Albums »All Our Own Work

allourby Sandy Denny and The Strawbs (1967, 1973)

All Our Own Work is an album for those quiet days when the sun is streaming through the window and you have time to stop, breathe, and listen to the world. It’s a folk gem and features one of my favorites songs ever, “I’ve Been My Own Worst Friend” as well as the heartbreaking classic “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”. Sandy Denny, she of the most extraordinary voice, is amazing here but even songs without her are beautiful.

The album was recorded when The Strawbs were fledgling and unable to secure a record deal. Denny famously went on to Fairport Convention and The Strawbs found success with various genres. The tracks were forgotten until released a decade later. Later still, a reissue included more unreleased demos and outtakes.


See more: Albums

One Comment →
Posted on April 24, 2013

TV Shows »Misfits

misfitsOn Hulu

Imagine if Heroes was raunchy and had a fabulous sense of humor. If that sounds intriguing do yourself a favor and watch the British import, Misfits.

The first three seasons are more fun, entertaining, smart and creative than I expected from a show with the premise of dirty mouthed, horny juvenile delinquents gaining super powers. With the compelling cast and innovative story arcs you might even end up emotionally invested.

Which is why I point out that it’s the first three seasons that are most notable. I’m in the middle of the fourth season now, which begins with just one remaining original cast member and at a point in the story where big mysteries have been solved. While season three suffered the loss of the charming Robert Sheehan, it carried on pretty well without him. Now, though, as much as they are trying, it feels forced, but I’m still watching since its more fun than most things out there.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on January 9, 2013

TV Shows »The Thick of It

on Hulu

I’ve recommended the amazing Thick of It long ago, when I had only seen the first phenomenal short season.

Now Hulu has all four seasons. That means more incredible insults, absurd politics, and Malcolm Tucker. Watch. Enjoy. You will thank me.

And as a bonus, while we are on the subject of absurd politics, please read this completely authentic interview of conservative MP David Davies grappling with his views on gay marriage.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on December 28, 2012

TV Shows »Two Fat Ladies

on Cooking Channel, Sat at 10

You’d be hard pressed to find to women on television as utterly charming as the Two Fat Ladies whose cooking show graced the airwaves in the mid to late nineties.

Their motorcycle and sidecar are as iconic as they are. Their locations and food are thoroughly British. Think castle boarding schools, cricket matches, pheasant terrines and an intriguing anchovy paste called “gentlemen’s relish”.

It was very sad when Jennifer passed away, ending the show in 1999.

Cooking channel had a marathon on Christmas day which I dvr-ed and have been enjoying intermittently since.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on January 14, 2012

Restaurants »King’s Crumb

at the Saturday Smorgasburg, East River Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Even though it seems all sorts of wrong, and despite middle of the night wakings, I tend to be the first person up in our household.

This morning I woke up daydreaming of the King’s Crumb biscuit I was going to have with jam and fresh cream.

It’s been the only time I’ve actually wanted Van to get an early start, but with limited patience, it all worked out and by noon I was stuffing my face with the delectable treat.

The biscuit is big enough to share, the jam is delicious, the fresh cream adds a sweetness, and for lack of a better culinary word – a softness to it all.

As far as I can tell, they are only available at the Saturday Smorgasburg at the East River Park (lucky us!) and those not in the mood for sweet will be pleased with fried chicken and sausage egg biscuit options.

The sweet tea with some sort of fancy bitters is also pretty killer, especially when made into a fantastic Arnold Palmer.

And, as the cherry on top of a great eating experience, the staff is incredibly friendly.

I was so narrowly focused on getting my jam biscuit that I forgot to take my own photo, so the one to the left is from their facebook page.

See more: Restaurants

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on June 18, 2011

TV Shows »The Inbetweeners

British Teen Comedy Guest Written by Dana:

The Inbetweeners give us the funny situations of foursuburban boys in high school.

Unfortunately just had the last season finish, but looking forward to a movie at the end of this year.

See a clip here and here.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on June 13, 2011

TV Shows »Upstairs Downstairs

on PBS

Great grandmothers and I rejoice! A new Upstairs Downstairs! I’ve only seen a portion of the epic first series (I mean, there are only several thousand DVDs to go through) but enough to be excited that it’s come back.

Taking place a few years after the last season ends, it reunites house keeper Rose (played by Jean Marsh, who along with co-star Dame Eileen Atkins, created the series) and 165 Eaton Place. Joining her downstairs are a mischievous maid, a brawl happy footman, a cocky handsome chauffeur, and a tee totalling butler.

Upstairs are Sir and Lady Holland who look good but so far seem drab and the eccentric, well dressed world traveling Lady Maud who brings along a monkey and an Indian secretary.

All the costumes (though Maud’s in particular) are amazing and the decor is grand and lush. There was more than one color scheme already that have me re thinking my apartment.

I am so glad you can still find stuff like this on TV. Somewhere along the way Arts and Entertainment changed from Horatio Hornblower to Pregnant Moms on Drugs. Let’s hope PBS, if it manages to survive the Republicans, never goes down the same road.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on April 13, 2011

Restaurants »Chip Shop

383 Fifth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn

I epically failed to get an appetizing photo of my Chip Shop fish and chips, apologies. But even if it wasn’t photogenic, the battered cod and thick fries were very tasty.

We ordered in at a friend’s house and made a night of it, so I do think everything would have been slightly less soggy in the restaurant itself, but it properly scratch the itch we were both feeling for the British classic dish.

Between the cod, haddock, and plaice, our group ordered some of each and really, there’s not too much of a difference. All are white fish, but my cod was firm and mild.

Chip Shop boasts more English delicacies like mushy peas, fried candy bars and haggis, but it’s hard to add anything to the meal when it’s already all things fried. We did share a great comforting side of baked beans though.

Aside from the Park Slope location we ordered from, Chip Shop has a location on Atlantic Avenue.

Don’t forget the vinegar and go ahead and ask for extra tartar sauce – it’s excellent.

See more: Restaurants

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on April 11, 2011

TV Shows »Sherlock

on DVD

While no one, in my mind, can top Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes, I am happy to report that the man with the most British name, Benedict Cumberbatch (who you may remember from The Last Enemy) makes a splendid modern sleuth in the new Sherlock series.

The Office’s Martin Freeman adds his usual charm and is a nice balance to Sherlock’s acerbic intensity. The first episode is the strongest, maybe because it’s the least silly. Circus performers and mastermind games dominate the other episodes which is in keeping with the original material, and fun in its way, but the real success of the show are the characters more than the plots.

That’s all the good news. Now for the bad:

I am used to BBC airing only six episodes a season but this one has only three… and they still felt the need to divide the season between two discs?! My second qualm is with the arch enemy Moriarty. Where the rest of the cast is pitch perfect (including co-creator and League of Gentlemen alum Mark Gatiss as brother Mycroft) this one is just plain odd and actually cringe inducing. Once you see his final reveal and big evil speech you’ll agree – this is not so much a man to be feared but one you would do anything to avoid at a party.

Still, I welcome this new adaptation and am excited for more.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on March 28, 2011

Restaurants »The Golden Bee

Lake Ave, Colorado Springs, CO

My old home in Colorado stands in the foothills above The Broadmoor, a hotel originally built in the late 1800’s that was the backdrop for lots of childhood memories (from feeding ducks on the pond to making out with a boyfriend named Jeff under on of its huge bushes).

There are several restaurants housed in the hotel, which we frequented as kids (beginning a love for fancy foods) but since those days, the hotel’s become less welcome to the surrounding community save for the exquisitely handsome British pub, The Golden Bee that hosts sing a long ragtime at night and classic food lunch and dinner.

The restaurant, where any vest and monocle wearing gentlemen would feel comfortable came to Colorado in the sixties – a complete 19th century pub reassembled from England. It’s really lovely to look at and the food is great to boot. They serve a jar of cheese butter spread that haunts dreams and offer great takes on traditional dishes like fish and chips and ploughman’s lunch.

A visit isn’t complete without a golden bee sticker (which that waiter tosses at your shirt) and at least a half yard of beer. Jim and I had a great time there during a visit last year.

Click here for the rest of The Golden Bee

See more: Restaurants

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on October 20, 2010

Drinks »High Tea at Kings Carriage House

251 E 82nd St

Kings’ Carriage House only opened a decade ago but you’ll feel whisked away to the beginning of the century with the elegant, cozy and lovely decor. Admittedly a bit clueless about word of mouth spots above 14th street, I found out about this because good friend and fellow mom to be, Grace had her afternoon tea baby shower here. It’s a great place to host a private event and the tea was scrumptious.

We were served tea sandwiches complete with crusts removed including egg and watercress and cucumber butter. Smoked salmon pinwheels allowed me to cheat a little on my pregnancy diet (smoked salmon is a no-no, but one small bite can’t hurt) and mango goat cheese tartlets were surprising and yummy. The teas, chamomile and English breakfast were wonderful and served in the quaintest China I’ve seen since being at my English grandmas house as a kid.

Click here for the rest of High Tea at Kings Carriage House

See more: Drinks

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on September 5, 2010

TV Shows »Callan

Originally Aired 1967-1972

Callan is a serious minded and intelligent spy show that came out of Britain in the late 1960s. Edward “The Equalizer” Woodward plays a reluctant, obstinate but gifted (and handsome) killer who works for a shadowy government agency called The Section. Morals, plots and allegiances are ambiguous and you’ve really got to pay attention to appreciate the twists and plotting.

The thrills here are more subdued and psychological and Callan lacks the gadgets, cars and big explosions of typical spy fare. Not surprisingly, the recommendation came from good friend and spy aficionado Matthew (of the blog Double O Section) who also set us up with the similarly intelligent and complex Sandbaggers, which came to BBC a decade later.

Only the third series, the first in color, and subsequent are released on DVD, so if you do Netflix these prepare yourself to be dropped in the middle of major story arch – but don’t worry, you’ll figure out what’s going on in no time.

Click here for the rest of Callan

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on April 18, 2010

TV Shows »Jam

created by Chris Morris (2000)

Last week I raved about the dark, depraved, arty and inventively hilarious Blue Jam radio show that sprang from the mind of British genius Chris Morris. This week I want to tell you about Jam, the video adaptation which includes recreations of many of the original radio program’s best skits.

Available at amazon UK for region 2 players, the DVD will be a must-have for anyone that becomes a fan of the show and something that those with weak stomachs and an aversion to off color black humor should definitely avoid.

The DVD features spoofs of the typical “special features” and includes “miniaturized version” of the episodes. Clips are NSFW.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on March 14, 2010

TV Shows »The Last Enemy

last enemywritten by Peter Berry (2008)

I wrongly assumed this available-on-Netflix-instant BBC miniseries would be boring and dry, but The Last Enemy is a taut thriller set in a slightly altered modern day where surveillance in the name of protection has become sci-fi-ishly all encompassing.

While the reluctant hero is such a cliche at this point, the archetype is masterfully written and played by Benedict Cumberpatch (a British name if I ever heard one) as an uptight, anti-social germaphobe – perhaps the least likely person to become embroiled in the political mess that his recently killed brother has left behind.

Small mysteries lead to larger ones, and while the series has a bit of a hard time making all the answers satisfying and sustaining the suspense of the first part, it’s over all a truly smart and compelling piece with layers of surprises and intrigue. It’s quite long, so it works perfectly for a hung over Sunday, so long as you have the brain power to follow the action and plot twists.

Click here for the rest of The Last Enemy

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on November 15, 2009

Hunks »Monty Python (Best Hunks)

monty python Here's what I wrote on January 19th:

They are charming, sharp, handsome, hilarious, British, amiable, neatly dressed and likely a bit of a handful.?Altogether quite my cup of tea.?I think it unfair to put here preference for one over another, so I represent them collectively as they are my earliest, enduring crush.

Idris Elba
Sam Elliott
Danny McBride
Warren William
Mr Darcy
Joe Dallesandro

See more: Hunks

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on November 2, 2009

TV Shows »Trial and Retribution

Even with the prestigious name of Lynda La Plante attached to Trial and Retribution (she is behind the absolutely amazing Helen Mirren series Prime Suspect), I didn't know if I could expect much more than a Law and Order with accents. I was so wrong. Each episode is about four hours long and explores the emotions, investigation and the prosecution of a single crime exhaustively. Compellingly, you're never quite one hundred percent positive of the suspect's guilt or innocence until the end.

So far we've only seen the first series, starring Danny Deckchair (AKA Rhys Ifans) as a drunken weirdo who quickly becomes the prime suspect in the brutal murder of a young girl. The violence both implied and shown is a bit much for the weak-stomached, but it doesn't feel gratuitous; though the recurring split screen technique kind of does at times. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn't add anything to the story.

As with most BBC shows, the acting is great and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this intelligent series.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on October 19, 2009

Albums »Please To See The King

please to see the king steeleye spanPlease to See the King is the most Renaissance-faire appropriate of the entire electric folk genre. Every song on the Steeleye Span is traditional and entail stories of betrayal, insanity, the devil, and romance.

Not only are the songs themselves culled from the traditional past of England, they use medieval techniques – like singing into the hallow of their instruments to amplify their voices to eerie effect.

Folk greats Maddy Prior, Tim Hart, Peter Knight, Ashley Hutchings, and Martin Carthy unite to make beautiful unique music here.

My favorite of the lot are Cold, Haily, Windy Night and Female Drummer, and Boys of Bedlam, but we've been listening to the whole album while gearing up for the fair.

See more: Albums

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on September 14, 2009