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The Underpants Revolution and other stories from the past...

"Whereas yesterday's Cora Pearl was eccentric, charming and a little cold-hearted, today's Victorian courtesan, La Païva, is straight-up eerie. Like, so eerie that a lot of people thought she was a vampire. My hand to Baby Jesus, people actually believed she was a supernatural being. " Bizarre Victoria shares (what else) bizarre, scandalous, and noteworthy stories form the Victorian era (and more). What do you serve at a country club for fat men? Devil's footprints! Lola Montez: servant whipper, de facto ruler of Bavaria. Empress Sissi and her No Good Very Bad Life. Aristocratic marriage at gunpoint. Public pubic hair trimming. Specialties of the Victorian Brothel. Curing hiccups by setting your shirt on fire. Gilded Age Arranged Marriages.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 3, 2013 - 8 comments

Seeing things without looking, since 2006

Discovering the strange beauty of the utterly everyday, Simon Sharville's Economy Custard is quotidian voyeurism at its gentlest. It certainly "...sits uncomfortably close to the boring", in a wonderful way. [more inside]
posted by hydatius on Jul 3, 2013 - 7 comments

THE END IS EXTREMELY FUCKING NIGH

It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend. From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London (set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings") to the frenzied chaos of its climax, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count). And while sequel 28 Weeks Later with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences in modern horror), and 28 Months looks increasingly unlikely, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 28, 2013 - 90 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

Occupy Westminster In Reverse?

Conservative MPs have drawn up an “Alternative Queen’s Speech” with radical policies - "The 42 bills also include legislation to scrap wind farm subsidies, end the ringfence for foreign aid spending and rename the late August Bank Holiday “Margaret Thatcher Day”. Britain’s relationship with Europe features prominently in the action plan, with draft laws setting out how the UK would leave the European Union and a Bill to prevent Bulgarians and Romanians winning new rights to work, live and claim benefits here from next year. All of the proposals were laid before the House of Commons last night after the Tory backbenchers hijacked an obscure Parliamentary procedure by camping out in Westminster for four successive nights." [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Jun 21, 2013 - 63 comments

McProvocateur

In 1985, McDonalds sued left-wing activists in the UK for libel over a pamphlet accusing the multinational food giant of environmental destruction, abuses of workers' rights and selling junk food. The ensuing trial became the longest-running civil trial in English history, ending in 1997 in a Pyrrhic victory for McDonalds, who had lost millions of pounds in pursuing the case, and won £40,000 for their trouble. (The judgment was later overturned in the European Court of Human Rights.) Now, it has been revealed that the leaflet in question had been co-written by an undercover police officer assigned to infiltrate Greenpeace. The officer in question, Bob Lambert, had previously spent years infiltrating environmental groups, even fathering children with activists before disappearing. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jun 21, 2013 - 61 comments

Soundtrack to your Friday

London record label Black Butter have been spearheading a new wave of UK dance music. [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on Jun 21, 2013 - 37 comments

The fiscal choices at UK Spending Review 2013 and beyond

"The government’s plans for deficit reduction have increasingly stark implications for public spending as their deadline draws nearer, according to new Resolution Foundation analysis. While overall expenditure is set to remain relatively flat in 2015-16 (the period covered by the latest Spending Review) the pace of reduction in total government spending is due to increase significantly in the two subsequent year"
posted by marienbad on Jun 20, 2013 - 3 comments

Hellfire, Damnation and Benjamin Franklin

Dead men tell some tales - a visit to the Hellfire Caves, home of one of the most infamous Hellfire Clubs.
posted by Artw on Jun 17, 2013 - 9 comments

Blood for the Blood God!

Realm of Chaos 80s - an 80s Games Workshop blog.
posted by Artw on Jun 12, 2013 - 29 comments

Did I say "Recession? What Recession?" Oh right, this recession

Recession prompted 'unprecedented' fall in wages - Wages have fallen more in real terms in the current economic downturn than ever before, according to a report. On top of the rising cost of living, a third of workers who stayed in the same job saw a wage cut or freeze between 2010 and 2011, said the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). "The falls in nominal wages... during this recession are unprecedented," said Claire Crawford from the IFS. Labour said the figures showed there was a "living-standards crisis".
posted by marienbad on Jun 12, 2013 - 62 comments

A vision of post-apocalypse Britain?

Eerie computer-generated images reveal how UK landmarks could crumble and decay if humanity was wiped out. Gallery
posted by infini on Jun 12, 2013 - 42 comments

"You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment."

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]
posted by zarq on Jun 11, 2013 - 91 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

Return to the Consoletation Zone

GamesMaster: The Inside Story
posted by rollick on Jun 9, 2013 - 15 comments

One of the best fifty punk albums of all-time

Johnny Moped was a 1970s English punk rock group from south London that once had Chrissie Hynde, Kirsty McColl and Captain Sensible within its ranks. The band had a mere three singles and one album between 1974 and 1978, but in 2013 one Fred Burns is making a film to restore this punk footnote to prominence. There is also a Myspace
posted by Mezentian on Jun 7, 2013 - 8 comments

There is no "Why?"

Stephen Fry: I tried to kill myself last year
posted by Artw on Jun 5, 2013 - 115 comments

The Lords Hath Spoken

18 arguments made against gay marriage in the House of Lords, England, during debate of the Governments proposed Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill
posted by marienbad on Jun 5, 2013 - 105 comments

KIMOTA!

Who owns Marvelman? Part I and part II - the concluding chapters of Padraig O Mealoid's epic 16 part history of one of comic's most disputed characters. meanwhile another hole in comics history is about to be filled in as Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's Zenith finally gets collected in full.
posted by Artw on Jun 2, 2013 - 15 comments

Britain's poorest city: The struggle to make ends meet

"Recent statistics from the Office for National Statistics suggest residents of this city have the lowest household disposable income of anywhere in the UK. The average income per individual householder after tax, but including benefits, is £16,034 a year. In Nottingham it is £10,834. That may be only one measure of poverty, but at a time when there has been a sustained assault on living standards for everyone it is surely a difficult extreme. " [via BBC]
posted by marienbad on May 31, 2013 - 15 comments

How Social Mobility Got Stuck

"Britain's poor were absolutely and relatively better off until Thatcher was elected in 1979. Since then, the bottom half of society is worse off than it was in 1983." "In 1945, when Thatcher turned 20, the richest 0.01 per cent people in Britain received 123 times the mean national average income. By the time she turned 40 in 1965 that had halved to 62 times, and the year before she came to power, in 1978, it was at its minimum: just 28 times the average income."
posted by marienbad on May 28, 2013 - 107 comments

Time flies by when you're the driver of a train

You may remember the 7.5 hour documentary released in 2009 which allowed you to travel the journey between Bergen to Oslo from the comfort of your home. If your wanderlust was fired up watching that video, then you may enjoy some of the other trips you can take. Switzerland: [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on May 25, 2013 - 28 comments

40 Year Old Squares

Rave and Hardcore YouTube Comments Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity
posted by Artw on May 23, 2013 - 61 comments

A psychotic cattle auctioneer narrating a pornographic movie

From the innocents at the New York Times: how to attend a Premier League match.
posted by shothotbot on May 21, 2013 - 42 comments

When Adam Smith and Karl Marx agree...

Ha-Joon Chang on why separating politics from economic policies is bad for democracy. What free-market economists are not telling us is that the politics they want to get rid of are none other than those of democracy itself. When they say we need to insulate economic policies from politics, they are in effect advocating the castration of democracy. (Related FPP.)
posted by asnider on May 9, 2013 - 13 comments

The Rain in Westeros Falls Mainly in the Riverlands

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]
posted by snuffleupagus on May 7, 2013 - 267 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

Viewing is mandatory, citizen!

Judge Minty is a fan film based on a minor character from the comic 2000AD's story Judge Dredd
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 6, 2013 - 17 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

To eat, or not to eat and maybe pay the gas bill instead

Which? poll says many 'borrowing money for food' - "One in five UK households borrowed money or used savings to cover food costs in April, a Which? survey says. It suggests the equivalent of five million households used credit cards, overdrafts or savings to buy food." [BBC]
posted by marienbad on May 5, 2013 - 11 comments

Imagining and sharing desires and fears about the future is a way for

Since time immemorial, people have tried to predict the future. In the second half of the 20th century, these efforts grew more ambitious and sophisticated. Improvements in computational power, data gathering, and analysis were all put to work to try to lift the veil on the future. But the last decade has not been kind to futurology. Bankers' and insurers' forecasts of risk turned out to be drastically wrong, torpedoing the financial system and ushering in a long stagnation. Politicians' visions of long-term stable economic growth evaporated. Perhaps relatedly, scathing critiques of our ability to foresee the future rose to the top of bestseller lists. In this newly self-conscious mood, Nesta funded research that tries to get under the surface of different ways of talking about the future. This paper leans on that research, defending some forms of futurology. Accompanying Guardian post on uncertainty being the only certainty.
posted by infini on May 4, 2013 - 13 comments

UK Shires only Local Election Results

Local Elections in the Shires of England took place yesterday. With the results now counted, the gruaniad's panel of Simon Jenkins, Jonathan Freedland, Polly Toynbee and John Harris review the results.
David Cameron : "pledges 'to work hard to win back' voters", and (on UKIP) : 'No good insulting party people have chosen'.
Nigel Farage (UKIP): "a 'game changer'".
David Milliband : "pleased with local election results."
Prior to the election :The gruaniad speculated.
posted by marienbad on May 3, 2013 - 54 comments

"Shortfall fears for interest-only mortgage holders"

"More than a million people with interest-only mortgages face a financial crunch when they have to pay them off, a watchdog is warning. Some 2.6 million UK householders have the mortgages but the Financial Conduct Authority said estimates suggested that nearly half would not have savings or other funds to cover the final bill. The average shortfall is £71,000, according to FCA research." Gruaniad version.
posted by marienbad on May 2, 2013 - 28 comments

FOOD FLASH - There's spud in your eye!

The Ministry Of Food was a British government ministerial posts separated from that of the Minister of Agriculture. A major task of the latter office was to oversee rationing in the United Kingdom arising out of World War II. They made many newsreels and PSAs to inform the citizenry how to use the food rationing system: Rationing is introduced in 1939 The new ration books are coming! Cod Liver Oil Here's spud in your eye Don't cut that bread! DON'T WASTE FOOD! Dig For Victory! Milk is here! In addition, some short films instructed people in how to best use the new rationing system : Two Cooks And A Cabbage How To Make Tea Rabbit Pie Buying black market meat: a Partner in CRIME A US view explaining UK rationing to the States.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 30, 2013 - 15 comments

Ownership of your digital works is no longer automatic in the UK

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act changes UK copyright law so that only a "diligent search" for ownership is required before a work is considered "orphaned", and put into extended collective licensing. This is one part of a larger act that is supposed to "modernise the UK’s copyright regime to promote innovation in the design industry, encouraging investment in new products while strengthening copyright protections. " Pundits are comparing this to Instagram's assertion of ownership over its users' works last year.
posted by boo_radley on Apr 29, 2013 - 24 comments

Cerebral palsy isn't funny, but 14 year old kid w/ cerebral palsy is

"In comedy, a lot of times, your weaknesses are your strengths". [SLYT]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Apr 24, 2013 - 27 comments

Peace is liberty in tranquillity

The UK Peace Index [PDF], a new publication from The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has produced a startling new headline: against public perceptions of crime, both crime and homicide have fallen significantly. The fall over the last decade has resulted in the UK homicide rate now being roughly equivalent to that of the Western European average, and it is now at its lowest level since 1978. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Apr 24, 2013 - 30 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

Meet The Edwardians

"This video has been dramatically enhanced in quality, using modern video editing tools. The film has been motion stabilized and the speed has been slowed down to correct speed (from 18 fps to 24 fps) using special frame interpolation software that re-creates missing frames." Watch corrected and cleaned footage of circa 1900s London and Cork (5 min 35 sec). (via)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 18, 2013 - 112 comments

Dom's laptop is in Iran.

It's still there. A tale of loss.
posted by colie on Apr 11, 2013 - 49 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

All Your TV Are Belong To Us

More than five years after it was first announced, it looks like beloved British 1970s/80s science-fiction show Blake's 7 (previously) is coming back to television. The story about the innocent freedom fighter framed for sex crimes against children and his criminal compatriots fighting the Authoritarian Federation is getting a fresh lick of paint at SyFy. It will be directed by Casino Royale and Green Lantern director Martin Campbell. But should it return? [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Apr 9, 2013 - 110 comments

Bye bye Boris

London mayor (and oft talked-up potential future PM) Boris Johnson is demolished in a slow motion bicycle crash of an interview. (The whole thing)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 25, 2013 - 92 comments

Her Name was Lucy Meadows

Popular transgender Lancashire teacher Lucy Meadows was found dead last Tuesday. Blame has quickly fallen on an inflammatory Daily Mail article by Richard Littlejohn, which has lead to a petition to sack the writer. Is this fair? Jane Fae at the New Statesman says it doesn't matter, while the New Scostsman calls it 'monstering'. The f word blog and the Guardian have longer articles on the case and the issues surrounding it.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Mar 24, 2013 - 72 comments

Feeling guilty never helps

The Guardian collects parents biggest regrets.
posted by Gilgongo on Mar 22, 2013 - 43 comments

I do believe in ghosts: life after death is too important to trivialise.

RIP British horror writer James Herbert, author of the modern classic of the genre The Rats among many others. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 20, 2013 - 24 comments

Operation Overlord

PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2013 - 12 comments

Ideas for software that will change the world for better/worse.

Blackmailr. Super Goodinator. Two new apps that will transform your life. [more inside]
posted by dubold on Mar 12, 2013 - 31 comments

A very Pyrrhic victory

9 years and 364 days ago, the then MEP (and later cabinet minister), Chris Huhne caught a flight back from Brussels to London Stansted, landing at 10.27pm. He picked up his car, with the distinctive number plate H11HNE, and sped back to his home in Clapham, South London, setting in motion a chain of events that would ultimately see him and his wife, economist Vicky Pryce, each sentenced to 8 months in jail. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Mar 11, 2013 - 83 comments

Brass in the blood: UK coal miner brass bands, and bands world-wide

In the United Kingdom, many brass bands were started by colliery owners, and funded in part by the coal miners themselves. Some of those bands live on, after the coal pits have been closed for years. These bands are facing hard times, with limited funding and waning interest in the music, but some youth join bands to continue family traditions, and the government provides some funding to numerous bands. If you'd like to know more about brass bands in the UK and around the world, Internet Bandsman's Everything Within (IBEW) has tons of material, links to bands in the UK and elsewhere as well as a list of extinct bands and vintage brass band pictures, local events and radio shows, recordings, and plenty more.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 10, 2013 - 22 comments

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