Tag Archives: UK

Tuesday, 25 February 2020, Is Pancake Day


“The Fight Between Carnival and Lent”, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pancake Day has never caught on in the US, and that’s an American deficiency that should be corrected. It’s celebrated around the world, but especially in the British Commonwealth, on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent.

a

In towns throughout the UK, schools shut down at 11 AM, and roads are closed to traffic so that local citizens can race through the streets, tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in frying pans as they go.

b

If you happen to be in London, which is to Pancake Day what New Orleans is to Shrove Tuesday, but with fewer next-day regrets, TimeOut has posted a list of some of the pancake races, pancake eating contests, and create-your-own dream pancake celebrations.

Up until a year ago, you could also watch teams from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the media competed for the title of Parliamentary Pancake Race Champions, in support of the charity Rehab. The fun relay race has apparently become yet another casualty of Brexit bitterness.

c

If you’re in the US, you can still celebrate! IHOP, which I believe is a public interest organization of some sort, has got into the spirit of Pancake Day by offering a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to every guest on 25 February 2020.


Disclaimer

(This comment was neither sponsored nor endorsed by IHOP, formerly known as the International House of Pancakes, not that I’d turn down some coupons for free stacks if they offered them in exchange for the wide exposure this blog post will give them. I mean, I’m an Influencer, dammit. My recommendation will make their pancakes sell like…well, off-hand I can’t think of a good analogy.  I don’t know, maybe Popeye’s chicken sandwiches* or something.)

*Which I also like and would gladly recommend, for a small sum.

Frozen Medley by Oxford’s Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue is Oxford University’s award-winning all-male a cappella group. At Christmas every year, the group releases a charity single for the benefit of Helen & Douglas House, the world’s first children’s hospice. It provides end-of-life and bereavement care to children and young adults, and to their families.

The 2019 single is a medley  of songs from Frozen and Frozen 2.

You can download the single from Bandcamp. The list price is £1.50 ($1.94), but you can pay more if you’d like to increase your contribution to the hospice.


Minor note: Good medley, but why on earth did they chop off the end of “Let It Go” without singing that final killer line: “The cold never bothered me anyway “?

Another Christmas Ad from the UK: The Argos “Book of Dreams”, with an 80s Flashback

This is the 2019 Christmas ad for the Argos “The Book of Dreams” catalogue.

The little girl in the video is nine-year-old Nandi Bushell, who has been drumming since she was three. She has her own YouTube channel.

Here she is a year ago, joyously covering Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times”.


When one of my nieces was a little older than the girl in the videos, I told her father that I’d promised to buy her a drum kit for Christmas, but only if she guaranteed that she’d practice drumming at least two hours a day.

I couldn’t make good on my promise, because shortly after I made it, he and his family moved, and didn’t leave a forwarding address.


Bonus

Here’s the full video for Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”.

I had some friends who loved Simple Minds until the band made the unforgivable mistake of becoming popular with the mainstream. That meant that they’d sold out, man, and were no longer acceptable to the fashionably unfashionable crowd that I hung out with at the old 9:30 club.

Me, I could never remember which musicians I was supposed to sneer at in any given week, and went on blissfully playing my tapes of New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84) and Sparkle in the Rain despite the band’s fall from counter-cultural grace.

John Lewis (and Waitrose) Christmas Ad for 2019

In the UK, the appearance of Christmas television ads from department stores and supermarket chains is a very big event, big enough so that the commercials themselves get extensive news coverage and analysis.

One of the most eagerly anticipated Christmas ads is the one for John Lewis, the department store chain. This year, John Lewis partnered with Waitrose Supermarkets to create an ad that features an excitable little dragon whose enthusiasm for the season sometimes, uh, misfires.

The 2018 British Christmas Ads: Sainsbury’s “The Big Night”

In the same way that American advertizers screen some of their most creative (and expensive) ads during the Super Bowl, British department stores and supermarkets go all out on television advertizing at Christmastime. While this year’s crop isn’t as memorable as some of the ads in recent years—that 2014 John Lewis Penquin ad!—this one stands out.

It’s this year’s ad from Sainsbury’s, which is one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains. The ad is an early favourite for the Best Christmas Ad of 2018.

Full screen recommended.


The song, btw, is the New Radicals’  “You Get What You Give”.