Category Archives: Culture

“My favorite country would combine the best of the U.S. and the U.K.”

Great Gatsby

Gatsby’s ‘extraordinary capacity for hope’ could be useful in Britain, says Sophie Heawood. Photograph: Courtesy of Warner Bros

Check out Sophie Heawood’s column in the Guardian about her favorite parts of the U.S. and the U.K.

She starts, “If you’ve lived between the US and the UK, as I have done in recent years, it can be hard to pin down which country you love more. At times, I yearn to go back and live on the West Coast, where the smiles were wider, the sun was brighter, and everyone believed in the dream of a dream at least. At other times I’m greatly relieved to be in London, with the cold comforts of sarcasm and rain, the reassuring presence of doctors who don’t ask to see your credit card, and the absence of cheerleaders and the NRA. (And cheerleading for the NRA.)”

Too true, Sophie! After returning from vacationing in Disneyland last week, I’m reminded of the bold and unapologetic optimism that surrounds such a place. It’s so American! Read on…

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15 reasons to bloody love Wales

sheep on a leash

After posting the 25 reasons why we love Scotland list earlier this week and the 33 things that Brits do better than anybody else, it seems only fair to cover the 15 reasons to bloody love Wales!

Thanks, Buzzfeed, for putting this list together!

Where are your people from?

I had to share this – it’s ridiculously accurate, at least from my personal experience!

Ever have one of these encounters?

BritWeek Festival event tomorrow!

BritWeek logo

If you’re in San Francisco tomorrow, be sure to pop by Union Square! BritWeek, an annual celebration of UK creativity and innovation in California which takes place May 3-11, will kick off with a day of fun and British-themed festivities including a BritArt gallery, live music, theater, entertainment and a typical British beer garden serving British beers and Pimm’s cocktails from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is presented by British Airways.

For more information, visit http://current.britweek.org/san-francisco-events.

Man flu

I’ve mentioned man flu briefly in a previous post. But I feel it is my public health duty to dedicate a full post to this malady.

For the uninitiated: “Man flu is a crippling and debilitating disorder indiscriminately striking down male members of the human species without warning. The illness is often referred to pejoratively by female members of the species who are in fact immune from the illness as man flu is now known to exclusively attack the XY chromosome carrier. If Man Flu is kind enough not to kill the infected party it will definitely leave him weak, sick, hurting everywhere and in dire need of TLC.”

Sound familiar? Check out www.manflu.info. It has been created to provide assistance for the men who are hapless victims of man flu (and the women who love them).

50 years of Bond

My son got his first exposure to James Bond on Sunday with the 007 video montage that was shown at the Oscars. Questionably inappropriate material for a 5-year-old? Uh, yeah. But a piece of British culture that my husband eagerly wanted to pass down.

I couldn’t find said video montage online, but found this excellent look at the past 50 years of Bond.

Who’s your favorite James Bond? I have to say Daniel Craig is mine.

Missing London

London love

I just spotted this on the Boden Clothing Facebook and loved it!

For those of you who miss London, what do you miss most of all? I really miss London cabbies (black cabs!) and good fish and chips!

100 most powerful women in the U.K.

The QueenIf you’ve wondered who are the real movers and shakers in the U.K., look no further than the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List.

Topping the list is the Queen, with other notables including J.K. Rowling, Adele and Victoria Beckham (AKA Posh Spice). Kate Middleton is noticeably absent from the top 100, which has created a bit of controversy since she is nothing if not influential.

Take a look at the list! What do you think?

Take the new U.K. citizenship test

Life in the UKHave you heard that the British government is its “Life in the U.K.” handbook and test for those seeking to become British citizens or settle in the U.K. permanently?

The new handbook and test focuses on British history and culture, with questions about sports, music, humor and historical figures.

Try taking a sample test and see how you do! (I got 10 out of 10!)

Celebrations

Poems on the UndergroundToday, there’s much to celebrate as the world’s oldest underground transportation network, the London Underground, celebrates 150 years today on the same day that the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton turns 31.

When I studied abroad in the U.K., one of my flatmates had an anthology of poetry that had been posted on the London Underground (where the advertisements usually ran). The book, Poems on the Underground (Fifth Edition), became one of my favorites to just dip into now and again, and ranged from Percy Shelley to Maya Angelou, Brits and non-Brits as well as some anonymous authors.

I eventually bought my own copy  that year and have been revisiting those old poems this week. I found one which might be appropriate for today’s celebrations. Let’s raise a glass and have a read! Cheers.

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

- Christina Rossetti (1830-94)

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