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British Expat Newsletter:
19 January 2005

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Fame
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Joke and quotation

This week

This week the spotlight falls on fame. Andy Warhol reckoned that in the future everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes. Irene Cara sang that with fame, people would see her and die. David Bowie sang that fame puts you there where things are hollow. Whatever that means.

We had our own brush with fame over the New Year. One of Woman magazine’s reporters contacted me back in October to say they were planning to do a feature on how expats celebrated the New Year where they were, and asked if he could interview me.

I’m not actually that keen on interviews and publicity. For one thing, I value my privacy and don’t like being thrust into the limelight. I can see why people might agree to interviews if they want to publicise something they’ve just done, or a cause they believe is important. But it’s very hard to be sure what the journalist (or his or her editor) is going to do with whatever you say.

Having worked as a journalist for a while, I know what happens in the rush to meet print deadlines – although I can say hand on heart that I never “dumbed down” what people said to me. And I certainly never introduced faulty spelling or punctuation into their copy. (I wish I could say the same of all my editors.)

On the other hand, one time when I was on holiday in the UK from my job working for CARE Australia in Northern Iraq, I agreed to a newspaper interview to promote a charity record for CARE UK. I wound up becoming the story myself, complete with front-page headline, quotations out of context, you name it. (If you’d like to read the whole story of how this happened, it’s here: I Am Not Walter Mitty

Anyway, I agreed to do the Woman interview by email and tell him all about our last New Year celebration in Delhi – we’d hosted a Scottish meal for a few pals – if he’d agree to give britishexpat.com a plug.

End of December, cue lots of excitement as my UK-based pals hit the newsstands in the search for the magazine and my photo. (You have to hand it to the publishers – put enough readers’ stories in the magazines and you’re bound to make sales from family and friends looking out for them.) Sure enough, there we were. And even though the facts came out a bit garbled, they did at least manage to get www.britishexpat.com right (unlike the Grauniad in a previous interview). So maybe it was worth it after all.

[Update: While I was compiling the Bizarre Searches, the postman brought a cheque for 25 quid from Woman magazine for the interview I gave them. Definitely worth it, then!]

Mind you, mass communications mean that it’s much easier to be famous these days. Go back a few years and you had the “Generation Game” and “You Bet!” on TV. The explosion of reality TV and cable channels mean that it’s much easier to get yourself on the box. And of course, there’s the Internet. Some of you may remember Mahir Cagri from Turkey, whose “I Kiss You!” website became a cult overnight back in 1999. And our pal Trevor Dykes in Germany, who’s an amateur palaeontologist, was recently startled to find his family website listed by a university textbook as a recommended source for students.

Have you experienced your fifteen minutes of fame yet? If you have, why not post on the Community Forum about it?

Virtual Snacks

Just a couple of suggestions if you have a little time to spare:

In keeping with our “Fame” theme, ever wonder “Whatever happened to… [insert the has-been celebrity or public figure of your choice]?” Of course you do! Well, here’s your chance to find out. WEHT.net offers an online compendium of “Whatever happened to” and “Where are they now”-type stories. A bit of a US bias, but there are still plenty of people you’ll suddenly remember. Plummeting plumber Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards? Scot rockers Big Country?
www.weht.net

Following on from Trevor’s fame, there’s been a lot of discussion about “Creation, evolution, either, neither, or both” on the Opinions/Politics board. Here’s a fun site about the survival of the fittest (or the early demise of the stupidest).
Darwin Awards

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • british lard marketing board (8)
  • english morris dancing music to buy (5)
  • monkey footprints (4)
  • barclaycard table (3)
  • name twenty footballers who have 4 letters in there (sic) surname no more or no less than 4 letters who have been capped by england since the 1966 world cup (3)
  • about cairgorms (3)
  • love ness money (3)
  • advice on choosing snooker balls (2)
  • brits fish and chips (2)
  • seat belt trivia (2)

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

Kay
Editor
British Expat Magazine

Quotation

“What is fame? The advantage of being known by people of whom you yourself know nothing, and for whom you care as little.”
– Lord Byron, poet (1788-1824)

Joke

One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the orang-utan was reading two books – the Bible and Darwin’s Origin of Species. In surprise he asked the ape, “Why are you reading both those books?”

“Well,” said the orang-utan, “I just wanted to know if I was my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother.”

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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