Greg Jenner
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Entries by Greg Jenner

Michael Gove Is Wrong: Mary Seacole Belongs on the School Curriculum

(55) Comments | Posted January 6, 2013 | 6:00 PM

History is like property-based programming on Channel 4 - there's just too much of it for the human brain to absorb. All those Romans, and Celts, and Vikings, and prime ministers, and silly hats, and... well, it's just so hard to cram all of it into those tiny heads that...

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A Weird History of Xmas, Part III - Bizarre British Traditions!

(7) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 6:00 PM

Hello again. If you read Parts One and Two, and you're back for more, then you're clearly very strange. If you haven't read them, now might be a good time to do so. Or not. It doesn't really make much of a difference.

...

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A Weird History of Christmas, Part Two - Who on Earth is Santa?!

(9) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 6:00 PM

Hello! So, in Part One, we stumbled blindly through the earliest history of Christmas, and generally stared in bafflement at the intermingling of Pagan and Christian traditions. The bad news is, Part Two also has a similar bent... but the good news is, it's shorter. Plus, there's a bit at...

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A Weird History of Christmas, Part One - Christ's Birthday or Roman Carnival?

(17) Comments | Posted December 16, 2012 | 6:00 PM

Christmas is here! Time to break out the booze, and the Mariah Carey CD, and the tinsel, and the indigestion tablets! For many, there is no better time of year - even in an increasingly secular world, Christmas dominates our thoughts for weeks at a time. We're bombarded in supermarkets...

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A Boozy History: Why I Welcome Alcohol Price Minimum (Please Don't Lynch Me)

(48) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 6:00 PM

I've written some pretty controversial things in previous blogs, and yet somehow this is the one that will most likely incur the wrath of ordinary, mild mannered citizens around the globe. There are few things we get more passionate about that the right to get shitfaced whenever we want. It's...

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The US Election: Please Say It's Finally Over?!

(2) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 2:43 AM

So, America has finally decided, and frankly I'm exhausted. You see, like an idiot, I stayed up all night channel-hopping between BBC, ITV, Sky and CNN, in the desperate hunt for thrilling revelations about Obama v Romney. Mostly, I found myself blearily squinting at the revolving carousel of presenters, pundits...

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Halloween - What's It All About? And What's With the Sexy Nurse Costumes?

(46) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 7:00 PM

Consider this for a moment - there's a fair chance that you, or someone in your family, spent the weekend dressing up like a rotting corpse, and standing in a room with various other ghouls and demonic creatures, munching on eyeball cupcakes and drinking witches' piss punch. Odd, isn't it?

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50 Years of Bond and The Beatles - An Idiot's Perspective

(0) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 7:00 PM

Sometimes, for the lazy writer like me, history flings itself willingly into your lap, purring like a kitten. This is one such moment. On 5 October 1962, two culturally momentous events took place on the same day. No-one at the time would have possessed the foresight to scan ahead 50...

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Royal Nipples and Scrotums: The Triumph of Voyeurism

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 8:33 AM

Right, then. Another week, another royal nudity scandal. If aliens were to start watching us from space, presumably with massive telephoto lenses, they might be forgiven for believing that our royal family are supposed to have clothing strapped to them at all times, lest their exultant flesh irradiate our feeble...

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Richard III - Should We Care?

(23) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 7:00 PM

As I type this, a press conference is underway to announce something rather special. Archaeologists from the University of Leicester believe that they may have just uncovered the mortal remains of England's last Plantagenet king, Richard III, who was killed in battle in 1485 while trying to defend his crown...

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Team GB - Perennial Footballing Underdogs

(1) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 7:00 PM

So, finally they are here. After seven years of counting down the days, the Olympic Games are no longer an expensive and controversial smudge on the horizon. Like, love or loathe them, few can deny the Olympics provide plenty of drama - not all of it sporting - and the...

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A Bizarre History of the Olympics

(3) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 7:00 PM

After what has seemed like a never-ending build-up, the London 2012 Olympic Games are finally upon us, luxuriously draped in all their gleaming regalia. The last time London was hosting, large parts of the city were just rubble, the athletes were housed in the RAF barracks at Uxbridge, and Britain's...

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Why the Queen Makes It Hard to Be a Republican

(64) Comments | Posted May 23, 2012 | 7:00 PM

This week, many Arsenal fans experienced a strange sense of internal conflict. With resentment in their eyes, and confusion in their hearts, they found themselves cheering on their bitter rivals, Chelsea, in the Champions League Final. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend", says the Arabian proverb, and a...

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It's Time to Slay St George's Day

(142) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 6:51 AM

You always know something is going to be controversial when the introductory sentence is an arse-covering caveat. Well, here's mine. This piece represents my personal opinion, not that of the BBC or any of my colleagues. So, without further ado, let's get straight to the fury-inducing, scandalous bit...

Hi, my...

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Easter: What's With All The Bunnies And Stuff?!

(96) Comments | Posted April 5, 2012 | 7:00 PM

As everyone knows, it's that time of year when we celebrate the religious festival dedicated to St. Easter, the patron saint of chocaholics. Wait, no, that can't be right... Ummmm.

In fact, Easter is just one of many confusingly indistinct holidays that blend weird paganism, Christian theology, and modern marketing...

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Losing Our Marbles: Should Britain Return the Elgin Marbles to Greece?

(25) Comments | Posted April 3, 2012 | 7:00 PM

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. As discursive stink-bombs go it's not often a headline act, but there are few controversies more likely to...

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How to Be Popular: Historical Tips for Leaders

(3) Comments | Posted March 21, 2012 | 7:00 PM

Modern politics is tougher than a leather sandwich. We live in a 24 hour world, where the news media has transformed itself into the living embodiment of the Ancient Egyptian Ouroboros (a mythical serpent that devours its own tail, in an eternal loop of ill-advised munching). Stories that once had...

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How to Fix Broken Britain: Some Terrible Historical Suggestions

(7) Comments | Posted March 16, 2012 | 7:00 PM

In a previous piece, I argued that it's counter-productive to utilise long-dead historical figures as cheerleaders for current political causes. I made the point that King Arthur (the totally fictional defender of Romano-Celtic England/Wales/Wherever) has largely inspired a legacy of death and destruction in our history, and has proved something...

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Modern Politics: What Would King Arthur Do?

(19) Comments | Posted March 13, 2012 | 7:00 PM

They call him the "Once and Future King". Legend has it, Arthur resides in eternal sleep on the Isle of Avalon, awaiting the day when England needs his help to fight off some cruel calamity...

Well, I don't know about you, but I wish he'd bloody wake up already. How...

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Distrust for the Police is a British Tradition

(9) Comments | Posted March 8, 2012 | 6:00 PM

There is a deliciously banal absurdity to the news that Rebekah Brooks, the disgraced tabloid editor at the epicentre of the phone-hacking scandal, was loaned a police horse by the Metropolitan Police.

It's the sort of story one expects to see in an episode of The Thick Of It...

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