Sunday, January 29, 2012

The earthquake was followed up by another twenty-four hours later so I have now slept through three earthquakes. I’ll never forget as a kid seeing the 1936 film ‘San Francisco’ and being terrified out of my mind by the panic in the streets, the falling masonry and in particular the bar scene during the earthquake.

It’s the memory of the swaying and then crashing chandelier that I can still see after all these years, such was its impact. Chandeliers must have a certain cachet in show business. Think of ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ And there are possibly more. It’s a good effect. The film received six Oscar nominations but won only one – for best sound recording.

I can still see Clark Gable in that movie though I have no recollection of Spencer Tracy and Jeannette MacDonald who also starred in it.

Finished reading the ‘Kenneth Williams Letters’ and I was really disappointed to have reached the end because I would have liked more. Judging from these letters he really was quite a remarkable man; not just a funny face and a funny voice but erudite and obviously a deep thinker. It’s a shame he had to suffer so many painful ailments and really I suppose his death at sixty-one came as no surprise. I found myself wishing I had known him. He had something of a reputation of being a viper but was obviously extremely loyal to his friends and in fact I think it was simply that he didn’t suffer fools gladly, and my god the world is full of fools.

We have met a sprightly old lady of 91 who lives in Xania. She is a real charmer and recently she discovered that her life savings of over five thousand euro had been stolen from her bank account and there is no way she can recover that money. Not a nice thing to happen to someone of ninety-one. Not a nice ting to happen to anyone for that matter. What makes the situation even sadder is the police discovered the thief to be a Bulgarian woman who our acquaintance employed to clean her flat and had done so for the last ten years so they obviously got to know each other very well. I don’t suppose they could be referred to as friends exactly but the lady after all this time was naturally completely trusted. Evidently she filched the old girl’s bank card and every two days withdrew seven hundred euro, putting the card back after each withdrawal. She has two children and must have been desperate, the state of affairs in Greece being what they are. The first time was easy, so the second time followed, and the third, and the fourth until Marie went to the bank on other business and discovered the loss. One has to feel sorry not only for her losing all that money but for the woman ruining her life.

But the economic situation in the country gets worse day by day. There are now more people queuing up at soup kitchens and more and more people being made homeless and more and more crime. It is the great depression all over again. In the meantime the government has a list of over 4000 people owing billions in unpaid taxes – a total debt to the state of almost 50billion euros going back many years including –

Yiannis Raptopoulos 14,300,000

Pavlos Psomiadis 1,150,000

Sami Fais 1,820,000

Yiorgos Batatoudis 2,500,000

And a single individual, Nikos Kasimatis owes a staggering 952million!

There is little chance of much of this loot being recovered. And just how did all this come about? I think arrant corruption over many years has a lot to answer for.

The rich get richer. The poor get poorer.

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