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Big Brother at the Petrol Station

We've all heard about the proliferation of CCTV in the UK. Now, accounting firm Ernst & Young has a new scheme for the Brits: Uninsured drivers won't be able to fill up. [more inside]
posted by symbioid on Mar 15, 2012 - 53 comments

The most remarkable play staged on Planet Earth

"Ken Campbell’s production of Illuminatus! made Wagner’s Ring seem like a frog’s arsehole"
posted by Artw on Mar 14, 2012 - 19 comments

Vox populi

Simon Cowell (aka 'Karaoke Sauron') has for some time dominated Saturday nights on UK TV, but he now faces a challenge... [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 12, 2012 - 23 comments

South London Gay Community Centre

The Brixton Fairies and the South London Gay Community Centre, Brixton 1974-6 "This fascinating story about Brixton’s legendary gay community of the 1970s was posted up on the urban75 bulletin boards, and thanks to the author Ian Townson, I’m now able to repost an illustrated version, giving a wonderful insight into a long lost part of Brixton life."
posted by Abiezer on Mar 12, 2012 - 6 comments

Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.

Network Rail virtual archive Original drawings and plans of Britain's railway infrastructure from Network Rail, including the Forth Bridge, Bristol Temple Meads station, the Tay Bridge and lots more.
posted by Helga-woo on Mar 4, 2012 - 6 comments

Omni Consumer Products

Welcome to Omni Consumer Products. "First they came for the NHS and I said nothing because I was not sick. Then they came for the disabled people and those on benefits and I said nothing because I had an income and didn’t care what the ‘scroungers’ said. Then they came for the schools and I said nothing because I had no kids. Then they came for the police force with private/public partnerships and for speaking up, I received a baton to the face. The private guards looked at their targets and smiled: dissent down 35% this month." [more inside]
posted by ClanvidHorse on Mar 3, 2012 - 75 comments

London is full of ghosts

"Everyone knows there’s a catastrophe unfolding, that few can afford to live in their own city. It was not always so." - China Miéville on Apocalyptic London
posted by timshel on Mar 1, 2012 - 58 comments

Austerity

If Britain were Greece... (audio slideshow)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 29, 2012 - 39 comments

The Victorian Kitchen Garden & a metric butt-ton of historical reconstruction series

The Victorian Kitchen Garden is a 13-part TV series that aired in 1987 on BBC2. It follows the month-by-month restoration of the Victorian walled kitchen garden at the Chilton Foliat estate in Wiltshire, England. Almost all the episodes are available to watch online. (via hark, a vagrant) It had three sequels - The Victorian Kitchen, The Victorian Flower Garden, and The Wartime Kitchen and Garden - and inspired more recent historical reconstruction programs: Tales From the Green Valley, A Tudor Feast at Christmas, Victorian Farm, Victorian Farm Christmas, Victorian Pharmacy, and Edwardian Farm. (Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm previously.) [more inside]
posted by flex on Feb 26, 2012 - 29 comments

New Musical Express

The NME - 60 years of rock history ... and four front covers that define their eras
posted by Artw on Feb 25, 2012 - 18 comments

lods of emone

Why the super-rich love the UK.
posted by Smart Dalek on Feb 25, 2012 - 60 comments

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.... and mega cities and future cops and cyborgs and deathgames and time-travelling dinosaur hunters and mutant bounty hunters and....

British sf tabletop miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000 is 25 years old today, British sf anthology comic 2000AD is 35 years old tomorrow [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 25, 2012 - 85 comments

It's the way I told 'em

RIP Frank Carson, an Irish comedian of the old school.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 23, 2012 - 21 comments

Dignity, always dignity

Lembit Opik MP lost his seat at the last election. Already a colourful figure, (not least because of his past relationships with a weather girl, Cheeky Girl, and underwear model*) has since taken an interesting subsequent career route via stand-up comedy to recently entering the music business himself by starring in a video for a new indie band) (*Relationship may only be for PR purposes, allegedly)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 21, 2012 - 11 comments

The dandy highwayman

For the first few minutes I'm not even sure this interview should be taking place at all. The greeting is an awkward shuffle of hunched shoulders and downcast eyes; he can't look at me, and I can't hear him. His gaze averted, hands stuffed into pockets, he mumbles in haltingly reluctant whispers, as if words can cause him physical pain. The man should be talking to a doctor, I worry, not a nosy journalist. We try some small talk, but it's almost impossible to make out what he's saying – until I ask what he prefers to be called. "Adam," he says firmly, glancing up for the first time. "Adam Ant."
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 20, 2012 - 49 comments

The sun is new each day. -- Heraclitus

Rupert Murdoch to replace the News of the World with the Sun on Sunday, meaning the Sun will publish 7 days a week. (Sun, BBC) In other News International news, Murdoch has reinstated the Sun journalists arrested for paying public officials, will pay their legal expenses, and has written to all of the Sun's journalists with a combative memo pledging support. The Guardian liveblogged the day.
posted by jaduncan on Feb 19, 2012 - 59 comments

The Sins of the Fathers

Richard Dawkins on the surreal experience of being the subject of a Sunday Telegraph "gotcha" article.
posted by Artw on Feb 19, 2012 - 167 comments

The allegedly amputated arm of the law

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]
posted by jaduncan on Feb 15, 2012 - 26 comments

Second Coming

Stone Roses, Trainspotting and the grunge look: the 90s revival is here (previous)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 13, 2012 - 211 comments

The Fall of the House of Murdoch?

Five senior journalists and editors at the News International tabloid the Sun were arrested on Saturday along with three public officials as Operation Elveden, the British investigation into bribery of police by News International papers, broadened to include corruption of officials in the armed forces and Ministry of Defence as well. The Guardian reports that the new arrests escalate the stakes of the ongoing US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation of News Corporation, which carries potential penalties of millions of dollars of fines and prison sentences for senior executives. [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Feb 11, 2012 - 93 comments

State of Denmark

Why Borgen's all the buzz at Westminster A moody, Danish political drama, complete with subtitles, prolonged pauses and superficially consensual continental politics would not seem the sort of programme to become the hot topic in the coffee bars and corridors of the Commons. Even more improbably the central character in Borgen is such an unlikely figure when viewed from the staid, male dominated world of Westminster. Birgitte Nyborg is an attractive, well-intentioned, left-leaning, green-tinged female prime minister who's worried about her weight and leads a party called "The Moderates".
posted by infini on Feb 11, 2012 - 16 comments

It is a peanut in our total

India tells Britain: We don't want your aid According to a leaked memo, the foreign minister, Nirupama Rao, proposed “not to avail [of] any further DFID [British] assistance with effect from 1st April 2011,” because of the “negative publicity of Indian poverty promoted by DFID”. But officials at DFID, Britain’s Department for International Development, told the Indians that cancelling the programme would cause “grave political embarrassment” to Britain, according to sources in Delhi. Further embarressment ensues. Emma Boon, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It is incredible that ministers have defended the aid we send to India, insisting it is vital, when now we learn that even the Indian government doesn’t want it.”
posted by infini on Feb 5, 2012 - 34 comments

Plonkers

The long running English sitcom Only Fools And Horses is going to be remade in the US…. The Guardians showbiz spies reveal the subtle tinkerings that have been made to the original formula. The funniest thing ever on television. Allegedly. (This is funnier)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 30, 2012 - 37 comments

Hep

London coffee bars of the 1950s (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 29, 2012 - 63 comments

PDF-ed

A UK man who downloaded recipes on how to make explosive devices has been jailed under the controversial Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which makes it a crime to be "in possession of records of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism". [more inside]
posted by unSane on Jan 27, 2012 - 81 comments

Burning bodices

The first sexual revolution: lust and liberty in the 18th century
posted by Artw on Jan 21, 2012 - 17 comments

Gove's gong hunt

With the UK struggling through continued dismal economic prospects so grim they are even damaging such an august a tradition as the Indian restaurant, perhaps a new Royal Yacht to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee will cheer everyone up?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 17, 2012 - 31 comments

Joe Dilworth: photographer/drummer

Joe Dilworth, one-time drummer/collaborator with indie stalwarts Stereolab, Th' Faith Healers and Jarvis Cocker, ex-lover of PJ Harvey, is also a very accomplished photographer. [more inside]
posted by The Discredited Ape on Jan 16, 2012 - 4 comments

Game on

It's the BDO world championship final and the Guardian has The Joy of Six: darts the six best moments in darts history* which has a great anecdote about the Indoor League, a near legendary television programme. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 15, 2012 - 16 comments

The drop

Hanging With Frank - a 1997 short film portrait of a Glasgow prison's execution chamber and a man that worked there in the 50's.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 13, 2012 - 3 comments

Licence fee, not license fee

In the UK, people pay a yearly licence fee to watch live television, with revenues funding the BBC. TV Licensing is the group that collects fees, and they use a number of methods — some real, some imaginary, some in between — to gain compliance. But one Briton remains determined not to play that game.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 12, 2012 - 175 comments

Spaced Shaun Fuzz Vs. The World

Has your life becomes choppy, condensed, and full of zooms? You may have Edgar Wright Syndrome
posted by The Whelk on Jan 10, 2012 - 21 comments

It will be the first time the 21 guns salute shoots the coffin

Rumours abound in the UK about secret plans by the current conservative government to offer Baroness Thatcher, lately of ill health, a state funeral nearly exclusively afforded to the Royal family. [more inside]
posted by vivelame on Jan 6, 2012 - 147 comments

Four fingers good, five fingers better

England's Obscenity Trial of the Decade is over, with unanimous Not Guilty verdicts being returned for all 6 charges. R v Peacock was a rare outing for the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and its out-lawing of media which depraves and corrupts, and despite being shown DVDs of explicit homosexual acts, fisting, testicular torture, rape scenes, prolaspses and other acts the prosecution described as extreme the jury decided the material didn't breech the law. Alex d. live tweeted the proceeding and Peacock's supprters are celebratory. The question now is what is obscene in today's society, and is the act still relevant. [more inside]
posted by samworm on Jan 6, 2012 - 25 comments

The lady's not for turning?

‘History is what happened in the past’: reflections on The Iron Lady.
posted by Artw on Jan 4, 2012 - 92 comments

Justice deferred

Eighteen years after the death of Stephen Lawrence, Gary Dobson and David Norris have been found guilty of his murder. [more inside]
posted by calico on Jan 3, 2012 - 49 comments

Dance the fury boogie!

Ken Korda was probably the greatest British film director, and critic, of recent years producing the legendary Speeding On The Needlebliss back in the 90s and you can see his influence even now, such as in this year’s instant classic Kevin Curtis Is Dead (NSFW) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 30, 2011 - 15 comments

The first cut is the deepest

This is the story of one cut. Back in October 2010 George Osborne announced £95 billion in cuts to public services, saying he’d leave it to councils to choose what to shut down. Inevitably most of the casualties ended up being unrenowned places, unlikely to stir up much protest - drop-in centers in housing estates, inner-city park rangers, community theatres, etc. I wanted to write about just one of them, about the ripples created by a single closure. I made my selection quite randomly. I chose a place called Youthreach. I didn’t know much about them, only that they offered weekly counseling sessions to young people, aged 11–25, in Greenwich, South East London. Jon Ronson
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 29, 2011 - 16 comments

Every death on every road in Great Britain 1999-2010

The BBC has put up a page presenting statistics dealing with deaths on British roads between 1999 and 2010. A slightly older page presenting mostly the same statistics (up to 2008) can be visited here; this earlier version was published in conjunction with several other articles, including one looking in-depth at a single crash and its aftermath in Stevenage in 2007.
posted by Dim Siawns on Dec 28, 2011 - 13 comments

Christmas TOTP

So those musicians who had Christmas hits in the 70s and 80s in the UK, what with them coming back year after year, must be made for life, right?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 24, 2011 - 40 comments

Escape from austerity

Downton Abbey has become one of the UK's most popular drama series of recent years and will take pride of place in ITV's schedule with a special episode(video) on Christmas Day that is said to be so good as to be potentially 'vomit inducing'. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 23, 2011 - 92 comments

Oh no, you did'nt!

You may not know this but pantomime (overview for non-Brits) is a very lucrative business in the UK, especially for minor or fading stars of stage and screen (and Vanilla Ice) - Children's entertainers The Krankies (who have had a troubled relationship with panto in the past) have gone all out this year to pull in the punters via going to the gym (video), a lurid interview revealing their rather more adult private lives and a mind-blowing photo op with John Barrowman (SFW but what has been seen cannot be unseen and may prove traumatic for British people of a certain age) (previous)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 18, 2011 - 73 comments

"Bob Shuter, suburban vigilante. Driven by rage to wage a one-man war on the underworld of Kent, Bob Shuter is... The Reprisalizer."

"You're going nowhere, son. Just you, me ad the walls. So wipe that bloody grin off before it's shot off, and don't slouch. You toe rag. You bin. Pay attention when I break you. And break you I will, boy. You're in my manor, now." Buck up! It's Terry Finch's THE REPRISALIZER! Follow Bob Shuter, whose mission of reprisal against his brother's killers, their families, associates, progeny and property takes him across the desolate wasteland of 70s Britain, primarily Kent AKA FINCHLAND. Finch, writer of The Reprisalizer and DRAW!, the cowboy whose name means death, is soon to be the subject of a major motion picture from Matthew Holness, creator of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
posted by Artw on Dec 13, 2011 - 15 comments

Learning Space at Open University

Try one of over 600 courses available through the Open University's Learning Space. Get to know the meaning behind the making of kente cloth of Ghana or learn the mathematical modelling involved in analysing skid marks. Lose yourself in art and design or simply learn a new old language. All you need is a device with a browser and internet access. Bonus: OU on the BBC's Frozen Planet series
posted by infini on Dec 10, 2011 - 8 comments

The stench of lobbying and corruption

Britain’s secretive lobbying system - one company, Bell Pottinger which has had several more than slightly controversial clients has been exposed boasting that they can influence the British Prime Minister.
Among other briefs they have been advising the despotic Uzbekistan Government - reforms need not be fast. They have also been found to have been editing wiikipedia using up to 20 different accounts.
More on lobbying and a list of relevant related links
posted by adamvasco on Dec 9, 2011 - 13 comments

Everybody Out!

The UK is experiencing some of its worst disruption to services in decades as more than 2 million public sector workers stage a nationwide strike, closing schools and bringing councils and hospitals to a virtual standstill. [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Nov 30, 2011 - 79 comments

Racist rant on London tram leads to arrest

A woman has been arrested after a swearing, racist rant (YouTube) on a tram in Croydon, London trended on Twitter. Daily Mail reports with comments switched off, far right EDL member declares her a patriot to be proud of. Satire site The Daily Mash weighs in sardonically.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Nov 29, 2011 - 202 comments

Yesterday's Tomorrow Today!

The BBC broadcasted the science and technology showcase show Tomorrow's World (titles on piano) on 7 July 1965 on BBC1, it ran for 38 years until it was cancelled at the beginning of 2003. Unlike the boosterism of US science programs, Tomorrow's World was more famous for it's live stunts and wry outlook ( James Burke experiences the "convenient" office of the future and the future of home gardening and crushing ennui). The BBC has an archive of episodes and clips for UK visitors, everyone else will have to be content with clips concerning Home Computers, New Banking, Nellie The School Computer, The Elliot Light Pen, Mobile Phones, and Moog Synthesizers.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 26, 2011 - 17 comments

Car Wars

Nearly a decade of US road accident casualties mapped by location across America from ITO World via the Guardian (they have also done the UK)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 24, 2011 - 31 comments

The name Kevin is now illegal. Why not use Alan instead? It suits you.

"London Bridge is currently closed to the public and a section 60 in place due to the presence of a depressed swan." - The Metropolitan Police Twitter Feed: Giving you the lowdown on all the criminal shit that's going down in London town. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Nov 23, 2011 - 29 comments

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