Great Britain

What’ll You Have?

I’m not entirely sure whether she’s a real barmaid, but she’s definitely not from around here. This is apparently the modern equivalent to the traditional ‘busty barmaid’ of yore, now slimmed down and underdressed for modern tastes. Like her predecessor she does, however, have a bewildering array of drinks to serve. And just when you […]

Jack’s Back

In 1948, with Britain still enduring ration books (they would for another five years), the GB Olympics team had to bring their own sandwiches if they wanted lunch during the games, and sports kits were of the itchy school gym variety. Now we have a fashion show just for the unveiling of Stella McCartney’s futuristic […]

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.