Over the past five years or so, people around Europe been telling me that Athens is the new Berlin. And I been saying ‘No, bye.’ And then a smart boy told me, ‘Come on, grumpy. Why so salty? Relax! This is no graffiti contest.’ And I said, ‘Well, if it were a graffiti contest, we would admire the Londoners using silver Montanas for their throw-ups, while los Madrileños would paint funkier, vibrant colours. Then we would both thank a vandal universe of heterogenous styles -not mannerisms- for this holy diversity. Why should my city be defined by your city’s throw-ups? I don’t think Theseus and 2.5k years of history would approve of this.’ ‘Has Berlin ever been mean to you, man?’ said the smart boy. ‘Well, know this, what a glass is for a pool, localism is for nationalism.’ Insightful little devil, I had to admit.
I saw the greatest minds of my generation destroyed by the 40- hour-week, slithering towards the office, swollen wrists of tendonitis, aching 90th degree spines, blue-blood daughters of white-collar genealogies, pale-eyed sons of insomnia and Xanax, who left their siblings’ wedding parties before they were over, to rush back home, save their bristles and sleep for a short hour, so that they present themselves as decent and productive for work, who hid their Black Flag tattoos and their past in autonomy under Vardas suits and gaudy, golden cufflinks, who covered abortions with designer shrouds and suicide attempts under bracelet-handcuffs, who argued with their cyborg spouses about whether SEGA or Nintendo would make the better nanny for their new-born android, who quietly sobbed in fetal position over a lost promotion, partly covered in hyacinth-scented essential oils in four-legged- bathtubs, who believed in trickle-down economics, monotheistic male divinity and the theory of the two extremes, even though they should have known better, damn, who lived a year of winter and ten days of summer and experienced no climate change between the transient seasons, who spent their BAs in pot ramen and their MAs in overboiled pasta, trying to catch the deadline of fine dining in their Michelin forties, who paid three months of rent in front, as a mortgage of trust and respect to the landlordman who will overcharge them for pre-existing damages at the end of their contract, who sometimes blankly stare at their computer screen, vacant eyed workplace-sleepers, trying to grasp onto a beautiful moment of paused nothingness, who have competitive CVs, drive sunroof SUVs, share concrete STDs, watching a POV of themselves working harder in VR.
Bollocks! The kicks and the checks, the brekkies and the shakies. Bollocks! The filthy lavatories and the lonesome slums. Johns and Maries of this world! I’m with you in Tiredsville. Copywriting and copyrighting, content puking, where poets get hired as social-media executives. I’m with you in Laptopland. In plastico!
WAR ON MARBLE
See this Doric column? It was ordered by an ambitious politician, dedicated to a wise goddess, designed by a skilled architect, built by a punctual slave, butchered by a hate-filled Christian, stolen by a prolific art smuggler, displayed in a showcase, innit? ‘Yet still the gods are just, and crimes are cross’d See here what Elgin won, and what he lost! Another name with his pollutes my shrine’ .
*Lord Byron, ‘The Curse of Minerva’, in Lord Elgin and the Marbles, by William St. Clair (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1983), p. 261.
Alexandros studied Journalism in Athens & Writing in Brighton. He explores the grotesque & the unholy. He really likes custard cookies & believes Hofner basses are only good for firewood.