THE ESSENTIAL MONTHLY FOR ALL AMERICANS
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Kim Cattrall Noël Coward’s Private Lives in our Theater Section PLUS Bob Worcester Dissects the UK Election
WHAT’S ON GUIDES RESTAURANT REVIEWS MUSIC • ARTS Win Tickets to
The Harlem Globetrotters
Moving Quickly? Rapid relocation advice
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Issue 685 – May 2010 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 email@example.com Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director +44 (0)1747 830520 firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email email@example.com Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Bailey, Social email@example.com EstelleLovatt, Arts firstname.lastname@example.org Jarlath O’Connell, Theater email@example.com Richard Gale, Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Dom Mills, Motorsports email@example.com Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey firstname.lastname@example.org Riki Evans Johnson, European email@example.com ©2010 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed by Advent Colour Ltd., 19 East Portway Industrial Estate, Andover, SP10 3LU www.advent-colour.co.uk Main cover image: Kim Cattrall in Private Lives (photo by Nobby Clark); inset: Moving home suddenly doesn’t have to be stressful.
ou may have heard of the recent death of Malcolm McLaren, notorious as the manager of the Sex Pistols. The band’s singer, John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon, generously said that McLaren (with whom he had a famously stormy relationship) “was always entertaining. Above all else he was an entertainer and I will miss him, and so should you.” McLaren also managed The New York Dolls and Bow Wow Wow and put out several records under his own name including Duck Rock, which combined world music and hip hop. Latterly he lived in Paris and New York, working on film and TV projects. I mention McLaren because, while not perhaps the most likeable figure in music, he was a great example of the creativeness and the ability to take disparate influences and make something new out of them that make the British creative scene so vibrant. I hope you find plenty of ideas for interesting, entertaining places to go and creative things to do in this issue of The American. Enjoy your magazine,
Michael Burland, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS
Roland Crim is a director of American Citizens Abroad. He joins us this issue to write about how some American expats are coming under pressure to give up their citizenship
Dr. Carolyn Norris-Atkins teaches high school journalism. In the four years since she moved to England she has gotten married, purchased a home and passed the UK driver’s license exam.
Kansas City-born Bob is the founder of the MORI polling and research organisation and the best known pollster in Britain. We are lucky to have him as our expert on the UK election scene.
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.
PHOTO: JON GARDINER, DUKE PHOTOGRAPHY
In This Issue... The American • Issue 685 • May 2010
News A suggestion – why not write a letter to the President?
Win DVDs of Only The Brave A stunning film about the extraordinary Japanese-American Battalions of WWII
10 Diary Dates Election night UK, and Debbie Reynolds - Alive and Fabulous!
13 Mind the (Cultural) Gap Tales of an Anglo-American mixed marriage 14 Ever Green Great Britain Britain’s gorgeous Royal Horticultural Society gardens
16 Underground Adventures Braving Britain’s public transport system – and the London Tube for the first time 17 Moving at Short Notice Advice on moving to a new country with little warning, from someone who knows 18 Food Revolution Frankenstein Foods, pesticides, food miles… are they really ruining the planet, or are they a force for good?
ROYAL COLLECTION, HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
24 Wining & Dining A new gin, new restaurants, and comfort food for Americans 30 Coﬀee Break Quiz, fun facts and The Johnsons cartoon 32 Music Our pick of the best gigs and albums
PHOTO BY CATHERINE ASHMORE
20 Arts Great art exhibitions, from the Renaissance to Glastonbury via Holland
35 Win Harlem Globetrotters Tickets The best fun in sport 36 Proﬁle: Kristin Hannah The best-selling author talks to The American about her new book 38 Theater Reviews Love Never Dies, says Lord Lloyd-Webber. Elyot and Amanda in Private Lives would surely agree.
43 Politics Yes We Did! The health act explained. But will you keep your US citizenship? Read on. 49 Drive Time Renault’s answer for the family who need an economical do-it-all car… a van 51 Sports Duke triumphs in basketball, the NHL Playoffs begin, and Tiger Woods suffers a breakdown (...but only statistically)
56 American Organizations Your comprehensive guide and a profile of Marymount International School London 64 Paw Talk Rebel has a dream of going to Hollywood – don’t we all? 3
Magnificent Catastrophe American Civil War Talk The American Civil War Round Table UK’s next talk is ‘Lessons of a Magnificent Catastrophe. Will Hutchison will discuss the lessons learned during the Crimean War, and how they impacted the American Civil War. Will is the award-winning author of novels on the Crimean War and “The Gettysburg Conspiracy,” about a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. A graduate of Syracuse University, he has spent his life in interesting and often dangerous endeavors, leading Marines in Vietnam, working as an undercover drug agent in Amsterdam, and conducting counter-terrorism initiatives at nuclear plants and now resides in Gettysburg, PA. The Crimean War, arguably the most mismanaged military campaign in modern European history, began as an idealistic affair, officers and enlisted soldiers solemnly pledged “death or glory.” They left eagerly for the battlefield, spurred on to glory by those at home. One can hardly resist the comparison to Northern and Southern soldiers who, in 1860, marched off to the American Civil War with cries of “death or glory” on their lips. 15 May 2010. Time 12.30 for 13.00 ends 16.30, at the Civil Service Club, Old Scotland Yard London SW1
BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Billy Butler interviews the re-enactors PHOTO: BOB JONES
Civil War History and Heritage in Liverpool
recent History and Heritage event held at St, George’s Hall in Lime Street, Liverpool on March 20th and 21st was a resounding success, with 5,000 visitors over the two days finding out more about the ‘War Between the States’. “Not as good as the Grand Southern Bazaar, but fulfilling none-the-less,” said Bob Jones, one of the exhibitors, who was there under the name of ‘The General Staff of the Blue and the Gray’. The Bazaar that Bob was talking about was held in the same hall on Merseyside in October 1864, and was organized to raise funds for the ‘Southern Prisoners’ Relief Fund’, in aid of Confederate prisoners of war. It lasted for 5 days and raised over £20,000 – a fortune nearly 150 years ago. The stalls included a raﬄe for a donkey! Both Union and Confederates experts and re-enactors were there this year to tell the story of the war to the many visitors, including Neville Wantling, alias Robert E. Lee. They were kept busy telling the stories of Liverpool’s connections to the war. They sold books, CDs about the CSS Alabama, and pin badges to promote the new European
Confederate Medal of Honour which has been struck to honor noncombatants who supported the cause and put their lives in danger. Many of the visitors were not aware of how important Liverpool was to the South, and certainly were not aware of the spies and agents roaming the streets of this Victorian town in England. Neville, who lives in Horwich, near Bolton in Lancashire had never been inside this neo classical building and was very impressed with it and said he would certainly attend another venture here. Bob Jones paid tribute to Denise Turnbull who organised the event and “worked her socks off over the whole weekend”. He added, “I would be most surprised if we do not have another one over the next four to five years as Liverpool gears up for the sesquicentennial of the War Between the States and tells the story of what went on here between 1861 and 1865.” Liverpool has many links with the opposing sides of the Civil War, especially the South. Some of them are very surprising and we will have a feature on this in the future.
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Airport security planned to be more targeted from May
Air Travel Screening
By the end of May the US government’s policies on the screening of inward bound air passengers will be changed. Instead of simply using nationality to decide which US bound travelers should be subjected to additional screening, passengers will be selected based on possible matches to intelligence information, including their physical descriptions and travel patterns, White House officials have announced. Extra searches of passengers flying from, or transiting through, fourteen countries were instituted after the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by the so-called ‘pants bomber’, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, last Christmas Day. The countries affected were Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen as well as Cuba, Syria, Iran and Sudan. These security measures have been described as discriminatory by some commentators. In the new system, screeners will select travelers for additional checks only if they match certain pieces of intelligence. A senior administration official was anonymously quoted in the Washington Post saying the system will be “much more intel-based, as opposed to blunt force. It’s much more tailored to what the intelligence is telling us, what the threat is telling us, as opposed to stopping all individuals of a particular nationality or all individuals using a particular passport.”
Fulbright Alumna Hilary Oppong enjoys her trip to the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC
£100k New Scholarship Funding for US Exchanges
he US-UK Fulbright Commission has opened the competition for its prestigious awards for postgraduate study, research and lecturing in the US in 2011-12. £100,000 in new scholarship funding is being made available for grants in a variety of fields and the Programme will include two new schemes, the Fulbright Diabetes UK Research Award and Fulbright Scottish Studies Scholar Award. For the first time an award, £75,000, will be available for academics interested in researching the clinical or biomedical aspects of diabetes, or the social or economic issues faced
by people living with the disease. And through funding from the Scottish Government, the new Fulbright Scottish Studies Scholar Award fosters mutual understanding between the United States and Scotland. One scholar will be awarded £23,500 to undertake lecturing and/or research in relevant subject areas such as Scottish history, law, art, music or politics. Details of these and many other Fulbright awards can be found at www.fulbright.co.uk. The deadline for application is 31 May 2010, so if you know any Brits who would like to study or work in the States, tell them now.
Greece Joins Visa Waiver Program
rom April 5, 2010, citizens of Greece traveling on valid electronic passports became eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. Citizens of the UK, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland may be eligible to travel to the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program if they are traveling for business, pleasure or are in transit, and they meet all the requirements which can be found at http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/visa/niv/vwp3.html Citizens of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Solvakia, the Republic of Korea and from April 5, Greece, may be eligible to travel to the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program if they are traveling for business, pleasure or are in transit, are in possession of an electronic passport, have obtained travel authorization under the Electronic System For Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding the air or sea carrier and they meet the requirements at http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/visa/niv/vwpnewcountries2.html
O Friends of St. Jude London Inaugural Event – US v UK
oin Friends of St. Jude London for its inaugural event, a World Cup Viewing Party for the US-UK game. Celebrate with 150 to 200 expats, City employees and other football fans as they raise money for the internationally renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The World Cup Viewing Party is on June 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm, at One Wimpole Street, London WIG OAE. The event costs £100, but after May 31 tickets increase to £125. Tickets include food and drinks and the game will be shown on a theatre style screen. To purchase tickets go to www.friendsofstjude.org/london Friends of St. Jude is a group of young professionals who are working to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® and their International Programme. Already established around the US, Friends of St. Jude groups host networking events throughout the year to help St. Jude continue its mission of finding the cures that are saving children in the fight against cancer and other deadly childhood diseases. For more information, please contact Debbie Berger in London at 07792 204950 or debbie.berger@ gmail.com, or Julie Butler in the US at +1 202.237.8573 or julie.butler@ stjude.org.
nly The Brave is the first film to be made about the forgotten heroes of World War II – the all-volunteer Japanese-American 100th and 442nd Battalions. Starring and written and directed by Award-winning playwright Lane Nishikawa, the movie is based on the actual experiences of Nishikawa’s three uncles who served in the 100th and 442nd plus other veterans who have shared their memories with him over the years. It portrays the personal tragedies and sacrifices of the soldiers, played by Nishikawa, Jason Scott Lee, Mark Dacascos, Yugi Okumoto, Greg Watanabe and Ken Narasaki, during the final days of their historic attempt to rescue the so-called Texas ‘lost battalion’ from the mountains of Southern France. In 1941 when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor there are 5,000 Japanese Americans serving in the US Armed Forces. Overnight these second generation citizens (or ‘Nisei’) are stripped of their combat duties because they look like the enemy. However, they are
determined to prove their loyalty and a group of them successfully petitions the US Government to allow them to serve again … and so the 100th Infantry Battalion is borne. In 1944, with a second Nisei Battalion of volunteers – the 442nd – they are posted to France. Their mission results in one of the most important battles of World War II – the rescue of 275 men of the Texas 36th Division who have been trapped for more than a week on a high plateau in the Vosges Mountains, surrounded by 7,000 German soldiers. Only The Brave, (15 certificate, recommended retail price £12.99) is released by Scanbox Entertainment DVD on April 26.
GET A FREE COPY To get one of 5 free copies of Only The Brave, send your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by May 31, 2010. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with ONLY THE BRAVE DRAW in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: ONLY THE BRAVE DRAW, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Five winners will be drawn at random. 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.
Andy Sundberg of American Citizens Abroad recently read a report in the Washington Post that sparked an idea:
resident Obama apparently likes to receive letters from private individuals and every day he reads a set of ten selected from the 20,000 letters and e-mails sent to him daily. The President reportedly prefers handwritten letters to e-mails, believing them to be more thoughtful, with better stories. Given the current estimate of about 4 million U.S. citizens now living abroad, if each of us were to send just one handwritten letter a year to the President, this would mean that nearly 11,000 such letters would arrive at the White House each and every day of the year! Half of the current daily average would come just from our overseas community. If we then add an equivalent number of letters from our family and friends back in the United States too, we could equal the daily average that is currently the norm. These letters don’t have to be very complicated. Just tell our President what it is like living overseas today and having to face the kind of inevitable competitive discrimination that is imposed upon us by our own government simply because we are U.S. citizens. Tell him what it is like contemplating going to jail plus the loss of a big share of your life savings simply because you haven’t filled out a form that you had never heard of. Share with him your human rights stories of discovering that your child was born stateless, or that U.S. and foreign banks don’t want you as a customer anymore because of oner-
President Obama in the Treaty Room Office in the Private Residence, with one of the 10 letters from the public he reads each day OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA
Handwrite a letter to the President ous know-your-customer obligations, or that you are being fired because you are a U.S. citizen and your employer fears that you are going to be forced to become a fiscal spy inside their organization, etc, etc. You can also remind him that during the 2008 campaign he said he wanted to meet with us and listen to us. So suggest that we should be offered a chance to play a much bigger role in designing more effective export promotion and trade deficit reduction strategies and tactics for our country. We also deserve some seats at the table in his newly created trade improvement task forces too. I’m sure you will have many other things to say. Make these letters as personal as possible to improve the prospects of their getting into the top ten. It might help to try to be polite and positive in your suggestions and recommendations. The individual cost to each of us for such an invaluable collec-
tive project is little more than a few minutes of time, a couple of pieces of paper, an envelope, some ink, some carefully composed prose, and, of course, a stamp. Address your letters to: Hon. Barack Obama, President of the United States, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20500, USA. If we eventually discover that our letters are being systematically discarded because they are coming from a foreign address, which would not be too surprising, we can send them to our family and friends back home and have them forwarded from their domestic addresses. This could be a very productive and enlightening project for all of us and also for our President and for everyone in our country. It is quintessential American patriotism at its finest! So go for it. We have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. H
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Your Guide To The Month Ahead
Get your event listed in The American – call the editor on +44 (0)1747 830520, or email details to email@example.com A Garden Within Doors: Plants and Flowers in the Home Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA This special exhibition looks at the enduring appeal of plants and flowers in the home, and the meanings and values associated with indoor plants. It explores the role houseplants and arranged flowers play in homemaking and in the psychology of the home, taking into account changing fashions and tastes. It examines how plants and flowers were displayed over 400 years, why they were so valued, who chose and created the display, what flowers, plants and floral displays meant at the time and which of the decorative arts reflected all this. The strong links between home and garden will be highlighted by special displays in all of the museum’s period rooms, which span in date from 1600 to 1998; in these spaces the houseplants and flower arrangements appropriate for the time will be displayed and set in their historical context. These historically accurate, often subtle, interventions in the period rooms will enable visitors to the Geffrye to track the evolving styles in the plant materials themselves and in the vessels in which these natural beauties were displayed. www.geffrye-museum.org.uk March 30 to July 25
Elephant Parade Across London Over 250 brightly painted life-size elephants, brought to you by the charity Elephant Family, each decorated by a different artist or celebrity, to highlight the crisis faced by the endangered Asian elephant. www.elephantparadelondon.org 020 7580 3184 May 01 to June 30 Ely’s Eel Day Jubilee Gardens, Ely, Cambs Eel tasting, folk music, pottery making workshops, music and dancing, Viking re-enactments, and historical entertainment and displays, games, craft and food stalls. And, of course, an eel throwing competition. www.eastcambs.gov.uk/tourism 01353 662062 May 01 Well Dressing Across the Midlands of England An ancient custom peculiar to England, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Well dressings are pictures made from natural materials such as flower petals and leaves. When the well dressing is at the site of the well it is blessed by the local clergy. Well dressing is thought to have originated in Pagan times, to give thanks for the supply of fresh water. Some claim that the Romans introduced the custom into Britain, others connect the celebration with outbreaks of plague. www.welldressing.com May 03 to September 11
Kensington Chelsea Women’s Club Fashion Show & Market Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London, SW3 5EE The charity Market opens at 9.30am for KCWC members, followed by the Fashion show at 11.00am, and the Market is then open to the public from 12.00–4.00pm. www.kcwc.org.uk 020 7863 7562 May 05 Helston Flora Day Streets of Helston, Cornwall The first festival after winter, featuring the Early Morning Dance, Hal-an-Tow, the Children’s Dance, the Ancient Furry Dance and Evening Dance. www.helstonfloraday.org.uk May 08 Malcolm Gladwell Live On Tour! Described as ‘The world’s most influential thinker’, Malcolm Gladwell returns to the UK to perform another compelling evening of storytelling in Edinburgh (May 9th), Oxford (10th), Salford (11th) and Newcastle upon Tyne (12th). www.malcolmgladwell-live.com May 09 to May 12 Blenheim Fun Runs Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire 7k run and Junior 1 mile runs around the grounds of Blenheim Palace. www.blenheim7k.co.uk Enquiries@blenheim7k.co.uk May 09
Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo Windsor Castle International and British military acts, massed bands, pipes and drums, modern military re–enactments, the Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, Military Sword Dancers. www.windsortattoo.com 0871 230 5570 May 12 to May 15 Museums at Night A weekend of ghostly goings on as museums and galleries unlock their doors for after–hours celebrations. www.culture24.org.uk/ museumsatnight May 14 to May 16 Beaulieu MotorMart Autojumble Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7ZN 1000 Autojumble stands plus 150 cars for sale. Includes entry to Beaulieu. www.beaulieuevents.co.uk 01590 612888 May 15 to May 16 Los Angeles Guitar Quartet Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London SE1 The guitar ensemble are masters of the classics, as well as the creators of the unique syntheses of world–music and contemporary styles. www.southbankcentre.co.uk 0871 663 2500 May 16 Dad’s Day Out Dunsfold Park, Surrey In aid of The Children’s Trust. The fun includes rides in Ferraris and Lambos at the home of BBC’s Top Gear, over 500 classic and sports cars plus aircraft including a Sea Harrier and Sea Hawk. For youngsters there is a special Roary the Racing Car Zone. Ride in a helicopter, a Routemaster bus and fire engine. Also a fairground, 3 live bands and a DJ. www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/ dadsdayout May 16
Lambeth Palace Library 400th Anniversary Exhibition Lambeth Palace Library, London, SE1 7JU Manuscripts and books from Lambeth Palace’s incomparable collections built up over the past four centuries, some displayed for the first time. Includes the C9th Irish MacDurnan Gospels, a Gutenberg Bible, books used by King Richard III, King Henry VIII, Queen Katherine of Aragon, Queen Elizabeth I and King Charles I, an exceptionally rare edition of the Babylonian Talmud, and the warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. www.lambethpalacelibrary.org May 17 to July 23 Cirque Du Soleil Arena Tour: Saltimbanco Cirque Du Soleil returns to the UK and Ireland with its vibrant signature production Saltimbanco, created by Franco Dragone. It’s the first time Cirque du Soleil’s longest running major touring show has hit arenas in Britain. www.cirquedusoleil.com 0844 576 5483 May 20 to August 01 Elton John at Caudwell Children Butterfly Ball Battersea Evolution Marquee, Battersea Park, London Sir Elton John has donated his appearance for free after learning about the work of the children’s charity. The exclusive performance will be in front of an impressive guest list of celebrities and charity supporters, as well as a group of children the Charity has supported during its 10–year history. www.caudwellchildrenbutterflyball. co.uk 01782 600113 May 20 Charleston Festival Charleston Firle, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6LL Named after the country retreat of the group of artists, writers and intellectuals
Debbie Reynolds – Alive and Fabulous Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 4ES Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds is starring in the West End. In her first UK theatre performances in 34 years, the MGM legend and star of Singing in the Rain, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and That’s Entertainment!, is celebrating more than 50 years in showbusiness by bringing her award-winning one-woman show to London. The show features actual MGM movie clips as Debbie reminisces about her glittering career, her many husbands and her incredible life of song and dance. “It’s a variety show,” she says. “I get to do impressions of Barbra Streisand, Mae West, Katherine Hepburn – even Jimmy Stewart!” The London run follows a 14-date UK tour which started April 7. www.debbiereynolds.co.uk, www.nimaxtheatres.com 0844 412 4658 April 28 to May 9
known as the Bloomsbury Group. Go along to workshops and talks from prominent writers and artists, discussions, lectures and performances. www.charleston.org.uk 01273 709709 May 21 to May 30
The American Museum in Britain 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: This month most of the events are textile–based! Apart from the Quilting Bees there are: MAY 8th Whole Cloth Hand Quilting Workshops with Sandie Lush; 12th and 22nd ‘Stitch Together’ Workshop: Penny Wool Pincushion with Jill Beard; 16th Phil Dando Big Band, Fifteen piece swing ensemble playing classics from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday, to name a few; 24th Members Event, Excursion to Eltham Palace and Gardens, Combining Art Deco and ocean–liner style, join us on a visit to this stunning masterpiece of twentieth–century design. 28th to June 20th Exhibition – Wilderness, The annual sculpture exhibition within the museum grounds by Bath Spa University students. The museum, exhibition and grounds are open on May 3rd and 31st, Bank Holidays.
Open 12.00-5.00pm. Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays and month of August Claverton Manor near Bath. 01225 460503 firstname.lastname@example.org www.americanmuseum.org
ISA Seminar: Women and United State Foreign Policy Institute for the Study of the Americas, School of Advanced Study, University of London Analysing the role of gender in US foreign policy since the end of the cold war. Keynote speaker is Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, President Clinton’s NSC Staff Director and former US Ambassador to the United Nations americas.sas.ac.uk 020 7862 8870 May 21 Chelsea Flower Show Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3 The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the ultimate event in the gardening year. It sets the latest gardening trends and features the newest products. There are hundreds of exhibitors and over 50 special gardens. www.rhs.org.uk/chelsea 0844 338 7524 May 25 to May 29
Rosenblatt Recitals presents Lawrence Brownlee St John’s, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HA Brownlee, one of the most prominent bel canto tenors on the international scene, performs arias by Mozart, Duparc, Rossini, Liszt and Donizetti. www.rosenblattrecitals.com 020 7222 1061 May 25 Motorsport at the Palace Crystal Palace, South London Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the legendary machines which powered the likes of Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss to victory. www.motorsportatthepalace.co.uk May 30 to May 31 Forties Family Festival Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB One of the Park’s most popular events returns on May Bank Holiday weekend. Due to popular demand it has been extended to two days. Among other things, it will feature wartime re– enactors bringing the atmosphere of 1940s Britain back to life. www.bletchleypark.org.uk 01908 640404 May 30 to May 31
Mind the (cultural) gap Tales from an American-British marriage, by Dr. Carolyn Norris-Atkins
very nearly scared my husband away from the idea of proposing to me. During a leisurely pub lunch early in our relationship, the topic arose of where we each saw ourselves in five year’s time. With an earnest sincerity, my then-boyfriend looked into my eyes and said, “I see myself married to you.” Heart aflutter, I gasped, “Are you serious?” Translated from my American vernacular, this meant, “Oh my goodness; I am so excited! I’ll start looking for dresses immediately!” Meanwhile, my British boyfriend was despondent. You see, his translation of what I had just said went something more like this: “Are you joking? You think you’re going to marry me? No chance, mate!” Fortunately, he didn’t give up and, after rallying his nerves for a few months, he proposed. Once betrothed, we recalled how differently we had each understood the meaning of the very same sentence. This was my first insight into the existence of a cultural gap between us. Sure, I had good-naturedly allowed him to teach me the “correct” way to make a cup of tea, but I just didn’t think that culture would be much of a factor in our marriage. However, from the time the Pilgrims first stepped on Plymouth Rock, Americans and Brits have had distinct cultures; my new husband and I soon found that our marriage was a microcosm for the expression of such differences. A couple months into wedded bliss, I hired a plumber to fix a leak from our kitchen tap. Upon discover-
ing that the leak was worse after the plumber had been there, I insisted we call the plumbing company right away. Learning that it would be two weeks before the plumber could come back, I launched into a spirited monologue about how “the customer is always right”, while my bemused husband looked on. My strong-willed, American personality could not fathom how my husband could be so calm about the whole thing, while his British reserve reasoned that the leak wasn’t that bad and certainly not worth getting angry about. How we celebrate holidays, too, has shone a light on our different cultural mores. The first October in our home, I excitedly stocked up on candy for the witches, princesses, and vampires I was sure would visit come Halloween. My husband was less enthusiastic about the venture, and I distinctly remember him mumbling something about not encouraging children to come begging at our door. My husband is a generous man, but to him the concept of trick-or-treating was strangely foreign. One holiday we both love? Pancake Day. Speaking of pancakes, I have learned that if we have them for breakfast, his and hers pancakes must be cooked: For the American, inchthick, blueberry-laden cakes dripping in maple syrup; for the Brit, thin crepes with just a sprinkling of sugar and lemon juice. In our refrigerator, my diet cola sits side-by-side with his sausage rolls, happily coexisting – and we both know we’ll never be tempted
to raid each other’s stash. And those pop culture references that we are each sure everyone must understand? My husband has introduced me to The Woolpack, Del Boy, and a little place called Dibley, while I have acquainted him with Raymond, Frasier, and all six Friends. Of all the ways in which the cultural differences between us have presented themselves, these are the most fun and generate lively discussions in which we teach each other about the iconography of our youths. With patience, humor, and the occasional translation, we’ve found the key to minding our cultural gap. Indeed, the traditions we each bring to the table are what make our marriage endlessly interesting and full of adventure. H
Ever Green Great Britain O
ur climate, and the Great in Britain of course includes Wales and Scotland, does not usually attract much admiration but it is one of the best in the world for growing things and is geographically the most complicated for such a small area. Except for such items as tropical fruits there is very little that cannot be grown here and, excepting the awful and freakish winter at the beginning of 2010 most plants will happily survive outside throughout the year. The Romans were probably the first to develop ornamental gardens and beautiful courtyards here, as well as vegetable growing, and later landscape gardeners made palaces out of the grounds of the large estates. Names such as Capability Brown became as respected as those of artists and generals. The Royal Horticultural Society is Britain’s leading garden charity, its purpose to encourage excellence in horticulture. They receive no government funding but run their gardens and masses of projects, from butterfly conservation to school gardening, funded solely by donations and public
Mary Bailey explores how the Royal Horticultural Society looks after Britain’s gardens
Sub Tropical Borders at Wisley MIKE SLEIGH
appeals. There are dozens of gardens all over Britain of varying size and nature. Wisley, near London, at Woking along the A3 highway, is open all the year and is of very convenient size. I went to Wisley with a small group and we were shown round the place by two volunteers, not horticulturists but keen gardeners and quite knowledgeable enough. We then retired to the café where tables can be booked for a
light lunch. It was all very reasonable, the tour costing about £10. The other café which is self service is very good, but gets a little crowded at peak times so bear that in mind. You can sit outside and small children can roll around on the grass. Wisley have wheelchairs on site for anyone who might need them, and a marked route avoiding steps and awkward bits. The plants for sale are always of excellent quality. In high summer the things to look at are the water lilies, the herbaceous border and the rose garden and all year there is the butterfly house. The beauty of these frail creatures is truly humbling. Away from the formal gardens, keep an eye out for cottage gardens in villages around the country, especially in the Cotswolds, Devonshire and the North; take a look at them, they are all lovely too. You might also catch a garden show with vicious (under the
The Glasshouse and Lake at RHS Wisley in Surrey VIRGINIA GRAY
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All kinds of specialist gardens include the herb garden
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surface) competitors! Visitors are welcome to look round. The English are very keen on gardens, even if they don’t have one at home themselves. There is a waiting list for rented strips of suburban land called allotments, very popular with those at the growing children stage of life. And one of the BBC’s most popular radio programmes, unaltered for 40 years, is called Gardeners Question Time. So to get the full experience of Britain you really should get with it and know this aspect of sightseeing, a garden or two as well as the famous buildings. The RHS’s Chelsea Flower Show, held this year from May 25-29, is the world’s most famous flower show and features all the latest gardening trends and spectacular show gardens by the top garden designers and celebrities. After Chelsea the next big exhibition is Hampton Court in July. Special events have prices of course but a £40 annual subscription gives entry to most RHS gardens, for you and a friend. Go on line with the RHS (www. rhs.org.uk) for all the information, maps and descriptions… and in the meantime I will get back to my window box of herbs! H
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Underground Adventures Karin Joyce, our American expat mom, ventures forth on the Tube
ump, bump, bump. Ugh. Heave...pant, pant, pant. “It’s alright my love, nearly there!” “Chugga chugga?” “Yes, sweetheart, chugga chugga!” These were just some of the phrases from the adventure Little Miss and I had on our first solo train trip to London. I decided to be an empowered and brave Mummy. When we finally walked back in the door at 5:30pm, I was exhausted mentally and physically – and rather clammy and sweaty – but slightly exhilarated because I had done it! I conquered the London Underground and lived to tell the tale. Little Miss was none the wiser... I decided to try all means of transportation, bar automobile, in order to get proper “research” for future adventures. We took the bus from our wee village into Peterborough, braved lifts and walkways and stairs to get to the Peterborough Train Station. The train was not leaving from the main platform but another platform across the tracks. Instead of tackling the stairs
I was directed to a RAMP by one of the most-helpful rail employees! The ride down to London was uneventful and Little Miss fell asleep on me about 20 minutes from Kings Cross. After everyone had exited the train at Kings Cross, I hoiked Little Miss on my shoulder, wrestled the pushchair off the luggage rack, opened it and managed to install her in it without waking her! As we entered the Underground I began to sweat. It was hot, stuffy and a bit miserable and I found myself constantly worrying about Little Miss, my bag and who’s going to perhaps knock us off the platform into an oncoming train. I know you’re not supposed to keep pushchairs open on the escalators but I did. Arrest me! You try carrying a comfortable, sleeping toddler in one arm and her semi-collapsed pushchair and changing bag in the other! Little Miss sat on my hip on my Baby and All Bag quite nicely while Mummy continued to sweat and count Tube stops until we exited at Bethnal Green for the Museum of Childhood (www.vam.ac.uk/moc/). The Museum was lovely but not exactly what I was expecting. I thought it would be a bit more interactive and “touch and feel”. It was some of that but mostly not quite age appropriate for Little Miss. Don’t get me wrong, she did have a great time,
especially having lunch, but we’ll have to go back when she’s a little bit older to get more out of it. On the train ride home, finally sitting and breathing, I thought about our journey. Travelling into and around London with a pushchair and toddler is not easy. However, it’s so worth the stress! London is an amazing city just waiting to be explored. Provided you plot your course you can handle any of it and enjoy the millions of things that London has to offer. Make sure you have a lightweight, easily collapsible pushchair that allows you to recline the seat when your child falls asleep (which they will). Consider how much you REALLY need in your changing bag/ handbag. It will get heavy throughout the day so only bring necessities. You can buy supplies if need be. It’s worth taking time to investigate the accessibility of Tube stops (www.tfl.gov.uk). But if your destination is walkable and the weather is fine, get out on the streets of London and walk – you’ll be far less stressed in the long run than on the Tube. H Karin Joyce is a blogger at Cafe Bebe (http://cafebebe.co.uk) where she writes about her adventures as a wife and mother. Karin is an American Expat, originally from Wisconsin, who has made England her permanent home.
Moving on Short Notice? Practical tips for negotiating the emotional upheaval of moving a family, by Maura Power
ach year families face the difficult task of moving back home or on to a new assignment and a new country, with just a few months, or even weeks notice. Some learn after they just reach the point of feeling settled in — with children happy at their new school and home and parents happy in the new country and position. In the mid-nineties, a group of parents at TASIS The American School in England organized the Parents Information Resource Committee (PIRC) to “help families cope with the emotional, social, and practical issues inherent in the transitions of expatriate life.” Here are some practical tips from PIRC member Beth Hodges, a self-confessed, type A personality whose previous two moves have been on short notice. “Planning is second nature to me,” she says. “Last minute drives me crazy! So true to my nature I’ve developed a checklist to cope with life as a trailing spouse of an oil man.” 1. Maintain a sense of humor. Have fun with the move - it’s just another part of the adventure of living expat. 2. Find the kid’s school, then focus on the house and details. Research schools yourself, based on what you value for your children’s education. Call and visit schools, talk to other parents, use the web. Don’t just rely on your relocation agent to guide you. To get the “real skinny” on a school’s environment, reach out to others. Ask around your company for the names of families with children in your new location to contact.
3. Build a relationship with your company’s relocation agent. It’s easier to negotiate relocation benefits if you’ve established a rapport. Communicate with them weekly about where you are in the relocation process. Ask for all available resources the company may offer, e.g. names of real estate agents, banks, insurance. In some cases it’s possible to receive a discount on a mortgage if the bank you use has a relationship with the working spouse’s company. 4. Treat the relocation process as a job. Treat the relocation process as a job, which means spending the amount of time necessary to fulfilling your family’s needs. After seeing 60 houses in one month, we found the perfect home with days to spare before our temporary housing ran out. Fortunately, we established a good relationship with our agent who authorized additional housing benefits until we closed on our home.
5. Tell the children about your move as soon as possible. Short notice moves can be an emotional challenge. The more time people have to process their feelings the better. Things you can do: l Spend time going around taking photos of the things you loved about your expat assignments—friends, houses, etc. l Revisit your “to do” list to determine the places you want to see and the things you really want to do before moving on. For us in Dubai it was skiing down the indoor ski slope. In London, it was walking through the Great Park one more time as a family with our dog.
French protestors say Non! to GM Maize
l Saying goodbye to people is harder. I’ve moved so much that I’d rather say “see you soon,” as opposed to goodbye. For me, learning to honor my feelings about a move is important. Throw a party and say goodbye to friends. Combine an item on your to do list with a farewell. Do what feels comfortable to you. l For kids: create a memory book with photos and e-mail addresses. Schedule a gift exchange or birthday party before you leave. It doesn’t have to be formal or fancy – a last minute pizza party can be fun. Write about your favorite memories, etc. in a diary. l Most importantly acknowledge your feelings. Short-term moves are jarring, for children and parents alike – especially if you and your family love the current assignment and feel settled. You will miss what has become home to you, but knowing this makes moving easier. While many of the expat books and experts talk about closure and saying goodbye, with short-term moves, it’s not always possible. Thanks to technology, our world is small, and you can always send emails to those people you missed before leaving. In other words, you may have to lower the bar when planning your move.
6. Finally, be patient. Things always take longer than you might hope (like finding doctors or setting up bank accounts), but they will get done eventually. H Maura Power is Communications Director, TASIS The American School in England and Beth Hodges, TASIS parent and member of the school’s Parents Information Resource Committee (PIRC).
PHOTO: YANN FORGET
Alan Miller asks what the obsession with food tells us about ourselves today
ne of the greatest achievements of American society is that in just a couple of generations it has managed to shift the focus of food from being a scarce resource to something in plentiful supply. This should have been occasion to rejoice and reflect on the ability of humans to use hard work, ingenuity and innovation to overcome hurdles. However in today’s world, anxiety, fear and isolation dominate our outlook and the prevailing sentiment is that humans are greedy, avaricious, untrustworthy and in need of ongoing therapeutic intervention. Food has come to represent evil incarnate. America and its citizens are often described as “Supersized”, junk-eating food addicts – overweight, irresponsible and ignorant. As America is generally regarded as the high point of human achievement, this anti-American position represents a more broadly anti-human perspective. Indeed, with the absence of real political discourse and the disintegration of the old Left and Right, what increasingly passes for politics is lifestyle behavior. East and west coast elitists munch their organic and local food produce while peering down at
the uncouth masses that elect to shop at Walmart and “opt” for cheaper food. We end up seeing a class-based, snotty outlook of a respectable “us” against an almost Victorian notion of the Great Unwashed masses – an irresponsible and socially degenerate “them”. It is increasingly acceptable to define people according to their consumption patterns (SUV versus Prius, recycled paper vs non biodegradable, “ethically” farmed versus agribusiness). The old Left and radical politics, in which the world would be transformed by changing production, collapsed into a “personal is political” view which then merged painlessly into more Right wing views of the individual being everything. Hey presto – you change what you eat and you resolve poverty in Africa. Unfortunately it does not work that way. Consider the recent slew of books on food, from Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, via Michael Pollon’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma to the extravagantly titled Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer - And What You Can Do About It by Karl Weber and the recent Eating Animals
by Jonathan Safran Foer, much of the discourse is dominated by the view that large scale production in agriculture is detrimental to our health and society. Alongside this sits a slightly juvenile “Corporations are evil and nasty” outlook. The problem is, reality often does not equate with such fairy tales.
in Britain eat five times as much chicken as they did 20 years ago, now accounting for almost half the meat they consume. Britain produces more than a million tonnes of chicken a year, mostly in factory farms where big production lines can kill 9,000 birds an hour. In the USA almost 24 million chickens are killed every
Astonishingly, in a century or so we have pushed the average life span from 47.5 years in the USA in 1900 to 74.7 years today. In China, life expectancy has dramatically spiked from 40 years in 1955 to 73 years now and the trend internationally, in developed and developing nations, has been significantly improving (see the UN publication World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision.) Some will argue of course that simply living longer is not of value of itself (although they tend not to think this when it is people they care about). That said, the absolute quality as well as quantity of human life has improved all across the planet as a consequence of improved medicine and innovation, technological improvements and sanitation. Of course this is not an evenly distributed phenomenon and we have much work to do to redress inconsistencies between and within nation states. But the bogeyman stories of large scale agriculture and mass production of food such as poultry and other meats is a dumbed-down view of human achievements rather than any conscious critique. Hattie Ellis in Planet Chicken describes how people
24 hours. That is a remarkable feat that we should be proud of. The question remains how we can improve nutrition and standards of living across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Those opposed to such improvements would have us donate a donkey or build a well at Christmas – patronizing and low horizons. We should demand skyscrapers, air conditioning, plentiful affordable food alongside clean water and electricity worldwide. That comes from development and large scale production. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring led many to argue that pesticides infect and endanger us, but such thinking has ensured that malaria has returned and dominated many countries that would otherwise have banished it – as managed elsewhere – to become one of the biggest killers of humans across the planet. In Britain the government, consistently incapable of inspiring anyone about
anything, has sought increasingly to meddle in private affairs, especially food. The obesity panic has been used to promote measures that interfere in our most private of decisions – what to ingest, when and how. TV chef Jamie Oliver goes into schools and lectures underpaid dinner ladies about “decent” food. Now he has a show with ABC in the USA he humbly entitles Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. With tear-jerking stories of kids with family that have died from being overweight and a variety of tough stories, Jamie earnestly lectures hushed audiences about how the food we are feeding our kids is a big killer. From fears about “Frankenstein Foods” (Genetically Modified) to the Real Slow Food Movement, from fashionistas promoting local produce and organic over mass production, food has become one of the most politicized subjects in society today. This debate contains so many of the nasty ideas about people and deserves to be thoroughly contested. It is very unfashionable to say one likes burgers these days, particularly in Europe. But I would love to see the ubiquitous meat in a bun, as well as many other affordable and plentiful food outlets, all over the developing world. More, better, faster, cheaper. Yum yum! H
Jeﬀrey Sarmiento, Prora (solid), 2009 PHOTO: DAVID WILLIAMS, COURTESY BULLSEYE GALLERY
By Estelle Lovatt & Michael Burland Fra Angelico to Leonardo – Italian Renaissance Drawings
The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B to July 25 This will surely be a queue-roundthe-block exhibition, in a unique collaboration between the Uffizi in Florence and the British Museum. Works by Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Angelico, Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Verrocchio and Titian will show how the art of drawing became important in C15th Italy. From simply a means of preserving artistic ideas – sketching – it became the ideal way to perfect more naturalistic forms and perspective, leading to a new approach by painters, sculptors and architects which laid the foundations of the High Renaissance style of Michelangelo and Raphael. Leonardo da Vinci, Head of a Woman, at the British Museum COURTESY BRITISH MUSEUM
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4SQ May 14 to 17 COLLECT is the leading international art fair for contemporary objects, in other words the ultimate craft fair in Britain. Rather than fine art (paintings, sculpture) and conceptual art, this includes ceramics, glass, jewellery, silver and fine metalwork, textiles, wood and furniture. This year, as well as a programme of events and activities, some 300 artists will exhibit, from the UK and Ireland, Central Europe and Scandinavia as well as Japan, Australia and not least the United States. Bullseye Gallery, based in Portland Oregon, features American artists Jeffrey Sarmiento, who is currently at work on a multi-layered glass monolith destined for the new Liverpool Museum in 2011, wood
turners Christian Burchard and Bud Latven, who will be represented by London gallery Sarah Myerscough Fine Art, and April Surgent.
Cory Arcangel, The Big Middle Max Wigram Gallery May 6 to June 12
Interact with art in a new way! Buffalo, NY born and Brooklyn based artist Cory Arcangel is a self-confessed compulsive customizer of computer technology. His recent installation The Big Middle transforms the Max Wigram Gallery with a modified, life-size golf Christian Burchard, Family Aﬀair, 2009, Bleached Madrone Burl PHOTO: CHRISTIAN BURCHARD, COURTESY BULLSEYE GALLERY
Thomas Gainsborough, Elizabeth and Mary Linley – The Linley Sisters, 1771–72, Oil on canvas, 199 x 153 cm Jacob van Ruisdael (c. 1628/9-1682), Evening Landscape: A Windmill by a Stream, 1650s ROYAL COLLECTION, HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Straight down the middle… The Big Middle installation by Brooklyn based artist Cory Arcangel
simulator that will be surrounded by empty banqueting tables. Visitors step into the simulator and take a swing. “I will spoil the joke right now”, says Arcangel. “No matter how you hit the ball, it always goes in the water. As Jerry Seinfeld said, ‘the big advantage of a book is it’s very easy to rewind. Close it and you’re right back at the beginning’”. The Big Middle continues Arcangel’s ongoing ‘enquiry’, as he calls it, into the human condition; and part of his research is the manipulation of any technology where human interaction is key, played out through various mediums such as video, computer games, photography, kinetic sculpture, composition, and even art fairs.
The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX April 30 to January 9, 2011 Head north for more masterpieces. Dutch Landscapes is an exhibition of 42 works that draws on the Royal Collection’s rich collection of Dutch ‘Golden Age’ painting. By the 17th century, landscape painting was established as a distinct art form. Artists turned to the countryside and to the sea to convey a pride in their newly formed homeland, the Dutch United Provinces. The Dutch masters’ ability to depict mood and emotion through landscape had a profound influence on the great British painters Constable and Turner. 34 of these works were acquired by George IV (then the Prince Regent). The exhibition moves to the identically named Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace from April to October 2011.
LINLEY BEQUEST, 1835, © THE TRUSTEES OF DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY
Masterpieces of European Painting from Dulwich Picture Gallery
1 East 70th Street, New York , NY 10021 to May 30 We’re reversing our usual trend of recommending American art making its way over here – during April and May the world-renowned Frick Collection in NYC welcomes a special exhibition of loans from Dulwich Picture Gallery, the oldest public art gallery in England and one of the major collections of Old Master paintings in the world. It presages Dulwich’s bicentenary in 2011 and will introduce American audiences to nine of its most important and best-loved works, including works that seldom travel, among them Van Dyck’s Samson and Delilah, Rembrandt’s Girl at a Window, Canaletto’s Old Walton Bridge and Gainsborough’s The Linley Sisters. Some have never been seen in New York. Why not see them in a different environment? Or, if you’re not traveling back to the States, see them ‘at home’ in Dulwich from next month.
Dawn Chorus With Wordsworth Rydal Mount and Gardens, Rydal, Near Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9LU May 2
Anna Wintour, 2009 by Alex Katz © ALEX KATZ, COURTESY TIMOTHY TAYLOR GALLERY
Alex Katz Portraits May 15 to September 21
A new portrait of Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of American VOGUE, is one of the star exhibits at this display. Wintour is depicted without her signature sunglasses against a yellow background. Completed in late 2009, Wintour visited Katz in his New York studio where he worked on studies from life for the final painting. This was the first time that Wintour had sat for a painting, and the decision to paint her without her sunglasses came after Katz noticed her “lovely eyes”. He says: “Painting Anna was like shooting a fish in a barrel. There was no way I could miss it.” Anna Wintour, said, “I couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend the afternoon. We talked for two hours while he worked, and I was pleased to see that he used a lot of colour, which I adore.” The centrepiece of the display is a group portrait of the New York intelligentsia at a cocktail party, One Flight Up, 1968. Thirty subjects are seen in two-dimensions presented as aluminium painted cut-outs on a freestanding platform. The second room of the display will focus on a closely hung group of portraits of Katz’s friends and family, previously seen at London’s Timothy Taylor Gallery. Born in Brooklyn in 1927, Katz is one of America’s most well-respected and influential senior artists. This is the first time that there has been a display at the Gallery dedicated to his work.
Combine art with nature at Rydal Mount, the favorite home of William Wordsworth. The Romantic poet lived here for 37 years, from 1813. Visitors can enjoy the birdsong of the dawn chorus, just as William and his family did back in the nineteenth century, as the sun rises. Some of Wordsworth’s poems, such as To The Cuckoo, To The Skylark, and Daffodils, will be read aloud by the curator. It all starts at 5.30am in the stunning gardens, where the sounds of a woodpecker, robins, chaffinch, thrush, blackbirds, nuthatches and many other birds can be heard. You should also be able to hear the call of an elusive cuckoo, heard, but not seen. Wordsworth described the bird in his poem as an “invisible thing”, “a voice”, “a mystery” – “still longed for, never seen”. Once the sun is up, you can indulge in a hearty Cumbrian bacon bap and a warming mug of hot chocolate, tea or coffee, then admire the views of the beautiful Lake District, discover the magnificent trees in the Hear the dawn chorus – and Wordsworth’s poems - at his home Rydal Mount
gardens, including a Medlar tree said to have been planted by Wordsworth to remind him of a love he had left behind in France. Rydal Mount’s gardens were landscaped by Wordsworth himself, true to the Romantic poets’ ideal of planting trees carefully so as to not obscure the view. Booking is essential – call Rose or Marian on 015394 33002. The Rydal Mount Dawn Chorus experience costs £6. For an extra £1.50 you can tour the house.
Artes Mundi 4
National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP to June 6 The work of the eight international artists shortlisted for the 4th Artes Mundi Prize is on display at National Museum Cardiff. They are Yael Bartana, from Israel, Fernando Bryce (Peru), Ergin Çavuşoğlu (Bulgaria), Chen Chieh-jen (Taiwan), Olga Chernysheva (Russia), Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev (Kyrgyzstan) and Adrian Paci (Albania). This year’s theme is national identity, globalisation, consumerism, propaganda and migration. The artists use varied media:
One of the works by Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev from Kyrgyzstan vying for the Artes Mundi prize
Modern Art US Stamps
painting, photography, film, video, sound, installation and drawing. The judges will consider the artists’ work of the last five to eight years, not just their installations here. The £40,000 prize is the largest to be awarded to an individual contemporary artist, and the winner will be announced on May 19.
Glastonbury: Photographs by Venetia Dearden
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE April 19 to September 26 Since 2004, Venetia Dearden has been documenting the world famous music festival and taking portraits in an on-site temporary studio. The sixteen photographs on display include portraits of Dame Shirley Bassey, Lily Allen, Pete Townshend, Leonard Cohen and a selection of festival goers. The portraits are shot against a white studio backdrop removing the sitters from the context of the festival, but the wellington boots and muddy footprints at the bottom of the photographs give clues to the location. Born in 1975, Dearden grew up in Somerset next to the festival site and has been involved with it since she was young. Her photographs have appeared in publications such at Vogue, Wallpaper, Harpers Bazaar and
Adolph Gottlieb’s Romanesque Façade (1949) is one of the Abstract Expressionist works featured on the new US commemorative postage stamps
Dame Shirley Bassey by Venetia Dearden © VENETIA DEARDEN
The Sunday Times Magazine. This is the first solo museum display of her photographs, and her book Glastonbury – Another Stage, a hardback with 288 color photographs, was published in April. Dearden’s scenes from Glastonbury will be displayed at Mulberry’s Bond Street store, London, launched on 18 May. Dearden will shoot new portraits at Glastonbury this year which will be fed from Somerset onto www.mulberry.com and into the Bond Street store. Dearden will be speaking about her work and signing copies of the book in the NPG’s Bookshop Gallery on June 18 at 7pm.
Honouring the artistic success of modern artists who moved to the United States and led the international art scene, the US Postal Service is releasing a series of Abstract Expressionists commemorative postage stamps featuring works by Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Hans Hoffmann, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock and Adolph Gottlieb. USPS’s Linda Kingsley, said, “Although these stamps can’t compare in size to their real-life canvases, they bring the passion and spirit of abstract expressionism to an envelope near you. The Postal Service is proud to pay tribute to the legacy and unique perspectives of these revolutionary artists.” Louis Grachos, Director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY (home of four of the featured works) said, “The abstract expressionists began one of the most important art movements in the last century, placing New York and American art at the very centre of the art world for the first time. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery was one of the first museums to begin collecting abstract expressionist paintings, and we are very proud that work from our collection was chosen by the Postal Service as some of the finest examples of the period.” – EL
Pearl RESTAURANT & BAR Dining out at
Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
earl Restaurant is located in an impressive Edwardian building designed in the Belle Epoque style by H. Percy Moncton in 1912 for Pearl Assurance. After walking through an imposing stone archway, Jennifer Atterbury, an interior designer, and I saw a mahogany door still with its original brass door handles. The interior is listed and Jennifer commented that Keith Hobbs of the United Design Company did a spectacular job creating a contemporary interior using glass and steel to contrast with the original marble and mahogany features without taking away the architectural character of the past. As glamorous at the restaurant was, my purpose that evening was to taste Jun Tanaka’s cooking. Tanaka, who started his career at nineteen at La Gavroche, has a growing reputation as one of the young chefs to watch and having seen him on television a number of times I was looking forward to his take on “modern” French cuisine. After enjoying a glass of champagne at one of the tables in the bar separated by glass installations and beading, we were led to the dining room where we were seated at a table with lighting that comes through the middle of the table which added a delicate touch of brightness to the food being served. An amuse bouche of silky gaspacho with watermelon, goat cheese and pine nuts was offered, good enough to be a starter. But my first course of scallops with parsnip puree, apples, cauliflower and semi dried grapes certainly gave me no regrets. Nor did Jennifer complain of the roast red leg of partridge, sausage roll, pears and pickled winter vegetables. However, it was the baby leek and ham hock terrine, Perigord Truffle, fondant potato with its unusual flavoured sauce we shared we’d choose on our return. Enticing though the starters might
be, we were eager to go on to our main course. Presently being served was Anjou Pigeon and truffle “Wellington”, Baby Beetroot and celeriac puree that was highly recommended by our congenial waiter. Jennifer’s selection was roast saddle of rabbit stuffed with veal sweetbreads and morels, gratin of Swiss chard, and artichokes. I, however, chose Denham Estate venison cooked in a spice infused salt crust with beetroot tart tatin, pears and walnut. Both showed off Tanaka’s strands of imagination woven together in two very different dishes, although I must admit the venison seemed to have less depth of flavour than I prefer. After all that food, I decided sliced fresh fruit with honey and ginger ice cream was all I needed. However, I admit I felt some regret when I tasted Jennifer’s caramelised apples with salted caramel mousse, thyme ice cream and honey jelly. With our desserts Jennifer had a glass of Chateau Jolys, Jurancon, 2006 and me the Recioto de la Valpolicella, Roccolo Gras, Vento 2005. Delicious! So too were the selection of chocolates candies we had with our coffee and the perfect way to end a meal. Pearl’s wine list is interesting and because they have a special system to preserve wine by the glass one can choose from over 50 different kinds. A three course menu is £49, two courses £58. The tasting menu (which must be taken by the entire table) is £70 without wine, £90 with beer, and £120 with wine. Lunch is £26 for two courses, £29 for three. One last note: Jun Tanaka can be found on Twitter. Chancery Court Hotel, 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN 020 7829 7000 www.pearl-restaurant.com
Sensational There are some cookbooks that look well worn in a very short time because of continuous use. In my kitchen this will be one of them. Jun Tanaka, head chef of the excellent Pearl Restaurant in London (reviewed left), has worked with some of England’s most prestigious chefs including Albert Roux, Nico Ladenis and Marco Pierre White and the recipes in this book reflect his background. On one side of the page he gives a simple recipe and on the other a slightly more adventurous and difficult dish to try. Do follow the tips given with many of the recipes as they really do work – I can vouch for them.
HOMELY OCEAN PIE
I love fish pie and this was simple to make. You can find this recipe on page 96 of the cookbook. Serves 6. 600g mixed salmon, cod and smoked haddock, cut into chunks 100g frozen peas Salt and freshly ground pepper Juice of ½ lemon Mixed green salad to serve For the Mash: 2 large Desireee potatoes 50ml milk 50g unsalted butter Sal and freshly ground pepper
By Jun Tanaka Simon & Schuster UK Ltd. £20
For the Bechamel sauce: 30g unsalted butter 30g plain flour 400ml milk Salt and freshly ground pepper Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180’C. Bake the potatoes for 1 hour or until soft when pierced. Remove the potatoes from the oven, cut in half and press through a drum sieve discarding the skin. Place in a bowl. Pour the milk and butter into a pan and bring to a simmer. Mix into the potato slowly, using a spatula. Season. Make the Bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and slowly add the flour. Gradually pour into the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously until you obtain a smooth velvety sauce. Season. Place the fish and peas into an oven proof 8in. dish. Season and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Pour over the Bechamel sauce. Spoon on the mash, starting at the edges and working towards the centre. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Serve with green salad. For the more sensational recipe Tanika suggests making it into individual dishes and garnishing with shellfish.
Reviewed by Michael Burland
odean’s owner Andre Blais is Canadian, but his restaurant chain boasts classic American dishes and ambience. The mostly Cajun and TexMex style menu is not vying for Michelin stars but is instead the ultimate comport food, especially for expats. Although it was a school holiday I played at ‘take your kid to work’ with eleven year old Fleur. After a meeting at the US Embassy, and before a trip to the Natural History Museum, we needed to stoke up on lunch and one of Bodean’s five restaurants was just the ticket. The Soho branch is a short walk along Poland Street, just south of shopping Mecca Oxford Street and north of theatre-land, Shaftesbury Avenue. The other Bodean’s are in Tower Hill, Clapham, Fulham, and Westbourne Grove. Upstairs we entered a New York style deli, with snacks and grilled food to go or – like a number of busy business-people – to sit and eat at one of the chrome diner high stools. We were ushered downstairs to the restaurant. What a change in atmosphere: wood panelling, faux-antler light
fittings and red tartan carpet, a hunting lodge transferred to bustling London. Large screen TVs show sports – it’ll be an ideal place for Americans to come and support the US soccer team battle out the World Cup which starts in June. The manager, hailing from Poland, and our Canadian waitress, were both super friendly and helpful, especially to Fleur. You’d be surprised at how many waiting staff seem to find children invisible at best, or a chore at worst. Straight away I chose the Cajunstyle crab cakes (£4.95) for my starter, and Fleur the Fire-kissed Gamba shrimps (£6.95). The latter are what many British restaurants would call prawns, shrimps seemingly being reserved for the tiny tasteless members
of the shellfish fraternity – watch out for this if you’re new to the UK! Both were tasty, though strangely Fleur, a big prawn fan, liked the crab cakes more so we swapped! Mains took more choosing – burgers, ribs (pictured below), burnt ends, salads, steaks, burritos, and sides like corn bread muffins and creamed corn… To sample a variety of dishes, I decided on one of the Combo plates: a half chicken, pulled pork and grilled smoked sausages with coleslaw and spicy fries and a dish of mayonnaise (£14.95). Fleur went for the regular grilled chicken burger, with several pieces of char grilled chicken breast strips and a choice of Jerk or BBQ sauce (she went for BBQ), served with fries (£6.95). A sauce rack offered all the tastes of home.) Both were cooked perfectly, the pulled pork melting in the mouth. But, dear reader, a confession: both of us were defeated by the portions. I guess we’re just not used to big lunches these days! “There’s no such thing as a three course meal at Bodean’s” said one of the staff, and this lunchtime she was right, but another time we’ll go for an evening meal and do it justice. Bodean’s drinks are – like everything on the menu – reasonably priced, £6.25 for classic cocktails, shooters at £3.50 and there’s a wide range of Kentucky Bourbons. This being lunchtime I restricted myself to one of the selection of imported American craft beers, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (£3.95) Fleur had a bottle of Coke. Many ‘American-style’ restaurants fail to impress real Americans, but Bodean’s hits the right balance and won’t disappoint. Bodean’s Soho, 10 Poland Street, London W1F 8PZ 020 7287 7575 www.bodeansbbq.com
aqua nueva A
qua nueva’s entrance on Argyll Street, with its dark canopy showing one word, “aqua” in lower case, is not the easiest place to find even when you know it’s opposite The London Palladium. (The “q” in “aqua”, I might add, resembles the female symbol of Venus.) Inside, the elevator zapped us up to two restaurants, aqua nueva (Spanish) and aqua kyoto (Japanese), in Star Trek quickness. They are owned and operated by aqua, a Hong Kong based group. London’s aqua neuvo is presided over by Chef Alberto Hernandez, who trained under the legendary Ferran Adria at one of the world’s finest restaurants, the three Michelin starred El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain. Walking down the long glazed windowed corridor towards a charging bull that separates the two restaurants, Maxine Howe and I declined the offer to view Regents Street from the terrace as we were still shivering from the freezing weather outside. The room we entered was spacious, although not as dramatic as I expected after the entrance. Our table was across from a long all-day tapas bar that was crowded with beautiful people, but then it was the night before Valentine’s Day. A selection of brown, nut and raisin bread was brought to us along with
Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
a fruity olive oil. Although there is a wonderful selection of Champagnes, sparkling wines, and wines we decided to start with a cocktail. I had Chamomile Bubbles (peach liqueur, chamomile, and champagne) (£12.00) while Maxine contentedly sipped Rose and U (Champagne with rose liqueur, lychee and flowering rose buds (£12.00). As we dipped our bread in the olive oil, a dish arrived with mussels, cockles, crab and clams in a seawater jelly and roasted foie gras with mango melon and a black tea sauce. Along with this came baby squid in a squid ink flavoured broth in a tiny porcelain jug. However, the star was the Iberian ham thinly sliced from the bone from the tapas bar I persuaded them to let us try. We both agreed, the last time we tasted ham as delicious as this was in a restaurant in Spain with dozen of hams hanging from the ceiling. If I returned and could have only one dish, it would be this. For the main course, Maxine had the 24 hour marinated and braised oxtail with pumpkin puree (£18.50) which had been recommended and was as good as she was told. We both loved the Roast Iberian neck of pork (£21.00). If I have any complaints about the evening, it’s the desserts. Mixed
up flavours and unusual combinations work sometimes, but not that night. After breaking every calorie rule in the book, I did not care to have sour yogurt ice cream with chocolate. We had told the head sommelier, Yann Prigent, we wanted to drink Spanish wines. Although he admitted he was getting to know Spanish wines, his selection went well with our various dishes. However, looking over the list later, a friend who knows Spanish wines thought the selection could be enhanced. Hopefully, as Yann gets to know the cellar, he will do just that. Spanish wines in the past twenty years have been getting better and a restaurant like aqua nueva needs to reflect the best. Service was impeccable. Despite being crowded, everything seemed to run smoothly, thanks to the efficient and cordial restaurant manager, David Owen. I hope to return very soon and try their tapas. Fifth Floor, 240 Regent Street, Soho, Entrance at 30 Argyll Street, London 1B 3BR (the old Dickens and Jones Building) 020 7478 0540 www.aqua-london.com
Cellar Talk If It’s Good Enough For Beefeaters… Virginia E Schultz investigates the story of London gin
he story of Beefeater Gin began in the 1860’s when James Burroughs bought a Chelsea distillery. Their signature picture on the bottle of the Yeoman Warder, the ceremonial guard of the Tower of London, is one of the most successful in advertising. Today Beefeater is the only London dry gin being distilled in London as I learned on a visit to its facilities in Kensington. Explaining everything was Desmond Payne, The Master Distiller of Beefeater Gin. I don’t think there is anyone who knows more about Gin than this Irish born gentleman. The recipe for Beefeater has gone unchanged since Burroughs perfected it and is the most popular gin in the States. The same eight
botanicals are still used: Juniper, a member of the cypress family, in the forefront, then coriander, orange and lemon peels, angelica, liquorice, almonds and orris root. They are steeped for 24 hours before distillation, which takes another eight hours. The distilled spirit is taken to Scotland where it is blended and bottled. Desmond was instrumental in creating their newest addition, Beefeater 24. Released in early 2009, 24 is infused with twelve botanicals including a rare blend of teas. Distilling spirits has its origins in alchemy. Its first use was medicinal but when it was discovered flavours added to the raw spirit improved it, it was drunk for pleasure as well. In 1776 when the government tried to ban the importing of brandy, gin became the drink of the poor. There were around 1,500 stills in London and over 6,000 places where gin was sold, much of it doctored with turpentine, alum and sulphuric acid. In the end, a reluctant government, was banned gin and seven years of prohibition started. Despite its notorious origins, summed up by satirist William Hogarth’s 1750 cartoon Gin Lane (left), gin today is one of the favourite spirits drunk by the middle and upper classes. What would summer be without Gin and Tonic? There are seven distinct styles of gin, the most common being London dry
gin. London dry gin must not contain added sugar or colorants, water being the only permitted additive. Below are two recipes for cocktails made with gin, including one created especially for me by Alex Kratena, the bartender or mixologist at The Langham Hotel that I call The Virginian . It was, several of us agreed, wonderful! H
DRINKS OF THE MONTH THE VIRGINIAN Created for Virginia at The Langham Hotel 15 ml Gin 15 ml Bourbon 40 ml Apertivo Cocchi 5 ml Maraschino 1 dash Orange bitters Champagne Stir into glass flute with the Champagne and garnish with crystal clear chunk of ice/ lemon oil. Top with a Karma edible orchid.
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE MORNING AFTER
As served at 69 Colebrooke Row Beefeater 24 Gin Mineral Water Clarified Lemon Sachet of Bicarbonate of Soda Sugar Syrup Mix and serve in a cocktail glass.
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La Capanna For the finest Italian dining experience in the most picturesque of settings, perfect for that romantic dinner for two, a family celebration or business entertainment.
La Capanna Special Menu, 2 courses only £31.95 Sunday Lunch, 3 courses only £25.95 Children’s Menu – £12.00
Lunch at La Capanna 1 course £11.50 2 courses £15.50 3 courses £19.50 Available lunchtime Mon – Sat
We offer corporate clients a 10% discount
We specialize in Wedding feasts with a difference 48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey
With riverside Italian Garden for al fresco dining
Book your table online on our website: www.lacapanna.co.uk Business account customers and party bookings are welcome. All major credit cards accepted.
“La Capanna must boast the prettiest interior of any restaurant I have ever dined in”
– David Billington, Hello Magazine
Coﬀee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 Where is the only place that the American flag flies 24 hours a day - never raised, never lowered, and never saluted?
7 Who discovered the rabies vaccination?
14 Who was the first woman to appear on a US postage stamp?
8 What is studied in the science of somatology?
15 How many usable teeth does an elephant have at any one time?
2 Al Capone’s business card said he was a what?
9 What is the resort with a boardwalk in New Jersey ?
16 In 1753 who was appointed 1st Postmaster General in America?
3 In which country did the dish Chop Suey originate?
10 Where is the only Royal Palace in the USA?
17 What is a funambulist?
4 Walt Disney suffered from suriphobia. What is it?
11 How many hearts does an octopus have?
5 Which European nation were the first tea drinkers?
12 What was the first song to be sung in outer space?
6 In what year did Elvis Presley die?
13 What were the first cinemas US (circa 1900) called ?
18 Frank Sinatra’s teenage girl fans were called what? 19 What did the band Carl and the Passions later become? 20 Which famous man’s son was at or near 3 US president’s assassinations?
Answers below The Johnsons
Coﬀee Break Quiz Answers: 1. On the Moon; 2. Used furniture dealer; 3. The USA; 4. Fear of mice; 5. The Dutch; 6. 1977; 7. Louis Pasteur (1885); 8. The Body; 9. Atlantic City; 10. Honolulu; 11. 3; 12. Happy Birthday – Apollo 9, March 8, 1969; 13. Nickelodeons; 14. Queen Isabella of Spain – with Columbus (1893); 15.4; 16. Benjamin Franklin; 17. Tightrope walker; 18. The Bobby Soxers; 19. The Beach Boys; 20. Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln: they were his father and Presidents Garfield and McKinley
It happened one... May May 1, 1884 – Moses Fleetwood Walker became the first black person to play in a professional baseball game in the United States. May 2, 1670 – King Charles II of England grants a permanent charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company to open up the fur trade in North America.
May 3, 1877 – Labatt Park, the oldest continually operating baseball grounds in the world has it’s first game. May 4, 1904 – Charles Stewart Rolls meets Frederick Henry Royce at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, England.
May 5, 1809 – Mary Kies becomes the first woman awarded a U.S. patent, for a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread. May 6, 1889 – The Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris.
May 7, 1840 – The Great Natchez Tornado strikes Natchez, Mississippi killing 317 people. It is the second deadliest tornado in United States history. May 8, 1886 – Pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invents a carbonated beverage that would later be named “Coca-Cola”.
May 9, 1980 – Tampa Bay, Florida, Liberian freighter MV Summit Venture collides with the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Six cars and a Greyhound bus fall 150 ft. into the water. May 10, 1837 – Panic of 1837: New York City banks fail, and unemployment reaches record levels. May 11, 1927 – The Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.
May 12, 1962 – Douglas MacArthur delivers his famous “Duty, Honor, Country” valedictory speech at the United States Military Academy.
May 13, 1880 – In Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison performs the first test of his electric railway.
May 14, 1973 – Skylab, the United States’ first space station, is launched. May 15, 1850 – The Bloody Island Massacre. In Lake County, CA, a large number of Pomo Indians are slaughtered by a regiment of the United States Calvary, led by Nathaniel Lyon.
May 16, 1866 – The U.S. Congress eliminates the half dime coin and replaces it with the five cent piece, or nickel. May 17, 1792 – The New York Stock Exchange is formed.
May 18, 1897 – Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker is published. May 19, 1535 – French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail on his second voyage to North America with three ships, 110 men, and Chief Donnacona’s two sons (whom Cartier had kidnapped during his first voyage). May 20, 1932 – Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day. May 21, 1917 – The Great Atlanta fire of 1917. May 22, 1906 – The Wright brothers are granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their “Flying-Machine”.
Big Ben – the famous clock chimed first in 1859 FIR0002
May 23, 1863 – American Civil War: Sergeant William Harvey Carney becomes the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner.
May 24, 1976 – The London to Washington, D.C. Concorde service begins. May 25, 1925 – Scopes Trial: John T. Scopes is indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. May 26, 1647 – Alse Young is the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies, when she is hanged in Hartford, Connecticut.
May 27, 1930 – The Chrysler Building, 1,046 feet (319 m), the tallest manmade structure at the time, opens to the public in New York City. May 28, 1937 – The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, is officially opened.
May 29, 1886 – Chemist John Pemberton places his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, in the Atlanta Journal. May 30, 1859 – Westminster’s Big Ben rings for the first time in London.
May 31, 1889 – Johnstown Flood: Over 2,200 people die after a dam break sends a 60-foot wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. H
Liverpool: Still Sound City
Liverpool Sound City is a four day event which this year will use 35 venues across the city to host more than 400 artists. Paloma Faith and Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle are among the headliners, alongside acts including Gil Scott-Heron, Afrika Bambaataa, The Fall, flavor-ofthe-month on BBC Radio 2 Eliza Doolittle, Rox, Dr Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson, former Icicle Works singer Ian McNabb, and ex-Bunnyman Ian McCulloch. The musical legend, Sire Records founder Seymour Stein is the first keynote speaker at one of the many special events alongside the music. Stein will be in conversation with a surprise celebrity guest who he has worked with in the past. No promises yet from the organizers, but some of the artists he is associated with include Madonna, The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads and Liverpool’s own Echo and the Bunnymen.
In Crazy Love with Michael Buble Michael Buble will be wooing British audiences this month in support of his latest album Crazy Love. Under the radar of many ‘hip’ music fans, Buble has sold 22 million albums worldwide and won many awards including a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. The UK dates are: May 6th Sheffield Arena; 8th Glasgow SECC; 9th Manchester MEN ARENA; 11th Liverpool Echo Arena; 12th Newcastle Metro Arena; 14th Birmingham LG Arena; 15th London 02 Arena.
LIVE AND KICKING
Matt Groening’s Parties
It’s the indie/punk dream festival with the wackiest curator. Check out The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening’s musical tastes as he curates All Tomorrow’s Parties. In the unlikely setting of Butlin’s Holiday Centre, Minehead, Somerset, over the weekend of May 7th to 9th, a fantastic line up of more or less obscure, but musically brilliant, acts will keep the troops entertained. How about Iggy & The Stooges (in what will surely be an emotional show dedicated to the memory of Ron Asheton), The Residents, Spiritualized, performing their classic album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, Joanna Newsom, Toumani Diabate, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions, Daniel Johnston, James Chance & Les Contortions and many more?
Crowded Houses expected as NZ band returns to UK Crowded House, the makers of clever, witty and beautiful pop songs, also built a reputation as one of the best – and most fun - live bands around. Songs like ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, ‘Fall At Your Feet’, ‘Weather With You’ and ‘4 Seasons In One Day’ led to Neil Finn being compared to Lennon & McCartney. The pressure of success caused the band to split up in 1995. In 2005, founder member and drummer Paul Hester died, but out of this tragic loss, was born a new spark of creativity in Finn and bassist Nick Seymour. In 2007 they released their fifth studio album ‘Time on Earth’ and toured once more. Another album is just about to come out and you can see Crowded House
at Newcastle City Hall on May 18th; on the 24th they are at Birmingham Symphony Hall; 26th Manchester Apollo; June 2nd Bristol Colston Hall; 3rd Plymouth Pavilions; 4th Cardiff CIA; 6th Oxford New Theatre; 8th & 9th London Hammersmith Apollo.
Visit The Bordello
Following Australian and American tours, the ska/metal/punk/rap/dub/ (and more recently) Brazilian gypsy collective that is Gogol Bordello hits Europe in May. The British leg of the tour is May 7th London Hammersmith Apollo; 8th Manchester Academy; 9th Glasgow Academy; 10th Norwich UEA; 11th Birmingham Academy, before the band goes on to play France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands.
Aerosmith Europe tour includes “Intimate” UK Indoor Show
erosmith – one of the biggest (and considering their chemical history one of the most surprisingly long-lived bands) in rock history, make a sensational return to the UK & Europe when the ‘Cocked, Locked Ready To Rock’ Tour arrives this summer. The band will play what they are calling a “very special, intimate” show at London’s O2 Arena on June 15th, their first indoor show in Britain since 1997. On June 13th Aerosmith co-headline Download Festival at Donington Park alongside Rage Against The Machine and AC/DC. After the O2 gig they go on to play ten
European shows including Bucharest, Athens, Barcelona and Paris before finally finishing up in Venice on July 3rd. The tour makes their first appearances in Europe for three years. “Back by popular demand with more spit and fire than ever before, we’re coming across the pond and parting the waters as we go,” says Steven Tyler. “Aerosmith is going to be rocking in the UK and Europe this summer,” adds Joe Perry. “Enough BS, we’re coming and everything is going to be set at eleven.”
Natalie Merchant – Leave Your Sleep ‘til Hammersmith
Natalie Merchant, former 10,000 Maniacs chanteuse, is playing seven dates in the UK, her first for eight years. She will be playing songs from her new album, Leave Your Sleep, which she describes as “The most elaborate project I have ever completed or even imagined.” It’s a two-disc set of 26 songs adapted from poems by British Victorian poets and early- and mid-20th century Americans – Ogden Nash, e.e. cummings, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina Rossetti, Edward Lear, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Robert Graves – as well as contemporary writers, works by obscure writers, anonymous nursery rhymes and lullabies. The album includes an 80-page booklet featuring extensive liner notes by Merchant as well as the original poems. (There’s a 16-song one-disc version.) Musicians include the Wynton Marsalis Quartet, The Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, the Ditty Bops, members of the New York Philharmonic, The Klezmatics, Lúnasa and Hazmat Modin. See Merchant on May 22nd at London Hammersmith Apollo; 24th Manchester Lowry; 25th Gateshead Sage; 26th Edinburgh Usher Hall; 28th Birmingham Symphony Hall; 29th Bristol Colston Hall and 30th Brighton Dome.
Lady Gaga has extended her Monster Ball Tour after monster ticket sales. Following sold out concert dates in the UK, Australia and Japan, Gaga will perform in Europe beginning May 7th. Concerts in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France will be followed by these UK dates: May 27th Nottingham Arena (rescheduled from March); 28th Birmingham LG Arena; 30th London O2 Arena; June 2nd Manchester MEN Arena; 4th Sheffield Arena (also rescheduled). Special guest in Europe is Semi Precious Weapons. North American audiences can look forward to Lady Gaga’s return to North America for her first US arena tour in June.
John Mayer Tour Dates Added
Also adding additional shows due to phenomenal demand is John Mayer. After successful concerts in Britain earlier in the year Mayer has toured the US and now returns to play four extra dates to add to his eagerly anticipated May 27th Wembley Arena show. Mayer has added a second Wembley performance and will also play arena shows in Cardiff (May 23rd), Birmingham (24th) and Manchester (June 5th).
Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale – saving Grace LINDSEY T
ALBUMS THEOF MONTH Various Artists
Almost Alice Buena Vista Records Almost Alice is inspired by Tim Burton’s latest movie Alice in Wonderland. With the exception of Avril Lavigne’s opening effort most of the songs are not on the film soundtrack. Instead they are mostly Alice-oriented numbers by mostly well known MTV friendly acts. It’s a strange mix of great tunes, oddities and goingthrough-the-numbers er, numbers. Opening with a slightly psychedelic stereo fading effect, Lavigne’s Alice (Underground is a typically strident pop-rocker. It could be the best thing Lavigne has recorded since Sk8er Boi. But then that may not be saying a lot. Actually, I liked it. On the downside, The Poison, by The All-American Rejects, is instantly forgettable, as are contributions by All Time Low, Metro Station, 3OH!3 featuring Neon Hitch, and Tokio Hotel and Kerli – all glossy production and big choruses, signifying nothing. In Transit, by Mark Hoppus (Blink-182) with Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) sounds unfinished. Shinedown’s Her Name Is Alice is an effective AOR belter. The only rocky number that really works is Wolfmother’s Fell Down a Hole. Conversely, The Technicolor Phase, by Owl City, is as charming as Fireflies. Most peculiar is Robert (The Cure) Smith’s take on Very Good Advice, from the original Disney animated classic, while Franz Ferdinand perform a subtle Lobster Quadrille. This could have been an interesting compilation of some of the excellent new bands taking inspiration from the ’60s psychedelic scene. And one wonders why Buena Vista didn’t cough
up the dough for the rights to use Jefferson Airplane’s original and unparalleled White Rabbit instead of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ straightforward cover.
Goodnight San Francisco Compass Records We raved about The B’s live, and on record they deliver too. More mainstream than many alt-country acts, Hannah Prater (the voice of the band), Chris Meyers (most of the songwriting and instruments) and Steve Bowman (backing vocals and drums) specialise in intelligent, thoughtful, poignant country Standout tracks: Is Anyone Safe? (The fortresses we build become our lives), the suicide song 45, and the anthemic title track.
Hungry And The Hunted Magic Bullets (Album Review) Distributed by Cargo Records
Are you looking for a bluesman with a difference? How about Azan Khan? Born in Pakistan, raised in the tough East End of London and immersed in hard rock and blues. His old band Midnight Special headlines blues festivals and supported Eric Clapton and Paul Weller, but the change in attitude to British Muslims after the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks drew Khan into a spikier edged, angrier music. His new band Hungry And The Hunted is a power trio that allies punk attitude with real rock chops. Anyone remember the Screaming Blue Messiahs? The opener, This Time, states “This time I’m ready for anything / This time I’ll take on anyone” and it sounds like Khan means it. Bite The Bullet commences with Clash Tommy Gun drum tattoos while Night Comes Crawling Motorhead riffs with Seger/Springsteen panoramas. Images of outlaw cowboys, Cossack warriors and terrorist illustrate the lyric sheet which itself is full of bitter lyrics – confrontational, or what?
Win HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS Tickets he legendary basketball magic of the Harlem Globetrotters is heading to the UK to wow audiences across Britain this June. The Harlem Globetrotters are a worldwide icon, synonymous with family entertainment and great basketball skills. The Globetrotters represent 84 years of breaking down barriers, acts of goodwill, and a commitment to fans that goes beyond the game. Since Abe Saperstein founded the team in 1926 the cheers have never stopped, as the Globetrotters have entertained more than 130 million fans in 120 countries worldwide. The Globetrotters’ show features ever more amazing basketball skills and wizardry. They truly are the greatest sporting family entertainment show.
PHOTO: DANIEL A. JONES
The 2010 UK Tour Dates Are: Saturday June 05 Sunday June 06 Monday June 07 Tuesday June 08 Wednesday June 09
Birmingham LG Arena Cardiff International Arena London Wembley Arena Newcastle Metro Arena Sheffield Arena
Tickets go on Sale 9am Friday 19th February priced at £40 / £25 / £19 & £12.50 Adv and are available from www.livenation.co.uk We have 5 pairs of tickets to send to the winners of this month’s competition. Just answer the following question: Where did Abe Saperstein originally form the Globetrotters?
ANSWER A Chicago, Illinois B Harlem, New York C St. Louis, Missouri HOW TO ENTER For your chance to win one of 5 pairs of tickets, send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by May 31, 2010. Email it to theamerican@ blueedge.co.uk with GLOBETROTTERS COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: GLOBETROTTERS 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.
The American Profile:
Kristin Hannah Kristin Hannah is a former lawyer turned New York Times bestselling author of sixteen novels who lives in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii with her husband and son. Virginia E Schultz interviews her and reviews her latest book
Many of your books are about sisters and their relationships. Do you have brothers and sisters? I have a younger brother and sister. I often write about sibling relationships because they’re so profoundly important in our lives. There’s so much love and angst and conflict. Your mother, who died of cancer, always believed you’d become a writer. Was she your biggest influence? Absolutely. I really believe that without my mother’s inspiration, I would never have become a writer. Equally important was my husband’s encouragement. There’s so much failure and heartbreak along the way, it is wonderful to have someone telling you daily that you can succeed. And my writer friends have made a huge difference in my ability to survive the turbulent publishing waters. Who inspires the characters in your books? They’re always fictional. If anything, my characters are reflections of me, rather than other people. Kate in Firefly Lane is a great example, so much of her is drawn from my own life, my own feelings, and my own insecurities. But even though she began as my alter ego, she became a wholly separate person. In a way, I discover and interpret my characters in the same way that a reader does – by seeing what he/she says and does. Friendship is an important theme in your books. Are friends important in your life? Friends are my lifeline. Honestly.
I can’t tell you how often my friends have saved my sanity. Especially during the trials and tribulations, joys and heartaches, of parenting. You’ve said that when you want to take a trip down “memory lane”, you listen to music. How have your favourite songs inspired your writing? Music is a constant reminder of where I’ve been in my life and what I’ve done. All it takes sometimes is a song on the radio and I can be instantly transported to another time in my life. Some of those songs make me happy, some make me sad, but they all are a part of my journey. I learned with Firefly Lane that I’m not alone in this. The music of our era is something we all share, something that connects our lives. Honestly, most of my favourite songs are included in the Firefly Lane playlist, which can be found at KristinHannah.com. Tell me about a typical day in the life of Kristin Hannah when you are writing? There really is no typical day. That’s one of the great things about having my son off at college. My schedule these days is of my own making. Because I write long hand, I can – and do – write anywhere. In a chair on the beach, listening to the surf... on my back deck, looking out over the horses in my field... in a comfy chair in my bedroom. The one constant is that I DO try to write every day that I’m home, so that I can travel and relax. There’s nothing I love better than a vacation with someone else’s book in my lap. If I work really hard, and remain dedicated to making my deadlines, I am able to have that kind of freedom. What a great job!
WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah
Do you believe women today have more difficulty balancing their lives than their mothers and grandmothers? I think motherhood has always been an incredibly difficult job that requires impossible choices. In previous generations, women had to face terrible struggles just to keep their children alive and healthy. We modern women often face the challenging task of “doing it all.” We all strive to be great mothers, loving wives, powerful career women, all at the same time. I think it’s a constant struggle to balance our needs with those of our loved ones. How do you start to write a book? Generally, I begin a novel with one or two major characters and a basic plot idea. For example, in Firefly Lane, I wanted to write a novel about two women and their thirty year friendship. In True Colors, I began with the idea of a man who may or may not have been wrongly convicted of a crime, and the impact of that on his marriage. Winter Garden began with an elderly woman hiding a dark secret. Once I have that central idea, I write up a very loose plot outline. Then the research begins, and through the research – and the constant writing and editing – I find my way to the heart of the story. Do you have a theme in mind for your next book? Actually, I have just finished the first draft of my next novel. I can’t say yet what it’s about, but I can say that it is a complex, complicated family drama that my readers will really be able to relate to. Is there anything in your life you would still like to do? There are a million things left to do! I want to travel – there are so many places I have yet to see. I want to helicopter ski.
I want to become proficient at yoga. I want to cook everything in the Julia Child cookbook. I want to learn to ballroom dance. I want to write an epic fantasy novel and a screenplay. I want to see the fund I started – the Firefly Fund – become successful enough to help educate women about breast cancer. I want to run a marathon. What is the one thing you don’t like about yourself? Only one thing? Ha! I would have to say that sometimes I am too judgmental. I am also pretty obsessive when it comes to writing; I often have trouble relaxing. Philosophy or motto in life? When the student is ready, the teacher appears. Your favourite restaurant and five people you’d invite to join you there? That’s a tough one. I love restaurants. At the moment, I’d have to say that my favourite restaurant is Alan Wong’s in Honolulu. A close second would be Craft in NYC. If I were lucky enough to go back, I’d invite my husband, my son and his girlfriend, and my dad and his wife. Because really, a good meal is made even better when you’re surrounded by family. And finally, your favorite sandwich? An excellent grilled cheese – with gruyere! H
This latest Kristin Hannah book is the potent and troubled story of sisters Meredith and Nina Whitson and their mother, Anya. As children, the only connection to their cold and stern mother was the Russian fairy tale Anya told at night. It isn’t until their father lies dying that Nina, a world famous photo journalist, and Meredith, who has stayed at home to raise children and manage the family apple farm, come together. On his deathbed, their father makes the three women promise that the fairy tale will be told once again and this time to the end. Although they do not realize it at the time, that promise begins to slowly open the doors to Anya’s past life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades before. With Anya’s health slowly declining and the discovery of a picture of two children in the pocket of a forties style coat, the sisters make one last attempt to learn who their mother was before she married their father. As they make the journey together, Anya tells her daughters the story of the mysterious Snow Maiden and they understand at last why she has been unable to show her feelings for them. Fans as well as new readers to Kristin Hannah will be immersed in this richly imagined novel which alternates between the present and life in a Russia torn apart by war. It is a moving saga of generational and cultural differences that veers from a Russian tale based on truth to contemporary life in the Pacific Northwest. No one writes better about women and their relationship with their mothers better than Hannah.
THEATER REVIEWS BY JARLATH O’CONNELL
Private Lives “W
hat would we do if someone walked in on us” says Elyot. “Behave exquisitely” replies Amanda archly. This exchange neatly sums up Noël Coward’s great soufflé of a play which has been given a gloriously funny revival by Richard Eyre. The key to Private Lives is to play the lines as if they are music. The actors must avoid getting all ‘method’ and trying to make it ‘mean’ something. Eyre knows this but also acknowledges that the flippancy hides a vulnerable heart at the core of this great play. It is amazing to think that it was written by Coward in just four days whilst he was laid-up with flu in the Cathay Hotel in Shanghai. Nowadays, flu for most of us means daytime TV under the duvet, ah well! When it opened in London in Sept 1930 it starred Coward himself as Elyot, Gertrude Lawrence as Amanda and newcomers Laurence Olivier and Adrienne Allen (wife of Raymond and
By Noël Coward • Vaudeville Theatre, London
mother of all the Masseys) as Victor and Sibyl. The careers of all four went into a higher orbit afterwards and it has been revived regularly ever since. The plot is pure symmetry. Amanda and Elyot, who had a tempestuous marriage, end up on honeymoon with their new spouses, staying in adjacent suites at the chic resort of Deauville. The first act is their startled reunion where they (and we) realise they were made for each other. It ends with them running out on their partners as the curtain falls. Act Two finds them in Amanda’s opulent Parisian pad, where they are eventually tracked down by their unfortunate spouses. After more rough and tumble in Act Three including a gloriously farcical tea scene, the curtain falls on the play as the two steal away again. The play demands “star turns” (it was written for them) and Eyre succeeds brilliantly with this quartet of actors. The box office insurance is, of
PHOTO: NOBBY CLARK
course, Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall. Born in Liverpool, the English accent doesn’t throw her, but more importantly she looks totally at home in fabulous gowns. She brings a maturity and sophistication to the role, totally mastering the waspish repartee, executing some lithe physical comedy and even singing “Someday I’ll Find You” like an angel. Matthew MacFadyen (recent star of BBC TV’s spy drama Spooks) has aged wonderfully into the part of this supreme cad. Less effete than previous Elyots, he looks like a rugby player and towers over poor Sibyl. He draws out the grumpiness of Elyot who, while very charming, is actually totally selfish and domineering. Previous productions have always focused on the two leads but Eyre realises this is a four-hander. Simon Paisley-Day is the personification of priggish awkwardness as Victor (“I’m glad I’m normal”), wonderfully capturing the raging hysteria which
“Kim Cattrall brings a maturity and sophistication to the role, totally mastering the waspish repartee”
lies underneath his suburban stuffiness and Lisa Dillon takes Sibyl on a journey from being an ornamental plaything for Elyot to emerging as quite a calculating little vixen in her own right. The four are expertly choreographed by Eyre. Rob Howell’s sets and costumes are the other stars of the show. Amanda’s Art Deco love nest is what such a woman with too much time on her hands and a passion for interior décor might concoct. The nautical and duck themes have run riot and the room is dominated by a stunning triple-decker goldfish bowl which becomes quite pivotal to the action at one point. Elyot memorably barks at his simpering wife at one stage “Don’t quibble Sibyl”. There is certainly nothing to quibble about here.
By Dion Boucicault • Olivier Theatre London
PHOTO: NOBBY CLARK
n Noel Coward’s Private Lives (see opposite) Solomon Isaacs is the code word which Elyot and Amanda use to kill their quarrels. That name came from a character (a canny Jewish moneylender no less) in Boucicault’s play London Assurance that Nicholas Hytner has now revived at the National. In it he brings together two of the National’s most beloved stars – Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw. They have a ball. Dion Boucicault (1820-1890), who despite the name was born in Dublin, is now best known as the great showman of Victorian melodrama, his work best exemplified by such Oirish spectacles as The Shaughran and The Colleen Bawn. They were the Avatar of their day. Boucicault used all the latest tricks of Victorian stage technology to amaze and delight his audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. London Assurance, was his first hit, but is very different in tone from the later melodramas, having more in common with Restoration Comedy, despite being written in 1841. Boucicault, who played hard and lived hard, had little time for authority or officialdom and used the play to skewer all
his pet hates – solicitors, moneylenders and foppish fools who are not at home in the countryside. The play is a vehicle for great showy acting and the central protagonist Sir Harcourt Courtly is one of the great fop roles. Here Russell Beale shines as the self styled “weather vane of the beau monde”. His entrance alone is a joy and soon he is asking “you will excuse me while I indulge in the process of dressing?”. The plot revolves around Sir Harcourt’s visit to the country to meet the 18 year-old girl, Grace (Michelle Terry), promised to him in marriage. While there he falls under the spell of the horsey Lady Gay Spanker (Fiona Shaw). Meanwhile, of course, his son Charles (Paul Ready) too becomes infatuated with Grace and assumes a disguise to fool his father. Lady Gay then agrees to play along with the joke and the plot thickens. Fiona Shaw, as the gloriously named Lady Gay Spanker, relishes a part where her physical stature for once is a bonus. She is the ultimate in gangly horsey woman with a neighing laugh, an easy manner and a no nonsense attitude. She is accurately
Love Never Dies Music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Glenn Slater Adelphi Theatre, Strand, London WC2
Fiona Shaw as Lady Gay Spanker PHOTOGRAPHER: CATHERINE ASHMORE
described as “Glee made a living thing”. As she chomps on a cigar she predates feminism by 120 years but leaves you in no doubt that it’s coming. Hytner orchestrates it all expertly. We even have goose plucking on stage, a rat on the loose (not a real one) and some great ‘business’ with snuff. Russell Beale displays the comic timing of a great Music Hall comedian. “The first Lady Courtly” he says forlornly “lived fourteen months with me and then eloped with my best friend”. There follows an exquisite pause and then “…and I miss him”. It is great to see an actor who had cornered the market in tortured Oedipal souls, finally relax into these great comic parts. London Assurance could be the Richard Curtis rom com of its day or indeed a sitcom. Paul Ready’s stammering love scenes remind one of Hugh Grant and then, the king of British sitcom himself, Richard Briers, appears as Lady Gay’s husband, the doddery Mr Adolphus Spanker. Briers, now in his mid seventies, has the National Theatre audience in the palm of his hand with his old duffer act. Mark Thompson’s set, old fashioned in the best sense and Scarlett Mackmin’s country dancing, add to the joy of the occasion.
t’s not called ‘Phantom 2’, so as not to confuse it with a Rolls-Royce perhaps, it’s called Love Never Dies, but that sounds like a Bond film. It’s also contravenes the Trade Descriptions Act – more of which later. So how do you follow up the biggest musical ever? The head reels with the stats – 149 cities, 25 countries, 100m customers, 40 million album sales, 50 awards. Well, for a start, you can afford not to scrimp on the
Ramin Karimloo as The Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine PHOTOGRAPHER: CATHERINE ASHMORE
luxuries and here the money is on the stage. Bob Crowley’s sets and costumes, Paule Constable’s lighting and Lloyd-Webber’s soaring melodies are all first class, as are the performances. The show has also launched two great new talents, Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess (God be with the days when stars were content to be renamed Susan Hayward). BUT in the end, a musical is only as good as its book and here, sadly, the lyrics grate and the book is totally lacking in dramatic tension. It’s a problem of too many cooks. Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid and Sister Act), no slouch, has provided the lyrics and the book is credited to LloydWebber himself, Slater again, Ben Elton and Freddie Forsyth. Four on a book! For the sequel we’ve moved from Paris to Coney Island. Why a Paris Opera star would end up peddling her Lehar at a 1907 freak show on Coney Island, rather than say, the more plausible option of taking her arias on the road in the vaudeville circuit, is puzzling. The Phantom (Karimloo) has set up his new lair in a fun palace called ‘Phantasma’. It’s like Art Nouveau gone feral, enhanced with unnecessary magic tricks including a very fetching skeleton pushing a hostess trolley.
Adam Pearce as Squelch, Niamh Perry as Fleck and Jamie-Reid Quarrell as Gangle CATHERINE ASHMORE
Despite being in a new country the Phantom hasn’t “moved on” and has secretly lured the unsuspecting Christine (Boggess) to sing for him in his corny sideshow. She arrives from Paris despondent and accompanied by a debt-ridden husband, Raoul (remember him?), and a distinctly irritating son. This boy soprano part is very ‘Tadzio’ from Death in Venice and one wonders if the Lord is entering a Britten phase? Behind every good Phantom lies a good woman and looking after him is Madame Giry, played by the great Liz Robertson, channelling Mrs Danvers, the spooky housekeeper from Rebecca. Her sassy showgirl daughter Meg (Summer Strallen) also has a thing for the ghoul despite the fact that she could do a lot better for herself. Strallen, as usual, steals every scene and recalls Mary Martin in a great ‘Bathing Beauties on the Beach’ number.
“as clunky as a broken down fairground attraction” David Cullen’s plush orchestrations and the glorious designs and video projections do give the whole piece a fantastic momentum but sadly the lyrics get in the way of the emotion rather than enhancing it. Sungthrough musicals are always challenging (Sondheim once said of them “Is there any need to set ‘Come in, do you want a cup of coffee’ to music?”) but, the recitative can of course be redeemed with a memorable aria. Here, when Christine finally gets to do the big title number, all our expectations are raised. She is centre stage and lit like a goddess. The orchestra strikes up and she launches into a wonderful
chorus. It then repeats and repeats. It’s the song with no verses, which never takes off. The book doesn’t help either. Whole scenes make no sense; motivations are muddled, yet the actors plough on valiantly. When Christine is shot by Meg, the culprit hangs around as if she can’t find the exit. Eventually she comes to her victim’s aid but only after Christine has given us her dying aria. None of this makes the slightest dramatic sense as Meg’s attack was supposed to be a crime of passion. Characters set up to be sympathetic are suddenly rendered as baddies for no good reason. It’s as clunky as a broken down fairground attraction. And as for ‘Love Never Dies’, well, I’m afraid, it does. In part one she dumped him for the prettier Raoul and in part two he, eventually, bails on her. See what I mean about the Trade Descriptions Act?
Danza Contemporanea de Cuba Sadlers Wells, London and national tour
ounded in 1959, the same year as Castro’s revolution, DCC has only now had its first UK tour. The response from audiences around the country has been ecstatic and there is no question they will be back, for they are without doubt, one of the world’s most exciting dance companies. Not to be confused with Alicia Alonso’s Ballet Nacional de Cuba, who are also in the UK this spring, DCC focuses solely on contemporary dance. Their work is an interesting hybrid of contemporary, classical and Caribbean styles, but is totally modern. Cuba has of course been producing some of the world’s finest contemporary and ballet dancers for decades and their national treasure, Carlos Acosta, has been a great champion of this troupe (he used them in Tocororo). A perfect marriage of technique and talent, the 21 dancers are as fascinating individually as they are as a company. Their fluid style recalls Twyla Tharp or NDT at its best but the fanatical precision is leavened with fun and warmth. Their dancing also has an understated eroticism to it, with none
of the Latin machismo one might have expected. Their work also celebrates not so much an androgyny but rather a total disregard for gender stereotypes. Unlike with Mark Morris, for example, where the de-sexing often renders it un-sexy, here the gender conventions are just ignored. They don’t need to cast them aside with a flourish, they have moved on. Whatever the mix of genders in the duos or the trios, these dancers remain totally themselves and the result is much more sensual. They’re a new generation and it represents a refreshing new outlook for dance.
DCC – one of the world’s most exciting dance companies
They are touring four pieces and the two I caught were Casi-Casa by the renowned Swedish choreographer Mats Ek and a new piece by their own in-house talent, George Céspedes, called Mambo 3XXXI. Casi-Casa is a glorious piece of dance theatre, at times romantic, then suddenly shocking. The lounge, the front doorstep where you wait for the lover to call and the oven which hides a dark secret, provide the backdrop to a series of domestic vignettes where the company display some virtuoso dancing. A quintet of hoovering housewives adds to the glee. Mambo 3XXXI is Céspedes’ response to the annoying commission (from Sadlers Wells and Dance East) to produce “something Latin”. In interviews he has described how he railed against this initially until he came upon an electronic re-mix of Perez Prado, the Mambo King, which provided the inspiration for the piece. It begins with the whole troupe in rigid lines executing Pilates-like moves. As it progresses not just the music gets de-constructed but also the dances they inspired – mambo, salsa, rumba, cha-cha and the piece takes on a witty self-referential quality. The dancers’ exquisite technique is given full throttle and a symphony of syncopation builds to a climax, which then wittily undercuts the piece. The ending is straight out of The Kids from Fame. H
Citizenship and Taxation
– The Expatriate’s Dilemma
At the Overseas Vote Foundation Summit Conference in Munich, March 18, Roland Crim, a Director of American Citizens Abroad explained why the seemingly unrelated strands of expatriate taxation, voting and lackluster US export performance actually form a tightly woven fabric. His comments are reproduced here.
hile many of us have been fighting and winning the MOVE (Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act) battle, a series of dark clouds have been gathering outside US airspace. For 30 years, ACA has been fielding queries about how to achieve or maintain or transfer US citizenship. Looking at the telephone logs, I can confirm that it has gone from 80% citizenship acquisition to 80% avoidance. The callers now ask, “how can I be sure I am not a citizen?” or “How do I make sure my kids do not become US citizens?” They don’t fear US citizenship in the abstract. They fear incurring a tax and reporting liability. Voting requires citizenship, which for Americans requires compliance that is often expensive and perilous, and for which the omission of a single document, no matter the innocence of the taxpayer and absence of intent to evade, can have life-changing consequences. In many cases, people are violating
Would you give up US citizenship because Uncle Sam demands extra tax dollars?
the law unknowingly, because US law imposes obligations which no one would have reason to suspect existed. For years, everyone knew vaguely that Americans were a special species in the taxpayer menagerie, but our situation took a sharp turn for the worse in 2009. What happened in 2009? We saw horrific budget deficits. The federal government is going to have a 1.7 trillion dollar deficit this year. Extrapolating to 2045, there is a $53 trillion deficit owing to unfunded liabilities in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. All are legally mandated. US taxpayers are in for some tough times. Secondly, we saw the UBS case, which gave the IRS an opportunity to mount a frontal attack on Swiss banking secrecy which has seen a surprising degree of success. Thirdly, we saw the beginning
of vigorous, muscular enforcement of the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) filing requirement. Last month I spoke with an attorney acting on behalf of FBAR clients facing the loss of 50% of their personal net wealth.
Mind you, the FBAR has been around for four decades, it’s only last year that it has been given teeth. Looking to the future, in the Treasury department’s recently proposed regulations we find a number of unpleasant surprises, all under the banner of antiavoidance. Overall the trend line is pointing downwards for overseas Americans in respect of tax reporting and liability. Overseas Americans dealing with this situation segment into three groups:
Storm clouds over Geneva – is the IRS’s interest in UBS clients’ accounts causing flight from US citizenship? SINDRE SKREDE
Group one, the “troopers”, will tough it out. They will keep filing and maintain compliance at all costs. They will hope for the best. Group two, the “parachutists”, have concluded that compliance is simply too great a burden. Many of our most active, engaged, productive and patriotic citizens are effectively being forced to renounce their citizenship. The size of this group is increasing with each passing quarter. Group three, the “enigmatics”, are probably the fastest growing and the most difficult to detect, because they are defined as seeking invisibility. This group has concluded that it is urgent that they do nothing, and to the extent possible, appear nowhere. They will reduce their profile and go off the radar, leaving as few digital footprints as possible. This third group will avoid passport renewal. Get the second foreign passport into the pipeline if necessary. Reduce or eliminate visits to the USA. Avoid being listed in government databases. ACA canvassed members in 1998 regarding the desirability of lobbying for an overseas census. The overwhelming majority of respondents were adamant that no personal details would be given on any census form, because of the possible adverse tax consequences. The reaction of the third group
is replete with its own hazards and sacrifices. Many in this group have decided never to set foot in the USA again. But for the moment they consider it their best option, because the alternative may be a more immediate confrontation with legal jeopardy, unsustainable compliance costs, and/or financial ruin. What does this have to do with voting? Voting is the canary in the mineshaft. One of the tactics certain to be adopted is to simply stop voting. I predict that many voters will simply disappear, starting in this next midterm election. MOVE will offset their absence to some extent, to what extent is difficult to say. What should be done about it? I believe that part of the solution lies in the fact that current law not only engenders avoidable tragedies for expats, it also causes great harm back home. And this angle may offer the best hope, possibly the only hope, for securing changes in the law. On March 11, 2010, President Obama introduced the National Export Initiative, with the goal of doubling exports in 5 years. This is a laudable objective, but export markets are won or lost in foreign countries, where the buyers are. A key competitive advantage Chinese expatriates enjoy vis-à-vis their American counterparts is the fact that their government leaves them alone and lets them get on with the business of moving Chinese goods. And meanwhile back in Washington everyone wants to decipher the mysteries of Chinese success. Congressmen organize fact-finding missions. They should recognize that a vibrant and motivated overseas American community is the most effective vehicle for promoting exports and
thus creation of jobs at home. For years, we have heard US officials complaining about the Chinese currency being undervalued. But the trade balance will not improve by calls for re-evaluation of the yuan. It will improve when we see a re-evaluation of American Citizens Abroad. My hope is that we can leverage the “expat factor” to tip close elections in favour of candidates who understand the dynamics of export job creation, and the benefits of having Americans abroad compete on a level playing field - irrespective of party affiliation. If Americans worldwide awaken to the potential this represents for solving problems here and back home, we will ask different questions of Congressional and Presidential campaigns, and unite behind candidates with a vision for the future and for productive collaboration. But we must be pragmatic in selecting the arguments we advance, focusing not on our grievances, but on how changing the law can create jobs. This is a marathon undertaking by any definition, but it is doable and it is urgent. Should Congress fail to change, many overseas Americans, like McArthur’s old soldiers, will never die; they will just fade away, and fading away means not voting. It is incumbent upon all of us who want to see the promise of MOVE fulfilled to do all that is in our power to prevent that from happening. H ©2010 Roland Crim Reprinted with permission. American Citizens Abroad is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization whose mission is to defend the rights of Americans living overseas. Mr Crim is also a Principal at InterSource sarl, a Swiss-based provider of training solutions for corporate I.T. teams (www.intersource.ch).
“Yes, we did!”
President Obama embraces Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after signing the health insurance reform bill in the East Room of the White House, March 23, 2010 WHITE HOUSE/PETE SOUZA
Bill Barnard, Chair of Democrats Abroad UK, sums up the health care reform act and what it could mean for you
t’s been a long hard struggle - decades long, but on March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the health care reform act. The act is not perfect, to be sure. But it can be built upon and be fine-tuned. Some of the larger, structural changes won’t be implemented until 2014, but let’s look at those that come into effect within 90 days, by September or by next January. The bill has provisions: to require insurance companies to cease denying coverage for pre-existing conditions in children, effective this September. Individuals regardless of age, will be covered by 2014. In the meantime, until 2014, a temporary subsidized high risk pool for adults with pre-existing conditions will help cover adults who are currently barred from coverage. This provision comes into effect 90 days from the day the bill is signed.
to cease terminating coverage if one happens to develop a serious illness (by September this year).
to cease applying lifetime limits on coverage (by September this year).
to pay for preventive care under Medicare without co-pays or deductibles, by next January. And new plans will have to provide preventive coverage for all without payment of a co- pay or deductible, by next September.
to require insurance companies to extend coverage on their parents’ insurance for young people up to their 26th birthday, by September this year.
to require insurance companies in the individual and small group market to pay out at least 80% of their premium dollars on medical
services and for companies in the large group market to pay out at least 85% (by next January). It’s a scandal that many pay out less at present, using large portions of their revenue in administrative overhead and in the costly effort to deny payment of claims and in excessive advertising and marketing. Moreover, the requirement that these higher percentages be met should prevent many companies from raising premiums on existing plans excessively. The bill also offers tax credits to small businesses - up to 35% of the cost is available from this coming January - for those who decide to offer coverage to their employees. And from 2014, the tax credit for small businesses will go up to 50% of cost. The bill also has provisions to increase the number of primary care physicians and to create a new,
voluntary, public long term care insurance program. The real impact of the bill is how it affects individuals. Here are two examples involving members of DAUK. The first involves a high ranking officer of a major investment bank. He had spent over 20 years in the U.K., but upon retirement he returned to the U.S. He had a preexisting condition and could not get insurance. Fortunately, he was in a position financially to be selfinsured and cover his medical costs out of his own resources. But think of the people who couldn’t. Who, in effect, become trapped. They couldn’t go home again. Thanks to this bill, now they can. The second involves a talented writer who is in the U.K. on a visa that doesn’t include eligibility for the UK’s NHS - it’s a rather complicated situation. This member had no U.S. insurance, was diagnosed with a life-threatening tumor while here, couldn’t return to the U.S. and arrange insurance (pre-existing condition), and had no way of paying all the cost of the required surgery until friends here banded together (including many members of DAUK) to help raise the necessary funds. This member knows the real value of the bill, in a way that most of us never will. H Below: President Obama signs the health insurance reform bill in the East Room of the White House, March 23, 2010. WHITE HOUSE/CHUCK KENNEDY
Put Politics Back Alan Miller argues that politics should be reinstated into the UK’s apolitical General Election
t has become de rigeur for western Europeans to be cynical about politics and experience life in an insular and isolated (and often anxious) fashion. While there seems little to distinguish the current political characters standing for election in Britain – and certainly none of the excitement or dynamic that represented the Obama Phenomenon – I think we have a responsibility to put arguments, and challenge candidates, around some core issues that go to the heart of how we believe society should be organized in these depoliticized times. One of the most important issues, on both sides of the Atlantic, is immigration. For a long time this issue has been central to arguments about resources and employment. A robust debate about immigration - and why indeed there need be any border controls at all – would help clarify and illuminate the issue. It would provide the opportunity to draw a line, commit to taking sides and actively campaign for or against principles and practical issues. It is often argued that resources are finite and that any influx of workers from other nations will be a drain on them. Dating back to the Reverend Thomas Malthus, this notion of “too many” people resulting in famine and poverty has become popular again particularly with regard to environmental arguments. This has been the premise upon which a succession of post-
Thomas Malthus believed there was a finite limit to how many people the planet can sustain
war governments have promoted a nationalist sentiment aimed at dividing public sentiment across racial and national lines – and evade responsibility for their own lack of performance. As it happens, it makes no difference what the size of the population is at all. Capitalism has been a remarkably dynamic system, albeit with significant flaws, that has provided expansion and wealth for society. However, at various junctures it experiences severe structural crises – entirely irrespective of the size of the population. While we have heard a great deal recently about The Great Depression, we have experienced numerous other recessions and Depressions from The Nineteenth
Century on. These “downturns” were often explained away by an excess of “foreigners” such as Irish Navvies (originally the workers who built Britain’s canal system) and Jews. Sure enough, as the economic climate improved, more labor was usually sought. After the Second World War members from the former colonies arrived in Britain, which then passed legislative immigration controls that ended up stigmatizing the new groups. Immigration controls were directly linked to racist sentiments; Peter Griffiths the Tory candidate for Birmingham Smethwick argued “If you want a Nigger for a neighbor, vote Labour”. That was 1964 and a lot has changed since then. However the fundamental premise that resources are limited and tied to the amount of people coming in to Britain – or France, or Germany or indeed America – remains intact. Let us remember that there are homeless people, not because there is not enough clear land in Britain or a lack of laborers or materials, but simply because decisions are made not to build new housing stock to provide for what is required. These are political decisions not absolute limits. Arguing for an amnesty for all illegal immigrants and an Open Door Policy would enable us to get to the bottom of these important issues and begin to resolve some of them. There are numerous other issues that I believe we can discuss and argue over to get clarification about where we want to go, how and why. One of the principle points is that there should be a ditching of any “hate speech” legislation and libel laws. In order to have an adult, robust debate we need to invoke the quote most often attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but will
Immigration – as here, at Ellis Island – is just one issue that should be debated, says Alan Miller
defend to the death your right to say it.” We must be allowed to discuss things openly with no limits. There are other important issues, particularly around freedom and how adults are being increasingly infantilized by the State, such as the draconian CRB vetting checks and the pernicious database obsession, particularly re the DNA Database. We are citizens that should be treated as innocent until proven guilty, with extremely important rights that define what a civilized society represents. We should lobby at hustings and meetings for candidates to declare where they stand on issues such as education (the highest standards, and knowledge for knowledge’s sake, should be aspired to) and economic development (with increased investment in Research and Development and infrastructure, particularly in power grids, telecommunications, roads, transport and energy). Therein would we be performing an important role in Britain (that would be
noted internationally) by raising the level of debate and discussion and providing an alternative route to the abject cynicism, particularly among the young. In the USA the Obama Phenomenon was most impressive among the young. Unfortunately it treated voters as a stage army, to turn “Yes We Can” in to “Yes He Can” – in Britain we have the chance to inspire others to get involved around ideas that have consequences and matter. The “21 Pledges for Progress 2010” that The Institute of Ideas has launched is a fantastic place to start, for more see: http://www. instituteofideas.com/election2010. html . Don’t blame other people for things remaining the same. Seize the moment! H Alan Miller is Director of The New York Salon in NYC (www.nysalon.org) and is the co founder of London’s Truman Brewery Media Center and sits on The London Regional Council of Arts Council England.
The Election: it’s a grand national event Sir Robert Worcester takes a final look at the runners and riders as they get into the stalls for the General Election Stakes
he horses are out of the starting gate, Cameron’s in the blue jacket, trimmed with white, Brown in the red cap, half a length behind but with a solid track record and Clegg in the yellow on the light mare. Already Cameron is ahead of Brown by a length with Clegg trailing well behind. The others are also-rans, BNP, UKIP, Greens etc; all far behind. Scotsman and Welshman are not in this Grand National. At the starter’s gun Cameron was slightly quicker out of the stalls. Taking account of the handicap he carries, the horses are level pegging. We could be in for a photo finish. At the first hurdle, “The Budget”, it was thought that Cameron’s horse (“Tory”) would gain the lead as the expectation of Brown’s jockey (“Darling”) was that he would be stolid, un-exciting, even dull. In the earlier race, the Chancellor’s Stakes, “Cable”, did well. At first, Tory’s lead seemed narrow, for the first few furlongs, widened and then narrowed again, not by much, but enough to excite the crowd. Before the finishing line they will still have Marginals to negotiate and then finally Turnout. At present it would appear that there’s little to worry any of the leading horses about the Marginals jump as the anticipated benefit of the heavy betting by
Michael Ashcroft has not affected the race by more than a point. As to Turnout, it would appear that this too will not prove any more or less difficult than the last time the race was held. Of course that was with different horses and different jockeys. Then, Turnout was 61%, this time much the same. OK enough about horses, of which I know little… as may be ascertained from the above analogy.
The hard data
In more than 70 polls involving over 100,000 electors, between the 1 January and 6 April, all had Tories at 38% +/-3%. 97% had Labour at 31% +/-3% and 98% had the Liberal Democrats at 19% +/-3%. Once the election was called, the first baker’s dozen continued the record with the Tories at 38% +/-1.5% , all but one had Labour at 30% and all but one had the Liberal Democrats at 20%. In other words, virtually nothing changed in the standing of the three polls between the beginning of the year and mid way through the campaign. All of a sudden – back to horses – a light mare (nightmare for Cameron and Brown) came up on the rails, running full tilt, but relaxed all the same. It’s Clegg!
Clegg by consensus won the first TV debate hands down, and as a result, there is a heightened awareness of who he is and what he stands for. The Liberal Democrats are much more in the frame than they were at the beginning of the campaign. Prospective voters are listening to Clegg, as they were to Vince Cable, his greatly respected ‘shadow chancellor’, and are ready to listen to their persuasion in a way that the LibDems have never in living memory been listened to. But then there’s another set of hurdles ahead, on the 22nd (the Foreign Policy debate) yet another on the 29th (the Economy debate). And still the ‘known unknowns’, the turnout and the swing in the marginals. With these things going for the Liberal Democrats, they may well increase their number of seats, and in a hung parliament, which looks after the debate increasingly likely, be more of a force in the land. H
Plato rides the curb at Thruxton’s chicane PHOTOS: SABRINA SULLY
Silverline Chevy heads championship after British Touring Car debut
he American was lucky enough to have a behind-the-scenes look at the all-action British Touring Car Championship, with American manufacturer Chevrolet. A stunning spring day at the super-fast Thruxton racetrack was matched by the team’s debut in the BTCC. It amassed 74 points, earning first place overall in the manufacturers’ standings. Jason Plato finished the day in second place in the overall drivers’ championship. In the first of three races, Plato came home second. He followed it with a fourth in Round 2, after a minor altercation with Matt Neal’s Honda two laps from the finish knocked him down from second place. “Matt had such a good run, so I knew he’d have a go,” said Jason. “I thought, I’d let him come round the outside of me and I’d hold him out as long as I could, so he wouldn’t be able to get up the inside. But it didn’t quite work. As we got onto the brakes, I lost the rear of my car, so it sent me in to him and it was game over.”
Plato scored another podium finish in Round 3 (below), finishing third. The team’s other driver, and the grid’s youngest, 19-year old Alex MacDowall, came home in strong seventh, sixth and ninth places. The rookie said, “It was a little daunting at first. I was thinking, ‘I’m on a grid surrounded by BTCC drivers, and they’re not renowned for being gentle’, but after the first two races I really settled in. The car is great – it has a lot of straight line speed, and I’m sure that with the RML team behind us, as well as Chevrolet and Silverline, we can get plenty more out of it as the season progresses.” Plato commented: “We played it conservative with the tyres, because it is hard here on them. Second place is a lot of points; it’s a good start to our campaign. I set myself a target of 30 points and came away with 31. “Our championship campaign starts in earnest at Rockingham – there, we’ll be really going for it,” added the Oxfordshire-based former champion. It’s an American brand, with great drivers and crew – we’ll be following the Silverline Chevrolet team thru the season.
Trucks and Troops invade Beaulieu Celebrating the 65th Anniversary of VE Day, the end of World War II in Europe, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts an explosive show featuring hundreds of military vehicles, live action living history, marching bands, children’s activities and a militaria mall. Over 300 British and American military vehicles will be on display, everything from push-bikes to armoured and tracked vehicles, ranging from pre WWll to the Gulf War. Re-enactment groups, including the Vietnam war group, Rolling Thunder, will be talking to visitors about life as a soldier between demonstrations. Children activities including a Jungle Commando Base simulation and camo face painting and a paint ball rifle range will ensure there’s something for the whole family to enjoy. If you want to come away with something interesting, militaria stalls will be selling everything from 40’s fashions to a Jeep engine. Beaulieu will be open from 10am to 6pm over the Trucks & Troops show and entrance includes admission to Palace House & Gardens, Beaulieu Abbey, The Secret Army Exhibition and the National Motor Museum. Trucks and Troops is staged by the South Hampshire Military Vehicle Trust (www.southhampshiremvt.org) and runs from May 29th to 31st.
The newly expanded cheap and cheerful family workhorse is reviewed by Ian Kerr
Renault Kangoo Maxi T
he commercial vehicle market in Western Europe has been led by Renault for the past twelve years. Despite an overall drop of 28% in the market sector, the French brand still managed to pull 14.81% of the market share last year. Not content to rest on its laurels for this year they have just launched three new models, albeit that all are upgrades of existing well established and recognised Master, Traffic and Kangoo ranges. Although primarily aimed at the business user, the smaller Kangoo range is also of real interest to the domestic user who has an active family life and wants versatility and value from a vehicle, especially in the current economic climate. Originally launched in 1997 it has sold more than 1.6 million worldwide. The Kangoo [named for Can Do? Or Kangaroo? â€“ confused Ed] and was updated in 2007 and now again in 2010. The latest mods include the Maxi version being added, which gives an extra 40com on the wheelbase. This might
not sound a lot, but when you see the vehicle it really does increase the flexibility of the vehicle and as well as the load carrying abilities. One version that will be of particular interest to the domestic market is the crew cab version with five seats in a 60/40 split. Currently the UK are looking at bringing in the extended cab version which has more of the same and a clever mesh bulkhead that will protect the occupants and moves forward as the seats are collapsed. The Maxi, like the standard versions of the Kangoo, is based on Renaultâ€™s Scenic platform, which is well known for its high level of comfort and performance so there is no problem when looking at domestic use. The beauty of these is of course the low roof height, meaning there is no problem with height in multi-story car parks etc., compared to many smaller commercial vehicles! The engine is a 1.5 dCi unit and comes in an 85 bhp version with a 105 bhp option available for those who need the extra power. Needless to say
both are pretty frugal and easily meet all current and future standards. The launch was on some fabulous twisty roads around Nice in the South of France and a morning pushing the long wheelbase around some roads better suited to a sports car showed that handling has not been compromised in any way by the longer wheelbase. Passenger comfort is excellent even with a heavy load on board and definitely on a par with most family saloons. Visibility is excellent all round and the larger engine is well matched with a slick gearbox and just ate up the steep hills. Given the Kangooâ€™s reliability and low servicing costs, there is no reason why this new version should be any different. So if you need to haul mountain bikes or similar outdoor activity equipment about, as well as having passenger carrying capabilities, you would do well to think outside the conventional box and have a look at the new Kangoo range. You might be pleasantly surprised! H
Just how good is Tiger? Roland Minton, professor of mathematics at Roanoke College, Va., can put a number on it
iger Woods made his first appearance on the professional golf circuit at the Masters after a five month layoff dominated – in the media at least – by his domestic troubles. He came joint fourth, after an error-strewn performance that was not up to his usual standards. But just what are those near-mythical standards? Professor Roland Minton can detail them. Prof. Minton, the author of a forthcoming book on the mathematics of golf, has analyzed data from the PGA Tour’s ShotLink System, which records the location of every shot with qualitative information (rough or not, uphill or not) and quantitative information (such as distance to the hole, within an
inch). The data includes the 1.2 million shots per year taken at Tour events between 2004-2008, excluding the four “majors” not run by the tour. “In 2008, for example, Tiger computes to being 2.65 strokes per round better than the average,” says the professor. “He rates 1.4 stokes per round better than any other golfer on tour. Over four rounds of a tournament, this predicts that Tiger wins by at least 5.6 strokes.” Some of Minton’s findings include: l
MOLLY A BURGESS
In 2007, PGA golfers made 99.2 percent of their putts in length of three feet or less. “That is a high percentage, but it means that over 1,500 short putts were missed,” he says. “Not one of the regular tour players escaped the season without missing at least one short putt.” The “break-even” point is eight feet. “At every distance greater than eight feet, the pros make less than half of their putts,” he says. “For most casual golfers, that seems like a surprisingly short distance. Of course, the pros putt on different greens than we do, they are under much more pressure, they never take mulligans and they have a PGA Tour recording every stroke, even on bad days.” At every distance, pros make a higher percentage of putts for par than they do for birdie. “The percentage is even higher for bogey than it is for par,” he says.
Putts are more important. “As the saying goes, ‘drive for show, putt for dough,’” says Minton. “The driving statistics don’t really say much about who’s going to have the best score.” Tiger is not a great putter – in some ways. “In 2007, Tiger ranked 181st in percentage of putts made between seven and eight feet. He was 187th in putts made between six and seven feet, and 74th in putts made between five and six feet,” says Minton. “This surprises many golf fans, who are accustomed to watching Tiger make every putt down the stretch on his way to another tournament win. But his best putting statistically is at the longer distances. In 2007, he ranked 8th in percentage of putts made from 10 to 15 feet and 5th in putts made from 15 to 20 feet.” But he’s still the most consistently effective putter on tour. Minton is able to put statistics into a single rating that shows how many strokes better or worse than average each golfer is as a putter. “Tiger ranked in the top ten in overall putting for four of the five years from 2004 to 2008.” H
Professor Minton has presented his research at the 2010 Joint Mathematics Meeting in San Francisco in January, and has written an article for the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics’ “Mathematics Awareness Month,” in April.
hile Americans love winners, once you demonstrate a knack for continued excellence, you can become vilified. Such was the situation for the Duke Blue Devils as they faced off against Butler in a much hyped David vs. Goliath matchup for the NCAA title. The buildup to the game centered on the majority of America hating the Devils for their perceived arrogance and continued success, but while Duke remains a top 3 all-time program, this club was not the all-conquering machine of past teams fielded by the wonderful Michael Krzyzewski. The 2009-2010 version of Duke in no way mirrors the Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill clubs from the early ’90s, through the Elton Brand, Jay Williams and Shane Battier days of the early 2000s. Instead, this latest model sports a center in Brian Zoubek who spent the best part of the last two years nursing injuries that kept him firmly planted on the bench. Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler form the latest triumvirate to grace Cameron Indoor Stadium, yet during the season they slid under the radar until reaching the Final Four in Indianapolis. Awaited them: the wonderful story of the Butler Bulldogs, coached by a youthful Brad Stevens. With budding stars Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard, the Bulldogs played suffocating defense and scored just enough to reach the title game – a first for a mid-major conference team. The game was an instant classic, with no-one leading by more than six points the entire game and numerous lead changes. In the second half, Duke tried to pull away, yet with Smith missing a jumper with Duke up by five, Scheyer doing the same, and Singler turning the ball over, an
PHOTO: JON GARDINER, DUKE PHOTOGRAPHY
Coach K’s Court Duke fan Sean L. Chaplin recounts yet another hoops title amazing sequence of stumbles denied the Blue Devils an opportunity to break the game wide open. A sold out crowd stayed energized throughout, as both clubs left everything they had on the floor. As the drama reached its crescendo, the Bulldogs had a chance to take the lead from the free-throw line with seconds to go. However, after a miss by Butler, Brian Zoubek rebounded the ball and was promptly fouled for a one-on-one opportunity. After making the first, to give Duke a two point lead, Zoubek was instructed to miss the second (to much controversy after the game). After missing the second, Gordon Hayward calmly dribbled to mid-court, and after a vicious pick of Kyle Singler, had an open look at the basket. As the ball hung in the air, everyone in the building to include a sprawling Singler thought the ball was in the basket. Unfortunately for Butler, the ball hit the backboard, then the front of the rim, before harmlessly hitting the floor. As pandemonium ensued, one of the
greatest finals ever played had ended with the right team winning the championship – though either team was justified in claiming victory. With his fourth title in the books, Coach K can now take his place among the greatest coaches of any sport. He is currently tied with Adolph Rupp as joint second for most NCAA championships, behind John Wooden. His 11 Final Four appearances tie Dean Smith for second (again behind Wooden’s 12 appearances) and he has coached 19 Final Four games with 12 wins. On top of all those victories, his NCAA championships winning percentage is .778, with an unbelievable 77-22 record during a modern era of kids jumping to the NBA early. With an Olympic Gold medal as well, there is not much more for Coach K to strive for, at least in most folk’s opinion. However, when the season starts again next year, you can bet Coach K will be on the sideline with his whistle around his neck, aiming to make it back to yet another final four. H
Injury questions, character issues, academic problems and suspensions... Richard L Gale tries to prioritize all the perceived negatives of this year’s draft class
nless the St Louis Rams have been performing a remarkable bluff, by the time you read these words, they will have selected Oklahoma passer Sam Bradford as the no.1 pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. He is considered – at least by consensus – to be far and away the best quarterback prospect in this year’s class. If we were being thorough, however, we might observe that over the past 15 months, Bradford has thrown just 63 passes, completing 37 of them, and started just two games (completing neither of those) due to a shoulder injury. If we fancy being really picky, he also spent much of his career in the shotgun rather than under center. Then again, if NFL war rooms took that kind of attitude with this year’s talent pool (or most year’s, come to that), the draft might never start. By the time late April rolls around, the football reasons for wanting a player have been tempered by workout times, arrests, suspensions, questions of coachability, attitude and desire, flunked wonderlic tests, and every player’s portfolio of injuries. Sounds like more trouble than it’s worth. The Jets only drafted three players last season – no wonder they did so well.
defensive tackles that aren’t considered overweight are considered underweight. Every outsider rusher is a ‘tweener’, every running back who isn’t slow ‘lacks durability’, every receiver has attitude, and from there the details transcend measurables and start getting ugly ... a running back who socked an opponent in the mouth after a loss ... a linebacker who tried to gouge an opponent’s eyes ... another with drinkdriving incidents. Too tall... too troublesome... too religious(!?)... while ex-FSU Seminole safety Myron Rolle, a Rhodes Scholar over here in Oxford this past
year, has some people worried he’s too smart for football. Some of this sounds like paralysis by analysis. Take the case of Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant, whose pre-draft profiles included his evasiveness with NCAA investigators as much as his evasiveness in the secondary. The NCAA didn’t feel he was being upfront with them when questioned about hanging out with Deion Sanders (apparently a serious infraction), and after missing most of his senior season, he timed surprisingly slowly for a player considered the top receiving prospect in the
Flying high or falling fast? Dez Bryant is the top-rated receiver prospect in the draft despite missing most of his senior season after being suspended by the NCAA. But after posting a slow 40 at his pre-draft workout, did his value slump? PHOTO: OSU ATHLETICS
Reasons to be Cheerless
During my annual pre-draft homework sessions, I’ve read about slow cornerbacks, inconsistent defensive ends, and overaggressive safeties (is there such a thing?), while the
draft only a few weeks ago. Rumor has it that he had been removed completely from many team’s draft boards in the closing stages. Hmm, anybody remember when Randy Moss slid down to the Vikings when he was drafted? Draft-day errors aren’t confined to busts; sometimes the perfect missing ingredient is passed over instead. When I hear questions about a player’s consistency or work ethic – Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy is a case in point – I’m reminded of Georgia RB Terrell Davis, and questions about his lack of numbers. Part of it had been injury, but was it a lack of desire? Turned out it was migraines. He turned into a 2,000-yard back for the Broncos and won two Super Bowls. That’s not to say NFL teams shouldn’t worry – according to a report in Sports Illustrated, NFL personnel types suggest marijuana use is rife amongst the new generation. But I know that if I was an NFL type, I’d be more concerned right now with a player’s conduct and the company he keeps in legal places like bars than whether or not he enjoys the occasional doob. Just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers. I suspect NFL teams don’t care one iota about Dez Bryant’s run-in with the NCAA. That 40 time, and the trades of Santonio Holmes and Brandon Marshall will decide his eventual place in the draft. In the end, if NFL teams really care so much about attitude, arrests and recreational misadventures, heck, just keep drafting offensive lineman. When did you last hear of a guard getting into off-the-field trouble? H
Catch our NFL post-draft analysis online at www.theamerican.co.uk 54
First Battles of the War Jeremy Lanaway Previews the NHL Playoffs
he puck has dropped on the NHL playoffs, pitting the league’s top teams against one another in an all-out war to win the oldest professional sports trophy in North America – the Stanley Cup. Since 1893, players have ‘left it all on the ice’ for the honour of hoisting the holy grail of hockey, and this year’s contenders want nothing more than to earn their place in the sport’s storied past. Sixteen teams have embarked upon the NHL’s long and arduous journey toward Lord Stanley’s Cup, but only one will manage the sixteen wins necessary to have their names etched in metal – and in history.
The first-place Washington Capitals, winner of the President’s Trophy for piling up the most points in the league throughout the regular season (121), face off against the eighth-seed Montreal Canadiens, who avoided missing the playoff party by a measly point. The Capitals outscored the Canadiens 15-14 in the regular season, but the teams haven’t played each other since early February, so the Capitals’ second-half record of 30-4-7 could be a wakeup call. The Capitals will rely on their league-leading powerplay, led by the ‘Great Eight’ Alex Ovechkin, looking to rebound from his disappointing Winter Olympics.
The Philadelphia Flyers may have squeaked into the playoffs with a single shootout goal, but their 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 has served as a reminder that any team can win any game in the post-season. The Devils have the second-longest playoff appearance streak in the league at thirteen straight years – second only to the Detroit Red Wings’ nineteen – but they’ve won only two series since capturing the Cup in 2003. The Devils have arguably the top goaltender in the form of Martin Brodeur, but the Flyers have had his number all season, shrinking his save percentage to .847 in their five wins against the Devils during the regular season. The battle between the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins will likely be won and lost between the pipes. Sabres netminder Ryan Miller, a Vezina Trophy candidate and silver medal Olympian, will weigh his 2.22 goals-against average (GAA) against the league-best 1.97 GAA of Bruins tender Tuukka Rask. The Sabres’ number-two-ranked penalty-killing unit will help to insulate Miller from the rubber flung at him on the manadvantage, but the Bruins will have to increase their goal production at even-strength – they finished secondlast in the regular season, averaging only 2.51 goals per game.
Game 1 was a near-perfect road game for the Ottawa Senators, who defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4, reinforcing the myth of the ‘Cup hangover’. Team captain Sidney Crosby did his best to put the myth to bed, tallying three helpers in the loss, but the Penguins are facing a more mature, more determined Senators team than the one they faced in playoffs past. Sure, the Penguins have more than enough offence to keep the Senators chasing the scoreboard for the duration of the series, but they’ll need to muster the motivation to make the long haul to the finals for the third time in as many years. Game 2 will determine if ‘Sid the Kid’ and his flightless birds have what it takes to shake off the dreaded side-effect of Cup success.
tandem in the NHL in the shape of Brent Seabrooke and Duncan Keith, who will use their uncanny rapport to stymie the Nashville Predators already-meagre offence. The Predators are still looking to win their first-ever playoff series, but the Blackhawks have even loftier goals – to return the Cup to the Windy City for the first time since 1961. The Vancouver Canucks managed to solve their previous scoring woes and netted the most goals in the Western Conference (272), but the 241 goals scored by the Los Angeles Kings is nearly as impressive, especially considering the haste with which the Kings’ youngsters have turned things around for the
What can you say about the San Jose Sharks and their recent run of playoff flops that hasn’t been said a hundred times before? The Sharks finished atop the Western Conference yet again, with 113 points, but facing the eighth seed turned out to be more than they could handle last year, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to predict another upset. Game 1’s outcome – 2-1 in favour of the Colorado Avalanche – has done little to quell the doubts, but surely having three of the league’s top-ten scorers will count for something. The team that can overcome its deficiency – a lack of confidence for the Sharks and a lack of experience for the Avalanche – will advance to Round 2. The Chicago Blackhawks finished in second place in the Western Conference, thanks in large part to their awesome arsenal led by snipers Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa. Their back-end is protected by perhaps the best defence
top scorer Anze Kopitar will aim to extend the Canucks’ Stanley Cup drought to 40 years. If the 2010 playoffs have a Cinderella team, it’s the Phoenix Coyotes, who set regular-season franchise records with 50 wins and 107 points – after going eight straight seasons without making the post-season. The Coyotes proved that the slipper does indeed fit by surprising the Red Wings with a 3-2 win in Game 1, but how long will they be able to ride their carriage before it turns into a pumpkin? Cinderella references aside, the Coyotes will have their work cut out for them, considering the Red Wings recovered from their rash of injuries and managed to find their game at the tail-end of the season, finishing the schedule as the hottest team with a record of 16-3-2, but the Red Wings’ wealth of experience could just as easily work against them. H
Tomas Holmstrom © JOHN RUSSELL, GETTY IMAGES.
once-struggling franchise, whose last playoff appearance was in 2002. Hart Ross Trophy winner Henrik Sedin, who led all players with 112 points in the regular season, and franchise goaltender Roberto Luongo, who recently backstopped Team Canada to a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games, will try to lead their club beyond the second round for the first time since1994, but Kings captain Dustin Brown and
Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London by Rebel. Rebel is going to Hollywood – in her dreams!
ady Max put down the telephone, her eyes beaming. “I’ve just been asked to fly to Hollywood to star in a film called Desperate Doll,” she informed me excitedly. “And you’re invited too. Although why, I have no idea.” She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually was helping her friend Caro in Haiti on some post-earthquake building program, so Lady Max was looking after me. Fortunately, I have my shots to enter the States and return to England so the next day a huge black limousine picked us up. I was worried as Lady Max hadn’t picked up my travel cage and feared I’d be stuck in some kennel at Heathrow while she traveled, but, to my surprise, we were driven to a small private airport where a silver jet was waiting for us. “This just shows you how important the part I’m playing is,” Lady Max informed me. “I hope you don’t do anything to embarrass me, Rebel. Frankly, if the studio, hadn’t insisted on my taking you, I would have left you at home.” As soon as we were on the plane, Lady Max was drinking Champagne, nibbling on caviar and using the phone to call everyone she knew to
tell them about her starring role in Desperate Doll. A stewardess placed me in a huge silk-lined basket and gave me a T bone steak. I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived in LA, but certainly not the paparazzo waiting for us. For some reason I got more attention than Lady Max and could barely see with all the flashbulbs popping. To my relief, a big man in a black suit rescued us and pushed his way through the crowd until we reached a block long limousine which, believe it or not, had a dog run in the rear for my needs. Waiting inside was a small man with white hair wearing a dark gray suit. “I’m Murry, Steven’s assistant,” he informed Lady Max. “Steven wants to start shooting tomorrow so we’re going straight to the studio to take measurements.” “Oh, Rebel,” Lady Max whispers to me, “Spielberg himself is shooting me!” “We’re not sure if Armani or Karl Lagerfeld will be doing the outfits,” Murry goes on. “Both are dying to work on the production.” Lady Max looks fit to burst. “Lagerfeld! Armani?” she repeats. “Can you believe it, Rebel? And all for me.”
O: B PHOT
At the studio, a lift whisks us to a top floor office where we see a tiny red head woman behind a desk. “I am Steven, the director,” she informs us and then claps her hands. “Oh, wonderful! You’re even more beautiful than I was told.” Lady Max bats her eye lashes. “After a long flight, one really isn’t at one’s best, you know,” she says and then giggles. “You’ll see quite a change when I’m finished tomorrow. “We’ll take care of Rebel,” insists Steven. “That Westie will have the top dog beauticians to care for her. Believe me, Rebel is going to be a bigger star than Lassie, bigger than Beethoven, bigger than Hitachi when I finish making this movie. Desperate Dog will be the box office success of the year!” For a moment Lady Max looks as if she’s about to faint. “The title of the movie is Desperate Dog, not Desperate Doll?” “Right,” Steven replies. “We’d like you to help, of course. There’s the part of the walker in the film that you’d be perfect for. But enough of that for now. Sky, NBC and CBS are waiting to be introduced to Rebel.” TO BE CONTINUED... H
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