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Monday, 28 February 2011

Secret Police Archives

The Economist (Eastern approaches blog) raises some important issues about the fate of Hungary's Secret Police Archives.

More anon, concerning my own experiences of accessing the Czechoslovak StB archives in Prague, a beautiful city where I worked for three and a half years before the Velvet Revolution.

The Late Suze Rotola

From the UNCUT Magazine Newsletter:

"The sad news reached us at the Uncut office this morning of the passing of Suze Rotolo, aged only 67. She was Bob Dylan's first great love, the inspiration for many of his most tender and enduring songs (“Don't Think Twice, It's Alright”, “One Too Many Mornings”) and, of course, his co-star on the sleeve of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan".

Update from MOJO Magazine

Dylan's muse

I enjoyed reading her memoir, "A Freewheelin' Time" (Aurum Press, 2008).

Girl from the North Country

She had this to say about Dylan's songs (p. 290):

"The songs are translations of moods and sensations he experienced. They are fictions that allude to those experiences. Bob's songs were for himself and to himself in another person's voice as much as they were in his own".

Portland Bill, Boat-Launch Hook



"From thence you maye fee the Race of Portland, as it is called, which is the Meeting of the two Tydes, with soe great Striveing and Beateing of the Waves, that it is most dangerous for anie Barke to pass over it, though in the calmest Season" - Thomas Gerard, 1620s

Eleftheria Kotzia, Greek Guitarist, recital in Dorset, 4 March

Eleftheria Kotzia, from Northern Greece, will be giving a guitar recital at St. Mary's School, Shaftesbury, on Friday 4 March, at 7.30pm. Details from 01963 251620. A chance to hear some Hadjidakis, as well as works by Villa Lobos, Bach and other composers.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Las Palmas, Baby Trashes Bar

One for Alex!

Gallows Hill, Dorchester, Dorset Martyrs



The Dorset Martyrs, by Elizabeth Frink


Gallows Hill


The fate of Hugh Green, the martyred Catholic priest, at Gallows Hill, Dorchester, 1642
from Butler's Lives of the Saints (pp 191-192)


Dorchester, 1901


This part of Dorchester doesn't seem to have changed much since 1901, when this Ordnance Survey map was published.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

CORFU, 1930s TOURIST DOCUMENTARY

A fascinating black and white film of Corfu in the 1930s can be seen on John's Corfu World, from the ERT archives. Not so sure about the soundtrack...

You can also go straight to YouTube.

Sir Walter Raleigh, wishing he was back in Dorset?


Sir Walter Raleigh might have been a contented man, with his "scallop shell of quiet", if he could have stayed in Dorset, at home in Sherborne or visiting his friends at Cerne Abbas. 



Go, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand;
Fear not to touch the best;
The truth shall be thy warrant:
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.

Say to the court, it glows
And shines like rotten wood;
Say to the church, it shows
What's good, and doth no good:
If church and court reply,
Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates, they live
Acting by others' action;
Not loved unless they give,
Not strong but by a faction.
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,
That manage the estate,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate:
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who, in their greatest cost,
Seek nothing but commending.
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;
Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it metes but motion;
Tell flesh it is but dust:
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;
Tell honour how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth;
Tell favour how it falters:
And as they shall reply,
Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles
In tickle points of niceness;
Tell wisdom she entangles
Herself in overwiseness:
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;
Tell skill it is pretension;
Tell charity of coldness;
Tell law it is contention:
And as they do reply,
So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;
Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindness;
Tell justice of delay:
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming;
Tell schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming:
If arts and schools reply,
Give arts and schools the lie.

Tell faith it's fled the city;
Tell how the country erreth;
Tell manhood shakes off pity
And virtue least preferreth:
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing--
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing--
Stab at thee he that will,
No stab the soul can kill.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Horned Poppy (Sea Poppy), West Bay

From "Horned Poppies and Red Cliffs" by John Cowper Powers, written at West Bay, July 1909.

"They lie who say that nature lacks
The wonders and the wiles of art-
Her magic moons that wane and wax,
Her fiery stars that gleam and dart...

Most strange of flowers! I see thee grow,
Thy weird ambiguous horns outspread,
Thy yellow petals all aglow
On their blood coloured rocky bed!

Ah! Mother Nature....

Did you design for your own joy
These cliffs so soaked in rusty blood,
That spray that clings like a drowned boy,
These glaucous growths, this wrinkled mud?

Yet, yet! O Nature, artist rare,
We follow thee as Maenads chased
The wine-God, with wild-floating hair:
Thy symbol in our heart is placed...."

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Care of the Elderly

Don't come back to the UK if it's the quality of hospital care that concerns you. You'd be better off in Corfu, or almost anywhere, it seems!

The BBC has the story too.

Friday, 11 February 2011

P J Harvey, England's Shaken!

The Words that Maketh Murder

Written on the Forehead

The Last Living Rose

See also

BRIDPORT AND THE BLUES

and Ian Whitwham at the Eype Launch

P J Harvey talks to the Dorset Echo about the recording in a Dorset Church (St Peter's Church, Eype) in April/May 2010:

"We recorded it in a church that’s now just used for exhibitions and classical concerts mostly, in Dorset. It’s very remote, on top of a cliff, and has a graveyard, which has trees bent by the wind. It’s a classic, misty surrounding but actually a beautiful place and a place I was very familiar with and often walk through, so it felt a part of me. It didn’t feel very far away from me and I knew that with this body of work I didn’t want to go to London. A city didn’t feel right. I looked at a few studios in Berlin. That didn’t feel right. Then I remembered that the man, who now runs this church as an arts venue, had said to me a few times if I’d ever wanted to use it for a show or rehearsals that he’d love that."

Fielding in The Guardian

A new blog I've just discovered.

This one rings a bell!

I was there too.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A Vision of Britain


Something old, something new.

I'm trying to imagine how this building will look, but I feel confident that it will be a great asset, and reflect these worthwhile aims:

"I am very keen to try something different. This is a problem facing the whole of southern England- how to build in our countryside without spoiling it...Vision and boldness are also needed if we are to produce something of real beauty in the English countryside."


Is Greece Insolvent?

Item from EuroIntelligence (a very valuable source of information):
Bruegel on debt crisis exit plan
"In a new Policy Brief, Pisany-Ferry, Darvas and Sapir of Bruegel discuss
the current state of the Greek debt crisis. No matter how you look at the
problem, Greece is insolvent, they argue. Thus, the current “wait and
see” strategy will inevitably result in default. The various “soft
options” (lowering of interest rate on EFSF, extension of maturity of
EU/IMF loans, debt buybacks) might prove useful for other periphery
countries, but are not enough for Greece. The paper ends with an
assessment of potential spillovers from Greek debt restructuring, and
finds that they would be limited (the real threat coming from Irish and
Spanish banks). Their conclusion is that a 30% haircut on Greek debt, in
top of the “soft options” might prove a viable exit."

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Sailor's Return, David Garnett, New Edition

This looks interesting:


A new edition of THE SAILOR'S RETURN
by DAVID GARNETT

which includes a previously unpublished chapter TARGETT’S PRIZE-FIGHT

With a 3,000 word Introduction by Professor J. LAWRENCE MITCHELL

Will be published on 31 March 2011 by The Sundial Press

www.sundialpress.co.uk/david%20garnett.html 



Now available (August 2011)

Bill Haley Meets HM The Queen

Great photo of Bill Haley on Michael Gray's blog.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Gospel Blues Gig, Corfu


These are some ideas for a gig in Corfu this summer, which might include a medley of four gospel-blues songs. A challenge for Raul!

MEDLEY:

You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond

(with added elements of "I've been buked and I've been scorned)

Nobody's Fault but Mine

There's a Man Going Round Taking Names, Leadbelly (his version is on YouTube, but I really don't like the inappropriate video)

Will the Circle be Unbroken

Plus, separately:

Peace in the Valley

For reference, the Red Foley version

and the original by Thomas A.Dorsey


Let It Shine On Me

Farther Along

and the Hank Williams version

Needed Time (Lightnin' Hopkins)

Why don't you live so God can use you (Muddy Waters)

Vespasian and Vespasiani



The name of the Roman Emperor Vespasian has rather different connotations in Dorset and in Italy (and in Corfu), where people might still say "I'm just going to the Vespasiani", as we might say "I'm just going to the loo".

Visitors to Dorchester from Italy and the Ionian Islands may get the wrong idea when they see a sign directing them to Vespasian House.

Wikipedia spells it out:

"In modern Romance languages, urinals are still named after him (for example, vespasiano in Italian, and vespasienne in French) probably in reference to a tax he placed on urine collection (useful due to its ammoniac content; see Pay toilet).

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Maumbury Rings Amphitheatre, Dorchester, 1723-1908




Dr. W. Stukeley


Maumbury Rings, with the Town Gallows, J. Newton (engraved 1736, published 1786):





Herbert Moll, 1724

 William Barnes, 1832

William Barnes, 1832


and John Everett, Maumbury Rings, 1924



William Camden





Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Dovecote, Athelhampton House


This beautiful dovecote is in the garden of Athelhampton House. There is room for 1,500 birds to nest inside.

I am reminded of these lines:

"Wild wood-doves
Will not
Live in lofts".

Corfu and Dorset


Just published, the February edition of DORSET LIFE, which contains my 3 page article on Corfu's Dorset connections.