428 posts tagged with Britain.
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"...the best song Jagger and Richards have written in twenty years"

YoutTube: The story of Bitter Sweet Symphony | Andrew Oldham Orchestra - The Last Time (1965) | Original video | 2010 studio performance for Radio 1 Presents | 2008 concert performance | Live at Glastonbury 2008 | Glastonbury 2011 | potted history of The Verve at BBC News
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Apr 18, 2015 - 15 comments

"Hobsbawm was a marked man, and he knew it"

The two sides in the Cold War, finding each other irresistible, ended up in a contrapuntal relationship where, as George Urban put it, ‘they marched in negative step, but in step all the same.’ They had their spies, we had ours. They had their files, we had ours. True, we didn’t have gulags. But what kind of democracy is it that congratulates itself on not having gulags? Never mind the dragnet surveillance, the burglaries, the smearing of reputations, the bugging of public telephone boxes, cafés, hotels, banks, trade unions, private homes, all this legitimised by the thesis that everyone is a potential subversive until proven otherwise – the problem is that the defenders of the realm took on the symptoms of the disease they were meant to cure.
– In the essay Stuck on the Flypaper historian and journalist Frances Stonor Saunders goes through the recently released MI5 file on Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm [previously] to explain how the British secret service surveilled and interfered with the lives of British citizens during World War II and the early part of the Cold War.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 27, 2015 - 11 comments

One man's "cogito" is another's "white mask"

"In short, it seems that when a white male thinks about the meaning of things, any things, it is philosophy..." (SLTheGuardian)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Mar 26, 2015 - 96 comments

The deal of the century

“IT WILL WORK LIKE THIS,” he continued. “I GIVE YOU A FOOKLOAD OF LOGS AND YOU GIVE US YOUR CAT.”
posted by jason's_planet on Mar 23, 2015 - 31 comments

What happens when Queen Elizabeth dies

Since ascending to the throne in 1952, the monarch has seen 12 Prime Ministers serve Britain, and lived through another 12 US Presidents. For at least 12 days — between her passing, the funeral and beyond — Britain will grind to a halt. It'll cost the British economy billions in lost earnings. The stock markets and banks will close for an indefinite period. And both the funeral and the subsequent coronation will become formal national holidays, each with an estimated economic hit to GDP of between £1.2 and £6 billion, to say nothing of organisational costs.
posted by TheLittlePrince on Mar 7, 2015 - 159 comments

Love Tokens from the Thames

Love Tokens from the Thames, dug up by the Mud God (aka Steve Brooker of Thames and Field).
posted by gamera on Feb 14, 2015 - 17 comments

Back in school, we are the leaders

"Slipknot, Papa Roach, Soulfly, Disturbed, Amen and Mudvayne were all there, supported by the kind of bands that made every teenage stoner bunking off GCSE maths believe they too could one day play a half-hour set to a room full of disinterested teenagers. I charged to the front as if I was a Minotaur and not a young girl with developing boobs and easily breakable bones." How to be Nu-Metal in British Suburbia
posted by mippy on Feb 12, 2015 - 29 comments

The estate we’re in: how working class people became the ‘problem’

Being held up as “beating the odds”, “done good”, or “escaped” does not make me happy. (slTheGrauniad)
posted by Kitteh on Jan 21, 2015 - 39 comments

That's Not What Joe Strummer Had in Mind

​​"From the pictures and videos that accompany the NBC News and Buzzfeed stories, the crowd appears to have been predominantly white... which explains why they're described in the media as 'celebrating' rather than 'rioting'. But every time this happens – that is to say, every time sports fans, predominantly of the white variety, go on rampages after wining (or losing) various championships – many of us with a few gray hairs on our heads are reminded of the Clash's seminal punk anthem, 'White Riot,' which was released as a 7-inch single (that would be on vinyl, kids) in March 1977, and was later included on both the UK and the US versions of the band's debut album, The Clash."​ Whites Riot: That’s Not What Joe Strummer Had in Mind, by David Von Ebers (TwiB! / Valid magazine).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jan 19, 2015 - 28 comments

A TV drama that puts gay characters centre-stage is still a novelty

"What was striking about the recent film The Imitation Game wasn't just the incredible story of Alan Turing, the man who helped the Allies win the Second World War by cracking Germany's Enigma code, only to find himself chemically castrated for being gay. It was the epilogue that informed us that the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, criminalising homosexual activity, led to 49,000 gay men being convicted of gross indecency in the UK. If you subtract Turing and Oscar Wilde from that total, that’s 48,998 stories that still haven't been told." Why is television still ignoring gay lives? – Matt Cain for The Independent. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jan 4, 2015 - 56 comments

2014 has taught us that a critical mass of people want to talk feminism

"From a seven-year-old who took on a supermarket to the girls who stood up to authority against violence, racism and inequality, these girls make the future look bright." Laura Bates looks back at a year of young feminist action in the Guardian piece, "2014: a year of brave, inspiring, young feminists". More feminism year-in-reviews below the fold. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 29, 2014 - 18 comments

The Sounds of Things to Come

Sound of Cinema - British Sci-Fi from the BFI Days of Fear and Wonder - BBC Radio 3 talks to film composer Stephen Price about The Shape of Things to Come, Alien, Gravity, and other science fiction soundtracks.
posted by Artw on Dec 27, 2014 - 7 comments

A "distressed & unfriendly" seal has been rescued from a British field.

Experts believe the grey juvenile seal may have swam from a colony in Hilbre Island, in the Dee Estuary, and got lost.
A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "A report came in from dog walker at 9:39 AM of the animal on a farmers' field off Winwick Road in Newton-le-Willows."
The seal was put into the container and taken to a seal sanctuary, where it will be checked over before being returned to the sea.
Rachael Fraser, from [British Divers Marine Life Rescue Service], said: "It's very unusual."
posted by Going To Maine on Dec 22, 2014 - 36 comments

"In some respects, the wedding doesn't differ from most others."

The BBC's Ouch blog tells the story behind a 1940 Pathé newsreel showing a Deaf couple's wedding. [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Dec 17, 2014 - 10 comments

The Queen's English

One Woman, 17 British Accents: Have you ever wondered about the locations of accents used by British celebrities such as Maggie Thompson, Richard Burton, and Sean Bean? As part of the Anglophenia series, actress and comedian Siobhan Thompson takes us on a one-woman tour of regional accents of the British Islands.
posted by happyroach on Dec 3, 2014 - 68 comments

Generation Gaps

It's no longer just teenagers and students who seem to be running away from real life, it's people in their twenties and thirties, too. People who should really know better, but don't seem to know how to do much else. Fully grown, semi-functioning adults who are unwilling to surrender those endless nights spent staring at their own harrowed reflections in club toilet cisterns, and can't find much reason to give them up, either. People like me. This is my generation; the generation who have no real incentive to grow up. No kids to feel guilty about, no mortgages to pay off, decent enough healthcare to keep them alive, jobs that let them ​scrape the money they need to feed, house and wash themselves, and only the screams of their bosses and the worried phone calls of their families to tear them away from the noble pursuit of getting on one. An army of first-world wasters trapped in an Escher maze of immaturity.
posted by josher71 on Dec 2, 2014 - 160 comments

How To Talk To Terrorists

Above all, what these experiences demonstrate is that there isn’t really an alternative to talking to the terrorists if you want the conflict to end. Hugh Orde, the former chief constable in Northern Ireland, rightly says, “There is no example that I know of, of terrorism being policed out” – or fully defeated by physical force – anywhere in the world. Petraeus said that it was clear in Iraq that “we would not be able to kill or capture our way out of the industrial-strength insurgency that was tearing apart the very fabric of Iraqi society”. If you can’t kill them all, then sooner or later you come back to the same point, and it is a question of when, not whether, you talk. If there is a political cause then there has to be a political solution. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Oct 10, 2014 - 36 comments

"So I took up knife and fork and bade the waiter do his duty."

Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis was engaged in 1897 as the restaurant reviewer of the Pall Mall Gazette, and his reviews of London restaurants are collected in Dinners and Diners: Where and How to Dine in London, available online from The Dictionary of Victorian London. Newnham-Davis was a bon vivant, amateur of the theatrical world, and man of parts, and his reviews were equal parts reminiscence of the conversation with his pseudonymous companions and recollections and reviews of his opulent and lengthy Victorian dinners. [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Sep 27, 2014 - 28 comments

"Eating and walking is a false economy, time-wise"

How to eat: burritos
"It may be categorised as 'street food', but eating a burrito while walking is hazardous. We've all been there: you take a bite from one side of the burrito, which leaves a quivering 'lip' of rice-loaded tortilla on the other, and, like a slow-motion shot in the world's most boring action film, it falls to the ground or down your shirt, before you can whip your head down and around to snaffle it to safety. Then there is the issue of leakage from the bottom of a too-loosely-twisted foil wrap, and also the delicate procedure of prising that, by now sopping wet, last mouthful from the final cup of foil – itself now overflowing with juices – and transferring it to your mouth without any spillage. It's a task that requires focus and concentration. You walk with a burrito once, twice maybe, before you either a) get knocked-down on a busy road or b) realise – standing outside the pub trying to wipe meat juices off your trainers with an old tissue – that eating and walking is a false economy, time-wise.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 2, 2014 - 96 comments

Run you cowardly Italian!

On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. In 1964, Peter Watkins wrote and produced a docudrama for the BBC, from the perspective of a documentary crew on the ground, depicting the battle and its aftermath: Culloden. [1:12:14]
posted by cthuljew on Aug 18, 2014 - 15 comments

"But really, if you can make tea, then you can make beer."

Meet craft brewers, home brewing enthusiasts, bartenders in "Craft Beer – A Hopumentary", which focuses on California. [YT] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 15, 2014 - 32 comments

to end all wars

First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers
"On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 4, 2014 - 27 comments

May the road rise up to meet you.

The Roader’s Digest is ‘the most complete archive of information on the British and Irish road networks on the web.’ from the A1 to the R999; from the B3306 to the B855, they probably have a description of it. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on May 6, 2014 - 20 comments

'the epitome of barbarism and heathendom.'

The Vikings invented soap operas and pioneered globalisation - so why do we depict them as brutes?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 24, 2014 - 51 comments

Your Culture Is Stupid And I Hate It

Transcontinental Yelling With Jo (An Englishwoman) and Mallory (An American)
posted by Joe in Australia on Mar 15, 2014 - 89 comments

100 Not Out

When British forces pull down the union jack for the last time in Afghanistan this year, it will be a hugely symbolic moment. It is not just that the departure marks the end of 13 years of British involvement in combat in that troubled country. The surprise is that it could also signal the end of a century or more of unbroken warfare by British forces. Next year may be the first since at least 1914 that British soldiers, sailors and air crews will not be engaged in fighting somewhere. [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Feb 13, 2014 - 47 comments

Winston Churchill interviewed in January 1939.

"The essential aspects of democracy are the freedom of the individual, within the framework of laws passed by Parliament, to order his life as he pleases, and the uniform enforcement of tribunals independent of the executive. The laws are based on Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, the Petition of Right and others. Without this foundation there can be no freedom or civilisation, anyone being at the mercy of officials and liable to be spied upon and betrayed even in his own home. As long as these rights are defended, the foundations of freedom are secure. I see no reason why democracies should not be able to defend themselves without sacrificing these fundamental values."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 10, 2014 - 21 comments

iPads and food banks.

Let's admit it: Britain is now a developing country.
Gender equality? The WEF ranks us behind Nicaragua and Lesotho. Investment by business? The Economist thinks we are struggling to keep up with Mali. Let me put it more broadly, Britain is a rich country accruing many of the stereotypical bad habits of a developing country.
Aditya Chakrabortty discusses the increasing hollowing out of the UK economy, as well as the City as an economically distorting resource curse.
posted by jaduncan on Dec 10, 2013 - 74 comments

Ask: did you know they have wi-fi and sushi?

How to write about the North
posted by mippy on Nov 28, 2013 - 63 comments

A malignant species of wit

The Berners Street Hoax - On November 26th, 1810, at 5 o’clock in the morning, a chimney sweep appeared at Mrs. Tottenham’s door.
posted by unliteral on Nov 26, 2013 - 10 comments

"Save one life, save the world."

In 1988, Nicholas Winton appeared on the BBC program "That's Life." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 24, 2013 - 12 comments

Get dole. Buy dope. Sell dope. Gamble. Lose. Borrow money. Buy dope

"There are six bookmakers, one more is on its way, and five loan shops. Even if you are on JSA you can borrow money from Speedy Cash. It's the main business around here.Take dole, turn it into weed, sell them, take your profits and put them into the machines. If you win, you are quids in. If you lose, you get cash from the money shops to cover your losses. Back to dole and buying drugs. There's nothing else around here to do." -- How betting machines help small time drug dealers launder their profits and how this is about the only economic activity keeping the poorest local economies in Britain going. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 12, 2013 - 56 comments

A = Ayn, B = Britain, C = Cameron, D = Doh!

Ayn Rand: More Relevant Now than Ever
The speaker was the CEO of Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen. As the head of an investment bank based in socialist Denmark, Christensen is particularly enraged by high taxation, social welfare and banking regulation. "The world is on the wrong track," he told us. "A malady that has long beset Europe is currently spreading to the US". Apparently we are experiencing a "socialist revival" to which "Ayn Rand is the only answer".

posted by urbanwhaleshark on Nov 1, 2013 - 123 comments

The Old Ways

A History of British Folk Horror
posted by Artw on Oct 22, 2013 - 62 comments

The Beclogged Budgie

Budgie - starring Adam Faith. The complete series one and two is available on YouTube [you may well need your cockney rhyming slang dictionary]. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Aug 7, 2013 - 11 comments

BBC Documentary - Das Auto: The Germans, Their Cars and Us

Das Auto - the British Obsession with Germany and it's industrial Power continues (recent MeFi Discussion here) - while Top Gear tries to show with a Tribute that British Car Manufacturing is still alive and kicking.
posted by homodigitalis on Aug 5, 2013 - 10 comments

Mad dogs and Englishmen

An unusually sustained heatwave oppresses the UK, as temperatures have climbed above 82 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 days, the longest hot spell since 2006. Roads melt in England and Wales, rail lines buckle in England and Scotland, hospital admissions spike and wildfires burn. Swimming-related, army training and heat-related, deaths have increased. The Met Office currently hold a Level Three Heat Advisory for several regions (Level Four is "National Emergency"), while tabloids indulge in traditional "England is hotter than {exotic place}" headlines. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jul 19, 2013 - 263 comments

Pop History

The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records is a radio series on BBC written and narrated by Stuart Maconie. Each episode focuses on one particular pop song and tells the story of the song as well as what social trends it mirrored, for instance the episode on Telstar by The Tornadoes focuses on the technological progress, especially in space travel and music, and the story of songwriter and record producer Joe Meek. 25 episodes have been broadcast, including ones on Dizzee Rascal's Bonkers and 21st Century Britain, Cornershop's Brimful of Asha and the British-Asian experience , and Serge Gainsbourg's Je T'aime and sex. There are 25 more to come. There is also a blog and profiles of the songs already discussed. [Previously on MeFi]
posted by Kattullus on Jun 25, 2013 - 14 comments

1920s Britain in colour

In the mid-1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed The Open Road, a record of his journey through Britain, using the 'Biocolour' technique first developed by his father William. Eighty years later, the BFI produced a digital version of the preserved and restored film. We've seen London in 1926 previously on MeFi, but there's plenty more of The Open Road to see, including weavers in Kilbarchan (1:16), farmers harvesting with oxen in Cirencester (0:52), Glamorgan coal-miners (0:46), and more. [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Jun 17, 2013 - 7 comments

180 Years of Saturdays

The Spectator Archive was announced today, with searchable, browsable content of the weekly U.K. (conservative-leaning) magazine, from 1828 through 2008. [more inside]
posted by steef on Jun 10, 2013 - 10 comments

A Woman’s Place

The year was 1986, and Lynda had just joined a small cadre of female engineers working for FI, a groundbreaking IT firm that laid the foundations for outsourced development and women’s rights in the workplace. The company, originally called Freelance Programmers, was founded in the early 1960s by Stephanie Shirley, a German who had been evacuated to Britain — along with many fellow Jewish children — as part of the kindertransport shortly before the Second World War.
Gender equality is still a major issue in the technology industry, but 50 years ago one British company was blazing trails.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jun 1, 2013 - 14 comments

From Brezhnev to Blair

British capitalism already has many of the hallmarks of Brezhnev-era socialist decline: macroeconomic stagnation, a population as much too bored as scared to protest about very much, a state that performs tongue-in-cheek legitimacy, politicians playing with statistics to try and delay the moment of economic reckoning. Will Davies on the stagnation and repetition of neoliberal economic culture.
posted by downing street memo on May 11, 2013 - 45 comments

Badger badger badgering the Cameron government!

Dr. Brian May, CBE, PhD FRAS, recently retired Chancellor of LJMU, winner of The RPS' Saxby Award for achievements in the field of stereoscopic photography, distinguished author, lecturer, film producer, entrepreneur, and occasional musician has been quite busy lately trying to prevent a sweeping cull of the British badger population. His efforts have been surprisingly successful. The overwhelming response to his government petition led to a parliamentary debate, where MPs overwhelmingly rejected the cull in a non-binding vote. The government has attempted to press forward with the cull, but has faced significant resistance from scientists, naturalists, and concerned citizens that have led to implementation delays. The movement recently got the attention of Weebl, who has recorded a rough cut of a new song with Brian May called "Save the Badger Badger Badger" which was recently used in a flash mob protest. The final version will include additional vocals by Brian Blessed.
posted by markkraft on May 6, 2013 - 29 comments

jittery UK government reveals itself before potential claims of former v

Mau Mau to Midnapore: Confronting the brutality of empire There are certainly some Britons, including academics, journalists and human rights lawyers, who are aware of the realities of colonialism. However, in the society as a whole and in the media in the UK there are still far too many who seem strangely reluctant, even after so many decades after the end of the British empire, to come to terms with the true nature of colonialism or learn from the perspective of former subjects who had rebelled against it.
posted by infini on May 6, 2013 - 17 comments

Selections from the BFI's collection of early cinema

The British Film Institute's YouTube channels offer a staggering amount (previously) of content on historical cinema, shorts, and discussion. Some short selections from the early and silent period of note - The Sick Kitten (1903) - How Percy Won The Beauty Competition (1909) - Tilly The Tomboy Visits The Poor (1910) - Suffragette Riot In Trafalgar Square (1913) - The Fugitive Futurist, in which a man on the run shows a device that can see far into the future (1924) - Vaudevillian legend Billy Merson Singing 'Desdemona'. Widely considered Britain's first sound film - (1927) Charley In New Town - part of an animated series from the Central Office, this one explaining the need for "New Towns." (1948) - Growing Girls, a filmstrip guide to puberty for young women (1951).
posted by The Whelk on May 2, 2013 - 5 comments

Act of Terror: arrested for filming police officers - video

When police carried out a routine stop-and-search of her boyfriend on the London Underground, Gemma Atkinson filmed the incident. She was detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest. She launched a legal battle, which ended with the police settling the case in 2010. With the money from the settlement she funded the production of this animated film, which she says shows how her story and highlights police misuse of counterterrorism powers to restrict photography. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 29, 2013 - 24 comments

His home is his castle

This St. George's Day sees news of the next attempt to redress Britain's superhero shortage: Englishman, who looks like Iron Man crossed with a mediaeval crusader. The series promises “brand new, quintessentially English characters, including Greenbelt and Dry Stone Wall”. [more inside]
posted by acb on Apr 23, 2013 - 119 comments

Ruled by “Dave” and “Nick”

In a sense what we have is the Americanisation of Britain, or at least of England. A society where everybody has then sense that they can be anything they want to be, and where hardly anybody can. Crooked Timber's Chris Bertram on the evolution of British society since the seventies.
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 12, 2013 - 20 comments

Enter, Stranger

How we made Knightmare The creator and the dungeon master of the 1980s fantasy game show revisit dodgy technology and terrified children. The wikipedia entry explains more. Knightmare mentioned previously on mefi
posted by lalochezia on Apr 9, 2013 - 19 comments

The Fishing Party

The BBC documentary The Fishing Party captures the mood of the Thatcher era with devastating accuracy. First broadcast in 1986, it follows a group of four City businessmen on a fishing trip to Scotland as they air their opinions on politics, money, education, discipline, women and dogs. Hilarious and appalling by turns, the whole documentary can now be viewed on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. (Bonus link: the director Paul Watson describes the making of 'Mrs Thatcher's least favourite film ever'.)
posted by verstegan on Apr 9, 2013 - 22 comments

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