By John Lucas
Greece has continuously had its admirers, notwithstanding none turns out to have adored the Athenian tavernas, the murderous site visitors and the jaded prostitutes, the petty bureaucratic tyrannies, the road noise and the heroic individualists with the irony and detachment of John Lucas. ninety two Acharnon road is a gritty portrait of a grimy urban and a wayward kingdom. but Lucas's love for the realities of Greece triumphs – for the Homeric kindness of her humans in the direction of strangers, for the pleasures of her tavernas and for the proximity of islands in transparent blue water as a shelter from the noise and pollutants of her capital urban. this can be Greece because the Greeks might realize it, noticeable during the eyes of a poet.
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Extra resources for 92 Acharnon Street. A Year in Athens
They simply moved on. Acharnon was as good a spot as any: easy to get to by taxi or on foot, plenty of apartments for rent, and in an unfashionable part of the city where Papadopoulos’s police rarely bothered to venture. There must have been hundreds of brothels within a stone’s throw of my flat, and promptly at nine o’clock each evening they’d switch on the single sodium-yellow light which hung above their street doors. The Greek sense of time is at best approximate. ‘I’ll meet you at noon’ translates into ‘let’s try to make it by three o’clock’.
They were striking for the right to work. They were striking on behalf of what was still called the Dignity of Labour. And they were opposed by a set of men, and a woman, for whom such dignity meant less than nothing. Parkinson, Tebbitt, Baker, Clarke, Heseltine, Howe, and above all Thatcher were at one in their jeering contempt for the miners’ cause. Nor were they alone. By 1984 something pretty horrible had begun to infect public life in Britain. You could smell its presence in the very language used by politicians, by business executives, by educational administrators.
Might as well head off to an island. No point in hanging around Athens in this heat. The nefos is bloody awful, too. ’ Literally nefos means mist, and is the word by which Athenians refer to the dire pollution of their city. Even at the best of times a brown haze hangs over Athens, a thick blend of fumes from petrol, oil-fired central heating and air-conditioning, and factory chimneys, dimming the sun, clogging the nostrils and layering the tongue. And this wasn’t the best of times. Without wind to disperse the poisonous mist, the nefos was bloody awful.
92 Acharnon Street. A Year in Athens by John Lucas