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Grey-stone shoulders saffron-spotted

Monday, 20 July, 2015 0 Comments

We’d like to thank Noel and Patricia and Shane Connolly for an excellent experience of the Burren. For them, here’s an excerpt from Ireland With Emily by Sir John Betjeman:

Stony seaboard, far and foreign,
Stony hills poured over space,
Stony outcrop of the Burren,
Stones in every fertile place,
Little fields with boulders dotted,
Grey-stone shoulders saffron-spotted,
Stone-walled cabins thatched with reeds,
Where a Stone Age people breeds
The last of Europe’s stone age race.

The Burren

Cats have kittens, bats have bittens

Sunday, 19 July, 2015 0 Comments

Ogden Nash was famous for his light verse and he wrote more than 500 waggish pieces during his lifetime. The poet entered Harvard University in 1920, only to drop out a year later. He then worked as a teacher for a year at his alma mater, St. George’s School in Newport County, Rhode Island, before heading to New York to sell bonds, about which he later remarked, “Came to New York to make my fortune as a bond salesman and in two years sold one bond — to my godmother. However, I saw lots of good movies.” In 1934, Nash moved to Baltimore, where he remained until his death in 1971. “I could have loved New York had I not loved Balti-more,” he said, Nashlike.

Note: The guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is one of the world’s most widely distributed tropical fish.

The Guppy

Whales have calves,
Cats have kittens,
Bears have cubs,
Bats have bittens,
Swans have cygnets,
Seals have puppies,
But guppies just have little guppies.

Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)

Kerouac and Cohen in Paris

Saturday, 18 July, 2015 0 Comments

Dean Moriarty is the hero of On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Leonard Cohen enjoyed a few wild days and nights in the company of Kerouac during that mid-60s Chelsea Hotel phase in New York City. Fast forward a generation and we find Kerouac and Cohen providing inspiration for Moriarty, a musical collective of French, American, Swiss and Vietnamese artists living in France. Here, lead singer, Rosemary Moriarty, aka Rosemary Standley, joins forces with Dom La Nena, a Brazilian-born cellist and singer based in Paris. This is a special trans-Atlantic mix of Kerouac and Cohen, past and present.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
She cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”


Friday, 17 July, 2015 0 Comments

“Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” — Edna Woolman Chase


Turn! Turn! Turn!

Thursday, 16 July, 2015 0 Comments

Continuing our summer series on the great albums made 50 years ago, here’s Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds from the band’s second album, which was released in 6 December 1965. The lyrics are adapted word-for-word from Chapter Three of the Book of Ecclesiastes, as found in the King James Version (1611) of the Bible. The song holds the distinction as the only No. hit authored by King Solomon.


Wednesday, 15 July, 2015 0 Comments

“Take these chains from my heart and set me free
You’ve grown cold and no longer care for me
All my faith in you is gone but the heartaches linger on
Take these chains from my heart and set me free.”

Hank Williams, written by Fred Rose and Hy Heath

chains and chairs

The Angry Young Them

Tuesday, 14 July, 2015 2 Comments

The year 1965 was a milestone in the history of modern music and during this summer we’ll be looking, sporadically, at some of the classic recordings of that year. We’re kicking off with The Angry Young Them, the first album from the Northern Irish group Them, which was released in June 1965. Six of the 14 songs on the album were written by Van Morrison, including the famous, fabulous anthem Gloria.

The great Gothic cathedral

Monday, 13 July, 2015 0 Comments

“I never weary of great churches. It is my favorite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

Duomo di Milano

Nothing is more permanent than the temporary

Sunday, 12 July, 2015 0 Comments

All eyes have been on Greece this week. We’re on topic today, but is a somewhat oblique way. A. E. Stallings studied classics in Athens, Georgia, and has lived since 1999 in Athens, Greece. She has published three books of poetry and is the recipient of fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her husband, John Psaropoulos, is the former editor of the former Athens News and now blogs at The New Athenian. Together, they’re raising a small argonaut, Jason.

After a Greek Proverb

We’re here for the time being, I answer to the query—
Just for a couple of years, we said, a dozen years back.
Nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

We dine sitting on folding chairs — they were cheap but cheery.
We’ve taped the broken window pane. TV’s still out of whack.
We’re here for the time being, I answer to the query.

When we crossed the water, we only brought what we could carry,
But there are always boxes that you never do unpack.
Nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

Sometimes when I’m feeling weepy, you propose a theory:
Nostalgia and tear gas have the same acrid smack.
We’re here for the time being, I answer to the query—

We stash bones in the closet when we don’t have time to bury,
Stuff receipts in envelopes, file papers in a stack.
Nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

Twelve years now and we’re still eating off the ordinary:
We left our wedding china behind, afraid that it might crack.
We’re here for the time being, we answer to the query,
But nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

A. E. Stallings

A.E. Stallings


Saturday, 11 July, 2015 0 Comments

Ahetas was born in Australia, but grew up in Greece, appearing with various avant-garde and free bands in Athens. He spends his time between London and Athens.

Dubulah was born in Germany to a Greek mother and English father and grew up in London listening to Greek music and western music. He is now living in Spain.

With Greece facing Xáos, Ahetas and Dubulah have created a soundtrack for the crisis.

“Since the Xáos project commenced, European politics and economics have influenced the way the album has evolved. For in recent years, Greece has been a country in crisis, and the fight for survival against insane and counter-productive austerity measures has taken precedence over any cultural expression or art. There was little enough support for homegrown artists before the crisis began, but now there is almost none. But this is a country with a remarkable musical history and massive talent, without outlet or appreciation. And the fight-back has begun.”

Saving live with better UI

Friday, 10 July, 2015 0 Comments

Better user interface design can save lives says Harold Thimbleby, a professor of computer science at Swansea University, who is well known for his works on user interface design in the field of human-computer interaction. As Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”