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COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Final Insult, Dorset Desecration

Plans to ruin the landscape of Hardy and Barnes

See also, this posting. Let your views be known!

Opposition gathers

BBC report on the "appalling plans"

Update, The Thomas Hardy Society

Our Consumption of Music (and Spotify)

Although I like Spotify (and my brother depends on it), I found this article by Jeremy Wilson very much to the point, about the way many people now listen to classical music.

Update, Sunday Times Colour Supplement, 28 April 2013, feature on Prime Minister David Cameron, by Eleanor Mills:

"He confesses that his current 'guilty pleasure' is the music-streaming service, Spotify. The difference, I suppose, is that you can listen to music while working."

When I lay my burden down (Glory! Glory! Hallelujah); Since I lay my burden down

The Elders McIntorsh and Edwards' Sanctified Singers

Doc Watson, Merle Watson

Mississippi Fred McDowell

Mississippi John Hurt

Furry Lewis

Dr John, Mavis Staples


The Carter Family (Can the Circle Be Unbroken)

I once saw Fred McDowell perform live, as well as Doc Watson and Dr John, on other occasions.

Corina and Jim

Jim and Raul

Photo below by John and Mary Gulland:

Will the circle be unbroken/ When I lay my burden down, Corfu, Greece, Summer Festivals (no recording).

2 photos above by Chris Holmes

Hello Stranger (Carter Family)

On the great Carter Family song

The Carter Family, Hello Stranger

Emmylou Harris

June Carter Cash

Jim and Tony (Pom and Aussie). Tony may have learnt the song from a recording by the New Lost City Ramblers - or by Mike Seeger.

From "Where Dead Voices Gather" (see first link above):

"Hello, Stranger" is a basic 12-bar blues performed as a duet between Sara and Maybelle Carter, the two vocalists alternating overlapping lines..."Hello, Stranger" tells the story of a man on his way to prison. The speaker never says what he's going to jail for, but we know that he's leaving his girl behind. The speaker appears to be addressing most of the song to a fellow convict.


Hello stranger, put your loving hand in mine.
Hello stranger, put your loving hand in mine.
You are a stranger, and you're a pal of mine.

Get up rounder, let a working man lay down.
Get up rounder, let a working man lay down.
You are a rounder, but you're all out and down.

Every time I ride Six and Fourth street car.
Oh, every time I ride Six and Fourth street car.
I can see my baby peeping through the bars.

She bowed her head, she waved both hands at me.
She bowed her head, she waved both hands at me.
I'm prison bound, I'm longing to be free.

Oh, I'll see you, when your troubles are like mine.
Oh, I'll see you, when your troubles are like mine.
Oh, I'll see you, when you haven't got a dime.

Weeping like a willow and mourning like a dove.
Weeping like a willow and mourning like a dove.
There's a girl up the country that I really love.

Hello stranger, put your loving hand in mine.
Hello stranger, put your loving hand in mine.
You are a stranger, and you're a pal of mine.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

West Bay (Bridport Harbour) As It Was; Shipbuilding; Fra Newberry

From the guidebook:

"This picture represents the well known shipyard of Elias Cox, which covered 13 acres at Bridport Harbour. The shipyard opened in 1760 and continued to build ships until 1879. The view is from the front door of the house lived in by Elias Cox. Left and right, are two ships in process of construction. 

1. The old crane house and lime kiln are visible on the quay, now the site of Pier Terrace. 

2. East Cliff forms the backdrop of the picture. 

3. The old sawpit with top and bottom sawyer.

4. The blacksmith, Eli Forsey of Eype, is shown at his grindstone.

5. The blue coated figure is the shipbuilder and master Elias Cox himself, with the plan of a ship in his hand."

According to a Bridport Town Council information leaflet, "During the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), 17 ships were built here, while in 1853 one of 1000 tons was launched but wooden ship building ceased some 25 years later. The harbour was used for import/export trade until the last century but fishing as an industry continues today".

"As the (nineteenth) century grew old, however, the passing of the wooden sailing ship and the coming of the iron steamer produced the inevitable result in this, as in the other small yards which were unable to adapt themselves to the altered conditions...The Shipyard site remained in the hands of the Good family until the early 1960's when it passed into Local Authority Ownership and was subsequently, somewhat unimaginatively developed into its current Residential/Shopping complex form."

Ian Irvin, Ship and Boatbuilding in Bridport, Bridport, Beaminster and District, Talbot Publications, 1981.

Somewhat unimaginatively developed!

West Bay, Joseph Pennell, 1906

"West Bay as an irresponsible haven for shipping is pleasant enough, but there is another feature about the tiny place that is lamentable. There is evidence that it is making pretence to be a seaside town and a resort for the holiday-maker. To this end swings and roundabouts appear now and then on the solemn quay. A block of dwellings has been dumped down in the unoffending hamlet, where a "terrace"- although in itself architecturally admirable - looks as out of place as an iron girder in a flower garden. More than this, along the beach has been built the rudiment of an esplanade, duly furnished with shelters of the type approved by Margate and Ramsgate. As a village of the incongruous, West Bay has probably no equal in the British Isles. So long as it was content to be a nursery-tale harbour it was charming enough, but West Bay as a "seaside resort" is a pitiable mockery".

Sir Frederick Treves, Highways and Byways of Dorset (1906)

Dating Homer's Greek

Thanks to June Samaras for this link to the University of Reading

Monday, 25 February 2013

Zagori, Greece, "A Secret Treasure".

The Sunday Times Travel Section got it mostly right yesterday, Sunday 24 February, when it recommended Greece's "Secret Treasure", the Zagori:

"Zagori, near the Albanian border, is a place of immense natural beauty, treasured by the Greeks but almost unknown to British tourists. It's a place of wild forests, mountains, rivers, Ottoman-style villages, beautiful arched bridges, hiking trails and the spectacular Vikos Gorge".

Not sure why the authors called the villages "Ottoman-style". They're quintessentially Greek, although the traditional stone architecture does have some features in common with that of neighbouring Balkan countries.

There are plenty of other wonderful guesthouses apart from the one they happen to mention in the village of Ano Pedina.

As they say at the beginning of the article, "Greece may be deep in the economic mire, but its natural assets are still pure gold".

Dorset Local News, Dorchester, Came View Building Plan Consultation (1000 new houses after 2021)

A matter of concern for urgent consideration

Walk in, view plans and comment

South Walks House, Dorchester, 27 February
Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne, 28 February
Beaminster Town Hall, Beaminster, 5 March
Crossways Village Hall, Crossways, 6 March

(1pm-7pm each day)

Online response form can be found here

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Greece: A Mosque in Athens, and in Thessaloniki

Plans for a mosque (ENetEnglish)

Some thoughts and speculation from the end of my own book

Text, pages 236-237

Another posting

In Thessaloniki, Update, April 2013

Update, Athens Mosque, May 2013 

Update June 2013 

Update October 2013

Update November 2013

Update April 2014

"The tender for the project was awarded earlier this week....The project has a budget of 946,000 euros and the mosque will be built on land that belonged to the Hellenic Navy in Votanikos, near central Athens. Ministry sources said the construction work should begin early next year".

Update, November 2013, Diplomatic Spat

Update, November 17, Greek Reporter

Update December 3, Kathimerini

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Best Beaches in the UK and the World, Travellers' Choice, TripAdvisor and CNN

Good to see that Weymouth is in the top ten.

Two beaches from the UK in the world's top 25

I didn't vote, but I would certainly have included some more beaches in Bermuda and Australia, as well as in Greece- and Weymouth!

CNN Top 100 list includes four beaches in Greece

New Online English News Service about Greece (NB Discontinued November 13, 2014)

UPDATE: This news service was discontinued on 13 November 2014

", an independent, online news service focused on Greece and dedicated to serving an international readership here and abroad, launched on February 20.

The mission of our team of experienced writers is to provide unbiased, original and interactive coverage of all the news and events shaping Greece's turbulent and critical present.
Follow our rolling news coverage and live blogging of major events to keep up to date with developments in the world of politics and foreign affairs, the economy, immigration, social issues and sport.

We'll be bringing you the very latest news on Twitter and looking to you to join the debate with other readers on our Facebook page. And we'll be offering editorials, opinion and analysis attempting to make sense of it all and encourage discussion.

Our new service is brought to you by a team of experienced writers, including John Psaropoulos, Thrasy Petropoulos, Kathy Tzilivakis and Damian Mac Con Uladh – all of whom previously worked on the Athens News – and Nantina Vgontzas and Dioni Vougioukli.

EnetEnglish is a division of the Eleftherotypia national daily, a newspaper founded in 1975, a year after the restoration of democracy. Our editorial decisions are tailored to its international readership".

From the website:

"EnetEnglish is an independent, online news service focused on Greece, and is dedicated to serving an international readership, both in Greece and around the world. Its mission is to provide timely, unbiased and comprehensive coverage and analysis of events in Greece and the region.

EnetEnglish covers political and foreign affairs, the economy, immigration, social issues and sport. It will offer opinions and analysis from across the political spectrum. And it contains a special section, Community, dedicated to helping the international community living in Greece.

EnetEnglish is a division of the Eleftherotypia national daily, a newspaper founded in 1975, a year after the restoration of democracy. Its editorial decisions are tailored to its international readership.

EnetEnglish is founded to serve a demand for objective news coverage of Greece, within the country and around the world. We support rendering Greece’s democracy and economy more transparent, meritocratic and accountable. We support a media environment in which journalism serves the public, which is the final arbiter in any democratic process.

Our online service was launched on 20 February 2013".

Yannis Ritsos, New Translation and Event in London, 28 February 2013

Waterstone's, Gower Steeet, London, 28 February :

The launch of a brand new translation of Yannis Ritsos by acclaimed poet David Harsent.

In Secret gives versions of Ritsos's short lyric poems: brief, compressed narratives that are spare, though not scant. They possess an emotional resonance that is instinctively subversive: concerned with the everyday but, at the same time, freighted with mystery. The poems are so pared-down, so distilled, that the story-fragments we are given - the scene-settings, the tiny psychodramas - have an irresistible potency.

Yannis Ritsos (1909-1990) is one of Greece's finest and most celebrated poets, and was nine times nominated for a Nobel Prize. Louis Aragon called him 'the greatest poet of our age'.

David Harsent has published nine collections of poetry, winning many awards. His most recent collection, Night (Faber, 2011), won the 2012 Griffin International Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the Costa, Forward and T.S. Eliot awards.

An Epic Struggle, or Struggling with An Epic (Virgil, Aeneid, "Nox erat")

In my first year at Oxford, I had to study Virgil, Book IV of The Aeneid, in Latin.

Much as I appreciated the poetry, I used to hate the weekly tutorials (before the examinations known as "Prelims") when my turn came to translate a passage, often sight unseen. Talk about being put on the spot!

I still remember tackling this beautiful passage, which comes after Dido and Aeneas have 'taken shelter' in the cave (Book IV, verse 353):

Nox erat, et placidum carpebant fessa soporem
corpora per terras, silvaeque et saeva quierant
aequora: cum medio volvuntur sidera lapsu,
cum tacet omnis ager, pecudes pictaeque volucres,
quaeque lacus late liquidos, quaeque aspera dumis
rura tenent, somno positae sub nocte silenti
lenibant curas, et corda oblita laborum.

"It was night...", I started, not very confidently.

Later I checked out the translation by another Wadham College alumnus, Cecil Day Lewis:

"Was night. All over the earth, creatures were plucking the flower
Of soothing sleep, the woods and the wild seas fallen quiet-
A time when constellations have reached their mid-career,
When the countryside is all still, the beasts and the brilliant birds
That haunt the lakes' wide waters or the tangled undergrowth
Of the champain, stilled in sleep under the quiet night-
Cares are lulled and hearts can forget for a while their travails".

I think my halting effort was nearer to an 1826 prose translation:

"It was night, and weary bodies over the earth were enjoying a peaceful repose; the woods and raging seas were still; when the stars roll in the middle of their gliding course; when every field is hushed...."

I still prefer "It was night", to the abrupt Day Lewis rendition- "Was night".

But I have always enjoyed re-reading his vivid and poetic translation of The Aeneid. I have to admit I prefer the epic in English.

I hope the Government isn't serious about sending us back to University or for retraining. I couldn't stand another set of examinations such as "Finals", or even "Prelims". Leave us in peace and let us cultivate our gardens or write our blogs! On second thoughts, I would be happy to brush up my film-making skills, using the latest digital technology, or to follow a course on song-writing or blues guitar playing.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Seneca and the Earl of Rochester

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester; of Wadham College, Oxford

Rochester's free translation (which Graham Greene called a "majestic version") of  a passage from the Chorus, Act II, of Seneca's The Trojan Women (Troas/Troades), circa 1679-1680

After Death nothing is, and nothing, Death;
The utmost limit of a gasp of breath.
Let the ambitious zealot lay aside
His hopes of Heaven, whose faith is but his pride;
Let slavish souls lay by their fear
Nor be concerned which way or where,
After this life they shall be hurled:
Dead, we become the lumber of the world,
And to that mass of matter shall be swept
Where things destroyed, with things unborn are kept;
Devouring time swallows us whole,
Impartial Death confounds Body and Soul,
For Hell, and the foul Fiend that rules
  The everlasting fiery gaols,
Devised by rogues, dreaded by fools,
With his grim, grisly dog that keeps the door,
  Are senseless stories, idle tales,
Dreams, whimseys, and no more.

 Seneca (ca. 4BC- AD 65)

Seneca, Troades, lines 397-408

Post mortem nihil est ipsaque mors nihil,
uelocis spatii meta nouissima;
spem ponant auidi, sollicit metum:
tempus nos auidum denorat et chaos.
mors indiuidua est, noxia corpori
nec parcens animae: Taenara et aspero
regnum sub domino limen et obsidens
custos non facili Cerberus ostio
rumores uacui uerbaque inania
et par sollicito fabula somnio.
quaeris quo iaceas post obitum loco?
   quo non nata iacent.

From Rochester's Farewell, 1680:

Tired with the noisome follies of the age,
And weary of my part, I quit the stage;
For who in life's dull farce a part would bear?
Where rogues, whores, bawds, all the head actors are?

 Wadham College, not long after Rochester was at the college

"There it was that he laid a good foundation of learning and study, though he afterwards built upon that foundation hay and stubble". Robert Parsons, from A Sermon Preached at the Funeral of the Rt. Honorable John Earl of Rochester, Oxford, 1680.

Voltaire on Rochester

"THE EARL OF ROCHESTER’S name is universally known. Mr. de St. Evremont has made very frequent mention of him, but then he has represented this famous nobleman in no other light than as the man of pleasure, as one who was the idol of the fair; but, with regard to myself, I would willingly describe in him the man of genius, the great poet. Among other pieces which display the shining imagination his lordship only could boast, he wrote some satires on the same subjects as those our celebrated Boileau made choice of..."

“Hold mighty man, I cry all this we know,
And ’tis this very reason I despise,
This supernatural gift that makes a mite
Think he’s the image of the Infinite;
Comparing his short life, void of all rest,
To the eternal and the ever blest.
This busy, puzzling stirrer up of doubt,
That frames deep mysteries, then finds them out,
Filling, with frantic crowds of thinking fools,
Those reverend bedlams, colleges, and schools;
Borne on whose wings each heavy sot can pierce
The limits of the boundless universe.
So charming ointments make an old witch fly,
And bear a crippled carcass through the sky.
’Tis this exalted power, whose business lies
In nonsense and impossibilities.
This made a whimsical philosopher
Before the spacious world his tub prefer;
And we have modern cloistered coxcombs, who
Retire to think, ’cause they have naught to do.
But thoughts are given for action’s government,
Where action ceases, thought’s impertinent.”

Fran├žois Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694–1778). Letters on the English.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14. Letter XXI—On the Earl of Rochester and Mr. Waller

Influenza Death on Corfu

Not sure how significant this item is.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hadspen House, near Castle Cary, For Sale

If I had thirteen million pounds!

Hadspen House is for sale

The rumour (repeated in the Daily Mail) that George Clooney and Johnny Depp were planning to buy the house must have been unfounded.

As Ian says, there are better things to do with one's money.

Greece: Public Sector Jobs Saved (No Dismissals); Greek Media; the Crisis

Reuters report, 1900 public sector jobs saved...

Transfer possibilties

Illegal landfills and dumps, lots of jobs could be created in this sector: "An EC spokesman told Kathimerini that Greece could create 16,000 jobs through through proper waste management".

On the Greek Media and the economic crisis

Professor Mark Mazower (interesting YouTube interview), thanks to June Samaras for the link. "The psychodrama in the head", and more, including praise for Greek historians, and for the Ionian University History Department in Corfu.

The Global Minotaur (The Crash of 2008 and the Euro-Zone Crisis in Historical Perspective),
Yanis Varoufakis & Justin Fox; Chair: Mark Mazower.

Another pensions scam?

Richard Pine, The Irish Times

Aboriginal Art Slideshow

Slideshow from the Aboriginal Arts Directory

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Fifty Years Ago (Annus Mirabilis); Wadham College, Oxford

It dawned on me today that it is almost exactly 50 years since I heard the news that I'd been offered a place to read English at Oxford. I matriculated in 1963,"between the end of the 'Chatterley' ban and the Beatles' first LP", as Larkin put it. On checking the telegram, I see I received news of the offer of a place at Wadham College on 28 March, 1963. I was in Germany at the time.

Paradise lost: Beowulf, Milton, Virgil... 
and Anglo-Saxon grammar, a cigarette and pipes!

Cool or Uncool, 1963?

From Freshman to Graduate...

From Year 2 College Photo:

Graduation and Degree Ceremony:

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester:

All my past life is mine no more,
The flying hours are gone,
Like transitory dreams given o'er,
Whose images are kept in store
By memory alone.

Aphra Behn:

Hail Sacred Wadham! whom the Muses Grace,
And from the rest of all the Reverend Pile
Of Noble palaces, design'd thy Space
Where they in soft retreat might dwell,
They blest thy Fabrick, and they said- do Thou
Our Darling Sons contain;
We Thee our Sacred Nursey ordain,
They said, and Blest, and it was so...

John Dryden (1683):

For this in Wadham's peaceful halls reside,
Books be thy pleasure, to do well thy pride -
Quit not for public cares thy college life...

Greece, Troika Negotiations, Property Tax etc

Troika Visit: topics for negotiation, including a unified property tax

Greek version (Kathimerini)

Opera in Dorchester

I've just been thinking about which of the outstanding live satellite opera transmissions from The Metropolitan Opera and The Royal Opera House that I might be able to see locally.

Eugene Onegin (review here), Francesca da Rimini, Giulio Cesare, Nabucco, La Donna del Lago...

Here's Joyce DiDonato in La Donna del Lago

Royal Opera, rehearsal, Nabucco

Handel, Giulio Cesare 

Francesca da Rimini

Eugene Onegin

NB Most of the above YouTube excerpts are from other productions

Translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin

Alternative version