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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Kostas Balafas, Epirus

A reminder of Balafas' wonderful black and white photographs of Epirus (248 images)

Dorset: Tunnels Beneath Dorchester

From the Dorset Echo

A mosaic and a network of tunnels

Rebetika Music at King's College, London, 18 October 2014

One for the diary 18 October:

"The popular musics of Greece, Turkey, Egypt and the Levant shaped an affective underground across the region for much of the twentieth century, the popular styles of one country spilling over into the next thanks to radio, film and recordings. Post war migration made them a subterranean presence in London’s soundscape, too, from Green Lanes to the Edgware Road and beyond. What imbued these hybrid, cosmopolitan musical practices with such power, persuasion and resilience? What did the authorities, from place to place, from era to era, fear in them, exactly? How did the musical underground of one country become that of another? What cultural and political labor do these genres still perform? What charge do they still carry?

Roderick Beaton, Director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies and Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine Language and Literature, and Martin Stokes, King Edward Professor of Music, will give two short, illustrated talks, exploring the idea and the allure of a musical underground, focusing on rebetika and broader Eastern Mediterranean soundscapes, respectively.

The performance element will connect King’s College London research with some prominent voices in the Greek, Turkish and Arab communities of the city.Cigdem Aslan and Friends explore Smyrnaic and Piraeus rembetika, in both Greek and Turkish. Oxford Maqam represent the underground of the early Egyptian sound recording era, from Sheikh Salah Abd al-Hayy Hilmi to Sayyid Darwish, from Sami Shawwa to the famous Cairo dance orchestras of the era".

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Raw Music: Christopher King, Vinyl Asides

Featuring Christopher King  (Vinyl Asides, Episode 8).

On Alexis Zoumbas, "Blues All Kinds" from Magic Jukebox blog.

Scotland: The Unfair 'Barnett Formula' Public Funding Bribe- Inequitable in Perpetuity?

This Telegraph article by Dan Hodges makes a fair point: "not at any price".

The Times has a related front page story on 17 September.

"Mr. Cameron's pledge to maintain the Barnett formula, which ensures that the Scots receive annual funding of £1,600 per head per year more than the English, triggered a revolt in the party..."

Gordon Brown has argued on TV (eg "Scotland Decides, The Dimbleby Interviews") that the Barnett formula continues to be justified "on the basis of need" (see especially the interview section from the 20'56 mark until 21'50). Gordon Brown made some very persuasive and convincing points overall, but some might justly object that the Barnett formula is not a good example of "sharing the same economic rights", of "equity between the regions", or of a process of "sharing and allocating resources equitably and fairly, according to need". Does Scotland really have much greater needs because of its rural areas and greater number of pensioners?

Gary Gibbon, Channel 4 News, wrote that Gordon Brown is "trying to get the Tories to sign up to the current funding arrangements for Scotland – the Barnett formula – in perpetuity".

Brown's call for "Three Guarantees" (BBC News)

What is "the Barnett Formula"? (Wikipedia)

"Barnett viewed the formula that he devised as unfair. In The Scotsman in January 2004 he wrote, "It was never meant to last this long, but it has gone on and on and it has become increasingly unfair to the regions of England. I didn't create this formula to give Scotland an advantage over the rest of the country when it comes to public funding."

See Barnett's original article in The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, 11 January 2004

See Lord Barnett's latest "terrible mistake" admission

Can it really be that the three main UK political party leaders have made a vow amongst themselves to have the Barnett formula "set in stone"?

Dan Hodges has returned to the topic (17 September):

"The people of Scotland have been given a guarantee that whatever people in the rest of the Union might decide, they will be insulated from their political choices...Nor, as we saw yesterday, are the people of Scotland being asked to sign up for economic union. Yesterday we had the “Vow” – brokered by Gordon Brown and endorsed by the leaders of the three main parties – that the Barnett Formula will be retained if independence is rejected. That’s the mechanism whereby Scotland gets 20 per cent more in annual public spending than England, and which was described by its architect Joel Barnett yesterday as "unfair and should be stopped, it is a mistake. This way is terrible and can never be sustainable, it is a national embarrassment.” It is this unsustainable national embarrassment that is supposedly the bedrock of our Union".

Update from Sky News "The Barnett Formula Explained"

Dorset: Roman Villa and Mosaics, Druce Farm, Puddletown

The Roman Villa was featured on the BBC Regional News today (view here).

"The project is due to finish next year, when the site will be covered up".

An article from June in Dorset Life

Directions to the Roman Villa, Druce Farm, Puddletown, from a previous Open Day online announcement (NB probably NOT open to visitors now - need to find out when it will next be open to visitors):

Instructions on how to get to Druce Farm from Dorchester

"Follow the A35 East towards Bere Regis/ Poole/Bournemouth for about 3.9 miles,

Take the exit signposted A354/B3142 to Blandford/Milborne St. Andrew/Piddlehinton,

At the roundabout take the 1st exit on to the B3142,

From Poole follow the A35 West towards Bere Regis/ Puddletown/Dorchester for 1.1 miles,

Continue on through one roundabout on the A35 for about 9.3 miles,

At next roundabout take 2nd exit and continue along the A35 for 6 miles,

Take the exit signposted A354/B3142 to Blandford, Piddlehinton, Puddletown,

At the roundabout take the 3rd exit on to the A354,

At the next roundabout take the 1st exit on to the B3142,

After about 1 mile turn right just before a sharp left bend (there is a triangle of grass at junction, be aware that there is also a lane which you have to cross before entering farms driveway) and Druce Farm is ahead.

Drive through the gateway (Druce Farmhouse is on your right), then some large Victorian cottages, pass the cart shed on your left, follow the farm track with a modern cottage on your right.

The track forks - take the left hand track and you will see several cars in the field".