THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
WHAT’S ON • POLITICS EATING OUT • SPORT MUSIC • REVIEWS ARTS CHOICE
NOAH STEWART Opera’s next superstar
Win Tickets to Travelling Light at the National Theatre Get your boots on! Enjoy the country’s footpaths and trails
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The American ®
Issue 706 – February 2012 PUBLISHED BY SP MEDIA FOR
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Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Telephone all departments: +44 (0)1747 830520 Publisher: Michael Burland email@example.com Please contact us with your news or article ideas Design and Production: Richard L Gale Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: email@example.com Correspondents: Virginia E. Schultz, Food & Drink firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Bailey, Social email@example.com Estelle Lovatt, Arts firstname.lastname@example.org Alison Holmes, Politics email@example.com Jarlath O’Connell, Theater firstname.lastname@example.org Richard L. Gale, Sports Editor email@example.com Josh Modaberi, Sports firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey email@example.com
©2012 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed by Advent Colour Ltd., 19 East Portway Industrial Estate, Andover, SP10 3LU www.advent-colour.co.uk ISSN 2045-5968 Cover: Noah Stewart. Circular inset: The Dorset coast – by foot (photo by Jim Champion).
wenty years ago Francis Fukuyama wrote, “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” Many laughed at the concept of “the end of history”, but with the recent Arab Spring and the opening up of China (whose currency is opening up to world trading) he hopefully might just have a point about democracy. Speaking of history, we have an article this month about The Trent Affair: during the Civil War the Confederate Government’s envoys to Europe were seized by Union forces while aboard a British ship, provoking an international incident that nearly changed the course of the war. If that’s of interest there’s a society known as the American Civil War Round Table UK, not re-enactors, but a group of military historians and others interested in the War Between the States. They’re keen to invite more American expatriates to join them, and they’re holding their annual conference soon – you can find out more on page 45. Enjoy your magazine,
SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS
James Carroll Jordan is an American actor living in London. This month he takes his “Actor’s Corner” on a working cruise around the Black Sea: Topkapi, The Blue Mosque, The Grand Bazaar – and Slivovitch!
Estelle Lovatt is an arts correspondent, author, radio producer and presenter and arts tutor, married to American journalist Charlie Woolf. In this issue she reflects on the late Eve Arnold’s life and work.
Sir Robert Worcester is one of the most knowledgeable and influential psephologists in the world. The Kansas City native and founder of MORI is writing on the presidential election throughout 2012.
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 706 • February 2012
News Do you want to vote in this presidential election year? The Embassy can help you exercise your franchise
Diary Dates Our selection of the best events this month including a unique AngloAmerican Pancake Race and ‘the greatest dog show in the world’
12 Stepping Out Weather permitting, it’s time to get out onto the footpaths and trails of England and Wales
14 A Day that Shaped the World: Boxing Day 1861 The Civil War might have ended up very diﬀerently if the Union Navy hadn’t boarded a British ship and arrested two Southern representatives 16 Black Sea Ramble All the sights of the alternative ‘cradle of civilization’, from the highly cultured to the less salubriouss 19 Competition: Win tickets to see ‘Travelling Light’ Starring Antony Sher, a funny and fascinating tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood’s golden age
20 Arts Choice Memories of Eve Arnold, George Clooney’s plans for a ﬁlm about looted Nazi artworks, and the most interesting art exhibitions 23 Wining and Dining The Civil War gets another mention in our foodie section as we visit Goodstone Inn and Estate in Middleburg, Virginia 28 Cover Story: Noah Stewart The new opera sensation talks about his unconventional rise to stardom
32 Music And they said it was a passing fad... rock and pop stars from every decade since the 1950s are gigging near you soon
36 Reviews Revivals of two great shows, one British and one American, dominate our theater reviews this month 43 Ticket Offer: AIDA Save £10 on February tickets 44 Coffee Break Wear your heart on your sleeve with our Valentine’s Day quiz 46 Politics The race to become the Republican candidate in November heats up. 49 Drive Time The ultimate American car? Yes, but driven on British roads. Does it work?
51 Sports NHL enforcers, ten tennis topics for 2012, and what we learned from Bowl Season 56 American Organizations Useful and fun societies for you to join 3
Grant’s Wilderness HQ Saved
he Civil War Trust has successfully completed a scheme to protect the site of Ulysses S. Grant’s headquarters at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia, considered by many to be “the beginning of the end” of the Civil War. Private donations to the Trust, the nation’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to protecting Civil War battlefields, were matched by funds from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although the property, on Route 20 in Orange County, is small, just 1.4 acres, its historic significance made it a ‘must-have’ for preservationists. At an event celebrating the completion of the work, Lee Frame, chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, said “Orange County is blessed with tremendous historic resources, ranging from reminders of the colonial era, through the Civil War and up to the present day. Events like today’s remind us how privileged we are to be surrounded by so many irreplaceable treasures.” Russ Smith, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, which includes portions of the Wilderness Battlefield, added, “This site was where overall Northern commander Ulysses Grant and his immediate subordinate, George Meade spent their daylight hours during the battle. Imagining the decisions they made on this piece of ground and the lives that were affected by those choices is humbling indeed.”
Gettysburg Woods Get a Facelift
42-acre historic wood on the Gettysburg battlefield, one of the most famous battles of the Civil War, is getting a face lift. Herr’s woodlot in the northwest section of Gettysburg National Military Park, just west of Country Club Lane, still exists from the July 1863 battle and tree experts are now working there to perform “health cuts.” During the six week project, trees will be cut to re-establish an even balance of younger, middle aged and older trees at the historic site. Felled trees will be left behind on the forest floor to allow them to decompose, so that nutrients are returned to the soils and to provide habitat. In 1863 no useable timber or fuel would have been left to rot on the ground in a woodlot, but this is one of many steps taken by Gettysburg National Military Park to address environmental issues as they implement battlefield rehabilitation on major battle action areas of the 6,000 acre national park. “The woodlot now referred to as Herr Woods was actually co-owned in 1863 by Frederick Herr and Joseph Wible, whose property lines subdivided the woods that supplied lumber and fuel to land owners as
well as shelter for grazing livestock,” said John Heiser, historian for Gettysburg National Military Park. Mr Heiser explained, “On July 1, 1863, the woods offered shelter of another kind for refugees of Brigadier General James Archer’s brigade after they had been repulsed and thrown back in disorder by the Union ‘Iron Brigade’ under General Solomon Meredith. Within an hour, North Carolinians under Brigadier James J Pettigrew deployed in battle line in these woods and sent forward a skirmish line to contest ownership of the Harman Farm with skirmishers from Meredith’s brigade. The southerners were subjected to small arms fire and the occasional artillery shelling before moving out from the woods to attack the Union troops arrayed along McPherson’s Ridge west of Willoughby Run. Most likely the saddest use of the woods came soon after when wounded Confederates stumbled their way into the shade of the trees where they waited for ambulances to remove them from the battlefield.” For more information about battlefield rehabilitation efforts, go to: www.nps.gov/gett/parknews/ gett-battlefield-rehab.htm
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Help for Life in the UK Test
Abbey Road Studios Opens Doors
ver wanted to go through the iconic doors of Abbey Road Studios and tread the floors that have been graced by the feet of The Beatles and Pink Floyd among a host of stars? Now’s your chance. As part of its 80th Anniversary celebrations the legendary studio is opening its doors to the public when Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan, the authors of the criticallyacclaimed book Recording the Beatles, are giving presentations in Abbey Road’s Studio Two on March 10 and 11. Alongside the talks, visitors will get the opportunity to see rare and previously unseen photographs and films from the archives of EMI and Abbey Road Studios, view an exhibition of vintage photos and recording equipment, and hear unique recordings. Tickets are £75 at seetickets.com
New Way to Invest in West End Theatre
PHOTO: ANDY ROBERTS
f you’re thinking of becoming a UK citizen you will have to pass the British government’s Life in the UK Test. A new online video course claims to increase your chances of passing the Citizenship test first time round by breaking down the test into 57 simple tutorials. The video tutorials aim to be engaging, entertaining and informative to ensure that candidates learn fast and retain relevant information about living in the UK. Unlike other programs, the tutorials also provide a step by step visual and audio support through the key aspects of the official government handbook, Life in the UK: A Journey to Citizenship. Managing Director, John Deverell says “Well over 1 million people have sat the “Life in the UK Test” and in excess of 300,000 have failed. This comes as no surprise, looking at the questions, even British people who were born and educated here would find it difficult. We looked hard at what help is available to really understand the Government handbook and quickly realised that there is nothing of any effect. We do not think this is fair and have set out to do something about it. We feel that there should be positive help to guide the candidate through this vital component of their residency application, and have created ‘Life in the UK – Test’ to teach all that is needed to get through the test.” The course, found at www. lifeintheuk-test.com, costs £16.99 for 10 days, £25.99 for 30 days, £34.99 for 60 days and £5.99 for every 5 days thereafter, with unlimited use throughout the period purchased. While The American cannot endorse the course as we have not tried it, it may be worth checking out.
new alternative to traditional theatre investment models gives individuals the opportunity to get involved in London’s West End. Theatre producers Act Productions Ltd., the scheme’s advisers, say that The Theatre Fund offers significant tax advantages under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) over traditional theatre production investment, including up-front income tax relief of 30% and profits free of capital gains or income tax. It also offers: a 70% share of profits (traditionally 60%); a share of pre and post-recoupment royalties traditionally retained by the producer; diversification of risk across a portfolio of productions (traditional theatre investments depend on the success of one show); the opportunity to invest in all Act Production shows, including those ineligible under the new fund; and additional privileges including complimentary tickets and invitations to meet casts.
Embassy Assists Expat Voters
dvice from the U.S. Embassy in London: be an active voter – start thinking about your participation in the U.S. 2012 elections today! Consular Section staff are ready and waiting to assist you with completing your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the form you need to complete this year to participate in the 2012 elections as an overseas absentee voter. They will inform you, in a non-partisan way, about your voting rights, to ensure you are able to exercise your right to participate in elections for federal offices (President, Vice President, Senator, and Representative), and to assist you with voting in state or local elections, if allowed by your state. New absentee voting laws are in effect for the 2012 elections. You will no longer automatically receive ballots based on a previous absentee ballot request and all expats must complete a new FPCA every year if they wish to vote from abroad. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election. No matter what state you vote in, you can now ask your local election officials to provide your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). You can now also confirm your registration and ballot
Embassy News delivery on-line. Be sure to include your email address on the form to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. This is the fastest and most reliable way to receive your ballot on time, and we strongly recommend that every overseas voter take advantage of it. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, www.FVAP. gov. An online wizard will help you complete the form. Depending on your state’s voting requirements, you then either send in the FPCA electronically or mail it to your local election officials. To mail it, print out the completed FPCA and the (U.S.) postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials. If you take your forms or ballots to the U.S. Embassy, they will mail them back home for you without you having to pay for international mail. If it’s easier for you to use the United Kingdom’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery. If you wish Embassy London to send your form and/or ballots to
your Board of Elections in the U.S. postage free then you may come to the Embassy between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, with the exception of British and U.S. holidays. No appointment is necessary. Please bring only your ballot and your U.S. passport. Do not bring any other paperwork, electronics, bags or computers with you. Please allow 10 working days for the delivery of your ballot material if it is sent through the Embassy. Participation in party presidential caucuses by overseas voters is not protected by federal law and requires in-person attendance in most cases. If the party you are affiliated with selects presidential nominees by caucus in your state, contact state party officials for further information. Remember that your vote counts, and that many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it’s valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline. H
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 firstname.lastname@example.org War Horse: Fact and Fiction National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HT www.nam.ac.uk 020 7730 0717 TO FEBRUARY 18
New exhibition exploring the true history behind Michael Morpurgo’s hugely popular novel, which also inspired the amazing stage production and Steven Spielberg’s film. Includes hands-on interactive displays, childrenfriendly activities like dressing–up, games, and stories and exclusive material from Morpurgo, the National Theatre and Speilberg. It examines the vital role of the horse in war and the millions of these ‘patient heroes’.
Thomas Cole and the Birth of Landscape Painting in America Musée du Louvre, 75058 Paris, France www.louvre.fr/ TO APRIL 16
The Louvre begins a collaboration with the High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Terra Foundation for American Art which will see the premiere of a new display of Landscape Paintings by artists including Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand and Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger. The installation begins at The Louvre in January, before moving on to Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, AR in May, and the High Museum, Atlanta, GA in September 2012.
Dame Joan Sutherland: A Tribute Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD www.roh.org.uk TO FEBRUARY 11
The first Royal Opera House exhibition of the 2011/12 Season pays tribute to legendary soprano Dame Joan Sutherland, who began her professional career at the ROH in 1952. It looks at her incredible career, from early days and her landmark performance in Lucia di Lammermoor in 1959, through to her farewell appearance on the ROH stage and features costumes, headdresses and jewelry from productions, and a rare glimpse into the world behind the Main Stage. Dame Joan was born in Sydney and came to London in 1951. Sir John Tooley, the ROH’s General Director, 1970-88, commented, “The most glorious, the most beautiful voice to be heard anywhere round the world during the second half of the last century belonged to an unassuming and down to earth Australian: Joan Sutherland”.
Kew’s Tropical Extravaganza 2012 Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB www.kew.org FEBRUARY 4 TO MARCH 4
Depressed by the thought of those long winter months looming ahead? Then put Saturday 4 February 2012 into your diary, which marks the opening of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s month long Tropical Extravaganza festival, where the Princess of Wales Conservatory is transformed into a sea of exotic orchids. It’s a celebration of all things bright, beautiful, and, of course, tropical. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Forces of Nature’ – visitors will be immersed in an environment where natural foliage and planting schemes will be interspersed with representational displays that dynamically explore and raise awareness of the four classical elements : air, fire, water and earth. Ornamental displays of tropical flowers will represent the elements by colour themes, such as hanging baskets of aquatic hues for water, and arches decorated with blazoned reds, yellows and oranges for fire. The festival will be a feast for the senses.
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Migrations Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG www.tate.org.uk/britain/ TO AUGUST 12
This exhibition will explore British art through the theme of migration from 1500 to the present day. From the 16th and 17th century Flemish and Dutch landscape and still-life painters who came to Britain in search of new patrons, through moments of political and religious unrest, to Britain’s current position within the global landscape, the exhibition will reveal how British art has been fundamentally shaped by successive waves of migration. Includes works by artists from Lely, Kneller, Kauffman to Sargent, Epstein, Mondrian, Bomberg, Bowling, the Black Audio Film Collective and contemporary artists.
American Anthems: Rock Musical Various locations across the UK
fame, the show encapsulates iconic American music from artists like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Eagles, Elvis, Bryan Adams, Michael Bolton, with songs including Walking in Memphis, We Built This City, Bat out of Hell, Born to Run, America, St Elmo’s Fire, Sweet Child of Mine and Proud Mary.
The Snowdrop Trail & Half Term at Hever Castle Hever Castle, Gardens, Hever, Nr Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7NG www.hevercastle.co.uk FEBRUARY 11-19
Enjoy the early blossoms of camellia and quince. The lady of the Wildwoods returns with stories of spring and a workshop to delight young visitors.
Traditional Games & Snowdrop Trails
Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire www.nationaltrust.org.uk 01704 821254
Based around the search for a legendary rock star who disappeared in the early ’90s at the height of his
Join in traditional family games including draughts, Nine Men’s Morris,
dominoes, snakes and ladders and ludo in the magnificent 16th century great hall at Rufford. If the weather is fine Giant Chess, skittles and skipping will be on offer. Snowdrop walks begin at 1pm.
February Half Term at Stowe Stowe, Buckinghamshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk 01280 822850 FEBRUARY 13-17
Youngsters can enjoy teddy bear fun at Stowe this half term. Activities include teddy hide and seek (indoors and out), colouring sheets and create your own teddy bears’ picnic. 10am-4pm.
Pirate Week at Studland Studland Beach and Nature Reserve, Dorset www.nationaltrust.org.uk 01929 450259 FEBRUARY 13-17
Over the week there’ll be lots on; including a trail, sand sculpture fun, talk like a pirate lessons, den building, design your own pirate flag, make your own edible ‘pieces of eight’ and Studland stories. 10.30am-3.30pm.
Jorvik Viking Festival Jorvik Viking Centre, Coppergate, York YO1 9WT www.jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 01904 615 505 FEBRUARY 11-19
Relive the events of the early 11th century when Vikings ruled much of England. You may have descended from one of these stalwart people but even if not, York is a lovely city to visit and there is lots more to do as well. Events include a Viking musical, a Viking Wedding in York Minster, Banquet, a Festival of Fire and Jorvik Japes for the kids.
Bugs in the Rugs! Scotney Castle, Kent www.nationaltrust.org.uk 01892 893 860 FEBRUARY 15-19
Become a bug hunter in the Scotney mansion for half term. Old country houses are full of weird and wonderful bugs and beasties. Join in the fun and see if you can hunt down some of our creepy critters!
New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert Barbican Centre, London EC2Y 8DS www.barbican.org.uk 0845 120 7550 FEBRUARY 16-18
The New York Phil and Music Director Alan Gilbert’s residency starts on Feb. 16 with Mahler’s Symphony No. 9. The programme includes the UK premiere of Thomas Adès’ Polaris, Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe Suite (No. 2), and Berlioz’ Les nuits d’été, featuring mezzo– soprano Joyce DiDonato. On Feb 18, the Phil presents the sights and sounds of New York through the eyes of its former Music Director and pioneering music educator Leonard Bernstein, featuring his overture to West Side Story, Masque from Symphony No 2 ‘Age of Anxiety’, Three Dance Episodes from On the Town, and Aaron Copland’s Skyline from Music for a Great City. The residency ends with another stellar soloist performing, Lang Lang joins Alan Gilbert and the Orchestra for Bartók’s Piano Concerto No 2.
Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day Various locations across the UK FEBRUARY 21
Shrove Tuesday, aka pancake day, is the day when historically people use up
The 1940s Experience at The Tank Museum The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset BH20 6JG www.tankmuseum.org 01929 462359 FEBRUARY 11-19
The Tank Museum is transporting visitors back in time this Half Term, with the “1940s Experience” giving a taste of wartime Britain. Visitors will learn about life on the Home Front during World War Two in a series of fun family activities, finding out about evacuation, rationing, and the menacing threat of air raids. Tour our Home Front House & meet the Home Guard, meet a 1940s housewife with interactive demonstrations of wartime home-craft and cookery, enjoy a Special Wartime Menu in the restaurant and experience the thrill of riding in a tracked vehicle. Children in 1940s evacuee fancy dress go free!
their luxury produce before the fasting of Lent. It’s mainly celebrated at home, but extra–luxury versions can be found: check your local restaurants.
Olney Anglo-American Pancake Race Olney, North Buckinghamshire www.olneyonline.com FEBRUARY 21
The unique Olney Pancake Race stops traffic as local ladies in traditional housewife attire (including apron and scarf), run through the streets. Pancakes are tossed at the start of the race and the winner is required to toss her pancake again at the finish. Runners and townsfolk then go into the Parish Church for the great Shriving Service. The race has been run since around 1445 and since 1950 the contest has been an international event between
Olney and the town of Liberal, Kansas in America. The winner is declared after times are compared through a transatlantic telephone call from Liberal to Olney. www.pancakeday.net is the Liberal site.
Sparks Annual Golf Dinner Chancery Court Hotel, London, 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN www.sparks.org.uk email@example.com 0207 091 7755 FEBRUARY 23
Golfers, help raise funds for Sparks, the charity that funds research into serious conditions affecting the health of babies, children and mums to be. The black tie evening includes a champagne reception, dinner, celebrity guests, awards, entertainment and a silent auction with exclusive prizes. H
Stepping Out Enjoy the footpaths and trails of England and Wales, writes Mary Bailey
ccording to one of G.K. Chesterton’s best-loved poems, “Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode, the rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road...”. If that was just the roads, what about the footpaths? Our forebears certainly did not have 4x4s! A British footpath is a public right of way for the use of pedestrians, with dogs under control, though not necessarily leashed. They are also an ancient right of way, and in most cases, must be walked at least once a year to keep them open. Their condition varies, based on use and county, and be prepared too for the quality of any single path changing along the way – after a couple of miles beside a river, a path may divert into a ploughed field. Don’t be put off: this is correct, and it may annoy the farmer, but you are on course. Length is usually specified on
a signpost, such as ‘Little Bilberry on Wey 4 miles’. These can be what we call ‘country miles’, which often seem longer than walking round a shopping mall. Also, descriptions in walking instructions such as ‘there is a small incline here’ may leave you gasping for breath and hoping to reach the summit before your heart gives out. As further attempts to fool you, a path may join a road for a short distance, or dive into foliage. Also, while there is little of danger in our countryside, beware the stinging nettle; its sting doesn’t last long but it hurts bare flesh. The UK is wonderful for walking. For one thing, the countryside is stunning in places, and, importantly, varies quickly. You can walk on downland in the morning, yet be in thick woodland an hour or two later (and be surrounded by woodland bluebells in May). Remember, we are a small island nation; I recall a charming Texan
once laughingly enquiring if, should he put his foot down, there was any danger of driving over the edge. Some shorter walks are circular, but not many, so think about how to get back. Pubs are great for food, but on Sundays a great many of them will serve only a good hot roast lunch, and if you have that you may not get any further! You need not look as if you are climbing Everest, but stout shoes and old clothes are a must, and take your cell phone in case you get lost. The OS Explorer maps with the orange cover are good as well as the standard Ordnance Survey. For those who prefer a short stroll on a Sunday afternoon, footpath walking books are available from bookshops and some tourist information centers. There is little point in me trying to detail too many footpaths here, as readers live in different places, but here are some ideas and directions:
These are a good idea early in the year. For those in the South East, try the Thames Path National Trail (www.nationaltrail.co.uk/thamespath/). Richmond to Hampton Court is a great eight-mile route (with public transport available at both ends). London Eye to Putney Bridge is another – you can pick it up further down and stroll to Greenwich, and enjoy a walk round Greenwich itself. These riverside trails are flat, which means easy walking, and while you won’t have rural scenery, there is both plenty to see of interest and plenty of food nearby! Plus, public transport means you can cut and run if you wish (including, in the case of Greenwich, by the boat, if still light).
kind of holiday than a five star spa hotel (that’s for when you get back!). Visit www.macsadventure.com (a company well known in the States) or phone 0141 530 8876. For committed hikers, seek out the Mortimer Trail, which is stunning, but rather remote on the English-Welsh border, and best after April. You will walk about 11-12 miles a day and there is no escape until your next exit point. Some of my family have done it and loved it; they say you forget all about finance, elections, your income tax and the like. More moderately, we have the South Downs Way. Easy to pick up at several points, we did a softish piece leading down into Chichester. Most of the path is fairly high up, so
you look down onto the countryside as you walk, with a good view of Goodwood Race Course thrown in. Do please try to get out and about, armed either with a footpaths book or by contacting a ramblers club (www.ramblers.org.uk/). Signs of Spring will be in Cornwall by late February if our climate doesn’t go berserk. Our countryside is as much part of us as our cities, and of course walking is one of the few things that is good for us without being nasty – at worse you lose weight and, ladies, the damp country air is like a cosmetic, as it unfolds the skin. Good luck. H For more information and links, visit www.nationaltrail.co.uk
Taking Surrey as an example, there’s a circular walk round Guildford which is just two miles, with many of less than five miles. Alternatively, you can just pick a village such as Shere in Surrey and try one of the local paths – after all, you can always walk a few miles and come back.
By now, experienced walkers among you will be wondering what I am on about, so here are some good longer walks for early in the year. The South West Coastal Trail covers 650 miles of Devon and Cornish coast. The coastal path is terrific, with the sea, cliffs, birds and so on. Several firms can design your daily walk, reserve your bed and breakfast, and see that your luggage goes ahead. You have a choice of several parts of the walk to choose from or, of course, do the whole thing. B&Bs are normal here, and sometimes inns or houses – much more fun for this
Bat’s Head to White Nothe, a walk along the chalk cliffs on the Dorset Coast PHOTO: JIM CHAMPION
A Day that Shaped the World: Boxing Day 1861 O
ne hundred and fifty years ago today, a fateful decision was made by Abraham Lincoln which saved America. For eight months the United States had been ripped apart by a civil war that would eventually cost 620,000 lives, more than all the other wars America has fought combined. One of the keys to the eventual success of the North in winning, and reuniting the nation, was the lack of allies the Confederacy had throughout the four-year struggle. Contrast this with the original American revolutionary war, when Britain faced the military opposition of the French and Spanish, and the diplomatic opposition of the Prussians, Dutch and Russians. The main reason the United States was born was due to foreign intervention, and the reason it stayed
RMS Trent (left) and USS San Jacinto
By Jeremy Mindell
together during the civil war was the lack of foreign intervention. However at one point the active engagement of the British looked a strong possibility.
The Trent Affair
The South sent two Commissioners, James Mason and John Slidell, to Britain and France; their role was to act as the Confederacy’s representatives to France and London and try to secure recognition of an independent South. They were intercepted on the high seas by a Union warship, USS San Jacinto, whilst they were travelling on a British ship, the RMS Trent, an event since known as the “Trent Affair”. The Union captain, Charles Wilkes, did not follow international law of the time when he abducted
FROM THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS COLLECTION AVAILABLE ON THEGENEALOGIST.CO.UK
the two emissaries. It was seen as a challenge to British naval supremacy. Few actions could have been more likely to provoke a British reaction than this insult to the flag. Honour needed to be restored, and British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston was never going to take it lying down. As he said in an emergency cabinet meeting “I don’t know whether you are going to stand this, but I’ll be damned if I do.” There existed no natural alliance between Britain and the United States, and no history of friendship during the previous 60 years. Britain had been understandably irritated when America seemed sympathetic to Bonaparte, culminating in the war of 1812-14 between Britain and the United States. This ill feeling was reinforced in the Crimean war when
(Left to right) Charles Wilkes, captain of the San Jacinto; James Murray Mason; and John Slidell
American actions, though officially neutral, seemed to be more friendly to the Russians. There was absolutely no fund of goodwill towards America. At this point the war had not become a crusade to end slavery; the emancipation proclamation was nearly a year away. It is a remarkable testimony to the endurance of British Prime Ministers in the 19th century that Palmerston cut his teeth during the Napoleonic wars in the war office and was still active in government as Prime Minister over half a century later, equivalent today to a member of Churchill’s war cabinet serving in John Major’s government.
Playing for Time
It is perhaps ironic that it was a technology failure that probably saved the United States. An underwater telegraph line had been laid in 1858 but was not working in 1861. Queen Victoria and President Buchanan had exchanged messages, yet the telegraph was not working in 1861, meaning messages took considerably longer and allowed tempers to cool. Modern technology played a part in the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War and the First World War. Its absence probably stopped a third Anglo-American war in 1861. The delay allowed for an adjustment of positions; in his final service to the UK and, as it turned out, the USA; Prince Albert famously amended the ultimatum that Palmerston was planning to send to soften its tone. By implying that Captain Wilkes had acted beyond the authority of the United States Government he was allowing a
diplomatic retreat by Lincoln and his cabinet. Even then Lincoln had to proceed very carefully as Captain Wilkes was being received as a hero all over the North. The incident tapped into the latent anti-British sentiment which exploded into the popular consciousness. To disavow Wilkes’ actions would be politically hazardous, especially as the war had not been going well for the North. So Lincoln played for time; when the final dispatch came from the UK’s government, Lincoln’s cabinet still took two days, Christmas Day and the day after, to decide to release the Confederate Commissioners. This was perhaps not surprising, as William H. Seward, as Secretary of State, had even proposed a diversionary war against Britain in order to conquer Canada and unite North America. Eventually common sense prevailed and on December 26 1861 the Americans released the Commissioners without an apology to Britain, and Britain overlooked the fact that no apology was proffered.
How It Might Have Ended
What would the impact have been of a war between Britain and the North? It would, as Amanda Foreman recently put it, have ‘set the world on fire’. Unlike in previous
wars, Britain had France on its side and had no European distractions. The Admiralty had devised a plan to use Britain’s naval superiority to break the blockade and deliver aggressive actions against Northern ports in a forerunner of Shock and Awe. Even if Britain had not formally allied with the South, the diversion of effort needed to meet this new threat would have proved too much for the North. The Civil War was a very close run thing with the South isolated. If the North had to fight on two fronts it would have surely given up the struggle – sooner rather than later. What would America have resembled after a successful Southern succession? Probably something close to the Balkans. The South was not the only area where secessionist sentiment was prevalent. The Northwest of the USA would have probably split from the North east and there would be a series of unstable countries where the USA is now. Try to imagine the world without a prosperous, free and United States of America in the 20th century and you then realise the enormity of the decision made by Lincoln “to fight one war at a time.” H Jeremy Mindell is a member of the UK American Civil War Round Table, one of many dedicated to the study of all aspects of the Civil War.
Black Sea Ramble Touring with James Carroll Jordan. Additional photos by Malcolm McKee
his time the “Actors Corner” is floating around the Black Sea, and very happy to do so. When I first got offered the gig, I said “Black Sea? Isn’t that just Borscht slurping, smelly Russians and crafty Turks?” Yes, it is that, but so much more. When you look on any world map, the Black Sea looks quite small. Well, we criss-crossed it three times in our voyage, and let me tell you, it is huge ...and extremely fascinating. If I hadn’t been to the Middle East and been told that it was the cradle of civilization, I would have said the Black Sea was. Historically, it was populated by roving Greek colonists looking to live in better places with more fertile land. They formed colonies and cities all along the coastline and our ship, the Minerva from Swan Hellenic (really a floating five star hotel) stopped at most all of them. Jan and I flew in from London to
Athens to find it in the 90s, clear and bright and ready for sightseeing. The contrast from a brisk, almost wintry England was staggering. I put my fleece in my suitcase, donned shorts and t-shirt, and started my ramblings. I had a quick stop at the Acropolis as I’d seen it many times before, and then took one of the mini-tours that the ship provided down the gorgeous Aegean coastline to the Temple of Poseidon. Along the way we passed so many lovely, inviting beaches that when we arrived, half our acting troupe headed straight for the beach for a dip. I didn’t think we’d see Sarah and Alex again. Jan and I listened and learned and marveled at the Temple, and were enthralled by the views. “This is where we should buy our second home, Jim”, Jan said. I pointed out to her that she’d said the same thing in Italy on our last cruise, as well as in
Cyprus on the one before that. But part of me agreed with her. It might even have been too hot for me there, but it was certainly a welcome relief and change from where we’d come. That evening the five of us – Malcolm, Sarah, Alex and Jan and I – had a romantic dinner sitting in Pireaus Harbor being caressed by a warm evening breeze and served by the friendly, liveried Filipino waiters of Minerva. I truly felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. After dinner I took a stroll along the deck and fell in with a lovely couple from Annapolis, Maryland: Myles and Stella. Myles had recently retired from teaching at the Naval Academy and this was their first cruise. He said he chose it because it was going to the Black Sea. This was my first inkling that the Black Sea might be more interesting than I thought. He told me of all the battle fields of the
Crimean War and pointed out that this was where Ulysses did most of his voyage “around the world”. Stella pointed out that it was also where Jason and his Argonauts went searching for the Golden Fleece. I was definitely getting interested now. We set sail late that evening with the ship’s band playing jazz on deck and fireworks on shore. A nice single malt whiskey for me, a small Baileys for Jan, and we fell into our cabin for a blissful night’s sleep as the ship gently rolled its way up the Bosphorus. Sailing up the Bosphorus is like taking a Disney ride but with all the miniature houses full sized and fascinating to gaze upon. One side is European, and the other Greek for a while and then Turkish. I was torn away from the side of the ship, and my wonderful photo opportunity, by Malcolm and our first rehearsal. Darn... I had completely forgotten that I had to “sing for my supper”. Two hours later, we arrived in Troy – or at least its nearby port. The town wasn’t much, but they did have the wooden horse from Brad Pitt’s movie for us to climb through (and let me say here and now it smelled like Brad’s pit after a hard days work), and quite a few tavernas and eateries. Since I’m not a fish guy, I didn’t eat much, but thoroughly enjoyed the local beer. It was a quick stop, and off we sailed that afternoon for more travel along the Dardanelles. To my surprise, we didn’t stop at Istanbul but kept cruising right on by. I was bereft to say the least. I intended to buy a nice Turkish carpet bag to replace the one I had bought a decade ago on an earlier cruise. I ran in a panic to Paul Carter our Cruise Director and was calmed down by his assurance that we were going to stop at my beloved “Constantinople” on our return trip from the Black Sea. Phew! All I wanted was my Turkish bag and a
mooch around the famous bazaar of Istanbul. We finally got through the long channel of the Dardanelles/Bosphorus and arrived in the Black Sea. It wasn’t black at all. In fact, it looked just like the Med, only it was a bit rougher, and the dolphins seemed smaller. I have to say, dolphin-watching is one of my favorite pastimes; so it was with the other passengers. Combined with this pastime was my ridiculous pleasure in getting the older passengers off their chairs and thronging the rails to see the dolphins. It seemed to me that nothing moved them quicker than a sighting. I was sorely tempted to yell “Dolphins HO!” without even sighting any just to see them leap to the sides and shout “Where... where?” But I curbed that desire. We stopped at various cities along the Turkish coast and I dutifully rehearsed, and topped up my tan, and ate copious amounts of fantastic food five times a day. When we hit our second port of call in Georgia, things really started to look up. Batumi was the old headquarters of the Romans when they ran that part of the world, way back when. It was filled with forts, old baths and aqueducts, etc. I just loved all that. It also had what I and many other Americans assumed was the calling card of Russia: the gold-topped onion-shaped domed buildings alongside many Eastern Orthodox Churches equally beautiful and “Oriental”. I breathed a sigh of contentment. I got up early, leaving Jan to her morning lie in and headed off to see the sights. It was a mixture of new build and old tenements from the Stalin era. The people were friendly enough, and I found my way around quite easily. I took a break on a bench opposite a beautiful gilded statue of a naked God or hero and relaxed.
The Istanbul skyline from the Bosphorus
The statue of Medea in Batumi
Also present was a Connecticut couple from the ship. We were there for a few minutes before the man exclaimed, “Oh my gawd! Would you look at that!” He was referring to the four mermaids seated at each corner of the fountain. On closer inspection, I said “Oh my Gawd!” as well: each mermaid was holding her rounded, bronzed breasts and squeezing water out of their nipples! The man from Connecticut’s wife hurried him away. I stayed for some reason. Perhaps I was tired… after a while I heard a voice from my left saying; “Do you vant to play?” I turned and saw an extremely beautiful, long-legged blond siren, with a very short skirt and low cut blouse, looking at me provocatively. I stammered something unintelligible all the while thinking; “Yeah Jim! You’ve still got the magic!” or something to that effect, before being brought down to earth by her next utterance; “I take Euros…” I looked quickly around to see if this wasn’t some kind of “test”
my wife Jan had set up. Nope. Just a hooker hitting on an old man in the park. I went back to the ship with my tail between my legs. Next stop was Yalta, with its history of the Yalta (Crimea) Conference, etc. I expected it to be boring and riddled with the usual poverty and newish mosques and churches, but instead, I found what I can only describe as the Vegas of the Baltic! Beautiful buildings, promenades, beaches, restaurants, expensive shops, and thousands of incredibly beautiful young women and portly, wealthy men filled the view for miles. I took a stroll with Jan and had whiplash within two hundred yards from watching all the pretty girls. I also had a hundred or so bruises inflicted on my body from Jan as I snapped photos right and left. There are some things she and I don’t see eye to eye on. Ah well. There was even a World Convention of Body Guards (and Killers) on the Quay showing off their martial and driving skills. Jan got even with me by eyeing all the hunky Body Guard/Killers. I usually puff up and get bolshie when men eye up my wife, but found it difficult to do so with these rather scary specimens of mayhem. They unnerved me so much that I could barely suck in my stomach as I hurried Jan away. Fair’s fair, I guess…. Still, I could stay there a week happily. Just along the coast, we stopped at Sevastopol, where all the famous battles of the Crimean War took place. I was still recovering from the
The Swallow’s Nest in Yalta
whiplash I got in Yalta, so gave the battlefields a miss. Instead, I went to the on-board lectures from our group of very learned scholars, and of course topped up my tan. We did a show that evening as we sailed westward, and they seemed to love it. I got a bit seasick in the middle of it, but managed to tough it out. Next was a small port in Hungary that proved a disappointment, but I managed to buy some great Slivovitch. I was really just waiting for our last port of call: Istanbul. We arrived there early morning and I was up and away with the birds. Topkapi! The Blue Mosque! The Grand Bazaar! I wanted to see them all, and I did! And to my delight, I found the perfect Turkish carpet bag and had a ball haggling the guy down from 500 euros to 87. He cried that I was stealing bread from his unborn children, but happily took my money anyway. We flew home fat, sassy and happy the next day. H
WINETS K C I T
Win a pair of tickets to see Travelling Light at the National Theatre Deadline for entries February 10th Nicholas Wright’s new play is a funny and fascinating tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood’s golden age. The award-winning Antony Sher plays Jacob. The young Motl Mendl is entranced by the flickering silent images on his father’s cinematograph. Bankrolled by Jacob, the ebullient local timber merchant, to make moving pictures of their village, he stumbles on a revolutionary way of story-telling. Forty years on, Motl – now a famed American film director – looks back on his early life and confronts the cost of fulfilling his dreams. We have a pair of tickets for the winner of this month’s competition. Just answer the following question: One of the most famous of the immigrants who became successful in Hollywood was film producer Sam Goldwyn. What surname did he use when he arrived in America? ANSWER A Goldfish B Goldman C Goldwater
HOW TO ENTER: Email your answer and your contact details (name, address and daytime telephone number) to theamerican@ blueedge.co.uk with TRAVELLING LIGHT COMPETITION in the subject line; or send a postcard to: TRAVELLING LIGHT COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK; to arrive by mid-day February 10th, 2012 You must be 18 years old or over to enter this competition. Only one entry per person per draw. The editor’s decision is final. No cash alternative. Winners’ tickets valid for all February performances. Subject to availability. Promoter reserves the right to substitute prize for that of an equal or greater value if necessary. You are responsible for any travel, accommodation and other expenses.
020 7452 3000 • www.nationaltheatre.org.uk
Art s choice The American
by Michael Burland
National Portrait Gallery
Right: Kenneth Armitage RA, Model for Krefeld Monument, 1956, part of Exorcising the Fear THE INGRAM COLLECTION
FEBRUARY 9 TO MAY 27
Lucian Freud (1922-2011) was simply one of the most important and influential artists of his generation, and portraits were central to his work. Surprisingly this exhibition, which spans over seventy years of work, is the first to focus on his portraiture. It concentrates on particular periods and groups of sitters which illustrate the development of his style towards the trademark bold and faceted faces that seem to defy the viewer, and his undoubted technical virtuosity. Insightful paintings of the Freud’s lovers, friends and family reveal the psychological dramas unfolding behind the studio door. The show features over 100 of Freud’s works from museums and private collections throughout the world. Some have never been seen
in public before. Let Freud sum up: “I’ve always wanted to create drama in my pictures, which is why I paint people. It’s people who have brought drama to pictures from the beginning. The simplest human gestures tell stories.”
Exorcising the Fear Pangolin London, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG TO MARCH 3
Exorcising the Fear is named after the XXVI Venice Biennale, which took place 60 years ago and saw the emergence of one of the most important groups of sculptors in British art. It was a crossroads for sculpture in this country following the destruction and disruption of the Second World War. Influenced by Henry Moore, a group of eight young sculptors, including Lynn Chadwick, Eduardo Paolozzi and Reg Butler, had a huge impact on Post War art, here and in the wider world, through the 1950s and 1960s. This is a rare opportunity to view these revolutionary sculptures together. Left: Reflection (Self-portrait), 1985 PRIVATE COLLECTION, IRELAND © THE LUCIAN FREUD ARCHIVE
Right: Art For Um, Buster Cleveland, Vol.2, Issue 9: “Poop Art”. February 1995 COURTESY OF ICA
In Numbers: Serial Publications by Artists Since 1955 Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH JANUARY 25 TO 18 MARCH
From ‘small press’ book publishing in the 1960s, through the correspondence art movement in which artists swapped art by mail to the DIY ‘zines’ of the ’80s and ’90s, artists have used magazines and postcards as a medium for a new kind of art production: serial publications. They still do. This exhibition includes 30 publications produced by artists
Art s news
by Estelle Lovatt
Robin Richmond, The Lagoon Looking Across the Gondola Poles towards San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
around the world from 1955 to the present day. In Numbers was previously shown at X-Initiative in New York, an experimental and temporary non-profit arts initiative that ran from March 2009 to February 2010.
Robin Richmond, The Still Point of the Turning World Curwen Gallery, 34 Windmill Street, London W1T 2JR MARCH 7- 31
In her eighth one-woman show at Curwen and New Academy Gallery, American artist Robin Richmond (who lives and works in London and South-West France) goes ‘back to the future’ into traditional easel painting. She uses skills that most young artists are completely unfamiliar with like glazing and layering, but she has not, perhaps, gone too far into the traditional. Her paintings may not be figurative, but her landscapes strongly evoke a sense of place. Richmond thinks of herself as a ‘painter of Light’ – in the tradition of Turner as much as Rothko and the Abstract Expressionists with whom she feels a great affinity. She says her paintings are “more an evocation of a feeling; a kind of emotional weather map where physical and mental space collide”, where the “world is at our feet as fragile as our clay.”
Clooney ‘to Foil Nazi Art Thefts’ L adies, Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney says he is off to war... announcing, whilst at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, January 7, he will direct and star in a film about ‘The Monuments Men’; theWorld War II art historians who landed at Normandy to save the art stolen by Hitler, who, Clooney said, “Hid 27 Rembrants in a coffin!” Clooney, and producing partner Grant Heslov, plan to script the story of this movie, based on Robert Edsel’s 2009 book The Monuments Men, charting this team of eleven civilian art experts, who included Americans Lincoln Kirstein, founder of the New York City Ballet; George Stout, who worked at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum; and James J. Rorimer, from the Metropolitan Museum. These artistic people weren’t at all trained for war yet they faced live fire, resulting in a couple of them dying on their mission. And on another tack, humor somehow coming out of this tragedy, apparently these ‘art’ men had to sporadically yell out battlefield instructions like “Don’t aim your tank over there; that’s the Leaning Tower of Pisa!” Hitler was an uncompromising art lover; a failed watercolourist who couldn’t gain entry into art school, his portfolio so poor in quality. And we know, he stashed art masterpieces everywhere -
stashed or smashed! Don’t forget he destroyed much art which he coined Degenerate Art. “And”, to boot, Clooney adds, “there’s also a great love story!”, hanging on Rose Valland, a member of the French resistance, and art historian, who assiduously pursued stolen art. With Clooney both directing and co-starring in it, it’s going to be ‘a sight for sore eyes’.... I’ve my popcorn ready, and I want a seat right on the front line.
George Clooney at 66th Festival de Venise © NICOLAS GENIN
Eve Arnold © EVE ARNOLD-MAGNUM PHOTOS
OBITUARY: Eve Arnold by Estelle Lovatt
ward-winning global photojournalist Eve Arnold died January 4, 2012, aged 99. She passed away serenely in a nursing home in London. I remember interviewing Eve when she exhibited at her retrospective show at the Barbican art gallery, London, 1996, when she was 84. She looked great. She was great. She was easy to connect to. Her subjects ranged from the underprivileged to the overprivileged. From the weak homeless hobo, to the helpful bar staff in New York clubs, to Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor and the enthralling Marilyn Monroe; see Eve’s book of exquisite photographs entitled, Marilyn Monroe: An Appreciation. In between, were the migrant manual workers – all about as much toil as the Cuban fishermen she
photographed. Not forgetting the Afghan nomads against Jacqueline Kennedy, Malcolm X and Margaret Thatcher. She said, that was because “I have been poor and I wanted to document poverty; I had lost a child and I was obsessed with birth; I was interested in politics and I wanted to know how it affected our lives; I am a woman and I wanted to know about women.” Further, in a BBC interview, 2002, she commentated,”If you’re careful with people and if you respect their privacy, they will offer part of themselves that you can use.” Arnold was born in Philadelphia in 1912. Her parents were Russian immigrants. She was living on Long Island and working in a photofinishing lab when she first became interested in the art of photography. She took a short six-week photographic course at the New School for Social
Research, in New York. And she started her vocation as a professional photographer in the golden age of magazine photojournalism, in the 1940s, shooting for numerous publishing house titles, including Picture Post, Time and Life magazine. Arnold began at the Magnum agency in 1951. She was the very first woman given access, and warmly welcomed, to the organization after her shots of Harlem fashion shows impressed fellow photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. She arrived in London in the 1960s and found work at the Sunday Times Magazine and others. Then, in the 1970s, she was one of the first American photographers to work in China, the images proudly exhibited in her first solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and subsequently published as In China. She was also commissioned to photograph and film Dubai’s ruling family for a documentary film Behind the Veil. She also did a series named In America followed by The Great British. Her portfolio was shown at Britain’s National Portrait Gallery and was the theme of the fabulous retrospective show at the Barbican in London in 1996 (where I met this wonderful woman). Arnold was honoured as a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and named Master Photographer by the International Center of Photography, New York. She was then named an officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, by HM Queen Elizabeth II for services to photography, in 2003. And in 2009 she received a lifetime achievement prize from the Sony World Photography Awards. Eve was divorced from her husband, Arnold Arnold. She is survived by her son, Frank, and three grand-children. H
fire crackled in the hearth of the large living room in the Manor House at Goodstone Inn and Estate and guests were enjoying a drink before going into the restaurant next door. I was staying there after visiting my granddaughter at Foxcroft, a private girls’ boarding and day school in Middleburg. Goodstone is set on 265 acres of pastures and woodlands with delightful scenes, wherever you look, of thoroughbreds grazing in nearby meadows and breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. It was almost twenty years since I last visited Middleburg and driving down the main street of this beautiful colonial town, I discovered to my delight that little seemed to have changed. Passing the Red Fox Inn and Tavern (www.redfox.com or call USA – 540 687 6301), the oldest building in town, it was easy to imagine the young surveyor, George Washington, or Jackie Kennedy in traditional riding attire joining friends there for lunch. In the 1700s, Middleburg was a stoppingoff point for weary travellers, although today it’s more of a place to get away from the stress and strife of daily life. Some of the guests at Goodstone were there for the hunt, others walking and mountain biking and when the weather permits, canoeing on Goose Creek. If you’re not athletically minded,
Goodstone Inn & Estate
The Middleburg Historic District, comprising the 19th century centre of town, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is Red Fox Inn, and is a delightful place to wander along. Fox hunters were out in full attire that afternoon. As we turned into the grounds of Foxcroft we saw the Master of Hounds and his hunt staff in their traditional apparel – the scarlet coat (pinks), light coloured pants, tall black boots and black hats – and The Field, the riders following the hounds, wearing black jackets, buff or tan
Reviewed by Virginia E. Schultz riding britches, black boots and white shirts – just setting out. It could have been a scene from an equestrian painting by John Frederick Herring painted two hundred years before. Since the early 1900s, Middleburg has been welcoming visitors interested in fox hunting and steeple chasing and has been described as the nation’s horse and hunt capital. (I might add, they do not kill the fox in Virginia).
Guests arriving at Goodstone pass through the courtyard and into a converted carriage and stable complex. Scattered around the property are 18 guest rooms and suites in six restored farm buildings. The rooms are delightfully decorated and the four poster bed in my room was exceptionally comfortable. In 1937, the mansion, built in 1916, was destroyed by fire and the only part of the house remaining is the ivy-covered façade. Goodstone was named Most Excellent Inn 2011 by Condé Nast’s Luxury Travel Guide, and after staying there I could understand why. Everyone, from Guest Services Manager James Blunt to the maid cleaning my room, went out of their way to be helpful. Executive Chef William Walden is, thankfully, not copying antiquated French cuisine and seems to be determined to put his own stamp on the restaurant. His biggest difficulty is being compared with the restaurant at The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia (www.theinnatlittlewashington.com) which has been named one of the top country inns and restaurants in the States by everyone from Zagat Survey to Wine
Spectator’s Grand Award to Andrew Lloyd Webber for umpteen years. Whether Walden will succeed or not is open to question and I’m going to have to dine at both places the next time I visit my granddaughter before I can answer. However, the breakfast I enjoyed at Goodstone the morning I was there was better than one I recently had at The Bristol in Paris, and one can’t give better praise than that. There are many things to do for adults and children while visiting Middleburg. Civil War battlefields at Manassas and Bull Run as well as beautiful stately homes such as Oaklands Plantation and Morven Park are close by. Enjoy too a wine tasting at one of the many wineries in the surrounding area and hopefully you’ll be as impressed as I was by Virginian wines. Napa may not have to watch out just yet, but if I was a vintner in California, Oregon or Washington I wouldn’t close my eyes too tightly.
36205 Snake Hill Road, Middleburg, Virginia 20117 Phone: (USA) 540 687 3333, Information@goodstone.com,
i Ju San, meaning “23” in Japanese, is located on the ground floor of Sake No Hana. The bar is minimal in style with bamboo walls, elegant black leather seating and has a wonderfully fascinating glass chandelier over six metres long that caught my attention as soon as I entered with actress Maxine Howe that evening. Forget ordering champagne, but have instead one of the original cocktails created by George Matzardis, the award winning bar manager of the Hakkasan Group who own the bar and restaurant. The Kiki Sakura, made with Shiroku yuzu sake, cherry liqueur and Elements 8 Platinum rum (£10.00) took me back to my younger years sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico, a situation enhanced by the izakaya, grilled meats and vegetables, which run from £3.00 to the deliciously different Sumiyaki Uzura (grilled quail) at £8.00 that would be perfect to have before going onto the theater a 20 minute walk or short taxi ride away. In fact, so delicious were the tidbits, such as the avocado and salmon roll and the legs of king crab, one could spend the evening nibbling rather than dining in the restaurant above. Now comes the negative: the escalator to Sake No Hana, the restaurant. It is long, narrow, steep and dark and getting on to go up, wearing two inch heels, made me hesitate, but watching the tall young blonde in front of me in her six inch heels grab hold of her male partner’s shoulder as she fell slightly forward on starting down gave me pause before I put one foot forward. My advice – take the elevator. It was a few weeks later before I dined at Sake No Hana with Caroline Kennedy who lives in Costa Rica and ordinarily watches her diet carefully. The menu, created by Chef Daisuke Hayashi, might be best described as classical Japanese re-designed for
NI JU SAN & SAKE NO HANA Reviewed by Virginia E. Schultz modern palates. The restaurant, thankfully, has been revamped and there is no longer the difficult Japanese seating of before. Caroline, who doesn’t drink, had the Momo Fuku (£5.00), a passion fruit juice with peach purée while I decided it could only be sake and had a carafe of Nechi Otokoyama “white” Gingo (£21.30), which was described as dry and creamy, almond sauce and ripe apple and tasted as lovely as it sounded. As in LA in the 1990s where I first learned to enjoy Japanese food,
Japanese chefs in London, many of them French trained, are creating a nouveau cuisine that is both aesthetic and full of subtle flavours that are influencing chefs all over Europe. The small plates offered are varied and whether a simple cold appetizer like sesame spinach (£4.00) or the rib eye beef with sesame dressing (£19.00), one doesn’t have that heavy feeling in the stomach as in western cuisine. The iron pot black cod with rice (£18.50) was delicious, but the wow factor of the evening for me was the Chilean
Sea Bass with miso (£22.00). Yes, the Sushi Rolls of Mango and Soft Shell crab (£11.00) and the Sashimi Sanshu (£18.00) with salmon, cod and yellow fin tuna I’d have again, but it was the Sea Bass that will make me come back. Dessert, well, forget it. Go for a bike ride or walk the next morning and have a tasty doughnut instead.
23 St. James’s Street, London SW1A 1HA. 020 7925 8988. sakenohana.com
Cellar Talk By Virginia E. Schultz
estaurants all over the world will be offering special Valentine Day Menus for their customers on February 14th. Food is a sensual pleasure that teases and tantalizes the taste buds, the tongue and the eye, and for centuries throughout history men and women have used special formulas to seduce the person they wanted. It is believed by some that witches came into existence when males, fearing the power of the potions of these mainly elderly women, had to find a reason to get rid of them and thus accused them of being under the influence of the devil. Almost every nationality in history believed that certain foods, herbs and wines created vitality and success in love. The apple as we all know has been the source of temptation since Eve seduced Adam in the Garden of Eden. There could be some truth in that as the apple is rich in magnesium and sulphur which supposedly stimulates the glands. The Aztecs referred to chocolate as “nourishment of the Gods”. Chocolate releases seratonin, which increases well being, which proves they were on the right track. For centuries, mussels, oysters and clams were thought to be natural aphrodisiacs and it has only recently been learned that shellfish have chemical compounds that release sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. In the desert, nomads relied on figs to preserve their potency
and as figs are rich in silicon, are sometimes used today in impotency problems. Perhaps they knew something scientists have only recently proved. Of course, much of the beliefs relied on shape more than actual proof: asparagus, bananas and carrots were considered an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs for that reason, as was the avocado tree Ahucauati which translated means ‘testicle tree’! Honey too is high on the list of aphrodisiacs. Many medicines in ancient Egypt were based on honey and medieval seducers were known to ply their partners with mead, a fermented drink made from honey, on their “honeymoon”. Oysters were also considered an aphrodisiac by the ancients and in the second century, the satirist, Juvenal, described the wanton ways of women after eating giant oysters. Again, note the shape and one can guess why. My favourite aphrodisiac, however, is champagne. “Come quickly I’m tasting stars,” supposedly cried Dom Perignon, the Monk who created it. It is a drink of celebration whether at a wedding or on New Year’s Eve. On special occasions one toasts a lover, husband, wife and significant other and the memory of that special evening often remains even after they are gone. Knowing my love of champagne, on the birth of each of my three children, my husband and I always shared a bottle on my arrival home.
CHAMPAGNE OF THE MONTH Louis Roederer Cristal (Extremely Expensive) To be honest, I prefer Dom Perignon to Cristal, but that’s personal opinion because this is definitely the favourite among the celebrities, rappers, princes and bankers whose names make headlines. Cristal was commissioned by Tsar Alexander II in 1877 because he wanted to be served in crystal clear bottles in order to differentiate the wine in green bottles offered to the rest of the court and its been flaunting its looks and style ever since. At a dinner party celebrating friends’ eighteenth and fifth wedding anniversaries (they were married, divorced, then remarried), six of us drank two bottles of Cristal to the sound of Frank Sinatra singing in the background. Lovely! H
‘St Valentine’s Day Tuesday 14 February
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Noah Stewart, the new star tenor, is coming to London to sing in Opera North’s Miss Fortune. He tells Michael Burland about his unusual route to becoming an opera singer
grew up in Harlem. My family’s from New Orleans, and most of them are still there, but Mum moved 33 years ago to New York, and she had me there. It was exciting growing up there, Mom, myself and my sister. Mom enrolled me in school downtown, near her. New York at that time was – not dangerous exactly – but edgy, real edgy. The city had a system called zone schools, if you grew up in Harlem you had to go to school in Harlem. Mom did not want that for me, not because she didn’t want me raised in that community but because the level of education at that time was really sparse. Books were limited and there was overcrowding in the classrooms. Mom had a very close friend who lived Downtown, her son Michael was like a brother to me, and they lived across the street from a nursery school. They pulled some strings and I went to school there. I would leave home with Mom on the bus, travel Downtown, then meet her back on the bus and we’d travel home together. I was riding public transportation on my own at a very young age! I grew up very rapidly. I saw so many different things, but I also developed ‘street smart’. Now, as I travel all over the world by myself, I sometimes get that feeling deep down inside when something is odd and you need to be a bit more cautious – it’s certainly come in handy.
People said it would be hard for me because I was black – I knew it, but I never had a chip on my shoulder. “New York could be scary for a child growing up so I stayed at home a lot, reading books and studying. I originally wanted to be a scientist. I loved math and science, especially chemistry, mixing things together and watching them blow up! I loved biology, dissecting frogs. It wasn’t until later in Junior High School that music became apparent. That was basically a fluke. One day, towards the end of school, over the loudspeaker came an invitation to choir tryouts. Mom worked 40 plus hours a week so she was always looking for after-school programs that I could do that were free, because she didn’t want me hanging about on street corners, like so many kids in the neighborhood. I went down to the choir-room with a couple of buddies. There were pictures of the choir trips that they took each year to places that I couldn’t even pronounce, like Slov-
enia and Venezuela. I thought, wow, if music can take me to these places, why not? I liked singing. I wasn’t very good to start with! I wasn’t tone deaf, but I have a couple of tapes from those days and I wonder how anyone could hear any potential in that. But my Junior High School choir teacher said ‘I think you have a really nice voice, and if you can stick with it, I think you could be in the smaller elite choir’. “So many of my opera colleagues grew up singing in church, and England has a huge choir tradition in schools, but I hadn’t had that. I was a shy kid, to do anything outwardly was odd to me, but I loved the choir. It wasn’t just classical music, we also did musical theater. My first public solo was for a Tribute to Audrey Hepburn. It was held at the Waldorf Astoria, in New York City, and my solo was ‘Moon River’. The whole space was dark and there was a spotlight on me, and I remember that feeling of excitement mixed with nervousness. I found out later that Miss Hepburn was in the audience. I loved being on stage. I think I overcame my shyness by being a goofball and telling jokes – I think it’s my southern background. Mom thought I would be a comedian, and she still asks me if I’m going to be a comedian. When I told her I wanted to be an opera singer she gave me a certain look, but she never told me I shouldn’t do that, I
should become a doctor or lawyer, she always supported me. In my final year in Junior High School, I won my first competition. I was about 12 years old and I just tried out for that competition, I had no idea that I would win - it was just a hobby. But that was the first recognition that I could have a career in music. “Back then it wasn’t so much opera, it was classical music. One of my first solos was ‘Your Feet’s Too Big’ from Ain’t Misbehavin’ and it was great, I was funny and I wowed the audience, but I didn’t want just to be the clown, I wanted to do something serious. If I were to be an actor I would go for Shakespearean roles, they are so serious, dignified and different from where I grew up. Also I didn’t see a lot of people of color singing classical music. I saw a lot of people of color in theater, and in pop music and gospel of course, and that was great, but I saw myself somewhere else. “It was a fluke that I was exposed to classical music, that and my Mom’s determination to get me into a good school. Even in Elementary school they had classes with classical instruments. So many kids had never seen or held a trombone or a trumpet, those things were not normal in my neighborhood, even in church. Mom tells this story about when I was really young. She was sitting in the church with me, in the congregation this particular Sunday although she was usually in the choir. One particular song was very moving and I started to cry. I could have been no more than a year old. Mom tried to calm me down, saying ‘shush, be quiet, be quiet’, but the priest said ‘no, no, no, God is working through him, let him go through it’. I have no recollection of it, but I think that’s when I became destined to be a singer. Singing for me is an emotional outlet where I can express so many
things. Everybody has a heartbeat, everyone has a different emotion that they’re going through, that they can interpret through music. “After my final year of Junior High School I auditioned at La Guardia High School. I went there because it had a very strong academic program, as well as the vocal, so even if the vocal didn’t work out I could do something else. I was so terrified that I wouldn’t get in. They had a series of tests, rhythm, singing and note-matching,
and I immediately saw the difference between me and the other students. They brought in things like Whitney Houston and the Macarena, and I took ‘Cast Thy Bread Upon the Lord’ from Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The teachers looked at me like I was crazy. I got into La Guardia and another world opened up for me: opera. “The Vocal Arts Office had laser disks of operas and the ones I was
most entranced with were Handel’s Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem with Von Karajan and Leontyne Price, the great soprano. That was the first time I saw a person of color sing opera, and it was at a high level, with a 100 piece chorale, an 80 piece orchestra, in a theater in Italy. I thought she must have been significant and I wanted to be as significant as she was. From that point, I became immersed in classical music. We got free tickets to The Met, and for the Opera and the Ballet, and I
good music school but he wasn’t sure I’d get into Juilliard. Then I heard that Leontyne Price was doing an album signing at Tower Records at the Lincoln Center, so I dragged a friend along and we stood in line for two hours to see her. “I said to her, ‘Miss Price, you’re such an inspiration to all us students at La Guardia, I watch you in the Verdi Requiem every day. I would really like a career in opera and I have an audition for Juilliard’. She told me I should go
“My neighbors never complained, even when I was screaming high Cs, but when they found out I was an opera singer they started treating me weirdly” was across the street from the Lincoln Center. I was so lucky. “At High School my friends loved pop music and gospel music. I was in the gospel choir and we were recruited to sing backup for Hootie and the Blowfish and Coolio and Mariah Carey. I could do it, but for me that was not the cake. I saw Pavarotti and Deborah Boyd and Jane Eaglen sing. I took Italian as an elective because opera was in Italian. All the pieces started to come together for me, little by little and in my second to final year at high school I was in my first opera. I was cast as the lead. My opera workshop teacher, Peter Ludwig, was so influential, not just at school but in my life, he took the time to teach me this role, staying two hours after school with me. He was conscious of not wanting me to hurt my voice but at the same time he let me run wild with the music – so many artists feel stifled, they can’t be themselves. After that I wanted to go to Juilliard. Peter said I would get into a
to Juilliard because she went there, and the last thing she said was, ‘When you audition at Juilliard, give ‘em hell!’ When I auditioned, I sang my Italian and French songs, then I sang the spiritual I had won the competition at high school with. No-one sings spirituals at Juilliard. But two months later I got a letter offering me a scholarship to Juilliard. I thought, this is it! “Juilliard was a whole new world. At first I was really excited but that wore off. I had a really difficult time. Not academically – I was more advanced than any of my colleagues, but it was not a very friendly atmosphere. It was massively competitive. Of the nine of us who entered the undergraduate class only two of us graduated on time. Three dropped out, another three took a private program, it was a really stressful place. But it definitely prepared me for my career. I can learn an opera in a week, teach myself a score, sing in six different languages. I know music history and I know how to hold a
recital, so I’m very appreciative. But the political side of it was unbearable and I lost my desire to sing. In my third and fourth years I started working out in the gym at Juilliard and lost almost four stone. I couldn’t see a change in my voice but by working out I could see a change in my body. I’m so happy I did because it taught me discipline again. “I looked for outside opportunities. Some of my first lead roles were not done in big houses. Some of my colleagues started at La Scala and Berlin, but I got my experience in places like the Vertical Place Repertory in Brooklyn. I found that in those small companies there were artists like me who weren’t ready for the big houses yet, they might not have had the best voices but they had such desire and they were so creative. It was a fantastic environment and I felt I was at home again – at Juilliard I couldn’t find anyone else who thought the way I did. “I auditioned for grad school and got a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music but three months before the course started I called my Mom and told her I wasn’t going. I could feel her heart stop, but I’d already called the school to tell them. I had to find out who I was. I took a year off and did the competition circuit, I was fairly successful but people told me I was too young and I should go back to school. Instead I took jobs to pay my way while I auditioned. I waited table. I even had a job at Carnegie Hall but that didn’t last too long – I was working in the office there and one day I was humming a song. My supervisor said, you can’t do that here! I went back to waitering where I could just serve people and save my voice for singing. “Eventually I decided that my next audition would be my last. I was ready to give up. I auditioned for San Fran-
cisco Opera’s Merola Program... and I got in. They only take two to four people a year. During the program they said, “Noah, where have you been?” I can’t tell you the feeling I had. Finally they were accepting of me. I was 26 years old and I was reborn. “Finally I was being paid to sing! And I was able to move out of my Mom’s house! But after a year in San Francisco I became impatient and wanted to sing more lead roles. I wanted to cover the lead role in Macbeth. They told me I was still too young, but I was allowed to role study – like a fake cover – while I sang the smaller role of Malcolm. It was a big production, with Thomas Hampson as Macbeth. David Pountney was the director and he took a liking to me. Over the run the tenor became out of sorts. In the last performance I was on stage with the him and his eyes glazed over. In the interval the head of music said that the tenor couldn’t continue and the next act started in 15 minutes – was I ready to take the role? I said yes! I went on and I felt this huge support, not only from the chorus, who were all rooting for me, but also from the audience. After my final note there was this huge, thunderous ovation. I felt like I’d showed them what I was about. I was a serious artist and I had what it took. “I moved back to New York and got an agent. Since then I’ve been working. Shows like American Idol and X-Factor are great but they frustrate me because they give the false impression that success happens overnight. It doesn’t.
“I was lucky: none of my neighbors ever complained, even when I was screaming high Cs over and over again. When people in the neighborhood found out I was an opera singer they started treating me weirdly – I would be coming out of the subway and people would be ‘singing’ things at me - “Hellooooo...” “How are youuuuu today?” Now there are kids in my Mom’s building who are taking up violin and other classical instruments. I like to think maybe by having an opera singer in the building they think they can do anything they want to. “So many people have given me their help and their time. That’s why I want to mentor young people, not just about singing but to tell them what to wear to an interview, how to behave at auditions, small things that we sometimes take for granted. I had people say to me it would be hard for me because I was black. I knew it, but I never
had a chip on my shoulder. If I didn’t get a job it was because I wasn’t good enough, so I would go back to the practice room and work on it, work on it, work on it. Even today. “I’d love people to come see me in London and Tweet me to tell me what they think – I’m at @noahsofficial.” H
Noah Stewart stars in Miss Fortune at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in March, booking from 7th February on 020 7304 4000. His debut album Noah is released on 27th February on Decca Records.
American singer and gay activist Ezra Axelrod (no, me neither!) launches his debut album, Songs from the American Motel, with a month-long residency of his a theatrical show in the West End of London. The live show is a blend of rock music with theatre and stand-up comedy, based on true events from the 25-year-old artist’s outrageous life. Born in Athens, Ohio, Axelrod grew up in in Latin America and now calls London’s Soho home. London, The Lounge, Leicester Square Theatre, February 8th to March 3rd.
Well known gay rights activist, breast cancer surveyor and (most relevant for these pages) purveyor of gritty, confessional rock and roll Melissa Etheridge is touring... everywhere, it seems. A new collection of her hits, Icon, was released last year and now the jet-setting Ms Etheridge is in Ireland and the UK for four dates before a longer haul across Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria. Then it’s across the Atlantic for a quick hit of home cooking in Minneapolis, Detroit and Biloxi before a Pacific long-haul to New Zealand and Australia. Local dates: February 14th Dublin, Ireland, Olympia Theatre; 16th Manchester, Academy 2; 17th London, Shepherds Bush Empire; 19th Brighton, Dome.
LIVE AND KICKING Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Together and separately, singer Sharon Jones and the band the Dap-Kings have reinvigorated a certain classic gospel-infused soul sound, making it hot and relevant. Sharon has collaborated on stage, in the recording studio and on film with the likes of Talking Heads’ David Byrne, Rufus Wainwright, Denzel Washington (in The Great Debaters), Lou Reed, Booker T. & the MGs, Michael Bublé and Phish. What a range. And the Dap-Kings have recorded for: Al Green, NAS, Wale, Daniel Merriweather, Robbie Williams, Bebel Gilberto and – most famously and most influentially – Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse. Most recently they have opened for Prince at shows in New York City, Paris, and Ghent, joining him on stage during his set. Experience the “Daptone Sound” live on March 4th Leeds, Stylus; 8th Birmingham, HMV Institute; 9th London, Shepherds Bush Empire.
Are they Rock? Punk? Folk? Yes, to all of the above. Celebrate St Patrick’s Day early with the Boston band on a short UK tour this month (with a detour to Dublin). Their new single ‘Going Out In Style’ will be out a couple of days earlier on February 6th. Now in their 15th year, their Americanized Pogues vibe is as highly adrenalized as ever. Bagpipes, bouzouki and banjo are as much to the fore as buzzsaw guitars. Grab a Guinness and prepare for some Paddy’s Day action. Dropkick Murphys’ dates in UK and Ireland, with the Bouncing Souls supporting, are: February 8th Liverpool Academy; 9th Dublin Vicar Street; 10th London Roundhouse; 11th Glasgow Barrowland 1&2 (All tickets £17.00 except London £19.50).
The Queen of Folk? Many have claimed that title, but few can justify it as well as Joan Baez. From ’60s protest singer to Teens, er, protest singer, she is the genuine article, setting out her world view via a uniquely beautiful voice. Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell she is still singing, still touring and still entrancing audiences around the world. Performing on surprisingly small and intimate venues, her set list will feature songs spanning her five-decade career. By the way, while roaming around Joan’s website I found a great idea for a present for the music fan in your life: a bracelet made from used guitar strings actually played by Joan (and a range of other stars) and donated by them to Wear Your Music, who turn them into jewelry: see www.wearyourmusic.org or link from the news pages at www.joanbaez.com. Joan’s UK tour dates are: February 23rd Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall; 24th Cambridge, Corn Exchange; 26th York, Barbican; 28th Gateshead, The Sage; 29th Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall; March 2nd Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall; 4th Manchester,
Bridgewater Hall; 5th Sheffield City Hall; 7th Bristol, Colston Hall; 9th Salisbury City Hall; 10th Basingstoke, Anvil; 12th Ipswich, Regent; 13th Birmingham Symphony Hall; 16th & 17th London, Royal Festival Hall; 19th Oxford, New Theatre; 20th Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall; 22nd Cardiff, Millennium Centre; 23rd Plymouth Pavilions; 25th Poole, Lighthouse; 26th Brighton Dome.
‘Basher’ has had a new lease of musical life having been discovered by a new audience who don’t know of his ’70s days of performing and producing acts like Elvis Costello, and also by Americans who know him as Johnny Cash’s ‘step-son-inlaw’ – Lowe wrote the genius ‘The Beast In Me’ for Cash. He was a key player in the British pub rock, punk and new wave movements, but far from rejecting or fleeing from the idea of ageing, Lowe seems to have embraced it, with his more recent songs wryly describing the process of getting older in a society that demands ever-youthful stars. Having said that, if you don’t know him,
check out his earlier tunes too. You’ve probably heard ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding’, possibly without knowing it was one of his – it was covered by Curtis Stigers on the soundtrack album to The Bodyguard, giving Lowe a good pension! – and he also wrote ‘I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass’ and ‘Cruel to Be Kind.’ Dates: February 16th Belfast, Empire Music Hall (part of the Belfast Nashville Songwriter’s Festival); 19th Southampton, The Brook; 21st Milton Keynes, The Stables; 22nd Canterbury, Marlowe Theatre; 24th Harrogate Theatre; 25th Liverpool Philharmonic; 26th Edinburgh, Queens Hall; 28th Gateshead, The Sage; March 1st Tunbridge Wells, Assembly Hall Theatre; 2nd Worcester, Huntingdon Hall; 3rd Birmingham Town Hall; 4th Cambridge, Corn Exchange; 7th, 8th & 9th London, Leicester Square Theatre.
The Presidents Of The United States Of America “Performing their self-titled debut album in full and more” promise the gawky three-piece band that brought you ‘Lump’ and ‘Peaches’. Their self-deprecatingly humorous songs occasionally eclipsed seriously catchy choruses and a great rock sound and they were a breath of fresh air in the era of super-serious post-punk and grunge bands – especially bold of them as they come form the Mecca of grunge, Seattle. March 8th Bristol Academy; 9th Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall; 10th Manchester, Ritz; 11th Glasgow ABC; [then a quick trip to The Netherlands] 13th Eindhoven, Effenaar; 14th Amsterdam, Paradiso; 16th London, Forum; [and off to Ireland] 17th & 18th Dublin, Vicar Street.
Not the Kansas U football team, the band who, in the late ’80s and ’90s, flew the flag for alt-country music – later to be called Americana. Over the years they’ve disbanded, partially reformed, split again and are now together and touring again. See them on March 8th at London, Barbican; 10th Edinburgh Picturehouse; 11th Liverpool Academy; 12th Bristol Academy.
3 Doors Down
The little bro of The Black Crowes is on the road alone... well, with his band, but without big bro Chris. If you want to get a feel for his slide-fuelled boogie, a selection of live videos from his 2011 Fall Tour is being released over a period onto his FaceBook page – all you have to do is ‘Like’ the page and you can see them. February 8th Southampton, Brook 9th Wrexham, Central Station; 11th Leeds, Brudenell Social Club; 12th Glasgow, King Tut’s; 13th York, Fibbers; 14th Oswestry (Shropshire), The Ironworks; 15th Bristol, The Fleece; 16th London, Islington Academy.
Massive in the States, still to become so in the UK, the Escatawpa, Mississippi natives have had No. 1 albums and sold in excess of 11 million albums, by building a huge fan base, playing 300 plus gigs a year as headliners and supporting the likes of more than 300 concerts a year and has performed with artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Megadeth and Nickelback. Dates: March 9th Edinburgh Picture House; 11th Manchester Academy; 12th Birmingham Academy; 14th Bristol Academy; 15th London, Hammersmith Apollo.
And finally, book early for:
He’s still standing... The Rocket Man is taking off for a short UK tour, staring off at some unusual venues. Everybody has at least one favorite Elton song in their life, and the chances are he’ll be playing it at: June 3rd Taunton, Somerset County Cricket Club; 5th Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground; 9th Chesterfield B2net Stadium; 10th Falkirk Community Stadium; 13th Newcastle Arena; 15th Birmingham Arena.H
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BOOK REVIEWS Space Conquest: The Complete History of Manned Spaceflight Francis Dreer Haynes Publishing, Hardback, £25 The Space Shuttle may have been retired in 2011, but Francis Dreer’s Space Conquest is on hand to remind us that there is still much more of the history of human spaceflight for us to learn. Dreer covers the main events from the origin of space travel during the Cold War to the moon landings, all the way to China’s entry into the space race. If you think this is just another straightforward history book, however, prepare to be wowed by Dreer’s ability to convey the complex mechanical details of space flight in a refreshingly accessible format. This is a superb book for any space fanatic, offering detailed and insightful information without becoming overwhelming. And if you’ve ever used a Haynes manual to fix your car on those cold frosty mornings, this could very well be the guide to help you fix your solid rocket boosters in the future! – DB
Reviewed by Mary Bailey, Michael Burland, Daniel Byway, Ian Kerr and Virginia E Schultz
Death Comes To Pemberley P.D. James Hardcover £18.99, Paperback £7.99, available from July 5, 2012 Phyllis Dorothy James is known, and has been honoured, all over the world. Of special interest to U.S. readers, among her many accolades is Grand Master, Mystery Writers of America. Now 91 years old she is an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), a Member of the House of Lords and a Dean of five Universities. There are some authors whose acceptance of a first novel leads to an easing of standards in future books – not so this lady. Her latest novel is written in the style of, and as a sequel to, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Of course some people will not like it, perhaps considering James a little ‘dark’, and others may feel that Austen should be left alone, but the dialogue is perfect, the plot impeccable and few could dispute it is a jolly good thriller, although perhaps some of the characters should have changed or matured a little more. Because of the pace of writing this is a book to be
taken at leisure as James takes you back to what (at least for the healthy and rich) was an easier time. For full enjoyment I would recommend an evening in, a comfortable sofa, a log fire and a glass of good wine. Guaranteed to be filmed or on TV in due course, it’s one of the novels of the year. – MaB
365 Motorcycles You Must Ride Dain Gingerelli, James Manning Michels and Charles Everett of Cycle World Motorbooks, 320 pages, £14.99, ISBN 978-0-7603-347-4 An interesting and provocative title for this small softback book from the Motorbooks imprint in the US. Three authors, all of them experienced editors for US motorcycle publications have come up with list that not only spans motorcycle genres, but decades of time. Realising that some riders get stuck in ruts as far as their biking is concerned, they have come up with the idea of getting them to look outside their own particular sphere of machine. The 320 pages therefore cover every type of motorcycle from
cruiser to dirt machine, touring to sport bike and span over 100 years of motorcycle production from around the world. Bikes are grouped alphabetically by manufacturer with each bike given a short précis, a photograph (two in some cases) and a box-out with brief specs and four symbols standing for a ‘Did you know’ fact, ‘The perfect ride’, ‘Claim to fame’ and ‘Rebel Factor’, something you could use for a ‘Top Trump’ quiz! As you flick through the book you nod your head in agreement with the author’s choice, then turn the page and ask ‘Why?’ Some of the bikes, like Honda’s RC166, you will never be able to ride and some of the US-only spec machines may require a trip home to America to throw a leg over, but others are achievable. This fun book started me thinking what I would put in my list. It’s a brilliant book and concept for which the authors should be congratulated on, a real bargain and a must-have on any biker’s book present list! Available from good bookshops or direct from Grantham Book Services telephone 01476 541080 – IK
Mycophilia: Revelations From The Weird World Of Mushrooms By Eugene Bone Rodale Press, Hardcover, 348 pages, $25.00 in US, £16.62 in UK Over the ages fungus, or mushrooms as most of us call this tuber, has inspired fairy tales, recipes, record setting auctions and murder mysteries. It was, for example, Life magazine who coined the term “magic mushroom” to explain the hallucinatory powers of psilocybin. Nor did I know that our bodies cannot digest the mushroom raw or that the expensive truﬄe oil I recently bought has no truﬄe oil in it. Even if you don’t initially think you’ll be interested in the minutiae of mushrooms this is a fascinating book. – VS
Detail of the face on the Crazy Horse Memorial near Custer, South Dakota, 17 miles from Mt. Rushmore. LIBRADO ROMERO/NEW YORK TIMES
The New York Times, 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada Edited by Barbara Ireland Taschen, Hardcover, 6.6 x 9.4 in., 744 pages, £ 24.99 Beautifully cloth bound in a retro-style, this is a 2 inch thick collection of The New York Times’ ‘36 Hours’ column, which lists the essential places to see, things to do, restaurants to eat in and people to encounter on short weekend breaks in the United States. 150 locations are covered, from New York City to the Niobrara River Valley, Nebraska; from Kauai to Boise, Idaho, complete with excellent, evocative photographs and useful maps. It’s an itinerary of items from mid-afternoon Friday to Sunday morning, or a check-list or just a suggestion sheet, whatever you want it to be. Even if you’re from the (mostly) well known destinations you’ll find some surprises and some great ideas. Those Americans using the UK as a base for continental explorations and will be pleased to hear that Taschen are publishing a European version later this year. – MiB
I Remember Nothing, And Other Reflections Nora Ephron UK: Transworld, Hardcover £12.99, Paperback £7.99 USA: Vintage Books, Hardcover $22.95, Paperback $14.00 Nora Ephron is one of our most talented writers and directors as anyone who has seen Julie & Julia, When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle would agree. This doesn’t include the other screenplays she’s been involved with or the essays, drama and fiction she has taken a pen to. This, her latest observation on life, love, death and just about everything else is both funny and touching at the same time. If there is anyone I’d like to share a glass of wine or two with it would be Ephron. – VS
The Best Wines In The Supermarkets 2012 Ned Halley W Foulsham & Co., 192 pages, Paperback, £7.99 I am not necessarily recommending people buy wine in the supermarket, but I know that often while grocery shopping I will suddenly remember I need a wine for the weekend and grab a bottle or two to take home. Only once in the 2011 edition have I tasted a wine recommended by Halley I disliked and this is the reason I appreciate having the 2012 edition. Halley has tasted the red and white wines in most of the top supermarkets and this year gave 26 of their wines perfect scores. Tesco comes out best in red, Sainsbury in white, and Asda for their vintage champagne 2002. – VS
The Dovekeepers Alice Hoffman Simon & Schuster Ltd, Hardcover, 512 pages, £16.99
This is one of the most fascinating books I read all last year. The Dovekeepers takes place in Judea in AD70, during the first Jewish-Roman war after the destruction of the Second Temp when 900 Jewish rebels and their families take refuge in what is believed the impregnable fortress of Masada. According to the historian Josephus, the occupants killed themselves en mass after the fortress fell rather than being captured and enslaved by the Romans and only two women and five children survived. Although Hoffman keeps to Josephus’s version of the events, archaeological dig findings since then cast doubt on his story.
The book is narrated by four women, all of whom have endured almost unbearable suffering before finding shelter at the fortress and all are burdened with secrets. The only reason I find for The Dovekeepers’ lack of success is that 500 pages is too long and Hoffman’s prose style combined with the suffering of the four women becomes at times almost unbearable for the reader to continue. I stuck with it, however, and the memory of the four protagonist’s remains in my head since I finished. So much so, I put the book aside to reread. Alice Hoffman is the author of more than 20 novels and has the reputation for combining the commonplace with the extraordinary. Previous books have taken place mostly in the towns and suburbs of eastern United States and this book is very much a change in direction for her. – VS
THEATER PREVIEWS Absent Friends Harold Pinter Theatre (formerly the Comedy Theatre), Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN
Right: The cast of Absent Friends PHOTO SIMON TURTLE
UNTIL APRIL 14TH
Jeremy Herrin has chosen an interesting cast for his revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy of manners and embarrassment Absent Friends. Three of the ensemble are best known as British TV sitcom actors or comedy performers. This should attract a rather different audience to the usual Ayckbourn crowd, but they each have more serious acting credentials too. The plot revolves around Colin who, when he loses his fiancée, is invited by his married friends for comfort over tea and sandwiches – a very British solution to any emotional turmoil. As well as the tea, trouble starts brewing as a blend of jealousy, infidelity and barely concealed loathing boils over. It turns out that perhaps Colin isn’t the only one who needs help… with friends like these, who needs enemies? Colin is played by Reece Shearsmith, co-writer and performer of the award-winning TV comedy series The League of Gentlemen and Psychoville. He has stage form, having been in pigdrama Betty Blue Eyes, Ghost Stories, As You Like It, and he played Leo Bloom in The Producers. Katherine Parkinson plays Diana. She won the British Comedy Best Actress Award for her role as Jen in The IT Crowd, but she’s appeared on stage in Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings, The School for Scandal, and in films including St Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, The Boat that Rocked, Easy Virtue and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Steffan Rhodri is best known for
playing Dave Coaches in TV’s Gavin and Stacey, but he has been on stage in The Kitchen Sink, Clybourne Park and Abigail’s Party and on the big screen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And you may have seen David Armand in TV sketch shows like Fast and Loose, where he performs song titles ‘through the medium of interpretive dance’ – brilliant!
The Death Of Klinghoffer English National Opera, London Coliseum, 38 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES FEBRUARY 25TH FOR 7 PERFORMANCES ONLY
The London première at ENO of John Adams’s opera continues the artistic partnership between ENO and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Directed by Tom Morris (War Horse, Jerry SpringerThe Opera) it is a powerful work that portrays the hijacking by Palestinian terrorists of the Achille Lauro ship in 1985 and the killing of a wheelchairbound Jewish American hostage, Leon Klinghoffer. John Adams says, “ENO has become the home for my operas in the UK. I count myself a very lucky composer to have such an artistically progressive company in my corner. ENO has already introduced Nixon in China and
Doctor Atomic in powerfully committed performances and I expect nothing less from Tom Morris’s new staging of The Death of Klinghoffer which has every promise of being provocative, humane and deeply imagined. London audiences are my ideal listeners sophisticated, musically literate, enthusiastic and of course a little bit insane. I look forward to being among them for the première.”
Bowie Musical Gets Go-ahead
Heroes, an original production based on the works of David Bowie, get its Charity World première at London’s IndigO2 on March 11th. Proceeds will go to charities that use the performing arts to help young, underprivileged and disabled people to learn new, lifeenhancing skills. Bowie, arguably the most unique influence in pop music, has never
Book by Roger O Hirson, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz Menier Chocolate Factory London • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
T allowed his songs to be used in this way before. “We could not really believe it when they gave us permission,” said Deep Singh, who wrote the musical and produces. “His people had warned us that it was very unlikely that he would be interested and that he had been asked many times before.” Singh believes that Bowie gave consent because he emphasised that his story was not a nostalgic recreation of the 1970s but was set in the future and aimed to show the timeless relevance of Bowie’s lyrics. Heroes is set in a dystopian world created and controlled by the ruthless Smart Simon. With the ferocious Diamond Dogs keeping order, Starman, Tom, Genet and Blue Jean are trapped in a ‘prison cell’ world. Young ‘dude’ David infiltrates the cell and frees them through music, originality and creativity – what their world is missing. Smart Simon offers them material things and fame to entice them to stay. Defeating him, they are all Heroes... even if it’s “just for one day”. Among the twenty-plus featured in the show are ‘Heroes’, ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ and ‘The Jean Genie’.
he Menier Chocolate Factory has an enviable track record in Broadway transfers and this year we get to see a rare and welcome revival of this wonderfully sprightly Broadway show from the ’70s, a piece which showcased the genius of Bob Fosse. Director/choreographer Mitch Sebastian has given the piece a
radical makeover (with the blessing of the Fosse estate), and while it is likely to send traditionalists running for the hills, it’s an audacious, if not always totally successful, attempt to give the piece a contemporary resonance for a young audience.
Harry Hepple and Carly Bawden in Pippin © TRISTRAM KENTON
THEATER REVIEWS Schwartz’s mega hit Wicked has the teenagers coming back for more and no doubt this was on the minds of the creative team here, who’ve set this piece inside a video game. Instead of the mysterious strolling players from the original, here we get avatars, clad in silver lycra, who function not just as a chorus but, in a more sinister way, try to intervene to alter the narrative. So, the non-linear narratives of today’s gaming pushes aside the fusty old Brechtian stuff from the ’70s. You’ve been warned. The piece survives this surgery because it is rather slight. The plot revolves loosely around a 9th century prince, the son of Charlemagne, and his journey to find meaning in life. He tries out war, then peace ‘n love, and finally domesticity and an acceptance of the ‘simple joys’. The gaming conceit works here because teenagers combine sheltering from reality in their bedrooms and from having to clean their rooms with the virtual
world they explore every time they turn on their games consoles. Timothy Bird’s design brings this conceit vividly to life. He blends computer graphics and animations with multiple webcam chat windows and characters who literally leap from the screen. We enter this world via the boy Pippin’s dimly lit teenage bedroom, where he is glued to a flickering monitor. Not seen in the West End since it flopped in 1973, the piece has had a much better time Stateside. After a five-year run on Broadway it had a healthy afterlife in regional, schools and amateur productions but sadly using a truncated and rather sanitised version of the show. This led to the piece getting an undeserved
reputation for being rather juvenile and cute, something which this production is trying to dispel. Schwartz’s folksy, laid-back, pop-infused score is a joy but sadly here it is too often drowned out by over-amplification (unnecessary in such a small space) and occasionally souped-up rock arrangements which would be more at home in an ear shattering production of We Will Rock You. The fact that the score survives is testament to the quality of songs and ‘Magic to Do’ and ‘Corner of the Sky’ still weave their magic. Chet Walker’s re-staging reminds us why Fosse was so great and it is just a pity these great dances are so cramped in this tight space. The production is also really well
Some of the Cast of Pippin, with Tony winner Frances Ruffelle, centre © TRISTRAM KENTON
sung by a choice cast of West End stalwarts. Matt Rawle brings a patrician swagger to the Leading Player, in marked contrast to Harry Hepple, who gives us Pippin as a regular Northern lad. Hepple possesses a fine, unaffected, singing voice and is one to watch. Tony winner Frances Ruffelle renders Pippin’s mother as an Essex shrew and the great Louise Gold, while far too young for the part of Granny, relishes her chance to turn ‘No Time At All’ into a karaoke session. You leave humming tunes. Now when did that last happen?
Noises Off By Michael Frayn • Old Vic Theatre • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
he Old Vic’s luck with carefully chosen revivals continues with a pitch perfect revival of Michael Frayn’s 1982 comic masterpiece. Although not as finely tuned as the National’s revival in 2000, it is still a welcome tonic for these grim times. Even if you are averse to farces you should give this a try as it combines being the most perfectly crafted specimen of the genre with a knowing wink at the ridiculousness of the Theatre. “Doors and sardines. Getting on – getting off. Getting the sardines on – getting the sardines off. That’s farce. That’s the theatre. That’s life” is the barmy pep talk given by the despairing director, Lloyd, to his hopeless cast, struggling with the props at 2 a.m. on the night before opening. Set on a provincial tour of a dreary sex comedy, Nothing On, Frayn’s genius is to present the first act as the last dress rehearsal of act one of the awful play, the second act is the same but now seen from behind the stage, months later in the run, when the tour has begun to wear everyone down, and the final act is the same sequence again, but from the front. By now of course the internecine
squabbling among the cast has got so bad that the play is almost unrecognisable. With this device, Frayn lets us in on the joke, so by the third act, our familiarity with the piece heightens the collective comic hysteria. The piece requires military precision and Lindsay Posner has a perfectly drilled cast here. TV favourite Celia Imrie is Dottie, the scatty leading lady, past her prime but with money and some hope in the show. She’s embroiled with the dim and much younger leading man, who is played here with fearsome energy by Jamie Glover, who is the master of the pratfall. Janie Dee’s impeccable comic timing wins through again as the glam leading lady Belinda, who tries to hold it all together. Her companion is Frederick (Jonathan Coy), an amiable nervous wreck of an actor who is wrongly suspected of sexual shenanigans. Then there’s the ingénue (Amy Nuttall from Downton Abbey) who spends most of the time in her knickers, when not combing the floor for a lost contact lens. The romantic entanglements get more complex as the tour progresses and what makes the second act such
PHOTO: ALISTAIR MUIR
a joy is that most of it has to be played out in silence as they are ‘backstage’. Robert Glenister gives a wonderfully calibrated performance as Lloyd the director, progressing from patient paternalism to hysterical self-absorption as he pursues his own doomed romance with the dippy Stage Manager, Poppy (Aisling Loftus). Karl Johnson is also on form as the deaf old soak (Selsdon), who creates utter havoc all around him but is somehow forgiven. Paul Ready too wins the audience’s sympathy as the much put upon ASM and dogsbody, Tim. Missed cues and actors ploughing on regardless, props in the wrong place, doors which won’t behave and trousers round the ankles are all in evidence, and are further enhanced in act three, by the wilful sabotage carried out by the feuding cast members. By framing it as a play within a play, Frayn manages to both deconstruct the genre while at the same time delivering a hearty crowd pleaser. He cleverly skewers the nonsense about “the show must go on” whatever the human cost and the play is packed with theatrical in-jokes: “How is the house?” asks Dottie hopefully? “There’s quite a crowd out there…at the front of the back stalls”.
: T D ER KE TE FF IC MI O T LI IAL PER EC 10 SP E £ V SA
AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL Book your seats by 13 February and save £10.00 off tickets for selected performances for this sensational new production of Verdi’s AIDA. Offer valid for performances on: 26, 29 February, 1,2,6,7 March. Standard Ticket £45.00 £39.00 £36.00 Special Offer £35.00 £29.00 £26.00 Call the Box Ofﬁce on 020 7838 3100 and quote: ‘Verdi offer’ or book online www.royalalberthall.com and enter 9694 when prompted. Conditions: This offer is subject to availability, does not apply to tickets already purchased and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Offer valid on selected performances only on 26, 29 February, 1,2,6,7 March and applies to choir and circle seats only as advertised. Offer closes 13 February 2012. Booking fees apply.
Coffee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ
1 F ebruary 14th is Valentine’s Day. Valentine and Proteus are characters who are described in the title of which of Shakespeare’s plays? 2 I n 17th century England, who abolished Valentine’s Day? (His government also banned Christmas, Hogmanay and Halloween among others.) 3 W hat date was the first recorded Valentine’s Day card sent? (The right century scores a point!) 4 W hich famous building in New York lights up a red heart each St. Valentine’s Day?
8 I n the U.S., some people ironically celebrate “SAD” on February 14. What does “SAD” stand for? 9 N ame the leader of the Chicago gangsters responsible for the St. Valentines Day Massacre in 1929? 10 I n the film, which British city did Shirley Valentine abandon for her Greek holiday? 11 W ho was the Greek goddess of love? 12 W ho was the first woman in space? (Yes, it’s still a Valentine’s Day question.)
5 7 3
Answers to Coffee Break Quiz & Sudoku answers on page 65
6 W here do you “wear your heart” if you are quick to show your feelings? President Obama encourages a young participant 7 A to an old ccording at the White House Easter Egg Roll April 13, 2009. English tradition, But which President started the tradition? WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA
5 W hat does the word Valentine actually mean?
what is supposed to happen to the first man a woman sees on Valentine’s Day?
American Civil War Round Table United Kingdom www.americancivilwar.org.uk
The ACWRT UK conference for 2012 ‘Learning to Fight’ 13-15 April 2012 – Holiday Inn, Oxford Professor Tom Clemens Hagerstown Community College, Maryland ‘Lee’s intentions in the Maryland Campaign’ ‘How George McClellan won the Battle of Antietam’
Dr. Tim Smith University of Tennessee, Martin, TN ‘Tennessee 1862 Battleground in the West’ ‘The Battle of Shiloh’
Colonel James Falkner ‘The Seven Days Battles, Richmond, 1862’
For a reservation form please contact: Old Country Military & History Tours Inc, PO Box 98, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 9LJ 01747 828719 • email@example.com
EXPAT NEED? CHECK ASSIGNEE SELECTED? CHECK TAX ADVISER? CHECK One of the less appealing things about sending your people overseas is that you, or they, suddenly have to become experts on the local tax system or risk falling foul of the law, incurring extra costs - or both. With BDO however, you and your people can benefit from coordinated tax advice. Advance planning will save you time and money and our specialist tax advisers are well equipped to ease the burden. Through BDO, the world’s fifth largest accountancy network, our Expatriate teams can provide you with assistance all over the world. To find out more about the tax service that travels with you, please contact Andrew Bailey on +44 (0)20 7893 2946 or firstname.lastname@example.org BDO’s Expatriate Tax service is run by our Human Capital team, which also provides a full range of expertise in employment tax, reward planning and pensions. www.bdo.co.uk BDO LLP and BDO Northern Ireland are both separately authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority to conduct investment business.
US ELECTION 2012 Mitt Romney’s time may have come, but will it be enough to land him the Presidency, wonders Sir Robert Worcester
Up: Mitt Romney’s narrow win in Iowa was followed by a solid victory in New Hampshire, making him a clear favourite for the Nomination. Down and out: Michele Bachmann said goodbye in January, unless she can maintain ‘Tea Party’ presence and ride in as the Vice-Presidential side of the Republican ticket. PHOTOS: GAGE SKIDMORE
hen the American election in 2008 hotted up, Hilary Clinton was the front runner until the Iowa caucus, before the black, liberal, intellectual Barack Obama1 surprised everyone by winning in that midwest farming state. Yet Clinton came back a week later to win in New Hampshire. It’s not like that this time. In fact, there hasn’t been a time like it since 1976, the last time that a non-incumbent Republican candidate won in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Mitt Romney’s time has seemingly come, after running for the Presidency for 12 years and more. First he’s won in the midwestern state of Iowa, now in New England’s New Hampshire, and in the deep South of South Carolina. With that Southern state won, he’s well nigh unbeatable. The Republican nominee looks set to be Mitt Romney. One key
Iowa Caucus Results (01.04.12) (RCP) Candidate
reason is that the ‘matchup’ polls as they call it in the US of A (we say ‘trial heats’ in Britain), show he’s in the best position to beat Obama, now just a point ahead of him. Paul is four down, Santorum eight, and Gingrich eleven according to RealClearPolitics’ latest assessment of the state of the race. Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and now John Huntsman have bit the dust, and Rick Perry must be about to acknowledge that he’s out of the race. Huntsman’s playing for an important job in the next Administration, whichever it happens to be. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann followed Sarah Palin as the Tea Party’s great hope but is now back to obscurity (unless in the curious way American politics works she ends up being Romney’s choice to ‘balance the ticket’ and hopefully deliver the Tea Party vote). Because the American Constitution doesn’t say otherwise, the choice of the Vice President, ‘one heart beat away
New Hampshire Primary Results (01.10.12) (RCP)
Worcester, Robert, ‘Explaining where, and by whom, a black, liberal, intellectual was elected to be the US President’, Journal of Public Affairs 9: 143-149 (2009), Wiley.
from the presidency,’ is the arbitrary choice of the party’s nominee for President. This had a lot of people worried in 2008 when the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, surprised just about everyone by choosing the then Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, to be his running mate. The surprise this time could possibly be Bachmann or Cain. The political state of the nation is that some 46% of registered voters say they’d vote for Barack Obama to be returned to the White House for a second term, while about 46% say they’d rather have their choice of a Republican candidate and make Obama a oneterm president. Their problem is that Republican voters can’t necessarily have their ‘own’ candidate. When Obama is put head to head against named Republicans, the only one who stacks up is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the narrow victor in Iowa and now with solid victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina. He wouldn’t walk away with the election in November, but would put up a good fight. The Republican Right might be holding their noses, but they’d vote for Romney in November – anything to keep Barack Obama from re-election. In the Republican race to the nomination, according to Gallup in mid-January, Mitt Romney remains the first choice of registered Republican voters nationally, 37% to 14% for Newt Gingrich, statistically tied with Rick Santorum’s 14% and Ron Paul with 12%. To me, it looks like Santorum is toast, and Paul’s on the up. Romney won Iowa. By just eight votes, but he won, and so he went to New Hampshire the front runner, the best of a bad bunch. Romney has been plagued up to now with the received wisdom that no matter the contest he just couldn’t break through his 30% ceiling, nationally or in Iowa or before
Rick Santorum had momentum in Iowa, but fared less well in New Hampshire
New Hampshire and South Carolina, in any of the next few early primary states, Florida on the 30th, and Arizona and Michigan on 28th February. There are also caucus states in February, and Nevada on the 4th and Colorado and Minnesota on the 7th. Although Gingrich, at 13.3% in Iowa, got just about what final polls suggested (13.7%), Santorum, with just four percent support last October in Iowa, nearly tied Romney on the day. He did brilliantly, increasing his share of the vote by just over what had been thought to have been his share in the late Iowa polls, as the Republican right scrambled for a candidate, any candidate, to keep Romney from securing the nomination. It didn’t work in New Hampshire. This performance in the polls for the one candidate is a remarkable occurrence, suggesting either (or probably both) a huge ‘silent majority’ (first socalled in the 1964 presidential contest when Senator Barry Goldwater’s spinmeisters tried to explain low poll ratings by forecasting that a ‘silent majority’ was there all along) or that on election day the pollsters would be proved to be massively out of line. They weren’t, but I’ve never seen anything quite like the vast underestimate represented
by the difference between Santorum’s 16.3 final poll average (the last two had him at 18%) and the 24.5% he actually received from the Republicans and Independents attending the caucuses and voting in them. No question that Santorum certainly had the momentum in the final few days of the Iowa contest. Yet it faded within the week. Now that we know the result in South Carolina where Mitt Romney went over 30% overtaking Newt Gingrich, who fell sharply, once having hit over 40%. There was an astonishing rise and then fall in support for Santorum, with three polls showing him fast catching up and then falling right back. I said in an earlier draft of this article that before the last week in August’s Republican Convention, ‘Reckless Rick’ Santorum will crash and burn, in the wake of Palin, Perry, Cain, Bachmann and Huntsman, as will the Libertarian Ron Paul, leaving the two old war horses, Newt Gingrich lagging behind Mitt Romney as the pair roll it on in this year’s ‘Super Tuesday’, 6th March, when 12 states either caucus or hold primaries to decide their delegations’ support at the vote on 29 August. They must now be feeling pretty left out, as happened in 2008 when McCain won South Carolina, and then went on to wrap it
up in early March. Pity poor Newt, who’s likely to have to spend millions, only to be the runner-up. I suspect the massive overestimate of the other ‘odds and sods’ who received votes from those attending the caucuses, first in Iowa and then in a slew of states in the West (e.g. Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and North Dakota) and a few in other states (e.g. Maine, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Minnesota) have been the difference between the wishful thinkers saying they’d vote for ‘the nice guy next door’ or whomever, and the realisation on the day that to do so would be daft, and they’d go with the flow. The so-called ‘Caucus Effect’ of your friends and neighbours openly arguing that you should join them in their corner and support their candidate can have a powerful impact. That is why the secret ballot was instituted. In primary elections ballots are secret and individual conscience allows the individual to vote, in secret, for the candidate of their choice in a democratic election. One thing that still stands between Romney and the nomination, however, is his religion. The widely respected Pew organisation looked closely at this in November. At the time it received little Rank End Sept Early Nov End Nov
Romney: a Mormon, but ‘not Christian’, according to some evangelical Republicans
attention, but now it is worth looking at more closely. At that time, only about half of all registered voters, including six in ten self-acknowledged evangelical Republicans, know that Romney is a Mormon. Over half of them say that the Mormon religion is not Christian. Over the years, pollsters have put to the American public the question of voting for a Mormon, and around one American in five has had the view that they would never vote for a Mormon. It stands to reason that many of these voters are more likely than others of different religions to be Republicans. In the American electoral scene, one question not yet explored (so far as my research has uncovered) is the effect Change last month
that this prejudice against a Mormon president has on turnout. It could be argued that his previous inability to crack the 30% level of support before New Hampshire partly reflects Republicans’ reluctance to support him on the basis of his religion. Romney is outraising and outspending his opponents now, and this will continue right up to the Republican convention in August. It may prove to be a good investment in procuring the Republican nomination; it is unlikely in my view to give him the Presidency. H Sir Robert Worcester is the Founder of MORI, Follow him for updates on twitter: @RobertWorcester.
Former Gov., Michigan
Former Speaker Senator, Pennsylvania Congressman, Texas
RCP % Oct 5
Former Governor, Utah
N/R – Not Rated in www.realclearpolitics.com average of recent polls (14.12.11 - 05.01.12) which included polls from CBS News, Fox, Gallup, CNN/ORC, Pew and Reuters/Ipsos, (further details on their web sites) 2
Cain and Bachmann have dropped out of the race, as now has Huntsman
DRIVETIME ROAD TEST
Corvette Grand Sport Convertible S
o, where do we go for a test of the most iconic American sports car? Monument Valley perhaps, with its similarly inspiring visuals? Daytona, with its history of American motorsports dominance? Or perhaps a long-distance high-speed chase across the continent of Europe to check out the Corvette’s credentials as a supercar to rival Porsches, Lamborghinis and Ferraris? Nope. We decided – or rather the perfect storm of domestic events, business meetings and magazine deadlines conspired to make it essential - to use the big red C6 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible as a regular family car for a week. Could it handle day to day duties as well as quick highway blasts and longer drives on narrow, winding British roads during a damp, cold British winter? I wasn’t convinced, nor, frankly, was I looking for-
ward to trying it. Driving the car, yes. Shopping, school runs and motorway slogs less so. But hey, a job’s a job. Brits pretty much only know two American cars: Mustang and Corvette. And of the two, only one can compare dynamically with European sports cars, and be bought over here. The ‘Vette. The thing you should know is that, whereas in the States driving a Corvette will garner you the odd nod or thumbs up, at most, piloting the big red beast in Britain makes you the center of attention all day, every day, whether you want it or not. Example 1: picking up daughter from school activity week. It’s 1 am, the kids have had a four hour coach trip, everyone’s tired, and normally they crawl off the bus and into the car before we slink into the darkness.
Tonight we say hello to all the teachers, the bus driver grins at us, and as we drive off (top down as daughter insists) we hear the gaggle of schoolboys and their dads give an audible woooaaaarghh (not just a ‘wow’, something much more visceral). Example 2: waiting outside supermarket for family to come out with essential supplies. I’m surrounded by gang of what the Brits call chavs – scruffy urchins wearing knock-off Nikes on BMW bikes. They circle the ‘Vette and I’m wondering what to do when the inevitable keyscrape happens, as it surely would if I was in a 911 or R8. But no. I wind down the window and say hi, and all they want to do is ask ‘wottleitdo mister’?. We chat about the silly speeds it’s capable of, they ask me to start the engine and rev it and they go away happy. Example 3 (and this is where it goes wrong): I’m on my way to another car launch but I’m
n Engine: 6.2-litre V8, 431 hp (ZO6 and ZR1 version have more) n Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic n Top speed: 190mph (coupe) n 0-60mph: 3.95 seconds n Economy (claimed): City 16mpg (15mpg auto), Highway 26mpg (26mpg auto) (US); combined 21.1mpg (UK)
n UK Dealership: Bauer Millett, Lawrence House, 8 Albion Street Manchester M1 5NZ Phone: 0161 831 7447 www.bauer-millett.com
late, I’ve never been to Worcester before, my scanty hand-written notes are meaningless on the ground and the ****ing sat-nav won’t work. It’ll take previously entered addresses but won’t let me enter a new destination while I drive along getting more and more flustered. In a ‘normal’ car no-one would notice. I’m in the C6 so EVERYONE sees a red faced man wrestling with a recalcitrant piece of technology and getting more and more lost. Of course, it’s not the car’s fault – I’m a guy so I hadn’t read the instructions and realized you have to be at a standstill to punch in a new target address – but I could have done with a little anonymity. The buying decision on the Corvette is a little different in the UK compared to the States. Over here the C6 in Grand Sport Convertible form costs a little over £73,000, including import duties, and VAT. That’s well over $100,000, pretty much double what it is at home. And it’s left-hand-drive only. And the interior trim is nothing like as solid or classy as its German and Italian rivals – the shiny piece of plastic that covers the electricallyfolding cloth roof and is located a few inches behind your head is the main culprit when I seek the source of loud creaks and rattles. And its dynamics and steering are less than pin-sharp on bumpy British B-roads. And it’s t-o-o d-a-r-n-e-d w-i-d-e in city centers and on narrow country roads. So why would you choose it over the more technically proficient competition? Because you love it, that’s why. You might not, of course. You might hate its raucous yee-hah six-gun version of supercar ownership. But if you’re in the market for a £70k supercar, shouldn’t it make you feel
something every time you open the garage door and see it, every time you start the engine, every time you set off for an adventure (as every run to the DIY store or the office becomes)? At least have a test drive in a Corvette before deciding on a pasteurized, house-trained alternative. The Corvette is well-specced (apart from the slightly cheap interior), with 18-inch aluminum wheels at the front and 19-inchers at the rear, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, leather, six-way powered driver’s seat, dualzone automatic climate control, xenon headlights, great audio including satellite radio, a power-operated top and (neat and useful) a cool head-up display. It’s also comfortable, roomy and easy to drive in most situations, unlike many rivals. Chevrolet won’t be expecting to sell too many Corvettes here. They reportedly only shifted two a couple of years ago and none the year after, and there’s only one official dealer, and that’s in Manchester. But Chevy have successfully reinvented themselves recently and are steadily building sales of their Spark city car, Aveo and Cruze family cars and the new electric Volt and a few ‘Vette sales will add a nice ‘halo effect’. So, it turns out the only reasons you might not choose a Corvette as your regular ride are the fuel consumption, the distance from the dealership and the extraordinary levels of attention you’ll be subjected to. If they don’t worry you, then fly the flag high and enjoy a superlative automotive experience. H
Brian Burke Smells a Rat By Jeremy Lanaway
ove him or hate him, it’s hard not to respect Toronto Maple Leaf GM Brian Burke’s candour when addressing hockey and the current state of the NHL. In a time of overreaching political correctness, Burke isn’t afraid to say it how it is – appearances be darned. Last week, he was at his best (and burliest) when he lamented his waiving of Maple Leafs tough guy Colton Orr. ‘I have this fear that if we don’t have guys looking after each other, the rats will take this game over,’ he said after Orr cleared waivers and made his way to the Maple Leafs’ farm team, the Toronto Marlies. ‘I see guys running around and starting stuff and won’t back it up. It makes me sick to my stomach.’ Cynics might argue that Burke is just being grumpy because unloading Orr was proof that he made a mistake by signing the 29-year-old fistthrower to a one-year, one-milliondollar deal last summer, a mistake highlighted by the fact that Orr was a healthy scratch in 34 of the Maple Leafs’ first 39 games. Pacifist do-gooders may accuse Burke of
being behind the times, citing the trending notion that fighting has no place in hockey. But both groups would be wrong. The rats are indeed seizing an opportunity to take over the game. Every night, it seems, another player is being run into the boards face-first or getting his bell rung by an elbow to the head. Since taking over from Colin Campbell in June 2011, NHL chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan has had his hands full evaluating and penalising countless acts of viciousness and disrespect. ‘He’s got a lot more work than he should have,’ Burke said. ‘He needs a telephone receptionist at his house because of all the crap that’s going on on the ice. Players used to police the game and now it’s Brendan Shanahan. But I’m not being critical of him. It used to be that if you were going to cheap shot a guy, you had to fight him or fight someone else on his team, who was tougher than him. That seems to be gone. There are no checks and balances. Just elbow a guy in the head or elbow him from behind.’
Enforcer or ‘goon’? – a matter of perspective (and perhaps hockey skills), but doesn’t every team need its George Parros-style intimidator? PHOTO: IVAN MAKAROV
Due to the contentious instigator rule, which greatly limits the effectiveness of enforcers in handing out their own retribution, and the everincreasing speed and skill level of the game, many teams in the NHL are choosing middleweight players who can hold their own with the mitts off, and then skate and score when they’re not required to answer the bell. The trend is rendering players like Orr obsolete, and instead of cleaning up the game, as opponents of fighting might argue, it’s actually making hockey dirtier and more dangerous. Take last weekend’s tilt between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks, the first matchup between the teams since last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. The game had its share of unpleasantness, par for the
course in a match of this intensity, but the game went from gritty to dirty in the third period when the Bruins’ self-styled rat Brad Marchand ducked a check from Canucks defenceman Sami Salo, taking out his legs in one of the most dangerous – and loathed – plays in the sport. Salo went head over heels, landing on his skull and suffering a concussion, and remains sidelined. Shanahan reviewed the play and doled out a five-game suspension for Marchand, costing the agitator more than $150,000 in lost wages, but how does this protect Salo, a veteran playing in the twilight of his career and one of the most gentlemanly players in the game? If the Canucks’ roster included a full-time enforcer – a guy like Orr or George Parros of the Anaheim Ducks or Shawn Thornton of the Bruins or the late Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers – do you think Marchand would’ve taken out Salo’s legs? Probably not. He would’ve known that his fate was in the hands of a specialist on the other bench, and that he’d have to pay for his actions on his next shift, not just serve a suspension or pay a fine after the fact. ‘Guys won’t back it up,’ said Burke. ‘[They’re] running around elbowing people to the head and running people from behind because there is no accountability. I’m not sure it’s a healthy evolution where you have a game where guys can cheap shot people and not face retribution. Would those guys do those things if there was retribution or accountability in the game?’ Again, probably not. H
Tennis Topics for 2012
As the first Grand Slam of the year gets under way, Richard L Gale consults the crystal ball
Was Novak Djokovic’s 2011 campaign the start or the peak? Djoko has been there or there-abouts for a while. With Andy Murray’s momentum halted and Roger Federer peeping over the down side of his career, Djokovic hit the turbo button in 2011 and raced past Rafael Nadal, seizing three of four Grand Slams (the French evaded him). Now all those points are his to defend. Having a dominant year is fine, but now we get to see whether his career puts him in the same category as Nadal and Federer, or whether Jim Courier or Gustavo Kuerten are closer to the mark.
Can Roger Federer reach the top again? In 2011, Federer failed to win a Grand Slam for the first time since 2002, and only reached one Slam final. Still, he finished the year with victory at the ATP Championships in London, and if he needs motivation for 2012, he is just one week short of tying Pete Sampras’ career record for weeks at no.1.
Can the Bryans make it twelve slams in 2012? Speaking of career marks, Bob and Mike Bryan used Wimbledon 2011 to tie the Woodies’ record of 11 career grand slam double titles. With the Bryans approaching 280 straight weeks at no.1, who’d bet against them breaking that record in 2012?
Is Melanie Oudin shaping up as ‘just’ a doubles player? Speaking of doubles, what are we to make of Melanie Oudin these days? Former WTA Newcomers of the Year normally go on to bigger and better things, but after reaching the Top 40 in singles in 2009, Oudin has slumped outside the Top 100 and showed little pep in major tournaments until she and fellow young’un-nobody-knows, Jack Sock, surreally won the US Mixed Doubles title. With Sock ranked at 380 in the men’s rankings, one of these two surely must prove themselves in singles during 2012. Sock seems eager, staying in the States to work on his singles game rather than heading to Australia to partner Oudin again.
Who will cheer Alex Bogomolov during the Olympics? If US citizens fancy adopting some British vernacular during the Summer, ‘Bog off Bogomolov’ could be a popular signboard. 2011’s sensational climber shocked all those who remember the support he’s had from US Tennis, and declared at the end of last year that he would be Russian come the Olympics. So much for gratitude. Still, if Greg Rusedski can be British, and Milos Raonic (and boy, watch out for him in 2012) is Canadian, I guess Bogo is allowed to be Russian. For now. Who’s betting he’s declaring himself American again in time for Flushing?
Ryan Harrison is one of a clutch of young American talents looking to take the next step in 2012 IMAGE COURTESY OF USOPEN.ORG
Can Donald Young or Ryan Harrison cracked the Top10? Back to young Americans who want to stay that way, and the next generation could start to push into the Top 20 in 2012. After a spell in the Top 100 in 2008, 22-year old Donald Young surged back during the Summer months, finishing the year at no.39. The higher trajectory may be 19-year old Ryan Harrison, however. Harrison transitioned from the Challenger circuit to the main tour during 2011, putting in appearances at some Grand Slam events, and holding up well in losing efforts against Federer, Robin Soderling, David Ferrer, Mardy Fish and Djokovic, and finishing the year at no.79.
Will a Williams sister ever win a Grand Slam again? At the other end of a career, Serena Williams recently claimed she’s never liked sports and doesn’t ‘love tennis today’. Are such comments indication that her heart isn’t in it anymore? With older sister Venus already part-timing
down at the lower echelons of the Top 100, it isn’t a stretch to think that time has been called on their tally of Grand Slam titles.
Can Sharapova challenge for no.1 in 2011? Careful how you answer this one, because there may be a follow-up question. Maria hasn’t been ranked no.1 since 2008, and has never held the top spot for longer than seven weeks. However, she reached the Wimbledon final and finished 2011 ranked no.4 after starting it at no.18.
Is Kvitova’s rise to no.1 inevitable or can Wozniacki defend? If you don’t consider Sharapova a contender for no.1, that must mean that, aside from any nostalgic feelings for the Williams sisters, you accept the triumvirate of Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka as the 2012 contenders. And really, Azarenka didn’t make much of an impact on the other two last year. 2012 looks like being a show-down of Kvitova and
Wozniacki throughout the year. Wozniacki, already with 67 weeks of rankings leadership under her belt, may surrender the top spot to Wimbledon winner Kvitova in Australia. Don’t mistake that for a passing fad – this rivalry could be around for a while.
Tennis at the Olympics – unlikely winners? While Olympic gold hasn’t tended to produce a surprise in Women’s Tennis (Graf, Capriati, Davenport. Venus Williams, Henin, and the exception that proved the rule, reigning champ Elena Dementieva), the men’s side has been harder to predict. Aside from Agassi and reigning champ Nadal, other Olympic champions include Miroslav Mecir, Marc Rosset, Yevgeniy Kafelnikov, and Nicolas Massu. No modern Olympic tennis champion has ever repeated, Djokovic will be defending his Wimbledon title just a few weeks before, and if Andy Murray wilts under Wimbledon expectations, just think how it’s going to go at London 2012. Federer’s final triumph, anyone? H
Richard L Gale ponders what we learned during Bowl Season that we didn’t already know efense wins championships. Suffocating defenses suffocate championship games. Jordan Jefferson’s draft stock probably plummeted, and somewhere Jarrett Lee is still warming up. Anyone talking up Les Miles as the equal of Nick Saban should probably go for a long lie down; the Tigers logged too many quality wins during the season to have been a mirage, but for the first time since the introduction of the BCS championship game, an SEC representative looked to have rusted over since the regular season. Kellen Moore is simply the most successful college quarterback ever. That he could not cap his 50-3 record with a National Championship is hardly his fault – he came as close as he was allowed to. However, NFL scouts at the MAACO Bowl were probably more taken with running back Doug Martin’s 150+ yards, and positively salivating at ASU receiver Gerell Robinson’s 241 yards receiving and 6-4 frame. After being embarrassed by Oklahoma State in their regular season finale, Oklahoma bounced back with a strong performance against Iowa, and with QB Landry Jones saying he’ll return for his senior season, continuity is in their favor for a good 2012. Still, Jones didn’t set the world on fire in the bowl or during the season. By contrast, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weedon joined Robert Griffin III in eclipsing Jones in Big 12 play, and looked for all the world like he was thoroughly enjoying himself throughout his Fiesta Bowl win over Stanford, throwing for 399 yards and 3 scores. Despite his age
– he’ll be 29 during his rookie season in the NFL – the former New York Yankees draftee made himself look very draftable again.
Price-watching in 2012
Washington Quarterback Keith Price (pictured) very nearly upstaged RGIII in a 67-56 shootout with Baylor. The Huskies sophomore had a great year, and everybody tuning in to see 2011’s Heisman winner may have had a sneak peek of a serious contender for the next two campaigns. Things certainly went better for Price than Tajh Boyd and Clemson. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney voiced a hope that people would come away talking about the Clemson defense, and they surely did after West Virginia posted 70 points on them, breaking Baylor’s sixday old record for most points in a bowl game, Boyd turnovers contributing to an astonishing defeat. WVU QB Geno Smith tied a bowl record with six touchdown passes, including four to Tavon Austin who did much of his damage after the catch. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen’s first season as a head coach is a triumph not just for himself, but also Athletic Director Oliver Luck, who had to oversee the removal of former coach Bill Stewart and the early promotion of Holgorsen before the season. What could have
resulted in distracted underachievement instead sends West Virginia to the Big 12 – where defense doesn’t win championships – with a 10-3 record. Holgorsen-Gundy promises to be a barn-burner for seasons to come. Oliver’s son Andrew may have rounded out his Stanford career with an overtime loss in the Fiesta Bowl, but the Cardinal’s performance was a magnificent showpiece for Luck and the rest of his offense; linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin have both declared for the NFL Draft, with the possibility of four Cardinal players going in the first round with tight end Cody Fleener also available. © SCOTT EKLUND / REDBOX PICTURES
RGIII’s theatrical accomplishments might have romanced away the Heisman, but Luck looked every inch the franchise passer of his generation.
Cajuns Hot, Irish Not
Nobody will be picking the Ragin’ Cajuns no.120 next season. After predictions that Louisiana’s least would finish winless, they won eight (including a six-game streak), came third in the Sun Belt, worried Arizona in the season finale, and defeated San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl. They won’t be threatening a BCS run any time soon, but as first year efforts go, rookie head coach Mark Hudspeth was right up there with Holgerson. In the recruiting hotbed of Louisiana, the Cajuns’ breakthrough could herald a protracted period of bowl invites after 41 years in the wilderness. Notre Dame isn’t remotely back on the national radar. In the (ironicallytitled?) Champs Sports Bowl, the Irish and equally underperforming Florida State mumbled to an 18-14 result that vaguely suggested EJ Manuel will be ‘one to watch’ in 2012. At least every fourth game, anyway. I won’t be paying any attention until he throws more than two TDS against FBS opposition, which he failed to do in 2011. ND’s Tommy Rees did that three times this year, and seemed to fade a little down the stretch. He’s no Joe Montana. I’m not even convinced he’s a Dayne Crist. Finally, and just to prove how committed I am, I watched the Fight Hunger Bowl between UCLA and Illinois, two teams showing minimal hunger during the regular season. Illinois snapped a six-game losing streak by beating farcically bowl-bound UCLA, 6-7 going in, and 6-8 coming out. If the rule about possessing the ‘bowleligible’ six wins is going to become optional, let’s at least have a rule about not sacking your coach beforehand. H
December 12, 1964: Jim Brown at Yankee Stadium © NEIL LEIFER
Book Reviews Extra:
Guts and Glory Taschen, Hardcover, 300 pages, Paperback, £29.99
emember the photo of Sam Huff in close up, turf and mud caught in his grill, or the photo of Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung, and Forrest Gregg holding Vince Lombardi aloft, or Joe Namath standing in a boggy sideline, a set of earphones clamped to his ear? If so, you know Neil Leifer’s iconic work. If Guts and Glory opens a little predictably – a series of muddy team-on-the-field freizes, with a familiar Lombardi quote trailing across the spreads – and the images don’t amaze the way they should, that’s only the fault of familiarity. As with Mona Lisa’s smile, Terry Bradshaw’s gap-toothed grin fulfills expectations of greatness rather than astonishing. All the same, Guts and Glory is a welcome and weighty tome of some of the greatest sports photos. In these modern days of restricted hitting, turf-carpeted domes, and over-the-shoulder camera angles, this book is a reminder of when football was a byword for primeval physicality, of fields that still looked like fields, and when ‘Madden’ was a coach rather than an app. The open-faced helmets and mud-caked uniforms might wash over experienced NFL fans like period cliches, but instead, the eye falls upon other details, the surroundings, the skylines, the crowd. For football fans who never experienced the NFL in the ’60s and ’70s (that’s most of your British friends, at least), the sight of the Giants in old Yankee Stadium, or the Browns playing Philadelphia in the bleacherchallenged environs of Pennsylvania Campus is downright surreal. Fans are dressed in layers of sensible woollen-wear, with nary a shred of NFL merchandising. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders wear full-length gold lamé pants, the goal is still located dangerously close to the actual goal-line, and Nazis stalk the exterior of D.C. Stadium pleading with the Redskins to stay all-white. Clearly not everything was better in the old days. However, this collection of fine still photography manages to lend its era an integrity modern television coverage rarely captures. If your coffee table can hold up under the weight of this 300-page art-quality retrospective, Leifer’s lens offers a fascinating witness to the way football was in the era before television timeouts. H
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