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 [...]
Why am I surprised that these young people behave destructively, "mindlessly," motivated only by self-interest? How should we describe the actions of the city bankers who brought our economy to its knees in 2010? Altruistic? Mindful? Kind? But then again, they do wear suits, so they deserve to be bailed out, perhaps that's why not one of them has been imprisoned. And they got away with a lot more than a few fucking pairs of trainers.
These young people have no sense of community because they haven't been given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron's mentor Margaret Thatcher told us there's no such thing.
One thing you don't want to do probably is go a-thieving in a total surveillance society. The Metropolitan Police have set up a Flickr account with pretty pictures of a few people who have apparently gone robbing in North London at some point before or after these images were captured. It's the modern version of the "WANTED" poster, but en masse. Of course, some people have taken to Tumblr to do this vigilante style. In less dramatic imagery of the day, people have apparently taken to the streets with brooms to tidy up. Awww! And more to be found here.
In other, totally unrelated [...]