Thursday, 21 April 2016

Maria Elena Carreño de Granados

Nana and Papa: Circa 1950 Brooklyn, New York

Joaquin A. Perez 18
By Richard Carreño
[WC News Service]
Emerson 243
My paternal grandmother, Maria Elena Carreño de Granados, was born in Bogota, Colombia, in 1895, and from there, started a life journey that weaved a path to the United States, The Bahamas, France, and finally to Mexico, where she died, in 1984, at eighty-nine years. For a large part of that journey, for almost forty years, she was a nurturing presence in my life.
 The trajectory of her travels was linked to the fortunes -- and a worldwide deployment -- of my family. With the notable exception, that is, of how Maria Elena Granados wound up as a twenty-year-old in New York City, in 1915.That involved work. Employment, she explained to me, as a nanny for the wealthy Colombian family whom she had accompanied to New York while the family was on a temporary assignment there.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Dennis Griffiths RIP

Griffiths Memorial Service 28 April
Many LPC members and Fleet Street executives will remember Dr Dennis Griffiths, the former chairman of the club and author, who died just before Christmas. We have organised to have a plaque placed on one of the pews near the altar at St Bride’s Church to remember him and this will be dedicated at a short ceremony starting at 6 pm on Thursday 28 April 2016.

The LPC has reserved the Johnson Room at the Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street from 6.30 following the dedication so that we can celebrate Dennis’s life and great service to the club by raising a glass or two in his memory.

While arranging for the plaque and the celebration at the Cheshire Cheese will be funded by the London Press Club, several members have asked if they can make a financial  contribution to the evening. If anyone would like to send a contribution, please email Richard Dymond ( and he will advise where to send payment. Please make cheques out to the London Press Club and with an indication that it is for the Dennis Griffiths dedication.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXVI. All Rights Reserved

Thai Artist...

Vichit Chaiwong...
Thai artist Vichit Chaiwong's studio has been an impressive meeting point of foreign art collectors who reside or have visited Chiang Mai, Thailand. The gallery-studio also doubles as Chaiwong home and exhibit and event space. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Monday, 14 March 2016

Venice Celebrates 500 Years of Jewish Life

Photos: WC News Service

Monday, 7 March 2016

Turning Point

Small Hands?
Does Donald Trump End Standards?
By Liliane Clever
[WC News Service]
I had an argument with my brother-in-law prior to the last French presidential election. We had a strong disagreement about whether Marine Le Pen, head of the right-wing National Front Party and a recent presidential candidate, should ever be legally a candidate for the presidency. Pierre was adamant that she should not be. He based his position on Le Pen's vitriolic anti-immigrant discourse, her dubious position on French Muslims, her 'France for French people' (whatever that means), and generally her politics of discrimination and division.

In all fairness, Le Pen has toned down the viewpoints of her father, the National Front's former, ousted head. She has tried to appear to be more inclusive. But Pierre was not being fooled. It was his view that since Marine Le Pen did not support the values of the French Republic (Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity) she was automatically disqualified from being president.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Milano Centrale
Palazzo Venezia

Where Mussolini's corpse was hung

Memoriale Shoah Milano: Interior of transport car

Milano Centrale, Track 21,
and the Death of Italian Fascism
[WC News Service] 
MILAN -- Rome, some 650 kilometres south of here, is usually associated with Benito Mussolini, Italy's bloody mid-20th century strongman whose Fascist reign spanned 22 years, from 1922 to his downfall in 1944. No wonder. As one of the capitals of the of three World War II Axis powers, along with Berlin and Tokyo, Rome was almost a made-for-TV movie set for the blustering, jaw-jutting, barrel-chested dictator. Amid the splendour of Roman artefacts -- and, prophetically, many of the ancient empire's ruins as well -- Mussolini perfected his strutting, cock-of-walk style. Overlooking the Piazza Venezia from a palazzo of the same name, Mussolini would harangue adoring, even rapturous crowds for hours with bombast, vitriol, and nativist racism.
Adoring? Rapturous? Lest we forget.

As in the case with Austria, many 21st century observers like to portray the populace of Italy -- like that of Nazi-Austria -- as the unwilling dupes of their Fascist regimes and tyrant 'leaders', the Fuhrer in Germany and Il Duce in this country. Germany was conquered by the Allies; Italy, liberated, goes the narrative.

Yes, segments of Italian populace, in the wake of an advancing Allied thrust, did rise up against him. And, yes, never was such the case among Germans, who retained their loyalty -- if not exactly their faith -- in Adolf Hitler to the very end.

For Italian Fascist Black Shirts, Milan was a hold-out. It was also the principal site in the north where the rise of Italian Fascism was incubated, its terror enforced, and, where, at long last, it perished. Even literally. Mussolini himself and his mistress Clara Petacci, who had fled together to loyalist Milan in the war's waning days, were both finally executed by a Communist partisan in Mezzegra, a town nearby here.


The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXVI. All Rights Reserved

Friday, 26 February 2016

Trouble in Paradise

With friend
Justin in Ceuta
By Richard Carreño
[WC News Service]
In geography, as in many things, according to the well-worn cliché, what goes around, comes around. No, not global rotation. But as in diplomatic tit for tat, bred by a mutual territorial disaffection. In other words, a variant of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY), the kind of school-yard squabbling between two nations when one country believes it owns a certain patch. But the other, doesn't.
It can get nasty. More than twenty years ago, Argentina undertook a full-scale military assault against British forces to 'reclaim' the Falkland Islands. And also petty: One of the major Argentine aims was to rename the British protectorate, basically assembly of forlorn rocks, to its former native name, Las Malvinas.  Despite many deaths, the islands are still known as the Falklands.  No surprise, then, who prevailed in that ill-fated skirmish.
For the most part, international haggling about property rights is less fraught. Even Vladimir Putin's land grab of historically-Russian Crimea was done without firing a shot -- in Crimea, at least.

Monday, 22 February 2016


 See More @ The PJ via Facebook
The Artist

By Janine Yasovant
[WC News Service]
Thai artist Vivicha Yodnil produces impressive realistic seascapes. He attempts to capture natural images of rocks, sand, a calm sea, and clear blue sky.
He says, 'My love of rocks, sea and sky began from the journey to Samet island, Rayong province, Thailand, when I was just a freshman of the faculty of painting, sculpture and graphic arts. Silpakorn University. Around forty years ago, the senior students took the first year students. I thought that was my love at first sight with scenery of the island. After that I went there several times on my own during the study at the university and after graduation. Another time I was at the area of Lung Wang bay for over a year. As usual, I painted rocks, sea, and sky. Later, I also traveled to some famous islands and Provinces in Thailand such as Samui island, Phuket Province, Similan island, Krabi Province and Trang Provinces. I think this is my deep love because I don’t want to change my way of painting from the nature of rocks, sea, and sky to something else.'

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Big Hair --The Return of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is back in the news. In a big way, following her endorsement of Donald Trump last week. This was The PJ's first report on Mrs. Palin, posted on 21 September 2008. The article, in a slightly different version, also appeared at
Where's the Coon-Skin Cap?
Give 'em hell, Sarah!

By Richard Carreño
[WC News Service]
At first, she was knocked as a new-comer to big-league politics. Too inexperienced to be just a heart beat away from the Presidency. She fired back: No darling of the liberal media elite was she. She was just plain-folks Palin. A gun totin', moose shootin', pro-life hockey Mom, and, yes, with an unwed daughter who's five months pregnant. In other words, women of America, just like you.

She might just be right. At least, in mirroring an increasingly visible segment of American womenhood.

For the fact is Sarah Palin, a cocksure, low-brow, unintellectual, baby totin' Alaskan frontier woman looks a lot more like many working single moms in the Lower Forty-Eight than those, on the East and West coasts, who scorn her as a under-educated rube. Where's the coon-skin cap? You know, the one Ben Franklin wore to the French Court as America's first down-homey.

Finally, the 800-pound gorilla is out of the cage. What really rankles America's educated, urbane (and urban) brie-and-Chablis crowd is the Palin is so plain, well, so plain common.

Thursday, 21 January 2016


New @ Philabooks|Press

Read below for a special discount offer
An excerpt from the NEW 2016 EXPANDED PAPERBACK edition follows

By Richard Carreño
IN LATE 1997, Alan Clark, then seventy-years-old, was preening as the Conservative Party's bête noire. Less to his liking was his other reputation as an aging Lothario. Both images were portrayed in an installment of Clark's tell-all diaries, the first published in 1993 as part of a trilogy that concluded in 2002.
I had written to Clark for an interview. Later I followed up with a phone call at his office in Westminster. Actually, I reached him at his house, Saltwood Castle, in Hyde, Kent. His positive response was immediate.
On a crisp autumn morning, I set out from my flat in Richmond on the District line to Parliament Square. This, for my meeting with one of the then stars of British political and cultural life. Clark was no one to underestimate. He often played the role of toff. One of better-known repartées during a political debate was to refer to his opponent as 'the kind of chap who needed to buy his own furniture.' (Whether he coined the retort or not, the barb still stung).

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Lord of Hosts
The Life of Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon 
Richard Carreño

2016 Paperback edition now available from
Philabooks|Press. 296 pp $19.99 plus postage.
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Thursday, 14 January 2016



The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXVI. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Clinton vs. Clinton

By Jackie Atkins
[WC News Service]
It was touted as the pivotal event of a lackluster political season for the former First Lady of Arkansas, the USA, Senator from New York,and Secretary of State. No longer would she have to exert enthusiasm to the masses in stump speeches before hand select interns at Town Hall Meetings on Junior College campuses in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The big cannon would be fired. Watch out Donald, you’ll meet your match now. 
The American people (those old enough) we were told looked forward to this. William Jefferson Clinton, forty second President of the United States would unleash his charismatic glance, known to have enticed twenty-one-year-old interns under the desk in the Oval Office, and legendary maestro at the podium, was to hit the campaign trail in support of his wife for President of the United States.

Monday, 28 December 2015

The Philadelphia Junto

The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXVI. All Rights Reserved


 Thai Nudes by Janwit Chaisee
Janwit Chaisee, a young Thai artist who graduated from the faculty of fine arts, sculpting and printmaking at Silpakorn University Thailand, was born in Pattani Province in the South of Thailand. In May 2015, he had solo art exhibit called “Kon” ("Human") at People’s Gallery in the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. His impressive works are realistic. Most of his pictures are oil paintings of Thai women in different poses and in various costumes. The works focus on Thai women of the past. Chaisee has had many contemporary art exhibitions since studying at Silpakorn University. In 2010, he joined in the 27th Contemporary Arts for Young Artists show. In 2011, he contributed his works to the Art of the Ganesha show at the Silpakorn Art Center. In 2014, he exhibited his art thesis for the faculty of fine arts, sculpting and printmaking at Silpakorn University.  -- Janine Yasovant in Bangkok     

Monday, 14 December 2015

LORD OF HOSTS The Life of Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon

LORD OF HOSTS The Life of Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon by Richard Carreño is the first full-length portrait of this controversial mid-20th century Anglo-American British politician. Though the bisexual Channon never rose to prominent political stature, he was well known for his tell-all diaries. Carreño reveals for the first time how the diaries were censored by Channon's lover Peter Coats and his only child, Paul Channon.

NEW PAPER EDITION from Philabooks|Press 282 pp $16.99

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Dr Ben -- The Thread

WHY is Dr Ben's back story important? you ask. Because he's made it a centrepiece of his 'rags to riches' 'thug to hug' history, and it's narrative that undergirds his support among his religious-right base. Insofar critics of Carson -- and I am one -- have NOT been able to dent his support by otherwise conventional means (his lack of qualifications, lack of policy specifics, his theocratic understanding of government, points that his base don't care about) the West Point story has become his chink in his armour. He has become, finally, rattled. He is expressing confusion. Watch his increased nervous hand motions, rotations, and butterfly folding of fingers and uptick in his fluttering eyelids as a marker of this. Carson is a high-functioning autistic. Like anyone afflicted as he is, if his pattern of thought is side-tracked (i.e. West Point), he loses it. Main stream media won't go there yet on his point. So finally, a means to take him down. Much worse than Trump, who's simply the PT. Barnum of our time. Carson is the Fr Coughlin of our era. He needs to be STOPPED! Facts might not matter. But lying? Just maybe.
The embarrassing lie was uncovered on the same day he challenged Americans on TV to decide whether he's an 'honest person' or a 'pathological liar.'

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


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Friday, 30 October 2015


By Richard Carreño
[WC News Service]
I might be in the running for this year's Imelda Marcos Prize for Acquiring Too Many Shoes. JV, Men's Division. I have almost fifty pairs. In all designs, colours, and materials. Wing-tips, cap-toes, monk straps, bowlers, duck boots, boat shoes, Chelsea boots, hiking boots, an assortment of slip-on moccasins, rubber field boots, tennis shoes, brogues, and lots of things in suede. And opera slippers. More than I need, of course. But that's a bit beside the point, init?
I have my favourites; usually preferring lace-up Oxfords.
Apart from sport shoes, my choices are mostly all in leather in either black or brown. Though I do have blue pair of suede wing-tips and a sort of orangery-coloured pair of Oxfords. (I got these in Madrid).
All are in name-tagged in wood (mostly cedar) shoe trees. All are polished to a spit-shine. This kind of maintenance is labour-intensive. I use good tools. Horse-hair brushes and the like. Like John O'Hara, I do the polishing myself, finding the cleaning and brushing, in an odd way, as O'Hara did, relaxing and therapeutic. And I won't deny taking pleasure in the wafting aroma of boot wax that fills the air of my dressing room.
When done, laces are tied. Buckles are buckled. And the shoes are queued in rows, by colour and style. They shine like Horse Guards on parade.

Monday, 26 October 2015

At the National Theatre

By R.J. Chellel
PJ Theatre Critic
[WC News Service]
Three Days In the Country, 'a version' of the Turgenov play by Patrick Marber who also directed. Cast included John Simm (outstanding as Rakitin), Mark Gatiss (as the melancholic, sarcastic doctor, Shpigelsky), John Light (with a big beard and oddly macho as the landowner, Arkady), Amanda Drew (as his bored and sexually frustrated wife), Royce Pierreson (the heart-throb student, Belyaev), Lily Sacofsky (the seventeen year-old Vera), and Nigel Betts (the foolish, fat, rich neighbour, Bolshintsov.) Also Debra Gillett, Gawn Grainger and Cherrelle Skeete.

I try to keep a record of the plays I've seen, usually writing down my impressions in a sort of review -- as  kind of aide memoire.  As I've been to nearly sixty plays this year alone, this amounts to quite a few pages, even if I don't get around to reviewing every production.  
I tend to avoid the big West End theatres. But I do go to the National Theatre fairly often. There are three auditoriums there:  the two huge ones (the Lyttelton and the Olivier), and the smaller studio theatre, now called the Dorfman in honour of the big cheese of the TravelEx money-changing company who has donated zillions to the NT.  

Obviously producers at the National have enormous (state-subsidised) budgets to work with, sums fringe companies can only dream about.  Whether the money necessarily buys quality is an interesting question.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Thai Art Show

 The 9th solo art exhibition of Sriwan Janehuttakarnkit was held last month and through this month at Wangna Theater, Bunditpatanasilpa Institute. The exhibition was called "Dharma, Nature, and Normality." Sriwan is a famous Thai art lecturer, formerly at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok, but now is retired. She obtained a bachelor’s degree and a master's degree in printmaking from Silpakorn University. From 2004, she has had selected solo and group exhibitions several times in Thailand and abroad. After her retirement, she moved from Bangkok to near the Mekong River.  On the day I visited Sriwan Janehuttakarnkit at her house near Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai Province, she told me that she had just finished murals at a temple at “Doi Sa Ngo” mountain and was preparing the 9th solo art exhibition. I also saw the art gallery she built to house some of her paintings, sculptures, and ceramics for the exhibition. 
-- Janine Yasovant


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