The Daily: British Bake Off
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Daily: August 21

We scour the news so you don't have to

Written by Stephanie Rihon
Martin Luther King 50 years on
One week today will mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and delivery of Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech. The fight for equality between African Americans and the white citizens of America was at its explosive height in 1963. The original march showed 250,000 black and white citizens march for equality along the National Mall in Washington DC. Unfortunately, it would be 4 years until President Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act but even that did not give African Americans the complete equality they demanded and deserved.

One week of festivities in Washington will begin today with lectures and discussions on the African American position in society. The week will culminate on Wednesday 28th August, where church bells will ring at 3pm at the same moment Dr King spoke his doctrine. Following this, President Barack Obama will speak of the 50 years that have passed since the March on the same steps where Dr King delivered his original message. He will be accompanied by former presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Being the first black president of America makes this a poignant historical moment showing the country's progression that was catalysed by King's words fifty years ago. The commemoration will continue with the opening of a Global Freedom Festival on the National Mall joined by Civil Rights activists such as Reverend Al Sharpton and members of Emmett Till's family – arguably the first publicised victim of white supremacy at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s.

However, several feel that this is not a series of commemorative events but a week of 'unfinished business'. The recent controversy of the Trayvon Martin ruling spark debate over whether the Freedom Struggle chapter can truly be closed in the history books. Half a decade has passed since King dreamt of the day 'this nation [would] rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed'. This week will be the time to question whether this has truly happened.

Sea Buckthorn: the Next Superfood
Blueberries and Kiwi's may be forced off the shelves with the impending arrival of the new Scottish superfood: sea buckthorn. The form of weed is found on the Scottish coasts near the East Lothian sand dunes and is commonly seen as an invasive prickly weed. However, the bright orange berries appear to have higher vitamin C levels than kiwi's and more vitamin E than soya beans. Scientists at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh are currently trying to devise a way of using it in drinks and foods but are finding problems harvesting it. The berries can have a bitter taste if they are not taken care of properly which would ward off potential consumers so they will not be on our shelves anytime soon. Yet, interestingly the sea buckthorn is commonly drizzled on desserts and cereals in China, Norway and Russia. A local farmer in Cuddybridge, says that he regularly sells freshly pressed apple and buckthorn juice but it is only available in September to February when the fruit is in prime season. Move over, berries the buckthorn is slowly climbing up the superfood-chain!

Raw Literature: Elmore Leonard's Legacy
With a decade spanning over sixty years that includes 45 novels and numerous screenplays, it is suprising to think that Elmore Leonard is still shakily placed within the league of the great American novelists. Leonard specialised in Western novels at the start of his career but eventually turned to crime novels making the heart of his literature the characters rather than plots.

Born to humble origins in New Orleans, Elmore eventually relocated to Detroit and was inspired by Hemmingway's style and the bursting potential of American cinema at the time. His first big hit was 'The Bounty Hunter' in 1953 about the typical American cowboy. In 1966, however, Leonard's talent hit the big screen with the release of 'Hombre' starring Paul Newman marking his transition to crime novels whilst Western pictures were still at their height. Leonard was certainly unconventional, he was more interested in the jazzy 'sound' of his writing; 'the whole thing has a sort of beat to it'. Critics constantly undervalued Leonard's skill, making it difficult to place him firmly within the American greats alongside Fitzgerald and Capote. However, all agree that he was able to accurately capture how the American lowlife looked and sounded in 200 pages, often using researchers to investigate the backstreets of Detroit to add credibility to his novels. Sadly, Leonard died of complications from a stroke at the age of 87 yesterday.

The man who was known as the 'Dickens of Detroit' wrote to the mantra that 'if it sounds like writing, rewrite it' which will certainly secure Leonard's place within the American literary canon.

British Bake Off
As of last night, those lovely words have graced our television screens again. Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and a baker's dozen of contestants have returned for their fourth year on the air. Every week, the contestants take part in three challenges and as a result one is named the star baker and the other eliminated. Well, you know the drill, all 6 million of you attracted to the show. Last night's challenge showed Paul Hollywood's grizzly side with one baker having repeatedly cut himself during the baking process for Hollywood to respond with 'we're judging the cake'. The Simon Cowell of the culinary world? Certainly.

The success of the series is undoubtedly due to the warmth and cosiness of the tent, mountains of cake and national treasure that is Mary Berry which evokes the atmosphere of a 1950s village fete. During times of economic downturn, this is just what is needed on the silver screen with that warm cup of tea on a Tuesday evening. Some critics are even suggesting the Bake Off have a two hour segment alongside The Voice on the BBC's Saturday night lineup. Whatever happens to the British Bake Off, one thing is sure; BBC2's ability to make something esoteric addictively entertaining for audiences.

Admirable view from the Arch
Prime Investors Capital (PIC) purchased a 99 year lease for £60 million to transform Admiralty Arch into a five star hotel. The hotel will have approximately 100 rooms, as well as a private member's only club. Robert Davies says this new investment will 'return an iconic piece of London's architecture to its full glory'.

The Grade I listed building was erected in 1911 to commemorate Queen Victoria's death and currently houses the Cabinet offices. However, there has been conflict on the road to securing this investment deal. The council of Westminster filed a complaint about taking the Arch, a viable building, to house more commercial properties instead of social housing. PIC has agreed to provide £600,000 for affordable housing in the area. Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet office, has said that this significant building 'shouldn't be sitting empty in the Government's estate costing £900,000 a year to run'. The Arch will be restored to its 'former glory' continues Maude. So, 5 star accommodation with a perfect view of the Mall and Buckingham Palace? Save that for the next view of the Royal Wedding!

Photo credit: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire


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