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This Spinning World: First Proof Copy of My New Book

It's always exciting to receive the first proof copy of a new book. This Spinning World arrived from the printers this afternoon. I t...

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Monday, 31 March 2014

Lyme Regis Jazz Festival

Sounds interesting (Dorset Echo)

Pan-Ionian Conference, Corfu, On Kim Philby, Albania, Operation Valuable, 1949

Another gentle reminder:

Παρασκευή, 2 Μαΐου 2014 (Friday 2 May, Iatreio Building)

12.40-13.00 Jim Potts: «Albania and Philby's Betrayal: The Corfu Connection»

With a focus on the first year (February-October, 1949) of the Joint Anglo-American Cold War subversive operation VALUABLE/BGFIEND, and the Advance Base Secret Radio Station on Corfu. In English.

Pan-Ionian Conference, Corfu, Contessa Diamantina Roma, Lady Bowen, Ionian Islands & Australia, Maria Strani-Potts

A reminder about Maria's paper on Diamantina Roma:

Παρασκευή, 2 Μαΐου 2014, συνεδρία απογευματινή (Friday 2 May, Afternoon Session; Iatreio Building)

17.00-17.20 Μαρία Στράνη-Potts: «Κοντέσα Διαμαντίνα ντε Ρώμα, Lady Bowen. Η ζωή και το έργο της (1833-1893). Η πολιτική επιρροή της στα Επτάνησα και την Αυστραλία τον 19ο αιώνα».

On the life and work of Contessa Diamantina Roma, Lady Bowen: her political influence in the Ionian Islands and in Australia in the 19th century. In Greek.


"One can only speculate about Diamantina’s views and about her own and her father's influence on her husband’s political, strategic and diplomatic ideas. But George had made a proposal in 1850: 'We wish we could see any method by which England might, with honour and justice, surrender the really Greek islands to Greece, along whose coast they lie, and incorporate with the British Empire like Malta and Gibraltar, the half-Venetian, half-Albanian Corfu...Corfu, if annexed to Greece, must sink at once into a petty provincial town from a seat of Government and head-quarters of a large garrison'. George Bowen's plan, if considered feasible, 'would rescue Great Britain from all political embarrassment and would confer a real blessing on the Corfuotes by admitting them to all the privileges of British subjects; while their country would be enriched by the English capitalists and settlers who would in such an event make their home on the shores of the Adriatic, in the most beautiful and interesting of islands, by the brightest of seas, and beneath the softest of skies'."

Greece: The Omnibus Bill Passed

From Macropolis

"Greece’s coalition succeeded in passing on Sunday an omnibus bill of reforms demanded by the troika so Athens could receive further bailout funding but the process may have inflicted lasting damage on the government and the main opposition".


"The omnibus bill containing liberalization measures and other reforms that Greece needed to pass to receive its next bailout tranche squeezed through Parliament at just after midnight on Sunday but the vote led to the government’s majority dwindling further".

Changes at the Finance Ministry?

Climate Change: The Evidence

BBC report



Summary of Report for Policy Makers

IPCC Final Report

Among its key findings, IPCC Working Group I concludes:
- Warming of the climate system is unequivocal;
- Human influence on the climate system is clear;
- Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

The IPCC assessment finds that each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.

The year 2013 is on course to be among the top ten warmest years since modern records began in 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in its Provisional Statement on Status of Climate in 2013 released in November 2013.

The WMO’s latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin published in November 2013 shows that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2012.

Far-reaching impacts – The impact of climate change on extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, droughts and tropical cyclones, and possible responses to them, is examined in the IPCC’s Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).

Adaptation – acknowledging climate change and putting systems in place to increase our resilience – is one possible response to climate change.

Tackling the causes of climate change – Another possible response is mitigation – cutting down on the greenhouse gas emissions that are influencing climate change.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dalmatian Pelicans, Northern Greece, Lake Kerkini

Like a painting

Mothering Sunday in Dorset (Abbotsbury Lambs)

Little Lamb, who made thee? William Blake

Happy Mother's Day!

Winslow Homer on Bermuda, and Other Foreign Artists

Scroll down to find some examples of Winslow Homer's Bermuda paintings

Flower Garden and Bungalow, 1899

Can't wait to be back there!

Peter Mackridge, Official languages in the Ionian Islands, 1797–1864

Venise après Venise: official languages in the Ionian Islands, 1797–1864
This important piece of research can be accessed online here 

Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Vol. 38 No. 1 (2014) 68–90

The author's abstract:

"Even though the Ionian Islands (Heptanese) were removed from Venetian control in 1797, it was not until 1852 that Italian ceased to be used as an official language there. My article examines the official use of the three relevant languages (Italian, Greek and English), as laid down by statute and carried out in practice, and traces the stages leading to the final replacement of Italian with Greek for all official purposes. My study is based on the minutes of Ionian parliamentary debates and on despatches between the High Commissioner and the Colonial Office as well as constitutional documents and published Acts of Parliament".

Alexis Zoumbas, A Lament for Epirus 1926-1928

An extraordinary achievement.

"Alexis Zoumbas’s expressions of longing are so raw and unmediated that I suspect anyone who has ever yearned for anything – who has ever gazed dolefully out a window, or sighed audibly over a cup of whiskey, or felt subsumed by a certain kind of ache – will feel these songs like a club to the back of the knees. They are immediate, destructive, and stunning. That Christopher King was able to collect and contain them for us is an extraordinary gift". —Amanda Petrusich

Shipwrecks: Civilising the Sea

Another fascinating episode  BBC iPlayer (BBC 4)

Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History
"Shipwrecks are the nightmare we have forgotten - the price Britain paid for ruling the waves from an island surrounded by treacherous rocks. The result is a coastline that is home to the world's highest concentration of sunken ships. But shipwrecks also changed the course of British history, helped shape our national character and drove innovations in seafaring technology, as well as gripping our imagination.

The terrible toll taken by shipwrecks was such that in the winter of 1820 some 20,000 seaman lost their lives in the North Sea alone. That's 20 jumbo jets. But in the final part of his series, maritime historian Sam Willis tells the stirring story of how the Victorians were finally driven into action, finding various ingenious solutions - from rockets that could fire rescue lines aboard stricken vessels to lifejackets, lifeboats and the Plimsoll Line, which outlawed overloading.

In Africa, he traces the legend of the Birkenhead Drill - the origin of 'women and children first'. Decorum even in disaster was the new Victorian way and it was conspicuously on hand to turn history's most iconic shipwreck - Titanic - into a tragic monument to British restraint".

Greece: The Crisis and Its Aftermath (OECD)

OECD Report

Nick Malkoutzis, Macropolis

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Alexandra Palace Edible Garden Show: Good Photos and a Royal Sense of Humour

Getty Image

More Getty Images

Tottenham and Wood Green Journal

UK: Persuasion, Influence and Soft Power, House of Lords Select Committee Report; Creative Industries

On Soft Power, Persuasion and Power

See YouTube Video

"The House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence is today publishing its Report, ‘Persuasion and Power in the Modern World’. The Committee found that British influence and effectiveness in a changed world now requires different methods of exercising power, in order to safeguard national security and maintain prosperity.

Report: Persuasion and Power in the Modern World
Report: Persuasion and Power in the Modern World (PDF)
Evidence volume 1: Soft Power and the UK's Influence (A-G) (PDF 3.9 MB)
Evidence volume 2: Soft Power and the UK's Influence (H-Z) (PDF 1.87 MB)
Timeline: Committee on Soft Power and the UK's Influence
Twitter: Discuss the report using hashtag #softpower
Committee on Soft Power and the UK's Influence

What is soft power?

While strong Armed Forces remain the bedrock in safeguarding national interests, the Report argues that new kinds of power projection are now required, both to make the use of force ('hard power') more effective and in some instances to replace it with the deployment of what has been labelled 'soft power'. As the Chinese General and strategist Sun Tzu long ago reminded us, "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

Soft power involves getting what a country wants by influencing other countries to want the same thing, through attraction, persuasion and co-option.

The Committee says that the information and digital revolution has transformed international relations and foreign policy, meaning that the UK must win over new and wider audiences to its point of view. The Report points out that countries worldwide have re-directed resources towards soft power methods of influence.
The UK

The UK must follow suit in changing the way it interacts with other nations and communities, and is well-equipped to do so. Among the UK’s many soft power strengths, the Report singles out:
its successful creative industries;
the adoption of English as a global working language;
its membership of the two and a quarter billion strong Commonwealth network and numerous other international communities;
its enduring institutions, including the monarchy and legal system;
its high-grade agencies of cultural communication such as the BBC World Service and the British Council;
its commitment to international development and the work of its non-governmental organisations;
its pre-eminence in the scientific, artistic, sporting and research fields;
and its universities and world-wide educational links.

The Report argues that soft power methods of exercising international influence must now be combined with older approaches in order to secure and promote the UK’s interests and purposes. To ensure it does not waste its soft power advantages the UK must also tell a better story about itself.

Too often its reputation – and its power to attract and influence – are damaged by negative messages, or by the neglect of key assets. Visa and immigration policies, as presently handled, can detract from the vital message that the UK is open for business.

The Report therefore warns that if the Government do not face the facts of the transformed international order, the UK will risk finding itself outwitted, out-competed, and increasingly insecure.

To ensure that the exercise of soft power takes its place at the core of government policy-making, the Report calls for the creation of a new strategic unit at the heart of Government. Its purpose would be to assist the Prime Minister in ensuring all Departments understand the importance of soft power and of upholding the UK’s reputation, and in swiftly counteracting any potentially damaging policies or messages.

While investing in soft power takes time to produce results, the Report urges the Government to make a number of important changes:
The Committee welcomes the growing number of British embassies and consulates, but urges that embassies be fully resourced as they become more central to the UK’s aims.
The Committee endorses the widespread view that international students be removed from net migration targets.
The Report calls for stronger recognition of the potential of the Commonwealth network, which opens the door to new fast-growth world markets. It urges stronger Government support forBritish English. It also welcomes the re-opening of the FCO Language Centre.
The Committee urges the Government and the BBC to ensure between them that the BBC World Service’s budget is not reduced any further in real terms. The Government must also ensure that the British Council is properly resourced, and support and encourage the UK’s creative industries.
The Committee calls for a review of how well the MOD, the FCO and DFID have cooperated in Afghanistan.
The Committee also calls on UKTI to encourage more follow-up work after trade missions.
The Report suggests that the UK should act with greaterconfidence on the international stage, while building its relationships with both old allies and new partners".

Further information
Transcript: YouTube interview with the Chairman ( PDF 139 KB)

Article from The Scotsman (Tiffany Jenkins)

The Guardian (Richard Norton-Taylor)

"Among the UK's soft power assets, the committee's report mentions its successful creative industries; the natural advantage stemming from the adoption of English as a global working language; the Commonwealth; its "agencies of cultural communication" such as the BBC World Service and the British Council; its commitment to international development and the work of its non-governmental organisations - and its universities and world-wide educational links".

British Council Triennial Review Team:

"We are in no doubt that the British Council is an invaluable part of the UK's soft power armoury: it projects successfully and energetically the various aspects of British culture and values. The brand is trusted and respected; the organisation has a worldwide presence..."

Friday, 28 March 2014

Corfu: The Life and Work of Theresa Nicholas

More, on Real Corfu

I had a letter from Theresa this morning.

Theresa is the "real Corfu". She's been on the island since 1961, for 52 years.

A wonderful artist and writer. She's recorded it all.

It's good to have so much of her work suddenly available on the internet.

I hope to be on Corfu in July, when Theresa will be 83.

Photos: Jim Potts

Lucien Pissarro in Dorset

Pissarro in Fishpond and Hewood

High View, Fishpond

Willows, Fishpond, Dorset

The Willows, Fishpond, Dorset (BBC Your paintings)

A Muddy Lane, Hewood, Dorset


The Cottage Garden, Fishpond

Bloomsbury in Dorset; Poole Pottery, 1914-1939

"Bloomsbury in Dorset: Manufacturing Modernisms at Poole Pottery, 1914-1939"

By James King (pdf)

Interpreting Ceramics.

Eustace Nash, Poole Pottery

The Royal Academy Down Under in Australia

From the RA

Abstract Art and the Cornish Landscape; Martin Bayford on Patrick Heron

A fascinating 15 minute radio essay (BBC Radio 3, iPlayer) on Patrick Heron in Cornwall

"Martin Gayford spent a week watching the artist Patrick Heron preparing breakfast in the kitchen of his house - Eagle's Nest - overlooking the Cornish coast.

Heron was a celebrated member of the St Ives School and he relished living amid the boulder-strewn fields in the specially luminous light of Cornwall.

During a week of conversations Gayford begins to realise the depth of Heron's rootedness in the Cornish landscape and, for all the apparently militant modernism of the paintings - how the work was directly informed by the beauty of the place".

Tate St Ives is temporarily closed. It reopens on May 17th.

Tate St. Ives, webpage

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Saint Theresa of Avila; Saint Teresa, the song; George Eliot, Middlemarch, Prelude

First, Raul Scacchi's song (Saint Theresa's mystical sense of ecstasy)

Then George Eliot (a shame I have only just made the link):


Who that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa, has not smiled with some gentleness at the thought of the little girl walking forth one morning hand-in-hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom in the country of the Moors? Out they toddled from rugged Avila, wide-eyed and helpless-looking as two fawns, but with human hearts, already beating to a national idea; until domestic reality met them in the shape of uncles, and turned them back from their great resolve. That child-pilgrimage was a fit beginning. Theresa's passionate, ideal nature demanded an epic life: what were many-volumed romances of chivalry and the social conquests of a brilliant girl to her? Her flame quickly burned up that light fuel; and, fed from within, soared after some illimitable satisfaction, some object which would never justify weariness, which would reconcile self-despair with the rapturous consciousness of life beyond self. She found her epos in the reform of a religious order.

That Spanish woman who lived three hundred years ago, was certainly not the last of her kind. Many Theresas have been born who found for themselves no epic life wherein there was a constant unfolding of far-resonant action; perhaps only a life of mistakes, the offspring of a certain spiritual grandeur ill-matched with the meanness of opportunity; perhaps a tragic failure which found no sacred poet and sank unwept into oblivion. With dim lights and tangled circumstance they tried to shape their thought and deed in noble agreement; but after all, to common eyes their struggles seemed mere inconsistency and formlessness; for these later-born Theresas were helped by no coherent social faith and order which could perform the function of knowledge for the ardently willing soul. Their ardor alternated between a vague ideal and the common yearning of womanhood; so that the one was disapproved as extravagance, and the other condemned as a lapse.

Some have felt that these blundering lives are due to the inconvenient indefiniteness with which the Supreme Power has fashioned the natures of women: if there were one level of feminine incompetence as strict as the ability to count three and no more, the social lot of women might be treated with scientific certitude. Meanwhile the indefiniteness remains, and the limits of variation are really much wider than any one would imagine from the sameness of women's coiffure and the favorite love-stories in prose and verse. Here and there a cygnet is reared uneasily among the ducklings in the brown pond, and never finds the living stream in fellowship with its own oary-footed kind. Here and there is born a Saint Theresa, foundress of nothing, whose loving heart-beats and sobs after an unattained goodness tremble off and are dispersed among hindrances, instead of centring in some long-recognizable deed.

Saint Teresa, Hysteria and Middlemarch

From Dorchester to Dorchester-On-Thames

Just returned from the funeral service for a close friend.

At Dorchester Abbey

Very moving tributes, and readings of poems by Hardy and Larkin.

From Larkin's "The Mower":

                "we should be caredul

    Of each other, we should be kind

          While there is still time".


"For now we see through a glass, darkly".

Eliot's "East Coker"


Sad to have missed the funeral of another old friend in one of the Zagori villages in Epirus two days ago.

Lament, Epirus

Miroloi, Petroloukas Halkias

Grigoris Kapsalis

Greece, A Model for Ukraine?

From Bloomberg

"German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that European nations looking to throw Ukraine a financial lifeline could use Greece’s bailout as a blueprint".

An Ancient Greek name for Crimea? Greek Reporter

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Turner's Sunsets and Climate Change; Dr Christos Zerefos, Academy of Athens

Fascinating research project

The research involves Dr Christos Zerefos, a professor of atmospheric physics at the Academy of Athens in Greece, and his colleagues.

Full paper from journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (pdf)


Tech Times

The Atlantic Cities

The Times

"For Turner, it was simply a beautiful sunset — a diffuse glow in the early evening sky that framed the British landscape at its finest. For scientists, it is something rather more prosaic: historical evidence of air pollution".

Anna Bowen, Dorchester Letter Carver and Artist

Words carved on stone- this really is art.

Anna Bowen works with stone, glass and wood. She's been welcomed into the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. Her gallery/workshop is at 27 London Road, Dorchester. She has been invited to participate in Dorset Art Weeks Open Studios by Hugh Dunford Wood. Anna's website, for further enquiries: www.annabowen.co.uk

I visited her today to see her work and to discuss some possible future collaboration. She kindly allowed me to take some photos.

From William Barnes, The White Road Up Athirt The Hill

Rob Berry, Rocking Blues in Dorchester This Morning.

It isn't so often I stop to listen to a busker, or to chat, but Rob Berry was in town this morning, playing some amazing music- brilliant guitar and vocals. He'd found a good spot, near the corner of High East Street and Cornhill.

We talked about Bermuda, where he spent thirteen years with his family. I'm off there soon.

It seems the good people of Dorchester were none too generous.

A pity: I hope he comes back to play here again. He's done recording sessions with Keith Richards, by the way.

I think he'd win most battles of the axes.

Check out his website here.

Amanda Wallwork: Open Studio

Information here

Amanda Wallwork RWA


Paintings concerned with archaeology, geology, mapping, walking and time

Recent and archive works for sale including a selection of ceramics by Alan Wallwork

Friday 11 – Monday 14 April

11am – 4pm daily (other times by appointment)

Top Floor Studio, Old Timberyard, West Bay Road,

West Bay, near Bridport, Dorset DT6 4EL

UK: Student Loans or a Graduate Tax?

New Statesman article: a radical offer?

Greece: Ioannina's Old Houses

From Protagon

"Και ξαφνικά, βρίσκεσαι σε ένα παλιό σπίτι των Ιωαννίνων, απέναντι από τα τείχη του Κάστρου, το οποίο έχει μετατραπεί σε μπυραρία και πιάνεις τον εαυτό σου να νοσταλγεί".

Spiti Palio, Vicky Moscholiou

Corfu, Greece: Walking with Theresa Nicholas

Real Corfu is bringing us some more wonderful material by Theresa Nicholas, I can hardly keep up

Walking with Ann and Ainlie

Walking 1993

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Corfu, Greece: Time-Lapse Video, Vasilis Metallinos

Watch here

Video by Vasilis Metallinos

Corfu, and other Greek destinations, from Arab News, Jeddah

Some of These Days, Jim's Gigs, 1970-2014 (Retitled Posting)

NB: Retitled posting

Back in Corfu, Memphis, San Francisco, Clarksdale, Stockholm, Addis Ababa, Bermuda! Ah, but I was so much older then...

Triklino Vineyard, Corfu, May 2009

(an appropriated headline from The Times!)

Jim and Raul, Corfu, June 2012

Corfu, Plous Bookstore and Coffee Lounge, September 2010

"Music to listen to at home, late at night with a bottle of whiskey"
(Blackcat Rockabilly, Review)

Triklino, May 2009

Jim and Corina Hamilton Fowle, June 2011

Brownsville Blues

San Francisco Blues (Stanford University)

Prague Farewell, October, 1989 (photo Rory Allardice)

Help Me! Going down slow...
Near Tutwiler and Highway 49

Clarksdale, Mississippi (screen shots)

Bermuda, April 2014

Memphis Blues

Izzy Young, Folklore Centre

Visby, Gotland

Photo John and Mary Gulland

Immagini e suoni di Jim Potts  e Raul Scacchi

Corfu 2012, Photo Chris Holmes

The Ark Animal Welfare Summer Party Event, 
Music on a Summer Night,
Villa Sylva, Kanoni, Corfu
27 July 2009


"Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance"
Ethiopian Television, Addis Ababa, 1973

Ethiopian Blues, Lake Langano. Ethiopia

London, circa 1970

Prague, Czechoslovakia, Farewell Gig, Sept/October 1989