From 1 to 14 November 2013 the 2nd Dialogue of Cultures International film festival is online. You can stream movies from Morocco, Portugal, Argentina, Philippines, Spain, Egypt, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and Kazakhstan.
Articles by Lucy
Mutoid must stay. The poster was in the window of a small bookshop in my husband’s hometown Santarcangelo di Romagna, in Italy. Wandering around the pedestrianised centre, we saw the same poster in a bar, another shop, then another. It was clear something was afoot. The Mutoids have been part of Santarcangelo life for years, but never before have they been so visible. Asking around, we discovered that the Mutoids’ way of life was under threat and the people of Santarcangelo had mobilised to support them.
Not every town would accept a counterculture community on its doorstep, but then Santarcangelo is not just any town. It might be a small place many kilometres from Rome or Milan, but it’s by no means a backwater. It’s home to an astonishing number of artists and writers, and frequently organises cultural events: storytelling workshops, art displays, wine tasting. Romagna hospitality is famous throughout Italy, and ‘strangers’ are readily accepted into the community. In recent years the area has attracted immigrants from China, Senegal, North Africa, Albania. In the cafe where I’m writing, a young Moroccan woman at the next table is discussing Italy’s debt situation with a young man from Senegal. They’re speaking fluent Italian. Kruder and Dorfmeister on the stereo mingles with sounds of band practice filtering out from the school across the piazza.
Last summer it seemed like Gangnam Style was everywhere. Here in Turkey the crazy dancer from Korea was on the tv, the radio, playing in the shopping mall. On Facebook I saw a Gangnam flash mob in Bishkek. My niece and nephew spent the summer holidays watching a Dutch remake which their dad decided was more child friendly.
Since music crosses borders so easily these days, it’s no surprise that many PocketCultures contributors are listening to something from another country. Others are listening to music from their own country. Read on to learn who is listening to what, and then tell us what you’re listening to.
Simona Morachioli (Italy / Germany)
Here is my obsession at the moment: Lana del Rey with “Young and Beautiful”. It is part of the Great Gatsby soundtrack (which was stunning, more stunning than the movie itself in my opinion).
Lana is American and I went to listen to her live a month ago here in Germany. She is even greater live than on radio.
Please tell us a bit about yourself
I am a qualified accounting technician working during the day as an Investment Analyst for Fund For Development of Youth Projects. It’s a company that has helped me enhance my skills on projects and encouraged me to be my own boss. In the evenings I am the Managing Partner of my own dhow cruise company – Star Of The Sea Tourism.
What is your business?
We are a small amazingly cultural Omani dhow cruise company established with the mission of entertaining, educating and preserving Oman’s unique sea history. We run various dhow cruise packages for our guests, for example the sensational sunset cruise, the fun day cruise including kayaking and snorkelling etc. (more…)
During May we tried something new, with a theme of books, reading and writing throughout the site. In case you missed anything, here’s a roundup of PocketCultures book month. Thanks to Celia, PocketCultures contributor in Kazakhstan, for suggesting the topic.
On Picture Postcards we peeked at a free library housed in a container from New Zealand, the oldest public library in Paris, a chalkboard in Kazakhstan and a children’s culture section in a public library, again in New Zealand.
For a special collaborative post on books from around the world our contributors recommended books which represent each of their countries in some way.
On People of the World we interviewed a couple of people who are writing books: Alexey from Russia, who wrote his novella on his frequent train trips between Moscow and St Petersburg whilst working for a telecoms company, and Marcel, who is writing a book about the extraordinary life of his grandmother.
On Topics of the World, our Italian contributors Simona and Caterina both had something to say. In Italy is younger than you think, Simona explains a bit of Italy’s recent history, including origin of the Italian language as we know it, while Caterina shares her love of books, in particular one well known book about Italy, Forster’s A Room with a View.
And finally, some good news for book lovers: Ana wrote about the stunning Libreria El Ateneo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is housed in an old theatre, and full of people buying books.
Today we’re talking to an author among our own contributors, and following last week’s interview with Alexey, today we also have a Russian connection. Marcel (PocketCultures contributor in Berlin, Germany) is currently writing a book about his grandmother, who spent five years in a Soviet labour camp before settling in West Germany.
To research the book Marcel traced his grandmother’s journey from Poland to Russia by train. Although his first language is German, Marcel writes in English, blaming his proficiency on several years of small talk with the Irish whilst living in Dublin.
Why did you decide to write a book about your grandmother? Can you tell us a bit about her?
I’m carrying the idea of writing about my grandmother Cäcilie, short ‘Cilly’, with me for quite a while now. Mostly because her story is an extraordinary one: in 1945, when she was 23, she was taken by the Red Army from her parents’ farm in East Prussia (a former part of Germany that is now Polish) and spent five years in a Soviet labour camp in the Urals before she returned to West Germany where she met my grandfather, and never returned to her home country. She died in 2009 at the age of 86. But I also wanted to learn more about her native country as part of my own heritage – when I was a child, she always kept telling stories about East Prussia, of wolves in the woods and sleigh rides in the snow and deep cold lakes, so I traveled there myself last year.