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Showing posts from December, 2012

What is EDM? Who is it making rich?

Only the squarest will not know that EDM (electronic dance music) is what hipsters are tuning in to. And crucially dance music, as it was originally called in the UK in the 90s, has finally taken off in the USA. The big breakthrough came when concerts/event/raves/parties moved out of night clubs - only open to those over twenty-one in most American states - to stadiums where the top EDM DJs command vast sums for individual appearances. So lucrative have these club/stadium nights become that some of the biggest names - like members of the Swedish House Mafia -  now appear in the Forbes Rich list.

Oldsters & the defiantly uncool will puzzled as to why playing records - or mixing sounds if we are to get technical - can earn upwards of $100,000 for a 90 minute show. But across the world these new sultans of swing will be helicoptering between stadia, hoovering up fortunes as they do.

Personally I'm going to give bossing the decks a miss this year. I've made my millions and hu…

Where does the term fiscal cliff come from?

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery. Mr Micawber in Charles Dickens David Copperfield (1850)The 'fiscal cliff' is the phrase used by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to describe the situation US economy will face in January 2013 if political agreement is not reached in Washington. At that time a series of tax rises (the expiration of the 'Bush tax cuts') and spending cuts (part of a previous agreement) will take effect.

The core problem is that Democrats and Republican are split over the approach that should be taken to deal with the unsustainable level of US government debt ($16 trillion and rising) US economy.  Put simply the Democrats see the solution in raising taxes and the Republicans in lowering public spending,

Both sides are hemmed in by the 'debt ceiling' - a legal limit to the amount that can be borrowed - and the …

What is Hogmanay? And Auld Lang Syne?

Scots/Scottish English word for the last day of the year - the 31st of December in the Gregorian calendar.For Scotland the party is the showpiece of the Christmas season and is followed by two days public holiday to recover from the national hangover,
The most widespread national custom is the practice of 'first-footing' which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coalshortbreadwhisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into the middle of January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year. Traditionally, tall dark men are preferred …

What is a filibuster?

from the Dutch term vrijbuiter (pirate), in addition to the Spanish word filibustero (freebooting) Where a minority party 'talks out (and therefore blocks)' a piece of legislation in parliament, with the result that a vote does not occur. Is frequently used by both parties in the US Senate where either one has few than 60 seats. Famously used by James Stewart in the 1939 Hollywood film Mr Deeds Goes to Town (see above)


Read more about filibusters
What is a Republican? And a Democrat?

What is a pantomime? Did Elvis ever do one?

Every British person is familiar with the Christmas pantomime or panto from a young age. It consists of a traditional story - Aladdin, Cinderella etc - presented as a musical. The magic ingredient is audience participation - famously screaming 'He's behind you!' when the villain looms behind the oblivious hero.

Today the panto a standard career option for many British actors - and is very popular in Australia & New Zealand, too. Sadly Elvis never performed in the UK but there is now a Presley/Panto connection. The King's wife is the latest American celebrity to come to London to join the fun.
Several American actors have taken to the British tradition of pantomime in recent years. Presley follows former Baywatch stars David Hasselhoffand Pamela Anderson to the south-west London theatre. Happy Days actor Henry Winkler also made his debut there in 2006 as Captain Hook, a role he has since returned to three times.
Presley said she was "delighted" by the opp…