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March 2011

THE ESSENTIAL MONTHLY FOR ALL AMERICANS

Est. 1976

®

£2.80 www.theamerican.co.uk

ARTS CHOICE MUSIC • REVIEWS EATING OUT • SPORT WHAT’S ON • POLITICS

Clint Dempsey Fulham and U.S. Soccer Star talks to The American

Rocket to the Moon: Tickets and Pre-Show Drink Offer James Carroll Jordan chats to Jenny Seagrove


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The American ®

Issue 694 – February 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: 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

©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 Cover: Hokusai’s The Great Wave. Inset: David Wilson Barnes (photo: Hugo Glendinning)

Welcome I

t’s always difficult to drive abroad – especially when they do so on the wrong side. And have roundabouts! But recent events have made it even more tricky to drive in Britain. I’m not referring to the weather – though Lord knows that when there’s a little snow drivers should learn how to deal with it and when there’s a lot they should stay at home. No, I mean the case of one Michael Thompson who has been fined an amazing £440 (including court costs) for flashing his headlights at oncoming drivers, warning them of a mobile police speed trap he’d passed. The legal arguments are, on one side, that he was advising other drivers to obey the law and stick to the limit. On the other, that he was abetting lawbreakers. Whatever the law, the road etiquette, and many drivers’ belief that speed cameras are merely a money-making enterprise for the authorities, I thought you should know that, to avoid prosecution, it’s best not to do as Mr Thompson did and ‘flash’ other motorists. But please do still get out there, enjoy your stay in Britain, and… Enjoy your magazine, Michael Burland, Editor editor@theamerican.co.uk

SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS

Dr. Alison Holmes, The American’s political ‘Transatlantic Columnist’ is an Associate Fellow Rothermere American Institute Oxford University and a Churchill Memorial Trust History Fellow.

James Carroll Jordan is an American actor currently living and working in London (recently in the BBC’s Hustle). He has some personal insights into what it’s like behind the scenes in the acting world.

Anne Taylor is a UK-based Canadian Life Coach assisting individuals to triumph in change, like living in a new country, undertaking a new job, or a change from within of wanting more out of life.

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

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The American

In This Issue... The American • Issue 694 • February 2011

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News Go to a Civil War Conference, or buy Eric Clapton’s guitar – your choice

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Diary Dates Fabulous and fun things to do, from Valentine’s Day frolics to activities for the kids at half term and Chinese New Year

12 Do we need a War on Terror? Carol Gould remembers the IRA terrorism of the 1970s and compares it to today’s troubles 14 Ask not what your country can do for you On the 50th anniversary of JFK’s Inaugural, Ambassador Susman remembers the President’s connections with the United Kingdom 15 Can’t see the Forest for the Trees A newly arrived life coach has some strategies for expats

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16 Life in the Slow Lane The slowest, calmest way to explore Britain’s beautiful countryside has some unexpected charms 19 Competition: In a Forest Dark and Deep Win tickets to see Neil LaBute’s latest smash

PHOTO: TNA

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The American

20 Arts Choice Aerogel artworks, watercolour masterpieces and a Rockwell retrospective 25 Wining & Dining Restaurant reviews, how to enjoy Valentine’s Day at home, and why Parisians would rather be served in the States 32 Coffee Break Exercise your mind, your memory and your laughter muscles

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34 Music The best live gigs and albums… and just who did write the first rock‘n’roll song? 38 Reviews A classic Feydeau farce – and check out our new Theater Previews section

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42 Interview: David Wilson Barnes The actor makes his British stage debut in the American success Becky Shaw 44 Interview: Bill Kenwright The King of the West End Producers, interviewed by actor James Carroll Jordan 46 Politics The Wikileaks phenomenon unpicked – and a tax threat to overseas Americans that could torpedo world trade 51 Drive Time Pick up an American classic car from the new Captain America movie

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53 Sports Jeff Jarrett, NHL at the mid-mark, and an end-of-season football wrap 58 American Organizations American-oriented groups you’ll want to join in Britain 3


The American

Heathrow Train Ticket App Heathrow Express, which describes itself as the fastest way to travel between central London and Heathrow Airport, has become the first UK train company to launch a Blackberry and Android app. Customers of the service can buy tickets and receive them direct to their phone. The app is free, and features live service updates. The secure app has been accredited by Barclays and is PCI DSS compliant (the international standard for data security). It accepts all major credit and debit cards, except Maestro. Business travelers – the main users of Heathrow Express – will find it useful to buy their ticket on their smartphone from anywhere in the world.” Why no iPhone app now? Richard Robinson, Heathrow Express’s managing director explained, “With Blackberry dominating the business market, it made sense to introduce an app that most of our customers can use. Our development schedule allowed us to complete apps for Blackberry and Android users first, with an iPhone version following soon in the New Year.” This new app is available now for BlackBerry, Android and Javaenabled mobile users from www. heathrowexpress.com/mobileapp. Android users can also download the app now from the Android apps store.

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Re-enactors relive the battle at Blue Mountain

Georgia Battle Site Under Threat

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alton, GA, played a major role during the Civil War. It was while standing on top of Blue Mountain, just north of Dalton, that Union General William Tecumseh Sherman planned his advance on Atlanta. And it is at Dalton that historians and civil war enthusiasts are now calling for help to preserve the site. Dalton was a heavily fortified Confederate stronghold, and Sherman’s hilltop vantage point gave him a perfect view of his target. “That site has an impressive vista and, from that view, you can really tell the story of the action Dalton saw,” Jim Ogden, historian for the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, told the Chatanooga Times Free Press. Like many historic sites in Georgia that played an important role in the war, Blue Mountain is not protected from development. The only sure way to prevent it from being developed is to buy it. “There are more than 400 Civil War sites across the state. Most are in the hands of private landowners, who say they’d never do anything to hurt the historic value, but what happens when they die?” explained Charlie Crawford, president of the

Georgia Battlefields Association. Nowadays, Blue Mountain is being encroached upon by residential developments although some features survive, including a stone wall from the time of the battle which still stretches across the land. “We want to establish this as a historic site, so people can get the same view of Dalton Sherman once had,” said Paul Belk, a local real estate developer who is chairman of the Whitfield County Historic Preservation Commission. The association has already raised $50,000 and needs to raise another $35,000 to buy some of the 15-acre hilltop site. If they are successful, the county will make the purchase and hold the land. The commission is seeking donations. Belk hopes that by 2014, the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s visit to the mountain, he can acquire the whole property, or at least establish it as a permanent historic site. The local people aim to preserve the site and re-establish a signal station used by the Union Army. “We would love to bring back the signal tower,” Belk said. “The site is perfect, because it already has a paved road leading to it and the signal tower would be visible from the road.”


The American

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Conference Remembers Civil War’s 150th Anniversary The 2011 conference of leading British historical society the American Civil War Round Table (UK) (www. americancivilwar.org.uk) will commemorate and explore the origins of America’s most divisive and destructive conflict. Titled ‘Opening Gambits of the Civil War’, the conference will be held on the weekend of April 8 to 10 at the Holiday Inn, Oxford. Speakers confirmed to date include Frank O’Reilly (Historian, Fredericksburg National Battlefield Park) who will talk on ‘The Liberty Hall Volunteers – Stonewall Jackson’s College Boys’; Lt. Col Joe Whitehorne, US Army (rtd) on ‘Raising an Army – Manpower policy of the Federal Government’; Dr. George Sanborn on ‘Military operations in the Western part of Virginia in 1861 that decided the fate of the mountain counties and determined the strategy while elevating G B McClellan to national fame’; Jeremy Mindell on ‘European Reactions’; and Steve Wise (Curator, US Marine Corps Museum Parris Island, South Carolina) on ‘US & Confederate Naval forces in 1861’’ You are recommend to book places and accommodation in advance. For a reservation form please contact Old Country Military & History Tours Inc, PO Box 98, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 9LJ, call 01747 828719 or email oldcount@aol.com

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JACK ENGLISH © MARSHBROOK LTD 2010

The Battle of Fort Sumpter, the action that started the American Civil War

Clapton To Auction Guitars and Amps

Eric Clapton is to auction more than 70 guitars and 70 amplifiers from his personal collection in aid of his drug addiction charity. This is the first time the rock icon has donated historic amps to auction, a rare opportunity to purchase a piece of Clapton history. The auction will be held at Bonhams New York, on March 9, with viewing in London to January 26, and Los Angeles February 18 to 20. Included are instruments and amps by Fender, Gibson, Marshall, Martin, and Music Man as well as guitars donated by Jeff Beck, J.J. Cale, and Joe Bonamassa. Highlights include a custom built black Fender Stratocaster used by Clapton during the Cream Reunion Shows in 2005, estimate $20,00030,000, and a pair of 1970 vintage Marshall speaker cabinets used during the 1970s when Clapton played with Derek And The Dominos, estimate $8,00010,000, but estimates on amps and guitars span from $300-30,000, so there’s something for fans and collectors within every budget range. Clapton commented, “I am very happy that Bonhams have agreed to host my third guitar auction in aid of The Crossroads Centre, Antigua, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre I founded in 1998.”

Hefner Buys Back Playboy Empire Hugh Hefner has regained control over the Playboy business he founded in 1953. The 84 year old mogul takes control of a company that business analysts say is struggling in the digital age. Playboy magazine’s circulation and ad revenue are reportedly declining in an era of readily available free internet pornography. Playboy is attempting to transform itself into a brand management firm rather than a publisher, licensing its ‘bunny ears’ logo for use on

products like clothing and jewelry. Hefner had been in a bidding war with rivals, including the owners of Penthouse magazine, but won after he raised his bid by 12% to $6.15 a share, valuing Playboy at $210m. Playboy’s CEO Scott Flanders, will remain st the helm of the business. The completion of the purchase came soon after Hefner announced his engagement to his girlfriend, 24-year-old Crystal Harris. Hef’s former girlfriend and Playboy Playmate Kendra Wilkinson said she thought Hefner was “too young” to get remarried (he has been married twice before): “He’s like any man – he was having fun and wasn’t ready. I guess he was too young!”


Embassy News Last Chance to Vote in Chicago Election On February 22 the City of Chicago’s Municipal General Election will choose the city’s Mayor, City Clerk, City Treasurer and Alderman in each of the City’s 50 Wards. If you’re a Chicago voter living abroad, you need to submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You will not get a ballot automatically, even if you voted in the general election. To check your registration status, visit: www.chicagoelections.com/ voterinfo.php Although January 24, 2011 was the general deadline to register for this Election, if you are in the military or you are already registered to vote, the deadline for submitting an FPCA is February 12. For full details of how to register, get a ballot and submit it, go to FVAP.gov.

FVAP Voting Survey Attention: U.S. Citizen Voters: the Department of State (DoS) and the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) need your help to make absentee/overseas voting easier for you. Voting is the right of U.S. citizens, everywhere. However, FVAP recognizes the challenges faced by expats who want to exercise this right. They’d like you take part in a PostElection Survey at www.drcsurveys. com/PEV2/DoS. It asks you about your voting experience – even if you have never actually voted overseas. The information you provide will help them improve the voting experience for overseas U.S. citizens in the future. The survey does not require you to provide any personally identifiable information and all responses are kept confidential.

Have You Had A Baby While Abroad? The Department of State has announced the introduction of a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240). The redesigned CRBA, which is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship, has been updated with state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft. Beginning January 18, 2011, overseas posts still document the citizenship of children born overseas to U.S.-citizen parents, but the CRBAs will be printed at the State Department’s passport agencies in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New Orleans, Louisiana, using the information provided by overseas posts. By centralizing production and eliminating the distribution of controlled blank stock throughout the world, they aim to ensure uniform quality and lessen the possibility of fraud. Additionally, the Department will no longer issue the DS-1350 Certification of Report of Birth Abroad. Instead, the Department will simply provide new FS-240s in response to requests for additional, replacement, or amended CRBAs.

Diversity Lottery Fraud If you have received an email notifying you that your application for the Diversity Visa (DV) Program has been successful and that in order to proceed with your application you are required to send money to a named individual at the U.S. Embassy in London, you are

a victim of a scam. Successful DV applicants are notified by the Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) by letter, NOT email and are provided instructions on how to proceed to the next step in the process. The KCC will not ask you to send money to them or to this Embassy or any other U.S. Embassy by mail or by services such as Western Union. For those of you who have applied for DV-2012, official notification of selection will be made online through the Entry Status Check, available from May 1, 2011 on the E-DV website at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov Remember, successful DV applicants are notified by the Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center (KCC). No other organization or private company is authorized by the Department of State to notify DV applicants of their winning entry, or the next steps in the processing of applying for their visa. 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

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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 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD The world’s most prestigious showcase of wildlife photography is back with the latest winning entries from its annual international competition.

American Ballet Theater Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN Recognised as one of America’s living national treasures, American Ballet Theatre makes a welcome return to Sadler’s Wells, presenting 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 1 to 6

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www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto 020 7942 5000 to March 11 Bridge of Knowledge: Western Appreciation of Arab and Islamic Civilisation in the Arcadian Library Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street (off Russell Square) London WC1H 0XG A rare glimpse of powerfully evocative printed books and older manuscripts from the most prestigious private libraries on the East-West Interface: Travel, Science, Art, and Literature. An exhibition which respects and celebrates the centuries–old relationship between the West and the Arab and Islamic world. www.soas.ac.uk/gallery to March 26 Royal Opera House London The Royal Opera’s New Year begins with its revival of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) in a witty and lively production by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser, first seen in 2005. Singing the role of Count Almaviva on the January dates is American tenor John Osborn. A perfect post-Christmas treat. January 18, 21, 24, 26, 29, 31; February 2, 5, 8 ; 7pm. www.roh.org.uk/barbiere 020 7304 4000 to February 8 Chinese New Year Across the UK This year will be the Year of the Rabbit. The major celebrations in Central

London are the largest outside Asia. There will also be events in Liverpool at the Chinese arch on Nelson Street, the largest Chinese arch outside China; Manchester’s Chinatown; and Bath at the Museum of East Asian Art among others. February 3 Japanese Film Season at the ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH The ICA hosts Back to the Future Japanese Cinema since the Mid-90s, the Japan Foundation’s Touring Film Programme; Japan’s 2011 Oscar entry, Confessions, alongside two earlier films by the same director, Tetsuya Nakashima; and the premiere of Confessions of Dog, a police corruption story deemed so controversial that it failed to get a theatrical release in Japan, including a director’s Q&A with Gen Takahashi. www.ica.org.uk 020 7930 3647 February 4 to 25 Film: Michelangelo Antonioni Barbican Centre, London Complementing Toneelgroep Amsterdam production in Barbican Theatre, Barbican Film presents the three films by Italian modernist director Michelangelo Antonioni, which have inspired theatre director Ivo van Hove’s The Antonioni Project: L’Avventura, L’Eclisse and La Notte. www.barbican.org.uk February 5 to 20 Cory Arcangel: Beat the Champ Barbican Centre, London Brooklyn-based Cory Arcangel is one of the leading media artists of his generation. He appropriates, manipulates and subverts new media, including video games, computer software and the internet. Arcangel’s project for The Curve at the Barbican is a new installation featuring 14 bowling video games from the 1970s to the 2000s. Looped to play scoreless games,


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Buying & Selling USA Stamps, Covers & Postal History Philatex Stamp Show Royal Horticultural Hall, Greycoat St. London SW1 2QD Feb 24 - 26 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 Your American Dealer in Britain

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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.

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they create an immersive sound collage from the abstract static of Atari, to Nintendo’s bleeps and bloops, to the more realistic electronic simulation of bowling sounds of recent PlayStation consoles. Arcangel also displays the video game consoles themselves, each with a small computer chip attached, flickering at one end of the darkened gallery. A co-commission with the Whitney Museum of American Art. www.barbican.org.uk February 10 on

Lunar New Year Extravaganza! (Chinese New Year) Museum of East Asian Art, Bennett Street, Bath BA1 2QJ The MEAA is holding its fourth annual Lunar New Year Extravaganza, at the Museum itself and the Assembly Rooms, both on Bennett Street in ‘Jane Austen’s’ Bath. The entertainment will include traditional Chinese opera performances by the London Jing Kun Opera, martial arts demonstrations, musical performances from the Royal Academy of Music’s Colin Huehns and local musician Stephanie Hiller, as well as arts and crafts activities, with the day being rounded off with a traditional lion dance and a spectacular firecracker display. Often known in the West as Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year occurs every year on the New Moon of the first lunar month and is the most important Chinese holiday of the year. The Lunar New Year Extravaganza! is a great family day out as well as a wonderful chance to visit the Museum of East Asian Art (the only museum in the UK solely dedicated to the arts and cultures of East and Southeast Asia) for free. 11.30am until 4pm. www.meaa.org.uk admin@meaa.org.uk 01225 464 640 February 6

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Albert Gallatin 250th Anniversary Domaine de Penthes, 18 chemin de l’Impératice, 1292 Pregny-Chambésy, Genève, Switzerland A Seminar on Gallatin’s iconic role in American political history during the founding years of our Republic will be followed by drinks at the Chateau de Penthes, and then a Gala Dinner at the Gallatin Pavillion. We hope you will be able to share this unique opportunity to remember and appreciate the profoundly strong ties of mutual respect, creativity and affection that have so positively linked the United States and Switzerland for so many decades. Please sign up soon because there are only a limited number of places available. Drinks and dinner 150 Swiss Francs per person. secretariat@penthes.ch + 41 (0)22 743 90 21 (Ms Falquet) February 10 Sexual Nature Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD Pull off nature’s fig leaf and discover its most bizarre and intimate secrets in Sexual Nature, the Museum’s latest exhibition which takes a provocative look at the birds and the bees. Anything goes in the animal kingdom and visitors to Sexual Nature will be asked to leave preconceptions at the door to discover the science of sex. Sexual Nature is a multi-sensory journey, allowing visitors to experience the diversity of methods exploited in seduction and

reproduction. Through more than 100 real Museum specimens, learn how potential mates maximise reproductive potential and investigate how mate choice has evolved in humans. www.nhm.ac.uk February 11 to October 2 The Alexandra Rose Bowling Evening Guildford Spectrum, Parkway, Guildford GU1 1UP A fun packed evening for all. In aid of Alexandra Rose Charities. £10 6.30pm www.alexandrarosecharities.org.uk 01252 726161 February 11 Make–a–Wish Valentines Ball Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London W1K 1QA Indulge in the finest champagne and an exquisite three course dinner. There is also first class entertainment and the chance to dance the night away. £200 wiith tables of ten available. 6.30pm-1.30am. All in aid of the Make a Wish Foundation, which grants magical wishes to children or young people aged from 3 to 17 living with a life-threatening illness. www.make–a–wish.org.uk Ashley.Cole@Make-a-wish.org.uk February 12 Valentine’s Day everywhere Valentine’s Day is an important celebration in the UK. A romantic meal in a restaurant is the norm, but cooking a special meal at home for your loved one works too. Or perhaps take him/her to the world’s first chocolate themed hotel, the Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth, Dorset. Their Valentine’s Day package involves a cold bottle of bubbly and a cascading chocolate fountain complete with succulent strawberries and luscious marshmallows in your room, and chocolatey cocktails in the Chocolate Bar. www.thechocolateboutiquehotel.co.uk 01202 556857 February 14


St. Valentine’s Dinner at Fulham Palace: Special Opening Fulham Palace, Bishop’s Avenue, Fulham, London SW6 6EA Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in style at Fulham Palace’s candle-lit Bistro with a special three course menu and pink champagne. 3 course seasonal menu £35. Open from 6.30pm for pre-dinner cocktails, dinner served from 7pm. Booking essential, please telephone. www.lbhf.gov.uk 020 7610 7160 February 14 Presidents’ Day at Washington ancestral home: Free to US citizens Sulgrave Manor, Sulgrave, nr Banbury OX17 2SD Celebrate Presidents’ Day at the home of George Washington’s ancestors! Come to Sulgrave Manor for a family day out: kids dress up as mini Tudors, family house tours , lots of activities, games, brass rubbing and the President’s Challenge! Look for signs of spring in the historical garden. Kids needn’t get bored on the way to the Manor: download from the website an I-Spy game for the journey. Free entry to US citizens – don’t forget ID! Open from 11am. www.sulgravemanor.org.uk 01295 760205 February 15 Rediscovered Warhol Self–Portrait Christie’s, 8 King Street, St James’s, London SW1 A highly important, monumental–scale self–portrait by Andy Warhol executed in 1967, an addition to an historically important series of 10 self-portraits, will be offered at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction. It is expected to realise £3 million to £5 million. The picture has been in a private collection since 1974 when it was acquired from Leo Castelli, Warhol’s primary dealer. It will be exhibited in public for the first time at Christie’s New York from January 22 to 26. www.christies.com February 16

Norvik Viking Festival Jorvik Viking Centre, Coppergate, York YO1 9WT The year is 1014 AD, and a bitter war is raging in England between the Danes and the English who are under the heel of the Vikings. The ousted English king Ethelred plots vengeance on them. And who will win? The 2011 Festival will revisit the events of the early 11th century. You may have descended from one of these stalwart people but even if not York is a lovely city to visit and there is lots more to do as well. www.jorvik–viking–centre.co.uk 01904 615 505 February 19 to 27 Berliner Philharmonic / Rattle Barbican Centre, London Four concerts by Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker featuring Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagète and Mahler’s Symphony No 4 on Feb 21st and Haydn’s Symphony No 99, Schubert’s Symphony No 9 and the UK premiere of Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa’s Horn concerto Moment of Blossoming on 22nd. www.barbican.org.uk February 21 to 22 The Topsy-Turvy Forest: Storytelling &Craft Workshop Painshill Landscape Garden, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1JE Enjoy the storyteller’s topsy-turvy tale of curious creatures and magical madness! Wear fancy dress and bring along a toy forest creature and have fun in a creative workshop making a magical animal shadow puppet. You can put on your own family show with our puppet theatre – then take your puppet home with you! This indoor activity is suitable for children up to 10 years old. Included in the normal admission price, no advance booking required, numbers are limited per session. www.painshill.co.uk 01932 868113 February 21 to 25

Half Term Fun at Imperial War Museum Duxford Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR Imaginative activities bringing Second World War history vividly to life, all included in the standard admission to the Museum (children aged 15 or under go free). They include Hands on History: Wartime Toys and Games (discover how children kept themselves entertained during World War II and enjoy playing with nostalgic toys and games from the 1940s); Craft activities; Daring Tales of D-Day from a costumed interpreter acting the role of a US paratrooper. See Duxford’s incredible range of aircraft too. www.iwm.org.uk/duxford February 19 to 27

Sparks Annual Golf Dinner Renaissance London Chancery Court Hotel, 252 High Holborn London WC1 One for you golfers. A glittering evening of fine entertainment and dining with celebrity guests. But be prepared for some joshing: the theme is “Celebrating the Ryder Cup” and the actual Ryder Cup will be displayed. £150 per person, tables of 10 available from £1200. www.sparks.org.uk dan@sparks.org.uk 020 7799 2111 February 24 Race Retro Stoneleigh Park, Coventry Europe’s Premier Show focusing on Historic Motorsport, Historic Racing, Historic Rallying. A three day event with cars and motorcycles. livepromotions.co.uk February 25 to 27

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Caption: Victims of terrorism: Lord Mountbatten, Harrods store in London, Yitzhak Rabin LORD MOUNTBATTEN PHOTO: ALLAN WARREN.

Do we need a

War on Terror? I

have agonised over how to address this major issue of our time to a young audience. It seems like yesterday I was your age. When I came to the UK I was just 22. I am still living in the same tiny flat into which I moved when I was a graduate student! One minute you are 22 and the next minute you are, to use a Yiddish phrase, an alter gephumpheter of 56. That translates as old fogey. In fact, though it is still a few years away, I am counting the calendar pages until I get my senior citizen bus pass. When I first came to this country it barely resembled the Britain of today. In fact never have I seen a country alter itself as I have seen Great Britain do so in this generation gone by since my arrival in January, 1976. When I was a student you would be turfed off a bus if you spoke in a loud voice or made a noise; at the very least you would be reprimanded by the neatly-dressed conductor. On the other side of the coin – literally – a bus ticket was sixpence and

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Last year American journalist and broadcaster Carol Gould gave an address to the high school students at Queen’s School, Bushey, Hertfordshire. Here’s what she said to them. you could go upstairs and smoke to your heart’s delight. When I went to someone’s house for dinner I would be yelled at for using a fork to eat my cake. Behaving in a proper British manner was de rigeur. Multiculturalism was not on anyone’s agenda; my American accent made me very much a foreigner. In those day the iceman cameth and the junk collector clattered into my mews once a week in his pony trap. Taxi drivers called my dad ‘guv’nor;’ men tipped their hats to ladies. Thirty five years on, Britain is a brash, in-your-face multicultural cavalcade. So, what has all of this to do with the war on terror? Let me explain: at last night’s ‘Question Time’ at Queen’s School there were many accusations being thrown about that had no foundation in fact and

what pained me was the idea that very young people, whose brains are like sponges, were not being provided with an historical perspective. So here is why I mentioned my early years in Britain: in the 1970s the IRA – Irish Republican Army – dominated life in this country. Wherever one went a bomb might go off. Although on most occasions the IRA sent warnings ahead of bombings, many civilians were killed on the British mainland. I will never forget my mother calling me from Philadelphia every time she heard a news flash on American TV saying a bomb had gone off in London. I will never forget coming out of Tesco in Church Street market and hearing an almighty boom. It was the Harrods bomb of December, 1983. It was so massive that I heard it so many miles


The American

away. I will never forget sitting in my office at Anglia TV in Park Lane and being thrown from my chair when the bomb went off in Hyde Park; we were sent home from work that day but when I got home my phone was ringing; it was my mum telling me another bomb had gone off in the bandstand in Regents Park. When Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA in August 1979 my neighbour Dr John Miles-Thomas stormed into my flat and berated me for ‘sponsoring terror!’ Americans in Boston were funding IRA actions and every American got it in the face at that time. And so on and so on. I have only limited time today to talk but my point is that thirty years on I hardly think about the IRA anymore. US senator George Mitchell was instrumental in bringing the two sides to the table and a rocky but remarkable peace was at last achieved after a one-hundred year conflict. Some of the greatest acts of terror of all time have been those perpetrated in the name of Christianity and against Jews: the medieval Blood Libels in this country; the shameful York massacre – to this day, Jews will not reside in York – and the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. There were the Crusades against Muslims and Jews as well as the Inquisition, the Chmielnicki Massacres, the anti-Jew riots and the massive anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia culminating in the Holocaust. Then some will say that the young Jews who survived the Holocaust and fought for a Jewish homeland were also terrorists – but lest we forget that one of those youths, Menachem Begin, eventually hugged Anwar Sadat and made peace with Egypt in1979. To me, one of the most heinous terrorists of all time was Yigal Amir, assassin of Israeli Prime Min-

ister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, whose murder wrecked the Oslo peace process, an achievement on the verge of transforming the Middle East. To bring things up to date, three weeks ago a young Asian plumber came to fix something in my flat and launched into a scary tirade at me about America perpetrating 9/11 and telling me that America is the world’s number one terrorist. Interestingly, he said that there are no terrorists, only Americans, who are the true terrorists. The Muslim feminist writer Yasmin Alibhai Brown made a remarkable observation about the wave of suicide bombings across Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq – a daily occurrence in which Muslims are killing scores of other Muslims in mosques, schools and police stations; in Iraq angry young radicals are turning hospitals into torture chambers. She attributes a great deal of young Muslim anger to arranged marriages and the despair suffered by so many young men in loveless unions. Likewise in 2006 a man from the White House who had come to hear me speak in Washington actually said, ‘You know, Carol, many of these guys are just full of testosterone and have no outlet for that energy.’ There will always be angry young men and women, be they the Farc in Columbia, the abu Sayaf in the Philippines, ETA in Spain or al Qaeda. Young terrorists feel they have to wage their own war. What the world needs is exceptionally inspiring leaders the likes of Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Then there will be no need for a war on terror. That was the text of my address to the young people of Queen’s School. Readers of The American may be interested to

learn that after delivering this talk a member of the audience wearing a burkha, evidently a faculty member, shouted from the back of the hall that America was arrogant, pig-ignorant and responsible for the woes of the world. She received a massive ovation, prompting the headmaster to get up and remind the gathering of ten-to-eighteen year-olds that there was just a handful of countries in the world where an open and frank discussion of terrorism could take place in front of children. H

Roosevelt, Churchill, Gandhi and King: inspiring leaders


DONALD MINGFIELD

The American

Ask not what your country can do for you

Above: Words from President Kennedy’s inaugural address etched in stone at his gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery

On the 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, Ambassador Louis B. Susman remembers the man, the hope he inspired, and the connections he had with the United Kingdom

“A

sk not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” 50 years ago today, President Kennedy’s words, spoken on a bright, bitterly cold January morning in Washington, D.C., inspired a generation of Americans, myself included, to seek opportunities for public service. On that day I was in law school in St. Louis, and watched the inaugural on TV, transfixed as our new President uttered the words that would change countless lives.

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The young President inspired people around the globe, to whom he spoke directly, saying, “My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” Those words find particularly resonant echoes in the United Kingdom. President Kennedy’s ties with this country are well known. His father was Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s when war clouds were gathering over Europe, sparking a young Jack Kennedy’s interest in world affairs. He wrote his senior thesis at Harvard on why Great Britain was not prepared for war with Germany. Two of his sisters married British citizens. He had enormous respect for, in his words, “this ancient country from which so many of our great traditions in my own country have sprung.” After the President’s tragic death, mourned in the United

Kingdom as the loss of one of their own, a public appeal created the Kennedy Memorial Trust, which built the evocative memorial at Runnymede (carved with the words of his inaugural address) [below], and sends British post-graduate students to study at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To date, over 460 Kennedy Scholars have traveled to the U.S., providing a vital link between our two nations, and contributing to our common work in the cause of peace and freedom. My dear friend Senator Edward Kennedy called it the most ambitious of the memorials to his brother. It is clear to me that the Kennedy legacy of service remains strong in the United Kingdom. I am confident that the words my generation found so powerful will continue to inspire citizens of the world, as we together face a new century full of opportunity and challenge. H


Can’t see the Forest for the Trees Anne Taylor has some great advice for anyone moving to a new country or a new way of life

F

ive months ago I moved to London, England (from Switzerland via Canada). I have been knee-deep in settling in ever since. Sorting out bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, cheques, mobile phone, health insurance, contents insurance, accommodations, cable, internet, health club, doctor, dentist, and on and on – and that’s just for one person - me. I don’t have to worry about kids’ schools, tutors, play dates, language lessons, etc. Then there’s the whole idea of finding friends, or at least acquaintances to socialize with – contacting old friends, finding friends of friends, joining a yoga studio, visiting London, joining social networking groups and talking to almost anyone I meet. Then there’s the necessity of finding work – contacting previous clients and coaching colleagues, joining business networking groups, identifying potential businesses and cold calling, meeting people to learn how the personal development market works here – the list goes on and on. “Pinch yourself, you’ve just seen Tower Bridge” PURPLE

The settling-in process is similar to Canada and Switzerland and very different at the same time. I was getting bogged down in the details, feeling unproductive because this was my main contribution in life, stressed because everything seemed to take so long, frustrated because it wasn’t what I was used to and annoyed at the difference in customer service. Most importantly I was feeling lonely at times – not knowing many people, feeling admin was all I was accomplishing and no real social connection. And then I had a couple of reminders about seeing the forest (the big picture, the goal, the vision) for the trees (the details, the distraction, the chaos). Lunch with a good friend at a Mediterranean restaurant was the first sign. There were hundreds of ornamental lamps hanging from the ceiling, different sizes and different shapes and different colours. And when I stepped back and looked at the ceiling there were two views – seeing the turmoil of all the individual lamps and seeing the main pathway from the front of the restaurant to the back. The first view was chaotic, overwhelming, distracting. The second view was clear, direct and useful. The second sign was during my walk along the River Thames near Tower Bridge (that’s the historic, ornamental bridge that some people mistakenly call London Bridge). I walked through Hay’s Galleria. Again,

FIN

ETO

OTH

there were two views. One was all the retail shops to the left and right, the small huts of merchants, the various sculptures. The second view was the main walkway through the Galleria from the Thames to the High Street, actually quite a direct route if you aren’t distracted by the noise, colour and movement around you. Those signs lead me back to the forest – the exciting adventure of living in London (heck, I had just had a drink by the Thames and my cousin would say “pinch yourself you’ve just seen Tower Bridge”, something she only dreamed of until I moved here - now she plans on visiting me and the city), the passion of helping people lead fulfilling lives, and the joy of creating a home and business that enriches me and others. When we move somewhere new there are joys and frustrations – both are real. What forest do you want to see? What hopes and dreams do you have for yourself and your family with this experience of Living in London? What trees are distracting you from being the best that you can be and leading a fulfilling life? Live your potential! Anne Taylor is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach with DIRECTions – Coaching for Results (www.taynac. com/directions). Contact coachanne@ taynac.com or +44 (0) 755 442 1768 for a complimentary session. H

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Life in the Slow Lane Sabrina Sully finds that a canal trip can offer everything you need for a relaxing break Sabrina and daughter Bella work the lock

Y

ou can’t beat a canal boat for a great way to see a surprising, olde worlde side of Britain, as we can attest. With no car to park, and time to take in the gentle changes in scenery, it’s like sneaking up on the countryside. Canals predate railways and were the British motorways of their time, moving freight of all kinds around the British Isles. They linked the river system and the major towns. The long low canal boats, also called narrow boats, were horse-powered before engines took over, the horse walking along towpaths beside the canals. They came into their own again for freight during WWII when fuel was rationed, but commercial use came to an abrupt end in the early 1960s when many months of cold weather froze the canals and coincided with the coming of the motorways. A lot of the towpaths are now popular places to walk, and many

of the canals and locks have been gradually restored with the upsurge in their popularity as a leisure activity. Locks are an ingenious combination of gates and winches to go up or down hill, with the water within the lock manipulated to equalise with the direction in which you’re going. You push the gates in place and turn the winches with the handles you have on board. It’s not as complicated as it sounds! With only a weekend to spare, and a complete novice, I took my family on the Kennet & Avon canal, one of the loveliest in the country, with the challenge of the busiest lock in the country to come. At Hilperton Marina, on the outskirts of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, we were shown over our boat, The Gawaine. Everything was explained – we were shown a helpful DVD on using locks – and we were given a handbook and canal map. We were reassured by emergency numbers


The American

to call if we had any problems at all, which we didn’t need to use. It was like checking into a hotel room, and I was surprised at the level of comfort, including two permanent double beds, two bathrooms with showers, a well equipped kitchen, a television, radio and DVD player, and plenty of electrical points. (The teenager was pleased she’d packed her laptop and supply of DVDs). All bedding, linen, towels, kitchen essentials and two pairs of waterproofs are provided. You just bring your clothes, entertainment and any food or drinks you’d like. Given the forecast, we brought some extra wet weather gear. I’d recommend boat shoes or galoshes for extra grip when wet. Our boat slept six, but as we were only four, we didn’t need to use the sofabed. Before setting off we met a returning crew of Canadian visitors, Bill Towndrow, his wife, his brotherin-law Art Hill and Art’s wife. Bill and his wife had tried a canal boat holiday five years ago, and returned with Art because they enjoyed it so A canal holiday is perfect for kids, as Fleur found out when she took the helm

much. They told us “the trick is to keep it slow, there’s a lot of weight in those boats. You have to be careful, and they don’t steer too well going backwards!”. Wise words – thanks Art. We chose to go towards Bath, and found that once you got used to the boat taking a little while to respond to the rudder, it was ‘plain sailing’. The stretch we were on is apparently the busiest in the country, and there were a lot of moored boats, many people’s permanent or holiday homes. We went under bridges, negotiated our first lock, a viaduct and a swingbridge, all without incident. The first thing we noticed is that there is no current, unlike the sea or the river. Used to sleeping on board seagoing yachts, I found the lack of the ‘roll’ and lapping water odd at first. The pace means that you slow down and really observe the surroundings and the wildlife. The lock was easier than I had anticipated, (I operated it whiles the others stayed on board and controlled the boat inside the lock), and we all had a real sense of achievement, so much so that we moored up by the pub the other side and walked into Bradford

Art Hill and family – Canadian canal boat afficionadoes

There’s a wide variety of boats on the canal, like this lifeboat from an oceangoing ship, converted into a residence Look out for a variety of passengers too – this was only one of many dogs we saw on board the boats

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Tea rooms and pubs make for a leisurely break from your leisurely travels

SPECIAL OFFER

Our holiday was with DRIFTERS – a consortium of award winning holiday companies. Readers of The American can enjoy the following incentive to get out on the water, if they quote Castle Wharf Promotions: £50 off a part week or £100 off a full week or £250 off two weeks. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. www.drifters.co.uk 08457 626252

A gentle introduction to the British countryside

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on Avon. I knew the town, but only from the perspective of a car. On foot it seemed completely different, with so much more to see. (Pubs are marked on the canal map, as are the free mooring spots, to plan your trip).

Watching the world go by

The children loved helming the boat, I enjoyed just being able to sit and look for once. We saw ducks, swans, voles, fish, herons, gardens; heard birds singing in the canalside trees, and found everyone we encountered really friendly. In the evenings we played games we’d brought, listened to the radio and music, watched DVDs & TV, and read. It was really cosy, especially as we tended to end up at dusk in the middle of nowhere, a sure sign of novices. That’s also why we ended up eating all our meals on board, despite our intentions! You need to moor up at about 4.30pm to get the best spots. We went for a walk along the towpath early one morning, which was lovely before the weather turned wet and windy, and we found a turning spot to return to the boatyard. Even though I know the road that runs above and alongside this stretch really well, we were in another world.

On our return to Hilperton Marina we reluctantly surrendered our boat, our diesel level was dipped – you only pay for what you use, and you can get more at any Marina en route if you’re on a long holiday and we departed. We’d had a lovely time, and the staff at Hilperton Marina, part of the national UK Boat Hire group, couldn’t have been more helpful or friendly. We could understand the pull of living on a canal, and we’ll be back for another trip. When we feel experienced enough, we’ll even venture onto the rivers. There’s more locks to try, including one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’, the Devizes flight of 29 locks, raising (or lowering) the canal by 237 feet. That sounds like a serious workout! Two smart tips for locks we were given by some canal boat dwellers: boats are much more stable within the locks if you put a pair of boats in, and you have another winchman that way, so moor up until another boat comes behind you. And if the last person through was going in the same direction as you, you will have to adjust the lock to bring the water up or down to your level, so that you can enter, before more winching to adjust your level to the other side. Better to moor up and wait for somebody to come through towards you – half the work again! We never made it to Bath, our chosen destination, before heading back, as we ran out of time, but it didn’t matter: we’d all enjoyed ourselves and each other’s company a lot, shared experiences, met some lovely people, laughed and felt really relaxed. Even the children felt we’d had a week’s holiday, not a couple of days, half of it in weather where we’d be loathe to venture outside if we’d stayed at home. H


The American

WIN TICKETS ONE BROTHER, ONE SISTER. ONE THRILLING EVENING. Matthew Fox (Lost, Party of Five) and Olivia Williams (Love’s Labour’s Lost; National Theatre, Emma, The Ghost Writer) star in the world premier of Neil LaBute’s new dark comedy of sibling rivalry. On a stormy night, all Bobby thought he was doing was helping his sister Betty clear out her cottage in the forest. But in this cabin of lies nothing is as it seems and the truth refuses to be packed away. What is she hiding? Does he really want to find out?

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS QUESTION Which play also written by Neil LaBute was about a man who dates a plus-size woman? ANSWERS A: Fat Cow B: Fat Sheep C: Fat Pig

12 WEEKS ONLY 3 MARCH - 4 JUNE www.inaforestdarkanddeep.com

VAUDEVILLE THEATRE

Send your answer with your contact details: name, address, daytime telephone number and email address (optional) to reach us by mid-day, February 28, 2011. Email it to theamerican@blueedge.co.uk with FOREST COMPETITION in the subject line. Or send a postcard to: FOREST COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK. Prize consists of one pair of tickets. You must be 18 years old or over to enter this competition. Only one entry per person per draw. Editor’s decision is final. Terms & conditions: Tickets are valid for Monday to Thursday performances until 21 April, excluding 14 March, subject to availability. No cash alternative available. Travel not included.

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The American

Arts Choice

By Michael Burland and Estelle Lovatt

Helen McKie, Images of War & Peace at Waterloo Station, watercolour on loan from the National Railway Museum

Lisa Lombardi, Lemon Peeled

Michael Vaughan Paintings & Lisa Lombardi Sculpture Redfern Gallery, 20 Cork Street, London W1S 3HL February 1 to 24

At first sight, Michael Vaughan’s paintings and Lisa Lombardi’s sculptures are merely attractively figurative (as if there’s anything wrong with that). But as one looks longer they both share a sense of what has been

Michael Vaughan, Its Raining Over There

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described as a ‘creative dislocation’. Certain details are there – others are missing. San Francisco-born Lombardi majored in architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Her large wooden sculptures take everyday objects like a peeled lemon or a pile of licorice allsorts and transform them into monumental objects divorced from their original purpose. Vaughan’s pictures, whether bold landscapes or glimpses of women facing into corners, their faces unseen, are at the same time comforting and unsettling. Vaughan was born and brought up in Yorkshire. One of the ‘Bradford Mafia’ he attended Bradford Art School with David Hockney. The juxtaposition of the husband and wife team’s works adds another dimension to the effect of their interesting art. – MB

The Watercolours + Works on Paper Fair

Science Museum, South Kensington, London February 3 to 6 This selling exhibition is always interesting, with works dating from the 15th Century up to and including contemporary artists. Their works range from watercolours to woodcuts, copperplate engraving to photography and there is something for every collector’s budget, from £100 to £100,000. This year it also features an exhibition of iconic posters by Helen McKie, Images of War & Peace at Waterloo Station. The pair of pictures depict bustling crowds of hundreds of passengers and staff at Waterloo Station in identical locations and poses. The difference is that one is in wartime, the other in peacetime. Their


The American

clothing and activities change, asking questions about who these people are, and how the change from war in 1943 to peace in 1947 changed Londoners’ lives. Particularly noticeable is the wartime scene showing the roles that women adopted during Word War II. Just 1,500 of the posters were printed, of which far fewer have survived to today. – MB

skiers will appreciate the way Johnson brings this rare experience to a wider public. Viewing times must be booked in advance at library@alpineclub.org.uk or 020 76130745. – MB

Janet Johnson - Haute Route

Pierre Cordier is one of the artists featured in the Shadow Catchers exhibition currently at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (until February 20), who could be described as modern pioneers of an ancient technique: the making of photographs without the use of a camera. Cordier’s unique ‘chemigrams’ from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s are abstract but hint at imaginary worlds of form, line and colour. Many of the works are previously unseen. Made over a period of fifty years, they come from the personal collection of the artist. Original and new editioned works can be bought at the gallery. – MB

The Alpine Club, 55/56 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3QF To February 28

Janet Johnson is an American who uniquely combines a passion for painting and mountains, especially the Alps. Originating from rural Pennsylvania, she has lived in London since 1984 but met her English husband in St Anton, Austria. A keen skier and mountain climber, she has found ski mountaineering and summer trekking taking over her art and becoming her consuming themes. This exhibition of watercolours and oil paintings portrays her experiences of climbing and skiing on a famous trek from Argentiere, France to Zermatt, Switzerland – the Haute Route. Those who love high-altitude skiing will recognise the feel of thin, freezing intoxicating air and inspiring views that her work evokes. And nonBelow: Janet Johnson, Morning light, skinning from Dix Hut up towards Col de la Serpentine

Pierre Cordier: Into The Labrynth HackleBury Fine Art, 4 Launceston Place, London W8 February 3 to March 31

Above: Pierre Cordier, Detail from Chemigram 29-11-76, Mineral, vegetable, animal © PIERRE CORDIER, COURTESY HACKELBURY FINE ART-LONDON

Michael Sanzone, Scottish Landscape, 2008

Reflecting Glenfiddich

The Fleming Collection, 13 Berkeley Street, London W1 To February 26 Reflecting Glenfiddich is a selection of works from the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Collection, an initiative that has established a reputation for producing radical contemporary art in the normally traditional surroundings of the Scotch whisky industry. The Artists in Residence scheme was born after William Grant and Sons, producers of the famous Glenfiddich malt whisky and one of the few remaining family-owned companies in the industry, decided to set up an arts programme. Instead of building a regular corporate collection, they decided to found the residency programme which has sponsored 70 artists from 26 countries This is the first time works from the program have been exhibited outside Scotland. Michael Sanzone, from New York, is showing Scottish Landscape, one of a series of wall based works constructed from chunks of wood from whisky cask ends. – MB

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The American

Gerard Byrne – Case Study: Loch Ness (Some possibilities and problems), 2001-2011 Milton Keynes Gallery 900 Midsummer Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes MK9 3QA To April 3

John Wonnacott, Putting on the Ballet Shoes 2, Young Dancers Prepare for Class while Seniors Practise Jumps

John Wonnacott, A Tale of Two Houses

Agnews’ Gallery, 35 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JD February 2 to 25 This is the fifth solo exhibition of leading contemporary figurative painter John Wonnacott, A Tale of Two Houses to be held at Agnew’s. It comprises an entirely new body of the artist’s work and demonstrate his recent focus on fresh themes. Stepping away from his more familiar subject matter of family, local friends and the Essex coastal landscape, he concentrates on the formal and lyrical aspects of dance, choreography and the filmmaking process. It also includes recent drawings, including three made during his spell in hospital in 2010 following major heart surgery, as well as several small still life paintings from the previous year. The dance paintings depict ballet dancers rehearsing in the baroque rooms of Tring Park in Hertfordshire. The film paintings record the making of a new movie by producer Stephen Evans (whose other films include The Madness of King George) starring Richard E. Grant and Sarah Brightman.

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Irish artist Gerard Byrne’s first solo UK exhibition is the culmination of ten years of research around the Loch Ness Monster. It’s an ambiguous, subtly funny cross between conceptual art and documentary, blurring the lines between fact and fiction, myth and reality. The surface of the famous loch becomes a screen onto which our fears and fantasies are projected. The famous Scottish loch has been the subject of make-believe and hoaxes including photographs and film footage such as a famous historic image of the ‘monster’ which was actually a toy submarine and others of drifting wood. In addition to eighty of Byrne’s own photographs, the exhibition comprises a new film, Figures, composed of material gathered around Loch Ness, play to the sound of eyewitness descriptions. – MB

Gerard Byrne, Towards a Gestalt Image – Loch Ness & Fact, Research ongoing since 2000 AD. IMAGE COURTESY THE ARTIST.

Norman Rockwell, Bridge Game

Norman Rockwell’s America Dulwich Picture Gallery, London SE21 7AD To March 27 The American Dream; the best of twentieth century America - old-fashioned patriotism; the most American of all Americana. I think Norman Rockwell’s (1894 –1978) work is irresistible. For all the wit and slush of wholesome American virtues to which they are earnestly devoted, his illustrations are nostalgic, perceptive, even prophetic, in the ways some Americans feel a loss over America today. Rockwell said, “I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.” Rockwell speaks to Middle America. From a smart looking family dressedin-their-Sunday-best riding in their new car; to congenial old folk; cute little girls all pigtails and aprons; a grandfather teaching his grandson, the freckle-faced boy, who has grown up into the handsome clean-cut young GI just home from the war; loving couples smooching. By making his America one of special almost-perfect ideals


The American

Rockwell became the most celebrated illustrator for covers of The Saturday Evening Post. The cover of 20 September 1958, depicted ‘The Runaway’ boy, sat on a high stool in a diner, sharing a soda with a policeman. The attentive, kind, generously proportioned police officer in blue uniform is seen sympathetic to the young, thin, small boy whose runaway bag lies on the floor beside him. The police officer is seen as a compassionate member of society, the guide whose job it is (away from his usual hard-crime role of duty) to gain the kid’s trust before escorting him back home to his family, safely. The soda jerker looks on mystified. The background is simply American too; the radio and a blackboard menu – two icons of American life. ‘The Four Freedoms’ is one of his most famous series of paintings from 1943, that harmonised with the speech made by President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, when he said that Americans held rights to Four Freedoms on which to stand firm in their defence; that of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want. Rockwell depicts a typical American family around the dinner table, leaning forward on their elbows momentarily forgetting their manners, ravenous, in admiration of the large scrumptious roasted crispyskinned brown turkey, taken to the table by cheerful grandmother. It’s a typical scene enjoyed by all American families annually, on the third Thursday in November – Thanksgiving Day. Rockwell’s illustrations were executed with considerable technical skill, in oils on canvas - such was the usual practice for American illustrators – but they show an interest in the Old Masters. Another Runaway painting is painterly, classic in design style and technique, with strong chiaroscuro. A clown comforts a sad boy – a refuge

Norman Rockwell, Runaway Boy and Clown, 1922, oil on canvas

from his real world of high school, homework and made-to-do household chores, longing for ‘mom’. Rockwell references Durer, Rembrandt, Picasso and Van Gogh, and painted transcriptions of them in his ‘Triple Self-Portrait’ in 1960. In 1931’s ‘Volunteer Fireman’, Rockwell uses ancient Gothic, Classical Greek and Roman methods of Dynamic Symmetry employed for suggestion of movement. Within his legacy of over 4,000 original works he recorded political events, painted images in support of the civil rights movement and portrayed presidents. You’ll also see a lot of portraits of dogs; Americans love their dogs. It is this American realism – America’s Exceptionalism – that is marvelous. “If it [America] isn’t an ideal world, it should be. So I painted only the ideal aspects of it. Pictures in which there are no drunks or self-centred mothers. Only

Norman Rockwell, The Runaway, 1958, Oil on canvas

foxy grandpas who played baseball with the kids and boys who fished from logs and got up circuses in the backyard.” In showing American truths as being greater than reality, Rockwell is unique and brilliant, making up ‘brand America’. – EL

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The American

Arts News The Forgotten Man

Ioannis Michalous, Skytresor, silica aerogel © THE ARTIST

Kinetica Art Fair

Ambika P3, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 February 3 to 6 The UK’s only art fair dedicated to kinetic, robotic, sound, light and time-based art returns, featuring as always new and ground breaking work. Ambika P3 is a 14,000sq ft former concrete testing facility, and has become one of London’s major multi-disciplinary art spaces. This year the exhibition focuses on the Evolution of Consciousness, exploring the progression of the human body, brain, mind and consciousness in reference to our place in the universe. American artists include Adam Lilien, whose ‘Holo’Qubism Hyperclassical Art’ uses the tools of art to play with science, philosophy and mathematics. His works are based on the idea that consciousness arises from universal resonances and harmonics. Gregory Barsamian presents his ‘Runner’ 3-D zoetrope. His kinetic sculptures are not often seen in New York, where he lives and works, before being sent to their final destinations. Barsamian says, “In a darkened room I present sequentially formed sculptures on

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a rapidly spinning armature. A synchronized strobe light supplies the illumination. The images exist in real time and viewers are able to share the same space with them. The illusion creates a conflict between sensory information and logic which suggests the reality of a dream. One by one images or ‘gestalts’ are knit together into a coherent (or incoherent) whole.” Ioannis Michalous creates sculptures using silica aerogel, a material used by NASA for the collection of star dust. The magical substance is made of 99% air and 1% glass and appears as solidified air, evoking orbits of planets, bottled clouds and fragments of sky. – MB

Also at Kinetica, Ga Young Jun, Whistling Sea © THE ARTIST

‘The Forgotten Man’ (above) is a painting causing both a nationwide and international stir. American artist Jon McNaughton says, “Lately, I have been painting pictures that I believe have relevance to what is going on in the world, that make a statement, that stand for something. I hope people will study the paintings and try to understand the deeper meaning.” The youtube video for McNaughton’s painting, ‘The Forgotten Man’ received over 250,000 views in the first week after being released. A painting with many levels. it portrays an anxious young man sat on a bench in front of the White House. Behind him, the dollar - financially weak – rests close to the discouraged Constitution, amid the Presidents of America, 44 of them, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Barack Obama. McNaughton, 42, from Utah, first thought of this creating this portrait when ‘Obamacare’ spending became law. Feeling “Frustrated with what was happening. And shocked with the direction America is heading... I’m simply one American speaking to another...I take no favoritism of Republicans or Democrats. Both parties are guilty....With God’s help we will survive...” Jon heads McNaughton Fine Art Company, painting mainly landscapes and Biblical images inspired by the French Barbizon School, painting “from the heart.” Another of his openly political portraits, ‘One Nation under God’, depicts Jesus Christ holding the Constitution, encircled by people from American history. H


T

hey come more and more in London... Italian restaurants. Perhaps it’s because Italian restaurants, even those with white cloth tables, never seem pretentious in the way the French often do. They are continually voted the favourite eating out places by Londoners and New Yorkers. Tinello definitely says class with its brick tiles, late autumn colour scheme and the hanging copper lamp over each table that make women of a certain age appear more the ‘bella mistress’ than desperate housewife. The restaurant is part-owned by Giorgio Locatelli and brothers Federico and Max Sali, former head chef and sommelier at Locanda Locatelli. That background alone spelled success before the doors opened. I’ve eaten there twice with friends, not to review, but because I was invited as their guest. The first time I dined at Tinello I was with Ivan and Shirley Rodriquez who come to London several times a year to enjoy the theatre. Both Shirley, whose family owned a hotel in San Juan, and Ivan are knowledgeable about food and wine and I was looking forward to dining there after another friend compared Tinello with River Café, one of my favourite Italian restaurants. The menu is the latest fashion with small starters, “small eats,” or larger ones, “antipasto,” which can be shared. This has become so fashion-

Tinello

Dining Out at

able that those restaurants who do not do something similar seem “so 1980’s” as my grumpy friend Nigel said the second time I dined at Tinello. The Tuscan Prosciutto ham (£2.90) took me straight back to Verona and dining with friends Dick and Baxter. Wonderful! All I needed with the prosciutto was a side dish of roast aubergines, tomatoes and smoked ricotta salad (£7.00) and a glass of Grappa Di Brunello (£5.50/£11.00) and I’d have the perfect lunch. You can’t eat in an Italian restaurant without pasta, and Tinello’s is homemade, of course. The Spaghettini with Cornish crab meat dabbed with chilli and garlic was a smash hit and I had to hit Nigel twice on the knuckles to keep him away. His pumpkin risotto with smoked ricotta (£9.50) for me was disappointing, although he disagreed. With Ivan and Shirley I enjoyed the Tuscan “gnudi”, a kind of cross between gnocchi and ravioli (£9.00), which had a delicious spinach filling in a walnut sauce. The evening with Ivan and Shirley I ordered the Roast Fillet of Cod, celeriac and anchovy sauce (£16.95). Nothing brings out fresh fish better than roasting it with olive oil and

By Virginia E Schultz

lemon and next time I’ll ask them to skip the side dishes as the anchovy almost overwhelmed the fish. The roasted potatoes with onion (£3.00) were all I needed. I can also recommend the Chargrilled baby chicken, roast potatoes and fried courgettes (£15.50) which proved, as Nigel said, that even a simple dish can be improved in the hands of a top chef. In my opinion, Italian desserts are never particularly interesting and my almond tart with yogurt ice cream (£3.50) proved my point. Nigel’s Pecorino cheese with honey and fig mustard (£5.50) was a better choice. Service at Tinello is professional with the kind of warmth the Italians give so naturally. The wine list is reasonably priced and excellently chosen. Posh the restaurant may appear, but you’ll have more than enough pounds left over for taxi fare even if you live in Islington. With so many Italian restaurants springing up all over London, I have the feeling this may be one my three-year-old twin grandchildren will be dining in some twenty years from now.

87 Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8PH, 020 730 3663, www.tinello.co.uk

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The American

Cassis Bistro Dining Out at

By Virginia E Schultz

T

he Oratory Restaurant was usually crowded with the ins and outs of London. One might find themselves sitting next to a model whose face was recently on Vogue Magazine or an aristocrat dining with one of the highest paid call girls in London... and yes, that did happen to me. But after the landlord decided to raise the rent, John Brinkley decided to say bonsoir and it was no more. Now, however, entrepreneur Marlon Abela, owner of The Greenhouse, Umu, Morton’s Club and a number of restaurants in the States including Morello Bistro (formerly Gaia) in Greenwich, Connecticut, has opened Cassis Bistro on the same premises. Abela knows his business, food, wine and dollar wise, and I’ve been told, doesn’t miss a thing when he eats out, wherever he is. Nelly Pateras had dined at Cassis several times and was with me. Nelly started with Champagne, but I decided to have the Magnifique Kir Royal (£11.00) with blueberries, crème de cassis and champagne and it was as magnificent in English as in French. Everyone nowadays seems to be doing small plates (petites bouchees) which can be shared with

CHARMAINE GRIEGER

PHILIP VILE

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a friend or friends and Cassis Bistro is following in this trend. Along with deliciously warm bread Nelly and I shared the Provencal green and black olive tapenade (£3.50), smoked mediterranean aubergine and sesame puree (£3.50), pastis flambéed snails in puff pastry and garlic butter (£4.00), barbajuans goat’s cheese, spinach and chicken liver fillings (£4.00) - and a selection of Corsican charcuterie from Francois Pittilloni (£16.00). I often go to concerts at the Albert Hall which is a short taxi ride away (or walk if you’re more energetic) and this would be a perfect meal to enjoy with friends before a concert. Delicious as the various dishes were, it was a lot to eat before our main course. Still, neither Nelly’s sea bream carpaccio with marinated courgette and Menton lemon (£8.00) nor the thin slices of octopus, capers and tomato sauce vierge (£6.50) I enjoyed were left unfinished. If I had my druthers, I’d suggest the carpaccio which was delicately balanced between the tangy marinade and acidy Menton lemon. Now came the Plats Principaux or first course which almost ruined Nelly and my friendship. Before I had a chance to say “Me”, she echoed “Moi” when the waiter told us Dover Sole was on the menu. It was without a doubt the best Dover sole I’ve tasted

(Nelly was polite enough to give me a piece) in a long time and that includes a few of the top seafood restaurants in London. To make me cry even more, the Herb-crusted rack of lamb with polenta, chorizo and chestnuts (£24.00) was tough and disappointing. Ah, well, you can’t win all the time. From a choice of two soufflés Nelly chose the vanilla rather than the orange and Grand Marnier (£8.00) while I had the pear millefeuille and sorbet (£7.00). The millefeuille pastry was buttery and crisp, the filling tasty and the sorbet a perfect companion. But, delicious as it was, I’d have the soufflé next time. Service was perfect, but then with genial Jean-Marie Miorada (from The Greenhouse) as manager, one doesn’t expect anything less. There is an excellent wine list and the sommelier’s selection of wine with our various courses was spot on. Don’t hesitate to say what you like and want to spend. Except for the tables which are somewhat on the small side, I found the interior with its oak framed wine displays on the wall and open fireplace warm and inviting. It’s definitely a place I’ll return to.

232 236 Brompton Road, London SW2 2BB Tel. 020 7581 1101 www.cassisbistro.co.uk


The American

Dining Out at

The Thatched House W

hen I first visited London, there were only a few pubs that had food. In the country, it was different and most pubs served hearty English fare such as sausage (bangers!) and mash or Shepherd’s pie. And oh, the apple crumble with custard still echoes on my taste buds! I was recalling those country pubs when Jennifer Atterbury and I had dinner at The Thatched House in Hammersmith recently. Located on a road junction close to Ravenscourt Park in the picturesque village of Brackenbury, the Victorian style building is not particularly interesting, but inside there’s that ticky tacky atmosphere that suggests it was put together by the owner rather than some smart decorating firm in Mayfair. Perhaps the pub doesn’t look like it did when it first opened its doors in 1832, but Agatha Christie would have been familiar with the 1930’s style wallpaper, faded photographs, antique lamps, leather-bound books lining the bookcases and mismatched tables and chairs that is to me is quintessentially British. Of course,

I may be remembering those wonderful English movies from the 1930’s my mother adored. The house speciality is Mussels and Chips (£8.00) which Jennifer had as her first course. It came steaming hot, the shallots bubbling away in the traditional white wine and butter broth. As I had a cold and it was freezing outside, I chose the leek and potato soup and that too arrived steaming and warmed me immediately. Chef Jimi ( James Gill) knows that his customers like hearty seasonal fare without fuzz and foam and Jennifer’s flat iron steak with chips and garlic butter (£12.50) was tasty and tender despite being one of the less expensive cuts of beef. Nor could I complain about my calves liver, garlic mash, bacon with silverskin onions (£11.50) I had as my main course. We shared a selection of English cheese (£5.00) that included several I wasn’t familiar with but were extremely tasty. Desserts are old fashioned English and Jennifer’s Sticky Toffee Pudding (£5.00) was perfect in every

By Virginia E Schultz

way. Sadly, my apple pie with vanilla ice cream (£5.00) was a disappointment. Not buttery crumble I wanted and where was the lovely custard? Still, other than that, the food was wonderful and at prices that don’t break the bank. Like most pubs today, there’s lots of activity for young and old. Saturday is brunch with Eggs Benedict while Sunday is for the traditional roast and then a board game by the fire. There are cask ales and bitters as well as a selection of new and old world wines. For more intimate eating try the conservatory at the back which leads onto a secret garden. Quiz night is every Tuesday at 8 pm and live music on Sunday from 7 pm. Dogs are allowed and the pub is child friendly. Oh, and go to the toilet when you’re there... you’ll know why when you do!

Ravenscourt Park, 115 Dalling Road, London W6 OET

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Dining Out at

O

The Gauthier

ne very cold winter night I dined with a friend at The Gauthier in Soho. It was just right for such an evening. It is a serious French restaurant where you are thoroughly spoilt, where you leave the cares of the world behind you as you feast your eyes on the menu and your palette on the food. After twelve years cooking at Michelin-starred Roussillon in Pimlico, Avignon-born chef Alexis Gauthier moved last May to the town house at 21 Romilly Street previously inhabited by Richard Corrigan. You still ring the bell on the front door for entry! The premises are a house and basically unsuited to restaurant use... but never mind that, this is a serious French restaurant whose food you are unlikely to try to produce in your own kitchen. There are dining rooms on the first (ground) and second floors and above them two rooms for private entertaining. The stairs are narrow and you dread meeting a waiter carrying a valuable dish on a silver platter. The decor in the downstairs room is mushroom and white with a large bowl of gladioli to brighten things up. There are eight tables, some square, some round, and seating is

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Reviewed by Mary Bailey

21 Romilly Street, Soho, London W1D 5AF 020 7494 3111 www.gauthiersoho.co.uk

very comfortable. A nice touch is that they brighten the table lighting for you to read the menu which is extensive and sectioned nicely into plats. Fizzy and still water is offered free and there were no scornful looks from the waiter when we still preferred ‘tap’. My friend chose fois gras apple sultana for his first dish and I went for the crayfish. Guy being rather a fish enthusiast followed with filet of Dover sole with thin celeriac risotto, jerez vinegar reduction based beef-orange-jus, while I went for the lamb; although I was tempted by the guinea fowl, sautéed wild mushrooms sauce diable. The lamb, which I like very pink, was almost raw which made it a little chewy but it was au jus which was gorgeous and the flavour was delicious. The sole was pronounced excellent There is a good vegetarian choice including wild garlic risotto which I am told is outstanding. I finished with a great French cheeseboard including several ‘chevre’ while Guy indulged in Golden Louis V, dark chocolate and praline. We both chose filter coffee, I guessed Columbian and I was pleased to be right. The bread throughout was home

made, easy to eat too much! Portions are small and you choose from the plats those you want. Prices average £25 for lunch (£33 with half a bottle of wine pp) Dinner £27, £33 or £45 for 3, 4 or 5 plats, gout de jour £70 for 12 plats. They also offer pre theatre food which is a good idea, when eating early to catch a show no one wants too much and here you can enjoy, say, just two plats and a glass of wine. Although there are clear fixed prices, be a little careful as it is easy to stumble around the menu without meaning to and costs add up. Speaking of wine, Gauthier’s selection is well known and the charming sommelier, Roberto Della Pietra, also came from Roussillon. If you are a wine expert you can spend time discussing the long list, otherwise Roberto will suggest wine to match the food you choose. Wine is available by generous glass as well as bottle. For someone in a rush who just wants a plain unadorned steak, Gauthier is not the place; to be in a hurry, or not like to experiment with unusual combinations would be near to blasphemy here. But for a treat do try Gauthier - you may leave very happy and quite possibly muttering ‘vive la France’. 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

Cellar Talk By Virginia E. Schultz

Home – The Romantic Place for Valentine’s Day

O

ne of the loveliest ways to entertain the person you love on Valentine’s Day is in your home. A real fireplace is delightful, but a multitude of candles on a cloth covered table in a kitchen can be just as romantic. In this day of credit crunch, dinner for two at home can be the answer rather than a restaurant. Of course, one must have Champagne or sparkling wine to start with. Vintage Champagne is expensive, but in most of our supermarkets and wine shops, one can buy quite good non-vintage Champagnes, which are a blend of two or more harvests, for under £15. Rosé Champagne whether vintage of non-vintage would be my first choice. This occurs when either red wine is added to the blend or the red grape skins are left in contact with the wine for a short time. If Champagne doesn’t fit your budget, choose a sparkling wine made by Méthode Traditionelle (Classic Method) - the expression Méthode Champenoise is not allowed to be used in the European Union. Frankly, I prefer Mumm Napa Sparkling wine to G. H. Mumm Brut Champagne which is a third more expensive. However, if I had my druthers, a Krug Brut Rosé Champagne NV costing around £80 would be my first choice. Chill the wine in an ice bucket at least twenty minutes and serve in a long narrow flute with a bowl that curves in at the top. This type of glass is

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preferable as it keeps the bubbles from dissipating and the long stem prevents your hand from heating the wine. If you decide to break the budget, caviar or lobster is wonderful as a starter with Champagne, but pheasant paté or fish mousse is nice too. After this, go straight to the main course as one doesn’t want to spend time in the kitchen. If you prefer fish to meat, choose salmon as it doesn’t take much preparation time and is easy to cook. Beef medallions with cognac sauce is another choice as the sauce can be made ahead of time. With the fish, you can continue drinking Champagne. However, with beef I prefer a cabernet sauvignon. You can crash the budget big time with a Lafite Rothschild or settle on a Rioja such

as Bodegas LAN from Spain which has a finesse few wines double its price range of around £10 can match. With dessert I’d have something rich and chocolaty to round off the meal, or even cheese. Port is the answer to either of these. Bottle aged vintage Port is the gold standard for this deliciously sweet wine from Portugal, but there are other ports at much lower prices. I have two bottles of vintage Port 1977 and 1985 tucked away in my closet, but the Port I usually serve is a tawny. The designation on the bottle indicates the average age used in the blend. At a friend’s house I enjoyed Ferreira Tawny Port 20 year old NV with a luscious chocolate cake topped with fudge icing made by my friend. H

Beef Medallions with Cognac Sauce (2 servings) Sauce (can be made ahead of time and chilled in refrigerator. Warm at low heat): 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ¼ cup shallots 1 teaspoon (packed) brown sugar 1 cup vegetable broth 1 cup beef broth ¼ cup Cognac or a top brandy ¼ cup double cream Fresh chives 2x 4-5oz beef tenderloin steaks, 1” thick Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until

tender. Add brown sugar and stir for 1 minute. Add vegetable and beef broth and Cognac. Simmer until reduced until ½ cup, about twenty minutes. Add cream, slowly, beating in well. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy pan over medium heat. Add steak and cook until desired tenderness. Transfer steak to plates. Add sauce to skillet, bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Strain through sieve if necessary. Season to taste. Slice steaks and fan out on plates. Top with sauce and garnish with chives. Serve with a baked potato and simple salad.


The American

Bitching about Waiters Olivier Magny explains why his fellow Parisian foodies would rather be served in the States

W

hen it comes to service, Parisians all wish they lived in America. They all long for torrents of smiles, deluges of friendliness and avalanches of first names. But reality is stubborn. They live in Paris. And Paris is no America. In France, torrents of smiles, deluges of friendliness and avalanches of first names do not mean good service. It means you’re surrounded with drunken people. And drunk people rarely wait tables. Parisians are quite categorical when it comes to waiters in Paris. They know for a fact that they are all “pas aimables” (not nice). Most of them are actually “des gros cons”. That reality is non-negotiable. Parisians will never accept for anyone to pay a compliment about Parisian waiters. Being able to bitch about them is one of the rare things that connect Parisians to the rest of the world. The Parisian never wonders about the causes of what he reckons to be poor service. He will systematically dodge the question by a “c’est pas de ma faute s’il a un job de merde” (it’s not my fault they have a shitty job). Usually adding “y a 3 millions de chômeurs. S’il est pas content, qu’il fasse un autre boulot, putain” (there are 3 millions unemployed. If he isn’t happy, he should get another job, [with an expletive]). Parisians are people of compassion. They will never put their own rudeness and absence of smiles in question. Nei-

The French doing what they do best - watched by a waiter with attitude – a typical Parisian sight

ther will they ever include tipping in the beautiful scale of their transatlantic comparisons. In Paris, clients and waiters don’t think much of each other. In an admirable whirlwind of reciprocal passive aggression, tensions add up and poor service usually ensues. For that matter, when one day, for some peculiar reason, the Parisian or the waiter happens to be in a good mood, the interaction feels like a fresh breeze in the desert, a lightning bolt of conviviality. The waiter will immediately be qualified as “hyper sympa”. The Parisian will enjoy the moment immensely and ultimately pass on the address to all of his friends. The idea to try to be more friendly in order to make happier moments less rare never crosses the Parisian’s mind: “C’est pas à moi

d’être aimable, putain” (It’s not for me to be nice, same expletive). Clearly, the Parisian is not ready for America. H

Olivier Magny is the founder of Ô Chateau in Paris, which offers French wine tastings and just opened the coolest wine bar in Paris. Look it up on your next visit to Paris. For more ‘Stuff Parisians Like’ articles like this, visit Olivier’s blog at www.o-chateau.com/ stuff-parisians-like. Olivier’s book is coming out in English this summer and can already be ordered on Amazon. Translations of the French vernacular are by Debbi Baron, the American owner of French culinary tour company Domaines et Terroirs.

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The American

Coffee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 L ike the Taj Mahal, which of the seven ancient wonders was a gift of love from a king to his queen ?

5 C  overing an area of over 2 million square miles, which area takes its name from the Arabic for ‘desert’?

2 W  hat is the largest US city named after a British Prime Minister?

6 W  hich world-famous leader’s title means ‘Ocean Teacher’?

3 W  hich is the heavier metal, silver or gold?

7 I n which U.S. state did the Battle of Little Big Horn take place?

4 W  ho wrote “Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all”? a) Sheridan b) Shakespeare c) Tennyson

8 W  hich famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward? 9 W  hich is the smallest ocean in the world?

10 W  ho was Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu better known as? 11 W  hich ethnic Albanian, who took Indian citizenship, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979? 12 S pats Columbo is the bad guy in which popular black and white film? 13 W  hich country has more coastline than any other? 14 W  hich colourful ‘language’ of love was introduced into western Europe in the 16th century ? 15 O  nly three words in standard English begin with the letters “dw” and they are all common words. Name two. 16 W  here are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

Answers below The Johnsons

Coffee Break Quiz Answers: 1. The Hanging Gardens; 2. Pittsburgh, after William Pitt the Elder; 3. Gold; 4. c) Tennyson; 5. Sahara; 6. The Dalai Llama; 7. Montana; 8. Niagara Falls (The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute); 9. Arctic Ocean; 10. Mother Teresa; 11. Mother Teresa again; 12. Some Like It Hot; 13. Canada; 14. The Language of Flowers – violets for faithfulness, red roses for ‘I love you’, etc.; 15. Dwarf, dwell and dwindle (plus their derivatives); 16. Period (aka full stop in UK), comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

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The American

It happened one... February 1st: 1587 – The Colony of Roanoke Island, later known as the “Lost Colony”, is established by the landing of Sir Walter Raleigh. 2nd: 1812 – Russia establishes a fur trading colony at Fort Ross, California. 3rd: 1959 – The Day the Music Died - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson die in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. 4th: 1945 – World War II: The Yalta Conference between the “Big Three” (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin) starts at the Livadia Palace in the Crimea. 5th: 1631 – Roger Williams, who began the refuge colony of Providence Plantation, Rhode Island, emigrates to Boston from England. 6th: 1820 – The first 86 African American immigrants sponsored by the American Colonization Society started a settlement in present-day Liberia.

13th: 2000 – The last original “Peanuts” comic strip appears in newspapers one day after Charles M. Schulz dies. 14th: 1779 – Explorer James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii. 15th: 1972 – Sound recordings are granted U.S. federal copyright protection for the first time.

7th: 1962 – The United States bans all Cuban imports and exports.

16th: 1937 – Wallace H. Carothers receives a United States patent for nylon.

8th: 1971 – The NASDAQ stock market index opens for the first time.

17th: 1933 – Newsweek magazine is published for the first time.

9th: 1895 – William G. Morgan creates a game called Mintonette, which soon comes to be referred to as volleyball.

18th: 1929 – The first Academy Awards are announced.

10th: 1931 – New Delhi becomes the capital of India.

19th: 1878 – Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.

11th: 1941 – The first gold record is presented to Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo”.

20th: 1792 – The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, is signed by President George Washington.

12th: 1914 – In Washington, D.C., the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial is put into place.

21st: 1953 – Francis Crick and James D. Watson discover the structure of the DNA molecule.

The Big Three – Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin – at the Yalta Conference, which began February 4th, 1945

22nd: 1797 – The Last Invasion of Britain begins near Fishguard, Wales by French troops under Irish American Colonel William Tate. It lasted 2 days. 23rd: 1886 – American inventor Charles Martin Hall produced the first samples of man-made aluminum, the first metal to attain widespread use since the prehistoric discovery of iron. 24th: 1920 – The Nazi Party is founded. 25th: 1901 – J.P. Morgan incorporates the United States Steel Corporation. 26th: 1995 – The UK’s oldest investment bank, Barings Bank, collapses after securities broker, Nick Leeson, loses $1.4 billion on futures contracts. 27th: 1797 – The Bank of England issues the first one-pound and twopound notes. 28th: 1940 – Basketball is televised for the first time (Fordham University vs. the University of Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden). H

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Rob Zombie

Horror-metal hero and film-maker Rob Zombie is back, this time with songs from his new album Hellbilly Deluxe 2… Catch him on the British leg of his current tour on February 16th in London at the Academy Brixton; 17th Manchester Academy; 18th Academy Newcastle; 20th Academy Glasgow; 21st Academy Leeds; 22nd Academy Birmingham.

Danny Fontaine & the Horns of Fury We’re always on the lookout for something with a certain je ne sais quoi – goodness knows there’s enough music swilling around that seems designed to fit into easilydefined niches, making it easy for lazy record companies to sell, lazy DJs to program and lazy listeners to consume. One band with that bit of difference – described as ‘alternative ska punk gypsy orchestral death rock’ (influences include Queen, Green Day, Johnny Cash, Operation Ivy and Bert Jansch!) – is Danny Fontaine & the Horns of Fury, whose EP, Plunder is released on March 14, “an upbeat menagerie of songs about pirates, computer games and shopkeepers”. The 7-piece band based in South London sure know how to make an impression in their video for recent single No More Girlfriends – create a striking image, surround yourselves with pretty girls and be moody. See them live on February 19th at The Camden Barfly and April 8th at The 100 Club, both in London.

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LIVE AND KICKING Barbican Contemporary Music

The Barbican, in the City of London (that square mile within the lowercased city of London famous for financial companies) is better known for artistic, theatrical and ‘serious’ musical events (serious as in classical and ‘modern classical’). But it’s building a reputation as a venue for contemporary (this genre defining is a tricky business – this time I mean pop/rock rather than modern classical) gigs. The next couple of months have some seriously interesting concerts. Check out www.barbican. org.uk/contemporary for full details. Some highlights? February 3rd & 4th The Waterboys – An Appointment with Mr Yeats. Mike Scott and the Irish/Scottish Waterboys are back with a cycle of songs he’s written using WB Yeats’ poems. Feb 4th Reggae Britannia featuring Pauline Black, Ken Boothe, Ali Campbell, Brinsley Forde, Janet Kay, Neville Staple, Dennis Bovell & more. Feb 6th Joan As Policewoman. A name you should have heard of... Maine-born, New York-based, Joan Wasser has played with Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, bands, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, the Scissor Sisters and Damon Albarn. In her Barbican debut she will play tracks from her long awaited

new album The Deep Field. Feb 8th The Creole Choir of Cuba (pictured above). The Cuban group return to London following their triumphant London Jazz Festival run, singing the stories of their Haitian ancestors who were brought to Cuba to work in the sugar and coffee plantations. Feb 9th Penguin Café + Portico Quartet. The charming, beguiling, humanity of Penguin Café’s music (they seem to have dropped the ‘Orchestra’ from their name) is juxtaposed with the Glass/Reich inspired electronic jazz improvisation of Portico Quartet. Feb 10th Drive-By Truckers: The Secret To A Happy Ending. A screening of the feature length documentary about the band will be followed by a Q&A session with Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley and an acoustic performance of songs from their new album Go-Go Boots.

Marina Laslo

The world’s leading singer of Russian Romances has now turned her impeccable vocal talent to an American art form. Marina Laslo performs a special evening of jazz in her only London date this spring, at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on February 15th. Fresh from three performances at Midem (the music industry festival) in Cannes, Marina will be supported by


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British jazz legends John Etheridge and Chris Garrick. Her rich, intense vocals will be unleashed on standards by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald and sophisticated jazz arrangements of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. Laslo’s fifth album, Night And Day, out soon, is produced by Robin Millar (Alison Moyet, Chrissie Hynde, Sade and David Gray). Despite coming from a long line of Russian nobility, Marina’s teenage years were very hard. From the age of 13 she became a housekeeper to her family while also travelling 20 miles a day to visit her mother in hospital. In post Soviet times she had to flee Russia from the Leningrad mafia to pursue her music career abroad.

Rumer

The new sound of British soul, Rumer’s gorgeous, rich voice took over the airwaves at the end of 2010. See her live in 2011 on her spring tour: March 21st Bristol Colston Hall; 22nd Birmingham Symphony Hall; 24th Derby Assembly Rooms; 25th Brighton Dome; 26th Oxford New Theatre; 28th London Royal Festival Hall (sold out); 29th GatesRumer

head Sage; 30th York Opera House; April 1st Edinburgh Queens Hall; 2nd Liverpool Philharmonic; 3rd Manchester Bridgewater Hall.

Glee Live

The “Glee Live! In Concert! show has added two more shows to its European tour. The live stage concert event played to sold out crowds in four American cities last year. This time it’s European fans’ chance to see Glee stars Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Mark Salling (Puck), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike), Chord Overstreet (Sam) and Darren Criss (Blaine) in an all-new singing and dancing celebration of the Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning show put together by Glee’s co-creator Ryan Murphy. Dates: June 22nd (sold out) & 23rd Manchester MEN Arena; 25th matinee (evening sold out), 26th (sold out), 28th & 29th London O2 Arena; July 2nd & 3rd Dublin O2 Arena, Ireland

Rihanna

Rihanna

Also selling tickets like hot tamales is R’n’B diva Rihanna . Extra dates have been added to her ‘Loud’ tour in London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester due to staggering public demand. Hear her hits like Only (Girl In The World), Umbrella, ‘Disturbia’, Shut Up and Drive plus new tunes Only Girl (In The World and What’s My Name from her new album Loud.‘ The UK leg of the Loud tour now consists of: October 5th & 6th (both sold out), 7th (sold out) Liverpool Echo Arena; 9th (sold out) Manchester MEN Arena; 10th (sold out) & 11th Glasgow SECC; 13th London 02 Arena; 15th (sold out) Birmingham LG Arena; 16th Newcastle Metro Radio Arena; November 18th Birmingham LG Arena; 19th Motorpoint Arena Sheffield; 21st MEN Arena.

Janelle Monáe

Life is good for Janelle Monáe! Two Grammy nominations, poll wins for her album ‘The Archandroid’, a string of successful UK dates… what could she do to top that? Why, come back to Britain of course. See her on February 24th at Bristol Academy; 25th Birmingham Institute; 26th Glasgow ABC; 28th Manchester Academy; March 1st London Roundhouse.

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ALBUMS THEOF MONTH Gregg Allman

Low Country Blues Decca Gregg and his big brother, the late, always lamented Duane were always rooted in the blues, no matter what tracks they made – and laid – into rock music. The sleevenotes of Gregg’s latest album recount the brothers’ epiphany, a BB King concert they snuck into aged 10 and 11. The album is a journey back down that dusty road, consisting of cover versions of songs by Sleepy John Estes, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, BB, Skip James and more. The sole original, Just Another Rider, co-written by Allman, sits creditably alongside the classics. It’s all tied neatly together by T Bone Burnett, the producer of choice for artists who want an authentic (as in true to their own muse and the traditions that inspired them) sound: ask Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Elton John & Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, Ryan Bingham, and Elvis Costello to name a recent few. Low Country Blues is a celebration of the music, but sounds kind of muted – perhaps unsurprising as Allman had contracted Hepatitis C and was yet to have the liver transplant that was to save his life.

Eva Cassidy

Simply Eva Blix Street Records Eva Cassidy achieved national, then international, commercial success some years after she died at the absurdly young age of 33. Since then her clear, rich voice has become a staple on the airwaves and she has sold over 8 million albums. Simply Eva, put together by Eva’s parents Hugh

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Abigail Washburn

and Barbara Cassidy, is exactly that, her remarkable voice backed solely by her acoustic guitar. It’s a formula that works – the voice deserves to be heard without an overload of string arrangements. Over the Rainbow, the song that introduced her to British audiences is here, as are Songbird (crystalline, beautiful), True Colours and Time After Time both given different treatments to Cyndi Lauper’s originals. Most affecting are the solo folk versions of gospel songs People Get Ready, Wade In The Water and Wayfaring Stranger with its achingly poignant lyrics, “there’s no sickness, toil nor danger / In that bright land to which I go.”

Various Artists

Heroes & Sweethearts USM Media There’s no need to review this collection of 46 numbers from the days of World War II, simply to list some of the great songs and artists included: In The Mood by Glenn Miller, Sinatra, Ellington, Bing, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, they’re all here. There’s a strong British contingent (the album’s in association with the RAF Museum, the aircraft on the cover is a Spitfire and the loving couple are sitting on the white cliffs of Dover), but even if George Formby, Arthur

Askey and ‘forces’ sweetheart’ Vera Lynn don’t mean anything to you this is a lovely experience in nostalgia. The pack also includes a 30 song DVD. The second in the series of albums, Heroes and Sweethearts – Wartime Songs of Romance, is released on March 7th. 

Abigail Washburn City of Refuge Rounder

Roots music is really happening now – perhaps as a rebellion against plastic X-Factor industrialised pop and over-slick R’n’B. But that doesn’t mean the music has to be buried in the past. And if your roots are in bluegrass, what’s wrong with seasoning them with some exotic spice? Illinois-born, Nashville-based Abigail Washburn is an old-time banjo player (formerly of Uncle Earl) who is fluent in Chinese and loves that country too. Her collaborators on City of Refuge include Turtle Island Quartet’s Jeremy Kittell, Carl Broemel from My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists’ Chris Funk, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell; Wu Fei, master of the guzheng (kind of a Chinese zither) and Mongolian group Hanggai, who add their ambient throat-singing. The spice is subtle, and the recipe works. 


What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Song? Joseph Burns, Southeastern Louisiana University Professor of Communication and rock historian, investigates

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sk 12 people what was the first rock ‘n’ roll song and you’re likely to get a dozen different answers. The first rock ‘n’ roll song should be music that draws heavily from blues and country in a danceable, hit form. There should be hints of jazz, gospel, or folk influence, as well as technological influence. It’s a lot to ask of one song, but few fit the bill. How about How High the Moon by Les Paul and Mary Ford; The Honey Dripper by Joe Liggens; John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillen’; Saturday Night Fish Fry by Louis Jordan; Fats Domino’s The Fat Man; (We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets; or Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats? An argument can be made for and against all these, but there’s one that fits better than all of them: That’s All Right Mama, by Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup. The song came out in September 1946 as a great rockabilly piece with blues melody line over top. It’s sung with power, may contain the first guitar solo break, and became one of Elvis’ first singles. The term “rock ‘n’ roll” started as a nautical phrase meaning the movement of the boat. Around the late 1800s, gospel and jubilee music co-opted it to mean being rocked and rolled in the arms of the Lord. The first recorded

use in a song was Camp Meeting Jubilee in 1916. Sometime between that recording and the early ’20s “rock ‘n’ roll” began to be used in blues and vaudeville music as a euphemism for sex, as in Trixie Smith’s My Man Rocks Me with One Steady Roll, Rock That Thing by Lil’ Johnson and Banjo Ikey Robinson’s Rock Me Mama. Big band greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman used it in their music, as well as famous gospel singers like Sister Rosetta Tharp. Country artists started using it in a new music that sounded like an early form of rockabilly, as in Buddy Jones’ Rockin’ Rollin’ Mama. But using the term alone isn’t enough to give a song the title of being the first rock ‘n’ roll record. Too often rock ‘n’ roll is described as the coming together of blues and country, but that’s too simplistic. Rock ‘n’ roll is a much more complex music that draws from six forms of music: mainly blues for its basic chord progressions, country’s dominant stringed instruments and melody lines, and “white pop” / “tin pan alley” music for the concept of dance and hit song writing. Jazz’s boogie-woogie beat, gospel’s vocal influence and folk’s social concern were also elements. One technological element aided rock ‘n’ roll’s rise: the 45rpm record. RCA Victor put out the 45 just as televi-

John Lee Hooker, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, Les Paul and Mary Ford, and (pictured below) Louis Jordan ... did they write the first rock ‘n’ roll song

sion was taking the major networks’ attention away from radio; that made the radio business local rather than national network-fed, forcing the radio business to rely on records for the music they played. The 45 was cheap and plentiful, and the music that was poised to break, just as the technology broke, was rock ‘n’ roll. So how did the term rock ‘n’ roll become associated with the music? It was most probably the influence of radio, and one disc jockey in particular – Alan Freed. Freed was ‘the Moondog’ on WJW in Cleveland, Ohio and the host of the Rock and Roll Show on WINS in New York City. He was so massively popular through radio, television, movies and records, that he led the way for rock ‘n’ roll to become a legitimate music form recognized by the music industry and not just another short-lived genre. H

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PUCCI: Vintage Art Edition

by Vanessa Friedman, Alessandra Arezzi Boza, and Armando Chitolina Lovers of books adore Taschen. Created by Benedict Taschen in Cologne, Germany in 1980, the publishing firm became so successful that by the end of the eighties Taschen titles could be found in different languages on coffee tables around the world. Because of the success of his books (many erotic), he began to publish special limited editions. This vintage art edition about Pucci, which is limited to 500 signed and numbered copies, are bound in one of a selection of vintage cotton/silk/wool original fabrics from Pucci’s collection (late 1950s to early 1960s) and is accompanied by four art prints of original drawings from the designer. Emilio Pucci (1914-1992) created a fashion house like no other. In the 1960s his dresses adorned style icons like Jacqueline Kennedy and was synonymous with the jet set lives of the age. Pucci introduced pop art prints with rich colours into women’s clothing and his “Capri pants” and scarves were purchased by those who couldn’t afford his dresses and coats. This limited art edition features hundreds of photographs, drawings and candid shots from the archives of Pucci, a book to savour. Vanessa Friedman’s text gives an insight into Marchese Emilio Pucci di Barsento, whose aristocratic lineage stretches back to renaissance Italy in the 14th century. There is no other way to describe it except beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. – VS Taschen Publishing, hardcover, 416 pages in acrylic box + portfolio with 4 art prints, £650.00 (limited to 500 copies)

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Book Reviews by Virginia E Schultz, Sabrina P Sully and Ian Kerr

The Templar Salvation Raymond Khoury

In the follow up to The Last Templar, Khoury takes us from the modern-day Vatican and Turkey to 13th Century Constantinople in a plot involving an Iranian terrorist bent on the destruction of Western civilization and secret Knights Templar documents. There are some holes in the internal logic that would have exasperated Indiana Jones’ dad – although Dan Brown may not have noticed. A fast moving story that becomes a page-turner, this book seems to have been written for the movie adaptation. Some descriptions are impossible to visualise but would work on film with a good director. The lead character, FBI agent Sean Reilly, annoyed by deliberately not shooting the antagonist several times, only for it to bite back in physical agonies and needless destruction of people and artefacts. Overall it’s plot driven at the expense of reality. With more attention to anomalies this entertaining romp could have been a totally satisfying ‘history-mystery thriller’. As it is, it’s as good as a Dan Brown. – SS Orion, hardcover, 416 pgs, £12.99

The Ride So Far Lance Oliver

This small hardback, written by experienced American motorcycle journalist Lance Oliver, is a collection of his musings based on road trips and general motorcycling life that brings to life the reasons we ride motorcycles. Let’s be frank, there is a really no good reason, now cars are so fuel efficient, often cheaper and can carry more. I am playing devils advocate: like Oliver I could write a book trying to explain motorcycling to the unconverted. But why bother when the job has been done so well in this excellent work?

As he describes a laid-back, homeward-bound ramble along an Appalachian back-road, racing non-stop around Lake Erie on a tiny bike barely capable of reaching the speed limit, or piloting a Kawasaki sports bike to 170 mph at Losail International Circuit in Qatar, it is easy to picture it in your own mind and transcribe the location and happening into one of your own when you were in the saddle. This is a book to lend to somebody when they ask that age old question about riding motorcycles: Why? – IK Whitehorse Press (US), hardcover, 200 pages, £20.99. in bookshops or direct from Gazelle Books in UK (www.gazellebookservices.co.uk

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his first appearance in London. Using four horses live on stage and performed by Bartabas himself, The Centaur and the Animal follows the interaction between man and horse during the process of dressage. The audience watch as the horse is exposed to a deeper level of knowledge while the man reverts to his animal instincts. Eventually man and animal merge into one being as The Centaur. 0844 412 4300 www.sadlerswells.com March 1 to 6

THEATER PREVIEWS The Children’s Hour

Comedy Theatre, Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN Rapidly becoming the hottest ticket in town, Ian Rickson’s production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour is at the Comedy Theatre and has already extended booking until April 30. When a schoolgirl’s whisper spreads, it triggers a chain of events with extraordinary consequences. Karen Wright and Martha Dobie run a girls’ boarding school in 1930s New England, where they become entangled in a devastating story of deceit, shame and courage. Banned in London and several cities across America, The Children’s Hour received its world premiere on Broadway in 1934. Generations on, its potent exploration of a culture of fear remains startlingly relevant. The Anglo American cast includes luminaries like Carol Kane and Ellen Burstyn, and the lead actor pairing of Elizabeth (Mad Men) Moss and Keira Knightley has grabbed the headlines. 0844 871 7622 Childrenshourtheplay.com January 22 to April 30

Imagine

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss-in The Childrens Hour MICHAEL BIRT

celebrated Estrella Morente (a Latin Grammy nominee who can be heard on the soundtrack of Pedro Almodovar’s Volver) opens this year’s festival. The festival is part of the Catalan Series at Sadler’s Wells, also featuring performances by Tap Olé, Nats Nus Dansa and the Sol Picó Dance Company later in the spring 2011 season. 0844 412 4300 www.sadlerswells.com February 8 to 19

Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival London 2011

Bartabas

The eighth annual Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival London attracts the world’s finest flamenco dancers and musicians for a two week celebration of this ancient Andalucían art form. This year it includes four UK premieres from artists such as Eva Yerbabuena and Tomatito. The

Also at Sadler’s Wells is Bartabas. Famous for his use of horses as a means of artistic expression, this extraordinary artist is a worldrenowned rider, director and stage designer. His company, Zingaro Equestrian Theatre has performed all over the world for over 25 years but these special performances mark

Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN

Imagine is the Southbank Centre’s festival for kids. Returning for the 10th year it offers a mix of readings and storytelling by favourite children’s authors and poets and a full programme of music, dance, comedy, film and performance. Taking over Southbank Centre’s family-friendly venues and spaces during the February half-term, it’s designed for children aged five to 11, with some of the performances and activities also suitable for younger children. A highlight will be world exclusive preview screenings of The Flying Machine 3D, a spectacular modern fairy tale

Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN

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Ailey II in Jessica Lang’s Splendid Isolation, The Calling. PHOTO BY EDUARDO PATINO

A Flea

By Georges Feydeau • Old Vic London Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

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combining live action and animation, starring Heather Graham and super-star pianist Lang Lang, who also performs the soundtrack – the film is inspired by Chopin’s timeless music. There’s also a chance for the whole family to learn to dance, Strictly Family Ballroom, introduced by TV choreographer Arlene Phillips. 0844 847 9910 www.southbankcentre.co.uk February 12 to 27

Ailey 2 Makes British Debut UK Tour

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has successfully toured the UK three times in the past five years, but its younger second company, Ailey 2, has never appeared here. Until now. Formed in 1974, Ailey 2 allies some of the world’s best young dance talent, all trained at the Ailey School, with the most outstanding emerging choreographers. Artistic Director Sylvia Waters and Associate Artistic Director Troy Powell are

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both former dancers with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. On the UK tour 12 members of Ailey 2 perform two programmes, which will both include the Ailey classic Revelations, featuring traditional spiritual songs, gospel songs and holy blues from the American South. Programme A includes Shards (by Donald Byrd); Echoes (Thang Dao) and Revelations. Programme B: The External Knot (Troy Powell, music by Philip Glass and Robert Schumann); Splendid Isolation II, The Calling ( Jessica Lang); The Hunt (Robert Battle) and Revelations. Tour dates: February 22nd and 23rd Glasgow Kings Theatre (Programme B); 25th and 26th Nottingham Playhouse (A); March 1st and 2nd Brighton Dome Programme (B); 4th and 5th Bournemouth Pavilion (B); 8th and 9th Truro, Hall for Cornwall (A); 11th and 12th Belfast Grand Opera House (B); 15th and 16th Salford Lowry (A) www.danceconsortium.com February 22 to March 16

he Old Vic has summoned up a Christmas treat (which runs until March 4th) with a Rolls-Royce of a production of this now rarely performed Feydeau classic. If you like Fawlty Towers then this is its precursor. Feydeau’s farce from 1907 set the template for so much sex comedy to come from the No Sex Please We’re British variety (thankfully no longer in the West End) to the basic machinery of television sit com today. Like all farce it must be deadly serious. It has to make you suspend your disbelief and root for the characters, no matter how silly they may be. Problem here is that while this play is of historic interest and is nimbly executed by director Sir Richard Eyre, it reveals just a bit too much of the engineering underneath, losing its sparkle at times. It is not for want of trying though, and the great Tom Hollander in particular brings a glorious manic energy, doubling as the sexually clumsy bourgeois insurance broker


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in Her Ear Victor-Emmanuel Chandebise and his doppelganger, the drunken hotel porter Poche. That’s the key to it all but from this are spun multifarious plot twists affecting a whole host of mostly silly-ass characters, causing them to race from bedrooms with their trousers round their ankles. The catalyst for the action is Chandebise’s wife Raymonde (Lisa Dillon in fine form) who suspects him of cheating and gets her elegant friend Lucienne (Fiona Glascott in the most fetching hat ever seen on a West End stage) to write an admiring note to her husband on pink scented stationery. Victor’s rakish pal Romain (Jonathan Cake personifying the virile cad) thinks the note was intended for him and to add to the hoopla, Lucienne’s preposterous Spanish nobleman husband Carlos Homenides de Histangua (John Marquez) assumes she too is carrying on an affair. They all end up for various reasons at the raffish Hotel Coq d’Or where they encounter Poche, thinking of course he is Chandebise. For today’s audience one of the further challenges is Feydeau’s incredibly broad brush approach to stereotypes, national and otherwise. There is the fiery lisping Spaniard with his Flamenco stamping (Yealous Me, I am Nayberrr Yealous!), the clerk with the supposedly hilarious speech impediment (Freddie Fox) and the predatory Prussian Herr Schwarz (Walter van Dyk) all of whom make ‘Allo ‘Allo look like Proust. Farce requires good mechanics both on the page and on the stage and Rob Howell’s lavish sets including

Above: John Marquez and Tom Hollander Right: Jonathan Cake, Lisa Dillon, and Tom Hollander MANUEL HARLAN

the necessary revolving bed and a gold leaf Art Nouveau explosion that is the Hotel Coq d’Or, are great fun. Sue Blaine’s glorious costumes, including that hat, are also a sumptuous wallow and again the Old Vic demonstrates how to pull out all the stops in pleasing audiences. This production uses John Mortimer’s translation from the 1960s and while it has all the polish you’d expect, so much of the impact of this play at the time was down to Feydeau’s verbal mocking of contemporary types and attitudes which can’t escape getting lost in translation, no matter how great the translator.

In a finely tuned ensemble Lloyd Hutchinson stands out, energising the proceedings as the hotel proprietor Feraillon. A retired Colonel he runs his knocking shop as a tight ship and seems to get most of his satisfaction from chasing Poche around tables whilst kicking him in the bum. Hollander, with his short legs, can’t get too far away and his look of sheer incredulity when playing Chandebise enduring these humiliations is a joy. You can’t go wrong with a kick in the bum… Benny Hill made a career of it after all. H

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David Wilson Barnes The American’s Michael Burland spoke to the actor as he rehearsed for his British stage debut in the New York hit play, Becky Shaw

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avid, welcome to London! You’re over here playing Max in Becky Shaw. You’ve been involved with it since it’s beginnings? Yeah, from the very beginning actually. It had its world debut at the Humana Festival, but Gina Gionfriddo, who wrote it, told me that I did the very first read-through they ever did of the play. I was the original Max. It feels very personal. What was it like appearing at the Humana Festival? I’m quite connected to that Festival, I’ve appeared there three times. It’s an amazing experience. It’s all about the plays, they’re all new American plays. It’s not very competitive for the actors, everybody is there trying to do the best they can on their plays and then the last couple weeks you perform it for a month. The last two weekends, a lot of industry and newspaper people come to Kentucky and there’s big parties, and so forth. It’s really fun, and from an actor’s point of view it’s a very nurturing environment. When you took Becky Shaw off Broadway, did it change very much? They cut it down about 15 to 20 pages, just made it tighter, and a little bit speedier.

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PHOTOS BY HUGO GLENDINNING

Was that because it was going into an urban environment? There might have been a little bit of that. New York gets a bit more impatient than the rest of the world! You got rave reviews in the States. Were you surprised to be asked to do it over here in London? I was thrilled to be asked. There’s a certain amount of ego as an actor, you think ‘of course you asked me, what’s wrong with you?’ ! But I’m more honored than anything else that Sonia Friedman thought enough of me and my performance that she would ask me to come over and do it here. You’re in the Almeida Theatre, which really has some fantastic things coming across the Atlantic this way. Yeah, it’s a much more intimate space than the Second Stage was in New York. So it’s going to be a very different experience performing the play here. Is this your first time in Britain? Yes, as an actor, but my father is from Dunfermline, Scotland, so I’ve been over a few times.

Is Becky Shaw inspired by Thackeray’s Becky Sharpe, from Vanity Fair? I think there was a nod to her for sure, but our play has a different plot to Vanity Fair. Gina was reading a lot of those Victorian novels and she was inspired by the issues of class, and how that translates into the modern world. Becky Sharpe was a very manipulative, scheming character. In Becky Shaw, Max is more that character, isn’t he? [Laughs] I’ll let you decide after you’ve seen it. Although the play is named after Becky, most of the reviews have focused on your character, Max. How would you describe him? He’s an incredibly straightforward human being. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, he doesn’t have a lot of patience or sympathy or empathy, so he cuts to the quick pretty quickly and often upsets everybody in the room. But I adore him. I’ve played bad guys before in the past, so I understand what it is to play someone who actually is evil, and I think the exact opposite of Max: he has an incredible amount of integrity.


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I look up to him, actually! For all of his bluntness, I think it brings about a lot of positive action. Gina’s done an amazing thing in writing this character because he could be the most unlikeable character in the play, but he’s actually the most likeable. He’s not the sort of terrible person you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. Max is actually the guy you’d want with you in a dark alley, because he would get you out at the end, probably alive. It’s interesting with audiences, they’re split down the middle. Some people are like, ‘Aw, he’s such a jerk! I can’t believe that guy! I’d never want to meet him!’ Others think ‘He’s just the most amazing person on the planet’. Perhaps he’s the sort of character we’d all really like to be? He doesn’t smooth the edges and tell white lies, which makes him such incredible fun. You get to be the person who says what you normally think, but would never say. He’s a financial money manager - these days that could be a good reason for having people hate you. That’s a good point, I hadn’t thought of it in that way, it was written before the bubble. [laughs] I will consider my job done if a third of the audience likes me this time!

with people after the play, because they’d say ‘oh he’s such a terrible person, what a jerk!’ and I would confront them and say ‘Really, why? What did he do that was jerkish?’ ‘Oh, he says these terrible things’ ‘OK, what does he say?’ ‘Well, he says the truth’, ‘Exactly!’. Peter DuBois directed the world premiere, the New York premiere and now he’s doing the London premiere as well. Has it made it easier or harder bringing the play to London with him? It’s been really easy, but we are discovering things together. Peter is one of the most fantastic directors I’ve ever worked with. He’s very much an ensemble player, it’s all about the collaboration and he fosters the healthiest environment in a rehearsal. It’s the best idea that’s important, not your idea, or mine, the best idea. The other actors in this production are all European, including a Frenchman I hear? Has that changed the dynamics somewhat? [Laughs] Yeah, they’re all European! Actually that’s really interesting, because as an American doing an American play, you make cultural assumptions that you can’t when you’re doing a play in London. The

British and French actors are saying ‘why would you go and do that?’ ‘Why would you respond in that way?’ So you end up questioning your own cultural foundations, and I think that’s brought about a richness to this production that may have been somewhat missed before because we weren’t asking those questions. Is Max evolving? Oh yeah, for sure. I didn’t expect that. I’ve been incredibly surprised about how much more I’ve learnt about the play because of this cast. How long have you been over here? Have you managed to get out to see any other shows? Since the end of November. I just saw Hamlet at the National last night, which I enjoyed a great deal, and I’ve seen Warhorse, and Season’s Greetings. What are you missing about the States? Mostly just my friends. Not so much the City - I was really surprised, I thought I was going to really miss New York, but London is apparently an amazing city! H David, with Daisy Haggard, who plays Becky Shaw

Is there anything you’ve done to make him more sympathetic to the audience or do you just play him dead straight? From the very first time I read the character, something in me just really empathised and sympathised with him. There’s a lot of parallels between him and myself, which I won’t go into, that spoke to me in a very direct way. He’s ultimately a really good person, and that’s the only way I knew to play him from the very beginning. I’d get into these really impassioned arguments

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KING of the  WEST END

Bill Kenwright is the impresario responsible for huge numbers of musicals and plays in London’s West End, from Dreamboats and Petticoats to Waiting For Godot. James Carroll Jordan finds out what lies behind his success.

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only – to please my Mum. She loved it, and I loved my Mum.

You began as an actor before shifting to producing theatre and movies. Why did you quit a nice acting career capped with a regular part on Coronation Street? There was never a plan. Ever, ever, ever. I’ve never planned anything in my life. As John Lennon said, life’s what happens when you’re planning other things. All I wanted to do was act, to be a star, since I was a little boy of about eight. I wanted to be a big cowboy movie star in America. I was living in Liverpool and I’d go with my grandmother every Friday night to see these movies. When I became an actor I didn’t want to do Coronation Street. When they asked me it was six months before I said yes. I did it for one reason

That’s Hope? Yes. She’s 92, she gets her hair done every Saturday and she comes to the match with me every Sunday. She sits behind me and all I can hear is “Please God, Please God, Please God!” I shall tell her you remembered her! So, I was in Coronation Street, and I got four weeks off to do a play at Oldham Rep. I wanted to put on Billy Liar. Then Oldham got the dates wrong, they’d double booked, so I put it on myself in the parks and gardens in Buxton, Derbyshire, with some mates from Coronation Street. We did everything ourselves: the posters, the sets, the box office… We were on for a week and Keith Waterhouse [writer of Billy Liar] came to see it. He said “You’re good at this”. I thought he meant playing Billy Liar, but he meant producing. He gave me a new play he’d written. There was a lovely part in it for me so I hired Paul Elliot to general manage for me and we did it on the road for ten weeks. I learned as I acted in it. I started enjoying walking in the front door rather than the back door.

fter over a decade, I finally met up with Bill Kenwright again. In the early nineties we worked together on Only The Lonely, the rock musical about Roy Orbison. I had never worked with someone so energetic and focused on producing theatrical magic. Nearly twenty years later I found him (to my horror and envy) slimmer, fitter, still as clear headed and, impossible as it seems, even more full of energy and ideas.

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It took about eight or nine years, but I woke up one morning and thought, “I’m a producer now.” Now I can’t remember the ambition to be an actor. Was it a dream to own your football club [Everton, in Liverpool]? No, my dream was to keep from having holes in my shoes. When I was a kid, seven or eight, I used to go to the game. I had to take three buses and a tram to get there. And I loved my team. When they ran out I was sick with joy. I used to stand at the bottom of the stands, and there was a wall above me. The men would go to that wall and wee against it and it would run down. My dream was to not have holes in my shoes. Never to own the team. Despite not planning anything, your company has grown to dwarf the National Theatre. I’ve been lucky and worked hard. See, I always wanted to be like MGM or one of those big studios where everything was going on at once. You’ve produced movies too. Apart from your darling woman Jenny Seagrove, who was your favorite actress to work with?


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Michelle Pfeiffer, in Cheri. When I went over to Amsterdam to meet her I thought there was no one like her. I just looked at her and she was… simply PERFECT! Do you make a conscious effort to vary your output? I try to do four or five classics a year, a couple of new plays, and the musicals. Are the new ones a risk? There’s no gain without pain. I had a young man in here yesterday who wanted to do a play and he asked my advice and I told him never to do anything for money. Just do things that you’re heart tells you is right. I can’t say that in the forty years I’ve been producing that I haven’t done things for money once in a while, but not often. I’ve done most of Tennessee Williams, most of Arthur Miller, I’m doing Clifford Odette’s The Country Girl with Jenny at the moment, and I guess I just like those plays. The American’s readers love the ‘Carry On’ films – you were in Carry On Matron? They used to get young boys and groom them, like Jim Dale. They’d start off by giving you a couple of lines, and they didn’t give you the script, just the page. I had to run in and say “Christ darling, she’s been rushed to hospital!” I was wondering why I had to call this guy darling! Twenty minutes later, I was talking to Barbara Windsor, and she said something about an actress who was playing a character called Allison Darling in the film. I said to the director, Peter Rogers, “Sir, I’ve done the line completely wrong, can I have a re-take?” . He said, “Son, the last person who asked for a retake on a ‘Carry On’ film was X… and we’ve never hired him again.” I knew I did the line totally

wrong, but couldn’t get a chance to fix it. They must have noticed because I never did another ‘Carry On’ film again! Was it fun being a young buck actor in the sixties and seventies? I was very shy. I came from Liverpool, I was relatively successful, I did leads in a couple of West End musicals, I did leads in a couple of tellys, but it wasn’t satisfying. Too much off time. If I take a day off, it’s with my handheld tape recorder, my notes, my accounts, scripts… I am incapable of taking a day off. The only time I’m off is ninety minutes when I watch Everton. You are in a kind of Tracey-Hepburn relationship with one of England’s most beautiful actresses. How does

that fit in with what you’ve just said? I don’t know… it just works. She’s got her life and I’ve got mine. But when we are together, it is wonderful. You seem to have achieved everything. Any more dreams left? I want to make a big American western and direct it in America. I am planning to do it next summer if all goes well. I’m sure it will. I just hope you cast me in it. H With that bit of calculated groveling I wrapped up a very enjoyable conversation with Bill Kenwright; one of England’s national treasures. I mean, what other man hires more actors in one year than the BBC?

Bill Kenwright (left) with James Carroll Jordan

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Live by the leak,  Die by the leak? T

he left has a new darling. Australian by birth, homeless by habit, Julian Assange has become a célèbre for a rainbow of people stretching from human rights activists to conspiracy hounds. First, let us be clear. Freedom of speech is one of, if not the, most important values we enjoy. It is the cornerstone of democracy and prerequisite of a civilised society. With such a powerful principle at stake, it is no wonder that those who have issues with the actions of the main protagonist in the unfolding Wikileaks saga, pose their concerns in muted tones. However, we should ask ourselves, is it the power of the freedom of speech or the power of the internet that gives us pause as we seek to understand the twisting story of the Wikileaks founder?

It may be worth noting a bit of background. Assange was, by all accounts, a bright child and enjoyed the peripatetic childhood shaped by his mother’s and stepfather’s theatre company. Even before he went to university he collaborated on a computing classic, fathered a child at 18, set elaborate mathematical puzzles for himself and others and, eventually, got arrested for hacking. His mantra: the challenge is in the ability to crack the code and ‘free’ the information; his defence: because he could. A pattern was emerging. In 2006 Assange set up Wikileaks with the goal of ensuring would-be whistle blowers a safe haven for evidence of wrongdoing, regardless of source. It was a consequence-free drop-box for the smoking guns Assange believed to be out there in all walks of life. It was a noble aim, if too broadly framed in its original form. As time went on, some raised questions as to the importance of ‘exposing’ information that did no harm; except perhaps to some arcane notion that there should be no secrets. The site began to limit itself to issues of historical or political relevance, losing some of its team in the process. In the midst of the current hype, it is interesting to ask those commenting on Wikileaks whether they have actually gone to the site. Julian Assange: freedom fighter or anti-corporate activist? ESPEN MOE

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By Alison Holmes

Wikileaks, no relation to Wikipedia it makes clear, claims to ‘combine high-end security technologies with journalism and ethical principles’ to conduct ‘investigative journalism’. They will ‘accept (but do not solicit) anonymous sources of information’ and declare themselves ‘fearless’ in their efforts to get the ‘unvarnished truth’, while providing ‘maximum protection’ to their sources. They do not ‘censor’ news though they may ‘significantly delay the publication of some identifying details from original documents to protect life and limb of innocent people’. To this point, little is surprising about the ideals of the site or its operating procedures. They repeatedly assert the secret nature of the drop-box, the high level of protection to their sources and the importance of transparency and information in the pursuit of accountability. They remain silent on whether or not they ever question the motive of the leaker or indeed if they ask if the target of the leak may warrant protection. As one reads further into the site, it becomes clear that this alternative train of ethical thought does not need to be asked because the guilt of the target is presumed, as in this excerpt from the site: ‘Corporate corruption comes in many forms…Considering the largest corporations as analogous to a nation state reveals the following properties:


The American

1. The right to vote does not exist except for shareholders (analogous to land owners) and even their voting power is in proportion to ownership. 2. All power issues from a central committee. 3. There is no balancing division of power. There is no fourth estate. There are no juries and innocence is not presumed. 4. Failure to submit to any order may result in instant exile. 5. There is no freedom of speech. 6. There is no right of association. Even romance between men and women is often forbidden without approval. 7. The economy is centrally planned. 8. There is pervasive surveillance of movement and electronic communication. 9. The society is heavily regulated, to the degree many employees are told when, where and how many times a day they can go to the toilet. 10. There is little transparency and something like the Freedom of Information Act is unimaginable. 11. Internal opposition groups, such as unions, are blackbanned(sic), surveilled and/or marginalized whenever and wherever possible.’ The fact that companies and the ‘nation-state’ are so obviously different in structure and serve very different purposes in the civilized society the site claims to protect, hopefully goes without saying. It is the agenda of presumed corruption and the effective solicitation of stories fitting this line by such statements that should give onlookers reason to pause. The site’s largest claim is that it has ‘provided a new model of journalism’. And it is indisputable that instant, global dissemination of

Wikileaks supporters in Sydney, Australia, protest about the arrest of founder Julian Assange in December ELEKHH

material has a power unheard and undreamed by those reporters who had to find their stories through hard graft. This power is redoubled in an environment in which the skills, time and financial support for investigative journalism have all but disappeared. At this point we, the readers, should seriously ask ourselves whether we should fear more for our freedom of speech or be in fear of the power of the internet. Wikileaks has essentially appointed itself prosecutor, judge and jury of cases it deems relevant to the ‘international readership’. It supports its self-perpetuating view of the world by unleashing information that is one-sided in that it considers only the concerns of the hallowed ‘source’ as legitimate and based on its own outlook. It is an attempt to fill a depressing gap in journalism with massive information download filtered only through an agenda and passed off as investigation. The most recent turns in the story involve the convergence of a huge release of diplomatic cables and charges against Mr Assange for crimes against women. These events highlight this change in the ‘model of journalism’ in that they point to the danger to freedom of speech from the power of the internet. There

is no court of appeal and no taking back the information that proves to be harmful to ‘innocent’ people. There is no updated version of the age-old debate between public and private and no informed discussion as to what constitutes the difference between information and interference. We have apparently arrived at the age of ‘Facebook diplomacy’ where there are only BFFs and bullies, with little prospect of aid from the former and certainly no protection from the latter. It is perhaps indicative Mr Assange feels no need to answer to anyone for the accusations that have been made against him. And for a man who has declared himself an enemy of due process for others by trumping the power of speech with the power of the internet, it is ironic indeed that he has fallen out with his previous allies at The Guardian newspaper in a flurry of accusations of leaking information regarding his case. H Dr. Alison Holmes is The American’s political ‘Transatlantic Columnist’, an Okie now based in California. She is an international relations scholar, an Associate Fellow Rothermere American Institute Oxford University and a Churchill Memorial Trust History Fellow.

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Prepare for a

Fiscal Tsunami Three strikes and the current game could be over for Uncle Sam, says Andy Sundberg of Geneva-based Overseas American Academy. There a simple solution, but this ominous countdown keeps right on ticking.

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any governments today are facing grave financial difficulties, under considerable pressure to find ways to strengthen their economies, reduce national debts, shrink budget deficits, and increase tax revenues. They will inevitably look at the practices of the world’s leading countries and some could be tempted to replicate a practice that the world’s most powerful nation put in place five decades ago. If so, we all could soon be in very deep trouble. Imagine the following scenario and listen to the ominous warbling of that ever vigilant canary in the mineshaft.

Strike One

Julian Leary, an American citizen living in New Jersey, receives a letter from the Irish Internal Revenue Service informing him that as an Irish citizen he is required to submit an income tax return each year and pay Irish taxes on his worldwide income. Although he was born in the United States, he acquired his Irish citizenship at birth through his Irish father who immigrated to the U.S. before Julian was born. Julian has never set foot in Ireland, never had an Irish passport, and has never received any benefits from Ireland. After making some inquiries, Julian discovers that Ireland recently decided to mimic the practice of the U.S. and is now imposing Irish income tax on all its citizens no matter where they live. The Irish tax system has complicated rules and special tax forms that change from one year to the next. And if Julian does not fully comply with these requirements, he faces financial penalties, even spending time in an Irish jail.

He learns that these new Irish tax requirements had been adopted several years earlier, but neither he nor anyone else outside of Ireland had heard of them. They were contained in an obscure law, several thousand pages long, which created more than 100 pages of complicated tax forms, many of which he must submit each year depending on his economic status, job, investments, and worldwide assets. Julian has been proud to be an Irish citizen, but begins to question whether this tax obligation doesn’t outweigh any advantages he might enjoy by remaining Irish. He wonders if he could avoid any punishment, financial or otherwise, by simply ignoring this new obligation, pretending his Irish identity didn’t exist. He soon learns that he could run a major risk, especially if he were ever to travel abroad and have his Irish status discovered. He decides to give up this second citizenship. He assumes that all he has to do is to tell the Irish Government that he is renouncing his Irish citizenship and that will be the end of his problem. It doesn’t work that way. Ireland has cloned the U.S. citizenship renunciation process too, so he must prove to the Irish tax authorities that he has paid all of his Irish income taxes for the last five years. Even that will not be enough. He must also mark to market all of his worldwide assets, translate them into Euros at the exchange rates applicable as of the day each of them was acquired, then pay an exit tax on any capital gains that arise when these assets are valued at today’s Euro exchange rates, capital gains that in dollar terms are pure fiction, and may actually have been losses, but appear to be real gains in Euro terms due to the magic of exchange rate fluctuations. Then Julian is hit with yet another nasty surprise. The Irish Government,


The American

copying current American practice, is offering large financial incentives to anyone who denounces an Irish citizen suspected of not paying Irish tax on all worldwide income. He will have to be wary of all his friends, any one of whom could become rich by ratting on him to the Irish tax authorities. There’s more. The final Irish straw comes when two American banks tell him they are going to close his accounts because the changes in Irish law have imposed heavy compliance and reporting obligations on all banks with Irish citizen customers. This has turned Irish citizens into pariahs who are too legally risky and compliancecostly for banks to want as customers. Welcome, Julian, to the grim reality of the daily lives of many Americans currently living overseas!

Strike Two

Julian’s woes are still not over. His nightmare has only just begun. He receives a registered letter from another country. His mother immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland as a child. And the Government of Switzerland has also decided to copy the U.S. model of citizenshipbased worldwide taxation. Under Swiss law, children born abroad to a Swiss parent automatically acquire Swiss citizenship at birth so he will have to start filing forms and paying taxes each year to the Swiss Government too. While Switzerland allows him to take credit for some of the taxes he pays to other governments, it refuses to give any credit for tax paid on capital gains because such gains are not taxed in Switzerland. The Swiss will however impose an annual tax on the total value of his worldwide assets. But the U.S. Government will not grant any credit for this wealth tax paid to Switzerland when he files his U.S. income tax returns. All Swiss tax forms and instructions

are written in four languages, French, German, Italian or Romansh, and Julian has to choose which language he prefers for the thousand of pages of text and many hard-to-comprehend forms that he is going to have to wade through each year. Switzerland had also discreetly enacted this legislation a couple of years previously, without any noticeable publicity. So Julian is already technically in violation of Swiss law and subject to financial penalties for not filing these forms on time. Switzerland has also copied the American bank account report filing model, so Julian must inform the Swiss Government of all his accounts at banks or other financial entities no matter where they are, and report the value, in Swiss currency, of every financial transaction he makes anywhere in the world, no matter what currency they were in. In its enthusiasm for this imagined tax revenue bonanza, Switzerland has even gone beyond the current American practice. As Julian has been running a small business, he will also have to identify every client with whom he has more than 600 Swiss Francs of business per year, reporting their Swiss tax identification numbers. But which of his American clients and suppliers have a Swiss tax identification number? How could they acquire one? And would acquiring one make them vulnerable to Swiss tax? Julian doesn’t know what to do. Indeed, there is nothing he can do. In addition to all of his American tax obligations, he has to simultaneously comply with onerous and intrusive new obligations to two other sovereign governments, based on his same income and assets, but defined for each government in different national currencies, with all these currency rates fluctuating every day. Take a deep breath. Julian’s amazing story is still far from over.

While wading into the details of his Irish and Swiss fiscal obligations, Julian receives two more registered letters, from the tax authorities of Hungary and Lithuania. His grandparents were natural born citizens of these countries, and under their laws he has also derived these two other citizenships. As they have also cloned U.S. citizenshipbased tax legislation, he is under their worldwide tax jurisdictions too. All the tax filings he has to submit each year will also have to be in their national languages, with all values and transactions calculated in their currencies which also fluctuate in value with respect to other currencies each and every day! In a panic, Julian starts desperately looking for help. His first call is to the Irish Embassy in Washington, but they tell him his Irish tax obligations are his personal responsibility and unfortunately the Embassy does not have the resources to assist him. They tell him that the Irish Government, in mimicking U.S. government practice, has set up four overseas tax compliance offices, but three are huddled closely together in the London, Paris, Frankfurt triangle, with a fourth far away in Beijing. There is no office in the U.S. where he can solicit any help. The same responses come when he calls the Embassies of Switzerland, Hungary and Lithuania. He is on his own. Julian has to find knowledgeable and experienced tax specialists to help him become compliant with all his new obligations. They will have to translate these laws for him and provide arcane acumen on filing taxes to several countries simultaneously while taking into consideration inter-country tax credits and currency cross-over effects. This is going to cost him a fortune each year. And he will have to pay for their services even if in the end he does not have to pay any tax for a given year to one or another of these countries. To top it all,

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he and his expensive advisers will have to find a way to simultaneously decrypt all of these laws to determine the optimum sequence in which he should file these tax returns to gain the maximum benefit of offsetting taxes paid to one government against those that will be due to other governments on this very same income. It will be a novel and strange way to be spending a good part of his life from now on. Sounds kind of absurd, doesn’t it? And it is. As these governments clone another American practice, they become more aggressive in their public pronouncements about how vigorously they are going to enforce the new requirements and start making statements that no longer laud Julian as a treasured national asset, but vilify him and other overseas citizens as ignoble tax cheats who deserve to be pursued and punished to the full extent of their laws. To complete this dystopian story, all four governments copy another ugly American practice, issuing John Doe summons to every bank operating in the U.S., telling them they must provide, on a regular basis, detailed information on their citizens who have accounts with them. Unsurprisingly, more American banks throw up their hands and inform Julian that they too are closing his accounts and canceling his credit cards. Julian starts to comprehend that, with all these new obligations to four foreign governments in addition to the burdens he already bears as an American citizen, his daily life will be much more weary, expensive and precarious. He will waste a lot of time each year filling out myriad tax and related forms, and considerable amounts of his modest income will have to be spent acquiring professional advice in addition to the money he will have to pay in income taxes and possible penalties.

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Strike Three

Uncle Sam, it would be prudent for you to become a lot more vigilant to the short and longer term implications of this impending threat. Should this hypothetical scenario ever start to become real billions of our dollars will start to flow abroad from the pockets of many millions of Americans with multiple citizenships who may spend their entire lives in the U.S. and never even step offshore. If other countries become addicted to the too-good-to-be-true illusion that this extra tax revenue flowing in from the pockets of overseas citizens comes at no cost, it will not be long before a new paradigm of harsh reality hits from all directions. Amid such confusion, international investment flows could begin to wilt as one economy after another begins to freeze up. And then, Katie bar the door, because all hell could start to break loose as the already broken economic china in more and more countries might become truly impossible to repair. So be prepared for the potentially apocalyptic third strike, Sam; the ultimate big bang that would occur if every country were to follow suit, disturbing the world economy and triggering a catastrophic Fiscal Tsunami from which we as a sovereign nation might never be able to recover. In such a scenario, it is not unrealistic to foresee tens of millions of U.S. residents sending several hundred billion dollars a year abroad to more than 180 other sovereign countries. Billions of people living everywhere on our planet could be caught up in this fiscal frenzy. The money flowing in every direction in and out of every country would be in the trillions of dollars, disturbing fiscal stability everywhere.

A Game-changing Strategy

Sam, there happens to be a serendipitous solution that would work. You should boldly step forward, perform your long-overdue confession of error and take the initiative to propose and aggressively push forward a new “International Agreement to Universally Ban Citizenship-Based Taxation Forever”. This should become a top priority project to be pursued at the highest diplomatic levels and thereafter to be quickly signed and implemented by all of the governments of the world. Your experience, knowledge, wisdom and proposal for redress of the problems related to this issue would doubtlessly be well respected, Sam, and warmly welcomed too. You are in the best position today to acknowledge that you really have been playing with a very dangerous hegemonic fire. Be brave and confess to the world that this little stinker that you have been experimenting with for nearly five decades has finally been recognized as an economic weapon of massive selfdestruction that, were it ever to become viral, could paralyze the entire world economy. Go for it, Sam. You and all the governments representing the other inhabitants of our charming little planet have everything to gain from such prudent insurance. But please don’t dither any longer. Some ominous tremors are already starting to be felt, and that Tsunami countdown clock keeps right on ticking. H


Governor Mitch Daniels taking delivery of the THINK City EV’s from THINK CEO, Barry Engle

THINK Goes Electric in Indiana

Detroit Launch For Prius Big Brother The North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI saw a healthy number of world debuts and concept cars, not least Chrysler’s next-generation 300C; BMW’s 335bhp 1-Series M Coupe, all-new X3, second-generation 6-series and Mini Paceman concept (a kind of mini-Range Rover Evoque); and Audi’s e-tron Spyder, a Porsche Boxster sized plug-in hybrid. Turning heads in a different way was Toyota, with the world debut of the next evolution of its Prius hybrid. The Prius v (v stands for versatility) is an MPV designed to bring the green benefits of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive to a new audience growing families with active lifestyles. The interior has over 50 per cent more cargo space than its familiar sister, a healthy 970 litres behind the rear seats. It’s an all-new design and while the shape has evolved from the original Prius, it’s not just an elongated version of the existing car. To help its efficiency Prius v has a low, 0.29 coefficient of drag and Toyota claim it will achieve the best fuel efficiency of any SUV, crossover or estate on the US market. Prius v will go on sale in the USA this summer. No UK launch is scheduled.

Ford Britain Celebrates Centenary On March 8, 1911, only three years after the first Model T Ford was sold here, Ford Motor Company (England) Limited was incorporated. It was Ford’s first venture outside the Americas, testament to Henry Ford’s view that Britain was his most important international market. Previously only a few Model A’s and Model B’s had been imported. Ford’s first factory in Britain opened in October 1911 at Trafford Park, Manchester. A disused tram works was repurposed to build Model T’s using Ford’s original method – teams of four men building

individual vehicles. It was not until 1913 that Ford introduced his revolutionary moving assembly line. By 1914, Ford’s sales of just under 10,000 cars were equal to those of the top six British manufacturers combined. Now Ford employs over 15,000 people in Britain, building two million engines annually at plants at Bridgend, South Wales and Dagenham, East London. One in three Ford cars globally is powered by a UK engine. Look out for Ford historical displays at motoring venues and events throughout 2011.

THINK, the world’s biggest manufacturer dedicated to electric vehicles, has started production of its City car at its plant in Elkhart, IN. The company, with global headquarters in Oslo, Norway, plans to build 300 THINK City electric cars at the facility by the end of the year. “This is another major milestone for us,” said THINK CEO Barry Engle. “We are now manufacturing and selling both in Europe and the U.S. and have produced more than 2,500 THINK City vehicles.” THINK’s plant in Elkhart is receiving partially assembled vehicles from contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive in Finland, which produces THINK vehicles for the European market. Workers in the US are completing production of the cars, including installing electric drive trains with advanced Lithium-ion batteries from manufacturer Ener1, Inc. in Indianapolis. Manufacturing Director Karl Turner said,. “Our process eliminates the need for paint or welding shops, so it is environmentally very clean, is low capital intensive and is readily replicable for other locations to support future growth.” THINK will replicate the current production line, tooling facilities and processes used in Finland. It aims to have 100 employees building 2,500 vehicles for the American market by the end of 2011, and more than 415 workers by the end of 2013.

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1941 Cadillac Series 61 stars at ‘Captain America’ Brooklands auction

Captain America Cars Take Centre Stage At Auction March 3rd sees a real blockbuster of a sale of classic American vehicles at historic racing venue Brooklands in Surrey. They’re not just any cars either, they’re fresh from the set of the forthcoming Marvel Studios movie, Captain America – The First Avenger which will have its global release from July. The 50-plus strong collection features vehicles from 1931-1948, everything from regular street cars to a 1942 Chevrolet Gillig School/ Tour Bus, a 1933 Dodge Tow Truck (which came direct from the Nevada Desert and complete with genuine bullet holes), a WWII Dodge Military Ambulance and even a stunt taxi! All were used during filming at Shepperton Studios in London, and on location in Manchester and Liverpool, and each will be accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity. The film’s executive producer Nigel Gostelow commented, “I, along with our Director, Joe Johnston, are both avid ‘petrol heads’, and so historical accuracy was vitally important to us. Ultimately they looked great on set, and pleasingly, were correct and very well prepared.” Judging by the online catalogue at www.historics.co.uk some are in better internal condition than others, but whether you’re after a stylish runner or a hot rod project there’s something for every fan of US iron.

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What the FF?

I

magine the scene: Your significant other blindfolds you. Takes you outside. Says there’s a present for you – jangles the unmistakable sound of car keys. “What is it, dear?“ “Oh honey, you’re going to love it. It’s the new Ferrari. A fourseater, so we can take the kids. It has four-wheel drive, it’s Ferrari’s first ever all wheel drive car, so the roadholding will be fantastic. It’s got a V12 engine, 6,262cc of it, with direct petrol injection engine – it makes around 660 horsepower. All that power is put down through a transaxle dual-clutch F1 gearbox. They tell me it’ll do 0 to 62mph in just 3.7 seconds, guaranteed. The one I got you is proper Ferrari red. And it’s even been designed by Pininfarina. You can take off your blindfold now…” “Darling, you’re the best. Let me just take off the blindfol… what the FF?” Ferrari have never had great luck with four-seater cars. And their recent front-engined models have lacked the svelte beauty that older Ferraris – and even the current midengined ones – have luxuriated in.

BMW Z3 Coupé – does it remind you of anything?

While the specifications of the FF are stunning, and it will no doubt drive brilliantly, just what were the executives of the Prancing Horse thinking when they signed off Pininfarina’s latest creation? To these eyes the FF looks uncomfortably like BMW’s unlovely Z3 coupé. Best of luck guys, but perhaps you could have looked for inspiration at another car with the same name – the Jensen FF. It too was a four-wheel drive grand tourer, based on the Jensen Interceptor, which the British firm produced from 1966 to 1971 (the FF stood for Ferguson Formula, after Ferguson Research Ltd., a specialist engineering company who invented it’s four -wheel drive system). And it looked good. “Sorry sweetheart, forget the kids, pleeeease take it back and swap it for a beautiful 458 Italia.” H Jensen’s old FF

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The American

Nonstop Action TNA Wrestling hits these shores later this month …with a chance for aspiring British wrestlers to get involved. Jeff Jarrett tells Josh Modaberi all about.

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ight years ago wrestler Jeff Jarrett founded Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling and the company has gone from strength to strength. Jarrett has been involved in the wrestling business since day one and is a third generation star – with even his grandmother being involved in the sport. “My grandmother didn’t wrestle but she did everything but wrestle,” Said Jarrett. “She was a promoter in this business and my father was a wrestler and promoter.” With great ratings in the United Kingdom whenever TNA crosses the pond, and sell out shows, ‘Double J’ and TNA are now giving British fans the chance to step in the squared circle for themselves. “We have had some wrestling workshops known as the Gut Check, over in the United States”, Jarrett continues. “Now we have been given the opportunity to hold one in London when we are over here in January. We are looking for people from all over Europe to come along, and then we will be selecting between 20 and 25 hopefuls that will get a legitimate shot of getting a contract with us. From the Gut Check workshops that we have done over in the States we have already signed up one guy to our roster.” A number of British stars already ply their trade in TNA and a number of the UK grapplers have held championships in the company including the likes of current Television Champion Doug Williams, Magnus, Desmond Wolfe and Rob Terry. Jarrett hopes more Brits make an impact on the January tour of the UK.

“The final Gut Check workshop will be on the final day of the UK tour when we are in London”, says Jarrett. “And we could very well be pulling someone out of that workshop to perform at Wembley Arena on that night.” As the founder of TNA, Jarrett has been with the company from day one and has seen the company grow each year with 2010 being no exception. “There has been so much going on with TNA in 2010 – and our live events are something that I take great pride in,” reveals Jarrett. “We are also coming back for our annual tour to the UK and this is going to be our third tour now – when we visit Glasgow, Manchester and London. “From a business point of view we have had great success with our action figures which were brought out in July – and they have been selling really well.” The TNA UK house shows always have sell-out crowds and great reviews, and Jarrett doesn’t believe it will be long until we see an episode of the company’s Impact! Show filmed in front of a UK audience. “We have talked about filming an episode of Impact in the UK for the last 18 to 24 months. A couple of years ago we did a Global

Impact that was filmed in Tokyo. With the tour coming up in January – I know we are going to be filming the majority of it, and footage will be shown on both Impact! and Xplosion as well as across our Youtube channel.” Jarrett hasn’t always seen eye to eye with Olympic Gold medallist Kurt Angle either in the ring or outside the ring – but the founder of TNA has nothing but praise for Angle. “It goes without saying, every time Kurt steps into the ring he always has phenomenal matches,” said Jarrett. “He always puts his body on the line and produces the goods every night he performs – Kurt is a wrestling machine. “The main event at the Bound for Glory PPV – the three way match with Mr. Anderson, Jeff Hardy and Kurt was a fantastic match and was right up their for match of the year candidate.” As for Jarrett himself what does 2011 hold in store? “I’m going to be over in the UK for the tour whipping people all over the country,” Jarrett says. “I feel 2011 is going to be a very exciting year for Jeff Jarrett. There has been a lot of interest surrounding the Double J Double MMA Challenge that I am doing – Just keep watching this space.” H PHOTO: TNA

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The American

Sideline

Auburn headliners Nick Fairley and Cam Newton have declared for the NFL Draft ...possibly the only 2011 NFL fixture. Richard L Gale is among those preparing for a long offseason

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nly the Super Bowl now stands between the NFL and the longest offseason it has ever known. For months, action on the field has been a welcome distraction from inaction in the labor dispute between the NFL’s owners and player union. Next month, there’ll be no avoiding the issue any further: come March, the Collective Bargaining Agree-

New Denver Head Coach John Fox may lack the ‘wow’ factor, but it’s the win factor the Broncos were interested in © ERIC LARS BAKKE/DENVER BRONCOS

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ment (CBA) between the two parties ends. While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in a meeting with executive director DeMaurice Smith at press time, a breakthrough is not expected. The union is expecting a lock-out in 2011, and the league has done the sums on how long any seige may last. Observers believing ‘something will get done’ before the CBA expires may soon have to repackage their optimism to ‘something will get done’ before the 2011 season begins. Labor disputes in 1982 and 1987 didn’t cancel a whole season. Even the Second World War didn’t halt the NFL, so maybe something will get done. In the meantime, the only guaranteed 2011 fixture is the NFL Draft, when teams’ personnel brain trusts will stake the first claims of what could be a two-part restock – with two drafts between now and the next home game. The teams will gather, the names will be called, but don’t be surprised if any big-name players present don’t look like their every dream has been fulfilled. After all, it’s not like anybody’s going to be agreeing any contracts or collecting any paychecks until a new CBA is sorted. Makes you wonder why so many college players still decided to leap into the void a year early – a record 56. Hopes of outflanking a rookie salary cap in any future CBA could be a factor, but if that train’s coming, they’ll be right there, lying on the tracks.

Early Declarations

Amongst those declaring early for the draft: Alabama’s 2009 Heisman-winning runner Mark Ingram; Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett; Georgia WR A.J. Green; LSU corner Patrick Peterson; Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert; North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers; South Carolina WR Tori Gurley; USC tackle Tyron Smith; Wisconsin RB John Clay; and Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. Notable exceptions included Stanford QB Andrew Luck; Oregon RB LaMichael James and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon.

The Auburn Tigers could find it tough to repeat as SEC and BCS National Champions next season, after Heisman-winning QB Cam Newton, championship game defensive MVP Nick Fairley, and the team’s leading receiver Darvin Adams all declared early. While Newton’s freakish combination of size, athleticism and arm strength make him a sure-fire first round selection, it is Fairley who is in the running to be pick no.1, with passrush on the minds of both Carolina and Denver, picking 1-2 in the Draft. Denver should have a good idea what Carolina’s scouts have been looking at so far: The Panthers’ ex-coach John Fox is now the Broncos’ new coach, highlighting NFL teams’ desire for a steady hand on the tiller as they head into unknown waters.


The American

San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh PHOTO © SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Coaching Changes

The Broncos – still smarting from leaving the team in the hands of thirty-something Josh McDaniels – settled on 55-year old Fox, sacked by the Panthers after being more than one game below .500 for the first time in nine seasons. Fox wasn’t the sexy hire, but few teams went out on a limb: Minnesota and Dallas went for known commodities, promoting interim coaches Leslie Frazier and Jason Garrett respectively; Oakland promoted from within by appointing Hue Jackson; Cincinnati and Tennessee surprised many by retaining their head coaches. There were no changes either at 2010 underachievers San Diego and Houston. The Panthers (Ron Rivera) and Cleveland Browns (Pat Shurmur) broke new ground with their hires, but the show-stealing appointment was Jim Harbaugh to the 49ers after taking Stanford to a 12-1 record. There were those who raised the usual specter of college coaching reputations turning to dust in the NFL, but with Jim’s notable history as an NFL quarterback, the pro-style offense at Stanford, and his brother John’s success with the Baltimore

Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik accepts the Coaches’ Trophy at the BCS National Championship game, as DT Nick Fairley stands alongside. PHOTO © TODD VAN EMST

Ravens, few seriously expect the 49ers to be disappointed. With a roster that has bright spots and a weak division to compete against, Harbaugh may only need the opportunity of an actual season to restore San Francisco’s winning tradition. New Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway had spoken to Harbaugh too, but Denver will certainly enjoy the stability Fox brings whenever the rollercoaster challenge of a regular season comes around. With Fox’s background in defense, and Denver’s weakness there, it seems a lock that Fox will take a defender at pick no.2

Monster year for the D-Line

Many of the league’s worst teams – and consequently many of its new head coaches – will be looking to the front seven in the draft. With the likes of Auburn’s Fairley, and a host of ends such as Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson), Marcell Dareus (Alabama), Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Robert Quinn (North Carolina), and more, this draft is front-loaded with pass-rushing talent, and there’s no shortage of teams that need it, including the first four teams in the

draft. With the Cardinals at pick 5 seeking a QB, the 49ers may go D-line as well at 7. However, teams investing high picks on linemen may have to ponder very hard what sort of condition these big fellas will be in if the distance from draft to minicamp is more than a year.

Offseason: First Stop, NSD

Fitness assessments for all potential draftees will be with us this month, as the NFL combine swings around again. However, February’s football calendar kicks off with National Signing Day, Feb 2, as the next generation signs up from high school to college. While Auburn loses Newton, Fairley, Adams and its senior class, they’re already projecting another good recruiting class. Alabama are threatening to seize signature glory, but more intriguingly Texas seem unbowed by their 5-7 season, riding high, and while sanction-bound USC may not have the wealth of scholarships others have on offer, there’s been no shortage of interest. Was there anything else going on in February? Oh yes, the Super Bowl. Your actual real live football. Savor it. H

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The American

Who’s Who at the NHL Mid-mark Dan Carcillo is helping Philadelphia top the league at the mid-way mark

PHOTO © GETTY IMAGES COURTESY OF PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

By Jeremy Lanaway

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ost teams in the NHL have just banked their 46th game of the 2010-11 schedule, a handful past the midway mark, and the standings both confirm the usual expectations and reveal some startling surprises. It remains to be seen if the following five teams will manage to cling to their top-five ranking, but for the time being, they represent the best of the best in the NHL.

#1 Philadelphia Flyers

Last season’s Stanley Cup runnersup are proving that their storybook run in the post-season was anything but a fluke. Forwards Danny Briere, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards are leading the Flyers’ charge with 24, 20 and 15 goals respectively, accounting for more than one third of the team’s league-leading 158 tallies. Netminders Brian Boucher and newby Sergei Bobrovsky haven’t been lights-out, but they’ve been good enough to keep the Flyers on the tenth rung of the goals-against ladder with 122. The Flyers were the first team in the league to reach the 30-win marker, no small achievement for a lunch-bucket group missing the services of their number-one defenceman and veteran leader, Chris Pronger, who remains on the IR list as he waits to undergo surgery for an injured right foot.

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The American

#2 Vancouver Canucks

It’s the fortieth season for British Columbia’s favourite hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks, and for the first time in the franchise’s Stanley Cup-less history, the Canucks have – and deserve – a top-three position in the NHL points race. In fact, the Canucks sit tied with the Flyers at 65 points, but have managed one fewer win, which relegates them to the number-two seed. The Canucks are number-two in goals-for (152) and number-four in goals-against (113). The goals-against comes as no surprise when you take into account the fact that the goaltending tandem of Roberto Luongo and backup Cory Schneider have 2.38 and 2.35 goals-against averages respectively, good enough for eleventh and tenth in the league’s rankings. The Canucks are also benefiting from arguably the best depth of any team in the league, getting scoring from their first three lines on a nightly basis.

#3 Detroit Red Wings

What can you say about the Red Wings that hasn’t already been said a hundred times before? Not much. Having inked 46 games on the scoresheet, the Red Wings currently hold the third spot in the league with sixty-two points, and they show no signs of slowing up, despite their aging roster. Speaking of the Red Wings’ roster, one third of it has been assigned to the press box thanks to a spate of injuries. Tomas ‘The Mule’ Holmstrom is listed only as day-today with a broken right hand, but five of the Red Wing’s other top-end players – Brad Stuart, Chris Osgood, Danny Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk and Mike Modano – are nursing significant injuries on the team’s ever-growing IR list. Despite these seemingly season-ending holes in their roster,

the Red Wings are still managing to find a way to win, a trait that has separated the franchise from the rest of the league for the last decade.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins suffered the dreaded ‘Cup hangover’ last season, but they’ve obviously cleared their heads this time around. Captain Sidney Crosby leads the league with 66 points (32 goals and 34 assists), after managing a 25-game point streak, large as life on HBO’s reality series 24/7 – Penguins vs. Capitals, a prime-time run-up to the 2011 Winter Classic, hosted by the Steel City. Sid’s streak is the longest since Mats Sundin notched points in 30 straight games in the 1992-93 season. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury struggled in his first ten outings, but has since reclaimed his season, weighing in with a GAA of 2.26, seventh best in the league.

#5 Dallas Stars

Surprise number two comes in the form of the Stars, who’ve amassed 61 points in 46 puck-drops. The Stars, who dealt marquee goalie Marty Turco and franchise forward Mike Modano, weren’t expected to be in the mix for the next three or four years and yet, lo and behold, here they are, sitting fifth in the NHL. Stars forward Brad Richards sits in sixth in league-wide points standings, which doesn’t surprise poolsters who’ve banked on his soft hands in the past, but what may come as a revelation is the fact that Richards’ fellow forward Loui Eriksson is standing pat as number nine in the NHL’s scoring race. If pipeminder Kari Lehtonen can maintain his .918 save percentage, the Stars may continue to surprise in the post-season. H

BritSport Sheffield Successfully Defend BBL Cup Title With the Mersey Tigers riding high on the BBL Championship table, they were clear favorites going into the British Basketball League’s Cup Final. However, the Sheffield Sharks – presently 6th in league play – were more than ready to defend their Cup crown, cruising to a 93-66 victory. New York-born Steve Dagostino lead the way for Sheffield with 35 points. The Sharks doubled up on Mersey’s score 20-10 after the first period, lead 51-25 at the half and never looked under threat as the Tigers struggled to bring their A-game without injured Great Britain national squad forward Nate Reinking. Poor perimeter shooting and defensive disarray culminated in an uncharacteristically meek performance by Mersey. BBL Championship action continues from February to April, with the next major title on the line with the Trophy Final, March 5th at the O2 Arena, London. For more information, visit www.BBL.org.uk

British Universities American Football League Returns Just in case you thought the college football season was all over, a reminder that the 72-college-strong BUAFL returns from its festive break as February approaches. Conference leaders at the break included Newcastle, Sheffield, Loughborough, Bristol, Portsmouth, and Hertfordshire, with Birmingham, Southampton and Exeter also amongst the unbeaten. For more information, visit www.BUAFL.net

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The American March 2011  

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

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