Tag Archives: England

Stars and stripes

I spend most Fourth of July holidays occupied by a very British tradition —

The Championships, Wimbledon

In recent years there haven’t been any American tennis players, male or female, in contention for the major titles.  This year’s champions are Serbian Novak Djokovic — yay! — and Czech Petra Kvitova.

But things may be changing in a few years.

The boys Wimbledon final was an all-American affair between qualifier Noah Rubin and six-seeded Stefan Kozlov.  Rubin won in three sets and the two players, who are friends off-court, posed for this patriotic shot with their trophies:
Finally — some American fireworks in jolly ol’ England!


In honor of the first day of the Championships Wimbledon, I have posted an amazing portrait of Queen Elizabeth:


It was created from random, found objects by British artist Jane Perkins.

There are two reasons to celebrate the old country today!

Middle moodiness

“Middle Sunday”

I’ve been watching TV coverage of The Championships: Wimbledon for as long as I can remember, and this is the first time I’ve heard this term used to describe today’s pause in play.

wimbledon sundayIn case you’re not a tennis fan, Wimbledon runs for 13 days — Monday through Sunday — and traditionally does not schedule any matches on the first Sunday.  Today.

I hate Middle Sunday.

After a full week of great tennis, I’m totally spoiled.  In fact, I’m having Wimbledon withdrawal.  It almost makes me wish it had rained a bit more this week, because in the past, they have had to play tennis on Middle Sunday to make up matches.

Of course, they don’t call it Middle Sunday then.  No, the day has to have a new name —

“People’s Sunday”

Yeah…I would like that way better.

Who is that dignified dame?

I know I can do anything I set my mind to…be anything I want to be.  But even if I lived in England and were the appropriate age…

I could never be a Wimbledon ball girl.

The Championships - Wimbledon 2010: Day SixLook at that steely gaze.  She maintains it the entire match.

Does she smile?  Never.  Appear to enjoy the match or be affected by the tennis legends that are playing mere meters  — yes, meters, it is in England — away?

Not a chance.

She’s severe.  Precise.  Efficient.  Her top stays tucked into her skirt, even after she sprints across the court to retrieve a loose ball.  And most important of all….

She can aim the tennis ball when she throws it.

Shoot — give those ball girls a superhero movie with a summer release date.  They’re not human!

Acceptance rocks

What a wonderful coincidence that I would see the Broadway musical Kinky Boots on the same day that DOMA was overturned!

kinky boots

Cindy Lauper’s show, which won six Tony awards including Best Musical, is all about accepting people for who they, and makes drag positively mainstream.

And shoes, of course.

But I can’t emphasize enough the impact that Best Lead Actor Billy Porter and his troupe of drag queens have on this show.  Honestly, it started out slow. S-L-O-W.  The opening number or two gave me pause.  It wasn’t until Billy came on the scene that I started to have hope…and a glimpse of what was to come in the second act.

Need I say it ends with a bang?

(And I’m sure, if it wasn’t set in England, they would have slipped in a ‘no more DOMA’ reference.)

Follow the trail of awards to Kinky Boots!

Stone cold fox

Ever found it difficult to get excited about classic sculpture?

Just couldn’t relate??

Well, hold on to your fig leaf — Today I Learned Something New, a UK-based website, has brought together the past and present in their feature…

‘Classical sculptures dressed like hipsters’
hipster statues2hipster statutes








Gone is the overwhelming expanse of chalk-white skin, the blank stare, the disproportionately small family jewels.  These male models’ newly casual look and ‘tude would do any catalog or magazine ad proud.

And if they’re quiet on a date…well, that’s really to be expected.

Music aged to perfection

I heart Dustin Hoffman.

The Graduate, Kramer vs Kramer, Tootsie, Rain Man, Moonlight Mile, Runaway Jury — winners all.

Then came the last 10 years. Two painful Fockers movies.  I Heart Huckabees (which I did not). Much cartoon voiceover work.  I began to despair.

But now Dustin Hoffman the director has stepped forward with his first feature, Quartet.








You can see by the photo that Hoffman wrangled some major names — Scottish actor/comedian Billy Connolly, and the Dowager Countess herself, Maggie Smith.  Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins complete the ‘quartet’ of retired opera singers living at Beecham House, a retirement home in rural England for retired musicians.

(And can I just say — swanky.  We should all be so lucky.)

The movie begins as pretty much everyone at the home is in rehearsals for their annual fundraising concert. Connolly, Courtenay and Collins all want Smith — a recent addition to Beecham — to recreate their famed quartet at the concert.

She says no…to pretty much everything.  And the movie goes ‘behind the music’ to the pasts and passions of the players.

I loved the performances, especially Tom Courtenay as Smith’s jilted former husband.  And Hoffman filled the ‘home’ with retired world-class singers and musicians.

Just wait till you hear how much music they’ve still got!

Mum’s the word

Did you know the Internet was international? Seems obvious, right?

Apparently not to some.

mothering sunday 3.14Today several UK-based celebs have been wishing their mums Happy Mother’s Day.

Dan Stevens, who played the recently deceased Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey.  Chris O’Dowd of Bridesmaid and Girls fame.  But they were quickly corrected by pushy, ethnocentric Americans that “Mother’s Day is still a couple of months away.”

I was at once embarrassed and entertained.

Cable television and the Internet may make programming and actors from other countries available to us here in America, but it doesn’t mean we’re necessarily going learn anything.

Well…at least we’re predictable.

Get in line

Rumor time!

And it’s a good one.

queen elizabethDid you hear that Queen Elizabeth was hospitalized for gastroenteritis? As a “precautionary measure,” she was admitted today at King Edward VII Hospital in London.

Funny…where have I heard that news before?

Wasn’t Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cornwall, admitted to the same hospital in early December? For similar tummy troubles? As a “precautionary measure” right before they announced her pregnancy?

O.M.G. —

The Queen must be having a baby, too!!

Just remember — you heard it here first (unless the royal family is after me, and then I’m just repeating something I read on Page Six).

That woman just won’t give up the throne.

Fit for a queen

People in England speak English. It makes foreign travel a bit easier for we language-challenged Americans.

But they still talk funny.

Not the accent — it’s lovely.  The words and phrases they use in street signs, menus, and casual conversation.

This photo reminded me of my favorite ‘Huh?’ moment during my first trip to London.

If you’ve been there, you recognize the instructions at the entrance of the subway trains in the Tube. “Mind the gap” (don’t fall in the crack between the train and the platform) — so wonderfully British in its phrasing. I liked it so much, I bought a postcard.

And now, on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I post this photo. Because I’ve taken a lot of subways during my trips to England…

But I’ve never met the Queen.