It was one of these L.T.L.R.

The naked male human was sunbathing on the nudist beach. The female dog walked directly to him and licked his chest for a little while. Her owner, a woman on her late 30’s, stand some thirty meters away. She was giving the dog her afternoon walk along the beach. She felt she didn’t have to call her away from the male stranger she was licking. Instead she walked away. A bit after, the dog run after her.

A few meters away, a flamboyant German teenager was sunbathing nude. His hair was dyed bright yellow. Next to him lied his mom also nude – she was one of these hippies that invaded Greece back in the 70’s…

The same night:

It was full moon and there were lots of people on the beach-bar. The loudspeakers played something like modern reggae that mingled with Greek traditional music coming from the next bar – it was one of these islands…

On the other end of the bar, the German boy and his mother were ordering a new round in adequate Greek: “Ena akomi raki parakalo”.

The dog and her owner were seating on a table right by the bar. There was also another woman with them, in her late 40’s, short hair dyed bright red, dressed in a post-hippy style. One could easily think the two women were a couple but after a closer look you could see they were actually close friends. Probably long time single girlfriends.

The red-haired didn’t interact much with the dog. It was her friend who ran after her every couple of minutes. The dog didn’t really follow her orders. She would go close to any table with food and every time the owner would have to cross the bar to fetch the dog back, dragging her by her collar while eloquently explaining to her in what way she had misbehaved. The raid-haired would usually add something at the end of the monologue. Something like: “You dog…”

It seemed like a lack of interest in the dog. At the same time, she would have every right to accuse her friend for lack of interest in her. She spent much more time running after her pet than talk with her. However, she looked more indifferent than pissed off by the fact. After all, they were on vacations.

The Germans were now performing synchronized smoking.

This time the dog went too far. It barked aggressively to a passenger. Her owner went to fetch her once again. As she dragged her back she told her off in a bold tone. All the people at the bar turned towards them. Half way back to the table she loosened her grab, letting the dog continue alone towards their seat. The dog actually run right to the feet of the raid-haired who welcomed her with a faint petting on the head. The dog curled under her feet. It was obvious she acknowledged her equally as her owner. Or, better say, her parent. Apparently the two women raised the dog together. They were a couple after all. It was one of these long term lesbian relationships… Most probably a successful one.

The man from the beach ordered meat balls. The dog run to him and licked his feet in hope of a treat. A bit after the German boy made his first move on him.

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PENICILLIN

peniciline

 

 

We met on the island. She lived somewhere in the neighborhood around the summer house, belonging to no one in particular – she neither needed nor wanted to have any foster parents. She was an excellent hunter who could provide for herself and her five kittens.

Her name was an instinctive inspiration: Penicillin. Somehow it suited both her colorful character and her three colored fur.

As soon as we arrived, she acknowledged our house as her new favorite nap spot and us, the people occupying it, as her new favorite humans. In order to underline her point, she moved her five newborns on the wild cactus just outside the garden.

Penicillin wasn’t particularly beautiful. She had huge eyes, semi-closed most of the time except when in a state of alert. She loved cuddling and rubbing her skinny body across wall corners and table feet. She was very social and intelligent. She enjoyed spending time with us but showed no particular interest in inserting the house except when she felt hungry and too lazy to hunt.

We spent many hours together. She would seat on the bench next to me and pour while I’d type on my laptop during the night. I was writing the final chapters of my first novel, a story about cats on a Greek island – what a delightful coincidence. The idea was born a year back, in a similar summer house which two kittens had appropriated soon to become my novel’s protagonists.

Penicillin wasn’t part of the novel. But somehow, towards the end of the story, she emerged inside the plot as naturally as a bubble emerges out of the sea. I couldn’t resist having her interact with the protagonists. Her sincere and caring attitude along with her sharp hunting skills brought an irresistible new dynamic in this cat-story.

So I went on writing with a new catacter on board: a chill-out nymphomaniac cat. The same cat that was purring right by my lap.

It was around the time of the final editing when I realized why Penicillin had entered the novel. She stands as a prototype cat. A cat that can hunt, nurse, socialize, bond and remain independent. A cat that balances in the most flawless way between her wild and her domestic nature. A cat that deserved to have a book dedicated to her.

 

IMG_0447

 

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OFFLINE

Το φοιτητικό σπίτι είχε ήδη υπολογιστή ο οποίος όμως άνοιγε αραιά και που για καμιά εργασία. Μέχρι που το πανεπιστήμιο έδωσε δωρεάν ίντερνετ στους φοιτητές και στο σπίτι εμφανίστηκε το πρώτο μόντεμ.  Ήταν κάπου στα τέλη του 1999.

Ντάιλ απ, σουσάμι άνοιξε: εικόνες, μέιλ, ντάουνλόουντ, τσατ, ειδήσεις. Πριν κλείσει βδομάδα ήταν ήδη αυτοματοποιημένη κίνηση: είσοδος, κλείσιμο πόρτας, υπολογιστής, λογκ-ιν. Μετά έγινε συντροφιά στον πρωινό καφέ. Αργότερα και στο φαγητό. Μετά και στις ορμές. Μια επιδημία που χτυπούσε κάθε ευάλωτη στιγμή της μέρας, μεταλλάσσοντας ανεπανόρθωτα το ντι-εν-έι του ελεύθερου χρόνου.  Κι όπως αποδείχθηκε στην πορεία και το ντι-εν-έι της επικοινωνίας εν γένει.

Το τελευταίο προπύργιο του ελεύθερου χρόνου ήταν ο δημόσιος βίος. Ήρθαν όμως τα κινητά νέας τεχνολογίας για να το κατατροπώσουν.

Η αναβάθμιση άργησε να φτάσει να καλύπτει σμαρτ φόουν. Κυκλοφορούσαν ήδη τρία χρόνια στην αγορά πριν αρχίσουν να δίνονται τζάμπα με την ανανέωση συμβολαίου. Τα κουμπιά του παλιού κινητού είχαν αρχίσει να κολλάνε. Ο φορτιστής δεν έκανε καλή σύνδεση. Το συμβόλαιο συμπεριλάμβανε ήδη εδώ και μήνες δωρεάν μεγκαμπάιτ τα οποία πήγαιναν στράφι. Ήταν και καλοκαίρι. Ήταν και ωραίο το νησί. Πόσο μπορεί να αντισταθεί ένας καταναλωτής στις μέρες μας;

Ήταν ένα από τα πρώτα σμαρτ φόουν – μικρή οθόνη, ξεπερασμένο λογισμικό. Όπως και να το κάνουμε, ήταν σμαρτ φόουν. Είχε οθόνη αφής και έμπαινε στο ίντερνετ.

Μία βδομάδα μετά, σε έναν απροκάλυπτο εμπαιγμό του καταναλωτή από τη  μοίρα, το σμαρτ φόουν βούτηξε στη θάλασσα και πνίγηκε ακαριαία. Έλα όμως που είχε ήδη περάσει αυτή η μία βδομάδα. Το κακό είχε γίνει. Είχε επέλθει ο εθισμός στα αππς. Η πρόσβαση στο ίντερνετ παντού και πάντα. Παντού και πάντα να είσαι και κάπου αλλού: σε κάποια κουβέντα με φίλο, σε κάποια επαγγελματική συνεννόηση, σε κάποιο φλερτ.

Ο καταναλωτής δε δίστασε παρά ελάχιστα να πληρώσει 125 ευρώ για μια ολόιδια συσκευή αφού η εγγύηση δεν κάλυπτε αρπαγή από το κύμα – ο έμπειρος τεχνικός στο νησιωτικό κατάστημα κινητής τηλεφωνίας αμέσως διέγνωσε το ατυχές ψέμα πίσω από τις συνθήκες του μοιραίου.

Ενάμιση χρόνο μετά, το κινητό έπλεε τα λοίσθια. Σερνόταν για να φορτώσει το οτιδήποτε και κάθε τόσο η οθόνη αφής γινόταν τελείως αναίσθητη. Η μνήμη του μπούκωνε μέρα παρά μέρα. Το δε ακουστικό του είχε προ πολλού χαλάσει και η χρήση χαντς φρι ήταν αναπόφευκτη – το κουβάρι των καλωδίων με τα ακουστικά επίσης. Από τους δεκαπέντε μήνες έγγαμου βίου, ζήτημα να κύλησαν ανώδυνα οι πρώτοι τρεις.

Το κερασάκι στην τούρτα ήταν η καταστροφή του μίνι-τζακ του χαντς φρι. Πλέον οι κλήσεις ήταν μονόδρομες. Η ανάγκη νέας συσκευής ήταν επιτακτική.

Η μάχη δόθηκε στο κεντρικό κατάστημα της αλυσίδας κινητής τηλεφωνίας. Όλα τα κινητά παραταγμένα. Η επιδότηση κάλυπτε πολλά νέα μοντέλα. Ο καταναλωτής αντιστάθηκε στον πειρασμό και διάλεξε το πιο φθηνό. Θα μένανε και  50 ευρώ για έκπτωση στο πάγιο. Φτάνοντας όμως στο ταμείο τον περίμενε μια δυσάρεστη έκπληξη.  Κοιτούσε λάθος τιμές στο καρτελάκι. Άλλη έκπτωση το νέο συμβόλαιο και άλλη η ανανέωση. Η επιδότηση δεν έφτανε ούτε για το πιο φθηνό σμαρτ φόουν. Θα έπρεπε να τσοντάρει. Δίχως ντροπή, παραδέχτηκε το λάθος του και αποχώρησε για να το σκεφτεί.

Το ίδιο βράδυ αναστήθηκε το παλιό κινητό και βαφτίστηκε Λάζαρος. Αστείο στην αρχή, νοσταλγικό έπειτα, αδιάφορο σύντομα. Τα κουμπιά σκληρά, η φόρτιση γινόταν με πατέντα, η οθόνη συμβατική, το ίντερνετ απών.

Μια βραδιά ανοιξιάτικη, λίγο μετά το Πάσχα, ο υπολογιστής βρέθηκε παραδόξως για ώρες αποκλεισμένος από το ίντερνετ.  Έπρεπε να έρθουν έτσι τα πράγματα για να γίνει σαφές το πολλαπλό μήνυμα της νεκρανάστασης του Λαζάρου.

Μαζί του αναθάρρησαν και οι εξωτερικές δουλειές, οι εκδρομές και οι αίθουσες αναμονής.

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The black and white side of Athens

Photos by Enri Canaj. More info: www.enricanaj.com

 

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SAILING BOAT

They had been together for over ten years, now both about to turn forty. Having no children didn’t seem to be an issue.

A few years ago they moved to the suburb, in a small basement apartment. It’s important to note that no metro station was in near distance to the house. Neither was any monument or other point of any particular importance.

Lately they had been short in money so they put their house in airbnb. Their chances in subletting it were quite small – a basement flat badly located in the suburbs of the huge city. It did however have a cute small garden. Surprisingly, it wasn’t long before they had their first request. It was a middle-aged couple coming from abroad for a couple of days.

It turned out that the couple was traveling for a very particular reason. They wanted to do artificial insemination. Apparently, the biggest artificial insemination clinic of the city was located just a few blocks away from their house. The clinic had a good reputation and charged way less than the clinics abroad. It was worth the money and time for the foreign couple to travel all the way to the city to try their chances of having a baby.

This was but the first couple. Soon came a second one and so on. Past a few months some couples returned for a second try, staying again at their comfortable flat. Word spread abroad to other couples arranging to come to the city for the same purpose and after a while reservation requests arrived directly to their email. It turned out to be a considerable profit to their budget.

Every time a couple arrived they would need to leave the house. They’d either spend the days in his parents’ house or in their new investment: a French sailing boat.

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Interview

“All my life has been an on-going identity crisis. Sometime fruitful, sometimes not so fruitful”. The reporter smiled vaguely. He didn’t really understand the answer but he had found a great title for the article.

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Mikael Aldo

Mikael Aldo is a 17 years old fine art photographer, based in Indonesia.

More info: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikaelaldo/

To rain fire

Imminently living

 

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Metal y melancolia

This is a beautiful documentary about life in Peru during the mid-nineties. The camera follows a number of taxi drivers all of which do this profession out of necessity. Through the amazing stories of these drivers, Heddy Honigmann achieves a very emotional and alive portrait of Peru.

In the end credits we hear this beautiful song from Seguno Rosero.

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The veteran

These are some photos that were part of the booklet for “The veteran” which was presented in Crossroads co-production market. I took all four of them while walking around Papagou, the suburb were the story of the film takes place. The four words on the pictures kind of sum up the story-line of the film: return to the suburbia, in search of misplaced heroes. Follow the link to read more about “The veteran“.

RETURN

SUBURBIA

MISPLACED

HEROES

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