David Bowie Collector

When a commoner dies his bric a brac goes to Oxfam shop of his neighbourhood, when a rich and famous dies his bric a brac ends up at Sotheby’s! These days David Bowie’s collection of 20th century British contemporary art  is auctioned at Sotheby’s and the first part of the auction has already taken part last Wednesday yielding an astronomical amount of 24 millions! David Bowie was a collector as any other rich person who has enough spare money to indulge himself  by buying whatever artwork he likes, from  Basquiat, Bellany, Bomberg, Lanyon, Hirst and many others. As one of the curators mentioned,  there is a limit of how much someone can spend in buying cocaine, the rest must somehow has to be spend in some others pleasure associated with human’s vulnerable spots which  are primarily three things :  collecting, collecting, collecting.   All these art works have an added value of being in the possession of one of the most iconic musician of the 20th century, everyone with a considerable spare of money wants to acquire something that David has chosen or used.Therefore Sotheby’s auction success had already taken for granted. A lot of  the artwork was sold at the double price of the original. For example  Basquiat’s ‘Air of Power’ was sold at the astronomical price of 7 millions with a starting point of 2-3 million!


Foyer by Patrick Caulfield, 1973. In the front, David Bowie’s personal music player.

img_2970Air-Power by  Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1960-1988.

There is a lot to say about art market and what is the real value an artwork, a  mystery not for only the common people but  even for those who are in the business of art world.  It is an absurd game between the two main players of the  society ‘the market’ and the bourgeoisie!

img_2967This was my favourite piece of the collection : Teenagers by Sven Berlin (1911-2000): watercolour and ink wash, £600-800.




Liverpool was a really revelation for me, a city which I had closely associated with my favourite band, the Beatles!  And it is obviously  the city’s pride and product of promotion: The Beatles statues are right in the front of the city’s Pier Head(pic.1). Searching around I found some interesting facts about the city such as : During 19th century the wealth of Liverpool exceeded that of London because of the cotton and slavery trade. The status of the city was enhanced by having its  own Whitehall.  It was the registry port of the ship ‘Titanic’. This fact is connected with Adelphi Hotel’s lounge in the city centre which was an imitation of the Titanic lounge (pic.2). The city as a major port and access to the Atlantic trade  has well established communities such as Nordic, Jewish, Greek, German and the oldest Chinese community. In the recent years there is a considerable redevelopment of the city. One of the new buildings, which I found that is fabulously blended with the rest  of historical buildings of the city,  is the Open Eye Gallery constructed by the RCA architects (pic.3). It was a real eye-catching from every corner someone was looking at it (pic.3,4,5).


Beatles statues at the Pier Head (pic. 1)img_2602

Adelphi Hotel (pic.2)img_2546

Open Eye Gallery (pic.3)





Hanover Street : This small architectural detail (the extended small box room) gives an interesting and entertaining view of the street.


Mathew street  is one of many tourist attractions related to The Beatles, and the location of Europe’s largest annual free musical festivals.img_2640

The Royal Liver Buildingimg_2651

The China Town.

img_2613Liverpool’s Tate Gallery

At the moment there is the  Liverpool Biennial 2016  which actually finishes today 16 October. The theme of this Biennial explores fictions, stories and histories, taking viewers on a series of voyages through time and space : Ancient Greece, Chinatown, Children’s Children’s Episode, Software, Monuments from the Future and Flashback.


Love in Portofino



How should I not have fallen for Portofino? Sir Clough Williams Ellis said when he built Portmeiron, Italianate village, in Wales,UK , inspired by Portofino’s beauty. Portofino, as the name indicates in Italian language,  is more than  a fine port of the Italian region of Liguria, its beauty is stunning!


Driving down from the mountains of Liguria towards its coast someone needs to have real guts because the roads are very narrow with lots of turns and  twists. The picture above is  the only one I managed to take by succeeding for a moment to overcome my horror!img_1686

The same happened along the coast from Rapalo to Portofino, narrow twisted road populated with uncountable number of vespas! Along this road there were the most amazing  Italianate villas perched on the cliffs.  img_1712

The port itself is a tourist resort mainly for rich Americans arriving with their super yachts. Somehow I felt that the talented Mr. Ripley will make his appearance through the crowd.





Portofino is beauty by itself but I had the same feeling as in Venice :  the buildings are going to collapse from moment to moment. The recession in Italy is going from strength to strength, for long time now, without showing any sign of recovery.  For that reason, it is worth  visiting  this part of  the Italian Riviera in the near future!

The Girl from Ipanema

Who has not been humming the tune of “The Girl from Ipanema” as was going up and down in the elevators around the world?  It was the most popular song in history, behind Beatles of  “Yesterday”! Lately through the media and because of the Olympics in Rio the story about the inspiration of the song came up in the surface and became part of the Olympics opening ceremony with Gisele Bundchen. The story was so romantic and once more reassures me  that life is getting better when there are musicians, poets, artists and in general when there is still around the University degree of Art & Humanities which is so depreciating subject  in our times.What will we do without all these people that feed our soul? It is quite clear that the type of Mark Zuckerbergs in this world, simply alone  does not fit the bill for  making us feel better and enhance our inner soul.

But let’s see the story behind the song which I don’t know if it is true but who cares ? It is a nice one! Lydia Hutchinson at the website ‘performingsongwriter.com’ writes:  “Summer 1962. Rio de Janeiro. At the Veloso Bar, a block from the beach at Ipanema, two friends—the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and the poet Vinícius de Moraes—are drinking Brahma beer and musing about their latest song collaboration.The duo favor the place for the good brew and the even better girl-watching opportunities. Though both are married men, they’re not above a little ogling. Especially when it comes to a neighborhood girl nicknamed Helô. Eighteen-year-old Heloisa Eneida Menezes Pais Pinto is a Carioca—a native of Rio. She’s tall and tan, with emerald green eyes and long, dark wavy hair. They’ve seen her passing by, as she’s heading to the beach or coming home from school. She has a way of walking that de Moraes calls “sheer poetry.” Legend has it that Jobim and de Moraes were so inspired by this shapely coed, they wrote a song for her right on the bar napkins!”

Those musicians and poets, eh!



Helo Pinheiro and Vinícius de Moraes

And when you listen Sinatra and Jobim  to sing the song you feel even better and life is good again!


Enjoy the rest of summer! August is a fabulous month to recharge our batteries with uplifting music  during its summer lazy days. Don’t worry, Mark will make all this job  of competing  and achieving (jogging, learning Chinese…) for us 😉  Have a nice one!

Booking open for MmIT 2016 Conference

Booking is now open for the 2016 MmIT annual conference – Digital Citizenship: What is the library’s role?

To book go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mmit-2016-conference-digital-citizenship-what-is-the-librarys-role-tickets-18734070108

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During this conference we will explore and discuss several digital citizenship themes and the role and responsibility of the library and the librarian in supporting citizenry in the digital world.

The conference themes will consist of, your library’s role in:

  • Digital access and inclusion
  • Digital literacy
  • Digital communications (including digital profiles, reputation)
  • Digital law
  • Digital security

Digital citizenship is a term often used to describe how people acquire and use their digital and online skills and experiences in order to further achieve and develop in their personal, professional and social roles. MmIT believe that libraries across all sectors play a significant role in supporting and developing digital citizenship with our user communities.

With four expert keynote speakers confirmed, the conference seeks to facilitate discussion and the sharing…

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Lucknam Park

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

I have a feeling that our times are equal interesting as Dicken’s time in his book ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’. The plot was centering on the years leading up to the French Revolution and culminates in the Jacobin Reign of Terror. Oh well, I cannot predict the future not even what is going to happen in the near future, the only I know is that we deserve a break from the bombardment of the bad news and the everyday anxiety of what’s next. For that reason I’m posting some photos from the Lucknam Park, a country house near Bath which  I visited recently. It is a lovely and serene place and transmits this calmness even through the pictures. Enjoy your weekend!


18th-century Palladian Mansion





Michelin star  Restaurant





“Only men of property could vote…”

During the pre-enlightenment period  only men of property could vote and probably it was a continuation and mimic of the  Athenian democracy where only the aristocrats can vote -no women, slaves and commoners…

The  British referendum had divided the country into two camps (leave & remain) with clear animosity between them. The same happened with the Greek referendum of “No & Yes” against EU/German’s bailout.

Many people have argued only selective persons must vote such as:  young people whose future belong to them, the highly educated, probably with PhD and above from Ivy league or Oxbridge Unis and for sure the petite bourgeoisie  with their well grounded aspirations for better life , their “comme il faut” appetite for museums, concerts and their pedant inclination to scorn everyone who has posted on facebook a ‘grammarly accident’. The rest must stay at home and play videogames or watch x-factor. Only by this way Democracy will survive, they argue.

The above arguments gave me an inspirational idea :  to abolish all these nonsense elections – government, local, referendum…-  and launch a whole new election concept  : the Bank elections as we say Bank holidays et cetera. Where the above mentioned selective people will elect the Banker of the year or the best Bank with the best mortgage or interest rate…

The following  is a parody from 1915 by Alice Duer Miller, satirizing all the reasons given at the time the reasons for why women shouldn’t vote :