The Florida Page – September 2012
I FOUND myself in London unexpectedly during the Olympics first week. Since I wasn’t there for fun or Olympics, how upliftingly lovely to be greeted by the official Olympics band at Heathrow Arrivals. There was also a gaggle of official Olympics pink T-shirted welcomers – some for athletes, some just for us ordinary folk. That really started Proud to be British feelings flowing though my veins. We all know the Brits pulled off an organizational coup as Olympic hosts and everywhere I took the Tube it ran without hitches or overcrowding across London. That there could be one prior soupcon of doubt as to our competence irked me hugely. Plus it was daft: under its belt, the British nation has 1,000 years of pageantry, colossal coronations and state funerals (Princess Diana, Winston Churchill et al), spectacular Royal Weddings beamed around the world, two prior Olympics and other major choreographed events like Madonna / Michael Jackson / Live Aid shows in Hyde Park, not to mention Spanish armadas, World Wars and colonization of virtually the planet! That lot takes a bit of organisation methinks. The Olympic Committee would hardly entrust their baby a third time to a nation of duffers. Non doubter and Miami-based Pullitzer winning humour columnist Dave Barry was sent to cover it for the Miami Herald and we chatted waiting to board the same Virgin flight out. The mop-headed smirkster ended his final column from London with the headline BRITS PUT ON A JOLLY GOOD OLYMPIC SHOW.… “London was truly a great host city, gracious and welcoming. The thousands of British volunteers were as earnest and helpful at 2am on the 11th day as they were at noon on the first. Londoners were uniformly cheerful and patient. So Brits were genuinely proud of the way things turned out. As they should be.” Cheers Dave. But that same article paid us a greater compliment from one of America’s most famous wits: These people have an excellent sense of humour. I mean ALL of them. Whatever the joke is, Brits get it. Cheers again, Dave – a case of Mushy Peas is on its way from me. (OTHER: I also noticed how Cockney Rhyming Slang has moved with the times. A curry was always a Ruby, named after 1950’s singer Ruby Murray. Now young Brits call it an Andy Murray – of course).
■ SQUASH beloved by Brits. Looking for somewhere to play? Americans in Florida do not play squash. It’s a very esoteric British interest. There are virtually no squash courts in Florida. Boca Raton has maybe the only squash court, where numerous Brits and South Africans play. It’s in the Boca Pointe Country Club, has four courts and a well-established league, with reasonable fees to encourage new members. Call avid fellow Brit squash player there Tim Bligh on (954) 655-3948.
■ The UK’s Richard Barker the “Incredible Hypnotist” is appearing for lunch and dinner shows September 21 at the Windsor Rose Tearoom in Mount Dora. The show is a comedic delight and sure to have you both amazed and entertained, says the promo. For details and reservations phone (352) 735-2551.
■ BRITISH RASPY-VOICED LEGEND Joe Cocker with guest artist Dave Mason of Traffic. Joe Cocker has one of the truly great rock voices of all time! With hit songs such as With A Little Help From My Friends, You Are So Beautiful and The Letter, he’s been a major player in the music business for more than forty years, his unmistakable bluesy soul voice a musical trademark in its own right. This Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning artist has sold millions of records all over the world. Dave Mason the English singer-songwriter/guitarist from Worcester, first found fame with the UK rock band Traffic. Two amazing artists make for one amazing concert! At King Center in Melbourne Florida on October 3, 2012. Ticket info: call Box office (321) 242-2219.
■ BRITISH-AMERICAN Chambers of Commerce hold business and social events throughout the year. Phone each direct for current info.
BROWARD/PALM BEACH BACC The Broward BACC has just expanded to include events in Palm Beach County. For example, on Friday, September 28 there will be a Ryder Cup Cocktail Reception at the Boca Raton home of some BACC Members. $20 for guests, free for members. Call President Roy Yates (954) 942-7330 and ask him to email you details for this and future events.
ORLANDO BACC offices (407) 226-7251.
TAMPA BACC. Call (813) 221-7243 and ask for Joanne.
ALSO: Florida Association of British Business (FABB).
■ JETHRO TULL’S Ian Anderson, singer, flautist, and composer is touring in support of his latest effort Thick As A Brick 2, the long awaited sequel to his critically acclaimed and highly successful 1972 original Thick As a Brick, a continuous piece of music charting the difficulties of a child growing up. The album was a world-wide success, including a Number One spot on the American Billboard chart. According to Ian, “Unlike the original, the mood of this album (TAAB2) is not really a spoof. It’s not a funny thing; some of it is quite heart-aching and serious, and sometimes a bit intellectual, and sometimes a bit upbeat and amusing.” MIAMI BEACH at Fillmore September 18 and Palm Beach’s Kravis Center September 19. Information and tickets at LiveNation.com
■ BRITISH CLUBS CORNER. The British-American club of Cape Coral is long-established, with numerous quintessentially British social events and meets in the Ft Myers area. Call Marci Gower on (239) 691-4745. (Thanks for the thoughtful sympathy card from your club). ELSEWHERE: Looking for British clubs in your corner of Florida? No space on this page to list them all, so email me your name, city and contact phone and I will reply with details. Put UJ Club info on subject line.
■ BRITISH BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Acclaimed British artist Leonard Pardon is a Master in the field of the “faux” decorative artform, with over 50 years in the business. A longtime resident of Miami, the beautiful, original work of this talented artist can be found in the homes across Florida, other states and around the world. He has worked for many of the Royal Family, including the Queen at Buckingham Palace, the late Queen Mother and in many celebrity homes. See his past work on Leonard’s website www.pardonfauxfinishes.com Marbleizing, Wood Graining, Murals, Trompe L’oeil paintings, “Gesso” finishes, portraits, scene paintings and more. If you’d like him to work his magic at your location, call Leonard direct on (786) 525-4626 to discuss your needs.
■ COLUMN SUBMISSIONS: Just opened a British business in the last three months? Email details for possible publication here to email@example.com Your name and daytime phone required.