Yes, it's yet another newspaper column by newspaper columnist

Nov 21 2010 - 2:42am


It's a heady time to be British.

And not just because of that whole "no-tooth-left-behind" universal dental care thing they've got going on over there.

Several extremely important, exciting events occurred last week that have made our friends "across the pond" happier than a lorry driver on Boxing Day. Whatever that means.

Exciting British News Item No. 1: "Britain's Got Talent" showstopper Susan Boyle is now officially bigger than almost any other recording artist alive -- including Madonna, Elvis and that one guy who recorded his dogs barking "Jingle Bells."

Boyle, you may recall, is the dowdy Scottish bird who took the world by storm last year with her amazing rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from the rock opera "Les Miserables."

Speaking of which: Maybe it's just me, but as far as lyrics go, "I dreamed a dream" seems redundantly redundant. Kinda like saying you "laughed a laugh," or "smelled a smell," or even "burped a burp." Surely the librettist could have come up with something better.

Anyway, earlier this year Boyle's debut album, "I Dreamed a Dream" (original working title: "I Recorded a Recording"), shot to No. 1 in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Then last week, Boyle's second album, "The Gift," mirrored that success, making her the first woman to top both the U.K. and U.S. album charts twice in the same year.

Yes, sir, Susan Boyle really knows how to perform a performance.

Exciting British News Item No. 2: The legendary Brit T.E. Lawrence, more commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia, is smokin' hot right now. Much of that has to do with the arrival last week of Michael Korda's 784-page biography "Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia."

Locally, Peery's Egyptian Theater in Ogden jumped on the Larry bandwagon Friday night when it offered a screening of "Lawrence of Arabia." The 1962 film, starring Peter O'Toole, tells the story of the British Army officer who led the Arab world against Ottoman Turkish rule during World War I. This movie is widely regarded as one of the greatest epics of all time, primarily because the film's run time is only slightly less than that of the actual Arab Revolt of 1916-1918.

Exciting British News Item No. 3: You say you want a revolution? Last week, iTunes began offering songs by The Beatles, in what is arguably the most overhyped story since ... well, since the last revolutionary thing Apple Computer did.

Not really sure why anyone thought this was such huge news. I mean, England's original boy band invaded the U.S. nearly half a century ago, and their music's older than the vast majority of iTunes users. Plus which, it's not like the Fab Four's catalog hasn't been available anyway, lo these many decades. We're talking about tunes that -- even for a total technospaz like me -- could already be purchased on compact disc and simply ripped to one's iPod or mp3 player.

I guess revolutions just aren't what they used to be.

Exciting British News Item No. 4: The newest "Harry Potter" movie was released last week.

OK, technically "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1" is straight out of Hollywood, USA. But considering the books were written by a Brit, the films were shot in England and most everybody speaks in those snooty British accents, I think this one counts for the Redcoats.

Filmmakers wisely figured out how to milk the seventh and final book in the "Harry Potter" series for all it's worth, splitting it into TWO movies.

Studio executives at Warner Bros. are almost certainly doing some major forehead-thwacking for not having thought of this idea earlier. Why, they could have split ALL of the books into multiple movies, dragging this series out EVEN MORE -- to the point where the final few films could have featured a balding Daniel Radcliffe in titles like "Harry Potter and the Darn Kids Who Wouldn't Keep Off His Lawn."

Of course, it's not too late. Studio execs could easily decide to split the second "Deathly Hallows" movie into two films -- "Deathly Hallows -- Part 2A" and "Deathly Hallows -- Part 2B."

Besides, there's always the 3-D remakes, right?

And finally, Exciting British News Item No. 5: Last week, Prince William and "commoner" Kate Middleton announced their engagement to be married, sending all of the United Kingdom into what can only be described as a royal tizzy.

If there's one thing the British love -- I mean even more than blaming us for dragging them into war in Iraq -- it's royalty. And nothing showcases that centuries-old tradition better than a royal wedding.

It's hard not to get caught up in all the pomp and pageantry, even here in the colonies. I mean, NOBODY does a truly royal gala like the Brits.

Or, as the "Les Miserables" librettist might put it: Man, those British really know how to celebrate a celebration.

Call in a call -- or e-mail an e-mail -- to Mark Saal at 801- 625-4272 or

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