Sunday, May 19, 2024

Two Days In April

2 Days in April is a double album by a free jazz quartet consisting of saxophonists Fred Anderson and Kidd Jordan, bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake, documenting two 1999 concerts at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge.

Fred Anderson (1929 –2010) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist who was based in Chicago. Anderson's playing was rooted in the swing music and hard bop idioms, but he also incorporated innovations from free jazz. 

Anderson was also noted for having mentored numerous young musicians. Critic Ben Ratliff called him "a father figure of experimental jazz in Chicago". Writer John Corbett referred to him as "scene caretaker, underground booster, indefatigable cultural worker, quiet force for good."

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Shirley Markham

Shirley Markham (1931-1999) studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Central School of Art in London from 1950-1952. 

Man wearing a Beret, Ca 1950

Markham spent time in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy, and also visited Rome, sketching classical buildings. After graduating from Central, she worked as a graphic designer, producing book illustrations, cartoons for comics, menus and programmes. She gave up her promising career however when she got married in 1957. Middle-class women at that time were expected to devote their energies to bringing up children and running the home, and despite her obvious talent, she lacked the confidence to return to illustration. 

Friday, May 17, 2024

Ryszard Krynicki

Ryszard Krynicki (1943) is a Polish poet and translator, member of the Polish "New Wave" Movement. He is regarded as one of the most prominent post-war contemporary Polish poets.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he was actively involved in the opposition movement against communist authorities of the Polish People's Republic and  was a signatory of Letter of 59, which was a reaction of Polish intellectuals against the undemocratic changes in the Constitution of the Polish People's Republic. As a direct consequence of this, his works were officially banned between 1976 and 1980.

In 1988, he co-founded Wydawnictwo a5 publishing house in Poznań, which specialized in the publication of poetry books. Since 1991, he has been running a publishing company together with his wife Krystyna. Nowadays, Krynicki is seen as one of the foremost representatives of contemporary Polish poetry. In 2015, he became a member of the Polish Academy of Learning and was awarded the Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award as a recognition for his poetry works.

Thursday, May 16, 2024


"Masterpiece" is a song by American singer Madonna for the soundtrack of the 2011 film W.E. The song was later included on her twelfth studio album MDNA (2012).

It was performed by Madonna on The MDNA Tour (2012), where she was accompanied by Basque musicians of the Kalakan Trio. Many berets, or txapelas... The performance was considered a highlight of the tour.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Txikifest 2014

One decade ago... Txikifest 2014 in Chelsea, NYC.

The poster is a creation by Pablo Ugartetxea with the collaboration of the Basque graphic designer Leire Gonzalez.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Txapela Cider

Txapela was born in Argentina from the collaboration between the Basque cider house Petritegi and Xabier Aguirre, a Basque descendant living in Buenos Aires.

The Txapela natural cider is made with apples grown in the Rio Negro Valley, in Patagonia. Following a traditional Basque recipe, it does not contain added sugar, gas, or water; its natural carbonation comes from the fermentation of the apples.

Txapela is the only authentic Basque natural cider that is 100% made with apples from Argentinean Patagonia.

Monday, May 13, 2024

8 ‘Non-Negotiables’ for a Long, Happy Life

A nice article by Mika Cribbs on CNBC, about her 95 year old beret wearing grandfather (and grandmother) and his 8 ‘Non-Negotiables’ for a Long, Happy Life'.

A retired cardiologist, his creative, community-driven outlook and purposeful way of living are an inspiration.

  1. Daily Early Morning Walk
  2. Daily Intentional Workout
  3. Connection with loved ones on social media
  4. Writing a blog
  5. Creating Art
  6. Make time for new hobbies
  7. Take multiple naps
  8. Eating indulgent meals

Sunday, May 12, 2024

El extraño viaje (The Strange Voyage)

El extraño viaje is a 1964 Spanish black drama film directed by Fernando Fernán Gómez.

In a large house in the middle of a little Spanish town live Venancio and Paquita, the childlike brother and sister of Ignacia, who bullies them continuously. Suspecting that she has a visitor after dark, they start snooping and one night she turns on them in fury. As she is throttling Paquita, Venancio brains her with a bottle and the two hide the body. After leaving town in the dark by taxi, they are then found dead on a beach.

The house is put up for sale and the owner of the bar next door has to empty the vats where he was storing his wine. When at the bottom of one is found the corpse of Ignacia, her secret lover Fernando admits all to the examining magistrate. He was a member of the band that played in the bar in the evenings and used to slip into Ignacia's house after work. 

When he found her dead, he helped Venancio and Paquita dispose of the body. Then he took them away to the sea, where he gave them knockout drops so that he could escape with Ignacia's money. Unfortunately, his dose was too powerful.

The film was a huge flop on its limited release. It was voted seventh best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Pedro Vacas Moreno


Pedro Vacas Moreno (1955) is a writer, ethnographer, chronicler and lecturer.

In recent years, he has distinguished himself by an intense research activity around the themes of mountain customs, as well as a dedication to the promotion and dissemination of mountain values, participating in all the activities carried out in this area, writing and publishing numerous books that refer to these ethnographic, historical, patrimonial and cultural values ​​of the Sierra Norte de Guadalajara.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Bonjour Monsieur Gauguin

The painting was made in the autumn of 1889 during the artist’s stay in Le Pouldu, Bretagne. The topic of Gauguin’s painting is associated with Courbet’s painting Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet of 1854 with which Gauguin became acquainted in the Museum Fabre in Montpellier that he visited along with van Gogh. 

However, the characters of the two paintings vary: the ceremonial mood of Courbet’s work on the one hand contrasts with the prosaic and civil character and certain irony in Gauguin’s painting on the other.

Thursday, May 9, 2024


Helsinki, Finland

Kings Road, Chelsea, UK

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Henri Lehmann

Henri Lehmann (1814 –1882) was a German-born French historical painter and portraitist.

Self portrait, oil on canvas

Lehmann was a painter of portraits and religious, genre, historical, allegorical and literary works. He drew inspiration from classical mythology, Shakespeare, Goethe, and contemporary writers. Sometimes considered dry and academic, the best of his work can be both pure in line and graceful in form.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Dorothy West

Dorothy West (1907 –1998) was an American novelist and short-story writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She was one of the few Black women writers to be published in major literary magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. She is best known for her 1948 novel The Living Is Easy, as well as many other short stories and essays, about the life of an upper-class black family.

Dorothy West and poet Helene Johnson (standing, second and third from left) with friends at the Gay Head Light in the 1930s.

Dorothy West is remembered as one of the most important writers of the Harlem Renaissance and a pioneer for Black women writers. Her work explored the complexities of Black life in America, and her characters often challenged traditional notions of race, gender, and class. West's writing continues to be celebrated for its insight and originality.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Leslie Stephen

Sir Leslie Stephen KCB FBA (1832 –1904) was an English author, critic, historian, biographer, mountaineer, and an early humanist activist. He was also the father of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.

As an adult, Stephen was an agnostic atheist who wrote extensively about his views. In Social Rights and Duties, he explained how he came to lose his faith of his parents: "When I ceased to accept the teaching of my youth, it was not so much a process of giving up beliefs as of discovering that I never really believed." His second wife, Julia, was similarly activist in her writings on agnosticism.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Clovis Delacoux

Sculptor Clovis Delacoux, 1899 (silverpoint on cardboard) by Adolphe Giraudon c.1900, at the Musee National du Luxembourg. 

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Byker Grove

Byker Grove is a British teen drama and coming of age television series which aired between 1989 and 2006 as part of CBBC on BBC One.

Set and filmed in Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne, it was created by writer Adele Rose and producer Andrea Wonfor. It was aimed at an older teenager and young adult audience, tackling serious and sometimes controversial storylines. The show is notable for depicting the first gay kiss on children’s television, as well as its breach of the fourth wall in the final series. 

The show is set to be rebooted in 2024, produced by former cast members Ant & Dec (who played PJ & Duncan in the original programme). 

Friday, May 3, 2024

Märta Torén

Märta Torén (1925–1957) was a Swedish stage and film actress of the 1940s and 1950s.

After studying at the Stockholm Royal Dramatic Theater's Royal Dramatic Training Academy, Torén began her career on the stage and from 1947 she appeared in films. She appeared on the cover of the June 13 issue of Life Magazine in 1949.

Torén appeared in 11 American film productions during her brief career.[3] One of her roles was opposite Humphrey Bogart in Sirocco (1951), and she also co-starred with Dana Andrews in Assignment – Paris! (1952).

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Pavement Artists Competition

Pavement Artists Competition organized by the National Handicrafts and Hobbies Exhibition and held on the entrance hall floor of the Central Hall, Westminster, London, Thursday 17th September 1953.

Pictures show artist Alfred Horton beside his crayon drawing titled Running Waters, and judge Miss Jean Carson.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Sheik Abeid Karume

Abeid Amani Karume (1905 –1972) was the first President of Zanzibar. He obtained this title as a result of a revolution which led to the deposing of Sir Jamshid bin Abdullah, the last reigning Sultan of Zanzibar, in January 1964. Three months later, the United Republic of Tanzania was founded, and Karume became the first Vice President of the United Republic with Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika as president of the new country. He was the father of Zanzibar's former president, Amani Abeid Karume.

Born at the village of Mwera, Zanzibar in 1905, Karume had little formal education and worked as a seaman before entering politics. He once proudly served as an oarsman for the Sultan's ceremonial barge.

In 1970, four young Persian girls refused to marry the 64-year old Karume. As a result, he ordered the arrest of 10 of their male relatives for "hindering the implementation of mixed marriages." He threatened to deport these men and dozens of other members of the Persian Ithnasheri sect to which they belonged. Because of Tanzanian President Nyerere's pressure, Karume eventually dropped the charges. However, a few months later, the 4 different Persian girls were forced to marry members of his Revolutionary Council and 11 of the girls' relatives afterwards were ordered by a judge to be imprisoned and flogged.

Karume remarked on the situation: "In colonial times the Arabs took African concubines without bothering to marry them. Now that we are in power, the shoe is on the other foot."

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Rocking Horse

One of the last rocking horse craftsmen in Britain was Steve Winder from Ossett, Yorkshire. 

Using an axe and chisels he is able to start shaping a horses head in a few minutes. Pictured Steve in his workshop with an audience of children watching him at work.
22nd May 1949