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August 2011

THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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£2.80 www.theamerican.co.uk

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Tennant & Tate Much Ado Reviewed Fashion: The accessories that will make your summer Travel: James Carroll Jordan cruises the Med ALSO: BRUCE JOEL RUBIN ON GHOST THE MUSICAL


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The American ®

Issue 700 August 2011 PUBLISHED BY SP MEDIA FOR

Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Telephone all departments +44 (0)1747 830520 Publisher: Michael Burland editor@theamerican.co.uk

Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director advertising@theamerican.co.uk

Subscriptions: theamerican@blueedge.co.uk

Design & Production: Kirsty Haville production@theamerican.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 Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey jeremy@theamerican.co.uk Estelle Lovatt, Arts estelle@theamerican.co.uk Josh Modaberi, Sports josh@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., www.advent-colour.co.uk ISSN 2045-5968 Cover: (Main Image) David Tennant and Catherine Tate. Photo: Johan Persson Inset Left Photo: White House / Pete Souza. Inset Right Photo: Malcolm McKee.

Welcome T

his month we reach our 700th issue. That’s some record, in these days of magazines closing down every day. And we have done it because of you, our readers. The American only exists because, way back in the 1970s, the U.S. expat community wanted a publication of its own. We aim to keep it fresh and evolving as times change. Let us know if there is anything you would like us to do differently.

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s we go to press it’s difficult to know what is going to happen in the Murdoch/News Corp saga. The company’s UK has resigned and the FBI is getting involved. One thing you can say is that News Corp has lost the trust of its readers and its advertisers. That is one thing that The American prides itself on. We have always been – and remain - here for the American community and its British friends. Enjoy your magazine,

Michael Burland, Editor editor@theamerican.co.uk

SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS

Jarlath O’Connell is an Olivier Award judge and The American’s theater reviewer. His pithy and witty theater reviews tell you what’s hot – and what’s not.

Estelle Lovatt is an arts correspondent and tutor, author, radio producer and presenter. A British citizen, she is married to American journalist Charlie Woolf.

James Carroll Jordan is an American actor living and working in London. Share his insights into what it’s like behind the scenes in the acting world.

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... 5IF"NFSJDBOt*TTVFt"VHVTU

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News American and British guests enjoy the Ambassador’s July 4th picnic, and an U.S. crew does well at Henley Royal Regatta

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Diary Dates Summer in Britain means lots to see and do - here’s the cream

12 Cruisin’ The Med Actor James Carroll Jordan encounters culture, Mafiosi and the best ice cream in the world on a Mediterranean cruise 16 Travel: St Barths Little heard of but much loved by those in the know is this Caribbean island gem

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PHOTO: JODY MORRIS

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20 Accessorize The bag, the bangle, the bandana - it’s the details that count 22 Give Feet A Chance It’s easy to forget our feet, but the right shoes are vital for health

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24 Art Cy Twombley has sadly died, just as a major exhibition twins his work with Poussin’s. Meanwhile Tracey Emin’s retrospective opens 26 Wining and Dining Two restaurants that span the price scale but both offer great food 31 Coffee Break Sudoku joins our Quiz this month. And it’s welcome back to The Johnsons, our cartoon

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32 Music Darius Rucker, formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish and now a solo country star, talks to The American 36 Bruce Joel Rubin Interview The writer of Ghost is over in the UK to open Ghost the Musical - he tells us about long-held love of theater and film and his new-found love of England career

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40 Reviews The hottest tickets on the British stage reviewed

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48 Politics It’s how soon until the next U.S. elections? Here are the ‘known known’ Republican candidates 50 Drive Time Alternatively... the latest on electric vehicles, and driving in Europe 52 Sport Incisive commentary on the NBA and NHL drafts

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56 Sideline Richard L Gale on Englishness, American-ness and the role of the oak in both 57 American Organizations Useful and fun societies for you to join 3


The American

American Cell Phones in the UK American cell phones are typically blocked from making calls when used abroad to protect against fraud. Before traveling, call your provider and ask to have this restriction removed, otherwise you will not be able to use your phone in the UK. Excessive phone bills can be avoided by replacing the American SIM card with one purchased from the country that you are visiting. Overseas SIM cards can be purchased before you leave the U.S. or at shops in the UK. If you are thinking of doing this, check with your mobile phone provider. Some companies electronically lock their phones so that only their companies’ SIM cards are accepted. Finally if you are bringing your American cell phone to the United Kingdom, make sure the battery charger is dual voltage; if not, all the above will be worthless.

Online Form DS-160 Problem Are you having problems uploading a photograph to the DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application)? The Embassy says that it is aware that applicants are experiencing problems when attempting to upload a photograph to the DS-160. It is a world-wide issue and a development team is currently working on a resolution. In the meantime, they have been advised that refreshing the page should make the error go away and allow you to continue processing the application.

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Ambassador Susman joins in the fun at the July 4th picnic

Fourth Of July Celebrations

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he annual Fourth of July picnic at Winfield House, the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in London, was enjoyed by invited guests both American and British along with Ambassadors from other countries. Under previous Ambassadors the event was a more formal event, but now, organized by Mrs Marjorie Susman, the day is firmly based around the family, with many guests bringing their children to enjoy games and activities while their parents listened to an excellent band and sipped drinks on the beautiful lawns. Great American food was, of course, available, from burgers to hot dogs to ice cream. Ambassador Louis Susman joined in the fun, taking part in the kids’ tug-of-war competition. The results, diplomatically, were undisclosed. Welcoming their British guests, Mr Susman said, “Being together is a measure of the respect we have both for each other, and for the cherished values of freedom and liberty” that we share, then joked that he was “glad that no grudges are held any more from our independence.” More seriously, he continued, “It reminds us too that it is not only Americans, but citizens from

all nations who understand what we celebrate today and why - for freedom beats strongly in the hearts of all people everywhere. We have seen that again this year, where the timeless ideals that inspired Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams, are finding voice in men and women across North Africa and the Middle East., where individual rights, the rule of law, and human dignity are challenging regimes maintained by repression and intimidation. As our first President George Washington once wrote, “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth. So while the Fourth of July is a uniquely American holiday, it is a celebration of ideals and values that echo the hopes and aspirations of people throughout the world. We can have pride that 235 years after the bells of Philadelphia pealed, the basic American message of liberty continues to resonate powerfully.”


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The Bribery Act

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Notting Hill Carnival

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he Notting Hill Carnival is held on August Bank Holiday weekend (the last weekend in August when the Monday following the Sunday still has an August date, this year Sunday August 28th and Monday 29th. It is noisy, colourful and fun, and is said to be the largest street carnival in Europe. The numbers are staggering: twenty miles of incredible, vibrant costumes, over 40 static sound systems mostly blasting out reggae, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls, over 40,000 volunteers and well over 1 million revellers. Around 50,000 performers are expected this year. Children are especially welcome and have their own floats, usually on the first day. It is crowded, some predict 2.5 million are expected to pass through, take part or watch over the weekend. The first carnival was held in 1964 with around 500 people present. Notting Hill Station is closed and it is best to plan carefully, making sure you know how you are going to return. Yes, there are pickpockets and a bit of crime but every effort is made on all sides to keep it under control - for example policemen and women are

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encouraged to dance with those taking part!. It used to end up a bit rough, but now it is no worse than any carnival of this size. If you are a newcomer, go fairly early and leave before sundown. Enjoy it. How did it all start? In 1948, a lean year after the Second World War, a large old troop ship called the Windrush docked in Tilbury on 22nd June with 492 aboard, mostly West Indian families. The West Indies had high unemployment and Britain needed bus drivers. There were many other factors of course, but how strange it must have been for them, how dull and terribly cold, in their best clothes with their hearts full of hope, being stared at by thousands of people many of whom had never seen a dark skin before. Years went by, other migrants followed and awful mistakes were made on all sides but good things happened too, among which came The Carnival, full of light and fun and colour. Go to it on the web (www.thenottinghillcarnival.com) to find out details and see a bit of London you may not know. - Mary Bailey

The Bribery Act 2010 was introduced in England on Friday 1st July 2011. How will it affect your company? Can you still offer hospitality to your important clients? Ron Reid, a Partner in law firm Shoosmiths, says yes, but with care: The act is amongst the toughest anti-bribery and corruption legislation in the world. The publicity surrounding the introduction of this Act has led to concerns about how this will impact on corporate hospitality and other promotional activities. Such concerns are overstated. The Government in published guidance has made it clear that it is not the intention that genuine hospitality or reasonable and proportionate business expenditure should infringe the legislation. The intention is to catch hospitality which is really a cover for bribing someone. In a commercial context (that is not involving foreign public officials) for there to be an offence, the prosecution must show that the hospitality a) provided an advantage to another person; and b) was offered or given with the intention of inducing the person to perform

You can still treat your clients, if it is proportionate to your business PHOTO: POMMERY


The American

a relevant function improperly or in the knowledge that the acceptance of the advantage would in itself be improper performance. This ‘improper performance’ of a function is a performance which amounts to a breach of an expectation that a person will act in good faith, impartially or in accordance with a position of trust. Home Secretary Kenneth Clarke has made it clear that the tough new legislation was aimed at making life difficult for those responsible for corruption but not to unduly burden the vast majority of decent law abiding firms. He said that nobody wants to stop firms getting to know their clients by taking them to events like Wimbledon or the Grand Prix. The Guidance specifically allows for the standards and norms of a particular sector to be relevant to proportionality. So companies can be sure that continuing to provide hospitality to sporting & cultural events as a reflection of your good relations do not infringe the Act, provided that they are reasonable and proportionate for the business being undertaken.

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COURTESY HHENLEY ROYAL REGATTA, © OEPKES.COM

Henley Royal Regatta and the Boys From The USA

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enley is a lovely riverside town up the Thames from Maidenhead, Windsor and Runnymede (where the Magna Carta was signed) and its world famous Regatta is a global rowing event attracting all categories of international oarsmen to compete, writes Social Correspondent Mary Bailey. It lasts five days. Just after the Second World War, the Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) added a race, the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup to the list of events, for crews not reaching their nineteenth birthday before the last day of the regatta. It is rowed in heats as the river is narrow here and only two eights can row alongside each other, unlike many regattas which are raced on wide lake. Not to turn down a challenge, along from the U.S.A. this year came St Andrews, St Joseph’s Prep and St Paul’s Concorde in fighting mood. St Andrews, which does not even row all year and is quite a small school, got into the final, beating

Eton College to whom this part of the river is like home. Eton led them for a mile so it was really some effort. In the final St Andrews were beaten by Abingdon, the favourites, but St Andrews went home on a well deserved ‘high’. Anyone who has ever held an oar will know of those cold, very early training mornings and the agony of effort and strain. Next year’s crew will fix Abingdon with a beady eye. Now all is quiet again in Henley, the last dinner under canvas has been eaten, the champagne drunk, the fireworks dimmed, and the boats either moored or gone. And the swans? They have seen it all before and are calming down to their usual routine. They belong to the Queen and will be checked and counted soon in the famous swan upping ceremony. We hope all the crews had a wonderful time and will always remember that whatever befalls them, now or in later life, it is a wonderful thing to have rowed well at Henley. - Mary Bailey

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The American

Diary Dates

Your Guide To The Month Ahead Canary Wharf Jazz Festival

Get your event listed free in The American – call the editor on +44 (0)1747 830520, or email details to editor@theamerican.co.uk

Children’s Summer Fete

Canary Wharf becomes the hub of all things jazz. The diverse line-up includes the jazz-folk talent of Gwyneth Herbert, rare groovers The Herbaliser, BBC Award winner and Mercury Prize nominee Kit Downes and Canadian jazz trumpeter Jay Phelps with Clare Teal and a brand new 16-piece Big Band. Jazz on the Screen is a series of stylised documentaries shown on the big screen in Canada Square Park, including Ben Stern’s landmark Jazz on a Summer Day and The Monk and Monk in Europe. 020 7001 3016 AUGUST 12 TO 14 _________________________________

Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London WC2N 5NF

World Pipe Band Championships

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Truckfest Scotland

Various, Edinburgh

Royal Highland Showground, Ingliston, Edinburgh

The world’s biggest arts festival. The Fringe is the ‘alternative’ sister to the classical music, theatre and arts festival. The line–up comprises a literally thousands of shows. Everything from comedy, theatre, dance and physical theatre, events, exhibitions, children’s shows, music, musicals and opera, some free. See also ‘Edinburgh Festivals’ entry for other festivals. www.edfringe.com AUGUST 5 TO 29

Edinburgh Military Tattoo Castle Esplanade, Edinburgh A must if you’re in Scotland – or a good reason to visit there. Music and spectacle set against the world famous backdrop of Edinburgh Castle with military bands and artists from around the world, massed Highland Dancers, and the haunting sound of the Lone Piper. www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk 0131 225 1188 AUGUST 5 TO 27

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Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London

Truckfest is the UK’s main event (with its regional spin-offs) for lovers of big trucks – lots of activities, live music and personalities. www.truckfest.co.uk 0844 209 7363 AUGUST 6 TO 7 _________________________________

The House’s first annual Summer Fete. Activities include Print This!, a workshop on the printing process. Fun for all the family learning about Franklin’s success as a printer: print your own message, picture or sign using everyday objects. Tuesdays August 9, 16 and 23, 11am & 2pm www.benjaminfranklinhouse.org info@benjaminfranklinhouse.org 020 7839 2008 AUGUST 9 TO 23 (TUESDAYS) _________________________________

Glasgow Green, Greendyke Street, Glasgow The World Pipe Band Championships have been associated with Glasgow since 1948 and are a celebration of the very best of Scottish music, culture and dance. The event will see over 8,000 pipers and drummers from across the globe, plus Highland Games. www.theworlds.co.uk 0141 353 8000 AUGUST 13 _________________________________

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival Brecon Jazz Festival

Sandown, Isle of Wight

The Drill Hall, 25 Lion Street, Hay–on–Wye HR3 5AD

Garlic ice–cream, jelly beans, fudge and beer! A two–day event that came about after a visit to the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. Garlic is grown locally in Newchurch. www.garlic–festival.co.uk info@garlic-festival.co.uk 01983 614 612 AUGUST 20 TO 21

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, Allen Toussaint, Monty Alexander, Maceo Parker, Courtney Pine + Zoe Rahman and many more. www.hayfestival.com/breconjazz 01497 822 629 AUGUST 12 TO 14


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The American

Victorian Festival Llandrindod Wells, Wales

American Museum in Britain Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD Housed in Georgian splendor at Claverton Manor in Bath, the American Museum in Britain remains the only museum outside the US to showcase the nation’s decorative arts. There are permanent exhibitions, workshops, Quilting Bees every Tuesday, kids’ activities and special events: AUGUST Special Exhibit: The Dress that Caught the Prince’s Eye (until Sep 4th) The dress that sparked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s royal romance, recently sold at auction for £78,000. Mondays and Thursdays Kids Stuff, activities for youngsters; August 8th Screen Goddesses: alongside the Museum’s Marilyn Monroe exhibit, this course puts Marilyn in context by examining her rivals including Gloria Swanson, Claudette Colbert, and Audrey Hepburn; 14th Appalachia, an all-string band with tight four-part harmonies; 28th FREE Movie Night: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, enjoy this Marilyn Monroe classic musical in a free, outdoor screening on the South Lawn (bring a chair or picnic rug). Numbers are limited so pick up your free tickets at our reception desk (limit 6 per person). Open every Monday in August. www.americanmuseum.org info@americanmuseum.org 01225 460503 AUGUST 1 TO 31 ______________________________

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As Llandrindod was a thriving spa resort in the Victorian era it seemed natural to base a festival on the Victorian theme. Horses and carriages, Victorian window displays, townspeople and some visitors sporting appropriate costumes, create a miraculous atmosphere. After nine days, the proceedings close with a torchlight procession and fireworks display over the lake. www.victorianfestival.co.uk AUGUST 20 TO 28 _______________________________

Glasgow Riverside Rat Race Glasgow A new open urban adventure running event with obstacles, challenges and activities in and around the River

Clyde. A 10km running (or walking) way-marked journey along the banks of the Clyde, interspersed with adventure activities, obstacles and challenges based alongside, near or in the river and taking in some of the city’s riverside landmarks. Open to reasonably fit individuals and teams, costs £35 per person. www.ratraceadventure.com AUGUST 21 ______________________________

Memory Remains: 9/11 Artefacts at Hangar 17 Imperial War Museum London, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ Following the attack on the World Trade Center the 16 acre site was cleared. Hangar 17 at JFK Airport was filled with debris and material from Ground Zero, transforming it into a storehouse of memories. Spanish–American artist Francesco Torres, commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, was granted access and produced a series of photographs reflecting on the emotional power of what remained after 9/11. Now they are in London. london.iwm.org.uk AUGUST 26 TO FEBRUARY 26, 2012 _________________________________

Great Dorset Steam Fair Tarrant Hinton, Dorset DT11 8HX

Notting Hill Carnival Notting Hill, West London

THE National Heritage Show, this is the leading steam engine and agricultural pursuits show of its type in the world, covering over 600 acres. Showman’s and working steam engines, heavy horses, classic cars and motorbikes, a funfair and live music. You cannot see everything in a day. www.gdsf.co.uk enquiries@gdsf.co.uk 01258 860361 AUGUST 31 TO SEPTEMBER 4

Held each August Bank Holiday since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe. Every year the streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street festival. Twenty miles of vibrant colourful costumes surround over 40 static sound systems, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls, over 40,000 volunteers and over 1 million Notting Hill carnival revellers. www.thenottinghillcarnival.com AUGUST 28 TO 29


The American

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The American

Cruisin’ the Med This month in Actors Corner, James Carroll Jordan sings for his supper on a cruise

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nd not just any cruise! My wife Jan Hartley and I were booked as entertainment on a lovely cruise ship, The Minerva, for Swan Hellenic, as it traveled around Italy beginning at Venice and ending at Rome. We had to do three shows to “sing for our supper” and the cruise was ours to enjoy. I have to say I have never enjoyed a holiday so much in my life. You never know what is around the corner as an actor. Venice was an absolute delight. We hopped aboard a Vaporetto and off we went on a tour of the canals. You haven’t lived until you have cruised the canals of Venice with your partner. Romance is heightened by the soft warm air and gorgeous palaces lining the Grand Canal and certainly helped by the refreshing glass of local Chianti at one of our many stops. A pleasant surprise was finding that a party of

over forty Americans were aboard the Minerva and it seemed at least half of them were on our Vaporetto. As an American living permanently in England it is a joyous boon to be surrounded by enthusiastic and friendly Yanks rather than the closed yet polite English I have grown used to over the past twenty years or so. I was soon caught up in their excitement and found, in trying to get an extra special shot of the house of Desdemona, that I somehow smeared oil from the Vaporetto all over my new linen shorts. I have always had a touch of pig-pen in me. We then had a huge argument about ice cream. I said Italian was the best in the world, if eaten in Italy. Now saying anything is better in the world than what is found in America is raising a red flag to a bull, so I made them all get off at the next bridge and treated them to

some ice cream at a street vendor. Being Americans, they were honest as the day is long and after four or five licks they admitted defeat. All except for one old guy who was still swearing about ‘Orville somebody’. This got us all on foot, the best way to see Venice. Everyone was spending money like sailors on shore leave, but I was after only one thing; one of those silk ties with a picture of a naked woman on the back of it. I had one years ago and someone stole it - or my wife eighty-sixed it, I’m not sure - so I was out to find another. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one anywhere. Jan mentioned that perhaps it was for the best and that I might just have outgrown ties with nude women on the back of them. The cool thing about cruising is that you have no hotel to check into or out of. You just get back on board at the right time and off you go on

(From Left to Right) The Aeolian Islands, the Teatro Massinmo, Palermo, and Jim enjoying a well-earned beer

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The American

your floating hotel, with five star meals and service with your every whim and desire catered for. After a fabulous dinner and cocktails in the bridge bar, we nodded off to the gentle sound of the ships engines steadily taking us to our next port of call; Ravenna. Then on to a short detour, Montenegro, and the lovely port of Kotor. Next came Crotone; a small city that had grown out of an eighth century Greek colony into a dingy commercial port and a town with loads of rubbish strewn over it. We didn’t linger long. I was in fact bursting to get to Sicily and see the opera house where Michael Corleone planned the murder of all his enemies whilst they were planning to get him but missed and got his daughter and nephew. Sicily was all I had hoped for. As I walked along the cobbled streets it seemed on every corner small groups of dubious looking men gathered and talked and gesticulated menacingly and smoked incessantly and ominously kissed each other’s cheeks at odd intervals between making curious and

dangerous hand signals to younger men sitting at a distance on their mopeds. I was fascinated, but didn’t tarry because when they made eye contact with this overly inquisitive tourist, my blood froze. To warm up again, I had an espresso which almost tore my stomach out, bought a bar-b-q apron that had Mafia gunmen on it and went back to the ship to have a superb lunch. Jan was horrified to see the pecorino cheese and Sicilian salami and bottle of extra pure Catholic church-blessed Virgin Mary olive oil I proudly showed her. They stank up our cabin for the rest of the cruise. I thought it added character. Jan thought otherwise. That evening while still at sea we did our Rodgers and Hammerstein show to the delight of the crowd of three hundred plus. The forty Americans just loved it and unlike most of the rather reticent English told us so happily. This show really opened up the ball game. It seems that when people see you on stage, or television for that matter, they feel they know you and find it easier to communicate with you. At breakfast

the next morning I was beckoned to join seven happy Yanks at their table and the swapping of stories and lies began. I learned all their names and places of birth and jobs and children’s and grandchildren’s names and they learned all about me. It always amazes me that the English are rarely inquisitive where Americans must know every little detail about you. I am still not sure which national trait I like best; perhaps a blend of the two. After a smooth night at sea we were delighted to find we were in the much more attractive port of Cagliari, Sardinia. After the usual breakfast in bed I brought for Jan I found to my surprise that she was willing to go ashore for a little “looksee”. I was dressed and camera-ed and ready in seconds and waiting at the cabin door before she could change her mind. Off we went for a beautiful stroll in Cagliari. It seemed very up-market with expensive shops and well dressed citizens wandering aimlessly in the warm Mediterranean sunshine. We stopped for a beer at an outside tavern and I tried my Italian out on

PHOTOS: MALCOLM MCKEE, EXCEPT WHERE NOTED PHOTO: VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY

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a very pretty waitress. She patiently listened for five minutes and then answered in perfect American accented English that I was unfortunately speaking a hybrid version of Mexican style Spanish and Neapolitan Italian and perhaps it would be best if we continued in English. I was mortified and left the rest of the ordering to a very smug and amused Jan. It’s not easy being a cosmopolitan man of the world you know. However I was encouraged that she recognized my Neapolitan Italian. I had lived in Napoli for four years in my youth and was really looking forward to seeing it again as it was our next port of call. I desperately wanted to show Jan all the places I had romped and played as a ten year old. Unfortunately Jan was leaving the ship at Naples as she had a singing job in London two days hence. It was all I could do to look suitably despondent and unhappy around her and the others of our acting troupe who were also flying back early. It meant I had four unfettered days to myself as the cruise continued onto Corsica and Rome. I really don’t think I fooled anyone much though. That evening as we left Cagliari I had to present a quiz to the ship’s passengers. ‘A Right Royal Quiz’ was based on the recent royal wedding. Any question to do with royalty in any way was suitable. The best question was a trick one: Which King was the subject of three Hollywood movies, made in 1937, 1976 and 2005? Only one table got the right answer: King Kong! I loved the faces when I read that answer out. Jan had warned me they might get nasty and over-competitive. I pooh-poohed this, after all the average age was around eighty

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four. How much trouble could they possibly be? Sure enough, right in the middle of the quiz - over a silly question about Prince William and Kate - canes were flying, Zimmer frames and walkers were thrown

PHOTO: VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY

(From Top to Bottom) The active volcano Stromboli; James (right) and Jan (center) sing for their supper onboard the Minerva; the unknown but lovely port of Kotor and the Grand Canal in Venice

and language more suitable to the lower deck was being used. All of a sudden I was at the center of a geriatric hurricane. I just managed to charm and cajole my way out of it by giving every table the same amount of points for the question. Phew! Sometimes this acting business is darned dangerous. Give me Arthur Miller anytime. The winning table won a bottle of bubbly and the losing table a bottle of Perrier and six straws. Of course it was a table of Americans who were sadly handicapped by their understandable lack of facts on English history and the royal family. I took pity on them and bought them all a round in the Wheeler bar after and spent around six hours drinking and making merry with them all till Jan finally came and took me back to the cabin by my ear. My excuse of being so happy to be around some Americans for a change didn’t cut any ice. After once again saying how sad and sorry I was that Jan had to leave the next evening followed by a disbelieving snort from Jan, we went to sleep to the gentle roll of the Minerva as it chugged its way to Naples. Naples was all I remembered it to be and more. We visited the brass, silver and gold alleys that my mom had dragged me around in the early sixties and it seemed like nothing had changed. We tried to find my old apartment, but it seemed to have been knocked down. That didn’t matter as I proudly showed Jan my old haunts and pointed out Capri and Ischia and told her old stories of my youth. I just hoped that the old adage of “See Naples and die” didn’t apply to me as I have a lot of life and the world to see before that happens!+


The American

Home – Simple Word, Complicated What is HOME? When you hear the word ‘home’ what comes to mind for you? What images do you associate with ‘home’?

Concept

Anne Taylor takes a look at what ‘home’ can mean, especially to expats

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his question of what is ‘home’ arose among a group of foreigners living in London. An American was referring to an upcoming trip to the USA as a trip home and then, in the same sentence, saying

she’d be home in London in time for the Royal Wedding. Which was it? Where was home – where you were born or where you had lived or where your family lives or where you currently live? A new arrival to London was living in temporary housing, albeit a nice flat in Kensington, and lamenting about the difficulty in finding a permanent place that felt like home. Both places were rentals so how is one just a place to live until finding another rental place that’s home?

Another couple who had just moved into their new, permanent home was impatiently waiting for the arrival of their furniture and pictures so it would feel like home. So does that mean it’s not necessarily the structure that is home but what is on and within the walls? An empty nester (a parent whose older children no longer lived at home) commented that she felt torn about home – her kids were in school overseas yet she and her husband lived here. She could identify with both as she travelled between the two often. Was it where her kids lived or where her husband lived? A friend just bought a new home in Europe after living in Southeast Asia for 5 years in furnished accommodation supplied by his company. His container of furnishings has arrived and the new place is decorated like the house he lived in, on another continent, over 5 years ago. How long does it take to for a place to feel like home if it’s a recent purchase in a foreign land?

I moved every five years as a kid until I graduated from University. That meant home was wherever my parents lived and where their/ our furnishings were. Now both my parents are dead so there is no family home to visit. So far I have lived in three countries as an adult. My latest home is a flat filled with my uncle’s furniture. For me, home is wherever I am. I have even been known to refer to a hotel room as home. I’ve made the current flat feel more homey with photos of family and friends. It’s made even more comfortable with my kitchen utensils and appliances! So, home can be some many things: where you were born, where you live, where your family of origin is, where your kids are, where your stuff is, where you are. It can be the land, the structure, the stuff on the walls, the stuff within the walls. It can be the language, the culture, the familiarity. Home is all these things and it is your own unique definition. And most importantly it’s the place where you feel at home. What’s ‘home’ for you? What can you do to make wherever you are feel more like ‘home’? +

Contact coachanne@taynac.com or +44 (0)755 442 1768 for a complimentary life coaching session 15


The American

Caribbean Jewel Virginia E Schultz drinks in the atmosphere of St. Barthelémy, a gem of a Caribbean island – then eats out at its restaurants

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iscovered by Columbus in 1493, invaded by Caribbean Indians, colonized by French sailors, French until 1784, sold to Sweden by one of Louis XIV’s ministers, bought back by the French in 1878, the island of St Barthélemy has had a rich and varied history. St Barths (or St Barts), as most call it, never had plantations, nor did it import African slaves. The island is a holiday haven for many of the fois gras and champagne set, but it retains a relaxing atmosphere. It is one of my favourite places to visit and I never leave without feeling I left most of my problems buried there. St. Barthelémy was named by Christopher Columbus for his brother. Since there was no gold around, he didn’t stay long and it would come as a surprise to him that today during what is known as the “season” there is probably

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more wealth per person on this arid, volcanic rock of eight square miles than any place in the world. The season runs from December through April and the harbour in Gustavia during this time is crowded with enormous yachts. That man or woman exercising beside you at the Hotel Guanahani Spa who looks like some famous celebrity or well known billionaire more than likely is her or him. The French settlers came to the island as early as 1659. Their descendants retain their strong,

Gustavia, the island’s primary village, look similar to those wealthy Europeans and Americans who holiday in the south of France, strolling in and out of the designer boutiques or photographing the wooden and stone buildings remaining from the Swedish era. On the outskirts of town near the lighthouse is Fort Gustave which was built by the Swedes in 1787. The fort overlooks the port that was once a refuge for pirates selling their plundered treasure and ships captains needing to replen-

“In a lazy mood, one can walk along the white sandy beaches and gaze up at the many beautiful houses lining the hillside..” independent personality and the island feels more Mediterranean than Caribbean. The shoppers in

ish their ships. While the rest of the Caribbean raged in wars, St, Barthélemy flourished from con-


The American

traband and commerce and even after they were back under the French flag maintained its success. Modern visitors enjoy exploring the coral reefs while scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, sailing or water-skiing. In a lazy mood, one can walk along the white sandy beaches and gaze up at the many beautiful houses lining the hillside whose owners’ names are often seen in the headlines of newspapers around the world. The St. Barths are a stubborn, canny people and the beaches are open to everyone despite the efforts of a few billionaires to buy the narrow strip of sand in front of their homes. In 2007 Saint Barth’s, like its neighbouring island of St. Martin, voted to evolve from the municipality in Guadeloupe into an Overseas Collectivity (Com) governed by a territorial council. The crime rate is exceptionally low and people who own homes on the island seldom worry about locking up when they go to the beach or enjoy the night life.replenish their ships. While the rest of the Caribbean raged in wars, St, Barthélemy flourished from contraband and commerce and even after they were back under the French flag maintained its success. Modern visitors enjoy exploring the coral reefs while scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, sailing or water-skiing. In a lazy mood, one can walk along the white sandy beaches and gaze up at the many beautiful houses lining the hillside whose owners’ names are often seen in the headlines of newspapers around the world. The St. Barths are a stubborn, canny people and the beaches are open to everyone despite the efforts of a few billionaires to buy the narrow strip of sand in front of their homes. In 2007 Saint Barth’s, like its neighbouring island of St. Martin, voted to evolve from the municipality in Guadeloupe into an Overseas Collectivity (Com) governed by a territorial council. The crime rate is exceptionally low and people who own homes on the island seldom worry about locking up when they go to the beach or enjoy the night life. ALL PHOTOS: LAURENT BENOIT, EXCEPT MARINA AT NIGHT AND TUTRLE IMAGES, WWW.PHOTOTHEQUE.NET © MICHAEL HUSSON

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The American

The Restaurant s T

here are many different kinds of restaurants in St. Barth’s from Michelin stars to hamburger havens. None are cheap, I might add, and an evening out can cost more than in London. My daughter and her husband have a house on the island and when we’re there we often go to Maya’s To Go (www.mayastogo.com) for a takeaway. Maya’s also cater for parties or special celebrations and I don’t know when I tasted better roast chicken. Maya’s Restaurant (www.

tomatoes and arugula. But it was their home made black truffle ravioli and ricotta cheese (28 euro) my granddaughter enjoyed as her main course which was for me the hit of the evening. Not that my Cappellacci stuffed with buffalo mozzarella (28 euro) with pecorino wasn’t delicious or my daughter didn’t enjoy her Paillard of beef with aragula and parmesan (31 euro), but there are some tastes that linger after only one bite. Reservations, I must add, are a must. I hope to visit their newly opened restaurant in New York,

“There are many different kinds of restaurants in St. Barth’s from Michelin stars to hamburger havens. None are cheap, I might add, and an evening out can cost more than in London.” mayas-sbh.com) has been an institution on St. Barth’s for over 25 years. The food is a combination of French, Italian, Asian and Creole and the view of the harbour is lovely. Pa Cri (call +590 (0)29 35 63 or email: pacris@orange. fr) is known for the authenticity of its Italian dishes. The kitchen is opened to the room and you can watch the food prepared in front of you. My granddaughter had the Tartare of Ahi Tuna with tomato and chive (24 euro), my daughter, La Bruschetta a la Burrata (26 euro) and me, Buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto,

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The Villa Pa Cri, the next time I’m there (+1-212-924-5559). I haven’t eaten at Le Gaiac (at the Hotel Toiny www.letoiny.com), but a gourmand friend who ate there at Christmas assures me that head chef Stephan Mazieres, who earned the Relais & Grands Chefs Trophy-Taittinger, can compete with any top chef in Europe or the States. Although many of the fresh ingredients come from France and the US, the fish is caught daily by local fishermen and local herbs and vegetables cultivated in the restaurant’s greenhouse. There is also an excellent wine cellar which includes biodynamic wines from France. +


The American

My Life With A Bipolar Genius Ruth LLeon, eon, writer, producer producer and critic tells Virginia E. Schultzz about about her life with Sheridan Morley In her book But What Comes After? Ruth Leon talks of her late husband Sheridan Morley who suffered from bipolar disorder (manic depression) most of his life and whose condition grew worse after a stroke. Sheridan, she told me, was the most talented man she ever met, a broadcaster, author, biographer, raconteur and journalist, the best interviewer in the business, often compared to the great critic Kenneth Tynan. Ruth was equally talented. As a ten year old she wrote reviews for The Children’s Newspaper. She met Sheridan at Oxford. Although they were friends, both married other people, Ruth to Michael, an American journalist who lived in Brussels while she worked for Granada in London. Liv-

ing in different countries proved unsatisfactory, so they moved to his hometown of Washington, D.C. where he became a producer for Nightly News and Ruth joined PBS as head of arts programming. Sheridan and Ruth remained friends and she and Michael would visit him in London en famille. Although life in D.C. was interesting, Ruth’s major love, as now, was New York and it wasn’t long before she worked there full time. Michael tried to be with her, but they agreed he couldn’t turn down the lure of Washington and the offer of a job on the MacNeil/ Lehrer News Hour. At the time, Ruth was producing Tonight at Carnegie Hall for public television, wallowing in the arts from jazz to opera, avantgarde dance to ballet, cabaret to lieder and becoming friends with Aaron Copland, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leonard Bernstein, and Isaac Stern. (Her book, The Sound of Musicals is a must read). Sheridan came to visit. After one wonderful evening he announced he loved her. Ruth didn’t want to lose his friendship, but couldn’t see anything but disaster as they were both married and Sheridan had three children. She now feels that although his feelings for her were real, he spoke so passionately because of his bipolar disorder. Life in New York was perfect, but at the age of fifty she finally married Sheridan, first in New York then in London. Life was mostly good and they led a fasci-

nating life with fascinating friends. His depression was controlled by medication, although from time to time he’d crash into suicidal depression. He had never been good with money, putting them into debt several times, and committed himself to so much work Ruth ended up ghost writing for him. Then he had his stroke and it wasn’t until 2005 when he had historic brain surgery that life returned to some normalcy. His mood remained low until he died in his sleep in 2007, age 65. Afterwards, Ruth realized she had been mourning his loss for years. Life goes on merrily for this woman who has won Emmys, an International Emmy, a Peabody Award and a Carnegie Hall Medal. She has written with Sheridan biographies of Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, George Gershwin, and Marilyn Monroe, authored and coauthored books about theatre in the 20th century, is a visiting professor of drama at the University of Kingston Upon Thames and the theatre critic for Playbill and the London Dance Critic for Bloomberg Muse. She’s still constantly on a plane travelling between two continents. Ruth loves entertaining at home and at favourite restaurants in London like The Ivy, Wolseley, Le Caprice, Scotts, and Joe Allen’s, places that don’t stack chairs on the tables at eleven pm but stay open until the early hours. If she could come back in another life, Ruth told me, she’d be her cat, Byline, who sleeps all day and who has nice people cuddling and feeding him. Somehow, I doubt that. +

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The American

f

O I H S A F FASHION

Bold striking accessories make or break an outfit. Get some great advice for this season

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s In The Bag.... and the hat, and the jewelry. Thea Sharkriss 

 

 

   

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he beautiful black Ralph Lauren gown First Lady Michelle Obama wore for the dinner the President and she gave for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

off. Louis Vuittonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s High Jewellery Collection, Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ame du Voyage, has similar necklaces that are equally dramatic and just as expensive. Think ÂŁ15 thousand and up, up, up. Tiaras, whether inherited from

fascinators has suddenly been seen at weddings and events such as Ascot thanks to her influence. Speaking of hats, what about the Philip Treacy Princess Beatrice wore to the Duke and Duchess of Cam-

This is the summer for bangles and the more the merrier..

PHOTO: WHITE HOUSE / PETE SOUZA

The First Lady with that dress and THAT necklace You too can have a necklace similar to Michelleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, like this gorgeous creation by Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ame Du Voyage... at a price

at Winfield House, the U.S Ambassadorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s residence, was my favourite of all the outfits she had on while in London this past May, but it was the modern diamond necklace around her neck that evening that caught my attention. Very much a power piece of jewellery, only someone with Michelleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dramatic looks and strong personality could carry it

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great grandmother or bought for some special occasion, have suddenly become popular but in my humble opinion best left at home. The Queen in her sparkling diamond tiara looks as if she was born to wear one, which, of course, she was, but that isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t true of most of us no matter how aristocratic our (or our significant otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s) ancestry is. Outside of brides, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wise if the tiara is kept locked in the safe as no one proved more than the Duchess of Cornwall did when she wore one for the Obama dinner at Buckingham Palace. Looking at how uncomfortable Camilla appeared, I found myself recalling the fabulous feather fascinator she had on when she married Prince Charles. More than one woman must have agreed because this trend for

bridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wedding? The majority of us probably would have hid behind closed doors until the laughter cooled down, but Beatrice showed a true sense of humour by putting that hat for sale on eBay and having the last laugh when it sold for ÂŁ81,000 which she then donated to charity. At lunch at The Palm Restaurant recently, I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help admiring the dramatic silk head scarf worn by the woman at the table next to me and finally asked where she bought it. It was a summer sarong she told me she bought years before. Deciding it was a great idea, I used


The TheAmerican American

one of mine after swimming in a friend’s pool and it does work, although in some cases one might need to cut the length slightly. After a day of sun, sand and salt

Above: The beautiful, influential Philip Treacy fascinator that the Duchess of Cornwall wore at her wedding to Prince Charles

Below: Camilla’s hat as worn at the most recent royal wedding, William & Katherine’s

water at a resort,your hair hanging limply around your face, this is the answer to looking glamorous or at least reasonably smart when going out later that evening. Of course, you could buy several meters of some colourful fabric or take the material from an ancient dress or gown that’s been hanging in your closet you no longer want or need if you’re good with a needle or sewing machine. And if you have enough material, a matching bag

------------------

PHOTO: PHILIP TREACY

PHOTO: KEVIN DAVIES

would If you prefer to stick to look summer type bags, Next smashhas a straw bag (£18) ing with which is perfect for now it. Craft and at that price can courses be tossed out when are being September arrives. taught in Of course if money schools all is no object, the over England leather bag I saw at or take one Prada (£1,595) is offered by John extremely smart Lewis, includand could last for ing learn to sew years. and mend. For This is the further informasummer for tion, follow John bangles and Lewis on Twitter the more at @johnlewisretail the merrier. or facebook.com/ Prices can JohnLewisRetail for vary from updates. £5 a bangle Animal print bags and seldom are appearing everygo above where and this trend I £55 each. believe will continue into Street fall and winter. Roberto markets Cavalli has a pony skin are a great bag designed to look place to like leopard (£1,780) look or that is smashing with check Folli denim or a winter Follie which coat. If your budget has everything is like mine, Miss from colourful Selfridge has a flower jewelplastic clutch lery to bags. bag (£16) in an Email contact@ animal design follifollie.com.tv. or if can afford Harvey Nichols something continues to be more expenone of my favourite sive, check department stores out the part to buy jewelry, or I leather and go to one of the many animal craft shows being held design bag all over the UK to find by The what I consider the most Kooples imaginative designed at £345. jewelry handmade by ama-

teurs anywhere in the world. Museum shops are also a great place to look and just think you’re helping with their budget as well. Denim is appearing everywhere, but if a girl wants to have fun, go floaty, flowery chiffon in D&G’s silk dress (£485) or Dior’s cotton jumpsuit (£1,700). Better for the budget, check out Marks and Spencer and Top Shop who have a selection of outfits in every kind of design that won’t create an overdraft in your bank account. Whether picnicking in a park or in your own garden, almost any kind of outfit can be worn by any age even if it shocks the neighbours. Dressing sensibly is important on certain occasions, but when the sun finally comes out in July or we’re holidaying at some wonderful holiday resort, dress to have fun. As an eighty year old friend told me when I complimented her on her lovely long silk skirt by Tommy Hilfiger (£285) and her husband’s T shirt belted with his tie at the waist, “You’re only young once, honey.” +

Bags: Roberto Cavalli (below) and The Kooples (previous page)

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The American

HEALTH Fed up with shoes that look good but are (literally) a pain? We have the answer

All We Are Saying… Is Give Feet A Chance Mastoor Khan discovers some attractive shoes that don’t wreck your feet With the abundance of pretty shoes on sale at the moment, it’s worth bearing in mind that 80% of women in the UK suffer from foot problems. Over a third (and 17% of men) have even bought shoes that they know don’t fit. Beware of such blasé attitudes towards your feet! In an average lifetime, they carry you the equivalent of five times around the earth. Corns, calluses and bunions are the least of it. The wrong shoes can adversely affect your gait and posture and in the long-term cause problems all the way up the skeleton.

most British people. Over here, it’s common to see a dentist every six months but never think of seeing a podiatrist until you’re in agony.” She advises, “Be shoe-savvy. If you’re going dancing, wear shoes with a high-fastened strap, so that you don’t have to clench your toes to keep your shoes on.” Flats aren’t necessarily MBT’s curved soles make you feel powerful (left and above)

“Beware of such blasé attitudes towards your feet! In an average lifetime, they carry you the equivalent of five times around the earth.” Podiatrist and podiatric surgeon Emma Supple has experience of working on both sides of the Atlantic. Emma says that Americans are more sensible about foot care than their British cousins: “Americans are far more willing to see a podiatrist than

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healthiest, though. “We all have an individual ‘perfect heel height,’ Emma explains. ‘It’s the natural angle dangling down from your heel. This applies to men and women - and children alike. Heels actually help some people with back problems.” There’s been a revolution in shoes which take into account the hard, flat surfaces we all walk on. Here are some that can improve your foot care... MBTs - the “the anti shoe”: MBTs’ engineers were the trailblazers for “instability” shoes, mimicking the action of bare feet

with their distinctively convexcurved, thick soles. Positive effects include improved posture and increased muscle activity. MBTs have accrued many plaudits from osteopaths and podiatrists. They’re not cheap, but craftsmanship is superb, so they last. They’re highly addictive, making you feel powerful - walking long distances becomes effortless. Not so good if

Earth shoes raise the toes 3.7° above the heel for fashion and comfort


The American

you’re standing still, though. Latest lines have more svelte designs. www.uk.mbt.com Earth Shoes – negative heel technology: Earth footwear raises the toes exactly 3.7° above the heel, excellent for posture as it encourages a straighter gait. Earth shoes accelerate the burn-up of calories and aid with toning and tightening as you walk. They combine snug comfort with fashion, rare in the world of shoes. An extensive range with something to suit everyone. www.lovethoseshoes.com

thin, puncture-resistant soles, which make you feel uniquely light on your feet. They claim this aids ‘proprioception’, the sense of our body’s position and orientation. It comes as a relief to put your foot into a foot-shaped shoe, rather than a triangle. Your feet will thank you, particularly if you’re standing for long periods. With different lines for different ‘terrains’ there are lots of fun and funky designs. www.vivobarefoot.com/uk/

and women, casual to formal. And the heels can be worn for noticeably longer, without discomfort. www.stoneflyshoes.co.uk “The foot is as intricate a structure as the hand,” says Emma. “Going barefoot is good when you’re home, but if you’ve got laminate flooring I’d recommend beech sandals, which separate the toes. I found them brilliant for re-aligning foot function, but they’re difficult to find, so I started to import them myself.” www.supplefeet.com and www. feetforlife.org +

“We all have an

VIVOBAREFOOT – sixth sense proprioception: A shoe all about minimalism,

individual ‘perfect heel height,’ Emma explains. ‘It’s the With Stonefly, heels and comfort can go together

natural angle dangling down from your heel.

VIVOBAREFOOT, the shoe that offers maximum feedback

allowing maximum feedback from the soles of the feet to the brain. Vivobarefoot have patented, ultra-

Stonefly – Bluesoft “cushioning”: Stonefly’s inspiration was to design sports technology and comfort into elegant shoes. Gel inserts cushion the foot from micro-traumas and the effects of rigid surfaces. So, high heels and comfort can go hand in hand. These are gorgeous, impeccably designed Italian shoes for men

This applies to men and women - and children alike. Heels actually help some people with back problems.”

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The American

By Estelle Lovatt

Art sChoice TRACEY EMIN: Love Is What You Want Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London Tracey Emin is big – HUGE – news, all the time, Warholesque in the way that she spins the media. So what new to write about her? She looks great at the press view for her new Hayward Gallery exhibition, apart from the big red bruise on her left knee from swinging on a rope in the woods. Tanned with strawberry blonde hair, and thin - both her and her artwork. Sewing is what she does best. It makes me think of American antique quilts from the 1800s. A part of every American woman’s experience. This is what Tracey gives best; her experiences as a woman. She goes down well in the States. Becoming more Hollywood than Cricklewood, travelling from SF to NYC; choosing Bowie’s Young Americans as one of her Desert Island Discs; flying to America for a breast reduction op; having her books published in the States... Funny how Americans have taken to her, she who runs around exposing more naked flesh than Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl, more foulmouthed than a hillbilly. I want to share with you the reasons I admire and salute her. It’s not for her portfolio. (I’ll come back to her artwork later.) 1) Her shorthand illustrations have become icons for today’s youth, hopefully stopping

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them making the same mistakes she has. 2) Spiritual transcendence: it’s no surprise Emin is a favourite amongst the religious slight. Her theme of selflessness and rebirth is a reflection of one’s own spirituality. The purgatory of lost love makes her the most spiritual artist of our time – “Suffer the little children to come unto me”. 3) She should teach business studies at Harvard. What better emissary for entrepreneurial skills. (“Making money is art, working

investing in her. The rest is history and she’s now a rich Tory, realising that you don’t have to starve to be an artist. Nearly 50, is the Not-So-Young British Artist feeling her age or having a midlife crisis? Not a bit. “I’m happier and freer than I’ve been for years,” she beams. “I’m really thrilled with this show.” This is her first major exhibition here in London: “A lot of the work is from exhibitions I’ve had in America, this being the first time people over here will get to see it.” Having shared her problems - her abortions, her inability to find love or have a baby, her alcoholism - with the world since the 1990s means that she hasn’t produced anything different in her art. “What I do is what Tracey Emin at the Hayward Gallery launch PHOTO: ALEXANDER NEWTON

Tracey Emin, Love is What You Want © TRACEY EMIN

is art and good business is the best art”, Warhol). She opened ‘the shop’ with fellow artist Sarah Lucas in 1993, decorating and selling ashtrays and T-shirts, putting up their prices with each limited edition. After that, with buckets of chutzpah, determination and ego, she opened her own museum. She asked people to have faith in her potential and buy bonds,


The American

I do,” she says confidently. “I start with me and it goes out into the world. And then people can take from it what they want. I’ve not been too appreciated in the past. Now [they’ll all have to] rethink and reassess my work. I want this show to change my life, to become better,” she says as she follows in the shadows of Caravaggio, Dali and Van Gogh. I can’t judge her work in terms of invention or composition, progress or originality...for there isn’t any. Weak at best, why does she use watercolour? Hanging her old drawings close to those recently executed is a mistake because you immediately realise there’s no improvement. Her shaky breaky line being no less robust or any more fragile. Only just as predictable. This is her downfall. It also makes her great. Emin wouldn’t have any bearing on the art world at all, if the predictably of her work was no longer, erm...predictable. My Bed is my favourite work of hers. It’s ingenious, far more revealing than a Rembrandt self-portrait. Unfortunately Saatchi has refused to loan it here, waiting to star in his own show next year. “Full of emotional pulls and emotional challenges,” this is the largest ever presentation of her work. “The tampon piece,” is what she feels “most embarrassed about”, now though. Emin has, touching a nerve, become ‘The People’s Artist’, a Royal Academician, aware, that “culture and art is the soul of a country”. At the Royal Academy Restaurant you can dive into a limited edition bottle of wine - its label created by Emin. Think of Emin, take a large swig, and swallow. Bottoms up, Tracey! After seeing your show – which isn’t grim, it’s rather beautifully curated I’ve never been more optimistic about my life. Thank you.

Nicolas Poussin, Rinaldo and Armida (c. 1630) TATE, LONDON, 2010, © CY TWOMBLY

Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, SE21 UNTIL 25 SEPTEMBER

Sitting down to write this review, I’m saddened by the news that Cy Twombly has just died, on 5 July, from cancer, aged 83. This American painter found fame with his calligraphic paintings, in the late 1950s, using oil paint, pencil and crayon to create abstract works of repeated linear scribbles on canvas. He also painted a ceiling in the Louvre in 2010, the first artist since Braque in the 1950s. Twombly was born in Virginia in 1928, when memories of the civil war and the annihilation of southern pride were still raw. The classical architecture there goes back to Thomas Jefferson, which is probable why he was attracted to Rome, full of disintegrating old ruins covered in the blood from battles. Cy studied art in New York, when abstract expressionism was high, and met Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. In 1954 he was enrolled in the US army where he trained as a cartographer. It was here that he investigated the performance of impulsive free association, as practised by the Surrealists, drawing in the dark. In 1957, he moved from America to Rome, much enamoured by the light, landscape and indecent flesh-pink frescoes telling of sex, death, history

and the gods. Hooked by its poetry, history and mythology he added words into his paintings. Graffitilike, he scratched, dripped, stained, smeared and rubbed out paint, the process he said, was more of “having an experience than making a picture”. Shortly before 9/11 he painted the sea battle of Lepanto, the traumatic 16th century conflict between Christians and Muslims. Twombly’s work has been purchased for millions, a 1971 painting fetching $5.5m (£3.4m) at auction. At Dulwich Picture Gallery Twombly’s contemporary paintings are seen side by side for the first time alongside Poussin’s 17th century classical works. “I would’ve liked to have been Poussin, if I’d had a choice, in another time,” Cy Twombly said. Separated by three centuries, the two artists nonetheless share remarkable similarities. The connections are highlighted through the key themes of Arcadia and the pastoral, Venus and Eros, anxiety and theatricality and mythological figures that are central to both artists’ work.

Cy Twombly, Quattro Stagioni: Autunno, 19935, Acrylic, oil, crayon and pencil on canvas, 3230 x 2254 x 67mm © BY PERMISSION OF THE TRUSTEES OF DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY

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O O The American

dettes

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he only problem with Odette’s as Maxine Howe said, it’s not near enough to where she lives. Located in Primrose Hill Village in North West London, it’s been a popular restaurant for locals since 1978, but since Welsh Chef Bryn Williams bought Odette’s two years ago it’s been getting rave comments from gourmand friends who dine there regularly. Having watched Bryn on television create a fish dish (turbot, braised oxtail, cockles & samphire) that was so good it was chosen to serve at a banquet for Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday

Regent’s Park Road, London, NW1 8XL, 020 7586 8569 | 130 www.odettesprimrosehill.com

in 2006, I was looking forward to the evening despite the almost hour drive in heavy traffic from Maxine’s flat in Pimlico to Primrose Hill. Entering, we found a cozy and delightful restaurant filled with trendy Primrose Hillites as well as more conservative types who had abandoned central London that rainy evening for the restaurant next door. I had heard service had a few teething problems when Bryn first bought Odette’s, but from what I observed that evening all had been straightened out and certainly Maxine and I had no complaints.

RECIPE

Bryn’s Lemon Sole Fishfingers

250g plain flour

S3 4 500

alt & pepper eggs, beaten lemon sole, skinned, filleted (have the fishmonger do this) and cut into halfway lengths. g Japanese Panko breadcrumbs. (The breadcrumbs can be bought in most supermarkets or substitute with regular breadcrumbs.) il, for frying emon wedges, to serve.

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Season the flour with salt and pepper. Then season the beaten eggs with salt and pepper. Gently pass the sole filets through the flour, gently shaking off any excess, then dip into the beaten egg, coating them well. Finish the fishfingers by rolling the sole in the breadcrumbs. Heat some oil in a deep-fat dryer to 180 degrees C/356 degree F. Fry the fishfingers for 4 to 6 minutes until golden all over. If you don’t have a deep fry fryer, gently shallow fry the fishfingers in a little oil for about ten minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown. Remove fishfingers from the oil, drain on kitchen paper, season with salt and serve with a wedge of lemon.

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While we studied the menu, we sipped non vintage De Castellane brut champagne, which, for some reason I seldom have, but always enjoy. There is a tasting menu for £60 per person, £90 including wine by the glass, which, compared to what it costs in my part of town is quite reasonable. Looking around, Maxine had the feeling we were going to enjoy our meal and as soon as a basket of bread arrived I agreed. Bryn’s thickly sliced soda bread made with no yeast (see page 238 in his cookbook) slathered with butter was delicious and I had to fight temp-


By Virginia E Schultz tation not to ask for more. We started with an amuse bouche of mushroom foam with pickled mushrooms that frankly, I could have bypassed. As her starter, Maxine who is more adventurous than me had the roasted wood pigeon, foie gras, pickled cherries, with a hint of chocolate and vanilla salt (£10) which was delicious. After all the bread, I went the more austere route and started with the equally good marinated tomatoes, goat cheese, pine nuts and black olives (£10). With this we sipped La petit Papillon, Granache from Languedoc that surprising didn’t offend my starter. I was tempted to try the turbot Bryn created for the Queen, but the loin of Elwy Valley lamb, potato fondant, baby gem lettuce, peas and mint (£23.00) sounded too good to turn down. Maxine didn’t hesitate when she spotted the saddle of rabbit, aubergine, and grilled courgette

(£19.00) and neither of us regretted our main course, but I have the feeling Bryn waves the Welsh flag a little higher when it comes to lamb. With the rabbit, Maxine had a light pinot noir from the Loire, Les Nauges, and I had a lovely Cotes du Rhone from Alain Jaume that was a perfect match for the lamb. Our pre-dessert, a buttermilk pannacotta with strawberry, was lovely and cancelled any desire I had for cheese until Perl Las cheese, pear and walnut chutney (£8) magically appeared and I changed my mind Tucked away through the dining room is a walled garden seating 25 guests where I hope to dine with a friend in the next few weeks. Bryn has a real passion for food as he showed Maxine and I when we talked to him that evening and I can’t think of a nicer way to spend an evening or enjoy lunch with a friend than at Odette’s.

BRYN’S BOOK

A

fter reviewing Odette’s, I had to have Bryn Williams’ cookbook, Bryn’s Kitchen. It’s based around 20 chapters, each featuring one of Bryn’s favourite ingredients which is then cooked in five different ways, ranging from simple to complex. All are based on flavour and versatility and can be prepared by the experienced cook, or one just starting out, without much difficulty. Growing up on his family’s farm in North Wales, Bryn learned to appreciate the origin of what he ate from an early age while shooting and fishing with his father and uncle or digging potatoes for dinner. He began his career working under Marco Pierre White and then under Michel Roux Jr. at Le Gavroche. In 2006 he was chosen to compete in the first series of the Great British Menu on BBC One and triumphed with his fish course (mentioned above) which he went on to cook for the Queen’s Birthday Banquet. The book is beautifully photographed by Jonathan Gregson and a number of the recipes have tips to help in the preparation. As always I tried one of the recipes and the Lemon Sole Fishfingers are not only better than any I tasted before, but easy to make. It’s a great recipe for that teenager in the family who wants to help cook dinner some evening.

27


The American

Pimlico Fresh 86 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1DN, 020 7932 0030

W

ith the rapid pace of life in London, most hotel restaurants offer exceptional breakfasts to their clients, but it’s only in the past few years a number of fine restaurants have been offering real English breakfasts or some kind of breakfast special to their clients. The problem is, most of these places are posh and one can’t stop by for a cup of coffee or eggs and bacon after a run around the neighbourhood or in the park or even stop by in shorts or jeans and a slightly wrinkled shirt after taking the cherubs to school. Nor will you be greeted warmly by the owner even when you arrive with a slightly cranky toddler or look as if you might still be nursing last night’s hangover. There are exceptions to the rule, and Jackie Clarke, the Australian co-owner of Pimlico Fresh, is one of them. Have a problem she’ll probably sit you down and listen to your problems at the same time she’s serving you one of the best cups of coffee in London. Pimlico Fresh provides cozy and relaxing surroundings and a menu scrawled across a blackboard at one end of the room that’s seldom changed because Jackie’s clients have their favourites and don’t want anything different. It includes eggs and bacon or sausage, house mixed granola with fruit, French toast, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, chunky fish cakes and the most divine lasagne I’ve had in ages. I am easily influenced by food in which vegetables play a major part and I could almost become a vegetar-

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ian after tasting Jackie’s salads and vegetable dishes. Connoisseurs of breakfast are courted, but so are luncheon diners or those who want an early supper before going on to the theatre or just home to watch their favourite TV program. You can order a takeaway or buy one of the freshly made sandwiches, a lovely mixed salad, quiche or have a delicious freshly made glass of juice. Pimlico Fresh goes through 8000 oranges a week satisfying their customers and the most expensive dish on the blackboard is under £7. The setting is simple. The room is not particularly large, there are a few plain tables for two to four and a long wooden table where you can sit with friends or read a newspaper or your favourite book. The nine people who work for Jackie are “just plain nice” as a southern friend might say and the cooking is done by several of them so there is no particular cook, or so it appears. Jackie doesn’t appear to be a tough taskmaster, although I have the feeling she could charm just about anyone with her warm smile and Australian twang into doing

By Virginia E Schultz what is needed. She knows half her customers by name and even when the place is crowded seems to have a smile, especially for children. I hate to use the word organic because it sounds so, well, boring and tasteless, but everything at Pimlico Fresh, from bread to eggs, is. There is as well vegan cakes and bread. Not the kind you find in the supermarkets, but cakes that taste as if they’re really made with flour, eggs and butter even when they’re not. And let’s not forget the bread, especially the sour dough. No, this is not a Michelin star restaurant with perfect food that could be photographed for a magazine, but it’s the kind of casual bistro we all wish we had in our neighbourhood. . +

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The American

Cellar Talk By Virginia E. Schultz

Cognac and Cigars At a recent tasting of cigars and Cognac at Bistro K in London, I had the opportunity to enjoy some excellent Cognac Frapin which brought back memories of another time when few dinner parties ended without the hosts serving Cognac or Port to their guests. In an earlier era, women would have gone to another room while the

men talked about… whatever men discussed when they were alone. This image of stuffy old men sitting in an oak panelled dining room swirling their brandy in fat glasses and smoking Cuban cigars, unfortunately, still lingers in the minds of many which is a shame, for there is nothing more relaxing than a lovely glass of Cognac at the end of an evening. Nowadays cigars are seldom offered which I, who have never smoked, strangely miss. Yes I’m aware of the harm smoking can cause to both

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smokers and everyone else around, but for some reason the scent of that cigar seemed to relax guests as they sipped their drinks and conversation never became overheated as I experienced at one recent dinner party. Perhaps in the few seconds that the cigar had to be snuffed out, common sense returned. Or maybe it’s a return to our primitive roots when men sat around campfires and discussed their mutual problems. Cognac is a small town situated along the river Charente about an hour and a half drive from Bordeaux. In the summer time the town smells of cognac and the walls and tiles of the warehouses are blackened by a fungus called torula. The Frapin family can trace their roots in the Cognac region to 1270 and the estate is still family owned. Now headed by Jean-Pierre Cointreau (and one can guess how he got his name) it’s now the largest single estate in the Champagne region, covering 300 hectares (740 acres) of vineyards, officially listed as Premier Cru and known for its rich, long lived spirits that display complexity of aroma and depth of spirit. The best Cognacs are usually made using Grande and Petite Champagne grapes, but all Cognac is produced by blending a variety of grapes from different locations and vintages. The Cellar Master’s skill ensures a brand’s cognac is recognisable regardless of when it is produced. Different qualities

of Cognac include VS (Very Special, at least two years in the cask); VSOP or Reserve (Very Superior, at least four years) and XO or Napoleon or Hors d’Age (six years plus). English terms are still used because in the early days of Cognac production the British and Irish were the main producers. The longer the Cognac matures in the barrel, the smoother it generally becomes - once bottled, no further development takes place and most houses have Cognac dating back to the 19th century sitting in their cellars, waiting to be blended. Frapin’s VSOP is definitely worth the triple price compared to the VS. There was a hint of violets and oak tannins in the aroma and it was exquisite to the last sip.

WINE OF THE MONTH SILVERADO ESTATE Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Expensive

After tasting this with Herb Crusted USDA Filet Mignon (medium rare) at a California Wine Dinner at The Palm Restaurant in London recently, I went out and bought three bottles to serve at a dinner party for five at my house and the wine received rave reviews from all my guests. It’s a gorgeous full bodied yet elegant wine with flavours that linger delightfully until the end. Drink now, but another year or two of cellar time won’t hurt. +


The American

Coffee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 The Somers Islands has which more familiar name? 2 The Three Crowns is the national ice hockey team which country? 3 What animals make up the Suidae family? 4 In which TV cop show did Petrie and Isbecki appear? 5 In golf the No. 10 iron is often called what? 6 What did the ancient Greeks use instead of soap?

Welcome to The Somers Islands… better known as? JG HOWES

7 Which UK band was involved in a US court case alleging a subliminal suicideinciting message of “do it” appeared on a recording?

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14 In the game of checkers (in the UK, draughts) how many pieces (or ‘men’) does a player start with?

11 Which author created the cannibal, Hannibal Lecter?

15 What are the caves at Lascaux famous for?

12 In Scrabble how many letters have a value of 2?

16 On what day of creation did God make the sun, the moon and the stars?

13 In what profession would you use the acronym “SOCO” in the UK?

17 Who rules in a Plutocracy? For Answers to Coffee Break Quiz and Sudoku please turn to page 59

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MUSIC 34

INTERVIEW

Darius Rucker

The American caught up with the country singer on tour in Virginia, shortly before he comes over to play in London. I guess it’s fair to say that most people in Britain know you best from Hootie & the Blowfish. I guess so. If they know me at all over there that’s probably how they know me [laughs]. Is the band still a going concern? We play three or four shows a year and I’m sure we’ll do another record sometime, but country music’s my day job right now. You started as college friends. We met at college and started jamming together, started playing out, and we’ve been together 25 years. Do the others mind you shelving Hootie on favor of your solo career? I’m sure they’re not all excited about it, but it’s one of those things. One of the guys said it was time to take a break, so we were having a long break anyway, and I wanted to get a record deal. I’d been making Hootie

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records since 1989 and I got an opportunity to do something with Capitol in Nashville. I didn’t expect anything much to happen. Hootie & the Blowfish are a rock band, you did a solo R&B album (Back to Then, in 2002), now you’re a country artist. What’s with the genre skipping? For me it really is all just music. We all use the same notes, the same chords, the same words. In my head I don’t separate music – I just separate good songs from bad songs. You grew up in the south – were you listening to country music as much as soul or R&B? Probably not as much country as R&B, that’s what everyone listened to in my house – I was the only one listening to anything else. I heard Kenny Rodgers on AM radio and he was a big influence on me. He was pop music to me, on the radio like

The Carpenters were. In 2009 you won the New Artist of the Year award at the CMA Awards. You’d been a musician since the mid 80s. Did that feel strange? That was crazy. I didn’t even expect to get a nomination. I laughed: here I was, 42 years old and winning a new artist award. I think that was just country music saying to me, yeah man, we like what you’re doin’. Everywhere you read about Darius Rucker it says “the most successful African-American country singer since Charley Pride”. Does it annoy you, amuse you or what? It’s one of those things that people still look at. When I started doing country music I didn’t think about it, but when I started having hits I thought, I’m the only one since Charley Pride so they’re going to


The American

talk about it. But anytime people mention Charley Pride, that’s a good thing. To the people making it, it’s just music. But the people buying it, and writing about it, and putting it on the radio gotta label it. The new album is called Charleston, SC, 1966. You were born in Charleston in that year? The whole thing started not so much with me wanting to pay homage to my home town, but back in the day Radney Foster, from the country band Foster & Lloyd, made a solo record, Del Rio, TX 1959 which for me was a ‘light-bulb’ record. When I heard that, I thought, Man, I can play country music. I wanted to pay homage to Rad, and also I love my home town. Do you still live there? Sure do. I live ten minutes from where I grew up. The lyrics on the album sound very personal – is it autobiographical? Most songs I write are, even if they start with someone else’s idea or I’m writing with someone, there’s always something personal in there. Most songwriters wouldn’t write about babies sleeping in their bedroom, or the things they didn’t achieve in life but led them to where they are today, but the words of the opener This will have a great resonance , especially for any father. We all go through a lot of crap, and at the time we think it’s the worst thing that could happen in the world, but they make us who we are and get us where we are. What’s the writing process – do songs just come to you or do you work in an office? They come in a lot of different ways. A lot of the time in country

music, it’s co-writing. I love when someone takes what you’ve done and makes it better, like when you have a melody, and you sing it to somebody, then they sing back the exact same melody with just two different notes, and its better. The songs on the album seem to veer between being content at home and blowing that situation when you’re out on the road. Is that true to life for you? I, I,… no! definitely not [laughs]. I think the first record was about my life, the new one is about all the stuff it took to get there. All the dumb, stupid things you did before you realized you have the greatest woman in the world. No, I don’t drink or party much any more, it’s all about the music and my family now. There’s a big “dot dot dot” at the end of I Got Nothin’ – is the guy going to speak out, is his woman going to leave him - did that situation ever happen? That’s my new single in the States. It’s about one of those moments that we’ve all had, when a relationship could go on for a few months or a year but we know it should be over. Some of us have said the things we needed to say.

Yeah, with Hootie I’ve been over four or five times. I love it. It’s so different from here. The people are great. And I’m one of the few people I know who loves British food! Shepherd’s pie, fish and chips… And what about the warm, brown beer? I like that too!

Darius is playing August 17th at London O2, and 19th Dublin Olympia, Ireland, with Brad Paisley

“When I started doing country music I didn’t think about it, but when I started having hits I thought, I’m the only one since Charley Pride so they’re going to talk about it”.

On I Don’t Care you’re singing with Brad Paisley – it’s like a new take on Five O Clock Somewhere… That was fun to write. Brad’s got such a great sense of humor and while we were writing it we were just laughing all the time – “Are we really going to say that?” In August you’re playing at the O2 in London with Brad. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that, he’s one of my best buddies in music. Have you toured much in Britain?

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The American

ANDY AND TONY

August Festivals Time was, there were no music festivals. Then, in Britain, there was Reading, orginally a jazz festival with a bit of blues thrown in. Free festivals came, in their waft of damp Afghan coat and patchouli oil, and went again. Now you can’t move for the things. And what a choice there is. Some are huge, some very corporate. Others are small, boutique affairs with their own unique feel. And they cater for every musical taste. Here’s a selection of this month’s: The Big Chill, Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire, August 4th to 7th. Headliners Kanye West, The Chemical Brothers, Rodrigo y Gabriela plus Robert Plant and The Band of Joy, Femi Kuti. Jelly Festival, Compton Hall, Norfolk, August 5th to 7th. ‘A family-friendly Secret Garden Party’ with The Freestylers, The Egg, Concrete Disco and bands from as far afield as Cuba. Mull of Kintyre Music Festival, Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland, August 18th to 21st. Rock, pop and traditional music, with Bootleg Beatles, Karen Matheson Band. V Festival, two venues, Hylands Park in Chelmsford and Weston Park in South Staffordshire, August 20th to 21st. One of the biggies, acts include Eminem, Rihanna, Arctic Monkeys, Plan B, The Script, Tinie Tempah and Primal Scream. Reading Festival, Little Johns Farm, Richfield Avenue, Reading, August 26th to 28th Rock, indie and more rock – My Chemical Romance, The Strokes, Pulp, Muse, Elbow, Jane’s Addiction and (if you really must) Beady Eye. Leeds Festival, Bramham Park. Bramham, August 26th to 28th, the same main acts as Reading, its sister festival, who make the trip up (or down) the M1 motorway to appear to a new crowd.

MUSIC LIVE AND KICKING Britney Spears Britney says her Femme Fatale World Tour will be her greatest ever shows. She reaches the UK on October 27th when she plays London’s O2 Arena, followed by Birmingham LG Arena on the 30th and Manchester MEN Arena on November 6th.

Avril Lavigne Pop-punk sk8er grrrl Avril Lavigne is back in the UK for just two dates, her first for three years. She’s consolidated her early (some thought flash-in-the-pan) success, selling more than 30 million albums and nearly 20 million singles/downloads since 2002. The current tour is to support her fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby. British dates are September 21st Hammersmith Apollo; 23rd Manchester Apollo.

Frampton Comes Alive!… Again Peter Frampton is back with a three-hour show that relives his multi-platinum-selling live album Frampton Comes Alive!, one of the top-selling live records of all time. He performs it in its entirety, along with other highlights from his career: at 16, Frampton was lead singer and guitarist for British teen band the Herd and at 18 he co-founded one of the first supergroups, Humble Pie. European dates include November 5th Lisbon, Portugal; 6th Madrid, Spain; 8th Barcelona, Spain; 11th Manchester, Bridgewater Hall; 12th Cambridge, Corn Exchange; 13th London, Hammersmith Apollo; 15th Birmingham, Symphony Hall; 16th Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall; 18th Antwerp, Belgium; 19th Amsterdam, Holland; 21st Berlin, Germany; 22nd Mainz, Germany; 23rd Paris, France.

PHOTO: DENIS O’REGAN

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The American

Award to Ghost the Musical, THEATER REVIEWS

lot of people are looking for-

Bruce. How is it going? It’s pretty wonderful. When you go into a project like this you are trusting the gods. You have no idea whether the collaborative team is going to be up to speed, and if you are going to get on stage something that represents your vision. But when [Tony Award winning director] Matthew Rogers came on board we were quite blessed. He’s quite brilliant. Our opening night in Manchester was an experience I don’t think any of us had

I

guess you’re best known for the movie, Ghost, you got the Oscar for that, but you’ve written a lot of other screenplays, directed, even acted. Where did it all start? When I was four years old my mother was an amateur actress in Detroit, Michigan. She was playing Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins. I was taken to the theater, actually a High School auditorium, with all these seats facing what looked like a wall. It was actually a firewall, but I didn’t know that! I’m sitting there wondering what I’m doing there. All of a sudden the firewall

that crack. After that, sometimes, a talent, like cream, would rise.

A

ll the filmmakers you’ve mentioned were Europeans. American film at that time was not inspiring at all. It was all Pillow Talk. They weren’t working toward being an art form, dealing with the human condition, they were fluff and entertainment. I love all that, and some of my films are that, but I was inspired by the depth and the richness of character that was coming from European cinema. But nobody lets

THE MAN BEHIND GHOST Bruce Joel Rubin talks to Michael Burland about his life, his career, his new show Ghost the Musical and his new-found love for London really had before. It was a roaring, stand-up, shouting, screaming, stomping, whistling ovation that I have never witnessed. I thought London would be a very reserved audience, but they have proven to be like Manchester, which I didn’t expect!

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disappears, and behind it is this big, beautiful, purple, velvet curtain. All the lights in the auditorium go down, the curtain opens and there’s my mother on the stage. And she’s talking like someone who isn’t my mother. To me that was extraordinary. I just let go at that point and entered into a world of total magic. I don’t think I ever left it. When I was able to I worked in professional theater in Detroit as an usher and then an apprentice. Live theater was my home, and then I found movies about the age of 16. They were branching out from being typical Hollywood movies to being an art form. Suddenly there were Ingmar Bergman, Antonioni and Visconti. I went off to film school in New York and wanted to be a filmmaker. But there’s an interesting thing about being a filmmaker, there was no doorway into the business when I was young. I used to tell people the only entry point is through the crack underneath the door, and you have to bow down really low to get through

you start out as a director. It took me a long time. I worked as a film curator at the Whitney museum in New York. I worked as a film editor, and in television news, anything I could do that would let me play with film. I kept writing screenplays, and I didn’t know how to write a screenplay, because there were no books. I did go to New York University, but the screenwriting professor caused me more problems than help. I did, in time, work out how you write a screenplay, but much of that learning took place on the job. It’s embarrassing when you first get to Hollywood, hand in a screenplay and you realize it’s not working because you can’t figure out how to do a character arc or something is missing, then you realize that nobody knows how to do it. We’re all working together trying to get it right, getting a story to work, to go from beginning to middle to end and have it be rich and detailed and funny and serious and emotional. That’s really hard, and it took me a long


time to get it right, but I also found out that it takes a lot of people working with you to get it right. After a while I found in Hollywood that I was getting it right and the executives were not. They were starting to really try to push it in directions that were not part of the agenda. They were part of their agenda, which does not often dovetail with being an artist.

I

always thought it was strange in movies that everyone talks about ‘the director’, but without a great scriptwriter and cinematographer he’s not going to get very far. Why don’t you call Hollywood and tell them that [laughs]? There’s no respect for writers in Hollywood. You know you’re not even allowed on the film set. I’ve told the actors here in London that I worked on movies where we never once had a rehearsal or a readthrough of the script. Not once.

T

hen you go to the movie theater and see what they’ve done with it? Usually - it’s a very strange experience, and you go with some trepidation. In the early days I was on set all the time and I really had a sense of the mechanics of making a movie. I was very much a participant, especially in Ghost and Jacob’s Ladder, my early films. But after a while, Hollywood became for me what it becomes for everyone; hand in your script and goodbye. What I love about the theater is that it is truly familial, unlike movies. You’re with people every day for months, and everyone’s working together as part of a great family. In a movie there are people that come in for an audition, so you meet them for 20 minutes, then you hire them, then they come in for the day or two they’re shooting, and you never see them again, but they’re on-screen and a part of the rest of your life. But in theater I’m working with people who I love, and we talk, and we go out to eat, and we talk about the play, and we’re work-

Top, Bruce Joel Rubin (on right) with Dave Stewart. Left, Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman. Overleaf, top, Sharon D Clarke as Oda Mae Brown. Bottom Caisssie Levy PHOTOS: SEAN EBWORTH BARNES

“..in theater I’m working with people who I love, and we talk, and we go out to eat, and we talk about the play, and we’re working together all the time, it’s a wonderful sense of us being in it together”.


The American ing together all the time, it’s a wonderful sense of us being in it together.

W

ould you like to direct more films? I pretty much feel that my film career is finished. Film is more a

who we’d signed, and I realized that I could probably write better lyrics myself, and I sat down and wrote twenty songs, having never written a song in my life. I showed those songs ultimately to Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, and Glen Ballard, who’s a

“I was taken to the theater....and I entered a world of total magic. I don’t think I ever left it”. young man’s medium now. I guess I could write movies, but I don’t have an instinct to write Transformers 4. A friend of mine, a producer of some very major movies, was developing a movie at Universal and they cancelled it six weeks before production. He couldn’t understand what had happened, because they’d been developing it for six years together, then the Head of Universal said to him, “Universal’s not in the drama business anymore”. I don’t want to badmouth Hollywood, it has it’s strengths, but for me, at this moment in time, the joy of this theatrical experience is enormous.

W

as turning Ghost into a musical always part of the gameplan? Nope, just the opposite. I thought it was a big mistake. And I turned down people when they talked to me about it. I said no when they wanted to do a movie sequel to Ghost, but the musical was the worst idea to me because I just saw a lot of tinkly music and people singing ‘ditto’. I just thought it would be horrible. But then I was persuaded by these wonderful producers that there was a way to do it that might actually be quality. It was still risky because you had to find people who were able to deliver the music and the lyrics. I found that we were not getting the lyrics I wanted from some people

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big music producer, and they put my lyrics to music.

A

re the producers British or American? There’s one British and one American. It’s real smart actually. And doing the show in England has been the smartest move ever. It costs less, and England’s a great theater market, maybe the best in the world. I don’t know a place that loves serious theater more. And the idea of doing it in Manchester was particularly smart, because we were under the radar. We could make it work there then bring it to London, and it’s now very polished. We’ll have developed it at half the cost of what it would have cost to develop it in New York. Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard worked for two years together on the songs, and it was wonderful. We did a workshop in Los Angeles which was videotaped, then the producers brought the videotape to Matthew, and he thought it was a great project. Matthew had been a kid magician, and he saw an opportunity for lots of magic on stage. He had a strong vision for the show, which unfortunately included getting rid of some of my songs! But he was very polite about it. He said, “Bruce, your songs are very good, but we have two of the

best songwriters in the world here, why not let them have a hand at this.” Ego suffering, I stepped back. Dave and Glen took the lyrics and refined them and wrote a number of brilliant new songs. We are very much the collaborators now, we share lyrics and I love the music. None of us had done stage musicals before, and Matthew taught us the language of musicals: compressing narrative so that the story gets told in little vignettes, and the major story beats get told as songs. That was something I hadn’t done in the original workshop, which was just songs shoved into a story. The show has a wonderful sound and an amazing look, and it has extraordinary magic. The whole set was designed around an illusion that is really about 140 years old, created in England, called The Blue Room, but they lost the plans for it pretty much after it was created, so it was like a myth, and no-one quite believed what it was. They found the plans about 10 years ago and our illusionist Paul Keeve discovered how to create this truly amazing illusion that’s central to the show. You watch stuff on stage with your mouth just dropping open because you’ve no idea how they’re doing it.

I

s the pottery scene still there? It’s very intimate, very close-up, how does it work on a stage? It’s still there, but in a very, very different way to the movie.

H

ave you got any plans to take it to Broadway? Broadway is on the agenda, as is Australia, Germany, Japan. The same production but not these people. It will be touring wherever audiences want to see it.

H

ave you worked in Britain before? No, but now we keep talking about moving here! I love London so much,


and Manchester. That surprised me. It’s a wonderful, very sweet place that you can walk around from one place to the other, and it’s got everything that you want in a town, good restaurants, good shops, good theatre. And London is just a proliferation of that. Everywhere you walk is just wonderful. London may just be the great city of the world. I also love Paris, but they don’t speak English! London is made up of little villages and I love every one. I’m thinking of getting an apartment here, but if I don’t I may spend a month a year or so here, going to shows and just strolling.

Y

our current homes are in Los Angeles and New York. Would you consider leaving LA? I have children and our first grandchild there. And we have a place in upstate New York, which my wife really, really loves, with a lot of land – she has horses. We have two varied lifestyles and now London has become another element in all that. We have a triangular life! But I truly love London in a way that’s hard to describe, and it’s been very good to me. The people are exceptional. And I’m working with these actors who are just a gift to me. They have so much talent. And the creative people are the best in the business. I go to the theater every day and sit there and think how lucky I am.

“The show has a wonderful sound and an amazing look, and it has extraordinary magic...”

Ghost the Musical is at the Piccadilly Theatre, Denman Street, London W1D 7DY until January 28, 2012 39


The American

THEATER REVIEWS

&

ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

By Tom Stoppard z Theatre Royal Haymarket, London z Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell PHOTOS: CATHERINE ASHMORE

F

ollowing the popular and critical success with Flare Path, Trevor Nunn’s season at Theatre Royal Haymarket continues with this welcome revival (co-produced with Chichester Festival Theatre) of the play that launched Tom

Chris Andrew Mellon, a Player King with panache

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Stoppard’s illustrious career. It was Nunn who first uncovered the play in 1965 at the RSC and originally championed it, but production plans fell through and instead it was premiered by the National Theatre two years later and quickly went to

Broadway. 46 years later Nunn has got his chance and he has crafted a gem of a revival. It is very much a young man’s play. Precociousness and a knowing wit suffuse every line, and at times it’s like being trapped with a pair of over-eager and wildly articulate undergraduates. But it’s a piece of dramatic history and a signal of what riches were to come from Stoppard. Famously set in the sidelines of Hamlet, we meet the permanently perplexed pair of supporting characters while familiar scenes from the play ebb and flow past them and they try to figure out what’s going on. Nunn’s mastery at creating beautiful fluid tableau is to the fore here, and he is greatly assisted by Simon Higlett’s goldenhued designs and Fotini Dimou’s lush costumes. The courtiers glisten under Tim Mitchell’s lights, making them even more magical


The American and more mysterious, and the visual feast perfectly enhances the champagne wit. Stoppard claims Beckett didn’t influence him but I think he’s fibbing. This argumentative pair are the true heirs to ...Godot’s Vladimir and Estragon. They wrestle with the same big questions, they torment each other with verbal duels and turn procrastination into an art. Caught up in actions and events they don’t really understand, and ultimately sold out by their masters, the play captured the sixties zeitgeist. Often thrown in with Theatre of the Absurd because of this, Stoppard is having none of it, and has said he just wants us to enjoy an amusing tale of what might have happened to two peripheral characters from Hamlet. Sometimes our duo are mere onlookers whilst at other times they are dragged into the action. Jamie Parker brings a keen intelligence to Rosencrantz, the feistier one, while Samuel Barnett’s Guildenstern is a wimpish triumph. At times priggish, he is a musical hall coward, but is always totally human. A master of physical comedy, he is a rising star. The scene-stealing role however has to be The Player King, because that’s the way it should be. Sadly, Tim Curry had to withdraw due to illness, but his replacement, Chris Andrew Mellon, more than rises to the occasion. “We shall re-enact the Rape of the Sabine Women…or Woman……..or Alfred” he laments, looking on at his paltry troop of strolling players. This man has panache and this character is a hymn to The Theatre. As always with Stoppard there are intellectual excursions and the central device allows R&G to deconstruct the play from every angle. What is clever though is that this is done with such irreverence. Some of the greatest soliloquies in the English language get sidelined upstage while R&G persist with their chatter downstage and miss it. At one stage Guildenstern whines, “I don’t pretend to have understood and frankly I’m not that interested”. He could be a spotty youth moaning about his A-levels. Stoppard’s triumph is to make us interested: in Hamlet, in existentialism, in the nature of theatre, and all the time to entertain us while doing it.

From Top: Samuel Barnett (Rosencrantz, top) and Jamie Parker (Guildenstern), The Players and R & G face-off

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The American

THEATER REVIEWS

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Wyndham’s Theatre, London WC2 z Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell Stars, we love ‘em. There wouldn’t be commercial theatre without ‘em. We bask in their reflected glory and if they come from the TV we can wallow in our over familiarity with their

as someone who just needs to make an entrance to get a round of applause. Josie Rourke’s excellent production of Shakespeare’s

“..the audience coo at the final kiss and whoop and cheer at any remotely appropriate opportunity” every vocal mannerism and physical tick. A star, I suppose, can be defined

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soufflé of a comedy is a perfect example of taking two big, albeit very talented, stars and running with it. Doyenne of TV sketch comedy Catherine Tate’s Beatrice is, well, Catherine Tate. It is impossible for her great stock characters not to leak out. At times she also channels the great British comic Frankie Howerd. Darling of the Dr Who fans David Tennant, has gained his acting spurs in Shakespeare, with a much-acclaimed Hamlet, and he brings a buzzing physicality to the part of Benedick. His verse speaking (in those clipped Scottish tones) is wonderfully fluent and he manages to carefully wring every comic possibility from a line.

It all pays off for Rourke, the audience coo at the final kiss and whoop and cheer at any remotely appropriate opportunity. Those who’ve done PhDs on the use of iambic pentameter in Elizabethan drama should probably steer clear. This is about stars doing their thing and audi-


ences lapping it up. Rourke has set it in a naval base in 1980s Gibraltar, a daring leap, but one that is worked through beautifully. As usual with the comedies the only low points are the dated tedium of the longwinded comic interludes featuring the servants or lower orders. Rather like a gag writer writing for the hottest new stand-up today Shakespeare wrote these for the clown stars of his time with Dogberry

designer Robert Jones the opportunity to reference That Princess Di wedding dress, big sound systems, ra ra skirts, stag and hen parties with strippers and a general ‘Club 18-30’ atmosphere and all of this is set to a great pastiche 80s pop score by Michael Bruce. The supporting cast is very strong with Elliot Levey bringing an ambivalent repressed sexuality to the scheming Don

come up with, there are parts of the Bard which just can’t be shoehorned to fit a modern sensibility. So, not for the first time, the darker aspects of the play get downplayed for a wallow in witty repartee and in the end it is what people want from Much Ado. Tate

“ Josie Rourke’s excellent production of Shakespeare’s soufflé of a comedy is a perfect example of taking two big, albeit very talented, stars and running with it “

here having been written for the famous clown Will Kemp. Nobody dares to cut them and in British productions directors see it as a licence to poke fun at oafish plebs with their regional accents. The 80s setting here gives

Pedro and Tom Bateman, with movie star looks, cutting a dash in his naval ‘dress whites’ as Claudio. Hollywood will surely beckon. The savagery of Claudio’s rejection of the poor love struck Hero (Sarah Macrae), unjustly accused of the vile crime of not being virgin, jars terribly with the jolly japes tone of the rest of the production. It reminds us however, that whatever conceit directors

and Tennant deliver the required sparking double act and it’s a pairing that must be repeated. Elyot and Amanda in Private Lives perhaps? PHOTOS OF DAVID TENNANT AND CATHERINE TATE BY JOHAN PERSSON


The American

Apollo Theatre, London z Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

Imagine Phyllis Diller crossed with Lady Gaga with a splash of Joan Collins and you begin to understand the phenomenon that is Meow Meow. Melbourne born but citizen of the world, one minute she can stun an audience into silence with an exquisitely rendered torch song, the next she has them rolling in the aisles with some expertly timed comic business. She takes old staples of the music hall, such as the jumped-up strumpet in a basque or the artiste struggling under the diktats of a skinflint producer or the reluctant performer going through a crisis and elevates them to the level of art. A diva must know how to make an entrance and she arrives late, with suitcase in tow, and proceeds to make the audience help her dress. With her dancing boys “delayed at Stanstead” she employs others to complete her big dance number.She affectionately skewers Brel’s Ne me quitte pas while lit-

PHOTO: HARMONY NICHOLAS

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erally being supported by three shell-shocked lads. She is sexy, hilarious, quixotic, but never cruel, and is totally at the top of her game, even whilst often jeopardising her own dignity. Comedy is to the fore but her musical numbers are a wonderfully exotic mix, from Un ano de amor (memorable from Almodovar), to

PHOTO: KARL GR

w o e M Meow

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THEATER REVIEWS

songwriter Lance Horne, ably supports this musical madness. Other artists might talk about “giving themselves” to their audience,

Imagine “Imagine Phyllis Phyllis Diller Diller crossed crossed with with Lady Lady Gaga Gaga with a splash of Joan Collins and you begin to understand the phenomenon that is Meow Meow Meow” songs by the Smiths or Radiohead. With clever lighting she satirises serious political cabaret and then switches to an impish Surabaya Johnny. A piano, bass ‘n’ drums combo, superbly led by the great New York

Meow Meow does it literally. Her act is the essence of theatre, she even provides her own revolve. Disappointed too at having to supply her own bouquets, by the end, the audience is showering her and wishing they’d brought their own.


The American

BETRAYAL Apollo Theatre, London z Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell PHOTOS BY JOHAN PERSSON

Kristin Scott Thomas makes a triumphant return to the West End following her Oliver Award winning performance in The Seagull and here she is re-united with director Ian Rickson for this delicately crafted revival of, arguably, one of Pinter’s best plays. It all adds up to class act. Betrayal is, on the surface at least, Pinter’s most accessible play, a straightforward love triangle, the raw material of every soap, yet it is also one of his most personal works. We have since learned that it was inspired by his clandestine affair during the 1960s with the TV presenter Joan Bakewell, whilst he was married to Vivien Merchant, and there is an emotional truth here, particularly about the collateral damage on families, which is very heartfelt. Those who find Pinter’s usual economical dialogue, sinister mood and veiled motivations off-putting should give this one a chance. He writes however about solid north London middle class types, the heirs to the stiff upper lip generation, so the tones remain clipped. Ben Miles is wonderfully commanding yet brittle as the cuckolded husband Robert, a

with this knowledge. The play is famous for its reverse chronology. We begin in a pub in 1977 as the couple end their affair and go back in time to 1968 and a house party

Kristin Scott Thomas (Emma) and Ben Miles (Robert). (Below) Scott Thomas alone and with Douglas Henshall (Jerry)

in 90 minutes running time what lesser writers fail to with a whole mini-series. There are layers to betrayal too of course. Emma lies to Jerry about the fact the she had told Robert about the affair four years previously and not the night before they decided to break up. Pinter is brilliant at pinning down these pivotal moments in relationships when the tide changes forever. Making this evident of course requires great sensitivity from the actors and Rickson draws out glorious performances from this trio. Every gesture is infused with meaning, from the slow deliberate withdrawal of a hand to the gentle caress of lock of hair. Scott-Thomas, a stunning film actor, is in her element here and she brings a heartbreaking sadness to the part. Henshall, the weakest of the three, seems rather miscast and here lacks the magnetism of a romancer. Jeremy Herbert’s clever designs particularly the bleak anonymity of the Kilburn love nest and Johanna Town’s masterfully subtle lighting are vital to the piece as are Rickson’s painterly scene transitions. All combine to overlay the piece with a poignant

“BETRAYAL IS, ON THE SURFACE AT LEAST, PINTER’S MOST ACCESSIBLE PLAY, A STRAIGHTFORWARD LOVE TRIANGLE , THE RAW MATERIAL OF EVERY SOAP , YET IT IS ALSO ONE OF HIS MOST PERSONAL WORKS ” leather jacketed Alpha male, who even sounds like Pinter. Super competitive, when his wife reveals all to him about her affair with his best friend, Jerry (Douglas Henshall), he decides to keep silent and enjoy the sadism of toying

where Jerry’s first pass at Emma (ScottThomas) ignites the flame. This powerful device strips away all the artifice and we see everything in the shadow of the deception which is to come. It is simple and perfect and Pinter achieves

melancholy. There’s sadness at good times past, at the dashed dreams that are attached to every failed affair and at the pain of falling out of love while not falling into hate.

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Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London z Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

Cocteau Voices

The American

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he ROH’s experimental studio space is there to push the boundaries and that is exactly what it’s done with Cocteau Voices, a challenging double bill of a dance work and a one act opera exploring the themes of possession and abandonment. Originated by choreographer Aletta Collins and the director Tom Cairns, both were drawn to the work of Jean Cocteau, the great French polymath (poet, dramatist, novelist, artist, essayist and film maker) and decided to stage the paradoxes and conflicts of Cocteau’s work from both movement and vocal perspectives. They had already successfully collaborated on a Channel 4 film about Cocteau, The Human Voice. First is a dance work, Duet for One Voice, for 3 male and 3 female dancers based around a theatrical monologue which Cocteau had originally written for his lover Jean Marais, but later adapted for Edith Piaf and her errant lover Paul Meurisse, graphically dissecting their failed relationship. Here, Collins’ translation of a monologue into a 30-minute dance work presents some challenges. The couple are each represented by three performers and we gradually build up

Hay-Gordon in Duet For One Voice, one of the Cocteau Voices

a picture of their tortured and crumbling union. Choreographically though, the piece seldom takes off, and it remains more in the realm of physical theatre. Set in a hotel room, it ends with a protracted sequence where a woman reads her Le Monde, blithely ignoring the turmoil of her lover. Scott Walker (yes, of those Walker Brothers, but stylistically a million miles away from their pop hit days) has composed a stark and unsettling electronic soundscape for this piece, which is eardrum shattering at times and includes growling animal noises. Sadly, it only seldom fuses with Collins’

tion with a departed lover and her increasing state of nervous exhaustion. Focile, who has played lead roles in all the world’s great opera houses, has tremendous presence and great diction and remains compelling throughout the piece, despite its general lack of dramatic momentum. Ensconced in her hotel room and clad in her robe de chambre, she spends the duration either on the phone, battling with crossed lines or desperately trying to get him back on the line. Focile is wonderfully adept at calibrating the torrent of emotions here and while the libretto is heavy with recita-

“..Cocteau Voices, a challenging double bill of a dance work and a one act opera exploring the themes of possession and abandonment” choreography. The ballet serves as a counterpoint to the second part of the evening, which is an existing work, a setting for a single voice by the French composer Poulenc (from 1959) of Cocteau’s monodrama La Voix Humaine. Sung in English by the acclaimed Italian soprano Nuccia Focile, this one-act 50-minute opera charts the woman’s desperate final agonising telephone conversa-

tive, Focile’s strongly accented English manages to ride the wave quite well. She is ably supported by the players of the Southbank Sinfonia under the baton of Garry Walker. Of the two pieces, the opera remains the strongest but this collaboration between dance and opera, as in the wonderful Dido and Aeneas/Acis and Galatea done on the main stage last year, remains a compelling prospect.

Nuccia Focile sings La Voix Humaine, a one-act 50-minute opera PHOTOS: TRISTRAM KENTON


The American

American Trade By Tarrell Alvin McCraney z Royal Shakespeare Company at the Hampstead Theatre, London

Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

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merican Trade. Sadly, more like American Tragedy. The young African-American writer Tarrell Alvin McCraney made the most astonishing debut in London with his first three plays. The Brothers Size and In the Red and Brown Water were both powerfully lyrical pieces, set in Louisiana, which also drew on Yoruba myth and were seen at the Young Vic, and Wig Out, at the Royal Court, was a boisterous recreation of the transsexual drag houses of New York. His was the freshest and most powerful American voice to emerge in London theatre since Tony Kushner. The RSC then nabbed him, made him International Playwright in Residence, no less. And now this turkey. Purportedly a Restoration Comedy for today, it is supposed to engage with London’s diversity but it reveals about as much about London as Ugly Betty does about the fashion industry. In fact it is that genre of hyper Day-Glo comedy drama (see also Desperate Housewives), which it most resembles. The plot revolves around a bright, gay, mixed-race, New York hustler (Tunji Kasim) who hops it over to London to

escape some angry hip-hop mogul and takes up an offer from his (white) great-aunt (Shelia Reid) who wants him to head up a new modelling division of her PR company. He runs up against the vengeful ambitions of his lesbian cousin Marian, who is worried for her position in the firm. For some reason I couldn’t bother to fathom, he decides against recruiting the usual production line models and assembles instead an eclectic line up of ‘older types’ of various races, and all as a cover for a new prostitution racket. A comment on celebrity culture, or the PR industry, or American can-do vs. British stuffiness? Who knows? Directed, as if on speed, by Jamie Lloyd, it proceeds at a frantic pace, which of course cannot be sustained. In the end you weary of being shouted at but mercifully it only lasts 90 minutes. The targets for the satire are missed by a long shot as it is all too over-emphatic. The gaudy costumes are more panto than PR (doesn’t he know PRs only ever wear black!) and flesh is bared of both the titillating and the gratuitous variety. Kasim, in the lead, is personable but lacks the quality of danger necessary for such a survivor of the streets. None of it rings true for a second and the general conclusion we are to reach – that these

grubby folk are all just out for what they can get – leaves us no better off. Soutra Gilmour’s design is essentially a bare stage overlaid with multi coloured strips of neon. Characters are wheeled on (sometimes literally on chairs) at whirlwind speed, making you wonder if he was aiming for a farce, but sadly it lacks both the precision and the architecture of that form It is not without flashes of verbal dexterity however, a McCraney trademark. There is a tart gag about how Obama is always referred to as mixed race in Europe but in the US is only referred to as black. McCraney is now a member of Steppenwolf so one hopes he will fare better in the Windy City. The RSC too should recover and is presenting an ambitious season at the Park Avenue Armory in New York this summer. This play did however make me wonder where the RSC dramaturge was when this hit his desk. On sick leave perhaps? +

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POLITICS

CanDidates ThROugH the LooKing Glass Caucus frenzy is on its way. Who could stand on the Republican ticket against Obama? The presidential race is nearer than you think. Alison Holmes examines the current – and future? - runners As of the Fourth of July there are 217 days until the Iowa caucus. How will we be able to stand the excitement? The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. And defeat. And defeat. And that’s just the caucuses. Already the field is dotted with the bodies of the stumbling and the wounded. If some of them didn’t look a little bit like extras from Night of the Living Dead you might be inclined to laugh – although one should save one’s belly-aching laugh-

What goes through the mind of someone like Newt Gingrich as he ponders his running potential? He looks in the mirror and thinks, what?, “I want to run government”. But does the other thought enter his head?, “But I am probably most famous for closing it down because I lost a (what we shall call an ‘ego comparison’) fight with the president?” He muses, “I am a big family values guy”. So where is that other little voice that points out,

population that the rest of us are missing? Has he permanently confused the comedian’s role in society with the politician’s? – certainly there are plenty of comedians who have it confused the other way around. Or does he seriously think that by throwing his hat in the ring he is adding to the sum total of political debate and policy choice? Who can know what politicians see when

“What goes through the mind of someone like Newt Gingrich as he ponders his running potential? He looks in the mirror and thinks, what?, “I want to run government..” ter/incredulous outrage for the whole Anthony Wiener story. Back to the, hopefully, more serious business of the presidential race. At the moment there are 11 declared candidates. Eleven. And you can bet the farm, your life and a lot more than the economy of Greece is worth (though I advise against betting more than it owes) that that number will go up long before it comes down. The profile is already pretty typical: the usual crop of once-was governors, used-to-be senators, has-been wrestlers – and wannabe...what?

“But I have a long-standing weakness for women who all turn out to be home wreckers?” (he does seem unlucky in love that way, poor chap). Or even, “I desire beautiful things – just check out my tab at Tiffany’s”. But is there even a twinge when he compares the incompatibility of his lifestyle to his Old Navy wallet? The campaign team, ever vigilant to these teensy tiny imperfections in their man, finally spots the reality of the situation and defects en masse, yet he staggers on. Why? Does he know something about the American

PHOTO: GAGE SKIDMORE

Does Newt Gingrich know something about the American population that the rest of us are missing?

they look into the looking glass? But perhaps there is a type of blindness, a kind of occupational hazard, that afflicts them more than other professions. If Gingrich is a lost or losing cause, what does the rest of the field


offer? Commentators have already talked themselves hoarse about what the Republican Party ‘needs’ and the qualifications ‘required’ to give Obama a serious run. It is painful to think of the endless hours between here and Iowa – let alone November – which amount to little more than the broadcast of their vanities, but there is something akin to a struggle for the soul of American conservatism going on and it is important. It is a recurring refrain as parties all over the world, certainly all over Europe, including the United Kingdom, have been groping their way towards some new understanding of the philosophy or ideology of conservatism appropriate to the rapid and potentially terrifying changes in the international scene. The voters of the UK apparently could not stomach full-blooded Tory governance and chose, instead, a coalition. It was an unusual outcome for Britain, but an impossible one for the United States. Just imagine candidates such as Martin Bell or George Galloway’s Respect Party - and Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony Party all taking part at a national level. The only hope may be that, in the absence of such innovative solutions to electoral problems, the primaries, flawed and brutal though they are, become a way to winnow ideas and debate the country’s political direction. At the moment, the shape of that national debate is unclear. The president looks firm, but not unassailable and the country is unsettled, but not overtly hostile to either side. This means the public posturing of the Republican field is as delicate as it is difficult. With their own ‘team’ lying in wait, taking on the president is that much harder to do. Of the ‘top tier’ potential candidates - Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry

and Michelle Bachmann - only Romney and Pawlenty are even officially in the race. Of what might be considered the ‘second tier’, Sarah Palin, Jon Huntsman, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Herman Cain, only Cain (of pizza fame) has announced.

Life through the political looking glass – who will be smiling like the Cheshire Cat?

And how does one get to be top or second tier at this point? With the caucus season still in front of us, name recognition is one of the most important factors. It has little relevance to the candidate in real terms, given they hardly chose their home state, but it is undeniable that being from an early primary state can offer a candidate a head start. Yet name recognition alone can be a double-edged sword, a la Gingrich. Sarah Palin is another excellent case in point. Polls by Pew have found that she has no less than a 97% name recognition. Even for a former vice-presidential candidate that’s almost unheard of, clearly aided by an aggressive book tour/PR/social networking campaign. However, a follow-up by Washington Post/ABC says that two out of three Americans

– and 42% of Republican voters – say they won’t vote for her. With Bachmann looking like a Stepford wife, cookie-cutter image of Palin, and Cain becoming her policy doppelganger, the best she may be able to hope for in terms of holding sway at a tea party is to hold the tea pot ransom. In the tactic honed by the likes of Jesse Jackson, she has the time and money to toy with announcing until it becomes clear, even to her (back to political blindness), she doesn’t have voter appeal, but may have enough left in the tank to call a veto shot over the party’s choice. See Bachmann’s insistence that she and Palin are ‘very good friends’. Interesting. In the meantime, there is more than enough time to worry about the rest of the field and the issues aren’t going away any time soon. The economy still out-strips any other issue, but is attached to a host of other issues that may not be directly job-related but are inextricably linked to the fears generated by economic concerns. Tone and approach to issues such as immigration, health care, and military efforts from the war on terror to the Arab spring will determine the Republican field and the subsequent campaign. The primaries, to more than slightly abuse Oscar Wilde, are the expression of hope over experience. The hope is that it provides information and clarity to the American people in their choice of candidate so that the election will be a true representation of their differences and concerns. Now all we need is real leadership. + Dr Alison Holmes is The American’s political Transatlantic Columnist, now based in California. She is an Associate Fellow at Oxford University and a Churchill Memorial Trust History Fellow.


The American can an

EV Trial ‘Debunks Range Anxiety’

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Ampera/Volt Sales Boost UK Production Hopes Major vehicle fleet buyers including Europcar, Europe’s largest car rental company, and several police forces have been impressed by the Ampera electric car. So much so that sales projections have been increased and GM is considering manufacturing the second generation version of the model in Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant near Liverpool as well as the current plant in Detroit. 70 per cent of Amperas are expected to be sold to fleets. The hybrid EV will soon be available in Europe from Opel and in the UK from Vauxhall – in the U.S it will be called the Chevrolet Volt. The Ampera has a small petrol engine that cuts in when the battery charge drops, adding range and versatility.

San Diego Goes Electric San Diego will be the first American city to have a 100% electric vehicle car-sharing program. Daimler subsidiary car2go N.A is providing a fleet of 300 Smart Fortwos for the scheme which will start by the end of 2011. They can be charged at 1,000 charging stations which are being installed by Californiabased tech company Blink EV. car2go N.A. president Nicholas Cole said, “Our goal is to complement the existing transportation infrastructure by providing an emission-free car sharing service for short and spontaneous oneway trips”.

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12-month trial of electric vehicles called CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emissions Demonstrators) claims to have found that range anxiety – the worry that if you’re driving an electric vehicle it will run out of energy and leave you stranded – is unfounded. CABLED is one of a number of government strategies aimed at increasing the number of low carbon cars on UK roads, and helping to decide how e-infrastructure and Smart Grid technology should develop. The largest of eight trials taking part, it monitored the use of 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and 20 Smart fortwo electric cars over a total of 147,000 miles (3,267 miles per car per year, or under 9 miles a day). The study found that over three quarters of daily journeys took less than 20 minutes, with just two percent using more than 50% of the battery charge. So in the majority of cases, drivers had more than enough power for a return trip. As drivers began to have more confidence in the car’s actual range potential they began to use more of it. Drivers didn’t recharge as the car ran out of juice, but plugged in anywhere with

a handy socket. The average driver plugged in with between 81 and 87 percent of charge remaining. But – and it’s a big but – you still have to guarantee that you won’t need your car for a moment, or a mile, longer than your alloted battery charge. Otherwise you might need a second car, with a regular engine – not too ecofriendly when you include the pollution invloved in its manufacture, let alone the extra costs. It could be argued that EVs are ideal for town-dwellers making local journeys. But perhaps they should be making use of bicycles, public transport, car share pools or taxis rather than expensive cars, with un-green manufacturing and decidedly environmentallyunfriendly batteries. We do need to replace fossilfuelled vehicles for environmental, political and financial reasons, but the great leap forward will not happen until we invent smaller. lighter, less-polluting batteries that can give a decent range and a fast recharge. Or go down another route entirely – perhaps fuel cells?


The American

Willkommen, Bienvenue... You’re Busted

T

hat’s what you might hear from a uniformed custodian of the law if you step out of line when driving in mainland Europe. Trouble is, you might not even know you’re transgressing the ever-changing Euro-rules and regulations. In conjunction with breakdown cover and road safety organisation GEM Assist (www. motoringassist.com), The American has some tips that could avoid any unpleasantness, letting you have that dream continental trip.

BEFORE YOU GO

S

o, you’ve made sure your passports are up to date and you have any visas or other documentation you, as an American, may need. But what about the car? If it’s your own vehicle here are some tips. If it’s a lease or hire vehicle all these still apply – but check with your rental company they have been done. And make sure you get in writing their permission to take the car abroad, and any extra insurance or other documentation they require. Service it. It makes sense to have a full service before you go, but as a minimum check the tread on the tires, oil and water levels. Vehicle Registration Document. Keep this with you at all times, never leave it in the car – not even tucked into a ‘safe place’ like behind the sun visor. Nationality plate. This must be the approved pattern, design and size. MOT Certificate. Make sure you have an up-to-date MOT (annual

roadworthiness check) and take the certificate with you Mechanical adjustments. Be aware of the headlight requirements, you may need beam deflectors. Driving Licence. Take all your driver documentation with you – better too many pieces of paperwork than too few when talking with excitable Italian Carabinieri. If you have a UK licence take both parts of your licence with you. Equipment checklist. Pack high visibility jackets for each person, two warning triangles, first aid kit, replacement bulbs and a spare pair of glasses . Maps & routes. Take a detailed map and plan your journey well in advance. Allow more time. You have satnav. You’ve checked the route and timings on Google Maps. But you will still take more time than you think. Apart from getting lost (who, you?) road signs are different and need concentrating on, views can be spectacular (why miss them?) and food breaks tend to take longer, especially in France.

ON THE ROAD

D

id we mention the obscure legislation? Here are GEM’s Top Ten Most Unusual Foreign Road Rules .

1

In Finland, if you hit an elk or deer you must immediately report the collision to the police

2

Both Spanish and Swiss law demands that if you need glasses

for driving you must carry a spare pair with you in the car

3

.In Sweden, it is compulsory to have dipped headlights on throughout the day and night

4

.If you are towing a caravan in Portugal, you must have a current inventory of all contents to show a police officer if requested

5

.In Germany, it is an offence to run out of fuel on a motorway and to make rude signs to other road users

6 7

In Austria, you must not park a caravan within 500m of a lake

In Italy, police can impound your car if you do not present the relevant ownership documents

8

.In Norway, vehicles travelling downwards on hilly roads have priority

9

.In Greece, carrying a petrol can in the car is forbidden

10

In France, police have the power to confiscate your car and your licence on the spot if you are caught speeding +

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The American

NBA Draft 2011 The Cavaliers look to Duke, Jimmer’s a King, and a Knight rides into Detroit. Richard L Gale crowns a draft-day winner

Golden State Warriors

Grade C+

t was dubbed a weak draft, but if everybody knew more about the slew of international players, we might be more excited. Then again, what’s not to get excited about with Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight and Klay Thompson headed to the pros? It may have lacked impact, but five years down the road, this draft will be the one where championship rosters were won and lost.

R1 (11) SG Klay Thompson (Washington State) R2 (39) PF Jeremy Tyler (USA) R2 (44) SG Charles Jenkins (Hofstra) Thompson is a fabulous perimeter shooter, fine shooter in general, and a good passer. The NBA is in his blood, the Warriors have a hit. Tyler could be a massive miss, flaming out in Israel after skipping his high school senior year. Jenkins is a complimentary and good team player.

Atlanta Hawks

Houston Rockets

I

Grade C–

R2 (18) C Keith Benson (Oakland) A skinny 6-10 center, Benson is a shot-blocker and rebounder probably destined for relief time only.

Boston Celtics

Grade C+

R1 (27) PF JaJuan Johnson (Purdue) R2 (55) SG E’Twaun Moore (Purdue) Johnson’s playing style draws overoptimistic comparison to Kevin Garnett. He’ll likely never be KG, but he and Moore will be decent contributors and will have Purdue college chemistry when they’re out there together.

Charlotte Bobcats

Grade B+

R1 (7) PF Bismack Biyombo (Congo) R1 (9) PG Kemba Walker (UConn) It’s a weird world in which Kemba Walker – quick, tough, a proven winner in tight situations, and great in transition – is selected after a player who never played in the NCAA. Biyombo wowed observers at the Nike Hoop Summit, and the 6-9 defender isn’t out of place in the top 10. Charlotte did right to ignore Walker’s 6-1 height and pay more attention to the energy and offense Walker will bring to them very soon. A trade also brought 12-year veteran forward Corey Maggette.

Chicago Bulls

Grade C+

R1 (23) PF Nikola Mirotic (Serbia) R1 (30) SF Jimmy Butler (Marquette) The Bulls sent two R2 picks to the T’Wolves to acquire Mirotic, a 6-10 Serbian who won’t grace the NBA for years. The more significant pick is Butler, who’s not flashy, but rebounds and defends well and does everything else well enough, a glue that holds a team together.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Grade B+

R1 (1) PG Kyrie Irving (Duke) R1 (4) SF Tristan Thompson (Texas) R2 (54) PF Milan Macvan (Serbia) This was all about turning the page. Irving brings quickness, instinct and vision; a fundamentally-sound player with outstanding character, he will show flashes early. Canada’s Thompson supplies a 6-8 frame, offensive rebounds and shot blocks to help possession in year one.

Denver Nuggets

Grade C

R1 (22) PF Kenneth Faried (Morehead State) R1 (26) SF Jordan Hamilton (Texas) R2 (56) C Chukwudiebere Maduabum (Nigeria) A selection of parts for a team that did just fine when the big names departed: Faried is a rebounding ace but no shooter; Maduabum is raw. None has a complete game, though Hamilton is closest once he adjusts to letting go of the ball. The trade that brought in Hamilton also swapped guard Raymond Felton for Andre Miller.

Los Angeles Clippers

Grade A+

R1 (8) PG Brandon Knight (Kentucky) R2 (33) SF Kyle Singler (Duke) R2 (52) C Vernon Macklin (Florida) Knight beat Walker and Jimmer Fredette off the board with his combination of scoring range, game savvy, sharp passing and decent defense down the road. The Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 NCAA tournament, Singler is a complete player, while Macklin is a blue collar who can work the floor at both ends. I don’t view any of these as superstar prospect in the NBA, but as a combination, these three could keep the Pistons in the picture for many years to come.

Grade C+

R1 (37) PF Trey Thompkins (Georgia) R2 (47) SG Travis Leslie (Georgia) Thompkins, a smooth 6-9 shooter, has big potential, but an enforced fitness regime might help. Leslie boasts a wide span and is athletic. He could be a defensive standout one day, but both look like projects at the moment.

Los Angeles Lakers Detroit Pistons

Grade C+

R1 (14) PF Marcus Morris (Kansas) R1 (20) C Donatas Motiejunas (Lithuania) R2 (38) SF Chandler Parsons (Florida) Marcus Morris is a shooting forward, a strong yada yada yada... but at this point all anybody wants to know is whether 7 footer Donatas Motiejunas helps fill the hole left by retiring Yao Ming and the trade of Brad Miller (and a future R1). His rebounding is far from special. So, Motiejunas, Hasheem Thabeet or Luis Scola? the situation is far from resolved. PG Jonny Flynn arrives by trade.

Grade C

R2 (41) PG Darius Morris (Michigan) R2 (46) PG Andrew Goudelock (Charleston) R2 (58) C Ater Majok (UConn) In a rookie battle between Morris and Goudelock, my money’s on hard worker Goudelock whose shooting skills outrank Morris. Majok vanished last year at UConn – I’d rather have kept Maduabum, who they traded away.

Memphis Grizzlies

Grade C+

R2 (49) PG Josh Selby (Kansas) Former blue chip high school prospect Selby had a forgettable half-season in college. He remains a super athletic talent with flashes of pro potential.


The American

Miami Heat

Grade B+

R1 (28) PG Norris Cole (Cleveland State) A sometimes-spectacular player, good rebounder, very quick in transition, the Heat quietly picked up a support player who could become a lot more.

Milwaukee Bucks

Grade B+

R1 (19) SF Tobias Harris (Tennessee) R2 (40) PF Jon Leuer (Wisconsin) Harris is a coachable 18 year old who can make plays from the perimeter or in the paint, and who could break out as a massive star in a couple of years. Leuer is a big in-state shooter. The Bucks also traded to acquire PGs Beno Udrih and Shaun Livingston and 13-year veteran P-F Stephen Jackson, parting with F John Salmons and Corey Maggette. A nice mixture of old and new.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Grade A–

Kyrie Irving (pictured) was the top pick despite an injured half a season in college. His Duke stand-in at point guard, Nolan Smith, followed him into the first round just 20 picks later.

R1 (2) PF Derrick Williams (Arizona) R2 (43) SG Malcolm Lee (UCLA) R2 (57) F Tanguy Ngombo (Qatar) The T’wolves had a good night, selecting possibly the best player in the draft, all-rounder and 3-point ace Williams, who showcases an early impact game. Lee is a defender with size and athleticism to be around a while: two rock solid selections for a team presently associated with Ricky Rubio. By trade the T’wolves lose G Jonny Flynn, gain C Brad Miller, and loaded up on future picks.

COURTESY JON GARDINER, DUKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Orlando Magic New Jersey Nets

Grade B

R1 (25) SG Marshon Brooks (Providence) R2 (31) SF Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia) R2 (36) C Jordan Williams (Maryland) Both Brooks and Bogdanovic will make it in the NBA, Brooks a scoring threat readier than most, and Bogdanovic bringing his scoring ability in a year or so.

Grade C+

R2 (32) PF Justin Harper (Richmond) R2 (53) SF DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky) The Magic parted with 2 future R2s to get Harper, who is game savvy and has a blend of skills, with decent, but not special range. Liggins is more of a look-see.

Philadelphia 76ers

Grade B

R1 (17) PG Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech) R2 (45) C Josh Harrellson (Kentucky) Shumpert was a head-scratcher. Harrellson is decent depth, but the Knicks had already made their crowdpleasing personnel moves for the year back in February.

R1 (16) C Nikola Vucevic (USC) R2 (50) PF Lavoy Allen (Temple) Faced with an urgent need at center, The 76ers went for two, though 6-9 local rebounder Allen will provide depth at power forward. 7-0 Vucevic brings more than just size, with some shooting, rebounding, and game effort to force his way into the lineup.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Phoenix Suns

New York Knicks

Grade D

Grade C

R1 (24) PG Reggie Jackson (Boston College) Small, very athletic guard Jackson won’t be getting big minutes in a crowded situation in OKC, and the Thunder won’t be tinkering their starting lineup anytime soon.

Grade B–

R1 (13) PF Markieff Morris (Kansas) Beating twin Marcus into the world by 7 minutes and into the NBA by 5 minutes, 6-9 Markieff is a good 3 point shooter and rebounder who should feature.

Portland Trail Blazers

Grade B

R1 (21) PG Nolan Smith (Duke) R2 (51) SG Jon Diebler (Ohio State) R2 (57) F Tanguy Ngombo (Qatar) When Kyrie Irving went down at Duke, Nolan Smith blossomed, showing defense, shots and finishing. He shares good character with Diebler, a 3-point standout. Neither will be a star, but are staunch acquisitions

Sacramento Kings

Grade B

R1 (10) SG Jimmer Fredette (BYU) R2 (35) SF Tyler Honeycutt (UCLA) R2 (60) PG Isaiah Thomas (Washington) Fredette is a show-stopping scorer, but has little to offer on defense, meaning game minutes could be situational. Honeycutt too is defensively shaky, though has good size and reach and could get a lot better. Don’t write off Isaiah Thomas as a sound-alive look-see, or as a 5-9 shrub– he’s the kind that feeds other players. However, the Kings could be playing somewhere else by the time these three peak. They also acquired forward John Salmons by trade.

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The American

San Antonio Spurs

Grade B–

R1 (15) SF Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State) R1 (29) PG Cory Joseph (Texas) R1 (42) SF Davis Bertans (Latvia) R2 (59) SG Adam Hanga (Hungary) Leonard’s range is pretty short, but he has huge reach and hands, is a great offensive rebounder, and a decent defender as is Joseph, a bit of an overspend in R1, and causing the questionable trade of George Hill. Bertans is a shooter and Hanga has good size, and I wouldn’t bet against them being contributors/trade assets for the Spurs from 2013 onwards.

Toronto Raptors

Grade B

R1 (5) PF Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania) Valanciunas may not play in the NBA this year (then again, nobody may play). However, he’s probably the best center in the draft, athletic, and a fine rebounder.

Utah Jazz

Grade C+

R1 (3) PF Enes Kanter (Kentucky) R1 (12) SG Alec Burks (Colorado) If the Jazz were gambling that they could take Turkey’s Enes Kanter (a physically impressive 6-11 19 year-old center/forward) at pick 3, and then have a big name point guard drop into their lap at pick 12, they were wrong. Alec Burks’ passing and shooting are nice, but unless Kanter is an instant hit, Jazz fans will always be peeking to see what they could have had in Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette.

Washington Wizards

Grade A

R1 (6) PF Jan Vesely (Czech Republic) R1 (18) SF Chris Singleton (Florida State) R2 (34) PG Shelvin Mack (Butler) An athletic 6-11 forward well-proven in Europe, Vesely is as close to an NBA lock as was seen during the early flurry of internationals. While Singleton won’t put up great numbers up-court, he’s the best defender in the draft. Mack was a standout at Butler; he’ll be the shortest guy on the roster at 6-3, but he’s another solid player, with good leaping ability. Last year’s selection of John Wall and Rashard Lewis’ arrival didn’t change much, but the future’s looking fine. Not drafting: Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets. The Mavs acquired guard Rudy Fernandez and the rights to Petteri Koponento via trade. The Pacers acquired George Hill by trade. +

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More

at

than

NHL Entry Draft F

or the first time in twenty-two years, NHL general managers gathered in the ‘Hockey State’ to announce their picks in the latest Entry Draft. On Friday, 24th June – not even two weeks after the Boston Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup following their defeat of the Vancouver Canucks in seven games – the hockey world shifted its focus to St Paul, Minnesota, where the future faces of the game proudly took the stage in the Xcel Energy Centre. The Minnesota Wild played host to the NHL’s red-letter-day event, but of course, they also got in on the action. For starters, they used their number-ten pick to grab Swedish defenceman Jonas Brodin (17), a record fourth Swedish-born player to go in the top ten, and they also picked up local left winger Mario Lucia (17) – who spent last season at Wayzata High School in the Twin Cities region – in the last spot in the second round. The fact that Lucia’s father, Don, is head coach of the University of Minnesota’s hockey team brought the crowd in the Xcel Energy Centre to their feet. ‘It was a fantastic feeling to be picked by Minnesota in Minnesota,’ Brodin told reporters. ‘It’s really cool to see so many Swedish players go in the first round. They are really good players – Adam Larsson, Landeskog, Mika Zibanejad. I know those guys

Writes Jeremy Lanaway

– they’re really good guys. It’s very good for Sweden.’ The Wild also made a behindthe-scenes splash on the draft’s opening day by dealing franchise defender Brent Burns to the San Jose Sharks for young star Devin Setoguchi and blue-chip prospect Charlie Coyle. The secondary details of the deal involved the Wild receiving a first-round pick in this year’s draft, which they subsequently translated into Brodin, and giving up a second-round pick in next year’s draft. The twenty-six-year-old Burns netted forty-six points in the 2010-11 campaign, and is considered to be one of the league’s top backend puck-movers, but the Wild are confident that the Setoguchi-CoyleBrodin package has made them a better team. Perhaps their outlook on the Burns loss is made slightly rosecoloured by the fact that they went on to acquire Sharks sniper Dany Heatley on Sunday, giving up the oft-injured Martin Havlat in return, a deal that most hockey insiders would tilt in the Wild’s favour without a second’s thought. Heatley is a former fifty-goal scorer and gold medal winner at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but he’s also been an underachiever in the playoffs, prone


The American

Jonas Brodin, one of four Swedish players to be drafted in the top ten. PICTURE © GETTY IMAGES

to disappearing for several games at a time. His polarising effect on management, fans, and the media has left him sliding back and forth on the hero-goat scale, but he’s still young, and he can still score – traits that should prove invaluable to the Wild’s ambitions of returning to relevancy. The Edmonton Oilers didn’t surprise anyone by selecting British Columbia-born Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall. Tallying thirty-one goals and seventy-five assists last season for the Red Deer Rebels, the Burnaby native became the first Western Hockey League player to go first overall since 1996, and the first-ever BC-born player ever to earn the Entry Draft’s top honours. Nugent-Hopkins is expected to play a big part in the Oilers’ reboot, which was started by last year’s picks Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall. ‘[Hall] was so great to talk to,’ said Nugent-Hopkins, who’s already been contacted by the Oilers’ other

future franchise player. ‘Everything looks good right now. He just said, “Enjoy this whole experience. You’re going to be nervous and stuff, but try to enjoy it as much as you can.”’ When asked about the prospect of playing with Hall in the coming season, Nugent-Hopkins replied: ‘I guess we’ll never know [if we have chemistry] until we get on the ice together, but hopefully we [will have it]. I can see it working.’ Arguably the biggest headlines from the weekend came courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers, who initiated a complete renovation of the team that made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals two seasons ago. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren traded away the team’s supposed franchise players in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, the former ending up with the Los Angeles Kings and the latter with the burgeoning Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flyers also traded away Kris Versteeg and Darroll Powe, and

lost Ville Leino, Dan Carcillo, Sean O’Donnell, and Brian Boucher to free agency. Reading these names, it’s hard to imagine the team picking up anyone with the means to plug the holes left by the outgoing talent, but the Flyers seem to believe that their roster is an upgrade thanks to the trade signings of Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, and Jakub Voracek, as well as the free agent pickups of Ilya Bryzgalov (the team’s first bigname goalie in more than a decade), Max Talbot, Andreas Lilja, and – wait for it – Jaromir Jagr! No doubt, Mr Holmgren’s moves took guts, but will they lead the Flyers to glory? The next six to eight months will provide enough perspective to arrive at a reasonable answer to this question, along with many others, but for now, as with every other decision made throughout the 2011 draft weekend — from the monumental to the miniscule — the returns are anyone’s guess. +

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The American

Sideline The willows of the cricket bat? The ashes of baseball? Richard L Gale ponders trees of a different genus

O

ccasionally, in British newspapers or in phone-in radio shows, you catch somebody bemoaning the ‘erosion of Englishness’ by immigrants or – horror upon horror – American culture, that moshpit of rock music, loud sports, fast food, Transformers, and most hideous of all, Republicanism. (It is also the wellspring of Aaron Copland, Lacrosse, gumbo, Citizen Kane, and the worthy aspirations of the US Declaration of Independence, but these tend not to get referenced in such arguments.) “I’m obsessed by the mess that’s America” sing Marina and the Diamonds – a line that might describe my own family’s dalliace with the glorious work-in-progress that is the USA. A recent ramble up the M1 had me pondering my forebears’ transatlantic odyssies and my own irrevocable Englishness. A plaque at York Cathedral recalls a 17th century Gale’s role as Dean, the tribute being paid for by American descendents (the Maryland Gales are a significant branch of the family tree and stalwarts of American politics from the Revolutionary War to the 20th century). We’ve produced a lasso artist for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Circus, I have an array of cousins in Southern states, while I alternate between ‘center’ and ‘centre’, caring less whether I slip from American English into ‘real English’ and back again. Rock music, loud sports and fast food were all fine by me anyway.

56

Sometimes, though, the symptoms of Englishness are subtle. Take oak trees. Wandering through Sherwood Forest, we found ourselves at the Major Oak (pictured above), an 800 year-old beast with a bole the size of an elephant. It is romantically associated with Robin Hood, though sensibly reasoned, it may have been a comparatively unexceptional tree at the time. Even now, it stretches no further aloft than the oak tree down my own street. Still, I feel a tie to oaks above any other tree. They are the trees that made the Tudor ships, ships that founded an empire, and as such have a role in why the American cultural empire of the 21st century speaks the language of its own British ancestor. Oaks matter. This may explain why I care so deeply whether the oaks at Toomer’s Corner, Auburn survive, and why their poisoning earlier this year upsets me. The trial of an Alabama fan accused of the attack has now been put back until during football season (is that wise?) and there is something of a vigil at Auburn, where, for decades fans have adorned the oaks with paper rolls after Tigers victories. It isn’t an old tradition, but it was one I had hoped to witness one day. Despite the Auburn oaks gamely budding and withering in a bloomand-bust effort to shake off the poison, it seems likely they’re fighting a losing battle. It could have been worse, I guess; I might just move the

Emancipation Oak up my thingsto-see list in case some BethuneCookman fan becomes overwrought about a loss to Hampton. The English claim to be big on history. Still, it was also a little depressing (boy, I am on a downer – somebody end the lockouts!) to drive over to Derby later that same day and pass by the former site of The Baseball Ground, home stadium of the inaugural winners of the National Baseball League of Great Britain and Ireland in 1890. It has long since been replaced by a housing estate and is marked only by a statue ... of soccer players. That’s how deep the cultural resistance is: even when the English commemmorate a Victorian baseball ground, they pretend it was a soccer ground all along. Steve Bloomer’s part in 8 British soccer titles are celebrated, his 3 baseball titles go unmentioned. Maybe baseball always was destined to be America’s pastime, but nobody erodes Englishness like the English. Saint George has never been granted the day off like Saint Patrick, Saint Andrew or Saint David; it’s a stretch to call Sherwood a ‘forest’ by any medieval definition; and baseball is broadly regarded as an import rather than an export. +


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The American August 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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