You're either with us or against us? Ok then... Two British citizens have travelled to Najaf to serve in Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. "We went to fight last night. It was quite fun, actually . . . It was dangerous," however. Reuters raw video has an interview with one of the two British on their site.
The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM to cognoscenti) one of the lesser known but most influential movements of the past quarter century. After the innovators of Metal ran out of steam in the late 70's and were stampeded in the maelstrom of punk, heavy metal (and testosterone-soaked delindquents everywhere) found itself in a quandary). A number of UK acts took some cues from the punks, shortened the songs, reigned in the self-indulgence and speeded up the tempo, and upped the relevance and intelligence of the lyrical content, while still retaining the vocal prowess, instrumental pyrotechnics and young warrior energy that makes it Metal in the first place. Some groups became world famous. Others only big in Europe. Some great ones missed stardom by just a notch. Many of these acts have been cited as inspirations by Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Napalm Death and the thrash/death metal hordes, and even many post-punks. An interesting summary for fans, and a good introduction for non-mans who may have to recalibrate their opinion of the genre after checking some of these bands out.
Fix Up, Look Sharp With stateside hip hop in an unprecedented doldrum, the torch has been snatched up on this side of the Atlantic by 18-year-old Eastender Dizzee Rascal. He's recovering from a stabbing carried out rival fans of a rival garage collective in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. The attack took place a few days before being nominated for the Mercury Music prize. Guaranteed not to be everybody's cup of tea, but he's an interesting character and challenging music make it, and his album, worth a look.
Mary, Queen of Scots (warning: music) is one of British royalty's most adored and most reviled figures, putting her in the select company of arch-rival Elizabeth I (sigh: music again) and Charles I. (The latter is an Anglican saint, although not everybody is quite so enthused.) Wince at the description of her execution, read some poems about her--or, indeed, some of her own poems--or visit her grave in Westminster Abbey.
The Turner Prize nominations are out. Britain's culture minster Kim Howells calls it "cold, mechanical conceptual bullshit". indeed a couple of years ago, Chris Ofili's pictures using dried elephant dung won? (He's the guy who caused a fuss with Rudy Giuliani.) So the annual debate in the british media has begun - "yes, but is it art?"
MOD Selects The Carlyle Group as Preferred Bidder for QinetiQ. In a move that seems to be going ahead with very little coverage, Britain's military research agency is being sold off to a foreign company. Given the important role Qinetiq plays in Britain's Defense, and the type of business The Carlyle Group is, this is perhaps surprising...
The British Empire in Colour -- a three-part documentary series from the producers of the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award-winning Britain at War in Colour will air this month. The series is supposed to include "a treasure-trove of early colour movies filmed before 'technicolour' transformed film making in the 1930s. Unique colour footage of the Edwardian splendour of 1906 British India, soldiers of the First World War and class divided Britain in 1926 as seen for the first time by a modern visually sophisticated audience." Apparently, it also includes Horrifying footage of last days of Raj.
bring out your clips! a decent website where it is possible to get hold of some of the very best of british humour including a large dollop of monty python, not bad eh!
oh glorious rapture, vertu has launched. (flash) the phones (called "instruments" in vertu-speak) are okay, but the real meat seems to be the one-touch vertu concierge: allows one to find theatre tickets, make reservations, or (assumably) order KFC. and, as promised, they are indeed clutch-the-pearls expensive: €6000 to €24000. golly.
A Million British children all jumped at the same time. They actually caused a little bit of recordable seismic activity.
In a throwaway comment the Telegraph reports an unprecedented criminal charge. "Last week her colleague, Lindis Percy, 59, a former Greenham Common protester, was acquitted of criminal misuse of an American flag". An earlier Independent article covers the background "[T]he Crown Prosecution Service has accused Lindis Percy of being motivated by racist hatred of the American people when she "trailed" the US flag on the road at the US military eavesdropping base at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire."
4 Years of Labour and he still hasn't delivered. More typically mature Conservative advertising campaigns are revealed.
The Big Breakfast used to be the cornerstone of British breakfast television. In recent weeks, however, it's been looking a bit limp, the recent sacking of a host being the least of their worries. And although much of the country are looking elsewhere for their morning TV, the head of the network it's on has come out in support. Perhaps he should be looking to the past.
Just in case you're in Britain and happen to commit a felony, don't be caught unprepared. Visit the site of HM Prison Service and get up to date with your British prisoner slang.