Παρασκευή, 20 Μαΐου 2016

BREXIT, GREXIT mas ta prixit....

A little exercise in Greek for you in the title... hopefully not too cryptic.. (and explanation at the end...read on...)

It is with a growing sense of amusement and a lot of curiosity that I continue to follow the crescendo of news, announcements and comments surrounding Britain's upcoming referendum...



Latest in a series of news that I found very amusing was the announcement that 250, no less, of the UK's artists had signed together a declaration saying it would be wrong to BREXIT (sounds like some kind of weird burp, or something a frog might say...eh?)
The article in the Guardian, mentions also that there are artists who back Vote Leave, but are loath to go public fearing repercussions in their careers...

Michael Caine obviously not one of those fearing repercussions...
In a very close parallel, a number of Greece's artists, came out with a similar announcement, prior to the referendum last summer... amongst them notables like Corfu's very own Sakis Rouvas...
As Corfu's "Vote No" percentage was about 67% I think he had to think twice about visiting his hometown for a while, at least until people forgot what he had been promoting even via TV spots!!

We have all suffered a lot during the crisis, but we have to say YES!
Sakis Rouvas above cuddling up to some of Greece's mega-rich untouchables...

Personally I do not profess to possess anywhere near the full knowledge and ability to see the "big picture" in regard to the question "Leave or Stay?" I didn't profess it in regards to Greece's referendum either, but my gut feeling was "NO" and I went with that.

I don't think anyone can really know... except maybe the conspiracy theory's "men-behind-the-scenes".. and even then I somehow sense that for them it has no consequence either way... or the consequences either way are to their advantage...

The parallel between Greece's referendum and the BREXIT one, are also another little example of the whole idea of globalisation.

I remember one winter a good few years back I had a customer who would come in the evenings and shop stuff for his little boat but we would also chat. He was an Orthodox Fanatic Greek, and something tells me he might even be a blοody Golden Dawn member, but then I remember him trying to persuade me that the Greek Orthodox faith was the only one, true, faith...
I tried reasonng with him that it somehow seemd impossible that a benevolent god would somehow exclude the rest of the world's population from being saved, just because they were not Orthodox.. I meaν how about the kids or the Aborigines, or the people who didn't know there WAS a Greek Orthodox faith? would they be left outside just because of not knowing?



Anyway I digress, One of his pet peaves was "globalisation". For him this word meant the attempt to join the world together in one "faith" and not the right one. To somehow "water down" his strong religion! He saw as a very bad idea any attempt for the various religions to come closer to each other and thought the Pope was a heretic who should be kept away from Greece at all costs. Come to think of it I think he was a little psycho to say the least as most of these extremists are.. and yes they are extremists!

I used to think the idea of globalisation was a good thing but then again what did I mean? I meant that I see anyone around the world, as fellow humans and brothers... be they black, brown, white, red or yellow, be they Hindouist, Muslim, Catholic or  Agnostic... as long as they do not want my harm I do not want theirs... as long as we could coexist that would be fine.



But globalisation it turns out is not the lovely altrouistic idea I had in mind... Gobalisation is the effort on behalf of big business interests to join the world into one ultimate great playground in which they can play as they like, in which they set the rules, set up the game and win...big and every time!

The TTIP is their latest effort to effect even greater control over their global playground. Through it they want to put themselves above governments and effectively above the law. Above any law, they haven't written themsleves...



Here is what I'm thinking. Brexit or not, Grexit or not, the same company names will be found on the supermarket shelves, the same brands of cars and vehicles will be driven on the streets of contries apart, countries at war...
I will not subscribe to the conspiracy theories that see a potential war between neighbouring countries or religions but is this not a war that we Greeks are facing now in Greece? A war of attrition, started by our own government at the demand of their creditors. And I say "their" because I never agreed that my country should borrow to make ends meet. I would have much preferred that it made them meet on its own, without outside help.

But the global banking system has made sure that no country shall have control over its own currency... and that the weapon called credit shall be used everywhere to the fullest extent.



Money (coinage) was devised by 3 separate civilisations (Greek, Indian and Chinese) round about the same time (between 500 and 700 BC) Before that of course there was an economy and of course there was credit. And yes, credit was used as a form of opression even then...

 I once read a very interesting book. It was written by a man called Joseph Tainter in 1986 and it is called "The collapse of Complex Societies" Mr Tainter is an anthropologist and historian. In his book he explains how societies come together to solve survival problems, and then grow and become increasingly complex in order to solve problems that arise from their own growth and increasing complexity. According to the law of diminishing marginal returns though this leads to their eventual collapse. Collapse being defined as a shedding of complexity or return to a previous less complex state.

Do you know what society are supposed to "return"? What is the "diminishing return" that is, according to Mr Tainter, leading to an eventual collapse?

It is happiness.

Our societies are supposed to make us happy. The problem is that the increasing complexity is keeping maybe a 1% elite of the population happy. The other 99% is unhappy... and something has got to give... eventually.

Brexit or no, something will give. Grexit or no, something will give.

The EU started as a lovely idea, of a joined Europe, an idea certainly very practical and good especially for those countries who are close geographically and close as mentalities, but as it turned out not so good for those countries, like ours who are at a greater distance, geographically and mentality-wise...

A lovely idea it may have started as, but it has become a monstrously complex labyrinth of rules and regulations, a bureaucratic heaven for the lucky few.. (although they are not so few...) As BrexitThe Movie pointed out the EU has become a pleasant pasture where all of Europe's failed politicians are set out to graze at our expense...
And it is this very "bureaucratic" monster which is criticising Greece for its bureaucracy? Greek politicians would have never got away with all they did at our country's  expense where it not for the backing of the EU's system... and its willingness to turn a very blind eye...

They know what they are doing very well. They have created an uber-government which we are unable to control even via the dubious electoral method. Most if not all are appointed, and the EU parliament who's MPs we vote for are there just to vote yes or no, they do not legislate, they do not propose laws... and they get paid VERY well...

Am I wrong in thinking that most of us feel powerless to do anything?

Yet a change can be effected... it has to start small. But that will be material for another article...

And the "solution" to the title's word play... Mas ta prixate is a greek expression for you have busted our balls...


Πέμπτη, 5 Μαΐου 2016

I must go down to the seas again...


"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over."

Sea Fever, by John Masefield

My dear customers and friends.

A lot of you have been coming in to ask if the gossip is true, so I thought it would be best if you got the news straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak…

After 15 years and a few months (plus 3 years before that as Force 5 Marine Too) Boatman’s World will cease trading towards the end of next month.

It has not been an easy decision, and it has not been a hasty decision… In fact maybe it has even been an overdue decision…

I started this business in 1998, with but a few pennies and a lot of goodwill on behalf of suppliers and customers alike. I followed in my father’s footsteps when I started Force 5 Marine Too, which quickly morphed into Boatman’s World. 



It took a while, but eventually I stopped being known as Force 5 Pete, and became Boatman’s World Pete.
Boatman’s World grew and grew and the taxman loved me, and the bank manager loved me, and so did all the other bank managers too!
I loved my work, and really got a kick out of either having the right things or being able to source them quickly and efficiently. I acquired way too much stock, and did not learn some valuable lessons about saying no to salesmen and being tough, at least not soon enough.

Always my main concern was keeping my customers happy.
Contrary to popular belief (haha), I never became rich. I lived comfortably enough, but after 18 years, a couple of divorces, and the financial crisis, plus the continuous fleecing by the government I leave with little more than my clothes, motorbike and music keyboard… and a lot of fond memories!

Boatman’s World like many other business in Greece, except maybe for the really big and well connected ones, has suffered the effects of the crisis. I, unfortunately, relied too much on bank funding and loans, which of course dried up with the onset of the crisis.

you know the story...

I have found myself in a situation where I could see nothing better on the horizon, instead things were looking more and more grim... 

As I said before all I wanted was to keep people happy and in the process be able to earn a respectable living for me and my children. This is being denied me, by the situation in general... So it is my choice to change direction and try and make better use of my talents and knowledge in another way.


I will soon be a part of the company called Sail Your Soul, run by Klaus Mayer. I have known and respected Klaus ever since I've met him, and like the way he runs his business. I look forward to being a part of it, and of being able to offer yachtspeople my services as part of his team.

I have worked on and around boats, ever since I finished school. That was just over 30 years ago, nearly 23 of which as a chandler, but the almost 4 years I spent working on boats in the boatyard, and in the Marina, where  the most enjoyable. I look forward to going back to that...
As a young teenager, I used to listen to a lot of Neil Young, and one of my favourite songs of his was one called "Hey, Hey, My, My…" and favourite lyric, that one where it says, “it’s better to burn out, than to fade away…”

I could maybe have sold Boatman's World, but call me stupid if you like, I somehow don't think anyone could make it work as well as we did. I would rather it "burn out" than it "fade away"...

As Paul from the Agiotfest knows well, Boatman's World is, was, the "Rock n Roll Chandlery".



I hate the idea that if it were to continue and end up a badly run shadow of its former self, people would say "Ahh once it was great but now..." So best to go out with a bang and as many good memories as possible.
I shall remain incurably romantic against the flow of the times,

And I shall see you all out there, on the sea and the boats....

Your soon-to-be-an-ex-chandler friend, 

Peter

PS. As most of you know, I have a LOT of stock... I need to get rid of it ASAP. Some of my suppliers have agreed to take returns, so until the end of the month, I will be selling off stuff at good prices and hopefully in bulk. I need your help and support. Come to the shop, armed with some time and dosh, look around, ask and spend...it will be a great help. And the more obscure the item, the better deal you shall get!

PS2 just in case you are worrying, Jo has got herself a job with Sailing Holidays, and is now happily wading her way back into passenger-manifest-and-transfer-land...

PS3 There is one thing I will not miss. And that is finally not having to explain that Jo is my sister and not my wife...