The greek way of doing business

I know it is lazy blogging, but I just came across the following short story under the title ”Greek way o doing business”. It was written, I believe, by a guy caed Leon Georgiou, and I thought I might steal it off him as it will probably put a grin on the faces of my greek relatives. If it is accurate – and, let’s face it, I think it might be it is an illustration of why we should all be rather concerned about the greek bailout scheme.

‘Greek way of doing business

It is a slow day in a little Greek Village.

The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted.

Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a 100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the 100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the 100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the 100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the 100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna.

The tavern owner slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the 100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the 100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the 100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism. And that, Ladies and gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.”

Okay, I’m a linguistic fuddy duddy

I have been living in south London for almost two years now, so I have got used to the local accent. At first I really noticed it: coming from ‘oop north’, the way in which the people down here speak seemed strange and unfamiliar. Now, of course, the south London accent has faded into the background, and no longer catches my attention. The other day, however, something rather odd happened which I think I need to record.

Chopper and I were in a chippy on the road back from Bexleyheath. We were cold, hungry and I was anxious to get home. While we were waiting for our chips, two girls walked in after us. They were white, and I would guess in their mid to late teens. However, what struck me s unusual about them is how they spoke: they were using a form of English I had only rare heard before. I guess it was a type of patwa used mostly by afrocaribean black men, but the way in which they were using it made it almost completely incomprehensible. Even chopper, a native of these parts, had to ask them what they were saying.

It is only natural that languages evolve and new dialects form – and this was indeed a dialect – but there was something in the way these girls were speaking which struck me as odd. They were using phrases like ‘I is’ rather than ‘I am’; they were playing fast and loose with grammar and syntax and thinking it made them look big. When Chopper spoke to them, though, they answered in perfectly normal English. I’m not trying to be an old fuddy-duddy here going on about linguistic purity, but I must admit he way kids around here seem to be starting to use this aggressive, simplistic sounding, grammatically incorrect patwa seems to annoy me, yet I can’t put my finger on why. Mind you, it could just be because I don’t understand it. Well, that and the fact it sounds awful when I try to use it on my Lightwriter.

a trekkie’s treat

There is something about Star Trek first Contact that brings me to tears. It was just on Channel Four. That was a strange thing in itself really, as, lying in bed this morning, I was thinking about how long it had been since I had watched it, going over my favourite scenes in my head. I had no idea it would be on today, and shrieked with joy when I saw it coming up. Much to Lyn’s bemusement, then, I just spent two happy hours on the sofa getting reacquainted with an old friend, saying my favourite lines as the actors on screen say them, and trying to ignore the sarcastic chuckles coming from the two cynical women in the kitchen when data says things like ”I am…fully functional”.

I suppose I have a strange relationship with first contact. In a way I love it in almost the strongest sense; a large part of my master’s thesis is devoted to it. In a way it is deeply personal. There is one scene in it which I revere above all other moments in cinema – a scene where I think I can read all of my anger and emotion concerning the death of my friends on Patrick Stewart’s face. But I’ve written about that on here before, and I don’t feel like going over it again. There is something else about this film I like though: it is a kind of hope. It is a film that says that, no matter how badly humanity screws things up, we will have a bright future.

Evening is falling. Chopper asked me to go round to his after my film so iii might head out soon. On my way, I’ll look up: the sky is not as clear here as it was in Cheshire, but you can still make out the brightest stars. I still wonder, every time I see them, if we will ever explore space as we do on Star Trek. We can only hope that one day we can overcome our petty differences and together reach for the final frontier.

DAN’s gonna have a field day

Oh god, DAN (the disabled people’s Direct Action Network) is gong to have a field day with this. While I must admit that it made me chuckle, the fact that comedians on both sides of the atlantic are now openly taking the piss out of susan boyle, a woman who clearly has learning difficulties, is worrying. There may be danger in taking ourselves, as a subculture, too seriously, but the fact that mainstream culture now sees minorities like the disabled as fair game for derision is cause for concern. While one could argue that it is just a result of us crips being more visible in society nowadays, you could also argue that, as society comes under more economic and thus social strain, this is a sign that mainstream culture is closing ranks and pushing out anyone seen as different; and that, if true, is very worrying indeed.

independence vs mum’s christmas pudding

Sitting on the sofa yesterday evening, feeling my stomach digest a large and very delicious Christmas dinner, I reflected on the fact that yesterday saw my first Christmas day away from my family. To be honest I was feeling odd about it: I was in a strange sort of mood… I was not feeling sad, for I was with Lyn and so had no reason to be sad; yet if I’m honest part of me was missing my parent’s house. I had spoken to my family earlier in the day – my brothers were ‘home’ for Christmas, so everyone was there except me. I knew that, as we spoke, the most delicious flavours would be wafting out of the kitchen, and I could not help but reflect glumly on the fact that, for the first time ever, I would not be there to get my share.

Yet about mid afternoon, with no warning, the glumness had switched to a great feeling of positivity. Okay, so I wasn’t with my family, and I wouldn’t be scoffing down a large slice of mum’s home made Christmas pudding, but what am I? a kid? I was doing something far better, in a way: I was being an independent man enjoying his first Christmas dinner at home with his future wife. It suddenly occurred to me that I may have never have done that, and that it would not be good if I was to forever eat my Christmas dinners with my parents. In short, as we attempted to tell Mitchell how to make roast potatoes, I realised I had become an adult. And that thought felt good.

Having said that, there are some things I still miss. Shop bought Christmas pudding is not that good, and we had no brandy butter or cream, so the next time we talk possibly later today if they’re not busy – I’ll ask mum to send down too large portions of each. Independence is a very good thing, but nothing compares to my mum’s cooking.

A cozy interview with David Attenborough

Lyn and I are spending a nice, quiet christmas eve at home. I think a couple of friends are coming over later,and, if I play my cards right, I’ll be having a wee dram or three with them. It’s nice and warm and cozy here; apart from that, I don’t have much to report. Just too get us all feeling festive, then, I think I’ll just direct you here, to a Rado Times interview with David Attenborough. There are some people whose very presence makes you relax, and sir David is one of them.

Merry christmas every one!

two musical notes

Two music related links to send you to today. Firstly, here’s Lyn’s summery of the Ipad’s apps for music. It iss rather short, but nonetheless informative. Secondly, although I suspect it might be a hoax, Hayibo.com has a story about a group in africa releasing a song called ”Yes we know it’s christmas”, a long awaited reply to the Liveaid song ”Do they know it’s Christmas.” Growing up I had to listen to that song every christmas school disco, so it’s good to hear that Sir Bob Geldof has finally had his question answered.