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August 2010

THE ESSENTIAL MONTHLY FOR ALL AMERICANS

Est. 1976

�2.00 WHERE SOLD

www.theamerican.co.uk

RESTAURANT REVIEWS WHAT'S ON GUIDES MUSIC � ARTS SPORTS � POLITICS

Dierks Bentley Platinum selling country star talks bluegrass with The American

Win a free DVD

WW1 movie Company K

Theater Reviews Through a Glass Darkly


children T O R A I S E F U N D S T O H E L P D I S A D V A N TA G E D A N D S I C K C H I L D R E N

Let's Hike or Bike for

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14-22 May 2011

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The itineraries are different but both teams will meet for a magnificent end of challenge celebration in Beijing

Barnardo's is a registered charity, No.216250 and SCO37605

Dreams Come True is a registered charity, No.800248

Kith & Kids is a registered charity, No.1080972

MedEquip4Kids is a registered charity, No.1102830

For more information and to register

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The American �

Issue 688 � August 2010 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 editor@theamererican.co.uk Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director +44 (0)1747 830520 sabrina.sully@blueedge.co.uk Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email theamerican@blueedge.co.uk Correspondents: Mary Bailey, Social mary@theamerican.co.uk Richard Gale, Sports Editor richard@theamerican.co.uk Alison Holmes, Politics alison@theamerican.co.uk Riki Evans Johnson, European riki@theamerican.co.uk Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey jeremy@theamerican.co.uk Estelle Lovatt, Arts estelle@theamerican.co.uk Dom Mills, Motorsports dom@theamerican.co.uk Jarlath O'Connell, Theater jarlath@theamerican.co.uk Virginia E. Schultz, Food & Drink virginia@theamerican.co.uk �2010 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed by Advent Colour Ltd., 19 East Portway Industrial Estate, Andover, SP10 3LU www.advent-colour.co.uk Main cover image: Dierks Bentley. Circular inset: Ruth Wilson as Karin in Ingmar Bergman's Through A Glass Darkly.

Welcome T There's so much on in Britain in August that it's difficult to know where to start. So why not start with the biggest � the Edinburgh Festival? In fact Edinburgh hosts a series of festivals � classical music, art, film, and much more. But when most people talk about "going up to Edinburgh" they're referring to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. "The Fringe" is the world's largest arts festival. It started 53 years ago as an alternative, as the name suggests, to the official Edinburgh International Festival. It's anarchic, hilarious, brilliant in parts, terrible in others, and quite unlike anything else in the worlds of theater, comedy, dance and music. And this year it features hundreds of US acts. Read our four-page special on the Americans who are invading Edinburgh and head north! Enjoy your magazine,

Michael Burland, Editor editor@theamerican.co.uk

SOME OF THIS MONTH'S CONTRIBUTORS

Cece Mills is a successful artist who lives in the Highlands of Scotland. She writes about art and a whole lot more for The American. This month she's going wild in the country.

Dr. Carolyn Norris-Atkins is an American expat who teaches high school Journalism in Surrey. Since arriving in the UK she has married, bought a home, completed her doctorate, and passed the UK driver's license exam.

Jarlath O'Connell is an Olivier Award judge and The American's theater reviewer. His pithy and witty theater reviews tell you what's hot � and what's not. This month's picks include the AngloAmerican Bridge Project.

Don't forget to check out The American online at www.theamerican.co.uk The entire contents of The American and www.theamerican.co.uk are protected by copyright and no part of it may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information in The American is accurate, the editor and publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions or any loss arising from reliance on it. The views and comments of contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers.

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The American

In This Issue... The American � Issue 688 � August 2010 4 News High flying Americans in space, in a flying hospital, up Everest and on the Tour of Britain

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11 Diary Dates Where to go and what to see in Britain. 14 US Acts in Edinburgh The Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world � here's our selection of the hundreds of American acts this year, including Arlo Guthrie (pictured right) 18 Highland Activities Going wild in the Scottish highlands on foot and on wheels

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20 Hassle Free Car Hire Hiring a car? Check out this advice first 22 Feeding Camels Light-hearted title, serious subject: how do you tell your child that you're being sent to war? 24 World Cup Family Watching the World Cup with English and Chilean relatives 26 Arts Arts events all over Britain � and in Paris, France

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30 Wining & Dining Restaurants new, old and revisited, plus ros� wines for summer and the world's best salad dressing! 36 Coffee Break Take five and exercise your mind, your memory and your laughter muscles 38 Music Live reviews and upcoming gigs 40 Interview: Dierks Bentley The bluegrass superstar tells The American about making his new album with the country elite 42 Reviews Sam Mendes' Bridge Project: US and UK actors take Shakespeare to the world and back home to England 46 Interview: Mercedes Ruehl The Oscar and Tony winning actress on making her debut in London's West End 49 Politics How the US/UK special relationship is evolving 52 Drive Time The Goodwood Festival of Speed in pictures 54 Sports Cavs owner Dan Gilbert isn't particularly impressed with LeBron James 56 American Organizations Useful and social groups for you to join 64 Paw Talk We bid a sad farewell to our faithful canine correspondent

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The American

The elephant family comes to London Town The Elephant Family is an established fund for saving elephants in the wild. It is based in London and now also in Tennessee and surely will become global. The fund is operated to Save Asian elephants and tigers by buying land to reestablish migratory routes. Poaching too, for ivory and for quasi medicines, must be dealt with. The Family work in conjunction with Elephant Parade. Very few people do not like and appreciate elephants and now you can see 250 life size model elephants, all over London. They have been beautifully painted and decorated by well known people, some sponsored by prestigious companies and residents. Their patrons are many and well known, Goldie Hawn is but one enthusiast. Models not already bought will be auctioned. I went with some visitors from the US who were quite fascinated to see one of the `parades', the getting together of some hundreds of the elephants in the Chelsea Hospital grounds. Contact Elephant Family at info@elephantfamily.org or via the website elephantfamily.org, write 81 Gower Street London WC1, or telephone 020 7580 3164 and yes, they do want volunteers. � Mary Bailey

12,000 mile Triathlon Aims for the Top of the World harlie Wittmack is an trial-lawyer turned American explorer and adventurer of the old school kind. He is planning a trek that his courageous forebears might have balked at. It is a monster 12,000 mile Triathlon that entails swimming the length of England's River Thames (all but the dangerous tidal section which is unswimmable), swimming across the English Channel to France, cycling across Europe and Asia then, to top it all (literally) climbing Mount Everest. The endeavor will take 11 months. It began in July when Charlie set off on his 275-mile Thames swim. The Channel swim is subject to weather conditions, but it is due to occur sometime between August 2nd and 9th. From France, the expedition continues with a 9,000-mile bicycle ride across Europe and Asia, passing over many of the world's most rugged and remote mountain ranges, and crossing hundreds of miles of barren sand desert, before climbing over the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean and Calcutta. The triathlon concludes with a super-ultra 950-mile run from sea level at the Bay of Bengal, up into

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the Himalayan mountains. A climb to the summit of Mount Everest will seal an extraordinary effort. Charlie's website www. theworldtri.com tells all about his adventure, and you can follow his progress online there too. The adventure will help to raise awareness and money for The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood: "I chose to partner with the WRA because I wanted to impact lives directly and in the most meaningful way possible. What better way is there to do that than through working to prevent needless deaths of women in childbirth' Charlie has been training and preparing for this expedition for more than 15 years. He will be supported during the expedition by his wife Cate, who will be leading both an educational initiative throughout the expedition and a global health program in Nepal. The Wittmacks will be travelling with their young son James. They will also be accompanied by award-winning journalists Andy Stoll and Brian Triplett and the expedition is being recorded by an award winning film maker.

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John Lennon Monument: model unveiled A monument by a young American artist to commemorate John Lennon's 70th birthday and the 30th anniversary of his death will be unveiled by the former Beatle's son, Julian, in Liverpool in October 2010, the centerpiece of a two-month season of events. The finished monument, the idea of U.S. organisation Global Peace Initiative, will cost $350,000. It will stand 18ft tall , 11ft wide and weigh 4.5 tons. It is being made from brushed aluminium, acrylic and an indestructible coating to stave off the weather. Entitled `Peace and Harmony', its design includes white feathers, doves and music notes. Until the finished item is on show in public, here is a preview. A handpainted scale model of the 18ft peace monument to John Lennon has been unveiled in � of all places in Shanghai, at the Liverpool Pavilion in World Expo, China. The monument has been created by American teen art prodigy Lauren Voiers. It will counterbalance the Strawberry Fields memorial in New York's Central Park, near the location of Lennon's murder. A similar spot has never been designated in Lennon's hometown to celebrate his life.

NASA astronaut revisits Lakenheath, meets local kids stronaut Col. Jim Dutton paid a return visit to RAF Lakenheath on June 8 and 9 to speak to airmen and local students about his recent flight aboard space shuttle Discovery. Before becoming an astronaut, Col. Dutton was an F-15C pilot with the 493rd Fighter Squadron, from 1995 to 1998. He and his wife, Erin, made a nostalgic trip around the base and local area, visiting their old base house and the chapel in Ely. "This is a really, really special place," enthused Colonel Dutton, and although he hadn't been here in more than 10 years, he said it felt like he'd never left. "There are a few new buildings," he said, "but it all came back to us like a dream." Before speaking at the base gymnasium June 8, Colonel Dutton caught up on old times with 48th Fighter Wing Commander Col. John Quintas. The audience was treated to a film of the mission Colonel Dutton flew on to the International Space Station, while he regaled them with stories about living and working in space. "Living in zero gravity was fun," Colonel Dutton told the crowd. "By

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the third or fourth day it felt like you'd been born there." Colonel Dutton also spoke at Lakenheath Elementary School to an audience of around 200 children, including British students who made a special trip to attend the event. The children ooh'd and aah'd at the photos of the U.S. and U.K. taken from 200 miles above the earth. They laughed when they saw a picture of the 493rd FS mascot, Spank the Gorilla, floating in space, as well as movies of the crew playing with water and M&Ms in zero gravity. The presentation ended with cheers from students and teachers alike. "It was great, my favorite part was the M&M bit," said Billy Pik, a student from Glade Primary School in Brandon, who added that seeing a real NASA astronaut has made him more interested in space. Colonel Dutton said that while it's fun to come back to old haunts and share news about the space program, he hopes that his visit will motivate people as well." It's great to inspire people to work hard toward their goals and go after whatever their dreams are," he said.

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American expats fly high on Vietnam medical mission

Prince Harry visits NYC Prince Harry visited New York, June 25th-27th. He visited military and veterans organisations to explore ideas about how British and American veterans charities might work together to support returning wounded Servicemen and women on both sides of the Atlantic. His first official function was to observe field exercises and meet with cadets at West Point. He then attended a reception at the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum in support of British and American veterans. As patron of the charity Map Action, Prince Harry visited UNICEF's Emergency Operation centre, to gain a deeper understanding of how geospatial mapping is used to more effectively coordinate relief and rescue after disasters. The Prince didn't neglect the lighter side of New York. He threw the first pitch at the New York Mets vs Minnesota Twins game at Citi Field. Joining him for the game were British and American veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mets owner Fred Wilpon is a founder of Welcome Back Veterans, a charity which supports returning soldiers suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Finally the Prince competed in the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Governors Island.

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tudents from ACS International Schools are visiting Vietnam as part of a sight-saving mission. Three ACS students including two American expats, and one from Westminster Academy, have been selected to fly to Da Nang this summer to take part in a programme on-board the world's only Flying Eye Hospital. The internship is arranged by the ACS Foundation and ORBIS, a sight-saving charity. This year's ORBIS programme will be taking place from 6th and 14th August. The ACS students are American expats Jhenielle Reynolds from ACS Egham and Dillon Van Auken from ACS Cobham and Neha Lelani from ACS Hillingdon. Jhenielle commented, "The scholarship will give me the opportunity to gain hands on experience working in the medical field, but I also applied because I love helping people, especially those less fortunate than I am, and I felt that ORBIS would provide me with an excellent opportunity to touch the lives of many people suffering from avoidable blindness." ACS International Schools Foundation and ORBIS have sponsored

three ACS students to travel with a team of Ophthalmologists to developing countries for the past 10 years, with the first internships taking place in 2000. Dillon was particularly struck by the work of ORBIS, "This will be a very unique and humbling experience and I hope that sharing the stories of the people that I meet with those that might not be familiar with them will be a great way to help spread the word of ORBIS's fantastic work." For the first time the ACS students will be joined by a student from Westminster Academy, Shaghigh Aryan. The four students will join ophthalmologists aboard a DC-10 aircraft specially converted into a teaching hospital. On-board the refurbished aircraft, the students will be on hand to witness ORBIS's international medical team exchanging knowledge and improving skills amongst local doctors, nurses and technicians. The students will observe surgery and provide post-operative support, experiencing first hand the difference that ORBIS volunteer doctors and nurses make to people's lives.

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Tour of Britain Challenge From Anglo-Texan Racer ristian House, now one of Britain's top road cyclists with a national title to his name, says he could have had a very different sporting career � in the United States. He came to cycling by accident, he admits. Kristian who was born in England but grew up in the States, says as a child he was a soccer and athletics nut and only turned to cycling after realising he was enjoying his bike ride to soccer practice more than the practice itself. Since starting as a junior in Austin, and inspired by another Texan legend in seven times Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, Kristian � whose accent remains a mixture of the lands of his birth and his upbringing - has gone on to race around the world, and now races for pro-team Rapha Condor Sharp. The highlight of Kristian's career so far was his 2009 British Road Racing title and now the 30-year-old

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Re-enactors at Bentonville PHOTO: LARS ANDERSEN

Bentonville Battlefield Fundraiser The Civil War Preservation Trust has called for funds to help save an important Civil War site, the great Bentonville Battlefield in North Carolina. Over the past decade, CWPT and its members have worked to save more than 900 acres at this 1865 battlefield. Now they have started a new campaign to save an additional 240 acres. Bentonville is important because it was the last major assault by the Confederate Army of the war. In "Last Grand Charge of the Army of Tennessee", as it became known, the Army of Tennessee under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston made a last desperate attempt to stop Sherman's Union army before it could join with Ulysses S. Grant's forces in Virginia. On March 19, 1865 Johnston's troops launched a ferocious attack that very nearly stopped one of Sherman's wings. The new fundraising campaign is the opening effort of a larger campaign to save 455 battlefield acres in North Carolina. CWPT has secured match funding that will double the giving power of every dollar you donate to this campaign. www.civilwar.org/battlefields/ bentonville/bentonville10/

is throwing down the gauntlet to cycling enthusiasts to see if they can match him on a stage of this year's Tour of Britain. As part of a scheme run in partnership with The Prostate Cancer Charity, The Tour of Britain is offering a unique cycling experience for would be pros to ride in the tyre tracks of the world's best professionals. Riders will be able to cycle a stage of the actual route at three locations around the UK: in Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands, around London and for the first time this year, in the scenic South West. In London, you could even be warming up the tarmac for the real pros by riding the stage just a few hours before the real thing. For more information visit www. tourride.co.uk, email cycling@prostate-cancer.org.uk or call 020 8222 7131. Sign up before 9th August and you will be entered into a prize draw to win two once in a lifetime places in an official race car on an actual stage of the Tour of Britain including VIP hospitality. Distances range from 2k to 175k, so it's perfect for cyclists of any level, whether you want to take to two wheels with your family or take on a `beast of a ride' and go the full distance. You can choose from the Pro Ride, Challenge Ride or Family Ride and entry fees range from �10 to �40 per rider depending on the level. You can see Kristian talking about how he turned his weekly cycling commute to sports practice into a passionate professional career that has seen him ride all over the world at www.linkto.tv/iframe/show/uuid/ SmBG3Q61GmI

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AMERICAN EMBASSY IN THE UK Switchboard: +44 (0)20 7499 9000 Visa Information (�1.20/min): Mon-Fri 8am � 8pm, Sat 10am � 4pm 09042 450100 Passport Unit (American Citizen Services): +44 (0)20 7894 0563 24hr assistance for genuine emergencies: +44 (0)20 7499 9000 www.usembassy.org.uk

Embassy News

New Consular Fees

On June 28, 2010, the Department of State published its Schedule of Fees for Consular Services, which includes fees for passports, immigrant visas and other consular services. The changes took effect on July 13. The revised fees will cover actual operating expenses for the 301 overseas consular posts, 23 domestic passport agencies and other centers

that provide these consular services to U.S. and foreign citizens. The 27 adjusted fees are based on a Cost of Service Study completed by the Bureau of Consular Affairs in June 2009. The study, the most detailed and exhaustive ever conducted by the Department of State, established the true cost of providing these consular services, which by law must be recovered through collection of fees.

NEW CONSULAR FEES EFFECTIVE JULY 13, 2010 Current Fee Adjusted Fee Non-Immigrant Visa Fees* Nonimmigrant visa application 1. H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories 2. E Visas 3. K Visa 4. BCC Adult Immigrant Visa Fees IV Application Processing Fee 1. Family-based immigrant visa 2. Employment-based immigrant visa 3. Other immigrant visas (SIVs, DVs, etc.) IV Security Surcharge Diversity Visa Lottery surcharge Domestic review of Affidavit of Support Determining Returning Resident Status Passport Fees Passport Book - adult Passport Book - minor Passport Book Renewal - Adult Additional passport visa pages Passport Card - Adult Passport Card - Child $100.00** $85.00** $75.00 $45.00** $35.00** $135.00** $105.00** $110.00 $82.00 $55.00** $40.00** $355.00 $355.00 $355.00 $45.00 $375.00 $70.00 $400.00 $330.00 $720.00 $305.00 $74.00 $440.00 $88.00 $380.00 $131.00 $131.00 $131.00 $131.00 $131.00 $140.00 $150.00 $390.00 $350.00 $140.00 Consular Report of Birth Abroad Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship File Search and Verification of U.S. Citizenship Overseas Citizens Services Disposition/Shipment of Remains of a non-U.S. Citizen Documentary Services Notarials, Certifications of True Copies, Authentications, provision of Department of State records Judicial Services Processing Letters Rogatory & FSIA 1. Scheduling/Arranging Depositions 2. Attending or Taking Depositions 3. Swearing in Witnesses 4. Supervising Telephone Depositions 5. Providing Seal and Certification Administrative Services Consular Time Charges (per hour) $265.00 $231.00 $735.00 $475.00 $265.00/hr + expenses $265.00/hr + expenses $265.00/hr + expenses $70.00 $2,275.00 $1,283.00 $309.00/hr + expenses $231.00/hr + expenses $231.00/hr + expenses $415.00 Taking Depositions or Executing Commissions: $30.00 (first), $20.00 (addt'l) $50.00 $265.00 + expenses $200.00 + expenses Current Fee Adjusted Fee $65.00 $60.00 $100.00 $450.00 $150.00

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The American

Get your event listed in The American � call the editor on +44 (0)1747 830520, or email details to editor@theamerican.co.uk Bob Shepherd: The Infidel National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HT Bob Shepherd is a security advisor and author of the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller The Circuit. A 20�year veteran of Britain's elite Special Air Service with more than a decade and a half of private security work to his credit, Bob has successfully negotiated some of the most dangerous places on earth. Now he speaks on his new work The Infidel which is inspired by both his previous service and Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King. 12.30 pm. www.national-army-museum.ac.uk to August 7 The Great Game: Afghanistan The Tricycle Theatre 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR then US tour A season of plays, exhibitions and films that explore Afghan culture and history, stimulating discussion and debate on what is currently the most important focus of UK and American foreign policy. USA Tour Dates. September 15 to 26 the Harman Washington; September 29 to October 17 The Maguire Procenium Minneapolis; October 22 to November 7 The Roda Theatre Berkeley; December 1 to December 19 The Skirball New York. www.tricycle.co.uk 020 7328 1000 July 23 to August 29 Churchill War Rooms Battle of Britain Commemorations Churchill Museum And Cabinet War Rooms, King Charles Street London SW1 Working in the War Rooms: 26 July to 31 August, get close to objects and documents associated with the War

Diary Dates

Your Guide To The Month Ahead

Rooms and the people who worked in them. Artefacts from the Second World War will be available for handling, and facsimile documents give a rare insight into what went on there. Spitfire event: 16 to 31 August, a full�size replica Spitfire will be on view outside the Museum, and there's the opportunity to create a skyscape on the pavement using traditional pavement chalks. 28 to 30 August, a team of re�enactors stage an interactive display of an RAF operations room complete with plotting table, demonstrating how they tracked the progress of a large scale air raid on London. Spitfire & Hurricane Fly�past and reading of Churchill's `The Few' Speech , Friday 20 August. cwr.iwm.org.uk July 26 to August 31 Vauxhall Motors Bowls Club Brick Lane, London E1 Brick Lane in London will be transformed into a professional standard bowling green, courtesy of Vauxhall (GM's UK arm). After a popular roller disco extravaganza and the cool Vauxhall Ice Skate comes traditional bowls, but with a difference, with top bands, dancing, lounging and stylish 4�wheeled art commissions. Go online to apply for your exclusive free ticket. 12.00pm till 6.00pm. www.vauxhallmotorsbc.co.uk August 1 CultureLine (inc. George Washington's false teeth!) various, London A partnership of 10 museums along the new London Overground East London Line have a Summer Discovery Weekend with exhibitions, costumed characters, guided walks and live music. A preview event at Whitechapel Gallery on August 5 has a talk on Alice Neel, the first major retrospective of the influential painter, featuring a portrait of Andy Warhol previously unseen in the UK. Other highlights include George Washington's false teeth at the Royal London Hospital Museum; Fe:MAIL: Suffragettes and

Paco Pe�a � A Comp�s! Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN Paco Pe�a makes a welcome return to Sadler's Wells with his renowned company of dancers and musicians. Famed for their passionately authentic flamenco, the company's acclaimed show A Comp�s! To the Rhythm brings to the stage a true interpretation of what flamenco represents: a spontaneous collaboration between dancers, singers and musicians including Paco Pe�a himself. www.sadlerswells.com 0844 412 4300 August 07 to August 12

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the Post at the Women's Library; the `Eighth Wonder of the World' during the Thames Tunnel Fancy Fair at the Brunel Museum; live music from a Caribbean steel band and Victorian garden games at the Geffrye Museum; Africa Live!, a continent of culture, music, food and drink at Horniman Museum and a tour of one of London's most iconic lost buildings, the Crystal Palace, with the Crystal Palace Museum. www.cultureline.org.uk August 6 to August 08 Edinburgh Festival Fringe various, Edinburgh The world's biggest arts festival. The Fringe is the `alternative' sister to the

classical music, theatre and arts festival. In its 64th year the Fringe has its biggest line�up to date comprising a staggering 2,453 shows, 17 percent up on last year's total. Everything from comedy, theatre, dance and physical theatre, events, exhibitions, children's shows, music, musicals and opera. See the separate pages for American acts at this year's Fringe. www.edfringe.com August 6 to August 30 The Tall Ships Race Hartlepool Marina, Hartlepool Quays, Hartlepool, Tees Valley TS24 0XZ 125 `tall ships' sail from Kristiansand in Norway on the second and final leg of the race to the finishing line in Hartlepool. During their stay there will be a large number of special events. www.hartlepooltallships2010.com August 7 to August 10

Barry Sheene Memorial Dinner Thistle Hotel, Brands Hatch, Kent One for bike fans. A charity evening in memory of Sheene, the best loved British Grand Prix motorcycle racer. Guests will include Steve Parrish, Barry's team mate and best friend; Margaret Smart and Paul Smart, Barry's sister and brother in law; their son and current racer, Scott Smart. On show will be two of Barry's GP bikes and the exciting new Icon Sheene Bike, being built in memory of Barry Sheene. There will be a buffet and the cost will be a mere �25 a head. A charity auction will include: a framed career history presentation signed by Barry Sheene; a Fiat Yamaha team shirt signed by Valentino Rossi; a pillion ride with John Reynolds on the Worx Suzuki GSXR at the final round of BSB at Oulton Park; and a set of Chris Vermeulan's Suzuki leathers from 2009 signed and presented by Chris. All proceeds raised go to the children's cancer charity CLIC

The American Museum in Britain Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD Housed in Georgian splendour at Claverton Manor in Bath, the American Museum in Britain remains the only museum outside the US to showcase the nation's decorative arts. There are permanent exhibitions, Quilting Bees every Tuesday, kids' activities and special events. AUGUST 15: Music Series from Jeff Warner.

Proms 2010 various The Henry Wood Promenade concerts have grown, since the first concert in 1895, into a range of events across the country: 76 concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and 13 chamber music recitals at Cadogan Hall; Proms in the Park; Proms Plus and more, all culminating with the world famous Last Night. www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2010/ July 16 to September 11

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

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Sargent. Dress code Black Tee Shirt (Barry never did like ties). www.barrysheenechallenge.co.uk symor118@hotmail.com 01382 480161 August 7 One World Festival Great Malvern, Worcestershire A magical midsummer event bringing together the arts, personal development, health and community, set in beautiful Worcestershire countryside, in Great Malvern. Dozens of holistic teachers offering over 200 free workshops in a range of therapies, natural movement and dance forms, exercise for physical and spiritual development, holistic health, arts, crafts, sports and natural cookery. Among them is coach and bestselling author Lynn Serafinn. Quote her name and get a 10% discount on your price of admission. www.macrobios.com August 9 to August 15 Kids Week In The West End various, London Now in its 13th year, Kids Week offers children 16 or younger the opportunity to experience the magic of London theatre for FREE. One child (aged between 5 and 16) will be able to go free to any participating show when accompanied by a full paying adult, and another two children can go for half price. A host of participating shows include The Woman in Black, Oliver!, Wicked, Sister Act, Legally Blonde and MAMMA MIA! plus many more. There are no booking or postage fees on Kids Week tickets. www.kidsweek.co.uk Ticketmaster 24hr Kids Week hotline 0844 248 5151 August 13 to August 27 Shakespeare's Globe US and UK Tour: The Merry Wives of Windsor Shakespeare's Globe, Bankside, London SE1 9DT A revival of the acclaimed 2008

WIN A FREE DVD

Company K

Get a free copy of this great war movie

L Vintage at Goodwood Goodwood Estate, West Sussex A new summer festival combining music, fashion, design and retail and celebrating five decades of British cool. Musical headliners are The Faces, without Rod Stewart but with Mick (Simply Red) Hucknall: should be a great night. www.vintageatgoodwood.com August 13 to August 15

ast month we reviewed this new DVD, a gripping story of American Marines sent to France during World War I. Company K highlights the backgrounds and characters of the Marines before they are deployed, and the terrors that await them in the trenches. Based on the novel by William March, long considered one of the greatest American war novels, it is based on March's own experiences in the war. Company K is released by Scanbox Entertainment July 26, 12 certificate, recommended retail price is �12.99. Scanbox have kindly given 5 copies of the DVD for readers of The American to own and enjoy. QUESTION: Who wrote Semper Fidelis March, the official march of the U.S. Marine Corps. A Elmer Bernstein B Samuel Barber C John Philip Sousa

production has a run at the Globe, before embarking on an international tour. The production will perform in Los Angeles and New York during the autumn, continuing partnerships formed during the Globe's US tour of Love's Labour's Lost last year. The production will return to the UK for performances in Milton Keynes, Norwich, Richmond and Bath. Shakespeare's Globe August 14 to October 2; USA October14 to November 7; tour in England November 16 to December 11 www.shakespeares-globe.org 020 7401 9919 or 020 7087 7398 August 14 to December 11

HOW TO ENTER: Send your answer with your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, August 31, 2010. Email it to theamerican@blueedge.co.uk with COMPANY K COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: COMPANY K COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Prize consists of 1 copy of Company K DVD. No cash alternative. 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.

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The American

Americans Take Edinburgh By Storm You have to `do' the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at least once in your life. This year there are literally hundreds of American acts to see. Here is The American's selection. An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein theSpaces @ Surgeons Hall

All the Happy People � American Myth Theater theSpace @ Venue45

And Justice for All! Church Hill

Several one-act plays written by acclaimed author/ poet, Shel Silverstein. Adventures of a Singing Acupuncturist � Olivia in Caledonia Laughing Horse @ The Argyle

`Two of Hearts' is a dating service. Susan is ready to help the world find love. On her first day, most of her spirit will be crushed. Love is hard, but matchmaking is hell. Almost, Maine Pilrig Studio

Two one-act plays by Bronxville High that eloquently speak about American democracy in action. Antoinette... en Secret Church Hill

Storytelling and songs; Korean-American acupuncturist Olivia explores her unique world. Alice in Wonderland Church Hill

On a wintry Friday night, the residents of `Almost, Maine', find themselves dealing with love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. The Amazing Bubble Man C too

Marie Antoinette as you've never seen her. Don't miss how young Lou met sweet Marie. Applause Church Hill

An absurd, outrageous, humorous, creepy version of `Alice' (with a Scottish twist) performed by a small troupe from a tiny school located slightly north of the oldest town in Texas � Nacogdoches. All Joking Aside � Smile and Nod C aquila

Breathtaking bubbles, people-inside-bubbles, square bubbles, sculptural bubbles, special effect bubbles. Enjoy the world of Bubble-ology. Book early � he's always a big draw. American Cougar of Comedy Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters

Experience the lives of actors as they attempt survival in American musical. The 1970 Tony Award-winning musical with show stopping numbers follows the life of Broadway star Margo Channing and the woman who wants to replace her. The Ark � Maeser Preparatory Academy Stage by Stage Edinburgh Academy

American performers take suggestions from the audience and turn them into hilarious hour-long plays.

The self-proclaimed slut brings her side-splitting humour about life, sex and living in the fast lane, to Edinburgh. She'll answer any questions you ask. American House Party � Left Right TIM C aquila

An exciting family-friendly musical. The theatre which has been transformed into an ark and you'll discover you are one of the animals � this is not only Noah's adventure, it's yours! Arlo Guthrie The Queen's Hall

Chicago-style improv. Amy, Fate and Me Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

The legendary folk singer shares timeless stories and unforgettable songs as he carries on the Guthrie family legacy. At the Broken Places � Savio(u)r Company C central

A long drive through desolate terrain; a woman drawn to an out-of-the-way town. You'll laugh, cry and applaud her journey as intuition and fate force her to face her own demons. Left: Arlo Guthrie

Follow the teachers and students of fictional Sierra High School as they stage an account of the massacre that occurred at their school 20 years earlier, hoping to destigmatize a school synonymous with violence.

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The Full Band Improvised Musical � Baby Wants Candy Assembly @ Assembly Hall

Caught on Tape � Putney Players The Zoo

Earned ultra-rare five stars from the Scotsman. The original and best improvised musical returns after four sell-out seasons! Shout out a title and BWC improvises an entire musical before your eyes! The Bacchae � CalArts Festival Theater Venue 13

American ensemble has travelled the UK, collecting interviews from people the world over. Cultures collide and opinions clash in interwoven monologues and actual conversations. City Love Song � Jack Finnegan The Banshee Labyrinth

An irreverent, all-male, radical re-imagining of the Greek tragedy, adding gender and sexuality to Euripides' heady mix of power, murder and divine retribution. Bambi: A Life in the Woods Pilrig Studio

An honest Yankee makes a case for the States from the sidewalks of two dozen American cities. Comedy of Errors � IDP C

The classic tale of facing fear, love and loss as the fawn Bambi grows to become heir to the Great Prince. Beautifully staged with fun puppets and opportunities for young audience members to participate. Beacon of Health and Fitness: Racy Comedy with an Open Heart Chakra. Abigoliah Schamaun Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Shakespeare's uproarious comedy of mistaken identities is presented in a fast-paced style, reminiscent of Italian Commedia. This Honolulubased company employs masks, live music, slapstick and actual twins! Considering Georgia O'Keeffe � Allison Hetzel theSpaces on the Mile @ The Radisson

Top: Greater Tuna Above: Henry Rollins

Possibly the only stand-up/yogi in the world, Abigoliah Schamaun obsesses about her desire to be a vegan, animal-loving sage � whilst being a fastfood-eating, reality-TV-watching jezebel. Broad Comedy � Fringe Management / Broadhouse Productions Assembly @ George Street

Returning to the Fringe! A one-woman show exploring the life and art of major early 20th-century American painter, Georgia O'Keeffe. Craig McMurdo � The McMurdo Sound The Outhouse

Legendary songwriter performs hits `Ariel', `Lucky Stars', `Lydia' and more. Deepchurch Hollow � Slippery Rock theSpace @ Venue45

Internationally acclaimed vocalist, frequently compared to Connick Jnr and Bubl�, performs an eclectic mix of jazz standards, lounge and swing. Dance Festival Venue150 @ EICC

An unspeakable evil stalks the halls of an historic Gettysburg house. Alice Deepchurch has one night to defeat it. Is it from beyond or from within? Delilah Dix and Her Bag of Tricks � Amy Albert Fingers Piano Bar

Sexy, smart, irreverent, award-winning sketch comedy and musical satire that had sell-outs in LA, Boston and New York. Carnival Knowledge: Love, Lust and Other Human Oddities � Naomi Grossman C soco

Naomi Grossman's rough, thrilling roller coaster ride full of outrageous, vulnerable and sexually explicit tales of dating in Los Angeles. Caroline Rhea Gilded Balloon Teviot

A dance `festival-within-a-festival'! Several inspiring dance productions performed by the most stunning dance companies from the USA including Michael Mao Dance, Christine Jowers and Moving Arts Projects. Danceforms' the 53rd International Choreographers' case Spotlites @ The Merchants' Hall

Amy Albert presents her latest creation, Delilah Dix, an aging never-was starlet searching for her last gasp of stardom. An evening of comedy and song starring America's drunkest export. Devil in the Deck � Comedy on the Square The Zoo

Caroline Rhea (`Curb Your Enthusiasm', `Man in the Moon', `Sordid Lives' and `Sabrina the Teenage Witch'), brings her fresh, funny and spontaneous stand-up to Edinburgh. Supported by Costaki Economopoulos.

A feast of stunning dance works in a program shining with originality and inspiration. Dean Friedman � In Concert The LOT

Dealing cards and cheating death. An innovative pairing of theatre and magic. The Dirty Immigrant Collective � Vaguely Qualified Productions The Voodoo Rooms

American stand-up featuring phenomenal

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comedians of the immigrant, minority or otherwise outcast variety. Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)! Church Hill Theatre

Floozy � CalArts Festival Theater Venue 13

The Great American Songbook Retold � Erin Shields and David Shenton The LOT

A young woman thinks she wants intimacy, trapped in a comedy of errors, which turns into a horror film. Brief nudity, lots of swearing, making out and talking about sex. Oh, and a little blood. Fools and Drunks � Adam Harlan Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters

Five actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told plus traditions from around the world, seasonal icons and every carol ever sung. The Fastest Woman Alive � Pepperdine University C

New York City songstress Erin Shields uses her lush, emotionally-charged powerhouse vocals and mesmerizing warmth to sing one-of-a-kind interpretations of well-known jazz standards. Greater Tuna Church Hill

A one-man show that explores a junkie's life through a comprehensive history of popular America from the birth of MTV to the present. Frisco Fred's Comedy Hour � Fred Anderson and Comedy On The Square Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

The astonishing story of Jackie Cochran, WWII aviator, first woman to break the sound barrier, soulmate to Amelia Earhart, champion of women pilots and astronauts. Fat, Bald and Loud Laughing Horse @ Cafe Renroc

Enjoy making fun of America? So do Greater Tuna! Straight from Missouri, see this satirical look at small town life. 10 girls, 25 characters and tons of facial hair; need we say more? Hamlet: Blood in the Brain Church Hill

From San Francisco to the Great Wall of China to the Fringe! A fun-filled hour with the world's only nearsighted comic, magician, juggler, escape artist and tightrope walker. Gibby Stone and Her Problem � Infinity Repertory Company Augustine's

Classic tale of intrigue and revenge retold through hip-hop, rap, body percussion and song, performed by award-winning Oakland students. Haunted � Dance Box Theater Dance Base � National Centre for Dance

Russian hookers, medieval pimps, Japanese standups, Chicago cops and Shakespearean advertising men; Craig Ricci Shaynak plays them all. Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl � Barrow Street The Traverse @ St Stephen's

Barricaded behind the doors of civilization's last office, co-workers rearrange the food chain in a feral mix of art and taxidermy.

Her acne triggers a musical eruption! Teen angst at its worst, small Texas town, crazy, bible-thumping father, mother's oral fixation, slackers, freaks, pretty boys, the travelling circus, dermatological wonder. Her face lights the way! Girl Balls � Killy Dwyer Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde

Dynamic dance that unearths the true story of demonic possession that inspired the cult classic book and film, `The Exorcist'. Henry Rollins Udderbelly's Pasture

Legendary Black Flag frontman, author, Hollywood actor, Grammy Award-winner, and passionate stream-of-social-consciousness raconteur. Hi, How Can I Help You? � Scout Durwood Laughing Horse @ Cafe Renroc

The original, mad, magical, comedy/rock'n' roll anti-cabaret! Killy Dwyer � the queen of NYC's underground comedy scene � takes you through a night of breakdowns and breakthroughs in this outrageous, unpredictable musical experience. Top to bottom: Maria Tecce; Jackie Cochran, "The Fastest Woman Alive"; and The Katrina Project

A one-woman musical following the lives of six women employed at a New York City house of domination the night of the presidential election of 2008. Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light � Linn Maxwell theSpaces @ Surgeons Hall

Lively portrayal of a 12th-century German abbess with a timeless message of hope for today. Icarus' Mother & Red Cross � Tufts University's Pen Paint and Pretzels Spotlites @ The Merchants' Hall

Sam Shepard's writing at its best in these two short plays where something sinister lurks under the surface.

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The I Hate Children Children's Show � Comedy on the Square Zoo Roxy

Magician Paul Nathan creates a show for children and adults. Not for the prudish or faint of heart. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Romantic Comedy � Vaguely Qualified Production Whistlebinkies

An American tracking the notorious Middle East conflict to a botched one-night stand between Israel and Palestine at the Geneva Convention. The Katrina Project: Hell and High Water Church Hill

This play by Michael Marks and Mackenzie Westmoreland is an emotional multimedia journey into the hearts and souls of Hurricane Katrina survivors. Based on actual interviews, collected stories and found texts. Life is Full of... Church Hill

This rollicking and romantic mix of dance, text and rude mechanicals combined in a hilarious production of Shakespeare's fantastical play, demonstrates that American teenagers have the acting chops to tackle the bard. Miss Hamford Beauty Pageant and Battle of the Bands � Rio Hondo College Venue 13

Yale Whiffenpoofs

Epstein and Hassan create an edgy, provocative New York-style comedy. Sound and Fury's `Testaclese and Ye Sack of Rome' � Sound & Fury Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Can the cast perform 30 irreverent, edgy, funny, personal, abstract, political and poignant plays in 60 minutes? Audiences decide on the order of these plays making every performance a unique experience not to be missed. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom � M-Project Venue 13

Long before `Idol' there was `Hamford'; sexy, inept, graceful, rattle-brained, luscious, conniving, this comedy razzes small-town America. California Repertory `s 30-year anniversary production of their Fringe First winner. Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three Brookfield-Knights Roots & Shoots of Americana Acoustic Music Centre @ St Brides

The Fakespearean-Vaudeville bawdy romp through Greece returns! Have a ball! Suspicious Package � Fifth Wall in Association With The Brick Theater, New York C too

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson's play from the USA follows famed African American blues singer Ma Rainey as she records a record in 1927 Maria Tecce: Strapless Assembly @ George Street

A hit at Celtic Connections 2010. Retreat � Red Chair Players East C

Following a sold-out run in NYC, this interactive experience uses iPods to immerse you into the gritty world of film noir, where not everything is black and white. A singular experience. Valery Ponomarev Quintet The Jazz Bar

A smouldering night of song steeped in sensuality, elegance and Spanish spice from international diva Maria Tecce. Has been described as `a total striptease without removing so much as a shoe'. The Meeting � New Salisbury Players Quaker Meeting House

A psychiatric clinic for girls attempts to replace superstition with science. Steven Levenson's world premiere dark comedy about the perils of self-discovery at the intersection of modernity and madness. Righteous Money � Wolf 359 Pleasance Courtyard

The sensational trumpet star escaped to New York from Cold War Russia in the 70s, and joined Art Blakey's famous Jazz Messengers. The Wiz Church Hill

The never-occurred conversation between Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. The night after the bombing of Malcolm's home, these two civil rights leaders meet in a Harlem hotel where their philosophies collide. A Midsummer Night's Dream Church Hill

Family fun in a funky, hip, musical, pop-lock dancing kind of way, you won't want to miss this now classic take on the iconic `Wizard of Oz' by Frank Baum. Yale Whiffenpoofs World Tour: Songs for Edinburgh Venue150 @ EICC

Profane, bisexual and rich, this TV host dishes out advice on stocks, sleeping with assistants, and what's wrong with America today. A solo tour de force. She's Black, He's Jewish, They're Still Married, Oy Vey � Epstein and Hassan AKA Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde

Yale University's Whiffenpoofs, the world's oldest a cappella group, journey to Edinburgh for three shows only, to end a 14-week world tour. H

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hshire: Pert utdoors e Great O th I 'm not one of those hearty, welltoned, muscled, gung-ho girls, but an assignment to check out the outdoor activities in the Highlands was an appealing prospect. In a small area of Perthshire I found an incredible amount of accessible, enjoyable, exhilarating and challenging activities suitable for all ages and temperaments. White water rafting on the rapids of the River Tay, off-road driving in Dunkeld, the daunting task of tackling even one of Perthshire's many Munros (hills over 3000 feet, named after the man who first counted them, Sir Hugh Munro, in 1871), just where should I start? really do. At the Highland Offroad centre, in the grounds of beautiful Dunkeld House Hotel, you can tackle a range of activities and challenge yourself and your nerves. My companion, T, and I were met and instructed by the highly competent Andrew, who then took us on a short tour of the assault course before offering me the wheel. With some trepidation I slid into the gorgeously comfortable leather seat, checked the computer screen and tried to listen to the complexities of how the system worked. Andrew admitted that any brain was likely to fry before it had a full grasp of the entire computer system, so I gave up trying and just enjoyed the drive. Who needs to know about the controls when a nice man is sitting reassuringly beside you, issuing clear and simple instructions interspersed with jolly chat. I won't forget the most important instruction of all � do not brake going down that precipice. The car knows best. At times I felt the car had no need of me, it could drive itself! An hour later, exhausted from the nervous tension of negotiating precipitous forest tracks strewn with rocks and trying to steer this expensive object between large, close together trees, but nevertheless exhilarated from my success, my feet were back on the ground. Phew. I had managed not to crash the car and cost our Editor a packet. Our next experience was quad biking. This time T and I had another gorgeous instructor, Bob, who in no time got us kitted out in crash helmets and gave us the safety spiel. The bikes proved simple to drive, though hard on the thumb (the accelerator), and able to tackle just about any obstacle. I got a bit heady on the speed as we accelerated along through an open field, dodging the odd deer, before dipping down into the cool forest where we put the bikes, and ourselves, through our respective paces. Mini quads are available for children. For the first time in my life I understood the attraction of motorbikes, although

r the Cece Mills heads fo e Highlands for som wilderness fun

Off Road Heaven

First task was testing out my skills driving a top of the range Land Rover Discovery, (LR4 in the US). A mere �48,000 worth of computerised comfort! But this wasn't just driving along the roads of Perthshire, this was serious. Off road, up and down cliffs, discovering what the Land Rover can

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at heart I still prefer the peace and quiet of walking on my own two legs. Highland Offroad (www.highlandoffroad.com) also offer guided off road wildlife tours through Perthshire's dramatic scenery to spot red squirrels, deer and birds of prey.

Huntin', shootin', fishin'... and skiing Grouse shooting is something everyone should experience once, if only for the sight of a Scottish moor in full bloom � purple heather as far as the eye can see. I went last August with my three spaniels on a very rough, walked up grouse day just north of Blairgowrie. The moor is leased by a small syndicate of men whose passion in life is to spend five days traipsing through thigh high heather, heads circled by swarms of flies, dodging unexpected potholes filled with peaty water, carrying a heavy gun, just for the chance of shooting at the fast-flying and canny grouse. I appreciated that the birds so often got away, and I loved the challenge of the (knackering) walk. It goes without saying that the dogs had a ball. My job was to get my dogs to sniff out the grouse, who hide low in the thick heather, and to get them to fly, preferably in the direction of the guns. Several times we found ourselves nearly standing on them. My reward for a punishing day was one solitary bird. Delicious, all two mouthfuls of it! Ann Medlock is the person to contact if you want anything like this arranged. Based just north of Perth, Ann's speciality is fulfilling your dream, organising whatever you fancy � from fishing to hobnobbing with Lairds. Her company, Fish Out of Water, facilitates access to unknown places and people, organises hunting, shooting and fishing, wildlife tours, beach holidays and private historic house visits.

Whatever you want to do, Ann can tailor make it for you, from transport and accommodation right through to your adventures and surprises. www. fishoutofwater.net. The bleak and barren hills of Glenshee are home to both winter and summer activities. As a rather unbendy over-50 year old I have decided that skiing is no longer for me. Last winter the ski slopes of Glenshee saw uninterrupted, gorgeous snow from November to April, with Alpine-like blue skies, and lots of skiers, the best conditions Glenshee has had for about 40 years. With 20 lifts and 36 runs for both skis and snowboards, this is a small compact, but very friendly resort and you get to see white hares, deer and any number of birds of prey thrown in free (www.ski-glenshee. co.uk). Once the snow has melted the mountains are there to be scaled on foot and you can start your `Munro bagging' by climbing to the summit of Beinn a Gloe. Or take to the mountain bikes. Use the main chairlift to get the bikes up high, and then enjoy a terrifying descent using the well marked ski runs. If this is a little daunting, the `almost' Munro of Ben y Vrackie, outside Pitlochry, is a gentler climb with spectacular views and the perfect pub at the bottom. The Moulin Inn has it's own mini brewery and the beer is pretty lethal.

series of rapids which have proved just perfect for all manner of scary water sports. I am too chicken to try these � I have a bit of a fear of being under water � but I know someone who has. Kayaking down a gentle stretch of calm water would be bliss, or you can frenetically paddle the white water at Grandtully. Ultimate Limits, based in Aberfeldy, run an enormous selection of terrifying sounding activities � canyoning, wake boarding, kayaking, white water rafting, abseiling, climbing and cliff jumping. Ultimate Limits claim anyone from 12 to 90 can do these, but I would opt to take my 90 year old granny for a gentle canoe on the calm waters of Loch Tay rather than kit her up in a wet suit and send her leaping from high rocks into deep, dark river pools. At any rate, contact Alex on www.ultimate-limits.co.uk and find out which water-based madness is for you. As well as all this, Perthshire has its fair share of golf courses which, I think, warrants a whole separate article... H

Wet and wild

Aberfeldy may be best known these days for J K Rowling. The Harry Potter author owns a beautiful house nearby, a well chosen spot. Strath Tay is a stretch of beautiful hills towering either side of the river Tay, with Aberfeldy at its centre. The majestic Loch Tay disgorges its waters down the Strath towards Perth, crossing a

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Feeding Camels How do you tell your young children that you're being sent to Afghanistan? USAF Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace tells how he did it. hen my 3-year-old asked me why I was going to the desert in 2004, my reply was simple. I said, "Daddy has to go feed the camels," and that was enough to sustain his curiosity. My 7 and 8-year-olds didn't buy it. Despite their doubt and his bewilderment, I went forth and tried my best to help by supporting ground and air operations in Iraq in an expeditionary maintenance squadron. This was my first deployment and, though it seemed difficult at the time, it was the easiest mission perhaps I'll ever endure. After a mere 100 days in the theater, I returned to my assignment in Okinawa, Japan, as a changed man. While others went about their daily grinds, I went off to a foreign

W

land to serve something greater than myself. A few years and a forced retrain went by, and I found myself working at Dover Air Force Base, Del., in the public affairs office. Back then, the 436th Airlift Wing was responsible for port mortuary operations, and I got more than an ample opportunity to be part of the well-oiled machine that returned America's heroes with dignity, honor and respect. Some days at Dover were harder than others. Still, our mission was an important one, and I was just glad I got to come home to my family every night. My 3-year-old was then a 6-yearold and had no idea what Daddy did at work. He'd practically forgotten that I'd ever left a few years prior.

Then another set of orders came. Daddy was off to Afghanistan to serve an in-lieu-of tasking with the famed 101st Airborne Division's Screaming Eagles. When I explained that, once again, I had to go feed the camels, his reply was much different. "Why do you have to go feed the camels, daddy," he asked, "why can't other people feed them?" I explained that many fine soldiers from Fort Campbell, Ky., were already in Afghanistan, but they were getting tired. That's why they asked the Air Force for some help and Daddy had to go help them, so some of them could go back to their kids. He stared me straight in the eye with a piercing gaze of disbelief. I could see that he questioned why

A medical outreach program allows an Afghan man to see the area around him for the first time in many years. USAF/SNR. AIRMAN JAMES BOLINGER

A farmer stoops in a field outside his Eastern Afghanistan village. USAF/TECH. SGT. KEVIN WALLACE

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these camels were more important to me than he was. My heart skipped a beat but I stuck to my story. What he imagined was not the case at all, and I knew with time he'd understand. So off I went to serve 214 days with the Combined Joint Task Force101 in the Eastern Provinces of Afghanistan and got well acquainted to a lifestyle and mission only a few Airmen ever experience. In fact, other than Airmen from the tactical air control party, pararescue, combat control, special operations weather, psychological operations, and PAO, you'll rarely ever find an Airman embedded with an infantry unit well outside the perimeter of a base. In that mountainous terrain, I experienced emotions and saw things that will resonate with me for the rest of my life. How do you explain that to a 6-year-old? It's easy - you don't. You simply say you are off to feed the camels. But in reality I knew I was going to face a brutal enemy on his terms and in his terrain. By providing food, shelter, and education to generations of Afghans, we hoped to remove hunger and oppression - to feed the future of a country in need. For 234 years, America's security has rested on the shoulders of those who were willing to answer the call when and where it came. For that same amount of time, I imagine parents have always tried to find ways to explain this to their children. For me ... well, I simply say I'm off to feed the camels. I continued to serve at Dover there until I got orders to RAF Mildenhall, England. We've been here about seven months and have enjoyed the country so far. But, being in highly-deploy-

A small girl navigates across a mine field in Parwan Province, Afghanistan. USAF/TECH. SGT. KEVIN WALLACE

able career field, I knew I would get the call again eventually. Last week a message came saying it's my time to go to again. Now my 3-year-old is nearly 9, and my 7- and 8-year olds are 12 and 13. How do I muster a proper explanation to them? Should I simply say that daddy must, once again, go feed the camels? They won't buy it. Still, this past weekend I told them that very thing - and no, they didn't buy it. None-the-less, I'm compelled to go forward and do whatever I can to help. Naysayers will tell you that we've been in this war for nine years. Those same naysayers may tell you that we can never win this war. I disagree. I wonder if they've ever gazed into the eyes of a child who was just used as a human shield, or mustered the strength not to look into a roomful of abused women's eyes so they could have the willpower to photograph those women's plight. Perhaps then they'd have my same outlook. Or would they continue to turn their backs? I wonder if those same naysayers

have ever walked a foot patrol and watched a small girl jump from rock to rock, swiftly navigating across her back yard - that field of land mines that she was just playing in - to simply ask for a chocolate bar. If they had, would they finally stop questioning whether or not we should be involved in a war half a world away? Maybe that would be enough for them to personally start chipping in. The bottom line is: These people need us. I don't know if my children will ever understand the choices I live by, or have forced them to live with. I don't know if they'll ever agree with the sacrifices I continue to make in a dream that someday I can help quench that seemingly endless thirst for water and hunger for food in Afghanistan. I guess in the foreseeable future, I'll never know. What I do know is there are people waiting for me. So, this autumn I'll answer their call. We are making sacrifices today for a better tomorrow. We must continue to believe that. After all, if we don't help now, it'll be our kids telling their children they're off to feed the camels in the future. H

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Hassle-Free Car Rental ens of millions of car rental transactions take place across Europe each year without a hitch, but very occasionally problems do occur," says BVRLA chief executive, John Lewis. "Although car hire is cheap, vehicles are expensive assets so customers need to think carefully about how they handle the rental process and what level of risk they are happy to take. This is why the industry gives basic rental prices and then offers further products to help customers cover themselves against possible damage to the vehicle." The BVRLA can help to resolve customer disputes with rental companies, but it can only deal with UK-based transactions. "If you do have any queries or issues at the end of your rental, try and approach a member of staff there and then - don't wait to register a complaint when you get home," adds Mr. Lewis. Here are the BVRLA`s top tips for trouble-free car rental: Before you book � Book direct with a rental operator, well in advance of your journey. Pay close attention to what is and isn't included in the reservation fee. Some rental

"T

This month spells the busiest time for car rental companies in the UK and across Europe. To help visitors to the UK, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has issued some advice to help ensure that you get the right car for your needs and don't end up disappointed. companies charge extra if you can't return the vehicle to the same rental branch, are leaving the country or are under or over a certain age. Read the paperwork � Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of your contract with the rental company. Ask for a copy prior to your rental, so that you have plenty of time to understand it. Are you covered? � Think carefully about the potential level of excess payment you are liable for when choosing what loss/damage waiver to take and check if there are any exclusions. For example, in most cases windscreens, tyres, roof damage and undercarriage damage are not covered. Fuel � Your car rental quote will not include fuel. Most companies will give you the option of buying a tank of fuel from them and returning the car empty or returning it with a full tank. Remember what you agreed to, otherwise you could end up gifting the rental company a free tank of fuel or paying an extra charge to have the tank re-filled. Going abroad? � make sure that you tell the rental company if you are planning to take the vehicle abroad and that you familiarise yourself with the driving regulations at your destination. If you are travelling from the UK you will also need to take additional documentation, such as a VE103.

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The collection � Do a thorough inspection, inside and out, walking all the way around the vehicle. Note every single chip, dent and scratch and pay particular attention to the wheels, windscreen and lights, which are common damage areas. Before you drive the hire vehicle away, familiarise yourself with all of its controls and don't let the rental company fob you off with a "You will be OK" attitude. The return � Allow plenty of time, particularly at busy rental sites such as airports. Try and return the vehicle during the rental site's operating hours so that someone can check it over with you. If you drop off a car out of office hours, you will be liable for any damage that occurs between you returning it and them inspecting it. If you do this, take pictures that can prove the condition you left the car in. Additional charges � Rental companies should outline the full cost of your rental when you make your booking. If you do receive any additional charge upon your return, make sure it comes with an explanation and some supporting documentation. Road traffic offences � If you commit a road traffic offence or fail to pay toll or congestion charges, the rental company will chase you for payment. You will also be liable for an administrative fee on top of the cost of the fine. How to complain? � If you have an unresolved dispute about a UK transaction that involves a renter that belongs to the BVRLA, refer it to the association's conciliation service. www.bvrla.co.uk H

10 July � 26 September

Special Cream Tea Package with exhibition ticket for just �12.95* Information and bookings 020 7300 8027 or email groupbookings@royalacademy.org.uk *T&Cs apply. Terms and conditions: Offer valid for a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 6 people per booking. Not in conjunction with other offers either at the RA restaurant or Sargent and the Sea exhibition. No cash alternative. Subject to availability. Advanced bookings necessary. Cream teas available from 3 � 5pm, Monday to Sunday (4.30pm on Fridays). John Singer Sargent, Atlantic Storm (detail), 1876. Oil on canvas, 58.5 x 81.5 cm. Curtis Galleries, Minneapolis. Exhibition organised by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. in cooperation with the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art, Christie's, The Mr & Mrs. Raymond J Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc, the National Endowment for the Arts, as part of `American Masterpieces:Three Centuries of Artistic Genius', and The Joseph F McCrindle Foundation.


The American

The World Cup through the Eyes of a Tri-Continental Family By Dr. Carolyn Norris-Atkins Don't feel too bad, American and English readers. Chilean fans were disappointed too � after this photo was taken! PHOTO: AG�NCIA BRASIL

O

ne of the most fascinating things about the World Cup is watching so many different countries come together to compete. But what happens when the diversity is not just on the field, but within one's family, as well? My immediate family represents three continents: North America, South America, and Europe. I am an American ex-pat living in England, my husband is British, and my sister recently married a Chilean. Early on in the tournament, I found my loyalties tested. Should I be faithful to Uncle Sam or honor my new home and cheer for Rooney, Crouch, and Gerard? Driving through my village, I couldn't help but find all the England flags draped out of windows, adorning shop-fronts, and decorating passing cars exciting. It was easy to get swept up in England fever, and I added some team paraphernalia to my trolley at Tesco. Later, those England napkins would mock me as I walked by my kitchen table,

making me feel a traitor to the country of my birth. The true test of my loyalty came during the England-USA match. I could hear my neighbors hooting and hollering for England, and I decided that I would root for America � quietly. I felt fairly sure the neighbors would understand if they heard me shouting for the USA, but I wasn't confident enough to test out that theory. Mid-summer, my husband and I travelled to Massachusetts for my sister's wedding. That's when the World Cup became even more fascinating. Vuvuzela in hand, Americans, Chileans, and the lone Brit gathered in front of the television, emotions running high and team banners draped over the sofa. As we cheered, booed, and tried to convince others that our respective teams were the best, we learned that how our countries celebrate the World Cup is vastly different. For the Chileans, the World Cup carries the importance of a national

holiday. During critical matches, my brother-in-law's employer allowed him to come in late so he wouldn't miss any of the action, and big-screen TVs popped up all over Santiago. The World Cup is serious business in England, with pubs full of football fans hoping that 2010 would be their year. I have yet to hear, though, of Brits being encouraged to take time off of work to watch matches. And America? I think it is fair to say that many Americans were not even aware of the World Cup. In Massachusetts, we saw not one flag, banner, or slogan to support Team USA. In the end, all three of our teams got as far as the Final 16 and then lost their respective games. Collectively, my family felt a gap that couldn't be filled easily with a new team. And so we wait another four years, hoping that 2014 will be the year...for the USA, England, or Chile, depending on who you ask. H

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The American

Arts Choice By Estelle Lovatt and Michael Burland Howard Hodgkin: Time and Place Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford OX1 1BP to September 5 This new exhibition spans ten years of the artist's career. Howard Hodgkin is one of the best known and most influential living British abstract artists. Time and Place includes works not previously seen by the public, including a powerful body of new work which has come

Home, Home on the Range, 2001-2007 � HOWARD HODGKIN. COURTESY OF GAGOSIAN GALLERY / PHOTO PRUDENCE CUMING ASSOCIATES LTD.

out of his Home, Home on the Range series of 2008. On August 26, at 7pm, Howard Hodgkin will be `In Conversation With...' TV art critic and historian Andrew GrahamDixon (�5/�4, free to Friends, booking essential on 01865 813800), discussing developments in Hodgkin's recent work and looking back at various aspects of his career. MAO also has a new attraction for the summer. In its new art and social space, The Yard, there will be free acoustic music events by Oxford based musicians.

Sargent and the Sea

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J OBD to September 26 John Singer Sargent, the American artist who spent a great deal of his career in the UK, is best known as a portraitist, but he also had a lesser known passion for the sea. He produced a range of maritime based works in the early years of his career, over 80 paintings, drawings and watercolours produced during

La Colline des Mus�es Paris, France to January 2011 Paris is just a short hop across (or underneath) the English Channel and can easily be visited for a weekend or even a day trip. Four Parisian cultural institutions clustered around the "hill" of Chaillot have joined together in a program of events focusing on young artists and creators through summer 2010. The Cit� de l'architecture et du Patrimoine, the Mus�e

d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Mus�e du Quai Branly and the Palais de Tokyo have arranged a special admission fee to give the public the unique opportunity to discover all four entities. The project started June 11 with the opening of Dynasty; over 40 young artists will create different installations in Palais de Tokyo and the Mus�e d'Art moderne. The Cit� de l'architecture & du Patrimoine has the Albums des jeunes architectes et des paysagistes, the work of young architects. The Mus�e du Quai

Branly started with Other Masters of India, a look at contemporary creation in modern India and will have a variety of free cultural activities dedicated to the art of story telling and crime novels from across the world, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The Colline des Mus�es Pass will give preferential rates during the course of the year: reduced rates at the next two places visited, and a free ticket at the last one, whatever order they are visited in, and it's valid for five consecutive days. For tickets and a complete program, got to www.lacollinedesmusees.com berranger&vincent* architectes, Fa�ade sud ouest nuit � STEPHANE CHALMEAU, PHOTOGRAPHE

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The American

Camille Silvy, Photographer of Modern Life, 1834-1910 National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE to 24 October 2010

John Singer Sargent, En Route pour la P�che (Setting Out to Fish), 1878, oil on canvas, 78.8 x 122.8 cm.

Ghost Forest

his travels to the Normandy and Brittany coasts, the Italian island of Capri, Morocco and several Mediterranean ports. These form the subject of this exhibition, which is organised by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. in cooperation with the Royal Academy. It includes En Route pour la P�che (Setting Out to Fish) � pictured - a major painting of fisher folk in the Breton fishing port of Cancale, which was displayed at the Paris Salon in 1878.

Oxford University's Museum of Natural History to July 2011 A Ghost Forest appeared July 8th on the lawn of Oxford University's Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum. To the sound of African drums, a series of rainforest tree stumps from the commercially logged Suhuma tropical rainforest in Ghana, Western Africa, was installed. It's a symbol of threatened forests around the world, and is the brainchild of artist Angela Palmer

Camille Silvy was a pioneer of early photography and one of the greatest French photographers of the nineteenth century. This exhibition includes many remarkable images which have not been exhibited since the 1860s. Over 100 images, including a large number of visiting cards, focus on a ten-year creative burst from 1857-67 working in Algiers, rural France, Paris and London, and illustrate how Silvy pioneered many now familiar branches of the medium including theatre, fashion and street photography. Working under the patronage of Queen Victoria, Silvy photographed royalty, aristocrats and celebrities. He also portrayed uncelebrated people, the professional classes and country gentry, their wives, children and servants.

Camille Silvy, James Pinson Labulo Davies and Sarah Forbes Bonetta (Sarah Davies), 1862, 108 x 129mm, Private Collection, Paris Above and on next page: Angela Palmer, Ghost Forest � NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON

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The American

Great British Composers: From Elgar To Ad�s

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE to December 12 We're not sponsored by the National Portrait Gallery, honest, but here's another great show from a gem of a gallery, right behind the better known National Gallery which is in Trafalgar Square. This photographic display will be of interest to anyone interested in classical music. The display comprises 31 photographs of twentieth-century British composers. Beginning with Edward Elgar, whose music has links with nineteenthcentury romanticism, the selection of portraits traces a trajectory linking Delius, Vaughan Williams and Walton to more recent developments represented by the music of Birtwistle and Ad�s. Many of the century's great portrait photographers are represented including Elliott and Fry, Bassano, Jorge Lewinski, Howard Coster, Lord Snowdon, Godfrey

Sir Edward Elgar, Bt., by Edgar Thomas Holding � NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON

who began her mission to bring `the rainforest to Europe' after learning that a tropical forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every four seconds. Over the last 50 years Ghana has lost 90 per cent of its primary rainforests. The installation has been designed by Arup, the company behind London's `Gherkin', the `Bird's Nest' Olympic Stadium in Beijing and the Wanzhuang eco city in China'. Ghost Forest will stay in Oxford for one year, during which it will become an open-air performance hub for music, dance, theatre and story-telling, as well as a `field laboratory' for academic research by Oxford professors and students in several departments. On July 10, The Mad Hatter's Tea Party was re-enacted around the trees during Oxford's Alice in Wonderland Day.

Argent and Angus McBean. Three giants of British music, Benjamin Britten, William Walton and Michael Tippett, are portrayed in classic studies by Cecil Beaton. Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies are captured by iconic 1960s photographer Lewis Morley.

Animal Kingdom: Paintings by Li Fuyuan

Museum of East Asian Art, 12 Bennett Street, Bath BA1 2QJ � to August 29 China has one of the greatest diversities of wildlife in the world, and many animals have been used as auspicious symbols in Chinese art representing luck, prosperity, wealth and long life, so it not surprising that animals have been significant in Chinese art and culture throughout its long history. This tradition is continued today by Li Fuyuan. Mr Li fuses classic Chinese painting techniques with modern abstract shapes to form powerful, dramatic images.

Li Fuyuan, Tiger, 2008, ink & colour on paper 46 x 46 cm

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The American

Arts News Sothebys Sells Turner, Launches Online Resource In Sotheby's Evening Sale of Old Master & British Paintings in London, July 7, it sold one of J.M.W. Turner's greatest masterpieces, Modern Rome � Campo Vaccino', for an exceptional price of �29,721,150 / $44,935,558, a new auction record for the British master. The purchaser was The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, USA. The previous auction record for a Turner was �20.5 million / $35.9 million, for Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio, a view of Venice, in April 2006. David Moore-Gwyn, Deputy Chairman, UK and Senior Specialist in British Paintings at Sotheby's, said, "Turner's Modern Rome � Campo Vaccino has achieved a tremendous and much-deserved result this evening. This breathtaking image shows the artist at his absolute best and, for collectors, it ticked all the boxes � quality, superb condition, provenance and freshness-to-themarket. Over the last few months it has been wonderful to observe the response that the painting has received from collectors who come from all over the world." Painted in 1839, the breathtaking view of Rome shows Turner at the height of his technical powers and it is arguably his finest depiction of an Italian city. His final painting of Rome, the monumental work brings together all of the studies that he made during his two visits to the Italian capital.

J.M.W Turner's Modern Rome � Campo Vaccino

The painting had only been sold on the open market once in the 171 years since it was painted. It was offered for sale by a descendant of the 5th Earl of Rosebery who had bought the painting in 1878, while on honeymoon with his wife Hannah Rothschild. It had been in the family ever since.

and auction results from a vast array of international sources. Sotheby's clients can get a 50% discount on a yearly Premium Membership. For only $174 they will receive access to the world's largest online archive of art-related articles from over 250 quality publications and to a comprehensive auction results database. H

New Web Search Facility

Sotheby's has also launched Mutualart.com, a website for Sotheby's clients. With information from over 1,800 museums, galleries and auction houses worldwide, MutualArt.com claims to be the most comprehensive and extensive website for art enthusiasts, collectors and professionals. It uses powerful search technology, which enables art lovers to find selected artists, galleries and museums and receive updates and notifications on news art events, auction

The Mutual Art website

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The American

THE CINNAMON CLUB return visit to the Victorian gothic lavishness of the Old Westminster Library, which makes a magnificent setting for Chef Vivek Singh's modern Indian cooking. Singh, who arrived in London via Mumbai and Calcutta, fuses European ingredients and classical Indian flavours with a daring imagination most chefs would fear to try. But, as he points out in Curry, his latest cookbook, ever since the 15th century when Mughal rulers invaded the vast continent, Indian cuisine has blended in with others. Our starter of Norwegian king crab and tamarind salad, cured organic salmon as well as the stir fry of red sea shrimp with garlic and spinach was a fusion of continents and extremely tasty. It doesn't seem more of a stretch for Singh to offer zucchini flower with vegetables and chilli sorbet than tandoori breast of Anjou squab pigeon with fruit `chaat' as delicate as I've tasted. My friend, who visits India on business, ordered as well the Bengali style vegetable cake with mustard and tomato sauce which he assured me was every bit as good as he had in Delhi a few months before.

A

Dining reviews by Virginia E. Schultz and Sabrina Sully The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU Tel: 020 7222 2555 of the wines were available. Wines are very difficult to match with spicy foods, but The Cinnamon Club has worked with two top French winemakers to produce two wines that would go well with the cuisine. On the advice of the sommelier, we had Michael Chapoutier's 2003 "Cinnamon Cuvee" that we both agreed married well with our food. The Cinnamon Club can be expensive, especially if you aren't careful when you order wine. It has a modern bar downstairs, a private dining room and just off the main dining room an enclosed terrace, with a view of the Gherkin Tower, that would be perfect for breakfast and lunch. A short stroll from some of London's famous landmarks including London Eye, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, it is the perfect place to start or finish a day of sightseeing. � VS

For the main course, my friend had goat curry (�21.00). Goat was popular in the Caribbean where I once lived, but having had two goats supply me with milk until I was six, it's not a meat I eat easily. However, after swallowing hard, I took a taste of my friend's and it was, I admit, delicious. I ordered the slow braised Herdwick lamb shoulder with a spiced sauce and it was even better than our waiter described. The last time I was here I had been disappointed with the roast saddle of "Oisin" deer, but everything we tasted this evening was delicious. Our side dishes, especially the aubergine crush with coconut and curry leaves, were excellent. The assortment of desserts that arrived on a large square platter was even better than last time. Using various spices such as cardamom and tamarind to add flavours that tingle and sweeten the tongue made me realize how unimaginative we westerners are with our desserts. Service was excellent. There was to be a Bonny Doon dinner and tasting in a few days, but, unfortunately, none

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SOHO HOUSE LONDON ue and Rodney Gillette, Jennifer Atterbury and I were at Soho House having drinks before going on to see the 1000th performance of Jersey Boys with friends. If you haven't seen this musical story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons at the Prince Edward Theatre, do so in the near future. Ryan Molloy, Olivier-nominated for his performance as Frankie Valli, may have stolen the show, but the other performers keep right up with him and the cast deserved their standing ovation. Apart from a few flaws with the New Jersey accent, it was one of the most enjoyable musical evenings we had in a long time. Afterwards, on a high, we returned to the Soho House for dinner on the roof terrace. As it is a private club, I was fortunate to have been given an invitation. It was a lovely warm evening and the perfect place to relax and discuss Jersey Boys. Soho House, founded twelve years ago for film and media people, has a growing reputation as one of the most popular private clubs in London. Rodney, a theatre and film devotee whose daughter is a well known character actor, recognized a number of young actors at a nearby table.

S

Stefan Venter, the young South African manager, greeted us with the kind of warmth that's made visitors feel welcome at the World Cup. Having recently reviewed two South African restaurants, the handsome young manager and I immediately hit it off. In the nicest way, he's far younger than I am and I'm no Joan Collins. We started with Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Brut NV (�6.00 a glass, �29.75 a bottle), a refreshing sparkling wine I enjoyed a few weeks ago on holiday in Verona. With this we had small plates of fishcakes, hummus & flat bread, and squid with lemon mayonnaise - delicious (�5.00 pounds each or 3 for �14). I debated between macaroni and cheese (�9.00) or fish and chips with mushy peas (�13.50), but Stefan mentioned they had two servings of Sunday roast (�16.00 each) left. Jennifer and I couldn't resist. Good as it was, I admit it would have been far better to have the grilled Seabass Rodney and Sue ordered because I ended up taking home a doggie bag. Ah, well, it will make a lovely lunch on Monday. No one makes better desserts than the English and it didn't take much

persuasion for Jennifer to persuade me to join her in an Eton Mess (�6.00). Rodney opted out on dessert, but Sue decided the Pear Tart Tatin (�6.00) sounded too good to resist. I told myself I'd have only one spoonful of Eton Mess, but that vow slipped by after one taste. Rodney was as guilty as I was and it wasn't long before he was stealing a taste from Sue's plate. Rodney selected Kanu 2008, a South African Chenin Blanc (�6.00/8.50/23.75) which went perfectly with the seabass. Stefan suggested the Sangiovese 2008, Elki Valley, Chile (�5.00/7.00/20.00) for our beef. It was every bit as good as he told us. I might add, if you plan to bring your car, there is 50 per cent off theatreland car parking for up to 72 hours. Simply have the car park ticket validated at the theatre and the discount will automatically be applied when you pay at the car park. � VS

21 Old Compton Street, London W1D 5JJ Tel: 0207 734 5188 www.sohohouse.london

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The American

I

've always enjoyed this rambling restaurant with its unpolished wooden beams and air ducts circling the ceiling that dips and turns until you descend into the bar and dining room in the cellar. It has one of the best South African wine cellars in London and the familiar as well as the unusual can be found tucked away in the wine room or even in a box above the bar. My friend Nelly Pateras, who organizes a wine luncheon and dinner group for some of the most knowledgeable gourmets in London, had been taken there by a friend and found it disappointing which is why I returned with her that evening. I might add, the wine menu has as well some excellent wines from other parts of the world including California, although with one of the top selections of South African wines in the UK in their cellar I can't see a reason for choosing wine from another country. One of the reasons we were dining at Vivat Bacchus that evening was because there is a new chef wearing that huge white cap in the kitchen. Chef Jordi Villa (pictured below), who trained for several months at El Bulli, has been wowing diners with his tasting menus paired with wines from their

Vivat Bacchus extensive cellar and I had been invited to dine there with a guest. I've always enjoyed Vivat Bacchus, but as great as the publicity might have been, a �1000 menu which included caviar, lobster and Wagyu cattle steak or rattlesnake on the menu may draw customers in once or twice, but in the end diners want less games and gimmicks. From what I heard, this is what Villa has been offering. Our first course was Scallops with Gratinated Asparagus and a Parmesan Consomm�. With this we had Chardonnay 2008, Lourensfod (Stellenbosoch, SA), a classic-style chardonnay that was perfect, although perhaps slightly colder than I would have preferred. Still, perhaps with asparagus which is almost impossible to pair with wine it was necessary. To refresh the taste, a cactus sorbet was served. Delicious! It erased that slightly grassy taste of asparagus still lingering on my tongue. Next came a succulent seared springbok with corn fritters in a chocolate sauce which would bring me back to the restaurant if nothing else did. And the Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Vergelegen (Stellenbosch SA) served with it was a marriage made in heaven. The walk in cheese rooms have

over fifty different kinds of cheeses which for me is the perfect way to finish a meal, although not for Nelly who can't abide cheese. Yes, and she's French. Instead, she was served a lovely selection of charcuterie that she ate with great pleasure. I might add she had casually mentioned she didn't eat cheese and the change was made without her having to request anything else. All were lovely, although perhaps one or two of the cheeses should have been taken from the wine room earlier. The Shiraz 2006, Kaapzicht (Stellenbosh, SA), however, was another marriage in heaven... wonderful! All's well that ends well and the dessert of lychee cr�me brul�e was delightful and Nelly and I sipped the Weisser Riesling N LH 2008, Paul Cluber (Elgin), SA with pleasure. Nelly and I agreed the wines offered with our different courses mirrored the flavours in our various dishes to perfection. Oh, yes, one last note. Nelly hopes to bring her wine and dine group to the restaurant in the future. � VS

47 Farrington Street, Farringdon, London EC4A 4LL 020 7353 2648

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The American

Bistro K I took Michael Burland, The American's editor, with me to Bistro K in South Kensington, part of my old stomping ground. Previously L'Ambassade de L'Ile, a fine-dining French restaurant, it is now a stylish casual modern place, with a light, airy feel. The French owner, a businessman who also owns the Olympique Lyonnais soccer team, has given a free hand to Sevim Cesim, the delightful French Director (who has worked with Michelin starred chefs like Pierre Gagnaire and Nicolas Le Bec) and with the latest French art on the walls, and beautiful, cosy miniature fireplaces at the edges of the room she's made it a more relaxed experience. There's a chic bar for cocktails and tapas, dining for up to 90 in the main restaurant, and a pavement terrace � wonderful on the hot summer's evening we were there, reminding me of Paris. Downstairs there's a stunning modern private dining room (for 12), with two glass walls in front of a wine cellar of over 500 bottles of fine wines. A chef's table in another nook, seating four, overlooks a large well appointed kitchen through a glazed panel. Adding to the friendly local feel, they serve coffee and pastries (or champagne for a hair of the dog!) in

PHOTO: SABRINA SULLY

the morning, a good place to meet friends after the school run or work. At the next table, on a weekday evening, we saw three French `City guys' who were obviously convivial regulars. Armand Sablon, the young English chef of French origin, trained in France. In London he's worked at Orrery and as sous-chef at Galvin at Windows. The food is modern French, and Armand is passionate about using seasonal quality British produce so the menu changes according to availability, but a few staunch favourites are always in place: Scottish Beef Fillet with French Fries and B�arnaise (�25), and Apple Tatin, Calvados Cr�me Fr�iche (�6.50), for instance. I started with Scottish Scallops, Cauliflower Pur�e, and Pancetta (�13.50), Michael the Cornish Crab, Green Asparagus and Avocado Salad (�12.50). The crab was juicy, the asparagus giving a lovely `green' flavour, and the whole ensemble was light. The scallops were fresh, perfectly cooked, melt-in-the-mouth and as sweet as they should be, with a gorgeous jus. We drank a glass of Te Kwauwata New Zealand 2007 Ros� wine (�5) which was perfect, with a complex start then cherries and redcurrants, reminding me

of the best ros�s from Provence, further making me think we were in France for the night. For main courses Michael chose the Roast Duck Breast, Caramelised Endive, with a Sherry Jus (�19.50), and I the Wild Sea Bass, Green Asparagus, with a Sauce Vierge (�21.00). The duck was succulent, cooked to chew rather than blue-rare, and the Jus went with it perfectly. The sea bass' skin was crisply seared, the flesh plump, and complemented by the bed of crushed new potatoes in butter and chive, with a delicious Sauce Vierge, the basil and tomatoes working well with the fish. We drank a glass of a House Red, Les Fiefs de la Vieille Julienne, 2004 (�5 a glass) from the Principalie d'Orange, to continue my reminiscence of holidays in the South of France. This was a big red wine that worked surprisingly well with both the fish and the duck (and even the puddings). For dessert we had the Apple Tatin, Calvados Cr�me Fr�iche (�6.50), and Ginger Cr�me Brul�e (I've never knowingly ignored a cr�me brul�e!). The Tatin was delicious, beautifully complemented by the calvados cr�me fr�iche, and the ginger cr�me brul�e was a flavour revelation I'm going to try next time I make it. Set lunch is a very reasonable �15.10 for two courses or �20.20 for three and a set dinner is an equally superb �25.10 for three courses. Throughout, the service was excellent, the French waiters and waitresses were welcoming, attentive, helpful, efficient and pleasant. If I was still living in Kensington, this would be a regular haunt. � SS

117-119 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London SW7 3RN Tel: 020 7373 7774 www.bistro-k.co.uk 33


The American

Cellar Talk By Virginia E. Schultz

ROS� WINES

Tavel � the ideal ros� wine for a warm summer day

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nce upon a time ros� may have been no more than a by-product of their red wine production, but today the majority of top wine makers purposely make ros� wine using either the saignee method when the excess juice is bled off (from saigner "to bleed") or steeped (macerated) for a short period before fermentation begins. The longer time the juice is in contact with the skins, the richer the colour of the red. With the exception of champagne, mixing red and white wines to get the colour desired is outlawed. The first time many Americans tasted a ros� was either the sweet version of a California white zinfandel or the spritzy Portuguese ros� that we quaffed with our summer picnics in the back garden or on the beach. Although even at the height of its popularity I never enjoyed that California white zinfandel on its own, neither do I knock it, because without our consuming it by millions of gallons, the dark zinfandel I enjoy today would probably be something only a few of us vaguely recall. For me, a dry ros� is the perfect wine for entertaining during the summer whether it's on my balcony watching the dinner boats sail by or sipping a glass as I did recently with three close friends on a plaza in Verona. The flavours and aromas of strawberry, cherry and melon delight the taste buds and seem to emphasize the soft scents of the flowering plants

and bushes surrounding us. Shellfish and ros� wines are a natural match, but then so is a tropical fruit salad made with pineapple, papaya and mangoes a friend served at the end of a diet of barbecue pork ribs and rib eye steak. Or have a ros� with grilled salmon and a Mediterranean mixture of yellow and orange peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and tangerines tossed with a buttermilk dressing � see the recipe below. Delicious! Ros�s are usually cheaper than reds, except for a few such as Linchine's 2008 Cotes de Provence Garrus made from the juice of old vine Grenache and Rolle grapes and fermented for eight months in 500 liter French oak barrels. It's exceptionally expensive, but (according to a friend) absolutely delicious. On a warm summer day I'll settle for a Chateau Montaud Cotes de Provence 2009 or Les Vignerons de Tavel Ros� Cuvee 2009 which carry a less expensive sales tag. Tavel is a dry ros� made primarily from the Grenache grape, although nine other grape varieties can be used in the blend. Tavel, at the southern end of Rhone Valley, usually has a more intense colour because of longer maceration which can last up to 24 hours. Ros�s are the only wines that have gone up in sales in France which is one reason more French vintners are

taking an interest. Quality and production are also increasing in California and Spain. Spanish ros�s, known as rosado, like many of the best French are made from Garnacha. With very few exceptions, ros� wines are made to be consumed rather than cellared. Most of those I'm drinking this summer are 2009 and if I decide to save any for this year's Thanksgiving turkey it will probably be a Tavel. H

RECIPE OF THE MONTH BUTTERMILK DRESSING FOR THE PERFECT SUMMER SALAD 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed � tsp salt 2/3 cup of buttermilk 2 tbsp sour cream 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tbsp of finely chopped chives 1 shallot finely chopped In a mortar, sprinkle salt over the garlic and mash together to form a paste. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in buttermilk, sour cream and lemon juice. Mix well and then stir in chives and shallot. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt and even lemon if you feel necessary. Can be refrigerated up to one week. I might add, I asked my supermarket if they could obtain buttermilk for me and it was delivered the next day.

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The American

Coffee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 Who was the first Republican President of America? 2 What were the names of the two largest Open Air Concerts in the USA in 1969? 3 How many dancers take part in a quadrille? 4 Kopi Luwak is a type of a) monkey b) coffee c) boat? 5 How many stars are there on the European Union flag? 6 What was the nickname of notorious criminal Albert de Salvo in the 1960's? 7 Loriners and farriers look after what? 8 The name of which popular Chinese snack translated means `a little bit of heart'? 9 Which flag is the only one allowed to be flown above the Stars and Stripes? a) NATO b) Olympic c) United Nations d) Red Cross 10 10 What happened to radio music request shows in the US in WWII? 11 What do the seven rays or spikes on the Statue of Liberty crown apparently stand for? a) 7 Wonders of the World b) 7 Deadly Sins c) 7 Seas?

12 What type of parlours were banned in New York in the `60's? 13 Which weather phenomenon is translated from the Spanish for `little boy'? 14 Ambassador to the Court of Saint James is the official title for Ambassadors to which country? 15 A White House question: which North African seaport's name is Spanish for white house?

Answers below The Johnsons Competition Winners Only The Brave videos were won by Leslie Walford of Sutton, Todd Bachinski of London SW10 and Tim Killam of St. Neots, Cambridgeshire. The winner of tickets to see Penn & Teller in our June competition was Samantha McDonald of Bury St. Edmunds.

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Coffee Break Quiz Answers: 1 Abraham Lincoln; 2 Woodstock and Altamont; 3 Eight; 4 b) Coffee � less bitter, quite expensive coffee; 5 Twelve; 6 The Boston Strangler; 7 Horses; 8 Dim Sum; 9 c) United Nations; 10 They were banned (in case traitors used them to communicate); 11 c) 7 Seas; 12 Tattoo parlours; 13 El Nino; 14 The United Kingdom; 15 Casablanca, Morocco.


The American

It happened one... August August 1, 1941 � The first Jeep is produced. August 2, 1937 � The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is passed in America, essentially rendering marijuana and all its by-products illegal. August 3, 1936 � Jesse Owens wins the 100 meter dash, defeating Ralph Metcalfe, at the Berlin Olympics. Yellow cabs trace their history back to August 1910. PHOTO: AD MESKENS

August 4, 1944 � the Gestapo find Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family's hideout in Amsterdam. August 5, 1882 � The Standard Oil of New Jersey is established. (Exxon's first name). August 6, 1930 � Judge Joseph Force Crater steps into a taxi in New York and disappears. ("The Missingest Man in New York".) August 7, 1789 � The United States War Department is established.

August 14, 1846 � The Cape Girardeau meteorite, a 2.3kg chondrite-type meteorite strikes near the town of Cape Girardeau in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. August 15, 1824 � Freed American slaves found Liberia.

August 22, 1654 � Jacob Barsimson arrives in New Amsterdam. He is the first known Jewish immigrant to America.

August 23, 1904 � The automobile tire chain is patented. August 24, 1891 � Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera.

August 8, 1945 � America joins The United Nations � the third nation to join.

August 9, 1842 � Webster-Ashburton Treaty is signed, establishing the United States-Canada border east of the Rocky Mountains. August 10, 1846 � The Smithsonian Institution is chartered by Congress after James Smithson donates $500,000 for such a purpose.

August 16, 1920 � Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit in the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day. Chapman was the second player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game, the first being Doc Powers in 1909.

August 25, 1910 � Yellow Cab is founded, with the merger of several small taxi firms in New York City.

August 26, 1920 � The 19th amendment to United States Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote. August 27, 1896 � Anglo-Zanzibar War: the shortest war in world history (09:00 to 09:45) between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar. August 28, 1898 � Caleb Bradham renames his carbonated soft drink "Pepsi-Cola".

August 17, 1959 � Quake Lake is formed by the magnitude 7.5 1959 Yellowstone earthquake near Hebgen Lake in Montana.

August 18, 1958 � Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita is published in the United States. August 19, 1919 � Afghanistan gains full independence from the United Kingdom.

August 11, 1755 � Charles Lawrence gives expulsion orders to remove the Acadians from Nova Scotia beginning the Great Upheaval. August 12, 1833 � Chicago is founded. August 13, 1918 � Women enlist in the United States Marine Corps for the first time. Opha Mae Johnson is the first woman to enlist.

August 20, 1938 � Lou Gehrig hits his 23rd career grand slam � a record that still stands.

August 29, 1911 � Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerges from the wilderness of northeastern California. August 30, 1836 � The city of Houston is founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen

August 21, 1968 � James Anderson, Jr. posthumously receives the first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African American U.S. Marine.

August 31, 1897 � Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector. H

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The Faces play Vintage at Goodwood This new music and fashion event (August 13-15) is the brainchild of fashion designers Geraldine and Wayne Hemingway and Goodwood owner Lord March. Headliners are The Faces � sans Rod the Mod, who won't play ball with the other members. The reformed band will feature original members Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan, plus Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols on bass. Vocals are supplied by Simply Red's Mick Hucknall. Sounds like an unlikely lash-up? Not so � The American saw the original trio play three songs with Hucknall (and the Stones' Bill Wyman on bass) last October and it was joyous. Also on the bill are '60s chanteuse Sandie Shaw, Buzzcocks, Aswad, The Noisettes, Martha And The Vandellas, Alvin Stardust, The Rezillos, Heaven 17, Kid Creole And The Coconuts and The Damned. Wayne Hemingway said "In the last two decades of attending a myriad of festivals, I've been consistently underwhelmed by the lack of glamour, by the locations, by the scattergun approach to booking and scheduling and overall by the lack of attention to detail which has sadly not only become the standard but accepted as such." What he's saying is that Vintage is as much about style and fashion as music. As well as the music there will be daily runway shows featuring vintage designers and future trendsetters, a custom-built `High Street', the world's largest vintage market, shops from John Lewis to Oxfam and the launch of Lily Allen's new fashion label Lucy in Disguise.

Bonny `Prince' Billy: heading for church

MUSIC Bonnie `Prince' Billy & The Cairo Gang

LIVE AND KICKING strip action festival at Long Marston Airfield near Stratford Upon Avon on August 13th. They'll be playing alongside � among others � '60s Brit blues rockers The Groundhogs, Killing Machine, Nashville Pussy, ZZ-Top/SRV/Hendrix cover band The Hamsters and a bunch of tribute acts. They may be way down the bill at the moment but they have the most promise of the lot. Look out for their crunching EP Bone Idol.

The Americana superstar is touring to support his new album The Wonder Show of The World (out now on Domino). The album's getting good reviews and the live show should be as intense as ever. The two church venues will be particularly appropriate. Dates are: July 27th Belfast Empire; August 2nd Coventry, St John's Church; 3rd Manchester Cathedral; 4th London, Shepherd's Bush Empire.

Lissie

Bulldog Bash including Gentlemen Of Distorted Sound Heard of the GODS? Maybe not yet, but if there's a market for classic '70s rock played with maximum distortion and mixed with a seasoning of grunge then you will do. Singer Gareth Nugent is Irish, but there's a distinct DNA link to his third cousin, one Ted Nugent, the American rocker who famously only eats meat that he has personally killed. Check them out at the Bulldog Bash, the Hell's Angels-run music, motorcycle show and drag-

Lissie seems to have come from nowhere � in fact she's originally from Rock Island, Illinois and has lately called Ojai, CA., home � but in the last few months she has dazzled the Austin, Texas SXSW festival with an extraordinary ten shows over 4 days, appeared on British TV including the showcase Later with Jools Holland program, and been chosen for Record of the Week on Radio 2 (the biggest radio show in the world, the BBC says). In the UK she's been praised by mass market (The Sun and Daily Mirror tabloids) and upmarket (The Times) media as well as sometimes snobbish specialist titles like Q and Clash. Head gossip

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Perez Hilton loves her. And so does The American! Playing songs from her debut album Catching A Tiger Lissie is playing a bunch of festivals over the summer then returning for her first headline tour here this Fall. After Glastonbury, T In The Park, Latitude and Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, Lissie's remaining festival dates are: July 25th Secret Garden Party, Cambridge; 28th London ICA (Sold Out); 29th Cambridge Folk Festival; 30th Camp Bestival Weekender, Lulworth; August 13th Sundae Weekender, Leicester, De Montfort Hall and Gardens; 21st-22nd V festival, Chelmsford; V festival, Stafford; September 8th Open House Festival, Belfast; 10th Bestival, Isle Of Wight. Her headline dates are: October 26th Glasgow Oran Mor; 27th Manchester Academy 3; 28th Bristol Thekla; 30th Norwich Waterfront; Oct 31st Birmingham Academy 2 and November 1st London Heaven. Will Young

Mariachi El Bronx

LIVE REVIEWS by Rob Hurst and Michael Burland Mariachi El Bronx Camden Barfly, London, June 29th Hardcore LA punks, The Bronx, chose a different direction with their 4th studio album. The name might give you a little hint; Mariachi El Bronx... Yes, it's a collection of faithfully produced Mariachi songs, written and performed by the band better known for moshing than Mexicana. Mariachi El Bronx features all five members of The Bronx's standard line up, plus a number of `Special Guests' when touring. Tonight was the final show of both bands' hectic 18 month tour before they go back into the studio to record two new albums, one each for The Bronx and their Mariachi alter-egos. Taking to the stage in full Mariachi regalia, they sported accurate instrumentation and grins that made the band look like a collection of sliced melons in suits. The only way you'd know they were the same band (whose first show on these shores was in this very venue) is from the neck and knuckle tattoos on display. The band launched into a musically flawless, laughter-filled set. The crowd couldn't get enough of what front man Matt Caughthran referred to as `the raddest party music on the planet'. As far as this reviewer's concerned, the new album, and more importantly, the next tour, can't come soon enough! � RH

Blondie

Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, June 18th You might think that directions to see Blondie would involve "take Broadway, left into Bond Street and right into the Bowery". Not "along the M4, north on the then right onto the A433 � the gig's in the middle of a forest". But CBGB has closed and these days Blondie live in a more rarefied world. It was disconcerting, surrounded by middle aged couples with their picnic hampers. Any misgivings were blown away when Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke (the three remaining original members) and the band hit the outdoor stage. Debs looked fabulous, tightly dressed in a military number. Stein's long term illness has taken its toll, but he still drives the band from the sidelines, an eminence grise, while the younger members take a front seat. Burke is still the showmandrummer with the Tommy gun rolls. Despite the ocasionally jarring metal guitar solo, the show is all about Debbie and the songs. The hits � Hanging on the Telephone, Atomic, The Tide Is High, Rapture, Call Me, One Way or Another, Maria � interspersed seamlessly with material from a new album, Panic of Girls (out soon) which worked well among the classics. The encore featured Picture This, Heartbreaker and � ecstatically � Heart Of Glass. � MB

Will Young first Popstar to perform Sandringham Will Young will be the first nonclassical music star to perform at Her Majesty The Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk later this year. The Pop Idol winner will play the historic concert on August 7th.

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The American

Up On The Ridge with Dierks Bentley Dierks Bentley has rocketed to fame in country music, but was it really an overnight success story? He tells Michael Burland about his journey, and his new album, Up On The Ridge

D

ierks, you had an unusual entry into the music industry � I believe you worked for a TV station, researching footage of country music performances. Did you see that as a way into music? I worked at The Nashville Network for two years, a great, great station, devoted strictly to country music. It was a lot of fun. I was working in the research department, in the video tape library researching old footage. I've always been a student of country music and it was a great opportunity to go back and see what Faron Young looked like in his prime! I could make money while I got an education in the music I loved. Of course I was making music too � that was always the main thing. I got my first guitar when I was thirteen and got pretty obsessed with it. When I was seventeen I knew I wanted to be in Nashville playing country music and I moved down here when I was nineteen. I was from Arizona � the true west! Country music's big out there, always has been. When I got to Nashville people said "how'd ya get into country music if you're from Arizona?" I asked the same question of them � I thought Phoenix was the capital of country music. A lot of people in Britain don't know how big country music is in the States.

and George Jones made had more in common with bluegrass than modern, commercial country music. Early country music and bluegrass both used instruments without amplification � upright bass, banjo, mandolin, guitar, things that did not require power. When I was making this record I wanted to use only instruments that made their own sound. It's the first allacoustic album I've made, apart from a little bit of electric bass. When you look at your r�sum� it almost seems like you were an overnight sensation. Was it really like that? Well, I moved to Nashville when I was nineteen and I didn't get a record deal til I was 28. Those are the years that people don't see, eight or nine years of playing bars, laying the groundwork. My first deal was with Capitol Records Nashville in 2002, first song came out in 2003, and it's been a great ride ever since. When the first (self-titled) album and the next one (Modern Day Drifter, in 2005) both went platinum, did you suddenly start living in a totally different world? Yeah, but mainly having hits gave me the opportunity to play a lot more, with people like George Strait. It was a lot of fun.

It really is the most popular form of music when it comes to radio airplay, and there are so many kinds, it's so broad. I believe you'd only heard a little bluegrass before you came to Nashville. When first I got here I was looking for a foundation to build my music on. What I found was something that looked good on TV but it wasn't very authentic. I came across bluegrass music and fell head over heels for it. It was the coolest thing ever. I spent a couple of years trying to play that, and it led me back to traditional country music. The music that Tammy Wynette

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The American

Do you find it harder to write songs? When you're on the road you're pretty much on the tour bus all the time, so you have to change the way you write. But I love to be on the road,. I love to travel, and I've gotten to go abroad, to Australia and Japan, I've been to Europe a few times now on tours. If this new record does well over there I hope I'll come over again. When you manage to get home between tours, where do you live � are you in the cabin "on the ridge" outside Nashville right now? That was the idea. I thought I'd take some time off, build my cabin, write songs up here, build a little studio and record them. But I've been so busy so that hasn't happened just yet. I'm hoping this Fall I can finally do it. And waiting at home is Cassidy, your wife. You've known each other since you were kids, haven't you? I've known her since we were in 8th grade. We dated a few times. We went our separate ways but we remained friends. She came to see a show I was playing in Las Vegas. After the show she came up the bus and I knew right away we were going to get married. It was crazy. But it was good that we had that time apart. When I went to Nashville I had a lot of things to do. It would have been no time to have a wife or a family. But it's worked out pretty well. She's not from the music world. We have a 20 month old kid, so she's at home. It sounds like On The Ridge was fun to record. Oh yeah. There are some great people on the record � Kris Kristofferson, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson... I wanted to record it with people who I really enjoy their company and I think you can hear that.

"I came across bluegrass music and fell head over heels for it ... it led me back to traditional country music." And it sounds as if you've worked with them to create something genuinely together, rather than them just appearing on your record. It's hard when you're singing a Kris Kristofferson song not to sing it like Kris, they have such distinct phrasing. On Bad Angel, with Jamey Johnson, for some reason my voice sounds more gritty than normal � we were trying to match the voices to the song. It was good working with John Randall Stewart, who produced the record. We recorded it in different studios, with different people, and it was a different way of working than I've done before, but I think it really captures my love of bluegrass � fiddles, mandolin and banjo have always been part of my sound.

It does sound natural for you. Even though it's bluegrass, there's a whole range of songs. Whose idea was it to do bluegrass version of U2's Pride (in the name of love)? It was my idea. I wanted to find something to sing on with Del McCoury. We recorded it with the Punch Brothers, one of the best acoustic bands I've ever heard in my life. They've even replicated The Edge's guitar sound with all the acoustic instruments, it sounds fantastic. It makes you realise what a good singer Bono is too. Del has a high voice, but Bono's is operatic high. The Bob Dylan song, Senor, is great � it has an unusual treatment. It's funny you should say that. I discovered it through Tim O'Brien, one of the great bluegrass players. I think You're Dead To Me is my favourite track on the album. You wrote and recorded that song with Tim O'Brien, but it could have been on the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack. It's my wife's favourite too. It turned out to be a special track. It does sounds old, like it's been around forever. H

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The American

t's summer, it's the Old Vic so it must be the return of Sam Mendes' Bridge Project. This wonderful project brings together a great crop of American and British stage actors in a global touring company nine months of the year. A co-production between Kevin Spacey's Old Vic, Sam Mendes' own company and Brooklyn Academy of Music, each year two classics are paired and a new company sets off on the road. They started in BAM in December and this time they moved on to Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, Madrid, Recklinghausen (Germany), Amsterdam and will finish at the end of August, after the Old Vic run is completed, in the new Centro Niemeyer in Asturias, Spain.

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As You Like It & The Tempest THEATER REVIEWS BY JARLATH O'CONNELL

Sam Mendes' Bridge Project at The Old Vic Theatre, London SE1

Following the pairing of A Winter's Tale and The Cherry Orchard last year, this year Mendes has opted for two plays about banished Dukes � As You Like It and The Tempest. The plays also share the use of music and masque and plots involving sibling rivalry and noble folk exposed to all things rustic. As You Like It has always been a challenging piece. Very much of its time and written in part to showcase contemporary comedic talent (the unutterably tedious clown parts) it is very improvisational in tone, swings between prose and verse and tries to cram so much in, that certain plot points get lost in the mire. Cutting an hour out of it wouldn't leave you worse off and here it runs a bum-numbing 3hrs 15. Both plays use effectively the same set, with a wonderful sand pit added for Prospero's Island. Paul Pyant's gloriously lush lighting designs enhancing Tom Piper's great cyclorama-type set and Catherine Zuber's beautiful costumes are object lessons in how to create designs for Shakespeare. In the lead for both plays is the great Stephen Dillane, who was one of the greatest Hamlets ever and who won a Tony on Broadway for The Real Thing.

Stephen Dillane (above) and Michelle Beck in As You Like It PHOTOS � JOAN MARCUS

In As You Like It he gives us a (perhaps understandably) low powered interpretation of the melancholy clown Jaques. Moving on to The Tempest however he repeats the trick and we end up with the Prozac Prospero. Not for a minute does he convince us that this Prospero could have been a king or could have conjured up tempests. Mendes starts the play with Dillane donning his costume as the playmaker. Sadly, he is the one that we lose interest in very quickly, when he should be commanding the stage. The most startling aspect of Dillane's interpretation is his (or somebody's) decision to mumble his way through the verse and thus throw away such beautiful lines as "our revels now are ended...". While the days of Johnny Gielgud's beautifully spoken iambic pentameter are gone, a balance has to be struck between audibility and realism, otherwise you throw away the poetry. Although fortunate enough to sit in row six of the stalls, I nevertheless

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struggled to hear. Those in the Gods must have been totally bamboozled. For the depressed Jaques this morose interpretation might be forgivable but not for Prospero. This seems just pure self-indulgence and makes one wonder if Mendes or anyone ever took the trouble of actually sitting in the rear of the auditorium. The decision to run Tempest two hours without an interval is, again, audience torture for no valid reason. Thankfully the rest of the cast rescue the piece and Juliet Rylance in particular shines as a giddy and indeed rather kooky Rosalind. She is also a heart breaking Miranda in The Tempest and I suspect we will see a lot more of her after this. Also giving sterling performances were Edward Bennett (the man who took over at the last minute from David Tennant on the first night of Hamlet) as Oliver and Ferdinand and Jonathan Lincoln Fried as Le Beau and Alonso. It was also great to see such US veterans as Alvin Epstein over here. His career, mainly in the not-for-profit theatre, dates back to playing The Fool in Orson Welles' Lear. The wiry Ron Cephas Jones makes for a striking Charles the wrestler and then transforms into a wonderfully slithering Caliban who gets the best entrance of the night. Think `Lancelot du Lac' but with sand. It is somewhat surprising to see an African American actor bearing the burden of playing Caliban as the dark, evil, exotic one but he pulls it off with great dignity. This staging also quite studiously avoids allusions to colonialism, a refreshing break for this play. Mendes' support

for up and coming US talent is evident in his casting of the likes of young Tony nominee Thomas Sadoski. He works real magic by making the tedious Touchstone a somewhat bearable character. He also gives us a jolly Stephano in the Tempest. The veteran Anthony O'Donnell also shines in two comic turns � as the nimble footed Corin the shepherd in the first play and Trinculo the jester in the second. In As You Like It, the object of Rosalind's affection, Orlando, is conveniently played by her real-life husband Christian Camargo and they make a great couple. A dark, brooding presence and with cheekbones that could cut glass he certainly swashes his buckle in the wrestling scene. For the rest however he seems to have caught Dillane's sleeping sickness and comes across as far too underpowered for this Shakespearean hero. In The Tempest he comes off better as a fey Ariel, made even more fey by being dressed as a sort of high-class Fifth Ave shop assistant in a sharp DKNY suit rather than as some fairy creature. Both productions luxuriate in fantastic use of music, in particular percussion, and Stephen Bentley-Klein's work as

music director is top class. There is also a wonderful moment when Dillane performs one of Jaques songs in the style of Bob Dylan. Jacques line about his own ability "to suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs" couldn't be more apt. Both plays benefit from Mendes great skill and imagination as a director; one of the masques in The Tempest beautifully recreates Manet's "Dejeuner sur l'Herbe". He also (Dillane aside) elicits great performances from this lively ensemble and brings a great clarity to these often opaque texts. It is odd though that he allowed Dillane free rein to sleepwalk through his roles and thus jeopardise the productions. Below (l-r): Ron Cephas Jones, Juliet Rylance and Edward Bennett in The Tempest PHOTOS � JOAN MARCUS

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Through a Glass SIMON ANNAND

By Ingmar Bergman, adapted by Jenny Worton Almeida Theatre, London set for a chamber piece (no doubt the inspiration to put it on the stage) where Martin struggles with David about what is best for Karin and her disturbed brother works through his own sexual identity crisis. Karin comes across David's diaries where she discovers that her illness has been diagnosed as chronic. Eventually she has another psychotic episode. For David, history is repeating itself here; he had abandoned her mother to a similar fate. He is a writer and Martin accuses him of twisting Karin's suffering into his "search for meaning" as he observes the progress of her decline. This gets to the kernel of the piece, how much writers use and abuse those around them, a very fertile subject for drama. The film was the first of Bergman's "faith trilogy" where he explored the metaphysical questions of the existence of God, human isolation and alienation. Here Karin characterises her illness too as having a spiritual dimension and the production uses this as a springboard to probe ideas, such as those propounded by RD Laing, that the mentally ill aren't really ill, rather we all are. As he put it "our normal state is the abdication of ecstasy Ruth Wilson as Karin and Justin Salinger as Martin. PHOTO: � SIMON ANNAND

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his has been a cherished project for Michael Attenborough at the Almeida. For the first time the Bergman estate allowed one of the films to be adapted for the stage. It is a huge task and while Attenborough has assembled a fine cast here, in the end the transformation fails to ignite. The film came in 1961, won Bergman his second Oscar and put him on the international "art house" map. He revolutionised cinema with his unyielding focus on a sort of ecology of personal despair. His use of austere locations combined with Sven Nykvist's stunning cinematography combined to produce a heightened, almost expressionist, aesthetic. Strip that away and on stage you are in danger of being left with just recounting the plot. Here the sets and lighting can't compensate for this loss of style. Curiously it's as if Bergman is too theatrical for theatre. The translation into English is also curiously unsettling. It grounds the play in an English middle class world which ends up at times making it sound like an episode of The Archers, BBC Radio 4's `everyday story of country folk'. The story revolves around a young woman Karin (Ruth Wilson) who has been released from psychiatric care and returns to the family holiday island home to recover, where she joins her father David (Ian McElhinney), husband Martin (Justin Salinger) and brother Max (Dimitri Leonidas). The scene is

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and the betrayal of our true potential". These ideas, which gained notoriety in Laing's The Divided Self, get a special programme note. They have been subsequently quite discredited and it has to be said that they don't really chime with the script. Here all the characters possess a great fear of mental illness, which would have been more typical of the time. Wilson, as Karin, is a commanding presence and brings a great poignancy to the part. This, combined with her Olivier Award winning performance in A Streetcar Named Desire last year, marks her out as an actress to watch. The men too all shine in difficult roles, in particular newcomer Dimitri Leonidas as the creepy brother Max, an Oedipal mess if ever there was one. In the end though the production is curiously un-involving. Fusing Bergman's rather arch aesthetic with an English well-made-play is perhaps asking too much.

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Live at The Pheasantry, Kings Rd, Chelsea

Jessie Buckley + Launch night of Live at Wilton's at Wilton's Music Hall Lloyd-Webber TV talent show I'd Do Anything where, luckily for her, she came second. She was quickly cast in the Menier's production of A Little Night Music and suddenly thrust into the spotlight with West End veterans like Maureen Lipman. Her accompanist, and one suspects her Svengali, is the stunningly versatile jazz pianist Joe Thompson. He heard her singing at the showbiz hang out The Ivy one night and realised he was on to something special. They joined up and sold out a week at Pizza on the Park. Sadly that venue has now closed its doors after 35 years as the premier venue for cabaret in London, but all is not lost, as the promoters have now moved everything to a new venue, The Pheasantry on the King's Road in Chelsea. At the launch Jessie hit the ground running with sparkling renditions of Gypsy in My Soul, A Foggy Day in London Town and an arrangement of The Way You Look Tonight, which transformed it into a three-act play. She channelled Michelle Pfeiffer from her favourite movie The Fabulous Baker Boys with a heartbreaking More Than You Know

essie Buckley's talent is quite unfathomable really. She hails from Killarney (as in The Lakes of ), has done a TV talent show and a West End musical, both to much acclaim, but this counts for nothing as she has since revealed an astonishing talent as a jazz vocalist. Plans are afoot to launch her in New York but they have to wait till after Christmas, when she turns 21, as she isn't allowed in the clubs yet! Despite her tender years she possesses a confidence in styling a phrase and interpreting a lyric and a maturity which is astonishing. She doesn't seek to emulate anyone else but yet her voice echoes the emotion of Garland, the crispness of Day, the huskiness of Monroe and the perfect pitch of Ella. She says she was weaned on Ray Charles and she obviously absorbs music like a sponge. She displays none of the theatre school affectation, which so often can ossify a young talent. She knows what she is doing with a song and often appears to lose herself completely in them. She has innate musical taste. Jessie first came to attention in the Cameron Macintosh/Andrew

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and seemingly fearless, she took on complex jazz arrangements of Take the A Train and The Birth of the Blues and soared with both. She even made you forget Etta James for a moment, with her rendition of At Last. A few nights later she did 20 minutes as part of the launch of another exciting new jazz venture, Live at Wiltons, in the decadently decayed Wilton's Music Hall in the East End. Sian Phillips opened the show by upping the glamour quotient significantly and wowing the packed room with her party piece, Coward's Bar at the Piccola Marina among other gems. By complete contrast, Jesse followed with Daydream'and then brought the house down with the old Jule Styne classic It's Magic. Also on the programme were West End regular Sophie-Louise Dann, the unclassifiable and kooky Gwyneth Herbert, who played a ukelele and other oddities from her toy orchestra and presented a selection of her own startlingly original songs and, last but not least, the greatest underrated voice in British pop, David McAlmont. Sporting a pair of white Birkenstocks to match his hat and with more diamante on his fingers than a fortune-teller, McAlmont began by apologising for having a cold and duly proceeded to blow us all away with Lullaby of Birdland. He ended with a stunning doo wop arrangement of Stars Fell on Alabama. The evening concluded with a surprise turn by pop divo Marc Almond, who is one of the patrons of Live at Wiltons. Nothing impromptu about it I suspect but, hey, that's showbiz. More on these two potentially great seasons can be found at www. pizzaexpresslive.com and at www. wiltons.org.uk H

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Mercedes Ruehl The beautiful, funny and talented co-star of Neil Simon's Prisoner of Second Avenue, now in the West End, talks to Michael Burland

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ercedes, after a long and distinguished career on the American stage and in film and TV, this is your first time in the West End. How is it going ? Really well. As you can imagine, I was a little bit nervous. When it comes down to it you think, will I appeal to the British? But so far so good. They seem to be really enjoying the play. There was a revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs, another Neil Simon play, in New York earlier this year. It got decent notices, everyone said the production was marvelous, and the performances were superb but for some reason it didn't go over and it closed in about a week. It's a strange business � you can never tell in advance what will hit that nerve. Brighton Beach Memoirs is a memory play, based on Neil's childhood in Brooklyn, and Prisoner of Second Avenue is a totally different thing. It's about a middle aged couple living in New York in the seventies, right at the beginning of the enormous economic downslide, and there are echoes of the current situation that are haunting. There are lines that could be uttered about today's economic climate - and emotional climate. At one point my character cries out "I always thought we were such a strong country. If you can't depend on America, who can you depend on?" That usually gets a laugh/moan.

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PHOTO: JOHAN PERSON


The American

You have said that you've wanted to work on the London stage for years, but never dreamed you'd have the luck to land there in the company of two old friends, Neil Simon and Kevin Spacey. Yeah, and it helps I don't have to do a cut glass 1930s BBC English accent like my friend Kim Cattrall! How did she do that? She had a head start � she was born in England. I didn't know that � this is a little comforting to me! You were born in Queens, are you a New York City girl through and through? I was born in Queens, true, but I didn't grow up there. I spent my first two formative weeks in Queens! My dad was an FBI agent and we moved around. My parents and all my relatives were New Yorkers so holidays found us driving back to New York from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, all over the place. I mostly grew up in Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., but I heard the music of how New Yorkers speak all my life. You have a diverse background, with German, Irish, and Cuban ancestry? Yes, and my Cuban relatives were originally from Spain, Catalan. I'm more Irish than anything, and I look about as Irish as Carmen Miranda. Both my grandmothers were Irish. One of my grandfathers was half Irish, but the other one was 100% Cuban. One of your online biographies describes you as "the first Cuban American female Academy Award winner". I don't know who writes that stuff. I've read online that I'm married to a guy named Tom Ruehl, that I have six children including a daughter called

Laki who wants to be a nightclub singer... Who dreams these things up? The Spanish theater in New York have claimed me as their own, maybe because my name is Mercedes, and I'm very happy to be with some very talented people in Latino theater and film, but I'm not Spanish. Has that eclectic background affected your acting career? I think so... Yes, because I have played people of many different nationalities. I've played German women � I have [in the accent] a very serviceable German accent. I have certainly played Spanish and Mexican women, including Frida Kahlo. I've played lots of Italians, although I don't have a drop of Italian blood in me. And many Jewish and Greek women. I have occasionally played Anglo Saxon women in Edward Albee's plays! I'm sure having a few tributaries running into my river helps gives one some kind of unconscious confidence to reach out and try different nationalities. A stronger influence was moving around a lot when I was a child. I'm told that children of people who move around a lot � army brats, the diplomatic corps, jobs like my dad's � give rise to a lot of actors. You find yourself having to win over a whole new culture of kids every two or three years. I went to Catholic schools which all wore similar but different uniforms. Though we begged and wept, our mother would make us wear the old uniform to the new school, until the new one came through, which made you even more of a pariah and just plain weird. The ability to perform, and to make people laugh, helps. And you have to be careful, calibrate it, not do too much too soon. I didn't know what led you into writing, but whatever it is that impels

you into a career that you embrace as insistently as I embrace theater and acting is ultimately a mystery. My father's job moved us around � and I was in a rock band before this. That's so cool! Walter Pater, a Victorian critic, said "All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music". The written arts, performing arts, even straight theatre, drama and comedy. I can't tell you how many times we talk about the music of the dialog, how we try to get the music of the speech right. We even talk about breaking the act down into beats. There's a music to Neil Simon, a way of talking that is rhythmic. He's one of the few writers � Edward Albee, Noel Coward and Shaw are others � where if you ever-so-slightly alter the music, you alter the meaning, the emotional impact, where the laughs come... There's more artistic influence in your life. You're married to a painter, David Geiser. Does that make it a very arty household? Our son is probably going to be a banker! No, actually he loves music too. We might buck the trend and have another artist in the house. Where did you start acting? In New York, doing off-off-Broadway with small, earnest groups. But I was studying. I had wanted to go to graduate school in theater, but at the time I was very awkward and I thought that every audition had to be done with an English accent, and I think I left everybody at those graduate school auditions scratching their heads. So I went to NYC and studied with Bill Hickey and Uta Hagen and an extraordinary teacher called Ted Danielewski. After seven or eight years of studying, waitressing and doing

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"I'm still walking around blinking and thinking, right, I'm in London!" PHOTO: JOHAN PERSON

But you go there to pick up the odd Oscar! Apart from that you won a Tony for Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. You love Simon's work, but over here he's been out of favour with the critical establishment. Have they ever done much Neil Simon here? In the 70s and 80s he was big. Do you think his work has anything new to say these days? You have to take him play by play. There are some that perhaps it's not timely to revive right now, but in ten years time they might have great revivals � I'm thinking of the more autobiographical plays. But plays like The Odd Couple, the film The Heartbreak Kid, even Biloxi Blues, these still have a real resonance for the modern experience. And in Prisoner of Second Avenue, the couple has to go through a modern equivalent to the challenges of Job, in terms of their relationship , their cheap new apartment that's falling apart, moving jobs, the economy tanking, all kinds of problems with crime and politics, all these are so contemporary it's spooky. I'll be surprised if the London audiences don't embrace it. How are you enjoying working with Jeff Goldblum? Have you worked together before? No, I've worked with Kevin [Spacey] before. Jeff has got electric energy. He's revved to double the speed that most of us operate at. His speech, his thought patterns, the way he moves onstage... he's a real animal of the stage. And he's a delightful, very kind person, and very funny. It's a pleasure working with him. Before I came over he left me a cellphone message that was just a cascade of thoughts, ideas, observations. I listened to it and thought, what hath God wrought? This man is wild! H

off-off-Broadway I worked in regional theater � it was a slow coming of age for me. I went to the Public Theatre, when Joe Papp was still there. I'm among the hordes of people that Joe discovered and gave a leg up to. From there, in 1985, I went onto Broadway in I'm Not Rappaport by Herb Gardner, then I got the film, Big. There had been a period when I thought, nothing's ever going to happen in my career. At the moment of despair, as often happens, things just started to roll for me. Like dominos, one thing started another, which kicked off another, right through the late 90s. My son was born in '97 then I moved out to the country to take care of my dad after my mom died � he's paraplegic. I was living a bucolic life. I went into New York and did three or four plays, I did some television movies, but things went for quiet for a while. That was a first for me, to be at the nexus of a family. Then of course one gets a little older and suddenly they're not clamoring for one the way they used to [laughs]. When the game is scarce, the hunter must trek for it!

Prisoner of Second Avenue came out of the blue. I took a second to think, it's the beginning of the summer, I'm selling one house, renting another out on the beach, my son is going to summer school, I'm doing too much, I can't possible go to England. Then after a few milliseconds another voice said, are you out of your mind? I had seven days to decide, batten down my hatches and get here, so I'm still walking around blinking and thinking, right, I'm in London! Was the family situation the reason you didn't move to LA like most actors? I'm a New York animal. I've worked in LA, rented homes there for the length of films, and I have a lot of friends there, but the frame of mind is very different to London's, Europe's, or even New York's. It's a one industry town and there's a breathless sense of youth, money and influence there. Ideally you have a combination of the three � you have to have one [laughs]. It's a beautiful place, but it's too competitive over issues that I find, every year less important.

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Citizenship Renunciations Rocket We're giving up our citizenship at record rates, writes Andy Sundberg of American Citizens Abroad

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ccording to the data recently released by the Treasury Department, 180 individuals renounced their U.S. citizenship during the first three months of 2010. This is the highest level of first quarter renunciations since way back in 2001, and more than two and a half times the number of renunciations in the first quarter of 2009. Renunciations by quarter vary from one year to another, of course, but on average during the most recent decade since 2000, the first quarter tends to account for about 25% of total annual renunciations in any given year. If this average holds true in 2010, the total annual renunciations this year could be in the neighborhood of about 750, roughly equal to the record set in 2005 when renunciations reached 762. Not big numbers, but still the trend seems definitely to be rising. But this is not the end of the story. If we look at these numbers from a different perspective, comparing the last two quarters of 2009 to 2008, then the forecast becomes dramatically different. During the third quarter of 2009, renunciations were more than seven times the number of the third quarter of 2008, and the fourth quarter of 2009 was once again more than seven times the number of the fourth quarter of 2008. If this trend continues at the same rate this year, the total renunciations could really skyrocket. And perhaps they will. Arguing in favor of such a possibility is the word from Consular Offices in

several countries that the backlog of requests is now so great that appointments to renounce U.S. citizenship are already being pushed forward into 2011 and the backlog just keeps growing. So this bright little canary in the mineshaft should be watched with great interest. It seems that a growing number of Americans have concluded that nothing positive is coming our way in the near future and now it really is in their best interest to opt out. Given the truly insensitive and deplorable way the United States treats its overseas citizens this is hardly a surprise. How this self-destructive behavior by our government is supposed to be helping our country and improving our export performance, etc, remains a profound mystery. But it remains an unasked question back in Washington and essentially taboo to even bring it up anymore. Just out of curiosity, what ever happened to those euphoric promises our President made to us when he was campaigning for office in 2008? Has anyone ever heard "one single positive word" about overseas Americans from Mr. Obama, or Mrs. Clinton, or Mr. Geithner since January 20th 2009?? Have any of them ever held a single public meeting with private sector overseas Americans during the last eighteen months?

And as for the IRS, it still seems to be bubbling with enthusiasm for more John Doe summons to foreign banks, bribes to betray your friends and neighbours, and increasingly onerous reporting requirements for any bank or financial institution that will still dare to keep a U.S. citizen overseas as a customer. When you remember that taxation from far away was one of the most important precipitating causes of our American revolution in the first place, all of this seems an incredibly ironic betrayal of the fundamental founding principles of our country. Just for a final bit of provocative fun, what ever happened to that "level playing field" promise from our President and his wanting our "inputs to policy discussions"? If you have stumbled across any signs of such positive serendipities, even off the cuff, or decrypted via discreet whispers, please share such long awaited good news. Email editor@theamerican.co.uk H

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A Post-Modern Relationship Alison Holmes, writing from California on Independence Day, looks at how the US's and UK's imperial pasts have given their special relationship a crucial role in today's changing world

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urely, there is no more opportune moment to write about `things transatlantic' than the 4th July. Tradition has it that the British stand to one side and look on in a bemused fashion as the Americans, their creation, their progeny, some would say their monster, celebrate the dramatic severing of the apron strings. The importance of an explicitly national, if sometimes nationalistic, holiday in a country that finds itself at war, in economic turmoil and with dramatic issues unfolding again along the Gulf Coast, to mention only a few things in the President's in-box this Independence Day, is not to be underestimated. The language of freedom and democracy provides comfort to the `American Dream' faithful as well as providing linguistic refuge to the political scoundrel. That is one side of the story, but what of the `special relationship' in today's world? Is there such a thing anymore? And what will become of

the American `Empire lite' and the British Dowager Empire as the world continues to both stretch and compress in the face of intensifying globalisation? Is the United States, as TV historian Niall Fergusson argues, destined to go the way of all fleshly empires and collapse in a heap of its own making � la Greek tragedy. In terms of day-to-day politics, President Obama and the new coalition Prime Minister, David Cameron, do seem to have found a more even keel than the original Brown/Obama un-love fest. Dour meets dude was never really going to work � as both sides found out, but not without some cost to each side. Of course this new configuration also has serious pressures given the ongoing issues of financial regulation and reform, the rise and rise of China or the fall and fall of the Euro. The BP saga has also been painful as the Americans ranted against the most logical and immediate scapegoat only

to belatedly concede that it is in `everyone's interest' to have a `healthy BP'. The American addiction to energy rears its head again. However, as important as these issues are, there is an argument that such problems are, ultimately, the flotsam and jetsam of transatlantic relations, that the real story of globalisation is one of the development of states as entities in their own right. This has resonance on several levels. The notion of Empire is, after all, just a fancy name for a state with international pretensions, though a status that necessarily entails the ability of the state in question to have the military and economic power to deliver on those potentially grandiose ideas of identity. Such selfidentifications do not come without cost abroad and at home. To build and maintain an Empire, even a pseudo Empire, is like servicing the National Health Service, the Chinese Army and the American highway system all at

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the same time. Thus, the question of whether the United States is, or is not, a successful, maintaining or failing Empire may sound esoteric, but it has serious political implications for what a government should do in Afghanistan and Iraq, in terms of aid and development and in support of the leadership of economic and international institutions. It even has implications for what to do vis-�-vis BP. The life story of the state would be fair game for any soap opera writer willing to take on a challenge. Sovereignty and power are the watchwords of statehood. The territorial boundaries that keep states in, as well as keeping other states out, make bloody and painful reading as much for the successful countries as for those who fail to retain the fa�ade. Robert Cooper once suggested that the biggest challenge in international affairs today is the fact that states are now at very different levels of development. He argues that, as the western world grew and industrialised, its colonial powers, great powers and empires were developing at a relatively similar rate. Today's world however, is full of states at very different stages in their development. The pre-modern, or those with little effective economic independence, weak political institutions and a low standard of living have the same `rights' in the international system as the modern or post modern nations i.e. those with higher levels of development and, in the case of post-modern, more consensual ideas such as those found in the EU. Yet the notion of a `one-size-fits-all' version of sovereignty being able to facilitate the development of a peaceful and prosperous world seems remote. Applying this question to UK/US relations: what should the leaders do, from their respective positions on each side of the Atlantic of the most

advanced, the most international the most developed of states? If the US is fundamentally a modern state while the UK is a modern or perhaps a reluctant post-modern state, surely that may help to explain a number of features of the `special relationship'. The UK and the US have many shared national interests; a fact not surprising given their parallel history, common language, familiar institutions and shared culture. More fundamentally, they also share a level of development and an activist international agenda. Uniquely in the community of states, they have long embraced the blurring of the line between foreign and domestic made possible and inevitable by the process of globalisation. They have adapted their interactions with each other in ways that are not found in any other bilateral relationship in the world. Scholars such as Martin Shaw and Ian Clark have suggested there is something called the `global state'. They argue that there is a new phase in the development of the state that reflects the new global environment and realities of a more interdependent yet stubbornly state-focused world. They warn that the global layer of power is little understood, and like Cooper, that the position of states at this formative

level will shape the future of international interaction. The enmeshed nature of UK/US relations is not exactly a common topic of conversation on the 4th of July. The focus is generally on hot dogs, fireworks and parades complete with bands and bunting. That said, it should be part of the dialogue. It should be part of the discussion because if we are to take seriously the ideals of independence and freedom we should recognise the global version of the struggle for independence from dependence, a desire for freedom from want and the growing gap not only in economic terms, but politically between the post modern or developed world from the rest. The 4th of July is not just for Americans any more and the new journey starts by recognising that our closest ally in this renewed struggle remains our oldest. In this global fight there will be no standing to one side as the Americans and the British take on this shared international burden as the forerunners of the new global state. H Dr. Alison Holmes is the Pierre Keller Fellow of Transatlantic Studies at Yale University and The American's political `Transatlantic Columnist'

PHOTOS: WHITE HOUSE / PETE SOUZA

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1967 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale prototype was a star of the Cartier Luxe et Style exhibition

GOODWOOD Sir Stirling Moss Fantastic Alfa sculpture in front of Goodwood House celebrates the marque's centenary

Festival of Speed 2010

Words and pictures by Michael Burland

Below: Twelve-time World Trials Champion Dougie Lampkin does his stuff inches from the crowd's noses

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n extraordinary 175,000 visitors enjoyed beautiful The Benetton in which Michael Schumacher won his maiden English summer weather (yes, F1 victory in 1992 it does happen!) and the sights, sounds and smells of racing motor vehicles from every era of the sport. From the earliest huge-engined monsters to the latest high tech racers and roadsters, most of the cars and motorcycles were gathered to be seen by the knowledgeable crowd, not just statically in the paddocks. The paddocks, where the cars are worked on, are a rare treat themselves. The hugely valuable machines would normally only be seen on podiums or behind ropes at museums � if at all � many are in private hands and hidden in air-conditioned garages. At the Festival of Speed, Lord March's magnificent event, they can be seen up as close as you could imagine. Top to bottom: The main theme was `Viva Veloce! � The Passion for Speed', Italy's influence on motorsports, 1923 Delage V12 was from Alfa Romeo to MV Agusta, Monza to the among the Pioneering Mille Miglia. Alfa's centenary was celebrated Giants that braved the along with the 60th anniversary of the Carrera Goodwood hillclimb Panamericana road race � several cars were in Chevy Monte Carlo was just action, many still bearing their original liveries. one of the NASCAR racers that Six of today's F1 teams showed up with their drivyou could get fingertip-close to ers, plus many F1 heroes of yesteryear, including Sir Stirling Moss (recovering from his elevator Jimmy Vaughan drives his pistachio green accident), Sir Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi 1961 Cadillac up the hillclimb, moments and Damon Hill. NASCAR mainman Michael Walafter playing a song live on the back of a semi truck in the middle of the track trip was there too plus motorcycle stars including Giacomo Agostini and Kevin Schwantz. Jaguar D Type was an audience favorite Modern supercars were at the Festival of Speed in force. Making their UK debuts were the Renault 5 turbo rally car rips up the exciting new McLaren MP4-12C, Zagato's striktrack � and the grass verge � before taking to the Forest Rally Stage ing Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa, the Ferrari 458 Italia, Spyker C-8 Aileron and Veritas RS III. And for the eco-conscious, pointing a possible way to the future were the Audi e-Tron, Citr�en ReVolte, Rinspeed UC, Lexus CT200h and Vauxhall Ampera. Take a look at the pictures, imagine the charged atmosphere, or better yet, plan ahead for next year and book your tickets the Festival of Speed 2011! H

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Richard L Gale is happy to forget the World Cup, while Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert sends a big `forget you' message to LeBron James.

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o you remember that `hottie' in high school? Do you remember how she was way out of your league? Well imagine she'd said yes, imagine you'd been going steady, college came around and she was still dating you � you figure, hey, love is blind, right? � and finally you decide this thing isn't a dream after all, it's for keeps. So you've let her catch you looking in jewelry shop windows, and she's hinting that she wants any big question to be in front of the biggest audience, somewhere really public. So you do. And then imagine she says `As if!!!!' and walks off with the jock instead. In front of everybody. And then tweets how much happier she is now. Well, that's would be something like how the city of Cleveland feels this month after LeBron James waited for all the cameras to be on him, for

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maximum media attention, before spurning Cleveland and heading for `Miami Beach' (as if emphasizing not just that he's rejecting his old team, but the whole location). Cleveland never gets the happy ending. The Fumble ... The Drive ... the old Browns leaving. The Indians looked headed for a World Series the year it was canceled. But it didn't matter if King James would just kiss it all better. And now he's gone, not just with a shrug, but with a national audience invited to watch Cleveland's pain, all the time making Cleveland think they still had a chance. So does Dan Gilbert, majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers feel jilted? In an open letter to Cavs fans, Gilbert called coverage of LeBron James' departure for Miami "narcissistic" and "self-promotional" and refers to James' move to Miami as "cowardly"and a "shameful display of selfishness and betrayal". Gilbert concludes the letter by saying that "this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the socalled `curse' on Cleveland, Ohio. The self-declared former `King' will be taking the `curse' with him down south". Wow, actually cursing your former players � I think that may be a whole new ownership tactic! Hardly a fond farewell. Gilbert was ultimately fined $100,000 by NBA commissioner David Stern for his vitriol. GE

World Cup: Final Shots

A farewell also to the World Cup. It had everything: offsides that weren't called, offsides that were called when they weren't (and consequently goals disallowed that should have counted), multiple and blatant encroachment on kicks so overlooked by the referee that you began to wonder if the officials knew the rules ...and clear goals ignored. And these were just some of the sights to behold if you merely watched the USA's group. To a gridiron football fan used to instant replay and line judges who flag a guard for flickering an eyelash before the snap, these oversights were astonishing. It leaves FIFA trying to defend itself from calls for `goal line technology' (technology? � eyeballs would be a start), while supporters of neanderthalic tradition worry that instant replay might halt the flow of the game (yes, well, goals should halt the flow of the game, shouldn't they? Or is running up and down now more important than keeping score?) I can't remember the last time it was so bad ... but then how many casual soccer fans do remember the World Cup? Do you remember last World Cup's penalty shootouts � the non-team resolution to a team event that repeatedly dissatisfies the casual viewer? This time it ended with 15 players carded in the Final. Now I know why the Soccer World Cup is only every four years � it's so we can forget what a debacle it is.

�M

ICHAE

L REGAN-GE T T Y I

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The American

Winning the Offseason T hey say you don't get a trophy for winning the offseason. True, but winning the offseason helps. For any NFL team owner or GM, there's a wish list for the offseason: 1. Retain your best players 2. Attract the best free agents 3. Draft well 4. Pray your veterans keep a low profile from February through August. The Pennsylvania teams haven't been doing so well on that last one, which is why they both rank in our Top 5 Worst NFL Offseasons 2010. 1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Another offseason, another off-the-field incident for Ben Roethlisberger. Star QBs shouldn't be this kind of distraction. The Steelers might have listened to lower draft-day trade offers had they not already parted with WR Santonio Holmes. Also, a suspect O-line lost RT Willie Colon to injury, probably for the year. 2. Arizona Cardinals: Diminishing returns throughout: Antrel Rolle becomes Kerry Rhodes; Kurt Warner retires, Matt Leinart starts; Citadel's Andre Roberts is drafted after Anquan Boldin is traded; at-zenith LB Karlos Dansby out, 33-year old Joey Porter in. 3. Philadelphia Eagles: Be careful what you wish for, boo-birds of Philly. Unproven QB Kevin Kolb is now backed up by Michael Vick (again found in the Two different ways to improve a line: Detroit drafted DT Ndamukong Suh while Chicago signed veteran DE Julius Peppers. Who will prove the biggest difference maker in the NFC North? SUH PHOTOS NEBRASKA ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT; PEPPERS PHOTO: DAN YUSKA/CHICAGO BEARS

vicinity of trouble), while Donovan McNabb was traded to a division rival. 4. San Diego Chargers: Vincent Jackson's suspended 3 games, CB Antonio Cromartie and RB LaDainian Tomlinson are gone. And Norv Turner's contract was extended. 5. Buffalo Bills: The new coaching staff doesn't inspire, but Chan Gailey has a track record for making teams competitive. Problem is, that aside, Buffalo sat on their hands this offseason. Top 5 Best NFL Offseasons 2010 1. Kansas City Chiefs: The new coordinators are Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. In the draft, they took generational safety Eric Berry and potential mismatch-making WR/RB Dexter McCluster. In free agency, they snatched RB Thomas Jones from the Jets, and added two starting linemen. 2. Washington Redskins: Two-time Super Bowl winner Mike Shanahan becomes head coach, while McNabb settles a position that has been a

Redskins handicap for years. New offensive linemen abound. 3. Detroit Lions: The offseason's the only season in Detroit. However, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and WR Nate Burleson highlight some useful free agents, while draftees DT Ndamukong Suh and RB Javid Best will star early. 5. Baltimore Ravens: Needs? WR, DE and DT. Answers: Anquan Boldin to add to a resigned Derrick Mason, and under-valued draftees Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody arrived in the draft. 5. Oakland Raiders: HC Tom Cable was retained, they threw big money at their placekicker, and Jason Campbell is the new quarterback. Only in the context of Oakland are these good things. Honorable mentions: New York Jets: the secondary bulges after the arrival of Cromartie, but Darrelle Revis contract problems could sour things, and at this stage in their careers, losing Thomas Jones and gaining LT is debatable. The Chicago Bears were busy ...but then, aren't they always? H

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The American

Paw Talk y mentor Luke quoted those words to me his last day on earth. It's taken fifteen years to understand what he was trying to tell me, but as She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually gently picks me up from the seat of the car to carry me into the vet's office, I know now what he meant. This, you see, is the last column I will write. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed has tears running down her cheeks as she buries her face in my soft fur. I haven't been well for several weeks and except for her, I'm ready to face whatever there is on the other side. Hopefully, Luke will be there waiting for me along with Belle. Although we never met, Luke told me so much about her I feel as if I have. Another dog I also hope to meet is She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually's dog from childhood, Fritz, a German Shepherd. She often talked about him to me. My favourite story was when as a two year old she managed to open the garden gate and went for a long walk, followed, fortunately, by Fritz. "I love you," She-Who-Must-BeObeyed-Usually whispers as she hands me to Dr. Peter Pete. Dr. Ram is away, but I've known Peter Pete almost as long so it was okay. Gently, he checks

...or My Life as a Dog in London by Rebel.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The soul that rises with us, our life's star, � Wordsworth

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me over and then nods sadly. "Rebel is very ill," he says. "It's time." In human minutes, hours and years, fifteen years is a short time, but in a dog's life it's old age. I think of all the people and animals who have been important to me. Scout, my best Westie pal in the world, has come with us today. It's going to be hard on her, but at the same time it's important she knows what is going on. As Dr. Peter Pete hands me back to She-WhoMust-Be-Obeyed-Usually, I tell my little friend, "Relax, I'll be fine. Luke will be there for me when I arrive." I think for a moment of my pal Foxy. Funny, how we animals always seem to know. Last evening, SheWho-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually had taken me for a last stroll in the garden next door and suddenly he appeared behind one of the bushes. "I'm going to miss you old girl," he says. "Will you put in a good word for me when you get there, please." Of course, I said I would, although I can't quite see him wearing wings. I also got a phone call from my little Corgi friend who is on holiday with HER in Scotland. But, the biggest surprise was hearing from

Fiona who was crying so hard I could barely understand her. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed-Usually gives me one last hug. "I love you, little one," she whispers. "May God cherish you until we meet again." "And you too," I say so softly only Scout hears me. Then Dr. Peter Pete takes my paw and I see there are tears in his eyes. "She's been a very special dog," he says. "We'll all miss her." Maybe it's a dream, but suddenly I see a bright light ahead and a golden gate slowly opening. Taking one last glance back, I'm still on She-WhoMust-Be-Obeyed-Usually's lap and yet at the same time I'm prancing down a silver road and there waiting for me is Luke. H

April 12, 1995 � June 15, 2010

Rebel

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The American August 2010  

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

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