November 30th, 2009 admin

There’s quite a comprehensive review of We English by Michael Cockerham over on his blog Blue Filter.

Thanks Michael for reminding me of Kate Schermerhorn‘s fantastic book America’s Idea of a Good Time (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2001), which presents an affectionate take on Americans at play to expose the surreal underbelly of the United States.

Picture 1


November 23rd, 2009 admin

I’ve just returned from an enjoyable weekend at Paris Photo where I was amused by how many people were photographing the photographs on display. It was happening on every stand with people photographing prints with their mobile phone cameras, digital compacts and even with high-end SLR cameras. What exactly do people do with these images?



October 13th, 2009 admin

I’ve just come across this video on You Tube by Bint Photographs where for some curious reason they have produced a slideshow of photographs from We English set to All I Want Now (Rain on the Roof) by Margaret MacDonald!


October 1st, 2009 admin

For those of you that couldn’t make it to The Photographers’ Gallery last night, I’ll be giving a talk at HOST gallery on Wednesday 14 October. The evening will include a screening of We English along with a book signing.

Wednesday 14 October, from 6.30pm
Entry: £5 Foto8 Members, £8 all others
Email to reserve your place at any of these events

HOST Gallery
1-5 Honduras Street
London, EC1Y 0TH
+44 (0)20 7253 8801


September 16th, 2009 admin


In Watching the English (Hodder & Stoughton, 2005), Kate Fox, a social anthropologist examines English social stucture and explains away the perception of the English as “Cold” or “Unfriendly”. She covers our obsessions with privacy, understatement, humour, anti-boastfulness, excessive politeness and all the other motives and societal rules behind the way we act.

Read extracts in google books here.


September 14th, 2009 admin

I spent yesterday hitting some of the new photography shows that opened this week in Manhattan (see my last post). One of the highlights was ‘Nature as Artifice: New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video’ at Aperture gallery.

If you’re in New York, it’s well worth a look. Of particular interest are Edwin Zwakman’s huge color prints (see image below). Although deceptively realistic, they are in fact miniature sets created and photographed in a studio. Gert Jan Kocken records the aftermath of a factory explosion in the town of Enschede through photographs made from the same vantage every few years. It’s also great to see Hans van der Meer’s football photographs.


Here’s the blurb-

“In keeping with the golden age of Dutch landscape painting four hundred years ago, a new visual statement on the landscape has emerged from the Netherlands. Expressed through the modern mediums of photography and video art, this new imagining of the Dutch landscape is urbanized and altered, depicting the Netherlands as the most artificial country in the world.

Coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Henry Hudson to New York Harbor aboard the Dutch vessel Halve Maen, Aperture Gallery is pleased to present this show curated by Maartje van den Heuvel, a major survey of new work by contemporary Dutch artists who, over the past twenty years, have taken contemporary Holland as their point of departure.

Affected by a global reordering of production and industry, the agrarian function of the Dutch landscape is making way for suburbanization, recreation, industrial and business parks, and transportation infrastructure.  “The country is in the throes of a continual process of spatial planning and reorganization,” said van den Heuvel. “The radically artificial nature of things like greenhouses, waterworks, polders with gleaming new designer cities, and geometrically patterned nature areas… often imbue the Dutch landscape with a distinctive visual appeal.”

The exhibition features the work of Hans Aarsman, Wout Berger, Henze Boekhout, Driessens & Verstappen, Marnix Goossens, Arnoud Holleman, Gert Jan Kocken, Jannes Linders, Cary Markerink & Theo Baart, Hans van der Meer, Gábor Ösz, Bas Princen, Xavier Ribas, Gerco de Ruijter, Frank van der Salm, Hans Werlemann, and Edwin Zwakman.

Exhibition on View:
September 10-October 15, 2009
Monday—Saturday, 10:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m.

Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
(between 10th and 11th Avenue)
New York


September 1st, 2009 admin

The Richard Long exhibition ‘Heaven and Earth’ at Tate Britain ends this Sunday (6th September), I highly recommend seeing it.

Picture 1

Dusty Boots Line Sahara 1988. Private collection © Richard Long

“This major exhibition is Richard Long’s first survey in London for eighteen years and is a unique opportunity to understand afresh the artist’s radical rethinking of the relationship between art and landscape. Long’s work comes from his love of nature and through the experience of making solitary walks. These take him through rural and remote areas in Britain, or as far afield as the plains of Canada, Mongolia and Bolivia. Long never makes significant alterations to the landscapes he passes through. Instead he marks the ground or adjusts the natural features of a place by up-ending stones for example, or making simple traces. He usually works in the landscape but sometimes uses natural materials in the gallery. His work explores relationships between time, distance, geography, measurement and movement.”

You can watch an interactive film about Long’s exhibition here.

Read a review of the exhibition by The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones here.


August 12th, 2009 admin

You may have noticed a few changes to this website over the past couple of days (including the colour change). Please bear with me while pages are added and new content is uploaded. Thanks!


June 22nd, 2009 admin

I was amused (or should that be bemused) to find that Amazon is already listing We English for sale on their website, despite it not shipping until September, and with a 37% discount! How do they do that?

Amazon.com_ Simon Roberts_ We English_ Simon Roberts, Stephen Da


June 15th, 2009 admin

“A riotous journey through four waves of immigration from the 17th century to today. As the French Huguenots, the Irish, the Jews and the Bangladeshis in turn enter the chaotic world of Bethnal Green, each new influx provokes a surge of violent protest over housing, jobs, religion and culture. And the emerging pattern shows that white flight and anxiety over integration is anything but new.”


England People Very Nice is a new play by Richard Bean currently on show at the National Theatre in London, which appears to be getting some good reviews-

‘A giddily enjoyable evening…what could matter more than a play which makes audiences look at themselves, which provokes people, through laughter, into feeling uneasy as they laugh.’

‘A seriously hilarious play, a provocative, swaggering, humane, edgy comedy of immigration, integration and disintegration…Unmissable.’
The Sunday Times

‘Who would think that unsexy subject, waves of immigration into Bethnal Green, could generate as much enjoyable ebullience as it does in Richard Bean’s new play?’
The Times

‘Wise, brave and true…an exuberant production that fills the Olivier stage with seething life.’
The Daily Telegraph

‘A very funny but outrageous comedy…makes you laugh and then wonder whether you should have.’
Financial Times

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