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Two and a half years ago, I moved to London for a new job; in two weeks time, I’ll be moving out to a small town in the country, defeated.
I love London, and I’m not tired of it yet, but I am tired of trying to live in London. This is the story of the three flat rentals I’ve had in north London, and the dysfunction, exploitation, and misanthropy I’ve encountered in two of them.
It’s also the story lasting friendship, a girl losing her mind, and a flat with skirting board mushrooms. Read the rest
Read the rest
The last episode of Black Mirror’s second season airs tonight on UK Channel 4.
Do you remember the first profoundly shocking image you saw on the internet? Perhaps it would have been something you came across by accident; perhaps you followed, half horrified and half compelled, a trail of digital whispers to see if you could handle it.
Maybe you don’t remember the first one, but you remember some of them. Maybe you shut the window, sick at yourself, at the glimpse of a woman’s eyes glassed with something unsettling, not staged. Maybe you lingered on eruptions, lacerations, in spite of yourself. To see if the image could possibly be real.
Read the rest
Photo: Shimelle (cc)
The epithets attached to the Olympic opening ceremony piled up: eclectic, spectacular, monumental, shambolic, parochial, world-beating, hideous, embarrassing, filmic, and even inspiring. In its parts, the spectacle was all of these things because of the whole, which formed a gush of free-floating anxiety, a confession on a therapist’s couch.
Many commented on the ceremony’s focus on times past, in what viewers outside of Britain took as a flamboyant history lesson or, less charitably, as a statement of a country with no future. This was, however, no simple portrayal of past events, but a raid conducted to shore up a particular view that exists at this time; a malaise suffered here and now. Read the rest
Read the rest
There was little surprise at Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, but that's probably the point. Dutifully present were the Queen, the rain, the warm beer and the National Health Service glasses and teeth (I can say this, I’m British) and, surreally, hundreds of photographic Queen masks handed out for free. Parts of the crowd looked like a monarchist V for Vendetta; R for Regina? Read the rest
Read the rest
The Shite Food blog reviews some of the remarkable foodstuffs available in Britain: the microwave meals and boil-in-bag dregs of another level in the English-speaking consumerspace.
Shite Food was started as an antidote to the middle class ‘food porn’ programmes on television. Tired of seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nigella Lawson spunk the average persons food budget for the week on one meal, I thought it was time for a dose of reality. Britain’s cuisine has supposedly improved immeasurably since the 70′s but, lurking behind the ‘Finest’ and ‘Taste the Difference’ ranges in our supermarkets are some true culinary horrors. We want to highlight the supermarkets who market poor quality, nutritionally dubious, crappy food to those on low incomes to make a quick quid.
A turtle of the same species as Sir Thomas. Photo: Brocken Inaglory (cc)
A Cayman Island turtle farm is to release a 60-year-old turtle, Sir Thomas Turtleton, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne. Sir Thomas weighs 600 lbs and has enjoyed a 30-year career as a stud turtle. From the press release:
As part of the Tag and Track programme, Green Sea Turtles fitted with satellite transmitters are released into the ocean and monitored online. When the animal surfaces during a transmission period, the tag sends a signal to a satellite, indicating its location.
As Sir Thomas Turtleton travels following his release, the team at the Cayman Turtle Farm will be able to use the data as signs that he has successfully survived the re-introduction to the wild, and scientists, both at the Farm and in like-minded organisations around the world, can view and assess the turtle's migration path.
At The Awl, TG Gibbon collects unsettling British television Commercials, "Just the sort of thing you might expect from a country with the rich asshole from an '80s teen movie where its Barack Obama should be". Embedded above, a life insurance ad with a delightful twist ending.
Having seen the aspirational consumption-dreams of the nation, I'm sure you'll know what to expect from its public information films.
Things I did not know before viewing this adorable video shot by Surrey Wildlife Trust Mammal Project Officer Dave Williams:
1) The dormouse, a little rodent species you'll find in Britain, hibernate in the winter in nests they hide on the ground.
2) The dormouse spends up to one-third of its life in hibernation, and typically begin that winter "sleep" when the first frost hits, and their food sources are gone.
3) They lose about a quarter of their body weight during hibernation.
4) The word "dormouse" comes from the Anglo-Norman dormeus, which means "sleepy (one)"
You can donate to support the Surrey Wildlife Trust's nature conservation work here.
(via @joeljohnson, photo: Dave Williams, Surrey Wildlife Trust)
The Periodic Table of Swearing isn't just a saucy JPG: it's a real-life interactive box that gets down and dirty with everyday English. It was built by Modern Toss—the duo of artists Jon Link and Mick Bunnage—with the design studio Clay. Made with buttons from eightliner-style U.K. fruit machines, the phrases included offer the fullness of British culture, you cock garage.