptural assemblages and the first full scale review of his career. Steinberg is regarded as not only a comic genius but among the greatest draftsmen of the modern era. The exhibition covers the whole range of his work from high art to low comedy, murals to magazines, caricature to cartography. www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk 020 8693 5254 November 26, 2008 to February 15, 2009
in advance by contacting the Junior League of London on: www.jll.org.uk email@example.com 020 7499 8159 November 11, 2008 to November 12, 2008 Classic Motor Show NEC, Birmingham 1,000 classic, vintage, veteran and retro cars spread over five halls, trade displays and around 170 car clubs. this year it’s all about anniversaries including the Ford Model A which turns 80, and Porsche is 60. www.necclassicmotorshow.com 0870 060 3776 November 14, 2008 to November 16, 2008 Herbie Hancock 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 November 15, 2008
“ guaranteed to delight and offend everyone **** ” The Sunday Times
ESSENTIAL CONTACTS Here are some crucial telephone numbers to know while you are in the UK. EMERGENCIES Fire, Police, Ambulance
999 or 112 (NOT 911)
plus special guest Steve Agee
sunday 19 october
TRANSPORTATION 020 7222 1234 London Underground www.tfl.gov.uk 08457 4849 50 National Rail Enquiries www.nationalrail.co.uk 0990 808080 National Bus Service www.nationalexpress.com TELEPHONES Direct Dial Code, US & Canada Operator Assistance, UK Operator Assistance, Int. International Directory Assistance Telephone Repair
london hammersmith apollo
0870 606 3400
001 100 155 153 151
credit cards tel: 0844 576 5483 (24hrs) buy online at livenation.co.uk
★ ★★e★ Out
MEDICAL ADVICE LINE NHS Direct delivers 24-hour telephone and e-health information services, direct to the public. www. 0845 4647 nhsdirect.nhs.uk
the new dvd ‘sarah silverman: jesus is magic’ out 13th october
For more details go to
www.theamerican.co.uk and click on Essential Contacts
A Live Nation presentation in association with CAA
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM LONDON
Autumn Air Show at Duxford Featuring the fantastic Patrouille de France and Vulcan XH558! Sunday 5 October is your last chance this year to see fast jets, aerobatics and historic aircraft set against Duxford’s familiar backdrop. A real feast of entertainment and an exciting day out for all the family. Tickets £24.95 per adult; £9.95 children (under 5’s go free); £22.00 senior; £9.95 concession, or call 01223 499353 to book early and save!
CHURCHILL MUSEUM and CABINET WAR ROOMS
All flying is subject to weather, serviceability and operational commitments.
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM DUXFORD
As I was saying... Age is getting to columnist Bob Pickens. The age of our leaders, that is
he greatest campaign in the world is over, and from it has emerged a victor: a man who has gained global stature by proving himself a warrior, the world in awe of his complete mastery of conflict and confrontation, a model of ability to communicate coolness in times of tension, heroic in his control over those who would challenge him, and an inspiration to billions in his celebration of accomplishment, attainable only after a lifetime of preparation. Now Usain Bolt has won the 100-meter sprint at the Olympics in record time, we can concentrate on the second greatest race, the US Presidential elections. The transition from one event to the other is not such a huge leap. As we transited from the international games that celebrate youth to the
Democratic National Convention, one of the strongest ties between them was age – or the lack of it. Barak Obama – supposing he is elected President in November – will be just 47½ years old when he takes the oath of office. And if he does become the leader of the free world, it might be reasonable to assume that the foreign leaders he is most likely to chill with, crack a beer around the barbie with, or develop a close, personal relationship with, are people of a similar age. It’s pretty good common ground on which to start a relationship. Here in Europe, Obama, if he becomes President, is going to find a dearth of people of his generation who happen to be head of state. There’s the Queen, who is a regal 82; Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden is 62, Harald V of Norway is 71, Juan Carlos I of Spain will turn 71 just before the swearing in; Albert II of Belgium is 74, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is 70, and Margrethe II of Denmark is 68. Of course Europe’s royals are figureheads and others are the political leaders of those nations. There is a definite age gap here too. German President Horst Köhler is 65; Austria’s President Heinz Fischer 69; Italian Giorgio Napolitano 83; and Greece’s President Karolos Papoulias is 79. In Iceland President Olafur Grimsson is 65; Anibal Silva (Portugal) is 69; Pascal Couchepin, President of the Swiss Confederation is 66
(although it’s a collective post and Doris Lethard – 45 – could hold the job). Czech President, Václav Klaus is 67, same as Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic; President László Sólyom of Hungary is 66, the Finn’s President, Tarja Halonen is 65 in December, and over in Lithuania, President Valdas Adamkus is just weeks away from turning 82. Most of the other heads of state or political leaders in Europe are in their 50s. You might think that Nicolas Sarkozy – President of France and both head of state and political leader – might be closest to Obama in age as he reaches 54 about the time the new US President is sworn in. But you’d be forgetting 51-year-old Georgi Parvanov, President of Bulgaria, which is home to Bezmer Air Base, one of the US’ most important overseas military installations. In fact, it is in the southeast corner of Europe, a region that is now as vital to American strategic interests as Britain was 20 years ago due to global geopolitical shifts, that Obama will find heads of state closest to himself chronologically. In Romania, home to more important US military installations, both the President and the Prime Minister are 56. Hungary’s Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany is the European leader closest to Obama in age, only two months older. Troubled Serbia’s President Boris Tadic is just 50, the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansa is 49. Battered Bosnia
and Croatia have Prime Ministers aged 51 and 55 respectively, and the triumvirate Presidency of the former has one member who is just 44. In Europe’s two hottest hotspots, Montenegro and Macedonia, President Filip Vujanovic of the former has just turned 54 and the Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic is just a half year younger than Obama; in the latter, President Branko Crvenkovski turns 46 this month and the Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski is youngest of all, a mere 38. And if he’s really desperate, he could turn to Albania, where Bamir Topi, a 51 year-old biologist, is President. But the one who may be the most important of all is even younger than Obama. The President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, is just a pup at 43. Considering recent events in the Caucasus (where the head of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, is himself only 40 years old), Medvedev could be confronting the new US President across a very tense negotiating table. Let’s hope, if that happens, a little Deep Purple or Black Sabbath in the background will help the negotiators find a common wavelength. Those are Medvedev’s favorite bands although Obama is a Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan man himself. The Russian President has literary preferences for Checkov and Bunin – our campaigning Illinois senator lists a tome on Abraham Lincoln, a political predecessor, as one of his favorites. Obama played basketball, Medvedev kayaked. The Russian President says he’s “quite an active internet user” and starts each day by turning on his computer to check out the news. But he doesn’t have a Facebook site like Obama., who has 1,421,292 “friends” listed on his. Maybe, if Medvedev signs up, he and Obama can put each other in
their “friends” list. Probably would be a good idea for both of them to add Vladimir Putin as a friend, too. In Western Europe, who is Obama, if he becomes President, most likely to generationally identify with? Another Facebooker, the Prime Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme, is about 10 months older than Obama and Jose Zapatero, the Prime Minister of Spain is exactly one year older than Obama as they share the same 4 August birthday. Like the Obamas, the Zapateros have two daughters; Leterme and his wife have two sons and a daughter.
”If Medvedev signs up, he and Obama can put each other in their ‘friends’ list.” Maybe not. Leterme’s status is shaky – he recently resigned from office but had his resignation refused by the king, while Zapatero, who has been in office longer, has a history of a somewhat antagonistic attitude toward the US. Or how about Hungary’s Gyurcsany, who has four kids from two marriages? Probably not – he’s the guy who got caught on microphone just after the 2006 elections confiding to a friend that his party had been lying all through the campaign. Of course, Obama might NOT get elected. In which case, 72-yearold John McCain will find an awful lot more heads of state of his own generation, in the parts of Europe where the US has more established relationships. McCain is a wily politicker and he’s now made sure he’s got backup in the youth department. A 44-year-old Vice President Sarah Palin might make up for some of the
generation gap that her boss might have when dealing with the younger leaders of Europe. And frankly, if I was one of the young bucks leading the emerging nations of southeastern Europe, I’d rather dine with Palin at a state dinner than with either McCain or Obama. Sexist? Maybe, but don’t pooh-pooh it. One of the things that has recently made Sarkozy such a prominent figure in European politics is the beautiful, intelligent – and young – woman at his side. Either way, the future leader of the United States will be at one end or the other of the age spectrum and the difference between him and his counterparts might amount to a generation or two. It shouldn’t make any difference. Yet you can’t help but wonder when these people get together and there is a need to connect on a personal as well as a political level, how much age does matter. H
Stevie Wonder wins Gershwin prize Guitar Riff Competition
aynes, the publishing company famous for its owner manuals for anything from classic cars to newborn babies, and Gibson, American makers of some of the world’s most prestigious guitars, have an irresistible competition for guitarists. The competition closes at midnight on October 12, 2008. To enter, players from 12 years and upwards should create an original guitar riff of 30 seconds or less and upload it as a music file to to www.haynes. co.uk/gibson It’s all to celebrate the publication of Haynes’ new book, the Gibson Les Paul Manual - How to buy, maintain and set up the legendary Les Paul electric guitar, by Paul Balmer. Designed by the eponymous jazz guitarist and introduced in 1952, the Les Paul has been synonymous with any number of famous legendary guitarists. If they didn’t use a Fender Stratocaster (Haynes published a Strat Manual last year), chances are they had a Les Paul . First prize is a Gibson Les Paul guitar, a signed copy of the Manual and a profile in Guitarist Magazine. The lucky winner will receive their prizes on the Gibson Tour Bus at the Music Live exhibition.
he Library Of Congress has elevated Stevie Wonder as the winner of the second Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The only previous awardee of the Gershwin Prize was Paul Simon, in May 2007. The award honours musical artists whose work transcends musical genres. The award ceremony will take place on February 23 in the Library of Congress’s Great Hall. Part of the award is a commission for a new piece of music from the Library. “It’s an immense privilege to join such a remarkable roster of musicians and composers,” said Stevie. “I am touched to receive this honour, and look forward to creating music for the celebration.”
Old Brown Eyes Won’t Be Back
eorge Michael has announced his retirement from large concerts at arenas and stadiums in his recent London and Copenhagen shows. A spokesperson said that Michael will not cease live performances altogether, but the concerts were “the last time he does something of this magnitude. He’s not retiring, he just won’t be doing big tours. There will be no arena tours, no big, big shows, no stadiums.” The Copenhagen date was titled “The Final One”, a reference to Michael’s band Wham’s final show, The Final, held at the old Wembley Stadium.
Secondary Ticketing Concerns
loose coalition of music industry promoters, festival organisers, ticket companies and secondary ticketing operations have called for Government intervention over secondary ticket sales. They say that consumers are being duped by online ‘e-Bay fraudsters’ and that this summer saw thousands of people turned away from festivals after collectively paying online ticket agencies millions of pounds for tickets that never existed. The organisers of the twin Leeds and Reading festivals report that 5,000 people turned up to the sites without tickets, having arranged with online resellers to collect their passes outside the festival entrance. “People turn up with a printout looking for their tickets and it’s us who get the blame for not having them,” says Melvin Benn, managing director of promoters Festival Republic, in music industry trade paper Music Week. “We have to explain to each and every person what has happened and it becomes very difficult.”
LIVE AND KICKING
Here are some live gig highlights from the coming months. Please check with venues or agencies for availability – dates and details may change.
Joe Brown 50th Anniversary Tour J oe Brown was a British rock guitar pioneer who influenced many players from the late 1950s onwards. Was? Joe is still very much alive and kicking, and setting off on a major 33 date tour to celebrate his 50th year in the music business. The tour starts with a bang at the Royal Albert Hall on September 24th and runs until November 28th. His daughter, the wonderful singer Sam Brown, and producer son Pete will take part in the Albert Hall show along with special guests Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, Jools Holland and Dr Hook’s Dennis Locorriere. Although never as big a star as some of his friends and contemporaries, Brown is highly regarded by guitarists and worked with many great American acts especially in the 1960s when he worked as a sideman or on sessions with them. From one of them, Eddie Cochrane, he learned a trick that put Brown ahead of his fellow British guitar players. He remembered: “Eddie had a great trick, it had probably been used in America for years, but we didn’t know about it over here. He used to put a second string instead of a third string on his guitar, so that he had an unwound string and he could bend it and get those bluesy sounds that you never heard in England.” Joe shot to fame in the 60s, kept working through the 70s and 80s, bounced back with a new record deal
in the 90s and in the new century has gone from strength to strength. He has played Glastonbury and on BBC TV’s major music show “Later With Jools Holland”. He closed the show at the Tribute Concert for George Harrison, with a moving and memorable version of “I’ll See You In My Dreams” accompanying himself on a ukelele. The ‘uke’ was one of Harrison’s favourite instruments and Joe Brown was a friend of his for decades.
Kaiser Chiefs open Leeds Academy
he Kaiser Chiefs will perform an exclusive gig to celebrate the opening of a new venue in their home town, Leeds Academy on October 8, just before the release of their third album, Off With Their Heads. The Academy Music Group has taken over the former Town & Country Club and spent £4.5m redeveloping the venue which features, they say, state of the art facilities for artists and customers.
fter a summer of massive festivals, more than ever before, individual dates come to the fore again in the Fall. We’ve selected a few for you, all of which you’ll need to book ahead for. There should be something for everyone here. For gigs this month, check out the music pages at www. theamerican.co.uk Barry Manilow: December 4th, 6th & 7th London, The O2; 8th Manchester MEN Arena. Elton John’ s Red Piano Tour: November 19th Birmingham NIA; December 13th London, The O2; 16th Birmingham NIA; 17th-18th Liverpool Echo Arena; 20th-21st Manchester MEN Arena. Kanye West: Kanye has added a Sheffield date to his Glow in the Dark UK tour. November 8th Belfast, Odyssey Arena; 9th Dublin, RDS Simmonscourt, Ireland; 11th-12th London, The O2; 13th Newcastle Upon Tyne, Metro Radio Arena; 14th Sheffield Arena; 15th Birmingham NEC; 16th Glasgow SECC; 17th Manchester MEN Arena. Slipknot: December 1st, 2nd, 3rd London Hammersmith Apollo; 5th Cardiff International Arena 7th Birmingham NIA; 8th Glasgow, SECC; 9th Manchester MEN Arena; 11th Newcastle Upon Tyne, Metro Radio Arena; 12th Sheffield Arena. Leonard Cohen: November 5th-6th Glasgow, Clyde Auditorium; 8th Cardiff International Arena; 11th Bournemouth BIC; 13th-14th London, The O2; 22nd Birmingham NEC; 28th Brighton Centre; 30th Manchester MEN Arena. Martha Wainwright: October 18th Portsmouth Pyramids; 20th Bristol, Colston Hall; 22nd Edinburgh, Picture House; 23rd Middlesbrough Empire; 24th Warwick Arts Centre 27th Cambridge Corn Exchange; 28th London, Roundhouse; November 2nd Dublin, Olympia Theatre; 3rd Nottingham, Rock City.
The American Interview:
Hayes Carll S
inger-songwriter Carll is getting well known in the States for his excellent country-based music as well as the stories he tells in between songs in his live shows. His (mis)adventures have even been chronicled in an animated cartoon and a graphic novel. He tells Michael Burland about music, touring, and what could have been the best job in the world – but never happened. The American: Have you been over to the UK before? Hayes Carll: I did a three week tour with Buddy Miller about two years ago and I’ve come over for a couple of one-off shows over the last couple of years. I’ve been over on vacation a couple of times. I recognise a few spots from my previous trips. A few hotels are showing themselves again. Do you get mostly British audiences over here, or Americans? Mostly British. I’ll stumble upon a few Americans – occasional exchange students or folks working over here. The radio and press over here have been good to us, so we’ve built up a small core fan base. Do audiences react differently to you here than back home? It’s a bit different. It depends on the city somewhat. I find that British crowds, at least in my previous shows, tend to be much more respectful and... somewhat subdued [laughs]. It’s great, it’s nice when people listen to the lyrics, but every once in a while I kinda want
somebody to pour beer on their heads and shout something ridiculous just to make me feel more like I’m back at home. Sounds like what I’ve heard about Crystal Beach, where you started your music career. That sounds pretty wild. Yeah, Crystal Beach… It’s this little peninsula outside of Galveston Island in East Texas. Not many people know about it. It’s the cheapest beach left in America to live at. It’s isolated and hard to get to and a load of people there are laying low, hiding out from the government, the IRS, the law, ex-wives or whatever. I moved down there and didn’t realize that until after the fact. It’s filled with interesting characters to write songs about. We could talk all day about things that go on down there… [long pause] I’m trying to think of one that’s fit to print… Try – I can always edit it heavily! Well, when I first moved down there I would hang out in the bars, just trying to meet people and get a job. When I would introduce myself to people I’d say “Hey, I’m Hayes, I’ve just moved here.” Universally the first question they’d ask me would be “Who are you running from?”, which I thought was odd. “I’m not running from anybody, I just thought it looked nice here.” “No, you can tell me, who are you running from?”. I got a job offer early on. At the beaches in the summer a lot of people come and visit, kids Spring Break partying and so on, and there was a guy named Rembrandt who was a body painter.
He would paint the girls’ bodies. The problem was that Rembrandt was a bit of a scary looking guy, so he offered me a job to be his assistant – to be a breast painter! I told him I had no artistic ability at all. He said, that’s OK, the girls just like to get hand prints on their boobs. My job was to dip my hands in a bucket of paint and press ‘em on these girls’ breasts. We went into business, but unfortunately I never got to actually do my job because he got arrested two days later on some sort of pedophile charge. That’s the type of job offer you get hanging out in the bars on Crystal Beach. Do you see yourself mainly as a country music guy? I pick and choose a little bit of everything. It’s country based, but it’s not something that would be played on country stations these days. It’s folk rock, country, Americana… I try to steal a little bit of everybody. From my times in the US, British radio doesn’t seem to compartmentalise as much as in the States. I’ve noticed that it’s not as onedimensional as at home. I guess it’s due to privatisation and one or two companies owning the majority of the radio stations over there. There’s a clear-cut formula of what gets played. I don’t want to rant too much about it, but you’ve got to have a certain number of references
to cars and girls in your songs to get on the country stations. Every so often someone will come out of left field and shake things up. For the most part I take airplay wherever I can get it. If it’s on an Americana show, great. Country, indie, triple-A, I cover a little bit of everything in my music, so fortunately there’s enough to get some exposure on a variety of stations. You’ve been compared to some pretty heavyweight people – Townes van Zandt, Steve Earle – and didn’t you play with Ray Wylie Hubbard? Ray’s a friend, and we’ve written a couple of songs and played quiet a few shows together.
”If you can make somebody laugh, it’s a lot easier to make them cry later on” Is there anyone you’d compare yourself with? Um… no! I think about it all the time, but… Although Townes van Zandt has been a big influence on me, I don’t see any similarity between how I write and how he writes. I don’t know who I sound like, and it changes all the time anyway. You can point to my voice and see where the Steve Earle comparisons come from, I have a rough, gravelly, barely discernable voice [laughs], but although I’m a huge fan now, Steve was not someone I was really aware of when I was getting into this and beginning to write. I was influenced by Bob Dylan, Townes, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, guys like that. A lot of rock and roll, folk, and country. At the bottom of it I just enjoy a good song.
You have some great players on the new album – Dan Baird, Darrell Scott, Will Kimbrough and [former Flying Burrito Brother] Al Perkins. Are any of them on tour with you now? No, I have two great multi-instrumentalists with me, Travis Lindville and Scott Davis, on mandolins and dobros as well as guitars and all sorts of stuff. The songs have some great characters in them – some of them remind me of the way Tom Waits brings in exaggerated characters. Some of yours are very funny in places too. I try to take the songs seriously but not take myself too seriously. Sometimes you can get a point across better like that. You don’t have to be overly deep. If you can make somebody laugh, it’s a lot easier to make them cry later on. I don’t like too much ‘drama, drama, drama’. Humour is the best weapon in rock and roll – I think Keith Richards said that. It definitely helps, live or on record, being able to lighten the mood every once in a while. She Left Me For Jesus, on your new album Trouble In Mind, must be the best example of that. Don Imus, the shock jock said it’s the “greatest country song ever written”. What did you make of that? I only heard about it recently. I guess he heard this song the other day and really flipped out about it. He’s always been a big proponent of country music and some really big country singers. It’s kinda nice. H
3 Doors Down UK Tour – October 2008
3 Doors Down’s much anticipated self-titled 4th studio album is released in the UK through Island Records on 6th October. One of America’s most successful and loved rock acts, the band plays a UK tour this October: Oct 15, London, 02 Indigo Oct 16, Wolverhampton Civic Hall Oct 17, Glasgow, Carling Academy Oct 19, Bristol, Carling Academy Oct 20, Manchester Academy 2 Tickets are £18.00, and £21.00 in London (subject to booking fee), available from local box offices, 24 hr cc hotline 0870 534 4444 or at www.ticketmaster.co.uk Or… Win one of three pairs of tickets, courtesy of Universal Republic Records. ENTER RIGHT NOW. QUESTION: 3 Doors Down’s breakthrough hit was “Kryptonite”. In the Superman comic books, kryptonite is usually green. What color was it when it made its first appearance? A: Yellow B: Red C: Silver Email your answer with your name, address, telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org with 3 DOORS DOWN COMPETITION in the subject line, to reach us by mid-day, Friday October 10, 2008. MARK YOUR ENTRY WITH THE VENUE YOU WOULD LIKE TICKETS FOR. 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.
ALBUM REVIEWS UK Tour 75 Thin Lizzy RSK
The essence of Thin Lizzy was always found under stage lights, Phil Lynott the unusual and glamorous rock god at the helm. (Unusual? We didn’t have black rock stars in those days, Hendrix excepted, and Phil was a Dubliner. He told me, “When I came over to England there were signs in the boarding house windows saying ‘No Blacks, No Irish’ – I had no feckin’ chance!”) The powerhouse, Brian Downey one of the most underrated drummers. And in Lizzy’s best incarnation, the soaring twin lead guitars of Californian Scott Gorham and feisty young Glaswegian Brian Robertson. The band had gone through several changes of guitarists and released underwhelming, badly produced albums, but this line-up created the quintessential Lizzy sound, recorded here for BBC radio in a concert at Derby College, England on November 21st, 1975, just before the Jailbreak album propelled them into the highest ranks. It’s not quite the uber-confident Lynott found on 1978’s ‘Live & Dangerous’, but it is more raw and genuinely live.
Highlights include five tracks never previously released as live versions, Fighting My Way Back, It’s Only Money, Wild One, Showdown and For Those Who Love To Live; a lovely 9 minute version of Still In Love With You. Lizzy favourites Rosalie and The Rocker are played as a medley. Cowboy Song is in an early version as they had not yet recorded it – in fact it was still untitled as they played it here. The full set is capped with an interesting, not so essential Sound Check Jam. The CD comes with a 20 page booklet of previously unseen live photos and notes by Brian Downey.
Funeral Mixtape The Pack A.D. Mint Records
Becky Black and Maya Miller play up there with the big noises of raw rocking blues duos – the Black Keys and White Stripes – in their second full-length release, closely following their debut Tintype. Black’s vocals have been compared to Janis Joplin, erroneously in my view. It’s not as soulful or histrionic and the girl from Vancouver somehow has a more authentic Delta howl. The Pack A.D. are not, as some feared when they surfaced, an all-female Stripes cash-in. They are as real as Jack and Meg, perhaps not with the
The American WIN TICKETS TO SEE sense of vision and progression but true to the roots of the blues and an intense experience. Recorded live in the studio, Funeral Mixtape proves that electric slide guitar, solid drums and an intense, committed voice are sometimes all you need. Top tracks: Don’t Have To Like You, New Orleans death march “Oh Be Joyful”. Top title: Wolves and Werewolves. See them live at three London dates in October - Artrocker @ Buffalo Bar on the 14th, ULU on 16th and Islington Academy on the 18th.
Giant Sand Yep Roc Records Way out south-west, from Tucson, AZ, Howe Gelb makes records that speak of their location and the mindset of desert-dwellers. Isolated, dark and whimsical in turn. Gelb describes his genre as Experimental Americana and it’s hard to disagree. Rootsy, folk-based, seasoned with slightly warped lyrics about finding, making and losing love and relationships and musical dissonances. The title, like the sound, has mystical, medecine man, mescalin associations. Giant Sand – the perfect name for Gelb’s latest band – sound like an otherworldly outfit that turn up in a soon-to-be ghost town, set up and play in the saloon and afterwards quietly fade into the sunset, leaving the townsfolk peaceful but slightly baffled. The traveling show, on this album anyway, has picked up some like-minded friends along the way, from some unlikely places – the Danish Henriette Sennenvaldt and Glaswegian Isobel Campbell, formerly in Belle & Sebastian. Live in London at Koko, November 25th.
at Wembley Arena The legendary rockers return to Wembley Arena for the first time in three years. Brian May and Roger Taylor have joined forces with Paul Rodgers for an explosive closing night to their UK tour! Queen and Paul Rogers will perform Queen tracks as well as other familiar Rodgers songs, and expect some new tracks from The Cosmos Rocks, their new album released on Parlophone in the UK in September, and on Hollywood Records in the USA. It’s Queen’s first studio album for 13 years. We have 3 pairs of tickets to the Queen & Paul Rodgers concert on November 8 to give away courtesy of Wembley Arena. HOW TO ENTER Win one of three pairs of tickets to see Queen and Paul Rogers at London’s historic Wembley Arena by answering this question – all correct answers will go into a draw. QUESTION: Queen’s fourth album was A Night at the Opera. Who made a film of the same name? A The Blues Brothers B The Coen Brothers C The Marx Brothers Send your answer with your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, Friday October 31, 2008. Email it to email@example.com with QUEEN COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: QUEEN COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Tickets are for the November 8 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. 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
Coffee Break Coffee Break Quiz QUESTIONS 1 What is Austin Powers’ middle name? 2 In which famous race is the slowest man of the day given a red lantern? 3 What is the largest country in the world with only one time zone? 4 Waylon Jennings’ song ‘Good Ol’ Boys’ was used as the theme tune to which TV show?
5 Who was the ruler of the Gods in Roman mythology? 6 Which five football teams in the NFL use a bird in their name? 7 Who was the third man to walk on the moon? 8 What did Hugh Hefner originally plan to call Playboy magazine?
9 What is the name of the nearest star to our Sun? 10 In Egyptian mythology, which god of embalming also watched over the dead? 11 What is the collective term for a group of racoons? 12 Which two countries are doublelandlocked (surrounded only by other landlocked countries)? 13 When viewed at a certain angle, Holbein’s 1553 painting ‘The Ambassadors’ reveals which mysterious object? 14 Who was the first US president to die while in office? 15 What yellow fossilised resin, often found in the Baltic region, was used as jewellery by the Greeks and Romans? 16 Who was British naval hero Lord Nelson’s mistress?
Answers at foot of the page.
August Issue Competition Winners The winner of the Gloria Estefan tickets competition in the August issue was Ellen Davidson of London.
Coffee Break Quiz Answers 1 Danger; 2 Tour de France; 3 China; 4 The Dukes Of Hazzard; 5 Jupiter; 6 Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons; 7 Charles `Pete` Conrad 8 Stag Party; 9 Proxima Centauri; 10 Anubis; 11 A nursery; 12 Lichtenstein and Uzbekistan; 13 A skull; 14 William Harrison; 15 Amber ; 16 Emma, Lady Hamilton
EV FRE EN E T
24 & 25 OCTOBER • FREE AT THE O2 Come along and join in the New Orleans fun!
Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Buckwheat Zydeco Plus 3 stages of the best R&B, Jazz, Blues Gospel, Cajun, Zydeco & Much, Much More.
BeauSoliel avec Michael Doucet, Rebirth Brass Band, Marcia Ball, John Mooney and Bluesiana, The Anointed Jackson Sisters, New Birth Brass Band, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Apache Hunters and Hardhead Hunters, Mardi Gras Indian Tribes, Young Men Olympia Untouchables Social Aid & Pleasure Club, New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Rhythm Section and more!
B O U R B O N S T R E E T • F O O D D E M O N S T R AT I O N S S T R E E T B A N D S • U N D E R C OV E R OV E R 2 0 R E S TAU R A N T S A N D B A R S For full line up, VIP, hotel, travel packages and furtherdetails on this incredible event visit www.theO2.co.uk
Please drink Southern Comfort Responsibly www.drinkaware.co.uk
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Destination Bath Go west this month: Bath offers more than most destination cities, writes Michael Burland Below: The Roman baths with Bath Abbey beyond
ou know Bath, I’m sure. Even if you think you know nothing about it, you at least know what it looks like, if you’ve ever seen a Jane Austen drama on TV. Austen was one of Bath’s most famous residents and two of her novels are set in the city. Virtually all the buildings of this gem of a city, set at the gateway to the West of England, are in beautiful cream colored stone and neo classical Georgian style. In fact the local government is very strict about planning, and the odd development that strays from the norm stands out like a sore thumb. But there is a lot more to Bath than an opportunity tovisit the inevitable Jane Austen Centre then stroll about, twirling a parasol and swooning “Oh, Mr Darcy” – and if you do, please don’t tell them The American sent you.
Bath goes back, way back. The Romans enjoyed hot dips here. Not chilli salsa, but bathing in Britain’s only hot spring. They built a major temple and bath house, in fact a whole complex of buildings. The Roman Baths are open to the public and either restored or kept as well preserved ruins. But Bath is older than the Romans. Legend has it that nearly a thousand years before they came, it was founded by Bladud, the heir to the legendary Celtic King Lud. Bladud contracted leprosy and was banished to Swainswick to become a pig farmer. Seeing his scurvy-ridden pigs rolling about in some strangely hot mud, he was amazed to see that their scurvy had been cured. Bladud rolled in the mud, heated and wetted by a natural spring, and his leprosy miraculously disappeared. Accepted again at his father’s court, he eventually became king and in gratitude built a temple by the hot spring, thus founding the city of Bath. Bath Abbey is comparatively recent. Its construction started in 1499, making it one of the last of the great medieval churches in Britain. It replaced an Anglo-Saxon church built in the Dark Ages which was destroyed by more invaders, the Normans, who put up a vast cathedral. Too large, as it turned out, as the associated monastery could not afford its upkeep. By the end of the 15th century it was a ruin. The beautiful building that stands today is open to visitors, who as of the last couple of months can also (though not on Sundays) climb 212 steps to the very top of Bath Abbey’s tower, enjoying a panoramic view of the city. And why not take the opportunity of sitting inside the Abbey’s clock face?
Thermae Bath Spa
When in Bath, do as the Romans did, and bathe in the hot mineral waters. At the new luxury Thermae Bath Spa, a clever mix of the old and the new, you can pop in for a couple of hours [£22] to bathe in the natural thermal waters in any of the stunning pools, use the glass pod aromatherapy steam rooms, and even swim on the roof, for an unusual view of the Abbey. These waters fell to earth 10,000 years ago, and in the little Cross Bath, a recognised Sacred Site, you can be the first person to touch the 45º+C water as it rises. Everything has been well thought out, so just bring your swimwear, you can hire towel, robe & slippers for £9, a 2-hour session costs £22, and they have a very reasonably priced restaurant. It’s advisable to pre-book the thermal treatments, body wraps, facials and other treatments [they use American Pevonia products]. It’s also much more fun if you go with a friend, as most people seem to. Humans discovered and started to use the Hot Springs at Bath 5,000 years before Stonehenge was even thought of [that’s 8,000 BC!]. The Celts worshipped the goddess Sul here, followed by the Romans who established the settlement of Aquae Sulis here in the C1st AD, worshipping Minerva, so that’s pretty ancient. Don’t forget to pop into the Visitor Centre opposite to see the part these hot waters have played in history.
Above: The Royal Crescent. Below: No.1 The Royal Crescent; Bath Abbey and (below right) Sally Lunn’s.
Royal Crescent is the most famous address in Bath, a grand sweeping Palladian terrace of townhouses with views over the town. Number 1 Royal Crescent was the first house to be built in the crescent, by the neoclassical architect John Wood. To get a true feeling of how Jane Austen and her social set (and her characters) lived, visit the magnificently restored house. If retail therapy is the only thing that soothes your aching soles, there is something for everyone, from antiques and books to specialist music shops (including the editor’s favourite, Vintage & Rare Guitars) and designer clothes. For a historical perspective on beautiful apparel, Fashion Museum & Assembly Rooms shares premises with the Georgian Assembly Rooms and houses a large collection of historical and contemporary dress. When it’s time to refuel, Bath has a fabulous selection of restaurants of all types and budgets, mostly not part of ubiquitous chains. The only one we’re going to mention here is a mere tearoom. Did I say mere? Sally Lunn’s Refreshment House in Lilliput Alley is very special. Sally Lunn was a real person, a young French Huguenot refugee originally named Solange Luyon who fled religious persecution in her home country and arrived in Bath in 1680. She gained fame for her baking and introduced the ‘bun’ named after her. The tearooms are in the oldest house in Bath. Underpinning the building are Roman and medieval foundations. The current building, which is nominally dated to 1482, has parts that predate that year and it has been changed little since. You can see the original kitchen that was used by Sally Lunn. Her
original recipe is kept strictly secret and is passed on with the deeds to the house. The current owners still make Sally Lunn buns by hand, and of course they will serve other delicacies too. The whole city is a World Heritage Site. Just over 100 miles west of London, it is easily reached by road or train. If you are not in England in spring, summer or fall, don’t worry. The Bath Christmas Market makes winter a great time to visit too. (27th Nov - 7th Dec) Bath is large enough to enjoy exploring over a few days, but small enough to get to grips with and walk around. Classical and high class, it is also of human proportions. And if the frantic whiz of urban Bath gets too much, the city is surrounded by stunning countryside. Altogether Bath is one of England’s most beautiful destinations, for a day trip or a longer break. For more details about these attractions, check out www.visitbath.co.uk H
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Markenfield Hall by Janet C Senior
An architectural drawing of one of the Hall’s windows, by Ralph Taylor.
n all of England there is no more perfect or beautiful example of a small fortified manor house of the early 14th century than this gem hidden so securely in lovely rolling, heavily wooded country,” J ¬ Illingworth says of Markenfield Hall in his book “ Yorkshires Ruined Castles”. Mr Illingworth expresses so well the thoughts of many Yorkshiremen who hold this wonderful building in high esteem and regard it as one of the best of the many treasures of our beloved county. Lady Deirdre and Ian Curteis, who use the hall as their northern base, have worked tirelessly since their marriage to restore and enhance the fabric of this historic building. At last their work has been nationally recognised. The annual Historic Houses Association/ Sotheby’s Restoration Award was launched this year to recognise the restoration work that is continually being undertaken by HHA members throughout Great Britain. Markenfield submitted the Restoration of the Great Hall 2002-2007, from a bleak and forlorn empty space to a family library and comfortable drawing room in which concerts and other events are held. There were over 40 national entries for the Award, from some of the finest houses in the land, including Harewood House also in Yorkshire. The Award went to Markenfield and Sotheby’s are hosting a cele-
bratory lunch there in October. James HerveyBathurst, President of the HHA, commented, “We are delighted that the winner of the new HHA/Sotheby’s award is Markenfield Hall. Ian and Lady Deirdre Curteis have demonstrated by their personal commitment to this project how the stewardship of private owners can bring a house back to life.” So what is so special about this building and also the families who have lived there? Of the many fortified manor houses that existed in the county Markenfield Hall and its estate is one of the few remaining recognisable medieval establishments. It is a castellated structure in the form of a quadrangle surrounded by a moat. The layout is typical of a spacious manor house built to impress rather than for defensive purposes. Though there have been many internal alterations the main part of the hall remains substantially as it was 700 years ago when King Edward II granted John de Markenfield a licence to crenellate in 1310. This meant John could add a mortared stonewall with added crenellation at roof level to his already existing dwelling John de Markenfield was a Chancellor of the Exchequer for King Edward II and used his association with the king to increase his wealth. With money to spend and wishing to show his neighbours the extent of his power, John set about turning what had been a fairly
modest dwelling into an impressive medieval establishment. He may have employed the stone masons who had been working on Ripon Minster as there is a similarity to tracing and mouldings in the two buildings. The ground floor was vaulted and would not have been divided as it is today. The original entrance to the hall for visitors was by a staircase from the quadrangle to the first floor. Servants entered the hall via another staircase on the north side. The first floor was divided into three sections: the entry, the main body and the dais. This entry was a covered passage hiding the two doorways. Visitors would not catch sight of the impressive hall until they stepped through the curtained entrance. They would then see a spacious room lit by four large windows, two on the north wall and two on the south. They were two light windows with transforms, cusped heads and quatrefoils. The upper light was glazed but the lower had iron bars and shutters. In the centre of the floor was a fire and above it in the roof was a louver to let out the smoke. At the east end of the hall was the dais where the family sat. Behind the east wall was the solar where the family slept and the ladies spent their days. There was also a private chapel. Though later members of the family did not alter the basic structure of the Hall many internal alterations took place. A fireplace in the north wall replaced the central fireplace. This meant the moving of one of the north wall windows, which in turn led to the removal of the entrance through the north wall. The entry passage was removed. A kitchen was constructed against the west wall and the servants entered the hall from this building. In later years fashions changed again and the fireplace was removed from the upper room
‘The Markenfields of Markenfield Hall. The rise and fall of a Yorkshire Family’ by Janet C Senior will be available from November 1st 2008. Cost £10.00. For details contact the author on janetwhiteboar@ blueyonder.co.uk or by writing to her c/o Yorkshire Archaeological Society 23 Clarendon Road Leeds LS2 9NZ West Yorkshire.
and another inserted in the ground floor. Many of these alterations can be seen today. More bedrooms were added, to the south of the chapel, in the later Middle Ages. The east and west sides of the quadrangle were taken up with servants quarters and the necessary storage areas needed for such a household. The Markenfields were an influential family who mixed with royalty, religious and local northern aristocracy. They married into many wealthy and influential members of Northern society. Whenever military help was required the courtyard at Markenfield would fill with the muster of men under the Markenfield banner ready to support the nation’s cause. Their military honours echo the famous medieval battles undertaken in support of the crown. Markenfields fought at Bannockburn, Flodden, Agincourt, and Crecy. One Thomas Markenfield fought alongside his friend Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. He survived but he must have returned home to Yorkshire with a very heavy heart. Though Thomas’ son fought for the king at Flodden family fortunes were on the wane. Another Thomas was lucky to survive after he supported the Pilgrimage of Grace against King Henry VIII.
Markenfield Hall is an original medieval manor houses, but remains a well loved family home.
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The great hall before restoration.
The last Markenfield to live at Markenfield Hall was another Thomas. This was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. England was now a Protestant country but many people in the North of England still clung to the Roman Catholic religion. One of these was Thomas Markenfield and his family. He fled England for the Continent and travelled on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he was accepted into the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Thomas was persuaded to return to England and joined in the Rising in the North. When the Rising failed he again fled to the Continent where he eventually died in poverty in 1593. As he had been declared a traitor Elizabeth seized his lands. Markenfield Hall and estates passed from family ownership and no Markenfield ever lived there again. Queen Elizabeth I gave Markenfield Hall to her friend, the Solicitor General Sir Thomas Egerton and the rest of the Markenfield possessions were spread amongst her supporters. The Hall and estate, which was sadly neglected and fell into decay, passed through many hands until Fletcher Norton gained possession in 1761. He took the title of Baron Grantley of Markenfield and set about restoring some of Markenfield’s former glory firstly by replacing the roof. The last Thomas Markenfield was related to the Norton family through marriage. The estate has passed down the Norton line to the present members of the Grantley family who have carried on the massive programme of restoration. The chapel was restored and refurbished in the 1980s and 2003-4 saw the restoration of a fireplace in the Great Hall. H
Profile: Polli Brunelli Compiled by Virginia E. Schultz
met up with Mrs Brunelli, Director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, while she was in England talking to volunteer Voting Assistance Officers. Occupation: Senior Executive in the Department of Defense which administers the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act for the Secretary of Defense. The Act covers registration and voting by absent uniformed services members and their eligible family members, and all U.S. citizens overseas – more than 6 million potential voters around the world. Married, single, or significant other: Married to Rear Admiral John F. Brunelli (USN Ret).
Absentee voting is an easy process. Our website, www.fvap.gov has all the information a voter needs to register or request a ballot and vote absentee. Voters can download the registration form from the website and send it to the state of his/her legal voting residence. And, they can download and vote in the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot if they do not receive a requested state absentee ballot in time. All absentee ballots are counted. People may be overwhelmed with busy schedules or there may be a tendency to become complacent, but by not voting, they are letting others decide for them and those who “decide” may have very different views. Take time to vote – that vote represents your interests.
Gioachino Rossini – he adored good food and he might provide a musical interlude. Mel Brooks – he’s a wonderful storyteller. Prince Harry – he impresses me as a young man who bridges a lot of generational, social and intellectual gaps. If they were making a film of your life, what actor would you like to portray you? Emma Thompson What is your most treasured possession (not a human being)? My espresso coffeemaker - it gets me going even on winter mornings.
Children: No children. What led you to your present job? As a military family member and a Human Resources professional in the Department of Defense I constantly saw the commitments and sacrifices that the military and overseas citizens made as they contributed to our country’s well-being. The FVAP is a means of giving back to them. Do ex-pats and uniformed citizens understand how important their vote is? Anyone who thinks about his or her voting rights has to instinctively realize how important the single vote can be. What is the main reason for their objections and what do you say to combat those fears?
Have you ever lived abroad? No, but I lived in Hawaii for 4 years at a time when it was not as accessible as it is today - when delayed broadcasts from the mainland were the norm. What were the experiences that were most important to you there? Remaining connected to the current state of affairs in the country as a whole. Your favorite restaurant, and what five people, living or dead, would you invite to join you there and why? Simpsons in the Strand – it is totally atmospheric. J.K. Rowling – she has captured the imagination of world youth, as we try to do in the voting process. P.G. Wodehouse – he might bring Bertie Wooster along.
Two things you expect from a friend? Empathy and loyalty. What is your favorite place to holiday? Coastal Maine. Is there one thing in your life you would still like to do? Become a scratch golfer. Who’s been the guiding force in your life? Mary McDonald, my maternal grandmother. Philosophy or motto in life? Living well is the best revenge. Favorite sandwich? Hands down: Maine lobster roll.
hen Chef Adam Byatt moved his restaurant, Thyme, to Covent Garden in 2002 many of us living in Clapham were broken hearted. Thyme was where South Londoners celebrated birthdays and anniversaries or went in the evening if we wanted a lovely meal that was as inventive as we could enjoy on the north side of the river. It was a restaurant to show off to friends who were convinced there was nothing original on the south side. Which is why, even though I no longer live there, I was delighted to hear Adam had returned to Clapham, where he gained his reputation. It was warm and still sunny at seven-thirty when actress Maxine Howe and I arrived. Trinity’s frontage windows were wide open and already couples in their thirties to early forties were seated. The room designed by Point Three Design has pale walls and dark floors, with only the zinc bar standing out for notice. It was probably the unusually warm evening after a week of rain that had me thinking ‘south of France’ when I ordered a rosé. Maxine, possibly dreaming of a future trip to Verona, ordered the ever reliable Pinot Grigio. Have you ever tasted a bad one or a great one for that matter? Fresh peas were in season and with our wine we were given podded fresh peas (my spell check claims that podded is not a word!) which brought back memories of sitting with my grandmother on the back porch shelling peas when I was a child. We started out with tiny cups of chilled soup of
Dining out at
Trinity Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
English peas with a touch of mint and crème fraiche that was absolutely delicious. As a first course, Max had the Prawns, and yes, peas again, and Girolles (£12.00), which had a touch of the Middle East, that she’d order again. As I took my first bite of salad of yellow fin tuna, crab and avocado, pink grapefruit, pomegranate and gazpacho (£10.00), a taste of the Caribbean, or was it the Gulf halfway between Florida and Mexico tingling on my tongue? Either direction, I liked it. Could the main course be better, we asked? Yes, it was. My rump of beef, creamed spinach, girolles and salsify with a concentration of red wine sauce (£20.00) could only be described as addictive. I can’t wait to have it again. As for Max’s glazed pork belly, ginger carrots, pea puree and ham hock croquettes, (£18.00), it was all I could do to keep this actress from yodelling. Desserts must have flavour plus a dazzling visuality and again
the kitchen came through. The Valrhona chocolate hot pot with De Cacao ice cream (£8.00) could have been photographed for Gourmet and tasted as good at it looked. And what can I say about lots of summer berries in Champagne with Cassis sorbet (£10.00) except I’d have it again? And again! No Michelin stars yet, but as good as the food is, I hope Byatt doesn’t get any. Stars too often change a chef, and not for the better. It’s nice to have a restaurant that’s worth driving or strolling to, without the pretension of having a star hanging over the chef ’s head. There is a private room seating twelve which opens onto the kitchen and the three course Sunday lunch (£25.00) has become a regular stop for Clapham families. This is a place you can take your family or your significant other. Unless, of course, the secret gets out and people learn how good the food is.
4 The Polygon, Clapham Old Town, London SW4 0JG 020 7622 1199
La Capanna For the finest Italian dining experience in the most picturesque of settings, perfect for that romantic dinner for two, a family celebration or business entertainment.
L Table d’Hôte, 2 courses only £16.95 La Capanna Special Menu, 2 courses only £29.95 Sunday Lunch, 3 courses only £24.95 Children’s Menu – £12.00 48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey
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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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hâteau de Bagnols is more than staying in a magnificent hotel, it’s living with eight hundred years of history. It is without a doubt one of the loveliest and luxurious Châteaux I’ve stayed in; yet, at the same time there is none of the pretentiousness one too often finds in some of the Relais & Châteaux hotels I’ve visited in the past twenty-five years. Jean-clad visitors strolled through the spacious grounds surrounded by Beaujolais
Dining out at
Château De Bagnols Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
vineyards and a middle aged Englishman wearing a Panama hat sat under a tree reading Ian Rankin and drinking a glass of Beaujolais while his very young and very attractive female friend sunbathed on a towel near the round swimming pool. It is only in the evening that guests come to dinner in their Chanel and Yves St. Laurent attire and even then, perhaps to befit the surroundings, the dress is more casual elegance than Joan Collins Dynasty. My oldest daughter, wanting her three children, ages 20, 17 and 12, to have the
Stunning location, fabulous building, delicious food.
experience of staying at a French château, had made the reservations from the States and invited me to join them. Set in a vineyard twenty-some kilometres from Lyon, the castle was built by Guichard d’Oingt around 1217 over what was once a fortress. That is possibly the reason the Château does not look like a sugar coated Walt Disney version of a palace. It features towers, an original moat and a dramatic entrance across a drawbridge which fascinated everyone but my grandson, who was more interested in the Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and Porsches parked in the entrance parking area. The history of Château de Bagnols is fascinating with all the intrigue and betrayal one might wish from the many aristocrats and opportunists who lived or visited there over the centuries. Outside the Château walls is the village and the surrounding vineyards. The Château organizes special tours of the vineyard which, unfortunately, I had no time to take, but that gives me an excuse to return, hopefully, in the near future. Lyon is known as the gastronomic heart of France and many of the top chefs working in England and the States are from the region or have studied under a chef who was originally from there. My oldest granddaughter and I shared a
suite with two Queen sized beds and a huge Gothic style bathroom. Looking out one of the lead paned windows I gazed at views that went back centuries and it was easy to imagine a horse drawn carriage heading for Lyon. The tiled floors are without carpets and the two canopy beds were decorated with an antique fabric design that interested my granddaughter who is studying design at her university. Off the bedroom and down a narrow hall was a small sitting room with an original fireplace and again, lovely traditional materials on the small sofa and at the windows. Lying in my bed that night, I could almost hear the ruffling melody of the harpsichord Mme. De Sevigne played when she visited the Ch창teau in 1673. It really is that kind of place. Before dinner that evening in the Michelin-star Salle des Gardes restaurant with its magnificent fireplace decorated with a coat of arms celebrating the visit of Charles VIII in 1490, we enjoyed drinks on the terrace overlooking a fountain and beyond, a breathtaking view of the hills covered with vines. Whether it is fish, fowl, meat or vegetables, most of the food comes direct from local farmers and fishmongers. My daughter and granddaughters had free range Bresse
Chicken served with truffle mash while my The canopied bed. grandson and I enjoyed rib of Charolais beef which tasted exactly like the beef from my childhood and was delicious. The servings, however, were enough for two unless you have a hardy youthful appetite like my six foot one athletic grandson. Beauty treatments, which includes body and facial as well as reflexology, are offered to meet the special needs of guests in the privacy of their rooms. Besides visiting the Beaujolais and Burgundian vineyards, one can arrange to explore nearby villages with their Romanesque churches or have dinner or lunch in one of the many excellent restaurants and bistros scattered throughout the countryside. Or instead have the kitchen make up a picnic basket to take with you. My dream is to celebrate my eighty-fifth birthday in the Ch창teau. That, is, if I have saved enough to invite my family and closest friends by that time. I plan to go hot air ballooning and celebrate high in the air with my favourite Burgundy wine, a truly great Montrachet, and then after I 69620 Bagnols, France come back to earth go horseback +33 474 714000 riding among the ancient vines of Beaujolais with my three www.bagnols.com children and grandchildren.
Dining out at
The Vineyard at Stockcross Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
n 2007, The Vineyard at Stockcross was awarded two Michelin stars which seems appropriate when you remember that the owner Sir Peter Michael and the Michelin brothers, Andre’ and Edouard, were innovative entrepreneurs whose outside interests after they made their fortunes was gastronomy. Now, I cannot tell a lie, I am rather dubious when it comes to the culinary bible of taste, Le Guide Michelin, just as I am about Saint Robert Parker whose ratings on wine are sometimes taken too seriously by his worshipping public. Fortunately, and thankfully, I was proved wrong this time. Chef John Campbell deserves his two stars and dinner that night had me using all those exuberant adjectives that I’d criticize others for doing. Known as the ‘cerebral chef’, which I assume is another way of calling him the thinking – or the thinking man’s – chef, he is often compared to Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck fame. I could see the connection in my starter of pumpkin, rabbit ravioli with parmesan foam, but my friend Nelly Pateras’ organic salmon with spiced lentils and foie gras was what I’d expect in any traditional two star restaurant with a talented chef. Things became more creative with the main course. Nelly decided on the veal cheeks, rump with sweetbreads and to say she enjoyed her meal is an
Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU 01635 528770 email@example.com
understatement. I didn’t have to ask how the dish was, the look of sheer bliss on her face spoke volumes. Having once been to a shooting party at an estate not far from Newbury with my late husband, I debated between going down memory lane and having venison or ordering one of my favourites dishes, loin of lamb. The lamb won. My taste buds literally quivered with delight after one bite and by the time I finished my meal with all its beautifully cooked vegetables they had become a Beethoven sympathy. Yes, Chef Campbell’s cooking has been influenced by Blumenthal with his scientific approach, but perhaps because of his culinary background, he’s also been inspired by the food traditions of the past. Frankly, it’s a combination that works. Dessert by this time was almost an anti-climax. That is until, on the advice of our waitress, we tasted the cucumber liquor with lime and mango sorbet which was one of the most original desserts I’ve had in a long time. Light, tart, sweet, all at the same time. We finished the evening by having coffee (me) and tea (Nelly) and the most scrumptious handmade chocolates in a handsome reception room with a plush sofa and comfortable chairs that was a modern version of one Jane Austen might have relaxed in with friends.
Now for a slight discretion. Dinner at The Vineyard at Stockcross doesn’t come cheap, especially in this era of credit crunch. Our dinner at the end of the evening with wine, service charge, etc. cost slightly over a hundred and fifty pounds for two. Expensive, yes, but had we eaten in any starred restaurant in the UK it would have been a similar price if not more. However there were a number of excellent bottles of wine under thirty pounds which seldom happens in two star restaurants in London. Because Sir Peter Michael owns a vineyard in California, the Peter Michael Winery, we decided to keep to American wine rather than French. The half bottle of Peter Michael 2003 “Belle Cote” and 2002 “Les Pavots” I enjoyed, but Nelly didn’t agree. Oddly enough, the “Les Pavots” which I liked the most she liked the least. We’re both wine enthusiasts, but she’s French and I’m American and we do tend to differ from time to time. It can make for interesting discussions. It’s the same with our dinner which we tasted, discussed and digested to the last scrapings on our plate. Fortunately, the two attractive couples in their late thirties at tables near us were too involved in each other to notice. The Vineyard at Stockcross is a five star hotel with a spa built on the site of an eighteenth century coach house
near Newbury and is the creation of Sir Peter Michael, the co-founder of Classic FM. There are 49 individually decorated bedrooms, several lovely lounges and long corridors displaying Sir Peter Michaels extensive collection of bronzes, murals, prints and paintings. Before dinner I wandered through the hotel, a glass of Peter Michael chardonnay in my hand, admiring and yes, envying, his extensive collection. The Newbury area has much to offer and if you decide dinner is too expensive, have lunch instead, which will be far kinder on your wallet. Three courses cost around £25.00 without wine which is definitely a bargain. This area of England could be called the gastronomic valley of the UK and is heaven for any “foodie”. The “Waterside Inn” and “Fat Duck” are close by in Bray, the award winning seafood restaurant “The Crab” is nearby in Chievely and slightly further on in Highclere is Marco Pierre White’s “The Yew Tree”. A tasty treat would be to indulge the inner part of your body with fine food and wine and then return to the spa and indulge the outside with a chocolate or vino therapy or perhaps have a truffle therapy facial. During the year, there are special dinners and events going on at The Vineyard at Stockcross. To obtain a brochure on these coming events call 01635 528770.
Cellar Talk Libations by Virginia E. Schultz
he principle of brewing remains unvarying no matter what kind of beer is being made. There are, however, variables that describe the character of the end product. When I was asked to try an organic ale that won a 2 star gold in the Great Taste Awards 2008, regarded as the Oscars of the fine food world, I decided to compare it with three other ales and ask my friend Rodney Gillette to do the tasting as he has a better palate when it comes to beer than I do. Two are organic, two are not. I might add, Rodney was not aware which ale won the two stars. His notes from the tasting follow: Laverstoke Park Farm. Organic 5.0 Real Ale. Good head for a bottled beer. Good rich colour. Light with that nutty bitterness of traditional pale ale. A good real ale for drinking at home-chilled. Summer Lightning. Golden Ale ABV 5% A slightly lighter flavour than you would expect. No head on pouring. Pleasant, but not better on after taste. Smooth drinking. St. Peter’s Organic Ale. ALC 4.5% vol. Good colour – no head. Feels just a little flat. Good flavour but not as strong as you might expect. The bottle promises a more traditional ale – you expect something stronger.
Black Sheep Ale. Ale 4.4% vol. Rich colour, a little “fizzy”, but good flavour, but thinner than you might expect. Smooth drinking. The ale Rodney favoured was Laverstoke Park. And that was the one that won the two stars. The 2,500 acre organic and biodynamic farm was created by ex Formula One World Champion, Jody Schecter. It has picked up accolades not only for its recently launched organic ale, but for its Pork and Leek Sausages, Organic Leg of Lamb, and Buffalo Burgers. Of the 4763 products entered into the scheme this year, the majority of gold award winners were from smaller producers who source local ingredients and manufacture in small batches, general by hand.H
WINE of the MONTH
ESSENSIA, A California Sweet Dessert Wine £11.00 This California dessert wine is produced and bottled by Andrew Quady in Madera, California and is one that has me waving the flag. My youngest daughter and her guests enjoyed it so much she went out and bought six bottles. It is made from the orange muscat grape found in France, Spain and Italy where it is called “Moscato Fior d’Arancio”. I served it with chocolate cake with an orange frosting. Quady only makes dessert wines; their port is also superb, I might add.
How safe is your
t’s Issue 666 for The American. (Cue “Woooooooh!” and other spooky noises off.) So of course we have to look at the spookiest night of the year. We stertd looking at how All Hallows Eve is celebrated differently in the UK and U.K. Then we decided not to – it’s virtually the same nowadays, with trick or treat and other American customs now commonplace here. Instead, Mary Muscari, associate professor at State University of New York, has some timely advice for parents when their kids art transformed into ghouls and ghosts this Halloween. l Help them choose costumes that allow for adequate vision and mobility. Plan ahead so that last-minute costume designs don’t lead to trips and falls. l Flame resistant does not mean fireproof, so keep trick or treaters away from open flames. Do not use real fire as part of their costume - fake, flickering lights do just as good a job and won’t blow out in the wind. l Superheroes, pirates, cowboys and other weapon wielding wonders should carry props that are obviously fake and will not cause accidents and injury. l Older children and teens should be cautious about controversial costumes. Dressing like a rival gang member on the wrong turf can have disastrous consequences. l Trick or treat during daylight
hours, or make sure part of your child’s costume is reflective so motorists can see them. l Plan the trick or treat route. Select homes you know. This is not the time for kids to boldly go where no kid has gone before. l Accompany young children and make sure older kids travel in groups. No child should trick or treat alone, even to the house next door. l Carry flashlights and a cell phone with fresh batteries.
Reinforce these safety measures l Don’t talk to or take anything from strangers. l Walk, don’t run l Follow pedestrian safety rules (use cross walks, obey traffic lights, etc.) l How to call home or 999 in case of emergency l How to ‘Stop-Drop-and-Roll” if their costume does catch on fire. l No bad behavior - egg throwing, toilet paper hanging, graffiti, or any other creative mayhem. l Instruct children to not eat any of their booty until you inspect it.
Minimize temptation by giving them nibbles from home to munch on along their route. Use your booty inspection to ration the goodies and ward off bellyaches. [Yeah, right – skeptical ed.]
Be a good host for goblins
l Offer healthy alternatives to candy, like popcorn. Choose pre-packaged treats. Safety conscious moms may toss out unwrapped goodies. l Turn on outdoor lighting, and keep walkways clear of safety hazards. l Keep pets inside and away from the front door. The noise and sights can frighten pets, which may bolt. Candy can cause harm to pets, too.
Better News for Kids
It’s not the amount of candy kids eat that raises cavity risk but how often. “The frequency of eating candy (and other refined carbohydrates like chips and pretzels) and their stickiness, are big factors in creating the risk of cavities,” says Mark Helpin, pediatric dentist at Philadelphia’s Temple University. Eating carbohydrates can change the pH balance of the mouth, making it more acidic and increasing the risk of cavities. It can take up to an hour for the acidity to reduce again. “It’s better to eat a bunch [of candy] now and a bunch later,” he explains, “But don’t let them have one piece now, then an hour later let them have another piece”. H
Cece Mills picks her Arts and Exhibitions for October Isamu Noguchi Yorkshire Sculpture Park Until February 2009
Frozen, Cece Mills
© Cece Mills
Art for Youth The Mall Galleries, London 8th and 9th October This annual exhibition, now in its 21st year, has so far raised nearly £750,000 for the national youth work charity, UK Youth. It offers a huge range of affordable work by artists from all over the UK, including Cece herself! Nothing is over £3,000, and artists donate 35% of their sales to the charity. firstname.lastname@example.org
I like a quotation of Isamu Noguchi’s – ‘I don’t think that art comes from art … I think it comes from the awakening person.’ Rather sums up Tracey Emin and her work don’t you think? This famous American Japanese artist (1904 – 1988), whose work many of you will be familiar with since the Isamu Noguchi Museum is in Long Island City, NY, is a man of many skills. Working in stone, metal, wood and clay, as well as making models for dance sets and public spaces, his talents included a passion for interior design. Many works from the NY museum as well as from the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Mure, Japan, are on show in this spectacular setting, inside and outside at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Below: Work by Isamu Noguchi at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Moorish-style occasional table, with inlaid decoration in coloured wood and motherof-pearl, 1890, at Choosing the Chintz Geffrye Museum
Choosing the Chintz Men, women and furnishing the home from 1850 to present Geffrye Museum From 14th October A fascinating look at the development of our obsession for home decoration. Diaries, archival materials, paintings, furniture and decorative arts, photographs, film and trade catalogues are used to explore our relationship with decorating the home in the 19th century. Not just a woman’s job either, as you will find out. After all, ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ . What better way of showing off your wealth and status than through the décor of your home. Cover of Smarts furniture catalogue, c1937 Geffrye Museum
Lucian Freud, Girl with a White Dog, 1950-1, Oil on canvas © Tate, London 2008
Dance group Srishti Chris Nash
Canterbury Festival, Kent 11th – 25th October Featuring Dallas Sweetman, a new play performed in Canterbury Cathedral, bringing back a tradition from the 1920s where church and theatre were brought together in an annual Cathedral Play, something not seen since Medieval times. The festival also plays host to the theatre group Footsbarn performing A Midsummer Nights Dream. As well as theatre, the Festival celebrates 40 years of Man Booker prize with talks and literary meetings. Musical involvement includes Radio Television Orchestra of Albania, Orchestra Baobab, Welsh baroque music soprano singer Elin Manahan Thomas, and a broad spread of concerts, exhibitions, film, opera, dance – Srishti are particularly recommended , comedy, world wide music, and – well what more could there be! A festival to rival Edinburgh. You can order the programme from email@example.com
The Naked and the Nude: Works from the Tate Collection Until 16th November, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art A look into how 20th century artists have handled this fascinating and somewhat loaded subject in their work. The works are all gathered from the Tate’s collection and the title of the exhibition is derived from a concept by art historian Kenneth Clark. He wrote that nakedness was basically being undressed, while nudity was more to do with art. Quite a challenging statement and the exhibition copes with the issue very well, showing a range of works which illustrate nudity or nakedness in conventional and unusual ways.
Right: CRW Nevinson, A Studio in Montparnasse, 1926, Oil on canvas, 1270 x 762mm © Tate, London 2008
Below: Euan Uglow (1932-2000), Zagi, 1981-2, Oil on canvas, 1500 x 1070mm © Tate, London 2008
27th September – 16th November Kettles Yard, Cambridge The exhibition Conversations brings together over 30 living and long gone artists, a piece of furniture, a musical score, and some 19th century Indian spells in pairs that highlight the different ways in which artworks and objects speak to one another. 16 of the artists in this exhibition were asked to select another artist’s work or object they were interested in to strike up a conversation with.
Is t Lincolnshire Spotlight on
Above: Mystery in Stone: Humble Queen by Joe Mutasa. Green Opal.
incoln is obviously the place to start on our tour of the county. Happily this month sees a wonderful exhibition of Zimbabwean sculptures at The Terrace in Lincoln. Mystery in Stone runs from 27th October to 21st November and consists of an amazing collection of contemporary stone sculptures, many made by members of the Shona Tribes in Zimbabwe. They express their cultural beliefs through the sculptures, approaching issues such as the roles of women, spirits and elders within their society. On 28th October the exhibition will open with a spectacular display of dance and music by Zimbabwean entertainers. As well as this, the city is alive with the sound of music and other arts events. With Jazz, Classical music and pop at Lincoln Castle; Shakespeare at the Medieval Bishop’s Palace; concerts in Lincoln Cathedral and loads of entertainment at the Victorian Theatre Royal, there is so much to do! Oh yes, there is also
the Lincolnshire Open Studios running all month. Divided into regions which each has their weekend of open studios, Lincoln’s will be the 18th and 19th October. More facts about Lincolnshire. Did you know that Woodhall Spa is now the amazing Kinema in the Woods? Opened in 1922, this converted cricket pavilion is unique in that it has back projection! Nearby is Tattershall Church where you can find the grave of a 100 year old man who was only 18 inches high. Is this the same man they called Tom Thumb, and whose house sits on the roof of a house in Tattershall Market Place? Tennyson was born in Somersby in 1809 and began writing poetry at the age of 8. And in the Victorian Prison building of Lincoln Castle, the 780 year old copy of the Magna Carta is housed. You can see the document and an exhibition explains the origins of and effects of it. Nearly my last trivia fact on Lincolnshire is that the famous Jolly Fisherman poster advertising Skegness, commissioned by the Great Northern Railway Company, celebrated its 100th birthday in July of this year. Skegness was probably named after a Viking who landed there over 1000 years ago. The name comes from the Scandinavian words Skeggi (the bearded one) and ness (headland). And
the Jolly Fisherman looks very Viking to me! So, the very last trivia on the area concerns Boston. It was here that some 250 pilgrims set sail for America and founded Boston, Mass. In 1607, before the Pilgrims, three ships set sail, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery. They landed on American soil and Jamestown, Virginia was founded. Lincolnshire’s very own Captain John Smith was on the Discovery. He was born in Willoughby and became a soldier, fighting many battles in Europe, and was highly thought of. Later he joined the Virginia Company and set sail for America founding Jamestown named after King James. In 1608 he was elected President. Americans may well connect his name with Pocahontas who he met in Virginia. Finally, still on the sea, did you know that King Canute sat beside the River Trent at Gainsborough and ordered the tide not to wet him. Naturally enough the sea took no notice (in fact this part of the coast is famous for its wall of water that comes in with the spring tide). Canute shouted ‘No one deserves the name of king but He whose Will the Heavens, Earth and Sea do obey.’ Left: Mystery in Stone: Lovers by Lovemore Bonjisi. Springstone.
this Art? The American
Is this Art? Tracey Emin
h No! I can hear you say. The third month in a row she talks about Tracey Emin! Well, I couldn’t miss the opportunity of using her for this spot, could I? For a long time I have been resisting understanding the work of this performer/artist. Like many people I have dismissed her as nutty, artistically underdeveloped and a bit of a sensationalist. Well, after an illuminating visit to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art I have completely changed my mind. Yes, this IS art! I was almost moved to tears reading the frank, disturbing pages of her diary revealing the intimate secrets of her childhood. Yes, her work is centred around issues of life that perhaps we would rather not see splurged on our living room walls, which makes it difficult to accept as ‘art’, but it is a way of working out and solving difficult issues for her. Emin’s life story reads like some horrifying novel. Just about everything that could happen to a girl has happened to her, from rape and sexual abuse to abortion. She simply chooses to work her way out of the horrors through her art, sometimes through a complex and carefully sewn, appliquéd wall-hanging or blanket, covered with phrases, words and sayings, sometimes through simple sketches, perhaps in biro, often explicit but always minimalist. Her materials are always left-overs or second hand, not a tight white canvas in sight, and her methods quite casual, with words mis-spelt, prints blurred or smudged and her sewing sometimes wonky. Fully prepared to dismiss The Bed (as seen in last month’s issue), I found
it absolutely fascinating. In the middle of the gallery was a filthy, sordid looking rumpled bed with stained sheets and surrounded by detritus that didn’t bear scrutiny. Condoms, pills, tampons, small change, empty vodka bottles, soiled tissues, cotton buds, fag ends and cigarette packets galore – ugh! But in the middle of this, poignantly, a pair of well worn sheepskin slippers, and a teddy. It could have been any of our beds in our days of mis-spent youth … perhaps. Emin remembers the moment which provoked this work. After a heavy week of drinking she finally woke with a raging thirst. Crawling out of bed to get a drink of water, she then returned to her bedroom to be faced with The Bed. She was utterly disgusted, especially by the hideous thought that she could have died in that bed, but suddenly began to see it as something outside herself, an object of fascination, even of beauty. I wouldn’t say it was beautiful, but it is food for thought and made me reflect on the tortures we put our bodies through. The piece illustrated here – The Perfect Place to Grow – held a certain fascination for me. Climbing a rickety ladder one peeps through a tiny hole,
not knowing what to expect inside the dilapidated shed on stilts. The hole is very tiny, the view rather indistinct – a video clip of Emin’s father coming towards the camera with a flower, then going away again. He once said that the perfect place to live would be a little hut by the sea with a little garden. He also used to visit Emin with a single flower, posting it through her door if she wasn’t there, to show he loved her. So we find resonance in all her works, not just of her ghastly sexual experiences, but of her feelings for her family and all that bottled up nostalgia within her. Emin is an exhibitionist, her work is certainly not pretty, nice or even saleable in the ordinary sense. However it says so much about this mixed up person, and also about what we all feel in our lives. It is refreshing to find someone who revels in revealing these basic feelings for the world to see.H
Tracey Emin, The Perfect Place to Grow, 2001, Mixed media: wooden birdhouse, DVD (1 min 45 sec), monitor, trestle, plants and ladder. Tate: Purchased 2004 © The Artist
by Virginia E. Schultz and Michael Burland
The Secret Laws of Attraction Riding The Dragon by Will Hatchett
ere’s a curiosity, I thought. A self-published book that sounds like a proper old-fashioned adventure yarn. Stiff-upper-lip British war heroes at the dawn of the Second War, getting horribly mixed up with the occultist Aleister Crowley, the Wickedest Man in the World, the journalist and later MP Tom Driberg (both real people) and, finally, the devil. Nazis, Satanists and dragons – what’s not to like? I talked to the author, Will Hatchett, a personable journalist who runs an environmental magazine. There must be something missing in his day job as he has created an entirely ‘believable, unbelievable’ tale. The hero, Austin Endicott, returns home after a day’s work as an Airline pilot, only to find – by the third paragraph – that his wife and daughter have disappeared. Riding The Dragon is the second in Hatchett’s Dragon trilogy. Its mix of jolly-good-show service banter, period detail, snappy dialogue and a great serving of humor make it a peculiarly English, thoroughly good read, well written in an appropriately old-fashioned style. I have a feeling that John ’39 Steps’ Buchan would have loved it. MB Honor Oak Publishing, paperback, 219 pages, £6.99
The Effortless Way to Get the Relationship You Want by Talane Miedaner
alene Miedaner was a successful, fun loving professional in New York City who dated many interesting men, but, even after four proposals was still unmarried. Like many intelligent women her age (with a master degree in English from Georgetown University) she hadn’t realized the secret of finding love and happiness was to be ‘yourself.’ As she writes, “It is extremely difficult to be irresistibly attractive if you have unmet emotional needs.” For any woman still looking for her “Prince Charming” this is a fun, yet helpful book. In it she shows how we can only be naturally attractive and alluring when we learn to be ourselves with our own passions and values; until you fulfil your own needs you appear needy, unconsciously repelling the person or ambition you want. Combined with checklists and real life stories, The Secret Laws of Attraction helps identify what we want in life whether it is wealth, success, or as she writes, all of it. Now married to an Englishman and living in England, Miedaner proves in this book that the ancient adage of being true to one’s self in the end is the only way to achieve what is almost as important as happiness, a contentment with one’s self. VS McGraw Hill, $16.95 USA, £9.99 UK www.secretlawsofattraction.com
Flying Legends 2009 by John M Dibbs
e’re playing spot-the-Mustang in this issue. Fans of WW2 warbirds won’t complain though. Nor will they complain if Saint Nick brings them the Flying Legends calendar. In fact you can get it now as it’s a 16 month calendar starting in September. John Dibbs’ photography is stunning and the production quality is up to the mark. The aircraft featured in the 2009 edition include USAF P-51D Mustangs, a P- 38 Lockheed Lightning, an FG-1D Corsair, Spitfires and Hurricanes and a Lancaster bomber from the RAF. There’s even a Mitsubishi Zero. The final photograph, hidden after December has passed, is worth keeping the calendar up for. It’s a poignant shot of RAF Hurricane pilots laughing and relaxing by their planes between sorties in summer 1940, the height of the vital Battle of Britain. They’re wearing flight gear, waiting for the next ‘scramble’. MB Zenith Press, £9.99
Painting at the Edge of the World: The Watercolours of Tony Foster
by Duncan Robinson, with a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
ony Foster is an Englishman, but this landscape painter’s antecedents are as much the artists who recorded the expanses of the newly opening plains and mountains of America as the providers of his physical DNA. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., explains in his foreword that the painters belonging to the Hudson River School explored new lands and brought back with them landscape paintings so vivid and other-worldly that viewers and critics thought them unbelievable. These artists, among them Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, gave a visual
permanence to the view that nature and wilderness are part of American’s very being, in a way taking the place of the centuries of cultural history that the Old World enjoyed. Foster takes wilderness painting to a different level than even these predecessors. They would brave inhospitable conditions, making sketches and completing their paintings in more civilised surroundings. Not Foster. He paints in the field. Freezing mist on a mountain top, erupting volcanoes, rushing rapids, he painted them all while he was there. On one expedition he was forced
by altitude sickness to retreat from Mount Everest. He simply took his half-finished work home and retuned the following year to finish it. He quotes Henry Thoreau in his frontispiece: “The two best organs for interpreting the landscape are the soles of the feet. And Foster, literally walks it like he talks it. His journeys have included following the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson through the French Pyrenees, with only the painting equipment and paper that he could carry on his back. With such simple, basic tools he realises beautiful, vibrant renditions of mountains, deserts ice-floes, even coral reefs. The underwater works are the only ones which Foster completes in the studio, but even here he creates colour sketches using watersoluble pencils, sketches that are shown with the finished paintings. Tony Foster’s paintings are never going to win a Turner Prize, in many ways they have a frontier, early Nineteenth century feel. All human-free, but all adding to the humanity of those who view them. MB Paul Holberton Publishing, hardback, 324 pages, 240 colour illustrations £39.95
any of you will know Maria Tuttle, the wife of Ambassador Robert Tuttle. In this glorious book, she explains what a privilege and pleasure it is to live in the Ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London. Winfield House was built by another glamorous American lady, Barbara Hutton, heiress to the Woolworth fortune. It was built to her specifications between 1936 and 1937, on the site of a Regency villa dating from the 1820s. Just two years later World War II erupted and Miss Hutton moved back to the United States. The house was used by the Royal Air Force, whose officers played soccer in the grounds, naming their team ‘Barbara’s Own’. At the end of the war, Hutton wrote to President Harry S. Truman, offering a remarkable gift to her country. “I am writing to ask if the American Government would care to accept, as a gift, my house in London. It would make a magnificent
Winfield House Text by Maria Tuttle and Marcus Binney Photographs by James Mortimer embassy,” she presciently wrote. She had, she continued, received “offers form prospective purchasers… but I would be much happier not to sell it if you could use it as an embassy, as it is an American house, having been built with American money.” The book came about because of a chance conversation Mrs Tuttle had with the publisher Lord Weidenfeld, who remarked that he had dined at Winfield House with every American ambassador since John Hay Whitney in the 1950s. Mrs Tuttle, with her collaborators, has produced a beautiful publication with some remarkable photographs of the building. It would have been easy to leave the book at that, but Mrs Tuttle adds a personal touch by recording life in the residence.
Although already in a large format, there are several gatefolds and even double gatefolds offering an unprecedentedly detailed look at the fabulous designs and furnishings throughout the house. MB Thames & Hudson. 176 illustrations, 149 in colour. £32.
Elections: Surprising Similarities Across the Atlantic
The famous statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square. In 1951 the Labour Party received almost 1 percent more of the popular vote than the Conservatives, but ended up with 4 percent fewer seats. Churchill became PM again. PinkSony
ritish students are sometimes startled to hear that legislators in the United States often run in election campaigns where the personal agendas of the candidates overshadow centralized party political messages. Their eyebrows raise when presented with evidence that presidents, even of the same political party, may have negotiating to do and compromises to make with the legislature to have any success in turning their platform into working policies. And they purse their lips at the arcane structure of the Electoral College and its recently evidenced ability to leave the candidate with the most popular votes as the runner-up. “The voters can’t guarantee getting the policies they supported even if their party wins! They can’t be sure they get the leader that most of them vote for! Is that really democratic?”
The U.S. and British election systems are quite different, but they sometimes produce oddly similar outcomes says Philip John Davies, professor of American studies at De Montfort University, Leicester, and director of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, in this edited article, produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. In their turn, students in the U.S. find their suspicions raised by a British election system so dominated by party political manifestos that individual candidate characteristics make only marginal differences to the results. The level of control over policy demonstrated by an executive that operates inside the legislature concerns them. And when it comes to appointing the prime minister, they can be very surprised by the tenuous connection between the electorate and the selection process. “Almost no voters are involved in selecting the PM! The parties have immense control over the political agenda! Is that really democratic?”
Varying Views of Democracy
In the political lexicon, democracy is definitely a “hooray” word. Generally nations want to be identified as democratic, even if this might be
more PR than actuality. In the half century that Germany was divided, it was the Communist east that named itself Democratic Republic. But even nations that accept each others’ democratic credentials may design their systems very differently. The United Kingdom system remains geared to the centrality of party political competition. Modifications to party leadership selection in recent years have included the introduction of electoral colleges, intended to ensure a balance of representation between groups within the parties, and they undoubtedly owe something to lessons learned from across the Atlantic, but they are in no way built on the federalist principles at the center of the U.S. Electoral College. Nonetheless, the processes for choosing a British prime minister are every bit as arcane as those for choosing a president of the United States.
Some similarities do emerge in election results. The U.S. Electoral College offers potential victory to a candidate who does not have a majority of popular votes nationwide. This should be no mystery to British observers, since in none of the 17 UK general elections since the end of the Second World War has the winning party had a majority of the popular vote. Former PM John Prescott – perhaps he should have stuck with cute pets
The Significance of Small Numbers
The U.S. Electoral College winner may receive fewer votes than the runner-up. It does not happen very often, but the election of 2000 brought this feature into high relief. A similar thing can happen in UK general elections. In 1951 the Labour Party received almost 1 percent more of the aggregate popular vote than the Conservatives and their allies, but ended up with 4 percent fewer seats. The 2000 U.S. election brought home the potential significance of small numbers of votes in key states, when the outcome teetered for weeks on the Florida result. Again, similarities can be found in the UK. In 1964 Labour won 317 out of the 630 available seats, a majority of four seats over all other parties. One constituency was won by Labour by only seven votes, and three other close races in the same election were decided by 10, 11, and 14 votes, respectively. There is no doubt that observers in many countries will continue to find their perspectives on democracy broadened when they look across borders. Differences are real, can surprise, and provide a backdrop against which new perceptions can emerge. And it should never cease to be entertaining to observe the oddities of other political cultures and, through them, to notice the oddities at home. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. government.
Never work with children or animals
by Jo Cole
he golden rule for anyone in the public eye can prove problematic for politicians – after all, photos with cute kids and fluffy pets show a ‘softer side’ of even the hardest man. Politicians don’t always get it right. Photos of Gordon Brown chatting to primary school children may make him seem more approachable, but cast your mind back to John Prescott, then Deputy Prime Minister, holding someone’s baby for the photographers, only for an irate parent to snatch the child from him – that’s the picture which made it to the front pages. What about politicians’ using their own families for PR purposes. This is an area of much contention for their press team? Some years ago I was working for an MP in a high
profile campaign. Slipping in the polls, we suggested taking some photographers along to his daughter’s graduation party to prove his ‘family man’ credentials. He refused, saying it was a private event. Although we, his cynical PR team, were annoyed at the time, I now respect him for the decision. It’s all too easy to get children unwittingly involved for the benefit of a political campaign. Take the arrival onto the world stage of Sarah Palin. Following the announcement that she would be John McCain’s running mate, the media found out that her unmarried 17 year old daughter is pregnant. The immediate parading of her – and her bewildered 17 year old fiancé – on the stage at the Republican convention may have pushed the ‘ordinary family’ mes-
sage a little too heavily. Obama played the family card too at the Democrat convention, bringing his wife onto the stage to make a speech and speaking live to his children via a screen broadcast across the whole of America. The key message; we’re just ordinary folks like you. Here in the UK, Tony Blair was unfortunate that his 16 year old son Euan was found drunk in Leicester Square days after the then Prime Minister had announced measures to deal with young offenders. But instead of criticising his parenting skills, most members of the public saw this as proof that the Prime Minister was just ‘one of us guys’ – going through the same trials and tribulations as any other ordinary family. David Cameron has also recognised the value of showing voters his family man image, posting a video on his ‘webcameron’ of him rustling up the kids’ breakfast and doing the washing up like any old dad on any old day. Even the Liberal Democrats have jumped on the bandwagon, leader Nick Clegg well aware that no Party Conference is complete without photos of him happily patting his pregnant wife’s stomach.
So, how closely should politicians work with children and how off limits are their children to the press? Is it fair that the press is reprimanded for reporting stories on politician’s children but that politicians themselves can use them to promote their own image? We claim to morally disagree with our leaders using their children for ‘cynical’ photo shoots but then, as with all ‘celebrities’, we buy the papers detailing their lives. With politicians this is taken a step further – we believe we have a right to know everything about them and their family; after all, they’ll be the ones running our country and our lives? It’s a difficult situation which looks unlikely to be resolved. With the American Presidential race hotting up to boiling point and the likelihood of a General Election in the UK in the next couple of years, expect to see a lot more of politicians’ children in the press. We can only hope that they leave their pets out of it. Kitten not keen on the idea
U.S. National Security Tied To Public Diplomacy State Department Staff Writer Eric Green looks at how America can best present its image abroad.
he bipartisan U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy said in its June 2008 report Getting the People Part Right that the United States can “significantly enhance the quality and effectiveness of our nation’s outreach to foreign publics by recruiting for the public diplomacy career track in a more focused way.” The commission, created by Congress, said public diplomacy – “the effort to understand, inform and influence foreign publics in support of foreign policy objectives – has never been more important” to American security than it is now. It recommended that the State Department work harder to recruit people “who have experience and skills that are more directly relevant to the conduct of public diplomacy.” Barack Obama and John McCain each have offered ideas on the course U.S. public diplomacy should take. Matt Armstrong, author of the MountainRunner blog, says that James Glassman, the State Department’s new under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, is “really revising public diplomacy and taking it in the right direction. Glassman understands presenting America’s image abroad is ‘not a popularity contest’ but rather a ‘struggle for minds and wills.’ Armstrong said the U.S. public diplomacy effort “has never been about selling” America’s story, but instead is one
State Department Headquarters in Washington DC
incredibly important tool for bettering America’s image abroad. A key function of public diplomacy, he said, is countering misinformation spread about the United States. Armstrong said he supports calls to provide professional development training for specialists in public diplomacy.
Another report, The Collapse of American Public Diplomacy, surveyed former officers of the U.S. Information Agency. Author Kathy Fitzpatrick, a professor of public relations at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, says that USIA’s integration into the State Department in 1999 was a mistake. Fitzpatrick, a professor of public relations at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, said the United States needs a public diplomacy entity that is independent of the State Department and provides the “kind of autonomy, flexibility, and freedom of movement that the USIA had.” The professor, who is writing a book about the future of public diplomacy in the United States and worldwide, said that to depoliticize the public diplomacy effort, the United States must “figure out a way to transcend administrations with public diplomacy rather than have it reflect the current administration’s policies.”
One problem with U.S. public diplomacy today, she said, is the “emphasis on ‘selling.’ Public diplomacy should be about relationship building, not selling particular messages,” Fitzpatrick says, and praises what USIA’s director (1961-1964) Edward R. Murrow, dubbed “the last three feet” - interpersonal relations with people abroad. Joseph Nye, an international relations professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, says that he also considers the demise of USIA a mistake. Nye, author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, said that recreating USIA would cost a new U.S. president political capital. Nye says that capital would be better invested in a White House coordinator and strategist for public diplomacy. Using new media in public diplomacy poses the danger that slick messaging will come across as propaganda, Nye warns. The most important part of public diplomacy is “faceto-face relations,” and “catchy stories help draw attention, but slick production values do not produce credibility. A broad range of opinions, including dissent, creates credibility,” he says. Nancy Snow, associate professor of public diplomacy at Syracuse University, told America.gov that her employment with USIA in the 1990s made her a “fan of having an independent agency of the U.S. government responsible for telling America’s stories to the world.” Snow, whose books include Propaganda, Inc.: Selling America’s Culture to the World, said USIA and the State Department “have different objectives.” USIA, she said, was a “bit of a water carrier” by delivering, rather than creating messages; the State Department makes policy. “The intermixing of the two doesn’t seem to be working.” “We need to study what other countries are doing” on public diplomacy, Snow said, “and not copy their ways, but put together a toolkit of best practices.” See America.gov for the full versions of many of these articles.
Election Notes Psephologist Sir Robert Worcester looks forward to the election - and back to how expats got the vote
ever in my nearly forty years in this country have I ever seen any election generating as much interest as this American election. The Democratic convention got the Obama/Biden ticket off to a good start, but their lead was blown out of the water by Republican candidate John McCain’s announcement that the Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin would be his running mate. She’s pro-guns and anti-abortion, a life member of the National Rifle Association, a religious evangelist, deeply committed to ‘the right to life’, against abortion for any cause (shared by only 17% of Americans), a ‘creationist’ who wants to ban the evolution being taught in schools in Alaska. She electrified the convention with her barn-storming speech. I said in June that there were six reasons that I thought John McCain would likely lose the election, and it’s worth mentioning the first two in this context. First, that he celebrated his 72nd birthday in August and might not be able to stay the course, either in the gruelling campaign ahead, or a four-year term if elected. Either way, it is certainly unlikely that at 76 he would go for a second term. The second reason, following on from his age, was that this made the selection of a vice presidential candidate vitally important. If they’re elected on 4 November, she would take over in the event of his death
or incapacitation, but if he stays the course, she’s the likely Republican nominee in 2012. So where do the parties stand at this crucial point in the American Presidential election? At the end of the Democratic Convention their ‘bounce’ in the polls took them to seven points ahead of John McCain and Sarah Palin, at that stage no longer in this ‘statistical dead heat’. Now the McCain/Palin team stands with a two point lead. Where it counts however is not in the national polls we read and hear about, but in the individual states, and there the race is much closer, according to my source of American election all-you-want-to-know, the wonderful www.realclearpolitics.com. Check it out. When I wrote this, their experts, using state-wide polls in the swing states to make their best guess as to the outcome, gave Obama a tiny win, 273 to 265, certainly too close to call, as all it would take is a New Mexico (with just five electoral votes) to go for McCain instead of Obama, or a Colorado, with nine, to elect John McCain. There’s all to play for. Watch for my update in The American next month.
Footnote to History
When I arrived in this country in 1969, I was astonished to find that while I continued to be expected to pay taxes, I’d lost the right to vote.
Americans abroad had taxation without representation unless working for the US Government! In 1973, I formed a bipartisan committee of Democrats and Republicans we called TEAA, Tax Equity for Americans Abroad, and had a tea bag (which I carried around in my pocket for several years) to symbolise our loss of franchise. I was even pictured in Time Magazine holding the tea bag aloft. In 1974, the Democratic Party held a mid-term convention in Kansas City. The DA Chairman, the late Toby Hyde, and I, both from London, and a man from Paris and woman from Brussels were the delegates, and worked our way up to Boston’s Congressman Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. “You don’t have the vote?”, he asked. “I’m sure we can do something about that.” You’d better, we said, or we’ll come and dump tea in your harbour. President Ford signed the Overseas Citizens Voting Rights Act on 6th January 1977, and now you have the right to vote, so use it! Sir Robert Worcester is Founder of MORI .
Britain’s Best and Worst Roads … for keen drivers. The Snake Pass, the A57 from Sheffield to Glossop, has been voted as the country’s best driving road in a survey of some of the most enthusiastic sports car drivers in Britain. The poll, by British sports car manufacturer Caterham Cars, asked 1,687 Caterham Seven owners for their personal favourite – and least favourite – stretches of the 230,000 miles of blacktop in the UK. The best of the best were: lA 57 ‘Snake Pass’, Sheffield to Glossop lA 537 ‘Cat & Fiddle road’, Macclesfield to Buxton lA 18 ‘Mountain Section’, Isle of Man (not actually part of the UK) lA 4086 “Pass of Llanberis” Caernarfon to Capel Curig lA 817 Loch Lomond to Garelochhead l A87 Invergarry to Isle of Skye l B 3223 Dulverton to Lynton (Exmoor Forest) l B4100 Warwick to Banbury lA 35 Lyndhurst to Christchurch (New Forest) lA 686 Penrith to Alston (north Pennines) Part of the M25 – the clockwise section between Junction 5 and 21 – was voted as the worst road in the country by nearly a third of respondents. The next worst were: l M1 (all of it) l M6 Junctions 4 to 12 l A14 Cambridge to Peterborough l A303 from Andover onwards The American would like to point out that the A303, our HQ’s home territory, is not too bad if you pick your time well and avoid holiday changeover days. But if you are one of those caravan-towers who clog up our national arteries like cholesterol, please, please travel at 3 a.m. when sensible folks are asleep!
Cambridge Motor Sport ‘Blue’ O xford and Cambridge Universities have a long tradition of awarding ‘blues’ to sportsmen who represent those esteemed institutions. British Formula 3 driver Oliver Turvey has made history by receiving the first ever Cambridge Blue for motor sport. The Extraordinary Full Blue was presented to the 21 year-old racing driver and Cambridge engineering undergraduate at Silverstone. He is tipped as a potential future Formula 1 driver. Turvey is currently in the fourth year of his studies at Fitzwilliam College, studying Engineering. His Masters degree next year will be on F1 aerodynamics. “I’m immensely proud to be receiving this award,” he said. “It’s a huge honour for me personally, long overdue recognition for motorsport generally and is a welcome reflection of the tremendous support I’ve received over the years from so many people.”
Damon Hill, the 1996 F1 World Champion, attended the presentation and said “His commitment to his education, in addition to his driving career is unusual in motor sport and sets new standards of aspiration and attainment.”
Jeep Wins UK Offroader Awards Jeep has won three categories of the UK’s biggest test of 4x4 vehicles, both on and off-road. The group test run by 4x4 Magazine reviewed 67 vehicles for its annual ‘4x4 of the Year’ awards. John Carroll, the magazine’s editor, said: “The Jeep brand seems to offer something for everyone – a Defender-beating Wrangler for the hardcore off-roader. For family buyers, the new Cherokee was a revelation to our judges. The fuel efficient Patriot is a deserving winner for Budget 4x4. Priced from under £16,000, Jeep has clearly got its sums right.”
f you’re going to spend any amount of money on a car, any at all, surely it‘s better to get something that provides a sense of occasion. If a car is just a piece of functional machinery, to be used purely for practical reasons and all emotion is excised from the equation, then go join a car club or buy a second hand delivery van and save money. If not, then whatever we like to tell ourselves, image and emotion play a big part in our automotive selections. That, in a nutshell, is what this Cadillac is for. In the premium sedan (or saloon) market, the CTS doesn’t do anything that Audi, Jaguar, BMW or Mercedes, don’t do. In some ways, like outright handling and performance, it isn’t perhaps as good as them by purely objective measures. But the CTS gives you a unique American style in an increasingly homogenous world. The German manufacturers used to refined their visual design almost too far, so sophisticated that they became anodyne. Slight differences in trim or roofline were trumpeted as major advances. Then Chris Bangle took over the design seat at BMW and suddenly car design had to be confrontational. His work is often described as ‘polarising’. That means a lot of people don’t like it. But it also seems to have lost its connection to BMW’s ethos of ‘driver’s car above all else’. Audi have gone another route by slapping an old, too-
Cadillac CTS large grille onto every model. Without that face, would you know what the rest of the car was? For this article I purposely didn’t road test the CTS. I people tested it. The difference? I took as many friends, American as well an British, for a ride in it over a hectic weekend. I asked passers-by and school-run moms what they thought of it. I drove it in the countryside and the urban melee of central London and watched other peoples’ reactions to the Cadillac and to other cars around us. And there were reactions to the CTS. Seldom to the rest of the traffic. It’s not the rarity, I believe, it’s the striking, bold good looks. The willingness to go its own way, to use sharp lines, angular lights, lots of chrome, big muscular wheel arches filled with shiny alloy wheels, more chrome… The car in the photos is very red. The car we actually drove was very black. The weather we took pictures in was very – well, you know what it’s been like in the season we laughably call summer 2008. That’s why we’re not using the photos we took. I’d like you to see the Cadillac. The only passers-by that didn’t register a reaction to the CTS were
those who were deliberately not giving one. It’s not a car to ignore, visually speaking. And nobody was anti-. The interior is a design success too. The design is coherent and stylish. Sure it’s bold and in your face, but that’s fine, it is what it is and it’s not ashamed. Very American, in a good way. One particular thrill for the junior contingent is nudging the button to pop the satellite navigation/entertainment system screen up out of the dash. From construction workers to members of the elite Pilgrims organization, from the guys drinking outside the Dorset boozer to the sophisticates sipping espresso outside a Mayfair coffee shop, from moms to foxes, the general feeling was that the CTS deserves to be a success in the market it has been redesigned for – Europe.
Land Rover Freelander 2 W
e have a family tradition. There’s a steam fair close to our home and we go every year. You know the sort of thing, steam powered agricultural engines steaming, show engines gleaming, heavy horses ploughing, vintage car enthusiasts enthusing, kids on fairground rides screaming, cider drinkers seeing double, bees make honey on exhibition stalls and an American Bald Eagle flies overhead (no, really!). Actually you won’t have been to another steam fair quite like this. The Great Dorset Steam Fair, to give it its full title is the biggest one of its kind in the world. Bigger than anything in the States, even, so they say. The GDSF (or Stourpaine as the locals call it, despite the fact that it hasn’t been held in that particular sleepy village for many years) is held on 600 acres of mid-Dorset downland fields. Another differentiator between this and other field-based entertainments is the dust. Well, it
starts as dust. A very fine, chalky, talcum powder of a dust which lies, after the harvest has finished, on a chalk and flint base. But give it a sprinkling of a shower and just as Mogwai turned into a Gremlin the light dusting mutates instantly into a layer of the slippiest, trickiest mud. It’s never deep, but it doesn’t have to be. Vehicles don’t sink axle-deep into it, they just start spinning wheels and sliding sideways. The people who work at Stourpaine – the volunteer marshals (generally local farmers), the safety and security crews and the traders on the stalls selling rusty old who-knowswhats - know this and they choose their cars with care. There’s usually a good showing of older Japanese 4x4s towing caravans, the real farmers have Land Rover Defenders and the gentry have Jeep Grand Cherokees and Range Rovers. They need space and genuine off road ability. If you’re in a muddy, rutted field, you don’t
want to have to walk miles back to the farm house, get out the tractor and pull your shiny new car out of the mire. We have another family tradition at this time of year. I phone a mate at one of the manufacturers and arrange a review car that just happens to be an SUV. This time the lovely Lindsey at Land Rover (Lovely Lindsey at Land Rover? That’s a traditional English folk song isn’t it? But I digress…) came up trumps and offered a latest-version Freelander 2. Now, that posed a few questions. Unlike ‘proper’ Land Rovers, the Freelander 2 doesn’t have a transfer box or low range gearbox and some reviewers – generally the ones who don’t go further off road than the potholed car park outside their local pub – reckon it’s a soft-roading sham. And I had a personal concern, in that I didn’t much like the first iteration of the Freelander when it came out – not great looking, not
American eagle meets horespower from all ages – fronted by Land Rover’s latest. All pictures on this page Sabrina Sully
reliable, not much space inside and not very memorable. Imagine my surprise, then, when two things happened. First, barreling up to Stourpaine, we saw quite a few Freelander 2s being used not by visitors but by the people working there. Did they know something? And secondly, I liked the F2. More than liked it – the F2 is bigger than the last model, a far better proposition away from pavement, and more reliable. Inside it’s like a mini-Range Rover, and very well put together. I thought it would be too small for our family of four, plus a disabled relative who has difficulty getting in and out of cramped cars, plus two big dogs in the cargo area and a nervous whippet on someone’s lap. Miraculously, no-one complained, not even the pooches. Kids and adults alike commented – unprompted – that the rear seats were super-comfortable. The F2 is streets ahead of its compact-tomedium sized SUV competition.
Which brings up the question of what is its competition? The top priced Nissan X-Trail, functionally a very similar proposition, is stickered between £19,650 and £26,720. The Freelander runs from £21,235 to £32,895. Not a quantum shift, but enough to put it in a different category, especially when Jeep’s similarly-sized budget Patriot is almost half the price and the F2’s big sister Discovery 3 can be had for £29,950 before negotiating. But the Freelander has more character than the Patriot or X-Trail, and is better finished than them. It handles brilliantly for a tall SUV. Broken up roads and potholes, our typical environment in south Wiltshire, don’t worry it at all. It just takes care of business, feeling gutsy and perky, with a friendly, gruff sounding, capable four cylinder turbo diesel engine.
In the interests of balance and fair reporting I have tried to come up with some quibbles. Here goes. Of the two sun roofs, only the front one opens. The full-size spare wheel lives under the trunk floor – convenient, but it takes up a huge amount of space and it makes the trunk floor very high for dogs to jump up to – could Land Rover have hung it out back on the rear door? The solid headrests make rear over-the-shoulder vision difficult at some junctions. The fuel consumption was disappointing: on the EU combined cycle F2 is supposed to do around 37mpg, but I only managed 29mpg in mostly out of town work. Oh, and the colour of our test car, a blue-steel-grey, was not very successful. In fact several people took an active dislike to it. Funny, when silver is normally innocuous at worst, and it looks stunning in other colours, notably black. If those are the only criticisms we can level at the Freelander 2, then Land Rover have got it dead right. H
Back of the Future Reggie Bush and the New Orleans Saints visit London this October to play the San Diego Chargers. Earlier this year, Richard Gale got a chance to chat with him
I think this is natural coming out of college, I had such a great career there, people naturally expected me to do those same things right away, and it’s been different. Everybody’s different – some guys come into the NFL and just tear it up right away, other guys it takes them a year or two or three to get to that point, and I think that’s what’s happening to me right now. It’s just taking a little bit of time, but I feel this year is definitely going to be the year.
eggie Bush sits in his hotel suite looking fresh, dapper, but just a little business like. He’s in the middle of a whistlestop tour of Europe, and has paused the vacation to promote this year’s Wembley game. I figure he’s been trying to get away from sport, right? Well, not entirely... Did you stay awake for the NBA Finals? I tried to. It’s funny you mention that. I actually didn’t know it was coming on out here – I was calling around trying to figure out where to watch the game. My girlfriend was already asleep. I was on a computer about to go to sleep and the game starts coming on and I was like ‘oh dang’ and started watching – I fell asleep about half time. I woke back up and I saw Paul Pierce hugging the trophy. Going back to the USC days, I used to have to give up a night’s sleep to watch a West Coast game. Yuh, it’s tough for people on the East Coast to watch our games, so I know it’s got to be tough for you guys. What do you do to relax? Sleep. I go home and sleep. I have a house in Los Angeles, so when I’m not in New Orleans I try to go back home and enjoy the beautiful view. You won a lot at USC, and also with the Saints your first year. Was last year difficult or frustrating from a winning perspective?
Bush’s Saints and Ladainian Tomlinson’s San Diego Chargers meet up at Wembley Stadium October 26.
Yeah it was. We didn’t have the season we had hoped to follow up with, so it was a little disappointing for us to not be able to have as good or better season. So we hope to get back to that. Has it helped sharing the backfield with Deuce McAllister, because at USC you were sharing the backfield there. Is this a similar situation? It is, just because [at USC] I was sharing time, and coming to the Saints, I’m still doing the same thing, so it’s a similar situation for me, and I feel like I’m well equipped for those sort of situations. But I still enjoy it because it allows me to move all over the place. Some people have been disappointed by your numbers as a pro – were statistical expectations too high considering the presence of Deuce?
Do you two coexist easily? We’re good. We’re good friends, we don’t have any animosity towards each other. If anything we’re there to help each other and make each other do better. Do you look forward to a time as the undisputed no.1 instead of 1a? Yeah definitely, I look forward to that. I feel that’s going to happen. It could be this year, could be next year, but with a lot of hard work and dedication, yeah. The year you came to New Orleans was the recovery year from Katrina. The Saints ownership locked the team into activities quite heavily. What have you been involved in? I adopted a special needs school for kids with learning disabilities, donated 56k to them through my sponsor adidas, and there’s also a local football stadium that allows a high school to play games there, and that was destroyed by Katrina, and was able to work with my sponsors to donate 86k to them.
Do you think college players should be allowed to go pro earlier, to ease financial pressure on their families? I think three years is good, because the NFL is such a different level, that I think you need at least 3 years to learn enough experience before you go into the draft. Even from somewhere like USC? I definitely think so. It’s two totally different levels. I’m also thinking about [ex-USC and now ex-NFL WR] Mike Williams’ situation, petitioning to get into the NFL early after his sophomore year. It’s tough sitting out a whole year, not playing for a whole year. He didn’t get to play football at all. But you definitely need three years.
”Coming out of college, I had such a great career, people naturally expected me to do the same thing, and it’s been different”
After he was denied early entry, do you think it was harsh for him not being able to come back to USC? I thought that was a little harsh because at the end of the day he tried to get in the league and it didn’t work out, so they should have allowed him to come back to college, not make him sit out a year and not do anything. That’s hurting him. How simple would it be to just allow him to come back and play another year and not ruin his whole career, seemingly, by making him sit out a whole year.
Images: ©NFL PARTNERS.
Do you think the amateur status of college athletes is outdated? Do you think there should be a little something coming back to the players? Definitely, because the athletes generate thousands or millions of dollars every game, especially when you have stadiums that hold like 90k plus and they’re selling out every game, making millions just off ticket sales alone, then TV and marketing endorsements and the players are sitting there playing for free. Theyre putting their bodies on the line every game. H
waiting puck drop for the
Dave Reginek, Detroit Red Wings
by Jeremy Lanaway
Niklas Lidstrom holds the Stanley Cup aloft. Can the Red Wings go back-to-back?
he snick of metal slicing ice at prospects camps around the United States and Canada signals the prologue to another season of NHL action. Pundits have spent hours poring over the blooming rosters in an attempt to predict the schedule’s eventual winners and losers, but when the puck drops in Prague on 4th October, signalling the start to the 2008-09 season, all bets will be off. Nevertheless, it’s part of tradition to dissect the teams and their chances, so without further ado, here’s a breakdown.
After relinquishing the Stanley Cup to the Detroit Red Wings, the Eastern Conference is looking to return the silver chalice to the NHL’s right hemisphere. No doubt, the charge will be led by last season’s runners-up, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went through a second puberty during their run last spring. Despite losing forwards Marian Hossa and Ryan Malone in the off-season, the team is still laden with offensive talent, with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the drive to the net. Backing up Crosby and Malkin – as well as Petr Sykora, Jordan Staal, and Miroslav Satan – are defensive stalwarts Brooks Orpik and Hal Gill, who will provide the mortar in the Penguins’ rear wall, and netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, who will supply the bricks. For some extra offense, add a pinch of the team’s north-rushing defenceman, Sergei Gonchar, last season’s second-ranked points-getter among the league’s blue-liners. However, the Penguins won’t just have to do battle with twenty-nine other teams to return to the Cup final in 2009 – they’ll also need to do battle with history, which shows that getting past the first round of the playoffs after making it all the way to the last dance
in the previous post-season is next to impossible. In fact, since 1996, only one team has managed to advance beyond the first round after coming second in the previous playoffs, and they – the Dallas Stars – didn’t make it past the second round. ‘I don’t think you can really worry about it,’ Crosby said. ‘You have to look at things short-term. When you go that far, you start the next season thinking, “we have to get back there,” but the process of the season doesn’t change because you were there the year before. If anything, you have to use the experience you’ve gained to your advantage.’ Something was rotten in the state of Florida last year, and the Tampa Bay Lightning paid a stiff price for the stench, ultimately finishing dead last in the standings. Refusing to linger over their failing, however, the team initiated its retooling process by signing top draft pick Steven Stamkos. The Lightning’s roster was further bolstered by the inking of forwards Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi, Adam Hall, Vaclav Prospal, and Radim Vrbata. Most importantly, for the first time in several years, the Lightning will ice a legitimate starting goalie in Mike Smith, whom they acquired from the Stars at last season’s trade deadline. Can the busiest summer in sixteen campaigns reverse the Lightning’s fate? What about the Boston Bruins, who will welcome back their top scorer, Patrice Bergeron, who was forced to watch last season from the press box due to recurring concussion symptoms? And let’s not forget about the New Jersey Devils, who will once again rely on their Vezina Trophy-winning goalie, Martin Brodeur, to frustrate opposing teams with his game-stealing puck-stops. Oh, and there’s no ruling out the New York Rangers, who have replaced Jaromir Jagr and Brendan
Shanahan with forwards Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev, and Dan Fritsche, while adding Wade Redden and Dmitri Kalinin to their back end.
”The recently revamped Chicago Blackhawks are looking to further their renaissance and earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2002.” Western Conference
The Western Conference has won two Stanley Cups in a row, and it’s a safe bet that its teams have no intention of letting the mug migrate to the east in 2009. The question is – will the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Detroit Red Wings, suffer from a ‘Cup hangover’ and fizzle down the stretch run next spring as so many teams have done before them? Or will they buck the trend and maintain their dominance in back to back seasons? Hossa, who turned down a seven-year offer by the Penguins in order to sign a one-year deal in Hockeytown, USA, is confident that the Red Wings will have what it takes to resurrect dynasties in the NHL. ‘I wanted the best chance to win the Stanley Cup and I feel like Detroit is the team,’ Hossa explained. ‘I know I could get more money somewhere else, but the thing that I was looking for was to win the Stanley Cup.’ The recently revamped Chicago Blackhawks are looking to further their renaissance and earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2002. The playoffs eluded the Blackhawks by three points last season, but with the off-season additions of defence-
man Brian Campbell and goaltender Cristobal Huet, the team suddenly looks poised to revive their glory days, especially if wunderkind Patrick Kane, last season’s Calder Trophy winner, and fellow prodigy Jonathan Toews stay on course to superstardom. The Dallas Stars welcomed centreman Brad Richards last February at the trade deadline, and their hospitality was rewarded in the playoffs when Richards tallied fifteen points in eighteen games, helping the squad to come within two wins of reaching the Stanley Cup finals. The Stars fell just short last season, but they fully expect to pick up where they left off, and with the help of team scoring leader Mike Ribeiro, superlative goaltender Marty Turco, and the leadership troika of Mike Modano, Brendan Morrow, and Sergei Zubov, the team’s expectations are realistic. The San Jose Sharks have great expectations. They’ve made a habit of amassing points in recent years – in fact, their totals have been second only to the Detroit Red Wings over the past three seasons – but for some reason they’ve faltered in the playoffs. Can the league’s best passer, Joe Thornton, translate his regular season magic to the playoffs? Can Jonathan Cheechoo find the net like he did in 2006-06? Can Patrick Marleau remain consistent for a full year? Can the team find secondary scoring? If the answer turns out to be ‘yes’ on all counts, the Sharks will have a good chance of bringing the Stanley Cup back to California. However, the key word in the above sentence is ‘chance’, and that’s exactly what every team in the NHL has at its disposal starting on 4th October – a chance to win games and earn points, a chance to remain competitive throughout the season, a chance to earn a playoff spot, and finally a chance to start the long journey through the post-season to the Stanley Cup. H
Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London, by Rebel. Reb plans a dog and bone party with a difference
’m organizing a dog and bone party for my dog pals and it’s really become a burn in the tail. The idea came from She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually who once attended a dog and bone party with her poodle, Triste, at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires given by the Ambassador’s Collie to celebrate the birth of her six Argentine puppies. There was a table with tea and fancy sandwiches and cakes for humans and another one with bones for every size dog invited. It was difficult for Triste because She-Who-MustBe-Obeyed-Usually had found her dirty and frightened eating from garbage only two weeks before and suddenly she’s attending a social event with the cream of Argentine dog society. She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually believed she was a mongrel until she took her to a dog
beauty parlour to be washed and groomed and they discovered under all the dirty tangled hair she was a black poodle who would have won ribbons if she had papers. As it turned out, she was the best behaved dog there and another poodle and a Scotch terrier got into a fight over her. But, back to my dog and bone party. If you thought humans were particular about food because of allergies, you haven’t met my dog friends. One is a vegetarian, another only eats the dark meat of chicken, the other is allergic to liver and one insists it must be organic only. I mean, honestly. But then, this morning, Lotus, a white Persian cat who belongs to a good friend of SheWho-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually, telephones to say, “I am terribly hurt, darling Rebel, because I’m one of your best friends and you haven’t invited me.” Firstly, I’m not a best friend of Lotus or any of her meowing friends, but I daren’t say that in fear of what she might do the next time SheWho-Must-BeObeyed-Usually takes me when she visit’s her mistress for tea. Admittedly,
Lotus is the most beautiful Persian I’ve seen, as well as the vainest, but she weighs twenty pounds compared to my thirteen. One swipe of her paw and I’ll be flying across the Thames. I, reluctantly, agreed Lotus could come provided she stayed in a cage for her “own safety”...ha! She assures me it won’t be a problem because she can’t stand my “scroungy dog friends” whose form of greeting is smelling their...which I shall not go into. My menu will include organic biscuits, organic chicken and free range beef. The dog biscuits will be bought from the same baker who baked for Prince William and Prince Harry’s parties whose shop is near our flat. I bought wild Alaskan salmon for Lotus and her friend Mortimer, a Maine Coon Cat, whom she insists on bringing and will serve everything on paper plates with pictures of dogs as well as six Doggie bowls for water which read on the sides, There is nothing like a Dog as a Friend! To be continued... H
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The Fulbright Advisory Service is the only officially recognised source of information on U.S. education in the UK and part of the EducationUSA global advising network. It is pleased to announce its 31st annual USA College Day, the opportunity for prospective students (whether a U.S. citizen or from abroad) to meet admissions officers and alumni from nearly 100 Ivy League universities, liberal arts colleges, state universities, community colleges and American universities based in Europe.
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To attend FREE OF CHARGE, register online at www.fulbright. co.uk/eas. (£2 on the door.) For information call +44 (0)20 7404 6994 or e-mail EAS at firstname.lastname@example.org. USA College Day. Saturday, September 27th at The Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, London WC1 from 10:00am to 3:00pm.
Our villa with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms sleeping 10 comfortably, offers everything required for a wonderful experience including complete privacy and lovely scenic views. The en-suite master and double bedroom’s access the pool and patio privately. The 3 twin bedrooms access the pool via the large vaulted ceiling lounge and breakfast nook. The formal dining room and front entrance looks onto greenbelt nature reserve. There are several new excellent licensed restaurants within a two-minute drive. Nearby is the beautiful Omni resort featuring three golf courses and the famous village of Celebration. The kids will love the tropical pool resort with lazy river, water slide, hot spa pool, sun decks, licensed restaurant, pool bar, and games room. The 18-fairway course is considered one of the finest in the United States. Driving to Tampa/Clearwater beaches or the Atlantic Coast takes just over an hour. Access to and from Orlando, Sanford, and Tampa/ Clearwater international airports is less than an hour’s drive.
To view additional photos please visit our web site at www.floridavillaholiday.org For enquiries please contact us by telephone in the UK (01494-772379) or from USA (44 1494-772379) or email email@example.com You will love our beautiful villa!
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Published on Jun 4, 2009
The American has been published in Britain since 1976. It is the only monthly magazine / website / community for Americans visiting and livi...