Looking at Greece

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Meatheads banging away with the bouzouki

In recent days the bars and so-called “places of night-time entertainment” in the centre of this town have been closed, in protest, they say, at the fact that the local town council has shut some of them down for a period of ten days as punishment for the fact that they have been breaking the law regarding after-hours noise levels.  In Greece there is a law which specifies when you can and cannot make noise in a built-up area.  This includes noise of any sort, from using a power drill through to playing loud music.  The times specified vary from place to place, but generally as a rule of thumb you shouldn’t be belting out your bouzouki music or bashing away on your Black & Decker between three and five in the afternoon or after eleven at night.  As of seven the next morning, you can annoy those around you to your heart’s content again.

So, in the centre of town there are a number of fairly seedy places where the young and wannabe-young of town gather to be ripped off for a drink (€5 (about £3) plus for a drink, if you please) and have their eardrums pierced by a combination of mindless Greek music and the appalling rubbish that purports to be pop music nowadays.  Some places have more style and play music which appeals to those with a tad more intelligence than the average punter, but these places are quite rare.

Recently residents in the streets where these bars are to be found have been so incensed by the level of music being played after eleven at night that the police have been called in, and as a result a number of them have had their licences withdrawn for a period of ten days.  The bright sparks who run the other bars decided to protest at this by also closing for a period of a few days, and incredibly the local Chamber of Commerce deemed it necessary to support them!

This is the sort of mentality which makes it hard to take this country and its people at all seriously, a feature of Greece which I am sure will recur throughout future posts in this blog.  A clear case of one law for me and another for the rest of you…  

My girlfriend and I occasionally spend an evening at one of the places which plays well-chosen foreign music (Greek music is, naturally enough, anathema to me) and another bar directly opposite plays its music so loud that it often completely drowns out the music at the place where we are sitting.  Naturally enough, the place opposite is full of the sort of meathead and brainless bimbo that you would expect, but directly above it there are flats where people are trying to sleep.  The lack of inconsideration shown to these people is beyond belief, and the bar owners actually have the gall to protest when the law is enforced against them!  These are the same people who recently have suddenly found themselves compelled by the Public Prosecutor to stop serving alcoholic beverages to minors.  Again, one law for me…

Strangely enough, a number of the places which closed down “in protest” at the “unfair treatment” of those bars being punished later re-opened with a complete new paint job on the inside, refurbished and ready to bring in the punters for another round of bouzouki bashing.  Double standards or what??



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