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24 March, 2017
  The World Happiness Report for 2017 - released this week on behalf of the United Nations - shows that once again that the Scandinavian countries are the world's happiest nations: Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland taking the top five places. American political scientist Benjamin Radcliff recently used statistics to show that:   “The differences in your feeling of well-being living in a Scandinavian country (where welfare programs are large) versus the US are going to be larger than the individual factors in your life. The political differences trump all the individual things you're supposed to do to make yourself happier - to have a fulfilling personal relationship, to have a job, to have more income. The political factors swamp all those individual factors. Countries with high levels of gross domestic product consumed by government have higher levels of personal satisfaction”.   That&r - Read full bulletin

17 March, 2017
  Famous extract from campaign speech made by Robert Kennedy, University of Kansas, March 18, 1968   “Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things which we count in our Gross National Product......Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”   That&r - Read full bulletin

10 March, 2017
  Last Thursday in Glasgow – coffee upstairs in Waterstones, Argyll Street – spy and buy a copy of Kathleen Jamie’s 2015 poetry collection, The Bonniest Companie – this poem’s called Soledades (Solitudes).   “Having lost my copy of Machado’s Soledades, I search the garden. It’s March, blustery, daffodils nod, and already blossom’s sprigging on next door’s pear. I’ve a hunch I left the book by the old railway sleeper that serves as a bench, and further, that the same breeze as makes the frogspawn quiver in our sandpit-turned-pond, as flaps the laundry, has snatched the book away. And sure enough, it’s there, tossed beneath the beech hedge and open at a particular page, as though the breeze, riffling through, has spotted his own name among the master’s lines: ‘The deepest words of the wise man teach us the same as the whistle of the wind’……”   That&r - Read full bulletin

03 March, 2017
  This quote from Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye (1953), reminds me of the original Ferrari's Restaurant – 10 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow - in the late 1950s.   “I like bars just after they open for the evening. When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny and the bar-keep is giving himself that last look in the mirror to see if his tie is straight and his hair is smooth. I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation. I like to watch the man mix the first one of the evening and put it down on a crisp mat and put the little folded napkin beside it. I like to taste is slowly. The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar – that’s wonderful!”   That&r - Read full bulletin

24 February, 2017
  The influential American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham (1894-1991) had an inspirational understanding of each individual's responsibility to their own unique artistic expression.   “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.  You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.  You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you, keep the channel open.’’   That&r - Read full bulletin

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