Friday, April 30, 2010

A tale of two cultures

I left Pelion very early on Wednesday, getting the bus from Volos at five o'clock in the morning. There was a full moon looking down on a calm sea, giving the water an extraordinary luminescence. I travelled up the peninsula to Volos in Yeorgos's taxi. Two pine martens crossed the road, looking over their shoulders at the headlights of the Mercedes, reflecting the beam back from their eyes. And so I left behind a village culture, difficult and warm in equal measure. I abandoned the need to struggle with my appalling grasp of the Greek language and passed the hospital where my friend was mounting a spirited fightback against a sudden illness. It is a hard place to leave.

As the bus reached Athens the driver cursed his way through the appalling traffic and the courageous and foolhardy driving of those trying to beat it, before reaching the narrow streets where the bus station sits and from where the express airport bus departs. Then there was the tedium of air travel enlivened by excited conversations about the long delays due to the volcano and someone recounting the tale of a Yorkshire fair with an entertainment that featured a man with exploding testicles.

So it was back to Manchester, a host of everyday hassles and the sixties night in my local pub when the landlord's band plays. They enjoy every minute of it. They have been playing cover versions of sixties classics since around the sixties and the audience is made up of people mainly in their sixties. Ageing women jived over the Victorian tiles by the bar. It was lovely in its own way.

And so there I was - two very different, and flawed, cultures. I love them both and I was born into neither. One day I will have to choose and I know what the choice will be. For now, I have the pleasure of both, though I long to be back in Greece and will return shortly. I am a very lucky man.


Will said...

I want to know more about the exploding testicles please.

Talking of which:

interesting read like

Woman to blame for lack of lively spunk in gadgies. Typical!

Anton Deque said...

That first paragraph is a very beautiful piece of prose.

The Plump said...

Apparently, it was the culmination of the act of a local fire eater who would finish by setting off a firework display attached to his groin arranged to look like genitalia. They are like that in Yorkshire.

I didn't pick up any more details. I crossed my legs and tried to think of something pretty.

(And thanks Anton)

Craig Farnes said...

Hey, Dont know your email so ile post it here. Im supposed to be cooking on Monday. Any suggestions? Meat wise we have got lamb mince and Tiny Pork Chops (frozen). Might have others but not sure.

The Plump said...

And I don't have yours Craig - but if you scroll down to the bottom of the blog roll or look on my profile you will find an email link.

fatmanonakeyboard at yahoo dot co dot uk

Use that and I will get back to you

Taylorakis said...


Have been sat here pondering a response to the present calamitous situation here in Greece and its intimate, if different, relationship to what's going on in pre-Election UK, your eloquence has beat me to it. So I'll link to your post on our sites. However I can't hold out hope for the emergence of a radicalised Labour Party. I've been there far too many times.

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