My facebook friends: A user’s guide


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Dear facebook user. Congratulations on your ongoing addiction with the network. You now have, or soon will have, many facebook friends. They need to be treated with care if you want to keep them in great condition for many years. I will try to cover some of the most common kinds that you will encounter, using examples from my own “collection”. In my friends collection, there are around 500 friends. I know most of them in my actual life and we have consumed calories together. This used to be my main criterion for accepting, for a while, before I “friended” anyone. I have now abandoned that and have friended some other people. Still, I have a rough idea what my facebook friends are ‘about’. I divide them in the following categories, with made-up examples:

A) The “too cool for facebook” people. These are generally professionals who go online, check what is happening, but rarely post anything. The message they are giving is “I am too busy for facebook”. In some cases it is true. In other cases, they just don’t want to do what most people are doing on facebook, for their own reasons. These people also rarely message via facebook. They are generally alright, but if you have this sort of friends, it is worth considering whether they make any effort to make contact any other way. Do they call you? Do they text? Do they return your calls and texts in the same decade that you called/texted them? Some will, some won’t. Act accordingly.

Typical post: Rare

B) The “my life is so amazing” people. Not sure I need to say more, they have been the subject of endless online ridicule and rightly so. They will post their incredible news from their award winning, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, super-successful life, to go with their incredibly fulfilling relationship for all to admire. They typically spend most of their time online, checking who liked their posts. Fortunately, I don’t have many of these. If you do, do not be mean to them, they probably used to be nice people in the past. There is hope for the future.

Typical post: “I have been selected by the King of Swaziland to be awarded the Cross of Honour for Outstanding Contribution to Humanity. I am so humbled. Here is the picture of me and my beautiful wife who loves me so much and I love her too, looking humbled by the honour. Long live the King of Swaziland”

C) The photographer. I don’t mean the selfie people. I mean those who take pictures of other things than their own existence and give them to the world to see, sometimes with captions, sometimes not.  I think I like this category. They show a level of engagement with what they think other people may bother to look at, may find interesting and possibly share a view about it.

Typical post:


Hong Kong Geometry

D) The “Truman” people. I am borrowing the name from the movie the “Truman” show, for one reason only. Truman, in the movie, salutes everybody in his made-up community by saying “Good morning, and in case I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night”. The Truman people say “good morning” as if they talk to their neighbours whom they’ve just seen down the road. They don’t see their facebook profile as a painting that someone will only look at if they choose to. They probably think “I’ll say good morning, maybe someone will reply in whatever way, and even if not, what is the harm?”. Again, it is about how one understands their online presence. Mostly nice people, in my friends’ case.

Typical post: “Good Morning”

E) The “I saw it first” people. They are usually also the “I’ve been saying this all along” people. They will upload something, claiming some sort of intellectual possession of it or at least having been the first in some sort of group that knew about something. This ALWAYS, ALWAYS, vindicates their previously existing points of view, which other people may have challenged. Now that they have uploaded this post on fb from another source, it is obvious for everyone to see how right they are. After all, if something is on the web, it is undoubtedly true. Challengers for the most annoying category, in my case.

Typical post: “I’ve been saying this for years, you idiots” – (quasi-scientific article attached)

F) The “you’ve been reviewed” people. They will comment on almost anything, illustrating their intellectual superiority – at least in their mind. Often sarcastic, lobbying for years for a “dislike” button to finish their venomous comments with. The time has come, hasta la victoria siempre. They, like the ones above, talk in the same way in real life. Facebook is paradise for these people, as the fact that they have often been unfriended by many of their fb friends in real life doesn’t seem to register with them, as long as they can log on and contribute some negativity to any topic under the sun.

Typical post – comment: “No, that’s not at all like that you moron. You are clueless. Read some history”

G) The “Oh, so cute” people. Again, not sure I need to say much, picture goes up, they like it and comment on it’s cuteness, be it a a dog, pout, handbag, car, couple kissing, wedding picture, food, you upload it, they will “oh so cute!” it. Harmless for the most part, I suspect they wish someone said the same to them every minute of every day. Wouldn’t that be nice? Yes, it wouldn’t.

Typical comment: “Oh, so cute”

H) The travelling salesman (or woman). These people are promoting something they are doing for a living and they are using facebook for that. I have nothing against them. We live in a world where people are struggling to make a living and if someone can make a penny online, good for them. Sometimes they overdo it. When you know that every single thing someone is posting is a desperate attempt to make money and 99% or more of the time you have no interest in it, it becomes noise. Nobody reads it, because they think they know what it is about. Sometimes they get it right. I have often bought things like that and I always keep an eye, especially when I know some people produce or sell interesting things. I see them as I see shops I like, where I actually am. Part of me belongs to this category, I have a soft spot for it.

Typical post: “Hey, our team at has just released this fantastic potato-peeling wifi signal enhancer, have a look!”

I) The “I saw this and I thought it was interesting/funny”. I think this is my favourite category of fb users. They use facebook as they would behave in a live conversation that included friends AND strangers. “Hey, look at this thing I came across”. Some will find it interesting, others won’t. That is life. Moving on. P.S. If you are finding and sharing 150 “interesting” things every day, you may want to reconsider your definition of interesting. Unless you are 4 years old, in which case, leave facebook now before it is too late.

Typical post: Something off a satyrical or scientific website, without any comments.

J) The “conscientious” user. These people tend to promote good causes. It may be a charity, an event, an organisation, helping individuals, animals, anything that they thought was a worthy cause. I think this is one of the good things that facebook has helped with and I often find myself contributing, when I can and want to. Facebook has helped these people also enhance networks between them, and things become more efficient. I am fine with these people, I think you should be too.

Typical post: “Hi everybody, I have found this dog, if you think you know anyone who would like to adopt him, please give me a call on 077777777”

K) The “I have a view on something, here it is”. Here, you’ll find people who want to elaborate on something, current affairs, news, ongoing debates, anything, and they have written something longer than a few lines. They may have interesting or boring things to say, as does everyone in life. These people, of which I am one, are easy to figure out whether they are worth reading or not. Read a couple of their posts, you’ll know what to do after that. Love them or leave them. Win-win situation.

Typical post: You are now reading one!

L) The selfie people. Enough said.

Typical post: No, I won’t.

M) The “why is everything going wrong in my life?” people. They will not stop complaining online. “My boyfriend left me.” “I can’t stop putting on weight.” “I crashed my car.” “I lost my wallet.” “My boss had a go at me.” To be honest, I am not surprised your boyfriend left you.

Typical post: Well, you get it.

N) The GPS people. Checking in everywhere. I am hoping this will stop at some point. I don’t know why people post that they are at an airport. So, ok, you are going somewhere, so what? I mean, I would understand it if you were flying to South Africa to be given an award by the King of Swaziland but you are at Stansted flying to Mallorca? Really? Ok. Noted.

Typical post: Rigas has just checked in at Vladivostok International Airport, flying to Irkutsk.

Share this post, I’d like to get feedback, especially if I’ve omitted any major category!

Protecting yourself


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There is a personal balance, different for everybody. It’s a shame really, because if it was the same, we could follow the manual and find it, and live in bliss. There will be voices around you that will tell you otherwise. Some with the best intentions, some not. Unfortunately, even those with the best intentions don’t have access to your manual, and the one they have and promote as universal is not. Your balance is your balance and it is, right now, in a place that may require a little or a lot of change, in one direction or another. For example, you may need some more rest, or some more action than now in your life, two different directions. You may need some more human interaction, or some less. Overall, the point is nobody can tell you. You’ll need to work out what is better and sustainable for you. By sustainable, I mean you may go out one night and get wasted and forget about everything that moves you away from your balance, but this is not sustainable. You’ll know what is sustainable when it makes you feel god long after you’ve had it, throughout the day. Alcohol can’t do it. Drugs can’t do it. Comfort food can’t do it. They all lead you further from your balance, not nearer to it. Your body usually tells you too. Think of it this way: If you do 4 hours of it a day for a year, how will your body be? There you have it. Vodka is bad. Yoga is good.

Unfortunately, not everything is so obvious. You’ll need to try different things. How about reading literature, maybe fiction? How about applying for a job every day or every week, just to make you feel there is hope to get out of the place you are stuck now? Plus, it may happen. How about carving half an hour a day for yourself, no matter what else, and you meditate? How about creating a circle of goodness around you, where you are the main force. Tell a couple of people that you like what they are doing. There must be some people that you like what they are doing, big or small, otherwise there must be something really wrong with you, ok? It can be someone selling honeyed nuts on the high street who always has a nice thing to say to passers- by. It can be a blogger :) It doesn’t matter. Just find them and tell them. This will protect you from being always vulnerable to negativity, which permeates your thoughts, and from there your mind and your body. This actually isn’t as deep as it sounds.

I feel really limited in this hotel room, I think I am going to write a blog post about it.

I feel really limited in this hotel room, I think I am going to write a blog post about it.

Ok, you have problems. You may have family problems, children, health issues, financial problems, career issues, and problems that you can’t even tell anyone for whatever reason. I suspect most people do, and I am sure more of them exist than you’d think based on appearances. It doesn’t matter how big yours are. Do something irrelevant to it, if this is what is needed to create some balance. Do you live in a huge city but you are alienated? Try one of the 1000’s of clubs and societies that operate in the city. Small town with limited options? The internet is big. Is your great career in danger because there is a new boss or a horrible colleague? How about writing a funny post about it? Turn them into fictitious characters, keep as much of their horrible actual existence as you want in it and write a funny story about it, or draw a satyrical painting of them, or a poem. (Actually, you can also try reiki, you’ll love it) You’ll be amazed how cathartic this is. All I am saying is there is always another angle to approach things. And your balance is there. Not in finding it. It is in believing it is worth looking for it. Because you’ll be finding new things, where negativity hasn’t got yet. If it turns out it has, keep looking.

Brought to you by

Just this once.

I have read the news about the thousands of refugees trying to get to Europe at any cost, as I am sure you have. I have previously written that I think help starts very near home. We miss out opportunities to help people around us who become invisible, and make our towns and cities worse for that. Still, this is a tragic time, exposing many of the horrid truths about what exactly is happening in the middle East, what is (and isn’t) happening in Europe where some countries, organisations and people offer some help while others don’t. It took a picture of a drowned boy to activate a big response in the UK; was this because those living in the UK didn’t know what was going on before? Hardly. Media power at it’s best and worst, for what was happening before.

Can you, me, everybody, help? Where does this start? It starts here. Have you helped anyone today? Is it because there isn’t anyone to help around? I doubt it. Is it because you can’t help? If you can’t, maybe you can tell a friend about it. £2 will help, and there are endless charities, organisations and events ready to take your equivalent to one cappuccino and turn it into a blanket for those who need it. What the hell is it worth to you? You can, probably, still have the cappuccino afterwards with another £2 that you also have. Are you going to tell yourself the lie that it doesn’t matter, that it is not for YOU to do anything or that it is someone else’s problem?

"This can actually save a life? We have messed up big time"

“This can actually save a life? We have messed up big time”

However, if you are feeling really generous and you can donate over £6, I attach links for three organisations who do this online- the top one is the Red Cross, the second is the International Rescue Committee and the third one is Hope for Children, all focusing on the refugees from Syria in the links below.

Apologies, I have nothing witty, funny or particularly unusual to say. Just this once. Maybe next time.

The Red Cross

The International Rescue Committee

Hope for Kids

This post is brought to you by (This one is not a charity, but if you have any interest in Reiki or who is writing this blog, go on, click!)

Learning from Novak Djokovic


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Most of of you know who Novak Djokovic is, and for those of you who don’t, he is a phenomenal tennis player, number 1 in the world at the time of writing and current Wimbledon champion, having beaten Roger Federer in the final. Also, he is the guy in the picture. I have watched Djokovic play many times. This post is not about learning to do anything specifically related to tennis, from the way Djokovic plays. I am sure advanced tennis players have a lot to learn from him, as he does most tennis “things” exceptionally well, and quite a lot of things better than anyone else. But it is not about that.

This post is about something that he does during play, more than any other player I have ever seen do. Djokovic applauds all the outstanding shots of his opponents and sometimes an exceptional rally. He taps his racket, effectively saying “well done”.


This happens obviously when he has lost a point, and it happens even if the point in question has cost him a game, a set or a match. Why does he do that? Here is why: By applauding, he creates a better world for himself to be in. He has just lost a point by, say, an outstanding cross-court backhand that the opponent did exceptionally well to even get to in the first place, while Djokovic was almost sure to win the point. He could turn to himself and start swearing in Serbian or any other language. That would get him angry, nervous and negative, even for a little bit. His mindset would go into a negative spiral, even for a little bit. Everything about him would go on ‘minus’ mode. Instead, he raises the whole thing. He becomes part of a great point, won by a great player, his opponent. He wins thousands of these himself, there is no need for jealousy, no need for impatience, no need for expression of frustration. He may even be getting a great idea for a similar future shot, assuming he’s never done that himself (…unlikely). This way, he puts himself in the center of a positive sphere. He is buzzing when he is playing, and he remains buzzing. This is keeping his frequency higher, and therefore he is capable of more. (For more info, enquire within :) ) He is more likely to win the next point, game, set and match. At the same time, he has honoured his opponent in public, and added value to the tournament he is participating in. Crowds love him, the world over. TV loves him. Sponsors love him. Everybody wins. He then returns a happier man to his wife and son.

The moral of the story is that there are a lot of ways to make things positive. You don’t need to win Wimbledon or the US Open, and let’s face it, your chances were slim to begin with. (Having said that, I strongly recommend you do, if you can!!!). It doesn’t need to be tennis. It can very easily be any other sport, competition, a professional interaction, a discussion or even an argument.

This is your life. Make it better.

This post is brought to you by

Go to bed with your vibration


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This is something I’ve learnt from reiki. And from going to bed with girls I shouldn’t have. Here is the gist of it. We are vibration. Each of our cells, every bit of our existence is a form of vibration, and it goes up and down. The healthier and more spiritually aware we are, the higher the vibration. The more negative and less healthy, the lower the vibration. This is why children are so genuinely happy and why negative people become ill. Coming back to my original point: our vibrating bodies resonate, like all frequencies, to some vibrations, and do not resonate to others. The right vibration stimulates further vibration, and we get a buzz, the wrong vibration is like a wrong note in a music piece. It is not harmonious, does not resonate, and while in music it metaphorically brings the whole thing down, in vibration it quite literally does.

Now, here is what happens when you go to bed with someone: your mind has told you that they are the right person to go to bed with. Because they are good-looking, because they are smart, because they treat you well, because, because, because. All of the above may have done some work towards bringing your two frequencies closer (and up), but it may also have not. Because they were too different to start with, because it wasn’t the right time, because, because, because. This is something that you shouldn’t try to fix. If you really like the person and they like you back, the frequencies are either already near, or will find each other. It will happen by spending some more time together. When that happens, going to bed with them will be great. You will be making each other not only happy in bed but (…as if that isn’t enough) you’ll be making each other healthier. Because your vibrations will be increasing, your body will be executing its functions – including renewing its own cells – faster. On the other hand, if the two people shouldn’t be together, their frequencies will let them know, regardless of what society will tell them, which may be to get married, be in the same bed, and have children. All of that may happen, but it doesn’t mean it was right to happen. It probably wouldn’t have happened to dolphins, panthers, eagles or any other creatures with a much higher spiritual awareness than us. It only happens to us because we have put our mind in charge, and our mind watches tv, listens to friends, has aspirations and, unavoidably, desperations. And we go to bed with them, instead of that person with the right vibration. All of these aspirations, desperations, shortcomings, fights, anger, hatred, hidden, unspoken feelings, night after night, become our mattress. In terms of energy, this last sentence is exactly literal. And scary. And the wrong person’s energy in the same bed, combined with yours, doesn’t help either. Rings a bell?


What bell? I hear nothing!

An invisible world in crisis

This week the world news was dominated by the Nepal earthquake, with the thousands of victims and the millions of people affected, a tragedy of incredible magnitude. This comes at the back of the ongoing anguish of the immigrants losing their lives in the Mediterranean trying to escape horrible conditions of life in war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East. For most people, these tragic events are happening in places that appear distant both geographically and culturally, as most of us do not live near Lampedusa or Mount Everest. I think that for a lot of people this perceived distance either brings a sense of unjustifiable indifference or a slightly more understandable powerlessness, possibly with the exception of donating money to organisations that take action to alleviate or help with the pain where it happens. By all means, do that if you can. I did. You really can’t hop on a search and rescue boat and go save the immigrants in the Mediterranean. Nepal, the same.

However, while all of this is happening, there are endless situations, life stories much nearer to all of us that often fall through the cracks of a life of the powerlessness that I mentioned above. A life combined with a daily diet saturated with social and other media consumption, from which little energy escapes. The result is a social environment where everybody only cares about their own physical, social and financial ‘self’ as if it exists separate from the people, life and energy around them. We have neighbours who are elderly, alone, have mobility problems, have health issues that are often physically and socially marginalising, and we don’t see them. This, in my view, is a tragedy of equal significance. It may not become visible in the format of a news program that counts dead bodies to terrorise, confuse and subordinate an increasingly powerless electorate, but it is there. Invisible, as we look elsewhere. After all,  everything is invisible if you look elsewhere. Immigrants are invisible when they are drowning but not invisible when they survive and wander in the towns of the northern Mediterranean. This is the story of immigrants in most countries, I suspect, since the first ever war or natural disaster. They then become a convenient villain, a hated enemy or a humanitarian failure of our developed society, depending on your interests and level of understanding. But the elderly man who lives alone for years on the ground floor flat is always invisible. The unemployed single mum of the child in the wheelchair is always invisible. Unless you look. Unless you talk to them, even if it is to smile and say hello to them. Then they become visible. They may even smile back. The millions of these people, facing their own struggles, may smile back. You can even ask them if you can help them with something, maybe help them carry their shopping, which may be really heavy for them as they are, for example, 87 years old and really really weak. What is it to you? 5 minutes less on facebook? 5 fewer minutes wasted on Instagram? 5 minutes of bad TV less? The worldwide suffering will not end. But one personal tragedy, for one little moment, or maybe for more, will be slightly more sufferable. And this is the world you will live in, which you will have improved, and there will be a little bit more smiling around you. Go on, be selfish. Smile.

Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, 2013      (I knew I would get to use this picture at some point!)

Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, 2013 (I knew I would get to use this picture at some point!)

Brought to you by

The Gift Horse of London


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For those of you who are not familiar with it, Trafalgar square is home to four plinths, one in each corner, approximately. Three of them have statues of George IV, Sir Charles Napier and Sir Henry Havelock on them. The fourth is, in my opinion, much more interesting. It hosts a rotation of works of art, and those of you who visited in the last year may have spotted an impressive blue cockerel standing proud on it. As of March 5, 2015, the resident artwork is the Gift Horse by Hans Haacke. It is a bronze sculpture of a horse skeleton, with a gift bow wrapped around one knee. The bow is also a rolling electronic display, with a live feed of share prices from the London Stock Exchange. I’ve read a few reviews of it, some raving about it, some more sceptical. dona ferentes

…et dona ferentes

I personally think it is brilliant. The sculpture invites all sorts of interpretations, as art should. But the name says it all. The reference to the Trojan horse is deafening. The Gift Horse, is the one to “beware of”, for those of you with any trace of knowledge that has escaped the Juggernaut of modern education. The reference to modern economy, banking, the stock exchange and the ‘profits’ it brings is there. It is the bow, that makes it look like a gift. Never mind that all that is left of the gift horse is a skeleton everyone can see through now. It is dead. We take it for a horse because we recognise the skeleton’s shape. It was once a horse and horses are useful. This particular one is useful only if everyone decides to treat it like a horse. In order for that to happen, the first step is all important. A system is required to make people call it a horse. 

My favourite part of this is that the artwork really comments on itself. This Gift Horse really needs to be on a pedestal in order to be seen as a horse and it does it. It needs to be there, hiding in plain sight, and it does it. It only needs to be one metaphorical inch away from real horses, so that people will take this as a real horse, and with the real horses an actual stone’s throw away at Horseguards Parade, it does that too. A wordplay within a metaphor. Magnificent.

P.S.  This blogpost is brought to you by , my other lovechild which I thought I should shamelessly promote, using the blogpost as a gift horse :) Feel free to visit and comment as always!

The mistake


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Now that the negotiations between the greek government and the lenders (Troika) are ongoing and nobody knows what is going to happen, I propose that it is worth considering this; any step back that the lenders and especially Angela Merkel take, includes, for them, the following problem: If they do step back and agree to a new deal effectively admitting that the austerity measures failed (and I am not discussing here whether they did or not, numbers paint a very clear picture if you know what to ask them!) they will lose face in their ability to negotiate from here onwards. If they admit that half the Greek young people are unemployed and the other half is either paid peanuts or have left the country (these are widely available numbers, not ‘Greek statistics’) because of the austerity measures being a mistake, then

a) the lenders are responsible for a national disaster, crucially not of their own nation and

b) they have de facto been proven inadequate to deal with such important issues and therefore inadequate to govern, hence “especially Merkel” as I said above.

In other words, those who are politicians will be politically finished, and those who are financial institutions will also be proven inadequate in dealing with issues of such magnitude and their only relevance will appear to be that they can lend (and not make or influence political decisions). The lenders will, after such a development, be negotiating having effectively admitted that they messed the whole thing up, both towards the Greeks and towards the other nations that were in one way or other, involved in supporting the bailout and the austerity measures through the memorandum. For the lenders, it would have been a potential get-out-of-jail card if they could claim that the memorandum took effect because it was forced by Papandreou, Samaras or Venizelos. These Greek politicians are politically dead and would have been easily expendable. The lenders could have said “ok, let’s have another look at the whole thing. Your leaders messed it up, let’s see what we, the rational and knowledgeable lenders, can do to salvage the situation”. This was the spirit of the memorandum anyway. The lenders had the moral high ground, in addition to writing off a huge part of Greece’s unserviceable sovereign debt. This is why troika (the lenders’ representatives) used to come to Greece and and talk to Greek ministers and PMs as if they were Headmasters talking to unruly schoolchildren.

Now, Tsipras and Varoufakis (P.S. Varoufakis resigned on July 6!) even though they are also leading a party that represents a huge basis of people who were previously PASOK and therefore well within the sphere of responsibility for what has happened, can and do say to the lenders:

a) the memorandum was a disastrous mistake and

b) we didn’t draft it or agree to it, YOU DID

c) everybody in Europe is against austerity, look at the demonstrations


Russell Brand, lending his support to the anti-austerity movement, talking to me in Trafalgar sq. during an anti-austerity demonstration on February 15, 2015.

The lenders can not refute b). They can only argue that a) is not correct. But how can this happen when Greece’s numbers (unemployment, debt, GDP, etc) make Somalia look like a Swiss canton? They need to find a narrative, to which the Greek side has to agree, according to which the lenders did NOT make a mistake. This is why the only narrative from the lenders is, without any exception that “the Greek side needs to come up with new proposals” (btw, they also mean “the proposals need to be exactly what WE have suggested all along, and you need to appear to be asking for it”.) Because the lenders themselves can not come up with anything new. In my view, the most viable forward narrative would be for both sides to say that things have now changed and a new way of dealing with the situation is required, which, by the way, is actually true. That the memorandum was, according to some logic, the right decision when it was taken but now circumstances dictate a new scheme. This would save face for the lenders, whom, lest we forget, after having written off many billions of euros, the Greeks need to continue borrowing from. It is tragic that this debate is over money when people are losing their lives and livelihoods over this but we are where we are. (Note, in Greece on Sunday July 5 a referendum on agreeing with the measures got a NO vote, banks are closed for a week, no obvious reopening point)

The Greek government on the other hand can not appear to compromise much either. Tsipras promised he’ll end the memorandum, is asking for a new loan deal and can’t come of the negotiations and say “well, we tried but they wouldn’t hear a word. We’ll go on and see what happens”. SYRIZA needs to appear to come out of the negotiations as ‘winners’ at least in a way that the lenders will agree to co-sign. Difficult but not impossible.

I consider it possible that at some point during the negotiations, the Greek side suggested what I am saying above, pushed for it and brought the argument “don’t you want to come up with something that will sound like a victory for both sides?”, and may not have got the desired answer. As above, such a development would imply mistakes in previous actions from the lenders.

My guess is that the only place an acceptable narrative will be found is somewhere along the lines of focusing on the contribution of the memorandum towards the leaning of an ‘obese’ and corrupt Greek public sector but a reworking is now necessary.

Watch this space.

This post brought to you by

Why not indeed…


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Among my pet hates is the rhetorical question “why not?”. I have thought about this long and hard before I decided to write about it, mainly because it is so widespread that, I think, it doesn’t even register anymore in the minds of most of the people who use it and quite a few of those who get exposed to the phraseological vomit that it really is. “Why not?” often arrives as a half-hearted reply to questions of social nature, like “let’s go for coffee on Tuesday”. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware of the potential implications of Tuesday coffees. I have, much like I suspect most of you have, over the last 3 decades, had thousands of them and, without the shadow of a doubt, nothing good has ever came out of them. However, this is not a reason for me to give a half-assed “why not?” reply to anyone who would suggest we meet for one. I would either express my concerns for such a fool-hearted suggestion or, if I expected to beat the odds and enjoy it or have an otherwise productive session, would say “yes, I’d love to have coffee with you on a Tuesday. We can meet at this new cafe at Seemypoint street, I hear it is really cool and they have comfy sofas. Let’s do it”. Or, if indeed you feel strongly about the Tuesday issue, you can say “Well, Archibald, I would love to have a coffee with you, but, dear oh dear, Tuesday? Really? Let’s be gentlemanly and do Thursday like people of our social standing ought to” This kind of response makes you the enthusiastic friend or acquaintance who knows places, takes initiatives to suggest things and has a positive attitude even towards the venomous monster that is the Tuesday coffee.

Anyone who would rather say “no” can very politely say “I am going through some personal stuff this period and would rather not, if you don’t mind”. I can imagine some people would take this badly but this is a very civilised way of saying “no” and, in my view, everybody should understand and accept it.

Now, let’s look at the “why not?” option. Said friend, acquaintance, flirtatious cutie, relative, or weirdo you’ve just met at a conference suggests said social meeting. You say “why not?”. Possible interpretations:

“I can’t really be bothered but since you are asking and I need to – because of my oppressed upbringing and my passive aggressive personality- appear polite, I will wonder “why not?”.  When you text to arrange it I’m very likely to cancel of course, if I find the right wordage for it”

“I don’t really want to do it, thought quickly for a reason why not, nothing really came to mind, so, instead of saying no, I instinctively vocalise the thought process.”

“I am the kind of wo/man who does immediately find possible problems and minor negative issues with such things. I have now concluded my preliminary search and came up with nothing. If we do go out for coffee, prepare for a lot of this negative attitude”

“I see my role as the one who is offered things, services, and events’ participation and I contribute either my majestic presence or potential negativity. This also defines your role. Take the “why not?” answer to be a very positive outcome considering our difference in standing.”

“I really want to go for coffee with you but I can’t appear enthusiastic about it because I need to protect this image that I keep”

“Yeap, I’d like to go out for coffee with you but do not expect me to say anything out of the sphere of the bleeding obvious, trivial, communication degrading banalities like “why not?”. If you expect to hear anything remotely interesting, original, amusing or thought provoking, you’ll need to say it yourself. I am the one who says “why not?”

To be fair, I am sure many people get away with it. Many people have friends who keep asking them out for their dodgy Tuesday coffee and even after repeated “why not?” experiences, these friends keep asking. But really, this is not about them. They may be exceptionally patient people. The Old and New Testaments are full of them so I am sure some still survive.  This is about you, who think “why not?” is an acceptable answer to an offer for a social meeting in the era that everybody craves human interaction and yet we conduct 90% of our interacting online. Here is my message: The people who have the social skills and enthusiasm to suggest a coffee will, sooner or later, narrow down their choices of people who they go out with to those who reciprocate the enthusiasm. They love their life and that is the best thing that they can do for this life. There is no question about it. Personally, being one of the people who asks people out for coffee and only go out with enthusiastic responses, have often come close to saying “oh, sorry, you didn’t look like a “why not?” from where I was looking, apologies for the interruption”. This has probably already happened to you and you may not have noticed, or are wondering why. Expect to find yourself surrounded by other “why not?” people. After all, why not? Why not indeed…

-When I first asked you out and you said “why not?” I didn’t realise you meant “why not have six children?”!!!

The Greek voter


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The Greek Voter (2015) Oil on Canvas, National Portrait Gallery, London (is where it should be)

From the artist’s expressionist period, The Greek Voter is an allegory of the state of mind of the Greek people due to vote for a new national government in January 2015. The self-portrait operates on multiple levels of signification. The low angle is traditionally used to depict the subject in a position of authority but here the voter voluntarily waives this advantage, bowing in order to read the newspaper. He is not in a powerful position anymore, because of his media use. The front page is a reference to the sea storm of old, new and social media info-nonsense that the reader has to navigate to vote responsibly but the artist goes further. The Fiji Times, apart from being ‘the first newspaper published in the world everyday’ because of the day-time line (while at the same only reproducing old news), simultaneously sustains a semblance to countries with infrastructures (The London Times, The New York Times) and asks an important question: Is the subject’s Fiji a utopia or a dystopia? Is it a seaside paradise or a dysfunctional country, a dictatorship run by higher powers and  facing an uncertain future?


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