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Something in the Air
NFL secondaries and NCAA quarterbacks headline our football season previews
Battle of Britain
American volunteer heroes
Lady Antebellum Interviewed in the UK
Sp ec ia of l 2 fe do r - ll ca ars ll f to or th de e p ta ou ils n d
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Issue 689 – September 2010 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 firstname.lastname@example.org Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director +44 (0)1747 830520 email@example.com Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondents: Mary Bailey, Social email@example.com Richard Gale, Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Alison Holmes, Politics email@example.com Riki Evans Johnson, European firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey email@example.com Estelle Lovatt, Arts firstname.lastname@example.org Dom Mills, Motorsports email@example.com Jarlath O’Connell, Theater firstname.lastname@example.org Virginia E. Schultz, Food & Drink email@example.com ©2010 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed by Advent Colour Ltd., 19 East Portway Industrial Estate, Andover, SP10 3LU www.advent-colour.co.uk Main cover image: Michael Crabtree makes the grab (picture: San Francisco 49ers); Inset: Lady Antebellum; and a Spitfire in action
as there ever a time when the special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. was stronger or more important than the dark years of the two World Wars, especially the Second? The First was appalling, ‘the war that would end all wars’ because of its horrendous casualties and industrialisation of destruction. But World War II was not a conflict between similar European nations, it was a struggle between good and an evil which had ensnared good people. We – together – were not fighting “The Germans”, we were fighting Nazism and fascism that aimed to destroy democracy and civilization. One of our features this month looks at the young Americans who bravely volunteered to come to Britain in the early days of the war, joined the RAF and fought – and died – in the Battle of Britain. Now that is a special relationship. Enjoy your magazine,
Michael Burland, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS
Jarlath O’Connell is an Olivier Award judge and The American’s theater reviewer. This month he’s been working his socks off finding out what’s hot – and what’s not – on the London stage.
James Richards is a playwright, a poet and a theatre reviewer. We’re delighted to welcome him to The American as he reviews Anne Boleyn at Shakespeare’s Globe.
James Carroll Jordan is an American actor currently starring at the National Theatre. Who better to interview that institution’s Artistic Director Sir Nicholas Hytner for The American?
Don’t forget to check out The American online at www.theamerican.co.uk The entire contents of The American and www.theamerican.co.uk are protected by copyright and no part of it may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information in The American is accurate, the editor and publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions or any loss arising from reliance on it. The views and comments of contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers.
In This Issue... The American • Issue 689 • September 2010
News ‘The Queen’ gets lost in Trafalgar Square, while Anglo-American women beat the boys in a round-Britain rowing race.
10 Diary Dates Where to go and what to see in Britain this month, selected for readers of The American.
14 Eagles in the Burning Blue Two years before the USA entered World War II a small number of Americans volunteered to ﬁght in the RAF. Most of them died . We remember them. 16 Smile – We’re All Cats and Dogs Two decades ago Debbi Baron moved from the States to live and work in France. We’re diﬀerent sorts of people, she ﬁnds.
18 Arts Choice Art works inspired by iconic photos of Jimi Hendrix, a Baghdad suicide bombing, the Fibonacci series of numbers and the loneliness of LS Lowry all feature this month. 22 Wining and Dining Taiwanese, Japanese, Italian, traditional English– whatever your fancy we have restaurant reviews to suit your taste.
28 Coﬀee Break Take ﬁve and exercise your mind, your memory and your laughter muscles. 30 Music Lady Antebellum, the new country superstar group, ﬂew into Britain for a showcase gig. Michael Burland talks to the band’s Dave Haywood about their phenomenal rise to fame. 34 Reviews The hottest plays in the West End and the biggest names in Dance are reviewed this month. 34 Sir Nicholas Hytner The Artistic Director of the Royal National Theatre is interviewed by American actor James Carroll Jordan, who has been starring there.
46 Politics Say nay to the nay-sayers, reckons Alan Miller – enjoy yourself, it’s good for you. 48 Drive Time News from the UK auto scene 50 Sports Divisional and Conference capsules in our NFL and NCAA football previews, plus Sean L Chaplin takes a glance at the American tennis players heading into the US Open
56 American Organizations Useful and social groups for you to join 64 Email Tail Were the good old days really so good? Here’s a heartwarming slice of nostalgia. 3
The merged company’s new livery will be seen in the skies soon
United-Continental Merger Cleared For Take-off United Airlines and Continental Airlines received unconditional clearance from the European Commission on their proposed merger July 27. The Commission’s investigation found the proposed transaction would not raise any specific concerns in Europe or the trans-Atlantic market. The airlines have hubs in different US cities so the fit should be good. “We are pleased to have received this clearance from the European Union, a significant market for our combined new company, and we continue to work cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Justice toward an expeditious completion of our merger,” said Glenn Tilton, UAL Corporation’s chairman, president and CEO. Jeff Smisek, Continental’s chairman, president and CEO commented, “The combination of United and Continental brings together the two most complementary networks of any U.S. carriers, with minimal domestic and no international route overlaps. Together we will offer customers unparalleled global access.” The stock swap deal is reportedly worth $3.2bn and is expected to save the new organization more than $1bn a year. The combined group will be named United Airlines but the new branding will combine Continental’s current colors and Globe logo with United’s name. Mr Tilton will become nonexecutive chairman of the groups while Mr Smisek will be CEO.
US Students Enjoy British Summer Studies
ixteen students from Houston, Chicago, Charlotte, Washington and Boston spent two weeks in Surrey and London in July. Many had never traveled overseas before but were awarded scholarships to attend the British Summer Studies Programme (BSSP), a summer school run by ACS International Schools and British American Business Council which helps academically gifted yet financially disadvantaged students aged 16 to 18, from the US and elsewhere, to broaden their understanding of British culture and heritage. BSSP students board at ACS Cobham International School and visit cultural and historical sites including the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe, Portsmouth Harbour (the Mary Rose and Nelson’s Victory) and World War I battlefields and museums in France. Monica Bowling from Houston commented, “I wanted to take part in BSSP because of my interest in British culture and the beautiful historical attributes of Great Britain. I also really want to try fish and chips! I think that I have been chosen because of my family’s financial situation, so I am delighted to get the opportunity to travel to Britain”
British Scholars Head For American Year
eading the other way across the Atlantic are a group of British students who are spending a year in the US, part of the Secondary School Exchange (SSE), a scheme run by the English-Speaking Union, a once-ina-life-time opportunity for British youngsters to spend six or twelve months in a private American high school. American students reciprocate by coming to the UK and will arrive in the UK in early September. On July 2 the British scholars met at the ESU’s Dartmouth House for a
briefing day in which last year’s alumni gave them tips from their year abroad. In August they started at their American schools: Western Reserve Academy, Ohio; The Lawrenceville School, New Jersey; Memphis University School, Tennessee; The Lovett School, Atlanta; Culver Girls Academy, Indiana; The Hotchkiss School, Connecticut; St Mary’s Episcopal School, Tennessee; Tabor Academy, Massachusetts; Packer Collegiate, Brooklyn; Woodberry Forest School, Virginia; Chatham Hall, Virginia and Kent School, Connecticut.
Buying & Selling USA Stamps, Covers & Postal History
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US and UK Tax Preparation and Planning
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Talented Violinist Seeks Your Help
young Philadelphian violinist has been studying at the Royal Academy of Music London for four years, obtaining a Bachelor of Music Degree. Margaret Dziekonski has won scholarships and awards including the Sir John Barbirolli Memorial Prize in London, and the Newark Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition in the USA. Margaret performs internationally with the Wilhelm Quartet. She has been accepted into the Master’s program of the world-famous Tomotada Soh. So far, so good. Now she needs your help. As an American, Margaret has to pay full international fees. She works at a corporate law firm in the City of London but is short of covering the cost of her Master’s program. Many British charities do not donate to foreign students and American institutions often do not support those studying abroad. Can you, your social group or company help Margaret fulfil her undoubted potential? Margaret offers a bonus to prospective supporters: “If an individual or company was to support my studies I would be very happy to provide a number of performances at relevant concerts or events.” Reach Margaret at www.margaretdziekonski.com.
Lt Col (Retd) Laurie Hawn pays tribute to fallen soldiers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands MASTER CORPORAL ANGELA ABBEY, CANADIAN FORCES
North Americans Honor Fallen Heroes
mericans and Canadians visited the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands on July 22 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. They were participating in the 94th International Four Day Marches Nijmegen, an annual event attracting some 45,000 military and civilian participants and more than a million spectators from over 50 nations which tests physical and mental stamina. Participants march over 160 km in four days carrying 10kg military rucksacks. The Cemetery, opened in1947 by Queen Wilhelmina, is the final resting place to thousands of American and Canadian personnel who died in the battles to liberate the Netherlands in
1944 and 1945. Corporal David Ogilvie, a member of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) team from Colorado Springs, found the memorial service particularly emotional as his great uncle, buried at Groesbeek, was the youngest member of the Royal Canadian Air Force to be killed in the war, aged just 18. Gunner Jeffrey Rijnen participated in the Marches to honour his grandfather who served with the Dutch Army during the War, was placed in a concentration camp, and was part of the force to help liberate the Netherlands. “The crowds always cheered for the Canadian teams,” said Gunner Rijnen. “In my opinion, they cheered for the Canadians the loudest.”
New Gravestone Medallion for Veterans
he Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is offering a bronze medallion for marking deceased military Veterans’ privately purchased headstones or markers (ones not supplied by the government). It is available for all (other than dishonorable discharged) deceased Veterans who died on or after November 1, 1990 and comes in three sizes: 5, 3 and 1½ inches. Each is inscribed with the word VETERAN across the top and the branch of service at the bottom. The medallion is mailed without charge to the Veterans’ next of kin or authorized representative and comes with all the necessary adhesives, hardware and instructions, although the VA won’t pay to fix it to the headstone or marker. To apply for one go to http://www.cem.va.gov/hm/hmtype. asp. Thanks to London Post 1, The American Legion for this news.
American Students Win International Rocket Contest
Anglo-American Seagals Beat Male Rowers
our female rowers, the Anglo American Boat Club, have become the first women ever to row around the coast of Britain in Virgin GB Row 2010 – the world’s toughest rowing race. The women spent 51 days, 16 hours and 42 minutes at sea in a tiny boat the length of two mini cars. They ended their epic 2,000-mile journey July 25, at Tower Bridge in London. As the first women ever to row around mainland Britain their feat earned a Guinness World Record. Angela Madsen, a wheelchairusing 50-year-old grandmother and former US marine from Long Beach California joined Brits Belinda Kirk, 35, from Bristol, Royal Navy nurse Laura Thomasson, 23, from Dover and IT support manager Beverley Ashton, 29, from Wantage in the effort, which raised money for the services’ charity, Help For Heroes. They were racing a male team. The men were forced to abandon the race after less than two weeks when their anchor became stuck and they needed help to lift it, breaking the race rules. The gutsy ‘Seagals’ carried on alone for five more weeks during which they were swamped by huge waves which put their water maker out of action and almost sunk by a rogue wave that flooded
the front cabin. They survived storms, navigated some of the most treacherous tides on the planet, and were almost mown down by ships and, they say, bombed by the RAF. Because of the problem weather the journey took three weeks more than expected and finally they ran short of food. Angela Madsen broke her finger setting off a flare to warn off a ship that was on a collision course, but carried on rowing by strapping her broken hand to the oar. After they returned, she said, “I have rowed both the Atlantic and the Indian oceans and rowing around Britain is certainly among the hardest I’ve ever done. I’m glad to be back” Sir Richard Branson, who sponsored the event and awarded the first-ever Virgin Trophy to the winners, said: “Go Seagals! I knew I was right to back the girls in beating the boys in the first ever Virgin GB Row and I’m over the moon that such brave women have achieved a World Record in such a spectacular fashion! This is why we set up the Virgin Trophy – Belinda, Angela, Laura and Beverley have pushed through extreme tiredness, hunger and serious injury to battle on and achieve the goal they set out to achieve.” Video from the Seagals’ journey is available on YouTube.
Penn Manor High School, from Millersville, PA, defeated French and British teams to claim a transatlantic victory at Farnborough International Airshow July 23. Horsforth School from Leeds, England came second while a French team was unable to launch its rocket due to technical problems. The international rocketry challenge is the culmination of the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), UKAYRoC and the French Rocketry Challenge. Teams of middle and high school students design, build and launch model rockets, which this year had to reach an altitude of 825 feet, stay aloft for 40-45 seconds and return a raw egg unbroken, then give an 8 minute presentation to the judges. The Penn Manor team includes Brendan Stoeckl, Jordan Franssen, Nate Bernhardt and Tyler Funk. Their team advisor is Brian Osmolinski. “We are so excited that we won,” said Brendan. “We succeeded because of practice, good data analysis and teamwork.” TARC was created in 2003 by the Aerospace Industries Association to celebrate the centennial of flight and generate interest in aerospace careers among young people. “Based on today’s competition, the future of our industry is looking pretty bright,” said Marion Blakey, AIA president and CEO.
Contest winners Penn Manor team prepare their rocket for launch in the Transatlantic Rocketry Challenge. COURTESY THE RAYTHEON COMPANY
Are You a Victim of Vishing?
he IRS in London warns that American taxpayers in the US and abroad have been the victims of Vishing (Voice + phishing) scams during the past 18 months. Criminals are sending taxpayers bogus IRS documents, which taxpayers complete with their Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and send back. These bogus requests/ documents have been delivered in several ways: ●
Documents are sent directly to the taxpayer’s fax machine. Individuals are typically instructed to complete a form (e.g., W8-BEN) and fax the requested information to the number provided; Sent as an email with or without an attachment to the taxpayer; Individuals may receive other bogus government documents (e.g., IRS tax receipt) by fax or email; normally as part of an elaborate scam that usually involves lottery winnings or a large number of stock shares.
Regardless of the circumstances or method, this should be reported to the IRS by email, with all attachments, to email@example.com . NOTE: Documents received via direct fax will need to be scanned and sent as an email attachment. If a taxpayer is based in the US and has experienced losses, they should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at FTC Complaint Assistance. If the taxpayer is NOT a U.S. citizen but has been a victim, they should file a complaint at Econsumer, the portal for consumers to report complaints about cross-border fraud, at www.econsumer.gov
Maze Marks West End Whimsy
rom August 1st to 6th visitors to London’s Trafalgar Square were bemused, startled and entertained by a full size laurel and thuja hedge maze that had appeared in the famous plaza. Queen Elizabeth II (or at least a good facsimile) waved to the crowds, many of who thought the real monarch appeared to be lost in the labyrinth. Upon reaching the heart of the maze, visitors were rewarded with a rolling programme of events which included Chinese dragons from China Town, performers from West End shows Avenue Q and Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, string quartets, jazz bands, gospel choirs, and cheerleaders. The idea of the 70 by 100 feet maze, was to highlight many of the West End’s most famous streets, lanes and squares, implying that you can get lost in the maze of streets in this historic part of the capital and find attractions that visitors to London may not know about. Areas within the maze represented parts of London’s West End such as Carnaby Street and Trafalgar Square itself, said to be home to the world’s smallest police station.
ver the weekend of September 11th hundreds of free concerts will be held in the U.S. and as far afield as Ukraine, Tokyo and London, inspired by The September Concert Foundation, a U.S. public charity. The foundation’s British partner is the British Memorial Garden Trust, which is helping build the memorial in Manhattan to the British who died on 9/11. The September Concert aims to “fill the skies with music” . Musicians of every age and genre are invited to make music in parks, schools, churches, oﬃce plazas, cafés, restaurants, galleries or libraries. You can be involved by becoming a friend to the
program or organizing a community concert. And anyone can participate by organizing, performing in, volunteering at or attending a concert. The concerts can be small or large, classical or punk, jazz or folk. The organizers say that, except for several public concerts the foundation produces itself, what all the concerts have in common is that they are produced by people who believe in the power of music to bring people together, reaﬃrm our hope for peace, and to celebrate life and our universal humanity. This year’s concerts will be held from September 10th to 12th. For the past six years the British Memorial Garden Trust, in conjunction with the British Families' 9/11 Support Group, has put on a concert in Grosvenor Square, London.
3358 Sept 2010 The American 205 x 95:Layout 1 12/08/2010 12:04 PM Page 1
PHOTO: ALEKSANDAR RADOVANOVIC
Overseas Voters, Submit Ballot Requests Now
he U.S. Embassy and the Federal Voting Assistance Program are urging all military and overseas voters to vote in the upcoming U.S. elections. All States, three Territories and the District of Columbia will hold General Elections on November 2, 2010. (Puerto Rico will not be holding an election this cycle.) All members of the U.S. Uniformed Services, their family members and citizens residing outside the U.S. who have not registered or requested an absentee ballot this year, should do so as soon as possible. To register or request an absentee ballot use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). It’s quick and easy. Go to www. fvap.gov and follow the prompts to register and request an absentee ballot for the November 2, 2010 election. Some States allow submitting the FPCA by email or fax in addition to regular mail. The instructions will tell you how to fax or email the form. FVAP recommends you use these options. If you don’t have access to the internet to fill out the FPCA online, get a copy from your military Unit or Installation Voting Assistance Oﬃcer, or from your nearest US Embassy or Consulate. Send your FPCA to your election oﬃce NOW to ensure you have enough time to receive, vote, and return the ballot!
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Your Guide To The Month Ahead
Get your event listed free in The American – call the editor on +44 (0)1747 830520, or email details to firstname.lastname@example.org Great Dorset Steam Fair Tarrant Hinton, Dorset DT11 8HX Widely recognised as THE National Heritage Show, this is the leading steam engine and agricultural pursuits show of its type in the world, covering over 600 acres. Showman’s and working steam engines, heavy horses, classic cars and motorbikes, a funfair and live music. www.gdsf.co.uk email@example.com 01258 860361 September 1-5 Square dance courses Missing square dancing while you’re in the UK? Square dance courses to Mainstream level are being offered by a number of clubs around the country starting in September. For details, visit the website and look for teaching clubs
(marked with a T). Some clubs also offer round dancing. www.uksquaredancing.com September 1 Festival du Cinéma Américain (Deauville American Films Festival) Deauville, France Since its creation in 1975, the Deauville American Film Festival has showcased American cinematographic diversity, Hollywood or independent cinema, and has discovered new talents such as actors or directors. In this 35th Festival more than 100 films will be presented to the public on 3 sites: Deauville International Centre (C.I.D), the Casino, and Cinema Le Morny. It is open to all, professionals and cinema fans. www.festival-deauville.com September 3-12
China Mania comes to Bath: An evening with Lars Tharp Museum of East Asian Arts, Bennett Street, Bath BA1 2QJ A lecture (in Bath’s Guildhall) by the popular and entertaining Antiques Roadshow expert followed by a special viewing at the nearby Museum of its latest exhibition, and a wine reception. Mr Tharp’s talk, Pots, Power and Beauty: Porcelain & Desire in the Early Modern World, focuses on a European aspect of the spread of Chinese ceramics known as China Mania, which has swept Europe in waves since the 1500s. www.meaa.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 01225 464 640 September 06, 2010
Battle of Britain Air Show Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR An evocative commemoration of the aerial battle that proved a strategic turning point in the Second World War and the pilots and aircraft stationed at RAF Duxford who came from across the globe to fight for world freedom. Expect squadrons of Battle of Britain aircraft at Europe’s best-preserved Second World War airfield plus the world renowned Red Arrows. www.iwm.org.uk/duxford 01223 835 000 September 4-5 Labor Day Sulgrave Manor, Manor Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX17 2SD George Washington’s ancestral home celebrates Labor Day, and it’s free to US citizens with ID! Kids can dress up in 16th century clothes, experience how the Washington children lived in Tudor times, and find hidden ‘creatures’. www.sulgravemanor.org.uk 01295 760205 September 6 If So, Then Yes Jermyn Street Theatre, 16b Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6ST Presence Theatre has announced its world premiere production of legendary absurdist playwright N.F. Simpson’s latest work. The author (who wrote A Resounding Tinkle and One Way Pendulum) is 91 years old. The play charts a day in the life of Simpson’s comic protagonist, octogenarian writer Geoffrey Wythenshaw. It’s produced by an American, Fleece, is directed by Simon Usher and stars Roddy MaudeRoxby who was in the original 1959 production of One Way Pendulum and went on to appear in films including Shadowlands, Clint Eastwood’s White Hunter, Black Heart and (as the voice of Edgar) Walt Disney’s The Aristocats. www.ticketweb.co.uk 020 7287 2875 September 7 to October 2
Start Garden Party Clarence House, London The Prince of Wales is joining forces with musicians, comedians and environmental experts for a unique festival in the heart of London. He is opening up his own gardens at Clarence House, with his neighbours’ at Lancaster House and Marlborough House. Each area of the Garden Party will be curated by a celebrity champion: Musical Programme (Jools Holland), Debate (Jonathan Dimbleby, Sanjeev Bhaskar); Comedy (Marcus Brigstocke, Hugh Dennis); Growing and Gardens (Alan Titchmarsh); Food and The Great Outdoors (Kate Humble); Ecocars (Roger Saul and Kevin McCloud); Fashion (Dame Vivienne Westwood) www.startuk.org September 8-19
Beaulieu International Autojumble Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7ZN Beaulieu’s most famous event takes place in the grounds of the National Motor Museum. It’s the biggest outdoor sale of motoring items this side of the Atlantic. All kinds of classic motoring ephemera - motoring parts, accessories, automobilia, literature, tools and clothing - and hundreds of classics on offer, from restoration projects to cars in concours condition. www.beaulieushop.co.uk 01590 612888 September 11-12
Kings Place Festival various, Kings Cross, London Medieval hip-hop, sculptures by David Bailey, artwork from the Arctic, a farmers’ market and instruments made of rubbish are just some of the surprises in store among 100 Music, Spoken Word & Visual Art performances in 4 days; plus art exhibitions, café, bar & restaurant www.kingsplace.co.uk Box Office, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG, 020 7520 1490 September 9-12
Battle of Britain Weekend RAF Museum London, Grahame Park Way, London NW9 5LL A family weekend consisting of re-enactors, talks, tours and more. Vintage buses transport from local stations, re-enactments inc. Spitfire Scramble, Land Girls with Belmont Children’s Farm, archive film and classic movies, make and keep model Spitfires, live bands playing Battle of Britain inspired music. Saturday: Unique Debate: The Battle of Britain – From Both Sides. Sunday: Battle of Britain Spitfire & Hurricane Flypast and Fancy Dress Competition. Free. www.rafmuseum.org September 11, to September 12
PSP Southampton Boat Show Mayflower Park and Town Quay, Southampton SO15 1HJ [mass transport recommended] A fun-filled day out, whatever your marine interest or skill level. It features a truly spectacular Show marina, with over 2km of pontoons, over 1,000 boats of all sizes and around 500 exhibitors. Try a boat for free, see a summer pantomime, try zorbing, diving or climbing, and explore the depths of the ocean with the Science of the Sea feature. www.southamptonboatshow.com 0871 230 7140 September 10-19
Panel discussion: Age of Instability English-Speaking Union, 37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED Richard Albright, Economic Minister, U.S. Embassy, David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times, and Sumio Kusaka, Consul General, Embassy of Japan, will hold a panel discussion about the ‘age of instability’ we find ourselves in. They will look at the political and economic factors that contributed to the fall of Lehmans, collapse of Iceland and disintegration of the subprime mortgage market, and at the emergence of a culture of risk and greed that made it possible to believe that greed was good and the good
Branching Out The Arboretum Trust, Kew at Castle Howard, York YO6O 7DA ‘Be Green, Bid for a Branch and Save Our Trees’ say the organizers of Branching Out, an exhibition of 120 plus works of art created by celebrities, craftsmen and artists from oak branches. Each branch, which is only 6 inches long, is personally signed by the creator, making these pieces very collectable as only one example of each will ever be made. On Thursday September 16 there will be a live auction of the branches at Bonhams’ New Bond Street headquarters and online auction through the charity website. The Prince of Wales is patron of the Trust. It has never been more important to support English woodland, with Oak Sudden Death Disease threatening to decimate the English Oak as Dutch Elm Disease did decades earlier. www.branching-out.co.uk email@example.com 01788 833000 September 11-12
times would last forever. £8.00 inc. drink, 6.30 pm www.esu.org 020 7529 1550 September 15 Monster Jam Reach for your ear plugs, Monster Jam is back with a UK tour. The high octane event is a stunning family show consisting of the coolest monster trucks
and freestyle motocross with some of the world’s best drivers, sickest tricks and craziest stunts. September 17th, 18th, 19th at the Birmingham NIA Arena; 18th, 19th at Manchester MEN Arena (yes, same dates); and October 9th at Cardiff Millennium Stadium. www.monsterjam.com 0844 338 8000 (Cardiﬀ 08442 777 888) September 17 to October 09
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. SEPTEMBER 19th: Music, Rachel Harrington Reared among the Pentecostal pines of Oregon, this contemporary singersongwriter in the roots tradition will be promoting her new album and charming the audience as she did during 2009’s mini-music festival, 2pm 25th and 26th: Civil War Skirmish and Drill Displays
Open 12.00-5.00pm. Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays and month of August Claverton Manor near Bath. 01225 460503 firstname.lastname@example.org www.americanmuseum.org
The Challenge of Climate Change: The Fulbright/Eccles Centre Lecture Conference Centre Auditorium, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB Lord David Puttnam explores the challenges of climate change on both sides of the Atlantic. He was chair of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, and has a long standing interest in environmental matters. He is Chancellor of the Open University, Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 and Chairman of Futurelab, has lived on both sides of the Atlantic, was Chair/ CEO of Columbia Pictures and produced Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields. 6.30pm www.bl.uk 01937 546546 September 15 Attingham Lecture: Rediscovering American Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York English-Speaking Union, 37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED The speaker, Morrison H. Heckscher, has been on the staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1969. In 2001 he was made Chairman of the American Wing. He has written extensively on American Furniture and Architecture. www.esu.org 020 7529 1550 September 22 Mozart’s La Fintas Greenwich Playhouse, Greenwich Station Forecourt, 189 Greenwich High Road, London SE10 8J Two early Mozart operas La Finta Semplice (The Pretended Simpleton) on the 23rd and La Finta Giardiniera (The Pretended Garden Girl) on the 24th, in bilingual versions that combine dialogues in English and arias in Italian performed in an intimate atmosphere. www.galleontheatre.co.uk email@example.com 020 8858 9256 September 23-24
Jane Austen Festival Bath A selection of events to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen in the City she knew and wrote about include Europe’s largest Regency costumed Promenade where a multitude of people will parade along the grand Georgian terraces of C18th Bath in period costume, small soirees, theatre, concerts, walking tours, food, talks and of course dancing. Visitors are encouraged to wear 18th century costume too. visitbath.co.uk 01225 443000 September 17-25
London International Tattoo Convention Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, London E1W 2SF Claiming to be ‘the most important and crowded tattoo convention in the world’, this show attracts ink artists from around the globe including the U.S. with photographic exhibitions, artistic events, live rock bands, tribal dancers and seductive Burlesque performers. www.thelondontattooconvention.com September 24-26
Friday 24th September 2010 Europe v USA • • • • • • •
Coffee On Arrival Only Practice Balls On The Range Morning Foursomes 'The Vista' Course Full English Breakfast per person Afternoon Fourballs Buffet Lunch Prize Presentation Closing date for entries 10th September 2010 Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Or call 01689 896266 (option 2)
CHELSFIELD LAKES GOLF CENTRE
Chelsfield Lakes Golf Centre, Court Road, Orpington, Kent, BR6 9BX
Smile – We’re All Cats or Dogs Debbi Baron, an American in Paris, compares how the French and Americans react to strangers
he topic of cultural similarities and differences between, American (me) and the French (me by proximity) has always been fascinating and it is safe to say that we approach life from distinct points of view. A blog I read the other day made me smile because the topic was, well, about smiling and the French. A noticeable cultural difference if there ever was one! The author described how Parisians are a particularly unsmiling lot compared with our American penchant to the smile when out and about. Having lived in Paris for well over a decade, I can say from experience that this observation is generally true. Not ALL Parisians frown ALL the time, but it tends to be their default public face. It’s useful for neophyte or bewildered American travellers to France to know what’s behind this difference, so an explanation is in order. Cultural analysis is tough to address without generalizing and using stereotypes,
so for argument sake I‘ll use some commonly held stereotypes and some analogies to illuminate this noteworthy topic. Let me clear up one important thing first, Parisians are to the French like New Yorkers are to the rest of Americans. Suﬃce it to say that there is a reason Parisians believe they share a bond with New Yorkers. It has something to do with big over-crowded places and propensities towards centre of the universe thinking. Now there’s a provocative start! Contrary to popular belief, we have more in common with each other than differences and the divergences are easy to spot because they are significant and immediately noticeable. Very unlike what I experienced living in the UK, where differences were subtle and confusing. Let’s start with ‘French people are so arrogant!’ Allow me to offer up an animal analogy – when confronted with a stranger, dogs wag their tail and
investigate immediately whereas cats act aloof and observe from afar until they choose, if ever, to engage. Staying in the realm of gross generalization, in my experience Americans are like dogs and the French are like cats. With me so far? North Americans, and indeed most Anglo-Saxons, lean towards affability when it comes to dealing with strangers. For the French, the opposite is true; someone unknown is dealt with at arm’s length from behind an ever-present façade that protects one’s privacy. When there is no relationship with someone, the French “will recreate distance with silence, the American with conversation...”. The French perceive silence as neutral while most Anglo-Saxons perceive it as unpleasant at best and intimidating at worst. Americans are immediate and friendly, while just like cats, the French are reserved and gradual. It is this reserve one sees on the street. Our ‘nice until proven unworthy’ AngloSaxon demeanour is distinctly contrary to ‘wary until proven worthy’ French behaviour. Like the cat, the French want proof that a more in-depth exchange with an unknown is going to be worth their effort. Underpinning a French person’s vision of oneself is the belief that the individual is sacrosanct above all else. Being reserved guards against squandering their hard-earned knowledge and intellect, which for the French is tantamount to being a distinct, indivis-
ible entity, i.e., an individual. In being an individual, one has responsibilities towards the less fortunate. Curiously the ‘I’ sustains the ‘WE’ via a ‘Supreme Being’, otherwise known as the government. This allows the revered ONE to acquit themselves of their duty and to whinge about it at the same time. To the French, Americans are individualists whose responsibility to society lies in making sure one takes care of oneself; others are expected to do the same and not whinge about it. Privacy notwithstanding, this French individual with societal responsibilities will not hesitate to - in fact believes they have a duty to - correct and even debate with anyone, about anything! To the French, knowledge is all-powerful, hence imprecision needs to be put right immediately. Candid and above all very direct, they can be quite abrupt and peremptory. For a lovable American golden retriever, this will seem like impatience verging on rudeness, since for us, tactful diplomacy tends to be our first approach with strangers. But picture a cat thumping its tail as the hand of the ‘tail-wagger’ approaches. Stereotypically for a French person, the American tendency toward politeness, i.e., ‘niceness’ is seen as very naïve and smiling at everyone misplaced, so their hiss shouldn’t be a surprise to you. Even worse for them is British ‘diplomacy’, which translates as beating around the bush and obfuscation and deserves a big swipe of the paw. But once the wary, tail thumping hisser has assessed their adversary, their own kind or others, let the games begin for they place very high value on the art of conversation. Luckily for me, since I grew up in a family of cat loving debaters, the first French business meeting was not too much of a shock and the first dinner party was actually amusing, if not electrifying. For the rest
of my poor happy go lucky associates, these were downright traumatising! Northern logic and southern passion combined with the rigours of Cartesian education allow the French to process and explain their points extremely rationally and forcefully. Discussion is a game, an opportunity for debate and passionate argument on any topic, during which you will witness high drama, if not downright stroppiness. Americans in general tend to blanch at the intensity and speed of these discussions, which unnervingly end with no conclusion drawn and are usually conducted sotto voce, as are most verbal exchanges here. Since they are perceived as entertainment and proof of conviction, the French often protest that Americans lecture rather than converse as we insist on an outcome, which the French perceive as not the point. To them we converse at high decibel levels, which French people see as rude and an invasion of others’ privacy. Amusingly during these ‘intellectual exchanges’ we do share one common trait; the French interrupt each other just like any of us good North Americans (conversely not like the British). So be prepared, en garde! my intrepid Rin Tin Tin, if the cat has decided to play with you, enter the game and participate appropriately.
So, unrepentant smiles and niceness versus the assertive socialist individual, what to make of it all? These differences are actually variations on a theme for our two proud democratic cultures. Understanding these divergent outlooks could help you discover that the French are among the friendliest and most helpful people around (always remembering Parisians and New Yorkers are in a category unto themselves). When you get a chance to venture across or under the Channel, put this analogy to the test. Try some cat behaviour and see if you find a similar response. If not you can always bark and wag your tail, smile and kill them with niceness. After all, these are part of our American armour. H
Eagles in the burning blue
A Hawker Hurricane, as flown by most of the American pilots in the Battle of Britain PHOTO: ARPINGSTONE
John Michaelson reflects on the part played by American pilots in the Royal Air Force during and after the Battle of Britain, in this extract from Bravery, Sacrifice, Freedom, published by Newsdesk Communications Ltd in association with Royal Air Force Media and Communications, Headquarters Air Command
William Meade Lindsley “Billy” Fiske III was an Olympic champion and a socialite, marrying the English aristocrat Rose, Countess of Warwick. His fighter plane was hit during the Battle of Britain. Refusing to bail out in case his plane crashed into civilian buildings, he landed but was badly burnt and died of shock in hospital. On July 4th, 1941, a tablet in his honour was unveiled in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral reading: “An American Citizen who died that England might live”
rthur Donahue, a Minnesota farm boy, took a bus to Canada and joined the RAF in 1940. He wrote to his parents that he was doing this because he did not want to have to fight Hitler in his own backyard. By the time the US entered the war in December 1941, approximately 7,000 Americans had done likewise. It was not easy for Americans to join the British forces. Under the strict Neutrality Acts, it was a federal offence to fight for Britain. An American citizen who did so not only risked his life, but also his citizenship and liberty. Yet so many went that by the time ‘Nick’ Knilans from Wisconsin approached the Canadian border in October 1941 he was greeted by a Canadian immigration officer with the welcome, “I suppose you’ve come to join the Air Force as well?” Knilans was following in the footsteps of the 11 young Americans who fought in the Battle of Britain and a host of other volunteers, many of whom would subsequently be transformed into the ‘Eagle Squadrons’ and, eventually, form the nucleus of the USAAF 4th Fighter Group.
They were characters to a man. Jim Goodson wore a monocle and the RAF’s Distinguished Flying Cross. When General Ira Eaker, commander of the Eighth Air Force, asked him to remove the latter from his new USAAF uniform he replied: “King George pinned this on my chest and only the King can remove it.” When asked why he wore the monocle he would quietly say that it “had no effect in London, but would stop the traffic in Chicago”. Vic France, from Dallas, had his Eagle Squadron shoulder flash re-embroidered so that the letters ‘USA’ were delicately over-sewn with ‘TEXAS’. He also replaced his standard issue RAF flying boots with ‘standard issue’ cowboy boots and always flew correctly attired for the range. Two hundred and forty-four Americans served with the Eagle Squadrons in the RAF, alongside 16 British pilots. The attrition rate was high, 77 of them falling with the Eagles and a further 31 after they had transferred to the USAAF. Not only young men came to
Europe to fly. In 1940, the American racing aviatrix Jackie Cochran had the idea of forming a female corps of transport pilots. Her idea was rejected, so she took her young women to Britain where the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) welcomed them. In all, 27 American women flew with the ATA. John Gillespie Magee Jr of Connecticut, was one of those who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force before America entered the war. He became a Spitfire pilot, and was killed in December 1941 at the age of 19. He lies at Scopwick, Lincolnshire, where his gravestone is inscribed with the first and last lines of his poem, High Flight: “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth – Put out my hand, and touched the Face of God.” Of the 11 Americans who flew fighters in the Battle of Britain, four were killed during the Battle itself and five died in action later. A British pilot who flew with ‘Shorty’ Keough, ‘Red’ Tobin and ‘Andy’ Mamedoff in 609 Sqn recalls his comrades: “They were typical Americans, amusing, always ready with some devastating wisecrack (frequently at the expense of authority) and altogether excellent company. Our three Yanks became quite an outstanding feature of the Squadron.” Billy Fiske was a dashing young New Yorker. Wealthy and privileged, he had already found fame as an Olympic bobsleigh champion and as a racing driver, and had studied at Cambridge. He returned to England in 1939 and joined the RAF claiming to be Canadian. He completed his training in July 1940 and went to join 601 Sqn at RAF Tangmere. On 16 August Fiske flew two operations. During the second, his aircraft was damaged. Understanding the acute shortage of fighters,
he nursed his Hurricane back to Tangmere. Although he landed intact, the aircraft caught fire and he was severely burned. Fiske died of his injuries the next day. Fiske was buried at Boxgrove Priory. In 1941 a plaque in his honour was placed in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. It reads: “An American Citizen who died that England might live.” When Sir Archibald Sinclair, Secretary of State for Air, unveiled the plaque on 4 July – Independence Day – 1941, he said: “Here was a young man for whom life held much. Under no kind of compulsion he came to fight for Britain. He came and he fought, and he died.” Those words stand for other young men who died in the air war over Europe, and for all of those from both our nations who have died since while swirling up John Magee’s “long, delirious, burning blue” in the cause of freedom. We salute them all. H John Michaelson is a Director of the Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation (RAFMAF), based in Washington. RAFMAF promotes the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force Museum in the United States and also helps underpin the close ties between the Royal Air Force and the air forces of the United States. John Michaelson is also a trustee of the Royal Air Force Museum.
The American Battle of Britain pilots eventually joined the newly-formed Eagle Squadrons and wore this patch
Our thanks to The Royal Air Force Museum for their help with this article. The Museum is planning a new Battle of Britain exhibition building at its Hendon site in London, the “Battle of Britain Beacon”, The Beacon will be a striking, landmark building which will do justice to this defining event in the world’s history. It will allow wider public access and ensure that the Museum’s unique collection of Battle of Britain aircraft, memorabilia and archives is preserved for the education and enjoyment of future generations, including the latest audio/visual techniques to bring to life all aspects of the Battle. They are fundraising at the moment as they hope to complete the project within the lifetime of the surviving Veterans of the Battle. To help, go to www.battleofbritainbeacon.org
Above: Fiske’s gravestone reads: “Born in Chicago June 4th 1911. Killed in action August 17th 1940. He died for England”
Arts Choice By Estelle Lovatt and Michael Burland
The Arboretum Trust, Kew at Castle Howard, York YO6O 7DA September 11–12 We’ve included this exhibition in our Diary Dates section as well as Arts as the 120 and more works of art created out of oak branches by celebrities, craftsmen and artists will be auctioned for charity. You can bid on them from August 26 on www.i-bidder.com – click on Branching Out Charity Timed Auction. All lots can be viewed on www.branching-out.co.uk and ‘in the wood’ from September 11–12 at Wild About Wood, The Arboretum, Joey Richardson, Eternal Seed
Castle Howard, Yorkshire YO60 7DA then on September 16th at Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, London W1S 1SR. One of the most beautiful works is by Joey Richardson, a British artist and woodturner whose work is particularly admired in the U.S. Her Eternal Seed contains images of trees, flowers, leaves and butterflies as well as piercing, which implies absence. It represents Castle Howard and its Arboretum. A butterfly perches on a leaf carved from America’s Historic Horse Chestnut Tree, the last survivor, of thirteen Horse-Chestnut trees, planted by George Washington on Faquier St. in Fredericksbug, VA.
L.S. Lowry, A Landmark, 1936, Oil on canvas, 43.4 x 53.6 cm COURTESY THE LOWRY COLLECTION, SALFORD, ©THE ESTATE OF L.S. LOWRY
The Loneliness of Lowry
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AL • to October 30 Think Lowry and most people think of urban scenes, stick figures on their way to work in grimy Salford. But there’s a surprising side to LS Lowry that this gallery, in a Grade 1 listed villa in the Lake District, unveils. With 50 works on show, The Loneliness of Lowry is the first major solo exhibition of Lowry outside Salford for five years. It offers unique insights
1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 mathematics in nature
The Ice House Gallery, Holland Park, Kensington, London W8 • to August 31 Be quick for this one… An exhibition of new photographs by Simon Williams features striking images which reveal mathematical patterns that are common throughout the natural world. Mathematics is closely related to our concepts of beauty. The Fibonacci Sequence is a series of numbers (in the title) developed by an Italian mathematician: by adding two consecutive numbers you find the next in the sequence and it’s found throughout the natural world. This exhibition of stunning new photographic works of patterns and proportions found in nature looks at how natural designs optimise the chances of success for plants and animals.
Williams’ amazing photographs show the natural world through math
into the artist’s loneliness, focusing on seascapes and landscapes as well as portraits and the expected urban landscapes. Lowry claimed none of his paintings would have happened had he not been lonely.
Jeremy Deller, It Is What It Is / Baghdad, 5 March 2007
Baghdad, 5 March 2007: A New Display With Jeremy Deller
Salvator Rosa (1615-1673): Bandits, Wilderness and Magic Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich September 15 to November 28
Salvator Rosa invented a range of new types of painting; novel allegorical pictures, distinguished by a haunting and melancholy poetry; fanciful portraits of romantic and enigmatic figures; macabre and horrific subjects; highly original philosophical subjects, which bring into painting some of the major philosophical and scientific concerns of his age. Unlike Caravag-
Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ from September 11 Salvator Rosa, Jason Charming the Dragon, c. 1665-1670, oil on canvas, 78 x 66.5 cm THE MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
gio, Rosa was truly a rebel, radical, anti-clerical, associated with libertine thought, and often in very real danger from the Inquisition.
Brighton Art Fair
Brighton Corn Exchange • September 16 to 19
he Brighton Art Fair, held every autumn at the beautiful Regency Corn Exchange in the heart of the city, showcases over 120 contemporary artists: painters, printmakers, ceramicists, photographers and sculptors. They have been selected in a rigorous and competitive selection process to include as wide a variety of methods and subjects as possible. The artists themselves sell their work direct to the visitors, who can learn about their creative inspirations, techniques and future projects directly from them. Frances Doherty, Thistle Top, for sale at Brighton Art Fair
On 5 March 2007 a bomb exploded in the historic Al-Mutanabbi street book market in Baghdad, Iraq, killing thirty-eight people and wounding many more. No one has ever claimed responsibility for this horrendous atrocity, which is widely considered an attack on Baghdad’s cultural life as much as its citizens. The Museum has worked with the British Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller to present the actual car bomb vehicle, destroyed in the attack. It is a major new acquisition which serves as evidence of the impact of modern war on civilians and will be the focus for a series of open conversations about the conflict in Iraq. The IWM points out that at the beginning of the 20th Century, ten per cent of all casualties in conflict were civilians; now that figure is 90%. The car was previously shown in Deller’s project in the USA, It Is What It Is, which toured the States. It will now be displayed in Imperial War Museum London’s main atrium, surrounded by some of the most powerful military hardware of the past 100 years. On September 11 at 2pm, there is an ‘In Conversation’ event in which Deller discusses contemporary war art with the Imperial War Museum’s Head of Art, Roger Tolson and curator Nato Thompson.
Liminality: Toward the Unknown Region
Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, Wiltshire • September 13 to November 12
Dmitri Kasterine, Stanley Kubrick, London, 1969 © DMITRI KASTERINE / NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON
Twentieth Century Portraits: Photographs by Dmitri Kasterine National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE September 11 to April 3, 2011
Kasterine photographed some of the most eminent cultural figures of the late C20th, including Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon, Stanley Kubrick and David Hockney. These are among 20 new acquisitions to be shown alongside his portraits of Kingsley and Martin Amis, Roald Dahl, David Niven and Robert Graves. The son of a White Russian army oﬃcer and his British wife, Kasterine was born in London in 1932, became a wine salesman, Lloyd’s broker, racing driver and pilot. His photographic career began in 1961 and his work appeared in Queen magazine, the Daily Telegraph Magazine, Harpers & Queen, The Times, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview, and The New York Times. In 1986, he moved to the U.S. Kasterine is currently working on a book documenting the residents of Newburgh, New York – you can see his portraits of Brooklyn residents at www.kasterine.com.
Liminality is a period of transition, a situation leading to new perspectives. In Christian theology there is a “passing through” of this world to the next. Salisbury Cathedral, an ancient spiritual site, is the perfect place to view this exhibition of large sculptures in different media – glass, stone, painted bronze, sheet metal, mixed media, welded steel and wood - by Jay Battle, Sean Henry, James Jones, Jonathan Loxley, Rebecca Newnham, Keith Rand, Roger Stephens, and Benjamin Storch. In and around the Cathedral you can also see other contemporary artworks for which the Cathedral is noted, including pieces by Elisabeth Frink, Gabriel Loire, William Pye and Emily Young.
Ben Storch, Motion III
Suzy Reed: The Hendrix Collection
Suzy Reed Boutique, RedReed House, 7 Bramley Road, London W10 6SZ from September 18 Legendary music photographer David Redfern took many iconic images of rock and jazz artists from Miles Davis to Ella Fitzgerald and Dylan to The Beatles. Now Redfern has teamed with fashion designer
Suzy Reed to create the Hendrix Collection, a collection of textile products and fabrics inspired by David’s photos. The launch, a selling exhibition, focuses on Jimi Hendrix to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the guitarist’s death in London. The collection features full size images of David’s original portraits as well as his images transposed by Suzy onto shirts, dresses, waistcoats, scarves and cushion covers. David Redfern’s evocative photo of Jimi Hendrix at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 is transferred into something new for your home by Suzy Reed
Josephine King: Life So Far
In another selling exhibition, 50 selected ceramicists, both well-established names and new talents, will show and sell their latest work, with a variety of styles, techniques, textures and colors and objects ranging from functional tableware to purely aesthetic or quirky one-off pieces. There will be demonstrations of the various techniques and craft activities for children on the Saturday and Sunday in which they can create funky key rings, badges, mugs and magnets inspired by the ceramics on view.
Josephine King’s self-portraits illustrate the trauma her extreme bi-polar disorder. Over the last five years she has produced 80 paintings, full-length portraits often surrounded by distressing texts that try to explain the confusion, melancholia, drug abuse, destructive relationships and isolation her illness causes. What could have been depressing is actually intimate, inspiring and curiously beautiful.
Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London E2 September 17 to 19
Emily Myers, Faceted porcelain bottles
Riflemaker Gallery, 79 Beak Street, Soho, London W1F 9SU September 13 to October 30
Arts News by Estelle Lovatt
neighbourhood in southwest Florida is clubbing together to collect money to save an iconic symbol of US patriotism. The town of Cape Coral is home to one of only three editions of Felix de Weldon’s famous ‘US Marine Memorial’ – aka the Iwo Jima memorial – which honours Marines killed in action. The work was inspired by a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of the 1945 US raid on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. The original is located in Washington, DC. De Weldon cast the Florida statue in 1954, and two others the next year. The Florida monument is in grave need of work to tackle the 158 stress cracks so far acknowledged; parts of the monument are even being kept together with plastic ties. Around $47,000 of the $85,000 needed to restore the work has been raised. H
Ceramics In The City 2010
THE PHEASANT at Keyston F
rom outside, all thatched roof, oak beams, and log fire, The Pheasant reminded me of that traditional kind of village pub I thought all pubs looked like until I arrived in England more years ago than I like to mention. Recently, the Pheasant came in second in Gordon Ramsey’s F Word finals which is why Nelly Pateras and I took the two hour trip one Sunday afternoon from London to Cambridgeshire. The Pheasant was already full when we arrived in the dining area (one of three) that overlooked the garden. Most were regular customers and a couple sitting near us proudly put in that locals did not have to be told by Gordon it’s one of the best gastro pubs in England. Jay and Taffeta Scrimshaw, who took over The Pheasant in 2005, reward their support by buying their produce and supplies locally. Previously, Jay worked at Bibendum in South Kensington and then the White Swan in Fetter Lane. His favourite culinary area is the south of France which is reflected on a few dishes on the menu. Jay stresses, however, they are not in London but in the country where people want hearty, well-cooked food. While studying the menu, Nelly enjoyed a Rhubarb Bellini (£7.00)
Reviewed by Virginia E. Schultz
and I a delicious spicy Bloody Mary (£7.50). Nelly knew at once she wanted the Lamb Sweetbreads served with béarnaise (£7.50) as her first course. Actually, she likes her sweetbreads plain and the béarnaise was for me to taste. I debated between Arnold Bennett (omelette made with smoked haddock, £7.50) or Bubble and Squeak with Fried Egg, Watercress and home made salad cream (£6.00). As much as Arnold enticed me, for a Sunday lunch in a pub in the country, it had to be bubble and squeak. You’ll love it, our waitress assured me. No idle boast. I did. For her main course, Nelly had the Roast Skate with fennel, watercress, blood orange and brown shrimp (£17.00) and I, after considering the Roast Lamb with shallot, paloise tart (£17.50) decided Sunday lunch in the country had to be Roast Beef with roast turnip, carrot & swede puree, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding with gravy and horseradish cream (£15.50). The Skate was delicate and perfectly cooked and a lot fewer calories than my excellent roast beef. Now you know why Nelly, who is French, manages to stay thin while I battle the bulge. The Apple Crumble with Custard
(£6.50) almost seduced me, but I decided - calorie wise - it was best to join Nelly and finish with a selection of homemade ice cream and granitas (£5.50). A simple ending to a delicious meal and a very wise choice. Neal’s Yard cheeses are an alternate to the desserts. As I was driving, I stuck to water and it was Nelly who tasted the superb and reasonably priced wine chosen by Master of Wine John Hoskins. If I have a complaint it’s that the service was rather lackadaisical. I couldn’t make up my mind if it was because we were from out of town or that on a lovely warm sunny afternoon our waitress wanted to be anywhere but in a pub serving food to strangers. Note: There are kids cookery classes held during the year which have proved very popular. There is also a supper club held every Thursday of the month. There are only thirty places and reservations are necessary. Menus vary according to the seasons. July was suckling pig in the garden.
Loop Road, Keyston, Cambridgeshire, PE28 ORE Tel. 01832 710 241 or 0871 426 4418
LEONG’S LEGEND T
he name Leong’s Legend refers to the classical Chinese novel The Water Margin which tells the tale of the rebel Jiang and his 107 comrades who rise up against a corrupt government during the Song dynasty, while taking refuge on Mount Liang (aka Leong). They keep opening... Chinese restaurants specializing in all types of cuisine from Sichuan to Cantonese and every other part and region of that vast country. Some are quite good, some best forgotten, and one or two extraordinary. Leong Legend in Bayswater is the third Taiwanese restaurant in the Leong Legend Ltd. chain to be opened and I couldn’t help wonder how they would cope in an area which already has a number of popular Chinese restaurants. Entering the restaurant that evening, actress Maxine Howe and I were impressed by the dark wooden interior with its low hanging lamps and wooden screens, reminiscent in style and atmosphere of an old Chinese inn. The heroes of Leong’s legend are painted on the walls and their arms are attractively hung as decoration. Perhaps because of all the wood, and
despite the fact most of the tables were occupied, there wasn’t that dense noisy atmosphere one too often finds in even the finest of Chinese restaurants. Taiwanese cuisine is a mixture of simple native cooking which became influenced by Ch’ing dynasty settlers from Fujian in southern China, followed by the Hakka from the Chinese coast, and lastly by a half century of Japanese occupation. Glancing over the menu I could see reflections from all these cuisines in the various dishes listed. As we studied the menu, we had a cold glass of soya bean milk (£1.50), a very popular breakfast drink, which was actually quite nice. Lawrence Yew, the manager, was our guide that evening and although not Taiwanese himself, was exceptionally knowledgeable about both the food and Taiwan itself. Maxine, being braver than I am, had Bean Curd with 1000 years egg (£4.00) as her Dim Sum while I stuck to Prawn Dumplings (£2.50). She enjoyed it immensely (it really isn’t a thousand years old) as I did the dumplings. I was advised to have the Crab meat & Pork Siu Loung Bao soup dumplings (£6.00)
and both Maxine and I agreed it was definitely a dish we’d have again. Head chef Michael Tan frequently visits Taiwan to learn new as well as classic recipes. He takes pride in being able to offer his customers a varied cuisine that is tasty in its Chinese tradition and yet different at the same time. We enjoyed almost every dish we tried, although there were one or two that stood out for me. One was casket (£4.80), a mixture of minced chicken and vegetables in a crispy box shape of toast and the other was the stir fried chicken with rice wine, soya sauce and sesame oil (£7.80). Max especially liked the thin noodle with oyster soup (£5.00) and the sticky rice with shredded pork (£3.80). The mango pudding (£2.80) was a perfect dessert which we’d have again. I’d suggest you cap the meal with Chinese tea (£1.20) and then share the Bean Paste cake (£2.80) as Maxine and I did. Superb, slightly different Chinese food!
82 Queensway, Bayswater W2 3RL Tel. 020 7221 2280 www.leongslegend.com
BABBO RESTAURANT A
ccording to the menu, Babbo means “daddy” in Italian. However, the Babbo on Albermarle Street is a far cry from the kind of family run places I knew as a girl with “Babbo” in the kitchen and Mama running the show in the front of the house, I thought as I saw the glistening crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. But times change and Italian restaurants have come a long way since my Italian American boyfriend took me to his uncle’s tiny red checked tablecloth eatery on a side street. The greeting, however, was just as warm and friendly as I received all those years ago in Pennsylvania. My friend Sandy had been there a few weeks before and the staff remembered him. That doesn’t happen in many restaurants, especially those as crowded as Babbo was that evening. I knew from Sandy that the owner, Tatiana Joorabchian, a lawyer from Sao Paulo, Brazil, had always wanted to have her own business and decided to take the leap after meeting Tuscan born Chef Douglas Santi who was once apprenticed to Laurent Saudeau, Chef Paul Bocuse’s man Friday. Having visited Sao Paulo, where I ate the best pizza I had in my life, I was looking forward to the evening.
Comparing that large Brazilian restaurant with London’s Babbo may seem a stretch, but Sandy told me I had to have Babbo’s signature dish, lasagne al ragout di chianina (a Tuscan white breed of cattle) (£12.00) made from his grandmother’s guard-with-your-life recipe. This didn’t sound the kind of elegant food served at Michelin two star Manor de Boulaie, owned by Saudeau, where I dined a few years before. Ah, how wrong I was! But, let’s start at the beginning with the beef Carpaccio covered in parmesan cheese and served with the kind of mustard sauce that should be bottled and sold. I was enjoying each bite so much that Sandy had to remind me twice to taste his fried squid (£9.25) ...and I love fried squid. One can’t be in an Italian restaurant without meatballs and Sandy insisted we had to try Babbo’s meatballs with burrata cheese in tomato sauce (£8.50) ...wonderful! There are lasagnas and lasagnas, but how grandmother managed to keep her recipe (£10.25) a secret all these years I don’t know. Divine! Sandy had the Osso Bucco alla Milanese style (£26.00) with a trace of candy peel in the middle of the marrow of the meat. I’m not much for bone marrow so I by passed it and waited for his review.
There was a long pause before he said, “Okay.” I took a bite. It was not only too salty, but reminded me of a dish that was left in a pot too long. After his disappointing main course, Sandy ordered the selection of cheese (£12.00) which came without biscuits, but with a lovely honey and marmalade dip, making us wonder why we ever needed biscuits. Although we had not complained about the Osso Bucco, the waiter must have realized Sandy was unhappy because he brought him another plate with different cheeses to try. My Lemon pie with marshmallow (£5.00) was tasty, although my grandmother’s lemon meringue pie is better. Our bottle of Prosecco (£25.00) somehow didn’t taste as good as I’d a week before in Verona, but then the London weather was cold and rainy. A hot toddy might have been better. Wine by the bottle is expensive and since I was driving, Sandy had instead two delightful glasses of red wine. Yes, I told Sandy, I’d most happily go to Babbo with him when he returns to England in the fall.
39 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4Q Tel. 0203 205 1099 www.babborestaurant.co.uk
Bistro K’s Organic Salmon “Mi-Cuit”, with Fennel, Olive Oil & Hollandaise
SUSHI GA GA T
he surprising thing about Japanese restaurants in London is that the staff, including the chefs, are rarely Japanese. Walking into Sushi Ga Ga on Lisle Street I might have been in a restaurant in Hong Kong or Singapore. The menu too reflects this mixture of oriental cultures although the emphasis is on Japanese. Literally, sushi is fermented fish and rice preserved with salt that can be traced to southeast Asia and is still popular all over that region. Most of us know it as a Japanese dish topped with other ingredients such as fish or seafood. One might describe it as a Japanese form of fast food, especially after Maxine Howe and I observed the young chef behind a counter in the middle of the restaurant putting together the various dishes at racing speed for almost two hours. The actual food itself, however, is prepared in a kitchen below under the direction of head chef, James Fung. We started with Edamame (£3.50) and ate them right down to the last tiny bean inside. There are various kinds of Sushi Platters to be shared and we selected “Dream Team” which included six pieces of Nigiri Sushi and six pieces of Sashimi (raw fish) (£15.50)... all delicious. The King Prawn Tempura
(£11.50) came next and frankly, we could have stopped there. However, we bravely continued with the black cod in Miso (£17.00) and tenderloin of beef with Teriyaki sauce (£16.50). The beef was tender and rare and I would have it again, but I’d forget the black cod and have instead another order of salmon and seabass sashimi. Wine and soft drinks are offered, but being a Japanese restaurant, we enjoyed warm saki served to us in lovely blue and white pottery. Service was fast, eﬃcient and helpful. Jamie, the manager, had to be on her toes that evening as there was a continual turnover of customers, but the smile never left her face. I noted a number of Oriental families dining with their children (none of them, I might add, overweight!). Whether the dishes Maxine and I enjoyed were authentic is a question I can’t answer, but for me, Sushi Ga Ga would be the perfect place to stop before or after going to one of the nearby theatres or a day at the Portrait Gallery or National Gallery on Trafalgar Square only a short walk away.
16 Lisle Street, London WC2H 7BE Tel. 0207 2876 606 www.sushigaga.com
On our recent visit to Bistro K, Michael the publisher was taught by Chef Armand Sablon to prepare a dish. It was delicious, and if Michael can make it, it must be simple! As Armand says, “The quality and freshness of the ingredients is key to the flavour, and the success of the dish”. This dish would also make a great starter. Ingredients for one: baby asparagus, 3 (trimmed) Fresh organic Salmon (in strips) Hollandaise sauce (homemade) fennel leaves (shredded) Chives (chopped) Chervil (chopped) Lemon Juice Olive Oil Sea Salt Put a 6” metal ring onto greaseproof paper or parchment. Arrange the salmon strips in the bottom of the ring and pat down. Remove the ring and sprinkle with Sea Salt. Rub over with a little olive oil. Now prepare the salad: In a bowl put a little fennel. Add the Chervil, Chives, and the 3 Asparagus tops. Dress with a good squeeze of lemon juice, some olive oil and Sea Salt and toss. Put the salmon in a skillet and carefully pull the greaseproof out. Put the salmon in a warm oven for 1 ½ minutes until warm. Then transfer salmon to plate, dribble with Hollandaise, arrange the asparagus in a triangle on top, and sprinkle centre with the salad. Serve immediately.
Cellar Talk Champagne and Luxury Cars
Who could ask for more, asks Virginia E. Schultz “I drink it (Champagne) when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it when I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” – Madame Lily Bollinger
alon Privé has become Britain’s premier motor pageant with its blend of debuting supercars, rare classics and luxury brands. Organizers have combined entertainment, car parades and even managed perfect weather that afternoon in July. There was lovely Pommery Champagne to drink, as well as a delicious lunch. Later, while enjoying tea at the 5th Salon Privé held at the Hurlingham Club, I sat with several men who knew Las Vegas as well as I do London. It was all for a good cause, The Rainbow Trust for Children. 2010 is the 75th year of the Jaguar name and as I viewed a selection of heritage and modern Jaguars I sipped
another glass of Pommery. Among other cars were the Bugatti Type 57C (below), Lamborghini Superleggera, Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible, Panther Six (one of two only built), a 1932 Alfa Romeo Monza, and a Jaguar XKSS, chassis number 701, the first XKSS to be built. There were also 50s and 60s American cars, including a Cadillac Biarritz Convertible with its long body and tail fins that made it look as if it were about to take flight. Pommery was established in 1836, but it was the entrepreneurial widow, Jeanne-Alexandrine Louise Pommery, who made it internationally recognized. Like Billecart-Salmon, De Vonoge, and Taittinger, Pommery is a medium style champagne, referring to how full or light it is in the mouth. Houses that prefer a lighter bodied style usually use a higher proportion of chardonnay grapes and rely on vineyards known to yield delicate bodied wines. This is the type of Champagne I prefer, although I’m not been known to turn down a heavier one such as Bollinger or Krug. As Madame de Pompadour remarked,
Champagne was the only drink that left a woman still beautiful after drinking it. Of course, it could be all those bubbles in one’s eyes hiding the truth. As always, Pommery winemaker, Alain de Polignac, is following the seasons with care. Three hundred hectares of vineyards, 18 kilometres of arched underground cellars and 25 million bottles of Champagne result in eight magnificent cuvées ranging from the classic Pommery Brut to the royal Grand Cru 1995 and, not to be forgotten, “Louise” named after Madame Pommery. Green ethics are applied to Pommery’s viticulture and they were the first Champagne producer to introduce lighter weight bottles. The use of herbicides has been reduced with alternative methods such as tillage and putting land under grass, and natural predators have been introduced to ward off birds from the vines instead of using harmful nets. H
WINE OF THE MONTH Vaeni Naoussa Xinomavro Naoussa 2004, around £10 Zorba the Greek is dancing in the background as friends and I drink this. It was only after I praised this wine that I learned it was from Greece and the reason for their choice of music. We enjoyed it with Braised Greek chicken with olives, grilled aubergine and steamed carrots with a hint of mint. The dessert was pineapple sorbet. Divine... both wine and food.
dicKinson B cowan 214 greaT porTland sTreeT london w1w 5qn
dickinson B. cowan www.docTorcowan.co.uK
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La Capanna For the finest Italian dining experience in the most picturesque of settings, perfect for that romantic dinner for two, a family celebration or business entertainment.
A la Carte Menu – Individually Priced Sunday Lunch, 3 courses only £25.95 Children’s Menu – £12.00
Lunch at La Capanna 1 course £11.50 2 courses £15.50 3 courses £19.50 Available lunchtime Mon – Sat
BOOK NOW FOR CHRISTMAS
We specialize in Wedding feasts with a difference 48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey
With riverside Italian Garden for al fresco dining
Book your table online on our website: www.lacapanna.co.uk Business account customers and party bookings are welcome. All major credit cards accepted.
“La Capanna must boast the prettiest interior of any restaurant I have ever dined in”
– David Billington, Hello Magazine
Coﬀee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 The Suez canal was opened in 1869 - which seas did it link? 2 In 1858 where in the USA did Edwin Drake drill the first production oil well? (1 point for state, 2 points for town) 3 When was the first offshore oil well drilled off the American coast? a) 1866 b) 1896 c) 1916 4 What is calcium carbonate normally known as? 5 What was the name of Tarzan’s chimpanzee in the movies/TV shows? a) Panza b) Jagwa c) Cheeta
6 What did Jimmy Wales create? a) the Long Branch Saloon b) the American Saddlebred horse breed c) Wikipedia 7 What do you call a group of cockroaches? 8 Which is the shortest of the human digits? 9 What do Ophiophages eat? a) buffalo b) snakes c) river fish 10 What is made using soda, lime and silica? (not a drink!) 11 Where were the streets first paved with tar?
12 In which century were the streets first paved with tar? a) C8th b) C18th c) C20th 13 Arlington Pippin, Worcester Black, and Bartlett are all varieties of what fruit? 14 Where was Kerosene first distilled? 15 In which century was the earliest known oil well? a) C4th b) C14th c) C17th d) C19th 16 How often are brain cells replaced? 17 What is the common name for the medical condition epistaxis?
Answers below The Johnsons Competition Winners Tickets to see Prisoner of Second Avenue were won last month by Susan Wolfe of London W8.
Coﬀee Break Quiz Answers: 1. The Mediterranean and the Red Sea; 2. Titusville, Pennsylvania; 3. b) 1896; 4. Chalk; 5. Cheeta (no chimpanzee was in the original books); 6. c) Wikipedia; 7. An intrusion; 8. The little toe; 9. Snakes; 10. Glass; 11. Baghdad; 12. a) C8th; 13. Pear; 14. Iran – by Razi 865 – 925AD, a great polymath credited with numerous discoveries; 15. a) C4th - in China; 16. Never; 17. Nosebleed.
It happened one... September September 1, 1897 – The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.
September 2, 1789 – The United States Department of the Treasury is founded.
September 3, 301 – one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, San Marino, is founded by Saint Marinus. September 4, 1923 – Maiden flight of the first U.S. airship, the USS Shenandoah.
September 5, 1836 – Sam Houston is elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas.
September 6, 1949 – Former WWII sharpshooter Howard Unruh kills 13 neighbors in Camden, New Jersey, with a souvenir Luger, becoming the first U.S. single-episode mass murderer.
September 7, 1979 – The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, better known as ESPN, starts. September 8, 1930 – 3M begins marketing Scotch transparent tape. September 9, 1543 – Nine month old Mary Stuart, is crowned “Queen of Scots” at Stirling.
September 10, 2008 – The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, arguably the biggest scientific experiment in history, is first powered up.
September 11, 1941 – Ground is broken for the construction of The Pentagon.
James Dean, died tragically young in September 1955
September 12, 1940 – Paleolithic cave paintings are discovered in Lascaux, France.
September 13, 1899 – Henry Bliss is the first person in the US to be killed in an automobile accident.
September 14, 1960 – The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is founded in Baghdad.
September 15, 2008 – Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. History to date. September 16, 1919 – The American Legion is incorporated.
September 17, 2001 – The New York Stock Exchange reopens for trading after the September 11 Attacks, the longest closure since the Great Depression.
September 18, 1932 – Actress Peg Entwistle commits suicide by jumping from the letter “H” in the Hollywood sign. September 19, 1900 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid commit their first robbery together.
September 20, 1946 – The first Cannes Film Festival is held. September 21, 1897 – The “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial
is published in the New York Sun.
September 22, 1888 – The first issue of National Geographic Magazine is published
September 23, 1909 – The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra), a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, is first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois. September 24, 1968 – 60 Minutes debuts on CBS.
September 25, 1942 – Swiss Police are ordered to deny entry into Switzerland to Jewish refugees. September 26, 1820 – Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson proved tomatoes weren’t poisonous by eating several on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey. September 27, 1998 – Google is founded.
September 28, 2008 – SpaceX launches Falcon 1, the first ever private spacecraft, into orbit. September 29, 1789 – The U.S. War Department first establishes a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.
September 30, 1955 – Film icon James Dean dies in a road accident near Cholame, California aged 24. H
Scouting For Girls in, Zutons out for Harvest at Jimmy’s
he Zutons’ plans to play at the bucolic food & music festival in deepest Suffolk have been shattered due to bass player Russ Pritchard’s surgery on a serious knee injury. They have been replaced in the Saturday night headline slot by hitmakers Scouting For Girls, She’s So Lovely, Heartbeat, Elvis Ain’t Dead, and the recent No.1 This Ain’t A Love Song (It’s Goodbye). Other acts include The Futureheads, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, Newton Faulkner, Kate Rusby, Mexican new-folkers Vadoinmessico, and the marvelous growling mouth harp-led blues of Son Of Dave. Unusually, food also takes centre stage at Harvest, with a regional farmers market, cooking master classes, demonstrations and appearances by more celebrity chefs – some Michelin starred – than you can shake a ladle at. There are also gardening workshops and masterclasses in the walled gardens of the farm and kids will love ‘Charlie & Lola’s Best Bestest Play’, a pirate adventure, woodland crafts, adventure playground, den building in the woods and cooking lessons among other delights for the youngsters. September 11-12, www.harvestatjimmys.com Scouting for Girls
The Moody Blues: l. to r. Graeme, John, Justin
LIVE AND KICKING
The Moody Blues
ollowing a successful U.S. tour the Moodies are back home! Justin Hayward told The American, “We loved every moment of the US tour. The audiences loved it – everyone was happy – but boy was it hot!! Thank goodness travel in the US is so easy on our tour bus, and our hotels, mostly Marriotts and Four Seasons were excellent. We love touring, and I am sure there is something for everybody in the current show, as we play songs from most of the albums that we have made over the years. For me it’s all about the songs. Being in a great band, that does my songs brilliantly, is just about all I ever wanted.” The Moody Blues (Justin, John Lodge and Graeme Edge), are famous for their albums Days Of Future Passed and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and songs like Question and the immortal Nights in White Satin (as well as appearing on The Simpsons and TV ads for VISA). “The Day We Meet Again” tour celebrates the 40th anniversary of Question topping the UK singles charts and the DVD release of Murray Lerner’s Isle of White festival film from 1970. Dates: September 7th Brighton Centre; 8th Plymouth Pavilions; 10th Cardiff, St. David’s Hall; 11th Birmingham, LG Arena; 12th Sheﬃeld City Hall; 14th Manchester Apollo; 15th Newcastle City Hall; 16th Liverpool Philharmonic; 18th Nottingham, Royal Centre; 19th Ipswich Regent; 20th Oxford New Theatre; 22nd Bristol Hippodrome; 23rd Bournemouth BIC; 25th London, O2 Arena.
Wonder of Wonders – Lynda Carter plays London
es, THAT Lynda Carter! TV’s Wonder Woman sings solo in West End for the first time in 30 years when she treads the boards of the Garrick Theatre on Sep. 17 and 18, following U.S. dates. Lynda will be singing songs from her recent solo album, At Last, backed by a live band, showcasing her considerable vocal talent. Although she’s better known for her acting, Lynda has been singing since she was 14 and released her first album in the late 1970s. In 1979 she sold out the London Palladium within hours of tickets going on sale. Thirty years on, At Last is her second solo album.
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Lady Antebellum Go Global Lady Antebellum flew into the UK for a short visit in August to promote their latest album and play a showcase gig in London. Dave Haywood talked to The American’s Michael Burland
couldn’t help but think it was too early in the morning to talk to a musician – especially one who’s suddenly become successful around the globe after a rocket rise to fame back home, and who’s just flown into a foreign country. So, er, sorry Dave. “Yeah,” chuckles the multi-instrumentalist, “We’re not sure what time it is, we’re still flipped a little upside down.” The American’s readers (unlike most Brits) will know that Antebellum refers to the pre Civil War period, but I couldn’t resist asking what the Lady in the name refers to. Dave explains, “We have a girl in the group first of all! But it’s not a complicated story. We were looking for a band name. We were writing songs, and we decided to play a show so we needed a name. We were taking some pictures in front of an Antebellum style home, one of those big ole houses with white columns, and the word just came out. It had a ring to it. There’s nothing more than us stumbling upon it and thinking it was cool. We didn’t realize we’d be stuck with it the rest of our lives.” So there’s no political meaning to it? “Not at all.” Dave and Charles Kelley grew up together in Georgia, playing music
together most of their young lives. Charles moved to Nashville five years ago and told Dave he had to move up there too. Dave quit his job in Atlanta. The plan was to be songwriters-forhire, then, in a moment that proves either that life is completely random, or that fate really does rule us all, the guys went for a beer in a Nashville bar. A beautiful girl came up to them and said, Hey, don’t I recognize you? (or words to that effect). Hillary Scott had recognized Charles’ photo from the guys’ MySpace page, where they’d put up some songs. Sheer chance? “There were hardly any plays on it and we really didn’t have anyone following us, but Hillary spotted Charles, started talking and the three of us just got together to write songs. From the very first time it was a new, special thing. We thought we’d just write songs and take them out to big artists. That way you can just sit at home and make money! But we had so much fun writing together we decided to play a show. We had a blast, and we just thought we’ve just got to keep doing this together. Charles and I had been playing music on our own for about a year, not getting much
response. Hillary was in the same boat, playing around Nashville on her own. But something happened when the three of us got together. It’s almost indescribable, the chemistry we have together.” It has a kind of family feel to it. Do they think of themselves as a family, a gang, or what?. “We definitely feel like family. Charles, you know, I just can’t get rid of the guy, I’ve been messing around with him since I was 11 years old. Hillary is honestly like a sister to us. We get along great. When we have days off we end up hanging out, because we have fun together. That’s the foundation of who we are – our friendship, our songwriting and our music. There are some real family connections involved. Hillary is the daughter of country singer Linda Davis and Charles is pop artist Josh Kelley’s brother. But the band didn’t use them to open doors, says Dave. “Josh talked us into moving to Nashville. We owe him a lot, he was a great mentor for us. And Hillary grew up with her mum singing Reba McEntire’s backup for years.” But Josh and Linda are adamant about staying completely out of what
the band does. “It was our philosophy too,” Dave adds. “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it right, and let’s work as hard as we can to make it a natural and an organic thing. Let’s write songs that we like, and if people respond to them then that’s great.” Dave keeps coming back to the songwriting. Despite some interesting covers they’re better known for their own songs. What’s most important, the writing, the performing, the recording? Dave thinks for a second. “They’re pretty close. The recording happens so seldomly compared to the other two. We write every day. Me and Hillary were working on an idea just before speaking to you – we’ve got a lot of songs we’re putting together for a record next year. And we’re playing shows every day. Those are the two main things. It’s hard to pick one, but the songwriting is the core of who we are. The performing and the entertaining stems from the emotion we get from songwriting. That album will be LA’s third in the States, but the second elsewhere. They signed straight away to a major. How did that come about, I wondered. Dave instantly says, “We were very fortunate. Nashville is such a networking town. We met people that knew people that knew people, and finally somebody from Capitol Records came out to our show early on at this little tiny place. She told someone else, and finally the head of the Nashville Capitol Records
Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood… Lady Antebellum
came out. There were some smaller labels we were looking at signing with but Capitol gave us such a great creative and artistic freedom. They let us pick which songs we want to put on the radio, and the singles.” LA’s first album was the first debut album by a new group to go straight in at No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart. “It’s been really wild to watch the success of the album.” says Dave, “What’s really great is we get to share the experience amongst the three of us.” LA are getting a lot of play on British radio, which is rare for a country act. Do LA see themselves as pure country? “I think at our core we’re a country group but we try not to focus everything on the lines of genres, which
are continually blurred. We could talk for hours about the people that we’re influenced by, from The Eagles, to Bruce Springsteen, to Tom Petty, classic rock, hip-hop, everything. Regardless of the title or genre, hopefully in the end, a good song will win.” And they’re still very much grounded in the South? “I don’t think you can get the South out of us. Brought up in Georgia and Tennessee, we’re still rednecks at heart. We listen to Kings of Leon, Paramour, some rock stuff, a lot of Keith Irving, I think Kerry Underwood makes good records. But we love groups like The Beatles, and other British acts as well.” Talking of Britain, does Dave have any message to the Americans who live over here? Yes, a simple one: “Thank them all very much! “H
We thought we’d just write songs and take them out to big artists. That way you can just sit at home and make money! But we had so much fun writing together we decided to play a show. 33
THEATER REVIEWS BY JARLATH O’CONNELL AND JAMES RICHARDS
Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford New London Theatre, London • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
ae Smith the designer of the theatrical phenomenon that is War Horse said she knew on reading Michael Morpurgo’s novel that “documentary realism wouldn’t work”, for one thing the story moved at a cracking pace and the design would have to keep up with the audience’s imagination. “The solution would have to be poetic,” she concluded. When you open the programme for the show, you are confronted with large glossy images of the great horse creations which are the show’s trademark. This is a bit of an own goal for the production however because what makes War Horse so special is the element of surprise and shock when you first set eyes on these creations and share a space with them. The brilliance of the design and the aston-
ishing execution by these teams of puppeteers means one is completely transported. Every twitch, every sinew and every bat of an eyelid combine to make you believe in these wonderful beasts. Each majestic animal is operated by three people who work either ‘the head’, ‘the heart’ or ‘the hind’, as they put it and the animals achieve a living quality which is nothing to do with Disney-fied anthropomorphism. It is quite an undertaking and is utterly theatrical. Photographing it or televising it would be pointless, as the camera would immediately shatter the magical suspension of disbelief which takes place here. Smith’s solution certainly proved to be poetic and it is one that has made theatrical history. Morpurgo’s 1982 novel for children was the runner up for the Whitbread
Prize that year, became a best seller and in October 2007 was translated onto the Olivier stage at the National Theatre in an adaptation by Nick Stafford. The National engaged the duo Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris to direct it and the aim was to continue their run of hits with epic family shows following His Dark Materials and Coram Boy. The directors in turn drew on the particular expertise of the Cape Town based Handspring Puppet Company, who had been carving out an international reputation for their work and who were tasked with designing, fabricating and directing the horses, not to mention the odd stray goose. After a quick and instantly sold out revival at the National it then transferred to the West End last year, where it continues to pack them in. It is now
headed for Broadway in 2011 and soon after, in August 2011, it will appear in US cinemas courtesy of Mr Steven Spielberg. A novel told from the perspective of a horse, which became a theatrical spectacle, might not seem like promising screen material but is there anyone more qualified than Spielberg to handle material like this? It has epic sweep, it has heart, it has a rite of passage and if it works, it could join his ET and Empire of the Sun as another family movie classic. It is of course also a harrowing recounting of life in the trenches and in that way it will serve as a companion piece to his WWII classics Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. The movie has just started production in the UK and he has lined up a great cast – Peter Mullen, Emily Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Thewlis and Niels Arestrup. Making his screen debut as Albert will be Jeremy Irvine who has impressed with the National Youth Theatre and the RSC. In the current London cast there are no big names (the horses are the stars) but there is some wonderful ensemble acting. The play tells the story of the First World War through the eyes of a horse, Joey. We first encounter him in rustic splendour on a Devon farm before his impoverished owners reluctantly sell him off to the cavalry. Joey is a hunter colt and not fit for a life pulling a plough, so his days on the farm would have to be numbered. He is shipped off to France, serves first on the British side and then, after being captured, on the German side before ending up wounded and wandering in noman’s land. For the duration of the war Joey is pursued by his young master, Albert (Matthew Aubrey), who has enlisted at the age of 16 with the express purpose
PHOTOS: SIMON ANNAND
of finding his beloved horse. In short, it is a quest, with the backdrop of the carnage of the trenches. Considering the scale of the slaughter of the Great War one might be forgiven for dismissing a story about a horse but they too did their bit and it is estimated that one million hapless horses were shipped to France between 1914-18 and only 62,000 returned. As a way in to this dreadful subject it is both a clever and a powerful device. The success of the play has also led to extensive work based on it being used in education and in outreach programmes. For example children and young people do not just learn about the Great War, they can also work with some of the design team to recreate aspects of the production process and so learn how this amazing piece of theatre was devised. But there is more to the show than the horses and Smith’s design concept is a wonderfully unified one. Above the stage there is a stunning 25m wide projection screen that can become a landscape, a floating cloud, a horizon or a battlefield. Smith has also recreated the sketches of the soldier,
Captain Nicholls whose work inspired the novel. Rarely has stagecraft been marshalled to such great effect however as in the battle scenes where the frightening tanks and barbed wire barriers really bring home the horror of the trenches. When Joey ends up with the Germans or with the local civilians there are passages in French and German which, while they enhance the general sense of confusion, outstay their welcome. One wonders if they will survive when the production goes Stateside. As well as Rae Smith’s designs and Paule Constable’s lighting, Nick Stafford’s crisp adaptation, a wonderful ensemble cast and Adrian Sutton’s powerfully filmic score combine to create theatrical alchemy here. See it in a theatre however, as it definitely won’t be the same as the movie! Note: War Horse has just extended its run and is now booking to 22 October 2011. A stage production of Farm Boy, Morpurgo’s sequel to War Horse, debuted at the Edinburgh Festival and a full UK tour follows from the end of September through to Christmas.
The Prisoner of Second Avenue T
he king of the boulevard comedy, Neil Simon, has ruled Broadway for nearly 50 years with only periodic intervals when he has fallen out of favour with the critics or the public. Just last fall though a revival of his great autobiographical play Brighton Beach Memoirs flopped on Broadway. Is his stock going down?
The Prisoner of Second Avenue • By Neil Simon • Vaudeville Theatre, London Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
Kevin Spacey, who won a Tony in Simon’s Lost in Yonkers, has brought his co-star from that, the great Mercedes Ruehl (Oscar winner for The Fisher King), to London to star alongside his movie star pal Jeff Goldblum in a revival of this 1971 hit, which the Old Vic is co-producing. Originally starring Peter Falk and Lee Grant, it was filmed with Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft and badly revived in the West End in 1989 with Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. This new pairing is a mixed one with Ruehl nailing the part of the longsuffering wife Edna but Goldblum, although brilliant, essentially miscast. Goldblum is Mel, a 47-year-old New York advertising executive, who loses his job and suffers from every imaginable stress of
living in a small 14th floor apartment in the summer heat of New York, leading to a nervous breakdown. It is the most middle-aged, grumpy, kvetchy play you will ever see. Imagine being trapped in a room with the cast of both Grumpy Old Women and Grumpy Old Men. As is often the case with Simon he bites off more than he can chew. He takes on the tragedy of the modern urban male but the best he can come up with in articulating this despair is Mel’s bizarre conclusion that “the human race is responsible for unemployment”. Typically cosy, Simon never lets an opportunity for a quick gag get in the way of mining his characters’ existential angst. Today’s audiences will be quite surprised to hear environmentalism and a critique of consumerism raise their heads here. It’s set in 1971, when New York was crumbling, and one presumes that the producers smelled that this play was again capturing the zeitgeist. After all, it touches on the hopelessness and despair brought about by recession and redundancy and the everyday hell of living cooped up in a densely populated city whose public services are collapsing. This doesn’t really fly though, because while we share economic doom and gloom, in many other ways 1971 was another country. Female audience
Anne Boleyn By Howard Brenton • Shakespeare’s Globe Reviewed by James Richards
Jeﬀ Goldblum (above) and Mercedes Ruehl (opposite) in the London revival
members might baulk at how Edna struggles home each day from the job she’s taken on just to make Mel his lunch. The casual racism and male selfabsorption are also of the period. Ruehl with her deft comic timing keeps the play afloat however and she elevates the often clunky dialogue by drawing out the humanity and quiet strength in Edna. She is ably assisted by quartet of perfect supporting performances by Patti Love, Amanda Boxer and Fiona Gillies as Mel’s three sisters and Linal Haft as his protective and jealous older brother who come together in the last act to try and help Mel out. Sadly Goldblum cannot rise above his miscasting. The part requires an exasperated “little man” with steam coming out his ears (David Haig would have been perfect) and Goldblum certainly doesn’t fit the bill. One imagines that Goldblum would probably quit his job before he got fired, come home, smoke some dope, light some joss sticks and do a bit of yoga. That dude is too cool for angst.
oor Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII’s second wife, beheaded after only three years of marriage, has suffered at the hands of historians, portrayed as the ambitious, conniving woman who bewitched a King. In this fascinating and funny new play Howard Brenton reimagines Anne as a heroine of English history. A glance through any book shop window confirms that we are undergoing a period of Tudor mania: Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall collected the Man Booker Prize in 2009; CJ Sansom’s Shardlake novels are hugely popular; Henry VIII documentaries appear every year. No wonder – the clash between State and Church and the momentuous schism in the Christian Faith that was the Reformation, stirred in with giddy sexual politics and court intrigue, are a dramatist’s dream. Surely no-one will blame the Globe for a bit of band-wagonning wholly appropriate to its ordinary ouvre. Brenton (whose muscular new version of Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death is currently playing at the National Theatre) brings a refreshing range of modern dramatic techniques to a theatre that by definition sees few. Before the play starts, members of the cast emerge and chat amiably with
the Globe’s groundlings, bowing to their level, before Miranda Raison’s Anne, clad in a white nightdress, quite dead and carrying her head in a bag addresses the audience, ‘future demons’. She seeks the understanding of history - and some fun at our expense – and discusses her execution with the knowing smile of one long reconciled to her demise. Curiously, her re-interpretor is James I ( James VI of Scotland), who ascended to the English throne 65 years after Anne’s death and who has also suffered in the view of history. James, played by James Garnon, presiding over an England riven with theological conflict appeals to the ghost of Anne to explain just how she got him into this mess. We are shown how the events unfolding in James’ reign partially stem from
Anne’s innings as Henry’s mistress and wife. Raison is a playful, sexy queen, initially spurning Henry’s attentions with a witty dignity. Brenton highlights her Protestantism, implying that she gave her faith to Henry, but her piety is never preachy. Gardon is side-splitting as the Scottish salmon very much out of water in the English court. Paranoid, canny and suffering from a set of phycial tics that hint at Tourette‘s syndrome, Gardon’s James has the air of a council estate lottery winner dining at the Dorchester. Rudyard Kipling’s image of the ‘babbling’ James was, to this measure, spot on. Amongst the excellent cast, John Dougall also stands out as the quintessentially Machiavellian Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s fixer and intelligence chief. Prowling the court in search of leverage, the upwardly mobile and dangerously sagacious Cromwell’s threatening secret Anthony Howell is a human King Henry VIII, besotted by Anne (Miranda Raison) MANUEL HARLAN
policing (the leather jerkin looks worryingly like an SS uniform) is tempered by a sardonic wit worthy of a Rickman or Atkinson. Music plays a larger role here than in most Globe productions, and the raised string quartet textures the moments of passion with sweetness or a sense of expectancy. The gorgeous set is a white, marble-esquse façade, with a few ivy covered trees reaching up into the South London evening. The highlight however, is Brenton’s writing which is crisp and clear, human and hilarious. Henry and Anne’s love feels true, and in one touching scene these great figures shrink to become an ordinary couple, much in love, desperate for a ‘room alone’ away from the pressures of leadership. Anne’s reputation has taken a battering, but thanks to Raison and Brenton, her popular image is undergoing a make-over. After all, would the old Anne have said of Catherine of Aragon: ‘I wish the bitch would just piss off to a convent’?
La Bête By David Hirson • Comedy Theatre, London Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
onia Friedman, doyenne of West End play producers, has cut to the chase. The Broadway transfer of La Bête is already booked into a theater and even half the supporting cast and one of the stars of this new production are American. Does this signal that London is the new “out of town tryout”? Is it the new Philadelphia? It is an interesting approach. Having a cast like Mark Rylance (fresh from award-winning mega hit Jerusalem, also Broadway bound), the much-loved David Hyde-Pierce (Niles from Frasier) in his West End debut and British National Treasure (and saviour of the Ghurkhas) Joanna Lumley helps. In New York, where Gurkhas are an enigma, she will be affectionately remembered as the permanently stewed Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous. The choice of play typifies Friedman’s approach. It is not a drearily predictable Ibsen or Chekhov but instead an interesting one-off hit from not too long ago which is ready for a revival. Having proved its mettle, it’s worth a gamble, yet it retains some novelty value. When first done in London in 1992 it launched the career of Alan Cumming. Audiences need to know that it is a loving pastiche of Molière and is written in rhyming couplets, which could be enough to send many running for the hills. Don’t be afraid however, it is rollicking good entertainment with a very hip sensibility, crowned with a trio of great performances and exquisite staging. The key to it is Matthew War-
Above: The Princess (Joanna Lumley). Right: Elomire (David Hyde Pierce) and Valere (Mark Rylance). MANUEL HARLAN
chus’s gloriously fluid direction; he polishes every stone in this crown. What you’ll come away with above all are memories of the great Mark Rylance. His ludicrous and self absorbed playwright Valere resembles a 17th century Sir Les Patterson (Dame Edna’s alter ego) correct with great comedy teeth and very broad comedy. The play opens with a stunning Vermeer-like tableau but soon Rylance bursts in dressed in full ‘Laughing Cavalier’ mode. He starts to natter on and doesn’t stop for a full 30 minutes while Hyde Pierce as his rival Elomire and Stephen Ouimette as Bejart, a member of the court acting troupe, look on aghast. HydePierce’s reacting, so carefully honed in Frasier, is priceless and Rylance pulls off the triumph of being riveting as a bore. The central theme of the play is the dichotomy between the creative artist wedded to his vision and the populist entertainer. Elomire is the court playwright aloof in his ivory
tower but its barricades get stormed with the arrival of the insufferable street performer Valere, who has won the Princess’s favour. Joanna Lumley in a cascade of red hair recalls Miranda Richardson’s Queenie from Black Adder with her superlative stropping. She is no fool though and is a clever and manipulative patron. Her power over her artists is similar to the media’s today – she gets bored quickly and is constantly drawn to anything eye-catching. One suspects it is she, and all she represents, which
is the real target of Hirson’s ire. Elomire and his retinue stand powerless as Valere’s stock rises and the Princess even goes so far as to suggest that the two collaborate. The plot then hinges on the Princess making Valere enact one of his lesser plays to prove a point and Valere becoming an eloquent advocate of populist art. The troupe of actors eventually reveals to the horrified Elomire however that they actually prefer being in Valere’s ridiculous works. As Sondheim’s Georges Seurat put it “Art isn’t easy”.
Nederlands Dans Theater – NDT I and NDT II
Sadler’s Wells, London
DANCE REVIEWS BY JARLATH O’CONNELL
ederlands Dans Theater is 50. Yes, 50! Having always thought of them as youthful this comes as a bit of a shock. A declaration is needed here. I have been a groupie of these prime movers of modern dance in Europe for many years and haven’t missed a single one of their visits to the UK. It is with a sad heart therefore I have to admit that they are beginning to look their age. Founded as a breakaway group from Dutch National Ballet they are inextricably linked with the work of Czech maestro Jiří Kylián, who led the company from 1975 to 1999 and is probably the most honoured and decorated dance maker in Europe (three of his pieces were performed on this trip). He set new standards for a modern dance company and attracted the best classically trained dancers in the world to join. Like all great dance companies its corps de ballet is totally international and under Kylián the careers of great choreographers such as Spain’s Nacho Duato, Israel’s Ohad
Naharin and Sweden’s Mats Ek were launched. He also set up two sister companies NDT II for dancers up to the age of 23 and NDT III for older dancers. The latter sadly folded in 2006, but the former was out in force on this visit, joining the main company for some of the pieces. Lighting, staging and costume are always exquisite with NDT - no rehearsal room grunge lit by fluorescent lights for them à la William Forsythe. In Subject to Change, by husband and wife team (and former NDT artistic directors) Paul Lightfood and Sol Leon, the design element was a huge red carpet. Likewise in their Studio 2, an enormous tilting mirror is suspended over the stage and as it rotates it literally brings different aspects of the dancers and the audience into focus. Kylián’s Whereabouts Unknown, is also dominated by a huge mobile set and even a sandpit, and his Symphony of Psalms is danced before an enormous wall of Persian rugs. All this adds to the theatricality of the occasion and serves
PHOTO: JORIS JAN BOS
to enhance what otherwise would be the cold abstraction of some of the pieces. Herein lies the problem, with NDT post Kylián. His great works for the company may have been austere but he pushed his dancers to the limit, and you couldn’t take your eyes off them. His use of pristine design, complex lighting and careful selection of classical or modern ‘classical’ music all combined to create an NDT aesthetic which had much influence. Since he departed the look remains but the dances have got bland and rather forgettable. Inger’s dissolve in this, staged in a kind of prison yard covered in grey ash, was a case in point, it lacked any development and ended up a rather frantic and obscure affair. Kylián’s Mémoires d’Oubliette with its stunning lighting and video effect and a coup de theatre involving a shower of drink cans sadly typifies the kind of grim chic for which NDT is now much criticised (at least in England, in Europe they are still revered). Thankfully the second programme finale, his Symphony of Psalms, danced to Stravinsky, redeemed the evening. It is one of his earliest and most classically influenced pieces but it has a unity and purpose lacking in some of the newer pieces. NDT is now run by the American, Jim Vincent, from Chicago’s exciting Hubbard Street Dance Company. He used to be a member of NDT and one hopes that he will now shake off the cobwebs.
Burn the Floor Directed and choreographed by Jason Gilkison Shaftesbury Theatre, London
f Burn the Floor was a movie it would be breathlessly described as “high octane” and star Vin Diesel. If you like subtlety, nuance and romance this isn’t the show for you. It’s Ballroom but in jeans, with your shirt off. There is no denying the supreme skill of this collection of international dancers who are at the top of their game. What they can do is “sell it”, something many ballroom and Latin champions are incapable of. Ballroom purists may moan at their cavalier approach to technique but this lot have a charisma and stage presence to carry the theatre show. It’s just a shame that their artistry is corralled into an entertainment which often makes the Chippendales look like Giselle. Trading on the TV success of Britain’s Strictly Come Dancing and America’s Dancing with the Stars this show will surely attract a devoted audience, but to guarantee it they’ve engaged Brian Fortuna, who starred in both programs to great acclaim. He has brought with him his celebrity partner, soap actress Ali Bastian. There they are in the posters and dominating the marketing but alas in the show
their roles are quite limited. Bastian, who delighted us all in Strictly in the masterful hands of Fortuna, is of course exposed here as the amateur. She has bravely thrown herself into the lions’ den with a pride of dancers who all probably started dancing at four years of age. For this she has to be greatly admired. The pace is relentless and the show sadly lacks any narrative arc, which might have anchored it. With no restful moments to contrast the frenzied highlights, you end up on a plateau of exhaustion, with diminishing returns setting in. Too often the music (a mix of live and recorded) is not given time to breathe. One is reminded of Bette Midler’s “Round the world with Vicky Eydie” sketch – “No time to linger!” The first section, Inspiration, gives a cursory run through the evolution of the 10 dances on display. This does the business without scaring the audience into thinking, God forbid, that they might learn something. A lowlight is a supposed rumba routine where a lone, fiery, vixen is circled by six, oiled, muscle men. It’s like being trapped in a deodorant commercial in fast forward.
The fact that the Rumba is the dance of love seems to have got overlooked here. Matters improve greatly though with a great swing section and a stunning act one finale, which has enough energy to power the national grid. A number of the dancers come into their own here, with the Russian Sacha Farber standing out. Act Two opens with bumping and grinding in The Latin Quarter culminating in a Paso Doble, for two guys and a girl, which is so wrought with homoerotic subtext that it falls over. The Paso, the most ridiculous of the five Latin dances and the least social, needs a bucket of water thrown at it rather than working it up into a state of even higher agitation. The show ends with a coda including a duet Burn for You which could have been lifted from Dirty Dancing. More jeans and tee shirts here but in a beautifully choreographed love ballet where, finally, some real emotion is communicated to the audience. Here the dancers show their skills beyond the ballroom floor. So, go and get singed! H
Sir Nicholas Hytner: National Treasure James Carroll Jordan has been starring in two American plays at the National Theatre. In the famous building he interviews the National’s artistic director
ames Carroll Jordan: Year after year you present a wonderful mix of drama, comedy and musical theater that is fulfilling, creative, even daring. How do you manage to pull the rabbit out of the hat with successful shows season after season? Nick Hytner: It was very well set up, this place. Olivier’s National Theater [based at the Old Vic] was designed to be for everybody and so when this building [on the South Bank] opened in 1976 it was also for everybody. That still feels to me the foundation of its success. It differs from other European state theaters in its populism and it differs from the commercial theater in the bedrock it has of public investment. This enables us to take risks, not to fear the odd failure – and we certainly have had them! – and thereby be able to present a show like War Horse [reviewed in this issue – ed]. That started out as the craziest idea involving artists from right out on the fringe to whom we were able to give a huge amount of research and development time and resources. The result is a show that has now been seen by millions – and will earn us millions. It’s not often people in our business are honored with knighthoods, but
scanning your resume, from theater triumphs like Miss Saigon and The Madness of King George to operas like Xerxes and the Magic Flute and feature films such as The History Boys, it seems to me yours was richly deserved. Has it helped in any practical ways, for example in attracting new funds for keeping the National Theatre running? I don’t think so... it was a huge honor, and an excuse for a huge party, and I was absolutely thrilled but I think what enables us to raise funds is the reputation of the National Theatre and the consistency of the work. When you first started here you initiated a revolutionary idea of £10 tickets which many considered a huge gamble. What made you think of it? A lot of things came together. We weren’t playing to anything like capacity, particularly during the summer months. It struck me that, when I first started coming here, people had gradually been priced out of the place. The response of the whole theater to the ’80s and early ’90s, the last time subsidy was turned down to a trickle, was to put ticket prices up. My predecessors had to do it. I had a very strong intuition that it was price that was keeping a lot of people away. And
I also thought that if we started in the Olivier Theatre to produce more in a light-footed fashion, more ambitiously, at lower prices, we’d be able to attract a new audience and attract back the old audience. Different kinds of shows appeal to different kinds of audiences, but the £10 ticket scheme is about the big flagship shows. It was a way of doing more exciting work, to do bigger public shows and the business case was very simple. I thought if we could fill the place by lowering the ticket price and getting sponsorship, we could thereby earn ourselves more money than we achieved using higher price tickets. And we’ve been doing very well. You’re to direct Hamlet this season with Rory Kinnear. How did that come about? Well, the great perk of my job is that I get to choose the play that I direct, maybe twice a year. I’ve never directed Hamlet and always wanted to. I worked first with Rory maybe five years ago, and then watched him as he worked on other shows, and I thought this is the guy I want to do Hamlet with. He’s the most Hamlet-like of the actors who’ve emerged here in the last many years. There are some exciting
and charismatic actors, but Rory has a particular brand of intelligence. He has a fantastic wit. I thought he’d be the ideal Hamlet. Your newest idea is that you are filming selected plays and presenting them as the National Theatre Series of Cinema Broadcasts. How is that panning out? That’s been a much bigger success than we dared hope. The idea was taken from the Metropolitan live broadcasts. The live-ness of the operas broadcast to cinema felt very exciting. There’s great resistance, I think justifiably, to theatre on the television. There’s something about the capture of a large and inclusive theatre performance on the small screen which is often unhappy. Which is why this is going out in the cinema? Yeah… Television is still a problem; no sense of event. You’ve seen it enough on current affairs programs when they bring you a snatch of the latest hit play, always filled with people shouting! But these are live cinema broadcasts. More and more cinemas are getting the digital projection equipment and the satellite receiver. It’s been hugely welcomed. We are live all across this country and we play to maybe thirty thousand people in one night. Now that’s great for us. I think the sky’s the limit here.
Nick Hytner domain – the Royal National Theatre CHARLOTTE MACMILLAN
“Where American Theatre is absolutely superb is in regional non-proﬁt and also in some of the non-proﬁt Broadway.” Nick Hytner (left) enjoys a moment working with Dame Helen Mirren on his production of Phèdre
Such as the United States? Exactly. I’ll put my hand on my heart and say “I love it that we can go to the United States, and that two days later we can go to Australia” but my responsibility is first to the people who pay for it; that’s who I care about. Will it rekindle interest in theatre using this much broader platform? In the long term it will, yeah.
regional non-profit and also in some of the non-profit Broadway. That’s where I’m always keeping an eye.
James Carrol Jordan (left) with Nick Hytner at the National
You are bringing in Danny Boyle to direct Frankenstein, and Sir Peter Hall to direct Twelfth Night. How did you manage to entice those two Icons into the National? Well Peter is an ex-director of the National, as you know, and when he suggested he direct Twelfth Night with his daughter Rebecca… She’s pretty good…. She’s amazing, and she wouldn’t do it for anybody else! Except for Daddy? Right. So we get a double whammy; father and daughter, both of them marvelous. Danny was a theatre director first. I’ve known him right from the beginning of my career, and his. Almost as soon as I got this job, eight years ago, I had a cup of tea with Danny and said, “Time you came back to the theatre isn’t it?” He’d only been away from the theatre for six or seven years at that point and he’d outlined for me certain ideas for Frankenstein over the years. I have occasionally reminded him that he might want to come do this show, then I was at a screening of Danny’s film Slumdog Millionaire at BAFTA, before anyone knew anything about it. I thought it was amazing. So I tempted him, texting, “Your film is amazing”. Three days later I texted him again saying, “Now’s not the time to come back in
the theatre is it?” He texted me back saying “Yes I think it probably is.” That’s why he is great. Anybody else with an Oscar under his belt would go off and cash in, but Danny thinks, “I’ve got the Oscar now, I think I want to come back to the theatre.” He’s amazing…. he’s amazing! I am aware that you have a high regard for American Theatre, as I happen to be in Spring Storm by Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond the Horizon at the Cottesloe at the moment. What are your opinions on American Theatre compared to English Theatre? Well, I think at the very extreme commercial end, Broadway, it’s problematic, because of ticket prices. It’s because of what Broadway now requires commercially. But Broadway, interestingly enough is the least suitable place to make interesting theatre. It’s a great place to bring interesting theatre; more and more now the best shows on Broadway have been developed in the non-profit sector. They just bought Spring Storm. Laurie Sansom is directing it there next year. And you’re doing it for the nonprofit sector? No, no, no! You’re going to do it on Broadway. But they’re going to pop-cast it I think. So that’s Broadway. Where American Theatre is absolutely superb is in
Most people would agree that the position you now hold represents the pinnacle of your career so far. Do you have any goals left to achieve in your career? I hope there will be life after the National, but I don’t think it will ever be quite this intense, quite this exciting, quite this demanding. And that’s fine. Is there any way that the readers of The American could help out the National Theatre by giving donations or contributions? You can do it through the American Friends of The National Theatre, effectively an American charity, so your donation will be tax deductible off your American taxes. Or if you’re a British taxpayer, you can just get in touch with our Development Department. Corporations as well? We do tremendous partnerships for corporations. Travelex would happily say that they’ve got incredibly good value out of their partnership. We have very good, creative relationships with all sorts of corporate sponsors. Well, I have taken up more of your time than I had expected. Thank you Sir Nicholas for giving us a behind-thescenes look at life here at The National Theatre. And best of luck in the future. Thank you James, it has been a pleasure. H
You can read James Carroll Jordan’s articles about acting in two great American plays and transferring with them to the National Theatre in the March and July 2010 issues of The American (call 01747 to buy back copies or subscribe).
The Pencil is Mightier than the Sword
... and drawing can liberate the mind, says Boston-based artist Cat Bennett.
ohn Lennon once said that we’re all artists. I used to puzzle over that; is the postman an artist? The librarian? I know now that he was right. Inside everyone is a creative self and it was there from the get-go. Children play constantly in the kinetic world of imagination, making up games and stories to express themselves and to understand the world they live in. They even invent new worlds. Growing up takes a lot out of us. We’re taught that we shouldn’t climb trees in our good clothes or run indoors. We’re trained to give the right answer in school rather than ask questions that have no easy answers. We can’t speak in class without raising our hands first. In adulthood, we can forget what it’s like to play and be creative. The question is, can we connect again with our true creative selves? Drawing is a way to reopen the door to creativity, whether or not we’re artists. When we give up drawing on the road to adulthood, we might well be giving up real freedom of expression and exploration. Just picking up a crayon and scribbling on a large sheet of paper can be hugely liberating. We can just dive in and see what emerges. That’s half the fun of drawing and it seems to awaken a joy in adults as it does in kids. I teach drawing and the surprise for me has been how drawing
changes us. It’s a simple thing, even primal. We know that ancient people carved drawings into rocks and doubtless drew in the earth as well. How often have we gone to the beach and seen someone doodling in the sand with a finger or stick? It’s a way of becoming one with the moment and just being, so the mind can roam free. It’s the place where inspiration enters. Everyone can draw – no special talent is needed. Drawing is like meditation; it offers us a chance to get out of our analytical, worrying minds and into our imagination. It also gives us a chance to observe and appreciate our world. People think they can’t draw because sometimes what they draw doesn’t look like the
object in front of them, or they don’t draw as well as Matisse. But drawing is simply making marks on paper and skills grow with practice. Most of us had no training in school. Drawing was considered an ‘extra’ but, in truth, it has bountiful gifts to offer. If we pay attention, it teaches us to connect again with ourselves. We need to know ourselves as artists to understand that we can explore and create solutions to the challenges we face personally and globally. Drawing trains us to dive in without a care and to imagine. Remember the words to Lennon’s great song – “Imagine all the people, Living life in peace...” From what we imagine, we create. Time to pick up our pencils! H
Confident Creative Retreat On September 25th & 26th Cat Bennett will lead The Confident Creative Retreat at Dragon’s Hall in Covent Garden, London. This hands-on workshop will give participants a chance to explore the creative process using drawing as a tool to free the hand and mind. You will emerge with a clearer sense of how to overcome creative blocks, attract new ideas and enter the free flow of full creative expression. The cost is £199 pp and includes all art supplies. Sign up at www.theconfidentcreative.com
Time to Chill
The Health & Safety Nazis have got us scared of enjoying an old-fashioned Good Time, says Alan Miller
s I write this, ‘tis the season to have some fun, sun and relaxation, although these days that kind of outlook is often regarded as being irresponsible. Indeed, we are continually bombarded with “safety first” messages that more often than not have us worrying about things rather than embracing life with a sense of wonder and anticipation. While the over used notion of being “stressed” is certainly rather tiresome, it is clear that we as a society have an outlook about the present and future that is soaked with fear and aims at avoiding risk of all kind – even though we perceive ourselves as at risk generally. So before we even pack our bags to go on holiday, we are continually reminded of what a nasty and selfish little species we are, champing through carbon calculators with a Super Size Me footprint, outrageously wanting to fly elsewhere to get some rest, or, woe betide us, party. If one manages to offset the guilt of believing your sojourn is singlehandedly annihilating the planet, next up is the audacity to want to sit in the sun. Stay Out of It! Skin cancer, blemishes, continual creams, hats, shade; we all know those crazy dudes who overdo it and they get just what they deserve if they dare defy the Sun. Needless to say, those aiming to have a few drinks while relaxing will be systematically targeted by
the contemporary equivalent of the Temperance Movement. Endless campaigning, especially to younger citizens in the UK, drearily drone on about “units” of consumption and how one needs to reduce them across the board. If these busybody bureaucrats had their way, we would be measuring glasses of wine while continually reading the labels of food for fat levels and simultaneously putting on sun cream every ten minutes in the shade. Wey-hey! What fun. Then of course, the accusatory undercurrent is the “social and environmental impact” the tourism industry is having on destinations. Silly me, there I was thinking that people exchanging conversations, some intimacies, building new connections and enjoying themselves while contributing to local economies was a good thing. Oh no. Cultural imperialism at its height. Surely though, while things may have got over-earnest, some of these campaigns and attitudes do some good? Little, I would argue. Let us take another look at what has become the key issue for the past few months. I wrote about it a couple of issues ago, the BP spill let us now refer to it as. What has become clear, despite the shrill tones and bellicose derogatory attacks against BP, it is neither the “worst environmental incident” ever to occur nor the biggest economic challenge. In fact, if we were not so risk averse and
fear obsessed, our response to the accident could have been managed in an altogether better fashion. In fact, BP did subsequently finish off plugging the spill in extreme engineering conditions with remarkable co-ordination. However, the over reaction has backfired: now the First Lady has been on a tour of beaches across the region aiming to highlight how clean and unaffected they are – since the Administration did such a marvellous job in scaring us all away from there, alongside the media hungry for Armageddon-like end of the world (or at least end of travel and work) stories. On my way to France, I stopped over in London and was impressed (negatively that is) by signs up on the lamp posts warning me not to get my
How dare she?! Flying on vacation, sunbathing and drinking cocktails, this is just the sort of irresponsible behavior that we should ban… say the busybodies
cell phone out (although we are told they are there to help when there are problems) in case we get mugged by “hoodies”. We have come to demonise young people to such a point in Britain with ASBO's (Anti Social Behaviour Orders) and non stop chitter-chatter about youth crime that one wonders whose children we are all talking about. Unfortunately of course, in spite of the new UK government, there seems little different being promoted at the level of inspiring visions for city life and young people as we go further in to the 21st Century. Then again, many would be happy, as we keep being told cell phones cause cancer of some kind – even though there has been no epidemiological research that has been peer reviewed
which has proved this. Still, when it comes to a good old panic, don't lets get any facts in the way of a dark fairy tale. From Air Rage to Alco Pops, burgers and chips to late nights out, there are always therapists and advice gurus who will warn us that holidays abroad are risky and kicking back at a festival in Britain needs to be monitored rigorously. From the World Cup games to tennis and cricket, we are constantly nagged, prompted, advised and warned. What is so incredible is that these Big Brotherly Bureaucrats have no big ideas about society and the way we can overcome the recession or war, improve education, housing or employment – yet they seem very ready and willing to pontificate on our private lives.
The best antidote, I believe, is to get out there and throw a little caution to the wind. Visit new places, try new food, drink, dance, sun (maybe even have a smoke if it is not punishable yet by a night in the cell) and do try to be somewhat merry. Don't panic. Chill. Then get back and lets look at what we can do to create a dialogue where real change is not thought about based upon your calorie intake, your carbon offsets and whether or not you floss at night. H Alan Miller is Director of The NY Salon in New York City www.nysalon.org and Co-Founder of London's Truman Brewery and The Vibe Bar www.vibebar.com. He sits on the London Regional Council of the Arts Council of England.
Check That Rental
survey by tire-and-muﬄer fitters Kwik-Fit finds that a third of people who hire cars in the UK have problems operating it. Some couldn’t get into the car in the first place. But don’t be embarrassed to ask the rental guy how to operate everything before you set off. He’s heard it all before. Cars have become more complex, and individual models have their own quirks and foibles. Surprisingly, younger drivers appear to have the most diﬃculties with hire cars: half (48%) of 18-34 year olds, compared to a quarter (27%) aged 35-64 and just a third (33%) of senior citizens. More men than women have been confused by a hire car; could it be down to men’s well-known reluctance to read instruction manuals? Here’s a check list to help make sure you know what to do, along with the number of people that had the problem. ● Opening the petrol cap (47%) ● Finding the lights control (31%) ● Opening the boot (24%) ● Operating the windows or mirrors
(19%) ● Working the in-car entertainment
(19%) ● Starting the car (18%) ● Adjusting seats (17%) ● Working the aircon/heater (8%} ● Finding the handbrake (6%) ● Unlocking the car doors (4%)
Steve McQueen – at Chelsea AutoLegends in spirit?
Le Mans Comes to Chelsea
new car show in London will feature a collection of some of the world’s finest road and competition cars. The inaugural Chelsea AutoLegends at The Royal Chelsea Hospital will raise funds for the venue, the home of retired service veterans known as the Chelsea Pensioners. It’s on Sunday 5th September and it will honour the world’s oldest endurance sports car race in endurance racing – the 24 Hours Le Mans – with
a special display of cars. There will also be a tribute to the King of Cool Steve McQueen, who starred in the 1971 action film, Le Mans, which featured footage from the actual 1970 race. Alongside the modern and classic exotics, supercars and racers will be helicopter and military displays. Discounted tickets for the event can be purchased online at www.chelseaautolegends.com for only £12 (£15 on the gate), and kids under 16 go free.
The Major and the Beetle
new exhibition about the origins of the world famous Volkswagen ‘Bug’ is being opened this month in the unlikely surroundings of the Museum of the Royal Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), in the British Army’s Arborfield Garrison, Reading, Berkshire. Why the military environs? Well, without a British Army oﬃcer, VW as we know it today might not have existed. At the end of World War II, in August 1945, 29 year old Major Ivan Hirst, REME, was sent to ‘sit on’ the bombed remains of the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, to protect it from looting and occupation by other forces. Instead of mothballing what was left at the factory, he decided to restart production. Postwar Wolfsburg suffered shortages of food, skilled workers, housing and work materials, but Hirst, using all his engineering and management skills, turned the Volkswagen factory around and ensured its survival. The exhibition incorporates a unique ‘Beetle sofa’ and video display, created from half a Bug, in which you can sit in a piece of history and learn about it simultaneously. The opening will be celebrated with a historic Volkswagen car show and a ‘meet up’ for VW enthusiasts on Sunday 26 September at 11am.
Auto Anniversaries T
here’s always a birthday to celebrate in the world of cars and bikes – any excuse for a party! – but there are three significant ones happening around the publication date of this issue. A 1904 7hp Peugeot braves the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run MILBORNE ONE
Peugeot’s Two Hundredth
Some mistake… there were no cars two centuries ago! Mais non. It was in 1810 that Jean-Pierre and JeanFrédéric Peugeot turned their father’s cereal mill into a steel foundry and joined the burgeoning industrial revolution. From saws and steel rods for crinoline dresses, they moved into bicycle and motorcycle manufacturing from 1886. Shortly after, in 1891, Peugeot made their first automobile. From then, through the 504 which is still seen on the streets and dust tracks of Africa, via the rally-derived 205 ‘hot hatch’, to the sexy new RCZ Sports Coupé, Peugeot has been a firm favorite around the world, noted for their practical and forward looking engineering.
Riders of all marques are invited to enjoy a day of entertainment at Mallory Park race circuit in Leicestershire to celebrate the brand’s 20th birthday. Surely Triumph’s older than that, you say. What about Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando’s iconic rides? The 20th refers to the new company started by entrepreneur John Bloor, who bought the rights to the name seven years after the original company, which
had been taken over by a workers’ cooperative, went bankrupt. Triumph has grown from a quirky start-up whose buyers predominantly bought their bikes from a patriotic impulse to a truly world-beating firm – their individualistic bikes often winning group tests due to quality rather than flag-waving. Activities at Mallory include a round of the Triumph Triple Challenge, stunt riders, the UK’s best customised Triumphs, key historic models, a tour of the nearby Triumph factory, and the chance for visitors to ride the latest line up of bikes on and off track. The party will carry on into the night with live bands. Get tickets at www.triumph-live. co.uk or 01455 842931.
First, Ford’s Transit van had a major birthday in August, celebrating 45 years of success. The name may mean nothing to you (it has never been sold in the USA, although it has been available in Mexico for three years), but the Ford Transit is on of the most successful vehicles in Europe. It is the archetypal ‘white van’, used by millions of tradesmen – and indeed many bands, who typically use the light truck to ferry themselves from gig to gig. ‘Transit’ has become a generic term – like Hoover for vacuum cleaners – and it has topped the UK sales charts ever since the year in which Jim Clark won the Indianapolis 500 and F1 World Championship, the Sound of Music movie was released and Mary Quant invented the mini skirt. Over 6 Million Transits have been produced.
Meet the new Triumph... the same as the old Triumph... but this Bonneville’s oil-leak free
The pretenders to several NFL divisional thrones have the defensive backfields to stymie star throwers. Richard L Gale takes note and conjures up some divisional predictions
ind the best passers in the NFL, and more often than not, a division championship comes attached – Peyton Manning and the Colts, Drew Brees and the Saints, Tom Brady and the Patriots, Philip Rivers and the Chargers, Brett Favre and the Vikings. Tantalizingly, identify the best secondaries, and you’ll quickly have a list of contenders for 2010. The Jets fielded Darrelle Revis and Dwight Lowery last year, and have since added Antonio Cromartie to shut down Brady. Despite mounting injuries as preseason got underway, the Chargers must throw against the experience of Broncos Champ Bailey (pictured below) and Brian Dawkins. And if Brett Favre is back for another season, he must find a way past Green Bay’s Al Harris and Charles Woodson. Prime time matchups all around! Not letting the superstar kings of fling have their way is a big part of how the Jets, Broncos and Packers aim to move from second to first in their divisions – and reason enough why the Texans and Falcons look unlikely to give the Colts and Saints any credible competition, despite being dark horse selections for some. Show me a star QB with no star secondary in their division, and I’ll show you a postseason bye.
AFC EAST If focused, the New York Jets’ secondary is AllWorld, the defense is nasty, and the Jets can match the Patriots on both lines. However, with RB Thomas Jones gone, the offense will rely on sophomores QB Mark Sanchez and RB Shonn Greene. WR Santonio Holmes and RB LaDainian Tomlinson arrive, but Holmes starts 2010 suspended. // While the Jets are the most talented team in the East, the New England Patriots will be more prepared from week 1. However, the defense is a shadow of their glory years. There’s room for a slump. // Defensively, the Miami Dolphins have found the next generation at CB, but the front seven is being overhauled. Now’s a great time for ex-Bronco WR Brandon Marshall to take QB Chad Henne to the next level. // The Buffalo Bills are heading for a difficult year. Again. There’s no franchise QB; their top receiver, Terrell Owens, was not retained, and their O-line is light years behind their rivals. AFC WEST Staying away from San Diego Chargers camp: OT Marcus McNeill, WR Vincent Jackson. Gone to NY: Cromartie, Tomlinson. A lot is being pinned on rookie runner Ryan Matthews. A slow start seems likely, but this is the Chargers, so what’s new? QB Philip Rivers will face little pressure from any AFC West defensive line. // The Denver Broncos should run hard with Knowshon Moreno, play tough defense and have Kyle Orton overachieve. However NFL sack leader Elvis Dumervil’s injury, and inevitable fan calls to see more of Tim Tebow work against the grain // Was Oakland Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell such a black hole of anti-talent that it had a knock-on for RB
Darren McFadden? Jason Campbell arrives to test that case. It could just be that the line was awful. // Romeo Crennel (defense) and Charlie Weis (offense) give the Kansas City Chiefs an enviable coaching staff, and the backfield combination of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones looks to be the best in the West. Everything else is a question mark.
AFC NORTH If picturing the Pandora’s box of distractions that is the Cincinnati Bengals as anything more than a stage for T.O. and Ochocinco’s self-promotion is difficult, try picturing them as back-to-back division champions because of those decoys out wide. Deep down, the Bengals are a dull, run-first team, tough on defense, especially staunch in the secondary. And it’s working for them. // Baltimore Ravens, fantasy juggernaut? RB Ray Rice totalled over 2000 yards from scrimmage in ‘09, and ex-Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin arrives. Which is good, because the Ravens’ storied defense is becoming fragile. // The Pittsburgh Steelers iffy line will shuffle, WR Santonio Holmes is gone, and QB Ben Roethlisberger will be absent the first four games. Early chemistry will look ‘interim’, but they have one of the NFL’s best defenses to keep them close. // The Cleveland Browns may have the second best O-line in the division, and, um… nope, that’s it, I’m all out of positives. AFC SOUTH Keep picking the Indianapolis Colts until Peyton Manning retires. As long as the QB genius has time to choose between Wayne, Collie, Garcon and the returning Gonzalez – the most reliable four-deep on the planet – the running game hardly matters. They also have the best secondary in the division (though that isn’t saying much) // The Houston Texans have a fearsome front seven, including LBs DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing, and DE Mario Williams. However, the secondary looks a liability. The offense? If you don’t know about QB Matt Schaub’s yardage, I guess you never play fantasy football. The line, finally, is one of the league’s best.
© ERIC LARS BAKKE / DENVER BRONCOS
NFC EAST The Dallas Cowboys have the best RB depth in the league and the line has been solid for two decades. Tony Romo has a clutch of targets to rival Peyton Manning’s – Austin, Witten, Crayton, Williams plus rookie Dez Bryant. There’s barely a weak link on the whole team. // The New York Giants have the best two lines in the East, a new generation of talented receivers and now Antrel Rolle at safety. If SS Kenny Phillips and RB Brandon Jacobs bounce back, the Giants could come closest to troubling the Cowboys. // The Philadelphia Eagles better be right about Kevin Kolb after parting with QB Donovan McNabb and numerous other stalwarts. What remains is high on athleticism, but low on experience at a time when the tribulations of a new starting QB could cause self-doubt // The Washington Redskins have some settling-in to do. McNabb replaces Campbell at QB, but considering the weakness of the line, he may morph into Rex Grossman at any point. Don’t expect miracles from Mike Shanahan and co. NFC NORTH All being well, the Minnesota Vikings are division winners. But with Sidney Rice on the preseason PUP list (hip), Bernard Berrian returning from a hamstrung year, DT Pat Williams almost as old as Favre, and ‘Starcaps’ still unresolved, they have vulnerabilities. CB Lito Sheppard’s arrival lends the DBs an ability to flip the field that they lacked last season. // It’s really tempting to fall under the fantasy spell of Aaron Rodgers, but if we’re going to question what happens to the Vikings without Favre, how about the Green Bay Packers without Rodgers, who was sacked fifty times last season? In addition to the secondary previously mentioned, the linebackers look nasty. // The Chicago Bears lead the league in press conferences, but does the acquisition of Julius Peppers make the front seven fierce enough to counter a weak secondary?
PHOTO © SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
// The Tennessee Titans’ Chris Johnson was a 2000-yard back, and fleet-footed QB Vince Young is set for the best statistical year of his wobbly career. The defense, however, was hideous in ’09 and could be again. // RB Maurice Jones-Drew and WR Mike Sims-Walker are fantasy noteworthies, but in this division, the David Garrard-led offense of the Jacksonville Jaguars doesn’t register as more than ‘respectable’. Defensively, it’s hard not to see Manning and Schaub victimizing the Jaguars.
Offensively, I just don’t see Mike Martz + Jay Cutler working alongside a patient running game. This is no division to be drawn into shootouts. // The Detroit Lions can now find a spark at QB (Matthew Stafford), RB (Jahvid Best), WR (Calvin Johnson), or DT (Ndamukong Suh). But the secondary still stinks.
NFC SOUTH The New Orleans Saints are offensively awesome: an every down scoring threat with a QB/OL combo to beat the Colts (and they did). If their good, not special defense is the one knock on Saints, it’s still fine for this division. // How many QBs debut like the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan did, then vanish forever? Expect a return to form. The Falcons’ weakness is against the deep pass. That stops them in their tracks here. //John Fox’ Carolina Panthers yoyo annually, but not this time with Peppers gone. The running game is super-solid, but there’s no other special areas, and the defense is soft. This could be Fox’s last hurrah in Carolina. // If Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman learnt from his post-Wembley starting experience, the receivers could really surprise. The DBs are good at times (= patchy), but until Carnell Williams, Derrick Ward or somebody claims the backfield, this is still a team going through its adolescence.
NFC WEST San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith, so-called ‘bust’, is still the best QB in the division. A full season of WR Michael Crabtree (above) is a tasty prospect, ex-Dolphin Ted Ginn fits here (as a returner at least), and Vernon Davis is a TE stud. But oh dear, that offensive line. Can Smith survive? The defense was one of the best in the NFC last year. // The Arizona Cardinals’ grip on the division is weak, unless Matt Leinart has been sandbagging. Anquan Boldin is gone, but WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston remain, and the Cardinals have the best OL in the division by a mile. The defense is ho-hum. // Is Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll still glancing in the rear view mirror at USC issues? He’d better not be, because what talent there is on offense needs coaching – fast. The only reason they’re not in the basement is because the Rams exist. // St Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson and QB Sam Bradford are irrelevant as long as the defense remains toothless. POSTSEASON Divisional Winners and predicted Wildcards highlighted above. Title games: Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers; Indianapolis Colts v New York Jets. Best Guess Superbowl: Cowboys (at home!) over Jets. H
Sean L. Chaplin previews the Americans in the US Open
all is my favorite time of year, the leaves are starting to change color and the hot steamy days of summer are starting to turn crisp and cool. Football training camps are in full swing and the thought of the holidays are already strolling through my mind. For the tennis fan, fall is synonymous with the United States Tennis Association’s national championship, the U.S. Open. Some of the greatest tennis I have ever witnessed occurred at Flushing Meadows. Ivan Lendl, Matts Wilander, John McEnroe have all been a joy to watch in past history and who could ever forget Jimmy Connors’ improbable semifinals run in 1991? The atmosphere at the Open is second to none, with packed houses and rowdy fans cheering on the underdog, as well as the home grown talent and this year should be more of the same as there will be plenty of American talent on display. The press in the States doesn’t have much confidence in American tennis right now, with Andy Roddick out of the top ten and James Blakes plummeting out of the top 100. But when the Open begins on August 30, there will be plenty of young stars such as John Isner and Sam Querrey to grab the attention of the pessimistic press. The obvious choice to win the men’s draw will be Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, but the naysayers would do well to keep an eye on either Isner or Querrey. Sam Querrey recently won a Los Angeles ATP tour event, beating a very good Andy
Murray 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3, showing mental toughness as he came back from a set and match point down with big serves and risky shots. The win was Sam’s fourth of the year, only one title behind Nadal and the added boost to his confidence will aid his chances at the Open. Sam defeated his good friend and occasional doubles partner Isner at the Regions Morgan Keegan in Memphis and for good measure they won the doubles in the same tournament! During the clay court season, Querrey beat Isner to claim the Belgrade trophy, and by winning the Queen’s club event in London prior to Wimbledon, Sam became the first person on tour in 2010 to win titles on three surfaces. His form is peaking at the right time. On the other hand, the tour’s most improved player, John Isner, sits two places above Sam on the ATP tour rankings at number 19. John will be forever remembered in Wimbledon lore as the winner of the longest match in tennis history in his first round win over Mahut. Isner won the Auckland ATP Heineken Open at the beginning of the year. Both players should give the fans in New York a reason to come early and stay loud. The American ladies are well represented by the Williams sisters and will both be considered favorites when the tournament starts. Although Serena is not the most popular figure in tennis, her talent is unquestionable and she is rightly considered the favorite for the U.S.
ELLA LING/RON C ANGLE PRODUCTIONS
Sam Querrey in action at Wimbledon
Open. It will be interesting to see if world no.2 Jelena Jankovic and do better than her runner-up result in 2008. Kim Clijsters has the talent and mental make-up for a run at the championship, but all roads lead through Serena. If Serena is mentally prepared, her talent will be too difficult to overcome. The player to keep an eye on will be Justine Henin, who overcomes a lack of physical stature with mental grit and a never-sayquit attitude. If Serena is not on form, look for Justine Henin to take advantage. With a supposed downturn in U.S. tennis, most pundits will pick the obvious choices to win. I predict an old favorite will win the ladies championship – Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters to make a run deep in the tournament, with Clijsters winning a tight final over a raging Serena Williams. In the men’s draw, I think the Americans will show well, but it will be tough to beat the big two in Nadal and Federer. In the end, Nadal’s talent will show through and he will lift the last major of the year on a beautiful New York fall evening. H
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World Cup stars at Craven Cottage Fulham v Everton Saturday 25th September – Kick-Off 15:00
Head to Craven Cottage this September to watch Fulham’s World Cup star Clint Dempsey come face to face with national team mate Tim Howard of Everton.
Tickets available from: Adults £35 / Juniors £15 Buy your tickets online at fulhamfc.com/tickets or call 0843 208 1234 (option 1)
Turning the Tide Can Alabama do it again – or can college football’s quarterbacks steal the highlights, Heisman or National Championship from Mark Ingram and company?
rom the moment Nick Saban arrived at Alabama, the program began acquiring NFL-quality talent and NFL-sized linemen. After only three years, his team has both earnt a national title and produced a Heisman winner (RB Mark Ingram). Team and star rusher seem ready to do it all again, but some of those rivals seeking to derail a repeat of both accolades feature prominent Heisman-contending passers that will bring added media attention (ie poll votes): Multi-talented Terrelle Pryor
at Ohio State; athletic Tyrod Taylor at Virginia Tech; and those dark horse Boise State Broncos, led by Kellen Moore. But before meeting any of them in a BCS National Championship game, there’s the SEC itself to conquer. In the West alone, there’s road trips to both LSU and Arkansas on the slate. If Arkansas’ Ryan Mallet pulls off the upset of Alabama, the Razorback QB could charge to the head of the Heisman hunt. And at the end of it, Florida’s John Brantley may get two cracks at Alabama.
The American’s Preaseason Top 25 Alabama Ohio State Boise State Florida Nebraska Iowa Wisconsin Oklahoma Texas Virginia Tech TCU Oregon UConn
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Pittsburgh Arkansas USC LSU Miami Florida State Penn State Navy Georgia Stanford Utah Houston
(Right) Shouldering the blame for wins and losses: Kellen Moore of Boise State is one of several QBs putting up big stats in minor conferences. While a loss isn’t necessarily fatal for a Heisman campaign in the BCS shuffle, anything but unbeaten is likely curtains for Moore, TCU’s Andy Dalton, or Houston’s Case Keenum. Even ACC QBs may need perfection.
© STANLEY BREWSTER / FOTO208.COM
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Atlantic Coast Conference Ironically, if Virginia Tech don’t win the ACC, it will be defense and special teams that let them down. Offensively, the Hokies have super-talented RBs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, and QB Tyrod Taylor, while a running threat himself, could break out as a passer this year. // If VT slip, Miami and North Carolina are a step behind them in the Coastal Division. If Miami QB Jacory Harris doesn’t try too much against big name opponents, and just uses his talented receiving corps, Miami could blossom a year early. For NC, 18 starters return, but offensively they’re less spectacular than Miami or VT. The defense is laden. with pro prospects // In the Atlantic Division, Florida State feel like champs under the leadership of QB Christian Ponder. The entire starting O-line returns. Coach Jimbo Fisher takes over from Bobby Bowden, but it is what Mark Stoops does with the so-so defense that dictates whether FSU hold off Boston College and Clemson. Also a factor: BC; Clemson; Georgia Tech Also-rans: NC State; Wake Forest; Duke; Virginia. Big 12 The Big 12 has been all about QBs for a while. So let’s talk defense, Nebraska-style, where nasty defensive linemen define the team even after the departure of Ndamukong Suh. Maybe we’re just charmed by the narrative of Nebraska winning in their Big 12 swansong (especially considering the lack of stars on offense), but hosting Missouri and Texas gives them a shot of at least the North // At Texas, Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley, Sergio Kindle and others are gone. Big programs reload, but only 3 offensive starters return here. Why not Oklahoma instead? Half the defense left, but with the line healthy, QB Landry Jones now experienced (3,200 yards, 26 TDs last season) and DeMarco Murray in the backfield, there’s potential for overachievement. Also a factor: Texas Tech; A&M; Colorado; Ok. St. Also-rans: Kansas; Iowa State; Baylor; Kansas State.
Big Ten In 2009, Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor accounted for 2880 and 25 TDs. The Saine/Herron backfield added 1250 yards, 11 TDs. The defense is one of the best in the country, but the question remains: if the Buckeyes do get behind, do they have the tools to come back? // While Iowa RB Adam Robinson is no Shonn Greene, he and Jewel Hampton could tag-team for great yardage if QB Ricky Stanzi shortens less drives with picks. If the defense has a long field to defend, Iowa have a chance to steal the Big Ten. // I’m very excited about Wisconsin (how often do you hear those words?): RB John Clay had 16 TDs last year, QB Scott Tolzein could be about to break out, and a superb line returns. However, the run defense may have peaked in ‘09. They could upend the Buckeyes Oct 16, yet fall at Iowa the week after. Also a factor: Penn State, Michigan; Michigan State; Northwestern. Also-rans: Minnesota; Purdue; Illinois; Indiana. Mountain West Conference TCU QB Andy Dalton doesn’t tote gaudy stats, but he’s careful (35 TD, 13 picks, 2008-2009) and runs well. The offense is experienced and the defense has enough for the MWC title. If they don’t trip week 1 vs Oregon State, an unbeaten run and BCS slot is possible. // Utah, like Nebraska, has dreams of parting company with a conference title. It’s possible – they host TCU and BYU, and QB Jordan Wynn looks promising, but just 3 defensive starters return. Also a factor: BYU; Air Force Also-rans: Wyoming; San Diego State; Colorado State; UNLV; New Mexico
Pacific-10 QB Jeremiah Masoli departs yet somehow we’re picking Oregon in the Pac-10. Why? RB LaMichael James (1500+ yards in ‘09) is one reason, defensive speed is another. But mostly because USC got sanctioned // If it was just a matter of QB Matt Barkley, the next wave of running backs, and a Monte Kiffin defense, we might ignore USC’s 5th-place finish in 2009. But there’s too much distraction here. They won’t chase a BCS bowl bid, but they can still ruin everybody else’s. // With RB Toby Gerhart gone, Stanford will parade QB Andrew Luck, but he still has to fulfil his potential statistically, rather than just having the right look. How the Cardinal tied for second with last year’s defense is a mystery. Coordinator Vic Fangio arrives to change the scheme. // Oregon have some explosive players offensive players, but QB is a big question mark. Early non-conference games (TCU, Boise St) are mean. Also a factor: Washington; California; Arizona Also-rans: Arizona State; UCLA; Washington State Southeastern Conference Florida can still roll the East. The annually powerful line protects QB John Brantley, while the defense remains talented, and special at DB. The Gators could lose just twice this year: October 2 at Alabama, and in the SEC title game ...against Alabama again. // The Crimson Tide won the national title (according to my schedule) a year early. 8 offensive starters return including RB Mark Ingram (1540 yards, 15 TDs), QB Greg McElroy (17 TDs, 4 Ints), and WRs Julio Jones and Marquis Maze. But that premature championship sent a lot of defenders to the NFL early, so there’s a chink in their armour. // LSU and Arkansas are the teams least unlikely to topple the Tide in the West. Arkansas have perhaps the best QB in the nation in Ryan Mallet (30 TDs, 7 Ints in ‘09), but the defense was the SEC’s worst last year. LSU has a defense (CB Patrick Peterson of particular note), but they’re on the road against Florida and Arkansas. Also a factor: Georgia; South Carolina; Tennessee; Auburn; Mississippi. Also-rans: Kentucky; Mississippi State; Vanderbilt. Other Conferences It’s all Boise State in the WAC. After finishing 14-0 and ranked no.4 last season, they start most polls in the top 5 this year. If QB Kellen Moore (39 TDs, 3 Ints in ‘09) can lead them to a road win over Virginia Tech to start the season, they should finish the sea-
With the Pac-10 wide open, Jake Locker has a chance to lead Washington into conference contention. © MAX WAUGH/UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
Big East Randy Edsall’s UConn defense is geared to stopping the run, and while Jordan Todmanis is being talked about as a feature back UConn will probably utilize their own depth of talent again when they run themselves. That formula had them go 8-5 last season, and the five losses were all by 4 points or less. // Despite Heisman-contending RB Dion Lewis (1700 yards, 17TDs in ‘09), and a passer-punishing defense, Pittsburgh field inexperienced QB Tino Sunseri, and the middle of the O-line is new. These hardly seem conditions for a conference crown. // Brian Kelly’s Cincinnati went 12-0 last season. Then Kelly left for Notre Dame. Also gone, half the starters, including WR Mardy Gilyard and QB Tony Pike. Also a factor: Rutgers; West Virginia; South Florida. Also-rans: Louisville; Syracuse.
son in the top 5 too – maybe even the top 2 (...and let the fun begin!) // MAC powerhouse Temple (yuh, sounds weird) must fend off Northern Illinois for the conference crown. Temple bring two dominant lines, while NI have superior defense and a deep backfield. // In C-USA only Houston and QB Case Keenum have national relevance. Keenum will likely set a new FBS record for passing yardage, and their Nov 27 visit to Texas Tech could be a high-scoring bid for an unbeaten record. // Sun Belt pick: Middle Tennessee State, facing rivals FAU and Troy at home.
Independents Navy QB Ricky Dobbs ran for 27 TDs last season. The Middies finished 10-4 and there isn’t a team on this year’s schedule they can’t beat, including Notre Dame. // Notre Dame will use the spread offense, but success depends greatly on QB Dayne Crist clicking with Brian Kelly’s scheme, because the defense is nothing special. A winning season isn’t guaranteed. // The highlight of another losing campaign for Army could be when former Falcons FB Jared Hassin suits up against Air Force, November 6. H
Every now and then we get one of those anonymous round robin emails that actually makes us laugh – or in this case feel all fuzzy and warm. We’ll bring you the occasional one, in case it hasn’t reached your inbox yet. Thanks to whoever started this one off…
How did we ever survive?
V was the only screen we had to gawp at. You could hardly see for the picture for all the snow. And it was in black and white! But we loved the stories it told. My Mom cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn’t seem to get food poisoning. She defrosted hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can’t remember getting e. coli. We swam in the lake instead of a pristine pool, no beach closures then. “Cell phone” would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system. We took gym, not PE, with a pair of high top Keds (only worn in gym) instead of crosstrainers with air cushion soles and light reflectors. I can’t recall any injuries but they must have
happened because they tell us how much safer we are now. Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym. Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. What an archaic health system we had then. Our school nurse wore a hat and everything. And where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed! I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. I just can’t recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations. We played ‘king of the hill’ on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it
didn’t sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked. Now it’s a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat. We didn’t act up at the neighbor’s house either; because if we did we got our butt spanked there, and again when we got home. I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop - just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house (no lawsuits back then). Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck. No-one I knew was told they were from a dysfunctional family. We were obviously duped by so many societal ills that we didn’t notice that the entire country wasn’t in group therapy or anger management classes, or taking Prozac! Love to all of us who shared this era. To those who didn’t, sorry for what you missed. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! H
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