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Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Enfield Electric Car, the Enfield 8000

Fascinating and well-produced radio documentary programme, The Enfield Thunderbolt, about Britain's pioneering 1970s electric car (BBC Radio 4).

Very interesting re the key role of two Greeks, John Goulandris (millionaire shipping magnate) and Constantine Adraktas (MIT graduate and NASA mathematician, who had worked out the trajectory and equations for putting a man on the moon). Photo 1  Photo 2

"Peter Curran has bought the 40 year old remains of a piece of motoring history. The Enfield 8000 was a prototype electric car built in the early 1970s at the height of the energy crisis, when the British Government feared that the country would grind to a halt at the hands of the oil producing nations of the world.

The car was the result of a secret deal brokered between a Greek shipping billionaire and the Electricity Boards, and was aimed at creating a revolution in the way we thought about transportation.

The Enfield 8000 was shorter than a Mini but had bold styling and came in a range of classic 70's shades. It was powered by four giant tractor batteries and applied the latest electrical circuitry to control the car. It had no gear stick, just a tiny toggle switch which flicked it instantly from forward to reverse. Just over a hundred vehicles were produced, and enthusiastic early owners talked about its delicate handling, impressive pick up speed and natty aero-dynamics.

Peter Curran tells the story of this ground-breaking British car and tries to breathe life into his 40 year old Enfield for one final challenge".

Producer: David Prest A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

More background links:

Margaret Atwood, "Inheritance Tracks"

Heard on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Saturday Live,  novelist Margaret Atwood talking about Beethoven's 6th Symphony and Joan Sutherland singing  "Casta Diva" from Norma. From 1.04 hours mark to 1.10 and 20 seconds.

"If I were a music critic I would have to come up with some paragraphs of very nicely put-together sentences, but luckily I am not a music critic, so all I have to do is to enjoy the moment."

Joan Sutherland, Casta Diva (YouTube)

Weymouth Museum

BBC item

Dorset Echo

Reopening December 11

Miss Turnstiles

Classic sequence from On The Town

They don't make them like that anymore

Friday, 29 November 2013

New Wines of Greece (ΟΤΑΝ ΜΙΛΑΕΙ ΤΟ ΚΡΑΣΙ)

A useful website- but where can you buy the wine?

Export problems

Some songs:

Otan milaei to krasi Stratos Dionysiou (Giorgos Mitsakis)

Otan milaei to krasi (Track 14)

Wine, Women and Cards (Κρασί, γυναίκα και χαρτί)


Μουσική, στίχοι: Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης

Πρώτη φωνογράφηση: 1948 

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Λίτσα Χάρμα (Χαρμαντά) & Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης

Κρασί, γυναίκα και χαρτί, τρία κακά μεγάλα,
με φέραν στ' αδιέξοδο, με στέλνουν στην κρεμάλα.

Με το κρασί ζαλίζομαι, με το χαρτί τα χάνω,
με τη γυναίκα χτίκιασα και πέφτω να πεθάνω.

Κρασί, γυναίκα και χαρτί με κάνανε μαντάρα,
γιατί χωρίς αυτά η ζωή δεν κάνει μια πεντάρα.

Κρασί, γυναίκα και χαρτί στα χέρια σου μην πιάνεις,
γιατί, αργά ή γρήγορα, στην ψάθα θα πεθάνεις.

Marty Wilde and The Wildcats Rock Weymouth

The present Pavilion was rebuilt in 1959, the same year as Marty's hit recording of "A Teenager in Love" was released.

A wonderful evening with Marty, Roxanne and the superb Wildcats, but it had its sad side- a feeling of the end of an era (Marty paid tribute by reading out a long list of the great rock singers who have died), in spite of the timelessness and energy of the songs. "The songs can never die". He was born to rock 'n' roll.

Roll Over Beethoven.

There was no time for Endless Sleep in this set.

Greece: Debt Sustainability (OECD; Troika), and Taxation Levels (Stournaras)

From Eurointelligence and Macropolis ("staggering projections with regard to the country’s debt"):

The OECD view

Trying to bridge the gap (Kathimerini)

Contentious issues causing delay.

"Greeks are not overtaxed"

Uncertainty (To Vima)

Troika Return, Next Steps (Kathimerini)


The real taxable value of property

Update on changes (December 7, 2013)


Thursday, 28 November 2013

On Lucian Freud

From London Review of Books

Reviews by Julian Barnes

"Moonfleet", The Novel, The Old Fleet Church, The Fleet; The Great Storm of 1824

A walk in J. Meade Falkner's "Moonfleet" country, but not down into the Mohune Vault of the Old Fleet Church; no sign of Blackbeard or of 'the gentlemen of the contraband' above ground. Much talk of the events of November 22, 1824, exactly 189 years ago, when the sea breached the Chesil Bank and the storm surge caused great destruction.

"Twern't a sea - not a bit of it - 
twer the great sea hisself rose up level like 
and come on right over the ridge and all, 
like nothing in this world"

Eyewitness to the 1824 Storm Surge over the Chesil Bank at Fleet (Barnes and Legg, 1976)

Quoted by Ian M. West

Sir Frederick Treves (1906):

"Quite close to the edge of the Fleet Water are the remains of the village of East Fleet, the greater part of which was washed away in the memorable storm of 1824...Beyond the pass and near to the brink of the mere are the village graveyard and the chancel of the ancient Church. This solitary chancel of grey stone, with its roof of stone slabs and its ivy-covered buttresses, is all that remains of the church of Fleet. The nave and tower were destoryed in the gale. The chancel is now but a mortuary chapel of the De Mohuns, the ancient lords of the manor". Highways and Byways of Dorset, 1906, p.239-240.

In Moonfleet, J. Meade Falkner places his fictional flood in November, too, back in 1757:

"The wind blew fiercest about five in the morning, and then some ran up the street calling out a new danger- that the sea was breaking over the beach, and that all the place was like to be flooded...But what with it being a spring-tide, and the sea breaking clean over the great outer beach of pebbles- a thing that had not happened for fifty years- there was so much water piled up in the lagoon, that it passed its bounds and flooded all the sea meadows, and even the lower end of the street. So when day broke, there was the churchyard flooded, though 'twas on rising ground, and the church itself standing up like a steep little island".

More about the Great Gale of 1824

"Real Brits of Corfu"

I'm not sure that this Real Corfu  list is at all representative- or that a number of the names would be unchallenged or uncontested. Corfiots have a very different idea about the nature of these individuals' contributions and legacies.

Richard Pine's latest Irish Times article can also be challenged and debated:

"I would not be surprised or even shocked to see tanks rolling into Athens to signal the advent of a military junta. Apprehensive, but not surprised..."

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Peter Austin, Dorset Landscape Variations

Peter Austin, inspired paintings and interpretations of the landscape of Egdon Heath, Purbeck and Portland:

The ARThouse Gallery

More images

and some more

From The ARThouse Gallery:

Peter Austin grew up in Dorset and studied painting at Bournemouth Municipal College of Art...

The coast of Dorset provided the subjects for his earliest paintings. At that time he was interested in Lanyon’s “flight” paintings of Cornwall and the use of a high skyline. This seemed to be an approach that was particularly appropriate for paintings of cliff top views at Portland and Lulworth...

A more recent series of paintings mark a return to the landscape of Dorset and especially that area between Puddletown Forest and Winfrith, which Thomas Hardy referred to as “Egdon Heath” - an “untameable place” with “an antique brown dress”.

Peter and Judy: Celebration at The Manor, West Bexington

Maria and Judy, Corfu, 1968

"Whilst an initial reaction might be to label much of Peter Austin's work as "abstract", there is always a visual starting point. At times, the outcome might be a recognisable view of a landscape or place; at other times it might be a set of organised forms that convey a response to a place.

In some works the dynamics of colour are important; in others black and white is used because colour has been considered an obstacle to the way in which the mood or atmosphere of a place may best be conveyed. The impact of weather and time on both natural and man-made surfaces and structures has often been a starting point. Ways in which paint and other materials may be used in order to reveal the contrasts between smooth and worn or eroded surfaces are a particular interest".

Fred Spratt, The Dorset Landscape, Saatchi Online

View here

Fred Spratt, blogger, An Artistic Adventure

UK, South Coast Central website

This seems to be an informative and well illustrated site to visit from time to time

Augustus John in Dorset

For those interested in 'Utopian' communities and Bohemian artists' colonies, the story of August John and his entourage at Alderney Manor in Dorset remains a fascinating one.

From Augustus John, A Biography, by Michael Holroyd (first edition, 1974):

"...Alderney Manor, a strangely fortified bungalow larger than most houses, that had been built by an eccentric Frenchman. It was set in sixty acres of woodland near the Ringwood Road outside Parkstone in Dorset, included a walled garden, cottage and stables- all for an incredible rent of fifty pounds a year" (p. 384-385).

"Here, in a coach-house converted to a studio, he painted 'Washing Day', 'The Blue Pool', numerous drawings and panels of the children alone or in groups, portraits of the many visitors from Francis Macnamara to Roy Campbell, and studies for the figures in his large decorative groups 'Forza e Amore', 'The Mumpers' and 'Lyric Fantasy'" (p. 393).

"In all his painting, whether landscapes or portraits, he depended upon some instinctive relationship to develop that would take hold of him and guide his brush" (p. 396).

The Blue Pool

Washing Day

Dorelia at Alderney Manor


Lyric Fantasy

Portrait of Thomas Hardy

286 Paintings by Augustus John

Portraits (YouTube)

Carrick Hill website

Read the new biography

Michael Holroyd and Margaret Drabble,
 Gothenburg, Sweden

August John in Swanage (Swanage Art Tour)

Michael Holroyd writes (p.90) that Augustus and Gwen John made a visit to Swanage in the Spring of 1899, "the two of them went down to stay at Pevril Tower, a boarding house which Mrs Everett had opened at Swanage ". In the following Spring, 1900, Augustus John went with Charles Conder; they both stayed at "Mrs Everett's boarding house at Swanage" (p.99). Augustus John told Will Rothenstein "The country here is lovely beyond words. Corfe Castle and the neighbourhood would make you mad with painter's cupidity" (Holroyd, 1974, p. 100). When he married Ida, "For their honeymoon, he took his wife to Swanage, and they stayed at Pevril Tower" (p. 108).

The king of Bohemia

Prague Tour (Czech Republic)

An invaluable website


Greece: A History of Tourism


Historian Angelos Vlachos traces the history of Greek tourism in a new study based on his PhD thesis “Tourism Development and Public Policy in Modern Greece (1914-1950),” published this year.

On Histories of Tourism

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Scotland's Future?

The White Paper

Pdf file

Fantasy Economics? New Statesman

Question Time, from Falkirk, BBC iPlayer

From the New Statesman (update)

Blues America (BBC 4)

Episode One, Woke Up This Morning 

BBC 4, Watch some clips

More clips

The appalling Leadbelly/John Lomax reenactment newsreel

Bourgeois Town

Episode One, Woke Up This Morning (iPlayer)

Blues is usually described as the sound of racial suffering and feeling sad, but this documentary argues that the blues began as a form of black pop music. First appearing in the Southern states of the USA around 1900, blues created by the poorest people in the richest nation on earth took America by storm. The film look at the early years of the blues to discover how Bessie Smith, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Charlie Patton used the latest media to bring their music to the public. With contributions from Keith Richards, Taj Mahal and Chuck D

Episode 2,  6 December, 9pm

Bright Lights, Big City
Episode 2 of 2

After 1945, artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker rooted the blues firmly in the city, where it contributed to the musical desegregation of America by spawning rock'n' roll. As the blues conquered the world and the music moved from black to white audiences, arguments developed about what was the real authentic blues. Robert Johnson returned from the dead to sell more records than any other blues artist. By the 21st century, the blues not only retained the earthiness of its roots but was also being celebrated in the White House. With contributions from Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Seasick Steve and Buddy Guy

and Big Bill Broonzy  The Man Who Brought The Blues To Britain

Sunday 1 December, 9pm

Clip, Black, Brown and White Blues

John Renbourn, How Big Bill Played the Guitar

Wizz Jones, The Glory of Love

Alabama Singing Quilters Inspire Great Jazz

Here's a programme to inspire, Jazz on BBC Radio 3: the Jaimeo Brown Trio and the quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama, a community of singers in the deep spiritual tradition of the American South.

Programme information (BBC):

"Jaimeo Brown's debut album released earlier this year draws on the rich musical traditions of the American South. Most prominent are samples of spirituals sung by the Gee's Bend quilters, a remote community of artisans in Alabama, variously treated as the basis for improvisation or as the chorus in passages of call and response. The album is called Transcendence, a reflection of Brown's deep religiosity as well as his circling, shimmering compositions that build to an ecstatic crescendo.

Somewhat unusually for a composer/ bandleader, Brown is a drummer; he leads this trio - including saxophonist John Allen on saxophone and guitarist/ producer Chris Sholar - from behind the kit".

Presenter: Jez Nelson Producers: Peggy Sutton; Chris Elcombe.

The Exhibition (Smithsonian)

Deep South Magazine

Monday, 25 November 2013

Greece: The IMF View

Kathimerini interview (with Poul Thomsen, the head of the International Monetary Fund’s mission for Greece).

Feeling the pinch


On property taxes, a citizen's view (in Greek, To Vima)

Update from MSN Prolonging the agony

On Durdle Door, Sir Frederick Treves (1906)

"Beyong the sandy sweep of Oswald Bay, with its majestic precipices, is an archway, tunnelled through a sharp rock cape. This is the Durdle Door of the photographer, of the pictorial postcard, and of endless water-colour sketches".

From Highways and Byways of Dorset, 1906,  p 206

"Roth", a novel by Glyn Hughes; The Art Market, Telling It Like It Is

A great novel about an abstract expressionist landscape painter: "It counts the human cost of much of our valued art, recalling other charismatic figures such as Pollock, Bomberg, Picasso and Rembrandt".

"Roth despised photographs. Compared with paintings and drawings they were flat and illusory, because no analysis of structure went into making them; they were seizures of appearances, merely."


"Roth was, indeed, aware of how the Station Gallery had 'done very well' for him...

Between 1949 and 1951 Roth went through one of his transformations, from precisely observed landscapes to abstract expressionism with affinities to some of the St Ives painters, especially Peter Lanyon and Roger Hilton. A wilder element was close to the maverick David Bomberg. At the time, all these artists were still on the fringes of popular taste. The St Ives painters had seemed to Roth then, as they appeared to him now, the most pregnant and forceful British painters of the century, when considered as a school. Looking over their shoulders, Roth caught his first glimpse of New York abstract expressionism....

Artists then were naive about the long-term contract, which was a new method of 'handling' painters. Paying him a retainer fee and taking in consignments of Roth's output, the Station held back many pictures from exhibitions while they worked on influential people who would raise the value...The gallery got academics to buy cheaply or to accept gifts of minor canvasses, which were really bribes for them to write monographs; to create a myth about the artist and raise his worth.

Rosblum, arriving from Paris after the liberation, had learned from Left Bank intellectuals the value of friends conversing and writing about one another. Society figures were encouraged to become collectors and then to name-drop 'Leonard Roth' into the ears of gossip-writers. With meals, flattery and small gifts of paintings, young, aspiring journalists were easily corrupted...

The marketing strategy for Roth contrasted him with the escapist landscape artists who were satisfying a reaction against the war...the Station dropped most of the romantic painters, one by one, slowly, without informing them. It ruthlessly, although not openly, denigrated its erstwhile stable in order to promote Roth".

ROTH, a novel by Glyn Hughes

Simon and Schuster, 1992.

ISBN 0 671 71764 2

Sceptre, 1993. ISBN 0 340 58601 X

High time this novel was brought back into print!

On Swanage, Dorset, in 1906, Sir Frederick Treves; and Paul Nash, 1936

From Highways and Byways in Dorset (Macmillan, 1906; pages 188-189)

Swanage, as it was in 1906, and 35 years before that.

"In those days it could still claim to be the "quaint, old-world village" that Charles Kingsley loved. Now it is the scene of a feverish struggle between rival builders, who fight to cover the land with copious red brick in as little time as possible. What can be done to spoil a characteristic village the founders of Swanage the Up-to-Date have done...It only needs a gasometer on the beach to complete the sorry renaissance. Old Swanage has gone; the features which made it unique among the Southern sea towns have been swept away, so that in a few more years it will be indistinguishable from the host of "developed" red-brick coast resorts on the shores of England...Swanage devotes itself body and soul to a hearty multitude called by the townfolk "the steamer people" and by the less tolerant "the trippers"".

Sir Frederick Treves, 1906.

Pennie Denton, on Paul Nash's Dorset Shell Guide (1936) and Swanage:

"Only in Swanage, he found, had man supplanted nature, and with disastrous results, for here was 'Perhaps the most beautiful natural site on the south Coast, ruined by two generations of "development" prosecuted without discrimination or scruple'".

From Seaside Surrealism, Paul Nash in Swanage (2002).

Niki Marangou, Poems; Cadences, Journal of Literature and the Arts in Cyprus.

I regret that I cannot be in Nicosia tomorrow night for an important literary event, the launch of Volume 9, Fall 2013, issue of Cadences: A Journal of Literature and the Arts in Cyprus. The  special issue is devoted to the life and work, and to the memory, of the wonderful Cypriot poet and artist Niki Marangou.


It needs someone with vision like Niki to solve geopolitical problems like this....and this

On Cadences, from Belgium

An article and translation by Niki (O Fileletheros, 27/7/2006):

What Happens in Kavos? New Series (Corfu Press)

Corfu Press alert

Channel 4: Thursday 28 November, 10pm


"The island’s infamous drinking culture and its consequences",

Watched for ten minutes. Switched channels. Boring and repetitive. Don't bother.

See earlier posting

Mr Dendias, Public Order Minister, obviously prefers this type of culture and visitor

Kathimerini, 31 January 2013:
"The conservative minister said that the quality of illegal immigrants in Greece is “tragic.” “The migrant from the ex-Soviet Union that goes to Sweden has some kind of level,” Dendias said. “Greece gets migrants from (names countries) who have a different culture, they belong to a different world. That's our misfortune.”

Dorset's Julian Fellowes on a Desert Island

Desert Island Discs Revisited : Baron Fellowes of West Stafford (BBC iPlayer; first broadcast December 2011).

I must be one of the few people who never watches Downton Abbey. Does that make me sound snobbish?

The writer's views (especially when The Lord Fellowes contributes to panel discussions) are much more interesting than the TV series.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Anthony Blunt in Corfu, November 1953

Anthony Blunt, Corfu , 23/11/1953. 
British Council Greece Lecture Tour.

Photograph inserted by Marie Aspioti in British Council Corfu Visitors Book, on a page signed Anthony Blunt, Courtauld Institute. Blunt visited Corfu in connection with his lecture on Royal Portraiture.

Blunt had been under investigation, interrogation and great pressure since 1952. By August 1953 he was suffering from an attack of Bell's palsy, the right side of his face having become paralysed.

"Bell's palsy was a highly public betrayal of his inner trials, turning his face into something resembling the mask he had been metaphorically wearing for many years".

Miranda Seymour, Anthony Blunt, His Lives, 2001

More on Blunt's lecture tour of Greece can be found in Francis King's 1993 memoir,
Yesterday Came Suddenly:

See Francis King Obituaries

Francis King became a friend of Anthony Blunt, during Blunt's lecture tour of Greece. Francis King spent a year in Corfu, on unpaid leave. He was treated well by Marie Aspioti while he was there. He contributed poetry, stories and reviews to Prospero; but he claims he was followed, and 'suspected of being a spy' when living on the island over the winter, while writing his novel “The Dark Glasses” (dedicated to Marie Aspioti, published 1954).


The British Council Corfu Branch Archive is held by Ioanna Desylla.

I was invited to inspect it on 7 August 2009. It includes:

A box file containing 4 files, loose materials and the Guest and Events book. One blue file is labelled Institute Activities, 15 April 1946-May 1955

The Guest and Events book begins on 7 November 1946. The last entries are on April 8, 1955, except for Francis King, October 11, 1955.

The British Council, Corfu Branch, was at 46 George Theotoki Street

The archive includes programmes, photos and cuttings eg

Book Exhibition 13/12/1947
Periodicals Exhibition 13 March 1949
Painting Exhibition Summer 1950

Shakespeare Readings, 10 February 1953: 

Francis King
Liana Desylla
Marie Aspioti
Pat Karydi
Hector Koliacopoulos

Oscar Wilde readings, 8 December 1953

Some visitors:

Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1953
Anthony Blunt, 23/11/53
Queen Frederika and King Paul (at exhibition)
Mountbatten of Burma

Photographic Sets (62 sets 1946-1955)

Eg 1946 Dec.  1) Windsor Castle 2) English Ballet
1947    included British Scenery, British Agriculture, English Cathedrals .    

Gramophone Recitals began in October 1949, weekly, during the Functional Season (October-April)

LECTURES from 1946 (samples)

1946, July, Paddy Leigh Fermor on 1) British Philhellenes 2) Experience in Crete

1948, February, W. Tatham, English Education

1949, February, H.A.Lidderdale, English Music for Voices

1950, February, Irene Dendrinou, Dino Theotoki as a Poet

1952, January, Edwin Merlin, George Orwell

1952, October, Francis King, Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh

1953, November, Professor Anthony Blunt, Royal Portraiture

Last lectures recorded on file, May 1955

Out of a total of 99 lectures 65 were in Greek, 34 in English

In Prospero, the British Council Corfu literary periodical (issue 9, pages 350-351), the list of  British Council events in Corfu in 1953 suggests an impressive contribution to the development of Corfu’s intellectual and artistic activities. It includes lectures by Irini Dendrinou, Anthony Blunt, M.I. Desyllas; literary events with readings of works by Mavilis, Theotokis and Papadiamantis; drama events, with readings of plays by L. MacNeice (translated by M. Aspioti) and Oscar Wilde, with people like Hector Koliakopoulos taking part, as well as musical and film events.

As Charles Climis writes in “The Illustrated History of Corfu” (1994): “The British Council hosted a major post-war effort to keep the intellectual standards to a level, if not raise them, considering always the dire circumstances. Marie Aspiotis, Michael Desyllas, Irene Dendrinos and other literati met there and gave lectures twice a month…This effort was abruptly curtailed in 1954, with the Anglo-Cypriot crisis.”  

By then the Council in Corfu was at 43 Leoforos Alexandros

An earlier posting covering some of the same ground

In 1946, an article was published in Greek about the aims of The British Council, in Anglo-Elliniki Epitheorisi (Anglo-Greek Review, Issue 1, 1946). I have translated this back into English from the Greek:.

“The aims of the British Council are neither political, nor economic, nor propagandistic-unless we are using the word propaganda in a different sense…In order to be able to define its purpose we should use the term “humanistic aims”, an expression with a wider meaning, because any other term fails to capture the variety of the Council’s pursuits and activities. Today, an organisation which helps strengthen international friendship without political or economic motives, but in the wider arena of mutual understanding and mutual respect, can play an important role in the post-war world. If Peace is not based on the general recognition of the worth of individuals and the peoples of the whole world, it’s difficult for anyone to say on what else it can be based except some form of tyranny. The main purpose of the British Council is to give the inhabitants of the other countries of the world the opportunity to understand British civilisation and the British way of life, and to give the British the opportunity to understand the cultures of other countries. The British Institute and other organisations of the British Council abroad, apart from teaching the English language, literature, history, music, economics and many other subjects, show films, organise art exhibitions, facilitate the founding of clubs and societies, and many other things. In parallel, the British Council supplies books, helps with the exchange of medical and scientific information, organises lectures and theatrical performances. Although the Council has only worked for a short time in Greece, it has achieved something to date. The British Council helps the Ministry of Education in training teachers of English for Greek schools; last summer there were courses for teachers in Poros. The Council organised an exhibition of five contemporary Greek painters in London. In Athens it established a musical library which helps Greek conductors and orchestras.  4000 students are learning English at the Athens Institute, nearly 2000 in Salonika. The Council in Salonika also plans a large, modern School of Nursing. The representative of the British Council in Athens is the distinguished Byzantine specialist, Mr. Steven Runciman. Last month it was decided that a British Institute should be established, with a library of works of English literature and scientific, medical, legal and economics books. Mr. Rex Warner, the poet and novelist, is the Director of the Institute, and the Deputy Director is Major Patrick Leigh-Fermor, DSO, OBE, well-known in Greece as leader of the Resistance in Crete during the period of the Occupation.

Among the lecturers invited by the Council to speak in Greece to date are Mr. Harold Nicholson, who spoke about British Democracy, and the work of Byron; General Smith, who spoke about International Law; Mr. J. Richards, who spoke about Architecture; and Mrs Dilys Powell, who spoke on one occasion about British Cinema, the other time about her impressions of Greek life; Mr. Austin Harrison, the well-known architect who undertook the planning for the restoration of Malta, will come to Greece shortly to advise on the plan for the restoration of the ruined buildings of Corfu.

Many other plans of the British Council, like facilitating coaching in football and other sports, have started to be realised, or are about to be realised. What needs to be remembered above all the details is the ultimate aim of the Council’s activities; that is, the spreading of mutual understanding, respect and love between the peoples of the world. And that, above all is the Propaganda of Peace.”

Corfu Experience Brochure

Colourful Corfu brochure from the Municipality (pdf)

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Weymouth, Dorset: Pavilion Peninsula Redevelopment Plans; Harbour Wall Repair Costs

Dorset Echo article

The costs of the repairs to the harbour wall

Men of Straw/Hollow Men (from Poundbury to Maiden Castle)

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar...

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
   Not with a bang but a whimper.


I passed these two guys on my way to Maiden Castle. 
On my way back, I felt sure that they moved their heads:

Rt Hon David Davis MP talks to George Galloway

I don't watch Russia Today as a rule, as its coverage comes across as overtly hostile and propagandistic.

Quite by chance this morning I was channel-hopping and happened to see George Galloway talking to the Rt Hon David Davis MP about the Iraq War, on the new programme called Sputnik.

I am sure it raised many questions in the minds of viewers.

Galloway seems to have found his niche, alongside Max Keiser.

Out of orbit?

Strange that I can't find this controversial interview on the MP's website, on YouTube or on the Russia Today website.

Update, 28 November:

Two links have finally been posted on YouTube:

Judge for yourselves.

Friday, 22 November 2013

On Tsipouro

Thanks to Chris King for this link to Neos Kosmos and Ross Robertson's "tsipouro story".

Alain de Botton, Art as Therapy, The New Yorker Review

Review of "Art as Therapy". 

On Museums, Art History and the real purposes and value of Art. 

"In “Art as Therapy,” de Botton argues that museums have taken a wrong turn. They should never have embraced as their guiding paradigm the discipline of art history; it’s led them to lose track of what actually makes art interesting. Most people, he thinks, care only a little about who commissioned what. When a visit to a museum succeeds, it usually isn’t because the visitor has learned facts about art but because she’s found one or two works that resonate in a private way. And, yet, museums do very little to foster these kinds of personal connections... “Art as Therapy” is large, beautifully designed, and filled with images of paintings and sculptures alongside explanations of how those artworks might be approached in a more personally helpful, therapeutic way".

Extracts from the excellent New Yorker posting by by Joshua Rothman.

Alain de Botton, John Armstrong, Art as Therapy

"The purpose of this book is to introduce a new method of interpreting art: art as a form of therapy. It's the authors' contention that certain art works provide powerful solutions to our problems, but that in order for this potential to be released, the audience's attention has to be directed towards it in a new way (which they demonstrate), rather than towards the more normal historical or stylistic concerns with which art books and museum captions are traditionally associated. The authors propose that the squeamish belief that art should be 'for art's sake' has unnecessarily held back art from revealing its latent therapeutic potential. This book involves reframing and recontextualising a series of art works from across the ages and genres, so that they can be approached as tools for the resolution of difficult issues in individual life". From Book Information text.

Roman Herzog on the Birthplace of Democracy

Greek Reporter


To Vima

The Birthplace of Democracy? "Not in Ancient Greece, but in England and Switzerland"

“Ως γενέτειρα της Δημοκρατίας θεωρώ την Ελβετία και την Αγγλία και όχι την Ελλάδα” δήλωσε χθες ο πρώην πρόεδρος της χώρας Ρόμαν Χέρτσογκ μιλώντας στην εφημερίδα Der Handelsblatt, προκαλώντας σειρά αντιδράσεων. Εσπευσε δε να προσθέσει ότι θεωρεί αδικαιολόγητη την κριτική που ασκείται από τις χώρες του Νότου προς την Γερμανία, σε ό,τι αφορά την πολιτική διάσωσης...

Όμως η συζήτηση για το που γεννήθηκε ή όχι η δημοκρατία, πρώτον έχει περιορισμένη σημασία σήμερα, και, δεύτερον, έχει από πολύ καιρό λάβει τις απαντήσεις της σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο, όσο κι αν ο πρώην πρόεδρος της Γερμανίας έχει άλλη όψιμα άλλη άποψη...

Το μεγάλο πρόβλημα σήμερα είναι άλλο: όχι το που γεννήθηκε, αλλά το που πέθανε η δημοκρατία. Κι αυτό όχι πριν από δυόμισι χιλιάδες χρόνια, αλλά πολύ πιο πρόσφατα, πριν από μόλις μερικές δεκαετίες. Στη Γερμανία πέθανε και μάλιστα με τον πιο άγριο, κτηνώδη τρόπο.

Giorgios Malouchos, To Vima

Konstantinos Theotokis on Climate Change, 1899

An amazing discussion of climate change (global freezing rather than global warming) by Corfu's great writer, Konstantinos Theotokis, written in the family's mansion at Karousades in the north of Corfu in April 1899.

Here are two extracts (the beginning and the ending) from Η χάση του κόσμου, as published in the collection  Το όνειρο του Σατνή - Κέρκυρα· Ανέγδοτα διηγήματα. Αθήνα, τυπ.Κείμενα, 1981.

Benjamin Britten Centenary Day and Weekend

Britten: Choirs Celebrate

Britten 100 Homepage

Words and Music: Britten's Poets, Playlist

iPlayer Words and Music

Noye's Fludde

Les Illuminations (YouTube)

Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Samaras

Η κα Μέρκελ, από την πλευρά της, είπε ότι “γνωρίζω τις θυσίες που έχουν κάνει οι Έλληνες, αλλά οι πολίτες χρειάζονται τις αναδιαρθρώσεις και την δημοσιονομική σταθεροποίηση για να έχουν καλύτερο μέλλον” και πρόσθεσε ότι η Ελλάδα πρέπει να καλύψει τις δεσμεύσεις της σημειώνοντας πάντως ότι “θα τα καταφέρει και υπάρχει φως στην άκρη του τούνελ”. Η Ελλάδα αναλαμβάνει την προεδρία και δεν θα πρέπει να βαρύνεται με διαπραγματεύσεις όταν αρχίσει (Kathimerini)


Suddeutsche Zeitung

Kathimerini (English edition)


Merkel (EnetEnglish): While she said she recognises the sacrifices by the Greek people, Angela Merkel insists that, in order to have a better future, they need economic restructuring and fiscal consolidation.

Goulandris Foundation Digital Cultural Periodical

Issue 4 now available online (in Greek).

Includes an interview with film-director Costa Gavras, and an article on modern Greek art.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Dorset, Marine Conservation Zones

Not all proposed areas accepted

BBC News:

"Three areas off the Dorset coastline have been designated as Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) by the government. The decision was welcomed by Dorset Wildlife Trust, despite its three other proposed sites not being accepted".

Those areas accepted " included Poole Rocks in Poole Bay, Chesil beach, with Stennis Ledges, and an area south of Weymouth Bay in Dorset. The designation is applied to areas considered important to conserving rare or threatened habitats and promoting biodiversity in coastal areas".

J. M. Whistler, Blues with Gold and Silver

Whistler at Old Battersea Bridge, with the blues

Blue and Silver, Chelsea

I Cover the Waterfront (John Lee Hooker blues; YouTube)

I Cover the Waterfront (Billie Holiday, YouTube)

and Whistler down in Dorset-

On "The Walk", Plinius

An interesting posting and embedded video extract (someLANDSCAPES)

All This Can Happen, a new film by Siobhan Davies and David Hinton

On Hamstone, Purbeck Marble and Portland Stone (J C Powys, Wood and Stone)

John Cowper Powys, in his early novel "Wood and Stone" (1915, dedicated to Thomas Hardy) writes about Ham Hill, near Montacute, Somerset ("Leo's Hill", near "Nevilton") and Hamstone and compares it with rival stones from Purbeck and Portland:

"What especially separates the Stone of Leo's Hill from its various local rivals, is its chameleon-like power of taking tone and colour from every element it touches. While Purbeck marble, for instance, must always remain the same dark, opaque, slippery thing it was when it left its Dorset coast; while Portland stone can do nothing but grow gloomier and gloomier, in its ashen-grey moroseness, under the weight of the London fogs; the tawny progeny of this tyrant of the western vales becomes amber-streaked when it restricts the play of fountains, orange-tinted when it protects herbaceous borders, and rich as a petrified sunset when it drinks the evening light from the mellow front of a Cathedral Tower".

On Ham Hill itself, from the beginning of Chapter One:

"Midway between Glastonbury and Bridport, at the point where the eastern plains of Somersetshire merge into the western valleys of Dorsetshire, stands a prominent and noticeable hill; a hill resembling the figure of a crouching lion".

See also, posting on John Cooper Powys and the English Landscape

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Jane and Cassandra Austen in Dorset; Genteel "Grockles" in Lyme Regis and Weymouth

 Thomas Girtin, Lyme Regis, c. 1797

Apart from descriptions of Lyme, the Dorset watering-place (and its social life) in the novel Persuasion, we have Jane Austen's letter to her elder sister Cassandra, written at Lyme, Friday, September 14, 1804.

Jane gives some hints of her private (and somewhat snobbish) impressions of Lyme, and has this to say about Weymouth (referring to Cassandra's account):

"Weymouth is altogether a shocking place, I perceive, without recommendation of any kind, and worthy only of being frequented by the inhabitants of Gloucester. I am really very glad that we did not go there, and that Henry and Eliza saw nothing in it to make them feel differently".

Thomas Girtin, The Harbour, Weymouth, c 1798

Lyme Regis, 1844

Hydromania (detail), George Cruickshank, 1819
 (after Captain Frederick Marryat's sketch):

Jane Austen, about Lyme:

"I continue quite well; in proof of which I have bathed again this morning....The bathing was so delightful this morning and Molly so pressing with me to enjoy myself that I believe I staid in rather too long..."


"We are quite settled in our Lodgings...The servants behave very well, and make no difficulties, tho' nothing can exceed the inconvenience of the offices, except the general dirtiness of the house and furniture and all its inhabitants."

Of some other people she writes that they are "bold queer-looking people, just fit to be quality at Lyme".

She walks with a Miss Armstrong for an hour on the Cobb: "she is very converseable in a common way; I do not perceive wit or genius, but she has sense and some degree of taste, and her manners are very engaging".

From Jane Austen and Lyme Regis, 1944

See also, Memoir of Jane Austen, by James Edward Austen-Leigh

Images of Jane Austen (including two by Cassandra Austen)

Jane Austen and the Seaside

See also (not Dorset), Sanditon- Creating a Seaside Resort

John Fowles on Grockles:

Update, The Times, November 7, 2014. Gabriella Swerling is trying to give a new definition for the word "grockle":

"A derogatory term for outsiders who buy up property and increase house prices". I think not.

" Granny's Teeth"