Saturday, January 28, 2023



My good friend Trevor (which is short for Aristogeiton) is in mourning. The object of his most ardent affection and veneration is dead. Constantine, the deposed king of Greece has shuffled off this mortal coil and with him, Trevor’s dreams that through dethroned majesty, the throne of Constantinople would be regained. 

“All the prophecies speak of him,” he revealed to me a while ago, as we sipped frappe furtively in his bedroom, in his parent’s house and he pointed to the 2010 calendar of the Greek Monarchist’s League of Australia, hanging on his wall. “A Constantine founded the City, A Constantine lost it and a Constantine will take it back. He is the hexadaktylos, the six-fingered king who will retake the city.” 

Unlike Trevor, I met the deposed Constantine years ago and counted five fingers on each of his hands, all present and as correct as in any other member of the species but Trevor would have none of it. When I also attempted to explain to him that it was not just a Constantine that lost Constantinople, but also an Alexios in 1204 and a Michael who regained it in 1261, he would have none of it. “The deposition of God’s anointed leader of the Greek people is not just a tragedy,” he intoned. “It is a sin. And as long as the shadow of this sin hangs over the Greek people, their country will be blighted.” 

Since he had gone biblical this early in the conversation, I related to him the Prophet Samuel’s objection to the institution of the monarch as contained in the Old Testament, namely that in adopting a king, the people would be rejecting God as their unseen ruler, their sons would be recruited forcefully into the army, there would be forced labour, the people would be enslaved, the king would grab their land/property/maid/servant (in that order), there would be over-taxation and hereditary kingship would lead to oppression. Quoting Samuel, I reached a dramatic crescendo: “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 

Trevor’s father, a proud Spartan entered the room carrying crackers dripping with low fat hummus. Glancing at the calendar, he remarked angrily: “Take that bloody thing down. What the hell is wrong with you, boy?” While Trevor prides himself on his Laconian heritage and cites it as one of the reasons for his love of Constantine, for according to him in order to be a true Spartan, one must be a royalist and of course prior to becoming king, Constantine was Duke of Sparta, his father, who still laments the fall of PASOK, is decidedly against monarchs, their works, their pomps, their service,  their inventions, and all things that belong to them. The reason for this is that being possessed of a lofty elevation, in his youth, he served a stint in the Royal Guard. 

“I got to see them up close,” he confided. “Living in the lap of luxury, completely oblivious to everything around them. What got me was their waste. We would be present at functions where there would be so much food piled on the tables, delicacies we had never even heard of and they and their guests would barely touch them. And afterwards, we would see these uneaten luxuries thrown away in the bin. They knew, or should have known, that most of us were from villages, from poor families that were familiar with hunger. They did not once ask us whether we were hungry, or whether we knew someone who could use some extra food. Instead they discarded everything. This was a tremendous shock to me. That is why I voted against the return of Constantine in the referendum…” 

“The referendum was fixed!” Trevor interrupted his father, shouting in a voice beyond shrill. “It was fake! The people…” 

“Which referendum?” I asked, hoping to channel Dr Ben Sobel in ‘Analyze This.’ “The first or the second? How can you bring up the first referendum if we're not gonna talk about the second referendum?” This is because along with being an ardent monarchist, Trevor is also paradoxically a fervent supporter of the Colonels of Junta fame, who assumed power in a coup and deposed Constantine formally in 1973.  

“I’m not sure how you can reconcile your two loves,” I pondered. “After all, was it not the Dictator Papadopoulos who condemned Constantine in 1973 as “a collaborator with foreign forces and with murderers,” accusing him of "pursuing ambitions to become a political leader?” 

Trevor considered this for a moment before adopting a sage expression, such as that assumed by Buddhist monks when addressing imbeciles: “Both the King and Papadopoulos wanted the same thing,” he declared. “Order, Stability and Progress. Otherwise the leftists would have taken over the country and destroyed it, like they did later. It speaks volumes that both the King and Colonels planned coups. It is just a shame that they didn’t co-ordinate with each other.” 

Trevor’s father scooped up the last of the hummus in his calloused hands and snorted derisively. He has despised the Colonels ever since they gave his claustrophobic cousin the right to run the village periptero in the early days of the coup, precipitating his own emigration to Australia. “These people are not Greek. If we are to stuff up our country, then at least let other Greeks do it, not foreigners. That is why I have supported PASOK for so many years,” he explained proudly. 

On hearing the suggestion that Constantine was not Greek, Trevor launched into a lengthy exposition as to the genealogy of his family, attempting to elucidate his Byzantine roots, which according to him, justify his rule over the motherland. “At any rate,” he pleaded. “His family had been resident in Greek for over one hundred years. People get naturalised in less than ten. It is his family whose members doubled the size of Greece. How can you claim that he is not Greek?” 

This is an argument that does not find me unsympathetic. After all, we get awfully sensitive when we are considered by the mainstream to be Greeks, rather than Australians and we haven’t even doubled the size of Oakleigh. “I’ll tell you what the clincher is for me,” I responded. “When he was in London, at the time of the Second Referendum, he promised that if the Greek people voted to restore him, he would make sure his mother would stay away from the country. Now this is a two-edged sword as far as his provenance goes. No true Greek male would publicly acknowledge the intrusiveness of his mother, let alone throw her under a bus, by even considering the prospect of barring her entry to his abode. I’m with your father on this one. If I lived in the motherland, I’d rather support a native dynasty I can elect and remove every few years, such as the Papandreoi and the Mitsotakides, rather than one I’m stuck with in perpetuity.” 

Trevor considered this for a moment before commenting that Constantine was a far superior choice as a role model as he was not only connected to the other European royal families, granting him an aura of respectability that Varoufakis could never hope to achieve, with or without leather jacket, but was also an Olympian, while the Greek politicians were all paunchy and unfit, ignoring Maria Sakkari’s attempts to marry into the ruling family. When I told him that Constantine, while skilled as a sailsman, was only one member of the sailing team that won the 1960 gold medal in Rome, he refused to believe it, referencing instead, the poor legacy of those who inherited his power, if not his mantle. 

“Look at Greece now. Fraying at the seams. Social and economic chaos. No cohesion. Immorality and corruption everywhere. Hundreds of thousands fleeing the country. Only the return of the king can unite all the Greeks and give us all a sense of purpose again.” I gently reminded him that it was during his beloved monarch’s rule that hundreds of thousands of Greeks abandoned their homes in search of opportunities elsewhere, possibly the largest mass migration in our modern history and it was unclear how the return of a former monarch, who repeatedly expressed his view since his deposition that it is for the people to decide how they are governed, would in any way suture the fissures within the Greek polity. “Spoken like a true Commie,” he snarled. To my subsequent rumination as to why Constantine’s soubriquet, Κοκόis a euphemism for copulation in vernacular Greek, he had nothing to say, me fleeing, valuing my bodily integrity. 

Constantine is dead, and Trevor is in mourning. A piece of black tulle hangs over the Christmas card on his desk the office of Constantine sent him in 2004. In his grief, he rails at the ingratitude of the modern Greeks who refuse to grant the dead former monarch a state funeral. Most of all, he laments the downfall of an entire institution that collapsed before he was born and the sorry fate of investment consultant and activist hedge fund founder Paul, born a Crown Prince but destined now never to be God’s Anointed. “There is no hope for Greece now,” he laments when I call to convey my condolences. “None whatsoever. There is no one legitimate left to rule.” 

“Yes there is,” comes his father’s voice, faintly but exuberantly from the depths of the telephone speaker. “The planetarch himself, Tasos Bougas. Who needs a king when you control an entire planet? And he has just the song to summarise the career of the Glucksburgs: “Μέσα, Έξω - In Out!”  

The king is dead. Long the King. 



First published in NKEE on Saturday 28 January 2023

Saturday, January 21, 2023



«Χρόνια πολλάand Happy New Year,” my Russian friend, a student of theology, greeted me ebulliently. “I have a question. How would you translate edible underwear into Greek?” 

I belong to a generation that was brought up in the conviction that food is holy. So holy in fact that it may not be mixed, intermingled, adulterated, made consubstantial or associated with any other pleasure. Instead, the preparation and consumption of food is a mystery that must be performed with reverence and awe, in and of itself. The prospect of mingling consumption of edibles with clothes and indeed carnal pursuits is not just alien to my hypostasis but utterly abhorrent. 

My friend, an exquisite cook, cites what she terms my prudery (which I define contrariwise as aesthetics) as proof of the vast chasm separating the Russians from my own tribe, quoting Ivan Turgenev’s “On Eve” to support her contention: "Look at the river; it seems to beckon us. The ancient Greeks would have beheld a nymph in it. But we are not Greeks, O nymph! we are thick-skinned Scythians." I tell her that most likely, they would have spotted cabbages growing by its banks, remembering some eye-wateringly ravishing Golubtsi or stuffed cabbage rolls, she had made, aeons ago, which still haunt my gustatory cells’ memory


She gently reminds me that before the Kievan Rus came marauding down the Dnieper in search of Golubtsi to roll, the brassicae were the product of Olympian sadism. For according to ancient myth cabbages sprung from the tears shed by Lycurgus, king of the Edonians, a Thracian tribe, an offshoot of which, having become lost while doing a Macca’s run, became the Macedonians. The ancient writer Hyginus records Lycurgus tried to rape his mother after imbibing too much wine. When he discovered his foul deed, he attempted to cut down the grapevines, believing the wine be medicine gone bad. By way of reprisal, the god Dionysus drove him mad, causing him to kill both his wife and his son, and threw him to the panthers on Mount Rhodope. All through the process he wept profusely, leaving cabbages in his wake. 


I counter that it was the Edonian monarch’s attempt to link comestibles with copulation that was the author of his demise to which my interlocutor reposts that the ancient Greeks would not have agreed with me. For in the Scholium to Aristides, it is mentioned that when the goddess Demetra was searching for the abducted Persephone, the king of Eleusis, Celeus, pointed her in the direction of Hades. As a reward (μισθός) Demeter granted him the secret of bread and allowed him to possess her body "illicitly." 


By way of reinforcing her argument, she dares to take a step further and make the preposterous claim that the ancient Greeks invented the icy pole. For in Euripides’ “Alcestis” the heroine’s grieving husband Admetos resolves to commission a sculptor to fashion a statue of his dead wife which he will take to bed and caress as if she were a “cold pleasure.” Here I interject with the observation that it there is here no element of consumption intruding upon the caress, despite her assuring me that this is implied from the context.  


In turn, I allude to the dire consequences of educating the Kievan Rus as classicists, suggesting that they undergo extensive screening prior to being permitted to learn Greek but I check myself mid-sentence, remembering that when former protonotarios and chancellor of the University of Constantinople Ioannis Alogatos suggested that Greek be removed from syllabus, the scholars of the day laughed so hard he had to be exiled to the Crimea to overcome the shame of his preposterousness. There he eked out a lonely junketless existence, taunted incessantly by the shades of deposed Greek community organization presidents in lands yet unknown, with Golubtsi as his sole source of sustenance. 


Of course, Archestratos in his Hedypatheia, a mid-fourth-century BC text that forms part of a venerable tradition of Greek gastronomic literature, pairs fish, a luxury item for the Alexandrian Greeks, with sex and my interlocutor wastes no time in bringing this to my attention. Yet the pairing between fish and carnal pursuits is based on obscure lexical allusions that identify the reader as culturally Greek, meaning that you have to be Greek in order to get the joke. Evidently, I emphasise, as a hyperborean, she doesn’t. 


Except that she does. “You remember Lysistrata? The play where the women withhold carnal pleasure from their menfolk until they agree to stop the war?” I confess to being familiar with Aristophanes’ masterpiece, even the oath made by the women which starts of being general in aspect: “No lover or husband shall ever come near me with a protuberance,” and gradually becoming more specific“I shall live my life at home uncopulated, dressed in my alluring clothes and perfectly made up, so that my husband will burn with desire for me,” and then growing increasingly vivid and graphic: “I will not lift my silken slippers up to the ceiling,” until the pledge reaches its bizarre apogee: “I will not adopt the lioness on a cheese grater position.” 


Just how exactly these two unlikely bedfellows would interact is a question that has confounded scholars since the invention of the egg-whisk, yet it is important to note that no foodstuffs were ever harmed during the making of Aristophanes’ show. A cheese grater does not a cheese make and thus the connection, in my submission between the kefalograviera and coupling is not adequately made out.  


As she roars like a lioness stepping on a cheese grater, I recall something that would further advance my contention. Not only did the ancients avoid mixing their pleasures, they also used one to punish a transgression relating to the other. Hence, Rhaphanidosis, the act of inserting the root of a plant of the raphanus genus (commonly known as the radish) into the fundamental orifice. Mentioned by Aristophanes in "The Clouds" as a punishment for adultery in Classical Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, it was also allegedly a punishment for other sex-related crimes, such as promiscuity. 


Having exhausted our ancient forefathers and moving on to Byzantium, I concede that the city of Trogir in Croatia, was known in Byzantine times as «Τετράγγουρον» (Quadriple Cucumber).  While the possibilities presented by such an urban conglomeration are quite simply, breathtaking, the paucity of adequate evidence renders its use inadmissible. My friend counters by reciting the sixth century erotic epigrams of Paulos:  “Eluding the watchful eyes of her mother,/ that alluring girl gave me a pair of rosy apples./ Surely she secretly applied the magic torch/ of love to those red, red apples./ For I, poor me, am now burning up, /but instead of breasts I hold only apples in my idle hands!”  

Surely however in this instance, the hypostases of both, rather than melding, are substituted for one another, leading to disappointment and I launch into detailed and thorough speculation as to the breed of apples enjoyed by the Byzantines when I am interrupted by a piercing observation“Yes but apples, a food, were sacred to Aphrodite, goddess of all things carnal. And didn’t Aristophanes in the Clouds, mentioned that throwing an apple at the object of your desire was a ploy at seduction?”  


Bested by the divinity, and the maker of the Golubtsi, I concede defeat, and, somewhat disconsolate at the thought that I can never approach rizogalo in the same way again, begin to formulate arguments to come to terms with the downfall of my taboo. I mention therefore the fate of two American hierarchs, removed a few years ago from their position, accused of τυρεία, literally cheesemongering. 

“How is cheesemongering a crime?” she of the Golubtsi, asks. 

The answer is simple. Tυρεία in Greek, means to form a secret society or cabal for plotting, for the term for cheese is derived from the word to mix or agitate or stir, with scholars such as Hesychios writing: «τυρεύειν, κυκᾶν, κα ταράττειν» something that makes sense when one considers that stirring and agitation is part of the cheese-making process. 

“So when Brian from the Life of Brian says “Blessed are the Cheesemakers” hierarchs are excepted...” she muses. 

“Blessed are the cheese-graters,” I riposte. 

“I bet they enjoy it,” she laughs, delighting, in her final victory. 

“So how would you render edible underwear in Greek?” she asks again. 

«Εδώδιμα εσώρουχα» I suggest. “Depends on the article in question. And whether it can be consumed during the fasting period. Armenian rolled sheets of dried apricot spring to mind.” 

 She shrugs casually mentioning the existence of the ancient ὀλισβοκόλλιξ, referring to a bread stick that was supposedly fashioned for purposes to dastardly to mention, and appearing as an hapax legomenon in the lexicon of Hesychios. 

“Let’s just treat this an entire conversation as an hapax legomenon,” I plead. I have been off bread now, for an entire week. 



First published in NKEE on Saturday 21 January 2023

Saturday, January 14, 2023


 Twenty years ago, when I used to work in the city, I would walk to Medallion Café at lunchtime, sit myself at a footpath table, open up a book and start reading. Not five minutes would elapse before I would be approached with the question: “What are you reading?” 

“This is a book about Mao’s famine,” I replied on one occasion. “It says here that over 15 million people starved to death.” 

“Nonsense, complete twaddle,” the voice of the late Christos Tsirkas would retort. “No one died in the famine. There was no famine.” The length and breadth of the once Greek Lonsdale Street, being his domain, the bearded Karl Marx doppelganger, was more than just a person, a brand if you will, known variously in reverent tones, or those of derision as «ο Τσίρκας». No attempt to show him statistics, footnotes or references would avail. Tsirkas had decreed there was no famine and the way he would win his argument would be to talk without ceasing until such time as his interlocutor would give up, or agree with him, for the sake of getting him to stop.  

On another occasion, I was reading a passage about Aris Velouhiotis, the controversial leader of ELAS while sipping an extremely bitter Greek coffee. Snatching the book from my hands, Tsirkas intoned: “Aris was perhaps the greatest Greek of the twentieth century. A hero and a visionary. I’m sure this author agrees.”  

“Actually,” I responded. “There are some disturbing accounts here of brutality. And have you read his Lamia speech? It’s almost incoherent. I think that Aris is part of the reason why the Greek Communist Party failed to engage in the parliamentary process, ensuing that the KKE was marginalised and did not play the important role in post-war reconstruction that the French or Italian Communist parties did.” 

“No, no  no,” Tsirkas spluttered. “It is obvious that the author is in the pay of the fascists. Aris was a democrat. He fully intended to restore parliamentary democracy. It’s just that he was betrayed by his own people. He was a kind and good man.” 

This time, I questioned his judgment: “And you know this how?” 

“My father served with him,” came the response. “So of course I know all about it.” It was futile to press the point further. 

Christos Tsirkas was a fervent socialist and supporter of the Greek socialist party PASOK. A mover and a shaker, he would walk fearlessly into PASOK headquarters, barging into the offices of powerbrokers and ministers alike without a hint of trepidation. This was a man whose connections were as numerous and as intricate as the hairs on his beard and yet he would always patiently listen to my criticisms of the movement’s founder, only to launch into a lengthy refutation citing innumerable unconnected factors I had not taken into account.  

The only time I ever saw him get angry was when, knowing of his adoration of the late Fofi Gennimatas, I sought to rile him up by stating: “Gosh Fofi has put on weight since taking the reins of the Party.” «Σκάσε βρεμη λες μαλακίες,» he snarled, and then immediately softened: “She is very unwell.” Tears were in his eyes. 

It is trite to mention that Christos Tsirkas was omnipresent at all community functions, especially those commemorating the invasion of Cyprus, for he served as a cartographer-spy on the island whilst undergoing his military service, and he loved to tell the tale. Visiting him at his V-Line office at Flinders Street Station, he would wave me inside, showing me photographs of him on the wall as a student, dressed in foustanella, playing Kolokotronis in a school play, regaling me with tales of Cyprus, of the Greek community and plying me with books that he felt would improve my general knowledge. After each of his trips to Greece, he would come and find me: “I’ve got you a book about the Agrarian Riots of Thessaly,” he would exclaim. “You really must improve your knowledge on this subject. Of course, I knew a professor who said…..” 

One Easter, my family went to a relative’s house and we were surprised to see Tsirkas in the backyard, setting up the souvla. However, once the lamb was on the spit and the fire was lit, he took his leave of us. “There are a few other families that need help with their souvla,” he dismissed our entreaties to eat with us. That day he helped set up six souvles. It did not occur to me that in offering to make Easter special for so many families, he was selflessly denying his own. Yet self-denial was the essence of Tsirkas. Even when his beloved only daughter Lambrina died, very rarely would he open up as to the intense and ongoing pain he felt at her loss. Once I asked him why. “Because it is too much for anyone to bear,” he answered, yet he bore that pain in agony for years, even gifting his daughter’s bedroom furniture to recently arrived Greeks, always subordinating his own grief in the interests of others. 

Tsirkas’ understanding of the geography of Melbourne was based on his knowledge of who was in need and in which suburb. Alone he would visit the isolated elderly to give them their medication or procure their groceries. While driving him around Melbourne he would point to houses where people were in need of assistance and relate their life stories. On other occasions he would point to other edifices and describe the important community events that took place there in times gone. Always ready to pursue the interests of his fellow Greeks, a multitude of our tribe owe their careers, their welfare payments or even their relationships to him, yet he never asked anything in return. Not a week would go by that he wouldn’t send someone to my door for legal assistance: “I’m sending so and so to you. Help him and don’t charge him,” he would order. “This person is one of us.” Indeed, in his generous vision, all Greeks were. 

He was fierce as an activist and in community politics but kind and generous to all, standing above ideology, something I experienced in my student days. Attending a function in the old Greek Community building, I was accosted by a gentleman, who, referring to my membership of the Panepirotic Federation, which ought to draw attention to the terrible legacy of the Hoxha regime, remarked snidely: “What is a fascist like you doing in this building?” “He is one of us,” came Tsirkas’ low roar, out of nowhere. “Now walk away and I’ll deal with you later.”   A fierce opponent of the new GOCMV administration, the Greek Centre and the Bullen project, I expected a falling out with him when I revealed to him that I gave them my support. “Just tell me why,” he muttered more in resignation than anger. “Because they are the future,” I responded, to which he uttered the immortal oracular words: “You will find that the future is never as current as the past.” His disappointment notwithstanding, we continued on in friendship as before, studying Trotsky’s History of the Revolution together. “I’ve never rated Trotsky highly. He was only in it for himself,” he commented. “In terms of Bolsheviks, who do you rate highly?” I asked him. “I think Lenin was misunderstood, and this made him angry,” he replied. 

Part of the majesty of Tsirkas was always willing to engage in discourse with persons of diverse backgrounds and opinions. I have two memories that compete as favourites in this regard, both of which took place on his beloved Lonsdale Street. The first is of him being accosted on Lonsdale Street by a roving Japanese film crew, filming a tourist documentary. “You are Japanese?” Tsirkas asked. Immediately, before their dumbfounded countenances he began a lengthy diatribe to the camera about Japanese atrocities in World War II, switching seamlessly into a harangue about the dangers that modern China supposedly poses to Japan, ending with him pointing to me and saying: “See this man here? He knows how to sing “The East is Red” in Chinese.” I’d like to believe that the entire speech made the cut. 

The second time was him chancing upon me showing around a visiting cleric from Greece. He shouted him a coffee and treated him to a lengthy exposition as to all that was wrong with the Orthodox Church, while simultaneously expressing absolute admiration for the late Archbishop Stylianos. He concluded his remarks by opining that religion is a fine thing but its bureaucracy had to be eliminated. The priest could not but agree, remarking to me later: “That man would have made a fine bishop.” Relaying the remark to Tsirkas sometime later, I saw his face flush with pleasure. The man was as multifaceted as he was irrepressible. 

Committed to a community that looked after its own and embraced all of its members, it was a heart-breaking experience to witness his beautiful, indomitable mind decline. Slowly, he ceased his weekly appearances on 3ZZZ Radio and when, visiting him in hospital, he confused my daughter with my mother, I began to cry. “Don’t let them see you cry,” he whispered. “If they do, the fascists will keep you in here, like they are keeping me.” Fascists was code of course for hospital staff and indeed for any form of power, as for Tsirkas, even in his final years when dementia robbed us of his golden tongue, ultimate sovereignty was vested in the masses. 

Now that Christos Tsirkas  has left us, some will write of his contribution to the Labor Party and the Union Movement. Others will write of just how instrumental he was in the struggle to give our community a voice in the mainstream and representation in parliament, or of his efforts to establish Greek institutions such as 3ZZZ, and save the Greek community. All I can write about however, is how I still marvel that such a mass of contradictions could co-exist and reconcile themselves within such a generous, caring and indefatigable human being, one who over the years, became a mentor, a guide and a friend, one of the few prominent members of the community who always treated the youth as equals. A man of principle and character, the palladium of the progressive community, I doubt we will ever see his like again. 


First published in NKEE on 14 January 2023

Saturday, January 07, 2023



Every year, just before or just after the advent of the New Year, we would head to Salapatas Μusic and Βookstore to secure for my grandmother, a copy of the latest Kazamias, an almanac containing lists of the phases of the moon (important for planting), astrology, dream interpretations (if you see your mother in law it means trouble is on the way), the feasts of the Orthodox Church, jokes, poems, recipes and prognostications for the new year. 

The edition my grandmother preferred was the Megas Kazamias, which featured a long bearded wizard in a conical hat peering through a telescope at a sputnik. Below, were representations of traditional Greek rural activities. A caption would reveal the year: «Ο Δορυφόρος 1997», doryforos meaning satellite, but also literally, the spear carrier, which considering the amount of aggression that has perennially plagued the world, is as apt a euphemism for the Earth’s revolution around the Sun as any other. 

My grandmother couldn’t tell us who cadaverous wizard was. Later I discovered it was Pietro Casamia, a fictional Venetian astronomer who could predict the future. His supposed prophecies were published annually and this tradition was adopted in Greece in the nineteenth century, when the publication of prognostications for the New Year became popular. The the prophecies was that they were so broad in nature that they invariably came true: a flood in China, an earthquake in the Balkans and most disturbingly, a surprising amount of deformed children being born in India, described as “monsters.” My grandmother amassed all the Kazamies from 1967 to 1997. Perusing them, it is remarkable how readers did not identify just how often the same prophecies would be recycled every second year or so. Perhaps they just didn’t care. 

Although Kazamies are still being sold in various Greek establishments in Melbourne, what we have never enjoyed is a community Kazamias, whereby a corpus of prognostications exists for each month that can assist the active member to navigate their involvement accordingly. Theprophecies below are therefore offered in lieu of such a valuable tome, which would feature my own resplendency in conical cap trying to decipher the Diatribe through a telescope, and are dedicated to the immortal poet/satirist Yiorgos Souris, who predicted climate change in his “Kazamias of the Romios” in 1889: “Finally, becoming enthused while gazing at the stars, Fasoulis, in great majesty predicts the destruction of the human sphere, by the freezing of the Sun.” 


A wreath laying ceremony is held to commemorate the Battle of Taramosalata. 

Evzones of the Presidential Guard are contracted out as security guards for the Australian Open but are requested to substitute their fustanellas for lycra shorts in the interests of gender equality. They decline and storm off to guard Eaton Mall. 

Manasis’ Presidential Froura is hired instead, but is physically removed after attempting to dance an inauthentic Zorba at the conclusion of every match point. 

Hellas Fan Club members sit quietly and politely congratulate some unknown and irrelevant player from who knows where after she defeats Maria Sakkari before she makes it into the finals. 

Bill Papastergiadis goes on ERT television in Greece to explain just how tennis mad Melbourne Greeks are. He insists on wearing eighties’ tennis shorts. 

Minister for Sport Steve Dimopolous objects to the media’s use of the word “Sakkattack,” to describe Maria Sakkari’s technique, the term having already been copyrighted by primary school boys decades previously. 

Archbishop Makarios announces the foundation of an Archdiocesan Tennis Academy. 

Professor Anastasios Tamis launches: “Children of Hades: A History of Greek Undertakers in Australia.” 


A wreath laying ceremony is held to commemorate the battle of Tyrokafteri. 

The Evzones are brought to Melbourne for the Antipodes Festival. They leave in a huff after realising that they are nowhere near as manly and are totally outbutched by the Oplitikon of Melbourne. Rumours abound that they have now joined the GOCMV opposition, raising its membership to five. 

Antipodes Festival Director Jorge Menidis finally succumbs to entreaties by Dean Kalimniou to bring a quality and relatable act to the main stage and brings forth Lefteris Pandazis. Con Laz swoons and faints. 

The secret to the ubiquity of Pontian and Cretan dance groups at the Antipodes Festival is revealed after Festival security discovers a cloning machine behind the main stage. 

Professor Anastasios Tamis launches: “Children of Poseidon: A History of Greek Taramosalata Manufacturers in Australia.” 

Dan Andrews has a stroke at the launch of Children of Poseidon. Is succeeded to the Premiership by Kat Theophanous. 


A wreath laying ceremony is held to commemorate the battle of Skordalia. 

The trustees of the Shrine of Remembrance are disturbed by the thousands of foustanella clad Greeks walking up to the Shrine on 25th March. They claim they are only visiting the State’s monument, and confirm they are not there for any official parade, all the while brandishing rather large water bottles. The trustees retire indoors for urgent deliberations. 

The Evzones are hired by the Shrine trustees to keep foustanella clad Greeks away from their office while they meet to pass a by-law prohibiting the wearing of the foustanella on Shrine grounds. 

The Shrine trustees prohibit anyone with a Greek surname and anyone whose surname ends with s for good measure, from entering Shrine grounds. Seven Latvians protest. 

Professor Anastasios Tamis launches: “Children of Hermes: A History of Greek Travel Agents in Australia.” 

Kat Theophanous passes legislation making the Shrine Trustees illegal. 


A wreath laying ceremony is held to commemorate the battle of Melitzanosalata. 

The recently installed Parthenon frieze is mysteriously removed from the Greek Centre. 

Bill Papastergiadis also disappears. A journalist observes that since we have a Cretan Prime Minister, a Cretan Consul General and a Cretan Primate, the president of the GOCMV should also be Cretan and points to an international Cretan conspiracy to abduct Bill Papastergiadis. 

On behalf of all affronted Cretans everywhere, Archbishop Makarios sues the offending journalist and hires the Evzones to locate the missing Bill, stating that since his surname is clerical, beginning with Papa-, this is within his purview. 

Professor Anastasios Tamis launches: “Children of Estia: A History of Greek Aged Care Facilities in Australia.” 

Eva Kaili is released from jail and moves to Bahrain. 


Seven wreath laying ceremonies are held around Melbourne to commemorate the Pontian Genocide because none of the Pontian organisations are speaking to each other. 

The British Museum announces that the ‘Elgin’ Marbles have gone missing. Papa Lefteris, formerly from Red Hill, sends his sympathies, and offers recovery advice, in light of how often the icon of Panayia has gone missing from Panayia Kamariani. 

The Panimian Brotherhood undertakes to cover the current and future hairdressing costs of Dr Antonis Piperoglou and donates all of its assets to this cause. The President of the Panimian Brotherhood is photographed with Melbourne University’s Vice Chancellor and Eva Kaili. 

Professor Anastasios Tamis launches: “Children of Pan: A History of Greek cookware in Australia.” 

A number of pro Eva Kaili commercials appear on Greek prime time television with Arabic subtitles. 



Nothing happens because everyone is holidaying in Greece. 


A wreath laying ceremony is held to commemorate the Battle of Merenta. 

The Parthenon Frieze mysteriously reappears at the Greek Centre more life-like and complete than before. 

Bill Papastergiadis returns to Melbourne, is apprehended at the Airport. Is released after half an hour when it is determined that he is not Billy Cotsis. 

Alexis Tsipras seeks political asylum in Australia. Is turned down by the Minister for Immigration on the basis that he already lives in a political asylum. 

Having cancelled the dates of their concerts five times, Natasha Theodoridou and Paola cancel for a sixth time. Archbishop Makarios hires the Evzones to escort them to Australia by force and they perform to critical acclaim at the recently rescued Fairfield Amphitheatre. 


A wreath laying ceremony is held to commemorate the Battle of Tzatzikion. 

It is revealed that Bill Papastergiadis was in London, in the previous months, ostensibly to provide fashion tips to Boris Johnson, and masterminded the removal of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum, housing them at the Greek Centre. The Australian authorities refuse to lay charges. 

Bill Papastergiadis is hailed by the populace as a god. Sundry Greek brotherhoods scramble to donate funds for the erection of a statue in his honour at Lakeside Oval. They fall out over whether he should be portrayed clad in chlamys and chiton or in foustanella. 

Archbishop Makarios cites the Pope’s return of fragments of the Parthenon Marbles to the Church of Greece as proof that the Marbles belong to the Church. He hires the Evzones to remove them. 

Eva Kaili returns triumphantly from Bahrain and purchases Olympiakos FC and Sakis Rouvas. She is unanimously voted in as President of the Greek Republic. 



A wreath laying ceremony is held to commemorate the Battle of the Annual General Meeting of the Panimian Brotherhood. 

On the way to Greece, to return the Parthenon Marbles, Archbishop Makarios is stopped by archpagan Savvas Grigoropoulos. A brief battle of words ensues which Ilias Diacolambrianos records for broadcast on the 3ZZZ Greek radio programs. It is heard by all of three people. 

Savvas Grigoropoulos wrests control of the Marbles and returns them to Greece. He demands they be reattached to the Parthenon and that he be named High Priest of Athena. He sets up his Weber barbeque on the Acropolis in readiness for a re-consecration sacrifice. 

Maria Sakkari flees Greece and seeks diplomatic asylum in Britain. 

Kat Theophanous passes legislation outlawing crass ethnic comedy. 


A wreath laying ceremony is held to commemorate the Battle of Avgotaraho. 

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis offers Britain the Parthenon Marbles in exchange for Maria Sakkari.  

Bill Papastergiadis travels to Greece on the crest of a wave of apodemic fury. He dethrones Mitsotakis and makes history being the first Prime Minister of Greece to be sworn in swearing a South Melbourne tracksuit. 

Savvas Grigoropoulos suffers a crisis of conscience and becomes a monk on Mount Athos. 

Former GOCMV president Tammy Iliou returns to Australia from Athens and argues convincingly that the next GOCMV president should be a woman. The members unanimously agree and applaud her vociferously, then vote for Nick Koukouvitakis, proving that the Cretans were in on it all along. 

Archbishop Makarios brings JLO to Australia for the Archdiocesan Christmas Carols and to head the Academy of Byzantine Chant. Promises Shakira for the year after. 

Joe Biden admits he gets all his news from Neos Kosmos. 

Elly Symons lodges an official complaint as the Marbles have not been mentioned even once in connection with her name in this Kazamias. Dean Kalimniou is duly exiled to Craigieburn. 



First published in NKEE on Saturday 7 January 2023