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Tuesday, 3 September 2013


We are still inventing ways to introduce near completed episodes from the archive, where I've managed to get tape and film matched. Tony Herbert has been working on Francis Niemczyk's work on the original material. I sent him one version, then another...

Dear Tony. I dropped some of the text into iMovie and looking at it on screen decided to have a go at this re-draft 
          Centred title ‘RECALLED TO LIFE’ 
Text blockIn the shed next to his last home in Dorset, Jack Hargreaves speaks about the collection of films recording country life he made with his friend, Stan Bréhaut - cameraman for over 20 years - on the Southern Television series 'Out of Town' 
This clip, made in his old age, introduces, for the first time since it was broadcast, an episode – as complete as we can make it -  from the unwieldy collection of 16mm film and ¼” reel-to-reel sound tape Jack left behind 
Text block: At last there's the expertise and enthusiasm to start synchronising Stan’s location work with my stepfather's recorded commentary. There was, until the 1980s, no surviving film of Jack in the studio. We’ve improvised. What follows is an episode from the rich but jumbled archive of Out of Towns left in Jack’s shed after his death in 1994 
Dissolve to theme tune & begin 'Planting a vine'
It’s shorter, Tony. Please feel free to add/subtract your own improvisation - and perhaps the whole idea of that insert at the start (to be used to kick-off  future recoveries?) is misplaced. Best, Simon
How well timed that in the first film-tape synch achieved as part of my project to restore and preserve the unwieldy archive, Jack tells me, as he often did of an interesting person unknown to me – Rachel Knappett, writer of A Pullet on the Midden, her well-told story about working for the Women's Land Army (WLA) in WW2. Jack, in an episode of Out of Town made in 1972, tells where she described the farmer starting a job, reminded of another equally urgent, so that one unfinished job leads to another and another with forays back to the one originally intended.
“How strange are these August days” I aid to Lin at 6am as she, up all night, working on her defence for a legal case to do with car parking, prepares for bed.
“It’s been unceasing hasn’t it?”
“Managing your mum’s estate”
“That’s run through our lives since she died”
“Preparing paperwork fpr Helping Hands
“Me driving the van for lots of jobs” and helping with litter-picking, clearing gardens, digging, planting, transporting furniture, clearing rooms and houses…continuing work for the university (I was coaching scrutiny chairs all Monday afternoon in Nottingham) and the allotment"
At last our notices are being kept up to date

I went to a meeting of the Association on Sunday, which went cordially with Danny in the chair, reminding me of the sheer volume of work that attends overseeing the VJA. Afterwards I strolled by Vanley's garden - the best on the site, a source of more admiration than envy. While there I got chatting with his neighbour Ralph, who already told me of the rubble he'd dug out of his plot and how far down it was necessary to go to get a decent bed, removing stones, riddling out pebbles, adding soil conditioner.
"They were driving heavy vehicles all over here while they were building the houses. You have to go down four feet in places to reach the pan"
"The pan"
"The surface on which they were driving. Over which they scraped topsoil"
Dannie and Vanley on the VJA

"Don't worry Simon" calls Vanley "You only need go down that far for the long rooted vegetables. You can plant lots of things without digging that far down"
"Yeah but you still need to riddle, to get a half-way decent bed"
When I looked in the hole Ralph had dug beside the hard core he'd piled up beside it my heart sank. I was impressed...and here he'd gone down no more than two feet with pickaxe and spade. 
"The pan slopes down from the hedge getting deeper as you work down the plot, then this road, being unculverted, blocks water in. We were swimming on here last winter."
Ralph's dig

"You got all that out of just that space?"
"Don't get so worried, Simon" said Vanley again.
But it's hitting home to me how important it is to get the ground right. I can plant and I can dig and I can plant again but I need to work on my soil. I've got our man Taj to come and help with digging. I've ordered 3 tons of topsoil and 3 tons of manure to be delivered to the plot on Friday morning, planning to meet up with Taj at noon to plan work between now and November.
Plot 14

As I left Vanley gave me a bag of baby tomatoes, two courgettes and a cabbage, which we ate that evening with best pork sausages, gravy and onions.
"Delicious. How come" asks Lin "there's not a slug to be seen on Vanley's cabbage"
"Just don't ask. They leave his vegetables alone."
Still life with cat. Vanley's cabbage - already half eaten by us

Lin's packing drawers, in chests of drawers; furnishing to be transported to Ano Korakiana, at the same time packing suitcases for our own journey that once seemed far away. Αχ αγαπημένη Ελλάδα - και σύντομα!
Dave sends encouraging messages about Summer Song...
...hi simon most of the seats are know covered all wood is done carpet
fitted looking good just a few things to finish, but very hot when 
working regards dave
...nearly all done she is looking very good now i think you will be very happy , when are you coming over here to Corfu hope all is well with you and Lynn. Regards Dave 
...just give me a call when you get sorted out with the house, no rush, all will be ready on the boat, just a bit of work with the sailing stuff we may be should do together, regards Dave 
*** *** ***
I was on the 12th floor of Muirhead Tower sorting out difficulties with remote access to the campus server - a security headache. It started with being been fooled by a phish
Message to IT services: An hour ago I received an email I thought at first was from Apple saying my Apple ID had been temporarily frozen. I foolishly clicked on a link in the letter and entered my Apple ID which had the same password as my campus account. I was then asked to give credit card details. I at once went to Apple forums and got a warning of the phish - rare in Apple. I have at once changed my campus password on the assumption it may have been harvested, and have changed my Apple ID.
Well of course my campus account was frozen by IT Services. I couldn't get it back without help. Peter Aston took me in hand. We went through the process of reconnecting. I was shown how to activate FileVault on my Mac, encrypting it and making my emails secure in line with campus Data Protection guidelines.
Peter sorts out my problems

*** *** *** ***
Last Wednesday Nick Booth arranged for a group of us to visit the new Library of Birmingham. I asked Richard to come too. About ten of us were guided round by Tom Epps - starting at the lowest floor which included the Music Library right up to the open terrace overlooking Centenary Square and the reconstructed panelled Shakespeare Room where Richard with his schoolfriend Jonathan, 9 or 10 years old at the time, had met a re-enacted Queen Victoria in the same room in the old library.
The old library from the new

Richard in the new Library
I was delighted with the place; having been unimpressed with its exterior I liked the interior - the wide vistas up, down and across the nine floors, the presence of books co-existing with evolving technologies of communication. I enjoyed all the new views of Birmingham from higher floors, including looking almost directly into our flat on the top floor of Cambridge Tower.
Back door of the library - Nick Booth in the background
**** **** *****
Handsworth Helping Hands this afternoon....
Help needed I am having sme sofas delivered today and I'm trying to gt my other 1 out but I physically cnt do it I've tried could any1 posb help me asap x

Like ·  · Unfollow Post ·  · 3 hours ago via Mobile
It's in as-new condition, has the mattress, but doesn't have the frilly liner/cover. It does have the plastic things for holding a lining hood, though. If you want it, please call me on 0121 554 9794 to arrange collection.
I'll be putting it on Gumtree Freebies on Wednesday night if no-one asks before then.

From Jan on Monday:
Hi Simon. Came across a few things this weekend which I think may be of interest to you and are very relevant to our discussions and exchanges on Localism and the wider issues about local democracy and all it entails, and the challenges/threats it faces in the current climate. I would strongly recommend you read Will Hutton’s article in yesterday’s Observer on the new library being opened by Birmingham City Council. In addition to specific observations about this project he also makes some broader comments about local government in general which chime with my own thinking...good to be in such august company. Here is a flavour of what he says. I think these comments speak for themselves. With reference to the prevailing culture being foisted upon local councils he says it is promoting the following model of local government: '...the only admissible objectives for local government are refuse collection, street lighting, traffic management and rat catching. Local government should not concern itself with housing and educating its inhabitants or sponsoring local economic vitality or trying to alleviate local social conditions. Local government’s role is instead to administer whatever is decided upon by Westminster and Whitehall, who obviously know best and are to be trusted with precious tax payers’ money in a way not allowed to cavalier local councillors and hoi polloi'(p.38 Observer) This view is most forcefully communicated by the Government's own outriders The Tax Payers Alliance but is clearly reinforced by Government decisions rather than their 'warm words' about localism. Hutton refers to localism as 'lip service' since all the capabilities and capacity of local government are being emasculated. With reference to Eric Pickles he says he 'has colluded with George Osborne to knock local government back to being no more than rat catchers and managers of street lighting Indeed, they scarcely have the money to carry out these activities'. He reminds us that only 10% of income is raised locally and that local government’s dependency on central government is increasing through the freezing of council tax which local councils can do nothing about even if the local population calls for it. Hutton quite rightly calls this 'finance of the madhouse' and calls for a drastic overhaul.
He is right of course and his views are close to those expressed in recent reports by LGA and LGIU, but I am sceptical about its chances of success. Developments seems to be going in the opposite direction and I have yet to see anybody coming forward with a credible strategy to reverse the trend, but I live in hope. I'm convinced that this must happen through political means. Political parties at local level and local elected members have key roles to play but they seem unwilling/unable to do so which is rather strange given the strength of feelings among local councillors. Perhaps it is a manifestation of the iron grip national parties have over their local branches when push comes to shove. I came across the phrase 'new feudalism' in an article recently. It seems to creeping into the language.
In this context a report by the Resolution Foundation entitled 'Low Pay Britain 2013' may contribute to the discussion. It contains a lot of statistics and data but essentially argues that the slide towards a two tier workforce is continuing unabated. It looks at developments since the 1970s. I suspect this report will not get much coverage in the Daily Mail or Daily Telegraph. Five million of the workforce are in low pay jobs. One in three of 16-30 year olds are in Low Pay compared to one in five in the 70s. Three million of the 5 million are women. Part timers in low pay have increased from 30% in 1975 to 58% now. Low pay workers in temporary jobs have almost doubled since 2000. Self-employed have been hit especially hard. Their numbers have increased by 400,000 since 2009 but their average rate of pay has collapsed from £16000 in 2002 to £11900 in 2011. We all know what has happened at the other end of the pay/wealth scale during the same timescale. It seem to me that these developments alongside what else has happened during this time have profound implications for democracy and localism. There is a real opportunity here for local councils and their partners to carve out a positive role for themselves and perhaps link this to the issues identified by Hutton and the two reports referred to above. There seems to be a strange reluctance to enter this debate. The whole related concept of Poverty seems to have been eradicated from mainstream political narrative. Some rather meaningless phrases from Labour about “making sure we have a more broadly based economy” is the best I can find without any details about how this will be achieved. The other two parties are not too concerned about these developments other than at rhetorical level. The commitment to eradicate Child Poverty by 2020 seems to have quietly disappeared. Work has become a gateway to poverty for millions of people rather than a step towards a better future. In addition, the overall picture for the so-called 'average' family is that by 2020 they will have an income 20% lower than in 2008. 
Surely these developments have profound social and political implications, but there is an ominous silence at the moment. Combine these with the 'rolling back of the state' and the 'minimalist public sector' ideologies and associated policy direction, we are entering the unknown and the untested without the skills set or experience to deal with them. The driving forces will be even more ideological since there is no evidence base to fall back on or act as a counter balance. What will fill this 'vacuum? Local Authorities don’t seem to recognise this scenario or have plans for dealing with it, so the 'intelligent criminal' may pop up. In this context a book - Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords And Their Godfathers by Anabel HernándezNarcoland is a scary wake up call. We have talked previously about developments in Naples and Russia and the infiltration of organised crime into main stream politics. This book is set in Mexico. Some quotes to focus the mind : 'contemporary capitalism is no position to renounce the mafia. Because it is not the mafia that has transformed itself into a modern capitalist enterprise, but it is capitalism that has transformed itself into a mafia'. According to Hernández this system can only operate with the support of officials, bureaucrats, police and banks. Given developments in our own banks, corporate businesses, police force, press, some national politicians etc., it would be naïve and potentially very damaging to believe we are totally immune from such developments taking place here. LAs are both vulnerable to this development but also potentially a bastion against it. Happy Days...
*** *** ***
Opposite the Palace of St Michael and St George in Corfu Town - balmy night - people from our village gave a recital of the poetry of Nikos Kavvadias, about whom I knew nothing, but from Ano Korakiana I am always learning,,,in this case from the village historian Kostas Apergis Απέργης Κώστας who in April 2008 gave me a complimentary copy of his history of the village...

Εκδήλωση για τον ποιητή Καββαδία - Tribute to the poet Kavvadia
ράφει ο/η Απέργης Κώστας   

        «…τρόχισε εκείνα τα σπαθιά του λόγου, που μ΄αρέσουν…» Κι ο λόγος ξεχύθηκε μεστός στην αυγουστιάτικη νύχτα, μεταφέροντας στις ψυχές των ακροατών το λυρισμό των στίχων του Καββαδία. Αρμύρα και θάλασσα, και συγχρόνως βάσανα, καημοί, μα και εκείνες οι συγκινήσεις και χαρές, που μόνο η πολυτάραχη ζωή των ναυτικών προσφέρει.
Ένας κόσμος άλλος, συναρπαστικός και απρόοπτος, που δεν μπορεί ο «στεριανός» να κατανοήσει.
Η παρουσίαση της χωριανής μας κ. Μαριέτας Σαββανή υπήρξε εξαιρετική, καθώς επίσης και η απόδοση των ποιημάτων του Ν. Καββαδία από τους ηθοποιούς του ΔΗΠΕΘΕ Κέρκυρας κ.κ. Χρύσα Πάντσιου, Κων/να Δουκάκη, Σπ.Βέργη και Σπ. Βερονίκη.
Η εκδήλωση, την οποία οργάνωσαν το ΔΗΠΕΘΕ Κέρκυρας και ο Οργανισμός Κερκυρα
ϊκών Εκδηλώσεων, 
ήταν αφιερωμένη στη μνήμη του Σπύρου Ιωνά (Λιμενάρχη). 

Esmeralda for George Seferis «…τρόχισε εκείνα τα σπαθιά του λόγου, που μ΄αρέσουν…» 

Εκ μέρους της οικογένειας του Σπύρου παραβρέθηκε ο αδελφός του κ. Κώστας Ιωνάς μετά της συζύγου του Βασιλικής.Παραβρέθηκαν επίσης πολλοί φίλοι του και συγχωριανοί του.
Η εκδήλωση έγινε στον «Κήπο του Λαού», στο Παλάτι, την Τετάρτη 28 Αυγούστου το βράδυ.
Nikos Kavvadia
I don't dare try to translate even Kostas Apergis let alone Kavvadia. From what I've read, by Greeks, on Nikos Kavvadia, translation difficult with poetry anyway is especially so with Kavvadia. My sense is that his poetry so goes to the gut that any translator must recreate in another language the physical reaction evoked by Kavvadia's writing. Kostas describes how the words of the poet on this night carried people away, imagining the sea where the poet spent many years and from whose turbulence he drew inspiration, describing a world of sensations unknown to a landlubber, στεριανός. 
The presentation of the villagers, Marietta Savani, was excellent, as well as the performance of Kavvadia's poems from the actors, Chrysa Pancho Kon / to Dukakis, Sp.Vergi and S. Veronica. The event, organized by the Municipal Theatre of Corfu and the Organization of Corfiot Activities, was dedicated to the memory of Spiros Jonah (Harbour Master), and was attended on behalf of Spiro by his brother Costas Jonah and his wife Vasilikis Paravrethikan as well as many of his friends and fellow villagers.
The event took place in the 'People's Garden' at the Palace on Wednesday evening, Aug. 28.

Exploring Kavvadia I came across two poems that seem to survive translation, in the impression they make on me and many others - Federico Garcia Lorca - his murder - with connections to Distomo Διστόμου, and Kaiserani Καισαριανής (1 May & 17 June 1944) - and one about his own mortality - Mal du Depart. Since it resonates with the name and sounds of our village I will think of the last lines of the Lorca poem...σμάρι κοράκια να πετάν στην ερήμην αρένα και στο χωριό να ουρλιάζουνε τη νύχτα εφτά σκυλιά.

Federico Garcia Lorca - 19 August 1936
For a moment, you waved your bolero
and your orange petticoat, like banners.
Was it in August? I remember it so,
when they were all setting off, the cross-bearers.

In the wind the ranks of banners rippled –
toward death the galleys set their sails.
While children were cowering at the nipple
the old man was lazily sunning his balls.

Picasso’s bull let out a snort;
in the hives the honey all turned rotten.
The course is against us – it’s set for the north.
Full ahead – never mind that we’re forgotten.

The olives spread easy under the sun,
and little crosses grew in the gardens.
At night, only sterile embraces remained
when they brought you, my gypsy, wrapped in an apron.

My gypsy, my leader, what for your pall?
Bring the purple cloth of Mauretania.
In Kaisariani they took us behind the wall,
and the mass was raised to manly stature.

Distoman girls, bring water and vinegar:
cross-wise on the mare your body lain,
set out on the final journey to Cordoba,
across its thirsty open plain.

The marsh-boat reversed, narrow, no keel;
the weapons rust in a gypsy redoubt.
In the empty arena, let the crows wheel;
let the seven dogs howl in the village all night.
Nikos Kavvadias  Νίκος Καββαδίας, at Argostoli in Kefalonia

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