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But did you threaten to overrule him?

Following junior Treasury minister Chloe Smith's disastrous performance on Newsnight regarding the Chancellor's u-turn on fuel duty, the New Statesmen presents the top five ten worst political interviews.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 27, 2012 - 41 comments

Blessed Plot

What Britain used to look like from the air (Audio slideshow) From sprawling factory complexes to newly built suburban streets - by way of some of the UK's top sporting venues and seaside resorts. More than 10,000 images from one of the earliest collections of aerial photography are being made freely available on the web.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 25, 2012 - 10 comments

The moon on a stick

Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast is a series of long live interviews with other comedians, comedy writers and Jonathan Ross - the most recent with his old partner, Stewart Lee. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 24, 2012 - 8 comments

Her Majesty Requires a Help Desk Technician

The Royal Household is hiring. Apply online now! [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Jun 21, 2012 - 80 comments

Being Brave

Before and after photographs of children who have had teeth removed. Part of a exhibition showcasing behind the scenes observations of The Children's Hospital, Sheffield
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 17, 2012 - 23 comments

It was a good war. (For some.)

Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., repeatedly lobbied Tony Blair to invade Iraq. In the days leading up to the invasion, Tony Blair's Director of Communications wrote that "(Blair) took a call from Murdoch who was pressing on timings, saying how News International would support us, etc. Both TB and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy. Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got." The phone call in question took place just days before a crucial vote on Iraq, and was one of three personal calls from Murdoch that Blair received in that week alone. Blair recently testified, admitting an "unhealthy" level of closeness with Murdoch, oftentimes communicating more with him than with his own ministers. In the first 19 days following the invasion of Iraq, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News averaged 3.3 million viewers, a 236% increase from the weeks preceding the war. Huge increases in newspaper sales were seen throughout his global media empire, with advertising revenue soaring to record levels. That empire now faces serious calls for it to be broken up.
posted by markkraft on Jun 16, 2012 - 62 comments

Sing us a Song to Keep us Warm, There's Such a Chill

In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 16, 2012 - 66 comments

Why the British are on average 3 stone (42 lbs) heavier than in the 60s

Why our food is making us fat (Guardian article by Jacques Peretti): [more inside]
posted by peacheater on Jun 15, 2012 - 146 comments

Still Crap

Ten years ago Sam Jordison created a magazine/website column and later notorious series of books entitled Crap Towns. After resurging interest in the books he revisits the town that first inspired him, Morecambe. (Previous)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 9, 2012 - 11 comments

Its downhill all the way

The need for speed This article contrasts two very different timeframes in the 'social life' of the plant stimulant miraa--known elsewhere as khat--in Kenya and beyond. One, the heritage and cultural associations around the age of the trees themselves and the other, the impact of the perishability of the product even as demand for it grows on continents halfway around the world, thus the "need for speed". (Previously) (Previously)
posted by infini on Jun 9, 2012 - 6 comments

Well Brutal

London's top brutalist buildings
posted by Artw on May 26, 2012 - 111 comments

This post could not handle a link from the Daily Mail

As a flag-waving Britain prepares for the Jubilee/Olympics (or in the words of the comedy Twenty Twelve, 'Jubilympics'), the nation seems divided between the wildly enthusiastic and those suffering from Patriotism Fatigue(link may be NSFW). James Ward (of Boring fame) does a round-up of spurious Jubilympic themed products, after consumption of which you may require a sick bag.
posted by mippy on May 22, 2012 - 69 comments

Libel protections for peer reviewed journals

Britain is considering legislation to protect scientific publications in peer reviewed journals from libel lawsuits, such as the Chiropractic Association's lawsuit against Simon Singh. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on May 17, 2012 - 24 comments

UK Police to practice their own form of "phone hacking"

Met Police to extract suspects' mobile phone data [BBC] The Metropolitan Police, covering Greater London, are set to expand their search powers by making it standard practice to swipe contact details, call logs, and texts off of the mobile phones of anyone in custody - and retain that data - regardless of whether the suspect ends up charged with a crime or not. Clearly not everyone is over the moon about this, seeing it as the latest sign of the steady erosion of communications privacy in the UK and a potential breach of human rights law.
posted by LondonYank on May 17, 2012 - 43 comments

British Bus Shelters

Some British bus shelters are, implausibly, powered by the light of the sun, and some can see what you’re up to & tell you to stop doing it. Others smell like baked potatoes, or dispense free pieces of cake. Others still can get you high if you set them on fire. More often though, these are dreary, malodorous locales where one is increasingly less likely to see a bus, let alone three coming along at once. Photographer Steve Ellaway has embarked on a project to photograph the bus shelters of South Wales: an unpromising subject on the surface of it, but one that has yielded surprisingly rich and varied results.
posted by misteraitch on May 15, 2012 - 22 comments

Women's lib... in space!

Star Maidens was an obscure and pretty much forgotten British/German low budget (they borrowed sets from Space 1999 ) science fiction televsion series from 1975... On the planet Medusa where the women (naturally all hot) rule over the men, two of the later inferior species escape (including Gareth 'Blake' Thomas!) to the 'paradise' of Earth [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 4, 2012 - 13 comments

Acid Madness

Cleopatra Loves The Acid and Roland's Jam is pretty wild. Acid music is still here...
posted by debord on May 3, 2012 - 21 comments

British Council Film Collection

The British Council Film Collection "is an archive of over 120 short documentary films made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. Preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and digitised by means of a generous donation by Google, the films are now yours to view, to download and to play with for the first time." A couple of essays and case studies also already up, with more to come.
posted by Abiezer on May 3, 2012 - 7 comments

No Future

1977: the Queen's punk jubilee [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 2, 2012 - 23 comments

GOTHS NOT DEAD

Goth for life [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 1, 2012 - 92 comments

The Siege of Savile Row

Chap Magazine (manifesto here) has staged a protest outside the proposed location of an Abercrombie & Fitch store on Savile Row in London. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 24, 2012 - 54 comments

Embrace the colour clash!

The ZX Spectrum's chief designers reunited 30 years on, discussing what became 80s Britain's most popular home computer and gaming platform, despite stiff competition from the technically superior Commodore 64.
posted by Artw on Apr 23, 2012 - 59 comments

Colonial sunset

The Foreign Office’s “guilty secret” revealed Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments. Those papers that survived were flown back to Britain and hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain. The Guardian details some of those papers released earlier this week. [more inside]
posted by infini on Apr 21, 2012 - 34 comments

Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular takes over the streets of Liverpool

In 1912, ten year old May McMurray wrote a letter to her father saying how much she missed him and ending in "Dada this is my first letter". Her father never saw it, perishing aboard the Titanic two days later. This weekend, French company Royal De Luxe tells her story with the Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular in the streets of Liverpool, England. [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Apr 20, 2012 - 11 comments

A Serious Business

Sure, the follies of art-speak are easy to laugh at, but often criticism of it begins and ends with a dismissive chuckle – which ignores profounder problems. Why should academic terminology be the default vehicle for discussing art? Why is there such an emphasis on newness, schism and radicality? Even when the art itself may be enjoyably throwaway, language pins it to deathlessly auratic registers of exchange. This suggests a subliminal fear that, if the subject in question is not talked up as Big and Culturally Significant, then the point of fussing over it in the first place might be called into question, bringing the whole house of cards tumbling down - Dan Fox, the associate editor of frieze magazine, discusses the contemporary art scene in detail.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 12, 2012 - 43 comments

Eulogy for a pretty swell guy

Young Edd Gould always enjoyed drawing comics of himself and his friends. Growing up in the internet age, his doodles evolved into Flash animations of increasing complexity, and in time Edd and pals Tom Ridgewell and Matt Hargreaves teamed up to produce an "Eddsworld" series of online webtoons and comics. At first crude and halting, the group's "eddisodes" progressed from surreal shorts and one-shots into full-fledged productions that pushed the boundaries of amateur web animation, with expressive characters, full soundtracks, complex effects, and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor: MovieMakers - Spares - WTFuture - Rock Bottom - Hammer & Fail (2). At its height, the college co-op was producing shorts for Mitchell & Webb and the UN Climate Change Conference, fielding offers from Paramount and Cartoon Network, and racking up millions of hits on YouTube. Work slowed, however, when Gould was diagnosed with leukemia -- a relatively survivable form, though, and Gould carried on working gamely through his hospital stays. So it came as a shock last week when Matt and Tom announced that Edd had passed away, prompting an outpouring of grief and gratitude from all the fans he'd entertained and inspired in his short 23 years.
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 2, 2012 - 5 comments

Guardian feature on the future of computing education in UK

The Guardian has a feature today on computer science education in the UK It includes short interviews with teenagers who use coding (for fun or work), an article on encouraging girls to get involved in computer science, an editorial encouraging an overhaul of the UK's system of teaching computing, and some discussion of Young Rewired State, a group that offers "festivals of code" to help kids learn to "program the world around them", and also encouraging use of open data.
posted by chapps on Mar 31, 2012 - 19 comments

Everything Must Go!

A short history of privatisation in the UK: 1979-2012
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 29, 2012 - 46 comments

The News Corporation scandals

Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 28, 2012 - 58 comments

Pasty Gate

Following an amendment in the recent Conservative Party budget, VAT on 'Baked Goods' will be re-instated. In response, the question of whether or not David Cameron once ate a Greggs pasty infects the British press. The Telegraph have a live blog covering what has been termed by some Pasty Gate
posted by 0bvious on Mar 28, 2012 - 61 comments

Corridor running

Exploring Cardiff's Roath Lock studios, home of Doctor Who, Casualty, Upstairs Downstairs and the Welsh language Pobol y Cwm. Oh yeah, and there's a trailer for Doctor Who series 7, in which Farscape fans will catch a glimpse of Ben Browder.
posted by Artw on Mar 26, 2012 - 25 comments

The Naked Rambler now in prison for 6 years for nudity

The Naked Rambler now in prison for 6 years for nudity Six years ago, Naked Rambler Stephen Gough's hike from Land's End to John O'Groats brought him media fame – and a prison sentence. Then another, and another, and… why has he been locked up ever since?
posted by novenator on Mar 25, 2012 - 127 comments

All of these things are quite like the others

Otters who look like Benedict Cumberbatch. Koalas who look like David Mitchell. Hedgehogs who look like Martin Freeman. Celebrities who look like mattresses abandoned on the streets of London E17.
(Previously.)
posted by genghis on Mar 21, 2012 - 79 comments

Oi! What you looking at, you little rich boy?

Some have said the protest song is dead. However UK rapper Plan B looks set to change that by releasing 'ill Manors' raging against the demonisation of the young urban poor. Ill Manors is also the name of a film Plan B had directed under the name of Ben Drew. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 19, 2012 - 26 comments

The Iron Man

UK Prime Minister David Cameron unveils plan to lease motorways in England. David Cameron will clear the way for a multibillion-pound semi-privatisation of trunk roads and motorways as he announces plans to allow sovereign wealth funds from countries such as China to lease roads in England. Guardian liveblog.
posted by panaceanot on Mar 19, 2012 - 127 comments

The wizard under the hill

Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen trilogy is to be concluded with Boneland, over 50 years after it started.
posted by Artw on Mar 16, 2012 - 30 comments

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

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