Page 1

January 2011

THE ESSENTIAL MONTHLY FOR ALL AMERICANS

Est. 1976

®

£2.80 www.theamerican.co.uk

ARTS CHOICE EATING OUT WHAT’S ON POLITICS SPORT

Chrissie Hynde

– all the fun of the Fairground Mick Foley talks about wrestling and writing A copy of Shelley’s Ghost to be won inside


The American

No taxation without representation! Since 1600 The East India Company has been involved in many pivotal historical events. At The Boston Tea Party you threw our tea off our ships. 237 years later we still recall our most famous customer complaint, we even have a Boston Tea Party tea blend! This Christmas we are offering American readers tax free purchases on our fine food gifts, to avoid any further revolutionary activity, both online and in our Mayfair store.

To exercise your righT To a 17.5% discounT, use The code ‘BosTonTP’ on checkouT aT www.eicfinefoods.com offer ends decemBer 31st 2010.

alTernaTively visiT our mayfair sTore and menTion The code ‘BosTonTP’ To our sTaff aT The Till.

2

7-8 Conduit Street London W1S 2XF


The American ®

Issue 693 – January 2011 PUBLISHED BY SP MEDIA FOR

Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK

Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 editor@theamerican.co.uk Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director +44 (0)1747 830520 sabrina.sully@blueedge.co.uk Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email theamerican@blueedge.co.uk Correspondents:

Welcome I

hope the British winter hasn’t been too much of a shock. Not the arrival of a significant amount of snow, the complete inability of the country to function properly. Once I was delayed for eight hours at Gatwick Airport, after a one inch snowfall, as the snow-moving equipment had frozen up! We (finally) landed at Munich to see six feet of snowdrifts that had been efficiently snowplowed off the runways. At the time of writing, it’s impossible to know whether the ‘big freeze’ is still on, or Britain is basking in a glorious early spring. If the latter, you can use this issue of The American to plan some fun days out in the sun. If the former, why not snuggle in front of a log fire with a mulled wine and read our interviews with Chrissie Hynde and Amanda Foreman, enjoy our travel feature on the Côte d’Azur, or get some great advice on how to keep your New Year Resolutions.

Mary Bailey, Social mary@theamerican.co.uk Richard Gale, Sports Editor richard@theamerican.co.uk Alison Holmes, Politics alison@theamerican.co.uk Riki Evans Johnson, European riki@theamerican.co.uk Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey jeremy@theamerican.co.uk Estelle Lovatt, Arts estelle@theamerican.co.uk Dom Mills, Motorsports dom@theamerican.co.uk Jarlath O’Connell, Theater jarlath@theamerican.co.uk Virginia E. Schultz, Food & Drink virginia@theamerican.co.uk

Enjoy your magazine,

©2011 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed by Advent Colour Ltd., 19 East Portway Industrial Estate, Andover, SP10 3LU www.advent-colour.co.uk ISSN 2045-5968 Main cover image: Chrissie Hynde and JP Jones

Lynne McAlister has loved to travel since she could walk. Her passion has taken her to 49 States and 5 continents. An American, she currently lives in Notting Hill with her husband, Tony.

Michael Burland, Editor editor@theamerican.co.uk

SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS

Alan Miller is Director of The NY Salon in New York City, co-founder of London’s Truman Brewery and The Vibe Bar and sits on England’s Arts Council. He is, in these difficult days, that rare thing – an optimist.

Joshua Modaberi is a freelance sports journalist – catch his podcasts on all major American sports including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and wrestling, with star interviews, at worldsport.podbean.com

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.

1


The American

30

In This Issue... The American • Issue 693 • January 2011

23

4

News Wills is set to marry his Kate – find out about her American family connections here

8

Diary Dates From American Ballet Theater to that most British of entertainments, Panto, there’s something for everyone

12 Revolving Resolutions Do your New Year’s resolutions dissolve with the winter snows? Here’s some helpful advice 13 Resolution No.1: Get Fit! And here’s how to get the best out of your new fitness club membership

12

14 Jam and Jerusalem ...and much much more The Women’s Institute came across the Atlantic and become a fundamental part of the British way of life 16 The Resplendent Cote D’Azur The South of France sounds particularly alluring at this time of year. We explore the best parts 18 Arts Choice Marc Chagall’s America Windows in Chicago are among the arts news from both sides of the Atlantic

16

2

50


The American

23 Wining & Dining Shhh… Virginia shares her best kept gastropub secret, and discovers that you shouldn’t always judge a restaurant by its owner 28 Coffee Break Exercise your mind, your memory and your laughter muscles 30 Music Chrissie Hynde tells The American why she’s found happiness “nestling in the background” of her new band, JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys 37 Reviews Love and death dominate our reviews of the best shows in Britain, including one which “will be discussed when all others from 2010 have faded from memory”

18

4

14 13

52

44 Politics The Sulgrave Institution, now almost forgotten, tried to forge ever-stronger international bonds. Could new immigration laws and Wikileaks damage them? Our politics section investigates 50 Drive Time What The Diavel? Ducati’s musclebike has shocked the bike world. And Chevrolet’s new Camaro convertible is set to come to the UK

8

52 Sports Wrestling legend Mick Foley talks to The American, plus College Bowl Season Preview, NHL’s Winter Classic, and more 58 American Organizations American-oriented groups you’ll want to join in Britain 3


The American

Hoff Panto For BFSA The British Fulbright Scholars Association is sponsoring current US scholars to see that most British of theatre genres – pantomime. They will be visiting The New Wimbledon Theatre on the evening of Monday January 10th to see Peter Pan, featuring David ‘The Hoff ’ Hasselhoff. Tickets are selling fast so if you would like to meet up with the scholars and see the performance please call the Theatre Box Office on 0844 871 7646. BFSA suggest that if you’re attending, let them know at bfsa@Fulbright.co.uk so that they can arrange to meet up with you. The BFSA is organizing a meet at the panto to see David Hasselhoff

4

Royal Wedding: Kate Related To George Washington

I

t can’t have escaped your notice that Prince William has become engaged. A big enough story at the best of times, but this royal wedding will be unusual due to the bride’s background. Not only is she a commoner, but she has American connections too! William’s fiancée, Miss Catherine Middleton, aka Kate, has been described as the epitome of the British middle class (albeit at the higher end of that social stratum). Will’s more ‘Hooray Henry’ friends reportedly used to mock Kate’s mother Carole, who had the audacity to actually work for a living. She was a British Airways ‘trolley dolly’ flight attendant before making a fortune with her husband manufacturing party bags for kids’ parties. The prince’s snobbish pals have been heard to murmur “doors to manual” as Carole entered the room. Perhaps that rude behaviour will stop now that “Waity Katy” has got her man? Kate will be the first commoner in more than 350 years to marry a prince who is likely to ascend to the

crown. The last was Anne Hyde, who married the Duke of York, who later became James II, in 1660. But did you know that Kate has some pretty high profile American ancestors? Researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society told the Boston Globe that “Kate Middleton is an eighth cousin eight times removed from George Washington, through common ancestor Sir William Gascoigne, who died in 1487. She also counts Meriwether Lewis, who together with William Clark mapped the West in a famous 19th-century expedition, as a ninth cousin seven times removed. And she is related to General George S. Patton, the outspoken Army officer who commanded troops across Europe during World War II, as a 13th cousin three times removed.” The royal wedding will take place on Friday 29 April at Westminster Abbey, chosen because they can have an “intimate” ceremony there – well, at least compared to St Paul’s Cathedral.


The American

Win This Gorgeous Book About The Infamous Shelley Family

US Residents Can Help Shape The Future Of Scotland

S

cotland’s biggest population count, the 2011 Census, will take place on Sunday 27 March and work is already underway across Scotland to ensure that everyone is counted. The census happens once each decade and lets people inform government, local authorities, public sector organisations and businesses about the services they and their community currently use and need. Census questions ask about our circumstances such as age, health, accommodation and occupation. It is very important that everyone living in Scotland, including residents from other countries such as the USA takes part in the census. The personal details collected through the census are safeguarded by law and kept confidential for 100 years. The census provides national and neighbourhood statistics that are used to plan how billions of pounds worth of public services, like health, education, transport and housing, are delivered. It asks the same questions of us all, including our long-term health and whether we look after, or give any help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others because of either long-term physical/ mental ill-health/ disability, or problems related to old age. Support is available to help

The debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament

people with hearing or visual impairments to fill in their census questionnaires with British Sign Language (BSL) translations of the questions, audio clips of questions and large-print and Braille questionnaires available from the Helpline which opens on 7 March 2011 or via your local census taker (enumerator). An online, accessible version of the questionnaire will be available on the website. Registrar General Duncan Macniven, who is overseeing the preparations for the census, said: “We are currently recruiting for around 6,000 census takers to ensure that everyone is counted in the census. People will have the opportunity to fill in their questionnaire online in either English or Gaelic. If you have a hearing impairment you can access British Sign Language (BSL) video clips which translate the census questions. Additional language support is also available. “The personal details collected through the census are kept confidential for 100 years. Only then will the individual census records be available to future generations as a rich source of information about 21st century Scotland.” For further information on the census visit www.scotlandscensus. gov.uk

Haunted by the past, Mary Shelley and her heirs moulded the reputation of the literary Shelley dynasty by releasing selected manuscripts into the public realm, according to this expert yet readable book. Shelley’s Ghost explores the lives and posthumous reputations of Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary, and her parents William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, drawing for the first time on the outstanding archives of the Bodleian Libraries and The New York Public Library. It coincides with a major exhibition at the Bodleian Library (and later at The New York Public Library) which includes Shelley’s notebooks, a letter from Keats to Shelley and the original handwritten draft of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with corrections by her husband. QUESTION: In which country did Mary Shelley write Frankenstein? ANSWER: A: Switzerland B: England C: Germany HOW TO ENTER: Send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, January 31, 2011. Email it to theamerican@blueedge.co.uk with SHELLEY COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: SHELLEY COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Prize consists of one book. No cash alternative. Only one entry per person per draw. The editor’s decision is final.

5


Mark Pigott, OBE

American Philanthropist’s Million Pound Gift to National Gallery Seattle-born industrialist and philanthropist Mark Pigott OBE has made a generous gift of £1 million to the National Gallery in London which will be used for the refurbishment of the Gallery’s Education Centre and to improve its teaching facilities. Dr Nicholas Penny, National Gallery Director, said, “Education and public engagement have always been central to the Gallery’s mission. We are delighted to announce the renaming of the Education Centre as the Pigott Education Centre and would like to thank Mr Pigott for this generous gift.” Mr Pigott explained, “I believe that reinforcing the link between learning and the arts provides a welcoming bridge that benefits our communities. It is encouraging that the National Gallery will be able to enrich the breadth of Educational programming being provided to patrons of all ages. The establishment of the Pigott Education Centre will ensure the National Gallery remains a leader in arts education in the UK and in the broader art world.” Mr Pigott’s family and his company PACCAR Inc. have also supported organisations like Cancer Research UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Library, the Palace of Westminster, the National Theatre and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

6

Embassy News Consulates Outside London

Every American knows that if you need advice or assistance from American officials in Britain you can contact the United States Embassy in London. But did you also know that there are Consulates in Belfast and Edinburgh and representation in Cardiff , to help you in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

New Belfast Consulate Website

The U.S. Consulate General Belfast, Northern Ireland, is based at Danesfort House, 223 Stranmillis Road, Belfast, BT9 5GR. The telephone number is +44 (0)28 9038 6100 and the Out of Hours Emergency Contact In the case of a genuine emergency involving a U.S. citizen outside of normal business hours is +44 (0)7545 507738. The Consulate has a new website – go to http://belfast.usconsulate.gov

Edinburgh

In Scotland the U.S. Consulate Edinburgh, Scotland’s address is 3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BW. The telephone number is +44 (0)131 556 8315, email edinburgh-info@state.gov and the website is http://edinburgh. usconsulate.gov/

Cardiff

The American Embassy Welsh Affairs Office, Cardiff, Wales is not a Consulate and the Cardiff Office is unable to provide information about visas, or consular services for American citizens.

Enquirers should visit the Visa Services and the American Citizen Services pages on the main Embassy website http://london.usembassy.gov. Some local information is available at http:// cardiff.usvpp.gov/index.html and the phone numbers are +44 (0)29 2002 6419 (Cardiff ) and +44 (0)20 7984 0131 (London). H How to contact American Citizen Services: Passport and Citizenship unit, email londonpassports@state.gov Special Consular Services unit, email SCSLondon@state.gov Federal Benefits Unit, email FBU.London@ssa.gov To telephone any of these departments, or for recorded information 24 hours/day, seven days/week, call [44] (0)20-74999000 and follow the prompts. Or write to American Citizen Services, U.S. Embassy, 55/56 Upper Brook Street, London W1A 2LQ. www.usembassy.org.uk


OVER 300 COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES INCLUDING BOWL GAMES AND BCS CHAMPIONSHIP! OVER 300 COLLEGE BASKETBALL GAMES AND OVER 1000 NHL GAMES INCLUDING THE PLAYOFFS AND THE STANLEY CUP FINALS

FROM £12.99 A MONTH • ESPNPLAYER.COM 7


The American

Diary Dates

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 editor@theamerican.co.uk Day of the Dead British Museum, London WC1 Performance, processions, storytelling, displays and much more to celebrate the annual Mexican festival where families gather to remember the dead. www.britishmuseum.org 020 7323 8000 to March 06

London International Mime Festival various, London The LIMF is a once a year chance to see the very best in contemporary visual theatre, featuring cutting edge circus–theatre, adult puppetry and animation, physical and object theatre. Artists from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the USA animate some of the most prestigious stages in London — the Barbican, ICA, Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and Roundhouse. Winners of a Fringe First award at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the dark ecological satire Flesh & Blood, Fish & Fowl, American performers Geoff Sobelle & Charlotte Ford’s hugely entertaining show has its roots in generations of silent comedians from Jacques Tati to Mr Bean. www.mimefest.co.uk January 15 to January 30

8

Barbican bite Barbican Centre, London The Barbican’s bite programme runs from January to July 2011. Some of the biggest artists in international performance inc. National Theatre of Scotland, Geoff Sobelle and Charlotte Ford, The Tempest Cheek By Jowl, and Royal New Zealand Ballet. See website for more details. Young people aged 16 to 25 can take advantage of the Barbican’s freeB membership. www.barbican.org.uk 020 7638 8891 to July 30 The Royal Shakespeare Company – London Performances The Roundhouse, London The RSC returns to London’s Roundhouse in November 2010 to present a ten–week repertoire of eight plays by Shakespeare — six full–scale productions (Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, King Lear) and two (Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors) specially adapted for children and families. One company of 44 actors playing 228 roles. www.roundhouse.org.uk 0844 482 8008 to February 05

English National Ballet: The Nutcracker/Romeo & Juliet London Coliseum, St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2 English National Ballet celebrates Christmas at the Coliseum and its 60th Birthday year in style with a sumptuous new production of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Artistic Director Wayne Eagling (December 10 to 30, 2010) followed by a revival of Rudolf Nureyev’s award–winning production of Romeo & Juliet (January 5 to 15 ). www.eno.org to January 15 London International Boat Show ExCeL exhibition centre, London A boating extravaganza for everyone interesting in boating, from landlubbers to old sea dogs www.londonboatshow.com 0871 230 7140 January 07 to January 16 John Adams by the Crouch End Festival Chorus Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS Featuring the electrifying Harmonium by John Adams, the piece that established Adams as a major figure in America’s musical landscape. Using texts from Emily Dickinson (Because I Could Not Stop for Death and the vibrant, intoxicating Wild Nights) and John Donne (Negative Love), John Adams has created a thrilling, roller-coaster soundscape shot through with love, death and sex! Also on the programme for this January concert is Roberto Gerhard’s The Plague, featuring Paul McGann, a former Dr. Who and star of the iconic film Withnail and I. www.barbican.org.uk January 15 London Art Fair 2010 Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 Showcasing up to date British and global modern art. Mainly paintings, but some sculpture, photography, video,


Burns Night everywhere Burns’ Supper celebrations take place across the globe. The life and work of Scotland’s greatest poet, Robert Burns, is traditionally celebrated each year on the 25 January and involves coming together to eat haggis, drink whisky, recite his work and don tartan for a ceilidh. January 25 prints and installation art www.londonartfair.co.uk. 08448 480 136 January 19 to January 23 Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel Barbican Centre, London The Los Angeles Philharmonic and its music director Gustavo Dudamel, one of the most compelling conductors of our time, come to the Barbican for two concerts. On January 27 they perform John Adams’ Slonimsky’s Earbox, Bernstein’s Symphony No 1 Jeremiah and Beethoven’s Symphony No 7. Mezzosoprano Kelley O’Connor sings the vocal part in Jeremiah. The visit ends on January 28 with Mahler’s Symphony No 9. Los Angeles Philharmonic is one of the Barbican’s International Associates and will return to the Centre for regular residencies in the seasons to follow. www.barbican.org.uk 020 7638 8891 January 27 to January 28

9


Fine Time Fontayne as the Dame and Nicole Evans as Princess Rose in Sleeping Beauty at the Oldham Coliseum

Panto! Across the UK Pantomime is the traditional winter family favorite, a theatrical extravaganza often starring TV soap actors and comedians, based on fairy stories and folk tales. Includes songs, slapstick, corny jokes and audience participation (It’s behind you... Oh no it isn’t... Oh yes it is!). The ‘principal boy’ is played by a girl and the ‘dame’ is a man! Your local theater is bound to have a panto. to January 30

Journey through the afterlife: the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead British Museum, London WC1 An exhibition which for the first time explains the content and meaning of the famous and enigmatic Egyptian Book of the Dead: a collection of prayers, hymns, instructions and rituals which provided the dead with the special knowledge they would need to make a safe passage to the afterlife. www.britishmuseum.org 020 7323 8299 to March 06

10

American Ballet Theater Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN “One of the greatest and grandest ballet companies in the whole wide world” (New York Times), American Ballet Theatre is one of the most in-demand ballet companies in the world. In 2006, ABT was recognised as America’s National Ballet Company by act of Congress. ABT’s vast repertoire takes in all of the great full-length ballets as well as modern classics and new commissions. At Sadler’s Wells the company presents the UK premiere of two programmes featuring work by world famous choreographers such as Alexei Ratmansky and George Balanchine, and music ranging from scores by Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky to songs sung by the Andrews Sisters. www.sadlerswells.com 0844 412 4310 February 01 to February 06 Science, Religion and Politics: The Royal Society National Portrait Gallery, London W1 To mark the 350th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Society. A display of oil paintings, prints,

miniatures and a medal showing the founders of the Royal Society such as Sir Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, Samuel Pepys and Sir Isaac Newton. www.npg.org.uk 020 7306 0055 to December 05, 2010 Shelley’s Ghost: Reshaping the Image of a Literary Family Bodleian Library, Old Schools Quad, Catte Street, Oxford A major international exhibition reuniting for the first time the Shelley archives from the Bodleian Libraries and The New York Public Library and displaying previously unseen memorabilia. Includes the original handwritten draft of Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s own words with additions and corrections written in by her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley; Shelley’s spy glass which was with him on the Don Juan on the day he drowned; Shelley’s gold and coral baby rattle; a portrait thought to be of Mary in her later years, recently donated to the Bodleian. Free admission. Closed December 23 to January 2. shelleysghost.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/ to March 27


The American decorativefair.com

Buying & Selling USA Stamps, Covers & Postal History

One free entry with this ad

York Stamp & Coin Show York Racecourse Grandstand York YO23 1EX Jan 21 - 22 HH Stephen T. Taylor HH 5 Glenbuck Road HH Surbiton, Surrey KT6 6BS HH Phone: 020 8390 9357 H Fax: 020 8390 2235 info@stephentaylor.co.uk www.stephentaylor.co.uk

The american women’s healTh cenTre london www.awhc.co.uk OB GYN

dicKinson B cowan 214 greaT porTland sTreeT london w1w 5qn Appointments: 020 7390 8433 (Phone) 0844 800 3006 (UK only) 020 7383 4162 (Fax) dickinson B. cowan www.docTorcowan.co.uK

American

Your American Dealer in Britain

Winter fair

18-23 January 2011 Battersea Park London SW11 4NJ Antiques~Mid-Century Modern~Textiles~Works of Art

Free shuttle between Sloane Square and the Fair. Open: Tuesday 12pm-8pm Wednesday & Thursday 11am-8pm Friday & Saturday 11am-7pm Sunday 11am-6pm Tel +44 (0)20 7616 9327

11


The American

Revolving Resolutions Do your New Year’s resolutions come around every year, only to dissolve with the winter snows? You’re not alone, says William Manard, M.D.

A

ccording to Dr William Manard, the most common New Year’s resolutions are health focused - losing weight, exercising, quitting smoking and reducing stress. While he applauds anyone who wants to make a positive lifestyle change, he warns that these resolutions should not be made without a great deal of thought and preparation. “Any time of year is a good time to make healthy lifestyle changes; the beginning of a new year simply offers an easy-to-identify, traditional time to change What’s most important is that the individual has the necessary time and energy to devote to making these changes,” said Dr Manard, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. (The school was established in 1836 and has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River.) Gillian Stephens, M.D., SLU assistant professor of family and community medicine, agrees: “Too often people set themselves up for failure by focusing on where they want to go without considering how they will get there”. If you want to make a healthy lifestyle change, Manard and Stephens suggest five ways to break the cycle of broken resolutions.

12

Set attainable goals. Unreasonable goals set people up for failure. If you’ve been 50 pounds overweight since college, it’s unreasonable to think you’re going to drop that weight overnight. Instead, set reasonable, short-term goals and objectives. For example, if your resolution is to reduce stress, focus on small positive changes, like doing yoga three times per week, that will get you closer to achieving your goals. Or, if you are trying to lose weight, set smaller monthly goals. Build a support system. Surrounding yourself with people who will help you achieve your goals is the most important thing you can do to increase your chance of success. Your family physician can help you set reasonable goals, ensure that any medical concerns are addressed prior to starting a new program and address any issues that come up while working on your resolution. Hold yourself accountable. Failed New Year’s resolutions are so common because they are just as easy to dismiss as they are to make. By including your family physician in your plans, though, you will increase the likelihood of keeping your resolution. Making an appointment with your doctor and verbalizing

your goals will help hold you accountable. Look at your family physician as your coach – someone on the same team and wanting the same results who can provide you with the tools and encouragement to achieve success. Be positive. Healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercising or quitting smoking, can have a big impact on your overall health. Rather than focusing on what you’re giving up, concentrate on the rewards of your hard work – like a new spring wardrobe in a smaller size – and celebrate your successes. Persevere. Many times New Year’s resolutions are derailed by one slip up,. Manard says it’s important to stay focused on the big picture. If your resolution is to quit smoking and you have a cigarette, start fresh the next day. You also can use your slip up as a learning tool. Why did it happen and what can you do to prevent it from happening again? By asking yourself these important questions and seeking addition support, you can get back on track to a healthier lifestyle. H Good luck with your resolutions for 2011. Let us know how you get on. email us at editor@theamerican.co.uk


The American

Resolution No.1: Get Fit! E

very January, couch potatoes walk into fitness centers resolving to – finally - get fit. These newbies will have a lot more success achieving their goals if they know what to ask, look for, and do on that first visit. Adrian Shepard, assistant director of recreation-fitness for Butler University, suggests these Top 10 Things to Consider on Your First Day at a Fitness Center”. Adrian is a certified personal trainer. He directs group fitness programs and personal training at Butler University’s Health and Recreation Complex, serving the facility’s 4000 students, employees, alumni and their families. As a lead presenter at National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association Conference & Exposition, he discussed how fitness trainers can identify and address unhealthy behaviors in clients, including overexercising and disordered eating. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Exercise & Sport Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. 1. Familiarize yourself with the center’s layout (employee staffing matrix, employee stations, locker rooms, towels, restrooms, water fountains, fitness equipment). 2. Ask center employees what services are offered (massage therapy, group fitness, personal training). What’s free and what’s fee-based? 3. Sign-up for a fitness equipment orientation to learn how cardio, strength and other equipment works. 4. Review center guidelines for attire, use of electronics and refreshments,

It’s the editor’s perennial January cry. Yours too? Here’s some advice how to do it without ‘doing yourself a mischief’ time limits and/or sign-ups for equipment, etc.

friends or even an exercise buddy service.

5. If offered, schedule a fitness assessment. Knowing your current level of physical fitness will help you establish goals and evaluate future progress.

10. Realize that fitness won’t make time for you. You must make time for fitness. What are your goals? How many days per week are you planning to visit the facility and for how long?

6. Learn your center’s traffic patterns and peak usage hours. Notice what equipment is being used when you visit. Working out during a facility’s less busy hours can save you time and stress. 7. Understand that people aren’t going to judge you. While it’s natural to feel nervous exercising in front of others for the first time, the person next to you probably isn’t paying attention to you; they’re focused on their own exercise. Concentrate on your own form, breathing and the muscles the exercise targets.

“Fitness center employees are there to help you,” Shepard said, “But you’ll sometimes need to initiate the conversation and let them know that you have some questions or need some advice. “Most importantly, have fun getting fit.” H

8. Don’t overdo it. Gradually work your way into exercising, especially if you have been physically inactive for some time or are recovering from an injury. You won’t see results overnight. Being physically active and healthy is a lifelong journey. 9. Find a workout buddy to help stay motivated. Your facility might offer free trial passes for your

13


The American

Jam and Jerusalem ...and much much more

The Women’s Institute has changed for the new century... Mary Bailey investigates

I

t was in Stoney Creek in Ontario, Canada in 1915 that the Women’s Institute was born. Formed by a small group of country women, the WI, as it soon became affectionately known, emerged with clear aims to revitalize rural living and improve food production and quality. The lives of women was very different from today. No radio, TV

14

or labour saving devices, few cars, and telephones still years ahead for ordinary folk. Females had little education. They had work, of course, helping on the land, with the cows and chickens, and probably with a good clutch of children to care for. The husbands and men folk may (may!) have been stimulating, amusing, considerate and charming but it was the only companionship many women had. The movement flourished, and became interested in improving life for women from all walks of life. It gave training for various occupations, encouraging women in their aims and rights. There was no link to any church or political movement; they were even a little cagey about war work during the First World War. The WI expanded to the

UK, appearing first in Wales soon after the Canada launch. Supported by Farmers’ Unions and the like it became totally independent in 1926. All women were welcome then as they are today. In Britain the WI now has a London HQ and 205,000 members. It has great clout, having gone through another World War and vigorously supporting votes for women, education for females and many charities. However time moves on and the WI became the butt of jibes based on a ‘comfortable middle class rural ladies’ image, summed up by ‘Jam and Jerusalem’ after the conserve (which they supposedly spent their time making) and the William Blake song… “And did those feet in ancient times…” sung at their meetings By the early 21st century women


The American

“The House of Commons and the WI both have to change with the times to retain relevance. The House would do well to examine the WI.”  – John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons had only to stretch out their arm in a supermarket to grab a jar of jam and many more lived in towns. Urban WI emerged with 70 branches in London alone. Remember the Calendar Girls, the WI members who posed for a (tasteful) nude calendar and the blockbuster film that followed? Now there’s a WI singing group, The Harmonies, whose debut album came out in October. WI membership costs a modest £30 a year. Meetings are usually monthly, with guest speakers on subjects chosen by the group, ranging from belly dancing (what would those Canadian matrons have thought!) through tennis coaching, back stage theatre, kitchen gardening and more. Groups arrange events and outings. You can be any age, partake deeply or just attend meetings. The WI’s interest in quality food persists and you may see one of their stalls at a local fair or market. Has the WI come too far from

its original aims? Not at all. In the countryside there are very successful small groups. One of the great aspects of the W I is that ‘they manage’. As for the jam, Denham, the WI’s residential college in the Midlands,

includes jam making events. And Jerusalem? That’s still sung at the beginning of WI Annual General Meetings. Indeed, when you hear these so varied women belt out the tune you get a feeling that, if anyone can “build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land”, it would be the WI. Try out a meeting – it’s a good idea to contact the WI centrally first (020 7371 9300, www.thewi.org.uk) to find a branch which suits your interests and location. It’s fun and you get to meet the natives! H

15


The American

The Resplendent Cote d’Azur Southern gal Lynne McAlister escapes the British winter in search of a quiet weekend in a walled village, the roll of the dice in Monte-Carlo and the soft southern skies that have attracted artists and celebrities for a century

T

he clack-clack of a neighborhood boules game and its accompanying friendly French banter greet the visitor to St. Paul-de-Vence. St. Paul is a perfectly preserved fortified village perched regally 181 meters above the Mediterranean Sea with her back protected by the Alps and the Esterel mountains. It is a paradox whose roots date back to 1000 B.C. but who has played hostess to modern masters like Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Jean-Michel Folon and many others who left priceless artistic gifts. Just beyond the busy boulodrome is a large olive tree where father and daughter snack on crepes. The welcome sign under the tree invites you with the promise of St. Paul being “a source of inspiration and energy, where society events are low key, where life is sweet and where art is omnipresent.”

The Medieval narrow houses, winding alleys, sculptures, and mosaics delight the two million guests each year who visit St. Paul. Art just seems to pop out where you least expect it, like the huge Dove by Ben Jakober that tops a roof as you enter the city and the magnificent Le Pouce (The Thumb) by César Baldaccini which guards the door to Colombe d’Or. One particularly striking example of an art surprise is the Folon Chapel. Originally built in the 17th Century as the Chapelle Des Pénitents Blancs (White Penitents’s Chapel) it has now been reimagined by JeanMichael Folon, the Belgian artist, illustrator, painter, and sculptor, in a warm, bright and vibrant style that seems to glow from within. Opened in 2007, it is one of Folon’s last works.The magnificent mosaic that graces the rear wall of the chapel is a stylized St. Paul-de-Vence. The stained glass windows are simple, love-inspired scenes as are the watercolors along the side walls. A bronze sculpture entitled Qui? (Who?) acts as the altar. The font in the Art in St Pauls is all around you, in the street, not just in galleries ALL PHOTOGRAPHS BY LYNNE MCALISTER

16

center of the chapel, entitled La Source (The Source), is classic Folon. Perhaps it’s the gentle instrumental music or the clear bright light streaming through the stain glass windows, perhaps the warm tones in the art, but the chapel has a sense of restfulness. The Colombe d’Or is a hotel, restaurant and a piece of history. Originally built in 1920 as a a café bar it became a meeting place for artists like Henri Matisse and Paul Signac. Later as the café evolved into a restaurant and hotel, it welcomed the likes of Paul Newman, Sophia Loren and Peter Ustinov. In the heart of the village is the Collegiate Church of the Conversion of Saint Paul. The fountains, wash-house and dungeon each tell their part in the history that spans 3,000 years. Outside the ramparts and walls you’ll find the town cemetery with views over the Mediterranean. It’s the final resting place for Marc and Vava Chagall. Now if all this seems a bit too tranquil and you crave a bit more bling then you are only 40 minutes away from the world famous Monte-Carlo, St Paul’s polar opposite! So jump in your rental car and make your way through


The American

Some of the Musée Océanographique’s 2000 fish; artworks in the magnificent Folon Chapel; and (bottom of page) The facade of Monte-Carlo’s Musée Oceanographique plunges to the Med

the three toll booths (€ 4.20) to Monaco. Upon arrival, find your way to Le Rocher (The Rock), home to MonacoVille, another Provencal hilltop village. Monaco-Ville is home to Musée Océanographique. This marine science museum was the creation of Prince Albert I, an avid oceanographer. Children squeal and adults gaze at the 2000 specimens in the enormous aquarium which allows for access to the open sea through an exposed reef. Upstairs the tone is a bit more academic with a recreated laboratory from Prince Albert’s last boat and a complete whale skeleton. The museum took eleven years to build and is an architectural wonder with an 85 meter (280 foot) façade that plunges straight into the Mediterranean. A very short distance away is the heart of Monaco-Ville, the neo-Romanesque Cathédrale, where Prince Ranier III is buried next to his much-loved Princess Grace. Their tombs are adorned with fresh flowers and hushed visitors pay their respects. Before leaving The Rock see Palais Princier, the home of Prince Albert II which opens to the public June to

October. The rest of the year, when the Prince is in residence, you must content yourself with the perfectly preened Prince’s Guard outside the front entry. If descending from Monaco-Ville at dinner time, try Quai Des Artists, on the harbor, an Art-Deco Parisian themed seafood restaurant with an excellent menu and careful service.

Last but not least top off the evening with a visit to the world’s most famous casino, Casino de Monte-Carlo. This symbol of glamour welcomes all guests who bring their passport or identification card, 10 euros, and suitable attire. Gambler or not, it’s worth a visit to the opulent, gold shrouded temple that funds this tax-free haven. H

Getting There ● British Airways and Easy Jet fly from London to Nice for

as little as £44.00 return. That’s where the bargains end. ● For St. Paul-de-Vence lodging try the elegant Le Mas

de Pierre hotel and restaurant that is bestrewn with works of art around its park-like setting. www.lemasdepierre.com +33 (0)4 93 59 00 10 ● For dining enjoy a special dinner at the celebrated Colombe d’Or. www.la-colombe-dor.com +33 (0)4 93 32 80 02 ● For a more casual dinner, Tilleul. www.restaurant-letilleul.com +33 4 93 32 80 36 ● For dinner in Monaco Quai Des Artists. www.quaidesartistes.com +377 97 97 97 77.

17


The American

Arts Choice

By Estelle Lovatt

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize National Portrait Gallery, London. until February 20

American photographers are making their mark in this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. The international award showcases new talent in portrait photography alongside established professionals and offers a £12,000 prize and the opportunity to shoot a feature story for Elle magazine. Entries are selected anonymously. From nearly 6,000 submissions by 2,401 photographers, in a huge diversity of styles, the judges have selected 60 portraits. The American entrants are Andrea Stern, Dona Schwartz, Laura Heyman, Ramin Talaie, Russ

Couture items by Scaasi, as worn by the stars of the worlds of entertainment and politics

McClintock, Jeffrey Stockbridge. Stern, whose photograph Soldiers is pictured, is a New York City-based photographer whose work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Art in America, GQ, and Fortune. She says. “I came across the Xavier JROTC students while investigating the varied ways children prepare for their future as part of my portrait series, the “Comforts of Industry.” On St. Patrick’s Day, the JROTC students of Xavier High School march down Fifth Avenue in New York City, along with many other groups, clubs, and veterans. The moment was filled with anticipation, as well as a studied and familiar confidence that reflected the hours these students have devoted to their practice.”

Andrea Stern, Soldiers – nominated for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

18

Scaasi: American Couturier

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to June 19 King of Comedy, Jackie Mason, tells a joke about fashion designer Scaasi: His real name is Isaacs – a little Jewish tailor called Issacs; but would he dress Broadway actresses, Hollywood stars and America’s First Ladies keeping a name like Isaacs? Of course not! No! So he decided to spell his name backwards. Scaasi was born. And he made a fortune! Simple. A fashion legend from the late 1950s to the present, Scaasi dressed the rich and famous up in glamorous clothing. His custom-made, bespoke, high-couture, tailored clothing is of the height of chic sophistication. Fashion or Art? His tailored suits, cocktail dresses and evening gowns have been worn by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Mary Tyler Moore, Sophia Loren, Ivana Trump, and First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy, Mamie Eisenhower, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush – who established a strong public image wearing a ‘Scaasi’. Scaasi said, “In being a designer of couture clothing, I have had the pleasure of working with many interesting and illustrious women. I hope that my archive will not only be a resource for the study of fashion but, also, be an inspiration for students of fashion design.” It takes at least three craftswomen over 120 hours to work on a Scaasi design.


The American

Born Arnold Isaacs on May 8, 1930, the boy from Montreal studied fashion design in Montreal and Paris before moving to work in NYC. One of his more unusual commissions was to design a more modern habit for an order of nuns in Pennsylvania. Nice job for a Jewish boy! Scaasi has won numerous honours and awards for his clothes. He continues to design costume jewellery featured on the Home Shopping Network. More than 100 outfits are on display at the MFA.

Marc Chagall’s America Windows Art Institute of Chicago permanent

After five years absence, one of the Art Institute of Chicago’s most liked and admired works is back. Chagall’s America Windows, 36-paneled windows’ was dismantled in 2005 for safety throughout the extensive, tremor-heavy, building of the Modern Wing. If you saw the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you’ll remember these stunning large stained-glass windows. Chagall created the America Windows in

Marc Chagall’s America Windows, restored to their former glory

1977 to celebrate the US bicentennial. After nearly 30 years on view overlooking McKinlock Court, they are a manifestation of his gratefulness to the United States, where he found asylum during WWII. In the America Windows Chagall rejoices and commemorates the greatness of the United States and praises it as a country of freedom, liberty, culture and religious tolerance. Douglas W. Druick, the museum’s Searle Curator and chair of the Department of Medieval to Modern European Painting and Sculpture, said, “I think great stained glass, the experience of stained glass, has always affected people very immediately and very deeply.” Stained glass was initially introduced to churches in the 12th century, and the relationship between coloured glass and spirituality was ascertained, and fixed. Druick added, “I think we naturally respond to colour. Not only does one read the stained glass as a two-dimensional experience in windows, but one is brought into the art by the light spilling through the glass and bringing colour into the room in which you’re experiencing it.”

Untitled (Aleph Head), 2009; a piece by Scottish artist Charles Avery, one of the new talents being exhibited at The British Art Show

The British Art Show

T

he British Art Show takes place every five years and tours to four different cities across the UK. It aims to showcase “the best in British art now” – previous exhibitors have included Lucien Freud, Gilbert and George, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sam Taylor-Wood and Grayson Perry, many of whom long before they became household names. This year’s show, featuring 40 new talents, opened in October at the Nottingham Contemporary; Nottingham Castle Museum and New Art Exchange where it remains until January 9, moving to London’s Hayward Gallery from February 16 to April 17, then the Centre for Contemporary Art, Gallery of Modern Art and Tramway in Glasgow between May 28 and August 21 before ending its run at Plymouth’s Peninsula Arts Gallery, University of Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, The Slaughterhouse, Royal William Yard and the Plymouth College of Art from September 17 to December 4.

19


Zigelbaum & Coelho, Second Choice

Zigelbaum & Coelho

Riflemaker, 79 Beak Street, London W1 until February 26 This is the UK debut for a young duo who recently won the premiere design award at the 2010 Miami/Basel Fair. It’s a room of ‘computational light’, a pulsating LED installation which completes itself only when touched by the visitor, changing the colours of the tiles, creating rhythmic pulses and re-arrange the overall form of the square magnetic blocks. The idea is for each movement to modify and transform the work itself. The former gun-testing vault at the Riflemaker gallery houses 220 luminescent pixel-tiles. Zigelbaum & Coelho is a post-industrialist design studio founded by Jamie Zigelbaum and Marcelo Coelho. Their work utilises physical, computational, and cultural materials in the service of creating new, but fundamentally human, experiences. Jamie and Marcelo began collaborating while students at the MIT Media Lab. They have published and exhibited internationally; lectured on next generation interface design and fabrication techniques at MIT; and organised international workshops and conferences in the fields of transitive materials, reality-based interaction, and tangible interfaces. Jamie’s multidisciplinary work straddles design, human-computer interaction, media theory and cognitive science. Marcelo is an inventor of paper computers, shape-changing composites, interactive garments and digital gastronomy. They are based somewhere in between Los Angeles and Cambridge, Mass.

20

The analog darkroom of photographer Roy Snell – a disappearing breed COURTESY THE ARTIST AND RIFLEMAKER

Analog: The End of Professional Photographic Darkrooms and Music Recording Studios Riflemaker, 79 Beak Street, London W1 January 10 to March 3 Also at the consistently interesting Soho gallery Riflemaker is this exhibition reflecting on the impact of digital technology on print photography and music production. It invites us inside the last of London’s photographic darkrooms. In 2006, when Richard Nicholson began photographing them, there were 214 still in existence. When he completed the project four years later, only five professional darkrooms remained. The exhibition also takes us into a working analog reel-to-reel music studio, courtesy of an installation by Lewis Durham of the band Daisy, Kitty and Lewis, whose gear includes equipment from the legendary Atlantic Studios in Muscle Shoals (which recorded Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles) and RCA Studios in New York where Elvis Presley made some of his greatest hits. The band will perform at Riflemaker during the course of the exhibition. Analog also shows familiar contemporary objects like laptops and mobile phones sculpted in cardboard by artist Clare Mitten, ‘re-analoging’ them.


The American

Eadweard Muybridge by Estelle Lovatt

T

he pioneering Anglo-American photographer Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) broke new ground in the upand-coming art form of photography. Born in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, Muybridge built his career in America. From iconic images of action and movement to portrayal of nature and the American landscape, his photographs reveal a fascination with science while being highly artistic. Muybridge was also a documentary artist, war correspondent and inventor. His zoopraxiscope projected images of suspended motion to create the illusion of movement, predating modern film. His avant-garde techniques produced images that have influenced photographers, filmmakers and artists, including Francis Bacon, Duchamp, Degas, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly and Douglas Gordon. Muybridge’s images of the American landscape are steeped in painterly tradition; he even cut down trees to get the best shots. He was a Hudson River School photographer mixed with Claude and Turner, framing

Portrait of Eadweard Muybridge, 1890, Gelatin silver print SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY

Leland Stanford, Jr. on his Pony “Gypsy”— Phases of a Stride by a Pony While Cantering, 1879, Collodion positive on glass WILSON CENTRE FOR PHOTOGRAPHYA

foregrounds, in-depth middle distances and hazy horizons. His panoramic landscapes of America recorded rural, natural beauty together with the development of urban areas. He photographed the wild rough country of the Yosemite Valley, Alaska, Guatemala, San Francisco, the lighthouses of the Pacific coast, the eastward bound railroad through California, Nevada and Utah, Native Americans and the Indian wars, recording how the West was won. Symbolising the pioneering spirit himself, Muybridge portrayed colonists to industrialists. Aged 41, Muybridge married 21 year old Flora Shallcross Stone, a photographic retoucher. In 1874, their child Floredo Helios was born, but Muybridge discovered that Flora was having an affair with theatre critic Major Harry Larkyns. Having hunted him down, he said to Larkyns, “Good evening Major, my name is Muybridge and here is the answer to the letter you sent my wife”. He then shot Larkyns dead. At his trial for murder, his staged photograph Contemplation Rock, Glacier Point, 1872, of himself on the edge of an overhang of the mountain peak in Yosemite (see page 22), was presented as evidence of his mental instability. But the jury was less concerned in that, believing that “thou shalt not commit adultery” was a greater commandment than “thou shalt not kill”. Muybridge was exonerated, the crime viewed as a ‘justifiable homicide’. Flora

21


The American

Above (top): Wrestling; Graeco-Roman. Plate 347, 1887, Collotype on paper Above: Fencing. (Movements. Male). Plate 349, 1887, Collotype on paper CORCORAN GALLERY OF ART

Below: Eadweard Muybridge, Contemplation Rock,Glacier Point (1385), 1872, Two albumen silver prints on studio card COLLECTION OF CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, FRANCES BENJAMIN JOHNSTON

died in 1875 while Muybridge was taking photographs in Guatemala and Panama, and Floredo was sent to an orphanage because Muybridge believed Larkyns to be his son’s true father. After his acquittal, Muybridge left America for a period, taking time to photograph Central America. Returning in 1877, he started on his now celebrated, legendary, motion studies, shooting objects in motion within fractions of a second that are imperceptible to the human eye – pioneering work for the time, as photographs were then generally exposed for two to ten seconds. Setting up 24 cameras with clockwork mechanisms he captured ‘motion studies’ of racing horses, dogs and other animals, wrestling

Pi-Wi-Ack. Valley of the Yosemite. (Shower of Stars) “Vernal Fall.” 400 Feet Fall. No. 29, 1872, Albumen silver print SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, GIFT OF JEFFREY FRAENKEL AND FRISH BRANDT

men, fencers, a woman getting in and out of bed, and another dancing. His series of a naked woman turning around in surprise and running away became an inspiration for some of Rodin’s late sculptures. The wrestling men were studied by Francis Bacon and appear in his paintings. A personality, he addressed the Royal Institution (where he was introduced by the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII) about the art of photography. Muybridge returned to England in 1894, and died at home in Kingston in 1904. It was the beginning of the cinematic age, which his work had done much to inspire; cartoon animators use his photos for reference when drawing their characters. Is Muybridge a scientist or artist? Let’s leave the final word to Muybridge. He thought of himself as an artist who encouraged scientific exploration. H More than 150 of Muybridge’s works, some never previously shown in the UK, will be on display at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1, until January 16.

22


The American

By Virginia E Schultz

S

hh...but actress Maxine Howe and I think The Bobbin, a gastro pub in Clapham, is the best kept secret in London – so secret I couldn’t locate Lillieshall Road in my small A-Z book and in the larger one the street was named but not shown. Let me give you simple directions. Head for North Street Potters at 24 North Street, SW4, my favourite place in London to buy handmade pottery, and as soon as you see the shop, turn immediately right (or left depending on which direction you are coming from!) and you’re there. The bar was already crowded at seven-thirty that Thursday night. There is a large dining area in the rear, with a garden, but Maxine and I preferred the conservatory next to the bar and were seated on a comfortable plaid covered bench in the corner. If you are a beer lover, the pub, under the aegis of Alex Corbell and Jonathan Burford, has good real ales on sale... Sambrook’s Wandle and Harvey’s Best Bitter to name two. Chef Tim Parsons, who was previously at The Ifield and the Ebury, changes the menu according to what is in season. Our very helpful (and handsome!) waiter, Igor, suggested we have the Charcuterie Board (£7.50) and South Razor Clams, Chorizo and Coriander Salad (£8). Despite the times we’ve

Dining Out at

The Bobbin

eaten at some of London’s top fish restaurants, neither Maxine and I tasted razor clams before and we didn’t know until the first bite what a treat we were in for. The clams grow in long narrow shells and taste like a combination of sweet squid and crab and the chorizo they were steamed with added more flavour. The large charcuterie board, a wonderful selection of Spanish cold cuts, could easily serve four, or you could have the smaller platter to nibble on if you just stop by for a drink. Too often I have a perfect starter only to be disappointed by the main course, but not that night. Maxine’s Char Grilled Swordfish (£14) was unusually moist and she ate down to the last sliver, all the time telling me she doesn’t like swordfish. As I’d been ill for a week, I decided the Char Grilled Skirt Steak with chips (£13) was the perfect remedy to add iron to my weakened body. I ordered it medium rare but closer to rare than medium and that was exactly how it came. Maxine shared it with me; after one taste her eyes lit up and she said, “Wow, if there is better beef skirt served in London, I’d like to know where!”.

I’m not a great lover of puddings (desserts), but this was an English pub and on a rainy wet evening Bread and Butter pudding (£5) didn’t sound bad. Sorry, this was my first disappointment of the evening as I found it had too much pudding, not enough bread and far too sweet. Maxine had no complaints about her Sticky Toffee Pudding (£5) with banana ice cream. The Rioja and Chilean Merlot (£4.60 and £6.70 a glass) Igor selected for us were excellent. On Sunday, Roast Sirloin of Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Slow Cooked Lydling Farm Pork Shoulder (both £13) are offered as well as fish and chips and homemade pumpkin ravioli (both £11). Children are welcome and it is extremely popular and reservations are necessary. Note: To those who believe Clapham is in the boondocks, I agree, and please don’t go because you’ll like The Bobbin and then my secret is spoiled.

1-3 Lillieshall Road, London SW4 OLN 0207 738 8953 www.thebobbinclapham.com

23


The American

Tian d’orange Cigalon head chef Julien Carlon’s recipe feeds 4 people:

Orange caramel: 8 oranges 250g caster sugar • 1 gelatine leaf Pastry: 2 egg yolks • 80g caster sugar 100g butter • 2g salt • 200g flour 8g yeast Cream: 25cl whipping cream 5cl orange blossom water 5g icing sugar Orange caramel: Peel and cut the oranges into segments, reserving all the juice. • Put the sugar into a pan and cook to a dark caramel. • Deglaze the caramel with the orange juice and reduce by half. • Pour the caramel onto the segments and marinate overnight. Prepare the pastry: Mix the cold butter, flour and salt. • Mix the yolks and caster sugar until white and fluffy. • Mix the two together and let to rest in the fridge. • Roll down the dough to a 2mm thickness and cut in 7.5cm discs. Bake for 10 minutes at 170 deg C. The next day, bring a little of the marinade to a simmer and add the soften gelatine leaf. • Cut 8 10x10cm square in baking paper, place on a tray and put a 8cm plain ring on each square. • Pour a thin layer of caramel jelly in each ring and let set in the fridge. • Cover each jelly with the marinated segments and add some jelly to set. Whisk the cream and sugar until firm peaks then add the blossom water. • Cover the orange jelly with the cream using a piping bags with a plain nozzle. • Place a pastry disc on top. • Flip the tian upside down, remove the paper and ring. • Place on a plate with a little of orange caramel around.

24

Dining Out at

C

Cigalon

igalon is the dialect word for that little insect, the cricket and it became the name of the chef hero of a film made by Marcel Pagnol in 1935 who has given his name to a number of restaurants around the world, I was told by Stephanie Dondan who was with me at lunch that afternoon. Whether French crickets have a different sound from the British or American kind, I can’t say, but there is a definite ‘French liner’ feeling to the restaurant with its crystal chandeliers, lilac banquettes down the centre and French bistro tables covered by starched white table cloths and surrounded by wooden chairs along the walls. The owners of Club Gascon are behind this restaurant and have brought with them a very experienced crew, including Julien Carlon as head chef, who was previously head chef at

Comptoir Gascon and spent previous time at Le Gavroche. I might add, Yann Osouf, a former assistant manager at the Wolseley, is manager and anyone who remembers him understands why there was a smile on a customer’s face who entered after us. The restaurant embraces Provencal food and wines and the two times I’ve dined at Cigalon, they’ve mostly succeeded. (This southwest area of France is one of my favourite places to visit.) The kitchen at the back is open and one can observe the chefs working as silently as if they are being filmed for that 1935 movie. Open weekdays only, for lunch and dinner, the menu changes between Wednesday and the following Monday. Among the entrees, I highly recommend the Soupe au Pistou, a vegetable and pesto soup and the Cannelloni de


The American

Daube de Taureau (braised Camargue Beef Cannelloni) in a red wine sauce enhanced with bone marrow. The Cuisse de Lapin (Roast Rabbit leg) with Swiss Chard & Savory Jus (£14.50) my friend, Charlie, had the second time I was there didn’t have the edge he expected which came as a surprise after the distinct flavours of the other dishes. However, the Cote de Taureau (Rib of Camargue Beef, Port & Shallots) (£24.00) took me back to Provence on a warm sunny late May day and was definitely worth the twenty minute wait. Charlie seemed to agree, as he ate half of it. Side dishes one shouldn’t forget are the Black Olive Mash Potato (£3.00) and Jerusalem Artichokes, Bacon and Chestnut Casserole (£3.50). As I am somewhat allergic to cheese made from cow’s milk, the fromages de Chevre & Brebis (goat and ewe cheese selection) (£8.00), is definitely on my list when I dine more casually in the Baranis Bar downstairs and do some French bowling in the Petanque Court in the future. Oh, and do have the Sazerac, a cocktail concoction of bourbon, sugar and bitters rinsed in absinthe, but just one unless you wish to speak French with a New Orleans accent. The wine selection by glass or carafe are also excellent and at affordable prices. Of course, you can go overboard and have Louis Latour 1989 Batard-Montrachet (£450.00), a favourite burgundy of my late husband. As we enjoyed coffee with wonderful lavender madeleines, we heard a small “oh uh” sound and realized it was crickets echoing over the sound system which brought an even warmer smile to our faces. After almost an impeccable service and delicious food, what a wonderful way to end lunch or dinner.

Provencal Restaurant & Grill 115 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PP, 020 7242 8373 www.cigalon.co.uk

Petrus I

f I listened to some of the reviews I read about Petrus I would never have entered the restaurant. So, let’s start with the positive. I’ve eaten at Petrus three times and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. I might add, this is not the Petrus many remember because that restaurant has become Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley. The name “Petrus” belongs to Gordon Ramsey who was and perhaps still is the king of British gastronomy despite the locusts of the bible seeming to descend upon him lately. The head chef, Sean Burbridge, is under the watchful eye of group executive chef Mark Askew. The restaurant is modern in design with a futuristic shaped wine vault, circular tables covered in linen, cream coloured chairs that are extremely comfortable and, frankly, I’m still trying to decide if I like the overall design. We were first offered a lovely amuse bouche of onion velouté that was wonderful. After some debate with himself, my friend decided to have the five course chef’s menu (£70.00) which looked interesting but far more than I could eat. As his first course, he chose the foie gras ballotine with pain d’epices and fresh peach while, I, on the other hand, couldn’t deny the yellow fin tuna tartar with Oscietra caviar wreathed in chive cream (£4.00 supplement). He then

had the pan fried sea scallops with cauliflower, anchovy and caper. After a taste of the scallops I almost regretted not ordering the chef’s menu. As his main course, my friend had a choice between Dorset Lamb or pork belly. No contest, he said, as he selected the lamb. I glanced at the mains. To me the piece de resistance was the roasted lobster tail with linguine, and baby leeks (£6.00 supplement) that upstaged his lamb, although he didn’t agree. Definitely the Gould’s cheddar with blackberry and apple chutney, he decided rather than the panna cotta. Perhaps because I was continually picking at my friend’s food, I was brought a small portion of cheese as well. Lovely! For dessert I had the raspberry and frangipane tart with the most delicious pistachio ice cream. However, the gold sprayed chocolate sphere surrounded by white foam which the waiter covered with a hot chocolate sauce that melted into a pool of chocolate with a honeycomb centre is a showstopper and even more delicious than it looked. As my friend is half French, we had a lovely Sancerre (£69.00) at the beginning and then a bottle of Cotes de Nuits Villages 2007 (£68.00). There was a Chateau Latour 1er cru 1899 for £12,500 I’d have love to try, but it wasn’t quite in my friend’s budget. My three course menu was £60.00, although that didn’t include the supplements. The three course luncheon menu at £30.00 is definitely the bargain. The food is as good as I’ve had in one star Michelin restaurants, the service efficient and helpful and after three dining experiences, I’m looking forward to my next visit. I know we all love to hate Gordon, but let’s not include his restaurants.

1 Kinnerton Street, London SW1 020 7592 1609

25


The American

Cellar Talk By Virginia E. Schultz

VODKA

M

ost of us who drink vodka have it in cocktails, unlike in Eastern Europe, Baltic States and Nordic countries where it is usually drunk neat. Vodka is made from fermented substances like grain and potatoes, although recently I tried an Australian brand, O Vodka, that is made from whey which I found lighter tasting than the usual Vodkas. The word “vodka” was recorded for the first time in 1405 in Poland, although the word referred at the time to medicines and cosmetics. While the word could be found in manuscripts and in lubok, a Russian predecessor of the comic, it didn’t appear in Russian dictionaries until the mid 19th century. Vodka’s alcoholic content usually ranges between 35-70 per cent; the standard Polish, Russian and Lithuanian vodkas are 40 per cent alcohol by volume (80 proof ). Like many Americans, my first taste of Vodka was in a Bloody Mary. Unfortunately in my case it was when a fellow five year old and I finished the last of the Bloody Marys left in the glasses my father had made for guests. Unsurprisingly the consequences were dire for two small children. After that experience, I was almost sixteen before I was able to taste tomato juice again. [Not vodka though? – Ed]

be drunk in the morning, plus a couple of other boozy breakfast beverages.

BREAKFAST WITH A KICK

¼ measure of Cointreau ¾ measure of Vodka The juice of ¼ orange

At this holiday season, here are a couple of vodka-based cocktails that can

26

BLOODY MARY

This classic cocktail was invented in 1921 at the legendary Harry’s Bar, Paris. 4-6 cubes of cracked ice 6 measures of Tomato Juice 1 dash of Worcestershire sauce The juice of ½ lemon 1 Dash of Tabasco Sauce 1 pinch celery salt 1 measure of Vodka 1 pinch of cayenne pepper Put the cracked ice into a shaker. Add the dash of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce over the ice and pour in the Vodka, tomato juice, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously until a foam forms. Strain into a tall, chilled glass, add a pinch of celery salt and cayenne pepper. Decorate with a celery stick and/or slice of lemon.

NEW YEAR’S DAY BLUE COCKTAIL This is to be drunk New Year’s Day. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve been told it’s the perfect drink to start the day with after a long night of partying. Take your chances.

The juice of ½ lime 1 Dash of Blue Extract Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

PARSON’S SPECIAL COCKTAIL

Another drink for the morning after and then go to Church. 4 Dashes of Grenadine 1 Glass of Orange Juice The Yolk of One Organic Egg Shake well. Strain into a medium glass.

BREAKFAST EGG NOG 1 Fresh Organic Egg ¼ measure of Curacao ¾ measure Brandy ¼ Pint of Milk

Shake well and strain into a long tumbler. Grate nutmeg on top.

WINE OF THE MONTH Cumaro 2006, Conero Riserva DOCG     Expensive Pure Montepulciano from the Conero region in Italy. Three of us enjoyed this with a starter of paper thin pizza and then rib eye steak grilled to medium rare perfection. I decanted it an hour before to open ...delicious! Only regret, we needed another bottle. H


Romantic

Valentine’s Dinner

on the 13th and 14th February

£120 per couple, to include Canapés, Three Course Dinner, Glass of Champagne each, with Chocolates and a Rose for your Valentine.

La Capanna 48 High Street Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EF www.lacapanna.co.uk


The American

Coffee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 W  hich famous horror novel was published on New Year’s Day 1818? 2 B  elieving her dead, what do the 7 Dwarfs place Snow White in after eating the poisoned apple? 3 W  hat state officially became one of the United States on Jan 3, 1959? 4 W  hich Roman festival was celebrated on January 9th? 5 W  hich ‘winter’ film opens with the lines? “This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987”

6 W  hat invention did Marvin Stone patent on January 3rd, 1888, made of paraffin-covered paper? a) drinking straws b) adhesive tape c) Dixie cups 7 W  hat colour snow fell over an area of 1,500 sq. km. in Siberia on Feb 2 2007? 8 W  hich ancient civilization celebrated New Year’s by stripping their king of his clothes and sending him away ? a) Egyptian b) Mesopotamian c) Babylonian 9 W  hat is an Ushanka?

10 W  hat are Mukluks? 11 W  hat American institution opened its first location in the Soviet Union on January 31st, 1990? 12 D  onald Duck’s penny pinching uncle Scrooge was born in which European city? 13 W  hat is the custom of Japanese people at the moment the New Year begins? a) sing ‘Happy Birthday’ b) bow to the first animal they see c) laugh 14 W  here is the hyoid bone, the only bone in the human body that is not articulated (attached) to any other bone? 15 W  hat was the name of the rifle that that was called “The Gun that Won the West” that is also a British city? 16 W  hat American patriot, engraver, silversmith, and false teeth maker was born on January 1st, 1735?

Answers below The Johnsons

Quiz Answers: 1. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; 2. A glass coffin; 3. Alaska; 4. Festival of Janus; 5. Fargo; 6. a) drinking straws; 7. Orange; 8. c) Babylonian; 9. A Russian fur hat with ear flaps; 10. Eskimo boots; 11. McDonalds – Moscow; 12. Glasgow, Scotland (Scrooge McDuck); 13. c) laugh; 14. Throat; 15. Winchester; 16. Paul Revere.

28


The American

It happened one... January 1st: 1772 – The first traveler’s cheques, which can be used in 90 European cities, go on sale in London.

4,500 men and 12,000 camp followers when he reaches the safety of a garrison in Jalalabad.

2nd: 1920 – Isaac Asimov, American author and biochemistry professor is born (d. 1992)

14th: 1954 – The Hudson Motor Car Company merges with Nash-Kelvinator Corporation forming the American Motors Corporation, the largest corporate merger in U.S. history at that time.

3rd: 1496 – Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine. 4th: 1865 – The New York Stock Exchange opens its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad Street, near Wall Street in New York City. 5th: 1925 – Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming becomes the first female governor in the United States. 6th: 1930 – The first diesel-engined automobile trip is completed, from Indianapolis, Indiana, to New York City. 7th: 1608 – Fire destroys Jamestown, Virginia. 8th: 1835 – The United States national debt is zero ($0) for the only time. 9th: 1918 – Battle of Bear Valley: the last battle of the American Indian Wars. 10th: 1863 – The London Underground, the world’s oldest underground railway, opens between London Paddington station and Farringdon station (The Metropolitan Line). 11th: 1569 – First recorded lottery in England. 12th: 1932 – Hattie W. Caraway becomes the first woman elected to the United States Senate. 13th: 1842 – Dr. William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War, becomes famous for being the sole survivor of an army of

15th: 1870 – A political cartoon for the first time symbolizes the United States Democratic Party with a donkey (“A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion” by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly). 16th: 1909 – Ernest Shackleton’s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole. 17th: 1929 – Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Segar, first appears in the Thimble Theatre comic strip. 18th: 1911 – The first time an aircraft lands on a ship. Eugene B. Ely lands on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco harbor. 19th: 1840 – Captain Charles Wilkes circumnavigates Antarctica, claiming what became known as Wilkes Land for the United States.

The first landing of an aircraft on a ship Eugene B. Ely lands on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania

Carnegie Hall for the first time. 24th: 1924 – Petrograd (1914–1924), formerly Saint Petersburg, Russia, is renamed Leningrad (1924–1991). 25th: 1858 – Mendelssohn’s The Wedding March is played at the marriage of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria, and Friedrich of Prussia, popularising it as a wedding recessional. 26th: 1838 – Tennessee enacts the first prohibition law in the United States 27th: 1967 – More than sixty nations sign the Outer Space Treaty banning nuclear weapons in space.

20th: 1941 – Franklin Roosevelt is the only President inaugurated for a third term.

28th: 1813 – Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is first published in the United Kingdom.

21th: 1853 - Envelope-folding machine patented by Russell Hawes, Worcester, Mass.

29th: 1900 – The American League is organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with 8 founding teams.

22nd: 1984 – The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous “1984” television commercial.

30th: 1847 – Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco.

23rd: 1943 – Duke Ellington plays at

31st: 1848 – John C. Fremont is courtmartialed on grounds of mutiny and disobeying orders. In 1856 he became the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party. H

29


The American

No More Pretending Chrissie Hynde, singer, songwriter, guitarist and former leader of the Pretenders is back in a new band with a new musical partner, JP Jones, and an exceptional album based on their personal relationship. Chrissie and JP tell Michael Burland how it came to pass

F

idelity! is an extraordinary album. it’s a diary of an unrequited love affair – and it’s yours. Not many songs have that level of emotional honesty. It’s almost hard to listen to in places. How true is it? CHRISSIE: It is a true story – well, each song is about the story. I don’t know how literal a song can be. In a song, you might use a metaphor. JP: We’ve been asked if every word in every sentence is completely literally true. CHRISSIE: In the song Courage it refers to us as dolphins, but we’re not actually dolphins!

The key lines of Perfect Lover are: “I found my perfect lover but he’s only half my age / He was learning how to stand when I was wearing my first wedding band”. Then you sing “ I found my perfect lover but he‘ll never share my bed / So I’ll keep him in my heart and the songs I sing instead” Is that the truth? CHRISSIE: The album blurs the reality a little, so I guess it’s an invitation for a journalist to ask that question. JP and I adore each other. It was written when we first met each other, so it’s kind of how we saw the future panning out. Now here we are in a band, on a tour bus on the way from Portland to San Francisco. It’s all explained in the songs. JP, How did it all happen? Do you make a habit of going up to lady rock stars in bars and talking to them? JP: Not at all! I wasn’t even meant to be at this party. A friend took me. I was so pissed I went up to Chrissie and said, Hey! We ended up chatting all night and swapped numbers. We just really

30


The American

dug each other. There was no thought of working together, we were just hanging out. The whole album was so unexpected. CHRISSIE: JP is so friendly and open. I could see him walking up to the Queen and saying Hi, how are you this afternoon? His people skills are much better than mine! Do you think you’d have ended up together, setting up a new band, making an album and touring if managers and lawyers had got involved? JP: No way. In fact we played what we’d done to both our separate managers at the time. They both said ‘We don’t know what to do with this’, so we flew to LA and found another manager, because we believe in this album. We’ve even set up our own label to put it out on. Chrissie, although you’ve worked with other artists the Pretenders is the only band you’ve ever been in. This is a new band – that must say something special. CHRISSIE: I’ve never seen myself as a solo artist. I haven’t done my standards album, or my country or jazz album. I like working in a band, that’s what turns me on. I’ve never thought about pursuing anything else. l wasn’t out there looking for this – I thought everything was fine! I’m not very ambitious. Now I have a new band and it’s fantastic. I loved my run with The Pretenders, but now I feel quite liberated. No-one’s calling out for me to sing those songs. Does this mean JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys will carry on as an entity? CHRISSIE: We definitely have enough songs for a few more albums That’s the plan, but it’s a loose plan. It’s all happened so quickly, but now we’re touring the States – which is a blast because it’s a real rock audience! We’ve played Portland, Seattle and

Vancouver in the past three days. I’m so glad they’re not seeing us in a stadium. Rock and roll is supposed to be secret between the audience and the band. It’s an intimate thing. Stadiums are for sports. A lot of people like seeing bands in them, but it’s not for me or my audience... ours. Seeing the Fairground Boys is like seeing a sideshow on the back of a truck – this is carnie stuff. Who are the other Fairground Boys? JP: Sam the keyboard player was in Grace, my previous band, and the other guys were in a London band, Big Linda. Drink seems to be a thread running through the album - how you met in the first place, the first line of Perfect Lover, there’s a song called Never Drink Again, and there’s Cuban rum in Fidelity. JP: We drank a few rums, some mojitos. The songs just came – they were written on napkins in restaurants. Each one took about twenty minutes. CHRISSIE: We just went to Cuba to get to know each other, not to write an album. Chrissie, Your voice sounds as good as ever, as strong and expressive, but in some of these songs it’s more sultry than before. Is that the influence of Cuba? CHRISSIE: No, I think it’s because they were originally guide vocals: spontaneous, sung live, with the music. I didn’t know the songs very well. Did one of you write the lyrics and the other the music? CHRISSIE: It was a mixed bag. JP’d be playing a riff on the guitar and I’d have a notebook or vice versa. But originally, JP, you sent a song to Chrissie? JP: Yeah, I texted her “All the fairground luck for your show tonight”.

She told me I should write a song with that title. So I did, that night, and I sent it to her the next day. She loved it, so I said we should work together. CHRISSIE: JP writes really quickly, he captures his first idea and puts it down. He doesn’t edit or agonise over it. Maybe most people do it that way, but it was a real eye-opener. He’s a amazing songwriter and singer. I want to do an record an album of his songs... if we can find the time. Our thing has kind of taken that over. We both want to get away from the commercial pop sound. With big record companies, if you don’t sell a lot of records you’ll get dropped. It happened to JP with Grace, and it happened to me with Warners years ago – we’ve all been there! We’re doing it the old-fashioned way, starting in smaller clubs, promising to come back and building our thing the more organic way. There’s no goal in mind other than to stay on the road and keep playing music. You haven’t traded on your name – it would have been easier to call yourselves Chrissie Hynde and the Fairground Boys. CHRISSIE: I’ve been very careful not to do that. People have said we’d sell more tickets if my name was more prominent, but you’ll find me nestling in the background, where I belong in this band. I’m an integral part, but so is everyone else in the Fairground Boys.

31


The American

Killing Cancer Concert

An incredible line up of rock legends will come together for the first Killing Cancer concert at the Hammersmith Apollo on January 13th: how about The Who, Jeff Beck, Richard Ashcroft, and Debbie Harry (and more) on the same bill? It’s part of a campaign to change the way cancer can be treated. The Killing Cancer charity funds research into Photodynamic Therapy, a little-known therapy that destroys cancer cells with a single treatment – apparently without patients suffering the trauma of chemotherapy and radiotherapy – by light combining with a drug that switches off the oxygen reaching the target cells and is a fraction of the cost of current cancer treatments.

Katy Perry

The bad news: Katy Perry only recently announced her California Dreams Tour, but demand has been so overwhelming that the tour sold out in days. So we won’t bother listing those dates. The good news: Katy has scheduled a second leg for the latter half of 2011, a 12 date Arena tour. Book now or be sorry! Dates are: October 12th Sheffield Motorpoint Arena; 14th London 02 Arena; 18th Liverpool Echo Arena; 19th Cardiff International Arena; 24th Belfast Odyssey Arena; 26th Birmingham NIA Arena; 27th Newcastle Metro Arena; 29th Aberdeen AECC; 31st Manchester MEN Arena; November 3rd Glasgow SECC Hall 3; 5th Nottingham Trent FM Arena; 7th Dublin O2.

MUSIC

LIVE AND KICKING The Pierces Are New To Q

New To Q is a series of live shows run by music magazine Q and promoters Live Nation at a funky little venue, Bush Hall, Shepherd’s Bush in London. LA punk-funk collective Funeral Party open the first show. But headlining the final concert are the very interesting The Pierces. Alabama-born, now New York based, Catherine And Allison Pierce are The American’s tip for massive success in 2011. Their uncategorizable languid, spooky, gothic songs are underpinned by a rare wit and humor. And the supermodel looks don’t hurt. The line-up for 2011 is: January 24th Funeral Party, Kid Adrift, Liz Lawrence; 25th Clare Maguire, Primary 1, Liam Bailey; 26th Noah And The Whale, Ben Howard, Alice Gold; 27th Egyptian Hip Hop, Dutch Uncles; 28th The Pierces, Murray James, David Lyre.

Band of Horses

Band of Horses have added an extra show to their UK tour which starts in January, The group’s surreal video, Dilly, recently received its world premiere exclusively on IMDb (www. imdb.com/bandofhorses), a brilliant homage to violent ’70s biker flicks with a dash of Peckinpah/spaghetti westerns. “This is the first of our videos to truly capture the essence of what a day in our personal lives is

actually like,” said singer Ben Bridwell. The full list of UK shows is: January 26th Newcastle Academy; 27th Glasgow Academy; 28th Birmingham Academy 1; 30th Bristol Academy; 31st Leeds Academy 1; February 1st Manchester Academy 1; 3rd London Brixton Academy; 4th Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion

Marty Stuart

Following the release of his traditional country album Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions), Marty Stuart (pictured below) will be playing a series of dates in the UK and Ireland. Catch him at: January 28th Glasgow, The Arches; 29th Gateshead, The Sage; 30th Nottingham, The Glee Club; 31st Milton Keynes, The Stables; February 1st London, The Queen Elizabeth Hall; 2nd Dublin, The Helix.


The American

EXPAT NEED? CHECK ASSIGNEE SELECTED? CHECK TAX ADVISER? CHECK One of the less appealing things about sending your people overseas is that you, or they, suddenly have to become experts on the local tax system or risk falling foul of the law, incurring extra costs - or both. With BDO however, you and your people can benefit from coordinated tax advice. Advance planning will save you time and money and our specialist tax advisers are well equipped to ease the burden. Through BDO, the world’s fifth largest accountancy network, our Expatriate teams can provide you with assistance all over the world. To find out more about the tax service that travels with you, please contact Andrew Bailey on +44 (0)20 7893 2946 or andrew.bailey@bdo.co.uk BDO’s Expatriate Tax service is run by our Human Capital team, which also provides a full range of expertise in employment tax, reward planning and pensions. www.bdo.co.uk BDO LLP and BDO Northern Ireland are both separately authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority to conduct investment business.

Missing America? Don’t Miss The American Subscribe today and SAVE

The American is full of things to do, places to go, news, music, arts, features, an exclusive cartoon, a Coffee Break quiz, restaurant reviews, politics, cars and American sports – all specially selected for Americans in the UK. It’s the perfect read every month – in an attractive and easy to carry format. Subscribe now and SAVE OVER 45% on a One Year Subscription (plus get one extra issue FREE) or SAVE OVER 50% on a Two Year Subscription with TWO EXTRA ISSUES FREE. Simply complete and mail the form to the address below or call us on +44 (0)1747 830520. Blue Edge Publishing, Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 6AW H Tel: 01747 830 520 H Fax: 01747 830 691 H E: theamerican@blueedge.co.uk The American is a Blue Edge Publishing publication. Registered in England. No. 3496021. VAT No. 902 0137 83

1 Year (13 issues) 2 Years (26 issues)

UK £20 £37

EUROPE £35 £64

WORLDWIDE inc. USA £40 £74

Please send me The American for ■ 1 year (13 months) ■ 2 years (26 months) [Please make checks payable to ‘Blue Edge Publishing’ or complete the card details below]

TITLE: ■ Mr ■ Mrs ■ Ms ■ Miss ■ Dr ■ Other Name: ____________________________________________________________ Address: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ ________________________

Postcode/Zip ____________________________

Country _________________

Telephone _______________________________

Email address ______________________________________________________ If the publication is to be sent to a different address, please call +44 (0)1747 830 520

■ MasterCard

■ Visa

■ Other (please name)_______________

■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ ■■/■■ Starts ■■/■■ Issue No. ■■ Security No. ■■■ (last 3 numbers on signature strip)

Card No.

Expiry Date

Name as it appears on the card: _______________________________________ Ref.693

Signature__________________________________________________________ Date: _____________________________________________________________


The American

ALBUMS THEOF MONTH The end of last year saw the release of some fabulous albums. Here’s some of the cream of the crop.

Solomon Burke & De Dijk Hold On Tight Blue Wrasse Records

In what might have seemed an unlikely coupling, the King of Rock & Soul made this, his last album with Dutch rock/ soul band De Dijk – he died shortly afterwards. For those who watch BBC TV’s Later… De Dijk (The Dike) are like Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra with added oomph. They make a great match. The title track opens the album with a perfectly judged blast. The band swing from confidently muscular Atlantic-style to more rocky tempos and even throw in a little Dutch instrumentation for luck. R&B Burke’s soulful pleading and righteous declamations are as compelling as ever. A worthy last hurrah.

Band Of Horses

Little Big Town

“The elevator, in the hotel lobby has a lazy door” – poetry, especially when carried by swoonsome harmonies. Seldom has a band’s look been so subverted by its sound as with these hirsute, multiple-inked, creased and crumpled Horses. They’ve sound has been compared to the Fleet Foxes, but to these ears they are more genuine. Their third album (first for a major) sees the Band of Horses make their own statement, singing about real experiences in an ethereal way.

Bridging the gap between harmony-led boy-girl contemporary country (think Sugarland and Lady Antebellum) and light rock like Fleetwood Mac, Little Big Town’s latest, fourth, album stands up well, the harmonies as ever the highlight. In fact the harmonies are so glorious that it’s tempting to suggest that they strip back the instrumentation and the glossy production and let the voices speak for themselves on a few more numbers, like on the gospelly introduction to Why, Oh Why and the first half family-on-the-porch You Can’t Have Everything, before the electric guitar jars in.

Infinite Sums Columbia

Rumer

Ryan Bingham

Seasons Of My Soul Atlantic

It was a crossroads moment for Ryan Bingham after he won an Oscar for The Weary Kind, his theme song for the movie Crazy Heart. One way led to commercial success directed by industry moguls. The other led to… well, this. Honest, guitar-andharmonica country-tinged folk rock with a raw voice and rawer emotions. Produced by T Bone Burnett in a few days, its spiritual location is not LA but somewhere out on a dusty highway in the mid-west. Good call, Ryan. 

This time last year, Rumer was nowhere. This year, extraordinary torch ballad Slow has been followed by an invitation to visit and work with Burt Bacharach, showcase concerts and an album on Atlantic that made her the fastestselling new female artist in the UK (charting at no. 3 and going platinum). Of course it’s easy listening, if you have to pigeon-hole. And of course you can’t get away from the Karen Carpenter comparisons (there’s also Dusty and Dionne in there – is any of this a bad thing?). But it’s also brilliant. A great, timeless soul record .

Junky Star Lost Highway/ HumpHead

34

The Reason Why Capitol/HumpHead

Texas Tornados Esta Bueno! Proper Records

Who’d’a thought that after Doug Sahm and Freddie Fender passed away, their Tex-Mex supergroup could carry on? During a supposedly one-off studio session with surviving Tornados Augie Meyers and Flaco Jiminez, Sahm’s son Shawn felt “that Tornado vibe” and instigated this revival, along with all the band’s original backing musicians. They sound as good – and as goodtime – as ever. Be glad he did. 


The American

Book Reviews by Michael Burland, Andy Sundberg and Virginia E Schultz

Broken Places Wendy Perriam

Eric Parkhill is a modern-day foundling who goes back to a fictional past that includes other abandoned children in literature like Romulus and Remus, Tom Jones, Heathcliff and Oliver Twist. He, like them, is a man with secrets he hides even from his closest friends. Growing up in care, Eric’s only escape from a bleak, lonely life is within the safe confines of the public library where a librarian saves him from a blind-alley future by encouraging him to enter her profession. As an adult he is passionate about his work even as he fights to overcome the terrors that continue to haunt him. His wife has left him to live in Seattle with a successful businessman, taking their child with her. He runs the Wandsworth Prison Book Club, attends an American church that champions the gospel of prosperity and sets out to find his soul-mate. Then, his thirteen year old daughter, who has suffered from a near rape, comes back into his life. Fear, Wendy Perriam writes, is a paradox. It can push one into action, yet result in total paralysis. Having lost her only child to tongue-cancer, leaving two small sons whose father had also died, Wendy admits she coped with her grief by losing herself in writing Broken Places. “Sometimes,” she

writes, “I had the uncanny sense that my daughter was helping from beyond the grave.” – VS Robert Hale, Hardcover, 224 pages, £18.99

St Andrews: The Home of Golf Henry Lord and Oliver Gregory, Photography by Kevin Murray

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and for any golf aficionado this stunning visual trip will evoke many a curse, prayer and awed whisper as it journeys around the sport’s alma mater – the ancient city and the various golf clubs and courses that surround it. St Andrews was once the capital of the Picts. Now it is famous as the ‘Home of Golf’ (as well as the meeting place of Wills and Kate!) This marvelous book includes a foreword by Seve Ballesteros, who won the 1984 Open at St Andrews. The authors know their stuff. Henry Lord is an acclaimed golf writer, specialising in the game’s history and course architecture. Oliver Gregory is a graduate of St Andrews University and attended Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, as a Bobby Jones Scholar. And Kevin Murray is widely regarded as one of the best photographers in the world of golf (see a sample above), whose work has featured in Golf Monthly, and The World Atlas of Golf, amongst others. – MB Corinthian Books, Hardback, 224 pages, £30.00

A Renegade History of the United States Thaddeus Russell

For those of you who think you know how the founders and early pioneers triumphed because of their overweening virtues and restraints, here is a historical slap in the face. The vibrancy and robustness of our unique American liberal democratic republican experiment perhaps owes a lot more to the simmering dimensions of nonconformity, dissention, mockery, and the extravagance of vices, as well as occasional modest virtues, and rather than being ashamed of this, we should maybe take a step back and consider how this multidimensional dialectic process of the obedient and the naughty really worked, and what should be done now to ensure the same degrees of freedom in the future to keep this process alive and, well, progressive too! This may be the real reason why we are so admired by so many who long to come over and amuse themselves on our novel playground. Get the book and read it. Your eyes might pop out, but your neurons will waltz in a serendipitous ball, and you might even be invigorated enough to wade back into this American experimental brawl and have a lot more fun in the future too. – AS Simon & Schuster, 400 pages, hardback, £20.00 (Paperback published August 4, 2011)

35


The American

A World on Fire Amanda Foreman tells Sabrina Sully about her brilliant epic new novel set in The War Between The States Your first book, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, was a huge success, which was made into a film starring Keira Knightley. Why do you think it was so successful? I can’t give you a straight answer, I can only repeat what other people have said, which is that they liked it and enjoyed it. There are other biographists who’ve been very successful – Aristocrats by Stella Tillyard for example. There is always going to be a hunger for biography, and it doesn’t have to be somebody famous, it can be somebody on the margins. It’s a wonderful way of learning about history that you wouldn’t learn in history lessons. How did it feel to get the Whitbread Award? I suffer from that complex, which a lot of people suffer from. When I was at Oxford, for example, I felt that others had got there by merit, and I’d somehow got there by chance. Maybe they thought they were getting a different Amanda Foreman, I don’t know, but I felt a total fraud. And I felt the same way about the Whitbread. On the one hand you feel proud and on the other hand you’re somehow convinced that something went wrong, maybe you were the alternative candidate, because nobody could agree on their first choice, or their second choice, and you were the third choice, who knows? It’s something I’ve never been able to come to terms with!

36

For your latest book, A World on Fire, why did you decide to tackle the American Civil War? I guess that having been brought up in America for half my life, and having my first undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence, the Civil War is part of my DNA... it’s part of all American’s DNA. It’s front and foremost with all of us, how we think about our country, how it shaped our country, and the lessons we learned from it. And there are the cultural upheavals that have emanated from it ever since, not least the draft riots. Some of the worst things that have happened internally to America before 9/11 were to do with aspects of race; all a legacy of the Civil War. It never felt like a foreign subject to me, but I came at it from a different angle. I wanted to understand why Georgiana’s descendents split; half supported the South and half the North. Lord Frederick Cavendish, her greatnephew, was absolutely pro-Northern, and his brother the Marquis of Hartington, who became the Eighth Duke, was completely pro-Southern. I wanted to see what Britain’s involvement was in the war, and how it was perceived in the UK. Out of that grew something huge. [The italic hardcover book is over 1000 pages long – ed] Many years before, I started a PhD on attitudes to race and color in preVictorian England; the slavery question, the race question and how they were perceived differently in the U.S. and the U.K. It was already part of my academic

makeup, so it didn’t seem I was straying very far from the reservation. I realised I couldn’t do a narrow focus on, say, aristocratic attitudes. Then I couldn’t really figure out the British experience without understanding the American experience of the British. They were two completely different experiences of the same event. How long did it take to research and write? Eleven years. It was extremely difficult. The obvious stuff like government records was there. But this is a book about individuals: civilians, observers, volunteers, nurses, doctors, spies. Their papers were very difficult to locate, they were scattered all over the world. Some of them are in private hands to this day. It was like unravelling an extremely knotted ball of string. Georgiana was a book about just one person. A World on Fire has a cast of thousands. Did you think about writing it as a biography of just one of the characters? I have some heroes in the book, not least because they survived from the beginning to the end. One was Lord Lyons, the British Ambassador. Another was Charles Francis Adams, the US Ambassador. Then there were William Henry Seward, who was a wonderful monstre sacré, and the Duke of Argyle who was an extremely pro-Northern member of the British cabinet. They function both as heroes and as


The American

long-term stable commentators. The first three also go through a moving transformation because of the war, on their character, and how they perceive the world and engage with it. But I wanted to do a history in the round, not a biography. To do that, everyone needs to be the hero of their own story. That’s why it crosses, classes, nationalities, beliefs and interests. It is the AngloAmerican world. Did you start with the people, or with an event? Always the people. The chapter headings, describing the main events, reminded me of The Pickwick Papers. That’s one of my favorite books! Dickens had a large cast of characters too, although you have even more. Did the way he approached it aid your book structure? Yes. I really feel that when one writes about a particular century I want to subtly keep everything in keeping with it. No anachronisms – I keep the vocabulary, the metaphors and similes and ideas to those that would have worked in that century. You were born in London, but your father was the great Carl Foreman, do you feel American or British? I feel both. I definitely feel at home in both countries. And where do you live, America or Britain? I live in New York with my children. But I’ve kept my old place in the UK. You were educated in Dorset I believe? Yes, I went to a very nice prep

school called Hanford House. I think it’s a beautiful part of the world, absolutely fantastic. With your father blacklisted under McCarthy’s ‘Un-American Activities’ and forced to move to England to work, how do you feel about that part of America, did it make you examine the conflicts? I like to think it has made me unable to romanticise my own country. I’m always going to look at it from the status of somebody who’s father was at one point in his life, a political refugee from a country for whom he was a great patriot. I’m not in the business of romanticising or writing up bits of history that I don’t think are true, or putting things through rose tinted spectacles. I hope I have a very cleareyed view. And you’ve had, is it 5 children, between your two books? How on earth did you fit in your research and writing? It was very hard, extremely difficult. Would you be interested in diversifying into fiction or another genre than biography?

No, no. I’m much better off writing about what’s true. You did a TV programme, would you like to do more TV? Something has to give in life, you can’t do everything. Family, my husband and my children, is my biggest priority, everything has to fit around them. Have you ever been tempted to follow in your father’s footsteps and write for film? If the right project came along, that would be great. But at the moment I’ve got all these other projects, which I can’t talk about. Finally, you recently gave a talk to the American Civil War Round Table here in the UK, how did that go? It was fabulous, there’s nothing more wonderful or thrilling than to have a room full of knowledgeable people who are completely engaged with what you are saying, who have answers to questions that I have, and questions to answers that I can give, who have opinions on things based on genuine research and knowledge, and it’s a real exchange of ideas, an historian’s heaven really. H

37


The American

The Duchess of Malfi By John Webster (1612) • Royal & Derngate, Northampton • Reviewed by Jay Webb

I

PHOTO: ROBERT DAY

don’t know how you regard serious ‘entertainment’ but I attend such with the expectation of leaving with the hair standing up on the back of my neck, my mind going ‘wow!’, tears or elation leaving me unable to speak for some little time. It is said of Shakespeare’s plays that not a day passes when some company, somewhere, plays them world-wide. A contemporary, John Webster, although less known, has a similar track record over the centuries with only a brief unpopularity hiatus in the late 1800s. Webster stands out from Shakespeare’s contemporaries: Dekker, Greene, Marlow etc. and his Tragedy of the Duchesse of Malfy was first seen at the Blackfriars then at Shakespeare’s Globe in 1613. Malfi is infamous for being a play

38

THEATER REVIEWS (like several of Shakespeare’s) where Death rules – scarcely a protagonist is alive when the curtain drops. The renowned Broadway critic, Walter Kerr, wrote of a 1957 NY performance, ‘Blood runs right over the footlights, spreads slowly up the aisle and spills well out into 2nd Avenue.’ Royal & Derngate artistic director Laurie Sansom must have been aware of its reputation. So he has attempted to brighten, or at least relieve, the bloodbath by inserting Carlo Gesualdo’s early 1600s choral pieces trimmed to five quite skillful voices. With lugubrious titles like Imprisonment, Death, Confession and Banishment, these do

nothing to relieve the play’s long, slow downward gloomy spiral. Sansom’s production begins in the dark, five tenebrous back projection slices of Caravaggio’s 1607 Seven Works of Mercy paintings virtually its sole lighting, to the merry tune of ‘my silence… shall speak of my pain and when I shall die, Death shall cry out for me again.’ And that was about as cheerful as it got throughout the evening. Charlotte Emerson, suffering in the title role, delivered many of her lines to the backdrop or the wings making it difficult, despite projection, to hear even the famous ones often used as titles by modern authors: ‘Cover her face’ (used by PD James) and ‘The stars’ tennis balls’ (Stephen Fry). My hearing’s


The American

pretty good but I only caught phrases from ‘Glories like glowworms afar off shine bright; but looked to near, have neither heat nor light.’ ‘We are merely the stars tennis balls, struck and bandied, which way please them.’ The plot of Malfi is simplicity itself and has been semi-reality down to the Princess Margaret/Peter Townsend story in the 1950s. The Duchess marries a handsome peasant and has a child, so upsetting convention that her two brothers, aided and supported by the Church, turn on her and her young husband, killing everyone including themselves. There are brief scenes of poetic joy between the lovers at the beginning of the play but these give way to brave defiance ‘I am the Duchess of Malfi!’ and endless sad keening as death follows death, mostly tastefully done (no Max Factor no. 7 theatrical blood in this production!) by garroting. Malfi’s spread-eagled strangulation defeated me; it was done mechanically while she stood in her bed but its engineering appeared awkward. I suppose they couldn’t have her dangling, gurgling and kicking Pierpoint-style. Sansom tries much too hard to take us into the 13th century, borrowing liberally and relying upon the leading painter and a composer of the period, while his actors do mostly their own thing. The English National Opera has done Malfi very recently – John Webster still exerts his charm – but R&D’s production doesn’t come together to produce the ‘wow’ I eternally seek.

PHOTOS: MANUEL HARLAN

Love Story

By Erich Segal • Book and lyrics by Stephen Clark Music and additional lyrics by Howard Goodall • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

L

ove Story is simply the best new British musical for decades. A finely wrought chamber piece, it succeeds for old-fashioned reasons: a perfectly crafted book combined with glorious melodies, inspired direction and two immensely talented leads. No need here for effects or spectacle or for dredging the back catalogue of some faded rock star. Originated in Chichester this summer, Goodall (an Emmy and BAFTA winning composer) and Stephen Clark have taken the weepie to end all weepies and elevated it to the status of art. The 1970 smash hit film made worldwide stars of Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw (and where are THEY now?) and it set the template for all future disease-of-the-week TV movies. You know the ones. The heroine expires bravely but beautifully from a disease that doesn’t seem to display any obvious physical symptoms. Love Story was the Bohème or Traviata of its day and Andy Williams’ rendition of Francis Lai’s treacly theme tune became a universal hit The plot involving romance across the social divide and youth cut down

in its prime couldn’t be simpler. Oliver Barrett IV (Michael Xavier), preppie uptight Harvard law student falls head over heels for Jenny Cavilleri (Emma Williams), straight talking but poor Italian girl, who also happens to be a musical prodigy at Radcliffe. They get married, successfully strike out on their own, endure some battles with the parents and then tragedy strikes in the form of leukaemia. The potency of the piece is its simple almost classical structure and it is no surprise that Segal, who wrote the best selling novel, was a distinguished Classics Professor who decided to slum it in romantic fiction. Here, Stephen Clark has taken this simple structure and if anything refined it further. Musically Goodall has produced a fresh and innovative score and he has cleverly decided to arrange it for just a piano, guitar and a string quintet. From the show’s opening notes in ‘What can you say about a girl’, exquisitely sung by Williams, to the finale refrain, it is packed with magnificent melodies and songs that require subtlety of interpretation rather than X-factor style wailing.

39


The American

An Ideal Husband

By Oscar Wilde • Vaudeville Theatre, London WC2 • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

Rachel Kavanagh, whose main work up to now has been at the Birmingham Rep, directs the piece with a wonderful clarity and it runs a mere 1hour 40 minutes without an interval. This is a rare joy in musicals, where directors are generally prone to turn out bum-numbing epics. Peter McKintosh’s clean white designs, incorporating the musicians on stage, and Howard Harrison’s wonderfully subtle lighting transport us from Harvard libraries (where the lovers meet), to the contrasting homes of the parents, to the couple’s cheap walk-up apartment and then to their fancy new Central Park West pad, with its abundant bouquets of flowers. The two leads both come to the show with very strong backgrounds in West End musicals and both have simply exquisite voices. Williams gives Jenny just the right amount of edge and Xavier, who looks like he should be modelling for Brooks Brothers, glides perfectly between cocky Harvard blade and tragic romantic hero. Richard Cordery provides the usual solid support as Oliver’s emotionally constipated WASP father and the veteran of many a musical, Peter Polycarpou, is wonderfully animated and Italian as Jenny’s deli owner Dad. So, the original musical isn’t dead, it’s just been taking too many punches of late and it is great to see it here alive and kicking.

40

O

ne of Wilde’s most popular plays is back in the West End, thankfully in a new production by Lindsay Posner. Sir Peter Hall’s 1992 landmark production returned more times than the cuckoo. This one sadly is no match for its predecessor but it is redeemed by a great central performance by Samantha Bond as the foxy adventuress Mrs Cheveley.

As the curtain rises one is immediately blinded by garish gold leaf set, which, although impressive for its scale, is more Palm Jumeriah than Grosvenor Square. While Stephen Brimson Lewis’s lavish costumes are a highlight of the evening, the same can’t be said for his sets. What intrigues about the play is the force of Wilde’s moral vision and it reminds us that his barrage of witticisms hid a seriousness of purpose. Morals make dull theatre however and this really only sparkles when a bejewelled and scheming Mrs Cheveley is on stage. Pacing is a problem too and one feels the three hours. Posner directs the large cast rather like a bus dispatcher would direct a queue of buses waiting to get in to a terminus. In they come to drop their epigrams.


The American

The

Rivals By Richard Brinsley Sheridan Haymarket Theatre, London Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

S

A sparkling Samantha Bond plays opposite real-life husband Alexander Hanson PHOTOS BY JO ALLAN

The convoluted plot, which in the final act ends resembles a farce, concerns the rising MP Sir Robert Chiltern (Alexander Hanson) who has an unblemished record and an idealistic wife (Rachel Stirling, wasted in a virtuous role). He is blackmailed by the scheming Mrs Cheveley who threatens to bring him down using a letter from his past about an insider trading scheme, unless he makes a speech in the House in favour of a Argentine canal scheme which he vehemently opposes but which she has investments in. So, low dealings in high places. Plus ca change. Also in the picture are the Chilterns’ best friend, the supremely caddish Lord Goring, who realises he has something on Cheveley and so a counter plot is set in train to catch her out. The character of Goring is Wilde manqué and is a great opportunity for an actor to out-fop everyone else. Here they’ve cast leading man Elliot Cowan, who so impressed last year as Stanley Kowalski in the Donmar’s ‘Streetcar Named Desire’. Nattily dressed and beautifully coiffed there is no denying however

that Cowan is a bruiser. Fatally, he lacks polish and the lightness of touch which this part demands. He also makes the mistake of introducing a lisp as a signifier of louche behaviour. When Peter Hall directed this he brought to it his Shakespearean obsession with mastering the cadences of the language and his casts really benefited. The epigrams here are relentless and require the comic timing of a music hall comedian. When they fall flat, as they often do here, the play is drained of its energy. In a generally solid cast it is the old pros like Caroline Blakiston as Lady Markby and Charles Kay as Goring’s father The Earl of Caversham who steal the scenes. Wilde gave older supporting actors some great parts to play with and left the younger ones with the burden of being righteous. The one exception here though is Fiona Button, who shines as the bright ingénue Miss Mabel, in thrall to Lord Goring, and totally in touch with her trivial side. Finally, an epigram. So many to choose from but this stands out: “Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast”.

ir Peter Hall celebrates his 80th birthday with this polished production of Sheridan’s comedy of manners, which fits the Theatre Royal Haymarket as neatly as a glove, and won’t disappoint either fans of him or of Sheridan. It arrives, appropriately enough, from Bath, where it played last summer and the production is greatly enhanced by Simon Higlett’s simple but effective recreation of the elegant curve of Bath’s Royal Crescent. First produced in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1775 The Rivals immediately established the Irish playwright’s reputation as a dramatist of wit and grace and stands with The Critic and The School for Scandal as his masterpieces. Its most famous character, of course, is Mrs Malaprop, who is described in the play as being “noted for her select words, so ingeniously misapplied without being mispronounced”.

PHOTO BY NOBBY CLARK

41


The American

With her usual cut glass diction Penelope Keith dominates the stage and drops these ‘Malapropisms’ like well-polished bricks. “He is the very pineapple of politeness” she says or “Ooh she is as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile” or when she fears being found out, “He will perforate my mystery”. The clever casting here is that Peter Bowles joins her on stage, in the role of Sir Anthony Absolute. Fans of British television sitcoms will have cherished memories of the two sparring partners from the ’80s comedy To the Manor Born, a show which attracted record audiences at the time. It is great to see the chemistry still in evidence and rather a pity that they haven’t been paired on stage before. While Keith’s hauteur and roguishness are both spot on for the part, fans of hers will miss the sharp intelligence she usually brings to any part she plays and one can’t help but think that her talents are bit wasted in this silly-old-dear part. Bowles, on the other hand, is his usual suave self but also wonderfully choleric as Sir Anthony, ranting on about the latest irritant, be it the education of young women (he bemoans the young Lydia’s reading) or his son’s lack of enthusiasm for the partner he has chosen for him. “Don’t put me in a

frenzy” he wails, although not really wanting to expend the energy to actually be in one. The labyrinthine plot involving mistaken identities and schemes of wooing gone awry is far too complex to detail but essentially involves the trials of two pairs of lovers – Jack and Lydia and Julia and Faulkland. There are also of course the various rivals for Lydia’s affections; the country bumpkin Bob Acres (Keiron Self) and the Oirish gent Sir Lucius O’Trigger (Gerard Murphy in clad in shamrock green). Mrs Malaprop is also in hot pursuit of Sir Lucius but needless to say it all resolves itself perfectly. Hall has assembled a great ensemble cast and the dashing Tam Williams stands out as the Captain Jack and Robyn Addison is a strong and vital Lydia. The servants get to shine too and Carlyss Peer as Lydia’s maid Lucy and Ian Conningham as Jack’s servant Fag steal whatever scenes they are in. The play is a celebration of the absurdity of human behaviour and pokes fun at the idleness of the rich and fashionable who frequented 18th century Bath “to take the waters”. Here in Hall’s enjoyable production we have an old fashioned – but in a good sense – rendering of the piece. It is wonderfully spoken (a Hall trademark) and it makes for a perfect introduction to the work. Peter Bowles and Penelope Keith in The Rivals – the chemistry is still in evidence PHOTO BY NOBBY CLARK

42

T

racie Bennett’s performance as Judy Garland in Peter Quilter’s musical play End of the Rainbow will be discussed when all others from 2010 have faded from memory. She should clear some space on her mantelpiece. This glimpse of Garland’s last days in London in 1969 is a play, but with great musical numbers woven into it. As a piece of drama it may be rather thin, but it is a remarkable theatrical achievement in itself, thanks to Terry Johnson’s expert direction and to an astonishing central performance by Tracie Bennett. Bennett is totally mesmerising. Not only has she got the physical similarity to Garland (with great hair, make up and costume by the way) but also she captures every gesture and vocal mannerism to perfection. She has form in the musical theatre, winning two Olivier awards for scene stealing performances in She Loves Me and in Hairspray and she even perfected her ‘Judy’ by winning in Celebrity Stars in their Eyes on TV. This is no karaoke act however, rather a fully blooded and totally authentic portrayal. Audiences might be forgiven for wanting to give this one a miss. You might think, wouldn’t it be just maudlin?, or what else can this possibly tell me? That would be a mistake however because the supreme achievement of


The American

PHOTOS: ROBERT DAY

End of the Rainbow Trafalgar Studios 1, Whitehall, London • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

the piece is to draw out the humanity and the wit of Garland. Musically too the evening is sensational with Gareth Valentine’s wonderfully tart and sassy recreations of her club act. Bennett shows how Judy could charm anyone into doing anything, smothering those around her with her manic energy. The point that all previous portrayals missed out on is a simple one – she was just great fun to be with. It wonderfully illustrates too the power of the addict and how they wear down those around them into acceding to their will and handing over the confiscated pills or the hidden bottle of booze. We see her amazing Ritalin-fuelled stage performances and Bennett’s physical comedy in the role is a joy. At one stage she has the audi-

ence in stitches as she plays a cocker spaniel. This is after being told that the pills she just downed were actually meant for a dog. We are in a plush hotel room in London (gloriously recreated by William Dudley), and Judy is ensconced there with her devoted pianist Anthony (Hilton McRae) and her, soon to be, fifth husband, the hunky young club owner Mickey Deans (Stephen Hagan). McRae is wonderfully acerbic as her ever-patient, gay, sidekick and the handsome Hagan is presented here not as a cad, but rather as a devoted husband and very much an equal partner in their inevitably stormy relationship. Their sparring dialogue gives the play a great energy. Deans and Anthony try desper-

ately to get her to rehearse for the upcoming shows at The Talk of the Town (a top London nightclub). As per usual, the money is running out, the producers are losing faith and the hotel manager wants payment in cash. Despite the best efforts of the two, yet again she falls off the wagon. No matter how infuriating her behaviour had become by then, it is sobering to be reminded though that it all had its roots in the 1930s Hollywood Studio system, when they pumped their child stars with amphetamines to keep them going. This is the great tragedy of her life. However, while this show may be about the end of a rainbow, Bennett’s recreation of Garland is in itself a shooting star. H

43


The American

Setting up a Symbol H

ow do you make a story interesting when it is, essentially, about committees? How do you make minutes of meetings look interesting? Especially when they look those below. And yet these particular minutes record a seminal moment in the story of Sulgrave Manor’s Anglo-American origins. Well known as the birthplace of the first President’s ancestors, Sulgrave Manor’s other distinctive role is less appreciated and its origins little understood. It was purchased with money raised in the UK and refurbished with funds from both sides of the Atlantic in the early 20th century to be “a centre… of friendship and goodwill

44

Wendy Barnes, director of Sulgrave Manor, tells the story of how a great Anglo-American institution was born between the British and American peoples”, a symbol of the relationship, described as “special” for the first time some decades later by Winston Churchill, himself half-American and yet the epitome of Great Britain. The links between the two nations are manifested now in a range of organisations and associations, most with a political, business or academic focus. Sulgrave Manor’s slant is rather different. It is with the ‘peoples’ we seek to engage. We try to embody our

shared heritage and make it meaningful for all our visitors, ignoring the ups and downs of political and economic relations between the two governments and focusing always on the underlying links of shared values, language, history and family. We believe in the words of a senior Embassy official in 2004 : “The connections between us go beyond Parliament and the Congress, beyond Number 10 and the White House. It is the day-to-day relationship between our two people that forms the true bond; the academics, the business community, the cul-


tural exchanges and yes, the tourists, constantly renew and give substance to the ties that bind us.” The story of how we reached this place and role is a story of committees and personalities as the ‘great and the good’ on each side of the Atlantic form and re-form themselves into groups to pursue particular objectives. Our story fits into a larger picture of AngloAmerican initiatives, including the Pilgrims, the English-Speaking Union and the Harmsworth Chair of American History at Oxford University, with many of the key players taking part in several initiatives simultaneously. These manoeuvrings were the result of the coming together of two main driving interests – international peace and the ‘Anglo-American mission’. The Peace Movement began in the mid-19th century as a response in the United States to the Civil War and in Europe to the emergence of Prussia as a military force. By the beginning of the 20th century there was also, in both the U.S. and Britain, a growing sense of shared interests and heritage, often summed up in the phrase “the Anglo-Saxon mission”. As the world grew more complex, it was felt that the two nations, building on their success and experience, should work together to lead the world. The small bands of workers for peace and supporters of the ‘AngloSaxon mission’ shared a need to raise their profile and increase their influence. The idea of celebrating a century of peace between Britain and America at the anniversary in 1914/15 of the Treaty of Ghent addressed both causes. It quickly became established as a way of both involving the general public and lobbying politically and internationally. A committee was formed in the U.S.A., quickly followed by ones in Canada and Britain and the work began. The committees had

The first Managing Committee standing in front of Sulgrave Manor early in 1914. John A Stewart, founder of the Sulgrave Institution is second from left. Third from left is the Marquis of Cambridge, the King’s brother-in-law and President of the British American Peace Centenary Society

strong establishment patronage and included Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, Mackenzie King, Earl Grey, the Marquess of Cambridge and Ramsay MacDonald. The tone had been set. Over the next decade, out of a myriad of meetings (some formal, many not), endless cablegrams, letters and speeches, press coverage and editorials came a stream of proposals and plans to celebrate peace and generate good-will. There were to be monumental arches at the US-Canadian border, seen as a potent symbol for the movement as the longest undefended land border in the world. There were to be revised school history text books which would introduce the next generations to a different world view. Statues of famous citizens were to be exchanged. Ideas flew thick and fast. So the minutes and reports suggest, but the words on the curling pages of books and pamphlets disguise a far more complex reality. Both the main driving forces of the Peace Centenary initiative were (and are) contentious. The ideas of international peace and of an ‘Anglo-American mission’ are irrevocably ‘political’. Most of what the committees proposed needed some degree of governmental support – both governments! The initiative which finally resulted in statues of Lincoln being erected in London and Manchester involved vitriolic disputes in both the American and British press, long debates in the House of

Lords, and the personal involvement of President Wilson – all this going on while World War I was raging. But buying a house did not involve governments. So the decision by the British Committee to buy Sulgrave Manor in Banbury, Oxfordshire in the very early days of the Initiative was not complicated. Sulgrave was known in the U.S. as the home of the First President’s ancestors – there was a street named after it in Colonial Bay, VA by 1908 and in that same year a New York society presented a portrait of Washington to the then privately owned house. Sulgrave was, in fact, sufficiently well-known that it was adopted as the name of what might be described as the second wave of committees which re-formed after the centennial year had passed – the Sulgrave Institution. The aims and plans of the Institution were little different than those which had gone before; nor were the people, nor the problems. Very little was actually achieved, though a lot of effort – and a lot of mutual entertainment – was expended. What was new was growing tension in the early 1920s between the American and British wings of the Institution: squabbles about how much money the US branch had contributed to the upkeep of the Manor, arguments about how much power the U.S. branch had over decisions affecting the building and finally a calamitous

45


The American

cablegram from a spokesman of the U.S. Branch accusing the Brits of exploiting the Manor for monetary gain in language (mild though it seems now) which outraged the worthy British gents. This takes us back where we began – a meeting of the British committee in 1925 which agreed to sever all relations with the Sulgrave Institution, to cease to be involved in any ‘propaganda’ work and to concentrate on running the Manor as a “centre ..of friendship and good-will between the British and American peoples”. It was a wise decision which has been upheld by generations of trustees and staff since. The U.S. branch dissolved in 1928 after the death of founder and chairman John A Stewart. As I started writing this article, I saw the BBC’s former U.S. correspondent, Justin Webb, once again dismissing “the special relationship”. It’s a familiar theme – the UK’s diminishing (diminished?) power, the new arenas of international conflict and interest, the new players in the game, the personalities, the snubs. All true to one degree or another, now as they have been in the past and they will doubtless be again in the future – IF, when you use the phrase, you mean purely the relationship between the governments. But as Sulgrave Manor’s story shows, while plans for ambitious monuments and provocative rewriting of history books may founder in the welter of formal relationships between governments, a simple building can remind people of the ties that bind them. H ‘Setting up a Symbol’, an exhibit on the establishing of the Manor’s role is on show at Sulgrave Manor during all normal opening hours.

46

The

Great

Immigration Debate

Immigration built the United States but is under attack from left and right. Alan Miller argues for the freedom for people to move wherever they wish

T

hese days few are able to raise the idea of the American Dream without running into immediate intellectual obstacles. The years commonly referred to as the Culture Wars witnessed a gradual erosion of the idea of universal values and emptying out of the notion of civilization – particularly with regard to anything western. What this has left us with is a difficult conundrum, where on the one hand it seems that people are still somewhat proud to be American, yet the very motivation of national values comes into conflict with the dominant outlook of multiple “identities”. Thus people will say “as a Muslim-American” or “as a gay-Jewish-American”, or whatever their particular hyphenation may be. It seems that becoming an American in and of itself is less important now than where one is related to in the past.

Immigration has never been straightforward, although of course at various points in American history millions became Americans in very short periods of time. Usually, the imposition of immigration controls go alongside the notion that these ‘outsiders’ are somehow going to be a drain on resources, a strain on the economy who will impact ‘our’ way of life rather than enhancing it. However, the waves of people who came to make themselves a better life, from Ireland, Italy, Eastern Europe and more latterly Asia and Latin America were usually incorporated into the idea of a dynamic America. Many liberals have slammed Arizona’s Jan Brewer and the new immigration legislation (Senate Bill 1070) with some even comparing it to Nazi Germany. However, at the same time as Democratic senators in the US Congress were condemning such law as racist, they were submitting proposals to introduce some of the most draconian immigration policies in the world. Based on biometric identity data to be captured on a social security card containing a data chip as well as an electronic Muhammad Ali: African-American, Muslim-American or just a great American? WORLD-TELEGRAM PHOTO BY IRA ROSENBERG


The American

system which requires employers to monitor the immigration status of their employees by scanning social security cards and also a system to catch and deport individuals who overstay their visas, these national immigration-phobic ID cards were something that many Republicans have long opposed on the basis that individual freedoms become curtailed when imposing such measures. It seems that, as with Germany, which has its Gastarbeiters or ‘guest workers’, and Australia, which has its points system, Democrats are happy to speed through the process if workers are skilled or have engineering and science degrees but not if they are unskilled. While we all know that across the U.S. work is being done by millions of unskilled people (around the 12 million mark) who are kept out of the loop of enjoying the rights and freedom of citizens. Some have pointed to Canada as being far more open minded and it is true that there seems to be a Canadian outlook that wants to expand certain areas of industry by attracting foreign workers. Much of Canada’s history, however, has been dominated by a color-influenced points system too. Today, in what many may call post-racial America, in a world where the multicultural outlook dominates across society, there are still a disproportionate number of impoverished blacks and Latinos - although this may be more to do with class and economic disparity than straightforward racism.

However, while many railed against the “Melting Pot” and assimilation of immigrants into American society, the idea that all people should expect to be equal and free and form a universal society, rather than one based on a more tribal outlook, with particularist interests surely is more desirable. After all, competing with one another over cultural identities and access to resources is fraught with problems and only separates people from one another. The combination of the obsession with security and now the recession has not meant that people have stopped coming to the States and applying to become Americans. In the supposed age of “why do people hate America?” it is refreshing to see how many and how diverse are the people who come to start new lives in the U.S.A. (although one has to recognise that this is often only because things are so tough elsewhere). The attitude of Americans should be to encourage as much of this as possible – from all walks of life. The spurious notion that resources are finite, limited in an absolute way, is simply not true. We know this from everything from oil as a resource to nuclear energy – innovation and technology provides new resources previously unimagined. There is no limited cake to finite resources but a wealth

of opportunity to grow and develop ever further – provided that we have the confidence to make that happen. It is for this reason that it makes sense to argue the case for free exchange of people across international borders – without restriction. The benefits of so doing are vast and clear (and the arguments against it do little to alter the reality). Constructing a wall and security measures to keep people “out” and “in” only perpetuates the myth that our woes, economic, cultural, political, come about as a consequence of too many people, rather than not organizing things smartly enough. We need a two pronged attack, one which promotes freedom for people to move internationally and the other which sees us all as having a common purpose not narrow, parochial identities. Alan Miller is Director of The NY Salon in New York (www.nysalon.org) and co-founder of London’s Old Truman Brewery cultural center. He sits on the London Regional Council of the Arts Council England. H What do you think about immigration into the U.S. and also the rights of Americans to move to other countries? Email editor@theamerican. co.uk with your thoughts.

Ellis Island, starting point for countless great American stories

47


The American

The Deplorable Wikileaks Disclosures By Ambassador Louis Susman

T

his op-ed by Ambassador Susman first appeared in The Guardian newspaper on Friday, 10 December 2010. In the middle of the American Civil War, Secretary of State William H. Seward unexpectedly released a huge chunk of U.S. diplomatic correspondence, including confidential and very frank dispatches from Ambassador Charles Francis Adams in London. Although mortified at the consequences this unplanned disclosure could have in a time of mortal danger for his country, Adams kept his well-known composure. “I scarcely imagine it wise in diplomatic life to show your hand in the midst of the game,” he said. I couldn’t agree more with my illustrious predecessor. The deplorable Wikileaks disclosures put innocent lives at risk, and damage U.S. national security interests. And to what purpose? Wikileaks styles itself as a “whistleblowing” organization. This is not whistle-blowing. There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people.

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

48

Ambassador Louis Susman U.S. EMBASSY LONDON PHOTO

There is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends. Fortunately, as Secretary Clinton has made clear, this will not stop American diplomats, in concert with our vital ally the United Kingdom, from working on the many urgent challenges we face around the world – Afghanistan, nonproliferation and arms control, addressing violent extremism, promoting global economic growth and the spread of democracy and human rights. The need for confidential discussions is not unique to diplomacy. Lawyers, doctors and journalists (yes, journalists) all need a space of trust for important communications. But it is central to diplomacy, and this breech in confidentiality – even if it did not come from the State Department – shows a disregard for the well-being of countless individuals. Who are these individuals? They are human rights activists, journalists, faith leaders, and civil society representatives. They are politicians, government officials, candidates for office, community leaders, and volunteers. They are academics, think tank representatives, students. They are business leaders, inventors, scientists. In fact, they are people from every walk of life around the world who engage with American diplomats in good faith every day. Our diplomats use these encounters to observe and gauge developments abroad, present and defend the U.S. view, all the while looking for common ground on difficult issues. Their frank

assessments of people, policies and action – the raw material of diplomacy – inform the policies decided by the President and the Secretary of State. Nothing, even in an age of Wikipedia and global news, can replace informed observers reporting from the field. Wikileaks seems indifferent to the damage they have caused to these relationships. We cannot be so sanguine. There is too much work that needs to be done for us to be sidetracked. Reinvigorating America’s relationships around the world has been a top priority of President Obama and Secretary Clinton. That will not change. We will not alter our commitment to working with our friends and allies on building a more peaceful and prosperous world. A world where diplomats cannot operate with discretion and trust is a more dangerous world for all of us. We are improving our systems to protect the confidential information that is essential to U.S. diplomacy. We will hold accountable those who are responsible for the compromise that led to these disclosures. And as U.S. diplomats work on the many pressing issues before us, central to those efforts will be our uniquely productive, close and strong relationship with the United Kingdom. I appreciate the support given us by Prime Minister Cameron, his government, the diplomatic community, and many others. The Prime Minister says these reckless disclosures have not “changed the fundamentals” of the special relationship.” I couldn’t agree more. H


US and UK Tax Preparation and Planning

Jaffe & Co

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


The American

The Most Beautiful Bike In The World That’s what MV’s press release says… The all new MV Agusta F3 was recently launched at the Milan show. Perhaps it wasn’t the most unbiased of audiences, but the F3 captured 39% of the vote in a poll to find ‘The Most Beautiful Bike of the Show’, twice that of the next entrant. Based closely as it is on MV’s fabulous F4 four-cylinder 750 and 1000cc machines, it had a head start. And its three cylinder layout is highlighted by the dramatic three-outlet sidemounted exhaust muffler. Perhaps more important than its supermodel looks is the fact that the Italian manufacturer of large high-performance exotica has made a move into the middleweight supersports category, now competing wih Japanese 600s and Triumph’s similarly laid-out triple Daytona 675. The three cylinder layout of the engine harks back to MV’s racing heritage. This short and narrow lump, wrapped in a beautiful frame of steel tube and alloy side plates, has a unique counter rotating crankshaft, and for the first time on an MV there is a ride-by-wire accelerator with selectable engine maps and traction control. The new MV Agusta F3 fuses unrivalled history and high tech future, giving form to the most beautiful and technologically advanced middleweight supersports motorcycle that clearly marks the beginning of a new era.

50

What The Diavel?

D

ucati – the name screams fast, lean, uncompromising, Italian racing motorcycles, no? Well no, not necessarily. While superbikes like the 1089 and 848 are still the firm’s heartland, Ducati has exploded out of the race-replica niche. The Monster roadsters, Multistrada ‘tall-rounder’ adventure bike, bonkers supermoto Hypermotard and testosterone-fuelled Streetfighter naked bike have widened Ducati’s offering to an extent that Ducatistis could not have envisaged only a few years ago. But there was still one segment of the bike market that Ducati, surely, would never enter. The cruiser. Enter the Diavel. Admittedly it’s a brawny musclebike cruiser, but nonetheless a cruiser. Named for the devil, in Ducati’s local Emilia Romagna dialect, it heads straight into a face-off with Triumph’s Rocket III and the Yamaha V-Max. Ducati claim the Diavel has “a commanding presence, though lightweight and agile like all Ducatis”. Presence, undoubtedly, although many purists remain to be convinced about the design direction. Lightweight, agreed – at just 456lb the watercooled V-twin’s 162hp will make it a stunning performer. But agile? A 240 section rear tyre would

normally make a bike handle like an oil tanker, great in a straight line but taking a mile to turn. But the Diavel’s rear hoop has been specially engineered by Pirelli, and combined with Ducati’s undoubted sporting frame expertise they claim it will have “mind-blowing handling and lean angles”. Diavel will have all the latest electronic rider aids: ABS, Ducati Traction Control and Ducati Riding Modes and it will come in two versions, the ‘base’ model at £12,995 and the ‘flagship’ Diavel Carbon with carbon fibre bodywork and specially forged and machined Marchesini wheels at £15,495 – or £15,895 if you want (and who wouldn’t) in red. They’re available in the UK from January 2011. Claudio Domenicali, Ducati’s General Manager, said, “The Diavel is, without doubt, the most exciting innovation in our 2011 line-up because it represents a new concept of motorcycle. It is a naked because it is essential, light and agile; a cruiser because it is imposing and also comfortable with a passenger; and a sports bike because it has a powerful heart, muscles, and levels of performance that take your breath away. Until now, no segment has ever captured these characteristics in just one bike.” Exciting... and perhaps brave.


The American

Camaro Will Come to Europe

C

hevrolet’s new Camaro Convertible, unveiled at the Los Angeles Show, goes into production this month ( January) and the iconic droptop will be sold in Europe in the second half of 2011. The convertible, built in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, will be available in similar model configurations as the Camaro coupe. European cars will have a 426 horsepower, 6.2-litre V8 engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard. A six-speed automatic box will be an option. Chevrolet claims that the soft top version offers coupe-like driving dynamics, as the car’s structure was designed at the same time as the hard top. The convertible sports a

tower-to-tower brace under the hood, a transmission support reinforcement brace, underbody tunnel brace and front and rear underbody “V” braces, eliminating any shakes and shimmies. They reckon it has better torsional stiffness than BMW’s 3-Series convertible. So confident are they that the convertible and coupe have the same suspension set-up – often soft tops have softer suspension, disguising any ride inadequacies but impacting on handling. The power-folding fabric top – which features a glass rear window and rear window defogger – adds to the sophisticated feel with acoustic foam in the headliner helping deliver a quiet ride.

Electrifying Performance

T

he high performance that Nissan say their LEAF all-electric car is capable of is not “0 to 180mph in 10 seconds” (or indeed ever). It’s the financial kind. Auto industry analysts CAP predict that after the UK government’s £5000 alterative-fuel incentive is taken into account, the LEAF will retain 47% of its on the road price after 3 years and 30,000 miles, better than many hybrids and diesels. Charging the LEAF’s batteries costs around £2, which gives a range of over 100 miles. Electric vehicle drivers do not have to pay for a tax disc, they’re exempt from the London congestion charge and can park for free in some cities. Company car drivers save more, as the Nissan LEAF does not attract any Benefit-In-Kind liability. For town-dwellers who need a private car, electric motoring is starting to make sense. The LEAF is available on a Personal Contract Purchase scheme, with the residual value underwritten by Nissan so you can pay the same monthly finance as on a hybrid or diesel but still save on running costs. With a deposit of £3,850, the monthly cost is £397.17. After three years, hand back the car, refinance, or buy another Nissan.

And Your Next Green Car Is...? Nextgreencar.com is a website (previously whatgreencar.com), whose mission is to help consumers to find and buy a greener car. It’s an easy to use site, on which you can work out how ecologically damaging your selected car is. New services include the Approved list – an independently selected list of around 100 cars across vehicle classes based on objective environmental criteria. Cars are selected by Next Green Car’s ‘Green Car Rating’, which rates the lifecycle environmental impact of a car, but they must also perform highly in terms of build quality, driver and pedestrian safety, and be fit-for-purpose. It’s a fast-moving sector (even if some of the cars aren’t) so the list will be updated on a monthly basis. Electric cars top several classes: City Car (Mitsubishi iMiEV, Peugeot iOn, Citroen C-Zero), Small Family (Nissan LEAF) and Sports (Tesla Roadster – pictured above), but the list also incorporates the best petrol, diesel, biofuel and hybrid vehicles, where significant improvements have been made in the last few years. The recently launched Fiat 500 TwinAir is currently the lowest emission petrol car and the latest VW BlueMotion Polo, Skoda Greenline II Hatch and Estate and smart fortwo are the best performing diesels.

51


The American

THE REST OF THE BOWLS NEW MEXICO BOWL • Dec. 18, 2 pm Brigham Young v UTEP NEW ORLEANS BOWL • Dec. 18, 8 pm Ohio U. v Troy BEEF ‘O’BRADY’S BOWL • Dec. 21, 8 pm Southern Miss v Louisville POINSETTIA BOWL • Dec. 23, 8 pm Navy v San Diego State HAWAII BOWL • Dec. 24, 8 pm Hawaii v Tulsa LITTLE CAESARS BOWL • Dec. 26, 8:30 pm Florida International v Toledo INDEPENDENCE BOWL • Dec. 27, 5 pm Georgia Tech v Air Force

Bowl Season PREVIEW By Richard L Gale

T

he month between the regular season and bowl season offers ample pause for football fans to set aside BCS quibbles and clear the palate for three weeks of the best college football has to offer (...and about a dozen other bowls, too). While Southern Miss v Louisville may not have you excited, if the prospect of Cam Newton’s Tigers v LaMichael James and the Quack Attack doesn’t get you fired up, clearly you don’t have a football pulse. Here’s a guide to what to look forward to.

10 Non-BCS Games to Catch HUMANITARIAN BOWL • Dec. 18, 5:30 pm

HOLIDAY BOWL • Dec. 30, 10 pm

A Huskies team that scored 59+ points in each of its November games will say farewell to senior RB Chad Spann (20 TDs, MAC Offensive Player of the Year) against a sometimes-leaky Fresno defense.

Rematch! Back in September, the Huskers topped the Huskies by a 5 TD margin. If Washington QB Jake Locker is to shore up his sliding NFL value, he needs to show he’s learnt something since then.

ARMED FORCES BOWL • Dec. 30, noon Army v Southern Methodist

MAACO LAS VEGAS BOWL • Dec. 22, 8 pm

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL • Dec. 31, 7:30 pm

PINSTRIPE BOWL • Dec. 30, 3:15 pm Kansas State v Syracuse

A missed fieldgoal nets an early bowl date for the Broncos, but the Las Vegas Bowl lucks in. Boise might still feel they have something to prove, despite facing a fellow non-AQ team. Again.

Gamecocks RB Marcus Lattimore’s 2011 Heisman campaign starts here, while FSU senior QB Christian Ponder (if fit) hopes to go out on a high. Still, expect defense and sacks a-plenty.

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL • Dec. 28, 6:30 pm

CAPITAL ONE BOWL • Jan. 1, 1 pm

WVU very nearly won the Big East behind QB Geno Smith, Their three losses were by less than one score each time. NC State’s Russell Wilson (35 combined TDs) brings his own star appeal

So much for a repeat – Alabama need this one just to reach 10 wins. After a lacklustre year, Tide RB Mark Ingram needs to make a statement. The one-loss Spartans could yet finish in the top 5.

INSIGHT BOWL • Dec. 28, 10 pm

GATOR BOWL • Jan. 1, 1:30 pm

A meeting of teams that seemed destined for bigger things at midseason, the Tigers were rolling again by season’s end. Iowa’s 7-5 record belies senior QB Ricky Stanzi’s efficiency (25 TDs, 4 Ints).

Do you remember when Denard Robinson was the Heisman front-runner? The Bulldogs haven’t beaten a ranked team in four tries this year, so containing the Wolverines QB will be key.

TEXAS BOWL • Dec. 29, 6 pm

COTTON BOWL • Jan. 7, 8 p.m., Fox

QB Robert Griffin (29 combined TDs) takes the Bears back to bowl season. The 6-6 Illini impressed less, but RB Mikel LeShoure (1500 yds, 14 TDs) could help keep things close.

Alliterative stars QB Jordan Jefferson, WR Rueben Randle and CB Patrick Peterson, plus a tough Tigers defense eked out 10 wins, but A&M’s ballhawking DB Dustin Harris is the one to watch.

MILITARY BOWL • Dec. 29, 2:30 pm Maryland v East Carolina ALAMO BOWL • Dec. 29, 9:15 pm Oklahoma State v Arizona

MUSIC CITY BOWL • Dec. 30, 6:45 pm North Carolina v Tennessee MEINEKE BOWL • Dec. 31, noon Clemson v South Florida SUN BOWL • Dec. 31, 2 pm Miami v Notre Dame LIBERTY BOWL • Dec. 31, 3:30 pm Central Florida v Georgia TICKETCITY BOWL • Jan. 1, noon Northwestern v Texas Tech OUTBACK BOWL • Jan. 1, 1 pm Penn State v Florida GODADDY.COM BOWL • Jan. 6, 8 pm Miami (Ohio) v Middle Tennessee BBVA COMPASS BOWL • Jan. 8, noon Pittsburgh v Kentucky KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL • Jan. 9, 9 pm Boston College v Nevada

52

Northern Illinois v Fresno State

Utah v Boise State

N.C. State v West Virginia

Iowa v Missouri

Illinois v Baylor

Nebraska v Washington

Florida State v South Carolina

Michigan State v Alabama

Michigan v Mississippi State

Texas A&M v LSU


The American

The Big Ones ROSE BOWL • Jan. 1, 4:30 pm

TCU v Wisconsin

Unbeaten TCU crash the Rose Bowl. Eight times this season the Horned Frogs allowed opponents no more than a single TD. Wisconsin won’t make it nine, an O-line including Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi springs a backfield that tallied 46 rushing touchdowns. This could be epic! FIESTA BOWL • Jan. 1, 8 pm

Connecticut v Oklahoma Both teams scrambled and clawed their way to BCS berths. The Sooners bring the stars – QB Landry Jones (35 TDs), RB DeMarco Murray (14 TDs), and WR Ryan Broyles (13 TDs) – and they may prove too much for a barely-ranked UConn side whose late focus was on the conference title. ORANGE BOWL • Jan. 3, 8 pm

Stanford v Virginia Tech Virginia Tech is known for defense (nb DB Jayron Hosley, 8 ints) and dual-threat quarterbacks (Tyrod Taylor, 28 combined TDs). However, Stanford has a defense to match, and Cardinal QB Andrew Luck, billed to NFL scouts as a drop-back passer, is no slouch when flushed from the pocket. SUGAR BOWL • Jan. 4, 8 pm

Arkansas v Ohio State The Razorbacks lost only to Alabama and Auburn this year, while QB Ryan Mallett passed for 3500 yards and 30 TDs. Mallett moves into first round consideration for the NFL draft. Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor is likely returning for his senior season after an efficient but unspectacular 2010.

Tostitos BCS National Championship Game Auburn v Oregon

Jan. 10 • 8 pm For all the hearsay over pay-for-play, and for all that TCU’s unbeaten status encourages anti-BCS debate, what we’re left with is landslide Heisman winning QB Cam Newton and unbeaten Auburn against an equally unbettered Oregon squad with an offense for the ages. If this game is anything less than 60 minutes of big plays, it would be a shock; even if the explosive Ducks offense has string of scoring drives to start the game, Auburn has made a habit of comebacks. Newton, as if you hadn’t noticed, is an athletic freak of nature, throwing and running like the next Michael Vick, despite an intimidating 6-foot-6, 250-lb frame, and racking up almost 4000 yards of total offense while throwing for 28 scores, and running for 20 more (and catching another just to make a point). The Ducks have nothing like Newton, but Doak Walker-winning RB LaMichael James'

Oregon runner LaMichael James ERIC EVANS/UO MEDIA SERVICES

21 rushing scores and Darron Thomas' 28 TDs passing highlight Oregon's diverse – and at times seemingly effortless – offensive scheme. Their wealth of weapons also includes receiver Jeff Maehl (12 TDs) and RB Kenjon Barner, and in all, 14 players have scored offensive TDs for the Ducks this season (it’s amazing to consider that a year ago, both Newton and Thomas were unknown nationally). Auburn’s gameplan will be a matter of limitation and trying to keep up. Oregon’s defense helps by shortening the field: DBs John Boyett and Cliff Harris each have five picks this season, and Harris is also a return threat, taking four punts and an interception back for scores. While Auburn DT Nick Fairley looks like a future all-pro, the Tigers defense hasn’t been the stuff of legend, and this game could come down to how often Oregon’s lightweight 30-sack defense gets to 21-sack victim Newton and bring him down. H (All kickoff times ET)

53


The American

NHL Winter Classic Preview T

he New Year’s Day Winter Classic has become a highlight on the NHL’s calendar to say the least. Who can forget Sidney Crosby’s shoot-out goal, with a heavy snow falling, to give the Penguins the win over the Buffalo Sabres back in 2008? Certainly it’s hard to forget the game at historical Wrigley Field in Chicago in 2009 between Original Six rivals Detroit and Chicago, and of course the Bruins OT winning effort over Philadelphia last year at Fenway Park. In a word, all the previous Winter Classic’s were fantastic. The NHL has taken something out of a Hollywood script for this season’s instalment. As if the previous offerings weren’t dramatic enough, we have the two biggest names in hockey going head-to-head at a frozen Heinz Field in Pittsburgh this January. 65,000 die-hard fans will brave the frigid temperatures to see what is going to be an epic event. Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are the faces of today’s NHL. One brash and flashy, the other humble and subdued. Their teams, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are both expected to make a dash for Lord Stanley in the playoffs, so this matchup is a no-brainer for the league!

54

By Aaron Murphy

The outdoor game has quickly become a ratings hit amongst NHL fans, and this edition promises to be a mustwatch event. Through December, both Crosby and Ovechkin have been racking up points and creating opportunities for their respective teams to win, night in and night out. The Caps are tops in the Southeast Division and have scored as many goals as the Penguins to lead the Eastern Conference. The Pens for their part have been dominant through the last few weeks of November and all through December with a huge win streak to their credit. Crosby and his troops are tops in the Atlantic Division and have gone back and forth with the Caps for the Conference lead for most of the first few months of the season. It doesn’t take a genius pundit to realize that this much anticipated matchup on January 1st has all the signs of two wild animals on a collision course, fighting for important territory.

the new season

PHOTO © DAVE SANDFORD/ GETTY IMAGES

These teams, despite all their similarities, really do hate each other. There have been epic battles throughout the past few seasons as Crosby and Ovie have gone all-out to best the other. Sid the Kid has the Stanley Cup, the Olympic Gold medal, and frankly much of the respect that Ovechkin wants. Can a win at Heinz Field sway momentum to whomever can be the hero that day? Maybe it won’t be either superstar that will be the deciding factor in this Winter Classic. As we see in all big hype situations, they can sometimes bring out the best in the lesser lights. Will it be the Pens’ Max Talbot or Pascal Dupuis who emerge as the star of this year’s Winter Classic? Or will Alexander Semin or Mike Knuble lead the Caps to a statement win over their bitter rivals? Either way, this matchup is shaping up to be the highlight of what has already been an incredible first half of the 2010/2011 NHL campaign. Don’t miss the NHL Winter Classic January 1 2011, live on ESPN America. H

ESPN America – Your home for North America Sports

Read more from Aaron and other North American sports bloggers on ESPN America’s Blogs (blogs.espnamerica.com). Visit espnamerica.com for more information.

tune in today

the players, the plays, the games, the talk

sky 430 | VIrgIN 531 JOIN at eSPnaMeRiCa.CoM

american for sports


The American

BritSport

BBL News: Tigers’ Triple Quest Begins with Cup Cup, Trophy & Championship: BBL’s big prizes take shape BBL Cup Final, January 16 The Mersey Tigers and Sheffield Sharks will face each other at the NIA, Birmingham in the first of the British Basketball League’s periphery competitions. The Tigers defeated 2009/10 League and Trophy winners Newcastle 204-182 (home and away) to qualify. BBL Trophy Final, March (TBA) The resurgent Guildford Heat await an opponent for March’s Trophy Final after defeating the Leicester Riders 172-159 over two legs, but the other finalist could be the Mersey Tigers again, who will play a home-and-away series against Newcastle for the other place.

L 1 2 2 2 3 3 3

Pts 16 14 10 10 10 8 8

PHOTO ©GARY BAKER

Championship Standings (top of table) W 8 7 5 5 5 4 4

ELITE LEAGUE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Belfast Giants Nottingham Panthers Sheffield Steelers Cardiff Devils Coventry Blaze Braehead Clan Hull Stingrays Edinburgh Capitals Newcastle Vipers Dundee Stars

W 19 17 17 17 14 8 7 5 4 4

L OW OL 4 2 1 4 0 2 5 0 0 5 0 0 6 0 0 13 0 2 10 1 0 16 1 1 17 0 2 19 0 1

Pts 41 36 34 34 28 18 15 12 10 9

ENGLISH PREMIER ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE W L OW OL Pts 1 Guildford Flames 19 2 1 2 42 2 Manchester Phoenix 18 3 1 3 41 3 Basingstoke Bison 14 4 3 2 36 4 Slough Jets 14 6 3 0 35 5 MK Lightning 13 6 1 1 29 6 P’borough Phantoms 8 10 2 1 22 7 Telford Tigers 4 14 1 4 14 8 Swindon Wildcats 5 17 1 1 13 9 Sheffield Steeldogs 2 18 2 1 9 10 Bracknell Bees 2 19 1 1 7

For more information on BBL fixtures, visit www.bbl.org.uk

Team Mersey Tigers Cheshire Jets Guildford Heat Sheffield Sharks Glasgow Rocks Leicester Riders Newcastle Eagles

As we’ve all been putting on our winter warmers anyway, why not drop in at your local rink for some ice hockey action?

Hosting the Boston Bruins back in October seemed to perk up Belfast, who had lost three games before the show game, then went on a 6-game win streak afterwards, since then Belfast have lost a handful of close games to lesser foes, but maintained their league lead as Christmas approached. More info: www.eliteleague.co.uk/

BBL League Championship Paced by American players David Schneider (William & Mary), James Porter (NC A&T), and Martelle McLemore (pictured left; Western Michigan), Guildford are also back in the Championship hunt, positioned third on the table at press time. Here too, however, Mersey are ascendent. The League Championship continues into April.

1 2 3= 3= 5 6= 6=

British Ice Hockey

The town of Guildford has been enjoying renewed success in hockey too, holding off ex-Elite league sides Manchester and Basingstoke into December. For a full list of English Ice Hockey teams and leagues visit www.eiha.co.uk/

55


The American

Sideline

For some NFL coaches, the end of the NFL season brings a whole new meaning to ‘boxing day’. Richard L Gale ponders the departure of Denver’s Josh McDaniels

W

elcome to football’s ‘winterval’ – a time for hangovers, idle resolutions and the whoosh of NFL owners swinging the festive axe. Christmas started early this year for Cowboys fans, with the Thankgiving cull of Wade Phillips, and with December underway, Minnesota left Chilly Childress out in the cold, and the Broncos delivered a seasonal pink slip to Josh McDaniels. Others coaches will no doubt follow – at press time, Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis, Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher, and Carolina’s John Fox were all keeping away the winter chills by shifting uneasily from buttock to buttock upon their hot seats. Yet it was McDaniels whose rear caught fire most intensely (as opposed to Phillips’ dead-man-shuffling along the Dallas sideline). The inexperienced McDaniels – even now only 34 – was gifted Mike Shanahan-like latitude, using it to make a string of controversial personnel moves over two seasons: • Trading WR Brandon Marshall, a 100-catch receiver; •  Trading QB Jay Cutler; • Trading RB Peyton Hillis (heading for 1000 yards with the Browns), plus a draft pick and a conditional), in exchange for QB Brady Quinn; • Drafting another back-up QB, Tim Tebow, with a first round pick. In McDaniels’ defense (ah, if only Denver had a defense), the Cutler trade brought in Kyle Orton, having a better year than Cutler, and present Bronco receiver Brandon Lloyd is having a

56

better 2010 than Marshall. Still, the investments in Quinn and Tebow suggest McDaniels may now have realized what he had in Orton, nor Hillis. Throw in the second ‘spygate’ taping scandal to break out near McDaniels, a London loss to the lowly 49ers, and a 3-9 record threatening to become their worst since before the John Elway era, and a swiftly-retracted vote of confidence from owner Pat Bowlen turned into ‘could you come to my office’ in the space of one week. In the end, the he-goes-or-I-go brinksmanship of coaches v players only stretches so far. Over in Washington, McDaniels’ predecessor at the Broncos, Mike Shanahan, suspended disgruntled defender Albert Haynesworth for the final month of

the season, and it seems likely Haynesworth too will be spending 2011 in a new location. But even Shanahan is under scrutiny in the nation’s capital. Shipping the grumblers is something a coach can do only so often – at some point a coach has to win over the more difficult players or bring them into line. McDaniels never won anybody over, and paid the price, swept out before the first pine needle could hit the festive floor. If Shanahan doesn’t prove he’s more than a coach lucky enough to have had passing legend Elway and 2000-yard back Terrell Davis around to win him a couple of Super Bowl rings, his tenure in Washington will deserve no more than McDaniels’ 28 games in Denver. H


The American

Mick Foley: WRESTLER & WRITER

With nearly three decades of wrestling under his belt the 45 year old may have laced up his boots for the final time, but would like a stint of commentary at TNA on their Xplosion programme. “There is one guy that I would love to wrestle and never have and that is Hulk Hogan, but that looks very unlikely now with his back injuries and I feel like of PPVs they have, and produce four or Mother Nature is telling me to tap out”, five stellar shows a year. the Hardcore Legend continued. “That “I have been quite vocal and think doesn’t mean you have seen the last that the number of PPVs we currently of me – I just need to find a new role. have just burn through wrestlers, char“I would like to give commentary a go acters and story lines”, he continued. again, on Xplosion, which is our second “Fans consume all of these wrestling programme with Jeremy Borash. WorkPPVs but don’t really have the time to ing with JB will be a lot of fun – and I am enjoy anything that is going on. I think sure Taz likes doing Impact so it won’t that cutting down the amount of PPV hurt my pride calling the B show.” events is the best thing you could do Foley is a proud father and there and will mean characters will are currently a lot of second be fresher and they will also and third generation stars in become more meaningful the business. He would be events and in turn could more than happy to see make the television show his children follow in their better as well.” father’s footsteps. “My oldest son wanted to be a wrestler for a long time but that kind of fizzled out,” Foley said. “My nine year old has said he either wants to be a wrestler or a scientist. I realise with so many second and third generation superstars coming into the industry I had Mick’s new book better smooth over my Countdown to relationship with Vince Lockdown is out McMahon because that now and TNA will is a realistic ambition. return to the UK “So who knows, on tour in Glasmaybe we will see gow, Manchester and London from the Foley boys in January 27 to 29. either TNA or WWE somewhere down the line.” H

Joshua Modaberi tracked down the wrestling legend on his recent visit to England and talked about his future plans

D

uring a career that has spanned over 27 years, and while performing all over the world, Mick Foley has put his body on the line every night he’s stepped into the squared circle. Having grappled in ECW, WCW, WWE and TNA in North America Foley has become known as the Hardcore Legend – having had his ear torn off, flown off a 20ft Hell in a Cell, and been hit with numerous steel chairs shots to the head Foley has still managed to become a number one New York Times best selling author. Known in the business for his many characters, including Dude Love, Mankind and Cactus Jack – Foley is now plying his trade in TNA (Total Nonstop Action wrestling) and believes the company is just as good, if not better, than rival promotion WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). “TNA puts on a great live show, people have a different affection towards it – it is a little bit more personal compared to the WWE shows,” says Foley. “I’m not saying that they don’t put on a good show but ours is different. The people that have seen our product before will probably be back to the live UK shows in January in Manchester, Glasgow and London. The people that haven’t been before should check it out and see what all of the excitement is about.” With so many Pay Per View events over in the States with WWE, TNA, Boxing and UFC, Mick thinks it would be a good move for TNA to cut the amount

57


EXPERIENCE THE INTENSITY OF 28 ELECTRIFYING BOWL GAMES ALL MONTH LONG LEADING TO THE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP. PLUS DON’T MISS ESPN’S COLLEGE GAMEDAY AND SPORTCENTER KEEPING YOU IN THE KNOW.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT ESPNAMERICA.COM

american for sports

The American January 2011  

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

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you