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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Abbotsbury, Dorset: The Coast Road To Reopen 28 February

Dorset Echo

Dimitris Tziovas Lecture today; Oxford. "The future of the past: Antiquity and modern Greek culture"

Modern Greek Seminar



Thursday 27 February 2014 5 pm

Venue: ground floor lecture room

47 Wellington Square

Oxford OX1 2JF

Dimitris Tziovas

(University of Birmingham)

The future of the past: Antiquity and modern Greek culture
"Antiquity has often been perceived as the source of Greece’s modern achievements, as well as its frustrations, with the continuity between ancient and modern Greek culture and the legacy of classical Greece to Europe dominating and shaping current perceptions of the classical past. The paper aims to move beyond the dominant perspectives on the Greek past by shifting attention to the ways it has been constructed, performed, (ab)used, Hellenized, canonized and ultimately decolonized and re-imagined. Starting from the premise that the Greeks have customarily been seen as being trapped in and by their past, re-imagining that past could be seen as an act of liberation and an invitation to look at different uses and articulations of the past both in and outside Greece. The paper outlines and maps out transitions, debates and new directions in the reception of antiquity in Greece over the last few decades by looking at a variety of cultural practices and aspiring to offer new perspectives in re-thinking the role of antiquity in shaping modern Greek culture and its institutions. A series of partly overlapping transitions currently taking place in the area of modern Greek classical reception studies are identified, involving shifts from continuity to diversity, elite to popular receptions, texts to performances, traces to uses and eternal glory to critical history".

Greece: Competition Assessment and Olive Oil Production

OECD Competition Assessment report

Nick Malkoutzis, Macropolis

Olive Oil Efficiency Drive

Greece, Fall in Exports

Links from Kalamos Books Hellas List

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Australia's "Big Things"

From The Telegraph

William Barnes, Riverflowers; Barnes Society Events

Walter Bagehot: The Prerequisites of Cabinet Government

A good Somerset man with some contentious thoughts!

"People, in all but the most favoured times and places, are rooted to the places where they were born, think the thoughts of those places, can endure no other thoughts. The next parish even is suspected. Its inhabitants have different usages, almost imperceptibly different, but yet different; they speak a varying accent; they use a few peculiar words; tradition says that their faith is dubious. And if the next parish is a little suspected, the next county is much more suspected. Here is a definite beginning of new maxims, new thoughts, new ways: the immemorial boundary mark begins in feeling a strange world. And if the next county is dubious, a remote county is untrustworthy. "Vagrants come from thence," men know, and they know nothing else. The inhabitants of the north speak a dialect different from the dialect of the south: they have other laws, another aristocracy, another life. In ages when distant territories are blanks in the mind, when neighbourhood is a sentiment, when locality is a passion, concerted co-operation between remote regions is impossible even on trivial matters. Neither would rely enough upon the good faith, good sense, and good judgment of the other. Neither could enough calculate on the other. And if such co-operation is not to be expected in trivial matters, it is not to be thought of in the most vital matter of government-- the choice of the executive ruler. To fancy that Northumberland in the thirteenth century would have consented to ally itself with Somersetshire for the choice of a chief magistrate is absurd; it would scarcely have allied itself to choose a hangman".

In his lecture (for the Dorset Association) on 17th Century Dorchester, Brian Bates suggested that Walter Bagehot was wrong to suggest that Somerset labourers did not know what was going on in London. The study of diarists indicates that people were well informed, as news continually travelled around the country by land and by sea.

Woodrow Wilson on Bagehot

“It is pleasant to see Langport also perched upon one of those infrequent hills, a landmark for the traveller, and to think that it was from this haven Walter Bagehot set out to make his bold voyage into the world of thought. … Neither Somersetshire air nor any certain custom of mental inheritance can explain Walter Bagehot. We must simply accept him as part of the largess of Providence to a race singularly enriched with genius.” [“A wit and a seer”, 1898, pp528-9]

“The power and character of his imagination are proved by the extraordinary range it took. Most of his literary essays in which he has given us so memorable a taste of his quality as a critic and all-round man were written before his marriage between his twenty-sixth and thirty-second years … and there is everywhere to be found in those studies a man whose insight into life was easy, universal and almost unerring; and yet the centre of life for him was quiet Langport in far Somersetshire.” [“A wit and a seer”, 1898, p536]

Greece: The Banking Sector

Greek Reporter

Financial Times

Dorset Art Weeks, 2014, 24 May-8 June

I am looking forward to the twelth biennial Dorset Art Weeks, opening on 24 May, 2014

Dorset Art Weeks

Alfred Wallis, Cornish Artist and Mariner; Theophilos, Greek Artist

Online gallery (click on The Paintings, Enter Online Gallery)

Unusual collection of rare paintings, MailOnline

Cornwall's equivalent of Greece's Theophilos?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Thomas Hardy, The Dorsetshire Labourer

Text of The Dorsetshire Labourer


"The changes which are so increasingly discernible in village life by no means originate entirely with the agricultural unrest. A depopulation is going on which in some quarters is truly alarming. Villages used to contain, in addition to the agricultural inhabitants, an interesting and better-informed class, ranking distinctly above those -- the blacksmith, the carpenter, the shoemaker, the small higgler, the shopkeeper (whose stock-in-trade consisted of a couple of loaves, a pound of candles, a bottle of brandy-balls and lumps of delight, three or four scrubbing-brushes, and a frying-pan), together with nondescript-workers other than farm-labourers, who had remained in the houses where they were born for no especial reason beyond an instinct of association with the spot. Many of these families had been life-holders, who built at their own expense the cottages they occupied, and as the lives dropped, and the property fell in they would have been glad to remain as weekly or monthly tenants of the owner. But the policy of all but some few philanthropic landowners is to disapprove of these petty tenants who are not in the estate's employ, and to pull down each cottage as it falls in, leaving standing a sufficient number for the use of the farmer's men and no more. The occupants who formed the back-bone of the village life have to seek refuge in the boroughs. This process, which is designated by statisticians as 'the tendency of the rural population towards the large towns,' is really the tendency of water to flow uphill when forced. The poignant regret of those who are thus obliged to forsake the old nest can only be realised by people who have witnessed it -- concealed as it often is under a mask of indifference. It is anomalous that landowners who are showing unprecedented activity in the erection of comfortable cottages for their farm labourers, should see no reason for benefiting in the same way these unattached natives of the village who are nobody's care....

The system is much to be deplored, for every one of these banished people imbibes a sworn enmity to the existing order of things, and not a few of them, far from becoming merely honest Radicals, degenerate into Anarchists, waiters on chance, to whom danger to the State, the town -- nay, the street they live in, is a welcomed opportunity.

A reason frequently advanced for dismissing these families from the villages where they have lived for centuries is that it is done in the interests of morality; and it is quite true that some of the 'liviers' (as these half-independent villagers used to be called) were not always shining examples of churchgoing, temperance, and quiet walking. But a natural tendency to evil, which develops to unlawful action when excited by contact with others like-minded, would often have remained latent amid the simple isolated experiences of a village life. The cause of morality cannot be served by compelling a population hitherto evenly distributed over the country to concentrate in a few towns, with the inevitable results of overcrowding and want of regular employment. But the question of the Dorset cottager here merges in that of all the houseless and landless poor, and the vast topic of the Rights of Man, to consider which is beyond the scope of a merely descriptive article".

Dances of Greece (1948); Mirologhia

On a market stall I found a lovely little book by Domini Crosfield, published in London in 1948:

UK: NHS Hospital Patient Data and Insurance Companies

Already sold!

Bill for mistakes

Watching Ukraine

The latest from the BBC

And from Reuters

Al Jazeera


More from RT

Where does the truth lie?


Ukrainians in Prague (Economist)

Russia and Ukraine (Economist)

Sir Rodic Braithwaite on Russia and Ukraine (The Independent, March2, 2014)

I've never forgotten my (official) visit to Kiev in January 1992, to the Kiev Polytechnic Institute.

Some literary insights

Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, Kiev

Pushkin in Kiev

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Queenie and Rover

Paul Kelly sings The Ballad of Queenie and Rover

another version


From St Kilda to King's Cross

Queenie McKenzie, from my blog

Book about Queenie

Written in the Land

Bonhams Auctions (Queenie)

Queenie McKenzie - images online

Rover Thomas - images online

George Shaw, Suburban Landscapes; "The Sea Is a Cliché"

The Independent (Jim Wileman):

"Painter George Shaw decamped to Ilfracombe in Devon in 2004. His then long-term partner, now wife, Katherine, came from the town and they felt it was time for a change from Nottingham. 'Will you be painting the sea?' I ask looking at the stunning view from the couple's kitchen, and Shaw virtually shudders. 'I want to paint the sea. I have done it once or twice but it does not say anything. It is a cliché'".

The Guardian

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Videos on Loving Weymouth & Portland

A useful link to videos

Weymouth Light Veils, Laser Lights

I am told that there are calls to save energy by turning off Weymouth's Light Veils laser lights.

Here is some background to the project and the consumption of energy.

"The laser units have very low energy requirement being only eight watt each with the column lighting also being efficient".

Light Veils (from Dorset For You):

"Launched in May 2012, this artist led scheme involved seven, 16 metre high columns with lighting projected from Weymouth promenade over the beach and into the sea.

Parsons Brinckerhoff(opens in a new window) designed, supplied, installed and commissioned the laser lighting, columns and associated equipment. The design was artist led by Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier.

Each column is a different colour and each include a different vertical coloured light within the structure of the column. Each column projects a green laser light.

The laser units have very low energy requirement being only eight watt each with the column lighting also being efficient. Health and marine safety were carefully considered as part of the scheme's design and installation.

The new lighting system (pdf, 4Mb)(opens in a new window)  intended to be a subtle, phased and calming. They are programmed to change over time moving vertically and horizontally, in circular motions with split beams.

The lights start half an hour after sunset and go on and off every six minutes through the evening and each time there is different pattern of lights. They will stay on until midnight in winter and 1am in summer.

This unique artistic installation is different everytime you see it. Take time to view the lighting system from different points along the seafront and also in different weather and lighting conditions.

A FAQ (pdf, 169kb)(opens in a new window) has been put together to answer question about the lighting scheme.

Light Veils pictures on this page have been provided by John Snelling of Studioelite and Gino Malorca of CMT".

The State of Corfu; οι ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑΙΟΙ; Korydallos Prison near Piraeus

Nikos (a Corfiot) "tells it like it is" in a recent Facebook posting:

Την ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ πότε θα την ξανα-σκεφθούμε; Η μήπως η ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ ειναι πλέον μια χαμένη υπόθεση; Όλοι αυτοί οι μικροκέφαλοι που κατεβένουν στις εκλογές έχουν κανένα πλάνο; Η Βίλα Ρόσα καταρρέει, το Καστέλο ετοιμάζεται, τον Φοίνικα τον γκρεμίσαμε για να δείξουμε έργο. Ο ποδηλατόδρομος (το μεγάλο σκάνδαλο δυο δημάρχων) έχει το μαύρο χάλι. Η Μαρίνα στο παλιό λιμάνι δεν έχει προχωρήσει εδω και χρόνια, η κάτω πλατεία θα παραμένει πάρκινγκ για πάντα. Οι ανεγκέφαλοι Κερκυραίοι θα εξακολουθήσουν να πηγαίνουν με το αυτοκίνητο τους απο την Γαρίτσα, το Σαρόκο, το Μαντούκι στην πλατεία για καφέ. Η παρακαμπτήριος του αεροδρομίου θα μείνει έτσι για αλλά 6 χρόνια. Το κτήριο του γηροκομείου στον λόφο Αβράμη, κάποια μέρα θα πέσει, όπως πέφτουν και τα φρούρια και οι τοίχοι των οχηρωσεων. Η αρχαιολογική, που υποτίθεται προστατεύει την κληρονομιά μας, δυηλίζει τον κώνωπα και καταπίνει την κάμηλο, ένα άλλο μεγάλο σκάνδαλο διαφθοράς, ευθυνοφοβίας, γραφειοκρατικής αναλγησίας, ΜΕΓΑΛΟΜΑΝΙΑΣ και ηλίθιας δημοσιουπαλληλίας. Και οι ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑΙΟΙ; ο καθένας να κοιτάει τα προσωπικά του συμφέροντα και να μην θέλει να συνεργαστεί με κανέναν, εάν δεν κερδίσει ο ίδιος κάτι. Το μόνο που αισθάνομαι ειναι ναυτία και σιχασιά. Άντε και καλο καλοκαίρι μπάς και αρπαξουμε απο τους κουτοτουρίστες κανένα ευρώ για να βγάλουμε τον χειμώνα

The state of prisons in Greece?  EnetEnglish on the state of Korydallos Prison near Piraeus

Video of conditions (YouTube)


Kathimerini update

"Greece Will Never Die": A United Country, A Big Family, One Nation/One Soul; Video

Witty video on YouTube: "Greece Will Never Die"

Watch the brilliant body-language and gestures.

One nation, one happy, united family, with some exceptions...

A shame if you don't understand demotic Greek. A classic.

On Fracking and Giant Wind Turbines

What should one make of the protest and action group leaflets that one receives through the letterbox or the web?

Greenpeace Fracking Diagram

On Giant Wind Turbines in Dorset

The first thing, I suppose, is to research and study the issues as carefully as one can, to weigh up the pros and cons.

That is what I am trying to do: what are the benefits, what are the environmental risks and costs?

My instinct is to oppose both developments, but I am not unmindful of the energy crisis in the UK.

More homework.

British Accents

A quick tour (BBC)

"A dialect coach, Andrew Jack, gives a tour of the accents of the British Isles"

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Corfu: Achilleion Sculptures

I'm not an admirer of the palace or the sculptures. But now they've been declared "monuments".

Greek Ship Wrecked on Chesil Beach, Portland, Dorset; SS Preveza

Back in January 1920: the SS Preveza.

The fate of the uninsured Greek steamer grounded on Chesil Cove. It broke in two.

SS Preveza wreck video

Earthquake in Bristol Channel

BBC report

Izzy Young on BBC Radio 4- The Greenwich Village Folklorist

Wonderful heart-warming programme about my old friend Izzy Young!

Izzy Young today

Programme Information (Listen now, 30 minutes, BBC iPlayer) Essential listening

"One of the UK's most acclaimed folk singers, Seth Lakeman, travels to New York to meet the man regarded a the world's leading expert on folk music, 85 year old Izzy Young who opened his first Folklore Center in New York's Greenwich Village in 1957.

The store in MacDougal St became a focal point for the American folk music scene of the time. Bob Dylan writes in his memoirs about spending time at the Center, which he referred to as "The citadel of Americana Folk Music - like an ancient chapel". Dylan met Dave Van Ronk in the store, and Izzy Young produced Dylan's first concert at Carnegie Chapter Hall in 1961. Dylan wrote a song about the store and Young called "Talking Folklore Center".

After developing an interest in Swedish folk music at a festival, Young closed his New York store and in 1973 he moved to Stockholm where he opened the Folklore Centrum, where he still works seven days a week.

Making a rare return to New York, 40 years since he first left, Izzy joins Seth on the steps of 110 MacDougal St in Greenwich Village - the site of his original Folklore Center - to reminisce about the evocative days in the late 50s and early 60s when, as Bob Dylan recalls, "Folk music glittered like a mound of gold".

Wandering up MacDougal Street to Washington Square Park, Izzy describes the events of April 1961, when 'Folkies' staged what would later be referred to as 'the first protest action of the 60s'. When city officials tried to ban folk musicians from performing in the square, Izzy was the main organiser of a protest that resulted in clashes with local police. The protestors eventually won their legal battle with the city and music has been permitted in the square ever since".

Producer: Des Shaw
A Ten Alps production for BBC Radio 4.

See also my 2010 blog posting about Izzy Young

and my off-the-cuff talking-blues Tribute to Izzy, recorded at Izzy's Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, ten years ago. You can hear Izzy's comments in the background.


Fixin' To Die

Hello Stranger

Saudi Sword Dance


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Weather (Songs)

Some good videos chosen by the Editor of Uncut

Top Islands (in Scotland and Greece)

BBC report: Lewis and Harris has been named as the best island in Europe by international travel site, TripAdvisor.


Other Scottish Islands rated highly: Mainland, Orkney Islands at no 4, Isle of Mull at no 9.

Greece scored very highly too, with Naxos at no 2, Milos at no 3, Cephalonia at no 6, and Paros at no 10.

The world's best islands

Some Contemporary Dorset Landscape Artists, Dorset Art Weeks

Paul Penrose, Fifteen Photographs of Lyme Regis

A rare book

Harry Ransom Center, USA

In the UK: "Photographs of Lyme Regis, A portfolio by Paul Penrose, with an introduction by John Fowles. Very limited edition of only 25 copies in a presentation box. Photographs individually mounted and signed by photographer, introduction signed by Fowles. Skelton Press, 1982"

Kris Dollimore in Dorchester; Blues

KRIS DOLLIMORE - Saturday 1 March - 8pm Dorchester Arts Centre

"Kris Dollimore is an amazing guitarist with an incredible voice. He is simply one of the best blues singers around. In a career spanning four decades he has toured all over the UK and Europe both as a soloist and with big-name bands, including The Godfathers, The Damned, Del Amitri and Adam Ant. His stunning playing has earned him a wealth of loyal fans, including Johnny Depp and David Bowie".

Here's a clip of Kris playing Prodigal Son:

For more information visit:

Sounds good.

Pan-Ionian Conference Programme, Corfu

Details here (Website with full information about the Conference)

Landscape Photography: Fay Godwin

A review by Tim Parkin, On Landscape

Fay Godwin's Land and Landmarks

British Council Touring Exhibition

British Council collection (55 photographs)

On Fay Godwin

The Oldest Road: The Ridgeway


British Library


Bruton Dovecote, 1983

Fine Art Prints

Margaret Drabble on Fay Godwin

Old Harry Rocks Near Studland

Greece: Some Good News!

The Government is feeling generous (Kathimerini)

Things must be looking up.

Some bad news: alleged frauds (EnetEnglish)

Bruegel: The Long Haul

Wall Street Journal blog

Monday, 17 February 2014

North Korea, UN Report

A report I plan to read.

372 pages (pdf)

BBC Report

Andrea Rose: A Glimpse of Everyday Life

An old poem:

Code of Practice

In Korea's oldest books

Few misprints are ever found:

No errors were permitted.

Punishment was most severe,

According to the Code -

Thirty strokes of the cane

For a single mistake -

For everyone concerned,

From senior supervisor to the lowest apprentice.

Thirty strokes. Imprinted pain.

For five mistakes, dismissal.


Art Forgeries; Fakes

The Sunday Times carried an article on Wolfgang Beltracchi, "the world's top art forger".

Here's an old article (October 2010) from The Guardian

Peter Joyce, Dorset Landscapes

From Dorset magazine: ‘Peter Joyce: immersed in the landscape’ written by Stephen Swann.

The ARThouse Gallery

Galleries, Moira Rudolf