104 posts tagged with unitedkingdom.
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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 - 60 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 - 104 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 - 439 comments

My hovercraft is full of Petromyzon marinus

One person's harbinger of river health is another's slayer of kings is another's invasive species. Take, for example, sea lampreys. They are making a comeback in rivers around the UK thanks to conservation efforts. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy on Sep 7, 2015 - 17 comments

The criminals' alphabet (UK edition)

The criminals' alphabet (UK edition). You want some or what, Charlie Big Spuds?
posted by the quidnunc kid on Aug 15, 2015 - 15 comments

“Neoliberal England is a boring dystopia. Here’s why.”

The Evil of Banality
The writer, theorist and academic Mark Fisher recently set up a Facebook page called ‘Boring Dystopia’, and invited the submission of photographs of Britain in the 21st century to illustrate the concept. I’ve already uploaded a few snaps, as manifestations of dullness and decay have long been an interest of mine, particularly the places where the banal and the broken intersect, and the true, terrible, tedious horror of modern life is revealed.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 7, 2015 - 40 comments

The tradition of having a giggle.

Bizarre. Floral. Witty. Futuristic. Avian. Not just for women, either. The hats of Royal Ascot 2015 are stunning works of millinery art. Just the Ladies Day pictures (cute). [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jun 21, 2015 - 11 comments

Connecting the Dots

With all the upheaval in the skies and on the ground, here is one person's opinion on why the U.S. is fighting beside Iran in Iraq and against it in Yemen. Putin tells Iran that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Yemen. All the while...negotiators from six world powers (the P5+1) are attempting to strike a deal with Iran to restrict its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. As Iran nuclear talks 'enter endgame' in Switzerland...China and Russia say they will show up tomorrow. Keeping things cloaked in intrigue: the US accuses Israel of spying on nuclear talks with Iran and Putin says Western spies plot against Russia before polls, blurs the picture further.
posted by Emor on Mar 28, 2015 - 58 comments

"Hobsbawm was a marked man, and he knew it"

The two sides in the Cold War, finding each other irresistible, ended up in a contrapuntal relationship where, as George Urban put it, ‘they marched in negative step, but in step all the same.’ They had their spies, we had ours. They had their files, we had ours. True, we didn’t have gulags. But what kind of democracy is it that congratulates itself on not having gulags? Never mind the dragnet surveillance, the burglaries, the smearing of reputations, the bugging of public telephone boxes, cafés, hotels, banks, trade unions, private homes, all this legitimised by the thesis that everyone is a potential subversive until proven otherwise – the problem is that the defenders of the realm took on the symptoms of the disease they were meant to cure.
– In the essay Stuck on the Flypaper historian and journalist Frances Stonor Saunders goes through the recently released MI5 file on Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm [previously] to explain how the British secret service surveilled and interfered with the lives of British citizens during World War II and the early part of the Cold War.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 27, 2015 - 11 comments

'otherwise “she would have found her way back to us.”'

Where the Bodies are Buried [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 20, 2015 - 20 comments

MOM, an inflatable incubator, and winner of the 2014 James Dyson Award

The annual James Dyson Award is open to current and recent design engineering students. The winner this year is James Roberts with his inflatable incubator MOM. The device costs around £250 compared to £30,000 for modern incubators and could prevent up to 75% of fatalities in premature birth cases in the developing world.
posted by shimmerbug on Jan 19, 2015 - 13 comments

A TV drama that puts gay characters centre-stage is still a novelty

"What was striking about the recent film The Imitation Game wasn't just the incredible story of Alan Turing, the man who helped the Allies win the Second World War by cracking Germany's Enigma code, only to find himself chemically castrated for being gay. It was the epilogue that informed us that the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, criminalising homosexual activity, led to 49,000 gay men being convicted of gross indecency in the UK. If you subtract Turing and Oscar Wilde from that total, that’s 48,998 stories that still haven't been told." Why is television still ignoring gay lives? – Matt Cain for The Independent. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jan 4, 2015 - 56 comments

2014 has taught us that a critical mass of people want to talk feminism

"From a seven-year-old who took on a supermarket to the girls who stood up to authority against violence, racism and inequality, these girls make the future look bright." Laura Bates looks back at a year of young feminist action in the Guardian piece, "2014: a year of brave, inspiring, young feminists". More feminism year-in-reviews below the fold. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 29, 2014 - 18 comments

"I made it so she wanted to sleep with me, which was totally a lie..."

She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge
She studied sculpture at Saint Martin's College, that's where I caught her eye.
She told me that her Dad was loaded
I said in that case I'll have a rum and coke-cola.
She said fine, and in thirty seconds time she said,
I want to live like common people I want to do whatever common people do,
I want to sleep with common people I want to sleep with common people like you.
Well what else could I do – I said I'll see what I can do. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 13, 2014 - 53 comments

Charles the Third, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith

When Prince Charles becomes king, will he be able to stop his compulsive ‘meddling’? And if he can’t, what will it mean for the monarchy and the United Kingdom? (SLGuardian)
posted by Chrysostom on Nov 20, 2014 - 158 comments

\|/ \|/ \|/ \|/ practical (& fun) conservation in coppicing \|/ \|/ \|/

It is easy to think of woodlands as wild places, but in the UK and Europe, most have been carefully managed for centuries. If you visit an ancient woodland in Europe at this time of year, you may well see small areas where the trees are being cut down to the base, but the stumps left behind. This is likely to be part of a traditional woodland practice called coppicing. Until about 150 years ago, most deciduous woodlands in the UK were coppiced to produce wood for use in a variety of industries, but today coppicing is largely only practised for woodland conservation. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Oct 22, 2014 - 22 comments

"distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car"

"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.

Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
[more inside] posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 20, 2014 - 29 comments

"But really, if you can make tea, then you can make beer."

Meet craft brewers, home brewing enthusiasts, bartenders in "Craft Beer – A Hopumentary", which focuses on California. [YT] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 15, 2014 - 32 comments

"enormous transfers of wealth take place from the sheep to the wolves"

"In 1992, George Soros brought the Bank of England to its knees. In the process, he pocketed over a billion dollars. Making a billion dollars is by all accounts pretty cool. But demolishing the monetary system of Great Britain in a single day with an elegantly constructed bet against its currency? That’s the stuff of legends."
posted by MartinWisse on May 19, 2014 - 69 comments

"I want to go back to the bookshop"

Sophia McDougall: "I don’t want to be a rare successful female writer; I just want to be a successful writer."
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 28, 2014 - 24 comments

Marginally better than mistaking Brazillian electricians for terrrorists

"Such esoteric partnerships can confuse the authorities. Last November the Home Office invited journalists to accompany officers on a raid of an apparent sham wedding between an Italian man and a Chinese woman in north London. After interrogating the bride, groom and guests, the officers emerged sheepishly to admit that the union was probably real." -- The Economist looks at the rise of mixed race Britain and the changing ethnic makeup of the UK.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 10, 2014 - 47 comments

Feeling sad about the Axolotl? This beaver may make you happier.

A beaver is alive and well in England, about 800 years after the last one was seen alive. Of course the big question remains: Where the heck did the beaver come from?
posted by Mezentian on Jan 30, 2014 - 37 comments


(from the National Fairground Archive digital collection)
posted by timshel on Jan 16, 2014 - 12 comments

American Recipe

You may not know his name but you will certainly know his work: Morris Cassanova (aka Mr Chicken) designs and makes signs for most of the fried chicken shops in the UK. Meet Mr. Chicken
posted by timshel on Dec 29, 2013 - 31 comments

Get dole. Buy dope. Sell dope. Gamble. Lose. Borrow money. Buy dope

"There are six bookmakers, one more is on its way, and five loan shops. Even if you are on JSA you can borrow money from Speedy Cash. It's the main business around here.Take dole, turn it into weed, sell them, take your profits and put them into the machines. If you win, you are quids in. If you lose, you get cash from the money shops to cover your losses. Back to dole and buying drugs. There's nothing else around here to do." -- How betting machines help small time drug dealers launder their profits and how this is about the only economic activity keeping the poorest local economies in Britain going. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 12, 2013 - 56 comments

From the Annex of Ideas

Starlogged is a "celebration" of all things British and geeky, with a focus on 1972 - 1995 and Marvel UK, especially their early nineties attempt at creating their own superhero line. A true nostalgiafest for people raised on dodgy black and white reprints of American comics and hardcover annuals.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 5, 2013 - 8 comments

Ten UK album cover locations

Bob Egan identifies the locations of ten UK album covers [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Oct 9, 2013 - 31 comments

Thatcher wouldn't Adam'n'Eve it

After 500 years, the government of David Cameron has announced the unthinkable: from as early as today a majority stake in the Royal Mail of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be put up for sale into private hands. Some are not happy. The sale is expected to fetch between US$3-4.7 billion. But what does it mean? Should you invest? And what does it mean for other postal systems in, say, Australia or the USA? Postal services have been benefiting from the rise in online shopping, even as traditional mail declines.
posted by Mezentian on Sep 12, 2013 - 75 comments

Mad dogs and Englishmen

An unusually sustained heatwave oppresses the UK, as temperatures have climbed above 82 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 days, the longest hot spell since 2006. Roads melt in England and Wales, rail lines buckle in England and Scotland, hospital admissions spike and wildfires burn. Swimming-related, army training and heat-related, deaths have increased. The Met Office currently hold a Level Three Heat Advisory for several regions (Level Four is "National Emergency"), while tabloids indulge in traditional "England is hotter than {exotic place}" headlines. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jul 19, 2013 - 263 comments

"It's not clear we have that much time."

As Andrew Haldane, director of stability at the Bank of England, put it in a historical overview a few years ago, ‘there is one key difference between the situation today and that in the Middle Ages. Then, the biggest risk to the banks was from the sovereign. Today, perhaps the biggest risk to the sovereign comes from the banks. Causality has reversed.’ Yes, it has: and the sovereign at risk is us. The reason for that is that in the UK bank assets are 492 per cent of GDP. In plain English, our banks are five times bigger than our entire economy. (When the Icelandic and Cypriot banking systems collapsed the respective figures were 880 and 700 per cent.) We know from the events of 2008 and subsequently that the financial sector, indeed the whole world economy, is in an inherently unstable condition. Put the size together with the instability, and we are facing a danger that is no less real for not being on the front page this exact second. This has to be fixed, and it has to be fixed soon, and nothing about fixing it is easy.
- "Let's Consider Kate," John Lanchester, London Review of Books (via)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jul 10, 2013 - 29 comments

Pop History

The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records is a radio series on BBC written and narrated by Stuart Maconie. Each episode focuses on one particular pop song and tells the story of the song as well as what social trends it mirrored, for instance the episode on Telstar by The Tornadoes focuses on the technological progress, especially in space travel and music, and the story of songwriter and record producer Joe Meek. 25 episodes have been broadcast, including ones on Dizzee Rascal's Bonkers and 21st Century Britain, Cornershop's Brimful of Asha and the British-Asian experience , and Serge Gainsbourg's Je T'aime and sex. There are 25 more to come. There is also a blog and profiles of the songs already discussed. [Previously on MeFi]
posted by Kattullus on Jun 25, 2013 - 14 comments

The EDL almost felt ignored.

"I’m not saying the Left embraces or even excuses away these clerics, but this strange reticence across the Left not only allows them to fester, but has other consequences."
posted by marienbad on Jun 18, 2013 - 42 comments

A vision of post-apocalypse Britain?

Eerie computer-generated images reveal how UK landmarks could crumble and decay if humanity was wiped out. Gallery
posted by infini on Jun 12, 2013 - 42 comments

Ruled by “Dave” and “Nick”

In a sense what we have is the Americanisation of Britain, or at least of England. A society where everybody has then sense that they can be anything they want to be, and where hardly anybody can. Crooked Timber's Chris Bertram on the evolution of British society since the seventies.
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 12, 2013 - 20 comments

The Iron Lady has rusted away

Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke her spokesman Lord Bell has said. Details are still coming out but the Iron Lady of British politics was and is a divisive figure even today. She will probably be best remembered for her role in the coal miner's strikes and the Falklands War. Her life in pictures is already online. The obituaries have been written for some time.
posted by Mezentian on Apr 8, 2013 - 1501 comments

There were four in the bed and the little one said "squeeze up"

From April 2013 all working-age housing benefit claimants will experience a reduction in their benefit if their home has what is termed a 'spare bedroom'. Some people have a problem with this, and it is believed it will plunge 95,000 Britons into poverty. Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the tax saying it is important to "get control of housing benefit". Some who voted for the tax claim to have never heard of it, even though there are some high profile cases in the media detailing how people will suffer. The Bedroom Tax might be targeting the poor, but there may be a Mansion Tax in the planning stages to help balance the scales -- or not. It's a modern Window Tax!
posted by Mezentian on Feb 3, 2013 - 121 comments


Julie Burchill being nasty again about trans people in The Guardian (in an article since replaced by an apology of the editor) is bad enough, as it might provide cover for bullying but much more worrying is the general disrespect and disdain many trans people receive from their own doctors, as documented in stories shared through Twitter and elsewhere. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 14, 2013 - 132 comments

So I voted for an axe-murderer

A new MP, Gloria De Piero was taken aback by how many people despised her because of her new profession. So she took to the streets to find out why. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Jan 2, 2013 - 20 comments

Not that many Dutch people care what you call the country

Thinking of Holland you think of windmills and tulips, but the former is originally a Persian invention (as far as we know) while the latter came from Turkey. Worse, Holland is not even the name of the country you're thinking of. Luckily, there's a handy youtube video to explain the difference between Holland and the Netherlands. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 28, 2012 - 98 comments

You can't eat scenery

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]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 15, 2012 - 109 comments

A predatory sex offender, hiding in plain sight

In a recent exposé, Sir Jimmy Savile OBE – children's television presenter and tireless charity campaigner – was revealed to be what some had suspected and many had known: a predatory sex offender who abused hundreds of young girls. [more inside]
posted by mattn on Oct 13, 2012 - 89 comments

Lucy got some 'splaining to do

Ever had one of those nights that made you think about giving up drinking? Lucy Spraggan says it leads her to Beer Fear. (DLYT) [more inside]
posted by notashroom on Aug 31, 2012 - 20 comments

UK parliamentary committee report declares Rupert Murdoch unfit for stewardship

On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee, we conclude that if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 1, 2012 - 27 comments

Colonial sunset

The Foreign Office’s “guilty secret” revealed Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments. Those papers that survived were flown back to Britain and hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain. The Guardian details some of those papers released earlier this week. [more inside]
posted by infini on Apr 21, 2012 - 34 comments

The Iron Man

UK Prime Minister David Cameron unveils plan to lease motorways in England. David Cameron will clear the way for a multibillion-pound semi-privatisation of trunk roads and motorways as he announces plans to allow sovereign wealth funds from countries such as China to lease roads in England. Guardian liveblog.
posted by panaceanot on Mar 19, 2012 - 127 comments

Licence fee, not license fee

In the UK, people pay a yearly licence fee to watch live television, with revenues funding the BBC. TV Licensing is the group that collects fees, and they use a number of methods — some real, some imaginary, some in between — to gain compliance. But one Briton remains determined not to play that game.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 12, 2012 - 175 comments

C.G.P. Grey

Here is Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever and other neat videos by C.G.P. Grey who explains non-obvious aspects of science, history, geography, elections, and economics in entertaining and clear ways. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 1, 2011 - 20 comments

UK London Met police proposed undemocratic refusal of bail to all arrested in London riots.

London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
posted by maiamaia on Aug 22, 2011 - 30 comments

50 Books Every Eleven-Year-Old Should Read

The Independent (UK) proposes a list of fifty books that every eleven-year-old should read. [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on Apr 7, 2011 - 96 comments

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