"Yes, I've stepped in glass and dog dirt. You learn to scan your surroundings to avoid accidents, but they happen. Your soles are tough, though. The glass was painful, but it didn't do any real damage. With dog mess, I just wipe my feet on grass and then wash them at a tap." –A couple things here. First, "dog dirt," haha. Second, this broken-glass-and-dog-poop-strewn hellscape is Britain, obviously.
When We Want Your Opinion On The Royal Baby We'll Beat It Out Of You, Just Like Mrs. Thatcher Would Have Wanted
Monarchical spawning excitement gripping the Internet reveals once again that royalty doesn't export well to the United States. We think it's cute. A baby! It's just like Mariah Carey or Jenny McCarthy having a baby to us. It's not: this is a baby born to a long line of beheaders and global pillagers. (So, really, not that different from some of our own celebrity babies.) In reality, this is a very nervous-making day for the Commonwealth, a day on which the cruel tricks of genetics and chance provide any manner of person to possibly be the vastly enriched head of a government (technically "state," PEDANTS point out, but the [...]
A note in Barbara Pym's diary instructs: "Read some of Jane Austen's last chapters and find out how she manages all the loose ends." Next entry, a fairly typical one: "The Riviera Cafe, St. Austell is decorated in shades of chocolate brown. Very tasteless, as are the cakes." This was written in 1952. She was 38, had published two novels, Some Tame Gazelle and the resplendent Excellent Women, and was at work on the next. It had taken 15 years of dutiful revising and circulating it around for Some Tame Gazelle to find a publisher. During the rewrites she had tried to heed her agent's advice to "be more wicked, [...]
In the early 90s, the great anarchist newspaper Class War suggested that on the first Saturday after the death of Margaret Thatcher, the people should gather at 6 p.m. in Trafalgar Square to celebrate. As anyone even vaguely familiar with lefty infighting knows, the memory of the anarchist is long and thorough, so after Thatcher died on Monday, some of the old guard and fellow travellers dutifully showed up. The original incarnation of Class War is now defunct so there wasn't anybody in particular managing the thing. This protest was neither spontaneous nor especially well-planned, so it didn't benefit from clear organization, nor did it evince the awesome, unwieldy, atavistic [...]
Where did the whole vegan thing come from? I always figured it was a 1970s thing, or maybe it went back to Berkeley in the early 1960s. According to the Vegan Society, the non-dairy/egg-free vegetarian craze began in London back in 1944. That was not a fun year to be in London, what with the aerial bombings and rocket attacks. Here's what they said in the very first issue of their newsletter:
That freedom has now come to us. Having followed a diet free from all animal food for periods varying from a few weeks in some cases, to many years in others, we believe our ideas [...]
America's favorite British spy/murderer is back in the new blockbuster Skyfall, and once again we are all wondering what it is about playing James Bond that makes actors get very old almost immediately. Is it some kind of English curse? Just look at Daniel Craig. Yes, a very handsome man with very blue eyes and very pronounced biceps in a state of "perpetual plyometric engagement," but the dude is only 44 years old! He's six years younger than Tom Cruise, who still looks about 25. Anyway, this so-called English Curse That Makes Bond Actors Super Old is a real thing, which can be documented with photographs, so that is [...]
"The Daily Mail advertised ten fictitious job vacancies in towns and cities across Britain…. A 25-hour-a-week cleaning job paying £10 an hour that was advertised in London attracted in excess of 225 applications. Of these, just 17 were from British workers." — £10 an hour??? That's like $60!!! Lazy Britons. Anyway, just like in America, immigrants aren't taking your jobs; they're just actually applying for them.
"England's chief medical officer has said the public should feel 'profoundly ashamed' of a 'very worrying picture' of children's health and called for the scheme of free vitamins to be extended to all under-fives to tackle the return of rickets."
Hello, would you like to buy something weird? Hammer Time is our guide to things that are for sale at auction: fantastic, consequential and freakishly grotesque archival treasures that appear in public for just a brief moment, most likely never to be seen again.
"Stephen went down Bedford row, the handle of the ash clacking against his shoulderblade. In Clohissey’s window a faded 1860 print of Heenan boxing Sayers held his eye. Staring backers with square hats stood round the roped prizering. The heavyweights in tight loincloths proprosed gently each other his bulbous fists. And they are throbbing: heroes’ hearts." —James Joyce, Ulysses, Episode 10, The Wandering Rocks
- Princess Poppy Purrington
We didn't quite believe it when we saw this on Kate Day's Twitter, but here it is, in the Independent. Biggles George Fittleworth Jackson-Kew. And his sister. Posie Betsy Winifred Jackson-Kew. Who have an older sister. Named Tuppence.
But of course, things are crazy in England. The paper also makes note of the marriage of Peter Wood and Kitty Fox, and please let them hyphenate their names. "Hello, Mrs. Kitty Wood-Fox!"
It should also be noted that another excellent baby shared this announcement page, and her name is Cora Dudgeon. I swoon.
The murdered remains of another scrawny Englishman found in the rubble of a "car park" is actually the long-dead hunchback king, Richard III. This is why the United Kingdom continues to cling to its quaint system of royalty, so that a wayward stabbed king can occasionally be found in the sodden ground beneath a parking lot, to give people hope.
A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III. Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch's family …. Richard, killed in battle in 1485, will be reinterred in [...]
"Thinking back he wasn't a bad bloke, actually." —"A convicted killer has told a jury how he strangled his neighbour with a TV flex after he flew into a rage following unwanted sexual attention."
"The prison population of England and Wales has hit a new record high of 86,608 people," thanks to several hundred young rioters being held in the system. Yup: 86,000 people are in prison out of a population of 53,390,300. Yeah… so that's .0016% of England and Wales. (The U.S. has about 2,300,000 people in prison, out of 307,006,550 people—almost five times as many, by population.)
Guess what? This means England has surpassed its tragic colony, old Prisoncrime Island, in rates of imprisonment—with all of 22 million people, Australia has only like 30,000 people in prison. (Though they're trying desperately to up their rates!)
The reviews are in for BBC2 "Newsnight" host Jeremy Paxman after the reader returned from "summer hols" or whatever those weirdos call it with a frisky white beard. The Paxman has no real U.S. equivalent: he's basically like if you multiplied Brian Williams by Oprah but subtracted Katie Couric. The presenter’s facial hair divided commentators with some saying he looked like a hostage filming a video plea, while others likened him to a "rubbish Doctor Who."
A number of people are also concerned that every hipster in Shoreditch is shaving his beard at the moment. In response, Paxy issued this statement that, in America, would have gotten him [...]
Under circumstances shrouded by mystery, two brothers painted this on a wall by the railway tracks at Paddington on Christmas Eve of 1974.
Until the wall was knocked down, ten years later, passengers would cruise past it as their trains slowed in and out of London. It was anonymous, 45 centimeters tall, and not very colorful, but a lot of people remember it. "Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere."
In his lovely A History of the World in Twelve Maps (the Daily Mail called it "jaunty"), historian Jerry Brotton calls the graffito "perhaps the best metaphorical description" of what happens when a person uses a [...]
At the age of 15, King Edward VI was dying. For his last act as king, he excluded both of his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from the line of succession. (To get Mary out of the line, he had to ditch them both.) His Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey, was named the Queen of England.
Two days after his death, Mary raised an army of nearly twenty thousand. It took just nine days for Mary—the only child born to Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon—to correct her half-brother’s final request. Coercion by force was an effective instrument, and it would come to define her reign.
When but a girl, I used to stay up quite late watching TV (exciting in itself!) trolling for Fred Astaire or Marx Brothers movies in a sea of horrific late-night jangling commercials like those featuring, in his white cowboy hat, the car dealer Cal Worthington "and his dog, Spot" (who turned out to be an elephant, often as not). Thus it was that one night I discovered "Monty Python's Flying Circus," a phenomenon that roared like a hurricane across the plain of my tender psyche, ending in an hoarse, explosive "It's!" How can I tell you what this meant to me? It was just a TV show, but "Monty Python" [...]
"It is truly, truly awful – like the worst flatulent person ever standing with their back turned to you." —The centuries of conflict between France and England, relatively dormant for the last few years, are now playing themselves out as farce.
I thought British people were allergic to self-promotion or, indeed, any kind of reference to oneself that was not heavily caked in self-deprecation. Doesn't it make you break out in tea rash? Now look at you, instructing your Twitter followers to read your blogs, "check out" your articles, etc. This makes me suspect that Britain and all of its inhabitants have been swallowed up by an apocalyptic fire and replaced by an island of replicants who are planning world domination. Amirite or amirite?
Yet retweeting compliments is to harmless self-promotion what freebasing crack is to marijuana. And, going by this analogy, it grieves me to tell you—although I can't [...]