Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Christmas shelfie

Scrambled eggs and a good book

Breakfast next to a bookshelf - how civilized is that?  After The Great Storm of Christmas Eve 2014, in the idyllic surroundings of MyHotel, Chelsea. Normal blogging service will be resumed after Christmas.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Notice of Moffat Book Events AGM

Notice to Moffat Book Events members:
The MBE AGM will be held on Monday January 13th at 7pm at The Annandale Arms Hotel in Moffat.
Further information available from Jim Hurren (jim@forestrypurposes.com)

Monday, 16 December 2013

Memories of Mandela- era South Africa

Benjamin Pogrund a hero of the anti-apartheid movement

Now that Nelson Mandela has been laid to rest, here is my memory of South Africa in the days of apartheid.

In 1969, I was visiting my father in Johannesburg, where, having businesses in southern Africa, he had a house and lived for part of the year.  I had recently joined the London Sunday Times as a reporter and feature writer, and , before I left London, I had asked the news desk for the telephone number of a contact in case anything came up while I was there. The man whose name they gave me was Benjamin Pogrund, then of the Rand Daily Mail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Pogrund

On arrival, I rang the number I had been given, and left a message for Ben to ring me. When he rang me back, my father asked me who this 'Benjamin Pogrund'  was. When I explained that he had won press awards for his reporting on events in the black townships, police brutality and the Sharpeville shootings and had been to prison, my father exploded with rage. 'Don't you realise where we are?' he fumed. He was not a man given to fear but he was not only angry but frightened. He explained that he assumed that his phone was already  bugged. I was astonished. Having already started, as a student of Russian, to visit the then Soviet Union, I had thought that South Africa was the antithesis of a police state. But it turned out that they were two sides of the same coin. Food for thought.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 - Sneak preview

Torn paper portrait of Chekhov by Liudmila Semyatitskaya

Part of the programme of events planned for Moffat to mark the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 will be an exhibition of torn paper art works by Moscow artist Liudmila Semyatitskaya.

Portrait of Yesenin with his muse
Fyodor Tyutchev

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

We're looking forward to the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014

We're on our way!
MBE/UK-Russia Year of Culture: update

We  have applied for funding to Annandale and Eskdale Area Committee Dumfries & Galloway, to enable MBE to employ an professional organiser for our 2014 planned programme of events . This funding, along with the commission to MBE for seeing through a book by reforming economist Yegor Gaidar gaidarfund.ru to publication by a UK publisher, will be in place at the earliest by March/April 2014.   Over the past fourteen months we have approached other appropriate groups with a view to active co-operation both in Moffat (Moffat Town Hall Trust, Moffat Academy and  Old Well Theatre Trust), regionally (Carolyn Yates, our Literature Development officer and Adrian Turpin, director Wigtown Book Festival; Boswell Book Festival) and nationally (British Council; Scottish Government; Scotland-Russian Forum; Scottish Poetry Library; EWM).