THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
ARTS CHOICE EATING OUT • SPORT WHAT’S ON • POLITICS MUSIC • REVIEWS
The where and when of the Summer Olympics, plus travel advice for your overseas visitors
Spellbinding alternatives to the Olympics this Summer Win a pair of tickets to see Jersey Boys in July
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The American ®
Issue 711 – July 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Please contact us with your news or article ideas Design and Production: Richard L Gale Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director email@example.com Subscriptions: firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondents: Virginia E. Schultz, Food & Drink email@example.com Mary Bailey, Social firstname.lastname@example.org Estelle Lovatt, Arts email@example.com Alison Holmes, Politics firstname.lastname@example.org Jarlath O’Connell, Theater email@example.com Richard L. Gale, Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Josh Modaberi, Sports email@example.com Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey firstname.lastname@example.org
©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 London’s Olympic Stadium (courtesy of London 2012). Circular Inset: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (photo by Simon Annand). Square Inset: Jersey Boys
ey there, American expats. Sorry, have I insulted you? Since the magazine was born in 1976 Americans living abroad have been called (and called themselves) expats or expatriates. But I have been shocked this month to be told I shouldn’t use the term. Who by? An educated, intelligent, worldly American who lives in Britain, who told me the word “is seen back home as meaning we aren’t patriotic Americans anymore – although nothing could be further from the truth!” Are those folks confusing ‘expatriate’ and ‘ex-patriot’? Could it be to do with the Ex-PATRIOT Bill, introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer, imposing new restrictions on people who give up their American citizenship, even barring them from re-entering the States? We’ll keep an eye on how it might affect you. Word has just come in about the terrible wildfires across seven states, especially New Mexico. Our thoughts are with the firefighters, those who have been affected by the fires, and the families of the two tanker plane pilots who have died. Sorry to be so serious, but enjoy your magazine,
Michael Burland, Editor email@example.com
SOME OF THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS
Dr Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli of the University of Florence has discovered the fascinating Italian roots of what many think of as the ‘English’ discovery of America
Jeannine Wheeler is constantly learning amusing ways to compare the two English ‘languages,’ which sometimes gets her into trouble – or, as they say here, a ‘spot of bother.’
Bella Burland Sully was brought up on the Narnia Chronicles. She tells us what she thinks about the new stage adaptation, performed in a giant tent
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.
The American The American • Issue 711 • July 2012
In This Issue... Regular Sections 4 News 7 Diary Dates 20 Arts Choice 24 Wining & Dining 31 Coﬀee Break 32 Music
36 44 48 50 57 65
Book and Theater Reviews Politics DriveTime Sports American Organizations The A-List
9 Win Tickets to see ‘Detroit’ ...the play, not the city. Enter our competition to win tickets to the West End show, now at the National Theatre
11 Why don’t the British have an Independence Day? Richard L Gale checks the calendar for the UK’s break-away day... but from whom?
12 A Shoe Box of Discovery John Cabot sailed to America from Bristol, supported by King Henry VII. So it was an English mission? Not necessarily!
14 Food, Glorious Food Reading a British menu, you’ll think we’re divided by a common language
16 Study Abroad
“The ability of small liberal arts colleges to create opportunities in different parts of the world is one of most exciting developments in study abroad over the years.” 16 The Changing World of Study Abroad Many American students wish to study abroad, but it can be daunting. Our expert advice will help
18 Visiting the Olympics? Your top ten questions about possible problems are answered by the U.S. Embassy in London
© NEW ORLEANS HABITAT MUSICIANS’ VILLAGE, INC. PHOTO BY SCOTT LANDIS
44 Katrina: The Way Back Alison Holmes looks at how New Orleans is recovering from the ﬂoods
34 Jersey Boys Competition Win a pair of tickets to the hit show
36 Reviews and Previews Shows revived and brand new, from Dickens and Narnia to the Sunshine Boys and Joe Orton
46 U.S. Election The latest on the presidential race: watch the electors, not the horse race
48 LA to FLA by 109 year old car A brave venture by a brave lady – ﬁnd out how you can support her
50 London 2012 Preview There’s more to the Olympic Games than Central London and the Olympic Park. Here’s our guide to what’s on where
54 How the Diamond came to Britain
Bob Fromer tells the tale of how Baseball and Softball established themselves in the UK... and how it’s happening again
27 Recipe 50 London 2012 Preview
Perfect spare ribs, courtesy of PBS’ America’s Test Kitchen Season 11
PHOTO ABOVE COURTESY LONDON 2012. PHOTO OF THE MATTHEW BY NOTFROMUTRECHT
12 John Cabot
20 Arts Choice
“Cabot’s 1497 voyage was to be of crucial importance to the development of North America” PHOTO: CATHERINE ASHMORE
38 Theater Reviews
PHOTO: FINCA ALLENDE
24 Wining & Dining
ACA Voices Opposition to IRS Threat to Revoke Passports American Citizens Abroad (ACA) has written a letter to members of Congress to express strong opposition to a provision of the Senate Surface Transportation Bill, currently being worked on by a Congressional Conference Committee. The provision would allow the U.S. Government to revoke or deny renewal of a passport if the individual owes more than $50,000 in federal taxes. ACA points out that Americans overseas have a much more complicated process for declaring U.S. taxes, and that the chances of error are greater than for those in the U.S. Where mistakes do occur, they commonly might affect more than one year of declaration, so the amount claimed by the IRS could be significant. Americans living and working overseas also face issues of transatlantic communications, the complexity of tax codes, reliability of mail service, confusion about forms, and currency exchange rates, when submitting tax returns. The provision could also discriminate against Americans living and working abroad who use their passport as an every-day form of ID. ACA sent the letter to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and members of the Senate Transportation, Senate Finance, and the House Ways and Means Committees. Marylouise Serrato, ACA Executive Director, stated, “this provision creates a tax-collection mechanism that is frankly far too draconian”.
© 2012 GETTY IMAGES
USA Water Polo’s Melissa Seidemann takes time out ahead of an Olympic test event to visit underprivileged UK children
Team USA Olympians help UK kids
he modern Olympics were intended to go beyond mere sporting endeavor, and have a unifying and cultural dimension. These ambitions find form with a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) initiative to work with Kids Company, a London-based organization. Kids Company helps underprivileged and ‘at risk’ children across the British capital, providing a safe, caring, family environment. As a ‘thank you’ to the Olympic host city, American athletes, the USOC and Kids Company will help raise funds and support for deprived UK children. Sport is a key element
of the Kids Company curriculum, giving children a positive way of channelling energy, aggression and emotion. During test events and the Games themselves, many U.S. Olympians will take part in Kids Company afterschool sport activities and help provide inspiration. The U.S. Olympic Team will also contribute special gifts and donations leading up to and during the London 2012 Games, and for every medal won by Team USA in London, the USOC will donate £100 to Kids Company – a great reason for Americans and Brits alike to cheer U.S. success this Summer.
U.S. Student to Carry Olympic Flame July 20
n American student from Surrey-based ACS Cobham has been nominated to carry the Olympic Torch in Maidstone, July 20, as a reward for his charity fundraising efforts following a successful fight-back from leukemia. Stephen Kirchner recently joined a nationwide ‘Rock your Shades’ fundraising event for the Teenage Cancer Trust, arranging for students and staff to each donate £1 to the Trust to wear an array of sunglasses. ACS Cobham began supporting the annual event three years ago, after Stephen became aware of the organisation through his personal experience with cancer. Stephen commented: “It’s great to see ACS Cobham support its vital work. Cancer affecting teenagers is often overlooked... and is currently one of the most under funded areas of cancer research.”
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Travel & Events
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Half-billionth Zippo Made Beloved of concert crowds everywhere, Zippo have celebrated their 500 millionth lighter. The Pennsylvania company placed the engraved milestone in a new exhibit at the company’s museum after a ceremony attended by all 620 Zippo employees. A 500 Millionth replica lighter and a deluxe limited edition model are now available for collectors from www.zippo.com.
Tokyo the Most Costly City The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2012 has been released by human resource consultants Mercer, and its good news for London residents ...relatively speaking at least. While London is still the most expensive UK city, it’s down seven places globally to no.25. Tokyo has taken over from Luanda as the most expensive city globally, with Osaka up from six to three. Despite price increases on goods and services, most UK cities moved down in the ranking, following the loss in value of the pound against the dollar.
Americans Abroad for Obama A new group, Americans Abroad for Obama (AAO), has been formed to support the re-election of President Obama. Their mission is to ‘inform, organize and to collaborate with Americans living in foreign countries as well as to excite people about the upcoming Presidential election and gain more supporters for President Obama’. Find out more at www.americansabroadforobama.org
Michael Rutter riding the American MotoCzysz electric bike to victory in the 2012 TT Zero
American success at the TT Words and photo by Ian Kerr
he Portland, Oregon based electric motorcycle company MotoCzysz set a new outright lap record at this year’s Isle of Man TT races. The company, who have won the event twice before, became the first to record a 100 mph lap for an electric bike, some 55 years after the feat was first achieved on an internal combustion engined machine by Bob McIntyre on a four-cylinder Gilera in 1957. Due to inclement weather the TT Zero one lap race for electric bikes was delayed, but that didn’t stop the American company from taking the top and third steps on the podium. Riding the number one bike, Michael Rutter, a 40-year old from Bridgenorth, Shropshire, England, recorded a race average of 104.056 mph as he cruised to victory on the futuristic looking machine. Rutter won the event last year on the previous MotoCzysz machine and had shown the new bikes, potential by posting a 152mph speed through the speed trap in practice. But it was his American teammate, Mark Miller from Calabasas, CA, (another previous winner) who recorded the fastest speed in the race at 132.6mph as he brought the number 2 machine into third spot, also breaking the 100mph barrier with
a final speed of 101.965 mph. It was nineteen times TT winner John McGuinness on the Japanese Mugen (backed by Honda), the prerace favourite, who split the Team Segway Racing MotoCzysz pairing with a lap average of 102.215 mph. As well as the trophy, Rutter also pocketed a cheque for £10,000 from the Isle of Man Department of Economic development for being the first rider to break the magic ton under race conditions. (Rutter just missed out last year posting an average of 99.64mph.) A clearly delighted Rutter was full of praise for the bike, although he admitted he thought he might have used too much power before the mountain climb on the 37.75 mile course to establish his lead. Eighteen machines had been expected to take part but in the end only ten started and only four finished, the last man being the winner of the inaugural event Rob Barber. Despite such statistics and numerous critics, the race for alternative energy machines is now firmly established and with rising speeds and increased technology it shows that machines like the MotoCzysz are likely to be the way forward.
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 email@example.com Tony Bennett
Go Mammoth Beach Volleyball
Royal Albert Hall, London www.royalalberthall.com June 30 to July 1
Greenwich Peninsula, London www.gomammoth.co.uk July 1
The multi Grammy award-winning Tony Bennett returns to the Royal Albert Hall for two nights in June, performing signature tunes including Steppin’ Out With My Baby and I Left My Heart In San Francisco.
London’s new urban beach on the Greenwich Peninsula (next to the O2 Arena), plays host to volleyball 6v6 and 4v4 social leagues, and a variety of activities including outdoor concerts and beach parties.
Spirit of the Sea Maritime Festival
Democrats Abroad UK’s Annual Independence Day Party
Weymouth & Portland, Dorset spiritofthesea.org.uk 01305 785747 June 30 to July 15 Celebrating the area’s close relationship with the sea, the festival brings together a range of sporting activities, cultural events, food, drink and entertainment – all on a maritime theme. Includes Dorset Seafood Festival.
Sulgrave Manor Independence Day Sulgrave Manor, Banbury OX17 2SD www.sulgravemanor.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org July 1
Portman Square , London W1H 7BH www.daukjulypicnic.eventbrite.com July 1 The largest American Independence Day celebration in London. American Food and Beer. Vendors. Kids’ Activities.
Flying Legends 2012 IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire, CB22 4QR www.iwm.org.uk June 30 to July 1
£12.50 Adults, £3.50 Children (6-16), Children under 6 Free. Non-citizen guests are welcome but tickets may ONLY be purchased by U.S. citizens. Tickets are non-refundable. No kites, fireworks or pets allowed.
RHS Flower Shows Hampton Court Palace, Surrey KT8 9AT and other events www.rhs.org.uk July, various dates With the magnificent palace in the background, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show offers an idyllic setting for a day of home-grown fun for the whole family. This year’s show boasts new features as well as enough ideas, plants, and gardening products to tempt gardeners of all ages. The RHS also holds shows this month in Tatton Park, Cheshire and Wisley, Surrey.
East End Film Festival www.eastendfilmfestival.com July 3-8 Over 60 feature films and shorts representing some 30 countries, the EEFF showcases all that is good about East London and its extraordinary diversity of citizens and culture.
The very best of classic aircraft in one of the world’s most celebrated air shows. See the new Vintage Village for some fun in the Forties, starring the Manhattan Dolls from New York, who will be performing hits from the Thirties and Forties.
Enjoy a journey back in time. Meet soldiers of George Washington’s first war, learn about the lives of 18th century English and French fighting men, and celebrate Independence Day at the home of George Washington’s ancestors. 11am – 5pm.
BrynFest Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX www.southbankcentre.co.uk July 4-7 This four day festival celebrates the much loved bass-baritone Bryn Terfel. At the heart of BrynFest are four Royal Festival Hall performances of Broadway favourites, opera classics, rock & roll and Welsh choral.
American Beer Festival The White Horse, 1-3 Parson’s Green, London, SW6 4UL www.whitehorsesw6.com July 4-7
Educate your British friends that not all American beer is bland, mass–produced and fizzy! The White Horse showcases some of the very best, including some never seen in the UK before.
The Henley Festival Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 2LY www.henley-festival.co.uk July 4-8 Features Sting, Lulu, Katherine Jenkins, American singer/songwriter Nathan Pacheco, classical artist Laura Wright and co-writer of Olivier-award winning play Matilda, Tim Minchin. The UK’s most luxurious festival is a magical, fivenight, star-studded, strictly black-tie event on the banks of the River Thames.
Independence Day Party Benjamin Franklin House, London www.benjaminfranklinhouse.org July 4 Celebrate Independence Day with cake and a glass of bubbly in the world’s only remaining Ben Franklin home. 12pm – 2pm.
Independence Day Picnic Night American Museum, Claverton Down, Bath www.americanmuseum.org + 44 (0) 1225 460503 July 4 An Independence Day musical celebration. Bristol-based Appalachia offer up their own inspired take on American roots. Buffalo Gals, with their distinctive blend of old-timey favorites, corny jokes and footstomping rhythms, and newcomers Flats and Sharps from Cornwall bring their fresh take on traditional bluegrass. Free admission. BBQ and soft drinks available to buy, or bring your own picnic.
Americana International 2012 The County Showground, Newark, NG24 2NY www.americana-international.co.uk July 5-9 A tribute to everything American: classic American cars, trucks, and motorcycles, 50 musical artists from the USA, UK and Europe, an eyecatching Americana Fashion Show, amusements and shows inspired by America.
The Hat Fair 2012 Winchester, Hampshire www.hatfair.co.uk July 6-8 The ancient city centre transforms into a theatrical kaleidoscope filling the
streets, Cathedral Close and other green spaces with an international mix of cutting edge street art.
Alice’s Day Caucus Race Oxford www.storymuseum.org.uk/ the-story-museum/caucus July 7-8 The day before the Olympic torch passes through the city, Oxford turns convention on its head with its own eccentric forerunner to the Olympic Games. A madcap re-enactment of the original Caucus Race, which appears in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Oxford, celebrates the 150th anniversary of the first telling of the story.
Treasures of Gloucestershire Prinknash Abbey Park, Gloucestershire GL4 8EU www.simonchorley.com July 7-8 Hosted by The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire, this exhibition celebrates the rich history of the county through its people, places and culture, including the achievements of smallpox vaccine pioneer Dr Edward Jenner and classical composer Gustav Holst, glorious country houses and countryside, agriculture, craftsmanship and sport.
Royal International Air Tattoo RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire www.airtattoo.com July 7-8 The dramatic flypast of RAF Hawks that flew over Windsor Castle as part of the Armed Forces’ tribute to Her Majesty The Queen provides the centrepiece of the RIAT’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Win a pair of tickets to see
Detroit by Lisa D’Amour
at the National Theatre Deadline for entries July 4 HHHH Independent on Sunday, Sunday Times, Time Out
‘Fierce, funny and poignant.’ Sunday Express
‘The dial is set to suburban dysfunction and spiritual blight in this wry, raucous, searching comedy.’ Sunday Times
The Question: Which Steppenwolf Theatre member and recent cover star of The American played Mary in the Chicago premiere of Detroit?
A) Tyne Daly B) Laurie Metcalf C) Danny DeVito
In a suburb of a mid-sized American city, Ben and Mary welcome their new neighbours, Sharon and Kenny, who have moved in to the long-empty house next door. Fuelled by backyard barbecues and booze, their sudden friendship rapidly veers out of control, as inhibitions are obliterated and the fragility of Ben and Mary’s off-the-shelf lifestyle is laid bare. Lisa D’Amour’s brutal, hilarious play makes its London premiere in a new production by Austin Pendleton, who directed its hugely acclaimed premiere at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre.
How to Enter:
How to Enter: Email your answer and your contact details (name, address and daytime phone number) to email@example.com with DETROIT COMPETITION in the subject line; or send a postcard to: DETROIT COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK; to arrive by mid-day Wednesday July 4, 2012. Terms & Conditions: 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. Tickets are valid for all July performances until July 14, subject to availability and are not transferable. Additional expenses are the responsibility of the prize winner. The Promoter reserves the right to exchange all or part of the prize to that of equal or greater value.
For further details and to book tickets call 020 7452 3000 or visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk
Shadowball The Crucible, Sheffield S1 1DA www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk July 12 A compelling jazz opera by renowned jazz composer Julian Joseph and author Mike Phillips, which tells the fast-paced story of Negro League baseball players
and their jazz compatriots, struggling to achieve their dreams during a time of segregation.
Otello The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD www.roh.org.uk/otello July 12-24 Antonio Pappano returns to conduct Verdi’s Otello at Covent Garden in Elijah Moshinsky’s 1987 production, which he first conducted for The Royal Opera in 2005.
World Pea Shooting Championships Witcham, Cambridgeshire July 14
Barb Jungr sings Bob Dylan Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport Street, London WC2B 7JB www.artstheatrewestend.co.uk 020 7836 8463 July 15, 2012 The internationally acclaimed performer and recording artist Barb Jungr presents her acclaimed show of Bob Dylan songs for the last time in London. With her stunningly evocative interpretations of songs, Barb has taken the art of cabaret singing and imbued it with new vitality and relevance for the 21st century. The Wall Street Journal described her album, Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan: Every Grain of Sand, as “the most significant vocal album of the 21st century thus far”, with other critics describing her as magnificent, mesmerising and magical. Barb is wholly passionate about songs and singing, and this is never more apparent than in her live shows. Starts: 7:30pm. Tickets: £16.
Witcham village green hosts guests from around the world to watch contestants shoot a pea through a tube, 12 feet towards a 12-inch target. Laser– guided shooters are not unknown, taking the contest into the 21st century.
1936 Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN www.sadlerswells.com July 18 to August 5 World-class athletics coach and awardwinning writer Tom McNab conjures up the conversations and conflicts leading up to the Berlin Olympics, seen through the eyes of American journalist William Shirer, revealing the political and cultural tensions surrounding the event and highlighting the stories of the athletes involved, with Jesse Owens at the centre.
The Silverstone Classic Silverstone Circuit, Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12 8TN www.silverstoneclassic.com July 20-22
One of the biggest classic motor racing festivals in the world. New this year, AA World offers free taster driving lessons for those 12 years of age and above, skid pan and 4x4 experiences, electric jeeps, an F1 driving simulator, pit-stop challenges, a giant Scalextric track and much more.
Bristol Harbour Festival Bristol, UK www.bristolharbourfestival.co.uk July 20-22 Bristol’s liveliest and largest Harbourside event, with circus, dance, and theatre taking over the city’s harbour area.
World Snail Racing Championships Congham, Norfolk www.snailracing.net July 21 Snails compete by racing on a circular course; this hilarious event unsurprisingly attracts worldwide media attention.
Knit 2 Together Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham knit2together.tumblr.com July 27 To celebrate the arrival and stay of the Jamaican and American Olympic teams in Birmingham for London 2012, Sara Fowles, textile artist and co-founder of Birmingham based “guerrilla knitters” group Stitches and Hos, has devised their most ambitious project to date. K2Tog – Knit 2 Together is an art installation that will see all six columns of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery covered with knit graﬃti. The installation will open on 27 July 2012 to coincide with the opening of the Olympic Games. H
Why don’t the British have an
Independence Day? Richard L Gale checks the historical calendar
ost countries in the world have an Independence Day, or at least a National Day, which the English, Scots and Welsh do have, but not Great Britain as a nation. Why is that? The obvious counter-question is ‘independence from whom?’ – with a host of countries celebrating independence from the British Empire itself, who oppressed the Brits enough to demand the celebration of freedom? First in the frame are the Romans. They made their initial forays into Britain in 55BC, with a serious invasion in 43AD after it had stopped raining. But after 300 years, the Romans melted away rather than being driven out, scaling back the military until only civilians with holiday villas remained. There’s evidence to suggest the Britons invited Roman Emperor Honorius to help them against Germanic invasions in 410, but they’re still waiting to hear back. Those invaders –Saxons and Jutes – weren’t kicked out either, but settled and were assimilated into the Anglo-Saxon Pope Clement VII: not a big fan of King Henry VIII
melange, with tribes of Celts and Picts remaining a decorative border. Next up came the Norsemen, who controlled half of what was to become England under the ‘Danelaw’. While more than a little Danish blood flows through Yorkshire veins to this day, Erik Bloodaxe and his latter-day Vikings were kicked out in 954, offering somebody the Brits might claim genuine independence from... if only King Cnut (he of seaside paddling fame) hadn’t successfully re-invaded in 1016 and by 1066, William of Normandy, himself descended from Norse settlers, began a royal dynasty whose descendants stretch all the way to the present Royal Family (...so they didn’t go away either). Not that England didn’t try ditching royalty. In 1649 (127 years before America would give republicanism a go), the Council of State beheaded King Charles I, creating a Commonwealth presided over by Oliver Cromwell. By 1660, the English had changed their minds, Cromwell’s son Richard was out, and King Charles II, son of the original, was back on the throne. So much for independence.
Independence from Rome
An astute interruption from across The American’s editorial department suggests the break from Catholism under Henry VIII as a contender, and it has a memorable date: Henry was oﬃcially excommunicated by Pope Clement VII on July 11, 1533, meaning a potential British Independence Day precisely a week after America’s – a tidy proposition! However, celebrating the
Roman Emperor Honorius – in no rush to aid the Britons against later invaders
consequences of Henry’s wife-hopping tactics lacks universal national accomplishment. Plus Henry’s people still essentially believed Catholic theology, his daughter, Queen Mary, was a Catholic, and Catholic monarchs recurred in England until 1688 when William II of Scotland did what the Spanish Armada had failed to do, successfully invading England. However, as his grandfather had been Charles I of England, this was hardly a ‘Glorious Revolution’ by the British people, though the binding of England and Scotland in the act of Union wasn’t far behind him.
Kings, queens, and more kings... perhaps, then, British independence is not something wrenched from the hands of an overlord by the citizens of these Isles, but something more subtle, a concession by a king to grant freedom to all Britons. And that’s precisely what Magna Carta very nearly was.
Presented to the unpopular King John on June 15, 1215 to appease his barons, Magna Carta was intended to constrain the absolute powers of the King, and included the provision: “No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or dispossessed, or outlawed, or banished, or in any way destroyed ... except by the legal judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny, or delay right or justice.” King John signed it. Then he had the Pope declare it null and void and the rebel barons excommunicated. It ended in bloody struggle after all, and John’s death. In fact, Magna Carta needed additional statutes during the rules of Edward I and Edward III to knock the document into shape, finally including the provision: “No man ... shall be put out of land or tenement, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without being brought in answer by due process of law”. And there we have it: ‘due process’ – a phrase loaded with individual right (and finally applied to all men rather than just ‘free men’), with a variation of it to be found in the 5th amendment of the United States Constitution: “No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (...which is much catchier, anyway). And as there is no day given for the 1354 statute, we may look upon June 15, 1215 as the first glimmer of rights or freedoms for all subjects of the eventual British Empire without fear of their assets being royally nerfed by nothing more than regal prerogative. That said, if Britain’s overlords hadn’t still felt empowered to apply taxation without recourse or representation over 500 years later, July 4 might not have ended up as somebody else’s cause for celebration. H
A Shoe Box of Discovery By Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli (University of Florence)
ummer 1966: a British historian (Alwyn Ruddock of the University of London) combines the pleasures of a Tuscan tour with research trips in Florentine archives. Summer 2010: two other British historians (Evan Jones and Margaret Condon of the University of Bristol) take pictures of an old shoe cupboard in Ruddock’s former home – located in the English county of Sussex. What is extraordinary is that these two very different trips led to the same result. On the first occasion, almost fifty years ago, Dr Ruddock carried out what was later to be described as ‘revolutionary’ research. Yet, despite recurrent promises that she would publish her finds ‘shortly’, this never happened. Moreover, when she died in December 2005, she left clear instructions in her will that her trustees should ‘burn, shred or otherwise destroy’ all her research papers, and that this must be done ‘as soon as possible’ after her death. Notes, drafts, microfilms and film negatives – everything was obliterated. Or so it appeared. Apart from some letters to other academics, and a 1992 book
Above: Ernest Board, ‘The Departure of John and Sebastian Cabot from Bristol on their First Voyage of Discovery in 1497’ (1906): Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery, Object no. K102. COURTESY BRISTOL’S CITY MUSEUM & ART GALLERY
proposal with the University of Exeter Press, all trace of her work seems to have been lost. And then... a small label on a shoe cupboard: ‘the Bardi firm of London’. The label was in Ruddock’s hand, being part of a filing system she had kept in her study. It had not been destroyed along with the rest of her notes and it revealed a fifty year old secret. When Jones and Condon disclosed that vital information to me, it did not take long before I was able to locate one of Ruddock’s most important sources – the account-books of a fifteenth-century Italian banking company that had been kept for five centuries in the private archives of a noble Florentine family. And, in one of those books was the following entry: John Cabot, of Venice, on 27 April , is debited for £10 sterling, paid in cash ... towards the 50 nobles sterling our Aldobrandino Tanagli ordered us
to pay him so that he could go and find the new land. While only a few lines, it was a fantastic find. This is because the document casts the first light on who financed the 1496-7 voyages of John Cabot (alias Zuan Caboto of Venice) – the man long credited with the modern European ‘discovery’ of North America. Cabot’s 1497 voyage was to be of crucial importance to the development of North America. From a modern perspective, this was not because he was the first to reach the continent; in a post-colonial age all rightly acknowledge the primacy of the native peoples of America. Moreover, twentiethcentury archaeology established that Norse explorers reached as far as Newfoundland by 1000. Nevertheless, it was Cabot’s voyage to a New World that led, in a few short years, to the establishment of major European fisheries off the North East coast. And, following that, Europeans began to trade with the native peoples and later to colonise North America. So, while Cabot’s voyages are less famous than Columbus’ startling expedition to the Caribbean in 1492, it nevertheless set in train an independent set of engagements that were to have a profound influence on the future development of the northern continent. Despite Cabot’s achievements, little has ever been known about his poorlydocumented voyages. Having secured monopoly rights to voyage west in the name of King Henry VII of England, it is known that he undertook three expeditions from Bristol. It has generally been assumed that his supporters and financiers all came from that port. Now it is clear that this was not the case. Cabot’s backers, the Bardi family of Florence, had long had connections with England. During the 1340s they had acted as Edward III’s chief financiers, funding the commencement
of the Hundred Years War – but were then driven into bankruptcy when the King defaulted. Despite this, the Bardi re-established their fortunes during the 15th century and were, by Cabot’s time, major players in London’s financial and commercial world. That they helped fund him suggests that the English voyages, like the Spanish and Portuguese voyages of the period, were part of the same network of Italian-financed expeditions that were to herald Europe’s advance around the World. The terms of Cabot’s payment begs a question: what was he looking for? Or, rather, what did Cabot’s financiers think he might find? The last part of the sentence states that the funding was to enable the explorer to ‘go and find the new land’. The use of the definite article implies that this ‘new land’ was a specific one, something known or at least heard of. European mariners had long told stories about lands or islands out in the Atlantic. What the entry suggests, however, is that Cabot and his financiers firmly believed they were organizing a voyage to a land whose existence was already known about. The fifty nobles (c.£17) the Bardi provided was not enough to have funded even a single Atlantic voyage by Cabot – for an expedition of several months would have cost at least five times that much. Nevertheless, the amount could have served the needs of both parties. To the Bardi it was not a great sum: something they could easily afford to risk on an uncertain venture. If the voyage proved successful, however, it had the potential to generate staggering profits. On the other hand for Cabot, who had arrived to England ‘as a foreigner and a poor man’, the support by one of London’s leading banking houses, just a few weeks after receiving his patent from the king, must have been very useful. For an investment of this type would have helped to estab-
lish Cabot’s credibility when it came to negotiating further financial backing in London and/or Bristol. That he obtained it is clear, since he could not otherwise have afforded the voyages he undertook from the port of Bristol in 1496 and 1497. Where did he obtain it from? From other Italians? From Bristol merchants? From others? At present we do not know. But perhaps more shoe cupboards will reveal the answer. H The scientific article (F. Guidi-Bruscoli, ‘John Cabot and his Italian financiers’), published in Historical Research, can be downloaded (free of charge until October 2012) from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.14682281.2012.00597.x/abstract. The research is part of the ‘Cabot Project’, based at the University of Bristol and directed by Dr Evan Jones. In the archive with the Libro Giallo (Yellow Book) Below: Dr Evan Jones is shown materials in Ruddock’s house
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD With so many great things to eat here in England, writes Jeannine Wheeler, it is fitting not only to savour the food, but also to appreciate the more imaginative names our hosts have given to their favourite culinary dishes. Here are just a few. Bangers and Mash: Perhaps one of the best-known and well-loved pub meals, bangers (sausages) and mash (potatoes) is the perfect foil to a cold, wintry day. Favoured by up-market gastro-pubs, the dish can be made with gourmet sausages and handmade mashed potatoes, and is typically served with gravy and a vegetable. Bubble and Squeak: This is cooked cabbage and potatoes (other ingredients can be added), fried together
Some Culinary Translations Aubergine – eggplant Bap – large dinner roll Bicarbonate of soda – baking soda Biscuit – cookie Candy floss – cotton candy Caster sugar – superfine sugar Cockles – sea snails Coriander – cilantro Corn flour – corn starch Courgette – zucchini Double cream – heavy cream Gammon – ham Ginger nuts – ginger snaps Icing sugar – confectioners’ sugar Mangetout – snow peas Prawn – shrimp Short crust – pie crust Single cream – light cream Runner beans – string beans
and served alongside the traditional English breakfast. The cold, chopped vegetables (and cold, chopped meat if used) are fried in a pan together with mashed potatoes until deliciously browned on the sides. The name emanates from the action and sound made during the cooking process. Bubble and Squeak is known as an excellent hangover food. (Pictured above) Chip Butty: Perhaps too much of a good thing, a chip butty is a sandwich stuffed with chips (French fries). For a classic, spread your white bread butty with slabs of butter and top with ketchup and salt and pepper for extra flavour. Do squash the chips well down into the bread for the full effect. Are you sensing a potato theme? Mashed, fried, boiled, baked in goose fat or flavoured into a chip (called crisps), the Brits make some of the best potato dishes in the world. Unlike in America, where you pick up a garden variety ‘bag of potatoes’, the UK grows more than 80 varieties commercially. For roasting, the best varieties are Maris Piper, Desiree or King Edward. Spotted Dick: British waiters have long grown weary of the snickering American who finally gets up the gumption to order ‘the Spotted Dick’, a traditional English pudding made of
PHOTO: MR DUCKE
steamed suet containing dried fruit, usually currants. It gets its name from the ‘spots’ of currants and the corruption of the word dough to ‘dick.’ By the way, pudding here is not just a sweet milk-based dessert, as it is in America, but means desserts in general. Dessert pudding is not to be confused with Black Pudding, a savoury dish served at breakfast. Formed into a disk, black pudding is a tasty blend of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, flavourings and lastly, blood – usually from a pig. Toad in the Hole: Comprised of sausages in Yorkshire pudding mix (yet another kind of pudding) and served with vegetables and gravy. Made badly, it can resemble ‘frog in a bog’; made well, it is a satisfying pub meal or a hearty home-cooked family meal. Coronation Chicken: Famous for its bright yellow colour (from the curry), this is a combination of herbs and spices, cold pre-cooked chicken and creamy mayonnaise sauce, delicious stuffed into a sandwich or roll. It was first created in 1953 by florist Constance Spry and chef Rosemary Hume for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. See the box-out for a few more British kitchen translations that might help you celebrate the idiosyncrasies of British cuisine. Bon appétit! H
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THE CHANGING WORLD of Study Abroad
hen I went as an exchange student to Turkey in 1978, studying abroad was generally a year at a foreign university. Short programs tended to be exclusively language programs in the summer. The world of study abroad has changed radically since then. Today, there is so much variety in length and style that it’s possible to be overwhelmed.
Island Programs versus Foreign Universities Studying at a foreign university is still very much part of the study abroad world but there has been a proliferation of “Island programs” abroad where you live and study in facilities owned or leased by the U.S. university. Such programs are managed by an onsite director employed by the university. There are several advantages to island programs. First, the facilities are usually in lovely places. When I was a student in Turkey I visited the resort village of Alanya with fellow Turkish students. Now my university has a study abroad villa there. The housing and classroom spaces in island programs are generally of a very high standard. They are also safe. (Never overlook safety when considering living arrangements!) The downside is that island programs make it more difficult to feel part of the host culture because you are living and studying with other students from your American
university. To bridge the cultural gap many directors organize internships and volunteering – or students do this on their own. Another option is to attend a foreign university in a partnership arrangement. These programs may be a year or less. You may have housing provided or you may need to rent somewhere. Many universities and colleges prefer partnerships as a way of providing a cultural and academic experience without having to invest in premises or hire a program director. This kind of program is especially attractive to language students because even if the classes are taught in English (as they were at my Turkish university) you are still using the language outside the classroom. The range of partnerships even for small liberal arts colleges is astonishing. Haverford College has partnerships with universities in Australia, Hungary, South Africa and Morocco. The ability of small liberal arts colleges to create opportunities in so many different parts of the world is one of most exciting developments in study abroad over the years. Language immersion and increased contact with the host society are definite attractions to study programs at foreign universities. However, it can be almost as much of a challenge to make host country friends as in island programs. Since they are in their final years your classmates already have their social network. Even if you are there for a
by Carol Madison Graham year, it may not be enough time to “break into” a circle of friends. For this reason some American students at foreign universities have as many or more foreign student as host country friends.
College owned Colleges
Yet another option is to attend a college abroad owned by a U.S. college. Many of these are in Asia but not all. Education City in Qatar is host to branches of Carnegie Mellon and Georgetown University – ideal for Arabic students. Bard College recently bought ECLA, a liberal arts college in Berlin. This model aims to ensure teaching quality, sometimes an issue in study abroad.
Study Abroad Providers
Finally, there are privately run study abroad programs such as AIFS, IES and SIT and CIEE. Students generally apply directly to these programs but must obtain the agreement of their college and provide documentary evidence of academic good standing. How do you know if a program is reputable? The study abroad office will know. Williams College for example, displays approved study abroad providers on its website. Study abroad organizations have been around for a long time. The older ones date from the late 1940s so they have a lot of experience. Providers not only find student places at foreign universities but also have local coordinators
who help with housing, liaise with the host university and sometimes organize cultural events. They are also there as emergency contacts. If you are interested in studying in an unusual location this may be a good option.
Over the years, there has been a steady trend toward programs of a semester or less. In 2009-10 only 3.9% of American students studying abroad were on year long programs – the lowest ever (in 2004 it was 6.3%). By contrast, programs of eight weeks or less in 2009-10 accounted for 56.6% of study abroad students while 39.4% of students spent a semester abroad. Clearly most American students want short programs that allow them to experience travel abroad without breaking the rhythm of their studies at home in the U.S. However, when it is time to leave, some students regret not staying longer. They realize they have only dipped a toe into the culture or have just begun to make friends.
Faculty Led Programs
The trend toward short programs plus the desire to give students greater cultural depth has led to some professors taking matters directly into their hands by organising study tours. Far from the standard image of students following the professor around museums some of these programs are very innovative. On one study tour the professor and students travel by boat! Faculty led programs can be the solution to a problem that vexes students with a particular focus: how to integrate a study abroad experience into coursework? If a student only cares about engineering or chemistry they are reluctant to take a chance
PHOTO COURTESY ACS SCHOOLS
on programs with course offerings mainly in the humanities. A faculty led program that zeroes in on the student’s interest may be just right. Architecture students at the University of Montana went with their professor to Kenya to learn about straw bale construction.
Funding Study Abroad
Funding a study abroad experience normally means your tuition or possibly less. It all depends on the college and the structure of their program or their agreement with a provider. If you are eligible for tuition help at your college the chances are your college or university also offers financial help for study abroad or can advise you on study abroad scholarships. Study abroad providers also have scholarships. If you definitely want to study abroad and need financial assistance then it is a
good idea to investigate study abroad scholarships at the same time that you look at tuition financial aid, at the time of application.
If you do not wish to study abroad as an undergrad, graduate schools, business and law schools offering studies abroad are on the increase. In fact there are so many kinds of programs you are sure to find one that suits your needs and planning. Keep in mind also that if you can make a compelling case for an exception there is no harm in asking. I went to Turkey my senior rather than junior year, so I could remain a second year after graduation. A more recent student did not wish to study at the university’s “island” and was granted permission to study at a host university instead. Study abroad is nothing if not flexible. H
About the author Carol Madison Graham graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University with a Masters Degree in Islamic Study, has worked for the U.S. Diplomatic Service, and after moving to Britain was appointed executive director of the U.S.-UK Fulbright Commission. She has also been a member of the Instiutute for the Study of the Americas. She writes a blog with ideas for enriching study and living abroad at www.engageabroad.com and her book Coping with Anti-Americanism is out now.
VISITING THE OLYMPICS?
Top 10 Questions answered by the U.S. Embassy 1. Do I need a visa to come to the UK? Probably not. Most U.S. citizens seeking to enter the UK for tourism need only to present a valid U.S. passport. However, you may need a visa if you have ever applied for and been refused a visa to the UK, been denied entry in the past, have criminal convictions in any country or have previously violated terms of a UK visa. For more information about applying for a visa, visit the UK Border Agency website: www.ukba.homeoﬃce.gov.uk 2. Should I register with the Embassy? We recommend you register online with the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP) before you arrive in the UK. You can register for free at the website at step.state.gov – it could help the Embassy find you or your loved ones in an emergency. 3. If I’m injured in the UK, can I have access to free medical care? Do you have a list of doctors I can go to? If you require immediate medical care, call the Emergency Services (999, and not 911). If you require medical treatment that is not an emergency, the Embassy has a list of UK doctors on its website. Remember, U.S. citizens are not entitled to free medical care in the UK, so you should be sure to have appropriate travel insurance. 4. It’s 2am, I’ve got an emergency, who can I call? For a medical or police emergency, call 999. For U.S. citizens with other emergencies, a U.S. Embassy Duty Oﬃcer is available after hours at 020-7499-9000.
5. My credit card doesn’t have an electronic chip, can I still use it in the UK? When paying, tell the cashier it is a U.S. style credit card. The cashier needs to swipe the card and you need to sign for the purchase. Although U.S. style credit cards are no longer issued in the UK, most cash registers are equipped to process transactions this way. Make sure to inform your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to ensure your cards work abroad. 6. I’ve been told that I can’t use a U.S. cell phone in Europe, what can I do to stay in touch with my family? U.S. cell phones are typically blocked from making calls when used abroad to protect against fraud. Before traveling, ask your provider to have this restriction removed, but be aware that roaming fees may apply. More information is available on the Embassy’s blog for U.S. citizens in the UK. 7. What do I do if I lose my passport in London? If you lose your passport you should visit the Embassy website for information about how to obtain a replacement passport. You should also report the loss to the Metropolitan Police. Remember, it is best not to carry your passport with you once you arrive. A U.S. driver’s license and a photocopy of your passport is acceptable ID most places in the UK, so you can leave your passport locked in a safe place while you enjoy your trip. 8. My son was traveling to the Olympics and he is being held at the airport,
PHOTO COURTESY LONDON 2012
they say they are going to refuse him entry. Can you help? Unfortunately, the Embassy cannot intervene in such cases. The decision to admit or deny all travelers to the UK rests with UK Border Agency oﬃcials. 9. Can I buy tickets to the Events on the day? Does the Embassy have tickets? Unfortunately, all the Olympic events tickets have been allocated. If you are offered a ticket on the day of the event, be careful, as you may be being targeted by a fraudster. Tickets sold by a third party (such as a ticket tout or eBay) may be invalid. 10. What else is there to do in London? Can the Embassy recommend good sights or museums, and hotels? Can you explain the transport system, and how I get out to the Olympics park?! The Embassy cannot make travel recommendations, but the best place to go for tourist information is the Oﬃcial Visit London website – www.visitlondon.com. If you’re having trouble with the transport system, check out www. tfl.gov.uk, the oﬃcial Transport for London website. They have maps, up to date travel information and a journey planner to help you get around. Check out the Embassy’s London 2012 blog for more helpful information on preparing for your trip. H Editor’s note: Check out our guide to the Olympic Games on page 50 for what’s on where. For advice on getting to events, also visit www.getaheadofthegames.com
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Art s choice The American
BP Portrait Award 2012
National Portrait Gallery, London WC2
From 2187 entries, the world’s most prestigious art prize has been reduced to a shortlist of four, including American artist Aleah Chapin for Auntie; Alan Coulson for Richie Culver; Ignacio Estudillo for El abuelo (Agustín Estudillo) and Jamie Routley for Tony Lewis. Chapin’s Auntie is a portrait of a close friend of the family and is part of a series of nude portraits of women Aleah has known all of her life. She says, “the fact that she has known me since birth is extremely important. Her body is a map of her journey through life.” My choice is Alan Coulson’s Richie Culver. Coulson, self-taught,
by Estelle Lovatt & Richard L Gale
with no formal art education, is an artist I have since watched grow and grow. Culver is a fellow artist and friend. The intention was, as Coulson says, “to produce a direct and honest painting that would capture Richie’s unique appearance alongside his easygoing nature”. – EL
Bridget Riley 1960-1966 Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert and Karsten Schubert Galleries London SW1Y 6BB and W1F 9DR to July 13 If you haven’t caught this two-part exhibition marking 50 years since Bridget Riley’s first commercial exhibition in Soho, July is your last chance. Held across both galleries,
Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Helena Fourment, c. 1630-31, Chalk heightened with white, pen and ink, 612 x 550 mm © THE COURTAULD GALLERY, LONDON
this is the first exhibition ever solely dedicated to Bridget Riley’s iconic black and white works and includes 45 major paintings, gouache studies, and complete prints. – RG
Mantegna to Matisse The Courtauld Gallery, London WC2R 0RN to September 9 The Courtauld Gallery has selected 60 of its finest drawings from its 7000-strong collection to celebrate the diversity of draughtmanship from artists including Michelangelo, da Vinci, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, Rembrandt, Rubens and more. These rarely-seen drawings span a period of over 500 years. – RG
RA Summer Exhibition 2012 The Royal Academy of Arts, London W1J 0BD to August 12
Above: Bridget Riley, Movement in Squares, 1961, Emulsion on board © BRIDGET RILEY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. COURTESY KARSTEN SCHUBERT, LONDON
Left: Alan Coulson, Richie Culver © ALAN COULSON
Do you remember American artist Nancy Kominsky, groupie of the palette knife and toilet roll technique? I see her work reincarnated by recreational painters at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition every year, along with those forever-linked to the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists and Fauves. Still I look forward to going to the RA because it’s a part of the Great
Claude Monet, The Cliffs at Étretat, 1885 Oil on canvas, 65.1 x 81.3 cm © STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE, WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS, USA
left), Pissarro, Sisley and Morisot, and over twenty paintings by Renoir including At the Concert, 1880. The paintings include landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes, nudes and portraits, plus self portraits by Renoir and Degas. – RG
Han Elsinore, Denmark Before you even enter the RA, enjoy art in its courtyard. Chris Wilkinson RA has designed Landscape to Portrait, a series of eleven frames which flip through ninety degrees and incorporate innovative seating for visitors. So it’s BIG! Once inside there are the usual RAs from Ken Howard to Tracey Emin. The Summer Exhibiton is the big go-toand-be-seen-at art event of the year. Don’t miss the small paintings gallery. with more than 200 little gems, the place to buy reasonably priced contemporary art to invest in, if you pick wisely. – EL
From Paris: A Taste For Impressionism The Royal Academy of Arts, London W1J 0BD July 7 to September 23 Also at the RA this month is this noteworthy touring exhibition of Impressionist paintings from the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts, on something of a world tour and this side of the pond between stops in Texas and Montreal. 70 works, many not displayed in the UK before, with works from Manet, Monet (pictured
Finally, if your European hols are taking you to Denmark, you will discover that the famous statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen now has a similarly-sized male counterpart in Elsinore. Named Han (Danish for ‘Him’), the polished stainless steel sculpture of a boy sitting upon a stone has the liquid appearance of a CGI effect (James Cameron’s The Abyss and Marvel’s Silver Surfer spring to mind), its shifting reflections all the more striking located in the real world setting of a Danish harbor, seemingly an entity of liquid seated upon the land. Cleverly, the sculpture also blinks momentarily once every hour. – RG PHOTO: ANDERS SUNE BERG
British Summer Season from social occasions to box-office appeal. The Chelsea Flower Show; opera at Glyndebourne; cricket at Lord’s; Horseracing at Royal Ascot; tennis at Wimbledon; polo at Windsor; yachting at Cowes... I like the diary of tradition. The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by King George III (the mad King who lost the Brits America) in 1768. The first Summer Exhibition was held in a warehouse on Pall Mall, in 1769, with only 136 paintings on show. It moved to the present Royal Academy site in 1869 and ever since, the Summer Exhibition has attracted attention. For example, when fig leaves were stuck onto classical male statues to cover protruding private parts which could have embarrassed Queen Victoria; Gainsborough removed his canvases displeased with how they were hung; Turner finished Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway, on Varnishing Day – used for varnishing the paintings whilst hanging in the gallery just before the exhibition opened to the public; and a suffragette damaged American artist Sargent’s portrait of Henry James.
Bauhaus: Art as Life Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre, UK • Until 12 August 2012 • Reviewed by Estelle Lovatt
he Bauhaus – practical and aesthetically delightful – was not just an art group but an art school which, although it was founded in 1919 and only lasted fourteen years until 1933, still has a lesson to teach to the art school cultures of today. The Bauhaus school developed a sensible collective rationale for reason and intention, for pooled ideas with opinions that actually meant ‘business’. As the world’s most influential art school, the Bauhaus is with us continuously, from Itten’s beautiful colour wheel to the simplest pairing of art with industry. It even gave its name to a ‘look’ – simple, functional but beautiful – that can apply to artworks as well as consumer products. From its avant-garde arts and crafts beginnings the Bauhaus shifted towards a more radical model of
learning, uniting art and technology. The world’s most famous modern art and design school, the Bauhaus was a driving force behind Modernism, it further sought to change society in the aftermath of World War I, to find a new way of living. The Barbican’s major new show presents the pioneering and diverse artistic production that make up the school’s turbulent history and delves into the subjects at the heart of the Bauhaus – art, design, people, society and culture. Its three architect-directors, Gropius, Meyer and Mies van der Rohe, hired real talent – painters, sculptors, ceramicists, furniture designers, graphic designers - ad hoc, assembled much like their own collages. Chalk and cheese, or rather wood and metal, Bauhaus took Weimar, Dessau and finally Berlin, all within fourteen years. Heir to Cubo-Futurism, nodding at Surrealism, the dynamics of Japonisme and pared down abstractions of African art informed the Bauhaus in an effort to influence both art and craft. How revolutionary that these quite different artistic disciplines can be concentrated in the absorption of a common purpose: a complete work of art that, part manufactured article, part objet d’art, exudes magnificence and straightforwardness. It said, in short, that design could and should have a moral dimension that is not the least bit identical and boring, but consistent and equal. From whimsical experimentaLyonel Feininger, The Studio Window, 1919, Oil on canvas, 100 x 80cm Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg
tion en route to judiciously planned, standardized, functional buildings, the Bauhaus hugged those German artists curving from Expressionism to New Objectivity. Hence it attracted not just German artist/tutors but those from Switzerland (Klee), America (Feininger), the Soviet Union (Kandinsky), Hungary (Marcel Breuer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy) and elsewhere. At the heart of the Bauhaus was experimentation, collaboration and play between painting, sculpture, metalwork, fabrics, typography, furniture, prints and sculptures. One of the key offerings of the Bauhaus is modern furniture design, noteworthy masterpieces including Mies van der Rohe’s Cantilever Chair,1927, and Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel Club Chair (Wassily Armchair), 1925-6, which was inspired by the frame of his bicycle, and designed to be dismantled into nine parts for economical transportation. Conceived for mass production, light, and easy to clean, it was the ‘necessary apparatus of modern living’. Bauhaus produced ideas in textile, wood, metal and ceramic, for example: the now-iconic tea-infuser by Marianne Brandt; Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s MT8 table lamp; Anni Albers’ 1924 wall hanging; and most commercially, its costeffective, money-making wallpaper. Engaging with industry was actively encouraged. Bringing together more than 400 works, this exhibition features a rich array of painting, sculpture, architecture, film, photography, furniture, graphics, product design, textiles, ceramics and theatre by an A-Z of Bauhaus masters from Josef Albers to Her-
bert Bayer, Marianne Brandt, Breuer, Gropius, Itten, Hannes Meyer, Natalia Goncharova, Adolf Meyer and Werner Zimmermann. You’ll see Paul Klee’s 1923 Tomb in Three Parts , Kandinsky’s Small World series of lithographs, Alexander (Sandor) Bortnyik’s, Untitled (Geometric Forms in Space) from 1923, prints by Yamawaki and relief plaster sculptures by Schlemmer. Throughout the Bauhaus years, students and teachers socialised together, frequently throwing parties and gatherings, wearing handmade costumes and surreal masks, revealing that playful experimentation went beyond the classroom, often captured in black & white photographs. Realising the most ‘friendly’ of unions possible between art and industrialization, the Bauhaus rejected unnecessarily baroque, elaborate decoration, instead employing machinery that could manufacture functional designs, bulk-produced and easily accessible. The Bauhaus were determined to make objects that were, as social anthropologist George Marcus described functionalism, “simple, honest, and direct; well adapted to their purpose; bare of ornament”. What would William Morris make of it all? Explicitly apolitical, the influence of the 19th century English designer was also important. He maintained that art should encounter and greet the wants of society and that there should be no difference between form and function. Thus the Bauhaus style, the International Style, was categorically marked by a dearth of decoration, its harmony achieved between the function of ‘it’ as an object, and the synchronisation of a building to its design. Whilst Morris appreciated handmade objects inspired by medieval standards, and Bauhaus designs hankered after off-the-peg designer
Wassily Kandinsky, Circles in a Circle, 1923, Oil on canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection
objects inspired by Greek mathematics, yet their functionalist opinion that loveliness comes from candid representation, their use of materials and the way they constructed their materials made for successful design revolution. Whereas Morris was nervous of machines, the Bauhaus was dulled to the unconsciousness of the machine. The Bauhaus school was closed by Hitler in 1933 for being less Chippendale and more left-leaning than he liked. Much of the art made there found itself under the Nazi heading of ‘degenerate’, Lyonel Feinenger, The Studio Window, 1919, being a case in point. Sixty-one of its teachers and students were arrested by the Nazis as ‘Degenerate Artists’. At least a couple, the textile artists Frederika Dicker
and Otti Berger were exterminated in Auschwitz. Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and Moholy-Nagy re-assembled to live and work in Britain from the mid 1930s. Gropius and Breuer went to teach at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Mies van der Rohe settled in Chicago and Moholy-Nagy founded the New Bauhaus school there. The Bauhaus impact is felt around the world from Tel Aviv to Tokyo. It could be said that today IKEA is trying to revitalise its intentions. The Bauhaus remains inspiring not only for its amazing grouping of bright, imaginative, creative, inventive and forwardthinking prophets, but also for making ‘art’ which is energised by a practical application of romanticism that is both optimistic and relevant. H
Cut at 45 Park Lane
Mayfair A stoneâ€™s throw from the Dorchester Hotel London W1K 1QA
Restaurant reviews by Virginia E Schultz
nce upon a time, I ate at Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s first restaurant in West Hollywood and had what was, undoubtedly, the most expensive and most delicious pizza I ever tasted before or since. Wolfgang, for those who don’t know, is possibly the second best but best known chef in the U.S. and has arrived in London with the fanfare and drumbeating that follows a man with the accomplishment and achievements he’s gained by not only changing the eating habits in Los Angeles and beyond, but with his philanthropic and charitable work that has raised millions of dollars for programs such as Meals-on-Wheels. Like another Austrian who became governor, he conquered Hollywood and then California, although in his case, he kept his reputation and marriage together. On entering 45 Park Lane, I had the impression of old money in a modern setting, but then Roy Ackerman’s Tadema Studios are behind the decoration, so I wasn’t surprised. Some critics describe the lobby as having an airport first class lounge atmosphere, but one only has to watch any television makeover program and you’ll hear the designer describing his design as lovely as that in a five star hotel room. Perhaps my taste is Plebeian, but I liked it. The restaurant is somewhat narrow and thin, only widening in the rear where Kathy MacDonald, my daughter’s-mother-in-law and I sat. The red leather chairs, however, were surprisingly comfortable and although the tables around us were filled, the two of us could exchange conversation without a problem.
Kathy and I were there for brunch while around us were casually dressed business people and wealthy tourists visiting London. There were no children, but then, at the price of Brunch, £55 for two courses including a non-alcoholic beverage, Champagne or cocktail, I’m not certain I’d want to bring a hungry teenager. Lunch began with luscious tidbits to nibble on and a glass of Champagne while Kathy and I studied the menu. Kathy started with the Farmer’s Vegetable Salad that included baby beets, fennel and radishes topped lightly with a mustard vinaigrette while I had the Dorset Crab and Lobster “Louis” cocktail, both delightfully delicious. While we ate the first course, we nibbled on a selection of walnut, sourdough and onion focaccia served with a plain salted and a scrumptious seaweed tinged butter. At second course time, having read about Cut’s steaks, Kathy chose a 6oz Devon, South West England aged 28 days Filet Mignon and it was very much a ‘Wow’! But the winner in my mind – and what I’m saving my pounds to have again – is the Eggs Benedict topped with Hollandaise sauce and bacon on the side. I love steak, but Cut’s Eggs Benedict is the most mouthwatering, delicious, yummy, and a half dozen other adjectives, I ever had. Whether the origin of this dish began at the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 or Delmonico’s in 1967, I don’t know, but the toasted English muffin with bacon and topped with Hollandaise sauce at Cut is the reason, as a famous general once said, ‘I will return’.
here’s the story of a vain king who’s persuaded he’s wearing beautiful clothing when in actual fact he’s naked. No one, including his closest couturiers, had the courage to tell him he’s bereft of clothes until one little boy asks, ‘Why is the king naked?’ For some unexplainable reason, that went through my mind when I dined at Dabbous for the second time and found that in spite of the extravagant praise from some of the top food critics in London, I was disappointed. Of course, I’m probably wrong because if you want a reservation before next February 2013, forget it. Dabbous is the first solo venture for Ollie Dabbous, formerly of Michelin starred restaurant Texture and Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. The restaurant, which my friend described as industrial modern, has plain wooden tables, metal fittings and concrete floors, the perfect decor for this computer-generated generation. ‘It’s the kind of restaurant Henry Ford might have designed if he hadn’t been into making automobiles’, he went on. The decor is
plain and simple as is the food. And that is not meant as a criticism. In fact, the best thing about Dabbous was the simplicity of the dishes despite his having a classical training background. Not that he doesn’t put odd things together that work ...or almost. Raw fennel with feta dressing and pickled rose leaves is an unusual combination and I liked it, but I can’t clap my hands in excitement. Coming from the Dutch region in Pennsylvania, I grew up with buttermilk, and the roast king crab with warm buttermilk and cabbage (£12) was a delightful dish, although I’m not certain about the cabbage with it. Buttermilk, for those who do not know, is unpasteurized heavy cream heavily shaken in a jar until there is nothing left but a glob of yellow (butter) and a separate liquid (buttermilk) – at least that’s the way my father made it. Of course, it might be easier to order it from your milkman. The grilled scallop with virgin rapeseed oil mayonnaise and Jerusalem artichoke (£11) which added a crunch to the dish was excellent; although I preferred the scallops and potato salad with shallot mayonnaise
I had one summer in Nantucket, and whose recipe I managed to obtain. The barbecued Iberico pork with acorn praline, turnip tops and homemade apple vinegar (£14) is to return for and if you want fish cooked to moist perfection, try the braised halibut with coastal herbs (£13) or any fish on the menu. As for dessert, I cannot complain about the fig leaf ice cream (£4) or the baked apple and toasted sourdough bread with a selection of four cheeses (£9) I had at dinner. In fact, next time I serve cheese in my own home, I’m going to have baked apples as well. In common with many top restaurants, the dishes are served in slightly smaller portions. Not a complaint from me, although my male friend at dinner felt they were too small. In the basement bar, Oskar Kinberg, the mixologist, is a genius when it comes to classic cocktails or else ask for something he devises especially for you. Dabbous, like any top chef, works with the seasons. The prices are not particularly high, although if and when he gets a star or three, it will undoubtedly change. Tradition and invention combine in Dabbous’s dishes and perhaps I’m being contrary or even obstinate when I write I was slightly disenchanted, which is why I’ll return, hopefully before 2013.
Small, but perfectly formed: Dabbous’ fig leaf ice cream
DABBOUS RESTAURANT 39 Whitfield Street, London W11 2SF 020 7323 1544, dabbous.co.uk
Three Course Lunch Menu - £18.50 (Monday to Saturday)
Now that the rain has passed, come and enjoy the tranquillity of our Italian Garden and our great Summer Menus
48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EF
For bookings 01932 862121 or visit
Book your table online on our website: www.lacapanna.co.uk Business account customers and party bookings are welcome. All major credit cards accepted.
Creative dishes made from the freshest ingredients
“La Capanna must boast the prettiest interior of any restaurant I have ever dined in” – David Billington, Hello Magazine
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REFORM SOCIAL AND GRILL A
n English friend once told me the reason the English didn’t have a revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries was because of London’s gentlemen’s clubs. There are still gentlemen’s clubs now, but as we’re the wrong sex, Maxine Howe and I found a substitute (men are just as welcome) at the Reform Social and Grill, located in a traditional Georgian building not far from Selfridges in ‘Marylebone Village’. We entered the hotel bar off Mandeville Place. The room is a mix of traditional and modern, and was populated by an attractive crowd. I love rhubarb and champagne and the Rhubarb Rose sparkling cocktail (rose tea, rhubarb liquor, bitters and champagne, £11.50) is something I’d have again. Maxine preferred a Planter’s punch made with dark rum, and the bartender made one especially for her that included fresh fruit juice (£11) which was good to the last sip. While you’re having your drinks, order the Crispy Lamb Bacon with mint jelly (£6) to nibble on – you won’t regret it.
The restaurant reminded me of an old fashioned Victorian pub with its embossed wallpaper and brick walls. I loved the painting of the bull on the one wall, although Maxine had strong doubts. Head Chef Jens Folkel was previously at Bistro du Vin which suggested we were in for a lovely dinner. I started with the Lobster Cocktail with crab toastie (£13.50) and it was divine, but it was Maxine’s Mushroom on Toast (£6.50), made with tiny St. George mushrooms, I’d have next time. Giovanni Piattoli, the restaurant manager, explained the tiny mushrooms come in season in May but only after a wet April. The mushrooms were cooked in ale and topped with a runny orange poached egg bursting with flavour. Delicious! As her main course, Maxine had the Day Boat Caught Plaice with shrimps, capers and parsley butter (£19). Appetizing, but extremely bony, so diner beware. As the hanger steak wasn’t available, I ordered the Rib Eye Steak (300g, £22) which couldn’t be bested by steaks served at specialty steak houses in London
and was a lot less expensive. It was more than I could eat that evening and I asked for a doggy bag which, according to a recent article in a London newspaper, is what one should do now. With this we had Purple Sprouting Broccoli (£4.50) and the most delicious Jersey Royals (£4) cooked in buttered parsley. We ended the meal sharing the Reform Trifle (£6.50). Lots of PX sherry, creamy mascarpone and pistachio. Yummy, and full of calories. Giovanni has a polished approach to wine and pairing of food, but more importantly is his connection to his customers. His selection of wines for our various dishes was perfect but one red wine stood out: the Australian Route du Van Dolcetto Shiraz (2010). In fact, I ordered a case myself the following day. H
REFORM SOCIAL AND GRILL The Mandeville Hotel Mandeville Place London, W1U 2BE Telephone: 0207 224 1624 www.reformsocialgrill.com
Let America’s Test Kitchen help with your July 4th
cience meets food in America’s Test Kitchen, the most-watched cooking show on public television with nearly two million viewers each week in the States. The show is the brainchild of Christopher Kimball (pictured in the red apron), presenter of the show and the publisher of Cook’s Illustrated. It is filmed in the magazine’s test kitchen, just outside Boston and each episode features recipes carefully developed to
make sure they work every time. Christopher Kimball and his test cooks solve everyday cooking problems, test equipment so you never have to waste money on gadgets that don’t work, and taste supermarket ingredients to save you time at the store. It’s a common-sense, practical approach that you won’t find on other cooking shows. “We make the mistakes so you don’t have to,” he says.
Now you can see America’s Test Kitchen in Britain. Season 11 airs exclusively in the UK on PBS (Sky channel 166 and Virgin Media channel 243) from Monday July 2nd 2012, just in time for you to get that perfect recipe for Independence Day. The new series has even more content than before, with a new segment and numerous visits with well-loved chefs! It’s on weekdays at 8.50am and 2.55pm.
Recipe: Memphis-Style Barbecued Spareribs on a Charcoal Grill Serves 4-6. Don’t remove the membrane that runs along the bone side of the ribs; it prevents some of the fat from rendering out, leading to more tender results. Pouring lit briquettes over unlit briquettes provides the low, steady heat necessary for effective smoking. To maintain a constant temperature, manipulate the upper and lower vents of your grill and do not remove the lid any more often than necessary. (Pictured above right.)
INGREDIENTS RUB 2 tablespoons sweet paprika 2 tablespoons light brown sugar 1 tablespoon table salt 2 teaspoons chili powder 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper 1½ teaspoons garlic powder 1½ teaspoons onion powder 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper ½ teaspoon dried thyme RIBS 2 racks St. Louis–style spareribs, 2½ to 3 pounds each ½ cup apple juice 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar Large disposable aluminum roasting pan ½ cup wood chips, soaked
1. Combine rub ingredients in small bowl. Place racks on rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle rub on both sides of each rack, rubbing and pressing to adhere. 2. C ombine apple juice and vinegar in small bowl; set aside. Open top and bottom grill vents halfway and arrange 15 unlit charcoal briquettes evenly on 1 side of grill. Place disposable pan filled with 1 inch water on other side of grill. Light large chimney starter filled one-third with charcoal (about 33 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are half coated with thin layer of ash (about 15 minutes). Empty coals into grill on top of unlit briquettes to cover half of grill. Sprinkle soaked wood chips over coals. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot (about 5 minutes); scrape grate clean with grill brush. 3. P lace ribs, meat side down, on grate over water pan. Cover grill, positioning top vent over ribs to draw smoke through grill. Cook ribs 45 minutes, adjusting vents to keep temperature inside grill around 250-275°. Flip ribs meat side up, turn 180°, and switch their positions so that rack that was nearer fire is on outside. Brush each rack with 2 tablespoons apple juice mixture; cover grill and cook another 45 minutes. About 30 minutes before removing ribs from grill, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°. 4. T ransfer ribs, meat side up, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Brush top of each rib with 2 tablespoons apple juice mixture. Pour 1½ cups water into bottom of baking sheet; roast 1 hour. Brush ribs with remaining apple juice mixture and continue to roast until meat is tender but not falling off bone (internal temperature should be 195-200°), 1-2 hours. Transfer ribs to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 15 minutes. Cut ribs between bones to separate, and serve. H
Cellar Talk By Virginia E. Schultz
Support your American wines
plead guilty. I possibly talk about more American wines than any other writer in the UK. It isn’t that I don’t drink or offer wines from countries besides the States, although, admittedly, I try at most of my dinner parties to offer at least one American wine. Yes, they are more expensive than back home and it annoys me when an ordinary everyday American wine that costs ten dollars is sold here for twice that amount. You certainly don’t find the Australians or the Chileans doubling the price of the wines they import, which is why they’ve become so popular. Our lack of attention to our wines came to my attention recently when I attended the premiere of Jesse Owens, a new film about the black American athlete who in 1936 won C TO: FIN PHO
four Olympic medals at the Berlin Olympics. It was presented by PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) at the American Embassy. At the reception afterwards, along with the tidbits, we were offered Chilean wine, and frankly, that bothered me. I suspect I was the only person aware of what they were drinking, but at the same time I felt, of all places, the American Embassy should have been promoting our own wines and not those from another country. Would the Chilean or Argentine embassy at a similar type reception have offered their guests wines except their own? Somehow, I don’t think so. Or am I wrong?
Serious wines, unserious prices
Perhaps it’s because, as Matt Kramer wrote in Wine Spectator recently, too many of us don’t pay attention to a wine except if it’s considered serious. Translated, that means expensive. Offer me a Chateau Lafite and my eyes light up and my mouth begins to water, but sitting on my balcony overlooking the Thames on a warm summer night you’ll find me sipping a cooled unoaked or lightly oaked Cabernet Franc, an Italian Dolcetto or a Beaujolais. Sadly, because of the likes of Beaujolais Nouveau, this grape has gotten a bad name but cooled (and yes, on a really hot day, I’ve
WINE OF THE MONTH Bodega Noemia de Patagonia Rio Negro Valley 2009 (Very Expensive) This brought back memories of Argentina and the lovely barbecues we enjoyed at a friend’s farm in Patagonia. Drank it at a friend’s house while watching the Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace on TV. Can be drunk now or put aside for a future celebration.
added an ice cube) this is the perfect wine to go with a salad or barbecued spare ribs. Either that or a cold beer. Sadly, until we Americans get unserious about wine, we will continue to disregard our wines, cheap or expensive. One thing about England, the sommelier who takes pride in his cellar is usually willing to discuss their lower priced wines as well as those that have five dollar signs in front. In fact, if you want a great wine at a reasonable price in a restaurant, get into a discussion with the sommelier. Some of the best wines at sensible prices, and which I’ve later bought from my wine merchant, were after tasting ones recommended at restaurants I’ve been reviewing. Being serious about what you’re drinking is one thing, but being serious about what you’re spending is also important. There are many seriously lovely wines at unseriously low prices. Just get into a discussion with the sommelier and wine merchant and you’ll be surprised at what you can learn. H
JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, site of the Stateside part of Live Aid. But what was the year?
Coffee Break QUIZ 5
9 5 4
1 O n which date did the Continental Congress actually pass the resolution of Independence for the new United States of America? 2 W hich two important figures in the history of American Independence died on the 50th anniversary of the declaration? a) George Washington and John Hancock; b) Thomas Jefferson and John Adams; c) Benjamin Franklin and King George III 3 W ho is the only American President to have been born on July 4th?
4 W hat was abolished in New York State on July 4th (even though all mentions of it were removed from the draft of the Declaration of Independence)? 5 W here is the original Declaration of Independence located today? 6 W hich of these major sporting events does not happen in July: The Tour de France, Wimbledon or the World Series? 7 P rince Charles was â€˜investedâ€™ to which title on July 1st, 1969? 8 I f you were born on July 4th, what would your star sign be? 9 O n which date in July is the French national holiday, Bastille Day? 10 W hen the revolutionaries stormed the Bastille in July 1789, how many prisoners did they release? 11 T he Live Aid concerts were held at Wembley and Philadelphia on July 13th in which year? 12 W hich country celebrates a holiday in July in honour of its unification in 1867? The USA, Canada or Mexico?
Answers to Coffee Break Quiz & Sudoku on page 65
OBITUARIES Robin Gibb
Robin Gibb, CBE, who died May 20, 2012 at the age of 62, was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, in 1949, twin brother to Maurice. Their father was a band leader and their mother a former singer. The family moved to Manchester, then to Australia where, with older brother Barry, the twins formed the Bee Gees. After a local number one single they moved back to Britain in 1966 and began their international career, with hits like New York Mining Disaster 1941, Massachusetts and Words. Robin briefly left the group, but rejoined. In the 1970s they were persuaded by Robert Stigwood to change to the new disco sound. Their soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever gave them international hits including How Deep is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive and Night Fever. In January 2003, Maurice died (the youngest Gibb, Andy, also a singer, died in 1988) and the Bee Gees disbanded. Robin continued his solo career. He is survived by his second wife Dwina and four children.
LIVE AND KICKING Wickham Festival
In a folky frame of mind? Wickham is a small, friendly affair, half way between Portsmouth and Southampton on the south coast of England. Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra (as seen on the BBC’s Later... program) opens the weekend with guest singers Chris (Squeeze) Difford & Ruby Turner. After that it’s mainly folk-oriented
The world of disco is also mourning the death of Donna Summer. Born in Massachusetts in 1948, her first chart success came in 1975 with Love To Love You Baby. Her blend of soulful, erotic vocals and electronic rhythms provided by Giorgio Moroder became massively successful. Summer had a successful career which outlasted the disco boom. She is survived by her second husband, Bruce Sudano, three daughters, and four grandchildren.
acts in the wider sense, including: KT Tunstall, The Proclaimers, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers (pictured above, and yes, that’s the right spelling), Jason Wilson Band featuring Dick Gaughan & Dave Swarbrick, Bellowhead, Show of Hands, The Levellers, Oysterband, Edward II, and The Wurzels. August 2nd to 4th.
Brooklyn-born Simone Dinnerstein could be accused of being a late starter. She came to fame at the age of 33 when her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (released on independent label Telarc after she raised funds from friends and family for her Carnegie Hall debut) received rave reviews. That was in 2007. Now she has a contract with Sony Classical, and a new CD, Bach: A Strange Beauty. Simone is only playing one UK date this year – see her playing Bach himself, including an English Suite by the master, and a French Suite, at the Wigmore Hall, London, on July 13th (part of the London Pianoforte Series).
great KidZone. If you get too hot (we wish!) there’s a Leisure Centre and Lido right next door – bring your swimming gear! July 13th to 15th at Stoke Park, Guildford.
Tim Minchin Gary Numan
Eclectic, that’s the word for GuilFest. The organisers always seem to grab a mixed bag of acts that attract as much for their diversity as their individual pulling power. For 2012 they have scored Bryan (Roxy Music) Ferry to headline the main stage on the Sunday, to be supported by disco titans Chic, probably the most influential, and the most credible among rock fans, band of the disco era, and still featuring Nile Rodgers. Other acts include Gary Numan, Candi Staton, Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra (does he never sleep during festival season?), Tim Minchin (recently lauded for his music for the stage version of Matilda), and Jimmy Cliff, plus the Cosmic Comedy Tent, the Man In The Moon Theatre Tent, the ’70s Disco, Farmer Giles’ Barn Dance, a 150ft Beer Tent, Art & Craft Village, Cocktail Bar, Street Performers, and a
Minchin is the flavor of the summer – as well as GuilFest he’s performing the most eclectic list of gigs, from the Eden Project in Cornwall to the Truck Festival in Oxfordshire. But be warned, he’s had to cancel several shows – check www. timminchin.com for details – because he’s joining the arena tour production of Jesus Christ Superstar, playing his dream role: Judas Iscariot! Tim Minchin
Rewind, like the Reading/Leeds V Festival, is a game of two halves, in two different and widely separated locations. In this case two glamorous, attractive settings, for this 80s nostalgia-fest. Rewind Scotland is on from July 20th to 22nd at Scone Palace, Perth, at the gateway to the Highlands. Rewind Festival is from August 17th to 19th at the very English Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames. Adam Ant and The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse will be at both Rewinds and the lineup includes Kool & The Gang, The Bangles, ABC, OMD, Soul II Soul, Starship, Altered Images, Average White Band, and Ali Campbell’s UB40. Also appearing are Marc Almond, Jimmy Somerville, Right Said Fred, Holly Johnson, and Village People. Camping is not just available, it’s probably unavoidable.
Contemporary Music Summer Season at the Barbican The Barbican arts complex on the edge of the ancient City of London rightly prides itself on its contemporary music offerings. This year’s Summer season has some great highlights: On June 23rd legendary songwriter and arranger Van Dyke Parks performs a career-retrospective with the Britten Sinfonia and special guests Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) and Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear), a one-off show coinciding with the reissue of three of Parks’ most visionary albums. July 4th sees Gilberto Gil with the London Symphony Orchestra and FrancoisXavier Roth. On July 5th Paul Heaton’s The 8th – the former Housemartin and Beautiful South frontman’s acclaimed project, described as part pop songcycle, part opera, accompanied by star of US hit series The Wire, Reg E Cathey, and a host of talented singers. The 8th is one of the longest songs ever written, its eight ‘chapters’ look at the Seven Deadly Sins plus a new, thoroughly modern one (the album is released on July 2 on Proper Records). Look out for a series of performances through July by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, including Congo Square, Abyssinian Mass, A Midsummer Night’s Swing Dance, Afro-Cuban Fiesta and Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3) which also stars Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra: see www.barbican.org.uk for more details. Wynton Marsalis
ALBUMS THEOF MONTH By Michael Burland
The Beach Boys
That’s Why God Made the Radio Capitol Long-awaited, this is the first record by the Beach Boys together with the musical magician that is Brian Wilson for 16 years. An exercise in nostalgia? Not entirely. Listen to bands like the Fleet Foxes and you’ll hear that Beach Boys harmonies are more influential than ever, and Wilson’s production values are alive in orchestrations on records across the popular music spectrum. We haven’t been starved of that Wilsonian magic recently: in 2004 Brian released his re-recorded version of Smile, the legendary unfinished ’60s Beach Boys work, and last year saw The Smile Sessions, a collection of original recordings and out-takes. But this is different. It’s new. And it has Brian along with long term Beach Boys Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks on board. Talking of boards (sorry), the long term history of the Beach Boys has been, to the outsider, one of tension between Mike Love’s and Brian Wilson’s visions of the band. Love’s wish to keep the band as an entertainment, stuck in its early surfing and hot rodding incarnation versus Brian’s ability to move forward from there and explore the deeper, darker side of the Californian consciousness. Album-wise, Surfin’ Safari vs Pet Sounds, if you will. It must be more complex than that – family and friendships always are – but it sure
The Beach Boys, together again: Bruce, Al, Brian, Mike and David ROBERT MATHEU
TOUR DATES: This full line up of Beach Boys is on a 50th Anniversary tour right now. American dates are followed this month by European gigs, then they go to the Far East. But you can see them at London’s Wembley Arena on September 28th.
seems that way in this new record. That’s Why God Made the Radio is a good Beach Boys album, but not a great one. Beach Boys fans will love it, but it feels as if Brian has compromised, trying to reconcile the two aspects of the band. It harks back to the early surfing world with nostalgia, but as it progresses, the album becomes sadder, Brian’s fragile voice reflecting, on Pacific Coast Highway, “Sunlight is fading and there’s not much left to say”. The harmonies are guaranteed, and the arrangements are beautiful, but the quirkiness and experimentation that made the Beach Boys more than just a great pop group is missing. It’s telling that the album is produced by Brian, but the Executive Producer is Love. One suspects that an album of music written without commercial intent by Brian, purely as art, but performed by the band in this incarnation would be a wondrous thing. But would Mike Love go for it? We can only hope.
Kenny Rogers Hump Head Kenny Rogers has always been at his best – and most important – on songs that combine his rich, gruff voice and country geniality with lyrics full of sometimes surprising social comment, for example in Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town and Coward of the County. Here you’re not getting that second part, the grit within the oyster that creates something special and thought provoking, but Rogers fans will not feel short changed by this collection of spiritual songs that have clearly meant a lot to the man, from Let The Circle Be Unbroken, and In The Sweet By And By to Amazing Grace. They’re immaculately performed by Rogers with guests including Pat Buchanan, The Whites, Jerry Douglas, and the White House Chapel singers.
N CKET WIOF TI
ERSEY BOYS, the internationally acclaimed hit musical (“THE BEST WEST END MUSICAL IN YEARS” – BBC Radio 2), tells the remarkable rise to stardom of one of the most successful bands in pop music history. Winner of 54 major awards worldwide including the Olivier award for BEST NEW MUSICAL! 1962, New Jersey, New York, when music meant rock ‘n’ roll, violence meant the mob and the only way out was up. Meet four New Jersey boys from the wrong side of the tracks who, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, went on to become rock ‘n’ roll legends selling 100 million records worldwide. With spectacular performances of all their hits, JERSEY BOYS is the electrifying true life story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; the Mob, the heartaches, the triumph and the music. Discover the incredible sound of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons whose hits defined the musical identity of a nation.
WIN TICKETS To celebrate Independence Day we have a pair of tickets for JERSEY BOYS to give away. To enter the draw, simply answer the following question: Frankie Valli had a 1978 hit with the title song to which musical? A) Hair B) Hairspray C) Grease
Fantastic Group Rates Available Performances until October 2013 17th February 2013 (for Individuals & Groups) & 17th October 2013 (Groups Only) Standard Group Rate (Groups of 10+)* Tuesday – Thursday Performances. Best available seats reduced to £32.50. (Excl. 24-30/12/12) Friday & Sunday Performances: Best available seats reduced to £37.50. (Excl. 24-30/12/12) *Group offer valid from 23 October 2012
How to Enter: Email your answer and your contact details (name, address and daytime phone number) to email@example.com with JERSEY BOYS COMPETITION in the subject line; or send a postcard to: JERSEY BOYS COMPETITION, The American, Old Byre House, Millbrook Lane, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK; to arrive by mid-day Tuesday July 31, 2012. Terms & Conditions: 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. Tickets valid Tues-Thurs and Sunday performances only until 30 September 2012, subject to availability and are not transferable. Additional expenses are the responsibility of the prize winner. The Promoter reserves the right to exchange all or part of the prize to that of equal or greater value.
www.JerseyBoysLondon.com • 0844 482 5151
BOOK REVIEWS Reviewed by Virginia E. Schultz, Sabrina Sully and Richard L. Gale
The Marrowbone Marble Company By Glenn Taylor Published by Blue Door (HarperCollins) Paperback, £12.99 Taylor’s second novel, set in America between the 1940s and 1960s, steps into the life of the central character, Loyal Ledford, from his military service in the Pacific to the breakup of the Marrowbone community that he founded. Loyal sets up a manufacturing company in a remote spot, and whilst he invests his life savings to make a new life for his family, others risk their lives to join him. The story is well told, mixing strategic issues with the personal tales of fear, revenge and resilience. A powerful book that is difficult to put down (and, I believe, a future classic), it deals with the effects of war on the men that fought, corrupt politics and particularly the fight against racism. This book immerses you in the people, environment and issues of the day in a way achieved only by really great writers. It is also interesting to review the acceptable actions of the day with hindsight. Taylor has been compared to Steinbeck, Hemingway and John Irving. I was also reminded of Washington Irving’s Sketchbook, specifi-
cally The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, read when I was 14, in the way that the places and people become very real. If I have a criticism, I felt that the author seemed slightly to tire of Ledford and his marble company, and it needed another twist, perhaps a takeover of a contrasting company, to keep Loyal and the Marrowbone characters from fading from center stage in the second half of the book. However, you realise it is an epic when you finish it, and start forcing it into the hands of friends before you’ve even put it down. – SS
Jazz Covers From The 1940s–1980s Compiled by Joaquim Paulo Edited by Julius Wiedman Tashen Books, £40 It was my mother who introduced me to jazz. Unfortunately, the records she and my father danced to with friends are long gone. Paging through the two volumes and looking at the many album covers pictured brought back faded memories of sitting on the living room floor with my mother as she carefully arranged the records in their colourful covers. Albums were an important way for musicians to communicate with jazz lovers and the majority
originally appeared in vinyl and since then have been reissued on CD. Musician friends tell me the CDs never had the clarity or lucidity of the albums. Included are interviews with six legendary jazz performers like Bob Ciano and Creed Taylor to name two. A fascinating book that not only revived memories, but has me looking for CDs by these music legends from the past. – VS
Saving June by Hannah Harrington Published July 23, by Harlequin Teen Paperback and E-book, £6.99 Amidst her parents’ unamicable divorce, Harper Scott’s sister June, the perfect daughter, commits suicide just before her high school graduation. Harper is devastated and hurt, her life turned upside down as she seeks understanding and closure. Amongst her sister’s things, Harper discovers a mixtape of unfamiliar music and a postcard of California, where her sister had hoped to attend College before her parents’ split made it financially unviable. She finds the person who made the mixtape, Jake Tolan, a boy with an encyclopedic knowledge of music, and an attitude to match her own. When her parents split June’s ashes between them, Harper steals them and sets out with Jake and her friend Laney, intent on scattering them in the ocean in California, where her sister wanted to be. The music references work well, and if you’re not familiar with them, hopefully you’ll seek them out, as there is a great breadth of classics here, from ABBA to Led Zeppelin, via EmmyLou Harris, Leonard Cohen, Dr Dre and Coldplay. This book deals very sensitively with suicide, loss and grief from a
teenager’s point of view. The plot flows well, and is superbly written, a polished first book. A good summer read for teenage daughters. – SS
James McArdle as Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire PHOTO: MANUEL HARLAN
Taft 2012 By Jason Heller Published by Quirk Books Paperback, £9.99 Pitched as political satire, Taft 2012 is an enjoyable whimsy that projects former President William Howard Taft 100 years into his future, our present day. Despite author Jason Heller’s resume as a contributor to Weird Tales (or perhaps because of it), Heller doesn’t feel the need to explain fully Taft’s Rip Van Winklestyle return, and perhaps he doesn’t need to. The premise is enough to send us on a journey where Taft, denied his second term in the 19th century, is seized upon by those who believe he represents them – moderates, progressives, and conservatives – underlining how Taft might be all these things (and still a stalwart Republican) despite the difficulties of being so in the modern political landscape. This motley collection of supporters unilaterally launches a party of support with disparate axes to grind – a commentary on catch-all political alliances (Taft Party = Tea Party?). In this the book succeeds and amuses, but the brushstrokes of this novellette are broad. Choosing Taft as the time-shifted president is an inspired choice, knowing so little about him as most of us do; he lumbers around the book endearingly, like a 300lb moustachioed Pooh Bear, without ever delivering a knockout blow against the political status quo. Heller’s first novel is a playful curio to be enjoyed before the 2012 election, when you may just wish Taft was on the ballot. – RG
THEATER PREVIEWS Curtains
Chariots of Fire
Landor Theatre, London July 25 to September 1
Gielgud Theatre, London Booking to November 10
Curtains, a ‘backstage musical comedy whodunit’ is the latest, and indeed the final show from the piano and pen of John Kander and Fred Ebb (creators of Cabaret and Chicago), following the death of Ebb in 2004. The writer of the original book, Peter Stone, having also passed, Rupert Holmes is aboard as co-writer, and is no stranger to musical mystery, having also adapted Charles Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood, now on at the Arts Theatre (and reviewed on page 43). Given the show’s pedigree and the Landor’s compact size, book swiftly for this European premiere.
Edward Hall’s Chariots of Fire (prestigiously produced by veteran producers Hugh Hudson and Barbara Broccoli, amongst others) has now transferred to the Gielgud Theatre following its run at the Hampstead Theatre. Award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett’s new adaptation, inspired by Colin Welland’s original screenplay, is the extraordinary true story of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams and their part in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, with Miriam Buether’s stage design transforming the Gielgud Theatre into a stadium setting. A devout Scottish Christian (Jack Lowden as Eric Liddell) runs for the glory of God. The son of an immigrant Lithuanian Jew (James McArdle as Harold Abrahams) runs to overcome prejudice. As with the film, Vangelis’ Academy Award-winning score soars over proceedings, with additional live music and arrangements by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Carr. Assuming you’re not heading to the West End in an attempt to escape the 2012 incarnation of the Olympics, Chariots of Fire promises to be an uplifting theatrical option.
Regents Park Open Air Theatre, London to September 8 Against a backdrop of Regents Park, a massive Obama ‘Dare to Dream’ billboard, and a landslide of contemporary detritus, triple Olivier Award-winner Timothy Sheader adds a modern twist to Terrence McNally’s book and E.L. Doctorow’s novel. Ragtime music escapes from an old record player, and a father recalls the turn of the 20th century. Tales of immigrant hope and despair thus slide from the present to the past (the costumes shifting slowly with them). The venue (which will also support a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this summer) clearly sets this musical apart from others in London, but ultimately, the staging and the choreography must win through. To find out if they do, check out Jarlath O’Connell’s review at www.theamerican.co.uk and in next month’s magazine.
The Hurly Burly Show The Duchess Theatre, London July 2 to September 22 If you like your shows steamy but not crude, the best in burlesque is in town at the Duchess Theatre, after a successful run at the Garrick Theatre last year. The all-singing, all-dancing revue features established burlesque star Miss Polly Rae, with a soundtrack which plunders the back catalogue of Britney, Prince, Beyonce, Madonna, and, almost inevitably, Lady Gaga.
Torch Song Trilogy
Harold Pinter Theatre, London July 24 to September 9
Menier Chocolate Factory, London to August 12
Another returnee to the London stage, the latest manifestation of Eric Idle’s Monty Python musical lands at the Pinter this summer, with British comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Jon Culshaw playing King Arthur, depending on dates (Brigstocke opens and closes the run, with Culshaw donning the crown August 2 to September 2).
This 1983 Tony-winning comedydrama about an outsider’s search for love and acceptance was last seen in the West End in 1985, and this production boasts several Olivier award-winners, including David Bedella (Jerry Springer – The Opera) as central character and drag queen Arnold, Sara Kestelman (an Olivier award-winner as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret at the Donmar) as Arnold’s mother, while director Douglas Hodge won the 2009 Olivier and 2010 Tony as Albin in the Chocolate Factory production of La Cage aux Folles. Review next month and online.
Hair Piccadilly Theatre, London July 1 In aid of the Help For Heroes charity, Gary Lloyd’s sold-out European run of the once-controversial 1960s classic is in town for one night only, so book fast!
PHOTO: CATHERINE ASHMORE
Ragtime The Musical
PHOTO © JOHAN PERSSON
TheLION theWITCH and the
WARDROBE Kensington Gardens, London • Reviewed by Bella Burland Sully
PHOTOS: SIMON ANNAND
ow do you translate a story known and loved by generations of children, that depends on a total suspension of disbelief, to the stage? One way, as playing now in London, is to reinvent the stage itself – and how the cast use it – and locate it in a high-tech tent in the middle of one of London’s Royal Parks. Does it work? Who better to ask than a school student who was brought up on CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books (of which The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first) and is now studying Drama? How about it Bella?
“It worked brilliantly. The technical aspects, particularly the large central in-the-round stage, play an important part in this show. There are no sets or permanent features on the stage. Instead, characters fly in and out on wires, creating interesting physical levels within the performance, and arrive and depart through multiple entrances. The huge eponymous wardrobe rises and falls from the floor like Dr Who’s Tardis. Medical crutches were built into the costumes of some of the cast, playing Narnia’s talking animals, lending them an otherworldly, almost dystopic aspect. “Aslan, a giant, shire horsesized ‘War Horse’ puppet,
portrays importance, strength and authority – as well as the huge and caring heart – of the supernatural lion, who represents Jesus in the Christian analogy of the story. Beautiful and impressive, but I didn’t connect emotionally with Aslan as much as I did with the horses in War Horse. “The lighting was incredible, especially the projections onto the inside of the tent, above, around and behind the audience. There are ten tons of equipment in the tent. “Despite there being around 1,000 seats in the tent, wherever you sit the atmosphere is intimate. You feel the close relationships within the story, for example between the four siblings who become kings and queens of Narnia, or between the youngest, Lucy, and Mr Tumnus the faun. Above all, Narnia has to be magical. In this production, it is.”
Clare Dunne as Sharon and Will Adamsdale as Kenny PHOTO: CATHERINE ASHMORE
By Lisa D’Amour National Theatre, London SE1 Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
his new American play, first produced at Chicago’s famous Steppenwolf Theatre, marks an auspicious London debut for this young writer and builds on the strong links between the National Theatre and Steppenwolf, following the success of the great August: Osage County a few seasons ago. Set in the outer-ring suburb of any unnamed American city (the Detroit of the title is a state of mind) this vibrant black comedy, staged here with a British cast, is like a cross between Mike Leigh and Sam Shepard. A portrait of disillusion and displacement, it is leavened by D’Amour’s humour and great ear for dialogue. Two couples, forty-somethings Mary and Ben, and thirty-somethings Sharon and Kenny are new neighbours trying to get acquainted in their
adjoining back yards. Ben’s just been laid off from his bank job and with his severance money draining away he pretends to be building the website for his new financial business “helping people with their credit scores”. Wife Mary, who could be straight out of an Ayckbourn play, is a coiled spring of neurotic angst beautifully played by Justine Mitchell. She nags Ben (Stuart McQuarrie) about their clunky patio door and collapsing table parasol and tries to raise the tone by introducing fancy starters to their regular fare of barbecued meat ‘n potatoes. She’s a struggling paralegal, quietly hitting the bottle and with pipe dreams of escaping to a simple life in the woods. Sharon and Kenny, looking the worse for wear, are just out of Rehab and even after a few weeks their house still has no furniture, much to Sharon’s chagrin. The grungy couple are the classic outsiders who upset the equilibrium of the central protagonists but what D’Amour does so well here is to make them all fully rounded characters. Clare Dunne gives a wonderfully nuanced portrait of the jittery and slightly loopy Sharon, who is just about holding it together, and Will Adamsdale brings a tenderness
Stuart McQuarrie (Ben) and Justine Mitchell (Mary) PHOTO: CATHERINE ASHMORE
to the strung out and mellow Kenny. All four seem cast adrift, and not only because of the economic downturn which weighs heavily in the background. They each want to be the other. D’Amour follows a well trodden path in exploring the alienation of the suburbs and at least two characters bemoan today’s loss of neighbourliness. She seems to be saying that the suburbs’ promise of life in a bubble of cosy self-suﬃciency came at the cost of losing vital social contacts. A great strength of the piece is that D’Amour doesn’t judge her characters and it is only in a rather clunky eleventh hour coda to the piece that she loses her way, as she introduces Kenny’s relative. Central to the success of the piece is the direction of Austin Pendleton, a veteran of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and a distinguished actor/ director. He and designer Kevin Depinet deliver a stunning coup de théâtre for the climax (which I won’t spoil here) and manage to achieve naturalism but without the longueurs. The action culminates in an extended party scene, with some nimble rap moves, choreographed by Arthur Pita no less, and here our quartet finally let loose and we’re happy for them, if only for a while. Detroit is a timely, humane and touching piece, which introduces British audiences to a promising new voice in American theatre.
The Sunshine Boys
PHOTO © JOHAN PERSSON
By Neil Simon • Savoy Theatre, London WC2 • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
eil Simon, the comic master of Broadway, has rather gone out of fashion of late, at least on this side of the pond. Considered by some as being too pat with his one-liners at the expense of emotional or dramatic truth, this piece reminds us just what a great playwright he is. This production also marks the West End debut of Danny DeVito who came to fame in the classic U.S. sitcom Taxi and has since built a solid career in film not just as an actor/director but lately as a successful producer. Director Thea Sharrock has drawn a wonderfully nuanced performance from him and his great stage presence belies the fact that he hasn’t trod the boards in over 40 years. Audiences will be familiar with the piece from the 1975 hit movie in which George Burns won an Oscar for playing Al Lewis to Walter Matthau’s memorable comic turn as his rival Willie Clark. The story revolves around ageing Vaudevillians who worked as a duo for 43 years but haven’t spoken to each other in 11, being encouraged to reunite for one last time on a live
TV show about the history of comedy. The pair are set to exemplify the best of Vaudeville. The action of the play focuses on attempts by Willy’s talent agent nephew Ben (the excellent Adam Levy) to get the cantankerous duo first in the same room together and then hopefully in the studio recreating an old sketch. Their classic sketch “The doctor and the tax inspector” is Simon’s loving homage to Vaudeville and it could be straight out of a Marx Brothers movie. Needless to say it is not politically correct. Richard Griﬃths, a Tony winner for The History Boys (but for many forever Uncle Monty from the movie Withnail and I or Harry Potter’s vindictive Uncle Vernon) , plays the George Burns part. Sadly, he is miscast. Occasionally losing the accent, he is not a convincing match for the pugnacious DeVito when it comes to landing a comic line. It seems a pity too that the contrast between Griﬃths’ enormous girth and the pint-sized DeVito has to be ignored when it would certainly have been the comic underpinning of any double act. Sharrock, probably too young to
remember the original, brings a great freshness to the piece, something lacking in recent productions of Simon’s work in the West End. By slowing it down a touch and drawing out the more gentle humour of the piece, she unearths the humanity beneath the characters’ often brittle trade in oneliners. It’s as much a chronicle of the effects of ageing as it is about show business, and it’s all the better for that. Simon, who made his name writing gags for Sid Caesar’s live TV shows in the ’50s, produces a flow of great oneliners. Willie to Al: “They say your blood doesn’t circulate any more”. Al (in a raised voice): “My blood circulates. I’m not sayin’ everywhere, but it circulates”. The gags are of course the stock in trade of these two but Simon also uses humour to draw out the frailty and humanity of these two wayward seniors. These are lovingly crafted creations and the piece has great heart. Hildegard Bechtler’s set and costumes perfectly evoke the New York of the ’70s but it is to Sharrock’s credit that she has uncovered the heart beneath the gags.
WHAT BUTLER By Joe Orton • Vaudeville Theatre, WC2 • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
ean Foley, fresh from his great success directing The Ladykillers, returns with a revival of Orton’s last great play but it strikes a somewhat false note. Despite his great comic track record, including The Play What I Wrote and despite wooing top stand-up comic Omid Djalili to a West End acting debut, the mix doesn’t really gel. Set in the examining room of a private clinic, the rollicking farce unfolds from the moment the lecherous Dr Prentice (Tim McInnerny) attempts to seduce his prospective secretary (Georgia Moffett) by getting her to undress at her interview. When the haughty but amorous Mrs Prentice (Samantha Bond firing on all cylinders) interrupts them, the deceptions and evasions begin. She, in turn, is being seduced and blackmailed by a horny young bellboy (Nick Hendrix) to whom she promises the position of secretary
to her husband. Before long everyone seems to be in their underwear. Into this maelstrom comes Dr Rance (Djalili) who is on a government inspection of the clinic and madder than anyone he is investigating. Orton’s portrait of the power crazed clinician, spouting psychobabble, totally blind to what is in front of him and obsessed with absurd oﬃcialdom, is a glorious assault on the self absorption of the psychiatric profession, where every experience is just fodder for a case study. Orton structured his great plays as classic farces and while the ridiculous plot here could do justice to any boulevard comedy, Orton was intent on a more serious purpose. His anarchic sensibility sought to expose the hypocrisies of the time about sexual mores or the nature of sanity vs insanity. It was, after all, the period of RD Laing and his fashionable theories about ‘The Divided Self’. From the outset Orton’s language recalls Wilde with its reflective aphorisms. Characters frame Tim McInnerny and Samantha Bond as Dr and Mrs Prentice) PHOTO: SIMON ANNAND
Omid Djalili PHOTO: SIMON ANNAND
every discourse with a witty aside. The play exists on two levels, functioning both as a farce and comment on it at the same time, not an easy task for a director. For farce to work it has to be played for real but here there is the added component of the heightened language to deal with and this can stall the action. Here the beautifully cadenced sentences stuffed with antitheses and jewelled metaphors need to be given time to breathe and the tempo has to constantly alter. It’s a tall order but sadly in this case the wit is often lost in the frenzy and the play comes across as merely strident. In the supporting parts Moffett is confident and perky as the much put upon secretary and Jason Thorpe gives us a gloriously gymnastic turn as Sergeant Match. Orton loved poking fun at dim police oﬃcers and their oﬃcialese such as “I’m asking you to produce or cause to be produced…” The cast at times are at sea here and while experienced thesps such as Bond and McInnerny pull through (he gives Prentice just the right air of pomposity), those less so, such as Djalili or Hendrix, end up giving one-note performances. Djalili, famed as he put it for playing “Arab scumbags” in action movies, is a gloriously physical performer but his use of hissing is quite misplaced, as is the over indulgence in the whisky bottle by Dr and Mrs Prentice. All these are unnecessary embellishments to the script. There is no need to gild a lily.
Drood The Mystery of Edwin
By Rupert Holmes • Based on the novel by Charles Dickens • Arts Theatre, London WC2 Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
he Charles Dickens bi-centenary is the excuse (as if you need one) for this transfer of Rupert Holmes’ musical adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood to the West End. Unlike the novel, this “musical with dramatic interludes” is lively and upbeat and the story is told within the frame of a night at the music hall, which makes for a jolly romp indeed. A hit first at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in the summer of 1985, it transferred to Broadway where it nabbed five Tonys including Best Musical. Not seen much on this side of the pond since then, it was revived at the excellent Landor Theatre in Clapham by director Matthew Gould and it arrives in the West End, at the small Arts Theatre, for a limited run. It should of course be at Wilton’s Music Hall where the grimy East End setting would make it a perfect fit. There are even references to ten minutes’ walk to Aldgate station. Before Drood, Holmes was famous for Escape (the Pina Colada song) and now I’ve mentioned it, you’re singing it and you’re going to curse me forever. Holmes’ music is a joy and encompasses everything from gentle music hall pastiches to power ballads to a high-kickin’, knee-slappin’ number like Don’t Quit While You’re Ahead, which could be straight from the pen of Jerry Herman. Dickens, of course, died before finishing the novel and Holmes came up with the unusual idea of providing
alternate endings for each character who is suspected of the murder of Edwin Drood, and letting the audience vote on a different murderer each night. This clever device drives the audience participation element which begins as soon as you enter the auditorium and are handed a song sheet. Drood vanishes and we wonder is he dead and if so, who did him in? The eight suspects include John Jasper (Daniel Robinson), the jilted lover of his fiancée, the angry Neville (David Francis) who was humiliated by Drood, his protective and scheming sister Helena (Loula Geater) – even innocent young maiden, Rosa Budd (Victoria Farley), who mistook Drood for Jasper as he was wearing Jasper’s coat. Then there’s the gloriously named Princess Puffer who peddles opium and is played with great gusto by Wendi Peters of Coronation Street fame. Peters’ alter ego is
the perfectly upholstered Miss Angela Prysock, the star of the music hall, who delivers the raucous and suggestive number The Wages of Sin. Each actor in this excellent ensemble doubles as a character from Dickens’ novel and the Victorian music hall actor who portrays them, allowing us to have some wondrous musical diversions along the way. It’s all narrated, in the way of the old music hall, by The Chairman (Denis Delahunt) with his gavel. British viewers will recall TV’s The Good Old Days but sadly Delahunt hasn’t the comic finesse of the legendary Leonard Sachs from that show. The challenge with the show is to make the play within the play work while continuing the knowing wink to the audience and here they don’t get it quite right. Too much mugging means the audience lose engagement with the central story and this leaves it unbalanced. Gould’s direction does however lovingly recreate the Victorian music hall with its tableau, its grand entrances and each actor stepping out of character to take a flamboyant bow. Ben Rogers and James Henshaw’s flimsy designs and in particular their lighting perfectly evoke this world of limelight. H
Drood: Pick the perpetrator PHOTOS: CLAIRE BILYARD
Katrina: The Way Back Alison Holmes looks at how New Orleans is recovering from the floods, with music, fittingly, at its center
ew Orleans is an irrepressible city, haunted and haunting, its local traditions and seemingly peculiar customs are as exotic as they are welcoming, even to the outsider. I recently saw this first hand as I toured the city in the company of locals who clearly love both the place and the people they grew up alongside and plan to grow old with. I had not been to New Orleans for many years and ached, albeit for very different reasons, as they pointed out both the damage and the regrowth – the ongoing story of ‘that storm’. With the Summer upon us, we are reminded that the Atlantic hurricane season is here. For most, this is a little-noticed event. Unlike even obscure holidays in foreign places such as Canadian Thanksgiving or Father’s Day in Australia, the start of hurricane season is not generally marked on wall calendars. Most lives are not overly troubled by the skywatching that takes place across the southern half of the United States. Unless you regularly span the Mississippi or the Canals that crisscross areas of uneven redevelopment,
the more likely source of this kind of information is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Every year about this time, they offer a prediction as to the number of named storms that might be heading our way. For the record, the 2012 season looks to be slightly below average with ten named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes with wind speeds over 110 miles an hour. Such information carries little comfort in the growing number of new restaurants and bars of the city where they will tell you it’s not the number of storms in any given season you need to worry about, but the location of landfall and its aftermath. This coming August will mark the 7th anniversary of Katrina, the sixth strongest hurricane in United States history with winds marked at 175 mph. It was one of the five deadliest, killing at least 1,500 people, and the most costly with an estimated $81 billion in damage. However the real story of Katrina, at least for the city of New Orleans, was the utter collapse of the levee system surrounding the
city. When the storm made landfall in southeastern Louisiana on August 29, 2005 it wrought havoc in a broad swathe across the Gulf Coast, but it was the subsequent surge that led to the 536 breaches in the levees that were supposed to protect the city. As a result, 80% of New Orleans was underwater, in some places up to 15 feet, and nowhere harder hit than the Ninth Ward. The Upper and Lower Ninth Ward, bordered by the Mississippi, Lake Pontchartrain and former swampland, divided by the Industrial Canal, and 4 feet below sea level, were no strangers to storm and flood damage. Predominantly black and generally low income, the Lower Ninth also represented the area of highest black home ownership before Katrina, creating a series of its own challenges for regeneration. During the course of the storm, the Lower Ninth made national headlines primarily because of the simultaneous breaches that created not only rising water, but currents that literally lifted houses off their foundations and swept buildings, cars, boats and barges along, smashing them into each other and into other buildings. Anything left standing was again flooded by Hurricane Rita a month later.
Today, the population of this area is down by 85%. There are no stores, even for the basics; it remains littered with abandoned and boarded houses, empty lots returning to wild fields and a host of dump sites for, judging by the debris, contractors, auto repair shops and householders, a refuge to many now feral household pets. If this were the end of the story it would be a tragedy, but New Orleans is simply not that kind of place. Slowly but surely the city has begun a process of organic regeneration made up of self-help and sweat equity as well as outside support and old fashioned networking. Brad Pitt, who filmed Interview with the Vampire in the old Jackson Barracks in the Lower Ninth, founded Make it Right in 2007. He committed to build 150 energy efficient homes designed through a competition of award-winning architects. Last March Pitts brought talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, to the area to show her the progress being made: www. nola.com/katrina/index.ssf/2012/03/ make_it_right_at_a_crossroads.html The issue of home ownership, usually considered a good thing, has meant something altogether more complicated post-Katrina. With all documents destroyed, proving title, a tradition of shared family holdings and a lack of capital has meant many places falling further into disrepair or being effectively taken over by the city to ensure safety and progress. This is where organisations such as Build Now, a local non-profit builder, and Common Ground Relief, a grass roots organization, stepped in to help residents reclaim their own houses or prepare to build anew. However, it is in the Upper Ninth that the more remarkable story waiting to be told. Habitat for Humanity along with musicians Branford
Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr have created a Musician’s Village with 72 single-family homes and duplex units destined for displaced musicians. The centerpiece of the community is the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music (named for Branford's father) that will provide performance, recording, teaching and practice space as well as opportunities for students to learn from the best of the city’s musical tradition. My recent trip was part of the planning for a British American Project conference taking place in New Orleans in November. An organization that occasionally makes headlines from conspiracy-loving parts of the journalism fraternity, BAP, as it is known, might be more accurately considered a ‘low-tech’ or ‘no tech’, version of Facebook. No techie (I prefer to have friends I speak to in person and to have a higher standard for a ‘BFF’ than a common preference for latte), I have been a fellow of the British American Project since 1996. It exists to create an annual conference alternating between the U.S. and UK and to invite a new transatlantic ‘class’ of ‘delegates’ consisting of young leaders, nominated by those who have gone before. The group is run by a volunteer executive and supported by part-time staff. It has, and will continue to change as befits the times. However, like the city we will visit in November, BAPers will remain eclectic, creative and as unruly as they are engaging, and engaged in the world around them. Organisations, like cities, are what people make of them. Long may they both thrive. H
The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music © NEW ORLEANS HABITAT MUSICIANS’ VILLAGE, INC. PHOTO BY MICHELE JEAN-PIERRE, EMCM
Violin Recital at EMCM © NEW ORLEANS HABITAT MUSICIANS’ VILLAGE, INC. PHOTO BY DARYL DICKERSON
The Piano Lab at the The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music © NEW ORLEANS HABITAT MUSICIANS’ VILLAGE, INC PHOTO BY MICHELE JEAN-PIERRE
Musicians Village homes © NEW ORLEANS HABITAT MUSICIANS’ VILLAGE, INC PHOTO BY SCOTT LANDIS
Alison Holmes was nominated to the British American Project in 1996; UK Executive 1997-2001, UK Chair: 19992001; US Executive 2010 – present.
US ELECTION 2012 Watch the electors, not the horse race, writes MORI founder and renowned political analyst Sir Robert Worcester
e’re pretty well through with the popularity contests which, in the United States, are called primary elections. Mitt Romney was effectively the Republican nominee once the Texas votes were counted and he passed the magic 1,414 delegates pledged to vote for him at the Republican Convention on August 28. And there was never any doubt who would be the Democrat candidate: Barack Obama, seeking his second four years in the White House. The current tracking polls, known in the trade as the ‘horse race’, show the
Toss Up States
two candidates neck and neck. Gallup in the month of May, with an aggregate sample size of 9,424 registered voters across the country, gave Obama 46% and Romney 46%. And April’s 11,141 interviews? 46%/46%. Stasis. Rasmussen’s tracker early in June shows statistically the same, Romney 46%, Obama 45%. But in America, the popularity contest of the national vote doesn’t elect the President. Electors, unknown to those voting for them in November, assemble in their state capitols and vote as instructed, to elect the Presi-
dent of the United States of America. I know, I was an elector once (my candidate however didn’t win in my state, so I never got to cast my elector’s ballot). The state of play when counting electors, rather than people, is by no means level pegging. It takes 270 electoral votes to win, and at the time of writing, early June, there are a likely 237 electoral votes ‘in the bag’ for Obama (88%) of the 270 for re-election, 170 for Romney (63%), so as things stand, an easy win for Obama? Not necessarily. For it all hinges on how the ‘toss up’
American Presidential Election Comparisons: 2004, 2008, Latest Polls 2012 2004 Election Result
2008 Election Result
R. Lead McCain Obama R. Lead
2012 State Polling Swing Romney Obama R. Lead
Your Vote Counts. Get It. Use it.
What's the mood in Motown? The State of Michigan, where Mitt Romney's father was once Governor, isn't a 'toss up' state, but could it see some red-shift?
states break on election day. Their total number of delegates add up to 131. As Obama has the solid support of 161 delegates already, and 76 ‘leaning’ to him, he theoretically needs only another 33 delegates to win. In other words, if he wins in Florida, the state’s 29 electoral votes go to him, and he only needs New Hampshire’s four delegate votes to win his second term. BUT... if Obama should lose in Pennsylvania, now leaning towards voting for him – say if he dumped his vice president whose home state is Pennsylvania (he won’t) – its 20 electoral votes could swing 20 to Romney giving him 190 delegates, while removing 20 from Obama’s total total of 237, bringing his total down to 207, the current Obama lead of 67 would shift to just 27. And say if Michigan’s 16 delegate votes were to go for Romney, where his father was Governor, and all the other states stayed as they are now, Romney would win. But odds are it’s still for Obama to lose it. As I said in May, “turnout is the key”. If the 23% of likely voters who say they would never vote for a Mormon were to stay home, it could be a Demo-
cratic landslide instead of a narrow Obama win. The table opposite shows the state of play in the so-called ‘toss up’ states, those where state-wide polling shows that the current situation is ‘too close to call’. To help analyse the state of public opinion in these key marginal states I have employed the British system of ‘Swing Analysis’, which enables those who wish to understand and compare what is happening where, to make comparisons of how the two key candidates are doing. Between the 2008 and 2012 elections in these ‘toss up’ states, the Democrat lead of four percentage points, 51% to 47%, went to a two point lead in recent polls, a ‘swing’ of 1%, 1 person in 100 having moved from supporting the Democratic candidate to now supporting the Republican for the Presidency. Perhaps the beginning of a trend? Next month, I’ll be looking in detail at the demographics of the American electorate. H Sir Robert Worcester is the Founder of MORI. Follow him for updates on Twitter: @RobertWorcester.
PHOTO: GAGE SKIDMORE
hoever you ask in the political firmament, from incumbent to challenger, Democrat to Republican, they all say that it's vital that Americans should register to vote, and then exercise that right. After all, if you don't, how can you complain about how any administration treats its citizens – whether they live in the States or abroad? To find out how, and then act on that knowledge, you can go to www.fvap.gov, the website of the Federal Voting Assistance Program. FVAP has information on all national and state elections, with full advice for both military personnel and civilians, on how to participate. Democrats Abroad also run a program encouraging all U.S. citizens living abroad to vote, whatever their political persuasion. A very visible part of their campaign is the Democrats Abroad Road Trip, a coach that is traveling through Europe spreading the word. It left Munich June 9 and is driving through 22 locations before ending up in London July 14. Check their website, www.DemocratsAbroadRoadTrip.org, for details of when and where you can visit the coach.
SLOGAN & POSTER BY APRIL BITLER, US AIR FORCE. COURTESY OF FVAP
n April next year Joy Rainey plans to drive coast to coast across the USA. It’s been done before – but not in a 109 year old car. To be precise, an Oldsmobile Curved Dash horseless carriage. Joy is making the epic journey to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. She is better known for piloting faster cars and has raced in speed hill-climbing events and long-distance rallies throughout the UK for many years, solo and with her partner and co-driver Trevor Hulks. The Coast to Coast adventure, from LA to Daytona Beach, a distance of 2,826 miles, was to be the couple’s most challenging, but sadly in 2010 Trevor was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. “A few months after Trevor’s untimely death I was contacted by Gary Hoonsbeen of the CDO Club in the USA who gently suggested that I might consider undertaking the trip myself as a tribute to Trevor. My reply was ‘I never say never’, but in my heart then, I did not think that I could take on such a challenging trip
LA to FLA... by 109 year old car without my soul-mate,” Joy says. Now after considerable soul searching and encouragement from friends and family, she has decided that it feels like unfinished business. On April 14th, 2013, Joy will set off from Los Angeles. The route map will take her across the continent, to arrive at Daytona Beach on May 15th. Why this trip, and why this car? Joy explains, “When Trevor and I initially planned the challenge we were going to re-enact the 1903 crossing by Whitman and Hammond in a similar Oldsmobile. Their epic journey lasted 74 days and it was the third vehicle to successfully cross the USA from San Francisco to New York. It was a great achievement, especially as the roads were just tracks used by wagons, mainly bringing new immigrants moving west to start new lives. The route that Whitman and Hammond used is now mostly motorways and quite unsuitable to drive a 109 year old motor vehicle! Therefore I had a dilemma on what route to take. However out of the blue I received an Joy Rainey in her Oldsmobile – can you help her fund-raising adventure?
invitation from the City of Oldsmar, in Florida asking whether I would like to pay a visit, which I graciously accepted. It will now be my final destination”. The City of Oldsmar was founded in 1913 by Ransom E Olds, the creator of the Olds Motor Works, manufacturers of Oldsmobile vehicles. It seemed only appropriate to plan a new route, on mostly minor roads, coast to coast, from Los Angeles to Daytona Beach, then on to Oldsmar. The City is now planning a big motoring and welcome event to greet Joy when she arrives on May 16th. Unlike a modern automobile, Joy’s 1904 Oldsmobile is built high like a horse carriage and the driver and passengers sit on, not in, it, with no protection from the elements. Joy will endure a huge range of conditions, from 6,500 ft high mountains to blisteringly hot deserts, all at a top speed of just 20 to 25mph. Joy aims to raise £20,000 for Cancer Research. To find out more, visit www. joy-across-america.com. You can sponsor Joy on www.justgiving.com/ JoyRainey1812 and see her driving the Oldsmobile at the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
Carroll Shelby Dies Aged 89 C
arroll Shelby, known by aficionados of American muscle cars around the globe as the man who gave us the AC Cobra, died on May 10, 2012, aged 89 in Dallas, Texas. Born in Leesburg, Texas, Shelby was the son of a postmaster. The family soon moved to Dallas. Diagnosed with a heart murmur at the age of 10, Shelby had medical problems all his life, but overcame them. He served as a flight instructor with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II then worked as a truck mechanic, before an unsuccessful venture in chicken farming. He had a heart transplant in 1990 and a kidney transplant in 1996. Known as an engineer and car developer, it should not be forgotten that Shelby was also a successful racing driver until his heart condition brought an end to that part of his career. He won many races including the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour sports car race in an Aston Martin, sharing the honors with the British driver Roy Salvadori, and competed in eight Formula One races.
Shelby with the Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept PHOTO COURTESY OF FORD
Turning to car development, Shelby took the pretty, but relatively small-engined British AC Ace sports car and gave it a new lease of life by the simple expedient of removing the engine and installing a large Ford V8 plant. The newly named AC Cobra (subsequently the Shelby Cobra) was the fastest production car made upon its launch in 1962, the first of the ‘muscle cars’. Shelby went on to develop the Cobra with larger engines and more speed, then high-performance Mustangs for Ford. In 1970 he stopped working with Ford, moving on to create special Chrysler and General Motors vehicles including the Dodge Viper. He teamed up with Ford again in 2003 and Shelby American Inc. still sells modified Ford vehicles and performance parts. Mr Shelby married his first wife, Jeanne, in 1943 and they had three children. They divorced in 1960. He is survived by his second wife, Cleo, from whom he was separated, and three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Motorexpo, the free motor show based in the public spaces around Canary Wharf, London’s financial district, claims to be the UK’s largest motoring event. It has a point, with 425,000 visitors who come out of their ivory towers – and from further afield – to view over 250 cars on display. Over the last decade it has become an effective way for manufacturers to attract many of the people they really want to reach, the city guys and gals who buy new cars. Each year there are a number of vehicles making their UK debut. Among them this year were Jaguar’s XF Sportbrake premium estate, a great addition to the firm’s range and the all-new BMW 6-Series Gran Coupé. Also seen for the first time at a UK motor show were MercedesBenz’s new A-Class compact car and the second-generation Kia cee’d family car hatchback, which looks very promising. Exhibitors included Aston Martin, Bentley, Chrysler, Jeep, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Nissan, Rolls-Royce, Tesla, Vauxhall and Volvo and many of the cars on show could be driven around the Canary Wharf estate. If you don’t work there, it’s worth planning to go to Canary Wharf next year, June 10-16, 2013. H
The American + + WHAT + WHEN + WHERE + + Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals were more than the whole of France managed in 2008, but in what he has hinted may be his swansong, Phelps may be upstaged by fellow American Ryan Lochte, who left Phelps in his wake during the 2011 World Aquatics Championships. With that event as a guide to form, the Swimming should be a tight tussle between the USA and Sun Yang-led China. The USA will also hope to convert two Beijing silvers in Water Polo into London gold.
Swimming Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, Jul 28-Aug 4 Marathons, at Hyde Park, Aug 9-10 Women’s & Men’s Freestyle (50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 1500m), Butterfly (100m, 200m), Breaststroke (100m, 200m), Backstroke (100m, 200m), Individual Medley (200m, 400m), Freestyle Relay (4x100m, 4x200m), Medley Relay (4 x100m), 10k Marathon.
Synchronised Swimming Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park. Duets Aug 5-7, Teams Aug 9-10
Diving Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, Jul 29-Aug 11 Synchronised 3m Springboard (Women’s Jul 29, Men’s Aug 1), Synchronised 10m Platform (Men’s Jul 30, Women’s Jul 31), 3m Springboard (Women’s Aug 3-5, Men’s Aug 6-7), 10m Platform (Women’s Aug 8-9, Men’s Aug 10-11)
Water Polo Water Polo Arena, Olympic Park Men Jul 29-Aug 12, Women Jul 30-Aug 9
Preview by Richard L Gale
All photos courtesy London 2012
or casual Stateside Olympics fans – those who only watch Athletics once every four years – the Olympics may boil down to three things: the track, the pool, and basketball. If the USA is to retain its place atop the medal table – a position it has held since Atlanta 1996 – the majority of those medals will come from Athletics and Swimming. As for Basketball, anything less than gold is unthinkable, though Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio and Co. may have something to say under the Spanish banner. If anything, the USA Women may be more dominant than the Men. Regardless of fan nationality, USA Basketball is clearly THE ticket of these Olympics. The other marquee events are, of course, the sprint events on track, where the USA’s command was shattered in Beijing by the rise of Jamaica and the phenomenon that is Usain Bolt. Nonetheless, the USA is poised with Walter Dix, LaShawn Merritt, plus 2011 110m Hurdles World Champ Jason Richardson, and perhaps even former Florida Gator Jeff Demps for the Men, and Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix, and 2011 400m hurdles World Champ Lashinda Demus for the Women. The USA men will also hope to repeat a good showing at the 2011 Championships in Field events, where they claimed gold in the High Jump,
Long Jump, Triple Jump and Decathlon. Russian women and German men, true to stereotype, are the key Field rivals. Chinese domination of Olympic gold (51 to USA’s 36) could be in remission away from Beijing, and the language advantage of USA athletes already speaking English can’t be underestimated when it comes to settling in to the Olympic maelstrom. Still, it could be the final day (or, with doping scandals, beyond) before any nation claims the medal table.
Athletics The Olympic Stadium (except 20km and 50km Walks, Marathons - see page 54), Aug 3-12 Men’s & Womens 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m, Marathon, 4 x 100m Relay, 4 x 400m Relay, 110m (Women’s 100m) Hurdles, 400m Hurdles, 3000m Steeplechase Men’s 20km Walk/Women’s 20km Walk/Men’s 50km Walk Men’s & Women’s Shot Put, Discus, Javelin, Hammer, Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump, Pole Vault, Men’s Decathlon, Women’s Heptathlon
Handball Copper Box, Olympic Park Women Jul 28-Aug 11, Men Jul 29-Aug 12
Hockey Riverbank Arena, Olympic Park Dates: Women Jul 29-Aug 10, Men Jul 30-Aug 11
Basketball The Basketball Arena Women Jul 28-Aug 11, Men Jul 29-Aug 12
Counting Athletics as just one sport with many disciplines (as the IOC does) means the Olympic venue with the most sports is one of its least famous. The ExCeL (Exhibition Centre London, E16 1XL) is located in Docklands and after beginning with Weightlifting, plays host to the Summer Olympics’ more combative sports, plus Table Tennis (not normally a contact sport unless things get curiously heated, but as with Judo and Taekwondo, expect Asian nations to feature prominently). Fencing was a USA strength in Beijing, with a medal sweep of Women’s Sabre.
ExCeL, Jul 28-Aug 7
ExCeL, Men’s Jul 28-Aug 12, Women’s Aug 5-9
Men’s 56kg, 62kg, 69kg, 77kg, 85kg, 94kg, 105kg, +105kg Women’s 48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, +75kg
Men: Light Fly (49kg); Fly (52kg); Bantam (56kg); Light (60kg); Light Welter (64kg); Welter (69kg); Middle (75kg); Light Heavy (81kg); Men’s Heavy (91kg); Super Heavy (+91kg) Women: Fly (51kg); Light (60kg); Middle (75kg)
Table Tennis ExCeL, Singles Jul 28-Aug 2, Team Aug 3-8
Fencing ExCeL, Jul 28-Aug 5 Men’s and Women’s Foil, Epee and Sabre, Men’s and Women’s Team Foil, Team Epee
Two other exhibition venues – Earls Court and Wembley Arena – have also been pressed into action for the Olympics. As with Beach variant, the USA and Brazil will likely contest the Volleyball.
Judo ExCeL, Jul 28-Aug 3 Men’s -60kg. -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg Women’s -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg, -78kg, +78kg
Wrestling ExCeL, Dates: Aug 5-12
Earls Court, London SW5, Jul 28-Aug 12
Men’s Greco-Roman 55kg, 60kg, 66kg, 74kg, 84kg, 96kg, 120kg Men’s Freestyle 55kg, 60kg, 66kg, 74kg, 84kg, 96kg, 120kg Women’s 48kg, 55kg, 63kg, 72kg
Wembley Arena, London HA9, Jul 28-Aug 5
ExCeL, Aug 8-11
Rhythmic Gymnastics Wembley Arena, London HA9, Aug 9-12
Men’s -58kg, -68kg, -80kg, +80kg Women’s -49kg, -57kg, -67kg, +67kg
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is home to the Meridian Line (0° longitude), the Greenwich Observatory, the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark. This Summer, Greenwich Park, the North Greenwich Arena (née Millennium Dome) and nearby Royal Military Barracks play host to Gymnastics, Equestrian, and Shooting (momentarily exempt from strict British gun laws). With the age of China’s gymnasts likely to be scrutinized hard, Team USA could be headed for more gold than ’08.
Artistic Gymnastics North Greenwich Arena (née Millennium Dome) Qualifications Jul 28-29. Men’s & Women’s Team (Jul 30, 31), Men’s & Women’s All-Around (Aug 1, 2), Men’s & Women’s Floor (Aug 5, 7), Men’s & Women’s Vault (Aug 6, 5), Men’s Pommel Horse (Aug 5), Men’s Rings (Aug 6), Women’s Uneven Bars (Aug 6), Men’s Parallel Bars (Aug 7), Men’s Horizontal Bar (Aug 7), Women’s Beam (Aug 7).
Trampoline North Greenwich Arena, Dates: Aug 3-4
Equestrian Greenwich Park, Dates: Jul 28-Aug 9 Individual and Team Dressage, Jumping, and Eventing.
Shooting The Royal Artillery Barracks, Jul 28-Aug 6 Men’s & Women’s 10m Air Rifle,50m Rifle 3 Positions,10m Air Pistol,Trap,Skeet; Men’s 50m Rifle Prone,50m Pistol,25m Rapid Fire Pistol,Double Trap; Women’s 25m Pistol.
Modern Pentathlon Men Aug 11, Women Aug 12 Fencing at the Copper Box, 200m Swim at the Aquatics Centre, Show Jumping at Greenwich Park, and combined 3km Run and Shooting, also at Greenwich Park.
Even if you don’t have tickets, if you’re seeing the sights of London during the Olympics you’re probably within earshot of an event, from Hyde Park to Horse Guard’s Parade. Sections of the Marathon course are free to watch during the events. Team USA claimed gold medals in Men’s and Women’s Beach Volleyball in Beijing and should repeat.
Beach Volleyball Horse Guard’s Parade, Jul 28-Aug 9
This may be ‘London 2012’ but action outside the British capital includes football (soccer) in Scotland and Wales, Road Cycling from London to Surrey and back, Mountain Bikes in Essex, Rowing at Eton (Buckinghamshire), and Sailing in Dorset. In fact, Team USA’s first fixture isn’t even in London, but in Glasgow, July 25, when the USA Women’s football team (defending Olympic Champions) play France. Many of the following events are where the host nation will hope to swell their medal count – Great Britain was an impressive fourth in China – with an outstanding showing in Rowing and Cycling in recent Olympics. “Britannia rules the waves” goes the song, and it’ll probably be true, yet Britannia’s offspring, including Australia New Zealand, and perhaps even the USA will be giving the motherland some close competition.
Lord’s Cricket Ground. July 27-Aug 3
Weymouth & Portland, Dorset, Jul 29-Aug 11 (medals from Aug 5)
Marathon and Walks
Men’s Finn, Laser, 470, Star, 49er, RS-X Women’s 470, Elliott 6m, RS-X, Laser Radial
The Mall. Men’s 20km Walk, Aug 4. Women’s Marathon Aug 5. Men’s 50km Walk / Women’s 20km Walk, Aug 11. Men’s Marathon Aug 12.
The Mall is the start/finish line for the Walks, with a 2km loop up The Mall to the Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace, then up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner and back. The Mall is also the start/finish line for the Marathon, which begins with a 2.2 mile loop past the Houses of Parliament, then back to The Mall past Buckingham Palace; then the riverside again, before heading east past the City of London and Tower of London, for an 8-mile loop that is repeated three times..
Triathlon & 10km Swim Marathons Hyde Park. Triathlons: Women Aug 4, Men Aug 7 10km Swimming Marathons: Women Aug 9, Men Aug 10. The Men’s and Women’s Triathlons begin with the Swim around the Serpentine at Hyde Park, followed by a 7-lap cycling course that takes them down Constitution Hill for a loop around the Victoria Monument outside Buckingham Palace, and finally a 4-lap run around the path around the Serpentine.
Cycling – Road: Men’s & Women’s Time Trials (at Hampton Court Palace) and Road Races (Box Hill, Surrey), Jul 28, 29, and Aug 1 Cycling – Track: Men’s & Women’s Sprint, Keirin, Omnium, Team Sprint and Team Pursuit, Velodrome, Olympic Park, Aug 2-7 BMX (Men’s & Women’s): BMX Track next to the Velodrome, Olympic Park, Aug 8-10
Rowing Eton Dorney, Buckinghamshire, Jul 28-Aug 4 Men’s & Women’s Single Sculls, Pair, Double Sculls, Quadruple Sculls, Eight, Lightweight Double Sculls, plus Men’s Four and Men’s Lightweight Four
Canoe Sprint Eton Dorney, Buckinghamshire, Aug 6-11 Men’s Kayak: Single and Double, 200m and 1000m, plus Four 1000m. Men’s Canoe: Single 200m, Single1000m, and Double 1000m. Women’s Kayak Single 200m, 500m, Double 500m, and Four 500m.
Canoe Slalom Lee Valley White Water Centre, Herts, Jul 29-Aug 2 Men’s Kayak, Men’s Canoe Single, Men’s Canoe Double, Women’s Kayak
Football City of Coventry Stadium, Hampden Park (Glasgow), Millennium Stadium (Cardiff ), Old Trafford (Manchester), St James’ Park (Newcastle), Wembley Stadium (London). Women Jul 25-Aug 9, Men Jul 26-Aug 11
Tennis Wimbledon, London SW19, Jul 28-Aug 5
Home glory for Murray? The last hoorah for the Williams Sisters? The Bryan brothers reclaim their rightful places? The Men’s Singles has a tradition of unpredictability, so don’t rule out John Isner or 2004 silver medallist Mardy Fish.
Richard L Gale bemoans the missed opportunity of ‘The 93% Olympics’
As commuters and regular visitors know, getting around in the British capital can be a challenge on a regular day, let along during the Olympics. The travel infrastructure was the IOC’s biggest knock on London when it considered the 2012 bid. Organisers have expressed confidence that all will be well. So that’s all good, then. However, just in case the Olympic Flame’s 70-day trek before reaching the Olympic Stadium becomes an eerie foreshadowing of the spectatorial experience, do visit www.getaheadofthegames.com The site includes advice on transport changes around London on specific days, the Olympic Route Network (helping athletes and oﬃcials
get around), and how much you can expect to pay if you put your car in the wrong place at the wrong time (this could be a great time to take up cycling). As the site says, ‘Walking may be the quickest way to get around during the Games’. A Spectator Journey Planner is also available (a sample calculation from mid-Surrey to the Basketball Arena suggested a little over 2 hours, which I feel may be a little optimistic). If you have a ticket for an Olympic event in London, note that you should receive a free Games Travelcard covering public Transport in Zones 1-9 on the day of your event. 9
As this map of London and the South East illustrates, events and venues are scattered far and wide 1
4 2 5
1. Olympic Park 2. ExCeL 3. Royal Artillery Barracks 4. North Greenwich Arena 5. Greenwich Park 6. Lord’s Cricket Ground 7. Earls Court 8. Hyde Park / The Mall 9. Lee Valley White Water 10. Wimbledon 11. Hampton Court Palace 12. Eton Dorney 13. Box Hill, Surrey 14. Wembley Stadium/Arena 15. Hadleigh Farm, Essex
n 2005, just two days after a London 2012 bid including softball and baseball had been chosen by the International Olympic Committee, the IOC voted to drop both sports. Now, if I was a conspiracy theorist, I might smell anti-Americanism, or observe the sudden convenience for a bidding nation with no diamond suitable for a major event (and thanks to the IOC decision, unlikely ever to add one). But I really couldn’t comment. With MLB in full swing in Summer, its not like the USA would send its best anyway, but ejecting softball seemed a little like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What irks me is the missed opportunity to replace baseball and softball with anything. After several Olympics of 28 sports, London has just 26. Welcome to 93% of an Olympics. At Rio 2016 we’ll have rugby and golf... but not here in the birthplace of rugby and golf. So no rugby at Twickenham, no golf at St Andrews. Are you telling me those events couldn’t have been arranged as late replacements? It’s like selecting Dallas 2024, and then standing next to Cowboys Stadium to announce that gridiron football will be adopted for Bangkok 2028. So here we go – an Olympics in Britain without rugby, golf... or even cricket. And certainly no baseball or softball (even if those sports may have had their roots in Surrey). But then again it’s not as if the Brits ever cared about Baseball anyway, right? Well, about that... (See overleaf)
Diamond came to Britain
lthough baseball can trace its history to British games such as rounders, cricket and ball-and-trap, the game in its American form came to Britain in 1874, with a visit from the world-touring Boston Red Stockings and Philadelphia Athletics. Two years later, domestic clubs sprang up in the Leicester area, but faded from the record just as quickly, and it was not until 1890 that the first structured domestic baseball competition was organised in the form of a four-team national professional circuit, won by a team run as part of the famous Aston Villa Football Club. This pro league had been enabled by the financial backing of sports equipment mogul AG Spalding, who had taken a second world tour to Britain in 1889 and had his eyes on global expansion. However, the importance of a baseball coaching programme provided by American collegians in the summer of 1889 should not be underestimated. Sir Francis Ley, the first 19th century inductee in the British Baseball Hall of Fame (BBHoF), independently funded a team from Derby in the professional league, building them a genuine diamond with all the trimmings, and later supported the Derby amateur team, which claimed three national titles in the 1890s. Competition in the first half of the 20th century was sporadic. A London league ran between 1906 and 1911. After that, baseball operations were limited for the next two decades, excluding further visits from Major
Today, almost 60 adult baseball teams compete in British Baseball Federation leagues, while more than 600 softball teams play in British leagues and tournaments. Bob Fromer looks at the history of both sports in this country.
League touring parties in 1914 and 1924 and a peak of activity linked to the North American military and naval presence during World War I. One notable domestic exception was the thriving local baseball programme run in Chipping Norton by Fred Lewis, another BBHoF inductee. A dramatic ramping-up of British baseball came with the financial backing of Sir John Moores, beginning in 1933. Within a few years three regional pro leagues were being run, and games were drawing large crowds, including an 11,000 gate at the 1937 national final. Sir John also supported a Test Series between England and the US Olympic team in 1938, which the home team won 4–1, thanks in large part to two shut-outs pitched by Ross Kendrick. Decades later, the series was designated as the first World Cup by the International Baseball Federation. In 1938, Kendrick was also involved in what was arguably the greatest game ever played in Britain. As a member of the Oldham Greyhounds, he wound up on the losing end of a 1–0 national final in which he struck out 20 in a 15-inning complete game. Sir John and Kendrick were both enshrined in the inaugural BBHoF entry. World War II brought a sudden end to the booming domestic structure. Although the game has gone through oscillations of popularity since then, it has never reached the level that it attained in the 1930s. But the game has been slowly growing over the past few years and today almost 60
adult amateur teams compete in British Baseball Federation leagues. The current national champions are the Harlow Nationals. Internationally, British baseball has also been punching above its weight, with a second-place finish in European Championships in 2007, a first appearance since 1938 in the Baseball World Cup in 2009 and an invitation to take part in qualifiers later this year for MLB’s 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Softball has had a rather shorter history in the UK than baseball. In the late 1950s, a group of ex-pat Americans, many involved in the film industry, started a Sunday morning men’s slowpitch pick-up game in Hyde Park, London. This game still goes on to the present day, but it was a fairly exclusive affair. So in 1972, two more Americans, Bob Fromer and Chris Rohmann, started a rival Sunday pick-up game in Regents Park. The concept was the direct opposite of the Hyde Park game, a game open to everyone. It wasn’t long before British players – including women and kids – were taking part. And softball – the slowpitch variety – began to spread in London. By 1984, there were enough players in Regents Park, and enough teams springing up around the capital, to need some organisation. So at a meeting brokered by the British Baseball Federation, some of the leading lights among the softball teams got together and the South of England Softball
Association (SESA) was born, along with men’s and women’s slowpitch leagues. Don Porter, then as now President of the International Softball Federation, was quick to help the new organisation get off the ground, visiting London to lend his support and organising a tour to Britain by a TWA All-Star Team that played both slowpitch and fastpitch against local teams (fastpitch had been played since the 1970s in the Midlands, primarily by teams from US military bases). In 1985, Britain saw its first international fastpitch softball, with the World Games, a kind of “Olympics for nonOlympic sports”, staged in London. Still in its pre-Olympic days, softball was part of the World Games, and five countries – the USA, Taiwan, Japan, Holland and Belgium – sent women’s fastpitch teams to battle for the title. It remains US legend Dot Richardson’s first and last appearance on British soil. But the major growth in British softball wasn’t in women’s fastpitch or single-sex slowpitch: it came in co-ed slowpitch. Suddenly, from the mid1980s to the early 1990s, the game took off in London, with hundreds of co-ed slowpitch teams, mainly corporate-based, being formed. Softball was suddenly fashionable in the capital, and leagues sprang up in many professional industries: advertising, publishing, real estate, design, banking, the charity sector and the law. Similar leagues took off in major cities around the country. To cope with all this required rather more in the way of governance, and so both a National and a London Softball Federation came into being. The British Softball Federation has grown and developed over the years, receiving its first government funding in 1996, and working since then to develop fastpitch softball for women and men alongside co-ed slowpitch,
Right: Victorian-era champions, Aston Villa Baseball Team
with structures in place for youth and technical development. With most of Europe dominated by women’s fastpitch, Britain has developed slowpitch on the Continent, and achieved a breakthrough when the European Softball Federation agreed to stage European Co-ed Slowpitch Championships beginning in 1998 with four teams. In 2011, the eighth European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship was contested by seven countries. Britain remains the leading slowpitch country in Europe, having won the European Championship all eight times the competition has been played, while British teams have won four of the first five European Slowpitch Cups. In 2000, the British Softball Federation took a momentous step, combining with the British Baseball Federation (with support from MLB) to create a joint Managing Agency for the two sports, BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK). Since 2007 the agency has concentrated mainly on development, with substantial funding from the Government through Sport England. In 2012, thanks in part to development work carried out by BaseballSoftballUK to grow the sport, British softball has over 600 adult co-ed slowpitch teams in England, Scotland and Wales. There is also an 18-team national fastpitch league and a net-
work of youth leagues. Meanwhile, the GB Co-ed Slowpitch Team is European Champion; the GB Women’s Fastpitch Team is ranked third in Europe and has qualified for the last two World Championships; and the GB Men’s Fastpitch team is ranked #3 in Europe and #8 in the world. Under-19, Under-16 and Under-13 Girls’ Fastpitch Teams compete in European Championships, a GB Under-16 Girls’ Fastpitch Team took part in the Junior World Cup in Plant City in 2002 and 2005 and a GB Under19 Boys’ Fastpitch Team competed in European Championships in 2011. British softball has come a long way from those ex-pat pick-up games in the parks. Slowpitch is still the dominant game in Britain, and British softball is proud to have played a key role in bringing the European Slowpitch Championships and Cup into being. But GB fastpitch teams have done well on the world stage and fastpitch development programmes are growing. With increased funding expected from Sport England for 2013-17, and dedicated facilities for both sports currently under construction near Slough and in Milton Keynes, British baseball and softball have plans to become key minority sports in the UK landscape. H To find a softball or baseball team near you, visit www.baseballsoftballuk.com
PHOTO: GARY BAKER
Sack Exchange By Greg Prato Published by ECW Press Paperback, £14.99 Subtitled ‘The Definitive Oral History of the 1980s New York Jets’, Prato’s book is a soundbite cavalcade, assembling connecting (and sometimes contradictory) comments from dozens of members of the Jets’ ‘Sack Exchange’ defense. New York’s front seven (the nickname is frequently applied to just the defensive front four of Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau, Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam) terrorized NFL passers, and turned the phrase ‘sack’ from a jounalistic definition to an oﬃcial NFL statistic. Rolling Stone contributor Prato clearly worked hard outside his usual musical milieu to compile a definitive work for Jets’ fans. Occasional opponents (eg. Patriots passer Steve Grogan) drop in with quotes, but opposing offensive linemen are a conspicuous omission. Football obsessives will love this rare examination of a legendary era, but others may wonder if a group who never landed an AFC championship let alone a Super Bowl title deserve the attention of over 430 pages. Like Rubik’s Cube or Pac-Man, the Sack Exchange remain an ’80s cultural note for nostalgics only.
USA Rugby begins road to Rio 2016
ontinuing the theme of ‘not in the Olympics’ from previous pages, the USA Rugby Sevens team were in London recently for the English stage of the HSBC Sevens World Series. As with the previous round in Scotland, the USA struggled, finishing the series placed 11th in the world. Rugby Sevens will be an Olympic sport in time for Rio 2016. The USA are the most successful rugby nation at the Olympic level, winning gold in 1920 and 1924. The IOC then dropped rugby as an Olympic sport (a slightly familiar story?). With the USA, China and Russia are all now teaching Rugby as an ‘Olympic sport’, progress over the next four years will be interesting. Next year’s Rugby World Cup will be shown on US network TV for the first time.
Did NFL kill Doha’s 2020 bid?
Eagles ‘swoop’ BBL silverware
merican TV executives appear to have been the deciding voice in Doha’s rejection as host for the 2020 Olympics. Doha had hoped it might persuade the International Olympic Committee to moved the Olympics from the summer to the fall to avoid the extremities of the Qatari heat, but NBC, who own the U.S. contract to cover the Games up to and including 2020, raised concerns that the event would become secondary viewing. As well as competing with the NFL season and the start of the NBA season, an October start might wreck the new autumn season shows (and most notably the advertising revenues that go along with them). A Summer Olympics in the fall would also have clashed with European soccer leagues.
he Newcastle Eagles won the British Basketball League’s Playoff Final, completing a ‘clean swoop’ of the Cup, Trophy, Championship and Playoff titles. Newcastle won the Playoff Final 71-62 in a nervy battle against the Leicester Riders. Philly-born Eagles guard Charles Smith was named game MVP. Newcastle, led by New Yorkborn player coach Fab Flournoy, last managed the BBL grand slam in the 2005-2006 season. The most decorated team in BBL history, the Eagles bounced back from a frustrating 2010-2011 season, when they came second in all four competitions following a serious Achilles injury to star Chicago-born guard Joe Chapman, and Flournoy being hospitalized for 9 days with pneumonia. H
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Coffee Break Answers
1. July 2nd; 2. B; 3. Calvin Coolidge; 4. Slavery; 5. The National Archives in Washington D.C.; 6. The World Series; 7. Prince of Wales; 8. Cancer; 9. 14th; 10. Seven; 11. 1985; 12. Canada
The winners of ESPN merchandise in our recent competitions were Mark Caress of Ware, Herts, who won a bag of goodies and Elizabeth Bruno of London SW18 who grabbed an MLB jersey.
Published on Jul 31, 2012
The American has been published in Britain since 1976. It is the only monthly magazine / website / community for Americans visiting and livi...