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After the break, it's UK 1997 vs UK 2009

How Britain has changed since 1997
posted by Gyan on Jul 10, 2010 - 44 comments

Ruin Britannia

Britain Is Puzzled by Its Inflation Problem in a Downturn. Inflation in Britain is an economic mystery. It seems unique in the Western World which on the whole is closer to the dangers of deflation than inflation. April of this year was particularly bad - in an inflation spike that alarmed Britain, 'British price inflation including housing costs hit a 20-year high of 5.3% in April, sending shockwaves through an economy still struggling to exit recession'. [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Jul 6, 2010 - 48 comments

Plebeian Lives and the Making of Modern London

London Lives 12 London archives – digitised, marked up and tagged – to "create a comprehensive electronic edition of primary sources on criminal justice and the provision of poor relief and medical care in eighteenth-century London". The Lives page is a good place to start browsing. [related]
posted by unliteral on Jun 8, 2010 - 8 comments

SFGB

The Martians And Us a BBC documentary series on the history of British science fiction. Part 1 - 'From Apes To Aliens' (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Part 2 - 'Trouble In Paradise' (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Part 3 - The End Of The World As We Know It (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 7, 2010 - 7 comments

It's Friday already in Europe, time for flash fun.

Educational gamesmaker Preloaded has recently made two strategy games for English TV station Channel 4. 1066 is a mix of tactics, insult-typing, bowmanship, rhythm-game and narration by Ian Holm. Trafalgar Origins is all Napoleonic high seas derringdo all the time, as you sail your English ship in real time against the damnable French and Spanish. Whether you want to hoist the sails or call your opponent a stench weasel, they are fun little games which have the added bonus of teaching you about British history. Both games can be played solo or multiplayer. [via Rock Paper Shotgun, where they like those games quite a lot]
posted by Kattullus on May 5, 2010 - 14 comments

Can a person disappear in surveillance Britain?

It's been estimated that the average UK adult is now registered on more than 700 databases and is caught many times each day by nearly five million CCTV cameras. So how hard would it be for an average citizen to disappear completely? That’s the subject of a new documentary film: Erasing David, (Trailer: YouTube, Vimeo) which premieres this evening in the UK on More4. It's also now available worldwide online at the iTunes store and through several Video On Demand services, as well as through Good Screenings. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 29, 2010 - 17 comments

The Benedict Condom

The Benedict Condom: The British Government has apologised to the Pope over official documents that mocked his forthcoming visit to the UK by suggesting he should bless a gay marriage and even launch Papal-branded condoms. [more inside]
posted by aqsakal on Apr 25, 2010 - 59 comments

Bangers and Beans and Toast, Oh My!

The Full English: "[...]a mad, bad, salt-soaked road trip from culinary heaven to hell and back"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Apr 22, 2010 - 48 comments

Easter egg found on Good Friday

Ever since Pat and Diane Farla moved into the detached Victorian building three years ago, they'd wondered what lay behind the metre-long rectangle which lay alongside a wall.
posted by mattdidthat on Apr 9, 2010 - 113 comments

What happens if David Cameron loses?

Most people assumed the Tories would walk the coming election. But with their poll lead evaporating, what would a Conservative defeat mean for Britain – and David Cameron? What happens if David Cameron loses? [more inside]
posted by Len on Mar 26, 2010 - 70 comments

Childhood cruelties

Andrew O’Hagan writes in the London Review of Books on the James Bulger murder. It really should be read in conjunction with his earlier piece from 1993 to fully appreciate his stance. Previously [1] [2] [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Mar 25, 2010 - 25 comments

"Toffs" and "Toughs"

In 1937, the London News Chronicle published a photograph of five boys at the gates of Lord's cricket ground; two stood aloof in top hats and tails, with their backs to a group of three working-class lads. The resulting photograph became famous as a metaphor for the class divide in Britain, appearing in newspaper stories about school reform, inequality and bourgeois guilt and on the covers of books. The photograph appeared in the Getty Images archive as "Toffs and Toughs", and even was printed on a jigsaw puzzle in 2004. The identities of the three working-class boys were unknown until a journalist tracked them down in 1998; here is an article on the history of the photograph and the lives of the five boys in it.
posted by acb on Mar 23, 2010 - 36 comments

Music!

Music! - A 1968 documentary by the National Music Council of Great Britain, featuring folk singing, The Beatles, and even early electronic music produced by tape splicing. Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.
posted by Artw on Mar 7, 2010 - 8 comments

Over 8000 Cartoons from Punch Magazine

Punch Cartoons has over 8000 cartoons from the pages of Punch, the long-running British satirical magazine. It cast its eye on everything from quintessentially British entertainment to children's books to computer games to optometrists. Punch ran from 1841 to 1992 and was relaunched in 1996 and finally closed shop in 2002. You can read up on the history of the magazine on their website and if you want to read some old issues to see what they were like, Project Gutenberg has quite a few. [Punch previously]
posted by Kattullus on Mar 2, 2010 - 19 comments

the truth is.. hovering over skegness

For the first time since closing its dedicated UFO desk in December, the Ministry of Defence today released online records of all recorded UK UFO sightings between 1994 and 2000. It should be noted that the MOD itself remains sceptical at best, despite frequent recorded sightings of a mysterious blue police box.
posted by fight or flight on Feb 18, 2010 - 5 comments

Bed Bugs, Dust Mites and Dirt. Oh, my!

"Half a million dirty Britons wash their bed sheets only three times a year, a survey discloses laying bare the disgusting bedroom habits of the nation. One in six people also admitted waiting at least a month before washing their bed sheets." "Londoners have the dirtiest bed sheets in the country." [more inside]
posted by ericb on Feb 17, 2010 - 238 comments

The People's Manifesto

Comedian and activist, Mark Thomas, has been touring the UK over the past year, compiling a set of policies that his audiences want to see implemented in Britain. As part of the publicity for the resulting book, The People's Manifesto, his publishers are offering to pay one lucky applicant's £500 deposit and campaign expenses to stand for public office at the upcoming general election, on the condition that they will base their campaign on the policies gathered in the book. [more inside]
posted by idiomatika on Feb 9, 2010 - 35 comments

Plow Monday, Historic and Updated

On January 11, 2010, Canon David Parrott blessed laptop computers and mobile phones during the Plow Monday service at St Lawrence Jewry Church in the City of London. Plough Monday is the traditional start of the English agricultural year, and the Church was involved with blessing of tools for the coming year. Before it was involved with church services, Plough Monday was a time for folk plays and dancing (associated with other Mummers plays), with regional variations. Some new Molly Dancers have revived the traditions, complete with plow. There were also races to see who would start their work the earliest, to show their readiness to commence the labors of the year. So sing out now and walk your plough (or play a ring tone on your mobile phone). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 12, 2010 - 12 comments

The Big Chill

What Britain looks like without the Gulf Stream.
posted by Artw on Jan 7, 2010 - 134 comments

Secrets of The Great British Sex Clubs by Tony Perrottet

(NSFW) So Much For the Stiff Upper Lip. Slate writer gets jiggy wit the history of Georgian Britain's aristocratic sex clubs.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 14, 2009 - 38 comments

Recanting Jihad

Renouncing Islamism: To the brink and back again — A generation of British Islamists have been trained in Afghanistan to fight a global jihad. But now some of those would-be extremists have had a change of heart. Johann Hari finds out what made them give up the fight.
posted by netbros on Nov 16, 2009 - 16 comments

"Britain punches above its weight"

Britain: the birthplace of globalisation in the 19th century; ruler of a worldwide empire. But why, over a century later, is the UK still appearing as a major player on the political world stage? Its entire population of around 60m is comparable only with the population of California and Texas combined. Geographically it is a smaller size than Texas, and cut off from the larger and potentially more-politically-influential Eurozone. Is it relying on its history as a superpower, or on its current relations with superpowers? [more inside]
posted by Petrot on Nov 1, 2009 - 71 comments

"Everything is pessimistic. Your grandma stocks up on washing-up liquid in case there’s another Holocaust."

Marc Isaacs is a British documentary maker with a talent for making poignant, revealing films about people. You can watch his new film Men In The City ‒ an affecting and beautifully shot profile of four very different London workers ‒ on the iPlayer, following its broadcast on the BBC yesterday. You also shouldn't miss his BAFTA-nominated short film Lift, filmed entirely from within an elevator inside a block of flats, and All White In Barking, a study from an English town with high immigration and strong BNP support ( pertinently ). Another interview with Marc.
posted by sleepcrime on Oct 25, 2009 - 6 comments

Freedom Can Go To Hell

Geert Wilders is now making a splash in London drawing a protest from the hardline Islamic members of the British public. The protests featured such memorable slogans as "Freedom Can Go to Hell" and "Islam will dominate the world" and eventually forced Geers to change the location of his press conference. On the ground interviews conducted by Press TV show the attitude of some of the crowd. British nationalists are naturally responding in kind.
posted by Talez on Oct 17, 2009 - 58 comments

Podcast about the history of the Normans

Norman Centuries is a new podcast by Lars Brownworth, best known for his podcast series 12 Byzantine Rulers (previously). Norman Centuries, as the name suggests, recounts the history of the Normans, those literal vikings who gained Normandy and then England, Sicily, Malta, Antioch and, well, a whole heck of a lot of other places too. They were a conquering bunch. First two episodes are out with more to follow. [iTunes link]
posted by Kattullus on Oct 15, 2009 - 18 comments

SWEDEMASON

The Works of Swede Mason: "Jeremy Clarkson," "Get in the Back of the Van," "Jungle All The Way," "Bill Wyman's Metal Detector," "Put the Lotion in the Basket, *" "Got The Sucka," "The Gobshite, *" "Squashed Thingy," "Spare Me The Madness," and the pair of tracks based on Neighbors deaths "Coffee And Croissants" and "Todd....Dead." [more inside]
posted by flatluigi on Oct 13, 2009 - 14 comments

You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.

High court serves first injunction via Twitter. [more inside]
posted by puckish on Oct 1, 2009 - 18 comments

Utopian Communes in the British Isles

Utopia Britannica is a collection of stories and a gazetter about utopian communes in the British Isles from the 14th Century up until the end of World War II. There are some incredible tales in here, such as 'Free Love' in 19th Century Somerset, St. Kilda, Death of an Island Republic, Percy Bysshe Shelley's attempted communes, Augustus John, the King of Bohemia and many more.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 25, 2009 - 10 comments

a vague nostalgia for a benevolent, quasi-modernist English bureaucratic aesthetic

Lash Out and Cover Up: Owen Hatherley in Radical Philosophy on "Keep Calm and Carry On," manufactured nostalgia for austerity, and modernist kitsch, in its authoritarian and ironically adapted forms. [more inside]
posted by RogerB on Sep 16, 2009 - 31 comments

Thousands of poems by women writers of the British Isles in the Romantic era

British Women Romantic Poets Project is a collection of poetry written by women from the British Isles between 1789 and 1832. Over a hundred female poets are represented. Women rarely feature in literary histories of the Romantic period but there is treasure if you search (some poems are, frankly, terrible). A few places to start are Charlotte Turner Smith's Elegiac Sonnets, and Other Poems, Christian Ross Milne's Simple Poems on Simple Subjects and Mary Robinson's sonnet cycle Sappho and Phaon. The oddest works to modern readers may be Elizabeth Hitchener's Enigmas, Historical and Geographical and Marianne Curties' Classical Pastime, which are collections of verse riddles (the answers are at the end of the text).
posted by Kattullus on Aug 26, 2009 - 5 comments

People Like Us -- the documentary series about people, like us.

In 1999 and 2000, and again from 1995 to 1997, the BBC's Roy Mallard travelled across Britain documenting the everyday lives of ordinary citizens--people like us--for a documentary series with the odd title People Like Us, to show that these everyday peoples' ordinary lives are indeed just like ours, or us, and we, like theirs, or them.
Sample episodes in the series: Actors 1234 / a Vicar 123 / Freelance Photographer 123 / The Pilot Episode, which turned out to be the final episode 123 / [Wikipedia] [more inside]
posted by not_on_display on Aug 9, 2009 - 20 comments

The Cully Flaug'd and other suchlike

British Printed Images to 1700 is a fully searchable (if somewhat buggy at this early stage of release) online library of over 10,000 printed images from early modern Britain. As a taster, here is the naughty Cully Flaug'd [NSFW] of the title.
posted by tellurian on Jul 12, 2009 - 17 comments

Hate Wins

The far-right, whites-only British National Party (BNP) has won two seats (Andrew Brons, Nick Griffin) in the European Parliament. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin on Jun 8, 2009 - 224 comments

Old Weird Brittanica

This entrancing 17-minute film compiled from footage of British folk celebrations was put together in honor of a new project created by set designer Simon Costin. Finding much of his artistic inspiration in the folklore of Great Britain, Costin wondered why there was no national center or museum dedicated to studying and collecting these traditional customs. So he's decided to start one, The Museum of British Folklore, and is launching the project this summer by outfitting a 1976 caravan and traveling to folk festivals around the country. The expedition is intended to build interest in the museum project, and to collect and document some of the surprising variety of more than 700 annual, seasonal, often pre-Christian festival celebrations that continue to this day. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Jun 3, 2009 - 26 comments

Pillocks

"The BNP represents Britain's workers? They don't even represent basic British craftsmanship" - a response to the recent political broadcast by the UKs far right extremists the BNP, who are currently trying to exploit expenses scandals hiting the larger parties. Weirdly despite demanding British jobs for British workers their advertising uses American models.
posted by Artw on May 18, 2009 - 83 comments

Obama administration's blackmail diplomacy over torture evidence

The Obama administration has repeatedly threatened to conceal future information of terrorist threats from the British government, unless the British government disobeys the High Court ruling requiring them to release information about the US government's acknowledged torture program. This may be a breach of the Convention Against Torture. Glenn Greenwald has new evidence. Previously.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on May 12, 2009 - 282 comments

The sins of the fathers

Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre has seen hunger strikes and rioting. Now the British government has issued a report finding that its children "are being denied urgent medical treatment, handled violently and left at risk of serious harm". The Border and Immigration Minister replies, "If people refuse to go home then detention becomes a necessity." [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Apr 28, 2009 - 18 comments

“I ran ‘em all!”

'Roy Of The Rovers' is back... The footballer* has returned to the newsagents in a one-off special. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 6, 2009 - 14 comments

Field Force to Lhasa

Field Force to Lhasa 1903-04 Captain Cecil Mainprise accompanied General Sir Francis Younghusband's expedition to Tibet in 1903. He wrote 50 letters home which trace the expedition’s progress into Tibet. Read this insider's account on the day they were written some 105 years later. Final post is 18 November 2009. [Via]
posted by Abiezer on Apr 4, 2009 - 8 comments

Heroes of UK comics

Leo Baxendale, Hunt Emerson Neil Gaiman, Melinda Gebbie, Brendan McCarthy, Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Posy Simmonds, Bryan Talbot - Paul Gravett's Heroes of UK Comics
posted by Artw on Feb 15, 2009 - 25 comments

I have nothing to declare except my prejudice.

"Let them arrest me". Vehemently anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders was scheduled to travel to London tomorrow to attend a screening of his controversial short film Fitna (wiki, mefi). Yesterday however, the UK's Home Secretary notified Wilders that his presence in the UK would pose a "serious threat to [...] public security" (PDF), presumably intending to refuse his entry into UK. Wilders plans to board the flight anyway, daring British authorities to arrest him. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 11, 2009 - 83 comments

HMS Victory Discovered

World's Mightiest Ship Was Lost Without a Trace in 1744 "In July 1744, she set sail to rescue a Mediterranean convoy blockaded by the French Brest fleet in the River Tagus at Lisbon. After victoriously chasing the French fleet away, she escorted the convoy into the Mediterranean Sea as far as Gibraltar, then set sail to return to her home port in England. During the course of the voyage, her fleet captured a number of valuable prizes, and she was also reported to have taken on board a consignment of 400,000 pounds sterling for Dutch merchants. On her return trip to England, HMS Victory was lost with all hands in a violent storm on October 5, 1744." [pdf] [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Feb 11, 2009 - 11 comments

Gasparcolor

Colour on the Thames is a 7 minute film shot in 1935 using Gasparcolor, one of the many early forms of tinting black and white film. Beside Colour on the Thames, which provides a wonderful view of 1930's England, the only film made in Gasparcolor I could find online was Colour Flight by New Zealand artist Len Lye, an abstract cartoon set to instrumental 1930's pop music. The story of Gasparcolor is in itself interesting, for instance touching on Nazis, Hungary between the wars and early color animation.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 27, 2009 - 12 comments

RESOLUTE!

It is the central, most eyecatching feature of the modern Oval Office. But for over a year, abandoned by a captain said to be harsh and venereal, it drifted slowly, its huge frame creaking, locked in ice, in the land of endless night. [more inside]
posted by felix on Jan 27, 2009 - 123 comments

A little piece of Middle England

More than 20 years ago, Matt Pritchett, the son of a newspaper columnist, began his daily cartoon in the Daily Telegraph. Generally accepted as the best daily cartoonist working today on these shores, he actually wanted to become a cameraman originally but failed to find the work. Always wry, understated and pithy, Matt's cartoons typically summarise the absurd and the humdrum in modern day Britain, often at the same time. Here's his effort for today. Some of his classics here, here and here.
posted by MuffinMan on Jan 21, 2009 - 19 comments

britishbattles.com

The sections of britishbattles.com about The First Afghan War have apparently been quoted verbatim in Al-Qaeda propaganda. Site author, amateur historian John Mackenzie, told the press "It's exactly appropriate to use the account of the first Afghan war to point out the pointlessness of the current operations and the dangers that they run of a similar disaster," [more inside]
posted by nthdegx on Jan 1, 2009 - 17 comments

Christmas at the BFI

Christmas in the London Blitz, 1940; Making Christmas Crackers, 1910; Santa Claus, 1898; Christmas is coming, 1951: short films from the British Film Institute's wonderful Youtube Channel (including excellent playlists), which you can also explore through Google Earth using the kmz file found here.
posted by Rumple on Dec 24, 2008 - 4 comments

SexCCTV.

Giles Walker created fully animated robot pole dancers to see if it was possible to make CCTV cameras sexy using simple mechanics. Part of the “Mutate London” exhibition at the Behind the Shutters Gallery. SFW
posted by gman on Dec 16, 2008 - 16 comments

Everybody's hugging!

Of what purpose is a lap dance? Is it about alcohol and leisure? Is it an exercise in objectification? Is it a question that requires a lap-dancing body (phwoar!) to decide? Or Parliament? Should someone hold a seance and ask Paul Raymond? (previously) [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on Nov 26, 2008 - 89 comments

The right to live well leads to the right to die well.

Hannah Jones is a terminally ill 13 year old who has won a court battle in Britain allowing her to die peacefully instead of undergoing the major surgery that could prolong her life.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Nov 13, 2008 - 111 comments

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