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May 2012

THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Est. 1976

®

£2.80 www.theamerican.co.uk

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

‘TOP HAT’ WORLD PREMIERE Summer Strallen, the new ‘Ginger Rogers’ interviewed

The Diamond Jubilee is coming – enjoy a British street party UK Softball and Baseball punch above their weight


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The American is full of things to do, places to go, news, music, arts, features, an exclusive cartoon, a Coffee Break quiz, restaurant reviews, politics, cars and American sports – all specially selected for Americans in the UK. It’s the perfect read every month – in an attractive and easy to carry format. Subscribe now and SAVE OVER 45% on a One Year Subscription (plus get one extra issue FREE) or SAVE OVER 50% on a Two Year Subscription with TWO EXTRA ISSUES FREE. Simply complete and mail the form to the address below or call us on +44 (0)1747 830520. Blue Edge Publishing, Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 6AW  Tel: 01747 830 520  Fax: 01747 830 691  E: theamerican@blueedge.co.uk The American is a Blue Edge Publishing publication. Registered in England. No. 3496021. VAT No. 902 0137 83

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The American ®

Issue 709 – May 2012 PUBLISHED BY SP MEDIA FOR

Blue Edge Publishing Ltd.

Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Telephone all departments: +44 (0)1747 830520 Publisher: Michael Burland editor@theamerican.co.uk Please contact us with your news or article ideas Design and Production: Richard L Gale Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director advertising@theamerican.co.uk Subscriptions: theamerican@blueedge.co.uk Correspondents: Virginia E. Schultz, Food & Drink virginia@theamerican.co.uk Mary Bailey, Social mary@theamerican.co.uk Estelle Lovatt, Arts estelle@theamerican.co.uk Alison Holmes, Politics alison@theamerican.co.uk Jarlath O’Connell, Theater jarlath@theamerican.co.uk Richard L. Gale, Sports Editor richard@theamerican.co.uk Josh Modaberi, Sports josh@theamerican.co.uk Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey jeremy@theamerican.co.uk

©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 Summer Strallen and Tom Chambers in Top Hat (photo by Greg King ). Circular Inset: British diamond action (image courtesy of BSUK). Square Inset: A British street party.

Welcome T

his month there’s a theatrical theme running through the magazine. We interview an English rose who’s playing an American icon, and a Midwesterner who’s directing a British cast in a play about Detroit. We welcome a new contributor who spends much of her acting career in the imaginary worlds of computer games. And our denizen of ‘Actor’s Corner’ works aboard a wine-tasting cruise – well, Jim calls it work!

I’d also like to blow The American’s own trumpet. At this year’s Olivier Awards, Matilda won a record seven ‘Larries’, most spectacularly the joint ‘Best actress in a musical’ award given to the four little ‘Matildas’. Our theater reviewer Jarlath O’Connell predicted “The RSC has found its next Les Mis!... Bertie Carvell’s Trunchbull will win every award going... what children they are!... that girl and this show are going places.” Two other big-name musicals received rave reviews from many critics (but not here) and were tipped for many Oliviers... but won zilch. Well done Jarlath! Enjoy your magazine, and to all American moms, Happy Mother’s Day.

Michael Burland, Editor editor@theamerican.co.uk

SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS

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

Sir Robert Worcester is one of the most knowledgeable and influential psephologists in the world. The founder of the MORI research organisation, he continues his series on the 2012 presidential election.

Baltimore-born and one-time Washingtonian, Kosha Engler is a theater, radio and film actress, who now lives in London with her British husband, baby boy and two cats.

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

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The American The American • Issue 709 • May 2012

Regular Sections 4 News 8 Diary Dates 20 Arts Choice 25 Wining & Dining 31 Coffee Break 32 Music

36 45 50 51 57 65

Book and Theater Reviews Politics DriveTime Sports American Organizations The A-List

18 Adventures in Lycra

PHOTO: ALISTAIR MUIR

In This Issue... 42 Summer Strallen Interview

“I think I have quite an American attitude. Americans have such a great go-getting, motivated attitude.” – Summer Strallen

Kosha Engler takes her American accent to the world of Motion Capture

12 Diamond Jubilee

Did you know there is no such person as ‘The Queen of England’? Plus, Mary Bailey explains how to enjoy Street Parties, an irregular British tradition

14 Sit Down And ‘Eat’ Your Tea

Learn ‘British English’ with Jeannine Wheeler

16 Wining, Dining, Cruising and Sightseeing James Caroll Jordan climbs aboard for wine, sherry and Flamenco

24 Freud-mania

Estelle Lovatt talks to sculptor Jane McAdam Freud, daughter of Lucien

44 Austin Pendleton Interview Theater director and actor Austin Pendleton is bringing Detroit to the West End

25 Wining & Dining

Summer Strallen talks about being a Brit playing an American icon in the stage adaptation of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Top Hat

45 U.S. Election

Sir Robert Worcester’s latest ‘State of Play’ sees Mitt Romney ascend

48 “I’m All for Freedom, but...” Alan Miller defends the right of fools to say foolish things

52 UK Baseball and Softball Punch Above Their Weight GB Softball GM Bob Fromer justifiably blows the horn for the British diamond

54 Manningham, Manning, Mario and More NFL free agency round-up

55 WIN! An MLB Replica Jersey Courtesy of ESPN

56 Discover Hurling

What is a Sliotar? Jay B Webster explains

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The American

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND JOHN FOGERTY

LADY ANTEBELLUM AMY MACDONALD DAWES GARY CLARK JR NEEDTOBREATHE

UT 14 SATURDAY SOLD O JULY

THE NIGHT

Including A Performance Of The Album Featuring LADYSMITH BLACK MANBAZO

PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS

PLUS VERY SPECIAL GUESTS

ALISON KRAUSS & UNION STATION FEATURING

JERRY DOUGLAS

CHRISTINA PERRI BIG COUNTRY GUILLEMOTS PUNCH BROTHERS ROBERT RANDOLPH ROBERT ELLIS MARLON ROUDETTE

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FRIDAY 13 JULY

PLUS MORE ACTS TO BE CONFIRMED

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Buy VIP Experiences and Hospitality please visit www.livenationexperience.co.uk or call 0207 009 3484 www.livenation.co.uk

A Live Nation presentation

www.soundgardenworld.com (subject to licence)

www.brucespringsteen.net

www.paulsimon.com

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The American

American survivor Russell Ross (left) at the William H Welch Memorial stone with local Highlander John Murdo MacKenzie, who took part in the rescue in 1944 PHOTO: WHITE HOUSE/LAWRENCE JACKSON

First Lady Greets London Students Twelve students from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson secondary school in London made the trip of a lifetime to the White House at the invitation of Michelle Obama. It was awe-inspiring, but like meeting an old friend too. The First Lady visited the school in 2009. She was impressed with the pupils and gave a speech which proved to be very inspirational to the students. The First Lady hosted an earlier event in February 2010 at the Old Family Dining Room in the White House for Islington school kids (pictured). Ten students who were winners of the Islington Black History Month essay competition, were rewarded with a trip to the White House sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in London. Since becoming First Lady, Michelle Obama has made education and childhood obesity a priority. One of the programs the First Lady initiated is “Let’s Move”, to help solve childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.

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WWII U.S. Servicemen Honored By Scots

A

tiny community in the remote Loch Ewe area of Scotland’s North West Highlands has made a large gesture of support for its friends ‘across the pond’. On May 7, as part of a week’s events organised by the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project group (RACMP), the local crofting community honored the American servicemen of WWII involved in the sinking of the SS William H Welch on February 26th, 1944. The ship went down near the mouth of the loch, the anchorage for the WWII Russian Arctic Convoys. On a stormy night, the local crofters battled through snow storms across stark bogland, carrying flasks of tea and blankets for the few merchant marines and navy crewmen who had survived the shipwreck. 74 Americans died, but twelve were saved by their gallant efforts. One of the few veterans still alive, Russell Ross aged 87, of Bolivar, Ohio, remembers, “The people of the Loch Ewe community were wonderful as they brought us things. John Murdo McKenzie was 12 years old at the time, and it was his mother who had taken me into her home, and who wrote a letter to my mother to tell her that I was among the survivors.

The hardest part was when we were taken to try to identify some of the bodies. I cannot remember how many we were able to identify. There are five unknown men buried in a nearby cemetery.” The local people showed such bravery that they received a letter of thanks from President Roosevelt. RACMP Chairman Francis Russell explained that the strong bond between the small Scottish community and their American friends is enduring. “We plan to build a Museum on the shores of Loch Ewe as a lasting legacy to all who took part in the Convoys of WWII. This WWII Week of events is part of our fundraising efforts.” You can support the appeal at www.justgiving.com/ russianarcticconvoymuseum John Murdo McKenzie still lives in the same croft and ensures that US stars and stripes flags are placed on the unnamed graves of five of the victims of the William H Welch disaster. After an organised walk on May 7 his five year old grandson, also called John, handed a wreath to a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter which made a flypast then flew out to the wreck site and threw the wreath onto the waves above the wreck.


PHOTO: ANDREW BAKER

The American

EMBASSY NEWS

www.usembassy.org.uk

New Fees For Consular Services Olympic Flame On Its Way On May 10 the Olympic Flame will be lit using the sun’s rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece. It will be carried in an eight day relay around the Greek mainland and islands until May 17, when it will be handed over to representatives of The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. It will then travel in some style to Britain, as the special passenger on a specially chartered, gold-liveried, British Airways flight, ‘BA2012’. The Flame is allowed to be carried on board an aircraft in a ceremonial lantern in which it can burn safely for up to 30 hours, firmly fixed to its own seat. It will land on May 18 at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall. Hopefully it will not be subjected on its arrival to an intimate search by representatives of Her Majesty’s UK Border Agency. The Flame will then travel around the UK for 70 days on the Olympic Torch Relay from May 19 to July 2. The list of routes and venues is too long to publish here, but you can see where it will be visiting near you at www. london2012.com/olympic-torchrelay-map

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T

he Department of State has announced a new fee structure for services provided by Embassies and Consulates. The Department has adjusted the fees to ensure that sufficient resources are available to meet the costs of providing consular services after a survey concluded that the U.S. Government was not fully covering its costs for providing them. Some fees have been reduced: Immigrant Visa Application for Immediate Relatives from $355 to $330; Immigrant Visa Application for Other Visa Classes $355 to $305; Making arrangements for a Deceased Non-U.S. Citizen Family Member – a charge of Consular time spent on the service, previously $265 an hour plus expenses to $200 plus expenses; Determining Returning Resident Status from $400 to $380 and Consular Time Charges $265 to $231. However most have gone up: Passport Application Services (including renewals) $55 to $70; Additional Passport Visa Pages $0 to $82; Passport Enhanced Border Security $20 to $40; File Search and Verification of U.S. Citizenship $60 to $150; Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States $65 to $100; Administrative Processing of Formal Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship $0 to $450; Passport Card Application Services for Applicants Age 16 or Over (including renewals)

$20 to $30; Passport Card Application Services for Applicants Under Age 16 $10 to $15; Immigrant Visa Application for Employment-Based Applications $355 to $720; Diversity Visa Program Fee $375 to $440; Affidavit of Support Review (only when reviewed domestically) $70 to $88; Immigrant Visa Security Surcharge $45 to $74; Providing Notarial Service: First service (seal) $30 to $50; Providing Notarial Service: Each additional seal $20 to $50; Certification of a True Copy or That No Record of an Official File Can be Located: First copy $30 to $50; Certification of a True Copy or That No Record of an Official File Can be Located: Each additional copy $20 to $50; Provision of Documents, Certified Copies of Documents, and Other Certifications by the Department of State (domestic) $30 to $50; Authentications (by posts abroad) $30 to $50; Processing Letters Rogatory and Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act 275 (FSIA) Judicial Assistance Cases $735 to $2,275; Scheduling/ Arranging Appointments for Depositions $475 to $1,283; Attending or Taking Depositions, or Executing Commissions to Take Testimony $265 per hour plus expenses to $309 per hour plus expenses; Providing Seal and Certification of Depositions $70 to $415. It may be worth checking with the Embassy what the fee will be for services you require in advance, to avoid any surprises or confusion.


Comment:

Personal Closeness, International Bonds

PHOTOS: WHITE HOUSE/PETE SOUZA

P

rime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha’s visit to the United States has been well reported, as has the friendliness between them and the President and First Lady. Much has been said about America’s increasing focus on Asia, particularly China, and the weakening of its Transatlantic alliance, so it was heartening to see the closeness between the leaders that went well beyond diplomatic protocol. In a speech on March 14th, after a joke about the British setting fire to the White House 200 years ago, President Obama said that the visit allowed him to reciprocate the hospitality shown to him and Michelle by the Queen when they visited London last year. He added, “Our world has been transformed over and over, and it will be again. Yet, through the grand sweep of history, through all its twists and turns, there is one

constant – the rock-solid alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom. “And the reason is simple. We stand together and we work together and we bleed together and we build together, in good times and in bad, because when we do, our nations are more secure, our people are more prosperous, and the world is a safer and better and more just place. Our alliance is essential – it is indispensable – to the security and prosperity that we seek not only for our own citizens, but for people around the world... “I’ve made strengthening this alliance and our alliances around the world one of my highest foreign policy priorities. And because we have, I can stand here today and say with pride and with confidence – and I believe with David’s agreement – that the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is the strongest that it has ever been.” He finished by teasing David Cameron with a bit of British idiom “While this is not the first official visit of my presidency, it is one of the few where I have not had to pause for translation... So let me just say, David, we are chuffed to bits that you are here – (laughter) – and I’m looking forward to a great natter. I’m confident that together we’re going to keep the relationship between our two great nations absolutely topnotch.”

The last instance of an American president having such an easy relationship with both the Queen and the Prime Minister was Ronald Reagan. Reagan and the Queen had a shared love of horses, and he and Margaret Thatcher shared similar politics. Reagan knew how to flatter a lady too! It seems the Queen and Prince Philip enjoy Barack and Michelle’s intelligence, ready wit and sincerity. Cameron and Obama inherited the problems of the Banking Crisis and wars in the Middle East. They need to stay close to have a chance of digging us out of these real and metaphorical blood baths. Their similar ages and young families must help the conversation. Cameron would rather ally the UK with the U.S. than be a bit-part player in the imploding EU. And for Obama, after trying to work with Gordon Brown, Cameron must have been a blessed relief. Although Obama’s speech was more succinct than Cameron’s, perhaps they both recognise the truth voiced by the Prime Minister “When the chips are down, Britain and America know that we can always count on each other because we are allies not just prepared to say the right thing, but to do the right thing, and to do it in the right way – promoting our values, standing up for our ideals.” H

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The American

Diary Dates

Your Guide To The Month Ahead

See our full events listing online at www.theamerican.co.uk

Get your event listed in The American – call the editor on +44 (0)1747 830520, or email details to editor@theamerican.co.uk Secret Bluebell Wood Hodsock Priory, Blyth, Nr Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S81 0TY www.hodsockpriory.com 01909 591204 May 1

Marilyn Monroe Exhibition London Getty Images Gallery, 46 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8DX www.gettyimagesgallery.com March 5 to May 23 The Marilyn Monroe exhibition, as featured in The American (March, 2011), comes to London with more Marilyn memorabilia at the Getty Images Gallery. Along with a vast array of photographs, there will also be film costumes and dresses on show from David Gainsborough Roberts, who owns one of the world’s largest collections of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia.

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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: Film Gala Royal Albert Hall, London www.royalalberthall.com May 5 An evening of movie magic, from recent hits to Hollywood blockbusters! Highlights include Mission: Impossible, Jurassic Park, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and many more!

Windsor Chairs West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire www.windsorchairs2012.co.uk/ May 6 to 31

Experience one of the truly great spectacles of the English countryside in late spring at historic Hodsock Priory, also renowned for its amazing snowdrops display.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the earliest-known examples of this much-loved English furniture design. West Wycombe and High Wycombe were at the centre of the chair-making industry, until the mid-20th century.

Jurassic Coast Earth Festival

Spring Car Show

Various www.earthfestival2012.org May 4 to September 16

IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR www.iwm.org.uk/north May 6

Earth Festival events will take place across the Jurassic Coast of South West Britain, celebrating England’s only Natural World Heritage site. Events across the 95-mile stretch of coast include a cinematic airflight through the history of the coast, fossil festivals and a touring mechanised Pliosaur.

Hundreds of stunning contemporary and classic cars. Car owners travel from across the UK to attend the Show and will be delighted to talk to you about their four-wheeled pride and joy.

Ely’s Eel Day and National Eel Throwing Competition Cross Green, The Gallery, Ely, Cambs visitely.eastcambs.gov.uk/ May 5 This slithery celebration brings to life the city’s eel traditions with eel tasting, folklore and historical entertainment, displays, as well as eel throwing. 10.30am until 4 pm.

Dorset Knob Throwing & Frome Valley Food Festival Cattistock, Dorset www.dorsetknobthrowing.com/ May 6 Dorset Knobs (a hard dry savoury biscuit) will be flying in Dorset this May alongside the annual Frome Valley Food Festival. At the Food Fest there will be cheeses, breads, meats, pies and puddings to sample and purchase, with visitors able to take part in Dorset’s Knob Throwing contest.


The American

Simply Ford Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7ZN www.beaulieu.co.uk/ May 6 All Ford owners are invited to join the event, and any model is welcome, from the Focus RS to the MK 2 Escort RS or even a Model T! (The American guesses American vehicles will be welcome.)

Helston Flora Day Helston, Cornwall www.helstonfloraday.org.uk/ May 8 One of the oldest surviving customs in the UK! A May Day celebration to mark the coming of spring and the passing of winter. Its origins are pre-Christian (the Victorians banned it as being “a drunken revelry”), the whole town is decorated with local greenery and bluebells. Dances start at 7am, and the last performance begins at 5pm.

Fifty Years On: The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited – Harry Allen Memorial lecture Room 264, Senate House, University of London, London WC1E 7HU americas.sas.ac.uk/ May 10

the 2012 BC games. The event runs non-stop through the days and nights, and showcases an international cast of improvisors including American Nell Mooney and Canadian improv stars Mark Meer, Donovan Workun and Jeff Haslam.

The Civil War of 1812: Citizens and Subjects British Library, London www.sulgravemanor.org.uk May 11 Eminent scholar, Professor Alan Taylor, author of six American history books and a Pulitzer, Beveridge and Bancroft prize winner will deliver this year’s lecture (sponsored by Sulgrave Manor), in which he will consider how and why Britons and Americans renewed their struggle over the legacy of the American Revolution. Entry is free by prior reservation. Please contact Thea Young 01295 760205 or email thea.young@sulgravemanor.org.uk.

250th Anniversary of the Sandwich Sandwich, Kent May 12 to 13

With the fiftieth anniversary of the most dangerous moment in the Cold War approaching, renowned specialist Mark White offers new insights that draw on recently released archival materials.

250 years after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, allegedly ‘invented’ the traditional bread snack, the town of Sandwich celebrates with a ‘Baguette vs Sandwich’ competition with their twinned French town, Honfleur, a theatrical performance, concert of 18th century music, food fair and more.

The London 50-Hour Improvathon

The Thundersprint

Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton St., London N1 6SH www.improvathon.co.uk/ May 11 to 13

Northwich Town Centre, Cheshire www.thundersprint.com/ May 12 to 13

The 50-hour Improvathon makes a sporting return to London for 2012 with an entirely improvised comedy soap opera set in Ancient Greece during

Thundersprint is one of the biggest events in Europe for motorcycling fans. The event includes motorcycle sprint racing, the ‘Thundersprint Cavalcade of

Trucks & Troops Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7ZN www.beaulieu.co.uk/ May 26 to 27 Beaulieu is playing host to Trucks & Troops. Staged by the South Hampshire Area of the Military Vehicle Trust, the show is a celebration of the development of military transport, combat vehicles and soldiering through the ages.

Motorcycling History’, as well as a large trade show, fine foods and plenty of other events for the whole family.

Mind the Map: inspiring art, design and cartography Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 7BB www.ltmuseum.co.uk/ May 18 to October 29 A new exhibition about London transport maps drawing on The Transport Museum’s outstanding map collection to explore the themes of journeys, identity and publicity.

Beaulieu Spring Autojumble Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7ZN www.beaulieu.co.uk May 19 to 20 With over 1000 stands, the Autojumble offers visitors the chance to get up close with classic cars, and to buy and

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The American

A Sense of Place:

An exhibition of original works on paper by Natasha Kumar and stone sculpture by Paul Vanstone

The Exhibition Pavilion at The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR www.natashakumar.co.uk www.paulvanstone.co.uk May 29 to June 8

Natasha Kumar, Palace Window – series VIII (etching / screenprint)

A Sense of Place is a significant exhibition of the latest works on paper by leading Anglo-Indian artist, Natasha Kumar, (who has recently returned from a painting trip in Bundi) and works in stone by one of Britain’s most prominent figurative sculptors, Paul Vanstone. Paul’s exceptional body of work is influenced by both classical and Indian traditions. These artists work in very different materials, but both share Indian influences. Their classical training and traditional focus is balanced by a passion to create exciting contemporary works. There will be 30 new works from Natasha Kumar and five new works, created for this show by Paul Vanstone. Natasha Kumar has been chosen to represent India in the Art in Action festival to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee July 19-22, 2012.

sell motoring parts, auto memorabilia, literature, tools and clothing. Included in the entrance fee are entry to the National Motor Museum and the James Bond in Motion exhibition.

The Bunker Bash The Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, Kelvedon Hatch www.bunkerbash.co.uk/ May 19 to 20 The Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker is one of the biggest and deepest open to the public. The Bunker Bash is a living history and military vehicle show, with a wide range of military vehicles on display and regular arena events.

Alex Katz Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 1TG www.tate.org.uk/stives/ May 19 to September 23

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In the year of his 85th birthday, this exhibition of Brooklyn-born Alex Katz’s seascapes and beach scenes illustrates an America of easy living and leisure.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012 Royal Hospital Chelsea Ground, London www.rhs.org.uk May 22 to 26 This year, over 500 exhibitors will seek to impress judges with their horticultural flair. Includes a new ‘Fresh Gardens’ category, which invites designers to develop eye-catching, innovative and imaginative ideas.

The Highland Games Various, Scotland www.shga.co.uk/ May 26 to September 15 The Highland Games date back over 300 years when Clan Chiefs would

encourage their men to take part in feats of skill and strength to prove their abilities in battle. Today, people can watch displays of strength including caber tossing, throwing the hammer and tug o’ war.

Soho Food Feast St Anne’s Church Garden, Wardour St., London www.sohofoodfeast.co.uk May 26 The Soho Food Feast brings together some of London’s most high-profile and highly-respected chefs, restaurateurs and producers in support of Soho Parish Primary School. With demonstrations, tastings and cooking contests.

The Jubilee Air Show IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford May 27 IWM Duxford’s special Diamond Jubilee Air Show has stunning aerial displays featuring historic and contemporary aircraft from the past 60 years and beyond, plus the museum and funpacked activities for all the family.

Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair 2012 Brick Lane Yard, Corner of Brick Lane and Buxton Street, London E1 www.artcarbootfair.com/ May 27 A one-day art event where legendary and up-and-coming artists gather to sell one-off works, just-for-the-day pieces, and more in a fun bargainhunter and family-friendly event. Artists themselves sell their wares from the boots of classic and vintage cars where visitors will have the chance to grab incredible art and mingle with the artists themselves. Artists confirmed include Tracy Emin, Sir Peter Blake, Gavin Turk, Polly Morgan.


How Polo came to Cowdray Cowdray Park Polo Club, Midhurst, West Sussex, May 19

P

olo is the oldest recorded team game in the world. It was brought to the UK in the 1850s by military personnel serving in India and by the 1870s had arrived in the USA. It was brought to Cowdray Park by Harold Pearson (later 2nd Viscount Cowdray) in 1910. Friends and family were encouraged to take part and teams were formed which also competed at Hurlingham and Ranelagh in London. By the 1930s, a firm fixture in the English social calendar was Goodwood Week polo at Cowdray which coincided with the nearby annual horseracing festival. The Second World War saw polo face extinction with the demise of the cavalry regiments which had been the source of most players. Grounds were ploughed up to support the war effort and the majority of ponies turned to other uses. After the war the 3rd Viscount Cowdray was almost singlehandedly responsible for the revival of polo in the UK, encouraging army friends to Cowdray at the weekends and starting a breeding programme of ponies. In 1949, Lord Cowdray was invited to take a team to Buenos Aires and in 1951 a reciprocal visit was made. International polo was back on the UK sporting calendar. Cowdray Park is now a mecca for international visitors during the four weeks of the British Open Polo Championship played for the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup. Cowdray’s annual international fixture has been sponsored for the past five years by St. Regis Hotels and Resorts whose iconic St. Regis in New York was fittingly the scene of many parties during polo’s earliest days in America. For more information, visit www.cowdraypolo.co.uk

International

polo

ENGLAND v USA in The St. Regis International Cup

(preceded by Young England v Young South Africa in the John Cowdray trophy)

Saturday 19th May 2012 Cowdray Park Polo Club Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 0AQ (30 mins south of Guildford) Tickets £15 (under 12s free). Free car parking. Pitchside picnic spots @ £150 each include 8 tickets and 2 car spaces. Shopping village with bars and food. Gates open 10.30 am. Book online at www.cowdraypolo.co.uk or tel: 01730 813257


The American

Jubilation!

Amaze your British friends, courtesy of The American, with your in-depth knowledge of the Sovereign, who this year celebrates 60 years on the throne

Queen Elizabeth II: A Timeline 1926 – Born (April 21) 1936 – Father becomes King George VI 1939 – WWII starts 1943 – First solo public appearance 1947 – Marries Philip 1948 – First of four children, Charles, born, followed by Anne (1950), Andrew (1960), Edward (1964) 1951 – First visit to USA 1952 – Becomes Queen 1953 – Coronation 1957 – First state visit to USA 1959 – Opens St Lawrence Seaway as Queen of Canada 1976 – Visit to USA for Bicentennial 1977 – Becomes a grandmother 1983 – Visit to USA 1984 – First of three private vacations in Kentucky (1986, 1989) 1991 – State visit to USA 1992 – ‘Annus horribilis’ – Princess Anne divorce, Charles & Diana separate, Windsor Castle fire 1997 – Death of Princess Diana 2002 – Death of the Queen’s sister Margaret, and mother, Elizabeth 2003 – First state visit to UK by U.S. President (George W Bush) 2007 – State Visit to USA, attends Kentucky Derby; Diamond Wedding Anniversary 2010 – Visits Ground Zero and addresses United Nations. Also becomes a great grandmother 2012 – Diamond Jubilee celebrations

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Q

ueen Elizabeth is not the ‘Queen of England’. There hasn’t been a Queen of England since Queen Anne in 1707. Since then, the monarch, although mostly living in England, has been known as either ‘of the Kingdom of Great Britain’ (as Queen Anne was) or ‘of the United Kingdom’ (as Queen Victoria was). Queen Elizabeth’s correct, full title is: ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. The Queen was born, by Caesarean section, on April 21, 1926 at home at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London. The family moved to 145 Piccadilly shortly after her birth, then to Buckingham Palace when Elizabeth was ten. On her marriage, Elizabeth and Philip rented their first home, Windlesham Moor, near Sunningdale and later moved to Clarence House, staying at Buckingham Palace whilst it was renovated. They moved back to Buckingham Palace when she became Queen. Windsor Castle, just outside London, is the monarch’s country home. Buckingham Palace is the monarch’s official London residence but St. James’s Palace is the ceremonial Royal residence. Even today foreign ambassadors are formally accredited to ‘the Court of St. James’s’. Her father, King George VI bought Sandringham in Norfolk and

Balmoral Castle near Aberdeen, Scotland from his brother, Edward VIII, upon Edward’s abdication to keep them for the monarch. The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is The Queen’s official residence in Scotland, where the Queen stays for a week every summer and entertains around 8,000 Scots from all walks of life. The Queen was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, named after her mother (Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother), her paternal great-grandmother (Queen Alexandra) and her paternal grandmother (Queen Mary). Queen Victoria was both Elizabeth and Philip’s great-great grandmother, making them third cousins. Philip is actually ‘more royal’ than Elizabeth, as the Queen’s mother was not a royal, but British nobility (albeit with distant links to English and Scottish kings), while Philip’s parents were Princess Alice of Battenberg (great-grandchild of Victoria) and Prince Andrew of Greece, descendant of a Danish prince recruited for the Greek throne in the 19th century. Did you know that the Queen: is England’s 40th monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066. was Time Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 1952. once drove a train in Edmonton, Canada, in 1951.


The American

became Queen aged 25 whilst in

Kenya, on February 6 1952.

trained as a driver and mechanic

in WWII. has watched a Terps game and visited a Giant food store in Maryland (1957)

She was crowned on June 2, 1953, the earliest possible date without causing disruption to the ‘political diary’ (in Britain it’s now customary to wait a year between the death of the last monarch and the coronation). in Westminster Abbey, the site of all coronations since 1066. (Not St Paul’s Cathedral where Charles and Diana married in 1981 or Westminster Cathedral, which is Catholic.) The first recorded Royal balcony appearance took place in 1851, when Queen Victoria stepped onto it during celebrations for the opening of the Great Exhibition. It was King George VI who introduced the custom of the RAF fly-past at the end of Trooping the Colour, when the Royal Family appear on the balcony. During the Queen’s reign, there have been 11 U.S. presidents. Queen Elizabeth II has met every one of them except Lyndon B. Johnson. She also met Harry Truman before she became queen and Herbert Hoover when he was a former president.

The Street Party Mary Bailey explains an irregular British tradition

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his year we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen. There will be many celebrations, speeches, dinners, and a Jubilee Flotilla of boats from all over the world, as we celebrate her dedicated reign of 60 years. However, if you are an expat – particularly a new one – get ready for some street parties! They first appeared in 1919. There were many more in 1945 and I have the history of these from some of my family. When they celebrated the end of the war with Germany, trestle tables were dragged into the streets where, if they were lucky, one street light had escaped the bombs and strange food and drink was provided by the residents. I am told one resident had an American boyfriend who arrived with a bunch of bananas and was pretty well besieged by people who had not seen a banana for years. There have also been Coronation and Jubilee parties, and despite the change of eras, the street party remains – it is estimated over a million

people attended those held last year for the Royal Wedding – and will be around for the Queen’s Jubilee weekend in early June (and possibly for the Olympics too). If there is one in your street, do join in. The police will have closed the road or part of it and tables and chairs will appear. You should take along something – a few hot dogs or a bottle of wine, nothing grand. The menu will be a mix of everything, and you can stay as long as you like. Some are big and noisy, others just a few people enjoying a drink and a sandwich in a front garden. The point about street parties is that they are free, and open to everyone in the street or nearby, including children and dogs. Its a great way to get to know your neighbours. Do not stay away because you are American or feel it is not your thing. You will be just as welcome as that American soldier all those years ago... with or without the bananas. H

PHOTO: PAUL

The Queen’s only private vacations outside of the UK have been in Kentucky, staying with Mr & Mrs William Farish III on their Bluegrass thoroughbred horse farm and attending the Kentucky Derby. H

FAITH

The royal couple hosted a surprise 31st Wedding Anniversary party for the Reagans on the Royal Yacht Britannia during their State Visit to the United States in 1983.

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The American

! d r o My W

If the idea of ‘eating’ your tea sounds rather foreign to you, that is because it is. Americans do not ‘eat’ their tea, let alone drink too much of it. Jeannine Wheeler explains

SIT DOWN AND ‘EAT’ YOUR TEA

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e are all about the coffee. And as much as we embrace the bean, we are not really into ‘eating the bean.’ And that is because coffee is a drink, and not a food. In the UK, however, tea is classified as both. Whether Assam, Earl Grey or good ’ole PG Tips, drinking tea in England is one of the country’s most venerated traditions. Preparing and serving a cup of tea involves ritual and heritage, with varied preferences and tastes, but strong principles on choosing, steeping and pouring the tea. And whether you like it with honey, lemon or dairy – for God’s sake – do not pour the milk in first! I digress… in the UK one can also ‘eat’ one’s tea, meaning an early

informal dinner. But be mindful if you do, as your class distinction may be showing. ‘Eating your tea’ in England has social connotations. If you call it ‘tea,’ and eat it at around half past six, you are almost certainly working class or of working class origin, according to Kate Fox in her book Watching the English. If you have a tendency to personalize the meal, calling it ‘my tea,’ ‘our tea’ or ‘your tea’ – as in ‘I must be going home for my tea,’ or ‘Come back to mine for your tea’ – you are probably northern working class, according to Fox in her 2004 book. If you call the evening meal ‘dinner’ and eat it at around seven o’clock, you are probably lower-middle or middle-middle class. And if you normally only use the term ‘dinner’ for more formal evening meals and call your informal, family evening meal ‘supper,’ you are probably upper-middle or upper class. The timing of these meals tends to be more flexible, but a family ‘supper’ is generally eaten at around half past seven, while a Tea? Only in England! PHOTO: KENNETH YAU

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‘dinner’ would usually be later, from half past eight onwards. Whenever you eat your tea, be sure to get off the ‘dog and bone’ before you do (Cockney rhyming slang for phone). There is even a Facebook page called ‘Put down that damn phone and eat your tea’, boasting 58 Likes! And then there is ‘the builder’s tea’, which is definitely not to be eaten. This is a good STRONG, steaming mug of tea that is served to contractors when they come to fix or ‘build’ things at your home. Right about 11 a.m. (‘elevenses’) you will note a slight craning of your contractor’s neck, as he strains to hear the sound of the electric kettle popping and the water whooshing into a proper mug of tea. No loose leaves for this cup of tea; just a plain old tea bag on a string will do. We are talking sustenance here. Whether your English builder is inside tiling your floors or outside tiling your roof, you MUST offer him a mid-morning cup of tea. And not to worry. He will climb down any length of ‘apples and pears’ (stairs) to get it. No need for ‘biccies’, toast or scones; just a plain old ‘builder’s tea’ will do. And hold the knife and fork please, as this goes down rather well without the silverware. H


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The American

WiningDiningCruising and Sightseeing J

an and I were again asked on a cruise by Swan Hellenic, and we jumped for it - two weeks on The Vintage Iberian and Italian Cruise. Its theme was wine, and on board were wine experts among the usual mix of learned lecturers on Spain, Morocco and Italy – places we were sailing to. We flew to Funchal to find the weather warm and soporific, and the SS Minerva shiny and bright, fresh from a re-fit. We joined Malcolm McKee and the rest of the Shakespeare Review, Richard and Jeremy, on a bus ride to a lovely vineyard where we tasted different types of the local liquid gold, Madeira. It is not just a sweet dessert wine, but also a very dry, strong white drinking wine. Madeira discovered centuries ago, while transporting their spirit-fortified wines to India, that the sun’s heat and oxidisation from the movement of the ship gives it a

The stunning architecture of Seville PHOTO: SEVILLE TOURIST BOARD

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By James Carroll Jordan

wonderful quality that is nowhere to be found on earth. I wasn’t really listening to our guide about all the ins and outs of Madeira because I was too busy guzzling it. They say it was the favorite of the Americas in the 1780s and the new colonies bought most of it until the rest of the world discovered its amazing taste and qualities. We walked around the town of Funchal and found it absolutely enchanting. It had a long promenade with a huge cathedral surrounded by restaurants and shops of quality and style. No cheap markets here. Jan fell in love with the place. I had my reservations for it becoming our second home (we are always looking for that mythical house in the sun) as there weren’t any sandy beaches. Just cliffs and volcanic rock formations. I was told you had to take a short boat ride to nearby Islands for sandy beaches. Still, it was very clean and beautiful. We only had a short stay in Funchal before we set sail for Cadiz, Spain. We spent the next day and a half enjoying the changes they had made to our favorite ship. We quickly settled into ship-board routine. Breakfast in the Bridge deck where we could eat inside or outside by the pool, lunch in the main dining room where we were served by

tuxedoed charmers, tea at four with all sorts of yummy things to eat, then drinks at six-ish in one of the various bar/salons around the ship and finally dinner at eight wherever we chose. To say I never gained any weight on these cruises would be a bald-faced lie. Luckily we would have sights to see at the various ports of call and could walk off some of the calories. And I have to say Cadiz was a sight well worth seeing. We went ashore on the day of the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Spanish constitution. The King and Queen of Spain were visiting Cadiz that day as well. We didn’t see them, but we did see a very old winery on the other side of the bay where they made sherry. We mooched among the huge sherry barrels and learned how they made the drink. Then they led us into a large room with tables and brought out tapas and samples of their sherry. This was more like it! It didn’t hurt that the girls bringing out the tapas and wine were the lovely daughters of the owner of the winery. To my even greater delight, after the first two sherries were passed around, there began a Flamenco Show! Now I just love Flamenco. When two ladies of a certain age came out in their Flamenco frocks followed by a guitarist, a guy who sat on a box and played it like a drum, and a very fat energetic male singer named Tequila, I felt I had died and gone to heaven. Oh, and there was also a very tall almost cadaverous male Flamenco dancer who had a nose almost as big


The American

as his face. And could he dance! Hoopa! It turned out that the two female dancers were sisters. The young one must have been in her early thirties and was very impressive. She sang and danced with a passion that only Andalusia Flamenco artists can bring. Her older and more well upholstered sister just sat there for the first twenty minutes on a chair next to Tequila and completely ignored her sisters efforts. I wondered if she was just going to sit there all night. The tall thin male got up and wowed the audience with his panache and flair, and still the older sister just sat there looking indifferent and bored. Then Tequila brayed something unintelligible in Spanish and the guitarist began a slow sensual tune accompanied by the now sweating drummer and the hand-clapping male dancer who had put his long hair into a rubber band and sat down panting… lo and behold, the old one got up and started in with a Flamenco dance like no other I had seen. She started with a haughty disdainful look on her face and seemed barely to move. The music intensified, and her moves and looks of fire and passion increased with it. From a very over-weight ageing dancer we saw her turn right before our eyes into a sexy gorgeous pillar of tempestuous passion and Flamencan fire-brand! Man, could that girl dance; I thought she was going to break through the floor boards with her stomping and tapping. She danced, whirled, pouted and posed for a good eight minutes with the singer braying, the guitarist playing and the drummer pounding, and for good measure her younger sister and the thin blade of a male dancer clapped frenetically and shouted encouragement until the dance ended in a flourish of stomps and a magnificent pose from the now sweating dark one! Double hoppa! Me gusto mucho!!!

To end it all out came their 82 year old mother who received some flowers then did a magnificent Flamenco dance herself. That evening we watched fireworks from the deck of the Minerva and after some dancing, we hit the sack. Our ship gently up-anchored and we sailed down the river, along the coast and awoke in what I feel is the most beautiful city in all of Europe; Seville! It is stunning in every way. The architecture is first class, the layout of the streets amazing and the cathedral is the best I have ever seen. It is the largest in all the world and to me the most magnificent. Seville – now there is somewhere I could live out my life in the warm sun and indolent Spanish comfort. Of course I can’t afford it until I send my last child through university, but I can dream. Next we cruised down to Tangier, Morocco. Talk about a change of pace! From pristine cleanliness and style we went to a very rough and ready north African town. It was, to say the least, on the shabby side, but it did have its charm, I have to admit. Jan didn’t even get off the boat as she wanted a lie-in. I of course went off piste and wandered through the teeming streets that bedazzled me with their life and color, smells and texture. I bought a couple of robes that I won’t be able to

Jim soaks in the sights and sounds – and sherries – on his latest ‘working’ cruise

wear when I get home to England as they are definitely ‘un PC’ as my wife says. Then some bracelets and other things for the kids back home. Back on the ship I had a nice rest in the warm Moroccan sun and filled myself with fattening tea cakes and crumpets. I was leaving the ship the next day from Malaga after only eight days because I had to fly to Romania and film this mad crazy western/horror film called Dead in Tombstone. Jan, Malcolm, Jeremy and Richard got to stay on for Parma, Florence and then Rome. The lucky sods. Bucharest doesn’t hold a candle to them! But then they weren’t giving me a paycheck and Bucharest was. Jan just loved Rome. She had never been there and told me she spent ten straight hours wandering around with the gang seeing the sights. She has declared firmly that we are going back there. Hey! Maybe I’ve got her hooked on traveling as well! So now I am in Bucharest for five weeks, living in the lap of luxury at the Athenée Palace Hilton. It could be worse. And I don’t even have to ride a horse in this flick! H

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The American

Adventures in Lycra From Yankee outsider to video game heroine: how Kosha Engler learned to make the most of being an American actress in London

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ince February I have attempted an assassination, reproached a robot, and battled aliens bent on world domination. Seriously. Well, OK, not in real life, but in video games. I wasn’t playing them though – I am in them. I’ve just finished my first two motion capture jobs. If you’ve seen Avatar, played Call of Duty: Black Ops, or watched that dancing baby commercial for Evian then you’re familiar with the results of motion capture (MoCap). It’s a way of creating life-like realism by digitally tracking an actor’s

movements in order to animate a character model. Full performance capture is when the actor’s face, body and voice are recorded at the same time. That’s what I did. So how does it actually work? Before February I asked myself that same question. Until then I’d only voiced characters in games like Star Wars: The Old Republic, but I’d never done motion capture. All I knew was that Andy Serkis did it to play Gollum in Lord of the Rings while wearing a funny suit.

In many ways it’s similar to doing TV or film. I learn my lines, get into costume, go to set and shoot the scenes. Only in MoCap my costume is a Lycra bodysuit tight enough to show a man’s religion, the set is a spare stage called the volume, and there’s not one but over 100 fixed cameras to record our movements plus a head cam I wear to film my facial expressions. All that Velcro and protruding headgear makes close contact with my fellow actors tricky, but once we get past the giggles it’s fine. I keep telling myself that, no matter how silly I look in this suit, in the actual game I’ll be badass. I can’t reveal the titles yet but I’ve seen early footage, and both games look fantastic, especially the character animation. Unsurprisingly, MoCap has become ubiquitous in the entertainment industry, and I for one am grateful for the new stream of work. Yet it’s not just the proliferation of MoCap that has led to more opportunities for me. I’ve learned to take advantage of being an American actress in London. It took a while, though.

Not-quite dress rehearsal: James Vincent Meredith, Kosha Engler and David Kennedy in ‘MoCap’ attire, ready for the wizardry to begin.

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The American

When I first moved to the UK I had an identity crisis. I am a small town Yank married to a posh Cambridge grad surrounded by witty Brits with lips stiffer than Lady Liberty’s torch arm. Desperate to fit in, I tamped down my impulses to be earnest, loud and overly blunt. I studied British culture so I wouldn’t make a fool of myself. I changed my vocabulary, my spelling, and even my accent to be more British. My mother, watching me morph into a pseudo Brit with horror, accused me of losing touch with my roots. I denied it at the time, but she was right. She’d berate me for saying boot instead of trunk, for being quiet on the tube, for looking embarrassed when she’d say Lie-sester Square out loud. No sooner was the word ‘baa-sil’ out of my mouth than she’d bark at me, ‘BAYSIL, Kosha, BAY-SIL!’ But I was never going to truly fit in and I needn’t have tried so hard. My British family and friends like me just as I am, provided I don’t make a scene. Or a fuss. Or give them a bear hug. Once I accepted my Americanness, more and better acting work came my way. In 2009 I acted with the brilliant Colin Stinton in David Mamet’s two-hander Oleanna at the Bolton Octagon, a production that earned four M.E.N. Theatre Award nominations including Best Actress. Colin moved to London from the US nearly 30 years ago, yet he sounds as American as someone who has just arrived. When I remarked on this he reminded me how crucial it is to keep my authentic Yankee twang. He should know. As a company member at the Royal National Theatre and a frequent West End performer with a long list of

film and TV credits, Colin has made his livelihood out of being American. Heeding his advice, I went on to play Pat Collins opposite Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead) in Moonshot which earned two Emmy nominations, in 2010 I did a UK tour of When Harry Met Sally, and last year a top voiceover agency signed me. When I asked why they sought me out, they said there’s a big demand for American voices from European ad agencies and game developers wanting to appeal to the American market. I now get regular voice and video game work, and am proud to be in that pool of expat talent. After seven years of living here I am finally happy in my own skin, which is a good thing if I’m going to be donning more of those tight Lycra suits. H Kosha Engler’s recent project, the third in the blockbuster Crysis series of video games, has been announced for 2013.

PHOTO: CLAIRE NEWMAN-WILLIAMS

Right: Kosha dons futuristic technology as she prepares to be projected into the even-further future

Kosha Engler is represented by Price Gardner Management for acting work and by Hobsons Voices for voice work. Her website is www.koshaengler.com and her blog, An American Actress in London, is www.yankeeinlondon.net.

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Art s choice The American

by Estelle Lovatt

John Piper And The Church Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire Until June 10

British artist John Piper always had a love for the countryside in which he grew up. After a stint as an official war artist in World War II, he worked on the beautifully produced regional Shell Guides, with great writers including poet Sir John Betjeman. After the war he contributed hugely to the the development of modern art in British churches, especially ones that had been destroyed by bombing. This aspect of his work is celebrated in this exhibition of paintings, stained glass and tapestry designs, drawings and ecclesiastical vestments.

Three crocheted beasts made by Shauna Richardson are touring eastern England in The Lionheart Project PHOTO NICK HAND

Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art April 20 to May 7 Glasgow’s contemporary visual art fest includes a strong showing from American artists including Kelly Nipper, Paul Thek, Moyra Davey (a NYC-based Canuck) and Emory Douglas, the former Black Panther party Minister of Culture. More than 130 artists from across the world are featured in all.

Lionheart Project 2012 Tour

Starting May 1 and running through the London 2012 Olympic Games, three huge crocheted lions will travel around the East Midlands of England in a 16 metre long illuminated glass case. Artist Shauna Richardson calls her creations ‘Crochetdermy’. Look out for them on the road and at Chatsworth, Nottingham, Louth, Skegness, Leicester, Northampton,

A Sense of Place: An exhibition of original works of paper by Natasha Kumar and stone sculpture by Paul Vanstone The Exhibition Pavilion at The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR May 29 to June 8 These artists work in very different materials, but both share Indian influences. Their classical training and traditional focus is balanced by a passion to create exciting contemporary works. There will be 30 new works from Natasha Kumar and five new works created for this show by Paul Vanstone. See the Diary Dates pages for more details and links to the artists’ websites. Left: White Veined Dancer in Iranian white onyx by Paul Vanstone

the Natural History Museum, London and Twycross Zoo. See www. lionheartproject.com for dates.

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed. Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London W1. Until 10 June German by birth and Italian by training, Zoffany (1773 – 1810) lived in Paris, India and England. Influenced by English, Dutch and Flemish painters of the seventeenth century Golden Age, he came to London in 1760 as a decorator of clock dials and a drapery painter in Benjamin Wilson’s studio. George III, the ‘mad king’, appointed Zoffany to the Royal Academy in 1769. His Queen, Charlotte, fell out with Zoffany, shocked by his homosexual references in The Tribuna of the Uffizi and Zoffany was never employed by British Royalty again. A self-portrait of Zoffany as a monk, has two condoms on the wall, possibly the first representation of contraceptives in art history. Zoffany often painted himself amidst sexually indicative bits and pieces, standing as the Tracey Emin of his time.

Into the Light: French and British Painting from Impressionism to the early 1920s Compton Verney, Warwickshire Until June 10 Americans cannot ignore a beautiful country garden. From the English Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to the


The American

The Story Museum as it is today

Phillip Wilson Steer (1860-1942); Walberswick, Children Paddling © TATE, LONDON, IN THE COLLECTION OF THE FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM, CAMBRIDG

French Parisian gardens, British and French Impressionists and Postimpressionists have looked over each others’ shoulders at what’s coming next in the art world. Whistler (American but living in England) was accused by art critic John Ruskin of “flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face”. Whistler’s pupils Sickert and Steer, and the New English Art Club (NEAC) founded in London, in 1886, developed British PostImpressionism along with the Camden Town Group, drawing inspiration from realistic scenes, en plein air, a theme which the London Group took over in 1913 through Augustus John and Stanley Spencer. Its legacy still exists, today, with David Hockney painting en plein air too. Artworks by Vanessa Bell, Boudin, Renoir, Cézanne, Monet, Sisley and Pissarro through to Sickert and Steer unite the artist’s response to a rural idyll as the antithesis of modern urban life, on both sides of the channel. By the 1920s, French and British artists were comparing their approaches to paint application, producing new ways of capturing changing light over the landscape. Impressionistic colour, perspective and composition differed in Britain to France as much at the light did.

Migrations: Journeys into British Art

Other Worlds

Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG Until August 12

The Story Museum, Rochester House, 42 Pembroke St, Oxford OX1 1BP

Migrations explores the theme of migration from 1500 to the present day. From sixteenth and seventeenth century Flemish and Dutch landscape and portrait painters to Britain’s current position, British art has been shaped by migration through 500 years of history, traced by the movement of artists and the circulation of visual languages and ideas. Included in this exhibition are artworks by Dutch, German, Swiss, French and American artists, from Lely to Kauffman (female!), Epstein to Mondrian, American artist Sargent to contemporary artists. Fundamental questions are raised about the formation of a national collection of British art, against a continually shifting demographic. International experience is not new; many 19thcentury British and American artists studied in Paris before establishing themselves in London, where economic and social stability offered greater opportunities for patronage.

The future Story Museum, in the heart of literary Oxford, is currently a warren of empty, dilapidated spaces. In 2014 it will open as ‘a land where children love to learn’. But during May it is home to an exhibition of intriguing collaborations between 25 pairs of writers and artists which will turn the atmospheric building into a giant storytelling compendium, with a surprise around every corner. Suitable for all ages.

Right: A must-see of the Migrations exhibition: John Singer Sargent, Mrs Carl Meyer And Her Children, 1896 © TATE

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The American

Turner and the Elements Turner Contemporary, Rendezvous, Margate, Kent CT9 1HG Until May 13 Although claiming to be a Margate local, Turner was a cockney from Covent Garden. Through friendship, occupancy, motivation and romanticism, one accepted his trumped-up story in which the boy-Turner spent his youth drawing pictures of Margate: the sea, beach shore, pier and jetty harbour, boats, bridges, castles, country houses, churches and quirky English tea shops under the fiery sky, clouds and sun he is most loved for. This fusion of the natural elements; earth, water, air and fire compound Turner as an artist interested in scientific and technological developments which he explored through colour and near-abstract composition

© TATE

of the landscape. He found Margate, a small fishing village, much more appealing than urban, industrialised, London. Stirred by the East Kent coast, Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth (above) had Art critic William Hazlitt commenting how “Turner delights to go back to

the first chaos of the world, or to that state of things when the waters were separated from the dry land, and light from darkness.” Almost as if with a sense of profound revelation JMW Turner fought back, saying, “My job is to draw what I see, not what I know”.

rative, theatrical, social-realism, the ‘light’ in his paintings became almost cartouche symbols for the radiance of the American family values. A beacon of light for every American. A footnote to the Impressionists, allegedly 1 in 20 American homes had one of his posters. The popularity of his paintings is that they are simple narratives about all that is good. He doesn’t paint anything negative, rather he depicts happy scenes people want to spend time in, prints of cottages in gardens (his Garden of Eden), stony cliffs, and streets with big warm sunsets. There are never any people, or things, inside Kinkade’s houses, just that bright light coming through the windows. Smoke may blow from a chimney, signifying warmth and the presence of people in their home. The

light is supposed to be the light of God. As the States mourns Kinkade’s death, Kinkade galleries across the country testify to a swelling in sales of originals and limited-edition reproductions. But don’t expect to make a profit from his artwork, unless you were an early investor. Investing in Thomas Kinkade (a boutique superstar artist) isn’t known to pay off because there are so many of his works and reproductions on the market, and because he was never really taken seriously by the critics or the art world. However, obviously, there’s a small increase in original Kinkade painting prices since he died. But only buy his work if you really love it, for it’s really utterly worthless unless you truly adore its symbolism. Running away from reality, Kinkade stirs up Norman Rockwell. But only in America.

Obituary: Thomas Kinkade

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merican Thomas Kinkade, the best-selling ‘Painter of Light’, died Friday 6 April, aged 54. The first time I saw a Kinkade was at an exhibition in a shopping mall, on the east coast. Deco-

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OB GYN

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The American

ARTS EXTRA:

Freud-mania Jane McAdam Freud interviewed by Estelle Lovatt

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he reason some Americans don’t ‘get’ Lucien Freud is his wrinkly flabby flesh – Americans prefer to run for face lifts under the surgeon’s knife. Here in the UK it’s Freud-mania. Jane McAdam Freud is Lucien’s daughter, and great-granddaughter of psychologist Sigmund Freud (her mother, Katherine McAdam, was an art teacher and fashion designer). I interviewed her about her work, her father and her exhibition Family Matters, which focuses on family relationships. Works include a bronze portrait of her half-sister, sculptures of her husband and children and a bust of the faces of both Jane and her father, emphasising their genetic similarities as well as their emotional and professional connections. The last time she saw her father was, she told me, “shortly before his death. Sketching him on his death bed. It, was ... challenging! But also stimulating and motivating. It’s been everything”. Sensitive, her pencil drawings look like donor

Jane McAdam Freud, self portrait

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Jane McAdam Freud working on EarthStone, the bust of her late father

drawings from 15th century tombs. Hers is a perspective that exists beyond philosophy, beyond science, truth, life and death. Think of how flowers grow, even beneath snow. View EarthStone Triptych within a mirror, enabling you to see both sides simultaneously; one side depicting Lucian wide awake, the other, not. As in Holbein’s anamorphic The Ambassadors, the skull of mortality is visible only when viewed from certain angles, mortality versus immortality, a ‘memento mori’. The process of mortality is in clay, as it mixes the four natural elements of antiquity – earth, water, air and fire. Had Freud asked Jane to teach him to sculpt? “Yes,” she says, “He loved sculpture. When he painted he ‘modelled’ with it, building up surfaces, like a sculptor.” Jane makes medals too. “PUPS – pick up pieces” reminding me of Brancussi, or coins. They have a heads and a tails side, back and front. They bear her father’s portrait (like the President does on US currency) and on the flipside is a word contained within another word – E ‘ART’ H. Like money they have worth, currency and weight on the art market today, fuelled by Lucien’s artwork, as an investment. They also remind me of Middle-Eastern worry beads, Guatemalan worry dolls, Buddhist prayer stones, Holy Communion wafers, and Jewish matzos – unleavened bread crackers for Passover Seder, otherwise known as the Last Supper.

EXHIBITIONS Jane McAdam Freud: Family Matters Gazelli Art House, Mayfair, London Until May 25 New School House Gallery, York June 1 to July 14 Lucien Freud: Portraits National Portrait Gallery, London Until May 27 David Dawson: Working with Lucien Freud Pallant House Gallery, Chichester Until May 20 Lucien Freud painted H.M. The Queen, met Picasso, cuddled Kate Moss in bed, drank with the Duke of Devonshire, went horse riding with Andrew Parker Bowles, and won the ‘GQ best-dressed man in Britain’ award. He was the greatest portrait artist of our time, stating, “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.” David Dawson was Freud’s studio assistant, model, and friend. His series of photographs present an understanding of ‘the master’, painting. To think you could have picked up a Freud portrait for £20 in 1944, and that Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, of model Sue Tilley, sold to Roman Abramovich for a record/breaking £17.2m in 2008! H


The American

Reviews by Virginia E. Schultz

Milestone Hotel the

P

olished and assured, the lobby of The Milestone has a sophisticated charm of yester-year and a staff that couldn’t be more polite or helpful. Built in the late 19th century as two town houses, the Grade II listed building is a small gem that retains many of its original features. As I was led by a concierge to the Cheneston’s Restaurant, I felt as if I stepped back a hundred years. The marble floors and Victorian/Regency furniture are immaculate, and the sofas in The Park Lounge, with its view of Kensington Palace, looked comfortable enough to curl up with a book chosen from the bookcases lining it. Cheneston’s Restaurant (the name derived from the original spelling of Kensington) is small and compact, with mahogany furniture, thick carpeting and white cloth tables. Delicious warm bread was served shortly after

1 Kensington Court, London W8 5DL www.milestonehotel.com +44 (0)20 7917 1000

we were seated by our very conscientious waiter. There is an extensive wine list and the menu includes many of the favourite dishes of Beatrice Tollman, President and Founder of The Red Carnation Hotel Chain, of which The Milestone is part. My friend started with Pan Roasted Scallops (£15.50) and I the Trio of Crab Tian (£15.00), all beautifully presented. I was about to order the Hand Chopped Sirloin of Angus Beef with grilled onions and chipped potatoes (£28.50) when I noted Chicken Pot Pie (£23.50) on the menu. Shades of my Pennsylvania childhood: I couldn’t turn this down. My only regret was I couldn’t use my bread to soak up the delicious sauce with its lovely lumps

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The American

of chicken, as I would have on my own. Afterwards my friend had the Honeycomb Ice Cream with Sesame Seed Tuile (£9.00) and I a wonderful Vacherin of Rhubarb with Elderflower Chantilly (£9.00). Like all top chefs, Chef Kim Sjobakk uses sustainable supplies and the best ingredients from around the British Isles. The roast of the day (£26.50), carved at your table, is also available. Next door to the dining room is a small room which seats eight and was the former chapel in the town house. They have a permit to marry, and recently one of their guests turned it back into a chapel for their wedding celebration. A guest preference form is sent out prior to arrival to ensure every need is anticipated, whether it’s renting a Bentley or having a picnic packed for Ascot. No request is too large, no detail too small. There are 44 guest rooms, 12 suites and 6 apartments with the same privileges as in the hotel. Each is furnished differently and many have fireplaces, antiques, Chinese porcelains, libraries, plants and even a small balcony. The Venetian suite has a luxurious bathroom with a brass tub, and The Prince Albert Suite a huge canopy bed that would be perfect for honeymooners. There is a spa with a resistance pool, sauna, and treatment room, as well as a fully equipped gym. One can enjoy champagne and canapés in one’s suite or go to the elegant Stable Bar, where the original owners kept several horses and carriage, or order a full English tea in The Park Lounge with the painting of Noel Coward gazing down on you. Is this quintessentially English gem of a hotel expensive? Very.

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ROAST The Floral Hall, Stoney Street/Borough Market, London SE1 1TL www.roast-restaurant.com, 0845 034 7300


The American

W

ith my sat nav in operation, Nelly Pateras and I set out for Borough Market where Roast is located, certain we’d get there without a problem. Unfortunately, a number of streets were closed for filming, and we spent over an hour twisting and turning down narrow medieval streets which were built for carts and donkeys rather than my small Mercedes. One of the reasons I was dining at Roast was Marcus Verberne, who previously worked at Le Caprice, J. Sheekey, The Ivy, The Albermarle and, since 2008, at Brown’s Hotel. He had recently joined Iqbal Wahhab’s Borough Market restaurant as head chef and I was interested in seeing what was happening under his guidance. The restaurant is large, and almost every table that Friday evening was occupied. We were fortunate to be seated at a window table overlooking the market and an ancient pub, which was like staring down at history. While we studied the menu, Nelly had the cocktail of the day, Endless Love, an infusion of lavender Bombay Sapphire gin, maraschino liquor, elderflower syrup, and lemon juice topped with sparkling wine (£10.00) and I a bourbon cocktail with cranberry juice, both delicious. Our delightful sommelier chose Nelly’s wine, but as I was driving I settled on still water. Oysters were in season and Nelly couldn’t turn down the Duchy Natives No 2

(£3.25 each) while I selected three of the Duchy and three Maldon rocks (£2.75 each). Interestingly, different creeks produce different tasting oysters, and the Duchy seemed sweeter compared to the Maldon, which reminded me of the oysters we used to have when sailing in France. To be honest, we could have eaten another six each – they were just delicious. At main course time, Nelly had the Monkfish Curry with steamed basmati rice (£27.50) which she enjoyed, but I found rather dull. Debating between the Filet of Kingairlock Red Deer and Haggis (£27.50), I finally settled on the Chargrilled Bannockburn 28 day aged rib steak served with onion rings (£35.00). Wow! The steak came pink and medium rare as ordered and was about the best steak I’ve tasted in months. It was large enough to share with Nelly (I’m trying to figure out how French women like Nelly remain thin despite how much they eat). Wine enhances a meal, and the wine chosen by the sommelier was lovely and I regretted I was driving as I would have loved a glass with my dinner. Along with the meal, we had a basket of chips (£3.50) and steamed purple sprouting broccoli (£4.50). Nelly finished with Blood

Slow-roasted Launceston lamb shoulder with baked celeriac, roasted garlic and rosemary

Orange Jelly with Jaffa Ripple Ice Cream (£7.75) and I, after much indecision, had Vanilla Ice Cream and Coconut Rum Fruit Ice (£9.50). There are a number of events offered at Roast, including shopping with Marcus for lunch on the first Thursday of every month. There is also a Monday Lunch club which includes a cook’s master class, sommelier wine tasting and a three course lunch for £45.00 per person. Or one can go on what is called a Treasure Hunt, to retrieve seasonal ingredients from Borough Market which Marcus will then use to prepare a three course feast at £85.00. For more information on the various offers and wine tasting classes, contact the events team on 0203 301 4891. A last note: I cannot thank the staff enough for their help. When I called the restaurant to explain Nelly needed assistance, they were there immediately. And it was thanks to a guard who managed to find a parking place that I only had a five minute walk back to the restaurant. My advice, however, is to take public transportation or a taxi.

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The American

Cellar Talk By Virginia E. Schultz

Italian Wines

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taly is the world’s largest producer of wines. Grapevines grow in every part of the country and there isn’t a town or village that doesn’t have a vineyard. In ancient Rome, wine was linked with authority and one of the pleasures and privileges of power was owning a vineyard. No one knows precisely how many varieties there are, although there are more than two thousand different wine labels. Most of these are of no major importance but are simply quaffing wines consumed almost entirely in or near the villages where they were made. Learning about Italian wines would take more lifetimes than I have and like most people who enjoy Italian wine, until recently I concentrated on three regions: Tuscany, Piedmont and the three northern regions known as the Venezie or Veneto. However, as I learned at a tasting of Italian wines at Let’s Drink Italy, there are other regions such as Sicily beginning to demand attention. In the masterclass with Daniele Cernilli, one of my favourite wines of the eleven discussed was Palari Faro DOC 2007 from Sicily, with its peppery scent and aftertaste of the sea at the finish. Another delight was Es Primitivo di Manduria DOC 2010 from Apulia which needs another few years. It is, however, loaded with alcohol so be careful how much you drink. One of the important things to

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remember is that wine and food in Italy is as important to the Italians as milk is with most Americans’ morning coffee... probably even more so. In Italy, the wine is made to go with food and no meal is served without wine. To add to my limited knowledge, I’ve been going to dinners at Sartoria Restaurant on Savile Row where Head Chef Lukas Pfaff has been offering his own rendition of Italian classic foods paired with wines from the same region. Fortunately, their sommelier, Michael Simms, was there to answer my numerous questions and, at the same time, admit he too was still learning, but for him that was one of the pleasures of Italian wine. One of the confusing aspects of Italian wine is that wines are sometimes named after the grape variety needed to make them and at other times after the place where the grapes are grown. Barolo, for example, is named after the village in Piedmont where it is made while Barbera is named after the grape. And then there are Italian wines such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo that pair it with both the grape and place where it came from. Until recently, the Italians traditionally did not put the same effort in terms of complexity or style into their white wines as their reds. Yet, ask the average drinker what their favourite white wine is and Frascati and Pinot Grigio will be named

The vineyards around the village of Barolo in Piedmont PHOTO: ROBERTO FERRITO

along with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. In Italy, vineyards aren’t classified as they are in Bordeaux and Burgundy and there are neither Grand Crus or Premier Crus. As in France, DOC (The Denominazione di Origine Controllata) controls the production and labelling of the wine. In 1980, the Italian Board went further and added the higher ranking DOCG. The G stands for Garantita, meaning they absolutely control the stylistic authenticity of a wine. H

WINE OF THE MONTH Beringer Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2008 £15.00 I enjoyed this with Dungeness Crab and Pear salad which included mint, pepper and yoghurt on an exceptionally warm March day at a friend’s house in Surrey. It was the perfect combination, not clashing with any of the ingredients including the creamy yoghurt or the garnish of radishes and almonds that topped the salad. The pears were brought from Italy and were still fresh and crunchy.


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The American

Book Review:

NO PLACE LIKE HOME Seasonal English Cooking By Rowley Leigh

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o Place Like Home was first published in 2001 and has just been reissued by The Food Lover’s Library which reprints classic food and drink books that have gone out of print. Most of us are familiar with Rowley Leigh’s column in The Financial Times or know his cooking from his London restaurant Le Café Anglais, and his comments on the recipes is fun reading even for those who never boiled an egg. Divided into four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, the well known chef celebrates seasonal food grown in Britain and gives easy directions in making everything from mashing potatoes to creating a Tarte Tatin. – Virginia E Schultz

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RECIPE: SALAD NICOISE

Salad Nicoise was everyone’s favourite salad during sailing holidays, for everything needed including salad ingredients, freshly baked French bread and a selection of cheeses to go with it could be found at a local market, and this recipe is about the best I ever made. 1 cup of podded broad beans 6 large tomatoes 1 green and 1 red pepper 1 cucumber 12 radishes 2 spring onions 6 hard boiled eggs 1 clove of garlic 12 anchovy fillets 1 tablespoon black olives 10 basil leaves torn in half 1 dessert spoon red wine vinegar At least two tablespoons of very good virgin olive oil

Blanch the broad beans, then drain well and peel off the skins. Skin the tomatoes and slice them. Seed the peppers and cut into thin rings. Peel and slice the cucumber. Thinly slice the radishes and spring onions. Peel and slice the hardboiled eggs. Cut the garlic in half and rub a large salad bowl very well with it. Place the tomatoes, overlapping each other, in concentric rings on the bottom of the bowl. Proceed to layer the salad ingredients in similar rings, scattering the smaller ingredients across the surface. Season the whole with sea salt and coarsely milled black pepper, then sprinkle with the red vinegar. Coat the salad with the olive oil. Take to the table in all its glory and then turn and toss thoroughly before serving.H


The American

Left: What’s the name of the red line​? Below: No, it’s not a competition prize, just a quiz question PHOTO: BULLION VAULT

Coffee Break 6 4

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QUIZ

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1 N  ame the Marvel Comics superheroes: Peter Parker, Billy Batson, Reed Richards, Doctor Bruce Banner, Scott Summers, Steve Rogers, Anthony Stark

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2 A  n Olympics related question: what is the chemical symbol for gold?

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4 A  nd for bronze? 5 W  hich is the world’s largest glacier-free landmass?

6 W  hat is the common name for the medical condition epistaxis? 7 W  hat liqueur would you add to brandy to make a Sidecar cocktail? 8 W  hat is the official name of the Chinese Republic’s currency? 9 T he Tassenmuseum has the world’s biggest collection of handbags. In which major European city is it? 10 W  hat would you be doing if you were osculating? 11 W  ho was Prime Minister of the UK between October 1951 and April 1955: Clement Attlee, Harold Macmillan or Sir Winston Churchill? 12 W  hich line is represented by the colour red on the London Underground map: The Victoria Line, District Line or Central Line?

Answers to Coffee Break Quiz & Sudoku answers on page 65

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The American

PHOTO: KREEPIN DETH

Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne Rappers Kanye West and Jay Z have added extra UK shows to their previously announced Watch The Throne European tour. The two superstars have appeared as guests on each other’s shows. Now they have come together to perform tracks from their joint album of the same name as well as songs from both their back catalogs. The chart topping album was followed by a sold-out, critically acclaimed American tour and success at the 2012 Grammy Awards (the pair won the ‘Best Rap Performance’ award for Otis, which samples Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness – stream it at watchthethrone.com/otis). Just as well they seem such good friends – it looks like they could be together professionally for quite some time. Dates: May 18th, 19th, 21st & 22nd London, The O2; June 11nd & 12th Manchester Arena; 13th LG Arena Birmingham; 21st Motorpoint Arena Sheffield; 22nd LG Arena Birmingham.

MUSIC

LIVE AND KICKING Download Remembers ‘The Father of Loud’

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PHOTO: IAN T MCFARLAND

he Mecca for Metal-heads is the Download Festival at Donington Park in the East Midlands of England (easily accessible from most parts of the UK). The venue, in the grounds of a stately home, has a track record in heavy rock music. Between 1980 and 1996 it hosted Monsters of Rock, and Ozzy Osbourne’s Ozzfest has also made it its home. This year the main stage will be dedicated to the recently deceased Jim Marshall, the man whose name can be seen on the black amps and speakers behind virtually every hard rock act – the famous ‘Marshall stack’ – and whose nickname ‘the Father of Loud’ summed up what he achieved. Download will be held on June 8th, 9th and 10th and this year’s headliners

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The Skatalites PHOTO © MEGHAN SEPE

offer three different kinds of ‘loud’: The Prodigy, Metallica (pictured above) and Black Sabbath. Among other acts playing are Soundgarden, Machine Head, Megadeth and, er, Tenacious D.

The Skatalites

The legendary ska band have released a new album All Roads to coincide with a UK tour. The group, who helped pave the way for reggae, dub, dancehall and ragga, were to Jamaican music what the The MGs were to southern soul – they backed the biggest stars of the day, Toots and The Maytals, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff among them. They were known as a one-take band, playing incedibly tightly. That intuitive level of playing may have been helped by the fact that many of the band were educated together by the Roman Catholic nuns at The Alpha Cottage School. The UK dates are: May 21st Bournemouth, The Old Fire Station; 22nd London, Islington Assembly Hall; 23rd Leeds, The Wardrobe; 24th Manchester, Band On The Wall; 25th Birmingham Academy; 26th Oxford Academy; 27th Sheffield Academy; 28th Liverpool Academy; 29th Newcastle Academy; 30th Glasgow ABC.


The American

Psychedelic Furs and Brit Pop favorites Suede make an exclusive UK festival performance. Hop Farm calls itself ‘the festival for real music lovers and avid festival goers with no sponsorship, no branding and no VIP’s’. It’s all happening at Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6PY, from June 29th to July 1st.

Cambridge Folk Festival The Wilderness Festival

Wilderness

Some festivals continue to get more niche, and more crossover. Wilderness, in the grounds of Cornbury Park estate, near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, says it’s a combination of ‘the arts and the outdoors in the wilds of England’, brought to you by the creators of Lovebox and Secret Garden Party. It brings together music, food, debate and talks, late night parties, outdoor pursuits and theatre and it won Best New Festival at last year’s Festival Awards UK. This year, music highlights include Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Wilco, Spiritualized, Lianne La Havas, Giant Sand, Grant Lee Buffalo, Field Music, Fatoumata Diawara and Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings.

goNorth

A surprising number of The American’s readers live or work in the north of Scotland, often because of the oil industry. If you are lucky enough to be in that beautiful part of Britain, or want to visit it, here’s a festival that would be worth a visit. goNorth started eleven years ago as a platform for artists from the north of Scotland to showcase their talents to the music industry, much like Austin, TX’s South By South West. And just like SXSW it’s now open to the public. After stints in Aberdeen and Dundee, goNorth has settled in Scotland’s most

northerly city, Inverness. The creative industries featured are Screen and Broadcast, Designer Fashion, Publishing and Music, each with a program of panels, workshops, film screenings, training opportunities, Q&A sessions, equipment and special effects showcases plus live showcases. The associated goNorth Festival Tour supports emerging talent at five of the finest independent festivals in the country, this year at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, The Wickerman Festival, Loopallu, Summer In The City 2012 and B-Fest.

The Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the premier roots music events, not just in England but in the world. It’s also one of the longest-running and most popular folk festivals anywhere. Although folk-based it has an eclectic mix of music, this year including Clannad, Joan Armatrading, The Proclaimers, John Prine, Nanci Griffith, June Tabor & Oysterband, Roy Harper, Keb’ Mo, Billy Bragg celebrating Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday, The Unthanks with Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, Seth Lakeman, Lau, and Gretchen Peters.

Hop Farm

2008 saw the brave launch of ‘yet another’ large mainstream festival, against the trend of smaller boutique events. After all, how many Glastonbury/Reading/Isle of Wight type desinations can this small island take? At least one more, came the punters’ swift reply, as the Hop Farm Music Festival established itself on the calendar, offering truly big names. 2012 is no exception, with Bob Dylan’s only UK gig this year, the sole appearance by Peter Gabriel & The New Blood Orchestra, Dr John And The Lower 911 and Patti Smith & Her Band. Other names include The Stranglers, Damien Rice, Primal Scream, My Morning Jacket, Maximo Park, Joan Armatrading, Billy Ocean, The

Woody Guthrie, not at Cambridge in person, but in spirit, as Billy Bragg celebrates his centenary with Woody tunes old and new – he has created new songs from original Guthrie words with the blessing of Woody’s daughter

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ALBUMS THEOF MONTH By Michael Burland and Paul Eggington Starting, keeping and the end of relationships and how that affects the Woman along with the raising of kids. – PE

Frank Sinatra & Count Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings All The Women I Am Reba McEntire Humphead

Reba continues her brilliantly unashamed career – a real Renaissance lady – singer, performer, TV/film and stage actress along with designing clothing, footwear and home collections! You’d think spreading the skill set across so many activities would be detrimental to her true passion; music. However, she has yet again created an album of great power and conviction on the whole – even if it is not long enough at only 37 mins. This album has a bias to a more country rock style than earlier albums. From the opening track Turn on the Radio (achieving her 35th Billboard #1) to A Little Want To, Reba is creating a powerful wall of music behind her vocals. She doesn’t abandon her ballads, but even these feel edgier than earlier albums. There are a couple of weaker tracks in If I were a Boy and Somebody’s Chelsea not adding a great deal to the album, a shame with only 10 tracks. Love in all its guises is the only theme running through every track.

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UMC

This single disk CD is a remastered re-release of two albums, SinatraBasie: An Historical Musical First, arranged and produced by regular Basie collaborator Neil Hefti in October 1962, and 1964’s It Might As Well Be Swing, helmed by relative new boy, Quincy Jones. On both, Sinatra’s voice is further back in the mix than on most of his recordings. This is no accident or coincidence. This was not a singer being accompanied by an admittedly great group of musicians, but a coming together of two major talents (you can include his Orchestra as one unit with the Count), celebrated on an equal basis. The participants seem to feel it too. As noted by Sinatra biographer Robin Douglas-Home, after a crescendo in the middle of I Won’t Dance Sinatra seems not to want to come back in – the singer says “I almost didn’t make my entry there at all. I wanted to go on listening to the band.” The excellent accompanying booklet also include new liner notes from music journalist/historian Bill Dahl and an interview with joint producer Jones. Set against the lightness and delicacy of much of the Basie

Orchestra, Sinatra’s mature voice has never sounded so commanding yet at the same time sensitive. 20 tracks include Pennies from Heaven; (Love Is) The Tender Trap; Looking at the World Thru Rose Colored Glasses; My Kind of Girl; I Only Have Eyes for You; Nice Work If You Can Get It; I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter; Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words); I Can’t Stop Loving You; Hello, Dolly!; The Best Is Yet To Come; The Good Life; and Wives and Lovers. – MB

The Concert Sinatra UMC

Slightly confusingly titled, The Concert Sinatra is not a live recording, rather an album of show tunes that Old Blue Eyes was performing regularly at the time. It features one of the largest orchestras that worked behind Sinatra. And behind is the operative word here – stunningly talented musicians, as you might expect, wrangled by top arranger and conductor Nelson Riddle, they nevertheless take a step backwards to showcase The Voice, not standing side by side with Sinatra as on the Basie disk. To these ears Ol’ Man River, Bewitched, My Heart Stood Still and the rest sound as if they were lifted from musicals, where Sinatra usually stamps his identity on songs so comprehensively that you don’t think about their provenance. Includes bonus tracks California and America The Beautiful and newly written liner notes by Frank Sinatra, Jr. – MB Both Sinatra albums are being released together, and they show the strength and variety of Sinatra’s work in the early 1960s. Formidable.


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The American

From Paris, Portrait of a City: One of the most spectacular accidents in Paris occurred at the Montparnasse railway station: a train from Granville, travelling at somewhere between 40 and 60 kph, was unable to stop: it careered through the buffers, off the platform and through the façade of the building, from which it fell onto Place de Rennes below, 1895. © ANTONIN NEURDEIN/ROGER-VIOLLET

Paris, Portrait of a City Jean Claude Gautrand Taschen, hardcover, 9.8 x 13.4 in., 544 pages, £ 44.99 Paris, Portrait of a City takes us on a sightseeing tour through a city that Goethe has described as the “universal city where every step upon a bridge or a square recalls a great past, where a fragment of history is unrolled at the corner of every street”. It is a huge book that most of us will place on our coffee tables, but it is also one we’ll find ourselves paging through time and time again. Distinguished photographer Jean Claude Gautrand has brought together the past and present in 500-plus photographs, from Dageurre, via CartierBresson to the very latest images. He includes images by those unknown men and women who have captured the beauty and poetry that has inspired so many artists and writers over the centuries. Whether you are a lover of Paris, as I am, or someone who only dreams of visiting some day, this will capture your imagination from beginning to end. – VS

Marshmallow Madness! By Shauna Sever Quirk Books, squishycover, 96 pages, £11.99 Here’s an inspiring cookbook, with a suitably tactile squishy padded cover. If you thought marshmallows only came

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BOOK REVIEWS Reviewed by Sabrina Sully, Virginia E Schultz and Ian Kerr

in pink and white, and all taste the same, you’re in for a treat. They are part science, part magic, and the delight of producing my first (slightly imperfect) vanilla marshmallows was only equalled by my children’s speed in consuming them. This book is packed with tips and clearly laid out to make you a marshmallow master, with lots of recipes, for all ages and tastes, from fruity to alcoholic mallows, awesome desserts and gift ideas. There are a few ingredients in some of the recipes that you may have to get from the States, or work out a British substitute, although there’s a recipe included for homemade Graham crackers. Prepare to be inducted into ‘the bloom’ and ‘the mallowing’, and despise those things in packets. Don’t make them when it’s damp though, they won’t dry out. I await the barbecue season to see how well they toast... – SS

Motorcycle Survivor Kris Palmer Parker House, hardcover, 209 pages, £17.99 Subtitled ‘Tips and Tales in the Unrestored Realm’, Kris Palmer opens up the age old debate about whether to restore a machine or not. Having previously done so with a similar car title, he puts the case for leaving a machine in its unrestored, or ‘survivor’ state as Americans call it. Palmer is a professional photographer and the seventeen chapters are well illustrated with stunning colour plates highlighting both sides of the argument. Case histories are used to illustrate the dilemma facing the purchaser of a bike needing attention or suffering the ravages of time. Do you turn it into a work of art, better


The American

than the bike that left the factory, never to be run again and just to be looked at? Or, do you leave its battle scars and the period features with which an original owner personalised it? Market values are discussed too, illustrated by machines from the Steve McQueen collection. Actual owners and collectors give their points of view and reasons for taking particular paths. Don’t expect me to answer these questions. I have machines that are original and ridden, as well as restored bikes that are also ridden and definitely not hidden. The route you take may be helped with a read through this well written tome. – IK

Linda McCartney: Life In Photographs Linda McCartney (Photographer), Annie Leibovitz (Contributor), Martin Harrison (Contributor), Alison Castle (Editor) Taschen Books, hardcover, 268 pages, £44.99 Even before she met Paul McCartney, Linda was capturing the world on film. Her shots in this book range from spontaneous family portraits to studio sessions with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson as well as artists Willem de Kooning and Gilbert and George. One feels her sensitivity whether she’s photographing children, celebrities, animals or snapping a moment in everyday life. This retrospective volume, selected from an archive of over 200,000 pictures,

was produced in close collaboration with her husband Paul and children, and is a moving testament to a warm and talented woman who died far too young. – VS

THEATER PREVIEW

Searching For Wild Asparagus In Umbria (Un Altro Tipo Di Dolce Vita)

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Terry H. Bhola AuthorHouse, paperback, 292 pages, £12.49

Kensington Gardens, London May 29

This is the kind of book you buy to read on the airplane and then wish the trip was longer so that you could finish it. Terry Bhola is a Trinidadborn American who’s lived in New York City and since marrying a beautiful Italian wife now makes his home in Italy, along with their baby girl and beloved cat. His adventures, or perhaps misadventures might be a better word, as he adjusts to his new life and new language are delightful and at times thought-provoking when he is forced to face that almost forbidden word, immigration. Through it all, Terry keeps his sense of humour and in his description of modern Italy one feels his love of his adopted country in everything he experiences, from finding wild asparagus to learning about the people. At the end of the book, he and his family – along with cat – are moving to a new life in northern Italy and I find myself wishing he’d return to some city in the States for a little while if only to read of his experiences there. – VS

A dazzling retelling of C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe opens in the historic grounds of Kensington Gardens this summer. Adapted by awardwinning director Rupert Goold, and directed by Goold and Michael Fentiman, it is to be staged in the state-of-the-art threesixty theatre tent, featuring surround video and enchanting puppetry. Goold has directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, including the 2006 production of The Tempest, starring Patrick Stewart. Rupert’s Macbeth earned him the 2007 Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Olivier Awards for Best Director. Threesixty’s critically acclaimed launch production, Peter Pan, (now in Boston) rapidly became a phenomenon and played to over 150,000 people during the summer of 2009 before moving to the O2 and on to a tour of the USA. Box Office: 0844 871 7693 www.lionwitchtheshow.com

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The American

THEATER REVIEWS By Jarlath O’Connell

The Glorious Ones

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alling your show The Glorious Ones is tempting fate – what do you do if they aren’t? If I didn’t know otherwise, I would have marked this as an early college piece. It’s a shock to learn then that this is the latest musical from Flaherty and Ahrens who brought us shows like Ragtime, Once on this Island or A Man of No Importance. The Landor, a cosy space above a pub in Clapham, has under Robert McWhir’s direction developed an excellent reputation for staging vital productions of musicals. Smokey Joe’s Café was a recent gem and they put the West End to shame in terms of their talent and inventiveness. Last year they presented a stunning revival of Ragtime and their devotion to these composers continued recently with Lucky Stiff (their first show) and now the European premiere of this recent work. Set in Renaissance Italy we follow a group of Commedia dell’ Arte players as they (in the words of Cole Porter from Kiss Me Kate) “stroll from town to town, dispensing folderol frivolity”. Enacting improvised scenes in the streets, using stock characters, is their stock in trade and of course the many archetypes (young lovers, crusty curmudgeons, sexy maids etc) that the form created are with us still.

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Think Benny Hill, Little Britain or One Man Two Guvnors. The plot, which weaves together real and fictional characters, eventually hinges on a key moment when the Players are confronted for the first time with a proposal to use a full play script. The precocious young noblewoman who has written it, and run away to join them, is unwittingly spelling their doom. The main objector to this newfangled approach is the leader of the troupe, Flaminio Scala. The archetypal flamboyant actor-manager, it’s a part that requires someone with the bombast of a Simon Callow. Instead we get a rather callow youth, in the person of fresh-faced Mike Christie. He came to fame as one of the group G4 in the first series of The X Factor (don’t ask). Far too young for this part and vocally underpowered, he lacks the gravitas required and, well, struggles. Some other very game performers surround him, though. Kate Brennan keeps energy levels up as the buxom ex-prostitute Columbina (who carries a torch for Flaminio). David Muscat (a last minute stand in) is also in fine voice as Dottore, delivering the best song in the show, Rise and Fall. The only veteran in the cast is the great

Peter Straker (pictured below), who is sadly underused in the small part of Pantalone. Despite the best efforts of all involved, they are in the end defeated by the book. It lurches in search of a proper tone and never finds it. Being about the theatre, it tries arch artifice but only ends up feeling fake. The narrative gets sidelined by the comic turns, which generally fall flat, and we never get to care for the characters. The Players often speak in the third person adding to the feeling of distance and fragmentation. A revolutionary directorial approach might have borne fruit here and made it less self-regarding, but by the time the melodramatic ending comes around, it has far outstayed its welcome. The score, though beautifully arranged for strings and woodwind, is sadly forgettable and there are few full-blooded songs to really lift the piece. The staging too, though necessarily sparse for the venue, feels rather cramped. That’s unusual for the Landor, where they’ve made proximity a virtue.

PHOTOS: MITZI DE MARGARY

Book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens Music by Stephen Flaherty Landor Theatre, Clapham North, London


The American

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ondheim’s musical – based on Christopher Bond’s ‘penny dreadful’ horror story of the demon barber of Fleet Street whose customers ended up in meat pies – is a very flexible instrument. It’s been staged as a tiny chamber piece, produced on the world’s grandest opera houses, and everywhere in between. The operatic productions were usually beautifully sung but dramatically inert, and the chamber productions, such as the National Theatre version with Julia McKenzie, were notable for mining the great dramatic and comic potential of Hugh Wheeler’s book, but often they struggled to assemble a whole cast who were up to the vocal demands of the piece. Here, blessed wth two great stars, Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton at the top of their game, Jonathan Kent has got it just right. A transfer from the current powerhouse that is Chichester Festival Theatre, it also boasts stunning designs. Anthony Ward’s cavernous 1930s industrial setting is gloriously lit by Mark Henderson. These tall shafts of light perfectly evoke a murky underworld and he uses sharp spotlights, rather like a filmmaker would, to provide close-ups. Narrowing the focus like this is central to its success because it helps to marry the intimate and the epic aspects of this great piece. This approach also avoids the need for clunky set changes. Kent’s decision to set it in the 1930s is inspired, as it immediately takes it away from the kitsch Victoriana which nearly smothered Hal Prince’s original. This gritty 1930s East End is more recognisable and it grounds the piece.

Todd, who is driven mad by grief after deportation to Australia on a trumped up charge and losing his wife and daughter to the evil Judge Turpin, is here very much a pawn of Mrs Lovett, and Staunton brings whole new shades to the character. “What a relief, I thought you’d lost your mind” she exclaims on realising he’s just done someone in. Never before has Mrs Lovett’s aching longing for Todd been so beautifully rendered than in the wistful By the sea. Usually done as a comic turn, Staunton mines it for its poignancy and sadness. Her comic timing is also, of course, impeccable and her energy lifts the piece whenever she is on stage. The score is probably Sondheim’s most lush one and the close harmony singing, such as in the trio Johanna, is exquisite. Jonathan Tunick’s great original arrangements for the piece are only slightly altered here and are beautifully played under the direction of Nicholas Skilbeck. All the key supporting parts are really well sung. West End veteran

Peter Polycarpou is perfectly chilling as the odious Beadle Bamford, Robert Burt a wonderful cod Italian ham as the rival barber Pirelli and James McConville a stand out in the role of young Tobias. Sondheim is the master of using musical counterpoint to communicate ambivalence. A perfect example being when Tobias sweetly sings the lushly romantic Not While I’m Around to Mrs Lovett, as the penny slowly drops with her that she must now kill him because he suspects too much. Only Sondheim would put his most romantic tune to such devilish work. And as for Michael Ball, well, he is simply a revelation. Gone is the dimpled charmer of the concert hall, to be replaced by a lyric baritone of great dramatic power. It opens up whole new possibilities for him and reveals just what a great talent he is.

TRISTRAM KENTON

Sweeney Todd

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Book by Hugh Wheeler Adelphi Theatre, London WC2


The American Clock

PHOTOS © SCOTT RYLANDER

The American

By Arthur Miller Finborough Theatre, Earls Court, London SW10 9ED

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fter the Wall Street Crash, a wealthy Jewish family lose everything and have to forsake their Manhattan penthouse and shack up in shared rooms in Brooklyn with others of the dispossessed. With scare stories of financial armageddon rarely out of the news these days it is certainly timely for the tiny Finborough Theatre in West London to revive this underrated Miller play. A flop on Broadway in 1980, it fared better when re-worked for the National Theatre in 1986, but it hasn’t been seen much since. Coming to it fresh, one is

amazed at its quality and how long it took Miller to write about this period of his own life, which left such scars: Miller’s own father lost everything in the crash. The piece is partially based on a collection of interviews by the celebrated oral historian Studs Terkel, called Hard Times (1970), where Americans recounted their experiences of the Great Depression. Being a play that speaks so eloquently to our own era of boom and bust, it’s surprising that it hasn’t been revived already by any of our subsidised houses. Described as a panoramic dramatic vaudeville it has 35 named characters and it cries out for the great ensemble and a large stage. It is testament to the talent of director Phil Willmott therefore that he pulls it off with such conviction in this tiny space. A great ensemble cast polishes each character like a true gem and Michael Benz, James Horne and Christopher Heyward are particularly affecting. Those who find Miller too didactic (which usually means they just don’t like his politics) may struggle, as he does take on more stories here than is good for him. The play is at its strongest when it deals with the central family, the Baums, but too often the focus is pulled elsewhere and the episodic structure dilutes the impact. What lifts it from being a staid history lesson however is Miller’s eternal gift for dialogue and character. Mother, Rose Baum, slowly pawns all she’s got and by the end, the cheery Tin Pan Alley songs she adores, (beautifully sung here by Issy van

Randwyck), aren’t enough to sustain her spirits. Father, Moe Baum, pretends he’s working and son Lee has to forego his long held dream of college. He ends up getting radicalised by his travels in the South and having his consciousness raised by a communist girlfriend. Miller clearly shows the great appeal that communism had for so many at that desperate time, a point that was often neatly swept under the carpet later on. The action here is narrated by a stockbroker, Arthur A Robertson (a solid Patrick Poletti), who read the signs and got out early and the individual stories he recounts are heartbreaking. Farmers are reduced to slavery in their own fields by corrupt officialdom, loveless marriages are made for money, hopeful college grads eke out an existence selling roses on the subway and people collapse from hunger in welfare offices. The toll of wasted lives was of course immense and Miller here tries to celebrate the indomitable spirit of those who made it through. Designer Philip Lindley’s decision to set the entire play within a present day private view of an exhibition of photography called The Crash and After is too forced for an attempt at relevance, however, and strikes a rather false note. That apart, this is a production that deserves a much wider audience.

American Clock Issy van Randwyck and Michael Benz

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PHOTO: MELISSA MOSELEY

By Eduardo De Filippo In a new translation by Tanya Ronder Almeida Theatre, Islington, London

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ometimes you go to the theatre and ask why? Why is this being done now? With a revival it either needs to stand the test of time, or perhaps it was unduly neglected in the first place and deserves a fresh airing. Neither is the case with this Neapolitan potboiler. A huge hit in the ’70s for Joan Plowright, it was revived again in the ’90s with Judi Dench. Rather fatally, it is the kind of play that attracts Grand Dame acting like a flame attracts moths. Here, the relatively young Samantha Spiro has a go and although she convinces as having some Italian fire in her, the rest of it is like a dull afternoon radio play set in West Malling. Couldn’t they get any Italians or even anyone who looked remotely Italian? Spiro, although one of your greatest actresses, is essentially too young for the part and the rest of the company are poorly cast. De Filippo’s play was a big hit in 1946 in Italy and cemented his reputation as a much loved popular writer. It was later filmed a few times, most notably with Sophia Loren. The story of the ex-prostitute Filumena and how she tries to trick her long time lover, the wealthy businessman Domenico,

into marrying her and so legitimising her three sons, had a great power back then as it rubbed the noses of the bourgeoisie in the social reality of their ladies of the night, this one being fiery and unapologetic. All the sons have different fathers and she won’t reveal which is Domenico’s, which drives him to distraction. The piece is quite schematic: one son is a tailor and a roué, another a studious journalist and the third a salt-of-the-earth plumber, raising his family. The dialogue isn’t so much dialogue but speechifying with the characters lost in swathes of selfawareness. This strikes one as rather odd as these folk would more likely be busy getting on with life rather than navel gazing. The prosaic nature of it is made worse here by a leaden translation and a production which is about as Latin as I am. Robert Jones’ set however is a triumph, an evocative flower-strewn courtyard, which gets you itching to book a holiday. De Filippo’s play doesn’t have enough heft to be of dramatic interest today and when there is comedy, it is fatally underpowered in Michael Attenborough’s production. It needs bustle, it needs life, it needs Italian people screaming and not a company who look like they’re trapped in rep doing a Wednesday matinee of Cherry Orchard in Bolton. H

PHOTO: HUGO GLENDINNING

Filumena

MOVIES OF THE MONTH

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fter recent hyper-fantastical headliners, some ‘real world’ entertainment for May: What to Expect When You Are Expecting – inspired by the New York Times Best Seller-listed pregnancy guide – is a warm’n’fuzzy-fest of five fictional pregnancy tales with an ensemble cast including Cameron Diaz and Matthew Morrison (pictured above), J-Lo and Dennis Quaid. However, ‘cast list to die for’ is stolen by Wes Anderson-helmed Moonrise Kingdom, in which young teenage runaways are worried about by Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel... (okay, enough, gimme the tickets!). For lovers of less subtle humour, American Pie: Reunion and Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle The Dictator also hit multiplexes in May. The latter is not, for once, an Americanbaiting mockumentary, and indeed his portrayal of the titular tyrant poignantly skewers those usually rattling their sabres at the West. Drama and romance are to be found in The Lucky One, as a US Marine (Zac Efron) seeks out the girl from the ‘good luck’ photo (Taylor Schilling) he’s carried for three tours. For increasingly ‘out there’ cinema solutions to televisual ennui, celluloid silliness includes Jason Statham actioner Safe, Deppand-Burton comedy Dark Shadows, and time-hopping sequel Men in Black III, all of which sound popcornmunchingly great without threatening to do anything revelatory. H

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The American

The American Interview:

Summer Strallen

Summer Strallen talks to Michael Burland about being a Brit playing an American icon in the stage adaptation of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Top Hat Summer, you toured Top Hat for a while. Did the show change? We played with it, yes. As an actor I like to change things a little bit, not let it get stale. We find new and exciting things to do with it. How different is it to the film? It’s not exactly the same, we’ve added and changed the words a lot, and cut a bit because it was running long on the tour. But the new parts of the script, the jokes and the dialog, fit so perfectly with the old stuff that it could have come from the film. Unfortunately a lot of what we’ve cut is the funny stuff, but it’s hard to know what to leave – some jokes work well one night and not the next. It depends on the audience. But if we hadn’t made any cuts we’d have ended up with a Les Mis length show. How are Americans enjoying the show? I think they appreciate it more than the British, because there are a lot of American jokes in it. It’s not set in America, of course, it’s set in London then moves to Venice, but the main characters, Dale Tremont and Jerry Travers, are both American. When American shows are brought to England, sometimes they change jokes that Americans would get. I’m very pleased about one thing, I’ve been complimented on my American accent, by Americans – the representatives of the Rogers and Hammerstein estate and RKO Pictures, and Irving Berlin’s daughters. They own the rights

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and they came over to vet the production. It’s a long awaited show – it’s not been done in 77 years, since the film, so this is the world premier. It’s not even been done in the States. Why hasn’t it been done on Broadway? I think it’s because it was such a well-loved film. Our producer, Kenny Wax, went over under false pretences to talk about rights to another show. He said, actually I’m not here to talk about that show, I’ve deceived you, I want to ask about Top Hat. He really wanted to keep Fred and Ginger alive in the younger generation. I’m 27 now, and I’m probably in the last generation to have been very familiar with Fred and Ginger. Is that because you used to see them on TV on wet Sunday afternoons? Exactly. There are so many channels now, and so many other forms of entertainment, with Wiis and Playstations, teenagers aren’t being introduced to these wonderful people who were so brilliant at their craft. There’s more interest in dancing, with Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars in the States, so it seemed the perfect time to get the kids involved. That’s true – kids are into Strictly, but they don’t know where it all came from. If I had anything to do with Strictly I’d do excerpts from Fred and Ginger movies – hopefully I might be able to do that with Tom Chambers, my costar in Top Hat, as he won Strictly.

Your dancing background is different to Tom’s, isn’t it? He’s an actor who started to dance, but with you dance is in the blood... Tom did go to drama school and did some dance, but he’s mainly an actor. My mother and father were both dancers and my grandmother had a dancing school, so it was inevitable that we were going to do it – my sisters are all in the business too. And when my parents were both in shows, my grandmother became babysitter and taught us dance. Americans who live here will know you from the West End and TV shows, but you haven’t worked in America yet, have you? I haven’t... yet! I’m hoping Top Hat will go to Broadway. There are rumblings – we have a couple of Broadway investors in the show. It’s such an American show, so there is interest. Is musical theater your favorite form of acting? I like all forms of acting. It would be a dream to do a musical movie, although they do cost a ridiculous amount of money to do. To introduce you to new visitors to Britain, how would you describe yourself? I’m an actress whose acting goes into her dancing and singing – I don’t think of them as separate things. And I think I have quite an American attitude. Americans have such a great go-getting, motivated attitude. I think


The American

you can always do better, and strive to be the best. I’m an actor who can have a go at anything. You haven’t stopped working? I’ve been so lucky. I was in The Drowsy Chaperone, which didn’t run as long as everyone thought, but then I got the opportunity to go into Hollyoaks, the Channel 4 soap, in which I played a fictionalised, slightly crazy version of myself, who stalks Andrew Lloyd Webber then gets chosen by him to play Maria in the Sound of Music. Then I got to play Maria for real in the West End, then Love Never Dies. Maria, for many, ‘is’ Julie Andrews. And Dale Tremont in Top Hat is inextricably linked with Ginger Rogers. How do you make characters like these your own? The only way is to read the script, fresh. I did watch the films, to get inspiration from them – they are my idols and ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – but I try to put my own spin on it. Ginger Rogers said that Fred Astaire was great, “but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did, backwards... and in high heels!” Absolutely! [laughs] It is slightly more difficult when you’re in 3½ inch heels and manipulating a dress covered in feathers. Fred also made her dance until her feet bled. Have you suffered like that? My feet have bled, but that’s probably because I’m a perfectionist, not because anyone has made me. Tom is equally dedicated. You look fabulous in those 1930s gowns. How does it feel to wear all the glamorous outfits? It’s a joy to stand in them. To dance, not so much! I’m worried about standing on them. And doing eight shows a

week, Tom is bound to stand on my feathers every now and then! I never thought of myself as a ‘girly girl’ before, but wearing these outfits has really been a joy. I just wish people would dress the same as then. Top Hat was written during the Depression. Is it just escapism or does it have something to say about today’s world? I would say it’s pretty much escapism. It’s a love story set in beautiful places, wearing beautiful clothes, and I think being transported to a world of elegance and glamour is exactly what everyone needs at the moment. Maybe the audience will leave in a better mood and try to change the world just a little bit. H PHOTO: GREG KING

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The American PHOTOS: CATHERINE ASHMORE

When Detroit Came to London Theater director and actor Austin Pendleton tells Michael Burland about bringing his acclaimed production of Detroit to the West End

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etroit is one of the most eagerly anticipated transfers of a new play across the Atlantic in a long time. In Fall 2009, Martha Lavey, artistic director of Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, asked Austin if he’d like to direct this new play. Not sure whether he was going to be free, Austin asked Martha to email the script which had been recommended by Polly Carl, a dramaturg at Steppenwolf. Lisa D’Amour’s previous work had been small site-specific pieces in Minneapolis, but once Martha had read Detroit she decided to put it into production on Steppenwolf ’s main stage. Austin could see why: “When I read it I told Martha I hadn’t read anything more talented in years,” he told me. Timing is an issue in theater. Laurie Metcalf (interviewed in The American, April 2012) starred in the premier of Detroit, but isn’t in the London production. “We were trying to put a Broadway production of Detroit on but it got postponed. Then she was offered Long Day’s Journey Into Night in London which she couldn’t turn down,” said Austin. He told Laurie that he’d miss her if they did Detroit again, but would

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love to see her in London. “Then, like a deus ex machina, the National Theatre of Great Britain called up and asked me to come over and direct Detroit at exactly the same time Laurie was here. Eerie!” How has Austin found the London production’s all-British cast? “It’s very exciting, everyone is enthused with the peculiar energy of this play. Everyone is right for the part, and right for the play. And the accents! From day one of rehearsals I forgot I wasn’t in the Midwest. And all the performances are completely different from the Chicago production, which is great because I don’t have to compare them.” Do British actors find it easier to do American accents than the other way round? “Thirty years ago in America, Meryl Streep revolutionized the idea of accents. Before that I don’t know how seriously we took it.” Are the British maybe more exposed to American accents than the other way, because of the amount of American films and TV programs over here? “Yes, and also I’ve noticed that walking in London you hear a different accent with every English person you pass. Most Americans

can’t tell the difference between, say, Kansas and Missouri.” I asked Austin to describe Detroit. “It’s a funny play that’s very dark, or a dark play that’s very funny. I tell the cast to be open to any kind of audience response. Sometimes you go from beginning to end and there’s not one laugh. The next night they’re falling about. It’s one of those plays that is very alert to the audience that is watching it.” Many plays have transferred from the West End to Broadway lately. I asked if Austin thought it bred any resentment in the U.S. theatre world. “That’s been going on for as long as I’ve been in New York. First they get upset about the idea of it, then they go see the acting and stop complaining. ‘Just this one time,’ they say, ‘this is so brilliant, we’ll allow it – just this once’. Then they see another great performance...” Should more American plays and actors come over to the UK? “I don’t know. I’m an American, over here directing an American play, who’s already directed it with a brilliant American cast, and I don’t ever feel, oh I wish I had some Americans here.” H


The American

Turnout will be the key to the outcome of the American election in November, writes Sir Robert Worcester

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ow that Rick Santorum has withdrawn from the race, Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate for President, despite the fact that he has now obtained just 656 (57%) of the 1,144 delegates that he needs to become the Republican nominee at the Republican National Convention. But that’s not that important now. Santorum’s drubbing by Romney on April 3 in the three states’ winner-take-all contests, Wisconsin (42 delegates), Maryland (37) and the District of Columbia (19), together with the family’s concern for their ill threeyear-old daughter and the constant pressure of the enormous Romney war chest compared with the trickle of financial support for Santorum, caused him to pull the plug on what was becoming increasingly obvious: that Mitt had the nomination in the bag. Santorum represented the ABR (“anybody but Romney”) vote. He was just one of the 11 Republican aspirants to lead the GOP ticket out of the 52 Republicans seeking the nomination at the outset of the campaign last year. There is clearly strong opposition among the Right to having Romney as their candidate. They represent a combination of those who are reluctant to elect a Mormon as President and those who are reluctant to support a “moderate” Right nominee. Romney is certainly not the favourite of the Evangelical Christian community in

America. And four in ten Americans describe themselves as “born-again Christians”. The next few months between now and the Republican National Convention will give us a preview of the presidential contest. The “real” election period starts on Labor Day, September 3. Election day is November 6. This will be the most expensive of any American election ever held. It will also undoubtably be the dirtiest campaign. And it’s already started as Obama’s guns have begun to fire at his inevitable Republican opponent. The traditional “solid South” will again be pretty solid Republican. These are the old Confederate states which Franklin D. Roosevelt brought into the Democratic coalition in 1932 and consolidated in 1936. The Southern states will, with the exception of Florida which has always been an uncomfortable marginal state, ally with the strong “Bible belt” states which run from the East Coast to the Middle West and mountain states almost to the West Coast, the “red” states (Republican) of America. State after state will be considering its conscience deciding whether to re-elect a black liberal intellectual who to most of those states’ voters has failed in office, or whether to support the second choice, if that, of the substantial number of born-again Christian life-long Republican voters in these states.

PHOTO: GAGE SKIDMORE

US ELECTION 2012

Mitt Romney: still far from President Elect, but at least the nominee apparent for the Republican Party

This may well result in Romney choosing a conservative Southern ‘belle’ as his running mate, as it’s his to choose, and he’ll need shoring up against the hemorrhaging of the women’s support for the Republican ticket, down around ten percent since the 2004 election. A conservative to

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PHOTOS: GAGE SKIDMORE

The American

GOP Caucus and Primary Results Candidates

Votes

Percent

Kansas | 40 delegates Santorum 15,290 Romney 6,250 Gingrich 4,298 Paul 3,767

51.2 20.9 14.4 12.6

Guam | 9 delegates Romney 215

100.0

Northern Marianas | 9 delegates Romney 740 87.3 Santorum 53 6.2 Gingrich 28 3.3 Paul 27 3.2 Virgin Islands | 9 delegates Paul 112 44.1 Romney 101 39.8 Santorum 23 9.0 Gingrich 18 7.1 Alabama | 50 delegates Santorum 214,545 Gingrich 182,197 Romney 180,250 Paul 30,892

34.5 29.3 29.0 5.0

Mississippi | 40 delegates Santorum 94,981 32.8 Gingrich 90,409 31.2 Romney 88,715 30.6 Paul 12,749 4.4 Hawaii | 20 delegates Romney 4,548 Santorum 2,589 Paul 1,975 Gingrich 1,116

44.5 25.3 19.3 10.9

Suspended campaigns: the past six months have seen the rise and fall of many candidates. Herman Cain (far left) flew high in November, while the two Ricks – Perry and Santorum (second right and far right) went as high as second-favorites.

GOP Caucus and Primary Results Candidates

Votes

Puerto Rico | 23 delegates Romney 106,431 83.0 Santorum 10,574 8.0 Gingrich 2,702 2.0 Paul 1,595 1.0 Illinois | 69 delegates Romney 430,535 Santorum 322,831 Paul 85,872 Gingrich 73,362

46.7 35.0 8.0 9.3

Louisiana | 46 delegates Santorum 91,321 Romney 49,758 Gingrich 29,656 Paul 11,467

49.0 26.7 15.9 6.2

Wisconsin | 42 delegates Romney 346,279 Santorum 289,648 Paul 87,896 Gingrich 45,944

44.1 36.9 11.2 5.9

Maryland | 37 delegates Romney 117,527 Santorum 69,020 Gingrich 26,088 Paul 22,698

49.2 28.9 10.9 9.5

Dist. of Columbia | 19 delegates Romney 3,122 70.2 Paul 535 12.0 Gingrich 477 10.7 SOURCE: REALCLEARPOLITICS.COM

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Percent

throw a bone to his party’s right wing, and a Southern to keep the South solid, protecting his base. The table opposite is for the nerds who are keeping track, and start with where I left off last month, with Kansas, and picks up from there. It is of course somewhat misleading in two ways (at least). First, because in the winnertake-all states even some delegates who have not yet committed, as in Wisconsin, can be added to the Romney score. Maryland and Washington, DC, as with Wisconsin, will by their rules be cast as a block. So now we‘ll see much less media coverage of the American election until July and the conventions, and then time off in August while the parties gather their resources for the final lap, with the starting gun in early September and then the ‘short’ campaign, only two months long. Who said ‘A week is a long time in politics’? In America, the elections seem to go on forever. Romney can count on fewer states’ support than Obama, that’s for sure. The big states, California (55), New York (29), Illinois (20) etc., are yet to be voting but can be counted in Obama’s


camp as well as half a dozen other states adding up to another 175 electoral votes. The Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, will have more states in his camp but the largest will be Texas with 38 electorate votes, followed by Georgia (16), the deep South home state of Newt Gingrich which will be solidly behind the Republican candidate. The marginals will again be as in the last three elections, Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), and Ohio (18). Others to watch are North Carolina (15) which I would say is playing to Romney, and Missouri (10), 2008’s most marginal State.

I called the Republican nomination for Romney when I started following this American election marathon, and Obama to win in November. I don’t see any reason to change my mind. If there’s any easy money that says differently, let me know. H

PHOTO: GAGE SKIDMORE

The American

Sir Robert Worcester is the Founder of MORI. Follow him for updates on Twitter: @RobertWorcester. Right: Newt Gingrich has vowed to continue his campaign until the GOP convention, his website declaring him ‘the last conservative standing‘

2012 Republican Delegate Race at April 20, 2012 (1,144 needed to win) State Total

Date

Delegates Romney Santorum Gingrich

Paul

2,286

656

272

140

67

Delegate Allocation

Open/Closed

Kansas

Mar 10

40

7

33

0

0

Hybrid Primary2

Closed

Guam

Mar 10

9

6

0

0

0

Non-Binding Caucus

Closed

Northern Marianas

Mar 10

9

6

0

0

0

Non-Binding Caucus

Closed

Virgin Islands

Mar 10

9

4

0

0

1

Non-Binding Caucus

Closed Open

Alabama

Mar 13

50

11

19

12

0

Proportional Primary

Mississippi

Mar 13

40

12

13

12

0

Proportional Primary1

Open

Hawaii

Mar 13

20

0

5

0

3

Proportional Caucus1

Closed

American Samoa

Mar 13

9

9

0

0

0

Proportional Caucus

Open

Puerto Rico

Mar 18

23

20

0

0

0

Proportional Primary3

Open

Illinois

Mar 20

69

42

10

0

0

Direct Election

Open

3

Louisiana

Mar 24

46

0

0

0

0

Proportional Primary

Wisconsin

Apr 3

42

15

0

0

0

Winner Take All Primary1

Open

Maryland

Apr 3

37

37

0

0

0

Winner Take All Primary1

Closed

Dist. of Columbia

Apr 3

19

0

0

Winner Take All Primary

Closed

Apr 21

52

-

-

-

Non-Binding Caucus

Open

New York

Apr 24

95

-

-

-

Proportional Primary3

Closed

Pennsylvania

Apr 24

72

-

-

-

Direct Election

Closed

Connecticut

Apr 24

28

-

-

-

Hybrid Primary2,3

Closed

Rhode Island

Apr 24

19

-

-

-

Proportional Primary

Open

Delaware

Apr 24

17

19 -

0

Missouri

-

-

-

Winner Take All Primary

Closed

*States have been penalized half their delegates 1 Delegates are awarded by district and statewide  2  Some delegates awarded by district and statewide, some proportionately, some winner-take-all 3  Election becomes winner-take-all if a candidate meets a certain threshold (usually 50%)

1

Closed

SOURCE: REALCLEARPOLITICS.COM

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The American

“I’m all for Freedom, but...” Does freedom of speech mean the freedom to say foolish and unpopular things, to offend, and to be offended? Perhaps so, suggests Alan Miller PHOTO: RONNIE MACDONALD

“I

’m not a racist, but...” used to be a popular precursor to racist comments in the past. These days, it is freedom of speech that is on the receiving end of such treatment. I’ll take two stories, one from either side of the pond, to illustrate how it is becoming acceptable to take the approach that “I’m all for freedom, but...”. The ‘but’ in the sentence invariably refers to something that is just too unsavory, despicable or gauche and utterly offensive. Of course, that is precisely the type of thing that has to be protected by freedom of speech – as nobody ever wanted to censor anything that didn't offend anyone. So we have that stupid student, Liam Stacey who, apparently, gets drunk and rather than gushing bile or nonsense in a student bar where no one pays him any attention (or in a real bar where he gets a right-hander) he tweeted his views about Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba’s on-field collapse. While his remarks – “LOL (laugh out loud). F*** Muamba. He’s dead!!” – were pitifully distasteful, the danger is the idea that we are not permitted to write or say what we think without risking imprisonment. Stacey was sentenced to 56 days in prison. What is incredible is that those who consider themselves as Liberal or formerly ‘Left wing’ seem to so often be at the forefront of encouraging this chill-

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ingly censorious climate. No doubt, because Stacey went on to respond with racist comments, he was deemed as someone who was not the ‘right kind’ of person to deserve freedom of speech. If freedom of speech is only allocated to certain ‘types’ of people, we have lost any meaningful sense of it. As Musa Okwonga explained on The Independent blog, if the aim is to prevent rampant racism then certain popular offensive sites such as TheFunnyRacist should be pursued and closed. This is the logical conclusion of banning sentiments we do not like. Historically, almost any challenge to widely held views was offensive. Universal suffrage, freedom and equality for all regardless of race or gender – and the idea that we are children who cannot cope with nasty ideas, or worse, that we will somehow be overtaken by age old psychotic madness when reading certain words, is far more insidious and dangerous for society than drunk students or racist ideas – which are far better exposed to the daylight of enlightened debate, where those of us confident in our ideas to dispense with flawed ideas can win the intellectual and practical arguments. Across the water, Rutgers University was the setting for a tragic situation that then solidified the idea of “hate crimes”. In September 2010, eighteen year old student Tyler Clementi was

filmed in his dorm room with another man. Room mate Dharun Ravi, who filmed them, posted the video of the two kissing online and made comments on Twitter. Ravi and fellow student Molly Wei were charged with Cyber-voyeurism at the time. However, following an outpouring of anger from a range of groups and individuals, Ravi was charged with a “Hate Crime” – namely, he was found guilty of “invasion of privacy, hindering apprehension, witness tampering, and all four of the bias intimidation charges”. In regard to the viewing on September 19, the jury concluded that Ravi did not act with the purpose to intimidate either Clementi or his guest because of their sexual orientation, but that Clementi was intimidated and reasonably believed that he had been targeted because of his sexual orientation. Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge on 22 September 2010. However, “hate crimes” seem to magnify something we already have laws against. As Richard Cohen wonders in the Washington Post, why is it that beating up someone is less of a crime if they are not black or Jewish? Worse though, is how “hate crime” and “hate speech” is now intertwined – students on campus and adults everywhere run the risk of being prosecuted, whether at a soccer match or


The American

Left: Did Ozzie Guillen's voiced admiration for Fidel Castro's political longevity deserve supsension as a Major League Baseball manager? Above: Do inappropriate tweets deserve 56 days in jail or merely derision? © KEITH ALLISON

in the local pub, for making comments. Emily Bazelon, Senior Editor at Slate, wrote in the New York Times Op-Ed of how Ravi should be held, as an 18 year old adult, accountable for invasion of privacy on campus – and for that there are already policies established. However, as she rightly pointed out, the precedent for using so-called hate crime legislation leads to freedom-eroding consequences. If the video that Ravi filmed of his room mate had been a man kissing a woman and he’d then been shunned or embarrassed in front of his fellow students and decided to kill himself, the hate crime tag could not have been applied. The obsession with bullying has mixed alongside the freedom-eroding “hate speech” outlook to create an America where there is freedom of speech, but only if you do not say something that is offensive to particular groups. We cannot hope for a second to win the hearts and minds of people to change and improve and transform this world if we continually try to limit, stifle, shut down and censor unpallatable words and ideas. The real outrage in all of this, is that it has become acceptable to fall back on the Mantra “Well, I am all for free speech, but...”. Journalists, academics and even celebrities seem to be falling over themselves to support the Leveson

© EASTERN ARIZONA COLLEGE

Inquiry and further shackling of the press on the spurious basis that Tabloids control the masses' minds, and in reaction to the Murdoch Moment, a tweet from the former footballer Stan Collymore goes to the heart of the matter. Distrusting ordinary people's ability to make decisions independently of noxious ideas, he rants, “Seems to be a few who think that calling someone a W*g, ni***r or c**n and being arrested for it is an infringement of F[reedom] o[f] S[peech]. Idiots [...] It starts with a word, it ends in a stabbing somewhere. That’s why it’s illegal. Soppy liberal tree huggers.” Maybe we should argue for Collymore's arrest on the basis that it is offensive to call any human being an ‘idiot’, but I am for having all the stupid, idiotic and offensive ideas fought out and not shoved under the carpet and banned. It is only when ideas and views are “beyond the pale” that freedom of speech matters. In these oh so sensitive, yet desensitized times, where moral panics play out in a realm of little morality, anyone who believes in freedom needs to take a stand against the attack on free speech. Just in case you think these are isolated incidents, from sport to theater, University and beyond, this chilling climate is expanding. It isn't only sports fans who will have noted the recent outrage at Miami Marlins man-

ager Ozzie Guillen‘s suspension for five games. This was for saying, in a Time magazine interview that he “loved” and respected Fidel Castro for avoiding being killed when so many people were out to get rid of him. For that offence (admiration, not even of the Cuban leader‘s politics, although that hardly matters), he has been vilified and hung out to dry. Back in the UK, there is an attempt to ban the Israeli National Theater group, Habima, from performing at The Globe Theater’s Olympiad series because it had performed in settlement areas. Of course, we should remember, when groups get uninvited, banned, silenced, self censor or censored, it is not discriminatory but ends up being simply about any group that feels “offended”. Leeds University Jewish Society recently uninvited a guest speaker for fear of offending Muslims, and so it goes on. Adults can be offended without dying. We in fact have a right to offend and be offended – and our great achievement is that we can use our intelligence to win arguments and expose flawed ideas – or be beaten by better ones. H Alan Miller is Director of The Vibe Bar in Brick Lane and co-founder of the Old Truman Brewery and runs The New York Salon in NYC where he is a film producer and director www.nysalon.org

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The American

An artist’s impression of how the giant Chevrolet statue will look

Louis Chevrolet Heads Home – To Switzerland The centenary of Chevrolet, perhaps the most iconic (and most referenced in rock and roll songs ) U.S. car company, is being commemorated with a huge polished steel statue. It will grace not an iconic automobile location in the States but Louis Chevrolet’s birthplace, La Chaux-deFonds in Switzerland. The 16 foot high bust of Louis Chevrolet will sit in the Parc de l’Ouest in center of the Swiss town, reminding visitors and citizens that the legendary entrepreneur was one of the Swiss city’s most famous sons. The winning proposal was Christian Gonzenbach’s new take on a traditional form of art, the bust, designed to portray ‘a spirit of innovation, optimism and the passion to make the most out of life’s opportunities’. “Christian Gonzenbach has created a work of art which the jury found the most emotionally engaging of the four unique proposals. His approach is as pioneering as the man who founded the Chevrolet brand. The visual complexity and ever changing reflections will make this piece of art very intriguing,” said Susan Docherty, chair of the jury and Chevrolet Europe’s president.

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DRIVETIME

PHOTO: SAAB UK

How To Pass An MoT A

what? If you’ve bought a car in the UK you need to know that, after its third birthday, every car needs an annual check, named for the old Ministry of Transport. Without a valid MoT certificate they’re illegal to drive on the road. A staggering 40% of cars and 50% of vans fail their MoT on the first attempt – often for something trivial like a worn out wiper blade or blown light bulb. Even if you don’t have to pay for a retest, it’s inconvenient to have to get the work done and take the vehicle back. The experts at automotive publishers Haynes have these hints on how to pass first time. Check the lights. Make sure all bulbs work the day before the test and renew any failed bulbs. Check again just before the test – and have a bulb kit handy. Check the tyres for damage. Use a tread depth gauge to check the amount remaining. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, although it’s better to fit new tyres before that . Fit new wiper blades. If they’ve been on for a year they’re past it anyway. They’ll be cheaper from an

accessory shop than a garage. Top up the screen wash reservoir too. Check the windshield (windscreen here) and mirrors. There must be no cracks or large chips in the windscreen in the driver’s field of view (small stone chips are OK). Rear view mirrors must be adjustable and in good condition. The horn must sound loud and clear. Be early: you can get your car tested up to a month before the old certificate runs out; the new certificate will run for 12 months from the expiry of the old one. Clean your car inside and out. Testers can refuse to accept a dirty car. Shop around. Some testing stations offer a reduced fee and/or free retests, or include a free or cut-price MoT with a major service. Watch and learn. You are entitled by law to watch the test being carried out. This is particularly useful if you’re having a test done as a pre- (or even post-) purchase check. Read the comments. Pass or fail, there may be an ‘advisory notice’ listing items likely to need attention in the near future. If you don’t understand any comments, just ask. H

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The American

S

ome people are ‘outdoors’ types. Others are more indoors-y. And then there’s snowball-white gingerbearded Englishmen who burn lobster-red by the bottom of the fifth inning if they don’t hide in the shadows and coat themselves with factor 50 sunscreen. I’ve always been that way. As a baby I used to wail within seconds of being in direct sunlight, as a child I’d get prickly heat faster than a cactus-hugger, and as a teenager, during the hottest Floridian summer on record, I caught bronchial pneumonia from dodging in and out of the air conditioning. Blame my Jorvik ancestry. I was raised in neither Yorkshire nor Florida, however, but in a drizzle-prone fishing village in Cornwall, devoid of a baseball diamond or a football field of any definition. As far as team sports were concerned, it was the cricket pitch or nothing. I chose nothing. I chose indoors, and adopting a Robert Smith color scheme (by whom I mean The Cure frontman, rather than the Vikings running back, though obviously as a proto-goth, a splash of purple was acceptable). All of which sounds a million miles from sport, except that indoors on a Saturday night meant college football. You had to be a geek to know of its existence, let alone find it on the radio dial. Following American sports at all (instead of soccer) declared one as a social misfit of the highest order. Staying in to listen (listen!) to it instead of going for a pint down the Duck And Dive was just plain odd. Nowadays

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‘odd’ isn’t so odd around sports. My stateside sports peculiarity pales into insignificance next to modern fantasy football obsessives. And whereas jocks and nerds used to be separate species, now I’m not so sure. Not when I see who’s shaping up to be the top two picks in the annual pilgrimage of sports fan nerdism, the NFL Draft. There’s Andrew Luck. The Stanford grad works a whiteboard with the zeal of a wargamer, directing Xs and Os like figures in a Warhammer skirmish, delivering game jargon the way a Dungeons & Dragons player wields a +5 Vorpal Sword. And there’s Robert Griffin III, proudly revealing his superman socks, complete with mini-capes (he plays with action figure toys, you know). Welcome to the era of the indoors-y QB. The geeks shall inherit the earth. So it’s official: the rules have changed since I was a kid. Computer games are cool, statistics are interesting, and superstar athletes date girlnext-door types named ‘Becky’. And most importantly, nobody needs to stay indoors anymore if they want to enjoy American sports in the UK. As you’ll see overleaf, baseball and softball have been breaking through in Britain. I recently enjoyed a balmy afternoon in Hemel Hempstead catching some of the Herts Spring League (ultimately won by the Lakenheath Diamondbacks). It was fun, it was sunny, and when runners slid, up rose warm clouds of golden dirt. Baseball in the UK. And me in the sun. What next? Next, is year-round gridiron,

COURTESY OF LONDON BLITZ

The sun is out (well, it was a moment ago) and Richard L Gale anticipates an eviction into daylight. Yes, the British summer is here. It needn’t be that British, though...

because, while ‘Football season’ means the fall in the US, weekend warriors gather from May onwards in the UK, with three-peating British champions the London Blitz in action already at Finsbury Park, London. More about them next issue, but suffice to say, in the era of internet radio (my, those young’uns have it easy these days!), if you want to see traditional US sports, they’re probably in a park near you. “Hey kids, get ready, we’re going out. Yes, OUT. Oh, and bring the factor 50.”H

Useful Links

www.londonblitz.com www.hertsbaseball.com www.baseballsoftballuk.com


The American

UK Baseball and Softball Punch Above Their Weight GB Softball General Manager Bob Fromer justifiably blows the horn for the British diamond

N

ain Co-ed Slowpitch Team has won eight straight European Championships. Right – not many hands. But it’s true! Despite being minority sports in the UK, with small talent pools, no public profile and no current funding for national team programs, British baseball and softball are punching above their weight on the European and World stage. Ten years ago, the GB Baseball Team was ranked tenth in Europe and the GB Women’s Fastpitch Team twelfth. There has been a steady upward progression since that point. How has that been done? Some of it was down to a brief period of public funding for GB national teams.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF BSUK

ot many people know that baseball and softball are played in the UK. Even fewer know about the international success of GB teams. Put your hand up if you knew that baseball and softball are established sports in Great Britain, with national governing bodies, development funding from the British government, and leagues and teams all around the country. Ok – good. Some of you knew that! Now put your hand up if you knew that the Great Britain Senior Baseball Team and the Great Britain Women’s Fastpitch Softball Team have recently been ranked second in Europe and have qualified for their sport’s latest World Championship competition. Or that the Great Brit-

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Because baseball and softball were both in the Olympics, the senior GB teams in both sports received modest funding from 2001-2007 from a British government agency called UK Sport. This allowed British baseball and softball to professionalize their talent development, secure better coaching, and begin to achieve significant results in international competition. The money dried up after 2007 because baseball and softball had been dropped from the Olympic programme for London 2012. Yet the good results carried on – a tribute to hard work and dedication on the part of players, families and team staff. Now the GB teams are facing an exciting summer. At the end of June, the GB Women’s Fastpitch Team will head for Canada to play in the Elite Division at the Canadian Open Championship, one of the top invitational events in the world. Then the team will fly to Whitehorse, near the Arctic Circle, for the 13th Women’s World Championships from July 13-22, where the 16 best national teams in the world will compete, headed by World Champions USA and 2008 Olympic Champions Japan. It’s rarefied company indeed. But when Great Britain played the top four teams in the world last summer – USA, Japan, Canada and Australia – at the World Cup of Softball in


The American

BBL: Eagles Land League Title Newcastle secures its third accolade ...now for a fourth? Oklahoma City, the British team more than held its own. The excitement for GB Baseball comes in September. First, the GB Team will pop over to Holland for the European Championships from September 7-16. Then comes the chance for a real place in the sun, when Great Britain, Canada, Germany and the Czech Republic will meet in Regensburg, Germany from September 20-24, with the winner gaining a place in Major League Baseball’s 2013 World Baseball Classic, where Major League stars compete for their national teams. But British success comes, literally, at a price. As there is now no public funding for baseball and softball national team programs, all the costs of training and competition are borne by the players and their families. This summer, for example, players on the GB Women’s Fastpitch Team may have to pay close to £2000 each to play for their country in Canada. Both sports are constantly looking for sponsorship, but that’s no easy task in the current financial climate. How long success can be maintained under these circumstances isn’t clear. But for now, GB Baseball and Softball Teams are flying the flag for Britain at the top competitions in the world – and loving every minute of it! For more information, contact Bob Fromer (bob.fromer@bsuk.com).

S

till outside the bubble in the hunt for a playoff place of their own, the Mersey Tigers weren’t going to roll over for the Newcastle Eagles. If Newcastle’s smiles were less than beaming as they received the Championship Trophy as 2012 League winners after the April 13 game, it only reflected how focused on winning the Eagles have been this season. Despite giving up nine straight points in the final two minutes to lose the late season game to Mersey, the combination of Newcastle’s 85-84 defeat of Worcester and Plymouth’s loss to Leicester had secured the league title two days earlier. Their latest success keeps the Eagles on course for their first fourtrophy ’clean sweep’ of BBL’s four competitions since the 2005-06 season, with only the Playoff Finals yet to come, and Newcastle now with the No.1 seed. Despite being perennial favorites – this is Newcastle’s fifth league title – the Eagles were coming off a 2010-11 season that saw them win none of the four competitions. With Worcester, Plymouth and Leicester all on the northern side’s heels heading into the final three weeks of competition, easy victories were few. Eagles managing director Paul Blake said after securing the Championship: “They have had to dig deep and have won more close games

than I can remember, but have managed to get over the line. It’s an amazing bounce back following last season and I am very pleased for Fab [American player-coach Fabulous Flournoy], the team and most importantly the supporters”. The Eagles will now begin their Playoff campaign, with the Playoff Finals set for Saturday May 12 at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham. For more info, visit www.BBL.org.uk

Below: Fab Flournoy in action against one of Newcastle’s closest opponents this season, Plymouth PHOTO: GARY BAKER

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PHOTO: DENVER BRONCOS/ERIC BAKKE

Manningham, Manning, Mario and More Peyton calls time on Tebowmania, the Bills get defensive, and San Francisco becomes a destination of choice. Richard L Gale sifts free agency.

P

eyton Manning’s arrival in Denver and the resultant relocation of Tebowmania to New York stole most of the headlines in the first month of NFL free agency, but there were other, equally significant moves. Just not in the Mile High City. A few die-hard Tebow fans voiced disappointment that the comeback kid had been bumped, but few could fault Broncos GM John Elway’s reasoning: Peyton Manning trumps Tim Tebow any day. The Broncos have two receivers capable of fantasy numbers in Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas (who were unlikely to become 1000 yard receivers with Tebow), and a defense forced to find themselves in 2011. As if wooing Manning wasn’t enough, they subsequently signed free agent TEs Jacob Tamme (67 catches, 631 yards for the Manning-led Colts in 2010) and Joel Dreessen (6 TDs for Houston last year). The only flaw in Elway’s genius has been the appointment of Caleb Hanie as the new back-up to Manning, which is just plain worrying.

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If Manning’s signing in Denver was a surprise, Tebow’s arrival at the New York Jets was a shocker. While the presence of Tony Sparano brings the young thrower’s ‘wildcat’ potential into sharp focus, Tebow and Mark Sanchez together seems like mutually assured destruction: New York fans will boo Sanchez to the sidelines if he hits a streak of interceptions, then boo Tebow’s inaccuracy which, in two 2011 games against the Patriots, was most apparent. Even the Buffalo Bills crushed Tebow in 2011; the AFC East is the place Tebow least needs to be.

AFC East Moves: Bills go DL

Buffalo is taking Detroit’s model for pulling itself into contention, loading up the D-line. After drafting DT Marcell Dareus and bringing in Shawne Merriman last year, the Bills landed two free agent DEs, former Texan and overall no.1, Mario Williams and former Patriot Mark Anderson (who logged 10 sacks last year). While the Jets signed safety LaRon Landry and the Patriots added Brandon Lloyd and Donte Stallworth (again) to the receiving corps, the Dolphins haven’t had the offseason

they would like so far. Considered a favorite for his services, they missed on Manning, missed on Matt Flynn (now with Seattle), and even missed on Alex Smith, who chose to return to the 49ers. Eventually, and with GM Jeff Ireland drawing ‘JEFFIRELAND’ placards, they signed David Garrard. Expect some draft-day action there.

Old Runners, New Backfields

Football fantasists may like to keep an eye on Stevan Ridley in 2012. The Patriots’ 2011 3rd round pick ascends to a starting role with the departure of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. With the ‘Law Firm’ in town, incumbent Bengals RB Cedric Benson and his record of arrests may be granted their freedom soon. Another running back move sees Peyton Hillis leaving Cleveland for Kansas City, whose Jamaal Charles is coming back from a torn ACL. Hillis, who had a down year in 2011, topped 1100 yards in 2010, with 11 TDs. The addition of RT Eric Winston (ex-Texans) is a big deal considering the free agent status of Barry Richardson, and is arguably an upgrade. Several teams (including Miami) were after Winston.


The American

The runner causing the most stir – on his own roster – is Michael Bush. Criminally wasted for years by the Raiders, Bush’s signing by Chicago was not greeted with balloons and streamers by new stablemate Matt Forte. Their traditional workhorse is seeking a new contract and Bush’s talent-set is suspiciously similar. Forte tweeted: ‘There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected!‘. Third RB Marion Barber simply announced his retirement after Bush arrived. And more Chicago controversy: The Bears gave up two third round picks to acquire perennial 1000-yard receiver Brandon Marshall from Miami. On the surface a nice price for Chicago, though Marshall comes with off-thefield and reportedly ongoing issues. The Bears roster boasts talents, but will they all play nicely together?

Other Busy NFC Teams

After several years of fog, nobody wants to miss the sunshine in San Francisco. CB Carlos Rogers, WR Ted Ginn, and QB Alex Smith all chose to re-sign with the 49ers, and the offense is further bolstered by unretiring (as opposed to shy and retiring?) WR Randy Moss, and recent Super Bowl winners WR Mario Manningham, and RB Brandon Jacobs. The 49ers clearly possess the momentum of belief amongst NFL players. There’s never a dull moment in New Orleans. Despite ‘Bountygate’ distractions, GM Mickey Loomis has been busy securing OG Ben Grubbs, LB Curtis Lofton, DT Brodrick Bunkley, and re-signed top WR Marques Colston, which was no forgone

conclusion. Were it not for losing Robert Meacham, CB Tracy Porter, OG Carl Nicks, and having to slap Drew Brees with the franchise tag, those might have been good results. The Buccaneers’ roster is on the up after they inked Nicks, WR Vincent Jackson (who was replaced by Meacham at the Chargers), and CB Eric Wright, who escaped Oakland. The Rams were another lowly team getting busy on the open market, signing center Scott Wells (the Pack signed ex-Colt Jeff Saturday), CB Cortland Finnegan, and DL Kendall Langford. Langford was previously with Miami, who have been leaking quality players. Another is the Houston Texans. The Philadelphia Eagles traded with the Texans to acquire

LB DeMeco Ryans, a proven team leader who could fuse the talent in Philly. Texans CB Brandon Harris commented via Twitter: ‘Everytime I turn to sports center we getting rid of someone man that’s crazy’. Other Texans appeared similarly surprised. The Eagles were also among teams resigning key receivers, inking a new contract for DeSean Jackson, while Detroit made sure WR Calvin Johnson won’t be going elsewhere for a few years. With Washington potentially overpaying to acquire Pierre Garcon, anybody else looking to add a big name receiver will just have to hang on for the Draft. H

Win a MLB Replica Jersey

Major League Baseball is under way over on ESPN America. Why not enjoy the action wearing a replica jersey of your favorite MLB team? Courtesy of ESPN, we have a replica jersey of your choice (worth up to £45.99) to give away. For the full range of jersey options, visit the EPSN America Shop at www.espnamericashop. com. To enter the draw, answer the question below and then email your answer, contact details (name, address & daytime phone number) to theamerican@blueedge. co.uk with REPLICA JERSEY COMPETITION in the subject line; or send a post card to: REPLICA JERSEY COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK; to arrive by mid-day May 21. 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.

The Question:

Who preceded Bud Selig as MLB Commissioner? a) Jay Vincent b) Fay Vincent c) Gene Vincent

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PHOTO: PETER MOONEY

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f you’re not familiar with the Irish sport of hurling – few people outside Ireland are – it’s considered the world’s fastest, and oldest, team field game, a game of incredible skill and toughness that has been played for more than 2,000 years. To the American eye it looks a bit like a combination of lacrosse, hockey and baseball, though that doesn’t begin to do justice to the game. Hurling is played on a field – or pitch – that is 60% bigger than an American football field, with 15 players per side. Each player literally carries a big stick, about three feet long, called a hurley, or camán in Irish. The hurley is used to hit a ball, known as a sliotar (pronounced SHLITer), which is roughly the size of a baseball, but slightly softer and with more pronounced seams. The object of the game is to hit the sliotar between two goal posts with the hurley, either above a crossbar, field-goal style, for one point, or under the bar, past a goaltender and into a soccer-style net for a goal, worth three. Decoding the score line of a match takes a bit of arithmetic, as the goals are listed first, and must be multiplied by three. So if a match between Kilkenny and Tipperary fin-

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HURLING Hopping Across to Ireland this year? Jay B. Webster explains the Emerald Isle’s version of stick-and-ball action

ishes 2-17 to 1-19, Kilkenny wins by scoring 23 points to Tipperary’s 22. From the very start of a match, there’s a manic frenzy of flying sticks and bodies, as the sliotar flitters about the pitch and players battle for possession and position. Players can catch the sliotar with their hand, hit it with their hurley, or bat it to a teammate with their hand. They can run with the sliotar, gaining ground like a break-away running back; however, if they run more than four steps, they must bounce or balance the sliotar on their hurley. Grabbing or tackling a player is not allowed, but just about any other measure to impede or hinder an opponent is. Imagine being a baseball outfielder trying to catch a long fly ball with one bare hand as you carry a flat ‘bat’ in the other, while three defending players try to muscle you out of the way. You manage to catch the ball and take off running, but you must balance the ball on your bat as you run full speed. Then, in an instant, you pivot away from a defender who is

about to crash into you, and, without breaking stride, flip the ball in the air and hit it fungo style between goal posts located way back at home plate. This relentless action takes place for two non-stop 35 minute halves. It’s exhausting just to watch. The handeye coordination the game demands is mesmerizing, and the physicality and speed are simply amazing. Players play for their local parish teams, and the best are selected to represent their county. The pinnacle of the hurling season is the All Ireland Senior Championship, which takes place from June to September, with the top county teams battling in a knockout competition. If you’re ever in Ireland, make an effort to get to a hurling game, even if it’s a youth game or local parish contest. And if you’re lucky enough to be in Dublin on September 9th, you might want to get yourself into Croke Park, the Mecca of Gaelic games, where the All Ireland Hurling Final will be played out in front of more than 80,000 crazed fans. H


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Coffee Break Answers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Spiderman, Captain Marvel, Mr Fantastic, The Incredible Hulk, Cyclops (X-Men), Captain America, Iron Man Au Ag Trick question: bronze is an alloy (of copper and tin) Australia Nose bleed Cointreau or Triple Sec Renminbi

9 Amsterdam, Netherlands 10 Kissing 11 Sir Winston Churchill, it was his third term in office 12 The Central Line

Competition Winner

The winner of the bag of sports goodies kindly donated by ESPN in March was Dave Schuchter of Guildford, Surrey.

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The American Issue 709 May 2012  

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

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