Saturday, November 13, 2010

A phone call from Reyna, our neighbour in Athens. Oh, dear, a problem? No. She just wanted to tell us that she is once more taking over looking after the block of flats. When Chris first bought the flat and for a long while after she was sort of house mother as it were but then she got a bit tired of it so the maintenance was farmed out to a commercial company who will not be doing it anymore. It is not that they did anything wrong but obviously with the recession everyone is pulling in horns and it has been decided the expense can’t be sustained. I wonder how many other blocks of flats have decided to save on the expense and exactly how much of an adverse effect it will have on the company. Driving into Souda last Friday two things struck me; I’ve probably mentioned this before but all the road signs are defaced with meaningless political slogans, meaningless that is except to the idiots who belong to whatever terrorist group is responsible. Some have been so covered in black spray paint they are almost illegible. This graffiti is sheer vandalism. The second thing that struck me is the number of shops and businesses that have closed in the month since we last drove along the Souda Road and the premises left empty. The ‘To Let’ signs are everywhere. Another sign of the recession. There is an exception – yet another Chinese shop has opened opposite the two mega ones already in existence and the one in Kalyves makes it four.
Talking of graffiti The Athens News has done a whole article on it and evidently much of the major stuff is not down to a single individual but is a team effort. The problem is these guys are seldom caught and where a blank wall say is covered in what can only be called a work of art, well that is fine. It’s the mindless scribblings that deface surfaces everywhere that are so ugly.
For example, there is a wall in Athens that is decorated in black and white with enormous portraits of Laurel and Hardy that is really beautifully done and is something to look at with admiration. Unfortunately people have already started to deface it with their initials. Yes, I am fully aware that graffiti has always been with us but, like the New York subway, zero tolerance is required here.
In New York once I saw someone had written words to the effect of ‘down with graphiti’ and someone had added, ‘if you don’t like graffiti learn to spell it properly.’
What Athens needs, and I presume other Greek cities, is someone to paint pictures on squashed chewing gum. Yes, indeedy, Athens streets are covered in the stuff and there is a guy in England who carries his large box of paints round the streets of London, find a piece of squashed chewing gum he likes, lies down and paints a picture on it. Well, it sure takes all kinds, doesn’t it? I wonder what could have given him the idea in the first place.

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