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Issue 703 – November 2011 Published by SP Media for
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t’s not been reported much on the British media yet, but the ‘Occupy’ protest movement is growing. Fast. A list of ‘Occupy’ locations (published on Wiki by who-knows-who, admittedly) currently lists upwards of 350 cities where people are gathering to express their disaffection with modern life and the way it’s run. Hopefully the movement will remain peaceful and not be taken over by destructive anarchists. If so, are we on the verge of a new kind of global people power? Watch this space. As you’ll notice from the ad on your left, PBS is here! We don’t normally point out adverts, but your favorite quality programming is now available in the UK (from November 1st on the Sky platform). It deserves to be a big success, but to make sure, tell all your British friends! Enjoy your magazine,
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Some Of This Month’s Contributors
James Carroll Jordan, an American actor living and working in London. This month he goes back to the States for the first time in a long time. Was it the great idea it seemed?
Lynne McAlister has loved to travel since she could walk. Her passion has taken her to 49 States and 5 continents. An American, she lives in Notting Hill with her husband, Tony.
Sir Robert Worcester is one of the most knowledgeable and influential psephologists in the world. A Kansas City native, he is the founder of the MORI polling and research organisation.
Don’t forget to check out The American online at www.theamerican.co.uk The entire contents of The American and www.theamerican.co.uk are protected by copyright and no part of it may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information in The American is accurate, the editor and publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions or any loss arising from reliance on it. The views and comments of contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers.
In This Issue... The American • Issue 703 • November 2011
4 News The City of London celebrates the Lord Mayor’s Show, President Obama dedicates the memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Diary Dates A hand-picked selection of the finest events and attractions that Britain has to offer
12 Fashion: London Fashion Week 2011 Our round up of the best and most wearable styles: classic styles from young designers ruled the roost
14 Bovey Castle Can’t decide between a luxury holiday and a country sports activity break? Luckily at this spectacular hotel set in Dartmoor National Park you won’t have to 18 Going Stateside Is it always a good idea to retrace your steps and go back home? 22 Art From the ancient – Leonardo and Early Kings and Queens – to the modern – Sylvia Plath as an artist (pictured) and strippers as Shakespeare heroines
18 31 2
26 Wining and Dining Not just great restaurants but great recipes too. Enjoy! 31 Cellar Talk Drinks for Thanksgiving – desirable but dear, or cheap and cheerful? Find out which is best, and some Thanksgiving history you may not know
33 Coffee Break A quiz, a Sudoku puzzle and a cartoon... time to put the kettle on and relax 34 Music A host of iconic American acts are headed this way
37 Reviews Performances including plays, dance (The Metamorphosis is pictured) and even an evening with ‘Hyacinth Bucket’, all reviewed 45 Politics Get the drinks and pizzas in, the 2012 election season starts here 48 Drive Time Chevrolet’s new Cruze Hatchback faces its strongest test – the editor’s family 50 Honky Tonk Man The good ol’ wresting boy talks to The American
52 Sports Basketball, both NCAA and BBL (the British league), our Sideline column and Al Davis remembered 57 American Organizations Useful and fun societies for you to join 3
MLK Memorial Dedication “An earthquake and hurricane may have delayed this day, but it was a day not to be denied,” said President Obama, to more than 10,000 people who had gathered on the national Mall for the longawaited dedication of the memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., October 16.. Mr. Obama urged the nation to celebrate the memory of the assassinated civil rights leader by continuing to push for the goals and hopes of the “black preacher with no official rank or title who somehow gave voice to our deepest dreams.” The President said that Dr. King had helped make the nation “more perfect”, but he pointed out that his goals had not yet been realized. Referring to Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, Mr. Obama said, “In too many troubled neighborhoods across the county, the conditions of our poorest citizens appear little changed from what existed 50 years ago. Neighborhoods with underfunded schools and broken down slums, inadequate health care , constant violence... Our work is not done. So on this day, on which we celebrate a man and a movement that did so much for this country, let us draw strength from those earlier struggles.”
9/11 Day of Service Benefits American Garden in London It was September 9th and thoughts were turning to that dreadful day ten years ago when the world changed for ever, good lives were sacrificed and American innocence was lost, writes Mary Bailey. This Annual Day of Service was inspired by President Obama’s call to volunteers to perform acts of goodwill, and in London volunteers from the U.S. Embassy teamed up with a local charity and Wandsworth Council to help restore the ‘American Ground’, a 19th century garden in Battersea Park in need of upgrading and maintenance. The Embassy will be moving for various practical reasons, the need for modern office space and enhanced security among them. It will be operating from Nine Elms, Wandsworth, from 2017, but they are wisely getting to know the area now. A party of around 60 arrived from the Embassy and were welcomed by the Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Mrs Jane Cooper, JP. In her reply to the Mayor’s warm welcome, the Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Barbara Stephenson, said “I don’t believe victims want us just to
mourn, they want something better in memory of their loved ones and for me there is no better way to answer that call, to capture that spirit, than by helping to restore this historic American Ground.” Peter Rosengard, Chairman of the 9/11 London Project, an educational charity, spoke too. Mr Rosengard is responsible for bringing to England a stunning steel sculpture created from twisted girders salvaged from the Twin Towers which is placed here, a short distance from the situation of the new Embassy. The charity, supported this day by the American gardening team, is Thrive, a small, practical charity helping disabled people whether in mind or body through practical gardening. Their Battersea Project Manager, Susan Stuart, told me the idea is a great success and broke through the gardeners’ isolation. It certainly worked this day, everyone spoke to everyone and the young American office workers tackled the undergrowth and weeds half their size with ferocious new world energy. A tree, of course, was planted!
Raise a Glass in Remembrance We don’t normally publicize individual products in our editorial pages, not without good reason, but we think we’ve found such an item. Remembrance Sunday is a very important date in the British public calendar. It’s the day on which the British commemorate the servicemen and women who have died or been injured in defence of their nation. As the UK is one of the US.’s closest allies, and part of the stillspecial relationship, you may feel like joining them and raising a glass in salute to the fallen. If so you can now do so with a glass of Battlefield Wine. Available exclusively from Sainsbury’s stores, Battlefield Wines come in Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc variants and cost £9.99 a bottle. 100% of post-tax profits go to the UK forces charities, helping to fund the Royal British Legion. The wines are produced by South African winery FirstCape. South Africa was part of the British Empire, is now a member of The Commonwealth of Nations, and many South African troops fought for freedom alongside Britons and Americans in the World Wars.
The Lord Mayor's Show is a near-thousand year tradition unlike any other Photo: RCJ
The Lord Mayor’s Show
he Lord Mayor’s Show will be held this month in the City of London, as it has been for centuries, writes Mary Bailey. The 2011 Show – in reality a long procession – will be held on November 12th. The office of Lord Mayor of the City of London is separate from that of the Mayor of London (currently Boris Johnson). The City is the small but hugely wealthy and influential area known as the Square Mile. The role of Lord Mayor was created in 1189, when the first appointee was Henry Fitz Alwin de Londonstone. The position has survived such mishaps as the black death, the Great Fire of London, the English revolution (Cromwell) and the Nazi blitz. There have been good mayors, bad mayors and some just rather odd, but the most famous is Dick Whittington, who left a good story for a pantomime (Puss in Boots is based on his true story). These days the Lord Mayor is elected by his fellow Liverymen and the Council of Commoners at the end of September, for a period of one year. His job is to promote the business (now mostly financial) and people of the City of London. He entertains
foreign and British guests at his official home, the Mansion House. His position, although apolitical, is far from just ceremonial. The Lady Mayoress is also important; the hospitality of the City is well known and the Lord Mayor himself must be present on the occasion of any entertainment at Mansion House. The Lord Mayor’s Show is when the new man – this year David Wootton - journeys to Temple Bar to swear his oath of allegiance to the monarch in front of judges. Way back no-one who could raise an army against the sovereign was allowed to roam for long without taking the oath and although the present Queen is not under threat, the British like to be sure! The procession which accompanies the Lord Mayor in his State Coach is terrific. Decorated floats, cars and vans expressing the Lord Mayor’s special interests, military bands, schoolchildren, charities, choirs, a jolly mix of pageantry and carnival. It’s best to get alongside the route by about 10.30am. There are fireworks in the evening. Details of the route can be found at www.cityoflondon.gov.uk or in London’s local papers.
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 email@example.com October 28
Republicans Abroad Regional Meeting 2011
American Women of Berkshire and Surrey Charity Craft and Gift Fayre
Portcullis House, Westminster and Bloomberg offices
The Pavilion, Ascot Racecourse, SL5 7JX
As we gear up back home for the most important elections in over a generation, Republicans Abroad invites you to its 2011 European Regional Meeting London. Welcome Dinner on Oct. 27th at politicians’ favorite Indian restaurant the Cinnamon Club. Meeting on Oct. 28th includes Republican Presidential Campaigns panel discussion, Foreign and Defense Policy panel discussion, Keynote Speech by Baron (Norman) Lamont of Lerwick, Global Economy Special Event. www.eventbrite.com/ event/2302260122/mcivte
Get a head start on your Christmas shopping at a leading fundraising Fayre with over 80 designers, artists, and exhibitors: fabulous fashion, jewellery, vintage and home wares and the best art and craft. Enjoy gourmet food, our home baked treats, tea and coffee, entertainment and demonstrations. It is our major annual fundraising event and 100% of the Fayre’s profits fund local charities. Accessible from the M4 and M3, and Ascot Train Station. Good disabled access. Admission ￡2. Children Under 17 Free. www.awbs.org.uk
A 1903 De Dietrich on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
London to Brighton Veteran Car Run London to Brighton The world’s longest running motoring event commemorates the Highway Act, 1896, which raised the road speed limit from 4 mph to 14 mph and abolished the need for cars to be preceded by a man walking with a red flag! It attracts entrants from all over the globe, a rare opportunity to see these extraordinary automobiles on the 60 mile run from central London to the seafront in the Sussex resort of Brighton. Spectating along the route is free. The first cars leave Hyde Park at sunrise (approx. 7am) and start arriving at Preston Park in Brighton around 10am. www.lbvcr.com
November 5 to November 6 November 4 to January 8, 2012
Open Air Ice Skating The Natural History Museum, London SW7 Embrace winter at the Museum’s 1000 square yard ice rink, London’s most spectacular winter attraction, the surrounding trees lit by thousands of light bulbs. Overlooking the Rink is a Cafe Bar. Opening times 10am to 10pm on weekdays, 8.45am to 10pm weekends. www.nhmskating.com
GUY FAWKES / BONFIRE NIGHT Across the UK If you’re in Britain the first week of November, there’s one event you shouldn’t miss: Guy Fawkes Night. Around November 5, there are events commemorating with bonfires and fireworks the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in which a group of disaffected Catholics tried ― and failed ― to blow up parliament, King James I, and the aristocracy. Despite its origins, Bonfire
Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is celebrated by Britons of all traditions. Look in local press for details. November 5
Brighton to London Future Car Challenge Brighton to London Held the day before the RAC’s world famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, but in the reverse direction. A new
motoring contest for Electric, Hybrid and Low–Emission Internal Combustion Engine passenger cars to use the lowest energy on the 60 mile route from Madeira Drive, Brighton to Pall Mall & Regent Street, London. www.futurecarchallenge.com
November 7 to November 20
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Hyde Park, London
The Gaywise FESTival is London’s LGBT biggest art festival, including visual arts, theatre, dance and performance, short films, debates, workshops and parties. www.gaywisefestival.org.uk November 11
Collars & Coats Gala Ball: Gala Fundraiser for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Battersea Evolution, Chelsea Bridge Entrance, Battersea Park, London, SW11 4NJ
Bath Christmas Market, with the beautiful Medieval Abbey as a backdrop
November 9 to December 24
Christmas Markets Across the UK and Europe Christmas markets are fun and a great way to get all your festive requirements as well as presents. Among the best in Britain are in Bath (pictured), Bournemouth, Canterbury, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland in London, Leeds, Portsmouth and Waterperry, Oxfordshire. Check the website for dates and details. www.christmasmarkets.com/UK
November 18 to January 3, 2012
In the presence of HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, the Home’s President, this spectacular night of glamour and entertainment, headlined by Status Quo, is one of the biggest events in London’s calendar. A distinguished list of VIP guests and celebrities help to raise vital funds to help the home continue its work with stray, abandoned and neglected animals. Limited tables and brand sponsorship opportunities are available. www.collarsandcoats.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
Hyde Park is magically transformed into an enchanted Winter Wonderland with London’s largest ice rink. Attractions include Santa’s Grotto, Zippo’s Traditional and Extreme Circuses, a free visit to Santa with gifts for lucky children who meet him, rides, big wheel, Santa Land Express Train and a Christmas market. www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com November 18
Friends Of The Earth Comedy Fundraiser Hammersmith Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, London W6 9QH Friends of the Earth’s Laugh or the Polar Bear Gets It makes its debut at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo, starring many of Britain’s top comedy superstars including Dan Antopolski, Simon Day, Richard Herring, Josie Long, Lucy Porter, Rob Rouse and music from Badly Drawn Boy. www.foe.co.uk
November 19 to November 27
Armistice Day / Remembrance Day
Across the UK
Every year at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month the UK remembers the end of the First World War and all who gave their lives then and since. Everyone observes a two minute silence. There are events and services on the nearest Sunday. The poppy is the symbol of Remembrance and of the Poppy Appeal. Poppy Collectors appear in late October so everyone can make a donation and wear their poppy for Remembrance. www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance
The hottest new bikes, clothing and accessories plus an interactive day out for the whole family. Biking celebrities, films, competitions, Classic, Custom & Escape Zones, kids getting their first on and off road biking experience plus off road & Trials riding for adults. www.motorcyclelive.co.uk November 21
LIMINALITY: Toward the Unknown Region
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tennant & tate Much Ado Reviewed
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rne House Victoria’s favori - Queen te home WIN A Copy of Fun book about the new stars’ Cars
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NFL at Wembley! wed Bucs v Bears Previe ing red Storm Large swapp Martini hot rock for Pink
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Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Eight renowned British based sculptors respond to and explore the theme of transitional space, features large scale, three dimensional works in a wide range of materials. www.salisburycathedral.org.uk November 23 to November 26
World Premiere - Annie Gosfield: Floating Messages & Fading Frequencies various New York composer–performer Annie Gosfield (b.1960) creates some of the most compelling sounds in today’s new music. Finding the warmth in mechanical, musical, industrial and signal noise, her use of sampled sounds is sophisticated and captivating. Floating Messages and Fading Frequencies is based on the secret radio transmissions between British Intelligence and the European Resistance movements in the Second World War. The world premiere of this landmark show in Dartington on 23 November brings together Gosfield’s Trio with Denmark’s leading new music ensemble, Athelas Sinfonietta. Dates: November 23rd Dartington Hall, Devon; 24th Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham; 25th Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival: 26th The Cornerstone Festival, Liverpool. www.anniegosfield.com November 24
Benjamin Franklin House Thanksgiving Dinner The Butchers’ Hall, 87 Bartholomew Close, London EC1A 7EB A traditional Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. Proceeds will support
the important work of the House in promoting history, education, and international engagement in the spirit of Franklin. The House is the only home of Ben Franklin’s that still exists, anywhere in the world. Tickets: £65 adults/£25 children. 7.30pm. www.BenjaminFranklinHouse.org firstname.lastname@example.org +44(0)20 7839 2006 November 24
Thanksgiving in Plymouth Plymouth, England Come to Plymouth Guildhall and join the Plymouth Pipe Band and HMS Drake plus Very Special Guests. Then on to the Mayflower Steps at the Barbican for a 30 minute ceremony to mark the sailing of the Mayflower to the United States and celebrate American Thanksgiving here in Plymouth. Local pubs and restaurants will be serving special American theme food all day and traditional Turkey Dinner in the evening. Americans in the UK welcome. www.thanksgivingplymouth. com/2011/02/thanksgiving-dayplymouth-uk-2011.html November 25 to November 27
The Spanish Riding School Wembley Arena, London The Spanish Riding School of Vienna’s 60th international tour is a must for families, horse lovers and those with an interest in this wonderful Viennese cultural experience. It is five years since the majestic, highly trained White Lipizzaner stallions and their riders of the 430 year old High School for Classical Horsemanship have been in the UK. www.livenation.co.uk
November 24 to December 24
Thanksgiving at The Palm Restaurant 1 Pont Street, London SW1X 9EJ When Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened the first Palm in 1926, they shared their commitment to quality and generosity of spirit with every guest who walked through their doors. For over eight decades, that unparalleled hospitality has become a Palm signature and established our restaurants as a favorite gathering place for friends, families, and colleagues. Come join us for Thanksgiving, November 24 and Christmas. Here’s our Thanksgiving menu: Starter: Mixed Greens Salad with poached pears and candied walnuts; Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with apple cider crème fraiche; Apple and Rocket Salad with blue cheese, crispy bacon & toasted pecans tossed with raspberry vinaigrette. Main: Slow Roasted Hand Carved Turkey with pan gravy, traditional stuffing & fresh cranberry compote. Choose Your Family’s Favorite Sides: Traditional Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Creamed Spinach, Green Bean Almandine; Dessert: Pecan Pie; Pumpkin Pie. £50 per person / £25 per child under 12. Our seasonal hours are: Lunch served Friday, Saturday; Sunday 12pm to 5pm, Dinner served Monday to Saturday 6pm to 11pm, Sunday until 10pm. From November 29 to December 22 Lunch served Tuesday to Sunday. We will be closed December 24 & 25 and January 1, 2012. Happy Thanksgiving! www.thepalm.com/London 020 7201 0710
n o i h s a F Fashion Neoclassics
Young designers, classic styles, mark the Spring and Summer fashion trends from London Fashion Week, by Thea Sharkriss
love clothing. It was the reason I learned to sew. In seventh grade the girls had to make an apron, hat and hot pad to use the following year when we were taught cooking. I was such a poor seamstress that my winning design for the outfit to be worn by the first child born during the celebration of my home town’s founding - actually
Next spring black is definitely dead. Spring and summer 2012 is as brightly coloured as a Ming vase
they were twins - were sewn by two other girls. I was thinking of that as I watched the models during London Fashion Week (LFW) parade the
latest fashions for spring and summer 2012 and noted the number of sleeveless outfits I could never wear unless I sewed on sleeves, even if I were to exercise as energetically as Madonna. There comes a time in every woman’s life when she must face the fact she needs to cover the upper part of her arms. One can tell the age of a woman not by the lines on her face or neck, but by her arms. Watching the young, beautiful models, mostly under twenty-two, parade the latest sleeveless designs, I found myself thinking I’d have to buy a sweater or jacket if I wanted to wear a similar outfit. One of Clements Riberio’s cashmere twin sets in salmon, lavender or blueberry could be the answer. Most of the outfits this fall and winter reflected the forties and fifties. I prefer the forties when Hollywood was the arbitrator of style. Perhaps it was the ladylike look of this style and the memories of those old Hollywood films starring Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Neither was a beauty or had the height of a fashion model, but in their slim skirts just below their knees and smartly fitted jackets embellished with fur, their clothing made a statement. Next spring black is definitely dead. Spring and summer 2012 is as brightly coloured as a Ming vase as Greek designer Mary Katrantzou
confirmed during London Fashion Week in September. Katrantzou, a Central St. Martin’s graduate, showed her seventh collection at LFW and the pencil and pens of the viewers on the front benches scribbled rapidly as her models sauntered down the catwalk. She featured brightly coloured lips and waking-up-style hair do’s which I wouldn’t advise for anyone over twenty. Gone was the antique gold jewellery layering the arms as well as the clutch bags that could hold little more than one’s driver’s license. Back are large oversized bags and the jingling jangles of resort type jewellery. Orange may have been the favourite colour shown in New York, but here in London it’s yellow. Not an easy colour for most of us to wear, unfortunately. Christopher Kane, another graduate of St. Martin’s, is a designer I continue to watch. Kane and his business partner sister Tammy’s 1960’s style combines a sense of sportiness with nostalgia that makes everything seem new. His dresses could be worn by women of sixteen or sixty, although the younger age would wear them far shorter. His flat, white rubber customised shower shoes were an interesting addition to the usual high heels, although I doubt if they could be worn in the office.
e W n o i h s a London F 2011 Christopher Kane
Erdem showed why the Duchess of Cambridge wore his lacy frock in Canada and there were a number of outfits I suspect the Canadian/British/Turkish designer designed with her in mind. His floral hot pants, which brought a wistful sigh from the young fashion journalist beside me, Kate probably wouldn’t wear except in the privacy of her home. I’d suggest the shorts and tops shown by Daks’ young designer, that hinted of the 1940’s, would go over better with the public. One thing is for certain, next spring every woman will go floral or paisley. I loved Jonathan Saunders black and white floral capris, but for forget-me-not brocade jackets that would be stunning with jeans, it’s going to have to be Richard Nicoll’s. If there is one thing every woman should have in her wardrobe it’s a white shirt. Next has a fabulous white shirt (£26) that won’t break the budget, but, frankly, I prefer the cotton by Thomas Pink for £89. One other item every woman needs is a fedora. I wear mine on a bad hair day as it hides all my sins and I still look smart. I saw a Gucci felt hat (£305) I could die for, but after deciding to spend the money on a pair of Chanel flats (£340) I settled on a cheaper one at Selfridges. Sales are now on or will be soon. This is the time I look for that special outfit that can be as much as forty percent cheaper. I keep to the classic look and if it goes on sale, I’d love to buy the plum pink jacket shown with a black pencil skirt I spotted in Tom Ford’s collection. Elegance is the key word and like the vintage Gucci suit by him I bought years ago, his clothing will be smart a decade from now. Maybe I’ll forget the budget and just go for it. H
played the LFW ‘11 dis urs due to and colo silhouettes /S ‘12!! hit us for S i-half maxi in m lf a The h d only a look brave oks dress was lo it is year, but 012 by a few th 2 r fo d on tren n o set to carry e to work it’s now tim ins p r e ill se k getting tho months! r inte over the w
bovey Castle Lynne McAlister discovers Bovey Castle, a luxury hotel and sporting estate in the Dartmoor National Park that is so much more than a hotel
Bovey Castle is 400 acres of “Heaven in Devon”, especially if you enjoy ambling about in wellies (a variety of sizes await you at the front door) by day and donning your finery in the evening. The Tudor-style country estate was built by William Frederick Danvers Smith (son of WH Smith, he of the newsagents chain). It was completed in 1907 with total disregard for expenses. Over the years it has performed several duties. In World War I it was a convalescent home. During WWII it served as a military hospital. Now this awardwinning hotel welcomes well-heeled guests for a self-contained country retreat from the everyday. The reception rooms are graced with 20 foot windows overlooking Bovey Castle’s magnificent gardens and the rolling hills of the Devon countryside. My favorite is the Cathedral Room with its wooden vaulted 28 foot ceiling. For a couple of days I hardly left the oversize wing-back chairs in front of the magnificent stone fireplace curled up with
a book and my faithful companion Coco - dogs are permitted anywhere in the hotel except one reception room and the restaurants. Though Bovey Castle is luxurious, its comfy sofas and cozy chairs invite you to come and stay a while with a book, a cup of tea, or a friend. The muted red and forest green sumptuous interior was designed by Annabel Elliot, sister to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. I could be only pried from my place in front of the fire to appraise the Sundari spa offering massages, facials and body wraps, which promise to defy ageing and set one upon a “journey to serenity”. I’ll take some of that! It was blissfully relaxing with large treatment rooms and an adept therapist. I was safe in their hands and floated out two hours later. On the other days Coco and I explored the moors which beckoned right outside the door. Perhaps you, like me, have been uncertain as to exactly what is a moor? You may recall the ominous warning from An American Werewolf in London: “Keep clear of the moors!” or those daunting moors in Wuthering Heights? For the record, a moor is “a track of open uncultivated upland; a heath. ” I’m happy to report that I found the moors neither scary nor daunting. They were beautifully inviting, especially when combined with the placid River Bovey and the lovely mix of forest and meadows. In fact the moors invite a stroll. Fortunately the folks at Bovey have thought of that with the handy guide, Walks Around Bovey Castle. If you prefer to venture farther afoot, you will find 450 miles of public rights of way in the Dartmoor National
Park. There are plenty of trails to suit all tastes and abilities. In fact, Dartmoor National Park covers 368 square miles, making it the largest and wildest area of open country in Southern England. However, there is a lot more to do at Bovey Castle than amble the countryside. Guests are invited to try their hand at archery, clay pigeon shooting, horse back riding, fly fishing, rock climbing, tennis, golf, or hunting with falconry. I tried clay pigeon shooting. The very knowledgeable instructor, Ian, helped his four charges feel at ease as we took aim and fired at the orange discs. The shotgun is equipped with a silencer to keep the neighbors happy, a bit awkward as it’s heavier than a normal shotgun. At least that was my excuse. Therefore, I decided to take an additional lesson with Ian. Louise at the resort desk arranged for a lesson at a nearby estate where regular shotguns are available. With Ian’s fine tutelage, I did improve! I can report, however, that the clay pigeon population in the UK is still safe! I also tried out the archery range. Ben, another great teacher, put safety first but made the 90 minute session a great deal of fun! I should probably confess that my fellow Robin Hood enthusiasts ranged from five to all of seven years old. Each morning there is a falconry exhibit on the grounds. We watched as the internationally-renowned falconer Martin Whitley educated the amazed spectators with his adroitness and dry wit. Among others, we met Oak, a baby owl, who as it turns out is not destined to be so wise, Rosie, a regal bald eagle and the sociable Harris hawks, as Martin demonstrated how they all are master hunters. Perhaps golf is more your speed. You will be glad to know Bovey is surrounded by an award winning PGA
Championship golf course designed in 1926 by JF Abercromby. The orangery is home to a large indoor swimming pool and a gym with a sun terrace that overlooks the grounds. It feels warm even on cloudy days. However, if this all seems a bit too much like exercise then sign up for the cocktail making class. Dan, a fine mixologist, taught me the finer points of mixing a mojito and other late summer delights. There are two restaurants at Bovey Castle. The Brasserie serves salads, sandwiches and pizzas in a casual modern extension. The Edwardian, with candlelight and white tablecloths, serves delectable traditional English fare, beautifully. While our four legged friends are not welcomed in either restaurant, reception gladly “doggysits.” Which brings me to my final point. The service was absolutely second to none! From the moment we were met by the cheerful porters wearing plus fours, then greeted by Federico, the hotel manager, to our final evening when the waiter who had taken care of us two nights earlier tracked us down in the drawing room to wish us safe travels the following morning, we felt unusually cared for. Regardless of whether you enjoy the indoors or the outdoors, donning the spa robe or the wellies, there is something for you at Bovey Castle. Check out www. boveycastle.com. Rates start at £249 per night. The closest train station is Exeter St. David. If you like ,Bovey
Castle will send a Land Rover to pick you up. H Lynne McAlister is a freelance journalist living in London with her husband, Tony and Coco, Adventure Dog. She may be reached at lynnemcalister@me. com.
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Anne Taylor finds that when one door closes, another one can open Goodbyes are sad, and as expats our lives are full of people entering and leaving , full of hellos and goodbyes. The summer is a quieter time in London, not for tourists but residents – activities suspended until the fall, people away on vacations or trips back home, and businesses slow down with the European tradition of closing down for August. It is a busier time for goodbyes as people leave to set up home in a new location in time for the start of school if they have kids. This month had me saying a few goodbyes – both in London and in Switzerland, my former home. Interestingly I was saying goodbye and good luck to people I didn’t know very well and it was still sad. The going away celebrations reminded me of the previous times I’ve said goodbye to friends. And it reminded me of my own goodbyes – the times I’ve moved away from family and friends. Each going away party brings up the old emotions and you feel the loss of moving and the increasing distance of those friendships – always physically and sometimes emotionally too.
The going away often starts with the excitement of the ‘moving sale’ announcement, neat things at great prices which new people jump on. The goodbyes have a fun get together to mark the occasion – a BBQ, drinks, or a lunch. These celebrations also remind me of cherished memories together – a moonlight climb in Les Paccots, a sunny vineyard walk to Chexbres, and a weekday hike in the North Downs. It’s those memories that stay long after the plane departure. Some of those goodbyes are final, the acquaintance or friendship dissolves with time and distance. Some of those goodbyes are more like ‘see you later’, people that stay in your life through email, Facebook, Skype, visits, and vacations. The powerful thing is that you only have those friends in your life because of your brave decision to leave ‘home’ once. By saying goodbye once you open the door for many hellos. By saying goodbye a few times you open many doors for hellos and make the world a smaller place.
The good news is that Autumn means more hellos as new comers arrive for the new school year or the start of work after the summer holidays. It is always a time to imagine that maybe this season of new hellos will deliver a special friend – someone you don’t know yet and someone who could change your life in some way. I am grateful for the goodbyes because it means I had the opportunity of saying hello to people that have entered my life and enriched it. Contact life coach Anne Taylor at email@example.com or +44 (0) 755 442 1768 for a complimentary session
“By saying goodbye a few times you open many doors for hellos and make the world a smaller place.”
Goodbyes are sad, but can lead to new hellos Photo US Navy-Ryan C McGinley
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In the month of Thanksgiving, when Americans miss home most of all, James Carroll Jordan takes an unashamedly nostalgic trip back across the pond To every ex-pat stuck living overseas, the thought of going “state-side” is overwhelmingly seductive. To me everything is better, bigger and cooler back in the States. When I was a young boy, being dragged from base to base by my Dad and Mom, all I could think of was “going Stateside”. When one of my friends was shipped home all I could do was watch while I remained on the outside, green with envy. It is the same now in my late years. Having lived in England now for over twenty years, America has become a Mecca of perfection and desire that I can’t get out of my head and heart. But miracles happen. This summer, my wife Jan took pity on me and bought me a ticket for LA. You see three big events were taking place and I really needed to be there. So when Jan produced this airline ticket to me I was thunderstruck, and over the moon with delight. I was able to see my son Buck graduate from UCLA business school, attend my best friend Bruce Boxleitner’s son Sam’s wedding, and
attend the Russell Lee Memorial Golf Tournament in San Diego; it was to be the last time it will be held and I had only managed to get back to it three times over the last twenty five years. I had a fortnight and I had it packed to the gills with plans. The first thing I needed to do was go to Bob’s Big Boy
“Memories & nostalgia flooded into & over me the whole time I was
there. I almost cried over a Baby Ruth bar!”
restaurant with my brother John and have a Big-Boy with avi, fries and a side of blue cheese dressing with a cherry coke. All this was brought to me by a, shall we say, not-quite-natural blonde waitress to my car window and loaded on a tray that was hung on the outside
of my door. As I finished my mouthwatering burger and swilled my last French fry in the blue cheese dressing, I gave a long sigh of contentment. Here I was, back in the San Fernando Valley on van Nuys Blvd., having the same meal I had over forty years ago after my Friday night football games. I held down the urge to cruise the boulevard like I used to asking carloads of pretty girls if they knew where a party was or daring other guys in hot rods to race me up on Mulholland Drive. Those were the days, and they were coming back to me in spades. The valley looked much the same, as did the rest of LA; dusty, sunny and full of life. I was in pig heaven when my buddy Jim picked me up and we drove over to Chavez Ravine to see a Dodger game. Less than twenty-four hours after landing, I was at a baseball game watching my favorite team, eating a Dodger Dog and sipping a twelve dollar cup of beer. Yes, some things have changed; the price of everything for a start!
Reasons to go Stateside part 1: Baby Ruth bars
Memories flooded over me the whole time Years ago when I was a young actor in Hollywood, I went with my buddy Greg Henry to the Dodger stadium main offices and asked the lady behind the desk for any free or spare tickets. She looked long and hard at me and asked me why she should give me them. I don’t know why I said it, but
Reasons to go Stateside part Boy restaurant
4: Bobs Big
out came: “Well, I’m Steve Garvey’s gardener, that’s why.” She nodded noncommittally and then nodded to Greg, my pal who I was acting with in Rich Man Poor Man at the time and said: “And who is he then?” Greg just stood by the door (he didn’t want to do any of this) and blushed a deep red. “He’s Steve’s pool man.” I said with assurance. She nodded again and said: “Uh huh….” I was quickly losing hope in my little ruse. Finally she said: “I know who you are, and I know who he is [gesturing to a now thoroughly embarrassed Greg-o]. You’re both stars of that new TV series aren’t you?” At first I thought to keep on piling up the lies, but in the end could only nod abjectly and hang my head in shame. She smiled and said: “Would you like the press level or field level?” and Bingo!! We were in! We took the
field seats and found ourselves right behind the home dugout. Greg was still so mortified by everything (he’s from Colorado, you see) that it took him two beers (at a dollar fifty each back then) and an extra-long Dodger dog before he Jim gets back together with old pal began to speak to me. We sent Rosie and fellow actor Bruce Boxleitner (that was her name) a huge me a bit behind the eight ball. First bouquet of roses the next of all, I didn’t speak Spanish, and I day and a box of chocolates. hadn’t a clue how to field strip an Uzi. We also went back to her But I somehow managed to muddle four or five more times and through. were given the best seats in I was the proudest father at Buck’s the house. I have to say the graduation. I was in such a good mood press level is great, the best I even got along with his mother, my food in the stadium, but it’s ex-wife Penny (a minor miracle in a little far from the field for itself). I was even introduced to Buck’s my liking. girlfriend. He was thirty one and I had Sorry about that digresnever met any of his girlfriends; mainly sion into the past, but that’s because I lived a few thousand miles what happened on this last from him and his life. She was lovely trip back. Memories and nostalgia as was everything else that day. I think flooded into and over me the whole one of the most wonderful acts of time I was there. I almost cried over exuberant rejoicing “American Style” is a Baby Ruth bar! I bought five and the tradition of the graduate class all at once ate them. I reveled in See’s throwing up their hats and cheering Candies, Frito extra-large scoop dip wildly from their completion and, chips, girls wearing practically nothing finally, release from years of school. walking around confidently everyBuck was a grown-up now; about where, me wearing shorts and sandals, to face the world and make his way cool cars cruising the hot sweltering streets, and the place being just chock full of Americans! My kind of people. For a change I wasn’t a foreigner any more. I felt I was home. I belonged. I almost broke down in tears over my first proper Mexican meal. Unfortunately the years I had missed Reasons to go Stateside part 3: the girls - Red Bull living in England left appa rently supply them if you can’t get your
I love England. It’s just not America!
teside part 2: See’s Reasons to go Sta Candies
in the tough world of business, but I decided I wouldn’t clue him in on the harsh reality of that just at the moment. Sam’s wedding was a blast. I was received like a long lost Uncle by all and have to admit, I loved every
Reasons to go Stateside part 5: the hot rods
second of it. It seemed all my old acting buddies were in attendance and the night was spent swapping lies and stories and all of us trying to hold our stomachs in. (Box was the only thin one of the lot of us, but then he is still a jobbing actor in La-La land and has to stay skinny to compete.) The only downer of the evening was that he and his wife, Melissa Gilbert, were separating and Bruce was very down about it all. I tried cheering him up with male buddy platitudes, but got roasted for saying anything. I never learn to keep my big mouth shut.
The next day I headed north to Mammoth Lakes to stay with my friends Dave and Molly. That is where I truly would like to retire to someday. A fantastic ski resort in the winter and a land of lakes and rivers and wilderness in the summer. Three days there in that glorious mountain air completely revitalized me. I felt a mere 50 instead of my true 61 years. Dave and Molly treated me to a huge American breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon with hash browns, juice and coffee on my third day there, then piled me into their car for a nice seven hour drive down to San Diego for the golf tournament. One thing we forget living over here in Europe with its small streets and lack of room is the hugeness of America. It’s staggering! The drive through the Mojave desert and then Palm Springs was endless, mesmerizing and fascinating. I kept sighing huge sighs of contentment. I was an old hound dog who had just satisfactorily scratched an itch. When we arrived at the tournament I was overjoyed to find all my friends from my high school days there. Some looking much like they did years ago, and some not. I didn’t care a toss. They were my mates and I had missed them terribly. Now I had three whole days to wallow in their friendship, sarcasm and love. The lies and memories we related to each other were monumental. For some reason my friends seemed to imply that I exaggerated my stories a bit. I don’t know what they were talking
about. To me a good story improves with age and retelling. Much like a good bottle of Napa Valley red wine. Napa Valley!!!! I forgot to go there! Darn and double darn! I wanted to stop by my old friend Tommy Smothers’ vineyard and sample their 20% proof Chardonnay they make. One bottle knocks you out! Two and you check out of the party. Ahhhhhhh... America… So much to see and do, and so many friends to visit. If my youngest boy Charlie didn’t have another two years at Churcher’s College in Petersfield, England, I would have gone straight to a realtors office and found a house. Oh well, maybe in a few years it can happen. At least I had a nice visit home that will hold me in good stead for a while. Don’t get me wrong; I love my home and house and friends here in England. Especially my thoughtful and ever-loving wife Jan who made this all possible. It’s just not America. H Jim has a rapprochement with his ex, Penny Peyser
Jim’s son Buck and brothe r
John at Buck’s graduation
Remember 9/11? Really? You may be confident in your memories of that awful day, but not necessarily accurate, writes Charles Weaver
he details of where you were and what you were doing when you learned about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are stamped indelibly into your memory, vivid as a photograph. Or are they? No, says Charles Weaver, Ph.D., professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University. Much has been made of so-called “flashbulb memory” — recollection of our surroundings and reactions during such events as 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. At one point, researchers believed these to be photograph-like (hence the term) memories: detailed, vivid, accurate and unchanging. In reality, “we sort through many possible details from a variety of sources over a period of time,” Weaver said. “Gradually, our memories take shape; we get our stories straight.” For example, “your memories of 9/11 might contain details you could not have learned until later in the week. “Flashbulb memories are almost an illusion of memory —we believe them to be perfect, although they are subject to the same distortions as any other kind of memory,” he said. “Your memories of major events are characterized not by accuracy, but by confidence. And confidence is a very poor measure of accuracy.” Weaver, a researcher of memory and cognition, has published studies on flashbulb memory and eyewitness memory. He also has served
as a forensic expert on eyewitness identification in civil and criminal cases in more than 15 states. After a significant event, Weaver says, our minds consolidate and compress our experiences, facts and emotions into a coherent but not necessarily precise memory. Viewing or listening to media accounts sometimes produces memories of things that didn’t actually occur. Talking with friends and loved ones can muddy the water further, he said — just as it can with more mundane happenings. “It’s like you’re sitting around with friends and saying, ‘Remember the time we did that?’ And someone else says, ‘No, it was at breakfast, not lunch.’ “Your memories converge — at the expense of the accuracy of both memories. That’s why police separate eyewitnesses as soon as possible after the event,” Weaver said.
While recollections of major events are generally reliable, “they’re no different than other memories when it comes to details being shaped and lost,” he said. “Your memory isn’t any more reliable than usual; you can’t trust it as infallible.” To retain one’s personal memories of significant events, the best approach is to write them down, he said. “That’s what I recommend when we take students abroad,” Weaver said. “Details that seem like you’ll never forget, you’ll forget in a hurry.” H
on u there did o y e r e W h? Or ber 11t Septem watch, you n? elevisio t n o , d horrifie sure about Are you at wh ? you saw
Photo of Twin Tower Buildings: Unattributed photographer, courtesy of the Library of Congress
Art sChoice The American
By Michael Burland
Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan
Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN November 9 to February 5, 2012
© Czartoryski Foundation
Leonardo da Vinci, Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (‘The Lady with an Ermine’), about 1489–90
A must see! This landmark exhibition specifically looks at Leonardo’s observation, imagination and technique. It concentrates on his career as a court painter in Milan, working for the city’s ruler Ludovico Maria Sforza, il Moro (‘the Moor’) in the 1480s and 1490s. It brings together the largest ever number of Leonardo’s rare surviving paintings, including international loans never before seen in the UK, totalling more than 60 of his paintings and drawings. These include the Portrait of a Musician (from the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan), the Saint Jerome (Vatican, Rome), The Lady with an Ermine (Czartoryski Foundation, Cracow), the Belle Ferronnière (Musée du Louvre, Paris). There are also pictures by some of his closest collaborators. Because Leonardo was employed
by Sforza he had the time and freedom to find new ways of perceiving and recording the natural world through art, focusing on the human anatomy, soul and emotions. It was in Milan that he rose to public notice, both as an artist and for his other accomplishments. It was also there that he painted The Last Supper and his two versions of the Virgin of the Rocks, one (recently restored) held by the National Gallery, the other by the Louvre, both of which are in this show. Many exhibitions have looked at Leonardo da Vinci as an inventor, scientist or draughtsman, but amazingly this is the first serious show dedicated to him as a painter.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2011: In the presence
The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH November 23 to January 15, 2012
New Contemporaries is an annual show of some of the best and most interesting artists emerging from UK art schools. Previous exhibitors have included instantly recognisable names like Jake & Dinos Chapman, Anthony Gormley, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor and Grayson Perry and four Turner Prize nominees or winners. This year, 40 recent graduates are showing work that involves a huge range of materials and processes – appropriation, traditional studio practice, spatial interventions, digital production, collaboration and the use of chance and found objects. Pictured is Ute Klein’s
Courtesy of Ute Klein and Bloomberg New Contemporaries
Bloomberg New Contemporaries features Ute Klein’s Resonanzgeflechte – leibhafter Raum (Resonant Entanglements – Bodily Space), lightjet C-type print on dibond, 35 x 36 cm
Resonanzgeflechte – leibhafter Raum (Resonant Entanglements – Bodily Space), part of a series of dissonant, slightly unsettling (look at the angles of the couple’s limbs) photographic prints. Complementing the exhibition are talks and weekly artists’ salons (www.ica.org. ukwww.ica.org.ukwww.ica.org.uk for details).
AVA (All Visual Arts), 2 Omega Place, Kings Cross, London N1 9DR November 18 to December 16
Copse is Alastair Mackie’s newest and largest installation to date. Created specifically in response to the AVA’s converted gallery space, twenty seven pine trees stand incongruously in mid-transformation creating a pseudoforest within the stark white space of the gallery. Each tree is caught in a state
The American This page, Clockwise from top: Mackie, Copse, installation; Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), The Lacemaker (c.1669-70), Oil on canvas, 24 x 21 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris;
Tom Hunter’s depiction of Shakespeare: “O, how ripe in show Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow”, © Tom Hunter, Courtesy of Royal Shakespeare Company
of metamorphosis, halfway between what it was and what it will become, the cropped tree tops balancing upon identikit table legs. The juxtaposition demonstrates Mackie’s interest in the interconnectivity of the opposing ideas of ‘wild’ and ‘civilised.’ Past works such as Untitled (+/-) displays a wooden loom and a pile of mouse skeletons recovered from regurgitated owl pellets from which Mackie removed the undigested mouse hair and used it to weave a three by one meter section of cloth. [Check the blankets carefully if you’re staying over at Alastair’s place. - ed] And Shapeshifter sees the artist reconstituting 120,000 matchsticks back into a branch of a tree.
Vermeer’s Women: Secrets and Silence
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB Until January 15, 2012
Guest curated by Dr Marjorie E. Wieseman, an American who is Curator of Dutch Paintings at the National Gallery, this glorious new exhibition will explore the mysterious appeal of the women in Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. It features 28 works by master painters of the Dutch Golden Age, with four iconic works by Vermeer. Women are key in Vermeer’s works, and the household interiors they inhabit tell us much about the private world of women in the 17th-century Dutch
Republic, from playing music or to such day to day activities like cooking, shopping, washing and dressing, minding children, gossiping and eavesdropping. The Lacemaker, one of the Louvre’s most treasured works, is rarely seen outside Paris but is shown in the UK for the first time at this exhibition. It’s here along with three other Vermeers: The Music Lesson ’and two portraits of ‘Young Women Seated at a Virginal’.
Tom Hunter: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6BB November 4 to April 1, 2012
Tom Hunter is known for his photographic reworkings of old-master paintings, and he’s also the only artist
to have had a photography show at the National Gallery. Now, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, he has created a series of photographs inspired jointly by Shakespeare’s ‘Dream’ and the paintings of the Romantic artist Henry Fuseli. Hunter reworks the ideas of the play, seeing it through the lens of the real-life community in Hackney, East London, where he lives and works. Shakespeare’s fairies, spirits and mortals are represented by different groups in his neighbourhood including samba dancers, pearly kings and queens, a thrash metal band and a pole dancer, encouraging the viewer to think of the ordinary as extraordinary. Hunter: ‘I’ve imagined that explosive mix of real people, cultures and ages in a real life location and put them all together to create a world full of unbelievable reality. I hope to take Shakespeare out
of the theatre and into the lives of the people around us.’ In the photo shown, Shakespeare’s Helena, one of the four young lovers in the Dream, becomes a pole dancer in a strip club (‘O, how ripe in show Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!’)
Picturing History: A Portrait Set of Early Kings and Queens
National Portrait Gallery St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE Until December 4
The American Left: Anne Boleyn, Second Queen of Henry VIII, part of ‘Picturing History’, © National Portrait Gallery, London
Right: George Condo, Dreams and Nightmares of the Queen, 2006
History buffs should make a bee line to see this collection, one of the largest and most important sets of portraits of early English kings and queens. It is on show at the National Portrait Gallery for the first time in 36 years, as they are usually on loan to Montacute House, Somerset. They’re back in London as part of the Making Art in Tudor Britain project. Recent analysis including dendrochronology (tree-ring dating), infra-red, x-radiography, paint sampling and microscopy suggest that all the portraits were produced around the same time, possibly in the 1590s. Not all were painted by the same artist, there are distinctive groups produced by the same hand - Henry I, Stephen, Edward II and John (three of which have distinctive crooked eyes) are almost certainly painted by the same artist. The monarchs include William I, Henry I, Stephen, Henry II, John, Edwards II, III, IV, V, Richard II, Henrys IV, VII and VIII, Anne Boleyn, and Mary I.
Sylvia Plath and Dadamaino
The Mayor Gallery, 22A Cork Street, London W1S 3NA November 1 to December 17 2011
An exhibition of works from 1955-
1962 by two prominent women artists of the 20th Century. Sylvia Plath and Dadamaino work during the same time frame but expressed themselves in different ways. Included are 44 drawings by Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), which were bequeathed to Plath’s daughter, the artist Frieda Hughes, by her father, poet Ted Hughes. The pen and ink drawings (never previously shown before as a group in the UK) date from 1955, a pivotal period for Plath as she graduated from Smiths College, Massachusetts and won a Fulbright scholarship to Newham College, Cambridge, where she met and married Hughes. Dadamaino (1935-2004), an Italian minimalist who shortened her name from Eduarda Maino, was one of the key artists of the Zero Group, along with Piero Manzoni. The 18 works shown here feature her trademark round, soft, feminine shapes, cut through monochrome canvases, and stretched plastic pieces perforated with holes.
GEORGE CONDO: MENTAL STATES
Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Until January 8
The first major UK retrospective of the American artist shows exactly why people love, hate or are offended by George Condo. Since he came to prominence in New York’s East Village in the early 1980s, Condo’s work can be outrageous or comic – often both at the same time – but is grounded in both European and American traditions of painting. This exhibition focuses on his ‘imaginary portraits’, which are designed to conjure up varied mental states with a mixture of absurdity and pathos. The show opened at the New Museum, New York in January 2011, went to Rotterdam (and after London’s Hayward Gallery it will move to the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.
The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons
Wolfson Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, London Until 8 January 2012
A bit of fun and historical glamour, but also an interesting look at the social scene and the position of women three centuries ago. This exhibition boasts 53 portraits of the great actresses of the day including Charles II’s mistress Nell Gwyn, Lavinia Fenton, Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson and Dorothy Jordan, by Plath, Male Portrait © Hughes
The American Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse by the Studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1784 © Cobbe Collection, Hatchlands Park
such artists as Reynolds, Gainsborough, Hogarth and Gillray. The large scale paintings show the actresses in their celebrated stage roles and there are also intimate and sensual off-stage portraits and mass-produced caricatures and prints. Highlights include a little known version of Reynolds’s famous portrait of Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse and Hogarth’s The Beggar’s Opera.
Robert Motherwell: Works on Paper
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 6 Cork Street, London W1S 3NX Until November 26
The first ever exhibition dedicated to drawings and paintings on paper by Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) to
Art s News
be held in Britain is on at the Bernard Jacobson Gallery (which also has a presence on East 71st Street, NYC). Some twenty years after Motherwell’s death, it will comprise some ninety works spanning most of his career. The artworks are for sale, prices ranging from $10,000 to $300,000. Motherwell was a major figure in the birth and development of Abstract Expressionism and the youngest member of the ‘New York School’ - a term which he coined, incidentally. He believed that ideas and emotions were best communicated through the bold forms and gestural lines of abstract art.
Reviewed by Estelle Lovatt & Michael Burland
French Museum Appeal For American Artwork A French museum has launched a public appeal for funds to enable it to buy a glass sculpture by the American artist Karen LaMonte. The regional museum, dedicated to glass at Sars Poteries, close to the Belgian border in northern France, is asking the public and businesses to donate €115,000 (US$158,000, or £100k) towards the purchase in exchange for tax benefits. The public appeal starts on November 3 and ends on December 31. Seated Dress Impression with Drapery (pictured) was one of the works in a show by New Yorker Karen LaMonte, Réflexions féminines, at the museum, which ran for four months until March of this year. The show, her first in France, was such a success that the museum’s directors decided to try to buy one of the works by launching a public appeal. If they can raise sufficient funds the work will be one of the star exhibits when the museum undergoes significant expansion in 2014. LaMonte uses the dress as a metaphor for the body, the use of drapery handed down from artworks over the centuries. The transparent sculpture mysteriously suggests a woman’s body despite its absence. LaMonte is now based in the Czech Republic after going there on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1999. Her cast glass dresses are in many public museum collections in North America, including the Smithsonian, Washington DC, and the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia. Her dress in the Sars Poteries museum will be the first in a permanent collection in Europe. If you would like to contribute, contact Hélène Davain at email@example.com, telephone +33 (0)327616144
Karen LaMonte, Seated Dress Impression with Drapery, 2007 Photo: Martin Polak
B y r o n
Reviewed by Virginia E Schultz
he humble hamburger has a terrible reputation. It’s been blamed for everything from present day’s obesity problems to the decay of modern day eating. For me, however, pure heaven is a hamburger made from delicious beef such as Aberdeen Angus cooked over a grill to medium rare, topped with a piece of cheese and grilled onions, put between a warmed bun, with a touch of ketchup and mustard. London has steakhouses that offer steaks as good as you can get in the States, but the only time I have my hamburger fix is when I make it myself ,which for
one person is too much work. For weeks Jennifer Atterbury has been telling me about the best hamburger she’s had in London, but it was only after viewing the magnificent antiques I couldn’t afford at the annual Lapada Art and Antique Fair, that she persuaded me to try Byron. There are a number of Byron restaurants scattered around London, but Jennifer and I went to the one in my old neighbourhood at the corner of King’s Road and Old Church Street. The inside has that kind of shabby chic supposedly similar to hamburger “joints” in New York. Why
this design is so often chosen is beyond me, but then the best hamburger I’ve had outside my own home was in a restaurant in Houston, Texas with flowered wall paper and folding chairs. I’m not comparing Byron with that restaurant. Byron is a growing chain owned by the same people who own Pizza Express, and you’re not served by a bearded man with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. The waiters and waitresses are young, attractive and helpful. Nor do they offer one type of topping for your hamburger, but all kinds from bacon, jalapeno, Monterey Jack or a vegetarian version with portobello mushrooms and roast red peppers. Jennifer had the Byron with dry cured bacon, mature cheddar and what is called Byron sauce, while I decided on the old fashion kind with American cheese, grilled onions, lettuce and topped with catsup and mustard, which was on special that month. Jennifer went all out and ordered French Fries, courgette fries, and an American style coleslaw while I settled on onion rings. To drink she had wine, but I saw A&W root beer on the menu and, naturally, I had that. Root beer is an original American soda that goes back to possibly Colonial days, although Hires gets the credit for inventing it. Unfortunately, they had run out of root beer and I had to settle for cream soda, which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone except those who grew up drinking it. What can I say? I cannot vouch for the other Byron’s around London, but at the one on the King’s Road I ate the best hamburger since Bob Payton personally made me one at his restaurant in the 1980’s. Oh, a warning! If you add all the extras as Jennifer and I did, it ain’t cheap. Next time, I’ll stick to the hamburger and onion rings and, just maybe, the coleslaw. Of course, the macaroni cheese did look tempting...
BOOK REVIEW & RECIPE
Kosher Modern By Geila Hocherman & Arthur Boehm, photography by Antonis Achilleos, published by Kyle Books, £19.99
n the past, cooking many of the dishes given in Kosher Modern (pictured below) would have been difficult, but today with kosher-certified ingredients and kosher slaughtered meat available in supermarkets, it’s become easier to follow kosher dietary rules. There are explanations on how to substitute shellfish with a firm fleshed oily fish or to think mushrooms and cheese instead of meat and cheese. For someone like myself, allergic to cow’s milk, Geila’s use of coconut, almond and hazel milk instead of dairy made me wonder why I didn’t think of that before. Kosher, as she points out, is a set of rules, not a cuisine. Jews have been adapting to the culture where they live for generations and the diverse recipes in Kosher Modern can be enjoyed by anyone no matter their religion or background. I’m not Jewish, but for personal reasons - I had a pig as a pet – Geila’s Duck version is the answer when I want to serve prosciutto as a first course! The following recipes are from Kosher Modern Duck Prosciutto
eila Hocherman says: When people challenge me to ‘make trafe safe’, they usually mention ham. This breakthrough recipe began with that dare – and my realisation that what makes ham taste like itself has less to do with the meat than its cure. My quest for kosher prosciutto – nothing less! – led me first to smoked turkey leg, which is hammy all right, but hardly like the Italian specialty. I went to work, and, happily, scored a triple bull’s-eye by giving duck breast a really easy salt cure – just 15 minutes of prep followed by ‘set it and forget it’ time in the fridge. The resulting ‘prosciutto’ is so much like the real thing, but with a special character all its own, you’ll be amazed. I pair this with grilled figs, a traditional prosciutto accompaniment, but that’s just the beginning. Try it wrapped around asparagus spears or, diced and sautéed, as a salad garnish. Serves 4 2 large Barbary duck breasts (about 300g)
510–580g kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 240ml white wine vinegar
freely around the meat and the temperature of the fridge does not exceed 4ºC/40ºF. Leave for about 2 weeks, until the breasts feel firm but not dry. Start checking after a week. Thinner or smaller breasts will take less time.
. Over an open flame, singe off any remaining pin feathers from the breasts. Rinse the breasts and dry with kitchen paper.
. In a deep-sided dish just large enough to hold the breasts, make a 2.5cm bed of the salt. Place the breasts on the salt and cover them with another 2.5cm of salt. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 24–48 hours.
. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, fennel and pepper. Holding the breasts over the sink, rinse them with the vinegar (to remove the salt) and then under cold running water. Dry the breasts and rub them all over with the spice mixture. Wrap the breasts, meat sides together, in two layers of clean muslin. Tie securely with string, making a loop as you do so, and hang the breasts in the fridge. It’s important that the air can circulate
. Using an electric slicer or a sharp carving knife, slice the breasts paper-thin or as thinly as possible. Geila’s Tips
sour sauce. Serves 4 Balsamic Gastrique (makes 120ml) 100g sugar 80ml balsamic vinegar 4 tablespoons balsamic gastrique, made with light brown soft sugar 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper 6 large ripe figs, halved lengthways 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
To achieve paper-thin slices, I use an inexpensive electric slicer, a great kitchen investment. The very ends of the cured breast become over-dried. Save them to put in soup. If you can’t find Barbary breasts, place the meat sides of two regular duck breasts together. Moulard Duck Breast. Moulard or Barbary ducks are large animals with ample, deeply flavourful breasts. By ‘breast’ I refer to a magret, or halfbreast. As always, try to find the best ingredients from good suppliers.
Grilled Figs with Balsamic Gastrique
here’s nothing as delicious as fresh figs, unless it’s grilled figs drizzled with sweet-sour balsamic gastrique. Quickly made yet impressive, these are perfect served with duck prosciutto, over greens dressed with a light vinaigrette, or with goat’s cheese. Use the balsamic gastrique as you would fine old balsamic vinegar, drizzled sparingly over savoury dishes. You can also use it as the basis of a sweet and
. First make the balsamic gastrique. In a small glass bowl, combine the sugar and vinegar. Microwave at full power for 30 seconds, or until the liquid has boiled and becomes syrupy. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Leave to cool.
. Meanwhile, preheat a barbecue or the grill, or use a griddle pan. If grilling, cover a baking tray with foil.
. Brush the barbecue rack, griddle pan or the baking tray with the oil. If using a barbecue or griddle pan, grill the figs skin side up over a mediumhigh heat until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. Turn the figs and grill until just beginning to soften, about 1 minute more. If using the grill, grill the figs skin side up until lightly browned, about 1 minute, turn, and cook for 2 minutes. Divide among plates, drizzle with the balsamic gastrique and serve. Geila’s Tip Depending on the degree of ripeness, the figs may need to be cooked a minute more or less than indicated.
. Transfer the balsamic gastrique to a medium bowl. Add the pepper and figs, and toss to coat. Marinate for 20 minutes.
Alkham Valley Road, Alkham, Kent CT15 7DF - 0871 962 5169
lkham is not that far from Dover and before I made my way to The Marquis at Alkham I thought I’d visit Dover’s magnificent castle. Situated above the White Cliffs it has guarded the shores of England for centuries. I then reset my sat nav and headed for the small village of Alkham where I was staying the night. This part of Kent is James Bond country. Ian Fleming bought his house at St. Margaret’s Bay from Noel Coward and he got his inspiration for 007 from the number of the Dover to London bus service. Fleming died on the golf course in nearby Sandwich. This south eastern edge of England is close to where Caesar landed in 55 BC and Alkham boasts a lovely old church with a wildlife site and paths to stroll, or bring your fishing pole or golf clubs. The 200 year old Marquis at Alkham, (the Marquis of Granby as it was then known), was a run down pub which few of the many prosperous commuters, living in their ancient stone cottages in the area, bothered to visit. But a little over two years ago it underwent a £1.5 million renovation.
Gone was the dreary interior, replaced by polished oak floors, exposed beams and original brickwork. There are five en-suite bedrooms, a 60 cover restaurant and a private dining room for twenty. An extension is also planned for the future. As my daughter’s Westie was going with me, I stayed in one of the inn’s two cottages down a narrow country lane lined with picturesque homes, next door to a winery, about five miles from The Marquis. The Marquis is owned by Tony and Lillian Marsden and managed by brother and sister, Ben and Hannah Walton. The five bedrooms at the Inn are contemporary in feeling, also with exposed brickwork and polished wooden floors. My cottage had an open plan ground floor with a modern furnished kitchen, table and a comfortable sofa. On the second floor were two beautifully furnished bedrooms, each with a small bathroom. As at the Inn, both bedrooms were individually designed and furnished. Since its reopening two years ago, the restaurant has gained quite a reputation, thanks to Chef Charlie Lakin, a Yorkshireman, who has been in charge of the kitchen from the
beginning. Most of the food is locally sourced and there is a Harvest and Foraged vegetarian menu, as well as the Farmed and Fished menu. One of the locals enjoying a beer while I had tea told me the slow roast Dexter Flank of beef is the best roast beef he had anywhere in the UK. At dinner I could see why. It was perfect from start to finish and I can understand why Lakin was tipped as a ‘rising star’ by the Michelin Guide. The fish we had was delicious, but it was the Marsh Lamb I’d return for. And don’t skip the desserts, no matter how much you may have eaten. Alkham, only a short distance from the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Dover, is the perfect place to stop on the way to France, or on your return. Better yet, visit Dover Castle with its fascinating history. There are World War II tunnels, complete with the dramatic story of the evacuation of Dunkirk and projections of swooping Spitfires. And do take the fun and slightly scary ghost tour held in the evening, especially if you have teenagers. www.themarquisatalkham.co.uk
One of The Marquis’ individually designed bedrooms
Chef Charlie Lakin looking (in The Marquis' words, not ours) “a bit mad”
By Virginia E. Schultz
The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, painted by Jennie A. Brownscombe in 1914- no turkey, no wine, no beer!
Drinks For Thanksgiving
Keep it cheap, and yourself cheerful
here is little evidence that the history of Thanksgiving started with the harvest celebration between the Pilgrims and Native Americans in the autumn of 1621. Nor did they serve turkey, although venison was offered. Turkey was a term used by the Pilgrims to describe any wild fowl and if there was a bird on the table it was probably wild duck. The myth that the Pilgrims dropped anchor at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer is another falsehood. Nor was beer served at that first celebration because by that time they had long since run out and there was no brewery or the ingredients needed to make a new batch. There are, however, early historical documents in which mention Shakespeare drinking “small beers” made from herbs, berries and bark and possibly the Pilgrims were familiar with similar recipes and that may have been served. Thanksgiving can be traced to 1863 when President Lincoln became the first president to proclaim Thanksgiving Day. Wine was available at the time, although the ordinary person would have offered cider which was far cheaper and could be purchased locally. It wasn’t until the nineteen sixties and seventies before food and wine became important among middle class Americans and the form of dining as a social grace was taken seriously. Mastering the Art of French Cooking first printed in 1961 became
even more popular when one of the authors, Julie Child, as “The French Chef”, appeared on television. Audiences doubled after she dropped a chicken while the cameras were rolling and she blithely observed that such things did happen. The problem with serving wine at Thanksgiving is the mixture of flavours from sweet to sour to salty, and then throw in the stuffings which could include sage or oysters to name two ingredients in the various fillings I’ve eaten. Put truffles in the gravy as my friend does and offer marshmallow topped sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce and it becomes impossible to decide what wine if any should be served. My best advice is to serve young, uncomplicated wines that won’t lose their charms to the riot of flavours in the average Thanksgiving meal. Beaujolais Nouveau or its New World equivalent is one answer. And take my word, Pinot Gris or Viognier handle yams far better than any Chardonnay, no matter its nationality. Seek fruit character in the wine and keep that expensive wine tucked away for another time and dinner. I usually place several bottles of wine on the table, including a Zinfandel and Riesling. The more affordable ones, I might add, not the expensive ones that grace the shelves of wine stores nowadays. Thanksgiving is not the time to show off your best wines. Keep it cheap, and
DRINK OF THE MONTH AMARO For many Italians, the only way to finish dinner is with a tiny glass of bitter amaro. It is a tradition going back to mediaeval monks who would infuse alcohol with herbs, roots, bark and peel to make their medicines. Whether it’s Campari (£18.95) or one of my favourites, Amaro Averna (£25.95, pictured), made in Sicily by the Averna family since 1868, secrecy on how it’s made is the main component. Campari supposedly has 60 ingredients known by only one person at a time. According to an Italian friend, Amaro (translated as sour or bitter) not only helps digestion but prevents getting a hangover. That’s his words, not mine. After overindulging, he recommends Fernet Branca (£29.95) which supposedly includes rhubarb, mushrooms and myrrh and tastes more like medicine than the others. H
Coffee Break Coffee Break Quiz
9 W hat is the average amount of calories consumed by Americans on Thanksgiving Day? a) 1500, b) 2500, c) 3500, d) 4500 10 W hat is the most popular way to serve leftover turkey in the U.S.A.? a) salad, b) sandwich , c) stew, d) soup
1 W hich U.S. president issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation? 2 U nder which president did the last Thursday in November become a regular National Day of Thanksgiving? 3 W ho suggested the turkey as the official United States bird, in a letter to his daughter? 4 D id the heaviest turkey ever recorded weigh? a) 56 pounds, b) 66 pounds, c) 76 pounds, d) 86 pounds 5 H ow fast can a wild turkey fly over short distances? Up to a) 35 mph, b) 45mph, c) 55mph, d) 65mph 6 A nd how fast can wild turkeys run on level ground? Up to a) 18mph, b) 25mph, c) 28mph, d) 30mph 7 H ow many days does it take a domesticated turkey egg to hatch? a) 28, b) 38, c) 48, d) 58 8 I n 2000, how much turkey did the average American eat? a) 17.75 pounds, b) 18.75 pounds, c) 19.75 pounds, d) 20.75 pounds
11 A baby turkey is called a) wattle, b) snood, c) caruncle, d) poult 12 T he flap of skin under the turkey’s chin is called a) wattle, b) snood, c) caruncle, d) poult 13 N ational Turkey Lover’s Month is: a) June, b) April, c) November, d) December 14 T he male turkey is called: a) rooster, b) fowl, c) peacock, d) tom 15 N ow some True or False questions: Starting 1947, the National Turkey Federation presents each year two dressed turkeys and a live turkey to the
U.S. President. The President ‘pardons’ the live turkey, which then lives out its days on a historical farm. 16 C artoon character Foghorn Leghorn is a domesticated turkey 17 A ccording to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one-sixth of all turkeys sold in the U.S. each year are cooked and eaten at Thanksgiving, more than 45 million turkeys. 18 I n the early 1930s the wild turkey was on the verge of extinction.
Answers to Coffee Break Quiz & Sudoku on page 58
Mötley Crüe - resting between bouts of de-virginizing?
Dweezil plays Frank – Zappa, that is © Björn Söderqvist
Zappa Plays Zappa It’s a family affair! Like Seun Kuti, Dweezil Zappa has found a new creative outlet playing his Pappy’s music. Following last year’s successful 70th birthday celebrations for Frank at London’s Roundhouse, Dweezil and The Zappa Family Trust are bringing the show to a hall near you. Dweezil will be performing Frank’s classic 1974 album Apostrophe in its entirety, as well as a host of other Zappa favourites. In a final twist, the performance will also feature a section - from grave to stage - in which Frank himself will perform with the band via synchronized audio/video technology using unreleased video footage. The great man would have approved – serious technical ability utilized for maximum fun. Dweezil says, “My very first experience playing to a large audience took place in the UK. I played at the Hammersmith Odeon with my dad when I was 12 years old. All these years later I still feel a connection to the UK because it’s part of a touchstone type of memory for me.” November 17th York Barbican; 18th Gateshead, The Sage; 19th Edinburgh Picturehouse; 21st Liverpool Philharmonic Hall; 22nd Manchester Bridgewater Hall; 23rd Cambridge Corn Exchange; 24th Basingstoke Anvil; 26th Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre; 27th Leicester De Montfort Hall; 28th Oxford New Theatre; 29th London Barbican; 30th Bristol Colston Hall; December 1st Brighton Dome.
LIVE AND KICKING Steve Earle & The Dukes (& The Duchesses) Featuring Allison Moorer October 24th Cardiff, St Davids Hall; 25th London, Royal Festival Hall; 26th Gateshead, The Sage; 27th Glasgow Academy; 29th York, Barbican Or Opera House; 30th Brighton, The Dome; 31st Birmingham Symphony Hall; November 2nd Derby, Assembly Rooms ; 5th Belfast, Mandela Hall.
Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard Lock up your daughters, your sisters, your mothers... For their first UK shows since the Carnival Of Sins tour in June 2005 (apart from the odd festival appearance) the Crüe are joined by Sheffield, UK, rockers Def Leppard in their first co-headlining tour. Never knowingly understated, Nikki Sixx says “Mötley Crüe is excited to do some destruction with long time peers Def Leppard on tour this holiday season. We have never toured together so
hopefully there will be some de-virginizing of each-others fans and in the end one f***ing wild party together.” Special guests on all dates will be Steel Panther. Catch them all on December 6th Birmingham LG Arena; 8th Nottingham Arena; 9th Glasgow SECC; 11th Manchester Arena; 13th Sheffield Arena, 14th Wembley Arena.
Bush If ever there were prophets who were not recognised in their own land... Bush are the British band with the most success Stateside but the lowest profile at home! The multiplatinum selling band return to the UK for their first London-based shows in years, in support of their new album The Sea of Memories. It’s the first Bush Bush – huge in the US
album to be released via the band’s own imprint, Zuma Rock Records, through an exclusive partnership with eOne Music.
The American Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
When the Deep Purple falls...
The dates kick off with a show at Bush Hall (see what they did there?) on November 20th followed by the 100 Club on the 21st Cargo on the 22nd, all in London. They’re all small ‘intimate’ venues, so if you’re used to Bush playing arenas back home here’s the chance to see them close-up.
Deep Purple - The Songs That Built Rock Tour Deep Purple are hitting the road again this November, and they’re not alone. In fact they’re bring quite a few friends along for the ride. The band who conceived the Concerto for Group and Orchestra back in 1969 are going one better and playing four arena dates with, for the first time, a full symphony orchestra. Long term band members Steve Morse (guitar) and Don Airey (keyboards) will be performing with even longer term Purplers Ian Gillan (lead vocals), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums, percussion). Dates: November 26th Glasgow SECC; 27th Birmingham LG Arena; 29th Manchester MEN Arena; 30th London 02 Arena.
Gillian Welch and David Rawlings Considering how popular she has become in the UK – to a large degree thanks to the Bob Harris Country show on BBC Radio 2 - these are Gillian Welch’s first UK dates since 2004. She’ll be performing with long-time collaborator David Rawlings and playing
Lindsey Buckingham songs from her beautiful new album The Harrow & The Harvest which was recorded at her own Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee and produced by David Rawlings. November 12th Brighton Dome; 13th Warwick Arts Centre; 15th Bristol Hippodrome; 18th Belfast Waterfront Auditorium; 20th Glasgow Clyde Auditorium; 21st Manchester O2 Apollo; 23rd London Hammersmith Apollo.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Kenny Wayne Shepherd He’s not a kid any more, having hit 34 this year, but Grammy-nominated, Shepherd, is still the epitome of the hotshot young guitarist to his many fans. He’s set for a one-off show in London, to promote his new critically acclaimed album, How I Go. Shepherd has been championed by another Radio 2 specialist show, Paul Jones’ Blues program on Monday nights. If you haven’t seen him, there’s a great performance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show recently which you can check out at www.roadrunnerrecords.
Photo: Matt Becker, firstname.lastname@example.org
co.uk/page/News?news_id=112590. The Louisiana-born bluesman is at London’s Koko on November 7th.
An Evening With Lindsey Buckingham Producer, songwriter, singer.. but you know him as the guitarist from Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey Buckingham is heading this way for a seven date UK tour this December. He’ll be playing tunes from his sixth solo studio album Seeds We Sow, his first for three years. There’s also a new live concert DVD & Blu-ray featuring tracks from the new album plus classic solo and Fleetwood Mac tracks. Appropriate to the ‘ Lindsey Buckingham’ format, the venues on the short tour are in smaller halls where you can get the feeling of meeting the great man – it just wouldn’t be the same in a barn-like arena! December 8th Birmingham Symphony Hall; 9th Salford Lowry; 11th Leeds Academy; 12th Edinburgh Usher Hall; 13th Gateshead Sage; 18th Southampton Guildhall; 19th London Palladium. VIP Meet and Greet and Sound Check packages are available online at www. livenation.co.uk or at 020 7009 3484.
LMFAO West-side LA-based Grammy-nominated hip-hop duo LMFAO (pictured above), are in the UK for 4 dates. They like it here: the #1 single ‘Party Rock’ sold over 870,000 copies, becoming
The American LMFAO at the Sunset Strip Music Festival 2009 Photo Noah Diamond
the UK’s third biggest selling single of 2011 and their new album Sorry For Party Rocking entered the UK Top 10, while ‘I’m In Miami Bitch’ has been used on ‘reality’ slapper show The Only Way Is Essex. LMFAO are Redfoo and SkyBlu, uniquely an uncle/nephew duo, and they’re son and grandson of legendary Motown boss Berry Gordy. November 2nd Birmingham O2 Academy 2; 3rd Manchester Academy 3; 4th Glasgow O2 ABC 2; 9th London O2 Islington Academy 1.
Keb’ Mo and Aaron Neville. Neville, the owner of an angelic voice and toughguy looks, was a founder member of the Neville Brothers and the singer of the hits ‘Tell It Like It Is’ and ‘Hercules’. LA-born and now Nashville-based Keb’ Mo draws on the legacy of the great Robert Johnson as well as soul, folk and gospel – he’ll be playing songs from his superb, uncategorisable new album The Reflection. Treat your ears and your soul: November 7th London Barbican Hall. Keb' Mo, playing a double header with Aaron Neville
7th. The Queen of Rockabilly recently recorded an album, The Party Ain’t Over with none other than super-hip musician and producer Jack White of the White Stripes. As a teenager in the mid-50s, the diminutive Wanda shook things up when she was the first woman to perform unadulterated rock and roll. The Oklahoman was the real thing, both gritty and glamorous.
Seun Kuti Photo: Tabercil
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 Another one-off gig in London by an interesting act this month! At Koko, London, on November 4th you can see Seun Kuti, son of Fela, performing with his daddy’s legendary Afrobeat group, Egypt 80. The youngest son of the legendary Nigerian afro-beat musician and political activist brings to life the true spirit of Afro beat
Aaron Neville and Keb’ Mo Band A very special double-bill of southern-influenced soul and blues from
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
The Secret Sisters Lauded in these pages before, the delightful, retro-country stylings of the Secret Sisters can be heard on November 10th at Belfast Spring & Airbrake; 14th London Union Chapel; 15th Glasgow Fruit Market and 16th Manchester Ruby Lounge.
Pavement honcho Malkmus’ new band The Jicks tour the UK in November: 9th Dublin Button Factory; 10th Manchester Ritz; 11th Glasgow The Arches; 12th Leeds Constellations Festival; 14th London Koko (soon to be renamed ‘Home of the Cult Americans’ if this month;s anything to go by!). No doubt old songs will pepper a set bedrocked in numbers from the band’s new album Mirror Traffic, produced by Beck.
Wanda Jackson Recent inductee into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Wanda Jackson, is performing a one-off, very special show at London’s Scala this November The Secret Sisters: perhaps not quite as sweet and innocent as they look?
THEATRE PREVIEWS Driving Miss Daisy
Wyndham’s Theatre, London Until December 17th
Fascinating Aïda Charing Cross Theatre, London December 5th to January 7th, 2012
Comedy cabaret trio Fascinating Aïda are to play their first West End season since 2003 when their ‘Cheap Flights’ show lands at Charing Cross Theatre for a five-week season. Captain Dillie Keane, navigator Adele Anderson and new flight attendant Sarah-Louise Young look forward to a long haul in the West End following their sold-out success at the Edinburgh Fringe and a 50-date sold out K tour. If you haven’t been Fascinated yet, check them out online – after being fixtures on the UK cabaret scene for 28 years, the ladies have recently become a global internet sensation with more than seven million YouTube hits for their anthem to budget travel, ‘Cheap Flights’. Clever, funny, and very rude. If you’re not offended (and don’t be, it’s all done very tongue in cheek – even ‘The Dogging Song’!) get along to the shows to find out why they are multiple nominees of the Olivier, Perrier and New York Drama Desk persuasions.
James Earl Jones as Hoke Coleburn, Vanessa Redgrave as Daisy Werthan and Boyd Gaines as Boolie Werthan star in the critically acclaimed stage production of Driving Miss Daisy. That’s seven previous Tony Awards and an Oscar on the Wyndham’s boards. The play, written by Alfred Uhry and directed by David Esbjornson, (it came before the Morgan Freeman-Jessica Tandy movie) enjoyed a record breaking sell-out run on Broadway until April 9th. When Daisy Werthan, a widowed, 72 year-old Jewish woman living in mid-century Atlanta, is deemed too old to drive, her son Boolie hires Hoke Coleburn, an African American man, to serve as her chauffeur. What begins as a troubled and hostile pairing soon blossoms into a profound, life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries placed between them.
Backbeat Duke of York’s Theatre, London Until March 24th, 2012
Iain Softley’s production for the Glasgow Citizens Theatre has transferred to the West End. Co-written by Softley and Stephen Jeffreys, it’s based on the 1994 film by Iain Softley and tells the story of how The Beatles ‘became’ The Beatles after John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George
Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe embarked on their journey from the seedy seaport of Liverpool to search for success in the seedier but more exciting red light district of Hamburg, Germany.
Crazy For You
Novello Theatre, London Until July 28th 2012
“Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s production of Crazy For You is simply glorious and I’m so delighted it’s transferring to the West End, where even more people will have the opportunity to enjoy it as thoroughly as I did,” says Dame Judi Dench. Now, she might be biased, being as she’s a Board Member of said Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, but the word is that it is a wonderful production that you can now enjoy without the need for raincoat, umbrella and flask of soup. The show reunites director Timothy Sheader and choreographer Stephen Mear, who were responsible for the multi-award winning production of Hello, Dolly!. Crazy For You has a Gershwin score containing some of George and Ira’s brothers’ most beautiful and memorable songs, including ‘I Got Rhythm’, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, ‘Embraceable You’, ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’, ‘Shall We Dance’, ‘But Not For Me’, and ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’. The entire company of the Regent’s Park production comes across to the West End run.
The Playboy of the Western World By J M Synge Old Vic Theatre, London Reviewed by Jarlath O'Connell
his classic of Irish drama from 1907 is rarely staged in the UK, so it is great that the Old Vic has re-introduced us to it in a spirited and vibrant revival, which downplays the dark symbolism, which often mars productions of it and instead opts to draw out its great energy and wit. Central to its success is the casting of young star of TVâ€™s Misfits Robert Sheehan as Christy Mahon. It's an assured stage debut. At first his youthful wiry frame and scrawny demeanour seems miscast but itâ€™s the nerd-like quality which nails the part and reminds us that Christy is a fantasist who spent his time trapped in his room hiding from a bullying father. Set in a seaside village in County Mayo c. 1907, the boredom of life in a shebeen (stunningly designed on
a revolve by top Broadway designer Scott Pask) is upset when in staggers a scrawny traveller who reveals that he is on the run after having killed his father with “a strike of a loy”. The daughter of the house, Pegeen Mike (Ruth Negga), is won over by his heroic tale and hires him as the help. His apparent bravery is in stark contrast to her own cowardly fiancé, Shawn Keogh. Kevin Trainor is a particular delight as the lily livered suitor; so fearful of priests he won’t even keep her company unchaperoned on a stormy night. In time the whole village is queuing up to see the new arrival and their fears and fantasies get projected onto him. Pegeen’s main competition comes from the Widow Quinn, a notorious woman of the village rumoured to have murdered her husband. Niamh Cusack continues a great run of performances
from which the Celtic Revival had sprung. Now a classic of world drama it has been translated and staged all over the world. It’’s celebration of the outsider, and its themes of yearning to escape, of our need for heroes, of the hypocrisy of the church and small town life and its strong anti-colonialist sentiment have made it universal. In a society awash with celebrity culture, where true life crime and the making and unmasking of the heroes is abetted daily by tabloid TV, it retains its subversive power. Although it may take a nonIrish listener a while to tune into Synge’s language, it more than repays that effort. Synge, an upper class Protestant from Dublin, fell in love with the Gaelic speaking com-
“...T he play touched a raw nerve by challenging the sentimental notions of femininity and the idealised notions about simple peasant folk in the west of Ireland...” at the Old Vic here. Swaggering in her red shawl, Cusack revels in the role and turns a simple phrase like “shearing a sheep” into a siren call. Of course it was the sexual licence of the piece, and Synge’s celebration of an earthy peasant culture, which led to the riots at its opening night in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. The play touched a raw nerve by challenging the sentimental notions of femininity (it was the line about a ‘shift’ which set the spark) and the idealised notions about simple peasant folk in the west of Ireland – the hallowed land
munities of the western seaboard. The ordinary people then spoke a form of English directly translated from Gaelic and it is these locutions, elevated to the level of poetry, which Synge conjured up. The result is a form of language, which is freer and larger than just dialect. Synge too created great roles for women and Ruth Negga shines as the feisty heroine. She and Sheehan spark off each other and emerge as two great young talents to watch. Director John Crowley has pulled off a triumph.
TheTempest Tempest The By William Shakespeare l Theatre Royal Haymarket, London l Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
ike a good wine, Ralph Fiennes is getting better with age, and here we see him give us a Prospero who is world weary but still curiously compelling in a production which is old fashioned, but in a good way. The downside is that director Trevor Nunn has managed to take what is often a 90-minute piece (one of Shakespeare’s shortest) and run it for over three hours. Much of this is padding and although Irish composer Shaun Davey’s Celtic airs bring a plangent tone to the piece, the production does outstay its welcome. The upside is setting the play in its period of 1611. We have been so accustomed to seeing directors going to great lengths to find a period or concept on which to hang these familiar texts, that it makes for a revelation to see characters in lush Jacobean costumes (here beautifully designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis). It solves so many problems one wonders why directors can’t be so daringly conservative more often. Nunn, who amazingly is directing this play for the first time, (he’s already directed 30 of the other plays) also avoids the overt allusions to colonialism, which have often sunk
THEATER REVIEWS previous productions of this play. The story of Ferdinand (Michael Benz) the handsome son of the King of Naples who meets, woos and marries Prospero’s teenage daughter Miranda (Elisabeth Hopper) is presented here with clarity and simplicity and indeed the central romance is sweetly affecting. It all makes for a great introduction to an often-challenging play. For once Prospero isn’t some aged Merlin-like figure. Instead Fiennes presents him, much more convincingly, as a man in his middle age, who has been raising a teenage daughter, albeit with the help of some rough magic. Central to the play is the relationship between the human and non-human worlds and the spirits are present here even from the opening shipwreck scene. The lithe and lissom Tom Byam Shaw excels as Arial, every bit a spirit of the air. Paul Pyant’s brilliant lighting design and Paul Kieve’s illusions quietly enhance the rather quaint theatricality of the piece and one is reminded how much theatre magic, as it has evolved, has been cru-
cial to how this piece has been interpreted. Of course what Shakespeare might have lacked in CGI techniques he more than made up for with his poetic powers of description. Nunn has drawn together a solid cast of great character actors to support Fiennes with Chris Andrew Mellon in typically lively form as the courtier Sebastian. Clive Wood too is a great comic foil as Stephano and Nicholas Lyndhurst is in familiar guileless mode as the jester Trinculo. Lyndhurst, who of course has national treasure status for his role as the sweetly innocent Rodney in the iconic BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, has had to fight typecasting. Sometimes here though he loses the battle and his Trinculo comes across as a west country Rodney. The production in the end belongs to Fiennes. He delivers the “Our revels now are ended” speech with the jaded tone of someone who has seen it all and later crystallises the play’s key themes of reconciliation and forgiveness in a final and powerful valedictory speech. It’s a fitting end to what was Shakespeare’s last full-length work.
upert Goold and his company, Headlong, are one of the hottest names in British theatre, but they have bitten off more than they can chew here with this overly ambitious site-specific response to the tragedy of 9/11, ten years on. To start with, the three hour piece has 19 writers, comprising a cross section of established and new writing talent from both sides of the pond: Samuel Adamson, Mike Bartlett, Alecky Blythe, Ben Ellis, Ella Hickson, Samuel D Hunter, John Logan, Matthew Lopez, Mona Mansour, DC Moore, Abi Morgan, Rory Mullarkey, Janine Nabers, Lynn Nottage, Harrison Rivers, Simon Schama, Christopher Shinn, Beth Steel and Alexandra Wood. Frustratingly, the programme doesn’t tell you who wrote what sections, although sometimes it is easy to guess. On arrival at a nondescript block near Tower Bridge the audience is herded through an airport-like security check (and some are hauled in for questioning) then they descend into a cavernous modern office space which has been brilliantly transformed, by top designer Miriam Buether, into a replica of the famous Windows on the World restaurant that inhabited
A site-specific theatre piece by Headlong inspired by 9/11, at St Katherine’s Dock, London l Reviewed by Jarlath O'Connell l
the top floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Each side of the room is dominated by glorious projections of the great views from the Twin Towers and the piece unfolds on a large central platform with occasional outbursts on the tabletops. Composer and sound designer Adam Cork creates a frighteningly realistic soundscape, including the ear-splitting moment when the planes hit. Through a series of parallel stories, which run the gamut in terms of style and approach, we are introduced to characters who survived that fateful day or who were somehow affected by it. Some sections are just movement, choreographed by Scott Ambler of Matthew Bourne fame. The weakest sections remind one of painful Theatre-in-Education experiences from one’s schooldays, such as the story of the Afghan shop owner and his African-American customer overcoming their racism. The better sections are grounded in strong characterisation and are redeemed by a universally excellent ensemble cast. The story of a trio of widows, who reunite each year on the anniversary, is a poignant exploration of the slow burn of healing. Other stand outs are Emma Fielding as an eczema-ridden woman in a des-
perate online search for a partner and Jonathan Bonnici as the memorabilia seller at Ground Zero carefully exploiting the grief of the visiting women in order to score. Then there is the true story of Tania Head, a self appointed spokesperson for the survivors who was ultimately unveiled as a fantasist, who had been nowhere near the site. All these are literally stranger than fiction and while story is layered upon story here, the piece never really coalesces. Ultimately one longs for a single authorial voice to give the piece some shape and some brevity. Other treatments of 9/11 have been much more successful including the brilliant movie United 93 and Neil LaBute’s early response in his 2002 play The Mercy Seat, which concerned a fictional married executive who worked at the World Trade Center and was absent on that day only because he was seeing his mistress. He then pondered whether he might take advantage of his supposed disappearance to start a new life. LaBute succeeded because he kept his focus narrow and used the tragedy as a springboard to illuminate character. Here, Goold is trying to do too much in too many styles all at once and it ends up insubstantial and unsatisfying.
he TheMetamorphosis Metamorphosis Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell l Choreographed and directed by Arthur Pita l Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera Photography: Tristram Kenton A dance theatre adaptation based on Franz Kafka’s classic novella Metamorphosis, the creepy tale of the staid clerk Gregor Samsa who wakes up one day transformed into an insect, might seem of limited potential dance wise. After all, isn’t there only so much you can do with insect movement? However, the imagination of up-and-coming choreographer Arthur Pita is a force to be reckoned with. As he already demonstrated in his piece God’s Garden, set in his cultural homeland of Madeira, he has a great flair for narrative dance and it is widening the focus of this piece to bring alive the larger world of Gregor Samsa’s family and colleagues that gives it such power. Much of Pita’s time of late has been spent in opera, musicals and theatre and indeed the opening night for this coincided with the revival of the Young Vic’s award winning production of Kurt Weil’s Street Scene, to which he also contributed some stunning dance sequences. So, with Pita, you can be assured of a full-blooded theatrical experience. On top of this, having the considerable resources of the Royal Opera House to play with has meant that he The transformation
Edward Watson as Gregor Samsa and Nina Goldman as Mrs Samsa
has been able to stage this ambitious piece, which has a large cast, with an impressive design by Simon Daw on a traverse stage and with a stunning new musical score by Frank Moon. Partly gypsy influence, part European folk, part klezmer, part horror movie soundtrack, Moon himself performs his great score live. Central to the conception of the piece has been the casting of the Royal Ballet’s great English star Edward Watson and there isn’t really anyone who could match him in this part. His trademark nervous intensity and that lean physique with the hideous contortions of toes and extensions of limbs, all powerfully convey the
tragedy of a man imprisoned in his alien nature. This is at its most moving in his duet with his mother (Nina Goldman) or in the evolving relationship with his ballet and jazz mad younger sister, played with an engaging ebullience by Laura Day. Pita cleverly locates the story within Samsa’s wider world and Daw’s stunning white house set perfectly captures this staid petit bourgeois world. The ordinariness of his numbing daily routine of dressing, breakfast and commuting to and from work has a powerful payoff when the horrid transformation finally occurs. As his metamorphosis progresses he soon begins to secrete gobs of brown liquid, culminating in a frightening encounter with three other creatures that, in turn, smear him in more of this viscous goo. Daw’s design vividly brings this horror to life and he cleverly solves how we can watch Gregor climb the walls. The abiding memory of the piece, however, is the well of loneliness that is in Watson. The poignancy of his rejection by his family who move from initial horror, to apathy, to persecution is heart wrenching. This is a piece that will definitely have a life beyond ROH2.
Laura Day as Grete Samsa and Edward Watson in a piece that will definitely have a life beyond 'ROH2'
Menzel Chris Lee
Idina Menzel in concert
Idina Menzel with ‘musical director, father figure and straight man’ Marvin Hamlisch
Royal Albert Hall, London
“Who saw it? I was the green one”. Our October cover girl, Idina Menzel, teased a roaring crowd at the Albert Hall recently with her reference to Wicked, the show that made her name and continues to pack ‘em in all over the world. Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, under the baton of Broadway legend, Marvin Hamlisch, the show confirmed her as one of the new stars of musical theatre and, dare one say it, a possible successor to Barbra Streisand. Describing her evening at the Kennedy Center Honors, where she performed in a tribute for her fellow New Yorker, she joked how Streisand, having ignored her all evening despite being at the same table, finally passed her and squinted in her direction “Did you sing for me tonight? I wasn’t wearing my glasses…….you were good”. Enough to put a nice Jewish girl in therapy for years, I’d say. Combining a voice of great range
THEATER REVIEWS with a winning personality and a great line in chit-chat, her years of experience from teenage bar mitzvah singer to bona fide Broadway star (Rent, Wicked) really shone through. Her control of an audience and ability to connect with a large crowd is impressive. Much of her ease was down to the presence on the podium of Hamlisch, keeping a fatherly hold on proceedings and acting as straight man. Famously he’s the MD for Ms Streisand and one wonders if he’s seen the future here. Luck of course is half preparation and half opportunity and Menzel has chosen very wisely in her career so far. She’s now made a clever transition to Hollywood and a continuing part (as a Mom!) in the teen TV sensation Glee. In the Albert Hall the Wicked tribe competed with the Glee tribe to see who could cheer the loudest. Her programme was a well chosen
mix of material familiar to the fans with some standards. A spirited ‘Look to the Rainbow’ (nothing to do with Wicked!) showed off her lyrical side and the classic belter ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ was done with merciful restraint. In fact the revelation of the evening was the vocal restraint she is now displaying. A highlight was a touching rendition of ‘There’s Only Us’ from Rent, which had the whole hall supplying the chorus of “no day but today”. A less successful choice was Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’. Joking that she was dragging the RCPO down to her level, it only demonstrated that rock numbers and orchestral flourishes are oil and water. Leaving us with the inevitable ‘Defying Gravity’ (when will anyone be able to sing it so we can hear the lyrics?) she was hollered back on stage for a tender ‘The Way We Were’ as a tribute to her MD and she closed by actually making ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie sound fresh and interesting. Quite an achievement.
Facing the Music
Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell l Greenwich Theatre London and on tour
who wrote for her was Leonard Bernstein, and she is witty and generous in her description of her travails trying to inject life into his vocally challenging
THEATER REVIEWS Courtesy of BBC
“I’m very big in Botswana, you know,” booms Patricia Routledge, relishing each perfectly modulated syllable reminding us of her monstrous creation Hyacinth Bouquet from the BBC sitcom. Baffling, as it may seem to the English, the world has taken Hyacinth to its bosom, as one of the great English comic archetypes, but what we learn in this show is that she had a previous and illustrious life in musical theatre. Over a 90 minute live interview, Patricia chats with BBC arts broadcaster Edward Seckerson, whose passion for musical theatre is only matched by his wide-eyed admiration for his guest. The evening begins with an astonishing recording of Cole Porter’s ‘So In Love’ where you realise that Patricia was a great vocal talent with a classically trained voice who got sidelined into TV comedy. This show is like the re-discovery of a lost treasure. The American connection too is very strong as some of the most notable work of this quintessentially English artist was not in the West End but on Broadway. Many would be surprised to learn that she won the 1968 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the short lived but much loved Darling of the Day. That show, by the great Jule Styne and Yip Harburg, included her 11 o’clock number, the rousing pub song 'Not on your Nellie', which, they wrote specially for her. One night Richard Rodgers came to pay homage and they continued to meet, but a promised show especially for her sadly didn’t materialise. The other musical theatre great
to Patricia Routledge as the redoubtable Hyacinth Bouquet in the BBC smash sitcom Keeping Up Appearances
“.. This show is like the re-discovery of a lost treasure ...” 1976 bicentenary flop musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In that homage to the White House she played all first ladies from Abigail Adams to Edith Roosevelt, and her number 'Take Care of This House' struck a chord with the public in that painful post-Watergate time. She was one of the few to
emerge unscathed from the experience and was known to the cast affectionately as “the strong British broad”. Bernstein brought her success again a decade later when she played the Old Lady in Scottish Opera’s Candide, which ended up at the Old Vic in London and won her an Olivier Award, and her last major musical theatre engagement in London was as Hettie Fowler in the widely acclaimed National Theatre production of Carousel. She also had a huge success in 1980 at the open air Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, New York in Joe Papp’s The Pirates of Penzance in which she battled with the midges (and so couldn’t hold a note too long) while starring with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt. Much of her early work in shows like Virtue in Danger bridged the gap between light operetta of the Ivor Novello era and modern musical theatre (and indeed Little Mary Sunshine, which she premiered off Broadway, was a pastiche of those shows) and while they might now strike us as rather antique, there is no denying their melodic power. She also reminds us that those shows required trained voices and performers who couldn’t depend on a kindly sound engineer to rescue them. When she combined comedy and music, of course the effect was sublime as in a definitive recording of Noel Coward’s great comic number 'I’ve Been to a Marvellous Party'. Seek out her recording of it in the 1972 review Cowardy Custard if you don’t believe me.
Photo: White House Pete Souza
The Democrat dream team, but who will they face in November 2012?
& Short of the Elections
It all starts here: Sir Robert Worcester will lead us through the complexities of the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections
year from now we we will be in the home stretch of the presidential election in America. I’ll be calling it as I see it in each issue of The American as the ‘long election’ wends its way through the Iowa caucus, New Hampshire primary, super Tuesday, Republican candidate fallouts, the parties’ nominating conventions, up to when the election officially kicks off, on Labor Day, American presidential elections’ traditional starting date. Then as the American’s ‘short election’ (not by British standards) hots up and the chosen candidates start their exhausting series of travel and speeches with the ‘boys on the bus’ trailing along, I’ll be keeping a daily look on the state of the polls and more broadly what is happening ‘over there’, state by state, and report my take on it in each issue, wind-
ing up in the December 2012 issue, explaining to the best of my ability what happened, and why. Inevitably, given magazine deadlines, I’ll be behind the Internet’s 24/7 ability to give you the latest news, but having been a political activist in the USA before moving to Britain 40+ years ago and regarding presidential elections every four years as my favorite spectator sport, perhaps I can give you not just what you can read on : www.realclearpolitics.com, www. fivethirtyeight.com, politics.betfair. com, www.politicalbetting.com, www.electoral-vote.com/ and others, plus the media sites of course, led by www.nyt.com. In 2008, at the first of four Pilgrims/ESU American Election Panels, as chairing very knowledgeable pundits led by the then News-
week bureau chief Stryker McGuire, as I concluded the evening’s briefing and Q&A I held up my printout of realclearpolitics to say “If there’s nothing else you should take home tonight, it’s that if you want to follow the election day by day, then you should consult www.realclearpolitics. com ”. At that, without any prompting, all four others on the panel held up their copies of this invaluable website’s take on the election from that very day’s download. I hear the Editor saying [‘Get on with it, Bob’! ] So, I will.
The 2010 American Elections We know now who will be the Democratic candidate for the Presidency 2012-1216. Of course we should know by the time of the party conferences who will lead the
Will the Republican threat come from Thaddeus McCotter? Mitt Romney? Newt Gingrich? or Sarah Palin?
Republican ticket to contest Barack Obama for the White House on November 6th 2012. We should know by then most, if not all, of the ‘odds and sods’ of minority party candidates in the various states. By Labor Day, the traditional starting gun of the election, we’ll know them all save a very few of the no-hopers in a very few states. There are 100 seats in the Senate, two for each state. Voters in a third of the states will be voting for one of their two senate seats. Senators are elected for six year terms, and a third of the Senate seats will be up for grabs next year. One thing that will add spice to the big event is the possibility that the Democratic majority in the Senate (Democrats now hold 53 seats to the Republicans’ 47) may fall to the Republicans, as there are 23 Senators up for election who are Democrats to just 10 who are Republicans. The Congress: 435 Congressmen and women in all, is now Republican after the Democrats’ bruising in the 2010 off-year election, and according to the US Constitution, all 435 Members of Congress must run (not stand) every two years. Also there will be 11 elections for state governors. I’ll cover the more interesting Senate race in December, and then the House in January, while reporting on the what and how of the
Presidential contest as well. [Get back to the Big One, Bob, who’s running for President?]
The Big One: Hail to the Chief There’s no question that Barack Obama will be running for his second (and last) term of office again, most likely with his running mate, the Vice President, Joe Biden, although the reappointment of Cheney by Bush was thought a mistake. There are a few other names in the ether, but Biden appears to be to Obama what Prescott was to Blair. They will very likely be the Democratic Ticket for 2012. I would have punted on Tim Kane for Obama’s running mate, the former Governor of Virginia and ex-DNC Chairman, but he’s opted for the Senate instead. But maybe I’m prejudiced: he’s a Kansas City boy, as am I. [“OK Bob, get off the fence; who’s going to win?] There are a bunch of presidential trial heats and most lately they make it a tie against Romney, a six point lead over Perry, nine over Kane, and 15 over Gingrich. Palin or Bachmann; he’d smash them, and with them, knock out several of the Republican candidates for Congress. I’d put a bob or two if I had to now, a year out, on Obama. He’s a formidable campaigner, he’s already well on his way to a $100+ million
war chest, he’s got a smashing wife who is game for the campaign trail with or without him as she showed in the 2008 race - and he’ll have many times more volunteers on the ground than any likely Republican challenger. There are two principal reasons why at this time I am tipping an Obama win. First, in my view, the British media totally lost the plot in their reporting of last year’s Congressional election, describing it as a blow to President Obama. It was no such thing. For if there was, now and into the election, a Democratic White House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic House of Representatives, Obama would have nobody to blame for the poor economic situation next year. Now he does. And will. Second, you can’t beat somebody with nobody. Somebody, like it or not, is Barack Obama. Nobody is the long list of Republican hopefuls. At last count, in early October, there were 52 front runners, possibilities, and no-hopers (Bill Frist, Check Hagel, and the wonderfully named Thaddeus McCotter [who is he?] entering the lists at 1,000:1. At that time, the front runner was former Governor Mitt Romney as the 2 to1 favorite. Yet polls have shown that about one American voter in five say they would never vote for a Mormon. Still, early polls
“ One thing that will add spice to the big event is the possibility that the Democratic majority in the Senate (Democrats now hold 53 seats to the Republicans’ 47) may fall to the Republicans, as there are 23 Senators up for election who are Democrats to just 10 who are Republicans “ Other names bob up occasionally, but are unlikely to get the traction between now and the turn of the
But if a week in politics is a long time [(c) British PM Harold Wilson], a year is an eternity. Anything can Will this be the result the incumbents want in 2012?
year to be credible candidates in the early primaries, and so are unlikely to be in the frame next summer at the Republican Convention.
Photo: White House Pete Souza
in the key early primary state, New Hampshire, show him leading the other Republicans being tested by a mile, so far. In the trial heats, he’s leading Perry, or Paul, in one poll, by an average of 24 points over the past month. At double Romney’s 2:1 odds is Governor Rick Perry in second place, at 4 to 1, with Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, at 50 to 1 in tied 7th place. Now that he’s said ‘no way’, his ‘weight of money’ will dry up fast, and I’d guess he’ll have dropped to 200:1 by next month. Rising up the list is Herman Cain but at 18:1, Ron Paul who crashed and burned in 2008, now at 24 to 1 and then Sarah Palin, once a front runner, now withdrawn from the race ‘to her family first (after God)’, at 27 to 1. (see table) Other names swirling around, seen often in New Hampshire sniffing around, in Iowa, the Carolinas and other early primary states are Rick Santorum (300:1/3%), drop out Tim Pawlenty (250:1), Jeb Bush (280:1) and Charlie Crist (550:1).
happen in the 2012 American presidential election, and most likely will. Sir Robert Worcester may be better known to you as Bob Worcester, one of the most knowledgeable and influential psephologists in the world. A Kansas City native, he is the founder of the MORI polling and research organisation and the best known pollster in the UK.
Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback The new 5 door Cruze hits those mean streets down which a man (and his family, dogs and shopping) must go. Michael Burland finds out how it gets on.
hat does the Chevrolet name mean to Americans? Just about everything, unless they’re Ford fanatics. And to the British? The lyrics to a thousand songs and a few cheap re-branded Daewoos. The past, if you like. But that’s changing. The GM brand has been sneakily launching some modern, attractive, cars that are succeeding in top level world motor sport (the Cruze sedan won the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in World Touring Cars, the 2010 British Touring Car Drivers championship, and Jason Plato narrowly missed retaining his BTCC title). They’re not relying on misty-eyed nostalgia or the iconic bow-tie badge – many prospective buyers outside the U.S.A. won’t even recognize it – but on their own merits. So what are those merits? We won’t find out on a quick launch-day blast with other scribblers trying out top speeds and at-the-limit grip levels fun, for sure, but it won’t sway the decisions of real-life buyers. Only one way to find out, and that’s to drive a regular mainstream model in day-to-day situations complete with dogs, kids, shopping, school runs, some town and country miles and a night drive or two. Game on... Enter the Cruze Hatchback, the lat-
est addition to the Chevy family. Oh, a digression: I’m going to keep saying Chevy from time to time. Certain elements at the company may not like it – OK let’s name names – Chevrolet’s VPs of Sales and Marketing Alan Batey and Jim Campbell reportedly sent a memo to employees in Detroit last year telling them to stop using the word ‘Chevy’ to describe Chevrolet products. The idea was to promote uniformity and consistency of the branding message. Apparently they felt that ‘Chevy’ dilutes and devalues the Chevrolet brand. “When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding. Why is this consistency so important?” they asked. “The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer.” Now, a) Coke is actually Coca-Cola, a shortening of its name hasn’t noticeably harmed Levi Strauss & Co. – and what about FedEx? KFC? b) The use of ‘Chevy is affectionate – it shows that people like you and what you do. And c) Don McLean did not drive his Chevrolet to the Levrolet. Needless to say a rapid corporate crawl-back ensued. Back to the real world! The two
biggest car critics in our household are the kids. They’ve experienced top-end Porsches, Quattros, Range Rovers and the like and if they feel cramped, carsick or otherwise hard done by they soon let me know. What will they make of this Korean-sourced (yes, it’s still Daewoo-built) budget hatchback? The Cruze passed the passenger test. The ride is cosseting, smooth, but road noise is intrusive – are Chevy aiming for lightness and economy at the expense of less soundproofing? Handling for a sporty looking car is fine, but there’s a slight weight transfer half way round fast bends. Nothing to worry or unsettle, but it doesn’t feel like it’s on rails. The hatchback looks good, standing out in a car park full of euro-alternatives, and not just because it’s new and because in the UK Chevy shifts a lot less units than Ford (or the French makes, or VW Group). The Cruze has a strong, attractive, masculine chiselled face, with a longer nose than most compacts, making it looks somehow more American, more of a ‘real car’ than a ‘family runaround’. The stylish interior is reasonably well put together, with no squeaks or rattles. Our LT was finished in ‘none more’ black with an unusual fabric finish on the dashboard, matching the seats, set off by a smart
Swinging In The Rain
Left: Cruze-ing: the Cruze sedan competes at the highest level in Touring Cars, Right: The Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 2011 in Silver
center console. In all it looks and feels half a class larger than the Golf/Focus/ Astra ballpark it plays in. Our Cruze had the 2.0 litre VCDi diesel engine, likely to be the most popular choice in exorbitantly priced Britain. At £6 a gallon you have to squeeze every last mile out of the tank. It claims 50.4 mpg on the combined test – we achieved a decent 45.5 mpg in our own mixed driving – against the 1.8 litre petrol version’s claimed 42.8, but you don’t give up any fun as the oil-burner boasts 163 PS horsepower (petrol 141 PS) and a brawny 360 Nm or torque (176 for the gasoline engine). We had a stick shift, again the popular choice for eco-hounds although a baulky action didn’t make it much fun. The LT trim level includes attractive 16 inch alloy wheels, electric windows front and rear, a steering wheel adjustable, fog lights, rear parking sensors and audio controls safely situated on the leather steering wheel. Rear legroom (as reported by the leggy teenagers) is fine and trunk space is a useful, although not market-leading 413 litres with all seats up, 883 with the rears folded. So, a good package and an attractive way of flying the stars and stripes (albeit via Gunsan, South Korea). But I’ve saved the best to last. Our Cruze costs just £14,895. For a similarly specified VW Golf you’re looking north of £22,000. That’s 7,000 reasons to consider buying – yes, say it proud – a Chevy.
Driving in heavy rain is never pleasant, but on unfamiliar roads and on the ‘wrong’ side for the road? You could probably do with a few helpful hints. There’s no-one better to give them than Simon Elstow, head of training at driver training specialists IAM Drive & Survive (part of the group formerly known as the Institute of Advanced Motoring, www.iamdriveandsurvive.co.uk). Elstow says, “There’s nothing quite like getting to your car in the rain. It’s a haven from the elements. But be cautious, especially after prolonged dry spells – rain on a dry road is dangerously slippery.” So here’s his advice on being safe when it’s ‘slippery when wet’. Before you set off, set your heater controls – rain makes the windows mist up in seconds. You don’t want to be fiddling with controls when you should be concentrating on the road Slow down. In the rain your stopping distance should be at least doubled. Giving yourself more space helps you to avoid spray, especially
when following a large vehicle Keep your eyes on the road ahead and plan your driving so that you can brake, accelerate and steer smoothly – harsh manoeuvres will unbalance the car If you have cruise control, avoid using it on wet roads – it may create problems if you start to aquaplane See and be seen. Put your lights on – as a rule of thumb, whenever you need to use your wipers you should also turn your headlights on, and before overtaking put your wipers on their fastest setting Making sure your car is properly maintained will make a difference too. Check your wipers regularly, that your tyres are properly inflated and have enough tread, and that all of your lights work and are clean. By law, you must keep the windscreen washer filled, but remember, to keep your windows clean, you must do the inside as well Finally, think about the people on the pavements – remember it is illegal in the UK to splash pedestrians.
Take it easy, old timer!
Courtesy of Library of
, R t l & R oll e a k t a e h S with the Honky Tonk Man W
restling today is a billion dollar industry, which combines sport with entertainment. The biggest company in the wrestling business is the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and has all the razzmatazz you would get at a rock concert mixed with top class athletes performing at the highest level. However, it was in the 1980s when the WWE, then known as the WWF (and we’re not talking Pandas here, but the World Wrestling Federation) became a real global phenomenon.
Real household characters were born that people around the world would recognize including names such as Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Macho Man Randy Savage and Honky Tonk Man. This was a great time for the business and Honky Tonk Man holds a record that is still in tact today, holding the Intercontinental title for the longest period of time, a staggering 64 weeks. “I had a great time whenever I stepped foot into a WWE ring,” Honky Tonk Man reminisced. “However I have to say my biggest achievement is being the Intercontinental champion and the amount of time I held the title for, 64 weeks. “It is a record that still stands today and I’m very proud of that fact as many great wrestlers held that title before me and
event status which impacted me greatly financially.” Every sports star wants to perform on the grandest stage and in the wrestling business the grandest stage of them all is Wrestlemania, and Honky Tonk Man was proud of his first Wrestlemania moment. “One of the other main highlights for me was performing at Wrestlemania III against Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, and he had Alice Cooper in his corner, that was in front of a record attendance 94,000 people. “I got to wrestle the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Harley Race, Jimmy Snuka and Hulk Hogan – all people that I saw in magazines before I became a wrestler, so it was a great experience. “It was also great having the chance to wrestle in Madison Square Garden, which is something I always
“...My biggest achievement is being the Intercontinental champion and the amount of time I held the title for, 64 weeks..” many great wrestlers have held the belt since. “Winning the Intercontinental Championship catapulted me from a mid card, upper card status to main
wanted to do and got to do on quite a few occasions.” These days in the industry, titles tend to change hands on a more regular basis, and in some cases less than 24 hours. This is something that Honky
Tonk Man feels lets the sport down. “When you have title reigns not lasting a month, a week, or even 24 hours, it doesn’t just diminish the titles but it also diminishes the character. “The audience doesn’t have time to adjust to the character that has the championship and the wrestlers become totally forgotten about in the public eye.” The WWE has gone through many transitional periods, from the attitude era to today’s more PG programming. However, the Memphis, Tennessee born grappler would like to see more characters in wrestling again much like in the 80s. “There were a lot more characters when I was wrestling in the WWE in the late 1980’s,” the 58-year-old said. “There was a lot of colour in the ring with all the costumes and it was great family entertainment. “Another big difference to the business today, is that in our group of guys there were more seasoned veterans. The youngest guy in the business when I was there had at least five years under his belt. “Most of the guys in the locker room when I was wrestling had at least 15 years under their belts – these days there are a lot of kids in the business and we are seeing more and more second and third generation superstars.” The Honky Tonk Man is from Memphis, which is a bit of a wrestling hot bed and his cousin is former WWE wrestler and current colour commentator in the WWE, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. “I didn’t get to work with Jerry much in the WWE,” he continues. “When I came back Jerry was on commentary and I was doing something else so we didn’t really correspond a lot. “Before that when I was first starting out in the business we had
thousands of matches together. We sold a lot of tickets with me being the bad guy and him being the good guy, the fans wanted to see family v family and it was a really good experience.” There has been a lot of talk recently about the term ‘wrestling’ and the WWE have dropped the word from their name. However Honky doesn’t feel this is a bad idea. “The WWE is such a big major corporation around the world, with as we say in the south, irons in the fire. Even though they have decided to not use the word wrestling, it is still a wrestling show. “The fans know when they are watching the WWE that they are watching wrestling. It will always be called Wrestlemania, I don’t think they will ever call it anything else.” On a recent segment of television programming, current WWE champion CM Punk mentioned bringing back WWE ice cream bars which had wrestlers faces on them, including the Honky Tonk Man. However it is not a piece of merchandise that Honky is too fussed about seeing again. “They weren’t too tasty by any means,” he said. “From what I understand the ice cream company doesn’t have any plans to bring them back. “That is probably a WWE call as they control all of the merchandise. It was a great gesture by Punk because he was doing an off script interview and they were letting him say whatever he wanted and it made for good television.” The Greatest WWE Intercontinental Champion of All Time, The Honky Tonk Man, returns to radio each and every Monday night 7.30E (6.30C/00.30UK) Shake Rattle & Roll! Call in and talk to HTM on (805)727-7113 or on Skype! For more information visit www.honkytonkman.net
“The fans know when they are watching the WWE that they are watching wrestling. It will always be called Wrestlemania, I don’t think they will ever call it anything else.” 51
NCAA Basketball Preview
A talent-rich returning cast make North Carolina any easy preseason pick
n route to last April’s Final Four, the Kentucky Wildcats slapped aside West Virginia, Ohio State, and North Carolina (76-69) before losing by a point – a single point – to eventual champions Connecticut. So picking the Tar Heels over the Wildcats requires a deep breath. However, Brandon Knight is now a Detroit Piston (or will be when the NBA returns) and Josh Harrellson is a theoretical Knick. By contrast, North Carolina effectively returns everybody, including forwards Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes (who some had tagged for an NBA exit), elite rebounder guard John Henson, and Kendall Marshall, who logged 230 assists last season. There’s a reason everybody came back ...it’s called ‘unfinished business’.
1. North Carolina In addition to the hunger that comes with a stacked veteran roster that missed out on the Final Four, Roy Williams adds five-star forwards James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston. Depth isn’t going to be a problem. Anything less than the Final Four – or even a championship – would qualify as a wasted opportunity. 2. Kentucky Despite high-profile departures, the Wildcats return Terrence Jones (15.7 ppg) after he withdrew from the draft with a day to go. Freshmen forwards Anthony Davis and Mike Gilchrist are blue-chippers. The Wildcats should be at least as good as last year, though experience gives N.C. the edge come April. 3. Ohio State While the Buckeyes lost some key contributors and signed up few high-profile recruits during the offseason, that’s not really the way Ohio State roll. Another tight-knit team still includes William Buford, Aaron Craft and player-of-the-year favorite center Jared Sullinger. 4. Syracuse Rebounder Rick Jackson departed a team that lost by 2 to Kentucky in March, but this is another team where almost everybody is back. Picking them fourth assumes center Fab Melo steps up and does his part. If not, it’ll all be over by Christmas – top recruit, center Rakeem Christmas, that is.
5. Duke Last year’s preseason no.1 went out 93-77 to Arizona in the Regionals, and Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are all gone. However, returnees Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry, plus blue chip freshman guard Austin Rivers, mean Duke is still Duke. 6. Connecticut Returning National Champions UConn say bye-bye to Kemba Walker, but sophomore Jeremy Lamb is ready to become a superstar in his absence. Forward DeAndre Daniels should also contribute, and much of last year’s cast are back. 7.Louisville Will the Cards be fired up by pre-season exchanges between coach Rick Pitino and Kentucky coach John Calipari? Maybe, but the development of Peyton Siva and the integration of freshmen Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear matter more. 8. Vanderbilt Yes, we are sipping from the Vanderbilt Kool-Aid. John Jenkins’ shooting makes for must-see TV, and Jeffery Taylor can rain down the threes. After March’s early shock loss to Richmond, Madness is another matter, but the ride that far should be fun. 9. Wisconsin As much as Russell Wilson is the toast of the Badgers football team, point guard Jordan Taylor
deserves some student body frenzy. A number of promising recruits gift Wisconsin long-run depth.
10. Florida There’s patchier depth for Florida, who are powerful at guard (Mike Rosario jumps over from Rutgers to join Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker), but less sure elsewhere. There’s enough for a Sweet 16 run. 11. Memphis Adonis Thomas is a blue-chipper, but it’s last year’s crop that have Memphis climbing, after everybody got maybe just a little too excited with the potential last year. However, if Thomas clicks, watch out. 12. Pittsburgh Pitt lost a lot this offseason, but recruited vigorously, and should become very dangerous as the season progresses around offensive star Ashton Gibbs, who’ll likely go high in next year’s draft... 13. Baylor Though not as high as Baylor’s Perry Jones, a likely top 3 if he fulfils his potential this season. That’ll depend on the play around him, and Quincys Acy Miller drawing some of the attention. 14. Kansas It was pretty much a jailbreak at Kansas in the offseason, but at least Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor are back. The Jayhawks should scrap well in the Big 12, but this might now be a March vintage. 15. Xavier Xavier’s top three scorers are back, and one of them is Tu Holloway, who’d standout in any conference, but is a beast of a scorer in the Atlantic 10. 16. Cincinnati Breaking out in the Big East is tough, but Yancy Gates heads an experienced returning cast that includes their top four scorers from last season.
Harrison Barnes delivered 15.7 points per game and 5.8 rebounds in his first season with UNC. The 6â€™8â€? 210 lb forward, who led the Tar Heels in minutes played, should again be the centerpiece of a team that is capable of going all the way photo by Jeffrey Camarati
Robert Griffin III’s breakout start has helped the Heisman, the Baylor Bears and the Big 12 Conference argues Richard L Gale Jordan Taylor averaged over 18 points last season for Wisconsin © Wisconsin Athletic Communications
17. Michigan Tim Hardaway Jr. is the marketing dream here, and the Wolverines return everybody except Darius Morris, though his 15 ppg will be missed. 18. Alabama Alabama will hope to swap the NIT for March Madness, and JaMychal Green’s 16 points and 8 rebounds a game suggest he’ll lead the way.
f preseason Heisman predictions counted for anything, the Heisman Trophy Trust would have just mailed invites to Andrew Luck, Trent RIchardson, Landry Jones and Denard Robinson. However, at the midpoint of the season, those names have been joined on everybody’s theoretical ballots by Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson, Baylor QB Robert Griffin III and LSU defender Tyrann Mathieu. Those first four candidates are all doing what was expected;
19. UCLA Another case of (nearly) everybody’s back. Shame Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt are the exceptions, but UCLA will still compete. 20. Texas A&M The coaching change gave us a reason not to put A&M here, but Khris Middleton’s ability to put the team on his back soon reinstated them. 21-25 There’s about ten teams we’d like to round out this top 25 with, but we’ll go for... Marquette, where Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder averaged 27.6 ppg between them last year ... Missouri, where most the team returns, the Pressey boys amongst them, though coach Mike Anderson didn’t ... Butler, where the departure of Shelvin Mack damages a team that nonetheless deserves some preseason respect ... Wichita State, which returns some monstrous rebounding skill, even if they lack a defining offensive star ... and Mississippi State, who are a bunch of ‘if’s – if Renardo Sidney is fit, if UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie settles in quickly, if freshman Rodney Hood does likewise, if they can find a three-point shooter. However, there’s the potential for a big year if it all comes together. H
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor University Image courtesy of BU Athletics
Wilson and Griffin are fulfilling what was suspected, Mathieu may be no more than a token nod to a dominating defense. Outside of the Heisman bubble, Griffin’s performance has the widest implications. The team he leads has long been a football doormat, but his eye-popping stats (80% completion rate, 19 passing TDs, over 300 yards passing a game) would probably have him atop the speculative Heisman polls had his lone interception not set up the Bears’ only loss of the season. Still, he’s given Baylor prime time exposure, and the timing’s perfect, for both Baylor and the Big 12. With football conferences in a state of flux, and the Big 12 seen as a likely victim in any conference expansion land grab, the Big 12 fell on their feet this past month. Texas A&M leaving for the SEC threatened to ruin the strongest selling point of the Big 12, it’s domination of the states of Texas and Oklahoma, but with TCU suddenly Big 12-bound and Baylor starting out 4-1, the Big 12 futures market suddenly looks bouyant again. TCU only needed a BCS conference to be taken seriously on the national scene, and Baylor only needed a star. Now waiting in the wings at Baylor is ex-Oregon running back Lache Seastrunk, their
Pressure shift NCAA plots being second only to HBO costume dramas for twists and turns, the Big East is now the conference under threat. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are packing their bags, the Big 12 stole TCU out from under the Big East’s nose (assuming its nose was about 1300 miles long to begin with), and now the Big East is scrambling to woo Boise State. I can’t help noticing that Boise, Idaho is a lot closer to Big 12 country than Big East. Could it happen again? How about SMU, Houston, Rice? In these turbulent times, it wouldn’t take much for the 10-team Big 12 to circle the wagons by expanding to 16 teams. The ACC is already out front in the quest for 16-team ‘super-conference’ status with the acquisition of Pitt and Syracuse. They probably have their eye on Notre Dame, and that would make 15. The Big East is unravelling, and while one defense might be to attain super-conference status first, expanding fast with whoever it can sign up, complications of agreement on the basketball aspect mean it probably can’t move fast enough. If all or some of this comes to pass, remember the parts mid-majors TCU played and Boise State played. Who knew their recent success could prove so influential? That’s why RGIII’s present form for Baylor matters. If the Big 12 implodes rather than expands, this moment of success could be the difference between Baylor finding itself in the mid-major wilderness, or becoming a handy add-on in somebody else’s super-conference.
1929 – 2011
On October 8, Oakland Raiders principle owner Al Davis passed away at the age of 82. Davis was unique amongst modern NFL owners in having reached the position not through inheritance or real estate or oil, but through coaching. His rise was meteoric, becoming a line coach straight out of college, and two seasons later taking up his first head coaching position, for Fort Belvoir’s US Army team. Aged just 33, after stops at Citadel, USC, and the American Football League’s Los Angeles Chargers, Davis became head coach and general manager of the Oakland Raiders. Davis was named AFL Coach of the Year for 1963, and lead the Raiders to the AFL title in 1967. Although the Raiders would not win a Super Bowl until the 1980 season, they were amongst the NFL’s elite in the early days of the merged league, losing to eventual Super Bowl champions seven times in nine years. Davis had not been in favor of the AFL-NFL merger. He served as AFL Commissioner during 1966, and believed the AFL could stand toe-to-toe with the NFL in the marketplace, if not exceed it. However, other AFL owners prefered to talk to the NFL away from Davis’ influence, and when a deal was struck, Davis resigned. Davis continued to be a maverick within the NFL, siding with the United States Football League when they brought an antitrust suit against the NFL, and launching his own legal battles with the league. In recent years, a lack of success by the Raiders threw off-the-field wrangles, coaching changes, and splashy player personnel moves into sharp relief. It became easy to caricature Davis as a reactionary boogey man. Oft-forgotten, his part in bringing diversity to the NFL, appointing the league’s first black head coach, and the first female chief executive, Amy Trask. And players loved Davis. Nine football Hall of Fame inductees chose him to present them. One day after his death, the Raiders upset the Houston Texans on the final play of the game, with only ten men on the field. The eleventh, fans were quick to claim, was the spirit of Al Davis Davis defined Raiders football.
© The Oakland Raiders
next poster boy. High school players in football-rich Texas still have options if they want to play Texas-based Big 12 football. The mood in the Big 12 may be on the up. Could Texas A&M actually have done themselves a recruiting disservice by moving to the SEC?
Back to Black With BBL champions Mersey hoping to avoid last year’s reported cash flow problems, the Newcastle Eagles are once again favorites to claim some silverware THE CONTENDERS The Newcastle Eagles just couldn’t win the big ones in 2010, coming second in the Championship, and losing in the semi-finals of the Playoffs, Cup, and Trophy. The Eagles are once again the team to beat, not just because of US-born veterans such as Fabulous Flournoy and Charles Smith, but because of the talent of UK players such as centre Darius Defoe and guard Andrew Bridge. U.S. angle: Flournoy (McNeese St.); Smith (Rider); Joe Chapman (Marquette); Paul Gause (Seton Hall) Ron Artest speculation aside, if World Peace does not descend on the Cheshire Jets this season, the Jets may still be formidable. Though they lose MVP Jeremy Bell, new signing Bill Cole was a starter at Illinois, former all-American centre Matt Schneck is back for a second season, and Shawn Myers returns from the Lions. Adam Brown is a scoring threat. U.S. angle: Schneck (St. Cloud State); Cole (Illinois); Brown (Houston) Cup winners the Sheffield Sharks came close to a Championship title last season, and with AngloAmerican veteran Nate Reinking arriving from the championship-winning Tigers, and new faces to integrate, the Sharks could enjoy Cup and Playoff success, even if the Eagles outpace them in league play. Crucially, player-coach Atiba Lyons returns. U.S. angle: Lyons (Pace); Reinking (Kent St.); Robert ‘BJ’ Jenkins (Murray St.); Justin Dobbins (Eastern Michigan)
Charles Smith is Newcastle’s all-time leading scorer, with over 5,000 points, and 21 points per game last season Photo courtesy of Newcastle Eagles
The Plymouth Raiders enjoy great home field advantage at the Pavilions, and rode the Mersey Tigers’ misfortune to coax both American center Paul Williams and Brit James Jones. U.S. angle: Lehmon Colbert Jr and Ben Smith (Jacksonville); Paul Williams (St. Bonaventure); Ryan Read; Michael Oio (Lehigh)
THE CHASING PACK There looks to be a measure of parity in the BBL this season. Here then, in no particular order, are the teams we least expect to lift trophies this time around ... The Mersey Tigers won the League Championship, Playoffs and Trophy last season, but go into this year with scant preparation after new ownership had to step in and save the team. Only David Aliu returns, with guard Matt Otten now the most prominent US-born player in town. Their situation is a big unknown ... The Guildford Heat, themselves financial survivors of past success, have stability on their side this season, with coach Creon Raftopoulos, Brits Mike Martin and Julius Joseph, and American Martelle McLemore all returning. US guard Brandon Shingles could make an impact ... Ex-Guildford and UConn star EJ Harrison is back for the Glasgow Rocks, but coach Sterling Davis has made changes elsewhere, with Danny Huffor (Newbury) and Mychal Green (Ohio) arriving. A top-half finish is expected, but not assured after last year’s late-season slump ... There’s a host of US-born talent signed up for the Leicester Riders – Frank Holmes (Alabama); Avron Hardy (Jacksonville); Cameron Rundles (Wofford) – but it’s the return of Bradd Wierzbicki (Queens College) that could energize coach Rob Paternostro’s team out of the pack ... Worcester Wolves lose Justin Dobbins, but gains Tommy Freeman (Ohio) and Richie Gordon (Western Carolina). The Wolves don’t quite have the talent level of some teams, but coach Paul James is an asset in the close ones, so the Playoffs are a realistic goal ... Power forwards Howard Crawford (Alabama Birmingham) and Daniel Northern (Tennessee Tech) join the super-solid Milton Keynes Lions, who retained league steal-master Demarius Bolds ... Despite only finishing 7th in the English Basketball League last season, BBL newcomers the Durham Wildcats could provide more surprises than the departed Essex Pirates or Worthing Thunder. H Find out more at www.bbl.org.uk
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