Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Private Eye

The satirical English magazine Private Eye was created in the mid-fifties at Shrewsbury School, in England. Four friends, Richard Ingrams, Willie Rushton, Christopher Booker and Paul Foot edited a magazine called “The Salopian”, Private Eye’s forerunner, which is still edited today as a biannual magazine talking about the progress and development of the school. When they left Shrewsbury School, Ingrams and Foot went to Oxford, where they met their future collaborators, amongst whom Andrew Osmond and Peter Usborne, who will become the business managers of Private Eye in its early days.

The transition from The Salopian to Private Eye did not occur without any difficulties.
The first major change was obviously the nameAs regards to the origins of the magazine’s name, note that “private eye” is a rather informal expression which means: “a private detective”, i.e. an investigator privately employed to obtain information which is not easily available to the public. 
This expression illustrates the main goal of the magazine, which aims to uncover some unusual pieces of information about politicians or other individuals or groups. One of the collaborators of the magazine at the time of its creation, Andrew Osmond, drew his inspiration from Lord Kitchener’s 1914 recruiting poster: he was initially interested in the pointing finger. However, the noun “Finger” was rejected, which is why he chose “Private Eye”, in the sense of someone who “fingers”, e.g identifies, a suspect.

The increase in the magazine's popularity mainly came from the anecdotes and scandals round the issues. Private Eye’s first editor, Richard Ingrams, had a reputation for taking risks, sometimes considerable ones. The biggest battle he had to face was against the business man Sir James Goldsmith (i.e. Sir James Fishpaste, as the Eye called him) in 1976. The latter was accused of being part of a conspiracy to protect Lord Lucan after he disappeared under suspicion of murdering his children's nanny. Goldsmith tried to destroy the Eye by suing not only the magazine but also the distributors and the wholesalers in an attempt to prevent anyone from selling the paper. Ingrams indemnified all of the recipients of these writs and, by doing so, lost a lot of money. After this affair, a rally of support was organized by the British public to support the booklet.

As the Eye’s editor since 1986, Hislop has become the most sued man in the legal history of Great Britain. 
In 1989 , the magazine editor had to give 600 000 pounds to Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, which led him to deliver one of the best quotes in legal history:  “If that is justice, then I am a banana!”. 

However, the magazine may not be proud of the “MMR affair” (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) in which they had exposed a possible link between MMR and autism, leading to a drop in MMR vaccination. This accusation was seen as dangerous and misleading as later on it was proved that there was absolutely no link between the disease and the deficiency.

Even though there have been some changes since the beginning of their magazine, Private Eye's collaborators keep a conservative mind.

In this digital era, the paper has remained non-digital. Being badly printed on low quality paper is part of its appeal and gives the impression that it is a gossip sheet. But the journalist and magazine publisher Andrew Neil has doubts about the longevity of the magazine if it does not go digital. 
Indeed, it has become increasingly difficult to get a scoop because of the emergence of the Internet.

Private Eye is a satirical magazine which has become part of the great English institutions alongside cricket, proms and the major public schools from which its founders mostly sprang. Its popularity comes from the scandals that it engendered thanks to its anecdotes, rumours, accusations and criticisms about individuals or groups. The Eye's formula has changed very little in half a century, but “is there still a place in this world for something that is trying so hard not to change ?” (BBC Radio 4)

Sources  : private_eye_vintage_documentary_on_the_thorn_in_the_side - -

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Postman Pat


Postman Pat is a children's television series. It is possible to see it in England as well as in many other countries such as Scotland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and so on. It is aimed at children from 3 to 5 years old.
The series was directed by the British animator Ivor Wood. John Cunliffe wrote the original scripts and chose a postman because with this job you can visit the countryside and you can meet a lot of people.
So Pat Clifton is a postman who has to deliver the letters in the busy village of Greendale, but there is always somebody who has a problem and who needs him to solve it. In this village you can find a post office, a shop, a meeting house for residents, a railway station, a farm and a café. Our postman lives in a cottage with his wife Sara and his son Julian. Pat also has a pet: a black and white cat named Jess. If you see Pat, you see his cat - he is always with him.
According to the story of each episode, Pat uses different vehicles such as a helicopter, a Mini Van, a motorbike, a truck and a snow mobile that have been added to his customary red car.


The first episode of the original series was broadcast on BBC1 in 1981. It achieved great success, which led the crew to write a second series. Pat Clifton is the hero of this cartoon. The story takes place in a village in the valley of Greendale. There are other people in the village like a postmistress, a farmer and an inventor.
In the first episode of the first series, Postman Pat helps the farmer's child, Kathy, to find her doll. It is her birthday and she isn’t happy. But Pat is going to try to make Kathy smile again. First, he goes to the church and looks for the doll with Reverend Tim. They don’t find anything except a glove. Then he decides to return the glove to its owner. The latter looks for the doll in his house too, but finds only a tool that belongs to Ted the carpenter. There, they find a watch. After that, Pat goes to the grocer's, where he gives the watch to its owner. And suddenly, in the grocer’s van, he finds Kathy's doll. He is happy and goes straight to the farm and gives the doll back. Kathy is very happy and gives her best smile to Pat. And now his day is over. He comes back to his forge cottage where his wife Sara and his son Julian are waiting for him.


The music theme of the series was composed by Bryan Daly and originally sung by Ken Barrie, an actor, musician and singer who performed the voices of postman Pat and of a lot of other male characters of the series. He is joined by a lot of talented well-known artists such as Carole Boyd, an actress who performed most of the female voices.
But why do children love Pat's stories so much? It is because the characters are friendly, kind and hilarious. The stories are varied and illustrate the real problems that might arise between the villagers of a town. The colours are attractive, too. The music is captivating and easy to remember for pre-school children. The model animation is an example of the simple look of the early 80's with brighter sets, quite realistic puppets and lip-synched character voices.

The movie

In May 2014, a 3D film was produced in the United Kingdom. In it, a robot takes over the postal service because Pat is busy taking part in a talent show audition.
In 2006, Postman Pat received the award of the best Pre-school Animation Series. We can say that Postman Pat is a popular cultural phenomenon.
In 2008, a new series was launched, called Postman Pat Special Delivery Service, and in which Postman Pat receives special missions such as rescuing a runaway cow or delivering giant ice cubes.


In England, if you ask people if they watched Postman Pat when they were children, many of them will answer that this series has marked their childhoods and that some of them still watch it with their children or grandchildren. People all over the world can find books, learning books and colouring books about their hero Pat and if they want to sing with him, no problem: they can buy the CD!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Schools of The Air

 Résultat de recherche d'images pour "alice springs school of the air"

The schools of the air, also known as correspondence schools, provide education for children in remote locations of Australia. The courses are given through the air, more precisely through waves. In the past, they were aimed at primary and early secondary levels only, but have now expanded to upper classes and adult education.
                Before the 1950s, the children from remote areas had to go to boarding schools or were educated by mail. However, a reverend called John Flynn created the “Royal Flying Doctor service” (RFDS) because of the urgency of giving the remote communities a medical service. In 1946, Adelaide Miethke – the vice-president of the South Australian part of the RFDS – discovered that children in remote communities were all taught to use the RFDS, so she got the idea of schools which would use an identical system: the Schools of the Air. A few years later, this system became official and by 1956 it had reached the other Australian territories. By 2005, there were more than sixteen schools of the air, covering 1.5 million square kilometres. Only Tasmania and the Australian capital do no use this system.
                The programme used in the schools of the air is identical to that of traditional education. The teachers can even modify their courses if some children have special needs. Teachers try to visit their pupils at least once a year and parties are organized to enable the pupils to participate in school activities with their family.
                In the past, the only way for students to reach the schools of the air was to use pedal radios. Fortunately the technology has now evolved and the courses are given through transmitter-receiver, which enables interactions between both teacher and pupil. Thanks to a camera, an electronic blackboard and the satellites, the teachers can give their courses and know in real time the questions and the answers of the class. Discussions are also possible because each pupil can hear the other.
                In order to make this kind of school work, an effective administration is necessary. Each school of the air has its own post office where school materials are sent to the students. The same system is used for the library: if they want to borrow books, they have to ask for them to be sent.
Finally, among the schools of the air, we can name “Alice Springs School of the Air”, which is called “the biggest classroom on earth”. This school – which is strewn over 1.3 million square kilometres – was created in 1951 and counts more than 145 pupils. These children are of the Outback, where the demography is one of the weakest on earth with less than 0.1 inhabitant per square kilometre.
               Schools of the air can be considered as an icon of Australian culture because they have been created specifically for the geographic situation of this country, which has numerous remote places. Nowadays, this system is used in other countries, inspired by Australia.

Fany Chaveriat, Gloria Coscia and Noémie Martin



John Lewis Christmas advert

John Lewis Christmas advert

  1. When we focus on the message behind the images of the 2015 ad, we can clearly see the distance between the Earth and the Moon as a metaphor for the gap between the generations. The little girl’s attempts at sending a gift to the moon could be seen as attempts to get closer to this poor lonely old man. And for Christmas, magic happens and she finally succeeds in reaching him. And for the global meaning of this advertisement, the slogan is quite evocative: “show someone they’re loved this Christmas” can also be understood as “Christmas can keep us all together”. Every year, John Lewis partners with someone. Last year, he worked with Age UK, which is an organization that helps millions of elderly people who tend to isolate themselves in a bubble of loneliness without speaking to anyone.
  2. Many people live their lives surrounded by friends and family, but a lot of elderly people can find the Christmas period more depressing and lonely than enjoyable. They do not live as far as the moon but it is as if they did, which is the message that last year’s John Lewis Christmas ad conveyed, his last year advertisement was about a young boy and his penguin discovering love. The slogan of the 2014 ad was “Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of”. The British department store chain worked in collaboration with Age UK for last year’s advert, in an effort to denounce and fight the loneliness of older people. John Lewis’ Christmas adverts always ask their viewers to give someone else a little bit of love on Christmas day. The AGE UK is born from the fusion of “Help the AGE” and “AGE for concern”.
  3. “Every year, John Lewis releases an advert in the period before Christmas, and in each of them, they try to leave a message to the world: “show someone a little affection and love this year”. John Lewis is a chain of upmarket department stores operating in Great Britain. Their first advert was in 2007, and it has since become some kind of an annual tradition with the adverts becoming more and more popular throughout the years: now, they are known all around the world. The 2015 advert is the most recent one and tells the story of a young girl trying to contact an old man living alone on the moon. She tries to contact him in many ways but her attempts to catch his attention fail. On Christmas day, the little girl receives a special present and sends it all the way up to the moon thanks to balloons. The old man finally gets to see Earth on Christmas Eve with the help of the telescope that the girl sent him, which makes him cry with joy. This advert just wanted to show that no one should be forgotten for Christmas.
  4. The John Lewis adverts have become iconic to the UK because it’s something that the inhabitant are used to see every year, it’s some kind of signal or countdown to Christmas day. Moreover it’s sound known to everybody because of the songs that are used in the ads for instance Ellie Goulding or Lily Allen. 

Noéllie Delande, Adèle Deuxant and Jonathan Gislain

Cornish Pasty

The history and superstitions

Pasties have existed in England since the 13th century. Before, it was one of the upper class' and royalty's favourite dish. There are many sorts of filling, such as venison, beef, lamb, seaford with eels, salmon. However, it is only between the 18th and the 19th century that Cornish pasty appeared. It was eaten by the miners who worked In Cornwall's tin and copper mines. Moreover, they needed this kind of dish to be able to work hard during the whole day. In those very same centuries, meat was scarce. Thus, they put more vegetables. Carrot was a ''mark of an inferior pasty''.

It is said that ''it is bad luck for fishermen to take Cornish pasties to sea'' ; that the Devil would be frightened by becoming a ''filling of a Cornish pasty'' if he crossed the River Tamar in Cornwall.

The Cornish Pasty Association

It has been created by a group of Cornish pasties producers concerned by the fact that there was a number of products called «Cornish pasty» being sold across the country. Despite the fact that they had no resemblance to the original thing. Since 2011, the Association administers the ''Protected Geographical Designation'', granted by the EU. Thus, pasties that are made somewhere else than in Cornwall cannot be called “Cornish” pasties anymore.

Cornish pasty industry is very important for local farmers. Cornwall is known to grown the main ingredients contained in the Cornish pasty recipe such as potatoes, swede turnip, onions. More than 120 million pasties are produced every year. Today, it is easy to find a Cornish Pasty because they are made in small and large bakeries or factories and then distributed to a variety of locations, from Cornwall shops to supermarkets.

The recipe

Here are the ingredients to make a Cornish Pasty. For the shortcrust, we need 450g of flour, 125g of lard and unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon of salt and 125ml of cold water. For the filling, we need 300g of diced beef skirt (or lamb), 450g of diced potato, 150g of diced swede and sliced onion, 1 beaten egg, salt and pepper. For the pastry: rub the butter, lard and a pinch of salt into flour. Add water and bring the mixture together until the pastry becomes elastic. Then, put it in a cling film and put it to the fridge for an hour. For the filling: roll out the pastry and cut into circles. Put the vegetables and the meat on the pastry, add the seasoning. Then, brush the border of the pastry with the beaten egg. Meet both sides at the top, then pinch them together to seal. Glaze the whole pasty with a beaten egg. After all, bake in oven at 200°C during 50 minutes.


The origins of the Cornish pasty are unclear. Moreover, it is popular world-wide due to the spread of Cornish miners, and we can find variations in Australia, the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Ulster...