Hello welcome to my Blog

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.

Search This Blog

Sunday, 22 January 2017

JLF 21st Jan 2017

The weekend has started at JLF and as always it takes a while for the city to wake up. So our first session is a breeze - we walk into our seats and listen to a very entertaining talk from a panel of renowned playwrights, authors and directors. The subject matter "The Page is mightier than the Screen" with Alan Hollinghurst, Neil Jordan, Richard Flanagan and the amazing David Hare in conversation with Chandrahas Choudhury.

Some amusing stories from David Hare who apparently tried to write a screenplay for Jonathan Frantzen's "Corrections" - 23 drafts didn't do it and it is not looking hopeful. 
Richard Flanagan who won the Nobel for Literature for his book 'The long road to the Deep North" said that a novel needs nothing more than the courage of its author. Everything in film comes with a price and ends up often being mediocre. Neil Jordan added that while films decay over time, the power of the word in a novel survives. David Hare reminded us that there is always resistance to new art forms but that he enjoys working with talented people who could contribute to his own work but that undoubtedly there were different processes involved in writing a novel to writing a screenplay for a film. He pointed out that once he made Michael Cunningham's novel into the film "The Hours" for the first time ever "Mrs Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf (on which it was based) shot to the top of the US bestseller list. To be faithful to a novel you have to be promiscuous in your interpertation. Sometimes this works, other times it can be disastrous.Playwrights like him don't even want to contemplate others changing their work but often there is licence to enable directors and actors to give the novel on which the film is based a differing slant, ending or perspective.

The Magna Carta has been brought to Jaipur - or at least a facsimile of it. 
In a session called the Magna Carta the Spirit of Justice, Claire Breay who curated the 800 anniversary of the charter in 2015 and Helena Kennedy QC talked about the charter's significance with Patrick French, David Carpenter and Chintan Chandrachud. 
This 3500 word document written in Latin is probably one of the most famous documents in the UK, but also around the world and while not many people can read it, or know what it says, it is perceived as being a corner stone for the protection of fundamental rights - basically stating that no one is above the law. There are 4 remaining copies from the 13 originally produced. While it does not have the status in law that some people think it has, as Helena Kennedy said, she often quotes it in her legal cases against the government and other bodies because it is an enforceable document. David Carpenter hailed it as a fundamental protection against tyranny, explaining that part of the reason it came into existence is to give some protection to free men from the tyrannical rule of King John. The essence of the charter, rather than its detailed provisions has been taken by many as a flagship for the protection of such rights.

A discussion on Brexit drew unparalleled crowds- the panel was slightly skewed with Andrew Roberts being a Brexiter and the rest, A.N Wilson, Timothy Garston Ash, Surjit Balla and Linda Colley largely being in favour of Remain. There was general consensus that the Brexiters ran a shameful campaign but that Remain, with its scaremongering, was probably even worse. The result was very close and so it could have easily perhaps gone the other way. The reasons, as stated by Andrew was to take back control of the UK- not having someone unelected by the UK legislating for the UK - but of course the answer to that is that judges are appointed not elected so this is a spurious argument in my view. Economic factors were also raised and a very disingenuous argument again was put forward that the Uk could choose not to have the white immigrants from Europe in favour of highly skilled ones from say the Commonwealth - that appealed to the audience but as the moderator said it remains to be seen if the situation for Indian Visas to Britain will be better in the years post Brexit.  The economy is intact at the moment, due perhaps to the devaluation of the pound but we have no idea once Brexit kicks in whether it will continue to grow and how long it may take to get out of Europe and find alternative trading partners. The question of the four parts of UK falling apart was also raised.Timothy Garston Ash raised the important point that Europe has now enjoyed 70 years of prosperity and growth and no warfare. Brexit and the possible break up of the European Union might endanger that peace especially with Trump not supporting NATO. Finally the spectre of fascist movement rising in various parts of Europe was discussed with Andrew Roberts choosing to be away from them, almost as a form of protection, while the others plainly say that the UK had a role to play in ensuring movements like these did not come to power and the underlying causes of discontent and disenfranchisement  instead, were properly addressed.

I went to a hilarious Hindglish session with Devdutt Pattanaik. This is a man who has devoted many years to Indian Mythology and he has just brought out a book called "Olympus" in which he draws parallels between the Greek Mythology and the Indian one and tries to see how Alexander's passing through the sub continent left his mark and the Indo-Greeks who followed him, drawing parallels between Hercules and Krishna and their mythical powers and achievements. Greek mythical figures are often seen to go on long journeys fraught with danger to achieve their goal or get the girl back ...Their purpose as far as Devdutt sees it is to be extraordinary. However he saw that in Indian mythology the god is not a judge as in the Greek one but an accountant and that the purpose of life was to be debt free. I thought that was an interesting take on the Indian psyche - he hoped that in fact both civilisations had reason to borrow from each others mythology. 

The Dishnourable East India Company was on in the afternoon with a distinguished panel - William Dalrymple moderating Giles Milton, John Keay, Jon Wilson, Linda Colley, and Shashi Tharoor.This was the strangest take over in history really. It starts out as a trading company of silks and spices and ends up taking over the entire sub continent of India. By the end of the 18th Century the 250 clerks of the East India company backed by Indian soldiers took over the running of Bengal and from that to the entire country...

At this point dear readers I am a small blip in a crowd 5 deep and I am being shoved and pushed in all sorts of directions. I find refuge on half a chair in a shop with a sweet shop assistant who kindly allows me to sit down. I feel the need to, as two things conspire to stop me being able to hear the panellists. The chatter of those shopping and the rumblings of my insides. Yes, I have been struck down and shortly after I fled in a tuk tuk to the safe haven of my lovely haveli for a sit down and a cup of tea. I wonder how many of you lovely readers will read this to very end ...


  1. I read this to the end Marina! These are wonderful insights and an interesting mix of sessions that you chose to attend. Funnily enough, at the afternoon session of the Geneva Writer's Group yesterday there was a short discussion about the difficulties of turning novels into screenplays. Anyway, I am so glad you are having another great JLF and I'm living vicariously through your blog.. I can almost feel I am there.

  2. Thought about the wideness of your knowledge and the wideness of your travels and Niki all the way through this meze

  3. Lovely to receive comments from my nearest and dearest. x m


Leave a comment :)