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Saturday, 7 July 2007

Albanian turbo-rock

Radio 4 is reporting work at Butrint, over the Corfu Channel from us. A shore based disco has twice been disabled by the Albanian authorities but there remains, according to the BBC correspondent, the possibility of the "thrusting beat of Albanian turbo-rock" being wafted across the waters to the homes of the Rothschilds, Packards and other patrons of Butrint National Park * * * * * * E-mail to Lin:
Greek Hell. A man dies and goes to hell. There he finds that there's a different hell for each country. He goes to the German hell and asks, "What do they do here?" He's told: "First they put you in an electric chair for an hour. Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour. Then the German devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day. The man doesn't like the sound of that at all, so he moves on. He checks out the American hell, as well as the Russian hell and many more. He discovers they're all more or less the same as the German hell. Then he comes to the Greek hell and finds a long line of people from all nationalities waiting to get in. Amazed, he asks, "What do they do here?" He is told, "First they put you in an electric chair for an hour, and then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour. Then the Greek devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day." “But that's exactly the same as all the other hells. Why are so many people waiting to get in?" "Because the maintenance crew is always on strike, there's no electricity so the electric chair doesn't work. Albanians have stolen all the nails from the bed, and the devil's a former Government employee, so he comes in, signs the register and then goes to have his cafethaki and eat kourabiedes all day." Lin's to Corfu: Hi. Thanks for 'Greek Hell'... much appreciated. Hope you are all well and enjoying the temperatures in the forties! Here we've had rain, rain and more rain. You've probably heard about all the flooding. It's got a bit better now, with some sunny spells between the showers. Regarding the floor, we're quite happy just to have it done with ordinary polyurethane (satin finish). We don't really want to be bringing varnish out from England. Don't think we'd get it through customs under present circumstances, anyway. Only about 9 weeks till we're coming out - time seems to fly by. Must be my age! See you soon, Lin
Portentous addition from me: 'Greek Hell' is, in part, a side swipe, circulated in overseas Greek chatrooms, by an ex-pat who loves Corfu, works in the local economy, and has taught me much about the island, at the circumstances that led to the deaths of two children from Yorkshire - Robert and Christianne Beatson - at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia on 26 October 2006. An op-ed in Kathimeri – International Greek news in English – on 29 November 2006 said that these deaths were no accident, but a tragic result:
‘of the unhealthy and dangerous national habit of disregarding laws, including those rules and regulations that are meant to promote public safety. Such disregard borders on contempt when we consider that in not a few cases the motive for doing so is financial. There must be accountability and there must be punishment not only to reassure those foreigners who after this event may reasonably have doubts about visiting Greece, but also to bring home to the citizens of this country that there is always a cost. It is hubris to imagine that no price will be paid by our ignoring those laws that have been in place to protect us, whether this involves reckless driving or ensuring that gas boilers do not leak. It is high time that the state fulfills its obligations and does something to bring about an end to this culture of contemptible carelessness that for far too long has been allowed to run rampant, putting all our lives at risk.’
[Back to the future: 9 Sept 2008 - Thomas Cook employees on trial in Corfu ] One more thing: The AOL forum to which I traced the joke also mentions the dangers of xenophobia and deplores the alleged mistreatment of Albanian immigrants by a Greek policeman in a recent incident. Exchange with the joker:
In a message dated 7/7/2007 writes: Herete. I hope you don’t mind me using the ‘Greek Hell’ joke on my blog to make a point. I was wanting to be sure that this was a self-deprecating joke told by Greeks about Greeks as I would share in jokes about UK or about being English or Scottish. This sounds so pompous but I was making a serious comment on the deaths in the hotel in Corfu last October.Yours sincerely, Sibadd
Reply 9:23:41 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time:
no problem

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Simon Baddeley