"A landmark bridge opened by fashion designer Julien Macdonald in his home town has been forced to close after metal thieves stole sections of it," which, this being Britain, they will presumably turn into knives.
"British people can now aspire to and despise four new levels of social classes, according to a new survey conducted by researchers in partnership with public broadcaster the BBC." Replacing your classic "upper," "middle" and "working" cohorts are seven new classes: "Elite," "Established Middle," "Technical Middle," "New Affluent Workers," "Traditional Working," "Emergent Service Workers" and "Precarious Proletariat." Distinctions aside, they will all stab you for looking at them funny. Which one would you be?
London mayor Boris Johnson had kind of a rough weekend. If you are someone who feels like, "Who is that and why should I care?" I would not normally disagree with you, except that the man is remarkably entertaining and you would definitely enjoy knowing more about him.
At this point in the news cycle, no one should be surprised to learn that, according to the world's preeminent wine experts, a bottle of 1953 Vega Sicilia, which costs around $1,000, would leave a tangible "horse manure character" on the palate of the discerning taster. Oxford and Cambridge have been holding an annual competitive wine-tasting competition for 60 years. It's an event where a human being might say something like, "If you misread astringency as acidity, you get it wrong." And another human being might nod along, and jot down notes, while secretly judging the first human being for "seeming to think that this constituted a coherent explanation.[...]
Whenever the meat supply on Knifecrime Island is perceived to be compromised, the government of the day trots out an unlucky official to take one for the team and graze on whatever bits of gristle and hoof they want to reassure their suddenly squeamish countrymen—people who eat sausage made out of dried blood on a regular basis—that everything's just fine. Nearly a quarter century after an agriculture minister attempted to fell the fear that crazy cows might do further damage to the already addled grey matter of that cursed island's lager-fueled legion of louts by attempting (unsuccessfully) to cram a BSE-burger into a [...]
"A gang of swan killers are being hunted by police amid fears the birds are being stolen to eat."
A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.
To the index of woes humanity was blessedly spared last year—the Mayan apocalypse, a Romney-Ryan administration, the fiscal cliff, photos of Kate Winslet’s third wedding—we must add an event whose absence supplies a faint but joyous glimmer of hope in our brutal world. I refer, dear readers, to Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent's fourth literary effort and debut novel, The Queen of Four Kingdoms. This reportedly completed tale of warring royals in 15th-century France, featuring "many colourful and also dangerous characters," has failed to appear despite a promised "release date" of 2012. Now, [...]
"During her 11-year reign, Thatcher was the politician who British musicians (and a few non-Brits) of many stripes—ska, punk, rock, New Wave, folk, reggae, even electronic dance music—loved to hate. The vitriolic song titles alone—never mind the lyrics—left listeners in no doubt about the depth of loathing: The English Beat's 'Stand Down Margaret'; Heaven 17's '(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang'; Klaus Nomi's 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead'; The Specials' 'Ghost Town'; The Varukers' 'Thatcher's Fortress'; the Larks' 'Maggie Maggie Maggie (Out Out Out)'; Morrissey's 'Margaret on the Guillotine'; and Elvis Costello's 'Tramp the Dirt Down.'" —English music about loathed politicians has always been so much [...]
A series dedicated to explaining Britain's manufactured celebrities to an American audience.
At this pivotal juncture of Western feminism, as minds great and not so great debate Sheryl Sandberg's diktats, parse Marissa Mayer's tyrannical telecommuting ban, and analyze more rigorously the lyrics of "I Knew You Were Trouble" now that we know Taylor's totally singing about Harry Styles, it is edifying to see that, when it comes to sisterly activism, one of Britain's most influential female role models refuses to shirk her duty. "It's hard being 33 and being a model," beloved Page 3 alum Kelly Brook movingly—bravely!—confided to OK, "but I do it because it's nice to [...]
"England is a nation of secret boozers, with more than a third of the population drinking unhealthy quantities of alcohol, new research has suggested."
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 [...]
Do you remember where you were when MySpace lost its spot as the top social network? Where were you when Plastic died? There are early signs today that Facebook, used by many and loved by few, is beginning its inevitable decline. In Britain, where the drunken populace spends an inordinate amount of time staring at their phones, Facebook lost 600,000 users last month. That's not quite 2% of the U.K. user base, but it's also the opposite of "growth."
The data chimes with speculation that Facebook is reaching saturation point among the web user population in its core markets, and that continued growth is increasingly dependent on the [...]
"A subterranean railway under London was awfully suggestive of dank, noisome tunnels buried many fathoms deep beyond the reach of light or life; passages inhabited by rats, soaked with sewer drippings, and poisoned by the escape of gas mains. It seemed an insult to common sense to suppose that people who could travel as cheaply on the outside of a Paddington bus would prefer, as a merely quicker medium, to be driven amid palpable darkness through the foul subsoil of London." —The first stretch of London's Metropolitan Line opened on January 9th, 1863. That's 150 years ago today, which, if you've been on an A train here in [...]
"This is bladey madness" is actually an expose of the ease with which young Britons can procure "LETHAL swords, machetes and knives," but it would also be a great title for a compilation of current music from over there, if someone is interested in putting one together.
"A school has banned triangular flapjacks on health and safety grounds after a pupil was hit in the eye by one during a lunch-time food fight. Dinner ladies at the comprehensive school were told to cut flapjacks into squares or rectangles only from now on after the Year 7 boy was sent home complaining of a sore eye." —It is important to keep in mind that "flapjacks" are different over there (here is a manual) but it is more important to keep in mind that there is nothing British people cannot turn into a knife.
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" [...]
"The annual Shed of the Year competition to search for the UK’s most wacky and wonderful sheds is underway." Are there photos, you ask? Are there photos? Why, gentle reader, there is a whole PHOTOGALLERY.
Mary Toft was 23 when she gave birth to her first rabbit. Other rabbits—six, seven, eight of them—followed. It was 1726. Toft lived in Godalming, a small rural town in Surrey; news of the births skipped its way to London, and the king's anatomist was dispatched to investigate. He was unimpressed with Mary, describing her as "of a very stupid and sullen Temper." Nevertheless, after witnessing a rabbit birth himself—the 15th!—he returned to London convinced of the extraordinary, preternatural nature of the births. (And why not, amazing things happen to stupid country people all the time: they're sold magic beans, they haul talking fish out of the water, they give [...]
"A little portion of literacy is set to be served up alongside the cheeseburgers and fries at McDonald's after the fast food chain committed to giving away 15 million books with its Happy Meals over the next two years [...] McDonald's has now committed to a new, long-term campaign backed by the National Literacy Trust." —The cheap plastic toys in Happy Meals have been the targets of bans in San Francisco. McDonald's stores in Britain are getting ahead by replacing the toys with cheap books.