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April 2010

THE ESSENTIAL MONTHLY FOR ALL AMERICANS

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WHAT’S ON GUIDES RESTAURANT REVIEWS SPORTS • POLITICS MUSIC • ARTS

Harry Christophers Championing Baroque from Boston to Britain

Choral Cavalcade! Win King’s Singers Tickets

New US Embassy The Architectural Reveal


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The American Issue 684 – April 2010 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 theamerican@blueedge.co.uk Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director +44 (0)1747 830520 sabrina.sully@blueedge.co.uk Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email theamerican@blueedge.co.uk Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining virginias@blueedge.co.uk Mary Bailey, Social maryb@blueedge.co.uk EstelleLovatt, Arts estellel@blueedge.co.uk Jarlath O’Connell, Theater jarlatho@blueedge.co.uk Richard Gale, Sports Editor richardg@blueedge.co.uk Dom Mills, Motorsports domm@blueedge.co.uk Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey jeremyl@blueedge.co.uk Riki Evans Johnson, European rikie@blueedge.co.uk ©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: Harry Christophers and The Sixteen (photo: Mark Harrison); inset: New US Embassy for London (photo: © KieranTimberlake/studio amd)

Welcome A

s I write this, what with the lead time of magazine publishing, the mornings are still frosty and the days still damp here at American Towers in the depths of the West Country. But I am hopeful, nay confident, that by the time this issue hits the streets Spring will have sprung and we can all get out and enjoy the best of Britain. Some of our writers already have. Mary Bailey explores the countryside in her article Walking The Way Into Spring. Karin Joyce does it on four wheels now she has passed her UK driving test. And Virginia Schultz heads for the West End to interview James Earl Jones. Meanwhile the very British King’s Singers have crossed the Atlantic to tour the States – read their ‘on the road blog’. Enjoy your magazine,

Michael Burland, Editor

SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS

Kansas City native Sir Robert Worcester knows more about the UK political scene than most Brits. This month he sums up the state of play in the run-up to the General Election.

Jay Webster is a senior editor for ESPN America, the American sports network, based in Dublin, Ireland. Read his comprehensive Major League Baseball preview.

Karin Joyce is an American Expat living in the East Midlands of England with her English husband and gorgeous daughter who runs the www.cafebebe.co.uk mom-and-baby blog.

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.

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In This Issue... The American • Issue 684 • April 2010

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News The winning design for the new US Embassy in London unveiled

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Diary Dates Spring and Easter events around the United Kingdom

12 British Empire v USA Did America deliberately bring down the British Empire? 13 Walking into Spring There’s no better way to see Britain than the ancient Ways 14 Motorway Madness Get your British Driving License – you’d be mad not to 15 Young America Competition WIN tickets to two important plays by Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams, recently transferred to the West End

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16 King’s Singers On the road in the United States, the great vocal group takes time out to tell The American about their work, their history and their tour 18 James Earl Jones The star of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof talks to Virginia E Schultz 20 Arts Henry Moore’s surprising American connections

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24 Wining & Dining Virginia visits a fabulous cheese shop and a restaurant that thinks it’s a circus 28 Coffee Break Rocco Johnson is in hot water again 30 Music British conductor Harry Christophers is the new Artistic Director of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society orchestra. Plus a SPECIAL OFFER for tickets to see The King’s Singers

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34 Reviews A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a dream, but not every show meets with Jarlath O’Connell’s approval 42 Politics The planet is being destroyed and we’re all doomed… or are we?, ponders Alan Miller, while Sir Robert Worcester and Alison Holmes take Americans’ eye views of the British election. 48 Drive Time Electric cars are getting more serious, but is it time to buy one, even with a government grant?

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49 Sport Jay Webster previews the Major League Baseball season, and Jeremy Lanaway examines Vancouver’s Olympic comeback

Photo By stu rosner

56 American Organizations Your comprehensive guide and a profile of the Friends of St Judes 64 Paw Talk What dogs really think about their humans

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The American

KCWC Fashion Show & Market

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n Wednesday may 5th, the kensington chelsea Women’s club (kcWc) presents its 7th annual Fashion show & market at the chelsea old town hall, kings road, chelsea, london. the market, open to the public, will feature more than thirty exciting designers of women’s and children’s clothing, accessories, shoes and jewellery. the market will be preceded by an exclusive Fashion show, open only to kcWc members. it will showcase the designers on the catwalk featuring kcWc member models. the market opens at 9.30am for members, followed by the Fashion show at 11.00am, and the market is then open to the public from 12.00-4.00pm. admission is just £2 and proceeds will benefit the kcWc charity partner, my Generation, an organisation which aims to break the cycle of poverty, crime and ill-health in struggling communities through peoplecentred sustainable change. www. kcwc.org.uk

Senior Airman William Sprayberry holds his new baby son for the first time us air Force Photo/karen aBeyasekere

Airmen Welcomed Home

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amily, friends and co-workers cheered and clapped as 28 Airmen from the 100th Security Forces Squadron returned on February 13 to RAF Mildenhall from deployment in Iraq. For one Airman the homecoming was more emotional than usual as Senior Airman William Sprayberry met his baby, Connor, born January 6, for the very first time. Sprayberry hugged and kissed his fiancée, Airman 1st Class Chelsea Burke. “I’m

kind of speechless right now, just taking it all in,” he said as he held his new son in his arms. Waiting in the cold, wet weather to welcome home his Airmen, 100th SFS commander Lt. Col. Don Robertson said the homecoming was particularly memorable. “It was a very long and dangerous deployment for these defenders, but they performed exceedingly well, and we’re all very proud to have them home.”

The Eagle Has Landed – At Mildenhall

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pollo 11 commander neil armstrong landed at raF mildenhall’s Galaxy club march 11 to share stories about america’s achievements in aerospace. accompanying him on the “legends of aerospace: the impossible is Possible” tour were apollo 13 commander Jim lovell, the last astronaut to walk on the moon Gene cernan, sr-71 chief test pilot Bob Gilliland, last air Force pilot ace steve ritchie, and former “Good morning america” host David hartman. “my dream is that humans can travel freely and safely throughout the solar system and that human character improves to the point that we can eliminate armed conflict,” said armstrong. “it was apollo 8 that put a giant white line in space for neil to follow,” joshed cernan, explaining that without his apollo 8 mission mr. armstrong would have never stepped foot on the moon. laughing, armstrong retorted, “Whoever painted it doesn’t matter, i followed it and got there.” Jim lovell jokingly apologized that tom hanks couldn’t be present and that the audience would have to just be satisfied with the real thing.

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Heading back to New York in April? Take your kilt! Photo courtesy British Embassy

London Students Visit First Lady

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irst Lady Michelle Obama met with ten London students, February 18 in the Old Family Dining Room in the White House. The visit was part of a tour of Washington DC funded by the American Embassy for the winners of a Black History Month essay competition held in Islington secondary schools. The competition focused on 20th century immigration to the UK from the West Indies. Airfare, hotels, meals and local travel in Washington DC were provided by a £13,700 grant from the US Embassy. The trip followed Mrs. Obama’s April 2009 visit to the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington, and Nanah, one of the ten students participating in this event, attends that school. The First Lady told the children about people who had visited the White House, including the Queen and Prime Ministers. “You all are just among the many important people that we’ve had, and I am just thrilled to have you guys here,” she told them. “When I visited the Elizabeth Garrett School, that was one of the most memorable moments for me in my first year. I’ve gotten to travel a lot of places, but the time that I spent

with Nanah and her fellow students meant a lot to me because I see myself in you all - the possibilities. And with you guys doing so well and working on these essays and making your way here, what you’re doing is laying that foundation. You’re demonstrating to your families, to your teachers, to your communities that you’re ready to put in the work and be serious and focused. Never before would I have imagined that everything that I did up until this point would prepare me to be the First Lady of the United States. But it really has, and it started with all the small stuff - going to school, taking pride in my work, enjoying being the best at whatever I was going to do, practicing discipline early on, listening to my teachers, taking on opportunities to travel,” she said. “President Obama didn’t wake up to become who he is. It was a lot of practice early on, of getting things done. You’re going to slip and fall and trip along the way. He certainly did. I did a little less than he did!” she added, to the students’ laughter. One of the students, Curtly Mejias, finished by reading an excerpt from his winning essay.

Colin Dickson

New York Goes Tartan

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ew York celebrates Scotland this month. The annual Scotland Run, a 10k event through Central Park, is on April 3. April 5, Lower Manhattan will fill with the sound of Scottish and Scottish-American music, from Stone Street to Water Street. Later that evening, Dressed to Kilt is a gala evening of tartan-inspired fashion with a twist. April 6, the American-Scottish Foundation hosts the Adam Smith Business Forum on the timely topic of moral leadership and “the economic imperative.” April 7, Whisky Live presents an evening of whisky, fine food and entertainment at the Chelsea Piers. The New York Caledonian Club hosts their annual PreParade Ceilidh, a true down-home Scottish dance party, April 9. On April 10 at 2pm, join the 12th Annual Tartan Day Parade on the Avenue of the Americas. Over 3,000 pipers, drummers, enthusiasts, and members from Scottish clans and societies will be joined by the biggest pack of Scotties and Westies in any parade - Scottish terrier Sadie has just won Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show! Finally, after the Parade, Stout, 133 West 23rd Street will feature the best in live Scottish music.




The American

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 www.usembassy.org.uk

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Photo: © aGnese sanvito

Embassy News will be “a landmark building in a city known for landmarks”, replacing the current embassy which has become “over-crowded, does not meet modern office needs and required security standards, and after 50 years is showing signs of wear and tear.” the state Dept. has only held four such competitions in the past, for the embassies in Berlin, Beijing, london, and now london again, proving, said mr namm, how important the relationship is between the us and uk. security and sustainability were major factors in the choice. the new

© kierantimBerlake/stuDio amD

mbassador louis susman unveiled the winning entry of the design competition for the new us embassy in london February 23. along with acting Director of the Bureau of overseas Buildings operations, adam namm, he announced that the design by kierantimberlake of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had met the criteria of creating “a modern, welcoming, timeless, safe and energy efficient embassy for the 21st century”. mr susman called it “an exciting moment in the history of the u.s. embassy in london”. the new embassy

Unveiling the winning design (l to r): James Timberlake, Adam Namm and Ambassador Susman

building is designed to be a net exporter of energy and is expected to exceed the mayor of london’s 2019 energy guidelines. the design had to be a timeless and iconic representative of the united states. From an initial 37 submissions, the Bureau shortlisted nine firms. a jury of american and British leaders in the fields of architecture, academia and diplomacy selected four, the eventual winners along with morphosis architects, Pei cobb Freed & Partners, and richard meier & Partners. these worked for nearly a year and made final presentations to the jury which then recommended the winning design. in london, the planning process will involve the mayor’s office, the Wandsworth Borough council, the commission for architecture and the Built environment, and local residents. kierantimberlake’s crystal cube – “the most efficient use of space”, James timberlake told us – is set upon a colonnade faced with an ever-changing light art installation and will be surrounded by gardens that spiral up to the main building. these consist of a pond, a meadow and an area of woodland. the overall look is open and friendly, the all-important security is afforded by the landscape itself. the embassy aims to be ‘good neighbors’ with the residents and businesses in the area. the anticipated ground breaking will be in 2013 with construction completed in 2017.

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Volunteers create a new “surprising edibles” bed us emBassy PhotoGraPher

Embassy Staff Show Off Green Fingers eighty embassy volunteers got their hands dirty refurbishing a run-down herb garden workshop, creating a new ‘surprising edibles’ bed, making over the main garden and renovating Battersea Park’s historic old english Garden. they were aiding the staff of thrive, a small charity founded in 1978 that uses gardening to help disabled people at three gardens in Battersea Park. “the us embassy staff helped with everything we asked for and more,” said thrive’s susan stuart. “together, we transformed key areas of the project and we hope that this is the first of many similar events.” the project marked consular leadership Day, an annual event that encourages embassy staff to work on consular issues to focus on broader leadership and management principles, foster teamwork and help those in need. “the project gave us a chance to alter our daily routine, visit the neighborhood of our future embassy and most importantly engage in a productive and fun day of volunteering,” commented Debra heien, the embassy’s acting consul general. the initiative was part of the embassy’s good-neighbor work in the community near its future home. Battersea Park is close to the location of the new us embassy site in nine elms, Wandsworth, south london.

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Diary Dates

Your Guide To The Month Ahead

The American Museum in Britain

Get your event listed in The American – call the editor on +44 (0)1747 83020, or email details to editor@theamerican.co.uk

Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD housed in Georgian splendour at claverton manor in Bath, the american museum in Britain is the only museum outside the us to showcase the nation’s decorative arts. there are permanent exhibitions, Quilting Bees every tuesday, and special events: APRIL 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th & 15th kids stuff – spring and easter activities (age 5+); 11th music series: Buffalo Gals, 2pm, traditional american roots and gospel music; 12th to June 28th american icons, text into Film, the gangster, the cowboy, the southern belle – explore the icons of classic american literature and cinema (10 sessions); 17th stitch together Workshop: knitted Posy with Pauline Bayne. NEW EXHIBITION: treasure and terror: Discovering the americas in the age of exploration. european travellers mapped the americas in the 15th to 17th centuries, ‘the age of exploration’. one of the reasons driving these perilous ventures was the story of ‘el Dorado’, the Golden man, which began in the colombian highlands and transformed into an idea of a mythic city of gold. european searches for el Dorado were unremittingly vicious, bringing destruction and terror to the native populations. lavishly illustrated with renaissance maps and beautiful artefacts from the americas before the coming of the europeans.

Open 12.00-5.00pm. Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays and month of August Claverton Manor near Bath. 01225 460503 info@americanmuseum.org www.americanmuseum.org

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Dare To Dance Charity Event Porchester Hall, Porchester Road  London, W2 5HS an opportunity to take part in an evening of dance featuring one of BBc’s Strictly Come Dancing professional dance duos, Darren Bennett and lilia kopylova. From 7pm until late. the evening will have a latino theme, with dance lessons for all abilities. Dance the salsa, merengue and cha-cha and freestyle to live music. tickets, in aid of the children’s trust, are £50 including a cocktail and canapés reception, dance lessons and an opportunity to bid for some exciting, dance-related items in a special charity auction. www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk     March 26 Easter Fun with the National Trust various many of the beautiful historic properties of Britain’s remarkable national trust have excellent activities for children of all ages. check the website for one near you. www.nationaltrust.org.uk     April 1 to April 30 Tangerine Dream Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore,  London SW7 2AP the influential German electronic music group, founded in 1967 by edgar Froese, first played the royal albert hall in april 1975. they’re back for a 35th anniversary concert, which also marks the 40th anniversary of their debut album. www.royalalberthall.com     April 1

World Marble Championships Greyhound Pub, Tinsley Green,  Crawley, West Sussex  marble playing on tinsley Green dates back to the time of Queen elizabeth i when two men from surrey and sussex competed for the hand of a maiden. after being judged equal in archery and wrestling, the fate of the lady was decided by a game of marbles. the World marble championships date back to the 1930s. teams from around world including the us take part. www.marblemuseum.org marblesam@hotmail.com 01403 730 602  April 2 Good Friday Messiah Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore,  London SW7 2AP the royal choral society presents its traditional Good Friday performance of handel’s Messiah, featuring the royal Philharmonic orchestra. For over 125 years, the rcs has given the Good Friday performance of the world’s favourite sacred work in london’s greatest concert venue. www.royalalberthall.com     April 2 Bottle Kicking and Hare Pie Scramble Hallaton, Leicestershire  in 1770 the rector of hallaton was allotted a piece of land on condition that he provided two hare pies, two dozen loaves of bread and a quantity of ale, which had to be scrambled for in public. the custom still survives today. on easter monday, a large hare pie is baked and paraded through hallaton.


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The American

Slices are cut, blessed and distributed at St Michael’s Church. The parade moves to the top of Hare Pie bank where the Bottle Kicking match takes place. Two teams kick and man-handle three bottles (actually wooden barrels) trying to get them across goals, two streams a mile apart. Rough and tumble stuff. 0116 225 4000 April 5 World Coal Carrying Contest Gawthorpe, Ossett, West Yorkshire Held every Easter Monday this race involves men carrying 110lb of coal over an uphill course a mile long. Ladies carry 44 lb. Dates back to 1963 when a friend

bet a coal merchant and the president of the Maypole Committee that he could race them with a bag of coal on their backs. www.gawthorpe.ndo.co.uk/coal.htm susanwalshaw2@aol.com 01403 730 602 April 5 Grand National Aintree, Liverpool Flatracing’s Royal Ascot and the Derby may have the social cachet, but it’s the Grand National steeplechase that is the biggest horse race of the year to most people. It’s a British sporting institution, running since 1839, when a horse called

70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Duxford Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR The Museum celebrates the prominent role played by RAF Duxford in the aerial combat that changed the course of Second World War history. Events include: From mid-April 2010, Duxford and the Battle of Britain. An evocative new photographic exhibition. 15 May, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the RAF today . Meet the past, celebrate the present. 16 May, Spring Air Show. See the RAF’s glorious past in flight alongside its sophisticated contemporary aircraft at the Spring Air Show. 23 July to 31 August, Summer holiday family activities. IWM Duxford’s summer holiday activities bring the Battle of Britain to life with a range of daily sessions for all the family. Activities include creating ‘make-doand-mend’ peg aircraft, creating notice holders and Spitfire-related items. 4 and 5 September, The Battle of Britain Air Show, Duxford’s role in the supreme aerial conflict. An evocative commemoration of the aerial battle that proved the strategic turning point in the Second World War, with a particular focus on the pilots stationed at RAF Duxford who came from across the globe to fight for world freedom. 11 September, Duxford, Spitfires and the Battle of Britain Special Interest Lecture Day. An opportunity to explore the Battle of Britain – its historical context, heroic pilots and iconic aircraft. www.iwm.org.uk/duxford 01223 835 000   April 15 to September 11

Lottery won it. The festival is three days of racing excitement and drama with the big event on the Saturday. www.aintree.co.uk   0151 523 2600 April 8 to April 10 Ennio Morricone Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP The composer and conductor performs his classic film soundtracks. Ennio Morricone has composed and arranged scores for more than 500 film and television productions including A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. www.royalalberthall.com     April 10 Hocktide Festival Hungerford, West Berkshire Hocktide is the Monday and Tuesday after the Sunday after Easter. It was once a festival of sports and games in many places, but Hungerford is now the only place in the country still to maintain the annual Hocktide festival. It dates from the C14th when Prince John of Gaunt gave the rights of free grazing and fishing to local ‘commoners’. The senior citizen of the town, the Constable, is elected at a special Hocktide Court, as are the Portreeve, Bailiff and and two “TuttiMen”. Each “Tutti-Man” carries a tall pole with a bunch of spring flowers (a tutti) tied to it with ribbons and an orange on the top. The “Tutti-Men” are led through the streets by the “OrangeMan” to collect kisses from all the ladies resident in the High Street. The ladies receive an orange in return. www.visitwestberkshire.org.uk April 13 Delusion – Laurie Anderson Barbican Theatre, London Fusing electronic puppetry and music, Delusion is a story about longing, memory and identity. Jumping between the everyday and the mythic, in a world

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full of nuns, elves, golems, ghost ships, archaeologists and dead relatives, a complex tale introduces a host of imaginary guests. Conceived as a collection of short mystery plays, Laurie Anderson employs a series of altered voices telling her narrative through colourful, poetic and pictorial language. www.barbican.org.uk 0845 120 7550 April 14 to April 17 Kristina Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP UK premiere of the concert version of the epic musical by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the story of one woman and her family’s struggle in Sweden and their emigration to America in search of a better life. A cast of over 30 is led by the original ‘Kristina’, Helen Sjöholm, with Russell Watson, Louise Pitre and Kevin Odekirk, accompanied by a 50-piece Symphony Orchestra and the Choir who performed at the Carnegie Hall concerts, all conducted by Paul Gemignani. www.royalalberthall.com     April 16 Salisbury Cathedral Organ Recital Series Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury The cathedral’s prestigious Organ Recital Series 2010 features seven great players: On April 21st it is Ashley Grote from Gloucester Cathedral; May 19th Daniel Cook (Salisbury Cathedral); June 16th Richard Cook (Salisbury Cathedral); July 14th Iain Quinn (Albuquerque); August 11th Graham Barber (Leeds); September 8th Simon Bell (Winchester Cathedral) and October 13th Peter King (Bath Abbey). www.salisburycathedral.org.uk     April 21 to October 13 Shakespeare’s Globe, 2010 Season Bankside, London SE1 9DT This season the Globe looks at some of Shakespeare’s most regal rogues and some of his most roguish kings in the

London Marathon

Chris J Wood

Held every year since 1981, The London Marathon is one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Nearly 50,000 runners take part. Some are world–class athletes, as the London race is one of the World Marathon Majors, a two-year series of elite marathon racing that also includes the Boston, Chicago, New York and Berlin marathons. Others wear crazy costumes. An unusual feature is the large amount of money raised for charity, much more than in other marathons. Over 75 per cent of participants will be running in aid of a good cause and the organisers say it is the largest annual fund raising event in the world. Hundreds of thousands of spectators will line the 26.2 mile course to cheer on the runners and enjoy the festival atmosphere. Why not be one of them? www.virginlondonmarathon.com/      April 25 two parts of Henry IV, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry VIII, and Macbeth. A new play from Howard Brenton takes a fresh look at that evergreen female icon, Anne Boleyn, and the season ends with Bedlam, by Nell Leyshon, which dives into the great gin epidemic of the eighteenth century. www.shakespeares–globe.org 020 7902 1492 April 23 to October 1 Andre Previn conducts... Billy the Kid Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS André Previn, London Symphony Orchestra Conductor Laureate, returns for a concert of mainly American music including his own Miss Sallie Chisum remembers Billy the Kid. He is joined by soprano Barbara Bonney, for whom the work was written, and it is performed

alongside Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite, Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915 and Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony. 7.30pm www.barbican.org.uk 020 7638 8891 April 25 Beltane Edinburgh and other venues Beltane is the ancient Celtic festival that celebrates the beginning of summer. In Edinburgh, The Beltane Fire Festival is held every year during the night of 30th April on Calton Hill. Thousands of people come to share the spectacular procession. There are Beltane events elsewhere around the UK, including Thornborough Henge, near Ripon in North Yorkshire. www.beltane.org April 30

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Did America Bring Down the British Empire?

Carol Gould investigates

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was recently enjoying a festive meal in a neighbour’s flat when my hostess launched into a lecture about the origins of the end of the British Empire. The United States, she posited, had been the driving force behind the collapse of British imperial ambitions. This dear lady is cultured, well-read and a formidable debater. I kept quiet as she opined that a succession of American administrations had set out to dismantle British hegemony in the world. In India, Africa, Palestine, Suez, Northern Ireland and further afield, she said, Americans had been hell-bent on undermining then ending the centuries-old colonial structure. My contention is that in the 1920s America’s biggest obsession was the Bolshevik revolution and rise of the Soviet Union. From Woodrow Wilson onward the emphasis was on developing America’s industry and Wall Street. In the 1930s Franklin Roosevelt embarked on saving his country from the suffering of the Great Depression. It is accepted that President Eisenhower hung Britain out to dry during the Suez Crisis of 1956. France, Israel and Britain took on Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser after he nationalized the Suez Canal; they were abandoned at the crucial hour by the US. It is said Americans could not buy a drink in British pubs after that. Does this constitute ‘bringing down the Empire?’ I think not. My host took me back to the partition of India. Subhash Sharma observed that Jefferson Davis is never

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The last time the UK and US were at war. A Russian attempt to mediate between Lady Liberty (right) and John Bull (left) is lampooned in this cartoon by the Scottish-born William Charles of Philadelphia.

referred to as a “great American” while Mohammed Ali Jinna, the founder of Pakistan, is revered as a “great Indian” by many historians even though he facilitated the division of India. Did America create this division and end the Empire? I can find no proof. American supporters of NorAid set out to undermine British rule in Northern Ireland by raising funds for the Irish Republican Army. In 1979, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was furious when President Jimmy Carter would not supply her army with Luger pistols. He was worried about the upcoming election and did not want to antagonize the Catholic vote. Meantime, NorAid reportedly raised enough money to supply the IRA with 1,000 pistols. But was this an attempt to dismantle the last vestiges of Empire? Did the US covet the oil in Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf controlled by Britain? How could it not? Can I find documentary evidence of American presidents making a concerted effort

to destroy British hegemony? No. Palestine was a sandy wasteland with no oil, riven by strife between its Jewish and Arab residents. British servicemen came under attack from Jewish freedom fighters; their departure from Palestine was bloody and the conflict resulted in the establishment of Israel. Since then the US has built up a presence in the region and sees Israel as a regional military ally. Did America work to undermine British control? British North America did become a source of contention during the War of 1812; the US unsuccessfully attempted to extend its border northwards. It was a violent and destructive war resulting in the sacking of Washington DC by British forces. Britain and America never went to war again. Almost two centuries on, Britain and the United States appear to be steadfast allies. If readers feel I have missed an important example of the British Empire’s demise at the hands of the United States please write. H


The American

Walking the Way into Spring Mary Bailey discovers the best way to see Britain – on foot

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ou cannot really know the British Isles until you have walked in the countryside on a perfect spring day. It is the English spring Brits long for when living abroad, however beautiful the place or ideal the climate. And a long walk is the best way to enjoy it. Some are hard going, like the ancient trade footpaths over the Yorkshire moors, some are gentle. The West Highland Way differs hugely from the South Downs Way. Most include market towns or historic villages with little churches dating from as early as a millennium ago. Built under the orders of the Roman Emperor nearly 1,900 years ago, you can still walk Hadrian’s Wall coast to coast (not that far, just 80 miles!). If you find a rucksack unflattering, not to mention heavy, there are organizations (Sherpa, for one) who transport your luggage for you to find it all checked in at your next pre-booked overnight stay. The Cornish Coastal Walk is one of my favourites. It follows the sea and is protected from obstacles like private beaches and hotels, mainly by the National Trust who buy the land for public use. It is rather rough walking, sometimes near the cliff edge, but utterly beautiful.

Derbyshire is a great walking county. The county has four Walking Festivals a year, the first from April 24 to May 9. The variety of walks is tremendous. Try the Baslow and Chatsworth Guided Walk (pictured above), rated moderate at 8 miles. There are Nordic Walking, Abseiling and Farm Rides with hard hats provided, and much else. Or just be there, breathe the lovely air and practice the forgotten art of doing nothing. For places to stay, there are masses, pubs, farms, B&Bs and small hotels in such places as Bakewell, Roseleigh, Baslow and Ashbourne. You will not need smart clothes, smart casual is the idea. See www.visitpeakdistrict. com/activities/walking-festivals.aspx, send for their very comprehensive guide book from the Tourist Information Centre, Assembly Rooms Market Place Derby DE1 3AH, or phone 01332 255802. If you want to take your dog, ask first. This is sheep country and if your animal harms a lamb, heaven (and a good lawyer) help you. After all they are the farmers’ living. Apart from that you will be very welcome. For impromptu walking there are footpaths wherever you go in England. These are almost sacred. You may find

www.visitpeakdistrict.com

one intrudes into a back garden or the like. Do not worry, the footpath has right of way and it will emerge eventually as a more normal track. They usually lead from village to village or from pub to church, should the ancient villagers have lacked the sense to build them together. A good idea is to have lunch in a Surrey or Sussex pub and plan a circular walk returning to your starting point and the car. There is, of course, no need to be escorted. One American Ambassador, already popular, became even more so by visiting parts of rural England. He exhorted all his people who were here for a little while to “get out of town and explore England”. We do the same. H

Follow in the footsteps of the Roman Legions on Hadrian’s Wall © Steven Fruitsmaak

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Motorway Madness Karin Joyce says don’t worry, get out there and drive!

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’ve been living in the UK for five years now. I’ve been driving in the UK for five years now. I’ve never driven on the motorways save the wee ones around Peterborough. I’m frightened you see. In the US, I became a qualified driver at the age of 16 on the first attempt. I drove successfully in the US for 18 years with only one or two speeding tickets (everyone has at least one!). I didn’t drive initially when I moved to the UK in June 2005 because we couldn’t find a company to insure me until I had a UK driving license. Non-UK residents are permitted to drive on their foreign license for up to a year before being legally obligated to take the UK driving test. We eventually found an insurance company to cover me and my hubby got me a gorgeous 1991 Mini for me to putter about in. It was a lovely car but then I killed it! In a sleep deprived, brain addled state after a brilliant holiday to Malaga in 2007, I left work and on a tight bend off a roundabout I clipped an oncoming car and careened into the dirt. Gone...in a flash. Forced to ride the bus to work, I began preparing to become a licensed driver in the UK. After seven lessons, I felt ready to attempt one of the hardest driving tests in the world. And on that first attempt in May 2007, I passed! Part of the test was driving on the motorway around Peterborough. Since then the largest road I’d been on is the A1 skirting

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around Peterborough to Stamford. Until one of my Mummy friends invited my daughter and me to tea. To get there, I had to drive to St. Albans, off the M25. It was time to tackle the motorway. My daughter and I braved the A1 on our adventure and guess what? WE SURVIVED! Even though I got a bit muddled after exiting the A1, I managed to use my brain, read signs and negotiate St. Albans to get to my destination. I was so proud of myself. Now, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to tackle London [go for it, girl! ed] but I managed to get from one point to another all on my own and live to tell the tale. Maybe we’ll try another adventure some other day? If you will be living in the UK for any longer than one year, you will need to get a UK Driving License. I highly recommend buying the Highway Code Manual and any Learner Driving books you can get your hands on. The theory and hazard perception tests

are by no means a walk in the park. After you pass the theory portion, sign up with a Driving Instructor and have some lessons. No matter how long you’ve been driving in the US, the UK roads are much different and require a different set of skills. You will need this instruction in order to pass the UK Driving Exam and don’t be surprised if you don’t pass on the first time. The current fail rate is 75% for all first-time test takers. If you manage to be in that elusive 25% who pass, congratulations and safe driving. Just remember, stay on the left side of the road! H Karin Joyce is an American Expat living in the East Midlands of England with her English husband and daughter. Read Karin’s blog about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of being a first-time, stay-at-home-mum at http://cafebebe.co.uk

Karin’s lovely Mini, RIP


The National Theatre presents the Royal & Derngate Northampton productions

WIN TICEKE BEELTOWS –S

by Tennessee Williams by Eugene O’Neill

HHHHH Daily Telegraph, The Times

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Daily Telegraph, Independent, Guardian

‘An exciting spectacle.’ – Guardian ‘The acting is superb.’ – The Times

‘I cannot imagine performances better than those on display here.’ – The Times

heavenly has almost everything a young woman could desire, but when she’s forced to decide between two suitors her actions cause a chain of consequences that tear their lives apart. the european premiere production of Spring Storm – a gripping early play by tennessee Williams.

robert is about to start a new life across the ocean, whilst brother andy is settling on the family farm. But the realisation that they love the same woman results in a dramatic reversal of fate. Beyond the Horizon is the Pulitzer prize-winning drama that formulated eugene o’neill’s vision of america.

Opens 24 March

Opens 29 March

‘Offers the excitement of two great American dramatists discovering their voices.’ – Guardian Win a pair of tickets to see Spring Storm and Beyond the Horizon at the National Theatre. send your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by Monday March 29, 2010. email it to theamerican@blueedge.co.uk with SPRING STORM COMPETITION in the subject line. or send a postcard to: SPRING STORM 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. subject to availability.

Tickets £10 £20 £32 nationaltheatre.org.uk 020 7452 3000

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King’s Singers’ Life The King’s Singers are one of the world’s most celebrated vocal groups. This year they have been on tour in the US. Here’s the ‘blog’ they have been compiling while on the road in the States. Stephen Connolly, Bass: We have had the honour of performing at the top of the chamber music and vocal scene for the last four decades. Our roots go back to King’s College in Cambridge where the original members first sang together in that famous choir. From the earliest times the group sang everything from serious renaissance church music to contemporary pop songs – the very first cross over group perhaps! We continue this fine tradition and our musical life these days see us touring around the world for up to seven months of the year singing to hundreds of thousands of folk across the globe. Television and radio performaces have led to our presence on the web which has provided a whole new dedicated fan base. Our recordings cover every area of vocal music and have attracted several nominations as well as an actual Grammy. If it is possible to sing, we will have a go! Our love for what we do keeps us on the upward hill and looking for the next opportunity to spread our music. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated and talented people working behind the scenes on our behalf. Let me introduce my singing colleagues and let them share with you a little of our life and work on the road.

Stephen

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Philip

Today we are in Moorhead, Minnesota. Outside, the temperature is -6 degrees – quite cold enough for us temperate Brits thank you! Tim Wayne-Wright, Countertenor: I joined The King’s Singers in February 2009 and the last year has been quite a ride! Joining this prestigious group has lived up to all my expectations. It is wonderful to become part of something with so much heritage that is loved throughout the world. I was amazed in my first concert in the American tour, when we walked out onto stage and were faced with 4,000 screaming fans. I thought they’d mistaken us for another group! Since then, the excitement and thrill of singing with my five colleagues has not waned in the slightest. This is a life-changing position to have as a singer, one which I am very proud of. The time away from home is a reality that you have to get used to very quickly. You are touring

David

Chris

for seven months of the year with UK gigs thrown in for good measure as well! Consequently, you spend more time with the other members than you do your own family, so even after just twelve months of doing this job, I feel as though I have made life-long friendships. Paul Phoenix, Tenor: ‘Life ‘on the road’ with the King’s Singers is varied to say the least. Today we are in the middle of our Spring US tour, in Moorhead MN, where this evening we will be performing at the world famous Concordia College and making a recording with their fine choir. Spring? Outside the snow is piled high, and the air temperature is -6 degrees Fahrenheit – quite cold enough for us temperate Brits thank you! Yet next week we’ll be in San Francisco, where I’ll be hoping to get outside for a run. Our schedule is busy, but we are extremely fortunate to have a very well structured diary, with decent holiday periods factored in to coincide with the school holidays so we get to spend precious time with our loved ones. There are certain habitual problems on the road, such as waking up in the morning not knowing where you are, and also getting up in an unfamiliar

Tim

Paul


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hotel room in the middle of the night, unable to find the bathroom! Nevertheless, we are truly fortunate to be part of a world-class vocal group, sharing our peculiarly English senses of humour (note spelling!) with audiences across the globe. Long may it continue!’ Philip Lawson, Baritone: Visiting as I do on a regular basis the library of the King’s Singers with its 2,000+ folders of music (it lives in my garage) it’s hard to imagine that when the group sang its first concert in 1968 the programme contained almost every piece the singers knew. Finding more sacred repertoire was relatively easy as there is a wealth of fine motets and anthems from the Renaissance period, ready to go with maybe a simple transposition down to accommodate our top line being counter tenors rather than sopranos. Other repertoire was not so easy. Some barbershop arrangements existed in print, notably in the Yale Songbook, but these are mostly in four parts and the King’s Singers were keen to exploit the richer textures on offer with six. So began a path of commissioning six-part arrangements which continues to this day and has yielded a varied collection of pieces unique to the group (although many are now available for other groups to use through the partnership we have with Hal Leonard Corporation in the US). There are folk songs, pop songs, spiritual songs, some happy, some sad and some that never fail to make audiences chuckle! From an early time the King’s Singers felt the need to commission longer, serious works from recognised composers; Peter Maxwell Davies, John McCabe, Gyorgy Ligeti, Luciano Berio and Richard Rodney Bennett to name but a few. This provided a balance in programmes which might otherwise consist of a series of short anthems and 3-minute songs.

photoS: Marco Borggreve

David Hurley, Countertenor: Over the 42 years of the King’s Singers’ existence the group has produced around 80 albums in huge variety of genres, Early music, Romantic part songs, contemporary works, jazz, folk and pop songs. Early recordings such as By Appointment and Out of the Blue helped establish the group’s career, whilst the two volumes of the Madrigal History Tour, in collaboration with a BBC TV series, brought the group to the attention of early music enthusiasts. I was a great fan in my teens of the Contemporary Collection, works such as Paul Patterson’s Timepiece and Richard Rodney Bennett’s The House of Sleepe. More recent recordings on Signum show the group’s wide range. The most recent, From the Heart, includes Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and the Nickel Creek song Out of the Woods. Next will be an album of Vespers music by Johann Pachelbel, and a follow-up to Simple Gifts, Swimming over London, which mixes jazz and pop classics with new songs written for us.

Chris Gabbitas, Baritone: An organisation such as The King’s Singers cannot afford to stand still in this fast-paced world. Just because we have been popular for the past 40 years it doesn’t mean our good fortune will continue unless we work hard at maintaining our position at the top of the classical world. I came to the group from a background as a lawyer in the City of London and have long wanted to use that experience by setting up a Charitable Trust run by the group as a means of raising money for music education projects and for commissioning and recording new musical works. It’s a departure from the daily business of singing concerts, but it’s incredibly important for us to invest in the communities we visit in order to instill a love of music and the value of music education and, pragmatically, to safeguard our future audience. In 2010 we are launching The King’s Singers Foundation, which will allow us to bring music into the lives of more students the world over, and strengthen our legacy for the future. H

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James Earl Jones I

n his review of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in The American in January, our theatre critic Jarlath O’Connell wrote, “This cast makes one look afresh at this piece, NOT because they are black but because they are great actors.” Following Flynn Jones up the narrow stairs to his father’s dressing room, his words echo in my mind for I have just witnessed one of the most electrifying second acts on any London stage. I need time to reflect on the play, I find myself thinking, not interview the star. Despite that performance, and another coming up later that evening, James Earl Jones greets me warmly. Tall, big boned, and ruggedly handsome, there is a quietness about Jones that relaxes one. In his career, he has won two Tony awards, Emmy nominations and awards for his considerable TV work. His voice, deep, low, rumbling, is instantly recognizable, especially by Star Wars fans for whom he will always be Darth Vader! Born in Mississippi in 1931, Jones spent his first five years living with his maternal grandparents on their farm while his mother worked away from home. His actor father, Robert Earl Jones, left before he was born, and it was his maternal grandfather’s values he was most influenced by. His father’s parents offered him a home, but when the five year old was driven to their house he clung to the car and they realized it was best to leave him where he was. “I would have had a better life had I gone with them,” he told me, “but then I would have

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Virginia E Schultz interviews the great actor, currently starring in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in London’s West End

stayed in the south and not have had the advantages I had after my family moved to Michigan.” The confusion of that move created a stutter and Jones spent much of his childhood as a virtual mute. Yet that very disadvantage may have turned him into the actor he is today. John Updike, who also stuttered, once said his talent as a writer was born in the silence of listening ( Jones wrote poetry during his teens). It was only because of Donald Crouch, a high school teacher, that Jones overcame this weakness and turned speaking into his greatest strength. Thanks to Crouch, who encouraged him to compete in high school debates and oratorical contests, he won a public speaking contest and a scholarship to the University of Michigan.

After graduating from the University of Michigan and a stint in the military Jones went to New York to pursue acting. His first years were difficult and for a time he considered quitting. Jobs for black actors were few and far between, and his father had been blacklisted for political activism. Then, in 1961, he appeared in the American premiere of Jean Genet’s play, The Blacks, and attracted the attention of audiences and critics. This historic production also introduced the public to other talented African-American actors including Cicely Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge and Maya Angelou. After this came Clandestine on the Morning Line and Obies for performances in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal and Shakespeare’s Othello. Jones has acted in over fifty films as well as on stage and TV, memorably as the writer Alex Haley in Roots II. He shied away, however, from my compliment that he was a pioneer in the development of black theatre in the States. “I’m still learning,” he insists. “Each part I take is a new experience.” He does own up that he is bothered at times that people are embarrassed by elderly sex and a smile curves at his mouth when I suggest Judi Dench and he would be perfect together in Macbeth. He plans to be here for the Olivier awards, but declined to tell me if there were any acting roles after ‘Cat’.


The American

The remarkable James Earl Jones acting opposite Phylicia Rashad in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

‘Cat’ transferred from a successful four month run on Broadway to London last November (its run ends in April). The family relationship in this play by Tennessee Williams attracted Jones. The fact they are black is immaterial. “I know that Mississippi farm person because I am one,” he points out, “ I understand Big Daddy better than most northern Caucasian actors because I grew up with people like him.” The major cast change was Adrian Lester (from BBC TV’s Hustle) who plays Brick, the alcoholic son around whom the play revolves. Adrian’s southern accent dips and dives at times, but in the scenes with Jones he rises to the task. Sanaa Lathan as Maggie carries the first act while she fights to get back Brick’s love and forgiveness. She has betrayed, and is betrayed, by a husband who, in hiding his own guilt, blames her for the death of his

closest friend. Adrian plays a former football player who has turned to alcohol to escape from “mendacity”, hobbling on crutches and holding on tightly to a bottle. It wasn’t until the second act and his confrontation with Big Daddy that I began to realize what a talented actor Adrian is. But then, he was acting with a man who can command the stage with just a look and gesture. Jones brings a sensitivity to the part of Big Daddy too often missed in the previous productions of ‘Cat’ I’ve seen (three on stage, one film). His small pelvic moments as he tries to show Brick he’s still potent is touching rather than vulgar. He treats his wife (Phylicia Rashad) cruelly until the end when he learns he still has cancer. The simple gesture of holding back his arm in agreement when she begs to be with him gave more meaning to their marriage than all the harsh words that were spoken

Photo: Nobby Clark

previously. Rashad is excellent, as are Peter de Jersey and Nina Sosanya as the neglected older son and his wife. In the States, 80 percent of the African Americans who came to see ‘Cat’ had never been to a play before. When I asked Jones if there was a difference between the audiences in England and the States, he said no. As he pointed out, this is a play about people; their problems could happen to any family whether Chinese, Spanish or from any other culture. As someone who is part Cherokee, African American and Irish, he may be speaking from experience. Home for him is a farm in northern New York where he escapes with his wife Cecilia Hart, an actress, and their son, Flynn. Despite his success as an actor, he has not earned the kind of salaries the top actors – black or white – earn nowadays. If that bothers him, he’s far too good an actor to show it when I ask. H

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The American

One of Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon statues, seen in New York © James eWinG

Arts Choice By Estelle Lovatt & Michael Burland John Gerrard’s Oil Stick Work

Canary Wharf Underground Station, London March 2, 2010 to March, 2 2011

Antony Gormley: Event Horizon in New York Madison Square Park and rooftops throughout Flatiron District, NYC March 26 to August 1 antony Gormley’s famous event horizon public art exhibition moves to new york as part of madison square art 2010. 31 life-size body forms of the artist cast in iron and fiberglass will inhabit the pathways and sidewalks of historic madison square Park, as well as rooftops around the Flatiron District. this is Gormley’s us debut. according to the artist, “the installation connects the palpable, the perceivable and the imaginable, creating a relational field in which the passerby as well as the aware view is implied in a matrix of looking and being looked at.” a fascinating intervention into the urban environment, event horizon explores the relationship between the public, as it moves throughout the installation neighborhood, and the art object – the human form.

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Irish artist John Gerrard’s Oil Stick Work is an artwork with an environmental message, part of a series of art projects London’s Jubilee line commissioned by Art on the Underground. Projected on a wall nearly 50 feet wide in the station, the moving image began in 2008 and is developing in real time over thirty years. The digital landscape is constructed from photographs and maps of a real industrial grain silo in Richfield, Kansas. An animated human, ‘Angelo Martinez’ arrives for work at dawn (CST) and departs at sunset. Each day he paints a one metre square of the grain silo using an artist’s oil stick, a task that will take exactly thirty years to complete. The black squares count down to the day American oil supplies are predicted to run dry.

Courtesy of Art on the Underground and John Gerrard Photo michele lamanna

Anni Albers, Second_Movement II

Anni Albers, Prints and Studies Alan Cristea Gallery March 18 to April 17

Prints and Studies is the first major retrospective of the prints of the legendary Bauhaus artist and designer. It includes nearly every print she has made, alongside studies, photographs and source material loaned from the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and coincides with the release of the ‘catalogue raisonne’ of her prints – the first major monograph on this aspect of her work. Albers worked in textiles and, later, in print. She experimented with using new materials for weaving wall hangings. She met and married her tutor, Josef Albers, at the Bauhaus. After its closure in 1933 they moved to Black Mountain College where she taught. Her exhibition of textiles at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1949 was groundbreaking and she became the most famous weaver of her time.


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21st Century Furniture II – The Arts & Crafts Legacy

The Millinery Works, 87 Southgate Road, Islington • March 28 to April 2 The contemporary design on show in this selling exhibition reflects a millennium of English arts and craftsmanship in furniture, and there is a particularly strong influence from the Arts & Crafts era. The organisers are Martin Grierson and John Makepeace. Grierson, commenting on the ethos of the exhibition, said, “In selecting the work for this exhibition we were looking to show that the spirit and ideals of The Arts and Crafts makers of the early 20th Century are alive and well and being developed, for today, by today’s designer-makers and expressed through new contemporary ideas and designs.” Makepeace added, “William Morris saw the Middle Ages as the springboard for a wholesome way forward. The dynamics now are forwardlooking with new opportunities to achieve those same enduring values that continue to motivate today’s designers and makers.”

Marc Fish’s ‘Le Orchidée Desk’ combines Art Deco with the Contemporary, with its delicate yet robust aluminium base and the tambour top and desk interior that refers back to the Carlton House Desk.

Henry Moore

Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 Until August 8

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enry moore is widely regarded as Britain’s most respected sculptor and one of the most important in 20th century art. the tate’s fabulous exhibition includes his pictorial work – his london Blitz drawings are striking and moving – along with sculptures. moore had surprising connections with america. in the catalogue, richard calvocoressi writes, “Following World War ii, henry moore’s moral and political conscience and growing sense of public duty obliged him to become involved in two international sculpture competitions to commemorate victims of political persecution and genocide. the first, announced at a press conference in london by moore himself in January 1952, was for a monument to ‘the unknown Political Prisoner’. this was, in herbert read’s words, ‘designed to pay tribute to those individuals who, in many countries and in diverse political situations, had dared to offer their liberty and their lives for the cause of human freedom’. moore and read sat on a small organising committee within the institute of contemporary arts, london, chaired by an american former diplomat

and intelligence officer called anthony kloman. although the ica ‘sponsored’ the competition, the substantial administrative costs as well as the prize-money came from an unnamed source in the usa, possibly the cia.” another us link happened when, using Google, the exhibition curator and the gallery’s head of Displays, chris stephens, found a lesserknown moore sculpture in america that had never been exhibited. called simply carving, it was last known to be in the collection of martha Jackson, (Jackson Pollock’s dealer). Jackson’s son still had the sculpture and lent it to london’s exhibition.

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The Beatles take to the sea at Miami Beach in this great evocation of the Swinging Sixties © Getty Images

Beatles to Bowie – The 60s exposed exhibition highlights the Americans The Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne until April 18; Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery May 8 to September 5 Exploring 1960s pop icons and culture, this wonderful photographic show, which began at the National Portrait Gallery, is now on tour. It looks at how The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, Cliff Richard and others helped create ‘Swinging London’. 150 items of pop ephemera including books, sheet music and record sleeves feature alongside the photographs. It was all achieved with a helping hand from the States. The exhibition explores how stars including PJ Proby, the Walker Brothers, and Jimi Hendrix came to England from America, and shows how America’s landmark achievements, such as man’s first steps on the moon, were reflected in popular music. Joe Meek’s “Telstar” opened the decade and was soon followed by David Bowie’s first hit record “Space Oddity”. A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition, featuring more than 300 images.

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Fifty Years’ Fantastic

A Selling Exhibition of Art of the Imagination La Galleria, 30 Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 4UY April 19 to 24 www.artofimagination.org The Society for Art of Imagination celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with this selling exhibition showcasing 150 works of art selected from pieces submitted by 400 international artists which is being opened by Mary O’Hara, the legendary Irish singer. The Society motto is Art Should be Challenging. The exhibition will raise funds for the charities the Society supports and show iconic images of Art of the Imagination from former shows. Prices start from £150. This art form has been known as Fantastic Realism, Surrealism, Magic Realism, Visionary Art, Cosmic Art and Inspirational Art and dates back to the visionary paintings of Jan van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch, through Leonardo de Vinci, William Blake and Dali. Figurative art has only recently been championed again, by none other than Charles Saatchi, and the Society is continuing to

Brigid Marlin, Flight of the Churches

recruit artists from across the globe. On show will be Brigid Marlin, whose The Flight of Churches has become one of the iconic images of the Society; Professor Ernst Fuchs, a founder of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism and the Society’s Honorary President; Michel Ouen de St Ouen; Laurie Lipton, Marcus Usherwood, whose Dr. Mengele’s Circus lives up to the ethos of art is challenging; Diana Hesketh and Alien movie designer H.R.Giger.

Jordan Baseman

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA • Until May 9 At the major contemporary art gallery in the North East of England, this exhibition of recent work by American video artist Jordan Baseman will be interesting. Developed from the interview process that is at the heart of Baseman’s practice, the works in the exhibition use found footage and stop frame techniques to accompany voice-driven narratives.


Writers of Influence – Shakespeare to JK Rowling Sheffield: Graves Gallery April 17 to July 3; Southampton City Art Gallery July 23 to September 26; Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery October 16 to January 8, 2011; Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens January 29, 2011 to March 27, 2011 the ‘chandos’ portrait of William shakespeare, is to tour Britain for the first time as part of a major exhibition of writers’ portraits. it was the Gallery’s first acquisition, back in 1856. the exhibition brings together casts of the faces of John keats and William Blake with paintings and photographs of important British writers including Geoffrey chaucer, George eliot, charles Dickens, lewis carroll, virginia Woolf, agatha christie, John lennon, David Bowie, carol ann Duffy, Philip Pullman and Jk rowling, by the likes of vanessa Bell, Bill Brandt, henri cartier-Bresson, man ray and lord snowdon.

Photo michael BoDycomB

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Art News Frick launches US and Dutch Art Databases

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he Frick art reference library has launched two new free online resources. one is a directory for those researching the history of collecting art in the us, the other a database of inventories from the Dutch Golden age. inge reist, Director for the Frick’s center for the history of collecting in america, said “nothing comparable to the center’s new archives Directory has ever existed… such a consolidated and easily searched online source as the new archives Directory will prove invaluable to this deepening field of study and will ensure that researchers can locate primary documents such as letters, bills of sale, and other transaction records that are so essential to

reliable scholarship. “ the montias database is an unprecedented look at ownership of art during the seventeenth-century “Golden age” in holland, with information on over 50,000 art objects. it is named for John michael montias, an eminent economist at yale university who began recording details of the ownership of works of art in the early 1980s. the Frick art reference library was founded in 1920 by helen clay Frick as a memorial to her father, henry clay Frick (who’s left his art collection and mansion to the american public). you can find the resources, and a lot more about the Frick collection, at www.frick.org

artnear Online

Stuart Pearson Wright’s portrait of JK Rowling, 2005, in the Writers of Influence touring exhibition © national Portrait Gallery, lonDon

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only in america so far, but available here in the uk soon too; hopnear has announced the updated version of artnear – the first sophisticated global guide to art for the iphone and Blackberry. if you find yourself trekking to visit art galleries, museums and fairs all over the globe, artnear is the app you’ll need. it lists top art galleries, museums and events worldwide, and you’ll find the venue easily thanks to integrated GPs-enabled maps. you can browse exhibitions and artists and view images of exhibited art works, saving time, effort, and aggravation in arranging gallery visits, especially when travelling to other cities or countries. Gallery/museum details include address, current exhibition, upcoming shows, openings, lectures, hours of opening and extended hours, artists represented, entry fees and full contact information, and the Bookmark function allows you to save and organize your favourite galleries and artists for easy access next time you go roaming.

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The American

La Cave a Fromage 24-2 Cromwell Place, London SW7 2LD • 084 108 8222 • www.la.cave.co.uk

i

t’s the best of times to be a cheese lover. most supermarkets have a selection of cheese from around the world. But after the tasting i had recently at la cave a Fromage, i’ll go to speciality cheese shops from now on. like a good wine shop, the knowledgeable staff can tell you where and how the cheese is made and advise on how to use a cheese, whether at the end of a dinner party or serving with drinks to friends. la cave was opened in november 2007 by eric charriaux and amnon Paldi, passionate cheese lovers who now supply cheese to many top restaurants in london. theme tastings are held every other thursday, cost £35 and start promptly at 7.15pm (as Jennifer atterbury and i learned when we learned arrived fifteen minutes late much to my embarrassment). the theme that night was “the Balanced cheese Board” and oh, were those cheeses good! General manager todd Bridge was in charge of the tasting, along with Debbi Baron, a fellow american and managing director of Domaines & terroirs, helping to serve the wine. We started with valencay, an ash gray goat cheese, a favourite of napoleon. When his egyptian campaign

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went wrong, its pointy shape was sliced off. on the palate the cheese was fullflavoured with a slight herbaceousness i didn’t expect but found, to my surprise, i liked. the Domaine la Goujonne coteaux varois from Provence served with it matched the cheese perfectly. next came vacherin mont d’or haut Doubs-uP, Franche comte made from summer milk and served with the same wine. vacherin is one of my favourite cheeses and i would have preferred a light red Burgundy with it. ossau iraty, an ancient sheep cheese made in the ossau valley of the Basques, was my second favourite cheese that evening. the cheesemaker grazes his sheep high in the Pyrenees and can be very particular about whom he sells his cheese to. it has a wonderful rich aroma and creamy almost cheddar-like texture. With it, the Domaine de terre megere: viognier, vin de Pays d’oc-coteaux du languedoc was a marriage made in heaven. comte, one of France’s favourite cheeses, is made from raw milk of cows that graze on the grasses of Jura mountain during the summer. sweet with a somewhat rich and nutty flavour it went well with the Domaine de

Food and drink reviews by Virginia E Schultz terre megere-coteaux du languedoc; languedoc wines are getting better and better. i tasted the viognier with this cheese as well and preferred it to the megere-coteaux. the first time i ate epoisses it was made from raw cow’s milk. less stinky now that it’s made from pasteurized milk, it was my least favourite cheese of the evening. that, of course is my particular taste and not everyone’s opinion. it was, fortunately, softened properly and spread delightfully, especially on the white French bread we were offered. i tasted it with both the languedoc wines and think i prefer once again the viognier. lastly, we tasted Queso cabrales – uP, a spanish goat/sheep cheese. it has a vaguely sweet nose, yet an earthy taste lingers on the palate. Perfect with slightly chilled sweet Philippe lamour cuvee: vendages d’automne – vin de Pays d’oc, it ended the evening on a light note. cheeses of the same name can vary in quality and style, one of the reasons establishments like la cave a Fromage are so helpful. la cave stocks more than 200 cheeses sourced across europe, some made exclusively for them. H


The American

Dining Out at

CIRCUS

27-29 Endell Street, London WC2H 9BA • 020 7420 9300 • www.circus-london.co.uk

t

he black door entrance to circus has a kind of speakeasy look and the large, extremely polite, doorman might have stepped out of a 1930’s film. Designed by tom Dixon, the interior is 20th century modern combined with art deco minimalism. opened since mid January, it’s not a circus but a bar and restaurant which could better be described as a cabaret. each night, a long communal table doubles as a catwalk and stage for fire eaters, burlesque performers, dancers and acrobats who hang from hoops attached to the ceiling and perform circus stunts. Booking this table is difficult and unless there is a cancellation, you or your group will have to wait several months if you prefer to sit there rather than at a small table or in the lounge area. Food is described as pan-american...translated: southern cooking/ latin american fusion. chefs in black work behind glass windows in an open kitchen and can be seen preparing the dishes being served. there is a wine list, but nelly and i decided the atmosphere of the restaurant demanded cocktails. her Blood Peach Bellini (8.50) was quite good, but the resemblance

my circus martini (vodka, gin and dry vermouth) bore to a martini was purely coincidental, although i did enjoy it. i haven’t seen hushpuppies (£3.50) on a menu in england before. they were very good, but the cornbread with cajun honey butter (£2.50) was disappointing. nelly’s scallops in shell grilled with lobster and chives (£9.95) was excellent and i enjoyed the beef and black bean empanadas (£6.50) with harissa and mint yoghurt. Perhaps slightly too small in size, but the middle eastern side dish is an extra i’ll serve the next time i make empanadas. my Josper beef fillet steak - named after the enclosed charcoal grill in which the filet is cooked - (£19.95) with curly kale, crispy fried shallots and thyme bearnaise was tender, tasty and came medium rare just the way i wanted. Good too were the hand cut fries (£3.00). the 24 hour slow roasted ribs (£17.95) we liked as well. if there was a disappointment it was the overdone seared cajun tuna (£16.95) with chilli salsa and pineapple pico. For dessert, nelly had the tropical fruit salad (£6.00). i debated between the vanilla and bourbon raisin new

york cheese cake (£6.00) an the peanut butter and chocolate brownie with milk ice cream (£6.00). the brownies tasted like package brownies – perhaps i might send them my recipe. Despite my complaints, all in all, the american style dishes we had were better than average. unfortunately, although we were in the restaurant almost two and half hours, the two acrobats who entertained that evening appeared only twice. We had almost as much entertainment from a gorgeous blonde who got up on the table and did a sexy dance to amuse her companions. service was perfect. kamila, our waitress, was not only beautiful, but instinctively seemed to know when she was needed. i’d return with my older grandchildren, but not with anyone over forty. it is noisy and that’s putting it mildly. nelly and i were sitting side by side, but we had to yell to be heard. oh, one last note to chef nik Blok. the red gravy served is not the red eye gravy those of us who have lived or come from below the mason-Dixon know. red eye has black coffee added to the gravy, hence the red eyes. H

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The American

Cellar Talk 2009 Vintage Report

Virginia E Schultz brings you her round up of what the French regions brought us last year ALSACE

A dry cold winter and a mild spring. Summer was warm with storms and rainfall through June and July. Most estates began picking in early to mid-September. All of the areas showing well.

BORDEAUX

The year started with wet weather for most of winter and spring and a few areas were hard hit by hailstones. Summer was warm, dry and sunny, but the water level was high enough to offset the heat. Rain in September revived the wines which helped the fruit mature to almost perfection.

BURGUNDY

Burgundy vintners say 2009 shows promise. Spring and summer were hot and humid and in some areas storms brought hailstones. Dry weather helped contribute to healthy fruit. The reds seem to lack the structure of a vintage like 2005, but the whites have lots of fruit and balance with good acidity.

CHAMPAGNE

The 2009 growing season began with some difficulty. June had a long flowering, especially in the Cotes des Blancs. August was very hot and dry and picking began in the second week of September, finishing by September 30th. The grapes were reported to be healthy with good levels of ripeness balanced by fresh acidity.

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LOIRE VALLEY

Warm and dry weather in many of the regions resulted in many of the vintners describing it as a “great vintage.” Chenin Blanc producers were also cautiously happy, although a few were concerned by drought conditions. Superlatives also were sung in the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir areas.

RHONE VALLEY

In Southern Rhone, vintners were pleased, though yields were low with some reporting a 30 percent drop below normal levels. The growing season was dry and hot heat in August resulted in smaller, concentrated berries. Fortunately, rain fell in mid September giving vines a boost. Warm, dry conditions in the north resulted in an early harvest of very ripe grapes. Nor did the wineries have the small yields that were common in the south.

What’s A Pipe Of Port?

Someone recently asked me how much wine is in a pipe of port and here is the answer? The term pipe comes from the Portuguese word for barrel, pipa. In Victorian times it was traditional for families to cellar a pipe of port for their children. A pipe is a large, lengthy barrel with tapered ends that can hold anywhere from 350 liters to more than 600 liters. The average pipe was around 550

Alsace vineyards are showing well

liters (about 143 gallons) or 61 cases. If you started to drink a case a year aged eighteen, you’d be 79 before you finished. H

WINE OF THE MONTH COLUMBIA CREST Merlot

Horse Heaven Hills H3 2007  Price: $15 Wild berry flavours that balance delightfully with tannins. Lovely overtones that linger on the tongue to the silky finish. As recommended by Natalie MacLean, I served this Merlot with spinach and bacon salad. MacLean is an independent journalist and author of “Red, White and Drunk All Over.” You can find her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nataliemaclean and on Facebook: www. facebook.com/nataliemaclean.. Email: natdecants@nataliemaclean.com


us and uK Tax preparation and planning

Jaffe & co

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

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

Easter Sunday – 4th April (also open Easter Monday)

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”

01932 862121

– David Billington, Hello Magazine


The American

Coffee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 how many legs does a butterfly have?

7 What does Gi (as in a us soldier) actually stand for?

13 Which is the most common noncontagious disease in the world?

2 Which country is known as the land of the thunderbolts?

8 What was Google’s top search term for the year 2009?

14 What is chromophobia ?

3 Where is the largest library in the world?

9 Which is the smallest of the 50 us states?

4 in which state is yosemite national Park?

10 What is another name for the cuspids?

5 What is celebrated on the first sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox?

11 What did Britain export to lake havasu city, arizona?

6 What is the modern-day name for mesopotamia?

12 Which u.s. newspaper has the motto “all the news that’s fit to print?”

15 What is a rhino’s horn made of? 16 the bat is a registered trademark of which drinks company? 17 Who was the first woman to win an oscar for Best Director? 18 how many sides does a hendecagon have? 19 Which drink was named by its inventor after rejecting the first six names that were offered? 20 Which plant gives us linseed oil?

Answers below The Johnsons

Coffee Break Quiz Answers: 1. Six (it is an insect); 2. Bhutan; 3. Washington DC (Library of Congress); 4. California; 5. Easter; 6. Iraq; 7. Government Issue; 8. Michael Jackson; 9. Rhode Island; 10. Canine teeth; 11. London Bridge; 12. New York Times; 13. Tooth decay; 14. Fear of colours; 15. Hair; 16. Bacardi; 17. Kathryn Bigelow (for The Hurt Locker, March 2010); 18. Eleven; 19. 7-UP; 20. Flax.

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The American

Come up and see her sometime – Mae West, with WC Fields

It happened one... April April 20, 1926 – Western Electric and Warner Bros. announce Vitaphone, a process to add sound to film. April 1, 1891 – The Wrigley Company is founded in Chicago, Illinois, as the William Wrigley Jr. Company selling products such as soap and baking powder. April 2, 1792 – The Coinage Act is passed establishing the United States Mint.

April 3, 1882 – Jesse James is killed by Robert Ford.

April 4, 1841 – William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia becoming the first President of the United States to die in office and the one with the shortest term served.

April 5, 1614 – In Virginia, Native American Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe. April 6, 1808 – The American Fur Co. is founded by John Jacob Astor growing to monopolize the fur trade in the US by 1830. It became one of the largest businesses in the country. April 7, 1940 – Booker T. Washington becomes the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp. April 8, 1820 – The Venus de Milo is discovered on the Aegean island of Melos.

April 9, 1865 – Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia (26,765 troops) to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, effectively ending the Civil war.

April 10, 1710 – The first law regulating copyright is issued in Great Britain. April 11, 1976 – The Apple I is created, designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak. April 12, 1934 – The strongest surface wind gust in the world at 231 mph, is measured on the summit of Mount Washington, US. April 13, 1943 – The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth. April 14, 1860 – The first Pony Express rider reaches Sacramento, California. April 15, 1802 – William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy see a “long belt” of daffodils, inspiring William to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. April 16, 1881 – In Dodge City, Kansas, Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle. April 17, 1924 – Metro-GoldwynMayer studios is formed by the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company. April 18, 1783 – Fighting ceases in the American Revolution, eight years to the day since it began. April 19, 1927 – Mae West is sentenced to 10 days in jail for obscenity for her play Sex.

April 21, 1509 – Henry VIII ascends the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII. April 22, 1954 – The Army-McCarthy Hearings begin.

April 23, 1635 – The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, is founded in Boston, Massachusetts. April 24, 1704 – The first regular newspaper in the United States, the News-Letter, is published in Boston, Massachusetts.

April 25, 1939 – Batman hits the streets for the first time, appearing in DC Comics’ Detective Comics #27. April 26, 1991 – 70 tornadoes break out in the central United States. Andover, Kansas, would record the year’s only F5 tornado with windspeeds of over 261mph.

April 27, 1749 – First performance of Handel’s Fireworks Music in Green Park, London.

April 28, 1930 – The first night game in organized baseball history takes place in Independence, Kansas. April 29, 1945 – Dachau concentration camp is liberated by United States troops. April 30, 1927 – Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford become the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. H

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The American

Photo Gracekelly

Ultravox Following their sold out comeback tour, ultravox will play further dates in april on the eve of their first european tour in 25 years. the ‘return to eden Part ii’ tour follows amazing fan reaction, critical acclaim and stellar reviews. midge ure, chris cross, Warren cann and Billy currie, will perform 6 uk shows then head back to europe: april 6th, Birmingham symphony hall; 7th liverpool Philharmonic hall; 8th manchester apollo; 10th oxford new theatre; 11th; london hammersmith apollo; 12th Bristol colston hall.

Hampshire kicks off Festival Season one of the earliest festivals on the British calendar has an earlybird season ticket offer. you can save up to £25 per ticket to the Gosport & Fareham easter Festival. the festival based in Fareham from april 1 - 4 features top folk acts show of hands, Feast of Fiddles; kathryn tickell, spiers & Boden, Wolfstone, roy Bailey, martin simpson and more. the offer also applies to the Wickham summer Festival (august 5 - 8) which boasts the levellers, shooglenifty, salsa celtica, show of hands (again). Get tickets at www.eastfest.co.uk.

Plug Pulled on Playaway organizers live nation have shelved plans for the holiday camp based Playaway Festival scheduled to take place at Butlins in skegness from april 16-18. tickets will be refunded.

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MUSIC

±

LIVE AND KICKING

Ether 10 E

ther, Southbank Centre’s annual music festival of innovation, art, technology and cross-arts experimentation mixes rock iconoclasts, proto-rap legends, audiovisual experimenters and contemporary-classical innovators. A surprise headliner is Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio (pictured above), a performance based on Reed’s radical and controversial 1975 noise-album Metal Machine Music (April 19). Gil Scott-Heron plays a rare London date, showcasing material from I’m New Here, his first album in 15 years, on April 20. Other acts include acclaimed filmmaker and audio/video maestro, Chris Cunningham (April 23), BEAK > (the new project from Portishead’s Geoff Barrow), and a one-off collaboration between Stereo MCs and The Bays (April 16). An evening of premieres features music by Mark-Anthony Turnage (UK premiere) and Philip Glass (European premiere) plus Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 at the Royal Festival Hall (April 17). Varèse 360° is the complete works of musique concrète pioneer – and Frank Zappa influencer – Edgar Varèse, played in one weekend, April 16 and 18.

John Walker John Walker, founder member of the Walker Brothers, is heading back to the uk this spring for a 12-date tour. Wallow in hits like Make It Easy On Yourself, Love Her, My Ship is Coming In, No Regrets and the no.1 hit The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore. he will be backed by the Dakotas, who will also play their hits from the ’60s like Little Children and Do You Want to Know a Secret? Walker is particularly fond of the uk, having relocated from california to london in the 1960s: “the audiences are so enthusiastic; they love to hear the songs that bring back the memories, but are really receptive to my new material as well.” the tour runs from april 9, to may 8. see www.johnwalkerinternational.com


The American

The King’s Singers One of the world’s best and most popular singing groups

OFFER 1

Here is your chance to get tickets to see The King’s Singers at a special price, courtesy of the group and The American magazine.

The King’s Singers at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on April 28, 2010 at 7.30pm the king’s singers perform a programme that celebrates partnerships of many kinds, they show the full range of their repertoire from renaissance works to Gilbert and sullivan, finishing with the timeless songs of lennon and mccartney. Quote promotional code ‘American’ when booking and receive £5 off the ticket price. the offer is available both online and through the Box office. When booking online, please ensure the promotional code is visible in the Promo code box. Booking Details: Box office : 0161 907 9000 online: www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk

READER OFFER

OFFER 2

The King’s Singers at Cadogan Hall, London on April 29, 2010 at 7.30pm includes the world premiere of a new performance version of Pachelbel’s vespers: the king’s singers and period instrument group, Charivari Agréable, join forces in this programme of German vespers, reaffirming the richness, diversity and sublime beauty of late seventeenth century German instrumental and sacred music by Buxtehude and the Bach family. Quote promotional code ‘The American’ and receive £5 off top price tickets. Booking details: Box office: 020 7730 4500.

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The American

Handel & Haydn + Sixteen = Musical Happiness I

n the UK I’m probably best known for my vocal group The Sixteen, but in America I have become very involved with Boston’s famous Handel and Haydn Society. This is my first proper year as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn. I am planning the whole season, conducting some of the projects and deciding who comes as guest conductor. They’re the oldest American music society, formed in 1815. They were a big chorus and added an orchestra later. They premiered in the US things like The Messiah, Bach’s Matthew Passion, Verdi’s Requiem, so they’ve got an incredible history. In the late ’70s Chris Hogwood turned it into a period orchestra and I’m the third Artistic Director under that format. When they were formed, Handel was the old and Haydn was the new. We can’t commission contemporary music now because it’s a period orchestra, but

Harry Christophers conducts the Handel and Haydn Society orchestra in Boston Stu Rosner

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Harry Christophers has a Transatlantically split musical personality. He tells Michael Burland all about it.

what we can do is make the old music sound new. Baroque music, they call it HIP, ‘historically informed performance’, in the States, is very strong and they get a fantastic following. The music of Handel and Bach had been ‘Victorianised’. We’re stripping the cobwebs off all the bad habits that set in, stripping it back to what the composer really wanted and what the instruments really sounded like. Modern classical instruments have changed the sound that Bach or Handel would have expected, and altered the music. They are designed to get to the back of the room, fill a concert hall with sound, and modern orchestras have such a wide repertoire that its difficult to change from the style you’d play Strauss or Mahler to play Bach or Handel. We’re lightening it, bringing the great imagination of these composers out. In baroque times it was, in a sense, closer to jazz, in that the musicians improvised. It’s very exciting. When audiences hear even an old warhorse like Handel’s Messiah or Mozart’s Requiem, their eyes light up. It’s a revelation, as if they’ve not heard the piece before. I was a chorister at Canterbury cathedral, so we sang a lot of early choral music, but the feeling that I really had something to say about music

didn’t happen until my later days at University. I went up to University loving mainstream romantic music, but also rock groups like Gong, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Jethro Tull and Cream. I still love rock - I drive my wife out of the kitchen when I cook at home. My youngest son, who’s 20, adores going back to Cream and that sort of thing. Some of those icons of ’60s rock are now the pillars of our community, it’s hilarious, but when you hear Robert Plant or Pete Townsend talk, they know their music so well. Over the years I’ve become known as ‘the Renaissance expert’. Later this year at the Spitalfields festival, we’re revisiting Monteverdi. There’s a prime example of a baroque composer who’s all invention. I had the idea of getting a jazz duo together with Julian Joseph, going out of baroque into jazz then back into baroque again, maybe fusing the two together. We don’t quite know what’s going to happen! I set The Sixteen up after I left Oxford in ’77. The group properly formed in 1979, so it celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. The choir is the main part, the orchestra complements the choir. The Renaissance music, with which the choir made it’s name, is all a cappella. We do Handel Oratorio’s, Bach


The American

Passions, things like that, and a lot of 20th century as well. In America, with the Handel and Haydn, the orchestra is the main element and the choir adds to it, so it’s a different angle. At the beginning The Sixteen was sixteen people singing 16th century music, but now it can be 32, or 40 when we do the choral pilgrimage, which is our main enterprise. That started out as a Millennium project, but has gone on every year. It goes to twenty-odd venues throughout the UK, chiefly cathedrals and abbeys. We can almost serve up anything. This year we’re doing a massive piece by Shepherd, which nobody would hear in a liturgical service these days. Most people won’t have heard of Shepherd, but they’ll come because they know The Sixteen. We’ve never ever dumbed down what we do, but if you do something well, people will listen. The big record companies serve up what they decide people want, Katherine Jenkins, or whatever. I saw the nominations for the Classical Brit awards, and wondered what some of these people are doing there - The Monks, and the Pope’s record - when you’ve got all these fantastic orchestras. Our quite esoteric music affects people in different ways. They’ve had a

Harry with his creation, The Sixteen. Mark Harrison

hard day at the office, or their kids have been screaming at them all day, and they listen to this music, and it’s wonderfully calming. It makes some people search their souls. It affects people in so many different ways, it’s not just wallpaper music. The Sixteen is my number one activity. The Handel and Haydn do one project a month for the nine months of the season and I will do four or five of those. Boston is lovely. When I’m over there, if I’m not rehearsing I’m in a meeting, or meeting patrons. That’s a side that’s different, the whole patronage in the States. Groups do not exist without private patronage, and the number of patrons and committees is immense. It’s lovely because they’re interested and involved but they don’t get in the way of what I’m trying to do. In Britain we don’t have that on anything like the same scale. The Sixteen have a little bit of Arts Council funding but basically we have no public subsidy. It’s ticket sales, record sales, and invitations, festival

invitations and work abroad, and work abroad is not as financially lucrative as it used to be. Still, that’s what we need to do, and records are very good to do because it’s our calling card. We set up our own record company, CORO, in 2001. We have about 70 titles now, 60 by The Sixteen, with ten others. I’ve just recorded from live concerts Mozart’s C minor Mass with the Handel and Haydn Society that we’re going to put out as well. There might be an offshoot of CORA devoted to the Handel and Haydn Society. The idea is to start off with one or two Mozart works. Boston Symphony Hall has got the most amazing acoustic, so it’s perfect for doing live concerts. Next season we’ll do the Mozart Requiem. The Handel and Haydn Society have got very few recordings out there, and that’s one of the things I’m going to address. In 2014-15, the Handel & Haydn’s bicentennial season, we will link up the two groups and do the Matthew Passion. Hopefully we can do a tour of Europe as well as the States. H

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The American

Secret London – an Unusual Guide Rachel Howard and Bill Nash

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here are many good guides giving you the normal sites of london but these writers invite you to explore the lesser known and often unnoticed pieces of london’s history. it is well presented; geographically divided into different parts of london, which makes it easy to combine a visit to a chosen site when you are in the area on business or pleasure and have an hour to spare. one such curiosity might be John snow’s cholera pump replica in Broadwick street soho. other sites need more time. if you are near lincolns inn the silver vaults are breathtaking, the British Dental association museum in Wimpole street makes one appreciate the advantages of this century’s medicine, and have you walked under the thames near Greenwich? on the left of the pages are the photos of the subject matter and on the right, descriptions and directions and some amusing details. it is a fat travel size book. you get a lot for your money! i was lucky enough to meet rachel howard who is tremendous fun. she explained to me how long it had taken to put all this together but how fascinating she had found the work. i think you will find the finished product fascinating too. this is truly excellent. – MaryB Jonglez, paperback, 351 pages, £10.99. Jonglez also offer other secret guides to Rome, Barcelona, Brussels etc.

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Book reviews by Sabrina Sully, Virginia Schultz, Mary Bailey and Michael Burland Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Seth Grahame-Smith

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he best-selling author of that unlikeliest of hits, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, has struck again. As, indeed, has the hero of his latest historical drama horror mash up – none other than Abraham Lincoln. Yes, this is the story of Lincoln’s life and the American Civil War, but with one major change to the accepted history. Vampires are at the very heart of America. And only Honest Abe can save the country and its (human) inhabitants. The book is based on the discovery of Abe’s secret journal. Typically of Grahame-Smith, there is a clever mixture of fact and fantasy. There have long been rumours such a journal. But surely historians and biographers would not expect it to contain the tale of Lincoln’s fight against the vampires that prey on the old, the week and the enslaved. The deaths of Lincoln’s mother and brothers, his famous debates with Stephen Douglas, his progress from farm boy to the highest position in the land and the Civil War all take on a whole new meaning as the plot unfolds. It is brilliantly written, thought provoking, gory and – overall – very, very funny. Just what did Abe keep under that long black coat? And what is in his tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois? Highly recommended. We hope to have an article by Seth Grahame-Smith in The American very soon. It has been delayed by the great news that the rights to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter have been snapped up by Tim Burton – now that will be a movie I will be queuing to see. – MichaelB Published on April 29 by Constable, 304 pages, paperback, £12.99


The American

Silent Killer Beverly Barton

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his New York Times Bestseller is set in Dunmore, Alabama. There’s a killer on the loose, who has murdered a minister by dousing him in gasoline and throwing a lighter at him. His wife Cathy finds him dying, and there’s nothing she can do. When another minister is killed in nearby Athens, Cathy has a nervous breakdown. 18 months later she returns to rebuild her life and reclaim her son from his paternal grandparents. The gossip mill knows where she’s been, her parents-in-law don’t consider her a fit parent but her best friend helps Cathy to plunge back into their interior design business. Meanwhile, an old flame returns to Dunmore. Jack has been invalided out of the army, and after reconstructive surgery and psychiatric help he gets a job as Deputy Sherrif. Jack decides to restore his family home to eradicate all traces of his late stepfather, who physically and mentally abused him, his sister and his mother.

Jack ends up working on Cathy’s husband’s case. He’d never forgotten her, and had been devastated when he returned from Prisoner of War camp to discover that she’d married someone else. He employs her to fix up his house for him, but now they’re both damaged goods. Then the killer strikes again. As Cathy, her son and Jack work out their relationships, dark secrets emerge. The book is suffused with the power and hypocrisy of small town religious life. In Dunmore, it’s OK to have major problems, but they must be kept private. The large part the church plays in the lives of these folks, and the goodness of some of the ministers shines through. The subject matter is worthy of greater exploration than a backdrop to the romance, the characters could have had more depth and the plot greater resolution. Unless I missed it, I couldn’t see what a couple of the killed ministers were guilty of, and there were details left unresolved. – SS Avon Books (HarperCollins), paperback, 432 pages, £6.99

Jamie’s America Jamie Oliver

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n Channel 4 TV, British chef Jamie Oliver celebrated America and American food by traveling the “outback” of the US. The book of the series offers delicious favourites, beautiful photographs and an interesting personal diary-like text. “America – a country of many contrasts, presented the ultimate food trip to explore places….to get to the heart of great American food, to get past the junk and super-sized portions, from New York to New Orleans, Los Angeles to Wyoming,” he says. Recipes include Jewish Penicillin (chicken soup), Alligator (you can use pork, chicken or swordfish if you don’t have a gator handy), Beer Butt Chicken, and Cornish Cowboy Pasties. If you love/ miss American food this book is simply fantastic. – EL Michael Joseph, Hardcover, 360 pages, £26.00

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

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t is 1946 and author Juliet ashton doesn’t know what to write when she receives a letter from Dawsey adams, who chanced upon a book that once belonged to her, and they start a correspondence. Both have a love of reading and when Dawsey mentions he is a member of the Guernsey literary and Potato Peel society during the nazi occupation of Guernsey during World War ii, Juliet’s curiosity is aroused. it isn’t long before she learns that the society is as unusual as its name. my youngest daughter recommended this book and i soon understood why she found it unputdownable. it’s delightfully funny, quirky, yet at the same time touching and caring. mary ann shaffer had been writing and telling stories to friends and family for years and they were delighted when publishers from all over the world became interested in her novel. sadly, her health began to fail, and when the book’s editor asked for changes, she asked her niece annie Barrows to take over. mary ann died in 2008 at the age of 72 and was aware her book was to be published in 13 countries but didn’t know of the avalanche of acclaim it was to receive from readers and booksellers all over the world. – VS Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, paperback, 256 pages, £7.99

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THEATER REVIEWS By Jarlath o’connell

The Dead School

Photo: Brian Farrell

By Pat McCabe • Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London

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cclaimed Irish novelist Pat McCabe has adapted his novel for the stage and, working with a bright young theatre company from rural Cavan, called Livin Dread, they’ve produced probably the finest piece of new Irish theatre writing for some time. Originally staged for a regional touring company it arrives in London garlanded with prizes, having been a major hit at the Dublin Theatre Festival. Irish theatre has always been blessed or cursed (depending on your point of view), by an over reliance on the word to the detriment of movement or action. Friel or McPherson’s way with a monologue might be unsurpassed but Irish playwrights can often make you wonder if they’ve all lost the ability to write dialogue. Not here, however. Livin Dread’s young director Padraic McIntire marshals an incredibly talented cast of five and brings

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an intense physicality and a filmic sense of time and space to this piece. Carrie Crowley, Gemma Reeves and Peter Daly each play a host of supporting characters, all of whom are wonderfully drawn. He uses music from John McCormack to Van Morrison to great effect and the sudden appearance in the play of Daniel O’Connell and William Gladstone among others, to comment on events, adds to its heady charm. The story concerns the culture clash between two school teachers in 1970s Ireland, the older staid Raphael Bell who is in thrall to the traditions of the church and the Gaelic Athletic Association, versus the young pretender Malachy Dudgeon who, having experienced the first whiff of liberation at teacher training college in Dublin, is determined to go back home and change things. It’s about how education and Ireland have both changed, but more impor-

tantly it’s about how these men’s lives are unwittingly mirrored. Sean Campion, Tony nominated for Stones in their Pockets, triumphs as Raphael and Nick Lee, a regular with Druid Theatre, plays the tortured Malachy. The first act presents us with the familiar traits of fundamentalist catholic Ireland. The students learn by rote and are beaten with canes by vicious, impatient and bilingual teachers as they recite their catechism. Irish nationalism, traditional music and Gaelic games all get invoked and the play triumphs in recreating that vanished world in beautiful detail. As the play begins the teacher urges the students to play out his life and this acts as a springboard for this talented cast. McCabe’s writing is wonderfully clipped and spare and yet he has a poet’s ear for dialogue. The language manages to be both accurate and poetic at the same time.


This is aligned to an almost filmic use of space and time and pacing. It is still totally theatrical however and is wonderfully served by Maree Kearn’s inventive set. After the Catholic school cabaret of the first act, the tone darkens in act two as McCabe focuses on the mental collapse of the two men. For Raphael “the school around the corner” is no longer the same and confronted with witnessing his star pupil reduced to being a drug addict begging in a pub, he can take no more. Malachy who bears the burden of his own father’s suicide and a fractious relationship with his girlfriend, also disintegrates following a tragic accident on a school trip. In his Booker short-listed novels The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto (both beautifully filmed by Neil Jordan) McCabe demonstrated his wonderful gift for mixing the realistic and the fantastic, acknowledging that they co-exist all the time for us. His collaboration here with this exciting young company bodes well for the future of Irish drama.

Sean Campion as Raphael Bell shares a stage whisper with Gemma Reeves (Miss Kearns) Photo: Brian Farrell

Photo: matt crockett

The American

Megan Mullally Vaudeville Theatre, London WC2

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or a week in February Will and Grace fans thronged the vaudeville theatre in the West end to worship at the feet of karen, the one with the squeaky voice, the cruel putdowns and the fashionista swagger, but all they got for their money was an actress called megan mullally. that’s the trouble with becoming an icon in a huge international tv hit. What makes you can also break you – the audience want your character and you no longer have a writing team in tow. While mullally is doing really well in following up Will and Grace (she has consolidated her career on Broadway for example) she obviously felt the need to branch out and do other things so she hooked up with an excellent band called supreme music Programme and went on the road. the West end gig was her first outside the us and gig is precisely what it was. a pub gig in fact, which sometimes came dangerously close to karaoke. Do they have karaoke bars in malibu?

on she comes dressed in blue jeans and casual top sporting trendy specs and looking for all the world like sarah Palin on a trip to the supermarket. she proceeds to deliver not the show tunes or standards that some might have expected (or wanted) but instead an eclectic mix of soul, blues, country and indie rock. this chick’s gotta band, she’s goin’ after cool. nothing wrong with that but like many thus afflicted she feels the need to trash her material, her career up to now and even people she has casually encountered, including a london doorman and a poor guy in the audience who had the audacity to wear a tie. Guess you can take the girl out of the valley, but… her first act set includes such diverse numbers as hoagy carmichael’s ‘Lazy River’, ‘Shakedown on 9th St’ by ryan adams, and a country selection including roger miller’s ‘Engine Number Nine’. she proceeds to mangle her introduction to

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The American

Photo: matt crockett

sondheim’s ‘I Remember’, getting everything wrong about it and then dismissing it with a teenage “whatever”. the country numbers are beautifully arranged by the band and she has a hoary low down twang which serves them well, but again she rubbishes country music (“it’s maudlin, it amuses me”) just in case we don’t get that she is cool and from la. all of this begs the question, if you don’t care about your material, why do you expect us to? in the second act she covers the stones ‘Back Street Girl’ (why is a woman singing this?), tom Waits’ ‘Take it With Me’, an american folk hymn ‘Wondrous Love‘, a great rendition of irving mills’ ‘St James Infirmary’ and two randy newman numbers ‘Real Emotional Girl’ and ‘Guilty’. this is a wonderful range of material but again she displays little affinity with any of it. While her voice hasn’t got a great range, in the better-chosen numbers she adapts it well and she particularly shines in a great bluesy encore of ‘You Took Advantage of Me”. her first encore was an enya’ish mauling of ‘Ave Maria’, i’m not kidding. Guess cool people don’t go to church either, so it’s kinda fresh.

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Nightwatching A film by Peter Greenaway Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

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ightwatching, released in the uk in march, is a film by Peter Greenaway about the romantic and professional life of rembrandt at the time of the creation of his masterpiece ‘the night Watch’, which has pride of place in the rijksmuseum in amsterdam. this film was first screened at venice in 2007 and has taken its time to get a uk release. it represents Greenaway’s most accessible work for some time although fans will not be disappointed to learn that his signature neoclassical compositions and graphic nudity are all present and correct. Working with an accomplished young British cast martin Freeman (as rembrandt), eva Birthistle (the wife) and Jodhi may (the lover) he delivers an art history lecture but one with a unique thesis. rembrandt’s most famous painting depicts a motley bunch of civilian militiamen who sat for a group portrait. Greenaway’s hypothesis is that there was a conspiracy to murder within the group and he posits that rembrandt

used a number of allegorical motifs within the painting to subtly subvert the group. Greenaway, like a crusading reporter, reveals the skeletons in the closets of each of the figures in the paintings and demonstrates that, then as now, the rich and powerful use art and artists for their own means. By unveiling the portrait to the world rembrandt unleashed revenge on the conspirators and Greenaway maintains that this sealed his fate and caused his subsequent downfall. Greenway explored this hypothesis further in a documentary he made the year after this film, called Rembrandt J’Accuse, which addresses a number of the mysteries associated with the painting and is illustrated with excerpts from this film. known primarily for his painterly epics The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Prospero’s Books and The Draughtsman’s Contract, Greenaway’s films have challenged audiences and brought a distinctive aesthetic to the cinema. since The Pillow Book fourteen


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years ago he has worked in opera libretti and regularly in the field of digital video installations, some of them quite ambitious. He has for example staged a complex video installation at – and indeed on – Veronese’s ‘The Wedding Feast of Cana’. Greenaway’s regular hallmarks are much in evidence here, carefully composed tableaux vivant, contrasting pleasure and pain, nature and architecture. Shot in DV and mostly studio bound, its limited budget (which was cobbled together from a number of European sources) shows. As usual he is weakest on narrative, something that rarely interests him. Here he has a strong story to tell but the actors are let down by the dialogue. They speak in modern English vernacular, which sits oddly with the high aims of the piece. Of course whatever accent you use is a construct but in this case it ends up sounding like a cross between a worthy but dull Open University film and an episode of British TV ‘lads’ show Men Behaving

Badly. Freeman’s Rembrandt merely resembles a pub bore. The characters are not developed and when audience engagement is needed it is by then too late. The film more than outstays its welcome at 134 minutes and commercial prospects (again no doubt of little interest to Greenaway) are slim. There have been a number of commercial

films/plays/books in the last ten years which successfully explored the lives of great painters, admittedly in a more middle of road way. Here Greenaway, hidebound by budget, has toned down his usual flamboyant didacticism and left us with something rather vapid. He needs to get back to shocking us with his wild visual imagination. One wonders what he might do with 3D.

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The American

A Midsummer Night’s Dream [image] rev_theater_Megan Mullally by Matt Crockett 3.jpg [& 4 & 6] [no captions] [credit Matt Crockett]

[reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell – as are Nightwatching, The Dead School and A Midsummer Nights Dream]

Megan Mullally Vaudeville Theatre, London WC2 he prospect of Dame Judi back on Forstage a week doing in February Shakespeare Will and Grace fans being directed thronged by Sir the Peter Vaudeville Hall at the Theatre in the wonderful Rose West Theatre End to in Kingston worship at the was certainly feet of Karen, going to thebeone special. with the And squeaky it lives upvoice, to expectations. the cruel put-downs andThe theproduction fashionista demonstrates swagger, but all the got why exactly for their Sir Peter money andwas Dame an actress Judi called Megan Dench are such Mullally. national treasures. Both bring their decades of experience That’s and an theacute trouble intelligence with becoming to the an iconDench piece. in a huge dominates international the stage TV hit. and What makes no-one can match you can heralso in speaking break youthe the audience verse. Workingwant withyour an exciting character and and you no longer talented younghave castathey’ve writingmade team ain tow. While Dream to remember. Mullally is doing really well in following Set in Elizabethan up Will and England, Grace (she this has consolidated new production hersees career Titania, on Broadthe way for Fairy Queen, example) as a portrait she obviously of the felt the Queen ageing need toElizabeth branch out I, and do other fascinated with things the theatre. so she hooked A prologue up with featuring an excelthe lent band Queen frames called the Supreme piece. Music Programme Elizabeth Bury’s simple, and went on the autumnal designs road. The use West End gig was her first

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By William Shakespeare • Rose Theatre, Kingston, Surrey the apron stage to great effect and allow the actors the space to hold the audience’s rapt attention with these great speeches. Hall is probably unmatched as a Shakespearean director in how he gets his actors to speak the verse. Whether it is veterans such as James Laurenson (Quince) and Julian Wadham (Theseus) or the newcomers playing the four star-crossed lovers, this is the best spoken and therefore the most accessible Dream for a long time. Action isn’t neglected either and Ben Mansfield and Tam Williams bring a gymnastic agility to the lively horseplay between Demetrius and Lysander, the young lovers. They even literally exit “cheek by jowl”. The elfin Reece Ritchie is a suitably lithe Puck and there is also a great physical and comic turn by Oliver Chris as Bottom, doing more double-takes than Norman Wisdom (the much-loved British ‘gormless’ slapstick comic actor). Left: Rachael Sterling as Helena, “a revelation” Photo: Nobby Clark

Bottom, the weaver, who turns into an ass and becomes the object of Titania’s love whilst under a spell, is a difficult part to get right. Quite often he is a bore. Oliver Chris however, being much younger than most, brings a boyish swagger to the part and despite the considerable age gap between himself and Dench, they convince as a gloriously odd couple. Dench is at her most beguiling too when playing the spellbound Titania. She brings an impish girlishness to it, which belies her years and in case you’re troubled by the age gap the text does give proper licence: Oberon says of Titania: “Her dotage now I do begin to pity”.


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The revelation of the production however is Rachael Sterling as Helena, again a difficult part with long complex speeches and whilst it’s one of Shakespeare’s strongest female roles, it can disintegrate into one great whine of unrequited love. 48 years ago her mother Diana Rigg played Helena to Dench’s Titania also for Peter Hall in the then new RSC. In an amazing twist of fate, now Rigg Jnr. appears opposite Judi. The resemblance between Sterling and Rigg is quite disconcerting. She even has that great Rigg bark! But

she makes the part her own and has a commanding stage presence. This performance combined with her recent Oliver nominated role in The Priory singles her out as one to watch. A problem for this writer always with the Dream has been the play within the play. It drags and is generally painfully unfunny. It was interesting to read that for the first few centuries it was always done straight. Now it is always a presented as a parody and this gives licence for much comic “bad” acting utilising the regional

accent it is most acceptable to ridicule at the time. Here Hall orchestrates a whole music hall ‘turn’ with beautiful detail in the “bad” performances. It brings the house down. Perhaps you need to be English!

Dame Judi Dench as Titania, captivated by Bottom (Oliver Chris), “no one can match her speaking the verse Photo: Nobby Clark

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The American

Who’s Headed for No.10? Has the British electorate abandoned party loyalty? Sir Robert Worcester investigates

53% ‘absolutely certain to vote’

39%

) -2%

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The Political Triangle© 2010 General Election Issu

es (-

6%)

ge ( I ma

he polls are narrowing, pointing to the possibility of a hung parliament. Behind the ’horse race’ figures of which party is ahead lies much careful analysis of the mood of the Electorate. Most people don’t change their commitment to vote or their party loyalty. The small shifts in voting intention are of the order of two people in a hundred changing their minds between one poll and the next. Changes in voting intentions are explained by three principal factors: issues, the image of the leaders of the parties, and the parties themselves. I visualise these as this ‘political triangle’. Some 39% of the aggregate determinants of their voting intention is based on their views of the parties’ policies on the issues of importance to them, 39% on their image of the leader of the party they support (in comparison with the other parties’ leaders) and 22% by their view of the party they support. The parties’ policies aren’t in the forefront of most voters’ minds because most of them aren’t salient to themselves and their families, they don’t see any differences between the parties on the issues that are salient to them, or they don’t believe that the party will be in power to carry out the policies - or if they are, for some reason they won’t. Two startling findings arise from this latest finding: first, compared to 2005 the coming election is much more focused on the images of party leaders (such things as ‘capable’ and ‘understands the problems facing Britain’) and much less on issues and party image (e.g. ‘united’ and ‘good team of leaders’). Second, I expected to find substan-

ty Par 22%

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8%)

er Image (+

39% Lead

Values Q. I want you to think about what it is that most attracted you to the [...] party. Some people are attracted mainly by the policies of the party. Some by the leaders of the party and some because they identify with the party as a whole. If you had a total of ten points to allocate according to how important each of these was to you, how many points would you allocate to the leaders of the party you intend voting for, how many to its policies, and how many to the party as a whole? Base: 832 British Adults 18+, 19-22 February 2010. Source: MORI/Observer

tial differences between ‘certain’ voters and ‘floating’ voters. Surpisingly there was little difference, as there were only tiny differences between men and women on how they positioned their voting priorities, or by party supported, although the Liberal Democrats are slightly more policy orientated than are the other two major parties’ supporters. The Election will be held May 6. We know that for sure because the Budget has been announced for March 24th. So, which party is going to win? My money’s on David Cameron, but there are three “wild cards”: The debates. We have no form, three runners who have never raced. In the first debate on April 15th Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will go head to head on domestic issues for ninety minutes with the redoubtable Alastair Stewart of ITN in the chair. Expectations for Cameron are high – will he be as polished a performer as in

the past? Gordon Brown is a champion debater; he can be witty but the public think of him as a dour Scot – will he better their low expectations? Will Nick Clegg rise to the occasion, giving the Liberal Democrats an opportunity to shine before an audience which to date they’d only dreamed of? The turnout. The higher the turnout the more likely Labour will do well. It was 61% last time, 59% in 2001, but in 1997 was 72%. On present form at 60% the Tories could be well ahead of Labour in a narrow majority or even a hung parliament. But at 70% the tables would be turned with Labour ahead. And at 75%, Labour would have an overall majority. The memorable words of PM Harold MacMillan: “Events dear boy, events”. One thing’s sure, by next month’s edition of The American we’ll be on the home stretch, and I’ll tell you who’s likely to be in Downing Street May 7. H


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Overseas Americans Week (D-MA); Gregora Meeks (D-NY); Jim Moran (D-VA); Donald Payne (D-NJ); Gregorio Sablan (MP); Janice Schakowsky (D-IL); Joe Sestak (D-PA); Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Henry Waxman (D-CA); Frank Wolf (R-VA); and David Wu (D-OR). Some of the topics to be aired at OAW 2010 include: l  Tax Reform for US citizens residing

abroad l Bank Accounts in the US and abroad l  Citizenship of children born abroad l  Transmission of Citizenship l  Medicare for Overseas Americans l  Social Security

Position Papers on these, along with more information about OAW, are at www.overseasamericansweek.com. If you have any issues you would like raised at OAW you should contact one of the organizing associations, who are, in their own words: AARO: Association Of Americans Resident Overseas, was founded in Paris in 1973 as a not-for-profit, non-partisan, public service organization representing United States citizens living abroad. AARO’s mission is to seek fair and equal treatment from the U.S. government for Americans living and working abroad; to inform AARO members of issues affecting them; and to build awareness in the United States of the role played by Americans overseas. www.aaro.org ACA: American Citizens Abroad, the voice of Americans overseas, is a nonprofit, non-partisan volunteer organization that represents the interests of Americans living and working outside the U.S. to the Executive Branch of the

By Andy Sundberg

U.S. Government, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Federal Judiciary to insure that Americans overseas are treated with equality and fairness. ACA keeps Americans overseas informed and supports their role as informal representatives of the United States. Headquartered in Geneva Switzerland, ACA receives no subsidies or aid from any government agency either U.S. or foreign. It is funded only by membership dues and voluntary contributions from around the world. www.aca.ch FAWCO: Federation Of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, is a non-partisan not-for-profit organization founded in 1931, currently comprising 78 member associations in 38 countries worldwide. The oldest and largest organization representing private-sector Americans abroad, it is incorporated in the State of New York, and is an approved Non-Governmental Organization with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It has been particularly active in the fields of citizenship rights and voting from overseas. fawco.org H

Photo: James Kigin

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hree overseas advocacy organizations working on behalf of US citizens meet this month with legislators and key government agencies and departments in Washington DC. Overseas Americans Week, April 1923, is an opportunity for US expatriates to draw Washington’s attention to issues where current American law excludes, penalizes or denies access to overseas Americans. These issues involve Medicare, Social Security, Citizenship, Taxation and Access to U.S. and foreign banking facilities. 2010 sees a record delegation of representatives from American Citizens Abroad (ACA), The Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO), and The Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO). They are reaching out to the White House as President Obama made an encouraging statement of support for overseas Americans during his election campaign. The delegation will be meeting with the Consular Service in the State Department and members of the Americans Abroad Caucus. Formed in 2007, the Americans Abroad Caucus is the only structure in Washington focusing on “overseas Americans” issues, says the OAW organization. Current members are: Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) co-chair; Joe Wilson (R-SC) co-chair; John Boozman (R-AR); Michael Capuano (D-MA); André Carson (D-IN); Donna M. Christensen (D-VI Delegate); James Clyburn (D-SC); Steven Cohen (D-TN); Michael Conaway (R-TX); Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA); Susan Davis (D-CA); Mike Doyle (D-PA); Charles Gonzalez (D-TX); Kay Granger (R-TX); Alcee Hastings (D-FL); Rush Holt (D-NJ); Michael M. Honda (DCA); Eric Massa (D-NY); James McGovern

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ow many politicians can dance on the head of a slogan? Apparently quite a few. There are at least three British leaders (and one American president) now working the territory of ‘Change and Fairness’ – or is it ‘Fairness and Change’? If one is so minded, it makes a great parlour game. Put a limited number of words into a bag and

tinued, if slowly decreasing, support for the United States make him vulnerable) or a host of other foreign problems: a nuclear Iran, China’s rising power, North Korea, and the earthquake in Haiti. Some things really aren’t his fault. The only caveat to that list is the inevitable Conservatives strategy of attempting to pin the entire economic

Slogans draw them out in any order and voila! – a political slogan. Reminds one of the Monty Python favourites, the Judean People’s Front – or the People’s Front of Judea – maybe it was the Judean Popular People’s Front. However, as we enter the phoney war, slogans may be the least of the Labour Party’s difficulties. Thirteen could be a very unlucky number for years in power as nothing the Prime Minister touches – or throws things at – seems to be working. Brown’s difficulties can be placed in two broad categories: 1) the stuff other people/ countries/ events did to him, and 2) the stuff he did to himself, one way or another. Most of the issues in the first category are what one might call ‘wider world issues’ and are unlikely to be core to the election. They may have British/domestic impact and will certainly affect perceptions of his leadership, but voters are hardly likely to lay blame for these issues exclusively at the Prime Minister’s door. Examples include the totality of the world’s economics difficulties (though his handling of the fallout is very much part of the domestic story), the continued trouble in the Middle East (though his policies of con-

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crack. ‘Comebacks’ are attempted to no avail. Blame is shifted from place to place and person to person. The intensity could even be said to bring out the ‘forces of hell’ in the most reasonable person. This feeling was palpable at the end of the Conservative reign and the party literally began to implode. Out of every closet, drawer and cupboard came the dirty secrets of absolute power – which corrupts absolutely. This, in turn, led to a political version of ‘every man for himself’ and all manner of things were thrown overboard: colleagues, principles, even leaders. The real Labour Party secret in 1997

& Slanging Matches Alison Holmes, Pierre Keller Fellow of Transatlantic Studies at Yale Universtity, takes a look at the British Election disaster on Labour’s tail. They will be hoping for a reversal of the Black Wednesday disaster in 1992 that destroyed the Tory reputation of being the ‘only’ party that could handle the economy. This will be hotly contested election ground – though you aren’t going to hear much talk of international financial regulation or global macroeconomic infrastructure. It will be very much ‘it’s the economy stupid’, to borrow another American slogan favourite. It is the second category of ‘the stuff Gordon did to himself’ where the real campaign begins and he has already discovered the biggest problem of longevity of power. Eventually the voters are entitled to think that whatever has been done, or left undone, is indeed the fault of the people who claim to run the country. Further, as criticism becomes increasingly shrill, parties

was to capitalise on a shift in the national mood and set in train what became the Tory pile-on that ensured the Labour victory. Yet this category of stuff also has two levels: the fast acting and slow moving. The fast acting will be the day to day struggle during the course of the election. The press conference appearances, the dither or die decisions, the events that take over the political agenda, and particularly the new-tothe-UK feature of the leader debate – where American history lessons as to the damage of Nixon’s heavy jowls and five o’clock shadow will doubtless pervade the Labour team’s preparation. Campaigns are won and lost here certainly, but there are three slow moving issues that have already altered the shape of this election. The first began in 1997 with the Labour Party’s almost half-hearted


The American

“Change & Fairness” “Fairness & Change” DaviD cameron Picture courtesy oF cmec

fulfilment of John smith’s promise of scottish parliament. all seemed fine – as long as the labour Party ran both london and the nations. coalitions in scotland and Wales proved a little trickier, but not impossible. the new challenge of this election is the fact that, for the first time, the centre will not control the ukwide general election ‘story’. the media has, very slowly, become accustomed to reporting the differences, but a failing london labour Party may have a fascinating blowback north of the border. Despite Brown’s scottish seat, the scottish labour Party may feel the need to ‘cut london loose’ in a bid for power. the snP’s poll slump offers them hope and london’s deaf ear may give them the necessary fire to rebel. the second began even before the 1997 election. as the labour Party gained ground there was a growing need for a strategy should there be a hung parliament. Paddy ashdown, it was later known, was involved in talks with Blair as to what may transpire

in such an event. as it turned out, the labour Party did not need liberal Democrat support, but Blair kept ashdown hanging. concessions were sought and agreed (see scottish point above) but any formal ‘jointery’ or electoral system reform were decidedly kicked into touch as labour was content they had their hands firmly on the levers of power. the question is how different things might look now if the labour Party had put in train a slow process of reform at that point. it may have taken a decade or so, so as not to upset the labour stalwarts, but it would have ensured the creation of a progressive system that they surely could have foreseen would serve them well at some point in the future – say about now. Finally, there is what is being seen as the ‘cult of personality’. campaigning in the uk has, for some time, prompted

commentators to predict and bemoan the introduction of ‘presidential’ politics. many of these claims are spurious because the main features that create a culture of proxy fights by television or overly simplified messaging simply aren’t present in the uk. the entire uk would physically fit into texas but has national broadcasters and print media that could not exist in the united states. there is no political paid television advertising and a parliamentary system that operates much more tightly on the basis of a manifesto campaign. that said, the focus on ‘character’ has been on the rise in the uk, but primarily as a reaction to the strategies of the parties themselves. the descent into a ‘battle of the wives’ or even the bullying scandal was set in train long ago. one might suggest that life is, once again, imitating art. however, the reality is that, once again, the British political class is seeking ill-fitting american political hand me downs. ‘change and Fairness’, ‘Fairness and change’? monty Python, and every politician, knows that the only people to hate more than the romans are the ‘splitters’. H

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What did you do in the

Age of the Environment, Daddy?

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he Environment” dominates every discussion that we have today. Whether it is the recession, where humans are presented as a fairytale type allegorical monster of greedy consumers, depleting the world of its resources or polluting the planet with our toxic dreams of so-called “better living” or any number of other debates, from development in the Third World to whether we should visit foreign countries for fun, “The Environment” has become a secular theological hammer to bash over the heads of the population.

asks Alan Miller, the Director of The New York Salon in NYC and arts and media centers in London

This is not the environment as it really is – a malleable world, with plentiful resources, adaptive and beautiful. Resources, incidentally, that are not finite because human ingenuity and technological advance enables new potential for resources up until now unrealized. Hence oil could only become relevant in the age of the combustion engine and nuclear energy is specific to our historical period. The potential therefore is only limited to our own imagination and innovation. Still, what now pervades and informs almost every discussion is

Are environmental disasters like the floods in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina the fault of human activity? Alan Miller is skeptical.

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not the environment but The Environment – a modern day Holy Scripture of What Thou Must Do. In the world where The Environment is seen as the Highest Power, humans must be meek and humble (and silence themselves) especially when viewing pictures of Polar Bears and Ice Caps. The Age of Enlightenment - where we imagined we could make and re-make the world and transform humanity to provide a world where hunger and poverty no longer control us and we can all potentially enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - has been eclipsed by The Age of The Environment. Thou Shall Recycle Daily. Thou Shall Not Doubt Any Doomsday Scenario. Thou Shall Switch Off All Lights When Leaving. Now, if someone happens to be skeptical about certain predictions, it somehow has become acceptable to label them a Denier. This outrageous tag has been an attempt to stifle any kind of debate or critique of the politics of the environment. Taking its cue from Holocaust Denial, it aims to elevate itself to a similar level and portray any doubters as horrifically immoral. Therein lies the rub, as The Environment has become The New Morality, in an age where we find it so hard to have any universally shared agreed values and ideas (the postmodern relativist adage that “your


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opinion is just as valid as mine and all is equal” reigns supreme) the one absolute is The Environment must be “respected”. So the recent scandal surrounding the leaked emails of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in England, where researchers actively aimed to prevent contesting ideas encroaching on their polemically directed “scientific proof” was part of a wider problem whereby The Environment must not be impacted and Science will help ensure that. Science however, is not politics – at its best it is the patient, long term, incremental and diligent research into phenomena, and experimentation into them. What we then do with the knowledge we discern from science is based on an array of variables, value judgments, choices, motivations and most importantly politics. The push and pull of viewpoints and battles of ideas is what we humans should engage in to shape the world in the direction we believe is best (for all, or in some cases for a few). Alongside the recent revelations about the UEA , we have seen serious questions raised with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its head Rajendra Pachauri in which he has attempted to delegitimize critics by relying on the “Climate Denier” tag. The problem is that too many people have come to rely upon the idea that once some indicators point in a certain direction, it somehow suggests that our actions must only be of a certain kind. Thus with the debate on anthropogenic global warming, environmentalists of all hues declared “The Science is Clear” and thus we all must engage in Sustainable Development and aim to adopt Malthusian outlooks. As it happens, the research

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has always been remarkably complex as is the empirical evidence when it comes to what is happening with the planet. Only thirty years ago the big panic was “global cooling” and yet in our age of historical amnesia the battle cry of “The Science is Clear” was believed by some as good enough to quell any challenges. However, real science requires consistent questioning and assessment and research – and should not be used as advocacy by scientists or others. When we take our kids - who at school are pretty much told these days that humans are destroying the world - to the movie theater and they see Wall E, with obese humans grossly incapable of walking having destroyed earth, or Ice Age 2 where everything melts or the slew of Armageddon infused movies adults have to endure – and they ask us what we did during the Age of The Environment, I shall take comfort in telling them that I was a heretic.

I did not go along with the Morality Play that substitutes for The Science and The Environment. Instead, still believing in the future and in humans, I know we can shape this beautiful world in whichever direction we decide. We should ensure we have as much scientific endeavor and investment as possible. We should have confidence in humanity’s soundness and its ability to create solutions to our problems and develop innovative and exciting opportunities to improve our incredible planet. And not just this planet – we will potentially harvest the water on the Moon and Mars for future human habitation. It is high time we stopped the politicization of science and rejected fairytale stories about human evil killing The Environment. What do you think? If you have any views on how humankind should treat the environment, send them to editor@theamerican.co.uk H

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Stop thief! Have you seen British Steam Car team’s stolen merchandise?

Steam Team Cleaned Out

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he world record breaking British steam car team has had £6,000 worth of branded merchandise stolen while appearing at the autosport international show in the nec Birmingham. the team receives no funding or grants and relies on merchandise sales and sponsorship to fund its appearances at public events, which it does to inspire young people’s interest in engineering and technology – the car’s name is “inspiration”. in 2009 the team smashed the 100 year-old land speed record for a steam powered car. Principle driver charles Burnett iii averaged 139.8mph over a mile at edwards air Force Base california. Driver Don Wales also established a new record of 148.166mph over the measured kilometre. team manager lynne angel said “people are in awe of the vehicle, she really is a show-stopper. although the press dubbed her as “the world’s fastest kettle” the car looks very futuristic and thunderbird’esque. We have received such a wonderful reception when the car has been displayed. our stand was one of the busiest at the show.” the team is the only retailer of its branded merchandise, so if you see any on sale, please report it to them on 01452 260063 or rebecca@eventspr.co.uk

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£5,000 Electric Car Grant

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he UK government has announced a new grant of 25% of the list price of an electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell car, up to £5,000, from January 1, 2011 Mitsubishi Motors UK’s MD, Lance Bradley commented, “We are thrilled with this news.” David Martell, The Electric Car Corporation’s CEO, said, “It is undoubtedly the only way UK motorists will be persuaded to change their motoring habits and

give up their petrol cars.” Only two cars will be eligible for the scheme when it starts: Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and, strangely, the Tesla Roadster – which costs a cool £87,000. Perhaps the Tesla is not what the government intended its grant to go towards? Existing electric cars, such as the G-Wiz, the biggestselling electric car on UK city streets so far, and the MEGA e-City will not qualify , because they do not go fast enough.

Giulietta Wows Geneva

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mong the stunning but unreal concept cars at this year’s Geneva Motor Show was one real-world star, the new Alfa Giulietta. It’s Alfa Romeo’s Centenary year, and what better way to celebrate than the reintroduction of a classic Alfa name on a great new car. The Giulietta is a five-door hatchback which promises ‘impressive dynamic capability for the most demanding routes, while providing comfort on everyday journeys’. Five different versions will go on sale from May 2010, two Quadrifoglio Verde (Cloverleaf ) versions fitted with a 235 HP 1750 TBi engine, two Distinctive versions with 170 HP 2.0 JTDM turbodiesels, and a Distinctive version fitted with a 170 HP 1.4 MultiAir Turbo petrol engine. Giulietta comes with Alfa’s recently introduced DNA (Dynamic, Normal and All Weather) selector, a system that customises the vehicle’s behaviour to suit different road conditions and driving styles by modifying the functions of the engine, gearbox, steering system, electronic differential and Vehicle Dynamic Control system.


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©clive mason/Getty imaGes

Formula One

The Lights are GO...! Formula One Season Preview

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ith 19 races, live BBc coverage, and two British world champions, you could have difficulty avoiding Formula one this year. Don’t sweat it: while Jimmie Johnson dominates nascar, take advantage of being in the uk, and enjoy some open-wheel.

Champions everywhere

not that the uk has any monopoly in F1. in fact, the international series could well have a greater German accent this season, with six of 24 drivers from Germany, including the return of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher. ‘schumy’ headlines a mercedes team that morphed out of last year’s very British champions, Brawn. Brawn’s top driver, reigning champ Jenson Button joins fellow Brit (and ’08 World champion) Lewis Hamilton at mclaren. With German-born Nico Rosberg – son of Finnish former world titleist keke rosberg – partnering schumacher, expect the British motorsports media to make the most of the all-German vs all-British rivalry.

Rookie racers

another familiar surname from the ’80s is to be found at new team hrt, whose two rookie drivers include Bruno Senna, nephew of F1 legend ayrton.

2010 Drivers & Teams Jenson Button (GBr) mclaren exp: 172 r • 24 P • high: Wc ’09 Lewis Hamilton (GBr) mclaren exp: 52 r • 27 P • high: Wc ’08

Michael Schumacher (Ger) mercedes exp: 250 r • 154 P • high: Wc ’94-’95, ’00-04 Nico Rosberg (Ger) mercedes exp: 70 r • 2 P • high: 7th in ’09

Sebastian Vettel (Ger) red Bull exp: 43 r • 9 P • high: 2nd in ’09 Mark Webber (aus) red Bull exp: 140 r • 10 P • high: 4th in ’09

Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari Don’t expect much from hrt in their first season, nor from fellow debut teams virgin or lotus. of the three, the returning lotus badge is most likely to trouble the score table, thanks to the 271 combined race experience of drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. the most experienced racer on the grid, Rubens Barrichello, has a new home with Williams. after years playing no.2 to schumacher at Ferrari (and more recently to Button at Brawn), he should be no.1 at Williams, alongside German rookie Nico Hulkenberg.

Tips for the top

Ferrari could be big players this year after barely contending early in ’09. two-time champion, spaniard Fernando Alonso arrives from renault looking to get his reputation as ‘heir apparent to schumacher’ back on track. he is joined by Felipe Massa, who missed the ’08 drivers’ title by a single point to lewis hamilton. away from champions past and present, keep an eye on Germany’s Sebastian Vettel (pictured above). second last year, he is the only contender with the same team and partner as last year (apart, of course, from his team mate, australia’s Mark Webber) so team chemistry shouldn’t be a problem. H

exp: 116 r • 28 P • high: 2nd in ’08 Fernando Alonso (esP) Ferrari exp: 140 r • 53 P • high: Wc ’05-’06

Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Williams exp: 288 r • 68 P • high: 2nd in ’02, ’04 Nico Hulkenberg* (Ger) Williams

Robert Kubica (Pol) renault exp: 57 r • 9 P • high: 4th in ’08 Vitaly Petrov* (rus) renault

Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force india exp: 52 r • 0 P • high: 17th in ’09 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ita) Force india exp: 44 r • 0 P • high: 22nd in ’09

Sebastien Buemi (sui) toro rosso exp: 17 r • 0 P • high: 16th in ’09 Jaime Alguersuari (esP) toro rosso exp: 8 r • 0 P • high: 24th in ’09

Jarno Trulli (ita) lotus exp: 219 r • 11 P • high: 7th in ’05 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) lotus exp: 52 r • 4 P • high: 7th in ’08

Karun Chandhok* (inD) hrt Bruno Senna* (Bra) hrt Pedro de la Rosa (esP) sauber exp: 72 r • 1 P • high: 11th in ’06 Kamui Kobayashi (JaP) sauber exp: 2 r • 0 P • high: 18th in ’09

Timo Glock (Ger) virgin exp: 36 r • 3 P • high: 10th in ’08, ’09 Lucas di Grassi* (Bra) virgin Key: R - Races; P - Podium Finishes (1st, 2nd or 3rd); High – Highest Final Position in Season Standings; WC – World Champion; * – Rookie.

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Sideline

The NFL’s free agency period begins with the NFC Central’s also-rans making waves. Richard L Gale peruses the opening salvo of the offseason signings

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NFL Central QBs Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Brett Favre (let’s not kid ourselves, he is coming back). These may not be WR toys for any kind of show-on-turf, but Martz will still have fun using Forté and Taylor out of the backfield: between them, they’ve combined for over 200 catches the past two seasons. Other early free agency moves:

But the NFC Central remained the center of activity, LaDainian Tomlinson visiting with Minnesota as we went to press, and Detroit especially active on defense, adding CBs Jonathan Wade and Chris Houston. Yet up front was where the ever-dreadful Lions are preparing to draw a line in the sand. They signed ex-Titans DE Kyle Vanden Bosch approximately sixty seconds into free agency, and later added ex-Browns DT Corey Williams. With the second overall pick of the draft, the Lions could also add another blue chip DT, either Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy. The Lions line could go from dismal to dominant.

lC  incinnati

replaced WR Laveranues Coles with Antonio Bryant lE  x-Panther QB Jake Delhomme, replaced ex-Brown Derek Anderson lB  altimore traded for ex-Cards WR Anquan Boldin. Arizona also lost S Antrel Rolle (to the NY Giants) and ILB Karlos Dansby (to Miami) lR  B Thomas Jones parted company with the NY Jets, arriving in KC l Th  e Jets traded for ex-Charger CB Antonio Cromartie (to pair with Darrelle Revis – wow!).

R.I.P. Merlin Olsen

Photo: Dan Yuska/Chicago Bears

leven months ago, the Bears’ big offseason splash was trading for QB Jay Cutler. The receiving corps developed and Cutler threw well between the 20s, but he also proved pick-prone in the red zone. RB Matt Forté failed to shine as brightly as in his debut season, the defense went soft again, and the Bears finished ’09 with two fewer wins that ’08. Well, the Bears have been splashing again. Newly arrived: ex-Vikings runner Chester Taylor, ex-Panthers sack machine Julius Peppers, and TE Brandon Manumaleuna (reuniting with new Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz). Also entering the picture (although not the one below), is fullback Eddie Williams. Net result? Blocking help and outlet receivers for short-yardage situations, a lot less pressure on Cutler to make the franchise throw inside the 20, and a lot more pass pressure on high profile

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Speaking of dominant lines, I can’t finish this column without mentioning the sad passing of Hall of Famer (not to forget noteworthy beard-wearer) Merlin Olsen, who died March 11 after a brief battle with cancer. Olsen was half of an era-defining commentating partnership with Dick Emberg in the 1980s, as well as playing Jonathan Garvey in Little House On The Prairie at the tail end of the ’70s. I was barely born when the Los Angeles Rams’ Fearsome Foursome were at their peak. Yet 40 years on, I can still quote you the names Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier without needing to Wiki their nickname. He was truly an icon. H


The American

MLB Preview 2010

Can anybody touch the Yankees this year? ESPN’s Jay Webster checks out the contenders.

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hey say hope springs eternal. Well, at least they do in baseball circles. With a long season ahead, every baseball fan feels that just maybe this will be their year for glory. so which fans have the right to be optimistic, and who are those dreaming of what probably won’t be? here’s a rundown of each division in baseball and the order i expect them to finish.

American League East 1. New York Yankees The New York Yankees, of course, won their 27th World Series title with by far the largest payroll in baseball. At $209 million they spent $60 million more than the cross-town Mets. This year they suddenly got ‘tighter’ with the purse strings, electing to replace Johnny Damon’s $13 million contract with Curtis Granderson’s $5.5 million, for example. The Yankees will still have by far the biggest payroll and will still have the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia lining out in pinstripes. It’s hard to argue against the Yankees being favorites to take home number 28. 2. Boston Red Sox While the Bronx Bombers figure to continue launching balls out of the home run factory that is the new Yankees Stadium, the rival Red Sox will be playing small ball over in Fenway. While David Ortiz and newly-acquired Adrian Beltre will try to regain power output that dipped last year, the Sox will be all about pitching and defense this time around, and they might just have enough of both to give the hated Yankees a run for their (substantial) money.

3. Tampa Bay Rays The good news is the not-so-big spending Rays bring back the core of a team that made a surprise run to the World Series in 2008. The bad news is that same core had a largely disappointing campaign last season, failing to follow up on that success. With payroll constraints not felt by other teams atop the division, there are also questions as to how long the low-cost Rays can keep the team together. Regardless of the future, it’s clear the Rays have talent right now. 4. Baltimore Orioles The Orioles are all about youth. With a slew of talented young arms and a budding superstar in centerfielder Adam Jones, the O’s are a year or two away from challenging the top teams in the division. There is definitively some talent to keep an eye on here.

American League Central 1. Minnesota Twins The Twins move from the constant comfortable conditions of the Metrodome to the Minnesota elements of brand-new outdoor Target Field. The new stadium and its revenue streams have allowed the smallmarket Twins’ payroll to approach $100 million. It may even allow them to keep superstar Joe Mauer out of a Yankees or Angels uniform and in his hometown long term. Sit back and watch Mauer and Justin Morneau break in the new stadium, though closer Joe Nathan’s elbow injury could put a dent in the Twins’ chances.

Even a recession-adjusted Yankees roster still boasts some of the biggest names in MLB, including A-Rod. © al Bello / Getty imaGes

5. Toronto Blue Jays By trading Roy Halladay away the Blue Jays officially declared themselves in rebuilding mode.

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2. Chicago White Sox There are doubts about the White Sox offensive capabilities, but there is little doubt they have the best starting pitching in the division. With Jake Peavy added to a rotation that includes Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gavin Floyd, the White Sox will go as far as their pitching takes them. 3. Detroit Tigers With Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello sitting atop the starting rotation, the Tigers will also have some pitching. Johnny Damon comes to town to give them a spark at the top of the batting order, but the Tigers will need Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen to return to form if they are to stay in the hunt. 4. Kansas City Royals The Royals are at least worth watching every fifth day when Cy Young winner Zack Grienke takes the mound. 5. Cleveland Indians There won’t be a whole lot of reason for fans to come out to Progressive Field this year. Below: Stephen Strasburg’s pitching gives Nats fans reason for hope. © christian Petersen / Getty imaGes

American League West 1. Los Angeles Angels The Angels cruised to their sixth division title in seven years last season, but saw John Lackey, Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero depart in the offseason. L.A. did an admirable job filling the holes and probably still has enough to get into the post season, but it won’t be as easy as last year. 2. Seattle Mariners That’s because the Mariners added two big pieces in starter Cliff Lee and the aforementioned Figgins. With Lee and Alex Hernandez anchoring the rotation, and Figgins and Ichiro Suzuki sitting atop the lineup, there will be some excitement in Safeco field. There are enough questions about the rest of the rotation and offensive depth to wonder if the M’s have done enough to close the gap on the Angels. 3. Texas Rangers The Rangers surprised many people last year by staying in the Wild Card hunt, and could be a factor in the division once again. Vlad Guerrero moves to Arlington to bat behind Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, and second baseman Ian Kinsler continues to prove he is one of the best young infielders in baseball. The Rangers also have a crop of exiting youngsters working their way up, and that all ads up to hopes of building on last year’s success. 4. Oakland As The A’s will be offensively challenged and will rely on a rotation anchored by two pitchers in Justin Duchscherer and Ben Sheets who are returning after missing last year due to injuries.

National League East 1. Philadelphia Phillies With Philadelphia winning the Roy Halladay sweepstakes after making their second straight World Series appearance, the

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Phillies are clearly the team to beat in the National League. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard are as good as it gets on any infield in baseball, and with a healthy Brad Lidge closing games, it could be lights out for the competition in the Senior Circuit. 2. Atlanta Braves The race in the NL East would seem to be for second place as everyone else looks up at the Phils. Bobby Cox has said it’s his final year on the bench in Atlanta, and pitching has traditionally been the trademark of his teams. This year should be no different, as the Braves sport one of the deepest rotations in baseball. All eyes will be on rookie phenom right fielder Jason Heyward to see if he lives up to the hype. 3. Florida Marlins While they won’t challenge Philadelphia for supremacy, the Florida Marlins could well find themselves in the Wild Card mix once again. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez is one of the premier players in baseball, and they have a nice mixture of up-and-coming talent, as well as some pretty good pitching. When all is said and done, this team could make some noise in the East. 4. New York Mets After a disappointing first season in Citi Field last year, the Mets might have more question marks than any team in baseball. But they have talent as well, if they can stay healthy. After Johan Santana, the rotation is shaky, and the Mets would seem to have ‘middle of the pack’ written all over them. 5. Washington Nationals The Nationals won’t be as bad as they were last year, but that’s not saying much after a 103-loss season. There is actually some buzz surrounding the Nats this spring with the arrival of pitching prodigy Stephen Strasburg. Add in the likes of speedster Nyjer Morgan and gold-glove third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals might almost be worth watching this year.


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National League West 1. Colorado Rockies After stumbling out of the gate last year, the Rockies came on like gangbusters and almost caught the Dodgers atop the NL West. As it was, they settled for the Wild Card. If they can avoid the slow start this year, there is no reason they can’t be atop the West at season’s end. Manager Jim Tracy is getting a reputation for getting the most out of his players, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is worth the price of admission. 2. Los Angeles Dodgers

© JeFF Gross / Getty imaGes

National League Central 1. St Louis Cardinals With a lineup anchored by Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (above) and a rotation built around Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals are clear favorites to return to the playoffs. Question marks remain around third base and the back of the rotation, but those shouldn’t bother Cardinals fans too much. 2. Chicago Cubs The Cubs carry the burden of 101 years without a World Series title. They are also a team that has a huge payroll with large holes in it. The Cubs have a big chunk of change tied up in Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee, all of whom, with the exception of Lee, are coming off sub-par years. On paper the Cubs look like they might have what it takes to contend, but on the field it looks like there may be too many obstacles to overcome. 3. Milwaukee Bucks The Brewers went out and got Randy Wolf and Doug Davis to shore up that rotation that was one of the worst in the league. If Rickie Weeks

stays healthy and Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder continue to bring the lumber, the Brew Crew should at least be fun to watch. 4. Cincinnati Reds Eyes in Cincinnati will be on lefty fireballer and Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman – he of the 102-mile-per-hour fastball – though the rookie may well start the season in the minor leagues. The Reds do have some other decent arms in the stable, and with a few breaks could find themselves firmly in the middle of the division. 5. Houston Astros The Astros have some decent young talent on display in Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, and some veteran production in Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman. They also have a premier topof-the-rotation pitcher in Roy Oswalt. When he is healthy. After that there’s not too much to cheer about.

The Dodgers have their own budding superstar in centerfielder Matt Kemp, and a solid supporting cast that includes Andre Ethier, James Loney and Russell Martin. A return to form from Manny Ramirez, who has already stated this will be his last season in L.A., could be key for the Dodgers. 3. Arizona Diamondbacks After finishing dead last in the division in ’09, the Diamondbacks could be poised for a comeback. A healthy Brandon Webb, along with Dan Haren and newly-acquired Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy give the D-backs a solid rotation, and Justin Upton, Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds form a solid, young and talented core in the field. 4. San Francisco Giants The Giants are all about the pitching, with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. But who will score runs to back them up? 5. San Diego Padres No reason to think the Padres will be any better than last year. Sorry San Diego. H

6. Pittsburgh Pirates The Pirates went into fire sale mode last year, and it doesn’t appear they have done much to get themselves out of the NL Central basement.

Jay Webster is a senior website editor at ESPN America

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From Tragedy To Triumph: Vancouver’s Olympic Comeback F

orget about the numerous glitches – the embarrassing no-show of the cauldron’s fourth arm during the opening ceremonies, the melting snow at cypress mountain, the misguided decision to use a wire fence to alienate the public from the external cauldron – they were mere hiccups that can be expected to bubble to the surface of any mega-event. the real dark cloud came on day one, with the sudden death of Georgian luger nodar kumaritashvili, a tragedy that will always serve as a black asterisk beside any positive remembrance of vancouver’s kick at the olympic can. John Furlong, ceo of the vancouver organizing committee (vanoc), tried his best to pay tribute to the fallen athlete at the Game’s opening ceremonies, a sentiment that was echoed gravely by international olympic committee (ioc) president Jacques rogge and highlighted by black armbands, bouquets and an impromptu, candle-laden shrine, but the regrettable truth, if not spoken aloud, was clearly evident: all the speeches, armbands, flowers, and candles in the world couldn’t dispel the gloom hanging over the start of the Games. then, with the rain still shrouding vancouver’s photogenic side, Whistler

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sliding centre’s now-infamous track claimed more victims, not only lugers but also bobsledders, leaving them scraped and bruised; meanwhile, an overlooked turn on Whistler’s crosscountry ski track gobbled up slovenian skier Petra majdic, eventually spitting her topside with four broken ribs and a collapsed lung. slovenia filed a formal complaint with the ioc, raising doubts about the safety of the track, and even though the international ski Federation ruled that the venue met its safety regulations, the media pounced. and pounced and pounced. For reasons that have since become the source of much speculation, the British press leapt at its chance to lead the charge in lampooning the twentyfirst Winter olympic Games and its host city, condemning the event as the ‘worst ever’ after only a few days of competition, despite the fact that most of the reporters were slinging their stones of judgement from far-flung london. i have to admit that at the time, it seemed like they were right. and then the sun came out. the people of vancouver – and by extension, of canada – decided to make the most out of their multi-billion-dollar ‘failure’, taking ownership over the Games as if to say, ‘We’re

Photo courtesy oF travis caDieu

By Jeremy Lanaway going to have a good time, no matter what the world thinks.’ the parties, which had previously been fitful and furtive, began to expand and lengthen and spread, until the entire city was crackling with energy. the downtown core became the epicentre of action, ground zero for the blooming, unself-conscious form of the Games. to paraphrase skier alexander Bilodeau, canada’s party was just getting started. the athletes unwittingly playing their part in the incredible script. Bilodeau dumped canada’s gold-athome slump by finishing atop the podium in men’s moguls, and team usa skier lindsay vonn became the first american woman to win a gold medal in downhill, despite racing with a famously injured shin. the stakes were raised even higher when majdic refused her doctor’s advice and raced in the cross-country sprint, ultimately winning bronze by ‘screaming her way through the race’. her feat went beyond athletics, earning her vanoc’s terry Fox award, bestowed to an olympian who’d touched the world with courage, humility, and extraordinary athletic abilities at the Games. canadian figure skater Joannie rochette shared the award with majdic, earning the honour for the implausible


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strength, composure, and determination earning a bronze medal in the short programme only two days after her mother had died of a heart attack in her vancouver hotel room. it was stories like these that enabled the 2010 Winter olympics to become less about winning and losing and more about the human condition. i’m not naive. i realise that winning helped to turn around the event in its darkest hour, effecting an ascension in public opinion not witnessed since lillehammer in 1994 (i mean, ask a russian official how he or she feels about the Games). still, by the time sidney crosby scored the ‘Golden Goal’ to win the men’s hockey tournament, the consensus among nearly everyone covering the Games – canadians, americans, europeans, asians alike – was that vancouverites had started the comeback and the athletes had finished it. canada’s record-setting fourteen gold medals furthered the cause, as did team usa’s record-setting overall medal count, but the medals had somehow become secondary. it was the atmosphere of the Games that made vancouver stand out, a unified celebration of the human spirit that no amount of planning or preparation could’ve produced. the 2010 Winter olympic Games had its share of highs and lows, like any multi-national event, but its most profound legacy for london in 2012 may turn out to be a simple lesson. cynicism is easy. scorn is a snap. negativity is a piece of cake. the tough part is opening yourself up to the possibility of belonging to something bigger, to believing in the collective experience, to investing in its success, to feeling something. it’s a risk and it comes with a cost, but you can ask any canadian still suffering from olympic withdrawal if it’s worth it, and you’ll get the same answer. H

The Haul: US Medals from Vancouver GOLD

Alpine – Women’s Downhill: Lindsey Vonn Alpine – Men’s Super Combined: Bode Miller Women’s Moguls: Hannah Kearney Nordic Combined (Individual Large Hill/10km CC): Bill Demong Men’s Snowboard Cross: Seth Wescott Snowboard – Men’s Halfpipe: Shaun White Bobsled – Four Man: Steven Holcomb/Steve Mesler/Curtis Tomasevicz/Justin Olsen Speedskating – Men’s 1000m: Shani Davis Men’s Figure Skating: Evan Lysacek

SILVER

Alpine – Women’s Downhill: Julia Mancuso Alpine – Men’s Super-G: Bode Miller Alpine Skiing – Women’s Super Combined: Julia Mancuso Nordic Combined (Individual Normal Hill/ 10km CC): Johnny Spillane Nordic Combined (Individual Large Hill/ 10km CC): Johnny Spillane Nordic Combined – Team, 4x5km CC: Brett Camerota/Todd Lodwick/Johnny Spillane/ Bill Demong Snowboard – Women’s Halfpipe: Hannah Teter Short Track – Men’s 1500m: Apolo Anton Ohno Short Track – Women’s 1000m: Katherine Reutter Speedskating – Men’s 1500m: Shani Davis Speedskating – Men’s Team Pursuit: Trevor Marsicano/Chad Hedrick/Brian Hansen/ Jonathan Kuck Figure Skating – Ice Dance: Meryl Davis/Charlie White Women’s Ice Hockey: Team USA Men’s Ice Hockey: Team USA

BRONZE

Alpine – Men’s Downhill: Bode Miller Alpine – Men’s Super-G: Andrew Weibrecht Alpine – Women’s Super-G: Lindsey Vonn Women’s Moguls: Shannon Bahrke

Men’s Moguls: Bryon Wilson Snowboard – Men’s Halfpipe: Scott Lago Snowboard – Women’s Halfpipe: Kelly Clark Bobsled – Women’s: Elana Meyers/Erin Pac Short Track – Men’s 1500m: JR Celski Short Track – Men’s 1000m: Apolo Anton Ohno Short Track – Women’s 3000m Relay: Kimberly Derrick/Allison Baver/Lana Gehring/ Katherine Reutter/Alyson Dudek Speedskating – Men’s 1000m: Chad Hedrick Short Track – Men’s 5000m Relay: Simon Cho/Apolo Anton Ohno/Travis Jayner/J.R. Celski/Jordan Malone

MEDAL COUNT NATION UNITED STATES GERMANY CANADA NORWAY AUSTRIA RUSSIA SOUTH KOREA CHINA SWEDEN FRANCE

TOTAL G S B 37 9 15 13 30 10 13 7 26 14 7 5 23 9 8 6 16 4 6 6 15 3 5 7 14 6 6 2 11 5 2 4 11 5 2 4 11 2 3 6

CANADIAN MEDALS Gold (14): Women’s Ski Cross; Women’s Snowboard Cross; Snowboard – Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom; Men’s Moguls; Short Track – Men’s 000m Relay; Short Track – Men’s 00m; Speedskating – Women’s 1000m; Speedskating – Men’s Team Pursuit; Women’s Bobsled; Men’s Skeleton; Men’s Curling; Figure Skating – Ice Dance; Men’s Ice Hockey; Women’s Ice Hockey. Silver (7): Women’s Curling; Men’s Snowboard Cross; Women’s Moguls; Women’s Bobsled; Short Track – Women’s 00m, Short Track – Women’s 3000m Relay; Speedskating – Women’s 100m; Bronze (5): 4-Man Bob; Short Track – Men’s 00m; Speedskating – Women’s 000m; Speedskating – Women’s 3000m; Ladies Figure Skating.




The American

Tail End

Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London by Rebel. Rebel’s column is usually about the doings of her animal friends. This month she addresses the failings of the other beings in their lives – human beings

I

t isn’t often I become upset with humans, unless, of course, they are cruel to animals or children. However, a recent dog food advertisement, that She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually read aloud to a friend, which called us dogs hairy fleabags who didn’t do an ounce of work and often smell like a bouquet of damp fur really made me upset. I mean, there are two sides to every story and this is mine – and

64

o: D Phot

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F

that of almost every dog I know, I might add. You, meaning you humans, get up in the morning needing to shave or comb your hair and give little regard as to how we may feel when you bend down with your smelly breath to say good morning. Regardless of how cold or wet it is, you expect us to do our morning constitutionals in a matter of minutes and then patter back into the house with absolutely dry and clean paws. If you’re in a bad mood and gripe and complain, you want us to listen intently, our tails wagging away as if we didn’t have anything better to do like bark at a cat or let the fox know we’re aware he’s ripping up the daffodils in a neighbor’s garden. You seem to forget that most of the time we’re there ready to be cuddled and held when you’re unhappy with your job or life in general. As for dogs finding the word ‘no’ incomprehensible? Well, of course, we do! Why should I sit on grass that is damp and cold or come to you the minute you say my name when I’m debating how to capture that grey squirrel

sitting on the branch of a tree above me. As for being freaked out by strange shadows… that is nonsense. What freaks me out is moveable objects like cats, dogs, rabbits and squirrels who have no regard to the fact I’m being held tightly by you on a lead. You complain my unmelodious bark is annoying the neighborhood, but let me tell you, the neighbors are lucky they don’t have to listen to some of our masters and mistresses snoring away through the night. And whether you believe it or not, I can tell the difference between a carpet and a couch. One is twice as comfortable, of course! As for being shameless about my personal habits, well, I, like all my dog pals, know a few secrets about our owners that none of you would want revealed to even your best friends. It’s true I’m color-blind, but there’s many a morning I see you, well, looking like the cat just dragged you in, so it’s just as well that I am. Yes, there are times I am lazy, dirty, even stubborn and presumptuous, but you’ll never ever find a more loyal friend. Still, as my very wise cat friend Felix said about his mistress, she may have a few faults that need to be corrected, but in every other way she’s perfect… just as you She-WhoMust-Be-Obeyed-Usually is to me. I wouldn’t trade her for a castle in Spain or a T-bone steak any day. H


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The American April 2010  

The American has been published in Britain since 1976. It is the only monthly magazine / website / community for Americans visiting and livi...

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