Category: Life in the UK

Debating Citizenship, post-Brexit and mid-Trump

US passport image

The entirely unironic leaflet that came with my son’s US passport

Since Brexit, I’ve been asked a few times if I will now apply for US citizenship. Up until this point I had never even considered it. I have permanent residency, and as far as I could tell (although to be honest, I hadn’t even looked that far into it) the only advantage citizenship would give me is the right to vote.

That wasn’t enough to motivate me, especially when the whole idea just felt weird somehow. But these are strange times, and the current climate has challenged me to consider being more cautious. Continue reading

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The Women I Know: Thoughts On The Abuse At Profiles And Being A Bystander

Profiles Theater front

Profiles Theater papered with copies of The Chicago Reader in the days after the article was published

Cox was jealous and controlling, Sara says. He convinced her to destroy the blouses she wore to work because he thought they were too revealing. He would look through old photo albums with her. “You want to keep that one, hon, do you?” she remembers him asking when they came across pictures of her high school boyfriend. “You don’t want to keep that picture. You should just rip it up. If you love me, rip that up.” He insisted on being in the room whenever she talked on the phone to her family. Slowly, Sara felt him chipping away at her personality.

The theater community in Chicago has been reeling this month, after The Chicago Reader published an exposé of alleged abuse at the now-closed storefront theatre company Profiles. The result of a year-long investigation, journalists Aimee Levitt and Christopher Piatt documented a climate of fear, intimidation, and violence perpetuated and enabled by the two men responsible for much of the theater’s output over the two decades: Darrell W. Cox and Joe Jahraus. Continue reading

What the F just happened? For my US friends, a long attempt to Brexplain

map of votes

Map of the votes from the BBC, comparing the 1975 and 2016 referendum results.

The vice provost dropped by again this morning. He asked how I was feeling. “Imagine how you are going to feel if Trump wins in November” I replied. “That’s how I’m feeling.”

Yesterday I wrote on this blog that I didn’t understand what was happening. But last night as I sat at home watching the results come in and drinking most of a bottle of cheap wine, I tried to figure it out.  I have a better answer now to the question my US friends keep asking me.

Bear with me. This is going to be long and personal. Continue reading

Brexit From A Distance

One of the vice provosts dropped by my office today. It didn’t take long before he spun round to the topic of Brexit.

“So what’s going on in your country with this EU thing?” he asked.

“Pretty much the British version of Trump.” I replied.

And not for the first time this week, I found myself struggling to explain the inexplicable.

My sense is that people in the US have only caught on about how serious this is very recently: maybe only since the awful murder of the politician Jo Cox last week. But then to be completely honest, it was probably only a month ago that I realized myself there was going to be a referendum. And even then it took me a day or two to finally admit it was real. It was actually going to happen.

Because the whole idea makes absolutely no sense to me!

Continue reading