A Lost Stravinsky Performed Live for the First Time since 1909

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


December 3rd, 2016


petersburg-conservatoryNext year is the 135th anniversary of Stravinsky’s birth, so it is entirely appropriate that a piece long thought lost during the Russian revolution has been found. There is a ‘missing link’ between Stravinsky’s earlier work, exemplified by The Firebird with its quasi oriental exoticism influenced by Rimsky-Korsakov, to Le Sacre du Printemps influenced by Nicholas Roerich. The difference in composition is startling, the earlier pieces from the romance of the Imperial Russian Court and elements of the East, to a far more rhythmic and tribal piece. The gap between the two proved too much for many concert goers at the time, the audience famously rioting when Sacre was first performed.

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The Demise of Beijing Cream. What Happened When A Maoist, Nazi Inspired Social Website Tried To Take On Beijing’s Expats.

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


November 29th, 2016


beijing-cream-logoBeijing Cream appears to be no more. Founded by American Northwestern University graduate Anthony Tao in 2012, it divided expatriate local society, created an unholy gossip ridden mess, annoyed thousands and delighted trolls.  But what lay behind its attempts at creating a brand that would seek to influence what local Beijing expats would read, and in turn be influenced by? And why did it fail?

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Fishing The Indian Ocean, & Fresh Grilled Mackerel

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


November 19th, 2016


indian-oceanI’m back to Sri Lanka for the Winter months, and what better way to re-acquaint myself with the local scenery than spend a few hours out fishing. I have nothing in the larder, the cupboard is bare after months spent in Europe, so I really do need to fish for my supper.

The best time is early morning or evening, and I’ve opted for dusk, leaving the shore at about 5pm. The Indian Ocean is still fairly rough, with the recent supermoon – the largest since 1948 – exerting a huge pull on the waves. It is a big swell out there today of about eight-nine feet, and even the dangerous underwater rocks that crowd out part of Unawatuna Bay are exposed as the waves surge back and forth and crash over them. It can be a deadly spot – there are wrecks just here, of small to medium fishing boats that ventured just a little too close. I know from diving just here the currents are strong too. Its an area deserving of some respect and I give the rocks and undersea breakers a wide berth as I motor around and out into open Ocean.

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Looking To Buy A Vineyard in Areni, Armenia

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


September 28th, 2016


y3I’m very taken with the potential for, and investing in a Vineyard in the Caucasus, and have taken a trip across the border driving down to Armenia. It’s a seven hour drive between Tbilisi and Yerevan, and we arrive late in the afternoon. The next morning we are off early to visit vineyards possibly suitable for development in Veghegagadzhor, in the Areni region of Armenia. This is where the best wines in Armenia are said to come from.

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The 2016 Georgia Wine Harvest

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


September 18th, 2016


g1I’m visiting Georgia’s Alazani Valley to participate in this years wine harvest, inspecting and sampling the grapes, helping them into the Qvevris and naturally taking an interest in previous vintages. The Alazani Valley benefits by being warm in the summer when the grapes are ripening, and is fed by the Alazani River, which originates from snow melt high in the Caucasus Mountains, irrigates the valley, and flows east. It empties out into the Caspian Sea. The mountains also provide a natural enhancement for vine cultivation here – grapes do not appreciate hot nights, they like to be cool in the evening. This means the Alazani Valley is one of the worlds great wine producing areas – cool air sweeps down at dusk from the Caucasus and blankets the entire valley with cool air overnight, until the morning sun burns that off once again and summer temperatures rise to 32 degrees. These are perfect conditions for grape cultivation.

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Excellent Wines from the Monks at Shavnabada Monastery

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


September 15th, 2016


cdemon3I have travelled to the Caucasus to be involved in the 2016 wine harvest in both Armenia and Georgia, however the first stop has to be a re-introduction to Georgia’s excellent Qvevri Wines. I was last in Georgia a little less than a year ago, and wrote about the wonderful Qvevri method of wine making at that time. Different to the Western European methodology, in Georgia the grapes, seeds, twigs and all are shoveled into huge terracotta jars (Qvevris) buried deep underground, and left to sit on these lees for several weeks or even months. The result are very tannic wines, with the whites especially taking on a beautiful golden amber hue. Such wines are good with light meats such as roast pork, as well as with dried fruits such as apricots and cheeses. The reds are also excellent, and can deal with very powerful dishes, even up to curries. Qvevri wines may be an acquired taste, but for me they represent wine making at its most organic.

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The Devonshire-Ellis Malta Marina Penthouse

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


September 10th, 2016


maltapentHaving been in Asia for so long, I’ve missed a lot of my European heritage, and haven’t had a property anywhere in Europe since 1986. As I now wish to reconnect with the European part of my background, I’ve been looking for a suitable place to be. Eighteen months ago I purchased two apartments next to each other, overlooking the Msida Marina. The construction work looked like this:

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