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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Friday, 12 April 2013

What you get for $215 million

These days you might be excused from answering in a slightly depressed tone, NOT A LOT - look at Cyprus I add quickly. I think dismally at how millions are now the lesser form of money when once I thought that to be a millionaire was the ultimate kudos of success. Here is a success story with millions. 

In Brisbane this amount has given the Brisbane City Hall, apparently the biggest one in Australia, back to the people of the city. In a poignant but warm ceremony the city hall which had been closed for three years for refurbishment has been re dedicated to the people of the City.

It is affectionately known as the People's Place.

It was opened on the 8th of April 1930 and it was the tallest building in the city for many years. It is a lovely mix of better known buildings, the Pantheon in Rome, St Marks Campanile in Venice and Greek temples with their Ionic columns and friezes.The frieze done by the famous sculptor Daphne Mayo shows a scene of settlers and indigenous people.  It was built on a swamp site so after a number of years it was showing some serious defects and so in 2009 that it was closed for 3 years to carry out the necessary renovations. 

I did not know its former splendour but I think I can say that Brisbanites were impressed with the result and I want to share some of those images with you today. The ceremony began with the blessing of an aboriginal song woman who had the most haunting voice. 

We poured into the building eager to see it and explore it - there are now many more reception rooms, a functioning kitchen, the famous Shingle Inn, an iconic cafe of Brisbane has been recreated here, serving high teas and light lunches and the auditorium was immediately set to good use with a free lunch time  concert this week. 

I went along and the first thing I noticed was that the place was packed. Brisbanites are keen to embrace their heritage and their culture. The concert featured an indigenous dance group, complete with their didgeridoos, the Queensland Choir which has a long and proud history and James Morrison an Australian musician who completely captivated his audience, switching from the piano to the trombone and the trumpet seemingly effortlessly to produce fabulous jazz. 

 The beautiful Stained glass windows made by William Bustard a Yorkshire man. 
 The lovely art deco chandeliers 
The white marble balustrade to the main staircase. There is black marble from Belgium, white from Italy and pink from Australia.The Mosaic floors have a meandering pattern which comes from Meander a Greek river in ancient times. 
 The stunning skylight and domed roof which now changes colour 

The organ which has been carefully restored and functions fully 

There are tours to the clock tower and a museum of the Brisbane River. There are events, shows and concerts filling in the calendar and if the first week is anything to go by there will be few empty seats in any of them.

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