Author: Eye on Bulgaria

Sienna ‘Live’ in Sofia

Screening London plays in Bulgaria has proved a hit I used to love going to the theatre in London. Admittedly that was back in the 1980s and early 1990s when a visit to the West End didn’t seem to cost you several days’ salary. Here in Sofia, when people asked me what I miss the most about London, I always used to say ‘bookshops and the theatre’. Well, the virtual bookstore has been brought to our door. The theatre was, until recently, a more difficult problem. But now, thanks to the screening of several National Theatre Live plays in...

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Churchill Is A Great Oldman

Why isn’t Churchill an unqualified hero for standing up to Nazi tyranny? Strange that some Brits continue to attack one of our country’s greatest historical figures. Compare and contrast with Bulgaria where, for example, Vasil Levski is an unbridled superstar. Nobody in Bulgaria would dare decry him. So how come we have reached the point in the UK whereby Churchill, Britain’s superstar, is seen by some as a fascist? I was reminded of this while watching the latest, and very impressive, Churchill movie, Darkest Hour. Wearing my other hat, as a theatrical biographer, I’ve been privileged to revisit the...

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Seeking Alliances

Veteran prisoner Jock Palfreeman says he sought reconciliation but was vilified  (PART TWO OF OUR INTERVIEW) Jock Palfreeman’s mother wanted to call him Winston. Given his left-wing activism it must have been a narrow escape . . . Yet Palfreeman, now a decade into his sentence, has always sought to build bridges despite his reputation as a political firebrand. Even the incident that sent him to jail, and robbed the Monovs of their son, was one for which he sought reconciliation. “Mrs. Monova is a legal secretary for the Catholic diocese,” Palfreeman told me in the visitors’ room at...

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A Decade of Resistance

Jock Palfreeman: Sofia Central Prison is a ‘fascist dystopian dungeon’ under Peter Krestev Not even 10 years inside has quashed Jock Palfreeman’s spirits. A lesser man might have crumbled. To most people the processes that jailed Palfreeman, and then upheld his conviction for the murder of Andrei Monov*, were marked by blatant corruption and lies. He has, to all except jaundiced observers, long since surpassed the point whereby his sentence could be seen as ‘rehabilitation’. During his decade in the dungeon he has endured numerous punishment beatings, spells in solitary confinement, the withholding of privileges and, perhaps most painfully,...

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Cough Cough

Concern about poor air quality has risen in line with the rise in PMs The last Bulgarian winter was so savage that the prospect of a repeat sent me searching for a knockout drug that would render me comatose until March 1st. There’s a lot to be said, I concluded, for winter hibernation. Wake me up when it’s time to don the Martenitsi! This time last year I recall people literally running into the metro. Not only did daytime highs not get above about minus 12 in the capital, Sofia, but an added wind chill made it seem even...

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