Great Britain

Seven Reasons To Prefer Glasgow

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It’s a great time of the year to go to Scotland – as an urbanite I never quite got their countryside, all that heather and brown grass (of course, I’ve never actually been through it, but I saw ‘Mrs Brown’). I liked Edinburgh well enough until I went to Glasgow and realised what I was […]

Kent Comes Back

Margate poster

After years in an unloved wilderness, the county of Kent in Southern England is, it seems, coming back to life, but not in the way it once was. When I was a child it was known as the Garden of England, a hard-to-navigate county of winding roads, impossible-to-find villages and rivers that stood between London […]

Darkness Over England

London without light

Recently there have been moves in Paris and New York to darken lights above certain floors in order to help migrating birds and to generally improve the quality of life in cities, but London and England show no sign of following suit. Residents of the North London area Dartmouth Park want to douse their lights, […]

Odd London Objects: Legal & Non-Legal Tender

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Strangely enough these aren’t so terribly rare; this unlovely example recently sold on the London Peculiar website here, which sells London oddities. It’s a Carausius Roman Bronze coin minted between AD287-293, and they sometimes turn up at building sites in the city (Londonium was ranged further East back then). These days the Royal Mint makes […]

Back To A Small ‘C’ Britain

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Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’re a little Northern country that financially punches above its weight, combining sophistication with brutish selfishness, and in uncertain times we timidly retreat to a level of safety. Last night we did it again; after six weeks of campaigning that might have stood for the very model of democracy […]

The European Country I Know Least

Dean

When I lived in America I at least got to travel a bit and see some cool places – not a lot because I was running my own company and the US legal holiday entitlement is among the lowest in the world (along with Chinese and Canadian). My regret is that I haven’t been to […]

The Disastrous Life Of Jeremy Thorpe

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Hardly any of my friends remember what happened to Jeremy Thorpe, one of those peculiarly English stories filled with awful details – so I decided to read up on it. I first made the mistake of reading Auberon Waugh’s ‘The Last Word: An Eye Witness Account of the Thorpe Trial’, but Waugh was never a […]

Making Money From The Arts

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  In today’s Guardian Suzanne Moore points out that the role of an arts college has been quietly changing behind our backs. 80 students have been occupying Central Saint Martin’s, which is planning to ditch 580 foundation course places. These are the one-year courses which are all that now remain of the free art school […]

Spent: Viv Nicholson Passes Into Mythology

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The people who make it into modern mythology aren’t always heroines or heroes; particular;y here in the UK we often remember them because they tried and failed. One thinks of our love of explorers like Scott of the Antarctic or Earnest Shackleton and the Endurance, or even Eddie the Eagle, the hopeless Olympic skier. Add […]

Rubbish At Sport? Be Proud.

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As a kid I was the second to last to be picked for football matches. My friend John was last, and he had polio. In my school you played compulsory rugby or cricket. I usually went to the library and took the punishment, although I did play once and let through the winning try, because […]