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    Zeal 2010 00t Zeal 2010 00t Document Transcript

    • M a y 2 010 | w w w. p e l c k m a n s . b e/z e a l COVER STORY: Humour Professor Richard Wiseman and the Laugh Lab Sacha Baron Cohen: As brave as he is funny Jordanians can take a joke, comics find Precious, Heartbreaking & Heartwarming Time travel: Nothing is impossible
    • COLOFON CONTENTS cover story Humour > Professor Richard Wiseman and the Laugh Lab > p. 6 © Uitgeverij Pelckmans Kapelsestraat 222 B-2950 Kapellen COVER STORY BLURB T +32 (0)3 660 27 00 F +32 (0)3 660 27 01 zeal@pelckmans.be H ey, have you heard the one about... This month’s cover story focuses on humour. Humour is as old as the human The first article in this month’s cover story focuses on Professor Richard Wiseman and his laugh lab. The article www.pelckmans.be/zeal race! You can image the first cave men presents Wiseman’s quest to find the telling ‘knock,knock’ jokes – with their funniest joke. Read it and see how funny clubs! Every language and culture has its you think it is. Then, it talks about how own approach to humour. Some cultures humour is perceived in different cultures. Editorial Board: are perceived as having no ‘funny bone’. Which country do you think has the best John Arnold, Johan Delbaere, Other cultures are said to enjoy humour sense of humour? The worst? You might Carlo De Rycke, Karl Drabbe, so much that they mock themselves! be surprised! > An Schrauwen Contributors: John Arnold, David Chan, Karel NEWS & NUMBERS 4 Australia Deburchgrave, Johan Delbaere, Canada Carolyn De Meyer, Carlo De the UK Rycke, Ria Joos, Marleen the USA Peeters, Hilde Vanachter, Jos Vanachter COVER STORY 6 Professor Richard TOPIC: HUMOUR Wiseman and the Laugh Lab Design & layout: 10 Sacha Baron Cohen: As www.tulipa.be brave as he is funny 11 Jordanians can take a Information & subscriptions: joke, comics find zeal@pelckmans.be 03/660.27.27 POLITICS 12 Brown’s tears could signal emotive UK election V.U. Thom Pelckmans 14 Whoever you vote for, Kapelsestraat 222 painful cuts will come 2950 Kapellen SOCIETY 16 Cyber addiction 17 Confessions of an addict Gordon Brown | p. 12 18 Never offline Cover picture: ECONOMICS 20 My week of living (very, very) cheaply REPORTERS / Capital Pictures 22 Under 21? Getting a credit Back cover picture: card just got tougher REPORTERS / AP Photo / Greg Campbell SCIENCE 24 Four ecotowns given the green light 26 Nothing is impossible SPORTS 28 Cheat or paragon: how Thierry Henry could My week of living have handled it all so (very, very) differently cheaply | p. 20 31 Blatter taken to task over ‘ludicrous’ slavery claim Four ecotowns given the green light | p. 24 2 May 2010
    • EDITORIAL Welcome to Zeal! Photograph: REPORTERS / Capital Pictures Then, love him or hate him, everyone has Z EAL is the latest English- language magazine for young adults to hit the market! This an opinion about Sasha Baron Cohen magazine is designed from youths, and his multiple personalities: Bruno, 16 years and older. Between the Borat, Ali G. The article looks at why covers of this quarterly glossy, you people find this man so hilarious! will find articles on the latest news, Most people perceived Middle Eastern- sports, films, books, and music in ers as having no tolerance for jokes. The the English-speaking world and final article in this month’s cover story beyond! debunks that myth. The article looks how humour is being used in Arabic culture to If you take a minute to page defuse tensions. We find that Jordians Sacha Baron Cohen – Bruno | p. 10 through this magazine, you will see really do have a sense of humour! < that it is NOT your typical school magazine: it looks and feels like a magazine you could pick up at the newsagent’s. The articles contents CULTURE 32 Cities and the movies have been chosen to appeal to the varied interests of today’s youth. The articles focus on topics and issues that matter to you! At the 34 McDonald’s chef: The same time, you can sharpen and improve your English skills using most influential cook in authentic articles from The Guard- America? ian, The (London) Times, The New YOU SHOULD PICK UP … 36 The Brief Wondrous Life of York Times, Monocle, and BBC Fo- Oscar Wu cus. In addition, each issue of the magazine contains a cover story, FILM REVIEW 38 Precious chosen to appeal to your interests. This month’s theme: humour! On IN CINEMAS NOW / 39 Alice In Wonderland the back cover the magazine, you Robin Hood find a thought-provoking picture COMING SOON Green Zone that can be used to as a starter for stimulating conversations and IN THE BOOKSTORE 40 The Graveyard Book by debates. Neil Gaiman Push by Sapphire The accompanying workbook Never Bite a Boy on the gives you the practice you need to First Date by Tamara improve your English skills. In the Summers workbook, you will find a variety of exercises for most of the articles MUSIC 41 This month Jonny Trunk and a small strategy-based task marvels at Portsmouth associated with the cover story. Sinfonia Plays the Popular Exercises cover the four skills, Book reviews | p. 40 Classics vocabulary and grammar. You can 41 Last night a record also find additional media on the changed my live Zeal website (www.pelckmans.be/zeal). TRAVEL & TOURISM 42 36 hours in Glasgow So, sit back and sip your favourite DIVIDED BY THE 44 A Cornish summer beverage as you enjoy the first is- 44 Stone Mountain Park SAME LANGUAGE sue of ZEAL! Once you are finished with this issue, you will be counting CONTEST 47 the days until the next issue comes out! PHOTO FINISH 48 And don’t forget: every issue contains the infamous Pelckmans’ Contest! Participate today to win great prizes!! < A Cornish summer | p. 44 May 2010 3
    • NEWS AND NUMBERS Australia News: too much from it – especially Numbers: TEENAGERS are not like us. the assumption that because Percentage of Teenagers Online They grunt rather than converse, teenagers act this way now, Asia 42.6% slouch rather than walk, sleep they will continue to do so. Europe 24.1% till noon and their preferred It is simply illogical to draw North America 14.6% dress is grunge – any black from the revelations of a teen Lat Am / Caribb 10.3% T-shirt featuring gross green mind anything masquerading Africa 3.9% slime dripping from a skull as profound insights to future Middle East 3.3% will do. They don’t read, don’t media. It would be wrong to Oceania / Australia 1.2% pay for music, don’t listen to assume that if it is nigh on adults and don’t care about impossible to reach such a Twitter. In short, they don’t fragmented, flipperty-gibbet 14.6 use media the way we do. A teen audience today, it will be 10.3 3.9 recent report asserts teenag- equally hard to reach them 3.3 ers don’t listen to much radio, tomorrow. Teenagers are going 1.2 24.1 preferring online sites devoid though a phase. We did it in our of advertising where ‘users can youth; our grandkids’ grandkids choose the songs they want will do it too. Soon the grunts, 42.6 instead of listening to what the grunge and spottiness will radio presenter or DJ chooses’. give way to confident young Similarly, teenagers watch less men and women in their 20s – television because of devices Generation Z, or whatever name and services that allow them to they adopt. watch shows when they want. But it is dangerous to assume The Australian Online Canada News: characters: Wonder Vag, Willy worked directly with teens to at the Sperminator. The game LONDON, ONT. – The public the Kid, Power Pap or Captain develop a resource that would begins by saying: ‘In the dark health unit in London, Ont., Condom. The goal is to then catch their attention and teach of the night Sex City is in panic is using comic book-themed correctly answer 25 ques- important information. If play- because of the terrible Spermi- superheroes and a villain tions about sexual health and ers answer a question wrong nator, whose sole mission is to named the evil ‘Sperminator’ defeat the evil Sperminator, a the Sperminator shoots their infect all citizens with various to teach teens about safe sex. character with penises for arms. character with sperm, but if the sexually transmitted infections.’ Visitors to their website can Shaya Dhinsa, manager of question is answered correctly play the game ‘Adventures in sexual health at the Middlesex- their character uses a ‘condom The Canadian Press Sex City,’ by choosing one of the London Health Unit, says they shield’ to shoot the sperm back Numbers: Canadian Teen Pregnancy Rates Per 1,000 Among 15-17 and 18-19 Year-Olds, 1992-2002   15-17 18-19 Total/15-19 1992 30.2 74.9 48.1 1993 29.9 74.4 47.8 1994 30.2 76.2 48.8 1995 28.2 75.4 47.1 1996 27.0 72.7 45.2 1997 25.5 68.9 42.7 1998 24.8 68.5 42.4 1999 22.6 65.9 40.1 2000 21.4 62.5 38.0 2001 20.1 59.8 36.1 2002 18.1 57.1 33.9 Note: Statistics Canada includes live births, induced abortions, and miscarriages in the calculation of teenage pregnancy statistics. 4 May 2010
    • United Kingdom News: as somehow the healthy herb Whether or not there is a new despite its genetically modified middle-class phenomenon of new form. General statistics on teenagers – mostly boys but drug use show the heroin-using also some girls – who are at population is ageing: it is not best losing great swaths of their attracting new users. But cheap youth and at worst endanger- alcohol and cannabis are more ing their mental health to attractive as patterns of drug Numbers: the mind-numbing effects of use shift. ‘At the moment, skunk Drug poisoning deaths skunk is at the moment only is supplied by gangs growing it Male deaths increased in 2008 anecdotal. Strong cannabis is in houses and flats, and the po- nothing new: its hallucinogenic lice are getting good at shutting Number of deaths effects were recorded at the those down. There is evidence 3,500 beginning of civilisation and there is a growing demand for 3,000 echoed in literature in stories imported cannabis again, so if of writers from Alexandre that goes on you might just see 2,500 Dumas to Paul Bowles. But another shift away from it,’ said 2,000 many believe that the new, Harry Shapiro, the director of hydroponically grown strain is a communications at the charity 1,500 thoroughly modern threat to a Drugscope. 1,000 generation who see traditionally ‘addictive’ drugs like heroin and The Times Online 500 crack as ‘dirty’, and cannabis 0 1993 1996 1999 2002 2005 2008 Females Males Persons Deaths related to drug poisoning, England and Wales, 1993-2008 The United States of America News: she argues was a violation of of Ms. Phelps to post their own the Facebook page. Two months MIAMI — A South Florida teen- her First Amendment rights, her comments. Some students later, Ms. Evans says, she was ager who sued her former prin- lawyers said, and payment of wrote comments agreeing called into the principal’s office cipal after she was suspended her legal fees. A high school with Ms. Evans’s criticism of and told she was being sus- for creating a Facebook page senior and an honor student Ms. Phelps. Others offered pended for creating the page. criticizing a teacher can pro- in 2007, Ms. Evans repeatedly support for the teacher. After a ceed with her lawsuit, a federal clashed with Ms. Phelps, her few days, Ms. Evans took down The New York Times Online judge has ruled. The student, English teacher, over assign- Katherine Evans, is seeking to ments, Ms. Evans has said. have her suspension expunged Ms. Evans turned to Facebook Numbers: from her disciplinary record. to vent her frustration. At home Cyberbullying by Gender: Offending School officials suspended her on her computer, Ms. Evans 25 for three days, saying she had created a Facebook page titled 20 19.0 been ‘cyberbullying’ the teacher, ‘Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst Sarah Phelps. Ms. Evans is also teacher I’ve ever had’ and in- 16.1 15 14.4 seeking a ‘nominal fee’ for what vited past and current students 10.7 11.5 9.5 8.3 10 8.3 8.1 9.3 5 0 I have I have Took a picture Posted Sent someone cyberbullied cyberbullied of someone something on an email to others others and posted it MySpace or make them (previous 30 (lifetime) online without similar site to angry or to days) permission make fun of make fun of someone them Male (n=978 Female (n=984) Note: sample represents middle school students (grades 6-8) form a large school district in the United States. Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin (2008). For more information, email: research@cyberbullying.us May 2010 5
    • Photograph: Emiliano Spada COVER STORY Prof. Richard Wiseman 6 May 2010
    • and the LaughLab LaughLab.co.uk O ne Saturday evening in the world’s funniest joke and answer they discovered the gags that made late June, the master 50 important questions about the psy- men giggle and women groan, those of ceremonies at the Ice chology of humour. that tickled children but not adults, House, a comedy club in Pasadena, Questions such as: Do men and women and the jokes that proved most popu- California, told the audience that they find the same jokes funny? Does our 90 lar in different countries. were in for a special treat: Dr. Richard sense of humour change as we grow Wiseman, a British scientist who was older? When is the best time of day to on a quest to determine the world’s tell a joke? Do people from different The winning joke funniest joke, was going to come out countries laugh at the same jokes? 10 and enlist the audience’s help. The The idea was very simple. The Laugh- After much careful scrutiny, Wiseman master of ceremonies, Debi Gutierrez, Lab website contained two sections. finally found the joke that received would tell jokes that particularly ap- 60 In the first section, people could higher ratings than any other gag. pealed to Americans who had visited submit their favourite jokes. In the Here it is: Two hunters are out in the Wiseman’s humour Web site, and second section, people answered a few woods when one of them collapses. Wiseman himself would tell jokes simple questions about themselves He doesn’t seem to be breathing and favoured by the British. – such as whether they were male his eyes are glazed. The other guy Wiseman bounded up and perched or female, young or old, and which whips out his phone and calls the on a stool facing Gutierrez, a brassy country they were from – and then emergency services. He gasps, ‘My woman in her early forties. ‘May I call rated how funny they found a random100 friend is dead! What can I do?’. The 20 you Richard?’ she asked. selection of jokes that had been operator says ‘Calm down. I can help. ‘You can call me what you want,’ submitted by others using a highly First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’ There Wiseman said. 70 scientific ‘giggleometer’. is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back ‘Dr. Dick!’ she said. The audience on the phone, the guy says ‘OK, now whooped, and Wiseman offered a what?’ game smile. In a navy-blue T-shirt, This joke was submitted by Gurpal khakis, and tortoise-rimmed glasses, Gosall, a 31 year old psychiatrist from with a Vandyke beard balancing his Within days, Helen Manchester in the UK. He told Laugh- baldness, he looked like a particularly and Emma had lost Lab: ‘I like the joke as it makes people helpful store manager at the Gap. In 110 feel better, because it reminds them 30 fact, at the age of thirty-five, Wise- their sense of humour, that there is always someone out man--a professor at the University and gained the finest there who is doing something more of Hertfordshire and the director of collection of rude jokes stupid than themselves.’ its Perrott-Warrick Research Unit--is The joke is interesting because it Britain’s most recognizable psycholo- anywhere in the world. works across many different coun- gist, famous for such mass-partici- tries, appeals to men and women, pation experiments as determining and young and old alike. Many of whether people can most easily detect the jokes submitted received higher lies told on television, on the radio, orThe experiment captured the im- ratings from certain groups of people, in print. (It’s on the radio!) Since Sep-agination of people across the globe 120 but this one had real universal appeal. 40 tember 2001, he has been conducting and thousands flocked to site. They Also, we find jokes funny for lots of a global humour study at LaughLab. couldn’t allow any really offensive different reasons – they sometimes co.uk, a website where visitors submit jokes onto the site, and so each and make us feel superior to others, re- jokes and rate other people’s jokes. every joke had to be vetted. This job duce the emotional impact of anxiety- was carried out by LaughLab team provoking events, or surprise us members Helen and Emma. because of some kind of incongruity. LaughLab Within days, Helen and Emma had The hunters’ joke contains all three 80 lost their sense of humour, and elements – we feel superior to the Richard Wiseman and The British gained the finest collection of rude stupid hunter, realise the incongruity Association for the Advancement of jokes anywhere in the world. 130 of him misunderstanding the operator Science embarked on one of the world’s Over the course of a year they re- and the joke helps us to laugh about largest, and most unusual, scientific ceived over 40,000 jokes and 1.5 mil- our concerns about our own mortality.> experiments. The project aimed to find lion ratings. At the end of the project, May 2010 7
    • COVER STORY In second place ferred gags where there was a sense of brain be so important to our sense of 190 superiority – either because a person humour? The joke that came second was sub- looked stupid, or was made to look 250 Most jokes work because they mitted by Geoff Anandappa, from stupid by another person, such as: surprise us – they set us thinking in Blackpool in Britain: Texan: ‘Where are you from?’ one direction, and then we hear the Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson Harvard grad: ‘I come from a place punch line and realise that there is a were going camping. They pitched where we do not end our sentences completely different way of seeing the their tent under the stars and went to with prepositions.’ situation. sleep. Sometime in the middle of the Texan: ‘Okay – where are you from, For example, take the old joke: Two 140 night Holmes woke Watson up and jackass?’ fish in a tank. One turns to the other said: ‘Watson, look up at the stars, Finally, many European countries, and says ‘Do you know how to drive and tell me what you see.’ 200 such as France, Denmark and Bel- this?’ Watson replied: ‘I see millions and gium, liked jokes that were somewhat millions of stars.’ surreal, such as: Holmes said: ‘and what do you deduce An Alsatian went to a telegram office, from that?’ took out a blank form and wrote: Patient: ‘Doctor, Watson replied: ‘Well, if there are ‘Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. I’ve got a strawberry millions of stars, and if even a few of Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof.’ stuck up my bum.’ those have planets, it’s quite likely The clerk examined the paper and 150 there are some planets like earth out politely told the dog: ‘There are only Doctor: ‘I’ve got some there. And if there are a few planets nine words here. You could send an- cream for that. like earth out there, there might also 210 other ‘Woof’ for the same price.’ be life.’ ‘But,’ the dog replied, ‘that would And Holmes said: ‘Watson, you idiot, make no sense at all.’ it means that somebody stole our These European countries also 260 The first line makes us think the fish tent.’ enjoyed jokes that involved making are in a fish tank – then the second When we told Geoff that he had been light of topics that often make us feel makes us realise that they actually are pipped to the post by the hunters’ anxious, such as death, illness, and in an army tank! The Prefrontal cortex joke, he was gracious in defeat, not- marriage. For example: plays a vital role in the type of flexible 160 ing: ‘I can’t believe I got knocked out A patient says: ‘Doctor, last night I thinking needed to understand a joke. in the final round! I could’ve been a made a Freudian slip, I was having It makes sense of the punch line and contender... I want a re-match, and 220 dinner with my mother-in-law and produces a strong sense of surprise. this time I’m going to fight dirty. Did wanted to say: ‘Could you please pass In the NMI scanner Wiseman pre- you hear the one about the actress the butter.’ But instead I said: ‘You sented people with the initial part and the bishop?’ silly cow, you have completely ruined 270 of jokes and then the punch lines, my life’.’ and compared activity in their brains Interestingly, Germany was the with them simply reading unfunny Humour across exception. Germans did not express sentences. The results were clear - the the globe a strong preference for any type of punch lines caused lots of activation joke - this may well explain why they in the prefrontal cortex at the front Wiseman asked everyone partici- came first in our league table of fun- of the brain - without this part of the pating in LaughLab to tell us which 230 niness – they do not have any strong brain we simply wouldn’t find jokes country they were from and analysed preferences and so tend to find a wide funny. the data from the ten countries that spectrum of jokes funny. 170 rated the highest number of jokes. The following ‘league table’ lists the Freudian funnies countries in the order of how funny The brain’s funnybone they found the jokes: Sigmund Freud was one of the most Germany, France, Denmark, UK, Towards the end of the LaughLab 280 influential thinkers of the twentieth Australia, The Republic of Ireland, project, Wiseman carried out a brain century. Belgium, USA, New Zealand and scan (using a technique known as His basic idea was that we all have Canada. Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of sexual and aggressive thoughts, but Fascinating differences also emerged people listening to some of our best that society does not allow us to ex- between nations in terms of the jokes jokes. The results show that there are press these ideas openly. As a result, 180 they found funny. People from The areas of the brain involved in under- they become repressed deep into our Republic of Ireland, the UK, Australia 240 standing why a joke is funny. unconscious and only emerge via the and New Zealand expressed a strong This area is mainly located towards odd slip of the tongue (the ‘Freudian preference for jokes involving word the back of the frontal lobes. Interest- slip’), in dreams and certain forms of plays, such as: ingly, this fits in with other research 290 psychotherapy. Patient: ‘Doctor, I’ve got a strawberry suggesting that people who have But Freud was also fascinated by jokes stuck up my bum.’ damaged this part of the brain often and humour. He believed that they Doctor: ‘I’ve got some cream for that. lose their sense of humour. represented another way in which Americans and Canadians much pre- But why should this section of the people could release their pent-up 8 May 2010
    • thoughts in a socially acceptable way. they have misunderstood an obvious man, he was found dead in his Thoughts about death, sex, marriage, situation, made a stupid mistake, ice-cream van, covered in chocolate authority figures, certain bodily been the hapless victim of unfor- sauce and hundreds-and-thousands? functions – anything, in fact, that it tunate circumstance or have been The police said that he had topped is socially unacceptable to say with a made to look stupid by someone else. himself. 300 straight face. According to the theory, these jokes Two aerials met on a roof, fell in love So, to Freud, humour provides a kind 360 cause us to laugh because they make and got married. of relief – a way of coping with the us feel superior to other people. 420 The ceremony was rubbish but the problems in our lives, or issues that Here is a classic ‘superiority’ joke reception was brilliant. we are embarrassed or reluctant to from LaughLab: confront. A woman goes into a cafe with a duck. Although many of the jokes submit- She puts the duck on a stool and sits Fun facts ted to LaughLab fit with Freud’s next to it. The waiter comes over and ideas, they didn’t make it through says: ‘Hey! That’s the ugliest pig that Wiseman counted the number of our vetting procedure because they I have ever seen.’ The woman says: words in every joke that people sub- 310 weren’t suitable for family viewing. ‘It’s a duck, not a pig.’ And the Waiter mitted. According to the data, jokes However, here are some examples 370 says: ‘I was talking to the duck.’ containing 103 words are the funniest. that fit the theory and did get the Many of the jokes submitted con- green light. tained reference to animals. Wiseman A woman told her friend: ‘For eight- Incongruity theory found that jokes mentioning ducks een years my husband and I were the are funnier than others. Perhaps it’s happiest people in the world! Then we The most popular theory of why we 430 because of their beaks, or webbed met.’ find jokes funny revolves around the feet, or odd shape. Regardless, the im- A newly ordained priest is nervous concept of ‘incongruity’. plication is clear – if you are going to about hearing confessions and asks The idea is that we laugh at things tell a joke involving an animal, make 320 an older priest to observe one of his that surprise us because they seem it a duck. sessions to give him some tips. After out of place. It’s funny when clowns One of the most important parts of a few minutes of listening, the old wear outrageously large shoes, people the body’s defences against disease priest suggests that they have a word. have especially big noses or politi- and illness is its ‘immune system’. ‘I’ve got a few suggestions,’ he says. cians tell the truth. In the same way, Experiments suggest that people who ‘Try folding your arms over your chest 380 many jokes are funny because they laugh more, and are able to look on and rub your chin with one hand.’ involve ideas that run against our 440 the funny side of life, have healthier The new priest tries this. ‘Very good,’ expectations. A bear walks into a bar. immune systems than others. says his senior. ‘Now try saying things Animals talk. And so on. A good laugh also increases our heart like ‘I see’, ‘I understand’ and ‘Yes, But there is more to this theory than rate, helps us breathe more deeply, 330 go on.’‘ The younger priest practises such simple forms of incongruity. and stretches many different muscles these sayings, too. ‘Well done,’ says In many jokes, there is an apparent in our face and upper body. In fact, it the older priest. ‘Don’t you think incongruity between the set-up and is like a mini work-out – a quick visit that’s better than slapping your knee the punch line. As in the two fish in to the giggle gym. and saying: ‘No way! What happened a tank joke. The set-up line leads us One researcher estimated that a good next?’ 390 to think about two fish in a fish tank. laugh produces an increase in heart But the punch line surprises us – why 450 rate that is equivalent to ten minutes should the fish be able to drive a fish on a rowing machine or fifteen min- Superiority theory tank? Then, a split second later, we utes on an exercise bike. suddenly realise that the word ‘tank’ Philosophers and scientists have Why do people tend to laugh when has two meanings, and that the fish been fascinated by humour for over someone slips over a banana skin or are actually in an army tank. Scien- 2000 years. The famous philosopher has a custard pie slapped into their tists refer to this as the ‘incongruity- Aristotle (384–322 BC) wrote a great face? resolution’ theory. We resolve the deal about the topic. Unfortunately, 340 Well, according to one theory of incongruity caused by the punch line, we only have indirect references to humour, we laugh because these types 400 and the accompanying feeling of sud- his ideas because his actual treatise of situations make us feel superior to den surprise makes us laugh. 460 on laughter has been lost in the mists other people. The person who tripped The following LaughLab jokes illus- of time. Interestingly, it is this ‘lost over the banana skin, or was the trate different kinds of incongruity: volume’ of humour that lays at the recipient of the custard pie, has been Did you hear about the man who centre of the well known book and made to look silly and that makes us drowned in a bowl of muesli? film ‘The Name of the Rose’. < feel good. In fact, it makes us feel so He was pulled under by a strong cur- good that we laugh. rant! The superiority theory also explains I said to the Gym instructor: ‘Can you 350 why we laugh at certain types of teach me to do the splits?’ He said: jokes. Many jokes make us feel supe- 410 ‘How flexible are you?’ I said: ‘I can’t rior to other people. In these types of make Tuesdays.’ jokes, people appear stupid because Did you hear about the ice-cream May 2010 9
    • COVER STORY Sacha Baron Cohen – As brave as he is funny Canwest News Service | Jay Stone S acha Baron Cohen demon- the-top gayness designed to enrage strates several important people who believe homosexuality can points in Bruno, his new be cured by Jesus. public outrage. These include: In one famous scene, Bruno shows • The umlaut is the most amusing of up on a TV show with a black baby he the Germanic punctuation marks; has adopted and outrages a predomi- • Similarly, when it comes to genital 50 nantly African-American audience Photograph: REPORTERS / Capital Pictures humour, there is nothing as funny when he admits the child is mostly as a talking penis; a fashion accessory, a ‘gayby’ meant 10 • Homophobia can be all fun and to attract men. It’s hard to tell how games until you go camping with much of this sequence – a com- what looks like the cast of Deliver- mentary on celebrity adoption – is ance; and, scripted and how much is real. Ironi- • Sacha Baron Cohen is one brave cally, or perhaps not, this makes it an guy. ideal example of reality-show culture. The most funny thing is Baron What all this adds up to is something 60 Cohen’s willingness to do almost of an open question. Like Borat – anything. This includes appearing na- Baron Cohen’s exposé of American ked – this occasions the talking penis Sacha Baron Cohen in Bruno prejudice in the guise of a simple- scene, which uses the kind of cheesy 20 minded, misogynistic, anti-Semitic special effects we haven’t seen since Kazakhstani – Bruno is an imper- Francis the Talking Mule went into sonation that throws the star among retirement – or going hunting in Ala- ordinary people (i.e., the ignorant, bama with three grizzled guys with the biased, and the simply gullible) to rifles who don’t take too kindly to the Later, he tells a member of an Arab make comic points. mincing Austrian in their midst. terrorist organization that, ‘Your But it is also as much a showcase 70 Bruno is a gay stereotype meant to King Osama looks like a dirty wizard of comedy sketches, throwing the expose homophobia, even if it means 90 or a homeless Santa Claus,’ part of a spotlight on Baron Cohen’s uncanny wallowing in it: the lisping, the strategy to get himself kidnapped as a knack for flamboyant violation of all sashay, a scene where Bruno gets his road to fame. Baron Cohen has, to use 30 that is decent and, in some cases, all anus bleached, for instance. It’s funny Bruno’s phrase, a brass kugelsack. that is indecent as well. because it’s exactly the sort of thing But sometimes the results are even Bruno is another of Baron Cohen’s someone else might believe. Not us, more chilling. Bruno impersonates characters, a gay fashion journalist though. We’re too hip. a talent agent seeking babies for a from Austria who seeks the shallow- commercial, and their parents seem est kind of celebrity. This gives the co- If all this seems too easy, Bruno goes willing to do almost anything – allow median a chance to mock not only our on several sidetracks. He meets with them to be crucified, permit liposuc- attitudes toward homosexuality, but 80 actual Israeli and Palestinian repre- 100 tion so they will lose weight, expose also the lifestyles of famous people. sentatives (how does he get these them to burning phosphorous – to get The storyline sends Bruno to Holly- people to participate?) and proceeds them on TV. 40 wood with his devoted, smitten to confuse Hamas with hummus. ‘We At times like this, Bruno has noth- assistant Lutz (Swedish actor Gustaf both think hummus is very healthy,’ ing to do with being gay or being an Hammarsten) and satirizes the hunt says the Palestinian, which Bruno Austrian. Celebrity is its own punish- for fame even as he flounces an over- takes as a sign of progress. ment. < 10 May 2010
    • Jordanians can take a joke, comics find New York Times | Michael Slackman A MMAN, Jordan – For all hope that someday an Arab could be But it did, in a big way. The next year, of the animosity, mistrust president of the United States and Mr Omani invited them back, and this and lack of understanding then introduce America to ‘my first year his city organized the festival. He between the West and the Muslim lady, and my second lady, and my 80 said he hoped to make it even bigger world, this small Middle Eastern third lady and my fourth lady.’ next year. But there are rules. country has demonstrated that most Amman, which has a reputation as No cursing. No making fun of religion. people here have the capacity to laugh 50 the sleepiest capital city in the Mid- No making fun of the king (or his fam- at themselves – and at jokes about dle East, has decided it wants to be ily). No sex jokes. No drug jokes. And, bodily functions, too. the center of stand-up comedy in a of course, no alcohol allowed. 10 When comedians from North America region not exactly known for freedom Some comedians did not always obey faced a theater packed with Arabs of speech or self-deprecating humor. the rules. As long as the audience this month and poked fun at the Stand-up generally requires a political laughed, no problem. local practice of marrying a cousin, atmosphere that tolerates the chal- The Arabic performers had to be far tweaked Palestinians as being skilled lenging of taboos and the mocking of 90 more careful. ‘I don’t talk about sex, stone throwers, feigned fright at an conventions. religion, politics, and I don’t cuss,’ audience member named Osama, eve- said Wonho Chung, a Korean who ryone laughed, and laughed hard. That is not the case here, or around grew up in Jordan with Arabic as his When it comes to humor, apparently, 50 the region. In Egypt, insulting the first language. ‘It limits you a lot.’ there is no clash of civilizations. president can lead to a jail term, and To say the least. 20 ‘Back at home people ask me, do officials even grew furious last year Still, Arabs are not new to comedy. Arabs laugh?’ said Dean Obeidal- when a comedian poked fun at the na- There is a long tradition of comedic lah, a stand-up comedian originally tional airline, EgyptAir. In Lebanon, theater and cinema, and even comic from New Jersey who was executive Mr Obeidallah said, ‘We were told, monologues and impersonations. But producer of the Amman Stand-Up ‘Make fun of whoever you want, but 100 stand-up and its emphasis on self- Comedy Festival. ‘I will be honest, you if you make fun of Hezbollah, you are deprecation and crossing red lines is guys laugh more than Americans.’ on your own.’ uniquely American. In Dubai, all scripts must be approved Indeed, for seven nights in a row, 60 in advance by the official censor. In So far, the festival’s organizers have thousands of Jordanians packed into Jordan, where insulting the ruler been able to keep the social and a theater in the center of this city and can lead to prison, as in Egypt, social political commentary within accepted 30 laughed so hard, hooted, hollered and codes and religious values emphasize boundaries and laws. But as the cheered so easily, the comics them- conformity, tradition and respect. comedy develops, many here say, it selves were a bit taken aback. Jorda- So it was a risk when the mayor of is inevitable that Jordan will have its nians were hungry for a laugh, even at Amman, Omar Maani, decided he own ‘Lenny Bruce moment,’ a refer- their expense. Two of the shows were would try to find a way to bring some 110 ence to the groundbreaking American in Arabic, and they sold out, too. levity to a city mired in crisis, with comedian from the 1950s and ’60s ‘To make fun of ourselves is good; Iraq on one border and the Israeli- who was convicted on obscenity maybe we can change bad things,’ said 70 occupied West Bank on another. charges, and finally pardoned a gen- Nader Shakhsheer, 16. ‘Maybe if we The experiment started in 2007 when eration later. made fun of ourselves, there can be an American comedy group, Axis of ‘One day, there will be a kid who will 40 more honesty.’ Evil – comics of Iranian, Egyptian and say, ‘I have something to say,’ ‘ said Make fun, they did. Palestinian ancestry – came to Amman. Russell Peters, the Canadian-born Mr Obeidallah even talked up Presi- ‘I was nervous it would not take off,’ comedian who had top billing on the dent Obama, saying his election gave Mr Omani said. two biggest nights of the show. < May 2010 11
    • POLITICS Brown’s tears could signal emotive The Associated Press | David Stringer L ONDON (AP) – His voice strained and his eyes welling with tears, Britain’s usu- ally guarded Prime Minister Gordon Brown showed rare public emotion in a television interview as he discussed the trauma of his newborn daughter’s death in 2002. Brown’s unrestrained display in a UK’s Prime Minister Will David Cameron 10 conversation with celebrity journalist until the general (the Conservative Party) Piers Morgan, excerpts of which were elections in May, be the next PM? broadcast Friday, comes ahead of a Gordon Brown (Labour) national election that experts expect to focus on leaders’ private lives like never before. The British leader’s governing Labour Party has trailed in opinion polls for He has previously attacked opponents more than two years to the main op- This is … – including Cameron – for seemingly position Conservatives, led by David about making using their domestic life for political 20 Cameron, a 43-year-old ex-public 70 gain. Cameron has published domes- relations executive seemingly at ease Gordon … tic video clips from his home, includ- with offering the public glimpses of likeable ing conversations with his young his family life. children as he washes dinner plates, ‘I could hold her hand and I could to burnish his image as an ordinary feel that she knew I was there and family man. there was nothing that you could see ‘Some people have been asking why that was actually wrong, but she just I haven’t served my children up for wasn’t growing,’ Brown said in the spreads in the papers. And my answer interview, referring to his daughter ‘This is, in part, about making Gordon is simple. My children aren’t props, 30 Jennifer, who suffered a brain hem- a more likable person to the voters,’ 80 they’re people,’ Brown said in 2008. orrhage and died 10 days after her 50 said Ben Page, chief executive of poll- Yet Brown later led the tributes in birth. ing group Ipsos-MORI. ‘Voters see Parliament when Cameron and his Brown’s wife Sarah, who watched him as remote and out of touch.’ wife Samantha’s severely disabled from the audience as the interview Page said Brown’s unlikely show of 6-year-old son Ivan died last Febru- was taped last week, also appeared feelings would appear genuine to ary. Brown spoke of the ‘unbearable emotional as he described their grief most voters. sorrow’ both families had borne. and spoke of their son Fraser’s cystic ‘He’s not sobbing into his handker- Cameron has spoken movingly about fibrosis. chief, which would be regarded as his son in interviews, and credits Some analysts believe Brown’s inter- cynical,’ Page said. ‘What they want his family’s experience with Brit- 40 view, which will be broadcast in full from a politician is authenticity – 90 ish medical workers for influencing Sunday, is aimed at showing a human 60 Brown seems to have managed to his staunch defense of the country’s side to the sometimes taciturn former display that.’ health service – previously a target of Treasury chief before he and the Brown and his wife have two sons – his party’s scorn. amiable Cameron begin vying in the John and Fraser – though the leader In the interview, Brown also de- campaign. has been reluctant to be pictured scribed his proposal to Sarah, dis- Britain’s national election must be frequently with his family or refer to cussed his love life as a younger man held by June 3. them in interviews. and spoke in unusually frank terms 12 May 2010
    • UK election about his clashes with his predeces- sor, Tony Blair. 100 Brown confirmed he and Blair forged a pact in 1994 that allowed Blair to run as Labour Party leader unopposed by Brown on the understanding he would step aside for his colleague sometime in the future. Blair quit 13 years later in 2007, under pressure from a restless Brown. ‘I don’t deny that, that there were fights about different issues, but it’s 110 always the case,’ Brown said in the interview with Britain’s ITV channel. Page said the broadcast sets the tone for an unusually personal election campaign – noting that in a previous Morgan interview Liberal Demo- crat leader Nick Clegg discussed the number of his sexual partners. ‘The two leaders of the main par- ties have spoken openly about their 120 children, their private lives, even how they met their wives – and the leader of the third party has told us how many women he’s slept with,’ Page said. ‘Things are going to be very dif- ferent from elections in the 1980s or 1990s.’ < What they want from a politician is authenticity May 2010 13
    • POLITICS Whoever T here’s no real argument about what needs to be done. The big question is you vote for, which party will have the political will to do it. As the general election approaches, two nerdish subjects – fiscal consoli- painful cuts will come dation and hung Parliaments – will dominate all political discussions, 10 not only in the Westminster village of the chattering classes, but also around the kitchen tables of middle Britain. The first is familiar enough when expressed in headlines about The Times | Anatole Kaletsky ‘tax bombshells’ and ‘savage cuts’ in public spending, but these hyped-up descriptions distract from the true dilemmas concerning fiscal policy that Britain will have to face in the per cent of GDP by 2015. This 8 per between the main parties, according 20 five years ahead. cent fiscal tightening can be pre- to the IFS’s analysis of their public sented as a terrifying threat to the pronouncements. Which is where the second, even country’s entire way of life – roughly drier, issue of electoral reform comes equivalent to the entire cost of the There is also surprising agreement on in. As the debate on fiscal policy National Health Service or a dou- the broad mix of policies required to begins to focus not on slogans, but on bling in VAT. But almost half of the 80 achieve these targets. Labour and the real issues, the prospect of important reduction will happen naturally as Tories both say that they will keep to- changes in how Britain’s parliamen- the recession ends and tax revenues tal public spending static in real terms tary politics operate will come into 60 recover. from 2011-15, while maintaining view. commitments to keep increasing the basic state pension and other social Let us begin with fiscal policy. Eve- benefits in line with inflation. Given 30 rybody knows by now that although that debt interest is also bound to the Government’s annual borrowing, Which party rise, the IFS estimates that all other which is running at about £180 bil- will have the will spending programmes will be cut lion, was useful – even essential – to 90 by about 11 per cent over four years forestall a deeper recession, it cannot to do it? whether the Tories or Labour are in go on for ever. power. Some fairly painful measures will be Compared with this consensus inevitable on both taxes and public on broad strategy, the differences spending, whoever is in power after A moderate recovery would, there- between the parties are fairly minor. the election. Contrary to the impres- fore, leave a tightening of roughly Labour wants to ‘protect’ schools 40 sion of intense controversy on this 5 per cent of GDP to be achieved and the NHS, implying even deeper that both Labour and the Tories through tax increases and spending cuts than under the Tories in all have tried to encourage for their own cuts, according to the recent ‘Green other spending programmes. The electoral reasons, there is actually no Budget’ from the Institute for Fiscal 100 Tories say that they want to start the significant difference between the two Studies. Moreover a consolidation of belt-tightening this summer, while main parties about the broad outlines 4.1 per cent of GDP was announced Gordon Brown wants to wait until the of what needs to be done. by Labour in its 2009 Budget and spring of 2011. But Labour’s budget 70 Pre-Budget Report, leaving the next plans already include big tax increases Both have said that they want to government with only 1 per cent of this April. So the true difference in reduce this year’s £180 billion govern- GDP in extra tax rises or spending timing is even more trivial than the ment deficit, roughly 13 per cent of reductions to find. All these figures difference in substance between the 50 gross domestic product, to about 5 are more or less common ground parties’ plans. 14 May 2010
    • Does this mean, then, that there is Will financial weak hand by presenting themselves 110 really nothing to choose between markets believe the as enthusiastic potential partners in the parties and, therefore, that fiscal a government of national unity that policy will not, after all, be the decisive new government? could build the consensus necessary electoral issue? 160 for tough fiscal decisions. They have obtained persuasive research from the Far from it, since all the difficult House of Commons library showing decisions still lie ahead about which that seven of the ten most successful particular programmes will have to about a legislative deadlock leading fiscal consolidations achieved since be cut to achieve the 11 per cent total to a Greek-style meltdown in Brit- 1970, occurred under coalition or mi- reduction and which taxes will have to ain’s public finances. As the election nority governments in countries such be raised to help to cut borrowing by approaches, many voters will start to as Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and 120 the additional 1 per cent of GDP that worry about this too. Italy. Greece, by contrast, has always seems to be required. ‘enjoyed’ British-style single-party This could produce a perverse electoral 170 control. And this is where parliamentary dynamic for Labour. Any improve- reform comes in. The really important ment in the economy or in Labour’s To bolster their argument that a hung differences between the two parties political performance would make a Parliament could be fiscally very ef- are not over the size, timing or general 150 hung Parliament more likely – and fective, the Lib Dems have been even outlines of the necessary fiscal consoli- that would make the financial markets more outspoken than the other parties dation, but over whether voters and more nervous. That nervousness, in about the need to repair Britain’s the financial markets believe that the turn, will be projected by the media, public finances and have hinted that new government will have the political possibly scaring voters into support- they would consider all kinds of tough 130 strength to put its plans into effect. ing the Tories merely to achieve the measures that neither of the two main clear parliamentary majority that the parties would dare to implement on To implement what are sure to be country seems to need. 180 their own – from extending VAT and controversial and unpopular meas- raising energy taxes to cutting public ures – both tax increases and spending This would seem to be a dream scenar- sector pensions or bringing forward cuts – Britain will surely need, more io for the Tories and a nightmare for the increase in retirement age. than ever before, a government with a 150 Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Yet strong mandate and a large parliamen- the opposite could be true, depending If such hints from the Lib Dems tary majority. on how skilfully the three parties play turned into explicit public pronounce- their cards. ments, then a hung Parliament, far So with some opinion polls pointing from being an economic policy night- to a hung Parliament, financiers and The Liberal Democrats are making mare, could become the best option 140 economists are starting to speculate the best of what would otherwise be a for restoring Britain’s fiscal health. < May 2010 15
    • H ow much of your day is spent on Facebook, EverQuest or Twitter? As Mark Blackmore reports, some experts believe that gadgets, gaming and the next are bringing out people’s addictive tendencies. Back in 1995, a New York psychiatrist called Ivan Goldberg declared in an on- Cyber 10 line post that he had discovered a new addiction. People were abandoning their familial and societal obligations in favour of sitting glassy-eyed in front of a computer screen, endlessly surfing the net and playing online games. He addiction BBC Focus dubbed the condition Internet Addic- tion Disorder. The idea took hold, par- ticularly online where habitual internet users recognised aspects of their own 20 behaviour. There was just one problem – Goldberg’ post was a spoof intended to satirise our obsession with addic- tive behaviours, and our tendency to classify any behavioural abnormality as an addition. He had simply taken the description of pathological gambling from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and applied it to internet users. 30 Despite this inauspicious start, many behavioural scientists and researchers felt that Goldberg had hit on some- thing, and compulsive internet use is now seriously discussed as a diagnostic category. There is every chance that In- ternet Addiction Disorder will appear in the next edition of the DSM, to be released in 2012. 40 Symptoms include patients thinking obsessively about being online, or get- ting that hourly Facebook fix for fear of feeling disconnected from the world. In extreme cases, relationships, work and personal hygiene can be neglected, even leading to unpleasant physical responses when internet access is denied. The problem is taken most seriously 50 in Asia. A recent government survey in South Korea warned that 30 per cent of the population, or 2.4 million people, are ‘at risk’ of net addiction. And last November, China became the first country in the world to officially classify internet addiction as an illness, with special clinics opening all over the country. Clinics are also opening in Europe and treatment is now available 60 right here in the UK.  16 May 2010
    • SOCIETY Excess and addiction but these people are not addicted to 38. Both were spending 10-14 hours the internet. They’re addicted to gam- every day playing the online game Professor Mark Griffiths, a psycholo- bling, shopping or sex. The internet is EverQuest. The 21-year-old man, gist at the University of Nottingham just a medium to fuel those predis- though, had no partner, children or and director of the International posed behaviours.’ job, so it’s likely EverQuest performed Gaming Research Unit, has been 100 a useful social function in his life. He researching internet addiction since then met a girlfriend in the game and 1995. He believes it does exist, but began seeing her offline, and also got wants to be careful about how cases a job. When that happened, he just are classified. ‘The people I’ve come The internet stopped playing. ‘It’s clear there were across who are genuinely addicted to is … a medium no detrimental effects on his life,’ 70 the internet are actually few and far Griffiths say. between,’ he says. ‘That’s not to say to fuel these … people don’t use it excessively, but behaviours The 38-year-old-man’s behaviour, excess is totally different from addic- while identical on the surface, was tion.’ far more destructive. His wife left 110 him and he lost his job as an account- A person might be an addict, but it’s ant because of his inability to spend important to define that he or she is The difference takes time to reveal enough time away from the game. So actually addicted to. ‘Internet addicts itself. Griffiths has spent more than one man is classed as addicted, while are people who wouldn’t behave this 90 20 years trying to sort out exces- the other is not, because the diag- way anywhere else but on the in- siveness from addiction. Recent nosis must consider that there is a 80 ternet. Someone can be an internet case studies shed a little light on the contextual background to addiction. gambling addict, an internet shop- problem. Griffiths worked with two A healthy enthusiasm adds to life, ping addict or an internet sex addict, men, the first 21 years old, the second while addiction takes away from it. > Confessions of an addict One woman’s tale of how an addiction to online gaming took over ‘The first thing I noticed after I really got into it was that I was her life. tired a lot. I knew I was spending too long in-game, but how else are you going to improve, right? My girlfriend who’d bought the Sarah is a 22-year-old American woman who has experienced game started to make jokes about how she’d ruined my life, and what she describes as an online gaming addiction. Sarah is not I laughed it off, but I could tell she wasn’t really joking. Even her real name – she wishes to remain anonymous. though it was a long time before I could admit I had a problem, I knew that something wasn’t right. I had more friends in Warcraft ‘I was given a copy of World of Warcraft by one of my girlfriends than I did for real, and I preferred talking to them. The best mo- for my birthday. She knew I was way into gaming and logged onto ment of any day was when I completed a quest – that made me chatrooms and forums, and she told me that this was a way I 30 happier than anything else. I was even attracted to other players, could combine those two things. I’d heard of Warcraft and had and I’d sometimes flirt with them and maybe hint that we could 10 been meaning to play for a while, but I hadn’t found the time until meet up. That really embarrasses me now. then, and this gave me a good excuse. ‘Before I stopped I was playing more than six hours a day, and ‘At first I thought it was okay, nothing special, but after a while I I have a job too so there wasn’t much time for anything else. I’d found I was thinking about playing whenever I was doing other spend all day at my job thinking about getting back online, and things. It kind of gets under your skin like that, without you know- note down new things I could try in the game. My appearance ing it. My character was a female warrior, nothing like me at all suffered, because I was just eating crap at the screen every night. really, just somebody I wished I could look like. I think a lot of My social life died a death. players do that, if they don’t go the other way and use a dwarf or something. On Azeroth [the setting for World of Warcraft] I’d ‘In the end, when I stopped I joined Gamers Anonymous and chosen a PvE [Player versus Environment] realm because I liked 40 there are lots of guys on there who have been through the same 20 questing. thing. They’ve been really great. I still think a lot about Warcraft, but I’m too scared to try playing again. I don’t trust myself.’ May 2010 17
    • But what is so attractive that it can diction, he found that 12 per cent daughter to death after she broke his 120 make a man throw his life away like had at least three signs of addictive Xbox console, and in Ohio 7-year-old that? ‘It’s a non-threatening medium,’ behaviour. This is expected to rise as Daniel Petric shot both his parents, Griffiths says. ‘It’s perceived to be an the internet’s influence on our lives killing his mother, after they confis- anonymous medium, and psychologi- grows, and there are already reports cated his copy of Halo 3. Of course, cally the most important thing is that of a number of game-related deaths. it’s a disinhibiting medium in which people reveal themselves emotionally In 2005, Lee Seung Seop of South far quicker than they do offline.’ He Korea played online game Starcraft 12 per cent also points out that online games in continuously for 50 hours before particular reward huge time commit- 150 dying of cardiac arrest. In China in (of gamers) had 130 ments. 2007, a teacher named Xu Yan col- at least three lapsed and died after nearly 15 days ‘With online games like EverQuest, spent playing various online games, signs of addictive World of Warcraft or Ultima Online, while two years earlier a 13-year- behaviour many people will tell you as soon as old boy named Zhang Xiaoyi threw they log off they feel like they’re miss- himself from a 24-storey tower block ing something because these are 24/7 after complaining of his inability to games. The longer you are on, the more stop playing online games. The suicide nobody really believes that Spellman rewards you will receive in that game.’ note was written in character as his killed his daughter simply because 160 online avatar. 170 he was a keen gamer. But events like Griffiths recently conducted a survey these are usually reported with the of over 7000 gamers. Using World Last year in Philadelphia Tyrone gaming angle leading the story – an 140 Health Organisation criteria for ad- Spellman beat his 17-month-old apparent blame culture in which the Never offline More and more mobile gadgets mean you can get a hit on the go... that wherever I was somebody could contact me, and you actually felt this need or desire to check your emails or messages all the As gadgets play an increasingly large role in our lives, many peo- time. I still have one, but now only use it in an emergency,’ he ple are finding the lure of technology difficult to resist – and some says. have found gadgets taking over their lives completely. 30 Dr Richard Graham deals daily with addictive behaviour at the Tavistock Clinic in London, and is all too aware of the difficulties The fact that we’re always connected is contributing to addic- people face when out of contact. ‘I’ve seen adolescents who lose tive behaviour, and it’s aided enormous by the mobile hardware their phone or have it stolen feeling terribly disabled by the event,’ that we carry with us everywhere nowadays. BlackBerrys, pagers, he says. ‘They feel they’re functioning without something. Whether handheld games consoles, iPods, media players – any trip on it literally feels like an extension of them, like a limb, I think is an public transport reveals the extent to which we rely on gadgets to interesting question, but certainly the sense of loss is enormous.’ 10 get by on a day-to-day basis. Vital Stats A survey conducted in 2008 by AOL and Opinion Research found that an astonishing one in five Americans use a mobile email • 1 billion people aged 15 or over use the internet. Market device. Of these owners, 60 per cent use the gadget in bed, while analysts estimate this will reach 2.8 billion by 2016 40 per cent keep it within earshot during the night so they can • 59 per cent of Blackberry owners check their email on the toi- wners wake ad reply instantly. 40 let, according to an AOL email addiction survey ail • 7 billion enemies killed in Halo 3 online, alo Nomophobia is the name given to the fear of being out of mobile more than the population of the Earth. phone contact. In 2008 the Post Office commissioned a survey But 1.2 billion of these are the result he into the problem. It found that more than half of us experience of friendly fire anxiety if separated from our mobile phones, with most respond- • 11.5 million people are monthly nthly 20 ents citing contact with friends and family as the reason for their subscribers to World of Warcraft, raft, fears. The stress levels were judged to be on a par with a wedding the world’s most popular onlineine day or a trip to the dentist. game • 53 % of mobile phone users are Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham University is an expert in 50 said to suffer from nomophobia,bia, behavioural addictions, and treats his own mobile warily. ‘I gave the anxiety felt when out of phone up my mobile phone for six years because I didn’t like the idea contact 18 May 2010
    • SOCIETY gaming industry is always the prime Root errors that would fit with descriptions of suspect. Little wonder that Bliz- addiction, but I think there are com- zard, who make online game World Professor Scott Caplan of the Univer- plexities to this that do need teasing of Warcraft, declined to comment for sity of Delaware, in the US, researches out. To just adopt the addiction model this article. problematic internet use, but avoids might miss some of the details.’ labels, concentrating instead on get- Sony online Entertainment, however, ting to the root causes. ‘To me, what 180 which makes online game EverQuest, is interesting is that the social uses of did release a statement to Focus: 200 the internet appear to be particularly Graham … ‘EverQuest is a game. The majority attractive to people who are lonely, of the hundreds of thousands of socially anxious, and who lack social designs a subscribers play the game in modera- skills,’ he says. ‘My research suggests programme tion, enjoying the gameplay as well as that people who have deficits in their the community interaction the game social lives or in their level of inter- of small steps … provides. As with any form of enter- personal skill prefer online social in- (to return) to tainment, it is the responsibility of teraction over face-to-face exchanges.’ each individual player to monitor his a normal life 190 or her own playing habit and priori- This seems straightforward enough. tise his or her time as necessary. It is But Caplan is still in the dark as to why not our place to monitor or limit how 210 this kind of online interaction so often individuals spend their free time.’ leads to problematic internet use, How do you deal with the devotion with behaviours that include obsessive that games like Warcraft inspire? thinking about the internet, compul- ‘One young man described to me sive internet use, and inappropriate 260 that when he switched off he felt use of the internet for mood regula- downgraded,’ says Graham. ‘There is tion. ‘I think problematic internet a tremendous anxiety about lack of use has symptoms and elements that access – responses can be aggressive that are similar to other behavioural if access is denied. It’s hard to know if addictions,’ he says. ‘But I think there something is going on at a biological 220 is more to it than simply a compulsive level – perhaps a patterned response mood altering behaviour. There is a of endorphin or adrenaline release, social, or interpersonal, aspect here so that when you stop it you get a that required additional research.’ withdrawal response.’ There is plenty of evidence to sift 270 As far as treatment goes, Graham through. Way back in 1993, Uni- carries out an assessment of his pa- versity of Edinburgh student Paul tient’s particular needs, then designs Bedworth was acquitted after being a programme of small steps aimed at charged with hacking into several returning to a normal life. ‘In some banks, as well as the European Union cases I have used medication,’ he 230 system. The jury accepted that his says, having prescribed both antide- motivation was an addiction to com- pressants and drugs for anxiety to puter hacking. More recently, in 2008, patients whose gaming becomes de- Amy Taylor divorced Dave Pollard pressive. ‘People get very low, particu- from Newquay after discovering that 280 larly if things go wrong in their game. his Second Life online avatar, Dave Sometimes we must be quite firm and Barmy, had visited a digital prosti- literally switch off the modem.’ tute. Taylor, who had met Pollard online, described his actions as ‘the A severe step indeed, especially in a ultimate betrayal’. world where it can feel as if connec- tivity is everything. Graham has few 240 Britons’ online behaviour can also words of comfort, though – techno- have far more serious impacts on logical advance, and the attendant their offline lives, and some people opportunities to submerge ourselves end up at the Tavistock Clinic in Lon- in a digital world, are only going to don. As clinical director of the Ado- 290 continue. ‘It’s interesting to see how lescent Directorate at the clinic, many difficult it is to disconnect,’ he says. of Dr Richard Graham’s patients are ‘Even now there’s a shared perception brought to him because of obsessive about what is acceptable etiquette in gaming or internet use. ‘Our depart- terms of email or text response time. ment deals with adolescents from That’s why Twitter worries me, mak- 250 age 14 up to early 20s,’ he says. ‘We ing this faster – where does it end? < certainly see patterns of behaviour May 2010 19
    • ECONOMICS My week of living (very, very) cheaply The Guardian | Stuart Jeffries T here is a bottle of schnapps Even as I hold the £10 note in my drinking it (only one?), I wandered at the back of the kitchen hands that must last me a week, into a bookshop and blew £20 on cupboard. How it mocks 40 money is gushing from my current three novels. Then I went to a cafe me. I bought it with my last €8 before account. But Wang’s experiment is and spent a fiver on coffee and cakes. boarding at Vienna airport last year worse than invidious. It’s borderline Then to the National Gallery, where and ever since have been filled with insulting to those billions of people I spent £9 on a visit to the Picasso buyer’s remorse. The only sip I’ve in the world who live on £10 or less exhibition. Then I spent another nine- taken proved that it’s not fit for hu- each and every week, for those who tenths of my weekly budget on a film man consumption, but may be just are starving, for those who live on 80 I didn’t need to see (Duplicity with 10 the thing to clean a winter’s worth of benefits rather than on five-or-more- Clive Owen and Julia Roberts). After green slime off the patio. figure salaries. No doubt, as a result, the film, I went to the pub for more my experiment looks like the basest drinks. Back home, I realised I had Tonight, though, I’m desperate for 50 kind of social tourism. For that, I can spent 10 times the following week’s something to take the edge off a grim only apologise. budget in one ill-judged, unsustain- day. I’m even considering necking un- able, but happy day. patented patio cleaner. This is the end At best, Wang’s experiment is like oth- of day one of my experiment to see ers devised to make us remember that My spending – perhaps like yours if I can live on £10 a week – and I’m we need not just be out-of-control ma- – veers wildly between function- miserable. I’m doing the experiment chines of desire, that we are not – or ally pointless parsimony and bank- because in China, at least 100,000 not totally – Homo economicus. For 90 manager-exasperating profligacy. 20 people have accepted a challenge to instance, think of Buy Nothing Day I can get through a week at work live on 100 yuan (about £10 a week) (which takes place in November this without spending a penny (thanks as part of a scheme to persuade big year). ‘The rules are simple,’ says the to cycling to the office, making my spenders to embrace a simpler life. My 60 Buy Nothing website. ‘For 24 hours own sandwiches, snaffling as much editor wants to know if it’s possible you will detox from consumerism and free stuff from work as I can shove to live as cheaply in one of the world’s live without shopping.’ down my cake hole and by staying in most expensive cities (ie London). To me, detoxing from consumer- and entertaining myself by reading, ism sounds a blessed release (even watching TV or listening to music). The Chinese experiment, devised by if, clearly, one day out of 365 is the At those times, I feel like a devotee 24-year-old businessman Wang Hao, merest tokenism), especially given 100 of the freeconomics theory advanced does not include accommodation my crazed spending patterns. The by Chris Anderson, editor of Wired 30 costs or other regular debits such as Saturday before I accepted Wang’s magazine. Anderson’s idea is that fuel bills, council tax, etc. Wang’s aim challenge, I spent 99% of the fol- the internet, by reducing marginal was to stop himself spending so much 70 lowing week’s allowance on a really on transport and food. He failed his good martini (I regret nothing). After self-imposed 100 yuan challenge. I’m pretty confident I will succeed. I know, though, that the terms of Wang’s experiment are invidious. 20 May 2010
    • costs, encourages businesses to make There is something appealing about bread) and two apples for lunch. their money by offering free goods sandwiches made from crusts: deeply 220 Halfway through the day, my partner or services to an extent we have not ingrained into my post-Thatcherite, emails me: ‘What I like about this witnessed before. At other times, the joyless, protestant-work-ethic mind- 10-quid feature is that I could trash it principles of freeconomics sound set is the sense I should eat every last at any minute by asking you to bring to my ears like delusional lies. I feel scrap of horrible, possibly stale, food home a bottle of Prosecco. The power 110 like a slave to a capitalistic system that I can glean for free before spend- is intoxicating. Speaking of which ... expressly designed to make me broke ing any money. Dinner is warmed-up, could you bring home a bottle of Pros- and miserable. Some days I can barely 170 left-over curry from the weekend ecco?’ I ignore her request, cycle home get to work in the morning without with wild rice past its expiry date that and eat gnocchi with homemade pep- spending £20. Everywhere, as you I found behind the polenta. (That’s per sauce (gnocchi from the cupboard, know, there are tempting £2 coffees right, there’s polenta in my kitchen. 230 sauce from the freezer). While my on tap, recession-spawned closing- So sue me.) daughter is sleeping, I eat some of the down sales, and cupcake outlets, all rhubarb crumble she was looking for- of which suck me in and spit me out While my partner goes out gallivant- ward to for lunch the following day. I poorer. Add to that the fact I can’t get ing with her sister (cocktails, cabs, can’t pretend this makes me proud. 120 through the week without Grazia, the insulting texts to me about what a New Yorker and the TLS, that I need free-spending, high old time she’s to top up my travel card and refresh having), I settle down for a free night Day three my mobile calling credit, and some 180 in – the first of seven. I find a DVD of days I can barely get to my desk for Eric Rohmer’s 2007 film Les Amours Porridge, half daughter-stolen banana, less than £50. d’Astrée et de Céladon, a bucolic ro- coffee, more bloody cheese and pickled mance about nymphs and shepherds. onion sandwiches, and two apples for This madness has to stop. Perhaps It is, in many ways, a late, erotic mas- lunch. I go for a drink after work, tell- living on a budget of £10 for a week terpiece from the 88-year-old titan of ing eye-rolling colleagues who buy my is the way to catalyse a new lifestyle. the Gallic nouvelle vague, but, soon 240 drinks that I’m writing a feature and That said, I don’t think I could have after love-disappointed Céladon tells I’ll get them in next week. For dinner a 130 lived on anything like £10 a week a shepherdess that he plans to live in bowl of pasta and pesto with pine nuts had my partner and I not done a the woods on herbs and berries he can followed by a single pear. After a frugal supermarket shop two days before 190 glean there, I fall asleep on the sofa. I day, I watch Mad Men, the episode in the experiment started. This means dream I’m wearing a smock and living which Betty Draper, in an eloquent cri- that the kitchen is filled with food, or as nature intended off gratuitous wild tique of western consumer culture (and at least raw ingredients. All of which mint and the occasional free leg of husband Don’s infidelities), throws makes what follows something less lamb I rip off passing livestock. If only up over the interior of his showroom- than scientific: I lived in fifth-century Gaul rather fresh ‘62 Caddy. Stone-cold sober and than 21st-century London, I might be 250 blood sugar low, I find myself applaud- able to survive on £10 a week. I awake ing her gesture: I identify with Betty Day one to find Céladon, now disguised as a Draper – like her, I’m trapped in a sys- woman, making out with Astrée in a tem I didn’t create (possibly that’s my My first day begins with porridge, tea 200 castle on the Loire. Bummer: even a low blood sugar talking). Then I watch and half a banana that I stole from my cross-dressing impecunious French The Apprentice. The boys’ team charges 140 daughter’s breakfast while she wasn’t shepherd from the dark ages is having £4 to shine shoes. ‘Four pound! It’s a looking (classy). It continues with me a better day than me. joke!’ says a passing blowhard. I can cycling to and from work (there’s no see the blowhard’s point: if I had a nice credit on my travel card and a single I go through to the kitchen and see pair of shoes, there’s no way I’d spend round trip on the bus would have cost what there is to drink. It seems wrong 260 two-fifths of my weekly allowance one-fifth of my weekly budget), show- to drink the single malt and all the getting some soft-handed, wannabe- e ering at the office (in order to reduce wine is off-limits – my partner bought future-masters-of-the-universe to buff m my outlay on fuel – my last combined it. I uncork the schnapps and sniff. them up. q quarterly bill for gas and electricity Even in extremis, there is no way I’m w was, diabolically, £666), drinking 210 drinking it. I put it back, take two 150 several free cups of coffee and tea at s Bourbon biscuits that my partner had Day four m my desk (instead of spending at least bought in to feed our plumbers and £ £5 daily on cappuccinos, plus the head off to bed with my book. It is Porridge, coffee and a slice of toast. o occasional cake), reading the papers 8.30pm. The prospect of a free lunch at a work o online or in the office (rather than meeting thrills me. When I arrive, I s spending half my weekly budget each am angry that there is no wine (what d day on newspapers at home). Day two is wrong with me?). While one of my L Lunch consists of crust sandwiches bosses sets out the financial plight ( (the last of the bread in the house Porridge, not even a stolen half ba- 270 besetting print media, I shove down p plus some old stilton and pickled on- nana but a handful of my daughter’s as many free sandwiches, glasses of 160 ions I found in the fridge), two apples i raisins, cheese sandwiches (again! But orange juice, grapes, clementines and a and a pint of water at my desk. this time with really good homemade bananas as I can. I may be imagining > May 2010 21
    • ECONOMICS it, but I think he looks at me with Day seven disgust. Doesn’t he realise that I’m eating foul prawn cocktail wraps as Porridge and coffee for breakfast. I vital research for an article, and that realise I have enough porridge and I’m famished? coffee in the house to get me through 330 a nuclear winter. Cycle to work, more W After work, I cycle to the supermar- chicken sandwiches and apples for ASHINGTON, – Antoin Antoine ne 280 ket and spend £12.57. This is the lunch, dinner of pasta carbonara Perretta, a 21-year-old ar-old first money I’ve spent during the (made in part from the corner shop University of Denver nver experiment (apart, obviously, from bacon my partner bought, parsley student, regularly pays off his three the thousands that hourly haemor- from the garden, egg yolks left over credit cards, to build up his credit edit rhage from my account). I buy milk, from the meringues). Just before score. He’s working toward getting tting fruit and a £10 meal deal for two bedtime, I go and sniff that schnapps an affordable loan to buy a car, a used that consists of a chicken, vegetables, one last time. Unspeakable! Instead, black Audi. three portions of cheese and a bottle I pour myself a large and lovely belt Sarah Bush got her first credit card of white wine – all of which I have 340 of Laphroaig whisky and bugger the 10 at 20 and has ‘regretted it ever since.’ agreed to split with my partner. When consequences. I wake up at 2am on A student at Belmont University in 290 I get home she gives me a fiver, which the sofa and go to bed, happy that the Nashville, Tenn., she is now 24 and means I only spent £7.57. Tonight, challenge is over. enrolled in a debt management pro- I dine like an economising king on gram, which has helped her whittle roast chicken, berries with creme What have I learned? That my yo-yo credit card debt down to $7,500. fraiche encased in meringues that spending patterns are unsustain- my partner made this afternoon. I’m able. That having a staff job opens For better or worse, new laws that only paying for the berries. Never has up lots of possibilities for frugally take effect on Monday are poised a eye-wateringly sharp, cat’s-pee-fra- living on someone else’s dollar. That to curb the proliferation of credit granced half bottle of sauvignon blanc I’ve already eaten more sandwiches cards on college campuses, making it tasted so good. Still in bed by 9pm. 350 at my desk than anyone should do in 20 tougher for Perretta, Bush and other a lifetime. That even if I’m famished, students to get credit cards. I’d rather go hungry than eat polenta. Last May, Congress decided to crack Day five On the plus side, I lost three pounds down on credit card companies and in weight and I had £2.43 left from passed a law ushering in sweeping 300 It is the weekend, but I can’t afford my week on a tenner that will be a changes for the industry. The laws to take my daughter swimming as downpayment on ice-creams for my make it harder for card issuers to raise planned because it would dent my long-suffering daughter and partner interest rates unless a cardholder is at weekly budget too much. Instead, sometime this week. Yes, yes, yes, but least two months late on a bill. we clean the house, run around the was life worth living during that week But some of the biggest changes will garden and watch telly while eat- 360 on a tenner? Obviously not. Could I 30 hit those under 21, who will find it ing chicken sandwiches. I spend the live on £10 a week on a regular basis? tougher to get a credit card without evening eating rice and peas while It seems unlikely – check out what jumping through new hoops. listening to podcasts (In Our Time happened on day eight. No longer will students be able to and Philosophy Bites), followed by a step up to a table on campus and 310 rubbery piece of cheddar and some walk away with a teddy bear, T-shirt grapes I snaffled from yesterday’s Day eight and credit card, at least not without meeting. Yummy (I’m being ironic). In a parent’s signature or proof of solid bed by 9pm for more face-time with I do things I couldn’t the previous income or other assets. my huge inpile of books. week. I buy the day’s papers, the New Consumer advocates say the new laws Yorker, socks. I travel to work on the 40 are a good change that will prevent tube (I feel like a king), plan a sum- students from starting new careers Day six mer holiday, buy a new kettle, buy overloaded with debt. a round of drinks, and come home The average student credit card bal- Hooray, more porridge! We go to the 370 from work with a bottle of Prosecco ance was $3,173 in 2008, up from park and my partner treats me to a that cost eight-tenths of my previous $1,879 a decade earlier, according to coffee from the cafe. More chicken week’s budget. a 2009 survey by student loan issuer sandwiches for lunch. I’m feeling Sallie Mae. guilty at not treating my daughter Do I recommend living on £10 for 320 during the weekend so spend much a week? Absolutely. You’ll find out of the afternoon watching her vogu- lots of things about yourself that you Cards cut on campus ing to Girls Aloud. Later, I find an old won’t like. You’ll learn how much baking potato in the vegetable rack you’re in thrall to an economic sys- But many college students worry that and eat it with canned tuna and sweet tem you’ll grow to despise. Try it. If the new laws will make it tougher for corn that I find in the cupboard. In you’re unconvinced, I’ve got a bottle 50 them to get credit cards, period. bed by 9pm again. 380 of schnapps you can have for free to With the country still struggling sweeten the deal. < under tough economic conditions, 22 May 2010
    • Under 21? Getting a credit card just got tougher No longer will students be able to walk away with The New York Times | Jennifer Liberto a credit card, at least not without a parent’s signature or proof of solid on campuses, because the law also Banks have already pulled back from prohibits such tangible ‘inducements’ issuing as many cards to the student income or other assets. 90 to tempt students. 130 market, in the same way that they’re The law will continue to allow those pulling back from lots of areas they under 21 to apply online for credit now consider risky. cards, but they still have to meet the ‘We’re in a transition period, so it’s more students are using credit cards tougher new requirements, according hard to predict,’ said American Bank- to pay for tuition, books, commutes to Federal Reserve rules and banks. ers Association spokesman Peter and room and board, the Sallie Mae Consumer advocates herald the rules Garuccio. ‘But it’ll be tougher for report showed. and say they will stem the tide of newly some folks to get credit cards. That ‘It’s my safety line,’ said Zachary graduated students over-burdened may include young adults.’ Allen, 19, a business administration by credit card debt they weren’t quite sophomore at Saint Leo University in 100 ready for. But some states already have even 60 Saint Leo, Fla. ‘I use my credit card for 140 stronger laws already in place. For everything, from gas to my books to ‘I think it’s going to keep a lot of stu- example, in New York, all colleges food and clothes.’ dents from getting into trouble,’ said must prohibit any on-campus market- Allen has a good summer job working Irene Leech, an associate professor ing of credit cards to students. Texas on the back of a garbage truck in Long in consumer studies at Virginia Tech allows such marketing in ‘designated Island, N.Y., that earns him $15,000 a University. ‘I hope it means we’ll have areas,’ but requires credit cards that year. But he can’t convince his bank to more responsible lending and parents do market on campus to also provide raise his credit limit above $700, and don’t get surprised that a young per- financial literacy programs. he’s been denied for other new cards. son has taken out this debt.’ A free backpack and water bottle drew ‘We’re at record high unemployment The law comes too late for Gloria Rosa Nunez who, at 18, was given 70 for our age group and the govern- 110 McDonald of Crestline, Ohio, who was 150 a credit card with a $8,500 limit, as ment is spending billions of dollars surprised to discover her daughter, a she walked past the front entrance a month, but they’re not helping student at Ohio University at Athens, of LaGuardia Community College in students,’ Allen said. ‘Why isn’t Con- Ohio, had maxed out five credit cards, New York. gress helping us instead putting more racking up $8,000 of debt at a 23.99% It was a learning experience. At one constraints and pressure on us?’ interest rate. McDonald had to borrow point, she took a vacation she couldn’t against her life insurance policy to pay really afford that made it difficult for down the debt. her to buy books when she returned. Game changer ‘I cannot believe that these card Nine years later, she’s grateful for ac- companies were allowed to take such cess to credit cards, which allowed her The biggest new obstacle for those 120 advantage of college kids,’ McDonald 160 to build up a good credit score and buy under 21 will be getting a co-signer, said. ‘How could they possibly issue a house in Queens at 27. which can be a parent or any adult cards with high credit limits to kids willing to put his own credit score on with no visible means of support.’ ‘I do agree there should be new stand- 80 the line. ards in place. Freshman shouldn’t If those under 21 can’t get a co-signer, get credit limits of $5,000, it should then they need to show they have the Consequences be appropriate to their income,’ said financial ability to pay off a credit card. Nunez who is finishing her market- Banks will determine that threshold. It’s unclear whether or not the new ing degree this year at Baruch College Gone will be the stuffed bears, T-shirts, law will prevent students from getting in New York. ‘However, I don’t agree backpacks and water bottles that used access to credit, generally, even if they that it should be so difficult for them to clutter credit card application tables meet the new mandates. 170 to get credit at all.’ < May 2010 23
    • SCIENCE Four ecotowns given The Guardian l Alok Jha T owns to tackle Britain’s 30 Launching the initiative Gordon housing shortage while They will Brown said earlier today: ‘Eco-towns minimising damage to the will help to relieve the shortage of environment by showcasing energy provide affordable homes to rent and buy, efficient homes and green transport. modern homes and minimise the effects of climate change on a major scale. They will The government today gave the go- with lower provide modern homes with lower ahead for the construction of four eco- energy bills energy bills, energy efficient offices towns, offering 10,000 homes overall, and brand-new schools, community which, it hopes, will showcase environ- centres and services.’ 10 mentally friendly living in the UK. 40 But eco-towns have been criticised The settlements, to be built by 2016, ever since Brown announced his plan will include the latest in energy Oxfordshire. Each site will be allo- to build up to 100,000 homes in five efficiency measures, streets with cated a share of £60m for their ‘green’ green towns, soon after succeeding charging points for electric cars and infrastructure. Tony Blair as prime minister in 2007. numerous cycle routes as well as easy access to public transport. The towns are designed to tackle The Campaign to Protect Rural Eng- Britain’s housing shortage while land wanted the government to scale The locations are Whitehill Borden in minimising damage to the environ- back the programme to one or two Hampshire, the China Clay Communi- ment – more than a quarter of the showcase towns, arguing that officials ty at St Austell, Cornwall, Rackheath UK’s CO2 emissions come from energy should concentrate on refurbishing 20 in Norfolk and north-west Bicester, in use in houses. 50 existing properties and redeveloping 24 May 2010
    • the green light standards for the future. I am con- nomic climate is very challenging for firming that all new homes from 2016 new house building in the short-term, will have to meet a tough zero-carbon but zero carbon homes, sustainable standard, so they are cleaner, greener transport, a robust local economy and cheaper to run.’ 110 and access to green space are all vital ingredients of new places fit for the 21st century. He added: ‘The eco-towns brand Britain was has taken a battering, but if these developments go through the inter- leading in … rogation of a proper planning process, designing are linked to existing communities, have local support and are built to the zero-carbon very highest environmental stand- buildings 120 ards, then it can only be a good thing. Building green homes on a large scale … will also reduce the green cost premium and help provide a blueprint for the homes of the future.’ In addition to the four eco-towns, a further two, Rossington, in South Inside an eco town ... Yorkshire and North-East Elsenham, • Community-scale heat sources, Essex, are on the cards for the possibly using combined heat and 80 scheme’s second wave. The govern- power plants Conceptual drawing Ecotown ment wants up to 10 eco-towns com- • Charging points for electric cars pleted or under way by 2020. 130 • All homes within 10 minutes walk of frequent public transport and Friends of the Earth’s executive direc- everyday services tor, Andy Atkins, welcomed the plans. • Parks, playgrounds and gardens to derelict brownfield sites as well as But he said: ‘The bigger challenge is make up 40% of towns bring 800,000 empty homes in Eng- to ensure that all new housing is built • Individual homes must achieve 70% land back to use. to the highest environmental stand- carbon savings above current build- ards. Ministers must ensure that all ing regulations in terms of heating, The eco-towns will still require plan- the two million homes that they plan hot water and lighting ning permission and could face op- 90 to build across the country are truly • Zero-carbon buildings including position from residents anxious about green and help meet UK targets for 140 shops, restaurants and schools the impact on rural areas. tackling climate change.’ • Ensuring a minimum of one job per house can be reached by walk- The housing minister John Healey Grant Shapps, the Tories’ housing ing, cycling or public transport to said: ‘I recognise that the proposals spokesperson and MP for Welwyn reduce dependence on the car 60 can raise strong opinions, but climate Hatfield, dismissed eco-towns as • Car journeys to make up less than change threatens us all and with our a gimmick. ‘Underneath the thick half of all journeys commitment to the eco-towns we are layers of greenwash many of these • Locating homes within ten minutes taking steps to meet this challenge schemes are unsustainable, unviable walk of frequent public transport and help build more affordable hous- and unpopular, but Gordon Brown and everyday neighbourhood serv- ing.’ 100 wants to impose them from Whitehall 150 ices irrespective of local opinion.’ • Homes fitted with smart meters He said Britain was leading the world and solar and wind generation. in designing zero-carbon buildings. John Alker, of the UK Green Building Residents will be able to control the ‘One in three of Britain’s homes in Council, said that although eco-towns heat and ventilation of their homes 2050 will be built between now and had had a rough ride, the idea behind at the touch of a button and sell 70 then, so we have to set clear, green, them was sound. ‘The current eco- their surplus energy into the grid < May 2010 25
    • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Nothing is The Large Hadron Collider at CERN impossible BBC Focus Teleportation T ime travel, telepathy, warp A year later he read The Time Machine drive … science-fiction pipe by HG Wells, and resolved, there and dreams? Right? Not accord- Just flip a switch and go anywhere - then, to build a time travel device ing to scientists who are stretching in an instant so he could go back and prevent his the laws of physics to the brink. Paul Will we ever be able to leave our cars father’s premature death. Parsons says to hell with the horizon at home once and for all, and teleport That was over 50 years ago. Mallett from A to B like Captain Kirk? is now Professor of Physics at the That’ll never work. We’ve all heard it. Various theoretical schemes have been University of Connecticut, but his A few of us have probably even said 50 suggested, and some even tested out childhood ambition to travel into the it. That disparaging adage was once experimentally, with scientists suc- 80 past burns as bright as ever. 10 uttered about endeavours that today cessfully beaming individual subatomic ‘Early on, I didn’t tell people what I have become almost routine - such particles from one side of a lab to the was doing because I didn’t want it to as brain surgery, flight and sending other. But there’s a gaping chasm be- affect my career - so I studied black people into space. tween sending subatomic particles and holes as a cover story,’ he says. ‘But, But human ingenuity and determina- sending people. on the side, I was always trying to tion make a formidable combination. In 2007, a team from the University understand more about time and how So much so, that we’ve almost made of Queensland, Australia, proposed you might go about building a time a habit of achieving the seemingly a new method of teleportation that machine.’ Over the years, Mallett has impossible. could transmit thousands of particles perfected what he now believes is a And we’ve already got our teeth into 60 of matter in one go - a big step in the 90 valid design for his device. It works us- 20 the next wave of amazing scientific right direction. ing circulating beams of light to drag possibilities - breakthroughs-in-wait- ‘We showed a scheme that was able to space and time around into closed ing like artificial intelligence, invis- turn the whole quantum state from loops, like coffee stirred around in a ibility, telepathy and even time travel. one system of matter into light, and mug. The idea is that as time spins in According to scientists, there are then back again.’ says team member a closed loop, some of it has to whirl monumental discoveries to be made Dr Joseph Hope. into the past. that could see us holding conversa- ‘We feel our scheme is closer in spirit Mallett is now working with an tions with machines, living forever, to the original fictional concept,’ adds experimental physicist -Professor beaming about in Star Trek-style his colleague Dr Simon Haine. Chandra Roychoudhuri, also at the teleporters and extracting energy from 70 Researchers at the Australian National 100 University of Connecticut - to test the 30 empty space. University, in Canberra, plan to test design. They plan to use an elaborate The only problem is cash. We know the idea over the coming years. Though set-up of lasers to create circulating that when governments stump up the full-on teleportation of people is still a loops of light, which they hope will be readies, results follow. America went lifetime away. powerful enough to send subatomic from never having launched a human Prediction 2150 particles briefly back through time. into space to landing one on the Moon They propose to measure the effect by in about eight years. But only after using particles that decay naturally coughing up $25.4bn - nearly three per Time travel over a well-defined timespan. For cent of the country’s 1969 GDP and example, pion particles have a lifetime around $150bn in today’s currency. The first time machine might already 110 of just 26 billionths of a second. If 40 So, given the intent, the motivation be with us... these particles are made to travel back and the money, what are the impos- Ronald Mallett was 10 years old when through time then their observed sibilities that science could make pos- his father died of a massive heart at- decay lifetime should get shorter. The sible over the years to come? 70 tack, aged just 33. He was devastated. researchers are now seeking funds for 26 May 2010
    • the work, which Mallet estimates will Telepathy Warp Drive take around 10 years to complete. Subatomic particles are one thing, but One day soon, we’ll all have voices in Are we about to make the jump to what about sending people back? ‘That our heads light-speed? would require international coopera- Imagine being able to communicate May 1994 saw Trekkies celebrating. 120 tion,’ he says. ‘But I think if we were with anyone, simply by the power of Why? given unlimited funds we could see thought. 230 Because a young physicist called Dr this machine in action within this cen- This is the promise of telepathy. But Miguel Alcubierre at the University tury.’ Mallett’s story is currently being while many entertainers and self- of Cardiff had published a serious adapted for the screen by Spike Lee. proclaimed psychics claim telepathic outline for a warp drive - a spacecraft Prediction 2100 abilities, there’s little evidence to engine that could, in principle, be 180 support them. faster than light. Now though, some technologists be- The idea centred on Einstein’s general Invisibility lieve humans could become telepathic theory of relativity, in which the using artificial brain implants. structure of space can be manipulated Now you see it, but soon you won’t Dr Robert Freitas, Senior Research according to the matter and energy it It’s the ultimate in camouflage technol- Fellow at the Institute of Molecular 240 contains. ogy - an invisibility cloak that makes Manufacturing in California, imag- Alcubierre showed that by surround- anything placed under it literally ines a swarm of microscopic nanoro- ing a spacecraft with the right kind 130 vanish from view. And it was recently bots that could sit inside the human of matter it’s possible to shrink the demonstrated by researchers at the brain, monitoring neural activity. ‘10 space in front of it and expand the University of California, Berkeley. 190 billion two-micron-wide nanorobots space behind it - sweeping the vessel The cloak, developed by OC Berkeley’s - one to monitor each neuron - would along to its destination. Professor Xiang Zhang and colleagues, add just 200mg to the brain’s overall But the celebrations were short-lived. consists of a piece of silicon that’s weight, and add two Watts to its heat Alcubierre knew that his warp engine been engineered on tiny scales to give output,’ says Dr Freitas. That’s small relied on a strange kind of matter it some unusual optical properties. By beer compared to the 1.4kg weight of 250 with negative mass. And subsequent perforating the silicon with a carefully an unmodified brain and the body’s calculations suggested the amount designed pattern of holes - each just 90W nominal rate of heat loss. needed was greater than the mass of 140 110 nanometres in diameter, about The nanobots then transmit their the entire Universe. one 10,000th of a millimetre - the data as ultrasound to a hub, also Now, the Trekkies could be due team were able to reflect light in just 200 within the skull, where any signals in- another celebration. Two US research- the right way to conceal the bulge cre- tended for transmission are converted ers think this negative-mass material ated by objects beneath it. The cloak to radio and beamed out. The reverse could be mined from hidden dimen- can still be seen, but shining a beam of process allows signals to be received. sions of space. The cosmos is already light on it produces a reflection identi- Users would have to train themselves known to be filled with negative mass cal to the reflection you would see from to use the technology, much like para- 260 ‘dark energy’, which astronomical a flat surface. plegic patients who successfully use studies have shown is causing the ex- For the time being Prof Zhang’s cloak brain interface technology to control pansion of the Universe to accelerate. 150 only works in two dimensions, mean- a computer. Gerald Cleaver and Richard Obousy at ing that it can conceal objects placed Telepathy would then play out like Baylor University, Texas, say that di- on flat surfaces, but not something 210 a Skype call that exists only in your mensions beyond the three we know floating mid-air. ‘In this experiment, head. You’d select somebody to ‘call’ about could be huge stores of dark we have demonstrated a proof for the from a mental address book, and energy, which we can tap into. concept of optical cloaking that works the technology would interpret your They say that by altering the energy well in two dimensions,’ says Zhang. desire to speak with them. ‘As the density in the three dimensions we ‘Our next goal is to realise a cloak that nanorobots manipulate cochlear 270 can see, it’s possible to change the works in all three dimensions.’ nerves directly, the recipient would size of the higher dimensions. ‘By This will require developing a new cloak experience a ‘voice inside their head’ adjusting the size of the higher di- 160 that can deflect light around a three that nobody else could hear,’ says Dr mensions you could locally adjust the dimensional object - rather like water Freitas. ‘Or a video signal could be dark energy density and gain control flowing around a rock in a stream. 220 retinally displayed in their field of over the expansion and contraction of Zhang’s colleague Dr Jensen Li, also at view, like a heads-up display.’ He space,’ says Dr Obousy. He adds that UC Berkeley, thinks this could happen estimates that with suitable funding, the idea could be tested in large par- very soon. ‘We expert invisibility to so-called synthetic telepathy could be ticle accelerators, such as the Large be demonstrated by coating a small a reality within 40 years. Hadron Collider at CERN. object with a bulk, three-dimensional Prediction 2050 280 Prediction 2050 < metamaterial, hopefully within a few years,’ he says. 170 Prediction 2010 May 2010 27
    • SPORTS Cheat or paragon: France captain Thierry Henry had the perfect opportunity to produce an act of genuine sportsmanship. He missed it The Guardian | Richard Williams T hierry Henry had about five seconds in which to decide to join the immortals. While William Gallas wheeled away from the point-blank header which gave France the lead over the Republic of Ireland during extra time in their World Cup play-off last night, Henry’s reaction could have gone one of two ways. 10 In the act of controlling the ball before providing Gallas with a perfect cross, France’s captain had handled it. Not once, but twice. The first time might have been almost inadvertent, a par- donable reflex action as it was about to go out of play. The second, in which he scooped the ball with his left hand, redirecting it to drop nicely on to his right foot, was clearly intentional. 20 Even there, it could be argued that an element of reflex was involved. But in the few seconds that followed, Henry the referee to rescind the award of a streetwise scally and that Di Canio, had two options. He could pretend a penalty to Liverpool at Highbury who once pushed the referee Paul that he had not broken the most basic after the whistle had been blown for Alcock to the ground after being law of outfield play. Or he could take a perceived foul on him by David Sea- shown a red card, was in the habit of the opportunity to neutralise the ef- man. In 2000, while playing for West exchanging Fascist salutes with his fect of his reflexes. To erase an error. Ham, Paolo Di Canio stopped play by hometown supporters at Lazio. Those To right a wrong. To be a man. catching the ball when he saw that the incidents shifted our perception of opposition’s goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard them. Some seed of goodness had to The world, or quite a lot of it, was of Everton, was lying helpless in the lurk within men capable of such es- 30 watching. His president was in the 50 penalty area after twisting his knee 70 sentially unselfish acts. And they are seat of honour in the Stade de France. while clearing the ball. Last March, there forever, in black and white, on Almost everyone important in French during a Romanian first division the public record. football had assembled to cheer the match between Rapid Bucharest and team on in this vital match. It was the Otelul Galati, Costin Lazar of Rapid We all know which way Henry decided perfect stage for an act of unselfish- refused to take a penalty because he to go. With a broad, exultant beam on ness, of honesty, of genuine sports- did not believe he had been fouled, his face, he raced away from the scene manship. and eventually the official agreed with of the crime to join Gallas and their him. team-mates in celebration of a goal Such incidents are not confined to that all knew was likely to be decisive the pages of history. In 1997 Robbie I don’t know anything about Costin in the battle for a place in next sum- 40 Fowler unsuccessfully pleaded with 60 Lazar, but I do know that Fowler was 80 mer’s World Cup finals. 28 May 2010
    • how Thierry Henry could have handled it all so differently For this was no ordinary piece of in 1986 is misleading. That was a 160 to start a campaign to get them cheating. National pride and tens of street kid’s instinct, acclaimed by his kicked out of the World Cup!) millions of euros were at stake. So compatriots as revenge for Antonio much greater, then, would have been Rattín and the Malvinas. Henry may 3. None of those acts of sportsman- the admiration of a decision to own up. come from Les Ulis, a quartier difficile ship mentioned above occurred Instead Henry chose to go down a path outside Paris, but he is a sophisticated in a game with anything near as which exposed not just his own human man, and a much decorated one. A much at stake as the France-Ire- frailty but the paranoid fear of failure chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur land game. Imagine how Henry’s running through a French squad (and should have done better – by his op- teammates would have reacted to 90 their manager) haunted by compari- 130 ponents, by himself, and by the game. him had he owned up and France sons with the glories of the recent past. eventually lost the game. Henry was a hopeless captain at Comments 170 4. Henry is a cheat and we’ve seen Arsenal and he is a hopeless captain it for the past ten years so we of France. On Wednesday he did not 1. The question has to be: if the needn’t be surprised. have the gumption to say, ‘OK, that referee had decided to ask Henry What is surprising however is a wasn’t a goal’ – an admission on which about his role in the goal (and guy who is so media friendly is the referee would have been obliged there was enough doubt in his actually a terrible person. to act – ‘but we’ll use the remaining mind for him to confer with his quarter of an hour’s play to demon- myopic linesman), what would 5. Henry, an undoubtedly fantastic 100 strate that we are better than the Irish Henry have said? player, has form for this sort of and more deserving of a place in the I for one, based on his celebration, lark. Think back to his revolting final 32 in South Africa next year.’ believe he wouldn’t have owned up. dive against Puyol in the last World 140 Cheat. 180 Cup when there was no hint of And, being Henry, he reacted to the contact. final whistle not by celebrating with 2. Point one in the Fifa Fair Play What really irks about him is his his team- mates but by making a show Code: ‘Play fair. Winning is pathetic need to sit down after- of going over and sitting down on the without value if victory has been wards, shrug his shoulders and turf to commiserate with the dejected achieved unfairly or dishonestly. sympathise with those he cheated Richard Dunne, the most heroic of Cheating is easy, but brings no against. Kindness is an easy com- Irish players. He told Dunne that the pleasure. Playing fair requires modity when you’re on the win- 110 Irish had deserved to win, and admit- courage and character. It is also ning side. ted that he had handled the ball. ‘But,’ more satisfying. Fair play always As I say, he is an incredible player, he added, ‘I am not the referee.’ has its reward, even when the 190 but those who hold him up as 150 game is lost. Playing fair earns ... some sort of paragon of footballing No, mon brave, but you are the cap- respect, while cheating only brings virtue need to read the small print. tain of France, the country that gave shame. Remember: it is only a us the World Cup, and here you had game. And games are pointless 6. This has to have been the most en- the chance to show us what sport can unless played fairly.’ tertaining event in international mean – or, at least, what we tell our Kick Cheating France out of the football in the past ten years. The children it means. World Cup. media outrage is just brilliant! (A group for people to express Tony Cascarino in the Times today To rank the incident in Paris along- their disgust at the dirty cheating is a case in point – lambasting 120 side Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ French national football team and Henry, one of the greatest players > May 2010 29
    • SPORTS Lee Smith/Action Images 200 of his generation – and suggesting glorious chances to end it before Photograph: that he, Tony Cascarino, would the 90 and McShane ought to have never dare to cheat... prevented the ball even reaching Why do we as a nation feel the Henry in the first place. It’s not to need to care about this? It was excuse Henry but let’s not pretend France vs Ireland – two entirely we didn’t have the result in our Thierry Henry, right, commiserates separate nations from ourselves own hands either, pardon the pun. with the Republic of Ireland’s for which we have no vested inter- Richard Dunne – but the damage est. Much as people like to claim 9. Yes Henry cheated but I can’t help had been done. it as our own, Ireland is NOT part feeling that there is more than a 210 of the UK, and therefore no more 270 little hypocrisy here. If England deserving of our sympathy than were minutes away from losing out of cheating cancelled another. The any other nation on earth. on a World Cup place and John outcome of a football match isn’t One thing for sure, if Henry had Terry or Steven Gerrard or Wayne always as just as it ultimately was done that against the Germans we Rooney committed a foul that in this game. The rest is just pious, would not be hearing an outcry. Or led to a winning goal, would we hysterical nonsense. if Lord Rooney of Manchester had celebrate if they owned up? More done the same thing for England likely the nation would be gutted 12. A pass received in an offside there would be nothing more than and several death threats would position is controlled by the hand a gentle ripple of displeasure. be aimed at the honest player. Sad on two separate instances by a 280 but true. It’s not even about the player who then passes to another 220 7. The hyperbole I’ve read and heard money. This will be Henry’s last 330 offside team-mate who scores the is unreal. chance to play on the world stage goal that decides a 210-minute I haven’t lost any respect for for his country, for the team that World Cup Qualifying tie. Henry, because I feel he did what made him a household name on 5 99% of the world would have done. continents. I don’t agree with his Do you really expect him to have actions but let him without sin Travesty gone over to the Ref to say ‘Sorry cast the first stone. The man will old chap, I handled the ball there, remain a French footballing leg- I do not blame Thierry Henry. On the please do no award the goal’? end, the same as Zidane has done spur of the moment, in desperation If he had, he would certainly have 290 despite his infamous last act on an without thinking, a great player did 230 gained some respect. However, the international football pitch. something that he would not have fact that he didn’t shouldn’t mean done had he had the time to think he has lost any either. 10. Henry’s reaction is not really about it. He had the grace to look Frankly, all this holier than thou the point – you have to blame appalled with himself right after the crap makes me sick. I wander if the referee for the decision and 340 celebrations, but not the heart to ask Richard Williams and all the other for not even asking Henry. It’s the referee to annul the goal. journalists have never ‘cheated’ in unfortunate and it’s unfair, but their lives. when there’s so much at stake you I don’t really blame Henry for trying. He without sin cast the first stone can’t expect someone in Henry’s Robbie Keane also tried a couple of and all that.... position to gamble a place at the times but got called for them. Anelka 300 World Cup through an unprompt- took a jolly dive but got nothing. Play- 240 8. Fortunately for me I didn’t have ed display of moral righteousness. ers sometimes lose the plot. that much respect left for Henry Guardian readers may have liked to lose following his pathetic him more but you can bet the I can’t really blame the officials, attempts to get Puyol sent off in French would’ve lynched him had maybe they really didn’t see it. the last World Cup, his hissy fit they not got through as a result. after the Champions League final But what kind of Organized Competi- in 2006 (despite the fact that it 11. Football has long accepted that 350 tion allows blatant miscarriages of was a clear red card for Lehmann) the result of a game can depend justice, viewed by billions of people and his behaviour against South- far more on the competence of of- worldwide, to decide vital matches; ampton a few years back. The man ficiation than what takes place on the kind of matches that can send one 250 plays the nice guy but it’s quite 310 the pitch. Winners are decided by Team to the World Cup and another clear that his talent as a footballer what gets seen and what doesn’t. home, matches that decide Champi- is matched by his tendency to It might have been less contro- ons League Semi Finals, or League tarnish the image of the beautiful versial had Henry’s handball Championships? game, as well as his uncanny abil- been spotted and Ireland gone ity to disappear to the fringes in on to win in a penalty shoot out Why can these high-profile, viewed the really big games (see CL06 & but even that result would have from 10 camera angles, matches not 09 and WC06). been owed to Given’s perhaps less 360 have some means of recourse to video In saying all this though the game blatant but nonetheless act of technology when there is no doubt shouldn’t have even made it to ex- cheating when grabbing Anelka’s that the officials have not made the 260 tra time. Both Duff and Keane had 320 ankle, not being spotted. One act correct decision??? !!! < 30 May 2010
    • Blatter taken to task over ‘ludicrous’ slavery claim Cristiano Ronaldo something that seemed to be lost on Blatter as he reflected on Ronaldo’s de- The Guardian | Stuart James sire to join Real Madrid and expressed his ‘sympathy’ for the player. S epp Blatter last night stood Not surprisingly, the Fifa president’s accused of knowing little To use … remarks were widely condemned. ‘It about the slave trade and not 70 just confirms he is out of touch with much more about football after his (the) word the issues of professional football,’ said comments about Manchester United’s slavery … Richard Bevan, the League Managers’ desire to hold onto Cristiano Ronaldo is quite Association chief executive. ‘Ignoring provoked a furious response. His the nonsensical comparison of a player claim that Ronaldo’s treatment at Old ludicrous on £120,000 a week to a modern slave, Trafford was akin to ‘modern slavery’ it is a very poor choice of words. Sanc- 10 prompted leading figures in the game tity of contracts is fundamental to all to urge the Fifa President to retract his commercial and employment relation- words. Others, including George East- wanted you to stay they could retain ships in that a contract freely entered ham, would be entitled to suggest that your registration and that’s what 80 into is honoured.’ Blatter brushed up on his history. 40 George Eastham went on strike about all those years ago.’ Chris Powell, the PFA chairman, While Blatter’s choice of words could claimed Blatter should apologise. ‘I not have been more inappropriate in Eastham, who quit football in 1960 hope for his sake his words have been relation to Ronaldo – the Portuguese after Newcastle refused his requests to taken out of context because to use is believed to earn around £120,000 join another club, returned to the game such an emotive word as slavery and a week at Old Trafford and has four the following year, when he signed for to compare the Ronaldo-Real Madrid- 20 years remaining on his contract – there Arsenal for £47,000. By then, however, Manchester United saga to slavery is was a time, around 45 years ago, when he was committed to improving play- quite ludicrous,’ he said. ‘The word has players genuinely were at the mercy of ers’ rights – ‘Our contract could bind nothing to do with football and for a their employers. Eastham, a member us to a club for life. Most people called 90 player to be on a five-year contract and of England’s 1966 World Cup winning 50 it the ‘slavery contract’,’ he later said to compare that to slavery is beyond squad, was among them until he chal- – and, supported by the Professional comprehension. I truly hope that Sepp lenged the ‘retain-and-transfer’ system Footballers’ Association, he succeeded retracts those remarks.’ in the high court and won. in bringing an end to the ‘retention’ Royle agreed. ‘He must have a look and aspect of the transfer system. see if there has been a redefinition of ‘It was slavery back then,’ said Joe the word slavery,’ he added. ‘Why do Royle, recalling the rules governing Since then players have continued players sign contracts? They have to be 30 transfers when he started his career to gain the upper hand, no more so bound to a contract or we would just in the early sixties, a period when than when Jean-Marc Bosman won a have a free for all. Why did Ronaldo clubs could retain a player, often at a landmark case in 1996 which allowed 90 sign five years with United? That’s not reduced wage, and prevent him from footballers to move freely to another slavery and, if it is, it’s self-imposed. signing for anyone else. ‘If your club 60 club at the end of their contract. More Mr Blatter does occasionally come up wanted you, they had an option to lucrative salaries, longer contracts and with stuff which is hard to understand sign you, but you didn’t have an op- huge signing on fees followed, enabling to say the least, but I think he has just tion to go where you wanted. If they players to become more powerful, about topped the lot here.’ < May 2010 31
    • CULTURE Reel estate: cities and the movies Monocle | Robert Bound & Ann Marie Gardner B een anywhere nice recently? Europe’s regions were busy chatting team has just killed a zombie. To the movies, maybe. 50 up producers: Ireland’s County Louth, This year, six feature films an HBO From Roman Holiday and Napoli and Savona in Italy and Russia pilot and a Disney TV series have Manhattan to the multiple-location as a whole were all lobbying hard to been shot in New Orleans. Films are Bond and Bourne franchises, films get in the picture. being made here and across the state have starred cities as central char- because of the tax incentives, but acters rather than just backdrops. behind those incentives is an im- Cities are falling over themselves to New life for 100 plicit offer to help New Orleans brand woo lights, camera and action to their New Orleans their city as a tourist destination. In 10 streets by offering generous financial 2002, Louisiana introduced its film incentives and tax breaks. But they’re Dead of Night incentives – up to a 30 per cent tax not just batting their urban eyelashes A crowd is gathering in the courtyard rebate – and their film business has to attract investment and support a behind the Lafitte Guest House on grown from two motion pictures in film-making infrastructure; increas- bar-strewn Bourbon Streen in the 2002 to well over 215 total produc- ingly cities are using movies as brand- French Quarter. It’s 21.00 on a Tues- tions in 2008. The film industry not building exercises to boost tourism day night and crammed in this alley only brought an estimated $200m and project a brave face to the world. 60 courtyard are a cameraman and crew (€140m) to New Orleans in 2008 but White set-jetters (every new breed who are filming New Orleans second- 110 millions more in tourism. of tourist needs a snappy sobri- line danced (a traditional dance style) 20 quet) take the scenic Vicky Cristina for a scene in the supranational Barcelona tour and scan the Santa detective thriller Dead of Night. Loca- Barbara of Sideways for vineyards, the tion manager Batou Chandler swears, success of the unlikely dark comedy ‘Nothing says New Orleans like Films have In Bruges convinced the titular town’s second line.’ she’s been up all night starred cities tourist office to use the film as this scouting locating for the movie and as central year’s main marketing hook. Tourism after the crowd disperses, the satellite Australia took the collateral of Baz 70 crew piles into their van to head back characters Luhrmann’s paean to his homeland to the studios where they will shoot and pushed it internationally, certain through the night. 30 in the knowledge that the film and The Louisiana Film Studios are lo- their own marketing aims chimed cated in the former warehouse of the Mary Beth Romig at the New Orle- uncannily well. Winn-Dixie (a southern supermar- ans Metropolitan Convention and ket chain) on the outskirts of New Visitors Bureau says, ‘We’ve been The arrangements between the city Orleans. Two films are shooting here trying to re-establish our brand since and the production are rarely explicit simultaneously: Dead of Night and Katrina. Brand New Orleans was but it’s a fact that producers and loca- The Expandables (Sylvester Stallone’s terribly damaged after the storm. In tions managers will shop around the 80 next action-packer). Across a back 2004 we had 10 million visitors and world to find the most appealing and lot where a camouflaged helicopter then everything came to a standstill accommodating locations while the is waiting to be blown up for a scene on 29 August 2005. Tourism has cities themselves are always checking in Stallone’s film, 200 crew members 120 grown steadily since but we haven’t 40 their teeth and hair and the mirror, move around in absolute silence. reached the eight million mark since ever-ready for their close-up. They are rolling film. Director Kevin Katrina. What The Curious Case of While location shooting remains Munroe and producer Gil Adler stare Benjamin Button did for New Orleans an emotional and aesthetic thing, a at the monitor watching Superman’s goes beyond hard numbers.’ sizeable and well-publicised bunch of Brandon Routh and his co-star Anita incentives are hard to ignore, espe- Briem share a tender moment. Cut. Batou Chandler makes it clear, cially for lower-budget pictures that 90 Then the crew stick their fingers in ‘Benjamin Button was a love song to stretch pennies to pay for production. their ears and motion for me to do the city. If we didn’t have tax incen- At this year’s Cannes film festival, the same. Bang! The special effects tives we should’ve paid them to make 32 May 2010
    • tively, New Orleans was such a better fit,’ he says. ‘Now we can’t get enough New Orleans in this film.’ Zombie 180 In the end, cities’ tax incentives, tied to tourism budgets, are being raised to Disaster Plans woo directors and enable productions, and films that make a case for a long BBC Focus weekend in Barcelona or insinuate a sojourn in the Deep South are no ac- SCENARIO: You wake in the morning to cident, either. find that nearly everyone you know and many you don’t have been turned into walking cadavers. Worse, they all seem Barcelona The Urban Jungle: to have acquired a ravenous appetite London for human flesh. And worse still, one that movie.’ The film was rewritten bite from your old neighbour is all it 130 from Baltimore for New Orleans and The Guardian | Peter Bradshaw takes to make you join the hordes of after the film opened, the Benjamin It used to be that Hollywood mov- the undead. Any ideas? Button house was added to the ies set in London needed to have an 10 REALITY: If you think the scenario is popular Historic Garden District 190 establishing shot of Westminster something science can’t possibly have tour. Tourists also wait in line at the Bridge, complete with black cabs and contemplated, then think again. In Au- St. Louis cemetery to see where the red Routemasters sailing sedately over gust, Dr Robert Smith? (the question- tripping scene in Easy Rider was shot it. Nowadays, that old cliche has been mark really is part of his surname), at and to see the grave of Marie Laveau, replaced with a new one: the ubiqui- the University of Ottawa, Canada, led voodoo priestess and character in Cry tous shot of the Swiss Re “gherkin” a mathematical study to model the of the Werewolf, before getting loaded building, used most grievously in the spread of zombie plague. They looked 140 at the Columns Hotel in the Garden awful Basic Instinct 2, in which scenes at three strategies: quarantining the District where Pretty Baby was shot. actually took place in the building, its zombies, trying to cure them, and at- ‘Our decision to shoot Dead of Night in criss-cross design spuriously visible 20 tacking them. New Orleans was originally a finan- 200 on the windows. Movies featuring up- ‘We were surprised to discover that cial decision,’ says co-producer Manu scale luxury-tourist London locations quarantine doesn’t help much at all,’ Gargi. ‘Louisiana gives you back 25 always make me quail, like Woody says Dr Smith?. ‘What you end up with to 30 per cent of whatever you spend Allen’s Match Point or Richard Curtis’s is a bunch of zombies in quarantine and New Orleans has the best crews, Love Actually - although they are ar- and all the humans dead.’ varied locations and is production- guably in the tradition of Hitchcock’s Trying to cure those infected with the friendly – and the city of New Orleans lurid strike-a-light London, seen in zombie plague fared little better - 150 added to the integrity of the movie be- Frenzy or The Man Who Knew Too with just a few humans left facing an cause you still have historic buildings Much. Cockney gangster films tend, to overwhelming undead horde. ‘The best here untouched and street after street my eye, to make a point of their Larn- 30 strategy is impulsive attack, says Dr ’ with gas lamps. We didn’t have to 210 darn settings with too much paro- Smith?. ‘Not just destroying the zom- touch a thing – we used New Orleans chialism and pedantry: even, I think, bies, but destroying them over and over to the max.’ Gargi and his production John Mackenzie’s hugely admired The again, each time with increasing force.’ company Hyde Park Entertainment Long Good Friday. While the military would try to minimise are in the process of developing a My favourite London films are those civilian casualties in such attacks, dif- whole slate of movies to be shot in that make a knight’s-move away from ficult decisions may have to be made. New Orleans. obviousness and recognisability. ‘If the military advice was that wiping Antonioni’s Blow-Up traces a thrilling, out a populated area was essential, to 160 The city of New Orleans, with its histo- occult psycho-geography. Nic Roeg’s avoid greater loss of life after, politi- ry of the occult, is a perfect fit for Dead Performance and Bruce Robinson’s 40 cians should take that advice, says ’ of Night (a medium-sized independent 220 Withnail and I disclose a witty, scary Nick Pope, a former MoD employee film costing between €15m and €30m.) raffishness in the pre-gentrified west who now commentates on defence The script was originally written for and north. Stephen Poliakoff ’s work issues. London, until director Kevin Munroe divides people, but in Close My Eyes, Guidelines for the individual citizen was attracted to Louisiana’s cash. ‘The his view of the new Docklands and facing the living dead are simple: leg initial attraction to New Orleans was the lush, almost tropical downri- it. There are no multiple kill bonuses in the tax credit,’ say Munroe, ‘but it’s ver locations of the south-west are this game - survival is your priority and hardly a stretch to base a zombie movie tremendously achieved. Michael your attackers are slow moving. Recom- 170 in New Orleans since this is a city with Winterbottom’s Wonderland is a gutsy mended kit is the humble crowbar: such mystery and a past that’s so rich. and real vision of London, and an 50 excellent for dealing with any locked One night I woke up and thought, 230 honourable mention has to go to Jack doors that block your path, and equally where else would be better to shoot Rosenthal’s tremendous made-for-TV handy for cracking heads should you than New Orleans?’ Munroe rewrote parable-comedy The Chain, taking us wind up in a corner. the script, switching the sewers to up the housing ladder from Hackney swamps, the tube for the tram. ‘Crea- to Knightsbridge. < May 2010 33
    • CULTURE McDonald’s Chef The Most Influential Cook in America? Time Magazine | John Cloud & Oak Brook of America and who once ran the Quarter Pounder (730 mg). One Mac gracious kitchens at the Four Seasons Wrap contains 46% of your recom- Resort and Club outside Dallas. The mended daily allowance of salt. O n some level, the very 50 Southwest Salad, the Angus burgers, Public-health advocates will surely idea of a McDonald’s chef the Snack Wrap – they all emerged 100 assail the company for creating the sounds preposterous. from the food laboratory of Daniel wrap, partly because you have to eat Burgers, fries, the McRib – is this Coudreaut, 44. two to feel full. But I wanted to know really the work of a chef? The food at In a move that could be the New Coke about the man behind it, this guy who McDonald’s tastes partly of nostalgia of Coudreaut’s career, his kitchen thinks he can tinker with a paragon of and partly of marketing; the rest is has created the Mac Snack Wrap, or Americana as durable as the Big Mac. surely salt. Mac Wrap for short. The Mac Wrap is Coudreaut might call himself Chef And yet – have you eaten at a Mc- the first new version of the Big Mac Dan, but isn’t he just a p.r. stunt, a 10 Donald’s lately? In the past five years, the company has introduced since suit masquerading in chef’s whites? the company has started to serve 60 the iconic burger was launched in genuinely edible salads, unlike those the 1960s. The Big Mac remains on dry iceberg-and-carrot things it used the menu – the company isn’t stupid The Secrets of to offer. The Southwest Salad, which – but executives were so fearful of Celery Root appeared in 2007, comes with a lime spinning off a variant that internal wedge and a credible corn salsa. Simi- negotiations and testing took a year. The youngest of five, Coudreaut grew larly, the new Angus Third Pounders – ‘Don’t touch’ was the attitude toward 110 up in Ossining, N.Y., not far from a line of relatively expensive and meaty the Big Mac when he arrived, says New York City. From around age 7, hamburgers that have 66% more beef Coudreaut. The fact that the top brass he was his mom’s helper at mealtimes 20 than a Big Mac and less bread – are just allowed him to remix it is both an and kept a written inventory of in- as tasty as the triple-the-price burgers 70 expression of the company’s faith gredients in the pantry. At 14, he got at T.G.I. Friday’s. in him and a signal that McDonald’s a job washing dishes at a diner where I’m not the only one who thinks so. once again feels strong enough to the chef-owner let him look over his After all the bad press in the early ‘00s take risks. shoulder at the stoves. For a while, – the company has been blamed, with The rollout for the Mac Wrap began Coudreaut thought he might want to some justification, for the global rise quietly in December, but by last be in show business, and as a kid he in obesity – McDonald’s is enjoying a month, when it became the subject of 120 got small roles in TV commercials and heady resurgence. Each day, it feeds a major ad campaign, the Mac Wrap an off-Broadway play. He also went to some 26 million Americans, 2 million was in all 14,000 U.S. McDonald’s. business school, but all the while he 30 more than it did in 2006. In the past For all that, it is a strange, simple kept cooking, and at 28, he enrolled five years, the McDonald’s Corp. share 80 little invention. To make a Mac Wrap, at the Culinary Institute. price has jumped from below $30 to you take about half the interior of a In 2004, Coudreaut arrived at Mc- above $60. Big Mac – a single beef patty, three Donald’s headquarters, a sprawling, The company’s boom actually began quick squeezes of special sauce, less bosky campus in Oak Brook, Ill., out- in 2006, before the recession hit. A lettuce, less cheese, fewer pickles, side Chicago. His kitchen, which is on major reason was the improvement in fewer onions – and wrap the software the third floor of the main building, is its menu. A glowing Feb. 2 Goldman in a tortilla instead of stacking it on a 130 the sort you would see in the back of Sachs analyst’s report on McDonald’s sesame-seed bun. McDonald’s serves house at an expense-account restau- is typical of Wall Street sentiments. the Mac Wrap for only $1.50; it has rant. It features granite countertops 40 The report says McDonald’s is ‘step- just 330 calories, 210 fewer than the (requested by Coudreaut), a giant ping up investment when peers can- 90 Big Mac. The wrap offers a familiar Wolf range that cost more than most not’ and cites the ‘strong new product taste without the guilt, but that’s not McDonald’s employees make in half a pipeline’ as a key factor. to say it’s good for you. More than year, and a salamander, a device that It turns out there’s a chef at the half its calories come from fat, and a professional kitchens use to brown beginning of that pipeline – a cook single Mac Wrap has 690 mg of so- food before serving. who trained at the Culinary Institute dium – almost as much as in an entire On the day I visited, Coudreaut was 34 May 2010
    • 140 experimenting with some very non- their grocery stores. ‘Now you can wanted to put that salad on the menu. McDonald’s ingredients: celery root, find it in supermarkets all over,’ says 240 Among his first steps would be to go broccoli rabe, wild salmon, hazelnuts, the council’s executive director, Linda to the produce experts at McDonald’s candied orange rind. There was a huge Funk, who has even seen the imma- and ask about endive. He imagined pot of veal stock simmering on a back ture soybean pods sold near her small the answer he would get: ‘Well, Dan, burner of the Wolf. He seemed to want hometown of Janesville, Wis. you’re gonna have to get somebody to to prove his culinary skills, and he did Nothing gets on the menu at McDon- grow it. And that’s not hard to do, but – he made a delicious lunch – but what ald’s without the approval of hundreds it’s gonna take three years.’ does any of this have to do with creat- of people: marketers, franchise rep- So then Coudreaut might consider ing food at a real McDonald’s? 210 resentatives, engineers who special- mixing the endive with more com- 150 The answer is that every great manu- ize in food hold times, operations mercially available lettuces, a step facturing company runs a crazy R&D managers who know precisely how far 250 that would reduce the lead time. department, a place where mad refrigerated trucks can drive before What about the mustard-seed dress- scientists get to fiddle with toys and food rots and money people who have ing? You could do that even faster, produce one or two breakthroughs read reams of market research that plus it’s a ‘great flavor combination a year. Coudreaut and his staff of 16 has relentlessly focus-grouped every with the cherries,’ he said. Except consider approximately 1,800 ideas for ingredient combination that could be there’s a problem with cherries: you new menu items each year, but only a part of a Snack Wrap. can never guarantee that all the pits couple – or in an atypical year, as many The franchisees are a particularly are out. Imagine the lawsuit from the as five – make it onto the menu. Few 220 important constituency, since they guy who breaks a tooth on a pit. So 160 stay permanently. pay for the equipment to produce any you end up with only the pears. They Coudreaut and his team spend most of new menu item. They often have ideas 260 are widely available and have a great their time playing with ingredients far for Coudreaut’s team to appraise – the shelf life. Coudreaut poached the pears more practical than broccoli rabe and Angus burgers were co-developed he served to me in gewürztraminer. celery root. Most days, they work with with a group of California franchisees McDonald’s could never do that for its chicken and apples and beef. Facing – and they often push back against outlets, but what if you softened pear the kitchen through a glass wall is a odd-sounding creations like one of slices in a poaching liquid other than large sign reading ‘It’s Not Real Until Coudreaut’s failures, a breakfast Snack wine – a step that would both enhance It’s Real in the Restaurants.’ Wrap made with a crepe that held flavor and extend hold time? ‘Why That’s a highly corporate way to think 230 vanilla cream cheese and fruit. The couldn’t we do a signature poached 170 about food – celery root is certainly testing process is painstaking: it took pear?’ Coudreaut asked, getting very real, so real that it’s covered in dirt two years for the Angus Third Pound- 270 excited. when you buy it at the supermar- ers, the company’s first new burger in At just this point in our conversation, ket – but McDonald’s is, after all, a eight years, to get on the menu. the McDonald’s p.r. executive who was corporation. Coudreaut may be a chef, When I visited his kitchen, Coudreaut with us – an elegant British woman but his employer is no restaurant. made an exquisite endive and named Danya Proud – coughed rather McDonald’s Corp. is largely a holding poached-pear salad with dried cherries loudly. Coudreaut trailed off. R&D is company, a middleman that works and mustard-seed dressing. Say he secret at every company. < between restaurant owners and food suppliers. It provides franchisees with 180 inexpensive, processed ingredients and – this is where Coudreaut’s team and other development people come in – a guarantee that new menu items have been tested and tweaked and retested so they can come out looking and tasting roughly the same in every McDonald’s in every part of America. And anyway, there is literally not enough celery root grown in the 190 world for it to survive on the menu at McDonald’s – although the company could change that, since its menu deci- sions quickly become global agricultur- al concerns. Not long after he arrived at McDonald’s in 2004, Coudreaut added to the menu an Asian salad that included edamame. The Soyfoods Council, a trade group, immediately got calls from consumers across the 200 nation looking to buy edamame at May 2010 35
    • YOU SHOULD PICK UP … The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Riverhead | Junot Díaz From Chapter One: GhettoNerd at the End of the World 1974-1987 THE GOLDEN AGE Oscar was not one of those Dominican cats everybody’s always going on about – he wasn’t no home-run hitter or a fly bachat- ero, not a playboy with a million hots on his jock. And except for one period early in his life, dude never had much luck with the females (how very un-Dominican of him). He was seven then. In those blessed days of his youth, Oscar – our Hero – was something of a Casanova. One of those preschool loverboys who was always trying to kiss the girls, always coming up be- 10 hind them during a meringue and giving them the pelvic pump, the first nigger to learn to perrito and the one who danced it any chance he got. Because in those days he was (still) a ‘normal’ Dominican boy raised in a ‘typical’ Dominican family his nascent pimp-liness was encouraged by blood and friends alike. During parties – and there were many many parties in those long-ago seventies days, before Washington Heights was Washington Heights, before the Bergenline became a straight shot of Spanish for almost a hundred blocks – some drunk relative inevitably pushed Oscar onto some little girl and then 20 everyone would howl as boy and girl approximated the hip- motism of the adults. You should have seen him, his mother sighted in her Last Days. He was our Porfirio Rubirosa. All the other boys his age avoided the girls like they were a bad case of Captain Trips. Not Oscar. The little guy loved himself the females, had ‘girlfriends’ galore. (He was a stout kid, heading straight to fat, but his mother kept him nice in haircuts and clothes, and before the proportions of his head changed he’d had these lovely flashing eyes and these cute- 30 ass cheeks, visible in all his pictures.) The girls – his sister 36 May 2010
    • Junot Díaz Lola’s friends, his mother’s friends, even their neighbor, Mari laid down the law, It’s either her or me! Oscar held Maritza’s Colón, a thirty-something postal employee who wore red on her hand and talked seriously and at great length about his love lips and walked like she had a bell for an ass – all purportedly for her and reminded her that they had agreed to share, but fell for him. Ese muchacho está bueno! (Did it hurt that he Maritza wasn’t having any of it. She had three older sisters, was earnest and clearly attention –deprived? Not at all!) In the knew everything she needed to know about the possibilities DR during summer visits to his family digs in Baní he was the of sharing. Don’t talk to me no more unless you get rid of worst, would stand in front of Nena Inca’s house and call out 80 her! Maritza, with her chocolate skin and narrow eyes, already to passing women – Tú eres guapa! Tú eres guapa! – until a expressing the Ogún energy that she would chop at everybody Seventh-day Adventist complained to his grandmother and she with for the rest of her life. Oscar went home morose to his 40 shut down the hit parade lickety-split. Muchacho del diablo! pre-Korean-sweatshop-era-cartoons – to the Herculoids and this is not a cabaret! Space Ghost. What’s wrong with you? his mother asked. She was getting ready to go to her second job, the eczema on her It truly was a golden Age for Oscar, one that reached its apothe- hands looking like a messy meal that had set. When Oscar osis in the fall of his seventh year, when he had two little whimpered, Girls, Moms de León nearly exploded. Tú ta lloran- girlfriends at the same time, his first and only ménage à trios. do por una muchacha? She hauled Oscar to his feet by his ear. With Maritza Chacón and Olga Polanco. Mami, stop it, his sister cried, stop it! Maritza was Lola’s friend. Long-haired and prissy and so pretty she could have played Dejah Thoris. Olga, on the other hand, 90 She threw him to the floor. Dale un galletazo, she panted, then was no friend of the family. She lived in the house at the see if the little puta respects you. end of the block that his mother complained about because it 50 was filled with puertoricans who were always hanging out on If he’d been a different nigger he might have considered the their porch drinking beer. (What, they couldn’t have done that galletazo. It wasn’t just that he didn’t have no kind of father to in Cuamo? Oscar’s mom asked crossly.) Olga had like ninety show him the masculine ropes – he didn’t – he simply lacked cousins, all who seemed to be named Hector or Luis or Wanda. all aggressive and martial tendencies. (Unlike his sister, who And since her mother was una maldita borracho (to quote fought boys and packs of morena girls who all hated her thin Oscar’s mom), Olga smelled on some days of ass, which is nose and straightish hair.) Oscar had like a zero combat rat- why the kids took to call her Mrs. Peabody. ing; even Olga and her toothpick arms could have stomped him silly. Aggression and intimidation out of the question. Mrs. Peabody or not, Oscar liked how quiet she was, how she 100 So he thought it over. Didn’t take him long to decide. After let him throw her to the ground and wrestle her, the inter- all, Maritza was beautiful and Olga was not; Olga sometimes est she showed in his Star Trek dolls. Maritza was just plain smelled like pee and Maritza did not. Maritza was allowed 60 beautiful, no need for motivation there, always around too, over their house and Olga was not. (A puertorician over her? and it was just a stroke of pure genius that convinced him to His mother scoffed. Jamás!) His logic as close to the yes/no kick it to them both at once. At first he pretended that it was math of insects as a nigger could get. He broke up with Olga his number-one hero, Shazam, who wanted to date them. but the following day on the playground, Maritza at his side, and after they agreed he dropped all pretense. It was shazam – it how Olga had cried! Shaking like a rag in her hand-me-downs was Oscar. and in the shoes that were four sizes too big! Snots pouring out her nose and everything! Those were more innocent days. So their relationship amount- ed to standing close to each other at the bus stop, some 110 In later years, after he and Olga had turned into overweight undercover hand holding, and twice kissing on the lips very freaks, Oscar could not resist feeling the occasional flash of seriously, first Maritza, then Olga, while they were hidden from guild when he saw Olga loping across a street or staring blank- 70 the street by some bushes. (Look at that little macho, his ly out near the New York bus stop, couldn’t stop himself from mother’s friends said. Que hombre.) wondering how much his cold-as-balls breakup had contributed to her present fucked-upness. (Breaking up with her, he would The threesome only lasted a single beautiful week. One day remember, hadn’t felt like anything; even when she started cry- after school Maritza cornered Oscar behind the swing set and ing, he hadn’t been moved. He’d said, No be a baby.) < May 2010 37
    • FILM REVIEW Precious Heartbreaking and heartwarming Precious (saddled with the unwieldy subtitle: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire) manages the task of being both heartbreaking and heart-warm- ing, all without resorting to the kind of manipulation so often evident in Chicago Sun-Times | Roger Ebert & James Berardinelli | Reelviews dramas about underprivileged kids 90 trying to improve themselves. There are pitfalls inherent in this kind P recious has shut down. She turning a blind eye on years of abuse. of story, but director Lee Daniels avoids looking at people, Paula Patton is Ms. Rain, Precious’ sidesteps them, crafting a feature she hardly ever speaks, teacher, who is able to see through that is both emotionally honest and she’s nearly illiterate. Inside her the girl’s sullen withdrawal and her stirring. Precious spends time in the lives a great hurt, and also her child, 50 vulgarities, and wonder what pain it urban trenches that are often used as conceived in a rape. She is fat. Her may be masking. Mariah Carey is Ms. a colorful backdrop for other less true clothes are too tight. School is an Weiss, a social worker. This casting films; here, they are integral to the es- ordeal of mocking cruelty. Home is looks almost cynical on paper, as if sence of the characters, places where worse. Her mother, defeated by life, reflecting old Hollywood days when 100 acts of supreme horror are dismissed 10 takes it out on her daughter. After stars were slipped into ‘character matter-of-factly. When it debuted to Precious is raped by her father, her roles’ with a wink. But Lee Daniels, a rapturous reception at the Sundance mother, is angry not at the man, but the director, didn’t cast them for their Film Festival in January 2009, Precious at the child for ‘stealing’ him. names, and actually doesn’t use any went by the name of Push, but the of their star qualities. He requires title was changed to avoid confusion There’s one element in the film that 60 them to act. Daniels began his career with the mainstream action film that redeems this landscape of despair. by producing Monster’s Ball, in which opened (and subsequently disap- That element is hope. Not the hope of Halle Berry shed her glamour and peared) early in the year. Under its Precious, but that of two women who found such depths that she won an new name, Precious highlighted sev- want better for her. It’s not that Pre- Oscar. Daniels must have an instinct 110 eral film festivals and was enthusiasti- cious ‘shows promise.’ I think it’s that for performances waiting to flower. cally greeted at each one, including 20 these women, having in their jobs The film is a tribute to Sidibe’s ability Toronto, where it won the audience seen a great deal, can hardly imagine to engage our empathy. Her work is award. Often, festival citations don’t a girl more obviously in pain. still another demonstration of the mean much, but this is an excep- That is the starting point for Precious, mystery of some actors, who evoke tion. It’s unclear how widespread the a great American film that somehow 70 feelings in ways beyond words and movie’s final distribution will be but, finds an authentic way to move from techniques. She so completely creates even if it means making an unusual these beginnings to an inspiring end- the Precious character that you rather effort, this is worth searching out. ing. Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe, a young wonder if she’s very much like her. It’s a 2009 example of the kind of actress in her debut performance You meet Sidibe, who is engaging, 120 passionate independent filmmaking as Precious, says, ‘I know this girl. I outgoing and 10 years older than her that was in vogue 15 years ago and 30 know her in my family, I know her in character, and you’re almost startled. whose richness is sadly lacking today. my friends, I’ve seen her, I’ve lived She’s not at all like Precious, but in Precious is a reminder that sometimes beside this girl.’ We may have seen her first performance, she not only all it takes to make a great film is the her, too, if we looked. People often understands this character but knows courageous performance of an actor don’t really look. They see, evaluate, 80 how to make her attract the sympathy as a character whose story is compel- dismiss. of her teacher, the social worker – and ling enough to consume two hours of ourselves. screen time. < Powerful acting Sidibe is heartbreaking as Precious, that poor girl. Three other actresses perform so powerfully in the film that academy voters will be hard-pressed 40 to choose among them. Audiences may be hard-pressed to recognize them. The comedian Mo’Nique plays Mary, Precious’ chain-smoking couch potato of a mother, treating her daughter like a domestic servant and 38 May 2010
    • IN CINEMAS NOW COMING SOON Alice in Wonderland from his service in King Richard’s army (Danny Huston ) against Alice in Wonderland is a fantasy ad- the French. Upon Richard’s death, venture film directed by Tim Burton. Robin travels to Nottingham, a In this extension to the Lewis Carroll town suffering from the corrup- Mia Wasikowska novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland tion of a despotic sheriff (Matthew plays the role of and Through the Looking-Glass, Alice Macfadyen ), where he falls for Alice Kingsley, now 19, the spirited widow Lady attends a party at a Marion (Oscar winner Victorian estate shortly after the death Cate Blanchett), a woman of her beloved father. The party is an en- sceptical of the identity and gagement party planned by her mother motivations of this crusader and sister. Just as the arrogant and dull from the forest. Hoping Russell Crowe and lord Hamish Ascot proposes to Alice, she to earn the hand of Maid Cate Blanchett in spots a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat Marion and salvage the Robin Hood. and pocket watch. In shock and confu- Tim Burton village, Robin assembles a sion, she runs off into a maze and follows tapped to head gang whose lethal mercenary skills are matched the White Rabbit through it, only to later this year’s only by its appetite for life. tumble down a rabbit hole into Wonder- Cannes film Expectations are high, with Crowe and Ridley Scott land, a place she visited ten years before, festival jury. collaborating again after Gladiator (2000), one of yet doesn’t remember. In Wonderland, the greatest adventure movies in cinema. she reunites with her childhood friends, including the Mad Hat- ter, who explains to Alice that they need her help in over-throwing the Green Zone Red Queen; who has taken control of Wonderland from her sister, the Green Zone is the latest Iraq War inspired motion picture White Queen. Alice is also told that directed by Paul Greengrass, specialized in dramatiza- she is the only one who can slay the tions of real-life events like Bloody Sunday (2002) and Jabberwock, the dragon who terror- United 93 (2006) and known for his signature use of izes the inhabitants of Wonderland hand-held cameras in films such as The Bourne Supremacy under the rule of the Red Queen. (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Green Zone is Alice then embarks on an adventure a loose adaptation of Washington Post journalist Rajiv of self discovery and to save Won- Chandrasekaran’s best-selling 2006 non-fiction book derland and her friends. Imperial Life in the Emarald City and hopes to break the The film will use a Helena Bonham recent streak of popularly challenged dramas reflecting technique combining Carter, Tim Burton’s the conflict in Iraq. The war being fought in this film is live action and anima- wife as The Red more between the Pentagon and the CIA than the US tion. Mia Wasikowska Queen v Iraq, which makes it all the more interesting because plays the role of Alice, the film allows us to see things from Iraq’s perspective alongside Johnny for a change. The film follows Roy Miller (Matt Damon), Depp, on his seventh collaboration with Tim an officer leading a team of 18 Army soldiers search- Burton, as The Mad Hatter. Tim Burton’s wife ing for weapons of mass destruction in late 2003, just Helena Bonham Carter is The Red Queen and after the American-led invasion. With very convinc- Johnny Depp, Burton and Bonham Carter’s children will ing Baghdad settings, shot on location in Morocco and on his seventh have cameos in the film. Spain, this upcoming action thriller war film written by collaboration with Brian Helgeland Tim Burton and starring Matt Damon, Amy Ryan, Robin Hood Greg Kinnear, and Brendan Gleeson, Oscar winner Russell Crowe stars as the legendary figure gets the green light known by generations as Robin Hood, whose exploits have to beat the Iraq endured in popular mythology and ignited the imagination War movie jinx. of those who share his spirit of adventure and righteous- ness. In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. And whether thief or hero, one Matt Damon as the officer leading a man from humble beginnings will become an eternal sym- team of 18 Army soldiers searching bol of freedom for his people. for weapons of mass destruction in The Robin Hood adventure chronicles the life of an expert late 2003. archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, May 2010 39
    • IN THE BOOKSTORE The Graveyard Book | By Neil Gaiman Neil Gaiman’s fantasies he ‘looks like nobody but to hunt for him is ever delightful scene-setting. have entranced both himself,’ grows up among present. Bod’s love for his The child Bod’s behaviour younger readers and a multigenerational cast graveyard family and vice is occasionally too preco- adults; this gothic fantasy, of characters from dif- versa provide the emotion- cious to be believed, and a a coming-of-age story ferent historical periods al centre, amid suspense, series of puns on the name modelled after The Jungle that includes matronly spot-on humour, and Jack render the villain a Book and with slight nods Mistress Owens; ancient bit less frightening than to Harry Potter, will appeal Roman Caius Pompeius; an he should be, though only to all ages. Somewhere in opinionated young witch; momentarily. By juxta- contemporary Britain, ‘the a melodramatic hack poet; posing the world of the man Jack’ uses his razor- and Bod’s beloved mentor dead with the world of the sharp knife to murder a and guardian, Silas, who living, Gaiman creates a family, but the youngest, is neither living nor dead fantastical world where a toddler, slips away. The and has secrets of his own. the thoughtful protago- boy ends up in a grave- As he grows up, Bod has a nist comes to understand yard, where the ghostly series of adventures, both the power of family as he inhabitants adopt him to in and out of the grave- experiences the fear, pains, keep him safe. Nobody yard, and the threat of the confusions, and joys of Owens, so named because man Jack who continues growing up. Push | By Sapphire With this much an- which is what she is; experimental pedagogy of the author hints at again ticipated first novel, told sometimes what I feel I a lesbian miracle worker and again), becomes a from the point of view is. I feel so stupid some- named, implausibly conventional, albeit dark of an illiterate, brutal- times. So ugly, worth nuf- enough, Blue Rain. Under and unresolved, allegory ized Harlem teenager, fin.’) Referred to a pilot her angelic mentorship, about redemption. The Sapphire (American program by an unusually Precious, who has never ending, composed of ex- Dreams), a writer affili- solicitous principal, Pre- before experienced real cerpts from the journals ated with the Nuyorican cious comes under the nurturing, learns to voice of Precious’s classmates, poets, charts the psychic her long suppressed feel- lends heightened realism damage of the most ings in a journal. As her and a wider scope to the ghettoized of inner-city language skills improve, narrative, but also gives inhabitants. Obese, dark- she finds sustenance in it a quality of incomplete- skinned, HIV-positive, writing poetry, in friend- ness. Sapphire has created bullied by her sexually ships and in support a remarkable heroine in abusive mother, Clareece, groups-one for ‘insect’ Precious, whose first- Precious Jones is, at the survivors and one for person street talk is by novel’s outset, pregnant HIV-positive teens. It is turns blisteringly savvy, for the second time here that Sapphire falters, rawly lyrical, hilariously with her father’s child. as her slim and harrowing pig-headed and wrench- (Precious had her first novel, with its refer- ingly vulnerable. Yet that daughter at 12, named ences to Harriet Tubman, voice begs to be heard Little Mongo, ‘short for Langston Hughes and The in a larger novel of more Mongoloid Down Sinder, Color Purple (a parallel depth and complexity. Never Bite a Boy on the First Date | By Tamara Summers Tamara Summers’s new has earned a reputation in town. She’s pretty sure book is both an original for breaking rules. When it’s one of three new guys high school romantic a student is murdered at who’ve moved in recently. comedy and a thrilling her high school, all fingers Dating three cute boys vampire murder mystery. point to Kira. In order to may be fun, but which one The story is told from the prove her innocence she is the murdering vampire? point of view of Kira, a has to show them that And what if he’s the boy newly-turned vampire who there’s another vampire she’s falling for!? 40 May 2010
    • MUSIC This month Jonny all a bit of an art school prank by the From its earliest appearances the Trunk marvels at sounds of it, and the band headed for ranks of the Sinfonia swelled, and the stage as The Portsmouth Sinfonia. over the years members would in- Portsmouth Sinfonia The rest is the stuff of musical legend. clude thelikes of Brian Eno, Michael Plays the Popular You see, it wasn’t about getting the Nyman and Simon Fisher Turner. music right, it was about getting it As Eno notes on the back of this LP, Classics right in the wrong way. Or maybe just Beethoven would have delighted in getting it wrong in the right way. None having his music played by enthusias- Mojo | March 2010 of the musicians playing was trained, tic amateurs rather than trained pro- and if they were trained a bit in one fessionals. You can hear Eno’s point. If in 1973 you’d bought this album instrument they had to play a different It’smuch more entertaining, more so based on the desire to own the world’s one. Luckily, performing classic tunes if you have a sense of humour. favourite classical tunes, you’d get it offers up a few advantages in that the home, stick it on and probably wonder players would know roughly when the The band went on to greater things – if your turntable needed servicing. notes should be changing. It should sell-out concerts including a night at You’d question the belt drive, maybe also be noted that everyone involved the Royal Albert Hall, a live album, and check the platter speed too. Probably did want to play the music cor- in 1979 they turned their attention even take the LP back to the shop and rectly, but it was inevitable that they to the rock canon on 20 Classic Rock complain. Because even though it’s an couldn’t. And that was the whole idea. Classics. They even cut a Top 30 hit album of 11 popular classics, they are 45 known affectionately as ‘Classical all played in a most unpopular way. One listen to this debut album takes Muddly.’ you back to the sound of an early It was all the brainchild of Gavin school concert, or rather to the ever Their whole output is currently out of Bryars, a lecturer at Portsmouth earlier rehearsals. Or the tuning up print, but surely it’s only a matter of College of Art in 1970. Based on the bit. The sound makes your mind work time before someone with good ears theories and Scratch Orchestra idea in unusual ways, readjusting to the and a strong stomach reissues the of composer Cornelius Cardew, Bryars bad notes, almost trying to predict best classical album ever made by the decided to enter a talent competi- and enjoy them. To some this album world’s worst orchestra. tion called ‘Opportunity Rocks’ with is a low point in music, to others it’s a band he’d hastily assembled. It was high musical art. Last night a record fashionable names now, changed my life but they weren’t then. Alison Goldfrapp So I really loved Karen Carpenter but I wanted Mojo | March 2010 to wear Dr Martens. When I was really little The synth-wizardess on I loved Marc Bolanb and ‘Prince’ s Sign O’ The Times Jimi Hendrix, and Prince was the modern day ver- I can’t remember exactly where I sion of them, he brought heard it first. Ithink I was about 16 at them all together in a friend´s party, the kind where you one crazy, ambiguous sneaked in a pint of cider and a bottle and I think ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’ package. You can’t get more kitsch and of Thunderbird. I’d moved to London might’ve considerably inspired me camp, but he’s also a genius, and to be to live in a squat at a ridiculously when we did ‘Deer Stop’ on Felt Moun- sexy and humorous at the same time is young age, and it was quite a weird tain. When I first met Tricky we talked quite an achievement. time. I wasn’t doing a huge amount, about that song and it bonded us. It’s just walking the streets trying to find a fully thought-out conceptual album I was obsessed. I invited him to my a way to do singing. Plotting! Then and I’d sit and sing along to all of it art shows when I was a student, and someone put it on at this party and it – the guitars and keyboards. The fact even at 24 I was writing letters to blew me away! I became obsessed with that I like it so much is proof that you Paisley Park. I should have buggered Prince for years. can think something is amazing but off to America to be discovered by him. still hate some of their stuff, because Would I sing with him now? When I went and got it on vinyl and it totally I wasn’t crazy about ‘Housequake’ or he writes songs for other people it’s inspired me. It’s an epic – musically ‘The Cross.’ always completely him, isn’t it? The brilliant but quirky. The title track is singer cannot shine. So possibly not. darker than the rest, but it took me, I was a late developer, so at that age I And you should never meet your idols. in my fantasy mind, to some wonder- loved the punk look but was listening But when I DJ, I’ll always play ‘You Got fully colourful, vibrant, warm, positive to Dusty Springfield, Ennio Morricone That Look.’ place. If you obsess oer something and melancholy ‘60s European pop like that much, it’s bound to seep out, Francois Hardy, which I suppose are (As told to Ian Harrison) May 2010 41
    • TRAVEL & TOURISM 36 hours GLASGOW has the classic second-city complex – locked in a never-ending comparison with its more popular and tourist-accessible 1. An amble and sibling, Edinburgh, less a dram 2. Under one roof than 50 miles away. But | Friday - 4 p.m. | Friday - 7 p.m. give Glasgow a little Decompress among the heather Oran Mor is more than a bar; it’s a extra attention, and you and orchids of the Botanic complex of multiple watering holes will find that, like the Gardens (730 Great Western Road; and restaurants, a beer garden, famously inscrutable 44-141-276-1614; www.glasgow. a nightclub and a performance 3. The king of dialect of its residents, gov.uk), in the hip West End. Join space that features ‘A Play, a Pie late night this understatedly strolling couples – some with and a Pint,’ a popular lunch series. | Friday - 10 p.m. stylish city is worth ecstatic children in tow – reveling Brasserie (44-141-357-6226), The compact King Tut’s Wah Wah deciphering. With its in the 40-acre grounds, Victorian its primary dining spot, sports a Hut (272a Vincent Street; mix of modern and glass buildings and, adjacent, the dark-oak décor and serves serious 44-141-221-5279; www.kingtuts. classic architecture, River Kelvin walkway. If that doesn’t but thoughtful dishes like a light co.uk), named for a defunct plentiful cultural settle you, head across the street and flaky grilled halibut fillet with club in the East Village of New and culinary options, to Oran Mor (731 Great Western a bright romesco sauce (£16.95, York, has been something of a shopping districts and Road; 44-141-357-6200; www. or about $28 at $1.65 to the divining rod for Glasgow’s indie large green spaces, the oran-mor.co.uk), a converted pound) and a creamy baked music scene for 20 years. Oasis city holds an appeal church that houses a beautiful ricotta and spinach roulade with was famously discovered there; for both civic-minded whisky bar with over 250 options, a sweet potato purée (£11.50). Radiohead and Blur played the locals and sophisticated among them peaty Talisker, spicy Desserts like a pistachio and club before going big; Beck and travelers who find Glenmorangie and smooth and Bowmore whisky parfait or a warm the Strokes chose it as the site discovering a place is sweet Macallan. Ahhh, doesn’t that apple and pear frangipane à la of their first Scottish gigs. Tickets half the fun. feel better? mode (both £5.25) are heavenly. generally run £5 to £15. 4. School’s in 5. Shop, then sip a ‘heavy,’ referring to a category session | Saturday - Noon of light malty Scottish ales; a | Saturday - 10 a.m. Downtown Glasgow is dominated ‘wee heavy’ is stronger in alcohol Start your Saturday with an early by the connected pedes- content and flavor. tour of the Glasgow School of Art’s trian shopping thoroughfares striking fin de siècle building (167 of Sauchiehall, Buchanan and Renfrew Street; 44-141-353-4500; Argyle Streets. The area is a www.gsa.ac.uk) designed by thriving hub of Victorian arcades, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scot- street performances and stores land’s answer to Frank Lloyd Wright that range from kitschy Scottish and whose genius lay in the kind of tourist shops to a glossy Apple details you might miss on your own. Store. You can be fitted for a kilt The student-led tour includes top- at Hector Russell (110 Buchanan floor views of the city, rare access Street; 44-141-221-0217; www. to the library and the world’s largest hector-russell.com) or shop for collection of Mackintosh-designed more up-to-date apparel and furniture, which opened last Sep- anime-inspired toys at Fat Buddha tember. Continue the Mackintosh (21 Bath Street; 44-141-332- tour at the Willow Tea Rooms (217 2208; www.fatbuddhastore. Sauchiehall Street; 44-141-332- com). Then try one of the area’s 0521; www.willowtearooms.co.uk), subterranean watering holes, like which has maintained his 1904 de- the candle-dim Brunswick Cellar sign, down to the waiters’ uniforms. (239 Sauchiehall Street; 44-141- You can partake of an afternoon 331-1820) or the youth-fueled tea (£12.25) of tiered sandwiches Republic Bier Halle (9 Gordon and pastries, and a cavity-inducing Street; 44-141-204-0706; www. crème fraîche-clotted meringue republicbierhalle.com). If you want (£3.95). to order as a local would, ask for 42 May 2010
    • in Glasgow 7. Praying optional | Saturday - 3:30 p.m. 8. Chip on the old Edinburgh has a castle. Glasgow block has a cathedral. This Gothic land- | Saturday - 8 p.m. mark (Castle Street; 44-141-552- Something of a Scottish Chez 8198; www.glasgowcathedral.org. Panisse, Ubiquitous Chip (12 uk), thought to have originated Ashton Lane; 44-141-334-5007; as a sixth-century chapel, is the www.ubiquitouschip.co.uk) started oldest building in the city. Sharing serving high-end organic local 6. The pipes are the cathedral’s courtyard is the fare nearly 40 years ago, long calling St. Mungo Museum (2 Castle before it was in vogue. The quiet | Saturday - 2 p.m. Street; 44-141-276-1625; www. plant-filled courtyard dining area, The Piper’s Tryst is a little-known glasgowmuseums.com), named off a small cobblestone lane, is culinary gem housed in the after the city’s patron saint, which a retreat within a retreat. But it’s National Piping Centre (30-34 offers displays and art illuminating the consistent high quality of the McPhater Street; 44-141-353- the world’s religions. Behind the menu that keeps this place on the 0220; www.thepipingcentre. cathedral is the hilltop Necropolis, must-eat list decade after decade. co.uk), a tiny museum dedicated a ‘garden graveyard’ that serves Try the prix fixe menu (three to the bagpipe. The fare is mainly as the resting place for tens of courses, £39.85), which features traditional as well, with hearty thousands of Glaswegians. It also fresh seafood like organic Orkney sandwiches, salads and a small offers terrific views of the city, salmon with lime and vanilla plate of love-it-or-hate-it haggis, including High Street, where the mash, followed by Caledonian neeps (turnips) and tatties (pota- national hero Sir William Wallace oatmeal ice cream with fruit com- toes) with a whisky-cream sauce (of ‘Braveheart’ fame) and his pote and its recommended whisky (£5.59). men routed the English in 1297. pairing, a 10-year-old Macallan. 9. Swing your 10. Museum 11. Some local 12. Up with people partner make–over flavor | Sunday - 2 p.m. | Saturday - 10 p.m. | Sunday - 11 a.m. | Sunday - 12:30 p.m. If you’ve managed so far to avoid For nearly 25 years, the mirth- The century-old Kelvingrove Art From the museum, stroll through rubbing shoulders with everyday making bar owner Mary Laurie Gallery and Museum (Argyle the lovely Kelvingrove Park to Glaswegians, head for the Barras has hosted a ceilidh (pronounced Street; 44-141-276-9599; www. the Left Bank (33-35 Gibson market (Gallowgate; 44-141-552- KAY-lee), an infectiously inclusive glasgowmuseums.com) reo- Street; 44-141-339-5969; www. 4601; www.glasgow-barrowland. and instructive Scottish dance pened in 2006 after a three-year theleftbank.co.uk), a bright and com) in the gritty East End. The akin to a polka or square dance. renovation. The once musty airy restaurant that makes an market is full of hidden treasures The Riverside Club, which had space now offers an experience art of breakfast. The focus is on and found junk: everything from staged her ceilidh, closed a of Smithsonian proportions, with local ingredients, with options like tweed caps and garda (police) couple of years ago, but the danc- temporary exhibitions (a ‘Dr. Who’ eggs mornay with creamy Ched- jackets to freshly butchered meat ing is no less fun at Lauries (34 retrospective runs until January), dar sauce and succulent bacon and lucky-charm ornaments. King Street; 44-141-552-7123; a hands-on children’s section and (£6.50) and housemade maple Nearby is the Glasgow Green, the www.lauriesacousticmusicbar. reworked informational placards and walnut granola with dried city’s oldest park and home to co.uk), the bar she runs with her for the museum’s encyclopedic cranberries and yogurt (£2.95). the People’s Palace and Winter husband, Cyrus. Even if you can and eclectic collection of art, taxi- Gardens (44-141-276-0788; resist jumping onto the dance dermy and historic innovations. www.glasgowmuseums.com), floor, you’ll be treated to a free which includes an entertaining concert featuring fiddle, accordion city museum and a peaceful and drums. greenhouse. Then stroll across the Green down to the River Clyde – originally the catalyst for the shipbuilding and trade that helped Glasgow grow, but now used mainly by recreational row- ers and ducks. May 2010 43
    • DIVIDED BY THE SAME LANGUAGE T he world is populated by two kinds of people – those who have been to Cornwall and those who have yet to discover the magical qualities of a county which attracts millions of visitors to the far south-west corner of Britain. It’s a county surrounded on all sides by the sea, except for forty miles to the east where it borders Devon. It 10 enjoys England’s longest coastline – 326 miles – with beaches ranging from the magnificent surfing beaches of the Atlantic coast to the sandy ones of the English Channel coast in- terspersed with towering cliffs, gentle valleys, rocky inlets, golden sands and quaint little fishing villages. A Cornish summer Stone Mountain S ummertime had brought The section just in front of me had Warriors unable to catch the ball me to the city of Atlanta, been turned into an impromptu being hurled at them were treated Georgia, home of CNN, the touch-football field. The ‘shirts’ were to a chant of ‘BUDDERFINGERS’ or birthplace of Martin Luther King playing the ‘skins’ with two sets of ‘OOOOoooooh’ from the sideline. and the site of Stone Mountain Park. Nike trainers serving as goal lines One of the former ‘skins’ players who The park centers around a huge 1686 on either end. The game expanded had been traded to the opposing team foot high granite rock which has the 30 from a 4 on 4 family affair into a image of three Confederate leaders on 7 on 7 semi-bare-chested exhibi- horseback carved into them. The park tion of skill and strategic prowess. 10 organizes a daily laser show and I had made my way to Memorial Lawn, armed with a blanket I’d ‘borrowed’ from my motel room. A full two hours The park centers before the show, I claimed my 55 around a huge 1686 square feet of lawn close to the foot of the rock face that would be used as foot high granite rock the backdrop for the show. The patch- which has the image es higher up on the lawn had already been settled by throngs of early birds. of three Confederate 20 As a selection of music ‘from sea to leaders on horseback shining sea’ was being played on the PA system, I settled down to soak up carved into them. the atmosphere. 44 May 2010
    • Driving through Bodmin Moor is a North Atlantic Ocean. The old part kind of eerie, yet romantic experi- of the town has retained much of its 20 ence, especially on a drizzly day. It is It is barren land, 60 medieval and Elizabethan character. barren land, populated by black-faced populated by Granite and slate-hung cottages line sheep and the occasional wild pony. the narrow streets and alleys that Tors – great, grey, granite masses – black-faced sheep slope steeply to the attractive harbour rise amid bleak and wind-swept hills. and the occasional and waterfront. My rented apartment It is an area of outstanding natural is situated in the Red Brick build- beauty. A road cuts through the mid- wild pony. ing, which also houses the Padstow dle and in the hamlet of Bolventor Rowing Club and the Tourist Informa- lies the Jamaica Inn, which inspired tion Centre. The building itself is an Daphne Du Maurier for her book of eyesore amidst the quaint fisherman 30 the same name. The book is about smuggled ashore. Although it was 70 cottages, but hey, the views are mag- Mary, an orphan who goes to live with altered significantly it is still a place nificent – one window looking out her aunt and uncle, the frightening where legends of skullduggery are over the little harbour with its fishing landlord of Jamaica Inn and the mys- easy to believe. Where better a place boats, catamarans and yachts and the tery surrounding her uncle’s business than here to stop for a traditional quay side where throngs of tourists – smuggling along the Cornish coast. Cornish pasty? Legend has it that the do whatever it is that tourists do. The grey slate-roofed building used 50 Devil would never dare to cross the Some walk along the coastal path to to be a coaching inn where travellers River Tamar into Cornwall for fear the sandy beach where they can catch could stay after crossing the treacher- of ending up as a filling in a Cornish the ferry to Rock, the upper crust ous moors. It has been turned into a pasty. coastal resort where apartments are 40 hotel-cum-restaurant-cum pub and Leaving the foggy moors behind I 80 offered for sale at exorbitant seven- also includes a smugglers’ museum. head in the direction of Padstow, figure rates. Some eat Cornish cream Apparently, some travellers used the situated on the North Coast on the teas in one of the many eateries and inn to hide the contraband they had Camel Estuary which leads to the others indulge in Rick Stein’s culinary > Park he always seemed to position himself. Around the playing field, more and people were turning up, equipped with far more high-tech gear than my Days Inn blanket. When I had visited 70 on one of the legs, equipped with a supersized cup holder, appropriate for the proportions of its present owner. The rest of the family brought large buckets of fries and buckets of Ken- 50 the Martin Luther King birth home tucky Fried Chicken to their Sabbath on Auburn Avenue that morning, I table (maybe the ‘bucket’ has turned when the game had expanded refused had noticed three generations of one into the new official serving size in 40 to put on the required uniform, pos- black family wearing matching purple the US). Soon, all were gnawing on sibly because of the girl playing with T-shirts that read ‘Parker Brown Fam- chicken legs, with a sense of etiquette her cell phone wearing a pink, skin ily reunion Atlanta 10-12 July’. The 80 popularized by Fred Flintstone. tight T-shirt that read ‘I only date grandchildren were getting first-hand My eye turned to the prepackaged athletes’ close to the sideline where information from relatives who had ‘Classic Italian Sub’ that I had picked actually lived through the Civil Rights up at the gas station just outside the Movement. That very same family park. It has toppled over and a huge 60 was now lugging a wheelie ice chest sticker with Nutritional information filled with all kinds of soft drinks, the size of the Declaration of Inde- bags of groceries and seating gear in pendence was revealed. Some of the all shapes and colors. Their patch of more delicious sounding ingredients land turned into a huge private picnic listed on the bottom of the box were area which looked like an infomercial 90 thiamine mononitrate, potassium for all sorts of plastic containers. iodate and propylone glycol alginate. To my left, a new neighbor unfolded The only ingredients I recognized ap- an aptly named ‘Big Boy’ camping peared at the bottom of the 19 lines chair, the ‘as seen on TV sticker’ still of ingredients, as part of an allergy warning: ‘ The product was produced in a facility that processes peanuts, Stone Mountain Park | Three carved tree nuts, dairy and eggs’. Appar- Confederate leaders ently, everything I was told was good Photograph: Erudite Expressions for me seemed to have turned into a > May 2010 45
    • DIVIDED BY THE SAME LANGUAGE rival of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall 120 cake and fruit stalls, a merry-go-round and Rick Stein’s nearly monopolisa- and a local band. The exterior of the tion of Padstow’s culinary world have doctor’s surgery is a detached cottage drawn hundreds of ‘foodie’ enthusiasts up a steep hill overlooking the harbour. to the area. One of the technicians tells me that 110 A visit to Port Isaac, the epitome of the the interior scenes are filmed in a barn delights in the Sea Food Restaurant. Cornish fishing village, with narrow on the outskirts of Port Isaac, which Keen local fishermen offer speed and whitewashed cottages built above a is converted into a studio. Most of the other boat trips on the ever changing small working harbour takes me to holiday cottages are used as temporary estuary. From the balcony, I have a the home of the comedy-drama series homes for the cast and crew and local stunning view of the colourful Atlantic Doc Martin, starring Marin Clunes as 130 people are used as extras. Filming tidal changes glowing in the unique a grumpy GP. The Platt, the Cornish takes about 15 weeks from mid-April 90 Cornish light and the busy activities of name for a market square, is at the to mid-August. While Martin Clunes the skippers. heart of the village. It is transformed is rehearsing one of his scenes, Ian The demise of the mining industry into a colourful carnival complete with McNeice (Bert, the plumber) and Joe saw Cornwall go through all sorts of Absolom (Al Large, Bert’s son) make changes in the second half of the 20th time for the tourists’ clicking cameras century. The most significant one was and Aunt Joan, played by Stephanie the arrival of Tim Smit’s giant biomes, Cole, is happy to talk about her visit aka the Eden Project. Cornwall’s Cornwall’s historical to Brussels in 1958. She also enjoyed historical links with industry made it links with industry made 140 visits to Brugge and Gent, which she easier for Cornish people to embrace pronounces in an impeccable French 100 technology, particularly green technol- it easier for Cornish accent as Bruges and Gand. ogy. Smit’s biomes – one of Cornwall’s people to embrace What a treat to be able to watch all the main tourist attractions – were funded hustle and bustle while enjoying a Cor- with some of the £350 million offered technology, particularly nish Cream Tea – two scones, Cornish to Cornwall by the EU in 1999. The ar- green technology. clotted cream and strawberry jam. < 100 biohazard. Despite the ingredient list picnic had pushed me past 110% of of SUVs and pick-up trucks. Soon, reading like part of the periodic table recommended fat intake. 130 they’d be making their way back past of elements, the sandwich with triple The truly spectacular laser show filled the huge dumpsters overflowing with layers of salami and ham topped with 120 with tributes to the heroes from the paper cups and grease-proof buckets cheese, dressing and a whisper of world of Dixieland sports, music and of chicken bones onto the interstate lettuce tasted surprisingly good. The the armed services made me forget to get home and ready again for a 600 foot hike up the mountain had about all these cholesterol related new day of togetherness, educational left me hungry and I quickly finished matters. As the show drew to patri- opportunities and physical challenges otic close with an animated version that make you regret having overin- of the national anthem, the well-fed dulged on the calorie front the night and entertained masses started to before. < Around the playing make their way to their hundreds field, more and people were turning up, equipped with far more high-tech gear than my Days Inn blanket. off the sandwich. The left-hand side of the Declaration of Ingredients in- 110 formed me that one serving contains 36 grams of fat, 55% of the recom- mended daily intake based on a 2,000 calorie diet. My heart sank as I read the fine print and discovered the sandwich was actually considered to be TWO servings, which meant my 46 May 2010
    • CONTEST QUIZZES HELLO! Here are our first contests and fantastic prizes you can win. Take part in all the contests of this school year and ... a) your teacher may have a holiday course for you b) you can win the Super Prize Send your entry form before 13th November 2009 to Uitgeverij Pelckmans-Drive/Speakeasy 1 Kapelsestraat 222, 2950 Kapellen GOOD LUCK! Contest 1 Contest 3 Win a digital Win an English photoframe Dictionary on CD-ROM FAMOUS ENGLISH-SPEAKING PEOPLE or a book token of 25 1. ‘Tiger’ mostly seen on golf courts. 2. ‘Fab Four’ from Liverpool. OFFERED BY 3. 83-year-old Queen. 4. Angelina, ‘most influential celebrity’. THE MISSING LINK - HE’S BACK!! 5. ‘Bard from Stratford’, greatest writer ever. 6. Hillary Rodham. 7. ‘Talented’ Susan, the most famous British housewife. 8. Most famous naturalist, would be 200 now. 9. Most popular Irish singer. (You too know him!) 1 IN THE BOX: WHAT THEY ALL ARE ... ple Link the pics and find the latest movie in a film series. Give: A - the title of the movie B - the first name and surname of the actor playing the main character. 2 3 4 5 6 Sam 7 8 9 Special Prize Roeland a holiday course in England Contest 2 (value 880) Win a MP3-player will be given to a teacher for students Creative zen stone 2 Gb black + who have taken part in all contests zen stone skin & armbrace OFFERED BY jeugddienst ter bevordering van de taalvaardigheid, Krijgslaan 18-22, 9000 Gent THERE’S MUSIC IN THE AIR ... Super Prize Can you complete the missing words? TIP: They’re in ABC order. Students with the highest scores after all contests 1. Many modern songs are based on - LA - - - - - - music. can win an 2. A DVD RE - - - - - - can also play CDs. 3. The Australian - - - - - - - DO - is the world’s oldest wind instrument. 4. Enthusiastic admirers are often members of a singer’s FA - - - - - . iPod 5. Not many karaoke singers can do a good - MI - - - - - - of their favourite artist. 6. “Mama Mia!” is one of the most popular - - SI - - - - ever. touch Editor Elaine Mc Carthy Educational Advisors Boudewijn Brabant, Eric Cornillie, Johan Delbaere, Dominique Plumey, Tony Polspoel, Francisca Sabbe Art Director Pierre-Yves Skzrypczak Publisher Editions Nathan, Speakeasy Publications, Paris, France Distribution for Belgium Uitgeverij Pelckmans, Kapelsestraat 222, B-2950 Kapellen - T. 03 660 27 27 - F. 03 660 27 01 - drivespeakeasy@pelckmans.be Co-ordination Theo De Meyer - theo.de.meyer@pelckmans.be - Publisher Thom Pelckmans Class subscriptions 10.50 euro - Class subscriptions combined with Panache 20.00 euro or with Magned 19.60 euro Account KBC 413-7004501-91 Go to www.pelckmans.be/drivespeakeasy for the names of the winners of our contests! May 2010 47
    • PHOTO FINISH REPORTERS / Associated Press Photo / Greg Campbell Kapelsestraat 222, 2950 Kapellen T 03 660 27 00, F 03 660 27 01, klantendienst: T 03 660 27 20 uitgeverij@pelckmans.be www.pelckmans.be