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Monday, 30 September 2013

Greece: Building On Forest Land


Contentious new bill (Kathimerini)

The Enigma of Nic Jones; Acoustic Guitar Style



BBC iPlayer documentary

Programme informaton:

"Nic Jones is a legend of British folk music. His 1980 record Penguin Eggs is regarded as a classic. In a poll by the Observer a few years ago, Penguin Eggs was rated number 79 of the 100 Best Records of All Time, just above Station to Station by David Bowie and just below Let It Bleed by The Rolling Stones - amazing for an LP that never actually charted. His iconic song Canadee-i-o has even been covered by Bob Dylan.

Many believe that Nic was destined for international stardom; his funky, rhythmical and percussive guitar style and smooth singing meant that his music crossed musical barriers.

In 1982, Nic Jones was at the peak of his career, but driving home from a gig one night a near-fatal car crash changed his life forever. Almost every bone in his body was broken and neurological damage meant that he would never play his guitar in front of an audience again. Apart from a couple of tribute concerts, Nic Jones disappeared from the public eye for thirty years. Then in the summer of 2012, encouraged by friends and family, Nic returned to the stage to play several festival performances accompanied by his guitarist son, Joe Jones and keyboard player Belinda O'Hooley. The concerts were a resounding success and for his old and new fans, a moving comeback for their musical hero.

The film is the emotional story of Nic's return but also demonstrates why he is so revered, not just in folk circles but across all music genres. Nic has inspired a whole generation of younger artists including BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winners Jim Moray, Eliza Carthy, Sam Carter and Blair Dunlop. They all appear in the film, as does American singer/songwriter Anais Mitchell. Folk legends Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Chris Wood and ex-Fairport Convention founder Ashley Hutchings are also featured".

The Oxford American Magazine; The Southern Music Issue (Louisiana)



Here's a great quarterly magazine, The Oxford American- "The Southern Magazine of Good Writing"

Issue 79 , The 2012 Southern Music Issue, had a fascinating article about Chris King by Amanda Petrusich, and the cover CD contained some amazing music from Louisiana, much of it I'd never heard before (ok I knew Professor Longhair, Robert Pete Williams and Dr. John).

Try these three tracks for starters (YouTube videos):

Sugar Bee, Cleveland Crochet and Hill Billy Ramblers

Real Live Living Hurtin' Man by Johnny Adams

Reconsider Me, Margaret Lewis

I'm going straight down to Louisiana!

Subscription details


A past issue featured Howlin' Wolf on the cover, and an article by Peter Guralnick:




Sugarbag Man


Images of the Sugarbag Man in Aboriginal Art

I have a print of Peter Nabarlambarl's “Sugarbag Man (Dreaming Story)”, etching on cotton paper, limited edition number 47 of 75.

What Byron really did for Greece...



...and why it still matters!



Read here

Professor Roderick Beaton, Cambridge Festival of Ideas

24 October 2013

Book here

See also: Byron in Greece (blog posting)


 Max Beerbohm caricature, 1904

Greece is The WORD, South Bank Centre, London, 19 October, 2013


South Bank Centre information here

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Matchboxes: The Origins of my Travel-Bug?


Before I entered my teens, I used to love beach-combing whilst walking the dog along the tide-line beside the Solent towards Warsash, collecting flotsam and jetsam, and matchboxes with labels from all over the world. Here are the labels from a few, thrown overboard from ocean-liners. Symbols of freedom and voyages to exotic places!









From "On the Origins of My Travel-Bug"


I think of Southampton.
Summer holidays.
Maybe it was
The matchbox labels
The exotic boxes
Washed up on the shore
From all over the world
With the flotsam and jetsam
From trawlers and transatlantic liners.
We walked the beach
To Warsash
Combing the tide-line,
Restless, curious.
Maybe it was those matchbox labels,
Or the boats forever leaving,
Those ships all setting out to sea
On voyages, mind-voyages...
The ships, lit up
Along their decks,
Waiting for their freedom.
Such an air of expectation!

***

Another variation on the same theme:

Matchbox Labels

I walk the beach
Beside the Solent,
As ocean liners come and go
(Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth!)
I know their flags, their draft, displacement.
I collect the jetsam
Thrown overboard,
Flotsam from the ends of the earth.
Matchbox after matchbox,
The labels show exotic places,
Strange languages and signs.

Once I found some old brass kit-
A navigator’s aid.
Beside the Solent
Something lit inside-
The burning need to travel.

”I ain’t got no matches
But I got so far to go-
Would a matchbox hold my clothes?”

***

Dorset: The Cost of Houses, Dorchester and Weymouth


Dorset Echo article

UK House Prices

Weymouth in Old Postcards; Saucy Seaside Postcards; English Humour





Saucy seaside postcards



Rear of first postcard on left, above






Shajarian, Iranian Maestro Singer


A new sound for some of us (YouTube)

"I see no friends around, whatever happened to every friend?

...What has come of loyalty? Whatever happened to every friend?

For years no gem has been dug from the mine of loyalty..."

© Shahriar Shahriari



Iran's new President Hassan Rohani admires Shajarian's voice.

Shajarian chants

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Swanage, Public and Popular Art


I went to Swanage today, in the hope of seeing a collection of significant paintings at the Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre. I was particularly interested in the Alfred Palmer and Job Hardy works. It turns out they can currently only be seen online, as the new Heritage Centre has no room to display them. This BBC information was rather misleading. Perhaps I didn't read it carefully enough.

I wasn't (of course) expecting to see work by Augustus John, Charles Conder, Paul Nash, Henry Tanworth Wells or Leslie Moffat Ward, but I was hoping to soak in the atmosphere of the town and an environment which has attracted so many artists. Swanage still has plenty to offer.

There's the Art Trail, and the Heritage Centre holds some excellent loose-leaf files compiled by Robert Field, containing many photocopied reproductions of local landscapes: Swanage, Purbeck, Corfe Castle, Worbarrow Bay and Lulworth, as seen by a host of different artists. I will certainly be going back, when the Heritage Centre puts some of the landscapes on display in connection with the AONB Drawing Inspiration project. Hopefully I will be able to make an appointment to see some of the stored works much sooner.

In the meantime, the results of a less serious short walk along the seafront and on the pier:








Friday, 27 September 2013

British Satirical Humour, The Now Show, "We're Britain- We're Better Than This!"


The Now Show sketches made me laugh - (BBC Radio 4,  iPlayer) at a time when there is little to laugh about. Brilliant comic writing, political satire and sure-fire delivery.

"An obliquely comic look at the week's news"- especially the Party conferences.

"Steve Punt and Susan Calman present a comedic look at the week's news, providing a topical mix of stand-up, sketches and songs that tell you everything you need to know. With Jon Holmes, Laura Shavin, and Jonny and the Baptists".

Produced by Alexandra Smith.

Well done!

Greece Updates



The New Yorker

Social Security, thorny problems (Kathimerini)

To Vima

Monitoring racist violence

Banks and bad loans

Unchartered waters (Helena Smith, The Observer)

Prosecutor's Report (EnetEnglish)

New anti-Racism law? (Reuters)

Nikos Dendias


and some sad news for Corfiots

Zisimos (Corfu) closing 30 September

Greece: New Website in English- Macropolis



Worth trying, perhaps following:

http://www.macropolis.gr/

Nick Malkoutzis, Inside Greece

About Macropolis, aims, independent analysis

Greece: The Days of Pavlos Fyssas, "Out of Control"


YouTube, tribute and memorial video (Eleftherotypia multimedia team)

The Story of Wallpaper


BBC 4 TV documentary

Dorset: Cranbourne Chase, Artists


"In the shadow of the Chase", by Vivienne Light

From Dorset Life

Dorset County Museum, past exhibition

Greece: On Debt Forgiveness


Wall Street Journal

Ancient Greece in Dorset: The Lenthay Green Mosaic, Apollo and Marsyas


Apollo on the lyre, Marsyas on the double flute.

See mosaic here


Related: Euripides at Kingston Lacy

Swanage, Gateway to the Jurassic Coast:




Reynolds Stone, Engravings


Some engravings by Reynolds Stone

More

A corner of a showcase at the Dorset County Museum (containing one of the most familiar engravings or mottos I have known, throughout my career, in the form of a book plate in British Council libraries):




Thursday, 26 September 2013

Music To Their Ears


Found art (recycled violin bridges on driftwood)


John Glover, Representing Nature and the Tasmanian Eucalyptus Tree




In the round-up session of the "Australia: Land and Landscape Symposium" I had a query about a point made by Andrew Wilton in his talk on "Australian sublime".

He had said that Glover was noted for his disciplined observation of nature and its accurate representation. I would not disagree. But are "the serpentine curves of the gum trees" in Glover's paintings really that accurate?

Ron Radford also remarked that Glover was noted for his Claudian landscapes before he migrated to Australia, but that he became remarkably realist once in Australia, his trees being distinctly recorded.

I well remember that in the 1990s many Australian art historians, when discussing the landscapes of European colonial period painters, would argue that Glover's gum-trees were exaggerated in their sinuousness.


An example:

"The sinuosity of gum trees, which although the gums of Mills Plains do exhibit this tendency, is an obvious exaggeration and a weakness of the larger landscapes" (John Glover, John A. McPhee, 1977, p. 60).

Another example, on Glover's sketches for "A Corrobee: of Natives near Mills Plains":

"Glover has, in sketch number 14, anthropomorphised the tree, imbuing its limbs with a Medusan quality so that they writhe like snakes...serpentine branches become a distinguishing feature of his Aboriginal landscapes." Ian McLean, in John Glover and the Colonial Picturesque, 2003, p.128.

A further example:

"He was an acute observer of the Tasmanian landscape, and yet his compositions always balance the explorer's interest in the exotic- he was evidently so struck by the sinuous curves of the eucalyptus that his trees have a strange and rather eery animation- with an uncomplicated sense of being at home, embodied in the peaceful cattle grazing beneath those trees". Christopher Allen, Art in Australia, From Colonization to Postmodernism, 1997, p.28.

Tim Bonyhady discusses the matter in Images in Opposition, Australian Landscape Painting, 1801-1890 (1985, pages 118-119):

"Glover was the first artist to be preoccupied with the shape of the eucalypts. Although he captured the openness of these trees, Glover always rendered them more picturesque by exaggerating their sinuous structure".

He goes on to say that many colonists were nevertheless struck "by the accuracy with which he depicted the eucalypts". "Masterly", "incomparable", was the view of one visitor to Glover's home. A newspaper critic, writing about Glover's sketchbooks, praised the trouble Glover had taken to acquire the knack of drawing gum trees, "with their gnarled trunks and curling snaky branches".

In the introduction to his book (p. xi), Bonyhady reviews the literature on Australian landscape painting:

"In much of this literature, especially that dating prior to 1945, the dominant issue has been the success or failure of the artists in conveying the shape of eucalypt trees and the sharpness of Australian light...commentators in the late nineteenth century rejected the work of most colonial artists as tarnished by their European training and from early in the twentieth century increasingly came to see Tom Roberts and his associates as the first artists who had truly rendered Australian scenery".

Australian art critics have often suggested that early European or British painters visiting or living in Australia (whether as convicts, officials or settlers) found it difficult to come to terms with the Australian light and landscape, seeing and perceiving nature and composing landscapes under the influence of Claude Lorrain and others, and thus failing to represent it accurately or with innate, native-born sympathy. They would impose or unconsciously superimpose an English sense of order, for instance.

This view seems to have been taken on board by current British critics and art historians (and not just about colonial era painters), at the same time that Australians appear to have changed their minds.

Waldemar Januszczak writes: "With much overuse of Courbet's palette knife, the Dorset-born Roberts managed to make the coast at Mentone look passably like the landscape at Weymouth" (The Sunday Times Culture Magazine, 22 September, 2013).

Apparently Glover's sinuous and serpentine eucalyptus trees are now considered to be extremely faithful and unexaggerated representations of the gums in the area where he was painting in Northern Tasmania. This seems to be the view of  Angus Trumble, an expatriate Tasmanian art-expert, currently Senior Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale Centre for British Art, who was at the symposium.

Ian Henderson of the Menzies Centre agreed with me that in the recent past a common Australian critique of colonial painters' depiction of eucalyptus trees and other Australian fauna and flora was indeed close to my recollection (and readings) of prevailing opinion at the time.

I haven't studied the eucalypts in the north of Tasmania. Whether the branches and trunks are exaggerated by Glover or not, it is still possible to argue, as John McPhee does, that an exaggerated feature can be used in compositions "as a formal constructional element and in some cases for its expressive qualities" (1977, p. 60).

Either way, Glover can be praised for his accurate representation and interpretation of nature.

A small issue, perhaps, but one which exposes some enduring post-colonial national sensitivities in both countries.

In his foreword to the magnificent "John Glover and the Colonial Picturesque" (David Hansen et al) 2003), Robert S McKay writes: "Through it we can experience the first sustained transformations of European landscape conventions towards a vigorous and uniquely Australian vision".

See this posting  on A corroboree of natives in Mills Plains, 1832

"The giant native tree, silhouetted against the sky, is bent and dying as the sun sinks, and so becomes a metaphor for the fate of the ancient race".

A friend in Australia sent some feedback on this posting, saying that he'd always thought the key aspect of Glover's work was 'the fictional presence of his Aborigines'. Tony Bonyhady commented that the paintings of early landscape painters like Glover "consistently show the Aborigines in places from which they had been expelled and pursuing a way of life which they no longer enjoyed" (Images in Opposition, p.24).

Of rather greater significance than the shape of the eucalyptus trees...but Bonyhady points out that until 1945 the dominant issue was how successfully the artists conveyed the shape of the eucalyptus trees and the Australian light. The subject has not gone away. The eucalyptus tree is not just a decorative or subsidiary element of landscape composition, πάρεργον (any more than the olive or cypress trees are minor details of Edward Lear's Ionian Island landscapes), in the sense used by Thomas Blount in 1656:

"Landskip, Parergon, Paisage or By-work, which is an expressing of the Land, by Hills, Woods, Castles, Valleys, Rivers, Cities, &c as far as may be shewed in our Horizon. All that which in a picture is not of the body or argument thereof is Landskip, Parergon, or bywork".

As Sarah Thomas remarked at the symposium, locality and landscape are back with a vengeance.

I'm now reminded of some lines from John Betjeman's belated poetic Christmas Thank-You letter to two members of the British Council staff in Sydney, February 1963, following his first visit to Australia in 1962:

"I should have sent you Christmas Cards. I know

How in the Commonwealth these small things count,

These little thoughts that forge the loving chain

Which binds the gum tree to the English oak".


It's time we all went back to John Ruskin's Modern Painters:

Try Volume I, Part 2, Section VI:

OF TRUTH OF VEGETATION.—CONCLUSION.
CHAPTER I.
OF TRUTH OF VEGETATION.***

Four John Glover paintings at the "Australia" Royal Academy Exhibition:

JOHN GLOVER
A Corroboree of Natives in Mills Plains, 1832
Oil on canvas, 56.5 71.4 cm
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Morgan Thomas Bequest Fund, 1951

JOHN GLOVER
View of Mills Plains, Van Diemen's Land, 1833
Oil on canvas, 76.2 114.6 cm
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Morgan Thomas Bequest
Fund, 1951

JOHN GLOVER
A View of the Artist's House and Garden, in Mills Plains, Van
Diemen's Land, 1835
Oil on canvas, 76.4 114.4 cm
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Morgan Thomas Bequest Fund, 1951

JOHN GLOVER
`Cawood' on the Ouse River, 1838
Oil on canvas, 75.5 114 cm
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart. Presented by Mrs
George C. Nicholas in memory of her husband, 1935 - See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/visual-arts/artworks-in-londons-royal-academy-show-australia/story-fn9d3avm-1226722071425#sthash.L8Jx65IG.dpuf

Update on Bush Fires


Australia, Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Hetti Perkins, Art + Soul



Franchesca Cubillo told me about Hetti Perkins' Art + Soul  when I was at the excellent "Australia: Land and Landscape" Symposium at Australia House in London yesterday. It would be great to have it screened on British television at this time. Franchesca reminded us that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Yirrkala Bark Petition. More about Bark Petitions.



Hetti and Rachel Perkins (YouTube)

Hetti Perkins on Art + Soul (YouTube)

Hetti with musicians (YouTube)

The Charlie Perkins Trust, Scholarships

See also, some reviews of the "Australia" exhibition at the Royal Academy

Monday, 23 September 2013

John Pouncy, Dorsetshire Photography


About the Pouncy Family (Dorset Ancestors)




Dorset, A Bird's Eye View, Mid 18th Century


A view of part of Dorset, etching by George Bickham the Elder

"Bird's eye view of Dorset: in the foreground a coach driven along a road "From the Crown Inn Dorchester", three men, two on horseback, one on foot with a dog, look over the river Stour; a rocky landscape beyond with the coast from Poole to Lyme and inland towns from Christchurch to Axminster; annotated with topographical references".

The World's Best Courses Online - and Free


Some of these free online courses come highly recommended.

I've just signed up for one of them.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Robert Louis Stevenson Gives Away His Birthday


Read his letter here

We should all do the same!

Other travellers with the same birthday as Robert Louis Stevenson

Saint Augustine, 13/11/354
Dylan's song   Joan Baez and Bob   Joan solo

Edward Trelawny, 13/11/1792

Mary Henrietta Kingsley, 13/11/1862

Greece Property Tax Negotiations


Kathimerini on Troika talks

EnetEnglish

***

What was the outcome of this story about Spain and expats leaving?

Spanish video

Italy on same track

Greece: State Property Auction Site (Public Real Estate)



Roll up!

Australia: Land and Landscape at the RA (and Barry Humphries; Sunday Times Culture Section)

Today's Sunday Times Culture magazine (22 September):

 

Two and a half pages devoted to Barrie Humphries, two pages devoted to the Australia exhibition at The Royal Academy, reviewed by Waldemar Januszczak. The Australian High Commission will not be amused.

Tanya Gold is very unfair about Barry Humphries' paintings. She says "his paintings are terrible". I can't agree with that judgement, for starters, even though I consider that his poetry has greater merit. She does acknowledge that his sculptural work "anticipated Damien Hirst by 40 years".

Barry Humphries has written about the RA exhibition (in The Spectator):

"Australian landscapes from the colonial period and late 19th century diffuse a feeling of isolation, melancholy and exile, emotions which can still sometimes be felt in the suburban streets of Melbourne on a late Tuesday afternoon in August".

Strange to think Barry found Melbourne so boring in his youth, now that it has been judged, for the third time in a row, the best city in the world for liveability.


To add insult to injury, Waldemar Januszczak suggests that a lot of the art on display in the RA Australia exhibition is "weedy, provincial and all too European"; "lightweight and provincial". "The wrong people became artists". Dorchester's Tom Roberts "manages to make the coast of Mentone look passably like the landscape near Weymouth". "The crassness that characterises these repetitive responses to Australian landscape is also in evidence, alas, in the figure paintings of the times".

He writes scathingly of one "ugly painting" by Albert Tucker, and of "a complete absence of grace or sensitivity" in a particularly powerful Arthur Boyd work:


 He  reserves his most barbed criticism for John Olsen's Sydney Sun.

On Aboriginal paintings: "There are dull canvas approximations, knocked out in reduced dimensions, by a host of repetitive Aborigine artists making a buck...the Australian art world has managed to create what amounts to a market in decorative rugs...spotty meanderings...tourist tat".

Don't be put off by his review or by Adrian Searle's in The Guardian recently. I haven't seen the show yet, but I have seen many of the works on display during the course of seven years living in Australia.

Another controversial review, by Brian Sewell, The Evening Standard.

After we have all had ample time to absorb years of intelligent, critical writing inspired by post-colonial theory, and by "the Empire writing back", it takes one aback to come across fresh evidence of the unreformed prejudices and attitudes redolent of a metropolitan cultural superiority complex, of putting down and disparaging the "Colonials", whether they originated in Europe or were born in Australia.

It's already twenty years since "Aratjara, Art of the First Australians" came to London, to the Hayward Gallery.

List of artworks on display at the RA 'Australia' exhibition (The Australian)

RA promotional video

I can't wait to see "Australia: Land and Landscape" at The Royal Academy. Whether you prefer the landscapes of John Glover or Rover Thomas, the creations of Ian Fairweather or Queenie McKenzie (I love all these artists' work), don't fail to see it before December 8th! Ignore all jealous poms and the "strewth, cobber" jibes. NB I am not Australian. Take care not to rile Ned Kelly.



Earlier posting

Posting with some works illustrated

Update: The Empire IS writing back! (Sydney Morning Herald)

The Australian

Thanks for the links, Jeremy.

See also:

Financial Times, Visual Arts:
September 20, 2013 7:09 pm

‘Australia’ at the Royal Academy: dreamtime meets the incomers
By Jackie Wullschlager

Longing belonging, Hossein Valamanesh, 1997



Paul Nash, Dorset,The Blue Pool; Other Works


Fascinating article from Dorset Life

Paul Nash, Swanage (Tate Gallery)

Larger image

Paul Nash, 25 Photographs









Works by Paul Nash

James Russell blog

Andrew Causey, 2003 (pdf), Modern Artist, Ancient Landscape

From Swanage with love. The Guardian (2007)

Swanage Seen, Art Trail


View twelve panels here

Art Trail

Drawing Inspiration, Artists in Dorset, 1800-1960; AONB


Report on the Drawing Inspiration project, the cultural legacy of artists working in Dorset

AONB Images Directory (pdf)

Crystal Johnson- see paragraph 5.2.6, for Crystal's reference to my own book project "ART AND THE DORSET LANDSCAPE" 

I have been researching the subject of the book - "Art and the Dorset Landscape" - for nearly three years now. NB The approach of the book and the target audience have changed somewhat since Crystal produced that summary.

More from Crystal


Nairobi, Kenya


Following this unfolding tragedy- appalling terrorist attack on shopping centre in Nairobi

MSN

BBC

Telegraph

Kenya Standoff (BBC Update)

Siege Over (BBC Update)

Nina-Maria, CCTV on Al ShabaabRecruitment Issues: Published on Sep 25, 2013

"The White House says it is troubled by claims that Al-Shabaab has been actively recruiting militants in America. The allegations follow revelations by the Kenyan government that up to three of the gunmen in the attack on Nairobi, were from the US. Nina-Maria Potts reports on how the Somali-American community is reacting".

Westgate Siege (BBC)

Surviving Westgate (New Yorker) 

On Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor (The New Yorker)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Greece: State-Owned Property as Collateral for Loans?


Kathimerini report

Creative Dorset, Capturing Dorset


A brief overview of some notable artists who have painted Dorset

John Hubbard, American Artist in Chilcombe, Dorset


Information about John Hubbard, plus video

The video:

John talks about his life and work in rural Dorset over five decades. This film, produced for his exhibition at the Luther W Brady gallery in Washington DC from May 15 - June 28, 2013, includes insights into the process behind his extraordinary abstract impressionist paintings, as well as a selection of songs he learned as an art student in New York in the 1950s.

Dorset paintings (scroll down,enter word Dorset in data search)

Douglas Hall essay

The gardens at Chalcombe House, slide show

In 1961 John Hubbard married and settled near Bridport, Dorset

The garden at Chilcombe

Telegraph article, Sarah Raven

Rowley Gallery

Internet Use Amongst People Aged 65 and Over in Dorset (and other English Counties and Regions)



Age UK has just released some interesting statistics.

As far as Dorset is concerned only 42.3% of people aged 65+ are online or use the internet.

57.7% are offline or don't use the internet.

District and Country Councils should take note when planning how to communicate with the wider population and how best to distribute service-guides and other public infomation. It is not enough to rely on web-based information pages- unless they want to save money by excluding over half the over 65s in most counties in England.

Only five counties in England have 50% or more people over 65 online.

North-South Divide

Disabled people face an even greater digital divide.

EU: A Data Tax?


The Telegraph reports

Friday, 20 September 2013

Damian McBride on the Vanity and Hypocrisy of Politicians


Damian McBride has written that he was “sucked in like a concubine at a Roman orgy” to the “dark”’ world of politics which encourages “vanity, duplicity, greed, ­hypocrisy and cruelty”.

I'm reminded of a small poem, my first effort, written in November 1961, when I was still a schoolboy:


Hypocritical political

Leaders. Breeders

Of contempt, exempt

From humanity;

Filled with insane

And empty vanity.

Only seeking in reality,

Power, fame and private gain.

****

No real surprises then, in the Daily Mail


Anthony Gormley, 25th PRAEMIUM IMPERIALE


A significant prize for sculptor Anthony Gormley

(and for architect David Chipperfield, and the three other distinguished Laureates)

25th PRAEMIUM IMPERIALE

On Tuesday, September 17, the names of the 5 new Praemium Imperiale Laureates were announced in Rome, New York, London, Berlin, Paris and Tokyo. The 5 recipients are as follows:


Michelangelo Pistoletto Painting

Antony Gormley Sculpture

David Chipperfield Architecture

Plácido Domingo Music

Francis Ford Coppola Theatre/Film


The artists are recognized and awarded for their achievements, for the impact they have had internationally on the arts, and for their role in enriching the global community. Each laureate receives an honorarium of 15 million yen, and a diploma and medal will be presented by honorary patron of the Japan Art Association Prince Hitachi in an awards ceremony held in Tokyo on October 16, 2013.

The Dorset Writers' Network; Bridport Story Slam


Information here

Events here

Example:

Bridport Story Slam

Wednesday 16th October 2013, part of Bridport Open Book Festival.

"After the success of last year's story slam at the Beach and Barnicott we're back for another round. This open mic event celebrates fresh writing talent from writers across Dorset and beyond. Writers have the opportunity to showcase their work in front of a live audience and a panel of expert judges, including editor of Roving Press Julie Musk, Gail Aldwin - flash fiction expert, and novelist Kate Kelly.

Writers can register in advance via zomzara@googlemail.com (or turn up and register on the night). If there are more registered writers than time slots, the names will be entered into a draw. Each time slot is five minutes maximum – roughly 780 words. All genres and styles of original prose fiction welcome.

The Beach & Barnicott is renowned for its good food, so come along early and grab a bite to eat, and then settle in for a brilliant night of stories and music. The action kicks off on Wednesday 16th October at the Beach & Barnicott, Bridport at 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start. Tickets will be available on the door at £5 each".

If you’d like more details about how to take part, please email zomzara@googlemail.com.

See also Gail Aldwin's blog posting

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Land Registry in Cyprus and Greece; Electronic Property Register, Greece


The Land Registry in Cyprus  - No accurate ownership details for a quarter of a million properties.

What is the true situation in Greece, where so many incompatible topographic maps, so many property borders and land demarcations remain in dispute, alongside problems with illegal buildings and the huge number of drawn-out legal cases which are ongoing or still due to come to court?

Electronic Property Register (Greek Reporter)

The Washington Ballet, An International Company


Nina-Maria reports (video) 

A Swedish Bank in Poundbury, Dorset (Tack så mycket!


Handelsbanken, Dorchester

Location:
Handelsbanken
198 Bridport Road
Poundbury

Handelsbanken in brief

Customer Satisfaction

Quite tempting to change banks, now that it's becoming easier! I'm in favour of their emphasis on local relationship-building, trust and customer service.

Read report in This is Money

This is not an advertisement or an endorsement. I will probably stay with my old bank. The usual inertia. Too much hassle adjusting to new systems?

See Zoe Williams in The Guardian today:

Zoe writes that she "moved to Handelsbanken to coincide with the 7-Day Switch, which launched on Monday. Banks are required to finish the process of transferring your account in seven working days; it's remarkably low-effort from the consumer's point of view, but you should bear in mind that I'm not very far through it. I chose the bank because it has a devolved power structure in which the person in your branch makes the decisions, a countervail to the hollowing-out of the standard workplace in which fewer and fewer people are allowed to make decisions so that everybody can be paid as little as possible.

But I have reservations. It has a monthly £30 charge, and someone has already told me that this is like telling people to feed their children organic rack of lamb, and I make them sick. Which I think is fair. More on this another time. The important thing is to move your money; move it, or stop complaining".

Ripley Blues Again


Beat this!

The third time I've posted a link to Ripley Blues (Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers with Noah Lewis on harmonica), just in case you missed it.

More

and More

Try some country harp by The Swift Jewel Cowboys - Fan It

Mellstock: Stinsford and Thomas Hardy


Useful note for visitors

Hardy's religious beliefs

Alan Bates reads Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir (Track 1)

and Afternoon Service at Mellstock (Track 15)


My spirit will not haunt the mound
Above my breast,
But travel, memory-possessed,
To where my tremulous being found
Life largest, best.

Hardy's Woodlanders, John Vallins, Country Diary


Always fascinating: John Vallins' Country Diary Guardian columns.

See Wessex Diaries

and a humorous sketch with The Yetties

Hardy on Nature:

In a Wood


Pale beech and pine-tree blue,
Set in one clay,
Bough to bough cannot you
Bide out your day?
When the rains skim and skip,
Why mar sweet comradeship,
Blighting with poison-drip
Neighborly spray?

Heart-halt and spirit-lame,
City-opprest,
Unto this wood I came
As to a nest;
Dreaming that sylvan peace
Offered the harrowed ease—
Nature a soft release
From men’s unrest.

But, having entered in,
Great growths and small
Show them to men akin—
Combatants all!
Sycamore shoulders oak,
Bines the slim sapling yoke,
Ivy-spun halters choke
Elms stout and tall.

Touches from ash, O wych,
Sting you like scorn!
You, too, brave hollies, twitch
Sidelong from thorn.
Even the rank poplars bear
Illy a rival’s air,
Cankering in black despair
If overborne.

Since, then, no grace I find
Taught me of trees,
Turn I back to my kind,
Worthy as these.
There at least smiles abound,
There discourse trills around,
There, now and then, are found
Life-loyalties.

Greece: Tax Collection, a Computer or a Cultural Problem


Not a new item, but still relevant (Planet Money)

Reorganise the figures...(EnetEnglish)

Read full article in Die Zeit online

Greece: The Last 'Soviet' State in the EU - and other grim Greek news


John Psaropoulos, The New Athenian, on Slimming the State

Or read it on Aljazeera

More from John Psaropoulos - on the Greek rescue plan

***

Some other grim news (To Vima)

Helena Smith (The Guardian) 

Richard Pine (Irish Times)

BBC

Kathimerini

Eyewitness fear of reprisals, To Vima

Greece: Forests at Risk?


The future of forest land (Kathimerini)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Dorchester, Dorset: Two Bardic Events


Two local events that may be of interest (October 19 and November 9):





Island Stories - must read 'When the Sun Goes Down'



Maria's short stories now available from Amazon.co.uk as a paperback (above), 
as well as Kindle e-book (below)


5.0 out of 5 stars A truly enjoyable book 20 Feb 2013
By Ofelya
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
A unique writing style that evokes feelings of empathy, deep reflection and observes our world from a very original perspective.


Which cover design do you prefer?

If ordering from the States or from Amazon.com, find both editions (and other books) here



Most Helpful Customer Reviews


5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking August 16, 2013
By Maddiegrigg
Format:Kindle Edition
Moving to Corfu for a year, I have been grabbing as much literature as I can about the island. As a previous reviewer has said, this book consists of four short stories, all of them about islands and all very different.
THE EXPLOITATION OF PANOREA will stay in my mind for a long, long time. A modern-day fable, the story is a beautifully written account of what happens when we take our eyes off the prize and let greed take its inevitable course. I do hope the tide can be turned on this particular island. I recommend this book frequently to people I come across. For me, it's a quiet, modest battle cry that starts off slowly and then ends up shouting out that beauty is worth preserving. It's in our hands.


5.0 out of 5 stars Short story brilliance; long-term talent January 1, 2013
By Chris Holmes
Format:Kindle Edition
I declare an interest: I know Maria and to sit and talk to her is an enjoyment separate from the powerful solitary pleasure of reading her. She is the most unwriterly writer i know: talk is talk, writing is writing; she gets the job done.

I still treasure her 'Cat of Portovecchio' as one of the most stunning novels I have read. Barely fiction for the pulses it taps; I live in Corfu and it opened my eyes and heart to my paradise home.

This collection is short stories and her pacing is spot-on. I've worked in the book business and touted short stories by famed novelists who just haven't pulled it off in the challenging discipline of condensing it down.

The PR puff talks of capturing 'the atmosphere and distinctive character of several different islands in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.' Piffle. No 'capture' about it; you are right there. As with the best movie scores, you dont notice the 'capture', you've been transported to the writer's world.

A remarkable collection. If I was handed them in separate sheaves, I'd not spot they were by the same nib. Chameleon brilliance. Mark of a bred-in-the-bone writer. Deserves to be spotted by some alert editorial assistant in one of the major houses and given the international readership Ms Potts deserves, and will achieve.

Food for Thought - and for The Soul


Some interesting insights in this Channel 4 series of thoughtful short films, Can Food Nourish Your Soul?

See also, posting on Culture's Influence on Behaviour

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Early Cajun Kings (Let Me Play This For You)


Read about these rare Cajun recordings, just reissued.

"Let Me Play This For You: Rare Cajun Music, 1929–1930, assembled by Ron Brown and Christopher King (two of the world’s foremost collectors of Cajun 78s) for the Tompkins Square label, is essential for anyone who appreciates French-speaking Louisiana’s old-time songs and tunes".

Listen "I am happy now" (1929)

Recorded by Victor in New Orleans, 1929; released c. 1941 on Bluebird. Reissued in 2013 on Tompkins Square's "Let Me Play This For You: Rare Cajun Recordings, 1929-1930." 

Record transfer / digital remastering by Christopher King.

Culture's Influence on Behaviour; National Differences in Personality; Concepts of Trust



Cross-cultural research topics used to interest me when I worked in different parts of the world.

They still do when it comes to trying to explain differences of attitude and behaviour between people in the countries I know best.

I have been looking through a 1976 paperback, "Culture's Influence on Behaviour" by Robert Serpell, which deals briefly with such topics as cross-cultural psychology; values, motives and personality; child-rearing practices; cognitive development; perceptual skills; the role of language; entrepreneurial behaviour; theories of disease.

More controversially, Eysenck studied national differences of personality.

Social anthropologists have also explored related fields of research and enquiry (see for instance, Cultural Patterns and Technical Change, ed. Margaret Mead, 1955).

Do these disciplines (cross-cultural psychology, social anthropology) offer anything useful nowadays?

If they do, one hopes that diplomats and peace negotiators from all cultural and faith backgrounds have been given some relevant, up-to-date training. Clearly Margaret Mead and Eysenck are now out of date, whatever the value of their original insights.

I haven't been following the literature in these fields. I'd be interested to receive some recommendations about more recent work.

There has been some work on National Cultures, Trust and Ethical Behaviour 

see also, this discussion:

Fukuyama, Trust

Trust Pays (pdf report)

Russia, Identity and Values

Foscolo, Kalvos, Solomos: King's College, London


"Stammering the Nation"

14 October, 2013

Billy Connolly: On Growing Old Disgracefully


The Scotsman Interview:

“I think disgraceful is the way to do it. Be a nuisance, stay alive,” he says. “In this bit of the world especially, not so much in America, but in Britain you’re encouraged to wear a cardie and have the crotch of your trousers away down at your knees – bum fainters they call it in Scotland, because if you look at it from behind it looks as if your bum’s fainted.

“You’re constantly told to grow up. ‘Grow up, it’s time you grew up, you’ve got some growing up to do boy’. What they really mean is, get boring, stop being angry, stop being interesting, stop being a nuisance. I would say don’t grow up. By all means grow old, but don’t grow up. Don’t be beige.”

Turandot - Nobody Shall Sleep!


Trailer

Royal Opera House

I couldn't sleep after the show. Very lavish and impressive, but the gratuitous violence and lack of compassion and morality at the heart of it all turned me right off the story and the totally unsympathetic main characters.

The Nessun Dorma competition:

Paul Potts

Pavarotti

Nessun Dorma:

Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o, Principessa,
nella tua fredda stanza,
guardi le stelle
che tremano d'amore
e di speranza.
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò
quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
che ti fa mia!
(Il nome suo nessun saprà!...
e noi dovrem, ahime, morir!)
Dilegua, o notte!
Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle!
All'alba vincerò!
vincerò, vincerò!


Nobody shall sleep!...
Nobody shall sleep!
Even you, o Princess,
in your cold room,
watch the stars,
that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
my name no one shall know...
No!...No!...
On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!...
(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!

EU, Monetary Union, Varoufakis


One Greek's theoretical point of view: Yanis Varoufakis' blog

Monday, 16 September 2013

"AUSTRALIA", Royal Academy of Arts, London


A reminder about this unmissable exhibition

21 September—8 December 2013

In the Main Galleries

Organised with the National Gallery of Australia

Australian Art on the move (YouTube)

BBC, On the exhibition

Marking the first major survey of Australian art in the UK for 50 years, this exhibition will span more than 200 years from 1800 to the present day and seeks to uncover the fascinating social and cultural evolution of a nation through its art.

Book Early

Ron Radford lecture, 30 September

Land and Landscape: The Colonial Encounter
Free Lunchtime Lecture


Tim Winton talk, 15 November

The Island Seen and Felt; Some Thoughts about Landscape



AUSTRALIA: LAND AND LANDSCAPE SYMPOSIUM

25 September


SYMPOSIUM DATE AND TIME

Wednesday 25 September 2013 9.30 am – 5.30 pm

LOCATION

Downer Room, Australia House,

Strand, London WC2B 4LA, United Kingdom

BOOKINGS

The symposium is FREE but, to ensure you obtain a seat,
please register before attending.

To register, please go to australialandscape.eventbrite.co.uk

or for enquiries charmane.head@nga.gov.au

Australia: Land and Landscape symposium is a collaboration between the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London, the Australian High Commission, London, and the National Gallery
of Australia, Canberra. This event is organised in conjunction with the exhibition Australia at the Royal Academy of Arts, London



PROGRAMME

9.30 Welcome

Andrew Todd, Australian Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

9.35 Keynote talk – Australia: land and landscape – an Australian perspective

Ron Radford, Director, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

10.30 Morning tea

10.55 Session 1/ Australian art 1800 to today

Intro: Professor Carl Bridge, Head of the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London

11.00 Australian sublime

Andrew Wilton, former keeper of the British

Collection, Tate, London

11.30 Australian Impressionists as Symbolists

Anne Gray, Head of Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

12.00 Modern women: Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington Smith, Dorrit Black, Bea Maddock

Daniel Thomas, Emeritus Director, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

12.30 Longing belonging: Hossein Valamanesh and Imants Tillers

Sarah Thomas, Lecturer, Kingston College, London,

and former curator of paintings, Art Gallery of South

Australia, Adelaide

1.00–1.55 Lunch

1.55 Session 2/ Australian Aboriginal art

Intro: Helen Idle, Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London

2.00 Country: Aboriginal art

Franchesca Cubillo, Senior Advisor, Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

2.30 Rediscovering a rare 19th-century bark painting

Philip Jones, Senior Curator, Department of Anthropology, South Australian Museum, Adelaide

3.00 Afternoon tea

3.25 Session 3/ Artist talks

Intro: Ian Henderson, Menzies Centre for Australian

Studies, King’s College London

3.30 Glyphs and the Australian landscape

GW Bot, artist

4.00 Constructed landscapes and capital complexes

Callum Morton, artist and Professor and Head of Fine Arts, Monash University, Melbourne

4.30 Abstracted and idealised landscapes: minimalism and the memorial

Kathy Temin, artist and Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Monash University, Melbourne

5.00 Closing discussion

5.30 Drinks

***


For what seems a rather mean-spirited and blinkered review of the exhibition, here's Adrian Searle in The Guardian. Searle is a former painter and former curator, now chief art critic of The Guardian. He makes some observations that certainly deserve discussion at the symposium. But as he admits, "I am no expert on Australian art"; he is not interested "in what might constitute some sort of Australian artistic identity, because I doubt there is one". Personally, I can't wait to see the exhibition. Seize this rare opportunity to see the paintings of Glover, Roberts, Nolan, Rover Thomas, Ian Fairweather and Queenie Mckenzie, amonsgt other icons of Australian art.

I am only sorry there is nothing by Garry Shead (from the D.H. Lawrence or The Queen series; more Lawrence series images here) or  by  H J (Harry) Wedge (died 2012). See "Captain Cook Con Man" here (page 48, pdf file)

More positive review in The Telegraph

An expert's view: The oldest civilisation on show: Jeremy Eccles, Arts Desk

Barrie Humphries in The Spectator

Katherine Tyrrell, Making a Mark blog

Apart from the exhibition catalogue, another relevant book dealing with the social and cultural evolution of Australia over 200 years  is "Literary Links" by Roslyn Russell



Film on Ethiopia


Over 4000 YouTube viewings to date.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Kindred Links and Digital Family Trees


"This Little Isle", Blighty, Economist video

Stanford News

Kindred Britain

Countryfile: Great Dorset Steam Fair and Dorset Romany Culture



Fascinating Countryfile this evening, BBC 1

"Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker are in Dorset for the Great Dorset Steam Fair. It is the biggest steam gathering in the UK, and Matt goes behind the scenes meeting the enthusiasts keeping the boilers stoked and wheels oiled.

In an echo of Dorset's agricultural past Ellie spends time with a Romany gypsy family. They were once the main seasonal workforce, but now there are few left living the old life. She then meets the lady bringing a bit of tropical heat to Dorset's rural byways, before throwing down the gauntlet to Matt back at the Steam Fair".

Albert Camus Centenary: Summer in Algiers



I was pleased to find this inexpensive little paper-covered edition published by Penguin to celebrate the centenary of Camus' birth:



It contains just two essays: The Sea Close By and Summer in Algiers - a great favourite of mine for the last fifty years, a lyrical essay to which I return again and again, in both French and English.

I already have them in several other editions.

I wasn't so happy to find this remark in an online essay by Edward G. LawryKnowledge as Lucidity: "Summer in Algiers":

"Camus' philosophy of absurdity is passé now. This is not the period of the Second World War. France has changed, and so has the world".

Maybe it's just me that hasn't moved on.

Long Live The Invincible Lucid Absurd!

See 2012 posting

BBC World Service:

The Outsider

To celebrate the centenary of novelist and philosopher Albert Camus’ birth this November we will be discussing his classic novel of alienation and murder in sun-soaked 1940s Algeria, The Outsider.

Camus’ biographer Oliver Todd will be talking about the novel in Paris. Please send in your questions for him to worldbookclub@bbc.co.uk

Watch out for November 3 2013


Greece and Corfu: To Rent or To Buy?


Interesting discussion topic thread on Corfu Forum

and the overlapping Moving to Corfu topic

Australia: On Losing Power



Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Stromboli, Great Island film by Rossellini


Just seen Rossellini's extraordinary 1950 b/w film "Stromboli", with Ingrid Bergman.

Can't imagine how I have managed to miss this classic until now.

Tuna fishing sequence

The film is essential viewing for any foreigner living on a Mediterranean island.

Foreign woman, island home...

Trailer

Wikipedia

Review