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May - June 2016


Est. 1976



read more at ...




772045 596626

The Queen at 90 Contested Convention? Election analysis Scilly Isles - Britain’s Secret Hideaway






in this issue...


Competitions: Tickets to Royal Ascot, Neil Young, Daughtry & Bill Clinton Hercules!

9 10 16 22 26 28 30

Vote! Don’t miss your ballot


Americans deported: are you at risk? FINANCE: All the advice you need Vernon Hill’s Metro Bank loves Americans Property: London’s mini-Manhattan My Expat Life - Potbelly’s Tamar Aguilar Miss Patricia gets Stitched Up

2 Welcome 4 A-List: Products & Services 6 News

32 38 40 50



12 Diary Dates 41 Food & Drink 48 Arts Choice

The Queen at 90 and Parliament Scilly, Britain’s Secret Getaway

All Their Minds In Tandem author speaks Interviews: Kirstin Chávez, Chris Peluso, Neil Koenigsberg POLITICS: Americans for Brexit, GOP Contested Convention; New Populism Sports: NFL UK Games; NHL Playoffs; MLB Season Preview; Whither Spieth?

58 Theater Reviews 81 US Social Groups 88 Coffee Break Fun The American



Issue 751 May - June 2016 PUBLISHED BY SP MEDIA FOR

Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Tel: +44 (0)1747 830520


e really could have been the worst of enemies. A colony violently overthrows its colonial masters. A few years later the newly independent nation declares war against its former rulers while it’s in the middle of fighting Napoleon (“The British burned down my house!” - B. Obama). Various trade and border disputes threaten to bring old hostilities back to life. And yet, somehow, the United States and United Kingdom are the best friends and allies that each has. Thank goodness! Whether it’s our common history and heritage, language and legal system or our shared respect for human rights and dignity - and despite recent pressure from the President over Brexit and threatened deportations of US citizens by Whitehall - the Special/Essential Relationship endures and it’s up to all of us to keep it so. We think this issue of The American gives a lot of reasons why. Enjoy your magazine, M  ichael Burland, Content Director

Among this issue’s contributors

Alyson Frazier An award-winning American musician and founder of an NGO helping children is to be deported by Britain - read about her plight on page 10

Jan Halper The story of the year has to be the Trump juggernaut. If there’s a contested convention all hell could break loose. Jan tells us about the rules on page 68

Malin Bogue Not every American is trying to influence the UK to stay in the EU. Malin puts the alternative view of her group, Americans for Britain on page 66

Read The American online at The entire contents of The American and 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

Departments: News, Article ideas, Press releases: Advertising & Promotions: Subscriptions: The Team: Michael Burland, Content Director Sabrina Sully, Content Director & Community Contact Daniel Byway, Content Executive Virginia E Schultz, Food & Drink (USA) Michael M Sandwick, Food & Drink (UK) Alison Holmes, Politics Jarlath O’Connell, Theater

©2016 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed in the UK ISSN 2045-5968 Main Cover: HRH Queen Elizabeth at NASA, Photo © NASA Circular Inset: Donald Trump, Photo © Gage Skidmore; Square Inset: Scilly Isles, © Fleur Burland Sully







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Tax Advisory Partnership

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Comprehensive tax compliance and advisory service for US citizens living in the UK, particularly specialising in the interaction between UK and US taxes. Eighth Floor, 6 New Street Square, New Fetter Lane, London EC4A 3AQ +44 (0)20 7842 2000

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The American


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Tanager Wealth Management LLP


Integrated financial and investment advice for US expats living in the UK provided by US expats. Global account consolidation, UK/US savings and retirement planning together with investment advice. Contact us for a no obligation meeting or telephone conversation. 020 7871 8440 @tanagerwealth

American SAT & ACT Tuition

Personalised SAT and ACT tutoring, bespoke online courses, expert advice on both the college application process and interviews. 207 Regent Street, 3rd Floor London W1B 3HH +44 (0)20 7692 0766 Twitter: @elivonna

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USA/UK Financial Concierge Ltd.



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Alconbury Trust LLC

Expert-led archaeological tours, cultural tours, gulet cruises and private charters in Turkey, Greece and Italy. One of the world’s ‘Top Ten Learning Holidays’ National Geographic Tel 01600 888 220


US Visa Solutions - Law Office of Janice A. Flynn

MAIL & PARCELS We are a registered investment adviser specializing in UK pension transfer (QROPS) and investment solutions for US Nationals living abroad and British Nationals looking to relocate to the USA. 605 S Country Club Road, Lake Mary Florida, USA +1 (321) 363-1526 (Alconbury Trust LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser in the State of Florida and Texas. Alconbury Trust is not a tax advisor or a Lawyer firm. The above is for education purposes only and not intended as a solicitation of sale. Securities offered through SEI and Vestra US Wealth)

US Global Mail

Mail & Parcel forwarding service for expats, international shoppers, businesses and travelers. US street address. Virtual Mailbox with mail scanning, bundling and up to 70% savings on international shipping rates. +1 281 596 8965

US-licensed immigration lawyers advising on US citizenship, green cards, visa and US entry issues. Honest, straightforward advice and a high level of bespoke service. Third Floor, 6 & 7 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8AD UK +44 (0)20 7092 6830 US +1 (312) 361-0581 Twitter: FlynnUSVisaLaw

The American



70 years of the Special Relationship Above: To help celebrate 70 years of the Special Relationship, “Lady Liberty” and “Uncle Sam” handed out cupcakes to passers by at the famous ‘Allies’ bronze statues of Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, sitting together on a bench in Bond Street, Mayfair, London. You can see more photos on the US Embassy’s Flickr photostream (usembassylondon) or follow #specialrelationship on Twitter. Left: To celebrate the 90th anniversary of Route 66, the Illinois Office of Tourism and international street artist Will Vibes have unveiled a 52ft high mural (check the size of the person by our page number!) on a wall on Clerkenwell Road, London. It depicts Americana iconography found on the first stretch of Route 66, starting in Chicago, Illinois. For more information - or to plan your own trip down the Mother Road - visit Below: An artist’s impression of the US Embassy building in Mayfair which is to be converted by developers Qatari Diar into a luxury 137 bedroom, five star hotel complete with a ballroom. Ambassador Matthew Barzun and his team will move south of the Thames to their new berth in Nine Elms early in 2017.


The American

Obama to young people: you can change the world


resident Barack Obama told an audience of young people at a Town Hall meeting on the last day of his visit to London, that they are the future of the world. He started by telling the audience of 500 A-level and UK-US exchange students and members of the US Embassy’s Young Leaders UK program that his main reason for being here was to wish Her Majesty a happy birthday, and to meet George “who was adorable!” He then talked about the US-UK Special Relationship, joking that “We’ve had our quarrels – there was that whole tea incident, and the British burned my house down, but we made up, and ultimately ended up spilling blood together on the battlefield, side by side against fascism and against tyranny, for freedom and for democracy, and from the ashes of war we led the charge to create the institutions and initiatives that sustained a prosperous peace: NATO, Bretton Woods, the Marshall Plan, the EU.” These initiatives led to an unprecedented period of peace in a continent that had suffered war for 1,000 years, he explained, the only mention of the EU following his recent controversial interventions


into the UK referendum debate. The President said that the young people in his audience live in a time of breathtaking change and uncertainty but implored them to reject isolationism and to take a longer view of history and their part in it. He quoted John F Kennedy: “Our problems are man-made therefore they can be solved by man.” He added that if you could choose one moment in history in which to be born, and you didn’t know whether you were going to be a man or a woman, what nationality, ethnicity, class or religion, or who your parents were, and you wanted a fulfilling life, “You’d choose right now. The world, for all of its travails and challenges, has never been healthier, better educated, wealthier, more tolerant, less violent or more attentive to the rights of all people than it is today.” It was a cause not for complacency but for optimism. And that despite living in “a time of change, from 9/11, 7/7... and during an age of information and Twitter where there’s a steady stream of bad news” the young were able to continue that path if they “Reject pessimism and cynicism. Know that progress is possible... Progress is not inevitable, it requires struggle, perseverance,

discipline and faith.” Obama urged the audience not to to interact only with people who agreed with their beliefs but to interact with people of different political beliefs and learn how to compromise. When their activism is taken notice of by people in power, they should get in the room and work for change, sometimes accepting “half a loaf” of progress rather than refusing to compromise. During the question and answer session, when asked about his legacy, Obama said he was proud of his healthcare reforms, the deal stopping Iran from building a nuclear weapon, mitigating the Ebola crisis, and also of his government’s response to the financial meltdown of 2008: “Saving the world from great depression – that was quite good.” Maria Munir, a young BritishPakistani Muslim woman, broke down in tears after ‘coming out’ to the President as non-binary, someone who is not exclusively male of or female. Obama also answered questions from a young woman from Northern Ireland and from a Sikh Londoner who spoke about racial profiling at airports and Sikhs being mistaken for Muslims..

The American



New Expat Organizations At a time of unprecedented political upheaval in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, two new organizations have been formed that aim to represent the interests of American expats. They want you!

Rushmore International

David Vennett, the group’s Director, describes Rushmore International’s role: “Americans living and working overseas share the desire for a strong and prosperous United States that returns to a place of respect and admiration throughout the world. Rushmore is mobilizing the American community abroad to provide a unified voice during the 2016 election season. We represent the concerns of the 8.7 million US Citizens internationally and advocate for those committed to a common sense, pro-business and strong US foreign policy agenda. Our goal is to restore America’s economic and national security strength and provide a platform for US Citizens abroad to direct their concerns through issue-oriented education and engagement.” Rushmore’s first event, on March 16, was a panel discussion exploring voter fatigue, polarization and disillusionment towards the establishment in the US and Europe. Future events include a Breakfast Roundtable Discussion in May; an event with top US House leadership late June/early July, a Discussion


The American

with a senior member of Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the week of July 10th, Issue Debate: Positions of Democratic Nominee vs. Republican Nominee at the end of September and an Election Night Event November 8th. For more information visit


American Voices International (AVI) is an independent Political Action Committee (PAC), and is registered with the US Federal Elections Commission. It is not a Super PAC. It is not affiliated with any political party, but says it exists to provide a voice for Americans living overseas in Washington, DC, through engagement with policy makers and is committed to registering Americans to vote to ensure they are provided the opportunity to exercise their democratic right. AVI donates to campaigns based on its principles, selecting a slate of candidates which are then voted on by AVI’s donors. Funds are then disbursed to the campaigns until the maximum amount is reached, after which another slate is selected.

AVI also conducts events, online and in-person, with policy makers to share the views and concerns of Americans living abroad. Only American citizens are permitted to donate to AVI, not foreign nationals (defined as foreign governments, political parties, corporations, associations, partnerships and individuals with foreign citizenship, unless they have ‘green cards’ indicating they have lawful residence in the USA.) Individuals can donate/contribute up to $5,000 per calendar year and married couples each have individual $5,000 limits, even if only one spouse has an income. Contributions can be made via check, electronic transfer or credit/debit card via AVI’s website. Contributions by one person in the name of another are strictly prohibited. Cash contributions are limited to $100 or less and anonymous contributions are limited to a maximum $50. AVI invites help from volunteers, who who do not have to make a donation. Foreign nationals may volunteer with AVI, but can’t participate in the PAC’s operations. To find out more visit

5 Things You Should Know

about voting absentee from overseas W

ith the primaries underway and the Presidential General Election fast approaching, now is the time to register and request your absentee ballots. As an American living in the United Kingdom, it’s important to know that resources are available to you, and that the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is a Department of Defense program here to help you.

US contact FVAP to see if you qualify to vote.

To start, you should register and request your absentee ballot by using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) available at Each State will start sending ballot materials in late September of this year to all registered voters in preparation for the Presidential Election. You can choose to receive your ballot electronically or by mail. Remember that sending and receiving your form and ballot takes time, so now is the perfect time to get started! Go to to review your voting State’s deadlines and requirements. Below are five things every American living in the UK should know about absentee voting:

3. You need to start early. Deadlines for registering to vote and returning your ballot vary by State, and you need to account for mailing time between the State and wherever you are. While some steps can be done electronically,

1. As an American citizen living outside the US, your voting rights are protected by Federal Law. This means you are eligible to vote in EVERY Election for federal office such as President, US Senate and US House of Representatives. If you are a citizen who has never lived in the

2. Voting overseas requires advance planning and effort. You cannot vote in-person at your local embassy or consulate on Election Day. You must (1) Register and request an absentee ballot, (2) Receive your State ballot, and (3) Return your ballot.

many States require the hard copy! So be sure to check out your State’s guidelines at 4. YOU are in charge of your vote. Check to see when your registration and ballot are due to the State. Follow up with your election official to make sure your materials are received. Pay attention to the deadlines! 5. Mailing resources are available. When the time comes to mail your FPCA or absentee ballot, the UK’s Royal Mail offers mailing options to the US with delivery times of 5-7 days. If you cannot use Royal Mail, you may also drop off these items at the US Embassy in London or the US Consulates in Belfast and Edinburgh in an addressed, postage-paid envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials” on the FVAP homepage). However sending materials via the Embassy or Consulates may take significantly longer than sending via Royal Mail. For additional information and resources on voting absentee as an American living in in the United Kingdom, you may also visit the US Embassy in London webpage at, email, or contact FVAP directly at, 1-800438-8683 or

The American


NEWS Are you in danger of deportation? S

uccessful, hardworking Americans and their families are being deported by the UK government as a result of uncontrolled EU migration and an election promise to control net inward migration. Among those that The American knows of are: • an entrepreneurial couple in Hull and their two daughters • teachers whose schools wish them to stay • the wife and daughter of a British war hero; a woman with cancer who has been married to her British husband for 12 years • a wealthy US citizen refused re-entry to the UK because she ‘travels too much’. All are financially independent and none claim benefits. Many of them have fallen foul of a rule demanding that people on a Tier 2 Skilled Workers visa must have an annual income of at least £35,000, a significantly higher amount than the median annual income of workers in Britain (£21,900 in 2013/14). Other nationalities outside the EU are affected. Josh Harbord of the campaign group Stop35k told us, “Media in the US, Australia, and India has been reporting for months now on the unfair settlement threshold. These are the nationalities that will be hardest hit. Despite this, many Tier 2 skilled workers are still unaware that they will be punished with deportation for earning under £35,000. Some won’t discover the danger they’re in until they try to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. It’s imperative that we keep telling anyone we can, trying to reach everyone who’ll be


The American

affected, even as we desperately try to raise thousands of pounds for further legal action.” One American threatened with deportation is a successful musician. Alyson Frazier was pleased to find herself featured in a mainstream newspaper, but upset that it wasn’t for the non-profit organization she started helping children who have been traumatised by conflict, or the competition her contemporary music ensemble (Ensemble x.y) won recently, or the debut of the young professional orchestra (Ensemble Eroica) of which she is a a director. Instead, the article was covering the change in UK policy regarding Tier 2 Skilled Workers Visas, which means that she may be deported from the country in September. Alyson wrote to The American: “Secretary Theresa May said, ‘in future, we will exercise control to ensure that only the brightest and best remain permanently.’ If immigration rates need to be decreased or otherwise controlled, it makes sense to keep those most valuable. In an attempt to simplify the screening process, the Home Office has chosen to measure this ‘value’ by income. Does income accurately reflect the value of ones work? Considering that nurses and teachers will be among the most affected by this new regulation, the answer is a resounding “NO”. “The Royal College of Nursing said: ‘The new rules will deprive the NHS of experienced nurses when demand for them is greater than ever before.’ The National Association of Head Teachers shared the same viewpoint, saying:

‘We strongly question the wisdom of deporting highly-trained staff in the midst of a teacher recruitment crisis.’ “If these jobs, which are clearly integral to the functioning of British society, aren’t accurately ‘valued’ under the £35,000 regulation, what other oversights are being made by this policy? One sure result of implementing this policy is that women will be disproportionately affected due to unequal pay between men and women. “Theresa May wrote, “The ‘biggest single factor’ stopping the government achieving its aim of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands was net migration from the EU’ which would suggest that UK’s reason for running a campaign to deport skilled non-EU workers is to counteract the flow of largely unskilled EU immigrants protected by the EU open-door policy. Such a ‘plan’ will only hurt UK society and its economy. “The government is playing a numbers game with human lives which will have serious repercussions not only on UK society itself, but on the global community. If the UK government doesn’t value highly skilled, economically and culturally enriching, tax-paying rulefollowing responsible citizens, what DOES it value?”. The American is collating the experiences of Americans being threatened with deportation and investigating this story. If you are affected by the UK government’s change of policy, please email


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Selected for you

Find many more events at

American Museum in Britain Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD The only museum outside the USA to showcase America’s arts. This year’s exhibitions: An American Toy Story explores the impact that movie-licensing had on toy production and the way we play. Vintage treasures and modern classics spanning 100 years, on together for the first time. Jeremiah! Inspired Interiors (April 19 to July 1), a retrospective of Jeremiah Goodman’s signature room portraits. Revered for his rare ability to infuse rooms with warmth and personality, his paintings interpret and inspire, conveying how a space is experienced through the eyes of an artist. Still vital and energetic at 93, Goodman has made available a number of his favorite paintings for this his first European retrospective. Plus Yarn Bomb trails, Quilting Bees, Toddler groups, Music Concerts, Art Talks, Craft Courses, Classic American Dance classes and a talk, ‘Prison or Arcadia? What Americans Made of the English Country House’, by Clive Aslet, former editor of Country Life magazine. 12

The American

British Library Eccles Centre British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB The Eccles Centre for American Studies regularly hosts talks and events with a Transatlantic flavor, including: May 9th, Nigel Cliff on the Shakespeare Riots; 16th Bryant reception & lecture Martin Dickson (former US editor of FT); 24th Gary Gerstle (Cambridge University) on ‘The Intimate History of Democracy and Money in America’; June 3rd Books Talk Back, a creative writing event with Alison MacLeod (Eccles BL Writer in Residence). Dorset Knob Throwing Cattistock, Dorset May 1 Knobs of bread for eating, painting, a Knob and Spoon race, guess the weight of the Knob & Knob darts. Part of Frome Valley Food festival. Blackawton Festival of Wormcharming Blackawton, Devon May 1 This year’s costumes and events pay tribute to the UK emergency service. Pucklechurch Scarecrow Trail Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire May 1 & 2 How many ways can you dress a scarecrow? Quite a few, as it turns out.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical Waterloo East Theatre, Brad St, London 020 7928 0060 May 11 to June 5 There’s a new tenant wreaking havoc all over Florida’s most exclusive trailer park: Pippi, a stripper on the run, arrives at Armadillo Acres and comes between the Dr. Phil-loving agoraphobic Jeannie and her tollbooth-collector husband Norbert – the storms begin to brew! World Toe Wrestling Championships Bentley Brook Inn, Fenny Bentley, Ashbourne, Derbyshire May 15 Founded in 1976, in 1997 it was rejected as an Olympic Games sport. Shame. Bath International Music Festival May 20 to 29 Classical, jazz, folk and world music in beautiful settings around the city, plus films, music, theater and a free party. Memorial Day Cambridge & Brookwood US Cemeteries May 29 & 30 US armed force members who died serving their country will be commemorated in the UK at Brookwood American Cemetery (near Woking, Surrey) on May 29th and Cambridge American Cemetery on May 30th. See for full details. Attendance is free and open to the public. Scottish American Memorial Day “The Call” Monument, Edinburgh May 30 The English Speaking Union Scotland’s memorial service commemorates the sacrifice made by Scottish soldiers during WWI and celebrates links between Scotland and the USA. ‘The Call’ monument was funded by Americans, many with Scottish ancestry.




Saturday 18th June

SUNDAY 19th June


Performing for the first time since 1978

WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE PERFORMANCE OF The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table and more






18th JUNE


Main Concourse, O2 Arena, Stonefree Festival Doors open to the public from 12am to 6pm - Free admission

VIP Record Fairs produce more Vinyl Record Fairs than any other company in the world! At the Stonefree Festival they will present specially selected vinyl dealers from around the UK. Browse through and buy vinyl from Prog Rock, Punk Rock and Hard Rock to Glam Rock, Classic Rock and 60s rock! Meet some great sellers and maybe pick up a bargain?…..


Tetbury Woolsack Races Tetbury, Gloucestershire May 30 Local & visitor competitors race through the town carrying sacks of wool, in this historic event. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Coopers Hill, Gloucester May 30 Racers sprint down a hill chasing a giant Double Gloucester Cheese! The ancient race was won by American Kenny Rackers (see July 2013 issue). Cotswolds Olimpick Games Dovers Hill, Aston Subedge, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire June 3 Robert Dover’s C17th Olimpick games are celebrated with sports including Tug of Wars and Shin Kicking!

World Custard Pie Championship Maidstone, Kent June 4 Inspired by legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin. Who doesn’t love a custard pie fight? World Pooh Sticks Championships Little Wittenham, Oxfordshire June 5 Based on the game in AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books, this is a fun day for the whole family and a great charity event. House of Lords vs House of Commons Tug of War Westminster Abbey Gardens, London June 6 Fun competition between MPs and Peers.

American Speedfest Brands Hatch, Longfield, Kent June 11 to 12 More than just a race meeting. It’s the biggest festival of American-fuelled motoring, music and racing this side of the Atlantic, with Nascar, Muscle Cars, Monster Trucks, Famous Film Cars and a Victory Lane. Royal Ascot Races Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire June 14 to 18 One of the world’s most famous events, founded in 1711. 5 days of horseracing, attended by the Queen. World Egg Throwing Competition between Helpringham and Swaton, Lincs June 26 Contestants construct gravity-powered egg-hurling devices which team members must catch unbroken or be struck by.


Explore the learned societies of Burlington House like never before (6.00 to 9.00 pm)! 24 June | 15 July | 26 August

WADDESDON MANOR Once the country home of the Rothschilds this Renaissance-style château houses one of the finest collections of French 18th century decorative arts in the world. The Victorian garden has a parterre, aviary, seasonal displays, walks, fountains and statuary and with shops and restaurants, Waddesdon makes a memorable day out for everyone.

For opening times and group rates 01296 653209 Near Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP18 0JH

Family friendly. Some activities may require booking.

FREE PUBLIC LECTURES & TOURS 23 August (1-2 pm): ‘Armour & the Afterlife: Knightly Effigies in England & Wales’ 20 September (1-2 pm): ‘A Copy of a Copy: Leek’s Replica of the Bayeux Tapestry’ 18 October (1-2 pm): ‘The Relics of Battle Abbey’

Enjoy coffee, biscuits, and a tour of our building and collections. Tours take place on the public lecture dates (above) and are £10.00 per person (10.30 am to 12 noon). Society of Antiquaries of London Find out more at












Explore London with a tour guide who brings history to life! Amber is an official badged guide for the City of London, Westminster and Camden. Fun walking tours for all ages! Book a tour for your family and friends: Supercalifragelistic! London’s only Mary Poppins themed costume tour Life and Times of Jane Austen’s Emma Lady Mary’s London - a “Downton” inspired walk Royal London and Changing of the Guard Graffiti and canal walking tours Private tours written to your interest and much, much more!




11 JUNE LOND ON THE O2 0844 856 0202 | AXS.COM



Additional reporting your non US financial assets

by Sam Ashley


ow that you are through the April tax return filing season and you have either filed your income tax returns or have extended the returns (remember if you are a US citizen who is resident overseas on April 15 you get an automatic extension though to June 15) you still need to remember to file your reports of foreign bank accounts more commonly known as an FBAR by the end of June. Note that the extension to June 15 is purely an extension of time to file and not an extension of time to pay. The FBAR is required if the aggregate balance of your non US financial accounts (bank, securities, securities derivatives or other financial instruments accounts) exceeds $10,000 at any point in the year. The aggregate balance is calculated by taking the maximum balance from each of your non US bank accounts and converting that amount to US dollars at the December 31, 2015 exchange rate as published by the US Treasury. It is worth noting that this not only requires reporting of you non US bank accounts but also a number of other accounts including


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accounts over which you have signature authority, foreign stock or securities accounts, UK ISA accounts, your SIPP, foreign mutual funds, non US life insurance or annuity contract with a cash-value. The penalties for failure to report accounts can be up to 50% of the value of the account in each year it is not reported. The FBAR can only be filed online, paper copies are no longer accepted, using form FinCEN 114. The form can be completed and submitted to the United States Treasury via their website, www.bsaefiling. As we have mentioned the FinCEN 114 is due to be filed by June 30, 2016. Unlike the income tax return there is no way of extending the due date for the 2015 reports. This will change next year when the filing process will come into line with your US income tax returns and be due by April 15 or the extended due date of your returns. There are significant penalties for failing to submit your FBAR. The penalties do vary depending on whether the US Treasury believes you have been willful or non willful in your failure to file the forms. A willful failure to file could result in a penalty that would be the

greater of $100,000 or 50% of the amount in the account at the time of the violation. A non willful failure to file could result in a penalty of $10,000 for each violation. It is important to note that the penalties are charged both per account and per year. Therefore a taxpayer with several accounts could very quickly be subject to very large penalties As many taxpayers know the FBAR is broadly similar to the 8938 filing requirements that is included with you income tax return. It is however important to note that the filing of either the FBAR or 8938 does not replace or in any way changes your filing requirement to file the other form. However the filing thresholds for each are somewhat different.

Reportable assets

Unlike the FBAR, the form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets) is submitted to the IRS along with your 2015 income tax return. This is required if your foreign assets exceed the threshold set out in the table on page 17. Please note the thresholds for US residents differ considerably to those for US taxpayer resident overseas.

Reportable assets to be included on the 8938 would include any accounts from which income, gains, losses, deductions, credits etc. from that account would be includable in the income on your tax return. Again this would include bank accounts, securities accounts, partnership interests, unvested employer stock options and pension accounts. Finally, there are several financial products available in the UK which can create additional US tax compliance requirements. These can include SIPPS, cash ISAs, Stock and

shares ISAs all of which are relatively easy financial products to open in the UK and are attractive from a UK tax perspective. Before entering in to these types of arrangement it is always good to discuss these with your tax advisor to ensure you are fully aware of the US taxation issues that may follow these. If you would like to discuss your requirements to file the FBAR or the for 8938, Tax Advisory Partnership are happy to talk any potential new clients through the requirements, assist you with the filings and guide

you through the potential US tax pitfalls of any UK based investments that you may be considering.

Sam Ashley is Senior Manager at Tax Advisory Partnership Tax Advisory Partnership provides a broad range of UK and US tax services to private clients both in the UK and abroad. Please contact us for an initial consultation and we will contact you at the earliest opportunity. 14 Devonshire Sq, London, EC2M 4TY 020 7655 6959 info@tap-london

Filing Status

Value at 31 December 2015

Max. Balance in Year

Unmarried. Live in US.



Unmarried. Live abroad.



Married. File separate, live in US.



Married. File separate, live abroad.



Married. File jointly, live in US.



Married. File jointly, live abroad.


$600,000 The American


cid Ac m lA ta en n ica er ris Bo hn Jo n so

Whaddaya mean I’m an American? David Costello explains what to do if you find you’re an Accidental American


ave you ever wondered what it is like to wake up in the morning and find out you are a citizen of a different country? Probably not, but many people outside of the USA have been increasingly discovering what this feels like. Since the appearance of FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) a few years ago non-US banks have been sifting through their clients to identify who is American and this has created a multitude of Accidental Americans seeking legal, tax and financial assistance. Anecdotes include students applying for a visa to study in the US and being sent a passport instead, to UK citizens with a US parent assuming they were not American because they were not born in the USA. So how can you not be, but be American? The rules are at once clear and confusing. In the simplest terms you are American if you are: 1. Born in the United States or one of its territories (unless born to diplomats or other recognised government officials from foreign countries); 2. Born to US citizen parents; 3. Naturalized; 4. Born to naturalized parents. That was the easy bit. If you were born abroad you may or may not

be an American citizen depending on when your American parent was born and how much time they spent in the US. Confused? So are most people who are affected by this. There is a helpful link to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services at the end of this article – most people require the services of an attorney to solve the puzzle. Suffice to say the US government never ceases to hand out passports and request taxes! But what about the real implications of suddenly finding out you are a US tax-payer? In our experience most individuals who have never been exposed to American culture and don’t consider themselves American reach for the phone and call any of a number specialist lawyers or accountants based in the UK to get help expatriating (that is renouncing their American citizenship). During this call they will find out that the US government does not let go lightly and that, if their net total assets exceed $2m, they will be subject to an exit tax. Given a homeowner in central London is likely to own a house that will take their wealth to this level you can imagine how this information is received. (It is worth noting that a minor can relinquish citizenship before age 18.5 so long as they did not reside in the US

for more than 10 years). If expatriation is not an option then the Accidental American must now consider the following: they are required to file their income and gains to the Internal Revenue Service every year, regardless of whether any tax is due; previously tax exempt or deferred wrappers such as ISAs, VCTs, etc will be taxable by the IRS; gains made in non-US collective investments will be taxed in the US as income. This list is not extensive and becomes more complex when you take into account gifting, inheritance tax planning and saving for children. There are a number of professional service, legal, tax and financial advisory firms in the UK who are well placed to help in the event you discover you are American. It need not be a disaster and, indeed, your financial affairs can be managed efficiently between the two tax jurisdictions allowing you to benefit from your newly acquired passport. And who knows maybe you will find out that you really enjoy baseball!

David Costello is a Partner at Tanager Wealth Management LLP. Tanager Wealth Management LLP is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Tanager Wealth Management LLP does not provide tax advice. You should seek specialist tax advice from a suitably qualified tax professional. 18

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tap into a wealth of tax knowledge • US & US Tax Compliance Services • US & UK Tax Consullng • Foreign Bank Account Reporrng (FBAR) • Streamlined Tax Return filing for delinquent US Taxpayers London t: +44 (0)20 7655 6959 e:

Leeds t: +44 (0)113 8272 410 e:

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Giving up your


s an American living in the UK, almost nothing related to your financial affairs is easy. The consequences of seemingly simple decisions – such as how to pay for a new home or purchase a mutual fund may create unnecessary tax charges and complexities. There are a number of key milestones that occur, from the time you arrive in the UK to the time you potentially approach and eventually reach retirement. Many of these changes will impact the appropriate wealth management strategies for American expats. Understanding how rules will change for you over time will allow you to plan ahead and make prudent financial decisions. But, sometimes American expats want to give consideration to giving up their US passport. In this edition we will discuss a few of the many financial considerations associated with expatriation. The process of expatriation can be different for people depending on their individual circumstances and whether or not you are consid-

the Internal Revenue code, your worldwide assets are generally marked-to-market at the time of expatriation. This means that your assets are deemed to be sold and any gain arising from the deemed sale is taken into account for the tax year of the deemed sale. Individuals are allowed an exclusion of $693,000 (2016) whereby gains in excess of this exclusion are taxed at applicable capital gains rates. If a covered expat falls within the exclusion amount or has a net loss, they will generally not be liable for any exit tax. There are some exceptions to covered expatriate status including individuals who are dual nationals from birth who have had limited or no period of US residence and children who expatriate prior to age 18.5. As there are very specific criteria that needs to be met, it is important to seek legal advice about individual circumstances to understand how the rules apply to your situation. When an individual is considered a covered expatriate, the decision to move forward is often a family decision. This is due to the fact that US gift and estate tax implications can

The financial implications explained by Andrea Solana


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ered to be what is called a ‘covered expatriate’. If any of the following three scenarios apply to you, and you expatriate post June 2008, then you are considered a ‘covered expatriate’: 1. Your average annual net income tax for the 5 tax years ending before the date of expatriation is more than $161,000 (2016). 2. Your net worth is $2 million or more on the date of expatriation. 3. You fail to certify on Form 8854 that you have complied with all US federal tax obligations for the 5 years preceding the date of your expatriation or termination of residency. Under the expatriation rules of

also arise on a covered expatriate’s future gift or bequest of property to a US person. This includes future gifts or bequests to children who remain US citizens or residents. The transfer tax would apply to all covered transfers, even if the transfer was made long after the covered expatriate went through the expatriation process. There are many reasons to consider expatriation and many reasons to consider retaining your US citizenship whilst living overseas. Before expatriation, you should ensure that you give consideration to the following issues: • Impact of timing events • Maintain citizenship in another country • Impact on personal net worth and net worth of family

• Impact on any existing or future beneficial interests in a trust • Implications for estate planning for the expatriate’s immediate family members • Understanding how various treaties may apply to your individual circumstances • Comfort level and ability to reduce the amount of time spent in the US so as not to become a US person for income tax purposes Taking the time to sit down and speak with a lawyer about your particular situation is well worth the time and effort to ensure that you reach a decision that is appropriate for your and your family’s needs. Understanding all aspects of the decision is important before moving ahead with such a big change.

Andrea Solana is Head of Advanced Planning at MASECO Private Wealth. Andrea graduated from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in Finance and Management, completed her MBA at Imperial College London and holds her US Series 65 license. If you would like a full copy of MASECO’s 39 Steps to Smart Living in the UK please visit MASECO Private Wealth is not a qualified tax adviser and you should seek separate advice on your tax position with a suitably qualified tax adviser. MASECO LLP trading as MASECO Private Wealth is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.


ong-term readers may remember an interview in the October 2010 issue with Vernon W Hill II, Chairman of Metro Bank. At the time the serial entrepreneur (he started New Jersey-based Commerce Bancorp among many other ventures) was launching a US-style service-based bank onto the British high street - something many said would not work over here. Five and a half years later we checked in with Mr Hill and found that the naysayers were wrong. “When we talked before, the world was skeptical whether this would work,” Hill says. “Each time you start something new you wonder if this is the place it won’t work, but it’s been great.” Planning for Metro started just after the worst financial crash for a century. Was it a bad time to start a new bank? Far from it, says Hill. “It was actually a very good time. A lot of disarray in the market, the incumbents were distracted, a lot of mispricing and was swept out of the market and we could make loans in a revised credit environment.” Metro Bank doesn’t sell PPI, the mis-selling scandal of recent years in the UK. “No! I didn’t even know what PPI was ‘til I came here,” Hill laughs. Although the British public can be resistant to change (the UK public has a notoriously low switch rate for banks, even while complaining about the service they receive) Metro Bank’s business has been good. “We’ve got 720,000 deposit accounts and about £6bn in assets. We floated on the London Stock Exchange [trading as MTRO] in March and our market value is around £1.6bn. We’ve raised £1bn in capital over the years, 95 percent of which is American, which says to me that Americans are much more inclined to


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invest for growth than the Brits seem to be. We’re running pretty much the American model, and everything we did in Manhattan works better here. We’re growing roughly 100 percent a year compounded and no-one’s ever grown a bank in the Western world at these rates.” Many Brits have opened accounts with Metro, but it’s a more vital choice for US citizens. Since the bank opened its first store (they prefer not to call them branches) in Holborn, London, the banking situation for American expats in the UK has gotten worse. The introduction of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) by the Federal government among other measures has led

to many foreign banks refusing to offer accounts to expats. Conversely, Metro positively encourages American individuals and American commercial operations. “We love to open accounts for Americans that are here, or are moving here. We’re basically the only bank that opens accounts for them. “We’ve just opened our 41st store on the King’s Road in Chelsea. We’re in Greater London, but our view of that area is different from most people. We go from Brighton in the south, to Reading in the west, to Cambridge in the north, to Southend in the east. It’s a ‘wider Greater London area’. People can open accounts with us outside that area of course, but they have to

Interview with Vernon W Hill II, the man who built an American bank in Britain Pictured: Vernon Hill with his wife Shirley, who designs Metro Bank’s branding and store interiors, and Duffy II

deal with us online and mobile. Our mobile app has a cute feature: if you lose your debit or credit card you can deactivate it and when your wife finds it the next morning you can turn your card back on. “If you’re an American moving to Edinburgh or Manchester, you’ll have the same problems as you would in London. And for paying checks in, we’re about to go to check scanning so you can scan it and deposit it electronically – it’s run of the mill in America, it’s about time it came to Britain. We’re about to do a deal with the Post Office too.” “American businesses have the same problem as individuals. We have corporate arrangements for

companies that are moving Americans here – we can get their mortgage approved before they even hit the shores here. Metro Bank was always supposed to be at least half commercial and we’re more than that right now. We also have a private banking business which is growing rapidly - I guess a lot of The American’s readers will fit into that private banking group. Let me tell you a fun story. All the banks in Britain except us have shut down their safe deposit boxes. We can’t build them rapidly enough to keep up with the demand!” In another innovation for the UK, Metro Bank has started a program called Money Zone, a 4 week program for kids ages 9 to 12. “We go

out to the schools and teach them about money. The fourth week we bring them into the bank, let them have a look and play around, then we give them a gift certificate - we did it in the States with Commerce. Apparently it’s pretty much gone out of the British education and banking systems, but it’s been embraced by the schools who believe there’s a need for something like it.” Mr Hill stresses that customer service is still his main focus. “Net promoter score is the most important way to look at your service and your brand – it’s the percentage of your customers who will recommend you to a friend. Ours is the highest in Britain at 79 percent. The Royal Bank of Scotland is minus 6.” [To get a feel of the Metro Bank experience, and why Vernon Hill prefers to compare it to Apple, not other banks, read our 2010 interview at - ed] Incidentally, if you’re wondering if the Hill’s dog Duffy is still an important part of the team - Metro Bank is famous for its canine-friendly stores that offer treats and drinks for pooches - the answer is yes, kinda. The original Sir Duffield passed away but another Duffy, grandson of the first, has been appointed as the new Chief Canine Officer. A final question: what’s the best thing about being Vernon Hill? “Let me try a different tack. People ask me ‘You’ve made a lot of money, Vernon, why are you going to all this trouble? My reaction is, entrepreneurs entrepreneur! This is what we do. The best thing is, I have the freedom to do whatever I want in a free market environment, whether it’s in America or Britain. I want to thank the British public for their support. And for your readers, our message is ‘We love Americans!’”

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UK Public Health vs. Private Health Why do American expats need private health insurance in the UK?


ritish citizens and residents in the UK enjoy the benefits of a very affordable and reliable public healthcare system, offered through the NHS; but there are still reasons why some people - both expats and nationals - opt for choosing private healthcare options. Medical treatment is covered by the National Health Service system, which is paid for via taxes throughout most of the UK, so it is a common question as to whether private health insurance is a sensible choice for expats. Public healthcare in the UK has proved to be reliable and convenient for citizens and expatriate employees, and the quality of treatment is not usually a reason for preferring private healthcare in the country. However, a private health policy usually grants you immediate access to health services and specialists, as opposed to potential long waiting


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times with the public system. Furthermore, private health insurance represents a convenient alternative if you are looking to have comprehensive health cover, as public healthcare usually comes with a few exclusions. UK patients are required to register in the specific area where they live in order to gain access to the public healthcare services. Due to the current great demand, some expats find that there is limited availability of specialists accepting NHS patients in the area where they live, which often becomes another reason for purchasing a private policy. Private health insurance in the UK often provides customers with a greater level of choice regarding when and where they will be treated. Although hospital treatment may be free for some expatriates, purchasing a private medical insurance plan may be necessary for some others. Private health insurance may be

beneficial to you depending on your particular situation, and how long you will be staying in the country. As an American living in the UK, you may find that a private health policy works best for you because of particular benefits, such as international coverage, easier access to specialists, access to treatment in private hospitals and specialty clinics; or some extras that may come with a policy, like dental and vision care. International health insurance companies like Cigna Global offer a wide range of levels of expat medical insurance cover. Individual private medical insurance (IPMI) policies can often be advantageous to expats, as many of the benefits within these policies have been tailored specifically to suit their needs. Visit for more information on Individual Private Medical Insurance

YOUR HEALTH IN SAFE HANDS, WHEREVER YOU ARE. At Cigna Global, we specialise in health insurance policies for expats just like you, ensuring you have the very best of care available to you as and when you need it. Choose from three distinct levels of cover, with five optional additional benefits, including outpatient care, medical evacuation, and vision & dental care. +44(0)1475 777625

Together, all the way.


London’s ‘mini Manhattan’ L

ondon City Island, dubbed London’s ‘mini Manhattan’, is the jewel in the crown of the £3.6 billion regeneration of the newly rezoned Canning Town, and is set to become the capital’s new cultural hub following the relocation of the prestigious English National Ballet. The island community, which comprises 12 acres of mixed use development including 1,706 homes, restaurants, boutique shops and pedestrian and cycle routes just 10 minutes from Canary Wharf, is now a highly sought after neighbourhood, attracting a new generation of property investors and residents. Once synonymous with industry, the relocation of the ballet is a real endorsement of an area that would have previously been overlooked, and has given people the confidence to invest in an exciting new destination. Buyers and tenants alike are waking up to locations further along the Thames and are helping to dispel the ‘west is best’ notion which has traditionally permeated through the capital. The English National Ballet has been based in Knights-


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bridge for the majority of its history, catering for its well-heeled neighbours and set amidst other cultural landmarks such as the Royal Albert Hall. However, its relocation to east London is providing a new cultural nucleus for the capital, helping to transform the calibre and identity of the area as a whole. Furthermore, located on the Jubilee line, residents of London City Island can be in the West End in just 20 minutes, enjoying the best of both worlds. London City Island is consequently proving a hotspot for property investors as well as tenants, not least because price growth is anticipated to rise by up to 30 per cent in the next five years. As desirability has continued to rise, so too has demand and JOHNS&CO, the agent responsible for the re-sales and lettings at the development, has received a lot of interest from corporate tenants aged between 25 and 35 working in either Canary Wharf or the City and attracted by the convenient location and the new community developing here. This is further positive news for investors who

London City Island - day time

are expected to achieve rental yields of up to six per cent, far higher than areas in central London. The regeneration will combine bold innovative architecture with vibrant public spaces, all designed to recognise the island’s maritime past. Glazed brick buildings in red, orange, blue, black and white reference painted ship hulls whilst trees in the many public spaces will be planted in wooden containers, resembling the tea chest cargo boxes of the East India Dock Company. Properties range from one bed suites to three bedroom apartments and will benefit from a range of onsite facilities including a grocer, a gym, two swimming pools, a sauna and a steam room as well as a social club. Properties are available to buy and to rent through JOHNS&CO London City Island with prices starting at £325,000 or £300 per week. JOHNS&CO, 8 New Providence Wharf, 1 Fairmont Avenue, London, E14 9PA 0207 118 0343

JOHNS&CO Lettings present London City Island, E14. High quality new build homes minutes from Canary Wharf. Available to rent this spring. Suites, 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments. From £300 pw + fees* T +44 (0) 20 7118 0343 E

Set in a meander of the River Lea directly opposite the O2, London City Island is just a short distance from Europe’s leading financial district - Canary Wharf. With the Jubilee Line and Crossrail on its doorstep and the English National Ballet’s relocation from Kensington to the district, London City Island is already noted as one of London’s most exciting new waterside locations.



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Tamar Aguilar at work in the London store


Tamar Aguilar After opening Portland’s first Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Tamar Aguilar moved to London to become General Manager of Potbelly’s first European branch. We were curious ..... Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself - where do you come from in the States? I grew up in San Francisco, CA. I lived around the bay area until my mid 20’s. I then moved with my husband to his home town in Minneapolis, MN, for a few years, and since have lived in Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR. What are your connections with Potbelly - how long have you been with the company? I have been with Potbelly for almost 12 years. I started out as an assistant manager in Minneapolis and have had the wonderful opportunity to grow with the company and explore new markets. I relocated as a training GM to Seattle at the start of Potbelly’s west coast expansion. I then became a District Manager and pioneered the Portland Oregon shops. Now I am in the UK helping to support our first European franchise group. Had you visited Britain before coming over with Potbelly? Not at all. I had done some traveling in the EU after college but never made it to the UK. I am a big reader of classic novels and have loved the BBC period dramas on tv since I was a kid. So I have been so excited to explore the UK. What do you enjoy most about being here? I love the feel and sense of history


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in everything. From the look of the buildings with the rod iron gates, to the market stalls and pubs that have remained in the same spot for generations. At home we just don’t have the same sense of history and grandeur on this kind of scale. Is there anything you miss from back in the States? (A bit of an ironic question given you’re bringing a brand that many Americans over here I’m sure miss!) I miss the traditional foods I am used to during the holidays and real Mexican food. It took a lot of looking for Thanksgiving ingredients and I would kill for good enchiladas and mole sauce. When I went home I ate Mexican food an entire week. The Potbelly brand evokes a lot of memories for Americans, what is the biggest challenge in bringing such a well known American brand across the pond and introducing it to the UK? The biggest challenge has been getting the Brits to understand the Potbelly culture. In the US if you have been to a Potbelly you know that we talk and joke with our customers and treat them as our family of regulars. I think some Brits find it odd when we try to converse and get to know them as we make their food. I know that we will win them over in the end. Our staff is super friendly and will help spread the Potbelly love and culture.

Have you had to change the brand or the experience for the UK market? Potbelly has its own customer experience in every shop, we have kept Stratford true to the US setup. What’s the secret to a great, authentic American sandwich? We found wonderful partners here in the UK to supply items according to our recipes. The bakers worked hard to get the cookies and bread just right, our suppliers looked everywhere to match the taste and profile specifications. We have ended up with an almost exact match to what you would get if you were in Chicago eating at your neighbourhood shop. What makes Potbelly special? It comes down to three simple things. People - we staff friendly hard working associates that enjoy what they do. Product - Quality ingredients are the basis for any good food. Place - we strive to be a neighbour destination by having comfy seats and live music. What’s the future for Potbelly and for you in the UK? We plan to open many more shops and I plan to be here to help support the growth. I love being in the UK. What’s the best thing about being Tamar Aguilar? That I have had many opportunities in my life for travel and adventure.


Miss Patricia

Gets Stitched Up O

ne doesn’t wish to criticize one’s beloved new country, especially since back home one is choosing amongst cartoon characters for the presidency. This election feels like two steps back after the one step forward of finding our first black president. English people study history to find wisdom. In the US, we just turn on the country music radio station in the truck. Why do they always say he’s ‘black’? Obama’s mom was white, so he’s biracial, just as Joe Lycett is bisexual, and as Lycett likes to say: “That means you’re ALL at risk.” Obama is actually the beige of our future. Is that good or bad? If it’s so wrong to introduce non-native animals into countries, why are the rules different for humans? I’m not advocating racism, or speciesism either: just wondering. Especially since every time the invasive North American Gray Squirrel is mentioned as a threat to the native reds, every head swivels my way as if I personally had brought them in my suitcase. But I digress! When ex-pats get shuffled about, setting up one of the 5 households they live in each decade or so, the


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new life is celebrated by a Lingonberry feast at the baptismal trip to IKEA. My single daughter has been informed that all potential partners must first pass the IKEA test. It’s basically bare-knuckle boxing with a gypsy girlfriend’s brothers. The IKEA in Southampton is approached via Maybray King Way, which is, I am sorry to report, a notorious speed trap. As one rolls legally and contentedly along a wide, newish highway, suddenly around a curve, a 30 mph sign appears, and drivers new to the area slam on their brakes. IKEA shoppers are, by nature, often new to the area. The media revealed that this camera generates the third highest profits in all of Britain, but law enforcement officials explained to reporters that the money they are snatching goes to good causes so it’s OK. You might guess that I bring this topic up because of personal experience. And you’d be right. Paraphrased, events went about like this: Me: ‘I believe you’ve made a mistake here. The time limit for issuing this notice was two weeks. This alleged offence took place

five months ago. I believe you are demanding money I do not owe you.’ Law Enforcement Guy: ‘It’s your fault. You moved, so we could not find you.’ He wrote this in a missive delivered to the address where he ‘could not’ find me. ‘And now you’re in BIG trouble, Missy, for not knowing which of you was driving five months ago.’ Me: ‘Au contraire, my fine fellow! Here is my registered mail receipt from the post office showing that I promptly sent my change of address to the DVLA. And here also is my new driving licence, dated with new address proving my claim, and I’ve even demonstrated good citizenship by spelling it with the two British c’s.’ Pride of Southampton: ‘It’s still your fault. You foolishly sent your change of address as a LETTER, which is unacceptable. The DVLA requires that you use Special Form V5C, which you are supposed to keep in A Safe Place.’ (Safe places are something that ex-pats do not have. Renters are forced to move whenever a landlord discovers that eviction could double his rent. Your

Police radar speed trap ©METROPOLITAN POLICE

landlord can claim his son ‘needs’ to move in, but the son never actually does, because by that time you’re long gone.) The ‘safe place’ becomes a packed storage unit for displaced renters…with the special form they need to announce their move taped in a box, while they live in a hotel. My correspondent did admit that ‘many people frequently forget’ this mysterious form. I was tempted to tell him that MY policy requires that his demands be submitted on scented purple vellum. Instead, I wrote: ‘You sent your notice so late that I am excluded from your traffic course. And furthermore, this was a stitch-up from the start, because your camera is a well-known speed trap.’ And using the phrase “stitchup” is even more evidence that I am honoring British culture.’ Triumphant Law Enforcement Guy: “Neener neener neener! I’m big, and you’re small! Our camera DOES catch a record number of lawbreakers! It’s true they’re not lawbreakers anywhere else, but the sea air of Southampton turns them wild and reckless, and then we are forced to

punish ‘em.” In the end, we paid £100 for a 5 mph alleged offence, instead of the £60 we already felt cheated out of, because he’s law enforcement and we’re not, and now our insurance is higher too, because of no traffic course. The constabulary told the inquisitive Southampton Mail that their system creates better drivers, but statistics record ‘offenders’ - the British pronunciation for ‘victims’ nearly doubling annually instead. You can avoid my fate by framing DVLA form V5C and placing it on your mantel next to David Cameron’s portrait, with ‘DO NOT PACK’

sharpied across it. When you have to move, you can mail it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA where I sent my letter, but it didn’t count because it was a letter. An American friend once suddenly announced that her husband was returning to the States. We all asked why. She replied: ‘He’s just had enough.’ No one had to ask what she meant. The unspoken words are always there: ‘If you don’t like it, you can leave.’ Well, yes, we could. But…I’ve seen the US presidential candidates. It’s not like we actually have a choice, do we?

The American


The Queen and Parliament As Queen Elizabeth reaches her 90th birthday the relationship between Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the mother of parliaments is explained by Dr. Mark Collins, Archivist and Historian in the Parliamentary Estates Directorate. er Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as constitutional monarch and Head of State of the United Kingdom is one of the three elements of the British legislature, the two others being the House of Lords and the House of Commons. From medieval times, the Sovereign was expected to be present at the opening of Parliament, and a pattern emerged for formal processions either on horseback, by carriage or on the royal barge along the River Thames whenever Parliament was held at Westminster. The Palace of Westminster was host to 500 years of royal history, from its initial construction under the rule of the Saxons in the eleventh century to the time of King Henry VIII. Since the 16th century, the Palace has been the setting for 500 years of Parliamentary history and tradition and it continues to be used for a ceremony which began in the Tudor period when the king travelled there from his newer palaces, such



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as Whitehall or St James. The old Palace of Westminster burnt down in 1834; a competition to find an architect for a new palace on a gigantic scale in ‘either Gothic or Elizabethan’ style drew applications from 97 architects. Charles Barry’s (1795-1860) skilful principal floor plan and elevations impressed the judges, and his design won in 1836. The designs were helped by beautiful detailing from his brilliant assistant Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852), and the building was formally opened by Queen Victoria in February, 1852. The present Queen began her official association with the Palace at the time of her Coronation in 1953 when a lunch was held in her honour in Westminster Hall. The lunch was a modest affair but it took place on the site where once stood the king’s high table and, in a dignified way, it was an echo of the lavish Coronation banquets held there until that of King George IV in 1821. His costly banquet was deemed so luxurious and unruly that no subsequent monarch thought it wise to hold another one. Sir Winston Churchill, the Queen’s first Prime Minister attended her lunch, and now David Cameron is her 12th Premier and prepares the measures held in the

Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament. Her Majesty, who has now been on the throne for 64 years, regards the State Opening (this year it’s on May 18) as her most important event of the year and she has opened Parliament in person on every occasion except twice, when she was expecting first Prince Andrew, and then Prince Edward. Before any ceremonial can take place, extensive preparations are made under the auspices of the fulltime official of the Queen in Parliament, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, a Crown appointment dating from 1350, who is responsible for handling major ceremonial in the House of Lords; he is also in charge of order and management in the Lords. The ‘Searching of the Cellars’ on the morning of State Opening is a duty performed by the Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard wearing their Tudor uniforms and is a ceremonial check to prevent a repeat of the Gunpowder Plot - the attempt to blow up the king in Parliament in 1605. Also present in the Palace before the Queen’s arrival are Her Majesty’s Body Guard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms in full uniform and her own entourage of Ladies-in-Waiting in long white evening dresses and

Far Left: The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament Left: Grenadier Guards at the State Opening of Parliament Right: The Queen visits her new Diamond Jubilee window in Westminster Hall donated by both Houses of Parliament  PHOTOS ROGER HARRIS ©HOUSE OF LORDS

the Pages of Honour in their scarlet frock coats whose principal duty is to carry the Queen’s velvet train when in procession to and from the House of Lords Chamber. From the time of King Charles I, an MP is held at Buckingham Palace as hostage for her safe return. The whole ceremony is a celebration of continuity and tradition on a grand scale. The Queen is also preceded by the ‘Crown Procession’ in two carriages – one for the Imperial State Crown itself and another for the two royal maces which that morning have been taken from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace and then placed in the coaches for their journey to the Palace of Westminster. The crown’s romantic associations are maintained by its decoration with the sapphire from Edward the Confessor’s ring and the Black Prince’s Ruby – both sold off by Oliver Cromwell at the time of the execution of King Charles I and the Civil War but returned to the Crown Jewels when they were remade for the Coronation of King Charles II in 1661. Rubies, emeralds, sapphires, pearls and 2,868 diamonds cover

the silver frame of the crown and the Crown Jeweller is on hand to check that it is in perfect order. The Lord Great Chamberlain carries the crown to the Royal Gallery where it may be seen in all its splendour placed next to two other ancient symbols of monarchy, the velvet and ermine Cap of Maintenance and the Sword of State. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travel in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Recently made in Australia it contains timber from Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, the Mayflower and Admiral Nelson’s HMS Victory. The carriage is attended by the Sovereign’s Escort from Buckingham Palace; the route passes along the Mall, across Horse Guards Parade and along Whitehall past the clock tower – usually called ‘Big Ben’ – but named the ‘Elizabeth Tower’ in Her Majesties’ honour since the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. A Guard of Honour of 104 members of the Household Cavalry, and the Band of the Regiment and the Corps of Drums of the Battalion await the Queen’s carriage in Old Palace Yard. On her arrival at the Sovereign’s

Entrance, a Royal Salute of 41 Guns is fired in Green Park, the band plays the National Anthem and the Royal Standard replaces the Union Flag on the Victoria Tower. The Queen passes beneath the high arch of this mighty tower which was designed to contain all the Acts of Parliament which the monarch signs, thereby providing a symbolic moment in the colourful annual proceedings. The Queen and the Duke are met by the Earl Marshall and Lord Great Chamberlain, and walk up the Royal Staircase lined with the Household Cavalry where they are greeted on the steps by the Heralds from the College of Arms and the Lord President of the Council. They then arrive in the Norman Porch, the first of the suite of royal rooms, so called because it was destined to hold statues of the Norman kings before time ran out and the funds for its adornment were cut. The Queen and the Duke then enter the Queen’s Robing Room at the southernmost end of the building; frescos and relief panels of the Legend of King Arthur were incorporated in the decoration here to mark the mytho-

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Left: Princesses Elizabeth (aged 14) and Margaret with their grandmother, Queen Mary of Tec, May 1939 Center: Princess Elizabeth (aged 20) in her Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform, April, 1945 Right: Queen Elizabeth at the Trooping of the Colour, 2012 ©CARFAX2

logical beginnings of the monarchy through chivalric stories beloved by the Victorians. The Queen then puts on the Parliamentary Robes consisting of the long train of crimson velvet bordered with ermine, and the Imperial State Crown; this is performed in private with no cameras present. Once prepared, the doors to the Royal Gallery are opened and the Queen is announced to the 600 assembled guests with a fanfare of trumpets; the Lord Chancellor’s procession walks before the Queen and the Duke, with the heads of the armed forces walking behind. The Royal Gallery, the largest room in the Palace, was conceived as a ‘hall of battles’ to contain 18 fresco compartments depicting British victories. Two were carried out by the Irish artist Daniel Maclise and show the Battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo. Here, too, may be seen the first of a series of Pugin-designed encaustic tile floors made by Minton, Hollins & Company of Stoke-upon-Trent which later helped to inspire the use of Minton’s tiles in the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. The Prince’s Chamber is next, forming an ante-room to the House of Lords Chamber, and decorated with portraits, bronze reliefs and heraldry of the Tudor dynasty. The House of Lords Chamber is the high-point of all the interiors in


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the Palace; it took Barry and Pugin two and half years to work up the designs, and Pugin claimed to have made over a thousand drawings in the Tudor Gothic style. The American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne visited a few years after it opened and commented that it was ‘magnificent and gravely gorgeous’. The red leather benches are filled with scarlet-robed peers and peeresses - the Lords Spiritual and Temporal - and judges, ambassadors and high commissioners are amongst invited guests in the chamber. Once seated in the chairs of state beneath a gilded tripartite canopy for the monarch and her Consort - the Duke of Edinburgh - in the centre and for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to their right and the Ladies-inWaiting to their left, a small nod to Black Rod indicates that he is to walk to the other House to summon it for the speech. As he arrives at the outer doors to the Commons Chamber, they are slammed in his face – a brusque display of the independence of the Commons from both the Sovereign and the Lords. (The three divisions of Parliament are completely separate institutions with their own chief executives, or Clerks, and separate facilities within the Palace.) Black Rod loudly strikes the door three times and is let in to ‘command this House’ to attend upon the

Queen – thereby symbolically establishing the status quo. In a noisy, informal group, the MPs walk through the Central Lobby beneath the large mosaics of the patron saints of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom and towards the Bar of the House of Lords. Once the whole of Parliament is thus assembled, at about 11.30am, the Lord Chancellor bows and walks up the three steps of the throne carrying his embroidered Purse containing the speech which has, in fact, been written by the Government of the day; he removes the speech and hands it to the Queen. The next moment is always somewhat worrying because protocol dictates that the Lord Chancellor must bow and then walk backwards down the steps without turning his back on the Queen. Should any mishap occur, the Queen would no doubt, in her calm and reassuring way, carry on without flinching, as she did when a page boy fainted during the speech two years ago. With the short speech over, the procession is turned about and the Queen walks the same route in reverse, with the same escort. Debates on the speech then take place in both Houses. For less formal visits to Parliament, the Queen is presented with the ‘humble addresses’ of both Houses assembled in Westminster

Celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday:


There are events in April, May and June, some free, some ticketed, so plan ahead! May 12 to 15: The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration A 90-minute long extravaganza with 900 horses and more than 1,500 riders and performers. The Queen will attend on the final evening. Sold out, but ITV will show the final night live. June 10: Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral Invited guests only, but it will be televised. (June 10 is also the Duke of Edinburgh’s 95th birthday, but he doesn’t want any public celebration of it). June 11: Trooping the Colour The official annual celebration of the Queen’s birthday, live on BBC from 10am. June 12: The Patron’s Lunch The climax of the Queen’s birthday celebrations: The Mall, London will become a giant street party for The Patron’s Lunch, with 10,000 guests eating a picnic lunch and being entertained by street performers and circus acts. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will take part from a specially-built platform on the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. 9,000 of the 10,000 tickets are for the 600-plus charities and organisations of which the Queen is patron, and they may auction off 40 per cent of their tickets to raise money for their funds. There will be room for 15,000 people to watch the event, free, on giant screens in St James’s Park and Green Park. Security will be tight, so arrive early, and bring your own picnic. Many people will organize their own local street parties and celebrations. Check out local media and join in! Left: The Queen greets NASA GSFC employees, 2007

Hall, to which she makes a formal reply. The hall was first built by William the Conqueror’s son, William Rufus, in the 1090s, with the later adornment by King Richard II of a wonderful hammerbeam roof of English oak. It was here that the law was gradually developed in the four courts and from where it emanated across the world. The Queen was presented for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 with a large stained glass window of her coat of arms designed by John Reyntiens - a gift by members of both Houses of Parliament which now fills the north window. Following the formal proceedings, the Queen and the Duke met members of staff in Central Lobby before


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attending a large gathering with the Prime Minister and Archbishop of Canterbury amongst others in the Royal Gallery. On other occasions in Westminster Hall, the Queen has attended a luncheon given by the livery companies of the City of London, the humble addresses for both the Silver and Golden Jubilees, events marking the 300th anniversary of the Glorious Revolution in 1988 and the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Should she make a private visit, Her Majesty enters beneath the Victoria Tower in one of the royal cars and either walks up the Royal Staircase, or steps inside the Sovereign’s Lift to reach the Principal Floor.

An example of such a visit was the unveiling of an Oscar Nemon sculpture of the Queen’s head in October, 2009; this may be seen today in the Robing Room.

Visiting Parliament

Tours of the Houses of Parliament which include the route taken by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament, from Norman Porch to the House of Lords Chamber, are available every Saturday and on most weekdays during parliamentary recesses.









HOME OF THE CODEBREAKERS Once Britain’s Best Kept Secret, today Bletchley Park is a heritage site and vibrant tourist attraction. Open daily, visitors can explore the iconic WW2 Codebreaking Huts and Blocks and marvel at the astonishing achievements of the Codebreakers whose work helped shorten the war. For directions and more details visit:

The Isles of Scilly

Britain’s Secret Getaway J

ust over an hour’s flight from City Airport, and your holiday starts as you board one of the small planes (19 or 8 seaters) of the lovely people at Skybus, flying from Exeter airport over the Atlantic, beyond the southwestern tip of England and on your way to sanity. No, not back home, but to The Isles of Scilly, five inhabited islands in an archipelago of 55 islands and islets. Landing in St Mary’s, the main island, with a population of about 1600, life is governed not by the clock, but the tides and the weather. Boats large and small are the transport to the nearby islands, the schedules posted on boards at the island harbors and in the hotels. If the weather is bad, no boats, and everybody’s used to it. Booked for a stay or a restaurant on another island? Your hotel will rearrange it. We popped over there for a long weekend again, this time to


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St Martins, an island we hadn’t visited before. From the tiny St Mary’s airport, we were whisked by airport shuttle bus to the quay where our driver put us on the St Martins boat. We’d booked into the island’s only hotel, Karma St Martins hotel & spa, so were automatically met by a van at the right quay (yes, some islands have more than one, and it depends on the weather, wind and tide as to which they use). This 5* hotel is set in just under 7 acres, next to the beach. Part of the growing Karma Group of luxury hotels & spas in India, the Far East, Germany, Greek islands and the Cote d’Azur, you can also join their Karma Club. The hotel has the air of a clubhouse, unstuffy and ‘at home’: we sank into the leather sofa by the bar for a coffee, browsed the vinyl record collection and put one on for a spin while we checked out the bookshelves and found the book I’d just bought at Exeter airport!

But the sea beckoned, so we prised ourselves out, and walked along the empty, unspoilt beach and white sand dunes right next to the hotel, absorbing the sound of the waves and the ozone, seeing no-one. Refreshed, we booked a spa treatment with the helpful staff for the Sunday morning (which turned out to be the best massage I’ve ever had) and enquired about the next day’s boats. We dined on freshly caught Lobster thermidor and crab linguine, both excellent and large helpings, just what we needed after all that sea air, as were the crisp linen sheets. We awoke refreshed to watch the sun sparkling on the sea, and identify the seabirds (courtesy of the book thoughtfully placed by the window). Sauntering down to the quay hard by the hotel after a leisurely breakfast, we boarded the boat for a day trip to Tresco, the second largest

Left: the view from our St Martins window overlooking Tean Sound to Tresco

island. We chatted our way across (everyone is so friendly, and it feels rural, not seaside resort). Here are the 17 acre exotic Abbey Gardens, (due to a milder climate and more sunshine than the mainland) and the Valhalla museum of ship-related things – we loved the figureheads. The friendly birds hopped around us as we ate our home-made crispy pizzas at the Ruin Café. Expect to see a lot of walkers armed with binoculars. Bird watching is a ‘thing’ here, as it’s on migration paths. Tresco used to be idyllic, but it now seems overdeveloped, with what seemed to be Norwegian housing estates, and the beaches felt ‘closed off’. The New Inn was still there, serving lush Troytown Farm ice cream from St Agnes (an island to visit next time). It seemed rude not to have one. As a hurricane was heading in we spent our last night on St Mary’s, at the stupendous 4* Star Castle Hotel. It’s OLD (Charles II sheltered here) but luxurious, shaped like a star, (yes, really), privately owned by Robert Francis’ family for generations, and replete with fine dining you’d be pressed to beat in London, all made us forget the storm outside. Next morning we had the heated pool to ourselves, sadly had no time for golf on the most southwesterly UK course, so popped downtown to sightsee, enjoyed a fresh crab salad at The Deli before checkout with the helpful hotel staff, and we were whisked back to the airport. Mrs Francis was absolutely charming and it felt like saying farewell to a family friend as we departed. These islands are great for family holidays or short getaways, or why not sail your yacht there? Thank you, beautiful islands, for a delightful rest. We’ve more to see and do - next time...

1. The lifeboat station, Hugh Town, St Mary’s, from the Star Castle Hotel 2. Evening sun on St Martins 3. A byway on St Martins 4. Cattle grazing on Tresco 5. Voyager of St Martins - our transport 6. Portcullis at the Star Castle Hotel PHOTOS ©FLEUR BURLAND SULLY

TRAVEL INFORMATION: Star Castle Hotel, St. Mary’s: (dogs welcome) Karma St. Martin’s, St. Martin’s: (dogs welcome) Fly: There are Isles of Scilly Travel Skybus flights year-round from Newquay and Land’s End Airports, and from Exeter Airport March - October. Prices start from £140 return (dogs welcome) By Sea: From spring through to late autumn, the Scillonian lll passenger ferry sails up to seven days a week between Penzance and St. Mary’s. Prices start from £90 return. (dogs welcome) To book your journey, visit www. or phone 01736 334220. A SELECTION OF EVENTS: Isles of Scilly Festival – Throughout May In May, the Isles of Scilly host a celebration of local arts and culture. This new festival, including Art Scilly Week and the Scilly Folk Festival, will have an eclectic mix of open studios, literary events, folk music, and a packed programme of hands-on courses and workshops with many of Scilly’s resident artists. The Islands’ Regatta – August 26 to 29 Scilly’s inaugural Islands’ Regatta is a four-day celebration of its maritime heritage, with a visit from a Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate, a Parade of Sail and classic boats such as the tall ship Spirit of Falmouth. Enjoy the Redwing Championships, follow the Around Island Race, and see the Red Arrows display. Taste of Scilly – Throughout September The first Taste of Scilly food and drink festival, bringing together bakers, growers, brewers, fishermen and chefs for foodie nights, cooking demonstrations and more.

Minds In Tandem David Sanger, author of All Their Minds In Tandem, a new novel set in post-American Civil War psychological turbulence, explains why a Brit was captivated by that peculiarly American period


y first real encounter with the American Civil War was through Ken Burns’ celebrated PBS documentary. The programme’s skill at blending moving narratives with a detailed account of the war kept me hooked. My mistake though was suspecting the stories, especially the personal ones, were a device of the documentary’s - perhaps to rope the viewer in with sentimentalised drama, more than accurate fact. Then I started to research the war for a book I was writing and found the pages of detail were never without the stories. I began to understand that they are a part of the war. This did not detract from the horrors of the conflict - the deaths of 7,000 men in 20 minutes at Cold Harbor show the blunt brutality of the fighting. But the reason I found myself, as an Englishman, drawn into this very American war was its stories. Less than a ten-minute walk from my parent’s home in Kent is a battleground of the English Civil War. Recently, I found myself wondering


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why I hadn’t written about that war instead. It seemed more apt, less of a trespass even, to write of English history. Yet the decision to concentrate on America didn’t come from a preference for the country or a snub of my own. Instead, the American Civil War offered me a landscape where stories took to the soil. The book I was trying to write felt plausible when set there. The two lead characters in my novel are a mysterious man by the name of Emerson, who fought in the war as a boy, and a fearless seventeen year-old orphan named Kittie. Both might seem like accumulations of the rich histories of real people yet when you line them up against those who really witnessed the war, you realise the fiction pales in comparison to the fact. I was always obsessed with tales of Arthurian knights when I was younger. The storybooks and toy swords eventually disappeared as I grew up. Yet this love of lives knitted together by poetic

expression and rich experience was rekindled with the Civil War. From soldiers’ confrontations of their own honour and fear, to the women who dressed as men to fight, the war is filled with extraordinarily bold truths. There is, of course, a harsh reality to each one. There is slow death and deep sorrow and an overwhelming sense that this was a war many considered futile. Perhaps the one prevailing story is that over 600,000 people lost their lives in the fighting. Yet beneath this tragic surface is a foundation of hope. To read of a terrifying battle on one page only to be moved by humour and spirit on the next - that is to read of the Civil War. Research turned to interest long ago, meaning that whilst the writing is done, I am still dedicating my time to reading about it. This is because, whilst it is a very American war, its appeal is in its hope and humanity; something we all of us, regardless of our nationalities, can relate to.


could never keep my French prepositions straight. SUR la plage was the only one I could remember thanks to the song. Now I will never forget DANS le noir thanks to the restaurant. “In the dark” conjures up so many images and eating in pitch black, guided by blind waiters, totally lit my fire. My guest, a Norwegian sheep farmer, was terrified! The concept was developed by Edouard de Broglie of Ethic Investment Group to raise awareness for the blind. It certainly raised mine. One is greeted in a lounge by friendly, sighted personnel. The menu, developed by Chef Olivier Romain offers a choice of fish and seafood, vegetarian, meat or chef’s surprise and options from 2 courses at £46 to a 5 course tasting menu at £89. We chose the fish degustation package for £72 which included a cocktail, 3 courses, 2 glasses of wine, water and coffee or tea. We were presented to our blind waiter and, hand on shoulder, heart

aflutter, led through a double set of curtains and…blackout. Total. Plenty of noise from the other diners, but not a single ray of light We were seated at the end of a communal table and informed that our napkin and cutlery were directly in front of us. I felt my way on the table and found my napkin but no cutlery. Turns out the woman next to me had taken it. I thought, “Great! Here I am, defenceless in the dark, and I’m sitting next to a klepto!” With a bit of fumbling, we got ourselves sorted and started on the small talk. Jen and Rob told us they were solicitors in training. I said I looked exactly like Brad Pitt. They were lovely. I’m a liar. We had a ball. Our cocktail arrived. A bit like rum punch without the punch. In fact, nothing I ate or drank knocked me out. I had expected a culinary journey that would awaken my 4 under developed senses and I got nothing like it. No taste explosions, flash of hot

Left: Edouard De Broglie Right: being led to table

30 – 31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU

Dans Le Noir ‘Surprise’ cocktail

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Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick

or cold, unexpected crunch or waft of something indiscernible. Potato with mackerel, smoked salmon with a dill buckwheat crêpe, smoked haddock pie and sea bass were all too alike in taste and texture. Pears, seemingly poached in water, were devoid of taste. A blended white wine was drinkable, a Moscato d’Asti wasn’t. What I did get was a fascinating experience. I was amazed at how well I could eat and drink. Occasionally I got an unexpectedly large mouthful but I never spilled or dribbled. Closing my eyes was easier than straining to see nothing. Separating conversation from residual noise was difficult. Most unexpected were our dinner companions Jen and Rob. I hadn’t judged or made assumptions based on their looks and they were delightful. Out in the light, they were still delightful. And polite enough not to mention that I in fact look exactly like George Clooney!

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Left: the Terrace Right: Spaghetti with whole lobster

29 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 0NZ


of restaurants close their doors in the first year. Of the remainder, the average life-span is 5 years. Santini has survived for 32! RESPECT! Such longevity is mothered by reinvention. Laura Santtini recently took over from her father. This generational change inspired a refurbishment. The new ‘Butterfly Bar’ and private dining room combine contemporary Italian design with the classic standards of food and service that Santini is known for. Beautiful. The silver stools in the new bar are sensational. Like magnets, they pull you to this liquid oasis. Once there, the charm of mixologist Fabio Frittoli will most likely keep you on your silver seat. If not, one of his signature cocktails will! The rest of the staff were equally charming and attentive. With quality food and the Belgravia location, SURPRISE… it’s expensive. First a delightfully crisp Sicilian flatbread with olive oil and salt arrived at the table. Amazing how


The American Left: pouring cocktails at the bar Right: Carciofi Santini

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Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick

flour and water in the right hands can taste so good. The cherry tomato focaccia was equally good. The 99% Italian wine list is stunning but will soon get a more varied upgrade. Bottles range from £32 - £1210. We settled on a Barolo Serralunga d’Alba, 2011 (£76). Very dry, dark and spicy with clove, licorice and earthy fruit. A mound of Zucchine Fritte (£8) with pecorino and umami pepper is the way to have one of your 5-aday! Crisp, light as air and beautifully seasoned. We’ll ignore the deep fried part! Carciofi Santini (£17) is a must have! A huge, slow cooked globe artichoke with what can only be described as gorgeous gravy. Silky, savory and thank God I still had some focaccia to sop it up with. There is more than enough for 2, but next time I won’t share! The pasta special of the day was gnocchi with pecorino cream and black truffle. Super light semolina dumplings and the earthy taste of truffle in abundance. Followed with

a sip of Barolo and it doesn’t get much better. Costoletta alla Milanese (£36), breaded, wafer thin veal, served on the bone was a striking presentation. Perhaps too simple, with just a pat of butter and lemon, it paled next to the other, bold flavors. Gamberoni Giganti (£45) was simplicity at its best. Huge, sweet prawns, chargrilled in the shell, the acid of white wine and the heat of chili. For dessert, Amalfi lemon crema with roasted fruits (£9) was madly intense. The cream, similar to a posset, was a bomb of sweet and sour and the fruits, particularly the cherries, exploded with flavor. Ananas e cioccolato (£8.50) was our favorite; much lighter after such a big meal. I am not always a fan of chocolate and fruit. In the wrong combination, it can be jarring. Here it was wonderful with perfectly ripe pineapple and lovely bits of spice. In Gino Santin’s day, this was a favorite jaunt of ol’ blue eyes. Now his daughter is doing it her way!


Have fun with your nearest and dearest, yet still have some grown-up time for yourselves. We offer our guests an unstuffy mix of elegant yet comfortable interiors, fantastic seasonal food, pampering spa treatments, extensive gardens and even a complimentary crèche. Bliss!


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A plate of European cheeses


ftentimes I review new restaurants so don’t often get to a restaurant as well established as Trinity. With the addition of a new floor, ‘Upstairs at Trinity’, my luck was in. Hopefully next year, they will dig out the cellar! Chef/owner Adam Byatt has long been recognized as one of London’s top chefs. He also has his finger on London’s pulse. Informal, with tapas sized plates meant for sharing, high communal tables and stools all tick the trendy boxes. Personally, I look forward to the return of private tables and my feet on the floor, but never mind. The food is exceptional and I would happily eat it standing, sitting or bent over backwards. Byatt commissioned Icelandic born artist, Kristjana S Williams to create a piece for the new space. Good move! Williams covered one wall with 3 ‘islands’ of brightly colored flora and fauna set behind a patchwork of hexagonal glass. The meaning behind her apparent whimsy is inspired by the artistic plating of food. In 3D, it invites you


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to look deeper. There is something primordial about it. It conjures images of Pangaea breaking apart, sending all the earth’s edible species on their separate journeys, some of which end happily in the capable hands of Chef Byatt and onto my plate. Brilliant! DOC burrata, spiced aubergine, chili, mint and fried bread (£9) was equally inspired. The highest quality cheese, eggplant bursting with flavor and a bit of salty crunch. Soused and charred mackerel, cucumber and chamomile (£8) reminded me of the glories of pickled herring. The char added a new dimension and the cucumber cream made it sing. BBQ pork belly, cockles, saffron and black olive (£12), a Portuguese classic, hits new heights. The belly, cooked to tender perfection was pressed, giving it a terrine-like consistency and the sauce, silky and sublime. Fish stew for two, BBQ scallop and seaweed aioli (£32) is Byatt’s bouillabaisse. The presentation is stunning

Left: Adam in the upstairs kitchen

4 The Polygon, London SW4 0JG

Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick with scallops and oysters in their shells. Full of fish and a briny bisque, it’s a super dish though the price put it outside the upstairs ethos. Red deer loin, chestnuts, artichoke and truffle (£15) is Byatt at his best. After several incarnations, I believe it has achieved Nirvana! Perfectly pink venison, the raw earthy crunch of Jerusalem artichoke, ceps and truffle emulsion is autumn on a plate. To die for! We chose a St. Veran and Pinot Noir by the glass in an attempt to pair our wines to our menu. This proved a mistake as neither wine lived up to the food. Next time I will choose a bottle from the exceptional wine list though I would prefer to see flights of wine on offer. Set custard, quince and praline (£5) was sweet and sweet, offering neither contrast nor the flavor bomb I had come to expect. Chocolate cremosa and salt caramel ice cream (£6) was back on track to cloud 9. Love at first bite. Service is top. Now, about that cellar…

Left: Suite Right: entrance Left: the Martini Library Right: afternoon tea

50-62 Great Cumberland Place, London W1H 7FD



s far as I know Sir Winston Churchill never stayed here, but if he had I reckon he’d have written this in the visitors’ book (the Second World War equivalent of TripAdvisor): The Arch London is “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a boutique hotel”. It ticks all the boutique boxes: “Stylish” - check. “Small, between 10 and 100 rooms” - check, at the upper end. “Upscale accommodation” - check. “Situated in a fashionable urban location or unique setting” - double check. And yet it rises above the norm of boutique hotels, which too often aim at ‘quirky’ at the expense of being, well, just a great hotel. Not a trap The Arch falls into. It’s independently owned, evident from the attention I was given by the staff. It’s not the level of service - with prices running from £282 for a double room to £626 for a suite I’d expect high - but the ‘feel’. I’d not stayed at The Arch before, although we’ve reviewed Head Chef Gary Durrant’s HUNter 486 restaurant fully in a previous edition and suffice

to say the food’s still great (btw it’s not a typo - HUNter was the building’s original phone dialling code). But from the moment I walked in the concierge, manager, bus boy and waiters made me feel that I was a returning and favorite guest. Friendly, not false. Attentive but never over-the-shoulder overbearing. A neat trick for a busy city center hotel. Even dogs are welcomed, with a walking service provided. Shame I didn’t have one with me. Art lovers get a special treat too. Head Concierge Theo Dubroy shares his knowledge by planning itineraries for art enthusiasts. Specially curated works by British artists are dotted around the guest rooms and public areas and Vincent Poole’s collage New Shoes currently welcomes guests at the entrance and Peter Defty’s black and white Alphatecture prints run the length of the hall leading towards the Martini Library. The public rooms, like the bedrooms, are warmly individual without working too hard to be ‘unusual’. For true boutique status a hotel

Reviewed by Michael Burland

should be slightly unusual. The Arch’s 82 rooms (including 11 suites) are arranged over four floors, and not in an anonymous modern block. The hotel is actually a seamless blend of seven white Grade II-listed Georgian townhouses and a couple of mews homes. Incidentally the floors are numbered, one, two, three and five - four is an unlucky number in some Asian cultures. A danger with ‘boutique’ is that style overwhelms function - not a problem here. My 366 square foot Executive Junior Suite, decorated like all the rooms with with bespoke hand-painted wallpaper, also included a large bathroom the equal of any I’ve stayed in and the bed was so comfy I slept well, not always the case on the first night of a stay. As for that “fashionable, urban, unique location,” The Arch is set between Marble Arch and Marylebone, a stone’s throw from shopper’s paradise Bond Street, Hyde Park and the (current) US Embassy - and it faces Madonna’s London home. In a phrase, boutique but better.

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Cellar Talk

Looking from Reception toward The Judgement of Paris painting in the dining room, through the glass-encased vault.

California Wine Festival, May 13 - 14 RG20 8JU at The Vineyard Hotel Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire By Sabrina Sully T

his gem of a hotel & spa is a temple to California wine, comfort and fine dining. Add its proximity to London (on the Hampshire/Berkshire border), their exclusive relationship for guest access to nearby Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), and their renowned California wine masterclasses, tastings and Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses, and you’ll wonder why you’ve never been before. When Virginia lived in London she was a frequent visitor, need I say more! Wine is at the heart of this hotel, literally, it’s a strange experience walking over a glass floor through the wine vault to reach the dining room. Owned by Sir Peter Michael and family, who also have the highly regarded Peter Michael winery in Sonoma County (the main property is on the southwest slopes of Mount St. Helena, about eight miles north of Calistoga, just past the far north end of Napa Valley), this unstuffy, 5 star Relais & Chateau hotel boasts over 30,000 bottles in the cellars, 3,000 bins, 100 wines to drink by the glass, an extremely knowledgeable Head Sommelier Romain Bourger and a helpful Californian sommelier who speaks perfect American! The


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food is no slouch either. And there are 32 suites and 17 bedrooms, all luxuriously elegant and named after iconic wines from around the world. The hotel excels at the little, personal touches that count - a personal note of the next day’s weather forecast on a slip of paper on the turned down bed, superb discreet service everywhere. Every year The Vineyard holds a wonderful two-day festival (bookable separately), comprising The Peter Michael Winery dinner and California Wine Tasting. The dinner, hosted by the family, is a 5 course meal with matched wines mainly from their winery. Last year my favorite course was the Black Risotto with roasted hand dive scallop, paired with a big red - the PMW Fort Ross, Sonoma Coast ‘Le Caprice’ Pinot Noir, 2011(a big wine where a floral nose and raspberries stand back to reveal blackberries, and a combination of spice and flint that for me makes the perfect red wine). I would walk 500 miles to have this course again - every day. Silky, tasty risotto and the sweetest scallop I’ve ever tasted, sourced from Scottish islands - the colder the water, the sweeter the scallop, as Michelin-

starred Head Chef, Daniel Galmiche told me. (Daniel left at the end of January, with Robby Jenks steppng into his shoes from another Relais & Chateaux hotel, Amberley Castle.) I haven’t room to detail the other courses, but of note was the cheesepaired wine - PMW Knights Valley Les Pavots Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011. 80% Sauvignon, blended with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a touch of spice from a little Petit Verdot, (blackcurrant with herb and spice). The wine tasting starts at a leisurely 11am, with over 50 Californian wines from various regions throughout California, including Peter Michael Winery, Benovia, Ferrari-Carano, Waterstone, Honig Vineyards and Rudd Estate. Winery owners and representatives will be there too, so you can ask them anything about their wines as you sip, and place your order, if you wish. And then there’s the sumptuous 40th anniversary annual dinner (May 28) which celebrates the Judgement of Paris, when Californian wines comprehensively beat French wines at a prestigious blind tasting. I love this place, Virginia! There are events & special packages throughout the year see

The Adelphi Building 1-11 John Adam Street WC2N 6HT London

Bookings: 020 7321 6007

Dan Flavin, untitled (in honor of Harold Joachim) 3, 1977 pink, yellow, blue, and green fluorescent light 8 ft square across a corner © 2016 STEPHEN


Dan Flavin: It is what it is and it ain’t nothing else George Butler, Scene1 for Hoover, (children examine burned out Syrian Army tank), 2012 pen, ink and watercolor on paper, drawn in situ, Azaz, Syria © GEORGE BUTLER

Broadway Arts Festival

Broadway, The Cotswolds, Worcestershire, WR12 June 3 to 19 The charming, biennial Broadway Arts Festival has its origin in the late 19th century, when the famous American artist John Singer Sargent paid many visits to this classic Cotswold village and during his time here painted his ‘en plein air’ masterpiece Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. It is a celebration of the spirit of that age, when the Broadway Colony flourished and many distinguished artists, musicians and authors spent time together in this beautiful Cotswolds village. This year there are a selection of art exhibitions and master classes, a Patrick Lichfield photograph exhibition, art workshops, talks, and musical events including ‘Conflict’,


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an exhibition of paintings and mixed media from 150 finalists of the Open Art Competition. Talks include war artist George Butler (June 16) who walked from Turkey to Syria and became an unofficial guest of the rebel Free Syrian Army; former director of The National Portrait Gallery, Singer Sargent expert and great nephew, Richard Ormond (June 3); and BAF Patron, art historian, museum curator, writer, broadcaster and landscape designer, Sir Roy Strong (June 4) on the search for Shakespeare’s Garden.

Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace Birmingham B1 2HS to June 26 A major exhibition of fluorescent light works by American minimalist artist Dan Flavin (1933–1996), famous for creating sculptural objects and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures. After studying at Columbia University in the late 1950s, Flavin became acquainted with other emerging American artists whose work contrasted to Abstract Expressionism, including Sol LeWitt, Robert Ryman, Frank Stella, Barnett Newman and Donald Judd. He was especially close to the latter – both sharing an interest in artworks that refer to nothing but their factual presence, with an emphasis on industrial materials and intense color, and significantly he dedicated a number of works to Judd. Patrick Lichfield, Dean Martin, 1974 California, black and white photo ©PATRICK LICHFIELD

DON’T MISS ... Impressionism: Capturing Life

The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB to June 5

Bill Jacklin, Sun, Rain and Snow over Fifth Avenue II, 2015 oil on canvas, 36 x 36 cm ©BILL JACKLIN, COURTESY MARLBOROUGH FINE ART, LONDON

Bill Jacklin: Paintings & Monotypes Marlborough Fine Art, 6 Albemarle St, London W1S 4BY May 6 to June 7

Englishman in New York, Bill Jacklin RA, found his oeuvre in his adopted city, spending the last three decades painting haunting ‘urban portraits’ of it in all its moods and tempers, guises and glory, from large-scale canvases of crowds in flux to intimate moments of Seurat-like etchings. The exhibition coincides with Jacklin’s solo show of graphic works, A survey of Graphic work from the Sixties to the Present, round the corner at the Royal Academy (June 3 to August 28), and the publication of two new books: Bill Jacklin: Graphics (RA Publications, 2016) and Bill Jacklin’s New York (Scala, 2016) featuring an introduction by Sting and interview with Michael Peppiatt. Book signings at both venues on the first evening, 6 - 8pm. Alex Katz, Sunset 5, 2008 Oil on linen 274.3 x 487.7 cm; © ALEX KATZ, DACS, LONDON/VAGA, NEW YORK 2016, COURTESY OF GAVIN BROWN’S ENTERPRISE

Alex Katz

Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA June 2 to Sept 11 (not July 6 or July 7 a.m.) This exhibition of American artist Alex Katz’s work (b. 1927, New York) takes landscape as its focus, bringing together his recent output alongside select works from the past two decades. They exemplify his life-long quest to capture the present tense in paint. Regardless of their scale, Katz describes these paintings as ‘environmental’ in the way in which they envelop the viewer. Influenced by films, billboard advertising, music, poetry and his close circle of friends and family. His portraits and landscapes are characterised by their flatness of color and fluidity of line.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Young Woman Seated, 1876 66 x 51 cm, Oil on canvas


This exhibition focuses on figurative paintings by artists who exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 in Paris, including Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. Twenty oil paintings feature alongside eight works on paper from the Holburne Collection by the important but often overlooked British Impressionist Sir George Clausen, foundermember of the New English Art Club. The audio guide has interviews with the exhibition’s curator Jennifer Scott, and artist Stephen Farthing, RA, discussing highlights including Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood by John Singer Sargent, Young Woman Seated by PierreAuguste Renoir and Mary Cassatt’s The Young Girls.

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Kirstin Chávez

London is a wonderful, fairytale land, says the Albuquerque-born star mezzo-soprano


elcome to London, Kirstin! What does it mean to you to play in the UK as a solo artist? For me, singing at Cadogan Hall is truly a dream come true. I have long been an ardent fan of British culture and tradition (having grown up in a former British colony!) and came to visit many times from the age of 10. I was blessed to make my UK opera début at the Royal Opera House in 2014, and now I will make my UK concert début in the gorgeous home of the Royal Philharmonic. I am so Kirstin Chavez in her signature role, Carmen. Painting by Bill Wilson


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looking forward to basking in this beautiful space that has a sacred and beautiful history of its own. And, the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells will be such a joy to perform in, especially after its recent renovation! I cannot wait to have my concerts in the greater London area, as this is a great personal and professional milestone for me. What can audiences expect? I believe that our audience members can expect to have their hearts warmed and enlivened by this concert, ‘A World of Love.’ In my life, I have learned that the greatest gift that we can give and the greatest that we can receive is Love, and I can think of no finer way to celebrate Love than with these marvelous melodies from around the world. Each of the composers expresses his thoughts about Love in distinctly different ways; ways that often reflect their own unique cultures, or cultures that they admire from afar. And the poets who have been featured each have a tremendous gift for bringing color and bright imagery to their texts, thus further enhancing our listeners’ sensory experiences. I hope that every person who comes to this concert will feel that they have been embraced and moved by the many facets of Love that our world has to offer. What inspired your selection of

songs? Selfishly, I selected some of my most favorite composers and melodies; songs I felt that I could truly invest myself in; songs that I wanted to offer as a gift to my listeners. I believe that, now more than ever before in our history, we need to be inspired to believe that Love matters, and matters above all else. As an American who’s spent a lot of time abroad, how has living away from the US affected your life? I cannot imagine how my life would be now if I had simply grown up in the US, like so many of my fellow countrymen, but I can see clearly that, because of my childhood in a foreign land, my life is infinitely richer and more colorful than it might have otherwise been. Having experienced so many other cultures at such a young age has surely made me much more accepting and tolerant of all things different, and I find delight in learning about the wonderful things that make each of us so unique. I am always eager to encounter new people and new places and to experience different ways of doing things and I have no doubt that this has contributed enormously to my growth as a person and as an artist. Has music always been an important part of your life, and what brought you to Opera?

By the age of 5, my father was already teaching me some of the Spanish American folk songs which had become an important part of his life, and of which he had made several professional recordings. His lovely lyric baritone lulled me into a love of music which will never fade, and which helped to fuel my own firm decision, by the age of 9, to become a professional singer, myself. Given that my largest experience in childhood was with folk music and musical theater, I was fairly certain that I would make my way, somehow, to Broadway, but, as my studies continued at the University and I became more exposed to classical art song, symphonic music and opera, I realized that my life would be more fulfilling to me as a classical musician. I saw my first opera at the age of 19 (The Barber of Seville by Rossini) and I was completely enamored right away! I laughed, I loved the story, the music was so delightful and the characters so amusing! I was hooked right away, and have never looked back! What’s it like to be an American in the UK, and is there anything you like to do when you’re in Britain, especially London? London fills me with awe. My favorite thing to do in London is to walk long and as far as possible, to discover new neighborhoods, new buildings, new gardens; everything delights me! For me, coming to London is not so much like ‘coming home’ as it is like visiting a wonderful, fairytale land, full of wonder. It is one of my four favorite cities on the planet and I always feel so lucky when I get to have time there. Oddly, as an American

singer, it can be a bit challenging to get invited to come sing in the UK, and I am ardently hoping that my engagements with the Royal Opera House and the Welsh National Opera can be just the first of many more UK engagements to come. The UK is, quite simply, one of my very favorite places to be. What’s the best thing about being Kirstin Chávez? Wow!!! Do I get to pick only ONE thing? Well, if it has to be only one, my answer is clear. The best thing about living this life as Kirstin Chávez is that, wherever I go, I am among friends. I think that is the very greatest blessing this Life could offer. Because of my many travels, I now have extended

“Family” all over the world: in Malaysia, in the UK, in France, in Sweden, in Germany, in Mexico, in Australia, in Japan, in China, in Taiwan, in Canada, and all over the United States. And so, as the years go on, my Life seems to be spent trying to get back to visit my “family” that are spread far and wide and, along the way, I just seem to find NEW family members. It is an extraordinary existence to feel, to know, that I am always with people I love and who love me. It sure gives me a LOT to sing about. Kirstin Chávez is in concert on June 15th at Cadogan Hall, London and 19th Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

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Chris Peluso

The star of Show Boat on the show’s revolutionary structure, songs and racial issues – plus travel tips for frequent flyer dogs!


n London to star in a new production of Show Boat is musical actor and heartthrob Chris Peluso. But unlike many American actors he’s not ‘straight off the boat’. Chris has been here for a year, having recently starred in Miss Saigon. Chris was born in Pittsburgh, PA, then studied Musical Theater at the University of Michigan. He didn’t finish his course there for the very good reason that he got a professional engagement – the 2004 Broadway revival of Sondheim’s Assassins. “I was thrilled that was my first experience in New York,” he says. “I worked with Stephen Sondheim and all these incredible actors like Michael Cerveris and Denis O’Hare in my first job. It put the bar so high. You think, ‘This is how theater is, you win a Tony award for Best Revival!’ Obviously not every production is like that! But it was such a great starter for my career.” (Ten years later Chris went


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back to Michigan and got his degree.) Chris did not come from a family of thespians. “No, it was sort of out of nowhere,” he laughs. “When I was a little kid I listened to music with my mom and I imitated the singers all the time. I think Elvis Presley was the first! Because I was such a little ham, my mother wrote me an act for the local talent show. Someone saw me and invited me to be in a performing group in Pittsburgh, North Star Kids. I did that for about a year then I moved on to a bigger regional theater, the Pittsburgh CLO. I trained there from about 7th grade up until 12th grade. I’d be in regular school classes all day, then do acting, singing and dance at night, five days a week. It didn’t feel like work! My dance teacher there became my mentor and got me thinking I could have a career in theater.” Musical became his key word. Chris has starred in Les Misérables, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Wicked, Mamma Mia, Miss Saigon, and now Show Boat. “There’s something about the power of music that moves us,” he says. “It’s the marrying of storytelling with song, when it’s done in a masterful way in musical theater it’s so powerful, like in in Show Boat - Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern are two of the best ever.” Chris’ tenure in Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre playing (conveniently) Chris, a young American GI – was that his first time in London? “It was my first time in the UK

actually. I’d really only been to Europe one time before that on a mini oneweek vacation when I was a kid. I fell in love with Britain, and with Europe. So as soon as Miss Saigon was closing I was looking for a reason to stay. This audition magically showed up in my last two weeks here. I had two weeks in between Miss Saigon and Show Boat. And as soon as this show closes, the first thing I’m going to do is apply for a Tier 1 visa.” Chris isn’t alone on his travels. “Oh yeah, Peety!” Chris exclaims, then explains “He’s my 10 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He goes everywhere I go. I will not take a job that doesn’t let me bring Peety with me. This show is allowing me to bring him to the dressing room on twoshow days so he can hang out and be walked after the shows. You can come see him at the stage door! He’s the best traveler, he loves his travel bag – he associates it with new and

Chris Peluso as Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat, below, and above with Gina Beck as Magnolia Hawks

happy experiences. He travels in the cabin with me, under the seat – that means I have to fly to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport then get a pet taxi from Paris to London. For any Americans who want to travel with their pets, it’s actually a lot cheaper than paying for cargo!” Now an old London hand, does Chris notice any similarities between the capital and New York City? “The magnitude of the buildings – it’s much bigger in New York, although London is catching up. Part of the charm is the beautiful older buildings and the street layout. It may not be the best for cars, but it’s awesome for pedestrians. “If there’s anything I miss about the States, it’s probably Pittsburgh, and the wilderness of Pennsylvania, upstate New York and the Appalachian Trail. I love the parks in London though – Hyde Park and Regents Park are some of the best I’ve been to anywhere. And I hear the Lake District is gorgeous, that’ll be one of my holidays here.”

Show Boat

Most people have heard of Show Boat, but it hasn’t been put on as

often as some other musicals. How would Chris describe it? “The most prominent theme is race. Hammerstein and Kern are talking so artfully against these antiquated, terrible laws that still existed. It was written in 1927, when it was illegal to be married to someone of another race, or even for African Americans to perform on stage with white people. It was brave, a strong statement to make in a show that’s trying to sell tickets. “Americans should see Show Boat partly to see where our current racial tensions come from. We’re in a time that promotes equality and our President is black, but it’s not that long ago. And it doesn’t just go away. Generations are taught about how they were treated. It takes time and patience, and an understanding that I don’t think we have in our current conversation in the United States. “Show Boat was also revolutionary because of the way the story was told. The singing is fully integrated with the dramatic action, and furthers it in many cases, like in ‘You Are Love’ – at the beginning of the song Ravenal proposes, and at the end he gets his answer. That didn’t exist


before Show Boat.” Chris plays Gaylord Ravenal, a riverboat gambler who has only 24 hours to stay in town after a previous incident – he’s obviously a bit of a bad boy. He falls hard for the riverboat captain’s daughter, but his old roguish ways of drinking and gambling catch up with him and he runs off to Chicago, ditching his wife and child. In all this talk of addiction, politics and history we shouldn’t forget that Show Boat is a beautiful production with some great songs. “To me it’s one of the best scores ever written: ‘Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man’, ‘You Are Love’, ‘Ol’ Man River’ – my favorite song from any musical, they’re some of the best music and lyrics ever written. And there are some great dances too. There are serious issues, but some real joy too.“ Is Gaylord redeemed? Does all end well? See the show and find out, and maybe learn an important slice of American history along the way. One final question: what’s the best thing about being Chris Peluso? “The best thing about being me getting the time to spend with my dog. He’s so incredible and everybody falls in love with him.”

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Garsington Opera C

ountry House Opera is booming and one of the leaders in the field is Garsington Opera, which holds its summer festival in the months of June and July in the midst of the rolling Chiltern Hills. Performances take place in the spectacular Opera Pavilion on the Wormsley Estate, home of the Getty family, an hour from London and 20 minutes from Oxford. Garsington Opera was founded in 1989 by the late Leonard Ingrams and his wife Rosalind at Garsington Manor, near Oxford, an Elizabethan mansion renowned for its ravishing gardens and infamous former owner Lady Ottoline Morrell. Since 2011 Garsington Opera is based on the Getty family estate, set deep in the Wormsley valley and home of the famous Getty Library. In a fold of the woods across from the late Sir Paul Getty’s beloved Cricket Ground an elegant Opera Pavilion, based on the Japanese-style Kabuki pavilions, was


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erected. Purpose-built, with superb acoustics and comfortable seating, the audience are able to look out onto the landscape beyond. There is a long dinner interval when patrons can picnic in the Deer Park or have a three-course dinner in one of the beautifully dressed restaurant marquees. Garsington Opera engages the very best performers from around the world, as well as showcasing rising stars from within Britain. Singers work with directors and conductors of distinction and the Garsington Opera Orchestra provides the artistic core of the festival’s performances, with many of the musicians having played with the company for over 20 years. Their contribution and the enthusiasm and vibrancy of the Garsington Opera Chorus, most of whom are just out of music conservatoires, are integral to the Garsington Opera experience. Garsington Opera presents its

27th season, which runs from 3 June to 17 July. It will present Tchaikovsky’s powerful Eugene Onegin, Mozart’s great opera seria Idomeneo, Rossini’s sparkling L’italiana in Algeri, and an innovative collaboration with Rambert, one of Britain’s leading dance companies, with a unique realisation of Haydn’s The Creation combining music and dance. To find out more about membership and to book tickets, please visit or call the Box Office on 01865 361636. What the press say: It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic outdoor setting for an opera production than Wormsley - New York Times A glassy , light-filled pavilion theatre which achieves an intimacy rarely possible at any other performance of such world-class calibre. - Independent


4 great comps for you this time! And it couldn’t be easier to enter. Simply email with the competition name - ROYAL ASCOT, NEIL YOUNG, DAUGHTRY or BILL CLINTON HERCULES - in the subject line, and your answer and contact details in the text. Check the deadline for entries carefully. Only one entry per person per draw. The editor’s decision is final. No cash alternative. You are responsible for any travel, accomodation or other expenses.


Prize: A pair of Queen Anne Enclosure tickets for Royal Ascot on Wednesday the 15th June 2016 To buy tickets visit

QUESTION Royal Ascot was founded by Queen Anne in which century? A) 17th century B) 18th century C) 19th century Deadline: May 30th


Prize: A pair of tickets to one of Neil Young + Promise Of The Real’s 2016 UK tour dates: June 5th Glasgow, The SEE Hydro; 10th First Direct Arena, Leeds; or 11th, London O2 Arena.


Prize: A pair of tickets to the European premier of Bill Clinton Hercules, performed and directed by US citizens, and written by a member of Clinton’s counsel on the Paula Jones case. Tickets:

QUESTION Neil Young’s famous Gibson Les Paul guitar is known as what? A) Old Black B) Old Blue C) Old Yeller Deadline: May 27th

QUESTION Which UK University did Bill Clinton attend? A) Oxford B) Cambridge C) Westminster Deadline: May 14th


Prize: A pair of tickets to see Daughtry - May 21st Birmingham, O2 Academy; 22nd Manchester Academy; 24th & 25th Glasgow, O2 ABC.

QUESTION On which television program did Chris Daughtry rise to fame? A) The X Factor B) America’s Got Talent C) American Idol Deadline: May 14th

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55 55

Off the King’s Road with Neil Koenigsberg Not just a Chelsea location, Off the King’s Road is a new play about ‘life, death and the whole damn thing’


ou may know Neil Koenigsberg as a heavy hitter in the entertainment world, but maybe not in his current role of playwright. The ‘K’ in the mega-publicity firm PMK, producer of movies like Tab Hunter Confidential and manager of Jeff Bridges, Ed Harris, Ally Sheedy and Amy Madigan among others, Koenigsberg has, in his 70s, achieved another ambition and become a playwright. His play, Off the King’s Road, has had runs in New York then LA and now comes to London. The star of the production is the London-resident American actor Michael Brandon, who you’ll remember from Episodes, Captain America, Dempsey and Makepeace and Jerry Springer The Opera. The two go way back. “We went to high school together in New York City, and both decided to go into show business,” says Neil. “Little did we know that our careers and our lives would intertwine. Out of high school, going to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, his first little role was on Broadway with Al Pacino and I was there. I would see every movie and television show and play he was in. I went to Boston University and got my BA in film and com-


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munication. I would come to London on business and see him, because he’s lived there for over 20 years. He’d see me in LA and New York. We stayed great friends. I became a publicist then a talent manager and documentary producer, and now I write plays. I always had the urge to be creative, that’s probably why I left the PR company – it had got so big. “Off the King’s Road is set in London and my dream was always to put it on there, but anyone who’s crea-

tive gets used to being rejected all the time so I thought it would never happen. Then Michael, who saw the play in New York, said he’d be perfect to do it as he’s an American who lives in London and he submitted it to a few places. We did a reading of it two years ago in a festival and it went pretty well, then Michael found an investor and the Jermyn Street Theatre were interested so we got it together really quickly. “Here are these two kids from New York who never lost touch, now I’m flying over to my teenage friend and he’s starring in my play. “I love London, I’ve been there for business or pleasure over 50 times, but the play is not my story, it’s a composite. It’s about a man who lives in LA. His wife has just died, he’s in mourning, and the story is about why he’s in a hotel in Chelsea, London, and the characters he meets. I do stay in a little hotel off the King’s Road, but this is not that hotel, it’s fictionalized. But the play reflects my passions for London and affections for Britain.” Off The Kings Road is at Jermyn Street Theatre, London from June 1st to 25th, 2016

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2 016 S E A S ON · 3 J U N E – 17 J U LY



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Joseph Haydn In collaboration with Rambert



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Gioachino Rossini





By Christopher Marlowe Duke of York’s Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4BG 0844 871 7627 Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell ©MARC BRENNER


here are lines at the stage door heralding the arrival of a Star. It is Kit Harington from Game of Thrones. Not bad going for a young actor who isn’t actually a movie star, yet. The vehicle for this hysteria is provided by wunderkind director, Jamie Lloyd. With his own company (a joint venture with ATG) in residency at the Trafalgar Studios, he has produced a string of artistic and commercial hits (The Maids, The Ruling Class, Richard III, The Pride, The Hothouse and Macbeth) which have demonstrated an impresario’s knack for matching the latest hot talent to the right play. All have struck a chord with a younger audience demographic. Here again the crowd is young and trendy, more Shoreditch than Shaftesbury Ave. The hitch this time is the choice of play. Marlowe’s 1592 play is not done very often, for good reason. While most are familiar with the concept of a Faustian Pact, for this play to work nowadays you do need to understand what fear of “Satan and all his empty promises” might feel like. Exploring themes such as the dangers of necromancy or ‘predestination’ are a tall order in our cynical age. Faustus (Harington) makes a pact with Lucifer (Forbes Masson), selling his soul in return for the ability to perform anything he pleases with the power of black magic. This fatal


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decision catapults him into an intoxicating world of celebrity in this contemporary translation. He becomes a world renowned conjuror, with a residency in Vegas (think David Blaine) and an international heartthrob with Bono-like access to everyone who matters. It’s an interesting interpretation but four hundred years ago selling your soul was a much bigger deal than, say, signing your career away to a record company today. With the former you burned in hell for eternity; with the latter there is always I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. References from film, pop, and tv illuminate Lloyd’s texts in a vibrantly direct way. As here, he often mics his actors giving flight to the imagination of his sound designers. Fans of Game of Thrones won’t be disappointed. There’s stabbing, gouging, molesting, raping, waterboarding, drug taking, polymorphous perversity and of course nudity, usually for no apparent reason. Unlike Game, it has a merciful lightness of touch however. Soutra Gilmour’s designs are, as usual, brilliant. The aesthetic is Breaking Bad crossed with Theatre of Cruelty - a grimy bedsit where dangerous plots are conceived and potions concocted. Whole characters and the middle acts of the play have been dropped in Colin Teevan’s pleasingly disrespect-

ful adaptation. He also peppers it with contemporary references, most of which ring true. This gives time to develop the theme of Faustus as conjurer-rock star and to have some fun, with levitation and lots of air guitar. Supporting cast are top notch. Jenna Russell, unrecognisable in cropped hair and grunge clothes, is a female Mephistopheles, who literally has Faustus by the balls before long. Like a depressive soothsayer (“God’s creation is the biggest illusion”) she never ceases to remind him about what is in store when the 24 year compact with Satan runs out. Her musical theater talents aren’t wasted either as we get a hilarious ‘90s club karaoke at the interval. Then there is Tom Edden, who again commits grand larceny in a play, when he maniacally re-enacts all the Seven Deadly Sins, as a warning. All this visual and aural frenzy is a delight but it leaves the play rather ravaged, the actors often running to stand still. Harington has to bridge the rather high classicism of the first act with a more ‘street’ style middle section but in the end his star charisma and physical ease see him through, commendable considering his relative lack of stage experience. Fans of Lloyd will know what to expect. Fans of Marlowe had better scuttle away with their texts. 




he stirring soundtrack of an epic movie fades, the lights go up and we’re in the dismal maroon environment of an ailing cinema in Nowhereville, Massachusetts, facing the tipped-up rows of seats with the projection booth at the rear. In come two cleaners, Sam (Matthew Maher) showing newbie Avery (Jaygann Ayeh) the ropes. Over the next three hours we get to know them and projectionist Rose (Louisa Krause) and how they live inbetween the screenings. We watch them sweep and slump and bicker and form alliances which will ebb and flow. Sam is middle-aged and still living at home, by turns hopeful or in a trough of despond. When asked by Avery what he wants to do when he grows up, you feel every ounce of despair in his cry “I am grown up!” For Avery it’s a part-time job to get him through college and back into the world following a suicide attempt. His encyclopaedic knowledge of film leads Sam to test him on six-degrees-of-separation casting games. It passes the time. He has designs on getting into the holy of holies and becoming a

By Annie Baker National Theatre - Dorfman, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX 020 7452 3000 Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

projectionist. Rose, already in the role, clumsily seduces him, mostly out of boredom. She meanwhile has to handle the burden of Sam’s unrequited passion for her. It’s Chekhov but with popcorn under foot. Rose is a spiky young stoner, a coiled spring of anxiety with hair that starts ginger and turns green. In a rare moment of revelation she bemoans how she can’t stay attracted to anyone for more than four months. What singles out Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, which has transferred here from New York in a production by Sam Gold, is how audacious it is in offering us up the ordinary, unadorned. The sheer torpor of this world of minimum wage, no status labor, is something which most writers would steer clear of as undramatic. Nothing happens, but that’s exactly the point. This is no exercise in Beckettian minimalism though. Baker has an admirable command of plot, character and structure. What some might call longeurs are actually what she is getting at. She brings a novelist’s eye for detail in animating

this sad trio, her point being, ordinary is in the eye of the beholder but some people just don’t look. She has talked in interviews about how, when young, she would write down verbatim what people she’d come across actually said. It has borne fruit here because her dialogue and its silence rings true with a delicious familiarity. Nothing is ever artful. Baker set the play in 2013, the year that digital finally swept celluloid from our cinemas for good. Avery, committed to the romance of film, writes a letter to the new owners to object, with fatal consequences for him. Baker wisely never widens the lens beyond this group however. We never meet the cheapskate owner or the guy from head office to engage in these arguments. Our trio, after all, are powerless. The two American cast members, who are well steeped in the roles now, are simply sublime, but they meet their match in a wonderful British newcomer Ayeh. There isn’t a false note between them nor in this masterful, tender and witty play. In short, a gem. 

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Book: Berry Gordy, Music and lyrics: The Motown Catalogue Shaftesbury Theatre, London Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

ard sharks sit at separate tables, we can never be normal”, the It is what it says on the package and if you love the infectious sound of Motown (and who doesn’t) then you won’t be disappointed. Nearly 50 songs are shoehorned into this ultimate jukebox musical. That is both its triumph and its downfall. Berry Gordy, now a sprightly 86, in producing the show and writing the book didn’t want audiences disappointed, but the result is that too many of these great numbers are truncated. With pop songs this polished though it is a shame to snatch them away from the audience incomplete. There also has to be troughs to give the peaks some impact. It is an understandable impulse though because the sheer volume and quality of this music. Motown launched the careers of basically every major African-American pop artist from the ‘60s to the ‘80s: from legends like Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder to stars like Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips. It goes on. The show is bookended by a scene in 1984 where a bitter Gordy is refusing to attend a 25th birthday celebration of the label. We then get a straightforward rendering of Gordy’s story from the time he purchased (on a family loan of $800) the house in Detroit which became Hitsville USA studio, to his being engulfed by the majors who wooed away all his stars. He finally sold to MCA in 1988. Gordy’s only mistake with the show was not to get an outside

writer to shape the material. It commits every sin of a bad book. Characters tell each other who they are and where and as it flits from one act to another we get little hold on any character. A few lesser linking songs are added and while the social upheavals of the ‘60s and ‘70s are referenced, it is a passing glance. Of particular interest is the racism they experienced not just in the South but it the board rooms of LA but there is little time to develop this. There is an awful lot to get through and director Charles Randolph-Wright keeps it moving at a cracking pace. All the technical contributions are top class, especially Peter Hylenski’s sound design. Ethan Popp’s arrangements and Gareth Weedon’s musical direction rise to the challenge of recreating such well-loved numbers on a live stage with unfamiliar performers. All the cast are expertly chosen and the leads are mostly imports from the Broadway production. Cedric Neal brings a nervy energy to Gordy and delivers a bravura 11-o’clock-number ‘Can I Close the Door on Love’. Sifiso Mazibuko oozes charisma as Marvin Gaye and Charl Brown’s Smokey Robinson is as sweet as his voice is unique. The tall order of the evening was playing Miss Ross and Lucy St Louis (now there’s a Vaudeville moniker) nails it. She gets the voice but also, without being given much to work on, delivers a more rounded character. Little Eshan Gopal brings the house down with a winning determination as Michael Jackson. History is written by the victors and tribute shows written by the

subject will inevitably be open to accusations of being partisan, but does it really matter here? In the end it’s about delivering this great music with panache and this they achieve. The real Berry Gordy acknowledged from the stage on opening night how important UK audiences were to him. He described his shocked delight at the sheer warmth of the response they received when they first came here in ‘65. I think that affection still holds. Lucy St Louis as Diana Ross



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s c n a l B Les

By Lorraine Hansberry The National Theatre: Olivier, London SE1 Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell



he African-American playwright Lorraine Hansberry is best known for A Raisin in the Sun, a play which, like Look Back in Anger here, simply altered the course of theater history. Tragically, she died of cancer in 1965 at the age of just 34, and on her deathbed she was working on this play, which is arguably her masterpiece. It is a searing portrait of the collision between white imperialism and black African nationalism and here the great South African (but Canadian based) director Yaël Farber, who made such a splash with The Crucible at the Old Vic last year, makes a powerful case for its importance. Amazingly the play has only had one major production, on Broadway in 1970 starring James Earl Jones. Hansberry’s widower and executor Robert Nemiroff had to shape her drafts into a viable text for that production and now her estate, working with a dramaturg and Farber herself, have collaborated to raise this great play from the ashes. Set in an unnamed African country still under the yolk of colonialism, the plot centres on Tshembe (Danny Sapani in a towering performance) a westernised, African intellectual who returns home for his father’s funeral


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but soon gets sucked in to an armed struggle. The genius of the play is how it simultaneously presents, like some cubist sculpture, the many facets of the post-colonial struggle, all viewed through the prism of the ‘60s civil rights movement, in which Hansberry played a part. Set 20 years earlier, it is remarkable how it speaks to us today. It looks at power and the root causes of political violence and in an era of terrorism scares and phenomena such as #blacklivesmatter it is no mere period piece. We first meet Charlie (Elliot Cowan), an earnest American journalist who arrives at the remote mission hospital (similar to what Albert Schweitzer might have run) with a rose-tinted view of the missionaries and their work. In robust exchanges with Tshembe he is later reminded that “the rape of a continent cannot be erased through a chat over cigarettes and whisky”. Performances throughout are top class with Clive Francis perfect as the snarling British Major. He first appears dragging the bloodied body of a native – on a leash. He explains this is “our home”, concluding that “these people have been here for centuries and done nothing with it”. Anna Madeley is the stoic, if misguided, young doctor and James Fleet is her older, more world-weary colleague. He could have wandered in from a Chekhov play and in a stunning speech he sets us right on the truth about the relationship between missionaries and locals, explaining the benign neglect, which independence movements in neighboring

countries have challenged. The great Siân Phillips is Mme Neilsen, the blind wife of the Scandinavian founder. Horrified by the Major’s brutality, she’s devoted her life to the place and the people but her kindly paternalism will soon be swept away. It is also a play about fathers and sons. Neilsen himself and Tshembe’s father dominate the play as two absent figures. One the father of the mission, the other, someone who struggled his whole life to win selfdetermination through peaceful means, only to be rebuffed. Hansberry is great on how revolutions are fermented only after decades of neglect and thwarted hopes. Tshembe’s conflicted loyalties are reflected too in the different paths of his two brothers. One a Catholic priest who has totally embraced European values; the other, a younger mixed-race half-brother, is a troubled alcoholic rebel, who will fall sway to the insurgents. What you’ll remember of this stunning production though won’t be the politics as much as the sensuous sweep of Farber’s stage pictures. She is one of the greats of modern theater. Soutra Gilmour’s mission hospital rotates on a huge revolve and is itself a skeletal remains. Around it in the dusty and beautifully lit panorama (by Tim Lutkin) the locals appear and disappear. Shelia Atim’s slow-mo appearances as a spectral figure who haunts Tshembe are riveting as is all of Imogen Knight’s exemplary movement direction. It is totally theatrical yet has cinematic sweep. It has both heft and poetry. 


UK & European Première

Begin the adventure today at



ou might think that a play following someone enduring the first month of rehab might not be your idea of a good night out, but you’d be wrong. It is even at times sidesplittingly funny. Duncan Macmillan, who did the acclaimed translation of 1984 for Headlong, developed this one as a collaboration between them and the National Theatre and it was a sell-out at the NT Dorfman last year. It is now deservedly in the West End. The story revolves around Emma (although she also uses other names), a young actress, whose life has been turned upside down by serious drink and drug addiction. Played by Denise Gough, she drives herself to the rehab and first has to endure detox before they can “begin to work on the psychology” as they put it. Jeremy Herrin’s direction of a top notch ensemble cast is spot-on. Bunny Christie’s stunning design also manages to find a perfect visual analogue for Emma’s varying states of mind. Multiple clones of her literally emerge though the porous walls, walls peel, she has double vision and there are blackouts. Sound designer Tom Gibbons also augments her sense of dislocation with brutal, industrial-type beats.

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Gough, who is never off stage, has a raw honesty here which transcends acting. From her initial meltdown while performing in The Seagull, to her evasive and jittery defiance of the clinic staff, to her sober entreaties to her parents, she never takes the easy option. It all adds up to an intensely complex, multi-layered, funny, warm and human portrayal of this damaged soul. You never know where the seams are between the writing and the performance. What distinguishes the play overall too is that we are not presented here with the addict as saint, possessing some unique human insight into our pain which ‘normal’ folk lack, a common pitfall in portrayals of addiction. Without giving too much away we learn by the end that there are other perspectives on Emma and after a shattering climax, which overturns all our assumptions, the audience departs hotly debating. While at first we observe the admirable work of the clinic’s staff (including a powerful Barbara Marten as the Doctor), the play does challenge the supremacy of the ‘12 Step Programme’ and the values which underpin it. The need to give yourself up to a “higher power”, which is anathema

By Duncan Macmillan Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DA 0844 482 5120 Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell

to the intelligent and prickly Emma, is questioned. Interestingly, in the AA, this higher power used to be God, later supplanted by a more secular conception, but the problem is that the dynamic is the same. The addict is also told to avoid “people, places and things” which could act as triggers. As Emma concludes, “Well, what’s left?” Emma’s lack of engagement has her accused of jeopardising the recovery of others in the Group Sessions and she falls out of the programme, only to return later in a much worse state. In a powerful speech she draws parallels too between the mind set of an addict and that of an actor – the need to regularly surrender to illusion while trying to retain a sense of self and to establish some bearings. Macmillan also uses the mind-numbing sales pitches of corporate gigs, every jobbing actor’s nightmare, to cleverly illustrate her state of mind. Every so often the stars align and an actor, be it Mark Rylance in Jerusalem or Juliet Stevenson in Death and the Maiden, secures a part that fits them like a glove and sends their career off on a new trajectory. This is one such moment for Denise Gough and she rightly deserves all the awards she is collecting.

SUNSET BOULEVARD Music by Andrew Lloyd-Webber Book and Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton Based on the Billy Wilder film London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane London WC2N 4ES 020 7845 9300 Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell


ore than twenty years after her Tony winning triumph in the part, Glenn Close hits town in a shimmering revival of Sunset Boulevard. She plays the forgotten screen siren Norma Desmond who draws a cynical, down-on-his-luck, young screenwriter, Joe Gillis (Michael Xavier), into her web as she plots a comeback in a very unlikely remake of Salome. While Close is unquestionably the star, what distinguishes this production, which runs for a month at the ENO, is the ENO’s own magnificent 48 piece orchestra, under the baton of Michael Reed. It’s a musical with a symphony orchestra and never before has Lloyd-Webber’s best score sounded so luscious or indeed so filmic. It is the second, semi-staged collaboration between the ENO and impresario Michael Grade, following last year’s Sweeney Todd, providing much needed packed houses for this troubled company during a period when the Coliseum would be dark or rented out to visiting companies. Long may this venture continue? Lonny Price’s nimble direction is the other key to its success. The orchestra are on stage and James Noone’s scaffolding staircases (you MUST have a staircase) and a few props conjure up the high baroque,


gloomy, Hollywood mansion. In the original the huge lumbering set killed the pace of the show but here, liberated from all that, we are able to focus on the performances and appreciate Lloyd-Webber’s perfect mingling of lush Puccini-esque arias with tangos and congas. Everyone leaves humming. Despite this vibrant revamp the show remains a collision of styles which never fully cohere. Billy Wilder’s dry, acerbic 1950s movie was bleak and introspective and was never going to be a good match for the florid musical theater treatment it’s given here. While the book is well crafted, the lyrics, particularly the too frequent recitative, often grate. Film noir musicals have worked elsewhere but not when fused with a lush campiness. Anthony Powell’s much praised costumes for Norma don’t help, too often resembling a drag queen having a day at home. If you camp-up Norma at one level, how can you then ground her in the real world at the same time, which is what Ms Close attempts here. She even throws away the classic line “I am big, it’s the pictures that got small”. Close always seemed miscast in this role, which requires a vamp soprano. She’s always been more

Myrna Loy than Merle Oberon, too cerebral and guarded for the blousy Norma. The great numbers which have made the piece so loved, ‘With One Look’ or ‘As if We Never Said Goodbye’ are towering, but vocally challenging and Close quivers on the high notes. She has the acting chops to deliver them but you long for a soprano in full killer mode, even if that would compromise the realism. Still, she brilliantly captures Norma’s cunning and wide-eyed girlishness and that lethal combination of rampaging ego and clawing neediness that inevitably ends in tragedy. She never tips over into the grotesque, which is a great achievement here. Xavier, who is quickly becoming a West End star, is commanding as the unsympathetic Joe. The production shamelessly objectifies him, be it in a scanty wet swim suit or being stripped down for a fitting. This backfires though as it only serves to remind us that he’s more matinee idol than scruffy scribe. Siobhan Dillon is sweet-voiced and charming as his love interest and their talent manages to really lift the love duet ‘Too Much in Love to Care’ which goes unremarked in most productions. UPDATE: Ria Jones reprises her Lloyd-Webber workshop as Desmond after Close taken ill: a Star is Born.

The American


EU’ve Lost That Loving Feeling An American’s positive view of Brexit Malin Baker Bogue has worked in both Washington, DC and Westminster, and runs the Americans for Britain Facebook group


mericans might be considered the original Brexiteers, having voted, caucused, and fought their way out of an empire in which they had no proper democratic voice back in 1776. So why should Americans of today rally ‘round the Union Jack and support a vote for Britain to leave the EU on June 23? Paul Revere is often said to have cried “the British are coming!” But his actual words would have been “the redcoats are coming,” because he considered himself British. For Brits supporting Leave, the argument is that the EU doesn’t have a monopoly European identity. The cry isn’t “the Europeans are coming” - Brits are Europeans. It’s “the bureaucrats are coming!” Because the EU authorities in Brussels certainly haven’t been treating Britain in the spirit of all for one and one for all. Whether it’s a system of farm subsidies which leave British farmers significantly worse off than their neighbors, or ever-increasing powers of regulation introduced by stealth, the EU has spent the last few decades increasing its authority but not its accountability. Americans shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking of the EU as the European USA. Whereas Americans are most likely


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to know - and vote for - their federal representatives rather than their state and local ones, the opacity of the EU system makes it very difficult for Brits to engage with. Though turnout in national elections is higher than in America, very few Brits can even name their representatives in the European Parliament - a fairly toothless body without real legislative power (that instead rests with the unelected Commission). The British successfully pioneered political and human rights, with a legacy stretching centuries before Magna Carta. Sovereign European nations did the same for international relations, starting with the Treaty of Westphalia. What the EU currently does, Brits can do better either domestically or by working bilaterally or multilaterally, without an extra layer of government on top, taking a cut of taxpayers’ money to hand back development or subsidy schemes which could be more efficiently run and regulation which is either more than is wanted (trying to ordain that Brits must let convicted felons vote) or less than is needed (many EU countries do not offer basic protections to LGBT citizens, which Britain considers essential). Why hand over

£350 million each week for sub-par paternalism? Americans would never agree to a similar abdication of sovereignty, and they should stand with Brits who want a government that (while by no means perfect) they know, understand, and control at their elections. With Britain outside the EU, and large swathes of power over trade, business regulation, and immigration back under British control, there’s substantial scope for closer cooperation between America and Britain - a popular proposition in both countries, given the shared language and shared interest in high-tech development.

Restricted US Immigration

As an EU member, Britain has no control over the numbers of people from the EU who come to live and work here - meaning the only option for immigration control is to squeeze and then squeeze again the numbers allowed in from non-EU states, creating higher and higher thresholds for skills and earnings, and implementing quotas. British businesses have increasingly found it difficult and expensive (and sometimes impossible) to

Devil’s Gap Road, Gibraltar © JAMES CRIDLAND

hire Americans with much-needed expertise. American businesses have been stymied in their ability to expand or operate in Britain, and multinational companies are having difficulty moving their staff between the two - to the detriment of both sides of the Atlantic. Outside the EU, more sensible arrangements could be made between the two countries - as Brits and Americans tend to be high-value, easily-assimilated immigrants in either country, partly due to shared language and culture. Critical security cooperation between Britain and America occurs outside the auspices of the EU: through Five Eyes intelligence sharing, NATO, and Interpol. It’s in the British interest to remain America’s bilateral foreign policy partner of choice - something which massively augments British power, both hard and soft. It’s in the interest of both nations not to see resources diverted from NATO, which has a proven record of effectiveness in Europe, by the distraction that would be an “EU Army.” And it’s in America’s interests for its most trusted partner to be able to determine its foreign policy without having to run it by 27 other countries first - an area in with the EU has increasingly been trying to increase its power. Brexit has its philosophical roots in a tradition of independence and accountability that has been deeply important to America, and would let both countries have the best potential relationship with each other. If from every mountainside, you wish freedom to ring - try a verse or two of God Save the Queen in support of a sovereign Britain. [We have invited an article from the ‘Stay’ campaign and we will publish it if and when we receive it - Ed]

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A Contested Convention? By Dr. Jan Halper, Worldwide Vice President of Republicans Overseas and Chair of the UK Chapter


t the time of writing, April 19, the possibility of a contested GOP convention remains in the air. If Donald Trump, the only candidate who could secure the nomination by June 7th, achieves a majority of delegates, everything I write here will be moot, but the only truism of American politics is, wait a week or two and everything will change. The pundits pontificating about the possibility of a contested GOP convention have concentrated on one significant rule: Rule 40b. In their 20 second soundbites, they were misleading the public. They have not done their homework. Their comments are based on the rules from the 2012 Convention. The 2016 Convention rules will not even be approved until the start of the convention in July. Simply, whether watching CNN, ABC, NBC or Fox, the only conclusion one could make was that the excitement of a contested weighed more on their thoughts than educating the public or providing accurate information. So, in this article I intend to provide you with three things: 1) an historical perspective on contested conventions; 2) understanding of how the rules will be developed for the 2016 convention; and 3) how the infighting has moved from the campaigns to a fight inside the GOP.

Historical Context

An open convention, sometimes


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referred to as a contested convention, is brought about when no single candidate has secured a majority of overall delegates pledged from the popular vote. After the first vote for either the DNC or GOP political party’s presidential candidate, the delegates are no longer considered bound. After the first ballot, if no nominee is selected, then the majority of delegates become unbound. In general, unbound delegates are not bound to a specific candidate and can support any candidate of their choosing, however, this varies by state party rules. Before the era of presidential primaries, the DNC and GOP conventions were routinely brokered. Decisions on nominees were decided in backrooms and controlled by party bosses. The introduction of primaries began the process of putting the decision in voters’ hands. In 1924, Democratic candidate John W. Davis was elected on the 103rd ballot. In 1952, Adlai Stevenson (D) and Dwight Eisenhower (R) were the most recent “brokered convention” presidential nominees of their respective parties. In 1948, Thomas Dewey was elected after the 3rd ballot. Previously, in 1940, Dewey also came into the convention with the most delegates however, after 6 ballots, Wendell Wilkie, who came into the convention with 11 percent of delegates and had been a Democrat the year before, was nominated.


Reports of the 1976 GOP Convention having been contested is false. It was considered an ‘almost’ contested convention between sitting President Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. But, Ford was able to win the nomination on the first ballot. If it were not for the ‘Donald’, the NeverTrump organisers and the GOP Establishment suffering from such wilful blindness, this issue would probably have not rated much interest to the public. With Congress’ approval rating in single digits, it is the insurgency candidates in both parties who have excited voters in the election process. More votes have been cast for anti-establishment candidates as evidenced by 14 of the 17 GOP candidates who were forced to suspend their campaigns. We know in the General election our system is not built on one man, one vote. However, the belief that voters have their say in the primaries has been a long held belief. Voters abhor the thought that their vote will not count because the GOP and DNC Establishments think they know better than the voters. Cruz predicts revolts and Trump predicts riots if the popular vote is disregarded and the Establishment puts in someone of their choosing.

Convention Rules

Hypothetically predicting whether we will have an open convention is entertaining. Yet, when the media

pundits and reporters focus on one rule, taken out of context, from which to make their poetic prognostications, the public is ill served. Since January 2014, I have had the opportunity to observe the RNC Rules Committee 3 times a year. At each meeting, the 56 members of the Rules Committee strategically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of both the primary and convention processes, reviewing the rules that have worked, those that haven’t and make decisions to introduce new rules, suspend other ones or eliminate those that no longer have relevance. Once the 56 members agree on proposed resolutions, the entire body of the RNC, 168 members, have the opportunity to challenge any of the proposed changes and vote to accept or reject any of the rules. For example, they instituted strict rules governing when and how the 2016 Presidential Primaries will take place. If a State violated any of these rules, the State is at risk of losing a percentage of their delegates. For the first time in 20 years every State will be fully represented at the Convention. To refute the contradictory information reported by the media regarding the supposed open convention, Republicans Overseas organised a call with our 51 Country Leaders and their membership to receive the inside story from RNC Rules Committee Chairman Bruce Ash and Special Counsel to the RNC James Bopp, Jr. Moving onto how the rules for the 2016 convention are created by the 112 delegates on the Convention Rules Committee (CRC) is conceptually a simple process. The RNC Rules Committee presents the foundation package to the 2016 CRC, at which time the sitting committee delegates will vote to accept the rules. In all like-

lihood, as in past conventions, there will be motions to amend, suspend or add rules. Rules 26-42 govern the convention and historically, any of these rules might receive motions for changes. Not simply rule 40b as has been reported incessantly. Once the CRC approves the proposed 2016 convention rules, it is taken to the entire delegation of 2472 delegates to approve.

Tyranny inside the GOP

On Thursday, April 21st, 2016 [just after we go to press – ed] the RNC Rules Committee will review a proposal from Oregon Committeeman Solomon Yue which provides a solution for creating complete transparency of the nomination process and limits the Establishment’s ability to hijack the convention a’nd ultimately, the nomination process. He, along with many members of the RNC Rules Committee believe that if the 2016 RNC Convention is governed by the 1500 page House of Representatives rule book the majority of the convention delegates representing both Mr Trump and Senator Cruz will revolt. In contrast to the House rule book, all of the GOP State Parties conduct their business based on Robert’s Rules of Order. All State Chairmen and every State Committeeman and Committeewoman (RNC insists on equal representation) are elected based on Robert’s Rules of Order. There are approximately 5 people who understand these 1500 pages of rules, one of whom is RNC Special Counsel James Bopp. Jr. In short, the House rules give enormous leeway for the presiding convention Chairman to disregard the will of the delegates and disregard the established convention rules after the 1st or 2nd ballot. Under Robert’s Rules, when balloting starts

the nomination process is considered closed. Under the House rule book, the presiding Convention Chairman (expected to be Paul Ryan), can literally ignore any of Rules 24-42 which govern the convention or the nominating process. Mr Yue’s motion is designed to establish absolute transparency in the nomination process and to prevent the Establishment from committing a sin that could potentially destroy the Republican Party. He believes that the grassroots have spoken. To totally disregard the votes of the people will bring about chaos and destruction. Over the past week or two, Mr Trump has complained about how the system is rigged, which has forced RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to explain to the public the ‘rules’ which have governed the primary process and to deny these accusations. Chairman Priebus asked Committeeman Solomon Yue to table his motion. Priebus thought any other rule changes would create more controversy. This request, along with subsequent emails to Rules Chairman Bruce Ash has prompted much media attention. Mr Ash has accused the RNC Chairman and RNC Legal Counsel John Rider of tyranny and breach of trust. There is supposition that since Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan grew up together, the ultimate goal is for the Establishment; despite their wilful blindness, their rejection of reality, their negation of the dysfunction governmental system to persevere by putting in the Establishment’s choice. Will this destroy the RNC? Create a new political party? Or, if Trump secures the needed majority, will this infighting have left such bad blood that nothing will unite the GOP?

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Populists? Alison Holmes investigates how we should now define Trump & Sanders


any publications from The New Yorker to Slate have been bandying around the ‘P’ word to discuss the current presidential candidates, but Populism can be quite a slippery term. In an ideal world, it should be the perfect description of American politics. Founded on a (violent) wave of egalitarian ideals, but with the ballast of a commitment to democracy, checks and balances, and the radical notion (at the time) that sovereignty rests in the people – surely all American politics, defined by MerriamWebster as “the belief in the rights, wisdom or virtues of the common people” – must have populist roots? All politicians seek to be popular, but few would actively embrace the idea of being a populist. Many commentators tut-tut the populist leanings of individuals and parties, though generally fail to recognize that they can come from the left as well as the right. Asked in the street, relatively few voters could identify a ‘populist’ policy – but they know what they like. So how is it that two distinctly American populists are running for the highest office in the land? In a race where to be the most ‘outside outsider’ is hard won ground, it is hardly surprising that populist


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credentials have risen to the fore. Most would would agree that Donald Trump is a right wing populist. A billionaire who flaunts his position firmly in the 1%, he has still managed to strike a deep nerve in the American psyche. His litany of accusations against the government’s flaws both great and small has kept him at the front of a pack who have little to distinguish themselves from each other, yet few were willing to follow Trump to the alley in which he sought to fight. In the early days, the general trend towards merging comedy, politics and the ‘reality’ genre gave Trump the much-needed oxygen of publicity. However, farce is never far from truth or tragedy and Trump is the product of a culture that has merged comedy and politics, belittling the political process and those who work in it. By the time the media elite realized that Trump was making real headway ‘out there’ the damage was done. Some would not concur that Bernie Sanders is cut from the same populist cloth, but offer instead the more dignified identification of democratic socialist (etc.). However cast, Sanders has managed to turn a long political career inside-out to suggest he too is an outsider, an honest ‘rube’

who just wants to talk some sense into national government. It’s a line he has played for over 25 years - generally from a catbird seat in the political establishment. Candidates are always shaped by the larger political landscape and both Trump and Sanders are fighting a campaign at a time that may come to be deemed the pinnacle of the age of the professional political image makers. What started in the ‘70s and ‘80s with focus groups and the development of ‘hot button’ issues, evolved into detailed demographic analysis and ‘dog whistle’ issues. First 24 hour news, then online media demanded that politicians speak in sound bites and now in tweets while the pretense of a unified policy program falls further and further behind. Connect the issues? Explain how tp pay for immigration or education programs? How terribly old-fashioned. The single issue campaigner, once outside the system speaking truth to power, has become the quintessential campaign manager, creating both Trump and Sanders as a new breed of populist – or perhaps a very old kind of American. Throughout US history populism has been part of the story. Democrats such as Andrew Jackson cham-

pioned ‘the people’ from the early 1800s while in the early 1900s William Jennings Bryan carried the populist banner into repeated defeats. The Republicans came later to the populist calling as they moved from being the party of ‘the state’ to being proponents of the ‘small state’ through the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, but they too sought to be both inside and outside the proverbial ‘beltway’. Thus, from both the left and the right, the perceived ‘elites’ of the day have come in for harsh criticism, making the cornerstone of populism - a sense of anti-elitism - fair game for both sides of the aisle. Worryingly, this anti-elite edifice is now being built on what William Greider of The Nation has called a “hollowed out” version of democracy which, he argues, has reduced Americans “…to the passive role of spectators, fans, groupies. Or they are persuaded not to bother with poli-

tics.” He suggests that this fuels voter anger as people believe “not only that government failed to ensure economic prosperity and security but also that both political parties denied or ignored what average working stiffs knew and were trying to tell the politicians. Many believe they were betrayed, that the politicians lied.” Regardless of the outcome between Sanders and Hillary Clinton (while arguably happy at not being considered populist she is also attempting an ‘outsider’ message by virtue of her gender) there is a wider issue to consider. Given that millennials are now a quarter of the US population, perhaps ‘populism’ is not the point. Older generations hear Trump’s message of betrayal and disillusion through their experience of the financial meltdown and their own insecurity. ‘Youth’ are drawn to Sand-

ers because they hear complex policies (overly-) simply stated and don’t understand ‘socialist’ the way their parents and grandparents did. They ‘get’ Twitter and see cyber ‘wars’ as just part of the conversation rather than a low form of gutter fighting. In a disconnected digital world, each image, story and policy stands in grand isolation, insulated from every other thought. As these millennials take the electoral reins, the fact they see the world of politics as ‘hits’ on single issues is crucial and Trump and Sanders have been groomed to ensure they fill each niche as ‘men of the people’. Populism may be what the older generation would call these selfstyled inside-outsiders, but perhaps we should not try to shoehorn the shape of the new political discourse into that old box. Maybe there just is no name for whatever this is – at least not yet.

To London ... and Beyond! Gary Jordan looks at NFL International’s ever-expanding global appeal


hen Commissioner Roger Goodell leaves his post as the man in charge of the National Football League, he will have many positives to look back upon. One of the biggest will be his efforts to make the game truly global. It’s been no secret that he sees expanding the NFL beyond North America as one of his proudest achievements to date, and the quest to broaden the landscape further continues. Since 2007 and the first regular season game played outside of the US, the game here in the UK has boomed to proportions exceeding that of the initial early 1980’s explosion that saw players like Marino, Montana and Dickerson become household names in the UK. Of course in this internet-led age of multimedia platforms it’s never been easier to watch the games each week . The appeal though is still very firmly in seeing the game live and in person. Last season saw three games played out at Wembley Stadium,

including the first ever divisional game when the New York Jets beat rivals Miami Dolphins 27-14. This was followed soon after by an experiment that proved the fans here are just as keen to snap up tickets when they go on sale. Backto-Back Sundays in late October/ early November witnessed two sold out games and marked the first time the Jacksonville Jaguars won on British soil. The game was listed as one of the top three games to be played in London as the Jags raced out to a big lead early only to have it slowly chipped away and eventually go behind to a resilient Buffalo Bills. Somehow the Jaguars managed to regroup and take the lead once more to win 34-31. A week later it was more one sided as playoff bound Kansas City dominated the Detroit Lions in a 45-10 rout. The week leading up to announcing this year’s games was full of excited rumor as to which teams would be coming over, indeed there was a supposed leaked document suggesting the

exact matchups and venues. This only led to fans of certain teams being disappointed when they weren’t officially on the schedule of games. The added twist this year is that a new venue will be tried (no pun intended) and Twickenham Stadium will play host to the middle game of the three in 2016. The home team at the home of English Rugby will be the now Los Angeles Rams (at the time, of course, they were still in St. Louis). Their opponent however would not be known until the last week of the season as the stipulation was that it would be the NFC East team that finished in the same place as the Rams in their respective divisions. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants on that final day to make the Giants v Rams match at Twickenham a mouth-watering prospect. The other games have the Indianapolis Colts face the Jacksonville Jaguars, and to round off the trio of action Cincinnati Bengals play Washington Redskins, both visiting for the first time in regular

LONDON GAMES 2016 Sunday October 2nd


Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

Wembley Stadium

Sunday October 23rd New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams

Twickenham Stadium

Sunday October 30th

Wembley Stadium

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Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Chad Hine lead-

ing the Jax charge (Wembley, 2013) ŠGARY BAKER

season play. With London a firm and fully established base for games - both now and well into the future with the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium deal coming into effect in 2018 - it was time for the Commissioner to look further afield. Or, as it turned out, closer to home. In 2005 the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City played host to a pre-season game between San Francisco and Arizona. A huge attendance of 103,467 open eyes wide and meant that it was only a matter of time before this market was tested again. Not long after the London games were made public for this season, it was confirmed that Mexico City would witness a

regular season game, in fact it would be a Primetime Monday Night game. The Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders will be the ones to make history in Mexico, on 21st November. Other countries were allegedly in the mix with European hotbed Germany being a constant, as well as an emerging market in Australia. Japan could well be in on the act soon as well. Mr Goodell has his fair share of critics, but as far as the NFL International community

goes he is gaining popularity for breaking new ground and being the bold pioneer in bringing the game to the overseas masses.

Right: Jordan Spieth in happier mode. PHOTO COURTESY UNDER ARMOUR

Whither Spieth? Darren Kilfara analyses Jordan Spieth’s Masters meltdown and Danny Willett’s surprising victory.


new tradition unlike any other: writing about Jordan Spieth after the final round of the Masters Tournament. Spieth dominated the 2016 Masters from start to finish, in triumph for three–and–a–half days and in disaster amidst the late–Sunday shadows of Amen Corner. Overcoming a balky swing and strong, swirling winds, Spieth birdied 20 of his first 63 holes to take a five–shot lead. Bernhard Langer in 1986 was the last defending champion to have one of the final two Sunday tee–times and fail to win the Masters, and on the 30th anniversary of that greatest of tournaments – and with Langer amazingly again in the penultimate group – Spieth seemed one–sixth of his way toward Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship victories. But this was also the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Masters, and Spieth’s start to his back nine on Sunday echoed Greg Norman’s epic collapse. Spieth missed right, right, and right again; on the 10th his approach found the bunker, and on the 11th his drive found the trees, with both mistakes leading to bogeys. Then, on the 12th, the del-

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uge: Spieth unnecessarily attacked the flag and blocked his tee shot into Rae’s Creek, and after taking relief in the 13th fairway (instead of in the drop zone where he later said he should have dropped), he horribly chunked his third shot into the creek as well. Just as Norman’s meltdown gifted the green jacket to Hertfordshire’s Nick Faldo, Spieth’s quadruple bogey let in Yorkshire’s Danny Willett: after birdies at 13 and 14, Willett suddenly led by three, and a further birdie at 16 and pars at 17 and 18 made him the surprising champion. For all his excellence, I can’t help feeling that Willett’s victory is somehow counterfeit. To win a major, golfers must normally conquer fierce pressure and nerves to rise above their rivals. This year, that pressure and those nerves vanquished Spieth, his final–day playing partner Smylie Kaufman (81 on Sunday), the ageless Langer (79 on Sunday), Rory McIlroy (77 on Saturday), Jason Day (never in top gear after his back–nine 41 on Thursday), Dustin Johnson (two double–bogeys on Sunday, including one from the middle of the 17th fairway) and Lee Westwood (a

Westwoodian three–putt at 16 on Sunday after chipping in for eagle at 15), among many others. In contrast, Willett played exactly three shots all week in the high– pressure situation of trailing by fewer than two strokes or leading by fewer than three. Two of those shots were outstanding – his final– round iron and birdie putt at 16 – but the third was a drive yanked behind the fairway trees at 15, and his nervy approaches at 17 (a long pull) and 18 (a push which luckily banked toward the flag) reminded me more of Trevor Immelman in 2008 than Nicklaus, Woods or Faldo in their pomp. Willett is a worthy champion, but a superstar in waiting? I’m not yet convinced. If Willett is likely a very good but not great golfer who had the week of his life, what do we now think of Spieth? Because neither Nicklaus, Woods nor Faldo ever choked as badly in a major as Spieth did at Rae’s Creek. On the plus side, Spieth bounced back from his disaster at 12 to birdie 13 and 15 and nearly birdie 16; that goes a long way to start forming scar tissue, particularly in someone who has won multiple majors already. Spieth also

had one of the best putting weeks I can remember: without ever sinking a putt longer than 21 feet, Spieth made putts totaling 406 feet over the 72 holes, including 35 putts of five feet or more and 12 of 10 feet or more. (By comparison, Willett made 292 feet of putts, including 21 putts of five feet or more and seven of 10 feet or more – all statistics calculated via the “Track” feature on On glassy surfaces buffeted by strong winds for three solid days, that’s almost miraculous, and despite his mishaps Spieth remains the best clutch putter since Tiger, and arguably one of the best ever. On the minus side, Spieth seems to have aged a decade in the past six months. Last year, his habit of pleading with his flying golf ball felt quirky and endearing, but he now seems much more irritable and anxious. His swing has become unacceptably loose, his stock miss being to the right as he comes up and out of his follow–through. His pace of play has also slackened; Wil-

lett’s brother called him “slowpoke” on Twitter during the final round, and Spieth’s constant dithering over the ball – and in conversation with caddie Michael Greller, a partnership many fans find increasingly irksome – does not suggest an immaculately ordered mind. Maybe he’s just tired; between November and January he played tournaments in China, Australia, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Abu Dhabi and Singapore (in that order), and he’s had only two weeks off since making his mainland PGA Tour debut this year at Pebble Beach. Overscheduling is a self–inflicted wound, but it is also easily remedied. Ultimately, I think Spieth will be fine. After all, McIlroy choked even more comprehensively at the Masters five years ago, and two months later he won the US Open by eight shots. But Spieth cut a very forlorn figure in the Butler Cabin; not since 1961, when Arnold Palmer double–bogeyed the 72nd hole and gifted the Masters to Gary Player, has a narrowly defeated runner–up

been forced to put the green jacket on the winner. This Masters Sunday hurt Jordan Spieth, and it hurt him badly. How he bounces back from this disappointment and puts it behind him could be the making of him.

US expat Darren Kilfara formerly worked for Golf Digest magazine and is the author of A Golfer’s Education (below), a memoir of his junior year abroad as a student-golfer at the University of St. Andrews. His latest book, a novel called Do You Want Total War?, is also now available online at Amazon and elsewhere.

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MLB Season Preview Alex Gordon re-signs with The Royals

AL East Gone are the days when the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays battled it out for the best record in baseball, but it’s hard to completely write off any team in the division. The Yankees have not aged particularly gracefully, nor have they been able to restock their lineup with high-priced free agents, as per their normal modus operandi. The Bombers were able to pry All-Star Starlin Castro away from the Cubs to man second base and add fireballer Aroldis Chapman to a formidable bullpen – after he finishes serving a 30-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. If Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi eat enough innings, and graybeards such as Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltrán and Mark Teixeira can roll back the clock, a repeat of last year’s Wild Card finish isn’t out of the question. Over in Boston, the Red Sox have teetered between worst and first the past few seasons, and 2016 is another campaign that could go either way. David Price arrives to shore up the rotation. Outfielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts are legitimate talents, and if Dustin Pedroia and Pablo Sandoval can return to form, David Ortiz’s swan song could just extend into October. The Orioles were the biggest offseason spenders in baseball, ploughing $280 million into retaining Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Darren O’Day, signing Yovani Gallardo, Hyun-soo Kim and Pedro Álvarez, and trading for Mark Trumbo. The O’s will slug a lot of home runs out of Camden Yards again, and their bullpen will stay rock solid, but despite the spending spree, whether Baltimore will be any better than their 81-81 mark of last season remains to be seen. While the Rays look pretty average on paper, they’ve tended to get the most out of what they have in a competitive division. Evan Longoria and the offense need to be more prolific at scoring runs than a year ago 76

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(6th worst in the league) in order to support what has been a solid pitching rotation, but it’s hard to get terribly excited about things in West Florida. José Bautista’s monumental bat flip in Game 5 of the AL Division Series against the Rangers was the iconic image of last year’s postseason, and the Blue Jays should have power to spare once again, with an offense spearheaded by ‘Joey Bats’ and defending NL MVP Josh Donaldson. They elected not to dig deeper into the wallets to re-sign ace David Price, trading instead for Jesse Chavez and inking J.A. Happ to a two-year deal. This year’s Blue Jays will look a lot like last year’s, which is no bad thing, and makes them the team to beat in the East.

AL Central The Royals brought a World Series title to Kansas City for the first time since the George Brett era, and the question on everyone’s mind these days is, “can they do it again?” GM Dayton Moore didn’t tinker too much under the hood in the offseason, re-signing left fielder Alex Gordon to a 4-year deal, much to the relief of the Royal faithful. Rentals Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist were allowed to seek greener pastures, but manager Ned Yost and the Royals have a formula based on spotless run-preventing defence coupled with a contact-oriented, team-speed offense that is geared to manufacturing runs. Add in a dash of starting pitching and a lights-out bullpen and you’ve got the recipe for a parade through downtown KC in early November. There are worries that Eric Hosmer (1B) and Mike Moustakas (3B) may regress after career years, not to mention the fact that the rest of the AL Central has improved. But until someone takes it away, the AL Central crown resides in Kansas City. With a starting rotation that includes Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, the Indians have the pitching to

by Jay B Webster

make a run at a division title. The question is, can the Cleveland offense keep up its end of the bargain? While the Tigers maintain an All-Star calibre core of Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Victor Martinez, the trio failed to put up the kind of numbers fans were accustomed to, as Detroit sank to the AL Central cellar. GM Al Avila added starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, outfielder Justin Upton and closer Francisco Rodriguez in order to make one more run at glory with his aging stars. In a surprise turn of events, the Twins returned to respectability in 2015, despite an offense with the lowest team on-base percentage and a pitching staff with the fewest strikeouts in the AL – not exactly a recipe for winning in today’s baseball world. Byron Buxton continues his arc to superstardom, but second-year manager Paul Molitor may well have to continue working his voodoo (124 different batting orders in 2015 season) in order to keep Minnesota in the hunt. The White Sox, on the other hand, had high expectations entering last season and went on to disappoint. Starting pitcher Chris Sale is one of the best around, but slugger José Abreu and newcomers Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie had better get the ‘O’ ticking over in Chi-town, or the rest of the division will continue to pass Chicago by.

AL West After an injury-ravaged 2014, the Texas Rangers reclaimed the division title last season. GM Jon Daniels added Ian Desmond to a lineup that already included Prince Fielder, Adrián Beltré and Shin-Soo Choo. Yu Darvish is expected back in May, and coupled with a full season from Cole Hamels, the Rangers rotation figures to be formidable. If they can stay healthy, another title run could be in the cards.

Over in Houston the Astros proved a shining example of how to blow up a team, stock up on a ton of prospects, and get really good again. After losing 111 games in 2013 and 92 in 2014, the Astros saw youngsters such as José Altuve (2B), (RF), Carlos Correa (SS) and Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel blossom, lifting the team to a surprising wild card berth. The Astros need to cut down on their strikeouts, but the future is bright in Houston, and another protracted battle with their Lone Star State rivals in Arlington figures to play out for the division title this season. Though the Mariners struggled mightily last year, there is still plenty of talent up in Seattle with the likes of Robinson Canó (2B), Nelson Cruz (DH), Kyle Seager (3B) and of course ‘King’ Félix Hernández. New manager Scott Servais will have his work cut out for him getting this team to gel and keeping up with the boys down in Texas, but a wild card push isn’t out of the question if the cards fall just so. Elsewhere, the Angels still have one of the best players in baseball in Mike Trout, but not a lot else, while other than ace Sonny Gray, wheeler dealer GM Billy Beane doesn’t appear to have a lot of chips on the table in Oakland with his A’s this season.

NL East After just about every prognosticator was picking the Nationals to win it all this time last year, it was the Mets who rode the pitching of Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard (and the clutch hitting of playoff star Daniel Murphy) all the way to the World Series. Offense is still a concern for NYC’s Metropolitans – with Murphy heading to the rival Nationals – as is the health of third baseman David Wright and outfielder Yoenis Céspedes. With so much pitching though, the Mets figure to be right back in the mix again this year. In a word, ‘disappointing’ would sum up the Nationals’ 2015 season. A mix of volatile personalities in the clubhouse never seemed to gel and the Nats missed the postseason completely. Dusty Baker, who replaces Matt Williams at the helm in Washingotn D.C., will be tasked with a veritable chemistry experiment in getting the most out of a talented Nats roster, which includes the likes of Bryce Harper and pitch-

ers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. The East would figure to be a two horse race, but one has to wonder if the Miami Marlins might be poised to upset the balance. The biggest offseason additions weren’t the ones on the field in South Florida though, as Don Mattingly takes over the managerial duties, while Barry Bonds (yes THAT Barry Bonds) joins the staff as the Marlins’ hitting coach. $300-million-man Giancarlo Stanton is one of the best players on the planet, but has had trouble staying healthy. Likewise with starting pitcher José Fernandez, who is coming off of Tommy John surgery. The Braves are firmly in rebuilding mode, hoping to get good by the time they move into their new suburban Atlanta stadium in 2017. The Phillies have the albatross of Ryan Howard’s untradeable $25 million salary around their necks, and a 100-loss season is well within their grasp.

NL Central The Cubs just about managed to turn that Back to the Future headline into prophecy in 2015, but fell short, losing in the NL Championship Series to the Mets. To say expectations are high in Wrigleyville this year would be like saying the sun is kind of hot. After watching the likes of Anthony Rizzo (1B), Kris Bryant (3B), Kyle Schwarber (LF) and starting pitcher Jake Arrieta come of age, the Cubs went out and added Gold Glove outfielder Jason Heyward, versatile utility man Ben Zobrist and right hander John Lackey to an already stacked lineup. Yes, expectations are sky high for good reason in Chicago. Now there’s just the small matter of a certain curse. After losing Heyward and Lackey to their upstart division rivals, the Cardinals, as they tend to do, will look to restock from within with the likes of youngsters Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. The Cards have one of the preeminent organizations in baseball. They always seem to find a way to stay relevant, and one writes them off at their own peril. With all of the noise up in Chicago, it’s easy to forget that it was the St Louis Cardinals who owned the best record in baseball a year ago. The Pirates put years of mediocrity behind them with two straight playoff appearances, but the window of opportu-

nity might just be starting to close. Andrew McCutchen remains a cornerstone in Pittsburgh, and Gerrit Cole is a legitimate ace. The Pirates will be good again this year, but will they be good enough to reach the postseason once again? The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds have three bona fide Major Leaguers between them in Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Joey Votto, all of whom figure to be on offer to the highest bidder come the end of July.

NL West After lofty expectations, a gargantuan payroll and another early playoff exit, the LA Dodgers said goodbye to manager Don Mattingly at the end of the season, and hello to Dave Roberts. They also, somewhat surprisingly, lost out on a bidding war with Arizona to resign pitcher Zack Greinke. Japanese import Kenta Maeda and left hander Scott Kazmir will hope to paste over that glaring hole in the starting rotation. The Dodgers will also need continued improvement from young stars Corey Seager (SS) and Joc Pederson (CF) to keep the NL West flag in Chavez Ravine for a fourth consecutive year. The good news for Giants fans is that it is an even-numbered year, as San Fran has been alternating World Series titles with missing the playoffs each year since 2010. The Giants spent big to bring in pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samaradzija. With a solid lineup anchored by catcher Buster Posey, the Giants look poised to make things interesting once again. The Diamondbacks shocked the baseball world by swooping in from Arizona with $206 million to swipe Greinke away from their division rivals in the biggest coup of the offseason. The D-Backs didn’t stop there, though, adding Shelby Miller to the rotation. Combined with an offense that includes superstar Paul Goldschmidt, the D-Backs are clearly all-in when it comes to competing with the Dodgers and Giants this season. The Padres have some decent pitching prospects down in San Diego, though it’s hard to see them making headway in the division, while up in the mountains, the Colorado Rockies’ biggest question is how much they can get in return for Carlos González as they continue their own rebuilding project. The American

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by Jeremy Lanaway


he NHL’s 2015-16 regular season has been an entertaining blend of business as usual and unusual business. On one hand, it’s cemented the juggernaut status of the NHL’s usual points-leaders - the Los Angeles Kings (fourth in the standings with 97 points), the Chicago Blackhawks (fifth with 97 points), the Pittsburgh Penguins (sixth with 96 points), the Anaheim Ducks (seventh with 96 points) and the New York Rangers (eighth with 95 points). On the other hand, it’s occasioned the arrival of a handful of teams to the league’s upper ranks the Washington Capitals (first with 116 points), the Dallas Stars (second with 103 points), the St Louis Blues (third with 101 points), the Florida Panthers (ninth with 95 points) and the New York Islanders (tenth with 93 points) - teams which rarely have the luxury of sitting north of their competition. Of course, this begs the question: will the playoffs lean towards the usual or unusual?

The usual suspects

In the usual category, the Kings have designs to join the Blackhawks in the NHL’s triple-crown club. To add a third Stanley Cup championship to their wins in 2012 and 2014, the Kings will need to get gold-standard

puck-stopping from goaltender Jonathan Quick. Quick’s 2.20 goals-against average (GAA) is the sixth best in the league, and his 39 wins are second only to Capitals goalie Braden Holtby’s 47, but the stats don’t highlight Quick’s top asset - the fact that he’s a proven winner. The Kings will also need their leadership group - Dustin Brown, Anže Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Vincent Lecavalier - to sell coach Darryl Sutter’s system to the squad’s youth movement. Time will tell if everyone buys in, or if the Kings end up a victim of staleness. Speaking of the Blackhawks, last year’s Stanley Cup champions hope to win their fourth mug since 2010. Head coach Joel Quenneville is facing the same challenge Sutter is: to sell the blood, sweat and tears required to win the Stanley Cup to a roster for whom winning has become, dare we say, mundane. The Blackhawks are always an offensive threat, and this year is no different. Right-winger Patrick Kane overcame early-season controversy to become the Hawks’ sharp end of the stick, having amassed 40 goals and 56 assists throughout the regular season, good enough to be the league’s top points-getter. Captain Jonathan Toews has been a steady threat, as usual throughout his career, and goaltender Corey

Crawford has maintained a solid presence between the pipes. Will rookie Artemi Panarin, who’s tallied an impressive 27 goals and 41 assists in his first-ever NHL campaign, become the team’s X-factor in maintaining their winning ways? Let’s not forget about the Penguins. Captain Sidney Crosby has had yet another strong regular season, totalling 32 goals and 48 assists, and the Penguins have benefited from the point-per-game output of Evgeni Malkin, although he’s missed a significant portion of the season due to injury. The Penguins have also enjoyed strong goaltending via veteran Marc-André Fleury (2.29 GAA and five shutouts), but the reality is that the team is a long way from their halcyon days of 2009, when they last won the Cup. Last but not least, the Ducks have been favored to come out of the West for the past two seasons, but faltered under the pressure last spring. The team is laden with talent - think Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano, David Perron, Clayton Stoner - but has suffered from inconsistent goaltending by way of the Frederik Andersen/ John Gibson tandem. However, if either gets on a roll, the Ducks will be a major hurdle for any team to overcome.

The American


The Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin © DEVINEPORTRAITS

The unusual suspects

While not entirely unaccustomed to sitting atop the Eastern Conference, the Capitals sit at 116 points with only five games remaining in the schedule, thirteen more than the second-place Stars. If they maintain their pace, they’ll set a franchise record for most points in a single season, a feat that will be thanks in no small part to the exceptional performances of team captain Alexander Ovechkin, goaltender Holtby and centreman Evgeny Kuznetsov. Ovechkin has notched 45 goals and 21 assists, while Holtby has amassed a league-leading 47 wins and Kuznetsov has tallied 75 points in only his third season. The problem, as any Caps fan will attest, is that the team is known for failing to live up to expectations in the postseason. To get his team to shed their underachieving baggage, head coach Barry Trotz - who’s never made it past the second round himself - will need his secondary players to chip in on a nightly basis. The Stars have been rising for the better part of the past three seasons, but few pundits predicted their current second-rung placement on the league points ladder. They owe


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much of their success to the stellar play of their captain, Jamie Benn, who’s putting the finishing touches on a career-best season. His 40 goals and 47 assists are enough to earn him the second place in the points derby. The Stars’ output has been further bolstered by centreman Tyler Seguin’s 33 goals and 40 assists - eighth in the scoring race - but it’s the blue-collar work ethic that sets the Stars apart. The team-first, everyone-does-his-share system is the cornerstone of coach Lindy Ruff’s hockey philosophy, and it’s built for postseason success. If the stars align - mind the pun - Benn and company will be extremely difficult to beat this spring. The Blues have clearly bought in to head coach Ken Hitchcock’s defense-first, steady-does-it system of play, and although it hasn’t propelled any of the team’s players to the top of the NHL points standings - Vladimir Tarasenko is fourteenth in scoring, with 36 goals and 31 assists - it has enabled the club to win consistently both at home (23-12-4) and on the road (23-11-5). Like the Stars, the Blues win by committee, and this will need to continue in the playoffs if the team is to have any chance at a deep run.

One of the Blues’ regular season strengths is being able to rely on a dependable netminder tandem in the form of Jake Allen and Brian Elliott, who have inked 46 and 39 starts respectively throughout the regular season. However, history shows that goaltending duos rarely translate into the postseason. The Blues will look to one of their goalies to establish himself as the starter. The Panthers will no doubt do their best to further the unexpected in the postseason. Since veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo returned to the sunshine state in 2014, the Panthers have been on an upswing, but the team has had only two postseason appearances over the past decade and a half, and its roster - despite having a handful of veterans, namely Jaromír Jágr, Willie Mitchell and Jussi Jokinen - is on the young side, so wins won’t come easy. The overachieving Islanders are sure to add to the unusual. The Isles have been entertaining fans on Long Island for a few seasons, playing a run-and-gun system that provides edge-of-seat entertainment. Their return to relevancy sustained a setback last season, when they fell just short of the playoffs, but the team has since returned to its winning ways. Captain John Tavares leads the team with 29 goals and 32 assists, and exemplifies the don’ttake-no-for-an-answer mentality of the young club. The Islanders are unlikely to sweep any series, but goalie Jaroslav Halák will keep them in every game. If these storylines don’t offer enough potential for playoff spectacle, there are still seven other teams to add to the fray. Don’t you just love this time of year?


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Princeton Association (UK) Rice Alumni of London Kathy Wang 07912 560 177 a,

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Skidmore College Alumni Club, London w Smith College Club of London Stanford Business School Alumni Assn. UK overview/?group_id=0038990048

Syracuse University Alumni UK Texas Tech Alumni Association - London Chapter Scott Dewar 077754 35877 Texas Exes UK (UKTE) England: Carra Kane 0778 660 7534 Scotland: Corey Cripe

Texas A&M Club London The John Adams Society Tufts - London Tufts Alliance UConn Alumni Association UMass Alumni Club UK President, Renu Singh, University of California 020 7079 0567 University of Chicago Alumni Association, University of Chicago Booth Alumni Association President: University of Colorado Alumni london-forever-buffs-alumni-chapter Facebook: LondonForeverBuffs Email: contact via website University of Georgia Alumni Association Lee Hutchins chapters/london_chapter University of Illinois Alumni Club of the UK Amy Barklam BUS 1994, President, 07796 193 466,,,, University of Michigan Alumni Association 0788-784-0941, University of North Carolina Alumni Club, University of Rochester/Simon School UK Alumni Association Julie Bonne, 0118-956-5052,,

University of Southern California, USC Alumni Club of London Walter Ladwig, President

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US Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point) Alumni UK Chapter Facebook: Kings Point Alumni - London/United Kingdom USNA Alumni Association, UK Chapter President: Cdr Timothy W. (Tim) Fox ‘97, USNR Vassar Club UK President: Andrew Solum ‘89 Treasurer Tris Barker’64, 020 8467 0890 Warnborough Worldwide Alumni Association 01227 762 107 Washington University UK Alumni Club Steven Leof, Wellesley College Club wellesley_uk_club Wharton Alumni Club of the UK 020-7447-8800 Williams Club of Great Britain Ethan Kline:, alumni., Yale Club of London President, Secretary Zeta Tau Alpha Alumnae Kristin Morgan 07812 580949

CIVIL WAR SOCIETIES American Civil War Round Table (UK) American Civil War historical society Derek Young Southern Skirmish Association (SoSkan) The oldest American Civil War Re-enacting Society outside the USA.

ARTS American Actors UK 07873 371 891 Savio(u)r Theatre Company Britain’s American theatre company

SPORTS English Lacrosse Wenlock Way, Manchester M12 5DH 0843 658 5006 British Baseball Federation / SoftballUK 5th Floor, Ariel House, 74a Charlotte Street, London W1T 4QJ 020 7453 7055 British Morgan Horse Society 01981 500488 Ice Hockey UK 02920 263 441 Infinity Elite Cheerleading (founded by CAC) 077 9132 0115 Herts Baseball Club Adult & Little League Baseball Lakenheath Barracudas Swim Club Open to all military affiliated families. LondonSports American flag football, baseball, basketball and soccer, boys/girls, 4-15 all nationalities, new or experienced players. London Warriors American Football Club

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The American


Coffee Break


2 7 6


Eisenhower’s Presidential Campaigns: 1952 featured the slogan “I Like Ike”, which slogan did he use for 1956? a) Re-Like Ike b) Like Ike Twice c) I Still Like Ike

5 4 3

What was unique about Lyndon B. Johnson’s Presidential Inauguration in 1963?

6 4 5 2 8

➌ Gerald Ford’s dog, Liberty, was what breed? ➍  Barack Obama’s family have two dogs, one is called Bo, what is the name of the other?


George Bush Snr is Left, George Bush Jnr is Right. In what sense? ➏ Which President is depicted on the $5000 bill? a) James Madison b) Richard Nixon c) Ronald Regan?

➐ Jefferson Davis’ US Citizenship was restored under

which President in 1978?

It happened 125 years ago...

famous American? a) President James Monroe b) Marilyn Monroe c) Bill Monroe

It happened 25 years ago... ➒ May 16, 1991: Queen Elizabeth becomes the first British Monarch to address which US body?

6 3 4 2 9 2 7 3 8 7 5 6

 ay 5, 1891: Which famous NY music hall opened ➓ M

with a music festival featuring Tchaikovsky as a guest conductor?

➑ The Capital of Liberia, Monrovia, is named after which



It happened 200 years ago...

⓫ June 19, 1816: Industrialist William H Webb was

born in New York – which industry is he most associated with? a) Shipbuilding b) Munitions manufacture c) Printing Machines

Quiz answers and Sudoku solution on page 89


The American

BS US ADVERT 1.indd 1

17/07/2014 20:52

QUIZ: 1. c) I Still Like Ike (we still did - he was re-elected); 2. It was the first inauguration to take place on a plane (after President Kennedy’s assassination); 3.A Golden Retriever; 4. Sunny, a Portuguese water dog, like Bo; 5. Bush Snr is Left Handed, Bush Jnr is Right Handed; 6. a) James Madison; 7. Jimmy Carter (Jefferson Davis’ citizenship was lost under the Wade-Davis Bill of 1864 to re-unify the US after the Civil War: any person holding office in the Confederate Government “is hereby declared not to be a citizen of the United States”); 8. a) James Monroe; 9.Congress; 10. Carnegie Hall; 11. a) Shipbuilding.

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Coffee Break Answers


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The American May-June 2016 Issue 751  

The leading cross-media publication for Americans in the UK - and anyone interested in American culture

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