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Sunday, 28 June 2009

Thunder, lightning and lots of rain

After ripping, capturing, editing and compressing a film of a second political-management conversation mailed me by John Martin from Australia I cycled into town. The sky grew heavier. At the markets people began looking for cover, scattering as lightning and thunder converged and the skies opened, water dripping from awnings and gutters, running down gullies, shining the streets. People watched from cover. Others scurried between shelters under umbrellas and hoods. - enjoying the wet.
I returned home along the mainline canal, its water drifting from the city centre. The drains on the lower roads were overflowing, a sign of how the Birmingham water table has risen with the end of industry, while loss of green space from a thousand thousand hard surfaced garden has taken away absorbency.
Once home I find my e-mail connection has gone. Rare and vexing, though I can always use Lin's for sending urgent material. A woman working evenings at the campus IT helpdesk said I'd need to wait until Monday before anyone could look at the problem. The cat staring up draws my attention to a moth circling inside the kitchen lampshade. I reach up, catch it and let it out into the warm night.
[By midnight on Sunday the university has restored my e-mail. I leave a message of thanks and close the Helpdesk log]
* * *
Twitter: CORFU, Greece, 28 June 2009 - The informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers on the Greek island of Corfu concluded today with the launch of the 'Corfu Process' ... Ministers concurred that it is also time to consider that "much work remains undone." Bakoyannis said that traditional security problems remained unresolved as new threats and challenges continued to emerge ... protracted conflicts and other unresolved tensions, the suspended CFE Treaty, the need to strengthen democracy and rule of law in parts of the region, the economic crisis, terrorism, trafficking and instability in neighbouring regions. The meeting ended with agreement on the 'Corfu Process' - steps to take the dialogue on European security forward...
[See RIZOSPASTIS news story]
Earlier reflections on the history of civil society in Europe, the extinction and survival of democracy
.....Something must be invented that matched the vigour of Fascism or Communism – whose epic encounter at Stalingrad was probably the pivotal battle of WW2. This had to be democracy’s second chance – a system and philosophy of government that could not only survive and defeat fascism and resist communism but also replace with new policies, popular consent and civic competencies the failures of its predecessors.
* * * As Corfucius says "He was damned good". I like the invention in 'black or white'
* * * Note on the British Library on-line feedback form:
The `Rizospastai': politics and nationalism in the British Protectorate of the Ionian Islands 1815-1964 (sic - surely 1864). Calligas, E., 1994, A9m British Library Shelfmark DX187456 Ph.D., London, London School of Economics, 44-9204
After being unable to download this thesis on 15 June 2009 I have been e-mailed by a librarian - Mr J Dixon - on 27 June 09 that this thesis which your system says is available for download has become ' corrupted' He goes on to say 'I will contact our technical support department and have them check the file at their end, when they come back to say all is ok, we will contact you and ask you to submit a new order. Yours Sincerely, Jonathan Dixon.' This reply suggests an indefinite period before I can access the Calligas thesis, despite your catalogue appearing to be open to order an immediate download. Mr Dixon cannot now be directly contacted as his e-mail is 'non-reply'. I can imagine how busy you are but I plan to be in Corfu from 25 August 09 and was hoping to have been able to start reading the Calligas thesis before then. Is there any other way i can get to at least start reading it? Is it possible to come into the library or is it also unavailable in hard copy? I am next in London on 9 July 2009...
Dear Simon, Thank you for your email. I'm sorry my reply did not satisfy your query. I forwarded your query to our technicians and have as yet received no reply, we no longer accept theses in their original hardback format and these cannot be read in the reading room, Ethos is the ONLY way to view and order British Theses from the British Library. I appreciate your frustration we have so far digitised over 16,000 theses and some of these have had corrupt files and we have to solve each one on a case by case basis, the service has been immensely popular and regrettably we do not have the resources to fully cope with the initial interest that has been generated. I can assure you we are doing all that we can to resolve this situation. If you are in desperate need of the thesis I can only suggest you contact the university direct and they may be able to source a copy for you or you can wait for a response from us, however your query is in a long backlog of emails and queries we receive everyday and we have to deal with each one in turn. Yours Sincerely, Jonathan Dixon, British Library Ethos Help
I phoned the LSE. No record in their catalogue but I was directed to Archives where, though she could find no record of Calligas' thesis, a helpful voice spoke the name of Eleni's supervisor, "...but he's left." I googled the name and found a Professor of International History at the University of East Anglia. I've sent him an e-mail. 'Have you a copy of Eleni C's dissertation, or do you know where I can find her?' It'll turn up.

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Simon Baddeley