For A Little White Seashell | Manos Hadjidakis, 1947- 48

Γιάννης Μόραλης, Μάνος Χατζιδάκις, Για μιά μικρή λευκή αχιβάδα, 1947-48

For A Little White Seashell, Manos Hadjidakis, 1948

dedicated to Nikos Koundouros

Preludes and dances for the piano op. 1
I. March / II. Syrtos / III. Conversation with Prokofiev / IV. Tsamikos / V. Mantinada 
/ VI. Ballos / VII. Nocturne / VIII. Kalamatianos / IX. Pastorale /  X. Grand Sousta

Danae Kara - piano

Concerning the Style and Interpretation of the work

Thanks to my innate loathing for sentimental interpretation in my time, the usual case with pianists and Conservatories (which `unfortunately, still exist nowadays). “For A Little White Seashell” was composed with a so-to- speak, reactionary intent. Reaction against maltreated “musical sensitivity”; against “feeling” as defined by the teacher with a coloured pencil; against the pomposity of professors and composers; and finally, against every dusty concept (provincially European in origin) concerning Music and its interpretation.

This is why “For A Little White Seashell" must be performed with a strict awareness of rhythm and with the feeling defined by its actual written form. Everything beyond the prescribed limits is both useless and harmful.

“For A Little White Seashell” is an anti-romantic work at least according to the meaning given the word by Copland and Prokofiev in their music. Every exaggeration in interpretation and every arbitrary choice of rhythm ridicules the interpreter and ruins the musical essence of the work.

Manos Hadjidakis


Alphabetarion # Vulnerability | Édouard Boubat

Edouard Boubat, Paris, 1955

"You cannot live when you are untouchable. Life is vulnerability. "

 Édouard Boubat, A Gentle Eye, 2004

Edouard Boubat, Remy listening to the sea, 1955

Book//mark - The Tunnel | Ernesto Sabato, 1948

 El Túnel, 1948                                                                                                     Ernesto Sabato, 1937

“It should be sufficient to say that I am Juan Pablo Castel, the painter who killed María Irbane. I imagine that the trial is still in everyone's mind and that no further information about myself is necessary.”

“I am seeing that woman for the first and last time. I will never in my lifetime see her again.’ My thoughts floated aimlessly, like a cork down an uncharted river. For a moment they bobbed around the woman beneath the thatch. What did she matter to me? But I could not rid myself of the thought that, for an instant, she was a part of my life that would never be repeated; from my point of view it was as if she were already dead: a brief delay of the train, a call from inside the house, and that woman would never have existed in my life.
Everything seemed fleeting, transitory, futile, nebulous. My brain was not functioning well, but María was a recurring vision, something hazy and melancholy.”

“I sensed that we were alike, you and I, and that you, too, were searching blindly for someone, a kind of companion in silence. From that day I have thought of nothing but you.”

“You're blushing because you recognise me. And you think this is a coincidence, but it isn't. There are no coincidences. I have been thinking about you for months. Today I saw you on the street and followed you. I have something important to ask you, something about the small window, do you understand?”

“Martin looked at Alejandra with a pained expression. How he detested that face of hers, her boutique-face, the one that she seemed to put on deliberately in order to play her role in that frivolous world; a face that seemed to linger on once she found herself alone with him, its abominable features fading away only very slowly, as there gradually emerged one or another of the faces that belonged to him alone, a face he waited for as one awaits a beloved traveler amid a repulsive crowd. But as Bruno said, the word person means "mask", and each of us has many masks; that of father, professor, lover....But which is the real one? And is there in fact one that is the real one? At certain moments Martin thought that the Alejandra that he was now seeing there before him, laughing at Bobby's jokes, was not, could not be the same Alejandra that he knew, and above all could not be the more profound, the marvelous and fearsome Alejandra that he loved. But at other times (and as the weeks went by the more he began to be convinced of it), he was inclined to think, as Bruno did, that all these Alejandras were real and that that boutique-face was genuine too and in some way or other expressed a sort of reality inherent in Alejandra's soul: a reality--and heaven only knew how many others there were!---that was foreign to him, that did not belong to him and never would. And then, when she came to him still bearing the faint traces of those other personalities, as though she had not had the time (or the desire?) to transform herself, Martin discovered--in a certain sarcastic grin on her lips, in a certain way of moving her hands, in a certain glint in her eyes--the lingering signs of a strange existence: like someone who has been around a garbage dump and still retains something of its foul stench in our presence.”

“My brain was in pandemonium: swarming ideas, emotions of love and loathing, questions, resentment, and memories all blended together or flashed by in rapid succession.”

“Swung between the purest love and the wildest hatred. In spite of the fact that she gave herself to me without reservation, I would suddenly be overcome with the feeling it was all a sham. For a while she would seem as innocent as a young girl, but suddenly I would be convinced she was a bitch, and then a long parade of doubts would file through my mind: where? how? how many? when?”

“But far from making me happy, this new María depressed and saddened me, because I knew this aspect of the woman I loved was alien to me and must somehow belong to Hunter or some other man.”

“Throughout the months that followed I thought only of her and of the possibility that I might see her again. And in a way I painted only for her. It was as if the tiny scene of that window had begun to expand, to swallow up that canvas and all the rest of my work.”

“Usually the feeling of being alone in the world is accompanied by a condescending sense of superiority. I scorn all humankind; people around me seem vile, sordid, stupid, greedy, gross, niggardly. I do not fear solitude; it is almost Olympian.”

“I envisioned scenes in which she spoke to me–for example, to ask about an address, or where to catch a bus–and from that opening, during months of reflection and melancholy, of rage, of abandon, and hope, I constructed an endless series of variations. In one I was talkative, witty (something in fact I never am); in another I was taciturn; in still another, sunny and smiling. At times, though it seems incredible, I answered rudely, even with ill-concealed rage. It happened (in one of those imaginary meetings) that our exchange broke off abruptly because of an absurd irritability on my part, or because I rebuked her, almost crudely for some comment I found pointless or ill-thought out. I felt bitter after these frustrated encounters, and for several days I would reproach myself for the clumsiness that had caused me to lose my one opportunity to establish a relationship with her. Fortunately, I would realize that everything was imaginary, and the actual possibility still existed.”

“You always twist my words, and pervert my meaning,” Maria protested. “When I said I had married him because I loved him, I didn’t mean I don’t love him now.”
“Ah, then you do love him.” I parried swiftly, as if hoping to prove she had lied in answer to earlier questions.
Maria was subdued and unresponsive.
“Why don’t you answer?”
“Because there doesn’t seem any point. We’ve had this same conversation too many times before.”

“No, this is different from the other times. I asked you whether you loved Allende now, and you told me yes. But I seem to remember that not too long ago, at the port, you told me I was the first person you ever loved.”

Again Maria did not answer. What irritated me about her was not only that she contradicted herself but that it was almost impossible to get her to say anything at all.”

“The hardness in her face and eyes disturbed me. “Why is she so cold?” I asked myself. “Why?” Perhaps she sensed my anxiety, my hunger to communicate, because for an instant her expression softened, and she seemed to offer a bridge between us. But I felt that it was a temporary and fragile bridge swaying high above an abyss. Her voice was different when she added: “But I don’t know what you will gain by seeing me. I hurt everyone who comes near me.” “And yet she knew that in that very same moment she was enjoying so calmly, I was suffering the tortures of the damned in my personal hell of analyzing and imagining.”
There are times I feel that nothing has meaning. On a tiny planet that has been racing towards oblivion for millions of years, we are born amid sorrow; we grow, we struggle, we grow ill, we suffer, we make others suffer, we cry out, we die, others die, and new beings are born to begin the senseless comedy all over again.
 Was that really it? I sat pondering the idea of the absence of meaning. Was our life nothing more than a sequence of anonymous screams in a desert of indifferent stars? On a tiny planet that has been racing toward oblivion for millions of years, we are born amid sorrow; we grow, we struggle, we grow ill, we suffer, we make others suffer, we cry out, we die, others die, and new beings are born to begin the senseless comedy all over again. Was our life nothing more than a sequence of anonymous screams in a desert of indifferent stars? I scorn all humankind; people around me are vile, sordid, stupid, greedy, gross, niggardly. I do not fear solitude; it is almost Olympian “It also happens that when we have reached the limits of despair that precede suicide, when we have exhausted the inventory of every evil and reached the point where evil is invincible, then any sign of goodness, however infinitesimal, becomes momentous, and we grasp for it as we would claw for a tree root to keep from hurtling into an abyss.”

“The expression 'there is nothing like the good old days' does not mean that fewer bad things happened before, but fortunately, that people tend to forget about them.”

“That after all there was only one tunnel, dark and solitary: mine, the tunnel in which I had spent my childhood, my youth, my entire life. And in one of those transparent sections of the stone wall I had seen this girl and naively believed that she was moving in a tunnel parallel to mine, when in fact she belonged to the wide world, the unbounded world of those who did not live in tunnels; and perhaps out of curiosity she had approached one of my strange windows, and had glimpsed the spectacle of my unredeemable solitude, or had been intrigued by the mute message, the key, of my painting. And then, while I kept moving through my passageway, she lived her normal life outside, the exciting life of people who live outside, that curious and absurd life in which there are dances and parties and gaiety, and frivolity.”

“Vanity is found in the most unlikely places: in combination with kindness, and selflessness, and generosity.”

“It is a terrible world, that truism demands no demonstration.”

“I would characterize myself as a person who prefers to remember the bad things...I remember so many catastrophes, so many cynical and cruel faces, so many inhumane actions, that for me memory is a glaring light illuminating a sordid museum of shame.”

“Dear God, how can you have faith in human nature when you think that a sewer and certain moment of Schumann or Brahms are connected by secret, shadowy, subterranean passageways.”

“I am animated by the faint hope that someone will understand me – even if it is only one person.”

“There was one person who could have understood me. But she was the very person I killed.”

The Tunnel, Ernesto Sabato, 1948
 El Túnel, tr. Margaret Sayers

Alphabetarion # The World | Albert Einstein / Henry Flynt

 Henry Flynt, Spirit World Painting #1, 1993

"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. 
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."

Albert Einstein, 1879-1955

Henry Flynt, Spirit World Painting #2, 1993

Feminine Wit | Poems by Arab Women from the Jahiliyya (pre-Islamic) to the Andalusian period

Henri Matisse, Odalisque on a Turkish Sofa, 1928

I see people riding on shrieking horses
Steering clouds of sparkbelching fires
On their way to flame life out of you

Mahd al-Aadiyya

Lay off, you can’t turn me on with a cuddle, a kiss or scent.
Only a thrust rocks out my strains until the ring on my toe falls on
my sleeve . . .

Dahna bint Mas-hal, c.7- 8 CE 

I have a lover who thinks the world of himself, and when he sees me off
he cocks up: ‘You couldn’t have had a better man.’
And I throw back: ‘Do you know of a better woman?’

Hafsa bint Hamdun, 10th CE 

I am the wonder of the world, the ravisher of hearts and minds.
Once you’ve seen my stunning looks, you’re a fallen man.

Safiyya al-Baghdadiyya, 12th CE 

Why are you raving mad, husband, just because I love another man?
Go on, whip me, every scar on my body will show the pain I cause you.

Bint al-Hubab

I urge you to come faster than the wind to mount my breast and firmly dig
and plough my body, and don’t let go until you’ve flushed
me thrice.

I’timad Arrumaikiyya, 11th CE 

If I keep you in my eyes until the world blows up I’d still want you more . . .
I know too well those marvellous lips.
By Allah, I’m not lying if I say I love sipping their finer than wine
delicious dew . . .
When you break at noon you’ll need a drink and you’ll find my mouth
a bubbling spring and my hair a refugeshade.

Hafsa bint al-Hajj Arrakuniyya, 12th CE 

I put You in my heart to keep me company and leave my body to
whoever wants to sit with me . . .
. . . I love You passionately and I love You for Yourself . . .

Raabi’a al-Adwiyya, 714-801 

Classical poems by Arab women. 2001
edit / translation Abdullah Y. al-Udhari

Flick Review < Hotel Chevalier | Wes Anderson, 2007

Hotel Chevalier (2007) 
Director / Writer: Wes Anderson
Cinematography: Robert D. Yeoman
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Natalie Portman, Waris Ahluwalia

 * The 13-minute film acts as a prologue to Anderson's 2007 feature The Darjeeling Limited.

Peter Sarstedt - Where Do You Go To My Lovely (1969)

Do You Go To (My Lovely)? is a song by the British singer-songwriter Peter Sarstedt.
It was a number-one 1 hit in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks in 1969.

The song is about a fictional girl named Marie-Claire who grows up on the poverty-stricken
 backstreets of Naples, becomes a member of the jet set, and goes on to live in Paris.
The lyrics describe her from the perspective of a childhood friend; it is left unclear whether
they have remained close.

One theory says that the song is about the Italian actress Sophia Loren, who was abandoned
by her father and had a poverty-stricken life in Naples. Another theory has the song being
 inspired by Danish singer and actress Nina van Pallandt.

An Insult to a Doll | Innokenty Annensky, 1855 -1909

Smallest doll in the world, early 1900s

“There can be such a sky, and such
A play of rays, that our heart feels
An insult to a doll is more
Piteous than an insult to oneself."

  It Happened at Vallen-Koski
Innokenty Annensky, 1855 -1909

Alphabetarion # Habit | Samuel Beckett, 1949

Ray Johnson, Samuel Beckett 1960, collage 

"Habit is a great deadener."

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, 1948-49

The Silent World & The Pioneers of an Aquatic Revolution | Jacques Yves Cousteau / Frédéric Dumas / Émile Gagnan, 1943-53

The Silent World (A story of undersea discovery and adventure, by the first men to swim at record depths with the freedom of fish), 1953
                                              Jacques Cousteau, 1954 ^

'Rocks covered with green, brown and silver forests of algae and fishes unknown to me, swimming
 in crystalline water. Sometimes we are lucky enough to know that our lives have been changed,
to discard the old, embrace the new, and run headlong down an immutable course. It happened
to me on that summer's day, when my eyes were opened on the sea.''

Jacques Yves Cousteau, Frédéric Dumas, The Silent World, 1953

Jacques Yves Cousteau, 1954

“I swam across the rocks and compared myself favorably with the sars. To swim fishlike, 
horizontally, was the logical method in a medium eight hundred times denser than air. 
To halt and hang attached to nothing, no lines or air pipe to the surface, was a dream. 
At night I had often had visions of flying by extending my arms as wings. Now I flew 
without wings. (Since that first aqualung flight, I have never had a dream of flying.)”

The Silent World, 1953

Grace Kelly reading The Silent World, by Jacques Cousteau

Although a French national, Cousteau wrote the book in English. Cousteau and Émile Gagnan
 designed, built, and tested the first "aqua-lung" in the summer of 1943, off the southern coast of France.
In the opening chapters, Cousteau recounts the earliest days of scuba diving with his diving
 companions Frédéric Dumas and Philippe Tailliez.
The aqualung allowed for the first time untethered, free-floating extended deep water diving,
 and ushered in the modern era of scuba diving.
Later chapters include excursions diving to shipwrecks.

 The pioneers of an aquatic revolution: Jacques Yves Cousteau / Émile Gagnan
The first "aqua-lung" | Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Marseille, France, Summer 1943

“In the deep space of the sea I have found my moon.

“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, 
he has no right to keep it to himself.” 

Jacques Yves Cousteau, 1910-1997

Jacques-Yves Cousteau adjusts 10-year-old son Jean-Michel’s aqualung before a dive into
 the Mediterranean Sea off Sanary-sur-Mer, France in 1953

“During the summer of Liberation I came home from Paris with two miniature aqualungs for my sons, Jean-Michel, then seven,
and Philippe, five. The older boy was learning to swim but the younger had only been wading. I was confident that they would
take to diving, since one does not need to be a swimmer to go down with the apparatus. The eyes and nose are dry inside the mask,
breathing comes automatically and the clumsiest kick will do for locomotion.” 

Jacques Yves Cousteau, Frédéric Dumas, The Silent World, 1953

The Silent World (Le monde du silence), Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Louis Malle (1956)

The Silent World is noted as one of the first films to use underwater cinematography to show 
the ocean depths in color.


Γράμματα στην Katia Pringsheim | Thomas Mann, 1904

Katia Pringsheim

Στην Κάτια
Τέλος Αυγούστου 1904

''Κουτή; Αν θέλεις. Είσαι ένα τόσο απόλυτα μαγευτικό πλάσμα, Κάτια μου, που απ' όσα αφορά εμένα θα μπορούσες να είσαι «λίγο κουτή.»
Το ότι δεν είσαι, αυτό εσύ η ίδια το ξέρεις καλύτερα απο κάθε άλλον. Αλλά αν  λέγοντας «κουτή» εννοείς το αντίθετο του «έξυπνου»
(και υποθέτω ότι αυτό εννοείς), τότε με κάθε τρόπο να είσαι. Είμαι  κι εγώ κουτός με τον ίδιο τρόπο και είμαι ευχαριστημένος που είμαι.
Γιατί  η «εξυπνάδα» είναι κάτι  το βαθύτατα αποκρουστικό. Ο «έξυπνος» περιορίζει τον εαυτό του στο να τρώει δύο φραντζολάκια τη μέρα,
ζει προσεκτικά, αγαπάει προσεκτικά, και είναι πολύ προσεκτικός για να συνδέσει αποφασιστικά τη ζωή του με την αγάπη του.
Κάθε τί το αφελές, το ευγενές, και αφοσιωμένο είναι «κουτό», κάθε άφοβη αφοσίωση σε αυτή τη γη.
  Ας είμαστε «κουτοί», - Katia μου!''

Franz von Lenbach, Portrait of Katia Pringsheim as a child, 1892

Στην Κάτια
Μέσα Μαΐου 1904

''Έχω πλήρη συνείδηση ότι δεν είμαι το είδος του ανθρώπου πού είναι δυνατόν να προκαλέσει ξεκάθαρα και απλά συναισθήματα.
Προσθέτω σήμερα ότι αυτό δεν το θεωρώ σαν μια αντίρρηση ακριβώς που θα μπορούσε να είχε κανείς ως προς τον εαυτό μου.
Το να υποβάλει κανείς ανάμικτα συναισθήματα, «αβεβαιότητα», είναι στο κάτω κάτω, αν θα μου το συγχωρούσες αυτό, ένα γνώρισμα
προσωπικότητας. Αυτός που ποτέ δεν ξυπνάει αμφιβολίες, ποτέ δεν προκαλεί την ανησυχητική έκπληξη, ποτέ, sit venia verbo,
δεν υποκινεί το άγγιγμα του τρόμου, ο άνθρωπος που είναι πάντα αξιαγάπητος, είναι ένας ανόητος, ένα φάντασμα, ένα γελοίο πρόσωπο.
Δεν έχω φιλοδοξίες προς αυτή την κατεύθυνση --''

Γράμματα του Thomas Mann
μτφ: Νανά Ησαΐα

Thomas Mann and Katia Mann, 1920

Katia and Thomas Mann were married for 50 years from 1905 to 1955 when Thomas died.
Katia proudly tells of the fact that they were separated only for one day during those 50 years.

Born in Germany, the Manns were exiled to the United States during WWII, and returned to
Europe after the war, settling in Kilchberg near Zurich. Katia (née Pringsheim) was a witness
to all his writing and guarded him from interruptions through the years. She was a well
educated, bright and cheerful woman, and mother of six gifted children – Erika, Klaus,
Golo, Monika, Elisabeth and Michael.


Phases of the Moon | Paul Delvaux (1939-1942)

Paul Delvaux, Phases of the Moon, 1939

"My overriding passion was the books of Jules Verne. […] I was completely fascinated by
 the engraving of Riou showing Otto Lidenbrock the wise geologist from Journey to the
 Centre of the Earth. I reproduced this for the first time in 1939 in the Phases de la Lune I."

Paul Delvaux
Carels, Guy and Charles van Deun, Paul Delvaux: his life, (Saint-Idesbald, Belgium: Paul Delvaux Foundation, 2004) 32. ↩︎

The man in the back leading the nude women á la the Pied Piper is Delvaux himself.

Paul Delvaux, Phases of the Moon III., 1942
Paul Delvaux, Phases of the Moon II, 1941

We are like islands | William James

Jean Arp, Configuration, 1951

 “We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface 
but connected in the deep.” 

William James


Protection / Strategy / Egalitarian | Thoughts on boxing | Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Nelson Mandela 

I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it.  I was intrigued by how one moved one's body to protect oneself, 
how one used a strategy both to attack and retreat, how one paced onself over a match.  

Boxing is egalitarian.  In the ring, rank, age, color, and wealth are irrelevant . . . I never did any real fighting after I entered politics.  
My main interest was in training; I found the rigorous exercise to be an excellent outlet for tension and stress. 

Bob Gosani, Nelson Mandela boxing with professional boxer Jerry Moloi on a roof top in Johannesburg, 1953

After a strenuous workout, I felt both mentally and physically lighter.  It was a way of losing myself in something that was not the
struggle. After an evening's workout I would wake up the next morning feeling strong and refreshed, ready to take up the fight again.

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1994

Although I had boxed a bit at Fort Hare, it was not until I had lived in Johannesburg that I took up the sport in earnest. 
I was never an outstanding boxer. I was in the heavyweight division, and I had neither enough power to compensate for 
my lack of speed nor enough speed to make up for my lack of power.  

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1994

Nelson Mandela, 1952                                                         Nelson Mandela

“I grew up knowing that my father was a boxer. We always had those pictures at home of him shadow boxing and I knew
the gymwhere he used to go and practice and spar and so on. When he came out of prison, he was already a grown man
and he couldn’t go back to the sport but we used to go boxing bouts together.”

 Zindsi Mandela

Nelson Mandela (third from left), Deputy President of the African National Congress meets with 
boxers from the United States who have helped in the struggle against Apartheid. 
From left to right are : Mike Tyson, US boxer; Jose Sulaiman, President, World Boxing Council; 
Nelson Mandela; Sugar Ray Leonard, US boxer, Mayor David Dinkins of New York City; Joe
 Frazier, US boxer. 1990

“So I had the pleasure of going to Nelson Mandela’s home and having dinner with his family and his grandkids. I knocked on the door 
and he answered the door. He says, ‘Hello Sugar, how are you doing?’ He then added, “One thing I don’t tolerate, is people being late.’
 I started sweating. It was puzzling, because I was about half and hour early. He then said, ‘My photographer should have been here a
long time ago!”

“Sugar” Ray Leonard (boxer)

Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Mandela. His was a life filled with purpose and hope;
 hope for himself, his country and the world. He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be
 impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, 
physically, socially and economically. He made us realize, we are our brothers' keeper and that 
our brothers come in all colors. What I will remember most about Mr.Mandela is that he was a 
man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic
 injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge. He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale.
 His was a spirit born free, destined to soar above the rainbows. Today his spirit is soaring through 
the heavens. He is now forever free."

Muhammad Ali's Statement On Nelson Mandela's Death, 2013

Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali

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