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October 2011

THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Est. 1976

®

£2.80 www.theamerican.co.uk

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

Idina Menzel Interview NFL at Wembley! Bucs v Bears Previewed Storm Large swapping red hot rock for Pink Martini


August 2011

THE TRANSA TLANTIC MA GAZINE Est. 1976

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July 2011

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£2.880

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Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK 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 kirsty.haville@blueedge.co.uk Correspondents: Mary Bailey, Social mary@theamerican.co.uk Richard Gale, Sports Editor richard@theamerican.co.uk Alison Holmes, Politics alison@theamerican.co.uk Riki Evans Johnson, European riki@theamerican.co.uk Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey jeremy@theamerican.co.uk Estelle Lovatt, Arts estelle@theamerican.co.uk Dom Mills, Motorsports dom@theamerican.co.uk Jarlath O’Connell, Theater jarlath@theamerican.co.uk Virginia E. Schultz, Food & Drink virginia@theamerican.co.uk

©2011 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed by Advent Colour Ltd., 19 East Portway Industrial Estate, Andover, SP10 3LU www.advent-colour.co.uk ISSN 2045-5968

Welcome C

oming shortly after The American’s 700th issue, here’s our 35th Anniversary edition! We’re not one to make a song and dance about it, but raise a glass (we will be!) to the original, the most established and still the best loved magazine for Americans in the UK and their Americaphile British friends. If you have any amusing or interesting stories about your experiences on this side of the pond, please send them in – we’ll publish a selection of any that are fit to print. You’re in good company. Other Americans who are in Britain this month include Idina Menzel, Storm Large and the hilarious Reginald D Hunter, all of whom are interviewed in this issue! Enjoy your magazine,

Michael Burland, Editor editor@theamerican.co.uk

SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS

Josh Modaberi is a freelance sports journalist - catch his podcasts on all major American sports and star interviews at worldsport.podbean.com

Iwan Morgan is a Professor at the The Institute for the Study of the Americas – read his article on the state of American Studies in British universities

Dori Ostermiller is a creative writing tutor and a published author – find out how, when she was supposed to be a surgeon

Cover: Idina Menzel, Photo: Chris Lee Inset (left): Photo Chicago Bears Inset right: Storm Large

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

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The American

In This Issue... The American • Issue 702 • October 2011

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News Sound advice for Trick or Treaters, and Greenpeace make a giant, melting Da Vinci

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News U.S. Universities come to London to attract British and American students, plus an IRS form you need to know about

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Diary Dates Great days out, from an all-American classic car event to Michael “Stupid White Men” Moore on stage

11 Health Can you mend broken eyesight without surgery? 12 Meet The Llamas The American does just that, then walks one to the pub!

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14 Fashion What to wear this fall, on a spree or on a budget 16 Idina Menzel (Cover Feature) The Wicked Singer and actress talks about Glee!, motherhood and singing at the Royal Albert Hall 19 Art Artworks made from huge pieces of aluminum and tiny pieces of comic book vie for attention this month

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21 Coffee Break Take a break, put your feet up and flex your little grey cells 22 Wining and Dining Thomas Keller, the ‘best chef in America’ is over in London, with a pop-up version of his acclaimed restaurants in Harrods 29 Music Who’s the cat in the hat? It’s Alice Cooper, on his annual gore-filled Halloween tour!

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30 Storm Large (On Cover) The Rock Star Supernova star has teamed up with sophisticats Pink Martini, and is in London to perform at – where else? - the Royal Albert Hall 32 John Mayall The Godfather of British Blues talks about the great names he’s played with, and the great new band he’s touring with today 34 Reginald D Hunter The laconic American comedian who’s made Britain his home

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36 Reviews An interview with the writer of the new adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, reviews of South Pacific, Ragtime and John Bucchino, plus how to get published, by an author who has done it and teaches it

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44 Politics How American Studies are being taught in the UK, and how American super-cop Bill Bratton is taking on the British policing scene 48 Drive Time Chevy’s Volt is selected to represent electric vehicles to the London elite 50 Sport: Mike Carlson The NFL commentator in conversation with James Carroll Jordan

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54 NFL Preview Finally it’s confirmed – the Wembley game is on! 57 American Organizations Useful and fun societies for you to join 3


The American

Giant da Vinci Artwork Melts In Arctic A giant version of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Vitruvian Man drawing was created by Greenpeace activists early September, just 500 miles from the North Pole. Why? To show the urgency of the melting of the polar ice cap. The pressure group says this year’s sea ice minimum is one of the lowest on record and that the sea ice could be gone altogether in the summer time within two decades, which could have grave implications for human beings and biodiversity. The Arctic’s floating sea ice helps to keep the global climate stable by reflecting much of the sun’s radiation back out into space. LA-based artist John Quigley was commissioned by Greenpeace to create the work, the size of four Olympic-sized swimming pools. The Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise became Quigley’s floating studio. Working in freezing conditions, Quigley, assisted by volunteers from the ship’s crew, used copper strips normally used to create solar panels to construct the giant copy of da Vinci’s 500 year-old sketch. All materials were removed after construction and the copper will be reused. Speaking from the Arctic ice edge, John Quigley explained: “We came here to create the ‘Melting Vitruvian Man’, after da Vinci’s famous sketch of the human body, because climate change is literally eating into the body of our civilisation. When he did this sketch it was the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, the dawn of this innovative age that continues to this day, but our use of fossil fuels is threatening that.”

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PHOTO: COBBING/GREENPEACE

No Tricks - Just Treats!

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alloween is approaching, and many parents may wonder if trick-or-treating is safe. Dr. Luz Adriana Matiz, pediatrician and medical director of Win for Asthma at New York-Presbyterian Children’s Hospital, suggests that with a few precautions, Halloween can be a happy and safe occasion for all. Dr. Matiz suggests that children limit trick-or-treating to familiar neighborhoods and neighbors. “It’s important not to create too much fear in your children when you speak to them about Halloween safety,” says Dr. Matiz. “But it’s also essential that they understand that precautions must be taken.” The following are 10 tips that every parent should remember: • Always go trick-or-treating with your children. • Do not let your children eat any candy before they get home and you examine it. • Make sure your children throw away any unwrapped foods. • Make sure costumes are made of non-flammable material and are short enough so that your children don’t trip. • If they are wearing masks, make sure the eye holes are the right size and place so that vision is not blocked.

• If your children are old enough to trick-or-treat by themselves, have them go in groups -- even if only on your block or in your building. • If your children are trick-or-treating at nighttime, make sure their costumes are bright in color, or have them wear reflectors. • If your children are walking on dark streets, have them take a flashlight. If they are in apartment buildings, accompany them inside. • Instruct your children on proper street-crossing safety. • Do not let your children enter a stranger’s home or apartment -- have them ask for the treats while waiting outside the door.

PHOTO: TOYAH ANNETTE B


The American

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The American

Expat Alert: New IRS Form The Internal Revenue Service has issued the latest draft of Form 8938, which must be filed for 2011 with their tax returns by U.S. citizens, to report foreign financial assets. The IRS says, “This is an advance proof copy of an IRS tax form. It is subject to change and OMB approval before it is officially released. If you have any comments on this draft form, you can submit them to us on our web site. Include the word DRAFT in your response. You may make comments anonymously, or you may include your name and e-mail address or phone number. We will be unable to respond to all comments due to the high volume we receive. However, we will carefully consider each suggestion.” Andy Sundberg, of expat group American Citizens Abroad, comments, “The form is now even more complex than the prior draft. And, as this is still not the final version, there could be further changes to make it even more complicated and annoying. This latest draft version now separates foreign financial assets into basic categories: deposit and custodial accounts, and other assets.” The draft form can be viewed online at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-dft/ f8938--dft.pdf

Brits Moving Stateside Do you have any British friends who are planning to mover permanently to the United States? If so they will have to undergo an interview at the U.S. Embassy. The State Department has a helpful new video entitled Your Immigrant Visa Interview: What Not to Forget which can be seen at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=T0O0cxsDVqk

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American Universities Increase Recruitment of UK Undergrads

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merican universities are increasing their recruitment of prospective UK undergraduates, reports The US-UK Fulbright Commission. As evidence for this, Fulbright, which runs educational exchange programs, awards and its EducationUSA advisory service, cites a record number of American universities attending this month’s USA College Day due to the changing, more expensive, higher education landscape in the UK. College Day, held on October 1 at Kensington Town Hall, London, is the UK’s only undergraduate study in the US fair. It has seen a 50 percent increase in universities exhibiting over the last two years and soaring student registration too. 137 universities are exhibiting this year, 43 of them new to the Fulbright event. Hailing from all four corners of the US, they include nearly all of the Ivy League universities, small private liberal arts colleges, large state flagship universities, women’s colleges, American university campuses abroad and community colleges. Lauren Welch, Fulbright’s Director Advising & Marketing, said, “American universities are chomping at the bit to

reach British students. What’s more, it is not just the usual suspects attending this year. We are seeing universities of all shapes and sizes come over the pond this autumn, including many newcomers. Universities are also staying longer, planning longer recruitment trips, tacking on school visits around the country.” Mark S. Kopenski, Dean of Enrollment, Richmond the American International University in London, said, “2012 represents a historic period of change in higher education in the UK and US Universities are ideally positioned to penetrate one of the most lucrative higher education markets in the world. With over 4,000 university choices available in the USA, young Britain’s have a smorgasbord of choice when it comes to furthering their education beyond A levels.” J. Robert Spatig, Assistant Vice President for Admissions, Recruitment & Enrollment Planning, University of South Florida, Tampa added, “US universities, like USF, are paying attention to the changes taking place in HE in the UK. We realise that it is a ‘carpe diem’ moment for recruitment of UK students. We believe that the floodgates are going to open once British students learn that tuition at many top research universities in the US may now be less than at a comparable Russell Group university in the UK – this is a once in a generation opportunity to attract prospective British applicants across the Atlantic!”


The American

Diary Dates

Your Guide To The Month Ahead

Get your event listed free in The American – call the editor on +44 (0)1747 830520, or email details to editor@theamerican.co.uk OCTOBER 1

USA College Day Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX, London

OCTOBER 1 TO 2

Autumn Classic: American Weekend Prescott Hill, Gotherington, Cheltenham, Glos. GL52 9RD An all American weekend, featuring two one day events. Saturday features classic cars while Sunday highlights flatheads and hotrods of all ages competing on the famous hill course. Special features: ‘The Flatheads’, a host of vintage hot rods and iconic historic American marques; Dragster Record Breakers; a special display of American clubs; Harleys and Indians; resident Cheer Leaders; a cruising black and white; hot dogs; The Wall of Death and lots more. www.prescott-hillclimb.com/ october2011.aaspx 01242 673136

Free event* providing students, parents and advisors with the unique opportunity to meet representatives from over 125 American universities and educational service providers while in London. The only US university fair in the UK., it’s held by The US–UK Fulbright Commission - EducationUSA, with Richmond, the American International University in London. If you are interested in undergraduate study in the US, this event is not to be missed! Fair 11am to 5:30pm. Pre–Event Seminar (9am to 11am) on undergraduate study in the US: learn about the admissions process from experts in the field, a step–by–step guide to the application process, admissions exams, choosing the right university and funding opportunities. * Free if you register in advance, £5 on the day. Pre–event Seminar: £5. Come and meet The American magazine there too! wwwfulbright.co.uk 020 7498 4020 OCTOBER 4 TO 9

The Horse of the Year Show NEC, Birmingham The ‘World’s Most Famous Horse Show’, returns to Birmingham’s NEC in 2011 for six days of compelling action. This

is the sixty-third running of an event regarded as a national institution which provides the finale to the showing year and the climax to the domestic show jumping year. Features international show jumping, demonstrations, The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry, Double Harness Scurry Racing and the Pony Club Mounted Games plus the new Express Eventing Final, a thrill-aminute version of eventing, including dressage to music, show jumping and cross country all under one roof. www.hoys.co.uk OCTOBER 5 TO 7

The London Bierfest Old Billingsgate, London EC3 Old Billingsgate Market is transformed into a traditional Oktoberfest, buzzing with live entertainment and complete with unlimited steins of premium, wheat and black beers plus authentic food served to your table by Heidis and Helmuts in traditional Bavarian dress. Mainly for corporate clients and colleagues, you can buy tables of 10. www.londonbierfest.com OCTOBER 7 TO 9

Palace Art Fair Fulham Palace, Bishops Avenue, London, SW6 6EA Organised by the team behind the successful and established Brighton Art Fair. This is a small, intimate art show set in the beautiful grounds and building of Fulham Palace, a beautiful, Tudor/ Georgian Palace formerly the country home of the Bishops of London right by the river north of Putney Bridge. The Fair showcases around 100 contemporary artists working across all media, exhibiting and selling their work direct to the public.

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www.palaceartfair.co.uk

OCTOBER 15 TO 16

Demetri Martin OCTOBER 7 TO 9

The Esher Hall Antiques and Fine Art Fair Esher Hall, Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey KT10 9AJ Browse and buy from a superb range of items including town and country furniture, antique and contemporary paintings and bronzes, jewellery, oriental carpets and rugs, silver, clocks, ‘objets d’art’ and much more. All works are for sale from over 30 top quality dealers. Highlights this year include a superb William & Mary period escritoire–on–chest (price £42,000); a rare opalescent charger by René Lalique (£4,800) and a sapphire and diamond ballerina ring, c1960 from Plaza (£8,500). Tickets £5, inc. catalogue. www.esherhallfair.com

Leicester Square Theatre, London American comedian Demetri Martin is performing two shows in London. The award winning comic was a staff writer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien and has appeared on many television shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. 10pm. www.livenation.co.uk OCTOBER 15

Ely Apple Festival The Parish Green, Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire A celebration of the great English apple with a variety of apple related food, drink and wares on sale. The event also features a wide range of apple games, competitions and activities. visitely.eastcambs.gov.uk/

OCTOBER 12 TO 27

BFI London Film Festival

OCTOBER 16 TO 25

British Film Institute, London and other locations

Here Comes Trouble: Michael Moore Live!

The BFI London Film Festival showcases the best new films from around the world, discussions, masterclasses and other events. www.bfi.org.uk/lff/ OCTOBER 13 TO 16

Falmouth Oyster Festival Falmouth, Cornwall Oyster catching, cooking and celebrating with live music, sea shanties, an oyster shucking competition, a Falmouth Working Boat race, children’s shell painting, and Cornish crafts. www.falmouthoysterfestival.co.uk

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various Michael Moore, bestselling author and Oscar-winning filmmaker, returns to the UK and Eire to play a series of live dates to mark the publication of his first major book in eight years. Michael’s live shows are unpredictable, polemical, hilarious, sometimes seditious and always highly entertaining. The shows follow the publication of his new book, Here Comes Trouble. Described as an ‘antimemoir’ the book blends a collection of far-ranging, irreverent stories from his own life. Michael will be signing copies after the show in each venue. October 16th, Belfast, Ulster Hall; 17th, Dublin, Grand Canal Theatre; 22nd, Birmingham Town Hall; 23rd Salford, Manchester, The

OCTOBER 24 TO 30

Halloween Adventure at Stockeld Park Stockeld Park, Yorkshire, between Harrogate and Leeds on the A661 Keep the boredom at bay this half term and enjoy the magic of hairraising Halloween fun with a fantastic range of seasonal and Halloween– themed activities, exhibitions and workshops at Stockeld Park - Home of the Halloween Adventure. For 2011, Stockeld Park has come up with a host of chilling activities for the whole family. Watch the miraculous Wizard Malin as he performs tricks in his magic den. Take home a spooky gift from the cauldron and don’t forget to pick a pumpkin from Stockeld Park’s home-grown pumpkin patch. There are real life birds of prey, face painting, crafting, pumpkin carving, creepy creatures and the popular Theatre in the Woods. Come along in your scariest Halloween costume and if you dare, take a haunted walk through The Garden of Evil, search The Maze of the Minotaur and visit the Haunted Dolls House. Be prepared to be scared! See website for specific event dates. www.stockeldpark.co.uk 01937 586 333

Lowry; 24th London, Lyric Theatre; 25th Cardiff, St David’s Hall. www.michaelmoorelive.com OCTOBER 16

Autumn Air Show Imperial War Museum Duxford,


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The American

Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR

Main events: Royal College of Art, London

Remembering the Korean War: The Autumn Air Show pays homage to this uniquely international air battle, characterised by the contrast between the highly–developed piston engine and the first generation of jet aircraft. duxford.iwm.org.uk 01223 835 000

The Institute of Ideas’ Battle of Ideas Festival features over 350 speakers including contributors to The American - participating in 75 debates on society’s big issues and unresolved questions in 7 main strands: Battle for the World, Battle for Morality, Food Fight, Society Wars, Battle for our Brains, Reassessing Politics and Sporting Contests; plus standalone discussions including The Tea Party, defenders of the American Dream?; Life off Earth: are the aliens out there?; Burlesque: female empowerment or posh stripping?; Islamophobia: the new racism or liberal angst?; Olympic expectations: can’t see the games for the legacy? www.battleofideas.org.uk/index. php/2011/overview/

TO OCTOBER 31

The American Museum in Britain Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD 01225 460503 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: OCTOBER 8th Cut Paper Projects (£25) inspired by Penn German traditions, cut paper decorations can be used throughout the year, and especially during Christmas. For beginners or intermediate crafters; 9th Burford Chamber Choir perform a selection from the Great American Songbook and the musical Oklahoma!; 16th The Great Train Robbery, a special screening of the groundbreaking 1903 silent film accompanied by original music composed and performed by American fiddler Kate Lissauer; 17th and 19th Excursions to historic Iford Manor House; 22nd Christmas Pinecones (£25) make sparkly Christmas decorations; 30th Kids Stuff, Halloween, for the final day of our season we celebrate Halloween with storytelling, crafts, owl handling, and special, spooky performances of Professor Heard’s Peerless Magic Lantern Show. Costumes encouraged! (12noon to 5pm). www.americanmuseum.org info@americanmuseum.org For courses 01225 823014

OCTOBER 19 TO 23

The Ski & Snowboard Show 2011 Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road, London SW5 9TA The largest consumer winter sports show in the world, they claim. Set in the heart of London, it brings the mountains to the heart of London offering the perfect day out for beginners and pros alike, with more features, more shops and stands and a kicker bigger than ever. Features a Teaching Slope, Husky Lodge, Kicker with professional demos, Fashion Shows, Winter Cinema, World Resort Village, Land Rover Driving Experience and over 250 shops & stands. www.metrosnow.co.uk OCTOBER 23

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Chicago Bears Wembley National Stadium, Wembley, London HA9 0WS The Bucs are playing the Bears in a full season game in London. Be there, enjoy the tailgate party and the game (even if you support a different team) and show the Brits what an all-American sports event is all about! www.nfluk.com OCTOBER 29 TO 30

Battle of Ideas Festival 10

OCTOBER 31

Kings of Swing: The Vocal Groups Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ For one night only, the fifth in the Kings of Swing series presents music by some of the great vocal groups from the 1920’s onwards, mostly taken from the Swing Era of the 30’s and 40’s, featuring the music of The Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys, Glenn Miller’s Modernaires, Tommy Dorsey’s Pied Pipers, Mel Torme’s Mel Tones, The Hi-Los, The Marcels, Manhattan Transfer, The Boswell Sisters, and more. Presented by Russell Davies, the writer and broadcaster and presenter who is currently working on a 10 part series on the history of jazz to be broadcast on Radio 2 this autumn, the concert features two vocal groups The Itones and the Swinging Belles and the band of Pete Long, currently MD for the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band. www.cadoganhall.com


The American

HEALTH

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doctor friend of mine used to tell me often that medicine is like religion for many doctors. She wasn’t talking about those surgeons with God complexes, or even the reverence that a white coat and stethoscope will induce in many people. Until I started researching and writing in the alternative health field, I didn’t really know what she meant. Researching natural vision improvement has been a real opener for me. If you go into your local high street opticians and ask them if there is any way that you can improve your vision, perhaps stop needing glasses altogether, the chances are, they’ll laugh in your face. Optometrists believe that visual fitness can’t be improved. They believe that – unless you have laser surgery - vision can get worse, but it can’t get better. 56 year old Meir Schneider is someone that any optician with a keen and enquiring scientific mind should be keen to meet. He was born blind. His parents were both deaf, so life was challenging. A total of five traumatic operations as a child to correct his congenital cataracts went wrong, leaving him with scarred lenses. Over the years, doctors told him that he would never improve his vision, but something within him was sure that he would be able to see well one day. In his late teens Meir heard about Bates. This is a system of eye exercises and techniques devised by American Ophthalmologist, W H Bates. He devoted his days to doing them. He did Sunning and Palming in order to relax his eyes. Today, Dr Meir Schneider can see well enough to have been granted a driving licence in America. He has a doctorate in anatomy and a

THE EYES HAVE IT MASTOOR KHAN D I S C O V E R S A WAY OF IMPROVING VISION , NATUR ALLY

school for healing in San Francisco. “It’s up to people like you to help me get the message out,” he told me. Engaging with opticians has been fruitless. “They have these old theories and they want to hold onto them… it’s like someone saying what’s in the bible must be true.” Scientists who’ve examined his eyes with an auto refractor, are shocked. Technically, according to conventional theories, Meir Schneider is still blind, the scarred cornea won’t allow light through to the brain. You would think, wouldn’t you that these same people would rush to find out what it is that Meir does, how he manages to see so well that he has been granted a full driver’s licence. Actually, most just slink away quietly and he never hears from them again. Meir says that what he’s done is not

an aberration; everything that he’s done is repeatable. Most people don’t have Meir’s physical handicaps, so if he can do it, they can do it. “The trouble is that people don’t have the support that they need when they want to do some work on their vision. They need more support.” Geoff Roberson of the Association of optometrists says that optometrists don’t believe that there’s any scientific basis to Bates: “If there was any real benefit to the Bates technique, we would all be using it,” he says. Now that’s a strange premise from a scientific mind – if it worked, we’d already be using it. So conversely, because we don’t use it already, it doesn’t work? “If you discovered what you’d learnt at university,” Meir says, “Everything you tell your patients, daily, was wrong, you’d find it difficult to cope wouldn’t you?” Perhaps modern medicine really is like religion for many doctors.

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The American

0HHW7KH/ODPDV

Mary Bailey visits a llama farm where you can not only meet the beasts but walk them to the pub!

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ot long ago there were few llamas in the UK. As a child you might get a ride in a llama cart at the zoo if you were lucky, but that was that. Now llamas – and their cousins, alpacas - are all over the place, being farmed, bred and kept as personal pets. (If pets, its better to keep them in twos as they are so sociable.) I was lucky enough to meet some llamas at Ashdown Forest Llama Park near East Grinstead in East Sussex (www. llamapark.co.uk). Millions of years ago their kind climbed the Andes in Peru; strong they were then and strong they are now. Their strangely shaped feet are ideally designed to cling to the rocks and their luxuriant coat can withstand temperatures p of up p to

said that, in the old days, when as a pack animal a llama felt he’d done enough for the day - or could do no more - he just sat down. The travellers then had to make camp. The distance thus travelled became the norm between encampments and subsequently the villages that grew up there. I think llamas are pretty animals, and so they should be, as the mother is 11 1/2 months pregnant, 2 ½ more than we humans. She surely deserves a pretty baby. They love walking and at Ashdown Forest Llama Park, people over 14 can take them walking, even as far as the pub, although they do not drink! This can be done in groups or solo, but only by arrangement, so phone first. You see by the picture they have a loose rein (by the way, I am ha the one in the blue sweater). th When we arrived we spotted a w welcome coffee shop and at the tim time there was a sale of Alpaca w wear and Peruvian goods. The wool is very very soft and warm w I bought a deep purple wide aalpaca scarf for my American daughter in law, who comes d ffrom New England and seems to know about cold. Last spring a heading e baby reindeer was born on site for be y rtl sho , Mary with llama to much delight and is being b pu the to off trained for Christmas, a sight 40 degrees C (104 F) and down to that h will breed jealousy in the most below freezing. athletic visitor. There will be a large Llamas are intelligent creatures. Christmas grotto and all kinds of They also helped create the geogthings will happen! raphy of the Andes by defining Apart from the recent influx of where settlements were built. It is llamas, the Forest is famous for Win-

12

nie the Pooh and for walking. You can picnic but no fires are allowed on this land and please do not leave gates op o en!! IItt is a open!

You can see this baby reindeer at Christmas!

lovely area and around an hour and a half drive from central London so all can be enjoyed in a short autumn day. A few years ago, Robert Tuttle, the last U.S. ambassador to the Court of St James, exhorted Americans to get out of town sometimes and see the British countryside. He was right. Britain’s cities have wonderful buildings, art, music and theatre, but Ashdown Forest was created 900 years ago, there is good air down there, and a baby reindeer in training is worth seeing.


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2 , + 6 $ ) )$6+,21

Fashion for October

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s a young woman, I ignored mother’s advice on how to dress, but the older I become, the more I realize it was, to use another old fashioned phrase, ‘common sense’. A well dressed woman, she’d tell me, wore the most

add style to even the most inexpensive outfit from Top Shop or H&M. Kate Moss proves this when she’s seen in Top Shop’s designs, although admittedly, she could probably wear plastic trash bags and look good. I have two shoe favourites in Herrera’s fall shoe collection, one is the high laced boot which would

in Argentina I’m all set. While dining at Angelus Restaurant, I watched a young woman, wearing Herrera’s ankle length boot with the open toe, hitch Katherine Hooker’s adjustable Harvey bag in brown tweed trimmed in chocolate leather over her shoulder. She not only looked smart, but she wasn’t

A well dressed woman, mother would tell me, wore the most expensive shoes and handbag she could afford because it will make even the cheapest outfit appear elegant

Katherine Hooker’s Harvey bag

expensive shoes and handbag she could afford because it will make even the cheapest outfit appear elegant. Looking at CH Carolina Herrera’s fall collection of handbags and shoes, I admit that they would

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look smashing with a suit from Robert Cavalli or a simple mid length skirt and sweater from Tesco or Asda. However, if I had the budget and the legs to match, I’d wear those boots with a dress from Roberto Cavelli’s collection. Hippy messy city chic was the way the lovely sales girl described this year’s styles to me. There are dresses and blouses in leopard design including a pair of leggings which I’d buy if I still had the long slender legs I had when I was thirty. Being a woman of a certain age, I think Diane von Furstenberg would better fit my budget and age. I love her red tunic dress (£399.00) and as I already have the Gaucho hat from when I lived

hunched over from the weight of her bag. I don’t want to preach back problems or arthritis, but, I’ll do it anyway. Looking at Victoria Beckham forced to lean on her eldest son while walking in high high heels as she tottered beside her husband, I can’t help question why. Save the stilettos for the evening, but save your back and neck during the day by wearing sensible shoes. I do, however, adore her dress designs. Remember that fabulous outfit by Victoria that Kate Winslet wore at the film festival in Cannes? I’m not certain anyone wearing a size fourteen would look as good, but at least Kate wasn’t a size zero. Years ago when we lived in


  







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shirt with my twenty year old suede Ralph Lauren jeans for lunch with a friend who had taken her Battersea dog of unknown origins for a special dog treatment costing ÂŁ99. It included a health check, deep cleaning, a paw soak, nail trim and bubble bath. My friend looked terribly smart in her felt hat by Gucci (ÂŁ305.00), trench coat by Burberry (ÂŁ1,095), French Sole flats (ÂŁ90.00), Levi

 



jeans (ÂŁ80.00) and leather Betty Jackson boots (ÂŁ65.00). Oh, and the dog hidden under the table smelled wonderful. Until next time...



Holland, my late husband had his dress shirts made by a tailor in Italy. I loved the Italian and 200 count Swiss cotton they used and stole two from his closet, one which I still wear with jeans. I saw similar shirts made by Kate Willis and her team of nine in Gloucester and though ÂŁ449.00 is expensive, if they last half as long as my Italian shirt, well worth the expenditure. Recently, I wore the



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The American



Soft lines, soft tones and soft fabrics from Caroline Herreraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fall Collection

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The American

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"4ZNQIPOZJO 8IJUF Idina Menzel is playing this month at the Royal Albert Hall. She tells Michael Burland about living in NYC, LA and London, motherhood, performing with a symphony orchestra, and managing to avoid expectorating on the First Lady Idina, you famously played Elphaba in the original West End cast of Wicked. Are you looking forward to coming back to London? I was in London with Wicked for about six months – I’d been there once or twice real quickly with my husband Taye Diggs, but never really lived there – and that six months was a life changing experience for me. I made some of my best friends there, and I saw the city through their eyes. I fell in love with the city and got to know it, although I still

managed to almost get hit by a car when I was crossing the road at the wrong time, looking the wrong way! I feel very comfortable when I’m in London. I don’t feel it’s a real transition form New York – the speed, the color, the culture, the metropolitan aspects of it, all of it feels very ‘home from home’. And London audiences surpassed anything people had told me about. You’re a New Yorker. Where is home now? We still hang on to our apartment in New York City, although we’re stuck in LA for work! And then I had a baby when I was in Los Angeles. Now, of course, I’m finding that there are some terrific things about living in California. The weather, and having grass in the back yard. I’m finding the positive in both coasts. You’re in Glee, which is shot in LA. I was in a couple

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The American

of episodes in the first season. That was right after I had the baby, so I was figuring out how to balance motherhood and career. It was strange to go back to work and be in such a whirlwind of a show when I had such real world things to attend to! Now I’m returning to Glee and it’s very exciting. The baby’s a little bit older now, and I can deal with my guilt about leaving him [laughs]. I bring him to the set, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to bring him to London yet. I haven’t been away from him for more than two nights. But he comes with me on the plane when I play places like Denver and Red Rocks. It’s a little chaotic, but it’s what my life is now and I kinda find it exhilarating. You have so many strings to your bow, and you seem to be doing TV shows, movies and concert dates all at the same time. I’m an entertainer! I like it all. Changing between the roles makes them all more attractive for me. But being on stage in front of a live audience, in any capacity, is most important for me. Whether it’s in character as part of a show, or doing my own concert like at Royal Albert Hall, the whole give and take with an audience is the most fulfilling for me. Whenever I leave a show I’m sad, then I go to a film or TV and that’s good too. In the theater the cast is a community, a family, it’s the most sacred thing about doing a play. When I’m on a film set, I have a really good time if I can cultivate those kind of relationships. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way, you just come in for a week, and everybody else knows each other, and you just have to grin and bear it. You started performing at Weddings and Barmitzvahs quite young. Yes, I was fifteen, but I told everyone I was eighteen.

Did people take much notice of the singer? No! But I grew a thicker skin and it gave me a platform, a space to experiment with my voice, because I had to sing so many different types of music. Every weekend I was singing jazz standards Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Motown, Madonna and Whitney Houston. I didn’t want to conform to the way they sang, yet it seeps into your identity and then out comes something very original. That was the best education for me You’ve had three albums out, are there any plans for a new one? I would like to document what I’m doing with the symphony orchestra, so either I’m going to put out a live album or record a studio album with an orchestra. I’ve really enjoyed the process, and the show that you’re going to see at The Royal Albert Hall has opened my voice up in a way that I haven’t been tapping into in a while. Is it different singing on stage a full orchestra behind you? Oh my goodness… Yes, it is, it could be daunting but we’ve found a great balance between the thrilling, majestic sound of an orchestra and keeping a sense of intimacy with the audience. Even though the venues are big, it’s important for me to feel like the audience is getting

17


to know me. I want them to walk out of the Royal Albert Hall and feel they have a piece of me. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tricky, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve learned not to worry that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sixty musicians behind me, and treat it like weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve all been on the road

Foundation too? Yes, this is our very first summer. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re bringing 31 girls from a bunch of inner cities up to the Berkshire mountains at the Massachusetts School of the Performing Arts Campus. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re

k*jNBOFOUFSUBJOFS*MJLFJUBMM$IBOHJOH CFUXFFOUIFSPMFTNBLFTUIFNBMMNPSF BUUSBDUJWFGPSNFl together for years. If I want to take a moment to tell the audience something about a particular song, then itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s OK, even though they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t smile that often! I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how they are in London, but in the States, the orchestras are told not to smile on stage. Have you played at the Albert Hall before? I have, actually. Josh Grogan and I did a concert of Chess. I actually got lost backstage trying to make my way from one stage entrance to another and I got lost! I was in my gown and heels and missed my cue! My Spinal Tap moment! And youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing this concert with Marvin Hamlisch. How many concerts have you done with him? Around ten. We work together as much as our schedules will allow and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve become really good friends. I feel honoured that heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s up there with me. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a legend, and to kind of have him give me his blessing, so to speak, is very powerful for me. Also he relaxes me when weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on stage, he can bounce the ball with me. Nothing will phase him. My music director Ron Mounsey, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done most of the arrangements, comes with me, and they get along great too. Are you busy with your BroaderWay

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going to write original pieces around them and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to perform their own concert at the end of that. I want it to be really special for them, so weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in talks every day, talking everything from bunk assignment to lunches on a bus, to what their activities are going to be, you know, Arts and Crafts, to Kickball, Drama you know, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m doing it with some of my closest friends. Last year you sang at The Whitehouse for the President and the First Lady. What was that like? Terrifying! They were sitting literally two feet away from me. If I was spitting at all while I was singing, it could have landed on them! Luckily when I get really nervous I can get really dry and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what happened! It was one of those moments

thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wrapped up in so many feelings, because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so scary and yet itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a milestone for me, and thinking about being at a point in my career where I was asked to be there, and an opportunity to meet them, I had to take all those things in and not take them for granted. + Idina Menzel, conducted by Marvin Hamlisch, is appearing at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 on October 6th. Tickets ÂŁ25 to ÂŁ75. Box Office 0845 401 5045, www. idinainlondon.com


The American

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þFH G&KRLFH Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin

Portrait of thoughtful US Marine in Hue, Vietnam, 1968 BY PERMISSION THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM Lorenzo Quinn, Hand of God

Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ

CHRIS JACKSON, GETTY IMAGES

OCTOBER 7, 2011 TO APRIL 15, 2012

The largest ever UK exhibition about the life and work of one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers, Don McCullin. The 250 photographs, objects and memorabilia are shown in an updated form, following a highly successful run at IWM North last year. McCullin, who experienced the Blitz during the Second World War, has photographed war for more than 50 years and his iconic black and white images shape our awareness of modern conflict and its consequences. Conflicts in the exhibition include the Cold War in Berlin, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East, Biafra and Bangladesh, alongside, more recently, the Gulf War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Portraits rarely seen in public include haunting images of victims of wars around the world. McCullin says, ‘I’ve had exhibitions all over the world but this is the biggest splash you will ever see... It’s particularly important to younger generations who will inherit tomorrow’s world.’

Jacob Kassay

Lorenzo Quinn

Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH

Park Lane, London, Installation

OCTOBER 12 TO NOVEMBER 13

The ICA is the first UK public gallery to present a solo exhibition by young American artist Jacob Kassay. In his recent work, Kassay has covered canvases in an uneven silver coating, creating large reflective identically sized surfaces that come alive with the presence of an audience. The movement of ambient colours and changing light subtly and continuously alter the appearance of the works throughout the day. The constant flux of abstract colour renders what might in print appear to be flat and uniform rectangles as a mesmerising display of activity across the surface of the works. Interactive art? The canvases are simultaneously paintings, sculpture and installation and for the ICA exhibition, Kassay will create new work to be shown alongside some older works. Born in 1984 in Buffalo, NY, Kassay currently lives and works in LA.

Hand of God, a 13 foot high, 880lb aluminium sculpture has come to London from The State Hermitage Museum, Russia. It forms part of a worldwide programme of public art by Lorenzo Quinn, in association with Halcyon Gallery. You may well have seen other works by Quinn in public spaces in London. The plinth at the south end of Park Lane was previously occupied by his installation Vroom Vroom, a giant hand holding a genuine vintage Fiat 500, and Force of Nature II is currently on display nearby in Berkeley Square, Mayfair. Consuelo Císcar Casabán, Director of the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM) says “Quinn’s Hand of God sculpture is a clear example of the relationship between the real and transcendental. It is about our ultimate search for a life of spirituality... His figures, and particularly his hands, are works that explore what is most human.” And Cristian Maretti,

Jacob Kassay installation PHOTO: JOSHUA WHITE

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The American Ben Turnbull, Hero III, 2011, Comic collage on wood, 87 x 129 cm COURTESY OF ELEVEN, LONDON AND THE ARTIST

who curated a Lorenzo Quinn exhibition at the Venice Biennale, adds “Lorenzo Quinn is an artist who succeeds in halting, just for a moment, our race against time.” Can’t argue with that. Keep a look out for more public placements and exhibitions of Quinn’s work in London later this year.

Ben Turnbull: Supermen - An Exhibition of Heroes Eleven, 11 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LX UNTIL OCTOBER 22

An extraordinary new series of collages by Ben Turnbull which constructs modern day heroes out of their fictional counterparts, ripped from vintage comic books. Inspired by the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Turnbull celebrates the real life heroes, the firemen and policemen who protect us everyday. These ‘ordinary’ heroes are meticulously constructed from fragments of fictional superheroes including Captain America, Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, Batman, Spiderman, and the Hulk. They give a palette of red, white and blue, embodying patriotism and willingness to serve. Turnbull comments, “The lifechanging events of 9/11 led us all to believe in the need for real life superheroes. Superman didn’t fly down to save the falling buildings, there was no Caped Crusader ready to do battle with the arch-enemy and Spidey didn’t spin his web. Without the need of a phonebooth or a revolving door these true patriots donned their iconic costumes and sacrificed life and limb for what they believed in. With every cut-comic hero and dialogue I hope to bring out the true merits of the Brave and the Bold in their fight for Truth, Justice and

20

the American Way.’” Turnbull has previously made artworks responding to events like Columbine and the Virginia Tech massacre. He has made numerous works using super hero figures in the past, and has been collecting comics since he was 11 or 12.

confined to screaming “Achtung, Himmell!” and “Banzai” before being dispatched. Occasional Americans turned up, mistrusted at first as they were generally regarded as Oversexed, Overpaid and Over Here, but they turned out to be good eggs in the end. Stirring stuff. As well as the the comics the exhibition boasts genuine original Commando equipment including the iconic dagger featured on the front of the Commando comic.

Draw Your Weapons – The Art of Commando Comics National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HT More comics! But this time intact. The museum’s newest exhibition explores the heritage of the war comic from its initial conception, its heroic subject-matter and its continuing popularity. British children of a certain age grew up on a series of small format booklets, cheaply printed by publisher, DC Thomson, that gripped their imagination with tales of brave soldiers, sailors and airmen during (mainly) the Second World War. Stiff upper lipped officers and genial working-class types fought against evil Germans and Japanese whose main roles were

Chris Levine, Lightness of Being, at Art London COURTESY THE LITTLE BLACK GALLERY

Art London Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4SR OCTOBER 6 TO 10

Original artwork for the cover of the Commando comic, The Man Who Died Twice COURTESY DC THOMSON

Set within the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, Art London showcases an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary art. The fair is unique in global and historical range, featuring work by Picasso and Sir Peter Blake to Chris Levine and Marc Quinn. Further highlights include a sculpture park with a 10 metre installation by street artist L’Atlas and live performance art by body painter Emma Hack.


The American

CoďŹ&#x20AC;ee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ Petrov, Jack Frost, Jack Fate, Lucky Wilbury?

13"-)3

More music star names: What are the stage names of the performers with the following real names: 2 John Alexander Jr. 3 Patricia Andrejewski 4 Robert Alan Zimmerman 5 Don Van Vliet 6 John Henry Deutschendorf 7 Erica Wright 8 George Michael Braddock

Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in the Quiz somewhere! PHOTO: WILLIAM CLAXTON

1 What do the following have in common: Blind Boy Grunt, Elston Gunn, Elmer Johnson, Sergei

9 Ellas Otha Bates (later, after adoption, Ellas McDaniel)

14 Christine Anne Perfect 15 Farrokh Bulsara

10 Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere

16 Laura Nigro

11 Leslie Wonderman

17 Sean John Combs

12 Louis Firbank

18 John Graham Mellor

13 Oshea Jackson

For answers please turn to page 59

21


The American

WINING & DINING By Virginia E Schultz

0$,621728$5(* S

tepping into Maison Touareg with its low tables and cushions one has the sense of the southern and eastern Mediterranean - it describes itself as a Moroccan/Lebanese restaurant. The food brings back memories of visiting both countries when I’d wander through the streets and bazaars on my own, once even becoming lost. Lebanese food, thanks to its rich cultural history, is considered one of the best cuisines in the world and it was in Beirut I first tasted cous cous (crushed wheat). Not the instant cous cous we buy in the supermarket, but cous cous that is slowly steamed and then served with vegetables or meat. I had dinner at Maison Touareg with an American friend who lived in Lebanon for almost twenty years. As we sipped the kir she insisted would go better with the food than champagne, we nibbled on olives (£1.50) and mezze, a mixture of small dishes, hot and cold, served simultaneously. That evening we enjoyed Fatayer (£4.95), pastry filled with spinach, onions and lemon juice, Calamar Mekli (£5.25), deep fried squid, Kallaj (£5.25), toasted bread with Halloumi cheese and Pastilla of Chicken (£5.25), chicken baked in a thin pastry with almonds and cinnamon. As we had 4 different

22

mezzes, it came to £18.95. But then, Louise decided we had to have Mousakka (£4.95), baked aubergine with chickpeas, peppers and tomatoes and for five mezzes, our bill was £21.95. Still a bargain and one of the reasons I’ve often gone there for a pre-theatre dinner with friends. For her main dish, Louise decided to have Fish Tagines (£15.90). This is layers of white fish, potatoes and peppers served with a spicy sauce that arrived steaming hot along with a bowl of cous cous. I decided on Lamb N (£14.50, and yes, that is its real name), that includes cinnamon spices, honey, prunes, almonds and showered with rosewater. Delicious is not a strong enough word to describe how wonderful it was. Along with our food, we had Pita bread, an essential part of any Lebanese meal. Dessert, of course, had to be Baklawa and with it mint tea. Sadly, as Louise was returning to the States the next morning, we left before the belly dancing started. As I drove her back to her hotel, we reminisced on the last time we were in Beirut with our husbands at an exclusive restaurant when a woman who was in her seventies and wearing an Yves St. Laurent dress suddenly stood up and did a belly dance that was the most

exotic any of us had ever seen. OPENING TIMES Mon-Sat: 12 noon to 3am Sun: 12 noon to midnight 23-24 Greek Street, London, W1D 4DZ, 0207 734 7006


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Special Entertainment: Ian Gallagher presents Michael Buble on Friday 11 November, Tenors Unlimited Friday 18 November +LJK6WUHHW&REKDP6XUUH\

 Book your table online on our website: www.lacapanna.co.uk Business account customers and party bookings are welcome. All major credit cards accepted.

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The American

7+20$6.(//(5 Virginia E. Schultz talks to America’s No. 1 chef as he prepares for his ‘pop-up’ raid on Harrods in London

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rom October 1 to 10, The French Laundry will take over part of Harrods Georgian Restaurant in the most exciting pop-up adventure to hit London or any other major city. Thomas Keller (right), the States’ number one chef, will be there every day. It’s Keller’s first venture into pop-ups and, as he told me, a challenge for Harrods and himself (http://frenchlaundry. harrods.com). Tall, slim, wiry, Keller is the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneously three Michelin stars for two restaurants, Per Se in New York and The French Laundry in Napa, California. He is known as a perfectionist, but talking to him I discovered it goes beyond that. Even after he achieves perfection, he practices over and over until it’s ingrained, like the baseball player (which Keller wanted to be) who after hitting several home runs goes home and practices hitting the ball. After working summers in restaurant kitchens as a teenager, Keller’s dreams changed. He didn’t attend cooking school, but worked instead for top chefs in the States and Europe, taking advantage of whatever learning experience he could. In Rhode Island, Master Chef Roland Henin taught him the art of classical French cooking, creating Keller’s passion for French cuisine. Working as a dishwasher was his first lesson in running a restaurant. Standing there, hands in soapy water, he noted which food customers enjoyed and what they hadn’t, and he observed the everyday rituals of chefs and waiters, taking in what worked and where things might be improved in the kitchen. Eating good food is not cheap, Kel-

24

ler emphasized to me. As his mother told him, one gets what they pay for. The importance of ingredients is the quality and where they come from. The idea drummed into Americans that

good food can be cheap, he feels, is a mistake. He champions fishermen and farmers who believe, as he does, that only the best will do. For this UK venture, around 90 percent of the ingredients will be sourced from The French Laundry’s suppliers, not because he can’t find similar quality here, but because he knows his sources personally and without them diners would only receive his technical skills. The menu will resemble the one in Napa as much as possible - one of his specialities, oysters and pearls (pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar, pictured above) is on the menu. Keller could be described as an intellectual chef, although I have

a feeling he wouldn’t care for that description. It’s not difficult to imagine him writing a similar book to one of his favourites, Ma Gastronomie by Fernand Point, not a cookbook, but comments on cuisine and life which were to Point synonymous. Nostalgia and memory are part of Keller’s cooking background. To most Americans, macaroni and cheese and tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich are quintessential American dishes and he’s put them on his menus, with a new interpretation. Keller admires chefs like John Louis Palladin in Washington, DC and Alice Waters in California and the Roux Brothers in London who helped bring about demand for better food. Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsey, Heston Blumenthal in Britain and Anthony Bourdain and himself in the States are the second generation of chefs to follow but, he says, the third generation are already beginning to make a name for themselves.

THE FRENCH LAUNDRY COOKBOOK By Thomas Keller with Susie Heller & Michael Ruhlman, Photographs by Deborah Jones

My first copy of this was “borrowed” by my daughter (a far better cook than I) but, fortunately, a friend gifted me another. After my luncheon of Keller’s Macaroni and Cheese, like no other I ever tasted, and Lemon Sabayon-Pine Nut Tart, this will definitely go into the kitchen with my other favorite cookbooks. This is not a fast food book. I had no problem following the instructions, but it took time and in the end it was worth it.


The American

THOMAS KELLER’S LEMON SABAYON-PINE TART With Honeyed Mascarpone Cream

For the Pine Nut Crust:

For the Lemon Sabayon:

216

22 ¾½ 6

cups (10 ounces) pine nuts

tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature cup sugar cups of all-purpose flour* large egg teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3

31 1

Place the pine nuts in a food processor & pulse a few times. Add sugar and flour and continue to pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Place the mixture in a mixing bowl (the dough can be mixed by hand or in a mixer fitted with the paddle). Add the softened butter, the egg, and vanilla extract and mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Divide the dough into three parts. Wrap each piece in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before using. The dough can be frozen for future use. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter & flour a 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and refrigerate while the oven preheats. Remove tart pan from the refrigerator and using your fingertips, press the chilled dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides. Trim off excess dough. Bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes, then rotate the shell & continue baking for another ten to 15 minutes until the shell is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the filling. There may be some cracks in the shell, but it will not affect the tart.

large eggs, cold large egg yolks, cold cup sugar cup fresh lemon juice tablespoons (3 ounces) cold unsalted butter cut into six pieces

Bring about 1 ½ inches of water to a boil in a pot slightly smaller than the diameter of the mixing bowl you’re using to make the sabayon. Meanwhile, in a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth. Set the bowl over the pot and, using a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl, for even heating. After about 2 minutes, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened, add one third lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously and when the mixture thickens again, add another one third of the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Continue whisking vigorously, still turning the bowl, until the mixture is thickened, light in color, and the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the bowl. The total cooking time should be approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat but leave the bowl over the water as you add the butter. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time. The sabayon may loosen slightly, but it will thicken and set as it cools. Pour the warm sabayon into the tart shell and place on a baking sheet.

Preheat the broiler. While the sabayon is still warm, place the tart under the broiler. Leaving the door open, brown the top of the sabayon, rotating the tart if necessary for even color, do not leave the oven as it will happen in a few seconds. Remove tart from oven and let sit at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature or cold. For the Honeyed Mascarpone cream to serve with pie:

1/2 cup heavy cream

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tablespoons marcarpone cheese tablespoon honey

In a bowl set over ice, whip the cream until frothy. Add the mascarpone and honey and continue to beat for about two minutes, or until the cream is thick and creamy. Keep refrigerated until served. *Virginia’s Note: Any American recipe calling for flour in a cake or pie crust, I only use American flour. American flour can be bought in a number of specialty stores in London.

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The American

ROUX AT PARLIAMENT SQUARE 12 Great George Street (Just Off Parliament Square}, London SW1P 3AD 020 7334 3737, rouxatparliamentsquare.co.uk

M

ichel Roux Jr., who took over from his father at Gavroche, is one of the second generation of chefs that continue to make London into one of the world’s dining capitals. However, in the six months after Parliament Square first opened, critics condemned everything from cost to food to decor. In the next year, I returned with friends celebrating their first wedding anniversary, then a few months ago for a private dinner with Stephanie Dondain of Chateau Cabezac, and found the food very much improved and specials now being offered. Then, a few days ago two female friends visiting from the States asked me to make reservations at a favourite restaurant and on a whim (after failing to get into the two I originally wanted) I made reservations at Parliament Square.

The restaurant is located in the former headquarters of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has that kind of wow factor that impresses we Americans. There is a magnificent stairway to The Pembury, Roux’s cocktail lounge (named after his birthplace) with its high ceilings and comfortable chairs and sofas. Plants have been added and tables rearranged and the room is more inviting. While sipping Albert Roux champagne we looked at both the set and à la carte menus. Decision made, we headed down to the dining room which is all white and creamy. Slightly less lighting would be preferable, but the tables are placed at a discreet distance and one wouldn’t be bothered by, or bother, a neighbour’s conversation which was important to the three of us. After the usual foamy amuse bouche, fantastic canapés and first courses of cheese and pickle salad and crab ravioli with champagne foam almost made me forget the main course and start with the starters again. However the main courses proved to be just as delicious. The line caught and cured sea bass with fresh peas and shellfish jus is to return for as was the suckling pig with chardonnay vinegar pomme puree. The sea bass was moist and cooked to that creamy perfection that doesn’t always happen even in the best of restaurants and both dishes, I might add, were

flawlessly presented. For dessert, we decided on the apple blackberry soufflé with green apple and calvados sorbet and my friend from Houston declared “Honey, it’s the best dang soufflé I ever had.’ She was loud enough for the man at the table next to us to lean over and say softly, ‘You’re absolutely correct, honey, it is!” in a posh English accent. Going à la carte costs more than we would have spent on the set menu, but none of us regretted it. Our sommelier was helpful and the wine he suggested was within reason. Service was excellent although slow at times. It’s a pity those critics haven’t returned to see how Parliament Square has improved. With the new chef chosen by Michel and the change with the menu, it’s now a different restaurant. One last note: If you wish to save money, as one of my guests did a few days later, have the three course cocktail menu upstairs in The Pembury. OPENING HOURS Mon-Fri: 12 noon-2 pm 6:30-10 pm There is a private room for 10 people.

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The American

(;AA8F8A@ By Virginia E. Schultz

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orget cheese-eating surrender monkeys! English chefs may be considered among the best in the world, but in the States they havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t done nearly as well as the French. Partly this is because American chefs have been strongly influenced by French cooking and its techniques, whether home style cooking (for example Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California) or haute cuisine (Thomas Keller â&#x20AC;&#x201C; see our interview and a fabulous recipe from him in this issue). Another reason is, of course, that French chefs in the States are no longer cooking the rich, creamy sauces many of us still identify with French cooking but are using locally sourced ingredients and recipes they learned in their motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kitchen. These French chefs, whether based in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Chablis: beautiful village, wonderful wines, and bargains prices right now CHRISTOPHE FINOT

New York or Honolulu, have done more to keep French wine in the minds of Americans than anyone else. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t misunderstand, their sommeliers make sure other countries are represented, but they are also willing to introduce you to a wine that wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t triple the bill. You should always talk to your sommelier. There are still a few arrogant ones around, but they, like rich French food, have mostly disappeared and unless the restaurant is busy, are more than willing to give you advice. Right now, some of the best white Burgundies are the recently released 2008 which are considered by many as the best whites from the region since 2002 and 2005. Some of the prices are high, to put it mildly, but there are a number of whites that are reasonably priced. I tasted a Louis Latour Pouilly-Vinzelles En Paradis which was around ÂŁ15, although if I had my druthers Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have the Lucien Le Moine Corton White 2008 that is up there in the ÂŁ100 rangeâ&#x20AC;Ś since it shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be drunk until around 2014 it will give me time to save for a bottle or two. The best bargains are in the Chablis and the Maconnais regions in France. It was a cool year in Chablis with not a lot of rain, allowing the north wind to dry the grapes enough to achieve the rich concentration needed. The Cote dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Or had more rain, but there are still bargains to be found. In England, when dining out for pleasure, check the wine list for a reasonably priced wine and if you enjoy it find out where you may purchase a case for yourself. That ÂŁ30 bottle of BACKGROUND PHOTO: GRAPEVINE, PETER CURBISHLEY

Chablis will probably be half the price in your favourite wine store. Or, attend a wine tasting at your favourite restaurant or wine shop. Most are reasonably priced unless theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re showing a top wine and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll often find a wine you really love to drink and at discount if you order a case that night. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great way to learn about wine.

%3*/,0'5)&.0/5) Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War hero, loved rum. He liked a hot toddy concocted of butter the size of a black walnut, maple sugar, the size of a large hickory nut, a gill of rum and a small amount of boiling water, sprinkled with nut meg. Recently I made a barbecued chicken on my brand new barbecue grill which looks like a flower pot using a similar recipe with Kinky Lux Rum which won the World 2010 Spirits Award. Afterwards, the four of us sat on my balcony wrapped in blankets and sipped Kinky Lux rum. Lovely!

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The American

MUSIC LIVE AND KICKING Evanescence Where have they been? It’s taken Evanescence three years to come up with a new album after the success of double U.S. Platinum, 5 million selling The Open Door, and it’s an extra year on that since they have graced these shores. But finally the band have been back in the studio with producer Nick (Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains) Raskulinecz and their third album is due out very soon. And they’re headed this way too, for a European tour. UK dates are: November 4th & 5th (a second date has recently been added) London Hammersmith Apollo; 7th Manchester Apollo; 8th Glasgow Academy; 10th Plymouth Pavilions; 12th Leeds Academy; 13th Birmingham Academy.

Toby Keith Billboard Magazine’s Country Songwriter & Artist of the Decade and multi American Country Music award winner Toby Keith returns to Europe to play 12 shows in the UK, Holland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Toby Keith’s 2010 American Ride Tour played to more than a million fans. Looks like the Toby Keith bandwagon is still in top gear and the Locked & Loaded Tour will do it again. UK dates are: October 30th Edinburgh Usher Hall; 31st Manchester Apollo;

November 1st London Wembley Arena then it’s on to Amsterdam, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, and Berlin.

Nigel Kennedy Reschedules Due to recording commitments following Nigel Kennedy’s new exclusive contract with Sony, the UK September 2011 tour, flagged in The American, has been moved to January 2012. All tickets remain valid, apart from Glasgow which has been cancelled. Refunds are available from point of purchase. The new tour schedule is at www.livenation.co.uk .

Diana Jones The woman whose rich tones have brought back the Appalachian mountain ballad to popular attention with nary a hint of academia or irony has a new album out, High Atmosphere. On the new records she is not mining old nineteenth century and Depressionera folk tunes, but has written new material inspired by her day to day life as a traditional singer in the modern world. The title track is based both on the Nashville floods that her home was spared because it is built on a hill, and the multitude of hours that Jones has spent in the really high atmos-

Alice Cooper Alice is back, with his traditional October Tour. ‘Alice Cooper’s Halloween Night Of Fear’ will be playing songs from his new album Welcome 2 My Nightmare, which came out in September, as well some of his classic material. The UK tour will feature local freaks, recruited in auditions earlier this year, and the fire acts and bizarre performance artists will bring an extra element to Alice’s gorefest. Special guests from the 27th onwards are the New York Dolls. October 25th Sheffield City Hall; 26th Bristol Colston Hall; 27th Birmingham NIA; 29th London Alexandra Palace; 30th Manchester Apollo; 31st Glasgow Clyde Auditorium.

phere, touring on airplanes. “The High Atmosphere is as internal as it is up there in the sky,” Jones says. “Maybe even a spiritual place. That’s the place I write from.” October 28th Gateshead, Little Theatre; 29th Glasgow CCA; November 2nd Biddulph, The Biddulph Arms; 5th Chorley, St. Bede’s Club; 7th Nottingham, The Glee Club; 8th London, Purcell Room; 9th Bristol, St. Bonaventure’s; 12th Shoreham-by-Sea, Ropetackle Arts Centre.

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The American

6WRUP/DUJH 7KLQNLQJ3LQN Think Pink Martini. That sophisticated outfit that sound as if they’ve sprung from a time and space wormhole performing cabaret songs in multifarious languages, stylish to the end. Lead singer China Forbes is currently hors de combat after throat surgery. Who is the most unlikely replacement you could think of? A raunchy rocker whose previous bands have included The Balls and Storm and Her Dirty Mouth? Enter the delectable, tumultuous Storm Large. Interview by Michael Burland. Storm, we’re looking forward to seeing you with Pink Martini on the upcoming European tour, and you’re only playing the best venues – you’re at the Royal Albert Hall? Yes, I’m so excited but I’m terrified about what to wear! That’s a terribly girly thing to say! It is girly! But I’m a rock and roll person, most of my career has been raw and naughty and not as prim and proper as Pink Martini.

Pink Martini’s leader Thomas Lauderdale says, “I always hoped we could find a way to collaborate. She is a brilliant, beautiful, charismatic and seductive star who would give Jayne Mansfield a run for her money.” What do you think he meant? I think that’s a nice way of calling someone a slut! No, I guess my stage appeal is a bit of a sexpot. I’m not a slip of a girl – I’m about six foot tall and fairly robust of body. I guess Thomas is commenting on the first impression I make: big, blond, brash and American. How did you meet them? We’re both from Portland, Oregon, and Portland is a very small town. Thomas and I had done some charity events together, and China and I had collaborated and we’re friends.

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When China got ill, Thomas asked me about possibly replacing her temporarily. I talked to China first, and she said she couldn’t think of anyone else who could do a better job. They’re big shoes to fill – Pink Martini are hugely famous and very popular and I could not be more different from China Forbes – unless I maybe had a penis! Has it been a bigger shock for the band, the audience or for you? I’ve been filling in since April. What I hear from the audience is, “What is THAT?” But afterwards, die hard fans tell me, “I was worried for two seconds and then I wasn’t worried any more. We love China. We miss China. But you are an a propos replacement.” I’m here to help as long as Pink Martini need me. People will have seen your performances on Rock Star Supernova. Reality ‘talent’ shows are full of wannabes wrecking great songs, but you took David Bowie and Pink Floyd songs and made them your own. The people doing Rock Star Supernova were music fans first – they were into putting on a good rock


The American and roll show, not making histrionic television drama. They chose good songs and wanted to get the best performances out of us. I thought the contestants could beat the crap out of any of those American Idol kids! They can sing really well, but there’s a difference between show-boating your vibrato and giving a song life and breath. You’ve sung with a lot of different people. I’ve been fortunate to sing with John Doe from X, the legendary Randy Newman, Rufus Wainwright... so many great people. I played a few shows with one of my heroes Nina

Hagen – if people don’t know her, Google her! I love every type of music. I can’t technically sing hardcore opera but I love singing ballads, rock and roll, punk rock... Is music your life? It saved my life, that’s for sure. I was a pretty bad drug addict in my early twenties. It was a spiral – the typical miserable young person, aimless, no real parenting. My mother was mentally ill and always gone, my father was busy trying to deal with her, I was pretty much on my own. The typical young girl who’s wild and crazy and talented but everyone thinks she’s just crazy. When everyone tells you enough times you’re a scumbag you start to act like one. It was a story of bad men, bad choices, running away, drugs and

drinking. Then the bad man and the drugs combined and “I’m going to get addicted to heroin now, because my boyfriend is.” I sang on stage with a friend’s band at the same time I thought of killing myself for the first time. When I started singing in bands I realized I had something to live for. It got me off drugs. You talk about it honestly in your one woman show, Crazy Enough. And virtually everything you read about Storm Large also mentions your sexuality. Instead of bisexual you prefer the term “sexually omnivorous.” That’s your business – but do you get fed up with people

like me asking you about it? No, because when you’re a performer, a musician, a film-maker , a painter, your job is to take people out of their lives, to take the esoteric and the intangible and make it tangible. To give it form and resonance with strangers. In my case these strangers gather in rooms in the dark and wait for me to make them feel something. A lot of the time sex is the go-to thing when you’re crammed in a room at night. Maybe they don’t get out very often, or they’re older and they get it where they can. Sexuality has always been part of my gig. So I like boys and girls? I love everyone! I’m old fashioned – I’m monogamous and I’m going to be married! But if you’re curious about it, it means I’m doing my job because you care about what

I’m doing.. What else are you doing professionally apart from Pink Martini? My show Crazy Enough is workshopping in New York off and on into next year, my book is coming out in January so I’ll be doing a book tour next spring, and my band is going into the studio in February. Just keeping busy! What is your ultimate goal in show business? To look at my career when I’m 60 years old and be satisfied with what I’ve done and glad with the decisions I’ve made... and have a farm! It’s not

very rock and roll, but I just want people to love me. Finally, Storm Large is a cool rock and roll name, but people might be surprised it’s your real name, Susan Storm Large. When was the last time someone called you Susan? Susan was my mother’s name. Nobody ever called me Susan – the closest anyone got was calling me ‘Little S’. Everyone in my world calls me Storm, or Stormy. See Storm and Pink Martini on October 8th and 9th at Dublin, National Concert Hall; 10th Newcastle, The Sage; 11th Edinburgh, Usher Hall; 14th Birmingham Symphony Hall; 15th Liverpool Philharmonic Hall; 16th Cambridge Corn Exchange; 17th London, Royal Albert Hall.

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The American

The Godfather John Mayall, originator of the British Blues boom, talks to Michael Burland John, before we talk about your new band, album and tour I’d like to go back to the beginning. There’s a great photo of your father, with tweed suit and pipe, playing a guitar. Was he an influence on you? He played rhythm guitar, as a hobby, and he had a good record collection so I grew up in a house where jazz was played, which was a good foundation. What made you latch onto the blues? I don’t think anybody can answer that, music finds its own connections. I first got into boogie woogie piano when I was at art school, when I was 13 or 14, and it all grew from that Apart from yourself, who inspired the British blues boom in the 1960s? Chris Barber was one of the main people of the Trad Jazz period for ten years which preceded the R&B boom, so he was instrumental in kicking off the Blues thing… A tremendous roster of musicians came through your band The Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Peter Green… who was the greatest of the greats that you played with? Anybody you’d care to mention that has stood the test of time, and has their own style and individuality. They’ve lasted because they had something new to offer and could sustain it. When Eric Clapton left you and went off to Greece you ‘kept his position open’. Peter Green replaced him, then you had to ask Peter to leave when Eric came back. How did that feel? It wasn’t very pleasant for Peter, obviously, he’d only just joined the

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band. But it all worked out in the end when Eric and Jack formed Cream. Do you keep in touch with any of them? There’s no way of doing that. One does not have Eric Clapton’s phone number, you know! When we come to

The Godfather of British Blues

England Mick Taylor sometimes shows up. And Eric and Mick were involved in my 70th birthday concert [Mayall was born November 29, 1933], but that’s the last time I saw either of them. A lot of those guys moved on from Bluesbreakers into other sorts of music. Is it fair to say that you’ve stayed truer to the blues? Yes, absolutely. It’s the only thing that I’ve got a connection with, it’s the only thing I know. You’re a good artist too. Do you regret not following a career in that direction?

Of course not! [laughs] Life takes you where it takes you and you follow that stream. You’ve followed the stream, with no long layoffs. Which decade have you enjoyed the most? They all have a special place in my memory. Fortunately every stage of my career has been well documented through records, but you know the most exciting thing is the current band. Since the Bluesbreakers were disbanded three years ago for ever, the new guys in my regular band now, Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drums, they’re a fantastic new kick of life. They gelled immediately. The album Tough was recorded only three days after they got together. Greg picked Jay as they’d worked together in Chicago, so they were a well oiled rhythm section already, and they met Rocky, who’s from Texas, when they got together for the album. You can get it and a DVD and CD of the live show we did in November last year in London, called Live in London, on our website, www. johnmayall.com, which will bring everyone up to date! You’ve lived in California since1969. Absolutely, can’t beat the weather! It’s a wonderful place to live. Your place in Lauren Canyon burnt down in 1979 and you lost your art archive, family history, music, your famous porn collection. That must have been heart wrenching. When you lose everything except the clothes you stand up in, you know… it’s not something I recommend anybody go through, but you have to keep an optimistic view of life


The American and move on. You can’t replace the things that are irreplaceable, but you build your life up again with a new set of possessions. We rebuilt, and stayed in Lauren Canyon for a little while after the fire, but it didn’t really work out. It was never the same, so we moved to the valley, and we’ve been there ever since. On the flatlands, rather than the hills! Looking forward, you’re coming across the Atlantic for your next tour shortly. Do you notice any changes in Britain? There’s more congestion, that’s the main thing we notice, because we travel by bus on tour. It takes a long time to get around. Outside of that, I think that the character of the people and the whole vibe about being back in England is wonderful. Is there anything that you miss about the UK? I don’t get to miss anything, because we travel the world all the time and we’re constantly coming back to familiar places, so when I come back to England it doesn’t really feel that I’ve left, you know? It’s one of those things I’m very grateful for, that I have that privilege as a musician. As someone who’s lived abroad for such a long time, and whose whole career has been in a fairly disestablishment profession, how did you feel when you got the OBE [An Officer of the Order of the British Empire, an award made by the monarch]? And what was it for? That was pretty amazing considering the fact that I’d never had a hit record, or never won a Grammy or anything like that, to get an award from the Queen. It came very much out of left field! Obviously I’m very proud. It was for my contribution to music. The wonderful thing about the OBE is that it’s not given to people who are in high-born places, it’s for people who make up the workings of the country. You have to earn it, so it’s really very special. You’ve been playing for 60 years or more now, and you don’t seem to slow down, what keeps you going? I’m lucky enough to have very good health, that’s been a major factor, because you need all the energy you can get when you’re on stage. The work is there, and I’ll follow that as long as I’m healthy enough to do it. Finally, are there any musicians you’d still like to play with? I don’t really have a list. If I set my mind to it there’d be different musicians I’d have fun working with, but I couldn’t name them unless I sat down and gave it a wee think... [pause] Seems like I’ve played with all the people I’ve wanted to play with now. Particularly the new band!

Above: Mayall in the office, still following the stream Right: Blues Breakers, the album that gave John Mayall the name for his stellar band. Eric Clapton is second left, reading children’s comic The Beano

John Mayall starts a 25 date UK tour on October 25, with special guest Oli Brown, the critically acclaimed young British blues guitarist. See www.johnmayall.com for full details. +

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The American

G !#([&]]"K(+ G Reginald D Hunter is one of the best comedians on the circuit and this coming month is very busy for the American who has made Britain his home. The multi award winning comedian from Albany, Georgia got into comedy quite late at the age of 27, but has never looked back since. In November, Hunter will be finishing the last leg of his 2011 tour, with his Live DVD coming out later in November as well. Josh Modaberi caught up with the larger than life comedian for a chat. First of all Reginald, what does the D stand for in your name? That is my middle initial. Is it the start of a name? My middle name is Darnell. How did you first get into stand-up comedy? I was open to trying something different and I knew the stuff I didn’t want to do, so you add those two things up and then I started doing comedy. Do you remember your first live show? I started performing in the UK first of all, in Birmingham. It of course was in where else but a pub - the people knew it was my first time doing standup comedy so they gave me room to mess up that they might not have given to someone else with more experience. I’ve not been back to the pub since; I don’t

34

think they put comedy nights on any more. Are there any differences between the British and American audiences? Nope, none, they’re exactly the same - they both speak English, they both laugh at sex and religious jokes. People keep telling me something about the British sense of humour and I don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. When you were growing up who were some of the comedians that influenced you? I had all kinds of comedy influences Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Dave Allen all types of cats, I would even say a little bit of Lenny Henry. As a boy I saw that movie he was in with James Earl Jones, even though I didn’t know who Lenny Henry was I figured ‘yeah man very inspiring’. As well as performing in America and over here in the UK, where else do you like doing stand-up? I enjoy performing in Ireland, France, and Germany. I enjoy the countries that have the strongest most vibrant gay populations; I find that they as a culture are more open minded about what they can hear comedically.


)] ] + ] [] [% +[(+ ] )* ]! +] )(* ] & ] "+ ]+) #(!] G ]Z ! # ! K ' G]#] *]+#' ]G#( G ** socialor [ ]/ K+]#+ )] #]J impact or who * # + " ]  remembers his jokes. ] + ! Z] [(* )#( ])' So when we talk about ]! ** ]H the greatest we have to have a H - G%]#' (+& system of measurement because there is no way you can compare -) G & fact whenIn Tommy Cooper to Richard Pryor. I’m trying to find a place to live, I also try to find where the most gay cats live because the area itself tends to be nicer, better patrolled by the police, bad behaviour is kicked out immediately. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t like to perform in Arab countries because there’s not a thriving gay community in those places - the free open mindedness of comedy is not given room to thrive. You also can’t have a pint in Arab countries.

They are from similar eras, different backgrounds, different countries, but both great.

In your opinion who is the best current day comedian? And best of all time? Lots of people ask me this question, but to answer this you have to select the kind of criteria you’re going to judge a comedian on, whether it’s the impact he had in terms of money

drink and then doing your set. It’s a different challenge in that way, in fact I still barely remember it; it still feels kind of surreal. What was the reasoning behind only making the show available to stream online and not making a DVD of that show? It’s part of the philosophy of serving the idea. In art you can either serve the idea of what your doing or you can serve the notion of making the most money that you can. With this we just wanted to serve the idea and there are some ideas best not on television, that are best not visual, some are best just heard. You’re currently touring the UK with new material, what can people expect from the new tour? A return to form, I’ve been very presentational in my performances in the last two years to accommodate the new people who have come along because of television. This year I might lose a few fans but it’s time to get back to work, I’m going to be bringing constant, relentless comedic pressure.

What is the best heckle you’ve heard? Wow, that brings back memories. There have been so many over the years; I don’t tend to have a best one. As well as the stand-up you also do a fair bit of television and radio work, do you enjoy that side of things? Not so much, but its necessary and part of being an adult is realising you can’t always do fun stuff you have to do stuff that’s necessary.

The American

Your first recorded show Bootleg Reg: Reginald D Hunter Live in London, was made available to download or stream online, how was the experience of having your stand-up filmed? It was strange, you just want to come and do your gig but there are all kinds of other people attached to d it trying to do the things they need to do to help make it successful and d on some level you have to be awaree of all of that. It isn’t just like turning up to the club and having a

November is a busy month with the last leg of the tour, and you also have a new Live DVD coming out, what can fans expect from that offering? Man I don’t know, I have trouble managing my own expectations, I don’t know what to say about fans expectations, I just hope they like it. Reginald D Hunter is R ccurrently touring the UK and his debut live U DVD will be released D on Monday, 14th o November (to prebook please go to www.play.com)

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The American

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The American’s team reviews the adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s shocking novel, and talks to Fred Carl, one of its writers Photographs by Robert Day

A new adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, complete with hip-hop inspired score, is rocking the East London based Theatre Royal Stratford East. The music has been written by Fred Carl. Was he a fan of the book or the film? “ I knew the film, and liked it, but I wasn’t a huge fan. The project came

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about because Kerry Michael, the Artistic Director here at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, had always wanted to do it and offered Ed DuRante and me a commission. We went back to the novel, which I had never read, and both got very excited by it. I was surprised, there were so many things happening in society back then that continue to happen around the world”. It seems extraordinary that A Clockwork Orange is 50 years old. Did Fred find that the novel had dated? “No, I found it amazingly contemporary. I had to force myself through the first 20 pages, because Burgess is

making up this language, but once I got through that a lot of the issues he was talking about continue to happen around the world”. It’s the first time that Fred and Ed have worked together, but they had met before. Fred teaches at NYU (New York University)’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts and Ed was a student of his 16 years ago. It’s a close community of faculty and students, and they keep in touch. Fred has also taught at the Theatre Royal Stratford East for 12 years, running a musical theater workshop in which contemporary musical artists, poets and rappers are introduced to musical theater writing, encouraging them to bring their techniques and enlivening both forms. Did the writers find they needed to make any major changes in the translation to stage? “We’ve added a female character - NOT a love interest,” Fred stresses. “and we slightly changed the character of Alex’s parents, who’re a bit stronger than in the novel. Alex and the community that he’s part of are mainly people of color. It’s not really clear where the novel is set, but we like to think


Facing page: Ashley Hunter as Alex with members of the cast. This page: Fred Carl (right) with Director Dawn Reid

is growing up. There are always young people who run riot, and once they reach a certain age, they’re mature enough to understand they can make other choices. We also wanted to offer the character the chance to change. At the end of the movie, Alex wakes up. For me it’s much more appealing to have a character who’s been running riot take a more constructive attitude toward his life.” of it as an invented place with some characteristics of London and some of the larger cities in America. We tried to put the film out of our heads. It looks very different to the film too. “Alex’s relationship to music is also different. One of the ways that Burgess shows Alex is intelligent is that he has an appreciation of great symphonic works. We’ve changed that, because it’s a musical and we’ve got to write new music! We’ve used a lot of groove based music, so you’ll hear something familiar from hip hop, or R&B or jazz.” Ed has used a lot of street language from London and major East Coast urban areas in the U.S. and invented new words. Another major difference is that the last chapter of the novel, ‘missing’ from early American editions of the book and the film, has been reinstated. Why was it cut from the novel? Fred explains: “The U.S. publishers thought that Americans wouldn’t buy the ending where Alex decides that he doesn’t want to be a thug any more. I guess Burgess just went along with it, and that was the version that Kubrick got the rights to. For Burgess, the last chapter was important. It was important for his characters to change, and for a character to go through an entire book without changing made him question why write in the form. Also it’s the 21st chapter, and metaphorically it’s 21, the age of majority; Alex

REVIEW A Clockwork Orange Script Ed DuRante, Musical Director Fred Carl, Director Dawn Reid Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford, London Reviewed by Janey Burland and Bella Burland Sully Asked to review A Clockwork Orange at Theatre Royal Stratford East, I regarded the project with utmost horror. Why would one want to relive the traumas of the original book or even more so Kubrick’s film? And A Clockwork Orange, the musical how bizarre! It’s fifty years since the book was first published and for most of those who managed to complete it first time round the reaction was, could this possibly happen in the future? Surely not! Sadly we now know how prescient was the story. For the bolder theatregoer this production is well worth seeing. From the opening scene of in-your-face violence one is drawn in by the power, the menace the vibrancy all the more emphasised by the proximity of the actors in this tiny theatre. One may want to recoil, but the artful staging, the choreography of the fight scenes, mimed brilliantly, and the delivery of all of the players is

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compelling. Ashley Hunter as Alex is terrifying yet endearing. Kirris Rifiere (Jeffrey), on the surface all benevolence and warmth, stirs the imagination to the horrors of prison life. And the despair of Alex’s parents at their son’s abhorrent antics is touching to behold. The show has an exciting mixture of contemporary music accompanying the terrifying scenes, jazz and soul fusions, hip hop and rap. The music may be disconcerting or disappointing for some, but the use of rap, so clearly enunciated, provides the perfect storytelling device. So much action and drama in such a confined space is well worth seeing in its own right. But above all this is a tale of redemption. What happens to Alex? The story goes further than the film and the first U.S. editions of the book, which missed a final chapter. Alex sees the light. One leaves the theatre with a spirit of hope. And even if you miss this production it is well worth checking out Theatre Royal Stratford East (www. stratfordeast. com)

The iconic look from Kubrick’s film version: as NOT seen in the new musical

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Book by Terrence McNally, Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens z Landor Theatre, Clapham, London z Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell Ragtime tells the story of three groups of New Yorkers c. 1910, represented by the proud African American Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Kurt Kansley), the WASP ‘Mother’ (Louisa Lydell) and the newly arrived, impoverished, Jewish emigrant Tateh (John Barr) and it carefully maps the emerging social consciousness of the time. Their lives are entwined when Coalhouse’s newborn son and its mother are taken in by the kindly upper class Mother. Later, the widowed Mother ends up marrying Tateh, who has eventually prospered as a ‘photoplay’ tycoon in the land of opportunity. It adds up to a wonderful kaleidoscope of the American Dream at a time when America was the hope of the PHOTO: TIM PARKER world. The injustice and naked racism, which Coalhouse routinely suffers, and which propels him to an impulsive act of hostage taking, is of course the darker side of that dream. Doctorow cleverly interweaves (left to right) John Barr (Tateh) and Louise Lydell (Louisa Lydell) real characters into his plot such as the campaigner the best staged and sung producfor black rights Booker T Washingtions in London. Ably assisted by ton, the communist agitator Emma choreographer Matthew Gould, he Goldman and burgeoning celebrities has cleverly orchestrated his great such as escapologist Harry Houdini ensemble cast of 21 so that, even and burlesque performer Evelyn in fiendishly complex numbers like Nesbitt. Nesbitt’s line “I’m not an ‘Crime of the Century’, the intimate actress I’m a personality” rings true in audience is never overwhelmed. First it was an acclaimed ‘Great American Novel’ by E L Doctorow (1975) then a multi Oscar nominated film by Milos Forman (1981) and finally a Broadway musical which began a respectable two year run on the Great White Way in 1998. With 23 speaking parts and a complex plot recounting the stories of three families living out their American Dream at the turn of the 20th century, how could you possibly pull this off in a small room over a pub in Clapham? Well, to coin a phrase, “Yes, you can”, and the Landor’s Robert McWhir has shown us how. He has form here. His musical productions have often put the West End to shame and last year’s Smokey Joe’s Café was one of

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(left to right) Judith Paris and Ashley Clish, with John Barr as Tateh PHOTOS: TIM PARKER

our age of Celebrity Big Brother. Musically the piece is suffused with the honeyed tones of ragtime as well as marches and gospel, the latter used to great effect in ‘New Music’, an ode to (Henry) Fordism. Flaherty’s beautiful melodies are expertly arranged and conducted by George Dyer for a band of just five. Likewise Martin Thomas’s designs and costumes are top notch and his use of sliding projection screens (there isn’t much room for a set!) echoes Tateh’s work as a street silhouette artist. If Ragtime has any weaknesses it is in the more prosaic lyrics such as in the song ‘Our Children” (“running down the beach towards the future”, ouch!). The performances more than compensate, however, and in a strong cast Louisa Lydell stands out as the Mother, particularly her big “eleven o’clock number” ‘Back to Before’, the only song with a life outside the show. Rosalind James too, is deeply affecting as the maid Sarah, her stooped shoulders seemingly bearing the weight of the world. McNally’s great achievement with this book is not losing sight of the intimate human story at the heart of the novel. Despite the piece’s epic ambition and righteous anger it never harangues the audience and in tiny fringe production, this human aspect can be drawn out even more.


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THEATER REVIEWS

-RKQ%XFFKLQRLQ&DEDUHW The Pheasantry, King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4UT

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he Pheasantry on the King’s Road has rapidly taken over from Pizza on the Park as the place to hear cabaret in London. An art form more respected on the other side of the pond, we are lucky in London to get occasional visits from the exemplars of the art, and one of these is John Bucchino. If he was around a few decades ago he would be “the new Sondheim” but nowadays the economics of musical theatre demands the familiar and the reheated. Totally new composed shows don’t really get a look in.

John Bucchino, “the new Sondheim,” entertained the musical in-crowd

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Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

With just one hit show to his name, A Catered Affair (2008), his talent is more akin to the troubadours of the early seventies such as James Taylor, Paul Simon or Joni Mitchell, in that he writes literate songs for grown ups. Needless to say he’s never in the charts. His work ranges from soaring ballads, (‘Grateful’) to sardonic pen portraits of people’s foibles (‘Sweet Dreams’), to simple wistful melodies like ‘Unexpressed’, to exhilarating up tempo anthems such as ‘Taking the Wheel’. What characterises his songs are tender melodies, rich harmonies and a wonderfully rhythmic accompaniment. The likes of Judy Collins, Barbara Cook, Michael Feinstein, Patti Lu Pone, Art Garfunkel, Liza Minnelli and Billy Stritch regularly record and perform his work. Much loved by the musical theatre community, it was a very ‘in-crowd’ who gathered on the King’s Road to witness Bucchino’s first solo show in London. Being more at home behind the piano he carried most of the show himself, amiably letting us in on the genesis of his songs, but he shared the performance load with three guest vocalists, all of whom are at the top of their game in the West End and all of whom are huge fans. John Barr climbed the emotional heights of ‘Unexpressed’ and went over the top and down the other side on ‘Taking the Wheel’, Alison Jiear (of Jerry Springer the Opera fame) lifted the roof with ‘If I Ever Say I’m Over You’ and the great anthem ‘Better Than I’, which he wrote for the animated film

Joseph King of Dreams (since Beauty and the Beast, animated movies have filled the void left for Broadway songwriters). The discovery of the night, though, was the exquisite Sophia Ragavelas who combined a great soprano turn in ‘Song With the Violins’ with a tender interpretation of ‘Don’t Ever Stop Saying I Love You’ from A Catered Affair. That show starred Harvey Fierstein and Faith Prince in New York and if anyone ever brings it to London and doesn’t cast Ragavelas in the romantic lead, they’re a schmuck! Bucchino’s skill hasn’t gone unnoticed and such musical theatre giants as Stephen (Pippin, Ragtime) Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim and Adam Guettel (composer grandson of Richard Rodgers) have all become friends and devotees. His relationship with Guettel and the Rodgers estate has led to him record a great solo piano CD of Rodgers eternal tunes. Funnily enough his weakest songs like ‘Waste’ and ‘I’m Better Off Without You’ are his most directly personal. Stemming usually from a break-up, these represent art hurriedly composed on the rebound and so are lacking in the emotional depth or lyrical polish of his best work. So, Mr Bucchino is the very model of the modern over-therapied, angstridden, yearning, metrosexual, urban male but thankfully, he can turn this into poetry and because he too has a way with a melody, great singers will always seek him out.

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THEATER REVIEWS

By Rodgers & Hammerstein z Barbican Centre, London and on tour Reviewed by Jarlath Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connell z Photos Simon Annand

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he Lincoln Centre Production of South Pacific, directed by Bartlett Sher, won seven Tonys, critical raves and devoted audiences on Broadway in 2008. Sadly, something has got lost in transit, because the show that arrived in London is rather pedestrian and old fashioned. Perhaps the expectations

were too much. Amazingly, Broadway never had a revival until this one, whereas the West End has seen many. The tale of bubbly army nurse Nellie and her affair with dashing French plantation owner, Emile, on a Polynesian island during WWII, was one of the iconic hits of the post war

s (Nellie) with Nurse Samantha Womack

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era and contains one of the most perfect scores ever written. The difficulties lie with the book. Leaving aside the glorious music, the showâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original impact was down to two things: the casting of the iconic Mary Martin and the workâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attempt to tackle racism and miscegenation head on. For 1949 this was heady stuff. Today, looked at through the prism of history, it comes across as pious and earnest. The show lives or dies by the staging of its great musical numbers and here is where I part company with Mr Sher. Burdened with a large clunky set and dodgy projections, it is old fashioned in a bad way. The scene is dominated by a projection of Bali Hai, which proceeds to appear and disappear. Surely the point should be that it is a real place that the officers were able to get to but not the enlisted men and so is definitely not a mirage. m Songs are ploddingly blocked, ffacing front and singing out, rather llike Ethel Merman doing her 11 oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;clock number, and the ensemble o work and choreography lack the w ffresh sparkle needed to make this material come alive. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Wonderful m Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, probably the most exhilaratG iing song about the intoxication of love, is sung mostly solo by o Nellie, which misses the point. N SShe should be bursting to share


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her happiness. ‘There Is Nothing Like a Dame’ is played for comedy when it needs to be about testosterone. ‘Younger Than Springtime’ is neutered because no time is spent to build up to the moment when Lieutenant Cable professes his love for the native girl Liat. Motivations are muddied and Cable comes across more like a creepy sex tourist than a romantic lead. There is no getting away from the fact that the sexual politics do present problems for a modern audience (it’s the same with Carousel) and Bloody Mary pimping her daughter is not exactly comfortable viewing any more. Of course you can point to opera and its numerous ridiculous anachronisms but there the burden of the material is carried by the music. Here, we just have that clunky and overlong book to contend with. The show runs three hours and feels longer than the Trojan Wars. Brazilian-Polish Opera Singer Paulo Szot reprises his Tony winning role as Emile and has a burnished baritone to die for. His stunning rendition of ‘This Nearly Was Mine’ is the highlight. Former EastEnders star Samantha Womack (née Janus) reveals a great talent for musical theatre but perhaps is too much of an English Rose to play Nellie. She is, after all, meant to be a ‘gee shucks’ gal from Little Rock and not the rather refined lady we get here. In the supporting roles Loretta Ables Sayre (also from the Broadway production ) is vocally powerful and successfully brings out the sinister side of Bloody Mary, but Daniel Koek, sadly, lacks the charisma needed to make Lieutenant Cable even remotely sympathetic.

Paulo Szot (Em

ile) & Samanth a Womack (Nellie)

yre (Bloody Mar Loretta Ables Sa Seabees centre with the

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Samantha Womack as Nellie Forb with the N ush urses

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3DA/=PD -A=NHU3=GAJ Dori Ostermiller tells us about the road that led to her writing and teaching career, and how you can write too We all have at least one alter-ego, one path nearly taken, that makes us glaze over certain Sunday mornings, and wonder, What if…? As an adolescent, my path was laid out as neatly as Dorothy’s yellow-brick road: I was to be a heart surgeon like my father, whose thoughtful, ambitious nature I’d inherited. Throughout boarding school, the idea of pleasing my temperamental father shimmered like an illusive Emerald City, shooting me to the top of even the dullest science classes (though secretly, I lived for Mr. Stevens’ Honors English). During my second year of pre-med, my father invited me to observe a quadruple bypass. The

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patient — a man in his 50s — was lying exposed on the operating table when I took my place at his inert head. I looked on for over three hours while my father and his partner severed the poor guy’s sternum, pried apart the ribcage, siphoned his blood through a heart-lung machine, all the while talking about their golf handicaps; the A’s win on Sunday... By now, the patient was flayed like a salmon. Dad cracked jokes and listened to Miles Davis. This was how they endured a typical workday: these guys were pros. I admired them. Still, I couldn’t imagine ever taking on this level of detachment. To me, this man was a character. I couldn’t stop thinking about the state of his soul, the terrible job that had undoubtedly led to his heart condition, his distraught wife in the outer room: did she know her love was being brutalized in the name of science? I kept wondering about the spiritual implications of having your blood siphoned through a machine… This line of questioning fascinated and exhausted me, and in the middle of the 4th bypass, I fainted. I would have tumbled smack into the open chest cavity, but one of the nurses escorted me to a metal chair on the sidelines,


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where I sat out the remaining hour. When it was over, my father stood before me in his scrubs, pulling off his latex gloves, shaking his head. It seemed I would be getting inside people a bit less literally, somehow. Willa Cather once said that nothing gave her more pleasure than crawling inside a characterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s skin. Still, writing seemed an improbable calling, even after becoming an English major. People in my family became health professionals, real estate brokers. So I stalled. I deviated. I tried being a horse trainer, telemarketer, the girl singer in a Gospel band, then a bookstore clerk, where I got my hands on the likes of Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison, Lorrie Mooreâ&#x20AC;Ś all who made me feel that writing was possible, that womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stories were important. One Sunday, sitting in my LA apartment, the image came of a 12-year old girl crossing a river on a trip with her motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s secret friend. Everything depended on her making the crossing. The girl was me, and I knew I had to get her story down, so I pulled out the old Smith Corona... A year later, I was packing my things to drive to Massachusetts, where Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been accepted into an MFA program in writing. I wish I could say it was easy from there. Though writing was a release and a revelation, it still took a decade to get Sylviaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s story down â&#x20AC;&#x201D; maybe because I was expressing a painful piece of my own history (highly fictionalized though it was). I was riddled with doubt, terrified of betraying people, afraid to get it wrong. I wrote in fits and starts, took long, agonized breaksâ&#x20AC;Ś Finally, after completing my first draft of that story, I sent it to agents

with the over-eagerness of a toddler showing her first crayon drawing. Of course, I was blasted with rejections. It didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a cohesive arc. They couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t figure out what genre it wasâ&#x20AC;Ś Devastated, I put the book in a box for about six years. But the story was like an annoying stray that wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t depart. James Baldwin once described it as â&#x20AC;&#x153;something that irritates you and wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let go. You must do this book or die.â&#x20AC;? When I turned 40 and realized I no longer had unlimited swaths of time before me, I got determined â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or maybe desperate! I now had two young girls, a business and a busy teaching load â&#x20AC;&#x201D; my time more taxed than ever.

a contemporary frame. Strangely, it was the difficulty and necessity of these weekends â&#x20AC;&#x201D; of leaving my family in order to write In about two years, I had a new draft â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the version that would eventually sell. If I could go back and give my 20-year old writer self some advice, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d tell her this: stop sweating it so much. Let go of your perfectionism and just get it down, because no matter how hard you agonize, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re still going to have to re-write! Remember that rejection is part of the process â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a sign that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a pro â&#x20AC;&#x201D; never a reason to give up. Also, even published writers feel terrified and inadequate, but that

´,I,FRXOGJREDFNDQGJLYH P\\HDUROGZULWHUVHOI VRPHDGYLFH,¡GWHOOKHUWKLV VWRSVZHDWLQJLWVRPXFK/HW JRRI\RXUSHUIHFWLRQLVPDQG MXVWJHWLWGRZQ But I knew if I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find a way to tell that story, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have to admit that writing was a ridiculous pipedream â&#x20AC;&#x201D; that I should have been a surgeon after all. So I dusted off the manuscript and began taking weekends away, much to the consternation of my husband and daughters. Every month or so, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d sneak off to a writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s retreat about an hour from our home. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know yet how to fix the book, I just knew it needed

doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t keep them from the dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work. Finally, even when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re deep inside your characters, writing is really not heart-surgery: thankfully, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to get it right on the first try. + Dori Ostermiller is a creative writing teacher who runs a literary writing school in Massachusetts, Writers in Progress. Her first novel Outside the Ordinary World, is published by MIRA ÂŁ7.99

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Bill Bratton and the Riots Former LAPD and NYPD Commissioner Bratton’s role as special advisor to PM David Cameron has come under fire from several directions, writes Alison Homes

“A

merica is a much more violent place than the UK” according to Michael White of the Guardian newspaper. “British officers ‘police by consent’ whereas American cops ‘police by force’, asserts Paul Deller a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Federation representing 30,000 London police officers. Meanwhile, Isaac Ontiveros of Critical Resistance writing for Al Jazeera claims that, “Cameron’s reaction to recent uprisings of the marginalised and disenfranchised in England has been to declare ‘all-out war on gangs and gang culture’”. Thus run a selection of responses to Bill Bratton’s appointment as a special advisor to the Prime Minister. It is, apparently, an audacious suggestion that someone who has four decades of experience, starting as an Army MP during the Vietnam war and including time working at every rank from Officer to Chief (and most in between) in global cities such as Boston, New York and Los Angeles,

might have something to offer Britain to deal with the hangover left from the recent riots. The problem is, they all seem to hate poor old Bill for entirely different reasons. Michael White, a lovely man who enjoys the role of older, wiser don when all about him play the role of cool, if banally predictable lefty, worries that the days of the unarmed bobby are numbered. He is confident enough of his ground to defend a ‘kinder gentler’ British landscape replete with warm beer and cricket whites that is more than worthy of a John Major party political broadcast than modern city life. He also conveniently forgets that the gun policy of British coppers has already changed out of all recognition. We are a long way from the whistle and the blue box. Meanwhile, our friend from the Police Federation might have more ground to stand on if he could also point to some real success in making the Met “more attractive to a chang-

A Tesco store, looted in the riots in August PHOTO ANTHONY NEWMAN

ing population,” one of Bratton’s achievements. In a similar vein, it might be useful to point out to the leader of the Greater Manchester Police Federation that creating a force that actually reflects the ethnic make-up of a city makes a difference; while taking note of the fact that Bratton hired more ethnic minority, women, gay people and transvestites into the police than ever before. Certainly it would be interesting to know which British city could boast of a 70% approval rating from the Muslim community that Bratton achieved with LA’s Latinos. The problem for the Government, from the Prime Minister on down, is the differing analyses as to the cause of the riots. White opts for the theory that the riots were the result of a particularly American malaise caused by a ‘buy our stuff ’ mantra. In this view, he suggests the riots were as ‘American as pecan pie’ and can be boiled down to ‘opportunistic and apolitical looting’. Unfortunately,

Bill Bratton


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he doesn’t elaborate his reasoning as to why, if the problem is distinctly American, the policing being suggested isn’t just the ticket. In contrast to White our friend from Al Jazeera insists that ‘the recent uprisings in England are most definitely political - based implicitly and explicitly on the further denial of resources to those already marginalised and disenfranchised’. However, we again find ourselves in a dilemma when we try and understand why the rioters didn’t think they were being political. The trajectory of this argument must be they are so poor and bored they don’t understand their actions are political regardless of their intent. Similarly, the employed and ‘respectable’ members of the community that seemed to be happy to participate must have been suddenly made conscious of their chains and took appropriate action. The fact remains that just under 1,000 people have been charged with violence, disorder and looting. More than 2,500 have been arrested and hundreds of public and private properties were damaged and destroyed. They are not huge numbers, but they are disturbing. Most disturbing is the fact that while many are pointing to the fact they are under 18 and therefore part of the social networking generation, fewer take notice of the fact that also makes them the children of New Labour. If nothing else, it suggests that the causes must be multi-layered and as complex as the answers to questions such as What’s the difference between civil order and policing?; When is a group not a gang?; and Can violence ever be truly mindless? The kneejerk quality of the reaction to Bratton is all the more interesting because the commentators seem to be deliberately overlooking

A fireman damps down the flames in the aftermath of the London riots PHOTO CHRISTOPHE MAXIMIN

the convergence across the Atlantic on several points. As much as police interest groups want to say it is all about money, Bratton did manage to achieve a 10% drop in crime despite high unemployment in the city and a 15% budget cut. In New York, a city famous for being broke, Bratton managed to use technology like CompStat, a real time intelligence tool, and combine it with rapid deployment and follow up to ‘take back the streets’ by using scarce resources to better effect. Sadly, the British police are onto a hiding to nothing at the moment. They are accused of not stepping in fast enough by some and being heavy handed by others. They saw the initial riots as something more akin to student riots or globalization protesters and therefore handled them perhaps more carefully than perhaps they might a ‘blind mob’. Those who want to accuse the government of cutting too much and too far will continue to paint this as a social and economic crisis and argue that ‘states cannot police their way out’. Interestingly enough, Bratton said exactly the same thing and argues in favour of ‘intervention activities’ and ‘a broad-based approach’. While he recognizes there are ‘undoubtedly social issues’ and supports ‘collaborating more with

community leader and civil rights group’ he also sees the first order of business as public safety. Despite hand-wringing, this may also prove to be the government’s bottom line as well given that crime always trumps education as an electoral issue - perhaps borne out by a YouGov survey for the Sun. The survey found, much to the surprise of many, that there was 90% support for the use of water cannon, 78% for tear gas 72%, for tasers and 65% for plastic bullets. The most shocking finding was the fact that a third of people (33%) said they would have supported the use of live ammunition with a full two thirds (77%) supporting calling in the army! Hardly the strategy of the kindly local bobby or the notion of policing by consent. There is something going on, particularly with young people, that we just don’t understand. Perhaps the question we fear most is whether our interpretation of the ‘Arab Spring’ as a movement for free speech and democracy is somehow wrongheaded and that it has more in common with the British ‘Silly Season’ of mindless looting and slash and burn than we realise. Is it is really a matter of more state and more discipline vs more community and welfare? Or something we haven’t even considered yet? +

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The American PHOTO: DB KING

Whither American Studies in the UK? Professor Iwan Morgan of the Institute for the Study of the Americas gives the current state of the subject, and why it is important

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he study of the United States in UK universities is presently buoyant. Student demand is up and research on the U.S. by British scholars is going from strength to strength. However, there may be troubled times ahead because of the funding problems that are currently enveloping the British higher education system. The next few years will be critical for the continued well-being of American Studies in the UK academy. Let’s focus on the good news first. Student demand for dedicated courses in American Studies has recovered after a sharp decline in the early part of the last decade. Some commentators, most notably Polly Toynbee in a 2004 article for The Guardian, ascribed this to student concerns of being branded pro-American at a time of revulsion at George W. Bush’s foreign policy. Whether this was wholly true is a matter for debate. Student demand for U.S. courses on general history, literature and politics courses was simultaneously booming. The introduction of course fees (initially £1,000 a year, and latterly £3,000) may have been a more significant factor as American Studies programs usually last four years, instead of the conventional

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three for most UK courses, because of study-abroad provision. On the other hand, there was a recovery in American Studies student numbers – an ‘Obama bounce’ some termed it – when the White House occupant changed in 2009. American Studies demand has so far stood up well in the currently difficult economic times. Nearly three-fifths of the 2009 cohort of graduates from dedicated courses in this discipline went straight into employment, although the jobs that many did were in non-career fields in reflection of the tough market. From a career-track perspective, graduates in the discipline generally go into business, advertising, media, and administration because their inter-disciplinary background underwrites flexibility of thought, good communication, and cultural awareness that employers value. Interestingly, despite the international focus of their degree, fewer than 5


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percent went off to work abroad, so the UK continues to benefit from their skills. Of course, American Studies in UK universities is also about the people who teach it. After a period of expansion in the 1960s and early 1970s, hiring for U.S.-related positions underwent a stagnant period in the 1980s, but has entered a new period of growth since the mid 1990s. As academics in the field gained seniority, their research won growing plaudits, not only in the UK – where many have been promoted to personal chairs – but also in the U.S. The British Association of American Studies, the umbrella organization for the discipline, had grown immensely in terms of profile, membership, and range of activities in this period. And there has been a sprouting of more specialist groups of scholars: in history, for example, we now have thriving organizations like the British Group of Early American Historians, British American Nineteenth Century Historians, and the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States. Equally important, there is a constant supply of top quality younger scholars coming through from UK doctoral programs that should ensure the academic vitality of American Studies in the UK. Almost the only area of concern is the relative paucity of UK specialists on domestic American politics. In the last twenty years, the impetus in the social science study of the U.S. has been on its foreign policy, a reflection of its status as the solitary world power in the wake of the Cold War. However recent developments, such as the rise of the Tea Party and the debt limit imbroglio, show how important it is to keep domestic politics in focus. Despite

this, it is very difficult (impossible some say) for UK researchers on domestic American issues to get support from the Economic and Social Research Council, the principal research funding body in their field, because of its apparent lack of interest in U.S. politics. This contrasts with the important support offered by funders like the Arts and Humanities Research Council for research into U.S. history, literature and culture. But thorn bushes are beginning to come through in the American Studies Eden. Higher education policy changes, particularly the effective tripling of student fees from 2012 onward, are bound to have an effect. The dip in demand in the early years of this century led to closure of some American Studies departments, notably that of King’s College, London, one of the first to be established in the UK in the 1960s. The Institute for the Study of the Americas is now the only U.S. Studies centre left in the entire University of London system. In general, however, the larger, longer established centres of American Studies in universities like Birmingham, East Anglia, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, and Sussex are likely to continue to flourish, as is the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford. The prospects are much gloomier for the smaller programmes, particularly in cashstrapped new universities, which meet demand from less qualified students, many of whom go on to blossom at college. Tighter funding for Universities also means fewer new job opportunities, particularly for newcomers to the profession. The onus in future is likely to be on hiring in disciplines that draw in the big

research money, notably sciences, management studies, and financerelated subjects. American Studies posts and related ones in history, literature and politics departments could well enter a dry spell just at the moment when the supply of top-quality candidates is at its peak. There is also a disturbing indication in the Coalition Government’s recent White Paper on higher education of an intention to create a demarcation between elite universities specializing in research and a larger body of universities specializing in teaching. In humanities subjects like American Studies, the link between research and teaching has always been strong, with academics benefiting from communicating their ideas with undergraduates. If this is broken, the student (and faculty) experience will be a poorer one. There are already signs of this happening with an emerging practice in some research-focused American Studies and History departments of hiring younger faculty in teaching-only U.S.-related positions and requiring them to deliver courses on American topics far outside their area of expertise. American Studies has the resiliency to see off many of these problems, but they do pose dangers to its vitality in the short to medium term. The U.S. continues to hold immense fascination for UK students and for UK scholarly researchers. The challenge over the next five years or more will be to maintain the opportunities for both to follow their interests and to interact together to mutual benefit. If this is not met, the Anglo-American special relationship (or whatever we should now call that) will become all the poorer for it. +

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The American Chevrolet Volt first through the door at SMMT exhibition

Chevrolet Volt takes prime position in central London showcase

So, You Want To Be A Motoring Writer? A conference entitled ‘Do You Want To Be A Motoring Writer?’ is being held at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, on Saturday November 19th. The Museum ran two very successful conferences on the same theme in the 1990s, and with so many changes having taken place more recently in the magazine and book publishing world, particularly with the addition of electronic media, the Trustees of the organisers, the Michael Sedgwick Memorial Trust, believe it is time to hold another. The conference is aimed at the enthusiastic motor club member interested in particular in veteran, vintage or classic cars and wants to get something more out of their hobby. Separate sessions will focus on writing for magazines and the electronic media, and book writing and publishing. Speakers will include the highly respected car journalist Steve Cropley, Mark Hughes, Editorial Director of Haynes Books, and Graham Robson, author of over 150 motoring books. For more details and an application form go to www.michaelsedgwicktrust.co.uk.

The revolutionary Chevrolet Volt has been selected as the first vehicle to appear in the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) ‘showroom’ area at its new premises in the heart of Westminster, close to the Houses of Parliament. The SMMT represents the UK automotive industry and the new venue will give it the opportunity to show off forward-looking cars to the public and politicians alike. The electric Volt has already won several awards in the USA, where the vehicle was crowned North American Car of the Year. It has a petrol engine which is used to generate power for its battery, and can run for a maximum range of 60 miles in full electric mode, which was how the Volt was driven into the SMMT. The Volt is exempt from London’s Congestion Charge, and will go on sale in the UK in March 2012, when it will be eligible for the government’s £5,000 plug-in car grant.

Zap-Map passes 1,000 UK charging points

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s we’re in an electric vein, the Next Green Car website has launched Zap-Map, the UK’s most comprehensive online source for electric vehicle (EV) charging points. The map shows over 1,000 charging points located at more than 450 locations. It uses the latest version of Google Maps, integrating with Google’s Street View, and shows colour-coded charger types & clusters and a simple “find your nearest charging point” function. You can find it at www.nextgreencar.com/zap-map. Next Green Car also provides an electric car buying guide. The majority of the charging points available to the public are “Slow” chargers, which take six to eight hours

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for full charge. However Zap-Map has recently added the first six “Fast” chargers (three to four hours for full charge) and two “Rapid” chargers, which give an 80% charge in 30 minutes) to add to the existing 27. The expansion of the UK’s recharging infrastructure is mainly funded through the Government’s Pluggedin Places scheme, and also by local authorities such as Milton Keynes and Oxford. Despite the ongoing budget cuts, the Office of Low Emission Vehicles has confirmed funding of £300 million for the installation of 8,500 recharge points by 2013, 4,000 of which will be ‘on-street’ public access points. If you’re an EV owner and want to Find a charging point near you with Zap-Map

get more than a few miles from home – and more importantly get back again – check out Zap-Map, which will be updated on a weekly basis. +


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THE

FOOTBALL MAN

Mike Carlson, ex-pat Sports pundit meets James Jordan, ex-pat Ham

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veryone thinks that we actors only think about our best angles, drooping chins and where their credit goes in the titles. But this actor is also a sports fan. In fact, if fate had been kinder to my body and reflexes I would much rather have been a pro baseball player than anything else in the world, so getting the chance to interview the highest profiled American sports genius in England was a delight for me. Most of us know Mike from the Channel Four coverage of the NFL games including the Super Bowl. He is the brains of the show, not the beauty, (though I’m sure his wife would disagree). For that they have run a series of charming young Englishmen alongside Mike as someone for him to bounce off. So far the young pups have all come and gone and Mike Carlson is still standing. I met Mike in our local cup-cakery (I can’t be butch all the time) in Haslemere for a chat.

brought you here at that tender age of twenty six or seven? An airplane. (This looked like a tougher interview than I expected. Taking a deep breath and smiling sweetly, I probed for a deeper answer…) I was living in Montreal, and I had an English girlfriend who refused to spend a second winter in Montreal. We came over here and well it became an uproar….

G’morning Mike. Thanks for coming. Fancy a cup-cake? He didn’t, but I talked him into a croissant and coffee and we began.

What do you miss about America since you’ve been living over here? Mostly I miss my family, and specific things like Thanksgiving, Christmas, summers in New Hampshire, where most of my relatives live, up on the lake and that kind of

Mike, I see from my research on the net that you moved to England in the late seventies. What

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And you’ve never gone back? And I haven’t gone back, except for the occasional visit and for work, which I do a lot. When I worked for Major League Baseball I was spending four months a year in the states. (It turned out that Mike worked the spring training games and was actually a part of Professional Baseball! I was gassed. His job is like a dream come true to me. He makes his living out of his hobby and passion. Sports! I knew I shouldn’t have been an actor..)

stuff. And, I miss sports. To a large extent, well not so much nowadays when you get so much exposure to them, which you couldn’t get when I first came over here. 1977 it was Armed Forces Radio for you to get anything. Now you can watch baseball games, football games live, almost on demand. It’s not so much fun though. What differences do you find between English and American Sports? I mean I played American baseball over here for a couple of years with a mixed team of yanks, Canadians and English players. There was a lot of “Well Done James!” and things like that. There’s a lot of differences, the one that always gets me is “Unlucky.” If a guy’s standing in front of the net and there’s no goal keeper and he kicks the ball twenty feet over the net and then they say “Unlucky!” It’s not unlucky, it sucks. I find being an ex-pat living here a strange nostalgic comfort watching baseball, basketball and football on telly; much to the horror of my wife, Jan. Do you get your American fix in the same way, or are you able to go back to the states often enough not to feel homesick like I do?


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I don’t actually watch that much just for recreation. Partly my wife doesn’t let me. Partly I won’t stay up for it any longer and partly because the nostalgia has gone for me now. When I watch basketball now it’s not the game I grew up with. I still enjoy it, I don’t feel any great nostalgia for it and football for me now has been a job for the last fourteen years. I watch it for the job now, not for the entertainment value. And baseball? (hoping he would not blaspheme and say something against my beloved baseball!!) Baseball? Again the nostalgia thing…. I worked in baseball, with Major League Baseball for four years and at that point I was just totally into baseball. I did some baseball commentary here, and if that had kept up, I would be just as much into baseball as I am now with

football. (Good, I said to myself, he hasn’t gone over to the dark side yet!) Yeah, there’s just so many baseball games. I watch some, but I don’t follow them. (Uh-oh….) I follow the Red Sox, which I still do, but I follow them in much the same way I followed them in 1977. But you know in those days, baseball.. you fell in love with baseball living over here, because at a distance it was the easiest game to follow. You could look at the box scores, you could follow along in the season. (Ah! He does seem to like baseball) Did you play sports in University? Yeah I played football and lacrosse. I played one year in High School Baseball and I wasn’t very

good at it; I had a long strike zone and slow reflexes, but Lacrosse was my favorite sport and still is in a way. (Lacrosse?? I was dumbfounded!) But, at that point I probably knew more about baseball than almost anybody in this country. Seriously the players, where they came from, the tactics. And where’d you acquire that? From working for baseball, being on the phone all the time, um when I worked for ABC my boss was a Red Sox fan and we would maybe talk an hour a day about baseball. Nowadays, and it applies to American Football as well, nowadays there’ll be a score of people who know more about each team because of the internet, you can follow blogs, visit team web-sites, things like that. And they know each bit of the nuclei of each team, where as if you are covering the league, you don’t have the time time to do that, so

James Jordan (left) meets sports genius Mike Carlson

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actually when I do a game on Channel 4, I will know there will be people out there who know a lot more than me. You seem to be a fountain of sports knowledge when you’re on the TV, How do you do it? Do you have a photographic memory like my wife, Janor.. Not quite, but a very good visual memory so that, and I noticed this when I was in Ice Hockey commentary, in the Olympic games for EuroSport, it took me two games, after two games I could recognize.. but it was not live, ‘cause you’re working off a monitor. You can’t see the scope, you can’t see the lineman just because the cameraman is following the puck, but I found out I could recognize guys after about two games by the way they skated, the way they held themselves, which is the same with me in football and basketball. When I watch football, and when I sit down and talk to a coach, or… NFL Europe was great for that because you had so much action you realize how much you don’t know, how much you don’t see and all the technical bits that when you just make the wrong assumption, and so it’s always a learning process for me. And you just pay attention. Would you rather broadcast over in the states, or…be a commentator or ... I’m in a good position doing American Football commentary here, because the American commentary is going to take care of most of the nuts and bolts, (we won’t tell Collingsworth or Michaels they are considered a nut or a bolt) which leaves me free to go into

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more esoteric passages, to..like in Channel Five to do comedy… to have fun with it.. we don’t do that so much on Channel 4, and also to deal with the bits that I think are more interesting. To me the most interesting thing was when you get a really good set of commentators, that was really sharp like Michaels and Chris Collingsworth, (all is forgiven Mike) I will do much less.

“ Everyone thinks that we actors only think about our best angles, drooping chins and where their credit goes in the titles. But this actor is also a sports fan.” You have a wife, Kirsten Ellis, who is a very successful writer. Did that ever develop into a sense of competition around the house between you? Not really because she puts no value whatsoever on what I do, so there is no competition. Sports to her is an anathema. She really doesn’t understand it or pay much attention to it… For years, we’ve been together for years, and I was always doing Sunday Night and Monday Night Football and she would still ask me every week , you

know, if I was working this week and I’d say Sunday Night Football; it’s Sunday Night…. It just doesn’t register in her world. I do my little hack work as a journalist and she does her books, and she’s a really good writer. She’s now working on a novel even though she is being side tracked by the biography she wrote because it has been bought for a film. I’m a fan of Sumo wrestling, but I saw on your bio that you did wrestling… I’m a fan of Sumo wrestling too. In fact the Sumo wrestling that Channel Four did was probably the best sports show I have ever seen on television. But Four buried it. I think in part because they didn’t like that their two most popular shows aside from soap operas were Sumo and American Football. But you mentioned wrestling, and I did a wrestling show here called the Transatlantic Wrestling Challenge. It was a ball to do, ‘cuz as you know it is all theatrics and I got to announce it. I was the heel announcer, the bad guy, and they had an English announcer who was the good guy and I got to be the obnoxious American. Great fun. It was like the best work I had ever done. I wish I could do it again. I glanced at my watch and saw the time had flown and so I wrapped it up with Mike. On the way home, I reflected on what a nice guy he was and what a fun career his was; much more fun than my acting career. I can’t wait until American Football starts up with him at the helm in the fall. I just wish I could somehow wangle the job as his partner. +


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Y683(5 $1

   Jeff Gottesfeld, one of America’s top writers, tells Josh Modaberi about his new book, whose title could well describe himself

GROSSET & DUNLAP

Jeff Gottesfeld has worked on a number of hit television shows including Smallville and The Young and the Restless as well as writing the Dawson’s Creek novels. The writer from Teaneck, New Jersey, is now taking his first steps into the world of wrestling, writing a novel for World Wrestling Entertainment with an offering called WWE SuperFan! Gottesfeld (www.jeffgottesfeldwrites.com) explains his delight at getting the chance to write a novel

that I was a WWE fan, and I told her that it was amazing, and said it was something I would really be interested in doing. “She told me they were keen to do some autobiographies and a book about the road to Wrestlemania, I asked if they had ever thought about doing a novel. I then went away and came up with some ideas. I wrote a massive chapter-by-chapter outline which everyone at Penguin Books and the WWE seemed to love, and the book has come about and seems to be a success. For the title I had an idea called Wrestlemaniac and someone I was working with came up with Raw w Smackdown AcadAcademy and Smac eemy. However the publishers th liliked Wrestlemanic, which m would later go w on to become SuperFan! Su “I have finished writing fini a se second in the series, Tag Team Teamed, and they want me to write more, so it can’t th b be doing badly.” What it was about the sport that has attracted Gottesfeld? “When I was a boy I paid attention,” he said. “Between the ages of eight and twelve I paid really close attention to guys like Gorilla Monsoon, the quality of wrestling was really good and I watched. I then stopped watching it

for a while and then started paying a bit more attention again in the late nineties, when The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H and HBK Shawn Michaels were at the height of their powers. “Since I was asked to pitch ideas for WWE related novels in early 2009 I would wager that I have missed maybe one episode of Raw and four Smackdowns.” The book is aimed at children from seven to twelve, and Gottesfeld feels the WWE plays a major part in getting kids to read in the States. “I have had great feedback from children that have read the book, telling me it’s the best book they have read and asking why can’t there be more books like this. “I think it is a great story pretty well told, it is written on their brain level, it continues to move, it’s emotional when its needs to be and people fight when they need to too. “The WWE is incredibly supportive of getting kids into reading, and I incorporate that into Super Fan! as well. If other companies gave the same support to kids reading as the WWE do, we would have a lot more readers out there.” There is one person that Gottesfeld can’t wait to read the book and is looking forward to hearing his reaction. “I can’t wait for Rey Mysterio to read SuperFan!,” he continued. “I think he would like it, and I think all of the wrestlers would like it as well as their own children.” +



based around wrestling: “The editor-inchief from a division of Penguin Books is a friend of mine,” he told me. “We were at a book conference and had lunch, when she went on to tell me she had just signed a big licensing deal with WWE. “She was never expecting

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The American

By Jeremy Lanaway

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ven though the puck won’t drop on the first game of the 2011-12 NHL season until October 6th, the teams have already started the long and laborious task of aligning themselves in the league’s latest hierarchy. Last year’s post-season success, numerous notable off-season trades and free-agent signings, and an incoming wealth of young talent currently shining at ‘Young Star’ tournaments around the league have all been factors working together to shuffle the deck on this year’s batch of NHL teams.

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Eastern Conference Aces are high, but in this deck, the Boston Bruins are higher — at least they have the potential for highness. Last season’s Stanley Cup champions dismantled an injury-plagued Vancouver Canucks team in seven games. Not only have the Bruins managed to keep all their cogs intact, they’ve added a solid defenceman in the form of Joe Corvo – he of 40 points last year. Cover your ears, Leafs fans, but the Bruins have also improved their station by unloading oft-invisible Tomas Kaberle, who hurt – not helped – the team’s powerplay throughout the playoffs. Finally, the Bruins still have reigning Vezina Trophy- and Conn Smythe-winner Tim Thomas, who’s set to re-enact miracles between the pipes. However, the last team to shake ‘Cup hangover’ was the Detroit Red Wings, who won back-toback Cups in 1997 and 1998, and the NHL’s post-lockout parity only makes the task of returning to the Finals that much more difficult. The Bruins have the requisite skill-set and nastiness, and now they know what it takes to win the Cup, but will they have the heart to undertake arguably the longest and most unforgiving journey to greatness in all of professional sports again?

Despite playing half the 2010-11 schedule without top snipers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins finished fourth in the regular season with 106 points, three more than the Bruins. No small feat when you consider Crosby and Malkin are 100-plus-point players. Getting 30 points in just 42 games out of Jordan Staal was a big help. Other secondand third-line players stepped up and provided secondary scoring when it was needed, and the team’s defence remained stingy throughout the season, allowing the Penguins to finish seventh in goals-against. If the Penguins can uphold their lunch-bucket play with Malkin and Crosby back in the lineup (Malkin at season start, Crosby before Christmas), they’ll have no trouble finishing atop the Atlantic. Let’s not forget about the Washington Capitals. After finishing second overall last season with 107 points and then adeptly dispatching the New York Rangers in the first round, the Capitals inexplicably fizzled out – for the fourth season in a row – getting swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Make no mistake: the Capitals have something to prove, not only to the hockey world in general, who’ve been justified in labelling the team as ‘underachievers’ and ‘choke artists’, but more importantly, to themselves. The thirst for redemption starts at the top, evidenced by the fact that GM George McPhee spent his summer holiday shopping around for character, veteran leadership, and the one thing that the Capitals have lacked for years: an experienced, reliable starting goal-


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tender. His shopping spree resulted in a handful of significant additions to the Capitals’ forward lineup, including role players Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward, and Troy Brouwer, who are expected to give the team an instant X-factor. His search also yielded goalie Tomas Vokoun, who signed for one year, $1.5m. The Capitals had the offence and defence, and now they have the growl, leadership, and goaltending. The Capitals have never been better – at least on paper.

Western Conference The Vancouver Canucks had a rough run over their last five games of the season, losing four and winning one of their matchups against the Bruins. For a team that was head and shoulders above the rest of the league throughout the regular season, a team that only got better and better as the playoffs wore on, losing Game 7 to the Bruins – on their own ice – was a tough pill to swallow. Sure, they were walking wounded, but they were also outmuscled – a fact that was made embarrassingly evident by Bruins instigator Brad Marchand’s bobble-heading of Daniel Sedin post-whistle in Game 6. Yet Canucks GM Mike Gillis actually made his roster softer by allowing gristly winger Raffi Torres to walk, and replacing him with German veteran Marco Sturm, who’s about as gritty as a terrycloth. The Canucks also failed to re-sign their top-scoring blue-liner, Christian Erhoff, and have decided not to fill the gaping maw on their back end. It’s hard to argue against the instincts of a GM whose team came within one win of capturing the Stanley Cup, but the bullying sustained by the Canucks was painful to watch, so it’s even harder to imagine why Gillis would leave his club in a position to be the victims of similar abuse down the road. There’s no denying that the Canucks have the talent to return to

the big dance, but do they have the heart? Sure, Henrik and Daniel Sedin are nice guys, but as the soft-spoken twins found out at the hands of the unruly Bruins, nice guys finish last. The Chicago Blackhawks know what it takes to finish first. Despite flubbing their way through most of the regular season, the former Stanley Cup champions gave the Canucks a lesson in heart in the first round of the playoffs, pushing the series to seven games and nearly becoming the third team in NHL history to dig their way out of a three-zip hole in a playoff series. Led by young captain Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks came up just short, but you can bet that the team will be ready to pick up where they left off. GM Stan Bowman inked forward Andrew Brunette and defenceman Steve Montador. He also toughened the Blackhawks attack by signing ruffians Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, and Sean O’Donnell. The Blackhawks already have one of the most potent offences in the league – led by Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp – and young goaltender Corey Crawford has proven himself to be a lot more than a onehit-wonder, playing to near perfection in the latter half of the regular season and then matching Canucks superstar goalie Roberto Luongo save-for-save in the first round of the playoffs. Now it’s just a question of whether or not the Blackhawks have the will to return to the top of the Western Conference. Heaven knows they have the talent to make the climb. The other team to watch for in the Western Conference will be the Los Angeles Kings, who have slowly, quietly reinvented themselves over the past few seasons. Not only has GM Dean Lombardi managed to mobilize one of the best blue-line corps in the league – think Drew Doughty, Jack

“Canucks GM Mike Gillis actually made his roster softer by allowing gristly winger Raffi Torres to walk, and replacing him with German veteran Marco Sturm, who’s about as gritty as a terrycloth” Johnson, Matt Greene, Rob Scuderi, Willie Mitchell, and Alec Martinez – he’s also been able to assemble an enviable offense along the way. His recent signings of Mike Richards and Simon Gagne will only help to boost the Kings’ attack, spearheaded by Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner, Justin Williams, and Jarrett Stoll. Like any top NHL team, the Kings’ roster is rounded out with an excellent goaltending tandem. Jonathan Quick, backup goalie for Team USA at the 2010 Olympics, is expected to put up stellar numbers again this season; even if he falters, Jonathan Bernier will be there to keep the ship on course. The only question marks surrounding the Kings are leadership and experience, but Lombardi seems certain that he’s successfully addressed the former by singing ex-Edmonton Oilers captain, Ethan Moreau. Needless to say, despite the enormous potential of the aforementioned teams, as the 2011-12 season gets underway and the pages start to turn on the next chapter of NHL hockey, they might find themselves being displaced by ‘lesser teams’, but that’s what makes hockey so rewarding to follow. There are no sure-things in the NHL, and success is never attained for free. Any team can win, anywhere, anytime. +

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© BILL SMITH/CHICAGO BEARS

Below: Brian Urlacher, the latest definition of Chicago’s blue-collar linebacking tradition. Right: LeGarrette Blount spearheads Tampa’s running game. The two should collide October 23 at Wembley.

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feel overjoyed for the Bucs UK Fan Club. A more dedicated bunch of NFL fans it is hard to find, suffering fo for years through the Hugh Culverhouse Culverhouse/ white-and-orange/Winky-the-Pirate debacle, often for no more reason than the relative proximity of Florida, a desire to swim against th the mainstream, and that British tendency to support the underdog underdog. Then the Glazers turned up and an complicated the mood by (a) cutting the effete swashbuckler, swashbuckle changing the color scheme, and winning some games, including, in a surreal turn, a Super Bowl, plus pl (b) buying a Premiership team sso staggeringly successful that tthe British natural reaction of the Britis may be to root agains the Glazers, whose teams long were, after all, no longer the underdogs. Then, a couple of years ago, the Buccaneers showed up at Wembley Wembley, and were drubbed by the ridiculously successful New normality England Patriots. With normali seemingly restored, the neutra neutral Wembley Wemb We mbley crowd cheered Josh Free Fr e ma ee man’ n’ss NF N Freeman’s NFLL debut and sent goodwill direcwavess of goo g oodw oo dwililll in the direc tion ti on of the Bu ucccan a ee eers, who Buccaneers, with 0-7 ssniffled sn sniffl niffled ffled o off ff homee wit w itth an 0re eco ord d aand nd o over a do d oze zeen record dozen ccases ca sees of o ’’flu. fl . flu

PHOTO © MATT MAY/TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The Glazer family’s less decorated football team hosts a game in London for the second time in three seasons. However, the UK fell in love with the Bears a long time ago, suggests Richard L Gale

I just hope Tampa and the NFL isn’t presuming that 2011’s patronising pat on the head equates to us actually adopting the Bucs, because having them host the Chicago Bears (the first in-conference game of the Wembley series) may be as far from a ‘home’ fixture as they could manage in London. The Bears, let us remember, were the team that broke the UK market. The next game the legendary 1985 Bears played after their Super Bowl success was a preseason opener in Wembley, the first ‘American Bowl’. They brought Walter Payton, Dan Hampton, Jim McMahon, Mike Singletary, Willie Gault, William Perry... the whole iconic circus. They created a media storm. Years later the London Monarchs would tempt ‘The Fridge’ out of retirement, such was the enduring marketing appeal in the UK. And now, here come the Bears again. A different era of Bears, sure – the 80s vintage never had Mike Martz’s penchant for flinging the ball around – but in speedster Devin Hester, fantasy football mainstay Matt Forte, and a defense that boasts Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs, there’s still that hint of heritage and tradition. And you know how the Brits feel about that. +


© WWW.KT8PHOTOGRAPHY.CO.UK

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Photos by Gary Baker Fall leagues in the UK

I

n anticipation of the London 2012 Olympics, August witnessed some ‘London Prepares’ special events. The spectacular London Basketball Arena played host to the London International Basketball Invitational, with six countries competing. Whilst the USA was not one of them, there were NBA players in evidence, with Luol Deng (above) playing for Great Britain, and fellow Chicago Bull Joakim Noah (right) helping France to eventual tournament victory. A week earlier, the historical architecture of Horse Guards Parade in Westminster provided the surroundings for the Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International. Team GB and the USA made the final four, but Brazil were ultimately victorious.

Summer’s over, fall is here, but that’s no reason to think U.S.-related sports are only to be found on TV. The British Basketball League returns, with the Mersey Tigers and Cheshire Jets (both pictured above) both in contention. The Tigers will be defending league champions, but if Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) takes to the floor for Cheshire, the Jets’ should improve on last year’s fourth-place finish. More on the BBL in The American next month, as rosters are finalized. In the meantime, check out the BBL at www.BBL.org.uk British ice hockey also gets into full swing in October, with the opening clutch of September games suggesting Belfast, Nottingham and Sheffield will be the teams to watch in the Elite League (www.eliteleague.co.uk), while readers seeking more south-easterly fixtures should look to the rival English Premier Ice Hockey League (via www.eiha.co.uk), where the likes of Guildford, Basingstoke and Slough look to take down defending champs Manchester. At press time, there had been no announcement about British University American Football League fixtures, but we also encourage readers to monitor www.BUAFL.net for the gridiron activities of over 70 colleges.

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The American October 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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