469 posts tagged with britain.
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Britain's Secret Wars

For more than 100 years, Britain has been perpetually at war. Some conflicts, such as the Falklands, have become central to our national narrative, but others, including the brutal suppression of rebels in Oman, have been deliberately hidden.
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 10, 2016 - 6 comments

Labour and work

Does the Left have a future? (SLGuardian) A longish article on how globalisation, nationalism and changing work has put parties of the left (and particularly Labour in the UK) in crisis.
posted by tavegyl on Sep 7, 2016 - 104 comments

Deep-fat fryers and dunking Jaffa Cakes: a nation further divided

As the UK continues to absorb the implications of the Brexit referendum vote, further splits open due to the (possibly overcooked) arguments between TV cooking show hosts. The declaration of one, that “no family should own a deep-fat fryer” leads to the reply that “...the UK was built on chips and spam fritters.” Host hostilities are further inflamed by the cultural flashpoint of whether Jaffa Cakes should, or could, be dunked in tea, with the retort of “We don't do that in the south, you know.” (Previously [1] and [2]) [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Aug 28, 2016 - 92 comments

"... and rough beasts come slouching through it to be born."

"British politics has never seen a purer example of the Overton window than the referendum on membership of the EU." Brexit Blues, John Lanchester for LRB [more inside]
posted by cwest on Aug 1, 2016 - 29 comments

My father had few enthusiasms, but he loved comedy.

Dead Man Laughing. Comedy, family, class (British) and death intertwine in this essay by Zadie Smith. [more inside]
posted by lalochezia on Jul 19, 2016 - 7 comments

Roman Inscriptions of Britain

Roman Inscriptions of Britain is a searchable online database that "hosts Volume One of The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, R.G. Collingwood's and R.P. Wright's magisterial edition of 2,401 monumental inscriptions from Britain found prior to 1955. It also incorporates all Addenda and Corrigenda published in the 1995 reprint of RIB (edited by R.S.O. Tomlin) and the annual survey of inscriptions published in Britannia since."
posted by jedicus on Jul 14, 2016 - 5 comments

Bera, ek Club Sandwich aur ek Chota Peg lao, jaldi!

If you ever had the dal tadka or the Club Sandwich and wondered who to thank, you may want to look at our Colonial Rulers and their second big gift: the Dak Bungalow.
More on colonial food from the British Raj. Recipes. Old recipes. Controversy in Portland. What came back Home. Comparisons. Hang on, deliciousness aside, what is a Dak Bungalow?
posted by infini on Jun 12, 2016 - 7 comments

Mapping Decline in Regional Diversity of English Dialects

Professor David Britain from the University of Bern added: “People in Bristol speak much more similarly to those in Colchester now than they did fifty years ago. Regional differences are disappearing, some quite quickly. However, while many pockets of resistance to this levelling are shrinking, there is still a stark north-south divide in the pronunciation of certain key words.”
posted by veedubya on May 28, 2016 - 24 comments

The Bribe Factory

The Company That Bribed The World - It was the company with jet-set style and dirty hands. From the tiny principality of Monaco, Unaoil reached across the globe to pay multi-million dollar bribes in oil rich states. The beneficiaries? Some of the biggest companies in England, Europe, America and Australia.
posted by unliteral on Mar 30, 2016 - 33 comments

Cameron, Corbyn, The City and Steampunk

Despair Fatigue - How hopelessness grew boring. The big lie of austerity, how the crushing of the working classes was commodified, the rise of Corbofuturism and how it might shape a radical 21st century.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 20, 2016 - 45 comments

“They were analog criminals operating in a digital world.”

April 2015: The vault at the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit of London's Diamond district is ransacked by thieves. They score an estimated £14 to £35 million in cash, jewels and other valuables. The media calls it "the greatest heist in British history" and speculates about the acrobatic feats the gang must have used. London’s newspapers are filled with artists’ renderings of the heist, featuring hard-bodied burglars in black turtlenecks doing superhuman things. Experts insist that a foreign team of navy-SEAL-like professionals must have masterminded the theft. Nope. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 17, 2016 - 53 comments

Sausage roll nation

How Greggs conquered Britain
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 9, 2016 - 74 comments

"...one of the scariest things they saw as children."

Children of the Stones (previously) is the revolutionary 1977 British children's television drama telling the story of an astrophysicist and his son who arrive in the village of Milbury to study the giant Neolithic stones which surround it, and the community which is held in a strange captivity by the psychic forces generated by the stones. For BBC Radio, writer and comedian Stewart Lee explores the ground breaking television series and examines its special place in the memories of those children who watched it on its initial transmission in a state of excitement and terror. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Mar 4, 2016 - 70 comments

Grace's Guide to British Industrial History

Grace's Guide to British Industrial History ‘is a free-content not-for-profit project dedicated to publishing the history of industry in the UK and elsewhere. Its aim is to provide a brief history of the companies, products and people who were instrumental in industry, commencing with the birth of the Industrial Revolution and continuing up to recent times.’ It ‘contains 115,164 pages of information and 163,140 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.’ Browse by Archived Publications, Biographies (‘over 35,000 pages of biographical notes on individuals’), Industries, Locations or Timelines. There is also a blog.
posted by misteraitch on Feb 29, 2016 - 5 comments

Oh my goodness! Jolly bad show old boy!

A 12-minute compilation of British drivers swearing. NSFW. SLYT.
posted by jontyjago on Feb 27, 2016 - 86 comments

"Coolie Women Are in Demand Here"

I was made to recite the story of my greatgrandmother, to the extent that I knew it: Her name was Sujaria, and this was her village. The British took her away in 1903 to work their sugar plantations in a place now known as Guyana. She sailed on a ship called The Clyde. My grandfather was born on that ship.
Gaiutra Bahadur traces the story of her great grandmother's singular journey as indentured labour meant for the sugar plantations of the Caribbean, shedding light on the lives of women in British India over a hundred years ago.
posted by infini on Feb 23, 2016 - 11 comments

The voice of the sea speaks to the soul

The Perimeter Photographer Quintin Lake is walking 10,000 miles round the British coast, clockwise in sections starting from St Paul's Cathedral, posting a picture a day. [more inside]
posted by Helga-woo on Feb 21, 2016 - 14 comments

It's time to liberate you from the shackles of freedom and democracy

The Jihadis Next Door follows a small cadre of British born extremists, including a bouncy castle salesman turned alleged Daesh executioner and a part time bus driver who moonlights as an online theological superstar. Documentary maker Jamie Roberts, who spent two years filming the cell, was ambivalent about giving fundamentalists a platform, but as the film makes clear, this is not what mainstream Muslim Britain wants. [more inside]
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on Feb 15, 2016 - 8 comments

"Kind hearts are more than coronets."

Peterborough & The Great War. At the Peterborough (UK) East Railway Station during 1916 and 1917, the Women’s United Total Abstinence Council ran a tea stall. There were two visitors books there signed by the soldiers travelling to and from the various fronts during World War I which have been digitised for the website. [more inside]
posted by Zack_Replica on Jan 14, 2016 - 14 comments

“A tear in this fabric is all it takes for a story to begin.”

Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories by Colleen Gillard [The Atlantic] Their history informs fantastical myths and legends, while American tales tend to focus on moral realism.
If Harry Potter and Huckleberry Finn were each to represent British versus American children’s literature, a curious dynamic would emerge: In a literary duel for the hearts and minds of children, one is a wizard-in-training at a boarding school in the Scottish Highlands, while the other is a barefoot boy drifting down the Mississippi, beset by con artists, slave hunters, and thieves. One defeats evil with a wand, the other takes to a raft to right a social wrong. Both orphans took over the world of English-language children’s literature, but their stories unfold in noticeably different ways.
posted by Fizz on Jan 10, 2016 - 89 comments

The great British curry crisis

The high-street staple is under threat. Can a new generation of entrepreneurs save the nation’s tandoori?
posted by infini on Jan 9, 2016 - 100 comments

Abandon hope

12 Digital Research Suggestions on the History of Modern Britain & the British Empire
posted by infini on Dec 16, 2015 - 1 comment

Don't get caught tippling in the stable

Legal Curiosities: Fact or Fable? Among its other responsibilities, Britain's Law Commission works to repeal antiquated or irrelevant laws (NYT article) such as a 1536 law extending a London graveyard or the India Steam Ship Company Act 1838. The commission's "Legal Curiosities" note provides guidance as to which notorious "silly laws" are actually in force (actual example in force: it is illegal to be drunk in charge of a horse, and it is illegal to be drunk on licensed premises, both due to the Licensing Act 1872; not a real law in force: it is illegal for a lady to eat chocolate on a public conveyance.)
posted by andrewesque on Dec 15, 2015 - 49 comments

how to look at the art of the British empire

There can be few more contentious subjects than the empire, and few artistic legacies more explosive. Now, Tate Britain is to hold the first major British exhibition of masterworks from the colonial period – and the results are revealing - William Dalrymple writes
posted by infini on Dec 12, 2015 - 22 comments

"A bold race bred there, battle-happy men causing trouble & torment"

“So at Christmas in this court I lay down a challenge: / If a person here present, within these premises, / Is big or bold or red-blooded enough / To strike me one stroke and be struck in return, / I shall give him a gift of this gigantic cleaver / and the axe shall be his to handle how he likes. / I'll kneel, bare my neck and take the first knock. / So who has the gall? The gumption? The guts? / Who’ll spring from his seat and snatch this weapon? / I offer the axe — who’ll have it as his own? / I’ll afford one free hit from which I won't flinch, / and promised that 12 months will pass in peace, / then claim / the duty I deserve in one year and one day. / Does no one have the nerve to wager in this way? [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Dec 10, 2015 - 14 comments

I envy you, being a librarian.

Down Cemetery Road (1964), from the BBC Monitor series, in which Larkin was interviewed by John Betjeman. - A casual conversation that halts and resumes in Larkinland. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Oct 27, 2015 - 3 comments

Cats of London

Thurston Hopkins was a British photojournalist. Here is his black-and-white photo essay from the 1950's called Cats of London.
posted by colfax on Oct 13, 2015 - 8 comments

CORBYN CRONY'S LUST FOR BLOOD

Can You Survive A Week As Jeremy Corbyn? The press hates you, lots of your party hates you – can you make it through a week without resigning? (NSFW, Buzzfeed, Choose Your Own Adventure format)
posted by Wordshore on Oct 3, 2015 - 33 comments

True Tube Topography

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, Transport for London have released a geogrphically-accurate map of the tube. [PDF] [more inside]
posted by schmod on Sep 18, 2015 - 22 comments

GCHQ and Me

My Life Unmasking British Eavesdroppers. [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on Aug 20, 2015 - 14 comments

"Don't threaten me with a dead fish"

"Hollywood brings glitz, glamour and big budgets to movie-making; France has avant-garde artistry. But what about Britain? Looking at our selection of the 75 greatest British movies of the past century, you'll find that Britain excels at genres you'd expect (kitchen sink and period drama, class-obsessed satire) and plenty you wouldn't (strange sci-fi, blood-freezing contemporary horror). Here are the essential home-grown films to watch, listed in the order they were made..." [SLTelegraph]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 14, 2015 - 63 comments

"Almost no-one in Britain spoke Japanese"

The UK's desperate-measures approach to teaching Japanese during WWII, and its lasting impact. [SLBBC] [more inside]
posted by terretu on Aug 12, 2015 - 12 comments

How Not To Be Seen

From the manuals of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), a discussion of camouflage, disguises, and other ways to conceal oneself. (SLSlate) [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum on Aug 12, 2015 - 10 comments

Vandals

“We had to block the road, we had to call out the bomb squad, we had to call up supervisors to come down, we had to close everywhere off because your vehicle was parked in a higher security hotspot in London with that written on the sides. That’s the justification, it doesn’t say ‘Spain is Great’, ‘Italy is Great’, whatever.” Counter-terrorism police were called this week to investigate a family van parked in central London, with ‘Iran is Great’ emblazoned on its sides [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 8, 2015 - 55 comments

Your underwhelming UK holiday photographs

Spirit of the Nation. The Guardian has invited readers to submit their uninspiring holiday photos. That is all.
posted by glasseyes on Jul 28, 2015 - 50 comments

This train is coming like a ghost train

Near empty trains rattle around the countryside at odd hours of the day and night... Why Britain has secret ghost trains [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 26, 2015 - 32 comments

Very clevah

Fred Perry Subculture Films - A series of short films documenting the evolution of street style, music and counter culture over the last 60 years. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Jul 7, 2015 - 4 comments

J/K!!

Americans ruin their jokes with two simple letters. Miserable twits. I can’t abide “just kidding.” It’s an exculpatory waiver, a spoiler alert, which bludgeons spontaneity. It regulates humour, robbing us of the joy of discovering it ourselves. Surely we can discern shades of seriousness, unaided.
posted by modernnomad on Jun 12, 2015 - 109 comments

From 2 Tone to grime, youth cults showcase a vibrant history of Britain

Something about this country – the divisions, the class system, the general sense of distrust and dissatisfaction – seems to breed youth subcultures like no other place on Earth. The strange, stylish clans that this island incubates have been exported across the world, influencing everything from high street fashion to high art. From teddy boys to 2 Tone rudeboys, soulboys to Slipknot fans, grunge bands to grime crews, mods to mod revivalists, the history of these groups shows us a version of modern Britain that goes way beyond Diana and Blair.
[more inside] posted by ellieBOA on May 28, 2015 - 8 comments

A Very British Coup?

It's Election Day here in the UK and it's looking likely that neither party is going to win an outright majority of the seats in the house of commons: That being the case, are the conservatives and the right wing media machine in the UK already looking to manipulate the system to stay in power? [more inside]
posted by Cantdosleepy on May 7, 2015 - 672 comments

An assertion of creative agency

"What does it mean to be British? Read five outspoken collectives' views on identity in UK culture in this roundtable." - text by Zing Tsjeng for Dazed magazine (part of a series of articles on the state of the nation as the May 7 election approaches in the UK).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on May 4, 2015 - 1 comment

"...the best song Jagger and Richards have written in twenty years"

YoutTube: The story of Bitter Sweet Symphony | Andrew Oldham Orchestra - The Last Time (1965) | Original video | 2010 studio performance for Radio 1 Presents | 2008 concert performance | Live at Glastonbury 2008 | Glastonbury 2011 | potted history of The Verve at BBC News
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Apr 18, 2015 - 15 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 - 11 comments

One man's "cogito" is another's "white mask"

"In short, it seems that when a white male thinks about the meaning of things, any things, it is philosophy..." (SLTheGuardian)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Mar 26, 2015 - 96 comments

The deal of the century

“IT WILL WORK LIKE THIS,” he continued. “I GIVE YOU A FOOKLOAD OF LOGS AND YOU GIVE US YOUR CAT.”
posted by jason's_planet on Mar 23, 2015 - 31 comments

What happens when Queen Elizabeth dies

Since ascending to the throne in 1952, the monarch has seen 12 Prime Ministers serve Britain, and lived through another 12 US Presidents. For at least 12 days — between her passing, the funeral and beyond — Britain will grind to a halt. It'll cost the British economy billions in lost earnings. The stock markets and banks will close for an indefinite period. And both the funeral and the subsequent coronation will become formal national holidays, each with an estimated economic hit to GDP of between £1.2 and £6 billion, to say nothing of organisational costs.
posted by TheLittlePrince on Mar 7, 2015 - 159 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

Back in school, we are the leaders

"Slipknot, Papa Roach, Soulfly, Disturbed, Amen and Mudvayne were all there, supported by the kind of bands that made every teenage stoner bunking off GCSE maths believe they too could one day play a half-hour set to a room full of disinterested teenagers. I charged to the front as if I was a Minotaur and not a young girl with developing boobs and easily breakable bones." How to be Nu-Metal in British Suburbia
posted by mippy on Feb 12, 2015 - 29 comments

The estate we’re in: how working class people became the ‘problem’

Being held up as “beating the odds”, “done good”, or “escaped” does not make me happy. (slTheGrauniad)
posted by Kitteh on Jan 21, 2015 - 39 comments

That's Not What Joe Strummer Had in Mind

​​"From the pictures and videos that accompany the NBC News and Buzzfeed stories, the crowd appears to have been predominantly white... which explains why they're described in the media as 'celebrating' rather than 'rioting'. But every time this happens – that is to say, every time sports fans, predominantly of the white variety, go on rampages after wining (or losing) various championships – many of us with a few gray hairs on our heads are reminded of the Clash's seminal punk anthem, 'White Riot,' which was released as a 7-inch single (that would be on vinyl, kids) in March 1977, and was later included on both the UK and the US versions of the band's debut album, The Clash."​ Whites Riot: That’s Not What Joe Strummer Had in Mind, by David Von Ebers (TwiB! / Valid magazine).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jan 19, 2015 - 28 comments

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