20 April, 2008

Indy Band Samples "Suo Gan" in Song

So the song "A-Punk" by Vampire Weekend really DOES have a riff from "Suo Gan" in it.

And apparently, their interest in "Suo Gan," like mine, relate their interest in the cultural history of the British Empire.

19 August, 2007

18 August, 2007

05 February, 2007

Prince Charles in Philadelphia

On January 27, 2007, the great-great-great-great-great grandson of King George III gazes at the Liberty Bell. Made in England in 1751-1752, the bell displays an inscription that quotes Leviticus 25:10: And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. The inscription was intended to mark the 50th anniversary of William Penn's Charter of Privileges of 1701.

Not the first British royal to visit Philadelphia, the prince's mother Queen Elizabeth II visited for the 1976 Bicentennial and his great-great grandfather King Edward VII visited in 1860 when he was the 18-year-old Prince of Wales.

05 January, 2007

Elizabeth II and John Paul II in 2000

I like the messages that the queen and the pope exchanged upon their meeting on October 17, 2000. Although I wonder what the queen thinks about the direction of the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.

29 December, 2006

England and Scotland prevail.

23 December, 2006

York Minster Cathedral

Currently the second-largest cathedral in the British Isles after the Anglican Liverpool Cathedral, York Minster is my favorite Medieval-era cathedral in the UK. It is the largest cathedral of northern Europe built during the Middle Ages.

07 November, 2006

Helen Mirren Discusses Playing Queen Elizabeth II

Also, find out what Dame Helen thinks is "wanky."

06 November, 2006

Iraq War Divides Two British Socialists

George Galloway vs. Christopher Hitchens

But yet a number of Muslims in Galloway's own constituency haven't reciprocated his love. I'm confounded.

27 October, 2006

British Patriotic Videos

An appeal for the preservation of the monarchy on the part of this video's creator, it provides moving combination of images and music interrupted, halfway through, with criticism of Conservative Partly leader David Cameron. I don't yet know much about Cameron's character or policy positions, but I don't understand the swipe at "iron lady" Margaret Thatcher, especially if this person's desire is to see a strong Britain.

A stirring montage -- Edward Elgar's "Nimrod" is one of my favorite pieces of music

QEII just wants to have fun -- an affectionate tribute.

24 October, 2006

The King of Ireland.

I didn't realize Ireland had remained in the Commonwealth until 1948, borrowing the UK's monarch for head of state. Apparently republics can be members of the Commonwealth now - what would you all think of Ireland rejoining? Apparently Mary Robinson floated the idea as a capstone to some kind of peace settlement for the North back in the 90s.

12 October, 2006

Just ordered meself one of these.

08 October, 2006

FLASH: We're on MySpace and Friendster!

AngloCeltoPhilia now has profiles on MySpace and Friendster!

Check us out:

06 October, 2006

Guinness - key to a long life!

"How do you keep looking so good?" one VC-wearing old soldier asked his Royal Navy buddy among the GCs.

"Guinness," replied the sailor, "that's my secret: lots of Guinness."

"I'm a Viagra man myself," laughed the soldier, his chest heaving so that those "bits of metal" tinkled merrily.

VC heroes mark 150 years of selfless bravery

By Ben Fenton
(Filed: 27/06/2006)

More than 2,000 people gathered at Westminster Abbey yesterday to celebrate the human qualities of courage, self-sacrifice and modesty.

Surviving holders of the VC ranged in age from 89 to 26

The Prince of Wales led the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross, with eight of the surviving 12 holders of Britain's highest gallantry award given pride of place near the altar.

Ranging in age from 89 to 26, these special men all said that they merely represented the 1,343 other VCs who had died, either in the act of winning the medal, or since.

30 September, 2006

British History in Art

Just as paintings throughout the U.S. Capitol depict pivotal events in American history that reflect its national mythology (and one doesn't have to equate that word with "fiction"), the British have similar artwork in the Palace of Westminster. The scene with William and Mary may not actually be in the palace, but if not, it should be. Here are some of the pivotal scenes:

King Alfred's Long-Ships Attacking the Danes

King Richard I on Crusade

King John and the Magna Carta

Reading John Wycliffe's English Bible

King Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey Confronted by Sir Thomas More

Bishop Hugh Latimer Preaches Before King Edward VI

Queen Mary I and Princess Elizabeth Enter London

Queen Elizabeth I Commisions Sir Walter Raleigh

Envoy of King James I Lays Foundation for British Influence in India

King William III and Queen Mary II Receive Declaration of Rights (blurry)

Queen Anne Receives Act of Union Creating the Kingdom of Great Britain

15 September, 2006

So Why Isn't Wales Represented on the Union Jack?

If you've ever wondered, this article by an earnest Welshman seeks to explain.

The Tudor Dragon:

The Cross of St. David, Patron of Wales:

07 September, 2006

Franz Ferdinand Rocks Home of Namesake

Happy days in Novi Sad
Jul 7th 2006

Franz Ferdinand rocks the Balkans, and lives to tell the tale

IF THE words “Franz Ferdinand”, “Serbs” and “the Balkans” make you think only of the assassination of an archduke of that name by a Serb in Sarajevo in 1914, you are just not with it. On the night of Thursday July 6th a Scottish rock group with the late archduke's name topped the bill at one of Europe's coolest rock festivals, held at Novi Sad in Serbia.

The next year or so threatens to be difficult for Serbia. It may face the loss of Kosovo, an Albanian-dominated southern province currently under UN jurisdiction and hungry for independence. But the Exit rock festival, now in its seventh year, offers a hopeful glimpse of what Serbia could look like if and when the country finally puts its problems behind it: as happy and relaxed as anybody else in Europe on a long hot weekend.

When the festival began, at the end of the Milosevic era, the name was chosen to signify an exit from nationalism. It has grown into four days of fun attracting 150,000 fans to an Austro-Hungarian era fortress dominating the Danube.

The other performers this year include Morrissey from Britain, and The Cardigans from Sweden, and dozens of groups from Serbia, from other Balkan countries, and from further afield. Some of the local fans are too young even to remember the wars of succession in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Other fans travelled much further for the occasion: 3,000 tickets were sold through the festival's London ticketing agency.

The home crowd included Boris Tadic, Serbia's president, who was strolling around Exit to the echoes of Franz Ferdinand—a good public relations move, with an election possible in the autumn or winter. The foreign ministers of Bosnia and Serbia were there, too, for a debate on the fringes of the festival with Olli Rehn, the European Union's enlargement commissioner, about EU visa policies, which the Balkan countries think are much too tough on them.

At moments such as this Serbs have the rare pleasure of finding their country in fashion. They hate the fact that, most of the time, foreigners tend to think of Serbia first in terms of wars and war crimes. The government has got fed up too. It wants to hire consultants to “rebrand” Serbia's image in the world.

But rebranding may not be enough. The government might do better hiring somebody who can also find Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian Serb wartime leader indicted for genocide, who found refuge in Serbia. In May the EU suspended talks with Serbia, on an agreement generally regarded as a first step towards membership, after a deadline to arrest Mr Mladic expired without result.

Serbia can hardly afford to lose time. In Croatia next door, which became a candidate for EU membership in 2004, the economy is picking up, foreign investment is coming in and the small business sector is growing. Mr Rehn, 44, said he would like to come back to Novi Sad when Serbia is joining the EU and the festival can be renamed “Entry”. Serbs will have to hope that he, and they, are not too old to enjoy the music by then.

11 August, 2006

Huzzah for the Anglosphere!

In light of the UK arrest of those who would blow up planes over the USA, and from this statement once made by Hassan Abbassi, chief strategic advisor to President Ahmadinejad of Iran, maybe this means we've done something right:

"We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization... we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles. There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them."

Abbasi believes that when President Bush says that no option is off the table he is only playing chicken. According to respected Iranian analyst, Amir Taheri, Abbassi has said:

"The Americans are not ready to send a million men (to defeat the Islamic Republic)," Abbasi said. "Even economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic will fail thanks to opposition from the Western public opinion and the refusal of most countries to implement (them). ..."

But it is not only the US that Abbasi wants to take on and humiliate. He has described Britain as "the mother of all evils". In his lecture he claimed that the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and the Gulf states were all "children of the same mother: the British Empire." As for France and Germany, they are "countries in terminal decline", according to Abbasi.
"Once we have defeated the Anglo-Saxons the rest will run for cover," he told his audience.


07 July, 2006

We Remember 7/7

Britain remembers London bombings one year on

(Filed: 07/07/2006)

Britain has marked the first anniversary of the July 7 bombings with floral tributes, a two-minute silence, and a service for those personally touched by the outrage.

Fifty-two people died and more than 700 people were injured when four suicide bombers blew themselves up on London's transport system on this day last year.

This evening Tony Blair joined survivors and bereaved relatives for a service of readings, poems and songs in Regent's Park.

Read more here.

28 June, 2006

Was America Abused in Infancy?

The Onion delves into America's love-hate relationship with her Mother Country.

27 June, 2006

And St. George's Cross was a-waving . . .

England players celebrate David Beckham's (2nd L) goal against Ecuador during their second round World Cup 2006 soccer match in Stuttgart June 25, 2006.

26 June, 2006

English People Have Every Right to Celebrate the Ancient Symbols of England

The hub-bub over this ad really annoys me:

Does multiculturalism require us to forget that English civilization developed out of Christianity? The Magna Carta's first section insists on the freedom of the Christian Church in England. John Locke found the rationale for the Glorious Revolution (establishing the supremacy of Parliament) in his Christian faith. Ultimately it was England's Christian conscience that led to the abolition of slavery in parts of the globe where it had always existed. This also led to Britain granting independence with democracy, property rights, and free markets to peoples all over the world.

Also, the English seemed happy to proclaim their generic Britishness for centuries, but all the other peoples on the islands want to assert their distinct nationalities. When I visited Scotland in 2004, I saw the Cross of St. Andrew everywhere, with an occasional Union Jack hoisted over government buildings. Scots are allowed their Scottishness, the Irish their Irishness, and the Welsh their Welshness - all in abundance. England is a real place with a real people, and a historical flag they usually are cowed into ignoring. Soccer and rugby seem to be the only areas of life where English folks are permitted to be proud of their sheer Englishness. Sheesh, let 'em celebrate it!

19 June, 2006

An Englishman's Home is his Castle

Over the recent years the 'New' Labour government of Tony Blair has continued to undermine an Englishman's liberty. So much so that even the very papers that supported him a few years ago are now attacking him: How an Enlishman's Home Ceased to be His Castle.

The fact that, "an Englishman's home is his castle" is a key tenent of English Common Law it is a shame to see this, along with or areas of common law, being eroded away with no murmur of dissent from any quarter with influence.

This is a phrase that we English love to throw into conversations when discussing anything from, what someone has done with their garden, to what they may or may not get upto behind closed doors.

16 June, 2006

Monarchy -- A Quaint Anachronism?

Viewing the very well-done series "Queen and Country" on BBCAmerica, broadcast to coincide with Elizabeth II's 80th birthday celebrations, solidified my affinity for constitutional monarchy and also for the particular qualities of the present occupant of the throne of the United Kingdom.

Here are some interesting quotes from the Constitutional Monarchy Association in the UK, the first from MP Ann Widdecombe (a Roman Catholic, incidentally) being interesting in light of the recent movie V for Vendetta and its premise of totalitarianism in the UK but no reference to what happened to the monarchy:

Britain’s constitutional monarchy is one of its greatest strengths as well as one of its greatest attractions. The monarch is detached from party politics in a way no president could be. For years, the existence of a monarchy was the guarantee that no would-be dictator could stage a coup by deploying troops, as the monarch controls the armed services. No latter-day Cromwell could win power by force. We have had no civil war since Cromwell’s and much of that is due to having had a constitutional monarchy as a focus of loyalty.Ann Widdecombe MP, BBC History Magazine, September 2000.

If constitutional monarchy were to come to an end in Britain, parliamentary democracy would probably not survive it. It is, after all, through the monarchy that parliamentary control over the armed forces is mediated and maintained.Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Independent, 25th June 1993.

The Queen’s only power, in short, is to deny power to anyone else. Any attempt to tamper with the royal prerogative must be firmly resisted.
D G O Hughes, letter to The Daily Telegraph, 1st September 1998.

Above the ebb and flow of party strife, the rise and fall of ministries, and individuals, the changes of public opinion or public fortune, the British Monarchy presides, ancient, calm and supreme within its function, over all the treasures that have been saved from the past and all the glories we write in the annals of our country.Sir Winston Churchill.

If the Allies at the peace table at Versailles had allowed a Hohenzollern, a Wittelsbach and a Habsburg to return to their thrones, there would have been no Hitler. A democratic basis of society might have been preserved by a crowned Weimar in contact with the victorious Allies.” Winston Churchill, 26th April 1946.

Those who imagine that a politician would make a better figurehead than a hereditary monarch might perhaps make the acquaintance of more politicians.Baroness Thatcher, November 1995.

The Queen’s appearances abroad do more in a day to gain goodwill for Britain than all the politicians and diplomats lumped together could achieve in years.
Sir Alec Douglas-Home (Prime Minister 1963-64).

I have always been vaguely comforted by the sense that the Crown, and therefore the nation, endures like weathered granite through whatever turpitude and buffoonery may pass in Parliament. There is also something re-assuring in the knowledge that every Prime Minister, every week, has a confidential and not necessarily comfortable conversation with a monarch: that is to say with someone who is not their dependant, not their sycophant, who has no political affiliation beyond patriotism and who has seen governments rise and fall over decades. This sense of continuity, of a nation mature enough to be able to make electoral mistakes and later recant without risk of losing its identity, is profoundly useful.Libby Purves, The Times, 8th September 1998.

Politicians debating the future of our monarchy resemble a poachers’ convention deliberating on the future role of the gamekeeper.Malcolm Winram, The Times, 9th March 1996.

Being a nation of hypocrites, we have for years looked to the Royal Family to embody the values we’re not prepared to embody ourselves.Serena Mackesy, The Independent, 10th December 1996.

Monarchy can easily be debunked, but watch the faces, mark well the debunkers. These are the men whose taproot in Eden has been cut: whom no rumour of the polyphony, the dance, can reach - men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire mere equality they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.C S Lewis.

15 June, 2006

To All Free Men of the Kingdom

Thanks to Wikipedia for reminding me that today is the 791st anniversary of the day King John put his seal on the Magna Carta. The National Archives has the story of the document's place in history as a charter of freedoms and its influence on the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. A 1297 version, re-issued by Edward I, will be on display in the Archives here in DC beginning in September.

07 June, 2006

Victoria Reigns Again

Thanks to Jason for pointing me towards the Dictionary of Victorian London. It has scores of articles describing daily life and historic events in the city between 1837 and 1901. You'll find descriptions of everything from the enthusiasm for hot eels and pea soup to the 1861 Tooley Street Fire to tales of Victorian women in prison. A must-browse for the 19th cenutry London-o-phile.

Cheapside Flower-girl 1892

06 June, 2006

Britain's Oldest Man - 110 years old

Britain's oldest man, WWI vet claims his longevity is owed to "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women."

First Time Meeting After Hundreds of Years of Strife

In an unprecedented move, the leaders of three "Orange" lodges in Northern Ireland - these are the Protestant, Unionist marchers - have met with Ireland's head Catholic Bishop.

"Ascendancy of Rome in the Republic is Now Vanquished"

From Rev. David Frazer, residing in the Irish Republic, posted June 5th on an Ulster-Scots Yahoo! Group:

Ulster Protestants were justified in seeking protection against the aggressive, domineering tendencies of the Roman Catholic Church in early 20th century Ireland.

Partition was a mistake, however, as it allowed a virtually unchallenged Roman Catholic ascendancy to dominate in the Free State.

The unionist state of Northern Ireland with its 'Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People' was an unfortunate response to the real fears that many Protestants had about Rome's role in politics and society in an independent Irish state.

Unfortunately, Rome was able to form an informal ascendancy in the 26 counties because Protestant Ulster hid away in the corner and established a modified Protestant ascendancy.
Thankfully, the ascendancy of Rome in the 26 counties that was allowed to stand in the way of a democratic, pluralist Irish Republic has been vanquished and brought low.

There is no longer, therefore, a legitimate reason for Ulster Protestants to stand apart from the rest of Ireland and refuse to take their rightful place in the ranks of the Irish nation.

Already, there exists a 26-county state that guarantees civil and religious liberty to all its citizens and in which no Protestant is disadvantaged or refused full civil rights.

By contrast, the United Kingdom that claims jurisdiction over Northern Ireland discriminates against many of the Protestants of Ulster in its constitution.

No Presbyterian or Free Presbyterian can aspire to be British monarch, as the position is reserved for Episcopalians in communion with the see of Canterbury.

Church of England bishops sit in the House of Lords as of right but no non-conformists have been afforded that dignity.

Rev. David Frazer
Inse Bay, Laytown
County Meath

02 June, 2006

Nothing Says Gloucestershire Fun Like a Good, Swift Kick to the Shin

Yet another classic folk tradition (and sporting competition) is upon us this week - rural Gloucestershire was the place, and shin-kicking was event. The BBC gives us the lowdown:

Although not as aggressive as earlier versions, where players were said to have hardened their shins using hammers in over-zealous preparation for the main event, the competition remains the highlight of the Cotswold "Olimpick" games.

Players, wearing the traditional white smocks of shepherds, grasp each other by the shoulders and attempt to land well-timed blows to their opponent's shins.

Only then - in mid-kick - can a player attempt to bring his opposite number to the ground.

A stickler, the ancient name for a judge or umpire, is on hand to make sure a shin is hit before a fall can be scored.

Competitors must kick their way through early qualifying rounds, and swing their legs in a three-stage final to be crowned the shin kicking champion.

"It's part of the original games," said organiser Robert Wilson, referring to the rural competition established by Robert Dover in 1612.

"It was vicious in those days, there was a lot of inter-village rivalry and lads used to harden their shins with hammers and were allowed to wear iron-capped boots.

"We won't permit that. People stuff their trousers with straw and must wear soft shoes.

"We never have broken bones but there are some bruises."

And, yes, shin-kicking is the topic of one of the chapters from the twice previously-mentioned book True Brits by J.R. Daeschner. J.R. fans are strongly encouraged to follow him across the Channel to the Continent, where he found the material for his newest book, Eurotripping.

31 May, 2006

Lost in Translation

The Guardian asks the question: is it really true, as many Brits say, that Germans have no sense of humor? According to comedian Stewart Lee, it's all a matter of the language barrier:

In December 2004 I accompanied Richard Thomas, the composer of the popular stage hit Jerry Springer The Opera, to Hanover, where he had gained a commission to develop an opera about a night in a British stand-up comedy club. We wrote the words in English and Richard then collaborated on a translation with a talented German comedy writer called Hermann Bräuer. There were two initial problems with this comedically, one cultural and one linguistic. First, the idea of stand-up is somewhat alien to the Germans. They have a cabaret tradition of sophisticated satire, cross-dressing and mildly amusing songs, and there are also recognisable mainstream, low-brow comedy tropes in the form of vulgar popular entertainers. But the idea of the conversational, casual, middle-ground of English speaking stand-up comedy is unknown to the Germans. Indeed, initial attempts by the Hannover Schauspielhaus set designers to render a typical British comedy club floundered as they attempted to formalise the idea of a stand-up venue, and it was a struggle to explain that we needed to reduce the room to a bare black box rather than attempt to give it a cabaret stage vibe.

Second, this instinct to formalise a genre of comedy we accept as inherently informal is not indivisible from the limitations the German language imposes on conventional British comedy structures. The flexibility of the English language allows us to imagine that we are an inherently witty nation, when in fact we just have a vocabulary and a grammar that allow for endlessly amusing confusions of meanings.

The Primer for Real Germans also takes on the charge of humourlessness:

There is a rumor that Germans have no sense of humor. This is absolutely false. They do have a sense of humor, in fact there is even a non-translatable word for their sense of humor, "Schadensfreude". There are two words stuck in this word. The first one is "Schadens" which means "misfortune", "damage", "injury". The other word is "Freude" which means "joy", "happiness". In other words, it literally means "joy for another's misfortune", which is why Mr. Bean is more popular in Germany than in Britain. Germans do not feel any sympathy for Mr. Bean. They are not laughing with him; they are laughing at him.

30 May, 2006

That Irascible Prince Philip . . .

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is particularly known in Britain for occasional controversial remarks made while on public visits.

When visiting China in 1986, he told a group of British students, "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed".
After accepting a gift from a Kenyan native he replied, "You are a woman, aren't you?"
"If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it." (1986)
"British women can't cook." (1966)
To a British student in Papua New Guinea: "You managed not to get eaten then?"
Asked a Scottish driving instructor, "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough for them to pass the driving test?"
On a visit to the new Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, he told a group of deaf children standing next to a Jamaican steel drum band, "Deaf? No wonder you are deaf standing so close to that racket."
He asked an Indigenous Australian, "Still throwing spears?" (2002)
Said to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary, "You can't have been here that long – you haven't got a pot belly." (1993)
To the President of Nigeria, who was dressed in traditional Muslim robes, "You look like you're ready for bed!"
Seeing a shoddily installed fuse box in a high-tech Edinburgh factory, HRH remarked that it looked "like it was put in by an Indian".
When a twelve-year-old boy told the Prince that he aspired to be an astronaut, His Highness responded, "You're too fat."
On the Royal Navy ship HMS Boxer, when given a tour of the ship, which was quite extended, was quoted to have said, "Not another fucking chamber"
On a visit to Exeter Cathedral, he asked a blind woman with a guide dog, "Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?"
Visiting San Francisco in 1983, after meeting then-mayor Dianne Feinstein and several female members of the city council, he remarked, "Aren't there any male officials?... This is a nanny city."

29 May, 2006

Gentlemen, Prepare Your Cheese

Today residents and visitors to Gloucestershire celebrate their most famous sporting event, the grueling competition of cheese-rolling.

It may be Memroial Day here, but the real action is on a very steep hill in southwestern England, where dozens of worthy contestants compete to see who can get their cheese wheel to the bottom of the hill the quickest. The prize: pride, of course, and an 8lb circle of Double Gloucester cheese. I may just sign up next year myself. The cheese roll, incidently, is also one of the folk traditions J. R. Daeschner writes about in the recently posted about book True Brits.


There once was a druid from Wales,
Who arrived in a suit coat and tails
The others were nude
and that spoiled his mood
So go skyclad when all else fails.

28 May, 2006

Television Dreams Meet Reality

Fans of the British sitcom “Keeping Up Appearances” (1990-1995) will no doubt be delighted to see lead actress Patricia Routledge chatting with HM the Queen at a recent reception at Buckingham Palace. Routledge’s character, Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “Bouquet,” as she must continually remind people) pokes gentle fun at class distinctions and the instinct for social climbing in British society. Hyacinth, unfortunately, never made it to the top of aristocratic society during the course of the show, though it’s nice to know that her real-life persona finds herself at home in such august surroundings.

This is, of course, not the first time that Miss Routledge and her sovereign have had the chance to meet – she was awarded the OBE in 1992 and made a CBE in October of 2004.

The Queen speaks to the actress Patricia Routledge and Betty Boothroyd, former Speaker of the House of Commons, during a reception at Buckingham Palace, 18 May 2006. The reception honoured those 'Serving beyond Sixty' and other guests included Richard Briers, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Tom Stoppard.

Irish Independent: Petulant Adams sees red over Che exhibition snub


IN A fit of hitherto hidden petulance from a man who now regards himself as an international statesman striding the world stage, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was last night aghast to be described as "neither relevant or appropriate".

Mr Adams has been gravely upset by what he believes is a deliberate snub by a bastion of Britain's cultural life. He is incensed that 35 years of republican activism have not opened the doors of a prestigious British museum to him - so he can pay his respects to his hero, Che Guevara.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London had refused to invite him to its Che Guevara exhibition, claiming that his presence would be neither relevant or appropriate on the launch night.

"I think its stance is especially absurd given that this particular exhibition is about an iconic revolutionary figure, with family connections to Ireland, who fought against injustice and oppression both in Cuba and in South America," Mr Adams sniffed.

What miffed Mr Adams most was that he had been invited to the opening of the Che Guevara exhibition in the V&A next month by its curator, Trisha Ziff.

According to Mr Adams, Ms Ziff was told that all her invite list was approved "except Gerry Adams who is neither relevant or appropriate for this occasion".

Mr Adams, who has consistently denied allegations that he is a member of the IRA's army council, said one possible reason for the museum's decision was that it was OK to struggle against injustice, but not against British injustice.

"On the basis of the current 'reason' offered by the Victoria and Albert Museum, of refusing to invite politicians, it would appear that if Che was still alive he would be barred from his own exhibition," said Mr Adams.

Virginia Renaissance Faire runs until June 18, 2006

10:00 am - 6:00 pm each Saturday and Sunday

Location: Lake Anna Winery, Spotsylvania, Virginia

Notes: The Virginia Renaissance Faire runs every weekend from May 20-21 through June 17-18, plus Monday, May 29.

Tickets: $5.00

Address and Contact:

Lake Anna Winery
5621 Courthouse Road
Spotsylvania, VA 22553

For Directions:

Boston Globe: Our man in Ireland: Can a Jewish guy from Newton nudge Northern Ireland oward the promised land?

I didn't realize the Bush Administration was very involved in the Northern Ireland peace process. Good stuff.

Rule Britannia Lyrics

Rule Britannia!



Rule Britannia! Britannia rules the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.


When Britain first, at Heaven's command
Arose from out the azure main;
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:


The nations, not so blest as thee
Must, in their turns to tyrants fall
Must, in their turns to tyrants fall
While thou shalt flourish, shalt flourish great and free
The dread and envy of them all.


Still more majestic shalt thou rise
More dreadful from each foreign stroke
More dreadful from each foreign stroke
As the loud blast, the blast that tears the skies
Serves but to root thy native oak.


Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame
All their attempts to bend thee down
All their attempts to bend thee down
Will but arouse, arouse thy generous flame
But work their woe, and thy renown.


To thee belongs the rural reign
Thy cities shall with commerce shine
Thy ci-ties shall with commerce shine
All thine shall be, shall be the subject main
And every shore it circles thine.


The Muses, still with freedom found
Shall to thy happy coast repair
Shall to thy happy coast repair
Blest isle with matchless, with matchless beauty crowned
And manly hearts to guard the fair.

(Chorus) Augustinian priests apologise for concelebrated Easter Mass

Apparently some Irish Catholic priests got in trouble for concelebrating the Mass with an (Anglican) Church of Ireland minister.

Funny thing - no controversy over celebrating a Mass to commemorate the Easter Uprising of 1916.


Why do pirates always have Scottish accents?

True Brits: The Book

For an hilarious and informative look at the charming, eccentric folk traditions of Great Britain, find youself a copy of the book True Brits: A Tour of Britain In All Its Bog-Snorkeling, Shin-Kicking and Cheese-Rolling Glory by J. R. Daeschner. Everyone in the U.S. and Canada can go here, those in the UK can go here, and everyone else directly here. The author's website, with copious additional material, is here.

Their Majesties King George III and Queen Charlotte

Though his obstinacy toward the American colonies led to Great Britain's loss of them and his subsequent distorted image as a tyrant who went mad, George III has nevertheless been one of my favorite British monarchs owing to his sense of duty to his country, moral family life, sincere Christian faith, diverse range on interests, and charitable giving. After the French Revolution and the threat of Napoleon, he became a symbol of British traditions and resistance to invasion. With a reign of 60 years (although for the last 10 incapacitated), he was Great Britain's longest reigning king, and second-longest reigning monarch after his granddaughter Queen Victoria.

The Glory Days of British Rail

Today marks the 157th anniversary of the opening of the Great Hall at Euston Station in London. The Hall, designed by the scion of a family of famous architects, was a triumph of elegant neo-classical design and British engineering genius.

25 May, 2006

The Special Relationship