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The American Issue 678 – october 2009 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 +44 (0)1747 830520 email@example.com Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining email@example.com Mary Bailey, Social firstname.lastname@example.org Cece Mills, Arts email@example.com Jarlath O’Connell, Theater firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Gale, Sports Editor email@example.com Dom Mills, Motorsports firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey email@example.com Riki Evans Johnson, European firstname.lastname@example.org
n this issue, I hope you find a lot of fun and informative things to read. Along with our regular news, features and reviews, we have a spooky seasonal look at Halloween and where its traditions came from. We also bring you a more serious piece, an in-depth look behind the political veils at the Lockerbie bomber release story, written by Alison Holmes. Whatever the facts of the case, and whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure. We must not let this issue damage what Ambassador Louis Susman, the United States’ new representative in the UK, recently called “a unique partnership, rooted in the rich soil of our free societies.” That is the special relationship between the USA and the UK. We must all – American and British alike – work especially hard to keep this special relationship alive and strengthen it where we can, to keep our two nations free. I hope The American can play its own small part in doing so. Enjoy your magazine and website,
Michael Burland, Editor
SoME oF THIS MoNTH’S CoNTRIBUToRS
©2009 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed by Advent Colour Ltd., 19 East Portway Industrial Estate, Andover, SP10 3LU www.advent-colour.co.uk Main cover image: Halloween pumpkins – a transatlantic tradition. Inset: Debbie Allen, who is bringing Cat On A Hot Tin Roof to London
Alison Holmes is The American’s Transatlantic Political Correspondent and the Pierre Keller Fellow of Transatlantic Studies at Yale University.
Brian Jones is a family history researcher who has found some strange and spooky causes of death in the course of his studies.
Jarlath O’Connell is an Olivier Award judge and The American’s theater reviewer. His honest reviews tell you what’s hot – and what’s not.
Don’t forget to check out The American online at www.theamerican.co.uk 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... TheAmerican•Issue678•October2009
News L otsofactivityatairforcebasespastandpresent,plusafarewellto TedKennedy
10 Music Live&Kicking–somegreatbandsaretouringthismonth
12 Diary Dates ThereisalwayssomuchtodointheUK,anytimeofyear.Here’s The American’sselectionofthemostinterestingthismonth
15 halloween WhydoweputlampsintopumpkinsandTrickorTreat?Michael BurlandexploresthediversehistoryofHalloween 17 Tales of Interment England’sburialregisterscontainsomefascinating–andmacabre –informationabouthowpeopledied,ﬁndsgenealogistBrianJones 18 Vampires Rise Again They’reanenduringmyth,butTempleUniversity’sPeterLogan explainshowvampireshavemutatedinpopularculture
19 Going Bats in Britain Anotherscarypage?Forgetit!MaryBaileysaysthatbatsare wonderfullittlecreatures
PHOTO: RICHARD & SUSY GOODWIN
20 Coffee Break Takeabreakwithourfunfacts,quiz andcartoon
22 Wining & Dining AGiraﬀe,aCakeBoy,afabulousrestaurant inSurreyandtemptingdessertrecipes 29 Arts Allthebestartnewsandreviews
37 Reviews ThehugelytalentedAlanCumming’slatest showishitandmiss,Katrina (A Play of New Orleans)isvibrantandJerusalemisa gem.PlusinterviewswithauthorEdward Rutherfurdabouthislatestblockbuster ‘New York’andDebbieAllenonherblack castingofCat On A Hot Tin Roof
15 19 12
45 Politics AlisonHolmes,Yaleacademicandpolitical commentator,looksatthepoliticalbackgroundbehindthereleaseofthe‘Lockerbie bomber’AbdelBassetAlial-Megrahi 47 Drive Time ABritishteamhasbrokenaLandSpeed Recordmorethanacenturyold–powered bysteam! 49 sports JeremyLanawaypickssomedivisional hopefulsinourNHLpreview,British Basketballisback,andMarkRyantellsthe taleofthereigningOlympicChampionsof Rugby...theUSA!
56 American Organizations Yourcomprehensiveguideandaproﬁleof theJuniorLeagueofLondon 64 Paw Talk Rebel’sdogblog,onhowtotreatahound inahotel
PHOTO: RICHARD & SUSY GOODWIN
n September 13, Duxford hosted the last mass reunion of the British Normandy Veterans Association. Over 1000 veterans and guests attended this poignant and historic day, including British comedian Eddie Izzard, a supporter and honorary member of the Association. Veterans enjoyed exciting flying displays by The Blades and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and a rousing performance by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. The day ended with a sunset ceremony during which the veterans remembered their fallen comrades.
Duxford Goes to War photographic exhibition
uxford has opened an evocative new exhibition of photographs showing how RAF Duxford prepared for the looming conflict of World War II. The images come from the Imperial War Museum’s extensive archives, together with rare photographs on public display for the first time. These unique snapshots show how Duxford changed during the days leading up to the outbreak of war on September 3, 2009.
Duxford Celebrates American Air Day
he last few weeks have been hectic at RAF Duxford, the home of the Imperial War Museum’s Air museum. On August 21, over 6000 visitors enjoyed American Air Day, the United States Air Force’s opportunity to show off its equipment and capabilities to one and all in a fun day out. The 2009 show boasted fly pasts by current USAF aircraft, including a MC-130 H/P transport, KC-135 tanker, F-15 Eagle fighter jet and HH-60 helicopter. The flying displays showcased some legendary American aircraft including an F-86 Sabre, the iconic P-51 Mustang, a Stearman and a Cub. There were exciting ground displays by USAFE personnel, including a security forces display, munitions display and a military working dog demonstration. On the airfield, there were demonstrations of a parachute jump and a combat
search and rescue demonstration. The record crowds, British and American, civilian families and military personnel, also enjoyed the displays of classic American cars and motorbikes, and performances by USAFE’s own rock band, Touch ‘n’ Go. Major General Mark R Zamzow, Vice Commander of the 3rd Air Force, said, “We had a great day out at Duxford, and we really enjoyed getting to put on a show for our British friends and neighbors. Our hosts at Duxford provided a fantastic venue, with a real historical significance that serves to inform visitors of the long and vital partnership enjoyed between the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Air Force. We hope that everyone who came out enjoyed what they saw and got to know a little more about the U.S. Air Force and the history of aviation in the U.K”.
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F-15E Strike Eagles based at RAF Lakenheath launch ﬂares during a training mission. US AIR FORCE/STAFF SGT. TONY R. TOLLEY
Lakenheath Night Training
ighter aircraft from the 48th Fighter Wing, based at RAF Lakenheath, began flying night training missions recently. They have announced that, while night flying will halt for the month of October, it will resume in November and continue until early Spring. Flight operations are expected to be completed no later than 10pm each night. These night flights provide aircrew the opportunity to conduct essential training that could not otherwise be accomplished. The Air Force say that this training is integral to ensuring the safety of American Airmen and the coalition forces troops they support at wartime locations around the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mildenhall Change of Command
ol. Chad T. Manske has taken over command of the United State Air Force’s 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall. Col. Manske received the Wing guidon from Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, Third Air Force Commander, as he takes command of the wing during a ceremony in hangar 814 at Mildenhall on September 9. Outgoing Commander Brig. Gen. Eden J. Murrie will be the next Special Assistant to the vice chief of staff at Headquarters US Air Force, Washington D.C.
Vote for Franklin
ranklin Battlefield, that is: you can help protect an area of national importance simply by voting online in a cookie company’s competition. A conservation group in Franklin, Tennessee has had remarkable success in acquiring portions of the historic 1864 Battle of Franklin battlefield property. The battle was a turning point of the American Civil War, and a devastating blow to the Confederate States Army, which suffered 6,252 casualties, of which 1,750 were dead including no fewer than six generals. The land on which the battle was fought has been developed with golf courses, strip centers, and other structures. The Franklin’s Charge (www. franklinscharge.com) group is leading efforts to buy up those properties, remove the ‘improvements’, and restore the property to its 1864 appearance. Thus far, in cooperation with the City of Franklin, CWPT, ABPP, and other preservation groups, over $5,000,000 has been
Artist’s impression of how the battleﬁeld site will look after restoration BEN JOHNSON
raised to purchase a golf course which is currently being restored as a battlefield park. A Pizza Hut site was purchased and has been restored to park property. Currently, the group is working on acquiring additional property in Franklin. Now local company, Christie Cookies, is offering $10,000 to the not-for-profit that receives the most email votes in a competition that they are running online. Franklin’s Charge is asking anyone interested in civil war preservation to vote for them and help get the word out about their cause. To vote for them, go to www. ilovechristiecookies.com/contest/form.asp and select “Franklin’s Charge”. (Of course you could vote for any of the other candidates too!) The contest permits one vote per email address and Christie Cookies promise the only subsequent emails you will receive will be to update you on the results. The deadline for votes is 11:59pm, Central Time, October, 15.
Ambassador Lays Wreath, Greets Americans in Britain
mbassador Susman has started his tenure with a series of meetings and events, none more meaningful and important than the laying of a wreath to honor the British victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 67 Britons died in the atrocities in 2001. Ambassador and Mrs Susman laid the wreath at a memorial in Grosvenor Square (home to the Embassy) on the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. Later on September 11, he spoke at a concert in Grosvenor Square organized by the British Memorial Garden Trust. Another concert was held simultaneously at the British Garden at Hanover Square, New York City. Speaking of the special relationship between the USA and the UK, he said it is “a unique partnership, rooted in
the rich soil of our free societies. As we gather this evening in quiet and loving remembrance of those lost, I pledge to you my best efforts to strengthen and extend this partnership.” The Ambassador can be seen greeting the American community in the UK on a YouTube video at: http://london. usembassy.gov/ukamb/susman004. html. In the clip he says that he and his wife of fifty years Marjorie are here as a team to further the interests of the United States in the United Kingdom. He again stresses that the special relationship between the two nations is of the highest importance, and tells Americans living here that “Your participation and your successes in the United Kingdom’s community have been instrumental in making the special relationship what it is today”.
New Embassy Plans
Plans for the new US Embassy in London have passed an important milestone. Ambassador Susman has welcomed Wandsworth Council’s resolution to grant outline planning permission for the building in the Nine Elms area south of the River Thames. He said the resolution recognizes the positive role the new Embassy will play in the regeneration of Nine Elms, adding, “The four shortlisted architects in the competition have all displayed a commitment to the highest caliber of architectural design and we are confident that they will produce nothing less than world-class proposals for the new Embassy building when they present to the jury in January 2010”. www.usembassy.org.uk The Ambassador and Mrs Susman lay a wreath on 9/11 anniversary
Space Grads: New Program Prepares Next Generation of Space Professionals
he University of Houston has unveiled ‘a new path for students looking to reach the stars’. This fall marks the beginning of the Master’s of Human Space Exploration Sciences, a one-of-a-kind program to equip students who aspire to work in the space industry. “There is nothing like this anywhere,” said William Paloski, professor of health and human performance. “For a person to learn the kinds of things that will be taught in this program, they literally would have to receive on-the-job-training in many different professional positions, which is very unlikely.” Paloski comes to UH from NASA where he researched biomechanics and the impact of space flight on astronauts. This research has application to the elderly and those who are mobilitychallenged. Courses will include physiology programs to understand how space flight affects the body, techniques for building and testing hardware used for space flight and how humans may adapt to living in the extreme environments of the moon or Mars. There also is a management component and courses on the history of the space program.
EDWARD M. KENNEDY February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009 “And the last shall be first”
he weekend of John Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961, the president gave his youngest brother, the last born of Joe and Rose Kennedy’s children, a cigarette box with those words engraved. Neither of them knew at the time how prophetic they would become. Even before President Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy were killed in their prime, many had assumed Ted Kennedy would someday attempt a claim on the White House. To the admirers of the Kennedy legend, it was almost his destiny. They were mistaken.
Rumours of his affairs, his first wife’s drinking problems, stories from his past and finally, the long shadow of Chappaquiddick were barriers neither he nor his admirers could push aside. Yet, in the end, the failure to become president opened up doors for him that few ex-presidents ever obtain. As someone wrote, elder statesmanship is not a substitute for power. While most ex-presidents live in the shadow of the man who replaced them, Kennedy made an imprint on everything from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009. During his time in the Senate, he was the force behind the Freedom of Information Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Disabilities Act. He helped Soviet dissenters and fought against apartheid when too many members in the Senate and Congress did their best to ignore it. For four decades he fought for universal coverage of health care and suffered the slings and arrows of Republicans who are strongly against it. Yet, because of that battle, he helped expand neighbourhood clinics, practically invented the COBRA SYSTEM for portable insurance and helped create the laws that provide Medicare prescriptions and family leave.
His was the voice of progressivism in a conservative age. And few can deny that it was his endorsement of the Senator from Illinois that persuaded the Democrats to nominate Barack Obama as their candidate rather than Senator Hilary Clinton which placed Obama in the White House. Ironically, Kennedy will be remembered more in the future than many of those who achieved the presidency. Most of them fade away into minor oblivion. They make money by giving lectures, play golf or do minor tasks for the president such as going to North Korea to help free two female journalists. Jimmy Carter won the Nobel prize, but that was the biggest achievement made by most former presidents. Edward M. Kennedy, except for the last few weeks before his death on August 25th, was a working senator to the end. Like or hate him, this man who became known as the “Lion of the Senate” was not a man who was ignored even at his funeral which was attended by senators from both sides of the Senate and every living former president except one. His father Joe Kennedy dreamed of one his sons becoming president, yet, it was his youngest who tried and failed who will be best remembered by future historians. H
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Jimmy Webb and The Webb Brothers – and Grandpa too Jimmy Webb is one of the outstanding songwriters of any age. He’s the only artist ever to win Grammys for music, lyrics, and orchestration, including Song of The Year. He’s been covered by Presley, Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Barbra Streisand, R.E.M., Linda Ronstadt, the Supremes and Art Garfunkel among others. He also performs beautiful renditions of his own classics like By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, and Galveston. Now Jimmy, his father Bob, and Jimmy’s sons Christiaan, Justin, James and Cornelius (The Webb Brothers) perform as a three-generation family band for the first and final time in the UK, playing Jimmy’s classics and Webb Brothers tunes. Their debut record together, Cottonwood Farm, is released this month. Dates: November 1st Brighton Dome; 2nd Manchester Bridgewater Hall; 8th Birmingham Symphony Hall; 9th London lyceum Theatre.
Donna McKechnie one woman show The legendary Donna McKechnie, one of Broadway’s foremost dancing and singing stars, brings her new one woman show to Pizza on the Park. My Musical Comedy Life (Part 2), with Nathan Martin on piano. October 13th through 24th, Pizza on the Park, 11 Knightsbridge, London SW1. The American has an exclusive interview with Donna next month.
LIVE AND KICKING
± Jump into the Passion Pit
Following the popular and critical success of their highly acclaimed debut album ‘Manners’ and festival dates earlier in the year, Passion Pit are playing a full UK tour this autumn: October 21st Sheffield, Leadmill; 22nd Northumbria University; 23rd Glasgow, Garage; 24th Manchester, Club Academy; 26th Oxford, O2 Academy; 27th London Koko; 30th Bristol, Anson Rooms 31st Southampton University; November 1st Birmingham, O2 Academy 2;
Tom Jones arena tour
“I’m just opening up shop again. Let’s see who comes in through the door.” So says one of the most successful live and recording artists in the history of popular music. Always more a cabaret star than a rock critic’s favourite, Sir Tom’s recent album ‘24 Hours’, original songs co-written by Tom, has been raved over on both sides of the Atlantic. See him perform them and a host of his classics that may well include Delilah and What’s New Pussycat. October 9th Cardiff CIA; 13th Newcastle Metro Arena; 14th Glasgow SECC; 16th Manchester MEN Arena; 17th Liverpool Echo Arena; 18th Birmingham LG Arena; 20th Bournemouth BIC; 23rd Brighton Centre; 24th London Wembley Arena.
Rare Daniel Johnston sighting
“Daniel Johnston is the greatest songwriter on Earth” declared Kurt Cobain. Johnston has become a cult success. His frail, individualistic songs, often inspired by his bipolar mental illness, have been covered by major artists like Eels, Bright Eyes, Beck and Tom Waits. He’s doing an equally rare tour to support the reissues of his albums, prior to a new album in 2010. Dates: November 1st Brighton, Concorde 2; 2nd London, Union Chapel; 3rd Manchester, Town Hall; 4th Edinburgh, Queens Hall; 6th Leeds, Brudenell Social Club; 7th Cardiff, The Gate Arts Centre.
The most influential indie band of their generation, Pavement have reformed for some gigs. The first show is at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, New York City on September 21, 2010. Tickets are available from ticketmaster. com or, without surcharges, from the Nokia Theatre box office in Times Square and Earwax at 218 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. Mark Ibold, Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg, Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich and Steve West will add more international dates through 2010, though they stress that this does not constitute a permanent reformation.
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Motörhead was named after a song that Lemmy wrote when he was in another band. Was that group… A Deep Purple B Pink Fairies C Hawkwind
HOW TO ENTER
Send your answer with your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, October 30, 2009. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with MOTÖRHEAD COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: MOTÖRHEAD COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK.
Motörhead return to the UK for their traditional annual Fall tour. The band led by legendary frontman Lemmy Kilmister and featuring Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee are supporting their critically acclaimed 2008 album ‘Motörizer’. 2009 also marks guitarist Phil Campbell’s 25th anniversary with Motorhead. Punk/Goth Rock legends The Damned and the original all-female Heavy Metalers Girlschool are the special guests on the tour this November. Looking forward to the forthcoming tour, Lemmy said: ‘Here we are again boys and girls, come and get your fu**in’ head blown off! – in the best possible taste!’
Tickets are for the November 28, 2009 performance at London Hammersmith Apollo. 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. Tickets are available from www.livenation.co.uk priced at £25 regional/£30 London (subject to booking fee). Prize tickets are non-transferable.
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 email@example.com The Decorative Fair Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ The Decorative Fair is a thrice-yearly specialist event for the discerning decorator looking to source unusual English and European antiques, original 20th century designs and works of art from all periods to the present day. www.decorativefair.com firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7624 5173 September 29 to October 04 Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG Explore Aztec civilisation through the divine, military and political role of the last elected ruler, Moctezuma II (who
reigned from AD 1502 to 1520), in the British Museum’s next major exhibition on great rulers. www.britishmuseum.org +44 (0)20 7323 8000 September 29, 2009 to January 24, 2010 Americans Abroad: Henry James’s Transatlantic Comedy, a lecture The English Speaking Union, Dartmouth House, 37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED Dr Tamara Follini, an academic from Cambridge and Yale Universities, talks about one of Henry James’ most popular works. www.bfsa.org email@example.com 020 7529 1563 October 01, 2009
Carole Farley Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ Carole Farley is acclaimed for her sensational portrayals of the title roles in Lulu, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera. The centrepiece of her Cadogan Hall debut, with the versatile accompanist John Constable, is her gripping interpretation of Poulenc’s tour de force opera, La Voix Humaine, in a staged production. She will also perform Debussy’s Le Balcon and Ravel’s Chansons Madecasses. Her recent DVD (a BBC/DECCA co-production) was Gramophone Magazine’s DVD of the month. www.cadoganhall.com October 04, 2009 Diwali in the Square National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London Diwali in the Square gives Londoners a chance to come together and celebrate at a free concert with backing from the Mayor’s office. This annual event in Trafalgar Square has become a major fixture in London’s calendar with colourful decorations, Indian music and theatrical displays
At the Dressing Table: A selling exhibition of jewellery and accessories for the dressing table, from the 1700s to the 1960s The London Silver Vaults, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1QS This Christmas selling exhibition gathers together a wide range of jewellery, grooming items and dressing table silver for men and women, conjuring up the styles of the 1700s to the late twentieth century, a wealth of ideas for gift buyers as well as some unusual collectors’ items. Prices range from under £200 to around £12,000. Jewellery, cufflinks, vintage watches, powder puff pots & compacts, perfume bottles, silver razor stands and mirrors. Time to dress up for the festive season! Pictured are a selection of yellow enamelled silver items for the dressing table including (from L) nail buffer and matching pin box made in the US circa 1920; picture frame from Germany, and glass scent bottles, 1929, cigarette case 1924 and powder compact 1936, all made in Birmingham, purple butterfly brooch also from the US, c.1920. www.thesilvervaults.com 020 7242 3844 October 14 to October 30, 2009
all adding to the sense of occasion. Contemporary and traditional dances including the energetic Garba and Dandia are traditionally performed to celebrate Diwali. The ‘Festival of Lights’ has religious significance for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains but people of all faiths are welcome at this celebration of the victory of light over darkness. www.visitlondon. com/events/detail/4358350 October 04, 2009 to Origin: The London Craft Fair Somerset House, London A unique opportunity to buy some of the finest contemporary craft directly from the people who make it, all under one roof. 300 makers from 18 different countries. Ceramics, textiles, glass, furniture, metalwork and jewellery, and work ranges from functional tableware and sculptural glassware to classic knitwear and innovative jewellery and millinery. www.craftscouncil.org.uk October 06, 2009 to October 18, 2009 (closed 12th) World Conker Championships Village Green, Ashton, near Oundle, Peterborough The game of conkers has been a popular pastime of British schoolchildren for decades. The rules are simple. Each player (ladies, men, teenagers and children) is given a conker attached to a piece of string and takes turns in trying to break their opponent’s nut. 10.30am to 3pm www.worldconkerchampionships.com 01832 272 735 October 11, 2009 Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Competition Carrbridge, Inverness-shire. Scottish Highlands The annual World Porridge Making Championships is followed with interest by connoisseurs of Scotland’s national dish. The title is awarded to the competitor producing the
best traditional porridge, made from oatmeal [pinhead, coarse, medium or fine]. The event includes a pipe band, cookery demonstrations and product tastings. www.goldenspurtle.com firstname.lastname@example.org October 11, 2009 The Times BFI London Film Festival British Film Institute, London and other locations The Times BFI London Film Festival showcases the best new films from around the world, including Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much loved story); London Moves Me (under the watchful gaze of Horatio Nelson, the London Film Festival’s annual free screening of short films from the BFI National Archive and London’s Screen Archives once again takes place in Trafalgar Square) and American: The Bill Hicks Story. www.bfi.org.uk/lﬀ/ October 14, 2009 to October 29, 2009 Richard Dadd Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21 7AD Dadd was the Victorian fairy painter who spent most of his adult life in psychiatric hospitals, having murdered his father in a bout of insanity. He was a master draftsman whose vision was uniquely detailed and quite unlike anyone else’s. This exhibition shows that he produced more than just the fairy paintings that made him famous. www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk 020 8693 5254 October 14, 2009 to January 17, 2010 Falmouth Oyster Festival Falmouth, Cornwall Oyster catching, cooking and celebrating with live music, sea shanties, an oyster shucking competition, a Falmouth Working Boat race, children’s shell painting, and Cornish crafts. www.falmouthoysterfestival.co.uk October 15, 2009 to October 18, 2009
The American Museum in Britain American Museum in Britain Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD The American Museum in Britain is home to a unique collection, in a breathtaking setting, at the only museum of Americana outside the US. There are permanent exhibitions, Quilting Bees every Tuesday, and special events:
October 4th, Lecture: ‘The Elusive Joshua Johnson – African-American Portrait Painter’ by Jane Rose, 2.00pm, Johnson was a freeman and America’s first recorded black professional portrait painter; 10th & 11th American Civil War Skirmish & Drill Displays, 2.30pm, 100 re-enactors in the biggest living-history event of the season, a hillside skirmish with cannon fire and lots of noise and smoke!; 18th Bath Community Gospel Choir, 2pm This fabulous local choir fill the museum to bursting with a joyful noise; 25th Lecture & Book Signing: ‘Silhouette: The Art of the Shadow’ by Emma Rutherford, 2pm,; 27th to 28th Kids Stuﬀ: Professor Heard’s Peerless Magic Lantern Show 1 & 2.30 pm on each day - the unexpected sights, frights, moral warnings and old showman’s tales from the century before cinema using original 19th century slides and antique magic lantern projector.
Open 12.00-5.00pm. Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays and month of August Claverton Manor near Bath. 01225 460503 www.americanmuseum.org
Harvest Festival of the Pearly Kings and Queens St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, London The Cockney Pearly Kings and Queens gather in London for a harvest thanksgiving festival, dressed in their traditional costumes of suits, dresses and hats. The elaborate outfits can have as many as 30,000 buttons sewn onto them and can weigh as much as 70lb or more. The festival begins with a procession of the Pearly princesses who take fruit and vegetable produce to the church as thanks offerings. The tradition of the Pearly Kings and Queens can be traced to London’s street traders who used to elect representatives, known as ‘Kings’ in order to defend themselves against competitors and the police. The tradition of sewing pearls onto their clothes can be traced to 1875 when an orphan boy called Henry Croft wanted to help the poor of London. To attract attention to his charitable work, he made himself an entire suit covered in pearl buttons. He died in 1930 but his relations carry on the tradition of dressing in pearl embroidered outfits with stars, moons, suns, flowers and mystic symbols on them. From 10am. www.pearlysociety.co.uk October 12, 2009
Lincoln & the War for the Union Holiday Inn, Oxford A conference to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, arranged by the American Civil Round Table UK. The speakers are: Dr. Craig L. Symonds, Professor Emeritus of American History at the United States Naval Academy, and an award winning author. Geoffrey Perret, one of the leading historians working today and author of Lincoln’s War, detailing Lincoln’s role as Commander in Chief during the Civil War. Len Riedel, Executive Director of the Blue and Gray Education Society, a retired USAF officer who served as the Director of Airspace Management at the US 3rd Air Force, RAF Mildenhall. www.americancivilwar.org.uk email@example.com Please call Peter Gasgoyne-Lockwood, 01747 828719 October 17, 2009 to October 18, 2009 Steam Engine Rally Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7ZN Steam engines at Beaulieu. www.beaulieuevents.co.uk 01590 614614 October 17, 2009 Ely Apple Festival The Parish Green, Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire A celebration of the great English apple with a variety of apple related food, drink and wares. Also features a wide range of apple games, competitions and activities. 10am to 4pm visitely.eastcambs.gov.uk/ October 17, 2009 The Sacred Made Real Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery, London While Spanish religious paintings of the 17th century are well known, the country’s polychromed sculptures have never been the subject of a major exhibition. In this landmark reappraisal of an art form crucial to the development of Spanish art, a
unique experience for visitors, the two art forms are displayed side by side. Important canvases by Velazquez, Zurbaran and Cano, plus sculptures by Gregorio Fernandez, Juan Martinez Montanes and Pedro de Mena and polychromed by Francisco Pacheco and Alonso Cano. Jointly organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, supported by the American Friends of the National Gallery as a result of a generous grant from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. www.nationalgallery.org.uk information@ng–london.org.uk 020 7747 2885 October 21, 2009 to January 24, 2010 Halloween Black County Living Museum, Dudley There are Halloween events all over the country, but this one caught our eye. Britain’s friendliest Museum becomes Britain’’s ‘Most Haunted’ as Halloween gets underway. The young and the young at heart can enjoy hair-raising thrills and spine-tingling chills when they listen to ghostly tales of yesteryear. On the 31st little devils and mini ghosts and ghouls can trick or treat in SAFETY at Britain’s ‘Most Haunted’ Museum. The Museum’s eerie gas-lit village is the perfect venue for safe thrills and chills on Halloween. Visitors can meet psychics and mystics and listen to tales of Black Country bumps in the night! www.bclm.co.uk Prebook on 0121 520 8054 October 24 to November 01 Wear It Pink Across Britain People all over the country will be wearing pink on Friday October 30 to support Breast Cancer Campaign. Over a million people took part last year. Contact the website to donate or to get a kit containing all you need to host your own event and raise muchneeded funds. www.wearitpink.co.uk October 30, 2009
halloween in Britain Michael Burland looks at the wyrd and wonderful history of Halloween
he three days between October 31st and November 2nd represent a real culture smash, a mix of Christian and pagan traditions that people – especially kids, enjoy whether or not they know the derivations of what they are doing. Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back over 2000 years to the time of the Celts who marked the Autumn equinox, a magical time when the day and night are of equal length, with a celebration called Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-in’), the end of “season of the sun” (summer) and the onset of “the season of darkness and cold” (winter). For the Celts, New Year’s Day was what we now call November 1st. When the Romans conquered new territories one of their ploys for integrating the locals was to merge religious traditions and festivals. Samhain was blended with Poloma, the Romans’ existing harvest festival, and Feralia, their celebration for the dead. The Romans did the same trick with the new-fangled religion Christianity. Later, when Christianity in turn came to Britain, November 1st became All Saints Day, a special day dedicated to all the saints who didn’t have a special day of their own. The mass performed on that day was called ‘All Hallows Mass’. The night before became All Hallows E’en – eventually Hallowe’en, then Halloween. Many Halloween traditions go right back to the Celts but became
merged with Christian beliefs. The Celts believed that evil spirits went abroad during the long hours of darkness during winter. On the night that winter started, the barriers between our human world and the spirit world were at their weakest and so spirits were most likely to be seen on earth on Halloween.
Bonfires, Games and Customs
The Celts built bonfires to frighten evil spirits away, celebrating with feasting and dancing in the heat and light around the fires. After ‘Christianisation’, Halloween fires brought comfort to the souls in purgatory, the place where souls who are not eternally damned are temporar-
ily punished for venial sins. The congregation prayed for the suffering souls while holding burning straw up high. The bonfire aspect of Halloween was moved to November 5th after the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, when ‘Papist’ (Catholic) conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament, complete with the King and his ministers. In Lancashire, ‘Lating’ or ‘Lighting the witches’ was an important part of Halloween. People would carry candles from eleven to midnight. If the candles burned steadily the carriers were safe for the season, but if they blew out – it was, of course, the witches that extinguished them! – the omens were bad.
became Halloween colours as orange is associated with harvests and black is linked with death.
Fruity Advice for the Lovelorn
In parts of the north of England Halloween was known as Nut-crack Night. Nuts were put on the fire and, depending on how they behaved in the flames, one could forecast faithfulness in sweethearts and the success or failure of marriages. Games were often played on Halloween. In ‘snap apple’, apples were suspended on long pieces of string. Revellers tried to bite the apple without using their hands. In one variation, an apple and a lighted candle were attached at opposite ends of a horizontal stick which was swung around. The object was to bite the apple and avoid the candle. In another, ‘apple bobbing’ apples floated in a barrel and contestants tried to bite into them and remove them, generally drenching themselves and onlookers to general hilarity. These apple games, still popular today, form a direct link back to the Romans, whose goddess of trees and fruits, Pomona, was worshipped on this day. Many places in England combined Halloween with Mischief Night (often celebrated on November 4th), when boys played all kinds of practical jokes on their neighbours. They changed shop signs, took gates off their hinges, whitewashed doors, and tied door latches. This mutated into Trick Or Treat. People have dressed up in cos-
tume at this time of year since time immemorial. This has roots in both European and Celtic traditions. It was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world on this strangest of nights. To avoid being recognized by these specters, people wore masks and disguises when they left their homes after dark. To pacify the ghosts and keep them from entering their houses, people placed bowls of food outside the door. Scary Halloween lanterns remain popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Hollowed out vegetables with a face cut into one side and a candle lighting it from inside, they could be made from beets, potatoes or turnips. The candles hark back to the Celts’ belief that flame would scare away witches and ghosts. Now, of course, we use pumpkins for these lanterns. One name for them, Jack O’ Lanterns, comes from an Irish legend. Old Jack could not enter heaven because he was a miser. Nor could he go to hell, because he had played jokes on the devil. Instead, he was condemned to walk the earth carrying a lantern until Judgement Day. Around 99% of pumpkins sold are used as Jack O’ Lanterns at Halloween. It is possible that the pumpkins became the favored vegetable for lantern making because of their color. Orange and black
Girl used to place hazel nuts along the front of the grate of an open fire. Each nut symbolized one of their potential mates. Their future husband was divined by chanting, ‘If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.’ By placing an apple under your pillow they would dream of their husband-to-be. Alternatively slicing an apple through the middle, revealing the ‘five-pointed star’ within, and eating it by candlelight while looking in a mirror meant that their future spouse would appear, peeking over their shoulder. They peeled an apple, making sure the peel came off in one long strand and then threw it over one shoulder. The shape it landed in was the initial of your beloved. (If it was an indecipherable ‘squiggle’, I presume their betrothed would be the singer, Prince.)
Traditions say it is possible to stay safe from the evil spirits by taking the following precautions. Journeys should be finished before sunset. If that’s not possible, carry in your pocket a piece of bread (holy, because of the connection with Jesus Christ), crossed with witch-repelling salt. Or make a noise – ringing a bell scares spirits away. If you see a spider on this night, don’t panic, it could well be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you. Of course, you may not wish to avoid coming into contact with evil spirits, in which case, put on your clothes inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night and you’ll be sure to meet a witch. H
TALEs OF INTERMENT Brian Jones digs around the burial registers of Old England in our Halloween special to find some of the weirdest causes of death
he burial places of Britain are filled with gravestones upon which are recorded the names of those interred. Some of the epitaphs can be informative, but if we look a little deeper we can come across other information recorded by the vicar in the burial register. Most of these carry only the basic name, place of abode and date of burial of the departed, but some entries touch on the macabre… The register for Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire contains an entry for the wife of George Boulton of Skircoat who was buried on 5th March 1597/8. We are told that: ‘This George Boulton was a common drunkard and a lecher, hee sold his land, drank it, fled ye country & was slayne’. Staying with the Halifax registers we should spare a thought for Anne Ingham of Ovenden, whose bastard infant child was interred on 29th February 1603/4. A note in the register sadly relates that ‘ This Anne knewe no father to her child but beinge an Idiot was forced by a stranger in the field’. A marked lack of respect for the dead is paid in the registers of Cheshunt in Hertfordshire. On 7th February 1660 was buried ‘Old Plod’, while ‘Old Half-head’ was laid to rest on 25th July 1716! Meanwhile a yearning for accuracy on the part of the incumbent of Beckenham, Kent is displayed on an undated entry which notes the burial of ‘Anne Isted, a child, killed by the care-
less discharge of a pistol at the distance of 337 yards’. At Holme-in-Cliviger, Lancashire, the record of the burial of 12-year-old Benjamin Crossley informs us that he was ‘killed by a cow to which he had fastened himself by a rope.’ Staying in Lancashire, the register for Colne St Bartholomew records the interment, on 6th January 1787, of Isabella Thompson, who was ‘…killed by the fall of a house at the East End of the Town’. The registers for Loughborough in Leicestershire tell us that in 1579 ‘Roger Shepherd, Son in Law to Nicholas Wollands, was slain by a lioness which was brought into this town to be seen of such as would give money to see her. He was sore wounded in sundry places, and was buried the 26th day of August.’ At least the lioness didn’t know what she was doing, unlike the perpetrator hinted at in the registers of Great Wigston, also in Leicestershire, in the entry ‘1771, June 15. Jonathan Kiss, a poor boy of Wigston, aged 11, apprentice to Hadan
Dan, was buried. He got his death as supposed, by another boy’s stamping on his belly, which broke the rim (diaphragm)’. Ouch! A short-but-gruesome entry is found in the registers for Pudsey St Laurence near Leeds in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The burial at Pudsey on 16th June 1783 of Joseph Gibson describes him as ‘…son of Thos. a Lunatic found with his Throat Cut’. Another macabre entry is found in the registers for Thornton Chapel, near Bradford. The burial for Sarah Dawson, on 20th December 1791, states she was ‘…wife of John Dawson, Collier, of Thornton, who (according to the Verdict of the Coroner’s Inquest) was wilfully murdered by her said Husband, John Dawson.’ Today’s death certificates may explain the cause of demise of the deceased, but it could be said that they lack the more romantic and mysterious elements in the burial registers that have come down to us from earlier centuries. H
ampires were popular phenomena in Victorian Britain and it can’t have escaped your notice that they are rising again in today’s American popular culture. Peter Logan, Professor of English at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, believes that vampires reflect parallels between the two cultures. Victorian Britain, he points out, was the world’s first industrialized society, and the UK was the undisputed superpower of the nineteenth century world, much as the US is now. At the height of the Victorian period, one quarter of the world’s population were British subjects. “It was the beginning of the world as we know it today and it was beset with some of the same problems associated with being a world power that we are currently facing,” Logan says. Vampires were hugely popular in Victorian novels and magazines, just as in the hit HBO TV series True Blood
(pictured below) and the Twilight books and movies. The cult did not start with Dracula. Vampires came, out of middle European legends but the first vampire character to chime with the wider public in the English speaking world was Varney the Vampire, or The Feast of Blood written by James Malcolm Rymer and published in ‘penny dreadful’ pamphlets between 1845 and 1847, then as a book in 1847. Varney was an aristocrat who could walk around in daylight, but needed the moonlight to survive. Bram Stoker’s most famous creation Dracula appeared in 1897. The Count reflects a changed social environment in which the British Empire was at its height and conflicts with the colonies in Africa and Asia were a major concern. “For these changed times, Count Dracula is still an aristocrat, but he is also an outsider from the fringe of Europe, and he brings his mysterious ways to London, the heart of England and the center of the empire,” says Logan, adding “Some critics view this as a reflection of English fears of being ‘contaminated’ by a colonial culture that is very different, in which case the story warns about maintaining the imagined ‘purity’ or homogeneity of England.” The vampire legend evolved through cinema, with the blood-sucking character famously played by Max Schreck in Nosferatu in 1922, Bela Lugosi in a series of 1930s movies and later Christopher Lee in the rather camp Hammer Horror films of the 1960s and 70s. After a hiatus they have risen again, and this time, they’re sexy. “In the past, vampires could feel rage, but not romantic love, and they didn’t have sex,” says Logan. In fact
that’s not strictly true; the Hammer films were full of sex, but it was never shown explicitly, and other movies have gone further. But Logan continues, “The fact that they do now accounts for this recent surge in popularity. They are not just metaphorically erotic – in True Blood, it’s standard sex; but it’s between human and a paranormal. It’s the same in Twilight. Although, it’s never fully acted upon, Twilight is still a typical Boy meets Girl story,” he said. He notes that now vampires are able to love, it leads to an overt civil rights theme, as played out in True Blood. “This change in the vampires and the story lines may be a reflection of our changing attitudes toward heterogeneity. Instead of fearing contamination, we are learning to accept differences,” Logan argues, adding “In True Blood and Twilight, the vampires are a projection of our cultural hopes and fears onto the figure of a person who is very different than us. The vampire is a good figure for capturing that”. H
Bats in Britain
ats, these wonderful little mammals, have always had a rather bad press, but we really should treat them with respect. There are 17 species in these British islands alone and some thousand worldwide. They are a success, some of them dating back fairly unaltered to the time of the dinosaurs. Very few around the globe are bloodsucking, and none here. They are nocturnal, feeding on small insects and berries, and they are useful in pollination. You can sometimes see bats at twilight emerging from some nook or cranny. Their wings are in fact adapted forelegs, which gives them the proud title of the only mammal capable of sustained flight. Contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind, in fact they have quite good sight and their hearing is superb. There is something akin to radar in their use of echo soundings as they swoop around seeking food. Their legs are not very good at supporting the body for long periods and bats seem happiest upside down when resting Bats are a protected species. If you have a colony in the roof of your house, no alteration can be made to the building that is inconvenient to the bats. If really necessary they must be suitably rehoused. As far as accommodation is concerned they are one up on us! But they do have problems, modern sleek buildings do not suit them and their numbers declined rapidly.
Mary Bailey discovers that bats in the UK have nothing, but nothing, to do with Dracula.
IMAGES ©JOHN HADDOW/BCT
Another clever attribute bats have is their system of reproduction. Yes, I am sure they do it upside down but that is not the point. Bats mate around late September, before they get drowsy and ready for their winter hibernation. The female is fertilized but suspends reproduction until the spring when it is warmer. About five weeks after that a baby bat, called a pup, emerges. It’s a little thing about one inch long which the mother will suckle until it is strong enough to fly. Females have just one pup at a time. Just as with birds this is the time when you are most likely to find an exhausted or wounded pup on your lawn. If you do, the staff and volunteers of the Bat Conservation Trust (formed in 1990) can offer advice. The free National Bat Helpline can be reached on 0845 1300 228. There is no record of bats in this country carrying rabies, but if you handle them it is advised to wear light
gloves – if annoyed they can bite with their tiny teeth. As with other endangered species many efforts are being made to help the bat, for it does no harm to us and is, indeed of benefit. Bats are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act and you are in real trouble if you hurt one. Bat boxes have been erected in trees in various parks and woods including Richmond Park. Take a look as you walk about and you may spot one. Bat walks are great fun. You go out at twilight with a bat expert. Armed with a detector and earphones you can hear the squeaking of the bats as they approach. This is something to do with the children too, as it sparks and maintains their benevolent interest in these nice beasts. Find out more at the Bat Conservation Trust’s website www.bats.org.uk. H
Coffee Break COFFEE BREAK QuIZ 1 In which four Alfred Hitchcock films did Cary Grant play the leading man?
6 What are the three largest islands in the world beginning with the letter ‘N’?
2 What name did Capt James Cook give the Hawaiian Islands?
7 Which American tennis star, born 1943, won 12 grand slam singles, 16 grand slam doubles and 11 grand slam mixed doubles titles?
3 In which American city was the world’s first skyscraper built in 1885? 4 What was the given name of Stalin’s daughter who defected to the US in 1967? 5 What is the chancellor of the exchequer’s official London address?
8 Which airline owned the jet that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988? 9 Which common market area does CARICOM deal with? 10 In which country was OPEC founded?
11 What percentage of the world is Chinese? 12 Which girl’s name was created by the author Jonathan Swift in the early 18th century and is also a class of butterflies? 13 Where is the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund ? 14 What is the connection between Tom and Jerry and Simon and Garfunkel? 15 Which two manned US space programs preceded Apollo? 16 Walloons come from which country? 17 Whose face did Time Magazine publish on their cover and declare him as “Man of the Year” on January 2nd 1939? 18 What happened in the Atacama Desert (Chile) in 1971 for the first time in over 400 years?
Answers below The Johnsons
Coﬀee Break Quiz Answers: 1 Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955) and North by Northwest (1959); 2 Sandwich Islands; 3 Chicago (the 10 Storey Home Insurance Building); 4 Svetlana; 5 11 Downing Street; 6 Newfoundland, New Guinea, and North Island (New Zealand); 7 Billie Jean King; 8 PanAm; 9 Caribbean; 10 Iraq; 12 25%; 12 Vanessa; 13 Washington; 14 Tom and Jerry was their original stagename; 15 Mercury and Gemini; 16 Belgium; 17 Adolf Hitler; 18 It rained (It’s 50 times drier than Death Valley)
It happened one...
October 1, 1908 – Ford’s Model T goes on the market at a price of US$825. October 2, 1835 – Texas Revolution begins with the Battle of Gonzales.
October 3, 1845 – The US Naval Academy is first opened
October 4, 1537 – The first complete English-language Bible (the Matthew Bible) is printed, with translations by William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale. October 5, 1905 – Wilbur Wright pilots Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908. October 6, 1966 – LSD is declared illegal in the United States.
October 7, 1916 – Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland University 222-0 in the most lopsided college football game in American history. October 8, 2005 – Martha Stewart begins her prison sentence after being convicted of securities fraud, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy in the ImClone stock trading case. October 9, 1837 – A meeting at the U.S. Naval Academy establishes the U.S. Naval Institute.
October 10, 1933 – United Airlines Chesterton Crash: A United Airlines Boeing 247 is destroyed by sabotage, the first such proven case in the history of commercial aviation. October 11, 2007 – The record high of the Dow Jones Industrial Average occurs at 14,198.10 points.
October 12, 1216 – King John of England loses his crown jewels in The Wash, probably near Fosdyke, perhaps near Sutton Bridge
It’s October 19, 1781 and the British surrender to George Washington
October 13, 1792 – Washington, D.C., the cornerstone of the United States Executive Mansion (known as the White House since 1818) is laid.
October 14, 1884 – George Eastman patents paper-strip photographic film.
October 15, 1878 – The Edison Electric Light Company begins operation. October 16, 1859 – John Brown leads a raid on Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.
October 17, 1814 – London Beer Flood occurs in London killing nine. October 18, 1867 – US takes possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million. October 19, 1781 – At Yorktown, Virginia, representatives of British commander Lord Cornwallis formally surrender to George Washington and the comte de Rochambeau, ending the American Revolutionary War. October 20, 1991 – The Oakland Hills firestorm (California) kills 25, destroys 3,469 homes and apartments, causing more than $2 billion in damage. October 21, 1774 – First display of the word “Liberty” on a flag, raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts against British rule in Colonial America.
October 22, 1790 – Miami warriors under Chief Little Turtle defeat US troops at the site of present-day Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the Northwest Indian War.
October 23, 1917 – Lenin calls for the October Revolution. October 24, 1857 – Sheffield F.C., the world’s first football club, is founded in Sheffield, England.
October 25, 1983 – Operation Urgent Fury: The US and its Caribbean allies invade Grenada, six days after Prime Minister Maurice Bishop is executed in a coup d’état.
October 26, 1959 – The world sees the far side of the Moon for the first time when the Russian Luna 3 spacecraft flew round the Moon and photographed the far side for the first time.
October 27, 1936 – Mrs Wallis Simpson files for divorce which would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII. October 28, 1636 – A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes the first college in America, today known as Harvard University.
October 29, 1886 – The first ticker-tape parade takes place in New York City when office workers spontaneously throw ticker tape into the streets as the Statue of Liberty is dedicated. October 30, 1864 – Helena, Montana is founded after four prospectors discover gold at “Last Chance Gulch”.
October 31, 1913 – Dedication of the Lincoln Highway, the first automobile road across United States. H
Giraffe VICTORIA Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
nna, my fifteen year old granddaughter had just arrived from Florida for a short visit before she went on to Sweden and I decided going to a more formal restaurant for dinner was the last thing a jet lagged teenager needed. When we entered the brightly coloured restaurant, we were greeted warmly and within minutes after being seated I was brought a red Sangria (£4.95) and Anna her coke. The Sangria made with red wine was perfect with just enough sweetness of added fruit and soda, and were I not with my granddaughter and driving I would have had another glass. If you’re not interested in Sangria there are other cocktails on the drinks menu such as Mexican Mojito (£5.95) or Pina Colada Deluxe (£5.25) as well as wine and non alcoholic drinks to satisfy just about everyone. With our drinks we had Crunchy Nachos Melt (£5.95) which included
melted jack cheese, black bean chilli, guacamole, fresh tomato salsa, jalapeno and sour cream. Frankly, it was too much topping which was a pity because the nachos alone or just with cheese were fantastic and Anna and I pushed everything else aside just to taste them. The beer battered onion rings with barbecue sauce (£2.75) were good, however, and I wouldn’t hesitate to order them again. Now when it comes to steak, I order medium rare, but with hamburgers, unless I grind the meat myself, I want it well done, which may be the reason I was disappointed with my hamburger (£8.95). It came well done, but the meat even with cheese (85p extra) was dry and rather tasteless. Nor was I impressed by the bun that came with it. Anna’s Barbeque Baby Back Ribs (£12.95) were glazed with a sweet smoky barbecue sauce and delicious, she assured me. Although neither of
us were hungry for dessert, we did try the chocolate chunk brownie (£4.75) topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Again Anna gave her approval and knowing what an excellent baker my Swedish daughter-in-law is I decided they might be awarded one star. Giraffe’s coffee, from family farms in Central and South America, was roasted to perfection and a reason to stop at Giraffe early some morning and if I’m not dieting have banana and blueberry pancakes (£4.95) along with my cappuccino. Crayons and games are provided for children and there is a children’s menu which would delight most over eighteen month olds. Pushchairs, however, might be a tight squeeze, especially if they are in a twin stroller as two of my grandchildren are. Giraffe Victoria is close to the Victoria Palace showing “Billy Elliot” and The Apollo showing “Wicked”. (There are 25 Giraffe restaurants across London and the UK as well as 5 franchises in 3 UK airports.) The noise in the restaurant might be deafening and the food isn’t for everyone, but it would still be a great place to stop for a bite before the theatre or even something more substantial afterwards and, best of all, it won’t cost a fortune.
120 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1JZ 020 7233 8303 www.giraffe.net 22
Cake Boy Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
t least once a week after walking my dog, I stop by Cake Boy for coffee and either a croissant or one of their delicious blueberry muffins. The owner, Eric Lanlard, is twice winner of the prestigious Continental Patissier at the British Baking Awards and his cakes have appeared on the tables of A-listed clientele from Madonna to Sir Elton John. The late Queen Mother was a client, although Eric, ever so discreet, is not one to drop names. Even as a boy Eric dreamed of being a patissier. His apprenticeship started in Brittany and later included a tour of duty aboard the French flagship Jeanne D’Arc where he cooked for a number of world dignitaries. In 1989, he was handpicked by Albert and Michael Roux and brought to London to run their patisserie business. After six years, he started up a wholesale business which provided baked goods for some of London’s top restaurants, caterers and retailers, including Fortnum and Masons. In 1997, Eric decided to close down the wholesale section of his business and open Cake Boy in a new riverside development in southwest London. A few months before I had moved into my apartment in the complex next door and, while redecorating, his delicious sandwiches and savouries became a necessary part of my daily diet. In fact, there were frustrating days with my builders when I don’t know how I would have survived without afternoon tea and a cup cake in the pink, green and black lounge at this delightful patissieria.
In May this year, he was commissioned to write a book, Glamour Cakes, giving clear step by step instructions to assemble and decorate a cake. The only one I attempted was the glossy chocolate ganache coated cake pictured on Page 130 which actually didn’t turn out badly. I used a favourite recipe of mine for the chocolate cake and Eric’s chocolate ganache recipe on Page 28. Instead of the lilies, I decorated the cake with roses bought at a local supermarket. Glamour Cakes is published by Hamlyn Books, £12.99, and is available now. On October 28th, Eric will have his own ten part series, Glamour Puds, on the Discovery Travel and Living Channel. He will be taking the viewer to many of the locations that have inspired him including his own café Cake Boy as well as favourite patisseries in Paris. The series will also visit a few of the distinguished places where Antonin Careme, probably the first celebrity chef, worked as a patissier and chef; born in Paris in 1784, Careme was employed by many of the most important notables of his time including Tallyrand and the Tsar of Russia. Eric offers cooking classes at Cake Boy that usually run from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm which includes lunch and wine. He also holds wine tasting evenings and if you’re interested in having a birthday party or baby shower, the lounge is the perfect place to hold it. With a specially decorated cake for the event, of course.
2 Kingfisher House, Battersea Reach, Juniper Drive, London SW18 1TX 020 7978 5555 23
La Capanna Dining Out at
Reviewed by Sabrina Sully
short hop from London, just down the A3, is a gem of a restaurant. The little cottage-style entrance to La Capanna in the High Street, Cobham belies its size and charm. The first surprise was the cozy Snug drinks bar we were led through on the way to the large, airy Dining Room with its high ceiling. We could have eaten in the Conservatory which has a slightly more modern look and is full of natural light, or the Minstrel Gallery, which sits above the main dining area. I had hoped to eat in the Italian Garden by the river, as I had heard of the wonderful array of wild life calling the garden ‘home’ and the beautiful vine nestling in the corner, but although sunny it was a little chilly on the evening we were there (when will Britain have a hot summer again?) The second surprise was the Dining Room itself, like a balconied 16th
Lobster, one of La Capanna’s seafood specials
century farmhouse, built from the remaining timbers of a 16th century trading ship, and with a few rustic touches of old farming implements on the wall, intermingled with a notable art collection. Behind us we had a large oil portrait of a chef, not ours, I was assured. The effect is pretty, welcoming, light and yet cozy. I spotted that there is even a small dancefloor. As we were eating early, we could have chosen from the one, two or three course prix fixé lunch menu, the prix fixé 2 course dinner menu, or an extensive à la carte menu. I was in heaven on being presented by our waiter with mouthwatering plated examples of all the specials, a selection of seasonal specialities from various regions of Italy, most of which were seafood. I found it hard to resist the large lobster, the seafood salad with fresh octopus, smoked
salmon involtino, English asparagus wrapped in Parma ham and served with Parmesan cheese. I usually only find one or two things on the menu that tempt me, but this menu had my partner for the evening and myself spoilt for choice. We ordered wine to help us make a decision, a lightish red as I knew I would be having seafood, and my partner, ‘Mr X’, preferred red. A wine I’ve not come across before, Belcore, was recommended. This is a Tuscan Sangiovese and Merlot wine, bottled by I Giusti & Zanza, a small estate north west of Tuscany... a wine I will seek out again, as it was delicious with fruity blackberry notes and a long finish (£40). There was a choice of breads, all cooked on the premises. We chose two, the garlic and sun-dried tomato, which were first class. We eventually chose from the special menu (two courses £31.95), me the Antipasto La Capanna Seafood platter (£5 supplement), and Mr X the Cornish Crab with avocado Sorbet and a Mango and Balsamic Dressing. The platter was a delicious fresh mixture of large bouchons of the seafood daily specials, but without the lobster. I stole some of Mr X’s crab, with a smear of sorbet and dressing, whilst he went to answer his mobile. This was an inventive dish that combined well, the dressing complementing the sweetness of the meat, the avocado smoothing and adding green notes. The restaurant meanwhile started to fill, which on a Tuesday night
at just after 7pm in a recession, shows the quality of the restaurant. Amongst them were tables of businessmen, old friends getting together, and two groups celebrating birthdays. We enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere, and the good, but nonintrusive, background jazz ( Jacques Loussier?) as we sipped our wine and chatted. Our main courses soon arrived, even though all meals are prepared and cooked to order (if you’re in a hurry, you need to let your waiter know). I had chosen the homemade Crab Ravioli with a Lobster and Chervil Velouté. It was all it should be, the ravioli perfectly but not overly cooked, filled with fresh good crab, and plenty of the Velouté, which was rich, creamy, and like a very good lobster bisque, and very filling. Mr X had the grilled Calves Liver with Tornitore Olive Oil Mash, Pancetta and Shallot Sauce, as he believes that the quality of the cooking of Calves Liver tells you the quality of an Italian restaurant, and nobody does it better than the Italians. He was more than satisfied, and it took a lot of persuasion to swap him a mouthful of my Ravioli for a sample of his calves liver. Excellent, slightly pink, tender and melt in the
mouth, in a lovely deep, dark sauce. The potato was smooth and well seasoned. Another lovely dish. I felt briefly envious, but not for long as I returned to my sumptuous crab. In the interests of science, I was tempted to a pudding (£6.00), even though I was full. I selected the Crème Brulée with Shortbread, but it was a hard decision with White Chocolate Cheesecake, with Strawberries and Balsamic Fruit on the menu too. Mr X manfully said that he would have the cheesecake, only so that I could sample it, of course. The shortbread was homemade, crumbly, buttery and perfect. The Crème Brulée was to die for, and I’m a connoisseur of this dish. It’s simple but needs careful preparation, and so often is so wrong. This was smooth, creamy, a perfect custard with just the right amount of vanilla pod, and just the right amount of caramelized sugar topping it, too often it is too thick and turned to toffee. I couldn’t part with a mouthful, so I had to barter hard with Mr X for some of the cheesecake, which was light, rich, moist and white chocolatey. I love white chocolate, and it combined well with the strawberries, and the balsamic fruit revitalized the pallet afterwards, ready for the next mouth-
ful, which sadly didn’t materialize, as Mr X was determined to eat the rest. The staff, efficient and discreet throughout, kept their distance at this display of lack of gallantry. I had a look at La Capanna’s two and three-course Christmas lunch and Special Menus, which from £16.95 seem incredibly good value and would be a great place for parties, as it is so full of atmosphere. They provide special lunches on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and if you don’t feel like cooking on a Sunday, they do a 3 course lunch for only £24.95. We reluctantly refused coffee or tea (they have some of my favorites: China, camomile, mint, green and fruit teas) as it was such a relaxing experience, but we had to be the other side of Stonehenge before nightfall. What a find La Capanna is! I will be back, to eat my way through many of the other tempting offerings. Luckily I saw Mr X discreetly tuck a La Capanna card in his wallet.
48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EF, 01932 862121 www.lacapanna.co.uk 25
By Virginia E Schultz
T Mandarin & Chilli
he Cinnamon Club, the wonderful Modern Indian restaurant, has this rather special spicy take on a classic sorbet.
500ml mandarin puree Juice of 1 lemon 2 green chillis deseeded and chopped 75g trimoline 50g pro-sorbet
In a container mix all the ingredients and whisk it well. Pour the mixture in an ice cream or a sorbet machine and churn till the sorbet is done. Serve immediately or freeze for later. Note: Trimoline is also known as inverted sugar, by adding trimoline your sorbet stays moist and has minimum crystallisation when you store your sorbets and increases the shelf life. If you have no trimoline you can increase the quantity of sugar and have to use up your sorbet soon.
his is a great recipe from Eric Lanlard, owner of the Cake Boy patesserie. Eric says, “This recipe is very versatile and very easy. You can replace the blueberry by raspberry or mixed berries. By adding a few drops of lemon oil and zest you will turn this delicious popular cake into a great zesty dessert. And don’t worry if the top cracks when cooling down, this is part of the charm!”
for a 20cm spring form 100g digestive biscuits 100g ginger nut biscuits 50g unsalted butter 200g caster sugar 8 tsp cornflour 600g light soft cheese 2 large eggs 300g sour cream 1 vanilla pod 400g blueberries 80g caster sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4. Crush the biscuits into crumbs by whizzing in a food processor, or put in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Melt the butter and stir into the biscuits. Line the base of a 20cm (8in) spring-form cake tin with greaseproof paper. Press the biscuit mix into the base. cook in oven for 10min. Leave to cool down. Mix together the cornflour and sugar. Beat in the soft cheese, the pulp of the vanilla pod, then the egg. Finally, stir in the sour cream. Pour into the tin. Place tin in the oven and cook at 180 for 10min. then drop temperature to 90c for 25min. and switch off the oven. Leave door closed for 2hours. Then chill. For the topping, place the sugar in a saucepan. Add 50ml water. Bring to the boil. When the sugar has dissolved add the blueberries. Cover and cook for a few minutes then cool. Spoon over the cheesecake just before serving.
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.
La Capanna Special Menu, 2 courses only £31.95 Sunday Lunch, 3 courses only £25.95 Children’s Menu – £12.00
Lunch at La Capanna 1 course £11.50 2 courses £15.50 3 courses £19.50 Available lunchtime Mon – Sat; 7 – 8pm Mon – Fri.
Book Your Christmas Party Now
48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey
With riverside Italian Garden for al fresco dining
Book your table online on our website: www.lacapanna.co.uk Business account customers and party bookings are welcome. All major credit cards accepted.
“La Capanna must boast the prettiest interior of any restaurant I have ever dined in”
FULLY AIR CoNDITIoNED • PRIVATE CAR PARK
– David Billington, Hello Magazine
Cellar Talk Libations by Virginia E. Schultz
Wine with Dessert
ine with dessert?” my friends will ask when at the end of the meal I open a half bottle of a dessert wine. Usually, I fill the glasses just before I serve the dessert, but that’s really up to the individual as there is no set rule. Once upon a time, port was the only sweet type of wine served, and women were often asked to leave the room, which, believe it or not, still goes on in some private men’s clubs here in England and the States. Frankly, I find it a shame because there is nothing more satisfying with a chocolate soufflé, Stilton
cheese or poached pears than a glass of Port. Oh, yes, and my female friends enjoy it along with the males at the table. I have served a DemiSec Champagne with chocolate as well, especially one that has added raspberry as a flavouring. Sherry is another wine I sometimes serve. A Pedro Ximenez Sherry poured over vanilla ice cream is one of the simplest desserts to have at the end of a meal and is far less filling. Sherry is also lovely with a Christmas pudding. With a fruit tart or Crème Brulée, however, I prefer a Late Harvest Riesling or a Beerenauslese. If you’re in a restaurant, just tell the sommelier it’s that German wine you can’t pronounce and he’ll know immediately what you mean. With fresh fruit, fruit sorbets or lemon tart, however, I prefer a Muscat Beaumes-de-Venise. To try to match a wine with every cheese is too expensive and unless I’ve brought a special cheese back from France I serve either Port or a Sauternes. Years ago I might discuss what’s best to have with cheese or dessert at a wine and spirit shop, but sadly, that’s no longer possible. The object now is to sell, sell, sell and it’s been years since I’ve come
across anyone I can discuss food and wine with. “White wine with fish or poultry, red wine with meat” was the answer I received recently from a rather superior young man who obviously thought I was dim witted for even asking. There are times, however, the dessert wine is my dessert. If you’re counting calories, which most of us are, a glass of dessert wine is less filling and has far fewer calories. A vintage Madeira is often the wine I prefer. Madeira isn’t that popular now, but it was once the favorite wine of colonial America, including George Washington who, supposedly, served it to toast the Declaration of Independence. And what better way to end an Italian meal than to have Vin Santa and biscotti. Just dip away as the Italians do and enjoy yourself.
WINE OF THE MONTH: GREG NORMAN ESTATES Shiraz-Cabernet Limestone Coast 2007 Moderately Priced A friend served this Australian wine with Bœuf Bourguignon in celebration of her husband finally breaking ninety in golf. She used Julia Child’s recipe from her 1961 Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was an evening of fond reminiscing and laughter. Afterwards I went home and paged through my food stained and often used 1967 version of the same book.
Cece Mills picks her Arts and Exhibitions for October and continues her alphabetical look at art forms. ‘There’s no retirement for an artist. It’s your way of living so there’s no end to it.’ – Henry Moore
Delaine Le Bas expresses the darker aspects of Romany life ASPEX
The Scottish Colourists: Paintings From the Fleming Collection
Witch Hunt: Delaine Le Bas
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester Until November 1
aspex, Gunwharf Quay, Portsmouth September 5 - November 1
Comprised of four artists, Samuel John Peploe, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, George Leslie Hunter and John Duncan Fergusson, the Scottish Colourists were among the most forward-thinking British artists of the twentieth century, combining a knowledge of contemporary French art with the painterly traditions of Scotland. Widely recognised as the finest collection of Scottish
A sobering look at the issues that surround Britain’s Romany (or Gypsy) community, portrayed by Romany artist Delaine Le Bas through found objects, textiles, woven and dyed pieces. Covering racism, sexism, bigotry, hypocrisy, homelessness and misrepresentation, this is not a pleasant sounding subject. The concept of witches and gypsies brings to mind witch hunts and persecution, hunting down the under-dogs and the ensuing excitement of the chase, the killing and the surrounding hysteria. Witches were not usually burned to death in England, as they were abroad, but were traditionally drowned.
Inside out Torre Abbey, Kings Drive, Torquay November 5 Torre Abbey was founded in 1196 and is the biggest surviving medieval monastery in Devon and Cornwall. Not only is it a spectacular abbey, but also a gallery and museum. It boasts one of Holman Hunt’s more famous pictures in its museum, The Children’s Holiday, which features Mrs Thomas
Samuel John Peploe, Luxembourg THE FLEMING COLLECTION
art in private hands, this is the first showing of The Fleming Collection in the South of England.
Fairburn surrounded by children on an idyllic looking picnic. The exhibition for October is a group of three Southwest artists, Emma Carter, Phil Dixon and Christine Sweetman, who lead a new movement involving installation, performance and sculpture. The phrase ‘Aesthetic Conceptualists’ has been used to describe their work. Phil Dixon, Artist Inside Out, Fowey, Baby Box. © THE ARTIST
Joyous Machines: Michael Landy and Jean Tinguely Tate Liverpool October 2 to January 10, 2010
Hand screen-printed foil wallpaper featuring exotic birds, manufactured by Arthur Sanderson & Sons, c.1970s THE WHITWORTH ART GALLERY, THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
Putting on the Glitz Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Until November 27 Once upon a time only the very rich could afford to adorn the walls in their homes with lush, lavish coverings incorporating precious metals. This show follows the real McCoy of wallcoverings, and the ensuing clever imitations, allowing those not so flush to purchase something pretty authentic. Putting on the Glitz is an exhibition of wallcoverings from the Whitworth’s own collection and has some pretty amazing creations. From 18th century decorated leather, Japanese and French papers, metallic wallcoverings from the 1960s and 1970s to contemporary jewelled patterns. With our current passion for bling, this could encourage interior designers to reinventing wallpaper!
British Artist Michael Landy has long been influenced by the unusual work of artist Jean Tinguely, who died in 1991. Tinguely’s work is described as constructive and destructive – most famously known is his work ‘Homage to New York’, which was designed to self-destruct after 27 minutes of ‘performance’. The construction was a 27 foot high mechanism which caught fire – purposely – during a special performance in the Sculpture Garden of the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1960, and images from this event are presented in the exhibition. The exhibition is curated by Landy, who devotes much of the space to Tinguely’s work, as well as his own drawings, photographs and film.
Bridget Riley: Flashback Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool Until December 13 This is one of a series of exhibitions of Hayward Touring exhibitions from the Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre. Bridget Riley is one of the UK’s most influential contemporary artists, known for her lively and colourful paintings. The exhibition follows her development and career from the 1960s.
Below: Jean Tinguely, Composition 1947
Bridget Riley, Movement in Squares, 1961
MUSEUM TANGUELY, BASEL © ADAGP, PARIS AND DACS, LONDON 2009. PHOTO: CHRISTIAN BAUR
ARTS COUNCIL COLLECTION, SOUTHBANK CENTRE, LONDON ©2009 BRIDGET RILEY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jewelry LOOKING AT:
Thomas Rowlandson, c 1805 pen and brown, vermilion and grey ink and watercolour over graphite on wove paper on original mount © ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO
Drawing Attention: Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Van Gogh, Picasso and more Dulwich Picture Gallery, London October 21 to January 17, 2010 100 of the best of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s lovely collection of drawings. The pictorial tour takes you from Renaissance Italy to 19th Century England, via 18th century France and German Expressionism. It also includes some of Canada’s own Group of Seven (a group of Canadian landscape painters in the 1920s influenced by European Impressionism), and David Milne, the Canadian born landscape artist, a follower of the Group of Seven but more Modernist than Impressionist.
Gallery of Pots York Art Gallery York Art Gallery unveiled its new Gallery of Pots on September 1. It is dedicated to one of the most important pottery collections, held for years by York Museums Trust. Now over 12,500 pots from many generations of potters, in many styles and genres, will be available for the public to look at, and even to handle in certain cases. The Gallery opens with a special exhibition featuring three of the most important ceramic collectors – Eric Milner-White, W A Ismay MBE, and Henry Rothschild. ‘3 Collectors’ not only shows some hitherto unseen ceramics, but also tells us about the lives of the collectors and their passions for pots.
s you can imagine, I was a bit stuck for the J art forms for this month! However, jewellery is a wide and diverse topic and covers an incredible array of items over thousands of years. The oldest forms of adornment were thought to be beads made from Nassarius shells and estimated to be 100,000 years old. Jewellery takes on many shapes, purposes and materials, being made from virtually anything. Let’s have a look at what it is all about first. The wearing of jewellery can be for a variety of purposes. To display wealth; to indicate caste or social grouping, tribe or clan; to illustrate class or social status, rank
Diamond and platinum Silver Fern leaf brooch given to The Queen as a Christmas present from the ‘Women of Auckland’, during the ﬁrst Commonwealth Tour, 1953. ROYAL COLLECTION (C) 2009, HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Bernard Howell Leach, Leaping Salmon (detail), 1931 © THE ESTATE OF BERNARD LEACH AND YORK MUSEUMS
or position; to ward against evil spirits; and a whole selection of religious oriented jewellery. There is a genre of jewellery which is used as a votive symbol, shaped in the form of some body part and left for the gods or God as a symbol representing the offerers desire to be healed, or as thanks for being healed or cured. In the British Museum are a number of interesting votives excavated in the Temple of Artemis, dating from 650 BC and including, amongst others, gold, eye shaped jewels. Rosaries could well be classified as jewellery too. Some jewellery has its purpose in enhancing beauty, some in creating an impression of virility or strength, or of terrifying others. From its early beginnings fashioned from the humble shell, stone or piece of wood, jewellery became more and more elaborate involving precious stones, precious metals, gold, silver and glass. Now we see an enormous amount of low cost costume jewellery which looks rich and lustrous and expensive, but is actually made of paste and paint. Not the case in the wonderful exhibition at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Commonwealth, as I mentioned
Gold Turtle Necklace, AD1400 © Dumbarton Oaks, Pre Columbian Collection, Washington DC
in August issue. Until the end of September you can admire the sumptuous clothes Her Majesty the Queen wore on various Commonwealth visits over the years, and ogle at some of the jewels she wore too at Queen & Commonwealth: The Royal Tour. The Queen was honoured with gifts wherever she travelled, and jewellery was often considered an appropriate gift. Pictured is a Christmas present from the ladies of Auckland in 1953, a diamond and platinum brooch in the shape of a Silver Fern leaf – an emblem of New Zealand. Queen and Commonwealth: The Royal Tour ends on the 30th September. The British Museum is an amazing place to research and discover about almost anything. In Room 2 there is an interesting display of the work of Elsa Peretti who has designed jewellery for the famous Tiffany and Co Jewellers since 1974. Her work is contemporary and bold and she draws
her inspiration from all sorts of sources including human bones. These are in stark contrast to the ancient jewels on display at the incredible Moctezuma exhibition, also at the British Museum. Moctezuma II reigned Aztec in AD1502 – 1520 from the city of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). His power was unrivalled and shown clearly in the extravagant architecture of the city, the lavish jewels and elaborate religious ceremonies, as well as his impressive army. All this was destroyed by the arrival of the Spanish Fleet. I thoroughly recommend a visit to the exhibition which starts on September 24th and ends in January 2010. From rings on fingers to rings through almost any part of the body, bracelets, bangles, necklaces and pendants, hair accessories, tiaras and jewelled belts, there isn’t a part of the body that has not been ‘accessorised’ by jewellery.
Jewelry as status – Anna Thomson Dodge’s pearls may have been owned by Catherine the Great of Russia
Next Month, Looking At: KILIMS AND KALEIDOSCOPES
Arts with a heart
Art News by Estelle Lovatt and Michael Burland
obama’s People Come to London’s East End
riginally commissioned by The New York Times, Nadav Kandar’s photographs of ‘Obama’s People’ total 53 members of President Obama’s cabinet. Formal and frank; playful and stylised, the idea was to photograph Obama’s administration as it was being assembled, documenting a political anatomy-in-progress. The timing of the magazine’s commission meant it would reach the news stands two days before the inauguration. Obama’s cabinet had not yet been installed in their offices. Kander is one of the most original
Nadav Kander’s insightful photograph of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Nadav Kander’s insightful photograph of White House Chief of Staﬀ Rahm Emanuel
and highly regarded portraitists. His being a truly unique voice - what he calls “the economy of gesture” as the scene is not dressed with imagined details or contexts of time and place; hence the character of the individual is allowed to be brought forward, naturally. Presented as 60’’ x 50’’ prints, the viewer has a human-scale engagement with the images, seeing the smallest of details heightened: a pen nib puncturing a shirt pocket, or a Blackberry light flashing. The entire series can be viewed on Nadav’s website: www.nadavkander. com But you can see then ‘live’ at the Flowers East Gallery , 82 Kingsland Road. London E2 8DP until October 10. EL
over £1m pledged to Charity as sculpture is unveiled Following up our story last month, the Royal Parks Foundation, Isis, an iconic new sculpture that is the first new public sculpture to go on display in Hyde Park, London, for nearly 50 years, was unveiled on September 7. Isis, sculpted by artist Simon Gudgeon, is the focal point of a £1.8 million fundraising appeal to build a new, eco-friendly education centre at the Look Out in Hyde Park which will draw thousands of city children into the natural world, encouraging them to appreciate wildlife and look after the environment. By the end of the evening more than 50 plaques were sold as Isis was celebrated with a party held in a marquee afloat on the Serpentine, attended by guests including Zac Goldsmith, Tom Aikens and the Lord Mayor of Westminster. To help raise the £1.8 million needed to make the education centre a reality, the Royal Parks Foundation has collaborated with Halcyon Gallery. Isis will have 1,000 plaques inlaid around her base, each one engraved with a personal name and each raising £1,000 for the campaign. Park visitors will be able to continue supporting education in Hyde Park through a donation box incorporated in the base of Isis. Visit www. royalparksfoundation.org for further information. MB
obama puts African American art high in the White House
he US art world is excited as the White House displays a developing multiplicity to its art collection. The Obamas have been looking to borrow and display more up-todate and topical works by African American, Hispanic, Asian and female artists, influencing dialogue about African American artists, and inflating both opportunity and prospects in the saleroom. This was not always so; Not long ago one would hardly ever see art by African American artists in mainstream art galleries, museums and international art fairs. Correspondingly, the artists were not appreciated critically, nor benefiting financially. In order to survive, assorted African American art needs to be given this level of support and promotion from the President and First Lady. Obviously the activities of Barack Obama will not independently revise the line of American art history, or the providence of future African American artists. But the White House’s open performance in increasing the schema for such art will renovate and convert the way the world sees America’s artistic policy as strategic for augmenting art and culture in the United States, indicating a new, even momentous, era in American and African American art. Now is the time to seek some out in the auctions. EL
Art Auction Fundraiser For Harefield Hospital
highlight of Sotheby’s is holding its Frieze Week Contemporary Art Auction in London on October 16. is a group of nine works whose proceeds will benefit Harefield Hospital, which has a worldwide reputation for the diagnosis and treatment of heart and lung diseases. Artist Grayson Perry has said, “Harefield is a place where patients who otherwise are going to die are given a second chance. The care they receive requires old-fashioned dedication and bravery as well as the most modern skills and technology. Harefield is a powerful expression of society’s love for the individual”. The artworks in a range of media have been donated by leading Contemporary artists including Perry, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tracey
Emin, Rachel Howard, Anselm Kiefer, Sarah Lucas, Boo Ritson, Conrad Shawcross and Bernar Venet. Perry, Howard and Shawcross’s works, inspired by their visits to Harefield, have been specially produced for the sale. The auction is the brainchild of Harefield Hospital consultant cardiac surgeon Jullien Gaer who, together with his wife, the art adviser Polly Robinson Gaer, has been involved in the art world for many years. MB From top: Jake and Dinos Chapman, One Day You Will No Longer Be Loved II (No. 10), Oil on canvas, 76.4 by 63.5 cm, 2008); Bob Ritson, Librarian, 119.4 by 77.9 cm, 2009; Grayson Perry, Urn for the Living, glazed ceramic, 86 by 36 cm, 2009
One of the original works of art for sale at the Recession Art Sale, by Elanit Kayne.
After the Gold Rush: Recession Art Sale
elping to beat the recession, the After the Gold Rush: Recession Art Sale is happening in New York, from September 17 until October 10, 2009. One hundred out-of-work professional artists will sell their art in a 50,000 square foot gallery, at 679 3rd Avenue at the corner of 43rd Street, fostering a return to the days when art played an integral part in the life of the New York community. If you like art, it’s well worth a trip, and investment. Hosting the event is Anita Durst’s Chashama. For additional information email firstname.lastname@example.org EL
9/11 Memorial Museum The significant ‘Last Column’, the last steel column to be disconnected from the World Trade Center site, has been returned to the site for eternal fitting in the 9/11 Memorial Museum. he huge Last Column was wrapped in tributes from members of the construction trades, rescue personnel, and family members before the column was taken from the site, marking the end of the nine-month recovery efforts in May 2002. The return of the Last Column marks a major milestone in the construction of the Memorial and Museum as it is the first artefact moved from conservation at JFK Airport’s Hangar 17 to the Museum. The installation is 80% complete and will be complete by the end of the year. EL
The Truth is the most controversial of Michael D’Antuono’s art works, but just what did he mean by it?
The reality behind ‘The Truth’ M
ichael D’Antuono has, in the course of a few months in 2009, become one of the world’s most controversial artists. But unlike many deliberately ‘shocking’ new wave artists, D’Antuono claims that this notoriety has come about by accident rather than design. D’Antuono’s painting The Truth was splashed all over the internet and became a media sensation, featured in The LA Times and The National Review, and on many TV and radio shows. The Truth is an enigmatic depiction of President Barack Obama in the pose of Jesus Christ on the Cross, complete with crown of thorns on his head. His outstretched hands pull back dark veils that have covered the Presidential Seal. Or are the hands pulling the veil over the Seal? The Truth was due to be unveiled in Union Square Park, New York City, on April 29, President Obama’s 100th day in office. The unveiling was cancelled at short notice due to an overwhelming flood of public outrage: thou-
sands of emails and phone calls, vitriolic online blogs and negative comments in the media. The artist insists, perhaps disingenuously, that the image was intended to be purely political. “The religious reference was used metaphorically and not to insult anyone’s religious beliefs. If that is the effect that my art has had on anyone, I am truly sorry,” says D’Antuono. Interviewed on talk radio station Air America, D’Antuono said that he cancelled “Because the overwhelming, 98 percent, were very upset on a religious level. And they were calling it blasphemy. I don’t apologize for creating and showing it, but I really didn’t mean to disrespect people’s religion. It’s meant as a political piece.” All this is a far cry from D’Antuono’s previous art works and his previous career. After studying art in New York and Paris, D’Antuono became an art director at advertising agency DMB&B, creating award-winning ad campaigns. Moving into fine art,
his portraits of iconic entertainers became popular, as did his Paint Noir series reliving a time in which hoods and wise guys dallied with frails and dames. Lately he has moved into what he sees as social commentary. His Dependence and Independence paintings commented on the US’s reliance on foreign oil. That pairing was upsetting enough to some viewers, but it was nothing compared to “The Truth”. Above: ‘...and what I meant was...’ is the answering painting to ‘The Truth’
D’Antuono felt that he had to answer the critics, reworking his political statement while removing the religious symbolism. is new piece is entitled ...what I meant was..., but whether that applies to the artist or to the President is – again ambiguously – unclear. President Obama, at a press conference, faces reporters wearing 3-D glasses. The color of the lenses denote their political bias. “The media views events through their partisan lenses and then spins the news for the purpose of advancing their own political agenda. The end result is a country that is passionately divided,” says D’Antuono. The viewer is dared to read between the lines of their favorite media, filtering out prejudice. H
D’Antuono’s ‘Dependence’ satirizes America’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil
Wills and Probate A Which? essential guide
Three useful books this month, reviewed by Virginia Schultz and Michael Burland
Looking At Pictures
By Joy Richardson Illustrations by Charlotte Voake
bought this book for my nine year old granddaughter after a visit to the National Gallery in London, but after looking through it found it was helpful to a novice like myself as well. Each chapter introduces an important aspect of the paintings from explaining perspective to the hidden meanings in the various pictures. From Leonardo to Constable to Picasso, art becomes living history which adult and child can enjoy alone or together. Author Joy Richardson takes us behind the scene in the gallery and shows that there is often more to a painting than meets the eye. Charlotte Voake’s drawings add to this very imaginative and fascinating book which will be helpful in understanding art no matter if visiting the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, the Louvre in Paris. or the National Gallery in London. VS Original edition (1997) in US, Harry N. Abrams. In UK, National Gallery Company Ltd., £10. Revised Edition, (published October 2009) Abrams Books for Young Readers, hardback, £14.76
Eating out In Pubs Michelin Guide
nyone whose idea of pubs in the UK comes from British movies – a choice of one flat warm brown beer, stale sandwiches (if any food is available at all), all served in a smoky atmosphere – will have a shock when they first visit one of the new breed of ‘gastropubs’ that have appeared over the last few years. In fact appeared is the wrong word. They’re mostly existing old pub buildings, but they have been spruced up or radically redecorated. The common factor is that they serve some of the best, and best value, food, whether traditional British, modern or international. Michelin have collated over 550 of the most attractive in this handy pocket-sized guidebook. Each region of England, plus Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, has an introductory page, a map to find the pubs’ locations and each pub has a page to itself. Pubs are indexed by name and by location, so you should be able to find one easily. While not completely comprehensive, this is a useful guide to pack in the car when touring the UK. MB
s Ben Franklin pointed out, in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. The two come together over inheritance tax, which becomes due if the deceased person’s estate totals over a certain amount. If you are resident in Britain, you will need to be aware of the differences between the US and UK systems and make suitable arrangements. This revised edition of a popular guide published by consumer rights group Which? includes all the latest changes to Inheritance Tax (IHT). Its simple layout and easy to follow chapters tackle how to produce your own will or use legal professionals to help you. It explains the likely costs of making a will and suggests ways to save on IHT. The book also describes the system of probate (in which the ‘executor’ of a will is granted the legal authority to administer someone else’s will after they die), how to value the assets and distribute them to the right people and how to complete all the official forms. ‘Exclamation point’ boxes highlight key points, clear flowcharts explain procedures and ‘Jargon Busters’ simplify sometimes murky legalese. You can even make your own will online using Which?’s interactive questionnaire. MB Which? Books, paperback, 202 pages, £10.99
Michelin Maps and Guides, paperback, 654 pages, £14.99
Edward Rutherfurd, author of epic historical novels about London, Dublin, Russia and Sarum, has tackled his biggest city so far. He tells Michael Burland about the surprises that met him on the journey New York is a whopper, at over 1000 pages. How long did it take to research and write? New York only has four centuries of history, compared with Sarum and London’s 2,000 years, but it’s very rich and complex. I managed to complete it in about two and a half years. What’s your starting point? Do you have an outline of a story you start with, or do you start with a blank page, ﬁnd out all the facts and work from there’? I do general research and reading then make a thirty to forty page synopsis. It’s like a big building. You need a very strong ground plan, a bunch of themes that recur as you go through the history. When you’re constructing a big novel it teeters on the edge of non-fiction, but there has to be a central ‘oomph’ behind it in the gut of the writer. Without a strong structure it would be difficult to keep the book together. And there’s an underlying theme which came to me as I went through this book: freedom. People have always come to New York in search of freedom, even from the first days.
Was there anything that shocked you or changed the way that you approached the book? Novelists shouldn’t be too easily shocked! But there were one or two surprises that came out of my research. I was fascinated to discover how corrupt most of the British Governors were. And I was hugely amused to discover that the famous Lord Cornbury, the cousin of Queen Anne, was accused of cross-dressing – it can’t absolutely be proved, but many historians think it’s pretty likely and I had a lot of fun depicting him. Lord North, the British Prime Minister at the time of the Revolutionary War, was almost certainly the half-brother of King George III, if you look at pictures, the likeness is staggering. And there’s no question that two brothers, Admiral Howe and General Howe, the commanders of the original forces that came over to America, were the illegitimate cousins of George III. The whole thing was a bizarre family affair! I came to realise how conflicted everybody was in the Revolutionary War. The English were divided about it, but there were enormous difficulties for the Colonists that gave me a
lot of tension between a father and son who turn up on different sides. I hadn’t realised how much Ben Franklin was a British Imperialist right up until 1775. He believed in the British Empire and its destiny in America, until it was forced out of him by the mistakes of the British. But Franklin’s son remained loyal to the British and was the Royal Governor of New Jersey, right through the war. I had been shocked by Mel Gibson’s movie The Patriot, in which American Colonists are burnt to death in a church by the British, but that event did not happen. I was working for that part of the book with Professor Edwin Burrows, the Pulitzer Prize-winning joint author of the bible of New York history, ‘Gotham’. He had written a book called ‘Forgotten Patriots’ about the prison ships, old hulks which the British ran in the waters off New York. The British regarded the Colonists as rebels, so they weren’t treated as prisoners of war – there are shades of more recent history there. The British behaved shamefully and the prisoners died in unbelievable numbers. That was one of the things that made the rebels go
“Ihadn’trealisedhowmuchBenFranklinwasaBritish Imperialistrightupuntil1775.HebelievedintheBritish EmpireanditsdestinyinAmerica,untilitwasforcedoutof himbythemistakesoftheBritish.” on resisting when things were bad. And I didn’t know that in 1861 an enormous amount of New York’s trade was still with the South, so New York did not like the idea of a Civil War at all. The Mayor of New York, Fernando Wood, a wonderfully corrupt Tammany Hall politician, proposed that New York City should secede from the Union and become independent so it could trade with both sides. Was there anything you found that you couldn’t include in the book? No, I’ve been pretty inclusive really. The Cotton Club was a famous jazz club up in Harlem, and in the period I talk about it was whites only in the audience, black people on stage. A junior editor told me I should change that and say the audience was mixed because it didn’t sound politically correct. I said ‘Sorry chum, we tell the truth’. It’s an important part of the story. On the one hand this place is heroic but it has had its fair share of time when things weren’t always so nice, one deals with the gangs in New York, prejudice, and so on. That’s what makes it a very rich mix. You portray the various nationalities of people, the Indians that were there to start with then the Dutch, the English, the Italians arriving in New York. Did you try to give them equal presence?
You do your best. The structure of the book is really a single family, the Masters, with a lot of grafts as you go through. I do my best to portray the principal lines of immigration into New York. In an ideal world the book would have been ten times as long! America has always prided itself on being an immigrant nation. So is England. The English are not always aware of how much they are a nation of immigrants, all this talk about the ‘Anglo Saxon English’ is total nonsense. The melting pot is a wonderful thing. Did writing the book change the way you felt about New York? Yes, I’ve lived in New York over the last 30 years, on the West Side, Mid-Town, the East Side, Connecticut and Westchester County. I’ve been on the board of a Co-Op. My children were brought up in New York, they are Americans, as is their mother, so New York is very familiar territory. I had a lot of feelings about New York, but as well as making me understand and appreciate it much more, I felt by the end of this book a kind of inspiration about it. It’s where people go to find their dreams. When bad things happen like 9/11, they overcome
them. We talk about the English being magnificent in the Blitz, but time and again Americans have had to overcome all kinds of things. Those immigrants for instance, they worked in sweat shops, having a very rough life and yet within a generation most of them managed to succeed. I don’t just mean to have enough money, I mean they manage to succeed culturally, to become American but keep a lot of things they brought with them. I find it a thrilling city, I’ve always been fascinated by it, but by the end of the book I really came to love it. H Manhattan and the surrounding lands as Rutherfurd’s characters would have known them.
Debbie Allen Michael Burland talks to the famous Fame dame about her black adaptation of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, coming to the West End
t’s seven in the morning in Las Vegas as The American calls Miss Allen, just before a long day working with Mariah Carey, but Debbie Allen is brightness personified. “It’s OK, I‘m a morning person. And I’ll soon be on London time anyway”, she laughs. Debbie has directed a huge variety of shows in different media, but we were talking about Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, her Broadway debut that is soon to come to London. How did it come about? “It’s a play that I loved, and it’s such an amazingly relevant story for our time right now,” she enthuses. “Stephen Byrd, our producer, called
me ten years ago and asked if I would direct a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He had gotten the rights to revisit the work of Tennessee Williams with a black cast. I was so excited by it and I had Denzel Washington ready to play the part of Stanley, but it didn’t work out. But now we’ve come back with ‘Cat’.” Debbie’s cast start rehearsals October 19th, and some great American actors come over with the production. What was it like working with James Earl Jones, who’s playing Big Daddy? “Oh, James Earl is glorious in this role. And we have Phylicia Rashad [Debbie’s sister in real life] as Big Mama and
Sanaa Lathan playing Maggie, who was just born to play this part.” The American actors are being teamed with British stars like Adrian Lester and the comedian Richard Blackwood. Did Debbie ever consider an all British cast? “No, it was always the plan to bring over American actors. The first question a lot of people ask me is, how are the Brits going to handle this accent? But the Brits are very versatile, and so talented I think they could handle any accent. We wanted Adrian from the beginning as soon as we knew Terrence Howard [who played Brick on Broadway] was not going to be able to do it, but he wasn’t available. But then Adrian became available if we would shift our timing and we shifted our time frame so we could have him.” There used to be a stereotype on British TV, hopefully now disappearing, of young black men being typecast as criminals on cop shows. The UK still seems to be behind the US on this issue, so I asked Debbie if she had a view on this? She agreed, but only to a point. “This is why we need these Transatlantic productions. But when I worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company many years ago it was the first time I‘d seen a production of Julius Caesar with Phylicia Rashad, Adrian Lester, Sanaa Lathan and James Earl Jones in London production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Photo: Jeff Fasano
black actors in it. I thought, wow, the British people understand that there are universal themes and characters. It’s not about race, it’s about character and talent. But as you say, there’s still work to be done to transcend certain stereotypes and boundaries. Well, you know, the President of the United States is black! We still have many challenges but we have a plethora of black actors playing roles – Morgan Freeman played the President years ago, and in the sequel to Jurassic park Jeff Goldblums’ daughter was black and Stephen Spielberg never explained it, it just wasn’t mentioned. This is the way life should be. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is originally about an affluent, racist, Southern white family. I wondered if her casting was just color-blind, or if she was making a point? Absolutely color-blind, she insists. “This play has nothing to do with race. It has to do with a moral divide, the abyss some of the characters fall into and the inability they have to face the truth. These are powerful themes that have nothing to so with race, or culture. If you did this with an all-Swedish cast, or in Mexico or China, in their languages, it would still rise.” In the US, critical and public reaction has been positive. Debbie is happy that her radical reinterpretation has been received well, for her own sake as well as the author’s. “When you do a production it’s like going into an empty space that you have to navigate. You excavate the characters and as you explore the text it comes alive. When you see busloads of people coming from across the country to see it, you know you’ve done something right. Tennessee Williams was anxious that his work would be experienced by as many people as possible. In our incarnation of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof we’re not paying homage to any production or movie done before. We’re
“This play has nothing to do with race. It has to do with a moral divide, the abyss some of the characters fall into and the inability they have to face the truth.” finding our own truth.” The rehearsal period for the West End run is only four weeks. That’s not a long time. But, says Debbie, “When you have actors like James Earl and Adrian Lester and Sanaa Lathan, you can catch the lighting in a bottle in a concise time. I love actors who are curious. James Earl Jones was always the youngest person in the room, so full of life, and willing to explore and try things. That’s what you want, to set a fire with the actors, until it burns its way right the way to the curtain going up.” Debbie is probably best known in the UK as a choreographer and of course from her role as Lydia Grant in Fame. I asked her what it was like returning to Fame, thirty years on. “It’s something we always wanted to do,” she says. “I was happy to come back and be the Principal. I always had an idea Lydia Grant might end up running things! Hopefully it will excite a new generation of young people to get involved in the theater and the arts. When we did Fame we created performing arts schools all over the world. It was a phenomenon all over the world – you can’t see that coming, it just happens.” Debbie’s career never stands still, so with the London run about to start I asked what she had planned next year. “Well, I’m directing Mariah Carey’s con-
The super-busy Debbie Allen – producer, director, choreographer and star
certs in Las Vegas. I worked with Mariah before, on her world tour when she did Butterfly, and I was in the middle of producing the movie Amistad. Being Debbie Allen is a challenge, darling, there’s so many things going on with her!” she laughs. One of Debbie’s children’s books, Dancing In The Wings, is going to be made into a major feature film which Debbie will direct. And she’s producing a movie featuring Will Smith, based on the life of the man she calls the ‘real Raiders of the Lost Ark’, Dr. S. Allen Counter, a black professor of neurobiology, a Nobel scholar and an explorer. And then she has her Dance Academy, for which “I’m always out there with a tin cup,” she says, “The world is in a difficult financial situation and the arts is always the first thing to be cut. And I’m involved with the President’s Committee on the Arts. Next year? I’m just trying to get to next week!” H
THEATER REVIEWS by Jarlath O’Connell
I Bought A Blue Car Today Vaudeville Theatre, The Strand, London WC2
leven years ago Alan Cumming departed the West End to star in Sam Mendes’ great production of Cabaret on Broadway and won a Tony in the process. He has now returned to the West End, a star. His one-man show arrives fresh from both Lincoln Centre and the Sydney Opera House, no less. Cumming has become huge in the US with some carefully chosen film, theatre and TV roles, which have put him at the top of his game. A regular on the New York A-list party circuit, his impish cheekiness has livened up many a dull US chat show. Nowadays his
currency is so high that the producers of the delayed Spider-Man musical are keeping him on a retainer until financing is in place. When that show finally opens in March (music and lyrics by Bono and the Edge), it will be Broadway’s most expensive show ever. Nothing succeeds like excess, I suppose. The man certainly has stage presence and a way with a bon mot. His singing voice, though limited, is enhanced by his innate actor’s ability to inhabit a role and this show works mostly because he has cleverly surrounded himself by eight great musicians and a wonderful MD called Lance Horne, who himself is an up and coming composer. On the bare stage, now de rigeur for these shows, he tackles an interesting range of material from Cyndi Lauper and John Bocchino to Dory Previn and William Finn. Less successfully he reprises “Mein Herr” but in a broad Scottish accent. This just doesn’t work. All the stresses on the words end up in all the wrong places and the song gets flayed in the process. He’s not exactly The Proclaimers, so why he chooses to sing in this voice is rather baffling. Cabaret or an intimate concert likes this requires performers to have a personality combined with intelligence. You need to be able to talk and you need to have something to say. It requires a
persona, which may or may not be the same as your own personality. Actors often trip up here because they simply can’t be themselves on stage. This may be either because there isn’t much there to begin with or because they haven’t figured themselves out as yet. I was surprised how Cumming fell short here. He came across as ingratiating and disingenuous. He is, after all, no shrinking violet and his anecdotes which aimed to be self-effacing, instead came across as self-serving. He also displayed an irritating habit of playing the old “I don’t know anything about America” line, which he uses to abuse aspects of his adopted country. He described how, as a newly arrived emigrant, he got into hot water for not knowing who Walter Cronkite was (his audience participation victim in Cabaret one night) and for being oblivious to the iconic status of Saturday Night Live, the time he was asked to host it. I didn’t believe this shtick for a second and someone should tell him that not knowing about American cultural figures reflects badly on you, not on your hosts. The producers of this show also produce the regular Notes from New York concerts, which introduce London audiences to new musical theatre from New York. After the Sept 3rd performance Alan Cumming was joined by a host of West End names to present a concert of Lance Horne’s work. His is certainly a talent to look out for. H
By Jez Butterworth • Royal Court Theatre, London SW1
ark Rylance, fresh from his Tony win on Broadway (for Boeing, Boeing) is on a roll. In Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem he plays Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron a ne’er-do-well, ageing, hell raiser who hangs out in his trailer home in a Wiltshire forest, surrounded by youths and scallywags. Former biker, now a handyman, conman and scourge of the local women, he is a cross between Falstaff, The Pied Piper and a twisted Robin Hood. There is always a party at Rooster’s and his camp attracts a shambolic retinue of underage girls, aimless young men and a wonderfully forlorn sidekick called Ginger (Mackenzie Crook of The Office in a gem of a performance), who all come to escape their own grim lives. Following a glorious prelude, the play begins with Rooster emerging from his trailer, the morning after the night before. There is always a night
before with Rooster. He handstands into a water butt to clear his head, fetches a fresh egg from his chicken coop (live chickens on stage) and concocts a mixture of raw egg, stale milk and speed to set him up for the day. In this deftly choreographed sequence we learn all we need to know about this rogue and it typifies how director Ian Rickson, designer Ultz and a perfect ensemble cast have combined to create sheer theatrical alchemy. Jez Butterworth burst onto the scene in 1995 with a more urban project, the gangster drama Mojo, which won a slew of awards and was later filmed with his hero, Harold Pinter, in the cast. Here he marries the naturalism of the Royal Court’s house style with some great poetic flourishes. Rooster spins tales which would put Conor McPherson’s Irish pub talkers to shame and the language of this play is glorious. The plot could be ripped from any local newspaper. The ongoing battle between Travellers and the settled community who don’t want their suburban idyll ruined by this explosion of licentiousness on their doorsteps. Butterworth makes a stand for the vanishing world of gypsies and outcasts and casts them in a direct line from the local druidical legends. He neatly contrasts this with the modern St George’s Day fête in the village, with its vapid Morris dancing and “meditation cave”, sponsored by the brewery of course. Butterworth explores the tensions between the winners and the losers in our “green and pleasant land” and shows us the forgotten underclass,
who have missed that prosperity bus. It’s Jeremy Kyle but with poetry. But Butterworth never sentimentalises his characters nor hankers after some idealised past and this is what marks it out as a great piece of writing. Rooster’s shortcomings are made quite clear. He deals drugs to teenagers and has abandoned his son and the kid’s longsuffering mother. When they appear we see the emotional cost of his trail of romantic delusion. Everything has a price. Neither does the play fall for easy moralising. Rooster’s haven is for many a lot safer then what they have to deal with behind the net curtains. Also it is telling that even those who rail against him in the end all gladly take his drugs. Being the eternal outsider he becomes their confessor and confidante, but ultimately Rooster lives in an eternal present of the teenage drug-fuelled party without end. In the end of course the wonderfully tedious officials from Kennet and Avon Council and the South Wiltshire Constabulary will defeat him and all the Roosters of this world, but here Butterworth asks us to ponder what is being swept away? More importantly, he asks us, why does every society seem to need the safety valve that Rooster and his kind provide? This is a gem of a play and thankfully the Royal Court will be transferring it to the West End in January. H
Katrina: A Play of New Orleans
Wunmi Mosaku plays the sassy soul singer Miranda
By Jonathan Holmes Indoor promenade performance at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1
pproximately twelve people died during Hurricane Katrina itself. In contrast almost two thousand perished in the ensuing week of inactivity... In the combination of loss of life and loss of livelihood and infrastructure, the failure to rescue New Orleans constitutes the largest disaster ever to occur on US soil. These chilling statements from the programme notes to Katrina answer the question, why do a play about Hurricane Katrina? The ground breaking theatre company The Jericho House, who specialise in site specific work, have answered this call and created one of the most memorable theatrical experiences seen in London for a long time. With just a cast of seven and a big building to play with, they have created theatrical magic. Taking over an old bargehouse behind the Oxo Tower on London’s South Bank, they have decked it out to convey the feel of New Orleans both before and after the hurricane hit. The brains behind the project is the British playwright Jonathan Holmes who, two years ago, produced a similar site-specific piece about the siege of Fallujah. While he himself is a published scholar (on Donne and Shakespeare no less), here he has chosen verbatim transcripts as the basis for his play and nothing could be more eloquent. Working with an amazing design
team they have transformed three floors of this large, decaying, building into a series of beautifully detailed installations, through which one is led before settling in a final room to hear the stories. The play ends on a lively note in an upper room where we get to experience an authentic New Orleans Jazz Funeral. The installations comprise everything from a rather forlorn tourist office, to a dilapidated home of a resident of one of the very poor neighbourhoods in that city, to the sleazy honky-tonk called the ‘Funky Butt’, where we first hear the sassy soul singer Miranda (Wunmi Mosaku), who later recounts her story. As the audience move from room to room, they hear an astonishingly rich soundscape: jagged fragments of TV news, weather reports, a powerful reading of Genesis by John Hurt and that amazing interview which Ted Koppel did on ABC Nightline with Michael
Brown, the hapless head of FEMA. The central story follows the progress of Beatrice (a great performance from Andrea Harris), a New Orleans woman, who is carrying the body of her lover across town to City Hall in the hope of giving him a funeral. She is forced to float him along the flooded streets laid out on a wooden door. During this almost mythical odyssey she comes across a range of characters who get to tell their stories. These are an ex convict, a singer, a young conman and self described “low life” and two white Californian tourists, who also act as the chorus for this real life Greek tragedy. Through their personal stories of the week we learn of the awful duplicity and incompetence of the authorities, the acts of cruelty, the acts of kindness and of the courage and the plain nobility of some ordinary people. All of life is here and it certainly makes for a vibrant and vital tableau. The extent to which poor people were ignored and left to die in New Orleans in August 2005 and the criminal incompetence of the authorities does leave one gobsmacked, but has anything been learned from it all? One does wonder, when still in September 2009, there are reports that many of the poorest still aren’t allowed back in their homes nor have they received insurance payouts or compensation. H
Odd One Out?
Alison Holmes plays ‘Have I Got News for You’ over the al-Megrahi release
magine you are watching the BBC political panel game show ‘Have I Got News for You’. Just for fun let’s assume London Mayor Boris Johnson is the guest host – though he has presumably given up such frivolity since rising to greatness. We have come to the picture round and photos of Gordon Brown, Alex Salmond, Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela come up on the screen. Hmmm. Is this about nationalism? A question of civil rights and freedom? Perhaps something about identity? Yes and no. The correct ‘odd man out’ is President Obama because, despite the fact a more unlikely group of bedfellows could hardly be imagined in Brown, Salmond and Mandela, Obama is currently expressing his ire with the others for their respective roles, or approval of, the release of Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi This is a complicated tale and the first question pervades the entire discussion. Who knew what, when and who applied pressure, where? Unfortunately, we will probably never have complete answers to those, but to even address them, we must understand the context of the relationship between Brown and Salmond: two ailing leaders of two failing governments. Historically, there is certainly no love lost between the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party so the notion there were cozy chats about ‘the good of the nation’ or an offer of a ‘helpful way out’ from Whitehall for the struggling minority Nationalist government in Scotland, borders
on the absurd. Scotland is known for tribalism, making these two leaders as close to being sworn enemies of epic proportion as is possible in modern politics. Both of these men would probably be more likely to ask for lighter fluid than water if the other were put on a political pyre – and there is plenty of lighter fluid in a case that involves terrorism, oil and trade. But the decision to release alMegrahi is muddied by Scotland’s well-documented objection to the deals being made by former Prime Minister Tony Blair with Colonel Gaddafi on prisoner transfers. Of
course, at that point, Scotland was on the familiar territory of the moral high ground because it was protesting that Scotland’s legal position is not the responsibility of the UK Prime Minister, a fact that Blair’s Scottish background and legal training would suggest he knew, but decided to overlook. Unfortunately for Salmond, this usual refuge is fast being exposed as the Americans hack their way through the legal thicket to protest the decision to anyone who will listen. Which brings us to another bizarre plot twist. Apparently, the American desire to protest ‘at every level’ of UK
and Scottish government included a plan to hand deliver a letter to the Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill. The only problem was they didn’t know how to find him. According to reports, the Lothian police took calls from the FBI who demanded MacAskill’s home address so that a US Embassy official from London could undertake this mission. The request was rebuffed on the grounds police don’t give home details – to anyone. Now apart from the obvious question as to why the FBI could not find the home address of a well-known public official, the other puzzle is why did they not contact the US Embassy in London or indeed their Consul in Edinburgh? To date there is no statement on the Embassy’s website and like much of this story, it beggars belief. The next question of course, is how could the hallowed name of Mandela have ended up on the receiving side of an American, Obama-brandished stick? Mandela, ironically being feted both in London and New York through all of this for his 91st birthday, played a key role in persuading Gaddafi (pictured above) to hand over al-Megrahi and his co-accused Khalifa Fhima for trial in a neutral country. In 1992, he spent time shuttling between Libya, the UK and the US proposing South Africa. Interestingly, President Bush agreed but John Major baulked and so it was only when Blair became Prime Minister that progress could be made and Holland became the location acceptable to all parties. None of this however, offers much insight as to why Mandela, now retired from public life, should go to the trouble to put out a statement through his Foundation in support of the Scottish Nationalists’ position. Is it because he supports the idea of compassion even to those deemed enemies of the state? Or is it because he feels that al-
Megrahi may have been a mere cog in a much larger wheel of the Lockerbie tragedy? Given al-Megrahi had to drop his appeal to gain his freedom we may never know what that would have brought to light. We should also bear in mind, whatever the ranting of Washington, compassionate release is not a Scottish invention. It exists in the rest of the UK and even in the US. But in this over-charged political context, a more basic question is consistently overlooked: what is the purpose of ‘compassionate release’? Prisons exist to keep those who pose a danger to others contained. We like to think they also serve as a deterrent – though this is generally not proven. We also entertain the notion that it can, or should, provide some kind of reform so that we may allow former criminals back into society. The prison terms handed down are based on this uneasy combination of when they have ‘paid’ and when they no longer ‘pose a threat’. Thus, the objective of compassionate leave becomes the state’s recognition of the inability of the criminal to pose a threat and
that their imminent death obviates the need for further rehabilitation. Compassion, by definition, does not leave much room for notions of death in prison as revenge. However, there are clearly different interpretations or emphasis on punishment vs. reform – and resulting views of compassion – on the two sides of the Atlantic. In the last nine years Scotland has released 23 prisoners on medical grounds while seven such requests were denied. In England and Wales 49 prisoners were released over the past 5 years. The US, with its much higher prison population, tends not to use compassionate release. What we have not answered, or indeed even asked, is whether or not there are crimes for which we should show no compassion? Are there some deeds for which the punishment must be ‘unto death’? Are there some criminals who will remain a role model for others, regardless of their location at the time of their death? These are difficult questions and presumably not covered by the broad notion used by Mr MacAskill. But putting ourselves into his shoes for a moment, and assuming his interpretation of compassionate release covers all prisoners, surely we must be able to agree that it becomes a factual question not a political one? If a prisoner faces imminent death, the state has grounds to release him. Back to our screen and the faces of Brown, Salmond, Obama and Mandela staring out. Perhaps Boris would give us at least one point if we suggest instead of Obama, that Mandela is the correct answer. We could argue that he is ‘odd’ because he is the one least likely to be viewing this issue solely through the lens of political expediency and electoral populism. Then again, Boris may not see those as a problem. H
Alfa MiTo Jeans for Genes
A Horch Wins At Pebble Beach
n ultra-rare car bearing the name of Audi’s “founding father” August Horch has won the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California, appropriately crowning Audi’s centenary celebrations. The 1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet, owned by American private collector Robert M. Lee, was named “Best of Show” at the event, held along the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links. Competitors from almost 20 countries brought their lovingly restored cars for judging in 28 classes. A 1938 Horch 853A Erdmann & Rossi Sport Cabriolet won the “Best in Show” award in 2004. Mr. Lee, from Nevada, spent five years restoring the Pebble Beach winning vehicle, and which features coachwork by the Berlin coachbuilder Voll & Ruhrbeck, to a show-worthy condition requiring specialized parts and information to be sourced from Germany. “I had never seen anything like it when I first saw it,” reflected Mr. Lee. “I drove it almost 100 miles a day before the competition and it ran beautifully. It’s a wonderful car and I
wanted to share it with others.” The Horch company was founded in 1899 and began manufacturing cars in 1901. It merged with Audi, DKW and Wanderer to form Auto Union, which today is known as Audi. In fact, Audi is the Latin translation of Horch. In 1935, the Horch Company introduced the Horch 850 with a five-liter, straight-eight engine. The shorter wheelbase 853 model, which won this year’s Best of Show was very popular among Germany’s rich and famous, offering luxury at a very competitive price. The last Horch roadcar was built in 1958.
Also at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance: Bentley Motors unveiled the company’s all-new ﬂagship grand tourer, the Bentley Mulsanne, inspired by company founder WO Bentley’s win at the 1930 Le Mans 24 hour race for the fourth year in a row.
lfa Romeo claims its funky MiTo hatchback has genes inherited from all its sports cars right up to the 8C Competizione supercar. To help support the charity Jeans for Genes, a national children’s charity that helps children with genetic disorders, Alfa has paired up with TV fashion expert Louise Roe and fashion designers Bjork and McElligott to create a line of women’s jeans as cool and desirable as the MiTo and raise money for charity. The result is a one-off series of limited edition ultra-trendy skinny fit jeans that, they say “echo the genealogy concept by deconstructing first generation jeans”, creating new, high fashion jeans complete with a high quality leather waistband, Alfa Romeo red stitching and embroidered rear pockets featuring iconic Alfa badges. Alfa are obviously into the concept of genes – MiTos feature a ‘DNA’ button – Dynamic, Normal and All Weather – that alters the responsiveness of the accelerator, brakes and traction to suit different driving conditions. Sophie McElligott said: “The DNA button gave us an extra framework to operate within. The Alfa MiTo’s parentage from the Alfa 8C and the concept that DNA is in your genes made the project’s beneficiary an easy choice.” Priced at £75 a pair, the jeans can be bought at Donna Ida shops or at www.mitojeans.co.uk
British Team smashes 103 year old Land speed Record Café Society Docu-DVD
new documentary movie, Café Society, chronicles the origins, legacy and rebirth of café racers, the high-speed bad-boy street bikes that fueled a unique motorcycle subculture. Two years in the making, Café Society was filmed on location throughout the UK, Europe and US by crews from Chet Burks Productions and Mike Seate of Café Racer magazine (pictured above). It is the first-ever full-length documentary to give old and new fans of the ‘mods and rockers’ era a rare, intimate view of the Ton-Up culture. The café racer bike was a British invention that was based around, and got its name from, the coffee house culture of the late 1950s and 60s. The idea was to buy a frothy coffee, put your favorite rock’n’roll song on the juke box, jump onto your Triton or Norvin and race your buddies to the nearest junction and back. Half the movie, however, focuses on the recent growth in the subculture in the USA. It’s filled with exclusive footage of the builders, personalities, machines, fashions, clubs and gatherings that defined the early café racing scene. On sale in September 2009, the high-definition DVD costs $24.95. Both US and overseas formats are available. Order it from www. cafesocietyfilm.com
he 100 year old land speed record for a steam powered car was broken by Charles Burnett III and his team, at Edward’s Air Force Base, California August 25. Burnett achieved an average speed of 139.843mph on two runs over a measured mile, reaching a peak of 136.103mph on the first run and 151.085 mph on the second. The new international record, which is subject to official confirmation by the FIA, breaks the previous official FIA record of 127mph set in 1906 by American, Fred Marriott, driving a Stanley steamer at Daytona Beach. The Barber-Nichols Team achieved an American National Record at 145.607mph with their car ‘Steamin’ Demon’ in 1985. They made no attempt to establish an FIA record, however, the British team recognized this as the record to exceed. Burnett said: “It was absolutely fantastic, I enjoyed every moment of it. We reached nearly 140mph on the first run before I applied the parachute. All systems worked perfectly,
it was a really good run. The second run went even better and we clocked a speed in excess of 150 mph. The car really did handle beautifully. The team has worked extremely hard over the last 10 years and overcome numerous problems. It is a privilege to be involved with such a talented crew, what we have achieved today is a true testament to British engineering, good teamwork and perseverance”. Weighing three tons, the sleek 25-ft British Steam Car is made from a mixture of lightweight carbon-fiber composite and aluminum wrapped around a steel space frame chassis. It is fitted with 12 boilers containing nearly two miles of tubing and uses demineralized water pumped into the boilers at up to 50 liters a minute. The burners produce three megawatts of heat and the steam is superheated to 400 °C, which is injected into the turbine at more than twice the speed of sound. Burnett attributes his love for travel, speed and all things mechanical to his American father, who raced hydroplanes and restored Hudson automobiles. Burnett has run the world’s most successful powerboat team and taken world records in catamarans and monohulls powered by diesel, petrol and LPG. He was included in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999 for an offshore water speed record of 137mph.
Sideline There’s real football on the TV and right here in the UK this coming month. Richard L Gale encourages you to take sides
irst thing’s first: What the heck is that NFL logo behind the ‘bang bang’ rappers in Sky Sport’s opening sequence? It’s about as bling as the reflective strips on cycling safetywear. As imposing as Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge model, it makes Sky’s studio Christmas tree look like the Trafalgar illuminations. Still, everywhere is football again – Sky Sports, ESPNA, Five, Radio Five Live. It isn’t everywhen, though: no MNF? anywhere? What’s the NFL’s plan here? They talk of two games in the UK, but they can’t sell their marquee weekly match-up? Marketing-wise, that’s dropping the ball, right there. On the plus side, at least I didn’t have to view the ‘legacy’ uniforms in the Bills-Patriots game, where the referees donned orange and white duds. Ouch. No wonder the Patriots seemed off-color.
No sooner had last month’s NFL preview hit the press – I mean the very minute it hit the press – Favre unretired and made a nonsense of it. I’m genuinely sick of his act now. I even found myself rooting for the Browns to beat him in week one ...and I’m a Steelers fan – yes, it’s that bad. Still, at the rate Favre (the legendary passer with as many Super Bowl wins as Trent Dilfer) is getting sacked, he may not be breaking the consecutive starts record by much. Early injuries only one week in
include cracked ribs for Donovan McNabb, Troy Polamalu out for over a month, and Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher gone for the season. Ah yes, the Bears. Compare and contrast Jay Cutler’s final moments in week one (his fourth interception) with Kyle Orton’s (an impossibly lucky ricochet completion for a Denver win). The Bears loss to Green Bay is the first part of a process that will finally see the Packers’ faithful adopt Aaron Rodgers this season. The other part is when he beats Brett Favre’s Vikings, of course. (Booo!)
More quarterbacking notes!
Kurt Warner’s unstoppable Cardinals offense of 2008 vanished in a puff of smoke in their 2009 opener; Mark Sanchez won his first NFL game, while Matt Stafford lost his, gamely failing to keep pace with Drew Brees, who’s on course to break Dan Marino’s TD records (if only he can play the Lions every week); Jake Delhomme looked ready for the bench; and Ben Roethlisberger shrugged off rape allegations and Pittsburgh’s terrible rushing game to earn an opening night win. It’s fascinating to speculate how many of these stories will still be ‘live’ by the time you read these words. One non-QB issue: how long before the Patriots realize that without Tedy Bruschi (retirement), Richard Seymour (traded to Oakland) or Jerod Mayo (injured), their defense is
Photo © Tampa Bay Buccaneers
in serious trouble. I’m not expecting an upset, but come October 25th, I’m very interested to see how the Patriots’ D copes with Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow (pictured above). The Wembley atmosphere may be subtly different this season. 2007 was an historical event demanding every UK NFL fan’s attention. Next, San Diego and New Orleans brought the Cajun spice of a points-fest. While the 2009 match-up suggests points galore too (albeit one-sidedly), two generations of Patriots fans and the small but hugely dedicated UK Buccaneers fan base may herald a slight increase in the number of ticket-buyers dedicated to a particular team, rather than just neutrals glad that the NFL visits once in a while. The Wembley games could do with the rabidness of partisanship to send a clear message that NFL games in London are about passion and not just novelty. So if you have tickets, and you’re not a Pats or Bucs fan, please, adopt a team for the occasion. Whoop, holler, and make the folks back home realize these games matter as much in the UK as in the US. H
For the Glory... The USA are the reigning Olympic Champions of... Rugby? Here – and in his new book – Mark Ryan recounts the forgotten glory of US Rugby
ugby union is to be reintroduced to the Olympic Games – a decision to be rubber-stamped this coming month – and sports fans the world over are asking themselves the same question: who are the reigning Olympic rugby champions? The answer, surprisingly, is the USA. The extraordinary true story behind that bare fact captured my imagination and compelled me to write “For the Glory.” I guarantee this story will make you even prouder to be American – and give you bragging rights over your rugby-loving British friends for at least the next seven years. That is because the USA is only due to defend its rugby title, after the game’s 92-year absence from the Olympics, in 2016. When the US rugby team reached England in 1924, half the players had never experienced a truly competitive match. Many were Gridiron men still struggling to grasp rugby’s rules. The other half had been part of the 1920 US rugby side that had beaten the French in a one-off showdown at the
Olympic Games in Antwerp. By 1924 the French were desperate to gain Olympic revenge on home turf. In California, former center of the US rugby universe, the game was pretty much extinct. The die-hard Americans put together a team anyway, “for the glory of sport,” as the Olympic motto put it, and that said everything about their character and willingness to fight against the odds. In April 1924 the US team had a few days in England to get wise to rugby’s rules and shape up against the best side the British could throw at them. Three weeks later the French would be waiting in Paris – and it wouldn’t be pretty. The Americans landed in Plymouth, led by a giant World War One veteran called Colby “Babe” Slater. Back in 1918 Babe had written movingly about the hell he saw in the aftermath of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium. “We saw the most ghastly sights imaginable – hundreds of men lying where they fell with guns in hands and skulls in helmets...”
To return to Europe at all showed courage - and Slater, a farmer from Davis, California, always led by example. But a former friend called Rudy Scholz – a witty lawyer from San Francisco – was dismayed at what he perceived as an “each man for himself ” approach within the squad. Bitter about missing WW1 and then being overlooked for the 1924 rugby team’s captaincy, Scholz would have provided a challenge for even the best man-managers among us. The Americans still managed to beat Devonport Combined Services in Plymouth that April. Reaching London, however, they were defeated by Blackheath. Next came a bloody and brutal contest against the famous Harlequins at Twickenham. US winger William “Lefty” Rogers had his nose broken in two places; then a Harlequins forward had his leg broken in two places. A mighty battle ensued, but on this occasion the ‘Quins’ team, full of British internationals, knew too much and won the match. The USA hadn’t been helped
by their captain Slater’s habit of passing the ball forward, which isn’t allowed in rugby. You might have thought that bad feeling would have lingered between the two teams at the end of such a war, but not a bit of it. Harlequins treated their guests like kings and told them they had never faced tougher opposition. At a banquet in Piccadilly, they advised the Americans on how to beat the French at the Olympics the following month (GB was not sending their own team). The plan involved denying space to French superstar Adolphe Jaureguy, one of the fastest men in rugby. The next day an American giant called Dud de Groot, who later coached the Washington Redskins, wrote: “We all went back to our hotel with the one thought and feeling in our minds and hearts – never had we met a finer bunch of men than the group that had that afternoon defeated us.” US team manager Sam Goodman said of the Harlequins experience: “We learned a great many things which were destined to be of great service to us later in the Olympic matches.” The following evening the Americans were guests of honor at another London banquet, this time hastily arranged by the British Olympic Association. It did not go unnoticed among the tourists that the BOA – whose committee even tried to learn American college yells – treated them better than the US Olympic Committee, who had refused to finance their trip and had written them off as probable losers. The Americans reached Paris and easily beat Romania in their semi-final. But a disenchanted Rudy Scholz didn’t even want to play in the final against hosts France – until
a key meeting with Slater, his perfect opposite, finally won him over. A series of minor diplomatic incidents meant that the US team faced a hostile atmosphere for the gold medal game. Refusing to be intimidated, the Americans stuck to the plan by levelling Jaureguy, their superstar opponent, so many times that he soon had to leave the field permanently. Against all odds, the Americans beat France 17-3 – but not before the hate-filled French crowd and even their team attacked US fans and players in a riot that threatened the entire Olympic movement. Somehow Slater, Scholz and the rest of the Americans got out alive. Rugby was never played at the Olympics again. Much later the irrepressible Scholz got to fight in a World War too – at the bloodiest WW2 battle of all, on the Japanese island of Okinawa. He played rugby until he was 83. That US rugby team of 1924 was capable of heroism in sport and war – enough to make anyone proud. So, as Olympic rugby prepares to return, why not remind your British hosts that the good old USA still holds the crown in one of their favourite sports? If they get mad, improve their mood by pointing out that the Brits helped make it happen. H
Colby “Babe” Slater (second from right, back row) and Rudy Scholz (far right, middle row) played a central role in the triumphant USA Olympic rugby teams of 1920 (pictured here) and 1924. The teams were mostly comprised of young men from the Californian universities of Stanford, Cal/Berkeley and Santa Clara. On a boat bound for Europe, the 1920 US rugby team: Back Row, Left to Right: Wallace, Patrick, O’Neil, Fish, J.Muldoon, Fitzpatrick, Slater, Righter. Middle Row, Left to Right: Meehan, Hazeltine, Maloney (trainer), Tilden, Carroll (player-coach), W.Muldoon, von Schmidt, Scholz. Front Row, Left to Right: Wrenn, Doe, Hunter, Davis, Winston.
“For the Glory” is published in the UK by JR Books on September 28, price £16.99.
Forecasting Favourites in the NHL F
ollowing a seemingly evershortening summer, the NHL is once again rousing itself for another season. The training sessions and physicals are finished, the prospects have eked their way onto rosters or been bussed back to the minors, and the final horn has sounded on the league’s always-tantalising-butnever-satiating exhibition games, so there’s only one thing left to do – take a stab at separating the teams that will manage to morph their summer retooling into a playoff berth from those that will pitch and stagger through the dark tunnel of the upcoming eighty-two game schedule with not even the faintest flicker of light at the end.
The Boston Bruins have a lot to prove this season. After finishing second overall last year, they seemed poised to take the floor in the big dance, but to everyone’s surprise, especially their own, they lost the rhythm in the final game of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, giving their spot to the Carolina Hurricanes. But that was then, and this is now, and the Bruins aren’t likely to make the same mistake twice. With a roster of young talent, including David Krejci (who tallied 73 points in his sophomore season) and Milan Lucic (Cam Neely incarnate), a
lead-by-example captain in the form of Zdeno Chara, and last season’s Vezina-winning goalie Tim Thomas, the boys from Beantown are likely to be a post-season threat.
Third time’s a charm
The Washington Capitals are in the middle of their renaissance, and after finishing fourth in the league last season, and then getting their second taste of the post-season in as many years, they’ll no doubt be looking to take a bigger bite out of the pie in the spring of 2010. Led by supersniper Alexander Ovechkin, pot-shot specialist Alexander Semin, and point-per-game middleman Nicklas Backstrom up front, as well as last season’s top points-getting defenceman Mike Green and where-did-hecome-from netminder Semyon Varlamov at the backend, the Capitals have a roadmap to the promised land — if they can stay on course.
Flip a coin
The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Stanley Cup in their trophy case, but can they keep it? Winning back-toback mugs hasn’t been done since the Detroit Red Wings swept the Capitals in 1998. It’s known as the ‘Cup Hangover’, and it’s nothing to shrug at. Championship teams get run at, night in and night out, by teams bringing their A-game for
By Jeremy Lanaway
the simple fact that they want to beat this season’s ‘team to beat’. Can Sidney Crosby captain his squad through the gauntlet? If they can find a way to overcome the adversity awaiting them and still make the playoffs, they’ll be a force to reckon with. If not, they’ll likely peeter out of the race by the trade deadline.
Storybook ending, part 2
The Chicago Blackhawks were last season’s Cinderella team, making it all the way to the Western Conference finals, where their chariot finally morphed back into a pumpkin thanks to being at the wrong end of a four-to-one series against the Red Wings. However, teams don’t get much younger or talented than the Blackhawks, so it’s likely that the team will find itself atop the Western points ladder yet again, with its talented upstarts, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland, Andrew Ladd, Brent Seabrook, and Kris Versteeg sprinkled throughout the individual pools. If you want further evidence of the Blackhawks’ bright future, check out the résumés of Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and Brian Campbell.
Sooner or later
Last spring, the San Jose Sharks pulled yet another Jekyll-and-Hyde act, winning the President’s Trophy
Anaheim star Scott Niedermayer will be with the Ducks again in 2010.
as the league’s top team with 117 points only to fizzle out of the first round against the eighth-place Anaheim Ducks. Management spent the summer trying to address the flaws in the team’s character, eventually opting to excise playoffs no-show Jonathan Cheechoo and the yet-tobloom Milan Michalek in a deal with the Ottawa Senators that landed the oft-controversial – but utterly gifted – Dany Heatly in a Sharks jersey. The Sharks certainly have the talent, à la Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Ryan Clowe, Dustin Setoguchi, and now Heatly, but do they have the heart to win the war? Sharks hopefuls are hoping that the off-season moves will be tantamount to a jolt of defibrillation.
Photo © Anaheim Ducks
After a mediocre season that saw them finish eighth in the West, the Ducks reinstalled their reputation as a winning team in the playoffs, disposing of the top-seeded San Jose Sharks in six in the first round. Their comeback was ultimately quashed in seven games in the Conference semi-finals by the Red Wings, but with the resigning of their franchise player, Scott Niedermayer, the acquisition of former Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, the rising stars of centreman Ryan Getzlaf and pipe-minder Jonas Hiller, and the championship experience of Teemu Selanne, the Ducks might just have what it takes to return the Cup to sunnier climes. Six teams chasing the same dream — being chased by twenty-four other teams. You have to love this time of year! H
Game On at the O2 4 Nations Tournament • London • Photos by Gary Baker
lthough Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Pops Bensah Bonsah did not feature for Great Britain at the 4 Nations Tournament, there were several other NBA players on show during August’s 4 Nations Tournament at the O2 Arena, London. Foremost amongst these, at least for Toronto Raptors fans, was Hidayet Türkoglu (pictured right), who was joined in the Turkey side by Milwaukee‘s Ersan Ilyasova (above left) and Boston’s Semih Erden. Orlando’s Marcin Gortat appeared for Poland. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the team with the most NBA talent made the most of the occasion, Turkey triumphing 68-52 over Israel, while Poland defeated Great Britain 70-56 on the opening day. Britain lost their remaining games, 70-63 to Turkey, 79-69 to Israel, while Israel topped Poland 86-72, and Turkey sealed a round-robin success by downing Poland 66-58. Full NBA action visits the O2 Arena October 6, as the Chicago Bulls (including Luol Deng and Ben Gordon!) take on the Utah Jazz. Visit www.theo2.co.uk/event/nba-2009-20090901.html
BBL Season Preview
Can Everton Down Eagles? As the British Basketball League returns to action, Richard L Gale identifies the big rival for all-conquering Newcastle and speculates on which eight will make it to the playoffs Newcastle Eagles – Fab Flournoy’s side remains the team to beat after claiming the Championship, Playoffs and Trophy titles last season. As if player-coach Fab, fellow American Lynard Stewart and new arrival Joe Chapman (Marquette) were not enough to guarantee quality, GB talent such as Andrew Bridge and Darius Defoe make Newcastle little short of an all-star team. Everton Tigers – Did the intro call the Eagles ‘all-conquering?’. It lies! The Eagles did surrender the BBL Cup to Everton, perhaps the first of many Tigers titles. Coach Tony Garbelotto’s side has the financial stability that comes with being part of the Everton FC organization, and in only their 2nd season in the BBL, they ranked second on the final Championship table, and lost out to Newcastle 87-84 in the Playoffs Final. Last year, Everton’s Andre Smith lead the league in scoring, while Olu Babalola and ex-Eagle Richard Midgely represent their considerable GB talent. Glasgow Rocks – The Scottish Rocks changed more this offseason than just their name. As well as the return of captain Rob Yanders, they landed Americans Mike Copeland (F, North Carolina) and Jessie Sapp (G, Georgetown), and 6’9” Lithuanian Paulius Packevicius (C, Rice). The Rocks finished sixth on the table last year, but a jump to third seems possible. Marshall Milton Keynes Lions – Celebrated veterans such as Robert Youngblood, Mike New and Dru
Spinks return, but the team play of EJ Harrison (signed away from Guildford) and inside-outside versatility of Dawud Morris (Cheyney) could rejuvenate last year’s no.9 team. Airwaves Plymouth Raiders – Americans PG Eric Flato (Yale) and F Terry Horton (Alabama A&M), IrishAmerican F Matt Hilleary, and Puerto Rican Tino Valencia join returnees James Noel and Allister Gall, but the home court advantage in Plymouth remains their defining asset. Sheffield Sharks –The Sharks promise a step forward this offseason after the signing coup of GB International and former Newcastle Eagle Tafari Toney (pictured, opposite page, wearing 24). Ryan Patton, one of the BBL’s top 3-point shooters, arrives from Worthing.
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders –2008/09 Coach of the Year Rob Paternostro is back, as is American LaTaryl Williams, Irishman Isaac Westbrooks and other regulars. Sharp shooting 6’8” New Yorker Jason Johnson helps the Riders stay in the top 8. Guildford Heat – See panel, below.
Not this year...
Big Storage Cheshire Jets Top scorer Chez Marks returns. Worthing Thunder If the pieces fit, they could surprise. Worcester Wolves US swingman Chey Christie debuts. PAWS London Capital Won just two games last season. Essex Pirates First year in the BBL. Find out more at www.bbl.org.uk
McKnight Time in Guildford Just as Glasgow and the MK Lions are our choices for league climbers in 2009/10, the Heat will be seeking to avoid a tumble. Star player Chad McKnight takes on coaching duties after the departure of Paul James, leading scorer Keonta Howell is gone, and EJ Harrison is now an MK Lion. Even with the financial woes of last season behind them, another top 3 finish seems unrealistic for Guildford. However, with McKnight’s zest on and off the field, Brit Mike Martin’s presence, and new US arrivals Aaron ‘LA’ Drakeford and Kenny Langhorne, qualification for the Playoffs is a realistic goal.
Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London by Rebel.
love travelling with She-WhoMust-Be-Obeyed-Usually, especially when it’s the two of us on our own. Travelling with me, of course, takes time to plan especially when we’re staying in a hotel as not everyone accepts dogs. She-WhoMust-Be-Obeyed-Usually always checks her red Michelin guide to find out where I’ll be welcomed. Then she faxes or telephones to vouch I have exceptional personal habits and that she’s willing to pay any extra charge to cover the cost of cleaning the room of dander etc. Any damage caused we must pay for which can be costly if something like a rug or bed cover has to be cleaned or replaced. Room prices for dogs can vary and it’s important to check what it will cost. In one Paris hotel, it cost a Scottish terrier’s mistress two hundred euros. Sadly for Great Danes and German Shepherds and their ilk, we small dogs have an advantage. Most hotels are willing to accept a small dog but not a large one. Some hotels have outside kennels for dogs to stay in, but unless there is an attendant to keep a lookout She-Who-MustBe-Obeyed-Usually isn’t interested as some of the kennels are not well protected. Still, as my Doberman pal Charlie growled, “How many people would have the nerve to break in and steal me?” The day before we leave, SheWho-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually has me groomed and bathed. First impressions count and hotel manag-
ers are more welcoming to a pet who looks as if they just stepped out of a fashion magazine. Once we arrive, she stays with me for an hour or two to make certain I’m happy with my surroundings. She brings as well an old piece of clothing of hers for me to snuggle in and takes me for a walk before she finally leaves the room. A few hotels will provide dog food, but usually she brings my bowl and some tinned food she knows I love. Annoyingly, She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually also takes cleaning up liquid spray, paper towels and a brush in case I have an accident which, of course, I never have. Before She-Who Must-BeObeyed-Usually leaves the room she fills a bowl with water and tells me how much she wishes I could join her in the two and three star restaurant she’s dining at. I then give her my sad and heart-rending hang dog look to make her feel guilty so she doesn’t forget to bring some kind of delicious tidbit back. To make certain I’m not disturbed by outside noise in the corridor, she turns the television to low volume and gives me something to chew on. Outside she hangs the Do Not Disturb sign to keep maids and clerks from entering – forcing me to chase them from the room which is my duty as a dog. She also leaves her cell phone number and tells the desk clerk where she’s going for the evening and the time she’ll return. Unfortunately, my next trip is with Fiona and Lotus. Travelling
with one white Persian cat is bad enough as I discovered recently (see The Americans passim), but two is a nightmare. Fiona hasn’t yet forgiven me for the fleas I gave her on the trip to Europe I took recently with her mistress Cookie and Lady Max and threatens to get even if its the last thing she ever does. I’ll let you know what happens… H
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Published on Dec 1, 2009
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