Great Britain

Why You Can Be A Liberal And Still Love The Queen

Her Madge

After surviving the ‘Be warned he’s a far left writer’ criticism in the US and thinking ‘Hang on, I’m a middle-of-the-road liberal,’ I’m facing something similar in an online question. ‘How can you people support the Queen?’ Well, Elizabeth Windsor celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday, and is the longest reigning royal in British history, and […]

An Englishman’s Home 2

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The effect of needing a small plot of land and a house paid off over a lifetime kept alive a fundamental English concept; that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’. In the 1930s a set of volumes entitled the Arthur Mee Children’s Encyclopedia ran an article on ‘How To Build A British House’, the end photograph showing […]

An Englishman’s Home 1

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Or rather an Englishwoman’s home, as females are more often deciders when it comes to moving. Now that London is unliveable for most young couples people are heading out and new homes are being built. But what kind of homes do people want? The term Metro-land was coined by the Met’s marketing department in 1915 […]

The Most English Thing In England

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Every week in ‘The Avengers’, the old TV series, not the Marvel Comics lycra-fest, John Steed and Cathy Gale/Emma Peel/ Tara King (not sure I count Purdy though I’m willing to hear a persuasive argument) solved a bizarre plot. The situations involved losing an hour, losing the population of a village, losing a graveyard, losing […]

Why Would You Want To Be A Writer?

Wood Green Fest

A recent poll showed that the No.1 most desired job in the UK  was ‘writer’. Really? When I read that I tried to imagine what those polled thought being a writer was like. Here are a few pointers to the current status of the wordsmith, and bear in mind they’re not complaints, merely facts. Writers […]

It’s Miserable Out So Here’s A Bit Of Comic Genius

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Stewart Lee on those damned immigrants, from his BBC show. Priceless, bizarre, mad. Buy his books and DVDs.

The North Deserves Better

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Britain’s empire was managed from the South but driven by the North; the South fed the nation from Kent, ‘the garden of England’, but coal, wool, steel, ships, china, cutlery, chocolate and most of its exports came from the North to provide us with trade. You see the remains of the wealth it generated when you […]

Look Who Else Is Back!

Flying Scotsman

‘The Flying Scotsman’ wasn’t just a dodgy King’s Cross strip-pub. It was a train built in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in 1923, and it soon became the star locomotive of the British railway system, pulling the first train to break the 100mph barrier in 1934. This morning I awoke to the sound of a helicopter filming […]

We Pay To Use The Roads – Should We Pay To See Art?

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Remember the notorious V&A ad that said ‘An ace caff with quite a nice museum attached’? Last week I ran a piece on my dispiriting trip to the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, now little more than a children’s playground (including a fairground ‘simulator’ ride) with a few nice bits attached, and apparently – I can’t […]

How We See Ourselves

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The story so far; freelance photographer Joel Goodman had a picture published on the Manchester Evening News website of New Year’s Eve revelries. It got picked up virally and flashed around the globe after someone spotted that it seemed rather like an old master, conforming to the Fibonacci Spiral or ‘Golden Ratio’, a pattern occurring […]