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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

Of course I'd like to sit around and chat... but someone's listening in

Fresh from The Intercept (that fearless vanguard of journalism helmed by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras): disturbing documents exposing the unfathomable reach of the United Kingdom's GCHQ in its quest for total awareness of global internet traffic. A hundred billion user actions logged per day. A "Black Hole" database of 1.1 trillion logs. Frightening programs like KARMA POLICE, MEMORY HOLE, and MUTANT BROTH that correlate the kilo-crore corpus -- IP addresses, cookies, forum posts, search histories, emails, and passwords all compiled and cross-referenced into a real-time "diary" that gives penetrating insight into the relationships, beliefs, and desires of every web user on the planet. Internal documents suggest only widespread encryption can threaten the regime -- a movement the UK is determined to subdue (previously). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 26, 2015 - 105 comments

Is the Prevent strategy demonising Muslim schoolchildren?

'You worry they could take your kids' Teachers [in the UK] now have a statutory duty to spot signs of 'non-violent extremism', with children as young as three being referred for anti-radicalisation. Does the policy safeguard vulnerable pupils – or discriminate against Muslims?
posted by jack_mo on Sep 24, 2015 - 36 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

Offshore Ownership of the UK

"OVER the last year Private Eye has revealed the extent of ownership of British land by offshore companies, generally for tax avoidance and often to conceal dubious wealth. Now the Eye has created an easily searchable online map of these properties, revealing for the first time the British property interests of companies based in tax havens from Panama to Luxembourg, and from Liechtenstein to the South Pacific island of Niue. Using Land Registry data released under Freedom of Information laws, and then linking more than 100,000 land title register entries to specific addresses, the Eye has tracked all leasehold and freehold interests acquired by offshore companies between 2005 and 2014."
posted by marienbad on Sep 15, 2015 - 7 comments

Bite my shiny metal ass

People of the United Kingdom! Will a robot take your job? (previously for data from the USA) [more inside]
posted by KirkpatrickMac on Sep 13, 2015 - 33 comments

♫ Ah, look at all the Corbyn people! Ah, look at all the Corbyn people!♪

Jeremy Corbyn, socialist token once chosen to broaden debate... wins Labour race!
Look at his rivals -- Burnham and Cooper and Kendall all grumble, deplore. Who are they for?
All the Corbyn people -- where do they all come from? All the Corbyn people -- where do they all belong?

Jez's agenda: Nato and Trident and railways and people's QE. Experts agree!
Chuka Umunna, right-leaning leader (and one-time Barack wannabe), pleads unity!
All the Corbyn people -- what will they all become? All the Corbyn people -- will Labour play along? [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 12, 2015 - 443 comments

A shaggy dog story

Black dog tales - Stories of the shuck, the skeff, the barghest, the hairy jack, the cu sith, the gwyllgi and more, the black dog across the British isles and beyond. Here's a map of sightings.
posted by Helga-woo on Sep 10, 2015 - 12 comments

Basic Income: How to Fix a Broken Monetary Transmission Mechanism

FINLAND: New Government Commits to a Basic Income Experiment - "The Finnish government of Juha Sipilä is considering a pilot project that would give everyone of working age a basic income."[1,2,3] (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 4, 2015 - 24 comments

Follow the Brown Signs...

If you have driven in the UK, perhaps you have been curious about those little brown signs with tempting drawings of castles or quirky attractions. Amanda Hone was.
"Whenever I was bored it became a bit of thing for me to jump in the car, drive in a random direction and when I spotted a brown sign I’d follow it and visit wherever I ended up, just for fun. I found myself at places I wouldn’t ever have thought of going to before; an otter and owl sanctuary, The National Motoring Museum, an ornate Indian maharajah’s well in the middle of a country village and heading underground into Cheddar’s caves, to name just a few of the early delights. "
What started off as a distraction became a dedicated hobby.
She tells us the 93 different brown signs in the UK.
The history of the brown tourist signs.
Her blog documents some of her quirkier discoveries.
If you want to know more, just Follow the Brown Signs....
posted by vacapinta on Sep 3, 2015 - 34 comments

The songs were about London...if you want to be particular, South London

Squeeze - Take Me I'm Yours (2012) | Squeeze - Bands Reunited (2003). Previously: Up the Clapham Junction
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 26, 2015 - 33 comments

(U.S. vs. U.S. Banks) vs. (U.K. vs. U.K. Banks)

In 2008 both the U.S. and the U.K. spent big bucks bailing out their banks.
At the end of last year the US government announced that it had made a profit from its bank bailouts. The UK, on the other hand, probably won’t. So what did the Americans do right and we do wrong?
British business blog Flip Chart Fairy Tales tries to account for the difference. [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on Aug 24, 2015 - 21 comments

Court fees in the UK producing '18th century justice'

The Independent has been running a series of stories about the effect of new mandatory court fees on the criminal justice system in the UK. Louisa Sewell, who shoplifted a 75p pack of Mars Bars, was fined £330, of which £150 reflected court fees. Janis Butans, who stole 3 bottles of baby milk, was fined £295. Stuart Barnes, a homeless man who shoplifted cosmetics, was fined £900. The judge commented: 'He cannot afford to feed himself, so what are the prospects of him paying £900?' [more inside]
posted by Aravis76 on Aug 24, 2015 - 61 comments

Rebel Alliance Vs Empire United

Star Wars, as directed by Ken Loach
posted by Artw on Aug 21, 2015 - 17 comments

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