Hello. This year's Supreme Cat Show is taking place in Birmingham, England. The one-day show is one of the largest cat fancy competitions in Europe with over one thousand cats being exhibited. Observe Norwegian Forest Cat 'Kattjeules Tinkerbell', while Kirsty, who was at the event showing her Persian cat, said grooming the long-haired cat to get him show-ready was a lot of work and takes 20-30 minutes a day. In 2011 the process paid of for Mrs Murray and her moggie Mr Bojangles (whose show name is “Imperial Grand Premier & Supreme Kitten Isadoryou Mr Bojangles”) won the kitten category.
The Fast Show summary from Wikipedia:
The Fast Show, known as Brilliant in the US, was a BBC comedy sketch show programme that ran from 1994 to 1997, with a special in 2000 and 2014. It was one of the most popular sketch shows of the 1990s in the UK. The show's central performers were Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Mark Williams, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and Caroline Aherne. Other significant cast members included Paul Shearer, Rhys Thomas, Jeff Harding, Maria McErlane, Eryl Maynard, Colin McFarlane and Donna Ewin.[more inside]
It was loosely structured and relied on character sketches, recurring running gags, and many catchphrases. Its fast-paced "blackout" style set it apart from traditional sketch series because of the number and relative brevity of its sketches; a typical half-hour TV sketch comedy of the period might have consisted of nine or ten major items, with contrived situations and extended setups, whereas the premiere episode of The Fast Show featured twenty-seven sketches in thirty minutes, with some items lasting less than ten seconds and none running longer than three minutes. Its innovative style and presentation influenced many later series such as Little Britain and The Catherine Tate Show.
Grumbling Fur are a pair of former choir boys drawn to each other as teenagers by a love of metal and hardcore punk. Now they "make music that is terribly English: both polite and sinister," one part drone, one part rural psychedelia. Their new album, Preternaturals, released yesterday, is now streaming over at The Quietus. [more inside]
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]
Bob Hoskins, legendary British actor, has died aged 71. He is perhaps best known for his roles in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (clip), Hook (clip), Mona Lisa and The Long Good Friday, where he delivered one of the best movie endings ever. [more inside]
Toast Of London stars Matt Berry (IT Crowd, Snuff Box, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) as troubled theatre actor Steven Toast, an eccentric middle-aged actor with a chequered past who spends more time dealing with his problems off stage than performing on it. With a recent divorce, a highly controversial play to perform every night, a shell shocked army officer for a brother and an audition in a prison - it’s turning into another very busy day for Toast in this, the pilot episode for the Channel 4 series. [SLYT] [NSFW] [more inside]
On September 13, 1999, nuclear waste from Earth stored on the far side of the Moon exploded in a catastrophic accident. The explosion knocked the Moon out of orbit and sent it, and the 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, hurtling uncontrollably into space. Their subsequent trials and adventures were chronicled... in Space: 1999. [more inside]
On 1st November 1988, ITV dispatched over fifty crews to chronicle the production, reception and marketing of British television, at a time when, with satellite television yet to launch, the four main networks were your only viewing choice. It became the documentary One Day In The Life of Television, which you can now watch in full on YouTube. [more inside]
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, the legendary sci-fi hospital horror romance drama from the 1980s, is now available in its entirety on Youtube. The timeless tale of hospital doctor/occasional occultist Rick Dagless and his handsome friend Lucien Sanchez, the stunning and occasionally psychic Dr. Liz Asher, and hospital director Thornton Reed (played memorably by first-time actor and occasional talk-show host Dean Learner), Darkplace spawned a number of hit singles, including the rocking ballad I'm a One-Track Lover and the heartbreaking Skipper's Song, sung from Rick Dagless to the one-eyed sexual molester that he has adopted as his new son. An episode guide follows: [more inside]
In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
'The ploughman's lunch is a UK pub meal who's core components are cheese, chutney, and bread. It can also include such items as boiled eggs, ham, and pickled onions, and is accompanied with beer.' [more inside]
British comedian Josie Long explores All the Planet's Wonders in a very short series on BBC radio: Collecting. Animals. Astronomy. Plants.
The recent Netflix House of Cards series starring Kevin Spacey was a remake of a very popular British political thriller of the same name that aired during the 90's. The show begins by tracking the dark political machinations and skullduggery of an urbane Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, who is conspiring to become Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher's resignation. [more inside]
The Spectator Archive was announced today, with searchable, browsable content of the weekly U.K. (conservative-leaning) magazine, from 1828 through 2008. [more inside]
Established in 1814 by founding curator, the Danish botanist Nathanial Wallich at the premises of The Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum of Calcutta* is the oldest museum in Asia and the 9th oldest in the world. Referred to as a "museum of museums", considered outdated and obsolete, its Victorian Era majesty dimmed by modernization, the grande dame of Indian history still manages evoke paeans to its otherworldly wonders:
With collections to rival the Smithsonian and the British Museums, it isn't just a storehouse of countless artifacts from the world over. The building seems to be a tiny world, an island in the midst of a busy street. The tall gates with their spikes are the doorways to different recorded ages. All those entering through the high steps are travelers in a time machine. But this is not all that Kolkata's Jadughar or "House of Magic" has to offer. Its jadu lies in the magic with which it houses portions of man's past. The high ceilings seem to stretch to infinity. Amid the silence there is vibrant life. Showcasing essential elements of different cultures, the dark, often dank, interiors show up the objects more sharply. Gradually the eyes grow used to the absence of light; the smell seems natural. It is this ambience that gently draws you in and makes the textbook history we are used to, a tangible living reality.It remains a wonderful time-warp with plenty of mangy-looking stuffed animals, fish and birds, together with fossils so beloved of Victorian collectors, as well as fascinating Indian friezes, bas-reliefs and stone carvings and art.
UFO is a 1970 British science fiction television series about a secret military organization which defends the Earth from Alien invaders. The series was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, who previously created the "Supermarionation" puppet TV series in the 1960's (Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5), and would later create Space: 1999. The production is highly stylized, from the cars, hair styles, and future fashions to Ebert-worthy parties of the future, mesh space shirts and groovy theme music. [more inside]
Moggie? Moggie? No, Moggie! The Morgan Motor Company, not to be confused with MG (Morris Garages), is a lesser-known British sports car manufacturer building Morgan cars in scenic Malvern Link, Worcestershire, since 1910. Perhaps most famous for selling cars with wooden frames to this very day, Morgan continues building their most traditional cars alongside their swoopiest new offerings. The founder, H. F. S. Morgan, started out building three-wheelers in what is known as the tadpole configuration, and their production continued until 1952, when Morgan moved entirely to four-wheelers. Until 2011. [more inside]
What Is Going on With the Accents in Game of Thrones? Gawker beanplates the accents used on-screen by the actors in Game of Thrones. Like most fantasy television shows, Game of Thrones is largely populated by English actors speaking with English accents. This is because Americans are still unconvinced that England is a real country, and associate English speech patterns with kings and magic and sorcery and frequent stabbings. [more inside]
In 1964, The Beatles put together a one-off variety show, with musical numbers specially pre-recorded for the show, presented in the style of theater-in-the-round. Around the Beatles was aired in the UK and later that same year in the US, but never commercially released. The show includes The Beatles performing a scene from A Midsummer's Night Dream, with Paul McCartney as Pyramus, John Lennon as his lover Thisbe, George Harrison as Moonshine, Starr as Lion, and Trevor Peacock (the only actual actor in the lot) in the role of Quince. A color clip of that was posted previously, but you can watch the entire (almost) hour-long show with The Beatles' segments accompanied by seven other musical acts, on Dailymotion or YouTube, though it's in black and white. [more inside]
The Englishman and the eel is a photo essay of 93 images (thumbnails here; 2 pages) and article by London photographer Stuart Freedman that "attempts to look at (amongst other things) the significance and the decline of the eel and its fading from the changing London consciousness" with snapshots of "those palaces of Cockney culture, the Pie and Mash shops." [more inside]
On Thursday, February 21st, influential British animator Bob Godfrey passed away at the age of 91. (Guardian, BBC,Cartoon Brew, Mirror, Rueters, Telegraph, and yes, even the Daily Mail. [more inside]
Noisey's feature British Masters features interviews by John Doran with Bryan Ferry, Luke Haines, Gary Newman, and Johnny Marr, thus far.
Behold, terrible drawings of British actors. (Note: the blog was originally called Terrible Drawings of John Finnemore, but there weren't enough pictures of John Finnemore on the internet, and, so, yes.)
Richard Seymour has a new book out: Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens. It is reviewed in In These Times: Christopher Hitchens Stands Trial
That said, Hitchens’ later years and the enormous celebrity he enjoyed during that period are a case study of just how handsome the rewards are for those willing and able to serve as attack dogs for the dominant powers of their place and time. Hitchens’ main service to the American elite was to employ a combination of innuendo and character assassination to cast aspersion on virtually every high-profile figure critical of American foreign policy after 9/11—a roster that includes Julian Assange, Noam Chomsky, George Galloway, Michael Moore, Harold Pinter, Edward Said, Cindy Sheehan, Oliver Stone and Gore Vidal.[more inside]
And it's my plan if some great man, Dies with a broken head, Sirs, With much bewail I does detail, His death before he's dead, Sirs!
You wouldn't think so from its trendy shops and restaurants today, but Seven Dials was once one of the worst slums in London. Intended as a smart residential area when its construction was completed in 1710, this cartwheel of streets between Charing Cross Road and Covent Garden quickly declined to become an over-crowded refuge for the city's thieves. It was here that London's thriving trade in gallows ballads made its home.A collaboration across more than 100 years, from the jobbing hacks writing ballads and selling them at the foot of the gallows to the historical investigation of the British Library's broadsheet collection by MeFi's own Paul Slade, to modern rock, folk, and blues musicians, and then to your ears. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
ShortList has been reviewing British high-end (gourmet) burgers for the last few months. [more inside]
This unassuming, feel-good spice "has been one of the saddest stories of history," from the gruesome, grisly tale of how the Dutch tortured and massacred the people of the Banda Islands in Indonesia in an attempt to monopolize the nutmeg trade. [more inside]
I'm British (SLYT)
Here's a sitcom with an unusually high pedigree: Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi to play an old married couple in a new british sitcom from Itv, airing in april 2013!
What ho, dearest cousins in the Western Colonies. You appear to be increasingly using the vernacular of the mother country. Splendid! [more inside]
BFI set to open its catalogue of 10,000 archive films to stream online Yesterday, the BFI released its five year plan 'film forever' . One of the key points is the development and launch of a BFIPlayer in 2013 which will stream the 10,000 films they aim to digitise by 2017. Other objectives are also outlined in the full plan, such as the money available for British film production rising to £24 milllion p/a.
On October 4 you will have the cinematic opportunity of a lifetime to see David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen in a new 4K digital restoration.
The Art of Vogue Covers details the illustrated covers of British Vogue from 1909 through 1940, including the entire collection of covers between 1920-1930. Most of the work showcased is by seasoned Vogue illustrators Helen Dryden, Georges Lepap, Harriett Maserol, George Plank and Eduardo Benito amongst others. Look for continuing additions at the Flickr set. This is literally just the tip of the iceberg.
A Guide to Writing Sherlockian-Tea Habits. In which EnigmaticPenguin (of death) schools fanfiction authors in correct English tea theory and practice. Follow up: Biscuits.
Given how little thought India’s contribution to the World Wars gets in our collective historical memory, it is almost strange to think that in the First World War India made the largest contribution to the war effort out of all of Britain’s colonies and dominions. Close to 1,700,000 Indians – combatants and non-combatants – participated in WWI. My own area of interest is India’s role in the Mesopotamian theatre. [more inside]
MI6 intends to use the 1994 Intelligence Services Act to deny all application of UK law to extraordinary rendition. The case in question revolves around the forcible extradition of several Libyan dissidents back to Gaddafi's Libya and entirely predictable torture, including a pregnant woman. s.7 of the Act states that any intelligence agency action authorised on foreign soil by a Secretary of State is automatically exempt from legal action in any UK court. This could be said to conflict in some ways with the Human Rights Act 1998 and international law, especially since the HRA may be held to have implicitly repealed s.7 of the 1994 Act. [more inside]
"The British Library holds one of the world's most important collections of Hebrew manuscripts, of which about 300 have some decoration. All of the illuminated manuscripts and those with significant decoration are now in our Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts." [more inside]
Five years ago, I flew to England to see the grand opening of something improbable: an attraction called Dickens World. It promised to be an “authentic” re-creation of the London of Charles Dickens’s novels, complete with soot, pickpockets, cobblestones, gas lamps, animatronic Dickens characters and strategically placed chemical “smell pots” that would, when heated, emit odors of offal and rotting cabbage. ... Today Dickens World survives largely as a landlord, collecting rent from the Odeon movie theater next door and the restaurants (Pizza Hut, Subway, Chimichanga) that surround it. (previously)
... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.
* (previously) [more inside]
British scientists have discovered a “treasure trove” of Charles Darwin fossils that have been lost for more than 150-years. | 'I spotted some drawers marked "unregistered fossil plants",' he recalls. 'I can't resist a mystery, so I pulled one open. What I found inside made my jaw drop!' Inside were hundreds of fossil plants, polished into thin translucent sheets known as 'thin sections' and captured in glass slides so they could be studied under a microscope. | The British Geologic Survey has images 33 of the "Lost Fossils" online. [more inside]
Victorian Farm | Edwardian Farm -- 18 hours of BBC experimental archeology/historical documentaries, online. Archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and historian Ruth Goodman spend two years living the life of rural country farmers.
When it comes to railways, the British are famous for their colonial legacy of one of the world's most extensive railway networks built across then British India but their lesser known and far grander vision was the Cape to Cairo railway network intended to stretch across the sea of colonial pink on the African continent. Left incomplete due to politics and geography, most of it is still almost as it was built in its day. [more inside]
[Absolute Beginners] has a glossy immediacy, and you can feel the flash and determination that went into it. What you don't feel is the tormented romanticism that made English adolescents in the 70s swear by the novel the way American kids had earlier sworn by The Catcher in the Rye. - Pauline Kael [more inside]
Here is, um, something. Something silly, from the Goons. Here it is again. And here it is from the Muppets. And here it is in a bookstore at a signing by one of the Goons. More nonsense. And more. (← my favorite) And yet more. Okay, just one more. [more inside]