As every vaguely attentive schoolboy knows, King Harold Godwinson was killed by an arrow to the eye at the battle of Hastings in 1066, it was Sir Walter Raleigh who first introduced tobacco to England in the late sixteenth century and the period of history stretching from 1485 to 1603 is commonly referred to as the Tudor dynasty.
Having studied English from primary school through to university, I noticed one assignment recur time and again. From GCSE to A Level, kindergarten to BA, I was repeatedly asked to write about the person I admire most. The only person I possibly could choose given the nature of the assignment. A survivor in every sense of the word. My grandfather. Zigi.
I have been, for as long as I can remember, a staunch republican. I skipped the Royal Wedding and went on holiday to Florence, home of the Renaissance Republic, as it seemed the most delightfully pleasant form of protest. I think monarchy is an outdated and inherently absurd form of political power that contradicts every philosophical tenet in my heart - the idea that you can only be born into true royalty is at total odds with modern Britain's democratic principles and emphasis on meritocratic social mobility. Yet, there is a whopping great problem with my frothy-mouthed rhetoric... I bloody love the Queen!
My, how hard it used to be to find a game of poker. You could call round all your friends to see who was available - but you needed a large pool of friends who knew how to play the game, and enough of them free on the right night. Even if you managed that, you were stuck with the awkwardness of taking your friends' money.
There is nothing 'soft' about the UK's arts and creative industries, two of our biggest economic assets. Neither is there anything soft about our continuing work through the recent unrest in the Arab world and the British Council remaining on the ground during the last decade in Burma, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Recently I came across an article that women still do more housework than men , so I started asking my friends if they did more housework than their men. The answer was yes. My experience is the same. Yet when it comes to money I split everything down the middle with my boyfriend, and so do my friends.
My band, Sweet Billy Pilgrim have just released a new album. Semantically speaking, I know that statement is a little naive; it might even sound disingenuous given that music is consumed in so many different ways now.
Hi, my name's Greg, and I'm embarrassed to be English... Now, before you say anything, it's not just because of Piers Morgan. Alas, Britain is a union under threat, and if Scotland withdraws in 2014 then that union will likely collapse. Under such circumstances, I will be forced to call myself English. This will cause me acute concern, partially because Americans will confuse me Hugh Grant, but mostly because of this... I am ashamed of the St George's Cross flag. I'll pause there, so you can fetch the kindling for my pyre...
So it happened. I can tick one of my musical aims for 2012 off the list. It's number three - possibly the most important, definitely the wettest (see what I did there?)
The unwritten rules of decorum state it is impolite to discuss sex, politics or religion at dinner parties. I would like to add one more topic to that list - cultural repatriation. Now, just months from the Olympics, the campaign is being stepped up once more for the return of the Elgin Marbles to the Greek nation...