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May the road rise up to meet you.

The Roader’s Digest is ‘the most complete archive of information on the British and Irish road networks on the web.’ from the A1 to the R999; from the B3306 to the B855, they probably have a description of it. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on May 6, 2014 - 20 comments

goodbye bob

Bob Hoskins, legendary British actor, has died aged 71. He is perhaps best known for his roles in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (clip), Hook (clip), Mona Lisa and The Long Good Friday, where he delivered one of the best movie endings ever. [more inside]
posted by fight or flight on Apr 30, 2014 - 136 comments

Matt Berry is the Toast of London

Toast Of London stars Matt Berry (IT Crowd, Snuff Box, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) as troubled theatre actor Steven Toast, an eccentric middle-aged actor with a chequered past who spends more time dealing with his problems off stage than performing on it. With a recent divorce, a highly controversial play to perform every night, a shell shocked army officer for a brother and an audition in a prison - it’s turning into another very busy day for Toast in this, the pilot episode for the Channel 4 series. [SLYT] [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Dec 31, 2013 - 25 comments

A giant leap for mankind.... It's more like a stumble in the dark.

On September 13, 1999, nuclear waste from Earth stored on the far side of the Moon exploded in a catastrophic accident. The explosion knocked the Moon out of orbit and sent it, and the 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, hurtling uncontrollably into space. Their subsequent trials and adventures were chronicled... in Space: 1999. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 12, 2013 - 62 comments

“It is good to see that NOEL EDMONDS has bounced back.”

On 1st November 1988, ITV dispatched over fifty crews to chronicle the production, reception and marketing of British television, at a time when, with satellite television yet to launch, the four main networks were your only viewing choice. It became the documentary One Day In The Life of Television, which you can now watch in full on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Oct 25, 2013 - 7 comments

Author. Dreamweaver. Visionary.

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, the legendary sci-fi hospital horror romance drama from the 1980s, is now available in its entirety on Youtube. The timeless tale of hospital doctor/occasional occultist Rick Dagless and his handsome friend Lucien Sanchez, the stunning and occasionally psychic Dr. Liz Asher, and hospital director Thornton Reed (played memorably by first-time actor and occasional talk-show host Dean Learner), Darkplace spawned a number of hit singles, including the rocking ballad I'm a One-Track Lover and the heartbreaking Skipper's Song, sung from Rick Dagless to the one-eyed sexual molester that he has adopted as his new son. An episode guide follows: [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Oct 8, 2013 - 69 comments

TP-AJAX

In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 19, 2013 - 33 comments

'Ploughboy's Lunch, Harry, please'

'The ploughman's lunch is a UK pub meal who's core components are cheese, chutney, and bread. It can also include such items as boiled eggs, ham, and pickled onions, and is accompanied with beer.' [more inside]
posted by panaceanot on Aug 12, 2013 - 92 comments

Ovaries! Time MAchines!

British comedian Josie Long explores All the Planet's Wonders in a very short series on BBC radio: Collecting. Animals. Astronomy. Plants.
posted by 1f2frfbf on Jul 8, 2013 - 11 comments

"You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment."

The recent Netflix House of Cards series starring Kevin Spacey was a remake of a very popular British political thriller of the same name that aired during the 90's. The show begins by tracking the dark political machinations and skullduggery of an urbane Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, who is conspiring to become Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher's resignation. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 11, 2013 - 91 comments

180 Years of Saturdays

The Spectator Archive was announced today, with searchable, browsable content of the weekly U.K. (conservative-leaning) magazine, from 1828 through 2008. [more inside]
posted by steef on Jun 10, 2013 - 10 comments

Jadu Ghar: The house of magic in the heart of Calcutta

Established in 1814 by founding curator, the Danish botanist Nathanial Wallich at the premises of The Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum of Calcutta* is the oldest museum in Asia and the 9th oldest in the world. Referred to as a "museum of museums", considered outdated and obsolete, its Victorian Era majesty dimmed by modernization, the grande dame of Indian history still manages evoke paeans to its otherworldly wonders:
With collections to rival the Smithsonian and the British Museums, it isn't just a storehouse of countless artifacts from the world over. The building seems to be a tiny world, an island in the midst of a busy street. The tall gates with their spikes are the doorways to different recorded ages. All those entering through the high steps are travelers in a time machine. But this is not all that Kolkata's Jadughar or "House of Magic" has to offer. Its jadu lies in the magic with which it houses portions of man's past. The high ceilings seem to stretch to infinity. Amid the silence there is vibrant life. Showcasing essential elements of different cultures, the dark, often dank, interiors show up the objects more sharply. Gradually the eyes grow used to the absence of light; the smell seems natural. It is this ambience that gently draws you in and makes the textbook history we are used to, a tangible living reality.
It remains a wonderful time-warp with plenty of mangy-looking stuffed animals, fish and birds, together with fossils so beloved of Victorian collectors, as well as fascinating Indian friezes, bas-reliefs and stone carvings and art.
posted by infini on Jun 7, 2013 - 5 comments

Imagine "Thunderbirds" with people instead of puppets

UFO is a 1970 British science fiction television series about a secret military organization which defends the Earth from Alien invaders. The series was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, who previously created the "Supermarionation" puppet TV series in the 1960's (Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5), and would later create Space: 1999. The production is highly stylized, from the cars, hair styles, and future fashions to Ebert-worthy parties of the future, mesh space shirts and groovy theme music. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 31, 2013 - 44 comments

Two wheels good, three wheels better!

Moggie? Moggie? No, Moggie! The Morgan Motor Company, not to be confused with MG (Morris Garages), is a lesser-known British sports car manufacturer building Morgan cars in scenic Malvern Link, Worcestershire, since 1910. Perhaps most famous for selling cars with wooden frames to this very day, Morgan continues building their most traditional cars alongside their swoopiest new offerings. The founder, H. F. S. Morgan, started out building three-wheelers in what is known as the tadpole configuration, and their production continued until 1952, when Morgan moved entirely to four-wheelers. Until 2011. [more inside]
posted by Purposeful Grimace on May 9, 2013 - 47 comments

The Rain in Westeros Falls Mainly in the Riverlands

What Is Going on With the Accents in Game of Thrones? Gawker beanplates the accents used on-screen by the actors in Game of Thrones. Like most fantasy television shows, Game of Thrones is largely populated by English actors speaking with English accents. This is because Americans are still unconvinced that England is a real country, and associate English speech patterns with kings and magic and sorcery and frequent stabbings. [more inside]
posted by snuffleupagus on May 7, 2013 - 267 comments

Around the Beatles: a one-off TV variety show from 1964

In 1964, The Beatles put together a one-off variety show, with musical numbers specially pre-recorded for the show, presented in the style of theater-in-the-round. Around the Beatles was aired in the UK and later that same year in the US, but never commercially released. The show includes The Beatles performing a scene from A Midsummer's Night Dream, with Paul McCartney as Pyramus, John Lennon as his lover Thisbe, George Harrison as Moonshine, Starr as Lion, and Trevor Peacock (the only actual actor in the lot) in the role of Quince. A color clip of that was posted previously, but you can watch the entire (almost) hour-long show with The Beatles' segments accompanied by seven other musical acts, on Dailymotion or YouTube, though it's in black and white. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 18, 2013 - 14 comments

Slip Sliding Away

The Englishman and the eel is a photo essay of 93 images (thumbnails here; 2 pages) and article by London photographer Stuart Freedman that "attempts to look at (amongst other things) the significance and the decline of the eel and its fading from the changing London consciousness" with snapshots of "those palaces of Cockney culture, the Pie and Mash shops." [more inside]
posted by taz on Feb 24, 2013 - 30 comments

Bob Godfrey 1921-2013

On Thursday, February 21st, influential British animator Bob Godfrey passed away at the age of 91. (Guardian, BBC,Cartoon Brew, Mirror, Rueters, Telegraph, and yes, even the Daily Mail. [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on Feb 23, 2013 - 12 comments

Noisey British Masters

Noisey's feature British Masters features interviews by John Doran with Bryan Ferry, Luke Haines, Gary Newman, and Johnny Marr, thus far.
posted by juiceCake on Feb 21, 2013 - 9 comments

the inside of my Trapper Keeper except British actors instead of horses

Behold, terrible drawings of British actors. (Note: the blog was originally called Terrible Drawings of John Finnemore, but there weren't enough pictures of John Finnemore on the internet, and, so, yes.)
posted by cortex on Feb 8, 2013 - 21 comments

'as a liberal, I say bomb the shit out of them'

Richard Seymour has a new book out: Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens. It is reviewed in In These Times: Christopher Hitchens Stands Trial
That said, Hitchens’ later years and the enormous celebrity he enjoyed during that period are a case study of just how handsome the rewards are for those willing and able to serve as attack dogs for the dominant powers of their place and time. Hitchens’ main service to the American elite was to employ a combination of innuendo and character assassination to cast aspersion on virtually every high-profile figure critical of American foreign policy after 9/11—a roster that includes Julian Assange, Noam Chomsky, George Galloway, Michael Moore, Harold Pinter, Edward Said, Cindy Sheehan, Oliver Stone and Gore Vidal.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 21, 2013 - 140 comments

And it's my plan if some great man, Dies with a broken head, Sirs, With much bewail I does detail, His death before he's dead, Sirs!

You wouldn't think so from its trendy shops and restaurants today, but Seven Dials was once one of the worst slums in London. Intended as a smart residential area when its construction was completed in 1710, this cartwheel of streets between Charing Cross Road and Covent Garden quickly declined to become an over-crowded refuge for the city's thieves. It was here that London's thriving trade in gallows ballads made its home.
A collaboration across more than 100 years, from the jobbing hacks writing ballads and selling them at the foot of the gallows to the historical investigation of the British Library's broadsheet collection by MeFi's own Paul Slade, to modern rock, folk, and blues musicians, and then to your ears. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Jan 6, 2013 - 9 comments

FlavorBrit

ShortList has been reviewing British high-end (gourmet) burgers for the last few months. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 19, 2012 - 37 comments

Led Zeppelin - Royal Albert Hall, January 9, 1970

Led Zeppelin - Royal Albert Hall, January 9, 1970 (previously) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Dec 3, 2012 - 18 comments

Nutmeg: smells of holidays from a history of battles and massacres

This unassuming, feel-good spice "has been one of the saddest stories of history," from the gruesome, grisly tale of how the Dutch tortured and massacred the people of the Banda Islands in Indonesia in an attempt to monopolize the nutmeg trade. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 30, 2012 - 40 comments

Land of crumble and lemon curd and opportunity

I'm British (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 30, 2012 - 24 comments

Vicious Old Queens

Here's a sitcom with an unusually high pedigree: Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi to play an old married couple in a new british sitcom from Itv, airing in april 2013!
posted by aldurtregi on Nov 2, 2012 - 43 comments

Wet your whistle on these

What ho, dearest cousins in the Western Colonies. You appear to be increasingly using the vernacular of the mother country. Splendid! [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 17, 2012 - 180 comments

BFI set to open its catalogue of 10,000 archive films to stream online

BFI set to open its catalogue of 10,000 archive films to stream online Yesterday, the BFI released its five year plan 'film forever' . One of the key points is the development and launch of a BFIPlayer in 2013 which will stream the 10,000 films they aim to digitise by 2017. Other objectives are also outlined in the full plan, such as the money available for British film production rising to £24 milllion p/a.
posted by jamiemch on Oct 3, 2012 - 18 comments

4K digital restoration of "Lawrence of Arabia" in theaters October 4

On October 4 you will have the cinematic opportunity of a lifetime to see David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen in a new 4K digital restoration.
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 28, 2012 - 123 comments

Illustrated Covers of British Vogue from 1909 Through 1940

The Art of Vogue Covers details the illustrated covers of British Vogue from 1909 through 1940, including the entire collection of covers between 1920-1930. Most of the work showcased is by seasoned Vogue illustrators Helen Dryden, Georges Lepap, Harriett Maserol, George Plank and Eduardo Benito amongst others. Look for continuing additions at the Flickr set. This is literally just the tip of the iceberg.
posted by netbros on Aug 21, 2012 - 11 comments

Tea should be hot.

A Guide to Writing Sherlockian-Tea Habits. In which EnigmaticPenguin (of death) schools fanfiction authors in correct English tea theory and practice. Follow up: Biscuits.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 29, 2012 - 158 comments

Aye mere watan ke logo

Given how little thought India’s contribution to the World Wars gets in our collective historical memory, it is almost strange to think that in the First World War India made the largest contribution to the war effort out of all of Britain’s colonies and dominions. Close to 1,700,000 Indians – combatants and non-combatants – participated in WWI. My own area of interest is India’s role in the Mesopotamian theatre. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jul 8, 2012 - 7 comments

Finger Billiards! What a goal!

Should more British people commentate on basketball? Yes. [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on May 23, 2012 - 53 comments

Cor!

Shining Examples of European Comic Book Covers
posted by infini on May 4, 2012 - 34 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

Before there was Sergio Aragones drawn out dramas

"The British Library holds one of the world's most important collections of Hebrew manuscripts, of which about 300 have some decoration. All of the illuminated manuscripts and those with significant decoration are now in our Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts." [more inside]
posted by Eekacat on Feb 12, 2012 - 3 comments

A visit to Dickens World

Five years ago, I flew to England to see the grand opening of something improbable: an attraction called Dickens World. It promised to be an “authentic” re-creation of the London of Charles Dickens’s novels, complete with soot, pickpockets, cobblestones, gas lamps, animatronic Dickens characters and strategically placed chemical “smell pots” that would, when heated, emit odors of offal and rotting cabbage. ... Today Dickens World survives largely as a landlord, collecting rent from the Odeon movie theater next door and the restaurants (Pizza Hut, Subway, Chimichanga) that surround it. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Feb 10, 2012 - 41 comments

Tobe Hooper's "Lifeforce"

... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.* (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 6, 2012 - 59 comments

Darwin's 'lost' fossils found in a gloomy corner of the of British Geological Survey

British scientists have discovered a “treasure trove” of Charles Darwin fossils that have been lost for more than 150-years. | 'I spotted some drawers marked "unregistered fossil plants",' he recalls. 'I can't resist a mystery, so I pulled one open. What I found inside made my jaw drop!' Inside were hundreds of fossil plants, polished into thin translucent sheets known as 'thin sections' and captured in glass slides so they could be studied under a microscope. | The British Geologic Survey has images 33 of the "Lost Fossils" online. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 17, 2012 - 15 comments

experimental archeology / history at its best

Victorian Farm | Edwardian Farm -- 18 hours of BBC experimental archeology/historical documentaries, online. Archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and historian Ruth Goodman spend two years living the life of rural country farmers.
posted by crunchland on Jan 15, 2012 - 33 comments

RIP Ronald Searle

Ronald Searle, creator of St. Trinian's, dies at 91.
posted by Ideefixe on Jan 3, 2012 - 36 comments

You can hear the whistle blow, across the Nile

When it comes to railways, the British are famous for their colonial legacy of one of the world's most extensive railway networks built across then British India but their lesser known and far grander vision was the Cape to Cairo railway network intended to stretch across the sea of colonial pink on the African continent. Left incomplete due to politics and geography, most of it is still almost as it was built in its day. [more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 22, 2011 - 27 comments

Meet the Blackadder's American cousin, 1775.

Black Adder American style (part 2). Perhaps not as good as we might have hoped.
posted by FatRabbit on Dec 20, 2011 - 70 comments

Julien Temple's "Absolute Beginners"

[Absolute Beginners] has a glossy immediacy, and you can feel the flash and determination that went into it. What you don't feel is the tormented romanticism that made English adolescents in the 70s swear by the novel the way American kids had earlier sworn by The Catcher in the Rye. - Pauline Kael [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 12, 2011 - 15 comments

Ying tong ying tong ying tong ying tong ying tong iddle-i po.

Here is, um, something. Something silly, from the Goons. Here it is again. And here it is from the Muppets. And here it is in a bookstore at a signing by one of the Goons. More nonsense. And more. (← my favorite) And yet more. Okay, just one more. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 4, 2011 - 15 comments

Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books"

Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books" (NSFW) is not a movie in the sense that we usually employ the word. It's an experiment in form and content. ... The books, their typography, calligraphy and illustrations, are photographed in voluptuous detail. ... "Prospero's Books" really exists outside criticism. ... It is simply a work of original art, which Greenaway asks us to accept or reject on his own terms. - Roger Ebert
posted by Trurl on Dec 4, 2011 - 32 comments

Gay helpline pioneer Rose Robertson has passed.

Before the Second World War, Rose Robertson did secretarial work. During the war, as part of her work for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the UK, Robertson parachuted into occupied France to spy on German troop deployments and act as a courier. Her acquaintance there with a gay couple in the French Resistance, and, after the war, friendship with gay lodgers, led her to found Parents Enquiry, Britain's first helpline to support parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual children, an organization which she operated for many years. [more inside]
posted by Morrigan on Nov 7, 2011 - 37 comments

Syd Dale, Legend of Library

There is no questioning Syd Dale's [mid-60s UK NSFW] place amongst the legends of library music. ... his lavish big band inspired compositions were quickly brought to the public's attention through their use in countless t.v. shows and advertisements. Much of his work could be as classed as easy listening however Dale was also adept at incorporating elements of funk and spy jazz.* [The music of the 1967 Spider-Man animated TV series - to which he so memorably contributed - has been discussed previously.] [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 8, 2011 - 10 comments

"Even if you ignore the embarrassing ceremony and clichéd platitudes, few of these awards actually reflected genuine quality or what is happening in mainstream genre publishing today."

British Fantasy Award winner returns prize; Sam Stone hands back award after criticism of judging process. [The Guardian] "Controversy has riven the 40-year-old British Fantasy Awards, with the winner of the best novel prize handing her award back just three days after it was bestowed. But the organisation and presentation of the awards has been drawing criticism since then, culminating in Sam Stone, the winner of the best novel award – named after American writer and editor August Derleth – announcing yesterday that she is giving it back. The biggest attack on the awards was delivered by editor and anthologist Stephen Jones, who on Tuesday posted a lengthy blog decrying the organisation of the BFAs and making several allegations against awards co-ordinator and British Fantasy Society chairman David Howe."
posted by Fizz on Oct 6, 2011 - 27 comments

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