road rage

So this book by Henry Miller, the Colossus of Maroussi, absolutely exalts middle-class intellectual greeks just at the break of WWII. He’s the same man who was positively disgusted by the parisians in a previous book and yet the positivist outlook towards greeks seems somewhat adolescent in comparison – it’s almost a bit patronising, but in an involved and compassionate sense. As a descendant of the greece Miller describes, I recognise the charisma, passion and vulnerable intellect in the class-chaotic greece has been during modern history.

So I watch and try to gather some insight into what happened to the ancient philosophers, illuminated by the abundance of sun and the poets, drinking wine and eating food that effortlessly grows, with hearts filled with courage for every little war fate and patriarchy brought at their doorstep again. What seems to have happened is that they are now in the full-time business of raising kids, in Athens, a city specifically designed for adult audiences. Since the market has died and is now a ghost, haunting us and reminding us of our mistakes, parents with little to do, other than sit in an office of some dysfunctional corrupted public sector agency for a few hours daily or a bank, are today’s philosophers, the descendants of those people Miller adored. They, contrary to their ancestors, feel great resentment towards everything and everyone, as there seems to be no light in the end of this tunnel. And yet everything is illuminated by a very bright version of the sun.

The kids, the hope, the symbol of the light at the end of the tunnel, which fills everyone with a resentful kind of hope are not only in the eye of the storm, but also the center of criticism and often perversion. Because the system is saying “I shall not make sense for no one” and so the state has become a merciless god and parent to us all, stretching our minds to their limits and feeding off our struggle to survive on a ground now pretty much paved with the bodies of “the weak”. Well the weak are just people who cracked or where a bit unlucky. But still they fell and to those who do not know them this means less people to compete against.

You may ask me at this point, why am I discriminating against childless people, but of course because the childless people are the ones who have adapted and are not even interested in the light, supposingly somewhere at the end of this tunnel – they are underground life-forms, mutants and freaks who have accepted a parasitic form of life and produce their creative output in oblivion of their natural biological or economic foundation. The rest, the ones who strive to preserve a sense of respectful existence, in the old sense and still trust that their hard work will be pioneering for the much-awaited tunnel exit, are the ones who still feel, hurt and love with passion – but their sense of a future and the collective is overshadowed by the impossible system and simultaneously boldly illuminated by the abundance of light.

So in my far-fetched exclusion of the childless (with a little prejudice, due to my disappointment at watching my generation go through its reproductive years worshiping death, destruction and pets like some kind of perpetual post-puberty emo crew) I find that between socially distinguished, but mostly anonymous people of Greece, there is one thing that stays the same – the heap of light on our fear of death. Where there is more light, the darkness also seems more overwhelming and under all this light, making fruit delicious and sweet, it becomes fairly obvious that the empty darkness of death is in direct and sharp opposition.

The fear of death makes everything more intense and passionate and the light illuminates this intensity further and so the parents drive through roads of traffic in the heat to get their kids to extracurricular activities, making up for the inadequacy of the failed state, which still pushes mercilessly for more conservatism and strictness and the kids scream and pull strips of hairs from their heads and kick balls and try to escape the inescapable fear of death in the tunnel the state and their parents force them to live in and the parents scream for them to hang on and try harder for the light will soon appear and their bodies have to be in the best shape so they can run towards it and not get lost or suffocated and the state and banks see more opportunity for profit there, basically draining the only source left, the greek sun and the parents make food and fuel and who-knows-what-else from only sun now and proudly they still survive and raise kids, but if the sun ever fails to rise then doom will prevail. Yeah, I mean if it was the arctic circle, darkness and the relatedness to death would be something people could cope with – but here… oh god here, just bright summer sun illuminating what has become an abundantly illuminated lost cause.

Sometimes, whilst sitting in traffic in the summer heat I’m thinking “go crazy dude! it’s the only sane thing to do” and then a moment later I’m thinking “you’re a terrible mother! as long as the sun shines, you should try harder!” and what comes out of my fucken mouth is “kid, you’ve got to try harder”. Oh bullshit!

last resort

The entire country seems like it’s packing
packing to travel off somewhere
but where?
Everyone says they’re soon leaving
there are various destinations
Germany, Denmark, US, UK, Belgium, the Antarctic, space
But we’re stuck and we all know it
we should have a way out
that’s the promise they gave us
all we had to do was study and not take too many drugs
Ha ha funny
Every year they say, I’ll leave soon
yeah I’m off now
just wait till September…
I’ll be off
off to my room in my parents’ house
where it’s safe
and dreams come alive like when I was little
It’s a social class war
people from poorer countries want to go to the countries which are as poor as theirs before the recession
and so on
Maybe it would help if we all just shifted countries
the poorest countries could then be turned into a Dubai-type havens
where the rich can be happily rich
personally I’m fine living in my room
class identity is like sexism
hindering personal development
I’m not gonna change country just to assert my parents’ aspirations
I would like to stay right here and deconstruct them
and it looks like I’m gonna do well

The borrowed euros of love

Every society has its currency. In fact currency is probably the most fundamental frame within which every type of transaction and convention in a society develops.
In a world where one bought potatoes with wheat, keepin’ it real could not have been an issue. Labour, skill, luck and brains surely must have had a chance to shine through one’s produce and the choice of allies. But what is almost unimaginable to my city self is how clear must have been the intentions and general disposition of people to others. Farmers, in my experience, are always pretty honest people, they get what they work for and that is ingrained in every aspect of their life (well ok they did before EU strategies and policies screwed it up completely). They can be stubborn and narrowminded, but will usually put effort into improving things with produce and people. They see a nice strong cow with tight tits or a strong hard-working girl with a nice butt and it’s love at first sight. They pair up, have kids and spend the rest of their lives working and taking care of each other. As boring as it may sound, it’s love like any and similarly to any with or without entertainment or art, the boring comfort of family ties eventually sinks in.
However, as currency and transactions had a certain degree of sophistication and complexity added to them, so did relationships. And up to the point where it all resembled monopoly (the board game), it must have been fun. When you have time and money, you can choose a partner, you can cheat, you can fool around and party like there’s no tomorrow, like the prehistoric, early and modern european upper and middle class people did.
But today everything is taking on a new meaning in the crisis stricken EU and in particular the darkest and lowest part of it, Greece, a small country with one of the most ancient middle classes in the world. Assuming that the hardest thing for a human being is to switch social classes, young boys and girls are possibly experiencing one of the most anti-erotic periods this country has seen. Status, work and money are being devaluated. What or who is causing all this and how to stop it no one is too sure about, so all the protesting taking place consists of violent demonstrations and the occasional strike. It is a point in history when a bunch of people who should have turned either to subsistence farming by now, or to  violent revolution are still going about their business in the city streets. And as they move and crawl, love still follows. However, it is a hesitant, anorexic love, consolidated by a cheap flight to Europe, giving little and expecting less, living in an emotional cost terror. It’s a poor love, the poor give and take of a generation of sold slaves, who haven’t yet realised their true social context.
Society is bigger, but the Earth is smaller. Human population is increasing but human heterogeneity is decreasing. The inevitable science behind social confusion says stress kills love, makes wills frail, up to a point where one has nothing to loose and is willing to fight. While we still live under the illusion of euros in our pockets, despite being drown in dept, we’ll essentially continue being subsistence farmers without land or skill eluded into believing we are middle class and have jobs.
Like the jobs most of my friends have in the private sector remain unpaid and everyone seems to be living off renting property to someone else and retired relatives, the currency of love is borrowed euros carefully and hesitantly spent. “I can’t make it, I’m a bit tired you see and I’ve got something else I need to do… sorry, shall we talk later?”.
Borrowing what you can’t pay back is a creepy way of life and a lame way to love.

The balanced manifesto of counter-sexist civility

dedicated to my bitch Evagelia

All the men I ever met tried to discipline me

I, in turn, tried to show them that this was not a good idea

I identify no man as my discipliner

I will bite and scratch any patronising asshole even considering it

“Be patient, fine, balanced, kind”

I could just eat anyone uttering those words alive

Because this is a sexist model ingrained in relationships, work, art etc.

and it goes a bit like this:
Girl likes boy

Boy tells girl to be  patient, fine, balanced, kind

Girl becomes that

Girl looses her self-awareness, commitment to her feemale peer creative bullshit-talk,  creativity and becomes an anticipating zombie that goes around being balanced, sexy or whatever have you…

I could just vomit!

If you love something you should let it free

Even though an intuitive understanding of natural forces may be intimidating and easily mistaken for hysteria

and even though one may be simply projecting their need to discipline their own urges and desires on the object of such desire.

I know my little manifesto will not save anyone,

but I also know girls will always giggle and share secrets and fart and say really dirty intimate stuff to each other about dicks

whilst men can hang around being patient, fine, balanced or whatever other bullshit it was.

 

Image

Greece: A long history of identity crisis

 

Avgoustinos Dimitriou describes how he was handcuffed and subsequently beaten by the Greek police on the 17th of November 2006, the anniversary of Polytechnio, the students’ uprising against the Greek military junta of 1967-74. At the time he was studying in the University of Thessaloniki, having left his hometown, Pafos in Cyprus. Six years later, six out of the eight sick and deranged policemen were found innocent, while the other two are going to prison for 2,5 years. Hurray for justice! Meanwhile Avgoustinos has suffered trauma, never finished his studies and is afraid to leave his parents’ house.

In fact he was only lucky to have been videotaped by random passers-by, as most of these stories never even gain any publicity, not to mention justice. Stories about the police, the covered-up crimes and the degree of corruption have been circulating for years, well I guess since the 60s. However, it used to be pretty uncommon for tourists suffering the same fate as protesters and indigenous passers-by. Tourists from New Zealand, the US, the UK, India, South Korea and… god I can’t keep up, have also been beaten up by the police, detained in police stations and hospitalised with serious injuries… and the reason was… errr well nothing really, just raging mood swings by policemen belonging to a mental institution.

Europe is turning a blind eye, patiently waiting for the fruit of corruption and disintergration to ripen (I guess Europe has it’s own problems and this is after all international politics and not kindergarten), while internally the identity crisis continues and no one is too sure what to make of this madness. However, there is one person who stands out and is at the moment in the spotlight of art and culture in Greece, it’s Paola Revenioti, an artist, an activist on sex issues, a transexual and a prostitute.

I met her at the opening of the first exhibition, dedicated to her photography, in Breeder gallery, one of the best galleries in Athens. She was wearing a wooly jumper, her blond hair was plainly falling down to her shoulders and her voice was warm and androgynous. Her attitude was so casual and her manners so warm and human that it would have been difficult for someone to guess that all those cool people were there mainly to worship her.

I hassled her rudely, introducing myself and congratulating her and although she explained that she was a bit overwhelmed with the size of the crowd that had gathered, she started giving me and a small group of gigling girls wonderful advice and insights on life and the way it has changed in Greece from the age of innocence and exploration to the inhuman Greece of today. Her references may have primarily been her sexual encounters, but the depth and insight of translating this knowledge into a political and sociological commentary left us speechless, as there was too much compacted truth and too little bullshit to allow us to come with a counter-comment.

Meeting Paola was just further proof for me that the biggest problem that has developed in Greece is neo-conservatism-imposed sexism (which from a Freudian point of view is pure self-destruction) and an education system of torture, developed by middle-aged religious spinsters, completely oblivious of the term ‘problem-solving’ and ‘child’ for that matter. I guess this is a time when people like Paola are most needed, as they remind us that repressed minds are sick minds, while free minds always shine above.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20958353

http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%91%CF%85%CE%B3%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%83%CF%84%CE%AF%CE%BD%CE%BF%CF%82_%CE%94%CE%B7%CE%BC%CE%B7%CF%84%CF%81%CE%AF%CE%BF%CF%85

http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%A0%CE%AC%CE%BF%CE%BB%CE%B1_%CE%A1%CE%B5%CE%B2%CE%B5%CE%BD%CE%B9%CF%8E%CF%84%CE%B7

A comment on the future

Greece has the profile of a society basing its sanity entirely on social and family bonds – that’s not too bad, but it’s not too good either – non-coherence and no productivity is the expected outcome. In addition, personal recognition comes from those enclosed in self-sufficient social niches and remains there, anything external or subjective fails to register. This is the profile of a society a step before deconstruction.

Masturbation society

I have recently found myself on returning to Athens from a trip in Europe, exhausted by my social life. After 20 days away, I was dying to go back home and reunite with my friends. During the first week of my return almost every day there was someone to meet, something to do. Ten days later I was starting to feel like I already couldn’t do it anymore. We were sitting there with all my darling dear friends talking about the life we were not living, the choices we were not making, the people we were not with… ultimately subjecting ourselves to a perpetual ritual of group masturbation. The time we were spending together, was time killed in a soft and self-assuring way, it was life high on artificial sweetness. It’s nice to masturbate I guess, it’s also sort of essential, but it’s pretty frustrating when that’s all you’re doing.

I guess there is a reason why the most popular greek swear-word is “μαλάκας” – greek for “masturbator”, also functioning in a friendly teasing manner. Life is at our feet, I know cause I’ve lived elsewhere and nothing I’ve seen compares to the diversity of microhabitats you find here. I’ve never seen plants grow out of concrete with such vigour, although I’m pretty aware it could all be due to poor quality concrete, neither have I seen beaches and mountains as pretty and human-friendly as these. However, all this environmental easygoingness can partly be held responsible for our frustrating levels of behavioural easygoingness.

In the midst of national bankrupcy, even immigrants crammed in this country and hit by poverty, ignorance and racism, seem to cause minor crime rise. That I find fucken striking. The state is not only ignoring them and doing nothing to integrate them, but occasionally spits out medieval racist insults towards them, followed by guidelines aiming to protect the good law-abiding indigenous people. And yet all these people who have found themselves here in a desperate effort to escape war and poverty somehow manage to survive without opting for murder or theft. Could they have actually been affected by our national humanitarian easygoingness? I think, well maybe. And if that’s true, then greek masturbators may actually have a point in their soft, unsophisticated and unmanaged way of life. It could well be that masturbation culture successfully integrates immigrants. Match that Northern Europe with your subsidised language teaching schools, your professional training seminars, your civilised job centres and your cultural openmindedness!

If only there was a slight challenge posed to me, I guess I would probably see all this under a more favourable light and if only I didn’t have loving friends around me all of the freaking time I would be motivated to take life more seriously. I guess it is some kind of challenge trying to analyse this shit for a change… but even if I do, I’d still be stuck with nothing else to do with it than use it as a masturbation aid.

The coffee network

The intricate network of coffee drinkers reiterates into a highly complicated and sophisticated network of transaction, service provision and cooperation, which has not yet been at all investigated, but merely mentioned repeatedly in an effort to be accounted for. This network is something well established in Greece, but not defined, as it is well known that the level of capability for analysis in this country is very basic due to a perverse education system from kindergarten up to the highest levels of research. There is a degree of fairness in this system, as is true for every type of autonomous entity that has evolved democratically. Evaluation, negotiations and buisness arrangements are all settled over glasses of coffee, often outdoors and often due to the lack of office spaces appropriate in other parts of Europe for such conversations.

Greeks are raised from birth almost in such places, spending a large part of their productive time in them and thus are highly accustomed to deal with the language, mannerism and casuality of the meetings occurring there. It is a construct that is much to blame for an entire nation΄s attitude towards work, life and other people. Greeks, if not psychologically handicapped in some way or for some other reason excluded from cafes tend to show very little stress in their social life (relative to the rest of Europe – especially the northern parts) or professional networking, as it is all something they have been preparing for and acclimitised to since very small children.

It is true for any european capital or big city that the place where one would choose to have a drink and spend their leisure time is an indication of their social class and taste. However, in Athens, the choice of coffee-bar is definitive and creates a state of exclusion and inclusion unique to most places in Europe, which I at least have lived in or visited. My own coffee-bar peers seem to form their social, political and ethical outlook in this environment, which they visit on almost daily basis. This coffee drinking-cigarette bearing culture is what makes greeks somewhat blaze and often ackward when removed from their natural environment, ultimately unable to abandon their sunny, vibrand nichees and adopt the individualistic, socially tight, family orientated, economically straightforward lifestyle of their northern european counterparts. I bet that if our politicians were placed in bar-cafe setting they would be able to negotiate for once effectively.

Africa

I’m so fucken tired of thinking forwards, backwards, sideways and into the dark. Everything is spinning around and round until all this spin becomes by natural biorhythm, becomes me. Fate has altogether failed me, it seems to not exist, as everytime I seem to get my hopes up and down again. That also has become a fearful second nature to hope a conscious hopeless hope and wish without believing. This can surely lead nowhere, but if I thought that anything led to anything significant I would take up on it, but I don’t. I’m a lonely boy, I’m a lonely girl, I’m a mother and no longer a daughter, I’m in that position where I have to make it happen, cause if I don’t then no one will, but I don’t want to. I wish she was still alive, my mother, even though I’m fully aware that she was just there to make things worst in such a way that I would have to react in order to make them better.

Everyday I have to try to give too much, I’ve been sucked dry. There’s no blood, no hope, no fun in it, I have nothing to give, just the essentials required for a descent survival, how can a child live on that? And then again how can I say all that when a sea of people surround me, calling me, talking to me, touching me, hugging me, kissing me, wanting me, giving what they can? I must be some kind of ungrateful needy bitch. But I don’t really need them… I need love, true love, true desire, true sex. I need a man-trap, one, which by definition is bound to leave you high and dry.

I wish I could take them and fly off back to Tanzania… live in the rainforest and smoke joints, while little Pilos plays with blue colobus monkeys. I wish I could cultivate bananas and yams up in the East Usambaras with all those oblivious wise people, along with ghosts and faith in black magic. We would put Pilos to bed and go down to the bar in the evening for a Kilimanjaro beer and a joint and then have wild sex with the beasts and the ghosts listening and howling outside.

Προσφορά Υπηρεσιών

Δεν υπάρχει αύριο, κι όμως πιστεύω ότι θα επιβιώσω… Κάνω κάθε μέρα όλα εκείνα τα μικρά πράγματα που σε κάνουν λίγο ευτυχισμένο, κι αν κι αυτά έχουν συρρικνωθεί στο ελάχιστο για τη μικροαστική μου ύπαρξη, θα είναι πάντα περισσότερα από εκείνα που έκανα όταν ζούσα στη βόρεια Ευρώπη. Την περισσότερη ώρα βέβαια απλά σκοτώνω χρόνο. Υπήρχε μια εποχή που θα σκότωνα  για να έχω αρκετό χρόνο να βάψω τα νύχια μου, να ξυρίσω τις μασχάλες μου ή και να μαγειρέψω ένα φαί της προκοπής… Υπήρχε μια εποχή πριν δύο χρόνια που έτρωγα μόνο όρθια πάρα πολύ γρήγορα για να προλάβω να πάω να κατουρήσω μετά… Αυτή η εποχή όμως τελείωσε μαζί με την ιδέα της απασχόλησης στην Ελλάδα. Βέβαια αν και το δίκιο του στραβού θα ήθελα να εκφράσω, και τότε τίποτα απολύτως δεν έκανα, ήταν όλο μία τρύπα στο νερό, καθώς στο πυκνό και παραμυθένιο δάσος της προσφοράς των υπηρεσιών, προσέφερα κι εγώ τη δική μου υπηρεσία, ικανή και αρκετή να προστατέψει τον εαυτό της και το δάσος από την ανυπαρξία, μα ανίκανη να αντιταχθεί σε κάθε λογική που αμφισβητούσε τη σημασία του. Επιβιώναμε στο μικρό μας γραφειάκι με τους καφέδες, τα τσιγάρα, τα γέλια και τις φωνές κι ήταν όλα γλύκα, αλλά ένα άγχος μεγάλωνε μέσα μου ενώ περνούσαν τα χρόνια και γινόμουν παλιά «δεν κάνουμε απολύτως τίποτα…». Πραγματικά, όπως το δικό μου γραφειάκι τόσα άλλα δεν έκαναν τίποτα απολύτως, πέραν του να βρίσκουν πελατεία σε γενική ευδαιμονία, πρόθυμη να πληρώσει για τις φανταστικές υπηρεσίες μας και με μεγάλη αυταρέσκεια να αγνοεί επίμονα το κενό μπροστά στο μεγαλείο του μικρού λίθου που είχε τοποθετηθεί για μια πρόοδο που όλοι γνωρίζαμε μόνο ένας από μηχανής θεός θα έφερνε.

Δεν σας κρύβω ότι πριν 1-2 χρόνια όταν ξεκίνησαν να κλείνουν τόσα μαγαζιά και εταιρείες προσφοράς υπηρεσιών, αισθανόμουν ασυγκράτητη και χαιρέκακη ικανοποίηση. Κυρίως γιατί τόσες φορές είχα σηκωθεί απ’το γραφειάκι μου με μια προσεκτικά μελετημένη πρόταση για κάτι «άλλο», κάτι που θα μου εξασφάλιζε τη δημιουργική επιβίωση και κάθε φορά έπαιρνα το απογοητευτικό νεύμα να ξανακαθίσω σε απάντηση. «Δεν αλλάζει τίποτα ποτέ» μου έλεγαν οι άλλοι, «προσπαθήσαμε χίλιες φορές, μα εδώ μέσα το μόνο που μας ενδιαφέρει είναι να επιβιώνουμε». Κι έτσι καθόμουν ξανά μπροστά στα κατεβατά που μετέφραζα και το facebook, liking και commenting και updating my bloody status, όλη μέρα, όπως κάνω και τώρα δηλαδή.

Και μια μέρα είπα, «Χέστη αυτή τη μαλακεία!». Έτσι κι αλλιώς ούτε ξέρουν τι μου χρωστάνε σε μισθούς, σίγουρα θα είμαι καλύτερα να το κάνω αυτό απ’το σπίτι μου και να περπατάω στο δρόμο όλη μέρα και να γράψω ένα μυθιστόρημα, και να μαγειρεύω και να ακούω μουσική και να πίνω καφέδες με όλους τους άλλους ανέργους… Δε θα δουλεύω απλά για να τρέφω ένα σύστημα σάπιο που θα με σαπίσει κι εμένα στο τέλος. Εξάλλου θα γλιτώσω και τα έξοδα του πήγαινε-έλα, της νταντάς και της ημερίσιας τυρόπιτας που με έχουν κάνει να μοιάζω με παραφουσκωμένη μεσήλικη, κάπου κοντά στα 30.

Λοιπόν, τελικά αυτό που ήθελα να πω, ήταν ότι δε σηκώνω την Ελλάδα στην πλάτη μου, θα μπορούσα να είμαι οπουδήποτε στην Ευρώπη και να επιβιώνω κουτσά στραβά, αλλά του πούστη, εδώ θέλω να ζήσω γιατί εδώ αγαπώ, εδώ αισθάνομαι, αλλά αν με ξαναβάλετε στο ηλίθιο τριπάκι ενός αντιπαραγωγικού συστήματος προσφοράς υπηρεσιών ορκίζομαι θα φύγω!… Μάλλον δε θα φύγω, αυτό δε θέλω ούτε να το σκέφτομαι, το έκανα αρκετά,… Θα μείνω! Και δε θα κάνω απολύτως τίποτα!!! Σαν όλους τους ανόητους, εσάς. Και σκέφτομαι τώρα, στο τέλος, άντε και τη βγάλαμε ως δια μαγείας, ή αρχαίας ιστορίας, ή γενικού ερωτισμού, μετά λοιπόν θα μας ρουφήξει μια άλλη χαράδρα και θα λέμε πάλι γιατί εμείς; Ωωωω θεέ μου η απάντηση είναι τόσο σύντομη και απλή… γιατί ποτέ δεν πήραμε τους εαυτούς μας στα σοβαρά και δεν κάτσαμε να αναλογιστούμε μήπως 1 και 1 κάνει όντως 2 (στο σύνολο των πραγματικών αριθμών).