Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It would seem there are even more theatre revivals in London’s West End. They’re being brought out of mothballs because West End managements seem totally unwilling these days to try out new works. New plays are presented only at theatres like The National or The Royal Court. Apart from the musicals, Chicago, Sweet Charity, Little Shop of Horrors etc., we have a spate of old plays from J.B.Priestly, Clifford Odetts, Lillian Hellmann, Ira Levin. Good plays admittedly but why so many revivals? One expects continuous revivals of Coward or Wilde, these plays are perennial classics but somehow it seems tragic that new work is being ignored in favour of so many oldies. And what guarantee is there that today’s audience is going to be any more interested in these than in new works?
For weeks now in Greece it has been nothing but elections. Our friend Helen, who is standing as a candidate, has been sending out daily bulletins by e-mail and on Sunday we duly went up to the school, our polling station, to cast our votes. The elections are for regional positions and municipal, 13 governors and 325 mayors and the procedure is the most complicated, and not very democratic you could come across.
There were three parties standing (one has been knocked out) and you were allowed five votes so, after you’ve been registered, you’re handed four sheets of paper. I say sheets because on the one we voted for there were 55 names!!! The others were almost as long except for the fourth which is blank. Now the reason for this is, if you don’t wish to cast a vote for anyone, you can slip the blank paper in the envelope provided because, if you don’t, it will be presumed your votes will go to the party that has the majority. Work that one out. We voted for Helen and Manolis our local taxi driver as the only two people we knew. We would have voted for the up to now mayor of Vamos, Leonardis, but here is the rub: having voted for the first two who are both in the same party we weren’t allowed to vote for Leonardis who is standing for the second party and we couldn’t vote for anyone in the third party. In other words we were not voting in individuals but voting for parties.
The reason for these elections is a new idea that has been formulated. You can’t fault the Greeks when it comes to new ideas; it’s like the law, you think you know what it is only to find that yesterday it was changed. This new idea is keep the mayors and councils of every piddling little village, and there are many, but have regional governors in overall charge, in our case for the whole of Apokoronas. I don’t know exactly how big Apokoronas is but it must be about the size of West Yorkshire or maybe a bit bigger.
Up to now Vamos has been the capital of the area but, if this election goes the way some want it to, that honour will be transferred to Vrysses, a town about ten kilometres away. God alone knows why when Vamos has all the machinery for local government.
Before voting we asked out friend Georgia who she thought we should vote for but she was scathing enough to say nobody. She has been a councillor in Vamos since the last election and completely disillusioned with politicians and, as far as she is concerned, whoever gets in now, this new lot will be just as bad as the old. I have no doubt a few of them see it as an opportunity of lining their own pockets.
We saw a number of old friends at the polling station and, when we questioned the Greeks, they seemed to be of the same opinion as Georgia. As our friend Menues pointed out he didn’t even know most of the people on the lists so who was it best to vote for?
As it turns out, two parties are neck to neck (I think the communists were knocked out from the first round) so we are expected to vote again this Sunday which I am sure we will do, exactly the same as last Sunday no doubt.

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