Feb 16, 2011

The Hellenic Race

"...there is the bond of Hellenic race, by which we are of one blood and of one speech, the common temples of the gods and the common sacrifices, the manners of life which are the same for all"
Herodotus, Histories 8,144

Feb 14, 2011

What is This Thing Called Love?

Sophia Loren sings amazingly (and perfectly) in Greek a lovely older Greek song by Tonis Morakis, "What is this thing called love?"

Alternative title: "S' agapo" (I love you). Composer: Takis Morakis / Lyrics: Danai Stratigopoulou, Giannis Fermanoglou. From the film "Boy on a dolphin".

Feb 11, 2011

Greek Goddesses: 1.Melina Merkouri

Personality personified. Everything she did, she did with passion, a distinctly Greek trait. Even when misguided, petty things slided off her like water slides off a swan's feathers. Her grace and natural elegance were juxtaposed to a certain je m'en fous attitude and her adherence to who she was.

To the manor born and a prominent actress of international fame, when she was participating in the socialist governemnt of A.Papandreou during the 1980s she was advised to tone down her appearence when going to give a talk in poorer districts of Athens. Melina, defiant and true to herself, refused to get out of the YSL saying "this is who I am, I would be an imposter to don a chinz to go and pretend I'm something I'm not".

Loved and despised like few people have been, she never let anyone indifferent. Isn't that the very essence of being interesting?

The Greeks will be eternally grateful to her for championing the cause of the Elgin Marbles; the missing parts of the sculptures of the Parthenon up on the Acropolis, which were smuggled off the country during the Turkish occupation and the upheaval of the National Revolution by Lord Elgin and were deposited in the British Museum where they remain to this day.

"I flirted down to the last minute of my life", she's quoted to say. The cigarette that was perennially hanging off her lips cut the thread of her life. It was well spent. Opa!

Feb 10, 2011

There is no Ship for You, There is no Road...

The City

You said, "I will go to another land, I will go to another sea.
Another city will be found, better than this.
Every effort of mine is condemned by fate;
and my heart is -- like a corpse -- buried.
How long in this wasteland will my mind remain.
Wherever I turn my eyes, wherever I may look
I see the black ruins of my life here,
where I spent so many years, and ruined and wasted."

New lands you will not find, you will not find other seas.
The city will follow you. You will roam the same
streets. And you will age in the same neighborhoods;
in these same houses you will grow gray.
Always you will arrive in this city. To another land -- do not hope --
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you have ruined your life here
in this little corner, you have destroyed it in the whole world.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1910)

translation from the Greek original by G.Barbanis
Clip recital by Dimitris Horn, a prominent Greek actor

Feb 8, 2011

To Death I say

Today is the 31st anniversary of the death of Nikos Xylouris. In his memory...

To Death I said, to Hades I say,
To Death I said, to Hades I say:
"Damn you Hades and a curse I put upon you!"

And I say to Hades' wife and to Hades' children:

"I have a green garment, never worn before,
I wear it and I laught at your face.
I hold the bread, seven-times leavened bread,
I eat it and I look you in the eye".

And I say to Hades' wife, and I say to Hades' children:
"Damn you, snakes, and no more shall I cry."

To Death I said, to Hades I say:
"Damn you Hades and a curse I put upon you!"

Mourning song by H.Halaris, sung by Nikos Xylouris and Hrysanthos Thoedoridis. From the album "Akoulouthia"