It was the last few weeks before I left 2000AD and I was looking forward to starting work on my next creation: Misty. I took the title from the film, Play Misty For Me and my plan was to use my 2000AD approach on a girls’ comic: big visuals and longer, more sophisticated stories with the emphasis on the supernatural and horror. Pat Mills on the creation of Misty, a comic full of "pacts with the devil, schoolgirl sacrifice, the ghosts of hanged girls, sinister cults, evil scientists experimenting on the innocent and terrifying parallel worlds where the Nazis won the Second World War." The Guardian's Jacqueline Rayner recalls Jinty, Tammy, Misty and the golden age of girls' comics.
What ho, dearest cousins in the Western Colonies. You appear to be increasingly using the vernacular of the mother country. Splendid! [more inside]
British computer hacker Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the US, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced. [bbc]. She stated that "a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights." on grounds of his mental illness(es) and propensity for suicidal thoughts. On a broader level she has also indicated that a forum bar will be available in future extraditions to the USA, meaning a court will be able to consider whether it would be more appropriate for a trial to be held in the UK. [more inside]
The governments of the United Kingdom and Scotland agree on a framework for the latter to vote on independence. Other reporting in the Telegraph, Guardian and the Scottish Sun. The referendum, for this nation of 5.25 million people and a unicorn as its national animal, will be held before the end of 2014. [more inside]
The story of British art From the earliest evocative stone structures at Skara Brae and Stonehenge to the disturbing 20th-century portraits by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, the art inspired by the British isles tells a truly spectacular story. Through painting, sculpture, architecture and much more, immerse yourself in the best of critic Jonathan Jones's epic survey of the artworks that have made us who we are interactive, intro
Andrew Mitchell, Conservative Chief Whip, faces calls to resign after he reportedly said to police officers who refused to let him through the main gate of Downing Street: "Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government. You're fucking plebs." [more inside]
Dave Hartnett was surprised with an award this week for his services to tax avoidance. He was celebrating his retirement as head of the UK's tax and customs department, where he agreed "sweetheart" deals with Goldman Sachs and Vodafone, letting them off outstanding tax bills. Cue some pleasantly awkward confusion as the partygoers realise what is going on.
Nick Clegg is so, so sorry. (YT) During the last British general election, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was riding high on a wave of popularity (previously). [more inside]
Armando Iannucci's Bafta lecture 2012 - In which the creator of The Thick Of It argues that the BBC should be more aggressive, fight back against critics in the press and goverment, be more like HBO than committee-driven American network TV, and that if as James Murdoch says the only reliable, durable guarantor of independence is profit then the only guarantor of profit is independance.
Information on cricket salaries in England is difficult to find, though the amounts are acknowledged to be low; many cricketers take on a second job during the off-season. One of the top flight teams, Durham, is the first county fined for narrowly exceeding the total playing staff salary cap for the year. As a cross-sport comparison, the top flight football (soccer) team wage bills for 2010-11, and the team salary caps for rugby.
Next year, BBC Radio Two's series The People's Songs, will tell the history of modern Britain in 50 songs. They have just announced what ten of them will be. [more inside]
BBC documentary from 1973 on the London Chapter of the Hell's Angels (SLYT 24:37)
When is a private space a public space? When it's a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS). In accordance with the planning codes of some cities, owners or builders of buildings are mandated to provide members of the general public access to spaces which include rooftop gardens, courtyards, and plazas. [more inside]
Alan Clarke was a British television and film director who produced some of those most hard hitting and controversial work of the 70s and 80s including Scum, Made In Britain and Elephant. [more inside]
The Way They Were (SLYT... 1:07:45 'The tape fails there!')... an old Granada / Channel 4 program that was a compilation of Tony Wilson's So It Goes a show that featured performances from some of the best British Punk and New Wave bands of the time.
What If Other Authors Had Written The Lord Of The Rings?...Wilde, Wodehouse, and more.
The Day Britain Stopped - Back in 2003 a train strike was the first in a chain of events that lead to a complete meltdown of the UK's transport system. [more inside]
"Like a lot of locals, he says that one of his big fears is Costa serving notice that Totnes is ready to be colonised, and sparking the arrival of Caffe Nero, Subway and all the rest." A town declares war on Costa Coffee.
The Economist on the decline of British boy's comics as The Dandy ceases print publication. As it circles oblivion it risks joining the ranks of Whizzer and Chips, Buster, The Beezer and subversive late entry to the genre Oink. The days of the Great British girl's comic are sadly long passed.
Following claims that Ecuador would accept Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's asylum application, Britain has threatened to raid the Ecuadorian embassy if Assange is not handed over.
Vans are gathered outside the London embassy, reports suggest British police have been seen entering the building. Live stream here.
Vans are gathered outside the London embassy, reports suggest British police have been seen entering the building. Live stream here.
When Alexander of Macedonia was 33 he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer - Bristow is only 27!
Gu Kailai's trial has concluded but no verdict has been delivered. Many things about the political background of the murder trial, and Gu Kailai's personal motives, remain unclear, although it is said that Gu has not disputed the charge that she killed Neil Heywood. [more inside]
204 Nations, 204 Photographers, 204 Londoners - The World In London
The Big Three of EU Foreign Policy: Stefan Lehne on the contrasting roles of Germany, France and the UK.
The 'About' page of UK music website Popjustice also doubles as a pop fan manifesto.
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.
UK Artist Jeremy Deller has recreated Stonehenge as a "...life-size replica...made as a fully operational bouncy castle" for the Olympics. [more inside]
The BBC's new Olympics 2012 ad (full 2m40s version; SLYT) is a CGI masterpiece for the video gamer era. (best viewed with YouTube HD resolution settings on) [more inside]
The unaired pilot for the US version of The IT Crowd (SLYT)
Following junior Treasury minister Chloe Smith's disastrous performance on Newsnight regarding the Chancellor's u-turn on fuel duty, the New Statesmen presents the top
five ten worst political interviews.
What Britain used to look like from the air (Audio slideshow) From sprawling factory complexes to newly built suburban streets - by way of some of the UK's top sporting venues and seaside resorts. More than 10,000 images from one of the earliest collections of aerial photography are being made freely available on the web.
Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast is a series of long live interviews with other comedians, comedy writers and Jonathan Ross - the most recent with his old partner, Stewart Lee. [more inside]
Before and after photographs of children who have had teeth removed. Part of a exhibition showcasing behind the scenes observations of The Children's Hospital, Sheffield
Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., repeatedly lobbied Tony Blair to invade Iraq. In the days leading up to the invasion, Tony Blair's Director of Communications wrote that "(Blair) took a call from Murdoch who was pressing on timings, saying how News International would support us, etc. Both TB and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy. Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got." The phone call in question took place just days before a crucial vote on Iraq, and was one of three personal calls from Murdoch that Blair received in that week alone. Blair recently testified, admitting an "unhealthy" level of closeness with Murdoch, oftentimes communicating more with him than with his own ministers. In the first 19 days following the invasion of Iraq, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News averaged 3.3 million viewers, a 236% increase from the weeks preceding the war. Huge increases in newspaper sales were seen throughout his global media empire, with advertising revenue soaring to record levels. That empire now faces serious calls for it to be broken up.
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
Ten years ago Sam Jordison created a magazine/website column and later notorious series of books entitled Crap Towns. After resurging interest in the books he revisits the town that first inspired him, Morecambe. (Previous)
The need for speed This article contrasts two very different timeframes in the 'social life' of the plant stimulant miraa--known elsewhere as khat--in Kenya and beyond. One, the heritage and cultural associations around the age of the trees themselves and the other, the impact of the perishability of the product even as demand for it grows on continents halfway around the world, thus the "need for speed". (Previously) (Previously)
As a flag-waving Britain prepares for the Jubilee/Olympics (or in the words of the comedy Twenty Twelve, 'Jubilympics'), the nation seems divided between the wildly enthusiastic and those suffering from Patriotism Fatigue(link may be NSFW). James Ward (of Boring fame) does a round-up of spurious Jubilympic themed products, after consumption of which you may require a sick bag.
Britain is considering legislation to protect scientific publications in peer reviewed journals from libel lawsuits, such as the Chiropractic Association's lawsuit against Simon Singh. [more inside]
Met Police to extract suspects' mobile phone data [BBC] The Metropolitan Police, covering Greater London, are set to expand their search powers by making it standard practice to swipe contact details, call logs, and texts off of the mobile phones of anyone in custody - and retain that data - regardless of whether the suspect ends up charged with a crime or not. Clearly not everyone is over the moon about this, seeing it as the latest sign of the steady erosion of communications privacy in the UK and a potential breach of human rights law.
Some British bus shelters are, implausibly, powered by the light of the sun, and some can see what you’re up to & tell you to stop doing it. Others smell like baked potatoes, or dispense free pieces of cake. Others still can get you high if you set them on fire. More often though, these are dreary, malodorous locales where one is increasingly less likely to see a bus, let alone three coming along at once. Photographer Steve Ellaway has embarked on a project to photograph the bus shelters of South Wales: an unpromising subject on the surface of it, but one that has yielded surprisingly rich and varied results.
Star Maidens was an obscure and pretty much forgotten British/German low budget (they borrowed sets from Space 1999 ) science fiction televsion series from 1975... On the planet Medusa where the women (naturally all hot) rule over the men, two of the later inferior species escape (including Gareth 'Blake' Thomas!) to the 'paradise' of Earth [more inside]