We really are a tiny country. This little island we inhabit is so small that finding it on a small scale world map is a real quest. To sum up our history, for approximately the last 12 thousand years our fate has been that of a tiny island with a tiny people. Other, more powerful people made decisions for us (without us).
I can’t really speak for my great ancestors so I will speak about what I know. When I was born in the early 1980′ s Cyprus was still struggling to recover from the devastating consequences of the Turkish invasion in 1974 that resulted in the division of the island by half.
Even today, every single time I wake up in the middle of the night from a loud thunder or bang my heart throbs in fear of an air invasion, and I wasn’t even alive at the time.
We live in peace but in a kind of peace that is so fragile that always, in the back of our heads, we know that we can never be safe. Still, life happens despite wars and despite destruction. And that’s what we did, slowly easing ourselves into the same kind of comfort zone that most of you live in right now.
And suddenly, without a single loud thunder or horn as a warning, that is about to change.
For a few days there, I lost all hope. I, as almost every other person on this island have been glued on the television for days seeking something, anything, that resembles a flare of hope for the future. But I could not find any. Me, my family, my friends, all the good and hard working people in my country are going to be hit hard in the coming months, in ways that maybe we can’t even comprehend right now. But that is not the worst part. The worst part is realising that our future, our fate is out of our hands. That we are small and insignificant, little pawns in the hands of the great and powerful.
The last few days have passed in a blare. But today, all I wanted to do was listen to music. Whatever happens, nobody can take away the music.
People from the outside are amazed by the lack of a strong widespread social reaction to everything that’s happening. What they don’t realise is that we have been through and have managed to overcome a lot worse that this. We are a strong, courageous and proud people like all the people of this world are strong, courageous and proud.
What the big and powerful don’t understand is that there are some things that they can never take away from us. The cannot take away the sun or the cool blue waters of the Mediterranean sea. They can never take away our passion, our compassion or our solidarity.They can never take away our dignity. We will not fight to save a bank or fix a broken economic system but we will fight for the well being of the less fortunate. We will work hard to keep the dreams of our children alive. To give them a chance to built a future. That’s reason enough to live for. Life is, to be continued.
They called her Stefka, but that was not her real name.
She was eleven years old and when on the 22.1.2013 she got severely injured by a bus and later died nobody cared.Nobody turned up to claim her body from the morgue.
As it turns out Stefka was just another 11 old child trafficked to Thessaloniki (Greece) from Bulgaria with a fake passport to “work” as a traffic- light beggar.
Her real name was Margarita (Daisy), and all she wanted to do was to ride her bitten up bicycle.
On the 25th of September Alberto Casillas stood up against the Spanish riot police and prevented them from entering his restaurant in order to protect protesters that had sought refuge behind it’s doors.
And this is what happened right after:
Notes: “I think it’s gonna rain today” is a song written by Randy Newman. It came out in 1968 and has been covered by more than 50 different artists since.
My personal favourite is this by Nina Simone.
1. I have gone back to working crazy hours at the office.
2. My personal time has been limited to 30% of what it was the last 2 months so I’ really can’t find much time to have thoughts much less write about them.
3. Plus, I’ ‘ve been trying to recover from a case of the back to school blues.
4. I just realised that the only way to avoid them is probably by having three kids driving you crazy all summer.
5. The (just slightly) cooler weather has been helping.
6. I have had a little bit of fun at the Flying Away Festival. You can see some pictures over at georgiesmummy.
7. I’ve been reading Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being ( 1984) , Jack Kerouac’s Visions of Cody (1952) and re-reading the truly perfect The Great Gatsby ( 1925). Yes, simultaneously. Well, not really but I can’t seem to stick on one of them, so I pick one or the other depending on my mood. I’ve never done this before, but it’s actually pretty cool because it allows the flow of ideas. I know it sounds a little bit pretentious but see it as watching a film with several different plot lines all mixed up together.
8. On another -less complicated- note I have been spinning Wilco’ s Wilco the Album (2009), Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg (1969) and the hitrecord compilation Move on the sun (2012). No not simultaneously, but now I think of it, it would probably be fun to try!
9. I don’t really know when my next post will be but it’s probably going to be on The Unbearable Lightness of Being and girls and boys and everything that comes (and goes) between them.
live your life with the volume full!
My chamomile tea tells me (written at the tip of the teabag) that one comes to a conclusion only when one is tired of thinking. But I can’t help myself from thinking. I got all these questions (don’t know who I could even ask).
If bonds are the things that hold everything together what happens when they break? If all your energy is spent on trying to fix them, what happens when you realise that you can’t.
When you walk away, how do you know that you will not want to go back?
When you tell someone that they can hold your hand how soon do you become feeling burdened by it?
Will I be able to think more if I feel less? How do I begin to feel less and how will I know that I stopped feeling if I stop feeling?
How do you say goodbye?
How do you accept that silence is better that conflict?
How do you give up on your anger? Is your anger your enemy or your friend? And when your anger washes away what is it that stays behind? Sadness or emptiness? Does your response to other people’s anger define you? Does it make you weak or apologetic? Does it make you revengeful and bitter? Does it make you a victim? Does it make you stronger?
How do you overcome? If you can’t keep bonds from breaking up where do you find the strength to build new ones?
Fuck, when will I get tired of thinking?
Notes: 1. “got all these questions, don’t know who I could even ask” is a lyric from the Pearl Jam song I Got Shit (or I Got Id) from the Merking Ball EP ( 1995).
2. I didn’t mean for this post to be sad, though it does look a little bit that way.
3. Any thoughts on any of these questions? Please share!
I was strolling around this big -chain – electronics /music/ book store the other day. While i was browsing through the graphics/ art publications i came across a book ( the tittle of which i will not name but i will say it was not “Steal this Book”) that featured a series of stencils cut out in the shape of some popular street art stencil motifs. So you can actually take them and become a street guerilla -man fighting against the machine. You know, with your newly acquired revolutionary stencil book that you got for 29 euros at your local massive chain store, the archetype of mass consumption! What the f***? Ah, let’s all kneel before the holiness of marketing. Making a product out of outrage, frustration, political critique and free expression!
Note: The picture was taken from exiledonline.com and i found it through google images. It’s from Athens.
The title could alternatively be “music that I can’t help but smile (and dance around barefoot) to”. So, these are some of my favourite happy songs:
1. Tiny Dancer- Elton John (1971)
I think this song has become synonymous with the -by know infamous- bus scene in Almost Famous. What a beautiful song. What a beautiful film. In fact let me take a moment here to thank Cameron Crow from the bottom of my heart for making such an awe-inspiring film. And for the Pearl Jam 20 film. And for Say Anything. Singles (what a soundtrack). Elizabethtown. We Bought a Zoo. Jerry Maguire. Everything really.
2 . Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye (1973)
3. Better Things – The Kinks (1981)
I just read on Wikipedia that the folks over at American Songwriter has chosen this as their favourite break- up song. Interesting…
“Heres wishing you the bluest sky, and hoping something better comes tomorrow. Hoping all the verses rhyme, and the very best of choruses too. Follow all the doubt and sadness. I know that better things are on the way”.
Well, I did try to break up with someone this way before. It didn’t work. And no, sorry American Songwriter this is clearly not a break -up song. But I see it working well as a make -up song.
4. Hometown Blues- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (1976)
5. Arms Aloft – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros (2003)
Joe Strummer is one of my heroes. I have so much respect for him. This song actually came out posthumously but it goes to prove that Strummer made great music both with and without the Clash, throughout his life.
6. I believe in miracles –Ramones (1989)
It’s the Ramones. It’s punk. And it’s happy.
7. Down – Pearl Jam (2003)
Inspired by the great Howard Zinn.
8. Old White Lincoln – The Gaslight Anthem (2008)
There’s not much to say about this except that (a) I love The Gaslight Anthem and (b) I love high top sneakers.
9. Soulless – Fake Problems (2010)
This one is a big hit with children under the age of 4 in my social circle.
10. Such Great Heights- The Postal Service (2003)
This song has inspired a whole series of actual covers (listen to the Iron& Wine one, it’s mesmerizing) and a series of copycat songs (and bands). To think that this actually came up from a Ben Gibbard side project with Jimmy Tamborello without them really meeting each other or being in the same room during the production.
11. Brave the Storm- Graham Coxon (2009)
Such a sweet song.
12. Les yeux ouverts – Sylvie Vartan (unknown date)
This is actually a french cover of the timeless Dream A Little Dream of Me which was first published in 1931 and has been covered and re-recorded countless times since. Sylvie Vartan for example also recorded a coven in 1969 for the film Nostalgia in Italian.
I hope I made you smile there for a second or two.
So the Internet has just informed me that today (the first Sunday of August) it’s friendship day. Ah friendship! I love my friends and I suspect most of you do too. They are there to witness and congratulate us on all our triumphs – like baking peanut butter cookies- and they are there to support us through rough times. They manage to keep their patience through our mood swings (ok, ok, my mood swings) and they forgive us because no matter what they see through all our mistakes and sometimes bitter words.
The truth is that I only have very few true friends. At some point Facebook actually pointed out to me – the nerve!- that I may well be antisocial because I had made the least number of new friends from all my other friends. I’m sorry Facebook but I’m not going to suddenly become “friends” with hundreds and hundreds of people just to satisfy your networking appetite!
But I hate to admit that Facebook was actually on to something here. Making friends has never been easy for me. As a kid I was exceptionally shy and as a teen and in my twenties I was a mix of a person that calls on other peoples bulshit and a self-righteous know it all that had limited tolerance over ideas, beliefs and ways of living that did not coordinate with mine. Ok, I did –thankfully- have a few redeeming qualities (being able to cook a descent meal was a big plus for me in Uni) and I have through the years learned not to judge people but rather try to be more understanding and try to see where they are coming from.
So now you see that my friends are actually heroes! I mean, wow, they managed to stick around. Especially that one friend that has somehow (I really don’t know how)- stuck with me since we were 1.20 meters tall.
Well, at least they are my heroes. They inspire me. They make me want to be a better person. We give and we take and we laugh and we cry and ok, sometimes we fight but mostly we love.
Now that I come to think of it, we are actually our friends’ eye- glasses. Let’s all admit it. We tend to get a little (existentially) farsighted when it comes to dealing with problems. It’s always challenging, frustrating and difficult to deal with our own but when these same issues are a little bit further away, when they involve our friends we are perfectly able to see through all rough situations and make up solutions. It’s a good thing then that our friends are our eye glasses!
Notes: Together Through Life is Bob Dylan’s 33rd studion album.
This weeks post is about “Naïve: Super” by Erland Loe, the book that changed my life. Sort of.
I really can’t remember how I stumbled upon this book or why I decided to buy it. Probably because of it’s title. Or the fact that it was written by a Norwegian guy.
What I remember is that at the time I wasn’t very happy. I was more like, sad. I was also very angry. I was angry because I couldn’t find the way to make myself happy again. Or just less sad.
It didn’t make any sense. Nothing had changed. On the surface everything was the same, but from the inside everything was just… empty, as if someone had sucked all life and meaning out of them. I wasn’t even 27 and I somehow managed to hit a wall.
Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. This was not the plan. Working more than 10 hours a day, doing this job that I was supposed to love but which I kind of hated, having so little time, being single, watching everyone around me move on with their lives, becoming adults (i mean “real” adults), getting married, having kids while I…while I was still trying to figure things out.
And what was the point of figuring it all out? What was the point in putting all that effort and all that hard work into relationships and into careers only to end up unfulfilled and alone? Why was the world made the way it was made and why did it work the way it worked? It was like the ties that bounded everything together were suddenly disconnected.
I started reading books almost non- stop in an effort to keep these thoughts away. I had tried to speak to the people around me about my thoughts and how if I kept them in my head for more than a few minutes I would slowly start loosing my ability to breathe but they didn’t seem to understand. And most importantly they didn’t know how to make it go away.
Cue Naïve: Super page 1: “ My life has been strange lately. It came to point where I lost interest in it all. It was my 25th birthday. A few weeks ago”.
I was instantly relieved. I wasn’t alone. This guy had hit the wall too. Big time. He had dropped out of grad school. He had lost all kinds of purpose. All he wanted to do was sit around his brother’s house and make lists. And maybe play, with a ball (a red one). And occasionally try to understand a book about physics and the universe and time. But mainly play with the ball, with his new friend, a little boy. At the end the boy gives him more that he could have ever given to the boy. He slowly starts to see the world through the boy’s eyes . And you see him become a little kid again when his brother decides to take him on a trip to New York for a few weeks.
“ I feel I am on a high. For the very first time in a very long while I have a feeling that anything can happen. This morning I woke up thinking everything could happen, that things would just come to me, and that they would be good. I haven’t felt this way since I was little”.
Here I was reading this book -which I started reading because I didn’t want to think- and all I can do while reading it is: think. So I decided to follow his advice. Well, actually he didn’t advice me to do anything. But at some point he stopped the thinking and the reading and he got on a plane to New York where he started to… well…not really doing things or helping them happen but watching them happen. So, I booked a flight to London. It wasn’t a new place but it was still the kind of place that things, exciting, interesting things happen around you all the time. Also, there was a kid there I wanted to meet. And we played and played and played.
That dude in the book was on to something. Oh, i don’t know what it all means but I want to play.
When we are kids everything is big and new and unfamiliar, a bit scary but also exciting. You throw a ball against the wall and it bounces back and it’s magic. It’s action and reaction and energy and gravity and it all starts and finishes in your tiny little hands. You are as much in control as all the other elements. If there is meaning in everything or anything does it really get much further than that?
P.S: I love you my sweet little girl. I’m really sorry we wont get to play together this summer xxx