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COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Greece, Debt and Creditors

From The Telegraph

Greece insists it will pay back creditors as it hires private debt advisers Lazard

'Prime Minister Tsipras says a debt deal is imminent and there is "no way" Greece will not fulfill obligations to the Troika'.

From Reuters

Germany: Greek aid extension only makes sense if Athens upholds reforms

Corfu: In Search of Gerald Durrell's Corfu (from the archives)

From The Telegraph

"From the Archives: The Durrell brothers immortalised Corfu but also brought mass tourism to their hideaway island. In this feature from 1999, Paul Mansfield went in search of a literary paradise lost".

See also: Gerald Durrell's Sunday Times magazine article on Corfu, January 1988

Greek Ambiguities and Inaccurate Reporting: Yanis Varoufakis (Minister of Finance) - the interview on Newsnight (BBC TV)

From his blog

"As a fan of the BBC, I must say I was appalled by the depths of inaccuracy in the reporting underpinning this interview (not to mention the presenter’s considerable rudeness). Still, and despite the cold wind on that balcony, it was fun!"

Watch the video on YouTube

Related, on general strategy (Protagon)

Macropolis headline (31/01/2015): Greece and lenders with conceptual, as well as practical, gaps to bridge, Nick Malkoutzis -

"A meeting between on Friday Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem that ended with a terse handshake and the Dutchman’s obvious displeasure has heightened concern that Greece and its lenders are heading towards a perhaps irreparable rift".

Euronews: "No more troika talks as Greece seeks new debt deal"

"Yanis Varoufakis informed Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the eurozone group of finance ministers, during a frosty meeting in Athens: “Our common interest in Europe, in the Eurozone is best served by a new agreement that will come out of negotiations between all Europeans which we will attend with Europe’s interests in mind.” Athens says it does not want the money, which it considers part of a “toxic” programme".

The Telegraph: We will not co-operate with the troika, says Greek finance minister

Yanis Varoufakis calls Greece's troika of international lenders - the EU, IMF and ECB - 'a rottenly constructed committee'.

What was whispered?

Varoufakis on the Troika,

Der Spiegel report

Zwischen der neuen griechischen Regierung und der Euro-Gruppe ist es zu einem Eklat gekommen. Griechenland werde künftig nicht mehr mit den Kontrolleuren der Geldgeber zusammenarbeiten, sagte der Finanzminister Gianis Varoufakis am Freitag nach einem Treffen mit Euro-Gruppen-Chef Jeroen Dijsselbloem in Athen.

Der Spiegel Portrait of Varoufakis

The ambiguity and uncertainty seems to be widespread. The fault of  hard-talking journalists or tough-talking politicians? Inaccuracies and misunderstandings need to be cleared up quickly. Not sure who can appear to be the "rudest".

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Greece Today, Summer University Programme on Andros: An Exciting and Timely Opportunity

This sounds great!



Greece today: Language, Culture and Media

Organized by: 
University of Ioannina
Association of European Journalists 

The University of Ioannina and the Association of European Journalists are pleased to announce the organization of a Summer University project, titled "Greece today: Language, Culture and Media".

The academic action will take place in the summer of 2015 on the island of Andros and, specifically,
from July 5th to July 12th, and July 12th to July 19th. The project falls under the aegis of the research Committee of the University of Ioannina.

The summer school will cover the following topics:

· Greek Language

· Greek Culture

· Greek Mass Media and Politics

· Greek History

· Greek Poetry and Philosophy

Participation Fees:

For Greek educational institutions students, the fees are the following:

-285 Euros, for registrations until March 15th, 2015

-350 Euros, for registrations until April 30th, 2015

For foreign educational institutions students, the fees are the following:

-350 Euros, for registrations until March 15th, 2015

-425 Euros, for registrations until April 30th, 2015

The participation fees for graduates and professionals is 350 Euros, for registrations until March 15th, 2015, and 425 Euros, for registrations until April 30th, 2015.

In order to express interest and submit your CV, contact
the Academic Officer of the Program, Ms. Nikoletta Tsitsanoudis-Mallidis,
Assistant Professor in the University of Ioannina,
You may also visit the website;

Public Relations Officer: Ms. Isaia Tsaousidou, International Vice-President 
of the Association of European Journalists,

Bank of England Governor on Austerity and the Eurozone; Mark Carney's Criticism of Austerity Policies

From The Guardian

"Mark Carney has launched a strong attack on austerity in the eurozone as he warned that he single-currency area was caught in a debt trap that could cost it a second lost decade".

BBC report


Greece: Yanis Varoufakis, Economic Plans, Private Creditors and the Eurozone (Video, CNN); Nikos Dimou on Charisma and Caution

Watch video on CNN

CNN's Maggie Lake speaks to Greek politician Yanis Varoufakis about the economic plans the Syriza party wants to implement

Greek Government proposing link between rate of repayment and nominal GDP growth; absolute, irreversible commitment to the Eurozone.

Varoufakis talks to Phillip Adams, ABC (listen)

Observing Greece

A breath of fresh air and charisma - with a note of caution - Nikos Dimou, on Protagon - Τα χορτάτα νήπια

Τους πιο φανατικούς, τους πιο ακραίους εθνικιστές. Μαζί με παλαιοκομμουνιστές – εκρηκτικός συνδυασμός.

Και στην συνέχεια βλέπω όλο του το επιτελείο να κατέχεται από μία υπερβολική άγνοια κινδύνου. Καταρρέει το χρηματιστήριο, εξαφανίζονται οι επενδυτές, εκτοξεύονται τα spreads και όλοι στην κυβέρνηση παραμένουν μακάριοι σαν χορτάτα νήπια. Θα μου πείτε ότι αυτές είναι καπιταλιστικές έννοιες ενώ εκείνοι ζούνε στον δικό τους κόσμο (αυτόν τον «άλλο» που μας έλεγαν ότι είναι εφικτός). Αλλά σε εκείνο τον κόσμο δεν πληρώνονται μισθοί, ούτε συντάξεις, δεν υπάρχει εμπόριο, αγορές, πωλήσεις, εργασία και αμοιβές. Ούτε καν ζωντανοί άνθρωποι.

More on Protagon, with video

Σκωπτικό ύφος, σκυμμένο κεφάλι και γρήγορος αποχαιρετισμός. Αυτό ήταν το κλίμα μετά το τέλος της συνάντησης που είχε ο Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης με τον Γερούν Ντάισελμπλουμ, στο υπουργείο Οικονομικών.

Ο Πρόεδρος του Eurogroup αντέδρασε ...συννεφιασμένα, όταν ο νέος υπουργός Οικονομικών ολοκλήρωσε την τελευταία φράση των δηλώσεών του: “Δεν συνεργαζόμαστε με την τρόικα, δεν συνεργαζόμαστε με μία τριμερή επιτροπή που έχει σαθρά θεμέλια”.

Dorset: Government Investment

From Dorset Echo

26,000 jobs bonanza to follow £12.6 million government investment in county

"The masterplan is a blueprint for the future and will guide thinking on particular areas including the Pavilion peninsula and ferry terminal, and ideas to revive the town centre".

"The Ionian Islands and Epirus": A Kind Mention by the author of "The Nifi"

A posting by Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas

And an amusing Facebook posting from Chris Holmes, from which I quote only a few lines:

"Oh what pleasure it is to have a good read to turn to. I refer to Jim Potts' "Cultural History of the Ionian Islands and Epirus" - elegance and razor humour - The book abounds with Jim's elegance. Buy it today and score big, yeh? Right, end of today's homage to literacy" -

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Humans and Neanderthals: Side by side?

From The Independent

"The partial skull of an anatomically modern human who lived alongside the Neanderthals about 55,000 years ago has been unearthed from a cave in northern Israel, scientists say".

Greece: Teething Problems? All-Inclusive

European Parliament President to visit Athens

Markets Tumble


All-Inclusive Resorts

"He has promised to curb the type of mass tourism that Greece has developed in the last few decades.

Deals to sell public land to mega-resort developers could be banned and VAT rules are likely to be changed to hit existing holiday developments with higher taxes.

Mr Tsipras said: ‘We do not want to continue the current saturated model of intensive exploitation of tourism.’

The new regime says it does not support an outright ban, but wants to encourage a move away from the all-inclusive resorts back to the traditional holiday model where visitors use local bars, restaurants and attractions".

New York Times article

BBC Newsnight, George Papandreou (BBC iPlayer from 13.55 mark)

The new Minister of the Interior (MSNBC)

Castle Cary, Somerset: Winds of Change; Familiar Names

Yesterday I went to Castle Cary, my old hometown, to meet my brother at the George Inn. We reminisced a while, and I thought about the old Cary shops and businesses which were once so familiar. The two shops I miss most are The Book Nook on Woodcock Street where, as a youngster, I would sometimes buy (very cheaply), old leather-bound books and envelopes with Victorian postage stamps or seals, many with Penny Browns or Penny Blues; the old gentleman who kept the tiny shop would pin them up in the window. The other shop was Mrs Whitehorne's Black and White sweet shop in Fore Street.

I noticed that the branch of the National Westminster bank has closed. What happened to Spearmans, the Waggon and Horses, Parkers and Squibbs Garage? In some cases I do know the answers. At least The George Inn seems relatively unchanged.

Here are some of the advertisements of Castle Cary businesses from the 1920s (well before my time!) and early 1970s.

Greece: New Ministers, New Cabinet

From Helena Smith, The Guardian

New cabinet unveiled

New Parliament, Greek Observer

Tourism Portfolio Elena Kountoura

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (from Keep Talking Greece)

New York Times


Essex University alumni, The Telegraph

Monday, 26 January 2015

William Barnes on Emigration from Dorset to Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land); Brian Caddy & Graham Moore read 'Emigration'; "Guoin to Dieman's Land"

Listen to Barnes' poem about emigration from Dorset to Australia

Text of poem



Well Richat, zoo 'tis true what I do hear
That you be guoin to Dieman's Land to-year.


Ees, I shall never eat another pound
O' zalt in England here, where I wer barn;
Nor dig another spit o' English ground;
Nor cut a bit muore English grass or carn.
Ees, we must get to Lon'on now next Zunday
Abuoard the Ship that is to car us.
Vor if the weather should be rightish var us
We shall put out to Sea o' Monday,
Zoo our vew tools and clothes (for we must car all
That we can get by buyen, or by baggen),
Here t'other day I packed up in a barrel
And zent 'em on to Lon'on by the waggon.


And how d'ye zend your children and your women?


We got a lightish waggon to clap them in.


And how d'ye get up yourzelves, you men?


O we shall walk and ride oonce now and then
When we do meet wi' any drive-en lads
Wi' lightish luoads to tiake us up var cads.


And how d'ye veel now Richat in your mind,
To leave your bethpleace and your friends behind?


Why very queer, I do, I can't deny:
When I do think o' be'en piarted
Vrom al my friends var ever, I could cry
But var the shiame o' be'en so softhearted.
Here be the trees that I did use to clim in,
Here is the brook that I did use to zwim in,
Here be the ground where I've a worked and played;
Here is the hut that I wer barn and bred in;
Here is the little church where we've a prayed,
And churchyard that my kinsvolk's buones be laid in;
And I myzelf, you know, should like to lie
Among 'em too when I do come to die;
But 'tis noo use to have zich foolish wishes;
I shall be tossed, i' may be, to the vishes.


'Tis hard a man can't get a luoaf to veed 'en
Upon the pliace wher life wer vust a gied 'en;
'Tis hard that if he'd work, there's noo work var'n,
Or that his work woon't bring enough o' money
To keep en, though the land is vull a carn
And cattle; and do flow wi' milk and honey.


Why ees, 'tis rather hardish, oone can't doubt it,
But 'tis'n any use to tak about it;
There's noo work here at huome that I can come at,
And zoo I'll goo abroad and try var some'hat.


But you'll be zome time out upon the ocean;
You woon't get ovver very quick;
And if the Sea is rough, the vessel's motion,
I s'puose, wull miake ye rather zick


Eees 'twull be voorteen weeks, I s'puose, or muore,
'Forever we shall stratch our lags ashore.


And then, i' may be, you mid come to land
Down at the bottom, in the mud or zand;
You mident goo to Dieman's Land at all,
Var you mid get a drownded in a squall.


I don't mind that, var a'ter I be dead
I shan't be zoo a puzzled to get bread.
They that 'ave got the wordle's goods, noo doubt on't,
Do like it, and ben't willing to goo out on't:
There's nothin here var I but want and zorrow,
Zoo I don't mind o' leaven it to-morrow.
If 'twerden var my children and my wife,
I wou'dent gi' a zixpence var my life.


Ah! we must stay till GOD is plieased to tiake us;
If we do do our best he woon't forsiake us.
Good bye, and if I shou'dent zee ye agaen,
GOD bless you, Richat, drough your life.

Greece: Election Results; National Results; Corfu Results; Coalition formed

SYRIZA in Corfu: 44.92%


ΣΥΡΙΖΑ: 44.92%
ΚΚΕ: 6.93%
ΤΟ ΠΟΤΑΜΙ: 4.84%
ΠΑΣΟΚ: 3.89%
ΤΕΛΕΙΑ: 0.93%
National results and analysis

SYRIZA national result: 36.34%

149 seats.

BBC coverage

Sky coverage

The Independent

Bloomberg on the new coalition

Sky News

Reactions around the world, CITY AM

John Psaropoulos, The New Athenian

A poem by Dimitris Tsaloumas, "Autumn Supper"

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Greece: John Humphrys Visits His Family In Athens (BBC Radio); The Election

BBC iPM Radio 4

John visits his son. Christopher, and daughter-in-law Penelope, to discuss the current situation in Greece, just before the election..

'We had no idea the debt was so's very hard to see a way out'. Ahead of the elections in Greece, John Humphrys visits his family in Athens and finds out the difficulties of living in a debt-ridden country. Presented by Jennifer Tracey.

John Humphrys, Mail Online

"Is Greece opening the door to a new economic hell? After spending this week in his beloved Athens, JOHN HUMPHRYS is haunted by a terrible fear of what tomorrow's general election may bring"

Christopher Humphrys on the reality of life in Greece

Greek adventure

Thursday, 22 January 2015

On Romiosyni and the CIA

I've been reading George Tenet's memoir "At the Center of the Storm, My Years at the CIA" (Kindle Edition)

About George Tenet (Wikipedia).

George Tenet was Director of Central Intelligence with the CIA, from 1997 to 2004.

I found his comments on his Greek roots particularly interesting:

"Growing up in the New York City borough of Queens, the son of working-class immigrants, I never would have imagined I would find myself in such a position...Only in the United States of America can the son of immigrants be given such a privilege. I will always be grateful that John and Evangelia Tenet left their villages in Greece to give me that chance".

He writes candidly and proudly about the influence of his parents and of his admiration for them both. His father left Greece at the age of eleven. When he reached the USA, just before the Great Depression, he opened a diner. At home the conversation "flowed freely from Greek to English".

His mother fled from what is now Southern Albania; she escaped aboard a British submarine after the War. George's father had been born in a nearby village. They met and married in Greece in 1952 and Evangelia soon joined him in New York.

Their son was to become the Director of the CIA. He drew on his Mediterranean background in his intelligence work; he believes it gave him his special diplomatic style, which was successful with Georgians and Palestinians alike.

Meeting Palestinian intelligence and security officers,, he writes, "I struck up warm personal relations with them all. Perhaps it was my Greek ancestry, but I was used to people speaking emotionally, with lots of arm-waving and raised voices".

When he met Arafat, "after dinner I happened to mention that I was Greek Orthodox, and with that news Arafat warmed up even more. Apparently he had some affinity with the Greeks"

Some parts of the book might not be out of place in the long-awaited report of the Chilcot Inquiry.

As the New York Times reviewer wrote, the book is "intermittently fascinating". It is still relevant.

Dorchester Arts Centre: Possible Move to Corn Exchange

Dorset Echo report

'Mark Tattersall, artistic director of Dorchester Arts, said: “Dorchester Arts currently occupy the Grove School building on School Lane, which acts as our administrative hub, the venue for around 50 events a year and where we host a number of community organisations and classes. “In the long term we see the The Maltings building on Brewery Square as the ideal venue for a fit-for-purpose arts facility and a move to the Corn Exchange is a logical stepping-stone towards that, allowing us to develop our audiences and have a town centre presence. “If everything goes to plan we expect to be operating from the Corn Exchange from this summer and anticipate being there until summer 2018.”'

European Central Bank QE Programme Announced

BBC News

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Greece: Elections; Voters' Concerns; Health and Education; Party Policies

From Euronews

"Greek voters crave education and health rescue"

Nikoleta Drougka summed up: “Greek voters will go to the polls on Sunday tired and disappointed. Health care and education difficulties have made them feel like second-class citizens. They expect the next government to end that feeling, with action.”

The Times writes of the "ingrained culture of graft" being the greater concern.

Reuters, on the return to crisis

"After four years of economic sacrifices, Greece bet it could agree an early end to its international bailout. Instead a stand off with creditors in a Paris townhouse led to new political uncertainty and another euro zone storm".

Greek Elections and Parties, Helena Smith, The Guardian

Yiannis Chaldoupis and Moukliomos on Spotify; Γιάννης Χαλδούπης

The new CD will be out soon. In the meantime, find it on Spotify as Yiannis Chaldoupis and Moukliomos

Eight tracks are also on YouTube. Try this one.

Makes me want to get back to Epirus!

Wild Camping! Le Camping Sauvage ("Floods in August")

Dorchester, Dorset: Charles Street Archaeology Petition

From Culture 24

English Heritage and archaeologists express concern as thousands sign petition over Dorset development.

"Extremely rich archaeological heritage" could be lost on Dorset site of Roman finds as petition receives thousands of signatures

Dorset Echo report


"Campaigners welcome English Heritage stance on Charles Street" - Dorset Echo

"English Heritage says it cannot support the scheme in its current form due to the risk of substantial harm to archaeology of 'national significance' beneath the site. It also states that if the council was minded to approve the planning application for the second phase, it would be obliged to ask the Secretary of State to call in the application for a public enquiry".

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Somali Refugees; Kharaz Refugee Camp

From Al Jazeera

"Fleeing from civil war since 1991, Somalis are confronted by poverty and abuse as they seek refuge in Yemen".

"In this film, we hear the stories of refugees at Kharaz refugee camp and others in Sanaa trying to start a new life in the city. We speak to the aid agencies and officials; and we track down and confront the human smugglers who kidnap and abuse the vulnerability of refugees whose families can face ransom demands".

I am reminded of some verses from W H Auden's Refugee Blues:

The consul banged the table and said:
'If you've got no passport, you're officially dead';
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go today, my dear, but where shall we go today?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:
'If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread';
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me...

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors;
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Jean-Claude Juncker: EU/UK -"Easy to fall in love, more difficult to stay together"

From EU Observer - EU and UK caught in bad romance, Juncker warns

Bloomberg - Comparing EU-U.K. relations to a love affair, Juncker said “people shouldn’t stay together if the conditions aren’t the same as when things started.”

Time for a new EU anthem?

Wilbert Harrison: Let's Stick Together

Bryan Ferry version

Bob Dylan version

Greece: Margariti, Epirus; THE NIFI (Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas)

You can tell how highly I appreciated this book by Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas. Having read the Kindle edition with great pleasure, I have now ordered the paperback. I couldn't put my Kindle down: there is so much packed into this short book that I recognize to be true about life in relatively remote Epirot mountain villages, whether in Thesprotia or in the Zagorochoria. It is not that common to come across and to read a woman's perspective of the hardships and the joys of life in this North-West region of Greece. It's a very honest - and utterly convincing- true story. It's a pity that there are not more accounts written by Epirote women over the last few hundred years, when the men often went abroad to work, leaving the wives and children behind for extended periods. The Nifi vividly brings to life the experiences of several generations of brave and long-suffering Greek women, as well as the author's own experiences since the early 1980's. Although an American herself, Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas has had more than enough insider experience to be able to give all these Greek women - and the men- really authentic voices. listing

"The Nifi opens in 1983 in the remote Greek village of Margariti where the narrator, a young American woman, finds herself after having impulsively married a Greek immigrant she had been working with at a local diner in a New York suburb. Her new husband's mother, Chevi, welcomes her and though they share no common language, as time goes by Chevi is able to convey the heartache and betrayals of her life and the heroine emerges.

The Nifi is a story rich in the culture, traditions and triumphs of one small valley and the events that defined generations". listing

"This is a story of love and triumph—a story that stretches from Greece to New York and back again. The Nifi opens in 1983 in a remote Greek village where the narrator, a young American woman, finds herself after having eloped with a Greek immigrant from a local diner in a New York suburb. She speaks no Greek and the villagers speak no English, but her new mother-in-law, Chevi, welcomes her and through her son, is able to convey the heartache and betrayals of her life, slowly emerges as a heroine in a heart-wrenching tale. This story is rich in the culture and traditions of one small valley and the events that defined generations. It will leave you with an unquenchable yearning for more!"

MARGARITI (YouTube video)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Kenya and Uganda: The Tea Trail (BBC); East Africa

Tea Plantation, Kiricho, Kenya

Watch on BBC iPlayer

"Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve heads to east Africa to uncover the stories behind the nation's favourite drink. While we drink millions of cups of the stuff each day, how many of us know where our tea actually comes from? The surprising answer is that most of the leaves that go into our everyday teabags do not come from India or China but are bought from an auction in the coastal city of Mombasa in Kenya.

From here, Simon follows the tea trail through the epic landscapes of Kenya and Uganda and meets some of the millions of people who pick, pack and transport our tea. Drinking tea with the everyone from Masai cattle herders to the descendants of the original white tea planters, Simon learns that the industry that supplies our everyday cuppa is not immune to the troubles of the continent - poverty, low wages and child labour".

Other news: Nairobi Pupil Power (Telegraph)

Mail Online

Euronews (video problem?)

Cooking oil from transformer fluid (Al Jazeera)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Writing is a Rich Man's Hobby

Toby Young, writing in The Telegraph

"These days, you need a substantial private income – or a public sector pension – to be a full-time writer. Last year, a survey of 2,500 professional authors found that their median income in 2013 was £11,000...The writing game is notoriously lopsided, in which a small handful of bestselling authors earn a fortune and the vast majority live on scraps, but it’s got worse in the past decade".

Corfu, Greece: Nikos Georgiadis (Νίκος Γεωργιάδης) on Privatisation and "the Corfiot Mentality"; Villa Bibelli (Castello Mimbelli); Eremitis; Olive Tree Spraying

Former MP Nikos Georgiadis on the "Corfiot way of thinking" (νοοτροπία).


From 24 Corfu (read here, in Greek)

"Όποιο κι αν είναι το αποτέλεσμα των εκλογών του 2015 η Κέρκυρα οφείλει να αλλάξει ριζικά νοοτροπία αν θέλει πράγματι να μη χάσει το τρένο της ανάπτυξης".

More on Eremitis

More on Castello Bibelli (Mimbelli)

I wonder how many would agree with his priorities?

Friday, 16 January 2015

European Commission: Luxembourg Tax Ruling Practice

EU document (pdf)

Dorchester, Dorset: Charles Street Archaeological Dig; Save Dorchester's Archaeology

From Dorset Echo

Ensure that a full archaeological investigation is carried out at the Charles Street redevelopment site before work commences.
For more information on the campaign or petition, visit

Dorchester needs much more underground parking, especially in Queen Mother Square, but the Charles Street site needs thorough archaeological exploration: any archaeological remains and discoveries should be carefully protected and conserved, and covered with glass for viewing by the public.

Homer, Solomos and Rudyard Kipling, 150th Anniversary of Kipling's Birth (1865-2015)

"When 'Omer Smote 'Is Bloomin' Lyre"
(Introduction to the Barrack-Room Ballads in 'The Seven Seas')

When 'Omer smote 'is bloomin' lyre,
He'd 'eard men sing by land an' sea;
An' what he thought 'e might require,
'E went an' took -- the same as me!

The market-girls an' fishermen,
The shepherds an' the sailors, too,
They 'eard old songs turn up again,
But kep' it quiet -- same as you!

They knew 'e stole; 'e knew they knowed.
They didn't tell, nor make a fuss,
But winked at 'Omer down the road,
An' 'e winked back -- the same as us!

The Greek National Anthem

We knew thee of old,
Oh divinely restored,
By the light of thine eyes
And the light of thy Sword.

From the graves of our slain
Shall thy valour prevail
As we greet thee again --
Hail, Liberty! Hail!

Long time didst thou dwell
Mid the peoples that mourn,
Awaiting some voice
That should bid thee return.

Ah, slow broke that day
And no man dared call,
For the shadow of tyranny
Lay over all:

And we saw thee sad-eyed,
The tears on thy cheeks
While thy raiment was dyed
In the blood of the Greeks.

Yet, behold now thy sons
With impetuous breath
Go forth to the fight
Seeking Freedom or Death.

A Late Quartet (Film); Beethoven Opus 131

Finally caught up with this outstanding film at the local film society.


Beethoven's Opus 131


New York Times review

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Silence of Nature: Pindus Mountains, Greece; European Soundscape Award

European Soundscape Award

For research on quiet, noise-free spaces.

For an alternative view of the "silence" of the countryside, read the excellent "The Nifi" by Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas:

"I had expected Margariti to be a quiet place because I'd heard it said- though I'm not sure where- that the countryside is peaceful. But that is completely untrue. The cacophony of insect songs intermingled with the random outbursts from the farm animals, chickens, roosters, donkeys, horses, sheep, goats- which were kept in the yards like family pets..."

Dorchester, Dorset: A Guided Tour by Thomas Hardy, January 1928

From The Guardian Archive:

A correspondent writes:- “I was once lucky enough to be taken round Dorchester with two friends by Thomas Hardy. He led us down the old High Street and into the warehouse at the back of one of the shops where he believed he had discovered an Elizabethan theatre, and after that to the tiny thatched cottage on the river bank, once the hangman’s house, where, he told us, he used to go after dark with the other boys of the town in order to climb on the window-sill and peep through the blind - not out of idle curiosity, he explained, but because they all felt less terrified of the hangman as a bogy if they saw him going to bed like any other ordinary mortal.

“Mr. Hardy also pointed out the spot, I think outside the Black Bear Hotel, where he remembered the public hangings taking place. He had never forgotten that the hour for the executions was fixed at ten minutes past twelve, in case the midday coach should bring a reprieve. To hear him speak of these early reminiscences was to gain some insight into the sensitive spirit that suffered so acutely all through life at any manifestation of human suffering or human cruelty.

“It seemed to please him when he heard that ‘The Return of the Native’ was at least one reader’s favourite among his novels, and he pointed out from the end of his garden the heather-covered hill in the distance that was the original of Rainbarrow in the Egdon Heath of his story.”

Greek Boston Website

A useful website, with sections on Greek music, food and culture (this link to the Music section)



Modern History

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Corfu Political Candidates on Corfu Tourism

From Corfu Press (in Greek)

Olive Tree Wars; the Olive Tree as Potent Symbol; the Olive Harvest...

Sophie Atkinson

Stratis Axiotis

Whilst not underestimating the intensity and ferocity of family feuds about land, borders and olive trees on islands like Paxos and Corfu, the olive wars between Israelis and Palestinians are in an altogether different league. The olive as a tragic symbol of division.

BBC Documentary on iPlayer, with Jeremy Bowen

"The olive harvest in the West Bank is all about tradition. The first rains of the winter signal the start of gathering the olives on which so many Palestinian farmers depend. The BBC's Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen, has been travelling during the harvest through the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, and wanted by the Palestinians for a state. He spoke to Palestinian farmers, Jewish settlers, oil exporters, and Israeli soldiers, and found that the harvest is about a lot more than olives, or oil, or the soap they make from it".

More information

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Bridport Prize: Writers' Deadlines

May 31st!

Details - website.

EU countries (eg France, Italy, Greece): higher deficits OK, if....

From EU Observer

"Member states who chip into an upcoming investment fund, implement structural reforms or co-fund EU infrastructure, or youth employment projects will be allowed to run slightly higher deficits, the EU commission said Tuesday (13 January)...This is likely to give France, Italy, and Greece more leeway in meeting deficit and debt targets".

Dorset: "Broadchurch" Visitors Risk Lives on West Bay Cliffs; Dancing With Death; A Safer Walking Tour

 Five Photos Above Copyright Jim Potts

UK: Fall in Life Expectancy

From The Independent

"Dr John Middleton, vice-president of the Faculty of Public Health, said that a decline in life expectancy at any age was a matter of concern and should be investigated. We’ve enjoyed improvements in life expectancy over many years and there’s nothing to guarantee that improvement goes on forever,” he said. “It is something that is a sentinel moment in public health terms if the trend of upward improvement does stop.”

Greece: Party Political Videos

Posted by A Gael in Greece 

Greece: Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki

From The Guardian

Monday, 12 January 2015

Gilbert, Nordvig and Sinn on the Grexit

Retreat from the Grexit  - Mark Gilbert, Bloomberg

Jens Nordvig in Fortune -"This time, will Greece exit the Eurozone?"

Hans-Werner Sinn, in Kathimerini - "Grexit the only way out of ‘valley of tears’"

January: Low Energy Fix! Nineteen-Fifties Raw Rockabilly

Warren Smith: Rock 'n' Roll Ruby

Sleepy LaBeef version

Johnny Carroll version

It satisfies my soul!

Even hotter -

Red Hot

More workout rockabilly

Narvel Felts and Jerry Mercer, Recorded for Radio, 1956 (Radio Rockabillies)

Dixie Fried

Boogie Woogie Country Girl

Mystery Train

Gone Gone Gone

Jack and Jill Boogie

My Babe (Sun)

Hillbilly Rock

Corfu Arts Foundation

Just discovered this new website (NB site contents seem to have disappeared, "Coming Soon"), of the Corfu Arts Foundation

"The Foundation is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered in England by the Charities Commission. The objects are to promote the performing and visual arts for the public benefit and to support other charities on the island....The Corfu Arts Foundation seeks to regenerate the tradition and appreciation of opera in particular and the performing and visual arts in general. Our aim is to put on operas, concerts, drama, dance and art exhibitions raising money to fund performances in Corfu town and the outlying villages. In addition we are planning to fund a festival (CorfuFest), develop workshops with the Ionian University (the oldest university in Greece with a strong music department) and bring international performers to the island. We also want to sponsor rising young musicians from Corfu to enable them to develop their careers, to develop a September festival, to support performances by the Corfu Chamber Opera and to work with schools to bring the arts directly to the children. Long term our ambition is to build a multi-purpose concert hall to house opera, drama and concerts with funding from major donors".


Video, Opera Gala

Zagori, Greece: Severe Weather, Frozen River, Photos Thomas Georgiou

From Facebook, Severe Weather Greece

More photos

Cracked ice

"Frozen stream in Zagorohoria, near Ioannina (NW Greece) today. Beautiful images by Thomas Georgiou and"

Γεφύρι του Κόκκορη με το Μπαγιώτικο ρέμα παγωμένο!
Ζαγοροχώρια | Ιωάννινα | 11/01/2015. Πανέμορφες φωτογραφίες από τον Θωμά Γεωργίου και το

Eremitis, Corfu: Investment Arguments; Five Star Hotels, High Quality/Luxury Tourism on Corfu; Environmental Issues

From Corfu Press

"Είναι σαφές, λοιπόν, ότι η Κέρκυρα, η οποία κατά το παρελθόν αποτέλεσε την αιχμή του δόρατος του τουρισμού της χώρας, έχει χάσει σημαντικό έδαφος σε σχέση με άλλους εγχώριους τουριστικούς προορισμούς και απευθύνεται πλέον, κυρίως, σε τουρίστες χαμηλού εισοδηματικού επιπέδου στηριζόμενη στο μοντέλο Rooms to let, στα ξενοδοχεία 2-3 αστέρων καθώς και στα παρωχημένα ξενοδοχεία 4 και 5 αστέρων που διαθέτει (λίγες είναι οι εξαιρέσεις) με το σύστημα all inclusive.

Συνεπώς η οικονομία του νησιού κατά μεγάλο μέρος, εξαρτάται πλέον από το μαζικό τουρισμό ο οποίος όμως παρουσιάζει διακυμάνσεις ανάλογες των οικονομικών συνθηκών που επικρατούν, με πιο πρόσφατο παράδειγμα τον μεγάλο αριθμό ακυρώσεων από τη Ρωσικής αγοράς, λόγω της μεγάλης οικονομικής κρίσης που βιώνει η Ρωσία το τελευταίο χρονικό διάστημα. 

Είναι λοιπόν αναγκαία η στροφή της τουριστικής αγοράς της Κέρκυρας στον ποιοτικό τουρισμό, προκειμένου να απεξαρτηθεί στο μέγιστο δυνατόν από το διεθνές οικονομικό περιβάλλον και τις κρίσεις που παρουσιάζονται ενίοτε στις αγορές των ξένων χωρών. Συνεπώς, η ανέγερση ξενοδοχειακών συγκροτημάτων υψηλού επιπέδου, και ο εκσυγχρονισμός των υφισταμένων υποδομών, όπου αυτός είναι εφικτός, θα πρέπει να αποτελέσει πρωταρχικό στόχο.

Οι επενδύσεις αυτές δε, θα πρέπει να ενσωματώνονται στο περιβάλλον, να μη το διαταράσσουν και αν είναι δυνατόν να το διαφυλάσσουν από διάφορους κινδύνους (ρύπανση, φυσικές καταστροφές κλπ), καθόσον το φυσικό περιβάλλον, αναμφισβήτητα, αποτελεί το μεγαλύτερο πόλο έλξης των επισκεπτών του νησιού".

On the natural environment, flora and fauna:

"θα γίνει διάνοιξη των μονοπατιών προκειμένου να είναι προσπελάσιμος ο χώρος, θα καθαρίζονται και θα συντηρούνται η παραλία και ο υγρότοπος που και επίσης θα είναι προσβάσιμοι από το ευρύ κοινό και τέλος θα αναδειχθεί και θα προστατευτεί εκτός της χλωρίδας και η πανίδα της περιοχής σε συνεργασία με την Ελληνική Εταιρεία της Προστασίας της Φύσης. Επιπλέον, θα κατασκευασθούν μονάδα αφαλάτωσης και βιολογικού καθαρισμού προκειμένου να μη διαταχθούν οι φυσικοί πόροι της περιοχής".

See also, Huffington Post on 'Surprisingly Affordable Beach Destinations":

"Corfu is a great pick for those on a budget. Travelers can often score relatively inexpensive flights directly to the island by booking through smaller, regional airlines and once there, visitors will find that hotels, restaurants, and activities can be pretty cheap. Be wary of hotels advertising four stars (take a look at our photos first!), but even if they aren't quite up to a luxury standard, many Corfu beach resorts offer all-inclusive options and feature numerous pools, a range of dining, and simple, clean rooms".

BBC HARD TALK: Costas Lapavitsas, SYRIZA Economic Adviser; GREECE; Kώστας Λαπαβίτσας, Συνέντευξη στο BBC και στο HARDtalk για τις ελληνικές εκλογές

Many uncertainties ahead for Greece?

Watch this HARDtalk interview here

"Greek voters may be about to plunge the European Union into a fully-fledged economic and political crisis. Opinion polls suggest the leftist, anti-austerity party Syriza is likely to emerge as the biggest party in Greece's late January election. If so the next Athens government may reject the terms of the bailout which is keeping the country afloat. And then what? Hardtalk speaks to Costas Lapavitsas, a London-based Greek economist who has been advising Syriza's leaders".

From Costas Lapovitsas


Update, The Press Project, 17 March 2015 -
Costas Lapavitsas: The Syriza strategy has come to an end

In a joint interview with German daily Der Tagesspiegel and ThePressProject International, Syriza MP and economist Costas Lapavitsas says that the time has come for Greece and its partners to understand that “they are flogging a dead horse”. Instead, they should work together on “an exit that will be negotiated and consensual”
To Vima (Stavros P. Psycharis): "Mr. Tsipras is optimistic. A journalist friend of his quipped a few days ago that 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going' ".

Observing Greece on Greek Sovereign Debt

Sunday, 11 January 2015

BBC Arena Blues Night; Blues Classics

Some great blues film clips here

"First transmitted in 1985, this medley of the blues features Fred McDowell, Thomas 'Georgia Tom' Dorsey, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

Huddie Ledbetter - better known as 'Lead Belly' - performs 'Pick a Bale of Cotton', and Billie Holiday accompanied by Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Roy Eldridge, performs her own composition 'Fine and Mellow'."

More Arena Blues Nights on BBC iPlayer

Sonny Boy Williamson

Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy

Affordable Corfu

From Huffington Post

Affordable beach destinations

Thursday, 8 January 2015

La Liberté, Notre Liberté, Ma Liberté

La liberté assassinée

La liberté assassinée

La liberté assassinée

"Ma liberté"

"Le seul moyen d'affronter un monde sans liberté est de devenir si absolument libre qu'on fasse de sa propre existence un acte de révolte."

Albert Camus

"If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

George Orwell

"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties." 

John Milton

Corfu, Greece, Angela Gerekou: Με την Νέα Δημοκρατία η Αντζελα Γκερέκου

From To Vima

From Pasok to ND

Corfu Press

Greek Reporter

Greek Deputy PM Venizelos Labels PM Samaras ‘Immoral’ Due to MP’s Transfer...
"Meanwhile, there is speculation among Greek politicians that Antonis Samaras was the one who urged George Papandreou to create his own party, the “Democrat Socialist’s Movement,” in order to break PASOK and win in the upcoming elections".

Update, Corfu Press - η μεταγραφή της Άντζελας Γκερέκου στη Νέα Δημοκρατία από το ΠΑΣΟΚ είναι πια γεγονός....Βενιζέλος (επιστολή προς τον Πρωθυπουργό και Πρόεδρο της ΝΔ, Αντώνη Σαμαρά):

Αγαπητέ Αντώνη,

δεν περίμενα ότι η Νέα Δημοκρατία θα συνέπραττε σε μία τόσο ανήθικη
και αντιαισθητική πολιτική πράξη όπως αυτή της κας Γκερέκου στην Κέρκυρα.
Σ΄ ένα νησί του πολιτισμού και της ευπρέπειας. Κρίμα.

Ευάγγελος Βενιζέλος

Angela Gerekou: Message to the Corfiots (Corfu Press)

Aγαπητοί συμπολίτες ,

στις εκλογές της 25ης Ιανουαρίου, βρισκόμαστε μπροστά σε μια επιλογή ζωής.
Η επιλογή αυτή ,πέρα από κάθε συναισθηματισμό, πέρα από τη σκληρή οικονομική πραγματικότητα που ζούμε όλοι μας καθημερινά, έχει να κάνει όχι μόνο με εμάς αλλά και με τα παιδιά μας.
Το μέλλον των παιδιών μας πρέπει είναι σήμερα η πρώτη μας προτεραιότητα. Όσοι στηρίζουμε τον ευρωπαϊκό προσανατολισμό της χώρας, δώσαμε, τα τελευταία χρόνια, σκληρές μάχες για να διασφαλίσουμε τη σταθεροποίηση της οικονομίας, τα κεκτημένα και τις δυνατότητες που απορρέουν από τη συμμετοχή μας στους ευρωπαϊκούς θεσμούς.
Με βάση αυτές τις μάχες και, πάνω από όλα, τις θυσίες ολόκληρου του Ελληνικού λαού, η χώρα μας είναι σήμερα ένα βήμα πριν τη δικαίωση, ένα βήμα πριν την ανάκαμψη.
Αυτό το βήμα όμως πρέπει να είναι μπροστά.
Ό,τι άλλο μπορεί να οδηγήσει στην καταστροφή. Όταν δέχθηκα να συμμετάσχω στην συγκυβέρνηση Νέας Δημοκρατίας – ΠΑΣΟΚ το έκανα για το καλό της Πατρίδας.
Το ίδιο νιώθω ότι πρέπει να πράξω τώρα, για την Πατρίδα μου και τον τόπο μου, την Κέρκυρα μας.
Αποδέχθηκα, την πρόσκληση του Αντώνη Σαμαρά προκειμένου να συνεχίσω να προσφέρω με την ίδια συνέπεια, με την ίδια ευθύνη που το έκανα πάντα.
Γνωρίζω πως όσοι με ξέρουν με εμπιστεύονται. Μαζί έχουμε πορευτεί τόσα χρόνια τώρα, έχοντας κάνει πολλά για την Κέρκυρα.
Μαζί μπορούμε να συνεχίσουμε μπροστά για να πετύχουμε ακόμη περισσότερα.
Η πολιτική είναι ένας διαρκής και ενίοτε κόντρα στα προγνωστικά αγώνας, που όμως δικαιώνεται όταν πείσεις για τις απόψεις σου, το όραμά σου και τις πολιτικές σου επιλογές.
Φτάνει αυτές να είναι από την καρδιά σου, με τη λογική σου και για το συμφέρον του πολίτη , το συμφέρον της κοινωνίας.
Είμαι βέβαιη ότι Εσείς, οι συμπολίτες μου θα με δικαιώσετε.
Γιατί εγώ, πάντα σας κοιτώ, στα μάτια.

Άντζελα Γκερέκου.