England to India by automobile, via Fiume in 1924

FROM ENGLAND TO INDIA BY AUTOMOBILE
An 8,527-mile Trip Through Ten Countries, from London to Quetta, Requires Five and a Half Months
BY MAJOR F.A.C. FORBES-LEITH

extract: THE FIUME “LIONS” OF ITALY’S POET SOLDIER

Our next stop was at Fiume, the scene of the coup of Gabriele d’Annunzio, Italy’s poet patriot. It is also a fine port, but a mean city in comparison with Trieste. A narrow river separates it from Susak, the Yugoslavian frontier town.

An impressive sight in the city was the great number of apparently idle young men with shock heads of hair fluffed out like a lion’s mane. We thought this must be the latest thing in Fiume masculine styles until an English-speaking friend explained that this is the hall mark of d’Annunzio’s “lions,” who, with him, captured the city.

We were warned not to upset any of them, as they have the reputation of being excessively irascible and a law unto themselves.

After a night in Fiume, we crossed the frontier bridge to Yugoslavia. The incredible change made by those few yards is impossible to imagine – a jump from stagnation and slackness to hurry and bustle.

The only place into which the general energy had not penetrated was the customhouse. We had a letter of introduction to the chief revenue officer, who told us that, as a great favour, they would rush us through the formalities. The “rush” required six hours to deal with our small outfit!

The officials seemed to like our company. As soon as the papers were passed to a fresh clerk, he would come and have a friendly chat with us on European politics, our trip, and, in fact, anything but the business concerned. They were so cheery and genial that we could not take offense; so we smoked endless cigarettes and waited.

Overland from England to India in late 1924 by Major Forbes-Leith. Here seen in Baghdad on 20th August 1924.

EVERY VILLAGE CAFE IN YUGOSLAVIA HAS ITS ORCHESTRA

We were now in a new kingdom, a charming country of delightful, music-loving people. Every little village café has its orchestra of young men playing the guitar and mandolin, and accompanied by a trio or quartette of girl singers. The former stand and play; the latter sit in a row in front and sing national songs from dusk to midnight.

The Croats and Serbs are fine fellows of good physique, very hard workers, great patriots, and among the finest soldiers in the world. Serbia, before the World War, was spoken of as a little Balkan state; now she must be reckoned as a power in Europe.

At Agram (Zagreb), the capital of Croatia, formerly part of the old Austrian Empire, we had a shock that made us rub our eyes. In front of us at the first crossroad, was the embodiment of an English policeman, with helmet, uniform, and baton complete. We heard afterward that the whole police force of the city was modeled and trained on British lines, even uniforms being supplied by outfitters in England.

In atmosphere, architecture, and general plan, Agram is a miniature Vienna. It has a fine opera house, and the architecture is for the most part typically Austrian.

Living is very cheap here for the man who carries either the pound sterling or the dollar.

*******

The trip was made in 1924 and published by The National Geographic Magazine August 1925.

There was even a cameraman on the trip and there exists footage – called ‘Lure of the East’ of some of the trip available here on the British Pathe archives website. And on Vimeo – watch at 1:00 and you’ll see a Zagreb copper: https://vimeo.com/45439980

Thanks to Saša Dmitrović for the source material.

Nature – Laboratory of Colours exhibition

priroda - laboratorij bojaThis delightful, informative 56 page catalogue accompanies the ‘Priroda – laboratorij boja’ (‘Nature – the Laboratory of Colours’) exhibition at the Tehnički muzej – Nikola Tesla in Zagreb. The exhibition highlights the traditional use of natural colourants, dyes and limestone in the households of times past in Dalmatian Croatia.

priroda - laboratorij bojaThe exhibition and workshops run from May – September 2016.
Visit the museum’s website and Facebook pages for more info.

Andro Vid Mihičić – poetry in English

andro_vid_mihicic_youngAndro Vid Mihičić was born in the idyllic village of Beli on the island of Cres on 26th March 1896. He was an art historian, professor and poet. At an early age he enjoyed nature and philosophy. He was educated in Paris as a Franciscan Tertiary Friar and there he graduated from the Faculty of Art History at La Sorbonne. During the Second World War he joined the anti-fascist movement as a military chaplain. In 1944 he left the Franciscan Order. After the war he was chosen as professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He only began to publish his poems when he was 92.

Here are some excerpts from his beautiful short poems, translated from the original Croatian into English, which accompany the sculptures of Ljubo de Karina on the trails in the forests of Tramuntana on the northern part of the island of Cres.

Testament
I have no sons, no grandsons.
To whom shall I leave my poem and my dream
and the great wings of foreboding
which in infinity flap?
To you, my people!
From you I sprang,
through you I return to immortality
so I flow through the underground again
with the flowers in the fields I blossom
and build stalactites underground
for a temple of beauty and dreams.
All to you and only to you,
my Croatian people.

beli alleyWhen I arrived in Beli
it was dark.
Stables full of dying sounds.
Gorges and glens full of ghosts and spectres,
the sea full of stars
and the sky,
full of deep secrets
and an infinite blueness.

beli flowerHave you ever heard flowers talking at night?
Around us everything is full of secrets.
Even in a rock life is hidden
– nothing is dead.

 

 

life in a rockLife is also hidden in a rock,
dreamt of, but it’s there.
Hit it, you’ll hear its heart beating.

 

 

beli ruined houseWhat are you looking for – a flower asks me –
In the mist in front of the ruined houses
In the darkness even trees pray.
Talk to me, wind, about the sun
On the field.

 

beli pathNature cleanses the man,
It fills him with power of the mind,
instinct and the forces of life,
And reveals a secret of modesty.

 

 

beli cliff viewOn the cliff near my village
griffons build nests
into the sky they dive
they circle
they rise up
and defy the storms.

*****

His poetry accompanies the sculptures of Ljubo de Karina on the eco-trails in the forests of Tramuntana on the northern part of the island of Cres.

Ljubo-de-Karina-montageHe died on 26th January 1992 in Mali Lošinj.

Andro Vid Mihičić - picture from Tramuntana guide book, published by Eko Centar Caput Insulae 2007

Andro Vid Mihičić – picture from Tramuntana guide book, published by Eko Centar Caput Insulae 2007

Andro_vid_mihicic_bustA bust of Andro Vid Mihičić is placed on the side of the parish church in Beli in his honour.

Beli - the idyllic hilltop village on the island of Cres where Mihičić was born.

Beli – the idyllic hilltop village on the island of Cres where Mihičić was born.

Eddie Izzard – Croatia tour

My favourite comedian Eddie Izzard is on a new world tour which started in March 2013 called Force Majeure.

force majeure posterAnd I am especially happy that part of this tour will see him performing in Croatia on the following dates:

Dubrovnik – 22nd March
Zagreb – 24th March
Osijek – 26th March

The dates have been arranged by the London Calling comedy team who have been organising stand-up comedy shows by English speaking comedians from around the worlds for the last couple of years in Croatia and neighbouring countries. Well done guys!

eddie izzard in zagreb

Meeting Eddie after the Zagreb show 24.3.13

eddie izzard zagreb

After the Zagreb show a few fans met him backstage. I asked him about his early days and he remembered the early shows in Brighton at the Zap Club in the early 1990s.


I first saw Eddie Izzard do stand-up comedy back in 1991 at the Crocodile Comedy Club which used to be held at the Concorde Bar in Brighton, my home town, and just a few miles away from Eastbourne where Eddie went to school.

Eddie Izzard ticket

1990 ticket from Eddie’s show at the Crocodile Comedy Club in Brighton.

Since then of course he has become a very famous known comedian, playing to packed houses all over the world.

We are looking forward to Eddie’s visit to Croatia – particularly because here we will see the show before the tour reaches the UK and Brighton later in May and July 🙂

In 2003 the Discovery Channel broadcast a 3 part documentary ‘Mongrel Nation’ about England and the English language hosted by Eddie Izzard.

 

 

London Calling Stand Up Comedy June Tour

Despite Euro 2012, despite a holiday-riddled June calendar, despite all sorts of obstacles – we are delighted to announce the June tour!

This month, London Calling will also visit two excellent festivals in the region: Belef in Belgrade and Lent in Maribor.

So lets kick-off the summer with a bit of comedy from London:

ZAGREB 25 June 2012.
Doors open at 20:30, programme starts at 21:00
VIP Club – Trga Bana Jelacica

OSIJEK 26 June 2012.
Doors open at 20:30
Djecje Kazaliste Branka Mihaljevica

RIJEKA 27 June
Doors open at 20:30, programme starts at 21:00
Brod Klub Marina, Adamicev Gat, Riva

COMEDIANS:
MARTIN MOR (UK) – HEADLINE ACT
STEVE HILL (UK) – OPENING ACT
COLIN MANFORD (UK) – MC
MARCUS RYAN (AUS) – MID ACT

More info:
http://www.facebook.com/London.Calling.Club
http://www.LondonCallingClub.com

The London Calling Stand Up Comedy Show comes back to Croatia June 2012

Paul McCartney – Diamond Jubilee Concert

Paul McCartney was definitely the highlight of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace, London on 4th June 2012. He ended the star-studded show by performing Beatles classics ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, ‘All My Loving’, ‘Let It Be’, ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ and a spectacular version of his own ‘Live and Let Die’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1eM-d2mu6Q

Back in 1976 Paul McCartney and his group Wings visited Zagreb. On the 21st September they played the Dom Sportova arena.

Paul McCartney and Wings, Zagreb 1976

Whilst in Zagreb in 1976 McCartney also met up with Veljko Despot, long time fan and friend of The Beatles.

Paul McCartney meets Veljko Despot in Zagreb in 1976

Were you there at the concert back in 1976?

‘Wings Over Zagreb’ live concert album cover

More links:
The Beatles Revival Band
– Croatia’s best tribute band based in Rijeka
The Beatles Fan Club Zagreb – the original fan club started in 1968 by Veljko Despot (Jugoslavenski Beatles Fan Club/The Yugoslav Beatles Fan Club)

Yugoslav Beatles Fan Club letters and memorabilia

Tražim zaposlenje u području medija/tiska/izdavaštva:
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