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Sunday, 31 October 2010

Multicultural Dorset Celebrates Black History Month

Last night I dropped in to the Corn Exchange to catch some of the "Celebrate Black History Month" and I wish I'd had the chance to stay longer and see more.

These photos will give some flavour of the great performances by Zubida Movements and Dub Educators. I regret I missed the other acts like Noah Messomo.

Next time I'll wear my dancing shoes. It was an exhilerating and high energy flavour of Africa and the Caribbean, with phenomenal drumming and dancing from Zubida Movements. I wish the local Council had sufficient funding to make this a monthly event! A great atmosphere, very friendly and welcoming.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

On YouTube

Not everyone likes YouTube. I just had an email from Izzy Young, of Folkore Centre fame, who was one of Bob Dylan's first folk-music gurus (see Bob Dylan's Chronicles, and the December 2010 issue of MOJO magazine- 4 page feature on Izzy and Dylan).

Izzy wrote:
As you know, Jim, I hate YouTube and other means
Of neglecting reality but I’ll make an exception for
An old pal.  I still do things by hand, poor me but
Happy. When some friendly kid comes in to visit
Me I will ask him to deload it for me.

Izzy is probably right about neglecting reality, but in case anybody out there does use YouTube, you'll be amused to know that I've finally learnt how to make a basic YouTube video with Movie-Maker and random still photographs to accompany my own songs. It's quite fun, and I might even get better at it.

In the meantime, you can listen to fourteen songs performed by Corfu Bluesman (nine in new arrangements by Raul Scacchi)  by going to YouTube and typing in


(Highway 49 being one of the legendary blues routes) 

Or, for starters, go straight to Graceland!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Kindinologies (Alarmist Talk)?

How much of this is kindinologies, alarmist talk and media hype about the Greek economy, how much the objective truth?

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Sailor's Return, Chaldon Herring (East Chaldon)

The pub called "The Sailor's Return"- and the village of Chaldon Herring (East Chaldon) are interesting places for a literary pilgrimage. It's strange that there is no mention (on the information board outside the pub) of David Garnett's novel "The Sailor's Return" (1925), or of the film (same title, 1978) directed by Jack Gold. Perhaps the topic is still too controversial? It seems to have been a very open-minded and artistic village community in reality. David Garnett used to stay here, but the village itself is better known for its association with T. F. Powys and with Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland.

Some extracts from "The Sailor's Return":

"They turned a corner and saw 'The Sailor's Return' before them, standing alone a hundred yards or so from the village. It was a long low house, heavily thatched, but the sign had decayed and the frame stood empty."

" 'The Sailor's Return' soon became the very picture of what a country inn should be."

" 'The Sailor's Return'...had indeed something of a name, both on account of a black woman being there, and because the new landlord had made the place so handsome, and entirely different from the miserable little pot-house which it had been for twenty years before his coming."

"All the sailors who came...were slow to take their departure, and would look round once or twice at the sign before they went away down the road, as if they were saying to themselves:
" 'The Sailor's Return', please God that I also may return and find such a house as this waiting for me."

The novel is about racism in a fictional Dorset village (Maiden Newbarrow), but this tragic tale of  the fate of the mariner-turned-publican William Targett, Tulip (his African wife) and Sambo, their son, is itself often couched in extremely racist language.

Llewelyn Powys on William Barnes:

"How unmistakably, how essentially English the old man's poems are!- like clods dug up from an East Chaldon mead, smelling of primroses and diaisies and damp island-mould" (from Thirteen Worthies)

From "The Green Valley" by Sylvia Townsend Warner:

"Here in the green scooped valley I walk to and fro.
In all my journeyings I have not seen
A place so tranquil, so green;
And yet I think I have seen it long ago,
The grassy slopes, and the cart-track winding, so."

(Quoted in the introduction to the excellent book "Chaldon Herring, The Powys Circle in a Dorset Village" by Judith Stinton).

New edition, with additional material, Writers in a Dorset Landscape, Black Dog Press, 2004

Map of the area from the first edition of this essential book:

Rat's Barn: Ruin in a Landscape.
Derelict building with Powys Family associations

Dorset Echo report, 11 March 2012

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Toby Walker Bluesnight tonight

Looking forward to hearing Toby Walker this evening.

After the event: a very entertaining evening with plenty of good blues and ragtime instrumentals by an extraordinarily accomplished guitarist. I particularly liked his twelve-string versions of Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues" and Leadbelly's "Midnight Special", but the audience was mightily impressed by his interpretation of a Sousa march.

I asked him how he got that deep, resonant twelve-string sound: "Medium guage strings, tuned down from E to C or Bflat."

I wish I'd attended his workshop.

Red and Yellow: Poppies and Rape

Friday, 22 October 2010

Tamara Drewe, the film

This film has been highly recommended by friends, but I haven't had the opportunity to see it yet.

Does anyone have any idea where it's showing in the West Country?

Here's the trailer.

Fado, from Amalia Rodriquez to Mariza

"Barco Negro", two interpretations:

Amalia Rodriguez


Two Australian Composers: Sculthorpe and Kats-Chernin

If you're not familiar with their work, explore their music via these two links: 

Peter Sculthorpe

one outstanding Sculthorpe composition is "Earth Cry", as performed and  recorded with William Barton on didgeridoo

Elena Kats-Chernin

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Economist Style Guide Tips, Foreign Names and Words

Some helpful tips here about the use of foreign names and words.

The Grief of the Guitar (and Lorca's Duende)

The Guitar

The grief of the guitar
begins. The cups of dawn
are shattered, broken.
The grief of the guitar
begins. It is pointless
to pacify it. It is
impossible to pacify it.
Its cry is constant
like the cry of water,
like the cry of the wind
over the snowdrifts.
It is impossible to pacify it.
It weeps for far away things.
Sand of the warm South,
begging for white camelias.
It weeps arrow without target,
evening without morning,
and the first bird dead
upon the branch.
O, guitar!
Heart fatally wounded
by five blades.

From the Spanish of Garcia Lorca.

The link is to Carlos Montoya  playing with passion and duende

"A Diary for Timothy" & "A Prayer Before Birth"

A Diary for Timothy
a documentary film directed by Humphrey Jennings, produced by Basil Wright, with a commentary scripted by E. M. Forster, and spoken by Michael Redgrave.

A Prayer Before Birth
a poem (partially animated) written and read by Louis MacNeice (or, if you prefer, just the text).

Two representative works relating to the year 1944. People born at the end of World War II might reflect on the challenging question posed at the end of the film:

Are you going to make the world a different place, you and the other babies?”

From Jennings' Notes for the film:

"All this is the world which he inherits: whose people- whether they know it or not- are working for him- helpless as he lies in the cot....Tim will have his individual place in the world, as they have. What is it to be?"

Billie Holiday, "Jim".

Carrying the Torch for Billie

"There's a song by Billie Holiday -
About her love for 'Jim':
I half-pretend it's meant for me,
I half wish I'd been him."

Waiting for Tom Waits

The voice and music of Tom Waits are an acquired taste. I acquired it late, and not without considerable perseverance! It was a Finnish poet called Risto Oikarinen who introduced me to an intriguing song called "Time", when I was staying at the Visby Writers' Centre on the island of Gotland, Sweden. Risto sang his own inspiring version. After a few years of indecision, I acquired some early Tom Waits albums, which I grew to love. There are occasional tracks from his more recent CDs that hit the mark. This is a challenging one:

Here's the original version of  "Make it Rain"

Make it Rain (Letterman Show)

and live in Amsterdam 

Whatever the differences in emotional motivation and spiritual inspiration, it conveys the same quality of intensity and anguish that one finds in Gerard Manley Hopkins' sonnet:

"birds build- but not I build, but strain....
                              ....send my roots rain."

Someone just recommended another song: Heart Attack and Vine

Here's one of his more approachable songs: Blind Love

and I hope I don't fall in love with you

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Sundial Says It All

Had we but world enough and time....The sundial says it all.

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."
 („Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darĂ¼ber muss man schweigen.“)
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Mozart: Good Karma

Calming music:

Mozart Piano Sonata, played by Christoph Eschenbach, Piano Sonata K-332 in F Major- I Allegro

also played beautifully by Maria Joao Pires

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Elvis sighted back in Graceland! TCOB.

The King is back in Graceland, and taking care of business! Listen!

I went down to Graceland,
To see what it’s about,
I quite enjoyed the home-tour
‘Til the King began to shout: -

“I’m taking care of business
Y’all of you git out!
I’m coming home to live here –
Have no fear, but have no doubt!”

(Lyrics copyright Jim Potts)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Greek Girl!

With many thanks to Raul and Alberto!

 Greek beauty, Louis Dupre

 Teresa Makri, Lord Byron's "Maid of Athens"

Friday, 15 October 2010

Dorset Sunset and World Music


Maiden Castle , looking towards Vice-Admiral Hardy's Monument. The sunset soundtrack on my iPod?
Iraqi Arabic 'ud (Ahmed Mukhtar); Indian sitar (Ravi Shankar); Aboriginal didgeridoo (Alan Dargin); Portuguese fado (Amalia Rodrigues) and two of Alfred Schnittke's  Hymns For Chamber-Instrumental Ensemble (III and IV).

From the Archives: Poems in Greek, Tomes ('Tom-es') Athenian Literary Periodical, 1979; Dimitris Doukaris

The Athenian monthly literary periodical Tomez ('Cuts' or 'Sections'), edited by Dimitris Doukaris, featured some translations by Alexander Myriallis back in 1979 (Issue 44-45, January-February 1979). I'm never sure with translations how well they convey the language, style and register of the originals. One or two Athenian critics said at the time that the language and style of the translations reflected the fact that the translator was an Ethiopia-based Greek (he was a good friend in Addis Ababa days).

I was simply grateful that he took the trouble to translate them and to get them published!

Oxford University Press, USA (reminder)

OUP US editions, hardback and paperback

The Ionian Islands and Epirus

ISBN13: 9780199754151ISBN10: 0199754152

The Ionian Islands and Epirus

ISBN13: 9780199754168ISBN10: 0199754160

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Karin Rehnqvist, Swedish Composer

I've been listening intensely to compositions by brilliant Swedish composer Karin Rehnqvist these last few days. Inspiring and original music!

Getting in the mood for Northern Europe?

Venice in Art

Landscape of the imagination? Venice in Art. Could the same have been true of Corfu?

Monday, 11 October 2010

Jimmie Rodgers' Blues

 This is such a great song, recorded back in 1932! "Long Tall Mama Blues"

I once recorded a version myself. Pity I can't yodel!

I bought about ten Jimmie Rodgers Regal Zonophone 78s in upcountry Kenya (at the Bhogal Brothers shops in Kitale and Eldoret) in the mid '70s. He was incredibly popular in Africa: "Hello Chemirocha!" was a Kipsigi song of welcome, a field recording captured by Hugh Tracey.

Artists as varied as Howlin' Wolf , Hank Snow and Jerry Lee Lewis acknowledged Jimmie's influence.

On a similar theme, here's Jerry Lee "live" with "Mean Woman Blues".

The same song, with Jerry Lee and Carl Perkins. Cooking (and chauvinistic)!

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Cyclamen, Vikos Gorge. And a song (Theodorakis/Ritsos) performed by Greek students.

Better than George Dalaras?

Diochnes (2)

I'm getting the message! I'm on my way!

See earlier post on "Diochnes" (18 September, "Chronia Polla! Diochnes Time").
Diochnes didn’t send us packing
But conkers
Falling on my head.

And in a few days it will be farewell to Corfu too...for a while!  
 Kalo Himona se olous sas!

Koukouli Couple (Roy and Effi)

Roy and Effi (Ainlie) Hounsell's Place in the village of Koukouli, Zagori, is still looking as immaculate as always.

If anyone is curious as to why anyone might choose to leave Corfu to live in a remote mountain village on the mainland, part of the answer can be found in Roy's "The Papas and the Englishman: From Corfu to Zagoria"

Both Roy and Effi have also written some excellent short stories set in Greece, which I understand have been published by Greek-o-File

Update 1st November 2014.

I was very sad to learn that the funeral of Effi (Ainlie) took place yesterday, 31 October 2014.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Greek Design (5)

The Rizarios Handicraft School in Monodendri, Zagori, was founded in 1979.
The school provides training, free of cost, to girls, particularly in traditional arts and handicrafts that are gradually dying out. I have heard a worrying rumour that this famous Handicraft School is in danger of being closed because few Greek girls enrol (the students are mostly Albanian).