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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Portland, Dorset: Mining Britain's Best Building Stone; Portland Stone



The hidden secrets of “Britain’s best building stone” - Jessica Rees, Dorset Echo

Update: Labour-intensive processes behind transporting Portland limestone off the island in the 1960s.

A recent visitor - Portland Bill and Pulpit Rock, a flying visit from Washington DC:






World Questions: Greece and Europe (BBC World Service/ iPlayer)



"Is Greece a failed state?" - and other questions. Listen to the discussion on BBC iPlayer

"Nowhere has felt the challenge of mass migration and pain of austerity more keenly than Greece, or has struggled harder in its relationship with the European Union. From Athens the BBC's Jonathan Dimbleby discusses the issues with a panel of politicians and thinkers - The Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos; the former Mayor of Athens and former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis; underwater archaeologist and union official Despina Koutsoumba; and Josef Janning, a Senior Policy Adviser at the European Council on Foreign Relations. They answer questions from an audience in Athens, and also those from BBC World Service followers on social media".

Other news, Bloomberg - Greece's Creditors Said to Face Impasse Over Bailout Terms

Reuters - Euro zone, IMF split over how much Greece needs to reform

Svenska Dagbladet - Solidaritet blandas med rädsla i krisens Grekland

Reuters - Germany rejects calls to give Greece more time for budget goals







Saturday, 27 February 2016

Jealousy Blues



Ray Charles, I Had a Dream

Ray Charles, Tell Me How do you feel?

B B King, Don't Answer the Door

John Lee Hooker, I'm Mad Again

Sonny Boy Williamson, Checkin' Up On My Baby

Sonny Boy Williamson, Nine Below Zero

Masters of soul-blues.

Another blues masterpiece: Muddy Waters, You're gonna miss me (when I'm dead and gone)

John Lennon comments

Iago to Othello:

"O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster..."


Jerry Lee Lewis as Iago

Chicago Blues - Othello in Chicago

Ma Rainey, Jealous Hearted Blues

Eddie Bond, You Nearly Lose Your Mind

Leon Redbone version

Commonwealth Jones (Ronnie Hawkins), Who's Been Here

William Barnes, A Bit O' Sly Coorten

Excerpts (Dorset Dialect):


FANNY.


Well, John, I’m sure I little thought to vind

That you had ever sich a jealous mind.

What then! I s’pose that I must be a dummy,

An’ mussen goo about nor wag my tongue

To any soul, if he’s a man, an’ young;

Or else you’ll work yourzelf up mad wi’ passion,

An’ talk away o’ gi’èn vo’k a drashèn,

An’ breakèn bwones, an’ beäten heads to pummy!

If you’ve a-got sich jealous ways about ye,

I’m sure I should be better off ’ithout ye....


Now goo away, you crabbed jealous chap!

You shan’t kiss me — you shan’t! I’ll gi’ ye a slap...


*****

Edward Slow,  from Jealousy, or Lizer and Jeames:













Somerset Life: In Search of the Somerset Dialect



I was pleased to receive my copy of the March 2016 issue of Somerset Life today, not just because it contains my two page article "In Search of the Somerset Dialect" but also because the cover confidently announces that Spring is here! The temperature must be quite close to freezing.






Friday, 26 February 2016

Greece: Shortlist for Cultural Capital of Europe, 2021 - Τρεις ελληνικές πόλεις για τον τίτλο της Πολιτιστικής Πρωτεύουσας της Ευρώπης για το 2021



European Commission announcement

"Eleusis, Kalamata and Rhodes have been shortlisted today in the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture 2021 in Greece. The recommendation was done by a panel of independent experts evaluating applications from 14 competing Greek cities at the outcome of a 4-day meeting in Athens.

Being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities concerned, provided that their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy.

Once the panel's recommendation has been confirmed by Greece, the shortlisted cities have until next autumn to complete their applications. The panel will then meet again in Athens before the end of 2016 to recommend which Greek city will be the European Capital of Culture 2021.

In 2021, Greece will host the European Capital of Culture for the fourth time, after Athens in 1985, Thessaloniki in 1997 and Patras in 2006. In the same year, there will also be a European Capital of Culture in Romania and one in a candidate country or potential candidate to EU membership. The pre-selection round for the competition in Romania took place on 7-10 December 2015 and four cities were recommended for pre-selection (Baia Mare, Bucharest, Cluj and Timisoara). The pre-selection round for the competition between cities from candidate countries/potential candidates took place on 11 December 2015 and two cities were recommended for pre-selection (Novi Sad from Serbia and Herceg Novi from Montenegro).

Background

Greece invited applications from interested cities in December 2014. 14 Greek cities applied: Corfu, Delphi, Eleusis (Eleusina), Ioannina, Kalamata, Larissa, Lesvos (Mytilene), Messolonghi, Piraeus, Rhodes, Salamis (Salamina), Samos, Tripolis and Volos.

The applications were examined by a panel composed of 12 independent experts – two appointed by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and ten appointed by the European Union institutions and bodies.

Find out who's on the panel appointed by European Union institutions and bodies (see bullet points)

According to the current system for designating the European Capitals of Culture, the selection has two rounds: a pre-selection round, following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up, and a final selection round approximately nine months later. The selected cities are then officially designated by the Member State concerned.

Born in 1985 on an idea of the then Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the European Capitals of Culture have grown into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and one of the best known – and most appreciated – activities of the EU. Their objectives are to promote the diversity of cultures in Europe, to highlight the common features they share and to foster the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities".


From iEfimerida -

Τρεις ελληνικές πόλεις για τον τίτλο της Πολιτιστικής Πρωτεύουσας της Ευρώπης για το 2021

Neither Corfu nor Ioannina made it into the shortlist of three Greek candidate cities...

The three candidate cities selected for the Greek shortlist: Rhodes, Elefsina and Kalamata.

Μετά την ολοκλήρωση της εξέτασης των υποψηφιοτήτων, ο Βρετανός Πρόεδρος της 12μελούς Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής Εμπειρογνωμόνων κ. Steve Green ανακοίνωσε τα ονόματα των πόλεων που περιλαμβάνονται στη βραχεία λίστα προεπιλογής, ως εξής:

Ελευσίνα
Καλαμάτα
Ρόδος

About the programme European Capitals of Culture

Steve Green is the Chair of the Committee of Experts

kalamata21.eu ‏@Kalamata21eu


The official announcement of the short listed greek cities http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/news/2016/0206-ecoc-preselection-greece_en.htm … #ecoc #ecoc2021 #kalamatarising #kalamata21 #kalamata


Steve Green ‏@stevegreen39


I announce the selection panel's recommendation for #ECOC2021 in Greece. Elefsina, Rhodes and Kalamata. #ECOC


From the EC:

"The applications were examined by a panel composed of 12 independent experts – two appointed by the Romanian Ministry of Culture and ten appointed by the European Union institutions and bodies.
The members of the panel appointed by the European Union institutions and bodies currently are:
Appointed by the European Commission: Steve Green (United Kingdom), who has an extensive experience of international cultural relations and the role of culture and languages in society with EUNIC (European Network of National Cultural Institutes) and the British Council; Jordi Pardo (Spain), CEO of the Pau Casals Foundation and expert in strategic planning and urban renewal through culture and tourism; Suzana Žilič Fišer (Slovenia), professor and head of media communications department at the University of Maribor and director general of Maribor – European Capital of Culture 2012.

Appointed by the Council: Ulrich Fuchs (Germany), deputy artistic director and programme director of Linz, European Capital of Culture 2009, and Marseille-Provence, European Capital of Culture 2013; Aiva Rozenberga (Latvia), programme director of Rīga, European Capital of Culture 2014; Pauli Sivonen (Finland), director of Serlachius Museum.

Appointed by the European Parliament: Sylvia Amann (Austria), who is specialised in urban, regional and rural development, culture and the creative economy;Cristina Farinha (Portugal), expert in the development of creative industries and national cultural strategies; Agnieszka Wlazeł (Poland), expert in audience development and former CEO and artistic director of art festivals.
Appointed by the Committee of the Regions: Anton Rombouts (Netherlands), mayor of the Dutch city of 's-Hertogenbosch and former Chairman of the Nederlands Dans Theatre.

According to the current system for designating the European Capitals of Culture, the selection has two rounds: a pre-selection round, following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up, and a final selection approximately round nine months later. The selected cities are then officially designated by the Member State concerned".
















Shakespeare: Richard III (1911 Film Extract)



Watch "the climactic scenes from the earliest surviving British film version of Shakespeare's Richard III, accompanied by a specially commissioned score by Laura Rossi. The film presents highlights from a stage version performed in Stratford in 1910; lead actor Frank Benson had been playing Richard on stage since the 1880s".

Shakespeare on Film on tour





Thursday, 25 February 2016

Greece will not cut pensions again to meet EU/IMF demands



From Reuters, 25 February

Kathimerini report

See posting of 5 February on Pensions Reform

Other news - The Guardian -Europe braces for major 'humanitarian crisis' in Greece after row over refugees

eKathimerini - The Greek crisis as a source of inspiration

Greek agriculture and the EU – inconvenient truths

Update, Kathimerini, 10 March 2016 - "Katrougalos opens door to pension reductions"

"The Labor Ministry is now set to adopt an alternative plan that will see significant cuts to auxiliary pensions. Speaking to Sto Kokkino FM Thursday, Katrougalos suggested that anyone earning more than 1,300 euros per month in total from their main and supplementary pensions would face a reduction. “There will be no cuts to main and auxiliary pensions that add up to less than 1,300 euros,” he said. “We guarantee that, no matter what.” Sources told Kathimerini that the ministry’s plan could see supplementary retirement pay being slashed by as much as 20 percent. There is also a possibility that this could affect auxiliary payments below 170 euros a month".

Pension cuts or tax increases? eKathimerini, 24 March 2016

Pensions demonstration, circa 1964:




Update, August 2016, KTG - Shock at the ATM: Thousands of supplementary pensions undergo cut by 21%-46%










Syrian Blues Song: A Tin Can, A Single String and A World of Sadness



An extraordinary video shared by Costas Zissis on Facebook

I asked Costas if he knew what the lyrics meant. He kindly replied as follows:

"A little Syrian girl translated the lyrics of the song into Greek":

"Τιμημένο σπίτι
Αχ! τιμημένο μου σπίτι,
είχα ένα σπίτι αξιαγάπητο,
μας άφησε και άφησε κάρβουνα μεσ' στη καρδιά μου
Εγώ, σπίτι μου,
η καρδιά μου δεν άνοιξε για κανένα άλλο,
μας εγκατέλειψε ο χρόνος και δεν ξέρουμε το λόγο
Αχ, καρδιά μου που είναι αυτοί που ήταν γύρω σου,
σε άφησαν και σου άφησαν τις μέρες
Αχ, μητέρα του Μουχάμαντ,
αύριο όταν φύγω θα δεις τα βάσανα μετά από εμένα
Μόνο μια σκηνή ζητάω".



The singer laments the loss of his beloved and irreplaceable house which he had prized so highly. All he can hope for now is a tent for shelter.



******

Costas Zissis - Photographer:

Costas Zissis Photography website

Costas Zissis: Autumn Zagori

Naturally Zagori







Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A Syrian Love Story (Film)




Success for Wadham College alumna - Producer Elhum Shakerifar

"Elhum is a research fellow at the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths University, was part of the British Council Cultural Leadership scheme in 2011 for her work in the arts and education through Postcode Films, which she co-founded and co-directs, and was one of Lighthouse’s 2014 Guiding Lights".

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Corfu - Candidate for Cultural Capital of Europe, 2021



No longer.

Greek Reporter: Corfu Presents Its Candidacy

Video - Εικονική Περιήγηση Κέρκυρας

One of Europe's top holiday islands (Telegraph)

Corfu tourism project gets green light - eKathimerini

Corfu Carnival - HelloCorfu

In competition with Ioannina - and many other cities.

Neither Corfu nor Ioannina in the final shortlist of three: Rhodes, Elefsina and Kalamata.

For more informationon on shortlisted candidate cities






Danger! You have been warned.




From a sign at Weymouth.

One could make up other examples:

Hikers are warned that it is dangerous to walk
Joggers are warned that it is dangerous to run
Motorists are warned that it is dangerous to drive
Migrants are warned that it is dangerous to move
Mortals are warned that it is dangerous to live...

and so on.

The Semiotics of Poundbury



Back in the 1970s, I became quite interested in semiotics and semiology, and I studied works by Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco (eg A Theory of Semiotics). The sad news of Eco's death made me think again about signs and semiotics.

Without attempting to decode or analyse the semiotic connotations or polysemous references of these signs and architectural features, here are some images of Poundbury, Dorchester. There is not exactly an absence of signs, signage and signifiers in the environment. Some are temporary, some are signs and signifiers in the making. Architectural and decorative details can stand for wider concepts, values, social priorities and aesthetic visions to which they are related.

I will collect some more in future. NB - I am an admirer of the planning and design of Poundbury and most of its varied architectural styles and features.

Marking out the tribal territory*:






The Colour of the Building - Imperial Yellow

"Yellow, corresponding with earth, is considered the most beautiful and prestigious colour. The Chinese saying, Yellow generates Yin and Yang, implies that yellow is the centre of everything. Associated with but ranked above brown, yellow signifies neutrality and good luck. Yellow is sometimes paired with red in place of gold. Yellow was the emperor's colour in Imperial China and is held as the symbolic colour of the five legendary emperors of ancient China. Yellow often decorates royal palaces, altars and temples, and the colour was used in the robes and attire of the emperors" (Wikipedia) - cf  Schönbrunn Schloss,Vienna, etc.

















































,

Missing Ted...and the old sign (Prince Charles' Tribute to Ted Hughes)

































Below - from the useful publication on design principles - "Poundbury Design Guidance"
 (text and sketches by Planning Consultant Mervyn Miller)








The three photographs above taken November 2, 2016

An international periodical I edited for some years in the 1970s:



See also Dorset Voices: A Collection of New Prose, Poetry and Photography
 edited by 'Poundbury Voices', Roving Press




*On the importance of tribal territory in the development of the landscape (from The Making of the British Landscape. Francis Pryor (p.30):

"Once communities have identified a tract of country as belonging to them, they can treat it appropriately, marking out boundaries...It is a process that can foster peace within a particular tribe but there is also the potential for conflict with other communities nearby. The laying out of tribal territories began a process of staking out and of subdivision of the landscape that has continued into the neatly partitioned suburban gardens of the present day"

Update from The Sunday Times, April 9, 2017


Come to Poundbury, and admire the architectural detail and variety - as I do.