2008年8月30日 星期六

British theatre: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and their Remarkable Families

Book details

A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and their Remarkable Families
By Michael Holroyd

Chatto and Windus; 620 pages; £25. To be published in America by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in March 2009

British theatre

A soap opera from earlier times

Aug 28th 2008
From The Economist print edition

SIR MICHAEL HOLROYD, the doyen of British biographers, is like a great landscape painter who works on a large, unwieldy canvas. This book began as a modest biography of Dame Ellen Terry, an enchanting Victorian actress whom the Times called “the uncrowned Queen of England”. Then the author’s plot got out of hand and embraced the most eminent of all actor-managers, Sir Henry Irving, together with four children, two from Irving’s failed marriage and two from Terry’s infatuation with Edward Godwin, an architect who dabbled in the theatre. The author confesses that his choice of such a broad canvas was “foolhardy” but his rambling tale of theatre people is captivating.

In Ellen Terry’s lifetime, from 1847 to 1928, leading actors were simultaneously celebrities and social outcasts, but she simply ignored Victorian prejudices. George Bernard Shaw, a great admirer, wrote: “She walked through them as if they were not there, as indeed for her they were not.”

Irving, with whom she acted the great Shakespearean roles at the Lyceum Theatre in London, was more calculating and eventually became the first British actor to be knighted—an honour that was delayed because of the scandal created by the romance between the two. Both families thought they had not been lovers but Sir Michael leaves us in little doubt. It would have been rash to confess at the time, but when Irving was dead, Terry said that of course they had been.

Before and after her passion for Godwin, she married three times. Her first husband was an artist, G.F. Watts; the last was an American actor half her age. Irving was no Victorian role model either, having left his wife as they drove home from his greatest triumph, a melodrama called “The Bells”. “Are you going to make a fool of yourself like this all your life?” she asked. He stopped the brougham at Hyde Park Corner, alighted and never saw her again.

The lives of Irving’s children, Henry and Laurence, are a tragic strand in the story. Despite the opposition of their mother, both of them were enthralled by the theatre and became fairly successful actor-managers. But Laurence drowned when he was 43 (a ship bringing him home sank after a collision in the St Lawrence river) and Henry was only six years older when he died of anaemia in 1919.

Ellen Terry’s children provide the comedy, though the author reminds us of Thomas Hardy’s dictum: “All comedy is tragedy, if you only look deep enough into it.” Her daughter Edy joined her in the theatre, principally as a costume designer, but her preoccupations were feminism and the quarrelsome lesbian circle with whom she grew old in the Terry household. The only character in the second generation to rival the actress’s flamboyance was her son, who became celebrated himself as Edward Gordon Craig, a theatrical visionary who achieved little but talked well enough to be awarded the Companion of Honour by the queen in 1958, when he was 86.

Craig had a vision that the future of the theatre lay in lights, sounds, shadows and screens at the expense of “the dry words of dramatic poets, the fancy games of foolish actors and the vain calculations of producers”. He wrote a controversial manifesto “On the Art of the Theatre”. But what is truly memorable about him in Sir Michael’s account is his performance as a serial seducer. He married twice and had six children by his wives, but there were another six from six lovers, three of whom conveniently doubled as his secretary.

Konstantin Stanislavski, a legendary Russian director, thought Craig was a genius, and so did Craig himself—a conviction that receives little encouragement from the author. So incorrigible was Craig that he was forgiven for his dalliance with fascism (in 1941 he was released from a prison camp in Besançon in France by an admirer from Hitler’s headquarters staff). His death in 1966 ends Sir Michael’s delightful narrative—he has given up footnotes—which reads like a series of compelling scripts for an extravagant soap opera, perhaps titled “WestEnders”.

2008年8月28日 星期四

The Pigs 以物换酒

以物换酒 一举两得


英国诺福克郡(Norfolk)的“猪酒吧”(The Pigs)的店主就想出了这样一个物物交换的点子,任何能够被用来烹调该酒吧菜单上所列食品的蔬菜或肉食,都能用来兑换成啤酒或是代金券。



年仅24岁的“猪酒吧”老板克洛伊•韦斯伊(Cloe Wasey)说,物物交换的做法其实从2006年就有了,但直到最近,这种安排才真正红火起来,这主要是因为啤酒涨价,而人们既想喝酒又想省钱。




64岁的“猪酒吧”老顾客德瑞克•法斯特(Derek Feast)说:“我的退休工资刚够生活,没闲钱来喝酒。自从这儿开始物物交换以后,我也能用自家母鸡下的鸡蛋来这换几杯酒喝,挺惬意的!”

酒吧老板克洛伊的合作伙伴蒂姆•阿伯特(Tim Abbot)说:“我们的酒吧通过这种做法成了镇里人集会的中心,我们和当地人的关系好极了。”

2008年8月26日 星期二

London bus stops (Bruno Taylor )

倫敦街頭的公車站出現了一批秋千,可不要以為這是誰隨便放在這裏的。其實這些都是藝術家泰勒的傑作,他希望能夠讓大人也有一顆“童心”,即使在公共場合,也可以放鬆一下,以遊玩的心情候車,增加些樂趣。目前,這樣的公車站已經得到了許多人的 ...

Bruno Taylor

Bruno Taylor (no website) sent in two of his projects. The first is hijacking public spaces to make them more playful, in this case adding swings to London bus stops.

71% of adults used to play on the streets when they were young. 21% of children do so now. Are we designing children and play out of the public realm?

This project is a study into different ways of bringing play back into public space. It focuses on ways of incorporating incidental play in the public realm by not so much as having separate play equipment that dictates the users but by using existing furniture and architectural elements that indicate playful behaviour for all.

It asks us to question the current framework for public space and whether it is sufficient while also giving permission for young people to play in public.

Play as you go…” Bruno Taylor.

Watch video

Bruno Taylor

The second project is a bouncing bench.

Bruno has just completed a Masters in Industrial Design at Central Saint Martin, graduate show until Thursday.

Read more related playground posts.

Bruno Taylor

Posted on June 16th 2008 under Playgrounds

2008年8月25日 星期一

"But all I want is 'enry 'iggins 'ead!"

For example, an American would say "He put on his hat," while a Briton might say something that sounds more like "E put on is at."

這是倫敦下層人的說法 現在少了
參考George Bernard Shaw comedy Pygmalion.

貢獻my fair lady (adapted from Pygmalion) 中
痛罵 professor Henry Higgins的知名妙曲歌詞全文
每回聽到歌中的"'enry 'iggins 'ead"
(發現原詞竟然忘了把 help 的 h 也去掉?!)
Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait!
You'll be sorry, but your tears'll be to late!
You'll be broke, and I'll have money;
Will I help you? Don't be funny!
Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait!
Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins, till you're sick,
And you scream to fetch a doctor double-quick.
I'll be off a second later And go straight to the the-ater!
Oh ho ho, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait!
Ooooooh 'enry 'iggins!
Just you wait until we're swimmin' in the sea!
Ooooooh 'enry 'iggins!
And you get a cramp a little ways from me!
When you yell you're going to drown I'll get dressed
and go to town! Oh ho ho, 'enry 'iggins!
Oh ho ho, 'enry 'iggins! Just you wait!
One day I'll be famous! I'll be proper and prim;
Go to St. James so often I will call it St. Jim!
One evening the king will say:
"Oh, Liza, old thing,
I want all of England your praises to sing.
Next week on the twentieth of May
I proclaim Liza Doolittle Day!
All the people will celebrate the glory of you
And whatever you wish and want I gladly will do."
"Thanks a lot, King" says I, in a manner well-bred;
But all I want is 'enry 'iggins 'ead!"
"Done," says the King with a stroke.
"Guard, run and bring in the bloke!"
Then they'll march you, 'enry 'iggins to the wall;
And the King will tell me: "Liza, sound the call."
As they lift their rifles higher, I'll shout:
"Ready! Aim! Fire!"
Oh ho ho, 'enry 'iggins,
Down you'll go, 'enry 'iggins!
Just you wait!

應該設法找 窈窕淑女 的翻譯 哈哈

前晚夜遊敦南誠品,發現有些經典影片含影碟與對白(應該有中譯),美套才賣199 不知是否有此片?

Londoners Cast Wary Eye To 2012 Games


Londoners Cast Wary Eye To 2012 Games

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As the Olympics ended Sunday in Beijing with a spectacular display of choreography and fireworks, Londoners wondered if their city -- facing budget constraints -- will be spruced up in four years, let alone match Beijing's elaborate opening and closing ceremonies.

The three-hour closing ceremony was watched live on outdoor TV screens in some 30 cities and towns across Britain, including London, where 40,000 people attended an Olympic-dedicated rock concert outside Buckingham Palace. Adding star power, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps made an appearance at the concert, backed by one of his sponsors, credit-card company Visa.

London offered a taste of what to expect when it hosts the Olympics in 2012. In an eight-minute segment of the closing ceremony reserved for the next Olympic host, it put on a display of popular British culture, its casual creativity contrasting with Beijing's mega-choreography. A red double-decker bus drove into the Bird's Nest stadium, its roof folding back to reveal soccer player David Beckham and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page playing one of the band's hits, 'Whole Lotta Love.'

Even as Britain basks in the success of its athletes in Beijing -- it ranked fourth in gold medals after China, the U.S. and Russia -- its bad track record at public construction projects and slowing economy are prompting some concern about hosting the Olympics in 2012.

Already some members of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, or Locog, are damping public expectations. But London's new mayor, Boris Johnson, said in an interview, 'We are not remotely intimidated by what the Chinese have done but we do admire and respect it.'

One of the top priorities: improving the reliability of the city's transportation network. The city's trains frequently break down, the narrow roads are crowded, and the airports are often short staffed. Mr. Johnson, who accepted the official Olympic flag in Beijing at Sunday's ceremony, says he recently spent so long waiting for his bags at Gatwick Airport he offered to unload them himself.

If the Beijing 2008 Olympics were seen as China's coming-out party as a world power, Britain is looking to the Olympics as an urban development project, rebuilding an area in East London used as landfill for Blitz rubble from World War II. Since then, the blighted area has been filled with electricity towers, railroad tracks and garbage-strewn streams.

The U.K. plan faces budget constraints. Britain, with its heavy dependence on banking, has been hit hard by the global credit crisis, its real-estate market is tumbling, and it faces a budget deficit. The government has set the Olympics budget at GBP 9.3 billion ($17.2 billion), which includes construction as well as operating the Games, far below Beijing's estimated $42 billion.

As well, security is a big concern in London, which was hit by terrorist attacks in recent years. London expects to spend about GBP 600 million on security during the Games, with more funds set aside for emergencies, according to the government's published budget.

About 100 London organizing committee staff spent the Olympics in Beijing to learn up close how the Games work. London's Olympics Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe, a gold-medalist runner himself, visited all Olympics venues in Beijing and got frequent briefings from the hosts on issues including technology and athletes' facilities, his spokeswoman says. In November, Beijing Olympics officials plan to meet their London counterparts to discuss what went wrong and what worked.

The opening ceremony 'won't be about matching' Beijing, says Charles Allen, a member of the Locog board.

Mr. Allen says 'inclusiveness' will be a theme for the Olympics in London, and the opening ceremony will represent all Britain's races, religions and classes. Organizers may not hire an artistic director for the opening and closing ceremonies for another two years.

But suggestions are piling up. Ric Birch, who produced the Sydney and Barcelona opening ceremonies, says London should use humor such as an appearance by Monty Python, an English comedy ensemble from the 1970s. In posts on British Web sites, many people have said London should emphasize its cultural heritage, such as Shakespeare, the Beatles, or designer Vivienne Westwood.

Some Londoners are already griping the Games will cost too much. 'It's becoming like an arms race of who can burn the most fireworks,' says Stuart Dennison, the manager of a bicycle shop in central London.

And tourists will find London expensive. High prices for hotels, restaurants and taxis make London the world's third-most expensive city, behind Moscow and Tokyo, according to Mercer, a consulting firm.

Meanwhile, in Stratford, the area of London that will house the Olympic Village, bulldozers and construction workers are currently cleaning up the site for the Olympic Stadium, a swimming pool, and velodrome. After the Games, the government plans to convert 1.5 million square feet of space into offices, and leave behind a large public park and about 3,300 apartments, which it hopes will become a flourishing community.

So far, London's preparations are as far advanced as Beijing was four years out, according to the International Olympic Commission, which sent inspectors here a few months ago.

Aaron O. Patrick



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英 國倫敦等30多個市鎮設置了戶外大屏幕,實時直播了歷時三小時的北京奧運會閉幕式,還有4萬人參加了白金漢宮外的奧運主題搖滾音樂會。信用卡公司Visa 讚助了此次音樂會;該公司簽約的美國遊泳明星邁克爾﹒菲爾普斯(Michael Phelps)也在音樂會上露面,使得音樂會更加星光燦爛。

Getty Images
作 為2012年奧運會主辦城市,倫敦在閉幕式上的表演給人們帶來了對下屆奧運會的風格期望。在8分鐘的表演時間裡,倫敦展現了英國流行文化,隨意創造性的表 演與北京規模宏大的舞蹈表演形成鮮明對比。一輛紅色雙層巴士開進了鳥巢,巴士的頂篷掀了起來,足球明星大衛﹒貝克漢姆(David Beckham)和齊柏林飛艇(Led Zeppelin)樂隊的吉他手吉米﹒佩奇(Jimmy Page)登場亮相,後者演奏了樂隊的熱門作品之一“Whole Lotta Love”。


倫敦奧組委的一些成員已經在淡化公眾的期望。但倫敦新任市長鮑裡斯﹒約翰遜(Boris Johnson)接受採訪時表示,我們並沒有被中國人所做的事情嚇倒,但我們確實對此十分敬佩。





London 2012
大 約100名倫敦奧組委成員來北京考察了本屆奧運會,以便近距離學習奧運會的運作方式。倫敦奧委會主席、前賽跑冠軍的塞巴斯蒂安﹒科勛爵(Lord Sebastian Coe)的發言人說,科參觀了北京的所有奧運場館,並經常就技術和運動員設施等問題向東道主取經。北京奧委會官員計劃在11月會晤倫敦同行,討論奧運會組 織工作中的得失。

倫敦奧組委成員查爾斯﹒艾倫(Charles Allen)說,倫敦奧運會開幕式不會刻意與北京相比。


但 各方建議越來越多。執導過悉尼和巴塞羅納奧運會開幕式的裡克﹒伯奇(Ric Birch)說,倫敦應當加入幽默元素,比如讓上世紀70年代的英國喜劇團體Monty Python亮相。在英國一些網站的貼子中,許多人都表示倫敦應當突出其文化遺產,比如莎士比亞、披頭士樂隊(Beatles)或是設計師薇薇安﹒魏斯伍 德(Vivienne Westwood)。

一些倫敦人已經在抱怨奧運會成本太高。倫敦市中心一家自行車商店的經理斯圖爾特﹒丹尼森(Stuart Dennison)說,這簡直就像是軍備競賽,比比誰放的煙花最多。


與 此同時,在倫敦奧運村所在地斯特拉特福德(Stratford),推土機和建築工人目前正在清理場地,為體育場、遊泳池以及自行車室內賽車場的建設做準 備。奧運會後,政府計劃將150萬平方英尺的奧運村場地改為寫字樓,並留下一個大公園和大約3,300套公寓,希望這裡能發展為一個繁榮的社區。


Aaron O. Patrick

2008年8月24日 星期日

Some Britons Too Unruly for Resorts in Europe

Some Britons Too Unruly for Resorts in Europe

Published: August 23, 2008

MALIA, Greece — Even in a sea of tourists, it is easy to spot the Britons here on the northeast coast of Crete, and not just from the telltale pallor of their sun-deprived northern skin.

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Phil Harris/Mirrorpix

An injured British tourist lay by a curb on a recent weekend after a fight in Malia, Greece.

The New York Times

British tourists have caused havoc at the Malia resort.

They are the ones, the locals say, who are carousing, brawling and getting violently sick. They are the ones crowding into health clinics seeking morning-after pills and help for sexually transmitted diseases. They are the ones who seem to have one vacation plan: drinking themselves into oblivion.

“They scream, they sing, they fall down, they take their clothes off, they cross-dress, they vomit,” Malia’s mayor, Konstantinos Lagoudakis, said in an interview. “It is only the British people — not the Germans or the French.”

Malia is the latest and currently most notorious in a long list of European resorts full of young British tourists on packaged tours offering cheap alcohol and a license to behave badly. In Magaluf and Ibiza, Spain; in Ayia Napa, Cyprus; and in the Greek resorts of Faliraki, Kavos and Laganas as well as Malia, the story is the same: They come, they drink, they wreak havoc.

“The government of Britain has to do something,” Mr. Lagoudakis said. “These people are giving a bad name to their country.”

They are also hurting themselves in the process. A recent report published by the British Foreign Office, “British Behavior Abroad,” noted that in a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007, 602 Britons were hospitalized and 28 raped in Greece, and that 1,591 died in Spain and 2,032 were arrested there.

The report did not distinguish between medical cases and arrests associated with drunkenness and those that had nothing to do with it. But it did say that “many arrests are due to behavior caused by excessive drinking.”

So it would seem. Reports of scandalous incidents rumble on regularly here and elsewhere, helping to cement Britain’s reputation as the largest exporter of inebriated hooligans in Europe.

Earlier this summer, flying home to Manchester from the Greek island of Kos, a pair of drunken women yelling “I need some fresh air” attacked the flight attendants with a vodka bottle and tried to wrestle the airplane’s emergency door open at 30,000 feet. The plane diverted hastily to Frankfurt, and the women were arrested.

In Laganas, on the Greek island of Zakinthos, where a teenager from Sheffield died after a drinking binge this summer, more than a dozen British women were charged in July with prostitution after taking part, the authorities said, in an alfresco oral sex contest.

More alarmingly, a 20-year-old British tourist partied with her sister and a friend into the early hours in Malia also in July, then returned to her hotel room and — although she had denied being pregnant — gave birth. Her companions say they returned later to find the baby dead; she has been charged with infanticide.

And in Dubai, also this summer, a British man and woman who met during a drinking bout were arrested and charged with having sex on a beach, after repeatedly shouting abuse at a police officer who ordered them to stop.

All of which leads to a natural question: Why?

“I think that in their country, they are like prisoners and they want to feel free,” said Niki Pirovolaki, who works in a bakery on Malia’s main street and often encounters addled Britons heading back to their hotels — “if they can remember where they are staying,” she said.

David Familton, a Briton who works in a club here, said that it was a question of emotional comfort. “It’s because of British culture — no one can relax, so they become inebriated to be the people they want to be,” he said.

Worried about the increase in crimes and accidents afflicting drunken tourists, the British consulate in Athens has begun several campaigns, using posters, beach balls and coasters with snappy slogans, to encourage young visitors to drink responsibly.

“When things do go wrong, they go wrong in quite a big way,” said Alison Beckett, the director of consular services. “What we’re trying to do here is reduce some of these avoidable accidents where they have so much to drink that they fall off balconies and are either killed or need huge operations.”

As much as they depend on the tourists’ money, the resorts are balking at their behavior. Last year, shopkeepers, residents and hotel owners in Malia held an angry anti-British demonstration. Now, 20 officers patrol the notorious 1,000-foot-long strip of bars and clubs catering to tourists in the center of town, keeping the peace, breaking up fights and making arrests.

Local officials say the blame lies not just with the tourists themselves, but also with the operators of package tours promising drinking-and-partying vacations, and clubs offering industrial-strength alcohol at rock-bottom prices. For about $50 in Malia, tourists can go on unlimited-drinking pub crawls.

“British tour operators present them with these packages that promise a wild holiday in Malia,” said Brig. Fotis Georgopoulos, the police chief of Iraklion, which takes in Malia. “This predisposes them. They are automatically put into a wild and lawless mind-set that is beyond them.”

On the strip late one recent night, downtown Malia felt like a nonrainy version of downtown Birmingham, as young Britons in skimpy clothes moved in herds from bar to bar, drinking, boasting and shouting as they went.

The tourists confessed to drinking a lot. One 21-year-old man from Essex, for instance, said that his consumption the night before had been five beers; six specialty drinks combined with Baileys, tequila, absinthe, ouzo, vodka, gin and orange juice; five vodka and lime drinks; and then five cans of Stella Artois, all of which, he said, emboldened him to pick up a woman to spend the night with. But they said that the lurid stories are media exaggerations.

“I’ve never seen anyone get stabbed the whole time I’ve been here,” said Chris Robinson, 21, speaking outside the Loft bar, which had a special deal: four drinks and two shots for $8.

Similarly, Eleanor Seaver, 20, said that she had been in Malia for two months, working in a club, and that she had never once been in a fight. On the contrary, she said, people are comradely and helpful. “If there’s a girl being sick in the streets, you see people helping her out,” she said. “We watch out for each other here.”

Paul Fisher, a 49-year-old Welshman who runs a bar and a motorbike-rental shop, said the stories both depressed the tourist trade and, perversely, drew the sort of visitors for whom drunken anarchy is an attractive prospect.

“We don’t like you lot coming in and ruining the place,” Mr. Fisher said, referring to reporters. He opened a drawer and produced a copy of the celebrity magazine Closer. An article inside featured a young female British tourist’s “booze-fueled orgy with four men” in Malia.

Things like that give Malia a bad name, Mr. Fisher said. “This is wrong and it’s overexaggerated,” he said.

On the other hand, he conceded, “for 10 weeks, this place is littered with kids being sick and unconscious in the streets.”

Just then, several young men who had the pale, queasy look that suggested the end of hangovers not yet muted by new infusions of alcohol, passed by, and Mr. Fisher asked them why they drank so much, night after night.

“It’s what everyone wants to do,” one young man said.

His friend said: “We have stressful jobs, and we don’t get much time off, and we like to enjoy ourselves and have a good laugh. And we love a bargain.”

Anthee Carassava contributed reporting from Athens.

2008年8月22日 星期五

“The Anglo Files”

English Lessons

Lisa Wolfe

Sarah Lyall

Published: August 22, 2008

It may be a truism that Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language, but it’s truer to say that the two nations are united by language and divided by everything else. These differences — of manners, mores, assumptions, expectations — are the subject of “The Anglo Files,” by Sarah Lyall, a re­porter for The New York Times. A New Yorker by origin and temperament, Lyall married an Englishman (the editor and writer Robert McCrum) and moved to London in the mid-1990s. “The Anglo Files” collects and expands on Lyall’s dispatches from her adopted home in the decade and a half since then. The result is what she calls a “field guide to the British.”

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A Field Guide to the British

By Sarah Lyall

289 pp. W. W. Norton & Company. $24.95

Lyall is a first-rate reporter, and her book has all the hallmarks of her journalism: it is warm, blunt, confessional, companionable. Which is to say: it is very American. The country she describes, “that oldest and most charismatic of nation-states,” as the writer Jan Morris once called it, is cold, private, oblique to the point of opacity and reticent to the point of silence. Which is to say: it is very British. The book’s charm lies in the collision of these two facts.

Lyall organizes “The Anglo Files” around lean case studies of British institutions (Parliament, cricket, drink) and traits (love of liberty and animals, obsession with the weather). She recounts, for example, the 2003 battle on the Hebridean island of North Uist between hedgehog lovers and wading-bird enthusiasts over an invasion of hedgehogs, which eat the birds’ eggs. Lyall makes plain not just the passion of British animal lovers, but their organizational zeal: Scottish Natural Heritage, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Uist Hedgehog Rescue and the Uist Wader Project fought for years before agreeing the alien hedgehogs should be airlifted back to the mainland rather than killed.

And Lyall’s report on the 1998 parliamentary debate over the Blair government’s proposal to rid the House of Lords of hereditary peers captures that body’s sketch-comedy lunacy: the “byzantine rules, archaic customs, superfluous pageantry and doddering legislators.” She makes fun of the aristocratic names (like the 22nd Earl of Shrewsbury, otherwise known as Charles Henry John Benedict Crofton Chetwynd Chetwynd-Talbot) and marvels that “sometimes the debate had the tenor of a late-night conversation in a college dormitory during that precious window of time after the pot has been smoked but before the pizza has arrived.” (Though this is a metaphor from the wrong side of the Atlantic: the British stoner’s munchie of choice is not pizza, but “chips” or the ubiquitous doner kebab.)

Throughout, Lyall expresses an amused bewilderment at British ways: the disinclination to fully rinse dishes, the willingness to picnic or play in even the ugliest weather, the “mixture of rudeness and politeness” in personal relations, the genius for eccentricity. “Many of the unkind clichés about British dental care,” she writes, are “dead accurate.” In fact, in her telling, many of the clichés — unkind and less so — about British everything are true: their teeth are crooked, their homes are drafty, their men “harbor erotic fantasies about former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.” Her book is not a war on cliché but a brokered peace: an affectionate, joshing effort to under­stand and explain the British from beak to tail feather.

Though some crown jewels of contemporary Britain make an appearance — the incomparable Alan Bennett, the indispensable Private Eye — Lyall spends too much time on iconic British figures we already know too much about: the queen, Prince Charles, Diana, assorted other royals, the actor Hugh Grant, the footballer David Beckham, the adventurer Ranulph Fiennes. Better are her accounts of ordinary Englishmen: Vincent Bethell, a libertarian from Coventry so set in his beliefs that he refuses to wear clothes; an anonymous Londoner so exercised by the injustice of having his car wheel booted by the police that he takes to dressing up as a superhero called Angle-­Grinder Man, after the type of saw he uses, vigilante style, to free other cars he feels to be unjustly penalized.

Lyall is at her tart, observant best when incorporating her own experiences. At the cricket ground: “Learning about cricket in middle age is, like studying Mandarin, an effort best left to scholars, optimists and members of the Foreign Service.” Or at a book party: “The conversation . . . was so much better than it would have been in New York. There was no chatter on the topics of My Therapeutic Epiphany, for instance, or My Hamptons Traffic Nightmare. No one was bragging about his accomplishments or being earnest about her problems. . . . They were dropping the sort of witty offhand remarks that make listening to Britons in full humorous mode one of life’s great pleasures.” “The Anglo Files” is in part a masked account of how Lyall came to feel, if not quite comfortable living in Britain and raising a family there, at least no more uncomfortable than the British themselves. She describes the changes that prove she is “beginning to adjust to life in Britain”: she kisses both cheeks, uses “one” in the first-person singular and tries “to be less boisterous and not wave my arms around so much.”

All of this yields a cartoon Britain: pint glass raised, flies undone, cheeks flushed in the dull sun, forever mooning France. But even the broadest cartoons reveal deep truths, as wily British cartoonists from James Gillray to Steve Bell and Martin Rowson have been proving for centuries (though the book jacket, featuring the queen as a tea bag, goes no deeper than its paper stock). And a nation’s jokes may be the clearest window on its soul. Take this one, as Lyall tells it: “Two men . . . drink pint after pint together in the pub, companionably silent. A few hours pass. On his 10th pint, the first man raises his glass and says, ‘Cheers!’ The second man glares at him. ‘Look,’ he says, ‘did you come here to talk, or to drink?’ ”

Still, for all its good cheer, I can’t help feeling that “The Anglo Files” doesn’t capture enough of the richness of the country it describes. Britain today feels like a dy­namic, messy society in the midst of a long and tense argument with itself. I wish Lyall’s book had more to say about the extraor­dinary effects, psychological as much as economic, of ongoing deindustrialization; about Britain’s surprisingly resilient sense of regional identity; about its continued decline in international power and loss of national self-confidence; and, most of all, about the effects of mass immigration. On the bus in central London one often encounters more speakers of Bengali, Polish, Slovene, Spanish, Vietnamese and Yoruba than of English. This is a nation to which more than one million people from Eastern Europe alone have migrated since 2004. Millions of pints of Lech and Tyskie beer, the leading Polish brands, are now sold in Britain each year. It won’t be long before England has a Polish-born M.P. or a Polish-born soccer player on the national team: a bird as British as a house sparrow.

Matt Weiland is the deputy editor of The Paris Review and the editor, with Sean Wilsey, of the forthcoming “State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America.” He spent four years in London as the deputy editor of Granta.

2008年8月21日 星期四

Children outnumbered by over-60s

Children outnumbered by over-60s

Bowls players
The statistics point to the ageing nature of the UK's society

People aged over 60 in the UK outnumber children for the first time, according to official figures.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed 13,262,256 people were 60 or over in mid-2007 - up from 12,928,071 the previous year.

Meanwhile, the number of under-18s fell from 13,119,654 to 13,111,023 over the same time period.

Help the Aged said an older population would require social care reform and the end of "arbitrary" retirement ages.

ONS figures also revealed that the number of migrants coming to the UK for a year or more has risen to a record level.

It said 605,000 long-term migrants arrived between mid-2006 and mid-2007, up from 591,000 in the previous 12 months.

The days of assuming older people are dependants must now come to an end

Mervyn Kohler
Help the Aged

The statistics revealed that the population of the UK grew by nearly two million between 2001 and 2007.

The number of people in Britain reached 60,975,000 by the middle of last year, up 388,000 on mid-2006, according to the ONS.

Mervyn Kohler, special adviser at Help the Aged, said: "The key task for policy makers going forward is to ensure that older people can increasingly play an active role in our ageing society.

"The days of assuming older people are dependants must now come to an end."

He added that "an ageing society is a fact of life which should be welcomed and embraced, not treated with concern".


中央廣播電台 - Taiwan
英國公平交易委員會20日以避免獨佔為由,建議出售西班牙BAA集團管理的三座英國機場,其中兩座在倫敦,一座在蘇格蘭。 經過調查後,公平會建議出售倫敦希斯羅機場、蓋維克機場和史坦斯德機場,徵詢外界觀點。 經過一段時間磋商後,公平會也將決定BAA集團是否應放棄蘇格蘭的 ...







2008年8月19日 星期二


Nostrums that promise to smooth wrinkled skin are a staple of snake-oil salesmen everywhere, but now there is strong evidence that certain kinds of treatment are effective. Over the past decade, researchers have been learning which treatments work, and why.



A remedy not substantiated by scientific evidence or broadly accepted by the scientific community. Some herbal supplements may fall under this category.

━━ n. いんちき薬; 秘薬; 売薬; (問題解決の)特効薬.

Quiz: Literary London


Quiz: Literary London

To coincide with the London Literary Festival, we are taking a stroll through the fictional nooks and crannies of the capital. Join us

  1. 1. What was the original title of JM Barrie's Peter Pan?

  2. 2. Which contemporary novel features the Black Cross Pub on Portobello Road?

  3. 3. In The Pickwick Papers, whose knowledge of London is "extensive and peculiar"?

  4. 4. Sherlock Holmes lived at which number Baker Street?

  5. 5. Which crime writer wrote a thriller concerned with the people and places of the London Underground?

    London Underground
  6. 6. Which children's writer was so ashamed of his first book, Lovers in London, that he bought back the copyright to avoid it being republished?

  7. 7. Which fictional character lived at The Laurels, Brickfield Terrace, Holloway?

  8. 8. "Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song ..." From which author did TS Eliot borrow this line for The Waste Land?

    Nobel prize winning poet TS Eliot (1888 - 1965)
  9. 9. Which of these is not a real book title?

  10. 10. Which part of London did "itinerant philosopher" Christopher Ross explore?

  11. 11. In which "novel without a hero" do the characters visit Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens?

  12. 12. Where does the nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down come from?

  13. 13. Which anonymous 15th-century poem did Peter Ackroyd use as the title of one of his books?

  14. 14. How does 12th-century historian Geoffrey of Monmouth explain the origins of the word London?

  15. 15. Which book by San Franciscan writer Armistead Maupin is set predominantly in London?

  16. 16. An urge to get away from which "Teflon meteorite" made Iain Sinclair think it was a good idea to walk around the M25 for his book London Orbital?

    Traffic on the M25 motorway
  17. 17. Its film adaptation was a spectacular flop, but this Colin MacInnes novel about multicultural life in west London remains a metropolitan classic. Its title?

  18. 18. Which futuristic novel features a king elected by lottery and a provost prepared to take up arms to defend a street in his district from demolition?

  19. 19. One address in London has been home to numerous literary figures, from Lord Byron to Aldous Huxley and more recently to Alan Clark. Do you know it?

  20. 20. The central character of Will Self's The North London Book of the Dead is surprised to find his dead mother residing in which London district?

    Will Self

"Liverpool from Seacombe Boat House" (1769)

"Liverpool from Seacombe Boat House" (1769)
“Wright in Liverpool” has a fascinating subplot. As one of Britain’s major port cities, Liverpool was a capital of the slave trade. Many of Wright’s patrons amassed their fortunes by shipping Africans across the Atlantic. The abolitionist movement was beginning to make inroads, however, and Wright made at least one painting that suggests that his views on slavery were not necessarily aligned with those of his subjects.

2008年8月17日 星期日

Reminders of Paris in London’s Truly English Food

Choice Tables | London

Reminders of Paris in London’s Truly English Food

Jonathan Player for The New York Times

The chef Tom Norrington-Davies goes over Great Queen Street’s menu.

Published: June 22, 2008

Correction Appended

WHAT are great restaurants for? At worst, they’re a seated passeggiata, where the in-crowd asserts its in-ness, the would-bes try to, and the innocent come to gawp and glut. At best, they nourish the soul. Ideally, they start doing it once you walk through the door and continue long after you’ve left.

There was a large restaurant in Paris that a friend took me to a few times when I was a student. The clientele ranged from us to local bureaucrats and businessmen, as the menu rose from cheap boeuf bourguignon to escargots and filet mignon with truffles.

It was sort of fancy: it had white tablecloths. The waiters were mostly older, and glided about in white coats. They brought carafes of water and wine, and a silver basket of rolls, unless you asked them not to. It had marble floors and chandeliers and cut-glass windows. Yet students could afford it.

There ought to be something truly democratic about the best restaurants, though there rarely is. That Paris place still hovers in my mind as a lost Olympus of dining, a descendant of Balzac’s Flicoteaux.

Le Café Anglais (8 Porchester Gardens, Bayswater W2; 44-20-7221-1415; www.lecafeanglais.co.uk) has something of the feel of that forgotten empyrean. A person could eat well here for £12, or very well for £60. It’s big enough to shelter all sorts, from Harold Pinter (a regular) to scruffy types like me.

It opened late last year but already feels like a classic. The look is basically Art Deco. Though there’s a shiver of formality, there’s also something relaxed and inclusive.

It’s actually part of a large shopping center, Whiteleys, but you hardly know it. It’s a lofty, long room — perhaps double the size of the chef-owner Rowley Leigh’s previous success, Kensington Place.

There was the ideal blend of repose and anticipation in the air the night I was there. Maybe the fact that Mr. Leigh is a kind of gentleman chef has something to do with it. An ex-Cambridge man, he’s notoriously well-read and affable, a different cut from the bad-boy chefs who have popularized British cuisine.

In spite of its size and newness, it was full, yet felt busy rather than crowded. And the menu felt classic already as well. It had ingenious features: a dozen different hors d’oeuvres, all at £3 ($6.03 at $2.01 to the pound); then a handful of first courses; then the mains, including roast chicken with thyme and garlic in four sizes (whole, half, breast or leg). It was halfway to a DIY menu, offering the flexibility we might always have longed for.

There’s surely something in the English soul that despises sophistication. I once saw a hair-raising Victorian recipe book, “Beef With Potatoes,” for example: Combine 5 lbs. beef, 5 lbs. potatoes, salt and water in good-sized pot. End of recipe. At least they thought of the salt. But since the early ’90s, a specifically English haute cuisine has been emerging, treating the fine native produce with a new respect.

With its rain and coastline, Britain has some of the best meat and seafood on earth. It even has its own porcini, samphire, and forgotten vegetables like sprout tops, salsify and baby turnips. These days, instead of tasting of depression and rain, they taste of hope. They’re being cooked as though someone cared about them.

The original Café Anglais in Paris was, I believe, Proust’s favorite restaurant. The 21st-century Bayswater version may not offer the original’s quaille en sarcophage (quail in sarcophagus) but does run to that other glory of late 19th-century French cuisine, quenelles de brochet.

It’s on the menu, which is seasonal and changes frequently, as pike boudin, but apart from the slightly fatter shape, it is quenelle, all right. This gravity-defying wonder floating between mousse and soufflé tames the bite of our most fearsome native fish, the giant-jawed pike, and just may be the most delicious starter known to humankind.

The native oysters were not cheap at six bucks apiece, but extraordinarily zesty, with a sweet citrus hint about them, and, unusually, circular. They came from Whitstable, a few miles down the Thames. Among the hors d’oeuvres, the anchovy toast to be dipped in Parmesan custard was strange, inspired and very English; and the salsify fritters — white asparagus-like lengths deep-fried in batter — could have come from some country garden.

One of the mains was a fat slab of roasted turbot from native waters; and the baby lamb with cannellini bean purée was succulent and tender, young enough to carry the lamb accent in its flavor only faintly.

Noteworthy, too, was the glazed partridge with walnut and chili sauce — the nuts and the fowl both endemically English with that exotic dash of piquant. It’s something of a signature of the new English cuisine to add one esoteric touch.

I had not had pommes Anna, a crispy cake of butter-glazed potatoes invented by the famed chef Adolphe Dugléré of the original Café Anglais, since I was a child on a trip to Normandy. The crunch of the outside, thin as crisps, and the soft potato within, infused with the shell of caramelized butter that encases the whole thing, tall as a pudding bowl — this is old-style Cordon Bleu cuisine, the kind of thing Audrey Hepburn would have had to learn in Paris as Sabrina, and as Gigi would have eaten.

To finish, there was queen of puddings — a bizarre sweetness of sponge and jam with a crown of torched meringue on top, originally from Manchester, so they say — and trifle, russet apples, rice pudding: dishes that assert we’re still in good old rainy England.

Great Queen Street (32 Great Queen Street, WC2; 44-20-7242-0622) offers a kind of rustic minimalism that is congenial to the English soul. It’s a bit like some vision of a pub you might have found in the 1920s in a remote corner of Norfolk or Shropshire (at least from what I could make out of the dimly lighted interior on a packed winter’s night). Bare wood tables, wood floorboards, cozy and elegant dark-red walls, a long wooden bar top.

It hasn’t thrown off the feel of a pub, although it’s a serious restaurant, brainchild of the team behind the Anchor and Hope in London, and has made a virtue, or perhaps a statement, out of simplicity.

Its minimalism extends to the menu, a daily piece of paper. The wine list ditto, changed about monthly. And you’ll find no fancy phrases about the dishes.

“Hereford beef” comes two ways: sirloin with anchovy butter, or rib, chips and béarnaise for two. There was a mutton pie, seven-hour lamb shoulder for four or five people (a highlight, but we were only two in my party), wild duck, greens, mash. And so on.

Nobody’s wasting ink on salivating mini-paragraphs of decorative nonsense. But the difference from the Victorians is that it’s all very well cooked. These modern cooks know how to season, they know their times and temperatures. The young servers squeeze with efficient haste between the tables; it’s noisy, it’s a bustle.

As for the food, we began with excellent crab on toast, a thick porridge of chunky, buttery crab in a sort of gruel of crab juice. And a broad bowl of mussels and grilled calamari, with long hanks of braised fennel in a brown broth.

The sirloin with anchovy butter was succulent and à point, but the dish of the night was rabbit stuffed with black pudding. Black pudding, the bane of British breakfasts, as unclean a concoction as the human palate has ever tasted, has recently undergone rehabilitation; it has been inducted into serious cuisine. The contrast between the springy yet tender white rabbit flesh and the crumble of sausage, between the relative plainness of the rabbit and the dense subdued power of the pudding, worked well.

Who would ever have thought, 20 years ago, that the scourge of the B & B breakfast plate, this salty, sweaty, bloody pudding, would ever be exalted to its current status? Accompanied by a vaporous Bandol rouge off the no-nonsense wine list, it made a superb heart to the evening.

Figure on roughly £30 a person for dinner, without wine.

Naming itself, like Great Queen Street, after its address — in effect, not naming itself — Hereford Road (3 Hereford Road, off Westbourne Grove, W2; 44-20-7727-1144; www.herefordroad.org) still has the look of the Victorian butcher shop it once was: through the glass front, you can see a counter of gleaming cream tiles, and behind it the busy chef, the owner himself, Tom Pemberton, at work in the diminutive public kitchen, dressed in his white coat.

There’s also a prep kitchen downstairs, but it’s up in the unfussy space beside the narrow front room where the cooking happens. You can sit there at small tables, or go downstairs to a larger, brighter dining room.

Of these new venues, this struck me as the unfussiest, and perhaps most English. Great Queen Street had a touch of Celtic somewhere in it, and Le Café Anglais was deliberately Anglo-French. Hereford Road is plain old England. Or rather plain new England.

The décor is predominantly brown and white, a livery of simplicity. And the sans-serif menu, which changes daily, couldn’t have been more plain-spoken. Duck breast, turnips and black cabbage, for example. (Once again, that one slightly exotic note.)

The dishes followed equivalent pairings of color and flavor. Warm chicken livers sautéed with floppy green beans; celery and mussel soup.

Potted crab is the kind of dish at which we might have turned up our noses 20 years ago. But today, prepared perfectly — with its lid of chilled butter sealing in the flavor, which you break up with your fork like a tectonic plate to reach the flaking, chunky flesh beneath, with just a hint of mace in its taste — it’s hard to fault.

Next, pheasant on a bed of small brown lentils and withered watercress, redolent of a fragrant fresh olive oil, and roasted Jerusalem artichokes. The leg had a touch of gaminess, the breast was tender and plainer. And a slice of roast pork thick as a hunk of peasant bread, golden-rimmed, resting on an even fatter slab of potato cake — something like pommes dauphine without the cheese or sauce — sheltering a huddle of luminous green kale.

To finish, we tried custard tart, something I never even liked as a kid. But in this shallow, broad slice, the chemical custard taste was entirely absent. Instead, it was almost like a chilled crème brûlée without the crust, almost bland but tantalizingly not; and a mini-dish of apple and quince crumble with its own tiny jug of crème anglaise — surely allowed as English.

At Hereford Road, expect to pay about £25 a person for dinner, without wine.

Could it be that the days when good food in Britain was foreign are over? Is it that the English are no longer too busy storming around the globe subjugating people rather than attending to their tables? Who knows, and who cares? Bring on the grub.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 6, 2008
Two photographs with an article on June 22 about three memorable restaurants in London were transposed. The picture at bottom right of Page 7 was of Devon cockles and mussels steamed in cider at Hereford Road; the picture at top right on Page 10 with the continuation of the article was of Hereford beef burger and parsley salad at Great Queen Street.

2008年8月10日 星期日

gherkin and cheese grater









倫敦人的傑作還包括「起司刨」(Cheess grater),是理查羅傑斯為倫敦金融中心設計的最高建築。而拉斐爾維諾里在市中心設計的45層大樓,還沒蓋出來,就被形容成「對講機」(Walkie Talkie)。



2008年8月4日 星期一

Wenglish—On being a country within a country

South Wales

Invisible homeland

Aug 4th 2008
From Economist.com

On being a country within a country

“YOU’RE not Welsh,” a stranger sitting next to me on the train insisted when I mentioned that I was heading back to Wales, where I grew up.

My homeland, which has a population of less than 3m, is bilingual. There, my accent is considered to be BBC—people think I’m English when they first hear me speak. But if they listen closely, they’ll hear the South Wales in my voice.

It might be the way I say “yur” rather than “year”, or how I told my family, when they phoned me on the train to Cardiff, that “I'll be there, now, in a minute”.

The dialect I speak is Wenglish—a hybrid of Welsh and English. It is especially prevalent in South Wales, but how to define it?

Well, it has a lilt, with a rise in intonation at the end of a sentence that can sometimes be as screechy as a train putting on its brakes. Vowels are pronounced generously, as though there is a valley to bridge when the voice moves from the consonants before and after them.

It has similarities to the Californian valley girl accent (which I acquired easily while living opposite a sorority in Berkeley, California). Wenglish, though, has a deeper, less shrill, tone.

Word order differs too from English, with the most important word placed first. For example, “You're reading at the moment” becomes “Reading, you are”. If you wanted to speak in an even more Wenglish way, you would say: “Reading, I am, right now”—the phrase “right now” appears as frequently in Wenglish as sheep do on Welsh hillsides.

The more words, the merrier. Sentences, like one sometimes used to mock the Welsh, are soaked with synonyms: “Whose coat is that jacket?”

Then there are the words themselves – terms I have to explain in London. Ach y fi expresses disgust. Mitching means truanting. A cwtsh is a hug. When a Welsh couple married in 2004, they pledged “to have and to cwtch” rather than “to have and to hold”.

Twp, meaning “stupid”, is a favourite Wenglish adjective, its clipped sound echoing the manner in which someone might tell a person off for doing something foolish.

Welsh is often wrongly believed to be derived from English, but French and German are closer to English than the Celtic Welsh language. For centuries, legislation made English the preferred tongue, but a 2001 survey found that 20.8% of the population spoke Welsh fluently.

The Welsh language act of 1993 made it compulsory for pupils in Wales to learn Welsh until the age of 16, with the legislation giving the language equal footing to English in the public sector, meaning all signs in Wales are bilingual.

The longest word in Welsh, easily beating that in any other language, is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, meaning "the church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St Tysilio's of the red cave". A quirky tourist attraction to some, it is a source of national pride to others.

Many Welsh words are longer than English ones because they are combinations of words, and the Welsh alphabet has more letters than its English counterpart, too—28 in total—even though it doesn't contain the letters j, k, q, v, x or z. Eight are diagraphs, such as dd, a th sound, and ll, where the tongue needs to touch the roof of the mouth as the speaker hisses.

And as for grammar, here's a taster: in Welsh, there is no indefinite article (a) but three definite articles (the). Nouns are masculine or feminine; none are gender neutral, and adjectives follow the noun.

When back in Wales, I avoid speaking Welsh, even though it is a language I love. The last time I did, the person I was with launched into a stream of Welsh back, and I had to explain: “Dim siarad Cymraeg (I don't speak Welsh), but I'm Welsh.”

some British words

preparatory, prep school

test match

solicitor, barrister





贊助這次調查的兒童慈善機構"兒童遊樂"(Play England)說,兒童應當享受自由遊戲的機會。並說,許多家長把孩子"養在溫室中"的做法對孩子的發育有害。







2008年8月3日 星期日

BR 超貼心的英國國鐵/鄭恒隆

1994-97年: 民営化

Under the process of British Rail's privatisation operations were split into over 100 companies. The ownership and operation of the infrastructure of the railway system was taken over by Railtrack. The rolling stock was transferred to three private ROSCO's (ROlling Stock COmpanies). Passenger services were divided into 25 operating companies which were/are let on a franchise-basis for a set number of years, whilst freight services were sold off completely. Dozens of smaller engineering and maintenance companies were also created and sold off.

Since privatisation the structure of the rail industry and number of companies has changed many times, see History of rail transport in Great Britain 1995 to date.




在國外旅行,信用卡遺失是旅行中最大不方便的事。我在英國旅行購票時信用卡「失而復得」的親身經歷,讓人對「英國國家鐵路公司」(British Rail)的貼心服務深感佩服。

抵 達倫敦Euston地鐵站,我購買火車票準備前往中部的柯芬特里(Coventry),售票員好心提醒6分鐘後就有一班火車,因此在匆忙刷卡購票後,就直 奔月台。火車行駛大約15分鐘後,一名女查票員親切問我是否刷信用卡購票?原以為是查票,她看我掏出車票,又再問一次是否刷信用卡購票?我回答是,她就要 我檢查信用卡是否還在?

掏出皮夾一看,信用卡果真不見蹤影!問了我的卡別和發卡銀行後,她說,我的信用卡遺忘在售票亭,接著問我是否會回到 倫敦?或轉往別處?我表明5天後會返回倫敦,她就用電話和站務人員聯絡,然後遞了張寫著一串數字的紙條給我,告訴我不用擔心,站務人員已將我的信用卡「封 存」,等我回到倫敦車站,只要出示密碼就可領回信用卡。