Great Britain

Visit England – Bring Jumpers

Yes, it’s nice again today but come on! Some of the shots in this commercial from the English Tourist Board’s big push for the year – like being waved at by a gaggle of old dears – catch the true ghastliness of tromping around villages looking for something to do, but the choices are odd, […]

Re:View – ‘Can We Talk About This?’

DV8, the risk-taking dance group that grew into a political theatre movement, are 25 years old now, and are currently appearing in a sell-out show at the National. In the last few years they’ve moved from sexual politics into a darker world arena. Their latest piece, like the last, is entirely constructed from verbatim quotes, […]

The Return Of British Food

It’s off-putting eating a strawberry when you know it’s been flown all the way from Israel to be on your plate. Yesterday I made a tour of my local farmers’ markets to see what was on offer, and was told that a lot of very British food was returning, from samphire, salsify and sorrel to […]

Ruddy Hell!

This is a weird story. The last remaining one hundred Ruddy Ducks in England are to be shot at great expense by a government agency because the Spanish have complained that they interbreed with their own rare white-headed ducks. So far the Spaniards have killed 6,500 Ruddy Ducks at a cost of over £5 million, […]

Ancient England

The thought sometimes crosses my mind; If I still manage to find lost pockets of London, how many more must there be around England? A friend of mine who has regularly contributed to these pages, Jan Briggs, sends me details of Saxon objects that still cling on in the landscape of England. This Saxon baptismal […]

Rich, Vulgar & In London

Everyone complains about how expensive London is, and part of it is down to property prices being jacked up by the super-rich attracted by the domicile laws, which are unique in the world. If you come from overseas, can prove you are going to return and can establish a domicile separate from your “residency” in […]

Gunfire For Beginners

I don’t believe you have to kill a shark in order to write about it, Hemingway-style, but a writer needs a certain amount of experience in order to write about anything. I suppose that’s not always true; HRF Keating’s Inspector Ghote novels were written without him visiting India. But some writers end up writing about […]

Wonka Applications Now Open

British residents can now enter a lottery for free tickets to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Buckingham Palace Concert here. Caution: May Contain Cliff Richard. It’s organised by Gary Barlow, who has now undergone a remarkable transformation from Boy-Band Sex Toy to the Vicar of Stiffkey.

Everything Really Old Is New Again

In times of austerity people become nostalgic for past comforts – but it seems we’re going back more than just a few years this time. David Beckham’s to blame for the return of the humble vest – as in ‘under-the-shirt’ – his new range just went on sale at H&M, although the sudden freezing snap […]

Is It OK To Like Union Jacks Again?

I like Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks and his jacket, which looks quiet on the outside until you throw it open. The Union Jack may be about to go for a burton, if the Scottish element of the British Isles gives in to the chip on its shoulder and removes itself from the union, but does that […]