I am currently reading the marvellous biography of John Aubrey by Ruth Scurr. An interesting and timely posting.

Names Throughout the Ages

Aubrey is an English unisex name, the Norman French form of Germanic Alberich meaning “elf power” made up from Germanic elements alf (elf) and ric (power). In Germanic mythology, Alberich is a dwarf and appears in the Nibelungenlied, an epic poem in which he guards the treasure of Nibelung. It’s also an English surname originating from the given name.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European


Male forms:

  • Aubry (English)
  • Alberich (Ancient Germanic)
  • Alberic (Ancient Germanic)
  • Auberon (English)
  • Alberico (Italian)
  • Ælfric (Anglo-Saxon)
  • Elric (Medieval English)

Female forms:

  • Aubry (English)
  • Aubree (English)
  • Aubrie (English)

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‘Guignol’s Band’ by Céline (1944 Club)

Think that I prefer Celan to Celine but most interesting!

Intermittencies of the Mind

Readers, friends, less than friends, enemies, Critics! Here I am at it again with Book I of Guignol! Don’t judge me too soon! Wait awhile for what’s to follow! Book II! Book III! it all clears up! develops, straightens out! As is, 3/4 of it’s missing! Is that a way to do things? It had to be printed fast because with things as they are you don’t know who’s living or dead!

So begins Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s third ‘proper’ novel, published in 1943 if you believe the blurb on the back of the book, but according to Frédéric Vitoux (Céline: A Biography, 1992) (and Wikipedia) was actually published in March 1944. Guignol’s Band is vintage Céline, but it’s fair to say that he’s a problematic writer. I don’t want to go in to too much detail but a few facts about the writer should be known before proceeding. First…

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Between Klimt, Mucha, and Hodler: The art of Kolo Moser 4, 1914-18

I find these works fascinating- the rather thick lines seem to give a mosaic quality as with hinterglasmalerei.

The Eclectic Light Company

Although Koloman Moser (1868–1918) had withdrawn from the Wiener Werkstätte in 1907, he continued to undertake design work in his later years. This included design for stamps, and particularly of stage sets for productions in Vienna. But his focus remained on painting, in which he turned increasingly to figurative works.

moserselfportrait1914 Koloman Moser (1868–1918), Self-portrait (c 1914), oil on canvas, 75 x 75 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

His Self-portrait from about 1914 is unusual, not for depicting him in the act of sketching a landscape, but for setting himself in the remains of a building which almost comes to dominate the image. His skin tones are now a light ochre, matching the stone walls.

mosercrouchingwomanstudy Koloman Moser (1868–1918), Study for ‘Three Crouching Women’ (c 1914), pencil, Indian ink and pen and red pencil on canvas mounted on paper, 21 x 28.5 cm, Die Sammlung Leopold, Vienna, Austria. Wikimedia Commons.

This study…

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The Agora, Thessaloniki

Down by the Dougie


The Agora is the old Roman Forum and is right in the city centre, just to the north of the Aristotelous Square, which is rather like it’s modern equivalent. It was discovered by accident in the 1960’s when the area was being developed. It was constructed during the 2nd century A.D. on the site of an older Forum from the Macedonian period.

It’s possible to see the remains from the street, but we paid the 4 Euro entry fee to get a closer look, and gain entry to the small museum on the site.




The Macedonian Heritage website tells us:

The square Upper Agora was paved and surrounded by stoae (porticoes) with two-tiered columns and decorated floors. On the eastern side there was the library and the odeum. Because of the considerable difference between the two levels, a ‘cryptoporticus’ (double subterranean stoa) was constructed under the south portico of the…

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Breakfast with the Ambassador

K Heidi Fishman

As we approached the Zürich Hotel Engimatt, I recognized Jakob Kumoch, the Polish Ambassador to Switzerland, just getting out of his van with his staff. We were early so Dave and I slowed our pace hoping to greet him inside instead of on the sidewalk. Mr. Kumoch turned around, saw us, said my name, and put his arms out to embrace me. The ambassador walked us inside to the reception introducing us to his wife, staff, the Hon. Consul Markus Blechner, relatives of Konstanty Rokicki and Aleksander Łados, and the families of other Holocaust survivors. We were all there to meet each other before going to the afternoon ceremony honoring Rokicki.

Ambassador Kumoch, unknown, Holocaust survivor Guy Kornblum, Johanna Kułakowska – Kumoch

You may be asking yourself, “Who was Konstanty Rokicki?” Recently Mr. Kumoch and his associates uncovered an archive that proves a joint Polish-Jewish rescue operation. During WWII the…

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Names Throughout the Ages

Lara is a Russian female name, a shortened form of Larissa, the name of a city in Thessaly, Greece, that dates back to five thousand years ago (it’s also the name of a few other towns in the region). Apparently the city received its name from a nymph named Larissa, the daughter of Pelasgus (or the mother in some versions) and which means “stronghold”, “citadel”, or “fortress”. I’ve also seen other sites list it as being derived from  Ancient Greek larix meaning “larch (tree)”, laros, referring to a cormorant or a gull, or laros “sweet, pleasing to the taste”, but I can’t say how accurate any of them are.

Lara could also be a short form of Larunda, also a nymph in Roman mythology (also associated with Muta and Tacita). She was a great talker and couldn’t keep secrets to herself and revealed to Juno that her…

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