Category Archives: Britishism

Letter From Home Part 4: The Disappearing English Pub

“The traditional English pub has all but disappeared.” Sighed a long-time friend, “Now they’re all about gourmet food with TV star chefs!”  She added, grudgingly. To prove her point we had lunch in a Tudor-timbered hostelry, with part of its structure dating back to the 16th century. Instead of squeezing in between regulars crowding the bar, attempting to catch the attention of the bar person, we were guided to a table by a fabulously slim young lady of Eastern European extraction, dressed in the obligatory black. We were handed beautifully designed menus offering gastronomic delights that could have been at odds with the surroundings until you got to the section headed Pudding. There, in their ubiquitous glory were the three words that confirm you are still in a pub in England…Sticky Toffee Pudding! This could start a long debate but, at some point in the last century, dessert in England became known as pudding. And here is where it becomes rather complicated, on almost every menu everywhere in England, under the pudding items will always be Sticky Toffee Pudding. You could be in the most snotty of haute cuisine establishments or chowing down in a workman’s caff, yet no matter the price range or the snob appeal, Sticky Toffee Pudding will be there. Of course, the name is a misnomer for the American diner, as it’s neither pudding in the American sense, or really that sticky as far as sticky goes. It may taste of toffee, sort of. But, that would depend on your idea of toffee. The reason Sticky Toffee Pudding is on every menu is most likely to do with the English obsession with connecting to our roots, as daft as that is. The menu at this pub, now proudly called a gastropub was, despite all the possible pretensions, most appealing. Two of our party went for the Bouillabaisse, one opted for the Trout a la Maison, while I went down-market with the curiously-named Posh Fish Finger Sandwich. After the meal my friend and aspiring authority on English pubs, suggested we go to a real pub that hadn’t been gentrified yet. “This is where you can still get a proper pint from a vast selection on tap and a bag of crisps if you happen to feel hungry.” She advised with a bit of know-it-all-attitude. The One Eyed Cat in Ripon, Yorkshire, did indeed have a splendid and varied selection of draughts beers on tap and yes, crisps were available along with pork rinds and pickled eggs for those in need of something to sop up the ale. There was a cozy fireplace with an actual fire, despite this being the middle of summer. A few customers sat silently glancing from their beer to whoever should venture through the front door. The jukebox played Jolene and a sign above it read, “Don’t bang the front!” Which I found disturbing and funny at the same time. “This one will probably be another gastropub the next time you visit.” Groaned my friend. I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps I had been away too long. The appeal of the traditional English pub had in effect all but disappeared from my memory.

For the month of June and part of July, Life Elsewhere. host, Norman B has been revisiting England, his home country. Part of his journey has included interviews which will appear at later dates on the program.

Life Elsewhere is available at iTunes

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network
Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Mondays at 6.00pm & Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week

You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

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Letter From Home Part 3: All White, Alright?

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Gleaming pristine white dazzles and dares you to upset its cool fabulousness. In almost every home I visited, white is the color of choice. Glossy smooth surfaces, sumptuous seductive leather, cozy cuddly cashmere, white is everywhere. Fittings, fixtures, and furniture are all determinedly white. Bathrooms are clinical and kitchens are like laboratories. All the homes I visited from stately Georgian town-homes to Edwardian villas, rustic farmhouses to mid-century-modern bungalows, the interiors were dominated by varying shades of white. The ever- present brilliance of whiteness comes as a stark contrast to England’s frequent cloudy gray skies. The whiteness is even more noticeable when you come in off a grubby street jam-packed with dirty, dusty automobiles. From super-duper Teslas to top-of-the-line prestigious German models, keeping a car clean appears to be a low priority in England. But, presenting an unblemished sparkling white home interior is de rigueur. Far different from my days of growing up in England. Then, most homes were decorated in various shades of awful. Garish wallpaper, hideous prints on everything and stubbornly oppressive furniture. The whiteness in today’s English homes seems to be a statement: “We’re modern, we’re cool, and we’ve got brilliant taste!” Yet this is a quandary for a visitor like me, still perplexed as to who voted for Brexit?”

For the month of June and part of July, Life Elsewhere. host, Norman B has been revisiting England, his home country. Part of his journey has included interviews which will appear at later dates on the program.

Life Elsewhere is available at iTunes

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network
Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Mondays at 6.00pm & Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week

You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

Make a Donation Button

 

Letter From Home – Part 1: Fish & Chips

Fish ’n’ chips are still big in England. I guess the seemingly never-ending fondness for a dish that can be cruelly unpleasant if not prepared properly, came as a surprise to me. So many changes have taken place since I left England all those years ago for a career in the US of A. Yet, good ol’ fish ’n’ chips are still proudly available everywhere, throughout the length and breadth of England, found on bustling high streets and in tiny hamlets. Those same typical English high streets and picturesque villages are now also festooned with cool coffee shops, hip bars, gourmand restaurants and the ubiquitous gastropubs. And, each one of these establishments will try to squeeze tables and chairs outside onto the already overcrowded sidewalks in a manner once considered fine on the Continent, but hardly the thing to do in staid old England. So who devours those enormous mountains of battered fish ’n’ chips and avoids posing languidly on spindly bistro chairs? Could these be the same people who hate menus from foreign cuisines, including Croque-monsieurs, baguette sandwiches, and coffee in all its many exotic forms enough to vote for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union? Brexit has been the number one constant topic of conversation wherever I go. Everyone has an opinion and almost universally that opinion is punctuated with outrage. In London, the standard take is, “There have to be ill-informed idiots somewhere in the country, but they certainly didn’t live next door to me!” While the consensus of opinion when I get out of the city is sadly resigned to, “We knew our neighbors were ignorant!”

For the month of June and part of July, Life Elsewhere. host, Norman B has been revisiting England, his home country. Part of his journey has included interviews which will appear at later dates on the program.

Life Elsewhere is available at iTunes

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network
Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Mondays at 6.00pm & Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week

You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

Make a Donation Button

You Cannot Open A Book Without Learning Something*

The last Saturday in April is Independent Bookstore Day. In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand. In fact, there are more of them this year than there were last year. Take a look at the photo above, it shows just a small selection of wonderful books we have talked about at Life Elsewhere. If you overlooked any of them. we encourage you to pop into your local independent bookstore and search them out. While you are there, help us a little and mention you heard about the book on Life Elsewhere.
*Confucius wrote our headline.

We are very pleased to announce that Life Elsewhere can now be heard on Cornucopia Radio

Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network
Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on I R N

You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

The Year At Life Elsewhere

2015 was an eventful year at Life Elsewhere. We covered a vast array of topics and interviewed a stellar line-up of guests. Beginning in January, Norman B proclaimed Unbecoming, the debut novel by Rebecca Scherm, “One of the best books this year!” Sadly, the year had only just got underway, when news arrived of the death of George Romansic, an important figure in the early Seattle music scene. Norman gave a moving tribute. Photojournalist, Lynsey Addario recounted her graphic stories from the front-line inAfghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur and the Congo in her book, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War. A fitting subtitle for an investigative book on the “plush toys”, better known as Beanie Babies could be The Dark Side of Cute, bestselling author, Zac Bissonnette gave us the detailsEverything you want to know, everything you didn’t know about David Bowie’s songs, were explained by Chris O’Leary the author of Rebel RebelThat’s Not English said Erin Moore in her book on Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us. The legendary Wreckless Eric told stories about his early days at Stiff records. Comedy writer Jon Macks reflected on Monologue: What Makes America Laugh Before Bed. Growing up in the delta of Arkansas, Brandon Wallace, knew only two things about himself: he was called to ministry and he was attracted to the same sex. He talked about coming out and his book, Straight-Face The curious case of Sepp Blatter and FIFA was clarified by Eight By Eight creator Robert Priest. Talented Norwegian singer-songwriter Siv Jakobsen entertained with her music and observations. Heavy Metal guitarist, Marty Friedman talked frankly about life after Megadeth. Award-winning wildlife expert, Gareth Patterson spoke lovingly of his work with African lions and the death of Cecil. Frank Jenkinson shared memories of shooting photos of the then-fledgling and later influential British band, Killing Joke. British-American musician Zuzu caught Norman B’s attention, resulting in an engaging interview. And to round out our year at Life Elsewhere, acclaimed caricaturist Steve Brodner gave his definitive appraisals of the GOP Presidential candidates. 

We know you appreciate the loving effort we make in discovering new music and putting it on the air at Life Elsewhere. Please consider showing us some love in return by making a modest donation — however much you can afford, when it comes from the heart, it’s the kind of gesture that makes what we do worthwhile. To encourage your contribution Norman B, has produced a unique non-stop mix of the Life Elsewhere Music Of 2015. To get your copy of the Life Elsewhere Holiday Gift Mix 2015, click on the “Make A Donation” button below, complete the form, in return, we’ll send you a special code to unlock and download the Life Elsewhere Holiday Gift Mix. But don’t delay, the Gift Mix will only be available for a limited time. Thank you for supporting Life Elsewhere.

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Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
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