Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

A Brand New Old Magna Carta

February 12, 2015

A Brand New Old Magna Carta

A 1300 AD edition of Magna Carta has been found in a scrapbook in the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone, Kent, UK and belongs to the town of Sandwich. The document is ripped and damaged, and a third of it is missing, but it was paired with the companion Charter of the Forest, and the two may be worth $15 million dollars (£10m).

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Good Luck It’s Christmas

December 31, 2014

“Good Luck It’s Christmas,” by UK Indie band Tellison. Video: Carl Peck.

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Lonely This Christmas

December 30, 2014

“Lonely This Christmas,” performed by Lucky Soul. Vocalist: Ali Howard. Written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who recorded the song (in the style of Elvis) with their band Mud in 1974. Versions have been recorded by other UK artists including KT Tunstall and Los Campesinos,

 Lucky Soul website

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Mistletoe and Wine

December 28, 2014

Mistletoe and Wine,” written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan, performed by British pop singer Sir Cliff Richard, who had a big UK hit with it 1988. The song was originally written for a musical based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” and emphasized harsh British class inequities. A re-write turned it into a more conventional holiday song, heard ad nauseum in the UK each yuletide.

More:

“Mistletoe and Wine’s political beginnings,” John McKie, BBC News

“Why Cliff Richard’s Mistletoe and Wine is really a socialist Christmas song,” The Guardian

“The Little Match Girl,” 1986 HTV

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Christmas is Cancelled

December 28, 2014

“Christmas is Cancelled,” by The Long Blondes (vocalist: Kate Jackson). The lyrics (possibly by guitarist Dorian Cox) are here.

The band distributed free recordings of the song soon after they broke up in December 2008.

Related:

“Why music will miss the Long Blondes,” Priya Elan, The Guardian

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2000 Miles

December 27, 2014

“2000 Miles,” written by Chrissie Hynde, performed here by KT Tunstall in 2007. Ms. Hynde recorded the song with her band The Pretenders in 1983, and it has become a holiday favorite in the UK.

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Canada Bans Marmite

January 25, 2014

Canada Bans Marmite

Canada has banned imports of Marmite – not because it’s made from British brewery waste, but because it’s artificially fortified with vitamins to back up dubious health claims, and food spreads in Canada aren’t allowed such fortification.

The stuff was imported by Brit Foods, a Canadian retailer specializing in British comestibles. The yeasty brown gunk is an iconic UK product, a cherished symbol of the Empire to which Canada once belonged. We have not been able to determine if the Marmite ban endangers Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth.

To avoid the appearance of favoritism in the upcoming independence referendum, Canada also banned imports of Scotland’s Irn-Bru, a ghastly orange-colored soft drink and symbol of modern Scottish identity. That color is supplied by Ponceau 4R, a pigment derived from coal tar which, unlike clubbing baby seals to death, is prohibited in the Great White North.

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Keyboard Commandos

January 19, 2014

Keyboard Commandos

The British Ministry of Defence is escalating cyberspace combat capabilities by assembling a laptop army of computer nerd reservists. “The Cyber Reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyberspace,” said UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. “This is an exciting opportunity for internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.”

The Defence Cyber Operations Group (DCOG) is under the MoD Joint Forces Command (recruitment info here). The UK is thought to lag far behind the USA, Israel, and China in militarizing the digital domain.

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Happy 238th Birthday, Jane Austen. You Go Girl!

December 16, 2013

Happy 238th Birthday Jane Austen. You Go Girl!

Miss Jane Austen celebrates her 238th birthday today, December 16th, four days after the 200th anniversary of the publication of her novel Pride and Prejudice. Whilst she modestly declines comment, Miss Austen’s Facebook friends are celebrating with country dancing, house visits, cream tea, sherry, dramatic programmes, and contests. How jolly!

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Image (“Jane Austen’s Facebook Profile, after Ozias Humphry”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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November 5th: Guy Fawkes Day

November 5, 2013

November 5th: Guy Fawkes Day

November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day in England. Fawkes was a member of the Gunpowder Plot, a 1605 conspiracy to blow up the British Parliament Building. A stylized mask said to resemble Fawkes has been adopted by the Occupy! movement as its symbol. Previously, the mask had been used by the Anonymous computer hacker group. They got it from the Warner Brothers movie “V for Vendetta,” which is based on the comic book graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

Just one thing. Fawkes wasn’t a revolutionary. He was a reactionary.

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