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Sunday, 31 July 2016

"The World's Her Oyster" - Failed Expectations; Raul Scacchi



I've been listening to Raul's brilliant concept albums in recent days. This is a song lyric I wrote (in its original form - as I wrote it, loosely suggested by the tragic death of Amy Winehouse on 23 July 2011) and which I sent to Raul from England on 15th October, 2011, to consider for inclusion in his album "Failed Expectations". Raul retained the two main verses (in bold), and added ideas of his own in the middle of the song.


Raul Scacchi - The World's Her Oyster, click on the right (View track) to listen 


The World’s Her Oyster



They said “The World’s her Oyster”

But it was just an empty shell;

Instead of fame and fortune

Life became a living Hell.



She made records-

She made movies-

She made money-

She made friends-

But I don’t have to tell you,

You know how this song ends.



She started drinking

But not eating

She tried all kinds of stuff

One day her poor thin body

Screamed out ‘Enough’s enough’.



Everybody mourned her

Everybody cried

But all of them indulged her

Until the day she died




They said “The World’s her Oyster”

But it was just an empty shell;

Instead of fame and fortune

Life became a living Hell.







(Di seguito la testimonianza di Jim Potts).

IN AENIGMATE: IL COMPOSITORE COME PSICOPOMPO


"Raul Scacchi era una delle persone più talentata e creativa che io abbia mai incontrato. Era un artista originale, un pittore e un compositore innovativo (capace di trarre dal suo computer i suoni di un’intera orchestra), un arrangiatore, un paroliere, un musicista versatile e competente, chitarrista (nonchè bassista e suonatore del Fender a sei corde), un produttore di idee, un filosofo, un ecologista, un amante degli animali e della natura, un cuoco e un anfitrione generoso, un umorista che amava il gioco e lo scherzo, politicamente un pensatore radicale e un egalitarista sociale, un uomo con capacità tecniche e realizzative pratiche, un perfezionista e, soprattutto, un amico tollerante, paziente, ottimista , affettuoso e frutto per me di continua ispirazione.

Mi sento fortunato per averlo conosciuto e per aver goduto della sua amicizia per otto anni. Sebbene si sia spento a Pisa, la sera del 9 giugno del 2014, il suo spirito e la sua influenza continuano a vivere. Io ho ascoltato le sue canzoni e la sua musica sul mio iPod , alle Bermuda, la mattina di Natale, appena mi sono alzato. Raul e Gioia si sono trasferiti a Synarades, Corfù, nel maggio del 2001. Io li ho incontrati per la prima volta nel novembre del 2005 (un anno dopo io tornavo a vivere sull’isola). Il nostro primo incontro risale a un mercatino natalizio di prodotti artistici e artigianali a Dassia, dove Raul aveva disponibili le copie del suo CD “Emails to Emily”. Raul e Gioia erano arrivati a Corfù con l’inizio del nuovo millennio, pieni di ottimismo ed energia creativa, la loro coppia rappresentava una partnership perfetta.

Ho collaborato strettamente con Raul per l’Album “Neuromantics”dando il mio contributo per alcune parole delle canzoni e idee per i testi. Durante il lavoro sulle canzoni ci divertivamo moltissimo, tra appassionate discussioni e tremende risate. Ho continuato a dargli il mio modesto supporto editoriale e assistenza linguistica, per molti dei suoi progetti musicali successivi con testi in inglese. Raul mi ha fatto anche l’onore di arrangiare un certo numero di canzoni che io avevo scritto, trasferendo le mie parole in un universo musicale avventuroso e ricco di immaginazione.

La nostra è stata una collaborazione feconda; a un certo punto ha realizzato uno speciale CD, per alcuni suoi amici musicisti. Dentro ci sono gli arrangiamenti di tre canzoni che avevo scritto io. Raul ha chiamato l’album “Cooking friends”, appena un pò meglio del titolo preliminare “Cooking Potts”, dal momento che in copertina c’è un’immagine di me che vengo cucinato vivo dentro a un pentolone con il fuoco acceso! Con mia moglie Maria andavamo a casa loro a Synarades e spesso con la chitarra salivo per le scale fino alla mansarda dove Raul aveva il suo studio, per le prove e le registrazioni dei demo. Insieme abbiamo anche suonato in molte serate musicali organizzate in varie parti dell’isola.

Omero, Petrarca, Emily Dickinson, Raul portava il suo bagaglio culturale con leggerezza. Da Verdi, ai Beatles e il Blues, amava ogni tipo di musica. Originario di Milano, aveva avuto una formazione musicale classica e per un decennio aveva suonato dal vivo con gruppi rock e pop. Non ho mai smesso di ascoltare la sua musica e le sue canzoni. Raul aveva davvero molto da offrire al mondo, sia con la musica sia nel campo delle arti visive. Mancherà ai suoi amici più di quanto le parole possano esprimere.

La Natura, per quanto crudele, era la sua forza di redenzione: la musica e gli animali, il suo grande conforto, fino al termine della sua vita. Meno di un mese prima di morire, il 14 maggio, Raul mi ha scritto un e mail “Al momento, nelle mie condizioni, non sono assolutamente in grado di pensare ad alcuna produzione musicale. Ma ascolto tantissima nusica, specialmente i requiems (quello di Faure’e’ uno dei miei preferiti), le sinfonie di Mahler e la sagra della Primavera di Stravinski (da sempre uno dei brani che prediligo)…”

A parte il suo amore per la musica gli era di conforto pensare che c’erano persone che si prendevano cura degli animali e della natura in generale e che sentivano in merito, un senso di responsabilità, anche se sono una minoranza. Raul ha lasciato a tutti noi, specialmente alle giovani generazioni, una grande eredità artistica e musicale, ricca di idee e principi. Lui può essere ancora la nostra guida, il nostro “Psicopompo”, noi glielo dobbiamo".

Clive James, "Return of the Kogarah Kid", Poem


BBC, The World Tonight: 29 July, 2016 - Return of the Kogarah Kid

- Clive James reads his latest poem - "Writer and broadcaster, Clive James, has written a poem in the hope that it will be inscribed on a plaque overlooking Dawes Point and Sydney Harbour, where he has asked that his ashes be scattered".









Friday, 29 July 2016

IMF and Greece: A Critical Report



Critical IMF report heralds new Greek bailout battle - EU Observer

An interesting evaluation report:

THE IMF AND THE CRISES IN GREECE, IRELAND, AND PORTUGAL: AN EVALUATION BY THE INDEPENDENT EVALUATION (pdf) - 86 pages, July 2016

Recommendation 1: The Executive Board and management should develop procedures to minimize the room for political intervention in the IMF’s technical analysis.



IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece, The Telegraph

Related: Wolfgang Schäuble - Spiegel Online, Double Standards

The Telegraph- IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece






On Climbing Volcanoes - and other familiar travel experiences



There's a lovely piece of travel writing by Barry Humphries (Spectator Diary of 22 August, 1987), in "Views from Abroad, The Spectator Book of Travel Writing" (1988).

He describes the time he and his wife, with their two children, climbed Mount Epameo, the Ischian volcano.

"It was very beautiful up there, even if what I supposed to be white orchids nestling in the boscage turned out to be broken polystyrene cups".

The restaurant at the top was famous for its specialities, but the 'hunter's rabbit' that they were hoping to sample was 'off'' that night, so they ended up eating spaghetti a pomodoro.

Barrie Humphries concludes, in a way that most parents or grandparents might recognise from similar experiences and disappointments:

'Is that all there is?' said my jaded son Oscar.


******

I will now re-read that wonderful autobiography, "More Please"







Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Reminder from Darwin



“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” 

Charles Darwin, The Descent of  Man (vol. I).

See Darwin Online

"This work contains hardly any original facts in regard to man; but as the conclusions at which I arrived, after drawing up a rough draft, appeared to me interesting, I thought that they might interest others. It has often and confidently been asserted, that man's origin can never be known: but ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science".

The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex, London: John Murray. 1st ed. 1871



Corfu, Greece: In Debt to the Public Power Corporation; ΔΕΗ & οι Κερκυραίοι



ΔΕΗ: Πάνω από 42 εκατ. χρωστούν οι Κερκυραίοι - 4 στους 10 δεν πληρώνουν, News 247

Στα 42,3 εκατ. ευρώ φθάνουν οι οφειλές των καταναλωτών προς τη ΔΕΗ στον νομό Κέρκυρας - Corfu Press.
A song by Raul Scacchi, from Failed Expectations, track 9, "In My Village"

Greek Travel Pages -  Greece Draft Law: Hefty Fines for Illegal Home Rentals to Tourists




Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ernest 'Big' Crawford, double bass




Ernest Crawford was apparently born on July 31, 1897, and died in March, 1956 (dates not verified).

One of the great originators of the slap-bass sound.

"You're Gonna' Miss me (When I'm Dead and Gone)"

Muddy Waters (vocal, guitar), Leroy Foster (guitar) and Ernest 'Big' Crawford (bass) - recorded in Chicago, November 30th, 1948.

I recently bought a copy of Aristocrat 1307 (an old 78 rpm record). The blueprint for the rockabilly blues trio and the early Sun sound? Superb!



A framed copy

Ernest 'Big' Crawford also plays bass on the extraordinary "Louisiana Blues" ( Chess 1441, recorded 23 October, 1950).

Muddy Jumps One

I Can't Be Satisfied

Evans Shuffle











UK and Greece: Wage Growth



From The Guardian - UK joins Greece at bottom of wage growth league, Katie Allen and Larry Elliott



Monday, 25 July 2016

Greece: New Highways and Completion Dates



From imerisia.gr, in Greek - Οι νέοι αυτοκινητόδρομοι που θα αλλάξουν την εικόνα της Ελλάδας

Minimanimalia : Raul Scacchi




I have just received my advance, pre-launch copy of this splendid book and CD, a labour of love and dedication by Gioia Roni Maestro Scacchi, published by Istos Editions. It is beautifully designed and illustrated, a lasting and moving tribute to the late, much-missed Raul Scacchi.

Thank you, Gioia!

The book , the CD  and the songs are entirely about animals, and dedicated to animals, about all of which which Raul cared passionately.

My two favourite tracks are the setting of Petrarch's Una Candida Cerva*, sung in Italian by Brunella Sermonetta, and Les Atherines de Corfou, sung in Greek by Raul himself.



I was delighted to find that it contains a number of song lyrics in English on which Raul and I collaborated to varying degrees before (and after) he fell ill, and some of my own poems which Raul set to music ("The First Lyre", about the tortoise murdered by Hermes to make the first lyre and two other poems, about dolphins, from my book "Corfu Blues", which I combined to make one song lyric, "21 Dolphins"), and my poem "Confessions of a Wanton Boy" which Raul adapted (in the second half) to fit the music and his concept. 

A correction is to be made to identify me as the author of the relevant poems and lyrics.

The two dolphin poems, written in 1967 ("Corfu Haiku") and 1994, respectively,  (from Corfu Blues, Ars Interpres, 2006), were the basis of my song lyric: 







The "Twenty-one dolphins" haiku was selected for "The Haiku Hundred", published by Iron Press in 1992: "This historic little book was published initially in 1992 and ran to six prints. It sold more than 10,000 copies making it the biggest selling book of English language haiku in the UK.
(IRON Press, in collaboration with the British Haiku Society, apparently received more than 5,500 submissions when they invited work for this small anthology).

"The First Lyre" (my poem was also broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 'Time for Verse', Sept 2, 1987; published in 'Corfu Blues', Ars Interpres, 2006)

First  preview of "Minimanimalia"



Illustration Franco Scacchi



Illustration Lucrezia Benvenuti


Illustration Brunella Sermoneta

"L'ultimo concept album rimasto incompiuto, è un doppio cd dedicato agli animali: di Minimanimalia, che Raul stava terminando quando la malattia si è aggravata, qui appare solo il progetto per la copertina. Le canzoni e le illustrazioni saranno pubblicate in un libretto con CD a parte".


"La Natura, per quanto crudele, era la sua forza di redenzione: la musica e gli animali, il suo grande conforto, fino al termine della sua vita. Meno di un mese prima di morire, il 14 maggio, Raul mi ha scritto un e mail “Al momento, nelle mie condizioni, non sono assolutamente in grado di pensare ad alcuna produzione musicale. Ma ascolto tantissima nusica, specialmente i requiems (quello di Faure’e’ uno dei miei preferiti), le sinfonie di Mahler e la sagra della Primavera di Stravinski (da sempre uno dei brani che prediligo)…”

A parte il suo amore per la musica gli era di conforto pensare che c’erano persone che si prendevano cura degli animali e della natura in generale e che sentivano in merito, un senso di responsabilità, anche se sono una minoranza. Raul ha lasciato a tutti noi, specialmente alle giovani generazioni, una grande eredità artistica e musicale, rica di idee e principi. Lui può essere ancora la nostra guida, il nostro “Psicopompo”, noi glielo dobbiamo".

Update: About the Corfu Book Launch, and my own offering from afar - "A personal account of collaboration, based on an email exchange between December 8, 2006 and 31 May, 2014".


Pisa Event

More news

Minimanimalia, una festa per gli animali e l'ambiente Eventi a Pisa

Bipolar Bear




*Sir Thomas Wyatt's very free adaptation  (or transformation/transmutation) of Petrarch's sonnet, Una Candida Cerva:


Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,

But as for me, alas, I may no more;

The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,

I am of them that furthest come behind.

Yet may I by no means my wearied mind

Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore

Fainting I follow; I leave off therefore,

Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.

Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,

As well as I, may spend his time in vain.

And graven with diamonds in letters plain,

There is written her fair neck round about,

"Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,

And wild for to hold, though I seem tame."

******


Is Wyatt's version a poem about a deer, or about Anne Boleyn?


Rime sparse 190 

Una candida cerva sopra l’erba
 verde m’apparve con duo corna d’oro, 
fra due riviere all’ombra d’un alloro,
 levando ’l sole a la stagione acerba. 

Era sua vista si dolce superba
 ch’ i’ lasciai per seguirla ogni lavoro, 
come l’avaro che ’n cercar tesoro 
con diletto l’affanno disacerba.

 “Nessun mi tocchi,” al bel collo d’intorno
scritto avea di diamanti et di topazi. 
“Libera farmi al mio Cesare parve.”

 Et era ’l sol già vòlto al mezzo giorno, 
Gli occhi miei stanchi di mirar, non sazi,
 Quand‘ io caddi ne l’acqua et ella sparve.



Footnote (JP):

I was very glad that Raul took up my suggestion of setting Francesco Petrarch’s wonderful sonnet, Una Candida Cerva (my email to Raul of 30/1/2013); on 22 February 2013, after he sent me some (flawed) English translations he’d found, I wrote “I thought you would set the original Italian (more beautiful!)…Can you find some other translations… or even try the Italian original?” Raul was so modest, perhaps he thought it might be considered presumptuous of him to set a sonnet by Petrarch in Italian. I am so glad that he did follow my suggestion. What fascinating international transformations from sonnet to song, from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century! (Petrarch's Il Canzoniere/ Rime Sparse/ Rerum vulgarium fragmenta) were probably written between 1327-1368):

The cultural interchange & cycle of influence and inspiration: Petrarch's sonnet 190 - Wyatt's English poem - Jim - Raul - Petrarch's Sonnet - Raul's song

see also, two different views of the Wyatt version:

Wyatt, Petrarch, and the Uses of Mistranslation,: Joe Glaser, College Literature, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Fall, 1984), pp. 214-222: The Johns Hopkins University Press


Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation,  Susan Bassnett, André Lefevere (pp 67 - 70)








Sunday, 24 July 2016

EU and Brexit Developments



EU considers migration ‘emergency brake’ for UK for up to seven years, The Observer, Toby Helm

Erasmus Scheme and British Students, after Brexit

Theresa May: UK should be flexible over Brexit trade options, BBC News

UK will not guarantee EU citizens' rights, May insists, EU Observer

"British prime minister Theresa May has reiterated that the UK will guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK only if British citizens are afforded the same rights in other EU countries.
“I intend to be able to guarantee their rights. The only circumstances in which that would not be possible would be if the rights of British citizens living in other EU member states were not guaranteed," May said on Wednesday (27 July) at a press conference with her Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi in Rome".

Brexit threatens English language schools, FT

BERLIN URGES LONDON NOT TO POSTPONE BREXIT AFTER DELAY REPORTS, Euro News







Transylvania




A good place to start:


West Bay, Dorset: New Rock Fall, East Beach



From BBC News - Rock fall hits East Beach on Jurassic Coast



Georgia O'Keeffe at the Tate




From Christie's - The unseen Georgia O’Keeffe - "The curator of Tate’s new blockbuster explains why there’s more to the artist than flowers — discussing New York, colour, and her complex relationship with Alfred Stieglitz".

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Greek Marine or Diver?


A fitting on the Greek ferry-boat Nikolaos (Corfu-Igoumenitsa) - noticed as I waited to go down to the lower car-deck,



Corfu, Greece (Without Garbage; At Last)











Dorset: South Dorset Ridgeway, Land of Bone and Stone Press Release



What's Hidden in The Hills?

                                                            PRESS RELEASE

LAND BONE STONE APPS 1-3
Launched for July 18th World Sound Listening Days

"For nearly five millennia, from the Neolithic through the Bronze Age to the beginnings of the Iron Age, from 4000 years before the birth of Christ to 800 years after, the people of this island created landscapes of massive earthworks, timber and stone. Along what is now known as the South Dorset Ridgeway, a ‘Ritual Landscape’ or ‘Grand Necropolis’ contains over 500 barrows, henges and causeways in an area between West Bexington in the West to Osmington in the East.

What histories, what stories would these stones, and ancient barrows tell us if they could talk? What legends, fairy tales, local myths and oral histories have been woven into and around the landscape? What natural and created sounds can be heard high on the skyline underground, along footpaths, ancient tracks, and whispering woodlands?

In a ground-breaking new project in partnership with the South Dorset Landscape Partnership known as The Land of Bone and Stone ( lead by the Dorset AONB,) an App has been developed which allows you to experience this universe for yourself!  SATSYMPH have laid out a series of sound-pools in 7 evocative locations along the rolling South Dorset Ridgeway. Access the sound-pools by downloading an app onto your smartphone, plus background maps online, and head out to any of the 7 locations. Once there, open the app, plug your headphones in and wander. Your smartphone automatically senses the sound-hotspots through GPS and opens out the sound experience.

Land Bone Stone Apps 1-3 were made by the 3-man artistic collective SATSYMPH working with DIVAcontemporary, Sir John Colfox School (Bridport), Beaminster School, Weymouth College and Dorset Studio School, InsideOut Dorset, Artmusic, Frances Aitken and members of the public.

James Sharpe South Dorset  Ridgeway Landscape Partnership Manager says:

We are delighted to have brought together such a unique project. We feel it takes the user through a one off experience that pulls together heritage, culture and archaeology that brings the landscape alive in a completely different way. It's not a walking trail but an almost theatrical experience. Engaging the community, folklore and oral tradition of the area and the vibrant history of the Ridgeway, all set before time, deeply hidden in the hills.

The audio-app uses your phone’s GPS and will only play in the given locations: at and around the Grey Mare and her Colts Neolithic long barrow, White Hill Plantation area, Chapel Coppice above Abbotsbury; at and around the Hardy Monument and Bronkham Barrows; Kingston-Russell stone circle; and Culliford Tree Barrow.

You have to go there to hear it, you can’t hear it anywhere else! No need for a phone signal though, – the audio-app uses your phone’s GPS!"

Land Bone Stone Apps 1-3 can be downloaded from

http://satsymph.co.uk/projects-and-events/interpretation/southdorsetridgeway with links to Google Play and App Store etc.

For more information contact: James Sharpe Landscape Partnership Manager, South Dorset Ridgeway.

http://www.dorsetaonb.org.uk/sdr-news/1225-sdr-whats-hidden-in-the-hills

Find on twitter @LandBoneStone #nthehills







Friday, 22 July 2016

Alcohol and Cancer



We can't say we haven't been warned:

The Guardian, "Alcohol is a direct cause of seven ​​forms of cancer, finds study"






DORSET, UK: 40 DAYS in DORSET (AONB Suggestions of Places to Explore)



Download a copy of the leaflet - suggestions of great places to explore in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Pick up a copy from Tourist Information Centres and libraries. or download a copy here.


Modernist Architecture in Asmara, Eritrea



From The Economist, Prospero: Architecture in Eritrea, Modernist masterpieces in unlikely Asmara

A shame I never managed to visit Asmara when I worked in Ethiopia for five years in the early 1970s.

I did visit the rock churches of Lalibela (watch my film)






Germany welcomes new UK Prime Minister Theresa May; Brexit



From Deutsche Welle - British Prime Minister Theresa May has been making her first official foreign visit, talking to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Both appeared to strike a conciliatory tone over future "Brexit" negotiations.


A New Beginning: Theresa May's Opportunity to Reinvent Britain, Spiegel International

May gets Hollande ultimatum: free trade depends on free movement, The Guardian






Wednesday, 20 July 2016

"Our Land", Yannis Ritsos


Wherever I am in Greece (Tzoumerka, Zagori, Paxos, Corfu), 
Ritsos' poems and images connect and  resound, even where no olive trees can grow.









Yannis Ritsos, from Our Land:



We climbed the hill to look over our land:
fields poor and few, stones, olive trees…
We shaped the old man’s clothes
into a scarecrow against the ravens…
How did we manage to put our house and our life in order
with a hand made of stone? Up on the lintel
There’s soot from the Easter candles, year by year:
tiny black crosses marked there by the dead
returning from the Resurrection Service.


tr. Edmund Keeley



Greece:The Coast of Epirus, Threspotia, Opposite Paxos and the South of Corfu



The grandchildren loved swimming at Plataria, Mega Ammos and Karavostasi.











Plataria Sunset, Epirus; The anglers






 

Monday, 18 July 2016

How the internet was invented (The Guardian)



"In 40 years, the internet has morphed from a military communication network into a vast global cyberspace. And it all started in a California beer garden", Ben Tarnoff, The Guardian.


Dodona; Archaeology; The Bronze Eagle of Dodona; Ioannina Archaeological Museum; το χάλκινο άγαλμα του Αετού




See my updated 2012 posting about the Ioannina Archaeological Museum and the bronze eagle of Dodona, in particular - and the comments below that posting.

About eagles in Greece, and the bronze eagle of  Dodona 

"Οι αρχαίοι Έλληνες θεωρούσαν τον αετό σαν σύμβολο του Δία και τον τιμούσαν. Είναι γνωστό το χάλκινο άγαλμα του Αετού, που βρέθηκε το 1967 στις ανασκαφές του ιερού της Δωδώνης. Αργότερα οι Ρωμαίοι χρησιμοποίησαν τον αετό σαν στρατιωτικό έμβλημα, ενώ οι Βυζαντινοί χρησιμοποιούσαν σαν έμβλημα το δικέφαλο αετό, που ίσως ήταν οικογενειακό έμβλημα των Παλαιολόγων" (www.gpeppas.gr).



Greece: Learning to live with the garbage; The nightmare not over; The Pyrgos Experience; Ο εφιάλτης των σκουπιδιών δεν τελείωσε



Ο εφιάλτης των σκουπιδιών δεν τελείωσε, eKathimerini

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Nick Malkoutzis on Media and the Greek Crisis; Greek News Agenda



Interview with Nick Malkoutzis Greek News Agenda

"Greece is a small country that has made a lot of noise in recent years. Separating the signal from the noise has been the big challenge for foreign journalists who had to follow developments. There are a number of reasons that the Greek crisis has been a difficult one to cover: Greece is a complex country with many competing interests, it experienced an economic collapse whose magnitude was unprecedented for a developed country, the management of the crisis involved lots of actors with contrasting motivations and interests (Greece, European institutions, eurozone member states, IMF), and it was a crisis that stoked strong passions and arguments over political ideology, economic thinking and even visions for the European Union. As a result, the quality of the coverage has been mixed. Some of the reporting and analysis on Greece has been excellent but a lot of it has been restricted to very stale narratives that either skimmed the surface of what was happening or fitted a particular pre-determined view. Similarly, the domestic media has also had a mixed time in covering events. While there has been excellent, probing work, there has also been a lot of coverage whose sole purpose was to strengthen the “pro-memorandum” or “anti-memorandum” argument, which has created such a cleavage in Greek society over the last few years".


Kalpaki, Epirus: An Essential Local Supermarket



I was pleased to find that the small supermarket at Kalpaki was open again yesterday. I talked to several members of staff who were not at all confident that the store or its staff were in the clear to continue trading. There are many uncertainties, even though this is an essential supplier serving an important market and local area of Epirus. The staff members told me that they have not been paid for six months. I was not clear who exactly is now the temporary owner, after the problems with Marinopoulos and Carrefour. The name of the supermarket was originally Arvanitidis, I think.

I was alerted by Observing Greece to an article published in the Economist Intelligence Unit:
"Marinopoulos: decline and fall of a retail giant".


This didn't help to shed any light on the future of the much-needed (and surely viable) Kalpaki store.

Update, MSN/News247.gr - Σκλαβενίτης: Τι θα γίνει με τα 362 καταστήματα και τους 10.8000 εργαζόμενους της Μαρινόπουλος

The agreement

Update, January 2017 - Greek Competition Authority Approves Sklavenitis-Marinopoulos Deal, Greek Observer - "As a precondition for approving the deal, the authority required Sklavenitis Group to implement a series of commitments, such as liquidating 22 stores and to maintain for a transition period of three years and under the conditions of all commercial partnership agreements signed between Marinopoulos and small local suppliers".














Thomas Hardy Society Journal and Conference, Summer 2016



I regret that I shall miss most of the 22nd International Conference and Festival events (23-30 July 2016).

Provisional Programme (pdf)

I have now seen the Summer 2016 volume of the Journal, which is full of interesting articles.

My report on the Thomas Hardy Spring Weekend in Cornwall (March 18–20 2016) is also included.


Yiannis Ladias, Monodendri, Zagori Shepherd





 Yiannis Ladias, a personable and friendly Monodendri Shepherd/Goatherd, July 2016



 Yiannis Ladias, 2011 


View from Oxias, above Monodendri