Wednesday, 9 December 2015
Kavvadias 10, Complacent English Philistines Nil
Φοβού τους Άγγλους και ντοκουμέντα φέροντας.
Beware of the English Bearing Documents.
Yesterday evening at our tiny bookshop here in Alonnisos we did a presentation, with speeches and readings in English as well as Greek, about the popular Greek poet Nikos Kavvadias, whom I have translated. Kyriaki gave a talk in Greek, followed by one in English from me. Two young local Greeks read some of the poems in both Greek and then in English translation, and Costas Kyriazis sang some musical settings of the poems. The event was well-publicised, by posters, word of mouth, Dave’s website, and individual e-mails. The shop was packed; standing-room only, with an enthusiastic audience. Nearly all Greek — mostly the local people who, though knowing little English, enthusiastically support the English Pantomime — one French, one Swede, and one Italian. NOT ONE SINGLE ENGLISH PERSON from the large Ex-pat 'community' turned up. Yet in England people complain that 'they' (i.e. immigrants) form cliques and don't engage with British culture. I felt foolish and ashamed as I explained, in English, to a Greek audience who knew him well, who Kavvadias was, but everyone was kind, appreciative and understanding and expressed surprise, disappointment and even in some cases disgust at the total indifference of the English.
All that by way of preamble: I should like it known that from now on the many English people who come to me asking for explanations of some Greek document will be told where they can put it.