Filed under American history

Beyond Love

I’ve become a huge fan of Ira Glass’s ‘This American Life’ podcast, especially since it provides a welcome antidote to all the bad news coming out of the states recently. Last week i stumbled upon one of the strangest stories ever, in the episode ‘Grand Gestures’ which challenges so many aspects of what we are … Continue reading

Censorship in Charleston 1787

Censorship in Charleston 1787

In Shakespeare’s time, travelling players were considered akin to rogues and vagabonds so needed the protection and patronage of a noble to survive. In 1727 England passed the Chamberlain’s Act requiring theatres to be licensed to perform plays, to prevent the vicious satires against prime minister Robert Walpole. Life for travelling players was also hard … Continue reading

A Lecture on Heads

A Lecture on Heads

There were a lot of theatrical companies in London and the provinces, but when I heard of The Lecture on Heads I was intrigued and confused. What heads? And why? Gerald Kahan in his book George Alexander Stevens & The Lecture on Heads has done a great job researching the show in its many forms … Continue reading

Healthcare USA in 2009

Healthcare USA in 2009

I just found this feature from the Independent newspaper of 15 August 2009 which ran over 3 pages. The article shocked the newspaper and it shocked me enough to keep the whole piece. In the wake of the recent election it is worth looking at it again. Why do the Republicans hate – or fear … Continue reading

Lessons from History – Transatlantic Problems

The problems of Brexit and the impending US Presidential elections seem to be tearing the UK and USA apart. As is so often the case, these problems are nothing new – England suffered 2 centuries of discord following the Reformation, when church power collapsed, plunging the country into a time of ignorance, mismanagement and the … Continue reading

Celebrities Changing the World?

Here’s a piece by the brilliant Grace Dent in the i paper on the impact of celebrities opposing Trump. It’s also a lesson for politicians here, of course. When William Morris wrote “Nothing useless can be truly beautiful” he patently had never visualised an anti-Trump public service announcement starring the thinking woman’s crumpet Mark Rufallo … Continue reading

Second Person Pronouns

Atlas Obscura is a great source of obscure information, though often flawed by lack of research, but here’s an article that got me thinking. http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/yall-youuns-yinz-youse-how-regional-dialects-are-fixing-standard-english?utm_source=Atlas+Obscura+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=76063a5aad-Newsletter_10_17_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f36db9c480-76063a5aad-63056749&ct=t(Newsletter_10_17_2016)&mc_cid=76063a5aad&mc_eid=377570eee9 For all its history and variety, English has no plural form of the second person pronoun. Unlike other European languages, it also has no polite/informal forms. AO find the latter … Continue reading

The Richest Man in All Christendom?

Most people assume slavery was the basis of most fortunes in Britain’s 18th century, but descendants of the original settlers also featured. Here’s a couple of pieces from May 1771’s Kentish Gazette: Wm Baker, Esq; one of the Sheriffs of this city, &c. was married at Spring Garden Chapel, to Miss Juliana Penn, daughter of … Continue reading