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Hair comes to London
Wordsworth & more Arts: the South Lakes Trail
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The American Issue 683 – March 2010 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 email@example.com Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director +44 (0)1747 830520 firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email email@example.com Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Bailey, Social email@example.com EstelleLovatt, Arts firstname.lastname@example.org Jarlath O’Connell, Theater email@example.com Richard Gale, Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Dom Mills, Motorsports email@example.com Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey firstname.lastname@example.org Riki Evans Johnson, European email@example.com ©2010 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: Joshua Radin. Insets: (left) Hair – coming to London; (right) Wordsworth’s home in the South Lakes, Dove Cottage.
atching the news – especially if you have access to a range of international news like the BBC, Al Jazeera, France 24 and many more, not just the often parochial US media – can be a chastening experience for Americans.
These are extraordinary times for the USA. The country is recovering (we hope) from the worst recession in recent times and is engaged in two difficult wars. To make matters worse, many people around the planet regard Americans with disdain or worse (see Carol Gould’s article on the Avatar movie phenomenon). But things are not as bad as they may seem. Alan Miller’s feature on the worldwide reaction to the Haiti earthquake makes for more cheerful reading. If we act positively and in unison we can make a change for the better, both at home and around the world. This is one of those times in history when, as Ben Franklin said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. Enjoy your magazine,
Michael Burland, Editor
SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS
Alan Miller is the Director of The New York Salon and arts and media centers in London. His ideas on new ideas in culture are fascinating.
Carol Gould is an American author, columnist and ﬁlm-maker who ﬁghts anti-Americanism wherever she ﬁnds it.
Kansas City-born Sir Robert Worcester, is the founder of the MORI polling and research organisation and the best known pollster in the UK.
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 or any loss arising from reliance on it. The views and comments of contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers.
In This Issue... The American • Issue 683 • March 2010
News It’s good news for bald eagles as they are thriving in every State except Hawaii. Find out where you can see them
14 Diary Dates The most interesting things to do in Britain, from Crufts to the Ideal Home Show – and don’t miss The Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage
17 English Appreciation Karin Joyce, our American mom who has relocated to England, takes the ‘Life in the United Kingdom’ exam 18 Double Taxation Andy Sundberg of the Overseas American Academy writes an open letter to Senator John Kerry 20 Arts Take the South Lakes Gallery Trail, the perfect artistic way to discover one of the most beautiful parts of England
PHoTo: Un/LoGAn ABASSI
25 Wining & Dining Virginia Schultz reviews exceptional Italian and Chinese restaurants, and a great new American diner in Soho 30 Coﬀee Break While away a few moments with our fun pages – the quiz, The Johnsons cartoon and It Happened One.. March
© JoHAn PErSSon
32 Music You’ve heard Joshua Radin’s music on any number of TV programs. Now hear what he has to say, in The American’s interview. 35 Competition Yes, it’s coming to London! Hair is back after four decades. Win tickets to see the hottest musical, straight from Broadway 36 Theater Reviews Jerlath O’Connell reviews Alfred Molina in Red and Jonathan Pryce in The Caretaker. Plus, as Young America, the season of Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams short plays transfers to the National Theatre, James Carroll Jordan tells what it feels like.
36 20 64
42 Politics Top pollster Sir Robert Worcester sets out the state of play as the UK gets ready for a General Election that will change the face of Parliament 49 Drive Time What on earth has happened to legendary Japanese reliability? Find out the latest on the Toyota and Honda recalls 51 Sports Jeremy Lanaway reports on life in an Olympic city, and Richard L Gale and Sean L Chaplin put the wraps on football season. Plus the Sheﬃeld Sharks bite back in the British Basketball League.
56 American Organizations Your comprehensive guide and a proﬁle of Delta Kappa Gamma’s UK group 64 Paw Talk What’s a dog to do with a big bone? Our canine correspondent gets it wrong 3
Wright Brothers Exhibit Selected for BBC Project
ne of the most significant exhibits at the Imperial War Museum Duxford has been chosen by the BBC and Cambridgeshire museums to help tell the story of Cambridgeshire and its place in world history. An unremarkable-looking piece of fabric, it was an original part of the Flyer, the aircraft in which the Wright Brothers made the first ever powered flight on December 17, 1903. Without this fabric, and the flight it made possible, there would be no hopping on a plane to cross the Atlantic. It is one of ten objects chosen to represent Cambridgeshire as part of A History of the World, a project partnership comprising the BBC, the British Museum and 350 museums and institutions across the country. The Wrights invented an ingenious method with which to control an aircraft by twisting, or warping, its wings. The fabric chosen had to be strong enough to allow the wings to warp, with a very tight weave so that the air would not pass through it. The chosen cloth was 100% cotton muslin known as ‘Pride of the West’, most commonly used at the time for women’s underwear! When orville Wright prepared the Flyer for public exhibition, the original fabric was replaced, as it had been soaked during a flood in 1913. Following orville’s death in 1948, it was divided between his grandnieces and grand-nephews. This piece was donated to the Museum in 2007.
Find out where to see bald eagles in every State
Bald Eagles Numbers Soaring
ald eagles are one of the most recognizable birds in the US, and they can be seen in every state except Hawaii. Although it was in danger of extinction, years of successful conservation efforts have led to the bald eagle recovering and it was removed from the endangered species list in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization and it is keen on people seeing these glorious birds for themselves. Next time you are back in the US, here’s their list of one popular eagle hangout in every state where you can spot the wintering birds of prey. Alabama – Lake Guntersville State Park. Alaska – Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Arizona – Mormon Lake. Arkansas – Beaver Lake. California – Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge. Colorado – Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. Connecticut – Connecticut River Shepaug Eagle Observation Area. Delaware – Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Florida – Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area: Prairie Lakes Unit. Georgia – Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Idaho – Lake Coeur d’Alene/Wolf Lodge Bay. Illinois – Cedar Glen Eagle Roost. Indiana – Monroe Lake. Iowa – Keokuk Riverfront Area and Lock and Dam 19. Kansas – Perry Reservoir. Kentucky – Ballard Wildlife Management Area. Louisiana – White Kitchen Preserve. Maine – Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Maryland – Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Massachusetts – Quabbin Reservoir. Michigan – Erie Marsh. Minnesota – Voyageurs National Park. Mississippi – Nelson Dewey State Park. Missouri – Sandy Island Natural History Area. Montana – Hauser Lake. nebraska – Kingsley Dam. nevada – Lake Mead National Recreation Area. new Hampshire – Adams Point Wildlife Management Area. new Jersey – Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. new Mexico – Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. new York – Mongaup Falls Reservoir. north Carolina – Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. north Dakota – Riverdale Wildlife Management Area. ohio – Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. oklahoma – Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. oregon – Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Pennsylvania – Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. rhode Island – Scituate Reservoir. South Carolina – ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. South Dakota – Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge. Tennessee – Reelfoot Lake State Park. Texas – Lake Fork Reservoir. Utah – Ouray National Wildlife Refuge. Vermont – Harriman Station. Virginia – Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Washington – Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area. West Virginia – South Branch of the Potomac River, Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad. Wisconsin – Nelson Dewey State Park. Wyoming – Buffalo Bill State Park.
To watch other wildlife at this time of year, go to www.nwf.org/wildlifewatch
The American 205 x 95:Layout 1 11/02/2010 6:38 AM Page 1
JLL Launches “London Spree” Discount Card
he Junior League of London ( JLL), a London charity, is launching its third annual fundraising shopping event. In honour of the JLL’s 25th anniversary of serving the London community, this year’s London Spree has been extended to four weeks, from March 4-28. For a £30 contribution, shoppers receive a “London Spree” Shopping Card, entitling them to 20% discount at all participating retail partners across London, including clothing, spas, fitness, restaurants and furniture. They are as varied as Chez Kristof, Historic Royal Palaces, Charles Tyrwhitt, ZSL London Zoo and Waggin’ Tails! Purchasing a card helps support JLL’s community programmes, targeted to break the cycle of poverty in London. The purchase of one card can cover the cost of an after-school tutoring session for at-risk children or a year’s worth of books for a young reader, while the purchase of two cards can pay for a Christmas gift hamper, filled with gifts and necessities for a family in need. To purchase a London Spree card, call 0207 499 8159, or go to www.jll.org.uk/londonspree, where you can see a list of participating retailers with a map of their locations.
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is the President running at the thought of sharing a desert island with the British public? PHoTo: PETE SoUZA/WHITE HoUSE
Favorite ‘Desert Island’ Politician: Barack Obama
f the President’s approval ratings back home slip too far for him to bear, he will always be welcome on one island- the fictional location of BBC radio 4’s Desert Island Discs program, on which celebrities choose the eight pieces of music they would take with them to console and entertain them during their stay on the mythical island, far from human companionship. They also get to choose a book (they get the Bible or other religious tome and the complete works of Shakespeare), and a luxury item. Back to Barack – over 40 percent of the British population would choose President obama as their desert island companion, according to research undertaken by PrS for Music (the organisation that collects royalties on behalf of composers and songwriters). Prime Minister Gordon Brown was the least popular choice, polling just 2 percent of the votes. Boris Johnson managed a healthy third place, with 16 percent and Conservative leader David Cameron came in way behind Boris with just four percent. And the second most popular choice? A whopping 38 percent of those asked which politician they would prefer to spend time with on their desert island replied “none – I’d rather Be Alone”!
Gettysburg Casino Furore
dams County, Pa., businessman David LeVan plans to open a casino a half-mile south of Gettysburg national Military Park, extending the existing Eisenhower resort and Conference Center. In a letter sent to Mr LeVan January 26, the Civil War Preservation Trust, national Parks Conservation Association, national Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Pennsylvania said the casino’s proximity to the battlefield would threaten the national Park. The groups thanked LeVan for contacting them to gain their views, and his generosity to local philanthropic causes. They stressed that they did not oppose gambling, rather they have a “longstanding commitment to ensuring that singular and significant historic sites like the Gettysburg Battlefield are treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.” “Some places are just too important to be treated with anything less than the greatest respect, and Gettysburg is one of those places,” said richard Moe, president of the national Trust for Historic Preservation. “Anyone who has visited the battlefield in recent years can attest to the fact that commercial development is threatening the visitor experience at Gettysburg, and this proposed casino would greatly exacerbate the problem. A new casino located so close to this sacred soil is simply unacceptable.”
Carol Gould Book Talks
arol Gould is a London-based American author who writes for The American (see her evaluation of John Carpenter’s Avatar on page 41). This month you can hear Carol speak about her books, and about the process of writing novels. on March 3, Carol is holding a talk about her books ‘Spitﬁre Girls’ and ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ at The Spiro Ark, 25-26 Enford Street,
London W1. Call 020 7723 9991 for advance tickets, or turn up at 7pm. Admission is £10 which includes drinks and ‘light nibbles’. Carol will also be speaking on the subject of writing historical fiction at the Middlesex University Literary Festival on 23 March lunchtime. It’s at the University’s Trent Park Campus. For full details, go to www.mdxlitfest.com
Political Lunches at ESU
The Scots have raised their security level to maximum!
Terror Threat Latest: English Are ‘Peeved’
eader Peter Lockwood has sent this update on terrorist threat levels around the world. Should be something to offend everyone here… In relation to recent terrorist threats, the English have raised their security level from Miffed to Peeved. Soon, security levels may be raised again to Irritated or even A Bit Cross. The English have not been A Bit Cross since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from Tiresome to a Bloody Nuisance. The last time the British issued a Bloody Nuisance warning level was in 1588 when threatened by the Spanish Armada. The Scots raised their threat level from Pissed Off to Let’s Get The Bastards. They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years. France has raised its terror alert level from Run to Hide. Its only two higher levels are Collaborate and Surrender. The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability. Italy has increased the alert level from Shout Loudly And Excitedly to Elaborate Military Posturing. Two
more levels remain: Ineffective Combat Operations and Change Sides. The Germans also increased their alert state from Disdainful Arrogance to Dress in Uniform And Sing Marching Songs. They also have two higher levels: Invade a Neighbour and Lose. Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels. The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy. In the southern hemisphere New Zealand has also raised its security levels - from baaa to BAAAA!. New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which is Hope Australia Will Rescue Us. Australia has raised its security level from No Worries to She’ll Be Right, Mate. Three more escalation levels remain: Crikey!, I Think We’ll Need To Cancel The Barby This Weekend and The Barby Is Cancelled. So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level. Americans meanwhile are carrying out pre-emptive strikes on all of their allies, just in case.
In the run-up to the UK General Election – which, will affect all Americans living here - the English-Speaking Union is holding three interesting events at which you can question political leaders in an intimate setting. The ESU City Lunch Series for Spring 2010 has guest speakers representing the three major UK political parties: Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, a member of the Labour government, on February 24; Vince Cable MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, March 11 and Andrew Mitchell MP, Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, March 16. All lunches start at 12.30pm. The lunches will be conducted under ‘Dartmouth House rules’, to ensure discretion and respect for all opinions. A mere 50 guests will be invited to each lunch. If you are chosen, you will be invited to submit a question to be put to the speaker at a Q&A session after lunch. Tickets cost £60 for ESU members, £80 for non-members. To get yours call 020 7529 1576 or go to www.esu.org
Lord Mandelson, photographed at a World Economic Forum meeting in 2008 © World Economic Forum-Natalie Behring
Heart Friendly Kitchen
L Hudson Landing Simulation
emember the unbelievable landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson river? on January 15, 2009, immediately after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, new York, the Airbus A320 struck a flock of Canada geese, destroying both engines. The captain, former fighter pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, decided that the safest option was not to aim for one of several local airfields but to ditch his airplane in the Hudson, close to the USS Intrepid Museum in midtown Manhattan. Legendarily, he did this so skilfully that none of the 155 people on board was killed and only five suffered serious injury. There have been several computer game-style simulations, but the best one yet is at www. youtube.com/watch_popup?v=tE_ 5eiYn0D0#t=109 Even though it is a computer model, even though you’re watching it from the comfort of your own home or office, even though you know the happy ending, while watching this simulation chills go down your back. The final voyage of Flight 1549 is shown graphically, and the radio and intercom voices of Sully, his co-pilot and the various air traffic control and other ground organizations make you feel a part of what is going on. Stunning.
urking in your kitchen may be a killer. According to Saint Louis University cardiologist Melda Dolan, M.D., the fast, convenient and processed foods that fill American’s freezers and pantries are bad news for your heart and waistline, as well as your taste buds. Last month, February, Dolan encouraged the Saint Louis University community to give their kitchen a heart-healthy makeover, in honor of American Heart Month. “Maintaining a heart-healthy diet is easier than you might think, but it does require a life-style change,” Dolan said. “once you learn how to shop for and cook with fresh ingredients, you’ll see that it’s easy to do.” According to Dolan, diet plays a major role in the development of heart disease – the no. 1 killer of Americans. Unlike your genes, your diet is something you can control to directly impact your heart health. Dolan offers 10 tips for giving your kitchen and diet a heart-healthy makeover. 1. Shop the perimeter of your local grocery store. This is where you will typically find fresh produce, dairy, seafood and meat. 2. Say goodbye to processed foods such as frozen meals and canned goods. These items are often very high in sodium and simple carbohydrates. 3. Use fresh herbs to add flavor to your cooking rather than salt. Fresh basil, mint, rosemary and garlic are among Dolan’s favorites. 4. replace butter with olive and vegetable oil, which are both healthier and tastier. Instead of serving butter
with bread, try olive oil topped with fresh thyme or basil. 5. Quit frying your foods. Baking, broiling and grilling are much healthier options. Dolan also recommends slow cooking to get the best flavors out of vegetables, chicken and fish. 6. Welcome fish and chicken into your diet. While both are low in fat, fish contains omega fatty acids, which are important in lipid management. 7. Limit red meat and pork. They are higher in fat and speed up the atherosclerosis process, or hardening of the arteries, which leads to heart disease. 8. Enjoy fresh fruit for dessert rather than high-calorie options like cake or ice cream. 9. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink per day (12 oz. beer, 4 oz. glass of wine or 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits). red wine contains hearthealthy flavonoids and antioxidants, but that does not make it safe to drink in excess, Dolan says. Excessive drinking can lead to alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity and stroke. 10. Watch your serving size. The key is keeping portion sizes small. Dolan suggests “tricking” yourself by replacing big plates with smaller, appetizer-size plates.
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Obituaries Lieutenant-Colonel Lee Archer, Tuskegee Airman September 6, 1919 to January 27, 2010
Lee Archer was the only black fighter ace of the Second World War. Born in Yonkers and raised in Harlem, in 1941 the nYU student volunteered to join the air corps but was rejected. Enlisting in the infantry, he was eventually accepted for pilot training at Tuskegee air base, Alabama, graduating first in the order of merit. Archer flew in a unique all-black squadron of fighter pilots, responsible for protecting American and Allied bombers. In their red-tailed Mustangs the Tuskegee Airmen gained mythical status. It was said that the ‘red Tails’ were the only fighter escort group never to lose a bomber to enemy planes. Their distinguished service is said to have influenced President Truman to desegregate the US military. Archer is survived by three sons and a daughter.
JD Salinger, Author
January 1, 1919 to January 27, 2010 Jerome David Salinger is known almost entirely for of The Catcher in the Rye (1951), one of the most read and most influential modern English novels. The novel’s protagonist, sixteen year old Holden Caulfield, became a hero to millions of young people in America and around the world. The book has been translated into 30 languages and sold over 65m copies. Salinger is survived by his third wife, Colleen o’neill, whom he married in the late 1980s, along with his son, daughter and three grandsons.
Conservation experts uncover writing that has not seen the light of day for three and a half centuries
350 Year Old Writing Uncovered
onservators at Salisbury Cathedral had a surprise when they removed a monument from the building’s South Aisle wall to repair and clean it. Hidden behind the monument they found the remains of some beautifully written English text, probably dating from the 16th century. Conservator Tom Beattie said, “Our first job of the new year was to remove, repair, clean and then re-fix the Henry Hyde Monument, which consists of forty-four pieces of marble alabaster and Chilmark stone. It was only when the inscription table at the centre of the monument was removed that we made the amazing discovery of some beautifully written English text. It has been painted on a lime wash base layer rather than on the stone itself. We are used to uncovering information about the fabric of the building as we go about our daily work as Conservators but this has to be one of the best finds. The wonder is that it is there – the notion that this monument was simply placed on top of this exquisite script some 350 years ago – and we are all left wondering what the writing was for and says.”
Tim Tatton Brown, Salisbury Cathedral’s Archaeologist, explained that “Sir Henry Hyde had been quietly buried in the cathedral in 1650 after his execution by Parliament for supporting King Charles I. This monument was erected soon after 1660 and refers to him as finishing life ‘kissing the axe…to suffer the envied martyrdom of Charles I’. There are several lines of a large textual inscription. Unfortunately it has subsequently been whitewashed over making it difficult to read but the good gothic lettering is clearly visible. It needs a specialist to confirm what it is but I surmise that this is 16th century writing and my guess is that it is a biblical text, put there in the Elizabethan period when the nave was fitted out with high pews for people to sit in to listen to the ‘new’ sermons preached there. Inscriptions of the bible, the Word of God, would have been written on the inside walls of the building following the Reformation, having been translated into English in Cranmer’s bible. It is wonderful to think this writing has been found and seen now for the first time in over 350 years.”
American Civil War Round Table Meeting – The Christian General
S A welcome from one group of warriors for another U.S. AIr ForCE PHoTo/STAFF SGT. CHrISToPHEr L. InGErSoLL
RAF Personnel Welcomed Home By USAF
heir plane touched down at rAF Mildenhall 4.47 pm on February 2. 150 airmen of the rAF’s 27 Squadron were relieved to be on home soil again after a six-month deployment to Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, where they provided force protection for the base and prevented insurgents attacking air traffic, oftentimes patrolling outside the wire. It was to be a welcome that they did not expect. Descending the steps, they were greeted by the commanding officer of their home station rAF Honington, Group Captain. nick Bray. Along with him were the USAF 100th Air refueling Wing commander, Col. Chad Manske, the 100th Air refueling Wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Hickey, the 100th Security Forces Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Don robertson; and a line-up of 22 security forces members all cheering the return of their British colleagues. Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace proposed the idea of the special welcome and in less than a day it was all arranged. “I had the distinct honor of serving with many British Soldiers and royal Marines while deployed to Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division in 2008,” said Sgt. Kevin. “Prior to the deployment,
I was arrogant and naive enough to think that America was lumbering the majority of the Afghan yoke. Upon arrival, I soon discovered that was not the case at all. Many of the strongesthearted warriors on the ground there wore the Union Flag on their shoulders, and day in and day out I witnessed many of the brave and selfless acts these heroes carried out. “ Master Sgt. Emmett Tibbs, 100th Security Forces Squadron, added “I was extremely pleased to have the opportunity to be one of the first to welcome the British regiment home. Just recently returning from Iraq myself, I know how it feels to be away from your family for such a long time. I think it was a very nice gesture for our brother in arms and hope they will remember it.” “The US and UK have long benefited from an alliance against common enemies,” concluded Col. Michael Winters, 100th Air refueling Wing vice commander. “This partnership continues today where each of our Airmen are serving bravely and making immeasurable contributions to serving in overseas campaigns. It is exactly this type of common purpose and mutual trust that fortifies good relations here and abroad.”
ince the end of the Civil War, historians have constantly referred to Union General oliver otis Howard (pictured below) as the “Christian General.” Howard earned this title during the war due to his intense religious devotion. Yet, most historians have failed to address Howard’s Christianity at a deeper level preferring to assail him for his poor performances in the Eastern Theater of the war. Although a general with a mixed record, Howard provides historians with an excellent case study to explore the interplay between faith, masculinity, and theological crisis amongst American soldiers of the nineteenth century. David Thomson, the speaker, is a graduate of Bowdoin College and a United States history teacher at Greens Farms Academy in Greens Farms, Connecticut. He focuses predominantly on the Civil War Era and the role of faith and religion in the Civil War. He is the recent author of “oliver otis Howard: reassessing the Legacy of the ‘Christian General’” in American nineteenth Century History magazine. March 13, 1.30pm for 2pm, ends 5pm. The Army Museum, royal Hospital road, Chelsea For more information call 01747 828719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Embassy News www.usembassy.org.uk
Northern ireland First Minister Peter Robinson (center) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness met President Obama at the White House March 17, 2009. PHoTo: WHITE HoUSE/PETE SoUZA
Northern Ireland Devolution
The devolution of policing and justice powers in northern Ireland has been a major block on the road to full devolution. on February 5, the nationalist and unionist parties concluded an agreement over this sticking point. Ambassador Louis B. Susman said, “Today’s agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers by the political leadership of northern Ireland is an important step in northern Ireland’s path to peace, security, and prosperity. It is what the people of northern Ireland deserve. The United States reaffirms its commitment to helping the people of northern Ireland build on this agreement to ensure they are able to enjoy the dividends of peace – for which so many have sacrificed. “I congratulate First Minister Peter robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness for demonstrating the political leadership necessary to conclude this agreement through long and difficult negotiations. Their willingness to work through their differences to bring about this result is an abiding example of northern Ireland’s new spirit of cooperation.” He concluded, “As Secretary of State Clinton said this afternoon, the accord reached today will help consolidate the hard-won gains of the past decade, but it also calls upon the leaders of northern Ireland to accept the increased responsibilities that come with new authority.”
he Embassy has had many enquiries about its new online registration processes for Visa applications and other services. If you have questions on this topic, the best way to deal with them is to go to the website, www. usembassy.org.uk/visaservices. Here are some recent examples. Traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program? If you are traveling to the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you are now required to register under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization before boarding the air or sea carrier. If you fail to do so, you should expect to be denied boarding by the carrier. I am traveling with my family. Can I create a family or group application? Yes. on the “Thank You” page you will see an option to create a family or group application. When you select this, certain information from your application, such as destination, will automatically be imported to and displayed in a new application. Please note that if you use this option, you will need to create an individual application for each of your family members traveling together. This option may also be used if traveling as part of a group. I would like to use the option of creating a family application and
have read the information about data being imported into the new application. I have a stepson with a diﬀerent name, can I still use this option? Yes, the data that is automatically populated into the new form can be modified. This applies to any of the data including family name and nationality. I am trying to complete the DS-160 and I experiencing problems. It keeps timing out on me. Help! The form will time out after approximately 20 minutes. It is important, therefore, that you save the document and save often. There is a “”SAVE” button at the end of each section; make sure that you press this before continuing onto a new section. If you save the document and find that you have made a mistake, you will be able to bring up the saved document, correct the error and continue. If you have not saved the document, you will be required to complete the form from the beginning.
AMERICAN EMBASSY IN THE UK Switchboard: +44 (0)20 7499 9000 Visa Information (£1.20/min): Mon-Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat 10am – 4pm 09042 450100 Passport Unit (American Citizen Services): +44 (0)20 7894 0563 24hr assistance for genuine emergencies: +44 (0)20 7499 9000
EXPAT NEED? CHECK ASSIGNEE SELECTED? CHECK TAX ADVISER? CHECK One of the less appealing things about sending your people overseas is that you, or they, suddenly have to become experts on the local tax system or risk falling foul of the law, incurring extra costs - or both. With BDO however, you and your people can benefit from coordinated tax advice. Advance planning will save you time and money and our specialist tax advisers are well equipped to ease the burden. Through BDO, the world’s fifth largest accountancy network, our Expatriate teams can provide you with assistance all over the world. To find out more about the tax service that travels with you, please contact Andrew Bailey on +44 (0)20 7893 2946 or email@example.com BDO’s Expatriate Tax service is run by our Human Capital team, which also provides a full range of expertise in employment tax, reward planning and pensions. www.bdo.co.uk BDO LLP and BDO Northern Ireland are both separately authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority to conduct investment business.
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Old Country Military & History Tours Inc. ‘The British Expeditionary Force in France/Belgium May-June 1940’ 25 – 28 June 2010 ‘Operation Overlord & D Day’ 2- 6 July & 8 –12 October 2010 ‘An introduction to the Western Front – World War 1’ 25 – 30 September 2010
10% discount for the readers of The American For a brochure on all our tours please contact the address below or visit our web site to download the 2010 brochure.
PO Box 98, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 9WA Tel 01747 828719 email firstname.lastname@example.org www.oldcountrytours.com
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 where no bird can fly nor fish can swim, a show by Kerry Brewer Sam Fogg, 15D Clifford Street, London W1S 4JZ Kerry Brewer’s abstract paintings are inspired by listening to music; synesthetic art makes the canvas
resonate, just as musical notes rely on the scale to vibrate. Kerry starts “with a narrative, photographs it, montages it together using Photoshop - as if sketching on the computer.” When she says she was “taught by nothing more complicated than thorough
The Sixteen Choral Pilgrimage
The Sixteen is an exceptional group of singers who have entertained and amazed audiences since 2000. The Choral Pilgrimage sees them take early vocal music to 25 venues, mainly cathedrals and other religious buildings, this year focusing on some of the finest music by three leading Tudor composers, John Sheppard, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Dates are: February 13th Leeds, University Great Hall; 19th Guildford Cathedral; March 12th CE Oxford, University Church; 13th Cambridge, St John’s College Chapel; April 2nd Aldeburgh, Snape Maltings Concert Hall; 10th St Albans Cathedral; 15th Leicester, Church of St James the Greater; 17th Winchester Cathedral; May 13th Greenwich,
Old Royal Naval Chapel; 14th Croydon, Parish Church; June 3rd Shrewsbury, St Chad’s Church; 4th Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral; 5th SI CE Blackburn Cathedral; 12th Norwich Cathedral; July 2nd Milton Keynes, City Church; 16th York Minster; September 3rd Southwell Minster; 4th Peterborough Cathedral; 16th Swansea, Collegiate & Parish Church of St Mary; 17th Wells Cathedral; 18th Tewkesbury Abbey; 19th St Asaph Cathedral; October 15th Durham Cathedral; 16th Edinburgh, Greyfriars Kirk; 22nd October Brighton, St Bartholomew’s Church. www.ncem.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 01904 651 485 to October 22
observation,” it’s a clue as to what to do with these paintings: Look. Simply look, and enjoy. www.samfogg.com 020 7534 2100 March 1 to 14 Asian Art Events Museum of East Asian Arts, Bennett Street, Bath BA1 2QJ Brush Painting Workshop: Artist and teacher Ai Li Purdy leads this fascinating brush painting workshop focusing on landscapes and the use of the tiger, this year’s Zodiac animal. £15 (£12 for MEAA Friends), March 6th, 1pm to 4pm. A Recital Of Erhu, Yangqin and Horsehead Fiddle Music: Musician and composer Colin Huehns plays compositions on three Asian instruments. £10 (£8). March 6th 5.30pm to 6.30pm. Zen Gardening Children’s Workshop: Learn about the art of Zen gardening and make your own miniature Zen garden to take home. £5 (£4) March 20th 3pm — 4pm. www.meaa.org.uk email@example.com 01225 464 640 March 6 to 20 London Word Festival various London’s pioneering celebration of words, text and language, brought to life on a selection of East London’s most interesting and stages and spaces. With everything from music to stand-up, through shadow-puppetry, microlectures, screen-printing nuns and performance poetry, to crime-comicjazz interpretations: this is the festival that looks way beyond the page. www.wegottickets.com/f/1423 March 7 to April 1 Circa Barbican Theatre, London From the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Circa comes to the Barbican with a blaze of rave reviews and public acclaim. This is movement at its most adventurous and dangerous. Seven performers move from highly connected acrobatic and tumbling sequences to fast-paced moments of
great intricacy where precision and timing are everything and integral use of sound, light and projection. The result is a new kind of circus, at once poetic, sensual and immense. www.barbican.org.uk 0845 120 7550 March 9 to 14 ESU Attingham Lecture: Postmodernism – American design 1970s to 1990s English-Speaking Union, 37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED Glenn Adamson, Head of Graduate Studies and Deputy Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, teaches a the History of Design graduate course. He has written several books, co-edits the Journal of Modern Craft, and is working on a project about Postmodernism for the V&A. The Attingham Lecture series is arranged and sponsored by a friend in memory of Mr and Mrs Harvey A Baker, who took a little English girl into their home during the Second World War. Tickets £7.50 inc. glass of wine. firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7529 1563 March 9
AV Festival 10, International Festival of Electronic Arts Newcastle, Gateshead, Middlesbrough, and Sunderland One of the UK’s largest international festivals of electronic arts. This year it boasts 24 exhibitions, 20 performances, 10 screenings, 14 talks, 3 symposia, 4 club nights, 2 residencies and even its very own café. It involves legendary artists, filmmakers and musicians such as Kenneth Anger, Bruce Conner, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Liliane Lijn, Alan Moore, Charlemagne Palestine and Iain Sinclair. The theme of this year’s Festival is ‘energy’. One of the highlights is A certain distance, endless light, a major exhibition by Cuban-born American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, at mima, the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art from March 5 to July 4. Gonzalez-Torres’ billboard project ‘Untitled’ (Strange Bird), 1993 will be presented on billboards across the North East. www.avfestival.co.uk March 5 to 14
Just Desserts Fulham Palace, Bishops Avenue, London SW6 6EA Chefs will share the secrets of how to make an easy dessert that will impress. From cinnamon soufflé to Sussex pond pudding sample the delectable desserts along with a selection of pudding wines. Free recipe sheets and buy the pudding to take home. Selection of four puddings and wines £15. 8pm www.fulhampalace.org 020 7736 3233 March 10
the event will have the opportunity to meet and greet over 200 breeds of dogs as well as watching many other canine competitions including agility, flyball and obedience. With many dog charities in attendance and over 500 trade stands selling everything and anything for the dog it is the ultimate family day out for any dog lover. www.thenec.co.uk 0844 338 8000 March 11 to 14
Crufts National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham B40 1NT Over 22,000 dogs from the UK and overseas are set to enter the greatest dog show in the world. As well as the Best in Show competition, visitors to
City Noir Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS John Adams conducts the European premiere of his work co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonica, and the LSO. The programme also includes
Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, Debussy’s Préludes, orchestrated by Colin Matthews, and Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments with pianist Jeremy Denk. www.barbican.org.uk 020 7638 8891 March 11 Race Retro Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, Warwickshire Three day international historic motorsport show, live racing, famous drivers and celebrity guests, displays of racing cars and motorcycles, motorsport memorabilia and indoor bike trials. www.raceretro.com info@ livepromotions.co.uk 01775 768661 March 12 to 14
Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall Hadrian’s Wall, Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend, Northern England The 84-mile route of Hadrian’s Wall will be lit by over 500 braziers forming a line of light from coast to coast starting in the north East, and ending in Cumbria. A once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. www.hadrians-wall.org/ March 13
The American Museum in Britain Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD
Housed in Georgian splendour at Claverton Manor in Bath, the American Museum in Britain remains the only museum outside the US to showcase the nation’s decorative arts. ranging from the 18th to the 20th centuries, these works of art and craft are visually bold, technically assured and often proudly patriotic. There are permanent exhibitions, Quilting Bees every Tuesday, and special events: MARCH 13th Classic American Quilts, an exhibition showcasing rarely seen examples of the collection. The quilts provide a unique insight into the lives of ordinary American women. From the exuberance of the red and white Hawaiian designs to the muted simplicity of the Amish, the exhibition shows how varied this craft can be. Skill in this craft could prove life changing. Enslaved seamstress, Elizabeth Keckley, bought her freedom with money made from her sewing skills and later became dressmaker to President Lincoln’s wife.
Open 12.00-5.00pm. Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays and month of August Claverton Manor near Bath. 01225 460503 email@example.com www.americanmuseum.org
Cheltenham Festival Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire, GL50 4SH The Cheltenham Festival is a unique horse racing event, with huge crowds, an amazing setting and a fabulous atmosphere. During the week, Thursday 18th is Ladies Day, the perfect excuse to dress up. The big race is on Friday 19th March, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. www.cheltenham.co.uk March 16 to 19 The Spring Chelsea Antiques Fair Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London SW3 The world famous Chelsea Antiques Fair returns to the King’s road. Leading specialist antique dealers from across Britain will offer for sale fine art and antiques valued at more than £5million at this popular ‘boutique fair’, now London’s longest running antiques event. www.penman-fairs.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org March 17 to 21 Victoria & Albert: Art & Love The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1 The first exhibition to explore Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s shared enthusiasm for art, as well as their individual tastes. It focuses on the period of Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert, from the time of their engagement in 1839 to the Prince’s untimely death in 1861. The exhibition also challenges the popular image of Queen Victoria, the melancholy widow of 40 years. Through 400 works from
across the entire royal Collection, including paintings, drawings, photographs, jewellery and sculpture, Victoria emerges as a romantic and open–minded young woman. www.royalcollection.org.uk 020 7766 7301 March 19 to October 31 Korea 1950 — 53: The Cold War’s Hot War National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HT Marking the 60th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, this new display examines the role of the British Army during the first and only Un war to date. Mixing personal objects and artefacts from the Museum’s collection with contemporary media reports, the display will explore both the personal experience of soldiers and the farreaching legacy of the conflict. Also lots of other exhibitions and celebrity speakers. www.national-army-museum.ac.uk 020 7881 2455 March 19 onwards Ideal Home Show Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road, London SW5 9TA The Ideal Home Show explores the world of home interiors and style. This year’s new format combines eight shows in one: Interiors, Home Improvements, Food, Gardens, Gadgets, Shopping, Ideal Woman and Ideal Village, as well as expert advice on everything from DIY and design to fine dining, gadgets and beauty. www.idealhomeshow.co.uk March 20 to April 5 300 years of British quilt making Victoria & Albert Museum, London SW7 The exhibition will show more than 65 quilts ranging from a cot cover made in the 1690s to recent examples by leading contemporary artists like Tracey Emin. www.vam.ac.uk March 20 to July 4, 2010
English Appreciation To stay in Britain with her husband, Karin Joyce needs to take the Life In The United Kingdom exam. Gulp! Here’s how she got on
eing the mother of a half-English/half-American daughter, I want to embrace the country that we live in. To stay in this country permanently I had to, in March of 2008, upgrade my Limited Leave to Remain Visa to an Unlimited Leave to Remain Visa. Along with the usual forms and documents, I was also obliged to take the ‘Life in the United Kingdom’ exam. I dutifully studied and quizzed and trained. Just for fun, I tried out some of the test questions on my co-workers. They were all Teaching Assistants, British Citizens and had grown up with British Curriculum, so they knew the answers, right? Wrong! Every single one of them failed. They didn’t know their own country! Was I surprised? No. Who remembers such things? There are some obvious things that you always know. Then there are obscure governmental policies and procedures that no-one remembers! That’s where the challenge lies. The time came for me to take my Life in the United Kingdom test. I journeyed to our local library and sat waiting amongst quite a few nervous candidates. The admittance process was regimented and controlled. You could not enter the room without being explicitly summoned and upon entering you had to produce all necessary documents then answer a few questions before being assigned a computer station. Several had not brought the relevant docu-
ments and more than a few had great difficulty understanding the English instructions. I had to wait about ten minutes for the remaining candidates to be admitted, then we were given instructions to proceed with our computer practise exam. This was to familiarise ourselves with the computer and show us the format. I managed to sail through this practise exam while others had to be guided through it. Then the real test finally began. I sailed through the 25 questions and looked at the clock. Five minutes of the allotted 65 minutes had elapsed. What was I to do? Twiddle my thumbs? I found the eyes of an invigilator who motioned me over. “I’m done!” He smiled, printed out a piece of paper with my details and a number on it and told me to leave the room, wait patiently outside and they would bring my results. I glanced around the room at the poor souls struggling with question two or four and silently wished them good luck. 10 minutes later I found that I had passed. When I asked my score, the invigilator said, “25 out of 25.” I said, “I should hope so!” Could you pass the ‘Life in the United Kingdom’ test? Could you pass the US Citizenship test? Have a go at two of the questions: 1) When is Christmas celebrated? (Keeping in mind, many taking the test are not necessarily from a
Baby Joyce celebrates being a transatalantic babe
Christian-based country) 2) What are the roles of the Whips in Parliament? They do, thankfully provide multiple choice answers and provided you read the ‘Life in the United Kingdom’ manual, you WILL know the answers to these questions and more. I’m proud to have taken and passed the ‘Life in the United Kingdom’ test and when I have the funds to do so, I will apply for British Citizenship and become a Dual Citizen. As a mother raising an English-American child in England, I feel that it is my responsibility to be a proper citizen and support my country of residence. I fully intend to educate my daughter about America as well, as is evident by the US map above her changing table. I’m proud that she knows that Mummy is from “‘Sconsin” (Wisconsin). H
The American Americans have a long history of demanding fairness in taxation! The Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773.
Taxing Our Worldwide Income – An Open Letter to Senator Kerry
ndy Sundberg, founder of expat association American Citizens Abroad, is also a Fellow and the Secretary of the Overseas American Academy in Geneva, Switzerland. As such, he has written this open letter to Senator John Kerry in his role as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, asking for a New GAO Study of “The Impact on Trade, Employment and the Health of the U.S. Economy of the U.S. Government’s Taxation of U.S. Citizens Living Abroad”. This ‘double taxation’ aﬀects every American citizen living abroad, and his reasons are of interest to all of us. Dear Senator Kerry, on behalf of the several million U.S. citizens living overseas today, we at the overseas American Academy, in Geneva, Switzerland, believe that it would be in the best interest of all Americans if a new study would be carried out by the GAo looking at the advantages and disadvantages of the United States continuing to tax the worldwide income of U.S. citizens living abroad. An Earlier GAO Effort: Thirty-two years ago, in 1978, the GAo had already been asked by Congress to carry out a study of: “The Impact on Trade of Changes in Taxation of U.S. Citizens Employed Abroad”. Their report, issued on February 21, 1978, focused specifically on the recent changes in the taxation of Americans abroad enacted in 1976, and included estimates of how these changes would affect the U.S. economy and efforts to export U.S. products and services. Testifying on this GAo report before a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on May 8, 1978, Elmer Staats, Comptroller General of the United States, began with a brief overview of
the unique situation of U.S. citizens trying to compete in world markets. He said: “The United States is the only industrialized trading nation of the world to tax the worldwide income of its overseas citizens.” This GAo survey had involved the participation of 145 U.S. corporations, and 167 individuals working overseas. They reported that with the implementation of these 1976 changes: ●
45% of the individual taxpayers expected to return home on or before the end of their present tour because of the tax change. The estimated loss of jobs overseas would be 5,000 in 1978, increasing to 27,000 in 1981. There would be an adverse effect on GnP of up to $270m in 1978, increasing to $790m in 1981. There would be an adverse effect on exports of $140m in 1978, increasing to $320m in 1981. There was concern about a “ripple effect” on sub-contractors and suppliers if a corporation would lose a contract due to higher costs result-
ing from tax reimbursement to U.S. employees, or should Americans be replaced by other nationals who might prefer to deal with their own countries’ suppliers rather than with U.S. firms. The Presidents Export Council: A year later, in 1979, the President’s Export Council created a special “Task Force to Study the Tax Treatment of Americans Working overseas” Their report, which was delivered on December 10, 1979, confirmed the predictions of the GAo study. It said: “Despite the enactment of the Foreign Earned Income Act of 1978, (which sought to remedy the problems created by the 1976 Act) Americans are still being taxed out of competition in overseas markets. The result is a sharp loss in the United States’ share of overseas business volume in vital economic sectors. The current situation contributed to our negative balance of payments, a loss of U.S. jobs to our competitors, and the decline in U.S. presence and prestige abroad.” The Export Council’s Task Force concluded that: “Americans working overseas are essential to a viable export program. An increase in the number of Americans assigned abroad can increase our exports, reduce the negative balance of payments, enhance our country’s image, and raise employment in the U.S. recognizing that it is in the
best interest of our nation to encourage Americans to work overseas, the Task Force recommends the adoption of tax policies that are comparable to those of major competing industrial nations, none of which now tax citizens who meet overseas residency tests. Work should begin immediately to encourage enactment of a new tax law to put Americans working overseas on the same tax footing as citizens from competing industrial countries.” Another GAO Study in 1981: The GAO produced yet another study (ID-81-29) in 1981 entitled “American Employment Abroad Discouraged by U.S. Income Tax Laws”. The report noted that: “The competitiveness of U.S. exports in the world market has become a major national concern because of the deficit in the U.S. balance of trade that developed in the 1970s and its implications for real income and employment in the United States. This problem has the focus of major initiatives to improve Government export promotion programs and to identify and correct Government disincentives to exports. To adequately promote and service U.S. products and operations in foreign countries, U.S. companies employ a large force of U.S. citizens abroad. There is widespread concern that tax provisions contained in the Foreign Earned Income Act of 1978 are proving a disincentive to employment of U.S. citizens abroad, and, therefore, adversely affecting exports. A GAO survey of a group of major U.S. companies having substantial operations abroad revealed that U.S. taxes were an important factor in reducing the number of Americans employed overseas.” The Years Since 1981: During the subsequent three decades, the taxation of U.S. citizens living and working abroad has undergone many changes, become far more complicated, and is still unique among the major industrial
and trading nations of the world. The result has been just as had been predicted by the GAO and the President’s Export Council. It has been catastrophic for the United States. Trade Deficits Since 1976: The United States has not had a trade surplus in a single year since 1976, and the cumulative trade deficit since aggregate trade went permanently negative that year is now over $7 trillion. A Request for a New GAO Study in 2010: It is, therefore, hereby requested that the Congress once again ask the GAO to prepare a new study to look at both the positive and negative implications for trade and the health of the U.S. economy of continuing the taxation of U.S. citizens living and working abroad. In such a long overdue new study, U.S. citizens living abroad, and the major organizations that represent them, should be invited to play an active role. Obviously, many changes have taken place in the world economy during the last three decades. New markets have emerged and significant tax policy changes have been implemented in a number of countries. In light of those developments, it would be useful for the GAO to this time expand the scope of its 1981 study in several important regards. This new study should also include: 1. W hy does the United States still want to be the only major trading nation that puts its overseas citizens at such a competitive disadvantage in world markets. 2. W hat is the impact of the United States’ unique practice of taxing its overseas citizens on the creation and protection of jobs at home and abroad, as well as on U.S. trade and all of the other aspects of the U.S. economy.
3. How do the other major trading nations of the world treat their overseas citizens and what are the advantages and disadvantages of these other practices. 4. Finally, in addition to the impact of double taxation on employees of large corporations, what also is the impact on American entrepreneurs, as well as on employees of small and medium sized businesses, schools, charitable organizations and academic institutions. All of these issues are of vital concern to the competitive status of the United States throughout the world. There are aspects of each of these questions that directly concern the foreign policy, national security and economic health of the United States. As previously in 1979 and again in 1981, such a new 2010 GAO analysis could become a very important source of reliable, non-partisan strategic information that could be useful for us all. We, therefore, would very much appreciate your support in requesting such a new study from the GAO in 2010. H
By Estelle Lovatt & Michael Burland
Eva Hesse – Studiowork
Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London NW3. Until March 7
David Bailey, Mick Jagger © David Bailey
Pure Sixties. Pure Bailey. Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street March 7 to April 7
Wallow in 60s nostalgia at a selling exhibition of David Bailey’s iconic images of the swingingest decade of them all. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of a decade that changed our cultural history. Photographer David Bailey was an integral part of that dynamic period which created a melting pot of talent drawn from music, fashion, literature, design and cinema. He captured all that was best about it – new, edgy, exciting, & beautiful. Bonhams and Bailey have put together this exhibition which sums up a decade of glamour and hedonism, as well as providing a piece of photographic social history. Bailey says he has selected “60s icons - you know, all the usual suspects”! MB
A major figure in post-war art, throughout her career, New York Eva Hesse (1936 – 1970) produced a large number of small, experimental works alongside her large-scale sculpture leading the move from Minimalism to Postminimalism. Eva fled Nazi Germany as a child with her family. Settling in the United States, she studied at the New York School of Industrial Art, exploring different ways of using traditional materials; wire mesh, sculp-metal, cheese cloth, latex, moulds and wax. While Eva used them as ‘test pieces’ or to experiment on form and materials, they also work as finished
pieces, in their own right. Left in her studio at the time of her death (of brain cancer aged thirty-four) these objects dodge straightforward explanation. At the heart of her work, there are many questions about the traditional notions of what sculpture is, offering a timely new interpretation of Eva Hesse’s historical position, as well as highlighting her relevance for contemporary art today. This exhibition, of about fifty works drawn from major public and private collections around the world, shows works which are extremely fragile and rarely travel, shown for the first time in the UK. EL Eva Hesse, No title 1966, (S-44) and (S-45), Paint, wood, papier mâché, rubber, metal, 4.4 x 12.4 x 6.7 cm each, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film [credit] Archive, gift of Helen Hesse Charash, 1979, © The Estate of Eva Hesse. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Alice Anderson, Doll’s Mask No. 5, 2009, Silicon, Glass eyes, leather ribbon, 20 x 25cm © CoUrTESY oF ALICE AnDErSon AnD rIFLEMAKEr
Tumbling Towards the Sea (Spain) Oil & acrylic on canvas, 81 x 102cm
Robin Richmond – Stones Of The Sky
Curwen & New Academy Gallery, 34 Windmill Street, London W1T 2JR • March 4 - 2 American artist Robin Richmond’s landscapes explore Pablo Neruda’s poems Las Piedras del Cielo (Stones of the Sky). “...stretched between sky and autumn, without people...for a moment I want no one in my poetry...” Robin explains, “Many of the titles of my paintings are drawn from these word landscapes.” Richmond is particularly powerful, painting space and atmosphere through a meditative sense of drama and calm sensuality. Underneath oil and acrylic glazes, marks and shapes read as breathtaking landscapes towards Rothko’s depth of colour, light and texture, with the St. Ives artists’ blending of figurative landscape with abstraction. EL
The Journey South
Getty Images Gallery, 46 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8DX • Until March 6 Marking the centenary of Scott’s epic voyage to the South Pole, this exhibition, in association with the Scott Polar Research Institute, features the work of Herbert Ponting, the self-taught photographer who accompanied the expedition. Ponting’s beautiful and graphic photographs record the conditions faced by Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s team before their final, ill-fated push to the pole in 1912. MB Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Strange Bird), 1993. Billboard. © CoPYrIGHT THE FELIX GonZALEZ-TorrES FoUnDATIon. PHoTo ALEX SLADE. CoUrTESY AnDrEA roSEn GALLErY, nEW YorK
Alice Anderson’s Time Reversal
Riﬂemaker, 9 Beak Street, Soho, London W1 • March 1 – April 24 French/Algerian artist Alice Anderson will fill the riflemaker gallery with thousands of metres of hair as part of an installation, including film, sculptures and photographs, based on fictional childhood memories. She says she considers time, particularly the way that time shapes itself, to be her most significant working material. Memories can be described as reconstructions, often distorted to the extent that each becomes a fiction itself. Anderson uses wax dolls and puppets to reinvent her childhood. Bought up in France, her French-speaking Algerian mother and English father separated when Anderson was aged three. She and her mother left England and she was forbidden from mentioning the country or her father again. It was then that she began storytelling and making paintings about her family. She studied fine art at the BeauxArts in Paris and then at Goldsmiths in London from 2004. Anderson has said that she moved to London in defiance of her mother’s ban on speaking about England while growing up. Fascinating. MB
Alex Katz, ‘Marina’, 2009, Oil on linen, 40 x 50 in. / 101.6 x 127 cm © ALEX KATZ; CoUrTESY, TIMoTHY TAYLor GALLErY, LonDon
Timothy Taylor Gallery, 14 Carlos Place, London, W1K 2EX March 4 – April 9 renowned American artist Alex Katz, aged 82, is one of the most important artists of his generation. His characteristic paintings are distinguished by their flat surfaces, even light, and economy of line. During the 1950s, Katz, a young painter in new York, expanded on his minimal artistic level of aestheticism in reaction to Abstract Expressionism and popular culture that, via television and cinema, was quickly turning images into Warholesque icons. Long concerned with ‘seeing’ rather than representation, Katz’s eye is objectively engaging in the way it extracts his cool and restrained signature style; almost freezing his sitters, enigmatic and distant, for an eternal instant. His subject suggestive of the ideal perfection and poise of an ancient sculpture or a character from a Quattrocento fresco painting, while still appearing unquestionably fresh and contemporary. A series of recent portraits of Katz’s friends and immediate family – Ada, his wife and lifelong muse, their son, Vincent and daughter-in-law, Vivien – are large in scale, realizing the image aside its abstraction. EL
Real presented by Go Figurative, Heatherley’s, Chelsea, London SW10 ORN. March 19-21 Nicholas Phillip’s watercolours are exhibited in New York, London, Tokyo and Zurich and in several public galleries, including America’s Yale Centre for British Art, Harvard’s Houghton Library and The New York Public Library. Every picture tells a mesmerizing story, a narrative of reality, ‘of time’, with influences from American artists; painters Norman Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth, Roy Lichtenstein and sculptors Donald Judd and Carl Andre. Phillips’s watercolours are technically beyond belief; they don’t even look like watercolours! Devoid of brushwork, it is miraculously there by itself, with little evidence of how the picture was painted. But judge them as images rather than skill alone. Phillips explains how his “world of stories and places is based on personal history and memories”, of an Oriental dreaminess. He “sets up a shoot”, like a movie set dresser; “giving much consideration to casting, location, props, lighting and time of day” and uses an SLR camera to get the selected photograph. Often the photos are scientifically poor
Nicholas Phillips, Seven O’Clock News
quality and as they are enlarged they get even more ill-defined. Blown up, the outline is traced, transferred to paper and re-drawn with water soluble colour pencil, slowly building up, layer upon layer, with watercolour and brush.” Cinema is an enormous influence, creating spiritual allegories for mysticism, beauty and love. EL
Where no bird can ﬂy nor ﬁsh can swim, a show by Kerry Brewer Sam Fogg, 15D Clifford Street, London W1S 4JZ March 1-14
Kerry Brewer’s abstract paintings are inspired by listening to music; synesthetic art makes the canvas resonate, just as musical notes rely on the scale to vibrate. Kerry starts “with a narrative, photographs it, montages it together using Photoshop - as if sketching on the computer.” When she says she was “taught by nothing more complicated than thorough observation,” it’s a clue as to what to do with these paintings: Look. Simply look, and enjoy. EL
South Lakes Gallery Trail
aking a break from the urban sprawl, there is a great opportunity to see a selection of art along the South Lakes Gallery Trail. It’s a programme of exhibitions lined up at galleries ranging from the internationallyrecognised and nationally cherished, to the small, quirky and independent. Although the area is best known for its scenery and outdoor-action, it boasts galleries providing unique insights into art, literature, history, culture and geology. The venues‘ permanent collections are undiscovered gems, whilst the temporary exhibitions are astonishingly fresh, vibrant and displayed in unique settings. London-based readers can reach Oxenholme station in a little under three hours by train. Highlights include Abbot Hall, Kendal. Until March 6 it stages Paintings From The Janus series II, an exhibition of the work of Basil Beattie, an artist who bridges the spectrum of contempo-
rary abstract art from the 1950s. Its permanent collection features fine collections of works by Ruskin, Hepworth and the St Ives School artists. The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, is staging Land of Light until March 8, the unique, photographic landscape works of Dominic Pote, whose creations of large-scale panoramic images using film-making and still photography, framed by the physical act of walking, takes gallery visitors on an unforgettable, metaphorical journey. Kendal Museum, founded in 1796, has three galleries to explore: The Wainwright, the World Wildlife gallery and the Natural History gallery. Acclaimed hill walker and writer Alfred Wainwright was a former honorary curator of Kendal Museum and his re-constructed office contains memorabilia and original drawings. The Old School Gallery, at Crooklands near Milnthorpe, is a teashop with a difference, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a wide collection of paintings from DonWordsworth’s home, Dove Cottage
A lovely arts & crafts stained glass window at Blackwell, on the South Lakes Gallery Trail
ald Swan FRSA, as well as other artists from around the world. Blackwell, in Bowness, is a stunning Arts and Crafts house. Its collection of the finest furniture and craftsmanship, Aspects of the Arts and Crafts Movement, was opened to the public on January 29. The natural, flowing lines of the arts and crafts movement sit perfectly within a location overlooking stunning Lake Windermere. The Wordsworth Museum & Dove Cottage, the former Grasmere home of poet William Wordsworth, always worth a visit, is staging its thought-provoking ‘Romantic Poets/Romantic Places’ exhibition, encompassing portraits, manuscripts and rare books. It explains the significance the public attach to particular homes and the landscape in which they are situated, with reference to Dove Cottage, Coleridge Cottage, Somerset, William Cowper’s house in Olney, Byron’s Newstead Abbey, Jane Austen’s Charleton and the Brontë Parsonage. Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead has original book illustrations by much-loved children’s author, set within the seventeenth century office formerly used by her husband. Its collection of watercolours changes annually. For 2010, the ‘Because I Never Grew Up’ exhibition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the publication of ‘Ginger and Pickles’, displaying original watercolours from the story. MB
Art News Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obama ‘Hope’ poster, to be the subject of a criminal investigation
Fairey Faces Investigation
new York federal judge Alvin K. Hellerstein has concluded that artist Shepard Fairey should face a criminal investigation, following his admission of misconduct in his ongoing legal case with the Associated Press. In october 2009, the LA artist said he knowingly submitted false images and deleted others during his case, attempting to conceal the origin of the image he used for his “Hope” poster of then-Senator Barack obama. AP claimed Fairey violated copyright laws by using its images as the starting point for the poster. As a comeback, Fairey filed a lawsuit against AP, saying he was protected under fair use. After initially claiming he used a different photo as the inspiration for his poster, he since admitted the AP is right about which photograph he used. [How much art is taken from other images? This will be an interesting case to follow - Ed]
By Estelle Lovatt
Giacometti breaks all records
PHoTo CoUrTESY SoTHEBY’S
lberto Giacometti’s sculpture L’homme qui marche I shattered art sale records when it sold for £65,001,250 or $104,327,006 at Sotheby’s auction February 3, becoming the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction. It was an evening for record breaking. Gustav Klimt’s Kirche in Cassone made £26,921,250 / $43,208,606, a record for a landscape by the artist. The sale totaled £146,828,350 / $235,659,502, the highest auction results ever in London, comfortably exceeding the pre-sale estimate total of £69,060,000 / $102,130,000).
Most popular art gallery/museum website
ho’s got the most popular art gallery/museum website in the world? According to website www.kunstpedia.com, which describes itself as “curators of art knowledge,” you’ll see the top ten are headed by America: 1
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), USA 2 Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA 3 Musée du Louvre France 4 national Gallery of Art, USA -- 35 5 Victoria and Albert Museum, United Kingdom 6 J. Paul Getty Museum, USA 7 Deutsches Historisches Museum, Germany 8 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), USA 9 State Hermitage Museum, russia 10 Brooklyn Museum of Art, USA
The top ten U.S. sites are: 1
Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA) 2 Metropolitan Museum of Art 3 national Gallery of Art 4 J. Paul Getty Museum 5 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) 6 Brooklyn Museum of Art 7 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 8 Philadelphia Museum of Art 9 Minneapolis Institute of Arts 10 Indianapolis Museum of Art
hen I first arrived in London, Italian restaurants were bare of table cloths and the innocuous Chianti bottle with candle wax dripping down the side sat in the middle of the table. How times have changed since then! London now, undoubtedly, has the some of the finest Italian restaurants in the world. “Vineria” is located in seriously wealthy St. John’s Wood whose occupants in their million pound plus houses have probably dined in more three star restaurants than most of us have entered. It was not crowded that evening, but then only fools and restaurant critics go out on nights a snow storm is predicted. The first thing that caught my eye when I walked through the door was the see-through, temperature controlled wine display next to the reception desk holding some of the finest wines of Italy. The room turns left to a bar while the cream and beige main dining room with its attached conservatory is on the right. Jennifer Atterbury, an interior designer and an expert on lighting, was with me that evening and nodded in approval. Head Chef Francesco Di noia, has
Dining reviews by Virginia E Schultz
worked in different regions throughout Italy and his culinary background is reflected in the menu. Jennifer started with seared sea scallops surrounded by spinach and tomato sauce (£10.00) while I had the grilled butternut squash with Pecorino cheese, walnuts dotted gently with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (£8.00). Butternut squash might have been introduced to Italy by travellers to the Americas centuries ago, but no one cooks it better than the Italians as was proven that evening. The two of us decided to share the Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and shavings of black truffle (£11.00/£14.00). It was definitely one of those scrape to the last dishes that Jennifer (at my urging) and I certainly did. For the main course, Jennifer had oven baked guinea fowl stuffed with chestnut, raisin, pine nut and stuffed cabbage (£16.50). Because Jennifer had fowl, I decided to have bread and herb crusted monk fish with pumpkin mousse and black truffle. Although both courses were good, they didn’t have that innovative taste I expected after our previous dishes. our side
dishes were zucchini fritti (£4.00) and sautéed spinach (£4.00). Except for ice cream, I’ve never been a lover of most Italian desserts. I must admit, however, the tangy lemon tart with berried compote (£6.00) Jennifer ordered was one I regretted not having as well. Wines are definitely Vinera’s forte. The rosso Conero 2006 Piangarda (£11.00 a glass/£27.00 a bottle), dense, chewy, gliding down one’s throat to a lovely finish tempted me to buy a bottle. (Wine is on sale at the restaurant by the bottle, I might add). In fact, the various wines we tasted with our courses, including the Prosecco we started with, were excellent. Special evenings are offered monthly and I hope to attend one of their Italian wine tastings in the near future. Call for information.
1 Blenheim Terrace, St. John’s Woods (they say it’s “on Abbey Road, a few meters from the studios where the Beatles recorded their famous records”!), London NW8 OEH Tel. 020 7328 5014 25
GOLDFISH Dining Out at
Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
espite the number of actors, writers, artists, doctors and lawyers with discerning palates living in Hampstead, finding a top restaurant in this hilly area is like locating a water hole in the middle of Sahara. Thankfully I‘ve persevered, because to quote actress Maxine Howe after we finished eating that evening, “In my forty years of living in England, this is the best Chinese food I’ve ever had.” From the outside, Goldfish looks a bit ticky tacky, but step inside and one is enchanted by antique wooden shutters and furniture, Chinese artefacts, goldfish murals, and a small feng shui waterfall by the door which for some odd reason made me smile. The restaurant is in an old Georgian house and the rooms, all small, are scattered upstairs and down, yet, neither of us felt claustrophobic. We decided to save Dim Sum for another visit and with the delightful help of Elaine (the English version of her Malaysian name) we chose a selection of dishes that made the Chinese banquets I attended in the past seem like a slapped together snack. We started with Golden Prawns, deep fried and wrapped in a filo dough and served with chilli mayonnaise, but it was the award winning Mocha ribs, fried spare ribs in chocolate and coffee sauce sprinkled with almonds, that made me realize we weren’t enjoying merely ordinary Chinese cooking. next came the stir fried scallop bundles with asparagus in mushroom sauce. We decided things couldn’t get better until the wok-grilled beef tenderloin cubes with foie gras in Port wine served in a stone pot arrived. Delicious, especially the foie gras soaked in the gravy lingering at the bottom of the pot. Soup, almond broth with crab meat and bamboo pith, followed and I admit I couldn’t
finish this. In fact I was about to give up eating until the steamed fillet of seabass with shimeiji mushrooms in a light soya sauce was set in front of us. It was, for me, the most delicious seabass I’ve ever had. In fact, just about every dish from the crispy noodles with shredded duck to the tofu was about as good as either one of had eaten before. And the creamy avocado served in a small cocktail glass with a tiny scoop of coconut ice cream is at the moment my favourite dessert. Certainly a Michelin star should be looming in the future. To describe the restaurant as modern Chinese has me hesitating. Kevin Chow, the head chef at Goldfish, was born in Johor, Malaysia and although he became the Chinese Chef at Four Seasons and Grand Hyatt Hotels and spent a year at raffles in Singapore, I have the feeling his early years have influenced him as well. When Westerners speak of Chinese food they usually mean Cantonese which is traditionally Yin (cooling) or Yang (heaty). Food in Malaysia reflects the multi-cultural influence of the Malays, Chinese and Indian and as a result has a variety of flavours and ingredients as Chow shows in the Goldfish classic section of the menu. one last note: Chow only uses the freshest of ingredients and there is no MSG added to any of his dishes. The wine we had by glass that evening were selected by Elaine. I especially enjoyed the Viognier de Campuget Cuvee Prestige de Pays du Gard, 2007/08 (5.90 a glass) and the Shiraz Viognier Le Campuget Vin de Pays du Gard, 2008 (4.00).
82 Hampstead High Street, London NW3 1RE. Tel. 020 7794 6666 www.goldfish-restaurant.co.uk
PROFILE SOHO I
t should have been called “The Yellow room”! Stepping into Profile Soho is like walking into a classic American diner/restaurant built in the 1950s that has been decorated by a 2130 graduate of Parson’s School of Design. Funky, unconventional, quirky, and very original, this restaurant feels more new York than London - despite the English accents surrounding us. A place like this demands cocktails not Champagne, Maxine Howe and I decided as we looked over the drinks menu. Maxine had the Pepperberry (Absolut Pepper, raspberries, triple sec) while I, debating between Joan Crawford (Absolut Mandarin, Martini rosso, drops of pomelo syrup) and the Bittersweet Peach (Absolut peach, orange juice, Cointreau, dash of Campari), decided on the latter. All were £7 and both the ones we indulged in were delicious. Healthy or indulgent, their American style menu offers everything we could have had in the States. Sitting in the banquet behind us, a young business man with loosened tie was enjoying a bowl of chilli (£9.50) and his companion Sausage and Mash (£8.95). At a high table and sitting on stools, two young women were nibbling on nachos (£4.75) and drinking some kind of Martini. While
looking over the menu, we snacked on the appetizer combo (£8.50) which consisted of buffalo wings, onion rings, and spare ribs. There was chili, meatloaf, ribeye steak, surf and turf, macaroni cheese and even hot dogs to choose from. Maxine decided on the roast pork belly with apple sauce and mashed potatoes (£9.75) which she said was excellent. I had the jumbo deluxe hamburger (£8.95) without the bacon and that too was quite nice. For dessert Maxine had the nY cheesecake with strawberries, and chocolate sauce (£5.50). As for me, after the huge hamburger, I decided one scoop of vanilla, not two, with chocolate sauce (£3.50) was more than enough. Service was good, the food well cooked and delightfully served. In fact, we plan to return for breakfast some Sunday morning for their eggs benedict (£6.75) and eggs florentine (£6.25). During the day, it would be the perfect place to take the kids for lunch or to have something to eat before and after attending the theatre or a concert.
84-86 Wardour Street, London W1F OTQ. Tel. 020 7734 3444 http://profilesoho.com 2
Cellar Talk Libations by Virginia E. Schultz
he two greatest fortified wines in the world are Port and Sherry. Yet, mention Sherry and the nose of most Americans takes a definite turn upwards. Wine writers around the world sometimes predict that Sherry is gaining popularity, but if it is, I’ve yet to see it. Restaurants have installed expensive refrigerators and gas preservation gadgets to protect their bottles of wine, but ask for a glass of sherry and the sommelier will too often have to search through some warm, dusty part of the bar to see if there is, just maybe, a bottle hidden there. The strange thing is, go to a tapas bar in Spain and Spaniards - along with tourists from around the world, including Americans - will be tossing back chilled glasses of fino and manzanilla, the driest of sherries, with olives, almonds, cheese and the other tidbits as if it is the finest drink in the world. In a Spanish restaurant when the sommelier suggested to an American friend that grilled prawns or salmon would match perfectly with a copita of chilled Sherry, he, after a bit of persuasion on the part of his wife and myself, reluctantly agreed. Since then, his wife has difficulty serving anything else with these two dishes. The English, until recently, have been enjoying Sherry since Shakespeare’s time. At an English friend’s dinner party a few months ago, our hostess served an Amontillado (a
dry to medium Sherry) with her first course of fois gras to the oh’s and ah’s of her guests. Attend a hunt whether riding or observing and a glass of Sherry is usually offered. On a chilly morning with the wind rippling down the Solent, a Spanish friend always brought out a bottle of dry Oloroso before we started sailing. Dry Oloroso, he informed us, is known as a sporty drink in Spain. The grapes used to make Sherry are Palomino (think of the horse) and Pedro Ximenez. The Pedro Ximenez is generally used to make sweet sherry and has a higher alcohol content than the palomino. It reaches an alcohol level of around 15 percent without the need of neutral spirits and many of these wines are unfortified. Normally, winemakers guard against letting air into the wine during the wine making process, but that’s what makes Sherry. It is the air that oxidizes the wine. Barrels are filled approximately two-thirds full instead of completely and they leave the bung (cork) loosely in the barrel to allow the air to enter. In today’s Sherry, only American oak is used to age the wine. After this comes factional blending which is carried out through the Solera System, the blending of several vintages of Sherry that are stored in rows of barrels. At bottling time, wine is drawn out of these barrels, never more than one-third at a time, to make room for the new vintage.
Some Soleras can be a blend of ten to twenty different harvests. When I serve Sherry at dinner, it will only be with one of the courses. I’ve had meals where it has been continually offered throughout, but for me it was too much of a good thing. If I offer it with a first course, then I don’t bring out that bottle of old and rare Sherry to serve with the cheese. Sherry will last longer than a regular table wine because of its alcohol content which acts as a preservative, but once opened it begins to lose its freshness and should be drunk within two weeks. Manzanilla and Fino Sherry I try to consume without two to three days of opening. It is also important to keep Sherry refrigerated. Poor storage, especially in the States with our warmer houses, may be one of the reasons we’ve never taken to Sherry as the English once did. H
WINE OF THE MONTH There are some wines that are made in heaven for matches with certain dishes and Chateau Cabezac’s BelVeze 2005 was the perfect groom for my roasted venison with wild mushrooms when I dined with friends at Zefferano’s in London recently. It was so good I want to return and have the same dish and wine all over again.
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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.
Mothering Sunday – 14th March Easter Sunday – 4th April (also open Easter Monday)
“Tenors Unlimited” return on 19th March • Sinatra Tribute Evening on 23rd April 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”
– David Billington, Hello Magazine
Coﬀee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 Tenzin Gyatso is also known by what name? 2 In which year was the Wall Street Crash?
7 In what year was the American Declaration of Independence signed? 8 What is Uxoricide?
13 Which alcoholic drink is distilled from the agave plant? 14 In Disney’s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs – can you name all the dwarfs? 15 What is the brightest star in the northern hemisphere? 16 What was the only painting Vincent Van Gogh is known to have sold in his lifetime?
3 Pedagogy is the art or profession of what?
9 Which US sportsman was nicknamed the Sultan of Swat?
17 What is the name of the US President’s helicopter?
4 The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780, in which city?
10 What inventor was nicknamed The Wizard of Menlo Park?
18 What do the following have in common: Blind Boy Grunt, Elston Gunn, Elmer Johnson, Sergei Petrov, Jack Frost, Jack Fate, Lucky Wilbury?
5 What is the most common bird in the world? 6 Who said of golf, ‘a good walk spoiled’ ?
11 What number is produced by displaying one of each of the roman numerals, in descending order? 12 Which US general was appointed supreme commander of the Allied Forces during World War Two?
19 Which US state is known as the Magnolia State?
Answers below The Johnsons
Coffee Break Quiz Answers: 1. The Dalai Lama; 2. 1929; 3. Teaching; 4. Boston; 5. Chicken; 6. Mark Twain; 7. 1776; 8. Wife killing; 9. Babe Ruth; 10. Thomas Edison; 11. 1666 (MDCLXVI - 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 10, 5, 1); 12. General Dwight D Eisenhower (Ike); 13. Tequila; 14. Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy; 15. Sirius; 16. Red Vineyard at Arles; 17. Marine One; 18. Names used by Bob Dylan; 19. Mississippi.
It happened one... March March 1, 1642 – Georgeana, Massachusetts (now known as York, Maine) becomes the first incorporated city in the USA.
March 2, 1877 – US presidential election, 1876: Just two days before inauguration, the US Congress declares Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the election even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876. March 3, 1915 – NACA, the predecessor of NASA, is founded. March 4, 1861 – First national flag of the Confederate States of America (the ‘Stars and Bars’) is adopted. March 5, 1836 – Samuel Colt makes the first production-model revolver, the .34-caliber.
March 6, 1521 – Ferdinand Magellan arrives at Guam. March 7, 1965 – Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers are forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama.
March 8, 1817 – The New York Stock Exchange is founded.
March 9, 1933 – Great Depression: President Franklin D. Roosevelt submits the Emergency Banking Act to the Congress, the first of his New Deal policies.
March 10, 1969 – In Memphis, Tennessee, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. He would later retract his guilty plea.
March 11, 1888 – The Great Blizzard of 1888 begins along the eastern seaboard of the United States, shutting down commerce and killing more than 400.
March 12, 1947 – The Truman Doctrine is proclaimed to help stem the spread of Communism. March 13, 1930 – The news of the discovery of Pluto is telegraphed to the Harvard College Observatory.
March 14, 1900 – The Gold Standard Act is ratified, placing United States currency on the gold standard.
March 15, 1965 – President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to the Selma crisis, tells US Congress “We shall overcome” while advocating the Voting Rights Act. March 16, 1621 – Samoset, a Mohegan, visits the settlers of Plymouth Colony and greets them, “Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset.” March 17, 1845 – The rubber band is patented.
March 18, 1968 – Gold standard: The US Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency. March 19, 1918 – The US Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time. March 20, 1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published.
March 21, 1788 – A fire in New Orleans leaves most of the town in ruins.
Geronimo CoUrTESY LIBrArY oF ConGrESS
March 25, 1976 – Queen Elizabeth II sent out the first royal email, from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment. March 26, 1969 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono start their first Bed-In for Peace on their honeymoon, at the Amsterdam Hilton. March 27, 1886 – Famous Apache warrior, Geronimo, surrenders to the US Army, ending the main phaze of the Apache Wars. March 28, 1920 – Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1920 affects the Great Lakes region and Deep South states.
March 22, 1895 – First display (a private screening) of motion pictures by Auguste and Louis Lumière.
March 29, 1806 – Construction is authorized of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, becoming the first United States federal highway.
March 24, 1944 – World War II: In an event later dramatized in the movie The Great Escape, 76 prisoners begin breaking out of Stalag Luft III.
March 31, 1917 – The United States takes possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands. H
March 23, 1857 – Elisha Otis’s first elevator is installed at 488 Broadway New York City.
March 30, 1858 – Hymen Lipman patents a pencil with an attached eraser.
With a number one album on iTunes, almost 19 million ‘plays’ on MySpace, performances and song placements all over the TV – he even played at Ellen’s wedding – how come you don’t know anything about Joshua Radin? Rob Hurst caught up with Josh before his recent sell out show at London’s Koko and found out how this talented performer has managed to ﬂy under the radar for so long.
large portion of you will already be familiar with Joshua radin, whether you realise it or not. If you have seen Grey’s Anatomy, American Idol, Scrubs, House, 90210, Without a Trace or One Tree Hill you may well have heard one of radin’s songs. If you haven’t watched any of those, chances are you’ve seen one of a whole heap of films, advertisements and talk show appearances that have featured either Josh or his music. not bad for someone who picked up a guitar for the first time in his late twenties, barely 6 months before his first ‘TV appearance’... radin was thrown into the limelight after a demo of his first ever recordings made their way into the hands of Zach Braff, formerly the star of the long running sitcom Scrubs. Braff was so taken with the songs that he immediately used one of radin’s most iconic tracks, ‘Winter’, to soundtrack a key scene in an episode. From there he’s barely had time to stop and take stock of his success, in fact he tells me he won’t be back home for another 4 months, at which point he will have barely a week off before returning to London to record his new album. The attention garnered from Scrubs earned radin a contract with Columbia
records, with whom he released his initial demos in 2004 and a further full length album in 2006. Braff and radin are still close and he is very grateful for the opportunity, even if he has had to learn on the fly. “It’s quite strange because the way I’ve got to where I am is the only way I know, I never spent time busking and playing to friends and tiny rooms just to get heard and be comfortable, I was very fortunate in that sense. [But it does mean that] I’ve had to learn by doing. I’ve had to learn how to play live by touring. I feel like I got thrown in at the deep end and just had to learn to swim.” This is only the second time radin has touched down on these shores with music in mind, and his previous show, an ‘industry only showcase’ in London, was so oversubscribed that he ended up ‘busking’ (finally) to a small army of fans unable to get tickets on London’s famous Carnaby Street, an event he announced an hour ahead of time on his Twitter account. overall it’s testament to the speed at which radin has shot to fame and is something that he missed out on at the outset of his career, “I don’t know that I’m particularly proud of any one thing, but, you know, 5 years ago I’d walk out on stage and I
The The American American
“I got thrown in at the deep end and just had to learn to swim”
Under The Radar: could barely open my eyes. [As I said] I never busked before and it was surreal to have all this attention. And now we’re touring the world, I’m selling out decent sized rooms and that’s just amazing to me. I mean I can barely play guitar!” Having stumbled into a major label record contract mere months after recording his first demos, radin’s success has not separated him from a desire to do things how he thinks they should be done. When asked why he made the decision to release his most recent album, Simple Times’on a start-up indie label than through his existing contract, his response is enlightening; “Well they made the decision for me really, I mean, I made the record I wanted to make and turned it in, but they didn’t feel it was ‘commercial enough’.” An interesting point, given that radin, whilst signed to a major label, had more than 30 of his songs used in mainstream television shows and films, but most would agree, not one could be classified as ‘commercial’. “So I basically just gave them their money back,” radin continues, “I found a new label called Mom & Pop in new York, who were brand new and we gave them the record, it was actually their first release. When it came out it hit
number one on iTunes for all records so I think there are a few people with egg on their faces after that!”’ With Simple Times, the songs are, if anything, more accessible than on his previous releases, featuring more full-band ensembles, a more glossy production on some tracks and the common themes, as radin puts it, of “falling in and out of love”. Simple Times has been every bit as well received critically as its predecessor, We Were Here and has been featured numerous times on mainstream television soundtracks. “It’s interesting because I don’t actually watch a lot of television, but I’ve been very lucky with the exposure I’ve received, I mean I’ve been saying since I started out, that TV & Film is the new radio”. In radin’s case, it’s unlikely he would have seen the level of success he has achieved on the back of the use of one song on a musicorientated show, Scrubs, and certainly not in such a short space of time. “That’s how I find a lot of music actually,” radin explains. “TV soundtrack and music supervisors are the new radio programme directors, except they
want to find new music. radio, in the US at least, isn’t interested in finding new music any more. I mean I just use that Shazam app and it gives me the link to buy songs after hearing them on a show, I’ve found loads of great music that way.” This more or less sums up radin’s success so far; with music used across film and TV but only very minor radio and press support, he has been able to build up a loyal fan base of people who have uncovered his music and thanks to the familiarity many people feel they already know his music. now radin looks set to break out into the public eye with his third, as yet untitled, album, currently being recording his album in London. His forthcoming tour hits the UK in April, a tour that will see radin not only playing his biggest ever show at the UK, a headline slot at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, but also represents probably the last chance to see him live at some of the UK’s smaller local venues and in cities that an artist of his size would not usually be able to play, I suggest you don’t miss out on the opportunity… H
Three young men from Concord nC – brothers Scott and Seth Avett, plus friend bassist Bob Crawford, raw country rock – think Louvin Brothers playing neil Young and They Might Be Giants songs. rick rubin has taken them under his mighty wing. Their new album I And Love And You is released April 5. Before then, get a taste of the Avetts on March 13th at the Dublin Crawdaddy or the 16th at London’s The Garage.
±LIVE AND KICKING Blondie Forest Concert Announced O
ne to book ahead for! That most urban of bands, NYC’s own Blondie, will be playing among the leafy glades of Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, a glorious part of England’s West Country. It’s part of Forestry Commission Live Music where bands perform in seven beautiful woodland locations around the country. Debbie Harry and the band will be performing hits like Denis, Picture This, Rapture, Sunday Girl, Heart Of Glass and Hanging On The Telephone as well as, we guess, material from Blondie’s new album, their first in six years, which is being released this spring. Tickets from the Forestry Commission box office 01842 814612 or online at www.forestry.gov.uk/music. June 20, Westonbirt Arboretum, Nr Tetbury, Gloucestershire.
Playaway Dennis Locorriere
Dennis Locorriere, the voice of Dr Hook, is on the road again on a major tour that sees him play 36 dates across the UK. He’s playing attractive theatres rather than faceless arenas. Along with his own five piece band, Dennis is joined by special guest, Andy Fairweather Low. A great singer, songwriter and guitarist, Fairweather Low will be opening the show every night with his band, The Low riders. See Dennis’ website www.dennislocorriere. com for full dates.
Another way of getting away from the big city is this brand new festival at the Butlins holiday camp by the beaches of Skegness, on the north Sea coast of Lincolnshire., Headlining are pop/disco king Calvin Harris, indie popsters Scouting for Girls and soul/pop/punk trio noisettes. The American flag will be flown by quirky indie singer Darwin Deez who promises hand clapping and a 4-string electric guitar in a secret tuning. The festival offers some surprises too – a music quiz, ‘Underground rebel Bingo Club’, Go-karting, bowling and Quasar, plus an onsite cinema complete including Sing-along-Sound of Music! April 16th to 18th.
Texan blues rock guitar hero Johnny Winters joins heavyweight British electronic duo Utah Saints and an eclectic selection of artists from the godfathers of the Cuban boom Sierra Maestra to the UK’s very own inventors of ‘Jazz for radiohead fans’ neil Cowley Trio and Mercury Music Prize winner Speech Debelle at the annual Vibraphonic festival in Exeter, Devon. The organizers have taste! Head out West for a some great music played in unusual venues. Apart from music venues and clubs, bands will be playing in galleries, art spaces and independent cinemas. March 5th to Sun 21st. See www.vibraphonic.co.uk for more details.
WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO SEE
HAIR IN LONDON
WELCOME TO THE CURLY, SHAGGY, GLEAMING, STREAMING, WONDERFUL WORLD OF HAIR A celebration of life, love, freedom, and a passionate cry for hope and change, HAIR features some of the greatest songs ever written for the stage, including ‘LET THE SUN SHINE IN’, ‘I GOT LIFE’, ‘HAIR’ and ‘AQUARIUS’. Currently wowing audiences and critics alike on Broadway, don’t miss this Tony award winning company when they transfer to the London stage from 1st April. To win a pair of tickets just answer the following
QUESTION: Who wrote Hair? A WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan B James Rado and Gerome Ragni C Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein
HOW TO ENTER Send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by midday, Tuesday March 30th. Email it to email@example.com with HAIR COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: HAIR COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. You must be 18 years old or over to enter this competition. Only one entry per person per draw. The editor’s decision is final.
inning tickets are valid for Monday – Thursday performances, W from 1st–12th April, 2010, at the Gielgud Theatre. Subject to availability.
Northampton to the National James Carroll Jordan, the American actor/writer based in England best known as Billy Abbott in ABC’s Rich Man Poor Man Book 2, tells how it feels to transfer to London’s National Theatre
merica influences the world in many ways. We give the world a global police force, block-buster films and hit television shows, even styles in clothing. But for me our most interesting influence on the world is our theatre. England has Shakespeare, Pinter, Ayckbourn and Hampton. France has Moliere and Racine, while Italy boasts Ionesco. We give the world Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams. From A Long Days Journey Into Night to A Streetcar Named Desire, these two playwrights have enriched and beguiled the world of theatre for over a century with their works. Laurie Sansom, Creative Director at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate, paired two plays from these authors into a short season called Young America; O’Neill’s
James Jordan lets rip at Michael Thomson in Eugene O’Neill’s first play Beyond The Horizon © Robert Day
first play Beyond The Horizon and Williams long lost play written while he was still in University, Spring Storm. Beyond the Horizon won a Pulitzer Prize and Spring Storm was shoved into a drawer and forgotten for more than sixty years. Cambridge educated Sansom saw the powerful dramatic potential and parallel themes in both and decided to put them on in tandem, playing alternatively through his short
six week season. I became involved in my usual way; From left field. My wife, Jan Hartley did Follies for Laurie three years ago, and I met him when I went to see her in it. He somehow remembered me and had me in to interview for the father role in both shows. The parts were not large, but that wasn’t a worry for me as I had just finished a monster of a role in Complicit at the Old Vic in the spring and my poor grey cells need time to
recover, so having a bit of scenery to chew and the chance to work with a fine up and coming director, I jumped at the chance. Little did I know how fascinating and satisfying the shows were to become for me. It also gave me time to be a fly on the wall, so to speak, and sit back and observe things for a change instead of frantically trying to learn lines and blocking. It turned out to be a rare treat for me, a staggeringly educational experience. After 40 years in the business, one tends to think you pretty much know most everything about putting on a show and producing a professional and pleasing performance. I was quickly disabused of this notion from the first day’s rehearsal. Well, let’s say the second day, as the first was set aside for meeting and greeting and reading through both plays. I have to say, I was less than impressed with both plays as I reflected on them on my train ride home that evening. One seemed very archaic and depressing and the other, light and fluffy and poorly constructed. How wrong I turned out to be on both counts. My second worry was the cast. Aside from Mike Malarkey and I they were all English. The leading lady, Liz White had a thick northern accent and the other leading man Mike Thompson had a strong Edinburgh brogue. I needn’t have fretted. Both Liz and Michael and in fact the rest of the company were flawless in their American accents, but more importantly, they were first class actors with bags of talent. Once that realization kicked in, I relaxed, sat back and enjoyed the ride. Then Laurie started spinning his directorial magic and it all became like an E ticket at Disneyland. I have worked with many good directors over the years, but never with one who was so thorough in his attention to detail. And he had a plan, a vision, for both shows.
On their way to The National: James and Liz White in Tennessee Williams’ Spring Storm © Robert Day
For instance, Spring Storm runs concurrent themes of destruction and decay of post depression Mississippi and the changing morals of the youth of that era. They are seen through the actions of ingenue Heavenly, proud, stubborn and self sufficient yet deep inside a scared young girl who isn’t quite up to handling the hard turbulent circumstances she has to face. Liz White did a fantastic job treading the fine line between charming and offensive behavior and kept the audience’s sympathy even as she rode rough-shod over her two lovers Williams provides for her. One of these is a strong earthy type in the mold of Stanley Kowalski from Streetcar that Williams would write ten years later, the other an almost biographical representation of Williams himself as a young man struggling with the homosexuality that he is not yet aware of. While Beyond the Horizon is set in a different time and place, turn of the century rural Connecticut farm belt, the theme is markedly similar. Again one woman having the love of two men; this time brothers: one strong and a man of the earth and the other sensitive and a man of dreams and books. The parallels of the two plays themes must have struck Laurie strongly for he made them both part of his grand Plan, the “Young America” season . We were very well received by both audience and press. In fact we were
staggered by the response from the London papers. The Times gave us five stars in their review, the Guardian gave us four and all the others followed suit in similar praise. That is the time when as an actor you wished the show was in town and could be seen by more than just a provincial audience. Anyway, there we were with two wonderful shows in hand and nowhere to go. Until the last week of our run. As you know rumors run wild in theatre as they do in any business, and we started hearing that the National Theatre had a slot open in the spring and was interested in Young America. Now I have heard all that before, so didn’t get too excited. Oddly neither did anyone else in the cast. Maybe that was what brought us the good luck because the National Theatre did pick up our two shows and we are now booked to open at the Cottesloe Theatre in the National Theatre complex in March. “The National!!!“ They all said. “You’re going to the National! That’s fantastic!” My agent was over the moon about it. She said, “Jimmy, you have no idea what this means! I can do so much for you when you are at the National!” Being a crusty old geezer from Hollywood, I am still taking all this with a grain of salt, but have to admit, I am getting a little excited about things now, and hope to see you there. H The Young America season transfers to the National Theatre from 24 March
By John Logan Donmar Warehouse, London
Alfred Molina is Mark Rothko – Broadway bound? © JoHAn PErSSon
ed is the world première of John Logan’s two-hander about the painter Mark rothko and his young assistant. Another Donmar triumph, it is headed for Broadway. It will play a 15 week run at new York’s Golden Theater, opening on 1 April. The play marks the return to London of the great Alfred Molina, whose recent career has been US based, in hits such as Art and Fiddler on the Roof and in numerous films. He is joined by one of London’s greatest newcomers, the redhead Eddie redmayne who made such a splash in The Goat or Who is Sylvia at the Almeida and in now or Later at the royal Court last year. The setting is rothko’s studio in The Bowery in new York during 1958-59. The great man was at the height of his powers and had decided to take on a lucrative commission from tycoon Philip Johnson to paint a large triptych to adorn the new Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building. Attempting to dramatise the artist at work is fraught with difficulties as numerous unintentionally hilarious Hollywood biopics have proven, but here in a wonderfully concise 100 minutes Logan has pulled it off. From the outset it is clearly a play of ideas. Didactic isn’t the half of it. If you didn’t pay attention during ‘Art Appreciation 101’ you can catch up here. But just when you think the drama has been snuffed out by talk of art theory, rothko’s young protégé, Ken, turns the tables on his master and the drama takes flight. Ken, also a painter, has had to quietly endure
THEATER REVIEWS BY JArLATH o’ConnELL the hectoring lectures, the baiting and the mood swings. Despite two solid years of labour, Monday to Friday 9-5 (he keeps “banker’s hours”), rothko has never once enquired about his life. rothko’s response when challenged on this is to bark “your neediness bores me”. By the end of the battle however he concedes to the young man, who is expecting to get fired, that “this is the first time you existed”. Logan’s script never reduces rothko to the mad genius archetype nor does it settle for easy sentiment or special pleading. To distil the life and work of someone like rothko into a short play, not to mention also drawing out complex arguments about the position of the artist in society, the dilemma of art vs commerce or the pain of creativity, is no mean feat. Logan also creates a glorious coup-de-theatre when the two men prepare a huge canvas by painting it red in a sustained three minute burst. It gets a round of applause. As well as his ambivalence about ‘selling out’ this was also the period when abstract expressionism was being swept aside by pop art, which rothko despised for its lack of seriousness. The play takes us through this fractious debate. Director Michael Grandage has taken a very challenging text and brought a wonderful lightness of touch to it, drawing out its humanity and humour. He is well served by Hugh oram’s beautiful recreation of the studio and neil Austin’s clever lighting design acknowledges how rothko was no fan of nature – he always worked under artificial light. You come away from red enlightened and enlivened and wanting to head to a gallery.
The Little Dog Laughed By Douglas Carter Beane • Garrick Theatre, London WC2
Photo: Hugo Glendinning
his is a tart and sassy new play from Noo Yawk. It has enough wisecracks for a Will and Grace episode, but sadly the same level of profundity. Mitchell (Rupert Friend) is a chiselled Hollywood actor whose life and career are micro managed by his Amazonian agent, Diane, played by the wonderful Tamsin Greig (pictured). Perfect leading man material, she has his career and her 10% of it, carefully mapped out. A fly in the ointment appears when closet-case Mitch falls in love with rent boy Alex (Harry Lloyd) whom he entertains one night in his fancy New York hotel room. Diane, despite being a lesbian herself, is not amused. Further complications abound as Alex professes he is not gay and has a brash and kooky girlfriend, Ellen (Gemma Arterton), in tow. The star and agent are in New York so Diane can option a new hit play by an elderly and serious gay playwright. That play features a gay couple and Diane’s game plan is to acquire the movie rights, sanitise it and transform it into a straight vehicle for her young star. In a clever restaurant scene Diane
and Mitch play out the lunchtime meeting they will have with the unwitting author whom they patronise viciously. During their game Mitch gets carried away and to the delight of the author, comes out. The “gay play” serves as a catalyst for the young star who realises he must reconcile being a Hollywood leading man with having a relationship with an ex rent boy. This is very fertile territory and it is just a shame that the ideas are so poorly developed here. For a play that parades its gayness like a Gucci handbag it is quite reactionary. These young Turks are full of self hatred and making the ball breaker Diane a lesbian enables the author to duck any accusations of homophobia. This doesn’t wash. We are expected to condemn Mitch for his cowardice and to applaud Diane, yet she readily admits her only motivation is money. There is no acknowledgement that the real outrage isn’t him being in the closet but the fact that the closet exists and that people like Diane happily exploit it. Wallowing in her Hollywood cynicism Diane is a cheerleader for philistinism, destroying the playwright
and bemoaning the boutique division of the studio which makes art house movies. Grieg’s star turn is great fun but the hyper, bad-sitcom dialogue (think Friends on speed), doesn’t sit well with a play which has pretensions to be about something. For box office allure the producers have cast a tantalising trio of up and coming British movie talent. Arterton (Tess of the d’Urbervilles and a Bond girl!) struggles with a secondary character, but Lloyd brings an insouciant charm to the difficult part of Alex. Rupert Friend, who made a splash in as Prince Albert in Young Victoria, is at sea in an underdeveloped role. His dialogue is declamatory and Jamie Lloyd’s stodgy direction doesn’t help him. There is little emotional truth in his scenes with Alex, all of which lack any real intimacy. Designs by Soutra Gilmour and Jon Clark are oddly meagre when some luxury is called for. Why, for example, do they sleep on the floor like squatters? The audience is also pummelled into submission with an incessant rock soundtrack. Go for Tamsin Greig, but little else.
PHoTo: HELEn WArnEr
By Harold Pinter • Trafalgar Studios, London
avies the tramp in Pinter’s classic play The Caretaker is a new King Lear, a test for great actors. The latest to take up the challenge is Jonathan Pryce, who did so for director Christopher Morahan at the Liverpool Everyman, a production now transferred to London. The part was created by Donald Pleasance in 1960 when he was really too young for the part. I was lucky enough to see him in his final reprise of it back in 1991, when he was finally the right age for it. I’ve also enjoyed Warren Mitchell, Michael Gambon and David Bradley in this part over the past few years and while Pryce is his usual stunning self, he seems rather miscast here. Unlike Bradley who was totally rat like and mercenary, Pryce is too poised, too clean, even too tall for the part. He brings an intelligence and a softness to it, which make one wonder whether this Davies would stay in the gutter for long. He also uses a Welsh accent and without the usual wide-boy Cockney, Davies loses some of his necessary swagger. It’s been said that Waiting for Godot is a play where nothing happens
twice, a comment much more apt for this play. The plot revolves around the introverted, mentally challenged Aston, who invites a tramp (Davies) back to the seedy room in a ramshackle boarding house where he lives out a spartan existence collecting junk and dreaming of building a garden shed. Davies, initially stunned by a rare act of generosity, moves in to take advantage of Aston but is quickly stopped in his tracks by the arrival of Aston’s sinister brother Mick, a violent and ill-tempered handyman, who runs the house. Pinter’s famous language here combines staccato dialogue with glorious riffs of verbiage, for example from Mick when he describes his interior decoration plans. Pinter’s ear for the debasement of language in our modern age is spot on. The three men all deceive one another and more importantly they deceive themselves. For Pinter the human condition amounts to managing one’s delusions and for men in particular of talking them up, ceaselessly. one knows that by the end, these guys will be no further along, with anything.
Pryce brings a wonderful repertoire of gestures to the part, the way he taps his forehead or sidles along the floor to placate Mick, reminds us that Davies is always performing, just to survive. As Aston, the Irish actor Peter McDonald struggles a bit with the East End accent but presents a wonderful portrait of fragility. newcomer Sam Spruell has a relaxed air of bonhomie about him, which makes Mick’s violent outbursts all the more frightening. Like Davies one feels trapped in a cage with him, wondering when he might pounce. Morahan’s direction is solid but sometimes the pace flags. The production really benefits from the great design of Eileen Diss. The realism of this memorable dank room jam-packed with a fascinating array of junk is crucial to the success of the piece. What gets you ultimately is the humanity in Pinter, his understanding of what makes people tick, the games people play and the lies we tell. That’s what made him the great poet of the theatre and this is a great introduction to his work. H
Avatar is Heaven for America-haters
writes Carol Gould
have seen Avatar twice and can categorically report that it is a vicious polemic against the United States and an allegorical hate-fest against the brave men and women who serve in the US military. It is also an invitation to worldwide terrorists – not just Muslim radicals but anyone and everyone who hates the “Great Satan” – to take up arms and defeat America at all costs. Am I over-reacting? Well, right from the start the figure of the commander is a stereotype of the ruthless squaddie who will eat his grandmother for breakfast. He has no regard for the Na’vi people depicted in the movie and cares not a jot if they are annihilated and their habitat destroyed. This tableau generates an atmosphere throughout the film of bias: that the graceful, simple Na’vi are the victims of a brutal American assault and that they ought to try to kill every last one of the troops. You may say, “Well, can you blame them if their habitat is being napalmed?” But what disturbs me about James Cameron’s scenario is that he depicts most Americans as a species of humanity so extreme, so vile, that other peoples should take up arms against them. Evidently Canadian Cameron does not wish to take into account the good the US does in the world, only to see the worst of the nation. He reminds me of the British journalist Polly Toynbee, who on a recent BBC television broadcast condemned the American constitution as a “disaster” and portrayed the current American congress and senate as a mass-dictatorship, bizarre coming from such a left-winger. Cameron
sees the US as an agent of pure evil, and except for a scientist (Sigourney Weaver) and a marine (Sam Worthington) who falls in love with a Na’vi lady they are all despicable murderers. Screen International noted the banal dialogue and storyline (the plot involves an effort in the year 2154 by humans to mine a rare mineral on faroff planet Pandora in order to save the world from death by global warming – natch). I do know that I watched a lot of brave ‘marines’ being slaughtered in the stereotypical, liberal cant that tells young audiences that America is the Evil Empire. Some will feel my interpretation of this film borders on the paranoid, but as I committed these thoughts to paper I received a telephone call from a neighbor who told me that a couple of his acquaintance – educated young professionals – had just returned from a visit to the cinema and that the film had upset them so much they had fallen to the floor to pray. I asked him why and he said they felt that its
message of hatred of America was so sinister that they had to pray for the health and long life of the United States. My neighbor has been following the worrying demographics of Avatar: cinema-goers from emerging countries in the remotest corners of the earth are flocking to this motion picture. Is it possible that the spike in terror attacks in late 2009 was a result of worldwide Avatar-mania? I would venture to say that the message of the film is so overwhelming – that America can and should be quashed for good – that it cannot but powerfully influence impressionable minds, most particularly in the Muslim and Third World. At a screening I heard comments about the way Native Americans, slaves, Vietnamese, Palestinians and Iraqis were treated and I registered that there were groups of young Middle Eastern cinema-goers who seemed to be having a joyous time at Avatar. H What do you think? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Election’s Not Over Yet
Sir Robert Worcester, the Kansas City-born founder of pollsters MORI, gives a fascinating summary of the state of play of the forthcoming UK General Election
t’s nail biting time at Tory Central Office where the backroom boys and girls have finally realised that the British General Election’s not over yet. For the past two years Conservative Party Leader David Cameron has confidently prepared for the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Leads of up to 17 percentage points for the Conservatives over Labour were reported during the first half of 2009, and one newspaper headlined a forecast of a Tory majority of over 200 seats over all other parties. Recent polls aren’t like that. The Ipsos MORI poll1 has voting intentions at 40% Conservatives, 32% Labour, 16% Liberal Democrats, and 12% Others (including 3% each for the Greens and UKIP, 2% for the Scottish National Party and BNP, 1% for Plaid Cymru. The other 1% comes from rounding to the closest integer). The electorate of this country isn’t much keen on elections these days. “None of the above” is what many people would vote if that was the choice on the ballot paper. Of those who tell us that they are “absolutely certain to vote” in this poll, that’s 52% of the electorate, five and a half
5.5% Swing from 2005 General Election Q. How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow? Jan ’10 voting intention
Vote at 2005 GE
Swing to Tories:
Conservative lead = 8%
Base: 1,001 British adults 18+, January 26-28 2010: certain to vote = 519
percent have changed their mind on which party they’ll vote for in the election which I certainly believe (and have for several years) will be held on 6th May. That swing is still insufficient to give the Tories an overall majority if there’s a uniform swing across the country. We use my colleague (and coauthor of our election books), Dr. Roger Mortimore’s “Swingo” model to see the impact of our voting intention shares, to see how shares at certain levels would project to seats in the House of Commons.
Labour Lead = 3%
Source: Ipsos MORI/Daily Mirror
On the current figures, there would be a ‘hung parliament’, with the Tories with a plurality of seats, 317, up from the 209 they got in 2005, but 9 seats short of the 326 they need to have a majority. If the Liberal Democrats polled as low as 16% they would lose exactly half their seats on a uniform swing. This is unlikely to happen to the LibDems. I call it the Simon Hughes effect; he just won the Bermondsey by-election narrowly over a quarter century ago, and has increased it ever since.
Turnout’s the Key
When Blair won his landslide in 1997, 72% voted; now just 52% say they are “absolutely certain to vote”. But from past experience, even about 10% of them won’t bother on the day for one reason or another. But then half of those who say they are unlikely to vote, will. And they lean towards voting Labour. That’s why turnout on May 6th is so important. Last time just 61% voted, and the time before 59%. Won’t be as low as 52%, but then it won’t be as high as 78%, the percentage of those who have a voting intention, but many potential voters are not really sure they’ll bother. At 52% current voting intention figures suggest that Cameron will go to the Palace on May 7th. If instead the turnout was 78%, Labour, with the support of the LibDems who have said they will support the party that gets the most seats in this election, could have a coalition government. What would the LibDems demand in return? Certainly changing the voting system. Likely, seats in the Cabinet. A written constitution? The Tories need to win 117 seats to win a majority, perhaps 140 to have a working majority, a huge mountain to climb. But they’d nearly do it if on a uniform swing in all constituencies the outcome was as our poll today projects. Many observers believe that Lord Ashcroft’s money and a more popular Tory leader will carry the day, and confound the pollsters with a healthy victory. They may be right, but as one shadow cabinet minister said to me recently, “how do you campaign for a low turnout?” It won’t be, but if the next election were to see a turnout of 78%, as it did as recently as in the 1992 election, another close race, the Queen would
Swingo 2010 – Based on 52% turnout
(including boundary changes)*, for comparison of differing poll results Vote share 1 based on 2005 election result Vote share 1 Vote share 2
Con 33.2 40.0
Lab 36.1 32.0
LD 22.7 16.0
Other 8.0 12.0
Seats won on national uniform swing (share 1) Share 1 seats exceed or fall short of majority by: Share 1: overall majority of 50 Change caused by boundary revision Change caused by uniform swing Total net change
+12 -1 +11
-7 0 -7
0 0 0
-1 +1 0
0 0 0
L-C swing 0.0% 5.5%
Seats won on national uniform swing (share 2) 317 268 31 16 18 No Overall Share 2 seats exceed or fall short of majority by: -9 -58 Majority Share 2: no overall majority Change caused by boundary revision +12 -7 0 -1 0 Change caused by uniform swing +139 -137 -21 +6 0 Total net change +151 -144 -21 +5 0 *Ralling & Thrasher, ”Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies” (BBC/ITN/PA/Sky, 2007) (Speaker is in ‘Other’) Base 1,001 British adults 18+, January 26-28, 2010: certain to vote = 519 Base 1,001 British adults 18+, January 26-28, 2010
Source: Ipsos MORI/Daily Mirror Source: Ipsos MORI/The Observer
Swingo 2010 – Based on 78% turnout
(including boundary changes)*, for comparison of differing poll results Vote share 1 based on 2005 election result Vote share 1 Vote share 2
Con 33.2 38.0
Lab 36.1 34.0
LD 22.7 17.0
Other 8.0 11.0
Seats won on national uniform swing (share 1) Share 1 seats exceed or fall short of majority by: Share 1: overall majority of 50 Change caused by boundary revision Change caused by uniform swing Total net change
+12 -1 +11
-7 0 -7
0 0 0
-1 +1 0
0 0 0
Seats won on national uniform swing (share 2) Share 2 seats exceed or fall short of majority by: Share 2: no overall majority Change caused by boundary revision Change caused by uniform swing Total net change
+12 +100 +112
-7 -105 -112
0 -14 -14
-1 +6 +5
0 0 0
L-C swing 0.0% 3.5%
50 LibLab Pact
No Overall Majority
*Ralling & Thrasher, ”Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies” (BBC/ITN/PA/Sky, 2007) (Speaker is in ‘Other’) Base 1,001 British adults 18+, January 26-28, 2010: certain to vote = 519
be seeing Gordon again, this time in his own right, having won on his own. According to our latest poll, taking everyone who gave us a voting intention (78%), fewer intending Labour voters said they were ‘absolutely sure’
Source: Ipsos MORI/Daily Mirror
they’d vote than Tory supporters. If so, the margin would be (again, remember, on a uniform swing) much nearer, 38% to 34%, which Roger’s model shows would project to some 300 Labour Members of Parliament,
26 seats short. If Gordon quickly took Nick Clegg’s offer of support by their projected 38 MPs (I expect more) there would be a Lab/Lib Dem majority of 12.
We think Britain is still in recession! Q. From what you know, which one of the following statements describes your own view Don’t Know
Britain is still in deep recession
8% 20% 13%
The recession in Britain is not over yet
Issues are about 40% of electoral determinants
The recession is over in Britain The recovery from recession is well underway
Base: 1,001 British adults 18+, January 26-28 2010
Source: Ipsos MORI/The Observer
In our poll for the Observer published in January we reported on the public’s attitudes to the economy. The Chancellor announced that the country, finally, is out of the recession, the worst for a lifetime (mine). But what do the public think? “Not me, Gov.” At least for three prospective voters in four. And as the public tells us that the number one issue
Economic Optimism Recovers after PBR Shock Q. Do you think that the general economic condition of the country will improve, stay the same or get worse over the next 12 months? Budget ’08
% who think economy will improve
Lehman Brothers bankrupt
Government rescues RBS and Lloyds HBOS
US Congress passes $787bn stimulus
Pre-Budget Report ’09
35 30 25
32% % who think economy will improve
20 15 10 5
0 Fe 8 b0 M 8 ar -0 Ap 8 r-0 M 8 ay -0 Ju 8 n0 Ju 8 l-0 Au 8 g0 Se 8 p0 Oc 8 t-0 No 8 v0 De 8 c-0 Ja 8 n0 Fe 9 b0 M 9 ar -0 Ap 9 r-0 M 9 ay -0 Ju 9 n0 Ju 9 l-0 Au 9 g0 Se 9 p09 Oc t-0 No 9 v0 De 9 c-0 Ja 9 n10
Base: 1,001 British adults 18+, January 26-28 2010
Source: Ipsos MORI/The Observer
We don’t like them much, leaders or party Like him? like his party? Leader Party NET
-1% -13% -14%
-25% -19% -44%
Base: 1,001 British adults 18+, January 26-28 2010 Source: Ipsos MORI/The Observer
facing the country is the state of the economy, this must have an impact on the coming election. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, at least with the 44% of the public who bounced back from the dip in economic optimism immediately following the Chancellor’s gloomy PBR. The recovery in economic optimism over these past two years has been dramatic. At its depth, just 7% of the public had any confidence that the general economic condition of the country would recover within the year. Slowly, but steadily: I’ve shown the ‘line of best fit’ and entered the correlation regression of .88, showing just how ‘steadily’ confidence has returned. Epictetus, the blind first century slave philosopher, taught that “perceptions are truth because people believe them”. His point was that people act on what they think, not necessarily on what they ‘know’, because we all think some things are true that in fact just ain’t so. At the lowest point, the media were all saying that, like Epictetus, that perception of a turn up in the economy was the solution to the recession, and if people believed that the economy is improving, house prices would improve (they have been), sales in the shops would improve (a storming Christmas in the shops, they report), and the stock market would shoot up (and it has).
Personalities & Parties Brown
2007 25 11 13 36 15
2009 20 15 19 42 5
2007 19 17 10 34 20
2009 27 18 12 34 9
Total like him Total do not like him Net like him
36 49 -13
35 61 -26
26 44 -18
45 46 -1
Total like his party Total do not like his party Net like his party Net like him/like his party
38 47 -9 -22
39 57 -18 -44
29 51 -22 -40
39 52 -13 -14
I like him and I like his party I like him but do not like his party I do not like him but I like his party I do not like him and I do not like his party Don’t know
Base: 1,001 British adults 18+, January 26-28 2010
The other key’s the image of the leaders and their parties If issues are 40%, then image is 60%. In most elections, polling findings show that around 35% of the effect is the image of the leaders, and 25% the image of the parties. We use a list of adjectives that people use to describe their views. Of the leaders we use attributes such as ‘capable’, ‘understands the problems facing Britain’ and the like. For parties, we use ‘united’, and ‘good team of leaders’. For shorthand, we end up with the simple quadruple-barrelled ‘like him/like his party’ set of questions that we summarise in the table above left (for the anoraks, in the table above right). Bottom line? ‘We don’t like them much, leaders or party”. Cameron’s got the edge; while there’s a quarter more of the electorate who tell us they don’t like him than do, it’s more or less, slightly more in fact (-1), and the Tories have the edge, -13% rather than -19%. Adding them up, just dividing by two, Cameron and the Tories index at -7, Brown and Labour -22. This has to be a serious problem for the
Source: Ipsos MORI/The Observer
Prime Minister as we head toward election day. The final table is also instructive, comparing as it does the changes in the responses to these questions with Brown/Labour down further from -22 to -44, and Cameron/Conservatives having improved +26. It’s like the two chaps being chased by the bear: one stopped to put on his racing shoes, the other fellow said “you’ll never outrun the bear”, to which the first replied: “I don’t have to outrun the bear, only outrun you!”. There’s much more that could be said, and it is my hope that readers down to here will be willing to look further at my blogs at www.ipsosmori.com, on the factors that in my view in addition to turnout will determine the outcome of the next election. © Sir Robert Worcester Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,001 British adults 18+ nationwide by telephone between 26-28 January 2010. Ipsos MORI is a member of the British Polling Council and follows its rules, and is a Corporate Member of the Market Research Society and adheres to its Code of Practice.
MAIn PHoTo: Un/LoGAn ABASSI
Alan Miller sees some hope in the tragic events in Haiti – that ordinary folk care about their fellow man
Haiti and Us US troop unload desperately needed water at Port au Prince airport.
hese days all too often we are told that us humans are a nasty bunch. We are greedy and avaricious, lazy and untrustworthy, corrupt and self obsessed. often of course this manifests itself most shrilly when the discussion is referring to the United States and Americans. Ultimately, I reckon it speaks volumes about how we have come to regard ourselves as a species. The Enlightenment view of us as rational, autonomous individuals who are capable of immense beauty and transformation and continually aiming to progress, has been jeered and sneered at and re-assembled. Today humans are presented often as little more than parasites consuming – and destroying – the planet. These pernicious ideas, although remarkably superficial, take a hold. That is one reason why
the recent tragic events in Haiti have illustrated just how silly and untrue our contemporary outlook is about ordinary people. Citizens of the US and Britain have demonstrated an impressive desire to help and contribute and ameliorate the suffering due to the recent earthquake. Hardly the caricature we are continually lectured about. ordinary people, unlike the ugly stereotypes that inform the fashionable imagination, care about the world, their fellow citizens and where we are headed. However, it is a strange world indeed that we live in where the decent reaction of everyday folk gets re-packaged as an attempt at tub-thumping therapy-nationalism by publications as, in Britain, The Sun indulging in self-praise 1. This is true also in America, where on the one hand some have attempted to reclaim an element of ‘national pride’ over the generosity of people, while others have used it as a mealy-mouthed way to stick the boot in to religious organizations and businesses – as though somehow clean water and emergency action is any better or worse depending on the thoughts of the people administering it.
It is absolutely the case of course that Aid has historically been used to politically control poorer nations by wealthier leaders. However, in a time of crisis the simple adage that we should save and secure the largest amount of people possible should be the overriding concern. Rather than a huge conspiracy by right or left wing protagonists, what we seem to have witnessed is a delayed and disoriented response by rescue teams and organizations who have been somewhat paralyzed by the risk-averse outlook that dominates so much of our work and public lives today. As in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the much hyped stories of mass violence and rape were constantly repeated until it became clear they were untrue. In desperate situations some people may choose desperate measures, however it is incredible how much space this part of the discussion has taken up – and to what extent the combined powers of the US Military, the UN and international agencies have amplified such concerns. The obsession with “safety” seems to have permeated to a worrying degree.2 The final point to remind ourselves of is that this is, like most other events, not a “natural” disaster but one that is determined by what kind of society we live in. An earthquake is a natural event of course: however when they occur in Los Angeles and San Francisco at similar levels on the Richter scale we see expensive infrastructure damage, yet limited loss of life. Everything from early warning systems, to transport connections and the type of housing ensures that a natural event does not have to wreak complete havoc. The way to offset such tragedy in Haiti – and the rest of the developing world – is to insist on the highest level of development and improvement through investment in infrastructure, transport and communications, sewage and refineries. That is a far cry from the “sustainable” mantra we are bombarded with from all quarters and the insulting idea that a few wells and a goat will resolve the issues people face in less developed regions. The best antidote to such loss is to decide to jettison the problematic outlook that prevents swift and clear strategic emergency services and moving forward commit to unfettered develop-
Photo: UN/Marco Dormino
A natural event doesn’t have to become a natural disaster. Better infrastructure must be the response to the Haitii earthquake.
Photo: Agencia BRASIL
ment that would ensure so many people in poorer nations have a similar chance to those of us in the wealthy nations to cope with things nature throws at us without such terrible loss of life and livelihood. For that, we need to win some hard arguments – and there’s nowhere better to start than to challenge the deeply held anti-people consensus that reigns currently. H Alan Miller is Director of The NY Salon in NYC www.nysalon.org and Co-Founder of London’s Truman Brewery Media Center and sits on the London Regional Council of The Arts Council of England. 1 2
The Sun, 15 Jan 2010 “Quake – Urgent Appeal For Cash”. Frank Furedi, Spiked, 18 Jan 2010 “To rescue Haitians we need to take risks”.
Honours For Americans? Could you nominate a deserving person to receive a British honour from the Queen – or even get one yourself?
he centuries old British Honours System is the mechanism by which Brits receive ‘honours’, titles that let the rest of the world know they are highly regarded by their countrymen. But did you know that Americans can take part, either by nominating a worthy recipient or even receiving an honour yourself? It was a closed system for many years, available only to those popularly known as ‘the great and the good’ – those in the inner circle. In 1993 this changed and now everybody is free to nominate someone. That even includes citizens of an erstwhile rebel colony like America! Full honours are given to UK citizens and those from the British Commonwealth. If you are a US citizen you could still be awarded an ‘honorary honour’. Technically honorary knights shouldn’t use the title ‘Sir’ – though that doesn’t stop most people calling the most famous current example, the Live Aid campaigner, Sir Bob Geldof. You can nominate anyone, but in reality the honours committees choose people they consider have made a difference in their field of work or community. You might ask if your choice has: made a difference to their community or field of work?; brought distinction to British life and enhanced its reputation? exemplified the best sustained and selfless voluntary service?; demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship?; carried the respect of their peers?; changed
things, with an emphasis on achievement?; improved the lot of those less able to help themselves? or displayed moral courage and vision in making and delivering tough choices? Expert committees compare like with like – for instance, teacher with teacher – and the best candidates are put forward to the Prime Minister, who then presents the list to The Queen. Which order might people be in line for? There are several, and there are different levels within them. Senior Civil Servants and military officers may get the Order of the Bath. Diplomats may be considered for the Order of St Michael and St George. Anyone may be considered for awards in the Order of the British Empire or as a Companion of Honour. A Companion of Honour has made a pre-eminent and sustained contribution in the arts, science, medicine, or government. Knight – or Dame, the female equivalent – is awarded for a pre-eminent contribution in any field of activity, usually at national level. The CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) is given for a prominent, but lesser, national role or conspicuous leading achievements in regional affairs, the OBE (Officer…) for a distinguished regional or country-wide record and Even a foreigner can become a Knight – just invent Band Aid, Live Aid, Live 8… PHoTo MoBILKoM AUSTrIA
the MBE (Member…) for outstanding local service. Many people make nominations, and recipients have included local milkmen and teachers as well as the expected Olympic medallists and industrialists, but verifying such a large number of applications takes time, normally 18 months or so, then lucky candidates are sent a letter asking them whether they would be willing to accept an Honour – as you might expect almost everyone does – and their names appear in The London Gazette at the New Year or on The Queen’s official birthday in June. Nominations forms and guidance notes are available from the Cabinet Office Honours and Appointments Secretariat, Ground Floor, Admiralty Arch, London SW1A 2WH, telephone: 020 7276 2777 or at www. direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/UKgovernment/Honoursawardsandmedals/DG_067917 H
Do you know of any sleeping beauties like this? Love Aston Martins? Wear part of Prince Charles’ DB6 on your sleeve
Prince of Wales Cuﬄinks Raise Funds
rince Charles’ favorite car, his prized Aston Martin DB6 Volante, has donated part of itself to raise funds for The Prince’s Trust. TMB ArtMetal, a specialist sculptor of ‘provenance metals’ has created 200 pairs of cuﬄinks, formed from the car’s original aluminium engine pistons. Two designs are now available to buy, with all profits going to the youth charity. Although some people criticise the Prince for owning a supercar while promoting environmental causes, the cuﬄink project highlights a slightly different side. The six donor pistons became available when the
DB6 was converted to run on biofuel. It could be said that their transformation into jewelry is an example of recycling! Each run of 100 pairs of cuﬄinks is formed from aluminum piston and finished with 18ct gold. One of the designs is an exact, miniature sculpture of the Prince’s DB6. The other replicates the car’s iconic wheel ‘spinners’. Each comes in a high-quality presentation case, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. The cuﬄinks are only available direct from TMB ArtMetal, priced £995.00. Contact +44 (0) 208 810
Retro Café Racers
he race retro classic car and bike show is inviting private owners of retro and Café racer motorcycles to compete in a concours competition at this year’s show at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, March 12-14. Many Americans over here have interesting bikes, and old British iron is a big favorite, so why not enter yours? Prizes will be presented by norton racing legend Peter Williams and eight times GP World Champion Phil read. Enter at www.raceretro.com. Entries are free and bikes will be security guarded at all times. H&H Auctions have a private collection of 50 motorcycles for sale at the show, including rare nortons and an early Harley Davidson. And don’t miss the Ken Fox Troupe Wall of Death defying the force of gravity with their classic Indian.
Sleeping Beauties Competition Specialist classic vehicle publishers Veloce Publishing have been pleasantly surprised by the volume and quality of the responses to a free-to-enter competition aimed at finding photos of interesting abandoned cars, motorcycles, scooters, trucks, vans and buses. It is inspired by one of their forthcoming books, The Fate of The Sleeping Beauties by Ard op de Weegh, Kay Hottendorff and Arnoud op de Weegh. Contributions have come from the United States, Canada, new Zealand, Australia, Cyprus, France, Holland, Madeira, Dubai and the UK, but they would like more, particularly of motorcycles, scooters and camper vans. The winner will receive a free copy of the book (worth £30). The best twelve will receive copies of the Sleeping Beauties 2011 calendar, featuring the entrant’s own photo as a sleeping beauty of the month, and the overall winner will feature on the cover. All entries will be posted online at velocesleepingbeauties.blogspot.com where anyone can place comments and vote for the photo of their choice. The competition runs until August 10, 2010. Send your photos to email@example.com, or mail to Sleeping Beauties, Veloce Publishing, Veloce House, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3Ar.
Recalls Latest J
ust what is going on? Until this year, there were two car companies that you could bank on to provide modern, stylish, reliable vehicles at a good price. neither was European – according to a couple of AA roadside rescue guys we talked to recently, they are most often called out to attend poorly Mercedes and BMWs. nor were they American. The solid dependable choices were, of course, Toyota and Honda, from the Land of the rising Sun. The feeling of invulnerability to breakdowns has been a major factor in buyers choosing those makes for over 20 years. That’s why it has been such a shock to hear of the recent vehicle recalls by the two companies. That and the fact that the recalls have been for safety factors. First came Toyota’s accelerator problem. or rather problems. The gas pedal on certain models can stick open because of a faulty friction pad in the mechanism, or get caught up on a faulty floor mat. Scary. Sudden acceleration of Toyotas has been linked to 19 deaths in the past decade, according to Henry Waxman, chair of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee. Then it was found that in certain circumstances, the ABS brakes of Toyota Prius 3 and Lexus HS 250h hybrids
seem to fail momentarily. Those circumstances? When you’re driving on snow and ice or over bumpy ground – just when you might think you need ABS most. While Toyota say that the Prius problem is not a safety issue, lawyers in the UK have said that a driver who drove their car knowing there was a possible brake problem might be criminally liable for any death, injury or damage caused in an accident. now it’s been announced that the power steering hoses on some Camrys will have to be inspected. In the US alone over 8 million Toyota vehicles will have to be modified. The models affected by the various problems are 2009-10 Corolla, 2009-10 Matrix, 2005-10 Avalon, 200710 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-10 Tundra, 2008-10 Sequoia, 2009-10 rAV4, 2004-2009 Prius, 2010 Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2009-2010 Venza, 2007-2010 Lexus ES350, 2006-2010 Lexus IS250/IS350, 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe (a joint venture between Toyota and GM), 2010 Lexus HS250h Honda have recently announced a recall of over a million cars. 438,000 vehicles may have issues with their airbags including 2001-02 Accords, Civics, odysseys and Cr-Vs and some Acura TLs. 600,000 Honda Fits have already
Toyota’s Prius, suffering recalls
been recalled because of a problem with a window cover which allegedly could make the car catch fire. Problems with accelerating, braking, steering and safety – the Japanese car manufacturing industry couldn’t have imagined a quadruple whammy like this in its worst nightmare. one analyst has said that Toyota has lost $5billion of its brand equity (what used to be called trust). This was not helped by what some commentators see as an unacceptable delay in Toyota’s reaction to public concern over the problems. The Japanese automakers’ woes may be good news for American manufacturers. Both Ford and GM have reported double-digit rises in sales since the recalls. of course it may be unfair that Toyota and Honda have been so harshly criticised for the recent recalls. After all, Citroen and Peugeot have announced recalls of their own to fix the same gas pedal flaw – they make Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 models at a Toyota-owned plant in the Czech republic. But they did not previously have the ‘feel good factor’ enjoyed by the Japanese firms. If you have one of the affected models look at the maker’s website for advice or contact your dealer. H
It’s party time in New Orleans at last – for the team, city, state, and anybody else who wants to join in. And that goes for owner Tom Benson too, writes Richard L Gale
hen May comes around, auto dealer Tom Benson will celebrate 25 years of owning the New Orleans Saints. That is, if he isn’t still enjoying the ‘Lombardi Gras’ of winning the Super Bowl in February. He deserves to. Maybe it’s the fact that Benson is now 82 years old and well past his ’Benson Boogie’ days, but I felt Benson’s joy was slightly subdued at the Super Bowl. It might have been relief after all the criticism of recent years. Consistently ranked among the NFL’s worst owners (according to SI’s Michael Silver, anyway), Benson-bashing centered on Tom’s 2005 dalliance with San Antonio. His San Antonio connections were strong enough that, prior to 2005, the threat of the San Antonio Saints (it does have a certain ring to it) made for powerful leverage in a bid to get a better business deal from New Orleans. However, were it not for Benson’s purchase of the team in 1985, we might have been crowning the Jacksonville Saints this week. With rumors flying that the Saints might leave New Orleans and the State of Louisiana high and dry (if you’ll excuse the phrase), Benson realized that the Saints were crucial to the local and regional economy, and bought in. It was hard for the media and fans to keep that in perspective 20 years later, when Katrina forced a sojourn in San Antonio, and Benson began to make noises about staying there. But remember, the aging Superdome
was a refugee camp in a submerged Central Business District. The Saints would return to the Superdome (now an icon of Katrina) in 2006, while half the city’s residents were still elsewhere. Yes, Benson, increasingly painted as the bad guy just for taking a long hard look at the viability of remaining, was under sustained pressure to return (including from then NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue). But I do wonder how many owners of other New Orleans businesses took such criticism for relocating (and often, never returning). Likewise, I hope that the Saints success shouts loud and clear that the city is once again open for business (especially the business of partying). There’s no reason Benson shouldn’t party hard too, and I’ll be interested to see how a Super Bowl win affects SI’s next ownership rankings. His Rita Benson LeBlanc and Tom Benson in the post-Super Bowl celebrations.
granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc has been a PR godsend, roping the team into the rebuilding community at every opportunity. Readers of The American may recall that the 33 year old heir apparent offered us generous interview time, so if I sound like a Benson apologist, maybe I’m appreciative. Or maybe it’s just those Louisiana relatives of mine (more LeBlancs) giving this Dorset resident an excuse to think he’s Cajun and climb aboard the New Orleans bandwagon (or indeed, float). Judging by the TV ratings – the Saints’ Super Bowl victory was the most watched program in US television history – a lot of other folk were shouting ‘Who Dat!’ this month too. And I can’t help wondering if, back in Louisiana, former New Orleans passer Archie Manning didn’t eventually say to Peyton Manning, “Look son, I’m sorry you lost the game. But hey! The Saints won! Let’s party!” H
© Associated press
Kurt Calls It Quits
As Kurt Warner steps away from the NFL, Sean L Chaplin looks back at a winning career
urt Warner’s story has been an NFL Cinderella tale. What started at Northern Iowa as a third string back-up ends with Warner at positions one, two and three on the Super Bowl’s pass yardage chart. Warner retires after leading the Cardinals in back-to-back playoff seasons. Kurt’s early career showed no signs of the greatness to come. At Northern Iowa, he sat on the bench until his senior season, when he eventually started and played so well that he was recognized as the Gateway Conference Offensive Player of the Year. However, Northern Iowa
is not known for producing pro quarterbacks and Warner went unclaimed in the 1994 NFL Draft. The Green Bay Packers invited Warner for a tryout, but with Brett Favre, Mark Brunell and Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer already on the roster, he was cut before the regular season began. His position coach at that time, Steve Mariucci (later head coach of San Francisco) detailed that Warner had talent, but was not yet ready for the NFL. Without much in the way of prospects, Warner began bagging groceries at a Hy-Vee for $5.50 an hour, but stayed in touch with football by working at Northern Iowa as a graduate assistant football coach. With his NFL football career seemingly over before it began, he joined the Arena Football League’s Iowa Barnstormers. His abilities were noted by the NFL after a terrific two year run during which he twice led his team to the AFL championship. Signing with the St. Louis Rams, he was allocated to the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe, where he would be backed up by fellow future NFL starter Jake Delhomme. The Admirals would go 7-3 and miss the World Bowl by a tie-breaker. Left: The Rams had suffered 9 straight losing seasons in the three years prior to Warner starting, but went 40-10 the next three years with Kurt at the helm. Kurt finishes his career as the only player ever to throw for 14,000+ yards for two different NFL franchises. Photo © Getty Images
When Rams starter Trent Green was injured during the 1999 NFL preseason, Warner became the team’s starter by default. His ascent to the top that season was so rapid, Sports Illustrated featured him on the cover with a caption that read “Who Is This Guy?”. He capped the season with the first Rams’ first Super Bowl title. The next season he would take them to the big game again, only to be beaten by the foot of New England’s Adam Vinatieri. His numbers during a 12 year NFL career are staggering – 32,344 yards passing, a 93.7 quarterback rating, 208 touchdown passes – even more so considering he was the predominant starter for only 8 of those years. Worries over concussions shortened his time at St Louis, and after a year with the New York Giants, mentoring rookie Eli Manning (Warner went 5-4, Manning 1-6), moved on to Arizona, where he would lead a second ‘no-hoper’ franchise to the Super Bowl. The concussions made the decision to retire a little easier. At his retirement announcement, Kurt expressed a wish to be able to enjoy his family, who had given up so much to follow his career, as the defining issue that led to his retirement. The fact that he is leaving at the top of his game is a testament to abilities that so many had once discounted. My hat’s off to a true American hero, who exhibited a never say die attitude that paid off with what may prove to be a Hall of Fame career. H
The Return of the Sheffield Sharks
y Sheffield’s standards, the last five years have been lean years. British Basketball League championship winners or runners up every season from ’98-’99 to ’03-’04, Sheffield have never been far from the action, but after 6th place finishes the past two years, the Sharks have their bite back this season, currently leading the BBL table, and with the BBL Cup already in their back pocket. The catalyst for their comeback has been a fresh combination of US-born talent, including BBL-leading rebounder Tafari Toney (pictured). Dual national Toney, who plays internationally for the UK, averages 10.3 rebounds a game, but is just one of three league leaders on the resurgent sharks: Mike Cook leads the league in scoring at 26.5 ppg, while another import, Ryan Patton tops the BBL in three point shooting. Like Toney, Patton arrived in the offseason, signing from the Worthing Thunder. Centre Matthew Gorman and player-coach Atiba Lyons (who also holds dual nationality) complete the Sharks’ wealth of stateside talent. In January of this year, that talent overcame the Cheshire Jets to land the Sharks their first BBL Cup Trophy in six years (their fifth all-time). The BBL season is highlighted by four competitions, for the Cup, League Championship, Trophy and Playoffs. With one already in the bag, the Sharks are setting their sights on a second
Photo: Ian Anderson
with a strong start to their Championship campaign: a league-leading 19-4 record. Sheffield’s place atop the rankings is slight, however – perennial contender and reigning league champions Newcastle were just one victory behind the Sharks at press-time. With only two months of the season remaining that rivalry will only get hotter this coming month as Tafari and company visit Toney’s previous team, March 7. The teams are one apiece so far this season. If the Sharks survive that encounter, their prospects are good, with six of their last nine games at home, and the three road games against lower-half sides. H For more about the BBL and the Sheffield Sharks, visit www.bbl.org.uk
BBL Championship Standings (12.02.10) Team 1 Sheffield Sharks 2 Newcastle Eagles 3 Marshall MK Lions 4 Glasgow Rocks 5 Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders 6 Cheshire Jets 7 Everton Tigers 8 Worthing Thunder 9 Guildford Heat 10 Worcester Wolves 11 Airwaves Plymouth Raiders 12 Essex Pirates 13 PAWS London Capital
G W 23 19 23 18 19 13 20 13
L 4 5 6 7
Pts 38 36 26 26
22 12 20 11 21 11 22 11 23 10 20 8
10 9 10 11 13 12
24 22 22 22 20 16
21 5 16 10 23 4 19 8 19 3 16 6
Olympic Ups and Downs photo courtesy of Travis Cadieu
ike most Vancouverites, my initial reaction to the city winning the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games was exhilaration. Seven years later, on the eve of the games, I’m filled with the same elation, not still, but again, because Vancouver’s Olympic experience – and by extension, my Olympic experience – has been a journey of emotions, and every journey has its share of ups and downs. The first up is signified by the obvious pride that I feel in knowing that the rest of the world is about to gain an appreciation of Vancouver’s hard-torival natural beauty. Sure, the city has been a mainstay on many most-liveable-city lists for decades (tenth cleanest city in the world and Canada’s fittest municipality), but it hasn’t hosted an event of Olympic stature since the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication, so the city needed a boost to its ego. Since July 2, 2003, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Vancouver had beaten out Pyeong Chang, South Korea and Salzburg, Austria, Vancouver has been on the map of the world. It doesn’t matter that I live in North America’s second most expensive city in which to own real estate (Forbes magazine), or that its above-zero winters make it a haven for homelessness and the unsavoury side-
The American’s man-on-the-spot Jeremy Lanaway reports on the issues arising from hosting an Olympic event. effects that accompany it – the important thing is that my fellow denizens and I have joined an exclusive group of communities with the rare opportunity to experience the Olympics from their own backyard. Benefit number two takes the form of a much-needed upgrade to the city’s infrastructure – something that hasn’t been done since Expo 86, and the first line of the Skytrain started shuttling the crowds across the city and into the distant suburbs. Now, thanks to the Olympics, the latest Skytrain line whisks people from the airport to the downtown core, and the newly widened Sea-to-Sky Highway, the notoriously dangerous road linking the city to the resort town of Whistler, is open for business. BC Place, the city’s largest stadium, has received a $150,000,000 facelift, and Richmond, one of the city’s suburbs, has benefited from a state-of-the-art skating oval. Not to mention the new convention centre, constructed on reclaimed land at the city’s northern waterfront, as well as upgrades to Cypress Mountain (part of the city’s triptych of local ski hills), General Motors Place (the home of the Vancouver Canucks), and the Winter
Sports Centre at the University of British Columbia. But every silver lining has a cloud. The irony is that the cloud isn’t blotting out the sky above Vancouver, which regularly endures a skyless existence for one quarter of the year. No, the cloud in question is El Nino, whose clear skies and balmy temperatures have given Vancouver the warmest winter in my fifteen years of living in the city – in fact, one of its warmest winters on record. Needless to say, the sunny days have wreaked havoc on Cypress Mountain, forcing officials to make their own snow, cart it down from higher elevations, and fly it in from snowier locales. They’ve even had to resort to using bales of hay as a foundation for the half-pipe and moguls. The weather has been perfect for Vancouver’s homeless, though, who have been at the heart of one of the most heated debates surrounding the city’s hosting of the Olympics. From the start, the street people have opposed the games, loudly and often aggresively, but their complaints haven’t stopped the municipal buyouts and closures of many low-income housing facilities. Countless marches and
2010 The American
demonstrations have kept the issue in the media’s gaze, but they haven’t ceased the forced exodus of homeless from certain areas of the city. The Vancouver Police have been granted the power to remove people from the streets and place them in ‘care’ for 24 hours – against their wishes – if they deem them to be in danger from the elements. The debate has even led to a law that gives the police the authority to arrest people for displaying anti-olympic signage in public. Strange days indeed. The biggest downside to the games has been the mushroom cloud of spending that comes with playing host to the world. Security costs alone – originally forecast to total $200 million, have cha-chinged in at nearly $1 billion, and the total price tag for the games, including infrastructure improvements, is estimated at $6 billion, eclipsing the original quotes. I can live with the jacked-up bus fares and the ever-inflating property taxes, because I can look around, on a daily basis, and see evidence of Vancouver’s olympic-inspired makeover, but what scares me is the aftermath of all this spending. The economy is already fragile, but what’s going to happen when the rose-coloured glasses are removed? The spending that the government has okayed to get the province in shape can’t last. However, I support the games. I want them to be a success. I want my country to make me proud and ‘own the podium’, as promised by the nationwide campaign. I want my city to make me proud and show the world what makes it such a special place. I’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow, and deal with the hangover in the morning. right now, I just want to immerse myself in the olympic experience and make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime event. H
National Signing Day College Football Highlights by Richard L Gale
Florida, USC land Elite classes
Pete Carroll left and Urban Meyer announced his intention to (erm... we’ll get back to you on that one), but neither situation stopped USC and Florida from sharing no.1 recruiting rankings between them. USC’s closing speed was the more impressive, with nFL-sized oL Seantrel Henderson theoretically signing up for the Trojans after speculation he might opt for the Gators or Buckeyes. While there were reports that Henderson might not sign his letter of intent until the nCAA infractions committee has had words with USC, the Trojans still appear to have half a dozen of the top 25 players. DB Matt Elam and DE ronald Powell head a Florida class that suggests Florida’s defense will dominate for while yet.
Under New Management
Some other teams with coaching changes also managed a good tally. Derek Dooley might have the ‘Who?’ factor with some recruits, but the new Tennessee coach – only a few weeks into the job – welcomed a top 10 class that includes 5-star Wr Da’rick rogers. With the clarity of the Bowden era becoming the Fisher era at Florida State, the Seminoles added 5-star defenders Christian Jones, Jeff Luc and Lamarcus Joyner, and while notre Dame landed few blue chippers for Brian Kelly’s first influx, coach Kelly made all the noises of a man happy with his lot.
USC wasn’t the only Pac-10 team celebrating its 2010 recruiting class. on signing day itself, the Trojans’ confer-
ence rivals also made some splashes, UCLA securing DE owamagbe odighizuwa to go along with rB Malcolm Jones; Cal looks set at DE with Gabe King and Chris Martin, while oregon had already signed flashy rB Lache Seastrunk. Stanford found themselves a little overshadowed despite their breakthrough season on the field. Washington were just plain busy with 31 commitments.
Top 10 Conference Rivals
Auburn outswooped Alabama, DE Corey Lemonier and rB Michael Dyer heading the Tigers’ class, though Alabama will content themselves with another strong year which includes QB Phillip Simms and DBs John Fulton and DeMarcus Milliner. In the Big 12, Texas signed what some considered to be an elite class, DE Jackson Jeffcoat and Wr Demarco Cobbs amongst it; oklahoma followed them into the top 10 with a flurry of 3- and 4-star prospects, QB Blake Bell having committed long, long ago.
Also finishing well: Texas A&M averaged high with a whole backfield of runningback aboard; Baylor also continued their climb to respectability; West Virginia led the Big East; Michigan landed quantity (quality yet to be confirmed); South Carolina put themselves in the top 25 with 5-star rB Marcus Lattimore. Utah were the top non-BCS class.
For various reasons: TCU, Illinois, Indiana, northwestern, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Boise State, Florida Atlantic.
opening of the pot that, even standing on my two back legs, is taller than me, so I climbed onto the chair next to it. To get to the chair I turned over an antique porcelain bowl the Blonde bought when she was a student in China. Unfortunately the bowl cracked in half and the antique glass marbles inside came rolling out. Luckily, there was enough of the bowl left to still climb on and with much effort I finally managed to haul myself onto a chair, with the bone in my mouth. Chair to plant was not a long jump, but I had the feeling SheWho-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually might be somewhat unhappy as the silk cloth dragged down one of the huge palm leaves with a loud ripping noise as it was wrenched away from the trunk. Still, I was one happy little Westie because there was lots of earth in the pot and I was able to dig almost to the middle to bury my bone. Suddenly, behind me, there was a scream. “Rebel...what have you done?” The next thing I know She-Who-MustBe-Obeyed-Usually has grabbed me and I’m being shook hard and long over the balcony railing as if I was some kind of dust mop. Still holding me, she goes inside. Only does she realize the balcony is covered with
he-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually is not speaking with me at the moment and all because I did what comes naturally to a dog – I buried my bone! It all started when Stepzac, a French friend staying with us for a few days, brought back this beautiful beef bone leftover from her dinner at a local restaurant. On the balcony the next day I happily chewed away for a half hour. Now I weigh not quite fourteen pounds and the bone was so large I couldn’t finish it. I didn’t want to let it lay on the porch in case the fox came along and I decided the only answer was bury it. Living in an apartment, this presented a problem. When we lived in a house with a garden there were all kinds of places to hide my bones, but on a balcony there is no ground to dig in. The only answer was to bury it in one of the potted plants. There was a small potted plant in one corner of the balcony, but, unfortunately, after I dug out all the soil, I discovered the bone was too big for the vessel. Then I tried a second container, but this time after tossing out the loam I found the roots had spread throughout every bit of space inside and it was too narrow. There was only one solution left, to bury the bone in the oversized ebony pot holding a huge tropical fern which She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually covers every year with a special silk cloth to protect it from the cold. First I had to reach the
Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London by Rebel. The moral of this tale: don’t give this dog a bone
soil and so are her shoes. “No...no..no...” she screeches as she looks down at her suede moccasins. “You ruined my brand now shoes, I’ll never get that balcony clean and now look at the filth on my beautiful Ralph Lauren rug.” I don’t make a sound, but then I still have the bone in my mouth. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually carries me to the shower where, covered with mud herself, she climbs inside the stall holding me and turns on the water. I didn’t do it deliberately! The shock of the water on my little furry face made me drop the bone which fell on her big toe. The good news is, I still have the bone. She forgot it when, thinking the toe was broken, she rushed off to a clinic. I’ve hidden the bone in the closet until spring arrives. When the balcony doors are opened to let in warm fresh air, I suppose I’ll just have to hide it all over again. H
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