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British Girls' Comics

Girls' Comics of Yesterday From the 1950s to the turn of the 21st century, generations of British girls enjoyed weekly comics full of text and picture stories, about an astonishing range of topics: ballerinas, aliens, ghosts, Victorian serving-girls, magic mirrors, wicked stepparents, boarding schools, horse riding, sci-fi dystopias, boys, plucky heroines solving mysteries, and really anything you could imagine ... although to be honest, there were a lot of ballerinas. [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Mar 30, 2015 - 13 comments

Amelia is an intrepid name

The biting cold of a March morning did little to dissuade fans of Amelia Edwards, founder of the Egypt Exploration Society, from turning out in force to watch the unveiling of her blue plaque at 19 Wharton Street in London this week. Edwards joins a small list of women writers including Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Shelley and Agatha Christie, chosen to be celebrated by the scheme as its first female Egyptologist.
As one dives deeper into Amelia Edwards' contributions to Egyptology, one begins to wonder*, was it she who was the real Amelia Peabody, so well known to us through the words of Elizabeth Peters? [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 28, 2015 - 5 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 - 10 comments

Mr. Farage and the Cabaret of Diversity.

Anti-Ukip protesters in fancy dress forced Nigel Farage to flee his local pub where he was dining with his family on Sunday afternoon. 'The Ukip leader called the demonstrators “scum”, claiming they had caused his children distress. The group, however, said they were holding a “cabaret of diversity” in support of those Ukip was seeking to marginalise.' Journalist Stuart Jeffries signs up for the 'Farage fracas.' Suzanne Moore has something to say about Ukip's progress as we near the UK general election. Al Murray's Pub Landlord joins in the fun (from last January.) Farage and the breastfeeding conundrum (from last December.) All links from The Guardian.
posted by glasseyes on Mar 23, 2015 - 80 comments

Oh, Lord, won't you buy me..?

92 lottery winners appointed to UK Parliament. [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Mar 22, 2015 - 31 comments

"I asked him a very old Jewish question: Do you have a bag packed?"

Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 17, 2015 - 144 comments

Titchmarsh vs Pterry

When British daytime TV and geek heroes collide... a collection of youtube interviews with various sf, horror, fantasy people such as Terry Pratchett, several Dr Whos and William Shatner on various lightweight UK tv chatshows from years past
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 11, 2015 - 11 comments

The East India Company: The original corporate raiders

It was at this moment that the East India Company (EIC) ceased to be a conventional corporation, trading and silks and spices, and became something much more unusual. Within a few years, 250 company clerks backed by the military force of 20,000 locally recruited Indian soldiers had become the effective rulers of Bengal.
posted by Chrysostom on Mar 4, 2015 - 19 comments

A form of fraud on the readers

Why I have resigned from the Telegraph; an open letter by Peter Oborne, until now the chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph, alleging that the conservative-leaning British broadsheet has allowed advertisers to veto its editorial policy, a process which culminated in the suppression of stories about the recent tax avoidance scandal involving the HSBC bank, itself a major Telegraph advertiser.
posted by acb on Feb 17, 2015 - 42 comments

"Lights out!"

Comics artist Brett Ewins, co-creator of Deadline, artist for Skreemer and Johnny Nemo, and frequent 2000AD contributor (cover gallery), has passed away passed away age 59.
posted by Artw on Feb 17, 2015 - 18 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

Well weapon

Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris’s 2005 TV series was a comedy about a ludicrous ‘self-facilitating media node’ in east London. But 10 years on, it looks more like a documentary about the future How the Nathan Barley nightmare came true
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 10, 2015 - 35 comments

Save Dippy vs Team Whale

Since 1979 the main hall in London's Natural History Museum has been dominated by a plaster cast of a fossil of a Diplodocus (apparently called 'Dippy'). It has been announced that is to be replaced by the skeleton of a Blue Whale. There has been somewhat of a reaction.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 1, 2015 - 23 comments

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Alexander Litvinenko died on 23 November 2006 (previously). The inquiry into his death is currently underway in London following a detailed investigation by the Metropolitan Police into his poisoning with polonium. The Guardian summarises six key things we have learned so far. These include some pretty casual applications of proper handling procedures for nuclear material, news of a previous assassination attempt and some forthright words from Marina Litvinenko's barrister concerning Vladimir Putin's character that may have led to two unauthorised Russian military planes flying up the English Channel two days ago. [more inside]
posted by biffa on Jan 30, 2015 - 84 comments

[GREEN] JOBS FOR ALL

Let Us Face the Future - "All parties pay lip service to the idea of jobs for all. All parties are ready to promise to achieve that end by keeping up the national purchasing power and controlling changes in the national expenditure through Government action. Where agreement ceases is in the degree of control of private industry that is necessary to achieve the desired end. In hard fact, the success of a full employment programme will certainly turn upon the firmness and success with which the Government fits into that programme the investment and development policies of private as well as public industry." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 29, 2015 - 10 comments

Tick Tick Boom

Along the western coast of England, under a half-moon hidden by clouds, a dark Audi sports car with fabricated plates followed an empty road toward a Barclays bank. Inside were five men, dressed all in black, and their gear: crowbars, power tools, coils of flexible tubing, and two large tanks of explosive gas. It was 1:51 a.m. The job would take just under seven minutes.
posted by Chrysostom on Jan 29, 2015 - 39 comments

The Good, The Bad and The Furry

My cat is sad because . . .
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 28, 2015 - 17 comments

The Sun has got its top on

RIP Page 3. There has been no formal announcement but it seems the long tradition of having a photograph of a topless woman on Page 3 of Rupert Murdoch's flagship British newspaper, The Sun, is no more. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 20, 2015 - 80 comments

MOM, an inflatable incubator, and winner of the 2014 James Dyson Award

The annual James Dyson Award is open to current and recent design engineering students. The winner this year is James Roberts with his inflatable incubator MOM. The device costs around £250 compared to £30,000 for modern incubators and could prevent up to 75% of fatalities in premature birth cases in the developing world.
posted by shimmerbug on Jan 19, 2015 - 13 comments

You're Not Beautiful

Labour's Shadow Culture Minister Chris Bryant has said the art world must address lack of diversity “I am delighted that Eddie Redmayne won [a Golden Globe for best actor], but we can’t just have a culture dominated by Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt and their ilk,” James Blunt has replied. Bryant has replied in turn. The dog from Downtown barks up.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 19, 2015 - 55 comments

'We should be as important as Oasis or Blur'

The Prodigy have a new album, The Day Is My Enemy, out soon. Interview in the Guardian. Nasty [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 17, 2015 - 43 comments

Zombie Blue

Parkour vs zombies short film to promote a forthcoming video game Dying Light (slightly NSFW)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 14, 2015 - 13 comments

End of Empire. End of Days. End of Everything.

Since the controversial 2010 takeover of the British company Cadbury, by the makers of processed cheese slices Kraft, consumers of chocolate have been dismayed at the many changes brought in by the new owners. But the breaking point of many has been reached as the recipe for Cadbury Creme Eggs in the UK is changed, replacing dairy milk chocolate with standard cocoa mix chocolate. To add insult to culinary injury, Mondelez International, owned by Kraft Foods, is also introducing five eggs in a pack instead of three and six-packs. The opinions of actors and wallpaper designers. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jan 14, 2015 - 130 comments

By leaves we live

The mystery Edinburgh book sculptor has given her first interview
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 13, 2015 - 11 comments

"Frankly, I had enjoyed the war."

Adrian Carton de Wiart: The unkillable soldier
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 6, 2015 - 13 comments

Wicked Professor!

Doctor Who: how Ace set the template for modern companions [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 5, 2015 - 58 comments

From Churchill to Doctor Who

Royal Mail 'special stamps' have been produced in the UK for fifty years since 1965, when the new postmaster general, Tony Benn, expanded the criteria for commemorative stamps to include representations of British life and culture.
posted by carter on Jan 4, 2015 - 12 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

Chapstep

Mr B, The Gentlemen Rhymer - who you may know for his chap-hop ditties 'Chap-Hop History', 'Songs For Acid Edward and Hip-Hop Was To Blame After All' has a side project as The Gentlemen Selector with Acid Ragtime and has dropped the first gramophone platter 'Vegetables' [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 3, 2015 - 15 comments

Let's shop outside the box

The most pointlessly gendered children's toys in 2014. The 2013 awards. [more inside]
posted by low_horrible_immoral on Jan 2, 2015 - 103 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

My identity is my creation

Sleaford Mods are an English Hip hop/Post-punk duo based in Nottingham. This year the NME asked them to record a Christmas Message (NSFW swearing) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 28, 2014 - 5 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

Never Mind the Baubles

Anarchy in Huddersfield: the day the Sex Pistols played Santa [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 24, 2014 - 6 comments

Millions of people in the UK were in germ war tests

Guardian: The Ministry of Defence turned large parts of the country into a giant laboratory to conduct a series of secret germ warfare tests on the public. A government report just released provides for the first time a comprehensive official history of Britain's biological weapons trials between 1940 and 1979. (This is an old article but didn't show up on preview.)
posted by marienbad on Dec 23, 2014 - 17 comments

Fanny at Christmas

Fanny Cradock makes Mincemeat out of an Omelette [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 22, 2014 - 20 comments

The Legend of the Free Labour Market

The Legend of the Free Labour Market. From the excellent HR/Economics blog Flip Chart Fairy Tales.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Dec 21, 2014 - 8 comments

Snap, Crackle and Pop!

In an area of London that already boasts a cat cafe and a 3d printer cafe, two bearded twin brothers have opened the Cereal Killer Cafe that serves only breakfast cereal. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 15, 2014 - 75 comments

"I made it so she wanted to sleep with me, which was totally a lie..."

She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge
She studied sculpture at Saint Martin's College, that's where I caught her eye.
She told me that her Dad was loaded
I said in that case I'll have a rum and coke-cola.
She said fine, and in thirty seconds time she said,
I want to live like common people I want to do whatever common people do,
I want to sleep with common people I want to sleep with common people like you.
Well what else could I do – I said I'll see what I can do. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 13, 2014 - 53 comments

The Place for Royalty and The Right Sort of Young

When Mark Birley died at the age of 77 he left behind a legacy of London nightclubs for the aristocratic set ...and a highly contested $200 million dollar estate with last second will changes, phony ex-girlfriends, and feuding children. Maureen Orth explores the family life of the nightlife king.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 12, 2014 - 10 comments

Worse than a Defeat

The British army is back in Warminster and its other bases around the country. Its eight-year venture in southern Afghanistan is over. The extent of the military and political catastrophe it represents is hard to overstate. It was doomed to fail before it began, and fail it did, at a terrible cost in lives and money. How bad was it? In a way it was worse than a defeat, because to be defeated, an army and its masters must understand the nature of the conflict they are fighting. Britain never did understand, and now we would rather not think about it. (SLLRB)
posted by Jakey on Dec 11, 2014 - 47 comments

No Gloves, No Rounds, Plenty of Blood

Of all the forms of fighting known to man, one name strikes fear further into the hearts of those who hear it: Bare Knuckle. For hundreds of years, the men of Britain have rammed their unprotected fists into each others bodies to decide who was the hardest of them all. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Dec 8, 2014 - 30 comments

What are you doing here? ... Physician, heal thyself.

The first 15 mins of all the episodes of classic Doctor Who at the same time. (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 8, 2014 - 12 comments

UK's Premier Foods accused over 'pay and stay' practice

Premier Foods, one of the UK's biggest manufacturers, has been asking its suppliers for payments to continue doing business with the firm.
posted by marienbad on Dec 4, 2014 - 20 comments

Residents here decline emailed requests: Kensington Palace Gardens

"The signs on the doors are excessively polite, and use outmoded words such as 'kindly' and 'residing'. 'Kindly do not deliver items for Mr and Mrs [...] to this address as they are no longer residing here.' But it is the doorbell etiquette that is most enraging, and instructions that 'for all collections and deliveries please press the housekeeper's button only' incite a sudden surge of anarchic rage and a desire to ring all the other bells simultaneously – summoning the chef/kitchen, the residence and the caretaker." [SLTheGuardian]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 4, 2014 - 43 comments

the Ukips

“I don’t mind causing offence when I intend to, but I don’t like causing it accidentally” Interview with comedian Stewart Lee
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 3, 2014 - 28 comments

Tory shires join call for more cash and powers for England’s regions

Grauniad: "The huge list of signatories to the letter – which also calls for an end to savage financial cuts imposed by the centre – demonstrate growing all-party frustration at a system that leaves local communities at the mercy of a central government with little or no understanding of each area’s particular needs. The letter states: “There is compelling evidence that taking decisions closer to the people affected achieves better results and saves money.""
posted by marienbad on Nov 30, 2014 - 16 comments

"The Little Big Man of the London underworld"

RIP 'Mad' Frankie Fraser aka The Dentist, ex enforcer for the Richardson gang and declared Britain's 'most dangerous man' by two Home Secretaries, spending 42 years in prison. In his later years he found work as an after dinner speaker, television personality and tour guide (last year he received an Asbo after an argument in his old people's home over someone sitting in his favourite chair)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 27, 2014 - 21 comments

Hey you, don't watch that watch this!

This is the heavy heavy monster sound, the nuttiest sound around so if you've come in off the street and you're beginning to feel the heat, well listen buster you better start to move your feet to the rockinest, rock-steady beat of Madness... One Step Beyond!
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 25, 2014 - 47 comments

British Breakdown

People that like Slugs are mostly males, aged 25-39, live in Northern Scotland, are far right politically and work in mining and quarrying. Favourite dishes are Spinach Risotto followed by Fidget Pie. They like bird watching and cycling. They describe themselves as alternative but on occasion silly. They are online for 36-40 hours per week and read the Guardian and New Scientist.
Whereas people that like Jellyfish are likely to be female, aged 25-39, live in the north east, are far left politically and work in research and development. Their favourite dish is Vegetarian Sausage Roll followed by Hunter's Stew. They like looking after their pets and archery. They describe themselves as idiosyncratic and on occasion withdrawn. They are online for 50+ hours per week and read the Guardian and New Scientist. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Nov 17, 2014 - 63 comments

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