Saturday, August 29, 2015

"The Spectre of Democracy haunts Europe"

Yanis Varoufakis in absorbing conversation with [that rare creature, an Australian public intellectual] Phillip Adams, on the former Greek finance minister's favourite radio program: Australia's ABC radio Late Night Live. 

They talk about his Frangy address/manifesto for a campaign to Democratise the Eurozone as well as the forthcoming snap Greek election.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dinner "Withlocals" Barcelona - a review

This week I was fortunate enough to have a free dinner courtesy of Withlocals (in exchange for writing this blog post.)


In a small apartment near Barcelona's Plaça d'Espanya my wife Paula and I met a home cook who uses the name Yosuz and a Finnish friend of hers. We were immediately served glasses of homemade summer white-wine sangria and started nibbling on fried pastry triangles which we dipped into a lovely smoky, roasted baba ganoush eggplant dip.

We all soon sat down to get know each other over a wonderful home-cooked meal of salty Portuguese clams, simple "Spanish-style" mussels and a seafood and pasta stew. The food was exceptionally fresh, not at all overcooked and I greatly enjoyed the difference from Spanish food in that coriander leaves were used rather than parsley.

For dessert we tucked into another homemade delicacy - this one pistachio ice cream served with an unexpected dab of tahini paste on the side which beautifully accented the nuttiness of the dish (see picture.) Yosuz had lived for some time in Egypt (as well as in Venezuela and England) and this was also reinforced in the perfumed hibiscus tea we drank before saying our thanks and goodbyes.

If our experience was indicative of what a curious, hungry person usually finds using Withocals then I highly recommend it to anyone visiting a foreign country or even living in one. It struck me as a great way to try international food of your choice and meet new people.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"Swarms, floods and marauders:" the language of the [European] refugee crisis

"...the ability to influence thought matters a great deal. George Orwell recognised this, inventing Newspeak to illustrate how, in one nightmare scenario, language could be used as an instrument of control.
We’re not there yet, but if we want to maintain the ability to think clearly and independently about migration, there’s good reason to be wary of some of the vocabulary now being bandied about."

Read more from David Shariatmadari's article in the Guardian online.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Varoufakis in conversation with Claudi Pérez of El Pais

A fascinating interview with the former Finance Minister of Greece, who (as usual) tells it how it is about Spain, Greece, Europe, the past, the present and the still uncertain future.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Australian gay politician gets married in Spain"

"A prominent gay Australian politician married his long-time partner in southern Spain on Wednesday, two months after his country voted down a proposal to enact same-sex marriage legislation.
Ian Hunter, the social inclusion minister for the state of South Australia, said he was disappointed that his marriage to artist Leith Semmens won't be legal in Australia, but said the two decided they couldn't wait for their country to approve a gay marriage law.
"I thought, we were coming to Spain anyway, so why not get married while we could. Spain is leading the world with its changes to its laws, and Australia is still having the debate, as is France and the UK," he said.
Mayor [of Jun in Granada province] Jose Antonio Rodriguez officiated at the ceremony attended by more than a dozen friends and relatives.
In accordance with a local tradition, the couple kissed for 17 seconds, which were counted out loud by the guests.
Hunter is believed to be the first sitting member of an Australian legislative body to marry a gay partner.
The former scientist has long been a vocal advocate for gay rights, and a lawmaker in the ruling Labour Party in the South Australian state legislature since 2006.
He became a state Cabinet minister last year.The party's annual national conference in December 2011 reversed its opposition to gay marriage, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard remains opposed. Legislation which would have recognised same-sex marriages was defeated in the House of Representatives in September in a 98-48 vote.
While Gillard allows Labour lawmakers to vote however they choose on gay marriage legislation, opposition leader Tony Abbott, a staunch Roman Catholic, insisted lawmakers in his conservative Liberal Party reject it.
Opinion polls consistently show that most Australians support same-sex marriage.

Spain enacted its gay marriage law in 2005."

More at AP source here.