Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed the most recent seasons of Death in Paradise. Tina ended a reading slump with This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell and continued watching London Kills. Marg reviewed The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan, a novel that describes the challenges of cooking when food was rationed in England.
J. Draper is a YouTube channel run by a London Tour Guide. She occasionally makes history videos that go more deeply into topics than one can generally manage during a tour.
I appreciate the costumes, props, and humor.
This was the first video that YouTube thought I’d like. I really did. Fortunately, most of us don’t have jobs that require us to answer bad faith questions about slavery and its legacy. I think we do have a responsibility to remind ourselves of the good faith answers, occasionally. I’m pretty knowledgeable and I still learned some new things about Africa and Europe.
The video “Was Blitz Spirit Really a Thing?” was helpful while I was immersed in writing posts for the A to Z Challenge. My theme is Washington D.C. in 1943, the setting for my novel about American women codebreakers. In both my A to Z posts and my novel, I sometimes get a little carried away with the nostalgia and romance of World War II, especially the Home Front in both the US and the UK.
I’m not one to deny myself nostalgia and romance when it delights me, but I do want to balance it with reality. I’m not interested in glorifying war, especially at a moment in history when it seems all too possible that we humans could foolishly immerse ourselves again in such a worldwide endeavor.
J. Draper’s video is quirky and fun in its presentation. The video was published in October 2020 — a time when we all had recent memory about the ways that we did and didn’t pull together during the threat of a global pandemic. She uses modern clips to illustrate the parallels.
Those were both pretty serious topics. If you want something a bit more light-hearted, try this one:
It’s obvious that J. Draper works hard to make the long videos interesting, visually and historically, so it’s hard to complain that they are few and far between. She shares TikTok shorts on YouTube more frequently. Here’s one from earlier this month on Hidden Rivers in London — a topic that I explored in the past when I read London Under by Peter Ackroyd.
Have you encountered J. Draper on YouTube? What are your favorite YouTube channels for exploring British history?