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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

what to expect when you're expecting to go to jail

Alex Cavendish is an ex-prisoner who blogs about all aspects of UK prison life. Whether you want to prepare yourself mentally, are wondering what to pack, worried about weight gain, or need tips on cooking dinner in your cell, Alex has (incredibly detailed) answers to your questions. [more inside]
posted by girlgenius on Mar 15, 2016 - 15 comments

Sausage roll nation

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

Tell me how do I feel

The BBC teams up with the Orkestra Obsolete on the anniversary of New Order's Blue Monday to find out what it would sound like played on a diddley bow, hammered dulcimer, harmonium, zither, musical saw, and singing glasses.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 8, 2016 - 40 comments

Dust to dust

Francis Bacon's final painting 'Study of a Bull', never publicly seen before, has been found in a private collection and will now go on show for the first time.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 5, 2016 - 14 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

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

Platform Cooperatives: Money as a (Public) Service

In Sweden, a Cash-Free Future Nears - "Few places are tilting toward a cashless future as quickly as Sweden, which has become hooked on the convenience of paying by app and plastic." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2016 - 15 comments

But where one empire crumbles, another rises

Alan Partridge: I don’t need TV, I’ve got two Nutribullets
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 7, 2016 - 11 comments

So THAT's where Fawlty Towers is.

The Great British Television Map "I'm an American, but I love British TV series, and so does my wife. As for Geography... I'm a bit more into that than she is." So, this informative map showing the locations depicted in most of the most popular British TV series*... and where they were actually filmed (if it differs)**. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Feb 6, 2016 - 54 comments

Every year I expect it to be less foolish, and every year it is more so.

RIP Sir Terry Wogan, Irish radio and television presenter whose long career at the BBC included many notable shows including Wake up to Wogan, the Wogan chatshow, Blankety Blank and The Eurovision Song Contest. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 31, 2016 - 51 comments

On this spot

On This Spot is a history blog that focusses on then and now photography, comparing historical and contemporary photographs of the same locations. Locations include cities and battlefields in the UK, Germany, France, Japan and Canada.
posted by Dim Siawns on Jan 29, 2016 - 8 comments

(non)Marriage Equality

Couple to begin court fight against ban on heterosexual civil partnerships Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who describe themselves as feminists and reject marriage as a “patriarchal” institution, will pursue their claim against the government’s equalities office on Tuesday. The case is being brought on the grounds that the refusal to allow them to participate in a civil partnership amounts to discrimination, breaching their right to family life under article 8 of the European convention on human rights. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jan 21, 2016 - 35 comments

Tory MP: Don't Ban Poppers, I Use Them

As the government debates the Psychoactive Substances Bill... A Conservative former minister has "outed" himself as a poppers user, amid warnings that a Government ban on the substance will harm the gay community and others. Crispin Blunt warned he and many gay men are "astonished" by the Government's proposals, adding respect for the law would "fly out the window" if a ban is implemented. Grauniad Article. Politics.co.uk. Legalcheek.
posted by marienbad on Jan 21, 2016 - 30 comments

British People on Top of Tour Buses Look Generally Displeased

There are benefits to exploring a new city on a bus tour—you get ferried around to all the best sites, you have an overly enthusiastic guide who will regale you with fun facts and helpful information, and, at the end, there will be a great place to buy souvenirs. The downside? The point when you realize you’re one of those people who take bus tours.
posted by veedubya on Jan 19, 2016 - 48 comments

Marriage is like money – seem to want it, and you’ll never get it

'Silver Fork' or Fashionable Novels are the largely forgotten English popular novels of the 1820s and 30s which depicted aristocratic life and scandals as a how-to guide for rising middle-class readers while also exploring growing political and class anxieties in the post-Regency. Advice on how to romance, eat, party and raise children like a member of the upper class from Silver Fork novels via Bizarre Victoria (previously).
posted by The Whelk on Jan 15, 2016 - 7 comments

“I hope it rains for the entire weekend.”

At £150-a-head, the Queen’s 90th birthday party is turning into a right royal PR disaster.
posted by veedubya on Jan 15, 2016 - 41 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

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

"No safe level of drinking": UK alcohol guidelines tightened

"No safe level of drinking": recommended drinking guidelines in the UK have been sharply tightened to no more than 14 units a week (equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine) for both men and women, and no alcohol at all for pregnant women. [more inside]
posted by Dip Flash on Jan 9, 2016 - 75 comments

No war at the dinner table

Last August, the Guardian's Northern correspondent Helen Pidd invited Yasser, a 34-year-old Syrian refugee, to live in the spare room of her Manchester flat while he waited for his wife and baby daughter to join him. Helen and Yasser tell their sides of the story, from navigating the UK's welfare bureaucracy to the English's perplexing fondness for cookbooks and bare floorboards, a family Christmas near Morecambe and a topical Halloween costume. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jan 9, 2016 - 23 comments

Theresa May and the Deportation of "Immigrant" Thomas Podgoretsky

Musician and performer Thomas Podgoretsky, who has lived and worked in the UK for so long he now draws his state pension here, has been told he faces deportation at 72 hours’ notice. [via Private Eye magazine] [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Dec 29, 2015 - 92 comments

"It's really hard to mess up a Yorkshire Pudding"

There's a lot of folk wisdom and myths surrounding baking Yorkshire puddings, so J. Kenji López-Alt decided to test them all and figure out which (if any) are true.. Previous perfect puddings post.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 28, 2015 - 54 comments

Hail Hail The Royal Mail

A German Christmas card with just "England" on the envelope has reached the right address in Gloucestershire.
posted by marienbad on Dec 25, 2015 - 32 comments

A Beginner’s Guide to Grime

"2015 just may be the year that grime goes global. The MC-driven genre is in the middle of a strong, fertile second coming that’s reaching listeners farther flung than ever before. Though grime has had global aspirations for over a decade now, launching several UK superstars like Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Skepta, the music never managed to become an international export on the scale of American hip-hop. Now things are starting to change."
posted by josher71 on Dec 22, 2015 - 21 comments

RIP Jimmy Hill

BBC: "Former Match of the Day presenter Jimmy Hill, one of English football's most influential figures, died on Saturday at the age of 87. As chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, he led the campaign for the scrapping of maximum wages for professional footballers. He played 297 games for Fulham and was later manager and chairman at Coventry. Hill - diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008 - made more than 600 appearances as presenter of Match of the Day." Guardian Report - Guardian Obituary.
posted by marienbad on Dec 19, 2015 - 7 comments

I’m not sure which of these individuals has a Radio for a Head

RIP Nigel Buxton, journalist, who found fame in later years as 'BaaadDad' on The Adam and Joe Show. As ever, the Telegraphy has an interesting obituary [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 19, 2015 - 11 comments

Run, Hide, Tell

BBC: "[UK] Police have released a video telling people to "run, hide, tell" if they are caught up in a terrorist gun attack. The four-minute video advises on how to evacuate a building, where to hide, and what information to tell police. The video says people's first reaction if they hear gunshots should be to run - as long as it will not put them in greater danger - and not to let others' indecision "slow you down"."
posted by marienbad on Dec 18, 2015 - 85 comments

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

Shock and Awe

How we made 2000AD [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 9, 2015 - 29 comments

Maysles Meets American Psycho

In 1993 the BBC produced a television series known as "From A to B: Tales of Modern Motoring." One episode in particular stands out for shining a rare light on the peculiar practice of badge engineering cars to reflect subtle gradations in status. The result is somewhere between the Maysles' Salseman and Easton Ellis' American Psycho.
posted by basicchannel on Nov 23, 2015 - 37 comments

"Women and cats will do as they please."

Blue Monday - a sci-fi short story by Laurie Penny for Motherboard all about cats, Internet videos, and emotional contagions.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 31, 2015 - 11 comments

The sound of horror

The Stone Tape is a television play, first broadcast on the BBC as a Christmas ghost story back in 1972. It was written by Nigel Kneale, best known as the writer of Quatermass. BBC radio is broadcasting a new adaptation tonight (along with an adaptation of The Ring)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 31, 2015 - 14 comments

Poor White Boys Finish Last

BBC: "If you're white, male and poor enough to qualify for a free meal at school then you face the toughest challenge when starting out in life. That's what the Equality and Human Right Commission (EHRC) has said in "the most comprehensive review ever carried out on progress towards greater equality in Britain"."
posted by marienbad on Oct 30, 2015 - 80 comments

Feels like Heaven

RIP singer Diane Charlemagne, probably best know as the vocalist on Goldie's classic drum and bass track 'Inner City Life'. Among her many other contributions across a wide range of music she had top ten hits with the Urban Cookie Collective with 'The Key, The Secret' and 'Feels Like Heaven'
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 29, 2015 - 9 comments

Telly Savalas Visits The UK

In one of the more ill-conceived marketing stunts of the '70s, Telly Savalas visits Birmingham. Telly visits Aberdeen. Telly visits Portsmouth.
posted by veedubya on Oct 22, 2015 - 76 comments

The lowest rung of the housing ladder?

"A growing number of people on low incomes are now living in shared housing - known as "houses in multiple occupation" - where each room is rented separately. But there's concern that many tenants are living in poor conditions." [SLBBC]
posted by marienbad on Oct 21, 2015 - 56 comments

You never see fear coming ‘til it swallows you whole

Half-heard whispers. A creaking door. A missed step. From Vertigo to Videodrome, the scariest movies exploit our greatest – and most basic – fears. Fear Itself - BBC Documentary (SLYT NSFW)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 19, 2015 - 7 comments

"..the Glaswegian origin story is definitively a crock of shit."

Who Owns Chicken Tikka Masala? Complicating a popular origin story.
posted by Miko on Oct 16, 2015 - 31 comments

Aisla Craig, home to curling stones, birds, and a bit more

Not just any rock: curling stones' special granite comes from Scotland
From the study of his run down house, David B. Smith pointed to where the sea crashed against the west coast of Scotland. "Out there," he said, "is Ailsa Craig." Not even a dot on the horizon could be spotted, but the 73-year-old retired judge and curling historian extraordinaire knew the exact location of the island that supplies the granite for the Olympic curling stones.
Ailsa Craig is where curling stones are born, but also a protected bird sanctuary, and home to a historic light house and golf course. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 16, 2015 - 10 comments

Tables turning

Putin Bets Big on Aggressive Syria Policy As the UK government denies reports that RAF pilots have been given the green light to shoot down hostile Russian jets in Syria.
Iraq has begun bombing Islamic State insurgents with help from a new intelligence center with staff from Russia, Iran and Syria.
Russia is using electronic warfare to cloak its actions in Syria from Isis and Nato.
What happens if Russia decides to go into Iraq. How to respond to Russia in Syria while avoiding World War Three.
Meanwhile Shiites in Iraq Hailing Putin for Syria Push.
posted by adamvasco on Oct 13, 2015 - 138 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

“Tweets Are Rare, But Precious”

For Reuters, Neil Hall and Angus Berwick tell the tale of Lincolnshire hermit Rachel Denton. In 2006 Denton formally committed to living the rest of her days in solitude after a lifetime as a teacher and Carmelite nun. In addition to keeping a garden and raising chickens, she makes time in her routine to update her Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles.
posted by ob1quixote on Oct 12, 2015 - 6 comments

Facebook's 2014 UK Tax Bill

Social network giant Facebook paid just £4,327 ($6,643) in corporation tax in 2014, its latest UK results show. Its most recent Companies House filing shows the company as making a pre-tax loss of £28.5m last year, but the firm also paid its 362 UK staff a total of £35.4m in share bonuses.
posted by marienbad on Oct 12, 2015 - 24 comments

Britain's water crisis

The risk here is not that millions of people in Britain are suddenly going to die of thirst. It is that after all those years in which humans settled by rivers and thrived, we are now locked in conflict with our natural surroundings. Either the humans or the rivers have to suffer. At the moment, it is the rivers, although in the longer term a sick river will produce less water, so the humans will end up in trouble as well. (longformGrauniad)
posted by Kitteh on Oct 8, 2015 - 12 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

웃 i am not here and this is not really happening.

After the triumph of OK Computer, Radiohead fell into a creative tailspin -- and frontman Thom Yorke into a nervous breakdown. Exhausted from touring, hounded by press, and jaded by copycats, he escaped into the electronica scene pioneered by Kraftwerk and Warp Records -- fertile ground, the band discovered. Trading spacey rock for apocalyptic brooding, they teased their new sound not with singles or music videos but with innovative web streaming and cryptic, dreamlike "blips" -- winterlands, flocks of cubes, eyeballs, bears. After nearly breaking up over tracklist angst, they cut the kid in half. Thus fifteen years ago today, Kid A and (later) Amnesiac debuted, a confounding mix of electronic fugue, whalesong, pulsing IDM, drunken piano, and epic jazz funeral whose insights into anxiety, political dysfunction, and climate crisis would make it one of the most revered albums of the twenty-first century. See the documentary Reflections on Kid A for interviews and live cuts, or look inside for much more. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 2, 2015 - 63 comments

Trumpton Riots

One of the strangest months in British politics is capped by a anti-gentrification anarchist march through the streets of Shoreditch culminating in an attack on the Cereal Killer Cafe. Take it away, Nigel.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 28, 2015 - 77 comments

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