Great Britain

The Final Remembrance

With Remembrance Sunday approaching, the Tower of London has chosen to stage another respectful, spectacular display commemorating the fallen of WWI. Its astonishing installation of handmade poppies, forming a sea of scarlet around the Bloody Tower was named ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, a public art installation created in the moat between July and […]

Halloween Special: In Praise Of The Grotesque

The trickster who appears, causes havoc and vanishes is an ancient myth in most cultures. The idea of a stranger sweeping in and unsettling the locals is especially connected to America’s geography. Unconnected towns joined by single highways made perfect targets when travelling salesmen, circuses and preachers came to visit. Tricksters got in and got […]

Brexit: Heading For The Life-Rafts

As the SS Great Britain heads Titanic-like for the iceberg of a No-Deal Brexit, everyone wants answers as to how we got into this mess. We all know the short answer; David Cameron traded a referendum for favours, and although he told CNN he believes Britain has “taken the wrong course” in opting to leave […]

The End Of Clubbing

Just as Berlin is still famous for its nightlife (much of it existing in sweaty metalhead basements), London was once ranked beside LA and New York for clubs. While it still trumps everyone in the lists of world’s best bars, the clubs have shut up shop. A depressing article in the Evening Standard points out […]

Did A Newspaper Help Start The First World War?

In case you think the social panic leading to Brexit is new, here’s the story of an earlier one that had grave consequences. In the months before war broke out in 1914, the United Kingdom underwent a social panic. People started imagining that British towns and villages were hotbeds of German spies. At that time […]

Autumn’s coming. Kill Me Now.

Everyone else seems to love it, but I dread autumn. The first brown leaves send a chill down my spine. I’ve already had the season’s first cold (caught in the UK, of course) and now the nights are shortening, filling me with thoughts of the grave. This depression arises for several reasons; partly, it’s the […]

The Middle Of The Middle Of The Road

Are out tastes becoming blander? Are we getting less adventurous? I happened to glance at the London Times’ arts section and found their weekly full-page ads for concerts. The breadth of imagination on display would fit through the eye of a needle. A grisly lineup of ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, fireworks, waltzes, very […]

America’s New International Role: Public Enemy

  It’s not usually what state visits are used for, but then the POTUS doesn’t go for usual. On his first presidential visit to the UK (primarily to open the so-called Fortress of Solitude, a bombproof embassy that has a moat) he’s announced no confidence in our PM and has instead nominated Boris Johnson, as […]

A Walk Through…Cardiff

I was all prepared for my event in Wales, courtesy of Cardiff Central Libraries and WF Howes. I’d packed everything I needed including notes, a sweater, laptop, iPad and assorted tech-junk, only to spend the journey reading ‘Selling Hitler’ by Robert Harris (the story of the fake Hitler diaries). I arrived to find Cardiff sweltering […]

The Strange Story Of Keeping Calm & Carrying On

I’m in Barcelona listening to a Spanish song on the radio, which has as part of its chorus; ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’, such is the international fame of this simple little phrase. How on earth did it conquer Europe (and who knows, other parts of the world) so ubiquitously? It started out as a […]